That Man, Is He a Rogue or a Gentleman
"Hey, wake up, Lydia."
Lydia woke to the feel of Nico's tail brushing against her cheek and the sound of running water. Apparently, a lot more time than she'd expected had passed, and the sun was beginning to set outside. Oil lamps lit the dim room interior.
Lydia realised that the young man who'd fallen asleep on the carpet was no longer there, but could see him through the open door of the bathroom. Their eyes met in the mirror.
Lydia couldn't help widening her eyes. The hair that was brown before was now a bright blond. He'd also apparently shaved the stubble from his chin and his manner as he ran his fingers through his front hair and smiled was almost like that of a completely different person and was very refined.
"You're awake. You're pretty cute when you're asleep."
"If your cat didn't get angry, I would've liked to have kept watching you sleep."
Nico sat on a cushion acting as though he knew nothing and scratched his ear with a hind paw. And he's the one always saying he doesn't want to act like a cat all the time.
"Rather than that, your hair..."
"Ah, I'd dyed it. My natural hair tends to stand out. Although they'd figured it out."
He dried his hair roughly. The eyes peering out from this shiny blond hair were unmistakably ash-mauve.
He took off his ragged shirt in disgust.
"You're in front of a lady, my lord," a brown-skinned boy said as he entered the room. He seemed like he was most likely around Lydia's age. The servant seemed to be very collected and didn't smile at all.
Or rather, servant? And 'my lord'?
"I beg your pardon. It seems I haven't put things to order fully in my head yet."
The young servant started to help the man change into the clothes he'd brought when he noticed the man's injuries.
"My lord, you're injured......"
"They're just scratches. They'll be covered by the clothes, so I'll just wear them straight," he said as he placed his hand on the boy's shoulder.
"Don't worry about it, Raven. There's no need to kill people over something like this."
Kill? Lydia frowned at the disturbing conversation. If it was a joke, it was in very poor taste.
The young servant didn't smile as though at a joke when he answered, almost as though he'd truly been wondering whether he should kill the ones who'd injured his master. He did up the buttons with a practised hand.
"We were worried that you might not make it."
"Just as planned, Raven. This is Miss Carlton."
"Wait, how do you know my name......"
"The name of the young lady Huskley and the other were searching for is Lydia Carlton. That would be you."
At that, he suddenly stopped his servant and walked towards Lydia.
"I'm sorry, miss. I'm Earl Edgar Ashenbert. I'm pleased to meet you."
He took her hand and lightly kissed her fingers. He looked at her amused as she stood there stunned.
Regaining her senses, Lydia slapped his hand away.
"E-earl? You? ......I don't believe it. I have business in London, so I'll be taking my leave."
"It's too late. The ship's already set sail."
Running over to the window, the land could be seen looking like an island.
"What's the meaning of this?! This is kidnapping! Not to mention my luggage is still on the other ship, and thanks to my bag being lost, I'm penniless. Coming on board without permission as I have, it's like I'm a stowaway!
"What are you talking about. I'll see to it that you get to London. Once my business is done. Otherwise, you'll want for nothing. This is my room, and your ticket's already been taken care of."
"Then...... you were intended on getting me on this ship from the very beginning, weren't you? And your getting caught by Huskley and the others was all just an act?"
"That was real. I'm not in the habit of injuring myself for an act."
The injuries on his wrists and neck. Seeing them so clearly, Lydia lost the will to continue with her reproach. But...
"It didn't seem like there'd be any way to get near you without letting them catch me. After all, I didn't know what you looked like or anything in particular about you."
In other words, he let himself get caught?
"Then....... there wasn't any need to dye your hair, then, was there?"
"Ahh, that was to keep them from realising I wanted to be caught."
Lydia felt her head spin. She was so confused, she completely forget to ask him just what his motive was.
"Raven, what time is it?"
He quickly changed the subject while Lydia struggled to work things through in her mind.
"It will soon be seven."
"If we don't hurry, dinner will begin. Ahh, that's right, you should get changed, too. We've been invited to have dinner with the Marquis Oigen and his wife. They're Danish nobility and they're the ones who invited me onto this ship. It's not easy to be able get on this ship to travel without an invitation."
Not only did he bring Lydia on board, but it's a ship that Huskley wouldn't easily be able to board. With the ship in mind, perhaps he'd been the one to approach the Marquis.
It could be she'd ended up in the company of a man who was truly dangerous.
"This isn't funny, Mr. ......"
"Please, call me Edgar, Lydia."
He ignored Lydia as she glared at him in suspicion. "Where's Ermine? Miss Lydia is in need of a dress," he continued cheerfully.
"Yes, I have one ready. Raven, that tie doesn't match the colour of the cuffs. Use this one."
A young woman dressed as a man entered carrying a dress and tie. She was wearing a black jacket of the same style as the boy's. Her hair was only about shoulder length, but since she wasn't trying to hide her body's curves, it was immediately apparently that she was a woman.
Was she also a servant?
"Which would you have, my lord?"
"Hmm...... we'll go with her suggestion. But Ermine, that dress isn't much to my taste."
"You're not the one who'll be wearing it, my lord."
"I know that, but if possible, something a little more open at the neck would be nice."
"Dirty thoughts aren't needed at the dinner table. This one suits the young lady more," she said decisively. Even though she was a servant, she seemed to be much closer than that.
"Now then, miss, this way please."
Lydia was led to one of the bedrooms to change.
"Um, I can get changed myself," she said. She wasn't used to having people help her with her clothes.
However, in the end, she wasn't able to change on her own because the dress was much more formal than she was used to. She had to get changed right down from her corset and the crinoline, and while being careful of the too fine ribbon and bead accents, she finally managed to get dressed.
"Now, for your hair."
Lydia felt a bit like she was being treated like a child.
Ermine sat Lydia down in front of a mirror. Lydia couldn't help feeling a little inferior at Ermine's smile.; her smile was that feminine.
While her features were very sharp, they weren't at all masculine. Her femininity wasn't the least lessened by her short hair.
Her skin was white and unblemished, her hair and eyes were a dark brown they were almost black, she had sharp brows and her lips were red like petals.
Seen in the mirror, Lydia wasn't so pale, her reddish-brown hair wasn't particularly distinctive, and her golden-green eyes were so individual that they made people uneasy. Her features were clear-cut, but her father was the only one to ever call her beautiful. Her impatient personality didn't help either and people ended up having a harsh impression of her.
Add to that her being considered 'eccentric', and people didn't see her as a girl.
She knew that leaving her hair down even though she was seventeen made her seem even younger, she had problems put it up, and it wasn't like anyone would really notice anyway. So about the most Lydia could do was to put her hair up in a braid.
"Ermine, it's time."
A voice could be heard from outside.
"A moment. There, all done."
While Lydia'd been lost in though, the image in the mirror was transformed into that of a refined young lady's. But she only caught a brief glimpse, and before Lydia had the chance to take a closer look at herself, she was sent out of the room.
And curiosity got the better of me, and I discovered that my word count between NaNo *and* translating is 9748. ^^;; A touch shy, but not far off from where I'm supposed to be. *Not* that I'll be doing things that way! *laughs*
Ah well. Enjoy! ^^;