Author's Notes:

Maybe those that have me on your author's alert know that I've spent quite a deal of my creative energy on Supernatural. I'm sorry that I'm splitting my attention, but it's very difficult to focus on DGM at the moment.

Additionally it's become slightly depressing writing this story, because I do not hear back from you, readers. Are you still reading? Am I doing an okay job with the story? I'm incredibly grateful to those kind people that still write me a review. Feedback helps me recover motivation when it's slipping through my fingers, which happens far too often recently. I do need acknowledgment of my efforts from time to time… :C

Okay, this was my yearly "I should not feel sad but do" author's note. On with the story! I had planned to write more for this chapter, but keeping the next scene would have made the chapter too long...

Disclaimer: D. Gray-Man belongs to Katsura Hoshino

Kapitel 73 White Halls

Being a mother in an organization that was geared towards warfare was a peculiar circumstance. Ellen knew the fighting; she knew training and mission briefings and dispassionate discussion of the death toll. Finders, exorcists in their uniforms, the Science Division – it was a functioning network that aimed to fight but also to create a society in which they could live together and share the burden. The Black Order, despite its short-comings and acid gossiping, was still home to many. Ellen had been part of that world, but now it was as if there's been a wall put up between them and her. She had slipped between the cracks of the order's closely knit society; she was nothing more than the civilian wife of an exorcist. She'd get up, eat at the cafeteria, she'd meet staff and friends in the corridors. She was still inside the world she knew, but she was effectively an outsider. Conversations about missions ceased when she was present and turned towards Emily. Ellen was no longer the powerful and promising exorcist, she wasn't even the potential Noah anymore even though Ellen hardly believed that those who knew had forgotten. Still, she was just a girl with a baby that happened to share their living quarters.

"I don't think I can go on like this for forever," Ellen confessed, combing Emily's hair. She and Linali were sitting in a pavilion in the gardens. It was warm and humid and Ellen wore a summer dress. Linali was fresh back from a mission, she had bruises and bandages and wore light training clothes. The contrast between them couldn't be stronger. "What am I even still doing here?"

"You belong here Ellen. But it is good that you don't have to fight… You can stay out of danger," Linali assured her. They had had this conversation before. Nothing had changed. Three weeks of being a mother, three weeks of nobody even talking to her as if she'd still be an exorcist.

"But that's beside the point! It's not my duty to stay out of danger! I know I'm useless now, but that doesn't mean that everybody suddenly has to act as if I had never been an exorcist!" Ellen put the comb down and turned Emily around, so that the baby rested against her chest where she dozed off contently. "I still need to know what's going on outside." Linali sighed, leaning back in her chair with an unsure expression.

"You… don't need to fight now, Ellen… There are only so many things that you can worry about at once…," she told her gently. Ellen shook her head, rocking Emily slightly.

"Linali… This is still war… The Earl is out there preparing for the end. And I used to be an important tool, I am sure I still am!" Linali widened her eyes and lifted her hands to protest, but Ellen didn't want to hear it. "I can't just pretend that I'm out of it just because Emily's here now. We've been ruthless before, I've been told to go on fighting before and I believe that this still counts."

"But you can't fight." Ellen blinked in surprise and looked up. "So you won't fight." Kanda was walking up to them, dressed in his uniform.

"Don't eavesdrop, Kanda!" Linali complained and the young man rolled his eyes at them. He stopped next to Ellen's chair and looked down at her.

"She is right. Don't butt into my conversation unbidden," Ellen told him crossly, "besides," she continued, eying her husband with a frown, "why are you dressed like this?" Kanda readjusted his collar and shrugged.

"We're short on exorcists. And as you don't have anywhere to be I'm free. Komui asked me to investigate a rumour." Ellen widened her eyes at that and sat up straight, slightly jostling Emily. The girl made a displeased sound, but didn't fully wake up.

"What? You get to go on a mission?" Ellen asked incredulously, having a hard time processing it.

„Yes. I know that I usually need to stick with you on missions, but circumstances are different now." Ellen's frown deepened and Kanda huffed in exasperation at her expression. "Listen. I don't want to throw myself into unnecessary danger. But someone still needs to do the work."

"What about me?" Ellen challenged and Kanda widened his eyes slightly, before snorting.

"What about you?" he repeated, then he gestured towards her arm. "You can't invocate at the moment. You'd only endanger yourself if you came," he told her. And me. And everybody else. Ellen didn't need to hear him say it, she could see it written all over his face.

"Yu," Ellen said dangerously, but Kanda just reached down to pet Emily's head.

"What are the mission details?" Linali spoke up and Kanda looked at her. "How long do you plan on making yourself scarce?" Kanda seemed slightly taken aback by her flat tone of voice, but he replied nevertheless.

"Rumours of a church organ playing on its own account in a small town in West Prussia… Finders aren't sure whether it is Innocence and no Akuma have been spotted yet. It will be taken care of in no time, especially as we've got a gate to Danzig." Ellen lifted her hand to her face and rubbed it, shaking her head.

"Then why do you need to go?" Ellen wondered. "If it's such an easy job, why does one of the top exorcists need to take care of it? Surely someone else can take over so you can devote all of your time to paternal duties?" Kanda did catch her sarcastic tone, but he wrinkled his nose and put his hand on Ellen's shoulder.

"I'm still an exorcist. I need to work," he said, then he bent down to kiss Ellen. She wasn't particularly responsive, but neither irritated enough to risk not saying a proper good-bye. "I'll be back in a week at the latest." He traced his finger over Emily's face gently, then he took a step back, turned around and left towards the building. Both Linali and Ellen looked after him.

"Okay… I assume Kanda can't stand inactivity any more than you do," the Asian girl muttered and Ellen snorted. "He adores Emily and doesn't like being gone for too long, so he must be incredibly restless..." Ellen turned her eyes up to the ceiling of the pavilion, snorting and shaking her head. He had been rather anxious the past few days, not knowing what to do with himself. Maybe he had been that way before, but Ellen had only noticed now that she was more relaxed.

"I don't want this to turn into a routine. I'm not going to take care of Emily while he goes away fighting. I'm not a house-wife, Linali." She turned her head to the side, her eyes travelling over the garden and up the castle's exterior, catching sight of the flag of the Black Order on top of a tower. "Not like this…"


It was a warm Summer night and the windows were wide open. Some of the papers in the room flapped in the breeze and the room was illuminated by the yellow light coming from the reading lamp on the table. Ellen was slightly puzzled, looking around the room, but the noise of someone clicking their tongue made her look up again.

"Glad you could make it, Ellen," the man in front of her said and she let her eyes settle on him. He was tall and rather thin, dressed in elegant clothes, the top of his ruffled shirt peeking out from a vest. He grinned at her and pulled a pocket watch out of his trousers; Ellen recognized that it was the one all male members of the family possessed. He snapped it shut again and stuffed it back into his pocket, raising his head to grin at her. His face was young, even though the skin creased slightly around his pale blue eyes and his cheeks dimpled with his wide smile. He had light brown unruly hair, slightly combed out of his face but it stuck out on the side of his head. He also had whiskers which were still very much in fashion with military men. He stepped towards her, arm raised. "Let's not waste any time then!" He put his hand on her shoulder, turning her around. Ellen was still dumb-struck and felt like dream-walking. She looked up at him, his face familiar, like his scent. But he was so firm, a warmth next to her, his hand on her shoulder a gentle weight. He guided her into the darkened corridor, light spilling out from the room and throwing their shadows on the opposing wall.

"I'm dreaming?" Ellen whispered and the man looked down at her. He was maybe thirty or forty years old, she really couldn't tell, but there was such an air of boyish mirth to him, he might as well be Kanda's age. She felt it hard to place him. But this was a dream anyway, a very vivid and convincing one, but it was a dream. "You are long dead…" Ellen drew a shaky breath. "Father." Horace Bermont came to a stop at the foot of the stairs leading upwards. He looked down at her and raised his eyebrows in amusement.

"I am most pleased that you recognize me!" he said and Ellen thought he appeared touched. "It's been how long? Ten, fifteen years?" He lifted his hand off her shoulder, but wrapped his fingers around hers then, pulling her upwards.

"I'm not yet sixteen, Sir," Ellen told him uncertainly. This was a most peculiar dream, even for her standards. Horace snorted at that.

"No need to be so reserved, Ellen. I'm just your Papa," he told her, but he had to grin when he looked at her. "Sixteen. So this is the turn of the century then? Excuse me if I am out of fashion," he joked, touching the fabric of his vest, and they reached the top of the stairs. "Maybe Papa is not an acceptable word to use for a young adult like you." Ellen frowned in confusion.

"Uhm. I do not know, but if it brings you joy I will call you Papa," she told him because the least thing she could do was humour her father. She had never dreamt of him before, so she might as well cherish this. "But I am dreaming, aren't I?" Horace smiled at her, then he lifted his hand, finger outstretched. He tilted his hand forwards, gesturing into the corridor.

"I let you be the judge of that. But come. There's already light spilling over the lands from the east," Horace said and when Ellen turned her head to the window she could see that it was getting lighter fast. Horace walked on, Ellen following, until they reached the stairs leading to the third floor. "By the way, Ellen." The girl lifted her head, looking up at her father. "What has become of you?"

"What do you mean?" Ellen wondered and Horace pulled his lips into a tight line, before he shrugged again.

"Are you an exorcist yet?" he asked and Ellen froze, stopping on the stairs before she could reach the top. Horace had walked on, but stopped as well when she wasn't following anymore. "Are you surprised that I know?"

"Yes… To be honest I am surprised. But maybe I shouldn't be." This is a dream anyway, she kept telling herself. He was just something her imagination had fabricated, of course he'd know things she knew as well.

"No. I am quite aware of what has befallen you. Unfortunately too late to do anything to protect you adequately." Ellen looked at him in confusion, taking the last few steps to join him. It was already morning outside.

"Why would you say that? You and mother… you were normal people!"

"Yes, we were. But we are all linked to things that are way bigger than me or your mother. Bigger than we both had known. Exorcism, a great evil lurking in the dark, blood. Even if you're not in the center of it, we were still close enough to be burned by that malicious evil."

"I don't… I don't understand, Papa," Ellen whispered and they both came to a halt at the end of the hall. No more doors, no stairways, just tapestry hanging on the walls.

"I do not have the leisure to explain now. But I can point you towards the answers." He grabbed for the tapestry and pulled it aside. A white door. A locked door. When Ellen turned her head way from the door she was met with a solemn but also encouraging expression on her father's face. "Good luck, Ellen."


Ellen woke up slowly, the sun shining too bright through her window. Had Kanda forgotten to draw the curtains?

"He's not here," Ellen reminded herself, sitting up with a small groan. She was tired but now that she was awake there'd be no sense in trying to sleep again. Emily was stirring in the crib. Ellen wiped her hair out of her face, exhaled and got up. She looked down at her child, but she was still sleeping. Ellen lifted her head to look at of the window, but her gaze fell on her writing table. There, illuminated by the light, was the box. It was open and the key almost gave off a glare in the morning light. Ellen remembered. The dream, her father, the corridor on the third floor. The door. The door to the rooms that have not been opened for ten years. Ellen rushed over to the table and grabbed the key.

"Of course," she whispered to herself, "that's what the key's for!" Ellen quickly dressed and by the time she was done Emily demanded her attention. "Okay, come then." She lifted the baby out of the crib but before she could go and find someone that would look after the baby long enough for her to go exploring, she had to change Emily's napkin. "You're awfully smelly for such a small thing…"


Link was slightly off-put when Ellen bestowed child-watching duties onto him.

"I have been lenient with you in the last few weeks, because the circumstances were exceptional," he told her, holding Emily an arm's length away from him and despite the stoic expression, he did seem unnerved. Emily gurgled, putting her hand into her mouth. "But that doesn't mean you can make me a nanny now."

"Oh, stop whining, it's only for an hour or so," Ellen told him with a snort and Linali, who was standing in the corridor outside, was giggling. Link wrinkled his nose, but he turned around, arms still outstretched and put the baby on his couch, next to a stack of documents and folders. "Thank you!" Before Link could protest, Ellen closed the door and hurried down the corridor, Linali at her heels.

"You really could have given her to me," Linali told her as they climbed the stairs.

"No, I want you to accompany me, if you don't mind?" Linali caught the unsure tone in Ellen's voice and smiled. "I'll just feel better with you at my side."

"Of course I don't mind," Linali told her, then she looked around the floor they were on. She remembered being here before. "What exactly are we doing here, Ellen?" She saw the dead-end and recalled that there was a hidden door behind the tapestry. Ellen turned towards her and smiled. She pulled something out of her pocket and held it up triumphantly. Linali's face lit up instantly when she noticed that it was a key.

"Oh! You have the key!" Ellen nodded and brushed the tapestry to the side, putting the key in the lock carefully.

"My mother gave it to me. I first didn't know what it could be for, but it must be for this door!" And indeed, the sound of a lock springing open pierced the tense air and both girls looked at each other, before shrieking in excitement. "Dear Lord! This is it!"

"Ten years of being closed off! I wonder what's in there! This is so exciting! Maybe there are ghosts!" Linali chirped and Ellen involuntarily shuddered.

"Linali!" she chid and shook her head at Linali's laughter. The white haired girl put her hand on the door knob and turned it around. The door moved and Ellen pushed against the wood. It creaked slightly and it took an effort to open it, but after a while they were inside. Linali let the tapestry fall back into place, sending a gust of wind through the corridor beyond. Dust whirled up, catching the light falling in through the windows. Ellen took the key and closed the door. She shared a long look with her friend, then both of them took a breath and started exploring. There was a long corridor beyond the door, one wall lined with windows, the other had pictures or mirrors hanging from it. They were all covered by with cloth. Everything, Ellen noticed, was white. They got to three steps at the end of the corridor that led into some sort of hall. It was circular and a spiral staircase made of marble led upwards, and the ceiling was made of stained glass showing a sky and angels. A chandelier with pale lavender and turquoise glass hung from the ceiling. Two corridors led away from the hall, the rest of the circular walls were painted, showing fairy tale like scenes. In the middle of the room was what appeared to be a small, dry fountain made of marble and a delicate cage made of gold wires arched over the basin.

"Are we dreaming? Ellen, have we stepped into a fairy world?" Linali asked and even though it was just a whisper, her voice echoed in the hall.

"I don't know… Let's go on," she suggested and they took the stairs upwards. They found some sort of library; the walls were covered by high shelves filled with books. An arch led into a reading room. All the furniture was covered by white blankets, but Ellen was sure that there were two sets of tables with chairs and reading lamps. The windows showed outside over the moor and the walls were painted again, this time with a classical motif.

"It's a remarkable library," Linali said from outside and when Ellen joined her, she could see her tracing the spines of the books. They went back downstairs and took one corridor. However they were met with mostly empty rooms, but there was also a splendid bath and when Ellen tried to turn the faucet water actually came out of it. It was rusty at first and the pipes rattled, but soon clear water came flowing out of it.

"I think they weren't able to finish this part…," Ellen mused, when they found more rooms, all painted, but empty and cold. "My mother did say that the rooms were incomplete thanks to my father's early death…"

"But it's still really impressive. And you can do with them whatever you like!" Linali tried to cheer her up and Ellen smiled. "Let's see where the other corridor leads us!" The corridor was similar like the others, wooden paneling painted white, pictures, furniture and lamps covered by cloths. A layer of dust covered the stone floor, making it appear dull and as there were neither functioning lamps nor windows, the corridor was rather dim. There was another door, some light coming in through a milky white glass window in the door. Ellen tried the door knob and it opened easily. She pushed it open and light streamed into the corridor.

"This… this is the room I've seen from the outside," Ellen whispered, too awed to speak. Linali gave her a gentle shove and the girl stumbled inside. It was a living room completely in white. The windows had white curtains, the furniture was covered by blankets and there was a big fireplace. Ellen's eyes caught on the golden box standing on the mantelpiece, but Linali's attention was drawn by something else.

"There's a music room and a bedroom, both are furnished but covered…," she called and Ellen looked over to her. She was coming out of a room, her smile excited. "This really feels like we've stepped into a fairy tale world! Come!" Ellen gave the golden box another searching glance, but then she walked over to Linali and into the bedroom. The bedroom was beautiful, big windows showing the landscape behind the castle. The four-poster bed had two layers of curtains, one delicate silk with embroidery and laces, the other thicker, also white but with golden and blue embroidery. All the furniture was painted in white with colourful details – golden handles, coloured glass framing the edges, little splatters of paint – flowers, figures, swirls. There were boxes standing at the foot of the bed and Ellen dared opening one, finding a variety of beautiful toys in it.

"Oh dear!" Linali exclaimed and Ellen saw that she had opened a double door in the wall. What she saw was some sort of small room with mirrors and dresses hanging on racks. "They even seem to be about your size! I wonder if your father wanted you to have them when you were all grown up?" Linali wondered, but then she pulled one out that was for a little girl. "Or maybe he was just well prepared…"

"Such lavish… And it's been locked away for more than a decade! It seems such a waste!" Ellen said, shaking her head. "But why did mother give me the key now? She could have done so years ago! She could have made arrangements for the rooms to be finished…" Linali came out of the small room and studied her friend.

"I don't know…," she said and Ellen sighed. "But at least you have something to do now… There's a lot of cleaning to be done!" The white haired girl had to laugh at that, but nodded. She walked out of the bed-room and back into the living room. And now, with their exploration almost completed, Ellen allowed herself to focus on the golden box. She walked up to the fireplace and carefully pulled it off the mantelpiece. "Oh… I wonder if there's something in it…" Ellen walked over to the table and put the box on the white blanket. With nervous fingers she opened the lid. She was surprised to find a piece of paper inside as well as a ring. She took the ring out first and found it to bear the family's crest. It was the signet ring that the head of family used on all official documents. Ellen took it out, the gold dull, but it was a comfortable weight in her hand.

"This… this used to be my fathers… I always thought my mother had it…" Ellen whispered and gave it to Linali so that the girl could have a look at it. She then took out the papers and unfolded them. It was a short letter, addressed to her. The year said 1886, it was the year her father died. She leant against the cold fireplace, letting her eyes focus on the black ink on the parchment.

"Hello Ellen. Peculiar, isn't it. To speak to a ghost of the past. How many years will this humble note have been in the darkness of the chest when it is finally unfolded and able to serve its purpose? I do not have to convey any wise man's words, merely the rambling of a man that dotes on his child. Charlene disapproves of my confusing penmanship, but do you care?
I wonder about many things and I wish I could see through this parchment like a looking glass. I wish it would reflect back to me the world you see when you read these words. But seeing as this is not possible I will content myself with waiting for that time to come. I hope that I will have guided you with my wise and not so wise life lessons throughout the year and even if not, I am sure you will have grown up to be a splendid woman. In any case, you know me and I am blessed to know you. Therefore, it seems wise for me to tell you something you probably do not know. Something of the magic of my present, which, by the time you read this, will have become your past. Maybe you will think me foolish and probably you are more than right. But please, bear with me.

Today we vowed to protect you, consider it our white magic gift for you, one that will hopefully serve you well as you grown up. Just three drops of blood on the charm. Charlene insists that it will do no good. You see, your mama does not like the occult. The occult being what first got them into trouble and you with it. Them is that duo infernale of course –your mama and uncle. Charlene and Manfred. Charles and Mana. They were wicked little pranksters, at least your nan tells me as much. Your poor grandmother never knew what they were up to. Mama running around in trousers, swinging around a stick; your uncle in a dress and nice stockings. Inseparable those two are and they are always keeping secrets, still today. They can behave like one entity – sometimes your poor Papa got jealous, other times I felt as if I was married to both of them. Without Charlene there was no Manfred and without Charles there was no Mana. It was quite strange sometimes, and (don't tell this to your Mama) unsettling as well. There is something peculiar about Mana that seems darker, not quite belonging to our nice little world. But he kept his secrets and Charlene did too, so I started having secrets with Malcom as well. Just to vex your Mama. So three drops of blood for each of your parents. My secret though is that there were really four – one from your uncle Malcom as well. More secrets up onto the pile, because most of the time I have no idea what my cousin is up to. Your Papa is a bit of a dunce from time to time, to surround myself with things I cannot grasp. But there are too many things in this world that a simple man like me cannot understand, just like your peculiar little arm. Charlene decided on a policy of silence about it, the only silence from her I have never respected, but you know how she can get when she's got something stuck in her head.
But to return to our magic ritual, do you remember the story of Sleeping Beauty? When we let the blood drop on the charm each of us made a wish for your future. Have they come true now that you read this letter? I don't know what the others' wishes were, but here is mine:

"I wish for my little darling to find happiness, whatever road in life she chooses."

Are you happy, Ellen? If you read this and have the answer ready come to your Papa and tell me. Wherever you and I might be.

With all the love in the world. Your father,
Horace Bermont.

P.S. I hope you like the rooms I have prepared for you. I want you to have your personal space to retreat to. You know how demanding London society is when trying to keep up fronts. Maybe your brother (if you will have one, and I do hope you will) will become head of house, side-stepping you. At least you will have this part of the castle. Maybe my tastes do not quite suit yours, but remember that those were made in the early eighties! Fashion does change! But all the walls are white. Feel free to colour them as you please. This is your blank slate. This is your starting point. Go wherever you want. Be proud of who you are. Hm. I guess I should have written this in the proper text, it is a rather admirable line. And I don't even know if people still read a post scriptum."

Ellen was biting her lips by the time she was done reading. A painful feeling of longing filled her for the father she barely remembered. The father who had wished her so well, one who had not deserved to die so early. But she was also surprised to read about her mother and Mana. The suspicion that her mother knew far more and was more involved than she had let on filled her again.

"Ellen? Are you alright?" Linali asked and put her arm on Ellen's shoulder. Ellen blinked a few times and turned her head to smile at her. "What was it?"

"A letter from my father… I just… miss him I think… He seemed like a funny person…," she replied and Linali sighed, embracing her friend. "He made these rooms for me… he wanted to protect me… I think he didn't expect to die so early…"

"He was a soldier, right? He died in war?" Linali wondered and Ellen nodded, folding the paper and putting it back into the golden box. She placed the box on the mantelpiece, wiping dust away.

"Let's go…," Ellen suggested and Linali nodded, even though she was a bit reluctant to leave these wonderful rooms. They left the room and wandered through the corridors, but when they reached the circular hall, Ellen stopped. "Linali?" The Asian girl turned her head, looking at her friend with a puzzled expression. "Can I tell you something and you swear not to tell it anybody else?" The girl seemed surprised, but she smiled and nodded.

"Of course, Ellen. You can trust me," she said and Ellen had to smile as well, even though it was a bit shy. "Was there something in the letter that worries you?"

"Yes… I think so… Papa said that they did some kind of protective charm when I was very small. I don't know if it was real or just humbug and I don't think it really matters. What made me stop was that he mentioned that Mother didn't like the occult because it had gotten her and Mana, and by extension me, into trouble…" Linali widened her eyes in surprise.

"What could he mean by that?" she wondered and Ellen shook her head, equally at a loss.

"Mana… apparently had plans for me… Which is true I guess… This alone is very troubling, but I'm starting to believe that Mother knows far more than she let on… The occult… It could mean anything, especially to a layman as my father was," Ellen replied and added "probably" in her head. It had only been a dream, after all, but what if her father had known too? What if they had all known? About Innocence and Akuma and the war in the shadow? Linali grabbed Ellen's hand and she widened her eyes. Linali's expression was stern, before it melted into a gentle smile.

"Listen, Ellen… I know this is big… And if your parents betrayed you in one way or another then you are in the right to be angry. But don't make yourself mad with thoughts. If you think you would be able to understand your situation better then confront those that are still around. You can't talk to your Father, you can't talk to Mana, but there is still your Mother. Ask her what she knows, tell her what you are aware of… Or you ignore it completely. Just do whatever you must, whatever feels right to you, no matter how you were influenced in the past." Ellen looked at her in wonder and Linali gave Ellen's hand another squeeze. "You still get to make your own decisions, Ellen." Ellen smiled, then she reached out and wrapped her arms around Linali, giving her a tight hug.

"Thank you, Linali. Your words mean a lot to me," she said honestly and Linali patted her back before Ellen let her go again.

"Good to know that I can at least be of some help," Linali said with a grin, then she led Ellen out of the hall and back into the main part of the castle. Ellen turned to the white door, guiding the key back into the lock and turning it around.

"My father built this for me so that I would have a place to retreat to. Even though this is my castle, it is not solely mine… Father foresaw such a situation and it's come true, probably not how he envisioned it, but still…," Ellen said gently, pulling the key back out of the lock and slipping it into her pocket.

"Do you think…," Linali started, "that if you are in a situation where you can choose… you will come back?" Ellen smiled at her, nodding, but Linali shook her head which made Ellen blink in surprise. "Ellen, that's not a question you can answer so easily… And I don't even want you to make a decision right now… Just… Maybe you need to think about what you want, not what you have to do…"

"You mean if all my strings were cut? If there was a… blank slate?" Ellen asked, recalling her father's words. Linali nodded and both girls were silent.

"Because… I don't know what I would do without strings…"

"Yes… You are right…"

Ellen doubted that she would be able to cut all the strings, but maybe there was one day where she'd have to put scissors to a few of them. Which ones, she wondered, would she choose to severe?

To be continued…


I've wanted to write Horace for a long time…! Also, sorry. Mana is not a respectable upper class name, hence I called him "Manfred"! He and his sister apparently liked cross-dressing and doing stupid magic tricks.

As a side-note; I've written part of Horace's letter to his daughter ages ago, back when I'd still been in England. Did any of you actually still remember the white, closed-off rooms and the golden box? Happy to finally tie up one secondary loose-end!