Due to the site having some issues I had to re-upload this chapter. Sorry for the confusion.
This Earl story takes place after the anime ends. Since I have been having a hard time finding the light novels, my mind started coming up with what could happen next. Naturally~ This chapter can be taken as the first part of the newest adventure for the characters, or it can be taken as a separate story.
If there is someone who doesn't want to be spoiled, don't read this!
Rated L for laughter ;)
Earl and Fairy: the Next Chapter
In which one of Cane's cousins visits him and starts liking the Earl. Will Kelpie warn the Earl or watch quietly as his cousin plays her cards to win him over? In which all of the cast realize what she is except the Earl until much later.
Kelpie emerged from the fountain in the early pink light of dawn. The lights in the Earl's house were still dark. He yawned, shaking long sleep away. It was mid afternoon in the faerie world, and his senses had caught something irritating. Lydia had slept in the Earl's house! In fact, she was sleeping quite freely now in one of the guest bedrooms. He'd quiz her about how she ended up there at breakfast.
Kelpie blinked. "Oi, there's no need to sneak up on me, boy. Didn't I prove myself a friend while fighting the Prince's fairy doctor?" he scoffed, turning from the green gleam of the sprite in Raven's eyes.
Raven's quiet voice slid through the crickets' chorus. "That was one time. Even if I like you," his voice rose in pitch in a query directed towards himself, "I am not sure you mean complete loyalty and friendship to my Lord."
Kelpie chuckled. "Pretty clever. That is damn right! I don't like the Earl that much. I merely saved Lydia's life," he said aloud. He turned his head to the sunrise turning faintly golden. "After all," he murmured, "I could not help myself."
"Why couldn't you help yourself?"
"Saa ne*. I doubt you'd understand at your age." Kelpie rubbed at his hair. "It's damn confusing though."
"I see." By the time Raven's attention returned to the kelpie, he had vanished. Raven blinked before turning back to the house to wake and help dress the earl.
Lydia awoke with the sunlight. With a small smile, she turned in her bed to watch the beams pool on her pillow... or across the carpet and the doorway of the guest room the Earl had insisted she rest in after last night. She sat up, eyes falling on white nightgown she had been provided with. She fiddled with the blue ties at her throat.
"What's wrong, Lydia?" Her fairy cat Nico peeked out from underneath the bed where he had retired. "Are you not well? Were you unable to sleep?"
"No. no, Nico, I am fine." She flashed a warm grin towards him and scratched him behind the ears. "I was just recalling yesterday. That was the first time my knowledge of the Fae world had been put to that kind of a test."
"Well, no doubt about that."
"I just can't seem to believe that.. that this will be only the first time either."
"Ah, now I understand." Nico leapt onto the bed. "You are worried, but Lydia," he stood up on his back paws and leaned over, whispering in her ear, "nothing good will come of worrying about something you can't control." Lydia blinked and he grinned. "Enjoy the late morning air and the peaceful break." He leapt down again. "Not to mention the brownies waiting for their treats."
"Oh, yes, the brownies!" Lydia stood. "They must be getting impatient. I hope I didn't leave them waiting long."
Nico pushed the door open. "It will be fine." He sauntered out.
Lydia plopped back onto her bed. Her hand went up to touch a spot on her forehead. The place where Edgar had kissed her. It had seemed so warm. She dropped her hand. She thought he would kiss her on the lips, but he hadn't. As soon as she closed her eyes, his arms pulled her close and the feather-light caress passed over her forehead.
A light blush overcame her cheeks in the early morning. She hadn't wanted to run away or think it was a game.
Lydia's eyes slid shut. Butterflies twirled in her stomach. She reached up to touch the back of his shoulder and Edgar pulled back. His face remained solemn, almost frowning. She reached out to him...
"Did you like it?"
Her hand paused. "What?"
"Did you like the kiss?" For a moment his mauve grey eyes fell into her hazel green. She couldn't break away. Then a chuckle broke from those lips. "Were you hoping for a kiss on the lips perhaps?"
"What-I- NO! " she squawked, "Don't.. think-think it was like that, idiot Earl." She turned to window of the carriage, warmth flooding her cheeks as Edgar laughed behind her with Raven and Paul admonishing him. She peeked over.
Edgar's smile was slight but there seemed be something different. What was it? In the chaos of exchanges, he caught her eye. Her heart pounded as his lips formed some words.
What did he say then before she had spun around again? Why did it matter to her?
Lydia sprang to her feet. "I just have to ask him. Right? That shouldn't be so hard." She clasped her hands into fists. "So it is time to get dressed.
Nico looked on as Lydia sprang at her suitcase and shook his head. "She's struck." He swiped up a sneaking brownie with his paw. He winked at the little boy, "Let's give her some time alone, ne?"
"Ohayou**, Lydia," Edgar greeted.
"Good morning, Lord Edgar," Lydia responded, taking a seat at the balcony table where breakfast was set up. She draped a napkin over her lap and fiddled with the edge. "How is your arm?" she asked, pouring milk into her oatmeal.
"Thanks to Raven's care, much better. My rest was almost perfect. Pass the sugar, lovely Lydia."
"Almost?" she asked, handing it over and ignoring the compliment, as usual. He seemed well enough.
In the lapse of attention, her hand brushed against Edgar's. She gasped and made to pull it back; however, the earl was quicker.
He wrapped his fingers around her small wrist. "It would have been a dream come true if you had joined me," he murmured, kissing her hand, "but I will wait until that is your desire as well as my own." His velvet voice stilled as he held her eyes for a moment. Lydia opened her mouth, intent on asking about the last words in the carriage yesterday, when he let go. Sitting back in his chair, he added, "Your hair looks beautiful in that twist."
"What, oh... " Blushing, Lydia picked up her spoon, idly dipping into her breakfast.
"Thank you, Lord Edgar."
"Edgar," he admonished, voice quiet once more.
Lydia's blush deepened. "Edgar."
"Hello, Lydia," a gay voice called from behind, "don't take a bite yet." Lydia turned, and from his perch, Kelpie grinned. "You'll be disappointed since you left the honey out."
"Kelpie!" Lydia dropped her spoon into her bowl with a clang. "You're back."
Kelpie took one of the free seats. "Why wouldn't I be? Those hounds weren't that grand of a challenge."
"No, well," Lydia stumbled over her words, "I thought that was the case, but I thought it would take you some time at least to heal from your-"
"Lydia," Kelpie sighed in exasperation, "they really weren't any threat to one such as me. I am a more powerful being of the Unseelie Court." He surveyed the table. "You were the one in danger, you and this idiot earl you were intent on saving."
"Morning, Mr. Cane," Edgar smoothly interjected. "I suppose I owe you a small debt of gratitude."
"That's right you do! Stupid earl getting yourself into danger and dragging Lydia with yo-"
"Allow me to provide you with a little treat this breakfast," Edgar interrupted, ushering in a servant holding a covered tray.
"Well, now, it seems like you may have some manners after all." He took the lid off and stared at the six long bacon strips. "Not bad at all," he noted before stabbing and eating one. In a couple minutes, he had picked up another one.
Edgar raised his glass of wine with a coy grin. "Do enjoy yourself," and sipped.
"Hmm... Edgar seems to be up to something but nothing is happening to Kelpie. My imagination?" Lydia mused to herself.
"After all, I wonder how long it will take you to realize that half of them," he took a longer sip, "are actually liver strips."
"WHAT?" Kelpie yelled, standing up and backing away. "You- after all I did-" He held a hand to his mouth as his hair began to stand on edge and his face turned green.
"After all you did for me? Oh yes, if you mean nearly taking my soul, then of course I remember." He chuckled as Lydia looked on, stunned. "You fall for it every time. Helping me when Lydia is involved does not even the score..."
"You bastard! I really will kill you-" Face twisting, Kelpie leapt off the balcony and disappeared into the fountain.
"Kelpie!" Lydia hollered, rising.
".. though this trick of mine may," Edgar finished, draining his glass of wine and looking over at Kelpie's plate. One lighter strip remained. "Ah, too bad, he left one liver piece left."
Sighing, Lydia sat again. "Edgar, why do you always pick on Kelpie?" She poured a large stream of syrup over her breakfast. "I mean, he did save your life back in the Prince's trap."
"Lydia, dear Lydia, don't worry your head about him. He'll be fine, albeit he'll lose all of the pork when he tries to get rid of the liver." Chuckling over his trickery, he pushed his chair back and rose, looking over the balcony.
"I didn't mean that. I meant-"
Edgar smiled and turned back towards her. "I know what you meant, sweet Lydia."
"Because he is my rival."
"Rival? For what? He would never go after the Earl's title. He couldn't-"
"Lydia," Edgar stopped her excuses with that one word, her name said in that whispered dark tone. "He is my rival for something much more important than any title or any throne I may covet." Bowing over her hand, he held out a single, wild star lily. "Your heart, Lydia."
Lydia stared at the glistening flower held out to her and finally took it from him. "It's beautiful."
"I'm glad you like it. Raven was able to find it in the dawn." He caught a lock of her hair in between his fingers. "One solitary flower blooming with the cool light of morning, still shining with mildew from the twilight."
Her hair cascaded from his hand. "Your father will be expecting you."
Lydia blinked as the Blue Earl left the balcony unable to call up any words to ask him back. The question from the carriage was completely blown from mind.
"Kelpie, there you are," Nico yowled. "I have a bone to pick with you."
Kelpie paused in his walk. "What is it, fairy cat? I am still in a touchy mood after the Earl's trick. Do you know where Lydia is?"
"She is probably in the library. And hey, don't distract me." He walked over to face Kelpie. "Stop leaving your moss-covered stones everywhere. They give me the creeps." He held out a pebble covered in orange moss.
"What? I don't leave them-" Kelpie narrowed his eyes, snatching the pebble."Oi, Nico, where did you find this?"
"Um... the other side of the house I think. Why? Isn't it yours?"
"Fool!" Kelpie snapped. "I leave green mossy pebbles. This is ORANGE, the color of another kelpie."
"What?" Nico squawked, "another kelpie? But that-that is terrible…no fun at all." He waved his arms around, eyes wide, as if to fend off an attack of bees. "They're fiecesome Unseelie Court, man-eating-"
Kelpie put the pebble in his pocket. "I am grateful for your overwhelming trust in me," he commented in a cool voice. "And don't worry, she's not that bad."
"She?" Nico squeaked.
"Ah. She's a cousin of mine, been hiding in unsightly places for us noble, underwater-"
"They're not UNSIGHTLY!" a woman screamed from behind them.
Nico leapt in the air, popping into invisibility. Kelpie winced, covering his ears, then whirled around. "STOP YELLING, IDIOTIC FEMALE KELPIE!" he roared.
"Hmph, as if you have any reason to thrash me with your tongue with words at that volume," a red-headed woman in a white dress commented, pulling out a fan and waving air into her face.
"It's your pitch, stupid cousin. Sometimes I wish I never met your side of the family. You're too queer."
She tossed her head and snapped her fan shut. "I highly doubt you're a better example. I can smell the chicken blood from here. Did you find human meat too rich for your diet?"
Kelpie laughed. "That is an old argument, you old hag. I gave you the reason last time you decided to return to your roots. Losing touch from too much sun?" He patted her shoulder, feigning a long sigh.
She squealed, backing up a few feet. "What did you do that for?"
Kelpie started, as if surprised at her pain, then a wide grin spread across his face. His eyes twinkled in wicked merriment. "What? Actually stayed down on the coasts of Spain long enough to get a sunburn on your white coat? Spending too much time luring Spanish men to your side? Or perhaps they were too suave for you to control."
His cousin gaped at him. "How could you? You- you undignified, ugly seahorse!"
"My, my, if I am ugly in your eyes, I am quite fine with that." Kelpie folded his arms. "After all, I have much better sights than to look to mount a disobedient horse like you." He continued, even as her eyes narrowed and a red light began to fill them. " You couldn't even compare to the foot of my fair Lydia. Why, I bet your coat is no longer milky white after all that Southern sun."
Nico looked back at the female and faded back into the surroundings. Her red hair sparked as she took three steps towards her cousin and his cocky grin. "At least I am not pulling a carriage for a puffed up Earl who is moving in on the girl I left my natural behavior behind for. My coat may not look nearly as pristine, but your coat has turned dusty from London's streets," she hissed. "I am sure you are nearly as tame as a plow- horse.
"Lydia's hand on her pen slipped, scratching through her notes, as a huge BANG and two loud cries of horses ripped through the quiet afternoon...
-To be continued-
*Saa ne: a common thoughtful Japanese phrase that is similar to I wonder or I don't know.
**Ohayou: Good morning in a familiar way
Please review and offer your opinions. It might give me more ideas of what to do next, besides torture people with Keplie's cousin ;)