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Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations

Editor: GaeaTiamat

 

London, 1893

After a seven-hour journey, a train from Scotland stopped at King’s Cross Station and spat out a large crowd of passengers of all kinds. One of them was a middle-aged gentleman with a large belly who almost blocked the door of the train. Thanks to the efforts of the young man who was with him, he was able to pull himself out of the door.

The young man was slender, with blond hair and rare gold-green eyes, and looked around constantly, amazed at everything he saw, as was common for first-timers to London.

“Here we are…London!” Mr. Lynn breathed in the smoky air. He looked at his friend’s nephew, Duan FeiZhou, who was wandering furtively between platforms nine and ten, as he occasionally touched the pillars and mumbled, “Where is the nine and three-quarters?”

“What are you doing, boy?” Mr. Lynn was confused.

“Nothing.” Duan FeiZhou said disappointedly. “Looks like my dream of going to Hogwarts has been shattered.”

Mr. Lynn was puzzled. Maybe this school called Hogwarts was some kind of famous school in Scotland?

Duan FeiZhou helped him get his luggage into the car and squeezed it in, which was difficult because Mr. Lynn got in ahead of him and filled the carriage to the brim.

All along the way, the young man looked around curiously, like every first-time visitor to the city.

“So, Leo, how do you like London?”

“It’s amazing,” Duan FeiZhou said.

This was Victorian London, the well-deserved capital of the world. So many men and women gathered in the streets! Well-dressed gentlemen and ladies laughed and joked in open carriages. Clerks in suits hurried in and out of office buildings on the street. Groups of simple workers, their clothes stained with oil and dust. Beggars cowered in the shadows, holding out their thin palms to passersby. Children who laughed and ran through the streets were loudly scolded by carriage drivers. They heard the curl of the clock chiming, the tinkling of bells on carriages, the laughter, the shouting, the hawking of newspapers, the whistle of the steamer sailing in the Thames, the hum of the steam-powered dirigible leaping overhead…

They raced to the bank to transfer the account that belonged to Joseph Chester. Then it was on to Lynn’s law firm. It was located on a street near the Thames and as they stood in front of the window, they could see the river and the steam coming from the boats.

Mr. Lynn took out a pile of papers for Duan FeiZhou to sign. Land deeds, leases, declarations of transfer of stocks and bonds…After he signed the last one, Duan FeiZhou’s hands were sore.

Mr. Lynn put away all the documents with a smile. “Now let me show you to your home.”

“My home?” Duan FeiZhou was confused.

“The house that Joseph bought.”

They took a hired carriage to 49 Place de la Franchez, where stood a three-story building built in the Regency era, 1 with a restaurant on the first and second floors, a private residence on the third, and a hidden staircase up the side of the building to the third floor to avoid the crowds that came to the restaurant to spend their time.

This was the home of Joseph Chester, translator and typist. After his death, the keys to the house were given to Mr. Lynn. The house wasn’t large, with two bedrooms and a sitting room. One of the bedrooms had been converted into a study and studio. On the desk was a brass-colored typewriter of great value. Paper and ink bottles were neatly arranged on a nearby shelf.

“Joseph lived here for fourteen years, and I’ve known him for that long. It’s an old house, but it’s not badly decorated, is it?” Mr. Lynn’s tone was gradually approaching that of a real estate agent. “He bought the whole house, rented the first and second floors to the restaurant, and he lived on the third floor. If you go to the restaurant for a casual meal, it’s free of charge.”

If it weren’t for Mr. Lynn’s face, Duan FeiZhou would have been rolling around in ecstasy. In a world where even flushing toilets were a new invention, he had suffered for three years, and now he had come to the end of his misery!2

Duan FeiZhou tried desperately to hold back his laughter and asked, “I…Can I live here?”

“Sure, why not? This is your home. In principle, this is all yours.” Mr. Lynn surveyed the house with satisfaction. “By the way, there are two things here that your uncle left you.”

With a pious expression on his face, he held out an exquisite wooden box from the storage cabinet in the living room, as well as an envelope.

“These are your uncle’s ashes. According to his will, he was cremated and the ashes were left to you for safekeeping.” Mr. Lynn solemnly put the urn into Duan FeiZhou’s hands. “This one,” he held up the letter. “Is Joseph’s deathbed will to you. It’s only for you to read. Even I haven’t opened it.”

The envelope was the usual vellum with sealing wax dripped around the seal to indicate that no one had opened it. At the very center, in faltering handwriting, was written, “To Leopold.”

Mr. Lynn couldn’t help but feel a little sad when he thought of his old friend’s haggard appearance on his hospital bed. He pulled a handkerchief from his coat pocket and blew his nose loudly.

Duan FeiZhou turned the envelope upside down several times and looked at the lawyer with raised eyes, “Shall I open it now?”

“As you wish, child. But I think you should wait until you are alone before opening the letter. This is an exchange between you, uncle and nephew, and I will not be involved as an outsider.”

“I don’t treat you as an outsider.”

Mr. Lynn showed a flattered expression. “I am happy to hear that from you. Then, when you finish reading it, if you think it’s appropriate to tell me, then it’s not too late to tell me. It’s okay if it’s not convenient to say.”

Duan FeiZhou whispered his thanks to Mr. Lynn. The lawyer smiled and patted the young man’s shoulder, “Well, it’s time for me to say goodbye. The firm is still waiting for me to get back to work. A day or two away and the papers are piling up. You should get acquainted with life here first. You have a place to live and a place to eat. If you need anything, I think the owner of the restaurant downstairs will be happy to take care of it for you. Would you like to come to my house for dinner tomorrow?”

“Of course I would, Mr. Lynn.” Duan FeiZhou watched him go downstairs and get into the hired carriage. The lawyer waved his hat at Duan FeiZhou from the window. Duan FeiZhou smiled and waved back at him until the carriage disappeared around the corner.

Duan FeiZhou looked down at the envelope in his hand.

This was Joseph Chester’s handwriting, his last words? When he left this note, did he know that his only relative, his nephew, had been replaced by a transmigrator?

With a somewhat guilty feeling, Duan FeiZhou popped off the sealing wax. He was breathing heavily and his heart was beating fast. He pulled out the letterhead, thinking it would be a long letter full of sage advice from his elders, but to his surprise, the paper was small and thin, with not a single word drawn on it, only a strange figure that looked like a seven-maned star, with mysterious symbols and words written next to it.

… A magic circle? Why would Joseph Chester leave a magic circle? Wasn’t he a mundane typist in London? Was he actually an occult practitioner like Palmer?

Duan FeiZhou held his breath and touched the spell.

If there was a bystander standing in the room at the moment, he would have seen Duan FeiZhou’s entire body twist into a long strip and spin like a tornado. In the blink of an eye, he was sucked in by the magic circle on the letterhead. The room was empty as if no one had ever been there.

Duan FeiZhou fell in the endless void for a long time, and then, with a thud, landed face down on a hard wooden floor. He groaned and got up, looked around, and was shocked to find that this was not the house his uncle had left him.

He was in an enclosed hall. It was like a small museum. All four walls were made into glass display cabinets, with grids of different sizes arranged in a staggered manner, one part empty, the other part with things stacked up to the ceiling, as if a collage of paintings. In the center of the room stood a column of cylindrical display cabinets that could be rotated, clearly untouched, but rotating slowly and solemnly at a constant speed.

Duan FeiZhou didn’t have time to look closely at what was in the display case, because he soon realized that he was not the only one in the room.

There was a man sitting behind a wide sourwood counter, as his long fingers tapped on a golden half-mask on the table. Duan FeiZhou gazed at him, and felt like he was looking at an older version of himself.

“Welcome, my dear nephew.” The man said pleasantly.

Duan FeiZhou found himself in a comical position on the floor, jumped up, and patted the dust off his hands and feet.

“You are Joseph Chester…Uncle? But didn’t you already…”

“By the time you see this, I’ll be dead.” When speaking of his death, Joseph Chester spoke in a relaxed tone, as if it was a matter of no consequence. “Don’t bother talking to me or asking me questions, I can’t even hear you. What you see of me is not a living person, but only an image I left behind; a voice. Just as a phonograph can record the human voice and then play it back. I have something important to say to you, but it is not convenient to write it as a letter, so I have to do it this way.”

Joseph crossed his fingers and smiled, “You already know from Mr. Lynn how much of my inheritance I have left you, don’t you? But I must tell you that it is only a minuscule part of my estate. The real inheritance I left you – is here.”

A huge gold clock hung on the wall behind him with a seven-manifold spell drawn on the dial, the hands moving as if time was frozen.

 

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Translator Notes:

  1. “The Regency era of British history officially spanned the years 1811 to 1820…King George III succumbed to mental illness in late 1810 and by the Regency Act of 1811, his eldest son George, Prince of Wales, was appointed Prince Regent…When George III died in 1820, the Prince Regent succeeded him as George IV.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regency_era
  2. If you want to read about what people did in the 1800’s with their chamber pots, this is a good article here
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Lichita
November 10, 2022 11:57 am

I hope this will be an interesting story, thank you for translating and editing❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Solis
November 11, 2022 6:04 am

I’m more and more curious, loving the mystery, I hope it gets more and more interesting. Thanks for the chapter!

WangXian31
November 12, 2022 1:20 am

How exciting! Although he’ll be somewhat compromised with the apple of his eye, it now seems.
I’m loving the references to Harry Potter 🤗
The T/Ns add interest too; thank you.
Thanks also, of course, for translating and editing.

BlueFish
January 30, 2023 3:51 pm

Oh gross. The people who emptied the jakes then bathed in the River Thames – but it sounds like lots of excrement was also emptied into the waterways. There was not way to get away from it (shite). So thankful to be born in the time of proper plumbing.

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