Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
All the servants at the Perlilla Lake House had been busy for the last week. Everyone was extremely excited about Her Majesty’s visit. It was an event worth bragging about for the rest of their lives, not to mention the image of His Lordship in Her Majesty’s mind, and the family’s future treatment in noble circles. Therefore every detail of the reception strove for perfection.
Maid Martha was especially busy. Since the arrest of Hart, the butler, for murder, the manor had been without a backbone. Although the chief manservant could be competent in the daily work of the butler, the fellow was young, and hadn’t not seen the world. It wasn’t long after he took the position that the Queen’s visit came. For such an important event, Martha and other senior servants had to be on hand to help.
Martha felt that while the Lake House was certainly comfortable, it was still too cold to be used for meeting Her Majesty. If it was the original manor, that would be worthy of Her Majesty, but the manor has been burned to an empty frame in the fire. Then even the ruins were leveled, because Ether crystals were found underground, and in the future a large mine would be built. Martha had never seen what the mine square looked like. A cordon had been drawn around the mine, and people weren’t allowed to approach, supposedly because of the dangers of the blasting work.
The surrounding villagers were also discontented with those who were guarding the mine. At first, people thought that after the discovery of the mine, they would be needing a lot of labor, and many of the village’s able-bodied boys wanted to work in the mine to earn money. However, instead of recruiting workers from the nearby villages, the mine wanted to move the villagers elsewhere. The nearest families had already moved away. The villagers were all complaining.
She just needed to concentrate on serving Lady Edith and Lord Perlilla. Oh, and now there was Her Majesty, the Queen, to add to the mix.
The first day of Her Majesty’s visit to the villa passed without incident. The next day, she went to inspect the mine and attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony with a group of bigwigs (members of some committee, she’d been told), Lord Perlilla and his mother.
The whole of Shropshire had jumped at the chance to see Her Majesty in action. However, the ceremony was forbidden to outsiders. A young servant from the villa snuck in to see it, only to be blown away by some fierce men in black. It was obvious that the mine was His Lordship’s property, but just because it was contracted to someone else, those guys dared to boss His Lordship’s servants around.
Even as the servants were so busy that their feet hit the back of their heads, a large package arrived at the villa. Written on the top of the package was a note that it was a congratulatory gift for Lord Perlilla. She didn’t doubt it, and took the package directly to His Lordship’s study.
Just as she put down the package and turned to leave, Martha heard a hiss.
The package shattered and a large man came out of it. It was a dark-haired, yellow-eyed man, polite, dressed in black, and clutching a cane.
Martha wanted to scream. The man stepped forward, covered her mouth, and made a shushing gesture.
“Long time no see, miss. Forget me?” He smiled brightly.
Martha’s eyes rolled back as she remembered who this man was. Martha had seen him the day of the manor fire. He seemed to be a policeman, and he was the one who brought the bones of the poor boy, Barney, to his parents. The village was quite grateful to him.
But why did the policeman come out of the package? That package didn’t not look like it could be stuffed with a large living person…
Then a second man appeared out of nowhere. This man Martha knew was another one of the gentlemen who had visited the manor, and the Lord treated him as an honored guest. But how on earth did he…
Then a third, fourth, and fifth man appeared one after another. Martha’s mood changed from horror to surprise, then to confusion, and finally to simply numb. All right, the package had just popped up anyway. Nothing unusual, right?
In the end, a total of nine people appeared. The originally spacious study room became crowded all of a sudden.
“Where is Her Majesty? Already gone to the mines?” The man with black hair and yellow eyes asked.
Martha nodded, then shook her head hurriedly. Oops! How could she give away Her Majesty’s whereabouts? The group was not only oddly dressed (one of them was wrapped up tightly), but several of them were carrying weapons! One of the men had a gun and a short knife at his waist, another carried a broken sword, and for some reason, a woman was carrying a typewriter. Did they come to assassinate Her Majesty? However, she recognized several of them. They solved the Hart incident which was of great merit!
“Well, well. Don’t yell, miss.” The dark-haired, yellow-eyed man opened the study door. “We’re here to serve the Queen – at least I think we are.”
Martha watched, dumbfounded, as they left the study.
The group hurried downstairs. The servants were going in and out of the villa, all busy entertaining Her Majesty. When they witnessed the large group of people crossing the villa like nobody’s business, they all stopped what they were doing in horror, and didn’t know what to do.
“Looks like we’ll just have to go straight to the mines,” Xenophon said helplessly.
“It’s not too late,” Z said.
They passed through the corridor and went down to the first floor, and just across the hall was the ball room. There was also a woman sitting in there.
She was wearing a patch over her left eye and was sipping a cup of tea. She moved with quiet grace, like an elegant noblewoman. When she heard the chaotic footsteps from far and near, she lifted her head and an icy smile bloomed on her young and beautiful face.
“I knew you fellows would show up here. I’m glad I waited.” Madame Boyle narrowed her eyes. “How did you get from London to here? I guess you used the Secret Trading House, but I can’t figure out how. Would you, esteemed Master of the Trading House, satisfy this mystic’s desire to know?”
The group stopped in their tracks. The air in the hall was suddenly freezing cold. It wasn’t that the temperature really dropped, but the cold eyes of both sides made the atmosphere frosty.
The first to speak was Z. “Why aren’t you at the mines?”
Madame Boyle put down her teacup, and smoothed her skirt. “How could I, a commoner, attend such a solemn ceremony? Not to mention that my work is done. The people on the Committee can do the rest themselves.”
She stood up, took off the bracelet on her wrist, and with a flick, turned it into a sword. “You people haven’t answered my question yet.” Her smile grew more and more brilliant. “But that’s all right. I’ll have plenty of time to explore after I kill you guys.”
Z took off his gloves and his brass prosthetics popped out sharp blades. “I’ll deal with this woman. You evacuate the villa, then go stop the Committee.”
Yeats stepped forward with his cane. “I’m with you, Superintendent.”
“Out of the way.”
“I have been entrusted by Miss Madeleine’s brother to avenge his sister’s death.” Yeats drew a thin sword from his cane. “I know you’ve always had a problem with me, so can’t we just agree to disagree at this point?”
Z grunted and didn’t say a word. A tacit acknowledgement. Duan FeiZhou wanted to stay and fight alongside Z, but he had more important tasks. “We’ll go first.”
After that, he and the rest of the group scattered and separated, as they followed Z’s instructions to evacuate the servants in the villa.
Madame Boyle stood still. She knew the rest would go to the mine to stop the Committee, but that didn’t matter, the Committee had its own people. Even without her, they could still deal with the few Nightmen who were left.
Besides, there were only two people left behind to deal with her, and one of them was as good as useless in front of her. After she took them out, she had plenty of time to go to the mine to support the Committee. Hopefully the Committee wouldn’t be too hard on them, and at least leave a few alive for her to play with.
The poet wasn’t slow to catch her sword, even as he called on the energy around them to condense into a storm of ice crystals. The last time they met, the poet didn’t know this occult art, otherwise he could have extinguished the flames in the theater. It seems they had learned a lot in order to deal with her. Probably all learned from a Trading House occult philosophy book!
If just a few days was enough for them to learn this, then given more time how would their strength soar? What if she, Boyle, obtained those occult philosophy books? The Master of the Trading House was right there. But he was just a brat. She could simply force him to hand over the key to the trading house, and all those treasures will be hers!
Madame Boyle summoned her energy and released it outward abruptly, as she tried to block the ice crystal storm. However, the moment the energy touched the ice crystals, they suddenly exploded and an icy fog surrounded her, which obscured her vision.
She hastily opened her shield, but there were still a few ice balls that grazed her body. A few of the ice shards were as sharp as flying knives, leaving a few blood marks on her. She bit her lip and immediately commanded the air around her to disperse the ice fog.
A silver light cut through the fog, and came straight at her face!
She was shocked, but immediately raised her sword to block. She heard a clang as the sword blades met, and her wrist went numb. Z fell from the sky. His silver hair was flying, red eyes were flashing, as if the ice and fog had turned into a ghost.
Madame Boyle didn’t think twice about using her occult technique, and tried to control the runes inside the silver-haired man. She could easily turn this cold, stern man into an immobilized wreck with just a thought! However, no matter how she chanted the incantation, Z’s attacks didn’t decrease in any way. Instead, one blow was swifter than the next, and every blow was more vicious than the other. The harsh sword wind intertwined into an impermeable silver net that covered the sky as it came towards her.
“This…This can’t be!” Madame Boyle panicked. “You are my creation! My creation! How can you disobey my orders!”
Z swung his sword to swat away hers, and his thin, blade-like lips twisted into an angry smile.
“I am no one’s ‘work’!” He roared lowly, “I am a man!”
“Sir! What the hell is going on? Why did we have to leave the villa? You said there was danger? What danger is that?” Martha stood by the lake, and looked in panic at the group of strange people who had emerged from the package.
They had ordered all the servants to leave the villa and go to the lake for refuge. The servants were at first reluctant to obey the strangers, but when one of the men pulled out a pistol and fired two shots into the air, they all had the sense to say, “The adults are right!”
“Stay here. No one goes in unless someone comes out of the villa!” Xenophon said in a warning tone.
Without waiting for the servants to say anything, they took off. The Lake House wasn’t far from the site of the old Perlilla estate, about half an hour’s walk. The group walked quickly along the country road. However it was as if the heavens were against them. The sky filled with dark clouds, except for occasional gaps illuminated by shafts of light. In a short time, bean-sized raindrops pelted down on them.
“I want to take the carriage,” Xenophon said gloomily.
“How dainty.” Miss Acheson, who was still able-bodied even with the heavy typewriter in her arms, chided.
As if in response to his call, a carriage actually came from up ahead. Xenophon’s eyes lit up, and he jumped into the middle of the road, as he waved his cane. “Old country! Stop the carriage! Give us a ride! I’ll pay you!”
The carriage came to a halt. However, instead of welcoming Xenophon, the driving villager held his straw hat, jumped off of the carriage quickly, and ducked into the woods by the road without looking back.
Xenophon dropped his hands, his smile gradually became cold.
The carriage door opened, a polished leather shoe stepped out. It was followed by another. Then a well-dressed man jumped out of the carriage, kicked the mud off the soles of his feet in disgust, held up his bowler hat, and cast a contemptuous glance at them.
“It’s surprising that the woman didn’t stop you.” Secretary Carter raised his head, as arrogant as ever. “Why don’t I see Superintendent Xenia? Oh, could it be that with the lack of arms and legs, he had to stay at home, and send a few of you nobodies to die instead?”
Duan FeiZhou’s gaze was icy as he coldly returned, “Didn’t the Committee only send a pawn like you? It seems they are quite aware of your strength, and know to leave the big generals behind and send the cannon fodder to the front line.”
Carter choked, and his pale face turned a saucy purple from annoyance. He said viciously, “You will soon regret having grown a mouth.”
Duan FeiZhou pulled out Sword in the Stone, who let out an excited scream. “Finally you can cut someone, right?”
Sword in the Stone was always the vanguard when it came to abusing humans.
Xenophon lazily raised his hand to stop him, without taking his eyes off of Carter.
“I’ll take care of this one,” The dark-haired, yellow-eyed Nightmen said. “You go on the mission the boss gave you.”
Duan FeiZhou wanted to say “We’ll do it together.” However, time was of the essence, and he had to race against the clock, so he couldn’t delay there. He looked askance at Xenophon. “Can you do it?”
Xenophon, “Who are you looking down on?”
Mr. N. giggled, “It’s okay. I’ll stay too. You guys get out of here!”
Duan FeiZhou had little confidence in Xenophon’s strength, but he trusted Mr. N. Somehow, the restaurant owner gave him a sense of security. He didn’t say anything, just gave Xenophon and Mr. N each a strong pat on the shoulder. Then he rushed past Carter with the remaining four people and jumped into the vacant carriage.
Carter’s eyes widened. “Wait…”
Mr. R drove. He picked the reins, barked “heave.” The horse obediently spread its hooves, and pulled the carriage away.
Carter cursed, and turned his head to stare at Xenophon and Mr. N.
Xenophon smiled, but there was no hint of laughter in his yellow eyes. “I say N,” he said to his companion beside him. “Later, this guy’s head will be mine. I want to take it to pay tribute to my family.”
Mr. N moved his neck, and his cervical vertebrae made a clicking sound. “I really want his head too. Why is there only one head per person? It’s too hard to manage.”
Xenophon exclaimed, “Hey, the Committee killed my family, that’s why I want his life. Are you even going to take that from me?”
Mr. N. glanced at him. “I’ve had important people killed too!”
“Who? I’ve never heard you mention it before!”
“My former upstairs neighbor and landlord’s brother!”
“… What the hell?!” Carter burst out in anger. These two guys were arguing in front of him like this. What did they take him for? He pulled a silver necklace from under his collar and gripped the ruby at the end of the necklace. Warm energy flowed out from the gemstone and filled his limbs. He stretched out his palm, and lightning flashed at his fingertips.
The rain grew heavier and more urgent. This was just what Carter wanted. Lightning summoned on a rainy day was even more powerful! “Well, I’ll finish you two first, and then give your heads as a gift to Superintendent Xenia! I really want to see his colorful expression!”
Xenophon and Mr. N stared at each other in disgust, then snapped their fingers at Carter.
Heavy rain fell as the carriage sped through the downpour. They drove through villages and farmlands, and galloped along country roads. Less than a kilometer from the site of the old Perlilla Manor, Mr. R. reined in. The horses hissed and stopped.
“Aren’t we there yet?” Miss Acheson poked her head out of the carriage window.
“Uh, there’s a roadblock ahead,” Mr. R said hesitantly. “I can’t go any further.”
Duan FeiZhou jumped out of the carriage and drew Sword in the Stone.
Ahead was a fork in the road, one side led to the old Perlilla Manor site – now the Ether crystal mine – and the other side led to His Lordship’s private property, the Oak Grove.
In the middle of the fork stood a dozen black-clad men, both male and female, all in their early to mid-twenties. A few of them looked familiar to Duan FeiZhou. The day they broke into Scotland Yard to rob the prison, he believed he saw those faces among the detectives. If he wasn’t mistaken, then these people were the occult practitioners detectives working for the Committee.
The other side had three times as many people as they did, and he feared the battle would be a close one. The others also jumped off the carriage and surrounded him.
“Why do you guys have to work for the Committee for the Advancement of Science?” Mrs. Q looked at the young people in pain. “Don’t you know that it was the Committee that killed your families, made you orphans, then adopted you and raised you to be subservient lackeys?”
“Shut up, you damn old woman!” a man in black spat. “If you disrespect the Committee again, I’ll sew your mouth shut!”
He was the new Superintendent of the Abnormal Case Investigation Unit section of Scotland Yard. The Committee and Sir Carter had thought highly of him before they gave him the job. However, within a few days of his appointment, the prisoners under his command were taken away, while the Honorable Sir Carter was furious and almost dismissed him from his post.
This time he would not make the same mistake again. He wanted to kill those so-called “Nightmen.” The Committee had told him before he left that the Nightmen were good at talking and compelling people, and that whatever they said shouldn’t be believed. Now it seemed that what the Committee said was true. These Nightmen were called occult practitioner hunters, but where were they when the police superintendent’s parents were killed by occult practitioners?
In the end, the Committee sent him to a poorhouse and gave him a scholarship so that he could get the best education. He was surrounded by many other such partners. They were his brothers and sisters from the home for the poor, and now they were fighting side by side. The world no longer needed Nightmen, the order of occult society can be regulated by them!
“Go!” The police superintendent ordered.
The men in black spread out, while each summoned occult energy and attacked their opponents.
“Go! Into the Oak Grove!” Duan FeiZhou roared.
Without thinking, the five people rushed towards the path that led to the oak forest.
“Don’t let them get away!” The superintendent’s voice pierced through the rain. “Stop them all here!”
He pursued them with great strides. At the same time, he used his occult magic to gather the rain curtain around him, and made the rain condense into several sharp water blades.
The other side only had five people, while they had three times as many as the other side. With such a wide gap, how could they possibly lose?
Did they think they could survive by escaping into the woods? How naive! If necessary, the superintendent could burn the entire forest to ashes, then see where they then fled. Oak trees with lush branches and leaves in the overhead canopy created an impermeable sky cover. Coupled with the obscuring wind and rain, the forest was actually as dark as dusk.
Suddenly, the superintendent heard a woman’s song. The voice was soft and gentle, like a mother singing a lullaby for her beloved child.
His men also heard the song. They couldn’t help but lean out, then look around warily and fearfully. The superintendent also couldn’t help but slow down his pace. It wasn’t because he was afraid, but…There were too many obstacles in the forest that were blocked from view. He had to be cautious and careful!
The woodland ahead opened up. There were no oak trees in the center of the clearing, only the remains of a stump. Judging from the look of the tree rings, the tree was more than a hundred years old. On the stump sat a woman. She was young and beautiful, dressed in costume, but her look was incomparably sad.
The police superintendent did not think twice. He released a water blade at the strange woman. She must be an opponent called in as a reinforcement. Even if it was a young woman, the police superintendent wouldn’t be soft!
The water blade shot out, like an arrow off the string. The woman didn’t dodge, just allowed the water blade to hit her body. The superintendent smiled with determination. The water blade penetrated the woman’s body and melted into the darkness.
The woman was unharmed.
The superintendent’s smile froze. Was that a human? The superintendent stammered, “You… What are you?”
“We are the mistresses of this land,” The woman said indifferently.
“Nonsense! The mistress of this land is Lady Perlilla!”
“That’s right.” The woman nodded. “That is who we are.”
That couldn’t be right, the superintendent thought. Lady Edith was an old woman…
A second woman appeared, dressed in a gorgeous dress, with a slender waist and a hoop skirt. Followed by a third woman, wearing a Regency-era fashionable floral dress, together with a bowler hat decorated with ruffles. One woman after another emerged like a phantom.
The lullabies floating in the rain turned into the distant harmonies of the women.
“What a poor child,” the woman who appeared first looked mournful.
The ground shook. The superintendent recoiled in horror as a pair of white hands stretched out from the spot he had occupied, and grasped at him like hideous, twisted white snakes! He hurriedly summoned several more water blades and ordered them to surround himself. Some of his men had white hands wrapped around their bodies, while others conjured up secret barriers, fought and retreated.
The superintendent’s back hit a thick, hard tree trunk. Although the impact was painful, the superintendent was happy. At least he wouldn’t be attacked from behind!
He couldn’t see that the twisted lines on the tree had just formed the face of a beautiful but sad woman.
Underestimated 1: Madame Boyle seems to forget this group’s joint network of contacts, knowledge, intelligence and, therefore, capabilities. Good!
Underestimated 2: it’s not numbers that matter, but ability and the awareness of surroundings, and knowledge of the place. Now who’s outnumbered!
Can’t wait for more.
What a waste if these black-suited people die without ever knowing they were manipulated and lied to. Their parents were slaughtered just so they could serve the evil society.
I love how everything is coming together
Thank you for the chapter
So Mr. N was a closed friend.
Love how Madame Boyle thought she could still control Z, mwahahaha!
And their taking Carter’s carriage was *awesome*!!
Excited for this long-awaited battle!
Thank you for the chapter!