For The Butterfly That Disappeared - Chapter 4
[Butterfly] 4 – The Lady has run away
The train was bending into the distance. It was a steam locomotive that departed from Yukon, the capital, and ended its trajectory with Emerville as the last stop.
Humphrey hated this thing called locomotive. It looked like a black snake, puffed out gray smoke from the roof and made a piercing sound. It was horrible to think that this thing that had only carried goods so far would start carrying people starting from this year. He didnt know why people continued bringing such evil things into the world. They didnt know how beautiful and elegant the old world was.
The train stopped completely and people began to get off. Humphrey frowned and stepped aside when he saw the crowd coming out. He was afraid that the people who were carrying luggage might bump into his body while passing by.
When almost everyone had gotten off, a man who stood out from the rest frowned as he stepped down onto the platform. The man, who was wearing a luxurious suit and a neat-looking hat, poked the ground with a stylish cane. His clean-shaped eyebrows and sharp but elegant eyes drew attention. His fine lips were neatly closed under his sharp nose. Humphrey had met quite a few good-looking men while working for the prestigious Campbell family, but it was the first time he had seen someone this exceptionally handsome.
Humphrey who had gained a good eye for recognizing people after living for a long time, realized that the man was the Kings aide. The smooth appearance similar to a beautifully grown flower coexisted with the atmosphere of the wilderness being swept by the harsh wind. He was a man who gave off the feeling of being prickly and dangerous.
The trains workers put down several pieces of luggage at the mans feet before disappearing. Humphrey approached him with the coachman at his side.
“Are you perhaps Tristan Miller, the Kings spokesman?”
The mans response was short as if he had understood Humphreys identity as well. But since it wasnt a contemptuous attitude, Humphrey wasnt upset.
“Welcome. I am the butler of the Campbell family and currently serving the Lady at House Rosebell. Ive prepared a carriage, so let us go. The coachman will carry your luggage.”
“Thank you. I will take care of this suitcase since it contains fragile things.”
Tristan didnt put down the suitcase he was holding. Unlike his blunt way of speaking, the appearance of walking with the suitcase was very delicate and careful, similar to someone who is worried that a person might appear and steal it.
Humphrey guided him, thinking he was a bit unusual.
The carriage left the train station and entered a quiet country road. Sitting with a straight back against the seat, Tristan looked at the scenery outside of the carriage. Worthy of a region famous for its beautiful landscapes, the scene that passed by resembled a picture.
Humphrey, who was sitting across from him and watching him, frowned at the sight of the folded newspaper on Tristans lap.
The Libertas newspaper. The conservative Humphrey didn’t like the damn newspaper which stealthily sided with the Southern rebels. It was even more strange to see the royal spokesman reading such a newspaper.
“Are there any good news?”
“It’s always the same.” Tristan replied in an indifferent tone.
“In any case, we need to quickly wipe out those guys in southern Elcassus.”
“I am not sure why this issue hasn’t been taken care of. These southerners that have only been fishing and farming all their lives wouldnt know how to fight.”
“Thats only what we see on the outside. There are many mines in the south. It means that there are sufficient resources to make weapons. Moreover, Duke Haiselkaiser is an excellent warrior, and many of his followers are young people and scientists. In the event that they train their soldiers systematically and carry advanced weapons, we cannot be confident that we will win.”
Somehow, Tristan answered fairly honestly. Actually, he didnt want to answer as he was tired due to the long journey, but it was not polite to cut off the conversation coldly after Humphrey showed considerable interest in the issue.
“You dont think that their military power can overwhelm Estonia though, do you?”
“I dont know how prepared they are.”
He knew as much information as it steadily came in, but he didnt want to say that much. Otherwise he wouldnt know until when Humphreys questions might continue pouring out.
Just before Humphreys mouth opened again, Tristan opened the newspaper and covered his face with it. If youre smart enough, youll understand that it means to stop talking.
Fortunately, Humphrey was quick-witted and stopped asking questions.
The carriage finally entered the bridge that led to Rosebell House. Travellers dressed in various attires were seen walking through the streets, the river bank and the bridge. Humphreys eyes, that had been looking outside languidly, suddenly widened and he pulled the rope connected to the coachman.
“Stop the carriage for a moment.”
Thud. As soon as Humphrey hit the wall with his hand and raised his voice, the coachman pulled up the reins and stopped the horse. Lowering the newspaper in his hands, Tristan looked at Humphrey with a puzzled look. Humphrey smiled awkwardly and said.
“Ah, I am sorry, sir. An acquaintance of mine just passed us by, would it be okay if I talked to them for a little while?”
“As you please.”
It was rude for an attendant welcoming a guest to behave this way, but Tristan replied without much emotion.
As soon as he heard the answer, he impatiently got off the carriage and walked the opposite way.
Tristan discreetly stuck out his head and looked at Humphreys back. He was sharing a conversation with a woman holding a parasol but as she was going the opposite direction of the carriage, he couldnt even properly see her back. Seeing that her clothes and parasol were old and tacky, he thought that she might either be an employee working at Housebell House or a local resident.
Tristan, who had lost interest, pulled his head back into the carriage and focused on the newspaper which previously had his attention.
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A little bit later, Humphrey returned to the carriage, wiping the sweat off his forehead. Inside the carriage that had started to run again, he secretly exhaled a sigh. It seemed that something quite distressing had happened as he couldnt even hide the nervousness despite his efforts.
“I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.”
Tristan ignored it and turned his head. He was afraid that if he asked what was going on, it would lead to a lengthy conversation again. The scenery outside of the window was still as picturesque. However, contrary to earlier, it seemed that a scratch had been made on the picture.
What could be the reason?
He frowned and touched his forehead due to the unpleasant feeling that suddenly hit him.
Rosebell House and its orange brick-like roof contained a clean yet classical beauty. The three-story building had about ten rooms. The first and second floors west of the central stairs were used by the employees while the eastern parts and the entire third floor were dedicated to the owner and the visitors. He should have entered the mansion in a good mood, but Tristans face was horribly distorted.
“What did you just say?”
“The Lady has gone on a trip.”
A maid called Dorothy Gibson answered Tristan. Contrary to Tristan, who was restless, the maid with her grey hair and strict face was calm.
“Does that make sense? Didnt she receive the letter?”
“I am sorry but I dont know.”
“When did she leave?”
“Its been a while.”
Like a frozen human being, there was no warmth to Dorothys gaze and voice. It was strange that her attitude remained calm even though the young and frail owner had left the house. She seemed to know something, but of course she showed no sign of trying to explain.
“Where did she go?”
“I dont know.”
“When will she be back?”
“She didnt say a specific time.”
Speechless, Tristan gripped the cane he was holding. Although he was angry, he couldnt pour out his anger on the elderly maid who wasnt responsible. When he turned his head to the side, Humphrey was looking elsewhere with a stiff face. Did he already know about this? No. If that were the case, he wouldnt have been throwing questions at him so nonchalantly when they met at the train station and rode the carriage. Then, does it mean that Isabella was still at the mansion until he left
“Should I guide you to your room, or?”
Will you go back?, thats what she was asking through her gaze. It seemed to imply that he would never be able to meet the Lady so it would be better to just go back the way he came. Although he was annoyed for a moment at the undesirable circumstances, Tristan was also a man who could enjoy this kind of situation. After staring at Dorothy for a long time, he smiled widely and handed her his cane.
“Take me to my room. I will stay in this house until the Lady returns.”
Dorothy Gibson was startled at his relaxed smile and frowned. Even though she didnt expect him to go back right away, she was surprised that he was this composed and didnt get angry. How much did Ibella overtly express her displeasure about the King for her subordinates to treat the Kings messenger this way?
But he didnt get angry. On the contrary, he wanted to play around as he found the situation entertaining.
“This will be your room. Breakfast is at 7 am, lunch at 12 am and dinner at 6 pm. Inform me if youre uncomfortable or need anything else. There is a study on the first floor that you can use at your discretion.”
The voice of Dorothy, who was guiding Tristan to his room, was as stiff as the sound of a machine. Tristan looked around the room without replying. The room wasnt large nor fancy, but the luxurious furniture and the paintings from famous artists were impressive and made up for it.
“Dont go to the third floor. Its the Ladys space.”
Tristans answer was filled with indifference. He knew how to show courtesy as a guest. Although he didnt know whether he would stay only as a guest.
“Ah. Could you send a letter? You see, I have to report to the King that the Lady has run away.”
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Dorothys firm eyes shook noticeably. She looked worried after Tristan said he would contact the King to tell on the Lady.
“Also, from now on, bring the letters addressed to me directly to my room. They are filled with important information, so you cant open them recklessly.”
“That goes without saying. We never open another persons correspond”
“You may leave.”
Tristan turned away as if he didnt need to hear more. He heard the woman stepping away a beat late and closing the door.