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Hello! Here to present a teaser (actual teaser this time) of a LN. It’s called The Cursed Girl and the Evil Magician.
For people who are interested in TL-ing this, go ask on NUF. They have the raws and , so you can check those out as well.
Much thanks to with helping me on some translation difficulties!
This is parts 1 and 2 of chapter 1. If you see any mistakes, feel free to point them out!
Everything Judy touches is put to sleep. Even though she can’t even have a lover because of this curse, she is to marry the ill-rumored “Magician of the Staircase”! However, the goal of the magician – who she thought came to pick her up – was just a sample of Judy’s blood. He rejected Judy with… “Marriage? Me? Don’t be silly, it’s quite enough to be single for this entire life.”?! This is a love fairy tale between a young girl and a frustrating and socially awkward evil magician!
Ink Atelier's Sleeping Princess and the Magician of the Staircase got engaged.
In the 〈Violet Avenue of White〉 of Felwar town located in western London, that rumor had become a hot topic of gossip a short while ago.
Judy learned of it on a clear Monday afternoon.
She happened to hear it from the chattering employees of the atelier.
Dumbfounded, the bottle of ink tumbled and fell from Judy's hands.
On her brand new clothes and lace-up boots, blue droplets flew and splattered. Her aunt Catherine who had come to help out at the atelier noticed her state, and five minutes after her aunt screamed, Judy remained dazed.
「Judy, you're covered in ink!」
Judy asked her aunt while watching her panic and make a commotion.
「Am I getting married to the Magician?」
As Catherine put a hand over her mouth, her eyes widened.
The person at the heart of the rumors── Judy Ainsworth the『Sleeping Princess』sank down into a sea of blue ink on the floor.
Changing scenery, at Judy's room located on the second story of the atelier.
To soothe her pounding heart, Judy held the black tea her aunt brewed in her mouth.
When she held the cup in both hands, the warmth was transmitted deep within and unraveled her stiffened body.
Even through gloves, it was perfectly warm. Judy thought Catherine's black tea was like magic.
「Have you calmed down?」
Catherine slipped in to sit on the other side of the table with a troubled smiled.
Having turned 32 this year, her aunt looked youthful and beautiful enough that it wouldn't be strange to call her Judy's older sister. The opposite of Judy's mother who had passed away 11 years prior, she had a fluffy and gentle aura.
Her mother was a lively person. She left an impression where she always laughed cheerfully.
「Auntie, about the engagement talk from before… 」
She breached the topic resolutely, but her words wouldn't continue any further. As she became perplexed, Catherine also expressed a puzzled face, joining her hands above the table.
「I've only just heard it from Kenny last night as well.」
She received the impact from her aunt's explanation, but Judy was somehow able to keep up her expression.
Kenny was Catherine's husband. He was the supervisor of Ink Atelier, he also had stationary and miscellaneous good stores here and there as the boss of the Ainsworth company. Judy was taken charge by this couple after the death of her parents who fell in a carriage accident and spent her childhood days in this Felwar town.
Kenny was shunning Judy. Ever since they found out Catherine was pregnant, he had gotten even more strict.
The reason why she moved out of their house and into a vacant room at Ink Atelier was because she didn't want to provoke Kenny. In truth, he was also against Catherine coming here to meet her.
Judy would be 16 this year. About time for him to drive her off, it was around the time where he considered ordering Judy to work at a branch store in the suburbs.
「Listen, Judy, don't think it's for the sake of driving you away. Kenny isn't that bad of a person.」
「Yes, I know Atelier Head is a sincere person.」
「Jeez you, using such a distant way of addressing people… 」
She returned an ambiguous smile to Catherine who seemed to become lonely.
「Please don't hate him. It's definitely not that he detests you.」
I know, it's to protect his baby from the『Sleeping Princess』's curse.
Judy sent a fleeting glance to her gloved fingers.
The anxiety and cautious Kenny held in his heart was natural for someone about to become a parent. He couldn't let his finally gifted and long awaited child to become fodder for the Sleeping Princess.Thinking such things, he must have looked here and there for families to marry Judy to.
And the one chosen was the Magician of the Staircase. But there was a non-trifling problem.
「I and that person know you're a good child. The marriage talks this time too, I believe it's something that person has thought through well.」
「……That is, is that Magician really my fiancé?」
「It's Viscount Lutwidge of the LML Company.」
Catherine politely corrected her.
Lewis M (Mel) Lutwidge. That was the highly ill-rumored Magician's name.
The degree of authenticity was uncertain, but there were many anecdotes pertaining him.
「……。They say he's friends with the King of England, and participated in the Crusades… 」
Pillaging and massacre. He accomplished great efforts within the stench of bloody strife, obtaining his own territory.
「That means that he's lived for hundreds of years… Does the Magician not age?」
「Those are simply rumors. His family descends from knights.」
「It's said that from the start, he hid himself in the Temple Knights Order as a spy. I feel like I've heard from somewhere before that he was also involved with massive killing of prisoners of war that happened during the expedition.」
「Judy. You've been sneakily reading those weird magazines again, haven't you.」
Putting a slim finger to her forehead, Catherine made a troubled face.
The tabloids were Judy's precious source of information. Plus, within the nonsense, there were many stories that could make her heart dance.
「What else was there. Because of that massacre he received God's curse, it's a story that his appearance was changed to that of a ferocious beast. It was ugly to the point where even a devil would fear him, and also that his personality is treacherous and cruel.」
「It's just that bad rumors follow the Magician around. If he really was a bad person, then he should've already been punished a long time ago.」
Certainly. It was precisely because the Magician was wrapped in mystery that everyone found it interesting and burst with amusing stories, making gossip.
「Although if it were 10 years ago, even this city would've had『magic』remaining. Just when did it disappear.」
Catherine's eyes became distant.
The majority of the former culture that contained magic, along with the beginning of the industry revolution sunk to the bottom of the muddied River Thames. In the current London where the sounds of railroad construction rang throughout the day, children wearing knickerbockers found it hard to dream. Even apartment residents were replaced continuously.
Those who vehemently denied the existence of magicians and those who mistook them for voodoo witch doctors and "sleight-of-hand magicians" increased, and mystique distanced itself from the daily lives of people more and more/
The last remnant of magic in this Felwar town, might just be me.
I feel that『curse』would be a more appropriate way to refer to it though. Judy that murmured in her heart.
Catherine smiled as if she had regained her feelings.
「Viscount Lutwidge is going to open up a postal workshop in Woodwell. See, Kenny's company does wholesale stationery, right? He heard it through an acquaintance at work.」
「It seems to be a town southwest of Cotswolds. Over there, there are cities that aren't on the map.」
「Wait, by postal workshop you mean ── a place that deals with『pigeon post』?」
To Judy's wooden voice, Catherine slightly shook her shoulders. Her eyes shook sorrowfully.
「Pigeon post is still being used?」
That was the result of the times when magic still thrived. It was already no longer seen in cities, and people who placed trust in it were dwindling.
「Yes. The railroad doesn't pass through our territory, right? But the number of London's postal carriages are decreasing, and it's become a hassle to transport them to small towns and villages. In Cotswolds and Ireland, pigeon post has become the mainstream.」
Judy was unable to reply.
When she regained her composure, the word marriage suddenly began to be tinged with a sense of reality. More malicious than a devil, and even if a person with a terrible appearance were to be her partner, if he would marry a cursed girl like her for the rest of her life, then she didn't care. In fact, she had even considered she would be single for the rest of her life before, so it was a welcome development.
It's just, of all the people, she was to marry a magician who made arrangements for pigeon post, it would be all too ironic. Judy's curse was involved with that pigeon post.
As Judy cast her eyes downwards, Catherine slowly rose from her seat, detoured around the table and approached her way. Stooping her body, she gently grasped Judy's hand.
Judy raised a scream-like voice, and in a hurry she shook off Catherine's hands. Her aunt carried a wounded expression, but she didn't intend to apologize. In an instant, sweat ran through her entire body. Her heart sounded violently.
「You can't ever touch me again! What will you do if something happens to the child inside you……っ」
「It's fine when you're wearing gloves. That is undeniable.」
Catherine spoke resolutely. It was a look conveying deep affection. That she wasn't scared of any curse.
It was because she knew those feelings of hers weren't a lie that Judy was in such pain.
「You know what I'm called! What if my powers strengthened? I'm the『Sleeping Princess』. Just by touching me directly, I'll put humans and animals and bugs and flowers and everything to sleep!」
It was the time when she raised her voice. Suddenly, the window in the room opened by itself.
From there many pure white pigeons flew inside. Catherine gave a small shriek.
In a hurry Judy rose from her seat and sheltered her behind her back. The pigeons went to the desk, the bookshelf, the backrest of a chair, the bed, the dresser…… and when they also landed on Judy's shoulder and arm, she couldn't move a muscle.
It was fine as long as it was above clothes, but if it touched skin then it would be put to sleep.
The pigeon who hung around the edge of the partially drunken cup quirked it's head. Right after──
『Sleeping Princess, hurry and come!』
The pigeon simultaneously emitted a voice.
In front of the stunned Judy and co, the flock of pigeons, which ambushed the room, emitted a stardust-like light and disappeared without a sound, changing into white stationery paper. She looked closely at the several leafs of paper scattered around her feet. No matter the paper, what was written on it was what the pigeons had said exactly.
「……。This is, pigeon post?」
Judy murmured. It was a beast morphed letter made with magic.
It's said to have started during the 12th century. There were many illiterate people among the working class. Paper was also expensive. Communication methods were also limited, and if you were sending it somewhere far away then the expenses would pile up even more. There, there was a magician who thought of giving a bird a『voice』to carry in place of writing. That is pigeon post.
Whether the sender, recipient, or both were illiterate, they were able to send their words. Once the voice was delivered, it was constructed so the words would burn and it would return to being a normal letter. Even if they couldn't read, the words would remain in their memories.
「──It seems the greetings have been completed.」
Startled by the third party person's voice, Judy vigorously turned around.
Before she was aware, the door to the room had been opened with two males standing there. One was Catherine's husband, Kenny. He had a solid physique, and around his mouth grew a thick beard.
The remaining person was an unfamiliar young man. No, it would be better to call him a young boy. He was probably the same generation as Judy. But his appearance and manner of greeting was both refined, he was the picture of a gentleman himself.
A pristine frock coat and vest, and trousers. When he took off his top hat, it was evident that his rather short black hair was neatly arranged. His blue eyes were slightly sharp, but thanks to his smiling expression it took away the intensity, and he let off an intellectual impression. For some reason, there was a vague air of mystery to him.
Unlike the other youths from her generation, he had a mysterious power to draw people’s' eyes to him.
Could it be that he was the rumored person?
「Magician of the Staircase?」
After letting out her voice, she realized her speech was rude and returned to herself. Kenny looked at Judy with a grim face. When the scary-faced Kenny expressed that sort of face, it further enhanced his intimidating air.
「Nay. I am the Magician's apprentice Rob. The one you enquired of is my teacher.」
The boy chuckled, footsteps sounding as he approached.
「My Magician is a hasty being. It seems he wishes to place his lovely fiancée by his side as soon as possible. Therefore, I've come to receive you at once.」
In front of the bewildered Judy, Rob opened his pocket watch with a snap.
「Sleeping Princess, preparation time is one hour, time for cleaning is 30 minutes. Farewell greetings are 10 minutes. Now, hurry. 」
「Preparation time……for what?」
「Hurry and come! is the letter you received from Master Lewis, is it not?」
Lewis──It's the name of my ill-rumored fiancé. I see, it was a letter from him.
After comprehending, she was taken aback.
「Eh!? You can't mean, right now?」
「That is exactly what I mean, there is no time other than the present.」
「Bu-but, I've only just heard of this engagement business!」
「Then isn't that sufficient?」
Judy's eyes became dots. What will we do about the ceremony, and dowry and furniture, I didn't prepare any linen, I don't have a wedding dress either, and I haven't finished checking stock for Ink….. Those pragmatic words spun around in her head, but she was unable to voice any of her complaints.
「At least, wait for one more da……」
Rob smiled amiably and turned his pocket watch towards Judy.
「The Magician's words are absolute.」
eh? (surprise); eh (agreement); strengthens a question, assertion, etc.; (after a noun) used when calling out to someone
handle; grip; stalk (of a mushroom, leaf, etc.)
gathering (esp. Buddhist, festive, etc.)
surrounding area; shore (of the sea); suffix used as a rough indicator of location, direction, time, etc.
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