17:48 

The 49th Name - Lavi - D.Gray-Man

Sovetskiy Plombir
deculture
The 49th Name Part 1
The 49th Name Part 2
When they finally reached the town center, the sun had completely set, but the night had just begun, and a range of shops were lit up and bustling.

Cmon, Colette, cheer up. Rabi had eventually received permission to accompany them, so hed left keeping watch on the mansion to the Bookman, but Colette wouldnt let him get near her, leaving Rabi to trudge behind her and Doug all the way into town.

Hey, Eyepatch.

My names Rabi!

Undaunted by Rabis words, Colette directed a gaze at him that was blunt enough to make him flinch. Why do you wear an eyepatch over your right eye? An injury?

A tension in the air immediately became palpable.

Feeling Dougs gaze on him, Rabi forced a smile. Ohthis? No, thisits not an injury.

Colette may have perceptively caught the change in atmosphere, for she said, flustered, Oh, really. Thats good then.

You were worried about me? Youre a nice kid, Colette.

She dodged Rabis hand as he reached out to pat her head, then held out a handful of money. I dont have time. Lets split up the shopping. Could you go buy bread, Eyepatch? Doug, you go to the butchers please.

I told you, my names

Come now, hurry up and go shopping!

Yeah, yeah. Smiling wryly, Rabi headed off to buy bread.

It had been awhile since anyone had asked about his eyepatch. People whod met him for the first time regarded it curiously, but refrained from asking him about it. Colette had a childs outspokenness.

People must imagine all sorts of things about Rabis right eye, but they would never have imagined that it was what had determined that he would become the next Bookman.

This was the truth known only to the Bookman. What nobody else needed to know.

Nobody else

Rabi shivered slightly. For some reason the autumn wind felt colder.

***
Thank you for carrying my things. Colette thanked them timidly once theyd finished shopping and arrived before the mansion.

Doug gave a gentle, enveloping smile and handed Colette a bottle of wine. Is Mr. Jerome treating you well?

Huh? Colette looked at him questioningly.

I was just worriedI mean, even a single shopping trip is hard on you. Doug looked at Colette in concern.

Im grateful to the master. I dont know what would have happened if he hadnt provided the treatment fee, saying it was because hed subcontracted to my father before, Colette answered, making Doug to smile in relief.

So hes a kind person, then.

The mistress was also a wonderful person. Because I couldnt go to school, she taught me reading, writing, and arithmetic. She and the master were very close. Thats why hes so depressed Colette took on a pained expression. She must also have been suffering over the sudden death of her mistress and change in her master.

Did you know that Mr. Jerome is going out at night? asked Doug.

Colette immediately averted her eyes. To tell or not to tell? She looked conflicted. I have heard him leaving his room.

Do you know where hes going?

No. When I notice a noise, I go to look, but I never see him.

Really Doug took a backward glance at Rabi. Rabi nodded slightly.

It seemed hed been prowling here and there outside at night as the rumors said after all.

I do have one idea of where the master might be going, Colette said, sounding as if shed made up her mind.

Where?

A man claiming to be a traveling fortune-teller visited the master while he was mourning his deceased wife. Master Serge chased him out, butit could be that the master is going to the Statue of the Dawn Goddess. After all, they said that if you pray there fervently, a person whos died will come back to life

I see.

If Jerome was going out at night, he could be transforming into an Akuma and attacking people.

I have to go now. Colette glanced at the mansion.

Im sorry to take up your time. Im very glad I could speak with you. Well then, well see you tomorrow.

Yesgoodnight. Colette looked a little as if she wanted to say something more, but she kept silent and entered the mansion.

Doug had been watching her leave intently. Rabi grabbed his hair. Youve sure made a friend.

It did seem like she was opening up a little.

Yeah, kids sure get along well with each other.

Who are you calling a kid! Doug swiftly shook off Rabis hand and walked towards the Bookman, who was standing by the gate.

Welcome back. There were a number of visitors, but Serge turned all but one of them away at the gate. Only a single man who looked like a laborer entered the mansion, and nobody, including Jerome, left it.

I see. Thank you for keeping watch, Bookman. I spoke with Colette, and it seems Mr. Jerome may be visiting the Statue of the Dawn Goddess after dark.

I seewell then, I suppose well continue to keep watch.

Yes, sir. Dougs gaze flickered towards the mansion.

Are you worried about Colette?

When Rabi spoke to him, Doug jumped. Yeah, I am. I mean, shes still only ten, but shes shouldered her fathers debt and is working.She seems to be bearing up well, but when I think of how lonely she must be in an unfamiliar place, separated from her parents Doug looked down sadly. His heart must ache to think of Colettes situation.

You arent thinking that youd like to do something for Colette, are you?

Doug looked at Rabi with a start.

I knew it.

It seemed like something Doug would be thinking. Doug was clearly thinking beyond the mission and was concerned about Colette.

Doug gave a long sigh. However, a strong resolve welled up in his eyes. But I cant just leave her like this.

The Bookman, who had been silently listening, looked up at Doug. I do understand how you feel. However, if you concern yourself any more than necessary with the people you meet in the course of your work, you wont be able to bear it. We arent all-powerful gods.

At the Bookmans words, Doug hung his head. I understand. But even if shes to work, dont you think it could wait until shes grown more? I would like to let her attend primary school. She seems to be an intelligent child, and in France a primary education law has been enacted that allows any child up to age twelve to attend primary school.

That means only that the systems been set up. Never mind that they passed the law, the system wont be used if it goes against the way things are. If a family is destitute and can barely earn their daily bread, they wont be able to send their children to school. Even the children will be sent out to earn money.

Thats trueI do understand, but when I think of such a young girl working

Compared to men, women can find fewer jobs and receive lower wages. You could say that Colette is lucky just to have employment.

Rabi lightly patted Dougs shoulder. Now, dont speak so harshly, Panda. Maybe it was some kind of fate that we met Colette. If Doug performs an act of charity after the mission, the Order wont say anything.

Doug looked up in relief.

The Bookman nodded silently to Doug, then turned to face Rabi. Who are you calling a panda!!

Gah! An open-palmed slap with some force behind it hit Rabis cheek. Sent flying, Rabi grabbed onto Doug, who happened to be right next to him.

Agh! Hit by Rabi, who was a size larger than him, Doug staggered. Something white fell to lie at his feet.

Sorry, Doug! Whats this? Rabi picked up what Doug had dropped. It was a pure-white ribbon edged with lace.

She said it was her birthday tomorrow, you see.

Ohh, so when you were shopping you secretly bought a present too! Nice work there! Rabi nudged Doug with his elbow, and Dougs face reddened.

Ive never given a present to a girl before. Do you think shell be happy?

Yeah, Im sure she will, Rabi said, and Doug smiled, relieved.

***

From the second-story window, two shadowy figures secretly watched the three people conversing in front of the mansion. One was Serge, and the other was a strongly built man with a savage air. He wore a homespun cap that was frayed in places low over his eyes, as if he was afraid of his face being seen. In contrast to the silk dressing gown Serge had slipped on, he cut a seedy appearance in threadbare black clothes and hempen pants.

Its those three, Serge whispered to the man at his side.

Stroking the stubble of his beard, the other man gazed at Rabi and the others through the window. Oh, I saw those three at the tavern yesterday. They stood out in their black coats of strange design. Never mind the little old man, the redhead and the black-haired kid are young and look like they could cause trouble.

Serge clicked his tongue at the other man, who had a coarse smile on his face. All right. Hows 200 francs for the lot of them?

The man slowly shook his head. His expression was that of someone seeing an easy-to-manipulate sucker. Ill need some strong menyeah, Ill have to hire five or six of them. Thats not nearly enough. Ill need 500 francs.

Very well.

The mans smile grew wider at Serges immediate acceptance. A handicraftsman laboring diligently for a full day could expect wages of a mere four francs. The man considered a hundred francs enough compensation, and had asked for an unreasonable price without taking it seriously.

An idiotic moneybag with no grasp of market value or basic negotiating. He wondered how long he could keep using him as a source of funds.

However, kill all three of them, said Serge.

Huh? The other man couldnt believe his ears.

I thought wed talked of beating them up and running them out of town, not

I changed my mind. Its best to remove nuisances completely. I cant have them persist in loitering outside my mansion. His calm held absolutely no hesitation or fright towards committing murder. Serge spoke as if he wanted rocks cleared from the roadside, and even the other man, who had experienced his share of brawls, felt a surge of fear.

Butif you just hate them hanging around, theres no need to kill them.

You cant do it?

Er, n-no, I can! Ill do it.

Serge nodded silently.

If I say no, Serge will hire some other guy. Then hell kill me too, so I dont talk. Without hesitation. It will matter as little to him as crushing a bug. The man sense this acutely.

Serge handed over a sheaf of bills. Swallowing audibly, the man took it.

Outside the window, the darkness grew deeper.

***

The night wore on, and the full moon shone like a silver dish in the deep blue sky. The visitor whod stayed until a short time ago had left, and the mansion was hushed. Only the call of an owl echoed over the road.

The night breeze blew relentlessly over the three figures beneath the tree across from the mansion.

Ah! Doug cried softly. Rabi noticed at the same moment.

A figure had appeared on the other side of the Dreselle mansions ostentatious gate. Even through the lattice they could tell it was a large, strongly-built man. He wore a dark brown frock coat that was difficult to distinguish against the dark background.

The bearded face visible in the moonlight precisely matched that of the portrait above the fireplace.

Its Mr. Jerome, whispered Doug softly.

With unbelievable agility for such a large build, Jerome placed a hand on the lattice and lightly vaulted over the six-foot-high gate. He landed soundlessly on the ground.

Jerome looked around at his surroundings two, three times and walked in the direction opposite the towntowards the forest.

The three of them quietly began trailing Jerome, who was staggering along with unsteady footsteps, like a drunken man.

At his chest, illuminated by the streetlamps, glittered the diamond.

So thats the diamond we heard aboutits just as big as in the portrait, said Rabi.

It stands out even in the dark. Itll make him easier to follow. Doug let out a sigh of admiration. However, if he runs into a thief while wearing it so openly he started to say, then stopped in his tracks.

After Jerome had passed by, three men leapt out from beneath a tree, cutting them off. All of them had caps pulled low over their eyes and cloth covering the lower halves of their faces. Their appearance was seedy in old coats, hempen pants, and wooden shoes, but they swelled out their chests in pride at their strength.

They were armed with knives and clubs.

What do you guys want?

Not replying to Rabis question, the men silently hefted their weapons.

Robbers? No, in that case they would have attacked Jerome, thought Rabi. They came leaping out like they were targeting us. Clearly they were lying in wait for us. No way, are these guys Akuma? Rabi glanced at the Bookman. There was no time for indecision. Doug, leave this to us.You go after Jerome!

Doug nodded and ran towards the forest. More men leapt out from under the trees to block his way.

How many of them are there!? Rabi swiftly extended his hammer and leapt.

He sailed through the air and landed between the men and Doug. The mean stopped short at sight of this superhuman movement.

Out of the way! With a swing of Rabis hammer, the men went flying like balls. Go! Sparing a glance at Doug, whod set off running, Rabi felt a sudden sense of foreboding. However, the risen men came in for the attack, leaving Rabi no time to ponder it.

First Ive got to defeat these guys! Rabi shook off the uneasiness swirling darkly in the back of his mind and shifted his grip to the hammer to whirl it around.

***

Luckily, Doug quickly caught up with Jerome.

Catching his breath, Doug glanced behind him. There were at least six of those men. I wonder if Rabi and the Bookman will be all right.

Doug quickly suppressed his anxiety. There was no way that Rabi and the Bookman, who were Exorcists, would lose to the likes of them.

Doug need only carry out the task he was assigned.

Telling himself this, Doug calmed down.

Jerome staggered along, following the road single-mindedly. At some point the houses had become sporadic, and the forest, like a great black wave, had become visible ahead. The streetlamps had vanished, and only the moon, shining brightly in the night sky, lit the path. There were no longer any other people around, and Doug heard only the voices of insects and his own footfalls.

Jerome entered the dark forest without hesitating.

Doug looked up at the dense, dark trees. The wind blew, and the trees swayed as if beckoning him on. It made Dougs heart pound. Spooked, he trembled.

The figure of Jerome was being swallowed into a clutch of trees.

I have no choice but to go. Doug resolved himself and stepped forward.

The night forest had fallen into a silent sleep. There was nothing to disturb its slumber, only the occasional bat visible fluttering past.

Doug closed his eyes and focused his attention on his ears. Doug had passed through many scenes of bloodshed, and he knew that by closing off your other senses, you effectively sharpen a single sense.

If he listened attentively, he could make out faint footsteps.

Over there Doug quickly advanced.

Presently there was a break in the trees. After pushing through a thicket of bushes, Doug emerged into a clearing.

Nothing blocked the moonlight here, and it brightly illuminated everything. In an instant, Doug saw several human figures, started in fear, and froze.

However, upon looking more closely, they were human statues. Weeds grew unchecked at the feet of the unmoving statues. In a corner was something like a stone bench.

It seemed to be the remnants of a garden.

Doug cautiously stepped into the garden. Seen up close, the statues had moss growing on them, and the smell of grass reached Dougs nose.

They must have had a nest nearby, because bats were fluttering about here and there.

Doug, who had advanced further into the garden, hurriedly hid himself behind a statue.

Jerome was standing in front of a statue set at the heart of the garden. Like the other statues, this one, in the shape of a woman, was grown with moss.

Could that be the goddess statue we heard of?

At that moment, there was a rustling noise behind Doug. He turned sharply, and his eyes opened wide.

Colette was standing there.

Colette!? What are you doing here?

At Dougs vehemence, Colettes expression became fearful. She edged back like a cornered cat. Doug felt his heart begin to pound harder. Why is Colette coming to the goddess statue? And so late at midnight, too. Impossibleimpossible!

Colette spoke up, What are you doing here, Doug?

I followed Mr. Jerome.

The master!?

Youre too loud!

Doug, panicked, put his hand over Colettes mouth. It was not a violent movement, but Colettes eyes clearly showed fright, and her shoulders rose in startlement. Dont hit me!

What? Surprised, Doug looked at Colette.

Colette crouched on her heels and clutched herself with thin arms. Her slight body was trembling.

Hit you? How could.Im sorry if I frightened you. But I dont use violence, so dont worry about As he was speaking, Doug noticed what looked like bruises on Colettes wrists. What are

Colettes fearfulnesscircumstances he didnt want to consider surfaced in Dougs mind. He knelt on one knee on the ground and gently peered into Colettes face. Colette, has someone been hurting you?

Still trembling, Colette didnt reply.

Mr. Jerome?

Colette shook her head from side to side emphatically.

ImpossibleSerge?

Tears spilled from Colettes eyes.

That man. I thought he was hiding something, but I never expected him to possess this much of a brutal side. However, looking back, Serge had shown signs of being quick to fly into a rage.

Why is Serge hitting you!? How long has he been hurting you? And does Jerome know?

Since the mistress died, Master Serge started flying into rages. When he loses his temper, theres nothing anyone can do. Master Serge was quite his mothers boy, so I think he must have received quite a shock. He started taking out his anger on us servants

So that means shes been the victim of violence on a daily basis for nearly a month. Im sure her clothing hides other bruises. Doug was gripped by an overpowering feeling of helplessness. Why does God send us such cruel trials? Is God there? If He isI wonder what He is thinking.

Doug shook off these foolish thoughts. If the likes of me starts pondering the existence of God, Ill only end up going in circles.

When he first hit me, I ran headlong from the mansion, and ended up here by chance.

Really

For Colette, whom there was no place for in the mansion, this was a temporary refuge. Doug had been suspicious of Colette because shed been near the goddess statue.

Doug softly stroked Colettes hair. He felt like he would cry if he didnt. Werent you scared, inside this dark forest?

Surprisingly, Colette shook her head. Im not scared herethat goddess statue looks like my mother, you see.

At these words, Doug felt like his heart had been pierced. Thats right, shes still ten years old. Of course she misses her mother.

Doug gently embraced Colette. Colette nervously put her arms around Doug. The girls body was warm. And unbelievably thin.

Shed left her hometown, and was living with all her might on her own. Her unfriendliness was the armor she wrapped desperately around herself in order to protect herself.

What are you going to do if this girl is unhappy?

The Bookmans frank advice flitted through Dougs head, but Doug had already made his decision.

He grasped Colettes small hand and looked her in the eye. Colette, Ill protect you from now on. Dont worry.

Colette looked faintly surprisedthen her eyes grew moist. Really?

Doug nodded to Colette, who was looking at him imploringly. Yes! When all this is over, Ill go speak to Jerome. Ill do something about the debt! You wont have to work in that mansion anymore.

Doug gently embraced Colette, who had leapt into his arms. He gently stroked her shaking back, again and again.

Just then, there was the rustling sound of someone pushing through a thicket. Doug, looking a few yards ahead, managed to keep from crying out. Serge had appeared there.

Whats he doing here?
***

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