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Ian, who is now carrying the child on his back, replies that she's right. He smiles cutely and says he won't lie to himself anymore which leaves Ainsel lost for words. Then Ian goes on telling Ainsel about her own name. It's the name of a fairy in Celtic folklore and it means "oneself" (ainsel). Ian says he really likes the name.

Ainsel is surprised Ian knows all of that because she herself didn't know its meaning or even about fairies in general. Ian tells her it's because he's read all kinds of books about fairies.

Then the three of them have to take a slight detour and thick clouds of fog suddenly appear between the trees. Ainsel starts feeling uneasy and says to Ian that since they've went into the direction the child led them into, the fog's been getting rapidly denser and it smells rather unpleasant so she's wondering if they are really going into the direction of that child's dwelling. They notice the air is getting sticky and it somehow smells of salt water when Ian steps into what he first thinks is just a bit of water but then he realizes they are at the sea!

Suddenly, the child jumps off Ian's back quite abruptly and hurts Ian's shoulder. The child vanishes into a hole in the ground and a moment later, a hedgehog appears between the stones and roots. Ian says it was a fairy urchin but before he can finish his question why a mischief maker of the woods is here at the beach, something large appears in the water and speaks. Standing in the sea is a huge human-like monster with long light hair, four legs, long arms with claws and a muscular horse-like body! It thanks the spirit of the frail beast (the urchin). And, pointing at a small animal in a net that is fastened to a metal chain around the monster's enormous body, it adds that it'll also postpone eating the spirit's little sister this time.

Ian looks at the creature: the gigantic body of a horse, and through that body black veins are running like the roots of a tree. It's the monster of the sea - Nuckelavee! Ian is overcome by terror because it's the dreadful fairy that swallows all living things, its gigantic body is faster than the wind and with its claws of iron it tears the flesh of its prey to pieces. Ian sees an image of a beautful fairy in his mind and he is left to wonder if it is really the Land of Fairies in which he lost his way...?!

The hedgehog has turned into its naked fairy child form again and has to witness Nuckelavee eating one of the small animals he's carrying in the nets chained around his chest. The urchin transforms into a hedgehog again and Ian sees it running away. Ainsel says the fairy child must have been threatened by the monster and had to lure out the animals for him.

When the monster notices Ian, it tells him that it's been a long time since it last was able to eat a human soul. And the fairy Ian has with him is quite strange too. And then it wants to grab Ian with one of its huge hands but Ian manages to get away. Ian notices the small hedgehog that's still trying to run away. He takes up the hedgehog in his arms and tries to flee, right before the monster's arm grabs where the hedgehog was just a moment ago.

Ainsel can't believe it! Ian's saving the creature that deceived them! But Ian knows that one of the animals caught by the monster is the urchin's little sister. He says he'll be able to save them but they'll have to stay together this time.

Ainsel asks Ian if he's gone insane. But Ian asks her if she could finish off the monster with the power she wanted to kill Ian with. Ainsel tries to make a decision: She knows she could be strong enough but she can't use her powers at her own will very well yet. They'll just run wild and she won't be able to use them completely and it won't be safe. Then we see Ainsel thinking of a boy with fairy wings and a small fairy sitting on his shoulder - and Ainsel realises: she needs a medium, a Partner to awaken her true powers! Ainsel has to make a decision fast now because Nuckelavee is getting closer and it yells it won't let that human soul get away! Ian runs right at the monster - Ainsel's face is full of fear and horror as she watches him. But it's the monster that yells out in pain and surprise because Ian has stabbed its hand with the scissors he had picked up earlier. Ian says to ward off a fairy, you can use an iron cross or iron scissors; and he cannot be devoured until he has regained what's most important to him: Rin!

(To be continued...)

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Written contents, site design © 2005 Yuuya, part of 有機天使ドットネット.
Original images & manga © Yuki Kaori, Hakusensha
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