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LoaMR: Ch.XVI: Daphne and Claire 5

by MailicedeNamedy


Claire had observed Ernst using the bathroom early in the morning. Even though he was trying to sneak through the flat, she could hear everything. Even the whispering during the night. Even if she hadn't understood a word, she knew the conversation was about her.

When Ernst closed the flat door behind him, Claire lay there. She didn't know when she usually got up with Daphne, so she had to lie there until the sun was higher in the firmament. She would have preferred to sleep, but she had to be on her guard, as Ernst could come back at any time.

Claire's night was uncomfortable. Was it because of Daphne's lack of warmth?

At some point, she had to get up to get a glass of water, when she came across Daphne sitting on the armchair. She studied Claire's sleeping place with wide eyes.

"Good morning."

"Good morning," Claire replied.

"What should we do today?"

Claire glanced at the violin case.

"I don't know."

"I'm sure I'll think of something. It's still early," yawned Daphne.

Once a key is turned, you can't easily get out of the room. This security provided Claire with an elegant morning marathon, reading through spines of books on the shelf. Not wanting to give her thoughts any room for negativity, she distracted herself with anything. She dreaded the next evening. And the one after that. She had to move out sometime...

Bored, Claire remained at the kitchen window next to the balcony, watching the goings-on in the courtyard. Strangers were entering it, Mrs. Schneider was running after them with a box, a man on the first floor of the side wing was pulling the curtains aside, while a bearded guy was looking for his dog next to a hedge.

It seemed like a film from the cinema, but that didn´t help Claire to get a better mood. She felt the cold all over her body and the redundancy in her mind. She was neither a resident nor a guest, merely an intruder in this house.

***

"Go ahead and have another one."

They were sitting on a park bench in the writers' quarter. Behind the woods, they could hear the brisk wandering of passengers from the main station. The tiny square somewhat neglected between the five-storey houses seemed like a refuge for those people who wanted to follow their words with action. The acacias and beeches were old, gathered around a dead birch, betting on who would leave next. With strong winds blowing through the canyons of houses, they whipped their branches at the weakest.

"Thank you."

Almost trembling, Claire took a grape.

"We should go swimming before autumn, what do you think?" asked Daphne casually.

A crow landed on the water cooler. With a raging flap of its wings, it squeamishly watched a small stone roll across the ground in the wind. It followed it hopping.

"I don't have a swimsuit."

"Never mind. We'll buy you one."

She threw the crow a grape and suddenly she pulled Claire towards her.

"Today we're going swimming."

"Now? So unprepared?"

"Would you like a written invitation?" joked Daphne, "I already know where. Not the bathing lakes in Berlyne. They're always full of people. We're going to Wasserhafen!"

The crow chased them for a few feet as they passed an old gentleman with a bowler hat and a stick. Hissing, he chased the bird away.

***

Wasserhafen was east of Berlyne, about six or seven miles from the city limits. It was easily reached by the local underground railways. It was a strange feeling to finally get out of the city. Fields accompanied them through the growing valley.

Claire remembered. She had come from here by train. From the windows facing south, she could make out a village. Then the hills and fields came back. A river followed them. Several times man had laid hands on it and given it a new route to irrigate.

With a firm grip, she held on to her new backpack, which Daphne had bought for her, along with her swimsuit. She was in as good a mood as she was every day. It seemed almost uncanny for Claire to imagine her friend angry. It gave her shivers thinking about Daphne getting mad and crushing everybody with her bare hands. Daphne didn't notice the quiet and reserved temperament at first. At first, she suspected nothing. Only after a few minutes without stopping, when Claire noticed that they were the last ones on the train, did she speak.

"You don't have to assume anything will change between us just because Ernst is home."

She had hit the nail on the head. Claire blushed, immediately denied this thesis, and turned towards the paddock. There she was again out of sight.

"If you think I haven't noticed, I'm sorry to disappoint you," Daphne continued, "Ernst is just a roommate. We are neither engaged nor married. We met at work and together we can only afford to live in Apex."

Claire nodded.

Can a problem be solved so quickly?

"The only thing that changes is that I have a snorer lying next to me at night."

She laughed. Claire giggled.

"As soon as he's gone again, you come to me. All right?"

"All right."

"Is it that hard?"

"What?"

"To be in a good mood?" asked Daphne.

"I'm in a good mood. I'm with you," she said absently.

"Think positive."

It would be nice if it were so easy to get someone out of your mind just because someone says you should think positively…

Wasserhafen was a street village with a few alleys. The river from Berlyne flowed into that imposing stream. It was the terminus of the line, so it was time to get off. Beyond the beech and fir-covered hills lay the city of millions.

For her, it was a quirky place. She felt strange and unsafe. So far from the Apex flat, Claire felt rigid.

"On to the river!" commanded Daphne with an outstretched hand, "swimming helps to take your mind off things."

"I don't get the impression that my thoughts change when I take a bath."

"When you're drowning, you'll think differently," Daphne said cynically, "Don't make such a sad face, Claire."

Nothing has changed. Only in your head. Or does this bed mean that much to you? You just sleep in it. Nothing else. You can imagine the conversations you have with Daphne in your head. You used to do that. Why not now?

"Let's have fun," Claire said after a while.

"Exactly!"

Unlike a safe swimming hole, the river offered the dangers of carelessness. The current would push a careless person of the bank away, leaving them to wash ashore dead miles away. The unpredictable depth and the live fish within lay in wait for those who feared the black bottom. Even a ship could come up behind the mountains at any time and shred someone to pieces by means of the propeller.

Daphne's words of encouragement crossed over into the absurd but helped to take Claire's mind off things. Nothing could really go wrong with her; how could she forget? The fun grew after they swam a few laps. They mimicked fish and dogs, sometimes Daphne diving under and grabbing Claire by the waist to pull her in further. When a cutter passed, they waved to the passengers from a safe distance.

As more guests arrived in the course of the morning, they were able to rest. The effort of staying in the water had managed to put Ernst completely out of his mind.

He returned in Claire´s head on the journey back to the city.

He disappeared again with a visit to the Apex palace garden. The beauty of the palace, which was surrounded by woods on every side, was probably its central location, not far from the Oriel Alley. And yet it seemed as if they were immersed in another world as soon as the iron fence disappeared behind the trees and hedges. Only the railway passing by at the northern end made them realise they were still in the city.

They did not dine together. Ernst did not get home until around eleven o'clock. Daphne and Claire were having a good time listening to classical music. They were listening to the record for the second time after coming out of the cinema.

With the quiet time, Claire had a small table lamp and a book with her. Some author called Magnus had immortalised himself in The Oratory of Allegory, critically examining the human condition.

*

Every existing living being can evolve in the course of its life. Evolution has shown this with the human being. At some point there comes a point where the consciousness of its own is formed and this is passed on genetically. Through this new form, living beings can survive and one day live after many generations of inheritance.

This act of creation reduces the formerly dominant subconscious. Thus, humans hardly succeed anymore in understanding the natural effects and conditions of the brain that are essential for survival.

The process of getting to that point takes many, many years. When does human start thinking? What am I really? But when exactly does this process begin? Does it also end at some point? Every living being has to come to terms with what it is and why it exists. It has to develop words for itself and for others.

So how do animals see things in their heads? Does a tree appear before their eyes when they see one? Do we see the letters? What great power is behind distracting the subconscious in such a way to be able to think freely as an individual?

What does consciousness bring with it? One can think about an ego, another person, a possible Goddess, about life after death and love. This knowledge of what we master, does it go so far that we can even destroy ourselves?

*

The book didn't seem so complicated and boring from the outside. Claire could not imagine what she had just read. Her head toyed with the intention of reading the one volume on the anatomical development of molluscs because she had liked the drawings inside. She didn't want to get up. Instead, she grabbed the next tome that lay beside the lamp.

She fell asleep to it, which ultimately pleased her. This conceited, self-convinced arrogance of the author had made her angry. The preface was written in a style of writing she did not like.

She had thought it was a novel, but she realised while leafing through it that it was a non-fiction book, a kind of documentary about something that was not allowed to be called by its name. As if the author wanted to make it exciting before the actual prologue he thanked his friend who had been extremely important support and help to him during the research.

***

Claire had not noticed Ernst when he left the flat.

She was still asleep when he entered his office. Only Daphne was able to wake her.

"Bad dream?"

"... don't know anymore."

"Take a bath first, then we'll leave right away."

"Where?"

"You'll see when we arrive."

Washing in the morning gave her the strength to wake up and stop worrying about the dream. Claire noticed that Daphne didn't have a car. Immediately she asked when she actually had to go to work. As long as she had been on the road with her now, Daphne could not possibly have been granted leave by the company.

It no longer tormented Claire, while it struck her that there was no breakfast. Not right away, in any case.

The path led out to Berlyne. Heliosbrück was their destination.

Situated on terraces, surrounded by waterfalls, and selected lime trees, the underground railway drove in between them as they were about to reach the terminus. Because of one thing, the city was famous in the Free Duchy.

The good wine that grew everywhere on the slopes was marketed as the best wine of the Free Duchy. The ducal family vouched for the black-green bottles with the Helios label.

Daphne wanted to introduce her friend to the world of wine and confess to her that they were going to a restaurant that evening. Ernst wanted to invite them both. Claire was not the best wine drinker and was not familiar with the different varieties. For her, there was no such thing as good or bad, because they all tasted the same. And they weren't even delicious. Daphne smirked several times as Claire grimaced just smelling the glass. The taste manifested itself in her mouth and acted like a sticky mass that rotted her teeth.

***

The pub was located at the end of Reichenberg Street.

Vena - Cava was an independent village northwest of Apex. The main road passed it to the east so as not to disturb the residents. It had notoriety because of the river division, the water lock, and the mills in the north.

The restaurant was decorated with pictures of the ducal family. It looked very noble, although a living was earned with home cooking. The Schröck family took care of the guests' well-being. As every week, the district mayor was present, with him his lovely wife and the three pests, all boys.

Claire and Daphne had arrived before Ernst. The reservation gave them the opportunity to get a table outside. This gave them the best seats, just off the wash fountain square. The large open space in the midst of extremely busty buildings looked out of place. As if someone had ripped a building complex out of the ground, the rectangle had merely been decorated with an old fountain that had supposedly been there since the village was founded seven hundred and forty-four years ago.

"He'll join us right after work," Daphne said.

She was carrying a pocket watch. She muttered something like usually just after six in case he didn't volunteer for more.

"Is he out a lot? Like the last few weeks?"

"A few times a year." she reflected, "He's actually just the assistant, but he has his hands full. He must have some people under him, but what exactly he does, you'd better ask him yourself."

She laughed.

"And you?" asked Claire promptly, "You work for the Seelenherz too, after all."

"Through my relations with Mr. Neumann I have some freedom, otherwise I am an employee who commutes between there and Berlyne."

"Really?"

"Many commute between two places. The head office is in Valdebourg, most of the trainees and employees have to go there several times a year - or to Wasserrund. The many subsidiaries are spread all over the Free Duchy."

"That's why you were in the closed city!"

"Correct."

Claire grinned. She couldn't imagine changing her workplace or even her place of residence on a regular basis. It seemed unreal and far too hectic for her. When she wanted to confront Daphne with another question, Ernst appeared.

"Good evening ladies."

He was carrying a suitcase. Daphne glanced at it mysteriously and guessed that he had brought himself something to do for the night.

"In case I'm not asleep." he mumbled sheepishly, "Have you ordered yet?"

"We've been waiting for you."

"Very good. I invite you, take anything you like."

"So spendy?" grinned Daphne, "What happened?"

"A phone call. But more later."

The asparagus starter was accompanied by wine again. Claire choked several times. This was followed by cockchafer soup. She was not at all pleased to hear that the soup was made out of bugs. It tasted surprisingly pleasant, though. Only the heat made it difficult to slurp at first.

"Another plant is about to open in Wasserrund," Ernst explained bored, "I'm supposed to be in charge to recruit."

All at once, he sounded full of anticipation.

"Are you moving?" returned Daphne as she watched the passers-by.

"Only next year – if it should work. Mr. Haarmann mentioned it. He sees potential in me."

Daphne sighed. She did not sound happy. Claire thought about the name mentioned. It couldn´t be the same Haarmann as at Léonards birthday, could it?

Claire felt out of place. If two adults were talking about their professional lives, she wanted to contribute something rather than just sip her glass. Attempts to study people went awry, as did the Schröck family's daughter, who had moved her waitressing outside in the sun for a few weeks.

"Where is Wasserrund?" asked Claire suddenly.

"You don't know Wasserrund?" chortled Daphne, "It was the capital of the Free Duchy. It's on the northern border."

Not being familiar with the geography of Enalit, Claire nodded amiably, "Is it like Berlyne?"

Ernst shook his head.

"A working-class town. It's in the mountains, very unsightly, little vegetation, lots of mines, a very obscure, cold area. But because of its location as a former motte, it was strategically safe."

"We never have to go there, Claire," Daphne reassured her.

What a motte was, the young Silberlilie could not know. She had other things to worry about with the main course anyway. She gleefully ate small portions and at the same time watching people getting on and off at the nearby underground station. In the process, her knife fell to the floor twice, whereupon she quickly got a new one.

While her companions continued to talk about Wasserrund and the new factory, more questions came to her mind. Claire forgot that they were sitting in a restaurant. She would have been better off enjoying the sun's rays. The temperature, the location, the people, and the smell of sweet desserts.

"The Seelenherz Inc. owns the trains, don't they?"

"Gruber Railway Company,” Ernst smacked his lips hesitantly and wiped his mouth, "Part belonged to the state, was subsequently confiscated by the Greater Sagauvelian Empire."

"The underground I mean."

"After the first construction phase, half of it went to the city. Most of the stations and tunnels are managed by the respective districts and municipalities."

"But to start an apprenticeship, you have to go to Seelenherz," Claire said quickly.

"Right." murmured Ernst with interest, "Your idea of the future - ready for a career in the oldest company in the country?"

He laughed.

Claire blushed.

"As a conductor or something."

"Then I can always go for free!" interjected Daphne with a smile.

Ernst stared at her in horror.

"It was just a little joke."

"Can I start there right away?" asked Claire.

Scratching, he mused.

"Certainly, that is possible. The apprenticeships are managed by my boss and by Mr. Haarmann. They decide who gets in and who doesn't. They have the final say. But an apprenticeship doesn't mean being employed. After two years Mr. Haarmann can say we don't need you."

"Hm..." Claire went on, "But it's possible, isn't it?"

Daphne answered the question in the affirmative. Ernst remained silent.

"What is it?" asked Daphne.

"I don't see a problem with Mr. Haarmann, but with my boss."

"True. Mr. Silberlilie is so conservative. For him, women are a burden."

Claire choked again. Her coughing and retching sounded like that of a maltreated dog. Surrounding guests looked at her while Ernst tried to free her with a gentle pat on the back.

"Should we get a doctor?" Daphne wanted to know, "Elvira lives just around the corner."

"There's no need for that," Ernst spoke in shock.

"I feel better," Claire whispered, her face red. A sip of water gave her back her pale colour.

"Is your boss's name Benedikt Silberlilie?" she said, gasping.

"He and Mr. Haarmann are responsible for the training."

"He's my father."

Daphne and Ernst stared at the young thing with incredulous expressions. It seemed like a spectacle. Wide eyes oppressed Claire.

"He's your father?" repeated Ernst.

"Claire Silberlilie,” Daphne read off an invisible note, "You never mentioned to me what your last name is."

"I..."

Now you have betrayed yourself. Now you can move out and go to your father.

What a fool I am!

"You have a brother, Bolderich?"

"Yes. He works also at Seelenherz.”

Ernst thought.

"So, there shouldn't really be a problem. You are your father's daughter.”

"You never mentioned he worked there," Daphne interjected, "I guess you don't see much of each other."

“No," Ernst and Claire revealed at the same time.

Daphne laughed and took a sip of wine. She poured for them and raised the glass.

"What coincidences the world brings. Hurrah for Our Mother!"

"Wait." interjected Ernst, "You've been in Berlyne for three weeks and you haven't been to see your father once?"

"I haven't seen him for two years. I'm staying with my aunt in Regenschloss."

"But you have to tell him you're here! He worries a lot about you," he explained, "He talks about you all the time."

Daphne shook him awake.

"Let her. We don't need to interfere in their family affairs."

"She still has to see him... if she wants to go through with the training. I'll make an appointment for tomorrow right away."

"Not tomorrow,” Daphne spoke for her friend, "Soon. Give her time."

Claire's face had turned deathly pale when her father was spoken of. The telephone conversation flashed through her mind, the letter and himself. Now he was standing awfully close to her.

To XVI.6.


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Tue Mar 29, 2022 8:53 pm
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RandomTalks wrote a review...



Hey Mailice!

RandomTalks here with a short review!

This was a really interesting continuation of the story and we saw the pace picking up again. It seems like the beautiful montage of Claire's weeks of happiness is over and whatever story we had been listening to until now has ended. Now, we are back in the real world, where the normal affairs of life won't wait for Claire to wrap her head around the shift in dynamics after the arrival of Ernst. Still, I like how it remains as underlying plot point beneath the main text and we silently witness Claire battle with it throughout the part.

Claire's night was uncomfortable. Was it because of Daphne's lack of warmth?

Here, we see a glimpse of Claire's growing dependence on Daphne. She has begun to associate her very happiness with Daphne's company and is not enjoying having to share her with someone else. It is interesting how the arrival of Ernst has once again brought forth her old chest of insecurities, she is back to double guessing every reaction of the world and is once again seeing herself as the unwelcome intruder in every scene. She does handle it better in this part than she did in the previous one and we can almost feel the efforts she makes to distract herself, for example, by submerging herself in a book.

"If you think I haven't noticed, I'm sorry to disappoint you," Daphne continued,

I liked the fact that Daphne straight away called her out on this. She did not waste any time with unnecessary preambles, but got straight to the point and let her know that she knew exactly what was going on. Daphne seems like the kind of person who would notice right away, and I was a little surprised that she had not called Claire out on this before. Somehow, you keep adding to her character, even though she is not always under the lime light.

I love how we learn more about her through small snippets that do not register until we realize that we already know so many things about this character. For example, we got to know more about her job in this part. Her role in the closed city had been mysterious and secretive and I remember being curios of her cool authority that everyone seemed to respect. Now, we get to know that she has to travel a lot for her job and somehow that fits right in with the character we have built in our minds. Daphne has a free spirit, I cannot even imagine her being caged in a single place for too long. She has a wandering, curious soul and it sooner or later it would demand her to go seek more beautiful, amusing experiences in life.

"Where is Wasserrund?" asked Claire suddenly.

I found the entire conversation during dinner to be very interesting. And it was not only because of the important revelations it resulted in, but the very environment you created with Claire's inner thoughts. Despite her very short acquaintance with Ernst, I was a little surprised by how easily conversation flowed between the three of them. Even though Claire was not always an active participant, the good-natured humor between Daphne and Ernst kept things light and almost prevented us from getting too carried away with Claire's thoughts. Interestingly enough, it seemed that Claire herself was absently making some efforts to remain in the conversation and not fly away inside her head like she usually does. I got the feeling that she herself had no idea what she was doing when she started her line of questioning. But still, simply seeing her participate in the conversation of her own accord made it feel like a very important moment of character growth to me.

It couldn´t be the same Haarmann as at Léonards birthday, could it?

Here we have the first revelation of this chapter, although not a very big one, considering that we barely got introduced to the man the last time we saw him. I do remember that he was a roguish sort of a fellow and had a tendency to get into Claire's personal space. I never got the impression that he meant any harm though, and he actually seemed like a good-natured playful fellow who likes having fun in life. He was more than a little defensive of his partner, when he was accused during the treasure hunt, so I am going to assume that he stands by his principles and is protective of friends. Right now, I am not sure how this ties into the greater plot of the story or if he is going to assume a more significant role now, after the revelation of this connection. But I guess, I would not mind seeing his character reappear.

"Is your boss's name Benedikt Silberlilie?" she said, gasping.

I will admit that I did not expect this realization to come about in this way. I was a little surprised that Claire had not figured it out already, or at least inquired about her father since she knows he works there. On Daphne and Ernst's parts, I can believe it slipped their minds, as whatever snippets of conversations they have had about Claire were not significant enough to actually leave that kind of lasting impression. However much we expected this realization to sink in at some point, I still found the moment a little hilarious because of the genuine surprise that the three of them executed. I also found it a little ironic, that Claire had indirectly been considering working for her father all this time.

I also appreciated Daphne's understanding support very much in this part. I am not very sure if they have ever had a conversation about him or if she is even aware of the complicated relationship between the two. But the way she quietly took over for Claire while she was still dealing with her shock was a moment of friendship that shows how far they have come. Emma, for one, would never have spoken on behalf of Claire in that moment or even realized that something was going on.

The part ended on an important note, and I am now very much looking forward to this reunion between the father and daughter. From the way they left things, they do have a lot of air to clean out. I just cannot comprehend where they are going to start or how it is going to end for Claire. I am also wondering if Leonard's claims about her mother being alive is going to be brought up when the father and daughter do eventually confront each other. Well, as it turns out, we have something to look forward to again.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this part. It flowed smoothly and after the previous slower parts, the change in pace in this one was a refreshing welcome.

Keep writing and have a great day!

Until next time!






Thank you very much for your review! :D



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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: This is off to some interesting places here, it finally all came to a head in the way that I was expecting it to, but then it also seems like things aren't necessarily going to be quite as much of a problem as it first appeared here.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Claire had observed Ernst using the bathroom early in the morning. Even though he was trying to sneak through the flat, she could hear everything. Even the whispering during the night. Even if she hadn't understood a word, she knew the conversation was about her.

When Ernst closed the flat door behind him, Claire lay there. She didn't know when she usually got up with Daphne, so she had to lie there until the sun was higher in the firmament. She would have preferred to sleep, but she had to be on her guard, as Ernst could come back at any time.

Claire's night was uncomfortable. Was it because of Daphne's lack of warmth?

At some point, she had to get up to get a glass of water, when she came across Daphne sitting on the armchair. She studied Claire's sleeping place with wide eyes.


OKayy....well..this is quite something...it seems the problem is escalating rather quietly here. We don't necessarily have anything massive going down right away, but we've got plenty of hints that things are about to get shaken up quite a bit here...and presumably not shaken up in a particularly good way.

Once a key is turned, you can't easily get out of the room. This security provided Claire with an elegant morning marathon, reading through spines of books on the shelf. Not wanting to give her thoughts any room for negativity, she distracted herself with anything. She dreaded the next evening. And the one after that. She had to move out sometime...

Bored, Claire remained at the kitchen window next to the balcony, watching the goings-on in the courtyard. Strangers were entering it, Mrs. Schneider was running after them with a box, a man on the first floor of the side wing was pulling the curtains aside, while a bearded guy was looking for his dog next to a hedge.

It seemed like a film from the cinema, but that didn´t help Claire to get a better mood. She felt the cold all over her body and the redundancy in her mind. She was neither a resident nor a guest, merely an intruder in this house.


Okayy...that's not going too well...clearly now Claire is going to start falling back into those doubts that she once had but managed to overcome, and its going to cause even more problems, only this time Daphne might not be able to do quite as much as she did earlier in order to reassure claire that everything is indeed okay and she isn't going to get tossed out.

A crow landed on the water cooler. With a raging flap of its wings, it squeamishly watched a small stone roll across the ground in the wind. It followed it hopping.

"I don't have a swimsuit."

"Never mind. We'll buy you one."

She threw the crow a grape and suddenly she pulled Claire towards her.

"Today we're going swimming."

"Now? So unprepared?"

"Would you like a written invitation?" joked Daphne, "I already know where. Not the bathing lakes in Berlyne. They're always full of people. We're going to Wasserhafen!"

The crow chased them for a few feet as they passed an old gentleman with a bowler hat and a stick. Hissing, he chased the bird away.


Okayy....hmm, it seems perhaps Daphne senses Claire's issues to some sort of extent, considering she seems to put an effort to try and make Claire feel more at home, it is hard to say, since this isn't too different from what was going on earlier, but somehow I feel like there's something more in this activity.

With a firm grip, she held on to her new backpack, which Daphne had bought for her, along with her swimsuit. She was in as good a mood as she was every day. It seemed almost uncanny for Claire to imagine her friend angry. It gave her shivers thinking about Daphne getting mad and crushing everybody with her bare hands. Daphne didn't notice the quiet and reserved temperament at first. At first, she suspected nothing. Only after a few minutes without stopping, when Claire noticed that they were the last ones on the train, did she speak.

"You don't have to assume anything will change between us just because Ernst is home."

She had hit the nail on the head. Claire blushed, immediately denied this thesis, and turned towards the paddock. There she was again out of sight.

"If you think I haven't noticed, I'm sorry to disappoint you," Daphne continued, "Ernst is just a roommate. We are neither engaged nor married. We met at work and together we can only afford to live in Apex."


Hmm...ahh well I have that confirmation so much earlier than I thought I would. Daphne really is someone who happens to very direct in her interactions, isn't she? Well, at any rate, it provides quite a nice scene here.

"The only thing that changes is that I have a snorer lying next to me at night."

She laughed. Claire giggled.

"As soon as he's gone again, you come to me. All right?"

"All right."

"Is it that hard?"

"What?"

"To be in a good mood?" asked Daphne.

"I'm in a good mood. I'm with you," she said absently.

"Think positive."

It would be nice if it were so easy to get someone out of your mind just because someone says you should think positively…


Well...that's definitely a principle Claire needs to try and follow but as she herself says, that's probably not going to be all that effective with how Claire tends to usually think from what I've so far seen.

"When you're drowning, you'll think differently," Daphne said cynically, "Don't make such a sad face, Claire."

Nothing has changed. Only in your head. Or does this bed mean that much to you? You just sleep in it. Nothing else. You can imagine the conversations you have with Daphne in your head. You used to do that. Why not now?

"Let's have fun," Claire said after a while.

"Exactly!"


Welll...there we go, Claire's mind is already working overtime to try and find out the worst possible details of this situation that it can possibly think of...and this is just not heading anywhere remotely good is it?

Moving on...I don't quote the part after because it is so long, but that's a neat bit there to sort of show how Claire's thoughts are evolving with each thing they do that day. It seems a teeny bit drawn out, but nonetheless it is very effective in doing what it sets out to do.

She was still asleep when he entered his office. Only Daphne was able to wake her.

"Bad dream?"

"... don't know anymore."

"Take a bath first, then we'll leave right away."

"Where?"

"You'll see when we arrive."

Washing in the morning gave her the strength to wake up and stop worrying about the dream. Claire noticed that Daphne didn't have a car. Immediately she asked when she actually had to go to work. As long as she had been on the road with her now, Daphne could not possibly have been granted leave by the company.

It no longer tormented Claire, while it struck her that there was no breakfast. Not right away, in any case.

The path led out to Berlyne. Heliosbrück was their destination.


Okay...soo...that seems like we've got this person moving away already quite quickly and now we transition into this totally different part of them going somewhere, that part there is mildly confusing and I really don't know where that massive segment with the novel was trying to take us..but hmm, well let's see what happens next I guess.

"Is he out a lot? Like the last few weeks?"

"A few times a year." she reflected, "He's actually just the assistant, but he has his hands full. He must have some people under him, but what exactly he does, you'd better ask him yourself."

She laughed.

"And you?" asked Claire promptly, "You work for the Seelenherz too, after all."

"Through my relations with Mr. Neumann I have some freedom, otherwise I am an employee who commutes between there and Berlyne."

"Really?"


Oh kayy...so it seems we'll have a scene with all three of them talking for the first time and it might be something to sort of signify this person leaving...well, at any rate, it does promise to at least be interesting.

"In case I'm not asleep." he mumbled sheepishly, "Have you ordered yet?"

"We've been waiting for you."

"Very good. I invite you, take anything you like."

"So spendy?" grinned Daphne, "What happened?"

"A phone call. But more later."

The asparagus starter was accompanied by wine again. Claire choked several times. This was followed by cockchafer soup. She was not at all pleased to hear that the soup was made out of bugs. It tasted surprisingly pleasant, though. Only the heat made it difficult to slurp at first.

"Another plant is about to open in Wasserrund," Ernst explained bored, "I'm supposed to be in charge to recruit."


Okayy....so this is proceeding, startlingly normally for the moment, I feel like things will get a bit more heated, but we're just not quite there yet, although surprisingly I'm not detecting too many hints at the moment here.

"The Seelenherz Inc. owns the trains, don't they?"

"Gruber Railway Company,” Ernst smacked his lips hesitantly and wiped his mouth, "Part belonged to the state, was subsequently confiscated by the Greater Sagauvelian Empire."

"The underground I mean."

"After the first construction phase, half of it went to the city. Most of the stations and tunnels are managed by the respective districts and municipalities."

"But to start an apprenticeship, you have to go to Seelenherz," Claire said quickly.

"Right." murmured Ernst with interest, "Your idea of the future - ready for a career in the oldest company in the country?"

He laughed.

Claire blushed.

"As a conductor or something."

"Then I can always go for free!" interjected Daphne with a smile.


Hmm, okay perhaps this one will end up being mildly beneficial to Claire after all, it seems like at least for a moment she's stopped thinking about all the other things that plague her mind and is trying to move ahead on her goal of becoming a conductor. It probably isn't terribly healthy for her to be doing this, but at this point it seems like Claire's way of thinking is never really going to change.

"True. Mr. Silberlilie is so conservative. For him, women are a burden."

Claire choked again. Her coughing and retching sounded like that of a maltreated dog. Surrounding guests looked at her while Ernst tried to free her with a gentle pat on the back.

"Should we get a doctor?" Daphne wanted to know, "Elvira lives just around the corner."

"There's no need for that," Ernst spoke in shock.

"I feel better," Claire whispered, her face red. A sip of water gave her back her pale colour.

"Is your boss's name Benedikt Silberlilie?" she said, gasping.

"He and Mr. Haarmann are responsible for the training."

"He's my father."


Well that felt like a sort of dumb move to make there by declaring outright that he's her father....but hmm, ever since I recognized the name Ernst I was wondering when this revelation would be made. I was expecting something more subtle where Ernst recognizes Claire in some way and reports to her father, or describes her to her father and something goes down there, but it seems instead we're likely going to see a much more direct situation going down here.

"You never mentioned he worked there," Daphne interjected, "I guess you don't see much of each other."

“No," Ernst and Claire revealed at the same time.

Daphne laughed and took a sip of wine. She poured for them and raised the glass.

"What coincidences the world brings. Hurrah for Our Mother!"

"Wait." interjected Ernst, "You've been in Berlyne for three weeks and you haven't been to see your father once?"

"I haven't seen him for two years. I'm staying with my aunt in Regenschloss."

"But you have to tell him you're here! He worries a lot about you," he explained, "He talks about you all the time."

Daphne shook him awake.

"Let her. We don't need to interfere in their family affairs."


Hmm...now that alone has to be a good indicator of how smart Daphne, cause that's the best course of action for anyone to take here...although I have a feeling that bit of advice is not something anyone is going to manage to stick to in this story.

"She still has to see him... if she wants to go through with the training. I'll make an appointment for tomorrow right away."

"Not tomorrow,” Daphne spoke for her friend, "Soon. Give her time."

Claire's face had turned deathly pale when her father was spoken of. The telephone conversation flashed through her mind, the letter and himself. Now he was standing awfully close to her.


Aha...as predicted things have come to a head in this part...and we've got a very interesting encounter set out for the near future, although with the suggestion of the appointment being delayed I wonder if it will happen in one of the parts to follow or will it end up in the next chapter.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall..things are certainly off in an intriguing direction, where you plan on taking that particular plot point is hard to judge, but I can tell things are about to get very, very interesting here.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry






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Thu Jan 20, 2022 5:07 am
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ForeverYoung299 wrote a review...



Hey! Forever here with a review!!

Well, this was a very interesting part of the chapter. Things are going very well. As expected, Daphne seemed to understand Claire very well and fortunately, Claire didn’t go back to her introvert den in which she used to reside. That’s a pretty good thing. Daphne was kind of a mind-reader here. She intricately managed to understand what Claire was thinking. Well, now seeing from a normal viewpoint, no one has to do anything with Claire’s feelings. I mean for the feelings she had, no one is responsible, including her. It’s good that Daphne straight-away talked with her rather than letting Claire spin the false threads.

So, this was quite a part of a whole bunch of revelations taking place. A lot of connections were also laid between different people. In brief, a lot happened and I need time to process them. Anyway, this Mr. Haarmaan is interesting. If I can recall correctly, Claire kind of suspected him to be the murderer. Turns out that he is an important figure in the company as Benedikt. Wow, Leonard has managed to stretch his connections far and wide. I can see that very clearly. Hm… This Haarmaan can actually be important because he links Benedikt and Leonard and it can be through him that Leonard got to know a lot about Benedikt.

Next comes the moving away of Ernst. Well, I don’t think a lot of attention is required on the matter because hm… the story may end before that. It will be a problem for Daphne if he moves away though as both of them were sharing rooms. Let’s see what happens. As it seems, both Daphne and Ernst have to travel across the world or let’s say the empire for doing their jobs. I wonder what happens to the house if both of them are outside. Some ghosts reside there maybe :D Oh yes, I liked how you managed to clarify why Daphne was so free although she was working in a company. Her connection has certainly brought her a lot of freedom, I see.

Finally, finally, we got to see the revelation. It was quite funny how the revelation took place. I mean, not for the characters but if we talk about the readers, that appeared to be very funny from every point I can see. It would be very interesting to see Claire going to her father and asking for an apprenticeship. Well, I don’t think that is actually going to happen in reality. If she just goes to her father and tell him about it, there’s no way he will let her into the job. Very problematic.

I liked how Daphne supported Claire. The only thing I am afraid of at the moment is Ernst. Hopefully, he is not going to go to Benedikt and reveal everything to him. I don’t know if he can be restrained from doing that. Also, he mentioned that Benedikt keeps talking of Claire.I wonder if this is going to have any influence on Claire’s mindset about her father. Also, this Elvira. I don’t know how important a character she is but hm… I wonder why Ernst was shocked. It can be for the fact that Daphne literally asked to call a doctor for some normal choking. I wonder if there’s any other reason. Overall, I enjoyed reading this part.

Keep Writing!!

~Forever






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Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.
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