Prologue: The Silver Daughter
A pale dawn. The painting of a traveler, with the color of daybreak trapped in his eyes, was Riz Milton’s treasure.
He was a foreigner who visited from far and distant lands.
At that time, Riz couldn’t pronounce his name properly. It was a difficult language.
During the time she called him the “Dawn-Eyed Traveler” she forgot his real name.
However, she only remembered that it had a beautiful sound, like a stringed instrument.
Guests from the east were messengers of fortune. That superstition lived in Riz’s village.
Her grandparents readily lent a room to the traveler who wished to rest for a while in this land.
The traveler was a kind and cheery man. He was different from the village kids that treated the pale-faced and sickly Riz like a ghost and bullied and teased her. Fluent in the language of this country, he let her hear the many mysterious and amusing things he experienced in his travels.
He was also a painter.
He stayed in the village for about a month and in that time finished several works.
And one of those works was gifted to Riz.
Thinking about it now, those paintings that were handed over were probably compensation for the expenses during his stay.
He gave the title “The Silver Daughter” to that painting.
Riz was the model.
However, what was drawn on that canvas was not a girl. It wasn’t even a human in the first place.
It was a fish.
A single fish that swayed its silver tail, it swam elegantly in a starry night.
If a person was to forcibly raise points of similarity with Riz then perhaps it was the color. That silver which was like a bundle of starlight.
It was a composition as if one was turning around, having been called by someone. The depiction was extremely elaborate. That outline with life breathed into it, the vibrant scales, the smooth movement of those silky fins, and the shading which produced a texture.
The fish glittered imperceptibly, reflecting the dense blue of the night.
The traveler’s brushwork was outstanding and there was no room to doubt his talent as a painter. In his works, there was a certain technique of someone who studied with dozens, hundreds of canvases through day and night.
But her grandparents who looked at those paintings frowned and in their eyes rested a light of criticism.
It was not becasue their granddaughter was likened to a fish.
That painting was divinely magical but, at the same time, there was an indecent atmosphere somewhere that drifted about it.
The translucent, long tail was reminiscent of the ample folds of a dress.
It was like an exceptionally gorgeous lady who appeared at an evening ball and, noticing the passionate gazes of the men, turned around.
Riz, personally, liked that painting.
Before the traveler left the village, he let her hear a strange story under an oak tree that grew in the garden. It was a clear day that foretold the coming of summer.
“Riz, if you are to feel uneasy looking at a painting in the future then look away immediately.”
“Because it is a distorted painting.”
“What’s a deh-store-ted pain-ting?”
“A profane design that was added unassumingly… It is a work that draws symbols towards God’s wickedness without the painter themselves noticing.”
“A bad drawing?”
“That’s right. It will make God angry. But not many people know about the existence of distorted paintings.”
“Like a trick drawing?”
The traveler laughed. Laugh lines showed clearly on that dark skin, tanned by the sun.
“A little similar to that.”
However, he seemed to say and changed his expression again.
“Optical illusions are safe, but distorted paintings are scary. Because the wickedness of God is drawn, demons like it and will settle down there. It will become a ‘demon’s hideaway’.”
“Dawn-Eyed Traveler, are the drawings you draw ‘distorted paintings’ too?”
“This is different.”
“Why did you draw me like a fish?”
“Because you’re a ‘Daughter of the Fish’.”
“I’m not a Pisces. I’m a Cancer.”
“It’s not related to the constellation of your birth month.”
“Then what is it?”
The traveler didn’t answer immediately. He bent down and, with a gentle hand that smelled of pigment, stroked Riz’s head. It was a rough, massive, and hard sensation. It reminded her of the gardener’s hands. And the hands of the villagers who held hoes. These weren’t hands that only held a brush. They were the hands of someone who knew labor and overcame many rough days. Like that, she felt the days he had gone through.
“Riz, you often see things that people don’t notice, don’t you?”
Her shoulders flinched at the surprising question.
“You don’t have to lie. I’ll keep this conversation a secret from your grandfather and grandmother.”
Riz timidly looked up at the traveler.
“I see fairies. Here and there in the woods.”
“Only the woods?”
“Uh-uh, I see them sometimes in the mansion. Also, something like a strange fog, or tracks of animals that shouldn’t be there. Even though it hasn’t rained, sometimes there’s wet footprints on the floor.”
He didn’t respond but, looking at his expression, Riz could tell he was listening to her seriously.
Gaining courage from that she continued.
“But it looks like papa and mama can’t see them. I know I’m not living here alone in grandma’s mansion just to get better from being sick. It’s because my big sisters are scared of me.”
“Grandma and everyone else doesn’t believe me. They say ‘There’s no such things as fairies, you mustn’t lie’ with really scary faces.”
It hurt not to be believed.
She was looked at by everyone with eyes that said she was a lying child.
“But I see them even though it’s not that I want to see them. Am I strange somewhere?”
Because she was drawn to the traveler’s painting, that of a fish swimming in the night sky, a special world which was drawn that did not exist in reality.
Maybe the traveler was also like her and things that people couldn’t see were reflected in those eyes? Riz had that hope.
“It’s nothing strange. You have the qualities of the Fish. Because of that, you can see inexplicable things.”
The traveler said that with a calm look.
“The Fish is a provisional shape of the saint, who God released from heaven. From the astrals to the placenta. It swims in the ecliptic, passing through the twelve palaces, and eventually settling in the Seat of a person.”
“You are the Daughter of the Fish who can see the demons lurking in their hideaways.”
(T/N: My new LN project! Starting it right on New Year so it’s easier for me to keep track as to how long this one will take me this time LOL.)