Episode 17: The Crossing Point
"Timetable" is the 1st chapter of The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novel, volume 5. It's divided into eight parts and contains two illustrations. The chapter is labeled as Episode 17 in the story line.
Kamilla got Hugh and Dalian out of bed so they could investigate the rumors about a ghost train running on the Highland Railway, a line that hasn't received passenger cars for twelve years. Dalian became interested in the case, realizing that such a sight could be related to the Timetable.
He was hit in the head with a coal shovel. Blood was dripping on the floor, flowing out from his forehead. It was dark outside, so he couldn’t see the surrounding mountains. However, by noticing the vibration and the noise, he knew that the train was accelerating. The air and smoke coming out from the firebox made the narrow driver’s compartment breathtakingly hot. Light from the fire revealed the tall engineer standing nearby, holding a bloodied shovel. The assailant was supposed to be his superior, the man in charge of the train, a gloomy man who entered the cabin in the first station at the capital.
They haven’t talked to each other since then. The engineer’s attitude had suddenly changed after a short conversation with a conductor through a speaking tube. He began destroying the brake system and the regulating valve of the vehicle. The other man was only trying to stop him, but he was knocked down. Now, there was no way to stop the train while they were approaching a dangerous downhill. The regulating valve was fully opened, resulting in steam continuously powering the locomotive. The train would certainly derail and cause a huge tragedy because of the overspeed in such a steep section. The engineer smiled and jumped off of the train as soon as he saw a safe spot to land. The wounded man was the only person left in the cabin. He lacked the means to save the passengers. If he also jumped off, he could at least save himself. The sound of a safety valve indicated that the speed limit was exceeded. Struggling against fear, he proceeded to leave the driver’s cabin.
Part 1 Edit
The rusted track built over a rocky surface cut the mountains of the northern part of the kingdom. The poor station and the small town were deserted. The dark place had the atmosphere of ruins. Hugh was sit on a bench, holding a lamp so Dalian could read a large book. The little girl complains when he moves. She was also in a bad mood due to hunger. The station had no dining room or open shops. Dalian is the one who decided to visit the station. They wish to witness the ghost train that Kamilla mentioned. The latter wasn’t present because her father prevented her from riding a train. Hugh also shares the same feeling. After all, Kamilla lost her mother in a railway accident.
Part 2 Edit
That morning, Kamilla pulled Hugh’s blanket off to wake him up. They have thoroughly investigated that mansion a long time ago, so the cheerful young woman knew how to let herself in. A sleepy Dalian had been dragged by her. The Biblioprincess asks if she showed up for breakfast. Kamilla, however, was holding a lunch basket with a fragrant smell. She prepared everything so they could go to the station together. It seems that a ghost passed through the Highland Railway last night at a tremendous speed. Dalian teases her, talking about the ghost of an old woman that moves at 100 mph, chasing cars to curse the happy couples inside it. She affirms that Kamilla would have the same fate if she fails to marry someone. But Kamilla believes that she would become a ghost that tempts man with her beautiful face and hypnotic voice. Back to the subject, Kamilla explains that a luxury train was witnessed after the last service time.
Trains for special passengers like that, with private rooms and a dining car, weren’t operating in that route for twelve years. Due to a tragedy in the past, only freight trains use the Highland Railway nowadays. A rich person could run a luxurious train on a route where only cargo is transported, but Hugh couldn’t think why someone would do that. Kamilla adds that the appearance of the ghost train is the same as the one involved in the incident more than a decade ago. Although Hugh seemed interested, he covers himself, going back to sleep. Kamilla pulls his blanket once again, showing the three tickets she arranged. Meanwhile, Dalian was looking for the fried breads inside Kamilla’s baggage. She finds an unfamiliar magazine amongst her possessions.
Suddenly, the maids from Kamilla’s mansion barge in Hugh’s bedroom. Kamilla had left the mansion without her father’s permission. The man would have difficulties to do business that day, since he couldn’t sleep, worried about his daughter. Kamilla has no choice but to be carried away by the maids. Hugh had just closed his eyes when Dalian urged him to get up. While eating a piece of fried bread, she shows him the magazine taken from Kamilla’s baggage. It contains blurred and shaky photos of the ghost train. Hugh notices a man reading a book at the end of the platform.
Part 3 Edit
Dalian is frustrated and bored at the Granholm Station, waiting for the ghost train while trying to read a book in the dark. It was past midnight and the temperature was dropping, causing the little girl to sneeze. Hugh just mentioned how the ghost train would attract a crowd if it appeared every night, when Dalian notices the presence of a man in his thirties in the distance. He does not appear to be a railroad official. It was impossible to take a passenger train in that station. That man could only be waiting for the ghost train.
Hugh begins to walk towards him after noticing a thick book in his left hand. Dalian talks about the Timetable, but her voice is covered by the sound of a steam engine. Bursting out from the darkness, Hugh sees a large black locomotive carrying luxurious passenger cars. The mysterious man was shivering and crying at the sight. He was expecting that train at that exactly moment. Hugh tries to interrogate him, only to see the man running towards the vehicle as it passed by the station. Dalian also wants to board the train. Hugh picked up the little girl and jumped out of the platform.
Part 4 Edit
It was difficult to breathe because of the smoke coming from the front of the train. The acceleration and the vibration felt terrible. Dalian, hanging under Hugh’s armpit, wants to go inside the passenger car. However, the door in front of them is locked and cannot be kicked open. The young man couldn’t use his revolver, since he was already carrying the little girl and holding the handrail. He says that they should wait the train stop at the next station. Unfortunately, the ghost vehicle seems to be getting faster and faster. Dalian decides to use the revolver herself to get out of that windy spot. She’s convinced that she would be able to use the gun. The Biblioprincess tickles Hugh while searching the revolver in his coat. Both collapse inside the passenger car when the door suddenly opens.
Dalian is struggling, trapped under Hugh’s body while he examines the gorgeous interior. In the middle of the aisle, he sees a pretty young girl seven or eight years old. Using a key, she had opened the door from the inside, showing no fear of the strangers, only curiosity. Hugh helps Dalian up, but she falls down on her face. The blonde girl laughs when Dalian calls her a child. Hugh watched as they stood on their tiptoes to decide who’s taller. The young girl doesn’t reveal her identity, following her mother’s instructions to never say her real name to an unknown person. However, she introduces herself as KK. She informs that the train will reach West Highland tomorrow morning. The destination is a mountainous area in the north region of the kingdom, a scenic spot filled with noble and wealthy villas.
KK’s parents fought each other and now the child would live in her aunt’s villa with her mother. KK left the capital last night, which is strange since the train should have covered the distance already. Bored, the blonde girl was looking for something interesting to do, like investigating a case. In fact, she heard that the suspect of a murder has boarded the train. A detective was looking for Jiryis, a violent man who broke prison. It’s something hard to believe coming from a child, but Hugh and Dalian’s situation was far from normal. They were inside a special train that shouldn’t be operating for twelve years. Dalian walks down the aisle to search the owner of the Timetable. KK follows her, interested. Hugh loses balance with the sudden shock that causes the passenger car to shake. The little girls roll together on the floor, stopping at a wall. Hugh was helping them when he heard an anguished cry from the lounge. KK runs by herself to check it, followed by Dalian. Hugh sighs before running after them.
Part 5 Edit
The lounge was a spacious car equipped with a leather sofas and a bar. Glasses had fallen and rolled on the floor after a brawl. A middle-aged woman informs Hugh that a conductor and the passengers were holding a suspicious man down, the same one seen with the Timetable in hands at the Granholm Station. This mysterious person tried to stop the train, affirming that everyone would die otherwise. Now, it’s thought that he is the jailbreaker who escaped from the capital. The detective mentioned by KK was pressing him roughly against the floor. Dalian approaches them to ask about the location of the Timetable. The constrained man's eyes lingered on a spot under the leather sofa. The Biblioprincess means to pick up the book, but the detective stretches his hand first, regarding it as evidence of a crime. Dalian was so angry that she couldn’t say a word. After having a difficult night, her target was taken right in front of her.
Hugh walks forward, asking them to release the man, affirming that he is no criminal. KK said that the murderer boarded the train in the capital, while the suspect they were holding only appeared a few minutes ago, at the Granholm Station. The detective is still skeptic, forcing the unknown man against the floor. The latter affirms to be called Heizer Hayling, the assistant engineer of that train, one of the responsible for the engine operation. The detective, however, answers that Hayling should be many years younger. The suspect keeps fighting, asking them to stop the vehicle. Hugh concludes that he’s aboard the train involved in the Highland Railway twelve years ago. The Timetable allows them to get on any train in the past or future. The passengers there may already be dead.
KK is confused, but Hugh explains that they want to see the man’s book. This was impossible because they couldn’t approach him, since people think he’s a criminal. KK suggests they find the real jailbreaker. According to the detective, there were no other suspects in the passenger cars. The blonde girl knows where the criminal might be hiding. After all, the detective hasn’t interrogated the engineer and the fireman of the locomotive. Gloucester Jiryis worked in a small mountain railway before. The detective releases Hayling, who keeps agonizing on the floor, yelling that the events of twelve years ago would be repeated.
Predicting a tragedy, Hugh looks around the lounge, unable to find the conductor. The Timetable creates a perfect reproduction of the past, including people’s appearance and attitude. The conductor would try to use the speaking tube to confirm the engineer’s identity, inciting the murderer to act. Hugh finds the conductor in the foremost part of the passenger car. The entire train shakes once again before he can stop him. The locomotive gained speed when it was almost reaching a long downhill.
Part 6 Edit
Hayling was desperate, pounding the floor with his fists. After all, the events of twelve years ago were happening once again. The fake engineer had knocked down the fireman, destroyed the brake system of the locomotive and increased the engine power to the maximum. The train was about to derail, taking many lives with it. Jiryis would jumped off of the train and disappear while people were distracted with the upcoming tragedy. They hear a scream coming from the railroad side. Hayling from the past, unable to stop the train, had just left the passengers behind.
The older Hayling, regretting this decision for twelve years, planned to use the Timetable to change the events of that day. However, the locomotive had accelerated so much that even the emergency brakes couldn’t reduce its speed. Nonetheless, Hayling stands up, decided to do something. Hugh follows him to the exterior part of the train. It was a dangerous situation since the vehicle was shaking so much. Hayling almost fell from the coal-car when the train entered a curve, but Hugh pulled him to safety. The fireman recognizes the driver’s compartment from twelve years ago. He apologizes before hitting Hugh’s head with the coal shovel.
Hayling plans to decouple the locomotive from the passenger cars. The emergency brakes would eventually stop the rest of the train. Hugh watched as the coupler was disconnected, releasing countless sparks. Hayling accept his fate aboard the out-of-control locomotive, which reached a curve and tilted due to the centrifugal force. It finally derailed, rolled down a cliff and exploded.
Part 7 Edit
Hugh wiped the blood from his forehead. Dalian and KK had also climbed outside, looking for him. The girls soon understood what Hayling had done. Dalian held a book tightly in her hands. KK notices that the passenger cars were not stopping. It seems like the brakes have overheated. That region had only downhills, so the train would continue to accelerate. However, Dalian would not let Hayling’s sacrifice be in vain. The Timetable in her hands reveals that, while in the past there was only a railroad going downhill, in the future a bifurcation will be used by freight trains carrying slate from the top of the mountain. Hugh used his lighter to examine the Phantom Book. He applied its power to orient the vehicle uphill. Although the cars shook violently, they escaped the derailment.
Hugh breathed in relief, KK smiled gorgeously and Dalian rolled around because of the swaying. The blonde child introduces herself as Kamilla Sauer Keynes. Hugh’s childhood friend was involved in the Highland Railway tragedy that took her mother’s life. Rescue would come soon and the jailbreaker would be caught. Worried about her mother, Kamilla returns to the passenger car. She wishes to see Hugh and Dalian again later. The surroundings begin to shake like an illusion, as if magic was going out of control. Hugh and Dalian return to their original era.
Part 8 Edit
Kamilla forces Hugh and Dalian awake in the next morning. He didn’t recognize the crowded train station he was in. According to Kamilla, she had just arrived Granholm Station when she saw them. The place was dirty and deserted last night, but now it was prospering. Kamilla was heading to her aunt’s villa with her mother. Although Kamilla knows about an incident that occurred on this line twelve years ago, the Phantom Book in Dalian’s hands greatly changed the fate of the Highland Railway and its passengers.
The blonde young woman has ambiguous memories about the event. Her parents were still fighting each other, but they were both alive and well. Hugh notices an article displayed on the wall inside a glass case. It shows the photograph of an engineer assistant that sacrificed himself to save the passengers from a derailment. He was smiling satisfactorily after overcoming his fate.