[Novel Summary] YnM, A Study in Scarlet: Louis and the Aquariums
This is the second short story in A Study in Scarlet, the first official novel of Yuukoku no Moriarty. If anyone's interested in translating the full story and needs the raw text, please message @kumoriyami-xiuzhen!
Story description: Louis was assigned with the task of raising some fish and he learns the pains of having an aquarium. He gets especially attached to the fish they named "William". (Can you guess which fish they named after which person?)
We also get to see Moran having an emotional heart-to-heart talk with his new best friend.
Summary length: 6,399 words (Too detailed as usual lol)
In one of the 20 small fish tanks in their residence, one fish is not doing so well. Its movements were weak as it floats at the bottom of the tank. Louis stares worriedly at it, praying that it would get better.
Rewind to 10 days ago.
After admiring the flowers grown by Fred, Louis leaves the greenhouse only to see William outside. William asks Louis if he could do something for him, to which Louis immediately replies yes, much to William's delight.
They move to the sitting room, where William shows Louis a photo of a man in his thirties. He has beige hair, a pointy chin, chubby cheeks, and distrustful eyes that show just how hard he is to approach.
His name is Jack Stapleton, an aristocrat who owns a large number of assets and territories. He is a well-known expert in natural history and has even presented his discovery of a new species of moths at an academic conference before.
Louis asks if he is their next target, but William replies that he is just a candidate for now. He is suspected to be secretly involved in illegal human trafficking, but there is no proof of it as of yet so William is using MI6's intelligence networks to make sure if this person is truly worth convicting.
However, supposing he is guilty but MI6 can't prove it, that means he has some sort of means to cover for his actions. Therefore, William plans to get in touch with the antisocial Stapleton using the latter's oddly strong interest in plants and animals.
Apparently, Stapleton has a rather fickle personality. Before he was interested in moths, but now it's tropical freshwater fish that catch his interest. William's request for Louis is to take care of the fish he got from overseas to capture Stapleton's interest.
No one else is available to care for it, and they can't invite outsiders to work in the residence either. Louis was clearly chosen for the sole reason that no one else can attend to it, but he is still rather motivated in doing it as he does not usually get to contribute to William's plans.
However, these are foreign fish so Louis was worried that there aren't any guides on how to raise them. William reassures him that they can replace some if they die and that he'll prepare anything Louis will need. He has already asked Herder for help developing a fish tank for them.
Louis confidently tells William that he'll do it, which pleases William (which in turn pleases Louis).
Two days later, Fred is utterly dumbfounded by the transformation for their rarely used reception room. They had three 5-meter tanks installed with 20-30 colorful fish and water plants inside.
Captivated by the fish, he listens as Louis explains that they were imported from Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America. Even the water was imported from the river and ponds they were taken from as Louis was worried they would not be able to adapt from the local water.
As Louis talks about Herder sending more equipment later on, he stops as he notices that there are skirmishes between the fish among the tanks. To stop them, he hesitantly puts his hand in the tank and gently waves his hand to make them disperse.
To his relief, the fish do not continue fighting, though Fred worriedly points out that having problems this early in might be a sign of how much work taking care of them will be. Still, Fred sees that Louis is deadset on doing this for his brother.
Two days after the fish arrive, the curtains in the reception room have been drawn shut, making the room a bit dim. The large fish tanks have been replaced with 20 smaller ones, each equipped with cutting-edge technology to keep the fish alive.
Moran and Fred visit the room and ask Louis how the fish are doing, and he informs them that he has finally grasped the nature of each fish properly so there should be no problems here on out.
The device on the top half of the fish tanks catches Fred's interest, making him ask if they're necessary, and Louis tells them they're filters that improve the water quality. These devices are way ahead of their time, and Herder developed them just to raise some tropical fish.
Seeing all the fish originally out in the wild cooped up inside the room makes Moran propose letting them swim in an outside pond every once in a while, or even bringing out the tanks themselves so the fish could get some sunlight. However, Louis replies that the fish would find it hard to adapt if placed in a different body of water, and exposing the fish tank to sunlight would cause moss to grow and the water temperature to rise. So Louis mimics the passing of day and night using illumination instead.
Light bulbs and other devices powered by electricity are not widely used by the public yet, which just proves how frighteningly advanced Herder's creations are.
Louis and Moran continue chatting as Fred stares at the fish, enamored by them. William then steps into the room, which prompts Louis to ask how work was coming along, to which he replies that things are progressing smoothly.
When William then praises Louis for doing a good job taking care of the fish, Louis looks proud even as he modestly gives credit to William and Herder's help.
Moran happily watches over their interactions but then asks what they'll do about the fish once the mission with Stapleton is over. Louis answers that they'll give them all to Stapleton since he will most likely want them all.
This surprises Moran and makes him ask to at least keep one of the fish tanks, but these fish are just a means to an end for Louis. He is not all that attached to them.
Although they would all gladly give up their lives for William, Louis' indifference still shocks Moran.
Meanwhile, while the two of them are talking, William gazes at the fish. The bright colors of the Puntius rhomboocellatus (snakeskin barb) in particular catch his eye.
Moran is impressed that William can say the fish's name so easily because although he and Fred also memorized the fish in case Louis can't look after it, he can't really call them by that name.
On the other hand, it cheers Louis to see his brother looking approving as he sees the fish, and recommends checking out the Mikrogeophagus ramirezi (Ram cichlid) too.
William thinks its blue color is pretty and then points out the Neolamprologus brichardi (Lyretail cichlid) as a personal favorite of his. In response, Louis recommends checking out the Julidochromis transcriptus (masked juie) and the Pelvicachromis taeniatus too.
While Moran is glad to see them getting along, his eye starts twitching as he asks them to stop throwing around such complicated names.
However, the two of them just ignore him and keep on using the scientific names of the fish.
Louis appreciates how practical some of the fish are, like the way the Corydoras paleatus cleans up the leftover feed. Meanwhile, the Chela dadiburjori tends to jump out of the tank if you don't put a lid on it, while the Boraras urophthalmoides was troublesome to find a good tankmate for.
William brings up that the Siamese Flying Fox must be a favorite of Louis for its practical way of eating algae, which Louis acknowledges. Then Louis brings his brother's attention to the way the Nannostomus beckfordi are flaring its gills.
Moran finally can't take it anymore and shouts for them to stop talking, which leaves Louis baffled. The latter was just about to show William the Triple Red Apistogramma cacatuoides (Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid) after all.
Moran explains that he and Fred can't keep up with their conversation since they keep using complicated names as if this was some university lecture.
Although Moran puts Fred in the same boat as he says this, Fred was actually pointing at each fish the two were talking about and muttering their names to check whether or not he remembered them.
Meanwhile, Louis is puzzled at Moran's struggle, as he and his brother memorized them easily, much to Moran and Fred's surprise. The latter is astonished to the point that he freezes as he comments on how they were on a different level.
It's not like Moran and Fred are particularly on the slow side either. Moran is a noble who graduated from Oxford, while Fred is smarter than the average person. Still, the two can't hide their awe at how the 3 Moriartys can memorize such complicated names in one try.
Moran then proposes to give the fish nicknames instead of saying words that sound like incantations, which Louis thinks is also a good idea.
Looking around the fish tanks, Moran spies a group of guppies and proposes to call those "Fred", much to Louis' shock. Apparently, he chose that name for them since they're small and agile. Fred on the other hand just looked dubiously at Moran's enthusiastic explanation.
William finally joins in on the conversation, suggesting to give Fred's name to a fish that can do camouflage such as a leaffish. Still, he does not quite understand why they're giving guppies another name when the name itself is rather simple.
However, Moran interjects, insisting that it's fine and they should just go with their gut feeling when giving names. He doesn't budge on calling the guppies "Fred".
Then he stares at a small pufferfish that had its own fish tank and calls it "Moran" for its solitary nature.
This fish actually attacked the other fish on its first day moving in, which is why it was given its own fish tank. Louis wanted to inform Moran about it but wavered, not wanting to dampen Moran's good mood.
Moran misunderstands his hesitation, thinking Louis also wanted to give it his own name and tells him it's too late because Moran has already named it.
Louis decides to just keep quiet and not burst his bubble. Fred, who had also seen the mess the pufferfish made on its first day here, just averts his gaze with pity for Moran and doesn't clue him in either.
As he looks away, Fred spots some fish that reminded him of the Moriartys and points it out. Three silver and black striped angelfish are swimming closely together and it reminds him of the strong bond the brothers had.
William laughs self-deprecatingly at this, saying that its angelic name suits them the least.
However, he is countered with the explanation that they are angels in a way. The type of angels that sounded the trumpets in the book of Revelations*, that is. This satirical reasoning makes William chuckle.
(*T.N.: In the Book of Revelations, each time an angel blew a trumpet, catastrophes occur to enact God's judgment on Earth.)
Louis then agrees with Fred and says the angelfish are very elegant, much like his older brothers. William of course is quick to add that Louis' soul is just as lofty as these fish, so there's no need for him to leave himself out like that. This makes Louis shyly thank William for his compliment.
Moran approves of their reasoning and calls the 3 angelfish "William", "Albert", and "Louis" respectively, causing William to smile, embarrassed.
With that decided, Moran announces that he's heading out now. Fred stops him since they haven't named the other fish yet, but Moran scratches his head, saying he just realized there are too many fish to name. They've already given their names to 5 of them so he's satisfied for now.
Moran's heedless attitude leaves Fred speechless. Normally, this would be around the time when Louis would assign chores to him, but Louis is too preoccupied with the angelfish right now.
He is currently unaware of it, but he has gotten a little attached to the 3 fish named after them.
Noontime three days later, a week has passed since the fish were brought in.
Moran happily comes in, checking in on the fish. Ever since they named the fish, Moran has gotten into the habit of hanging out in this room and watching the fish whenever he is free. Fred has also gotten into this habit, and Louis even gave him permission to feed the fish.
The moment he entered the room, Moran happily sticks his face close to the guppies' fish tank which was located near the entrance, and greets "Fred".
The group of guppies always sticks together so they have no idea which one was originally named "Fred", so this is just what he calls this whole school of fish.
Then Moran moves on to the pufferfish, talking about how nice it must be to have its own fish tank. Moran speaks to it as though they are very close friends, saying that people must think it's lonely since it's on its own, but Moran personally thinks a solitary life isn't all that bad. That's the way he lived his life before, alone in the shady side of London to exact revenge on the person who declared that he was killed in action.
The pufferfish looks somewhat flabbergasted that he is suddenly being regaled with Moran's life story. Moran doesn't take note of the fish's reaction at all, and passionately goes on about how back then, he was set on living on his own, but then he met people he could trust like William.
Putting his face closer to the tank, he then tells the pufferfish that although it may be living in solitude now, it will surely meet others that it could trust someday. Do not feel down in the dumps. If it keeps being resolute, it would surely---
Upon seeing two people reflected on the fish tank's glass, Moran abruptly stops talking. He quietly turns around in dread. Louis and Alfred are standing behind him.
Moran nervously asks when they turned up, and Louis clears his throat and awkwardly explains that they've been there ever since Moran moved to the pufferfish's tank.
Meanwhile, Albert sports a bewildered smile as he expresses his awe at Colonel Moran's excellent communication skills. He could even talk sociably with tropical fish.
Previously in high spirits, Moran's mood crashes down as he realizes that they witnessed him making an embarrassingly sincere speech to a fish. He accuses them of being mean for not interrupting him for their amusement, but Louis hesitantly points out that it was Moran who just spilled everything.
Moran acknowledges that, saying the fish's magical charm must have made him forget that Louis is usually here in this room. It was uncharacteristic for him to make this kind of mistake, so Louis agrees that it may have really been the fish's charm that made him do it.
But then, Albert gently proposes that maybe they should ask William to give Moran a break if he's tired.
Seeing Albert interacting with him with genuine kindness instead of his usual teasing attitude makes Moran weakly insist not to treat him with pity.
Although he does want to sleep the whole night now that he is exhausted mentally by accidentally exposing himself like that, he eventually shrugs the matter off and starts watching the fish again.
Albert and Louis look serious are they whisper to each other. Ears reddening, Moran pretends he doesn't hear a thing.
He walks around the room until he realizes that the fish are not being treated equally and points it out. Louis denies it but Moran then points at the angelfish's fish tank with his chin.
Louis tilts his head in confusion as Moran brings up how their tank is a little more extravagant than the rest. Compared to the other tanks with plain designs, this tank had aquatic plants and better lighting.
Albert and Louis then start identifying the plants in the tank such as the Alternanthera Reineckii and Echinodorus Tenellus, but Moran quickly stops them from saying complicated terms again, sick of how the brothers are easily absorbed into their own world.
In any case, Moran notices that the plants in the angelfish's tank are fancier than the rest and claims that Louis has gotten attached just because these fish are also named after the brothers he idolizes. It's a feeling he has gotten from Louis for a while now, ever since they gave those fish his brother's names.
Feeling indignant at his observation, Louis insists that he has no special attachment towards these fish. He only treats them as a means to an end to his brother's scheme.
Louis can say all he wants, but the current situation contradicts it. Moran then clarifies that he's not criticizing Louis for his favoritism. Louis just treats these fish in particular a little warmer because they're called "William" and "Albert". There's nothing really wrong with that.
Albert agrees, saying that Louis is free to treat the fish however he wants so long as doesn't have a harmful effect on them. After all, all that's important in the plan is that the fish are alive so they can offer them to Stapleton.
Louis wanted to flatly deny any emotional attachment to these "tools", but now that Albert has said something, he can only stay quiet.
Before leaving, Albert then thanks Louis for the hard work and tells him to keep it up.
Moran then informs Louis that it's okay to just have fun with it as long as all the fish don't die. He looks around at the other tanks afterwards before also heading out.
However, as he takes a step out of the room, he glances at Louis. He feels a little uneasy at the serious expression on Louis' face.
The next morning.
Curious as to how Louis will act after getting called out yesterday, Moran takes Fred to the reception room with him. Fred kept on yawning and his eyes were bleary. He must have worked late into the night. However, the moment Moran opens the door, Fred's sleepiness vanishes in an instant because of the shocking scene before him.
A corner of the room has turned into a jungle. The angelfish tank was surrounded by many South American trees. When the two entered, they felt that the room was more humid compared to yesterday.
At Moran's surprised exclamation, Louis' face suddenly pops up from behind one of the trees wrapped in ivy. He warns Moran against shouting since it would stress the fish out and asks why he shouted in the first place.
When Moran asks what he's done with the place, Louis explains that he recreated the South American rainforest so his brothe-- or rather the tropical fish would feel more comfortable. He ordered these things the other day and they arrived last night. Everything was set up just a while ago.
Things had escalated so quickly in one night that it left Moran completely blindsided. He points out Louis' slip of the tongue and recreation of the South American rainforest, saying he had a feeling something would happen.
Normally, when someone's called out for something, they'd reconsider and hold back a bit, but he sensed that Louis would wholeheartedly go for it. Still, Moran didn't expect that Louis would go this far.
On the other hand, Louis just calmly thanks Moran for clarifying but once again claims that he is not playing favorites with any particular fish.
Moran is utterly baffled by this and wonders if Louis is just playing dumb, while Fred is impressed that Louis is utterly unfazed by Moran's words.
In the end, Moran acknowledges that they gave him the freedom to do as he likes to the fish anyway, and just expresses his awe at Louis' love for his brothers.
Sensing that there was no point arguing with the youngest Moriarty over his methods, Moran just gives up the fight and starts watching the fish again.
However, the trees he sees can't help but pique his curiosity. He couldn't resist hurrying into the thicket of trees. Fred follows cautiously.
Moran approaches the row of trees and moves the leaves aside with his hand to go in. There, they find a tank on top of a table with animals with flashy colors-- a couple of small dark blue frogs with red patches.
Seeing the two stick their faces close to the tank, Louis warns them not to open it because the frogs apparently have poison that South American tribes use to coat their arrowheads.
Fred and Moran immediately jump way back at his warning. Terrified at how close they were to danger, Moran gets mad at Louis for bringing something that dangerous into the house.
Louis apologizes, explaining that while it is also to recreate the tropical fish's former habitat, they have also brought in other animals just in case it also catches their target's interest.
He then skillfully opens the tank a little bit and throws in some insects to feed them, leaving the other two speechless.
Seeing Louis efficiently check on the other tanks leaves Moran dazed to know how much people could achieve in a short period of time...
Moved by how amazing Louis is, Fred and Moran once again enter the thicket of trees, though this time with cautiousness.
Moran is relieved to find that the Three Moriarty Brothers' tank hasn't changed. Leading the fish was William, followed by Albert and Louis.
While Moran looks happy as he watches the angelfish, Fred on the other hand squints and meekly points out that one is moving a little awkwardly.
It's not noticeable at a glance, but once Moran did observe it more carefully, the fish leading the pack did seem to be swimming a little differently compared to the rest.
Their attentiveness attracts Louis' attention, making him come closer and see William's oddity himself. He puts his face closer and his expression turns grave.
When Moran asks him what to do, Louis proposes moving the fish in another tank and gets Moran to fetch the smaller tank they have. Then he asks Fred to read the number on the measuring instrument in the tank.
As the two of them go about their tasks, Louis takes out the memo pad in his pocket and double checks the emergency measures he wrote for this occasion.
Once Moran comes back with the small tank, Louis then takes enough water from the angelfishes' tank for one fish to swim in, double checks the water temperature and quality, and then adds some salt in the water as well.
Louis' last action makes Moran's head tilt and ask what that was for, to which Louis replies that saltwater is a good treatment for sick fish, though it's not always effective.
He then gently scoops William up and transfers him to the other tank. While isolating the fish has its drawbacks, Louis also has to prevent the sickness from affecting the other fish.
He hears the numbers from Fred as he does this, looking more and more perplexed. Water quality and temperature are normal and the tank is clean. There's nothing wrong with the equipment either. So it might've been a problem with the fish feed, or it got stressed by its surroundings...
Moran asks if it got bullied by the other fish, but Louis denies ever witnessing any. So he can only conclude that it's because of changes in its environment as he glances at the potted plants around the tank.
Fred notices his action and comments that the fish could not have possibly been affected this quickly by them since the trees were just brought in and aren't inside the tank anyway, but Louis doesn't discount the possibility. Either way, Louis feels responsible for this outcome since he's the one in charge of the fish.
The three of them look downhearted at the lonely-looking sick angelfish isolated from the rest of its species.
Three days after the fish got sick, 11 days have passed since all the fish were brought in.
Despite Louis' attempts to nurse it better, "William" is still in a bad condition. It swims unsteadily as its fins were folded up and its shine has dulled. It also eats very little. Ever since they've confirmed that it was sick, its state just turned worse.
Louis bites his lip at his helplessness. There's nothing he can do aside from watching over it as it drifts in solitude. He also feels very guilty for possibly causing the fish to get into this state because of his careless decisions.
The potted plants were put away in a corner, fearing it would have further adverse effects on the fish. However, removing these plants somehow made the fish tank's surroundings look a bit deserted.
Fred peeks inside the room, but Louis doesn't even turn to look at him. The former approaches and asks if he's okay, but Louis mistakes his concern as concern for the fish and informs him that it is still in a bad state. Louis then reassures him that he's not neglecting the other fish.
Sure enough, the other fish are looking well. Fred doesn't try clarifying his question and just observes Louis watching over "William" for the next few minutes instead.
Louis looks fatigued from anxiety. He's been constantly watching over the fish the whole time. Even during mealtimes, he goes straight back here after preparing everyone else's food. Everyone comes here to check up on him in worry from time to time, but he still won't leave the room.
No one knows when Louis has last slept in his own room; There's no place to sleep in this room, and judging from his complexion, it looks as though he hasn't been sleeping well.
After hesitating for some time, Fred finally toughens up and tells Louis not to push himself and rest, but Louis just stubbornly insists that he's fine.
Fred shrinks back at Louis' cold response but still couldn't help asking why Louis is going so far for one fish when he previously insisted that they were just a means to an end for him.
Louis looks troubled by this comment, pursing his lips as he looks down and clenches his fist.
He and Fred had clashes while doing missions before. They had differences in opinion about whether to help a child that got injured and couldn't run away during a noble's manhunt on poor children.
Fred wanted to help the child, but Louis proposed abandoning the child and prioritizing the assassination of the nobles. While he knows that Louis said that because he was also worried about his brother, Fred still couldn't help thinking how heartless Louis was for choosing to do so.
Thankfully, Moran stepped in right afterwards, but Fred always kept that moment in mind as proof that Louis could be very cruel if it was for his brother's sake.
Everyone who is sided with the Lord of Crime is aware of Louis' personality. And that is why Fred feels that the way Louis is wasting so much effort for one little tropical fish now is very at odds with who he usually is. So, why?
Louis finally speaks, saying that Fred is right. These fish are just tools for his brother's plan, and he would kill them without hesitation if his brother orders him to. However...
Fred is surprised when Louis' voice uncharacteristically shakes.
Louis then continues that he can't help trying to do everything for this fish named "William", even though they named him that just for fun. He acknowledges that he is being foolish for getting emotionally attached to it, but he can't help seeing his brother when he looks at the tropical fish.
It might sound silly to those unfamiliar with the brothers' circumstances, but not to Fred. He ends up sympathizing with Louis' devotion to the fish.
He then points out with pain that there's nothing else they can do for it, which Louis also acknowledges.
The room turns gravely quiet, right until someone comes in and points out the somber mood.
At the door, they see William has come inside without their notice. William sounds a little sad as he points out how worn Louis is and tells him that he didn't ask him to do this task at the expense of his health.
Louis wants to protest but also knows making excuses was useless. Fred clumsily defends him, explaining that Louis just wants to help the fish.
William stops him and clarifies that he didn't come here to rebuke Louis but to give something important, as he hands a small bottle and a piece of paper.
It was a bottle of fish medicine, and Louis and Fred stare at it in surprise.
Then, William goes on to explain that it was made from malachite green aqueous solution. You add some to the water to give the fish a medicinal bath. He had Herder make it in case a situation like this happens. Herder didn't manage to finish it quickly since he prioritized developing the tank equipment.
William apologizes to Louis for the long and difficult days he had to go through, and Louis happily and sincerely thanks his brother for the precious bottle.
Meanwhile, Fred admires William's foresight and Herder's technical prowess upon hearing his explanation.
William just looks warmly at his brother. He then informs the latter that all the fish will be transported away from here in 5 days.
Louis tenses as he hears this.
His brother then explains that they've succeeded in getting a meeting with Stapleton. Their target was lured in by the tropical fish as expected and agreed to invite them to his home in exchange for all the fish they have. William will judge whether or not Stapleton is a criminal after they meet.
Louis expresses his understanding, and William continues on to say that he'll update Louis the moment he makes his judgment.
Once William has left, Fred cheerfully tells Louis that they can finally cure the fish.
However, Louis was calmer in contrast to him. He warns Fred not to be too optimistic since it's a newly developed medicine.
Even though he was told off by Louis, Fred only stared at his face with hooded eyes.
When asked why, Fred pulls up the corner of his own lips with his fingers and points out that Louis is smiling, causing Louis to cover up his mouth with his hand immediately.
He was obviously trying to look composed, but in the end couldn't hide his joy. He intentionally talks loudly about using the medicine at once to hide his embarrassment, reading the instructions on the paper and putting the liquid into the tank.
All they have to do now is wait and see. Fred brightly comments that everything will go well, and Louis doesn't negate his words this time.
And now we've reached the starting scene of this story.
Louis is left alone again as Fred finally leaves the reception room reluctantly to do his job as the contact person for the Crime Consultant.
Things have changed. Unlike the weak state that it has shown until now, the fish has now recovered its original sheen.
Louis prays for the fish as he stands in front of its tank, hoping the medicine and the fish's willpower will help it. He still sees his brother in the angelfish.
Five days have passed, and it's finally time for the tropical fish to get transported to Stapleton's residence.
Several wagons are parked outside. Louis silently watches as everyone else carries out the tank equipment and the big portable water jars containing the tropical fish.
He has recovered from his overworked state, regaining a healthy complexion in his face and an accomplished shine in his eyes.
Louis originally wanted to be the one carrying out the fish since he considers it part of his task. However, much to his displeasure, everyone else insisted that he just stand back, relax and let them do all the work since the past few days have been rough on him.
At times, his eyes looked shiny as someone passes by him, carrying out a jar of fish. To cover it up, he fiddles his glasses every time it happens.
The fifth time he does it, William stands by his side and asks if Louis is feeling emotional.
Louis clears his throat and tries to act tough, but the moment he sees the fish tank being loaded into the carriage, he softens up and reluctantly admits that he is.
Upon hearing his reply, William looks at Louis with a soft expression.
As they were talking, the pufferfish and the guppies were being carried out.
Louis then apologizes to William for making them all needlessly worry because of his immature actions. After the fish was given William's name, Louis went overboard with the tank's layout and afterwards nursed the fish back to health at the expense of his own.
As he was reflecting on his actions, Moran and Fred were carrying out the tropical trees he ordered to give to Stapleton as presents.
Louis can't look away from these trees. They represent his own incompetence after all.
Seeing his brother reflect so seriously, William acknowledges that he may have a point, since if Louis collapsed at the time, then the other fish would certainly be affected. William knows that Louis was trying to be careful not to let it happen, but he wished that Louis tried to ask him for advice before letting it get to that point.
Louis naturally feels likes he was stabbed upon hearing his faults pointed out by the brother he adores. The accomplishment he originally felt at finishing his task dissipated.
However, William then kindly encourages Louis to look at it from another aspect.
Although it was inappropriate for Louis to have attached himself to a fish at the expense of his own health, you could also say that he has proven himself as a person of integrity from the way he insisted on not throwing away the life of just one fish.
Sure, William told him that the fish can be replaced if one dies, but you shouldn't just take those words to mean that it has a replacement and that there's always next time.
That naive way of thinking can be harmful. If Louis just carried on, thinking everything was okay since they still have 2 angelfish left, all the angelfish might just end up dying in the end. So you could say the way Louis took that one fish's life seriously was an appropriate thing to do.
William said all of this in an indifferent tone, showing that he wasn't just saying it to support Louis. He was evaluating Louis' work from an objective perspective.
This makes Louis very happy. He thought his actions were no more than foolish mistakes, but William took it to mean the opposite. His brother told him that his attachment to the fish is proof of his enthusiasm for his job.
William stops talking as Moran walks by, easily moving the tank into the wagon. Fred is also working hard in transporting everything. Albert actually finished moving all the luggage assigned to him and has left to go to work at Universal Exports.
Seeing the empty tank packed up in the carrier makes Louis think of the 3 angelfish swimming inside it.
The truth is, he had hoped to put back the isolated angelfish with the rest of its species and see them swimming harmoniously in their last day here. He regrets not being able to make it come true.
Fred emerges from the house with a jar of fish in his arms. He asks Louis if he really wants to load it in with the rest of the fish.
Upon hearing Louis' sad confirmation, Fred solemnly nods and heads toward the carriage.
Louis looks at the jar in Fred's hands one last time. It contains the angelfish that was sick a few days ago. The fish has regained its elegant swimming, with its scales reflecting the light of the morning sun.
The angelfish actually returned to its normal condition a few days ago thanks to the medicine provided by William. However, immediately taking it out of the medicated water was inadvisable so they had no choice to leave it isolated for the remaining days it was here.
Still, Louis had really hoped to see the Three Brothers back together one last time. He tries to convince himself that they're just 3 fish. Those fish are not them.
If he were to ask of it, his brother probably would have let him keep those angelfish. But Louis didn't.
He was the one who insisted that these fish were just a means to an end. He has no plans on taking back those words, and if he can't manage to get a hold of his feelings now, it might cause irreversible disaster the next time he does a task.
As Louis reluctantly puts everything behind him, he meets his brother's eyes, and the latter smiles back at him.
This time, William addresses him in a brotherly tone, praising him for his hard work and not letting any fish die.
Louis lively accepts his compliment as he desperately struggles to stop the wide smile that threatens to appear on his face. Still, his bubbling emotions make him tear up.
He did this all for his brother-- to help him, to live up to his expectations, and to get a little praise out of him. Finally getting what he's unconsciously wanted ever since William gave him his task makes him emotional.
Now that everything is all packed up, William announces that it is time for him to start his arrangements. He puts a hand on Louis' shoulder and tells him that he won't waste the work his brother has done.
Louis has full confidence in his brother and tells him as much, making William smile.
Then William puts on his Crime Consultant face again and goes back inside the house.
After watching him leave, Louis glances at the carriage before starting to think of the daily work he has to do now, like making breakfast.
The hard days he had with the tropical fish will be kept in the innermost depths of his mind as a faded memory.
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