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Mayor Perryn Peterson was not happy when he returned home. His meeting with the city council had been frustrated and unproductive. The citizens of Meiville were overtaken by a strange malady and no one seemed to know what to do. Businesses were suffering as people feared gathering in public spaces , and trade was grinding to a halt as the other principalities began to suffer similarly and blamed Meiville for their contamination. Crime within the districts was at an all time high and an unexplained gang war seemed to be brewing on every corner. The public service sectors were clamoring for a plan and a timeline, two things Perryn could not procure. His head felt toxic from the flashing of camera bulbs and he grimaced as he hung his hat, tossing down the daily news; it’s headline emblazoned, “Mayor Clueless As Citizens Suffer.”
He needed a cup of tea.
Marching into the great room of his home he was surprised to see several people sitting with Mike, who was grinning widely. “Hello! How was your trip? You’ll never guess who has come home!” Mike said, excitedly.
Perryn was in ill humor spying the young woman who had been bombarding the council with questions about Marcel Ghostraven, a subject he had no patience for after the onslaught of his day. She was accompanied by a young man who looked oddly familiar.
“Come home?” he questioned, embracing his husband.
“How are you, Sir?” Amos asked, extending his hand nervously.
Perryn gave him a look of suspicion that passed away in a moment, abruptly replaced by the light of recognition. Excitement filled his eyes. “Amos?” He exclaimed, avoiding the young man’s hand completely and wrapping him in an unexpected hug. Mike stood beside them both, smiling jubilantly. As Perryn stepped away, tears glistened on his cheeks. He held Amos’ face for a moment and then chuffed his hair, much as he had done when Amos was a boy.
“How can this be?” Perryn looked to Mike. He was exhausted and overcome with emotion, and Mike helped him to a chair. Amos’ return was a salve upon the wounds of his day and questions overwhelmed him.
Mike poured a fresh cup for his husband, and then offered to top up his guests’ who all declined. Perryn turned to Nym , who sat smiling shyly, feeling awkwardly out of place at Amos’ homecoming.
“You’re friend?” Perryn asked Amos, who was immediately embarrassed at having neglected an introduction.
“This is Nym, Sir, ” Amos presented her to the mayor, giving her and apologetic but encouraging smile. “She needs to talk to you about Marcel Gho…”
“Yes. Yes. Marcel. My old friend,” he sighed, but then forced a smile. “Have I ever told you about the time he took me…”
“Around the moon?” Nym interjected, excited to finally be able to follow her intuition, “yes, sir. You have. Five hundred and fifty -five times.”
The Mayor’s eyes narrowed, and for a moment Nym thought she saw something mechanical move behind them. His distant and exhausted look vanished, replaced by an urgent recognition of the young woman.
He stood immediately and helped her to her feet. Mike and Amos stood as well, confused.
“Nimble?” He asked strangely.
He continued to inspect her, looking into her eyes in a way that made her deeply uncomfortable. He seemed to be looking for something, confirmation perhaps, and in his scrutiny he did not hear her clarification. After a few moments he smiled and, returning to a more normal albeit perplexed constitution, he asked, “What?”
“My name, sir.” she stammered, “My name is Trixie Nymphae, but I am called Nym.” She curtsied politely, lowering her eyes.
Perryn laughed delightedly and took her by the hands, “Trixie Nymphae? How wonderful! Simply wonderful.”
He beamed at Amos, “and she is with you, my boy? Have you, in fact, been her escort?”
The Mayor’s peculiar behavior had the room in a state of discomfort and shock, though Perryn seemed to have no awareness of it. He glided happily around the young couple , every trace of his prior consternation dissolving into wonder and excitement.
“Yes, sir,” Amos replied, “We have been through a great deal to get here…”
“Yes,” the mayor said, his thoughts sobering.”I imagine you have.”
Within the Mayor’s calculating mind everything had snapped into a state of perfect clarity: The illness, the civic tension, the young woman, Amos’ return; it was all so perfectly obvious that he was amazed that he had not seen it before.
He smiled warmly at Amos who had taken Nym’s hand.
“Marcel was right to chose you,” he said patting Amos on the shoulder, his eyes sparkling with pride.
“Of course he chose you!” He looked at Nym again, and then at Amos holding her hand. His young man was home at last and with him, at last, a chance to mend the past. He beamed with an absolute joy.
Amos, Mike and Nym all stood perfectly bewildered as the Mayor clapped his hands together and said, “Right.”
Perryn looked around the room and began preparations. He called for a servant and ordered the tea cleared, requesting that a hearty lunch be sent to his private anteroom. He gave strict instruction that neither he, nor his guests, be disturbed at any time except upon his call. He also requested that his SkyCarriage be readied at once for their departure before sunset.
He was deep into his orders before he realized that his family and guest were thunderstruck by his behavior. Graciously he lead them all to the the door of his private chambers and looking at them all very seriously, he stated, “My friends, if you are here it means we have much to do… and very little time.”