Just joining us? The adventure begins here!
“Come on, Alexi!” Emily was easily three paces ahead of the boy, who was dragging his feet in order to have more time to change her mind. It was pointless, of course. Emily never changed her mind once it was set on something; it was a fact that she took personal pride in.
“Emily, it’s a bad idea, where did you get that key, anyway?” Alexi Carton kept an elegant stride behind her, refusing to rush.
He was strikingly handsome with thick, wavy black locks of hair and intense black eyes. His square jaw and wide shoulders framed beautifully in his formal tailcoat with a high military style collar.
He had been surprised by Emily’s interest in accompanying him to the Midsummer Masquerade. She was turning into a beautiful young woman and one that any man would have celebrated having on his arm. However, she was notoriously too interested in her contraptions to ever take part in social events. He had jumped at the opportunity to escort her and now felt a deep regret for his lack of foresight.
Emily was stunning in her red and black brocade gown, her copper hair flowing down her back in waves. Her waist was tiny and delicate, and the low, square cut neck of her blouse displayed her décolleté invitingly. It was an enormous change from the grease stained canvas that she favored most days. He was thrilled at the thought of being seen with her at the social.
However, she had made it known early in the night that she had other plans.
The Masquerade allowed Emily an opportunity to be out in the late evening and with Alexi as her escort she could move unhampered through the streets. She had waited a long time but she was finally going to be able to open the door at the top of the stairs. Breaking into Ghostraven’s Steampunk and Pirates was just an added bit of fun.
It was common knowledge that Emily worked as apprentice to Marcel Ghostraven and Alexi had no idea why the young woman needed enter the Captain’s shop after hours and without his knowledge.
When asked, Emily had only held up a strange key and smiled, then teased him that she was going to show him something fantastic. With a lead in like that he could hardly refuse; though he was certain that her idea of fantastic and his own were different by an order of magnitude.
“Come on! Alexi!” Emily stamped her foot. She was incredibly pretty when she was being impatient, and Alexi was actually enjoying frustrating her.
“Emily,” He asked, “Why didn’t you just ask Captain Ghostraven to let us use his store? All this rushing is tiresome, and we are missing the ball.”
“I’ve no idea how you are the son of one of Meiville’s most powerful men. Does he keep your balls in his briefcase?” Emily was irritated at Alixi’s questions and slow pace. She was anxious to get to he door and the prize she had dreamed of her entire life: a power source powerful enough to fuel her time and space machine.
Alexi was surprised at her tone and language which were terribly unladylike.
“Do you kiss your dad with that mouth?” Alexi asked, stopping on the cobblestone street under a gas lamp . He wondered if perhaps he should head back to the ball alone. Emily’s strange plan and behavior were making his evening unpleasant and he considered all the girls he might be dancing with at that moment.
However, he realized that should any harm come to Emily wandering the streets of Meiville alone at night, he would have to answer for it. Alexi’s father and the Mayor were at constant odds and his father would not forgive him if he gave the Mayor additional reasons to hinder his business affairs.
“Keep it up and he’ll be the only one who get’s kissing.” Emily warned,walking towards him with a suggestive swing in her hips that made him forget her temper. Everything about the young woman seemed to change then, her manner of speech was breathless and husky, and she pressed her body into his deliciously.
“Come on. We are almost there! Aren’t you anxious to see what I have to show you?” Emily cocked her head to the side prettily, her dark lashes sweeping downward as she looked down into his chest and then back into his eyes. Her smile was sweet and full of suggestion and promise and Alexi stopped thinking and hurried his pace.
“Where did you get the key?” Alexi asked, putting his arm around her small waist and feeling the curve of her hip.
“A lady never tells,” she giggled, letting him enjoy her body just enough before pulling away. He was moving more quickly now for being properly encouraged and Emily kicked herself for not using the approach sooner.
“I’ll keep that in mind if I see one,” Lexi laughed, caught her by the arm and swung her into an embrace. She gifted him a simple, preoccupied kiss and then kept walking, keeping just out of his reach and giggling when he would catch her.
Alexi was excited, confused and frustrated and watching Emily walk ahead of him added to his arousal.
After, Emily opened the door to Ghostraven’s Steampunk and Pirates she took Alexi by both hands and pulled him inside. It was dark and she whispered, “Not yet,” and motioned to the purchase counter, “automations.”
Alexi’s eyes grew wide. In the absolute darkness of the store he could see the cool, green lights of two armed security automations. He followed close to Emily, who seemed to know exactly where she was headed. He stood at the bottom of a set of library stairs looking around nervously while Emily worked to unlock a very elaborate safety door, that was oddly placed in the ceiling.
“You should work for my dad,” Alexi whispered, “I’ve seen master thieves who could not do that as quickly or as quietly.”
“Every girl had a talent!” Emily smiled coyly, leading Alexi into Marcel’s private office.
“I have a feeling you have a few more to surprise me,” he smiled, half dancing into her arms and began nibbling her neck, his hands exploring her small frame. She allowed him to enjoy her body only long enough to ensure that he was spellbound.
Emily stepped out of his grip and laughed, “Almost there!”
Alexi followed her down a long hall curiously, hoping that there might be a hidden bedroom for them to enjoy. When she paused in front of an elaborate door he was convinced that he had been correct and tried to resume their embrace . Instead, Emily produced the strange key and Began working to open the door.
On the other side of the door was not a bedroom but some sort of bizarre storage closet which was alight with an eerie green glow that emanated from a large structure pressed into a corner. The room had an energy that made the hair stand up on the back of his neck. It was musty and full of dust and cobwebs; the shadows of the room seemed to dance around the ceiling on their own.
“What is this place, Emily?” He whispered. His desire to kiss or fondle his pretty companion had cooled and he followed her bewildered into the strange room. Artifacts and antiquities marked cursed and enchanted lined the shelves of the room, and a heavy wooden table sat in the center piled with books and sundry. Alexi’s eyes wandered over everything, at last landing on what appeared to be a very small airship, forgotten in a corner.
“Is that Marcel’s supposed-to-be time machine?” He pointed to the darkened corner. Emily made a sour face and nodded that what was, in fact, the Auric Rectifier of legend.
Emily had moved across the room to the glowing glass case and was examining it. It was labeled Kronos, a word that filled Alexi with dread.
“Why are we here, Emily?” Alexi had an overwhelming sense of dread watching her attempt to open the strange case.
“We shouldn’t touch these things.” Alexi felt suddenly panicked and started to walk backwards toward the large door. Something about Emily had changed, she was chanting low in a strange language completely mesmerized by the case. Lexi’s eyes narrowed when he noticed that something within the case was moving.
“I think we should leave!” He started to turn, to run, to get away from this place and this woman but before he could exit the huge wooden door slammed shut. His heart was pounding in his chest, the blood beating against his ears. He was trapped.
“No,” Emily smiled at him, the green glow of the case emanating from her eyes.
The door to the artifact marked Kronos flew open and a single, thick tentacle reached out of the case and stabbed Alexi Carton through the chest. His eyes were wide and he gawked at Emily, blood running from the corner of his mouth before the beast cast him to the floor, dead. Kronos held his still beating heart and fed upon it.
Emily DeLuna stood smiling and unaffected.
Moments later, the beast known as Kronos took his human form, licked his lips and savored his new found freedom.