10.6 Running

21 April, 2013 by katelaity

Airships & Alchemy CoverThe three ran down the stairs and into the avenue. Other people ran along the street, too, pointing above and talking with excited gestures about the airship flying above them. Children ran, laughing with delight as they tried to keep pace with the ship.

It had made considerable progress. Maggiormente tried to do a quick calculation to determine its speed, but he found it a challenge to keep running and calculate the speed at the same time, so he gave up and kept pace with the others.

“It’s going very fast,” he said to Gustave as the poet loped along. He only nodded in return, clearly unaccustomed to such strenuous exercise.

“I could go faster,” Eduardo called. Indeed the lion ran with its wings outstretched as if they might provide additional speed or lift – in fact as if he might take off into the sky himself.

Of course, it would have been impossible, but he did not mind allowing other people to think it might be possible. The people on their street generally gave him a wide berth anyway. To see him fly might more than many of them could have borne.

“But it does seem to be heading toward the Exposition,” Gustave managed to wheeze out. “Perhaps we will catch them up there.”

The alchemist nodded his agreement, but did not slack his pace any even as the poet began to lag behind them.

A knot of people stood before the café, chatting with animation. Maggiormente waved to his friends but kept running as before. After a moment’s reflection, his friend Alain, the baker, took to his heels as well, shouting a hasty farewell to his wife and daughter.

“Are you going to meet the airship?” He called to the alchemist as he paced by his side.

Maggiormente nodded and the two of them lengthened their strides to try to catch up with Eduardo. Behind them Gustave had slowed his steps and turned back to flop down in a chair outside the bakery to commiserate with Adèle.

Around the crowd shifted. As people stopped running and simply stared up into the sky at the retreating ship, other joined the throngs, seemingly as much interested in the excitement of their fellow Parisians as the vehicle itself.

Maggiormente could see a large black bird circling the ship, which made him worry somewhat, though certainly the people aboard must be prepared to have problems with birds. It must be one of the many new problems flight would bring.

How the world will change!

They all ran on for some time. At last Maggiormente pulled up, calling to Alain that he needed to catch his breath.

“I am not tired,” Eduardo said, crouching as if to spring on a passerby, which of course made the other people take a wider path around the lion. As they were far from their own neighbourhood, the Venetian lion had become much more of an object of interest. In fact several people started following him – although not too closely – to see where the lion might be going.

While Eduardo had not been doing anything in particular that might alarm gentle persons, one must not overlook the intimidating sight that a running lion offers to those unaccustomed to such a vision on the streets of a modern city.

It did mean people quickly cleared the path before him.

Now that they had paused in their pell-mell flight, a murmuring crowd began to gather around the three of them. Alain, quick to notice the mutterings, urged Maggiormente on again. They had to push their way through the rapidly forming ring of spectators, but the baker had no trouble being abrupt with those who gaped at his friends.

“I had forgotten how far the Exposition grounds are,” Maggiormente said as he picked up the pace once more.

“Is that where it will land?”

“I assume so,” the alchemist said, frowning as he realised the only way to test this assumption was to keep running and hope for the best.

“Well, I needed to work up an appetite!” Alain grinned.

“Alessandro! Alain! Eduardo!”

The three of them stopped and turned to see who called out. At first it was impossible to peer through the crowds lining the streets but suddenly they saw Gustave, waving from an elevated position.

“What on earth…?”

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