8 June, 2014 by katelaity
The next day the alchemist awoke with a song already bursting from his lips. He took extra care with his morning ablutions, a fact which did not escape Eduardo. “You are very cheery this morning. And clean. Except for that bit on the back of your neck.”
Maggiormente frowned and tried to look at the back of his neck in the mirror without success. “Where?”
The lion did his best to direct the alchemist’s hand to the correct spot. When they were both more or less satisfied with the results, the endeavor was declared a success and the water used to nourish the small herb garden Eduardo had nurtured in the east window.
“My basil has grown very fast.” He sniffed the plants with pleasure.
“I hope you did not eat all the mint.” Maggiormente leaned over the collection of pots on the window sill. “I should like some tea made from that.”
“I do not eat everything all at once.”
The alchemist laughed. “Not always, perhaps.”
They went downstairs and knocked gently on the door. Eduardo glanced up at the alchemist and frowned. “Stop patting your hair. It is fine.”
“Ought I to have trimmed my beard? You don’t think it’s too unruly?”
“You never used to worry about the state of your beard. I recall you setting it on fire before without noticing the effect,” he teased.
“I do not wish Mlle. Rochester to think I am some kind of madman,” Maggiormente hissed quietly.
The door opened to reveal the woman’s brother who, rather than greet them, turned and called back to her, “Your madman monk is here.”
“I am no monk,” the alchemist said, nonplussed by this unexpected appellation.
“Good thing to focus on,” Eduardo said, weaving between the alchemist’s legs to enter the room, nostrils sniffing the air with anticipation.
“Signore! Eduardo!” Helen Rochester beamed. “We have croissants.”
What a cheery face to welcome one first thing in the morning, Maggiormente thought. I would wish to start every morning with such a smile. A blush adorned his cheeks for he felt the heat of it rise and, at a loss for words, he said nothing, but took the offered croissant on a plate and smiled back at the captain.
“Would you like some butter for that?” Helen handed him the butter dish and Maggiormente took it with a beatific smile and a nod. This perplexed the hostess, but she sat back down in her chair at the table and after a moment, the alchemist followed suit.
“Are you going to eat that?” Eduardo said with a little rumble of hunger.
“Oh, pardon me, my friend!” The alchemist put the plate down on the floor for the lion to eat it, but the creature only stared balefully at him. “What?”
“Ah, yes.” The alchemist, flustered, picked the plate up again and slathered some of the creamy butter over the flaky pastry and returned it to the floor, where a grateful Eduardo devoured it swiftly but delicately.
The alchemist turned back to face his hostess and smiled.
“Perhaps a croissant for yourself now?” She urged him.
“Oh yes, that would be delightful,” he murmured and took the offered plate rather mechanically, adding a croissant and buttering it negligently. He took a bite and chewed it with pleasure though the sensation came mostly from the feast of his eyes.
Helen squirmed a little under the observation and her brother snorted with suppressed laughter, but she frowned at him and he went back to eating his own breakfast.
“I’m looking forward to the experimental flight today. Have you brought the fuel with you or do you plan to fetch it afterward?”
Maggiormente paused, mid-chew. “Oh, I have it with me now!” he said excitedly, spraying a few flaky crumbs onto his beard. He rummaged in his pockets while the airship captain looked on with curiosity.
At last he found what he was looking for in the jumble of items and pulled them out. “I did not know which would be more practical,” he said holding a small paper-wrapped cube and a small glass bottle with a stopper tied down firmly.”
“But they’re the same fuel?”
“Indeed. My own invention. And so fragrant!”