Airships & Alchemy 14.2 – Common and Uncommon

19 October, 2014 by katelaity

The Big Spin by Kit Marlowe - 500It was funny how her heart fluttered a little at the sight of the alchemist. You’re being very foolish, Helen scolded. She found it impossible to say just what it was that affected her so. He was kindly of course and very sweet. His head was full of prodigious information about very obscure things which fascinated her a great deal.

Other people might only see the strangeness of him with his beard and his lion and that distracted air of lostness, but Helen saw only the incredible mind that worked so perfectly with an open and honest heart. He had a happy smile on his face.

Helen knew he was just as excited about the race. They both had so much to gain if all went as well as they anticipated. We shall win! Helen’s confidence surged as she waved to her friend.

“We’re ready for the race. You made it in plenty of time.”

Maggiormente’s grin only broadened. He turned to say something to someone next to him and that’s when Helen noticed the woman who walked beside him. At first she had assumed the woman to be just another part of the crowd that milled around the ships with barely suppressed excitement.

But she stood out. She wore an unusual dress of bright colours and a fabric that softly enfolded her small form. The patterns and style looked like nothing Helen had seen in short time in Paris and at once she became certain that the woman must come from a distant land.

It was only when Tuppence squawked behind her that she noticed the woman had a small bird perched on her shoulder. The bizarre little creature seemed to be crafted out of rare jewels, so striking were its colours, but it moved. It could be a very clever clockwork doll, Helen supposed.

Then the bird took off and flew right up to Tuppence, bold as anything. Even Tuppence seemed taken aback by this unexpected development and clicked with consternation at the little thing. The two birds eyeballed each other, their heads moving around quickly back and forth as if to see everything in the other plumed mystery.

Helen turned her attention back to Maggiormente and could not help staring at the woman. She was small and delicate, her face very pale and her dark eyes and hair making the contrast sharper. Every limb expressed grace and her movement had the natural fluidity of a river. Helen felt absurdly conscious of her large hands, covered with oil, rough from work and travel, and how tall she was and not at all tiny, rangy as her father if not quite as tall and with his blustery movements.

Her mind jumped to an analogy that made her blush with annoyance: like a Highland coo beside a sleek race horse.

All she could say was “Hello.”

“A glorious day, is it not?” The alchemist rubbed his hands together as if he could not wait any longer. Indeed he appeared ready to explode with delight. “And look! I brought my dear friend, Myojo. She has come all the way to Paris from Japan. Such a delight.” He laughed as if to make it clear just how delightful she was.

The woman looked up at Helen with a shy smile, although her expression mirrored the look of curiosity Helen knew to be on her own face. What did she see? Helen womdered. She must look awfully strange to this beautiful woman who seemed to embody all that was perfect as she lowered her head in a bow of greeting.

“Pleased to meet you, Miss Rochester. I have heard so much about you from my friend. I am so grateful on his behalf.”

Something in the way she said ‘friend’ made Helen’s heart thump unnecessarily as she thought, oh. “I see you have an unusual bird, too, Miss Myojo.”

The woman laughed and nodded. “Seito is much intrigued by your karasu. She usually only sees pigeons in this city.”

“Pigeons are very common,” Eduardo said, clearly thinking he had not got enough attention in this conversation. “That is why I eat them.”

 

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