26 October, 2014 by katelaity
Everyone laughed. Eduardo couldn’t tell whether to be pleased by their mirth, but he chose to think it was in his favour. “People should be grateful to me,” he added, quite certain that was always the case.
The two birds took the opportunity to tease the lion, flapping over and plucking at his wings with their beaks, as if they would get him to fly as well. Eduardo soon became irritated. “Stop that.”
The birds paid him no attention, enjoying their game.
“Is everything ready?” the alchemist asked, his expression eager.
Helen thought again what a lovely smile he had, how his kindness radiated through it. Never mind, my girl. “All ready. We await only the starter’s gun.”
Maggiormente frowned. “They shoot a gun to start the race? How very odd and so dangerous. What if someone were to get hurt?”
Helen smiled. “It’s an expression. In horse races in Britain we use a pistol to start the contest. There is no bullet in the gun, so it is quite safe.”
“Perhaps we need something else dramatic to start the race,” the alchemist said, stroking his beard. “My friend Myojo could probably—Oh! I know what we could do. Fireworks!” He rubbed his hands together gleefully.
“Fireworks? That sounds very dangerous.”
“No, certainly not with Myojo’s help. She is quite amazingly magical. A magician in fact. I don’t even know how she does it,” Maggiormente confessed.
“It is a secret knowledge,” the woman said with a shy smile. “But not at all dangerous. We would keep it well away from the airships.”
Helen got the impression that she meant to reassure her. Despite the kindness, however, she felt an irrational irritation with the woman. It wasn’t entirely fair but life seldom was. I should be concentrating on the race anyway, Helen scolded herself.
She could not stop the twinge of pain in her heart when the alchemist and the magician bent their heads together in animated conversation. She turned back to the engine, although there was nothing really to be done. Signor Romano was shining the brass panels, seemingly as a way to occupy his nervousness while waiting. His movements were too quick, too jerky.
“Here come the Lintons,” her father shouted and Helen started, looking over her shoulder where a large team of horses drew an enormous flat wagon with the Linton’s ship balanced on it and another behind it with the envelope, which struck her as very odd. To reassemble their ship just before the big race? How dramatic and foolhardy.
What potential problems might be introduced in a careless moment? But that was not her concern. They should have simply flown over to the field. Less dramatic, but surely more sensible.
With the Lintons, however, Helen had learned that sense and sensibility did not always coincide.