Perilous Artifacts: Unexpected Arrivals
Fifteen minutes later, she hefted her sack and called out, “Whatever you’ve got will have to be enough. Cook will be pleased we’ve brought her as much as we have.”
They reached the steamer just as a phaeton pulled up.
A natty young gentleman dressed from head to toe in dove gray exited the vehicle. “I say, Pious! Fancy meeting you here!”
Pieter bowed and doffed his top hat.
Olive shared a glance with Harry and tucked her hand through Pieter’s elbow. “Who’s your friend, Pieter?” she cooed. She handed her sack to Harry, who added it to the others in the steamer’s boot and shut it with a loud creaky clunk.
“Not really my friend, but–“ Pieter murmured. Louder, he added, “Felipe Vernise, may I present Miss Avornian?”
Olive took a step back. How unexpected! What misfortune caused his untimely arrival?
Felipe did a double-take and doffed his hat. “But this is infamous! I didn’t realize you knew the famous explorers, Pious!” He minced forward to bow over Olive’s hand. “Charmed, I’m sure!” He hesitated before delicately adding, “If I might have your permission to call, I’d be most grateful.”
Pieter cleared his throat. “That might be a bit awkward just at present, Felipe.”
Famous explorers? What did this dandy know that Pieter had failed to tell her? Olive skewered Pieter with a baleful stare.
“He wants to present himself to your father.” He mouthed at her, ‘Play along.’
“Oh.” Olive’s lips tightened. Pieter flinched. “Most regrettably, Mister Vernise, I haven’t seen my family in quite some while.” What an understatement!
Felipe arranged his features in a look of disbelief. “But it’s all over town! The Floating City is due to land any moment—“
Pieter tipped his hat again and huffed. “Quickly, Miss—into the steamer. Harry, if you would—“ He turned back to Felipe. “No time now, my good fellow. We’ve got to go.”
And they left him staring after them with his jaw agape at a most ridiculous angle.
For the next installment (available next Tuesday), read Perilous Artifacts: Bold As Brass, where Olive bargains for a detour and they have a narrow escape.
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