Perilous Artifacts: New Arrivals
Lady Carew led the way to the elevator, followed by Pieter–after he captured Olive’s hand and tucked it securely into the crook of his elbow.
Olive shook her head at him. “Afraid I’ll disappear at this late hour?”
“Your hat, sir,” a waiting crewman handed over the stiffly proper construction of black silk.
“Thank you,” Pieter murmured as he smoothed his hair and settled it on his head. He had to duck to clear the door of the elevator.
The elevator was more crowded descending than it had been on their arrival due to the crewman joining them. Olive eyed him curiously, but no one introduced him or explained his presence.
At Deck Fifteen, the guard slowed the elevator to a stop and the crewman opened the doors and stood by while they disembarked.
The guard stepped close to the governor and murmured something in her ear.
Lady Carew turned to Olive and gestured across the Mast past bustling travelers and well-wishers, crewmen, and loiterers of every sort to the cone-shaped canvas nose of what appeared to be a modestly sized airship. “I do believe we’ve found it.”
Olive tightened her grip on Pieter’s arm. Suddenly, the crowded space took on an ominous aspect. How would they ever make it through to the The Shannon Reborn?
Behind them, she heard a hiss and looked back in time to see a number of crewmen arrive via the elevator. They strode forward past the governor’s party and spread out just enough to create a human shield before wading into the press. Lady Carew and her guard followed, and so of course, Pieter and Olive. They emerged on the far side of crowd to discover Felipe Vernise tapping his cane idly on the solid wood planking of the gangway.
“Lady Governor,” he said. His eyes lit up and he doffed his hat and bowed deeply. “What an honor to encounter you here.”
Lady Carew bestowed a small polite smile on him and offered him her fingers. “What brings you here, Felipe?”
“I wish to meet the famous explorers. Of course,” he paused, “I wouldn’t wish to intrude on what appears to be official business.”
Lady Carew’s smile widened incrementally. “Ah, Felipe! I knew I can count on you.” She patted his arm. “As it happens, just now is not the most convenient of times. But if you’d be so kind as to come visit me this evening, I intend to hold a reception for my dear, dear friends. You will, of course, be at the top of my guest list.”
“Do bring your dear parents.”
“Absolutely, my lady.”
Lady Carew dipped her head as she swept past him toward the airship with Pieter and Olive following.
At the top of the gangway, a small crowd had formed. As they drew nearer, the grouping resolved into crewmen carrying luggage preceding a tall fair man in a captain’s cover and jacket who escorted the most beautiful woman that Olive had ever seen.
“Isobel! David!” Lady Carew called as she held out her hands and ran toward the new arrivals.
For the next installment (available Tuesdays), read Perilous Artifacts: The Captain’s Lady.
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