Saturday, August 29, 2020
Welcome to my sanctuary. It’s a safe place for all of us (including me), beyond any politics or creed, with no bullying or passive aggressiveness allowed. I’m happy that you came back for another episode of The Delta Pearl, my chuckaboos.
There are so many great minds here. were thinking alike when separately they both left crystal ball as a random reader thing.
Olga Núñez Miret http://www.authortranslatorolga.com/
Diana Wallace Peach https://mythsofthemirror.com/
Previously Émeraude and Victor, along with Cal the crazy clockwork horse, chased the tiny, stowaway copper scarab to the riverboat’s boiler room. There they found visible music, a biproduct of the Delta Pearl’s magic. Jet, the librarian from their shore trip in Cairo, IL was being bound to the riverboat. Victor was caught in the musical process. Opal, the keeper of the riverboat’s secrets and artifacts slammed the furnace door shut behind the scarab. However, Cal was right behind the clockwork beetle. Without further ado…
The Delta Pearl
Chapter 46 — Complete
Opal had alabaster skin with few wrinkles, despite her greatly advanced years. Her face held an expression of bemused surprise as she gazed at the young inventor.
“I suppose it was bound to happen eventually,” she commented. “Although I wouldn’t have expected it for another decade. For the Delta Pearl to ensnare Victor in the bond like this… The riverboat must know of a much greater need than any of us comprehend.
“What do you mean?” I asked quietly.
“My role is much like that of a librarian, as I keep track of all the artifacts and clockwork creatures. Though, as you know, Émeraude, it also includes all the secrets of the Delta Pearl. Mr. Fischer is the perfect candidate to gradually take on my duties.”
Her words upset me. Blue John’s deteriorating mental state demanded that he take a leave of absence. He had been putting it off for months because he knew we couldn’t spare him. It didn’t take a crystal ball to see that staying wore away at his nerves.
The Mate seemed closer, more tangled in the parts of the Delta Pearl that I could only describe as her emotions. The riverboat must be going through changes that we couldn’t see. Her reaction to things like borders had become stronger and less predictable. I couldn’t imagine how that must burden Blue John if his mind was tied to those sensations.
I knew he would have to leave soon, perhaps for years. What if he never came back? Now, Opal suggested that she would have to be replaced too. My heart sank, weighted down by uncertainty and worry.
“Émeraude, darling girl…” Opal began when she saw a tear in my eye. “The Delta Pearl won’t be rid of me for a long time yet. It will not take weeks to prepare my successor. It will take decades!” she added with a soft chuckle.
Her smile quickly turned to concern. The elderly woman moved to Victor, who looked quite fishy about the gills. A glance at Jet Fischer told me that he wasn’t doing well either.
Blue John glared at Victor. Everyone present knew that the inventor was not meant to be part of the bonding. Blue’s unique relationship with the riverboat required his undivided attention on the tuning forks and the ancient tones. He was obviously distracted.
“Mate!” the Cadet hissed and nudged him with an elbow.
However, Blue paid no attention to Sid. Opal took a long step toward him. She stumbled as if her feet got tangled in her heavy skirts. She put one hand to the table to get her balance. With the other she struck a tuning fork.
As Opal leaned against the table, I saw the reason for her stumble.
“Cal!” I exclaimed softly. “I thought you had gone into the furnace, chasing the copper scarab.”
The clockwork horse pranced toward me. I realized that when Opal had twitched her skirt aside, she was actually blocking the mechanical horse from going into the furnace. He had been tucked in the folds of fabric all along.
There was no time to rejoice about the safety of the clockwork horse. I could tell something was wrong, or incomplete with the bonding ― perhaps because of Victor’s unplanned inclusion.
As the music produced by the tuning fork resounded through the boiler room, the Dealer intoned a deep note. Opal’s crystalline voice joined him. She poked Sid in the side to remind him to sing.
With a shake of his head, Blue John came to himself and added his perfect pitch.
Something still felt off to me. The ancient tones had not pulled Jet or Victor back into the song. Although both men continued to be entranced.
Goosebumps covered my arms when I suddenly heard the wholeness of the bass tones. I turned to find the Captain there. With the addition of his rich voice, I could see the music again. The tuning forks vibrated and glowed brighter. Jet’s baritone added richness. A moment later, Victor’s tenor made the sounds complete. The prismatic colors of the ancient tones ran riot across the room filled with voices.
Though the spectacle was rare and amazing, I had many worries related to it. My most immediate concern was about my young inventor. How could I possibly explain to Victor, about the seriousness of what had just happened?
Victor had plans for his life, and a very bright future as a brilliant inventor. He had inherited a topaz mine and held other property in Texas. He had a life there. How could I explain that in a moment all that had changed?
I was to blame. I should have kept him away from the riverboat’s secrets. Everything would have been fine if I had simply made sure he didn’t know about the clockwork creatures. That’s where it all started. How could I tell him that his life would never be the same, and that it was all my fault?
End Chapter 46
I hope you’ll take a moment to leave a friendly comment. Although, as things are, I’m afraid I’ll be slow to respond. Be well, be happy, my chuckaboos.
This serial is made possible in spite of (not because of) the deplorable lack of Internet service from TDS Telecom. They are even worse than the government about claiming no problem exists in the face of failure. TDS Telecom meets every complaint and service call by saying they find no problem. Their technicians come to my home and refuse to do any work or replace equipment, even when their offsite managers have instructed them to do so. They brought equipment that they openly state does not work properly. They refuse to let me talk to a manager. They refuse to promise to send someone other than the previous do-nothing tech. They refuse to make sure the technicians have working hardware with them. My letters, emails, and tweets go unanswered. Dear readers, please do not comment here in response to this paragraph. Just be aware of my awful experience with this so called provider.
This is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2016 and 2020 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
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