Saturday, December 26, 2020
Welcome back, my chuckaboos! To those who celebrate, I hope you had a joyous Christmas. I appreciate everyone who spends part of the holiday weekend here.
Random Reader Things
Today’s random reader thing is from Mary J, inspired by her cat, Gibbs. (Not the same Mary J as the one whose book you will see at the end of the post.) I certainly could not resist the feline demand, “Love me!“
Previously on The Delta Pearl
That said, this is a very short episode of The Delta Pearl. This episode builds on Chapter 45 — Intone. If you missed the riverboat last weekend, here’s the link to the previous chapter. When we left, the Librarian’s Peridot was missing, and the Dealer’s cat had something in his mouth that he was not about to give up.
The Delta Pearl
Chapter 60 — Drop
Captain Cecil Perlog walked into the gaming room. The glass pilothouse wasn’t safe enough when the Pearl traveled a time rift. I was relieved to see him. Victor looks surprised by his presence.
“Only the Delta Pearl can pilot us through this, my dear. Not even I can know what she is doing right now,” the Captain replied to the question that was plain on Victor’s face.
Gleaming brightly, a tiny corner of gold protruded from the cat’s mouth.
“The key to what?” Victor muttered and pushed his spectacles back on his nose. “That is what Opal said, isn’t it? Her voice was a little distorted from the speaking tube. She said her peridot holds the key, right? But I don’t understand about a gemstone or about a key.”
Abruptly, Victor’s mouth formed a silent “Oh.” He tilted his head and leaned close to Reggie.
“Yes, I see. Opal is never without that butterfly brooch she wears, and it’s set with dozens of peridots,” Victor commented, his voice taking a cajoling tone as he scratched Reggie’s chin.
Despite the chin rubs and inviting tenor, the cat snarled. His growl took on a strange warble. The cat tried to meow and growl at the same time, and without opening his mouth more than a little. The tiny corner of gold slipped out farther. I could see a sparkling light green stone.
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think the brooch was trying to get out of Reggie’s mouth,” Victor commented.
“Wah mee noo. Wah mee,” Reggie meowed.
It sounded just like the cat said love me. I had heard him do that many times, usually when he didn’t want to give up something he had taken as a toy. We had a bit of a collie shangle the time he took my quill pen.
“Of course, we love you, Reggie. Now just give me the—” I started.
Jaspe turned toward the Captain, as if he was about to speak. Reggie took that moment to wriggle free of Jaspe’s grasp. The cat jumped from the Dealer’s arms. However, he dropped his prize when he landed.
A gold and peridot butterfly fell to the plush carpet. Its wings slowly began to move.
“Opal’s butterfly brooch is a clockwork!” Victor exclaimed. “I never realized. But look. It seems to have broken. A tiny wand-like piece of gold is there beside it.”
“That’s the key,” I told Victor.
It was no ordinary key. The key that Opal kept safely hidden in her clockwork butterfly was the tuning key. It would unlock the brass box that housed the tuning forks used in the bonding ceremony, and at other times when the riverboat needed the extra power produced by the crew singing with the tuning forks.
For a moment, the key glittered on the deep red carpet.
Then a small shadow fell across it.
End Chapter 60
Are you asking, “Now what?” You know I couldn’t resist that small shadow falling over the butterfly, once we finally got to see what had been in the cat’s mouth.
Now for all sorts of news…
For your continued weekend reading pleasure. New from Mary J. McCoy-Dressel
Featured Book Cover
Designed & ready — available for your story now.
I’m offering the service of “designed & ready” book covers. Here’s this week’s featured design Click here to see my entire portfolio.
Next weekend the steampunk riverboat will take a break — because I have a special announcement to share instead. Thank you for spending part of this holiday weekend here with me, my chuckaboos!
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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