Davis and May
Davis and May kept each other close. They were following Winston Sapp and the still unknown Hunter named Mallody into the Hunter’s Guild. The Hunters, from the couple had gleaned so far, were a secretive group of bounty hunters. They claimed to have a presence in most parts of the world, but neither Davis nor May had heard of them before. Their interest stemmed from the revelation of a box of explosive bottles sitting somewhere within the Hunters’ lair.
The oxidized iron and copper of the guild’s door made it looked older than it truly was. The door towered above the heads of Davis, May, Winston and Mallody.
“Not big on subtlety, huh?” May laughed.
Mallody pushed the doors open and led the troupe inside.
The entry way was gorgeous. Hardwood floors so shiny May could see her reflection staring back up at her. Curved ceilings were lit by dangling chandeliers. The candlelight was amplified by well placed mirrors and glass.
“Hunters do know how to make an impression,” Davis said.
“Let’s focus on the explosives first, ok, Beacons?” Winston said.
Mallody led them down a cavernous hallway.
“How does this fit on the cliffside?” Davis wondered aloud.
“It doesn’t,” Mallody answered, “we are walking well into the cliff. The lobby we started out in is mostly for tourists.” She chuckled in a way most unsettling.
The walk never seemed to stop. The ceiling drew closer and closer to the floor as they progressed further into the cliff and the wooden floor gave way to a path of pebbles and dirt.
“This,” Mallody said as she pushed open a thick wooden door at the end of the hallway, “is where the Hunters call home.”
Music filled the room and sunlight poured into the space. There was no ceiling here, just rock walls and open sky. Members of the Guild were dancing in the center of the room as others played accordions and lyres to amuse themselves. The steady drone of conversation filled the quiet spaces in the music.
“This is quite a place,” May said.
“Show us the crate, Mallody,” Winston ordered.
She pointed to a dark, unoccupied portion of the room. A single crate sat there. Pine slates, rusted nails and the logo of an unknown company made up the crate that contained highly effective explosive bottles. The flimsy exterior of the crate worried Davis. He winced when he saw the box.
May ran to it.
“What does this logo mean? Is this the trader’s mark? The one you purchased these from?” May asked as she investigated every inch of the crate.
“We did not buy the devices. The merchant offered them as a gift to the Guild. He said we would know how best to use them and left,” Mallody answered.
Winston and May exchanged exasperated glances.
“That did not seem odd?” Winston asked.
“We need all the tools we can get in stopping pirates out here. Free bottles that blow up airships seemed like a real leg up on the competition,” Mallody made her point.
“Did the merchant give a name?” Winston asked.
“Not that I know of,” Mallody replied.
A new voice came from the dancing Hunters, “He flew out of here heading west. I saw that much. His ship was weird looking. Like one of our biplanes, but the just one wing. And it was underneath the cabin. And it was actually two wings. And they flapped like a bird. Its propeller was like ours too, but not. It was in the back. Flapping wings, backward propeller; I’m telling you it was weird lookin’, like a metal bird that gave us exploding eggs.”
“Thank you, drunken Hunter, that was helpful,” Winston told the bumbling man.
“Was any of that true?” Davis asked of Mallody.
“I think so, I do remember the flapping wings,” she replied.
“Then we head west and find the metal bird,” May said.
Winston smiled, “mind if I come along? This is truly becoming the most exciting thing that has happened around here in awhile.”
“We saw a zeppelin disintegrate when we got here, you remember that right?” Davis asked.
“Well, sure, but that happens all the time,” Winston said.
“All the time? That happens all the time? Do you think there may be a connection to destroying zeppelins and suddenly having unstable explosives show up in town?” Davis told Winston.
Winston thought on Davis’ words for longer than expected.
“We need to go find the metal bird,” Winston said.