“I don’t like it,” August said. He stirred his coffee and looked off through the apartment’s balcony window.
Emmett echoed the remarks. “It just seems like you’re rushing into this training thing. Do you know any of Eula’s allies? For that matter do you know if that is her real name?”
Edwin shook his head, “I am not one hundred percent certain of anything. What we saw in that bank cellar though was something that needs to be stopped. The Duke is going around the world gathering artifacts and sacrificing goats. I don’t know why, I don’t know how big this is, but I know it was not for any positive reason. Eula is doing something to stop that and I intend to help.”
August and Emmett exchange a look.
“No, no, no, no. No worried glances between concerned friends. If you have anything else to say about the situation say it aloud. Courage brothers of the apartment!” Edwin called them out.
“Edwin, are you sure you are not just bored? I’ve done some strange things when bored, friend.” August said.
“At the shop he once built an automaton that opened soda bottles and sang the anthem. Out of an old teddy bear. It is the creepiest thing,” Emmett added.
Puzzled, Edwin looked at August with tilted eyebrows.
“Boredom makes you do crazy things,” August justified.
“I have am far from bored. I have to help Eula and Eula is willing to make me better at not getting killed by the Duke and his cronies,” Edwin made his case.
Another look passed between the seated roommates.
“That’s sound reasoning,” August agreed.
“Yep, go learn your shadow walks or whatnot mate,” Emmett said, knocking his knuckles twice against the wooden table.
Conversation ended, coffee cups were set down and the roommates went about their days. August and Emmett went to their workshop to repair the broken gadgets of the big city’s gadget savvy, yet clumsy, denizens.
Edwin looked over his gyro-copter, adjusting gears and coils to ensure it was in tip-top shape. When that task was completed he examined his tesla gauntlet. There was a lose connection between the charge cord and the firing mechanism, but it was quickly fixed. He moved on to the seeds and plants he was keeping on the balcony. After watering the plants that needed it, he moved back inside to work on his goggles. He found no flaws.
He walked the apartment looking for anything to fix, mend, sew, weld, solder; anything that could keep him occupied until Eula’s arrival.
“Oh golly no, I am bored,” he cried out to apartment’s walls.
He slumped down in a wicker chair near the balcony and rested his face in his hands. He muttered to himself, questioned what he was doing, why he was doing it and what difference any of his actions could possibly make. Eventually he rose from the chair, the wicker pricked and poked his back every time he sat in it, but for some reason he never remembered this detail. He paced and muttered, muttered and paced.
A knock at the door pulled him from his internal questions.
“Edwin?” Eula’s muffled voice called from behind the wooden door. “Edwin, this is Eula.”
Before he could say hello as he opened the door, Eula looked him over.
“You have doubts?” Eula asked.
“Can I be trained to be that astute?” Edwin gave his own question.
“Sit,” Eula ordered. She pointed to the wicker chair.
“I’m going to do as requested, but not there,” he replied, pleased that he remembered the wicker chairs devilish nature. He took his seat and Eula told him a story.
“I have not told you of my own reasons for tracking down the Duke and these artifacts have I?” She began.
“I don’t believe so, no,” Edwin answered.
“Rhetorical, love, just listen now. I was working as a librarian’s aide; restocking shelves, finding books for patrons, menial tasks really but it was blissful work. One day, I was walking through a collection of books and scrolls on loan from a traveling exhibit. The exhibit originated in Istanbul. With it came text after text full of glorious pictures and symbols and words I could never read, but they were hand written in a calligraphy that was simply divine. I spent hours rummaging through what we were allowed to touch.”
“One night I was in the library long after it was closed to the public. I was sitting with a book, engrossed in its riches so I had no idea what time of day it really was. I was shocked back to the real world by the sound of metal pinging across the tile floors of the library. It was so abrupt I thought my heart was going to shoot out of my chest. I darted out of my chair and to the exhibit. The only sensible source of the sound was the exhibit. I neared the area that housed the books and artifacts and saw two men in a fist fight.”
“They were silent in their fight. A soundless battle between two trained fighters; can you imagine such a site? One man held a golden bound book in one hand. He was attempting to steal the book and the other man was there to stop him. In a flash, the man with the book in hand landed a crushing blow and the man sent to stop him fell to the floor. I saw him hit the ground and from there I blacked out. I remember hiking up my skirt a touch to get a better running speed. I chased the thief out of the library, through the main drag outside the building and into a park, not unlike the park you and I met the second time around. I caught him, walloped the side of his head, took the book and returned to the library.”
“When I got back there were three people waiting for me. They told me about the Duke and his colleagues, how they were stealing history’s greatest artifacts and selling them to the highest bidder. At least that what our understanding was then. I was scared, but they knew I was good in a tough situation and wanted me to join their ranks. You, Edwin are good in a tight spot and I know you want that bit of adventure.”
Edwin had not blinked, had not breathed in minutes. He took in every word of Eula’s story.
“Now, Edwin Burns, get off your bum and stop being glum. We have training.”
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