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   Chapter 32 No music and bars

Bactine By Paul Kater Characters: 11924

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:03

"Oh... you are strong." Melia leaned into Daniel for a moment. She had to raise her voice to overcome a strange loud spluttering sound that came from back where Master Cloris had gone to.

Daniel was about to worry, when the man came back. His goggles were around his neck now, a black streak was on his face. He pushed a strange contraption along on a rack with small wheels. The thing, again with leather straps and lots of metal, had a frightening number of buttons on either side, and there was a metallic flexible line hanging from it. The line bobbed at the huffing and puffing of whatever machine was spluttering out of sight.

"I'm terribly sorry about the little audible mishap back there, " said Master Cloris. He looked at Daniel. "You never told me your name, young man."

"Daniel Zacharias, sir. Nice to meet you."

"Oh yes, of course, I know. Now look here..." Master Cloris bent over the strange thing with the bobbing line.

Melia pulled Daniel closer to the contraption.

"I call this my steampordion. It uses air pressure to generate wind inside the instrument, and the wind goes past things inside there, and when I press these buttons here..." He pressed buttons. Something hissed in a very annoyed way and the flexible line sprung away from the instrument, wriggling like a snake with a bad temper.

Master Cloris stared at the jumping hose. "Oh. It still does that." He shook his head and clogged away, to the back room. After only seconds the spluttering stopped, causing the mechanical snake to stop its wild dance.

The man came back. "This, I'm afraid, was not the best impression." He reached for his forehead. Then he muttered something and stuck the goggles back where they apparently belonged. "Well now, my dear Melia, what brings you here today?"

Melia explained that she wanted to show Daniel around and meet Master Cloris.

"Daniel? Oh, yes, that's you, isn't it?" Master Cloris held out a hand that looked like it had saw more grease in a week than Daniel would in his whole life. He carefully shook it.

"So you are not looking for a new horn-violin? Well, lucky you, Melia, I don't have any that would live up to your requirements at the moment."

"Master Cloris knows me so well, " Melia said to Daniel, who was looking for a way to clean his hand. Melia had dealt with this before, he noticed. She opened her little purse and slipped him a handkerchief.

They looked around the shop for a bit, while Melia and Master Cloris communicated in a jargon that was completely lost on Daniel. They then said goodbye to the strange man, who seemed to forget about them the moment he turned to go back to his wicked machines.

Back in the fresh outside air, they both blinked their eyes until they could properly see again.

"I hope you liked it, Daniel." Melia slipped her arm through his.

"If nothing else, it was very entertaining, " Daniel grinned. "I do believe I owe you a handkerchief."

"Don't worry, dear Daniel, I can wash that." She was quite practical, Daniel noticed. A sour moment made him think of Xandree and her practicality, but Melia started walking and he tagged along.

They passed the shops from there on and then turned into a much quieter street.

"I have my classes in my house, " Melia said. "It is right up this street, and then we turn to the left. It is near where the playing fields are."

"The playing fields?" Daniel wondered.

"Yes. It is where the women play Folling. I've never discovered what they like about that, " Melia said as she shook her head, making her curls

mlin as he heard the news. They agreed to meet at the harbour entrance in two hours, that would give everyone time for a quick bite and get there.

Daniel waited at the harbour until Tomlin arrived. There was another man with him, who turned out to be Tomlin's friend Gerolf.

"Our captain was not able to make it, but I think we can trust your judgement, Daniel."

Daniel felt a bit overasked, but they could at least take a look, so he went ahead and followed the instructions the brushing voice had given him. They reached a small pier. It was hewn from natural rock, aeons ago.

"That's it?" Gerolf looked at the vessel.

"That must be it. It's the only boat around, " Daniel said. "And it's... small. As promised." He stepped onto the boat. It was in good shape, that was clear, but the thing could probably hold six people. And there would already be four sailing in it.

Tomlin and Gerolf also got on board. "I could use this for the family, " Tomlin said. "Once I learn how to sail, that is." There was a slight movement of the boat as Daniel walked around it, and Tomlin grabbed hold of the single mast with both arms.

"Learn to sail, you said?" Daniel grinned. "That'll be the day."

"Tomlin, " Gerolf said. "Maybe strange Aldrick knows something."

"Who?" Daniel had never heard that name before.

"That's an idea..." Tomlin said, holding the mast with only one hand now. "He has always something up his sleeve. He could have something for us..."

"Who is strange Aldrick, Tomlin?"

"Maybe we should pay him a visit. I have some time this evening, Gerolf. You?"

"Hello? I am still here, right?" Daniel tapped Tomlin on the shoulder.

"I know, Daniel. Strange Aldrick is an inventor. So far he has not blown up his house, but rumour has it that this is his second one." Tomlin and Gerolf laughed over what had to be some local joke. "We are going to look him up and see if he has something better than this bathtub."

"I'm coming with you, " Daniel decided.

"Nope, you're not. Aldrick is strange for a reason, and strangers is one of them. We have to look him up alone. He knows us."

Daniel was not a happy camper with this answer, but he had to trust his friend. He guided the two off the harbour area and then saw them roll away in a carriage. All he had was the promise that Tomlin would get in touch as soon as he knew something.

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