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Family Matters: The Society Book 4 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 16733

Updated: 2019-06-11 14:54

Chapter 14

As Alex threw the deadbolt when they left, Ivy knocked on her apartment door instead of letting herself in. The door opened and she could see relief clearly written across her brother's face.

"The longer you were gone, the worse things I started to imagine, " he confessed. "I kept thinking of Vlad's malfunction, "

"This wasn't anything as dramatic, " Ivy told him. "But potentially more problematic at least for me."

"Food first, " Russell declared as he closed the door behind them and after taking a deep breath to brace himself, threw the deadbolt. He shivered in reaction to Ivy's mage locks clicking on and walked straight to the drawer filled with take-out menus. "You can plot and scheme after we put an order in."

"We also may need to get more snacks, " Alex said. When Ivy and Russell looked at him he shrugged. "When I worry, I eat. You shouldn't have left me alone with the snacks."

Ivy shook her head and the three of them quickly decided on an order. As Russell called it in, Ivy filled Alex in on their visit to Hamilton's office.

"So they weren't malfunctioning, they just switched their allegiance to Ivy?" Alex summed up.

"That about covers it, " Russell said as he joined them on the couches while they waited for food to be delivered. "They seem happy with the change."

"Happy?" Alex asked.

"They smile at me a lot and keep asking if there is anything they can do for me, " Ivy clarified.

"I don't remember them smiling at Hamilton, " Russell said. "Or anyone else for that matter. Except for the neutrally pleasant half smile they all wore all the time. You know the super creepy one."

"Their super smiley ultra-helpful attitude is a little creepy as well, " Ivy said.

"Probably because it's all directed at you, " Russell said. "The rest of us are merely the backdrop."

"It might be a part of their original programming, " Alex said.

"Meaning Theodore thought they should all be happy to see him?" Ivy asked.

Alex laughed. "Not exactly. You know how we raided the library for books before we came?"

"Sure, " Ivy said. "You left me a stack to go through."

"I left you the ones that were more general and not so earth mage centric, " Alex corrected.

"Those were the ones that were for general use?" Ivy said. She shook her head. "I had to skim most of them as the earth magic was beyond me."

"We'll the other books would have just made your eyes cross, then, " Alex said. "So I don't feel bad keeping them for myself."

He picked up a book that was set down on one of the couch cushions. Ivy guessed in between snacking, he spent his time reading. He held the book out to Ivy who took it and began to page through it. The volume was handwritten and contained diagrams and notations for most of the golems she saw in the Shadow Council building.

The early ones tended towards the monstrous. Ivy saw depictions of Crush and Stab as well as Vlad inked onto the pages. She saw the two guards to the Shifter's archives along with their details laid out on the pages. Personally, Ivy thought those looked more like Egyptian gods rather than monsters with their animal heads and human bodies. Some of the other creatures depicted in the volume were far scarier.

"I'm betting Theodore had some rather interesting nightmares as a child, " Ivy said as she looked over the drawings. Most of the diagrams that went with them were well beyond her understanding. She saw the notations beside the drawings, but most of them meant nothing to her.

"I hope some of the creatures were merely theoretical designs and not actually in residence in the golem storage area, " she said. Many of the creatures looked designed to give her nightmares of Vlad a run for their money.

She was relieved when the images in the book became less traumatic and she began to see images for golems like her assistant Figure Seven. Towards the end of the volume were images of the more human looking golems like Jane. To Ivy's surprise not only were their drawings and diagrams, but there were images that looked to be clipped from magazines.

"And not just Jane either, " Ivy said.

While the Jane Russell look alike ended up achieving golem supremacy as the prime golem in the building, many other actresses and models of the time were drawn out. Some Ivy could name, others had faces she found familiar from the old films they used to watch with their grandmother. Surprisingly there were also diagrams for a Marilyn Monroe style golem in the volume. While most of the notations and diagrams were based in earth magic and not things she could make much sense out of, Marilyn had one note even she could read.

"That's Gran's handwriting, " Ivy said.

"I saw that, " Alex said nodding.

"What does it say?" Russell asked.

"Copied and given to Timothy in exchange for Franklin's file, prototype cognitive function removed from copy, " Ivy read.

Russell chuckled and shook his head. "Your family has more secrets than

in Hamilton's place, " Russell said. "She was returning to claim her family property?"

"More or less, " Alex said.

"Meaning?" Ivy asked, a feeling of dread growing in her belly.

"Well, they are all supposed to compile information that is useful for the Chambers family until such time as it is needed, " Alex said. "So I suppose that if any of us went into politics, they would be our spies. Even if they still officially served Hamilton, we could retrieve the information if we wanted. There is a system of protocols I'm trying to work my way through. It should give us a way to retrieve the information they've store for our family's use."

"Let me guess, it's another one of Theodore's brilliant breakthroughs in golem technology?" Ivy asked.

"More or less, " Alex said.

"Jane did ask if you meant a full report or just a report since your last visit, " Russell reminded her. "Maybe the full report was the information she stored away in the family vault."

"Maybe, " Ivy said. "She certainly didn't want to give it without checking for listening or recording devices."

"And not with anyone else present either, " Russell reminded her.

"True, " Ivy said. "I can't see Hamilton liking that."

"I don't think it's the sort of thing you should tell him, " Russell said.

"Am I mistaken or did a wolf actually advocate lying?" Alex asked.

"Not lying, " Russell said. "Just keeping your mouth shut. Even wolves can occasionally do that for the greater good. It helps when everyone around you can smell a lie."

"Wolves being sneaky?" Ivy asked.

"Wolves being practical, " Russell corrected. "It happens on occasion."

"The notes actually remind me of you Ivy, " Alex said before Ivy could comment on wolf practicality.

"I couldn't make heads or tails of the notes, " Ivy said.

"Not the earth mage stuff, the way he thinks about things, " Alex corrected. "Reading through his diagrams reminds me of the schematics you used to put together. Like that heating thing."

"Heating thing?" Russell asked.

"Gran was complaining about the cost of the heating bill one winter, " Alex started.

"Every winter, " Ivy corrected.

"True, " Alex said. "But one winter Ivy decided to do something about it. She designed a sort of fire mage battery to power the heater."

"I turned the house subtropical, " Ivy added. "For two weeks in the dead of winter, we'd come into the house in our winter gear and strip down to tank tops and shorts just to survive in the house."

"You got it right in the end though, " Alex said. "And Gran spent less on the heating bill each winter after."

"We ought to look at doing that for Wildwood, " Russell said. "Before next winter anyway."

"It's on my to do list, " Ivy told him. "Once we get everything settled with the business and Hamilton stops calling with emergencies." Ivy frowned. "If they've got that hidden protocol in them, do you think Hamilton will have any success in turning them back into his good little minions?"

"Doubtful, " Alex said. "Even if he finds the wording that makes him think they work for him, they will still have that internal system that lets them know they belong to the Chambers family."

"I suppose that should make the next few days very interesting, " Russell said.

"Yeah, " Ivy replied. "Interesting."

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