Joseph nodded and lifted the plank; he threw the rope ladder down and welcomed Aimee to climb down first. Touching the docking plate send nervous fits through her body, it all seem a dream to her. Daniel was already in the slot, with his hands poised eagerly on the beam, ready to push the cart forward.
“We’ll go to old Mr. Lynder first,” Joseph told Daniel. “It will be a quick stop,” he added when he saw protest arising on Daniel’s face. Daniel shook his head and started pushing the beam that moved the cart forward. Joseph walked behind the full cart, pushing it from behind. Aimee walked beside Daniel, marveling at everything she saw around her.
The buildings and houses were indeed bigger and greater than the tiny dwellings of the Northern Territory; the roads were dirt or cobblestone, lined with miles and miles of gas lamps. Argon globes hung from clothe lines attached from one building to another and the smell of burning steam infused the air. They were walking through a street that was solely devoted on selling clockwork objects; everything from intricate clocks to windup toys. Aimee loved cogs and clockwork; she enjoyed the soft ticking of their intricate technology and the fancy shapes they could take. She was looking left and right, gasping with delight at everything her eyes made contact with. Daniel and Joseph watched her with happy smiles drawn in their faces.
The people living in the Trade were the same kind of people from the Market, though in larger demographic amounts. Aimee learned later that one part of the Trade Grounds was strictly restricted to people with white skin, original owners of the land. That land was adjacent to the Central Ground and was distinctive because of the pure whiteness of the buildings. The biggest and tallest white building was where the mayor of the Southern Trade lived. Willhem Hobbes regulated the laws in the many cities comprising the Trade.
They stopped at a very old and secluded shop in the same street, just one mile away from the Central Ground. There was no sign, the windows were blurred with ages of dusts, and the wooden door was splintering apart little by little.
“This is it,” Joseph said, “the best books are sold here. Your mother used to love this place very much. I am fond of it myself.”
“It is a miracle it has stood so long,” snorted Daniel.
“Bless you Daniel, it is a miracle you have lived so long obscured in ignorance,” Aimee said. Joseph opened the fragile door and let Aimee in. Daniel was to stay outside to look after the cart. The inside of the shop had a peculiar smell of dust and age. Books of different volume and age were stacked carefully in the bookshelves that lined the walls. The room was dim, the soft ticking of the clock was the only sound.
“Hey, Mr. Lynder, Joseph Wilker has come to visit you,” Joseph called. “I’ve bought you a little disciple and fan of books and knowledge.”
“Dad,” whispered Aimee in exasperation, “you don’t need to elevate your voice.”
A tall and thin figure appeared from behind the counter. His sharp and wise looking blue eyes, behind some half-moon spectacles, were surveying the customers. His white hair was long and his beard even longer. His skin was smooth despite his age. “Joseph, what a pleasant surprise,” he said in a soft rumble of a voice. “I suppose you brought that raucous boy of yours?”
Aimee giggled and Joseph grinned.
“I brought my daughter, Aimee,” he placed a hand on her head; “she is sixteen and wanted to see the Trade by herself.”
Mr. Lynder adjusted his spectacle and regarded Aimee with a long, thoughtful stare. “Her eyes are precious jewels, just like Sophie’s.” He walked from behind the counter, “nice to meet you young lady. My name is Lynder,only.”
Aimee decided he was quirky, but she liked him nonetheless, “I am Aimee, Mr. Lynder, it is my absolute pleasure to meet you too.”
“Witty and polite,” Lynder said, “unlike your brother. So, what can I do for you?”
“My father promised to get me a book,” Aimee answered, skimming the room. “Anything you would recommend I get?”
Lynder eyed her scrupulously. Aimee decided that he had the most piercing blue eyes she had ever seen. They were like daggers that went through her soul when their eyes met. “You seem like a very intelligent girl; carefree and creative. A book of inventions and flying ships might do compliments to your cleverness. Something that has to do with Northern Lights, seeing that you will soon belong to that world, provided you have not already, which is unlikely.” He walked to the far right side of the room and with his long, slender finger; he examined the titles on the binder of the book.
Aimee liked this personage a lot, she was certain that if one day they had the fortune of having tea together, they would entertained each other greatly. Lynder came back with a book. The cover was still intact but crisped with dust. The pages were yellowing but still readable.
“This book was my favorite when I was a child,” he said, “the title is “The Hidden Treasure and Mystery of the Northern Lights”, written by a dear friend of mine. I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did. Take it,” he added as soon as Aimee was fumbling in her trouser pocket for some money. “I owe your family much more than I can ever repay them.”
“Thank you,” Aimee said and bowed her head. She felt slightly intimidated by this noble figure, and couldn’t help but revere him.