Prologue III: Bloodshed and DisasterMature

Mombasa, 24th of August 1845

Steel on steel rang through the streets, for once not originating in Molly's metal arm or side. Small mercies, she thought. She backed away from the scuffling twosome. She could send Honour in. Have her finish them quickly and for sure. But Molly knew well enough when to leave destiny to itself.

Besides, the city guards would soon descend, and she'd rather leave as few traces of herself and her companion as possible.

So the two half-living predators sprinted from the fiery mess and the bloody combat they had caused. Molly had stolen away from bloodshed and disaster before; what was one more time?

***

London, 25th of August 1845

Silus Splendid was enjoying his new view.

The dingy, but lavishly decorated, office overlooked the Thames, and the steamboats which docked there; such primitive-looking things next to the docks full of golden and brass airships, which not only exceeded them in speed and fuel efficiency, but which also transcended their size at least tenfold.

Sauntering away from the window, Silus slid into a sensuously fabricated armchair by the sizzling fireplace. Ah yes. It was, indeed, the life.

It had been difficult explaining to some of his clients how he had come to own such an office, considering the humble origins of his career. They were all familiar with the story of Bartholomew Meriwether's Golden Girl, but were less eager to believe that she had been eliminated. No bodies always meant no glory to the British.

Silus cradled a glass of sherry and grinned at their naivety, glimpsing over that morning's headlines once again. They didn't matter. Only one client mattered, and he had paid up already.

A knock disrupted his contented reflections, and he called for Penelope to come. She did. She wore a waist-clinching skirt made up of six overlapping layers of burgundy silk, and a cream blouse which did little to disguise her assets. Silus removed his monocle in order to allow himself a more thorough look.

"Mr. Splendid, a new client just arrived. Someone important, I think. I recognize his face, so I must have seen him in the papers or something." She spoke meekly, and Silus liked that.

"Lovely. Send him in, Penelope dear."

"Alright, sir." As she turned to leave, Silus leaned to the side to watch her backside sidle out the door. With a smirk, he read the headline one last time;

"THREE BRITISH CITIZENS DEAD IN MOMBASA. IDENTITIES NOT YET CONFIRMED."

Ah yes. It was, indeed, a splendid life.

The End

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