A thick fog obscured the city of New Babbage from several nautical miles beyond the Vernian reefs. The moment they passed into the thick haze the passengers knew they had arrived where locals refused to trust air they could not see. The lighthouses cut through the dense gloom leading them past the rocks as the steamship slowly edged into Port Babbage.
The waves sent a spray of salty muck above for Beryl to experience the most common scents the city possessed right away. She coughed lightly at the assault on her lungs, but knew she would grow used to it again quickly. She took out a handkerchief and hid her discomfort until it passed.
The feline stood upright near the bow on the starboard side while men prepared the port side to dock. Memories of the city stirred as she looked over the docks with nostalgia. The Mermaid Arcade, the Mechanix Arms, Dr. Sonnersteins candy store, the park bench where Maddox revealed she had no connections within the city, all of it was gone. What remained had been altered or updated by the march of progress, except for the empty welcome center area. It was a completely different shore in some ways, but still familiar.
She disembarked, on her hind legs, while wearing a purple dress and pulling her rolling luggage behind her. The city had changed her as well over the years. For the better.
Hold your head high. They don’t deserve to see your pain.
She purred at her memories and continued up the cobbles, passing several others who looked like tourists, gawking at their maps at the big city. A customary glance confirmed to her they were outdated. The feline did not stop to help them figuring some ‘guide’ would take a coin off them soon enough.
“Beryl!” Cyan shouted as he ran towards her excitedly. She wondered which Cyan Rayna this was, but it did not really matter she supposed.
“Cyan. It is good to see you, whichever one you are.” He looked up at her and seemed about to hug but she held out a paw to keep him at arms length for now. She still forced her smile and purr to hide her inner growl at his presence. She controlled her tail to sway in a friendly fashion despite her true feelings.
“The one and …well the original.” He replied with a smirk. “I think my duplicate tried to go back to Chicago. I’m not sure.”
She nodded quietly and spoke with the boy a short time in a friendly manner. He must believe she had forgiven him and the other urchins. The familiar had accomplished more pretending to be cordial than hostile to those who had collectively betrayed her. Even their recent adventure this summer with the Invasion of the Clockwork Body Snatchers, or the Great Coffee shortage last year, had done nothing to truly improve her disposition at their thoughtlessness.
The lad eventually ran off and the cat continued on her way. Her first stop would be the chocolate shop and the apartments above Mad-Alice Lane. She owed Lady Byrne so much for her help getting back on her feet. Beryl gave her the credit for pulling her out of her stupor for the past two years.
Make them regret interfering with my family.
She still remembered the words of Lady Byrne, and they had never been rescinded. With a smile and a small purple glint in her heterochromatic eyes she made her way into Clockhaven towards her Lady’s home.