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A Return to the Other New Babbage Part 2 of 3

As soon as he was back in the street, he spied out a manhole cover, and with practiced ease flipped it up and slipped under the City. He was on a mission from himself, and no one-eyed crab was going to stop him! The sewers had not been as damaged as the rest of the city, and the going was easy for the small boy, his firefly lantern lighting his way along the familiar paths. There was no sign of the crab creatures down here, but neither was there any evidence of the rats or other sewer denizens he would normally have found. He guessed that they had already cleared out most of the poor things that had lived here, and had gone on to places further away, but still he approached his destination with care.

The manhole cover by the remains of the Bucket of Blood lifted a fraction of an inch, and a pair of eyes darted back and forth before the lid was slid back, and Tepic jumped out. He double checked the surroundings, then slipped back into the shadows of the ruins, skirting around the shell of the Freak Show to the old Van Creed building behind. There was not much left of the warehouse, and in the centre the hole had grown and seemed to pulse with an unearthly glow. The Aether Pump was still intact, arching over the hole, still working, with the Eliot Device nestling in the centre of the machinery.

He glanced around, checking there were no crab creatures about, then inched his way onto the beams supporting the pump, carefully edging towards the glowing machine. Balancing beside the Eliot Device, he reached in, feeling for the small chamber he had described to himself,  then, letting out a deep breath, he grasped it firmly and twisted until it came away. He slipped it into his pocket, then made his way back to the ground, a sigh of relief escaping from his lips as he felt terra firma beneath his toes. He looked around again, then stepped round a corner. If anyone had been there to see, and had followed, they would have found no sign of the boy. Up on the gantry, the Aether Pump slowly ground to a halt as the glow from the Device faded. The hole in this City was self supporting, but without the activating chamber of Loki’s blood the Device could never be used to open holes to the other dimensions.

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