Underby was reading a thick volume on explosives when he thought he heard a noise in his office, somewhere between the sighing of a sheet of rice paper and a butterfly’s gossamer flutter.
He looked up and his eyes met with those belonging to the clockwork girl which seemed to frequent the Gangplank. It stood there, a slight smile on its face, eyes locked on his. Underby noted to himself that they were remarkably lifelike, lacking the glassy doll like quality most of the locally produced automata possessed.
“Hello sir,” Lottie began “may I enquire as to the status of a reward here?”
He scowled, not looking back up from his work with the tone one uses when the toaster is improperly adjusted. “Whatever could you mean by that?”
It held up a piece of paper emblazoned with the words “Wanted Dead or Alive” above the picture of that damned taheen that killed Bib. It leaned its head to the side, and he felt those lifeless eyes looking at him, almost giving the impression the machine was sizing him up.
“Yes, yes. There is still a reward for the capture of the killer, are you asking on behalf of some…”
Underby looked up and found that he was alone again. “Damned silly mechanical things…” he muttered as he continued to work.