* A tale involving the “other” side of Miss Hermit. Feel free to comment *
“Are you sure this was needed? You could have just sold the house you know”, asks Sofie as we watch the fire take hold and grow.
“No. I was told to close my accounts as quickly as possible. In any case it may throw the Yakuza off my trail. I will need some help from Miss Hienrichs however. With her connections within Babbage she may lay a most convincing story to lend some truth to the lie that I am dead.”
“But M’Lady lost all her possessions and clothes”, Tasha being young does not understand hard choices as Mac and Sofie do.
“Not to worry Tasha dear, I have traveled light before and I have a full wardrobe back at home.”
“I watched the undertaker dig up Hiro and salt him down for the journey as you asked Miss Hermit. They took him down to the docks and placed him in a small sailboat that the urchins had made ready. I checked their work and everything is ready.”
“Thank you Mac. I know you can not talk to them but I wanted you to view the work that I had wrote down on the papers that I sent them. I overpaid them to insure things were done quickly and properly.”
“We are going to miss you dear. Evie is quite upset and has flown away to Tepic’s camp to console herself. Daniel will not speak of it but he is saddened by your leaving also.”
“I know Sofie. I can not waste time to track them down. Let them know I love them both.”
With a final blast of flame and smoke the house collapses onto itself. The ghosts fade away after saying their farewells. I watch the fire consume what is left by myself.
Time to visit Miss Hienrichs before I go, She is needed to help close this story. I hurry along the back ways to her house. Once there, I pause to collect myself and then knock on the door.
“Who is there?”, she asks.
“It is Miss Hermit, come for a brief visit. May I come in?”
“But of course”, and the doors swing wide in invitation with Miss Hienrichs standing to welcome me. “Please have a seat upon the sofa. I trust you are having a good day?”
I smile softly, “I have had better. To be a tad unladylike and to the point, I came to tell you that I have been recalled to home at once. I did not want to leave without seeing you for several reasons.” I show her the the scroll from the senior monk and Father as proof.
“Oh my. This is most sudden and quite sad. How soon shall you leave?”
“Upon the change of the tide today. Urchins are preparing a small sailboat as we speak.”
“You said that you had a few reasons?”, she asks. “What can I do?”
“Well first, I wanted to let you know that I had Hiro dug up, He will be returning with me and will be taken care of by the monks according to the proper rites. He will have a nice funeral after all.”
Miss Heinrichs smiles at that, “I am happy to hear that. If anyone asks at Headquarters about an open grave in the back of Babbage, I can honestly say that he was sent home then.”
“Second, take a sniff of the air. Other than the usual canal smells, what can you detect?”
She cautiously inhales and stiffens as she smells the smoke of the fire. “Something is burning! Whatever could it be?”
“It is whatever is left of my house.” I reply somewhat sadly.
“What! Why did you not raise the alarm?” She starts to make leave of the sofa but I hold up a hand to stop her.
“Because I set it.”
That causes her to sit back down with a small thump, “Whatever for?”
“Because I hope to divert the attention of the Yakuza long enough to get out of Babbage. I need you to raise the hue and cry as it were and to pronounce to anyone that will listen that I perished in the fire.”
“That I can do as a member of the fire brigade. Since I am in the militia people might listen to me and believe it.”
“Very well Miss Hienrichs. One last thing, a favor really, can you visit the spirits from time to time? All the western spirits want to stay with their remains but Tasha and Evie are quite torn up about my leaving. Being young girls when they died I can understand their feelings.”
“Of course I shall. I always enjoyed their company, at least when they were not possessing me.”
We both rise from the sofa and I head for the door. “If ever you wish to develop your ability you will find the doors of the Temple ever open for you sister-miko.”
Miss Hienrichs embraces me with a long and warm hug, “Safe travels to you dear. We have had quite the journey together. I hope to see you again.”
I return the hug with equal affection, “What the Kami wish for Book and I hope that it is to see you again also. Cheerful adventures to you Miss Hienrichs.”
I open the door and check for people then move quickly away and towards the Clockhaven docks using all the back ways Mac told me about. Surprisingly enough, none of them are dead ends. He must have remembered I can not pass through walls. I reach the sailboat that the urchins are holding for me. A few quick hugs and kisses, along with some extra coins, and I am off for home with Hiro. Farewell Babbage…a proper education you have given me. A pity I must leave in such a hurry. Perhaps I shall return one day.
* A closing chapter to follow this one for me plus one from Miss Hienrichs I think. RL changes force me to leave Babbage. I shall be on the Reader but will not be able to be in SL. My typist wants to thank all the citizens of Babbage for their wonderful roleplay support during my sojourn in the sooty city.*