The Iron Duke by The Iron Duke


The Iron Duke by The Iron Duke

Author:The Iron Duke [Duke, The Iron]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 2011-01-16T17:24:37.143000+00:00



Chapter Nine

Though the messenger must have delivered her note well before midnight, when Mina rose from her bed near dawn, Trahaearn stil had not come. She waited in her room, expecting an imperious knock at the front door, expecting an airship to hover above her house at any moment. She heard nothing.

After two hours passed, she realized he must have withdrawn his offer—and feared that she knew the reason why.

She left her valise in her room and came down the stairs to breakfast. Her parents sat at the table, talking quietly, with no newssheet spread between them. Mina looked to the fireplace. The short time they used this big room every morning didn’t warrant the expense of heating it, yet ashes lay in the grate.

Silently, she gathered her breakfast from the sideboard, and sat. Though she acknowledged their greetings, she didn’t speak until certain that her voice wouldn’t emerge as a croak.

Final y, she was able to ask, “Was the caricature so very bad?”

Her mother forced a smile. “You have earned those detective’s epaulettes.”

“What was it?”

“Nothing worth seeing,” her father said shortly. “Just a picture drawn by idiots.”

A picture seen by everyone they knew. She couldn’t eat. Even expecting that her caricature might appear in the newssheets, she hadn’t known it would hurt this much. She wished Andrew sat across from her. He would make her laugh. He would make it easier to bear.

Her father looked up. “Mina, I forbid you from looking at it. If that rag is put into your face, you wil close your eyes.”

She nodded silently.

His fist struck the table, rattling the plates. “You wil close your eyes!”

He never raised his voice. Now, his shout had her mother covering her face, and Mina’s heart leaping into her throat and choking her. She fought tears.

“Yes, Father.” It was a hoarse whisper.

Her mother gave a shuddering sigh, and tried for another smile. “And you cannot save eight wealthy boys and the Iron Duke every day. So it wil only be the once.”

If he’d truly withdrawn his offer, then yes—it would only be the once.

Her father nodded. “And by the time you return, no one wil remember. When wil you be leaving, Mina?”

“I don’t know. Perhaps he didn’t receive my message.” She pushed her egg around.

“He said they were departing at dawn.”

She glanced up at her mother’s gasp of dismay. “And Andrew?”

Her father caught her hand. “Do not panic now, love. We’ve had a ful night to think on this. If Andrew is stil on the Terror, then he wil return with the Iron Duke. If not, we wil figure out what to do then.”

“Perhaps we wil al go after him.” Her mother gave a laugh, high and thin. “On the run from the Blacksmith, straight into the Ivory Market. It shal be like an Archimedes Fox adventure.”

“Mother—”



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