Chapter Eight Continued
Alchymia and The Cross-Eyed Cat
‘You think that I can help you locate it?’ said Alchymia, still running her hand absentmindedly through Fulcanelli’s thick mane. He purred and tilted his head, offering her his ear.
Drake’s stomach tightened and he was suddenly aware of beads of sweat forming on the back of his neck. He hadn’t seen Alchymia for years and here he was expecting her to drop everything to help them.
And if she didn’t want to help them, there would be no arguing with her.
Alchymia was not all that she seemed. Drake thought of her as a woman because it made her easier to comprehend, but she was much more than that. Alchymia was a Light Being; not quite solid but fluid, like running water in a river. But there was also a dark side to her that Drake did not wish to see and he hoped that in coming here, he wasn’t going to meet that side of her again.
‘Who wants you to find the book?’ Alchymia raised her head as she spoke, her face expressionless, her voice tinged with a touch of frost like the first days of winter.
‘Funestus, Funestus Black.’ Drake shifted in his chair, ‘The Head of the Enforcerer’s Office in Devilsgate.’
Alchymia raised an eyebrow. ‘I would have thought someone of such importance would have plenty of people at his disposal, so why has he chosen you?’
‘He didn’t choose me, I kind of got dragged into it. Look, it’s a long story and the only thing that really matters is that, if I don’t find that book for him, a lot of people will be in real danger.’ He sighed and shook his head, ‘I can’t let that happen.’
‘No. No, you cannot.’ Alchymia leaned back in her chair, her brow heavily creased. ‘I suppose the next question to ask is, why Funestus Black would want such an artefact-’
‘To stop Fenrik Lasko getting his filthy hands on it.’ Drake bit out the words.
‘and what he intends to do with it,’ continued Alchymia.
Drake dropped his mug on the table, the milky dregs splashing over the side like little teardrops. ‘I don‘t know,’ he said, slumping back into his chair.
‘But what if -‘
‘There can be no buts, I have to find The Emerald Key,’ said Drake, running his fingers through his shaggy black hair.
‘And your desire to help Funestus Black is not because of your vendetta against Fenrik?’ asked Alchymia.
‘Fenrik and his brother remain unpunished for your father‘s death-’
‘You think I’m doing this just to get back at Fenrik?’
‘Are you not?’
‘So this hatred you carry for them is not clouding your judgement? You really have no other option than to find The Emerald Key? To find it for a man of which you hardly know anything?’
‘I need to find that book, if I don’t, Fenrik will, and the entire human population of Devilsgate will be destroyed. Come on Alchymia, you know what he’s like-’
Alchymia held up her hand to silence him and Drake did not argue. He knew better than to do that. Instead, he watched in silence as she rose from her chair and floated, like a ghost, over to a stack of books by the bed, strands of her silvery-blue hair stirring around her like leaves kissed by a summer’s breeze.
With a quick flick of her hand, the pile of ancient books rose into the air releasing a heavy brown volume, decorated with strange symbols in gold leaf, from the bottom of the stack. As the other books rearranged themselves into a neat pile, the book flapped into the air like a bird and followed Alchymia back to her chair, where it floated down in front of her, stopping a few centimetres above her lap.
She clicked her fingers and the brittle pages began to flick backwards and forwards. With another click, the book fell still and she ran her eyes over the open pages. ‘Hello Willow,’ said Alchymia, her eyes not moving from the yellowing pages of the book.
Willow sat up and rubbed the back of her head. ‘What just happened to me?’ she asked, wincing as she found the small bloody lump there.
‘Ah, that would be Fulcanelli,’ explained Alchymia, pointing to the cat, ‘I told him that I did not want you to see where I was hiding until I had met you. Unfortunately, he used a sledgehammer to crack a nut. He is a little theatrical, a simple blindfold would have sufficed. Please, come and join us,’ said Alchymia, pointing to a mahogany chair with a plump red seat that had materialised next to Drake.
Willow stumbled over to the chair and sat down. Her eyes sparkled with delight as Fulcanelli circled around her, rubbing himself against her legs. Eventually, he settled and looked up at her with his big green, crossed-eyes.
‘He’s so cute!’ she cooed.