The Golden Butterfly, Chapter 42, Part 4 and the end of the story.

This is the end of the Golden Butterfly. Enjoy.

Hilda.
Sunday December 25, 1932.
We had Christmas at the inn this year. First of all Mother, actually both my mothers, wanted to give our visitors a real Vermont Christmas. So we did. Then much of the new family was staying at the inn anyway. We didn’t have Tochi and Suki this year, but we did have some of Tom’s other friends who enjoyed a little magic and warm company. Tom had handed copies of his new book around to a bunch of happy kids and some trouble kits as well as some toys that he had made. He also had wonderful things that he and Chrissie had found in Japan. The rest of the gifts were fairly normal, though mother and father had not wasted their time in Europe and neither had Mary and Roger, who found George and Tim some small cameras that used movie film. Suzy led Trillia and Verelia outside and dragooned poor Tony into hitching up a horse to a sled so that they could take the toboggan up and make runs with it. Andy and the other menaces popped up with snowballs at the ready and were slightly covered in ice before they were able to duck down again. That didn’t mean that Trillia was safe, but she made sure that Andy was well and truly nailed for his efforts. Gert’s kids and Gretel joined the general chaos as did Stephie’s and Theresa’s. We were watching in the lounge and Stephie came over and said, “It’s time. We went over to Tom and Chrissie and Stephie said, “Hilda and I have a little competition this year. We have to pull the best gag on you. Gags that can’t involve the use of our abilities. Fortunately, you set yourself up somewhat. You’ve been away as well. In any case, here it is.”
Boris and the boys rolled in a cabinet and opened it. The cabinet had Tom in his rocking boat flailing around with the boat hook as Chrissie jumped over the boat over and over while the thing played rock a bye baby. Stephie said, “I thought that you might need help getting the kids to sleep. We certainly did.”
Chrissie laughed, walked over and hugged Stephie. “I love it. We could use something that will help get the kids relaxed. They are fine today though.”
They were, actually. Sitting on daddy’s lap and soaking it all in. I said to Tom, “It’s my turn. My gag is a bit more subtle. It also helped to discover some family that are here for the first time. Here it is.”
I handed him the shotgun case. Tom looked at it and said, “A gun? I’m a bit surprised that you would settle for that.”
He opened the case and pulled the shot gun out and opened the breach. He closed it again and said, “I don’t see the gag. It is a very nice gun, but it’s still a gun.”
He started to look at the engraving and then looked at the tang. “You didn’t want me to forget, did you? I’m not sure if I should show this to Chrissie or not.”
“Hand it over Tom or you will be in trouble.”
Tom handed the shotgun over and Chrissie started to look at it. She took a close look at the engraving and said, “Tom, this gun only gets used for special occasions. Certianly we don’t want to wave it around to much.”
Josh said, “Ok, what’s the joke.”
Chrissie handed him the gun. He looked at it and said, “She got you Chrissie. You can be glad that your grandfather hasn’t seen this yet. Here Mera.”
Josh handed the gun to Mera who said, “Hilda, I noticed that you had the gun set up so that it could be handled in Tom’s Change and get wet if necessary.”
“I wanted to make it clear that Tom didn’t have to worry about getting wet with the gun.”
“I don’t think that this gun will be out very much,” Chrissie said. “I’m glad that Tom built a very nice gun vault into the house.”
“I concede,” Stephie said. “You were subtle, I didn’t even pick up on what you were up to and I was even there with Uncle Gert. I gave Tom that music box because he did all those boxes for me”
Chrissie frowned. “Why did you concede so easily, Stephie? Your gag made fun of Tom and is useful. So what if it wasn’t as subtle as Hilda’s. She was over where we couldn’t watch her. You were here most of the time. In any case I love both the gifts and what you put into them.”
Tom brought out another case. “Hilda, when I made a new gun for Stepehie’s birthday, I made two, just to be sure. I figured that you should have the other one. These aren’t good for much.”
He handed me the case and when I opened it, it was a beautiful .22 caliber match rifle. Tom continued, “I made these so that Stephie could make a very difficult shot without breaking my new windows. She did. I made two because I figured that you would want one. ”
I closed the case and hugged him. “This is wonderful.”
Uncle Gert picked up the case and looked at it. “Stephie, how did the other one shoot?”
“I made the shot. Tom did provide a special cartridge, but the gun worked wonderfully.”
Chrissie held up two boxes and handed them to me. “I figured that you might want to visit Andy below from time to time, so I had Uncle Eli and Pierre make these up for you and Bill.”
“These are the same suits that Kitty and ‘Hǔ were using at the Red Lady’s aren’t they?”
“Yes. Tom came up with the idea so that Stephie could visit the bower and talk with some friends of hers directly without having to have somebody talk with them for her.”
“I love them. Now Bill and I can visit the bowers and experience them for ourselves.”
It was time for lunch so those of us with kids outside went to collect them. The mermaids had already retreated to the pool to get wet and as we went to collect the kids, Stephie said to me, “Now it’s Tom’s turn.”
“What do you think he’s going to do. From what mother said, the thing with you was over the top.”
“It was. This is going to be interesting.”
We collected Andy, Bruce and Stephie’s kids, along with a rather disappointed Gretel and started back to the inn. For some reason, The inn seemed to be closer than it had been, and the wings that Mary and Roger had built seemed to be missing. I didn’t pay much attention until we went inside and the common room had changed. It was full of people dressed as they would have been just before the war. I looked down and my coat had been changed for a frock that I had had in the old country. Eric and Greta were at the piano with Eric holding his violin like he had when I first came to the farm. A man in an army uniform walked over to me and said, “Miss, may I have this dance?”
It was Brad, just before he left for the war and the terrible things that happened to him. With tears in my eyes, I said “yes,” we started to dance and I had a wonderful dance with him in a time that never existed until the dance ended, the whole thing collapsed and I was alone with a pile of snow on my head. I started to laugh and cry at the same time. Greta came over and said, “let’s go inside and get warm.”
Stephie came over and said, “That is Tom for you. We used to have dances from time to time here at the inn with family and friends. After the war we sort of stopped as we found bonds and the kids started. I had forgotten about them.”
“Who was Brad going with?”
“She moved away and wasn’t fae. It was just a thing for a while that both sides knew wasn’t going to last. She found a man after Brad was drafted and they went to be near his parents.”
“Did Tom go to the dances?”
“Yes. Especially that last one. Of course he didn’t have somebody then.”
“So he knew what they were like and dropped us into one. How did Boris do?”
“He was in on it and actually was wearing his old uniform from Russia. He’s still handsome and we had a wonderful time. Tom, how did you know that you should do this?”
Tom had just come up. He smiled and said, “Before Hilda left for Europe, she talked to Arney about Brad’s old friends and what Arney and Brad used to get up to. It was obvious that Hilda wanted to know more about Brad and what he was like before they met. There was also that picture that Brad had done that Hilda had. So I brought the picture to life.”
“What about me?”
“Stephie, you’ve been confusing me, or trying to confuse me with glamors and whatnot for as long as I can remember. I also remember how alone you felt at that dance because that clown you were dating stood you up. So I put Boris in the picture.”
I laughed. “You win this round. Of course Chrissie likes parties, so you were not in deep trouble. At least we won’t make you cook anything.”
“I already have to. Chrissie is not very experienced and we started to share. Tomoko does some, but she cooks Japanese and that is rice and fish. So if I get tired of fish, I have to cook or show Tomoko or Chrissie to how to do it, which means cooking myself. Fortunately I have a fair amount of practice. All those years living by myself were not wasted. Also you do not want to get into a cooking contest with Suki and Nadia.”
Nadia and Hakim had just walked over and Nadia said, “You held up your own then. You did a very good job cooking what we told you to.”
Stephie smiled. “What did you and Suki do to him, Nadia?”
“This was back in Washington when he was a junior staffer who had just arrived in town. Since Suki and I were both princesses and he thought that we were spoiled, he said that he could cook things from our countries better than we could. He was wrong, but he wasn’t bad. Chrissie, make him cook now and again or he will forget how.”
“I already, do, Nadia. He actually does very well. Probably because his mother made sure that he could.”
Mother had joined us and said, “I did, somewhat, when I knew that he was off on his own. Of course, he would surprise his father and I, over Christmas with the wonderful things that he had discovered while in Washington. You were trying to prove that you were doing ok, weren’t you, Tom.”
“Mother, I am not going to say what I was doing. The biggest thing I was afraid of was that you and father would come down to see me and find out what was going on. I figured that if I showed that I was eating well, you wouldn’t have that big an incentive to come down for an inspection.”
“We didn’t,well I didn’t because we were concerned about certain things as you know. Your father did make some visits, discreetly and talk with the Congressman when he was here. Some of your cousins went down too, but that was after we sort of knew that those high fae girls were chasing you and they wanted to see if they could find bonds.”
“That explains why they kept coming down and asking me to set them up on dates. Of course they helped with the fun and games.”
The conversation went on through lunch and afterwards Tom was forced by the kids to have a session in the barn, making the new gags from his book, with Tim and Suzy making sure that they took pictures of the whole thing. Tony was forced to take Fluer for a ride, and Stephie and I enjoyed the afternoon with the rest of the family.
The Chancellor.
Monday December 26, 1932.
I had had a peaceful weekend with my family. Then the German Master called me in to complain. He had sent Twisted to occupy the homes of the Red Lady and her Children and they hadn’t lasted more than a day. He yelled at me in his office in Berlin, “How is this happening? The local fae and the police act together and my people are destroyed almost as they get off the trains.”
“From all the reports, Bill gives classes on dealing with people like yours. I expect that he must have given classes and when he dealt with the Children, the police were alerted to the possibility of a problem moving in. The local fae are no longer seeing the police as strangers, that is if the police don’t have fae as recruits or advisors.”
“Find an indentured and send them to investigate. I want to know what has happened now that the Red Lady’s children are gone.”
“I will attempt to do so.”
I wasn’t going to tell him that Noro and some others had been well ahead of him. I had looked into the vampire queen’s house with Louis and somebody had been discreetly there and cleaned out everything relevant and then called the local police and told them what they might find at the chateau. The same sort of thing had happened at the other locations as well as all the Red Lady’s homes. I suspected that Noro had set it up with the help of Miss Percy before Bill even started in on the vampires. Miss Percy had the resources for things like that and Noro could take advantage. I also expected that without armies to cover for them, moving Twisted into places where they were not already present was going to be a losing proposition for the Masters.
Noro.
Tuesday December 27, 1932.
I had elected to remain on the Cape for Christmas rather than going to Chrissie’s party. I figured that most of the people were coming down, Railia and Altris were up top and so were their families at Altris’s new house, Stacey and George had stayed, as had Steve, Joe and their wives. Since both Moira and Haruka had tails, that was a bit understandable. In any case, the rest had arrived last night at the hotel and I was a bit trepedatious about having to deal with Eli again. When Mary and I arrived at Eli’s, Eli was already talking with Greta’s brother, along with Etienne’s son and a bunch of other people, some of whom were members of Greta’s family. He spotted me and waved me over. “Noro, you missed some things. Apparently, you enjoyed yourself in any case. Right now, I’m a bit annoyed at myself for not going too.”
“I didn’t think that you wanted to be involved. It was supposed to be a mostly in and out and gathering information.”
“I don’t have a bonded and if I could give the Masters a bloody nose, that would have been fine with me. The business here can handle itself.”
Abby must have heard her father, because she came over and said, “Don’t say things like that father. We do need you. Uncle Noro, don’t take my father unless he agree not to take unnecessary risks. You shouldn’t either.”
“I wasn’t. I stayed behind the scenes and invisible and Eric and Greta were the visble ones. For the most part, they ran rings around the other side.”
“Mary, is that true?”
“Yes. Other than talking with Eli and Theresa and some overflights for Bill, we didn’t have much to do other than making arrangements for clean up after Bill had dealt with vampire nests and arranging the exit of Adelheid’s community.”
“Where are they?”
“Spread around a bit,” I said. We didn’t want to make it obvious that we were bringing in an entire community all at the same time, so we split the entries up and some went to Mexico and Canada to wait until Günter gets the keystone settled. The important thing was to get the community out from the master’s grip.”
Eli laughed, “So you did everything you planned to.”
“As soon as we get a report done, we will hand it out ot everybody. Sarah at Eli’s is collecting everything, so you can expect it soon. I will have a family meeting when the report is ready.”
“Good. I was partly to blame, but being separate hurt us and with the new family, we want to make sure that everybody is aware and know who is who.”
My brother had made a lot progress very quickly once he got out of his funk. So had I, come to that. The masters didn’t know what they were going to do to themselves. My brothers were looking closely at them and their activities and we were working together now. To say nothing of people like Chen Hǔ, Jīn long, Quill, Eric and Helmut. I thought that, seeing the Masters up close, that any of us would be able to handle them. All of us together and the Masters were in very deep trouble
Abby corralled all of us for lunch and Mary and I were sat with Paulo, Persai, their son, Phillip and a tail that he had somehow acquired in France. Of course she was working to close the deal, but Phillip was a bit reluctant. Mac was also at the table with Mildia and Telldia, his daughter, who along with with Paulo’s daughter, Maria were in the dance shows and encouraging, Suzette, Phillip’s tail to join them. Suzette was a bit skeptical until Nera came by and more or less drafted her.
Once lunch was over, the various Creators brought out their things and made a marvelous show of what they could do. Tom was forced to give a well attended class for kids and then another one, showing the things that he had come up with for Stephie’s birthday. As it was late in the afternoon and fairly cold, Nera and Nillia settled for a small show of mermaid dancing at Joes before dinner. The show was more for Tom and Hans to show off how the various things worked than it was for the dancing, though the end of the show was amazing.
Greta.
Wednesday December 27. – Thursday December 28, 1932.
The weather had gone sour after the Creator’s thing, so rather than taking a miserable drive in the evening to the Night express, we caught the morning train to New York. Jeanette and Tony were coming with Eric and I with Jeanette’s parents. The train ride with Gretel was fun as she kept asking poor Tony about the things that she saw, along with Tim. We were rescued a bit when Josh came back to the coach we were all riding and said to Gretel and and equally precocious Greta and Gert’s two boys, who had been listening and asking their fair share of questions, “Suzy said that you all were asking about the line here. I think that you should have come to me first.”
Josh then proceeded to tell all sort of stories about the days before he had met Mera and how he had worked this railroad, the people he knew and the things that he had heard about. I went to the compartment that Mera was sharing with Suzy and her sister and said, “Thank you for sending him.”
Mera smiled. “I didn’t. I just suggested that this was an opportunity to have a new audience for his stories and the porter said the conductor was a bit overwhelmed with kids this trip. Josh decided to tell some of his stories. It’s going to be while before Chrissie’s kids are old enough and Stacey’s kids have heard most of the ones that weren’t too scary already.”
“I hadn’t heard that Josh had so many.”
“He likes to keep things discreet and play things close to the vest when talking to adults. He’s sort of like Tom, in that he likes to bring out the stories, one by one. Kids are a bit different. I missed that when we had our kids and I wasn’t up top when Stacey’s started and Dori and an Allan are still a bit young for things like the Necromancer story. This bunch is about perfect. So tell us how things went over there, now that we have some quiet.”
I did and the weather was perfect for my mood. Mera and I had had a wonderful chat with Suzy and Nera, going over every nuance of Hans and my sister. I noticed that Suzy was taking notes and I asked, “Who are those for?”
“Mother, Theresa, Meria, Mary and Tim. Tim is going to have to be writing the big report at some point and the rest will want it.”
“Why will Tim be writing the big report? He wasn’t there.”
“Because he will be getting all the stories anyway, you know that. So I’m helping. Anyway the sooner this gets ready the better.”
Eric came looking for me and said, “It’s lunch time. Mera, I think that I will take Greta to lunch with her niece and Rosa. We need to plan what we will be doing this afternoon.”
Mera smiled. “Tell me what you are going to get up to.”
“I think the natural history museum today, since it so so wet. Of course Greta, that is Gert’s Greta wants to see Troubleshooter hot spots, but we can do that sort of thing tomorrow when the weather is better.”
Suzy grinned. “She likes Sal?”
I laughed. “Oh yes, very much so. Apparently the Troublshooter stories do very well over there in Germany. Greta was ecstatic when Sal and Tony showed up. She’s already made a day to talk with your mother.”
“I’ll have to tell Tim about that. We’ll have to track down who is doing the stories and Sal and Tim need to get together and do some more about the things that he did in France.”
Eric pulled me to the dining car and we sat down with Rosa and Gretel, along with my brother’s three children and Anna. My brother was staying up on the Cape so that he could talk with Larry, Eli and Tom about setting up a business. With George available full time and Stephie and Hilda doing more things, to say nothing of the boys, Larry had started to finally clear out that old stone barn we had, as well as fixing the walls and roof so that he and George could put some additional machines in and move what was left of the shrinking pile of gun parts that were not scrap in there so Eric could use the other barn for other things. Bob and Scott were going to help with moving the gun parts over Christmas vacation. The bent barrels and messed up frames were going to be sent to the local junk dealer. Larry needed to be more efficient and without Tom, he needed to expand the shop. We also needed the other barn so that we could keep the tractors running and the rest of the tools as well.
In any case, Eric and I were giving my sister in law, Gretel and the other kids an introduction to New York before Alex and Xing’s wedding Saturday. Stephie, Boris and their kids were coming down and meeting us in New York. They were waiting at the station, we took our luggage to the hotel and were off to the museum. Suzy’s father had arranged to pick up Suzy and Trillia so that Andy could act as our guide and Tim could be on assignment with us. There were enough of us and Tony was bringing a bunch of kids on one of his “Fun Stuff” trips, so bringing Trillia was not going to be easy today since she and Suzy needed to get wet.
Since there were so many of us, we went on the subway and the elevated to the museum. Tony and the kid were there with the Schools bus when we arrived. The kids had had a trip to the aquarium before lunch today. The whole lot of us entered the musem where they seemed to know Tony and the kids already. One of the guides that was accompanying us said, “We like these kids. Tony does a good job keeping them in line while making it look easy and the kids are here because they want to be. I see that none of the girls in chairs came today.”
“Tony was helping recover some orphans in France and Trillia was up with us for Christmas. I expect that the other girls decided to stay at school or are doing other things.”
“That’s a shame because I learn so much about sea life when they come. I’m sure that they will be here next time.”
“I think that they will. Trillia loves bringing her friends to experience things.”
The kids enjoyed the museum until closing and then the whole lot of us, with the exception of Tim who was going to pick up Suzy, got onto the bus and headed to the school. Mary and Albert were waiting with Robert and the rest of the kids, who gave the new kids a great welcome. We adults had dinner and since Gretel and the orhers wanted to stay at the school for the night, we let them.
The next morning, we went back to the school where we discovered that Sillia and Telia had grabbed the kids and taken them to Sal’s for breakfast. We followed along and Tony was bundling the kid’s in the bus, with some girls going in the Manager’s car. Before they boarded the bus, Greta and Gretel made sure that they took picures of The Troubleshooter’s house with the Duesenberg in front. George had given both of them cameras and they wanted to share with their friends back home. Then is was off to the outside of Dom’s office, the navy yard and market where Jimmy took them around and the girls were very discreet, but did make a tiny splash, Then it was on to the Statue of Liberty and a walk through radio row. Followed by a trip to the new Empire State Building. In the late afternoon we headed down to Bennie’s, where Tom and Chrissie treated us to dinner.
Tim.
Friday, December 30,1932.
Friday was a repeat of Thursday, with the kids visiting Troubleshooter hot spots including the factory, burned down house and empty building in my old neighborhood and the place where the Black Dragon met his end. We ahd lunch at Bennie’s and headed up to Manhattan where we visited the aquarium until three o’clock and the kids returned to the school. After three when I handed in my material on the kids to Doris with a bit of an exhausted feeling, she said, “Did they wear you out?”
“A bit. They were all new to the country and it was hard to keep up with them when you don’t speak the languages.”
“I would pay attention to languages in your studies in the future then.”
“I’m going to. I had a bit of Italian already because there was quite a bit in my nieghborhood. Still Greta and Gretel ran me a bit ragged. Gretel wants to work for my little outfit.”
“That sound interesting. Gretel is Greta’s niece isn’t she?”
“They both are. So you can figure what they are like. I need to go. I have to round up Suzy and take her to dinner with my professor.”
“Won’t there be tail issues?”
“He already knew. I’m not sure how.”
Doris laughed. “It wasn’t me.”

“I didn’t think that it was you. I also don’t think that it was Vic. He’s pretty good about certain things and keeping them discreet. I would say Noro, except he’s been busy overseas the last few months or up at home. He’s also been out of the picture. What do you know about Professor Simpson?”
Doris smiled. “I think that Vic would tell you to do you homework, so . You can find out just about everything I know about the man from the morgue and the library. I do know that he is well regarded as a teacher.”
“Ok, I’ll do a quick check. He’s been ragging me all term and Suzy switched that mermaid dinner story for the boxing story.”
“From what I’ve heard everybody enjoyed it.”
“Yes, but I’m supposed to be taking journalism, not writing fiction for the pulps and dime novels.”
“It was just the one story wasn’t it?”
“Yes, but he hinted that he wanted more of them.”
“You have plenty. After all, the stories are part of your life. Sometimes we get stuck in the every day and forget the magic.
“I better get going or Suzy will be annoyed at me.”
Doris and Carol, her secretary, laughed as I went back to the door and headed upstairs to check in with Vic, who had his shot at me, before heading to my place to pick up my car and the navy yard, where Suzy wanted to have a Swim before we left for dinner. Suzy dragged me out for a Swim and then we dressed for dinner. Suzy wore the dress that she had bought for the press club and insisted that I wear a good suit. Once we were dressed it was over the bridge into Manhattan in my car and up through city to the bridge to the Bronx and then through the park to City Island. It took a bit of searching to find the Professor’s place on the water.
I found the old fancy house with fancy wookd trim and started to park the car on the road when Professor Simpson waved me into the driveway, next to a ramp that was next to the garage. I parked the car and opened the trunk to get Suzy’s chair out so that I could put her in it. Professor Simpson came up and said, “Good, you arrived. Did you have any trouble finding us?”
“Not really, though it is a bit out of the way. I’m glad I that I had the car.”
I put Suzy in the chair and said, “This is Susan.”
Suzy had a bit of a grin as the professor said, “Let us get inside before it gets too cold.”
I pushed Suzy up the ramp and inside. There was a woman in a chair waiting who said, “Welcome. Tim, I am Tillelia Simpson. I am glad to meet you at last. Robert has said so much about you. So have some others.”
We headed into the living room and I suppose that I shouldn’t have been surprised that Tono and Lidelia were there with Telia. So were my parents and I said to dad, “I knew that somebody was pulling a fast one.”
Dad grinned and said, “I can’t help it that you didn’t do your homework. You have that little business of yours, why didn’t you use it?”
“I didn’t think that I needed to for my professors.”
“Bob has been leaving little hints all over the place the whole term. Didn’t you notice?”
“Apparently not. I didn’t know that you knew him.”
“That was your fault. You could have looked into who we did business with, for those interviews, if nothing else and you certainly have been in and out of the Sound bower all year.”
“He was the professor, correcting my work, ragging on me and the other guys, and making us work.”
Professor Simpson started to laugh. “I was trying. I’m surprised the other students didn’t give you some business.”
I grinned. “I won’t say anything thing about who my clients are. Or what we did to defend ourselves. There were some exchanges, not necessarily of money involved.”
“You probably exchanged stories for help in some other things.”
“I was a bit weak in math and languages. The other guys didn’t have my connections on the streets and didn’t want to use the family stuff, some of them for the same reasons that I didn’t.”
“Other than the tail issues that you were fairly discreet about. If my daughter wasn’t in Nera’s dance classes, you might have been able to keep that a bit discreet.”
A mermaid that I had seen in the classes and hadn’t noticed poked her head out of the kitchen and called out, “Dad, I was trying to hide the fact that I was your daughter so that Tim didn’t pick up the fact that Suzy and I were playing games with him.”
Professor Simpson laughed. “Tim, you know my daughter, Lydia, or Lidillia, I should say.”
“Somewhat. She’s one of the girls that Nera has been teaching at the school. I didn’t realize that she had been born up top.”
“She was trying to hide that somewhat. Esepcially after she connected with Suzy.”
“How come she didn’t get a job with the others in the navy yard?”
“She has a bond already and a job working on a boat here on the sound. Plus she likes the dancing and the practice.”
I looked at Suzy, grinning at me and said, “You got me. At least it was only the one piece that you switched.”
Professor Simpson laughed. “They did try. You did have a couple of pices that were a bit late.”
“I know, but after what happened with the dinner piece I was careful. I didn’t want to get myself in trouble, even though I was fairly sure that whatever I submitted wouldn’t be treated as real.”
“I never said that all the things submitted should just be mundane. You do have a talent for making the mundane interesting. I do hope that at least some of my students use their imaginations or look for things that are more than a bit out of the ordinary.”
“The other guys did follow up my mermaid dinner with some pretty amazing stuff. I actually followed up on some of it and turned them into stories. Did dad recommend Bennie’s?”
“He had me down for a meeting and then dinner, with Maria and Tillelia. He said that the meals were worth the trip and he was right.”
Dad said, “Tim why don’t you catch us up on what you’ve been doing with the kids yesterday and today.”
I did and the stories went on through dinner. After dinner Tillelia insisted that we all get a Swim and that I bring pictures the next time. I said that I would and when we were back in the car, with my parents going back with us this time, I said, “I was an idiot. A busy idiot, but still an idiot.”
“At least you have good stories for next year, thanks to Eric and Greta’s overseas adventures.”
“True, and we have the wedding tomorrow. That will be fun too. Where do you want me to drop you off?”
“At the navy yard. We are going out to the Amboy bower with you sister and meeting with Trager’s parents tomorrow.”
“Ok.”
Suzy said, “Tim, why don’t we stay in the water tonight as well. There isn’t anything going on and we can dress for the wedding at the navy yard.”
She had a good point, and she made it work.
Greta.
Saturday, December 30,1932.
I wasn’t sure how they were going to put Alex and Xing’s wedding together. There had been some books about China at the house and I had read them as a girl, but in Alex and Xing’s case, both the bride and groom’s homes were the same house. HwaiJeong, Xing’s mother and Barbara worked things out. They used Jim’s apartment as a representation of the bride’s ancestral home. They managed to collect a bunch of cars to shuttle us around and the little dragons were resplendent in their red costumes as they played their roles. Alex and Xing paid their respects to their ancestors and their keystones, which I suspected was where the normals got the idea for the practice in the first place, and then Alex and Xing stepped over the fire that was the representation of the house shield and we all trooped off to the bonatical garden for the banquet. Of course Barbara and Chin-ling insisted that the party be attended in Change, with Chin-ling insisting that it was traditional. Eric and I didn’t know if it was traditional or not, but it was fun. With Barbera translating Eric and went over to congratulate the couple. Xing answered, “Thank you. This is something that I never thought would be mine. We also want to thank you for your family’s aide with the Black Dragon.”
“Your welcome and we were glad to participate. After all, the Yaoguai went after Tom as well and made themselves rather obnoxious.”
“They do that. I am glad that they are gone from here. At least if they come back they know that they risk being trouble that is shot.”
“Very much so. We want to thank you and your parents for lending us the little dragons. They proved to be very useful over in Europe.”
“Have you heard anything from your great Uncle? We would like to meet him and his wife”
“He is finishing his tour in Europe in Rome next month. They are coming over to talk with Nera and Altris about a tour here in America. I imagine that they want to stay at the farm and meet Tom.”
“That is not a surprise. He does such wonderful things.”
“He does. I see some others wanting your attention so Eric and I will move on.”
Eric and I left the wedding couple and joined ‘Hǔ and Kitty near the rather large barbecue that was outside in a tent. ‘Hǔ said, “This is giving Kitty’s mother ideas. I think that she was a bit concerned about my parents and a Christian ceremony.”
“Was there anything to be concerned about?”
Kitty laughed. “Not really. But mother wants to make as big a splash as possible. This way we can use the hotel and we won’t have to exclude anybody.”
“So when are you and ‘Hǔ having the wedding?”
“Early May, so that we don’t tie up the hotel during the season. That is fairly routine where we live. We want to have the wedding on the Cape so that we don’t have to worry about my sister and the other seafolk relatives. There were just too many of them to have the wedding up at the inn.”
We sat down to eat and chat. The celebration continued. Of course there were fireworks, dragons dancing, incuding the wedding couple, Tom outdid himself and the girls in the navy yard arranged to have a dock flooded and shuttled back and forth dancing in the dock. The only slightly disappointed person at the banquet was Tim, who had a bunch of pictures that Roger couldn’t print.
Once the banquet was over, the whole crowd went to Sal’s for their anniversary party and still more pixies, mermaids whales and fireworks to end our remarkable year.
The Chancellor.
Monday January 9, 1933.
I drove into Milady Gwynne’s chateau yet again. The German master was starting to push his pet, Hitler and the rest in directions that would cause some strife with the other Masters and I wanted to discuss that with Milady Gwynne. When I was announced, the lady and Louis were looking at pictures. The lady looked up and said, “Heger, you must see these!”
She handed me the pictures. They were pictures that apparently were of parties and other things that the Bentons had done after they returned home. I was failry obvious that they were having a lot of fun, doing amaxing things and enjoying themselves thoroughly. I looked at the lady and asked, “So who sent these?”
‘Jeanette and Tony sent them to Louis. I think that Tony wanted to show Louis that Fleur was not having it easy.”
I looked at the pictures again and there was Fluer, hitched to a sleigh. Of course the sleigh was being driven by a young man and full of other children, some of which obviously had tails. “Fleur doesn’t seem to be suffering.”
Louis laughed. “No, he does not.That sleigh is hardly a big load, even if it is full of children.”
I looked through the rest of the pictures. Tony and Jeanette appeared in some where the various people were attending weddings, parties and events, including touring New York City. There were also more pictures of Fleur, with Tony riding and in what must be the Benton’s stables. I finished going through the pictures and said, “At least they enjoyed the holidays. I was surprised at the weddings.”
The lady grinned. “Apparently the fae in America have them. I will have to show these to my son, or perhaps not. My great graddaughter has just bonded and would like one.”
“You may want to send her to America for a very long honeymoon.”
“For what reason?”
“The German Master is starting to think about doing some things that are out of bounds. You were weakened in the recent events and the Lady Elizabeth was destroyed.”
“Not as weakened as all that. Yes I lost some businesses and my daughters, though the girls were starting to become a liability rather than an asset. The Shark Change was more than a bit of a disappointment. I will have to look into Change more closely. The Shark Change was never very stable and the constant need to renew a pod was a liability when the light fae started to lock themselves and their children up. The Change did what was required, but, in the end, like the werewolves, the sharks had a liability that made them dangerous. What did you discover about Elizabeth’s children?”
“There are four left, at least for now. They will probably war against ech other for dominance and the prime feeding areas now that the constraints of the Lady are gone. That is if Bill and Hilda do not come looking for them.”
Louis grinned. “I could send a letter telling him where they were. Frankly, if one of them moves back here, I will make a point to send an invitation for a hunt.”
I looked at the lady. I had never been quite sure just what her relationship with the two Constructs was. In any case she did not say anything and I decided that if Louis and Bill wanted to clean up a vampire, it was no longer my responsibility. It was unlikely that any of the remaining children would be able to rebuild and reestablish what Milady Elizabeth had had. The Masters would not tolerate the feedings and recruitments that would be needed for that to happen. The lady turned the topic to more pleasant things and we had a wonderful afternoon. When I prepared to leave, Louis said, “The lady understand your concerns and indeed, shares them, not for herself, but for the fae who live here. She probably will take certain steps with her remaining children, who did not grab that horrible Change. I told the lady that the Change was a mistake, but you know how she is when something novel comes along and the girls liked the idea of the power the Change gave them.”
“That is certainly true and as long as the Change remained hidden, the ladies did not have much to concern themselves with. On the other hand, once the Change was revealed, the end was swift. I must be going. Have a good day.”
Gert.
Monday January 2 – Friday January 27, 1933.
I had been in my new home for a month now. I had had to learn new skills, such as driving a car or truck and adapt to my new country. On the other hand Ilo longer had to listen to the blathering of men in a place that was descending into madness.
I had originally planned to establish a shop in the city near where my sister lived, but Eric had suggested that I buy the house next door to the farm since was up for sale. We looked over the property and Eric said, “I already rent the farm. Bill’s children did not want to farm the place and they couldn’t find a buyer. They really didn’t want the house either.”
“Will I need to build a shop?”
“That is a good reason to buy this place. Bill started the shop that Tom bought. The shop is still there, next to the barn. It doesn’t have any tools, but that can be corrected.”
“What about obtaining supplies?”
“The tool and supply people already make deliveries here and we are not that far from the city. Both Larry and Tom have been working here for years and in the same sort of things that you will. Also, you can have a place that is far more discreet for the things that you may want to do that require that.”
Eric had a good point and Anna and Greta both wanted to be close, which settled the issue. With the place dealt with I went looking for tools to wequip the shop. Al and Tom were a big help, as were surpisingly, Stephie and Hilda. When I asked about that, Hilda said, “We set Tom’s shop up as a wedding present last year. So we already had the contacts.”
“That was a rather mangnamonous present. Rather expensive as well.”
“Not as much as you might think. The money was already there, since father had already arranged for the purchase of Tom’s shop here, the company and the family had already arranged to comtribute and some of Tom’s important customers and former employers wanted Tom back up and running as fast as possible.”
“How did that work out?”
“Tom was rather distracted thanks to Jacob, the Director and the Colonel and the shenanigans with the Olympics. Tom has been trying to catch things up and it is a good thing that George came up.”
“Tom has been rather busy, hasn’t he?”
“Once Noro and josh got their hands on him, they couldn’t be happier. Of course a lot of that is that Tom likes the attention and so does Chrissie. Tom complains about being in a suit, but once he was free of the Colonel, he can’t help wanting to show off what he can do. The birthday present he gave Stephie was rather amazing.”
With the shop set up I went looking for commissions. That was helped by the fact that Larry had some customers that already had been pushing him to make guns for duck and fowl and Larry hadn’t had the time to make them. With me being available, all Larry had to do was let it be known that he had a gunsmith that was making fine shotguns and the commissions started. I had enough commissions to start by the end of the month when Greta and Anna came into the shop. My sister said, “Hannah’s memorial is ready. I think that we want to have a bit of a service on Friday. I have already called Rosa and she and Gretel are coming up. I’ve also sent a discreet message for miss Vicky to pass around so that anybody who was one of my sister’s adversaries can say good bye.”
“Do you think that they will want to?”
“We had quite a few, surprisingly at the service at the house. I think that many of them were making sure that Hannah was actually dead, but they did come.”
“That was when there was a body, apparently, but Hannah was not actually dead. Now we don’t have a body, but she is dead.”
“In any case, this is the family saying good bye to one of our own. Now that the keystone is returned, that means more.”
It turned out that Anna and I were the Custodians of the family keystone. We had it at the house and the stone seemed to be happy to be with the family again. I expected that the various keystones that Kitty and Steve had rescued would be finding homes shortly. Mary and Helmut were being rather discreet about that and where the keystones actually were. In any case it was time to have a mfamily get together now that most of the family had settled in. I went to find Anna and she had already started the calls and messages.
Friday came and we had quite a crowd. The monument was in granite with a carving of Hannah in Change and somehow the gramite glowed golden in the light. Underneath were the words, “Sie Fliegt Frei.” In my short eulogy I said, “My sister had a troulbled life. She had been afflicted and tainted by others when she was weak and young and used to hurt the family. But she remained as strong as she could and even her mistress admired and respected that strength. The best thing aobut my sister’s death is that at last, She flies free.”

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