Ethan is taken to his new home with an interesting job opportunity.
|In an abandoned building, in the ghost town of Nemiscam, people are being bought and sold. Ethan Argent is one of them. After losing everything, he was kidnapped and brought here. Now he was displaying his newfound powers for a prospective buyer named Ms. Reynard.
Ms. Reynard stood in stunned silence after Ethan displayed some of his abilities. She tugged on her long wavy hair. "I must admit you are impressive, Ethan. Tell me, how do you feel?"
Ethan goggled at her before his eyes narrowed in defiance. He held up a crackling fist. "Ms. Reynard, I have lost everything in the last thirty-six hours. My parents, my home, and my innocence are gone. You come in here and ask me to perform like some circus monkey, while you decide if I am a wise purchase. How do you think I feel?"
A loud bull-like snort pierced the air. Ethan turned to see Mr. Yashin grip his belly with one hand and slap his knee with the other. "I would choose quickly, Ms. Reynard. If you do not take him, I will keep him for myself."
"I would like to question him before making my final decision," Ms. Reynard said.
"By all means," Mr. Yashin said.
"Wow, I am awed by the moral fiber of you both," Ethan said.
Ms. Reynard walked around him, "Ethan, I want to offer you a job. Your abilities could do a lot of good. However, I cannot tell you more until you accept my offer. I promise..." She had pulled a fan from a drawstring purse on her wrist and tapped it against her palm.
"First, don't make promises. Second, I will take the job in exchange for my freedom. Chances are if you have to buy employees from human traffickers, nobody wants to do it, or cannot," Ethan said. Displeasure oozed from his words.
Ms. Reynard placed the fan back in her purse, "What do I owe you, Mr. Yashin?"
Ethan was not sure how much Ms. Reynard paid for him, but Mr. Yashin was all smiles when they stepped out of his office. He looked at Ethan one last time, "It has been a pleasure, Ethan. If it doesn't work out, you always have a place here..."
Ethan raised his palm. "You need to stop right there. It will never happen, but I am grateful for the help you gave me," he said.
Ms. Reynard gave the old Mafioso a triumphant look, "I don't think we will be meeting in the future. It was a pleasure doing business with you." She looked over at Ethan, "You have your freedom. However, you still require a guardian."
"We will see how it goes," Ethan said in a tone that promised nothing.
Ms. Reynard sighed in defeat, "I suspect we are going to have a long talk on the way home. I can feel your hostility from here."
There was only one thing to do, accept the fact his life now included rejected historical romance characters. She led him to a carriage with an engine on it. Ethan looked over at Ms. Reynard, "This isn't going to fall apart, is it?"
"Ethan, must you be so difficult?"
"Yes, I must."
"I saved your life."
"You bought me."
Ms. Reynard drew the fan once more, "Ethan..."
"You are nothing more than another adult looking to screw me over. I am coming with you because my other options are less than desirable." Ethan could feel the rage erupting to the surface. His pulse quickened, and a sneer curled his lips.
"What do want from me?"
"I don't know right now."
"We have a long journey ahead of us. I would know everything that has happened to you. I can't help you if I don't understand." Ms. Reynard said this with dignity and grace. Ethan decided she was telling the truth and hopped in the carriage.
The carriage was more comfortable than any car, and warmth was not an issue. Ethan was still curious as to how it ran but decided to accept the fact it was better than walking.
Ms. Reynard folded her hands in her lap after she put her ridiculous hat on the seat next to her. "Please tell me all about yourself. I want to understand."
Should he trust this woman? The question felt hypocritical. He did trust a pair of terrible criminals. Ms. Reynard was smarter than they were and seemed genuine in her interest. She smelled better, at least. "Okay, it's going to take a while."
For an hour, Ethan told her everything about Whitford. "...and that is how I wound up in Mr. Yashin's market."
A heart-rending expression crept across Ms. Reynard's face, and she looked like she might cry for him or burst into song. He didn't want either to happen. "You poor boy..."
"Stop. It wasn't worth crying about then. It isn't worth it now," Ethan said in an annoyed tone. He took a peek out the window, and something was off. He couldn't quite place it at first until he looked up at the night sky. The stars were the same, as was the moon, but a second heavenly body sat beside the luminous sphere.
"Two moons?" Ethan asked.
"Now, it is my turn to explain. You are in the Otherworld. The carriage can travel freely between your world and mine."
"What do you mean, Otherworld? How?"
Ms. reynard tapped her fan on her knee, "An Archdruid could explain how the carriage works better than I could." She paused, "Name a significant event taught to everyone."
The smooth road vanished, and it felt like they were traveling down the rough side of a washboard. "A meteor killed the dinosaurs."
"Thank goodness you chose something I know. It didn't happen here. We are not sure why the sky stone didn't fall. Astronomers are still arguing to this day about it."
Ethan wondered the same thing, "I think it wasn't going fast enough to reach earth, and it got caught in orbit...you have no idea what I am talking about, do you?"
Ms. Reynard skipped over his previous statement, "Magic was born of the second moon. It dominates this world, much like science does yours. Unlike science, magic is a force in the world, much like gravity. the closest thing we have to scientists are Druids."
For the next couple of hours, Ethan learned about the Otherworld. Humans shared the world with various magical peoples, who vanished five hundred years ago. The Nation of Albion was the America of the world, with Rome playing the Canadian side of things. North America was a recent discovery.
The carriage pulled int a place called Rathmore, the largest city in New Calendonia. The territory once belonged to the Romans, but they ran afoul of the First Nations living there. They left and sold the land to Albion. The Druids and Shamans got along famously, as they shared similar beliefs, and the druids had a live and let live policy about religion.
Rathmore was a time capsule from the early 1900s. The beautiful architecture was the only thing Ethan liked, thus far. Stone Gargoyles, relief carvings, marble columns were a joyful feast for the eyes. Horse-drawn buses and taxis plodded down the street. In the distance was a metal spire resembling a tesla coil stood.
"What is that?" Ethan asked.
Ms. Reynard's face darkened, and she leaned close, "It's the reason why I brought you here. More on that later."
The carriage pulled up to a black iron gate that opened by unseen hands. The property was thick with trees and natural growth.
Ms. Reynard opened the door for Ethan. He was standing in a beautifully landscaped yard in front of a Roman-style mansion. The multitude of flowers and lush grass carried a pleasant scent on the wind.
An arm wrapped around Ethan's shoulder. "Welcome home, Ethan. Unfortunately, we will not have time to acquaint you with it. We have a dinner date with another potential employee for my project," Ms. Reynard said.
"You need me because?" Ethan pushed her arm off of him. "Don't do that."
"She will be your work partner."
"What if we don't get along?"
"Then I will have to find someone else for the position."
"I thought you asked me not to make promises?" Ms. Reynard asked, arching her eyebrow?
Ethan didn't blush or get flustered, "You have piqued my interest with your project." he said.
"Excellent. Once the servants take your bag, we have to make an emergency stop at my tailors and get you properly dressed."
Ethan looked down at his t-shirt and jeans, "I want to wear my jeans."
"I am afraid this restaurant has a dress code. You have no choice." Ms. Reynard said. She looked frustrated
"I could run away."
"Is that so? What will you do for money? Your knowledge of Rathmore could fit in a thimble. Plus, I would have the Constables look for you."
Ethan sat in the carriage, arms crossed, hunched down, and looking like he had been sucking on a bitter grapefruit for the last hour. "Let's get this over with."
An hour later, they were standing in a fancy restaurant filled with the upper-crust and sycophants. Ethan looked around and leaned toward Ms. Reynard, "They look like they are about to break into song."
Ms. Reynard gently smiled, "I assure you it won't happen," She paused to adjust his suit, "You look dashing in this. I shall have to order more. All the young woman can't take their eyes off you."
Ethan watched them whisper in each other's ear and giggle, before scampering off to their family. One of the girls looked at him but shrank under the power of Ethans annoyed stare.
"Oh look there is lord Emerson, I have to speak with him. Can I trust you alone for a few minutes?" Ms. Reynard asked.
Ethan looked around, "I can be trusted."
"Please behave. I like coming here and would like to continue to do so." Ms. Reynard said in a worried tone.
"I will be fine."
Ms. Reynard shot him a doubtful glance before taking off into the sea of people inside the dining area.
Ethan passed the time watching couples and placing expiry dates on their relationship. He noticed a man in his thirties wearing a long coat watching some girls Ethan's age. The way he moved reminded him of Mr. Yashin. His imagination ran wild with who the mystery man was.
"He could be a bodyguard," Ethan said to himself.
A Raven haired girl smiled at her friends. "I thought we would never lose our bodyguards. It is nice to have girl talk without the extra ears around," she said.
A bulge was on the left-hand side of the man's jacket, kind of like the way Fentons pistol did under his coat. "Maybe he is a doorman?"
"Hey isn't that the doorman?" one of the girls asked.
The raven-haired girl shook her head, "No, Otto is on the door tonight. I haven't seen him before."
The man began moving closer to the Raven Haired girl. Ethan had promised not to cause trouble, but this girl was in trouble. He slowly moved toward the man hoping to get him before he got the girl.