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Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #2250146
Arriving by carriage, Alistair arrives in the capital, face to face with his dreams.
Chapter 2 - London Bound

Traveling to London was the most splendid of trips. They'd begin passing through the great expanse of the English countryside and gradually enter into the wondrous industrialization of society. Initially, onlookers would be admiring farmland, livestock, and open skies, which changed into cobbled roads, crowded streets of slated roofs and funnels puffing out thick clouds of blackened smoke.

Both Giles and Alistair had visited London in the past, yet not for a number of years. Upon their arrival to the capital, many noticeable changes caught their attention. More specifically, the increased volume of people walking the streets and the number of factories that were erected. On this journey, the conversation consisted mainly of idle conversation but shifted upon these observations to a delicate subject.

"Father will absolutely love to this, wouldn't you say old friend?" asked Alistair.

Giles looked to the wooden floor solemnly. Staring intently, as a means to avoid the topic.

"You seem troubled, Giles. Pray, tell me what is on your mind".

The old man clasped both hands together, readying his response. Under such clear instruction, he could not refuse such a request without acting out emotionally, and in turn, unprofessionally. "Alistair, we have waited for the safe return of Paxton senior for over a decade. Is it not a possibility that he may..."

"That he may what?" the young man asked sternly.

Giles swallowed a large lump in his throat. "Is it a possibility that he's no longer amongst us?"

Alistair's body language shifted, from once composed to agitated. He adjusted his sitting posture, fidgeting his legs and arms folded tightly. "Of course, I see that as a possibility. My lord, Giles, those thoughts still keep me awake at night. Wondering whether he fell to his doom, perhaps murdered by a band of marauders or executed in a foreign country. Or maybe he!"

"I'm sorry, Mr. Pembroke!" Giles interjected.

Alistair closed his eyes. took a long deep breath and exhaled slowly. He stretched out his palms, motioning to clear the air. "We both dearly miss him, but I choose to remain hopeful over any other way of looking at the circumstances. For heaven's sake, he's been gone on jaunts over weeks and even months. There's no way he'd let us down."

"Tell me", Giles began with tears trickling down his cheeks. "Why follow in the footsteps of a man who worked to never have you follow a similar path?"

In response to the question, Alistair moved across to Gile's side of the stagecoach. Faced eye to eye, Alistair whispered, "I intend to find what happened to that man." The old man looked away towards the glass, to hide away his distress of the comment. Suddenly, the carriage came to a halt.

"We have now arrived, fine gentleman!" bellowed the driver from his seat ahead.

As the passengers exited the carriage, it became abundantly clear they were in an affluent area of London. Even though smog could be seen all around in the backdrop, this secluded area brimmed with color. The paths were cleaner, roads smoother, buildings bore unique architectural designs and residents walked on by clothed in eloquent attire. Amidst this sanctuary of sophistication, stood a monument of a building. It towered above all structures in its vicinity by a significant margin. Made from magnificent pearl white marble, it was also graced with arch windows.

This was the headquarters of the Royal Exploration Society. Pretentiously, people often included London in its title, although no other bases of operation existed throughout the world. For decades the society operated to explore fabled treasures, their mission was to obtain any that were discovered to be true. Among the bravest and brightest adventurers were groomed to embark on such excavations. In recent years it had developed from being a museum to also a university, welcoming potential talent to help contribute to the vast trophies that resided within.

Society members who once traversed around the world either became teachers or joined a board of trustees, the latter being regarded as the most prestigious honor. To be anointed onto the board reflected a person's determination, dedication, and the weight of contributions throughout their service. Alistair dreamed one day to become associated with such an elite rank.

Standing and glancing at the headquarters itself felt a dream come true to him as well. Today would be the day he'd hope to secure association membership. An initial title that gave the received approval to act on behalf of the organization. It was considered to be a treasure hunter's license. Anywho represented them carried a flash bearing the society's crest, which depicted two lions leaning either side of a sphere split into the sun and moon.

Atop the stairs leading to the headquarters, a plumb gentleman waddled down, in an elaborate green & gold outfit bearing the society's crest. The uniform represented those appointed as trustees, the official title stitched above the breast pocket on the left-hand side. Upon descending the stone steps in haste, the rounded man became breathless.

"Mr.Pembroke, how a privilege it is to see our invitation accepted by the son of Paxton Pembroke himself," the man panted. He gave two mighty coughs to clear his chest and throat. "What a true gentleman your father was", a third cough followed, the heaviness of breathing returned. "Please, if you'll follow me, we've been expecting you!"

"Pardon the intrusion, sirs. May I please have a quick word with my master, Hugo?" Giles asked the man.

"Oh, of course. But not too long, a fine lunch has been prepared," an almighty flurry of coughs followed Hugo's response. "Excuse me!" he pleaded while stumbling back up the stone steps.

Giles clasped Alistair's right forearm gently to take his attention away from the spectacle of Hugo's spluttering. "Master, I must remind you, not to trust these individuals too much."

"On what grounds are these words spoken?"

"Your father saw his association to the society as a means to save face. Nothing more. He'd fulfill assignments as and when required. Sometimes against his own better judgment. Remember, his reputation precedes their own, even to this very moment. There is much of Paxton's legacy that exists beyond their reach and I'm sure they know that."

"Giles, old friend. I will heed your words under advisement. Please excuse me, I must join Hugo for our appointment."

"Of course, Alistair, of course. I shall wait upon your return, sir.
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