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Cogs, Pirates, and Industry

The city of Rocourt and the skies of Acrovand


a part of Cogs, Pirates, and Industry, by Julia.


Julia holds sovereignty over The city of Rocourt and the skies of Acrovand, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

399 readers have been here.


Default Location for Cogs, Pirates, and Industry
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The city of Rocourt and the skies of Acrovand is a part of Cogs, Pirates, and Industry.

10 Characters Here

Professor Tobias Wellington [3] The old inventor
Otto 'Kips' Kipling [2] "Nice to meet'ya, Darlin'. Otto Kiplin', at yer service."
Elisabeth Marian Thimenson [1] "The relationships I hold with my clients should never be severed, they trust me with all their secrets, meaning I know a lot about people."
Snow White [1] "Oh!"
Martin Teivel [1] The Watchmaker's Apprentice
Nathaniel Towns [1] "I don't care."
William Aldridge [0] "What services can I offer you, good sir? A shave? A cigar? or perhaps one of these fine pocketwatches I recently "acquired"?"
Loral [0] "Huh? Whatcha staring at me for? Got something to say?"
Petra von Rustenford [0] Proxy of The Black Hand

Start Character Here »

#, as written by Julia
"Guilty!" the judge boomed, and Mr. George MacArthur felt his gut drop into his feet. He shuddered before the judge continued to speak. "You, George Leonard MacArthur, are hereby sentenced to 40 years in the Rocourt Penitentiary for the murder of Mr. Drake Zatorim with a rigged timepiece," the judge explained. Mr. MacArthur was quickly restrained by authorities.

"I told you I didn't do it! It was all my apprentice, Martin!" the old white bearded man exclaimed. "I told you he broke into my shop and he rigged the watch! Why would I want to kill anyone, especially those who keep this old man out of the streets?!" he exclaimed. To a child watching, which there probably weren't many, it seemed that Santa Claus was being arrested, but due to the lack of children's tears, it didn't seem they were present or aware. A lawyer with combed hair and a plain suit stepped forward, a burn scar on his left cheek and a pair a spectacles set across his nose.

"Mr. MacArthur, there were no signs of forced entry, and you terminated Mr. Teivel's employment a month ago. How could he have possibly done this?" the lawyers asked.

"He swore revenge upon me for replacing him! Please! You must believe me!" Mr. MacArthur shouted, pulling his hardest against the much stronger policemen. The police then began to escort him from to the prison. "I didn't kill the man!" he shouted just before the doors shut and the courtroom fell silent, most of Rocourt sitting in the quiet courtroom.
"And let me tell you ladies, regardless of whether or not Mr. MacArthur goes free, he's never gonna see another man walk in that store. It would be easier for him to just go to prison," Martin Teivel smiled, a pirate girl under each of his arms. The girls smiled at him, then at one another.

"You're so cold and ruthless, Martin..." one of the girls smiled. "You should come with us. You'll fit right in! Our captain will love a man who's smart and evil..." she grinned, running a finger over his chest. Smiling, Martin chuckled.

"I was looking for an excuse to leave town anyway," he nodded, laying back and enjoying his moment of victory.

Hearing the question, he opened his eyes and let out a tired moan, "Mmmm…huh? This fuggin—fuck. Things a--?"

"A really well made film projector." The older looking gentleman interjected Nathaniel, leaning here or there or running to the other side of the display table to take a better look, quite interested in the large metal device.

Nathaniel sat up from leaning on his arm, "Yes...a firm projectile close to my very heart--"

"Film projector."

'Grrr...old coot.’ " I was saying, it was assembled by and left to my by my very own father, who passed away a short while ago. It's worth quite a bit to me."

The older gentleman let out a little huff, before turning to the young shop owner, “Well…it was a custom made piece…how much for the projector and its components, young man?”

Nathaniel reach under the front desk, pulling out a plopping a hefty and thick book onto it with a loud thud, “This f—valuable piece of machinery projector-thing is…comes with a few interchangeable lens parts…” Adding up his jotted down values, three fingers popped up as he did the math, representing the three finger figure…then a fourth popped up.


“This price is outrageous! You, you scoundrel, either take me for a fool or believe yourself to be quite the clever swindler…or happen to be bloody mad! I shan’t be returning, I guarantee you!” Nathaniel watched the old man wave a fist at him in outrage, through his open window. No money this time…still, it was around the right time that he should let out Snow White. They’d only been here a month, but with the novelty of…it…Snow White actually made a good amount of money by simple short dance performances. Nathaniel Towns couldn’t understand the people’s fascination with the automaton, machine stuff.

Standing up, and getting a little dizzy as a result, he shook his head and focused up, “Snow White, don’t you have a performance this morning?!” He called out to the backroom. There was a sound of shuffling from the back, and eventually a small-ish form made her way out. Wearing a plain grey dress, Snow White peeked out from the corner of the doorway, smiling brightly, “Actually, not a performance! I’m playing music today on a trumpet with a band!”

Nathaniel didn’t spend much of a moment actually listen, and instead ushered her out of the shop, locking front door behind him, “, just go make sssssome moneys, bring me back something strong…I’m gonna go home and sssleeps and stuff…gotta sleep ‘this’ off…” Snow White laughed lightly, before almost practically skipping off, while Nathaniel towns tried not to stagger too much on his way to the small home. Goddamn, why didn’t he just buy a shop with a living space adjoined to it? Why did he open up shop early today? Looking around him, he realised he hadn’t moved much in the past few minutes…and decided it wasn’t going to be worth it.

A few minutes more, and he was back in the closed shop, snoring on a large puddle of drool settling on the surface of the desk.

The sky was so clear today. The usual smog and heavy cloud-cover of this steam-powered city giving way to bright, impossible blue, unmasking the beautiful metal birds that soared through the sky. They painted the sky with streaks of steam that settled quickly, making the air moist.

It was all so peaceful... So quiet--


The voice came so loud; Kips almost fell from his perch, a crossbeam under the airship docks, high above the streets. He quickly snagged the cigar from his lips and chucked it away quickly off the edge, silently praying it didn't land on any poor soul in their Sunday Best, leaning his head back to see the chubby, red face of his supervisor hanging out from the platform.

Trying not to look as guilty as he was, Kips asked innocently, "Yes, sah?" The supervisor didn't say a word in response, just an angry jab with his thumb, telling Kips to get his person back up there. So, with really no other choice but a not-so-wonderful nosedive off the edge of his beam, he started to make the slow climb up to the platform, very careful with his footing (Wouldn't want a repeat of last week.) and was standing next to the wide man, whose face had gone a shocked shade of scarlet, in a matter of minutes.

The older man started to open his mouth, preparing to shout, when Kips cut in quickly, "Now, befo' ye go off screamin' yer head off at me, let me explain." He wrapped one arm around the supervisor's shoulder in a grand gesture, probably smearing the man's nice suit with grease in the process, and with the other he made a motion indicating something far off in the distance. "Imagine..." He started with a quiet, storyteller's tone. He had the full attention of the supervisor now.

And with that in mind, Kips took off running.

Leaping over his fellow mechanics and dodging under carried parts, he made a mad dash to where the airships were stationed, out of breath curses being thrown at him from behind as the supervisor tried to catch up with the younger and more agile man. Kips kept running at full speed until he approached the largest of the airships in port, the largest cargo ship Kips had ever worked on. He spotted his backboard and threw himself down onto it without missing a beat. The speed he built up sent the board under the belly of the mechanical beast, Kips' hand shooting up to grab onto a pipe to yank himself to a standstill.

His tools, lying exactly where he had left them, rattled as he carted into them, dumping them all over the place. But, with the sounds of the huffing supervisor coming closer, he had no time to lose, snapping up a wrench and forcing himself to look like he was being useful.

"Otto Kipling!" The wide man's face showed up under the airship, small, squinty eyes trained on Kips, who tilted his head and blinked with feigned confusion.

"Hm? Is there somethin' y'need, sah?"

Date: Tuesday 21st July, 3012
Time: 10:15 AM

Professor Wellington sat and read the morning paper. He was reading, but barely taking any information in. It was really just something to pass the time. There was a scuttling sound, as a small metal man skipped across the room with a cup of coffee.
"Thank you, Glink." Professor Wellington said.
"No thanks required, master. I am merely doing what I was created to do." Glink replied, in his grainy, electronic voice.
"Regardless, you have served me adequately for 50 years now. That is worthy of credit."
"Much oblidged." Glink replied, bowing graciously.

There was peaceful silence for a few minutes, but it was interrupted by a knock at the door. Professor Wellington looked up. He almost never had visitors. He didn't have any friends who would be calling round, all his bills were on a standing order, he had no servants other than Glink and he hadn't been contracted to a job in close to two years. He sat silent for a few seconds. The knock was repeated, and it echoed throughout the Professor's grand, old house.
"I shall get the door, master." Glink answered. Although Glink had never been programmed to have emotions, his eagerness to serve could almost have been mistaken for pride.
"No, no, Glink. That is fine. I'll get the door." Professor Wellington interrupted.
"Are you sure?" Glink asked.
"Yes. You can make some soup in the meantime."

Professor Wellington slowly opened the door. There was a girl standing in the front of the door. She was pretty, with dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. She was about 5'6, and if were not for the professor's heeled boots (adding an extra 2 inches or so to his height) she would have been a tad taller than he. The girl looked to be in her late teens, and she had some visible tattoos, adding colour to her pale complexion.
"Hi." The girl said. "My name's Nina. I live a few streets away. I'm looking for Professor Wellington."
"I am Professor Wellington." He said, a little nervously. His voice was dark and bassy, but it sounded a little brighter when nervous.
"Are you ok?" Nina asked, tilting her head to one side. "You look like you've just seen a ghost."
"I'm fine." Professor Wellington said. "Good, actually."
Nina smiled. "Ok. I heard you'd be the one to talk to about repairing machinery."
"I'm afraid you heard wrong." Professor Wellington sighed.
"I don't think so. If you're Professor Wellington, and you live here then I think you repair machinery."
"Well, you may guess again."
Professor Wellington was about to close the door, and Nina would have turned and walked away had Glink (a functioning machine) not interrupted, informing the professor that the soup was ready.
"I think you'd best come inside." The professor said, admitting defeat.

Nina smiled as the professor led her through to the kitchen.
"Who exactly told you to come here?" Professor Wellington asked.
"My uncle, Harry. He said you fixed a sewing machine for my aunt a while ago."
"Yes, I think I know who you're talking about. I remember fixing a sewing machine, but that would have been close to a decade ago. I don't get many sewing machines, so it stands out in my memory. But I don't get much of anything to be honest. I've been trying to retire."
"Sorry." Nina said, still smiling a little.
"Not at all. It's nice to have a visitor. It will give me something to do as well, I suppose." The professor replied, a little apathetically.
"Soup!" Glink declared. The 4 foot metal servant poured a bowl of soup and set it on the table. "Would the lady like any soup?"
"I'm fine thanks." Nina politely passed up.
"Actually Glink, save the soup for later. I don't really feel like eating at the moment." The professor said. "What was it that you wanted repaired, Nina?"
"This." Nina answered, reaching into the bag on her shoulder. She produced a small, metal box. "It's a music box. It doesn't work any more though. I haven't heard it play in about 15 years." She laughed.
"Shouldn't be too tricky." The professor said, confidently. "If you'll just accompany me to the bedroom."
Nina blinked, looking a bit startled.
"No, not like that. I wouldn't dream of it." The professor backtracked. "That's just where I do most of my work. My workshop is currently taken up by a piece of machinery I was contracted to build it a long time ago. But then they pulled the funding on it and it's just sitting there now. Honestly, I wouldn't want to do anything with you."
Nina blushed a little, as the professor rambled.
"Not that you aren't lovely. You're the sort of woman that every man wants, except for me, even though I think you look very nice. What I'm trying to say is you're very pretty, but I don't want to do anything inappropriate."
"Ok then. But you can still fix the music box." Nina replied, finding the professor's lack of composure amusing.

The professor took Nina to the work table in his room. He tried to play the music box, but no sound came out.
"I'll have to open it up." The professor said. Looking all over the box, there appeared to be no way of opening it, other than the keyhole on the front of the box. "Hmmm. Do you have the key?"
"Yup." Nina answered, producing the key from the pocket of her trousers.
The professor tried opening it, but it wouldn't turn.
"Are you sure this is the key?"
"Well it won't turn. The locked might be jammed. I'll have to dismantle it more carefully. Could take a little longer. Couldn't you just buy another music box?"
"I want to hear this one play again. I can still remember the song." Nina said, reminiscently
"A little sentimental then?" The professor said, with a touch of sympathy.
"I'll see what I can do. Come back tomorrow, and if I haven't got it working I'll buy you a new music box."

The light shown through Elisa's open window and the noises of machines and market people followed soon after. You wouldn't think looking at her now that she was a high class and high priced prostitute with the grace and elegance of a Dutchess. Her work ran late last night so when she got home she hadn't even made it up the stairs to get to her bed, instead she just crashed into the couch, knocking down piles that were next to it and laying on piles that had previously been placed on the couch's warn cushions. Her hair was a mess, a big ball of knots and frays, and she had accidentally slept with her make up on. Looking at her now, all that grace, beauty, and elegance was gone replaced with what Elisa truly was, a slob.

She rubbed her eyes and slowly stood up, smoothing out her gold ribbon dress. Thankfully the people walking by had the decency to not look inside, meaning that Elisa could easily escape up the stairs and try to look a bit more presentable. It didn't take very long before Elisa was back downstairs in average and worn clothes. She started picking up the piles that had fallen and rearranged the ones that had gotten crushed while she slept before grabbing her big leather bag and heading outside, locking her place up and heading towards the market.

The crowds were intense this time of day, you wouldn't think so, but they were more so then later in the afternoon because this was the time that everyone was getting food for the day. The morning was nice and cool, though walking within the crowds would warm any person up. Elisa moved her way through the crowd, enjoying being able to not be noticed for her profession and just be a normal human being, though when she saw one of her clients she would draw up her shawl around her head and walk a little quicker. It isn't that she was embarrassed to be living the way she was in the commoner neighborhood with regular people in regular clothes eating whatever food she happened to buy that day. It was just rather she didn't want to have to explain that to her clients because they wouldn't understand and then insist upon setting her up with whomever could help putting her in the right part of society. Then she would have to proceed to tell them that she has the money for their lifestyle, but just prefers living in a comfortable home that isn't too big, in which they would respond in the up most form of confusion. This all had played out before when she just got her highest level of work and it took her a few times before she figured out that she absolutely needed to avoid her clients outside of work.

As morning carried on into late morning, Elisa went to a nearby bakery. She bought the usual bag of freshly baked bread, the baker finally stopped asking why she needed all that bread everyday. Then headed down an ally. Her walk was quick, she knew these allies and which path she needed to take. It was a maze of giant stone walls with steaming pipes hanging on their sides, the steam made it slightly harder to see, but when you know the back allies as well as Elisa knew them, you wouldn't even really need to see at all.

She finally came to a stop in front of what was a seemingly solid wall; made of wood with cloth covering certain parts. She knocked on the side of one particular cloth three times and then whistled a specific tune. A ragged and dirty head of a man with a scraggly beard popped out from behind the curtain and smiled a grin that revealed missing teeth at the sight of his dear friend.

"Elisa! Here again so soon?" he said raising the curtain so she could sneak in passed him.

"I'm come everyday Frank," Elisa said giving him a kiss on the cheek, "And as usual I have brought freshly baked bread for the family." Frank ran passed her now and cupped his hands.

"Our prostitute has come baring food!" he yelled. The place that Elisa had walked into was a small hidden camp of a gypsy troupe, and not just any gypsy troupe, but the one that had taken her in after she ran away from her blood family, but this was her real family. People of all shapes and sizes came out from hidden places from the walls or from inside wagons. All of them smiling and trying to get to her first to hug her. It was a rather large family that Elisa had, but it was one she knew she would never turn her back on or leave behind.

Date: Tuesday 21st July, 3012
Time: 10:35 AM

After Nina had left, the Professor returned immediately to the music box. It was a grand looking box. It was made of tin, but had been painted a deep purple. The edges of the box had been plated in gold. On the top were goald plated letters, reading 'Swan Tears'. Professor Wellington turned the box over, looking again for some screws he may have missed. He didn't find any alternative way in, but he did find something else. Pressed into the tin was a manufacturer's name, 'Vincenzo'.
"Vincenzo." The Professor thought to himself. "I have a book on many of his pieces. There could be diagrams in it."
The Professor's book were all organised alphabetically. He wouldn't have it any other way, and with little to do in his old age, he often organised things to keep him sane.
"There it is." The Professor declared outloud, though no-one was in earshot.
He flipped through the pages, eventually finding a section on Vincenzo's music boxes. He learned that this was one of a very limited edition. Only 6 were ever made, and hand made at that, by Vincenzo himself. It was deemed at a very high price in the book, and could only have increased in value since then. But although the history was very interesting, the real promise lay in the diagrams. The diagrams showed the inner workings of the music box, as well as the process behind its assembly. The box seemed very familiar, almost like he had seen it before. The Professor had repaired a number of music boxes over the years, and even a couple of Vincenzo music boxes. However, this was the only one he had ever seen from that particular series. Vincenzo's last series.

Date: Wednesday 22nd July, 3012
Time: 9:45 AM

Nina returned the next day.
"Hello, Nina." The Professor said, a little uneasily.
"Hey." Nina said, with a smile. "Any progress?"
"I'll explain upstairs. Please come in." Despite his uninspiring tone, Nina did not lose the optimistic demeanour she had arrived with. They went up the stairs, and returned to Professor Wellington's work table.
"Paolo Vincenzo." The Professor announced.
"Who?" Nina asked.
"Paolo Vincenzo. Are you familiar with him?" Professor Wellington said this almost like he knew him personally.
"No. I don't think so." Nina answered, shaking her head. "Should I?"
"Well, he built this." The Professor said, holding up the music box. "If you look underneath, you can see his branding."
"Is that good?"
"That would depend on your definition of 'good'. Vincenzo was a master craftsman. He made a massive amount of pieces of the course of his life. He began with pottery in his early teens, but moved to more intricate work as he grew older. In his early 60s he started producing music boxes."
"Like my one?"
"Exactly. He created a line of 6 music boxes, which are believed by many to be his best work. Each of those 6 contained a song composed by Vincezo. If we look at the bottom, it not only has Vincezo's manufacturing marks, but also the words 'The Frost Queen'. That was the series to which this belonged. Beside that we see the numbers '6/6'. This is the 6th model Vincenzo made in his 'Frost Queen' series of music boxes."
"So this was the last in his best series." Nina interrupted, as she now understood.
"Indeed. But 'Frost Queen' was in fact the final line that Vincezo ever produced."
Nina looked taken aback. "So this is the last one he made."
"What you are holding there is the last piece ever created by one of the most respected craftsmen of the last century. Now would you care to read the title on the top of the box?"
"'Swan Tears.'" Nina said, getting a little tearful herself.
"That is the title of the piece of music contained in this box and this box only."
"That's amazing. Why is it called 'Swan Tears'."
"I'm not sure anyone knows that. Funny how 'Swan Tears' was his swansong."
"Do you think he knew he was going to die?"
"I think not. He died of a sudden heart attack. But all the pieces of music were written in memory of his late daughter."
"That's beautiful." Nina answered, again a little overwhelmed.
"Now, I can't estimate a price. However, it was worth a fortune when it was made. Everything increases in price after the artist has died, and Vincezo has been dead for nearly 50 years. The fact that it was his final piece only adds to the significance. Given the circumstances, I would say the working box is more valuable than the house we're standing in."
"And is it working?"
"It was never broken." The Professor replied. "It isn't supposed to open or play. Vincezo built these boxes so that they would play when opened. However, he built the mechanism so that it could only be opened by destroying the box. It works but no one can use it. No one can open the box and no one can hear the song."
"But I've heard it before. When I was 4 years old. I opened the box with the key."
"Quite impossible. It's all in this diagram." The Professor said, pointing to a page in the book.
"It's not impossible." Nina replied, getting frustrated. "I know how the song goes." Nina sang a haunting melody in a soft voice.
"You must be confusing events, my dear. If it was fifteen years ago you think you heard the box, confusion could easily be the cause of all this. Time has a way of distorting the facts."
Nina's head fell. She looked very disheartened now. "I'm not going to give up."
"That may be so, but I can't help you any further."
"How much do I owe you?"
"Nothing. I have more than enough money to see me through my sunset years. Besides, having a chance to examine Vincenzo's last work is an experience that money can't buy."
"Ok. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Why?" The professor asked, confused.
"So I can say 'I told you so' when I figure out how to get this music box to play."
The professor smiled at Nina's optimism. "I'd have probably said something similar when I was your age. But be careful with it. I'll never sleep again if any harm comes to that piece."

Kips was kicking his way down the streets within the hour. Kicked out of the docks by a swearing, red-faced supervisor. But still having a job to his name, so Kips guessed it couldn't be all that bad. Right? At most, he was going to get some deductions to his pay with week, which would put a mighty dent in the money he could send back to his sister and how much he was going to eat... Weight was really something the already boney man couldn't afford to loose any more off.

Oh well...

He kicked at the loose pieces of pavement under his feet as he walked, his pockets jingling with nothing more than some loose cogs that Kips had forgotten to return to his toolbox. He rounded a corner, turning onto a side street for a shortcut. Even though it was only mid-morning, this street was dark, the smog hanging heavy in the balance here. Flower girls rushed up to him, trying earnestly to sell their wares of wilting wildflowers, of which he had to kindly decline. Not a pence to his name, he had.

"Oh, come, Otto. One flower? It only cost a pence." One of the older girls, Charlotte, broke out of the pack, tring to bargain with him. She hooked her arm around Kips' and fell into step beside him. She shooed off the other girls with a glare, who left with quiet protests and swears, and turned back to him with a knowing smile, "You wouldn't want a pretty woman like me going hungry, would you?" She batted her eyelashes innocently.

Kips rolled his eyes, "'Fraid not, Lottie. Ain't got a pence on me, even if yer lookin' a'me like so." He said in a cautious tone, watching her carefully out of the corner of his eye. Charlotte was one of those girls you had to keep an eye on at all times, she ready to do anything for what she wants. But... she did look awful thin this time. More than usual.

As they walked in silence, the street brightened some, being in a more open, populated area now and having more people busying about. Kips slowed his walk, stopping to lean against a streetlamp, and looking down at her to speak, "I do a'ways offer ya' t'eat supper with me mates and I, don't I?" He said out of real concern. His mates and him couldn't afford much, but they would always share it with whomever comes knocking.

Charlotte gave a very unladylike snort, crossing her arms over her chest as she avoided his gaze. She people-watched, her eyes slowly following the richer folk (Most likely thinking up a plan to swindle them) as she spoke to him, "Why would a lady like me want to eat with a lot of thick gear-heads? You all have no hygiene to speak of! Really, do you lot ever bathe!?" She looked over her shoulder at him, giving a once-over of his grease-covered clothing and skin.

He pushed her gently, jokingly, giving a theatric sigh "Oi, Oi... I just got off work, ya'know."

"Mighty early to be off work." She said, suspiciously eyeing him.

"Mighty early t'be seducin' men off the streets with offerin' flowers. That be night work, didn'tya know?" Kips retorted, reaching and picking at the selection of flowers she had in her basket. They were all wilting, drooping in an unpleasant way. It would take a lot of seducing to get any man to buy those, but Charlotte had her ways, he knew that for sure.

Charlotte slapped his hand away, glaring daggers, "If you aren't going to buy them, don't touch. And what do you mean seducing?! I'm doing honest work." She said it so strongly, he might have believed her if she hadn't tried seducing him for flower sales before. He cracked a grin, nudging her again before pushing himself from the pole, "Whatever y'say, Sweetheart. Gotta check the post, though. Have supper with me mates and I sometime, ya?"

Without waiting for an answer, he turned and set off for city center. Kips had been expecting a letter for a while now.

Date: Wednesday 22nd July, 3012
Time: 10:15 AM

Professor Wellington was emmersed in a book when he heard a knock at the door.
"Glink." He called. "Fetch the door."
From where the Professor sat, he heard the clanking footsteps of his metal servant, as they scampered towards the front door. From his armchair in his study, he couldn't tell who was at the door, though Glink's harsh voice was more than audible. A few seconds later, Glink escorted a familiar dark haired girl into the study.
"Nina?" The Professor asked. "What brings you here at this time." He looked at his watch, feeling silly at how early it was.
Nina said nothing, but handed Professor Wellington a piece of paper. The Professor put on his reading glasses, before bringing the paper close to his face.
"'Enigma'." He read allowed. "Travelling carnival. Performing one night only is Rocourt Meadows. Don't miss wonderous amusements, breathtaking illusions and fabulous fun of the Enigma Carnival."
"So?" Nina asked.
"So what?"
"Its tomorrow. It says at the bottom of the page." Nina answered, pointing to the date at the foot of the page.
"And watch some kids in costumes tie balloons? I think not. No, I shall remain here, as usual, tomorrow night. It will take a lot more than a carnival to get me to abandon my usual routine." The Professor replied, almost sounding proud of his apathy.
"But there's an antique auction." Nina replied, with glee.
"Oh, well someone knows how to sway a man..." He answered, sarcastically.
Nina scowled back at him, narrowing her dark brown eyes. She did not like to be spoken to sarcastically, though often loved using sarcasm herself. Her tone became friendlier again, as she spoke again.
"I thought I could bring the music box."
"Dear lord, I hope you're careful selling it. I don't think there's a person in the whole city with enough spending money to buy something like that."
"No, no." She laughed, shaking her head. "I meant there might be an expert, who could look at the box."
"Nina, I'm an expert. I've been working with stuff like this since I was a child. It's impossible to open it. It even said so in the book."
"Yes. The book said so because Vincenzo said so. I think he wanted someone to open it, but he needed to make it difficult for some reason."
"Nina, if you risk taking the box out to Rocourt Meadows at night and walking back even later, then you could lose the box altogether."
"Most people won't know what it's worth though. If my stepmother knew, she would keep it for herself. Besides, we don't need to stay long. I just want to get an opinion. Then we can go somewhere else."
"Somewhere else? Where else?" The Professor asked, skeptically.
Nina shrugged. "Rocourt may not be the biggest city, but there's quite a lot to it. If we're done at the carnival by 9, then we could get some dinner."
"So you want me to abandon my evening so you can have what I told you already confirmed, and then so I can buy you something to eat?"
"Well it doesn't sound good when you put it that way, but I promise you'll have fun. And I could pay for dinner, or some of it. I bought a black dress which I haven't had a chance to wear yet." Nina said, eyes falling to the floor and smiling a little.
"You're not going to go away unless I come with you, are you?" The Professor answered, appearing to accept defeat.
Nina didn't say anything, but stared back with hope.
"Fine." The Professor said. "Just don't spend half the night pretending to be amazed at someone pulling a toy rabbit out of a hat."
"Thank you." Nina said, throwing her arms around the Professor, who remained in his chair. "I get out of work at 6, tomorrow. It'll take me about an hour to go home and get ready, and then about twenty minutes to walk here. Actually, make it half an hour. I'll be wearing heels."
With that she walked out of the study, letting herself out the front door.
The Professor turned to Glink, who was still standing beside his chair. "Stop staring at me." He shouted at his metal servant.