A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters 17 - Page 15

footmen are carrying the ring through this market. I just learned about its transport, just a moment ago!" Th e Mayor took both of us by our arms and spoke in hushed tones, "Please do not say such things aloud. While I have never trusted the Ladroncello family personally, they do bring stimulus, jobs, and economy to my town. You cannot tarnish the family name by claiming they stole the gold from the sea." "Th e gold was stolen from the sea," Percy said, sternly. "Th e wedding ceremony to the sea does not seem to have been performed since Napoleon's attack." Percy held out his book for the Mayor to look at. "You must do something!" "Perhaps returning the ring, and renewing your vows to the sea might help?" I asked. "Take the ring! Take it and throw it back into the canal where it belongs!" cried the two footmen, opening the treasure chest to reveal the large golden ring. "Do not even say such sacrilege!" replied the Mayor. "We cannot just seize the Ladroncello's prized treasures to do with as we please!" And perhaps he was the fi rst politician in all of history to utter such a remark. An ominous crack came from above us, scattering fl ecks of stone from the nearby bridge down upon our heads. Th e Mayor shrieked in dismay. A tentacle wrapped around the Rialto. "To the Lido!" the Mayor cried. And that is how I ended up rolling a large ring down the streets of Venice, with a puffi ng Mayor and Mr. Longville beside me. We rolled the ring straight into a gondola, and a tentacle swept all three of us, plus the many books littering the streets, straight in after. Th e mayor grabbed the pole and began to propel us through the waters. Percy proceeded to feel about in all his various pockets (Why are men blessed with so many of these handy receptacles, and we ladies so few?) until he uncovered the desired book recounting the history of the Bucentaur. "I have a book on the ceremony with me," he said to the Mayor. However, just as they began to speak, the Mayor was thrown overboard as an enormous wave surged under the boat. I tried to reach out to him, but he was carried away so swiftly. I saw him latch onto a fl oating apple cart in the distance. "You must perform this ceremony for me!" he called after us. "Save Venezia!" And then he floated away. I was so busy looking at these two very distracting men, that the gondola ran aground, books fl ying everywhere. Percy lost his grasp on the pertinent one and we scrambled through the pile looking for the correct information while tentacles rose behind us. Th e Kraken, or sea monster, rose ominously out of the water. Percy looked between his book and the monster. "Th e Ceremony!" I cried. "Oh... Sea... um, monster... we represent Venice... with..." "Just the ceremony, Percy!" I cried. Percy began to read. "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than the snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice! Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Allow for us, and all who sail thereon, that the sea may be calm and quiet." I looked up, surprised, for the sea was indeed quieting, and the rage calming, and I found myself gazing into Percy's eyes. It was strangely intimate to hear him reading the words to a wedding ceremony. To avoid any improper displays of public aff ection, I somewhat ingloriously pushed