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Several Kilometers away from Kintostown

"Ah, it'll be good to get home again." Bella Fennix mused to herself while she walked down the road, having separated from the caravan she paid to get her this far. She hoisted her bag over her right shoulder with a clicking of mechanical limbs, and continued, step-clanking the whole way.

But sometimes, as life is wont, things don't always go completely as planned.

Even when you don't really plan it out in the first damn place. Bella noticed two figures coming down the road, in a hurry. She blinked, "Whoa, whoa. What's the hurry--" And then she recognized "Herr Mekamithe and Herr Jackwright?" What on Earth would make two friends of the family want to get the hell out so fast?

Both of them stopped and stared. Like they'd seen a ghost or a construct rather like one.

"M-miss Fennix! You're alive!" Mekamithe spoke up first, stammering the words out in a shocked tone, "But--"

"Alive?" Bella's expression turned from shock to confusion, "Why wouldn't I be? I've been traveling for a while, but.."

"Oh. Oh dear." Jackwright readjusted his glasses, "Oh my. You haven't heard, have you?"

Confusion turned to a brow-furrowing of concern. "Heard what?"

"W-well, M-miss F-fennix--mein gott, you're--but--"

Concerned quickly turned to annoyance. She dropped her bag, and it landed with a metallic thud of parts. "Explain." Her eyes narrowed. "Now." The angry look deepened, "OR I'LL MAKE YOU BOTH EXPLAIN"

Both of them yelped.

Jackwright swallowed, working up the nerve, "M-my Lady. There was an explosion at the Castle--Your father he's--" He was cut off by Bella yanking him off of the ground with her right arm, clockwork ticking and whirring loudly.

"MY FATHER IS WHAT, HERR JACKWRIGHT?!"

He squeaked. "He's D-dead, Mistress!" He was unceremoniously dropped flat on his arse on the dirt road.

"Tell me how." Bella's voice lost the reverb of the Madness Place, but none of the anger. She clenched her mechanical hand, metal grinding quietly.

"We don't kn-know, Miss Fennix. The Southern Alliance invaded in the confusion. We were lucky to get out." Mekamithe was nervous, and damn near ready to bolt if he had to.

"And my brother?"

Jackwright rubbed his neck, hauling himself to stand up. "We haven't seen nor heard from him, Miss Fennix. It's concerning, considering he was in the Castle when the explosion occurred."

"Hrmph. And any news on me?"

"It's why we thought you were dead, you were supposed to be back three days ago."

"I got held up in Lunkhauster." She explains simply. "I need to get back, see the state of the town, the people." All the times to be responsible, her father would tell her. Why now?

"That would be unwise, Miss Fennix." Jackwright grabbed her left shoulder, stopping her from passing, even if she shot him an angry look as a result. "All considered, if you went stomping back to town angrily and firing off your weapons, you'd not only be noticed, but you'd be swarmed by soldiers before you could react."

Damn him and his logic. Damn him. "I'm exiled from my own be damned town?!"

Suitably calmed down, Jackwright made for a good voice of logic, even if he too, was a Spark. "Not entirely. If you use the underground, you might be able to get into the Castle, but from there, I'm not entirely sure what you can do--it's heavily guarded."

Bella made a frustrated sound, "I need to get my tools, they're in the passageway near my room."

"And this is where we part ways, I'm afraid. We're getting out of town before the Alliance captures us." With that, Jackwright and Mekamithe were both on their way, quickly.

"Hrmph." Bella regarded the town gates in the distance, thunder rumbled ominously from afar. "Great."

Part 2 - The Flashback: Underground Funk and Kintotech Castle
Part 3 - The Flashback: Escape
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Annabella Fennix, Lady to the House of Kintotech

March 2009

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