Alexia had found pregnancy relatively manageable, up to a point. That point having been some three weeks ago, at which juncture her natural reserves of control gave way to sentimentality. Only yesterday she had ended breakfast sobbing over the fried eggs because they looked at her funny. The pack had spent a good half hour trying to find a way to pacify her. Her husband was so worried he looked to start crying himself.
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What if all those strange and unexplainable bends in history were the result of supernatural interference? At which point I asked myself, what's the weirdest most eccentric historical phenomenon of them all? Answer:the Great British Empire. Clearly, one tiny little island could only conquer half the known world with supernatural aid. Those absurd Victorian manners and ridiculous fashions were obviously dictated by vampires. And, without a doubt, the British army regimental system functions on werewolf pack dynamics.
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Why? I mean, why you? I can perfectly comprehend not liking my husband. I dislike him intensely most of the time." Professor Lyall stifled a chuckle. "I am given to understand that he does not approve of spelling one' s name with two ll's. He finds it inexcusably Welsh. I suspect he may be quite taken with you, however.
Past persons of Scottishness in contact with mastermind of supernatural persuasion in London, aka Agent Doom.' Floote moved on to the third bit of paper. " 'Lady K says Agent Doom assisted depraved Plan of Action. May have all been his idea.' Moving on to the last one, he read out, "Summer permits Scots to expose more knee than lady of refinement should have to withstand. Hairmuffs much admired. Yours etc., Puff Bonnet.
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Later on Lady Maccon was to describe that particular day as the worst of her life. She had neither the soul nor the romanticism to consider childbirth magical or emotionally transporting. So far as she could gather it mostly involved pain indignity and mess. There was nothing engaging or appealing about the process. And as she told her husband firmly she intended never to go through it again.
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She reached inside the wide ruffle and pulled out a little vial. "Poison?" asked Lady Maccon, tilting her head to one side. "Certainly not. Something far more important: perfume. We cannot very well have you fighting crime unscented, now, can we?" "Oh." Alexia nodded gravely. After all, Madame Lefoux was French. "Certainly not.
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Lady Maccon stopped suddenly. Her husband got four long strides ahead before he realized she had paused. She was starring thoughtfully up into the aether, twirling the deadly parasol about her head. "I have just remembered something, " Alexia said when he returned to her side. "Oh, that explains everything. How foolish of me to think you could walk and remember at the same time.
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The Rakshasa, " said Percy pedantically, "are a different breed altogether from our vampires. Much in the same way that poodles and dachshunds are different breeds of dog. Rakshasas are reviled in India. Their position as tax collectors is an attempts by the crown to integrate them in a more progressive and mundane manner." Rue said, "Oh, how logical. Because we all know ordaining someone as a tax collector is the surest way to get them accepted by society.
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Professor Lyall looked modestly proud. "I am considered a bit of an expert on the procreative practices of Ovis orientalis aries." "Sheep?" "Sheep." "Sheep!" Madame Lefoux's voice came over suddenly high, as though she were suppressing an inclination to giggle. "Yes, as in baaaa." Professor Lyall frowned. Sheep were a serious business, and he failed to see the source of Madame Lefoux's amusement. "Let me understand this correctly. You are a werewolf with a keen interest in sheep breeding?" A little bit of French accent trickled into Madame Lefoux's speech in her glee. Professor Lyall continued bravely on, ignoring her flippancy. "I preserve the nonviable embryo in formaldehyde for future study. Lord Maccon has been drinking my samples. When confronted, he admitted to enjoying both the refreshing beverage and the 'crunchy picked snack' as well. I was not pleased.
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My dearest girl, ' said the vampire finally, examining Lord Maccon with an exhausted but appreciative eye, 'such a banquet. Never been one to favor werewolves myself, but he is very well equipped, now, is he not?' Miss Tarabotti gave him an arch look. 'My goodies, ' she warned. Humans, ' chuckled the vampire, 'so possessive.
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Werewolf change was never pleasant. That was one of the reasons pack members still referred to it as a curse, despite the fact that, in the modern age of enlightenment and free will, clavigers chose metamorphosis. The change comprised a good deal of biological rearranging. This, like rearranging one's parlor furniture for a party, involved a transition from tidy to very messy to tidy once more. And, as with any redecoration, there was a moment in the middle where it seemed impossible that everything could possibly go back together harmoniously.
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I mean to say, really, I am near to developing a neurosis - is there anyone around who doesn't want to study or kill me?" Floote raised a tentative hand. "Ah, yes, thank you, Floote." "There is also Mrs Tunstell, madam, " he offered hopefully, is if Ivy were some kind of consolation prize. "I notice you don't mention my fair-weather husband." "I suspect, at this moment, madam, he probably wants to kill you." Alexia couldn't help smiling. "Good point.
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It was difficult to see the exact nature of his expression as, in addition to the ubiquitous mustache, the clockmaker also wore a golden-brown beard of such epic proportions as might dwarf a mulberry bush. It was as though his mustache had become overly enthusiastic and, seized with the spirit of adventure, set out to conquer the southern reaches of his face in a take-no-prisoners kind of way.
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You, my child, will marry well. More than once." (...) The lady retrieved the cards and shuffled them back together into one stack in an attitude of dismissal. Taking this as a sign her fortune was complete, Preshea stood. Looking particularly pleased with life, she passed over a few coins and gave Madame Spetuna a nice curtsy. Mademoiselle Geraldine was fanning herself. "Oh, dear, oh, dear, Miss Buss. Let us hope it is widowhood and not" - she whispered the next word - "divorce that leads to your multiple marriages." Preshea sat and sipped from a china cup. "I shouldn't worry, Headmistress. I am tolerably certain it will be widowhood.
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You're a wonderful dancer, Ria.' 'Mademoiselle Geraldine's takes such things seriously.' 'Ah. And how many ways do you know to kill me, while we dance?' 'Only two, but give me time.' 'You have lovely eyes. Has anyone ever told you that?' 'What rot. They are a muddy green. What are you about, Lord Mersey?' Felix sighed, looking genuinely perturbed. His air of ennui was shaken. 'I am trying to court you. Truth be told, Miss Temminnick, you make it ruddy difficult!' 'Language, Lord Mersey.' Sophronia felt her heart flutter strangely. Am I ready to be courted? 'See!
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The door was locked and Alexia, resourceful as she was, had not yet learned to pick locks. Though she mentally added it to her list of useful skills she needed to acquire along with hand-to-hand combat and the recipe for pesto. If her life were to continue on its present track which after 26 years of obscurity, now seemed to mainly involve people trying to kill her, it would appear that acquiring a less savory skill set might be necessary. Although she supposed pesto making ought to be termed 'more savory'.
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She sifted, sighed, and stared up at the ceiling, trying to think about anything but Lord Maccoon, her current predicament, or Lord Akeldama's safety. Which meant she could do nothing but reflect on the complex plight of her mama's more recent embroidery project. Thins, in itself, was a worse torture than any her captors could devise.
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Quietly Sophronia added, "And the soot on my dress, sir?" "I didn't see anything." Professor Braithwope smiled down at her, showing a small hint of fang. Sophronia grinned back. "I'm glad we understand each other, sir." The vampire looked out into the night. "This is the right finishing school for you, isn't it, whot?" "Yes sir, I think it might very well be." "A piece of advice, Miss Temminnick?" "Sir?" "It is a great skill to have friends in low places. They, too, have things to teach you." "Now, sir, I thought you didn't see any soot.
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Alexia suspected Lord Maccon's handling was a tad more than was strictly called for under the circumstances, but she secretly enjoyed the sensation. After all, how often did a spinster of her shelf life get manhandled by an earl of Lord Maccon's peerage? She had better take advantage of the situation.
Isn't Bunson's training evil geniuses?" "Yes, mostly." "Well, is that wise? Having a mess of seedling evil geniuses falling in love with you willy-nilly? What if they feel spurned?" "Ah, but in the interim, think of the lovely gifts they can make you. Monique bragged that one of her boys made her silver and wood hair sticks as anti-supernatural weapons. With amethyst inlay. And another made her an exploding wicker chicken." "Goodness, what's that for?" Dimity pursed her lips. "Who doesn't want an exploding wicker chicken?
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Madame Lefoux acted as midwife. In her scientific way, she was unexpectedly adept at the job. When the infant finally appeared, she held it up for Alexia to see, rather proudly, as though she'd done all the hard work herself. 'Goodness,' said an exhausted Lady Maccon, 'are babies customarily that repulsive looking?
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Lord Maccon asked meekly, shifting against her in a manner that ensured she realized the nibbling had affected his outsides just as much as her insides. Alexia was partly shocked, partly intrigued by the idea that as he was naked, she might actually get to see what he looked like. She had seen sketches of the nude male, of course, for purely technical purposes. She was given to wonder if werewolves were anatomically bigger in certain areas.
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I miss him, my lady." "Well, he is now living adjacent. You can hardly miss him all that much." "True. But we are no longer compatible""I am a werewolf; he is a vampire." "So?" "So we cannot dance the same dance we used to." Biffy was so sweet when he tried to be circumspect. Alexia shook her head at him. "Biffy, and I mean this in the kindest way possible: then you should change the music." "Very good, my lady.
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Lord Macon deposited his wife into a chair and then knelt next to her, clutching one of her hands. "Tell me truthfully - how are you feeling?" Alexia took a breath. "Truthfully? I sometimes wonder if I, like Madame Lefoux, should affect masculine dress." "Gracious me, why?" "You mean aside from the issue of greater mobility?" "My love, I don't think that's currently the result of your clothing." "Indeed, I mean after the baby." "I still don't see why should want to." "Oh no? I dare you to spend a week in a corset, long skirts and a bustle." "How do you know I haven't?
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Someone was trying to kill Lady Alexia Maccon. It was most inconvenient, as she was in a dreadful hurry. Given her previous familiarity with near-death experiences and their comparative frequency with regards to her good self, Alexia should probably have allowed extra time for such a predictable happenstance.