Nobody that Zahn runs across on his way back from the archives seems interested in the books he's carrying. This may have something to do with it being close to dinner time, however. In any case, Zahnrad makes it back to his cabin without interference.
Inside Zahnrad's Cabin.
The inside is no more normal than the outside. The inside is much like that of an airship cabin, complete with hammock bed. One wall is lined with a bookcase that's crammed full of documents as well as books on mechanics and machines it's also apparently all in alphabetical order. A chest to the side is piled high with various gears, sprockets, springs, bars, and unnamed thingies. A drafting table sits in the corner, with a design of a complex new waterwheel with some sort of strange, multi-geared connection to the power axle. However, along the edges of the plans are doodles of various airship designs, propellers, and wing-types. There is also a small stack of papers sitting on a side table with sketches of Eeee wings and various notes. On the edge is written 'Wing Structure. Subject: Reisender, Alptraum. Male Eeee."
Zahnrad peeks around his doorframe, checking to see if Parsley is somehow waiting in the corner to pounce him on entering. He doesn't want to risk getting the journals damaged, after all.
There isn't any sign of an ambush, although it does look like the cabin has been cleaned top to bottom (with the notable exception of Zahn's desk) in his absence. The pile of clothes in the corner is gone, and the bed is made up so tightly that acorns could bounce on it. It also smells like the linens have been changed for fresh ones. There's a piece of paper on one of the pillows.
"Ack, I've been … cleaned," Zahnrad laments as he enters his now foreign abode. Oh well, since the bed is clean, it's now a great place for the journals! So, on the bed they go as the Kadie frees up his hands. The next action is, of course, to grab the note and read it.
"Got Bored. Doing Laundry," the note reads, and is signed with a little drawing of a sprig of parsley.
Zahn gives the note a sniff, just because. "Well, I have a bit of free time while … " he says, then realizes she'll be in his stinky clothes, which likely means she'll be … wanting.
Before that realization can really sink in, the locks on the door start to click and whirr as someone works to open the door from outside.
Zahnrad stuffs the note into one of his many pockets! "Ack, hey I … oh, I'm not actually busy," the Kadie admits. "Who is it?"
There's no immediate answer, until the door pops open and Amelia staggers inside. She looks disheveled, and smells of earth and… blood. She flops onto the bed, which shakes a bit of dirt from her fur in the process.
"Eek! Mind the journals!" Zahnrad says as he moves them away from her in a flurry. "And what happened to you? You look like you were in a fight with a greased Rughrat… "
"Urrr," the Kadie girl moans. "Really long day. Where's Parsley? Did you get into trouble while I was gone? Help me get my sword belt off."
"I think I need to help you to the bath," Zahnrad comments as he undoes Amelia's sword belt, pulls it off, and sets it aside. "She's off doing laundry; she was bored while I was doing some research on Abner. As for trouble … well, that depends on how you define trouble."
"Did you run into a demon?" Amy asks, sounding worn.
"A ghost demon, actually," Zahnrad admits, "Red-eyed Skeek thing. Had some association to Abner."
"Okay, I guess that's trouble," Amy says, putting a hand to her forehead. "I don't want to deal with it right now. Enough demons today. Bath? Do I smell bad?"
Zahnrad leans in and sniffs Amelia. "You smell earthy. It's not bad, just noticeable," he comments as he lifts Amelia's hand away from her forehead, only to place his there and rub softly. "Want to talk about what happened to you?"
"Mmmm, I don't know," Amy admits, her voice a bit weak. "There are things I'm still finding out myself. I guess that a bath sounds nice though. I need to get these clothes washed anyway… "
"You're not the only one finding out things about yourself," Zahnrad notes as he gets off the bed. Without asking, he picks up Amelia in his arms and heads for the door. "If it helps, there isn't anything you could tell me about you that would make me like you any less."
"That's good," Amy says. "Especially after you've spent a day with Miss Perfect Girlfriend."
"No I didn't. You weren't around," Zahn comments as he uses his foot to close the door to his cabin. He then heads across the rope bridge to the main compound.
"Flatterer," Amelia comments, before laying her head against Zahn's shoulder, perfectly content to let him carry her.
Parsley is hanging clothes in the drying closets outside the bathing springs when Zahn arrives with his burden. "Oh, Amy!" Parsley says, and runs over. "Are you hurt? Why are you being carr… oh, otters, you smell like you've been digging in the dirt!"
"She's just tired. Long day," Zahnrad claims, "So I carried her here to bathe her. Is the bath clear of anyone else?"
"Yeah, everyone is getting ready for dinner I think," Parsley notes. "Give me your clothes too, so I can wash them. That includes you, Zahn."
"I don't usually get this dirty," Amy grumbles. "Fell down a hole."
"You just want me naked," Zahnrad teases as he sets Amelia onto her feet, then goes about undressing her first. He's at least gentle about it and slow so she can continue to talk to Parsley.
"Did he stay out of trouble?" Amy asks the Lapi. Parsley grits her teeth for a moment, and says, "Mostly. I think I distracted him from doing anything stupid though."
"That statement doesn't follow logically. I am one of the better educated people in the town. Therefore, everything I do bears the mark of that; consequently nothing I do is stupid," Zahnrad claims as he finishes undressing Amelia and then starts undressing himself.
"You're right, Zahn," Amy says. Then asks Parsley, "So, he didn't do anything too dangerous then?"
"Well, I was with him, and I didn't get hurt," Parsley says.
Zahnrad wisely doesn't mention that she was possessed, though. "We made use of Abner's old 'passion pit'," the Kadie comments as he kicks his pants aside.
"His old what? Where?" Amy asks. With narrowed eyes, she adds, "Made use how?"
"His lab under the lake," Zahnrad clarifies. "The bed still works."
"Under the lake?" Amy asks, looking confused now. "How many times did you two fool around today?"
"I let him rest in between!" Parsley promises, and gathers up the dirty clothes.
"There's an access hatch in the dam," Zahnrad clarifies, "and tunnel. As for how many … four, I think. Hard to keep track."
"That's not fair," Amy complains. "I was off nearly getting killed. I expect you to make love to me four times tonight, Zahn."
"I don't think you would survive one time in the state you're in," Zahnrad points out as he picks Amelia up and carries her into the bath. He heads to the furthest pool since it's the least likely one anyone would just walk into. "But I can show you something Parsley taught me that would allow you to just relax while I did all the … work."
"Relaxing is good," Amy admits, after the Lapi has run off to the laundry area. "I really want to feel normal again. It's been a really weird day," she notes. "Also… uh… can you tell me if you find any red fur on me?"
"Well, you do have some bloody fur," Zahnrad comments as he steps into the hot spring and lowers Amelia down into it.
"That's probably Liliana's blood," Amy notes. "We went and found her. Olivia and Djivan and I. It was messy, but she's okay. And there was a wizard involved, and some people trying to kill me, and… demons."
"Demons?" Zahnrad asks as he sets Amelia on one of the underwater sitting stones and goes to get the soap. He returns quickly and starts to lather up Amelia's head and shoulders.
"Yeah," Amy says quietly. "This wizard from Chronotopia was collecting them by ripping them out of people who were born with sym… symbo-something spirits. Lili was one of them. He was gonna use them to dispel all the spirits in Sylvania or something."
Zahnrad pauses in his sudsing. "Okay, that's a bit odd," the Kadie admits before his fingers resume moving and massaging. "That bat's a little weird, but she's not dangerous or anything. Don't see why it matters if she had some extra spirit whatsit. Or why it would matter at all if the people weren't, well, rampaging monsters."
"Well, people outside of Sylvania don't really see it that way, I guess," Amy says with a sigh, relaxing under the massage. "I'm one too. I have my ancestor's demon in me, Zahn. It's why I was born with red fur, and why I couldn't finish becoming a witch. It isn't a nice demon. I'm going to be training under Natasha to manage and make use of it better."
Again, Zahn pauses. "Well, that's no worse than me, I guess," the Kadie admits and shrugs. "I learned today I'm related to the infamous Abner himself. Not something to be proud of, or mention to anyone."
"Well, you're part of his clan, and it's been a few generations," Amy points out. "I imagine a lot of people are related to him, through his siblings."
"Ah, no, not related like that. Direct descendant," Zahnrad clarifies. "Please don't tell anyone."
"But… Abner didn't have any kids… unless you're saying he did and they were never documented?" Amy asks, sounding shocked. Genealogy is an important pursuit among the Kadie clans, after all.
"He did. One," Zahnrad admits as he rinses off Amelia's shoulders. "Do you really want to know?"
"How bad is it?" Amy asks first. "Is it something that would cause a lot of upset in the clan?"
"Probably would," Zahnrad admits. He gets Amelia to lean back so he can wash her feet and legs now. "I will only tell you if you promise to not tell anyone else."
"Well, you know my secret too," Amy says. "I think we have good reasons to keep them from others. So go ahead."
"Well, Abner had an obsession with a Kettenrad of his time," Zahnrad says as he looks down at Amelia's feet while he washes them. "So much so that he drugged her one night and raped her. Even she didn't know it occurred until she was determined to be pregnant and she figured out what must have happened. She never told anyone who she suspected the father was and the child born was never told, either. The child in question was Abel Kettenrad. I don't know if you ever heard that name before, but he was well liked by the town back then. Died young in a tunnel 'accident'; left behind a small child and a wife.
"If she never told… how did you find out?" Amy asks, looking thoughtful. "Abel… isn't he your grandfather or something?"
"Her journal. I found references to her in Abner's notes and looked her up in the archives," Zahn says, "Relative, so I have the right. He would have been my great-grandfather. His son, Gizmo, was my grandfather."
"Gizmo?" Amy has to ask, with an odd look. "Too much education breeds unusual names, I think. Still… I don't see why it's so bad that you're a descendant. I mean… so is Gunther and your father."
"Because of his legacy," Zahnrad notes. There's an uncomfortable silence, then he adds, "Also … I think the woman he raped was the one that helped get him killed."
This perks up Amelia's ears. "How so? Does she talk about the trolls or anyone else that might have been involved?" she asks.
"Not directly, but she talks about the chaos of the time … and how glad she was when it was all over. The clan knew how much she hated him. Even if she didn't, well, the Wingnuts' blamed the Kettenrad sub-family for it anyway since they argued against what he tried to do. Abel took the brunt of that for most of his life," Zahn explains. "Ambrose, Abner's brother, I believe, hated him."
"Hmmm," Amy goes. "That meshes with the general rumors of the time - that it was a Kettenrad that let a Blacktail into deal with Abner. And why the Kettenrads are generally the more respectable family of the Wingnuts in the larger community. But there's no actual evidence or testimony about what happened. Was there anything in this hidden workshop you found? And how'd you even find it?"
"Well, it gets worse. The trolls killed Abel and his 'father' when they were checking a foundation tunnel. It collapsed and the clan never recovered the bodies. But, it was a known area where Abel recorded hearing odd scratching sounds in his journal," Zahnrad continues and still doesn't look up. "You see, Abner had another secret … he was working with the troll creators. When they couldn't claim Abner's head, they came after his son's. That ghost Skeek I met? Kept asking me for where Abner's head was. When I wouldn't tell her, she asked for mine."
"Okay, that just made my tail frizz out underwater," Amy says. "And how could Abner be involved with creating trolls? I thought they'd been around forever. Where'd you see this ghost?"
"His old lab," Zahn explains, "There's a hatch down there, glued shut, that I expect goes deeper. "I'm going to get some glue solvent and open it later, then find out just what Abner was involved in … and break it."
"I'd like to talk to the ghost," Amy says.
"Why?" Zahn asks and finally looks up.
"Maybe I can get her to explain things," the Kadie girls says, grinning now. "I think I can touch spirits if I try."
"Well … we might need Parsley along then … because the Skeek possessed her to speak to me," Zahnrad whispers.
"Oh? I'm not sure we should be letting her get possessed," Amy notes, frowning now. "Buffy would be upset. Wait… what's the bed like down there?"
"Like a weird, squishy, sponge," Zahnrad tries to explain, "Or like sleeping on a giant cake … without any icing! His lab is basically like one of those Skeek apartments we found."
"So, he didn't build it then?" Amy asks.
"No," Zahnrad says. "The Skeeks helped him. I have, ah … some of those weird picture things of him with the Skeeks. And sometimes alone with several females. It was … creepy."
Amy blinks at this. "You mean he had Orifice's demon box too?" she asks.
"Yes. Looks like he worked with the crazy old doctor," Zahn nods.
"Odd. I mean, it looked like Orifice was trying to learn about trolls, but… Abner never told him anything, I guess. Or didn't know," Amy suggests. "I'd like to see the pictures."
"Those are back in my cabin, actually. I figured they're good for new ideas on things to do, if nothing else," Zahnrad jokes and grins. "I never knew Skeeks were that flexible … or could do so much with those tails."
Amy raises her eyebrows further. "Really Zahn, I think Parsley has corrupted you. You never used to think about stuff like this before, did you? Am I going to have to watch you around Olivia now?"
"No. You see, it gave me a great idea for a device to clear clogged pipes: a reticulating mesh of tri-lobal gears with a cable down the middle that can make it twist and spin," Zahnrad babbles, "I can call it a pipe-skeek."
This gets an even odder look from Amy, who turns half around in Zahn's lap to look at him. "Okay. Just promise me one thing, Zahn, please?" she asks.
"What's that?" Zahn asks.
"If you ever get an inspiration for some gadget while we are being intimate, you will not shout it out in the heat of the moment."