The grand bedroom has been converted into a library with towering bookshelves carved with all sorts of ornate and rather creepy figures. For those wishing to peruse the books and read them at their leisure, overstuffed chairs are scattered throughout the room. Candelabras stand everywhere, and various throw rugs and a blazing hearth keep the room warm.
Tulani reaches Draco Castle long before nightfall. Unfortunately, Lilith is currently too busy to speak with her on whatever it is she summoned her for. So, instead, Tulani is shown to one of the castle's several libraries to wait. Inside she also finds Alptraum resting. He's reclining in one of the overstuffed chairs, wings curled lightly around himself and some large tome open in his lap. Though he turns pages slowly, the blank look on his face indicates he's probably not actually reading it.
Grinning, the Sphynx walks over and flicks the edge of the Eee's ear as she passes by, commenting, "My but you look awash in a sea of thought. What's with the blank look, Alptraum?" While listening for his reply, Tulani scans a shelf near her for any books that might pop out and catch her interest.
"Bwagh!" comes Alptraum's answer and he nearly tips his chair over. His toes splay and scrabble as he stabilizes himself. The book in his lap is closed with a resounding thud. The bat sets it aside and leans over to look at Tulani. "Well, someone is in an obnoxious mood this afternoon!" he huffs … though the twitching of the corners of his lips betrays he's amused, not annoyed. "I have two concerns, if you must know. One is that weird, nosy bird person who was asking about us earlier. The other is the Countess; I want to plan a special day and night for her, but can't settle on one specific idea yet."
"Ah, yes… Mort. Some of his questions made my scales itch, but he didn't seem so bad. Just so you know, I didn't tell him anything specific about the Shadow. I just said that it was gone and no longer existed as it had before. He even had me write and sign a paper on it can you believe it?" Tulani notes in reply. "Oh, you want to go on a date with the Countess? What kind of ideas do you have so far?"
"What was he asking about before I arrived?" Alptraum inquires, "And thank you for not telling him I am the Shadow now. I imagine that would have gone rather badly. And he made you sign a paper? And he called us paranoid." The Eee shakes his head, which causes his ears to make a flapping sound. "The problem is that I have a lot of ideas about what I would like to do with Rose. She works so much … well, I want her to at least have one day where she's not the Countess. And I want it to be memorable. Like, for the evening I was thinking I would sneak access to one of the towers and decorate the parapet in hundreds of candles with a table at the center. Then lead her up there and tell her I just wanted to let a star shine amongst the others in heavens for the night. Or something like that. I need to improve what I'm going to say so I don't sound … well… bad."
"We danced around what he was getting at for a while. But in the end he wanted to know about you and me and the Light and the Shadow. Apparently the Korv had been talking to people in Gormless and elsewhere and had been picking up some rumors. Many of them incorrect; either that or he was just testing me. He seemed a bit worried about what kind of person you were," Tulani explains before closing her eyes and picking a random book off the shelf in front of her. "And I think that your idea is just beautifully romantic. I don't know exactly what the Countess' likes and dislikes are, but maybe you should offer her a massage. Massages are relaxing."
"Heh. I'm an evil, horrible monster bent on world domination, of course. Grr. Snarl," goes Alptraum. He even gnashes his teeth in an overly dramatic way. "Or … I'm moderately ridiculous," he admits and shrugs. At the idea of a massage, he taps his chin. "Well, that's an idea, certainly. But … I'll need some practice with that. Know anyone who would volunteer?" he asks and waggles his brow.
"Weelll… I could certainly volunteer if you need practice… It certainly couldn't be any worse than your friend Hexen and his wandering hands," the Sphynx states with a humorous roll of her eyes. "You could ask Lilith or Phlagaea too. I'm sure they'd be willing. Or heck, I'm sure Mave could teach you some techniques… but those would probably head into more 'intimate' territory," Tulani suggests.
"And you don't think my hands will wander?" Alptraum has to ask, his usual playful grin dancing upon his lips. "Anyway, what do you think an all-powerful woman would want to do on a 'day off'? Do you think she would just want to do something simple?"
Tulani has to pause to think for a minute, but after a moment she replies with some confidence, "Yes, I think she'd probably want to do something where she can just loosen up and be herself. She lives in a world of politics and that area can be complicated enough to make your head spin from what I've heard. And she constantly has to wear a mask of strength over herself. I'd say just give her every opportunity for relaxation and to be herself."
"Well … she might not get to relax too much … if it's the same day she meets my adoptive parents," Alptraum has to admit. "I really don't know how they will react to her."
"Your parents really do seem like nice people, so I don't think it would go that badly," Tulani says and gives Alptraum a light smack on the shoulder. "Have some faith in your parents and the Countess… Or you could just do the two things on different days!"
"My parents are picky when it comes to who I involve myself with," Alptraum points out as he rubs his shoulder. "They liked you because you weren't … ah, liberal with affection," he adds with a smirk. "Anyway, I don't know what day each will fall on, I just know how my luck goes. Wouldn't you be nervous introducing someone you loved to your parents?"
"Yep… I would certainly be a little anxious. I'm not saying I don't kind of understand. It's just that the Countess seems like a level-headed, upstanding person. That's the kind of thing your parents would like, isn't it?" Tulani comments warily, scratching her head.
"She's also a noble and powerful. Two things they tend to not like. Not that they'll be told any of that, of course," Alptraum admits as he now looks into the fireplace. "But somehow … well, you know mothers. They always know anyway."
"Hmm… Well, all I can say then would be to set things up and hope for the best, and have a backup plan for the worst," the Sphynx says, looking rather sheepish. "Sorry I don't really have much better advice… "
"Oh, I always have a backup plan. It usually involves running and screaming," Alptraum says with a grin. "Anyway, back to this Mortimer person. Should we try to scare him away? Avoid him? I certainly can think of ways to try and scare him away."
"Uhh… I really don't think that would be a good idea, Alptraum. I think it would be best to just talk to Mortimer calmly and rationally. We just don't have to tell him everything if you don't think he could handle it. Spend some time taking his measure before you decide to do anything, you know?" Tulani suggests, continuing, "I'm going to talk to him sometime about his violin that's what's in that little coffin he had and maybe I can learn a bit more about him."
"Given he seems to be very set in his opinions about the Shadow, no, I don't think he could handle it," Alptraum comments with a small shrug. "But, as you like. I won't try and shoo him off yet."
"Well he's certian to get even more suspicious if you try to scare him off, and the Reapers work together in a network from what I've heard, and I don't think you want a whole group of them knocking on your doorstep," the Sphynx notes blandly.
"Bah, I wouldn't make it so obvious it was me," Alptraum points out. "I kind of wish I had kept that heart crystal to prove the Shadow was gone. Ah well; live and learn, I suppose. I can't exactly introduce him to Melusine to explain things, either."
Tulani flops herself in a chair with a sigh, saying, "I don' know how we could prove it is gone either. Other than the fact that it no longer exists in its coffin… "
"Well, the mind it had was gone," Alptraum points out and holds up his chitinous covered right hand. His brow furrows and black ooze starts to flow from the segments in the armor. "Its abilities and knowledge … what was left of them … still exists as part of me." As the Eeee relaxes, the ooze seems to flow backwards and back into the segments, vanishing. "But will that make a difference? Or will they seek to try and destroy me?"
"If they find out and it's not enough, I'll eat every one that comes to you," Tulani states with a very draconic seeming grin, before slipping back to her usual self and continuing, "Though Mort seemed to think that your association with the Light Bearer was a mark in your favor… Wait, that might be something that might prove it. When the Light and Shadow come together there's always a disaster. But you associate with me and have been in the presence of the Light with no I'll effect."
"Well, not no effect. Good effects," Alptraum says, remembering something. "I saved that girl's life by actively channeling the Light's power. Granted that was because I'm the Barsunala, but still… And yes, you're right, it hasn't caused any disasters to be in its presence such as I am. So, huh, that might prove it."
Tulani seems quite happy at the thought. "It might work. Well, we'll see how it goes when that Korv decides to come by and chat."
Alptraum nods at that. "That we shall," he agrees as he stands up and stretches a bit. "Well, I think I'm going to take a flight and enjoy some of the peace the sky offers. Good luck with your Lilith lesson, whenever she comes for you."
Tulani smiles and gives Alptraum a small wave saying, "Well, you have a nice flight, and we'll see what comes of things."
As Alptraum slips by Tulani's chair, he can't help but lean down and nip her cheek playfully. The Eeee then takes off in a sprint and is out the door before he can be hit again. Down the hall he can be heard declaring, "Mwahaha!"
The Sphynx just shakes her head in amazement when Alptraum sprints off, muttering, "He is such a silly Eee!"