And Some Time Shall March On.
The next few days were full of making arrangements for both my Slayer's gainful employment and her licensing as a motorcar operator. I met her mother and managed to keep the voices and my beast calm enough so that I only appeared mildly eccentric.
Her mother, and her older sister seemed vastly relieved that she had found legitimate employment, as apparently many of her peers were already performing the doxie strut on various squalid corners. Especially as I informed them that one of the iron-clad conditions of employment was that Miss Emma stay in school and graduate. They gave their blessing and I began to contact the many firms and storage establishments around the world where my William and I had left various oddments and possessions throughout our travels.
By the end of the next week my new motorcar had arrived complete with the special glass that preserved my complexion. By the end of the month, Kate, Renee, Miss Emma, and myself were meeting weekly for dinner or the theater.
I had managed, by building considerable internal fortitude, to be able to speak to the Dark One when he was wearing his false face, without appearing to want to flee at the slightest one of his movements. The meeting at the Mayor's Ball was...difficult.
I saw Kate in her own false face, at night on the highways in the air. I did not acknowledge her or she me, but we both knew.
And throughout it all, my Slayer learned how to hunt the things that lurk in the dark, how to tolerate the searing knowledge of a dream and wrestle it into revealing its plain truths, and how to resist my will should that be required.
Three months passed and I prepared to move into my new home. All the furnishings had been delivered and placed with care. All the packages and boxes from far scattered sanctuaries had come to roost and I finally placed the last item. A great oil of myself and my William above the living room mantle. It was signed simply with an "A
I then retired to the roof to stare at the stars. After a few moments my Slayer joined me.
"My room's all finished Dru."
"Excellent Miss Emma. I trust the accommodations are satisfactory?"
"It's wonderful! I don't know how I can ever thank you enough."
"The simple and plain fact that it infuriates my beast is reward enough for me, " I smiled, "So my dear, when should we have the housewarming party? As you are my personal assistant you should plan it of course."
She gaped at me and I tilted my head as if to say, "Are you well?"
"Are you serious?"
"Of course, " I reached into my pocket and handed her a small bundle, "I don't expect you to do everything of course, with all your demands for school, training, and hunting. As well as being able to take some time off to have fun. However, in the future I will need your help in personal and business matters, so I think you should start getting some experience and responsibility now."
She took the bundle, "Inside that is an estate credit card, your set of keys to the entire manse and the car, and one of those pocket calculation machines. My solicitor, who you will be introduced to at the housewarming, set it up with all kinds of important numbers and addresses of useful sorts. Also the cook and butler I hired should be arriving tomorrow. He's an old friend of William's and mine. He will look a little peculiar, but he is assuredly not prey."
She continued her gaping, "Oh it's all right, you'll do quite well, I've seen it you see."