Adam of Albion

Adam of Albion by Kim McMahon, Neil McMahon Read Free Book Online

Book: Adam of Albion by Kim McMahon, Neil McMahon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kim McMahon, Neil McMahon
secret to my grave.”
    Adam
was getting kind of tired of being called boy, but he let it go. He had no
choice but to trust her now, so he might as well try to get along with her.
    “Now,
you were about to tell us something more,” she said, turning back to Orpheus.
    His
face turned shy, like he was being pushed into revealing something that was
personal and embarrassing.
    “Well—Eurydice
isn’t just my love. She gives off an endless flow of energy—it’s her essence,
her nature. And that’s the life force that keeps me going.”
    “Like
a battery, or power pack?” Artemis said excitedly.
    Orpheus
frowned. “Those are more terms I don’t know,” he said impatiently. “The point
is, I’ve been running on reserves since I lost her—but they’re running out.
That’s why I went to sleep a couple of centuries ago. I was reaching a critical
shortage, and I decided to make it last as long as I could—hoping against hope
that somehow, someday, she’d find her way back to me.”
    Adam
had been feeling totally out of this conversation, just sitting there tracking
back and forth between the other two, like he was watching a tennis match.
    But
the meaning of this hit him like a kicking heifer.
    “You
mean you’re dying? ” Adam said, horrified.
    “You
could put it that way,” Orpheus agreed. “Technically, I’m not alive in quite
the same way you are, but it’s close enough for all intents and purposes. The
end result will be the same, anyway.”
    He
closed his eyes and, rather melodramatically, toppled over on his ear.
    Artemis
drew herself up very straight and folded her arms coolly.
    “Then
we’ll just have to help you find your Eurydice,” she said. “ Won’t we,
Adam?”

EIGHT
    Orpheus
sighed, this time in exasperation, and bounced upright again.
    “Out
of the mouths of babes,” he said, rather patronizingly. “Thanks, I do
appreciate it. But what I need is the people who woke me up—not volunteers from
the Children’s Crusade.”
    That
stung, but Adam knew he was right. They were just a couple of kids—what could
they do on their own?
    Artemis,
however, had a look in her eyes that underlined the word stubborn. It made Adam
nervous about her all over again. Maybe she would keep quiet about this, but
what if she insisted on pulling something stupid?
    “We’ll
start looking for those people first thing tomorrow,” Adam said—although he
didn’t have a clue how they’d start looking, or who they were looking for.
    But
suddenly, Orpheus didn’t seem to be paying any attention. He tipped himself
back so his small, chiseled nostrils were pointing upward, and they flared as
he took in a deep breath. And in spite of all his troubles, he seemed to be
cheering up.
    “Ahhhh—I
detect the fragrance of wine, very fine wine,” he declared. “I haven’t
sampled its delights since the Marquis de Sade helped me escape from the
Bastille, disguised as an onion in the executioner’s lunchbox. Had some strange
ideas, the Marquis, but also a certain je ne sais quoi. ”
    “How
can you even drink?” Adam asked.
    “I
can’t—I just inhale the aroma. But it’s still intoxicating.” He gave Artemis a
look that was polite, but made it clear he didn’t expect no for an answer. “So,
my dear, might I invite myself to partake of this household’s bottled bounty?
Drown my sorrows, or at least take them for a swim?”
    “Well—Daddy
does keep a cellar, and he is a connoisseur,” she said hesitantly. “I’m not
supposed to go in there.”
    “Is
that a problem?”
    “Of
course not.  I go anywhere I please.”
    “So
your hesitation doesn’t seem to be on either tactical or moral grounds,” Orpheus
pointed out, with his nose twitching longingly. “Is there another reason?”
    “Yes.
I want a quid pro quo, ” she said. “If I take you, you have to promise
that we’ll keep discussing this situation with Eurydice. Deal?”
    Great,
Adam thought. As if it was tough getting Orpheus to talk

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