A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters 14 - Page 6

A werewolf WANDERS T HURSDAY , J ULY THE T WENTY -N INTH Today we arrived at the Monster House! Th is is the part of the tour I was most looking forward to! We stay at the house of the most famous monster hunter who ever lived, Lu-Yan! I say house, but it is more of a fortress! Th e pagoda-style building is overpoweringly beautiful. Part of it, I am told, is a bed- and-breakfast for guests, part is the house of the famous man himself, and the rest is a prison where nearly every monster imaginable has been captured and interred! Th e rooms on the inside of the building are built around a large pole from which the roof and walls hang. Percy tells me that this prevents structural damage during an earthquake, and keeps the monsters completely interred during natural disasters. Lu Yan was not available to meet us in person for some reason, though he was scheduled to, and the rumor is that his wife has taken ill. Our tour was joined by a man, who, I daresay, has caught my fancy. His name is Winchester. With a ridiculous American accent and a beautiful smile, he is surely a parvenu, but that in itself is quite exciting! Heavens, he is handsome. I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting too many Americans, and if he is any sample of their quality, the men of England could hardly compare. Sturdy and rugged. I hardly know what he said to me, I WITHIN was trying so hard to look interested. Something about striking gold in the Wild West! He is glad to stay with us at the house—he is a guest of Lu Yan for entirely separate reasons — because it means he will get to know so many accomplished monster hunters! He says he has a keen interest in monster hunting. Sir Hammerhorn was asked to introduce us to the house since he has been here every year for the better part of a decade guiding these tours, and Winchester stepped in as well, claiming he knew his way around after staying there a few weeks. Winchester has informed me that the famous monster hunter's wife is deathly ill. Th e conversation turned to the woman's famed beauty. Hammerhorn claims that every time he has met Lu Yan's beautiful wife, he has noticed the same pretty little ribbon around her neck. He praised her modest sensibility as she did not ever change it out to follow fashions and he suspects it is a family heirloom. Of course, everybody's fi rst interest was scaling the Monster Prison steps. It ascends upward in a circle with secure little rooms with windows looking in every few steps. Every monster imaginable holds a space within! I can hardly write fast enough to describe all the creatures I have seen! And yet there is a sort of pang of guilt within me, for each creature was truly trapped in the truest sense of the word.