Chapter One

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Lynna stood in the crow's nest of her family's dirigible letting the wind buffet her. She'd come up there to test out the upgrades on her telescope, which she had programmed to respond to voice commands. You didn't even have to hold it; it was attached to a leather headband which held it to the eye.

"Good, good." She murmured to Elly, her pet mechanimal dragon, who was no bigger than a large parrot, and was at this moment sitting on Lynna's shoulder, digger her claws in.

"What's good?" Said Elly, trying in vain to maneuver herself so that she could see through the telescope.

"The upgrades silly." Said Lynna, pushing Elly's face away. "Don't breathe down my neck like that! You burn me."

A sudden shrill screech from below startled them so much that Elly fell off Lynna's shoulder. She flew away in a huff to find a cat to terrorise. Mrs. Whitby had lots of cats.


Lynna sighed, swinging herself over the side of the crow's nest, and shimmied (much to her mother's dismay) down.

"Wot ho, mother." Lynna said, bouncing up to her mother with a grin.

Mrs. Whitby regarded her unrepentant daughter coldly. It must be mentioned that Mrs. Whitby did not approve of her daughter's love of climbing to high heights. In fact, Mrs. Whitby disapproved of almost everything that Lynna liked to do. She especially disliked Elly, for she could not stand mechanimals, especially mechanimals who could talk back and terrorized her precious cats. The only reason she tolerated Elly was because Great Uncle Elias said that Elly was a charming creature, and that Lynna should be allowed to keep her, and what Great Uncle Elias said was law in the Whitby dirigible (mostly because Great Uncle Elias was old, and had a lot of money, which Mr. and Mrs. Whitby wanted.)

"Lynna, ladies do not use slang and do not climb crow's nests. They also do not invent things, or wear those dreadful, oily, dirty clothes you're wearing."

"These are my work clothes, mother! Do you really want to invent stuff in my new dress?"

Mrs. Whitby opened her mouth to say yes, and then realized that Lynna would take her seriously, and then her dress would be ruined.

"Ladies do not talk back, Lynna. Go get changed at once into your best clothes. Great Uncle Elias is coming over for dinner. And if Elly dares to show her face at dinner..." Mrs. Whitby said ominously.

"Yes, yes." Lynna said impatiently. "But why is Great Uncle coming?"

"Don't be nosey!" Her mother said crossly. "You'll find out at dinner. Now go!"

Lynna rolled her eyes, but obeyed. She ran off, leaving her mother calling after her that 'ladies don't run!'

Lynna pushed open the door to her bedroom and stopped short. Her room looked like one of the cleaning automatons had gone insane and decided to destroy, not clean. Her eyes fell on Elly, who sitting in the middle of the floor, scratching and scorching the rug at intervals of about two seconds. She was steaming so much she looked like a kettle.

Lynna could tell from the telltale clumps of cat hair lying around what had happened.

"Elly, were you chasing one of mother's cats again?"

Elly immediately stopped steaming and tried to look innocent.

"What cats?" She said, with an unmistakable sly look in her glass eyes. "I haven't seen any cats. I've been the perfect model of...."

"Whatever. Just be thankful that mother doesn't ever come in here, otherwise you'd be dead, Great Uncle Elias or no."

Elly got up and flew over to Lynna and settled on her shoulder.

"The cat chased me." She said bitterly. "So I scorched it. It'll have bald patches for years to come."

"Poor kitty. I don't like cats, you know, but I think that was a little mean."  Lynna said as she rummaged through her messy wardrobe. She was looking for her special dress, the one that Great Uncle Elias had given her. It was very pretty, but very useful.

For starters, it had a special pocket in the underskirt for Elly, so that when Lynna went places that Elly wasn't supposed to, she could take her with her. It had numerous other pockets, and split skirts so that Lynna had an easier time running and climbing. The skirt was full enough that it hid the split skirts so that Mrs. Whitby didn't have a break down. Mrs. Whitby thought that split skirts were immoral.

Lynna found the dress and quickly changed. "Come on Elly, get in your pocket. You don't want to miss tonight's dinner," she said slyly, adding when Elly tried to hid, "There's chocolate cake for dessert."

Elly immediately walked over and climbed into her pocket. "All the Mrs. Whitbys of the world wouldn't make me miss that." She said fervently.

Lynna rushed out of her room, ran down the hall, and slid into her chair, just as Mrs. Whitby ushered Great Uncle Elias into the dining room. Mrs. Whitby glared at her daughter, but didn't say anything.

"Ah, there you are Lynna! And how is my little inventor niece doing this marvelous night?!" Uncle Elias boomed.

He was a small man, with pure white hair and beard, and twinkling blue eyes. What he lacked in height, however, he made up for in personality, as he was very loud, and very enthusiastic of practically everything, even breathing.

"Your uncle is here for an important reason." Her mother said, as she sat down. Mr. Whitby, who had just entered the room and sat down, nodded.

Lynna stared a bit apprehensively at her parents. They had very pleased expressions on their faces, which usually meant that they'd devised some new way to try and turn her into a proper young lady.

"What, may I ask, is this important reason?" She said nonchalantly, as she cut a massive slice of chocolate cake. "Cook as really out done herself this time!" She exclaimed, taking a bite. It was more of a shovel-full than a bite.

Her mother gave her a death stare, and then turned smiling to Great Uncle Elias.

"Why don't tell Lynna, since you were involved in giving her this wonderful opportunity?" Mrs Whitby said brightly.

Great Uncle Elias turned to Lynna with a massive grin. "Your parents are sending you to Madame Margret's Finishing School."

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