Poor, poor young Darien. He had no idea how much danger he was in and how vulnerable he truly was. This was a rare opportunity to meet him on safer ground without draing attention to myself. The locals were busy skeet shooting for flying salmon, which meant the constabulary was watching the skies for falling groceries and listening for fishing accidents. A ticking doll could wander under their notice.
I thrust the picture in his face again. "Yes, Darien" I said. "this is your brother. You saw the four gestation chambers in Jeremiah's lair. Well, you weren't the only one to survive."
"But..." he stammered. "I don't remember..."
"Jeremiah wiped his memory from your mind, Darien. Marcus was Jeremiah's other hand-raised clone, another attempt to harness Bloodwing's power with a malleable host."
"What happened to him?"
I took a deep breath. "Before your father left for Sumatra to collect the Bloodfruit and their guardians..."
He gave me a cross look and pulled the lever on his jetpack. The poor fool didn't realize that while he was caught in my parasol my spare hand crawled on his back and pulled a few levers. Kerosene began to pour from the jetpack, soaking across his pants. I couldn't help but giggle. "I thought you were past that stage!"
Oh, he had some rude words for me. I need to find a Yiddish phrasebook for later. Another swat from my parasol and he was lying down again. "Now what I was trying to say is Marcus had it all over you. His Spark emerged before your trauma with Lucian."
"Whatever. He was also learning magic from your mother musch faster than you did. You didn't even realize she was teaching you magic until you got the whole picture at Miskatonic. And on top of that, his psychic powers were off the charts."
"So why did Bloodwing choose me over him?"
I tapped his forehead lightly with my finger. "You have that one thing that Marcus lacks. The same thing Jeremiah couldn't get with all the money or power or secrets in the world."
He started to tremble, possibly from the wet kerosene chilling and biting his skin. "A conscience?"
"That's right! In fact when Grand...when Number Six performed the summoning ceremony...he cast in on Marcus, but Bloodwing went to you instead. He didn't know because you weren't even in the room!"
"How do you know all this!?"
"Master sees everything, past, present and future. He even sees what's been undone." I leaned closer. "He showed me. Oh, Number Six was so mad...he thought the spell failed! He tried to kill Marcus right then and there, but that was one Heck of a battle!"
Darien rubbed under his nose. He was trying to stroke his mustache like he did when he was Sparking, but he stopped when he felt nothing there. "Was that the wine cellar fire he had when I was ten?"
I smiled wide. "Shmott One, hyu!" I pinched his cheek, I couldn't help it. "That's when he lost his stash and decided to go back to the source to find more."
"So what happened to him?"
"It was a stalemate...Number Six packed up for Sumatra to recover his secret ingredient, and left his butler to do the dirty work...which he did..."
"But he's been revived?"
I nodded. "This can only mean there's no Jeremiahs left to clone. This his way of punishing the world that was supposed to grovel at his feet. Now do you know why you can't become an adult again yet, especially without your 'zombie juice?'"
"He'll think I'm Jeremiah and splatter me first and scan me later?"
"Exactly. Now, I go have to warn that nosy telepath who's been prodding at my psyche before his brain gets turned to oatmeal." I stood up and straightened out my skirts.
"Who else knows about this?" He pulled off his rocketpack and started fiddling with it while I turned to go. Rude child...what kind of goodbye is that?
"The City of Baltimore! He's already trashed half the city before checking the library and finding out there was a Bloodwing Foundation in Steelhead!"
"HE'S COMING HERE?!?"
I licked my lips. I felt myself getting thirsty. Luckily the smell of kerosene was no longer appetizing to me.
"Gotta run! Watch the Sparks!"
I tesseracted as he jumped back and ran like a crybaby towards the Consulate.