Part Nine: Perfumed Soap, Essential Oils and Herbs

Using a key, Aaron led the two tired, hungry, and unsettled relic hunters down through a steel basement door and locked it up tight behind " "This is only temporary Syd"ey." He promised, and pausing, gave her an uncharacteristically apologetic look before brushing past her and Nigel towards a steep flight of stairs. She and Nigel exchanged baffled looks before taking up steps behind their unorthodox guide.

"To say he’s behaving out of the ordinary is an understatement." Sydney observed, and proceeded down into this antediluvian dungeon hot on Aaron’s heels. Nigel only hesitated at the top of the stairs for a moment before charging down after them.

Once at the bottom, Aaron again used yet another key to open the last portal blocking their entry. A flood of bright light washed over the three travellers in an instant, and Aaron called inside. "Jas, sweetheart, we’ve got company!"

Sydney’s lashes fluttered whilst her eyes became used to the light, and she noticed right away that something definitely smelled really good. Her stomach started to growl ever so slightly as the fragrance of something exotic filled her head. From another room a petite, dark skinned woman appeared and ran to Aaron, swinging her arms up around his neck as he bent down to greet her. She was absolutely gorgeous, Sydney thought, and very obviously someone he loved a lot.

"Meet Jasmine Deleany, my wife." Aaron graciously introduced her, then turned to his guests." And these two rag-tag ruffians are the relic hunters I was telling you about Jas, the ones who are going to help us bring Noah’s Ark into the present! This is Professor Sydney Fox, and her colleague Nigel Bailey."

"Nice to meet you, Mrs. Deleany." Nigel quietly greeted her, politely smiled, and Sydney moved to shake her hand.

"Oh, bless you both!" She reached out and took both of their hands into hers almost lovingly. "I knew God would bring you all here safely, I prayed for it!" He enigmatic bronze eyes flickered with excitement and held their gaze. "I must say you two aren’t quite what I expected... Aaro... has brought home some of his friends before, and they were hardly as well mannered, or beautiful."

Sydney could feel the colour coming back to her cheeks and nodded, acknowledging the compliment.

"They need to be fed and shown where they can sleep for a few hours Jas, we have a long journey ahead, and I need them both rested and ready for what ever the devil can dish out."

"Absolutely Aaron dear! Please," she turned back to her guests with a gracious, welcoming smile that nearly blinded them, "come this way. I have some food already prepared and a room made up in the back."

Sydney felt so at home. Following Jas into a small bright yellow kitchen, she saw a modest table set for two, with tea, baklava, and something that looked like cabbage rolls, Tukish-style. This was a peculiar joining of toasted rice, pine-nuts, currants, spices, and herbs all tightly wrapped in translucent purple leaves of cabbage, each roll exactly half an inch thick and stacked up on an oval serving, plate decorated with lemon slices. On another plate were several different fancy pastries with names like twisted turban, sultan, lady's navel, nightingale's nest... Jas was excited to explain each one as she encouraged them both to sit and enjoy.

The engaging sounds of a mandolin echoed through their cozy domicile, soothing everyone’s wearied nerves and helped the foreigners to feel more at ease in their surroundings. There were no windows in this place, so to Sydney it was like she had not even been to bed. Her back was still so very sore, and this did not go unnoticed by her thoughtful hostess. Jasmine Deleany had seen this many times before, and knew well what ailed poor Doctor Fox. The woman was a little pale for her rich colouring, her hair needed brushing and her eyes had no sparkle left. Jas could only imagine what sleeping in the back seat of that car had been like. Her muscles had to be tight and knotted up something terrible! A smile tugged at the corners of her tiny mouth as she calculated exactly what she would need to carry out her task... Without uttering a word she left her esteemed visitors to eat in private and gathered up an armful of perfumed soaps, scented essential oils and herbs.

Go to Part Ten.

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