Model: Susan della Pia
Paris Black is the New Thor – A preliminary sketch in colored pencil.
[Previous Week Plot Review]
Invisible Rohardoon quickly descended to the rotunda and retrieved the Jade Cong without any difficulty, then immediately headed for the basement for the Amethyst.
Meanwhile in her basement office, Catherine and her daughter were facing their worst nightmare!
Hurried out of the fire exit stairs and ran toward Catherine’s office, Rohardoon was just in time to see one of the ninja extended his hand to grab the amethyst.
Without thinking, Rohardoon pointed the Jade Cong he retrieved at the amethyst. The amethyst flew over and attached itself to the Jade Cong.
Because the invisible Rohardoon was standing right in front of the mural, so what the other people saw was the amethyst flew into the mural and disappeared completely.
FIVE – “The figures in the painting are moving!” – Continue < Week X >
Cassandra, who also witnessed the vanishing of the blinking eye, sensed the presence of Rohadoon, as she discern the transparent human silhouette in front of the mural!
Rohardoon was running up and down the corridors and stairs, so his body had gradually changed from invisible to transparent. This transparency acted as a huge magnifying glass; so as Rohardoon moved swiftly across the mural, the optical effect thus put the characters of the entire picture in a sequential animation.
Presently Cassandra perceived that Rohardoon was heading back for the Fire Exit, she ran after him.
Catherine called out and ran after her daughter: “Cass … come back!”
A Ninja immediately grabbed her arm. Catherine vigorously struggled and pulled herself away and ran after her daughter.
Another ninja with a mighty Kung Fu Feat leaped up and “flew” over towards Cassandra; with an extended arm the flying Ninja clearly targeted at Casandra’s ponytail.
Without mistake, it was the signature fighting skill of Japanese Ninja House of “Butterfly Armour.” The hand, in their most famous “Cloud Pinching” gesture, reached out so gracefully yet with lethal precision! The result would be grave if not deadly, if the elegant fingers did pinch the ponytail, Cassandra would be pulled up off the ground and swung backwards into the other Ninja’s waiting catch.
Just as these lethal fingers so close of touching Cassandra’s ponytail, suddenly a translucent silhouette of a human foot kicked up in the air and stamped on the Ninja’s left shoulder and knocked the Ninja backwards flying.
In turn this backward flying Ninja clashed with the Ninja who was chasing after Catherine and both hit the ground hard.
Catherine encircled Cassandra with her arms.
But now the third Ninja leaped up and flew over trying to detain the mother and daughter. Again, the third ninja was knocked over in the same fashion, and flew backwards into the other two and all three fell to the ground one more time.
Rohardoon quickly dragged the mother and daughter into the freight elevator. He pressed the 3rd floor button, but the closing door was block by one of the Ninja trying to get in. Rohardoon hit him in the face. The elevator started to climb.
At close range Catherine saw the translucent human figure, she became very pale, clutched her daughter tightly, and faintly asked: “Who … who are you?”
Rohardoon responded her with a big smile. His business here was almost over, and soon he would be able to tell Oldman mission accomplished!
The Oldman instructed him that after he retrieved those two objects, he was to go to the 3rd floor roof top, and would find proper means of transportation to go back home. In his mind, the Oldman probably chartered a helicopter, and very possibly at this moment the Oldman was even waiting for him on the roof top.
The elevator suddenly stopped on the first floor, the door opened, no one outside. Catherine and Cassandra moved themselves further back. Rohardoon pushed the third floor button.
To reach the 3rd floor roof top, the direct way was through the fire exit. Rohardoon’s using of the freight elevator was actually for the protection of the mother and daughter. He intended to escort them first to the security control room on the 3rd floor. But now the elevator was stuck on the first floor, the only way to get to the control room was through the spiral stair case.
Not realize that he was completely invisible now, he signaled the mother and daughter to follow him.
Surely enough, Cassandra responded to his beckon right away, she released herself from her mother’s arms, and let Rohardoon take her hand. Right at that moment, the amethyst that was still attached to Rohardoon’s newt suit, flashed twice, as if winking at Cassandra.
(To be continued next week)
[Previous Week Plot Review]
The two pieces the Old Man wanted Rohardoon to retrieve were a Jade Cong and an Amethyst. He climbed down from the dome ceiling, but just as he landed on the 3rd floor balcony, he immediately noticed something wasn’t right.
Through the dark glass wall, he saw the Security Chief of the museum was forced by two masked Japanese Ninja into the Electronic Control Room. They reactivated the freight elevator, cut off the basement security system, then tied up all three security staff.
Rohardoon realized the Ninjas were here for the same purpose as his! He accelerated his action…
[FOUR – A Ninja Holding a Sword Closing In] (Week IX)
In the basement, Catherine wondered why the freight elevator was used at this hour! If the guard wanted to talk to her, they had keys to passenger elevators on the south end. She stood up and walked to the electronic pole entrance.
Suspiciously she peeked toward the north end from the walkway, but immediately noticed that all the surveillance lights on the poles were out! Which meant the security system has been turned off!
She tensed up and turned back. Totally startled she saw a Japanese Ninja in black robe with black cloth wrapped around the face was descending the steps into her office from the walkway on the opposite side. The Ninja was holding a samurai sword with shinning blade!
She ran to Cass, shielded her daughter and shouted: “Stop! Don’t come near! What do you want?!”
The Ninja stopped, stood by the end of the long working table.
Cassandra whispered behind her: “Maman, they are here for the blinking eye…”
Catherine did not understand: “What blinking eye?”
“That crystal eye.”
Catherine instinctively ran toward her desk, to get the amethyst first. Suddenly a sharp metal star flew over and cut into the wooden desktop next to the amethyst.
“Don’t move!” A shout came from behind her.
Two more Ninjas appeared on this side of the walkway, wielding their samurai sword and slowly stepping into the office area.
Amidst this commotion, nobody noticed except Cassandra, the sound of opening and closing of the Fire Exit door at the far end.
Catherine’s first thought was to reach the crystal before these Ninjas could get to it, but Cassandra pulled and struggled her mother backwards, until they could hide themselves behind another desk.
Seeing the mother and daughter had retreated, all three Ninjas put their sword back into the sheath. The first Ninja bend forward to grab the trophy. But before that could happen, the amethyst instantaneously flew up, shot out of the office, and flung into the mosaic mural, then vanished completely.
[FIVE – “The figures in the painting are moving!”]
Of course, that was Rohardoon’s doing, he came out of the fire exit and raced down the walkway to the office area, just as he arrived at the mural, he saw the Ninja’s hand reached out for the amethyst.
Instantly he picked up the CONG from his chest and pointed it at the amethyst, the amethyst flew over and attached itself to the CONG as it was a magnet.
Rohadoon looked at the three Ninjas, the archaeologist, and her daughter, all of them were staring at mural with eyes wide open, trying to understand what had just happened!
Not obliged to offer them any explanation, he made a funny face to the little girl then turned around and ran toward the fire exit.
In a split second, as Rohardoon ran pass the mural again, all 3 ninjas and Catherine saw what happened in front of their eyes, collided head to head with their senses.
As their eyes delved into the mosaic mural in search of the dissolved amethyst, in a split second, all of them saw the figures in the mural began to move; at first Pious the 7th suddenly stood up, and sat down again, followed suit by Napoleon lowering the queen’s crown on Josephine’s head, then Josephine extended her neck to take the crown; behind her, her two ladies-in-waiting fanned out her crimson coronation mantle, tossed those little golden bees up in the air.
One of the Ninja exclaimed in Japanese: “The figures in the picture … are moving!”
[To be continued next week]
Character illustration for Novel – “Beauties from the Golden Vase”
One of 3 major female characters – Mahako
甜姐兒 – Sweet Sister
Tang Mayie attended the Opening Party, but did not participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony, only sitting at the VIP seat wearing a wide-brimmed hat and dark sun glasses.
[Previous Week Plot Review]
Rohardoon was really comfortably lying on the edge of the ceiling’s grid frame. He was sleeping up there, to avoid the crowd in the rotunda.
The Old Man sent him here to pick up 2 pieces that the Old Man claimed had lost a long time ago!
The Old Man gave him a cool “Newt Suit,” by wearing it, he became invisible and was able to craw and stay on any type of surface.
Now the museum had closed for the night, and it was time for him to move!
[THREE – Lying on the Ceiling] – Continue < WEEK VIII >
Stealing antique artifacts from a world-known museum was not an easy task, but with this cool and invisible suit, he could get anything he wanted without any problem!
He had watched and studied the museum for two weeks, it was under the Oldman’s instruction, to observe and learn all the operation protocols and the routines of the guards. Just as now, he watched one of the guards making the night’s first patrol.
There were 2 night guards and they would take turns to perform this duty. Tonight, it was the chubby one first. He slowly covered the fire exits, the elevators, and the first, the second floor; then returned to the control room on the third floor. Panting visibly, he joined his colleague at their post in front of the monitors.
Control room’s glass wall gave the guards a bird’s eye view towards the rotunda, but the dark glass obstructed the view from outside, only the lights from the monitor screens might be vaguely discernible to visitors.
But visitors were ordinary people! Rohardoon was not! He had the “Newt Suit!” Newt suit allowed him a vision that no optical tricks could successfully erase! He could see clearly through the dark glass, and survey every movement in the control room.
The chubby guard sat down and immediately dug into the leftover sweets from the cocktail party. The other guard worked on the control panel, turning on various buttons.
In the rotunda, thousand threads of the infrared lights now dissected the dark silence and entangled the space with a deadly web waiting to catch a prey.
Rohardoon stretched a little, then turned and crawled off the dome, passed the rose window, and landed on the third floor balcony. Through the dark glass wall he saw museum’s Chief Security Officer, Etienne Fournier entered the control room. Fournier should be off-duty by now, but perhaps because this was the first day of a major exhibition, he stayed late.
But immediately Rohardoon knew something was wrong, Fournier’s facial expression alerted him first, then he saw the two masked figure behind Fournier, they were Japanese Ninjas!
Once inside the control room, one of the Ninja ordered the chubby guard to activate the control of the freight elevator and to switch off the surveillance system in the basement. The other Ninja tied Etienne Fournier and the second guard to the chair.
Very obvious, these ninjas had the same purpose as his, and for the same things too! But they ordered the freight elevators to be activated, and only the basement surveillance be cut off, Rohardoon concluded they came here for the amethyst only, because it was not included in the exhibition and was in the basement right now in Dr. Denver’s possession.
Rohardoon hurried up, he nimbly jumped over the balcony banister, and landed in the rotunda. The infrared web had no effect on him, he was a prey that they could never capture.
Stood in front of the glass case of the CONG, he extended his index finger towards the little lock on the base of the glass case. Immediately a small pick grew out of the Newt Suit from the fingertip and he pushed the pick into the key hole. The case opened and he grabbed the jade CONG.
Strangely he felt in his palm the jade CONG swelled, but returned to normal in a split second, as if its body need a stretch after a long rest.
Without thinking, he placed the CONG onto his chest, it stuck to the suit. He swiveled around and ran for the fire exit at the north end of the building, and headed for the basement to grab the crystal.
[To be continued next week]
[Previous Week Plot Review]
It was under the microscope, Catherine first discovered certain strange “behavior” inside the amethyst. It made her suspect that she might be dealing with a character or a person rather than a mineral.
This behaviour manifested on the outside contour as well, every time she held it in hand, she suspected there were very subtle changes on the irregular shape of the amethyst.
Presently while examining the Amethyst with a magnifying glass, Catherine heard the echoes of the closing procedure of the museum, through the elevator shaft.
She noticed that Cassandra was still in front of the mural, immediately she urged her daughter to come inside the secured area.
A short while later, they heard the freight elevator at the north end of the basement activated. Catherine was puzzled, who would move anything down to the basement at this hour.
Cassandra raised her head upward again, turned to the other direction, the direction of the dome, and said: “Maman, l’homme sur le plafond…il descend.”
THREE – Lying on the Ceiling < Week VII >
Rohardoon was really lying on the ceiling, on the ridge of the grid frame, and even quite comfortably! No need to worry about the gravity, or safety, or falling from 5-floor high ceiling to his smashing demise!
Besides, no one could see him from the ground; not because of the eye-sight limitation, but because of a marvelous “Newt Suit” he was entirely covered with, made him invisible!
The Newt Suit belonged to Oldman Gerald. Oldman let him borrowed it so he could climb the wall, the ceiling, and stick on any surface he wanted to.
Oldman Gerald told him that this suit was for him only, with other people, it would not work. Though he somehow did not trust in everything the Oldman told him! Like this suit, make people invisible? Where did the Oldman get this stuff? The Oldman himself was rather mysterious, sometimes even very bizarre, which made him suspect the Oldman might be an alien! And this suit, definitely all the government in the world would grab it at any cost, if they can!
It was the first time Oldman let him wear this Newt Suit, so he could complete the mission guaranteed. He on the other hand, was quite suspicious about its function. Therefore he arrived at the museum early in the morning, disguised as one of the “Perrier” delivery guys, and went to the third floor storage room immediately; put the suit on, and wondered around invisibly, that was fantastic!
At the cocktail party, he mingled with the crowd. No one seemed to notice his existence.
He managed to steal a glass of champagne, but forgot that he was covered from head to toe by this suit. It was only when he put the champagne glass to his mouth, he realized that this suit anticipated his every move and intention; a sliver opened up immediately around his mouth and the champagne flowed down his throat smoothly, good to the last drop.
Next, he indulged himself in the hors-d’oeuvres. Then he sat behind the beautiful Chinese movie star and sniffed at her neck, but only to jerk back swiftly to avoid her slapping hand. That was a dangerous liaison!
But that made him realize, even though he was invisible, his body was still there, if he bumped into other people, there would be a real collision! Therefore, when the museum opened its door, visitors swarmed in, he was forced to retreat to the ceiling.
He took the spiral stairs to the third floor, then climbed up through the stained-glass window. There he was showered upon by colorful sunlight, he looked down and behind himself, and found no shadows!
But he discovered another thing, after exposed in the sunlight for a while, his body temperature raised, and his entire flesh and bone turned into a transparent human silhouette, almost like a lens.
Even worse, he also discovered that the suit covered his ears, but made his hearing 10 times acute! Visitors’ whispers now became such unbearable noises, this was another reason he climbed up to the dome, and finally he figured out it is better to take a nap on the ceiling.
When he woke up, the museum was just about to close. He looked down, and to his surprise, he saw with his sleepy eyes a little girl with two pony tails looking upward as if searching for something.
He waited for the museum to be finally empty; lights went out, in the semi darkness, he sensed a graduate sediment of moving shadows, humming noises, and even the dusty scent of centuries of history weighing down on the exhibition hall below. Silence now shrouded everything, nothing could escape nor enter.
The stained-glass rose windows lost the colorful illumination, deprived of their stunning consume, they shied away into a two-dimensional dream.
Dramatic make up had been wiped off the surface, the shadow of the diamond grids now cut even deeper into the unknown.
It is the time for action! The mission the Oldman Gerald gave him, was to retrieve a jade piece and a crystal rock from the museum.
He had asked him why just these two pieces? The Oldman said these two belonged to him, they have been lost long long ago!
[To be continued next week]
[Previous Week Plot Review]
Last week we saw Dr. Catherine Denver and daughter Cassandra Law both searched the dome ceiling and Catherine did not find anything unusual on the surface of the coffer, so they returned to the 1st level basement where Catherine’s office was located.
The basement had a sunken centre. Framed by a one-centimetre high, one-centimeter wide walkway alongside the four walls and equipped with 18 electronic surveillance poles installed all around the inside of the perimeter, this sunken area served as a secured storage space.
Catherine’s small office was at the south end in the sunken area. She descended into her office to take another look at a strange amethyst.
But Cassandra remained on the walkway and went directly to a mosaic mural; it was a replica of Jacques-Louis David’s “The Coronation of Napoleon.” She was interested in the coronation mantle Josephine and Napoleon was wearing, it was covered with golden bees.
4TWO – A Mosaic Mural Replica of “Napoleon’s Coronation”3 – Continued <Week VI>
This amethyst could be the most difficult ancient object Catherine had ever encountered in her life so far! From the beginning, she would not want to include this piece in the exhibition, but her suggestion was vetoed by Alphonse de Baux. Now, Alphonse de Baux mysteriously disappeared. She consulted with Dr. Tertois, and requested again, he agreed, this piece was withdrawn.
As museum’s resident archaeologist, she had to face public scrutiny, a piece like this with so many uncertainties to its origin and its material, certainly could cause the downfall of her and the museum’s reputation and credibility!
To begin with, it ‘looked’ like an amethyst, but the minute she touched and held it in her palm, she immediately sensed something different and very strange!
It had the red-purplish translucent color, but under the microscope, Catherine began to believe there could be something alive inside! Because every time she examined it, she thought that something inside had changed or shifted, as if it was an amber hosting a live insect! Unfortunately, she never could catch the actual moment its insect was active!
She unlocked a safe box from the drawer, and took out the amethyst. She stared at it, immediately opened her eyes wide, shaking her head in disbelief, she believed its irregular contour somehow was even different than the last time she examined it!
Several times the idea of seeking mineralogist’s help came up, but now she doubted that would solve anything!
She raised her head and saw that Cassandra was still standing in front of the mural, she called out: “Cass, don’t stay outside on the walkway, come to the office.”
She pushed a button to temporarily release the alarm and let Cassandra descend into the office area. She gave her some of the archaeological magazines to read at one of the assistant’s desk and then returned to the amethyst.
Minutes later, they heard the faint echoes of the museum’s closing announcement. They could not hear the exact wording, but the routine procedure had trained their mind to recognize it. After the announcement, there were even fainter echoes of the gate closing, and after that, footsteps of the patrolling guard passing in front of the elevators by the rotunda, and walked into other exhibition rooms. Then came from the north side of the basement, the echoes of opening and closing doors, the guard’s checking of the Fire Exit. After that, the entire basement submerged in silence.
Cassandra raised her head from the magazine, then walked to her mother and stood beside the desk. Catherine was so involved in examining the amethyst with a magnifying glass did not notice her daughter at all.
Staring at the amethyst, Cassandra said: “Maman…”
Catherine jerked up: “You startled me!”
“Maman, you can ask daddy to help you.”
Catherine turned toward her Cass, caressed her head and adjusted the little green ribbon knot tied at the end of her pony tails. Cassandra’s facial features revealed that she was half Chinese. Cassandra’s father, Dr. Hennessey Law was the number one geologist and mineralogist in China.
“Cass, I, I don’t know where he is now.”
Actually she knew, but she could not tell her daughter that their marriage was falling apart, officially they are separated, and she was going to file for a divorce soon.
“Last time, he said he is going to China…, Gee!” Cassandra suddenly stooped toward the desk.
“What’s wrong, Cass?”
Cassandra was getting a closer look at the amethyst, because as she was talking to her mother, her eyes were still fixed on the amethyst; but at the moment of speaking, the amethyst bounced itself once, as if it burped! And then threads of light flickered throughout its interior.
Realizing her daughter was looking at the amethyst, Catherine turned her head quickly, but found the amethyst the same as seconds ago! She picked the magnifying glass and looked at it closely.
Cassandra whispered: “Maman, l’homme sur le plafond…”
Right at that moment, one of the freight elevators began to move, Catherine turned her head toward the north end corner, wondering who would moving things down here at this hour!
Cassandra also turned her head and looked upward, toward the opposite direction, toward the rotunda and the domed ceiling, where a man, she had claimed, was lying on it.
[To be continued next week]