The dark-haired Gnome led them down a long shiny metal hallway. Alchemy watched the amazing number of people moving along the underground path. He recognized most of the races there, but there were a few he didn’t. A short man with dark skin and a large bulbous nose, had the basic build of a dwarf, but was like no dwarf he’d ever seen before. Some kind of tall insectoid with bright yellow strips along it barrel-shaped tail scurried along with a flat piece of metal like the Gnome woman carried.
The hall opened up into a large metal cavern, it looked more like an expensive inn than a cavern deep inside a hill. Another Gnome, that could have been the sister of the first, scurried up to the dark harried one.
“Mistress, the suite is prepared,” the newcomer announced.
“Very good,” the other Gnome said. “Mister Pond, you rooms are ready.”
“This is a very extensive complex you have down here,” Alchemy observed as they started off down another corridor. “I wasn’t aware that Gnomes were this industrious.”
“Doctor Gnome is of a very advanced mindset,” she replied stopping at the first door they came to in the new hallway. “But you will discover the genius of the doctor when you dine with him this evening.”
She opened the door to a suite that was larger than the small cottage Alchemy lived in back in Salmania. Thick black carpet covered the floors, a small fire blazed in the center of the far wall. Dolce` gasped as they walked in.
“Please make yourselves comfortable,” the Gnome woman said, not moving from the door once the Elves walked in. “I’ll return in a few hours to escort you to dinner. The maids have drawn baths for you both so that you may wash off the jungle filth.” She turned and closed the door, leaving the two Elves by themselves.
As the door closed, Dolce` threw herself into Alchemy’s arms. “Gnomes as such hideous creatures.”
Alchemy ran his hands down the long silky violet hair. He sighed at the feeling of her in his arms. Her firm body played well under his hands, even through the thick fluffy robes they wore.
“I’ll get you out of this, Dolce`, I promise,” he soothed into her hair. With each breath he took the soft musky floral scent of it filled him. It was a very intoxicating aroma. He wanted to take her to Lady Kamala and see if the mistress of the Fragrance Guild could duplicate it.
“But how?” Dolce` whimpered into Alchemy’s shoulder. “We are deep under the hill, and surrounded by all these awful creatures. Can’t you feel the earth pressing down on you? Elves aren’t meant to be underground. We are creatures of the green and the air.”
Alchemy recognized the growing panic in the woman’s voice. “We must meet with Doctor Gnome, then I will get us out of here. Get you back to the safety of the green above.” He put his hand gently under her chin as lifted her mouth to his. Her kiss was as sweet as her hair. He wanted more. She molded herself to his body. It may have just been the excitement and the danger they faced, but Alchemy knew she wanted him as badly as he wanted her.
He pulled away from her lips. “My dear, why don’t we go enjoy the baths they so graciously prepared for us. Clean warm water will help you relax.”
Dolce` smiled weakly. “As long as you stay at my side.”
“Of course,” Alchemy said as he claimed her hand. “It will take more than maniacal Gnomes to separate us.”
In the bathing chamber two large tubs waited, water still steaming in them. Alchemy gently lifted Dolce’s robe off and hung it over the back of a chair near the wall of the small room. He helped her into the tub.
“Here, let me rub your shoulders while you soak,” he said as she settled her lithe body into the water.
She looked back over her shoulder. “You know, there’s enough room in here for both of us.”
“Are you sure?”
Nimble hands reached up for the belt of his robe and slid it open. She pushed the robe away and took him gently in her hand and pulled him closer to the water. Alchemy’s heart beat faster as she smiled at him.
“Of course I’m sure,” she replied right before her mouth closed around him.