Chapter 74: Mechanical Problems
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Murphy cam running in completely out of breath, "Mage Montfort, there's been a terrible accident with the Montgolfier."

Guy looked up from his work and asked, "What kind of accident? Was anyone hurt? Give me the details." 

Murphy sighed and then said, "I'm afraid it involves your wife to be, she opened a gate to the Montgolfier to visit when she saw it flying in the air, however, the gate caused a huge hole in the superstructure. One of the crew got pushed through with the debris." 

"Is everyone ok?" Guy looked frantic. 

Murphy said, "I'm afraid it's bad, the Montgolfier is stuck in orbit around the city. The crew no longer has control of the ship. They have been sending us flag messages to notify us. Mage d'Aumont is afraid to open another gate to get them off now because of the horrendous damage done to the ship last time."

Guy frowned, "The ship doesn't have endless fuel. It will eventually run out of power to orbit. We'll gate everyone off once it powers down. The crewman who fell through the gate with the debris is alright?" 

Murphy nodded, "Just a few light wounds." 

Guy said, "I'll go up and see what I can do using my one-man prototype."

Guy ran out to the hangar and jumped into a small pedal-powered flying machine. He knew it would take him a while to reach the Montgolfier but he should be able to either land or get close enough to jump on to the huge airship. He started to furiously pedal the machine reaching higher and higher altitudes. In the distance, he saw the damaged airship orbiting around the city. There was a large hole that went through the side of the ship as it must have been turning she opened the gate. He couldn't help notice that it perfectly destroyed the message he left on the side of the ship. He saw that the airship was moving much too fast for him to land on it. He cast bless on himself and pedaled at inhuman speed, he knew that the prototype wouldn't be able to handle the stress so he prepared for one quick blast to reach the top and jump for it. 

Just as he reached the huge ship the chain running to the propeller on his flying machine snapped. He desperately jumped off trying to reach the airship. 

*****

Madeline was in tears as she looked at the carnage caused by her gate. The ship was collapsing in areas where the gate had compromised the superstructure. The crewmen were all desperately trying to save the ship with what materials and tools they had on board, but as the ship orbited the city it creaked and groaned threatening to fall apart. Madeline told the captain that if necessary she would open a gate and let the crew abandon the ship, but the captain refused adamantly believing that they would save it.

As if by a miracle, Guy came up from behind Madeline and gave her a hug. Feeling his strong arms holding her she finally felt safe and relieved. He didn't hate her for what she had done and had somehow come to save her once again. She turned and kissed him hard, she tried to explain while crying, "I didn't know, how could I know?"

He held her and whispered, "It'll be ok, I'm here now. I don't blame you." He looked at the captain and said, "Do we have any injuries? The crewman who fell into the gate is alright, just a little banged up." 

"We have two injured from falls, one critical. We have two hours of fuel left, then we are dead in the air. The engineer is working to return our lateral controls so we can get her down, I just don't know where. We have no rudder control anymore and it's not repairable." 

Guy nodded and said, "The ship is held in the air by a spell so it won't fall. If we have to abandon it, it'll just drift by wind forever until we can get up and salvage her." He thought for a moment and then asked, "Captain what is the condition of the superstructure?"

"Failing, I have men doing a quick patch job but it may not hold long," He replied. 

Guy thought for a few minutes and then said, "Madeline, let's see what we can do with our magic. Do you have any usable materials in your inventory?"

Madeline thought for a few minutes and then said, "I have some of the building materials we were going to use at the wedding site."

Guy smiled, "Perfect, let's go in the back and see what the engineer is lacking."

*****

Somehow, the Montgolfier managed to limp back to the hangar. A heroic effort by its crew, Guy's timely arrival to help calm Madeline down and to provide building materials the engineer was able to get the rudder, lateral controls and the working steam engine under control. The engineer and Guy decided to make some modifications to the airship after the disaster. They realized they hadn't been properly prepared for an emergency such as a compromised superstructure and loss of controls. 

Madeline felt terrible knowing it was entirely her fault. She just wanted to ride on the airship, but instead of asking, she tried to sneak on board in mid-flight. Even though Guy didn't blame her and the crew didn't openly criticize her, she knew that she had put the crew, people in the city and the airship that cost a fortune in danger because of her impatience and curiosity. Madeline snuck away and tried to find Doreen. 

*****

Doreen was laughing softly chatting with Princess Viana as Madeline came running. Doreen looked at Madeline's face and touched Princess Viana's arm, "I'm sorry, would you mind giving us a few minutes? I think there's been an emergency." 

The Princess smiled and said, "Of course, it must concern the Council of Magic." She stood up and curtsied to both of the women and left gracefully. 

Madeline dove into Doreen's arms and started to cry without speaking for a few minutes. Doreen just gave her a hug and let her cry. Eventually, Madeline sobbed slightly while saying, "I made a huge mistake. I nearly killed a lot of people and ruined the airship."

Doreen looked confused, "Wait, how did you do that?" 

Madeline started to sob harder, "I opened a gate to the bridge, I didn't know the gate would stay in one place as the airship moved forward. It passed through the ship and transported the things it touched to where I started from. Several people got hurt because of me." 

Doreen gasped and covered her mouth, "I almost opened a gate on the test flight." Doreen hugged Madeline tightly and said, "Any one of us could have made that mistake, it was only a matter of time. Stop killing yourself over it. Now we know not to ever do that. Just be thankful that no one was killed and everyone will be alright. Your man will make things right for the crew. You just pull yourself back together and understand that it was just an accident that anyone of us would have made at some point. Alright?"

Madeline sobbed and nodded she just hugged Doreen.

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