Disclaimer: I do not own Steamboy or anything related to Steamboy

SteamBoy: The Rancour

Chapter 1: The Station Master

YEAR 1868

Ray walked beside his Grandfather. They were following a small girl who claimed her 'friend' had made the blueprints for these inventions.

'Grandfather, do you think it is possible for those inventions to work?' Ray asked.

'Anything is possible my dear boy. We will see how it works when we meet this amazing inventor,' his Grandfather stared straight ahead but Ray could see the smile growing across his lips. Ray felt a pang of jealousy but it quickly passed.

'Oh no! No, no, no!' the small child yelled.

'What is happening over there!?' his Grandfather was at once confused by the rising smoke and steam and at the same time anxious.

Ray looked at the smoke, the steam; he heard the sound of metal grinding upon metal.

'It's coming from the Station yard! My friend works there!' the distressed child yelled.

'No! It can't be! It sounds like a boiler under too much pressure!' Ray began to walk faster.

'What do you mean Ray?' his Grandfather turned to ask only to find Ray running down the street towards the yard.

Ray ran to the yard, taking off his coat and hat on the way. He burst into the yard, threw down his things and took in the scene. Workers were standing in a semicircle around a shed with no front. Steam and smoke poured forth as workers wandered around in distress, begging someone to help. The noise was horrible as Ray rushed into the small shed.

He saw a figure in the mist trying with no luck to release a valve.

'This thing about to explode! Do you need any help Sir?!' he yelled to the person.

'Yes. Chuck me the spanner! And I am in no way a sir!' Ray was surprised but threw the object at the voice anyway. 'Thanks!'

'Do you know what the actual problem is?' the shadow moved restlessly as Ray spoke.

'Yeah, too much pressure! I'm going to release it now!'

'You'd better move out quick or you'll be scalded!'

'I know! Oh, for goodness sake the bloody thing is jammed!' there was a yell over the top of the shrieking metal.

'Where are you I'll help?!'

'Over here!' Ray looked through all the steam and saw a girl standing with tools all around her fiercely working at a valve.

She looked up, 'Oh my giddy aunt is that Ray Steam? Please Sir, help me! It stuck on tight and if I find out that son of a bitch glued it on…' she trailed off mumbling to herself. Ray came closer and inspected the valve and sure enough it was glued tight.

'Give me a lead pipe!' he yelled over the grinding noises of the boiler. The girl obliged.

'Now stand back and when I say run, do it!'

'Aye sir, please don't damage the boiler too much. It comes out of my pay!'

'I'll try not too!' the heat of the steam was now becoming unbearable. 'Ready?'

'Yes Sir.'

Ray disliked any one calling him Sir or Dr but there were more important things to do. He heaved all his weight down with the pipe, knocking the wheel of the valve clear off. Steam came pouring out in all directions, hot and fast.

'Run!' he wasn't sure if she heard him over the noise, he hoped so for her sake.

They both came running out hands over head as the boiler gave of one last screech of metal and suddenly emitted a huge cloud of steam. They looked back as silence settled around the station yard. Steam cleared away slowly to reveal a very broken boiler. Lily swore under her breath.

'Thanks very much, Sir. If that had exploded, I don't even want to know what could of happened,' the girl turned to Ray and smiled.

'That's okay; but please stop calling me sir. It's just Ray,' he held out his hand in greeting.

'Well 'just Ray' it was nice to make the undeserved acquaintance of another inventor,' she smiled again as she shook his hand, her short dark brown hair bouncing around in flattened spikes. She turned to the calls of a small girl her almost ran her over with a hug.

'Lily, Lily! Are you okay?! I brought the Dr Steam's and they saw your invention and…and' the girl carried on talking at a hundred miles an hour while she hugged her friend.

Ray looked up at his grandfather who put a hand on his shoulder. His grandfather was watching the two girls and smiling. Ray would s

'I'm okay, a little scalded but I think Dr Ray over there copped more burns than I did,' she turned and smiled at the pair as she released the small child.

'Which…person glued the valve shut? Who ever he or she is they must be mighty stupid because that's damn dangerous,' Ray asked although he felt he knew the answer.

'Do you know the Owners son? The Owner of the whole train station?'

'Yes, I do,' Ray felt the rage building up inside. He remembered the running boys, he remembered the metal pipe, and he remembered the humility that came with the dunce hat. He remembered the Owner's son alright.

'Enough said,' Lily raised her eyebrows and sighed.

A thud sounded behind Ray.

Dr Steam saw the older girl of the pair immediately stand to attention and he watched as her gaze wandered past them. The laughter which had before come from her eyes now faded away and the light blue which a while ago was so stunning, was now hard and cold.

'What is this brat doing here!?' an older man's gruff voice came from behind him. A large man stepped forward and indicated the smaller child with his hand.

Dr Steam could almost see her mind ticking behind her eyes trying to think of an excuse.

'She is a messenger. She brought the Dr Steam's because ….. she saw all the smoke and steam rising from the yard and…' the girl drifted off not knowing why they would come anyway.

'And she thought that all your workers might be in grave danger,' Ray finished for her.

'Well that doesn't explain why I shouldn't dismiss you right here! Look at that boiler you stupid girl!' when the older girl did not look her walked up and turned her head roughly with his big hand. Dr Steam sighed, the girl was not making it any easier for herself.

'I can fix it, Sir,' she said with quiet determination.

'No you can't! That's a new boiler I'll have to buy! Stupid bitch you hit the wheel off! Why did I hire you anyway!' he threw her head aside.

'Because you were and still are a desperate man in more than one way,' the girl smirked.

'Do not dare to answer me back! Leroy, get the whip and set up the ladder!' people gasped at the girls insolence and the fire that burned behind the man's eyes.

'But Sir, Lily just did a very dangerous thing. She saved us all and your yard to Sir,' a sandy blonde youth stuttered. Ray had a flashback to when his friend stuck up for him when he had damaged the boiler. Unfortunately for Lily her friend was younger and smaller than the Station Master.

'GO! Before I fire you too!' when the boy had run off, he pointed a long, fat finger at Lily, 'You….you are fired!'

Dr Lloyd wished with all his heart he could do or say something but it was the Station Masters right to flog anyone that was dismissed because they were bad. By the sound of the girl's insolence she had done many bad things.

'Sir, please do not dismiss this girl. It is my fault the boiler is like that. I hit the wheel off,' the man spun to look at Ray and the boy could see the rage fuming from him.

'Do not get in the way of business, boy! What can a crazy inventor know about business?'

There was a clash as Lily kicked at the ladder the frightened men were trying to lash her to.

'You have no right to flog me!' she cried at the man.

'You are MINE! I have every right in the world!'

'But Sir, you just fired her. She is no longer yours,' Ray cut in quickly but the man just pushed him aside.

'Hear, hear!' Lily cried as she fought against the rope bonds that held her against the hard wooden ladder. Its rungs were hard against her back, leaving red marks evry time she moved.

'Any of you do what you may but she is already there and has defied her master for the last time!' he wielded a small black horse whip.

Lily flinched as Leroy was ordered to take off her jacket and shirt. She hung there, as most of the men snickered at her. She knew why, she was not wearing a corset like all other women. All she had was a bandage like piece of cloth wrapped repeatedly around her chest so nothing was seen. Scars and scratches also covered her back from her other dismissals.

'1…' someone yelled.

Fire shot down her back, red hot. She could hear Ray reasoning with the man but to no

avail. She had done the Station Master wrong for the last time.

'3…' already she could feel the blood ooze slowly down her back.

'4…5…6…' the numbers rolled on like years. Darkness was slowly trying to creep into her eyes but she fought back, like she always had.

By the fifteenth hit Ray could see the tears flowing from the girls eyes as silently and freely as the blood flowed down her back.

He was still trying to reason with the man while out of the corner of his eye he could see Leroy holding back the small girl, who Ray now guessed to be Lily's sister. The girl screamed and thrashed and cried but Leroy's grip on her arms and shoulders was tight.

'For goodness sake don't be cruel. Someone turn the child's head away!' Lily suddenly yelled.

Leroy looked up for a moment and the child struggled out of his grip. Leroy yelped as she bit him in order to get away.

'Lily, Lily, what do they do to you!' the child cried violently as she ran blindly towards Lily.

Ray caught the running child and held her close. He lifted off the ground as her legs still flailed wildly.

'Calm down. Clam down, they will release your friend,' he said gently, trying to avoid being bitten.

'She is my sister! They hurt my sister! Master Steam help! They hurt my sister!' the crying child could be no more than ten.

'For everyone's sake let the õlder girl go!' everyone stopped and turned their heads towards the sound. Dr Lloyd Steam could have an extremely loud voice when he wished it.

'Sir, I usually would let you do what is rightfully yours to do when dismissing a bad worker but you have gone too far!' Ray stared at his grandfather, 'It may have been the girls fault but to flog a woman to twenty hits with no shirt, and in front of her younger sister! That Sir is disgraceful!'

Leroy rushed up to the girl and cut her bonds. She staggered backwards and accepted the shirt he gave back to her. Lily shoved her shirt ungracefully over her head and groggily hugged the child Ray had finally released.

'Get out of my sight!' the large Station Master yelled. Lily took the girls hand and led her out of the yard.

Lily stopped outside the station yard. He legs would not carry her further. She slumped against the brick fence. The darkness was still closing in, it was becoming difficult to hear and see her sister.

'Where will the Rancour Warriors train now?' her sister shook her. Lily's back was on fire, she could hardly speak.

'I don't know, Kira, I don't know,' Lily could no longer see who was talking to her in echoes but felt her arm being pulled by someone far off.

She felt her body lifted off the ground. I'm sorry Kira; I do not know what will happen to you, were Lily's last thoughts before darkness closed in.

A/N: Sorry if I haven't got all the facts right and I'm sorry for any other mistakes I probably made so please review and let me know of them. If you do I'll fix them up. Hope you liked the first chapter.

(I know rancour means bitterness or resentment but it was not meant to mean that. It is 'rang' without the g and 'cour' which in French translates as Station Yard. I used this for reasons you will find out later on.)

Note: The author may have changed history in parts to suit her fictional story