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Listen well, traveller, and I shall tell you the tale of Scarlett, the beautiful Peugeot 307cc with a heart of ice. Many and varied are her charms, from her seemly curves and ruby panels, to her ... propensity to go topless from time to time. But, ware of her lascivious charms, traveller, for she is not as she may appear to be! 'Neath her alluring exterior lies the heart of a demon, one keen to devour the affections of an unwary adventurer, and, having feasted upon your love, and expending all coin from your purse on her exuberant desires, she shall leave you heartbroken and poor, aside the highway ...

... I know this, for I was once her lover.

1 - The Enchantment

'Twas a glorious summer's day when first we met; she, having been suggested to me by a fellow worker in the local fields, had emerged fresh from her bath and fair gleamed in the afternoon sun. I admit, I was smitten at once, and as we rode together for the first time, chaperoned by my fellow worker, the feel of the wind in my hair as we rode together, and the soft touch of her black leather on my skin was at once sensual and exhilarating. The undeniable power that radiated from her 2 litre turbo diesel bosom was breath-taking. I knew at once that she MUST be mine. I would accept nothing less.

Having paid a mere 2,500 gold pieces to her employer for her release from his servitude, I could not believe my luck. A maiden so fair, so strong and so charming, for so meagre a sum! She swore herself to me in those first moments and I knew at once that we would be together forever.

The man who sold her to me looked impossibly relieved to be parted with such beauty. I look back now, at myself and that man, and beautiful Scarlett, and curse my naivety.

She began to show her wilful way within a few mere weeks. We journeyed together into the southern shires of this fair isle, to be near the sea and enjoy each other's company, yet on arrival she seemed flighty and fitful. I deemed it suitable to leave her to her affairs for a day or so, whilst I attended to matters of business, but on my return two days later, she would not turn her face to me, and refused my advances. No key could stir her heart, and I called upon the local leechmaster to assist. Readily, he offered her tidbits of electrical power, and slowly but surely she returned to herself over the remainder of the day. the leechmaster advised that the drain upon her spirit from the opening of her windows over a period of time had proved too much, and that she must rest and recharge, and so she did.

I took care, after this, to ensure that she was well provisioned, and was given surfeit of opportunity to regain her energies. Though she did not show weariness of this kind again, I knew, even at that time, that something had changed in her. Perhaps it was the sea air? Perhaps it was those first few days when we had been apart? I know not for sure, though I do know that this was when our love affair truly began to sour ...

2 - The Darkening

Two months later, we ventured together into the hills to the north, where I had business with the local warrior band. Cold were the days, and the nights were colder yet. Though I could see her from the window of my room, I knew she felt the cold, and worried for her. Sure enough, on the Sunday morn, when I returned to her, she spurned me. Though I offered prayers of promises of devotion, she would not come alive to me and acted as though she was made of stone.

A wise blacksmith nearby consoled me, by telling me of a similar tale, and said that the copper ring she wore upon her starter motor was prone to contract in the cold, and that she would be only too likely to blow a fuse in such circumstances. Verily his words were proved true, and after much expense I procured her a new ring (and a new starter motor to go with it) and, for a time, she appeared grateful.

I accept that, as my tale progresses, I appear to make myself look blameless. This is not true; I accept responsibility for the sundering of my own heart, where it lies with me. As an example, I offer that a careless visit to the local boudoir for automobiles, particularly that involving an argumentative bollard which I refused to reconcile with, caused damage to Scarlett’s face, for which I was eternally sorrowful and embarrassed and was only too willing to pay the cost of 400 gold pieces to remedy. Similarly, whilst my maiden awaited for me at an important meeting, some honourless villain made harm to her bodywork, and her expensive taste in clothes cost me 600 gold pieces to fix.

The dressmaker said that the colour of her bodywork was Diablo Red. I should have understood what he meant, or at least paused for though, but I was in love and would not be advised on the prohibitive expense of maintenance for this wilful maiden. In retrospect though, I think it was at this point that she saw that I would spare no expense to maintain her beauty and keep her love, and she decided that she was more interested in the contents of my purse than my heart, and sought to make off with both.

The winter months were dark and cold, and I relied heavily on her for warmth during my travels. It came as a shock to me one December morn, though, for her to tell me that she would no longer journey with me. “The fault lies not with you”, she said, “but with I. My heart flutters unnaturally, and I must have medical attention. It must be the best that you can buy.” I ran, without delay to the leechmasters’ halls, and beseeched them for aid as fair Scarlett, laid upon the ground outside, swooned fitfully. Day and night they studied, prodded and poked her … and all the time she smiled at me, and promised me that she would feel better soon.

The leechmasters advised me that her EGR valve, which lies close to her heart, had given away, and that she must have a transplant in order to survive. I promised all the coin I had, and more, for them to do whatever it took to return my love to me. Sure enough, through some dark miracle of their art, they replaced her valve, though she was clearly still unwell and demanded that her turbo itself be given attention. That too, could be replaced … at a cost.

Of course, I offered all I could – “take mine!” I cried to her, though she laughed, and said that it would not work. This would, of course, need more gold. All told, I gave the leechmaster 1500 gold pieces, more than I could afford as yuletide approached, though so delighted was I to have Scarlett back in my arms that I cared not for the inevitable disappointment of my kin. Scarlett was back with me again, and this was all that mattered.
 

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3 - The Revealing

It was a mere few weeks later, when she reported that her turbo was not operating as it should. She demanded further medical attention immediately, and I returned, desperate and wrathful, to the leechmasters. They were surprised that the turbo they had offered to Scarlett had been rejected, and freely offered to replace it with a similar one, which they prayed was to her satisfaction. My love was surly and bad tempered, and insisted that this turbo must be made by the finest craftsmen in the land.

Already impoverished by her increasingly expensive tastes, I sought counsel from the leechmaster general. He, in his slow and measured tones, advised me that such work was prohibitive and did not come without cost. He counselled that we seek a replacement for the turbo she had rejected, with a view to ensuring that she was not just being wilful. Sure enough, she was reasonably content for a while, and for a few months, we returned to some semblance of normalcy.

The final part of my sad tale starts just one moon ago. Having expended all my coin on my fitful and demanding maiden, I consoled myself to the fact that she loved my purse more than I and that at some point, we must, for the sake of my own sanity, part ways. I loved her still, traveller; I admit it freely, though I knew she loved another (my gold). That parting, though, is always most challenging and I fooled myself that, if we were just able to enjoy each other’s company for a few more short months, we could reconcile.

It was the morning of the new moon, just over one month ago, when she began making the most distracting squeals. She demanded that I buy her a new flywheel and would not cease until I did. Exasperated, I protested at the prohibitive cost, though she laughed and said that she cared not. In despair I sought for a loan from any merchant I could find to address her concerns, for though by now I knew we were not destined to be together forever, I at least relied upon her to assist me with my duties.

A taciturn but knowledgeable local blacksmith was happy to take my coin in order to craft her a new flywheel, though he also advised that she would also require front brakes, and as he would be taking the care to make her a new flywheel, he should also provide a new clutch … at additional cost, of course. All in all, I crossed his palm with 900 pieces of gold.

Having retrieved her wares, I hoped beyond hope that she would, finally, be satisfied, but I knew, as soon as I gazed upon her, that Scarlett was not content. Sneering at me, she scolded me for not heeding her previous warnings about her turbo. “Cheapskate!” she cried, “Am I not the most beautiful car you have ever seen? Do I not merit the absolute best of turbos? I shall run no further until this matter is addressed!”.

Once more I ventured to the leechmaster’s halls, where they scratched their heads at Scarlett’s protestations. “Verily, master”, one particularly grimy example proclaimed. “That which she desires will require a full replacement of all her turbo system, including pipes and valves. This will come at great cost, no less than 1400 gold pieces”. Knowing that she and I were soon to part ways, I resigned myself to ponder the expenditure, though I did not commit to it.

It was on the way home that she scoffed at me for purchasing her new brakes. “What good are these”, she mocked “when I have no shoes to dance with! If a member of the watch sees me with such poor quality shoes, you will surely be locked in the dungeon. For your sake and mine, get you hence to a shoemaker”. And so, cursing all the way, I purchased her new tyres at a cost of another 200 coins.

Late last night, as we returned home from the big town, she made her final demand of me. “Lover, I grow weary! ‘Tis either my seatbelts or my airbags, but one of them makes me irritable!”. She changed her mind frequently as we journeyed home together, occasionally advising that she could manage, and then abruptly insisting I gratify her.

I confess, traveller, that I have decided to do away with her. The final straw came this morning, when, she refused to close her driver side window fully, and pouted lasciviously and any and all passers by. I think she knows that she has emptied me of all my worldly goods, and will get no more. I suspect that, having taken my love and my coin, she desires the attention of another.

I am powerless to stop her, as I love her yet, though I know she will ultimately destroy me. For my own sake, and for that of all other unwary travellers, I must put a stop to her nefarious deeds. I must conserve what precious little coin I still own, with a view to forming a dowry for the love of another, more faithful, bride.

I know that with her airbags being as they are, I place myself at risk I am no fool; I know that, given the chance, she would slay me, just because she could, and because she knows that I am no longer blind to her wicked actions. I must beguile her into journeying to the scrapyard, though I place my own welfare at risk in doing so.

Wish me well traveller, and be grateful that you do not share my fate, entwined within the evil machinations of Scarlett, the demonic Peugeot 307CC who will settle for nothing less than the entirety of your heart, your soul, and your wallet. I go now, to the scrapheap or to my doom, I know not which, but I am finally, thankfully, prepared for both.
 
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