Chapter 2.03

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Arthur and I stared at the intimidating heap of garbage. After some fervent pleas, we’d managed to get past the supervisor and into the back lot of the dump. Now, staring at the seemingly endless piles of rusted metal and unidentifiable brown refuse, I couldn’t help but feel a bit tired.

“Oh my Plumbob,” Arthur said, pinching his nose. “This smells worse than my mom’s casserole.”

I’d never been unfortunate enough to smell Rose’s casserole, but I knew enough about her cooking to think the comparison was probably accurate.

Well, there was no use delaying. I jumped up and down, trying to rev up our spirits. “Come on!” I cheered. “We can do it! What’s a bit of dirt, anyway?”Screenshot-58

Three hours later, a much-subdued duo stared at the barely altered stack of garbage. We’d been knee-deep in garbage for hours, now, and had nothing to show for our efforts.

I swiped at a clod of mud (or, at least, what I hoped was mud) stuck to my elbow. Perhaps we hadn’t thought this through. Even if the tombstones were in this junkyard, the perpetrators were sure to have crumbled them down to make them harder to spot. Besides, there were at least two other junkyards in Ever City and a vast river to boot — they could have dumped the stones into the river with minimal effort.

Still, this was our only lead, and we couldn’t give up. Something was fishy about that graveyard, and I wanted to get to the bottom of it.Screenshot-59

“Ugh,” Arthur said. I looked over to see that he was holding a pipe crusted with red. “This one’s all sticky.”

I was just glad he was with me. It gave me some comfort to know that at least I wasn’t alone in this. It felt…right to have Arthur by my side. I could see us, years from now, working together on solving cases. We’d be the best detective-journalist duo Ever City had ever seen. Screenshot-60

“Oh my Plumbob,” Arthur said suddenly, dropping the pipe with an unceremonious clatter. “Do you think it’s blood?”

I stood, moving closer to investigate the pipe. “No,” I said. “Unless it’s fresh, which is highly unlikely, the red ought to be much darker than that.”

His nose wrinkled. “Thank Plumbob.”Screenshot-62

He lifted the pipe again, peering at the dented surface. I edged closer, saying, “I think it might be old paint.”

“You’re right,” Arthur said finally. He set the pipe down carefully and stood, brushing clods of dirt from his jeans. “Leliana, you know I’d stay here for the rest of today searching, but I don’t think this is the best use of our time.”

I nodded. “I agree,” I said, a hint of frustration seeping into my words. I scuffed my shoe against a rock before saying, “I just can’t stand thinking that they’re going to get away with…whatever it was they were doing. Something was fishy, Arthur, and we’re the only ones who care enough to see that justice is achieved!”Screenshot-65

“And we will,” Arthur said firmly. “I’m not saying we should give up — far from it. But I think we’ve been inhaling these fumes for far too long. I think we should take a small break to collect our thoughts. Maybe if we take a step back, we’ll be able to spot a new angle.” Screenshot-66

I sighed. “You’re right,” I said. “Thanks for coming with me. I really appreciate it.”

“Are you kidding? Thank you for telling me about this. It’s going to make a great piece,” Arthur said, his mouth curving into a broad grin.

I couldn’t help but smile at his obvious excitement. After a while, though, my nose wrinkled — we both smelled strongly of sour milk.

“Shall we go shower, Holmes?” Arthur said, seemingly thinking the same thing. He paused. “Er, not, uh, togeth-I mean, I didn’t mean to imply – uh, only for hygiene purposes – uh, sep-”

“Sure, Watson,” I cut him off. I knew he hadn’t meant anything like that — he didn’t see me as anything other than a friend, and it was far past time I accepted that.

Besides, having Arthur as a friend was nothing to sneeze at. Together, I was confident we had a decent chance at solving this case.

AN: yay for awkward teenage interactions. Thanks for reading! 🙂

13 thoughts on “Chapter 2.03

  1. Haha I laughed at Arthur’s awkward “we should shower together… Well I mean not together together but uh…” I think Leliana and I both would’ve preferred if he had just stopped after that first sentence XD

    Liked by 1 person

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