Monday, September 9, 2013

Day Five-Twenty-Six: Classic prankery

Trouble a-brewin'. I knew this crew wouldn't take too long. After the drunken revelry and the race-bashing of last week, I just kinda knew.

The Dauphine has been moving at a steady pace, despite disagreements amongst the populace. It's a strong, sturdy vehicle, and Libby - though she's not in a condition to do much inspecting - predicts that it won't suffer any major breakdowns for quite a while. I trust in her judgement on these things. I do wish the people MANNING the Dauphine would be a little less emotionally biased, though.

I was chowing down on some peppered gruel this morning, contemplating a day with my head stuck in a gearbox, when a tiny, familiar finger tapped my shoulder. I didn't need to turn around to know who it was. "Hi, Celine."

"Mud." She flopped gracefully into the seat next to me, legs kicking the air. "This is my impression of my mom. You like?"

I nodded without much enthusiasm, spooning another dose of the slop into my mouth. "Sure. S'great."

Celine frowned. "You liked my brother fine. What's wrong with me?"

I started at the question. My mind hadn't been on relationships. "Huh? Whaddya mean?"

"Your demeanour." She gently kicked my shoulder. "Every time I talk to you, you stiffen up. It's as if you don't like me, Mud, and I'm asking why."

I turned to face her, the idle fog of sleepiness parting. "I… I like you just fine."

"But you like Logan better."

I tugged my collar. "Well, I've, uh, spent more time with Logan."

"But you and I, we've danced. I bet you haven't danced with Logan."

"That's true, I haven't." Some dumb part of my brain wondered if I ever would. Nobody has a clue where the little prince is these days. "And, uh, y'know, probably won't. Guys dancin' with guys? Weird stuff, you know."

"I don't see why. Homosexuality is not implied in dancing." Celine waved a finger. "It's talk like that which will earn you a bowl full of urine."

… yeah. She actually said that. My mouth dropped open, quite thoroughly confused.

Despite her questionable introduction to the topic, there was a point to Celine's visit: a request from Queen Daena. The little girl ushered me off to her mother, who, without much preamble, launched into a complaint. Somebody's been messing with Jeffrey.

I scratched my head as I stood before the queen, enjoying the breeze she kicks up with her flailing legs. The Dauphine is pretty hot when the portholes are closed. "Soooo lemme get this straight. Somebody peed in Jeffrey's cereal this morning."

Daena nodded curtly. "That's right."

"And somebody else, or possibly that same somebody, left a dead possum in his bed. Which he woke up to."

"Also right."

"And somebody else, maybe a third party, maybe the second, maybe even the first, wrote 'I diddle donkeys' on Jeffrey's face while he was taking a nap."

"Thankfully it was only chalk."

"Well." Another head scratch. "That's… that all sucks, don't it just. Any idea who it is?"

Queen Daena looked towards the occupants of Command, every one of them a former subject of Jeffrey's. "I hate to say it, but there are a lot of potential candidates."


Daena wrung her hands. "I know that Jeffrey's done many bad things in the past, but he's trying so hard to atone. He's… he's back to the way he was, albeit with a massive dollop of self-hatred crushing his ego, and that makes me so happy. I can't stand to see him picked on like this."

I knew what was coming next, so I doffed my floppier hat and bowed to Daena. "I'll figure it out, your majesty. Don't worry. The Dauphine can do without one of its workers for a week."

Daena smiled. "Thank you, Dragomir. But you know, I'm not royalty anymore. You really don't have to call me 'majesty'."

I stuck my hat back on my head and grinned. "You keep askin', your majesty, and maybe one day I'll give it up. Ain't likely, though. Bad habits."

So that's that. For the next few days, I'm a detective.


Dragomir the Wanderer

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