Phyllis Esposito: Interdimensional Private-Eye #106

By the time that Graham had finished clearing his departed colleagues off of the road, the dawn had started to brighten the sky. As a result, we decided to get moving. In shifts, we could try to rest on the wagon, between the crates. In addition to the swords we had newly procured, we also had a couple of new horses, so no one had to walk.

There was a brief discussion of returning to the village with the other men’s bodies, and although Pensky and I both felt pangs of regret, it was Eduin who really pushed for that trip.

“Okay,” I said. “Imagine we bring them back to the village. Let’s role-play how that conversation would go.”

The thought-exercise was brief, and afterward, all were agreed that we had no choice but to leave them.

Besides, they had tried to rob an unarmed group of travelers at sword-point.

After a bit of jockeying for positions, we began our journey proper.

Pensky took to horseback riding with a surprising enthusiasm, and Graham proved a patient teacher. So the two of them took the horses not harnessed to the wagon, and rode ahead of us, keeping watch, and comparing notes about their respective professions.

Though I don’t think Pensky was itching to give up being a cop or anything, Graham’s stories of travel and adventure fascinated him. Meanwhile, he intrigued Graham with the concept of a police force that, at least in principle, worked for the protection of the little guys, rather than just whoever could afford to hire a bodyguard or an army.

I found their conversation interesting up to a point, but not as interesting as they found it, so it was something of a relief when they started riding a little further ahead and I was no longer forced to listen to them.

Meanwhile, Eduin and Ms. Moon sat at the front of the wagon, guiding the horses. I hadn’t had the impression that they were especially fond of each other back at Thorbek’s, so I wondered a little at their apparent closeness now. Did they feel a common affinity being the only two elves in the group? Or maybe it was just that they, Graham excepted, were the two of us that felt most at home in this world. Impossible for me to say, because though they occasionally whispered to one another, mostly they drove the wagon in silence.

That left Henricks and I riding in the back of the wagon. Henricks had returned to the small corner that they had staked out back in the village, and sulked, not even looking over the side of the wagon at the passing scenery.

Not that the scenery had anything special going for it. Pretty generic trees and hills and farmland, as far as I could see. Still, I would have thought it more interesting than whatever small sliver of wood Henricks had chosen to fixate on.

I had thought that Henricks was making progress in their attempt to integrate with the group. Enough that this new retreat into brooding felt like a step backwards.  Because I care about a fellow sentient being who seemed to be hurting, and because I needed our group to run on good communication and teamwork, but above all, because I was bored, I decided to press the metaphorical big glowing button.

“So Henricks,” I said. “Why did you run away?”

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