“Trust is not an issue, my friend. You needn't worry about that.” Gunpowder caught a glimpse of a sullen expression on Devonshire's face, albeit brief. “In fact, I'm quite glad we had a chance to talk. Take it from someone who is dead. You should cherish the time you have. The time we have.”
Gunpowder was not really used to cryptic messages and puzzles from Devonshire. Usually the two were very blunt, so the words came as quite a surprise. There was no way he could decipher it, and so he decided to store it in his memory bank for later dwelling.
“A-anyway, matey, ye said ye had summin' t' tell me? Wassit?”
“I had almost forgotten! These notes,” Devonshire said, pointing to the mess thrown across the floor, “were something I was carefully assembling. I was going to take them to the library in the castle, to see.. what was it? Shinar? No, no, Lexy. It was Lexy.”
“Eh? What for, if I dare t' be askin'?”
Devonshire seemed to continue as if Gunpowder hadn't spoken, which was a little frustrating. Compared to what he had just dealt with, though, it was minor.
“I think some good will come of your torment.. I have my own goals, but perhaps Lexy can help find the culprit there, as well. Maybe they are related. At the very least, it will shed some light on the current situation.”
“Ideas? What sorts o' ideas,” Gunpowder asked, expecting to be disregarded again. And he was. Fortunately, Devonshire seemed keen on elaborating further regardless of Gunpowder's inquisitive mind.
“I've always been wondering why I can't leave Tao. Why I am shackled to this place. Others like me are not, so why am I special? I thought there was something.. keeping me here, but now I have my doubts. I've found nothing, in all this time. Nothing at all. It must be some other reason.”
“Y'think Lexy'll know, then?”
“He may,” replied Devonshire. It seemed he was paying attention to Gunpowder once more. “If anyone were to have such knowledge, it would be him.”
“Wait, yer goin' t' see that little morsel? Aintcha worried you'll go all darkness spreadin' and scary shit at 'im?”
“Ah.. Yes. That is a possibility. I shall do my best to return before nightfall, however. That should prevent any incidents, no?”
“Aight then. I'd hate t' see that Lexy deal wit' that mess.” Gunpowder rubbed the back of his head with his claw, made a slightly dumbfounded face, and cleared his throat. “Guess I'll let ye get t' yer business then, aye?”
“Yes.. These notes will take a while to sort out.” Devonshire had begun to pick them up. Gunpowder pondered helping, but figured he had done enough. Also, he didn't really feel that
guilty about it.
“One more thing, Gunpowder.. That instrument is missing. Has been for a while.”
Gunpowder had been on his way out of the office when he heard that, stopping dead in his tracks. The Draconicello?
Gunpowder was quite familiar with the name, and it stuck in his head, just as Devonshire's name had. After all, if there was one person in the village it could impact the most, it would be Gunpowder. It could be used to wreak havoc on the Rogues.
“W-what?! Have ye any idea who took it, then? Be it that dragon we took it from? Could he have infiltrated our ranks?” There was a slight bit of panic in Gunpowder's voice.
“No, no.. I don't think that's possible. We
have infiltrated their
ranks, and I've heard nothing of it. Besides, if he had it, he would have surely stormed the village by now. It went missing a short while ago, during that dragon's rampage, but it still would have been enough time for him to assemble.”
“Hey, do ye think whoever be messin' wit' me and th' ice dragon has it? Seems an awful coincidence, dontcha think?”
“I believe that to be a very distinct possibility,” said Devonshire, a proud smile across his face. “Which is why I want to warn you, Gunpowder. You should be very careful. If we are right in our assumption, whoever possesses it will want to come back for you. We.. can't afford to lose you.”
Gunpowder was still distraught, but knowing Devonshire would be around made him feel slightly more secure. Only a little, though. Before Gunpowder had a chance to dwell on what he had just been told, a familiar face came bursting into the office.
“Hey, what's going on? I heard a bunch of crashing and yelling earlier! But you seem fine. Did someone break in?”
It was Dmitri, who had quickly caught the attention and glare of both Devonshire and Gunpowder. Although Gunpowder had asked most of the questions he had, he was enjoying his discussion with his friend, and did not really appreciate Dmitri entering uninvited, even though he had every right to be there.
“Oy, matey, everythin's fine. Why dontcha just—“
“Ah, Dmitri, I have a job for you,” Devonshire said in a most dubious voice. “As you can see, my papers are.. scattered. Due to the break in, as you said. Would you care to help me pick them up and sort them?”
Dmitri appeared quite excited with the idea of being assigned a menial task by Devonshire, since he was always happy to help the ghost. The two seemed to get along really well, which further strengthened his trust in Devonshire. After all, Dmitri would act on Devonshire's behalf without question, and would have been an adequate replacement for Gunpowder. And yet...
“I.. I guess I'll be takin' me leave then, aye, Devonshire?”
Devonshire didn't seem to respond, and appeared to be searching for something at his desk. Gunpowder had little to no interest in finding out what it was, and had begun to depart for home, figuring the lack of response counted as an affirmative one. As soon as his back was turned, however, Devonshire shouted his name.
“I don't want to forget to give you this. You dropped it a while ago, and I decided to keep it, though I don't know why. You clearly don't need it.”
Devonshire threw something in Gunpowder's direction, which he attempted to catch with his claw. Such appendages were useful mostly for stabbing, so Gunpowder's method of catching most things was acting as a ring toss and hoping the item would have a ring of sorts.
Fortunately, this one did. It was his eyepatch, which he had last seen during his encounter with Sorbet. He had been unable to find it, thinking it lost, but it was clear now Devonshire was the reason it had vanished.
An awkward silence had fallen over the office, forcing Gunpowder to leave, partly due to him being the cause of it. He stared down at the patch, wondering where it had originally come from and why he had it when it hit him. His dream was wrong. After Dorsen had been killed, Devonshire didn't come to attack Gunpowder, but instead approached to give him a gift. It was the eyepatch Dorsen had been wearing. Devonshire had taken it as a memento for Gunpowder, as a means to always remember what had happened. More importantly, it was to show Gunpowder that he could trust Devonshire, which was why he always wore it.
Wearing it seemed rather pointless now. Everyone in the village knew he didn't need to, but that didn't make it fake. Gunpowder pondered the idea of him not losing trust in Devonshire were he to wear it once more, but he realized such a thing was just superstition. He thought about throwing it away, but in pondering its history, he had arrived at the entrance to his home, and decided stashing it would be a better choice. With the memories of its past, he couldn't bring himself to make that same mistake again.
Part 16 of "Well of Memories" by