Ink Talks To Harmony

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It is a sunny day. Ink is sitting on an upturned basket inside a shop at the market with three vegetable sandwiches on her lap. She had an argument with that nasty woman in the morning again, so she is at the market to talk to a friend regarding it, who works there – her name is Harmony. Ink and Harmony became friends because of their grandfathers; Harmony’s grandfather sells the harvest from Ink’s family farm at his shop – it is where Harmony works. Harmony is sitting on the floor next to Ink. She has just listened to Ink’s story on the nasty woman and she is unable to control her rage.

Harmony: So, why does your mother not say anything to this woman every time she behaves rude with you?
Ink: The woman is her relative and my mother told me that she is just like that – very rude and just plain horrible, and there is not a thing I can do regarding that.
Harmony: But the woman is wrong and…
Ink: My mother knows that. But you know my mother is powerless to stop the woman from behaving rude with me. You know, my mother is really soft-spoken and the woman is just always rude. Also, the nasty woman is like four times my mother’s size and she has eight children who are just as big and foul as her. And then there are others in my mother’s family who is just like that foul woman. How can one woman and one little girl do something against so many foul people?
Harmony: What about your grandfather?
Ink: My grandfather, for a start, is so old, you know. So, if I had asked him to do something regarding the woman and the people you know he cannot because it is still going to be only three people against a lot of nasty people. All of the foul woman’s kids are also married to people who are just as nasty and from nasty families too. How can only three people put a stop to this much nastiness – we are quite clearly outnumbered.
Harmony: I understand.
Ink: Is it alright if I just sit here quietly and eat my sandwiches? I am not in a very good mood today and really don’t feel like going back home.
Harmony: Sure! I am just going to get back to work now. I need to shelve a lot of vegetables today.
Ink: Alright!

Five minutes pass…

Ink (thinks to herself): I think I will save one vegetable sandwich for Dimitri. If I drop by his house and give him a sandwich, I think he will really like it. But first I must let Harmony know I am leaving for Dimitri’s home now.

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The Weekend of Dimitri’s Personal Collections

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Ink and Dimitri are hanging out at the latter’s house. Dimitri is showing her his collection of leaves: he likes to go on walks alone in the evening and when he is doing so, he likes to collect the leaves that fall to the ground; he has amassed many leaves that way and some are even brown in color.

Dimitri: So, do you like it?
Ink: Yeah! I thought it would be so boring but I actually somehow had fun.
Dimitri: Really? I am happy that you did.
Ink: Yeah! Me too!
Dimitri: Would you like to eat something?
Ink: No! Why?
Dimitri: I thought maybe you would like to.
Ink: It’s not even lunchtime. Why do I look really weak or something?
Dimitri: No! Not really! But I am hungry…let me get you something. You wait here! Don’t go anywhere!
Ink: Sure!

Dimitri leaves Ink his room and she instantly gets busy looking through his shoe collection. As he walks down rickety stairs, he feels really elated that Ink has come for a visit this weekend. Dimitri was quite worried about his friend the last time the two spoke and is really glad that she is doing the usual things she likes to do, even when she is experiencing a rough phase in her life.

He heads to the kitchen to make some cheese sandwiches for the both of them; his mother recently brought in some cheese from Switzerland for the two of them, when her sister was there in the country on a holiday. Meanwhile, Ink is busy guessing where Dimitri buys all his shoes from because they all look almost the same.

Ink (thinks to herself): Why? It’s as if I am seeing the same pair of shoes meant for walking six times already…and there are some more I can sight underneath the bed…let me try looking at…
Dimitri: Ink! I made some cheese sandwiches for you.
Ink (hits her head on Dimitri’s bed): Oof! I am under your bed! Wait a second…
Dimitri: Why? Did you hurt yourself?
Ink (tries to crawl out from under the bed): A little bit! I was checking out your many shoes.
Dimitiri: Wait there! I will show you more I have locked inside my brown trunk under the bed!

Three On Top Of A Valley

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It is is a sunshine-filled day: Ink, Andrew and Dimitri and are sitting atop a green valley. Ink has only finished sharing this piece of news with her two friends that she is in trouble because of her refusal to share a pot of rice with a nasty woman. Dimitri has brought more vegetable rolls for Ink because she really enjoyed them the last time that his mother had made some for him. Whilst Ink munches on the vegetable rolls, a sudden breeze wafts a thistle through the sky.

Dimitri: I don’t think a lot can be done. I was in trouble recently too for refusing to speak to this nasty woman and her many children, who had all come to my house for a visit. The scolding that I got later for it is an event I would really like to never remember.
Andrew: I have had a lot of those very horrible experiences myself too. I honestly just hate these kind of visits that our families have to entertain. It sounds to me that the woman you are on about Ink is just one of those nasty people who absolutely just must have a public meltdown because you are so posh. I say, so be it.
Ink: I think that even if you were a fool, you must still work on being smart regarding it. You know, people like that will always try to find a way to put you into trouble even when you did nothing wrong at all.
Andrew: But that makes no sense. Why must a person suffer when somebody else is the one who is doing something wrong and that also to them?
Dimitri: Who cares? I just don’t care. I only know that an innocent person sometimes has to suffer in life because of the people they hate.
Ink: Oh! It is more than just about suffering, you know. Because the nasty woman comes around a lot, it is also about being refused to eat anything tasty, except for the vegetable rolls that you gave me just now, plus the raspberry cake that my mother bakes when the family is actually alone for once and she is in the mood for something sweet.

Ink Gets Into Trouble

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On a dark and breezy night, Ink is sat at her desk and trying to listen in on the conversations happening outside of her room: she is also simultaneously, with the help of candlelight, writing an entry in her diary about all the miserable experiences she is having.

Dear Diary,

I do not really know how to begin. I feel really upset – I seem to be repenting for something that I never did wrong and that is just the most unfair of circumstances ever.

It all started with a visit from a woman, who I have never liked. She is my aunt – this middle-aged woman who is as tall as Dimitri but really fat and not somebody that I have ever known properly. I recently got into a lot of trouble for rudely refusing the woman a pot of rice – for that, she spread word through my extended family that I am an unkind little lady, who had refused to give some rice to a poor woman. Although, it was nothing more than nasty gossip, which is usually the kind that I am often embroiled in, the episode has had a lasting impression on my mind. Also, since then, I have to spend most of my time away from the sitting room, whenever the lady is at my house for a visit and inside of my room because of what I did wrong – mother thought it was best because my aunt told my mother that she will never forgive me.

The woman is at my house this evening. I feel really angry and lonely regarding that. I did nothing wrong by refusing the woman a pot of rice – she has a nasty character and I have grown up with the knowledge that she has always found some reason or the other to be jealous of me. If it isn’t my looks, then it is my character, which is obviously good, but the woman will always find some reason to lie and act the opposite is true. No wonder the woman never got married, even though that was what she had hoped to do in life, really, unlike me – I have always wanted to be somebody in life. Anybody, who isn’t only interested in getting married. I have seen too much of that – how is this horrible woman even related to my mother? I feel ashamed to even talk to any of my friends about a woman like that only because we are related. It is besides the point that the woman is poor – what about the fact that she is a nasty woman and what about my feelings?

I hope I get to have dinner tonight, without feeling even more hurt and also without having to listen from my mother, anything else that that nasty women has been getting busy spreading around about me.

I smell fish soup and bread, and it smells good – I hope that’s for dinner tonight.

Love

Ink Williams

The Kingdom That Defends

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In the dead of the night, two robbers, James and Jacob, are standing on a sand dune. Wearing cream-coloured cloaks and sporting pointy beards they seem to be waiting for somebody, or something to happen.

Jacob: The night is still young. We should carry on with our plans.
James: Most certainly! Have you brought some food along? The journey will be long.
Jacob: I brought water and tiny bags of pine nuts; the items are saddled to both of our donkeys.
James: Good. That will be sufficient. The sooner we get to Egypt, the better. My whole body is aching really terribly; I would like to get the job done as fast as possible.
Jacob: Oh! Why is your body in so much pain?
James: I haven’t robbed that kingdom yet – every single kingdom…within my sight of course…fell to my command. But that one is still standing. How is something like that possible?
Jacob: Oh! That riles me up like anything!
James: I get that feeling too sometimes! You know, I heard tales the king keeps losing money but it’s been weeks and he still hasn’t lost all of his money.
Jacob: Clearly, there is something about over there we haven’t yet noticed.
James: Yes, that’s why we are here, and that’s why I feel that we should just go ahead with our plans!

Meanwhile, at Cow’s palace, Eric is busy arranging a vase of fresh flowers: he has made his own assortment of flowers bought from the market; the vase is for Noir to keep on her busy desk – it’s a small present from Eric, who’s growing rather fond of the young girl. Noir isn’t aware of this, however, because she’s with Cow in his dining room, discussing a secret message Abrahim Butros has sent him.

Cow: So, the rest of the message goes like this: …there are two robbers out looking to rob you. Defend yourself! Fight for your honour!
Noir: Isn’t that a bit too animated of a reaction to two robbers appearing to rob your kingdom?
Cow: It is! But that’s just what Butros is like, you know. He can’t even defend his kingdom properly but never tires of…
Noir:…playing the same song over and over again!
Cow: Why, yes! Butros always only really sings about defending kingdoms properly……his messenger also brought the message in a tattered form.
Noir: What should we do? Should we get our swordsmen ready and on horseback?
Cow: I think that would be a very wise strategy, yes.
Noir: But wouldn’t that make them noticeable? We got information now, it’s better to tackle the robbers now, invincibly, rather than have them hover around, with the possibility that they might rob the kingdom anytime soon.
Cow: Oh! But we’ll get another message from Butros, or our friends from other kingdoms if that happens. Our friends will look out for us, even when we fail to do that ourselves.
Noir: I know that! But it’s better to be safe!…I’ll get our swordsmen ready and ask them to hide from sight and prepare for attack the moment the robbers come into our kingdom.
Cow: Yes, you do that!…This…how does Butros deal with problems appearing in his kingdom on his own? I would have never been able to do it, without you by my side, Noir.
Noir:..are you frightened? Don’t be. I am sure the robbers will be frightened away.
Cow: That helps. Now, I will just go, sit on my throne and munch on some salty crackers, as you orchestrate the swordsmen. It’s getting so suspenseful, I wouldn’t want to miss any minute of it, with those salty crackers.

The Sighing Snowman

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Ink and Dimitri are out for a walk, after spending a few hours bored sitting indoors. It’s the weekend, the weather is cold and the two kids are thinking of building a snowman but where to do that exactly? It’s not that snow doesn’t cover most of the areas the two are stomping on, with their thick boots – the problem is more of where to place the snowman so that the carts and carriages passing by don’t think Ink and Dimitri are lunatics building a snowman on the side of the road reserved for walking.

Ink: I think if we could find a friendly farm or a valley, it would be alright. But I don’t know any, aside from my family’s farm of course.
Dimitri: I know a valley we can build a snowman on. It’s past the markets – maybe a twenty or thirty minutes walk from the corner curry shop will do.
Ink: Alright! Let’s go there then! That would be perfect.

Ink and Dimitri walk to the valley, passing by lots of busy folks out shopping in the markets or drinking in the village pubs. Ink thinks to herself that no one even cares that two kids are going to an empty valley on a weekend, which actually just suits her fine because she could use a more spacious environment outdoors than the one the weekend is currently letting her have. The valley is covered with snow, with broken fences feebly standing here and there, as well as the odd tree and twigs littering the very white landscape.

Ink: Can we start building the snowman? We can use some of the twigs for its arms…if there are fallen nuts or something maybe we can use them for the snowman’s eyes and the nose too.
Dimitri: Sure! I’ll start by gathering some of the snow for us…it will be easier that way to build it.
Ink: Yes! You do that while I rest from our long walk to get up here. In fact, I think I will just plop myself down on the snow and just I don’t know…talk for a few minutes at least, alright?
Dimitri: Sure! Anything up?
Ink: Nope!…I was just thinking about a lot of things lately. My neighbour came over last night and I overheard from the kitchen that her son is dying. He’s like a teenager and he’s got this incurable disease and she might have to move from Sheffield for it. She’s like actually not from this country…she came here from Guadeloupe.
Dimitri: Oh! Are you alright?
Ink: Me? Yeah, I’m alright! But why wouldn’t I be alright?…I don’t even know the woman – my mother and grandfather does. I have actually got no idea who she is.
Dimitri: I meant are you alright, as in, meeting the news of your neighbour’s son dying is not something small to handle, or something. So I was just concerned a wee bit.
Ink: Mmmm…
Dimitri: Why is that woman’s son dying? What kind of disease is this?
Ink: I am not sure because the woman didn’t share that much. I think she just dropped by to let my mother know something at least because that way my mother won’t wake up one day and find out that our neighbour is no longer there in the house next door, with no clue as to why. The woman use to even come up to our house to borrow sugar, every now and then, because she’s actually a war widow. Her husband was English, which is why she moved here to Sheffield but he died a very long time ago.
Dimitri: Oh!
Ink (sigh): I wish I had brought my dogs with me today. I didn’t get any chance to play with them yesterday because the woman was at our house for a visit. Even my mom was fretting she couldn’t take a look at the beehive she keeps in our farm. I think the bees are busy doing a winter cluster, or something like that.
Dimitri: Ah! Don’t worry about it. I’m sure you can play with your dogs after we get back.
Ink: You sure about that? What if the woman drops by again, you know her son’s really sick?
Dimitri (sigh): Alright! Just come here and help me with the snowman…I think I gathered too much snow than is needed.
Ink (sigh): Alright! Let’s build that snowman…be a good boy and get me some twigs, while I assemble the snow into a snowman.
Dimitri: Is it going to be a sighing snowman?
Ink: I think it might be, as soon as you get me those twigs.

Ink’s ‘My Diary’

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Ink is sitting in her home’s living room, with a brand new journal, whilst her Rottweiler is fast asleep next to her couch. Ink’s planning on keeping the journal as a diary – it’s almost the end of the year and not the perfect time to start writing a diary to Ink, but she’s convinced it’s going to be the best idea in the whole world. The diary is a simple yellow alligator-skin notebook, with lined pages, and it’s got ‘1800’ – the year, inscribed on it, with golden letters; the journal was a gift from her grandfather, this winter.

It’s an unusually hot winter’s day, with no wind in sight and the only good thing about the sunshine today is that it has managed to clear up most of the snow, from the past couple of days, which was making it difficult for villagers to walk around town. To Ink, her house seems less packed than usual even though Mother is busy talking to her grandfather and cooking in the kitchen – it’s one of the many thoughts she’s having whilst trying to figure out something to write in her new diary.

Twenty minutes later, Ink writes a whole page in her diary…

Dear Diary,

I am Ink Williams. I am a student in school. Well, boarding school. And I am here, at home, for the holidays. It’s not even the holidays, if truth be told, because yesterday, I had winter school. This is inbetween getting privately tutored. I needed to go to winter school because I am weak in Geography. If they taught me more about maps, maybe I would find the subject more interesting but they don’t. It’s most of the time about Africa and it’s not even South Africa, which I find really fascinating. I think it’s the worst subject I have to learn sometimes but I’ve still got to learn it. Also, I got the chance to eat a vegetable roll during lunch break in school, recently and I thought it was the oiliest and tastiest thing in the world – my best friend, Dimitri, shared it with me, from his lunch box. Normally, all I eat are bland egg sandwiches and although I really love to have eggs for lunch, it’s nice to have fried food to eat, once in a while. I felt it was the sneakiest moment ever but it was really, really worth it. Then I came back home, after stopping by Dimitri’s house for a quick bite to eat and did nothing but read about African geography because I have a test coming up on it. I spent most of the hours, glass-eyed and daydreaming about riding a magic broomstick, like a young witch, with a cute black cat for company, and now I am afraid I will not do very good in the test because I barely learnt anything at all. I also read a good book, before going to bed: it was a short story on two pigs, but they can talk and they have got some very amazing observations on a farmyard full of animals. It’s also where they live and the farm is a very fun-filled place, filled with hay, sunshine and noisy animals. That’s it. That was all I did. Wait, till everything becomes a lot more interesting!

Love

Ink Williams

It’s One Of Those Days

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Ink and Dimitri are sitting next to each other in special school today. They have had a change of seats suddenly to accommodate some exchange students coming in from York. Ink is busy scribbling on her notepad whatever that is coming to her mind, and she’s very absentminded in Geography. She has no clue what the teacher is talking about and can barely make out blurry shapes of her classmates seated all around her in their school uniforms of oxford blue and white. After doodling one too many flowers, which are smiling at the sunshine, whilst a teddy bear rides a rainbow in a heavy snowstorm, Dimitri pokes Ink with his thumb.

Ink (taken aback and loudly): What? Don’t disturb me.
Dimitri (whispers): I’m sorry. But what are you doodling? I’m really bored too.
Ink (whispers): Nothing interesting.
Dimitri (whispers): Come on! Let me have a look!
Ink (whispers): No! And be quiet! I don’t want the teacher to think I’m talking to another student when class is happening!

Thirty minutes later…

Ink and Dimitri are at the cafeteria, sharing their lunchboxes. Ink has brought three egg sandwiches and has swapped one of them for Dimitri’s very large vegetable rolls.

Ink (munching on the vegetable roll): Oh! I am not supposed to eat this much. I am on a diet. But I can’t resist the look of the oily vegetable roll.
Dimitri: Oh! Go on! Mother will throw a fit if she ever finds out I ate eggs for lunch.
Ink: Why? Does she think your porky?
Dimitri: Porky’s my middle name. What’s yours?
Ink: Lazy. And I hate it.
Dimitri: I like it.
Ink (annoyed): WHAT?
Dimitri: No, I mean lazy’s not a bad nick name.
Ink: Sure!
Dimitri: I mean it! Lazy’s so much better than porky.
Ink: I suppose it is, yeah!

Three hours later…

Dimitri and Ink are spending their late afternoon with each other in the former’s house. They have only got cheese sandwiches, Dimitri’s pet rabbit, Shoomuchos, and each other for company.

Ink: Oh! Look at Shoomuchos’ whiskers! He’s a really cute and grumpy looking rabbit.
Dimitri: He is. And he keeps me in great company during evenings.
Ink: Just like how my dogs keep me company?
Dimitri: Just like that…had to do a lot of talking to get my mother to get me Shoomuchos.
Ink: Really? We are more alike than I thought.
Dimitri: I like that we are alike…that’s the point of a best friend.
Ink (smiles): ……Dimitri…do you know what happened to the woman from the Rogers family who eloped?
Dimitri: I didn’t hear much from my living room window. But I think the lady’s called Caroline, and she’s never coming back.
Ink: Why?
Dimitri: Because her parents never accepted her husband. I think she finds that her parents are not understanding of this big decision she’s taken in her life.
Ink: But it’s not the right decision?
Dimtri: Oh! What do I know? It’s just village gossip. If luck will have its way as it usually does with me, we’ll never find out anything further than that.

Cow’s Midnight Chat

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Cow has been trying to get some sleep all night but he just keeps turning left and right on his bed, unable to fall into deep slumber. The thunderous rain outside his windows is further keeping him awake. He thinks about checking if Noir is asleep or awake just like him – since, he’s unable to get some sleep maybe a midnight chat will help keep things less boring. Lighting a small candle and pulling his nightcap over his head, Cow walks silently through the golden corridors of his palace.

(four knocks at the door)

Noir (in a muffled voice): Mmm…who is it?
Cow: It’s me!
Noir: Come in! I think I left the door unlocked.

Cow enters Noir’s bedchamber and notices that the goldfish in her room are busy swimming to and fro in the blue fishbowl they call home. He places the candle at the foot of Noir’s bed and plops down on his adviser’s bed, creating a bulge at the spot he’s sat on – Cow is a really round fellow.

Noir: I think I need to get a new mattress after the crater you are putting at the corner of mine tonight.
Cow (chuckles): Well, you know me. I am so round and big.
Noir: Why here in the middle of the night?
Cow: I’m unable to fall asleep and it’s making me very irritated.
Noir: Really? I felt that way a couple of minutes ago when it started pouring outside.
Cow: Why? The weather will be so much colder from now on. The heat preceding it was unbearably intense.
Noir: No, I know that! But why does it always rain in the night? I would have loved to take a look at it through the upstairs balcony but I can’t do that now because it is so late.
Cow (sigh): I know. It’s going to get better now that the annual rainfall has already started. You excited about that?
Noir: I am, yeah.
Cow: How’s work been?…Am I keeping you awake?
Noir: No. I’ve been unable to sleep much myself too. And…
Cow: Well, that’s just divine because we can chat then!
Noir: Yeah! Work’s been good. I have been working on a case – there’s a mysterious seller in town, who’s been selling people a potion that does funny things to people who drink them.
Cow: What kind of funny things happen to them?
Noir: It makes people see ghosts.
Cow (jumps off the bed): Gyahhhh! That’s a seriously scary story.
Noir: It’s not. Because the ghosts arent’ real. They are disguises put on by the seller’s entourage, to help him rob people of their possessions.
Cow (sits back down on the bed): Oh! So this seller’s a bandit?
Noir: He is. But nobody realizes that because they feel the ghost took away all their possessions.
Cow (jumps off the bed): Gyahhhh! Are you sure that’s not a ghost’s doing?
Noir: I’m sure. But the bandit is proving harder and harder to catch. I think his next robbing point will be a small village about 800 miles from here. The locality is filled with mostly poor people but a bandit will still rob at every opportunity.
Cow (stroking his big moustache): I feel proud. Only you can be on his tail, when ghosts are involved.
Noir: Mmm…our town’s replete of bandits. Did you ever notice?
Cow (sits back down on the bed): I did. I was robbed of all my possessions once on a camel journey to Morocco – bandits had left me only in my long white cotton robes, on my camel’s back because I was out without my sword. How foolish of me!
Noir: Indeed!
Cow (shudders): But at least I didn’t get robbed by any type of ghost.

Mud and Ice

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When the first drops of rain falls in winter, the feeling you get from it is hard to pin down. Ink , sitting on her very broad (and brown) window pane discovers she has always enjoyed the rain. It’s one of her favourite things in Sheffield, besides of course stories of ‘The Great War’. In the Williams household, war stories are huge. It’s almost as if everyday there is a new story to tell of a war, which feels so long ago to her. Smiling at the thought, Ink notices that a bright ray of sunshine has suddenly taken over the skies following the rain. It’s one of those aftereffects of a weather downpour she absolutely detests but sunshine is often rare in winter, and it reminds her if she can ask her mother to go to the grocery store now, instead of in the evening when she really wants to reserve some time for learning.

At the kitchen…

Mother Williams: I am certain you can. What do you want to get for yourself?
Ink: Apples and chicken.
Mother Williams: We need a loaf of bread, bell peppers and some sugar. But that seems like a lot to carry. Why don’t you ask the butler to accompany you?
Ink: Sure! Anything else?
Mother Williams: No, I think that’s it.

Trodding on muddy ground littered with snow speckles, Sebastian (the middle-aged butler in the Williams household) and Ink Williams are trying to get to the grocery store.

Sebastian: Master, how can you even walk today? Even wearing the right shoes won’t help. It’s muddy every few feet for the roads, and…
Ink: Icy sheets on the pavements everywhere.
Sebastian: Yes, that’s why we should go back.
Ink: But I really need chicken for tonight. I have got absolutely nothing in the fridge apart from cheese and leftover toasties. Try to keep up!
Sebastian: Oh…

When Ink and her butler reach the grocery store, it’s packed.

Sebastian (glancing at the crowd): Well, this is just ridiculous!
Ink: I know. Why does everyone have to be out today? It’s not even the weekend.
Sebastian: Maybe they got fresh produce?
Ink: I hope. Although, I am not really buying much.
Sebastian: Maybe you should.
Ink:…I could use some bell peppers of my own.
Sebastian: Alright, Ink, let’s walk to buy apples. Lord save the Queen!

Two hours and two pairs of muddy trousers later…

Sebastian: Master, do you have everything you need?
Ink: Yes, I do!
Sebastian: Well, then let’s head right back home. Our trousers are muddy as it is.
Ink: I think I overheard some neighbourhood gossip while shopping.
Sebastian: What did you hear?
Ink: A young maiden has eloped and her family is in deep shame (and a lot of tears) for it because he is a good-for-nothing.
Sebastian: Am I hearing this right? You actually heard of a story like that?
Ink: Yes. Why?
Sebastian: Well, people ought to know better than to air their shameless dirty laundry in the air like that, when children are about at the grocer’s too, don’t you think?
Ink: So what if I heard it? Don’t you think it makes me wiser?
Sebastian: Tales like that?
Ink: Sure. I now know there are kinds of women who elope with idiots.
Sebastian: Wow! You do?…and what family is this?
Ink: The Rogers. They live close to where Dimitri does. Oh! Maybe he knows about it too. I can’t wait to ask him if actually saw anything up close.