Barnaby Stempleton was eating his lunch on his own qt a lovely little café. He had just finished his sandwich and was finishing his tea, watching a wilting flower in the café window. The café was doing well enough to stay in business and have a flower, but by the looks of it they weren’t doing so well as to be able to skimp on water. Compared to his visits the last few weeks they were keeping it watered, but at the bare minimum.
“You know, in Monte Diamount they have a flower that ‘cries’. It can survive months without a drop of water, but they have enough water that it often has too much, and tears.”
Turning around, Barnaby found himself looking at an old friend. Dressed in a full suit and holding an umbrella under his arm, Kent Nicholas was looking passed him at the flower. Barnaby’s face lit up and he could barely keep himself in his seat with surprise.
“Kent Nicholas, you mirage of a man!” stammered Barnaby.
“Flattering, but I don’t think-umpf!”
Kent was interrupted by Barnaby quickly standing up and hugging him. Kent smiled and patted Barnaby on his back.
“Come now, old boy, It’s good to see you too, alive and well,” said Kent, “I’m all right, Stempleton, but you’re ruining my suit!”
“I worried you had died,” said Barnaby, wiping away a tear from his eye, “Or the blasted government would keep you away forever.”
“Nonsense, my friend,” said Kent, “Although I have enjoyed my travels, I’m afraid I always longed for home. Not even the best of locations could keep me from the call of Argenstrath.”
“Where did you go?” asked Barnaby, before looking around himself, “Here, sit, sit! Waitress! Madam. Tea, please. Cream, two sugars.”
“You still remember my tea.”
“How have you been?”
“Fine, Barnaby.” Answered Kent, sitting down and leaning against the table, “Changed, perhaps. I’ve been all over. How have you been? I hear great things about Detective Barnaby Stempleton. You holding this city together without me?”
“I was a Detective before you, I’ll be a Detective after you,” said Barnaby, “But honestly? Things are a lot different now. But in many ways, it’s all the same. Nationalism has sort of calmed down. You should be safe to stay and practice again.”
“I see we now have a brand new ‘Prime Minister’. We long for the days of old so soon?”
“It’s more of a figurehead. It makes people feel safe that a mysterious government body isn’t dangling the strings. He gets to be the puppet, the one thing we can see without questioning the five fingers underneath,” said Barnaby, “He does tend to attract the crazies, though.”
“So. What am I to do? You said I could practice again. Do you think it wise?”
“I think it’ll be fine. You can set up your old house and start a new.”
“Not exactly, my old house. I doubt it’s still vacant.”
“Vacant? You were paid up until the end of the year, Nicholas, I’ve been keeping it.”
“You’ve been keeping it? Did you think I’d return?”
Barnaby chuckled, “It’s closer to the Station then my flat.”
“Spend a lot of time at the station?” asked Kent.
“Now a days? Yes. Every time I turn around it’s something. I’m only barely on lunch now,” said Barnaby, “Some lady was thrown from a roof. I’ve been dealing with that all morning.”
“Not much of a case. Killed by the fall.”
“Maybe. She was impaled by a fence. That’s not the mystery. The mystery is who threw her off the roof,” Barnaby took a sip of his tea.
Kent look confused, “What? You so sure she was thrown?”
“She has a publicly known fear of heights,” said Barnaby, “Several complaints and public disturbances reports on her from things like trains on too high of bridges to airships. She’s banned from several airship docks. Very public knowledge. You telling me she climbed a ladder and jumped out a three story building? I don’t buy it.”
“Neither do I,” smiled Kent, raising from his seat, “Sounds like a case. Sounds like I’m back!”
“Come, Barnaby,” said Kent, walking away down the street, “I’m ready for this case!”
“But, your tea,” said Barnaby, also standing.
“No time,” shouted Kent over his shoulder, “Every minute we late the killer gets away!”
“Kent!” shouted Barnaby, trying to throw some Ciams on the table.
“Come along, Barnaby,” shouted Kent, “I’m back!”
“Kent!” shouted Barnaby, rolling his eyes, “You’re going the wrong way! This way.”