The hour of noonday was far from its beginning as the evening hour began setting upon the port town of Frigiburg. The illumination of the sky changed into its red and orange appearance, draping Frigiburg in the vibrant colors reflected off the surrounding frosty landscape and frigid fjord. Though the winds hadn't grown harsher than their daylong pace, chillier temperatures had grown—not that any Bumpty typically tends to care too much about that.

The declining sun was still above the horizon when Madam Sardle arrived back at her home, albeit later than the penguin had originally anticipated. Whilst trekking to her home, Sardle had passed by the town's farmers' market. Sardle realized she needed to restock her food supply after such considerable time away from home, and decided to use some of her pay to purchase some perishables—although her mood was not quite in favor of this additional work being placed upon her, but she felt she might as well get it over with now.

Obviously, a surplus of seafood could be found at the market, but some produce could be found as well, though in more limited supply, as growing plant-based foods in a place like the Shiver Region was not such an effortless achievement. Still, Sardle acquired her items and made for home afterwards, hoping not to discover any other busywork that would impede the path to her desirable homestead.

Sardle was pleased she had not run into that potential complication, and proceeded up the small stairway to her house. Sardle's home was a small, narrow, two-floor building in-between many others similar to it. The designs of the buildings themselves were comparable to those in Shiver City, which the designs may have originated from, as Frigiburg was founded sometime after the founding of Shiver City. Before heading inside, Sardle checked her mailbox for any new letters. There was nothing inside, which only added to the penguin's dismay. Dejectedly, Sardle went to her front door whilst removing her double-bit house key from her satchel and unlocking the door with it.

After Sardle had stepped inside, for a few moments she did feel a sense of serenity, being back in her own home. She spread her gaze across her first floor: it wasn't much, but it was still her only home. Adjacent to Sardle's right was a coatrack which currently held Sardle's favorite hat: a small sunhat with a seafoam green ribbon wrapped around it. Sardle would never wear it when on a fishing vessel in case she lost it or mussed it up, both frightful notions in their own right. A few feet away from that lies the staircase leading to Sardle's only other floor, with a number of pictures of Sardle's relations hanging on the wall as they followed the stairs up. All to the left of the stairs was Sardle's living room, complete with some antique-looking furniture, such as an armchair next to a table in the middle of the room, which Sardle enjoyed her reading in the most. Along the back wall and right wall next to the stairs were a few smaller chairs, a smaller table, and a dresser adorned with two lamps—turned off, of course, lest Sardle be called eco-unfriendly—and also because she certainly wasn't going to pay to have lights on when she's away from home for so long. To Sardle's immediate left was a sofa, sitting beneath a large window that showed off much of Frigiburg through its pellucid frame. Along the leftmost wall were two tall bookcases: the left was full of books, the right had only several. Sardle had every one of Herringway's books, predictably, though had some mystery novels by writers she considers not as prolific as Herringway, but she kept those books anyway.

Though she felt like relaxing in her favorite chair after such a long excursion, Sardle knew she'd feel better if she put her groceries away first. Sardle entered the kitchen through the doorway at the back of the living room, and walked the few feet to the right to place her groceries in her icebox. Sardle's kitchen wasn't much, having only one icebox, one stove, one cupboard, a small counter with drawers for utensils and other accessories. The kitchen had only one window above the stove, though all it showed was the backs of other buildings across from Sardle, all of which were of the same general design as hers. Sardle began to place her assorted perishables into the icebox, which consisted of some assorted fish, crustacean, and cephalopod-based food, all of which penguins typically consumed, though she did purchase some dry pasta, which she herself was fond of when prepared precisely the perfect way. Also, even though Sardle mostly ate seafood, she found herself rather bored with eating said food more so than expected, as that is all she would eat whilst on her fishing expeditions. There may be other Bumpties who feel as she does, but it is a topic Sardle deems unnecessary to converse about.

With her foodstuffs stored in their proper place, Sardle now felt she could relax as she had desired ever since she stepped onboard the Emperor weeks ago. Ambling back into the living room, Sardle slumped into her armchair, finally feeeling her long-awaited relief after being on her feet for what felt, to her, like an eternity. She sat with her eyes closed for a bit, then opened them lightly to peer out the front window. Though Sardle couldn't see the setting sun from this angle, she could tell how low it was getting. It would soon be dark, but Sardle felt it needless to get up from her comfortable seat and turn on a light, so she stayed put in her serene state with her tranquil thoughts. Although, now that she was relaxed, she found those thoughts drifting back to her detective troubles. After all, she hadn't any new messages from possible clients in her mailbox, even after two weeks of her being absent from Frigiburg!

What should she do next?

What could she do next?

Sardle was still apprehensive that she might not receive any cases at all during her leave, though a small part of her believed that notion was absurd to some degree, at least. Still, fear has a way of amplifying unwanted thoughts in one's mind, as had been happening to Sardle since she got back to Frigiburg, and attempting to rid herself of those thoughts didn't appear possible for the young Bumpty. After all, there was no guarantee Sardle could find new clientele while she was in town—even if she went out and searched for Bumpties in need of her assistance, there may be none to be found. Such dreadful thinking only served to supplement Sardle's consternation of never having even the chance of being a full-time detective. Truly, there was no fate worse than that—though that was a sentiment only Sardle would agree with.

Sardle mulled over what to do until the last beams of the sun retreated beyond the horizon until their return the next morning. Now that her house was pitch-black, not counting what little light bled in from neighboring homes, Sardle grumbled, knowing she would have to get to bed now, which, of course, meant having to actually physically move her body.

"Ehh…my mind'll feel better in the morning," she muttered as she slowly got out of the armchair and headed for the stairs, though she had to take a quick detour to lock the front door, as she had forgotten to earlier. "I guess it's not surprising my mind isn't at it's best," she muttered yet again as she began her ascent to the second floor.

The entirety of Sardle's second floor was the same size as the first, though the rooms were arranged different, and part of her stairs took up more space there than downstairs. The top of the staircase led into Sardle's meager bedroom, which had even less furniture than her living room, consisting only of a bed, nightstand, lamp on the nightstand, dresser, writing desk, a chair under the writing desk, and large circular rug covering most of the floor. Like downstairs, there was one other room, which was a bathroom that was only a bit smaller than Sardle's kitchen. A closed doorway to the left of Sardle's bed led to this bathroom, which only contained a bathtub with a showerhead, a sink, and a toilet. All-in-all, Sardle's whole house doesn't seem like much, but Sardle didn't feel that she needed too much in the way of furniture, and also that too much stuff would cramp her already somewhat constricted living quarters.

Sardle walked over to her bed, placing her satchel next to it. She climbed onto the bed and crawled over to the circular window that hung over her bed's backboard. She looked out at what she could see of nighttime Frigiburg. Frigiburg is no tourist destination, so it didn't have much of a night life. All she could see was the smattering of lit-up windows from those relaxing at their own homes, combined with the gently falling snowflakes that found themselves illuminated by the crescent moon's near radiance. Seeing the town from up on her second floor reminded Sardle of how large a city Frigiburg was; and of all the Bumpties in this city there just had to be at least one who needed her help.

"There has to be." Sardle contemplated as she placed herself under her bedsheets and laid her head against her quite comfortable pillow. "There just HAS to be…"

Sardle's eyes drifted closer together as her tired body and mind gave way to the approach of sleep. The Bumpty was now at her most relaxed as she nestled in for the night. All was finally as calm inside Sardle's home as was Frigiburg outside, with the snowfall staying at its leisurely pace all through the night as the whole fjord town settled into its communal ease.