Yay! Next chapter :D Sorry for the delay—as some of you know (or none of you if none of you bothered checking my forums XP), not only was I sick, but I was also in Washington DC for a few days, and thus, could not write the next chapter (as I'm picky and like to write on my computer). Then, I had work and got sick –again-, plus, my mind exploded over theories and other junk. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this next one ^_^ Depending on things, this fanfiction may actually be almost over (because I totally suck at making things longer than needed), so hopefully you will all be happy about the ending when it comes along ^^;
A large splash was heard as Flora fell below, gripping the hat upon her head tightly as she felt water flow over her head. Popping her head back out and taking a quick breath of air, she was greeted by another large splash, sending a wave over her head.
Popping up once more, she was greeted by a familiar voice as she felt the hat leave her head. "I'll be taking that, now." Luke stated with a smirk, placing his, though now wet, hat back on his head.
"We're in water who knows where and you're more worried about your hat?"
"You've never been to the sewers?"
Flora took a quick look around and realized he was probably right. "Why would I even go somewhere like this?"
"Haven't you ever felt the urge to just explore your own town?"
"Even if I did, do you really think I would've been allowed to?" Flora's sentence trailed off as Luke suddenly regretted asking.
"W-well, we really should be getting out of here. This isn't a good place to stay and I'm sure the Professor and everyone will be worried…" Luke said quickly, trying to change the subject as he climbed out of the water unto a side path. He quickly held out a hand for Flora which she accepted gratefully and helped her up.
"Thank you." Flora said softly as Luke tipped his hat, causing the girl to blush slightly. Despite seeing him do it before during his return, this was the first time Luke had done so just for her.
Luke looked around until his eyes stopped upon a tall ladder. "That should bring us back up to the main area and then there should be another ladder we could use to get back to the village."
"Do I even want to know why you and the Professor were down here?"
"Well, we needed the gate key to the park. Besides, no area can be left unchecked."
"I suppose, but it still doesn't seem to be the safest place."
"As far as I'm concerned, your town is far from safe. I mean, we got chased by a Ferris Wheel, had to walk up a giant tower, ended up being trapped in the city, had to explore the sewers, go underground…" Luke paused seeing the anger on Flora's face slowly building up with each mention. "But it's nice otherwise—"However, before he could continue, Flora had taken his hat off his head and thrown it at his face, stopping his sentence.
"And you call that polite?!"
"You deserved it. How would you feel if I spoke like that about your hometown?"
"Even I can admit my hometown wasn't completely safe." Luke said softly. "I mean, everything ended up okay, but…" He trailed off, causing Flora to feel somewhat guilty, despite some of her anger still looming.
The two stayed silent as they headed towards the ladder, Flora clinging slightly to the wet sleeve of Luke's coat as to not slip.
The silence was broken as Luke looked towards her. "Would you like to go up first? It may be better if you do because th—"
Flora was about to agree when she quickly glared at Luke, causing him to look slightly confused. "You can go first."
"But it may be safer i—"
"I'll be fine."
Luke, not wanting to cause more arguing, just nodded and began to head up with the notion that no matter how much older he became, girls would always be weird and not make any sense at all. 'If every puzzle has an answer, why can't they?' He thought to himself as he reached the top. Turning around, he looked down at Flora who was climbing slowly. Reaching out a hand to help her, Flora shook her head.
"I can do it." However, just as quickly as she said that, she let out a large squeal as her right foot slipped. Luke immediately grabbed her arm and pulled her up.
"This is why I wanted you to climb first."
"I would've been fine if you didn't say anything."
"No, those shoes aren't very stable when wet, right?"
Flora looked away softly. "You grabbed onto me pretty quick and were walking slow, so I just figured." Luke explained with a shrug. "Why do you wear shoes like that anyway? What would happen if it rained?"
"Why do you always wear a hat? Even at the dinner table."
"The Professor does."
"That's different. His hat is…well…" Luke just nodded, understanding. Neither really felt comfortable talking too much about the situation after what had happened. Especially when Layton couldn't help but tell them all about those days ten years ago on the way home. The silence was interrupted though as Luke stated "But my hat may be just as special, you know."
"Like your bear?"
"I told you about that?"
"Did you forget?"
Judging by Luke's expression she guessed so and giggled. "You told me it was a birthday gift from your mother and you were younger, but your father felt it'd be best if you separated from it, so you asked me to take very good care of it."
"So, that's why you asked if I wanted it back..." Luke mumbled softly. Flora was about to question when Luke grabbed her hand. "We can talk later, okay?"
"A-alright…" Flora stuttered, wondering about his change in mood. "One thing though…"
"What is it?"
"My ribbon. It was a gift from my parents before...well…" Flora didn't have to continue as Luke gave her a small hug, causing the girl's eyes to widen from surprise. It was just another way he had grown.
Releasing her from his embrace, Flora stepped back slightly as the two stared in silence, unsure if it was comfortable or not.
"L-let's go then…" Luke said softly as Flora nodded, linking her arm with his.
It hadn't taken them much longer to get to the inn. The only delays were Flora's tendency to slip due to her wet shoes and have to cling more to Luke, causing a….confusing reaction from him, as far as Flora was concerned. In the end, Luke had decided to give her a piggyback, telling her it was safer that way. Despite protests, she finally agreed feeling it was less embarrassing then him carrying her against her will.
"There you two are!" The Professor greeted. "I was worried about you two."
"We just hit some trouble is all." Luke explained.
"Well, here, why don't you two head upstairs to change and then we'll talk about it over a nice cup of tea?"
Luke and Flora nodded gratefully and headed off before Flora stopped once more. "Ah…Professor, where is Doctor Schrader? And the Inspector and Don Paolo"
"Well, Doctor Schrader wanted to help out at the ball again—said there was someone he wanted to see. Despite his age, he's a rather active man." Layton said with a smile before his expression changed slightly. "The Inspector had to chase after Don Paolo though…"
Flora nodded and then headed up the stairs, making sure to follow Luke closely, just in case.
Flora's wet clothes lay on a towel as she began to brush her hair that was now dry; thanks to a blow dryer she had been able to borrow from the inn. She paused as she heard a knock at the door.
"The Professor told me to check on you to see what's taking you so long."
"Luke!" The Professor exclaimed from down the hall. "What did I say about lying?"
"As far as I'm concerned, it seems you were just growing impatient." Flora responded from the door.
"Well, are you almost done?"
"I'm just finishing up my hair."
"Does it really take that long? It's not like we haven't seen your hair down before, I mean just a few days ag—"
"It's different when a girl wants to leave her hair down."
"Girls don't even make sense." Luke mumbled, receiving a loud huff in return.
"At least you're mature enough not to just walk in."
"It's not like anything you'd be doing would be a sur—"
"Don't you dare bring that up."
"It's fine…Anyway, I'm done now, so you can come in if you'd like."
Luke opened the door to see Flora adjusting her ribbon slightly as she looked up, the two froze. Luke was in a slightly large blue sweater over a white collared shirt and green trousers that reminded her greatly of what she usually saw him wearing when she first met him. Unnoticed to her, Luke was having a similar reaction at her long peach-colored dress.
Flora blinked and cocked her head to the side, a confused expression replacing her nervous one. "Of course I did! And you changed too, didn't you? I mean we were soaking wet."
Luke just stood there, unsure of what to say, causing Flora to cock her head to the other side. She wasn't used to him being silent and she wasn't sure what she did to receive such a…odd look from him. As far as she was concerned, all boys, including gentlemen were weird. Well, except the Professor. He seemed somewhat normal…she then remembered his obsession with puzzles and shook her head, realizing her original statement was correct.
"So…shall we go?" Flora said softly, trying to break the silence.
Luke nodded and held out his arm, which Flora took as they both headed to the Professor's room.
"It's good to see you're alright, Flora. Luke had told me somewhat about what happened, but it's good to hear from you too. So neither of you saw anything?"
Both shook their heads. "Anything that was there seemed to have been removed." Flora said softly.
"Probably recently as well." Luke added.
"Not too recent, though, Luke. If anything, it seems Bruno may have done it rather than whoever changed the memory of everyone…"
"They'd be in his workshop, right Professor?"
"Yes. Which…now that I think about it…"
"…it should be under the ball room, right?" Flora asked.
"Very good, my dear. Of course, after last time, I'm not sure how well it'll be to go…"
"Well, the Inspector is there, isn't he?"
"Yes…unless he's still chasing after Don Paolo. He may have decided to take a break though… At the very least, he should be able to get the crowds away, even if he's still suspicious of us…"
"We just have to find a good way to look around without being looked at."
"I've got it!" Luke exclaimed. He then leaned over to the Professor and began to whisper something in his ear.
"That could work very well, Luke. Are you sure you're up to it?"
"Of course, I do need a few things though…" Luke stated as he reached into one of the Professor's bags and pulled out a suit. He then took Layton's hat off his head and placed it on his own.
"I'll return it soon, Professor. It won't work without it!"
"Trust me!" Luke exclaimed as he began to head out the door. He stopped to hand Flora his familiar hat. "Hold onto this for me!"
And with that, he was gone.
"Umm…Professor, what does he plan on doing?"
"He asked me to keep it a secret for now, but I promise you'll see soon. For now, it's best we head back to the ball! It should be starting for the evening soon."
And that is the end of chapter. And now I'm heading to bed as it's 4AM and I should not be up. X___x *dies*
But yes, as I'm sure a lot of people noticed, Luke is very...umm...darn, it's 4AM so I can't think of the right word, but he has a lot of personality. He can be smart, rash, excitable, rambunctious, dense, a pain in the butt, and many other things and being older, he can even range into other points, but one major thing he has matured a bit and become slightly a gentleman, but still hasn't grown completely out of a lot of old things, though, he has become quite a bit smarter and has things more thought out which you'll be seeing in the next chapter.
Anyway, I'm off to head to bed before I like pass out at my keyboard. Night all :P