AN: Hiya. I'm back from the dead. I'm writing this on candy-high, so excuse any errors you find and just point them out to me in a PM (or even better, a review!). Anyway, happy late Halloween, happy early Thanksgiving, and early Happy Holidays, as I doubt I'll have anything uploaded in the near future.

Summary: After solving the mystery of the Diabolical Box, the Professor and friends are heading to Misthallery to drop off Luke. And Inspector Chelmey hears of a Black Market...

Songs that I listened to while writing: Feed the Machine by Red and Wake the Dead by Ilia.

Disclaimer: I don't own this, Level-5 owns that... yadda yadda yadda, you know the drill. I don't own.

Professor Layton and the Bumbling Inspector

The Laytonmobile bumped along the dirt road, kicking up dust in its wake. The red car was crammed full with four of the car owner's rather close friends (or people that had just insisted to tag along, Layton far to much of a gentleman to object);

Flora, since she was the lady of the group, was riding beside the Professor, giggling as she pointed out various objects that caught her attention. Barton was pressed against the right door, complaining about how empty his stomach was. Chelmey, the renowned inspector, was muttering under his breath, ignoring the stuffy car, as he studied the map of Misthallery, their destination. And poor little Luke Triton, who was returning home to Misthallery after the pursuit of the Elysian Box, was squeezed between the inspector and the policeman, still on the verge of tears after returning Fluffy, the chef's hamster, back to his home on the Molentary Express.

Professor Layton just kept his eyes on the road, wondering how Chelmey had let Barton drive. The two law enforcers would have been in Chelmey's "Inspector" car, had Barton not ran it into a stream about a fifth of the way to their destination. And why they were going to Misthallery in the first place, he hadn't the foggiest.

"Ooh, Professor! Isn't that it?" Flora asked as she tugged on his arm, pointing to a city wrapped in the chilling tendrils of fog in the distance.

"Yes, my dear, it just might be," he said, pulling to a stop by a rickety bridge that stretched over a rather large gap. He never was able to tell how deep it was, as thick blankets of fog had always obscured his view.

The Laytonmobile creaked to a stop a few yards from the edge. Barton was the first out; he all but flew. Chelmey, who hadn't noticed his absence, or even the car stopping, until Luke scrambled out, kicking the man in the shin during the process.

"Ai! You lil' brat, watch where you're going!" he yelled, unfastening his seatbelt and chasing after him. "Barton, you get back here!" And just like that, the inspector was chasing Barton across the bridge.

The Professor laughed at this; Barton never seemed to have the ability to run until there was food involved. He soon followed, as Luke and Flora were bounding across the bridge as well. Though he refused to run; he was a gentleman.

Luke just happened to glance back to see the Professor following. He stopped and tugged on Flora's arm, the two running back. "Professor! Professor! Where should I take Flora first, huh?"

"Why don't we go to Paddy's Place with Barton and Chelmey?" Layton assumed that Barton would end up there; the nose on that man was stronger than a bloodhound's when it came to food.

Luke nodded. "Okay! Come on Flora! They have the best food in all of Misthallery!"

Flora giggled, running alongside with Luke. The two seemed to be best friends. Layton would hate to split them up. Yet the Elysian Box, however, was doubtlessly not going to be their last adventure.

Layton was able to catch up to the bounding children (well, young adults, it seemed like) when they came to the pond in the middle of the town. Flora, who was secretly being eyed by Clarence, was peering over the edge, staring at the various types of koi and carp whose fins glinted in the sunlight. Luke was trying to tug her along, but so far, he was not succeeding.

"Luke, Flora, come along now. Barton is doubtlessly at the cafè by now," Layton scolded lightly. Flora snapped out of her trance instantly. Luke's face was overridden by a pout. He was just as respectable as the Professor, just a few years shy of a genius like him!

A few more minutes of silence trailed the three, only a few outbursts from Flora breaking the quietness of the town. The cafè finally came into sight. Layton could see Barton stuffing his face through the window, though Chelmey was no where to be seen. Though he could have just excused himself to use the loo, that was not the Chelmey that Layton had grown to know over the rather short mission they had worked on.

Luke was the first to barge through the door to Paddy's Place. Flora followed. Then Layton. The eatery was just as calm as homey since the events of the Specter's Flute. Greppe, a regular, was seated in his normal seat by the counter, where Paddy sat, flipping through a chef catalog.

As Paddy looked up, expecting to see a local, he was astounded to see the now-famous Professor Layton, and the young Luke, seating themselves by the policeman from The Yard. A young lady he had not seen before was accompanying them.

Throwing the magazine down and grabbing his pad and paper (his memory was beginning to leave him, and as a waiter, he hated getting the orders wrong) and rushed over, a smile slapped across his face.

"Professor Layton, is that truly you?" Paddy asked, flipping to the next clean page, pen poised to write down what type of tea he wanted.

"Why, yes, it is. And how have you been, sir?"

"I've been great! Business is picking up recently, so I added a few more choices to the menu. Here you all go. You want any drinks?" Normally, he wouldn't rush customers to order, but he had an inkling that the young lady was just like the two gentlemen she was following around, so he was jotting down an order for three teas.

His theory correct, Paddy handed the menus to the three and quickly rushed to the kitchen.

That left the Professor and friends with Barton, who was chowing down on what appeared to be three different appetizers. "Mmssr!" was the only sound that Barton produced when he glanced up to see Layton... Sir Layton (Chelmey insisted upon making him call Herschel that) sitting across from him. He cleared his throat and spoke again, swallowing a mouthful of delectable food.

"Professor, sir! The Inspector wished for to inform you that he went down to the market and that he wanted you to attend him... A.S.A.P.!" Wasn't that a type of film development?...

Either way, the Professor nodded, a curt 'thank you, Barton' ensuing. "Do you know why he is all the way down there?"

"I heard him muttering something about a Black Market, then he marched off. Some criminals he's going to take care of, I assume," Barton replied, soon returning to his meal.

Layton's usual, polite smile dropped from his face. The Black Market... happened to be where Crow and his fine group of underlings worked to rouse up a little money for their families. If the children weren't, for the most part, respectful, he would have noted the authorities back when he found out they existed (after, of course, he got the valuable information from them).

He crossed his arms for a moment, an involuntary tic that occurred whenever he was in deep thought. "Luke, Flora, stay here and eat. I'll address this."

'But Professor! Crow's my friend and I wanna see him!' likely came from Luke and 'Now, you're not leaving me behind again!' from Flora. Nevertheless, the two children were flouncing along behind him as he approached the canal. Hopefully Bucky was still in service...

Surely, as they grew closer to the river that lay west of Paddy's Place, a man with billowing hair and overalls was visible by the flowing water. "Why, there's a face I haven't seen in forever n' a day!"

"Hello, Bucky, we'll talk later! We gotta get to the market," Luke said.

"Alrighty then! To the market, ho!" The three of them piled into the bright red boat, Flora riding towards the top, Luke splashing water in her direction directly behind her, then Layton chatting with Bucky in the back.

Bucky's speed proving once again to be astounding, the three arrived in the market barely three minutes later. Bucky did mention that the Inspector had taken one of his boats down to the market – causing Bucky to boast that he was soon going to be escorting the Prime Minister to and fro around Misthallery, what with all the famous patrons he was receiving lately – and that he seemed to be in a hurry.

Herschel thanked Bucky once more, quickly rushing Luke and Flora along. Past grumpy old Aunt Taffy, past Mary and her vegetable stand, past Tweeds munching on his candy, and finally to Nabby, who was arguing with Chelmey. Layton noticed how Nabby was diligent to remain standing on the old manhole lid, which hid the entrance to the Black Market.

"Now, young man, you best listen to me! I'm from the Scotland Yard and I can doubtlessly find where your parents are–" Chelmey was bellowing, but Nabby was cleverly finding ways to annoy him even further.

"Well, if you insist on being such a burden, my parents are dead, and you're not making my job any easier by standing there blowing your top in my face," Nabby sounded so cool in spite of the beyond-angered inspector.


Nabby's cover was blown. "Er, not job, that's just what this bogus pastime–"

"DON'T YOU DARE DENY IT!" Chelmey seemed to gradually be cooling down. "Now, if you'll cooperate, I'll give you minimum charges–"

"Sir, I barely have enough cash on hand to keep me and my leeching friends fed and clothed, so I certainly won't give any of it to a thorn in my side like you."

Layton could cut the tension with a knife. The Inspector opened his mouth, about ready to fire another round of complaints and accusations before the Professor stepped in. "Inspector, I'm terribly sorry, but the Black Market case was closed several years before when Luke and a former assistant of mine investigated the Specter's Flute."

The Inspector's eye visibly twitched. His mouth flapped opened and closed like a fish that had been hauled above water. A few moments later, he snapped into a dignified pose and strode off, just as if nothing had happened.

"Who's the bumbling idiot? Speaking of which, you going to help me out money-wise or just stand there, Professor?"

"Why, yes, Nabby. Luke wishes to see Crow."

And just like that, things fell back into their own clockwork, scratch the Inspector's marred pride.

A:N: Three different things I had to research to complete this story woooo! That's really good for me, considering how lazy I am.

Reviews are love, flames are more reasons for me to go insane and take over the world (though I won't care unless you're a downright jack*** rather than just pointing something out).

Anywayyyy, The fanfic has references to the second and third Professor Laytons so spoiler alert! Alright, bye-bye, review please!