“So, my dear Junapa,” Wislydale languidly said, stifling a yawn as he blinked blearily across the table. “I think I have yet to congratulate you on your recent acquisition, what?”
“Indeed,” Kolb smiled. “You managed to snap up that shoddy little inn before any of us could get to it. Particularly well played, my cousin.”
“You flatter me,” Junapa smiled gently. “It was merely a spot of luck, a drunken innkeeper, and a well-paid solicitor. I count myself fortunate that Matron was not faster.”
“She… well… she does seem to be slowing up…or rather, down, doesn’t she,” Pinsnip said. “I know I would be tired, fending off the… the whole family.”
“Speaking of tired,” Wislydale cut in with a cough. “What is this I hear, Kolb, about you funding for some trip up the Amazon?
“Yes,” Junapa smiled slightly. “I thought you had given up all that nonsense after your troubles with the courts?”
“I had,” Kolb’s eyes flashed as they locked with Junapa’s. “I was forced back to my knight errant ways, as a result of a particularly pernicious problem from my past. Our mistakes do tend to follow us long after they seem dead… and buried, do they not?”
Junapa’s eyes narrowed as she nodded slowly.
“Yes, quite,” Wislydale drawled, his head rolling about his shoulders. “But I say, you’re not really starting all that rot up again, are you? It’s hardly appropriate for Family to run off to someplace… foreign. My dear chap, there are all sorts of diseases out there!”
“I assure you,” Kolb’s smile broadened. “When I return, I will stay as far away from you as possible.”
“I think,” Junapa smiled in return, “Wislydale is far less concerned with your health than what it says about the Family, dear cousin.”
“And why on earth shouldn’t I be?” Wislydale grumbled. “Dashed silly business, what? If you want adventure, why don’t you go on Safari, or do something respectable, like that? It’s bad enough you spent all that time with that traveling jackanape band of fellows; your behavior is damned silly, and you’re making us all look damned silly too, what?”
“I’m sorry if you feel the good name of Moulde has been sullied,” Kolb smirked. “Please feel free to return to that horrible little hovel of hobos you call a family… If the Bonnes will let you, of course.” He shot off a parting sneer as his whole body shifted to point towards Junapa. “I would be honored to hear how your holiday to your summer home went, dear cousin. Is old Mr. Keaney still there? I hear he’s threatening to leave.”
“Oh really,” Wislydale rolled his eyes lazily. “Is that old fool still bearing a grudge about that little mess with the police?”
“The sentence was seven years, Wislydale,” Tunansia grunted, sipping her soup. “Maybe he thinks it’s not a grudge. Maybe it’s justice.”
“Justice?” Wislydale snorted. “How quaint. It wasn’t Junapa’s fault he didn’t have a convincing alibi. You’d think he didn’t realize; Murder is a serious business, what?”
There was another pause while everyone nodded the nods of people who knew this to be true.
“I must say, the trouble in South Dunkin has taken a turn for the worse, hasn’t it?” Junapa said after a pause.
“Why on earth are we talking about this?” Pinsnip blurted out with sudden ferocity. “Why aren’t we talking about–” and he fell silent. There was a pause while everyone gently set down their spoons and glasses, focusing their attention at him.