Pepper smiled up at Grace, though it faded a little when he noticed that her clothes were wet. He whined softly and rubbed at an itch on his nose, smearing his face with green paint. The toddler didn’t seem to realize it, though.
"No windows here… You’re… all wet?" he prompted, blinking up at her with wide green eyes.
Emily hobbled across the deck and down the plank with her buckets of used water and emptied them into the thick brush along the riverside. All of the cleaning products her family used were environmentally safe, so it would do no damage to the area.
After a brief moment to clean up a bit, she joined her mother in the laundry room, where Mama Von Schweets was pulling clothes from a clockwork drying machine. Three baskets of sheets and blankets were already piled up on the folding table from being hung up outside in the sunlight.
The little girl began silently folding clothes, staring off into nothing in particular. Without a word, her mother gave her a small pat on the head and retreated to the kitchen to make bread for the day’s sandwiches.
Cornelius snorted in laughter. Bramley had taken his goofy bragging and decided to knock him down a peg by smearing paint over his cheek and nose, which soon started a paint war. It was a very lucky thing that the floor, helm, and chair were protected by drop cloths, because by the time the cabin was coated, so were the boys.
They walked past the garden with sheepish grins directed towards Grace and Pepper, then scuttled off to the washroom to clean up. Surely there were other things to do, and every moment wasted was possibly a minute less spent on the track.
"Aye me… You take a flame thrower to this thing?" the mechanic asked in dismay once they’d made it back to the engine room.
The massive gears had melded together, the belts were smoking, or burnt off entirely, and it seemed a miracle the thing could even have functioned enough to bring it to the area.
"When family duty calls, I might be a little over excited to get here and there. What’s this gonna set me back, ah?" Papa Von Schweetz asked with a nervous scratch to the back of his head. "I’d be willing to trade a box of potions if it helps, as well."
The banana themed fellow removed his hat and wiped his brow.
"I hate to tell ya, but we’re looking at a whole new engine here. I wouldn’t be able to pry those bits apart, and removing it won’t bring me anything in repairable trade. Best I can do is set you up with a new one, and melt down some of what ya got for new parts. Bare minimum, new engine on a boat this size is gonna run ya 75 gold coins. The melt-down rate will discount you 15 of those, from what I can salvage. The box of potions will cut out another 10. I know you’re a family man, I got two of my own running around. If I go less than that, I’ll lose money and I gotta look out for my own, as well." he replied heavily.
Papa Von Schweetz whistled and ran a hand through his thick beard. This sort of amount was hard to come by. It was more than the family had in savings. He certainly didn’t have that amount to spend in rainy day funds.
"No kinda patch job you can do for this kinda thing?" he asked tiredly.
""I’m afraid not, fella. Look, I’ve known you for a long time, you know I wouldn’t try to pull one over on you, Cindi. I can’t patch what I can’t take apart." the smaller man frowned.
"Mmph. No, I understand. Any way you could set me up on a payment plan?" Mr. Von Schweetz asked hopefully.
"I… alright. Not somethin’ I normally do, but you’re good people. I’ll work with you as much as I can." the mechanic sighed.
The gentlemen shared a handshake to seal the deal and Papa Von Schweetz stepped out to break the news to his wife as the mechanic began breaking down the engine as well as he could.
"You kids might want to run off and play. I’m gonna have to cut through this with a torch, and it can get dangerous in here."
Grace smiled down at him, and reached into her pocket for a clean rag, and very gently tried to rub the pain off of his face.
"You got s-some on you, Pepper." she laughed softly, before she nodded to his question about her clothes.
"I sp-pilled some on me." she smiled sheepishly, before she stood straight with a small sigh. Well, if there weren’t any windows in there, then no use lugging around a bucket of water. Hopefully she got all of them… she saw Cornelius and Bramley go past, and gave them curious looks at the state they were in, but she figured she should go try to find some dry clothes for herself before going to help out any more. She wouldn’t want to get sick or anything.
"Gonna go find some clean clothes. Try not to-to get any more paint on your face, okay?" she asked him, before she picked up her things and continued onwards. She took the stool back first, before dumping the dirty water, and then replaced the bucket.
She went and found one of the shirts Emily had let her borrow before, and changed quickly before going to see if she could help with anything else.
Alan frowned, not sure if that WAS a llot - but judging by Papa Von Shweetz’s reaction it must have been. He gave the tall man a sympathetic look, and watched him leave. He waited half a heartbeat, before he dashed up to the mechanic and lightly tugged on his shirt.
"Ah- Sir? Would this help cover everything?" he asked the man hurriedly, not caring if Goldan saw or not, and pulled a medium sized pouch out of his small hammer space, glad he had learned to store at least a few things so far. He opened it, and held it out to him to show him - inside must have been a hundred or so gold coins.
"Y-you don’t hafta tell them it wasth from me or nuthin. They’ve been real nice to me and my friend, stho I wanna do sthomethin’ nice back. And- and dun worry, it’sth really mine. I didn’t take it or nothin, I’ve been sthaving for a bit." he explained. His allowance was five gold pieces a month that SHOULD be inside of his private vault, but he had long since figured out how to get into it. He wasn’t supposed to have access to it until he was a ‘proper ruler’.
They needed it more then him though.
Papa Von Scweetz cast a glance over his shoulder at the jogging boys. His own strides were so long in comparison that it was easy to forget that he was getting ahead of people. Rather than waste any time, he picked up each boy in his massive hands and settled them on his shoulders, continuing the walk.
"We have to let the mechanic know we’re here. If he needs our help taking the engine apart, we’ll do that. If not, I’ll use the time to look for plants for my potions in the thickets ‘round here. You can always help with that if ya like." he replied with a shrug, nearly sending the two boys airborne.
Goldan laughed it off, and tried to keep his balance. Once they’d made it down the pathway into town, a large building with a thatched roof stood out among the tribal themed huts. There was faint music coming from inside, seemingly from a mini-game where Players could customize their karts into jungle themed racing vehicles if they so chose for an upgrade.
"Been a while, Cindimint! Gone and busted your engine again?" a stocky, banana themed gentleman asked with a good natured grin. He walked out around the counter, carefully stepping around boost rockets and firing modules. He slung a giant wrench over his shoulder and picked up his box of tools.
"Ah, well. You know how it is. Come along, I’ll show you the damage. Might be a job too big for even you, Caven. Hope not, but I busted her up pretty good this time, I think." Mr. Von Schweetz chuckled in embarrassment.
"Too big for me? SURELY you JEST." the mechanic snorted, following along at an even pace behind.
Emily did her best to scrub the deck down quickly, knowing that it might smooth things over with the other kids to get through the chores quick enough to allow for time at the track She was careful to be thorough, though, not wanting to risk being made to do it over a second time in the event that she missed some spots.
Cornelius and Bramley set to work painting, both looking quite silly in some over-sized painting shirts. The boys set to work, popping the lids of paint open, laying out tarps, and spreading even coats of paint over the walls where the helm was kept. The little Prince wobbled said steering wheel to and fro a bit, wondering how it differed from a kart. Maybe he would ask Mr. Von Schweetz about it later. For now, he had to focus.
"Are you guysth any good at racething?" he asked brightly.
"Hm? Naaah, not really. We just like running into each other, mostly. Emily kinda likes driving off-road, but Goldan and I like the bumper kart functions best. Why? Are you a pretty good racer?" Bramley grinned. "Or just another target on the road?"
"Oho… I think you’d have a hard time catchin’ ME. I dun like to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty good behind the wheel ath a MATTA of FACT. I justh learned how to do sthome tricks, even! I’m gonna be on the roster next year." Cornelius bragged playfully.
As much as Pepper wanted to help with painting, his mother knew that he would just make a mess. Better to let him finger paint on paper in the garden for now.
Alan gasped a bit as he was swept up into the air, but he settled down quickly onto the large man’s shoulders with a small giggle, and tried to keep his balance as well. He smiled and looked around the village in excitement, never having seen such a place before. He gave the mechanic a friendly wave before they headed back to the boat.
"I’ve neva been in a racing kart before." he mused to Goldan, wondering if they really could all go to the tracks later. He was interested in it, of course - his parents found it distasteful.
Grace made sure she got every little window and or port hole cleaned that she could find, dragging a stool around with her to get the harder to reach ones. She paused to rub her eyes a bit, still feeling tired from the long day yesterday, and more chores were certainly not helping.
She wondered if they would all get to go to the tracks. It didn’t matter, she supposed. She wasn’t planning on staying much longer.
She let out a sad/startled noise as she nearly toppled over her bucket of dirty water, and it splashed on her a bit instead. Well, better then the clean floors that Emily had worked so hard on. She carried her things into the garden, looking around for any more windows she might have missed. She smiled as she saw little Pepper, and left her things to the side for a moment.
"H-hi, Pepper… there aren’t an-any windows around h-here, are there? Th-that I missed?" she asked him softly, smiling down at his artwork.
Bramley put an arm around Grace’s’ shoulder’s to lead her to a closet with buckets, fresh rags, and cleaning solutions inside. There were also buckets of paint inside, which he reached out for.
"If ya wanna help with the painting, Cornelius, it’ll go faster with two of us doing it." the boy suggested.
"Okay! Fasther ith good!" Cornelius agreed eagerly. The little Prince was practically jittering in place from the prospect of going out on the track.
"You’ll need to speak with Papa about boat repairs. I’m not entirely sure what needs to be done." Mrs. Von Scweetz admitted. She took a moment to tuck some stray strands of crimson hair back into her bun and offered Alan a small smile and a pat on the back to shoo him along.
Goldan scooted out onto the deck as well, still munching on his muffin. He blinked in the morning mist. The air was thick and moist, smelling heavily of the candied vegetation of the surrounding jungle. The trill of mango drop birds sounded through the area, and sour patch monkeys were picking their way through the canopy above.
Above in the captain’s cabin, Papa Von Schweetz chugged the boat alongside a rough hewn chocolate flake pier.
"Mornin’, boys! Headin’ into town to meet the mechanic." he announced.
"We wanna go with you, Papa. Trying to help." Goldan called up.
"Ah? Well, you can GO, but there’s not much we’d be able to do. Lotta the parts are burnt to a crisp and welded together. The mechanic’ll be doing the grunt work today. It’s too big a job for us, I think. The old girl has life in her yet, but won’t get too far with rickets in her bones." the man grunted, hopping down to secure the boat and stump out across the dock.
Emily waved goodbye, sloshing buckets of hot, soapy water over the deck before setting to scrubbing with a thick bristle broom. The sooner the chores were over, the better.
Grace nodded in thanks before she grabbed one of the buckets, something that looked like soap (she wasn’t a very good reader), that she shook and observed for a moment or so - seeing the familiar colour and bubbles inside, she took it with her to get water for the windows.
She wasn’t really in a hurry to get things done, as she didn’t have much interest in the track itself. She carefully put a little bit of the soap into the bucket, and gave a tiny smile at the bubbles that appeared as it mixed with the water. She sniffed it to be sure - it was either stronger or almost the same as what they used int he orphanage.
She set about the windows she could easily reach without having to get a step stool just yet, and carefully wiped them down, wanting to do a good job and possibly avoid getting into trouble further for not doing a good job.
Alan smiled and nodded before following Goldan out onto the deck. He frowned as he heard the damage report, and felt bad their home had been damaged that badly. He was excited at the idea of trying to secretly pay the mechanic as a thank you to the Von Shweetz’s. Maybe say it was an anonymous donor, or a gift from a friend? He didn’t know yet, he felt his heart pounding with anticipation for getting away with something like that.
He’d just give them his money, but he had a feeling they wouldn’t take it. He gave Emily a wave back, before he jogged to keep up with the other two,
"Then what’re we gonna do? Isth there sthomething in town ya guysth need?"