You looked up right as Filbo looked down. He shuffled the papers in front of him nervously, and the obvious change in demeanor grabbed your attention. You stared at him with a laser focus as you went on.
“According to Cromdo, the ship had been docked at the Boiling Bay. After he skipped town, he looked for it there, but it had vanished without a trace. Cromdo was the only one to even mention the ship.”
Filbo was scratching his cheek nervously.
“If it was a giant bugsnak that destroyed the ship,” you continued, “Cromdo and the rest of the settlement would have known about it. What’s more, if it had been a bugsnak, then it would make no sense that the ship itself had been moved.” No, the wreckage seemed much more deliberate to you. You had only caught a glimpse, but the ship had been utterly shattered at the bottom of the cliffside, like someone had deliberately steered it against that jagged stone bluff. The location of the crash meant that almost nothing could have been recovered from the wreck. It was like it had been on purpose-
“Um. Buddy…?” Filbo glanced up at you with all the tentative shame of a puppy. “Yeah, that... That was me.” You blinked at him, surprise wiping your mind like a dry erase board. Filbo laughed sheepishly, but it was a nervous sound, not a happy one. His eyes flicked between yours and the papers in front of him. “I… It was an accident! Lizbert let me take it. I was trying to move it so it would be closer to the settlement, and I guess, the wind, it just, caught the sail weird…” He sighed. He was small in his seat, shoulders hunched in embarrassment. You wanted to put a paw on them to get him to uncurl.
“Liz covered for me… She kept it a secret. That’s why no one knew about the ship…”
You nodded a bit, processing. “…Hey, wait,” You squinted, and Filbo’s head snapped up as he looked at you with wide eyes.
“Didn’t you ask to sail my ship within the first few hours of knowing me?” You grinned, crossing your arms. You were laughing, and though it took a second for Filbo to laugh with you, he sounded genuinely relieved.
“Well, if at first you don’t succeed…!”
“Then borrow someone else’s equipment the next go around.” You finished, laughing. His shoulders had relaxed again, and he was smiling. It made your own grin grow.
“Give me some credit here! I piloted us out of there, didn’t I?” He teased as he prepared to get up.
You began gathering up your own papers. “You did, I’ll give you that one.” Your paws slowed as you looked down at your journal, your grin falling slightly. You rubbed at your mouth again as Filbo looked between you and your work.
“What’s the matter?” He asked softly.
You hummed quietly. It was nice having someone to talk to when you hit a rut like this. “Nothing… Just a feeling I have. Like I’m missing something.” You put your paw on your journal, as if the information you wanted would be released with the gentle ‘plap’ sound it made when your paw connected with its surface.
“Call it a journalistic instinct. I just feel like I haven’t figured something out yet. Like there’s an answer I need, but I don’t know what questions I have to ask to get at it.” You shook your head. The island had given up all of its relevant secrets. You knew what had happened to Lizbert. However, you still felt like there was some secret that you had left undiscovered. Something big. You were perplexed, but you couldn’t pin down why.
It surprised you when you felt Filbo’s paw on your shoulder, and you looked up at him thoughtfully. The smile he gave you was a surprisingly soft one. Your own smile shone through your eyes as much as it did your mouth. “…I guess it’s getting pretty late.” You admitted. Normally that wouldn’t have stopped you.
“Definitely. Let’s get some rest, okay? I think we’re almost done.” Filbo gave you a tired smile. You didn’t feel like you were close to done yet, but you only nodded.
“Need anything?” He hadn’t for the past three nights, but you asked anyway. It was weird actually having a guest in the guest room.
“No, just a good night’s rest, heh!” Filbo said, stretching. He headed toward his room, but he paused at the door and looked back at you with an easy smile. “Night, buddy.”
You laid in bed that night staring at the ceiling, the uncertainty hunting you inside your own head. Something was missing. Something was wrong. Eventually a light, uneasy sleep overtook you, and restless dreams of darkness and hidden eyes flitted through your mind until morning.