Fandom: Professor Layton
Word Count: 626
Disclaimer: I don't own Professor Layton. Or his top-hat of awesome.
Teaser: Of all the places where this could happen, this had to rank as one of the worst.
It all started when they were on their way back from a visit to some friends in the countryside. Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke were enjoying a leisurely drive, complimented by sunny skies and empty roads, void of other drivers. It was turning out to be an absolutely wonderful day for travel.
The two were chatting amiably, engaged in a lovely conversation about their visit, which inevitably shifted to a discourse on the origins of some of their favorite puzzles, riddles, and brainteasers. Layton was fairly certain that the classic “crossing the river” puzzle (much as the one they had solved upon their arrival in St. Mystere and their first meeting with Ramon) was potentially thousands of years old, while Luke was a bit dubious as to it being quite that old.
At one point, Layton fell silent and frowned, glancing down at the dashboard. “Odd…”
“What is it?” Luke asked.
“I thought I heard something,” the Professor said, studying the dashboard for a moment and listening intently. “It was an odd clank. It almost sounded like it was coming from the engine.” Both master and apprentice were quiet and listening for any further repetition of the sound.
There was nothing, and Layton sighed and shook his head with a slight chuckle. “It must have been my imagination. I apologize, my boy. What were we talking about?”
Luke shrugged it off, and they quickly resumed their in depth discourse as to who had first told the joke “Why did the chicken cross the road?” This inevitably lead into the question of whether the chicken or the egg had first graced the world with its presence.
This time, the engine did not see fit to bother making any odd clanking noises. Instead, there was a boom, nothing major or deadly, but certainly enough to catch the undivided attention of both the vehicle’s occupants. And undivided attention turned to outright panic when the boom was followed by an outpouring of what appeared to be smoke from beneath the hood of the car.
Layton quickly pulled the car over onto the shoulder and killed the engine. “Out out out!” he ordered Luke, but it was an unnecessary instruction. Luke had been scrambling out his door before the car was even put in park. And they both tumbled onto the road, staring at the smoking machine.
For a long moment, neither moved.
Then, slowly, Layton inched forward and lifted the hood. He immediately jumped back, caught in a bad coughing fit, when a big cloud of smoke hit him squarely in the face. He hacked for a few seconds; Luke yanked a book from his bag and assisted as best he could by trying to fan the smoke away from his mentor’s face. After a moment, all seemed well on that front.
“Luke, I think we might be stranded,” Layton said after giving the car’s engine another, less smokey glance. “I’d rather not risk the car actually starting on fire.”
The two glanced up and down the road. They had seen maybe two cars out there all day. The chances of someone passing by and seeing them there did not seem to be particularly high. And a quick check of a map in the car proved they were still quite some distance from the nearest town. Layton’s choice of the word stranded seemed to take on a whole new meaning as they looked around.
As they stood there, looking around, a tumbleweed rolled by. That was particularly odd, given that they were in the English countryside, where tumbleweeds tended to be relatively rare, in their experience.
Finally, Luke looked up at his teacher and managed what he desperately hoped was an encouraging smile. “So, Professor, should we start walking?”