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On The Trail

Summary: Artemis and Elizabeth go to tell Jenny about Julian's kidnapping.

It had been about an hour since Elizabeth and Artemis parted ways. Talking to the people that she needed to took a little longer than she had planned, but it was still necessary. Making her way to the door of the sheriff's office, Elizabeth steps in, fully expecting to find Artemis and Jenny there - and hopefully nobody freaking out anymore than necessary.

Indeed the inventor was there -- seated at the dusty deputy's desk with his eyes closed and a nice looking rifle across his lap. Jenny had given up on trying to get anything out of him. He insisted that he wait for Elizabeth to show up, so when she finally did, Jenny looked up with relief. "Mind telling me what's going on, Forrest?"

Closing the door behind her, Elizabeth tilts her head so that she can look at Artemis for a moment. Then she sighs, rubs her hand over her face and then says, "Julian's been kidnapped, Jenny. Artemis and ah found the blood trail back at the clinic. An' ah gurantee it's the Rose Corsair that did it."

Opening an eye, Artemis studies Elizabeth carefully. "Or SOMEONE'S behind it. I reckon it coulda been anyone, but she definitely been kidnapped."

Jenny raised her eyebrows. "Is that so?" With that, she grabbed her hat, checked for her equipment (cuffs, guns, the usual), and started for the door. "Why didn't you tell me sooner?" she asked. "Hopefully, the trail's not cold by now."

Elizabeth looks at Artemis again. Then she looks back at Jenny, "Ah /suspect/ it's her because of the blood trail. It's too obvious with any real signs of a struggle. She /wanted/ whoever found it to know what happened. And why Julian? She has nothin' of value for a kidnapper. No. This is personal. Ah know how these types are. So." She shifts to follow Jenny, "Don't expect the trail to be cold - not if Julian's..." She hesitates, "Bait."

"Don't rule out the power of the stupid and desperate," Jenny replies. "It could be someone who didn't think to clean up or someone who thinks someone would pay good money for the town doctor to be returned. But we'll see. Come on. I need to get to the clinic and see the crime scene myself."

Artemis stands, slings his rifle over his shoulder, and nods. "Yeah... yeah, that's what I would've said." Only he really wouldn't, but humor him.

Elizabeth frowns and shakes her head. "Whatever yuh two say. Ah actually hope yer right." The thing that Elizabeth fails to re-emphasize, of course, is that this is a trap set for /her/ if she happens to be right. "Let's go."

Jenny doesn't say a word in response as she exits the office. She doesn't even say anything on the way there. The first time she says anything is when she mounts the clinic steps and stops inside. "Where?"

Elizabeth operates much in the same way. She has far too much on her mind for idle chatter. Once they reach the clinic, she goes right into business mode and steps past the sheriff. "It ends here," she indicates, pointing to an area just past the stairs, "And begins..." She enters, walking to the supply closet, "There. Suddenly."

Exhaling, Jenny starts her search by heading to the beginning. She stoops down to eye the pool, sticking two fingers in it to feel the sticky substance. Looking up, she glances at the shelves to look for anything -- ANYTHING that seemed out-of-place. "When was the last time either of you saw her?" she asks as she moves towards the end of the trail.

Artemis immediately pipes up. "In th' mornin'. I left 'round 'leven."

"After mah arm was replaced," says Elizabeth calmly, "Then ah spent the night with yuh last night, sheriff, as ah recall." She brushes a few strands of hair from her face, "And that would've been 'round mid-afternoon yesterday, jes' before ah came over fer my chat with yuh."

She nods. "Well, at least we know she was here in the morning, then. People don't just disappear out of thin air, and you're right. There's been a struggle here. Someone would have noticed." She is, of course, giving a bit too much credit to Tin City. "Someone should have seen Dr. Stone being taken away." Nodding to herself, she exits the clinic and heads down the stairs, stopping at the foot to stoop again. No blood beyond the steps. That's weird.

Elizabeth listens to what's being said quietly, and then just follows the sheriff outside. She watches the other woman, then cranes her neck so that she can see what she's seeing. "What're yuh thinkin', Jenny?"

"I'm thinking it's a little strange that the trail just ends here," she says. "If someone wanted you to find her, Forrest, they really weren't doing a good job giving you clues as to where to go. I doubt you know where the Corsair is." She stands. "We'll need to ask around. See if anyone's seen anything."

Artemis leaned against the doorframe. His fingers rubbed against the gun the whole time, but now, his impatience was just about ready to burst out of him when Jenny suggests looking around first. "An' jus' what'll happen to Jules while we're busy lookin'?"

Elizabeth glances down at the ground. Then frowns. "If ah were her," she says blandly, "And mah goal was to lure, ah'd have done the same. Ah doubt she wanted to carry Julian if she passed out from blood loss, sheriff. Still." She shakes her head, "It is true, there's no actual trail to follow now. And unfortunately, no. Ah've only met her twice." She grits her teeth at the memory of the second meeting. Yet, her expression softens when she hears Artemis. "Arty," she says sternly, "Ah promise, we'll do everythin' we can to get to her - as quickly as possible. But if it was Contessa, ah've no idea where she's been hiding since our fight."

Jenny looks towards the city and all its people, just walking on by without noticing any of them. Frowning, she thinks about what Lizzie just said and about the impatience in Arty's voice. Then, she pulls a small ball from her pocket and twists it to enlarge it. "You know, I hate doing things without knowing exactly what I'm dealing with first, but this is a special circumstance." With a flick of her wrist, she tosses the ball in the air and lets it open, light spewing downward to quickly form a red puppy. "Hunter," she says to the growlithe, "I need you to come up here and get a scent from this." She points to the blood stain on the step. "And I want you to follow it for as far as you can go."

The dog barked and wagged his tail in comprehension before putting his paws and nose to the wood. After a few sniffs, he barks for a second time and tears off down the road.

"So," says Elizabeth calmly, watching the proceedings and the retreating form of the canine, "Do we wait?" She folds her arms over her chest, eyes on the horizon.

Jenny gives her a funny look before taking off after her dog herself. Apparently, she was only waiting to see if her companions were ready to start running. Artemis, luckily, was somewhat quick on the uptake and began to follow her.

"Well," says Elizabeth, effectively to herself, "Reckon that answers that." Pausing to look back at the blood trail for a bit, the ex-pirate narrows her eyes and then tears off after them.