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43. Tracker

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The four of them sat glumly in the busy ice cream parlor. Davy was surprised to see the Very Dairy Ice Cream Factory was so packed at nine in the morning, but he also had this weird hunch that this place was a must-do for anyone visiting the city. He silently took a bite of his Mary, Mary Quite RaspberryTM ice cream.

Connie was watching her phone that she held in her right hand while taking a scoop of her The Last of the Mocha-hicansTM ice cream in the other. She felt she really pulled through last night. Their first encounter with the Iron League of Reference Humor didn’t go great. The one silver lining was when Connie revealed to the rest of the group that she had covertly stuck a tracking device to the league’s car as they sped out of the bank. The downside was that it would take several hours before the tracker would activate and begin broadcasting the league’s location. Her phone was still waiting for a signal. Watching the screen, she took a bite of her ice cream and continued to wait.

Olivia continued to sip on her Banana CortezTM cream smoothie. In the grand scheme of things, having a car land on top of her wasn’t too bad, but she still felt embarrassed that she had let the Iron League get away so easily. She had to be more careful going forward and make sure she kept her hubris in check.

Steve looked down at his Okey Dokey ArtichokeyTM Ice Cream Sundae in disgust. He made a serious mistake ordering this. It was terrible.

“One hundred and twenty-two flavors,” he said. “Why did I choose the worst one?”

“Why did you think artichoke would be a good idea?” Davy asked.

Steve lowered his head. “I thought it sounded hip and trendy,” he whined.

“Don’t worry about it, Steve,” Connie chimed in cheerfully. “Any minute now, we’re going to find out where the Iron League is hiding. We’re going to find them, get the money back, get the artifact from them, and—bam—before you know it, we’ll be back here enjoying a victory ice cream. And you can get any flavor that you want.”

“I’ll do everything I can to help us succeed,” growled in her superhero voice. “My hubris was my undoing last night. I will ensure it does not happen again.”

“Don’t beat yourself up,” Davy said. “You overcame some pretty heavy stuff in Heaven’s Head. After what happened there, I think we all kind of underestimated the guys with the goofy animal heads.”

“So what do we do when we find them again?” Steve asked. He had already pushed the scarcely touched ice cream sundae away from him towards the center of the table.

Davy shrugged. “I don’t know,” he answered. “I guess we just need to be ready for anything. Surprise cars and stuff.”

“I’m getting the feeling like that car might be my new nemesis,” Olivia said. “Anyone else getting that feeling?”

“Olivia, your nemesis can be whoever you want it to be,” Connie said with a grin.

“So this League will lead us to the next artifact, right?” Steve asked. “That’s what Lady Gut Possum said.”

“I think so, yeah,” Davy replied. It was weird that she didn’t say anything about this tablet they saw on the boat tour, though. Then again, Lady Gut Possum hadn’t been the most forthcoming person with her key information. What was that star-shaped creature with the one eye?

“Cool,” Steve said. “I can probably take them. Now that I know what we’re up against.”

Olivia took the last sip of her smoothie. “That was good. At least we got to come here. I just had a weird feeling that our trip to Sangre Dios wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Very Dairy Ice Cream Factory.”

“Yes,” the other three flatly stated simultaneously without any of them being entirely aware they did so.

Davy heard a ping on Connie’s phone. He saw her look closely at the screen.

“Good news,” she said. “I got a signal. They’re at a campground not far outside of town. Anyone feeling good about a round two?”

Steve stood up out of his chair. “Let’s do it!” he said. “Time to teach these losers a lesson.”

“What kind of lesson?” Davy asked, humoring Steve.

Steve slyly rubbed his hands together. “That reference humor is dumb.”


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