Arnold was rather relieved that it had been Mr. Palmer to sign the contract for Emerson since that would probably make the agreement legal, but Arnold doubted a surrogate could be used to make the contract binding in a way beyond that. He left their meeting and went to see to a few more affairs before he went to bed to wake up for five.
Unfortunately Arnold now had four jobs in this city, five if he counted protecting Dr. Maddox. The cat had to tell both the asylum and the hospital that he would not be available full-time, and they were understanding. In Mr. Harvey’s case he was likely aware how upset Arnold was with him even now.
Arnold showed up for his task at five in the morning, and went about his day with Miss Abigail Sharp. It was an…interesting time and at one point the elderly woman had even pointed at his feet and asked him where his socks were.
“My claws tend to destroy socks, and most shoes don’t fit my feet,” Arnold responded, and that sent Mumsy into a tirade about technology not being good enough.
After she let him go for the day Arnold went to his next task which was to shovel the snow from Fae Way.
It took him a long time, but he eventually cleared out the snow and reached Miss Bookworms door to find that clearing the snow had been rather pointless as she couldn’t even use her front door. Coal blocked the door and no one could hope to get in or out.
The feline knew that his agreement said nothing about clearing her passageway, but the way that he thought about it was that if he didn’t clear it then he would be shoveling that snow for the next two months for no reason at all.
Cursing to himself, Arnold began to shovel the coal out of her door and eventually went to get a wheelbarrow for it.
He didn’t finish until the sun was about to set and the overworked feline sat and looked at his handiwork, his eyelids drooping and breathing heavily. He wouldn’t get anything else done tonight, and he made his way north to cool off and be alone.
The North Fells were beautiful this time of year, but it was still a cold, desolate, wasteland of snow that seemed to stretch for miles. Even with all his fur and clothing Arnold shivered as he walked across the land towards the mountains. The cat stopped when he reached a dead tree and paused as he looked back at New Babbage. Arnold had never seen the city like this before, and the sunset pronounced the cities accomplishments, it’s structures and zeppelins, more than ever for the cat.
Arnold gritted his teeth as he he realized that this city existed because of ingenuity, and right now he was letting Emerson out-smart him.
He couldn’t let that happen, not again. He was going to somehow change this game and win! He had no idea how to start, but he was going to do it somehow. He raised his hands into the air and shouted, “Babbage as my witness, Emerson is not going to outwit me! I’m going to get through this and come out ahead! The Spirit of Babbage as my witness, I will come out ahead in the end!
Feeling almost as vindictive as any red-head in this city for some reason, Arnold went to Emerson’s and got out the copies of the contract he received and read them carefully. Finally he grinned outwardly, almost manically as he realized that the contract said that Emerson had agreed to provide a shovel, but at no point did it require him to use that specific shovel.
Nathaniel was only too happy to provide Arnold with a suitable ‘steam shovel’.
Arnold finished his duties quite quickly with the mechanical aide, and after checking the contract again it had only been specific about Miss Bookworms home and was hazy enough to let him get away with a small practical joke.
He was pretty sure he’d have to clean that later…but it had been completely worth it.