Though cloudy skies had prevailed for the majority of the week, the sun was at long last beaming its warm luster over the entirety of the Shiver Region. The snowfall had mostly ceased and the unabating icy winds had slowed to a gentle yet chilly breeze.

Whilst not as cold as the week before, the Shiver Region still lived up to its name, with frigid temperatures prevalent even on the sunniest of days—not that these conditions are ever a problem for the resident Bumpties of the Shiver Region, and especially not for the town of Frigiburg.

Situated far northwest of Shiver City, Frigiburg was a bustling fishing port that sat around the point of an elongated fjord, stretched a great distance from the sea and the warmer estuary to which the fjord is connected.

As it is mostly known, Bumpties have a particular love for seafood, though more for fish than all other forms of seafood. It is for this reason that Frigiburg is seen as the wealth capital of the Shiver Region, as Bumpties from all across the region do business with the active seaport. Frigiburg's exports even extend to all corners of the Mushroom Kingdom, from Toad Town to Dry Dry Outpost, and even beyond to many other kingdom's in the world.

Within the town itself, most jobs are related to the fishing market, unsurprisingly. There are so many fishing-related jobs in Frigiburg, many families have worked for the business for generations, and may continue to do so into the future. Other businesses exist in Frigiburg, certainly, but none will ever be as significant as the fishing industry. No matter the bad weather or freezing conditions, Frigiburg's fishing boats always pull through, as the recent arrivals so clearly prove.

Since the stormier weather had ceased its constant harshness, the returning fleet of fishing boats collectively felt more at ease. Some troubles had occurred amongst the flotilla: the Humboldt had several of its nets torn up by some Spiky Cheep Cheeps which were unintentionally caught, the Chinstrap's mast had been blown down during a strong windstorm and required the crew to use paddles to move the ship, and the Kairuku was forced to give up a portion of its catch to ward off a noticeably hungry Boss Bass, and other more minor problems on some of the other ships.

But, even with such complications as those, the main vessel of the fleet, the Emperor, went by thoroughly unscathed, which was per the usual for this superlative keel. The Emperor was the largest, sturdiest, most well-equipped and well-manned fishing ship to come out of Frigiburg. Constructed of the highest-quality timber and metal, amongst other necessary components, this fine vessel cost quite a number of coins to manufacture, but proved quite the fruitful investment by its always ample haul of seafood providing much economic stimulus to Frigiburg.

Owing to the fact that the Emperor is quite the profitable fishing ship, considerable emolument is essentially guaranteed to the many laborers that work aboard her. Whilst this is quite good for many of the Bumpties, not all are as enraptured with substantial pay as one would expect…

Wrapping a carrying rope around a fishing net full of different fish types was a young female Bumpty by the name of Sardle, although she preferred the title of "Madam Sardle" whilst out and about on the town, though since most Bumpties didn't care who she was, her desire went primarily unfulfilled. You may think of this as a tad pontifical, which hold some truth to it, but if you knew who Sardle was personally, you'd know she was a Bumpty, who, for the longest time, has yearned to be someone who mattered; someone who made a real difference in the world; someone…who was more than just extra help on a fishing ship…

With all the cargo finally off the Emperor, the Bumpties had lined up to both leave the ship and receive their earnings as they did so. Sardle was standing about halfway through the remaining line as she gazed out over the side of the Emperor at the bustling residents of Frigiburg going about their average, daily lives, Sardle let out a meager sigh as she turned her head away.

"Everyone's going about their average days in this average town—just as always…" the slightly glum Sardle thought to herself. "Never too much too worry about, just as always…"

Sardle received her pay from the owner of the Emperor and made her way down the ramp off the ship and onto the pier, still focusing on her thoughts.

"I mean, is it too much to ask for for something to go even the tiniest bit awry in this town?—in a way that I can fix it?..." Sardle sighed again as she left the pier and headed for home.

Saying that Sardle is selfish—has already been alluded to, but holds much more truth to it now. Wanting problems to occur just so she can fix them is no way for Sardle, or anyone, to act. However, it should be noted just where these feelings stem from:

Since the time of her youth, Sardle has been enamored with the prospect of being a real detective, having been inspired by the mystery novels of renowned mystery novelist Herringway of Shiver City. She would reach each and every novel he released, and once finished: she would go through them all again! Sardle cared not for reading much else—if anything at all—other than mystery novels, which would be safe for one to assume shares at least partial cause for Sardle's nigh-obsession with the detective life. Sardle herself does not consider her endearment of being a detective an "obsession", per se(some Bumpties would contest that statement), though even if Sardle agreed with that assertion, she'd be none too keen on admitting to it. After all, one does not gain admiration by being perennially loquacious about one's interests to the point of mass irritation, which is fortunate for Sardle that she retains knowledge of this fact.

That is one positive trait attributed to Sardle: she was quite the intelligent Bumpty—perhaps not an unquestioned genius, but still rather bright, which was important for another reason.

For you see, when Sardle is(loudly) making her declarations of wanting to become a full-fledged detective, the genuine meaning behind those words is that her desire is to perform sleuthing as her singular, foremost career, which Sardle is actually more prepared for than one would assume.

Sardle is known in Frigiburg not merely for her noticeably vocalized presence, for she does not just read about detective work, but in reality conducts said work during the time not spent carrying out her main employment upon the Emperor fishing vessel.

That isn't to say she has solved particularly arduous cases; generally she's assisted her clientele by finding lost pets, discovering missing items, and capturing small-time criminals(a lot of them kids), but for someone with as much of a yearning for sleuthing as Sardle has, she'll take whatever she can get—and it should be noted that capturing even the most penny-ante crooks gives Sardle at least a moderate sense of satisfaction: a feeling she relishes even in its most miniscule increments.

Regrettably for dear Sardle, her compensation for solving these minor cases wasn't near the amount of coins required to sustain a consistent income, as was not the case with her dockhand vocation. This knowledge provided a near-incessant level of indignation for this young penguin; she felt trapped within a world of never-ending fishing, heavy lifting, and boat maintenance…none of which were especially electrifying to do for a Bumpty who considered herself to be above what she perceived as a trifling slog. While this is already a haughty outlook for anyone to have, it is made worse by Sardle having no issue with making such comments while working alongside her fellow dockhands, so it is unsurprising to learn that these insulted Bumpties each harbor some level of resentment against Sardle. However, her colleagues chiefly remain silent about their varying negative feelings for Sardle out of politeness, leaving the impolite, bumptious Bumpty ignorant of their collective view of her.

Despite the impression that much of Sardle's animus stems from her sullen perspective of her occupation, her near-outbursts during the recent fishing tour derive partly from another source. Throughout Sardle's last downtime from the Emperor, she hadn't obtained any amount of new cases from around town, which as this prolonged, made the penguin simultaneously feel quite dejected and cross with her luckless situation. When it came time to board the Emperor again, Sardle was less enthused than ever to board her, and the irked Bumpty would let the rest of the ship know it over the course of the fishing voyage, much to the crew's mutual exasperation.

Now that Sardle had arrived back in Frigiburg and is on leave for the next two weeks, she'll have time to find new clients, whether by searching around town for them or looking in her mailbox for potential messages requiring her assistance. However it happens, Sardle will be glad to get back to doing detective work and feeling important once more!...but…things might not go that way, as Sardle thought whilst on her way home. After the significant lull in cases during her previous leave, Sardle is none too confident that there will be any awaiting her this time. She may receive no cases, and for all she knows, she might never get another client again! Each and every fragment of her psyche was pervaded with this abhorrent cogitation, which only pushed Sardle ever deeper into her own distressed mind. Sardle pondered this notion with each passing step throughout Frigiburg—exceedingly fretful that she may suffer her own worst fear: the fate of never becoming a genuine detective, and only ever being a nobody for the rest of her worthless, miserable, life…

That is how Sardle felt.

How she believed she had every right to feel.

Just like the poor wretched penguin that she chooses to believe she is.