“Oh, Layke!” Harry said, turning scarlet too. “What am I going to do?”
“Well, we certainly can’t have you walking around like a half-dressed fool,” Layke said. “With the bottom half the undressed part.”
Harry blushed an even deeper red. “Sorry, Layke.”
“Not your fault,” Layke shrugged. Then he sunk even deeper into the acid. “But our first priority is to get us both out of the swamp acid. I fear it will dissolve my clothes, too, if I stay in for too long. It might have already started. I can’t walk quickly, either, because with every step, I sink, and there’s nothing to propel myself with, because everything keeps on dissolving.” Layke sighed frustratedly.
“Yes,” Harry said. He looked over to the acid-free part of the jungle. “Do you think I’ll be able to jump over to that dry patch?”
Layke looked at the distance.
“I … I don’t know. Seems a bit far to me. I don’t want to risk you falling back into the swamp acid, for you’ll sink even further in and won’t have any clothes on when you come back out.”
Harry blushed yet an even deeper red. “Good idea, Layke. But then if I can’t jump, what can I do?”
Layke shrugged. “No idea, Harry. You’re on your own on this one.”
Harry stared at him, eyes wide. Layke said nothing, just stared at the swamp acid with a strange expression on his face.
“I’ve got an idea!” he suddenly declared. “Thank-you for keeping quiet, Harry, I really needed that. Sorry for making you shocked and all... Heck, who cares about that when we’ve got an idea?”
“Idea?” Harry repeated. Layke grinned at him.
“Yes!” Layke said. He looked so happy that he could burst out into spontaneous laughter at any moment. “Ok, so here’s my plan.”
“You take a vine?” Harry interrupted. “Oh, that’s a classic.”
“No, Harry!” Layke said,irritated . “Just listen. So. Swamp acid dissolves things, right?”
Harry gasped, and Layke shot him an exasperated look. “What now?”
“You aren’t going to … to dissolve me, are you?”
Layke looked at him. “Dissolve you?”
“Or are you dissolving yourself, too? We can dissolve together!”
“Harry, what thoughts are getting in your mind?” Layke asked, shaking his head slightly. “God, no. I’d never think of dissolving myself. Think of the pain!”
“So you’re dissolving me, and me only?”
“Harry,” Layke said, trying to look in his eyes. “Let’s get this straight: I’m not dissolving anything at all. Not you, not me, not your socks, nothing.”
“Are you sure?” Harry asked, looking dubiously at Layke.
“I’m sure,” Layke said.
“Now, back onto my plan,” Layke said. “Swamp acid is acid, isn’t it?”
“Is that a trick question?” Harry asked. Layke sighed.
“I shouldn’t have asked you. Yes, it’s acid. Now, acid can only dissolve certain things, can’t it?” Layke paused, then just as quickly resumed talking again, as if thinking better of it. “Never mind. Acid can’t dissolve copper.”
“Great!” Harry said. “You are so informational, Layke.”
Layke inwardly groaned. Didn’t he see the obvious implications of that? “My hunting dagger is made of copper.”
“Yes, yours is too,” Layke said. “That means I can use the dagger to try and propel me forward in the swamp acid without the fear of it dissolving.”
“And what’s that got to do with anything?”
“I can move, Harry! I can move without it dissolving!” Harry still looked at him with a dumbfounded look upon his face. Layke shook his head. “Action! I don’t have any time to explain things to you. You’re so heavy, and...”
Layke broke off and took out his dagger. It seemed strong enough. Harry stared at it.
“Dangerous,” he whimpered. Layke took no notice of him and lightly pushed the thick swamp acid away from him with the dagger. He felt himself involuntarily move forward, and smiled.