"I'm telling you, we're going the wrong way."

"We are NOT going the wrong way," Clark hissed in irritation, his shoulders shivering both with anger as well as cold as the two men trudged their way up what felt like the slipperiest mountain slope they had ever come across. For what seemed like the five hundredth time, Clark's expensive shoes slipped on the muddy terrain, and, even though he caught himself on a low-hanging tree branch before toppling over completely, dangled precariously over a rather menacing pool of mud for several seconds: after all, not only was he juggling the map as well as an ornery sketchpad between his hands, but there was also the problem of mosquitoes, the swarm of which seemed to wish him hell as he trooped. "We're striking into a forest no one's ever been in before. How can we get lost in something uncharted?"

Lewis, exhausted after trekking so far, stopped to uncork the canteen…but upon tipping it over above his mouth, all that met his dry tongue was a single drop of the water that was wretched and alone. With a saddened expression and a furrowed brow, he cast the canteen aside, continuing to climb the mudslide of a mountain after the lead of his company. "I was doing some calculations," he panted, his breath coming hard in the humid, moist air. "And we should be going north, towards the top of the territory." He glanced disparagingly at his compass, tapped it a few fruitless times on the face. "This shows that we're going…west."

Clark rolled his eyes moodily, his next breath shooting from his lips in a "push" noise. "Well then, your calculations are wrong, because we are definitely getting somewhere." The man pushed forward through the mud, using a fallen branch as a walking stick and whipping a hand over his shoulder to offer his companion the map, the material of which was already worn in some places to the point of being unreadable. "Go ahead, look for yourself."

Lewis took the thin paper and glanced at it…then paused, scratching his head. "… Hold on a minute."

"What?" Clark snarled.

"By the looks of things, there's a river downwind, in that gulch there…" He pointed to the area designated. "And, let's see, that river's right…there." Again, he pointed. Lewis then seemed to die a little inside, his shoulders beginning to sag lamely as he peered closely at the map not three inches from his face. "… We wandered out of the Purchase."

A moment of complete and utter silence was the only blessing offered to Lewis before the explosion.

"WHAT?" Clark screamed, and birds fluttered rather unhelpfully out of the treetops at the sound of such a vicious roar. He whipped to his counterpart, his expression a knot of pure hatred. "We're not even in the right territory anymore? How the hell did that even happen? We went in a straight line, for God's sake!"

"Don't blame me! You're the one with the map!"


"Yeah, well, don't be all angry with me. I've nearly had enough of your tomfoolery."

With that, the inevitable violence erupted, like the graceful blooming of a flower in June…or, rather, like the lowering of meat into a cage full of rabid, starving dogs. Clark abandoned all pursuit of logical reasoning, and, in a moment of both weakness as well as nothing but primordial rage, tackled Lewis with the tremendous force of a jungle cat. The two went careening down the steep hill, kicking and scratching and punching every piece of the other they could possibly find. The scuffle didn't end until a deafening splash cut off their curses, and the two found themselves soaked and dripping in a pond of muddy sludge.

Several moments passed, and Lewis dragged himself out of the freezing water, hair flopped over his face and clothing drenched as he wormed to the bank. He reached for the nearly indiscernible map next to him, pulling its sodden mass out of the mess and holding it up to let the water run steadily from his corner as he plopped down on the bank. Clark busied himself in sitting up in the water, taking off a boot and turning it over to shake out a small, rather geographically lost fish from its sole… Lewis wiped what mud he could off of the soaked map, running a hand down his face as he searched for where they now were: he pointed after a moment, raising his eyebrows. "… Looks like we're back in."

There was only silence as the two men sat; Lewis with a look of distant pleasantness, and Clark with such a tumultuous amount of hatred in his heart that he could have very easily found the soul to hold Lewis under the water until the bubbles stopped.