The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part Two
We arrived at the Turdle Races with five minutes to spare.
There was an even bigger crowd around the attraction now since the races were
about to begin. Some Neopets sat on the bleachers, while others just paused outside
to see what the excitement was about.
Being a large, white Eyrie I could have flown
us to the racing arena but Luna said she didn't mind walking. So we walked.
The four of us scanned the bleachers to find
a place to sit. We passed a white table covered by a red and blue tarp. A glowing
Pteri was rifling through sheets of paper and black markers, while other Neopets
were writing down their names and three numbers. I glanced over at them and
wondered what they were doing.
"Place your bets here!" the glowing Pteri called
loudly, to be heard over the crowd. He handed out more betting cards while the
Neopets around him filled them out.
"Would you like to place a bet?" the Pteri asked
me, as he noticed that I was looking his way.
"Sure," answered Damien, holding up his winnings
from Ultimate Bullseye.
"Maximum bet is 1500 neopoints. You can place
three bets per day, one for each race," the Pteri explained, showing Damien
a card. "There are five Turdles to bet on."
Damien printed his name next to '27th day of
the month of Running' and paused at the spot where it asked for the three Turdle
numbers. He picked up the marker and printed '1', '3' and '2'. Next to the Turdle
numbers he bet ten neopoints on each. The glowing Pteri skimmed over the card,
"If the first race is won by Turdle number one
then you win three neopoints for every one you bet, plus your original bet back."
When he saw my confused expression he continued, "Which would be thirty neopoints,
plus the ten you bet, so forty neopoints would be your total." He pointed to
the top of the tent, "Thanks for betting." The four of us took a few steps back
to read the sign tacked on the top of the tarp:
Turdle #1 - Stinky, Odds - 3:1
Turdle #2 - Poopy, Odds - 4:1
Turdle #3 - Smelly, Odds - 5:1
Turdle #4 - Squelchy, Odds - 7:1
Turdle #5 - Nutty, Odds - 9:1
"You should have picked Nutty," I told
Damien. "We get nine times what we bet plus ten."
"Yeah but look at the odds," Luna pointed out.
Damien shrugged it off and we took our seats
near the top. Other Neopets around us were chatting excitedly and clutching
their betting cards to keep them from being blown away by the strong wind. Moments
later, a red Techo stepped into the ring with two Turdles under his arms. Their
numbers were 1 and 2. He returned later with numbers 3 and 4 and finally with
5. The trained Turdles waited patiently for their cue in the center of the ring.
The Techo blew a silver whistle and its shriek sent the Turdles flying into
"Come on, Stinky!" Luna called, waving the betting
We watched Turdle number 1 crawl towards the
ring while Turdles 3 and 5 became stuck in the sand. Turdle number 2 looked
close to winning but Turdle number 1 came from behind and beat his opponent
out of the ring.
High above us the announcement rang out, "and
the winner is… Turdle number 1." The crowd cheered and so did we.
"Cool!" exclaimed Charlie, who was still on
Damien's hat, "We just won forty neopoints. When do we get to claim them?"
"After the race," Damien explained, "we show
our betting card and get the neopoints redeemed."
"Funny," said Luna, and we could see the shadow
Yurble was deep in thought, "we spent a total of thirty neopoints for three
races and just won forty in the first race. Imagine betting on the Turdle least
likely to win and getting back your bet and nine times that. Pretty amazing."
"I think you mean pretty lucky," I interrupted.
"You only have one out of five chances to win and the odds are very unlikely
on some Turdles. I bet most people leave with nothing every day."
"Marlo's right," Damien chimed in. "The Turdle
races are just for fun and I don't think anyone really takes it seriously. Every
Turdle has his day, some just have them more than once."
"You make everything sound so calm," I told
Damien. "If everything was under control then why are we about to meet King
Skarl and possibly take on a new case?"
"I don't know. It's just that everything seems
normal so far. Having said that, I can't help but to be curious about our new
case. None of the petpets have been stolen like in our other mysteries. They're
right there in front of our eyes. What could King Skarl want with us?"
I secretly agreed with the royal Aisha. He made
a good point. What did Skarl want with us if a petpet wasn't missing? We're
petpet detectives: solving petpet disappearances. The more I thought about it,
the stranger it sounded. The second race was about to commence so I didn't have
much time to think about the mystery. I glanced over at Damien's betting card
and the four of us cheered for Turdle number three.
The second race was the same as the first: Turdles
started in the center and moved to get to the outside of the ring. Bits of sand
flew into the air and Turdle number 5 crawled out of the ring first. A nearby
green Kau moaned dramatically, burst into tears and ripped up her betting card.
I chuckled at how soap opera-ish she was being. It was just a race.
"Wow, I didn't see that coming," said Damien,
who had his paw to his forehead to keep the sun out of his eyes. "Turdle number
5 hardly ever wins. That's why the odds are 9:1."
There was the fifteen-minute pause in between
and the four of us chatted about the race. Apparently I hadn't given Turdle
Racing enough credit. If Meridellians took it seriously enough, maybe there
could be a big enough problem where a detective, or detectives, would have to
be called in. For the third time today the red Techo placed the Turdles in the
center of the circle and blew the whistle. There was yet another scramble to
be first one out, and Turdle number 5 rushed by the others, leaving them in
The announcer went wild. "Turdle number 5 wins
again! He's on a roll!"
"Again?" Luna asked, squinting down into the
stands. Turdle number 5 crawled out so fast that only a few saw him. "The least-likely
to win beats the odds twice!"
"We should definitely talk to King Skarl," Damien
suggested. The royal Aisha slipped his betting card into his pocket, "and redeem
those neopoints from the first race."
If you've been to the Lost Desert and think
that the Sakhmet Palace is the best, obviously you haven't been standing just
outside the Meridell gates looking up at the castle.
You have to tip your head all the way back against
your neck to see all of it. The white stone has no crevices or chips, the red
and blue flags are hanging from golden flagpoles at the very top, and just for
scenic detail there is a sapphire colored moat that encircles the castle. The
four of us, with Charlie on my head, waited patiently to be let inside. The
two Eyrie guards looked a lot like me: powerful wings, impressive height and
large beaks. They wore gray armor, complete with helmets and spears. There was
no way you could sneak past these guys. I could tell that just by looking at
The third guard, who went to ask King Skarl
if we were allowed in, returned and said, "Follow me."
The four of us started into the castle, not
having time to gawk at all of the posh furniture or spacious rooms. We took
several staircases to the top floor and paused outside the door furthest down
the hallway. The Eyrie guard raised a massive paw and knocked.
"Come in," came a deep voice from inside.
The Eyrie guard pushed open the door. "Your
Highness, the detectives you requested are here."
"Excellent," King Skarl said. "The three of
you," he motioned to Luna, Damien and I (Charlie was used to being overlooked),
"may have a seat." The blue Skeith acknowledged the velvet sofa and chairs.
We traversed the large room and took the sofa as Skarl rose from his desk. This
was the first time that meeting our client made me nervous. Of course this just
wasn't any old client. It was the King of Meridell and we were sitting right
in front of him.
"Good afternoon, Your Highness," Luna began,
bowing her head to the king. She introduced us and we bowed, too.
King Skarl nodded and said, "I'd like to get
started right away, if you don't mind."
"Not at all," I somehow found my voice. Luna
pulled Skarl's letter out of her Faerie Back Pack and handed it to me. I continued,
"Though I'm afraid your letter has left us confused. We're not sure what you
need our help with."
"Forgive me while I explain," uttered
Skarl, straightening his red robe. "The Turdle Races are a very popular event
in Meridell, but I'm afraid something obscure has been happening these past
few days. Assuming you just came back from the races can you tell me if you
noticed anything… odd?"
Damien answered, "For starters, Turdle number
5 won two races today. He beat the odds twice and we found it strange that the
least-likely Turdle to win did that."
"You're on the right track," Skarl said in approval.
"As you may or may not know, the Meridell castle supports the Turdle Racing.
We always realize something out of the ordinary when it is supported by us."
Luna was taking notes, as usual. She paused
to look up at Skarl and asked, "Do you have any ideas of what could be causing
Turdle number 5's winning streak?"
"That's just it," said the King quickly and
he added in an undertone, "I don't think that that Turdle is Turdle number 5.
I think someone's been… trading them back and forth."
To be continued...