Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 151,901,457 Issue: 213 | 20th day of Collecting, Y7
Home | Archives Articles | Editorial | Short Stories | Comics | New Series | Continued Series
 

The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part Four


by playmobil_is_my_life

--------

I woke up the next morning in the Regal Oak Wood bed that I had collapsed into last night. Yesterday had been a long flight and an even longer day, so we all went to bed early. Damien, Charlie, and I occupied the first spare bedroom and Luna had her own across the hall. It was quite magnificent. The furniture was Regal Oak and the carpet was thick and soft. The walls were cream-colored with a Meridell border running across them.

     When we arrived back at the castle yesterday afternoon, King Skarl was indisposed and not to see anyone. I decided that even someone as important as King Skarl needed some time alone away from his hired help. However, I was disappointed that we didn't get a chance to tell him about what we found out about the two Turdle number 5s. Oh well, the case must go on.

     Speaking of the case, Damien had exited the room about an hour ago. The royal Aisha was always awake before I was. The wall clock stated that it was after nine. Charlie was missing as well - he probably went with Damien to get some breakfast. I guessed Luna was up too, roaming the castle in search of clues or leads regarding the Turdle races.

     A knock on the door made my head snap forward. I climbed out of bed and smoothed the white feathers on my head. I unlocked the door and opened it. A shadow Yurble looked up at me with a serious face.

     "Luna," I said, failing to notice her grave expression. "Hey, I was about to go looking for--"

     Luna held up her paw as if she didn't want to hear it and brushed past me letting herself in. She closed the door behind her and spun around to look up at me, "Skarl was lying."

     "Wow, umm." My eyes narrowed as I stared back at her, still half asleep. After a moment of silence I asked quickly, "How so?"

     She crossed the room and set her Faerie Back Pack down on the small table. Luna unzipped it and pulled out a fat folder that was stuffed to capacity with sheets of paper. She opened the front page and flipped through the papers.

     "Found this in Skarl's desk." She tossed me the folder.

     "And you stole it?" I asked, bewildered. Luna's triumphant expression didn't ease so I stepped forward preparing to lecture her on stealing other people's personal files. But first I asked, "Well… what it is?"

     "It's a folder on the Turdle races. I nicked it from Skarl's desk drawer. I didn't know where he was and there were no guards so I just took it and ran. In here are records of every Turdle race, a paragraph or so about each Turdle, and the staff. Heck, I could even tell you how much Bryce gets on his monthly paychecks."

     My beak dropped open: so much for my lecture. This book could give us all the answers we had about the races and it was in my paws. I only had a second or two to let my excitement and eagerness grow because I was soon filled with dread.

     "Won't someone know that it's missing?"

     "Oh come on, we only need it for a day or so. King Skarl won't even know it's gone. Besides, there was dust all over the top of it. It's not like it's been used very often…"

     I shrugged, "Fair enough. But what does this have to do with Skarl lying about something?"

     "Yesterday King Skarl said he didn't have an idea of who was behind the trading of the Turdles. He has an idea of who it is, he made that much clear," Luna flipped open the folder to a section marked 'Employees'. She pointed to the name 'TAVI' and in that section was the Pteri's name, species, which department he worked at, salary, when he arrived at the races and when he left the races.

     Under the standard information, however, was a list of complaints: 'continuously late', 'slacking on the job' and 'not making enough profit'.

     Luna looked over at me, "Either Skarl's just trying to nitpick Tavi into being fired or the Pteri's just not a very good worker. He's likely to get replaced. I read that Bryce used to have the job, but he moved over to let Tavi take the betting stands."

     "How nice of him," I said sarcastically. "We should definitely find Damien and Charlie."

     ***

     That task proved to be fairly simple. They were both on the first floor eating an assortment of berries picked fresh from the Meri Acre Farms. A large marrow had been split open and Damien took a bite of that, too. Charlie spotted us and pointed. Damien's head turned, marrow juice dripping from his chin. He hastily wiped his face with a napkin.

     "Hungry?" the royal Aisha asked. "There's plenty of food for the most important meal of the day."

     "Forget about the food, we found--"

     "I found…" Luna corrected smugly.

     I rolled my eyes. "Luna found an entire document of the Turdles Races in King Skarl's desk drawer. Here." I removed it from under my wing and set it on the counter. "Look through it, I'm sure you'll find something useful. Meanwhile, Luna and I need to find a Pteri called Tavi who runs the betting tables at the Turdle Races. We'll be back soon."

     "And if Skarl finds you, hide the folder," added Luna and she gave me a push: "Let's go." She and I exited the entry to the castle, past the Eyrie guards and over the bridge to find another suspect. Damien and Charlie flipped through the file eagerly and stopped when they came to the Turdle racing staff.

     "Here's Tavi," said Damien and his eyes widened when he saw the list of Skarl's complaints. He paused to pop a Voidberry in his mouth. "He and Bryce are the only Neopets who have contact with the Turdles."

     "But we can't just exclude Slade," the pea Chia prompted. "You know how he--" Charlie's words were cut short. "It's Skarl. Quick!" He turned to Damien. "Hide the file!"

     Damien frantically shut the folder and placed it on his lap. He scooted his chair in further so that the file was hidden. King Skarl started down the last flight of stairs, his crown glistening under the chandelier that hung above them. He sauntered over toward them, down the red and gold rug and said pleasantly,

     "Good morning, Detectives. I assume you had a good night's sleep?"

     "Very good, thank you," said Damien, pressing his legs up against the countertop so that the file wouldn't slide. "Just so you know: you were right about Turdle number 5. He is being switched with another Turdle and that's how he's been winning the races."

     Skarl nodded attentively.

     "So you can see our concern and now please let me ask you this: Do you think that you could close the Turdle Races for a few days?" Damien asked. "It would be much easier for us to work if the races were closed. Plus, it would be a more fair race, rather than these Meridellians and tourists getting ripped off time after time."

     "My dear boy, of course we cannot close the races," the King said huffily. "It would mean the profits would decrease along with the tourism. We most certainly will not close them down. There are only three races left until the Turdles are on hiatus until the month of Swimming."

     "Three races left?" shrieked Charlie. "That's just three more days to solve this mystery--"

     "Which I'm sure you'll be able to do," replied the blue Skeith. "Now if you'll excuse me, I need to find something of mine that I seem to have… misplaced yesterday. Good day." Damien and Charlie stole a glance at the King, who had a sly grin spread across his normally grumpy face.

     After they were sure he was out of earshot, Charlie said slowly, "You don't think he meant the…"

     "I don't know. Come on," said Damien, waving the Turdles Races file. "We should take this back upstairs in case the King comes down again."

     ***

     It was around ten when Luna and I arrived at the Turdle Race arena. The bleachers were abandoned until the early afternoon and the long grass around the circle rippled in the cool breeze. The Turdles were probably in the barn, munching on lettuce and sleeping soundly.

     "Where's Tavi?" I inquired.

     "How am I supposed to know?" Luna climbed to the top of the bleachers with ease and raised a black paw to her forehead while scanning the grounds. "There's some houses over there. Tavi probably lives in one of them. All employees of the Turdle Races and Skarl's servants get houses on the castle grounds."

     "The document told you that?"

     "Precisely," she answered smugly. "Now come on."

     Luna jumped from the top of the bleachers and scurried across the grounds. I had to lengthen my strides to keep up with her, with is something that doesn't happen very often. The two of us had our eyes peeled for a glowing Pteri, who would have been much easier to spot at night, I decided. Four houses made of smooth stones were sitting in a row.

     The second one had a window and through that window I could see a glowing Neopet sitting in a chair. I pointed him out to Luna so we started to that house first. We stepped up to the door and knocked.

     The door was opened just a second after we knocked, like the Neopet inside was expecting us. The glowing Neopet opened the door and looked up at us.

     "Sorry, no early bets can be placed. They start at--"

     "We're not looking to place a bet, Tavi," I cut him off and extended my paw. "I'm Marlo and this is Luna. We're detectives and I'm sure there a few questions you can answer for us."

     Tavi nodded slowly, ("sure,") but he didn't offer to let us in. No matter. This would be over with soon enough.

     "We are aware that you run the betting stands," began Luna, her notepad already in her paw. "However, we, along with King Skarl, believe that one of the Turdles is being switched with a faster Turdle to win races. Were you aware that this is occurring?"

     "Not at all," Tavi replied, though his tone seemed too casual. "I just run the betting stands, I'm not in charge of the Turdles or anything. You should talk to Bryce; he's the Turdle handler. As for me--"

     "A simple 'yes' or 'no' would have sufficed," I said, and Tavi shut his beak. The glowing Pteri squirmed under my keen eyes. "If you are wondering why we are standing on your porch interrogating you--"

     "The thought did cross my mind."

     I rolled my eyes. There was something about him that annoyed me. Still, I continued, "We are here because of the complaints King Skarl has marked by your name in the Turdle Races file. He says you've been continuously late," I counted off my wingtips, "slacking on the job and not making enough profits. Care to explain?"

     "He's lying," said Tavi flatly, shaking his feathery head. His stubborn tone didn't ease when he added, "Skarl has been trying to get me fired since day one. Okay, I was late once. Once. And that was because I was caught up in a game of Potato Counter and I lost track of the time. You think the guy would cut me some slack."

     Luna nodded and scribbled down the main points of Tavi's monologue, "And about the 'slacking on the job'?"

     "Again, he's lying," the Pteri answered. "I happen to be a very hard worker. The King hates me, that's all."

     "Very well," I said, realizing that we probably weren't going to get much farther than Tavi saying that King Skarl had a personal bias against him. "Thanks for your time."

     "And we'll be at the races today," added Luna after putting away her notepad. "See you there."

     Tavi blinked a few times and it seemed as though a wave of fear washed over him. Why was he acting so suspicious? Would he not be able to switch the Turdles if the four of us were in the bleachers today? Something was pfishy about him… and I knew that I would have to keep an even keener eye over the races these next couple of days.

To be continued...

 
Search the Neopian Times




Other Episodes


» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part One
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part Two
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part Three
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part Five
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part Six
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part Seven
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part Eight



Week 0 Related Links


Other Stories


---------

Blue Slushie
Brain Freeze!

by op0site

---------

The Sought, the Sister, and the Sorceress: Part Two
"Correction: they wanted you. I just followed you from behind, but I was found out. Apparently, you're the Chosen One."

by animalnutz1993

---------

Eliv Thade's Defeat
For as long as I could remember, I had worked for Thade at his old castle in the Haunted Woods...

by sikki_lo

---------

Unnecessary Nonsense
Look before you grab...

by nightychao172



Submit your stories, articles, and comics using the new submission form.