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


by playmobil_is_my_life

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The next afternoon Luna, Charlie, Damien and I didn't have much time to discuss the Turdle Races or the red-cloaked figure. In the morning Luna was off roaming the castle: a rather automatic habit of hers whenever we stayed somewhere away from home on Bracknell Road, Neopia Central. Damien was with Charlie looking through the Turdle Racing file and I was left alone to go where I pleased but keeping to myself.

      Turdle number 5 won all three of the races this afternoon. We did not attend but heard plenty about it from the Meridellians around us. Tomorrow was the final races and we needed to get a foothold on his case.

      Like we promised King Skarl, the four of us showed up at the Fitting Room at six thirty that was located at the far end of the third floor. A royal Jubjub was busy finding a dress shirt for a rather large Chia so we waited outside the door. The Chia exited later, wearing a pale blue dress shirt that buttoned down the front.

      "Next, please."

      The four of us stepped inside and the Jubjub immediately began talking,

      "Need something to wear for Skarl's dinner this evening?"

      I told her yes and she immediately began sizing us up. She turned to Damien, "You should be fine." Damien blushed at the fact that he was painted royal and stepped back with Charlie so Luna and I could find some dress clothes. The Jubjub climbed to the top of her ladder and pulled down a crate, (which surprised me that she could lift something so heavy).

      She withdrew a large emerald-colored cloak that tied at the neck and handed it to me. I tossed it over my white wings and shoulders and she climbed to the middle of her ladder to tie it around my neck.

      "Hmm," she stepped back to admire it on me, "Well that seems to work all right."

      "I love the color," said Luna, smiling.

      I thanked the Jubjub as she began to look for something that Luna liked. Five minutes later, the Yurble was wearing a purple robe that fell to the floor. It had a gold trim and looked very elegant. We turned to leave but the Jubjub stopped us.

      "And something for him as well?" She pointed to Charlie. I thought it was a joke. Charlie was a pea Chia; he didn't need a dress robe.

      "No, I'm fine, thanks," Charlie answered, from Damien's shoulder.

      "Are you sure?" the Jubjub asked.

      "Yes, I'm sure," replied Charlie, a bit irked. "I doubt you have anything in my size anyway."

      "You'd be surprised…"

      We thanked her and exited. King Skarl said that the main dining room was on the first floor and to the left. It was a bit harder to walk in my green cloak: it completely covered my wings and swished as it brushed against the floor. It was a real pain, but I imagined that it looked nice.

      We turned the corner and froze, facing what was obviously the dining room. It was simply stunning. There were three long rows of tables, two golden chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, the floor was white marble and the tables were a dark oak. Lots of Skarl's colleagues and servants were either seated at the table or mingling with one another.

      "Talk about fancy," Luna whispered, next to me at the table. We were sitting across from two royal Zafaras who were sipping wine from their glasses. Damien straightened his hat and I nervously flattened the feathers on my head. Everyone here was much more uppity than us.

      "I thought you'd be here," came a familiar voice from behind us. I turned around in my seat and stood up. It was Slade, King Skarl's nephew. The Draik looked very nice: dressed in a crisp, white tunic with silver buttons. "How's the case going?"

      "It's going all right," I answered, trying to keep a casual face but failing. Why was he so interested?

      "You better have it solved soon," the Draik drawled. "Tomorrow is the last race of the season."

      "We're aware," I answered, mocking Slade's matter-of-fact tone. Slade shrugged and started off, the silver buttons gleaming under the light as he moved.

      "How annoying," Damien mumbled. He couldn't help but wonder why Slade was interested in our case as well. It's not like it made excellent dinner conversation.

      I sat back down and tried to find Bryce and Tavi. I knew Bryce would be here… he was in charge of the Turdles after all and that seemed like a big enough job to be invited to a posh dinner. Tavi, I wasn't so sure about. He was a bit more under Bryce on the importance scale.

      "He's right there," said Luna, pointing to the glowing Pteri. And sure enough there was the Neopet who worked at the betting table. I turned to Luna,

      "Is being psychic another one of your detective abilities?"

      She rolled her eyes and said with a wink, "No, great minds just think alike." I turned back to Bryce and Tavi, who were talking to each other now. Neither of them were extremely dressed up. Bryce was wearing a simple blue dress shirt with deep pockets, and Tavi in a brown tunic with black buttons.

      At seven o'clock sharp, King Skarl appeared, wearing his usual robes and a small smile. "Good evening, may I have your attention, please? Thank you. First off, for those of you new to the castle I would like to welcome you. Second, I wish to thank you all for coming. And finally, please enjoy the food and help yourself to seconds. Enjoy!"

      Dozens of caterers wheeled in the trays of food and everyone helped themselves to what they wanted. I piled my plate rather high since I only had a small lunch. Luna and Damien took smaller helpings but ended up going back for more.

      The food items on the trays were a bit different from the food we were used to. A case a couple months ago was on Terror Mountain and the only food they had to offer was either frozen or tasteless. I was glad that Meridell food had many different tastes and textures. There were meats, breads, cheese and vegetables. I took a bite of my Carrot Stuffed Pepper, savoring the wonderful flavor of the veggies and spices.

      "This is great food," Damien commented, taking a bite of potatoes. "I used to eat this all of the time when I was little."

      "Psst, Marlo!" Luna nudged me in the ribs and I nearly choked on my food. She didn't seem to notice. "Look, over there!"

     After coughing a few times and taking a sip of Marrow Juice, I turned to look to the right, following Luna's paw.

      It was the red-cloaked figure.

      He was standing against the wall, watching us. His face was completely hidden by the red hood but I knew he was smirking. My body went still and I didn't take my eyes off him for a while. Luna started to rise from the table,

      "I'm going over there," she said.

      "Luna wait, no!" I exclaimed, grabbing her paw, "Are you insane? He could be dangerous!"

      "Oh, stop it," she said stubbornly, wrenching my paw off hers. "Don't worry, I'll be back in a minute. Besides, we may never get to see him this close again."

      I reluctantly agreed to let her go after him but felt a bit worried at the same time. Luna pushed her chair back and started down between the two tables, weaving through Neopets standing around. She quickly made her way down to where he was standing, but he was gone.

      Luna stopped and then looked across the room. There was a dimly lit hallway with its door open. That's where he must've gone, she said to herself. Without giving it a second thought, the shadow Yurble started across the hall, purple robes flying behind her. The hallway was a little cooler and poorly lit. There were just a few candles hanging from the walls. It was hard to see and there were many different turns.

      Using her paw to guide her, she felt the gray wall next to her and kept moving to watch for any sign of movement. Luna paused momentarily to look to her right. There was some kind of room but she doubted the figure would have had time to find a hiding place in the dark. Pressing on, Luna started down the hallway again feeling a little scared.

      Whoosh.

      The noise made Luna spin around. "Who's there?" she called, her voice shaky.

      No one was behind her… at least she couldn't see anyone. Yet she felt that someone was watching her.

      "I said who's there?"

      Luna tried to speak again, but her voice came out in barely a whisper. A strong feeling of paranoia washed over her. The Yurble tried her best not to panic and she took a deep breath to slow her fluttering heart. Gathering some intrepidity, Luna turned and slowly moved forward but stopped. She spun around again in time to see a shadowy figure raise a long object--

      Thud!

      She felt the object collide with the side of her head and white dots popped in front of her face. With a small moan, Luna blacked out and fell to the dusty floor.

     ***

      Back in the dining room, I glanced at the clock on the wall. Thirty minutes since Luna had left. I felt a little dumb fretting… she was probably tracking down the mysterious cloaked figure and was coming back any second. Damien looked a little anxious himself. I made up my mind and rose to my feet.

     "I'm going to look for Luna," I told Damien. "You and Charlie should stay here in case she comes back."

      Damien nodded and took another bite of the Honey Cheese after telling me to be careful. I crossed the room to stand in front of the same entrance that Luna stood under before she disappeared. I hastily took a quick glance over my shoulder to find that no one was watching me.

     Taking a deep breath, I bravely started into the dark hallway.

To be continued…

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



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