The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part Six
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
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.
The four of us stepped inside and the Jubjub
immediately began talking,
"Need something to wear for Skarl's dinner this
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
"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
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
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
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.
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
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…