The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Disappearing Deaver - Part Seven
Jack and I finished talking in The Golden Dubloon a mere ten minutes after Luna, Charlie and Damien left. We headed back to the docks on a boat with nine other pirates so we could meet Damien, Luna and Charlie at port three.
The best part about our conversation was narrowing it down to two of the crewmembers: Simeon and Roxanne. Both had Battledome training (or at least enough to work a water sceptre) prior to their arrival on The Crusader. This was exciting, I thought: down to two possible suspects and maybe they were working together!
This roused another thought. If they weren’t working together, then whoever kidnapped Kip could have hired another Neopian, an outside force, most likely someone who wasn’t involved with The Crusader at all. If so, it was probably a desperate pirate in need of some dubloons. I ran the theory by Jack as we headed to the docks.
There wasn’t much time to discuss it because when we arrived at port three, an unimaginable sight welcomed us.
“Where’s your boat, Jack?” I asked. The docking station was completely empty.
The Lupe stared. “I don’t know...” He rushed to the dock and examined the post. “Someone took the rope off.”
“Well, doesn’t it have an anchor?”
“No,” said Jack. “If it does, I never used it.”
Something bad must have happened. Whenever something did, I could usually feel it. And why did something bad always have to happen? I stooped down and said, “Quick, get on my back.” Jack must have sensed that something was wrong, too, because he hopped on fast without asking questions and we took off.
“Where do you think they could have gone?” Jack asked.
“Not far,” I replied. “They couldn’t have even started the boat, but this seems like a long way out for just drifting.”
“If someone wanted something to happen to them, they probably would have done it near the Fungus Caves,” Jack advised. “It’s pretty well hidden and there are lots of large rocks.”
It sounded like a great place to start. “Which way?”
He put his paws around my feathery neck as I veered towards the left side, wings spread to their full length and beak pointed to the wind.
“Damien, we don’t have much time...”
Luna, who was standing on the counter, holding Kip’s cage in one paw and the highest cabinet knob in the other was starting to slip. The icy water was crawling up the counter and seeping into her black fur. It had only been minutes since the water started pouring in, but it felt like hours trapped on The Unsinkable.
“I know,” the royal Aisha finally answered. The water was almost to his shoulders now. Bobbing around in it like a cork was draining his energy. “We shouldn’t have gone in....” Luna guessed he was referring to the boat. “It was dumb... unlocked for a reason.” He crawled onto the remaining counter space so he could rest a minute while the water continued to pour in.
“Damien, look!” He glanced up to the window where she was pointing. “It’s Marlo!”
Newfound hope flooded through him. “Marlo!” he yelled, waving his arms.
Spotting the boat, which was almost vertically sticking out of the water now, I landed at the side and pulled the window latch off, but to my horror, it was too small for either of them to fit through. “Hold on,” I called to them. “There must be a way in!”
“There isn’t!” Luna yelled back over the rising water. “The door is locked.”
Then Charlie had an idea. “Luna, where’s that spare key you found?”
“I don’t know,” said the Yurble, clinging to Kip’s cage. “I think I dropped it in the other room when the water started coming in.”
“I’ll get it,” said Damien. “The door should be easy to open since it’s completely submerged. Then Marlo and Jack can unlock the entry and we’ll all get out of here.” Without waiting for their responses, Damien filled his lungs with air and disappeared under the cluttered surface.
He brushed past chairs, a table and lots of old newspaper. The door was fairly easy to open and Damien slid into the other room. He squinted around for the silver key ring that he remembered Luna waving around her hand. It had to be somewhere on the floor... but there seemed to be a lot of floor. A glint of silver caught Damien’s eye. He swam over to it and scooped it up quickly, air supply getting low.
I finally breathed again when his head broke the surface at last. Damien swam my way and handed me the key. Jack jumped off my back and made his way to the back of the boat, which was now sticking straight up in the air. The latch came free and the door swung open. Luna passed Kip’s cage to Damien, who passed it up to me. Then Luna and Charlie came, pulled up by Jack, who stood at the top of the stern as Damien came up last, exhausted.
Just before The Unsinkable could disappear completely under the surface, Jack, Damien, Luna, Charlie and Kip all climbed up onto my back and I took off. Flying was much harder with Jack and Kip’s added weight.
“‘Unsinkable’ my tail,” said Jack bitterly as we were headed towards Krawk Island once again. For some reason, Luna, Damien and Charlie found that hilarious. I just shook my head in confusion and relief.
“We’ve narrowed it down,” I called back to the group. “It was either Simeon or Roxanne.”
“Roxanne,” the trio chorused.
“I had a while to think when the boat was sinking,” said Luna. “About the mystery. You know, in case the three of us never got to solve it. Remember when we asked the Captain if there were any water spots on deck the early morning he woke to find Kip gone? He said no, everything was in order.”
“That’s because Roxanne didn’t walk to find Kip. She must have taken her from the side of the boat where she swam around,” Charlie added, “so prints wouldn’t have been left on deck.”
“What about Battledome training?” asked Damien.
“She said no when I asked her, but Jack confirmed that she definitely had.”
“What about motive?”
“I don’t think she necessarily had anything against the Captain,” said Luna. “But she probably had something against Jack, since she used his boat and successfully got him fired.”
“I... I never realized it. How much she wanted my position on board. She has been with the ship just as long as I have. So the First Mate job probably would go to her if Jack was fired.”
“So she took Kip to get Jack fired, not because she had anything against the Captain,” Charlie thought aloud. “That’s kind of funny.”
“What I think is funny is how everything seems to come together in a moment of crisis.” Luna laughed as we swooped down towards Krawk Island.
Back aboard The Crusader that night, it was wild. Captain DeSoto, in giddiness of having his Deaver returned to him, threw a party for the entire crew (excluding Roxanne, of course) and we all had a great time. Wally cooked up a storm in the galley: appetizers, beef stew, and bubbling drinks for everyone.
Captain DeSoto decided to give Jack his position again, along with a monstrous apology. Jack just shook his paw and thanked him.
The guest that we all anticipated seeing never showed. We figured Roxanne had fled, well aware that we had solved the case. It was for the best, I decided. I didn’t know whether the Defenders of Neopia would like flying all the way out to Krawk Island at this time of evening. Then again, you have to do what it takes when it comes to stopping criminals.
Damien, Luna, and Charlie had learned that by now. Their little experience being locked on a sinking boat didn’t seem to faze them. “We try not to dwell on the past,” said Luna, when I asked her about it. “You got to us in time, we saved Kip, and solved the mystery. The end.”
“Yeah,” I said, agreeing.
“Excuse me, Detectives?” Captain DeSoto put a paw on my shoulder. “On behalf of the crew and I, we’d like to give you a reward for settling things here.” Behind him was a small sack of dubloons. It wasn’t exactly the Neopia Central currency we were used to, but I was sure we could trade them in for neopoints.
“Thanks,” Damien said, accepting the gift.
“You’re welcome to stay longer,” said the Eyrie.
“We’ll take you up on that offer,” I said, with a smile. “Just for a night. We’d like to leave in the morning, head back to Bracknell Road to be open for more cases.”
We spent one more night on The Crusader. It was strange because the tiny cabin, hammock bed, rocking of the waves and moonlight shining in from the window was starting to feel cozy.
“West, we headed west?”
“Yarr!” came the cry of the pirate Techo, all eight fingers gripping the giant steering wheel.
“Bring her a little more north, then, or we’re bound to run into the Fungus Caves again.”
With a groan from the steering wheel and a series of snaps from the wind in the sails, The Crusader moved to the right and straightened out, set for the horizon. The crew was on an excursion to Lutari Island to explore and trade with the natives.
It had been three days since the great celebration settled down at last and things were finally normal again. Kip gnawed on some rotted wood towards the side of the ship. DeSoto didn’t seem to notice. Those boards needed replacing anyway...
“All clear up there, Simeon?”
A Shoyru poked his head out of the basket in the lookout post. “All clear; blue skies; slight wind coming in from the east. It’s a perfect day for sailing!”
A red and blue Piraket nose-dived towards the ship and landed on one of the railings. He stared at the Eyrie peculiarly with two large, brown eyes. “What’s this?” DeSoto asked the colorful petpet. A letter was clamped down in his beak. After the Captain took it, the Piraket flew off into the morning sky.
Captain DeSoto opened the letter and read to himself:
Dear Captain DeSoto,
We’re not sure how you’re going to get this letter, as we are unfamiliar with the post office services in Krawk Island. Thanks very much for letting us stay on your ship during our visit to the island. We are glad Kip is safe and back with you. Thank you for your generous reward as well. We hope the skies are clear during your travels. Please feel free to contact us again at any time if you are in need of assistance.
Author’s Note: Thank you for reading and thanks as always to beewitched2, for editing. Feel free to send feedback. Always be on the lookout for TPPD mysteries. :)