A Single Prediction: Part One
“Thank you for helping me,” the Island Mystic said, tying the bone ornaments around his neck. “I can’t believe I had just left it on the beach. Although, that does explain why I couldn’t find it in the future.”
“What do you mean?” Demco replied. The Island Kyrii had asked him to come find the necklace, and even then it had surprised him. He always thought the fortune teller could see into the future whenever he wanted.
The Island Mystic stared curiously at him. “I cannot see everything. I can only see what time allows. Even then, evil deeds and occurrences are more prominent. Because I was searching for a thief, I didn’t bother focusing on a simple accident to discover where I find the necklace.
“Regardless, thank you for helping me find it. You have done me a great favor.”
“It was nothing,” Demco replied modestly.
“You are right. It was nothing. And since you helped me with something obviously not worth your time, I shall reward you.”
“No, really,” Demco quickly said. “There’s no need.” The Techo had always been afraid of dwelling on the future. He thought it would cast a shadow over his life, because all he would worry about was the prediction.
Unfortunately, it was too late. The Island Mystic’s eyes had gone blank. Demco stood comfortably, but after a while he began to fidget. Usually, the Island Mystic only took moments to give fortunes. After ten minutes, Demco knew something was wrong.
“Mystic?” he said quietly. The Techo had no idea what to do when a magic Neopian had fallen into a trance.
At the sound of his voice, the Kyrii’s eyes fluttered open. “Thank goodness!” Demco exclaimed. Still, the Island Mystic didn’t speak. At that point, Demco began scrutinizing the Kyrii.
The brown fur was groomed, shining in the sunlight. A relaxed look had taken over the majority of his face, but his eyes... they were shining brightly, reflecting more than just the sun. In the Kyrii’s eyes was a reflection of Demco.
“Mystic!” he cried out in alarm, and the Kyrii suddenly snapped out of his trance.
“You-” the Mystic started. “You are not safe. Beware your 400th case, for it will be then that your grave danger reveals itself.”
The detective hadn’t left the post office since it had arrived. He was too far lost in memories to even move. Long ago, Demco had assisted the Island Mystic in finding the bone necklace that usually decorated the fortune teller’s appearance. He had discovered that it hadn’t been stolen; it had only been misplaced. Even though the task was simple, the Mystic rewarded Demco by looking into the green Techo’s future. It was then that this horrible day had been predicted.
Ever since, Demco had counted every case he took, no matter how simple. The Island Mystic was one of his first, his 20th to be exact. Now, 379 cases after the Mystic’s prediction, he was being called to help someone once more.
The temptation to just set the envelope down and walk away was great, but he didn’t. Another case would come, and another, until he had refused too many people to be a detective anymore. No. He had to take this case, and face whatever it was that the Island Mystic had predicted.
His paw shaking, he opened the envelope. Every movement was marked by the ticking of a nearby clock. It was as if he were one with the clock, only moving once a second. His motions were stiff and robotic. After what seemed like an hour, the package was opened. Demco pulled out the letter that lay inside.
To: Detective Demco Archavius
Sir, I address you in the hopes that you will take my case. You see, a rare and powerful artifact has been stolen from my home. It was under my safekeeping, and it is with haste that I must find it. Restrictions cannot slow me down. Even if I must go outside the law, this item needs to be recovered. I promise you, if anything illegal is done, I will turn myself in to the Defenders of Neopia.
My home is obvious.
More information I cannot give until you have confirmed that you will help me. I have heard many things about you, detective, and it is from the recommendation of a good friend that I have sent you this request. Your reputation precedes you, but still I must make sure that the wrong person didn’t get this letter. In these three paragraphs I have encoded a word. This will be your trial, and the word will gain you entrance to my home.
From: Sir Edgar Avelin
Demco stared at the letter, his green tail twitching. He wanted to help this man, but the desire to prevent a horrible event from happening tore at him. This message sounded urgent, but was it so important Demco could risk the Mystic’s prediction?
Demco knew he had to help. He had told himself before there was no preventing the Mystic’s fortune from coming to pass. Whether he was there or not, this was his 400th case. The prediction would happen with or without him, and he wasn’t going to let this person face it alone.
First, though, he had to figure out the password. Demco gazed at the short letter, letting the words jump off the page. In these three paragraphs... Something wasn’t right there. This ‘Sir Edgar’ would be well-educated, and probably quite literate. He would know that a paragraph consists of four sentences or more. Any sentence alone between paragraphs is just considered a line. “That means the answer is in the words,” Demco mused. “...these three paragraphs...” The password had to be included in that phrase because of its grammatical error. It only took him a few seconds to figure it out.
‘My home is obvious,’ the line in the middle of the page that seemed out of place, was four words. Therefore, the fourth letter from each word ‘these three paragraphs’ would spell out the answer. Demco counted quickly. S.E.A was the answer.
This was confounding. His home was the sea? Could it be Maraqua? No, it had to be closer. There wasn’t a stamp on the envelope, so it was hand delivered. Sir Edgar had to live on the coastline of Neopia Central.
Hastily exiting the Post Office, Demco rushed past the Money Tree. A hoard of Neopets was gathered underneath its branches, but they didn’t disturb the Techo. He had more pressing matters to attend. This was his 400th case, and horrible events were destined to happen.
As soon as he reached the coastline, he knew something was different. Clouds were gathering overhead, but the waves remained calm. Someone, or something, was expecting him.
As if in answer to his thoughts, a screeching noise filled the air. The wind swept it away, but not before it grated in Demco’s ears. The Techo looked in alarm at the now-quivering surface of the ocean, his tail twitching in curiosity. Something was breaking the surface!
As the clouds overhead broke with a clap of thunder, a metal T rose above the water. The mechanical noise was gears grinding, pushing it above the surface. As soon as the sound stopped, though, a Tyrannian Flotsam’s head appeared beside it.
“Welcome to the Cove, Detective. Say the password, please.” It was more of a statement than a question, as if the fanged Flotsam expected him to already know it.
“The password is sea,” Demco replied, and the Flotsam sighed. “I’m afraid not,” she said. “Take it back down, Polip.”
The grinding started again, this time from the T being pulled back into the water. Demco covered his ears, unable to withstand the sound again. “Wait!” he shouted loudly. To his relief, the sound stopped and the Flotsam appeared again.
“Yes?” she questioned nicely.
“The password is-” Demco paused. If it wasn’t sea, it had to be something else. He ran through the letter again in his mind. He had been sure SEA was the answer. “That’s it!” he exclaimed. The letter had been from Sir Edgar Avelin. SEA wasn’t a word, it was initials. “The password is Sir Edgar Avelin.”
“Very good, Detective Archavius. You live up to expectations, almost. Polip, he passed!”
The Flotsam disappeared beneath the waves, and Demco covered his ears expectantly. The screeching metal started again, a symphony of out-of-tune noise. The metal T again rose above the water, but this time it was a little different. The bottom part of the T split into two metal sheets, both traveling in opposite directions. The screech grew even louder as the two metal sheets scraped violently against the third.
In a minute, the sound had finished. Demco uncovered his ears and gazed at the end result. The metal sheets protruding from the ocean now formed a square without a base, shielding its contents from the water while allowing access to visitors. All of the grinding noise had resulted in a single accomplishment. A staircase was revealed and Demco could now get inside.
One final strike of lightning appeared overhead, and the storm was over. “What a strange coincidence,” Demco thought to himself, and then walked across the rocks to the stairs. Without hesitation, he stepped down into the darkness.
To be continued...