Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 184,475,297 Issue: 468 | 5th day of Storing, Y12
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The Mysterious Affair At Virtupets: Part One


by yoyti

--------

Dear Reader:

      It should be noted that everything that Captain Viased wrote here is true. A few things must be taken into account. Captain Viased is not actually a captain, but rather a retired captain, formerly with the Defenders of Neopia. Inspector Syod also retired from the Defenders of Neopia, but unlike Viased, Syod never quite gave up on Defender life. Syod is still out there, solving mysteries that the Defenders of Neopia can’t. So if you need help, and the Defenders are occupied, you may call on Inspector Syod. She will be happy to take the case.

     Also, the character of Sasha Bethya is used with the permission of my sister, Bethyaz.

     Sincerely, A Concerned Author

     ~~~

I was on the shuttle when it happened. I and nine other pets (not including the pilot) were taking a tour of Neopia from space in a Virtupets shuttle. We were just rounding Kreludor before returning to the station, when one of the passengers, a green Elephante, fell over, evidently dead. The passengers sitting next to him were also Elephantes, a large yellow one and a small red one (his wife and daughter presumably). The other passengers were a blue Gelert, two Lupes (spotted and shadow) a woodland Acara, a Halloween Aisha, a blue Bruce (with a rock petpet) and me (a red Flotsam).

      Shock spread through the Shuttle. The Gelert got up and walked to the Elephante. After a moment, he said, “He’s dead.”

      The small red Elephante burst into tears. The Gelert walked to the front of the shuttle, presumably to tell the pilot. It seems I was right on that count because soon after, an announcement came on the loudspeaker.

      “We will be arriving at the station half an hour early on account of the recent tragedy.”

      I neomailed my old friend and colleague, Inspector Syod, who was awaiting my return from holiday in Maraqua. I told her of the death and she instantly responded.

      “Do not leave the station. I am on my way now. I do not believe that this was an accident.”

      I shook my head. Syod always thought the worst of everything. The trouble was, she’s usually right.

     ~~~

     When we arrive at the station, the Bruce and I were the first to disembark. But the moment we stepped off of the shuttle, we saw Syod, who told us to get back on the shuttle.

      “What’s the delay?” asked the shadow Lupe.

      “I believe that this Elephante was murdered!” said Syod, stepping on the shuttle. “What’s more, if he was murdered, it stands to reason that one of you did it!”

      “Preposterous!” shouted the Bruce. “There is no evidence to suggest such a thing!”

      “On the contrary. I think there is quite a bit of evidence,” responded Syod, very calmly.

      The Bruce looked ready to argue, but the spotted Lupe spoke first. “Explain. I want to hear more.”

      Syod needed no further reason to continue. “Look at the seat he is sitting in. The back of it is torn and scratched, yet none of the other seats look remotely worn! Notice the wiring behind the seat. I believe someone walked by, perhaps to go to the bathroom, and sliced open the back of his seat. Then, when he sat back, he was electrocuted and it would look like an accident. Simple as that!”

      “And how do you propose to find the murderer?” The Lupe spoke again.

      “The usual way.” Syod reached into her pocket and pulled out eleven sheets of paper. “On each of these sheets are a few questions. Please answer them and then return them to me.”

      The paper looked like this:

  • Name:
  • Occupation:
  • Age:
  • Color:
  • Species:

      When all the sheets were filled out, this is what they said:

  • Name: Roger E. Corman
  • Occupation: Banker at the Bank of Neopia
  • Age: 85 months
  • Color: Blue
  • Species: Bruce
  • Hometown: Brightvale
  • Name: Thomas Smith
  • Occupation: Doctor
  • Age: 120 months
  • Color: Blue
  • Species: Gelert
  • Hometown: Neopia Central
  • Name: Rebeca Brownstone
  • Occupation: Farmer
  • Age: 101 months
  • Color: Woodland
  • Species: Acara
  • Hometown: Meridell
  • Name: George Crawle
  • Occupation: Greengrocer
  • Age: 94 months
  • Color: Spotted
  • Species: Lupe
  • Hometown: Altador
  • NOTE: Brother to Georgina Crawle
  • Name: Georgina Crawle
  • Occupation: Greengrocer
  • Age: 92 months
  • Color: Shadow
  • Species: Lupe
  • Hometown: Altador
  • NOTE: Sister to George Crawle
  • Name: Sasha Bethya
  • Occupation: Librarian at the haunted library
  • Age: 47 months
  • Color: Halloween
  • Species: Aisha
  • Hometown: Haunted Woods
  • Name: Celia Merrotlin
  • Occupation: Ice rink manager
  • Age: 72 months
  • Color: Yellow
  • Species: Elelphante
  • Hometown: Terror Mountain
  • NOTE: Wife of the deceased
  • Name: Leila Merrotlin
  • Occupation: N/A
  • Age: 12 months
  • Color: Red
  • Species: Elephante
  • Hometown: Terror Mountain
  • NOTE: Daughter of the deceased
  • Name: Roderic Bryll
  • Occupation: Shuttle pilot on Virtupets
  • Age: 100 months
  • Color: Orange
  • Species: Kougra
  • Hometown: Virtupets space station
  • Name: Viased Yoyti
  • Occupation: Former Defender of Neopia
  • Age: 52 months
  • Color: Red
  • Species: Flotsam
  • Hometown: Maraqua

     After these were handed over to Inspector Syod, we were all instructed to go to the Virtupets hotel where we would be staying until the investigation was completed.

     ~~~

      Later that night, Syod sought me out in my room.

      “May I come in?” she asked.

      “Yes,” was my answer.

      Syod came in.

      “Do you know who the murderer is yet?” I asked.

      “I believe so.”

      “Who is it?”

      “I should not tell you, for it may affect your next course of action.”

      “What do you mean?”

      “What I mean is that there are only four pets who could have committed the crime and if I told you who they were, you might let something slip. I need you to help me weed out the murderer.”

      “But pray, tell me, how did you deduce the four suspects? You need not tell me who they are,” I added hastily.

      “Motive, Method, Murderer,” said Syod.

      “What was that?”

      “Motive: Why the crime was committed. Method: How the crime was committed. Murderer: Until you know the murderer (not their identity, Viased, by murderer I mean how the murderer thinks,) you know nothing.”

      “Interesting method.”

      Syod grinned. “That brings us to our next task.”

      “Which is?”

      “I want you to speak to Leila Merrotlin.”

      “What?” I shouted in surprise. “Surely you don’t suspect the little girl!”

      “Appearances can be deceiving. In any case, I don’t suspect her. I believe she may have noticed something. Children can be very observant. We should learn to listen to them.”

      “Why don’t you ask her yourself?”

      “It is the nature of a murder case that, should a suspect be interrogated by an official inspector, they will tend to omit some details, possibly to protect someone (often the murdered pet themselves). I am sure that you will be able to get more details than I ever could.”

      “What do you want me to find out?”

      “Anything. The smallest detail is important. While you are investigating the matter, I will be leaving for Terror Mountain. I think that there may be someone there who can help us.”

     ~~~

      Leila was sitting gloomily at a table in the Grundo’s Cafe. She was absentmindedly stirring a drink with a straw. I sat down opposite her.

      “Depressing, huh?” I began.

      “You don’t realize just how accurate you are,” replied Leila, coldly.

      I winced inwardly. This was going to be tough. “Look. I’m very sorry about this, but I’d like to put the murderer behind bars very much. I suppose that comes of having worked for the Defenders of Neopia. So. Do you know anything?”

      “Why should I tell you? The Shoyru is investigating.”

      “True, but I want to investigate this on the off chance that Syod is wrong.”

      “I’ve looked at that Shoyru’s records. She’s never wrong.”

      “True,” I said, beaten.

      “Besides. Syod’s already interrogated me.”

      This, I did not expect. “She has?”

      “Yes. About one hour ago.”

      This was unexpected. Although, on second thought, maybe it made sense to have to different pets with different parts in the investigation to interrogate suspects. Or maybe it was a bad idea as it put the young Elephante on guard. She wouldn’t be surprised at an investigation, and would be less likely to let something slip. I decided to stop thinking and just go for a direct approach. “So. What did she ask you?”

      “The normal questions,” replied Leila. “‘Did your father have any enemies? Did you see anything suspicious? Who do you suspect?’ You know. The normal questions.”

      I frowned. ‘Who do you suspect’ was not a question normally asked by the Defenders of Neopia. I had used it five or six times with mixed results. Sometimes it helped, sometimes it didn’t. It added an unreliable variable to the equation which would almost always complicate matters. “So what did you answer?” I asked.

      It was Leila’s turn to frown. “Why are you asking me this? This is an indirect way of asking me the same questions.” Her eyes widened. “Did that Shoyru put you up to this? Well, tell her that I already answered these questions and I refuse to answer them again!”

      I stood up -- or rather, I would have stood up if I had legs. Instead, I just sort of balanced on my tail with my fins on the table. “Unfounded accusations!” I shouted. I glanced around. My speech was having the desired effect. People were looking towards us. I turned around and half dragged myself and half hopped towards the exit. I glanced back. Leila was running towards me.

      “Stop. I’ll tell you!” she cried.

      “That’s better,” I said quietly. “Now. Let’s walk back to the table and you tell me what you know.” We walked back to the table and Leila told me what she knew.

To be continued...

 
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