The Mysterious Affair At Virtupets: Part Two
You have come this far in Captain Viased’s narrative. I will provide a brief intermission to write you this letter. Here is a brief summary of what happened last week. An Elephante was murdered. Inspector Syod showed up to solve the case. Syod instructed Viased to question the Elephante’s daughter. In fact, if I need to tell you this, just go back one week and read part one.
Sincerely, A Concerned Author
Leila Merrotlin proved to be a valuable source of information -- or at least, I thought she was until Syod came back from Terror Mountain with groundbreaking news. Nevertheless, I hoped that my efforts would not be wasted. Anyway, here is an account of what happened when Leila was put under pressure.
“So, Leila, tell me what you know.” I lowered my voice a whole octave and down about three dynamic levels just to sound threatening. A casual approach did not work; maybe a frightening one would.
“Okay,” replied Leila, in barely a whisper. “One, Dad did not have enemies I was aware of. Two, I did not see anything suspicious. Three, I suspect the pilot.”
“The pilot?” I asked, all thoughts of intimidation gone.
“I know it sounds crazy, but I can’t see any motive for anyone at all and the pilot seems like the only one to know enough about the electronics to properly electrocute anyone.”
I was shocked. Not only had the girl come up with an idea as to who the murderer could be, it seemed that she was right!
“If that is all,” said Leila, coldly, “I’ll go now.” Leila stood up and walked out of Grundo’s Cafe.
I sat down in a chair in my assigned room in the hotel. I let out a long sigh. This was too much. I needed to think. I should have known that Syod wouldn’t let me think if I gave her one million neopoints -- not that I had that much money anyway, and she wouldn’t accept it if I did. The moment I thought that, I heard a knock on the window. I turned around and saw none other than Syod. She was hovering in front of the window looking very exhausted and dishevelled. I opened the window to let her in. She immediately flew to the ceiling and hung upside down with her wings folded in front of her like a Shoyru -- which, of course, she was.
I closed the window to prevent the air escaping. Syod was gasping for breath. “That is the last time I ask Taelia to transport me anywhere!” Syod was now flying around a light bulb in the middle of the room like a moth.
“Well?” I asked. “What did you find out on Terror Mountain?”
“Quite a bit,” said Syod, calming down. “I believe that it is obvious who the murderer is now, but I will hold off on revealing that until later. Now, I think that it is time to tell you why I was on Terror Mountain. I was there to find someone who knew Mr. Merrotlin, but does not know that he is dead. I succeeded in finding a Bruce at Rink Runner who regularly goes to Merrotlin Rink. The Bruce’s name was Robin E. Corman, who, by a strange coincidence, is brother to Roger E. Corman who is a suspect in this case himself.
“Anyway, I learned that Mr. Merrotlin was a kind man and had no quarrel with anybody at all. So, I believe the rest of the case is clear. Mr. Merrotlin must have been killed by a pet who did not quarrel with the Elephante directly, but killed him on account of someone else. Now, I would like you to alert the remaining suspects. Tell them to be on the shuttle where the murder took place in three hours. I will be there to reveal the identity of the murderer.” And with that, Syod left the room.
I made my way to the end of the hall, where the Aisha, Sasha Bethya, was staying. I knocked on the door. The spotted Lupe answered the door.
“Who is it?” called a voice from behind George Crawle.
“The Flotsam,” replied the Lupe.
“Oh! Come in!”
I came in and sure enough, Sasha Bethya was sitting on a sofa next to the shadow Lupe. They were sipping a drink. Probably coffee or tea.
“The Crawles and I have been discussing who the murderer is. That Shoyru inspector has just been in to see us. She told us to be on the shuttle in three hours.”
I was confused. If Syod had already been here, why did she want me to tell them? It dawned on me. Syod obviously wanted me to meet with all the suspects before she revealed the identity of the murderer. Sasha Bethya spoke, interrupting my thoughts.
“Come in. Have some tea.”
I came in. Sasha gave me a cup of tea.
“So,” I asked, “who do you think is the murderer?”
There was a pause. “I don’t know,” said the Aisha, finally, “but if I had to guess, I would say Celia Merrotlin. I’ve read too many mystery books, I know, but she seems like the most likely suspect, and as the detectives in stories always tell you, the simplest solution is almost always correct (although they then proceed to give a long convoluted explanation about the case).”
“True,” I said. “So, have you spoken to her?”
“I’ve spoken to just about everyone. I was meeting with the Crawles when you walked in.”
“So,” I said, now addressing the two Lupes, “what do you think?”
George Crawle looked uncomfortable. “Well, if this were a detective story, I would be inclined to suspect you!”
“Why?” I asked, somewhat surprised.
“It is like this. The Elephante dies and your friend shows up to investigate the case. The Shoyru could cover for you and you could escape. But as this is not a detective story, I do not know who I should be suspecting.”
The Lupe stopped talking. The silence was deafening. His sister decided to take up the talk. “Well, I think we can end this discussion. Viased, I will see you on the shuttle in two hours and fifty-one minutes.”
With that, she and her brother stood up and left the room.
I decided to visit Roger E. Corman next. When I walked in, I saw not one, but four Bruces sitting around a table.
“Yes, yes. Come in.” Roger E. Corman seemed distracted which, from what I knew of him, wasn’t normal. “I’m sure you’re wondering who these are.”
“Yes. Yes I am,” I replied.
“Well,” he said, indicating the green Bruce on his right. “This is Roderic E. Corman. He’s the lawyer of the deceased Elephante. He,” (Roger was indicating the yellow Bruce on his left now), “is Rupert E. Corman, a professor, and he,” (Roger said ‘he’ this time with some contempt), “is Robin E. Corman. Friend of the deceased, and ice cream salesman.”
Roderic spoke next. “I’m assuming you want to hear our opinions. Am I correct?”
“Yes, you are,” I responded.
“I don’t know why anyone would kill Mr. Merrotlin,” cried Robin. “He was such a nice pet!”
“Well,” said Roger, “I suspect that Aisha.”
“You know her?” Roger seemed surprised.
“Not that well,” I admitted. “I just had tea with her and the Crawles. Why do you suspect her?”
“I may be biased, but I despise holidays and Halloween, by the loosest definition, is a holiday.”
“So you have no evidence against her?”
“Well,” Roger struggled for a moment. “No.”
“Well then,” I said, relieved. “Why did you bring in your whole family?”
“Oh! That’s easy. Roderic is the Merrotlin’s lawyer. He should be here if your Shoyru friend plans to reveal the murderer. Robin was a good friend of Mr. Merrotlin, so I saw no reason for him not to be here and I figured, why not invite the whole family?”
“That sounds reasonable.”
“It does indeed!”
The inquiries proceeded much in this fashion. I decided to list all of the important points, and here they are.
- Two of Roger E. Corman’s brothers knew Mr. Merrotlin. It stands to reason that he knew Mr. Merrotlin as well.
- Rebeca Brownstone (the Acara farmer) has a daughter who is friends with Leila Merrotlin at neoschool.
- Thomas Smith (the doctor) is not at all related to Doctor Gelert in Neopia Central. He works on his own and is actually resentful that Doctor Gelert gets all of the attention.
- Celia Merrotlin refused to talk after she heard how I scared her daughter.
- Roderic Bryll (the pilot) has never flown a shuttle before. This was his first flight and he expects to have his pilot's licence revoked.
- George Crawle reads mystery novels (this isn’t very important, but I had someone to chat to while we waited for Syod to show up).
We all waited on the shuttle for Syod. George and I talked about mystery novels, while Georgina talked to Sasha about fantasy novels. Celia Merrotlin glared at me. I wondered if I would ever know Mr. Merrotlin’s name. For the last few minutes, the air was filled with suspicion. Everyone was scared. Syod stepped onto the shuttle.
Syod walked over to the seat that Mr. Merrotlin had died in. There were still wires poking out of it. Syod silently reached over, and gently tugged the wires. They came out easily. “Just as I expected,” remarked the Shoyru, with a gleam in her eyes. “The wires are fake. Now I know exactly who killed Mr. Merrotlin, and how they did it.”
To be continued...