Lupe Pack Detectives-Counterfeit: Part Four
While we were waiting for Professor Watt's address to come in so that we could arrest him for his crimes, the DoN had given us permission to search the Shadow Gelert's home. It was there that we had found an actual blank copy of a Brightvale University degree. That was enough.
It took a couple of days, but it had finally arrived. After receiving a note from Reid, the Magical Bookstore owner, we headed off to 145 Aisha Avenue. Even though it was not a joint investigation, Squire Oak's team had decided to join up with us, seeing as our cases were similar in nature. We met them outside our Neohome before we headed off.
When we neared his Neohome, we could hear various Neopians whispering about our presence, wondering what was going on. Owing to the fact that there were two highly respected detective teams just walking down the street, we must have seemed intimidating to them, but they probably knew that something was up.
As soon as we arrived at the location, I took a deep breath to calm myself down before heading up to the door and knocked on it. I could tell that the rest of the team, as well as the squire's, were nervous as well, but were trying their best to hide it.
"Come on in, I've been expecting you," a voice icily replied. It sounded like Professor Watts knew what he was dealing with, so I quickly motioned my team to have their weapons out and ready just in case we either fell into a trap or were attacked.
As soon as we entered the Neohome, we found the Glowing Moehog, standing near the front door with a cane by his side. However, his expression turned from anger to shock when he saw us.
"Oh, not the Neopian you were expecting, huh, Professor?" Squire Oak commented.
When he recovered from his shock, he attempted to attack the nearest Neopian with his cane, which happened to be Squire Oak and me. I already had my Jade Staff in my hands when he attacked, so I was able to parry the attack with it before jabbing him hard in the stomach, winding him. Squire Oak did the rest by placing handcuffs on him and hauling him up to his feet, seeing as my hands were full.
Much to our surprise, as soon as we exited his Neohome, we heard Neopians enthusiastically clapping or whistling their approval. It seemed like Professor Watts managed to tick off not only his fellow employees at the university, but his neighbours as well. The large crowd that had gathered on his lawn also spoke of his poor reputation and attitude via word of mouth.
By time we reached the DoN Headquarters, the wannabe hotshot Neopian Times reporters had caught wind of the arrest and were rapidly firing questions towards us as we pushed our way through the crowd. However, we ignored them. As soon as he was placed in one of the offices used for interviews, we began filling out our reports as we debated as to who would conduct the interview, with the DoN's permission. In the end, it was decided that both the squire and I would, based on Judge Hog's suggestion.
"I know how this works, detectives. One of you plays the good Defender, while the other plays the bad one," Professor Watts icily told us as soon as we entered the room.
"We're not doing that routine with you, not with your ability to get under our skin and using that to your advantage in order to mentally break us down. If you're aware of the good Defender, bad Defender routine, then you should know who we are," I replied as I took a seat and placed my hands on the table while Squire Oak stood near the door.
"I see that you're tough nuts to cracks, but it's an honour that my opponents are the legendary Lupe Pack Detectives and the Royal Detectives. Now tell me, did Professor Lambert deceive you with his lies that I plagiarized reports?"
"I can't say on behalf of my colleague here, but what I can tell you is that my team had no contact whatsoever with Professor Lambert as we were investigating numerous complaints from the citizens about Brightvale books being misspelled and without the name of the author, in this instance, King Hagan. I'm sure the wise old king will not be pleased to hear that the books he's authored were plagiarized," Squire Oak replied.
"On the other hand, my team was in contact with the professor, but only on the details of the misspelled degrees with a forged signature. He did mention firing you for misconduct when I asked him why, but he did not go into that many details." At that point, he snorted in disbelief. To me, it sounded like he was laughing it off.
"Oh, he's changed his story to misconduct now. How typical of him, covering up his tracks when all along, it was a conspiracy by the other professors to have me removed. You should be more open to ideas like that."
"And what makes you think that they're the ones responsible? Do you have any proof other than your own words?" I could see the professor slightly hesitating at the squire's question, although he did fire back that we had nothing against him that would have suggested that he was behind it.
"That's where you're wrong. If it wasn't for the fact that the same team was used at both the Neovian Printing Press and Magical Bookshop, both of our teams would have dismissed them as separate cases altogether. Speaking of which, one of the workers that you hired told us that you gave them instructions to copy those pieces of works, even telling them to deliberately misspell words." He slammed his hands onto the table upon hearing what I had to say.
"I did no such thing. I simply told the manager, a close friend of mine, what to copy, word for word, during private meetings. It's the workers' fault that they ended up misspelling words. And I specifically told them not to reveal anything about me if they were caught," he angrily replied. I smiled at that point as I got him to fall for the trap we had set and I could imagine Squire Oak doing the same thing. When he saw both of us smile, the professor realized what he had just done.
As we had got him to confess, I got up from my seat and followed Squire Oak out. I was about to close the door before both of us turned around and faced him for the final time.
"Oh, by the way, I lied to you. After we found out that our cases were related, I took a peek at the reports the Smug Philosopher and Professor Lambert claimed that you plagiarized and as a Brightvale native, I can confirm that their claims were true, so Professor Lambert' actions were valid."
"I also lied, but not to the extent of Squire Oak's. I'll let you figure out where I lied to you," I told him before closing the door. We could hear him scream in rage soon after.
We had to return to the DoN a couple of days later in order to hear what Judge Hog had to say with regards to the punishment Professor Watts was going to receive. We knew that it was going to be harsh and/or severe, as he was the ringleader behind the crime.
As soon as we entered the lobby, we could see Professor Lambert sitting in one of the chairs, waiting for us. I had informed him via Neomail about the development, so I was certain that he was happy to hear that the case was now closed. Then we entered Judge Hog's office to hear the results.
"Professor Sigmund Watts, with your charges of forgery and conspiracy to commit forgery, you will be sentenced to several months down in the dungeons, to be served in Brightvale and be fined the maximum amount of half a million neopoints. In addition, I also have special requests from all five bookshop owners, as well as King Hagan himself for breach of trust. You will receive an unprecedented lifetime ban from all five bookshops as well as Brightvale Castle and Brightvale University. As well, if you have any other teaching positions at the other universities, your contract with them is now terminated."
The ruling had left me somewhat surprised as I had not considered that Professor Watts would be given a lifetime ban from the castle, nor had I expected that all five bookshops would band together. However, with the multiple bans in place, as well as the termination of his contracts, if he had any, and the fine imposed meant that the professor was effectively crippled, neopoints wise, and that was even before his time in the dungeons. Barely anyone would hire a Neopian with a criminal record.
Just before we left the DoN Headquarters, Professor Lambert came up to us and asked us if we would like to take up full time teaching duties for a potential criminology course at the university. We ended up declining his offer as none of us were interested in being a full time professor, but I did admit to him that we did not mind being a guest lecturer. He took the news in stride and thanked us for our hard work before he left. That was all we needed, the gratitude after solving the case.