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The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part Seven


by playmobil_is_my_life

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Luna stirred a few minutes later, the side of her head pounding. She raised a paw to her black fur and felt a good-sized and tender bump. For a moment Luna didn't know where she was or what she was doing until she saw that she was wearing her purple dress robe.

      As her memory started to come back, she frantically stood up and looked around. She was in some kind of cell. Thick, iron bars surrounded her and Luna pressed her paws up against him. Someone must have locked her in here... but who? She remembered seeing the red-cloaked figure vaguely in the dark but it was impossible to tell who he was.

      Luna's heart began to race as she tossed the purple cloak to the floor. I have to get out of here, she desperately thought. She was much too afraid to call out in case the figure came back. Luna sat at the edge of the cell trying to calm herself down and hoping that someone would come down into the hallway.

      There was a shuffle coming from the walkway ahead, along with a steady stream of breath and the scuffing of four large paws. Luna looked up.

      "Marlo!"

      I turned to my left, noticing the cell. "Luna, is that you? What are you doing in there?"

      "Oh, I just came down and locked myself in so I could stupidly go look for the figure alone and try to surprise him," Luna said sarcastically, her voice a little shaky.

      Ignoring the comment I replied, "Hang on, I'll look for something to get you out."

      There was a shelf across from Luna and I felt around for any kind of key. My paws hit a glass bottle and it fell, shattering loudly on the stone floor. Next to it was a small metal key. My paw closed around the object and I hurried over to the padlock. I tried several times to get the key to fit until I heard a faint click. I pulled the lock off and the door creaked when I swung it open.

      "Oh, what a relief!"

     I grinned, pretty relived myself that Luna was okay. "What happened?"

     "I was walking down here, trying to find that guy in the red cloak," Luna explained, sounding a little short of breath. "I thought I heard someone so I turned around and before I knew it, he hit me with something. I must have passed out because when I woke up I was in there and it was so dark and I--"

     "I get the idea and it's okay," I said, cutting her off.

     My voice sounded colored with worry and doubt. One of these days Luna was really going to get herself in a tight situation and something even worse might happen. At least today was not that day. Even though it was dark, I knew Luna was smiling. She embraced me and I returned her hug, at first a bit embarrassed. When a few seconds passed, I said, "Come on, let's get out of here. Are you sure you're okay?"

      "I'm fine now," said Luna, nodding. "Thanks."

     ***

     The next morning the four of us were jumpy and anxious. It was the day in which the last Turdle race of the season was to occur. Luna spent most of the morning holding a cold rag to the side of her head. The bump did look better than it did last night and Luna tried to prevent her injury from getting in the way of the case. The Turdle Racing file proved to be no use to us anymore, as Damien claimed he flipped through it multiple times without any trace of clues.

     "You must have missed something," said Luna, as we were walking upstairs from breakfast.

     "But I didn't," Damien swore. "There is nothing useful in that file."

     We looked up to see King Skarl starting down the stairs wearing his usual robes and a hopeful expression. "Well today's the last day, my friends!" he exclaimed. "I hope you are nearly finished with your investigation."

     "Umm," I replied, shuffling my white paws, "kind of."

     "I know everyone is looking forward to today's races." Skarl wagged his finger mockingly in my face. "Bets are higher, you know."

     "Actually we didn't know," Luna pushed his claw out of my face. "Bets are higher today?"

     "Oh yes," said the King pompously. "The final race of the season, the third race, is when Meridellians go insane. They bet high just for the excitement of betting. Turdle races don't open again until the month of Swimming. The last day and first day are the best days for us. Though," he paused, "I guess you couldn't say that, seeing as how… predictable today's race will be."

     "Predictable," I echoed and it was like something had clicked in my brain. I waited until Skarl was out of earshot before spinning around on the stairs and whispering, "This is it. The third race today is when it's going to happen."

     "Excuse me?" said Damien.

     "The red-cloaked figure," I continued, looking at each detective, "He's going to switch the Turdles today. On the final race!"

     "The bets are highest at the last race of the season," Luna said slowly, and her eyes expanded. "The figure is going to keep the faster Turdle number 5 and then switch it with the slower one at the very last race!"

     "Everyone is going to lose their Neopoints," piped up Charlie. "If each person bets 1,500 Neopoints on Turdle number 5, they'll each walk away with 15,000 if he crawls out of the ring first. The one behind all this wouldn't let that happen. So you're right Marlo, he's going to switch to the slow Turdle at the last race so everyone will lose their Neopoints."

     "Wait," I said, holding up my large paw, "The Neopet switching the Turdles has to be able to get the money once the citizens bet it. The only Neopet who has access to the betting table is--"

     "--Tavi," Luna finished. "He's the one behind all of this!"

     "Come on," I said, with thoughts of the glowing Pteri racing through my mind, "let's find him!"

     ***

     The four of us eagerly started across the grounds past the abandoned Turdle Race arena and over to Tavi's house. My face was frozen in a look of determination and triumph. Damien and Luna had to practically run to keep up with my stride (Charlie was in his usual spot, atop my head).

     Tavi's small cottage stood a mere twenty feet in front of us, and not stopping to wait for the others I raised my paw and knocked. No one answered for a few seconds so I knocked again and yelled, "Tavi?"

     "It's a small place, Marlo," Luna pointed out. "If Tavi were in there he would have heard you. He must be out."

     I tried pushing on the door and turning the knob but it was locked. "Well…" I faltered, "come on, let's go have a look in the forest again." I was desperate to do something useful, especially since we had just received such vital information regarding the races.

     We slipped past Tavi's house and into the overgrowth again. Since we knew that Tavi was the one who was behind this, the four of us searched harder than ever for any sign of a clue. I pushed dead leaves aside looking for something. Anything would have really helped right now…

     "Hey, look at this!" yelled Damien and he bent down to pick up an object. It was an ordinary black button.

     "Tavi had black buttons on his dress clothes…" I began and now I was surer than ever it that was him. "We should think about going back to the castle to look for Tavi."

     "No wait, Bryce's house is just over that way. Let's ask him," interjected Luna and she started to push through the dead branches hanging off the pine trees.

     We started after her and jumped over the bushes blocking our way to Bryce's house. I desperately hoped that the red Techo knew where Tavi was… or could give us yet another lead about him. Bryce's cottage was a little bit bigger than Tavi's and Luna led the way to the front door. She knocked.

     Nobody answered after Luna knocked again. I was starting to get frustrated so I turned the knob.

     To my surprise the door swung open.

     Without looking back at the others I stepped inside. "Hello?" I called, looking around the room. "Bryce are you here?" I closed the front door once we were all inside.

     The main room we stood in was quite small. There was a little couch and table; the floor was made of a dark wood and the walls and ceilings were off-white. It looked like an ordinary house and a perfect size for just one Neopet.

     "Bryce?" I called, starting through the hallway. I knew he wasn't there, but calling out his name and wandering through the hallway gave me a reason to snoop. Maybe Bryce knew something about Tavi? If so, we'd find it in here.

     I pushed open one of the semi-closed doors and poked my head in. It was just a standard bedroom with wooden furniture. The bed was neatly made and the curtains were drawn to keep the heat from getting in. I checked the table by the nightstand to see if we could find any hints about Tavi.

     "Marlo," said Luna, stopping me from leafing through the papers, "if we're really sure that the Neopet we need to worry about is Tavi then we should be snooping through his stuff, not Bryce's."

     I stopped and said, "Well we haven't figured it out one hundred percent… besides, what if the Neopet switching the Turdles isn't Tavi?"

     "What do you mean?" Luna asked, and I could tell she was about to explain her theory in full detail. "Tavi's the one who runs the betting stand. What other Neopet would have access to it or the motive to steal so much from Skarl? Tavi claims Skarl hates him, but I'm beginning to think that it's the other way around. We found his black button in the forest where the two different Turdle number 5's are being taken. Nice try, Marlo, but it has to be Tavi."

     "Actually," said Damien, "I think he's right." The expression on his face was unreadable.

     "Why, what's up?" I asked.

     "Luna, as much as your theory makes sense and is realistic," began Damien, "Marlo's right." I cocked my head to the side wondering why Damien was agreeing with me that the glowing Pteri was innocent. Luna was thinking the same thing I was,

     "Look, Bryce could be back any minute and what are we supposed to tell him?" Luna put on a mock-serious expression, "We think the red-cloaked figure is Tavi but we're snooping in your house anyway?"

     "It wasn't Tavi," said the royal Aisha flatly.

     "Damien," Luna began calmly, "unless you have evidence then I suggest you either show it or we get out of here." Without waiting for a response Damien swung open the closet door. It didn't take me more than a second to realize what we were looking at.

     It was the red cloak!

     "Is that enough evidence for you?" he asked smugly, letting the closet door sway on its hinges.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part One
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part Two
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part Three
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part Four
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part Five
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part Six
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Traded Turdle - Part Eight



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