At the AstroVilla: Part Seven
Luther the Kougra frowned and looked around
him. He was standing alone in a small area of the AstroVilla kitchens. There
was no one there but him and a couple piles of dirty dishes. Where had that
sound come from?
"Psssst! Hey... down here!"
Luther lowered his gaze, slowly rotating on
his heels. There was nothing around him except a cloth-covered serving cart
with more dirty dishes which a waiter had just brought in from the restaurant.
As he frowned at it, the covering of the lower part moved an inch.
Luther jumped in surprise and looked around
to see if anyone else had noticed it. But he saw that he was still alone. "Who's
there?" he whispered, dropping to his knees next to the cart.
"It's me," a hushed and frantic whisper shot
Luther ducked his head under the cloth to see
Cypher sitting there. "Cypher? What are you doing here?"
"I really need to talk to you," she said, panicked.
Luther sighed, rolling his eyes. "If Griptor
finds out that we're together you could be thrown out, and I could be fired!
Is it enough to risk that?"
"Yes!" Cypher said, nodding enthusiastically.
"Luther, if we don't solve this, you'll lose your job anyhow. The Chia Police
don't know as much as I do."
"So tell them!" Luther said, shrugging. "Tell
them what you know and let them do the solving! I can't be fired, and I'm not
ready to risk it."
"Listen to me!" Cypher whispered frantically.
"I can't tell them because I'm not supposed to! I don't think I am, anyway..."
"What are you talking about?" Luther demanded
"Luther, I think I've been pulled into this
without meaning to get involved," Cypher said, worry in her voice. "I don't
think Aewa told me anything in the first place just to make my stay here more
interesting! I'm being serious here, Luther, I've been dragged into something
and I need your help!"
"What can I possibly do? And what could Aewa
have in mind when she told you about the legend if it wasn't to entertain you?"
Cypher took a deep breath. "I think I'm supposed
to solve it. She gave me a deliberate clue... she's trying to tell me something,
but she can't! Honestly, haven't you noticed Aewa's strange behavior? What business
can she possibly need to attend to? Where'd she disappear to?"
Luther stared at the Cybunny, his mouth open
slightly in astonishment. "Let me get this straight. You think that Aewa deliberately
dropped a clue for you to solve the mystery?"
"Yes," Cypher said, "and I don't care what that
oaf Griptor says. If we don't do something, he'll lose his job too. Please...
will you help me?"
Luther sighed. "Fine," he smirked, "but you
better be right."
As Cypher made her way up to her room that night,
a frantic Techo in uniform rushed by. "Torington?" Cypher said, turning around
and beginning to follow the familiar face. "Torington, where are you going?"
The Techo shook his head, speeding up. "Can't
tell you!" he choked. "Must go!"
Cypher's eyes widened. "Someone's been kidnapped,
"No, no, no, no..." Torington stopped at the
elevator and pressed the button, waiting. "I can't tell you anything. Griptor
warned me that you were trying to solve this crisis. It's not for guests to
know who's been kidnapped this time!"
"So someone has been kidnapped!" Cypher rushed
into the elevator as the doors opened, pressing the 'door shut' button before
Torington could push her out.
"Oh fine," the Techo said, pressing the button
for the lobby, "yes, yes, yes. But you must not inquire any further!"
"How can someone have been kidnapped in the
middle of a busy lobby? Surely someone must have noticed!" Cypher knew she could
pry a few more answers out of him.
"Not in the lobby, in the basement! That's the
staff quarters, so there's no button on the elevator. There's stairs from the
"So it's a staff member, is it?" Cypher asked.
"Yes, a maid. Some pets heard a scream..." Torington
slowly died off, aware that he was revealing some confidential hotel information.
He glared at Cypher, obviously angry that she had managed to get so much information
out of him. "Why are you so intent on figuring out who committed this crime?
I mean... why do you care so much?"
Cypher sighed. "You wouldn't believe me if I
When a guest entered the elevator on the fourteenth
floor, Cypher grabbed her chance to fool Torington. She exited the elevator
and headed to the coffee shop. She didn't need to pretend like that's where
she wanted to be... because it was.
"Dez!" Cypher said, approaching the cash register.
"I need your help."
The Bori raised his eyebrows. "Do you need to
get into the kitchens? 'Cause I think Luther's down in his room. Besides, that
chef uniform got some coffee spilled on it while it was stored in the freezer..."
"All I need," Cypher interrupted, "is your staff
key." She nodded in the direction of the string that hung around his neck. At
the end was a small silver key; every staff member was required to wear their
key necklace at all times. The keys could unlock every door in the hotel.
Dez frowned at her. "I'm not supposed to, but
I guess if it's for the hotel... I'll let you borrow it. But if I'm caught without
it, I'll get into huge trouble... so be back soon."
"Okay," Cypher said, just as he handed her the
necklace, "I will. Oh, one more thing, Dez! I see the only windows on this floor
are the three small ones in the hall. I'm assuming it gets incredibly dark when
all the lights are out... right?"
"Yes..." Dez said slowly, frowning, "But what
does that have to with anything?"
Cypher didn't answer. As she made her way to
the elevator, she turned around and smiled. "Thanks! I'll be back soon!"
Dez raised his eyebrows as the elevator doors
shut tight after her. "Geez," he muttered to himself, "if I didn't know any
better, I'd say she was the kidnapper." He laughed under his breath. "Ha, if
she is, I just gave her a key that accesses every single room in this hotel.
Haha... oooohhhhh. This can't be good."
In the lobby, Cypher hurried to a staff supply
closet and unlocked it. Inside, she was lucky enough to find a spare maid uniform
and an extra cart of cleaning supplies. After quickly changing and locking the
closet back up, Cypher the Maid made her way to the basement.
To get into the basement, Cypher once again had
to use the staff key. Once she found herself in a stairwell with no way of going
but down, she could hear lots of panicked voices below. As she made her way
down the stairs, Cypher tried to act like she knew where she was going... even
though she didn't have a clue what the basements were like.
"This is serious... where are those Chias?"
Cypher took her last step off the stairs and
found herself in a hallway filled with pets in AstroVilla uniforms.
"We're not all going to lose our jobs, are we?"
Cypher saw doors off the hallway that she could
only assume led to the rooms that the staff stayed in. Everyone was gathered
in a clump and discussing the attacks.
"This is insanity! Whoever is doing this needs
to step up right now and admit it!" a rather angry Skeith chef called.
"Well, it's obviously not someone who works here,"
a Gnorbu maid replied. "It must be some devious guest!"
Luther stepped into the crowd. "Who would want
to ruin the AstroVilla? Guest, maid, chef, police... whatever! Who's sick enough
to find it amusing?"
"Oh, what do you know, kid? Plenty of guests
have reasons to hate this place. And I, personally, think it's that Pteri from
the seventh floor!"
"No, I bet it's the Bruce in the Luxury Suite
on the sixteenth floor! He was saying the other day that the service here wasn't
'Well, you know who I think it is?" the same
angry Skeith called out. "I think it's that little Cybunny! The one who's staying
on the twenty-sixth floor! Griptor said she was trying to solve the crime...
I bet she was trying to lead everyone to the wrong conclusion!"
Cypher's eyes widened. She instinctively grabbed
a mop from the cart and pulled it in front of her face, still listening.
"No!" Luther called out, "Cypher would never
do that! She's really trying to solve this to help the hotel, not hurt it!"
"Use your brain, Luther! That's exactly what
she wants you to think! Maybe she took Janice because she didn't clean or fluff
her pillows perfectly..."
As the argument raged on, Cypher inches along
slowly down the hallway, unnoticed by the quarreling staff. After passing a
few doors, there came a sharp turn and another long hallway. Three feet away
was exactly what Cypher was looking for.
The electricity box, courtesy Virtupets.
Luckily, she was now unseen by all of the employee
pets, so she didn't have to be sneaky as she opened the little metal door on
the box. On the inside, there were rows and rows and columns and columns of
little black switches, each labeled with a number. On the inside of the door
was a key to which number was which room.
Cypher realized that the rectangle of switches
was like the hotel itself. The bottom row was the basement, the second was the
lobby, and so on. She located the fourteenth floor row, and saw that there was
a switch for the coffee shop, the restaurant, the kitchens, the bakery, the
hallway, the bathrooms... and one for the entire floor. Smirking, Cypher lifted
her paw and flipped the switch.
Screams erupted from fifteen floors above. The
staff in the basement all panicked, trying to get up the stairs at once. Cypher
popped her head around the corner and watched as the last maid scrambled up
the steps. With the lights off up there, she could buy herself fifteen or so
minutes to investigate down here, but she knew that sooner or later someone
would realize that the electricity box had been meddled with and come down to
"That leaves me about ten minutes," Cypher mumbled
to herself, stepping into the main hallway. She had an idea that the room she
wanted to investigate was near the beginning of the hall, seeing as earlier
on everyone had been clumped up in that area.
Cypher saw that on every door there were names.
"Janice..." Cypher muttered to herself, eyeing each door, "They said her name
It was the second door of the main hallway.
Cypher smiled to herself as she unlocked it and pushed open the door, peering
in. The room was small and cozy, but signs of a scuffle could be seen. The covers
on the bed were thrown around, a few pieces of paper were lying on the floor,
and two aprons were ripped and on the floor. Cypher's smile disappeared as she
took another step in, looking around at the mess. "Who would do this?" she whispered
"Why ask yourself that question if you're the
To be continued...