The Inspectre: Part Three
Gerry and I went to Edna’s tower, but not much new was found. It was the same setup, the Yurble travelling only through doors, leaving no trace behind. Yet again it stole the spell book that Ceyra and Horgus had lost.
So we decided that our next move would be to look into how the Yurble managed to escape Eliv’s mansion. And there was only one way for us to do that. We had to go and ask Eliv Thade.
“Ok, so how exactly are we supposed to find out what happened from a haunter again?” I asked.
“Simple, and I wish you would listen,” replied Gerry. “We go in, activate this device I have in my hand, extract his thoughts, and send them for analysis.”
“And we have how long to do this in? I thought you said 30 seconds, but extracting thoughts takes longer than that.”
“I did say 30 seconds. That’s how long this device can work without being charged.”
“Oh, wait, so we have to leave the building in that time as well? That’s just ridiculous! What happens if we can’t?”
“We solve his puzzle, or we wait for the daily clean out of the mansion,” said Gerry. I looked confused when he said that, so he explained. “Every day at 6 o’clock NST some Defenders come in and clean out the house of anyone that got trapped. I’d prefer to be out before that, of course; otherwise people at work are going to be laughing at me for years.”
“I’ll be sure to tell them it was your fault. That device is to make Eliv sleep, right? What happens if he wakes up while we are extracting his thoughts? That could get messy.”
“If he wakes up early, it will skew the results. They might just be coherent, but we don’t want to risk it. Is it all stuck in your brain now or do I have to tell you again?”
“That’s fine, thanks. So will you extract the thoughts or will I?”
“I thought you might, because if my boss finds out I let someone else use this thing he’s not going to be too happy.”
I nodded, and picked up the potion that sat on the doorstep. We stepped into the mansion, and unlike the night before Eliv appeared instantly. He started his welcoming speech, and I looked at Gerry. He nodded to me, and then activated his device. Eliv’s eyes glazed over, and he hung limp in the air, silent. I tipped the potion over his head, then caught as much of it as possible in the vial when it dripped off. Then I put the stopper on the top, and shook the potion. It turned red.
I grimaced and tried again. Every time I did this I would lose a lot of the potion, but that didn’t matter. I tried shaking the potion a second time, but Eliv awoke.
“I told you it would take more than 30 seconds. You can never get enough memories in one tip,” I said. I kept shaking and the potion turned green. I tossed the vial to Gerry. “They might be messed up, but hopefully we can get something from it.”
“Did you hear the anagram?”
I smiled. “Nope. Looks like we are going to be stuck here until your colleagues come. I’m sure they won’t laugh too hard. Not that I would mind if they did.” I winked at Gerry. I felt happy then. Gerry was too smug for his own good. Come to think of it, so was I. But I’m good at ignoring that fact.
“Well,” he said with the menacing tone that told me that he was going to get back for getting us stuck, “we might as well go over what we know. We’ve got a few hours to kill.”
“Right.” I sat down against the wall, and Gerry did the same. “We know that a transforming spectre has been stealing spell books from rich people. We think it is stealing them in order to regain itself as a being, but we aren’t sure.”
“We know that the next form will be a Zafara, following the pattern of the last Neopets in alphabetical order.”
“We also know that there will only be one more theft, as there is only one more book on the register.”
“Unless there are unregistered books, but considering that Zafara is last in the alphabet, I think we can assume that isn’t true.”
“Right. We can try to catch the spectre at the site of the next spell book, but we might be risking a close cut. I don’t know Simon. It seems a bit strange to me. There’s some spectre who can regain itself simply by getting some books together, and it pretty much lays a trail down for us. Also that thing with the doors. I wouldn’t think simply existing would cause that much power, even if it is a transforming spectre.”
“You have to remember that we don’t know anything about these spectres except through stories,” I said. “But we could go through the clues again.”
“I think we should. First, we get a Wocky that steals a spell book from a rich Aisha. The Aisha is his only witness.”
“What is it?” Asked Gerry.
“Well, I just came up with an entire alternative solution to this. And it is absolutely brilliant. I think we should run a few scans to see if it’s right.”
Our conversation about the case ended soon afterwards. We began talking about ourselves, life, and a bunch of other things. I became a lot friendlier with Gerry that day. It's funny how being stuck with someone in the mansion of an evil puzzle-obsessed haunter can cause these things, isn’t it?
* * *
As soon as the Defenders came and rescued us, directly followed by them having a few laughs, Gerry and I went to Horgus’ house, along with some requested help from the Defenders that had rescued us.
“So do you know where my book is?” asked Horgus.
“We aren’t entirely sure, but a quick check of the residometer will tell us,” I replied. I watched the Defenders go through the business of laying the residometer on the ground, fiddling with the frequency switches to see if they could pick anything up, and then going through all the reference charts to see if they could find out who cast the spells.
I didn’t need to know who it was. As soon as they found a signal, I knew my theory from the mansion was correct.
“Gerry, go and get the owner of the book that hasn’t been stolen, explain the situation, and bring them to Ceyra’s. I’ll get Edna. Horgus, come with me.”
* * *
“Right then. I’m sure you all pretty much have guessed that you are here because we have figured out who did it, how they did it, and so on.”
“Simon, spare the theatrics,” said Ceyra. “Just go and arrest the person and bring us our books.”
“Firstly, I would like to point out that I can’t arrest people. That’s what Gerry is here for. But secondly, I would like to mention how interesting I find it that you would say person, when you heard us talking about spectres.”
“Well, I meant spectre. I’m not the most magically inclined person.”
“That’s right. You aren’t. After all, you didn’t know what residue was until I told you. You didn’t know that a spectre would travel through walls, and not doors. You did, however, know exactly what was going on with our case, which allowed you to adjust your plan.”
“Plan? What plan might that be?”
I ignored her. “Here’s the way I would see it. You have a book. It’s very expensive, and there are only a few of them in the world. You decide to take down a list of everyone who owns a copy of this book, and in the meantime you start looking through your own copy. In order to keep up your story about knowing nothing about magic, you only learn the spell that you are going to use, and ignore all other facts. Then, when the time is right, you come to me, who you think is an amateur, claiming that you lost your book. You come up with a story about what happened, and tell it to me.”
“Through your lack of fundamental knowledge in magic, you make a few mistakes and end up giving us some things to puzzle over. You have to put a reasoning to these quirks, and after some research you realise that making it look like a transforming spectre did it would fit perfectly. You think we won’t catch you if you stick to the new plan.”
“Where is proof to any of this, exactly?”
“I’ll prove it, soon. But first I want to torture you a bit more. So, that night, you pull another theft. You keep the idea that the spectre is going through just the doors, and then you also add the fact that it has changed its form. This makes us jump to conclusions.
“Why you made the Yurble attack me, I don’t know. Possibly you just lost control of it. Whatever it was, it gave us another quirk. How could a spectre give Eliv the answer to a riddle in order to go and steal from Edna? Well, that is simple. It wasn’t a spectre, it was a summoning, and your voice solved the puzzle through it.”
“You still haven’t provided any proof.”
“Yes, I was just getting to that.” I turned to the two Defenders, a pair of yellow Myncies. “Could you please pass me the results from the residometer reading we took at Horgus’ house? Ceyra, let me make it clear that, while I haven’t seen this yet, I get the feeling you will be on it.”
One of the Defenders passed it to me, and I looked at the sheet. Then I frowned, something Ceyra picked up on quickly.
“Not the person you were expecting?” she asked with a smirk.
“It is you; it's just that I was wondering how anyone could look twice their actual age.” I looked up over the sheet of paper at Ceyra’s sour face.
The Defenders went and arrested Ceyra, but before they could walk off with her, I made a loud, deliberate cough. They turned towards me.
“The thing is, Ceyra, you did offer a non-refundable payment of fifty thousand Neopoints for me if I solved the case. Horgus and Edna have paid me, even Torrap here,” I pointed to a cloud Gnorbu in the corner, “has agreed to chip in a bit, even though her book was never actually stolen.”
“I am being arrested; do you really think I am going to pay you?”
“Yes. You being arrested is not my problem. I could, of course, go through the Defenders, in which case you would lose a lot more money.”
The Defenders watched over Ceyra as she gathered my fees. I was such a happy Kyrii.
* * *
I went straight home and slept. It had been a long day, what with being trapped in Eliv Thade’s mansion. I wasn’t even sure if I had slept after the Yurble chased me.
And of course I had to be woken up at a very early hour the next morning. Someone was knocking at my door. I didn’t answer for a while, but they were persistent enough to get the better of me. I got up and opened the door. It was Gerry.
“Can I come in?”
“Only if I can sleep while you do whatever it is you’re here to do.” I stepped out of the way for Gerry to come in.
“Wow,” he said.
“You’ve seen my house before.”
“It wasn’t that. I was just looking at how much money you got. I get less than that in a month.”
“Yeah, well that’s what happens when you do jobs for rich people, especially if you bleed them dry as much as you can.”
Gerry looked at the pile of money on the table some more. “You know, I was considering leaving my job sometime soon.”
I sighed, since I knew what was coming. “Yes, you can be my partner. But try not to get too annoying.” That caused him to snort.
“I seem to remember your conversation with Ceyra yesterday.”
Gerry joining was a big deal to me. Having a partner allowed me to get more customers, and despite the friendly rivalry which we had we worked quite well together. We soon became quite rich.
But, at the risk of sounding incredibly clichéd, that is a lot of different stories. As for this one, well, it was over.