Lupe Pack Detectives-The Fake Detective
A couple of days had passed since we started our investigation into the Rainbow Lane Fire. As soon as we got word that the Disco Elephante had returned, thanks to Grace, Opren quickly went out and brought him to his office for a brief interview, if he was not aware of what was going on.
As our offices were beside each other, the walls between our offices were not exactly soundproof, so I could hear the Elephante loudly and angrily answering Opren’s questions, but I was able to determine what Opren was essentially asking the Elephante. While I certainly understood the Elephante’s reaction, I just felt that he was reacting a bit too negatively to the questions as this was standard procedure for us. We had to make sure, even if the Elephante was a victim.
I knew that the interview had ended as soon as I heard both Opren’s office door and the front door being slammed shut that it shook the Neohome briefly. I came out of my office just as Opren did, scratching his head and sighing.
“I’m aware that you overheard the conversation, Blizzard, but that didn’t exactly go according to plan. I would have thought that the Elephante would be a bit more civilized when he was answering my questions, even if he was the victim.”
“Still, that interview was useful to us. Anyways, what are your thoughts?”
“The way the Elephante reacted makes me think that he’s hiding something, but that’s only speculation at this point. On the other hand, something tells me that he’s truly innocent and just a victim of circumstances.” I asked him to elaborate.
“For starters, if it was for the Neopoints, there’s really no incentive to torch the place and run, given the fact that one could theoretically sell the items from the Neohome for a tidy profit if they were planning to restart their lives. Even if the Neohome had insurance, that’s only available to the older versions, and the payout is small, around 20,000 Neopoints, which is just enough to rebuild the Neohome.”
“What about the Elephante himself?”
“As I mentioned to you earlier, the Elephante was vacationing on Mystery Island, so the alibi isn’t exactly airtight. It is possible that he swam there, as there are no ferries during the late night and early morning. Still, I’m having a hard time believing that fact given that it usually takes an hour and a half just to reach Mystery Island by ferry and swimming is slower. Unless it was for a charity cause, I don’t think anyone would be swimming in the ocean for quite some time.
“That also requires a lot of planning, especially if one doesn’t want to be caught by the sunrise. However, just because the Elephante was on Mystery Island doesn’t necessarily let him off the hook as he could have hired someone to do the dirty work.” He nodded before he headed back inside.
With the interview still fresh in my mind, I returned to my office and began making more notes on my chalkboard. I must have been engrossed in my thoughts for quite some time as I initially failed to hear a series of taps coming from our kitchen window and the office door opening. After Solar Flare startled me with his entrance, it was then that I heard the taps.
Upon entering the kitchen, I opened the window in order to allow the Neomail carrier, a Christmas Pteri filling in for our regular carrier, to enter our Neohome. After apologizing to the Neomail carrier for the delay, he gave me a small stack of letters before heading back out to his next destination.
I began sifting through the various letters, dumping the various advertisements into the recycling bin. That left us with a letter from the Virtupets Space Station addressed to Aura, which I knew was the lab results, and what appeared to be a Games Challenge letter, addressed to us in general. I was curious about the challenge letter as it was rare that one of us would be challenged to a game, but decided against opening it as the one from Virtupets was a priority.
I found Aura in her ‘office’, a mini training ground in our basement that she frequently used to conduct tests on various weapons. As soon as I gave her the letter, she quickly opened it before sighing upon reading the contents. Just by her reaction alone, I knew that Virtupets was unable to find anything useful from the undetonated Egg Bomb, which Aura confirmed.
As I was heading back up, I opened the letter and saw that it was not a games challenge letter. Rather, it was a challenge of wits, judging by the contents.
[i]“To the Lupe Pack Detectives,
I hear that you’re one of the best detective teams in Neopia Central. To tell you the truth, I believe that I am better than all of you guys combined, which is why I am proposing this challenge to you. This challenge deals with the recent fire that occurred at 14040 Rainbow Lane, seeing as you guys have not been able to solve it yet. If you guys are not cowards, then accept this challenge and meet me at the entrance to the Catacombs at approximately ten-o-clock sharp to discuss the challenge in more details.
Ellipse the Shadow Scorchio, Detective Extraordinaire.”[/i]
“You have got to be kidding me! The only reason why you are considered one of the best teams around is due to the positive word of mouth after a case is solved. Just who in Neopia is this pretender, claiming to be a detective extraordinaire, when even I haven’t heard of him until now,” someone behind me spat out. I was not startled by the sudden voice, but I still turned around and saw that it was Nimbus, who had also been reading the letter over my shoulder.
“Your reaction just about summarizes my thoughts, Nimbus. I’ll make sure that I’ll bring this extraordinary ‘detective’ down a peg or two.”
When lunchtime came around, before our meal of Cheesesteak Pizza was delivered to our Neohome, I dropped the challenge letter onto the table so that my siblings could read it. After they were finished reading it, they were not happy that we had been insulted by someone claiming to be superior to us. They wholeheartedly agreed that I should take the challenge just to put the Neopian in his place.
At approximately a quarter to ten, I left the Neohome and headed towards the entrance of the Catacombs. When I arrived, I was surprised to see Terra the Brown Gelert, representing the Bookworms, and Squire Oak the Royalboy Usul, the leader of the Royal Detectives, but I had a feeling that they were also challenged by Ellipse.
“Well, if Blizzard’s joining the challenge, then that’s pretty cocky for this Ellipse if he claims to be the greatest and challenging us,” Squire Oak replied, confirming what I had suspected.
At exactly ten-o-clock, as if on cue, a few fireworks went off from the entrance, announcing Ellipse’s presence, as he simply walked out. I certainly was not impressed with the dramatic entrance as it was over the top for what was supposed to be a simple challenge. After the smoke from the fireworks disappeared, he spotted us.
“So my challengers have arrived, or at least representatives of the teams that I have challenged. The rules are simple. You will have two weeks to solve the mystery of the recent Neohome fires. You may use every resource available in order to help you. Once the two weeks are up, you will come back here to tell me your results of who was responsible. Win, not only will you have my acknowledgement that you are indeed better than me, but also a 60,000 Neopoint prize. Lose, and you will have to close your office after acknowledging my superiority.”
“In other words, you’re going to force us to resign. While the terms are unfavourable towards us, we’ll definitely show you why we’re considered one of the best,” Terra coldly replied.
“Also, we’re not doing this for the Neopoints, so if we do win, you’re going to donate those Neopoints,” I added. He simply ignored it, so I was not sure if he accepted the request.
Seeing as we were here, Squire Oak decided to ask Ellipse a few questions regarding the case. However, he refused to answer any questions, stating that he would reveal his answers once the two weeks were completed, leaving me wondering why he called us here in the first place, other than to announce the terms of the challenge. Something about this did not seem right, but I was not sure what it was, but I was glad that none of us had decided to take the Neopoint prize.
Seeing as there was nothing else for us to do, we decided to leave the area. Before we left the shopping area, Squire Oak went up to a Large Bushy Bush, actually Baron Rouge the Royalboy Shoyru in disguise, and gave him some further instructions, mainly to keep a close eye on Ellipse if possible. We also agreed that we would meet up later at my Neohome in order to compare our notes on our case, as it seemed like they were now connected.
As soon as I arrived back at my Neohome, I gave the rest of the team a quick update before heading into my office. I also had to bring out a couple more Chalkboards as the current one was completely filled out and I needed to make some more notes about the case, including what had transpired earlier with Ellipse’s challenge. While there was nothing to prove at the moment that Ellipse was the culprit, it was the overall timing that left me suspicious of his actions. Thanks to the deadline imposed on us by Ellipse, we now had to figure out this case quickly, lest we lose our jobs to him.
To be continued…