Eddie Quiggle and the Case of the Missing Petpet: Part Five
Also by melbman
Chapter Five – Case Closed?
When Miss Aisha finally caught up to me & “Kass”, I could tell she was absolutely horrified.
“Michael?! How could you?!” She managed to gasp before falling into stunned silence. In the worst way possible Ava Aisha found out her brother Michael Kyrii had been the one who wrote the ransom Neomail. Michael’s face was cold and hardened, and as he spoke his eyes narrowed with malice.
“I have been waiting and planning for something to happen for a very long time. And I thought I’d lost my chance for any sort of revenge when the show's popularity started to fade. I thought I was going to be stuck forever in your ill-gotten shadow. Watching you revel in the rewards you took away from me. But when your beloved Charlie suddenly disappeared, I saw my golden opportunity.”
“Suddenly disappeared?” I interjected. “Don’t you mean when you TOOK him, Mr Kyrii?”
The Kyrii shook his head and stared defiantly at me. “NO, Mister Quiggle,” he retorted in a condescending tone. “I mean when Charlie went missing.”
Filled with surprise, I stood back and watched him shoot the works on the whole scam.
“I have been filled with anger and loathing towards my sister for so long. I worked long and hard to bring the Kadoatie Brothers into the spotlight. It was MY idea to begin with.” Michael turned to Ava and snarled at her, “YOU’D wanted no part of it, remember? And I had to convince you that it was our ticket to fame. I put in the all the effort and my life savings into promoting the show on Neovision. It was MY vision, my baby. And when things were on the up and up you took it away from me. Yeah sure you needed my petpet to continue the act, but you made certain to keep me well out of the business arrangements. You just wanted to have all the glory and the profits for yourself.”
Michael Kyrii snorted; I could tell he was consumed with rage and jealousy over being shunted out of the spotlight. He went on with his confession, as a self-satisfied smirk spread across his face.
“I couldn’t believe my luck when your stupid Kadoatie went missing. It all became clear to me. All I had to do was send an anonymous Neomail pretending I had your precious petpet. And when you handed over the Neopoints, I would take off to Mystery Island where I could hide out for the rest of my days drinking Skeith Cocktails.”
I could hear a siren in the distance. It appears that someone must have seen our scuffle and alerted the DoN. The alarm bells seemed to snap Ava out of her daze as she finally broke her silence.
“Everything I did was for the good of the show, Michael. Without my help, there is no way the Kadoatie Brothers would be where they are today. It wasn’t all taken away from you. It was made bigger and better.”
“Where they are today?” Michael scoffed. “Exactly WHERE are they today, dear sister? Down the gutter, nobodies, has-beens. They are yesterday’s news. And what did I get for it? Nothing, nada, zilch. And you’re sitting in your swanky mansion, surrounding yourself with all your luxuries.”
Ava suddenly flared up. It was clear she didn’t like being accused of greed and conspiracies.
“How DARE you,” she snapped. “You weren’t left with nothing. You were given a rather generous payout for the rights over your show. And on top of that you continue to receive royalties, even though you no longer have any creative input whatsoever. The act has undergone many changes since you were at the helm. And yet I still made allowance to give you royalties that you hardly deserved. And this is how you repay my generosity?”
I could see that things were building up between Ava and her brother, and the last thing I wanted or needed was to break up a heated dispute. I stood between them and made it clear I wanted silence from both of them.
“Let’s save it for the Defenders, shall we?” I told them both. As luck would have it the Defenders had rounded the corner and were approaching fast. I addressed Michael. “Your little scam is well and truly kaput, Mr Kyrii. I suggest you get yourself a good mouthpiece, pal; extortion doesn’t go down too well with these Defenders.”
Michael Kyrii allowed himself to be led away by the Defenders. But partway down the block he suddenly resisted their grip and turned around and shouted furiously at Ava.
“It was always about you and Charlie - even though my Orson was ALL the talent in that that stupid act. Orson was ALL the talent, you hear me?! I deserved that payout. You cheated me out of the fame and fortune. I only wanted to take what was rightfully mine!” He continued to rant as the Defenders dragged him around the corner, his words mingling in with the hubbub of the busy streets.
“I guess it's curtains for this case.” I sighed to myself as I sauntered down Soup Alley. A crazed Michael Kyrii had been revealed as the blackmailer, and the Defenders had taken him into custody once more. No doubt they would further grill him on the whereabouts of Charlie.
And yet I had that gut feeling it was all wrong. Sure Michael had confessed to writing the ransom note yet he still swore he had no idea where Charlie was. Why would someone admit to trying to trim the fat off Miss Aisha but continue to deny they’d snatched the petpet in the first place?
It made sense that Michael Kyrii would attempt to cash in on Ava’s misfortune. But I’d changed my opinion on him being a petnapper. He just didn’t seem the type any more.
Nothing added up.
I shrugged and entered the office. I switched on Neovision and saw a news headline that Michael Kyrii had been captured by DoN and then almost immediately released pending the acquiring of further evidence against him. It seems that his mouthpiece, coincidentally the one his sister had used in her battle against PPL, had managed to find a loophole in the case against Michael. Although he was not in the custody of the DoN, Michael Kyrii was on restrictions – including being unable to leave Neopia Central and being confined to his Neohome after dark.
There was a knock on my office door. Outside, there was a faerie Meepit Messenger waiting. I wondered whether the message was a new case or a note from my mother.
It was neither.
The message was an anonymous tip from a Neopian claiming to know where Charlie may be hidden. It seems the stoolie, whoever he or she was, had heard an incessant mewing down by the docks at PD Secure Storage.
I concluded that I was still on the case. I was going to catch this petnapper once and for all - again deep in disguise. I donned my Jazan costume and pedalled my yellow bike down to PD for a stake out – whoever may be hiding the Kadoatie would certainly need to come and feed it sooner or later – since it was worth a lot more alive.
And a Kadoatie's appetite is legendary.
All day the comings and going of PD Secure Storage were nothing out of the ordinary. In fact they were rather mundane. I almost fell asleep several times watching Neopians come and go, depositing their belongings. Some were making safe their prized possession and priceless artefacts, but many were simply accumulating thousands of pieces of junk – ‘Pack ratting’ – in a popular craze to win the contest for having the most bits of worthless rubbish in storage.
The hired goons from Skeiths Bodyguards Inc. were a funny bunch to watch. Although they were just ‘toy’ versions of the Defenders of Neopia, they took their jobs very seriously. They were notorious for throwing their weight around and today was no exception. They grilled everyone who appeared suspicious - which severely intimidated a poor shy pink Ixi who just wanted to add her recently purchased Ghost Lupe Painting to her cherished art collection. For all the ‘suspicious’ Neopians the Bodyguards interrogated, all of whom turned up clients of PD Secure, they failed to notice me – a loitering Quiggle looking rather conspicuous and dubious in a Jazan disguise.
I had been staking out PD Secure Storage for hours. Darkness had fallen and the hustle and bustle of Neopians at PD had trickled down to a just a handful stashing away the days precious attainments.
The night was clear and a hush had fallen over the docks. That was when I’d heard the sound that had previously been masked by the daytime din. It started softly, a muted mewing, unmistakably that of a hungry Kadoatie. Within moments the volume had increased, and the mewing picking up pace in a desperate eagerness to be fed.
I wandered around the darkened maze of Secure Storage buildings, attempting to locate the starving petpet. I eventually discovered the storage space that held the crying Kadoatie, and hid myself a short distance away. It was only a matter of time before the pet snatcher would make themselves known to me.
What seemed like hours but was really only minutes later, a figure appeared – shrouded by a Shadowy Cloak of Darkness. In the dim light I could barely make out the figure as they moved noiselessly towards the doorway of the storage unit housing the trapped Kadoatie. When they stepped under the spotlight encircling the doorstep, they set down the bucketful of Vinarok. They must have spent a small fortune feeding this Kadoatie the past several days, I silently mused. The figure looked around the yard, to make certain they were alone before tentatively removing the cloak’s hood from their head. They unlocked the door and disappeared inside the storage unit. And though the pool of light had revealed their face for but a fleeting moment, the features of the pet snatcher were unmistakable.
What a mug I was. The answer had been under my nose the whole time.
To be continued...
(Next weeks it’s curtains for “The Snatcher Exposed”...)
Detectives Speak 101 - Lesson 5
- Curtains for this case – case closed, the end.
- Grill – Interrogate.
- Trim the fat – Extort a large amount of Neopoints from.
- Stoolie – Informant (from “Stool Pigeon”)