The Weewoo of the Island
Sherbolt Haven, Neovia's #1 private detective, needed a vacation.
Or rather, the residents of Neovia had decided that he definitely needed vacation.
(Truthfully, the residents of Neovia desperately needed a vacation from Haven.)
So it was on a cool summer evening that an emergency town hall meeting was convened. A few days prior, a hasty afternoon tea amongst the town's elders at the Crumpetmonger had come up with a plan to entice Haven to attend said town meeting (for he generally had no time for such trivialities, being an important and in-demand private detective, of course. One never knew when mysteries would come up, so Haven felt it was always best to be prepared and on standby). Mr. Cameron had persuaded Haven to attend under the guise of an urgent request to find his missing Green Antique Chair (which had somehow mysteriously – and conveniently – disappeared from his drawing room), and was adamant that there were clues to be found in the town hall itself. Never one to turn down a case or ignore clues (no matter how obscure or preposterous), Haven readily agreed to take on the case and meet Mr. Cameron at precisely half past 6 that evening at the town hall. (Haven had tried to tell Mr. Cameron that his presence was unnecessary – Haven's long-time and trusted assistant, Weatherby, would naturally be accompanying him, much to Weatherby's dismay – but Mr. Cameron was most insistent on watching the brilliant mind of Haven at work, so obviously Haven graciously allowed Mr. Cameron to observe him at the aforementioned time.)
Promptly at half past 6, Haven, dressed to impress in one of his finest Prigpants & Swolthy Gnorbu-wool dark brown suits (specially customized for this particular Bruce, with a multitude of hidden pockets that any detective would require), arrived at the town hall, looking around for Mr. Cameron.
"Hurry up, old chap!" Haven said, turning around to watch the slightly slower progress of Weatherby, a rather portly Usul as some would say, coming up the street. (Weatherby had just finished his supper before Haven dragged him out of the office, hence his slower pace.)
"Ah, Haven, thank Fyora you made it!" Mr. Cameron said, stepping out from inside the town hall, just as Weatherby made it to the top of the steps.
"Excellent timing, Mr. Cameron," Haven replied, checking his pocket watch, "let us begin!"
Haven stepped around the elderly Shoyru, and pulled out his trusty magnifying glass as he carefully examined the floor and walls of the foyer of the hall after stepping inside. But as Haven soon discovered, the walls and floor were impeccably clean. Not a speck of dust or trace of a footprint or scrape on the parquet floor was to be found. It was almost as if the town hall was a misdirection. As if the perpetrator was trying to throw Haven off the trail by making him think that the chair was at the town hall. As if he or she was cleverer than Haven! Ha, thought Haven, as if that were possible! No, there must be some sort of clue. Some mistake that the thief made, something left behind to point Haven in the right direction, some —
"AHA!" Haven exclaimed as he rushed over to a darkened corner of the foyer. He extracted his self-lighting and collapsible brass lantern from his pocket, holding it alight as he knelt down to the floor. For what should he spy that looked hastily brushed aside but a few green fibers and a few specks of suspicious dark particles.
"What is it, Haven?" Asked Mr. Cameron as he and Weatherby approached behind the kneeling Haven, careful not to disturb his findings.
"It looks as though our culprits carried your chair this way, Mr. Cameron. The green fibers that I see look to match the swatch that you gave me. And these black particles, why I daresay they seem to be ash from a chimney. Either the thief removed the chair up the chimney or a chimneysweep walked out with your chair. But what could possibly be significant about taking the chair to the town hall? Hmm..." Haven carried on, muttering to himself about other possibilities involving a chair and a chimney, as he began to follow the trail of the dark specks.
<"Are those... breadcrumbs that he's following?" Weatherby quietly asked Mr. Cameron, after he had inspected the same dark pieces.
"Er, not quiet. Alice at the Crumpetmonger was all out of breadcrumbs today. So we had to make do with chocolate cookie crumbs instead," replied Mr. Cameron.>
"Well, Weatherby, and, er, Mr. Cameron, it looks as though our intrepid thief has taken the chair into the assembly room. If my ears do not deceive me, I think I hear rustling and faint murmuring coming from inside, so I dare say our thief is on the premises! Quickly Weatherby, we must confront the thief before the chair is taken away again!" Haven whispered loudly, standing beside the doors to the assembly room. Rolling his eyes, Weatherby took up position opposite Haven. With only a moment's pause, they both opened the assembly room doors, and Haven rushed into the darkened room, brandishing his lantern, and yelling "Stop thief!" just as the overhead chandeliers were lit up.
Haven came to an abrupt stop as he noticed himself surrounded by the entire townspeople, including the mayor standing behind a podium on the stage. He stared around him in confusion. Weatherby came up to stand beside him (in case Haven decided to accuse the townsfolk of taking Mr. Cameron's chair).
"Thank you for joining us, Haven. We have a grave matter to discuss with you," the mayor began, indicting a chair for Haven to sit in. Once Haven was seated, escorted by Weatherby, the mayor continued:
"We are deeply worried about you, Haven. You have undertaken a great many - *ahem* - cases for us in the past couple years. We can't thank you enough for all that you have done. But we think you need to need to take some time for yourself and relax and recharge your, er, impressive detective skills."
"Oh, well, I couldn't possibly take time off, Mayor. One never knows what conundrums may befall oneself, and it would pain me to absent for such an occasion. No, no, I will remain in Neovia indefinitely as your humble servant," Haven replied as he stood up and bowed. A scattered applause broke out (Mrs. Mertz and Mrs. Ricardo were hard of hearing).
"Again, all of us must thank you for your dedication to our community. But really, we must insist that you take a vacation. Thanks to your continued efforts, I am most assured that Neovia will be safe in your absence. We will refer to your extensive 800 case notes and apply your methods if any trouble arises. For the time being, we shall keep a close eye on Mrs. Mertz's glasses (found 112 times by Haven on her head), Mr. Brandon's gathow (found 247 times in various trees), Miss Eloise's crumpets (mistakenly thought stolen 90 times when really she had forgotten that she had eaten them), Mr. Collin's Neovian Genealogy (borrowed 178 times without signing it out in the ledger), and various other residents. I'm afraid the matter is closed, Haven. Miss Poppy has your travel tickets all prepared; simply tell her where you will be going. We shall see you in at least 2 weeks! Enjoy!" And with that, the mayor banged the gavel and adjourned the meeting. The townsfolk hurried out of the town hall, leaving an unusually bewildered Haven behind. Miss Poppy handed Weatherby the travel tickets, and scurried away herself.
"Well then, Weatherby," Haven said after several minutes, "I have decided that it is high time for us to take a vacation. Who knows what great mysteries await us in the great beyond!"
"So much for relaxing," Weatherby mumbled, dutifully following Haven back to the office.
* * *
With that began a whirlwind journey across Neopia. No land was too big or too small for Haven and (an un-relaxed) Weatherby. Haven was certainly not shy about stepping in to assist the citizens of Neopia with their mysteries, conundrums, enigmas, riddles, and puzzles, whether they knew they had them or not (and whether they wanted or needed Haven to solve them or not). Haven was quite pleased with his vacation: after years of reading, he thought he had triumphantly solved the important mysteries of the world. The sudden reappearance of Altador? Solved. (Clouds that had obscured the land had cleared with what Haven was calling The Great Wind Shift.) Lost Desert? Found! (Haven attempted to correct signs everywhere.) Mystery Island? Not very mysterious after all. (Having talked to the Island Mystic, Haven mistakenly heard it called "Missing Tree Eye Lens" and set about finding a tree eye lens. Weatherby may or may not have crafted something together to help the process along.)
Looking at his map, Haven saw that only a couple unvisited lands remained. With his Neopian-wide successes (he was thinking of changing his title to Neopia's #1 detective), Haven chose his next destination. With Weatherby's quick packing (Weatherby could sense the growing unhappiness of the Mystery Islanders (a side effect of being in Haven's company for too long), much like had happened in previous lands), the duo were off in no time.
* * *
Stepping off the boat, Haven breathed in his surroundings on Krawk Island, mixed in with the hustle and bustle of Warf Wharf. He watched the comings and goings for a few moments, before striding off in the direction of the Golden Doubloon. Weatherby hurriedly purchased his grog and squid on a stick (there was nothing more than a snack offered on the boat) before setting off after him.
"Excellent choice for our next case, eh Weatherby?" Haven said as they rambled through the Wharf. "I don't doubt that the citizens of Krawk Island will be knocking on our door in need of our help in no time!"
* * *
A week passed on the Island, with nothing more exciting happening than Haven losing his pen 8 times (misplaced in his suit's many hidden pockets). Their days became a routine: breakfast in the Golden Doubloon, a walk around the island offering assistance for any trouble, lunch, another walk around the island offering assistance again (for any trouble whatsoever), dinner, followed by retiring to their rooms above the Golden Doubloon. Weatherby was quite content. Haven was ready to move on to somewhere more mysterious.
On their final morning on Krawk Island (much to Weatherby's dismay – the beaches were lovely and the food was tasty – but Haven could not be persuaded to remain another day), they took a final stroll before their boat's evening departure.
"I guess with being called 'Krawk' Island, there wasn't any indication of anything mysterious afoot here, Weatherby. A rather disappointing choice on your part, I should say," Haven was remarking. Weatherby was lost in thought in his sandwich. "I wonder how Maraqua will compare..." Haven trailed off as he noted a commotion outside Little Nippers. An anxious-looking Kyrii was shouting and waving his arms at a small crowd outside the shop.
"They just – I don't – I can't believe – it's impossible – by Fyora how – " the Kyrii was saying as Haven and Weatherby approached. The small crowd could do nothing but offer condolences before dispersing to return to their shopping.
"Forgive me for intruding, dear sir, but may I be of some service?" Haven inquired. The Kyrii stood with his hands on his hips, trying to organize his thoughts. Undeterred, Haven continued:
"While I am here on vacation, I'm sure my reputation and skills precede me – Sherbolt Haven, Neovia's #1
detective, able to solve any mystery, no matter how big or how small, at your service," Haven bowed.
"A detective, eh?" The Kyrii said skeptically. "I suppose that couldn't hurt. I'm all out of ideas meself."
"Excellent!" Shouted Haven. "Now, what has happened?"
The Kyrii, after introducing himself as Admiral Kyrwinne, went on to explain. As the proprietor of Little Nippers, he kept a watchful eye on his stock. Each Petpet was carefully looked after. Their health and happiness was of great importance. It just so happened that this morning was specifically dedicated to the Weewoos. They were let out for a longer flight, received an extra serving of grub, and were to have a special grooming of their feathers. The Admiral had stepped away for a quick moment to get the brushes when, upon his return, he noticed that all of his Weewoo cages were empty. His complete flock.
"Gone! Disappeared! Without a trace! Stolen for all I know!" The Admiral cried. Weatherby offered him a handkerchief.
"There, there, old fellow. It's quite all right! Sherbolt Haven is on the case! I shall have your Weewoos back in no time at all, don't you worry. May we examine the last location of the Weewoos? Most excellent. Come, Weatherby. We have a case to solve!" Haven declared triumphantly as he walked through the shop to the Weewoo cages. Haven pulled out his magnifying glass and proceeded to look at every nook and cranny of the Petpet storing room, Weatherby trailing dutifully behind him. He was able to discover a trail of brown feathers and followed them to the back door.
"Aha! Our first clue!" Haven exclaimed. "The trail of feathers leads to this door. And it's open, Weatherby! You know what that means – our thief took the Weewoos through here. Come along, Weatherby, we have Weewoos to find!" Haven rushed out the door into the back alley. Weatherby followed, after saying a few reassuring words to the Admiral.
Haven and Weatherby weaved in and out of the alleys in the Wharf. There was an excited moment outside the Food Club, having discovered a large pile of brown feathers outside the back kitchen, but an extensive search of the premises yielded no Weewoos. The trail led the duo farther west, and they found themselves outside the Governor's Mansion. Again, another pile of brown feathers was found. After a quick word with the Governor's staff, Haven and Weatherby learned that large sacks of pirate potato crisps in the yard had been ripped into. Heartened by this latest clue (which Haven took to mean that the thieves were hungry), they continued on, stopping every now and then to check for feathers and potato crisp crumbs.
Frustratingly, the trial led them back towards the Wharf. "These thieves are maddening," Haven muttered, as they once again found themselves weaving in and out of alleys. They finally emerged outside The Academy, with no clear clue about where to turn next.
"This is ridiculous, Weatherby," Haven huffed. "There's not a trace of feather or crumb or footprint to be found. Our thieves can't have outsmarted us. They can't have disappeared. We must be missing something here..." he continued as he pulled out two magnifying glasses and peered around the area. Having trekked around without stopping for lunch, tea, or even a snack, Weatherby was just about to point out the seemingly obvious to Haven (why were they searching the ground?), when, between his stomach rumblings, he heard a strange sound.
"Er, Haven, do you hear that?" Weatherby asked. Haven paused in his search and cupped his ear. After a few minutes (and after several shushings to Weatherby's stomach), Haven heard it too. For coming through the trees was the very faintest sound, a sound that sounded suspiciously like "Wee... woo...".
Haven bolted through the trees, yelling for Weatherby to follow. Crashing wildly in the bush, Haven finally emerged in the cove, shouting for the villainous thief to release the Weewoos immediately (for he was Sherbolt Haven, Neovia's #1 detective, who thieves feared everywhere), only to discover...
The cove was empty.
No one was carrying off with a flock of Weewoos.
In fact, a flock of Weewoos was nowhere to be seen.
Haven sighed as he put his hands on his hips. He stared out into the cove, trying to listen for another "Wee... woo..." sound. Perhaps he had mistaken the direction that it came from (he was sure that the math was correct in his head). Perhaps it was the thief playing a trick on him, to get him off the trail. Perhaps –
"Ahem," Weatherby coughed loudly beside Haven, interrupting his thoughts. With another wild cough, Haven turned to offer Weatherby a candy, when he noticed Weatherby's gaze, and followed it to the tree line...
... Where several large brown dots were mixed in with the green foliage. Haven blinked. Several large brown Weewoo dots. Several large brown Weewoos. Several hundred brown Weewoos. Found.
"By Fyora, I've done it!" Haven yelled.
* * *
After several trips, Haven and Weatherby had accumulated enough food stuffs to tempt the Weewoos back to Little Nippers. Waving various grubs and fish, the Weewoos flew after the duo, and landed safely at the back door to the shop. Haven ran in and dragged out the Admiral, who could only gape in astonishment.
"You mean – you actually – found – all – my Weewoos!" The Admiral stammered. "But how!?"
And with that, Haven was more than happy to explain how the thief had stumbled upon an open cage of Weewoos (left unlocked and open by a certain proprietor), snuck out the whole flock, then tried to meet a boat on the western dock, only to discover that the Governor was in residence, before rendez-vousing with said boat in the cove. Naturally the thief heard Haven calling out as he ran through the trees, and hurried away on the boat before Haven could catch them, leaving the flock behind. The boat was so swift, of course, that neither Haven nor Weatherby saw any trace of it.
"And so you see, good sir, your Weewoos have been found safe and sound. All 800 of them! It is thanks to I, Sherbolt Haven, that our thief has been thwarted and Krawk Island remains safe once more! It has been a pleasure to be of service to you, but I'm afraid Weatherby and I have our own boat to catch. Good day sir!" Haven said, shaking hands with the Admiral.
"Thank you indeed, Mr. Haven and Mr. Weatherby! Your help was most appreciated! Fyora knows what would've happened to 'em out there on their own. Best of luck to ye!" The Admiral replied, waving them off from his shop.
"Another successful case, eh Weatherby?" Haven said as they made their way to the docks. Weatherby could only nod in agreement. "On to the next one!" Haven shouted.