Reginald Acorn's Case 2 : Witchcraft
Note to readers : Reginald's first case is available for a read in a previous NT: edition
The fan screwed on the roof is spinning at full speed, making my hair fly around like a bunch of untamed buzzers. I've been sitting at my desk for so long, I feel like my chair is going to have my body's print on it forever. In front of me, a massive amount of paperwork. I always knew police work wasn't always running after criminals and solving exciting cases, but still, trivial matters were really boring.
Out of boredom, I let my head rest on my desk. All around me, my colleagues are as bored as I am. As I was blowing away the hair that was falling on my nose, Big Skeith, my boss, came out of his office, making the door slam into the wall. I jumped a little while everyone else stayed still on their chairs. Most of them have been working here for months, some even for years and got used to Big's big entrances.
_ "Reginald ! Grab your things, we're going to eat !" He spat.
I don't even have time to grab my coat that he's already out of the Police Station and wandering around in the streets. I follow him into "Le Parfait", an high end restaurant in town.
_ "I know that with your salary, you can't really eat here, so I invite you kiddo. Take that as a welcome gift." he said.
A waiter approaches us. A Gelert with silver hair and a shining smile, and I don't know why but I somehow feel like I've seen him somewhere before.
_ "My name is Médéric and I'll be your waiter. What will you take ?
As the waiter is doing his job, I gather the courage to ask Big Skeith something that had been on my mind for two weeks.
_ "Chief, do we have any leads concerning the jewel thief case ? I know it's my fault we didn't get him last time, so I'd really like to make up for it." I whisper, uneasy on my chair.
_ "Chh. It's not your fault kiddo, we've been after that guy for so long now, he always manages to elude us. As for leads, we don't have any." he said before going back to eating the platter of meat in front of him.
_ "I see..." The disappointment in my voice is palpable but Big doesn't seem to be angry at me.
The waiter after having served a delicious fresh water to our table goes back to the kitchen.
From the distance, the waiter named Médéric is looking at that grey Gelert and the enormous Darigan Skeith in front of him.
_ "I really should be more careful now. But seems like none of them recognized me" he whispers while playing with a splendid gem in his pocket. "But what can I say, I love showing off!" he cackles quickly while getting weird looks from the rest of the waiting staff. "I'll be sure to play with you some more somedays, you can be sure of it."
_ "Nothing like a good meal eh.. I'm stuffed." he says as he's scratching his belly.
_ "That's true ! Thanks for the meal boss !
_ "I wanted you to feel more at peace with yourself, like I said, nobody thinks it's your fault, also you're still a newbie, you gotta learn. That's why I've picked a new case for you to work on. Do you think you're up to the task eh ?" Big Skeith is smirking in front of me, and I can see the confidence in his big red eyes.
_ "You bet I am boss ! What is it !!??" I yell in excitement, finally some action !
_ "Calm down kiddo. Here's the deal : this morning, I was looking at the letters we had received the other day and found an interesting one. Here, read it." He hands me a letter in a beautiful red envelope. The handwriting is very beautiful and delicate.
Dear Chief of Police Worsley,
My name is Viktor Arnalds and I work at the biggest book shop in town, the one located next to the antique shop. I write to you to voice a few concerns of mine.
A week ago, we received a book whose origins we couldn't tell. It's rather big and heavy and shut down by a lock.
Now I wouldn't mind too much if scratching and hissing noises didn't come out of said book. It also moves around on its own.
Would it be too much trouble for someone of the station to come at the book shop and take a look at that book. I am worried it might be dangerous and could cause a catastrophe if opened. I don't want to put my fellow citizens in danger.
Thanks in advance, Viktor.
I take a minute to take in what I've just read. A book that seems alive or something ? Now that's exciting !
_ "So, do you take it kid ?
_ "Yes, I'm going right away to the book shop, thanks boss !" I yell as I'm already running towards my new destination.
I push the heavy wood door and enter into the book shop. The smell of paper is overwhelming here but it has that unique cosy atmosphere. I slam the bell that is on the counter and wait patiently. An acara comes out of the back shop. He's the oldest neopets I've ever seen ! His eyes are completely hidden behind heavy brows and his moustache is touching the ground due to his arched back. As for his colour, I can't really tell, some kind of washed-out purple ?
_ "Hello mister ! Name's Reginald Acorn and I've been sent from the police station following the letter you've sent us" I say relatively loudly in fear he is hard of hearing.
_ "I can hear you clearly youngin !" he says, swinging his cane around. "I didn't write that letter. Viktor, come here !" he shouts.
I hear something crashing in the back shop, followed by a cloud of dust. "I'm sorry, I ... I fell.." he says shamefully, adjusting his glasses back into his nose. I somehow imagined him older but that Viktor must be around the same age as me, and to top it all, he's also a Gelert ! After removing the dust from his coat, he put it back on, struggling with his wings. Being Darigan must be hard sometimes...
_ "Oh ...yes.. I.. I can't believe someone came." he whispers while playing nervously with his hands.
_ "The kid is a bit shy but he works hard. I'm going back to work, do what you must." And on those words, the old acara disappears behind a huge pile of books.
_ "So .. Well.. Here's the book." he says as he places it carefully on the counter.
The book is certainly big and adorned with a lock but it doesn't seem all that mysterious to me. The book's cover is black and smells like the streets after some heavy rain. The lock is rusty but is holding on quite impressively. I take it into my hands and look at it from every angle possible. As I brush the cover, it suddenly starts to shake and growl. In surprise, I let it fall on the ground where it somehow run in circle. I don't know what kind of witchcraft this is but it's not natural !
_ "See ... This is what I meant ... We have no idea what's going on." he shrugs. "Do you.. do you think you can help us ?
_ "I don't know to be completely honest with you, but I'll try my best !
I'm currently laying on my bed, pondering about what I should do. Viktor let me keep the book for the time being and it's currently spinning on the ground next to me. It's been at it for hours and I'm getting kinda scared. It seems that the more scared and tensed I am, the more agitated the book is. I wonder if that has a meaning somehow ?
If I were still in Brightvale, I'm sure someone would have had an answer by now, it is the land of books after all ... I sigh deeply and look at the book which has suddenly calmed down. It looks like it's sleeping, which is kinda creepy for a book.
I take a deep breath trying to stay calm as to not alarm it. A small print of text is visible in very tiny letters on the cover, something I had overlooked till now. I rushed to my desk and roam around the drawers in search of my magnifying glass that I have somewhere in this mess. I've never been really organised when it came to those stuff. It might sounds stereotypical but us detectives do have one of those around, it's really helpful ! As I decipher the letters, things suddenly start to make sense.
_ "Goo... Good morning Reginald." says Viktor as he greets me into the shop. "I have some great news about the book !
_ "Really ? Me too ! Last night I managed to find some writings on the cover and I think it'll help us solve this mystery !
_ "Wow that's amazing Reginald ! In my case, I managed to track down the Neopet who sold us the book. He told me that he found the book in an old shack in the Haunted Woods. He said the shack is believed to belong to a witch. Or at least a magical being, that's what I heard.
_ "In that case, I'm yelling jackpot Viktor ! Look at that !" I say as I slam the book on the counter. "Here it says, "Property of Sophie the Witch, if found bring it back asap unless you want to spend the rest of your life as a Mortog.
We look at each other in amazement, we finally found a clue worth investigating !
_ "So .. What do we do .. ?" the anxious little voice barely came out of Viktor's throat.
_ "The only thing we can do, go visit this Sophie. I mean, the guy who bought you the book probably stole it from her, the least we can do is bring it back. And hope we don't end up as mortogs too ...
Haunted Woods, near Sophie's Shack 15:02
The confidence I showed in the book shop starts to vanish as both Viktor and me stand in front of the shack. We travelled by foot for hours before reaching this place, so it's not like we can run away with our tails between our legs now. I take the book out of my bag and as soon as I do so, it starts to be agitated again. It wriggles so violently that I can't hold it anymore. It drops to the ground and rushes into the shack, breaking some stuff inside in the process. We both freeze in fear as an angered voice shouts from inside :
_ "What the ? So that's where you were ! Who did this ?"
The small door of the shack slams open, revealing a tall and young female Ixi. The first word that came to my mind was "green". I mean, this Ixi was green from head to toes, her long hair, her eyes, even her fur was green. She points her staff in our direction and we both raises our hands over our head.
_ "Please wait !! We can explain !!" I shout at the top of my lungs, hoping my voice can still reach her before she turns us into Mortogs.
_ "Very well. You have two minutes, so get going. And fast. I have things more important to do than babysitting two Gelerts from the city." she sneered.
Words jostle each other as we both try to explain to her the situation the best we can...
_ "So, that's what it is. I believe you, you both look too pathetic and rather honest anyway. I guess you must be wondering about that book uh ? I'll tell you. It's a special craft I created but that is not totally operational as of now. You take two regular petpets and the book will absorb them. After a while, a new petpet will come out of the book. Generally with two heads that match the petpets you picked to start the experiment.
_ "I didn't know something like that was possible..." I ponder over what she just told us. "But in that case, how come the book was spinning, growling and even snoring ? How is that possible ?
_ "Hmmm I wonder. I guess that spell worked after all. With this one I wanted to try something new. The book was supposed to open once the petpet contained inside would be near his perfect new owner. The lock is new however.
_ "But the book was agitated with both me and Reginald, does it mean one of us is the designated owner ? It was rather calm with me if I recall." Viktor scratches his head as he thinks.
_ "If I may, miss Sophie, I felt like the book was reacting to my feelings. I know it sounds weird and all, but I felt like it was angry at me for rejecting him.
Sophie closed her eyes, pondering over what we said to her.
_ "Well, there's only one way to find out !" she yells as she blasts a huge ray of green magic on the lock, making it explode in a bunch of tiny pieces.
The book then jumped toward me, opened up while the pages were flying all around. Only the cover is standing in my hands.
As I look down at my feet, I stop a tiny petpet. I'm not a petpet expert, but I think it was made up with a Bearog and a Meowclops, what an odd combination. The two heads are fighting which makes Sophie laugh.
_ "Looks like you fond a new friend. Now get out of my shack before I blast you with my staff !" she growls !
I grab the petpet in one hand and Viktor's arm in the other while we run away as fast as possible.
A few meters away we stop to catch our breath. I look at both the Bearclops and Viktor as I burst in laughter.
If you ask me, I believe I actually made two friends during my second case !