The Third Pig Detective Agency Part 7

Web Novel The Third Pig Detective Agency Part 7. If you are looking for The Third Pig Detective Agency Part 7 you are coming to the right place.
The Third Pig Detective Agency is a Webnovel created by Bob Burke.
This lightnovel is currently completed.

On the street below, three Orcs that had obviously been asked to guard the hotel entrance looked up vacantly as I fell towards them. Taken completely by surprise, they didn’t have time to get out of the way as a large glowing ‘TY INN’ and a purple-hued pig landed on them. For once I got lucky as I dropped on the largest and fattest of the Orcs and was exceedingly grateful for the soft landing. Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to express my grat.i.tude properly, seeing as the rest of his buddies were about to come charging out of the hotel in hot pursuit of my blood. In any event the poor guy was unconscious and I didn’t have the luxury of enough time to even write a thank-you note; not that I would have anywayI wasn’t that grateful!

Checking to ensure I still had the lamp, I slowly got to my feet and racedwell, staggered actuallydown the street. Seconds later, what was left of the Orc posse charged from the hotel and, spotting me limping towards the next intersection, howled in triumph as they ran after me.

I now had two objectives: evade my pursuers any way I possibly could and, a.s.suming I was successful and didn’t end up skewered by a large and rusty spear, get to an Internet cafe so I could send the most important email of my life.

I made the intersection and ran up the next street looking for somethinganythingthat might get the Orcs off my back. All I could see was the usual collection of seedy bars, dodgy clubs and occasional p.a.w.nshop that seemed to proliferate in the more disreputable parts of town. Despite my vain hope, there didn’t appear to be any obvious cavalry-corning-over-the-hill-type rescue operation waiting for me. I had to admit it was looking grim. I could hear the grunts and shouts of the Orcs as they gained on me. Surely it was only a matter of seconds before I became a pork kebab.

Then I spotted it: a possible way out of my current predicament. Limping across the street, I staggered through the doors of the Tingling Finger Bar and Grill, hoping that the name reflected the nature of its clientele. I almost fell to my knees in relief (and pain and exhaustion) as every elf in the bar stopped what he was doing and stared at me in surprise.

Hanging on to the door for support with one arm, I indicated back over my shoulder with the other.

‘Orcs,’ I gasped. ‘Following…me, trying…to…kill…’

I couldn’t get any more out and clutched the door, trying to catch my breath.

Despite my semi-coherent gasping, they got the thrust of my message quickly enough. Then again, all they really needed to hear was ‘Orc’, as it tended to provoke an almost Pavlovian response when uttered in the presence of an elf. All the rest of the message was just supplemental information.

As any reader of fantasy fiction will tell you, Orcs and elves are sworn enemies. All it takes is for one to unexpectedly b.u.mp into the other at, say, a movie premiere for a small-scale war to break out. As a rule, hostilities usually only cease when one of the two opposing sides has been rendered totally unconsciousor worse.

It was no surprise, therefore, when my arrival resulted in the entire bar suddenly changing from a bunch of happy-go-lucky elves (if elves could ever be described as happy-go-lucky) trying unsuccessfully to get drunk to an efficient and very hostile fighting machine waiting for their enemy to burst through the door.

They didn’t have long to wait, as the leading Orc pushed his way in, to be met by the heavily moisturised fist of the lead elf, the impact of which drove him back out again and into the arms of his colleagues.

‘Orcs in the pub; blood will be spilled this night,’ shouted one of the elves as he followed his leader outside to give both moral and physical support. Within seconds the bar was empty, apart from the barman and me. Like barmen the world over, he nodded at me and continued to clean gla.s.ses with a pristine white cloth as if nothing untoward had actually happened. Maybe his customers poured out of the bar every night in search of a row but I doubted it; elves usually preferred a quiet drink as opposed to a full-blooded brawlexcept, that is, where Orcs were involved.

Still hurting, I staggered to the bar and looked up at the barman.

‘Back…door?’ I asked him.

He indicated a door at the back of the room with a brief twist of his head.

‘Nearest…Internet…cafe?’ Barmen usually knew everything about the locality; I just hoped this chap was one of them.

‘Out the door; turn right; two blocks down. It’s called the Cyber Punk. You can’t miss it.’

I thanked him and struggled onwards out of the bar and down the street. The Cyber Punk was exactly where he described it. Looking around to confirm I was no longer being followed, I pushed the door open and made my way to the counter. A geeky goblin (the actual Cyber Punk presumably) sat behind it, glancing through a magazine. I waved a twenty under his nose to get his attention. He looked down at me over gla.s.ses that were so thick they could have been used as bullet-proof windows.

‘I need to access the web,’ I said to him and waved the twenty from side to side. His head moved back and forth tracking every movement, his eyes never leaving the money.

‘Pick any one you want,’ he said slowly reaching for the bill.

Picking a terminal at the back of the room, where I was less likely to be seen from the street, I accessed one of my many email accounts. I began to carefully compose the most important email I was probably ever going to send. After typing furiously for a few minutes, I reviewed what I had written. I hoped it was enough to get the attention of the recipient without giving too much away to anyone else that might intercept it.

Dear Criminal Mastermind, I know who you are and why you stole the lamp. I understand your need for complete secrecy, although transporting me to your hideout ultimately gave the game away (and employing Benny certainly didn’t help your cause, either). To prove I know what’s going on, I offer you this: he who controls the third option controls the power. It may be cryptic but I think you’ll understand what I mean.

I think I can help you. Be prepared to be present at the original drop point early tomorrow morning and take your cue from me. If all goes to plan we may both find ourselves out of this sorry mess for once and for all.

Best regards, Harry Pigg After a moment’s panic when I couldn’t remember it, I typed in the address Benny had used previously (), hit the send b.u.t.ton and my email disappeared from the screen. All I needed to do now was to get the other two players in this dangerous game to meet me tomorrow, and hope I could pull off a very elaborate stunt.

If I was successful, then I would be free of any unpleasant entanglements forever. If not, then I was likely to be caught in a very unsavoury Aladdin and Edna sandwichwith me as the filling.

I borrowed a phone from the Cyber Punk and, with a certain degree of trepidation, I made two very nervous calls. With nowhere else to go, I spent the rest of the night in the Cyber Punk, alternately surfing the web and playing World of War craft.

12.

A Gripping Finale.

Even early in the morning, Wilde Park was busy. The Three Blind Mice were begging as usual at the main gate. Fairy G.o.dmothers fussed around their charges, making sure they were well wrapped up against the morning chill as they played on the swings. An occasional elf jogger in pastel Lycra running gear panted along the pathways. Show-offsalways more concerned with looking good than actually keeping fit.

I had picked the most public area I could find for my dangerous rendezvous: a large open area with a small clump of trees to one side. Hidden in the trees was a very nervous Jack.

I had called him first thing and briefed him on the plan. He wasn’t going to be in any danger but his role was critical. Precise timing was essential so I drilled him over and over on his instructions.

‘You sure you know what to do?’ I asked him as we walked towards the bushes.

‘For goodness sake, Mr Pigg, we’ve gone over it twenty times. Just give me the lamp.’ Grabbing it from my hands he forced his way into the bushes and crouched down.

‘Just wait for my signal, OK?’ I said to him as I walked away. ‘And keep yourself hidden until then.’

He gave me a thumbs-up sign and disappeared from view. I walked to the middle of the park and looked back. Satisfied that he couldn’t be detected, I stood where anyone entering could see me and waited.

I didn’t have to wait long. There was a loud rumbling from above and a helicopter flew low over the trees. It circled the park twice and then landed close to me, the blast of wind from the rotors covering me in dust, potato chip packets and candy wrappers. This case had certainly found diverse and interesting ways of getting me dirty.

Peeling away a potato chip packet that had stuck to my forehead, I watched as Aladdin and my good friend Gruff alighted from the ‘copter. The wind from the rotors didn’t appear to affect Aladdin in the slightest. Nothing stuck to his suit, and his hair moved so little it must have been glued to his head. If nothing else, the man had style in spades.

‘Mr Aladdin.’ I stretched out my trotter. ‘Glad you could make it at such short notice.’ I didn’t acknowledge Gruff and, strangely, he didn’t offer to shake my trotter either.

Aladdin gave my trotter a perfunctory shake. ‘Mr Pigg. I a.s.sume from your call that you have my lamp.’

‘It’s nearby and very safe,’ I replied. ‘Please be patient and you’ll have it back shortly.’

From the look he gave me, patience clearly wasn’t going to be top of Aladdin’s order of business for the day. I hoped that Edna was going to arrive soon as I didn’t know how long Aladdin’s fuse was.

Fortunately, the Wicked Witch of the West Side was as anxious to recover the lamp as everyone else. A long line of stretch limos snaked from the main entrance of the park to where we waited. A small army (in both size and number) of henchOrcs disgorged from the cars and took up positions around us.

Two very large minders in black tuxedos and sungla.s.ses squeezed themselves out of a large black Merc and stood beside the rear door as Edna made her entrance. These bodyguards exuded menace and were the kind of muscle that would still look intimidating dressed in pink tutus. They stood at either side of Edna as she walked towards us, their faces (at least what I could see of them behind the shades) expressionless. When they got closer I could see they were actually gorillas (as in silverbacks and mutual grooming). Clearly Edna relied on minders that were a little bit more effective than Ogre Security (Not On Our Watch). Her gorillas were the genuine article.

Aladdin and Edna both eyed each other warily. Clearly both wanted to know what the other was doing here, but neither was going to be the first to ask. They had their pride. I let them posture and sweat for a bit longer just to show who was nominally in charge, but primarily because I was thinking of a thousand ways how my plan (which seemed so foolproof last night) might, in the light of day, actually blow up in my face now that all the key players were here.

Edna broke the silence first.

‘Harry Pigg again,’ she sneered. ‘And smelling so much nicer than when we last met. Care to tell me what we’re all doing here?’

‘A very good question, Mr Pigg.’ Aladdin looked at me steadily. ‘More to the point, do you have my lamp?’

‘Your lamp?’ exclaimed Edna, turning her attention to Aladdin. ‘No way, pal. It’s my lamp.’

Aladdin took a step towards her and the two bouncers suddenly appeared in front of him, blocking his way. I was interested to see that Gruff was keeping himself a safe distance away from his master, which was quite understandable, considering the size of Edna’s minders, but hardly a career-enhancing move. Unless he backed up his employer, it was quite possible his next job could be propping up a bridgefrom inside the concrete support. Mr Aladdin had certain expectations of his employees.

‘Ma’am,’ said Aladdin, raising his hands in a conciliatory gesture, ‘I a.s.sure you the lamp is mine. In fact, I employed Mr Pigg here,’ and he waved an arm in my direction, ‘to locate it for me.’ He looked at me again. ‘And you have found it, haven’t you?’ he said levelly. ‘Because I really hope you didn’t bring me to this accursed place at this unearthly hour of the day for any other reason.’

Despite my best effort I was now the centre of attention and that was the last place I wanted to be. Beads of sweat formed on my brow.

Edna took a few steps towards me. ‘Well, Pigg, is this true? Is it his lamp?’

I coughed nervously and cleared my throat.

‘OK folks,’ I stammered. ‘Let me explain. Now if you could all step back a small bit and give me some room, I’ll begin.’

I didn’t really need the room; I just wanted to be able to see where Jack was hiding.

Everyone shuffled back slowly, muttering and giving me foul looks. If this didn’t work, chances were I’d become the b.o.o.by prize in a turf-war between Aladdin and Edna and I really didn’t fancy my head being mounted over the fireplace of the winner.

‘Ladies, gentlemen, foul-smelling Orcs, very muscular simian bodyguards and offensive goat,’ I began. ‘Let me tell you a little story.

‘Once upon a time, a very rich man had a magic lamp that he treasured above all else. One night the lamp was stolen by person or persons unknown and, through a series of bizarre circ.u.mstances, ended up in the hands of another of our foremost citizens.’ I nodded towards Edna, who just continued to scowl at me.

I know, I know; I was piling it on with a trowel but I had to keep both of them sweet for a little while longer.

‘Now this lady,’ I nodded at Edna, the word ‘lady’ sticking in my throat, ‘a.s.sumed that the lamp was now her property, possession being nine-tenths of the law and all that.

‘Unfortunately, the original owner of the lamp employed the town’s foremost detective to track it down and return it.’ For some reason there was much coughing, clearing of throats and disbelieving glances at this statementI can’t imagine why.

‘Through prodigious feats of deduction,’ more coughing, ‘he tracked down and recovered the missing lamp and can now return it to its rightful owner.’

I looked straight at where Jack was hiding and nodded my head. I caught a glimpse of him as he bent down and began to cover the lamp in mud. When the lamp was liberally smeared, he cautiously made his way towards me, holding it carefully in both hands.

‘Tell me, Mr Aladdin,’ I asked, ‘what do you most wish for right now?’

As I waited for his reply, I took the lamp from Jack and handed it to him. He looked at it aghast.

‘For goodness sake, Pigg. Could you not have cleaned it before you handed it back?’

Reaching into his pocket, he grabbed a handkerchief and began cleaning the lamp.

I was sweating profusely nowlike a pig, in fact. The success of my plan depended on the next few minutes.

‘I’m sorry, Mr Aladdin, I just hadn’t time. I wanted to get it back to you as soon as I could. But you haven’t answered my question.’

He continued rubbing the lamp furiously, oblivious to the plume of white smoke that was beginning to pour from the nozzle.

‘Oh yes, your question,’ he said. ‘What I really wish for most right now is to find out who stole my lamp and why.’

There was a loud crack and the white smoke solidified into a very large and very happy-looking genieall turban, silk trousers and a cone of smoke where his feet should have been.

‘BEHOLD, I AM THE GENIE OF THE LAMP,’ he bellowed. ‘AND YOUR THIRD WISH SHALL BE GRANTED. IT WAS I WHO STOLE YOUR LAMP.’

Aladdin looked at him in horror and with dawning comprehension. He’d been had.

I turned quickly to Jack while everyone was looking in astonishment at the genie.

‘Jack, now!’ I roared.

Quickly, Jack ran to Aladdin and, before he could react, had grabbed the lamp and flung it at me. Catching it skilfully, I quickly rubbed it again.

The genie looked at me and his smile grew even broader.

‘I AM THE GENIE OF THE LAMP. YOU HAVE THREE WISHES. WHAT IS YOUR BIDDING, MY MASTER?’

I took a deep breath and in a very loud voiceto ensure everyone could hearoutlined my first wish.

‘I wish that if, as a result of this case, any harm should come to me or any of my a.s.sociates at the hands of either Aladdin or Edna, or anyone connected with them for that matter, both will suffer cruel and unusual punishmentsuch punishment at the genie’s discretion.’ Granted, it was a mouthful but I needed to cover all the bases.

The genie bowed deeply.

‘YOUR WISH IS GRANTED.’

From the horrified look on their faces, I could see that both Edna and Aladdin clearly understood what had happened. I was safe from any retaliation by either of them and, in the context of what had happened in this case, that had understandably been my first priority. I was untouchableat least by themand was savouring the moment. But I wasn’t finished yet.

‘My second wish is that, after thousands of years of imprisonment at the hands of selfish masters, the genie is to set himself free.’

The genie bowed even more deeply and waved his arms theatricallyobviously playing to his audience.

‘YOUR WISH IS GRANTED.’

As he said this, the smoke began to drift away on the wind and, from his knees down, the rest of his legs began to materialise. Slowly he descended to the ground and landed carefully, testing his balance. Satisfied that he could at least stand without falling over (if not actually walk) he smiled at me and nodded his grat.i.tude.

‘I thank you, sir, from the bottom of my heart. For too long have I been in thrall to masters who have used me for their own devices with no thought for my wishes. Now I am free and shall be no man’s slave from here on in.’

I didn’t want to point out to him that now that he was free he’d have to get a job. I wondered what skills he did have but imagined that being an ex-genie wouldn’t necessarily endear him to potential employers. I also noticed that he wasn’t shouting in block capitals any morepresumably another advantage of being a free man, and one that wasn’t quite as hard on the ears of anyone within a ten-mile radius.

As he spoke I noticed Edna nod to her gorillas. They surrept.i.tiously made their way towards me, trying (not very successfully it has to be said) to be un.o.btrusive. As they advanced I began to back away ever so slowly. As I did so, the genie shook his head and, with a slight wave of his hand, motioned for me to stop.

I gave him a ‘you must be joking; have you seen who’s coming after me’ look but he nodded more emphatically. As he did so I noticed that as the heavies got to about ten feet from me, they suddenly shrank to the size of garden gnomes. I suddenly became very brave and raised my foot to stomp down on them. Squealing in fear they ran back towards Edna and, as they did so, they quickly grew back to their original height. My enthusiasm for squashing them evaporated, primarily because they were now more than capable of squashing me first.

I looked at the genie in confusion.

‘It’s very simple,’ he said. ‘Even though I’m free and no longer capable of magic, any spell I’ve already cast remains in force. If either of them,’ he nodded at Edna and Aladdin, ‘tries to harm you, or employs someone to do so, they will suffer most unpleasant consequences indeed.’

I smiled at my sudden invulnerability.

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