A beautyfull dawn was breaking over Beauvillage. The little town´s most infamous rooster was starting to open its eyes as well. Looking from side to side, it took a deep breath ready to announce the start of the new day.
A second later however another sound was heared all trough the street, shaking it to the core – a voice coming from Beauvillage´s most known house.
In fright, Cracker fell from the rooftop flapping his wings franticly to break the fall. He landed in the open window of Chichi´s room, exactly from where the sound came.
"Huh... Miles? What´s up...?"asked a still sleepy Chichi Tofu, poking his head from under the covers of his bed, his bare feet on the corner of his bed as he looked at the side of his room, where a large make-shift bed was.
Michael Miles, still barefeet in his black shirt and boxers was jumping up and down in the room, looking as though Christmas had come early.
"Today´s the day, Chich! The day with a capital, money-filled "D"!"exclaimed Miles excitedly waving his arms in the air like a lunatic, just as Cracker hopped from the window into Chichi´s room and onto Chichi´s shoulder.
Both the boy and the bird were giving Miles an extremly curious look. However a second later, something seemed to click in Chichi´s genius brain and the same look of utter happiness shined on his face.
"Y...you mean it´s... Tuesday?!"he asked in a happy and wonderous voice.
Miles gave him a big grin and a thumbs-up.
"You bet your baby blue eyes, genius-boy!"he exclaimed loudly and joyfully.
Chichi´s famous tenthousand-watt grin was growing larger and larger until.
"YAAAAHHHOOOOOO!"he whooped in pure joy and at once scrambled out of his bed, catching Cracker unprepared and the poor bird fell on Chichi´s bed with the covers falling over him.
"What´s with all the racket this morning?"asked Lola as she entered Chichi´s room, fully dressed yet still a bit sleepy.
She instantly regretted entering without knocking, for Miles and Chichi were franticly reaching for their clothes while stripping themselfs of their night-attire – clothing flying all across the room, Miles´ shirt falling over Cracker who finally managed to distangle himself from Chichi´s covers. Giving out a loud yelp, she swiftly closed the door. She was kinda used on seeing her baby-brother naked, having chaught him like that on numerous occasions during her life, but Michael Miles was a different story – dispite the physique that most girls in Beauvillage have been most interested in, she definitely WASN´T! Fighting down the embarassed blush, she gave them a moment before entering the room once more, not forgetting to knock thistime. As she entered, she saw that both boys were already dressed and going over some sort of plan. Noticing her thistime, both gave her a happy grin – apparently not noticing, that she saw them beforehand.
"Good morning, sis."chirped Chichi brightly.
"Wassup, Lola."greeted Miles, giving her a tumbs-up.
Returning the smiles though a bit begrudgingly, Lola walked to them.
"Good morning, you two. I wanted to know, what was all the racket a while ago. And what´s that?"she asked curiously, looking over their shoulders at some paper, which listed several objects she wasn´t familiar with.
"A few things I have to get."answered Chichi as Lola read out the objects listed, flashing him a curious look.
"For the Hidehole."he added – giving the answer to everything.
"Another project, Chichi? You should really take a break once in a while."
Lola already lost count to her brother´s numerous projects, which seem to pop up all the time. As soon as one was completed, her beloved baby brother would instantly come up with another. She thought, Chichi would have a nice rest after the Balthazar Bunglewood case, which ended mere two weeks ago. However, no such luck. As soon as two days have passed, Chichi was back online tinkering in the Hidehole as ussual.
"But this is importaint, Lola. Its the middle of October and though its still kinda warm outside, winter is definitely coming. I have to figure out how to keep the Hidehole warm over winter. Otherwise we won´t be able to go there."
Lola rolled her eyes.
"I´m not sure I see the point. Afterall the place was desighned as Miles´ home and for the past months he practicly lives here."she said giggling to herself a bit.
It was true. Mom, Pop and Buba insisted on letting Miles live here months ago, bunking with Chichi in his room – a thing that Chichi honestly didn´t mind. The elder Tofus claimed, that "There´s plenty of room for everyone" and in no time flat, Miles was proving to be a surprisingly good houseguest – helping around in the house whenever he was around, determined to do his share of work. In fact, just yesterday Lola saw him milking Suzie – the goat actually allowing him to do so, as though he were a member of the family. She supposed it was kinda nice to have him around. Only when...
"I only wish you guys wouldn´t be so... well, focused."she noted.
The pair faced her, bright innocent boyish grins plastered on their faces.
"We can´t help it, sis."said Chichi.
"Yup. That´s just how we are."nodded Miles.
Lola let out another giggle.
"All right, all right... you got me."she said affectionately, holding up her hands in mock-defeat.
The room rang with laughter as Cracker jumped on Chichi´s bed, free from Miles´ night – shirt. Sitting down on Chichi´s bed too, Lola studied some of the machines, as Miles and Chichi were packing their things. Even Cracker peeked at the list in curiosity as though he could read.
"Hm... Chichi some of these machine parts look very hard to come across... I can´t even recodnize the names of some. Where ever will you get them?"she asked.
Chichi grinned happily at her, even as he was taking out his Gzorbial statuette, which was his – not so secret stash, a place where he kept all his money.
"Lola, don´t you know what day it is?"
Lola looked at her brother quizzicly.
Both boys nodded.
"And all of us have a shortened schoolday today, because..."
Lola thought about it, remembering. Suddenly her face lit up in joy.
"The National Outdoor Sales Day!"she exclaimed realizing just what had the two boys in such spirited moods.
"You got it!"exclaimed both of them happily.
"YAAAAHOOOO!"roared Lola, jumping from Chichi´s bed.
The middle of October held the National Outdoor Sale Day – a kind of traditional celebration, which had its roots almost a hudnred years back, when the trade in the shops wasn´t going all that well. On this day, every town in the country hosts a special outdoor sale, when merchendise of any sort is tax-free. The different towns swap their goods, so this means that on this day, people in Beauvillage are able to get some products, which they can´t get a hold of in their town... or any market for that matter. Lola and her best friend Lily, never missed an oppoturnity to get something new – there always are so many stands which hold something that captures their attention. Lola started to jump up and down in her joy, the boys joining her. Until she realized something.
"Oh no... I forgot, I spent the last of my pocket money on that new sweater yesterday."she whispered now remembering yesterday´s attack on the mall, she had with Lily.
Miles and Chichi looked at eachother. Suddenly Miles rummaged trough his pocket and pulled out a bill.
"Here Lola, use this."he said earnestly.
Lola was shocked.
"Are you serious?! I can´t accept this."
Miles however gave her an affectionate look.
"No ONE should be flat broke on a day like this. Lola... this is the National Outdoor Sale... its... its like my second birthday. On this extremely special day, I want everyone of my dear friends to enjoy themselfs and just buy, buy, buy anything their precious little hearts desire."
Lola was stricken at Miles´ passionate confession. Touched that he conciders her that way. But still...
"Miles, this is 50 bucks you´re giving! Its way too much!"she reasoned.
Miles shook his head.
"I´ll get a lot more than that today, believe me. Plus let´s not forget that your folks are letting me stay here and they don´t ask a dime. Aaaand you helped me last Friday, when Wisey wanted to lock me up again."
All three of them remembered the event well. Last Friday, Miles drove into Beauvillage with some merchendize that was non-tradeable, supposed to be delivered to another town. Wiseman with the help of his brotherhood managed to find out and they were breathing on his neck. That is until Lola, who had been out with the girls had managed to throw them off track – no mean feat in itself, of course. But it seemed to have a effect on Miles, who was looking at her with tearfilled puppy eyes.
"You saved me from the ugly, mean and nasty Wisey-guysy who wanted to take away my treasure – which brought lots of greed to my pocket I might add. I have to repay you, Lola. You´re my hero."said Miles in a child-like voice before embracing Lola tightly.
Chichi laughed at the antics and even Lola giggled to herself happily before Miles released her.
"All right. I can´t pretend, that I don´t need it."she nodded taking the bill from him with a wide smile, while her brother smiled happily from the back.
Moments later, they went downstairs for breakfast.
"Good morning, my little wildflowers. You three seem bright and sunny this morning."commented Mom happily as the threesome descended into the kitchen.
"Well of course we are, when there´s such a nice day infront of us."noted Miles happily as they sat down at the table.
"I could tell by those cries of happiness."she said affectionately, ruffling Chichi´s, Lola´s and even Miles´ hair gently.
"Pop already left?"asked Lola looking around the kitchen, just as Curly stepped up to her laying his head on her knee waiting to be scratched – something Lola did automaticly.
"That´s right. Mr Workalot set him and Ralph out into Cygnuville to work their stand."nodded Mom.
"Even Titus went with his alarms firm."added Buba.
The three men left very early in the morning – the road to Cygnuville being several hours long, in the Hubbubomobile, which now runs on Bio-diesel they cooked up. Titus was using the thing since Billy and Lola passed it to his friend years back. Only thistime Pop cooked up the fuel for the road.
Lola and Chichi fixed a look on eachother, before looking at their dear mother.
"Beauvillage is partnering Cygnuville this year?"asked Lola.
Mom and Buba nodded.
Cygnuville was a larger, very prosperous town on the other side of the country – something that takes about 10 to 12 hours to reach from Beauvillage. The town itself was nicknamed "The City of Art". Founded by french settlers more than two centuries ago, it has vast meadowns, a lake and numerous other landmarks which make it a uniuqe among the other towns. Over the years its high regard for art had made it into a town, where the greatest of the country´s movie, art and theatre production is centered. Most of the country´s greatest artists and actors moved into the town and more than 60% of the country´s adds to culture originated from there. That resulted into an increased sence of pride among its citizens. Nice and cassual they may be, but many people from other towns regard the citizens of Cygnuville to be a bit too proud and snobbish.
They ate their breakfast in silence, with only small interfierences from Cracker´s, Suzie´s and Curly´s antics. Swiftly eating her breakfast, Lola stood up.
"I have to get going now."
Chichi fixed her with a look, his mouth full of Mom´s dandylion surprise.
"This soon?"he inquired.
"Student´s comitee meeting."she answered.
Mom, Buba and Miles nodded.
Lola stood up and made for the kitchen front door. As soon as she opened it however, she immediatly fell to the floor, pressed down by a large pile of gift-wapped boxes containing chocolate and numerous other items.
"Lola! Are you all right?"asked Mom desperately as soon as Lola´s head popped up from the numerous gifts.
"JUST fine, Mom."said Lola trough gritted teeth.
"Where did that pile came from?"wondered Buba approaching the stack of chocolates and other presents which currently covered her granddaughter.
Lola knew very well, where... Afterall, most of the girls of her class were all crazy for Michael Miles, pestering her for information and even asking her to set them up for a date with him...
"Where the hell could those come from?"asked Miles in a small wonder as he and Chichi approached the pile.
"Three guesses, Miles. The girls of Beauvillage have sent you all these things."commented Chichi, while trying to get his beloved big sis from the pile.
For over the last week, the teenage girls of Beauvillage have desperately tried all kinds of ways to get the attention of Miles and even Wiseman – as strange as it seemed to Chichi and Lola. They even started to compete with one another in a frantic race for the two young men´s hearts and the battle was heating up by the day – a fact that now nearly everyone in Beauvillage - save for the two respective gentlemen in question, were painfully aware of.
Miles came closer, examining the gifts.
"Why chocolates though? I HATE chocolates..."he said, more to himself than anyone else.
"I don´t think the girls of Beauvillage know that, dear boy."noted Buba.
Both Tofu siblings had to agree with that. Miles however payed no attention to the comment. He was eying the pile and thinking hard about something.
Lola scrowled yet another time this week. She was starting to get fed up with the girls in her school, who were trying to gain Miles´ affection – for reasons she couldn´t very well grasp.
"WOW, COOL!"exclaimed Miles, suddenly getting an idea.
Lola and Chichi fixed him with a stare as Miles reached into his pocket, puling out his cell-phone.
"Yo! Andy! Yeah... well listen up, you´ve told me you have a shortage of chocolates and other stuff for your giftshop, right? Weeeeellll... I have just the thing to help you... I have... how much Chich?"he asked, turining his head on Chichi, who counted the chocolates.
"About 10 kilos."noted Chichi.
"7 kilos of chocolates, teddy bears and other stuff... what?... how much?... 2 dollars a piece... what?... yeah, I said 80 cents... you got it... 80 cents per one... right I´ll get them down to Easthill first thing tommorow."
Lola sighed once more.
"Michael Miles strikes again."she said, slapping her forehead as the rest of the house including the animals laughed.
Pop Tofu, Ralph and Titus weren´t Beauvillage´s only early risers. The Beauvillage Police Department was buzzing with life since the wee hours of morning. The big conference room was packed full. Nearly every single policeman in the town was present as well as the Brotherhood of the Wise in full number, as they were spending hours going over the plan.
"So. Patrols on the perimeter of the town will inspect every single car, that enters of leaves Beauvillage. Cars 1, 5 and 9 will block all roads to Beauvillage, backing up cars 2, 4 and 6. Team 5 will remain in the station and coordinate the other teams in case anything happens."said Wiseman, pointing to a map of Beauvillage on the blackboard, having the full attention of everyone in the room.
Since morning, he divided everyone into teams 1 to 10 and was now going over the tactics as well as the various duties of each team. He noticed one of the middle-aged policemen raise his hand in a question. Wiseman pointed to him and nodded.
"Detective, none of the teams are tasked with continuing the search for those crooks."he noted and several policemen nodded.
"The National Outdoor Sales day presents an incredible oppoturnity for them to sell the stolen equipment or steal some more. Mark my words – the crooks will be present there."
"If they´re not already gone. They may have already gone to another town for that reason."noted Daniel Rogers – Oliver´s elder brother, much to the agreement of his fellow policemen.
"Which is precicely the reason I personally had the roads to Beauvillage closed down and left them monitored. Since last midnight in fact. And the only single car that passed out of Beauvillage since last night was that Hubbubimobile. I inspected personally and they were cleared for leave."explained Wiseman and the policemen gave him an admiring look.
The room was filled with a sence of unbreakable teamwork since early morning – which was something new and beautyfull to the policemen. Something which was absent over the reign of Wiseman´s predecessor – Detective Janette Hardcase, who was litterally feared by her underlings prior to her moving away from Beauvillage and persueing a higher police career in a different town, leaving the head - seat vacant without a second thought as well as the men of the Beauvillage Police Department splintered, disorganized and prone to make mistakes. When the mayor had Detective Wiseman fill the empty position, everyone was curious and upon the first few weeks confused about him. Though he proved to be a more relaxed boss, than his predecessor as well as incredibly tolerant – leaving his men some measure of free hand, something entirely new to them, everyone in the BVPD was still unsure about their new superior, as well as his three "brothers". The solving of the Balthazar Bunglewood case had been a wake-up call. Though the detective and his group gained incredible popularity, Wiseman hadn´t changed a thing about himself or the workings of the station. Much unlike Detective Hardcase, who following her successes had only enforeced harsher rules on her underlings, worrying more about her growing status in the police ranks rather than them. However last Thursday, Wiseman did something, that gained him his men´s neverending respect. A series of robberies has been occuring in Beauvillage since the end of the Bunglewood case. Machinery thefts – the machines being pretty expensive, from all around the town. Without any leads and clues. If that wasn´t enough, the Regional Police Commisionar had heared and personally came in. Having been monitoring the BVPD since the leaving of Detective Hardcase, he was extremly pissed about the lack of organization and at once had shouted himself hoarse in this very conference room. That was, until Detective Frederick Wiseman had arrived into the room.
"Will you STOP YELLING?!"exclaimed an annoyed Detective Wiseman walking into the conference room.
A silence gripped the room. Even the Commisionar was stunned. Ussualy whenever he yelled, everyone kept quiet and trembled in fear. And the young detective merely stood there, a look of annoyance prominent on his face as he walked without any fear at all towards the platform where his elder superior was standing. The policemen were all shocked. Wiseman eighter didn´t know who he was dealing with, or just didn´t give a damn – well the detectives of the country ussualy enjoyed the same ranking like him though on a different field – they were answerable to the Chief Detective of their region, unlike the lower level policemen, who answered to the Regional Commisionar, in spite of taking orders from the Detectives of their towns. The Commisionar narrowed his eyes.
"Who the hell are you?!"he growled at Wiseman, finding him somewhat familiar, if comic.
Once more fearless, Wiseman crossed his arms and glared the elder man.
"Detective Frederick Wiseman – the head of this department, that´s who."he said cooly.
The Commisionar´s jaw fell open.
"The grandson of the great Sylvester Wiseman? The SON of the National Chief Detective Geroge Wiseman?! The detective responsible for solving the Ripgrab´s murder spree case?"he asked in a shocked voice.
"AKA the Bunglewood case. Yes. That´s me."said Wiseman in the same cool voice.
The men narrowed their eyes, having seeing this scene before with Wiseman´s predecessor. The Commisionar would now try sucking up to the head – detective in the hope of controlling the going - ons in the station as he attempts everywhere around the region – a tactic that paradoxly works almost everywhere save Megacity, where the regional Chief Detective Ebenezer Sharkerly resided among other detectives. Shark refused to be manipulated by him and told him flat out, that he wasn´t about to have a careerist oversee how he ran things. This man and ol´Hardcase however, made their work a living hell a few years back. They watched the Commisionar shaking Wiseman´s hand vigorously. The careerist of a polieman obviously thought he hit the jackpot with a member of the famous Wiseman family.
"Andrew Cutout, detective Wiseman."he introduced himself in a oily voice, that made several of the policemen watching sick to their stomaches.
"Now that you know who I am, answer me one thing: Why in the hell are you yelling at my men like that?!"
The question hung in stony silence for a few moments leaving all parties surprised.
"Well... you see, detective... the men aren´t producing the results I expect them to. The last string of robberies were the last straw. Surely you, a great detective are as unpleased with their results as I am."said Commisionar Cutout in the same oily voice, shooting the policemen a triumphant smirk.
"And here it comes."thought several policemen as Wiseman was about to reply.
"What I am unpleased at is, that these poor men have been working overtime for several days, trying their hardest to uncover this despicable crime only to find YOU yelling at them like some sort of a maniac."said Wiseman in an angry tone.
Once more, the room was filled with deadly silence. The men were scarcely able to believe it. Was Wiseman ACTUALY sticking up for them? The Commisionar looked as though he was slapped.
"B...but Detective... they fail to achieve the results neccessary..."
"I beg to differ, commisionar Cutout. Afterall I am PERSONALY overseeing this case and working along with my men. I know every bit and piece of every work done here. AND I and I ALONE am solely responsible for my men as their direct superior. That means only one thing, commisionar – ANY problem you´ve got with my men, you will discuss it with ME, and not call up some pointless meeting where you shout at them like an idiot! We have a lot of work to do and DO NOT need to hear being yelled at or be held up in any other way. If you truly want the results to show, then help my men out or leave them the hell alone."
The Commisionar was now glaring Wiseman.
"With all due respect, detective Wiseman... aren´t you still a bit too young to question a senior law enforcement officer?"asked the Commisionar.
Wiseman however sniffed.
"Perhaps I am young. But I have responsibility for these good hard working men and NO ONE tells me how I should handle it. Mark my words, this case WILL be solved by the entire Beauvillage Police Department."promised Wiseman, gaining a whoop of aprooval from the policemen.
"This... this is an outrage..."stuttered the Commisionar, but Wiseman wasn´t paying him any attention.
He was now turned to his men, who were looking back at him with newfound respect.
"My fellow policemen, recently I have come to realize, that this station is NOT operating the way it should. Therefore let´s all work to improve ourselfs and double our efforts in this case. I will however not leave any of you in this alone. We will all work together on this as long as needed. And, my brothers and sisters – in arms, if we DO, we´ll eventually be able to transform this police station into the BEST CRIME-SOLVING MACHINE IN THE COUNTRY!"
The last coment did it. The policemen, both young and old stood up – a marvelous sence of teamwork hanging in the air – each let out a joyfull yell, waving their batons in the air, salluting their young Detective, even as the Commisionar looked on in disbelief.
- End of Flashback -
Following this little exchange, the Beauvillage Police Department was working as one – almost non-stop. The amazing sence of unity positively oozing from each and every member – even the young members of the Brotherhood which the policemen regarded as nothing short of their collagues – agreeing to Wiseman´s view, that members of the BVPD should regard eachother as family. Speaking of which...
"What will the boys do, in order to assist us, detective Wiseman?"asked one of the elder policemen while smiling at the three boys in question, who were sitting right beneath Wiseman.
"The boys will be stationed in the crowd. Keeping their eyes out for anything and signaling us with the walkie-talkies."said Wiseman, pointing at the boys who nodded and stood up.
"We will be there incognito, looking over the entire thing. Anything out of the ordinary will be reported straight away."vowed Nick, clenching his fist for emphasis.
"And just to be sure of your secrecy, mingle with the crowd."advised Wiseman.
"That´s no problem, brother. Emily promised to go with me. So we´ll be having two pairs of eyes on the lookout."revealed Archie proudly, while doing a joyfull salute.
"Unless of course you two are too busy smooching eachother."said Nick teasingly, drawing good-natured laughter from everyone.
Indeed since Archie and Emily got together, some of the people in this room, including Wiseman, Tex and Nick have walked in on the two kissing on more occasions than they can count – the couple being completly drunk with love. Both young teens were incredibly sheepish about it and yet Archie found this side of their relationship deeply endearing. The only exception was last Friday, just as they were having their ussual make-out session in an empty classroom and they were discovered by noneother than his aunt - Mildred Starchy. That was one hell of an explosion if he did have to say so himself. By the time he got home, his mother was already waiting for him – demanding to know every single detail, but unlike her elder sister was incredibly happy for him. His father, watching the annual tenis match, only said "oh... okay" and returned back to the tv straight after picking up some food from the kitchen.
As the merry laughter in the room died out, Archie was left scratching his long hair and blushing with the same sheepish grin as always.
"Well... at least I´ll be incognito..."he muttered happily.
Wiseman seemed to take that into consideration.
"He´s right, brothers. Nick, Tex – find yourselfs someone to accompany you, if for no other reason than to help you blend in."
Nick and Tex looked at eachother. Almost in horror. Knowing what was going on in their heads, Wiseman cleared his throat.
"I don´t mean you find girlfriends. I meant just a friend to acompany you."
The explanation seemed to brighten up their faces, both looked visibly relieved.
"I´ll probably stick with my Dad in the Home-fix-it stand."said Tex, blushing a bit at the thought of asking some girl.
Wiseman gave a whoop of aprooval.
"Ingenious, little brother! That way, you´ll be right at the most importaint place!"
Everyone in the room knew, that Home-fix-it had a LOT of machines stolen just over the weekend and Tex took it personally.
"Allright. Dismissed. This plan is perfect my dear friends and mark my words, by tonight we´ll have these scumbags in our hands and we´ll see to it, that they end up in prision – TILL THEY ROT!"finished Wiseman, pounding on the blackboard behind him for emphasis.
However he pounded his fist on it so strongly, that the picture of their nation´s symbol had fallen down. And landed straight on Wiseman´s head – nearly knocking him out, yet still pressing him to the ground as he gripped his aching head. The three boys rushed to their big brother´s aid.
As the policemen started to rise and leave, the threesome pulled him up from the ground.
"You three should head for school. That nasty aunt of yours will surely be mad at all of you again."said Wiseman pointing to Archie.
"She´s always mad, brother Fred."muttered Nick.
The two remaining boys only nodded as they reached for their schoolbags.
"Excuse me, detective."said a policeman in his late fourties, smiling at the foursome.
"Yes. What do you need, officer?"
The man produced an envilope.
"This came for you with the morning mail, detective Wiseman."he said, smiling knowingly as he passed Wiseman the pink envilope.
The three younger boys sighed at the sight of it.
"Another one?!"they said as one, just as Wiseman opened the envilope and started to read the letter.
"Dear Detective Wiseman. I have saw you walk past my house yesterday. You look so incredible in that coat of yours. Oh, what I wouldn´t give to be held in your arms. You are..."
The remaining four people listened to Wiseman read out the sweet and lovesick text, looking from one another.
"... I could reveal my identity of course, but that´s not neccessary. You´re an incredible Detective afterall. I´m sure you´ll have no trouble in finding out who I am and I am awaiting the moment you seek me out, my beloved Detective. Sighned – Your Secret Admirerer."
A moment´s silence hung. This was not the first letter like this. Wiseman had been getting letters from the secret admirer since last week. That and also...
"There was also this, detective. "said the policeman pointing to a large box at the door.
"Various gifts from what looks like a large number of admirers. Pens, pencils, notebooks, and a large number of chocolate boxes."he explained answering to the Brotherhood´s questioning looks.
"CHOCOLATES?! I LOVE chocolates."exclaimed Wiseman before making his way to the box hurriedly, throwing the letter aside as he ran. His underlings chuckling to themselfs and looking affectionately at their superior who was picking up the chocolates like an overjoyed child.
"What about this situation? This secret admirerer really seems to love him."asked Archie, eyeing the letter on the ground.
"Who could it be though?"wondered Tex.
The policeman chuckled.
"Hard to say, boys. You see several girls of Beauvillage are head over heels for him. My daughter included. Every single day I come home, she interrogates me all the time – detective Wiseman this and that... in fact she´s been begging me to put in a good word with the Detective."
The three boys once more looked at eachother and then at Wiseman, who was busy hungerly eating the chocolates, smearing his cheeks in the process.
"We´ll have to find out just who is this secret admirer."commented Nick with determination, the remaining two only nodding.
Lily Robins ran as though for her life. Reaching the gate of Beauvillage High, she hurriedly entered the building and rushed to her classroom.
"Damn it! I can´t believe this could happen."she thought to herself angerly.
It was nearly time for class, she should´ve been here long ago. But unfortunately she didn´t get much sleep last night. Franticly reaching the door to her classroom she opened it and to her horror saw, that their homeroom professor - Rodney Philips was already there, reading who was and wasn´t present.
"Good morning, Lily. You are a little bit late."he said smilingly as she stepped into her class.
"I´m so sorry, Mr Philips. I unfortunately overlslept."she said in apology.
Philips however waved it off with a smile.
"Its no trouble, Lily. You are merely three minutes late, we haven´t started the lession yet. Now take your seat, so that we may begin."he said kindly.
As Lily moved towards her seat, she remained oblivious to the few glares she was getting from the female classmates.
"Philips is too lenient towards her."muttered Zoe, her glare on Lily as she sat down besides Lola, forgetting for the moment the fact, that he shown the same leniency to her as well as his other students on a handfull of occasions.
"What d´you expect? He´s a fan of that book of hers."
It was merely a week after the release of the Great Mystery book. Mr Querelly´s team had taken to its task with utmost determination and the book in itself was published in a matter of four days – which had to be an all time record. Much to Lily´s surprise however, Querelly turned out to be quite right – the book was already becoming a bestseller and was litteraly sweeping the nation – the adventure of Detective Razor gaining incredible popularity the likes of which hasn´t been seen in over a decade. In fact it was swiftly becoming as popular as it could, people comparing it to that of the Dragon Lord story, which took the nation by a landslide. Just last Wednesday in fact, an overjoyed Mr Querelly arrived at Beauvillage High with a handfull of reporters wanting to interview her on the amazing story she came up with as well as the possibility of a sequel. Something which stunned the majority of the student body – though Lily now enjoyed their fanship as well – most of them becoming die-hard fans of the book. It was a bit of an paradox situation – she now had the respect and admiration of the majority of the boys in her school – something that tremendously annoyed the girl population, but right now wasn´t interested in any of them. And she couldn´t figure out why. In hopes of avoiding the stream of boys, rushing to speak with her, even offering her a date (which for the possibly first time ever she declined and continueing to do so on a daily basis – annoying her to no end and surprisingly Phil too) she chose to spend the majority of her days with her friends at the Tofu house or the Hidehole. The interview kinda shook her and made her feel under pressure of her success, but luckily Billy, Lola, April, Chichi, Phil and Miles have helped her overcome it – the bond between all of them deepening by the day as they helped her come to terms with the monster of a fame she earned herself. She very much doubted she would be able to write if not for them – she was feeling a bit uneasy at all the celebrity-level fame. She expected April, Lola and Billy to be nice about it but the reactions of Chichi, Miles and Phil surprised her. She never imagined them to be so supportive, even helpfull – since the two younger boys have become not only her fans, but also her confidants – Lola wasn´t very much a fan of adventure and action mysteries, but jokingly told her that when she´ll be writing a romance novel, Lily would definitely find help by her and April. Phil and Chichi however became a boatload of help – always offering a helpfull ear to her plot dilemas and by talking with them about her views and ideas ( exceptionately unafraid about spoiling the plot to them – the two boys being the only exceptions to the rule), finding their views and suggestions very inspiring. Truth be told, she doubted that the sequel would be going so well, if not for the two lovable boys – Phil, the more compassionate one offering guidance for the characters and situations and Chichi, the technical one advising her on technical things and ( the fact surprising her) on comedy – with hilarious results. She was incredibly surprised upon observing the comic exchanges between Phil, Chichi and Miles – this inspiring numerous funny moments in the sequel. Lola, Billy and April on the other hand helped her immensly with her growing popularity. In fact just this Saturday, Lola and Billy saved her from a gang of fan-boys who were insisting on her sighning them their books. Billy being the subtle and polite one managed to take hold of the situation with a kind of elegance, securing Lily her peace for the day (and securing himself a passionate make-out session from his beloved girlfriend, who was ever so appretiative of his heroic act). She now found the Hidehole to be a virtual paradise and resorted to spend as much time there as possible – landing her with the company of Chichi and Miles more and more. Chichi, fiercely dedicated on his work resorted on working in the Hidehole on his various projects and gadgets, leaving Lily with Miles. Lily had a sneaky suspition about her changing feelings towards him earlier on – even before the Bunglewood case. Now however she was growing more and more attached to him – even joining him for a few of his little business trips, having tremendous fun. This fact kinda made her feel guilty to some extend. She berated herself that she´s having all this fun, when she should be concerning herself with writing the sequel. That´s until she confided to Phil and he told her flat out his views.
- Flashback -
"... and I fear, that I´ve made too much of a name for myself."finished Lily taking a sip of her Coola in the Hidehole´s kitchen.
Phil took a sip of his own, his expression one of deep thought before he scooted towards her and placed his hand on her shoulder, his expression turning to one of utmost gentleness.
"Lily, all these people look up to you because you´re a talented writer. You have all the talent for this and I know, that you´re afraid that the sequel won´t measure up to the Great Mystery. Well, you have absolutely nothing to be afraid of, Lil. From the concepts you have, plus the concepts from the Bunglewood case coupled with your incredible talent this has the potentional to become one of the greatest novels of our time. You only have to believe in yourself, Lil. And I, Chichi and the others will assist you in any way you need. All you ever need is ... to ask."he finished simply in a compassionate voice, running his hand on her back gently in a consoling way.
Lily´s smile was getting bigger and bigger. She felt all the tension leaving her.
"And as for the fact, that you´re spending all this time with us, or just with Miles alone... well think of it as gathering new inspiration. You´re not bound by time, since Mr Querelly told you to take as much time as needed for the sequel. You´re not under pressure, Lil. Everyone is merely expecting the sequel, but no one ever said that it has to be complete tommorow."
Lily turned to her dear friend, her eyes full of emotion as she took him in her arms, hugging him gratefully.
"Thanks Phil."she said in a quiet voice, moved to the point of being unable to say any more.
Phil chuckled, returning the embrace happily.
"Anytime, Lil. Anytime at all..."he said quietly just as he gently lay his head on her shoulder.
- End of Flashback -
Happily sitting down at her seat, Lily felt her heart warm as she remembered the exchange.
"I just can´t believe how... sweet the little guy can be."she thought for herself happily.
"Are you all right, Lily?"asked Lola worryingly, looking at her best friend with concern.
"Oh, I´m OK, Lola."she replied just as Philips started the lession.
The lession was a nice one – as were the most lessions with Professor Philips. As the bell rang, signaling the end of the pleasurable lession.
"Now everyone. I have one final question to ask."said Philips once more calling for attention, though doing nothing to stop the frantic packing going on at every table.
"I am right in assuming, that you are all going to be present at the Beauvillage´s Outdoor Sale. Am I right?"
The entire class erupted into a wave of agreement happily. Philips smiled back.
"In that case. I want to say, that I will be present at the stands and should any of you wish, you are more than welcome to join me there. With that much said... class dismissed."he said good-naturedly.
He was looking forward to the Outdoor Sale as much as any of them. He also had to admit to himself, that this class was the first one that he came to adore very much, feeling a sence of belonging. He did on every occasion possible spend time with his class making it more as a group than an actual class. Save for time in classes though. Nevertheless on more than one Professor meeting with Principal Whiterose, Melissa Morter had accused Rodney of being too lenient towards his class – often helping them along and even pardoning some minor misdeeds, so long as the weren´t actually serious. Overtime, not long after the class began their first year at the school, he made it a point to accuaint himself with his students, not just their names but getting to know them personally in the hopes of helping them achieving their fullest potentional. Which, as he looked at Lily who was now chatting with Lola, Billy and Steve, was something he had actually achieved at least with one person. Lily thanked him endlessly for his suggestion that promted her to write the book, that now most of the country taken a liking to. And of course HE himself had a copy of the book – procured by a very gratefull Lily and which she sighned for him upon his happy insistance.
"Well, Lily. You´ve only barely made it in today. Was there a particular reason for your oversleeping?"he asked curiously as he approached the four teen students.
Lily blushed slightly, sporting a sheepish smile.
"I... ended up writing into the night."she admitted, gaining a happy smile from Philips, Billy and Steve and an affectionate eyeroll from Lola.
"I knew it."said Lola in mock – sternness.
"So did I. So tell me, Lily... how is the Great Mystery 2 coming along? What is our Detective Razor up to?"asked Philips with a mischievous tone.
Lola and Lily giggled at their homeroom Professor´s boyish mischievousness.
"Not telling, professor."said Lily in the same mischoevous tone.
Philips put on a pleading puppy-eyed look.
"Now, Lily... Would you honestly deprive your most favourite Professor your concepts?"he asked in a childish voice, that made them all laugh.
"Yup. You along with everyone else. I´ve said so clearly – straight into the news I might add – NO peeking. You will all find out when the novel is complete and no sooner. NO exceptions."said Lily in a mock-stern voice.
Philips bowed his head and goaned theatrically, resembling a sulking 10 year old – much to the renewed laughter of Lola and Lily. He wasn´t the only one though. Steve goaned in much the same way and looked at Lily with the same puppy-eyed look.
"Awww... c´mon, Lily. Just some small clue? Pretty pleeeaaase?"he asked like a small boy asking for candy.
Both girls giggled once more and Billy too chuckled to himself at the antics.
"Nope! Not a line until the book is done. NO exceptions."she said in a final tone.
As Steve and Philips goaned theatricaly once more and Billy laughed, Lola came closer to Lily and whispered.
"And my dearest baby brother and his best friend aren´t an exception?"she asked slyly.
Lily giggled and stuck out her tongue.
"Nope. They´re exceptional."
Lola now goaned with theatrics.
"Losing my best friend to my younger brother... oh, the shame."
The gang once more laughed, until they heared the bell ring again.
"Uh-oh. You guys better get to class. Or Melissa – I mean, Professor Morter is going to bite your heads off."commented Philips with a wink, ushering them from his class.
After promising their beloved Professor to meet him at the sale, the foursome departed for the next classroom. As they entered the next classroom, they came to see a massive argument raging.
"I will be the one!"exclaimed Nina.
"No! ME!"screamed Mary.
That comment was downed by no less than 5 other girls including Cherie.
"What the hell is going on in here?"breathed Billy.
Lola grunted and glared at the exchange.
"What else? They´re argueing over who will be Miles´ girlfriend."
That comment shocked Steve completly. He fixed Lola a shocked stare before returning his sights on Cherie, who now widely proclaimed that the other girls don´t stand a chance against her and that SHE will be the one, who steals the heart of Michael Miles. Steve looked visibly hurt. Without another word he moved past the bickering girls, sitting down at his schooldesk looking as though the world had ended. The remaining three fixed him with a concerned stare.
"Poor Stevie. He never gets a break with her."commented Lily, whispering to her best friend – both girls knowing exactly how Steve felt about Cherie.
"I can´t understand why he actually fell in love with a girl like THAT!"replied Lola, glaring Cherie.
Though she knew, that Lily, Billy, Steve, Chris and Cherie were friends since kindergarden, long before her family moved to Beauvillage, she really had a hard time tolerating Cherie´s presence. Understanding, that dispite everything Billy still remains friends with her (for reasons she can´t grasp), she respects her boyfriend´s wish and at least tries to get along – which isn´t easy with Cherie. However, after the exchange Billy had with Cherie years back, right before he and Lola got together, Cherie had at least tried to be nicer – not to very much avail. However both girls considerably try to cool it for Billy´s sake. Over the course of their relationship, Lola has taken solace in the fact that SHE is Billy´s love – something which helped her live down some of the stuff Cherie pulled last year, not wanting to put Billy in between. Though truth be told, Cherie also loosened up – the nasty comments no longer present, especially because she knew that Billy would NOT tolerate them. Now obviously, Cherie was all gaga over Miles. However she completly failed to see, that all along – under her very nose is a boy, who deeply loves and adores her. Both Lola and Lily agreed, that Steve is too much of a nice guy for her. Both girls eyed him with concern once more, just as Billy moved on and sat besides him, starting up a conversation, trying to console him. All three of them tried to advise Steve numerous times, saying that perhaps he might set his sights on a girl, who actually returns his attention – but Steve was adamant in this, dispite how many times he got hurt.
"You´ll see... one day, she´ll come around."he always said with optimism.
"But anyway, I have a feeling that this is getting out of hand."commented Lily, now eying the bickering girls – it seemed merely a matter of seconds before the argument would turn into an all - out brawl.
Lola sighed for the umpteenth time today.
"Lily... this has gotten out of hand a week ago."
Just then the brawl indeed started. Slaps, scratches, even punches were traded in such a chaotic way, that no one really knew who hit who. The boys in their class looked too intimidated to do anything about it, the girls who were out of this choose not to get involved.
"WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?!"
The feared yell of Professor Melissa Morter however put a promt end to it.
"Sheesh... we have to do something about this, Lily."whispered Lola as they sat down at their desks – even while Professor Morter was yelling at the girls at the top of her well trained lungs.
"Even today´s student´s commitee meeting was a waste of time because of this. No work was done, because all the girls in the commitee wanted to know was if Miles would be attending the Outdoor sale or not."
Lily glared the girls, while thinking of their money-loving friend.
"No way in hell I´m letting Miles end up with any of them."she growled.