Frognapped (Araminta Spook #3)

Chapter 10

chapter
Chapter

    THE DUNGEON

    "See, I told you Sir Horace was not inside his armor, " was all Miss Know-it-all Smugpants had to say. If she had been a real detective she would have questioned Sir Horace about his motive for getting out of his armor in the first place. And about why he was haunting the gatehouse and not res- cuing frogs like he was supposed to. I mean, what is the point of being a damsel in distress if your knight goes off and just does his own thing?

    So it was left to Chief Detective Spookie to question the suspect–I mean Sir Horace. Sir Horace said he had come for his long- lost treasure, which was in the dungeon under- neath the ticket office. "I always dreamed of the day I could retrieve what is rightfully mine, " he said. "And when you asked me to go on your frog quest I knew it was my chance at last. Because, Miss Spookie, I need your assistance. The trap- door is here, if you would care to accompany me. " I really like dungeons and I especially like long-lost treasure, so I lifted up the trapdoor and we peered down into the dark hole. Wanda shivered. It was really cold down there.

    I switched on my flashlight (all detectives must carry a flashlight) and we saw some steps leading down to an earth floor and some slimy green walls. It looked great. "Come on, Wanda, " I said. Wanda followed me down the steps and soon we were standing in a perfect little dun-geon. The dungeon was empty apart from a very old shovel propped up against the wall. Sir Horace's voice echoed around the little dungeon and I got goose bumps.

    He sounded even more spooky down there. "I see you have found my shovel, " he said. "It is exactly where I left it. Now, perhaps you could dig a hole just where Miss Wizzard is standing?" "Me? Dig?" "That's what he said, " said Wanda. "Dig. " Sometimes a chief detective has to get things done and this was one of them. So I stabbed at the earth with the shovel and got going. "Not there, " said Miss Picky, "here. " And she jumped out of the way. "Where I was standing. "

    "How can I concentrate if you keep hop- ping about like a demented rabbit?" I asked her. "Digging for treasure is a skilled job, you know. " It was a tough job, but about ten minutes later the shovel hit something hard with a big thud. As I scraped the earth away, Sir Horace–who had kept so quiet that I began to wonder if he had floated off somewhere– suddenly shouted, "I see it! My treasure chest!" Aha! Another success for the Spookie Detective Agency. Wanda and I dragged the chest out of the hole. It was really heavy and was just how you would expect it to be–dark, thick wood with a domed top. It was covered in metal studs and had two big iron bands wrapped -143- around it. In the middle was a great big brass keyhole. Sir Horace was really thrilled. Even though you could not see him, you could tell that his voice had a smile in it. A big smile. "My treasure, my treasure, " he kept saying, over and over again. "Open it, open it!" I said. After all, it's not every day you get to see treasure that has been buried for five hundred years. "Oh, " said Sir Horace, and I could tell he was not smiling anymore. "What's the matter?" I asked him, but he didn't reply. "He doesn't have the key, " said Wanda. "That's what was rattling inside his armor. " "How do you know?" I asked her. "Deduction, " said Miss Smugpants.

    "What?" "It's what detectives do. They put two and two together and make four. " Wanda looked at me in a Nurse Watkins kind of way when she said that, although I don't know why. "Well, if you know so much about where the key is, you can go and get it, " I told her. "What's that?" Thump, thump, thump. There were footsteps up in the ticket office. Big, clompy footsteps. "It's Old Morris, " whispered Wanda. "Shh . . . " I hissed. "It might not be Old Morris, it might be–" "Nora, Nora . . . Is that you?" Old Morris yelled grumpily. "I told you not to leave the door open. Anyone could have walked in. Nora?" "We're trapped, "whispered Wanda.

    She looked really scared.  We listened to Old Morris's big boots clomping across the floor. The footsteps were right above us now and I knew that any minute he would find the open trapdoor. And then he found it. Very suddenly. Extremely suddenly, in fact. One minute he was stomping around shouting and the next minute he was flat on his back on the dun- geon floor staring up at Wanda and me. He looked a bit surprised. "Well, hello, Old Morris, " I said in a friendly way, as I did not want him to feel that he had intruded on anything–even though he had. There are some times when you just have to be polite and I figured this was one of them. But Wanda is not polite like I am.

    "Let's get out of here!" she yelled, and she was up the ladder in two seconds flat. I followed her– fast. "My treasure, " Sir Horace groaned. "I have waited five hundred years to get my treasure back from the FitzMaurices. Five hundred years only to see it snatched from my grasp yet again. Aaarrghhhooooh. " "Now stop it, Sir Horace, " I told him in my best Aunt Tabby voice. "Just stop it. It will be all right. I have a plan. " Now it was Wanda's turn to groan, but I ignored it. I slammed the trapdoor shut.

    "Hey!" came a muffled yell from the dun- geon. "Help me shove the safe over the trapdoor so he can't get out, " I said. "You can't do that, " said Wanda.

    "Yes I can, " I said. "We don't want him get- ting away with the treasure, do we?" Wanda shook her head. "Hey! Let me out!" The safe was really heavy but we managed it. There was no way that Old Morris was going to get out of there in a hurry.  "Now look, " I said. "The Fish Frolics Show  is meant to start in a few minutes and if it doesn't everyone, including Nosy Nora, will start looking for Old Morris. It won't take them long to figure out where he is, not with all that yelling. Then they will find the treas- ure–which will belong to him since he owns this place–" "No he doesn't, " said Sir Horace. "I do. " "Well, we know that and you know that, Sir Horace, but no one else does. As I was saying, I have a plan that will mean we get the treas- ure and the frogs. Okay?" "What plan?" asked Wanda suspiciously. "We are going to do the Fish Frolics Show. " "What?" "And Sir Horace is going to be Old Morris. "

    Wanda did her stranded goldfish imitation. "But . . . How?" "He's going to wear the shark suit, " I said. Wanda opened her mouth but she didn't say anything. She didn't have to. I knew it was my most brilliant plan ever.


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