[10] Napoleon of Tea

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MAVIEL

THE MYSTERY of the wolfsbane case remained unsolved. No, not the case in the video, but the one that happened in the cafe.

Fortunately, the poisoned victim survived after he was given immediate medical attention. Kami na mismo ang nagbayad sa pagpapa-ospital niya. Ayaw kasi naming magkaroon ng issue at madungisan ang pangalan ng Moriartea Cafe.

It was a typical Thursday afternoon when we gathered around the counter. Sigmund stood by the cash register, Landice at his favorite corner, Nikolai in front while I was on the side. A classic instrumental music was playing in the background as our customers enjoyed their cups of tea.

O, kumusta kami ni Landice a.k.a. the walking fridge? As usual, hindi na naman nagpapansinan. Pagbalik namin kahapon dito ni Sigmund, I apologized to him for walking out and raising my voice. Alam kong rude ang ginawa ko at aminado akong mali 'yon. But he seemed to not care about my apology dahil tiningnan niya lang ako bago bumalik sa lagi niyang ginagawa. Whether he accepted it or not, hindi ko na concern 'yon.

Nagawi ang tingin ko sa condiments corner. I was thinking kung sino ang nagpalit ng mga creamer doon kahapon.

"I have the same question in mind." Nagulat ako nang biglang nagsalita ang napangalumbabang si Sigmund. His gaze had a dreamy look in his eyes. Second-guessing my mind became his habit apparently. Were my thoughts that predictable?

Napaangat ang tingin ko sa kisame at napansin ang naka-install na security camera. "Have we checked the footage? Pwede nating i-review kung sino-sino ang lumapit sa condiments corner pati na rin kung sino ang nang-iwan ng iPad sa ilalim ng mesa."

"I wish we could," Nikolai commented as he started mopping the floor. "Ang kaso, matagal nang hindi gumagana ang camera na 'yan."

"Eh? Bakit hindi n'yo pa pinapalitan o pinapa-repair? Paano kung kailangan ang kuha niyan?"

"Hindi pa kasi namin nire-report sa manager na nasira 'yan," paliwanag ni Nikolai sabay sulyap sa katabi ko. "Kasalanan ni Sigmund kung bakit. Pinakialaman niya kasi."

"Hey, hey!" Sigmund raised both hands. "I was just curious back then! I didn't know na substandard ang in-install na camera ng manager. If I had known, hindi ko na hinawakan."

"But what's the use of that security camera kung wala ring nare-record na footage?" kunot-noo kong tanong.

"Kahit na hindi gumagana, the camera gives the customers a sense of security. They would think that everyone's being monitored so they will feel safe and no one would dare to commit a crime."

"But someone managed to do something bad," I countered, glancing at him. "Kung effective ang iyong trick-their-minds-with-a-non-functioning-camera strategy, how did the culprit replace the creamers and leave some items behind without fear of getting caught?"

"Either he's confident that the camera won't catch him red-handed or he knows that the camera is not working," Sigmund deduced, raising two of his fingers.

"Alam na ba nila kung sinong bumunot ng wolfsbane sa greenhouse?" sunod kong tanong. There must be a link between the two cases. Kung wala, napakalaking coincidence naman. "Posibleng doon galing ang lason na inilagay sa creamer, 'di ba?"

"Professor Verde said that the security personnel didn't notice anything strange the night before," he answered. "I checked the padlock earlier. No scratches, no signs of forced entry. What can you make of that, Mav?"

Here comes the impromptu question and answer portion.

"Posibleng may hawak na susi ang nanloob sa greenhouse o magaling siyang mag-lockpick," I replied. "Those are the possible explanations kung bakit walang gasgas sa lock."

MORIARTEATahanan ng mga kuwento. Tumuklas ngayon