Detective King Book 1: Magic and Mystery

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Arthur Watson aims to overtake Sherlock Holmes as the greatest detective in the world, but finds himself enveloped in supernatural mysteries involving ghosts, magic, and mythological worlds. Can he and his team of sleuths work together to unravel a conspiracy that threatens the whole of London?
First 10 Pages

Introduction—The Stange, Supernatural, and Fantastic

When you’ve had a gun pointed at your head as many times as I
have, you can’t help but wonder if you’ve made a poor career
choice. This particular time, my hands and feet were bound to a chair in a
dim, cramped room. A smug, greasy looking cockroach of a man doing the
gun pointing—square upon my forehead (and messing up my hair in the
process). He was the worst sort of criminal, not a conman or a corrupted
authority. No, he was an actor. I won’t bore you with the abuse I suffered in
that dressing room, the actor droning on at length as if his perverse tale
were the most dramatic to ever unfold in human history. To be honest, I
drowned most of it out, wondering to myself what I fancied for supper that
“Ah, the pain which I have suffered! Do you not see? Once that curtain
draws and my glorious plot sets into motion—once that spotlight stealing
creature of a woman is finally no more, I shall take my rightful place as—”
“My God, would you shut up already?!” I’d settled on steak (I deserved
it) and was quite ready to be done with the whole business. “Do you
honestly believe killing an officer of the law is a smart move, mister theatre
god, or whatever the hell you fashion yourself as?” Waving around one’s
authority never hurts in situations like these, though it rarely helps much.
The pompous waste of space with a gun grinned.
“Arthur Watson. You are nothing but a child—and what’s more, I’ve
trapped you like a mouse. Someone like you is insignificant, and best of all
—easily disposed of.”
He pulled the trigger, laughing like a madman, until he realised (after
much too long) that my brains were still very much in my head and not on
the floor as intended. Now it was my turn to laugh as he frantically pulled
the trigger again and again in futility. Of course I knew the gun was empty
the whole time—that’s what made the whole thing so tedious, and a little
sad on the actor’s part (not that I gave much thought to him). The lights
flickered, signalling curtain call. The actor spun around toward the door.
“M-my plan will still work; she will still die!”
“No, she won’t.” I said as I stood up with ease, as if the ropes binding
me were mere yarn. A more imaginative person might think they were
undone by some invisible force, but there will be time enough to reveal the
secrets of our little magic trick. “I must say, you are probably the sloppiest
attempted murderer I’ve ever seen. Would it have killed you to have given
me some sort of challenge?”
The actor stared at me with his jaw open, before opening the door and
charging out. Curtains rose over the stage—the spotlight cast upon a woman
in an elaborate satin dress. The audience applauded and cheered at her
entrance. She took the response in with a deep breath, closed her eyes and
began to sing. The murderous actor’s face contorted with rage, his breath
ragged and sharp.
“If I can’t kill her by ‘accident’, then I’ve no choice….” He pulled a
glass vial out of his suit jacket. He raised his arm high, rearing himself to
cast it onto the ground in as dramatic a motion as he could muster. Then a
mouse crawled out of his shirt sleeve and snatched the vial. The actor
yelped in surprise and disgust, tossing the mouse into the air. I sprinted
forward and caught the mouse, but the vial came loose from its grip. That’s
the thing about paws, they aren’t very dexterous. Both of us scrambled to
recover it, but crash! We could only watch as it smashed onto the floor into
countless shining pieces, the dark purple liquid that it housed spilling onto
the floor in a glowing puddle. I flicked the mouse on the back of the head.
“So much for an easy job.” He responded by rapidly squeaking at me
and waving his arms back and forth in a fury. At least, that’s what it
would’ve looked like to an onlooker such as yourself, but once again, all
revelations have a time and place, and I’d rather you didn’t think I’d lost
my mind before I had a chance to properly explain myself. It’s not that I
care what you think, or that I think anyone will even read these notes, but
should one of my sisters get hold of these papers and fancy to publish them
to the world, I would prefer to come across as the competent detective I am.
My disagreement with my rodent friend came to a halt as a strong
chemical smell began to waft up from the puddle, as it made a sizzling
sound. The purple liquid rose off the floor and take on a more solid shape.
Muted, echoed sounds of the song on stage and the various gasps of awe
and occasional cheers and applause of the sold-out audience were distorted
and drowned out by a deep, low, piercing growl. The liquid became a
hulking, hairy creature, spouting wings, a spiked tail, and a set of sharp
looking teeth. It opened its eyes—a burning red colour—and set its sights
on the actress on stage. It took an enormous step, its claws leaving behind
large scratch marks on the floor. The smell was making me dizzy- it smelled
like the sort of chemicals a mortician would use- an overpowering unnatural
scent that wrapped around everything and warned of death. The actor
gawked at the creature in awe.
“Yes, yes, it wasn’t a scam! Go, kill her!” His glee turned to a pale
white terror as the creature arched its massive neck to stare directly at its
summoner. The actor backed away before breaking into a run. I sighed as he
rushed past me. All I wanted was a quick, straightforward job for once, so I
could get back to important work, but alas, this idiot was determined to
make me work. I whistled, and the actor was bowled over by a jolly blond
fellow who was far larger and stronger than I. Sam grinned and tipped his
hat as he settled in on top of the criminal, pinning him to the ground. He
waved to me in the obliviously cheerful way he always did, and I returned
an admittedly unenthused thumbs up. Sam is a reliable chap, but I often
lack the energy to entertain him. With Sam having dealt with the cretin that
started this mess, I set the mouse onto the floor.
“Find a window. It should be night by now.” I said. The mouse nodded
and scurried away. I know, I know, I look mad, but I promise, it will make
sense eventually (at least that’s what I tell myself).
Now it was time to set my sights on the monster that was slowly
making its way toward the stage. How many times have I encountered
something like this? Something unbelievable, unscientific, in short—not of
this world. I fashion myself as a man of reason and science, evidence and
fact. Yet time after time, I’m caught in every matter of magic and the occult.
I think you can imagine how great of an annoyance it is for a professional
sort of fellow like myself when the illogical forces its way into my
business. I called out to the creature, trying to sound as loud and
intimidating as I could, though I doubtless announced myself as a snack for
the beast rather than a threat. It turned in an instant and bore its beady,
blood-red eyes upon me. It stepped, one claw at a time, heat emanating
from it, getting more intense with each tremendous step. Little by little it
came away from the stage, stalking a new prey… me. I trembled
uncontrollably, my breath short—I backed away, careful and slow. Surely
anyone would quiver at a sight like this monstrosity. It didn’t matter how
many beasts of myth and fantasy I witnessed and came to blows with, nor
did it matter how many malicious criminals and killers I faced- I’m still
human, and the idea of being killed before turning 17 by something as
grotesque as the thing that moved ever closer to me, it’s breath
overwhelming me with a toxic feeling in my stomach, it was enough to
make me want to run. More than if it were some thief or murderer, this was
something… unknown.
Thus, I bolted down the corridor, past dressing rooms and racks of
costumes. The creature followed with the speed of a lion on a hunt. I
stopped in front of Sam and the actor and tossed a small dagger onto the
Please work. I thought, as the creature bared down on us, its massive
jaws opened wide. I have little faith in these sorts of smoke and mirrors
sorcery, but when your life’s in danger, you do what you have to and hope
for the best. A red glow emitted from the floor beneath the creature, and it
was soon frozen in place by lightning-like tendrils. Behind the creature, a
girl peeked out and grinned at me. In that sweet, innocent way she does,
that makes my face red.
“Th-thanks for the save, Gwen.” She trotted over to me and grabbed my
wrist. This case wasn’t so bad after all, I thought as my head danced.
“We need to dismiss it all together.” She said as she guided my hand
onto the beast’s rough, crackling fur. It snarled as it was touched, but it
could not move. A scream sounded from a dressing room and a boy
stumbled out, yanking a pair of costume trousers on as various objects were
hurled in his direction from within the room.
“Owen, it took you long enough.” I chuckled. He blushed and pulled on
a costume vest that made him look as if he’d appeared out of a lamp and
was offering three wishes. The pentacle burned into his chest, denoting his
curse easily visible.
“There was a cloud blocking the moon! Anyway, I placed my dagger
while I was a mouse. Does that mean I…” Gwen took Owen’s hand and
placed it on the creature as well. I looked toward the final dagger of the
circle. I know next to nothing about magic, only what Gwen teaches us for
practical use, but one principle that comes up without fail is how important
the magic circle is in casting spells. It’s all fanciful nonsense to me. Surely
there is some scientific explanation for everything I’ve witnessed up to
now, but who am I to argue with results? Gwen had placed two daggers—I
placed one, Owen another, and the final… A young girl stepped into view
from behind a costume rack, and strolled up to our group. The idea of going
out to the theatre must’ve excited Elaine. Her raven hair well-brushed, she
wore a pale blue dress that was probably an old one of my sister’s and her
face was that of childlike excitement.
“Miss Veronica’s voice is so beautiful!” She said, referring to the actress
whose song was reaching its climax, to the silent awe of the crowd. Elaine
bounced up and down like, well, a kid. One would never know she was
something else.
“A little pitchy for my taste.” I said. She stuck out her tongue at me in
that faux bratty fashion of hers. She placed her hand on the beast and it
began to dissipate into twinkling fractals of light. A scream more monstrous
and hateful than anything the magical creature could have uttered poured
out of the deranged actor, still in Sam’s grip.
“If I can’t kill her, I can at least kill you!” He bit down hard on Sam’s
hand. Sam howled in pain, leaving a large enough opening for the actor to
break free and hurl a knife in my direction before being tackled to the
ground once more. The knife missed me and my associates, but landed
between the creature’s eyes. A crackling sound welled up from it, as the
creature began to glow blindingly.
“Run.” Gwen said as she grabbed Owen and Elaine by the hand and
sprinted toward the backstage exit. Sam got the message and pulled the
moronic murderer along with him in their direction. I ran in the opposite
direction, toward the stage where the actress that started all this trouble had
just finished her song, to deafening applause and a shower of rose bouquets.
It was the threats to her life that brought me here. My duty as an officer of
the law was to protect her and bring the man threatening her life to justice.
I’d checked off job number 2, now to finish job 1.
The beast exploded with the force of dynamite and the brightness of a
small sun, sending me flying directly into the bowing actress, in full view of
the shocked and horrified audience. The room grew dead silent, save for
smouldering little flames in the blast’s aftermath. My back was thoroughly
grilled and blackened, but otherwise I was alright, and aside from the shock
of my accidental tackle and a mess being made of her hair, my charge
appeared unharmed as well. As I helped her to her feet, the crowd
applauded, first slow and quiet, then erupting into an even louder crescendo
of noise than before. Miss Veronica fixed her hair the best she could, then
leaned in close to me.
“Thank you very much, mister detective, take a bow.” I’m not one to
shy away from a spotlight, and so I bowed graciously alongside her. It’s
cases like these, when I get to be the hero I’ve always strived to be, that
remind me why I’ve entered this often troublesome and thankless
After the actor—Vincent Whatever-his-name-is—was safely behind bars, I
regaled the renowned actress with my vast powers of deduction, revealing
how I came to recognise her co-star as the true culprit. Honestly, it wasn’t
much of a mystery. It was blatantly obvious by watching him during their
rehearsals that he despised the woman and wished for himself to be the
centre of attention. That tends to happen when you have someone who’s not
truly talented, but believes they’re incredibly so. When someone who
actually possesses that talent comes around and steals their high horse from
under them, the green monster of jealousy takes hold, and we get incidents
such as this one. What was of vastly greater importance to me and my work
was where the cretin got that magic beast. I had the chore of asking him
myself in one of Scotland Yard’s many interrogation rooms, since who else
was going to do it?
“A woman…” He said, looking done with life. “I got that stuff from
some woman at the market. She was with a boy about your age, except he
looked like the spawn of the devil.” I had an idea who he meant. I looked to
Elaine, who stood behind him, and she nodded at me- she has a rather
fantastic ability to tell if someone was lying. Of course, I can deduce the
same easily, but it helps to have a second opinion. “May I ask one thing?”
He asked, raising his head just enough to look me in the eye. “I don’t
understand most of what happened, or how you caught me, but what I don’t
understand more than anything was… the mouse.” I smiled as the same
mouse popped out of my pocket.
“Just one of my faithful Detective Knights.” Leaving him with a
hilariously bewildered expression, I made my exit.
As the brilliant detective I am, I can easily unravel any crime that may
come to my attention with ease, but when crime and mystery cross into the
realm of the strange, supernatural, and fantastic, my round table of sleuths,
each extraordinary in their own unique ways, help me get to the bottom of
these dark and unusual cases. The following are the notes that detail the
grand mystery that threatened to swallow the whole of London. My knights
and I journeyed forth in search of the truth, and uncovered a great deal
more. If you have, through whatever means, happened upon this legend of
mine, know that everything I’ve written is the whole and honest truth (I
can’t say the same for the bits written by the others, but you can trust them
for the most part). This is the story of how I came to deserve the title of
Detective King.

Chapter 1—The Boy Detective and The Odd Girl
Death. I’ve always hated and feared death more than anything. It’s all-consuming,
and no matter how hard you struggle, it’ll get you in the
end. Yet death seems to follow me everywhere I go. I suppose that’s no
surprise, given my profession as a detective, well, a detective in training. At
16 years old, I was poised to become the youngest graduate of the detective
program in the London Police Academy’s history. Generally, a police
officer is enrolled in the program after two years in the force, followed by
vigorous training, courses, and assisting a Detective Inspector. I, however,
am a prodigy. True, some strings were pulled to get me into the program, I
was still a minor after all, but my talent was undeniable, and in a record
amount of time I stood a single case away from graduating from Trainee
Detective Constable, or TDC, into a full officer of the Criminal
Investigation Department. The case in question was one of intense alarm to
the public and had so far stumped even the best minds of Scotland Yard.
Approaching the crime scene, I tried to make myself look spiffy.