So… Is It Good?

A blog featuring the various writings of E. H. Lau.

Archive for April, 2013

The Royal Food Tester

Posted by cyberpfalcon on April 12, 2013

Everyone watched as I cut a little piece from the delicious looking steak on the gold plate in front of me. I inspected it carefully with my eyes. Then, I sniffed it, taking in the aroma of the meat. Finally, I nervously put it into my mouth to taste it. I felt the juices of the steak pour into my mouth as I chewed it throroughly.

Swallowing the piece of steak, I then picked up the glass of red wine in front of me. Brining it under my nose, I sniffed it, taking in the scent. Then, reluctantly, I took a sip, and thoroughly washed my mouth with it. Satisfied with the wine, I swallowed it.

I nodded at the man standing next to me. Nodding back at me, he picked up the glass of wine and the plate of steak. Then, he walked over to the smiling king, and placed the glass and the plate in front of him.

The king dug into his meal. Next to the king was the king’s advisor, who said to me, “Thank you, you may return to your room now. We will send someone for you when it is time for dessert.”

I walked back to my room and laid down on my bed, staring up at the ceiling.

‘How many years has it been?’ I thought to myself.

Three years. I have been the king’s food tester for three years. Every day for the past three years, I have been testing the king’s food, making sure that it hadn’t been poisoned by being the first to eat it. Putting my life in danger every single damn day for that tyrant of a king.

For years now, he had been bribing and taking bribes. Changing tax laws for his own benefit. Ruling over the kingdom with an iron fist.

Of course, I couldn’t quit even if I wanted to. I had been an outspoken opponent to the king. Unfortunately, with his power, he managed to get me arrested and convicted for treason. The only alternative to jail and never being able to see my wife and daughter again was to be the king’s food tester.

There was a knock on my door, followed by, “It’s time for dessert.”

I clenched my fists. All I could say was, “Coming.”

I got up and followed the guard back to the dining room.

I sat down and watched as the king smirked, delighted at the torture he was putting me through. I cursed at him in my mind.

A delicious looking crêpe was brought to me. Again, I cursed at the king inside my head as I nervously picked up my knife and fork. I cut a piece of it and brought it up to my nose as usual and sniffed it. Then, as usual, I reluctantly put it into my mouth and began chewing it thoroughly. Last, but not least, I nervously swallowed it.

I seemed to be fine, so the dessert was brought in front of the king, who laughed heartily.

That’s when I started feeling dizzy. The crêpe had been poisoned.

I started to say something, but then, I stopped.

I was probably going to die, but I was not going to go down alone.

I watched as the king licked his lips and slowly picked up his knife and fork.

I sat still, trying to look like I was fine.

The king started cutting into the crêpe. Slowly, he cut a piece out.

‘Eat it!’ My brain yelled.

The king brought it in front of his mouth and smiled.

‘Eat!’ My brain yelled again.

Finally, the king ate it. He continued digging into the crêpe, and with every piece that he ate, my heart grew lighter, as my body grew heavier.

Halfway through the crêpe, the king stopped eating.

“I feel… dizzy,” he said. Then he coughed out blood and his head fell onto the table.

Everybody started rushing towards the fallen king.

My job now done, I coughed out blood myself. Then, I smiled and closed my eyes as my head fell.

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End of After-School Detectives

Posted by cyberpfalcon on April 1, 2013

Well, that was it, folks, the last two (planned) stories for After-School Detectives have been posted.

I hope everyone enjoyed it. This was the first web serial novel that I’ve completed. I actually didn’t have an overall plan for the series, when I started. Originally, it was a spur of the moment thing, where G.S. Williams suggested that I rework my Sheryl Holmes series into a child sleuth series, so all I had plan were the first three stories, the last of which (Annabell) was actually a “retelling” of Sheryl Holmes’ The Case of the Missing Cat. Afterwards, I was pretty much trying to plan and write each story in the two weeks that I had given myself. As evidenced by the eventual schedule slip, this wasn’t the best way for me to write stories. I was tired from the constant need of having to come up with stories for every two weeks without a grand plan outlined, so I decided to end the series.

Still, I enjoyed writing about Sheryl, Samantha, and James, and I wanted to give them a good send off. Rogue Detective was my way of bringing back most of the characters from past cases, and was my sort-of-homage to the Sherlock Holmes story, The Final Problem (of course, the series is supposed to be rather light, so no one died).

With Rogue Detective being my climax, the last two stories, Katie’s First Case and Graduation were the denouement (I won’t go into too much detail, since they were just posted up).

And with that, things came to a close.

Again, I hoped you all enjoyed the series. If you’re interested, please join me for my next series (for which I already have an entire arc planned, so, learning from the experience here). I plan on updating monthly, with the first post on Friday, May 3rd. Each update will be a complete story, with all the chapters for that particular story posted. The whole arc will have around 7 or so such stories.

A brief synopsis for the new serial, which will be called Justice Knight:
~I am the knight who delivers justice!~
The Iron Legion has been attacking the city! With its cyborg army, the Iron Legion seemed to be unstoppable.
That is, until Justice Knight showed up with his advance exoframe. Now, he is the only one capable of fighting the generals of the Iron Legion on an even level.
With the support of his unit, Justice Knight will have to fight through the generals of the Iron Legion in order to protect his beloved city.

So, please come back on May 3rd! Also, I plan to post an unrelated short story on Friday, April 19th.

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After-School Detectives – Graduation

Posted by cyberpfalcon on April 1, 2013

After-School Detectives LogoThis was it. The school year was over, and Sheryl, Samantha, and I were graduating from middle school. The graduation ceremony was over, and the After-School Detectives gathered in the clubroom.

“I’m going to miss you guys!” Katie said with tears in her eyes as she gave Sheryl a hug.

“Don’t cry, Katie, we live in the same area, so we can get together all the time,” Sheryl replied. Even as she said that though, her voice cracked a bit and she had tears in her eyes as well. “Promise you’ll keep the club going?”

Katie gave Sheryl a thumbs up, “Of course!”

Sheryl smiled and gave Katie a thumbs up as well.

“Hello there, After-School Detectives,” said a voice by the doorway.
I turned to see Marlowe, our ‘rival detective’, leaning against the door frame.

“So, that was a fun year,” he said, “Want to go for another round when we start high school?”

Samantha grinned at the thought, “Oh, that would be fun!”

I turned to Sheryl and asked her, “So, what do you think? Want to start another detective club at high school?”

Sheryl grinned and gave us all her thumbs up, “Of course! After all, we’re the After-School Detectives!”

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This story is part of the After-School Detectives series.
The logo was created by solidgaunt, please visit his amazing gallery!

Well, that’s the end of the series, hope you enjoyed it! Please join me for my next web serial (details here)!

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After-School Detectives – Katie’s First Case

Posted by cyberpfalcon on April 1, 2013

After-School Detectives LogoIt was the beginning of a new school year; the eighth grade for me. On the Monday of the second week of school, Sheryl Holmes declared, “We need new members!”

She wasn’t wrong. After all, there was only the three of us in the After-School Detectives.

Strangely (well, not really, considering what happened over summer vacation), the last member of our small club, Samantha, hadn’t shown up yet.

“Let’s wait for Sam-”

As soon as I began to utter her name, Samantha popped into the room.

“Sorry I’m late…,” she said, devoid of her usual bubbly energy. Instead, it was replaced with an awkwardness as soon as she noticed me. And as it had been for the whole week, she avoided eye contact with me.

What was going on between Samantha and I? Well, it all started when Sheryl’s older brother, Mike, took the three of us to the beach, along with his girlfriend, three weeks ago during summer vacation.

We went through the usual. Got to the beach, changed into our swimming clothes. I blushed when Sheryl and Samantha came out with their swimsuits. We swam, we built sandcastles, we tossed a beach ball around. Standard beach stuff.

Then, near the end of the day, Samantha approached me as I was putting together the finishing touches on a sandcastle.

“Hi James,” she said.

“Hey Samantha,” I had said, still focused on my sandcastle. “What’s up?”

She held out a gift-wrapped box and looked away, blushing, “I got you a present. For your birthday.”

I turned and looked at Samantha for a few moments, before I had the heart to said, “Uh, thanks, Samantha, but my birthday isn’t until next month.”

Samantha’s face turned red, then, she ran off away from me. Unfortunately, before she could get far, she tripped on a rock and fell down.

“Samantha, are you okay?” I ran up to her.

“Ouch…,” she muttered. She tried to stand up and walk, but she fell again, after yelling out in pain. I noticed that her knee was bleeding.

“Here, let me help,” I said, as I knelt down next to her.

She put her hand across my back and held onto my shoulder. Then, I held her by the waist as we got up, side by side. Like that, we hobbled back to the car.

Luckily, Mike was nearby, and he helped me bandage Samantha’s knee with a first aid kit that he had in his car.

During the car ride back, things were awkward between Samantha and I, and then we didn’t see each other again until the school year started. For the whole week after that, we were awkward with each other.

Back in the present, Sheryl said, “Oh, don’t worry, Samantha. As I was saying, we need new members! We need to expand our club and ensure that it will stay after we graduate!”

Right after Sheryl had said that, there was a knock on the door and a girl walked in. “Is this the After-School Detectives?”

Excited, Sheryl said, “Yep!”

Breaking out into a huge smile, and with an excitement that could match Sheryl’s, the girl introduced herself, “Hi, I’m Katie Wong. I am new at the school this year, but I heard about you guys and I would really like to join the club!”

Sheryl, Samantha, and I exchanged looks of amazement.

“Well, that was easy.” I mused.

Recovering from shock, Sheryl proclaimed, “Welcome to the club! You’re in!”

“Really? That easy?” Katie asked.

“Yeah, that easy!” Sheryl extend her hand.

“Oh thank you!” Katie said, happily shaking Sheryl’s hand. “Please teach me what you can about being a detective!”

Sheryl gave Katie a thumbs up, “Of course!”

Pointing to me, Sheryl said, “This is James, he’s a detective too!”

I chuckled to myself at the thought of being called that. If I recalled correctly, I had to be dragged into this club at the beginning of last year.

Pointing to Samantha, Sheryl introduce her as well, “And this is Samantha, she keeps a record of our cases.”

Samantha smiled, and gave Katie a wave, which was completely unlike her.

***

The four of us had barely gotten settled into our seats in the clubroom the next day when a boy burst into the room, “You guys have to help me!”

“Oh hey, it’s Nadir!” Katie smiled and stood up, “How are you?”

“Horrible!”

“You know him?” I asked Katie.

“Yeah, he’s in my homeroom.”

“So, what’s wrong, Nadir?” Sheryl asked.

“I lost my backpack!” He said, pointing to the backpack that he had with him.

I raised my eyebrow at Nadir, “Uh, you’re pointing at it.”

“No!” Nadir explained, “This is someone else’s bag. My bag looks exactly the same! It must have gotten swapped with someone else’s by accident!”

“Well,” Katie said, “Why don’t you just look inside and find out whose bag it is, and see if there’s some way of communicating with him or her?”

Nadir looked at Katie for a moment to digest that. Then, sheepishly, he said, “Right…”

We managed to easily find a day planner with the owner’s name and phone number. Nadir dialed the number just as someone knocked on and open the door. A boy and a girl entered. The boy started to introduce themselves, “I am Marlowe, and this is Marlene, do you-”

A phone began to rang in the Marlene’s direction. We all looked towards her direction and saw that she had the same bag that Nadir had.

“You have my bag!” Nadir and Marlene both said at the same time.

***

Nadir and the Marlene walked out of the room, satisfied with their returned bags.

“Looks like you guys aren’t too shabby either,” Marlowe said, “We’ll have to call this one a draw.”

“What?” Sheryl asked, puzzled as to what he was talking about.

“Marlene was my client. I first decided to check the lost and found for her lost bag, then, obviously, the next step was you guys. Whoever had Marlene’s bag would obviously be looking for theirs as well, and this is the only detective club at school.”

“You’re a detective too?” Sheryl leapt up excitedly at the revelation.

“Uh…, yes.”

“Let’s team up! Why don’t you join the After-School Detectives?”

Marlowe smiled a little, but he said, “Nah, I’m my own man.”

He turned around and waved his hand once, “Pleasure meeting you all.”

Then he walked out of the room.

I looked at Sheryl, expecting her to be pouting at the rejection. Instead, she had a twinkle of admiration in her eyes and she said, “Well, he was kinda cool.”

Turning back to Katie, Sheryl asked, “So, that was your first case, Katie, what did you think?”

I looked at Katie, thinking that she would be disappointed with how it turned out. After all, we barely did anything this time.

Instead, Katie broke out into a big grin and said, “That was great!”

***

Samantha and I were alone in the clubroom now. Sheryl and Katie had already gone home for the day, and I was taking advantage of the room to get some homework done. Samantha was typing away on the laptop, probably writing up today’s case.

After a while, she stood up, and started packing up. Then she took out a present and held it out to me. In a shy voice, she said, “Happy Birthday, James.”

Surprised that she remembered my birthday, I took the present from her and said, “Thank you, Samantha.”

Embarrassed, she said, “I’ll- I’ll see you tomorrow then.”

Before she left though, I called out to her, “Wait!”

She turned around to face me.

Great, now I was the one being shy. “Do- do you want to go to a movie with me sometime?”

It took a moment before she said anything. Then, with her usual bubbly energy, she said, “Sure!”

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This story is part of the After-School Detectives series.
The logo was created by solidgaunt, please visit his amazing gallery!

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