Episode 4: The Stolen Ring

Hey guys, so this episode is brought to you be the Blog Challenge hosted by Ego’s Blog Challenge. Check her out and everyone else doing it on my previous post! Also, this is part of the Soaring Falcons story. If you want to see the previous episodes, just check it out on the sidebar. They are all shorter works for the purpose of quick reading. This one ended up being a bit longer cause the prompt was hard, but I was proud to do it.

 

Gavin casually tossed a ball up and down in his bed. Meanwhile, from his desk, Dan shot questions at him. It was late afternoon as sun poured into the room from the window.

    “Alright so how do you solve for rotational velocity?” Dan asked.

    “Did you hear about the president having his university ring stolen?” Gavin asked.

    “Yes, it’s been all over the news. That ring was like a million bucks,” Dan rolled his eyes. “Now answer the question.”

    Gavin answered without missing a beat. Dan asked him to prove it to which Gavin sighed, dropping the ball to the ground. Gavin rolled out of his bed into his desk chair and wheeled himself the few feet over towards his desk across from Dan.    

    Dan shook his head with a smirk on his face. Gavin hated studying. Tomorrow as their first test in their physics class. Dan had flown through the first physics class last year, leaving Gavin and the twins struggling in his wake. Since he had done so well, they decided to have a study session tonight before their first test. However, the twins had yet to arrive.

    Gavin finished the problem and spun it towards Dan. Dan looked at it momentarily before crossing off part of the equation. Gavin let out a yell of frustration, walking away from his desk.

    “You didn’t start it correctly,” Dan said.

    Suddenly, Gavin leaned in towards the window with a goofy smile on his face. Before Dan could even speak, Gavin called him over to the window. Dan, after much prodding, finally accepted and joined him. Looking down, Gavin pointed towards the pool.

    “Dude, check it out. The girls are swimming down there,” Gavin said gleefully.

    “Seriously dude?” Dan said, looking out the second story window where girls were indeed swimming. “This is just creepy.”

    Dan went back to studying, sitting down at his desk. He sighed as Gavin stood near the window still, his face having a shocked expression.

    “Dude, this guy is down there. He looks familiar,” Gavin said, scratching his face. “I feel like I’ve seen him before but that I don’t really know him.”

    As Dan rolled his eyes again, Gavin suddenly wheeled about. Dan went to ask him what was wrong and Gavin ran out of the room as quick as lightning. Dan wasn’t even able to question what was happening before suddenly Gavin ran back into the room with a poster. He dashed over to the window, holding it up to it as he examined it closely.

    “Gavin, what are you doing?” Dan asked, tapping his pencil in annoyance.

    “I think you should see this,” Gavin said, turning around and looking at Dan with a focused expression.

    The poster in his hand was an artist’s rendition of the ring thief. Dan sunk his head in his hands as he realized that Gavin may have actually lost it.

~

    A few short knocks at the door alerted Dan and Gavin that the twins had arrived. Dan groaned, knowing full well that Gavin was going to drag them into this. He had already given up as Gavin had spun his fantastic tale about how this random guy at the pool was indeed the ring thief. In a flash, the twins were inside as Gavin was ready to tell them the news.

    “Why is Gavin in a frantic haze?” Jamie asked.

    “I love it when he’s like this,” James replied with a smile.

    “Sit down and shut up,” Gavin said, turning to face them with a smirk on his face. “For I have a fantastic tale to tell you all. The man by the pool is, in fact, the ring thief!”

    “No way,” James said, standing up to go over to the window.

    “Ring thief?” Jamie asked.

    Dan caught her up to speed while James and Gavin looked out the window. After a few moments, James nodded.

    “Looks like him to me,” James agreed. “He is being pretty suspicious down there.”

    The man was sitting by the pool. He did have a light jacket on and tennis shoes. However, Dan had grown to understand that everyone was different. When Gavin had made him look earlier, he didn’t see the similarities.

    “Now he is just sitting there,” Gavin growled. “There aren’t even any girls there anymore.”

    Dan and Jamie crowded around the window as they all observed the man. He was short, probably shorter than both the twins. He looked tan, with the sunken eyes that all college students wore. He looked around for a bit around the pool before reaching into his pocket.

    They all watched as the man pulled out a small metallic thing out of his pocket. It sparkled a bit as he looked at it. They couldn’t make it out, but that was all the evidence Gavin needed.

    “I’m calling the police! It’s him!” Gavin shouted as he pulled out his phone. “He is waiting for a buyer right now. They met somewhere nobody would look, the pool.”
    “Outsmarted once again by the talented Gavin,” James laughed, patting him on the back. “Good catch, buddy.”

    “Don’t encourage him,” Dan said, rolling his eyes. “Don’t call the police either. We won’t be able to study. You don’t even have evidence.”

    That last word seemed to catch the lunatic. He looked back at them, a strange look in his eyes.

    “You’re right. We need evidence,” Gavin said, slamming his fist into his hand. “Let’s go search for clues, gang.”

“No.” Dan said flatly.

“C’mon, it will be more fun than studying,” Gavin pleaded.
~

    Around the corner from the pool, stood the group of second years as they peeked at their prey. Gavin pulled them all back, his plan in motion.

    “Alright, before we do this,” Gavin said. “You all ready to bust the biggest criminal this college has ever seen?”

    “Can we study after this?” Dan asked, confused how he had gotten down here.

    “This isn’t a great idea,” Jamie added.

    “I’m all in!” James said, excitedly.

    “Good enough! Alright, Operation Evidence is a go,” Gavin said, looking at Jamie. “You’re up. Get us a good description of the ring.”

    “How should I do it?” Jamie asked. “Also, why me?”

    “You’re a girl. Use your womanly wiles,” Gavin shrugged.

    Jamie sighed, standing up and walking around the corner towards the pool. She walked towards the man, putting a smile on her face. Despite him thinking this was a dumb plan, Dan was still anxious to see how it went.

    Jamie approached the man, who quickly pocketed the ring as she approached. He shot her a quick smile and gazed off. Jamie walked right up to his chair. He turned to look back at her. Jamie summoned her inner valley girl.

    “Like, what is up?” Jamie said, slurring her words ever so slightly.

    James quickly retreated to start laughing from a safe distance. Dan’s face was once again buried in his palm. Gavin was watching like a hawk.

    “Nothing, I guess?” The man said, looking around quickly. “What about you?”

    “Oh, you know. Just totally checking out the pool,” Jamie said, twirling her finger in her hair. “What did you have out earlier?”

    “Nothing,” the man said. “Are you new around here?”

    “No, why?” Jamie asked.

    “Okay. Well, see you around,” the man said, standing up.

    He quickly walked away, cutting off all forms of conversation as he did so. Jamie looked back with a defeated shrug. Gavin motioned to follow him, he would not be defeated so easily.

~

    As the man walked, James was up next. Gavin sent him in, hoping to succeed in getting a look at the ring where his sister had failed. He jogged up next to the guy who was now at a brisk pace. Slowing his run, he came up beside the man.

    “Hey, man,” James shouted out to the guy.

    The man looked back at him, a bit confused.

    “Have you seen my sister anywhere? She looks nearly just like me. She must have gotten lost somewhere,” James said, shrugging.

    The man looked back towards the pool, making Dan, Gavin, and Jamie duck for cover. He motioned that way.

    “Yeah, she went around that way. I think she was hitting on me, dude,” the man said.

    “Oh, well I can see why,” James said, eyeing the man up and down.

    The man cringed. Dan cringed. Gavin nodded his head. It was Jamie’s turn to face palm.

    “What?” The man asked, incredulous.

    “I just mean you’re in great shape,” James pointed out. “Your thighs are thick. Would you mind if I saw how wide around they are?”

    With that, James reached for the man’s pocket. He seemed frozen in confusion for a moment before snapping back to reality. He quickly jerked away from James, turning to run.

    “You and your sister are nuts!” He shouted, running off from James.

    “Drat, almost had him,” Gavin said, snapping his fingers.

    “Now what?” Dan asked while James walked back to join him.

    “Was that seriously your plan?” Jamie asked.

    “It almost worked for you, so I figured a second shot would work,” James replied with a smile.

    “Everyone, don’t worry,” Gavin said. “Dan has got this.”

    The group looked at Dan expectantly. He waved his hands in front of himself while shaking his head furiously.

    “I refuse to be a part of this,” Dan replied.

    “Then it’s up to me,” Gavin said, nodding. “I will find out if that ring is truly the stolen ring or die trying.”
    “Wait what?” Dan asked.

~

    The plan was simple. Four engineers. One bandit. The odds were in their favor. James and Jamie had their aprons ready. Dan adjusted his bicycle helmet. Gavin smiled as his plan was coming together. The trio under his command was confused, but figured that Gavin had to have a point for all this if he set it all up this way.

    The man walked down the sidewalk, looking around frantically. As he did so, Dan caught his eye. Dan was on the ground, holding what appeared to be a bloody knee. His bike crashed beside him, he groaned in pain on the side of the concrete walk. The man hurriedly rushed over to him.

    “What happened?” He asked, trying to help Dan into a sitting position.

    “I crashed my bike. Can you help me over there next to that stall?” Dan said, pointing towards where a few tables were.

    The man agreed, but looked up to see there was some kind of small hut behind it. Standing behind the counter, was James in an apron. He also wore a loosely fitting mustache.

    Confused, but willing to help somebody injured, he helped Dan over next to the stall. Dan sighed in pain, letting out quick exhales of air. Sitting him down at a table, the man walked over to the counter to get help. He gave James a funny look before speaking.

    “Hey, do you have any band aids I could borrow. This guy is bleeding a bit,” the man said, pointing over at Dan.

    “Nope! But we do have pancakes! Would you like some?” James said, nodding his head. “My sister and I make them fresh. They are really good.”

    Jamie came from behind, also wearing a mustache. She proudly presented a plate of pancakes to the man. The man looked at Jamie and then at James. He looked long and hard. Finally, an expression of shock dawned on him.

    “Wait, aren’t you those two weirdos from earlier?” The man said, pointing at them.

    Jame and jamie exchanged looks. It was time to put Gavin’s ridiculous plan in motion. They threw off their costumes and disguises to reveal they were indeed the twins from earlier. Dan stepped forward, sitting poised behind the man, ready to tackle him.

    Suddenly, the two twins started to throw pancakes at the man. He shielded his face, backing off as he did so. Dan dove forward, grabbing the man and tackling him into the dirt.

    “Don’t worry, I got you!” Dan shouted.

    “Why did you tackle me?” The man exclaimed.

    “I was getting you away from those pancakes,” Dan said, inwardly hating himself.

    “Why did they throw pancakes at me?” The man shouted, struggling under Dan. “Can you get off me?”

    Suddenly, Gavin jumped from behind the hut. He pulled out a small ball.

    “Fear not, citizen. I will save you!” He shouted, throwing the smoke bomb at the ground.

    The ball hit the ground, making a slight pop and fizzle as it did so. The man had a look of shock on his face as he stared at Gavin. Gavin stared at the ball as nothing else came out. The man wriggled free, standing up and dusting himself off.

    “Your nuts and you’re a jackass,” the man said, pointing at Gavin and Dan in turn. “Get away from me before I call campus police.”
    With that, the man left. Dan looked over at Gavin, who was still staring at his smoke bomb. James and Jamie came out of the hut, looking at Gavin as well.

    “Well?” Dan asked.

    “I thought the smoke bomb was bigger,” Gavin sighed. “That was disappointing.”
    “Where was this plan even going?” Jamie asked.

    “Nowhere without the smoke bomb, clearly,” James replied, nodding his head.

    Dan stood up, dusting himself off and wiping off the ketchup on his knee. He had been dragged along for nearly an hour now. Gavin had to have given up with this failed plan, if it could even be called a plan.

    “We only have one more option,” Gavin said.

    He turned to face the trio as they waited for him to speak. He sighed, looking up at them long and hard.

    “He always pulls it out to look at it when we aren’t nearby,” Gavin stated.

    “Always being that he did it once,” Dan replied.

    “So, we need to see it from a distance,” Gavin continued. “We need some way to get him to not even notice us there but to still have an idea on what it is.”
    “So what, like binoculars?” Dan asked.

    “No,” Gavin shook his head. “We need Sarah.”

~

    Gavin knocked at the door as the group waited around him minus James. James had stayed behind to follow the man. Meanwhile, the rest of them were gathered outside the dorm room.

    “How do you know where Sarah’s dorm room is?” Dan asked.

    “C’mon, with how well you know me, this can’t be shocking, right?” Gavin giggled.

    The door opened. Much to their surprise, the girl who answered was Zoey, not Sarah. Zoey looked at them all before calling over Sarah.

    “What do you guys want?” Sarah asked with Zoey right behind.

    “We need your help to catch a thief,” Gavin started. “Allow me to explain-”

    Gavin was cut off as his phone went off. He pulled it out quickly, unlocking the screen to see a message from James.

    He stopped in an empty gazebo. There is a cloaked guy who is on the outskirts at a bench. I can’t see him. Hurry!

    “I’ll explain on the way,” Gavin said, motioning them both to follow.

~

    The plan was simple. The possible thief was in the gazebo. The cloaked man sat at a nearby bench. Sarah was to get close enough to activate her perception. James and Gavin were in charge of hiding behind the gazebo and catching him if he tried to ran. Zoey would chase whichever of them was further away. Jamie would call the police. Dan just had to signal that Sarah had indeed spotted the ring. With that, they were off to their positions.

Zoey took cover behind a nearby building. James and Gavin crawled across the courtyard to the gazebo. Dan sighed as he and Sarah inched closer so that they were in the tall flower garden, between the cloaked figure and the man. Dan hated crawling through the tall grass, but he couldn’t stop now.

“Sorry for dragging you into this,” Dan said with a smile.

“Not like I had anything better to do,” Sarah said. “At worst, Gavin will look stupid. At best, we catch a criminal.”
    Dan nodded, looking out. They were waiting for the man to approach the cloaked figure. Sure enough, the man approached the cloaked figure. The cloaked figure stood up to meet him on the walk to the gazebo. The sun had set a while ago so even Sarah had trouble making them out.

The two started to converse, too far off for them to hear what they were saying. Sarah and Dan were close, but in the flowers made it hard for them to get any closer. Right then, the man pulled out the ring. Sarah focused in on it. She was clearly observing it closely, ignoring everything else around her.

Suddenly, Dan noticed a spider crawl up on her shoulder. It had either fallen or jumped from the long grass, landing on the cheerleader as it did. It was massive. Staring at it, Dan concluded it to be one of the biggest wolf spiders he had ever seen.

“Sarah,” Dan said.

“One second,” Sarah hushed him, still looking over at the ring.

“Sarah, seriously,” Dan said, pointing as the spider crawled up her neck.

“Stop,” Sarah said, swatting his hand away.

The spider took that opportunity to hop on her hand. Sarah suddenly looked down at her hand as she brought it up to see it. Looking down at her hand, Sarah realized what it was.

“SPIDER! GET IT OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OFF!” Sarah shrieked, madly waving her hand as she fell backwards into the dirt.

Dan tried to catch her, but was dragged down by her. Outside the flower garden, the two men suddenly turned and ran. Gavin took that as his cue. Jamie and him ran after the thief. They tackled the thief and Zoey grabbed the cloaked figure. Jamie called the police, then went over to help Zoey.

Dan and Sarah rolled around in the dirt, before he managed to pick the frantic woman out of the flower garden.

As she panted, Sarah spoke up.

“It wasn’t the ring,” she said. “It looked like a wedding ring, honestly.”
    That was when the police arrived.

~

    After a thorough reprimanding, the group was not faced with the charges. The two strangers had not stolen the ring, it was bought by one for the other. Turns out, they were in a secret relationship and one had bought an engagement ring for the other. After congratulating them, the couple had laughed it off.

    However, the destroyed flower garden was another story. The university added that bill to Dan and Sarah’s accounts. Gavin apologized profusely, but still had to pay if for them.

Dan would hold this over Gavin’s head for the rest of the year. Each time he brought it up, Gavin would always respond that Dan went along with two different schemes. Dan did have to admit, it beat studying.

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