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Molly

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Chapter I- The Midnight Scare
Mrs. Irvine led the three girls to their room on the second floor of the wondrous Lumsbury cruise ship. Nancy Simmons, Jill Parks, and their detective friend Ryan Hostler had boarded the ship going to France only a few hours earlier and wanted to settle down in their cabin room.
The middle-aged steward smiled. “You young ladies go to France?” Mrs. Irvine asked in a strong French accent.
Ryan Hostler, an 18-year-old girl with medium length blond hair and blue eyes, nodded. “Yes, my aunt Hilda invited us to stay with her in France for two weeks. She as heard of the owner and captain of the Lumsbury and suggested we travel this way.”
The steward’s expression changed to a frown. “Oh, so she knows Mr. Audric Delmar?”
“By the expression on your face, Mrs. Irvine, you don’t seem to like him.” Jill replied. Jill was 18, and had strawberry blond hair and a pale skin tone.
Mrs. Irvine laughed. “Mr. Delmar hasn’t ever steered this ship, let alone captained it. From my point of view, he only wants to own this beauty for the recognition and the money.”
“That’s terrible!” Nancy stated. Nancy Simmons was a slender girl of 17 with short brown hair and a slightly tanned complexion.
Mrs. Irvine nodded and led them to cabin room #223. “Here’s your key. Another steward will be right up with your luggage, Misses.”
The girls thanked the steward and settled down in their cabin room. A moment later they heard a knock on the door. Ryan opened it and inquired who the caller was.
“I have your luggage, Miss Hostler.” The steward answered.
Ryan opened the door to the steward. He was tall with longer raven black hair, and he looked, as the girls guessed, around the age of 25.
“And you are…” Ryan asked.
“Mr. Marshall.” The steward replied rather quickly. He then set down the luggage and left hurriedly.

The girls unpacked their things and discussed what had happened. “Mr. Delmar doesn’t sound like the greatest captain ever.” Nancy stated.
“If he’s even a captain at all!” Jill laughed.
But Ryan’s mind was on the strange acting steward, Mr. Marshall. The girl had a reputation as an amateur detective in and out of her hometown of Slatington. Many people had called upon her to solve many cases, in many different places.
“What do you say to dinner?” Ryan asked.
“Sounds good to me!” her friends replied. The girls made their way down to the first floor and into the dining room. To their surprise, a party was going on. People were dancing to a classical orchestra and were having a gay time.
“Oh, it looks like fun!” Nancy said dreamily. “And look there. The sign says that anyone can come. Oh, let’s go back up to our room and change!”

The girls dressed into fancy clothing and ate in the dining room. A young man came up to Ryan afterwards, while the band was still playing. “May I have this dance, miss?”
Ryan grinned and shrugged. “Sure, why not!”
While dancing to the lively music, the young man introduced himself. “I am Peter Longley, and you must be Ryan Hostler.”
“How’d you know?” Ryan asked the young man.
Peter Longley laughed. “I’m a student at Slatington University.” When Ryan looked at him quizzically, he continued. “Mr. Hostler is my professor, and a great one he is!”
Ryan smiled. “Oh, I see. What are you doing here, Mr. Longley?”
Peter corrected her. “It’s Peter, please. I am studying to become a journalist. My specialty is on strange old ships. I thought this might be a good place to start.”
The young detective’s curiosity overtook her. “What’s so strange about this ship, Peter?”
Peter said in a low tone. “Miss Hostler, it is said that the Lumsbury once belonged to a Mr. Rangel. You see Rangel was a captain who supposedly found the hidden treasure of some king down in South America. Rangel had two sons, one of which owned the ship after he died. The other son claimed that his father, Rangel, had buried the treasure on the ship, but nobody had found it. People started giving up hope, but I still think it’s on the Lumsbury.”
“That’s amazing!” Ryan commented. “Is Mr. Delmar the son Mr. Rangel?”
Peter Longley smirked. “That fellow? No way!” But before the student could finish what he was saying, the lights in the dining room became dim. Little children screamed, and the orchestra stopped playing. The lights flickered, and finally lost power.
Suddenly an elderly lady in the room screamed for help. Then another younger lady became to yell. And finally at least four other people began to call for help.
Ryan Hostler, shocked, felt her way over to one of the women yelling. “Are you okay?”
The younger lady cried. “My jewels are gone! Somebody… somebody must have stolen them!”
Suddenly the lights when back on without flickering, as if they had never gone off! Ryan hurried back to Peter Longley.
“I have to find my friends to see if they’re okay, Peter. Go check on the other people who called for help.” Ryan suggested.
Peter Longley grinned and nodded. “What a scare!” he commented.
Ryan’s heart raced as she looked for her friends. Maybe one of them got hurt! She found Nancy with a young man, whom she had danced with earlier.
“Ryan, what happened?” Nancy asked fearfully.
The young detective said that she had no idea, and asked her friend where Jill was. Nancy answered, “I thought she was with you.” She closed her eyes to try and remember. “She had danced with a young man named Benjamin Harper, I think he was a steward. She didn’t dance for long though, and she talked with an older lady right before the big scare.” Nancy’s face became white. “What do you think has happened to her?”
Ryan assured her friend that Jill was going to be all right, but deep inside, the young detective had her doubts as well. Ryan Hostler searched the dining room, which was getting emptier by the minute. She searched the kitchen and the hallways. Her last chance was the restrooms. She crept inside and peeked into each stall. At last a figure came into view. Ryan gasped. Jill was slumped forward and unconscious!
Nancy Simmons raced in from behind. She cried out, “Oh, Jill!”
“Help me carry her, Nancy.” Ryan ordered. “We must get her to a doctor on the ship.
“Is… is she going to be alright?” Nancy asked. The frightened girl picked up her friend, with the help of Ryan, and carried her to the doctor’s office aboard ship.
Dr. Larson took Jill and laid her down on a cot. “You should go back up to your room, girls. Your friend here has to stay, however. She looks as though she’s only unconscious, but she has one severe bump on her head as well. She looks as though she has been knocked out, but I’m sure it’s probably a little more complicated than that.” Dr. Larson commented, smiling. “She’ll be okay, though, and I’m sure of that. Just leave your names with the nurse out in front, so that you can check on her during visiting hours.”
Though reluctant, Nancy and Ryan finally left the room. They headed back up the stairs, onto the second floor, and saw a younger woman complaining to a steward in the hallway.
“Don’t you have security on the Lumsbury?” the lady complained.
“Why, yes, ma’am we do.” The steward answered. “Mr. Delmar hires the best, too. The scare tonight was just a little incident, that’s all, and it has nothing to do with how good our security is.”
The lady put her hands on her hips, and said scornfully, “Then how do you explain my missing priceless jewelry, that might I add, all came from the finest stores!”
The steward’s distressed face looked down to the floor. “Would you like to talk to our security yourself, ma’am, or even Mr. Delmar?”
“Why wouldn’t I want to? They’re the cause of this happening!” the lady shouted, and stormed back into her cabin room.
Ryan and Nancy rushed to the steward. “Can we do anything to help?” the young detective asked.
The steward introduced himself as Benjamin Harper, whom had danced with their friend Jill, and smiled. “You girls are very kind to want to help me.” Mr. Harper commented, his face turning pale. “But I’m afraid this is no business for you young ladies. I must go and see Mr. Delmar about the mishap tonight. This scare has been bad for everyone, I’m afraid.”
The young steward hurried down the corridor, and Ryan and her friend went to their cabin room.
“Oh, I do hope Jill will be alright.” Nancy mused, when they had settled down.
Ryan comforted her friend. “The doctor said she’d be alright, Nancy. I’m sure she will, too.”
Nancy shudder. “Who could do such a thing?” she commented. Right then the girls heard a knock on the door.
Ryan went to go see whom the caller was. Nancy warned her friend, “Be careful! Who knows who it could be with you around.” She teased.
Ryan smiled, but agreed that they should all be careful, after what had happened to Jill.
 
Chapter II- The Victim’s Story
The young detective opened the door. Before her stood a girl, about the age of sixteen. She had long silky red hair and bold green eyes. Wearing a long black skirt and a lovely silk lavender blouse, she looked timid in front of the two girls.
“Hello.” Ryan greeted in relief.
The girl smiled a little and asked if this was cabin room #223. When Nancy replied that it was, she continued. “Oh good.” She replied. “I’m afraid there has been a bit of a mix-up in the rooms. I am supposed to stay with a Miss Simmons, Miss Parks, and a Miss Hostler in cabin room #223. You don’t mind, do you?”
Ryan grinned. “Not at all!” She invited the girl in. “I’m the Miss Hostler, but you can call me Ryan.” Nancy introduced herself as well.
“That it very sweet of you, Ryan and Nancy. My name is Roslin Delmar. But please, just call me Rosie, all my friends do.” Rosie answered.
Nancy answered, “You’re Mr. Delmar’s daughter?”
Rosie Delmar’s face turned cheerless. “Oh, so you believe the rumors about him too?”
Ryan shook her head. “We do not, Rosie, but we are interested in finding out more about you’re father.”
Rosie fidgeted. “He’s not my real father. Mr. Delmar and his wife adopted me.”
Nancy nodded. “I see. What’s it like always being on board the Lumsbury?”
“Horrible,” the girl admitted, “It’s just horrible. I get seasick a lot. The food that they serve to the crew is definitely worse than on some ships. But Audric gets more popularity and money from owning this ship than most other owners of cruise ships. But he has treated me very well, Ryan, and I am grateful to him. He buys me many things, and tries his best to make me happy.”
Ryan could sense that Rosie Delmar wasn’t really being treated as well as she said. She asked the girl if this was the case.
Rosie didn’t reply, and she sat still. “I’m grateful, I really am. Mr. Delmar treats me as best as he can, but I have to admit, he isn’t the greatest father. But I’m sure he’ll learn.”
Ryan smiled. “I’m sure he will, Rosie. What happened to Mrs. Delmar?” she asked with curiosity.
“Mrs. Delmar was such a sweet lady, exactly the kind of mother I had always wanted. Audric was sweet back then too. They were very happy, even after the decided to adopt me, until one day.” Rosie paused. “Caressa Delmar was cleaning some of the cabin rooms one day. That night we went to go eat in the dining room and she got food poisoning. At first didn’t think anything of it, but Cara, as Audric called her, did not get better. She became very sick, and every night she got worse. When we harbored in France one afternoon, Audric took her to the family doctor. The doctor said that she had caught a bad virus. He said she should be fine as long as she stayed in bed, but he was wrong. Cara did not get better, and one afternoon she went.” The girl’s face was red and covered in tears. “Mr. Delmar did not take the news well. One day I broke a vase while cleaning and he got so upset he was this close to taking me back to the orphanage.”
Ryan felt sorry for the girl. “Maybe we should go to bed now, girls.” She suggested.
The girls got ready and fell asleep easily, but not Ryan. After the story she had just heard, she felt even more compelled to help the girl. She figured her next step was to go and talk to Audric Delmar.
The next morning the three girls got up and went to breakfast in the dining room. When they arrived a steward told Ryan that someone was waiting for her at a table. She and her friends made their way, with the steward directing them, to the table. To her delight, the caller was Peter Longley.
“Ryan Hostler, I’m glad you got the message. Would you and your friends care to join me?” he asked.
When Nancy and Rosie nodded, Ryan accepted the invitation. She sat next to Peter, who seemed eager to tell her something. After ordering, Ryan asked what this was.
Peter smiled. “You can detect anything, Ryan!” he laughed. “I just wanted tell you more about this strange old ship and its history, because I thought you seemed interested in it last night.”
“Yes, I am very interested!” Ryan commented.
“Good,” Peter stated, “Because I believe I’ll need a detective to help. Your father mentioned you when we were talking about my latest project, and that is how I learned your name. He said that you were traveling on the Lumsbury the same time I was going to be, and that you might be interested in helping me.”
“Of course!” Ryan replied impatiently.
“Well,” he started, “As I told you before, Mr. Rangel was the captain of the Lumsbury for a long while. He was known for his voyages to South America. You see, he was very famous, at one point of his career at least, and people paid him large amounts of money to buy his journal entries about life down there. He was a very wealthy, kind man who, when he first started his most famous voyage, was in his early thirties. For three years he prepared for this voyage down to South America again. But this time he asked in advance for money from his supporters and fans. He promised them fame and fortune because they were supporting this coming voyage. However, people started mistrusting him, and so they didn’t pay the money.”
“I would’ve too, probably.” Ryan admitted. “That’s a lot to ask for in advance.”
Peter nodded. “So Mr. Rangel finally convinced his supporters to stay with him, and he went on the journey. He hired fifty men and sailed off. When they finally landed in South America, twenty of Rangel’s men suddenly disappeared. When news of this reached his homeland, everyone was shocked and blamed Captain Rangel for making some of his men disappear, as well as stealing their money. They sent men over to arrest him and to bring back the rest of his men. Rangel, when he got back to his homeland, claimed that he had found a long lost treasure of a king in South America. Of course, though, nobody believed him, and he sent to prison.”
“That’s very sad, Peter.” Ryan commented.
“Yeah,” he replied. “When Rangel finally got out of prison he married, had two children, and moved to America. He died there, too, gave his oldest son the Lumsbury, and told the story of him putting the hidden treasure on the Lumsbury to both of his sons. The rest you know, Ryan.”
“What an amazing story!” she replied.
Right then a steward came up to her new cabin roommate, and Rosie excused herself. “I’ll be right back.”
Ryan Hostler wondered why Rosie had left, but she decided that it was not her business, so she tried to enjoy herself.
Half an hour later, Rosie returned. She asked if she could talk to Ryan, and the young detective agreed. She and Rosie sat down on a bench not far away from their table.
“Ryan, Mr. Delmar was the man that sent that steward for me. He was too distressed to come down himself.”
Ryan wondered why that was, but she waited patiently for Rosie’s reply. “He was so angry about what happened last night, you know, with the scare and all. Apparently a lady demanded to speak with him, about some of her stolen jewelry, and he was rather nervous about it. He told me that the lady was very wealthy, meaning she could very likely sue him or something. I felt so bad for Audric, because I know that this week we haven’t had very many passengers, which means not a lot of money. We could just barely afford it if she sues us, and as a matter of fact, she did just that.”
“Oh my, I’m so very sorry.” Ryan replied to the worried girl. “Is there anything I can do to help?”
“That’s what I was getting to, Ryan.” She stated. “I hate to ask you this, but would you help me try to talk this lady out of suing us? I doubt she’ll change her mind, but I must try.” She smiled. “How would you like to solve a mystery, too?”
Ryan beamed. “At your service!” she laughed.
Just then, Nancy came up to the girls. She smiled at Ryan. “Let me guess, you’re going to solve a mystery? By the way your face is lit up, anybody could tell.”
The girls laughed. And Nancy added. “Why Ryan is a amateur detective! She can solve anything.”
Ryan thanked her friend shyly. “But don’t praise me yet, Nancy. I haven’t even started yet.” She sat down on the bench once more. “Now tell me what this mystery is, Rosie. I can’t wait!”
Rosie smiled and sat down as well, as did Nancy. “Actually, it’s many mysteries. I’m hoping you, Nancy, and I could find out why the power shut off last night, as well as who did, if anyone. Also, Mr. Delmar and I would love you to investigate this lady who plans on suing us, she seems very suspicious to both of us. And finally, a request of my own.”
Ryan looked thoughtfully at the girl. “And what is that?” she smiled.
“You have to keep this secret, girls. My father would be very upset with me if he found out I asked you to help me with this.” Rosie whispered.
“What is it?” Nancy asked impatiently.
“I want you to find Caressa Delmar’s portrait and journal.” She said, as a tear trickled down her face. “She was like a mother to me, girls, and I have to find those two things that belonged to her. Audric doesn’t want me to, but they are so precious to me, both of them. They are the only things my mother left behind.”
Ryan wondered why Mr. Delmar would be so selfish and not want Rosie to have them, but she did not ask the girl this just yet. “Where would they be?” she asked instead.
“Buried on the Lumsbury,” she replied. “Caressa always liked to hide her belongings on the ship.”
The young detective asked why this was so. “I have no idea.” Rosie stated. “She was very secretive, but always sweet.” Rosie smiled. “Would you like to meet Mr. Delmar?”
Ryan beamed. This was just was she was hoping to do! “I would to ask him some questions about the lady and the scare last night.” She whispered. “But I won’t mention your request.”
“Good!” she smiled. Rosie stated that she had to ask Mr. Delmar if he would talk to the girls, but promised that he would most likely agree.
Ryan and Nancy walked back to their table, where Peter was waiting. “How come you didn’t tell Rosie about your fourth mystery? You know, the one Peter asked you to help with?”
“I don’t want to upset both Rosie and Mr. Delmar by telling them I’m looking at the Lumsbury’s past, because it’s obvious Mr. Delmar would not want anybody to know that the Lumsbury’s original captain was sent to prison. I’m sure he’d think that people wouldn’t want to travel on a criminal’s ship. They might just tell me I couldn’t help them with their mysteries, and I don’t want that to happen, Nancy.”
“Me neither.” She answered. “I think they have enough to worry about anyway.”
Ryan nodded. “So do I.” She smiled. “Let’s go tell Peter that we’re going to go visit Jill now. Wait till she finds out we have some mysteries to solve!”

 
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