Chapter 9: The Safety Pin
It came to pass for the time for the opera ghost to receive "his salary" from the managers. Phineas and Ferb were adamant that he should be stopped. "There is no magic in what he does, but mere parlor tricks. We shall get the best of him yet," said Phineas.
The managers had tried, unsuccessfully, to stop the madness. The ghost would request an envelope of money to be placed in box five by Isabella Jammes. They were too slow to stop the money's transference though. The real money was gone and play money was inside the envelope instead. Of course, the clever managers saw the trapdoor and how the ghost might have gotten at the envelope undetected. It was decided that this method of payment needed to stop.
The managers decided to keep the money on them. "See him just try to take it from my pocket!" said Phineas.
Of course, they had found out from Isabella that she had been an intermediary for the ghost, switching the envelopes around and even into pockets. That was why she had been locked away in the supervisor's office. Furthermore, the pocket that kept being taken from was Phineas's back pocket. So, it makes perfect sense for the managers to be careful about who touched Phineas, the one with the money, and why they were walking backward. The pocket was under careful watch the whole evening of Penelope's disappearance. However, they couldn't account for everything.
When the managers had locked themselves in their office that evening, they had every intention of keeping the money in their own pockets. "If this all turns out to be some horrid joke you are playing on me…" said Phineas.
"Me?! You would suspect me?! Fine then! What about this: we get a safety pin and attach it and the money to you, that way you will notice a hand taking it and notice that it's not mine," said Ferb.
That, then, explained why Ferb was frantic for a safety pin. However, when midnight struck and they checked the pocket for the money, it was gone, but the safety pin was still fastened in the same place. So, when Buford came to the door, Phineas handed him the useless safety pin wordlessly.
"There is a trap door in this office. There must be," said Ferb. Phineas nodded. They were grasping for logic, but also grasping the fact that the ghost was playing some expensive parlor tricks.
"Ferb… what if there is something supernatural about the ghost? What if he actually…?"
"Don't be daft. Come on, now. Help me look." They both tapped away at the floorboards and checked for any peculiarities they might have missed.
They were interrupted in their search by the coming of the police into their office. During this time, the managers were questioned about the disappearance of Penelope as well as the disappearance of the money. Peter gave his account on the events, telling his story of the ghost. The managers were still grasping for reality, despite being close to believing in the supernatural after the events of the evening. The police did not take Peter seriously and, worse off, Phillip had disappeared.
Peter was made to believe that his brother, being opposed to him marrying Penelope, had taken her. He was going to pursue her, but was stopped by a hand at his shoulder. He looked up. "Who are you?" he asked.
"You know who I am. I am the Drusselstinian," the man replied. "This way."
"No. Why should I trust you?" asked Peter.
"Because I can take you to Penelope."
"I was told my brother had taken her."
"No… Perry knew of your plan to take her away from here. He… he needs to hear her answer too."
Peter knew of what answer to what question he was referring. He followed the man down the halls to Penelope's dressing room. The man ran his hands along the mirror, appearing to look for something. Then, the mirror suddenly swung open.
"Ah, so that is how the trick was accomplished," said Peter.
"Quickly, now. Quickly," said the Drusselstinian.
He removed some pistols from his pockets and gave one to Peter. He instructed him to keep the pistol ready to fire, but level with the height of his head. "I'm not sure what mood we'll catch him in," the man explained.
"This is not a good position for shooting," commented Peter.
"It matters not where the pistol is, so long as you keep your hand up." So, Peter pocketed his pistol and kept his hand up so that the weight wouldn't bother him as much.
They traveled deep into the opera. Down, down, down. They encountered a strange apparition dressed in all black and the flaming head. Throughout it all, Peter was being constantly reminded to keep his hand at the level of his eyes. "That head is so much creepier when it's on fire," commented the Drusselstinian. Peter didn't understand the reference, but nodded anyway.
They found themselves going to the same place where Buquet was found hanged. They slipped between the set pieces to a small hole they had to jump into. The Drusselstinian jumped down first, followed by Peter. They examined the walls and found them to be mirrors. There was also a lone prop tree in one of the corners. In another corner hung the lasso that had killed Buquet. The Drusselstinian paled.
"What is it, man?" asked Peter.
"We have fallen into the torture chamber," replied the man. "We must find a way out before he finds out we're here or we're truly doomed." He began running his fingers along the walls, looking for any possible catch that would make the panels release from the inside. They didn't have much time, he knew. As for Peter, he could only think of how close and how far he was to Penelope. Who would she choose? Surely not Perry? Not after this? He knew nothing of the mechanisms the torture chamber might be comprised of, so he stayed back and let the Drusselstinian work.
Sorry about the fast pace. These chapters in the book are very dry, so I'm gonna try to cut to the point. Let's see what happens now. We're not too far from the end, so please keep reading and reviewing, thanks :)