"I'll bet he did it. The no-good liar," leb388 scoffed.
We both climbed onto her bicycle. Leb388 sped
off, and after a short, wordless journey, we were at the Post Office. She stopped
the bike, and we descended. She turned on the lock, and we walked a short distance
to enter the building. The Post Office was nearly empty, with only a few Neopians
waiting to buy stamps or others filing queries and reports, as leb388 was. That
made sense, because a lot of Neopians seemed to be out enjoying the sunny weather.
Leb388 and I took our place in line. We kept our space from the only Neopian
in front of us, Meuka, because... well, it was Meuka.
"--stopped by a few days ago, but it was closed
to filing reports, so I came back today. You see, all winter I had to stay inside,
otherwise I'd freeze. Low body heat, plus a lot of exterior moisture, makes
me dislike snow," Meuka explained to the Post Office Chia. "I cancelled my Neopian
Times subscription late last fall, and I'd like to renew it, please. Quickly,
if you can, because I left my sprinkler on at home."
"Sure thing. It's free, and it'll only take a
moment." The Chia typed Meuka's name and address onto a computer. "All set.
I can get you a copy of the current issue, if you like."
"Please," said Meuka.
The Chia got Meuka a copy of the Times, and he
left. "Why, leb388! Speak of the Pant Devil!" the Chia said when he saw her.
"I was just talking about the Times. You're an author for it, aren't you?"
"A freelance submitter," she replied, "with emphasis
on 'free'. But that's not what I've come to ask about. I also want to speak
of the Pant Devil, and to report a vandalism."
"All right. Name, please?"
I wandered off to another corner of the bank
while leb388 told the Chia information. I walked over to the door, and something
caught my eye -- a writing desk. If you needed to fill out a long form, you
could sit there and do so. No one was there at the moment, and tempted by my
tired legs and the swively chair, I sat down. After a few spins, I noticed something
on the desk -- a tiny smudge of Negg goop.
I pulled out my Serf Lens and inspected the smudge.
No doubt it was made within the last few days, and it was green -- like the
stain on the Pant Devil's go-cart -- and dry. I was excited, and became even
more when Jamez walked him.
"Jamez!" I exclaimed.
"Hi, Li," he replied. "Is the Office open for
filing reports today? I need to do some paperwork on the Noodle Incident. I
came here a couple days ago and it was closed."
"Yeah, it's open. Say -- by any chance, were
you here four days ago?" Four days ago was the day of the first attack on Panty.
"I think so."
"Was anyone sitting here, in this seat?" I asked.
"Yeah, a few people," he informed. "First that
WeatherLenny, Meuka, and some others I couldn't recognize. Why do you ask?"
"No reason," I replied. "But why did you mysteriously
disappear when we were in the Pant Devil's backyard?"
"Oh... I was making Neotacos, and I didn't want
them to get burned."
"Ah. Well, thanks." I walked over to leb388.
She was just finishing up her report, then she talked to Jamez and soon we were
back on our journey. I told leb388 that I wanted to find that NeoHome with a
sprinkler system on.
"Why?" she said over the roar of the engine as
we rode down the street. "There's probably a hundred NeoHomes with sprinklers
on in front of them today around here."
"I want one that sprays to the halfway point
on the street -- the one that drenched us," I said.
Leb388 sighed and retraced her route. Finally,
we found it, and stopped to park and get off.
"Leb388, do you have your Neocell phone with
you?" I asked.
"Yeah," she replied, taking it out. "What do
you need it for?"
"To call the Chia Police and report a vandalism
-- and the vandal," I informed. "As you know, even possession of a Negg Bazooka
is a huge offense in Neopia Central." I called the Chia Police, telling them
to go to the appropriate NeoHome -- Meuka's.
They arrived within minutes, and I waited nervously
as two officers knocked on the door. I was anxious and nervous -- what if I'd
made a mistake and accused Meuka wrongly? However, a quick search of the NeoHome
revealed a key piece of evidence: a Negg Bazooka, with dried green paint near
the tip. Meuka confessed to vandalizing the Pant Devil's go-cart twice to get
revenge on him for taking his place in his guild, and was arrested. The Chia
Police thanked us.
"How'd you figure it out?" one officer queried
"It was all Li's work," she answered proudly,
gesturing toward me.
"Nice work, li'l missy," the officer complimented
me. "We could use someone like you on the squad. Would you like a job in law
"Thanks for offering, but I don't think I can
accept it now," I replied. "I like being a writer and detective, nothing more."
The officer nodded understandingly. "Well, thanks
for helping us catch this criminal. 'Preciate it." With that, he and his partner
Afterwards that day, I was sitting on our Neocouch with Conspicit and Keira,
and the subject turned to the case.
"I'm impressed that you solved the case so quickly,
Li," Conspicit congratulated. "All alone on a tough case, too. You're a real
"I think so, too!" Keira added, smiling her sweet
baby Poogle smile. "You did great, Cousin Li."
"Aw, thanks," I replied. "It just sort of unfolded
in front of me."
"I'm curious, though. How'd you do it?"
"Easy," I replied. "At first, I wanted to blame
Aulus. He seemed most likely, could hold a Negg Bazooka around the size I suspected,
and from talking to him he seemed guilty at first. But I had remembered that
he predicted a rainy day today, so he wouldn't be out early in the morning with
Neggs to splatter. They don't stick to anything in the rain. And the Pant Devil
stole something from him, making him likely to vandalize his cart the first
time. But the item was returned before this morning."
"Touche," he replied. "Continue."
"Someone else had a reason to be mad at Panty,
though. I remembered Panty saying something about how he was awarded a place
on the council of his villains' guild, and someone was bumped off the council
due to his inactivity all winter. Then I heard Meuka talking at the Post Office
about how he had to stay inside all winter, since he was mostly moisture and
could freeze. Meuka is a villain, too, so he fits the description of the inactive
council member. Plus, Meuka's tail would be the right size to hold a bazooka,
and said that he went to the Post Office a few days before -- and I found a
smudge of Negg goop of the same color as on the Pant Devil's go-cart on a desk
there. Meuka went up close to vandalize one side of the cart, so naturally some
goop may have splashed on to him. Being all mucus, it didn't dry on him right
away. And when Jamez confirmed Meuka had been sitting at the desk four days
earlier, the matter became all too simple. I knew he had to be the culprit,
and the evidence of a Negg bazooka in his NeoHome proved it."
"So, you solved the Case of the Negg Vandal!"
"That's cool, Cousin Li," Keira said. "Unky Conspicit,
why can't we solve cases like Li?"
"Maybe we can once you stop calling me your uncle,"
he replied. "I'm your cousin, you know."
"Okay, Unky Conspicit."
"Well, there's a first for everything," I laughed.
"Next time, I'll ask you for help, Keira."
Yay!" she shouted excitedly.
Leb388 didn't know it, but she was right. We
did have a lot of fun that day.
Author's Note: If you have any questions or comments, Neomail
me. May your days be filled with Crown Roast Beef, and this is leb388, signing