It had been a few days since Miyuko first came to the
Neoschool in Mystery Island and things had not improved; especially when Lilac
had took to calling her, ‘Odd Usul’ whenever she saw her. Others had imitated
Lilac too, and started calling her that name just to see the irritated look
cross her face.
“I don’t understand why people like to call
me that … that stupid name!” Miyuko fumed angrily to Deep-Sea during lunch that
day. Deep-sea patted her sympathetically on the back and told her that it would
probably blow over in a few more days.
Both of them were extremely good friends and
discovered that they had a lot in common. Miyuko was surprised to find out that
Deep-sea actually liked writing poetry as not many guys liked even writing at
However, just when Deep-sea finished reciting
one of his new poems to Miyuko, a paw banged down hard on the table. Miyuko
looked up, startled, and saw Lilac glaring at her with a mad look in her eyes.
“So, you little pest … you must be the one who
stole my pencil of the Earth Faerie!” she hissed, her eyes narrowing to tiny
slits of hard, blue ice, as she glared at a bewildered Miyuko.
“What are you talking about?” Miyuko asked, clearly
having no idea why Lilac was accusing her of something she did not do.
“Don’t come and lie to me, Odd Usul!” Lilac spat
out, grabbing Miyuko by her fur collar roughly. “If I ever catch you red-handed
stealing other people’s stuff, I’ll make you pay for this … big time!”
“I don’t even know what you are talking about!”
Miyuko bellowed, her temper rising as she tried to push Lilac away. However,
Lilac only tightened her grip.
“Don’t know? Oh, then why is it then that only
when you arrived, things started to disappear into thin air? And it’s not only
my pencil of the Earth Faerie that has been stolen … other people’s stuff has
been disappearing mysteriously today! Can you explain how did that happen only
when you arrived?”
“Well, I’m just as baffled as you and the rest!”
Miyuko shot back heatedly, as she gave one big push and succeeded in pushing
Lilac away. Everybody gasped in terror although Miyuko couldn’t understand why.
“So, you want a fight, eh?” Lilac growled; cracking
her knuckles as she slowly started for Miyuko. “Well, get prepared to go to
the Neopian hospital because you are bound to lose!”
“Lilac Low!” It was Miss. Hoff… a very angry
Miss. Hoff. “You have caused enough trouble today already! I honestly do not
know what to do with you already! Come with me to the staff room… now!”
Lilac sulked and followed Miss. Hoff grumpily
after shooting a nasty look at Miyuko.
Miyuko sat down, fuming as she angrily bit off
part of her sushi roll. How dare Lilac accuse her of something she did not do!
And just because she came only a few days ago!
“Hah! Stealing! Why, I’ve got better things to
do than stealing!” she said aloud, stuffing the entire sushi roll into her mouth
and chewed angrily. Deep-sea looked rather uncomfortable and seemed to be thinking
“I think we should find out who this culprit
is and clear your name!” he finally declared before taking a deep swig from
his carton of chocolate milk. “Mind if I assist you? Umm like … partners?”
Miyuko grinned happily as she replied, “Partners!”
She had finally found a friend at school!
The minute Miyuko stepped into the school building,
Deep-sea suddenly appeared in front of her, looking rather frightened and reluctant
as he did so.
“Hey, Miyuko … I need you to help me with a History
problem! It’s urgent!” Deep-sea said frantically, although there was a strange
look in his eyes.
“Huh? Oh … okay …” Miyuko said slowly, wondering
whether there was a time when Deep-sea ever asked her a question even when he
did not know it.
“Just leave your bag here …” Deep-sea said as
he pulled Miyuko across to his locker forcefully. He seems almost eager
to get me away from my bag, Miyuko noted silently as she allowed herself
to be dragged to Deep-sea’s locker.
“Um … how do you do question forty? It’s kind
of confusing …” Deep-sea muttered, looking extremely flustered as he kept looking
behind Miyuko as though expecting something to happen.
“But Deep-sea, this question is one of the easiest
in the workbook!” Miyuko exclaimed, starting to get confused and suspicious
with Deep-sea’s weird behavior today.
“Oh … really?” Deep-sea peered at the question
as though he couldn’t believe his eyes. Then glancing behind Miyuko one last
time, he said hurriedly, “Oh my gosh … you are right! Umm … I … uhh … oh, I
understand the question already, you can go now!”
“What strange behavior …” Miyuko murmured to
herself thoughtfully, trying to think of a reason to explain Deep-sea’s actions
just now. “He acted as though he wanted to distract me from something …”
Going back to the bench where she had placed
her bag earlier, Miyuko hoisted it onto her shoulder, not noticing that her
bag was unzipped. She was about to turn to go when some items fell out with
a clatter. Bending down, Miyuko picked them up, only upon the realization that
these items weren’t hers but those which had been stolen!
“So … Odd Usul, it was you who has been the
thief all along!” Lilac drawled triumphantly, casually strolling past Jade with
a look of pure malice on her face. “See… this pencil of nova belongs to Melinda,
the Island Shoyru and that Snazzy Moon Comb belonged to Grace, the Striped Uni!”
“But I wasn’t the one who stole those items!
Someone else did!” Miyuko protested loudly and defiantly as she folded her arms
and stood her ground, refusing to be frightened by Lilac’s false accusations.
A curious crowd started to gather around Lilac
and Miyuko as both of them started to bicker heatedly.
“Don’t you dare deny it! Those items were found
in your bag … that can be used as evidence and prove that you have been the
one stealing all along!”
“I told you Lilac, I did not steal!”
Miyuko said in a weary voice, tired of always having to protest her innocence.
“Stop it!” Miss. Hoff emerged from the crowd
looking extremely ruffled and irritated. “You two, come with me to the staff
The seemingly never-ending argument continued
there as Miss. Hoff tried to settle the matter as decently as possible.
“Okay, Miyuko … I’m sorry but evidence is evidence
and these items were found in your bag … I’m afraid that unless that mysterious
person owns up to stealing, you’ll have to be suspended for two months and we’ll
have to put a black mark on your permanent record!” Miss. Hoff stated gently
as she looked at Miyuko sadly.
Miyuko gasped in fright and shock. A black mark
on her permanent record meant that if she finished junior high, she would have
a hard time going to the next level as no high school would probably want her.
“But I really didn’t steal … honest! What do
I have to do to make you believe me?” Miyuko pleaded, throwing up her paws helplessly.
“I believe that you didn’t steal … it’s just
that unless we can’t find the real thief, you’ll have to be punished according
to the rules … we’ll be giving that person three days to own up and during that
three days, you’ll have to try and find out who is this culprit by yourself
… we’ll be helping too … although I fear the chances are very slim …” Miss.
Hoff said, shaking her head in resignation as she turned to mark a few papers.
“You two may go now … and Lilac, please don’t go around accusing people just
like that … even when there’s evidence!”
“Yeah, yeah …” Lilac rolled her eyes and left
before Miss. Hoff could say another word.
On her way to her English class, Miyuko walked
in a daze. She simply could not believe that she had gotten into trouble so
soon after only a few days! Just then, Deep-sea dashed in front of her, panting
“What did Miss. Hoff say?” he asked, looking
extremely guilty as he stopped and shifted from one foot to another uneasily.
“She said that unless I can find the real culprit,
I’ll get suspension for two months and a black mark on my permanent record!”
Miyuko replied in an icy voice as she stared at Deep-sea pointedly. She was
beginning to distrust Deep-sea, especially after the incident that morning.
“Oh dear …” Deep-sea looked even guiltier as
he stared at the ground. “Look… I…”
Just then the bell rang, indicating the start
of a new lesson. Miyuko started walking briskly, leaving Deep-sea behind who
was still at a loss of words. Although she was extremely suspicious of Deep-sea
and felt very sure that he must have played a role in the stealing, she didn’t
want to hear whatever confession he wanted to make.
She was tired of always being jeered at, mocked
at and made fun at. Maybe being suspended from school would be the best even
though she wasn’t so sure about the black mark in her permanent record.
I think it’s time for a trip to the Island
Mystic for his advice! she thought to herself when the bell indicating the
end of another long school day rang.
“I know why you are here and what you are seeking for …” a cracked voice said
the minute Miyuko stepped into the dilapidated hut of the Island Mystic.
“Well … what do you think I should do? How am
I ever going to capture that thief?” Miyuko wailed, covering her face with her
paws in sheer exasperation.
“Your guess had been correct, I’m afraid…” the
Island Mystic murmured as he fiddled around with a chain of beads he held in
his paws. “And the only way you’ll be able to capture that thief is through
his heart …”
“You mean, like talk to Deep-sea and convince
him to own up? I doubt he’d ever listen to me!” Miyuko said, staring at the
Island Mystic in disbelief. “I can’t believe he actually deliberately asked
to become partners with me in order to prevent me from finding out!”
“Ah … but he’s already feeling guilty … the
reason why he didn’t tell you he was the culprit is because he didn’t want to
lose such a good friend like you!” the Island Mystic explained before closing
his eyes and started mumbling some chants to himself. “Well, if you really think
he won’t own up … you can catch him red-handed with this potion … wait, let
me go and search for it … ah, here it is …”
The Island Mystic carefully took out a vial
of liquid from a dusty wooden cabinet that held many other vials full of strange-looking
potions and handed it to Miyuko who took it and stared at it with fascination.
“Whoa … what is this … potion?” Miyuko
asked, squinting at the potion closely as she shook the vial slightly just to
see what the potion would do. The thick, purplish liquid bubbled and frothed
and the Island Mystic smiled in mild amusement at Miyuko’s plain curiosity.
“This potion can stain things easily once it
touches something,” he replied before settling down on his rickety wooden chair
again. “Just pour it onto one of your valuables or somebody’s valuable … the
potion colour wouldn’t show until somebody touches that item. Whoever who touches
that item will have that potion colour stained on his or her paws or feathers
and would not be able to wash it off unless they know how to make the removing
solution that consists of Lemwarts, a Glass Negg and a couple of Thornberries.”
“But I doubt Deep-sea would want to steal anymore
if everybody suspects me to be the culprit already,” Miyuko said doubtfully
as she gazed at the potion sadly.
“Ah, but he didn’t want to do this in the first
place … anyway; you need to find this out yourself. He will definitely be forced
to steal one last time,” the Island Mystic added casually before fixing his
gaze on the scenery outside.
“So he is being controlled by someone … but
who?” Miyuko said aloud. The Island Mystic laughed and shook his head at his
“You are indeed a bright child … now, go on
your way! I shall not reveal anything more!” The Island Mystic waved his paw
at the exit before closing his eyes to meditate.
“Thank you, Island Mystic!” Miyuko managed to
muster a forced smile before turning to go.
To be continued …