Leb388's Note: This story comes after "The
Case of the Missing Funny", and there will be many more stories
afterwards about Li, Conspicit, and their almost-dectective adventures. I've
added a new character to the group, so read on....
"Happy birthday to Sloth, happy birthday to Sloth,
happy birthday dear Slothie, happy birthday to Sloth!" sang a chorus of voices.
Sloth tapped his fingers on the table, with
a party hat tied to his head with an elastic band, and a green-frosted cake
with the candles still burning laid out on the table in front of him. He an
annoyed look and mumbled, "Your mortal attempts to please me have failed."
"Ah, Frankie, get wiff da holiday spirit,
yo," encouraged the Ghost Lupe. "It be yo birthday!"
"Yeah, it isn't your birthday every day,"
the Pant Devil agreed. "Here, I'll blow out the candles for you," he continued,
It was the annual Sloth Birthday Party on
December 26th, funded by the Evil Guild of Neopia. Sloth was not particularly
thrilled, and neither was anyone else, but they pasted on their best smiles
and played along.
"Where's Jhudy?" Sloth moaned. "Isn't she
"Oh...she's coming," Balthazar replied. "She'll
be here in time for you to open your presents."
"Well, I want to open them now. Summon Jhudy
immediately!" Sloth ordered to a Mutant Grundo. "And you, fetch me my presents
from under my mutated tree."
The Mutant Grundos ran to fulfill Sloth's
request, but when the second went to the next room for the tree, he was shocked
and stood dumbfounded for a moment. "Hey...where's the presents?"
Balthazar poked his head in. "What's taking
you so long? Hey...where's the tree?"
The Ghost Lupe came in. "What be up yo, Balthy?
Where be the presents and tree? And dude...where'd Panty go?"
"I'm dreaming of a green Christmas--"
Leb388 opened her eyes and looked out the window as she sat on the couch of
her NeoHome. "Darn, it's still snowing!"
"Are they here yet?" Pegasusmon3 asked
impatiently. Pegasus is a short-tempered White Tonu, and also my oldest sister.
"Not yet," my owner, leb388, replied.
She scanned the street with her eyes for a few seconds. "Wait--here they come!"
"About time!" I sighed. I jumped onto
our Neocouch and peered out the window. Being an Island Poogle, I'm sort of
small, but I managed to reach the window and catch a glimpse of my aunt and
"Hi!" lynn_chan3 exclaimed, walking up
the sidewalk leading to our NeoHome. As my owner's sister, she had been invited
to my owner's Post-Christmas Party and with her she had her four Neopets--Pikashoy3,
a Tyrannian Shoyru, Keira160 (Keira), a Baby Poogle, Flowermon3, a Christmas
Aisha, and Little_rose_02, a Red Kau.
"Glad you could come!" leb388 greeted,
opening the door. "We've all been so anxious to see Keira."
"Yep," Lynn_chan3 replied, gesturing towards
her Baby Poogle. "Isn't she cute? Jamez gave me the paintbrush, by the way."
"Where is Jamez, anyway?" I asked, meaning
"Somewhere," leb388 muttered, looking
out into the snowy afternoon.
"Hi, Auntie leb388. Hi, Unky Conspicit.
Hi, Cousin Pegasus," Keira giggled.
"Hi, Keira," my owner replied.
"Um...hi, but I'm not your uncle," I said
She laughed. "Okay, Unky Conspicit."
"That's...um...well--I'll go get Li and
Lebmon!" I exclaimed, running out of the room.
While leb388 and Pegasus oohed and aahed
over Keira, and chatted with Lynn_chan3 and Keira's sisters, I went to my Desert
Aisha sister, Li, and my youngest sister, Lebmon--a Striped Pteri.
"Li, the relatives are here!" I shouted.
"Coming, coming," Lebmon muttered, walking
to the living room.
I went into Li's room to see what she
was doing. "Hey, Li, c'mon."
"Oh! Okay!" She jumped off her bed, leaving
behind a pencil and notebook. "I was writing a story," she explained.
"Ah. Well, leb388's sister and her pets
are here, and Jamez is coming."
"I bet Pegasus will be happy to see Six,"
We entered the living room, and sure enough,
Jamezbfod (leb388's older brother) and his four pets were there. His oldest
pet, Six75 (who was at the time a Blue Shoyru), and Pegasus were obviously not
getting along. They've been rivals for as long as I can remember, even though
nobody--not even they, I believe--remembers why.
"I got you some Neocoal," Pegasus said
icily, handing Six the present.
"What?" Six gasped. "But I sold my fireplace
to get your present!"
"You would," Pegasus muttered. "So what'd
you get me?"
"A spoon," he replied, handing her the
"Wow, thanks a lot." Pegasus rolled her
eyes. "What's a spoon?"
And so it continued, with everyone unwrapping
and exchanging presents. We had to wait until after Christmas to celebrate the
holiday because of what leb388 called "random relative appearances." I had neither
the desire nor a reason to question this, so I happily participated with everyone
in our present exchange, and some of our presents were saved for a later, leb388-family-only,
party. Eventually, we all sat down at leb388's Neotable and ate our post-holiday
"So, Conspicit," Li said casually, "find
anything new or unusual for the Neopian Explorers and Mystery Solvers?"
"Not yet," I replied with a sigh.
"Your last story
was interesting," Jamez said, glaring at us.
"We told it like it was," Li replied,
popping a Gingerbread Mynci Cookie into her mouth.
Eventually we ran out of conversation
and food, and everyone started to leave--everyone except for Keira, who stayed
behind because she was asleep on the Neocouch.
"I'll bring Keira over when she wakes
up," leb388 assured her sister, Lynn_chan3. "You don't have to wake her up."
I walked over to the cute, sleeping Poogle
on the Neocouch and looked at the tree beside it with presents underneath it.
Wait a minute...where were the presents?
"Li!" I exclaimed.
"Just a minute, Conspicit!" Li shouted,
answering the Neophone. "Hello? Who is this? You're kidding. Uh huh. Well, why
should I care? Listen, a plague was lame the first time you threatened me with
it. A swarm of Teasquitos? I can sell those as petpets for a profit. No, I already
have enough exploding Neomails, thank you!"
I heard the click of Li hanging up the
phone and walked into the kitchen. "What's wrong? Neotelemarketers?"
"Meh, it was just a Mutant Grundo who
called desperately asking if we knew where Sloth's presents were, as they 'disappeared.'
It said that it heard about us from my last NEMS story for The Neopian Times,
but I said we didn't associate with Sloth."
"Um...Li? You might be interested in the
fact that our presents are missing, too."
She rolled her eyes. "Maybe Jamez just
ran off with them or something."
"Nope. I distinctly saw the presents under
the tree when everyone left," I replied. "They're gone without a trace, and
no one has since left or entered the NeoHome."
"Unky Conspicit?" came a cute voice. Keira
appeared, sleepy-eyed, from the living room. "Unky, where's Lynn_chan3?"
"She had to leave early, but leb388 will
take you home. Leb388's upstairs with Lebmon and Pegasus."
Li ignored me and saw this as an opportunity.
"Keira, did you happen to hear or see anything while you were on the Neocouch?
Maybe just when you were half-asleep or something?"
"Well," she said proudly, "I did see Santy
Li's eyes widened and she exchanged glances
with me. "What did he look like?" she inquired.
"Well, Cousin Li," Keira began, "He looked
like a blue ghostie thing and had a Santy hat. He took the presents but said
he'd return them."
I gasped. "Li, porch!"
We ran outside and slammed the door shut.
Sitting on the porch, we worriedly talked about what Keira had said.
"The Pant Devil took them, I know it!"
I yelled, enraged.
"Cool it, Conspicit. I know he did, but
how can we prove it? It's not like Panty to go running around stealing more
than one present from a user without the user knowing it. And if he stole
"That might be something entirely different.
For all we know, that was a trick."
"But what it boils down to is that we
need to find the Pant Devil," Li pointed out. "Think, Conspicit. If you were
an annoying little blue ghoul with access to anything, where would you hide?"
"If I had known, I'd have gone out after
him long ago!"
Li ignored me. "He'd want to be someplace
secluded, where no one would expect to look. And he'd seek an area where he
could store tons of items. Where would that be?"
"Store items?" I asked. "No way! If you
had a bunch of items, wouldn't you sell them for a profit at a shop? Probably
some type of shop that has a specialty in holiday or wintry items, since this
is the month of Celebrating, plus other junk."
"Of course!" Li exclaimed. "It's so simple!
Follow me!" She darted off the porch, when suddenly the door opened.
"Unky Conspicit, Li, can I come with you?"
Keira asked innocently, stepping onto the porch.
"Keira, this is really dangerous. You
should stay here, where it's safe," I told her anxiously.
"But--but Unky Conspicit!" she exclaimed,
starting to cry. "But I wanna go!"
I looked at Li helplessly, and she only
gave an "It's-your-call" shrug. "All right, you can come," I mumbled. "But be
careful, and stay with us."
"Yay!" she exclaimed. "Wait! I'll be right
I sighed as she went back into the house
to retrieve a toy--a Yellow Poogle Plushie.
"I had to bring Susie," she said, clutching
her toy. "Is that all right, Unky Conspicit?"
"Sure, whatever, we're wasting time!"
I said, starting to walk. "So, Li, what's your idea?"
"What else? Mika and Carassa's Garage
"Of course!" I exclaimed. "No one would
suspect it, it's a great hiding place, and with Mika and Carassa being the sellers,
the Pant Devil can make a hefty profit."
Li nodded, and we waited for a minute
for Keira to catch up.
"Get your Neopian Times!" exclaimed a
Chia delivery boy, holding a stack of the latest Neopian Times issue. He handed
one to Li, and she flipped to the Articles page.
"Look at these, Conspicit!" she marveled.
"'Missing Presents From NeoHome' is one title of an article."
"Let me see," I said, leaning over to
look at the paper. Sure enough, there was a whole list of titles about missing
"What's that, Unky Conspicit?" Keira asked,
putting her thumb in her mouth. "I'm tired."
"It's nothing for you to worry about,
Keira. And we don't have much farther to go."
Keira ended up riding on my back, and
in about twenty minutes we had made it to Terror Mountain. We climbed to the
summit, and finally we saw the Garage Sale.
We walked in casually, and the Chia shopkeeper
unpacking items, who I guessed was Mika, told us they were out of stock.
"Just a quick question," I said smoothly,
"but are you in any way, shape, or form associated with the Pant Devil?"
"Of course not!" Mika scoffed, not looking
up. "Why would we be? Carassa!"
"Yeah?" asked another Chia, walking in.
"Help me unload some more stuff from the
attic," Mika replied.
"Um, where do you get all your items?"
Mika and Carassa laughed. "We've amassed
a huge collection over the years, dearie," Carassa said.
"Don't 'dearie' me," Li snapped back.
"So, you had maybe a thousand items, and you can sell over a hundred every eight
minutes and still have enough to keep your shop open?"
"We have a lot of items!" Mika replied,
"Li! I've found the attic!" I called.
I had been searching for a stairway while Li kept the Chias distracted, and
I found one leading up.
"Great job!" she exclaimed, running. "Come
"No! Wait!" Carassa yelled, chasing after
us with Mika.
We quickly reached the top of the stairs.
I opened the door, and sure enough, there was the Pant Devil counting a pile
"Ahh!" he exclaimed, suddenly looking
at us. "I mean, ah-ha, I've tricked you, Mika and Carassa! I will steal an item!"
Mika and Carassa sighed, each let out
a fake "Oh, no," and left.
"You don't look like you're stealing!
You look like you're collecting," Li pointed out.
"We've got a witness who saw you take
our stuff. Give it back!" I yelled.
The Pant Devil looked at us gleefully.
"Caught on, eh? Well, I may consider your request...but first you must give
me that Yellow Poogle Plushie!" He pointed to Keira.
"No!" she gasped, hugging her prized toy.
"Hehehe, too late!" he exclaimed, grabbing
"Noooooooooooo!" Keira sobbed. "Susie!"
Instinctively, I leapt up and pounced
on the Pant Devil. "Give back Keira's plushie!"
"Never!" the Pant Devil hissed. "No items
taken will ever be returned!"
A little Island Poogle probably didn't
look very ferocious, so Li stepped up to help. She grabbed the Pant Devil's
left arm--the one without the plushie. "You will return my cousin's plushie."
Li started to twist his arm. He couldn't
squirm away, since I was still very much on top of him. "All right then. Now,
return my cousin's plushie and apologise."
By now, Keira was crying uncontrollably
in that emergency-shriek only cute babies can pull off.
"I'll never give it up!" the Pant Devil
said, his voice faltering. "Your pitiful Baby Poogle is a weakling!"
I'll admit, we didn't really hurt the
Pant Devil much, since he's a ghost, but we did our best. He was sent to the
Neohospital, and I returned Keira's plushie. All of the presents disappeared,
and after the three of us went back home, we saw that all the gifts had reverted
back to their original places.
Li sighed and slumping onto a chair in
the kitchen as I made Keira a bottle. "You know," Li said, "It looks like we
finally beat the Pant Dev--"
Li answered the phone. "Hello? Mysteriously
returned, eh? Well...you're welcome, I suppose. OK, bye." Li hung up the phone
and turned to me. "Sloth's gifts were returned."
"I suppose everyone's were, then."
"You know, with all the commotion, I forgot
to log this in our notebooks as a case or something," she replied.
"Ah, well, it wasn't that big of a case.
Besides, it'll be better if no one ever finds out about this whole mess."
"Well, I'm glad this whole present thing
was solved, too," came a voice. It was leb388. "But, really, the spirit of the
holidays is giving, not getting."
"Right...sure, leb388," I sighed.
Suddenly, a Neomail slid through the mail
slot of the back door in the kitchen. "Neomail?" Li asked. "I should get leb388--wait,
it says 'To Li and Conspicit.'"
"Read it," I said, giving the bottle to
"'Dear Li and Conspicit,'" she read. "'You
may have overpowered me once, but I will return.' After that, it's a lot of
gibberish threatening us and whatnot."
"Just burn it," I replied.
Li gladly walked into the living room
and tossed it on the Fireplace. "Say, leb388, is Keira going home?"
"Not exactly," I heard leb388 say. "You
see, my sister's going to leave Neopia for awhile, and all her other pets are
in the Neolodge, but Keira was so small that I volunteered to take care of her
for two months."
They told me later that I had fainted.
Of course I didn't know that at the time, but I awoke to find an intensely cute
Baby Poogle poking me.
"Pokey, pokey--oh! Unky Conspicit?" Keira
asked, her frightened eyes widening to an ultimate amount of cuteness.
"Eh, I'm okay," I mumbled.
"Yay! Unky Conspicit!" Keira exclaimed.
"You're all right!"
"You had us worried for a minute, dude,"
Li replied. "I mean, I could've forgot you were lying on the floor there and
tripped over you."
I rolled my eyes at her and turned to
Keira. "Keira, we need to talk. I'm not your uncle; I'm your cousin. You can
call me Cousin Conspicit or something if you want, but please not 'unky.'"
She crawled over and curled up in my arms.
"Okay, Cousin Conspicit," she said softly, putting her thumb in her mouth. "That
"Conspicit." She sighed and snuggled up
against me. "Cousin Conspicit, you're a great unky."