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The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Absent Anubis - Part Two


by playmobil_is_my_life

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I felt so out of place as Darius took a seat, neatly scooping up his robe before doing so. Damien, Luna and Charlie were always with me when meeting a client. Their absence irritated me for some reason. Then again, it caught me off guard that someone would come to our house before meeting us. Most usually sent a letter… the mail system wasn't that slow. Maybe this was a big case! Heck, or maybe the Lupe was just impatient.

      I slowly closed the door, thanking Fyora that the house was decently clean. Like I said, we hadn't been expecting anyone. The green sofa sagged slightly under my weight and I adjusted my white Eyrie wings before saying,

      "Just tell me what happened, from the beginning. We'll try our best to sort this out."

      "We?" the desert Lupe asked obliviously.

      "Yes, the other detectives and I. We."

      "Oh," said Darius. "Very well. You see, Marlo, back in the Lost Desert I was studying the Sakhmetian caves and their paintings with a part of my team. We came across a hidden room in one of the caves that held some sort of shrine… we're still trying to decipher what exactly it was used for. I mean, it could be a shrine, or a place of worship for King Coltzan, or it could just be a pillar that wasn't buried in all of the sandstorms…"

      Darius paused and I nodded slowly. I was secretly hoping that Luna was here since she always took notes about every case. Shifting my attention back to the Lupe, I looked him in the eyes and he continued speaking.

      "At the top of the shrine, or whatever it was, I found an Anubis, a desert petpet. I took him above ground and prepared to present him to the rest of the team that night only to discover that he was not in his cage."

      "So he was absent?" I remarked, slightly amused. I leaned forward a little to ask another question. "And how do you think that happened?"

      "Actually, that's what I was counting on you for."

      My eyebrows rose suspiciously, "I'm aware, but what I'm trying to ask is: When was the last time you saw him in his cage?"

      Darius fumbled with the memory of yesterday, "Umm… it was right before I announced that we had discovered him."

      "And you were about to announce this to your team? About how many Neopians were we talking here?"

      "Around forty, I suppose."

      There was a moment of silence. I pondered the Lupe's story. He found an Anubis in an ancient cave, brought him to the surface and realized that someone had taken him that evening. It was not incredibly odd, but something was wrong with it.

     For instance, forty Neopians were there that evening. How in Neopia was I… or we, as soon as the others returned home, supposed to find which Neopet out of forty was responsible for taking the Anubis? Nailing the kidnapper would be like successfully finding a needle in a haystack. There had to be a way around it.

     "Wait," I said. "Did all of your team know about the Anubis before you presented it to them?"

     "No," answered Darius calmly.

     "Good, this makes everything easier." I scratched my orange beak and continued our conversation, "Who knew about the Anubis besides you?"

     "Only the two that were down in the cave with me," he replied.

     I grinned. Magically, we went from forty possible suspects to two. "And they are?"

     "Dr. Kysen, the linguist, and Bek. Oh and Raia. Well, she's not part of the team, but she was the first to see him after we emerged."

     "Raia's a friend of yours?" I asked.

     "My daughter."

     "Ahh," I said, leaning back a little. "Let me ask you something. Who do you think took the Anubis?"

     To my surprise, Darius answered right away and in a very confident tone, "Dr. Kysen. The linguist. I'm almost positive it was he. I never did trust that Ruki, see. Ever since he came here he's been very… uh, secretive and excluded from the group. He won't join in on discussions; he keeps to himself in the caves mostly, unless I ask him a question. It was Kysen. I just don't know how he did it…"

     "Darius, I don't mean to burst your Bubble Mote, but unless you have two things called evidence and motive, your theory is just speculation."

     "Okay, you're right. I don't have cold hard facts, but I--"

     There was a click and the doorknob turned. The front door swung open and Luna and Damien stepped inside, carrying bags. They looked like they had been on a shopping spree. Charlie, the pea Chia, was sitting on Damien's shoulder. Darius and I stood up.

     When Damien saw us, he shyly mumbled a hello, also taken off guard by Darius's house call. Charlie waved.

     "Guys," I said, "this is Darius. He's from the Lost Desert and he needs our help."

     Luna immediately strode over in her professional way to shake his paw. The shadow Yurble introduced herself and then Damien and Charlie. She assured him that we could locate the Anubis and catch whoever was in charge of the kidnapping. Darius looked pleased.

     "We'll be at the Lost Desert in a jiffy," promised Luna.

     "There's only one thing we request. We do intend to take on the case," I told him. "However, we'll need a place to stay if you want us on the scene constantly."

     "No problem. See, we're sort of in the middle of the desert now, in small tents. There are some extras we can set up for you. Our research and discoveries take us all over, so we can conveniently move quickly from place to place. Here is the address," the desert Lupe added, handing me a slip of paper. "I hope to see you soon."

     "Great. Thanks," I said. "Oh, and Darius? What's his name?"

     "The Anubis?"

     "Yes."

     Darius paused for a second, almost as if strangely reluctant to tell. "Sethnakte," he said after a moment. "I'm sure that's what we agreed to call him."

     With a small nod Darius let himself out and just seconds after he did so, Luna whirled around to face me and said, "Fill us in, Marlo."

     I told her, Damien and Charlie everything Darius said: about the Sakhmetian caves, the desert, the team and the Anubis called Sethnakte. Wow, what a mouthful. Sethnakte. It certainly didn't roll off the tongue very well. I explained how the Anubis disappeared and how Darius and his team discovered the large room concealed in the cave.

     "Interesting," commented Damien, rubbing his chin after sitting down on the green sofa. "How unique. We're getting the chance to witness some of the oldest things on Neopia itself while relocating an extremely rare petpet."

     "It must be our lucky day," said Luna dryly.

     I would have questioned her tone, but I was used to her sarcasm. Crossing the room, I collapsed back into the green sofa next to Damien. "I think this case is going to be a no-brainer."

     "And you say that why?" inquired Luna. The shadow Yurble took a seat in the armchair and gave me her rapt attention.

     "Well," I began, "Darius's team consists of about forty Neopians. However, only three of them knew about Sethna… Sethno…"

     "Sethnakte," corrected Luna.

     "Right, Seth. Only three of them knew about him before the presentation. So one of those three Neopets must have taken him. Question is why… and how. Oh, and he was very strong in his belief that their linguist had taken the Anubis. Darius kept saying that he never trusted the linguist and that he was mad that it was Darius who found Seth and not himself." I paused and then asked, "Are you guys following me?"

      "Yeah, I think," said Luna, her eyes wandering around the room in thought. She bit her lower lip. "Did Darius have any idea who was behind this?"

      "Oh yeah," I said, restraining a laugh. "Like I said, he had a very strong opinion on Dr. Kysen, I believe that's his name. Darius was convinced that it was the linguist but he didn't have anything but memories to back him up." I nodded slowly as if savoring the conversation with Darius. He had told us information that was crucial to solving the case. I turned to the team, "So what do you guys think?"

      "It'll be a challenge, I'm sure," said Luna, speaking first as always. She had that sense of natural leadership. "I'm up for it."

      Damien nodded. "Me too."

      "Charlie?" I asked. The pea Chia was typically quiet. He never spoke much on the case, but was always thinking hard. He looked up at me from the armrest.

      "It's fine," he said, but I got the feeling that he wasn't being honest. "Sure, whatever. We'll go first thing tomorrow."

      "Right," I answered with a nod. "First thing tomorrow."

      As the group departed into different rooms of the house, Charlie turned away and I glimpsed a small frown on his face. Why was he so unenthusiastic about a new case? This was odd behavior. Whatever the reason, it didn't matter now because it had been agreed that we were flying to the Lost Desert first thing tomorrow.

     Still, I couldn't help but wonder what was bothering him.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Absent Anubis - Part One
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Absent Anubis - Part Three
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Absent Anubis - Part Four
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Absent Anubis - Part Five
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Absent Anubis - Part Six
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Absent Anubis - Part Seven
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Absent Anubis - Part Eight



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