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The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Disappearing Deaver - Part One


by playmobil_is_my_life

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All was quiet aboard The Crusader that evening. There were shouts coming from Krawk Island, most of them just slurred words and loud noises. The usual. The pirates on Krawk Island never slept until the clock reached the morning hours. Lanterns flickered and an off-key tune to an old Krawk Island song was being sung by a group of pirates sitting by a nearby fire.

     The sun had set hours ago and the sky was nothing more than a black and purple swirl. Because of the thick clouds there were no stars that evening, but Kreludor shone brightly near the bow of the ship. Moonlight pooled on the wooden deck, casting shadows on the steps, walls and rope ladder. There was a yellow light coming from somewhere below deck that glowed from one of the round windows on the side of the ship.

     Simeon, the pirate Shoyru, was sitting at his post, high above the deck and cabins below. He was leaned back against the lookout station, spyglass tucked safely in his pocket. He took a quick glance over at Krawk Island, used to the wild screams and noises. Simeon pulled out his spyglass and peered through it. Now he could easily see the shapes of the dancing and singing figures, two of them were trading on one of the docks and another two were playing a game of Armada.

     Heavy footsteps could be heard from below and Simeon looked down, quickly tucking away the spyglass. He was supposed to be watching for ships--looters--for that matter. Some ten yards below him stood a shadowy figure. It was almost impossible to recognize him or her, but Simeon knew exactly who it was. The figure motioned for Simeon to come down. The Shoyru did so by half flying and half climbing down the rope ladder.

     "Ahoy, sir." He greeted the Captain with respect.

     "Simeon." Captain DeSoto returned his greeting. The monstrous pirate Eyrie started towards the side of The Crusader and leaned against the wooden railing. "We need to talk."

     Simeon blinked and asked, "About what, sir?"

     "About your job," DeSoto said calmly. Simeon looked at him sideways, with a slight wince. The gold hoop in the Captain's ear glinted in the moonlight. "I think you've been slacking."

     Simeon swallowed and looked at his feet. This was the third time this month DeSoto had told him this. He had been a crewmember of The Crusader since year 3. He was well aware of DeSoto's quick temper and keen eye for work not being done. The Eyrie turned back to him as if waiting for a response. "I'm sorry, sir, I... I hadn't realized..."

     "I really don't want to let you go, Simeon," the Captain said honestly, "but I will if it needs to be done. You well know that there are looters out there that come at night to steal. Don't let that happen to us; we've worked too hard for it."

     The Shoyru opened his mouth to retaliate, but was unsure of what to say. Captain DeSoto turned his back and started towards the deck below, muttering a 'good evening'. Simeon whispered a "yes, sir," but the Eyrie had already disappeared. Moments later, the yellow light snapped off.

     Shaking with humiliation and anger, Simeon trudged up the two stairs to sit by himself in the moonlight. He was furious at Captain DeSoto, who obviously didn't realize how much Simeon had put into this ship and this lookout job. There had been countless times a ship had appeared out at sea and it was Simeon's job to make sure that it posed no threat. That he had done over and over again. How Captain DeSoto had found something else to nitpick, Simeon didn't know.

     He leaned against the wall of the galley, a slight pout curving on his lips. The minutes inched by and the ship rocked slightly due to a gust of wind. Simeon shivered, tying up the front of his shirt. Something or someone padded across the deck to his right and Simeon looked up, his jaw set. His sharp eyes darted from side to side, trying to locate where the soft sound had come from. He groped around for the gas lantern hanging from the wall and switched it on. The flame ignited with a click.

     "Who's there?" he called bravely, squaring his shoulders to appear taller than three feet.

     Another scratching sound came further down near the stern. Simeon inched forward, lantern raised. He repeated his question louder this time but there was still no response. Then from around the corner sprung a small furry object with two large front teeth.

     "Kip?" Simeon called and squinted in the dim light. The Deaver looked up at him, with large curious eyes. She was the Captain's petpet and the biggest pest on The Crusader, scampering around and always getting in the way.

     "You didn't scare me," muttered Simeon, turning his back to the petpet.

     Kip slapped her large, flat tail against the deck. Wham, wham! Simeon turned around and she tilted her head to one side. He shushed her but she slapped it against the floor again. The sound echoed through the darkness. In a way, Simeon envied her. It was Kip who got all of the Captain's attention and special care. When the dumb Deaver blinked DeSoto would shower her with praise. She was also a pest, chewing through the furniture in Simeon's room and eating her way through his work clothes. He put a paw to the hole in his shirt as Kip clicked her tongue at him annoyingly.

     "Would you just go away?" Simeon asked, knowing what the answer was going to be. She raised her tail...

     WHAM!

     Simeon roared and kicked a pile of rope across the deck floor. It squeezed between the wooden bars and was swallowed by the sea. Kip scurried away, squeaking as the rope splashed in the water. Feeling not at all better and somehow knowing that DeSoto would make him replace the rope, Simeon sat at his post on the bottom floor and sighed. "It's gonna be a long night."

     As if right on cue, a burst of light emitted from the side of the ship, shining brightly in the sea. Its glow lingered on the surface long enough for Simeon to jump up and investigate. The yellowy light was so luminous that Simeon had to shield his eyes. The Shoyru leaned further over the edge to try to touch that light but it was too far. A jet of bubbles swirled around the color, making his reflection wobble.

     "What on Neopia...?" Simeon began as the light turned into a small whirlpool. The spinning vortex made him feel dizzy and he backed away from the light keeping his face out of it. He had never seen anything like this before, any yellow light coming from the water or a tiny vortex that spun round and round as slow and pleasant as this one did. And without warning, the light went out and the water stopped churning. The sea went back to normal. Whatever that beautiful light was, it did not matter now.

     Simeon looked up. A small boat with two black stripes was gliding towards the Island, the motor purring softly like a sleeping Kadoatie... nothing out of the ordinary at all.

     In those few minutes that the yellow light had come, Simeon forgot about the stubborn DeSoto who refused to see the good in him. But now that the entertainment was gone, the Shoyru's sour mood had surfaced once again. Feeling a little tired, Simeon flew back up to the lookout tower and propped up his feet, trying to forget about the yellowish light in the water. It was probably a petpet, he told himself, and then added, but I've never seen a petpet like that before...

     ***

     BAM-BAM-BAM!

     Simeon rolled over, squinting in the white sunlight that filtered in from his open window. He vaguely remembered flying back to his cabin at dawn and crashing in his hammock, asleep before he hit the pillow. Outside he heard Pirakets squawking and the sound of waves gently colliding with the ship. And then the thunderous noise again:

     BAM-BAM-BAM!

     The Shoyru rolled off his hammock and started towards the door. He fumbled with the doorknob until it swung open, revealing Captain DeSoto, who looked not in the least bit pleased.

     The Eyrie barged into the room and took Simeon by the collar, "Where is she?" he demanded.

     It took a few seconds for Simeon to register what was going on. He yawned and said, "I dunno what you're talking about, sir--"

     "Kip, you scallywag! Kip is not on board," said DeSoto, shaking Simeon like he was a rag doll. "What'd you do, drop her off at the Island? I knew you didn't like her, Simeon, but don't you think thievery is for--"

     "Captain, please!" exclaimed Simeon, getting frustrated himself. He squirmed under the Eyrie's powerful grip and wild eyes. He was now struggling to stand, still weary from sleep. The Shoyru bit back a nasty sentence such as, "It's a good thing she's gone; I wouldn't have cared anyway." Instead he said, "I swear I dunno where she is!"

      DeSoto gave Simeon's shoulders a rough shake, "You were the only one awake last night; you must've had something to do with it!"

     ***

     All the way on the other side of Neopia, under the gigantic cloud of Faerieland, past the limestone Meridell castle and just beyond Kiko Lake was Neopia Central, my absolute favorite place to be. It was a peaceful place with a vast population and friendly residents. There was certainly plenty of work, yet plenty of time to relax and catch up on things.

     On Bracknell Drive was a small two-story house made entirely of old wood and glass windows. The wood supporting the gutter was faulty, which was precisely why Luna made me fly up here and fix it. Standing on the slanted roof while holding a hammer and few nails was tricky. It took all of my balance to keep myself standing.

     "Luna," I called down to the shadow Yurble who was planting flowers along the side of the house. "Which part of this gutter did you want me to fix?"

     "That one." She pointed vaguely with her shovel. "On the corner, Marlo."

     Wiping my forehead and readjusting my white paws, I glided to the front left corner and pulled all of the dead leaves from the metal gutter. My claws scraped against the bottom and the sun beat down on my back. I carefully removed the remaining leaves, watching them sail down onto the emerald lawn. Thank Fyora for a good rainy season. I began to hammer the first nail into the old wood. After the second and then third one was in, I lowered the hammer to my side. Ending the job, I swooped down next to Luna, using my white Eyrie wings to glide to the ground and secure my landing.

     "You know what we need?" I asked her.

     The Yurble didn't look up. "More of these Snakebushes?" She gestured towards an exotic looking plant with twisting branches that was half way into the ground.

     "No," I said. "A vacation. We've been working a lot lately, on cases, I mean. Running this way and that, relocating petpets everywhere. It gets a little tiring, you know?"

     "I guess," said Luna, but I could tell she didn't agree with me. Luna was one of those Neopians who wouldn't rest until every Petpet out there was safe. She might as well forget sleeping then, because there was always a mystery to solve involving petpets. They tended to land themselves smack dab in the middle of trouble, those little rascals.

     "A vacation, did you say?" came a voice from the front lawn. It was Damien, a royal Aisha, the third member of the Petpet Detectives. He was grinning and holding a pale yellow piece of parchment. "How about to Krawk Island?"

     "Krawk Island?" I asked, bewildered. "Why would anyone want to take a vacation to a filthy place with pirates and ships and smelly--"

      "It's a new case, smart one," Luna interrupted with an amused chuckle. I felt my face heat up like a frying pan.

To be continued...

 
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