White Weewoos don't exist. *shifty eyes* Circulation: 131,950,016 Issue: 271 | 22nd day of Celebrating, Y8
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The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Disappearing Deaver - Part Two


by playmobil_is_my_life

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Mysteries usually always began with a letter addressed to Bracknell Road's Petpet Detectives. Well, the only Petpet Detectives, really. I couldn't imagine anyone else doing this sort of job! The letter itself usually contained a distraught Neopian's handwriting that intrigued us into flying to their location, ready to investigate.

     "Let's go, let's go!" Luna called persistently. As soon as a letter came it was: "Stop everything you're doing and let's go!" She had forgotten countless times that I was the one who transported the group from place to place. I could have complained or asked for a few more minutes, but I never did. Mysteries were too important to wait for.

     We soared over the sapphire colored sea, over the rolling waves and small islands. The air smelled horribly salty, a scent that I was not used to, so I sneezed, going slightly into a nosedive.

     "Heads up, Marlo, we're not in the mood to go swimming!" Luna yelled over the wind, clinging to my back. I quickly nodded and straightened my position, realizing that just a few more yards and we'd be into the ocean. Krawk Island came into sight, the wooden buildings and light brown sand, the somewhat dead-looking palm trees and the bluish-gray Neopets that inhabited it.

     I wasn't sure where to land, or if we could find an abandoned dock, because many were already crowded with large ships or pirate Neopets standing with their arms crossed. I sure as heck wasn't about to ask them to scoot over. Swooping down towards the ground, I landed with a thump and shook the sand from my white paws.

     "Wow," said Damien. "It's so crowded today!"

     "Nah, it's always like this," said Luna, unzipping her Faerie Back Pack. She scanned quickly over the slopped handwriting (I wasn't sure if there was a Neoschool around here, and if there was, this client certainly needed a lesson in 'Handwriting 101').

     "Port 14," said Damien, looking over her shoulder and pointing towards the letter. "Should be straight ahead."

     As we journeyed on to meet our new client, I couldn't help but notice some of the pirates we passed. Most were wearing loose clothing scraps or jewelry -- earrings seemed to be very popular in that category -- some of them had gold teeth, matted fur or long, black fingernails that scraped against the wooden docks as they walked. Definitely not a very welcoming bunch, and we had met our fair share of unwelcoming Neopians.

     I kept my head down, trying not to draw attention to myself as a fight erupted at a small table beside us. Two pirates, a small Kougra and a large Aisha were on the ground now, wrestling as their unfinished games of Armada waited for them. Turning my eyes back ahead of us, I saw the number '14' printed on a large piece of wood, revealing it as our client's ship. The Crusader was painted on the chipped side towards the front. The proud, white flags were flapping in the breeze that rolled off the sea and the rope ladders swayed gently back and forth.

     "Ahoy!" came a cry from the bow. A mountain-sized pirate Eyrie landed before us, eye level meeting mine. "DeSoto's the name, Captain DeSoto if you aren't lookin' for a fight," he said and laughed. "Petpet Detectives, I hope?"

     "Yes, sir... Captain," I corrected myself, offering a white paw. The Captain took it with a rough sandpapery handshake as I introduced the team and myself. From his gold earring to the black fur at the tip of his tail, Captain DeSoto looked like a real tough guy. What you'd imagine a pirate Neopet to look like if you had never been to Krawk Island.

     "Well, come aboard. Meet the crew." The Eyrie gestured with a gray paw. I attempted to exchange a glance with Luna, but the shadow Yurble was already climbing up the steps to board the ship. Damien followed her, and behind him came Charlie and me, with Charlie sitting on my head. He could pretty much do that all of the time, being a pea Chia.

     As I stepped on board The Crusader a tingly feeling snaked up my spine. This was the first time I had ever been on a ship before, let alone a pirate ship. DeSoto excused himself and disappeared down below deck for a moment, returning later with half a dozen pirate Neopets, glaring at us with beady eyes and unchanging expressions.

     "Comrades," the Eyrie began, "these are the detectives from Neopia Central." He turned to us and introduced each one of the crewmembers. Jack, his first mate, a pirate Lupe with gleaming red eyes and a nice set of pointy teeth, West, a pirate Techo who was skinny as a rail and had a thick wooden leg, Roxanne, a Peophin, and Wally, the Techo chef in the galley and four others who were living on the ship, too.

     "Well," I said after a moment of silence and crooked smiles. "Thanks for the introductions. If you don't mind, Captain, we'd like to speak with you."

     "Of course," said the Eyrie, and he pointed to the stairway. "Come below deck and we'll speak in private."

     The line of a half dozen pirates shuffled aside to make room for the five us to start down the creaky stairs. They groaned under my weight and I felt my claws sink into the surface with each step, unsteady and sure that they were going to give way.

     They didn't... fortunately. We reached a thin hallway, lined with swinging lanterns that made the dim lights bob up and down on the walls. There was also a strange echo noise that I suspected was the crash of the waves against the ship, the sound traveling in through the open windows. The first door on the right was Captain DeSoto's room. A pale, yellow hammock hung from one wall to the other and a chair was leaning against the wall. The remains of a second one were scattered across the floor.

     "It's a nice place," I said, after realizing that DeSoto wasn't as talkative as I was hoping. "The ship, I mean... big and strong. Useful, I imagine."

     "That it is," said the Eyrie, preening the gray feathers on his massive shoulder. "There are some sly folks here who'd try to steal anything they can get their grubby paws on, I imagine. Including Kip." He paused and looked me in the eye. "Guess that's why you're here."

     "Yeah," Damien said. "Right. So, let's start with what happened when you found out Kip was missing. It was early in the morning, when you woke up?"

     "About seven, yes."

     "And did you notice anything unusual the next morning? Footprints, maybe?" I inquired.

     Captain DeSoto thought about it. "Not that I recall."

     "Does Kip stay in your room?" asked Luna.

     The Eyrie nodded slowly as if he was thinking about it. "No, not usually. She's always out roaming the deck and stuff. I don't see much of her at night."

     "Who does?"

     DeSoto squinted at me, his black eyes narrowing.

     I rephrased the question. "Who's around at night? Surely you have some kind of guard to watch over the ship. Protect it and it's loot from those sly folks you mentioned."

     "I was thinking along the same lines as you, Marlo. My lookout, Simeon, is on patrol at night. So half the crew and I figured he was responsible for her disappearance. Plus, he's a flyer." The Captain crossed the room and said towards the window, "He could have set her free somewhere along the rocks where I wouldn't noticed... don't think Simeon likes petpets all that much. Or, if he fancied making a dubloon or two, he might have sold her on the island to some lonely pirate who was in deep need of some company." The Eyrie put a paw to his heart, a gesture I would not have expected to come from a pirate. "We scavengers of the Neopian seas need the company."

     "I understand," was the only thing I could think of to say. It was obvious we couldn't get much more information from DeSoto... after all, he wasn't actually present when the disappearance occurred. We needed to find the vital information, narrow it down to the bare essentials. The only Neopian we could get that info from was...

     "We'd like to speak with Simeon. Could you point us in his direction?" Luna inquired. She applied a businesslike grin to her dark face as DeSoto gestured towards the room down the hall. "Thanks for your time."

     Captain DeSoto's door slammed shut the second we were out. A bit rude, I decided, as we continued down the hallway. The last door on the left was slightly open. I pushed it the rest of the way and it hit the wall. A Shoyru was sitting at a small table, scribbling onto a piece of parchment that curled at the ends. A few other sheets of it were scattered at his feet.

     "Simeon?" I asked. "We'd like a word."

     The Shoyru looked up towards the wall he was facing at the mention of his name. He let the quill slip from his hand and gave us a weak smile. "Come in," his soft voice instructed. "I was just working on my resume... seeing as the Captain is likely to fire me within the next few days." The Shoyru gave a somewhat dramatic sigh and turn the chair around so he could get a better look at us.

     When he looked up at me, I noticed that he had a round and young face. But it was craggy from fatigue and rough looking, giving him an older appearance. Under his unfocused, brown eyes were dark circles. A black bandana was tied loosely around his forehead and his boots were scuffed around the edges from work.

     "I've always dreamed of being a Captain myself," said Simeon, removing his black bandana. "Maybe with a little more training from Captain Threelegs down at the academy..."

     "Simeon, The Crusader needs you. Our job is to help you keep yours, okay?" Luna told him, offering him a business card. "We're detectives and we really want to help, but need your participation." The Shoyru nodded slowly.

     "Good," I said, pulling up a large chair from the corner. "Let's begin with what happened."

     There was a pause before Simeon started speaking. "Well... I'm not sure what you want to hear."

     For starters, I'd like to hear that you didn't have anything to do with the Petpet's disappearance, I thought to myself.

     Luna came up with a better response. "We want to hear your side of the story. Let's start with the night that you were on duty, the night before Kip disappeared. What were you doing?"

     After a tentative moment, he began speaking. "I was sitting in the lookout post," he pointed up to the ceiling, "in the basket on the mast." Simeon paused and rubbed his face, as if trying to remember. "I spoke with DeSoto... something about giving one hundred and ten percent and not slacking."

     "How often does he talk to you about this?" Damien asked.

     "More recently he has been," said Simeon. "I don't know... I don't keep track. A few times, I guess. He thinks I've been sleeping on the job. Well, I guess sometimes I take a little nap, but I'm pretty sure I was awake all that night..."

     Luna was busy taking notes and writing down the words that were now rapidly flowing from his mouth. "If Kip disappeared in the hours of the night and you didn't fall asleep, you must have seen something. Is there anything you think would be vital for us to know?"

     Simeon's forehead wrinkled. And then his eyes lit up like a crackling fire. "I did see something..." He looked over at Luna and said, "I just remembered it now. There was a light in the water. It... it was yellow and glowing like a flashlight would. I didn't know what it was, so I went over to the edge to get a better view. But before I could reach out and touch it, the light was gone like someone had turned it off." Simeon looked over at Charlie and me. "It was an awesome sight."

     "When was the last time you saw Kip?" asked Damien.

     "Kip? I saw her before that... she must have run off."

     "Anything else?" Luna said. "After the light disappeared?"

     Simeon leaned back and crossed his arms, thinking hard again. He focused on the wall and said, "There was another boat that was traveling back to Krawk Island; we were floating at sea, so it was moving away from us."

     "Good," I said, rising up from the chair. My tone was bright with enthusiasm. "That's a lead right there. What can you tell us about the boat?"

     The Shoyru smiled a little at the fact that he was being helpful. "Umm... it was rather small. Brown, I think. It was dark, so I'm not entirely sure of the size because of the shadow, but--oh!" He sprang up like a Meerca and said, "When it passed through the moonlight reflected on the water, it had stripes. Two black stripes around the stern."

     "Excellent," I said. "We'll have to start looking for it first thing. It's docked somewhere around here, I imagine."

     "Thanks, Simeon, you've been a big help," said Luna and the four of us exited. The room across from Simeon's was ours so the four of us started inside to discuss the conversation.

     "Well, wasn't that productive?" Damien asked. The royal Aisha had a small grin on his face as if he was happy how the meeting with Simeon went. I was too.

     "This is great," said Charlie, speaking up at last. "I don't think we've ever gotten so much important information in the first fifteen minutes."

     "Don't get used to it," Damien told him. "I don't think there's much to this case. We probably won't find out anything else that crucial. First thing tomorrow, we're going to start looking for that boat. Agreed?" Luna, Charlie, and I nodded.

     "This should be easy," said Luna, as we started down the dim hallway. "We find the boat, we find out who it belongs to, we find Kip."

     "Sure," I said, but something told me it wasn't going to be that simple. It never was.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


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



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