The Partnership: Part Five
Rimlen is what most of her neighbors would qualify as a model citizen. She lives alone in a small suburb of Krawk Island. The time that isn’t spent working at the local Petpet shop, “Little Nippers”, is spent volunteering at various organizations around the island. Several neighbors have praised Rimlen’s cooking skills, saying that she often delivers homemade cookies to their homes. Says one anonymous friend, “Rimlen is just the sweetest thing! Whenever you need a favor, she’s always the first one to volunteer.” Other friends go on to compliment everything from her decorating skills to the beautiful garden she grows.
Despite all of these positive comments, there are also some doubters of Rimlen’s implied sainthood. A couple outspoken neighbors stated that they had all seen Rimlen leave her house suspiciously during the night at different times. From the information gathered on her, it seems she is known to leave a little after midnight about once a month. Where she goes or why she leaves seems to be unknown.
The rest of the page on her was just speculation, so I only quickly skimmed through it. This information on Rimlen both confused and intrigued me. One could gather from what Dart had found out, that she was angel by day, devil by night. But could these sources that have supposedly seen the Nimmo out at night be trusted?
“Dart, how reliable is this?” I asked carefully, hoping he wouldn’t take offense.
The blue Lenny, however, was good-natured enough not to take certain things personally. “It’s as credible as I could make it. Of course, the volunteer work that Rimlen does is easy enough to prove. As far as her sneaking out at night, there were pictures that one neighbor took. They were blurry, though, and could just as easily have been anybody else in Neopia.”
I nodded, thinking for a minute. It said that Rimlen sneaked out of her house at least once a month. So did this mean that I could possibly stake out and catch her in the act? “When was the last time the neighbors saw Rimlen leave her house at night?”
Dart scrunched up his brow, seeming to dig deep to remember. “The last they told me, it was the Month of Eating.”
I quietly rubbed the old scar on my face. Last month was the Month of Eating, which means we are in the Month of Hunting right now. So it’s possible, of course, that she hasn’t been wherever she goes yet. Thinking about this had triggered something else in my brain that was nagging at me, but I couldn’t think of what it was.
Shrugging, I closed the book. “So you know what we need to do tonight, right?”
Dart grinned, knowing that I meant it was time to stake out at Rimlen’s house. “I’ll bring the cookies.”
* * * * * * *
The sun had set, marking the beginning of night for Krawk Island. Contrary to what you might be thinking, I really hadn’t forgotten about Scout. In fact, I was climbing up through the trees on the backside of the hill leading up to Firestone’s mansion, where the lights were already out.
I was hoping, uselessly, that Scout had somehow managed to find out something new that would get her out of that house and end this mission quickly. It’s not like I wanted Scout far from Firestone because I necessarily cared about her or anything. More because I knew that Judge Hog would kill me if something happened to her while she was all by herself in there. And the sooner we were done, the less mad he would be at me for leaving her... I hoped.
Crouching down as low as I could, I quietly ran to the window which I knew was Scout’s and knocked on it. The worst case scenario was that Scout wasn’t there, but somebody who I didn’t want to see was. If they did catch me out here, Firestone would be even more suspicious of both Scout and me, and who knew what he might do to us.
Luckily, I saw a white ball of fur roll out of bed and bound to the window. Scout peered at me through the window, with her head tilted to one side. I’m not exactly sure what she was looking for, but she must have been satisfied with something, because after a couple awkward moments she opened the window. “Hi Katty!” she exclaimed happily. “You’ll never guess what I did today!”
I cringed, having forgotten just how loud she was, and quickly hushed her. “You have to talk quietly. If somebody hears us...”
Scout brushed it off, as if getting overheard wasn’t a big deal. “I know, I know. So are you just going to stand outside my window all day or are you coming in?”
I thought for a moment, weighing the chances of getting seen outside or heard inside. But after looking around at my surroundings and seeing that there was really nowhere to hide out here, I waved Scout aside and silently jumped through the window, closing it behind me.
“So tell me everything that you did today, and what happened,” I demanded immediately.
“Well, first that ugly Snorkle woke me up again. Let me tell you, coming out your door and seeing his face in the morning, makes me think I’m still having some kind of nightmare. Then he gave me food, which was definitely unidentifiable. It was like brown with yellow specks in it, and it tasted like-”
“Okay stop! I don’t care about that, kid. Just tell me about the important things.”
Scout crossed her arms and glared. “Well, to me, eating is the most important activity of the day. But fine, if you’re going to be all grumpy, not that it surprises me, I’ll speed it up. So nobody came to the door all morning, and I was so bored. There really are 132 bones on the chandelier; you were right!”
“Anyway,” I prompted impatiently.
“Anyway, so then Firestone left the house around noon and Snorkle went with him. I thought I was alone, so it seemed like a good time to sneak around his office a little more.”
I raised an eyebrow. “You left your post to go into his office? Even though you weren’t sure if you were actually alone or where they went or how long they were going to be gone?” That was a combination of bravery and idiocy, in my opinion. This was unusual for new agents, who often were just weak and made stupid choices.
Scout glared at me again, and I was amused to find I was making her angry. “Well, if you don’t want to know what I found....”
Sighing, I told her to keep going. Young pets drained so much energy out of a guy, first telling too information, then threatening not to tell any.
“Thank you,” she said, a bit snotty. “So that letter that you found yesterday was still in the same place. And I found another one of those letters from the bank thanking him for his large deposit. Considering how rich this Uni is, I’m seriously not getting paid enough.”
Ignoring her cry for more Neopoints, as if she really needed it at that age, I asked, “So was that all you found?”
“What do you mean ‘all’?” she cried indignantly. “I bet I found more than you did today!”
“No, not really,” I said, feeling disgustingly like a kid again.
Scout stuck her tongue out, muttering something about how she could at least keep from getting fired. “I did find something else though.” She went over to her desk and grabbed an orange-colored dubloon with bones crossed on it. “I found this just randomly on the floor in his office.”
My eyes widened. “You took his money?!” I cried, alarmed. “You can’t just steal something like that. Why would you do something this foolish?”
Something must have snapped in Scout because she yelled back, just as annoyed with me as I was with her. “I’m not stupid, and he’s not going to notice. Anyway, if you knew anything at all you’d know that I stole something completely worthless.”
“What are you talking about? This is a thousand dubloon coin! I don’t care how significant it might be to the search, it’s too risky to keep. Firestone is no doubt going to be looking for something this valuable.”
“Why won’t you listen to me!” Scout shouted.
“Because I know better. And keep your voice down!” I hissed.
But it was too late. Somewhere upstairs I heard a door slam shut, and even through the expensive, carpeted floors, I could hear Snorkle’s footsteps. Obviously Snorkle is not the most intelligent Neopet on Krawk Island, but regardless, he knows I shouldn’t be here right now. Once again we had gotten ourselves into another mess. Although I’m pretty sure Scout was the one who had blown it for us this time.
“Oh no,” Scout muttered, grimacing. “Get out of here! I can just say I was reading a book out loud or something.”
The footsteps were coming closer, and I knew that there wasn’t much time left. I turned around and grabbed the window handle. Pulling it quickly, I almost hurt my arm when the window didn’t budge.
“What are you waiting for? I don’t have to time to write you an invitation!” Scout exclaimed.
Not even having the time to roll my eyes I gave a strained response. “The window’s stuck or something.” No matter how hard I shook the handle or pulled it, the glass remained in place.
Snorkle was outside the door, mumbling something about coming in. Knowing that there was a high possibility that he didn’t know how to open the door, though, I kept trying the window, instead of hiding. “I’m one of the best agents in Neopia,” I grunted. “I should be able to open a window....”
“Move over, let me try it,” Scout demanded and pushed me out of the way. She was having no more luck than I did and I could see the door handle slowly turning.
“Aha!” Scout let out a triumphant cry, as she finally forced the window open. But it wasn’t quick enough, as Snorkle pushed the bedroom door and stepped inside.
“Joo!” he shouted, pointing as he began lumbering towards me.
Instinctively, I grabbed Scout's arm and dragged her out the window with me, as we began racing down the hill.
Behind us, I saw lights flipping on in the house as Snorkle cried the alarm.
To be continued...