The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Exported Eustabees - Part One
In Neopia Central, at approximately 10:56pm, the street of Winding Wood Drive was ordinarily quiet. The houses were all dark, their curtains closed and garden gates locked. A blue Krawk walked briskly along the sloping sidewalk as fast as his feet could carry him. “Quick and quiet”; that was his motto.
Although many of the houses on Winding Wood Drive were exceptional, the one he was looking for shone like a diamond in the sun. It was a three story, suburban home, complete with a wrought iron gate. The interior, the Krawk knew, was just as satisfying. Moonlight pooled on the sidewalk in a gap through the trees in front of him, illuminating the bronze numbers 4138.
Quick and quiet.
Approaching the building, the Krawk slowed his steps and steadied his breathing. He turned sideways to slide through the cold bars. Creeping along side of the mansion, he ran a webbed hand along the wall to steady himself; Krawks’ eyesight was not so grand in the dark.
When he was finally standing on the deck in the back yard, the Krawk plucked the key from his left hand where it had made a subtle imprint. Thankfully, the lock succumbed swiftly and noiselessly. Glancing over his shoulder for good measure, the blue Krawk slipped inside.
Two minutes. It was all he allowed himself.
The wooden floors in the kitchen were cool on his webbed feet. There was some kind of food on the counter that must have been left over from dinner. The maid didn’t come today? He smiled at his own wit but quickly averted his attention to why he was there. After managing to stealthily infiltrate the Neohome, all that was left to do was find the Eustabee.
The Krawk silently padded towards the living room, where he suspected the creature would be. Thankfully, his educated guess was right. Across from the master bedroom and in front of the fireplace was a dark-colored petpet bed. Curled asleep in it was a red petpet with silky fur and large eyes that were closed. Without hesitation, the Krawk lifted it from the warm bed and quickly made a new home for it in his burlap sack. Lucky for him, Eustabees were extremely heavy sleepers.
Knowing that his two minutes were almost up, he hurried to the back door again.
Before a swift exit, he looked up at the security camera that followed his every movement. The Krawk waved his hand back and forth teasingly, then flashed it a toothy grin.
Smile for the camera.
With that, he was gone.
“Damien, you’re never going to finish that Zeenana Split unless you take another bite.”
The royal Aisha looked up at me. His head had been resting on the kitchen table, and all four ears hung limp. Just twenty minutes ago I'd bet him that he couldn’t eat three Zeenana splits in ten minutes. Damien was almost done with his second and there were only four minutes left in the challenge.
“I give up, Marlo,” he moaned.
Charlie, the pea Chia, who was sitting on top of the table was watching the timer tick-tock its way down from ten minutes. “Aww, come on!” he protested, tugging on Damien’s sleeve. “You have over three minutes left!”
“I really don’t think I can eat it.”
“Go on, Damien, you can do it!” I chimed in.
Both Charlie and I knew that Damien was not capable of eating so much ice cream. The Aisha didn’t have even the slightest sweet tooth, so I guessed it was more just for fun. Damien waved his paw and said, “I’m not up for it. Here.” He slid the bowl towards the two of us. “You can polish it off.” The first bite of the half melted split was sweeter than a sleeping Puppyblew. Damien’s head sank back down to the tabletop and he groaned again.
It wasn’t quite an ideal way to pass time, as Petpet Detectives, but I thought we deserved some fun every now and then. Sure, we could be studying near-extinct petpets exclusive to Terror Mountain, or re-organizing our contact cards upstairs, but that could wait until after dessert.
“Is this how you spend a perfectly good afternoon?”
I recognized the voice without even having to look up. It was slightly sassy, but innocently inquiring at the same time. “We’re just having fun, Luna,” I teased. “What have you been up to?” The shadow Yurble retrieved a new book from her bag and set it on the table. Sakhmet Petpets.
“You never give it a rest, do you?”
“It was a good price,” Luna said knowingly. She gave the book a tap. “If we ever get another case in the Lost Desert...”
Even though Luna was one of my best friends, we couldn’t be more different. She had black fur and I had white feathers. She had eyes for keenly seeing in the dark and I had eyes for detecting the slightest motion on the ground from the sky. She had a nose that could smell a good mystery. I had an orange beak and could always smell food.
Basically, she was a Yurble, and I was an Eyrie. Yin and yang right there. Perhaps it was the closest thing to Lupes and Chias, the original unlikely pair. By nature, Yurbles were recognized for their intellect, wit, and cleverness. Eyries were noticed for their strength, graceful moves, and decisiveness.
“Did anyone check the mail?” Luna asked. The three of us at the table glanced around. The Yurble sighed mock-dramatically. “How are we going to know if there’s a new mystery if nobody ever checks the mail?”
“Sometimes they come to the door,” said Charlie, with a shrug.
“Or sometimes we just stumbled upon one,” I added, intentionally trying to give her a hard time.
Luna gave us this look, one that she had perfected since the dawn of our detective business. Without saying anything, she disappeared out the front door and down into the driveway. I got up from the table and plopped down on the Green Sofa, tucking my paws behind my head.
After just a moment, I heard the door click open. A ray of sunshine hit me in the face. Even though I was squinting, I could see the bewilderment on Luna’s face plain as day.
“A letter?” I asked, sitting up immediately.
“Two letters,” she said. “Both addressed specifically to ‘The Petpet Detectives’.”
“Well isn’t this our lucky day!” cried Charlie and he scurried up onto Luna’s head to read the letters with her.
“Oh yes, very lucky,” moaned Damien from the table. I guessed his stomach was still hurting from too much ice cream.
Luna tossed the rest of the mail on the coffee table in front of me. While waiting for her to slit open the first of two envelopes, I pawed through the remaining bills and letters. An envelope addressed to us from the other side of Neopia caught my eye.
“Luna,” I called, sitting up. “Three.”
In my white paw was a third letter involving a new mystery.
“This is amazing,” said the Yurble, “but so stressful! Which case should we take first? Probably the one that sounds most important. Oh, but don’t you think we--”
“How about you just open the letters first?” Charlie asked.
Luna gave a small sigh, flustered. “Very well. I think that’s the best idea, too.” I took the third letter and Luna started on the others. The first one said:
My name is Nina and I live on 4154 Wishing Well Drive. My dearest petpet, Scooter, was taken from my home in the hours of the 12th night of the month of Gathering. I have no idea as of how to get him back and was hoping you could please help! Hurry!
“This isn’t too far... Wishing Well Drive. I think that’s just the other side of the city.”
My large head slowly rose to meet her eyes. Perplexed, I added, “The letter I read came from Winding Wood Drive. What’s the house number?”
Luna scanned the paper for it. “4116.”
“How odd,” I said, with a false sense of surprise. “This person lives at 4158.”
“And the third one?” Charlie asked impatiently.
Luna slit it open and he read it from above her. “4142 Winding Wood Drive.”
“Winding Wood Drive,” I rolled the words around in my head. “I wonder if that’s anywhere near Wishing Well Drive...”
“Wishing Well Drive runs perpendicular to Winding Wood Drive,” called Damien, who managed to come in from the kitchen and sit down beside me. “If my memory serves me correctly, Lance lives on Winding Wood Drive, by the way. Remember him and Jasmine?”
Damien’s words jogged my memory. Lance was a Draik and Jasmine his white Kadoatie. We had helped him out over a year ago to relocate his petpet.
“How much do you want to bet these three hits all tie in?” asked Luna.
“Most definitely,” I answered. “I hope that Lance and Jasmine are doing well in the midst of this chaos around them!”
Normally the four of us would jump to our feet and fly off to wherever the mystery cropped up, but it was getting late. Even though time was of the essence, showing up at a manageable hour was also important (and professional)! I relayed the plan to the rest of the group.
“Thank Fyora,” said Damien, settling onto the sofa. His stomach gurgled in agreement.
To be continued...