Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 91,831,644 Issue: 177 | 11th day of Awakening, Y7
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The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Kidnapped Kadoatie - Part Four


by playmobil_is_my_life

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We spent the next couple of days going over theories and waiting to hear if there was anything new that Lance had discovered. Today was the 8th of the month of Hiding and time to do some investigations.

     Before that could start, we were all in the kitchen. I was enjoying a bowl of Plum Crunch cereal, Damien was going over his plans for the day, Charlie was nibbling on a piece of toast and Luna was sitting in her chair, reading a copy of The Neopian Times.

     She looked up, "Wow, Lance has three articles in one issue!"

     "He said he was a journalist," I answered, "that's what journalists do."

     "Here's one called 'The Mystery of Maraqua' by Tom, that Chia we met the other day," Luna continued. "Do you think this links to the kidnapping of Jasmine?"

     "How?" Damien asked.

     Luna's eyes filled with thought. "Maybe someone is jealous of Lance because he's so successful in his writing. And he's rich on top of that."

     "Now we're back at square one. As in, the kidnapper could be anyone if that's the case," I sighed. "Why don't we split up today?"

     We voted on that-it was unanimous.

     "Excellent!" I proclaimed, "Charlie and I will meet up with one of the Chia brothers, Damien can find the second one to ask him some questions and Luna-"

     "I'll go to Lance's house," the shadow Yurble suggested, "To see if he has any new information or leads. How about we all meet back here in a couple of hours to exchange information. All in favor?"

     Two hands and two paws shot up into the air.

     That settled it.

     ***

     It was an hour before one of the Chias made their appearance outside The Neopian Times office.

     Damien was next to me, and Charlie on top of my head. We were hidden behind a clump of bushes near the sidewalk, waiting to follow Tim or Tom. An Eyrie my size was a little hard to hide, so I really had to duck down.

     "There goes one," Charlie pointed.

     "We'll take this one," I offered, rising up, "Wait for the next one Damien, he shouldn't be too far behind."

     "Right."

     The yellow Chia was wearing the same white T-shirt with the red tie. He started down the street, carrying a paper bag and cup of coffee. I followed him discreetly into the park; where he said he took his lunch break.

     The Chia sat down on a bench and opened his bag. He started to eat. I waited for the right moment. Once the crowd of Neopets in the park had departed, Charlie poked me on the head. It was his signal to move.

     I sauntered over to the bench and casually said, "Hey. Tim right?"

     "Hey Marlo and Charlie. Good to see you again. And it's Tom," the Chia corrected.

     "Ah, sorry Tom, I always seem to mix you two up."

     Tom nodded and said, "So what are you doing here?"

     "Just enjoying the nice day," I said, thinking fast. "I didn't get to sleep until late last night. Someone was outside my window." I waited for Tom's reaction. He remained expressionless and asked,

     "Did you ever find out who was there?"

     "No, I didn't," I replied, then added, "but I have a hunch that it was the same person who took Jasmine."

     Tom raised an eyebrow and took a bite of his green apple. He seemed not to care much, and he brushed it away.

      It didn't take a genius to figure out that Tom wasn't in the mood for company. He took another bite of apple and looked in the other direction. It was also obvious that he didn't have anything to say.

      "Terrible thing, isn't it?" I continued, trying to give Tom a push in the confessing direction, (if he took Jasmine, that is), "poor Kadoatie."

      Tom nodded, and turned the other way again.

      "Tom," I began, "are you… trying to avoid me?"

      The Chia turned and chuckled, a forced sound, "No, I'm just trying to enjoy my lunch break."

      "I see. I won't bother you, then. Thanks for your time."

      I rolled my eyes when I turned my back, like he gave us any useful information…

      "I'll try not to confuse you with Tim."

      "The only way to do that is to look at our hairlines."

      I stopped and turned. "Excuse me?"

      Tom stood up, "I have some hair missing. It hasn't grown back yet." He pulled up his mop of orange hair, and I saw a tiny mark where there was no yellow hair at all. The orange hair on top of his head had hidden the bald spot. "Other than that, there is no physical way to tell us apart."

      "I see," I commented, "again, thanks for your time."

      Charlie and I started out of the park. Well Tom, I mused, this may have been a useful conversation after all…

     ***

      Meanwhile, back at the Neopian Times Office, Damien had his turn just five minutes after the first Chia appeared.

      The second one came out of the building, and before he could start off, Damien stopped him. Damien really wasn't in the mood to talk to Tim, after his rude exit in the building a couple of days ago.

      Please let this be Tom, Damien pleaded to himself.

      "Hi, um, excuse me, but are you Tom?"

      The Chia turned. "Oh, a detective again. No, I'm Tim. And also very busy."

      "I understand, Tim," said Damien, wincing slightly. "But I just had one more question for you."

      "All right then," Tim stopped walking. "One question."

      Wow, Damien thought, That wasn't so hard. "Thanks," he said, "I just need to know: how many times have you been published in The Neopian Times?"

      Tim's brow furrowed, "What kind of detective question is that?"

      "I didn't say it was a detective question," Damien played it cool, "just out of pure curiosity, actually."

      "About ten," said Tim, "I do more researching than anything."

      "Okay, then," Damien didn't want to push it, "thanks."

     ***

      Luna walked up the steps to Lance's house and started to knock on the door. She had been dropped off before the boys went to The Neopian Times office.

      After a minute or so, no one answered. Since it was open, Luna pushed on the door a little. It swung slowly, revealing the spacious main room. Luna stepped inside and called out,

      "Hello? Lance?"

      Then something struck her: Where was the Quiggle butler?

      Luna started up the stairs, towards Lance's room. He was probably writing an article or reading a book up there. As she made her way down the carpeted hall, she heard a scuffling sound coming from Lance's room.

      It was none of her business, really, to go barging in… especially since the door was closed. Luna inched toward the door, as if she expected it to open. But it didn't. She pressed her ear up to the door.

      From inside, came the sounds of dresser drawers being pulled open, things being tipped and objects being tossed aside. What in the world was Lance doing? He was looking for something, that much was clear, but why was he so frantic to find it?

      Taking a deep breath and making up her mind, Luna pushed open the door.

      Who she saw was not who she expected.

      It was the Quiggle butler. He straightened his tuxedo and tugged on his bow tie. Giving her a look of extreme disapproval, he started towards her.

      "And what, may I ask, are you doing?" He drawled.

      "I was looking for Lance," Luna said quietly.

      "The master is not home. You should come back later-"

      "Why are you in here?" Luna cut him off, "and why were you rummaging through this stuff?"

      "I seemed to have…" the Quiggle gave her a tight-lipped smile, "misplaced something…you are a very nosy girl to come barging into this house."

      "I could say the same," Luna replied coldly, standing her ground. "What is it that you're looking for?"

      "It's not of your concern," the blue Quiggle snapped, "I suggest you leave at once."

      "Sure, I'll leave," said Luna, "but you can bet Lance will hear about this."

      Without warning, she turned her back on him and started to exit. She stopped abruptly when he said,

      "Master Lance knows everything that goes on in this house. There will be no need to inform him."

      Luna exhaled and left.

      ***

      That afternoon, after the group had all returned home, they exchanged valuable information. Luna talked for an hour about the Quiggle butler and how he was going through Lance's possessions.

      "He's up to no good," Charlie advised.

      "Nice bit of detective work," Damien complimented her.

      "I'm not sure how much detective work was involved…" Luna admitted, "The door was closed, but it sounded important, so I opened it and found him."

      "The question is why he was snooping around," I said. Dropping the talk of the Quiggle butler, I added, "I think Charlie and I may have discovered something a little more useful."

      At this statement, Luna and Damien gave me their rapt attention.

      "I was talking to Tom and the fact that I can never tell them apart came up in the conversation. Tom said that he had some hair missing on his hairline, and he showed us too. There's a line just a couple of inches where he is completely bald. But his orange hair on top covers the spot, so you can't see it.

      "It made me think: What if he kidnapped Jasmine? She might have taken a swipe at him and clawed some of the hair out. Tom never said how or why he had hair missing, he said, 'it hadn't grown back yet'."

      "Holy Tyrannia!" Luna exclaimed. "The tuft of hair I found in Lance's mansion!" She picked the jar with the hair in it off the tabletop, "this could be his."

      Everyone launched into discussion at once, but the doorbell interrupted us. I answered it.

      It was a green Ruki carrying an envelope. "A message from Master Lance," he said, "he told me it was urgent and that you needed to see it at once."

      I took the message, the Ruki tipped his hat and disappeared. Slitting it open with my talon, I pulled out two pieces of paper. I read the first one aloud,

      " 'Petpet Detectives-I discovered this note in the windowsill. I thought you should be the first to see it. -Lance'"

      "Open the second one," Damien demanded.

      I opened the second note, and in bold scribbled letters it read:

      Detectives-you had better drop this case. I warned you to stay away. Forget this whole thing ever happened or Jasmine is going straight to the Kadoatery!

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Kidnapped Kadoatie - Part One
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Kidnapped Kadoatie - Part Two
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Kidnapped Kadoatie - Part Three
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Kidnapped Kadoatie: Part Five



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