DI Cenlyr and The Case of the Coffee Shop Mynci
The sun snuck beneath the top of the catacombs entrance, darting through the windows in the Coffee Cave. Julita put the paw not holding a washcloth up to her eyes as she cleared away an abandoned table. She glanced at the clock, which treacherously showed only 4:30. Another hour to go of cleaning, scrubbing, and watching Rogon not make coffee properly. Ugh.
A scrape of the door and a pale yellow Gelert was walking in the door. He was wrapped in a large brown coat and he tucked a fedora hat under his elbow as he walked to the counter. Rogon, the JubJub who owned the shop, paused for a long moment, but relaxed when the Gelert smiled and paid for a cup of purplum iced tea and a snowberry delight (“that will be 2792 neopoints, please”). He carefully chose a table and sat, pulling out a newspaper.
Spilt coffee shone in the remains of the light, and Julita carefully wiped another table. She wasn’t sure why she bothered – Rogon never seemed to care much about the Coffee Cave, charging odd prices and disappearing for afternoons at a time. Julita stretched to straighten out the crick in her neck, then the yellow Shoyru went to carry the purplum drink and cake to the Gelert.
He looked up and grinned a confident grin at her.
“Thanks,” he said, sipping his tea. “Hey, this is good – did you make it yourself?”
“Er – well, actually, I invented the recipe.”
“It’s great.” He nodded, picking his newspaper up again, and Julita went to check on a pair of Kikos sitting at a corner table.
When she came back to ask if the yellow Gelert wanted a refill, he declined regretfully and stood up, saying he had to leave now. He held out his hand for Julita to shake, with another broad grin. She felt one of his claws scratch her hand, but he seemed not to notice and she politely said nothing.
The remaining forty minutes of work dragged by even more laboriously than usual. By the end of it Julita was having a hard time lifting her feet, her tail had slumped, and she didn’t even enjoy her normal favourite job of mixing up interesting tea combinations. She staggered home and crashed into bed. As she felt herself sliding into sleep she noticed a puncture wound on her right paw. It meant something she was sure, but she was just... too... tiiir...
Blink. Blink. Oh, morning. Julita waved futilely at her alarm clock.
"Shut up," she tried to tell it, but it came out "Ugg-urgg-glug".
"That son of a mootix-bitten Manjeer!" she tried and failed to shout, not caring if the neighbors heard her. She threw on a dressing gown and raced out into her hall, almost tripping over Gwen, a gwalla that had arrived one day and insisted on staying. Gwen bounced up and down by her door, and Julita noticed a letter was lying under the slot. "But... the post doesn't come till 11," she Ugg'd, confused.
"Mrro... Ugg!" mimicked Gwen. The letter was in a yellow envelope with a Defenders of Neopia seal on the back, and from the lack of stamp on the front, had obviously been hand posted.
"Dear Miss Shoyru,
I'm terribly sorry that I had to give you ugga ugga. However for your own protection it was imperative you not come in to work at the coffee shop today. I was unable to tell you this under the eyes of Rogon yesterday and feared that without being incapacitated you might come in anyway. I beg your forgiveness and ask that you watch this evening's news to understand why.
The Gelert you met yesterday."
"Ugg ugg -urga" Julita explained over the NeoMail-Voice (TM) system to Rogon.
"Um? Julita, is that you?"
"Is that yes? Doglefox's ears, have you gone and gotten ugga-ugga?"
"Uggh, ugg. Urgh."
"But the cure for that's unbuyable... you'll just have to wait it out... Fine, I'll see you when you're well."
"Oh, though I could send you round some paperwork to do- " ("Ugh!" thought Julita) "- where do -- oh my god! What the -"
Julita looked at her receiver. It had gone dead. She made herself three different types of soothing hot tea and sat by her fire for the rest of the day. At six o'clock she turned on the Visomatic 4000.
"-- Bringle bring badum badum badum toodoo dum bringle. Hi, my name is Kally Plankleton and you're watching Neopia Central news on NeoV Two, who are not sponsored in any way by Dr. Sloth. First up in tonight's news, the Defenders of Neopia this morning cracked a major crime case. In an attempt to extend his faerie trapping exploits, Balthazar has lately venturing right into Neopia Central itself, using a subtle combination of some very powerful herbs to disorientate and capture faeries. This is of course illegal and these herbs had to be smuggled from as far as Mystery Island and Tyrannia themselves." The screen cut to the coffee shop, closed, and Julita gasped. "Under cover of the exotic teas imported at the Coffee Cave shop in the catacombs, owner Rogon Delquir was also smuggling in these contraband plants. Here's our footage of the arrest!"
The camera shifted to an odd angle. The reporter was clearly trying to avoid being seen. All was quiet, then suddenly a jet of fire shot out the door of the coffee shop and crashing sounds came from inside. Out came two Defenders of Neopia officers with Rogon firmly gripped between them. The yellow Gelert followed from behind, casually kicking a Zapatron 2000 out of Rogon's reach. Kally Plankleton came back on screen. "This swoop was the result of months of detailed and dangerous investigation by famous Detective Inspector Cenlyr Cleareye of the Defenders. Caktil Eloquen talks to him now."
"Mr Cleareye, how long were you working on this case?" A Chomby put the microphone in front of Cenlyr. He was badly scratched and had his coat slung over one arm, revealing his faerie wings. The detective took a sip from a glass of healing potion.
"At least four months. We first received word five months ago of people releasing bottled faeries who, rather than blessing the neopet involved, sluggishly flew off in a daze, often right into walls and trees. Obviously we wondered if Balthazar was involved, but also had to follow up several leads across the Haunted Woods. Unfortunately Balthazar himself still remains at large. More than that I'm afraid I can't tell you, except to say that I'd like to thank my two colleagues here for backing me up on this mission. I didn't expect Rogon to come quietly and as you can see," Cenlyr gestured to the cuts on his arms that were knitting themselves together as he spoke, "he did not. Oh - I'd also like to apologise to a certain lovely Shoyru lady I met yesterday."
"Well, with that cryptic statement, ladies and gentlemen, we return to the main news. This is Caktil Eloquen at the Catacombs."
"Thank you, Caktil. In our next item of news a herd of stampeding duocorns have --" Julita turned off the Visomatic. Rogon was really Balthazar's partner in crime? The yellow Gelert was really the famous detective Cenlyr Cleareye? Rumour was he'd turned down promotion to Chief Inspector several times, enjoying the detective work himself so much. She thought about the spout of flame coming out of the coffee shop and felt she could forgive him for giving her ugga-ugga, even if her throat did hurt a lot. Maybe. But- the coffee shop? Was she out of a job? Who would run it now?
Bing-bong-bip! That was the doorbell.
"Ugg!" cried Julita. She couldn't go to the door like this. Quickly she brushed her fur and put on a fresh shirt. "Ugg, ugg." She gestured to her throat, as she opened the door. But no-one was there. There was a package on the doorstep and another letter. Without bothering to take it inside, she slit the envelope where she was standing.
"Dear Miss Julita,
Having now learned your name, I feel it is only fair to tell you mine. I am Cenlyr Cleareye of the Defenders of Neopia. My apologies once again for giving you ugga-ugga, I hope that you have watched or read the news and understand why I did it. Enclosed in the package is a jar of Sporkle Syrup."
Julita quickly stuffed the letter into her pocket and opened the package. Inside was a pharmacy jar of Chemocorp's Finest Sporkle Syrup. She unscrewed the jar and took a gulp. Immediately her throat opened and the pain vanished.
"Oh - ug - ah - that's better," she said to herself, and pulled the letter back out.
"Happily I can inform you that as Mr. Delquir has not fully repaid his startup loan to the National Neopian Bank, they have decided to give to you ownership of the coffee shop. I managed to persuade them you would be able to make the venture viable, given the chance. This is of course your choice, and should you seek employment elsewhere, another candidate will be given the enterprise instead.
Thank you for the delightful tea,
Detective Inspector Cenlyr,
Defenders of Neopia HQ"
Julita hummed and whisked together a Strongberry Tea for her customer.
"Here you go, Cenlyr. You'll find this is great for your concentration."
"That's just what I need. Am I forgiven then?" he said, rubbing his eyes. It was seven o'clock in the morning and the Gelert had lugged an armful of Neopian Times issues into the coffee shop.
"Yeah, sure," said Julita. "Next time you need me to avoid a crime scene, just send me a neomail, though." They both laughed. "What are you doing?"
"I have to read the last thirty issues for mentions of lost petpets," said Cenlyr, looking daunted.
"Oh really?" she asked, but Cenlyr only winked and grinned. "Well, Strongberry will keep your eyes open. Just don't drink more than a few cups an hour or you'll be bouncing off the walls! 718 neopoints please. Thanks, here's your change." Cenlyr wandered off to his table.
"That's right." Julita remembered when Cenlyr was getting up to leave. "My neighbor's Hasee went missing about two months ago! I'll ask her about it."
"Please do," said Cenlyr, who had been circling articles in red pen for the last two hours. "I think this one might be bigger than I first thought... Anyway, I'll see you soon." He held out a paw to shake. Julita made a show of pretending to inspect it carefully for poison darts while the detective roared with laughter.
"Yeah, I'll see you soon," she replied. "Friends are always welcome here."
Neomails welcome :) All resemblance to real neopets is unintentional, except in the case of Cenlyr, who is mine. :)