The Case of the Missing Quest Items: Part One
Author's note: This story takes place during the portion of the Month of Awakening, Y13, when the faeries were giving out daily faerie quests. Yes, I know, it's too late to be current and too recent to be history, but I hope you enjoy reading this story anyway.
Faerieland. The word conjures up a memory of a pink and purple and sparkly land atop the clouds. Nowadays, the image is of a land crashed into the countryside, still pink and purple but rather broken. Even when Faerieland resided in the clouds above Neopia it wasn't perfect; there have always been crooks aplenty, waiting to take advantage of tourists and locals alike. Today, this ruined city seems to be attracting shady Neopets of all sorts the way honey attracts Buzzers.
That's where I come in. Kiko's the name, 00Kiko to be precise, though mostly I'm known simply as Kiko. I'm a female striped Kiko and head of the Kiko & Co. Detective Agency, formerly located on the fourth cloud on the left in Faerieland, currently located just outside a cave under Jhudora's Bluff. Whenever an underhanded deed is committed in Faerieland we're the ones who get sent out to investigate. So far our only failure was when we were trying to figure out who petrified the faeries--we were following up on a red herring that led to a Meepit colony under Castle Nox when we learned that Xandra was the one behind the faeries' ruin. Fortunately, we'd stashed all our records and important files in Altador when we learned Faerieland was sinking, so all we lost in the crash was our HQ and Rika's workshop.
I suppose I need to introduce Rika and the other members of Kiko & Co. Rika is a green Ruki, an aficionado of Moltara and an inventor and tinkerer. She provides any gadgets and gizmos we may need, and is also the one we call on when we need to throw off pursuit, since no one can lay a confusing trail like a four-legged, two-armed breakdancer.
Her counterpart is Shoya, a snow Shoyru from Terror Mountain. Shoya's a bookworm and an amateur magician, having learned a few spells from the faeries. She's the one who does all our research, as well as aerial surveillance. Hopefully we'll be able to save up enough for a Striped Paint Brush for her before summer comes, otherwise she'll have to head back to Terror Mountain for the warmer months.
The last member of Kiko & Co. is our undercover specialist, Mist, a cloud JubJub and native of Faerieland. She was indispensable back when Faerieland was atop the clouds, since she looks just like a little puff of cloud, and thus was perfectly camouflaged and just the Neopet for undercover operations. We're still trying to figure out how to camouflage Mist for work in the new Faerieland, and how to earn enough neopoints for the appropriate paint brush, so she currently relies on everyone underestimating her because of how cute and fluffy she looks. Mist also has some amazing telekinetic powers, which she claims is common among JubJubs.
Our most recent noteworthy case began one afternoon during the Month of Awakening, Y13. We were sitting in our hastily-rebuilt office, trying on our new Jazzmosis Glasses (which, along with our Jazzmosis Hats, are perfect for that cool private eye look), when she walked in the door. She was wearing a lilac gown and blue tiara, her long purple hair flowed in the breeze from her fluttering lavender wings, and her beribboned arms clutched a light-blue staff topped with a purple orb. Only one faerie in Neopia dresses like that: Queen Fyora, ruler of Faerieland and queen of all things pink and purple and sparkly. My colleagues and I quickly doffed our hats and bowed to the Faerie Queen. Or rather, Rika and Shoya bowed, while Mist and I lowered our eyes to the floor, since it really isn't possible for a puffball with feet or a floating ball with arms to bow. The Queen seemed to understand our reverence, however, so all was well.
"How may we serve you, O Queen?" I asked, eyes still fixed on a scuff mark on the floor.
Queen Fyora leaned heavily on her staff, and replied in a slightly weary voice, "Some of the supplies the other faeries and I need for rebuilding Faerieland have gone missing, and I have come to ask you, 00Kiko, and your team to look into it for me."
"What?!" we all exclaimed, looking up at the Faerie Queen in surprise.
I saw a weary look in Queen Fyora's eyes, which, combined with her tired stance and the weariness I had detected in her voice, led me to conclude that all the time and effort the Faerie Queen was putting into the rebuilding of Faerieland was starting to wear her out. Evidently the others noticed this as well, since before I could say anything Shoya had placed a chair next to Queen Fyora and Rika handed her a cup of coffee poured from the pot on the stove. Queen Fyora sat down on the chair with a sigh of relief, and gratefully took a sip of coffee before continuing her story.
"As you know, the other faeries and I are collecting the supplies we need for spells to aid in the rebuilding of Faerieland. Any of these supplies that are not of immediate use are stored in an empty room in the basement of my Hidden Tower. I've kept a list of what exactly what was stored in that room, when each item was placed there, who each item is for, and when any of the items were removed and by whom. The only faeries with a key to that room are myself, Mira the Space Faerie, Aethia the Battle Faerie, Naia the Fountain Faerie, and a representative of each of the six types of faeries: water, earth, air, fire, light, and dark.
"This morning, I went into the storage room to retrieve some supplies I needed for a spell, and I found that the supplies I needed, along with quite a few other items that should have been in there, are missing. I talked to all the other faeries who have keys to that room, and none of them took the supplies in question. None of them have lent their keys to anyone, and all the keys to that room are accounted for. I am extremely busy right now, so I cannot look into this myself, and none of the other faeries who are skilled at investigating can take time away from their current tasks, so I have come to ask you four to look into this for me. I need you to find out who took the items, and if possible I would like you to bring the items and the miscreant before me and the Council."
Rika poured another cup of coffee for Queen Fyora while we considered what the Faerie Queen had just told us. Shoya made some notes in a notebook she pulled out of one of the pockets of her trench coat, and Mist and I made sure everything we would need for the investigation was in my large Explorer Backpack.
When we were all ready to go, Shoya turned to Queen Fyora and said, "Your Highness, would you be willing to give us a list of the items taken, and the names of the faeries who have keys to the storage room? It would greatly help in our investigation."
The Faerie Queen waved her hand and two sheets of paper appeared in her grasp, which she handed to Shoya. "Before you ask, yes, the other faeries know that we are storing the supplies somewhere in the castle, but only the ones with a key know exactly where the room is."
Shoya glanced at the lists, then tucked them and her notebook into an inner pocket of her trench coat. Queen Fyora finished her coffee, then stood up, stretched, and started waving her staff and chanting. Assuming that she was casting a spell to teleport herself back to the castle, I cried out, "Your Majesty! We still need to view the scene of the crime!"
The Faerie Queen took no notice of my protest, but continued with her spell. A pink mist encircled us, and I heard Queen Fyora call out a phrase in an arcane language. Suddenly it felt like the world dissolved around me, then reformed again; the pink mist cleared from my vision, and I saw that we were in a circular room, the walls made of grey-brown stone and hung with pink tapestries, and a spiral staircase in the center of the room led through a hole in the ceiling. The Faerie Queen had transported us into the Hidden Tower!
Queen Fyora lowered her staff and turned to me, a small smile brightening her face, and said, "Of course I will show you the scene of the crime! But I need you to work quickly, so I brought you here by magic instead of allowing you to bumble around for hours on end searching for my Hidden Tower." She turned to Rika and added, "Dare I ask what was in that coffee? I haven't felt this awake for days!"
Rika pulled a copy of her coffee recipe out of one of the many pockets she had sewn into her trench coat and handed it to the Faerie Queen; everyone who has ever tried Rika's coffee has asked for the recipe, so she keeps a few copies of it on hand. Queen Fyora read through the recipe, then clapped her hands and handed it to the servant who had answered her summons, saying, "Please take this down to the kitchens, and ask one of the cooks to brew some for me, then bring it upstairs for me."
The servant bobbed her head and replied, "Right away, Your Majesty," then scurried off.
Queen Fyora turned and led us to a blank section of wall on the far side of the room. Before I could wonder what was going on she waved her staff at the wall and muttered something, and a locked door appeared in the wall. Rika edged forward to examine the lock, pulling a large magnifying glass out of her pocket.
"This is the door to the storage room," Queen Fyora turned towards us and explained, as Rika put away the magnifying glass and brought out a set of lock picks, "which is hidden with a simple illusion spell most of the time. We're actually in the basement of the Hidden Tower at the moment, and since it's well known that the shop for which this tower is famous is at the top of the tower, very few Neopets wander down here. The staircase leads to a closet cleverly hidden in a pillar on the next floor, and only a few faeries apart from myself even know of its existence. Also, the lock on the door-"
-the sound of a small explosion filled the air, and Rika was thrown against the opposite wall-
"-is enchanted and can only be unlocked with one of the keys I told you about earlier. I had hoped that these precautions would suffice, as I would rather not spend the time and energy casting an anti-theft spell on this room and its contents," the Faerie Queen continued, as Shoya dug out a healing potion from my backpack and brought it to Rika, who gulped it down.
As Shoya helped Rika to her feet Queen Fyora unlocked the door for us, then ushered us inside the storage room. The room was filled with carefully labeled boxes piled neatly into ten piles, one pile for each of the faeries (or types of faeries) whose supplies were stored here. Mist used her telekinetic powers to get her magnifying glass out of my backpack and started examining the floor for footprints, the magnifying glass hovering in front of her face. Queen Fyora raised her eyebrows as she watched the JubJub, but said nothing; presumably she had heard of the telekinetic powers of JubJubs but had never seen it for herself. Rika extracted a curious-looking instrument from one of her many pockets and started pushing buttons on it and waving its antenna at the walls. Queen Fyora's eyes widened at the sight of Rika's device.
"Is that a Sloth Minion Tracker 5000?" she asked, readying her staff to blast Rika.
"It was, Your Highness, until I modified it," Rika replied, "but it is now a device that can pick up and analyze traces of any type of Neopet, Petpet, or faerie that has been in this room recently, and can detect any traces of ectoplasm from ghost Neopets or Petpets that may have been in here. I can assure you, Your Majesty, that this device is no longer in any way connected to Dr. Sloth or the Space Station."
The Faerie Queen visibly relaxed, relieved to know that the detectives she had hired were not Sloth minions. I set down my backpack and dug out the camera, then followed Mist around the room, taking pictures of the footprints she found. Shoya took out her notebook and pen, and proceeded to ask Queen Fyora a few questions.
"Your Highness, do you know of anyone who wants to harm the faeries or halt the progress made so far in rebuilding Faerieland?"
Queen Fyora sighed. "I do not know. Jhudora, of course, wants to cause as much mischief as possible, but she's currently too busy rebuilding her castle to be the one behind this theft. Any of the dark faeries might have done it, though they seem to be just as concerned about rebuilding Faerieland as the rest of us. I'm sure there are some anti-faerie groups out there somewhere, though I don't know who they are or if they would do something like this."
Shoya continued, "What about that master thief, Hanso?"
Queen Fyora waved her hand over the purple globe on the end of her staff, then peered into it, saying, "I sent Hanso and Brynn off to the Lost Desert a few weeks ago. It looks like they are still there," she squinted at the image in the globe, "and Hanso is currently in the process of robbing a pyramid, and is about to run into quite a bit of trouble." She dismissed the image in the globe, then continued, "I do not think he could have been involved in this, though I will be the first to admit that I do not yet know how much I can trust him. I am almost certain, though, that he isn't the one we're looking for."
"And what about... Xandra?"
A look of pain flashed across the Faerie Queen's face. "Xandra is still a stone statue; I am not yet ready to deal with her, beyond making sure no one can disenchant her. Quite frankly, I have placed so many anti-theft and anti-disenchantment spells on her that I am amazed the statue doesn't glow from all that power."
"I am truly sorry, Your Majesty," Shoya apologized, "I did not mean to cause you any pain, but-"
"-but you had to ask," Queen Fyora said, "I know. You are just doing your job. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to get back to my job." She waved her hand over the lock, which glowed purple for a moment, and added, "You will be able to get out when you are finished here, though no one else who does not have a key will be able to get in. Let me know what you find out." With that, she left the room, closing the door behind her.
To be continued...