Reporting live from Neopia Circulation: 189,738,557 Issue: 559 | 23rd day of Hiding, Y14
Home | Archives Articles | Editorial | Short Stories | Comics | New Series | Continued Series
 

Baby Adventures: The Mystery of the Fontaine Sisters - Part Three


by cloudpuffpuff

--------

The next morning the babies awoke from being shaken by a smiling Brianna.

      "You guys have got to come to this new restaurant we found! It's real cheap!" Brianna declared.

      As the babies got ready, Kolyae murmured to the others, "Hopefully Loretta and Rosetta Fontaine will be able to get jobs here."

      "Hopefully their names will be cleared and they can continue working at the best restaurant of Krawk Island," Treaphie muttered back. The family didn't even bother to take a cart - the restaurant was right next door to the hotel.

      The place looked far different from the Golden Dubloon. It was small, rather stuffy, and the seats were stumps of palm trees. The menu was short, featuring only a few dishes that weren't particularly good or bad. The babies glanced at each other and knew at once that they needed to work hard on their mission - they couldn't leave Loretta and Rosetta Fontaine to work at a place like this.

      Upon leaving, Brianna grimly said, "We should be on the lookout for a few more places. Awesomific, Silce, we've got research to do."

      "Can we have Golden Dubloon for lunch?" Treaphie asked, making her face as cute as possible. She had remembered what Captain Hackett told them about questioning the waitresses, which was now more important than ever.

      Brianna smiled. "Of course we can," she told her. "After that breakfast, we need to make sure we have a good, filling lunch. Toupahz, will you take care of the babies while we search for more restaurants?"

      "Of course," Toupahz answered. "I'm sure they'll like where we're going."

      After Brianna left and the babies and their other siblings had gotten into a cart, Treaphie looked curiously at her sister Toupahz. "Where are we going?" she asked.

      "To the beach," she replied simply.

      "But which beach? There are so many, we're on an island!"

      "Oh, right," Toupahz conceded. "Well, we're heading to the one in the Smugglers' Cove. It's right by the Academy and isn't too far away. I have a map if you'd like to see it, it came with the hotel room."

      "Oh, yes please!" Treaphie insisted, and Toupahz handed it to her. All the babies looked at it eagerly.

      "This sand looks so fine," Leti sighed dreamily, pointing to a large, beautiful beach southwest.

      "No wonder." Kolyae pointed to a rich-looking mansion made out of smooth white marble. "It's right by Governor Gavril McGill's mansion. Of course the finest part of Krawk Island would be there."

      "Look at that murky water by the Warf Wharf," Kasthie said distastefully, pointing towards the busy town. "The Smuggler's Cove looks so much nicer." She gestured towards the northeast section of the map where there was a small but pretty beach with a couple sets of palm trees and a deep cave.

      "Excellent," Treaphie said with a smile. "A cave! That'll be fun to explore."

      Kasthie shuddered. "Oh, I don't like the look of it," she murmured.

      Toupahz glanced over at the map and grinned. "Oh, there's nothing scary about that cave - well, besides the pirates," she said uncertainly. "That's the Smuggler's Cove. It's a place where some experienced pirates sell really rare items for really high prices. There's usually nothing there, though." She shrugged. "I'm sure they won't bother us on the beach."

      When they reached the beach, Toupahz paid the Pirate Unis and hopped out of the cart, as did the cart's other eight occupants.

      "What are you guys gonna do?" Leti asked them curiously.

      Lirantha and Kysalas, both Pteris, grinned at each other. "We're gonna race each other through the skies," Lirantha explained.

      "First one to loop around every tree and land in the water wins!" Kysalas declared.

      Toupahz was standing by two of her best friends, Curesa and Beytani. "We're gonna search for buried treasure," she said excitedly. "I can't wait!"

      Curesa, an exotic Faerie Pteri with a solemn attitude, was looking at the sand beneath her talons with interest. Beytani, meanwhile, was a kind, motherly Faerie Shoyru who was gazing affectionately at the babies.

      "Oh, I don't know, Toupahz," Beytani sighed. "Perhaps we should stay with the babies. I don't want anything happening to them."

      "But Beytani, what about the treasure?" Toupahz whined.

      "How about we look for it with you?" Leti suggested, her eyes shining in delight at the thought.

      "Sounds fine to me," Curesa murmured quaintly, scanning the clear, shimmering sea interestedly. "Perhaps we will find something."

      "Do you know where the treasure might be?" Kasthie asked earnestly.

      "No," Beytani answered, "but we do have a theory that seems likely."

      "Oh?" Treaphie asked, interested.

      "We believe that the Smugglers - you know, the ones who sell things in that cave over there - may have dropped a few of their wares when transporting them years ago," Beytani explained. "Maybe the sand has covered the riches!"

      "Do you guys have a map?" Kolyae asked skeptically.

      "No, but we have shovels, pails, and determination!" Toupahz exclaimed. "Let's get working!"

      The babies collected their shovels and pails, Treaphie making sure to claim the purple tools. They set to work, digging randomly in the grainy sand and attracting curious stares from other tourists and pirates. Some asked if they had a map or some way of knowing treasure was buried in the area, at which times Toupahz would say slyly, "Maybe... but don't tell anyone!"

      As Kasthie scooped what felt like her millionth shovelful of sand into her bright-pink bucket, she heard a whispered conversation not far away that she was sure didn't have to do with their treasure-hunting, unlike the rest of the tourists' and pirates' conversations. She strained her large Korbat ears to pick up the sounds of their discussion.

      "I be tellin' ye, Goldhook," one of them hissed, "We must be considerin' new locations ter be in. The authorities'll be findin' us any day now!"

      "Arr, Timberleg, ye be a worrywart," Goldhook growled. "We've bin doin' all right so far, 'aven't we?"

      "Have ye seen them maps nowadays, matey?" Timberleg demanded. "Our cove be on there an' labeled! If we don't escape now..." They walked out of earshot, but Kasthie had heard enough. A memory had stirred inside her, and she was growing excited.

      "Treaphie!" she exclaimed.

      "What?" Treaphie asked, turning around eagerly. "Did you find the treasure?"

      "No, no, not that... it's Timberleg and Goldhook! They're here!"

      "So?" Treaphie asked. Her large lavender eyes widened. "Oh!" she exclaimed suddenly. "They were on the list!"

      "They're suspects," Kasthie agreed, nodding earnestly. "We should check this out."

      The two found Kolyae and Leti, who were very intently digging in the sand, and told them what they had discovered. Both agreed they had to investigate while they had the chance.

      "I don't think Toupahz would approve of us going in there alone," Kasthie said worriedly.

      "Then we'll have to do it now," Treaphie decided. "She's pretty busy with her work anyway."

      The four slipped away from the older neopets, who didn't notice them go as they dug deeper and deeper in the sand.

      Kolyae and Kasthie were reluctant to go into the "dark, scary cave", as Kasthie put it, but the curious pair Leti and Treaphie couldn't resist. They went straight to the cave opening, which looked just like any other cave besides the glint of glittering coins inside.

      "This is the Smuggler's Cove, all right," Leti murmured.

      "Definitely," Treaphie agreed, glancing around.

      As the two made their way inside, Kasthie sighed. "We have to go in there too, don't we, Kolyae?" Kolyae nodded sadly, and the two entered the cave.

      "Not much farther now," Treaphie told the group as Kasthie and Kolyae caught up. "I think I hear them. Should we...?"

      The others nodded fervently in answer to her unfinished question. As one, they withdrew into the shadows.

      "Aye, Timberleg, it be true that we be on the maps... but what we be runnin' from?"

      "The authorities, Goldhook, ye scurvy landlubber!"

      "What did ye call me?!" Goldhook bellowed.

      "A scurvy landlubber, and I be callin' ye one again! If the authorities be findin' us --"

      "Then what do we have ter fear?" Goldhook responded loudly. "We're not exactly defenseless. We've got loads of weapons here, and experience, too."

      Timberleg still sounded uncertain. "Simply relocatin' might be good..."

      "And how exactly would we be spreadin' word ter our loyal customers?" Goldhook demanded. "It be better this way."

      "I have an idea," Treaphie said excitedly. "Leti, you come with me. Kasthie and Kolyae, if we aren't out in twenty minutes, get help and alert the authorities."

      There was fear in Kasthie's eyes, but she agreed. Kolyae looked skeptical.

      "What are you going to attempt? Don't do something dangerous!" he warned.

      "It's going to be dangerous, all right," Leti told him, glancing at Treaphie. "Why else would she have these precautions? Since when is Treaphie cautious?"

      Treaphie grinned. "Maybe I've changed my ways, Leti," she said slyly. "Now go, quickly! Leti, follow my lead."

      Kasthie and Kolyae obliged, retreating from the cave. Leti and Treaphie, a bit more reluctant, advanced forward.

      "Stop right there!" Treaphie commanded when the pirates came into view. She took only a moment to briefly take in her surroundings, seeing a long wooden table with absolutely nothing on it and coins coating the floor behind it. A Pirate Techo had been hastily scooping the coins into the bag while a Pirate Bruce glanced left and right. Both stopped immediately upon hearing the Usul's tiny voice and turned to see the babies.

      Leti muttered out of the corner of her mouth, "You do have a plan, right?"

      Treaphie gave only the tiniest indication of a nod before continuing, "We've caught you, Smugglers, and we have a few questions. Answer them truthfully or else we'll contact the authorities!"

      Both of the pets laughed at this before drawing long, curvy silver swords that sparkled dangerously. "Ye were sayin', lass?" the Bruce questioned, advancing forward with a smirk.

      Even Treaphie was shaking now, and Leti was positively terrified. But Treaphie spoke in what she hoped was a somewhat steady voice, "Y-you should know that my brother and sister are aware we came in, and have backup outside. If we aren't out soon, they're calling the authorities."

      There was silence for a moment. Then the Pirate Bruce growled. "Well, well, well, lasses... ye know how ter bargain with pirates! Ar, we ain't gonna hurt ye, but we may not answer yer questions completely. Ye should know that Timberleg" - he gestured at the Techo, who had resumed packing the coins into sacks - "is preparing fer our departure so we're ready ter go."

      "Our questions aren't difficult," Treaphie said quietly. Leti glanced at her sister, who was faltering in her speech. The baby's eyes had been drawn to the pointy tips of the swords, and it was clear she didn't quite trust the pirates not to hurt them. Leti decided to take matters into her own hands.

      "You're Goldhook, correct?" she asked the Bruce.

      "Aye, that I be," Goldhook confirmed.

      "And you were present during the incident at the Golden Dubloon?"

      The Bruce looked startled. "Who told ye?" he ordered.

      "That is unrelated," Leti answered smoothly. "What I need to know is if you have any idea who did it or any clue as to who did it."

      The Bruce pondered for a moment. "I'll tell ye what I know," he said slowly, eyeing them, "if yer money's good."

      Treaphie removed 5,000 of the neopoints she had won from Grimtooth, Monty, and Deadeye and handed them over to the surprised Bruce.

      "That enough?" she asked.

      "Didn't think ye'd have so much, lass," the Bruce replied with a grin. "I don't know much, but I'll tell ye. We were at the Golden Dubloon, and I was facing the door ter the Food Storage Rooms. It was around 4:30, and I saw both Loretta and Rosetta Fontaine come out of the Food Storage Rooms with nothin' in their hands!"

      "Are you sure it was them?" Treaphie asked, her spirits sinking.

      "I know them," Goldhook replied. He hesitated. "Well, I didn't get a good look at them. It's possible it could've been somebody with a resemblance ter them. But what other barmaids with that kind of red hair and long Aisha ears are there?"

      He continued his story more enthusiastically, knowing he had an eager audience. "When Rosetta Fontaine came to Gavril McGill, I was watchin' the Governor carefully. I was considerin' trickin' him out of his money - he ain't a real pirate, I figured I could get somethin' out of him - and I noticed that Rosetta was carryin' his favorite dish."

      "How'd you know it was his favorite?" Leti asked.

      Goldhook laughed. "Everybody down there knows it be his favorite, lass."

      "What was Rosetta like? Did she look suspicious?" Treaphie questioned.

      Goldhook shook his head. "She looked just as she always did, as if the strange incident with the Food Storage Rooms had never happened!"

      Treaphie frowned. "Then that doesn't make sense --"

      "Treaphie!" Leti gasped, pointing towards the floor. "Treaphie, they're guilty, look!"

      Everybody, even the busy Timberleg, looked automatically where she was pointing. Treaphie bent down to inspect the find.

      "Black dots!" she gasped. She removed the ones she was carrying in her pocket and compared them. "It's a match!" she decided firmly, glaring at Goldhook.

      "You're guilty!" Leti exclaimed dramatically, also glowering at the Bruce.

      "Hang on a minute," Goldhook muttered, "That was the stuff in the Governor's meal!"

      "You recognize it? Were you responsible for it?" Treaphie accused.

      "'Course not, lass!"

      "But you were just talking about tricking the Governor out of his money!" Leti protested.

      "What use would him wastin' money on food be ter me? I don't get a portion of the Golden Dubloon's profits!" Goldhook shouted back.

      "How do you recognize it?" Treaphie asked quickly.

      Goldhook's eyes narrowed. "I was there, wasn't I? Didn't I just tell ye?"

      Treaphie hesitated. "But then, what proof is there that you didn't do it?"

      "I be a regular customer at the Golden Dubloon!" Goldhook insisted. "Me favorite barmaids be the Fontaine Sisters, I'd never want them ter be fired! And I wouldn't want some authoritative landlubber like Gavril McGill ter be suspicious of me."

      "How did these black dots get here?" Leti demanded, pointing her shining golden hoof at the pirate. "You're guilty!"

      "This be a business, lass!" Goldhook said hastily. "I be sellin' wares ter many customers. One of them could've done it."

      "What customers have you had since the incident?" Treaphie asked quickly.

      "Oh, plenty," Goldhook answered. "Timberleg, get out the list, will ye? Tell 'em who we've seen since then."

      Timberleg scampered off to a far part of the cave and returned, reading off from a piece of paper, "Cap'n Threelegs, Monty, Marietta Jonelle --"

      "That name sounds familiar," Leti remarked.

      "Monty's innocent," Treaphie stated firmly. "And Cap'n Threelegs wasn't at the Golden Dubloon then. I don't recall the name Marietta Jonelle, though."

      "I'm sure I've heard it before," Leti insisted.

      Treaphie frowned. "When?" she asked.

      "I can't remember," the Baby Peophin admitted. "But it was recently."

      "We'll ask Kasthie and Kolyae later," Treaphie decided. "Continue, please, Goldhook," she requested.

      "Arr, let me see," he muttered, scratching his chin thoughtfully. "There also be Orvinn the First Mate, Admiral Blackbeard, Nancy Sherley, and Lucky McKyriggan."

      "Some of those are familiar, too," Leti muttered.

      "Is that everyone?" Treaphie asked.

      "Everybody since the incident," Goldhook nodded. "Now get out of me cave!"

      The babies jumped at the sudden change in Goldhook's voice and scurried out of the cave, panting as they reached the bright beach outside.

      Kasthie and Kolyae cried out in relief at the sight of their sisters. "You were gone for twenty-five minutes!" Kasthie exclaimed. "We were just about to tell Toupahz!"

      "By the way," Kolyae added with a slight grin, "she's currently celebrating over her find in the sand."

      "No way!" Leti gasped. "What did she find? Was it an item from the Smuggler's Cove?"

      "I'm guessing so," Kolyae replied. "It's an old eye patch. But it wasn't left there long ago - it was right under the surface of the sand!"

      "Interesting," Treaphie said, though she didn't find the prospect of an eye patch exciting at all. "Listen, we've got some information."

      As she read off the names, Kasthie's eyes widened. "Some of those were on our list!" she exclaimed excitedly.

      "Which ones?" Treaphie asked.

      "Orvinn the First Mate, Admiral Blackbeard, Nancy Sherley, and Marietta Jonelle," Kasthie told them.

      "I knew that name was familiar!" Leti said to herself. "And the others!"

      "We've gotta find out where they are," Treaphie announced.

      Kasthie piped up, "I remember that Nancy Sherley and Marietta Jonelle were listed as waitresses on the paper. We'll interview them at noon."

      "And we can ask them about the others," Treaphie decided.

      An older voice suddenly spoke, "You guys ready to head back? We're meeting the rest of the family at the Golden Dubloon."

      "Okay, Toupahz!" Kasthie squeaked, running quickly away from the cave as though to disassociate herself from it.

      The group made it to the Golden Dubloon five minutes early for the babies' interview, so they ate a quick snack from the appetizers before heading to Captain Hackett's office.

      The Captain was delighted to see them and quickly summoned five waitresses. "We only be needin' five waitresses at a time fer the lunch hour, so when yer done questionin' these five let me know," the Captain told them. The babies thanked him, and the Lupe left the room.

      Treaphie glanced around and immediately felt disappointed - the Aisha waitress was not there. Remembering that she could ask the other waitress questions later, she looked around at those who were there. A Mynci, a Kacheek, two Wockies, and a Bori were present, glancing curiously at the babies assembled.

      "These be the ones ter question us?" the Mynci asked harshly.

      "They be landlubbers!" the Kacheek shouted.

      "You guys know what this is about, I hope?" Treaphie questioned loudly. "You're aware of the incident that occurred that the Fontaine Sisters were blamed for?"

      Silence fell upon the assembled waitresses.

      "Blamed?" the Mynci suddenly exclaimed. "Do ye think they were innocent?"

      "We believe they are," Treaphie responded cooly. "Now we'll be asking the questions and we'd appreciate complete, honest answers. Anyone who doesn't give them will certainly be very high on our list of suspects."

      There was a much longer silence following these words.

      "Finally some cooperation," Treaphie muttered, shaking her head. "Now first of all, I'd like to know if any of you are Marietta Jonelle?"

      Nobody answered. Treaphie asked hopefully, "Nancy Sherley?"

      A Pink Wocky raised her hand. "That be me, lass," she said kindly. "Can I help ye with something?"

      Treaphie immediately had a difficult time imagining the Wocky as a crook, but as she had been present at the Smuggler's Cove, she knew she needed to focus on her during the interrogations.

      "Um, Miss Nancy, were you at the Smuggler's Cove?" she asked.

      "Why, yes I was," Nancy answered. "Me mother had mentioned she had been looking everywhere for a particular Golden Pirate Amulet, and I had no idea where ter find such an elusive piece of jewelry. Me friend Alice suggested the Smuggler's Cove, and I decided ter check there. But they had nothing in stock fer me, so I had ter return home," she concluded sadly.

      "Alice? Alice Swindle?" Treaphie asked, recalling the name on the list. The Wocky nodded.

      "Aye, she be right here," Nancy said, pointing to the Mynci. Treaphie, who had never heard of people with such different personalities becoming friends, was surprised, but recovered quickly.

      "Alice Swindle, are you a regular customer at the Smuggler's Cove?" she asked suspiciously.

      "Of course no--" Alice began, but Nancy intervened.

      "Yes, she told me what fine wares they have - and what interestin' ones, too!"

      Alice glared at Nancy, who asked, "What? Did ye want that ter be a secret?"

      Now very suspicious of the Mynci, Treaphie questioned Alice, "You were there before the incident, but not after, correct?"

      Alice nodded stiffly.

      Treaphie glanced at her siblings, hoping for confirmation of her thoughts. Leti glared at Alice and exclaimed, "Treaphie, I think this Mynci is guilty!"

      Alice looked surprised at this. "Me? Guilty of what?" she asked.

      "Of getting the Fontaine Sisters fired!" Leti replied angrily.

      "That wasn't me, lass. There's no reason I'd want the Fontaine Sisters fired. On the contrary, I'm upset at their sudden unemployment."

      "Oh, really?" Treaphie asked skeptically. "And why is that?"

      "Loretta and Rosetta Fontaine often cover fer me at work. They be the most helpful waitresses there ter me. I'd never want them fired."

      She sounded truthful, but Treaphie still found her suspicious. She kept her in the back of her mind when interrogating the other waitresses, named Sally Anchor, Rachel Astondi, and Wendy Horco. They all seemed innocent, so she sent them off and requested that the next five be summoned to the office.

      After the next five arrived, Treaphie studied them carefully. There were three Aishas, two of which were Loretta and Rosetta Fontaine, another Kacheek, and a Purple Kyrii. Treaphie requested that they identify themselves. The Kacheek said that she was Stacy Hora, the Kyrii introduced herself as Tessa Trollie, and the Blue Aisha waitress shared that her name was Marietta Jonelle.

      Immediately suspicious of the Aisha but trying not to show it, Treaphie gestured for Loretta and Rosetta Fontaine to step out of the line. She then asked if anyone had been at the Smuggler's Cove recently.

      Marietta put her hand up immediately. "Ye shall never guess what fine ware I purchased from there only yesterday," she gushed. "It be called Kauvara's Marvelous Potion, and it be worth quite a few bucks! Only 120 dubloons - a bargain!"

      "Okay," said Treaphie slowly. "Well, um... do you remember yesterday when you got that Grog?"

      Marietta laughed smoothly. "Which time, lass?" she questioned. "That be a popular drink!"

      "Well, we found some of the spice that caused this whole mess right by the Grog pile right after you went to it, which leads us to suspect that you had involvement with the spice!" Treaphie accused.

      "Not to mention that you're an Aisha and could disguise yourself as one of the Fontaine Sisters!" Leti said loudly.

      Marietta gasped. "There be more contaminated stuff around?" She glanced wearily at the Fontaine Sisters. "I don't believe ye did it, but I don't know who! And I be tellin' ye, it wasn't me!"

      "Do you have any proof?" Treaphie demanded.

      "I don't," Marietta admitted, "but I hope ye can trust me. I'd never want another barmaid fired!"

      Tessa stepped forward. "Stacy and I were both cleaning up," she announced, "after the more recent findings of spice by the Grog, and we found that right by the spice was a small opening. We feel it arrived by means of that." Stacy nodded vigorously.

      "How small?" Treaphie questioned.

      Tessa shrugged. "Oh, a neopet could have fit through it, wouldn't ye say, Stacy?" Again, Stacy nodded.

      Growing more excited by the moment, Treaphie asked Tessa to lead her to the opening. On the way, Treaphie asked Tessa if she had told anyone about the opening. Tessa shook her head no.

      "Why not?" Kasthie asked, amazed she would keep something like that to herself.

      "We were scared - imagine if the pet responsible heard us give away their method of going in and out of the Golden Dubloon!"

      "Then what changed? You're telling us now," Kolyae pointed out.

      Tessa hesitated. "Loretta and Rosetta Fontaine are being fired after tonight," she whispered. "I trust that ye aren't goin' ter make a big deal out of it like anybody else would, and I think ye can solve this... I'm not sure why, seeing as ye be babies, but something about ye makes ye seem truly motivated and able ter figure this out."

      Treaphie felt heartened by her praise and confidence in them, and when they made it to the Food Storage Rooms, Tessa showed them the location of the opening immediately. Treaphie was astonished to see it - it wasn't as big as she had imagined, but it was clear that somebody of normal pet size could go through it with a bit of effort.

      "How long has this been here?" she asked Tessa.

      Tessa glanced at it uncertainly. "By the condition of it, and the fact that we at the Golden Dubloon would've heard if somethin' like this was being made, I'd say that it's been here fer quite a long time."

      "We should see where it leads," Treaphie told her siblings.

      "Oh, no!" Tessa exclaimed, eyes wide. "I couldn't have ye do that, it might be dangerous! Who knows what be at the end of this path?"

      "We've got to go through," Treaphie told her firmly. "It's the best lead so far!"

      "All right," Tessa said worriedly. "But right after ye go through it, come straight back. If ye aren't here soon, I'm announcing yer disappearance ter the whole restaurant."

      Treaphie thanked Tessa and dismissed her, and the Purple Kyrii returned to her duties upstairs. The babies looked at each other.

      "We need to discuss this information," Treaphie said urgently.

      "But let's do it on the way," Kasthie pleaded. "I don't want the whole restaurant to know about this, and they will if we take too long."

      Treaphie agreed, and the four of them slid through the opening. They found themselves in what looked like an underground tunnel, which stretched on for a long distance. Kasthie shuddered.

      "What are your thoughts, Treaphie?" Leti asked curiously, noting the serious expression on the Usul's face.

      Treaphie glanced at her sister. "It looks like the mystery is coming to a close, but I fear we may have more suspects than we think."

      "Why?" the others asked simultaneously.

      "Whoever used this passage could have gone in and out of the restaurant without having their names written down," Treaphie told them. "If that's true, then they probably aren't on the list at all!"

      "But we only have a few more names to interrogate!" Kasthie exclaimed, shocked.

      "Don't tell me all that was for nothing," Kolyae moaned, putting his head in his hands.

      "I don't think so," said Treaphie thoughtfully. "It's my opinion there would have been an accomplice or two in the restaurant at the time to act as a witness."

      "Good thinking!" Kasthie commended. "Who's left to ask? Or do you think one of the waitresses is guilty?"

      Treaphie frowned. "Marietta Jonelle seemed honest, but almost too honest... perhaps she is a skillful liar. And her being an Aisha makes her an even more prominent suspect. Not to mention Alice, who was definitely lying during part of our interview when asked about the Smuggler's Cove."

      "The smugglers at the Smuggler's Cove certainly seem weary of the authorities," Leti recalled. "Maybe the customers are just as frightened buying wares there."

      This seemed like a good theory, and Treaphie was silent as she contemplated what they had learned on the rest of the journey through the tunnel. When the end was finally near, Treaphie sped up. She emerged excitedly from the tunnel, and the others followed.

      "What... where are we?" Kasthie wondered.

      Leti peered around at the boxes of clothes all around them. She pulled out a fine ruffled dress made out of white silk and smiled. "Whoever owns these has good taste in clothes," she said.

      The babies climbed away from the boxes and glanced uncertainly around them. There were pets shopping on all sides of them, most of them tourists getting eye patches and shirts with pirate symbols on them.

      The babies saw the front door and ran through it, hoping to get their bearings. As they left the shop, Kasthie gasped.

      "Bilge Dice! The Bilge Dice hut is right there!" she squeaked fearfully.

      Treaphie looked at the sign above the store they were just in. The writing looked familiar, though she couldn't read it. "Wasn't that the store Toupahz called 'Krawk Fashions'?" she asked the others.

      "Yes, it was!" Leti exclaimed, remembering the store. "I wonder why the tunnel leads there?"

      "We should ask the manager if he knows about the tunnel," Treaphie said decisively.

      "No!" Kasthie exclaimed. "Remember what Tessa told us? We shouldn't have a lot of publicity for this tunnel."

      "Good point, Kasthie," Treaphie amended. "And we should be getting back to the restaurant anyways, or else Tessa will worry - and so will our family."

      The babies hastily made their way to the tunnel, and from there they ran through it. Suddenly Treaphie realized that Leti had stopped and was staring at the floor.

      "What is it?" Treaphie asked, annoyed.

      "The spice!" Leti exclaimed.

To be continued...

 
Search the Neopian Times




Other Episodes


» Baby Adventures: The Mystery of the Fontaine Sisters - Part One
» Baby Adventures: The Mystery of the Fontaine Sisters - Part Two



Week 559 Related Links


Other Stories




Submit your stories, articles, and comics using the new submission form.