A Different Theft
Everything was going well that day, until the Negg disappeared. Aear had planned on having it for lunch, and she was distinctly confused. She had placed the Negg on her plate, gone back into the kitchen to grab a glass of milk. She was just in the middle of pouring her nice glass when she heard her sister's Doglefox enter the dining room. She didn't concern herself too much with it; Fang usually behaved herself, and the table was usually too high. Besides, she'd specially seasoned the Negg with chili powder; her pup really wouldn't like that.
Sure that she had no cause to worry, she turned back to dropping bits of food coloring into her milk. Her mom was out of the house, and it was a LOT more fun to drink teal milk than boring, white milk.
She returned to the table, and instantly gritted her teeth.
Fang had apparently eaten her lunch. The evidence was there; the plushie Doglefox was on top of the table, sniffing around her plate. Her Negg was missing.
Aear glowered at Fang. "Bad Fang!"
Fang didn't notice. Instead, the pup kept sniffing urgently around the plate. Then a stray pepper-flake must have gotten up her nose, because she instantly started growling, barking, and sneezing. At that instant, a small flash of light seemed to reflect off the plate.
Aear stopped glaring at the Doglefox, and instantly moved her attention to the plate.
She must have imagined the flash of light, because there was nothing out of the ordinary. There was just no sign of the Negg.
Wait, no sign. Not even stray chili-flakes. That was odd.
She quickly joined Fang's examination process.
She still couldn't find anything out of the ordinary, and then she realized that something was missing. Her pup's breath didn't even smell like Negg. And she hadn't heard crunch noises.
Weird. That meant that the Doglefox couldn't have eaten the Negg. But, then, what happened to it?
She absently got another Negg from the refrigerator, peppered it up, and ate her lunch in silence. Nothing more out of the ordinary happened before her family got home.
As soon as her sisters got home, she of course told them about her lunch experience.
"There was no sign, of anything?" Orod's asked.
"Well, there might have been some sort of flash of light," the desert Peophin confessed. "But I don't know. There was nothing there when I got there. It was," Aear continued dramatically, "peculiar." A dangerously energetic glint came into the Peophin's eyes. "In fact, almost... magical!"
Essy groaned silently. "Aear, please. I thought you'd promised to create no more spells for at least a month."
Aear glared at her Cybunny sister. "Essy, I wasn't going to try to make my own spell this time."
"Good," Mckinleybooksfan muttered under hear breath.
The Peophin's glare turned towards her mother.
"Sweetie, I'm all for learning. But you've nearly burnt the house down several times in the past week. We could all use a tiny bit of a break."
"Ok, fine." Aear pouted. "But what if it is magical?"
Essy's face took a look of one trying to solve a difficult problem. "It's not."
"What?" Orod asked. "How can you be so sure, so quickly?"
Essy made an amused face. "I could tell you, but then I'd have to shoot you." She looked more seriously at them. "Let's just say that I still have a few resources and talents, and the people I worked for provided me with ways to make sure nobody could use magic without my being able to detect it."
All of them turned to stare at her.
"You never told us about it before because...?" Their mother left the sentence trailing.
Essy looked up impishly. "Well, I'm allowed to have some secrets, aren't I? In reality, I'd actually forgotten about it until just now."
"Ok. So we've determined it's not magical," Aear said, still with a pout. "I guess that means I won't be doing any more magic soon.
"But what was it, then?"
"I am not as of yet certain," their Lenny sister replied, "but it seemeth unto me as though perchance it is of a substance the likes of which we have not encountered. Or rather, the likes of which we have not knowingly encountered.
"Mayhap it would be wisest to refrain from hasty decisions, and instead withdraw, and contemplate, and seek out more evidence?"
Aear never understood why Laurie insisted upon using antiquated language, but she didn't even roll her eyes this time. "That sounds like a good idea. I mostly just wanted the attention, anyways."
"I'm inclined to agree," Essy replied. "I don't have enough info to be able to figure anything out, and that's unusual. But Laurie's right; to the best of my knowledge, I don't know that I've encountered anything that could so quickly remove any sign of Aear's messes."
Essy smiled at the desert Peophin.
"Anyways, I'll want to investigate before I try to figure anything out."
Mckinleybooksfan nodded. "Seems reasonable. If anything comes up, though, let each other know, ok?"
All her pets nodded, and left the room.
Aear went back to her room. She arrived in her room just in time to see another small flash, similar to what she had on the plate, and an odd Darblat-like figure disappear with one of her bottles of sand. She saw it for less than a millisecond before it literally disappeared. When they entered, there was no trace of the thing.
"An invader," Aear whispered to herself conspiratorially. Her eyes widened. "Invader. An invader from an alternate dimension!"
"Oh whoops! ESSY!!" Aear bellowed. "MOM! LAURIE! I MAY HAVE FOUND SOMETHING!"
They all rushed in.
"You called?" Essy asked drily. "There may be some folks a few hundred miles away who couldn't hear you."
"Essy," her mother chided, "not everyone has ears as sensitive as yours.
"Anyways, Aear, what did you find?"
"Interdimensional invaders!" Aear interjected quickly. "We saw a Darblat from another dimension steal one of Orod's bottles of sand!"
Orod stared at her. "From... another dimension?"
"Well, why not?"
"Have you heard of something like that happening before?"
Orod groaned. Sometimes there was no arguing with the Peophin.
Mckinleybooksfan stared at her. "You mean to tell me that invaders from another dimension are using advanced technology to steal... sand?"
"And a Negg!" the Peophin continued enthusiastically, oblivious to her mother's skepticism.
"Ah," Essy replied. "Well, I suppose it's possible. Did you check the window sill, just to make sure?"
"Uh, no. I just called you."
"Well, that's definitely an interesting hypothesis. I'd recommend gathering more information before alerting the authorities, though."
Aear nodded. She knew that the Neopian justice system disliked theories that didn't fit the norm. Her warnings about Jelly World had gone unheeded for years now.
"Well, sorry to not have anything substantial at the moment," she apologized sheepishly. Her tone then suddenly changed back to her normal, dramatic expression. "But if they exit, I'll find them! And if they're coming for us, we'll be ready! Interdimensional rabid darblats of doom, you have been warned!"
"That sounds like a good idea, dear. But no magic for a while yet, ok?" her mother replied.
She nodded quickly, then swept away into her room. As the only Neopian to have seen this new threat, she would need to be ready. That involved battle plans, developing safety procedures for the house, and once more attempting to train Linnoduin how to defend herself. She was too busy to chat, now that there was work to do.
Interdimensional darblats, and possibly other creatures, were coming. And when they did, she would be ready.
In a small corner of Neopia Central, a small Skeith pondered a bottle of sand her petpet had stolen. This Skeith was different from any others seen in Neopia. Her main body was darker the closer it came to the light, and seemed to glow around the edges. The dark blue against the teal was a wonderful color contrast, and would have attracted a lot of attention, but she knew how to hide in the corners.
She was the first of her dimension to visit this aspect of Neopia, and she wanted to know as much about life as possible, before pulling her army of Darblats to help her take over the world.