Janet and Jane: The Case of the Missing - Part One
The sun was shining over Faerieland. There was not a cloud in the sky. A light breeze tickled my cheeks. Many Neopets were trotting around the land like everything in Neopia was fine. To them, it was. To us, it wasn't.
They didn't have a serious problem to deal with.
Jane and I speed-walked over to the Hidden Tower. The guards, knowing who we were, let us in and up to the top floor. Security was so tight, the shop was closed until further notice. The addition on hundreds of Neopians wanting to buy lots of stuff would only worsen the situation at hand.
At the top floor was Queen Fyora, along with Aethia and an Air Faerie. The three were talking about the task at hand. Fyora made eye contact with us first, then gave a little worried frown at us. Aethia and the Air Faerie looked at us after they saw the look on Fyora's face.
"I'm sorry, but the Hidden Tower is closed until further notice," Fyora said. "You two have to leave right now."
"It's us, Queen Fyora," I informed her. Jane and I showed our badges to the three Faeries. "You wanted to talk to us. Remember?"
"You two are Janet and Jane? You two don't look like detectives," the Air Faerie commented.
It was true -- we didn't look like detectives. And that was the point. Who would ever expect a shadow Korbat and a shadow Kacheek as being detectives? We blend in perfectly with every crowd, we make up the best cover up stories, and we act like natives of each and every land. It was a little hard for us to act in such a happy place with a crime of this magnitude.
"We came as soon as we heard of Naia's kidnapping," Jane said. The Korbat took out a notepad and pen, ready to write something down. "Are you sure someone took her?"
"We found this note at the Rainbow Fountain this morning," Fyora answered as she handed me the folded up note that was in her hand when we came in.
"Look, for our investigation, we're going to need to look around the Rainbow Fountain. Examine the foliage around it, search for any signs of fingerprints, even take a little bit of fountain water. I know you guys are strict about who goes around it, especially with the water. If there's anything you'd rather us not do, say something now," I explained. I always had to say that before Jane and I investigate a scene. You will not believe how many Neopians get upset if we go through the wrong things.
"Go ahead," Aethia replied. "The water doesn't work unless Naia's there, and she isn't."
"Alright," Jane said. "If you find anything, suspects; clues; leads; more notes, or want us to let us know something, contact us again. Otherwise, have a nice day, Faeries."
Jane and I turned to the door and walked out it. For Faeries who just had one of the most beloved of them kidnapped, they seemed pretty calm. A little too calm, if you ask me. Most Neopians who just experienced a crime were usually frazzled or scared or worried or anything, but not calm! Then again, this was our first job that involved Faeries calling us in. Aethia needed to be calm for the Battledome and Fyora was the queen -- of course she was calm. The air Faerie, she did seem a bit nervous, but nothing like we usually saw.
The Rainbow Fountain was a gray blue instead of the vibrant blue it usually was. The rainbow waterfalls weren't running. It was hard to tell this from a lake that would be around. I took a sample of the still water from the fountain while Jade examined the foliage around it.
Now Naia. She does have a few Neopets (okay, let's face it, a bunch of Neopets) that are mad at her for not letting her turn them into their dream color. Even Jane at I were a little mad at her for not painting us Shadow until we got two Shadow Paint Brushes from a job as a reward. What we were after was Neopets that visited recently and were declined. I know what I'm going to ask Fyora next.
"I don't see anything over here," Jane said.
"Same here. Other than the gray blue water and now waterfalls, this place was practically untouched," I muttered.
The Korbat sighed. "I think I have a theory, but I don't think it's correct. And it's a little silly. It's very, very, very unlikely."
Jane tended to be a little unsure of her ideas. She really shouldn't be. Most of her hunches were right. The shadow Korbat tended to think on her feet. It's good that does that. Our investigations had a tendency to get us in a world of trouble. Without going into much detail, our last job almost had the two of us walk the plank on a pirate ship. (Trust me, you don't want to know what we were doing.)
"Come on, Jane," I said. "You know your theories are usually right. Besides, we can build something off of it."
"Alright." Jane flew up next to me. "Do you think, maybe, Naia wasn't taken?"
I tilted my head. She was right. That was definitely possible, but it was very unlikely. Naia loved her job as the Fountain Faerie. She wouldn't just take a break, would she? I remember the note Queen Fyora gave us. I took it from Jane and automatically opened the folded parchment up. Maybe Naia wrote something in there. The note was written such fancy cursive, I could barely read it. I handed it to Jane. She could read cursive much better than I could ever attempt to.
"It says, 'Do as we say or Naia gets it. More notes are on the way,' Either Naia's really determined to get a break or she's in some major trouble," she said. "Do you really think there's more than one or just one Neopet attempting to sound more threatening?"
"One Neopet," I replied. More often than not, when a ransom note said there was more than one, there was just a single Neopet trying to make it so investigators like us don't get too deep into it. I found out that there are two meanings to the note -- just one Neopet trying to seem threatening or a whole bunch of Neopets working together. We really prefer the first one.
"You sure? I have a bad feeling." Jane's feelings were also usually right. Her gut always had a bad feeling before something bad happened. We could never tell what would happen, we knew something would definitely happen. Though I usually agreed with her, I ignored her thought.
Little did I know that I should have listened.
"So did you see anything in the bushes?" I changed the subject.
"I told you. I didn't see anything. Did you collect a sample of the water?"
"No, not yet." I took a small jar from my bag and dipped it into the gray water. Once I lifted it out of the water and put the lid on the top, I looked inside it. I didn't expect it, but there was something in there. It seemed to be some sort of gauze that looked like it had soaked for at least fifteen hours.
"What's that?" Jane asked.
"I think it's a clue." I placed the jar in my bag and put the bag on my back. "Let's finish up here and head back to base."
The word "base" referred to the little shack outside Neopia Central that I used as a clubhouse when I was a little kid. When Jane and I got really into mysteries and started J2, we revamped it and made it our headquarters. Now it's so high-tech, so state of the art, we sometimes got cases faster than the Defenders (which we decide to take or not, depending on the case).
The life of a detective wasn't as fun as we thought it'd be, but we still enjoyed helping others with our favorite thing in the world -- mysteries. Since we thought we were brave and were really good at mystery solving, we figured that this would be a nice profession for us. Little did we know we had to sacrifice a lot.
We're sort of like superheroes. We help Neopians who need it. We can't tell those close to us what we do or what we're up to. It would put them in danger. You understand?
I took out my jar of Rainbow Fountain Water and examined it. Very carefully, I took a set of tweezers and take the gauze out. From what I could see, it looked like it belonged to a fighter who would wrap this around his or her wrist. If this was dropped at the time of the crime, that would put the time of taking at around midnight to one a.m. I also saw a smudge of red by one part, meaning the culprit would have a cut.
I let out a sigh and gave out a side smile. "I think this is our first clue."
To be continued...