Janet and Jane: The Case of the Rattled Witnesses - Part One
"Do you understand him?" I asked Jane.
"Not one word," she replied.
The poor Chia kept shivering and stuttering and just plain rattled. Being detectives, we knew that different Neopians react differently to a robbery. Fear was pretty common, but this was excessive. Never before have we met someone that could barely speak.
We decided to check on Clarence Chichester Coggeshale later. He hopefully would calm down so he could tell us what happened. No matter how hard I tried not to, I couldn't help but think about what happened to Clarence that made him this way. Yes, a robbery does that, but it was as if he saw a ghost (hmm, that was a possibility).
As we left Prigpants and Swolthy, the sun was setting over Neovia. The sun was casting an orange glow through the fog. That didn't sound so bad, almost relaxing, but it wasn't -- it was unnerving. Our jobs didn't help a bit with this view.
There were three different robberies all over Neovia. Jane and I believed it was the same Neopet/group doing them. Everywhere we go, all those who witnessed the crimes were more rattled than a maraca. Each store, Prigpants and Swolthy; Chesterdrawers' Antiques; the Neovian Printing Press, they couldn't speak. Looked like J2 was in for a tough case to solve.
The only thing that we knew about the crime was the Neopet that did it made no attempt to be secretive. Destruction was not just in the stores, but on the streets as well. Jane and I had to be especially careful not to trip over any debris as we made it back to our hotel.
Once we were in our hotel room, I spread the pictures I took of the debris across my bed. The damage, though chaotic, looked pretty much the same from store to store. We knew that the robberies were done by the same culprit(s), but no Neopet could do this type of damage. Whatever clues they could have possibly left were most likely destroyed.
"What do you think happened, Janet?" the Korbat asked me.
"I don't know, Jane. All of this just doesn't add up," I sighed. "We've been working this job for over a week and no progress. What do you think we should do?"
Jane went over to the vanity and looked into the mirror. She fixed her hair and straightened her shirt. "I don't know, Janet, but I know something can be done to solve this case. Who knows? So are you ready to talk to the mayor?"
I forgot we were meeting the mayor of Neovia tonight. He said it was important, but he didn't say how it was. I bet it had something to do with the robberies. Oh, if we get fired, I swear, he won't live to see the sunrise.
"I really hope it's good news," I groaned.
"Be polite to him. He is the one who hired us."
"I know. I know. You told me to be polite to our clients a thousand times."
Jane had a problem with my rudeness. It wasn't false, I did have a tendency to be rude. Jane always said that the clients didn't like it when I was rude. I never saw them have a major problem with it.
After the sun completely set and darkness was in the air of Neovia, Jane and I went to Town Hall. It was an impressive building -- bigger than the hotel Jane and I were staying at and had a big clock in the center of the tower. Beautiful bushes and flowers lined the perimeter of the building. Inside was just as, if not more, impressive. There was expensive furniture and flooring. The most realistic paintings lined the walls.
The mayor himself was not as impressive as the interior -- at least not now. He was a silver Yurble in proper attire. His hair was turning from a dark brown to the same silver color he was painted. I have never seen him out of his fancy clothes. He was known for his strong face and character, but with all the crimes that had been happening, that strength had melted away to be replaced with worry.
When we walked into his office, he was sulking at his desk. From the way was acting, he was more grey than silver. Once his eyes focused on the Korbat and I, he sat up straight. I knew he was hoping that we didn't see him like the way he was.
"Hello, mayor," Jane and I said simultaneously.
"Just call me Mr. Camden, and hello," he sighed in response.
"So Mr. Camden, you wanted to talk to us?" Jane asked.
"Yes." Mr. Camden stood up and walked up to us. As he walked, he said, "It's about your jobs."
"Look, if it's about our lack of progress, it isn't our fault," I defended. "We keep trying to interview residents, but the only ones who saw what happened are so rattled up. I wonder why."
"Me too, Janet. I'm not complaining, you're doing the best you can, but I was wondering if you could take on another."
Though I tried my very best, I let out a groan. Jane did as well. Now she couldn't complain about it. We were right to groan, anyway. Three at a time was a lot for us. We never did that many, let alone four.
"What's the job?" Jane asked.
The Yurble walked back to his desk and took out a clasped box. He motioned us to him. When we got up to the desk, he opened the box. Inside it was a gold necklace. Gems in the form of pendants hung from the slim yet sturdy chain. It sparkled like the stars outside.
"What is it?" I found myself asking.
"This is the Necklace of Melia. It's a treasure of Shenkuu," Mr. Camden explained. "The Emperor of Shenkuu was nice enough to lend it to me. It's going to be the centerpiece of a masquerade this Saturday. I originally kept it at Prigpants and Swolthy, but I moved it here to keep it safe." The mayor looked down at the necklace with care. "I'm glad I did." He looked back up at us. "If you could, could you please make sure that Town Hall is secure? I really don't want anyone taking it."
"Oh, of course we'll do that," Jane replied.
"We will?" I asked her.
She elbowed my side. As I rubbed my waist, she said, "It isn't really that hard for us to make sure a place is secure. We can do it in an hour tops."
She wasn't wrong. We were pretty good at making sure something's safe. Trust me, we had a lot of practice (I wouldn't ask if I was you). Mostly, we practiced on our base. And mostly, it worked.
Jane and I first started to secure the inside. The main hallways weren't the problem, though we still made sure they were safe -- it was the small, more isolated areas that we had to make sure were good. Though this thief didn't seem to care if anyone saw him, these hallways were perfect for sneaking in.
Once we were finished making the inside was safe (and setting up some traps just in case (that we told the mayor about)), we went outside. Though the building looked old, the locks did not. They were a shiny metal, most likely steel, and looked sturdy. I didn't think that we needed to do much work out here.
As my Korbat friend checked the windows on the upper floors and our Petpets doing those on our level, I checked the foliage. The flowers and well trimmed shrubs looked nice, but I found out the hard way that some of them had thorns. Yes, ouch, I know. I didn't think they were trimmed enough. Good thing Jane had tweezers.
"Jane, I have an issue," I said.
She flew down from the roof and asked, "What's the problem?" I showed her my thorny hands. "Ouch. I can see the problem." She took off her backpack and pulled out a silvery tool. "I chose a good day to bring these, right?"
I nodded. As Jane began to pull out the thorns (while I tried not to show any pain), we heard something. Who or what was it? The thorns could wait. I motioned Jane to a patch of plants that I knew didn't have any thorns. Alize and Supra followed us in.
What we saw in front of us was two pairs of feet. There were at least two Neopets in front of us. Jane and I froze, determined to listen to what they had to say -- and not to get caught spying.
"I don't know, where do you think it is?" one asked in an annoyed tone
"I'm not in the mood for an argument. I just can't believe we lost track of it," the other replied in the same tone.
"That's something we could agree on."
"I don't know why you're acting like this. This isn't the first time this happened."
"Yes, but we don't know where it is now. Not to mention the... thieves running around here."
"I know. They're certainly not going to make our job easier."
Am I hearing this right? Did he mention the thieves? And what job? What could they possibly be working on? Could it involve the Necklace of Melia?
"I just want to take that thing and--" The voice just stopped. It was then that I noticed I shifted my tail. Jane and I held our breath. Please don't let them check the plants. "What was that?"
"I don't think it's something you should be concerned about. Probably a Zomutt or a Meepit."
"Yeesh, I don't want to run into one of them again."
"Me neither. Come on, we should really discuss this while we continue to look around. I think it's close by."
"You said that last time."
The two Neopets began to walk away.
"I know I did. I'm just saying."
"I know what you're saying. I'm just saying..." That was when we couldn't hear them anymore.
Jane and I came out of our hiding spot. I looked at Jane. She looked at me. We both knew what we were thinking.
Was there more than one set of thieves?
To be continued...