Janet and Jane: The Case of the Framed Detectives: Part Seven
Alright, so going where all of this began in the middle of the night with practically my least favorite Neopet while I was still framed for something I didn't do wasn't the best idea. We didn't even tell the others that we were going out. We maybe should have done that.
"Are you sure you don't want to put that facepaint on?" Kell asked. "What if you get recognized?"
"It's midnight," I replied. "Who would be out at this hour?"
"Well, we're out at this hour."
I rolled my eyes. I could tell that Supra, my glowing Miamouse (also known as our source of light), did the same. I had her for so long, she adapted to my habits. Kell reminded me of what Jonah said to me a couple days ago, about my dented coin (that I still had on me).
"Well, nobody else is out. I don't even think Mason's out." I crossed my arms. "That means less work for us."
"I still think it would be better to find Mason first," the Wocky said.
"Well we don't know where Mason is." I glanced at him. "If you want to go hunting for him, fine, but I think that neither of us should be alone right now."
He didn't say anything else. My point has been made. The two of us kept walking together. I wasn't very happy with him tagging along, but I wasn't entirely sure if I was going to run into Mason. Kell knew more than I did about what on Neopia he was. That and he was the only Neopet around to take with me. Besides, with him here, I knew that he wouldn't tell anyone what I was up to.
The silence was starting to get to me. It was too quiet. I felt like something was watching us. Plotting... Waiting for the right moment... Nevermind. It was all just in my head. Nobody was watching us. Nobody was planning anything. We were the only Neopets around.
We reached our destination. It was a lone Neohome outside of Neopia Central. It was in good condition, but it hasn't been touched in years.
Just how I remembered it.
"So, what is this place?" Kell asked.
Another question from my least favorite monster hunter. He was as curious as his brother. I said to him, "Where it began."
"Where what began?!"
"This! All of this!" I waved my arms around like an idiot. "This is where Jane and I met. Where we became friends. Where we decided to start a detective agency. We actually used this place as our base before we relocated."
Kell examined the building, then said, "This place? It's just a regular Neohome."
"It's where Jane and I grew up," I defended. "Where my mom and dad raised me, where we took in Jane-"
"You took in Jane?"
"Weird family, pound, Dr_Death, crazy stuff." I looked at him. "Wait, why am I telling you this? You wouldn't care."
I turned away from him and walked to the Neohome. I examined the foliage to search for any sign of Jane. If I knew Jane (and trust me, I do), she would leave some sort of sign telling me that she was here. Something that nobody but me would notice.
As I was checking a bush, I heard something happen behind me. It was a frenzy of footsteps and some foliage being rustled. I knew it was Kell, so I ignored what was happening and continued to search.
"Janet, control your Petpet," Kell ordered.
That was strange. Supra was on my shoulder. Even if she wasn't, she wouldn't freak out (unless I was in trouble or I told her to do so). Supra was really well-behaved. I decided to turn around to see something whizzing around the Wocky.
"Alize!" I cheered. I ran up to the black Alabriss to try and calm it down. "Kell, Alize is Jane's Petpet."
"Yeah, I recognize him, but why is he acting so strange?" he asked.
"I don't know. He's usually well behaved unless he's anxious about something or someone." I tried to grab Alize. "You haven't done anything that'd make him act like this, and he's been Jane's Petpet for years, so he has no reason to be anxious about me."
Alize began to circle me. I spun around and tried to catch him. The only thing that did was made me dizzy. That wasn't the worst thing that happened, though. Alize actually grabbed my hair with his mouth and tried to fly off somewhere.
"Ow! Alize, stop!" I shouted. I finally grabbed the insane Petpet and got him out of my hair. He was flailing and whinnying. "What on Neopia has gotten into you?!"
I let the Alabriss go. He flew around Kell and I two or three times before flying off. I decided to check out where he was going. He went around the house to the back entrance. When he was at the back door, he lied on the front step.
"Why would he want me to come back here?" I asked myself.
"That's what I'd like to know," Kell replied. I assumed he followed me (most likely because he didn't want to be alone somewhere he wasn't familiar with while the nearest Neohome was a long walk away. I didn't mind, though).
Alize got up and grabbed something with his mouth. He flew up to me and I think he tried to give it to me. He sort of just rammed my chest a couple times with his head. I finally took whatever was in his mouth and examined it. It appeared to be Jane's bracelet. The very same one that she wore the last time I saw her.
"Either Jane is here or was here," I said to myself. "Time to find out, Fuzzball."
Kell growled, "Don't call me Fuzzball."
"Then don't call me gentle."
I got on my toes and swiped the doorframe for a key. Strange, there was no key up there. Even when I lived here, there was a key to the back door on the frame. Jane must have moved it.
"The door is unlocked, you know."
Jonah poked his ghostly head through the door as he said that. Kell and I both jumped back at the sight. We weren't in the mood for scaring. Once I calmed down, I glared at Jonah.
"What are you doing here?" I asked. "Why are you here?"
"I saw you two leave without telling anybody," the Ixi answered. "Being a ghost has advantages." He crossed his arms. "The others will be here in a few minutes."
"Snitch," I muttered to myself.
"Just be happy I didn't tell anyone about the little fight you guys had."
Kell and I were silenced. This wasn't good. He had something against us, and I was sure he was going to exploit it if he didn't get his way. Blackmail was not fun. Jane and I have been blackmailed before (don't ask), and it took a lot to make sure we were safe again.
"Tell them that we're inside," I said to the Ixi. "Just don't tell them what happened."
Jonah nodded and floated off. With him gone, I opened the door and walked inside. The inside was just how I remembered it. Well organized furniture, straight pictures on the wall, some toys scatted on the floor. The only thing that was possibly different was a thin layer of dust was forming on everything.
"That ghost friend of yours is a little nosy," Kell said to me from the other side of the room I was in.
"Jonah means well," I replied. "He's really nice."
"For a ghost," he muttered.
I looked at him. It looked like he was examining some pictures. I said, "No. He's just really nice. He's one of the nicest Neopets I know. Just get to know him and you'd agree within a few days."
I walked around my old Neohome like I was here just yesterday. The layout just came to me when I saw the familiar surroundings. I felt like I was a kid again. I could just imagine little Jane and little me running down those stairs as my mom called to us saying dinner was ready.
A picture on a picture caught my attention. It was of a green Korbat and a purple Kacheek. They looked around ten years old, twelve or thirteen at the oldest. I remember when my mom and dad took that picture. I think it was Jane's birthday and we were hyper on cake.
"Aw, is that you?"
I turned around to see Natia behind me (which meant that the others were here, too). She had a bandage wrapped around her head and one around her right shoulder. Still, her eyes were bright, her hair was in two ponytails, and her dress was still bright. She still seemed like the Natia I knew.
"Yes, Natia. This was Jane and I when we were kids," I answered.
"Aw, you two were so cute!" she cheered. "I didn't know you were purple before you were painted."
"Well, I was. How's your head? I heard you ran after me."
"I did. It's getting better." The alien Aisha rubbed the back of her neck and nervously laughed. "I should really stop running into things."
Yeah, she really needed to do that. I walked away from the picture to continue looking around. As I was looking, I saw the others looking around, as well (though they were checking out the pictures more than they were checking out for any sign of Jane). Now if I was Jane, where would I be?
I looked at the old stairs. Maybe she was in our orignal "base" (also known as the attic). We used to go up there and solve pretend crimes. I went up the stairs to the second floor. It was dark on the second floor, but I could still see.
I went hunting for the attic door. Once I found it, I went right for it. It looked as if it wasn't opened since our family left this place. When I opened it, I knew it was used recently. The hinges were made of iron, so it would have rusted shut if it wasn't used. I was sure it rusted at first, but it was cleared up by Jane.
I went through the door and up the ladder that was behind it. The space between the ladder and the wall seemed more narrow than I remembered (then again, I did grow since the last time I climbed up here). At the top of the ladder was the attic. It was pretty dark, since there were no lights on and it was midnight. I fumbled around the wall for the light switch. When I found it, I didn't hesitate to turn on the lights.
In the middle of the floor was a sleeping shadow Korbat. I couldn't help but smile. This might seem strange to the average Neopet, since Korbat's are usually nocturnal, but she adjusted to sleeping during the night like me. She's been like this ever since I met her. I thought it was strange at first, but I got used to a Korbat during the day. She seemed to be in a deep slumber. Too bad, I needed to wake her up.
"Jane," I whispered as I shook her. "Jane, wake up. Jane, it's not exactly the best time to sleep."
She shifted to face me. Her eyes slowly opened. The moment she realized that it was me, she went from sleepy to wide awake.
"Janet!" she cheered. She practically jumped to her feet. "You got my message! I'm so sorry for ditching you and Natia, but I didn't want you to be in any danger."
"It's okay. It's okay," I replied. "I'm okay, Natia's okay, everyone's okay."
"I know who did the robberies, too. I just don't know why or how."
"Mason said something about someone paying top dollar."
Jane looked at me surprisingly. "How do you know his name?"
I rocked on my two feet. "Let's just say that all of us had a falling out with him."
"What? You and Natia met him?"
"More than Natia and I."
"Oh, you mean Nathan and Shadow."
I shook my head. I could tell that Jane was getting a little concerned. I had the feeling Shadow didn't tell her how many Neopets were helping her out (to be fair, he did find out earlier today and he didn't get the chance to tell her). She was going to be so surprised when I tell her.
"Well, who else knows of this?" the Korbat asked.
Time to let her know. "Well, you remember the Neopets we met over our recent cases? You know, the ones at Roo Island, Neovia, and that museum."
"Yeah, why do you-" She stopped and looked at me. "You're kidding me, right?"
"Them and Lyanka from the Cork Gun Gallery." I rubbed the back of my neck. "I'm not even joking, they are helping us out."
"I'm going to have to see it to believe it." Jane crossed her arms and looked at me suspiciously. "Seems too hard to believe."
I held out my hands in defense. "Alright, you want to see them, you can see them. Just follow me."
I took a total of three steps to the ladder before Jane and I heard something strange. It sounded like Natia screaming. Shortly after, I heard what I believe was a crash. Yikes, I had a bad feeling something was going on.
"Jane, do you hear that?" I asked.
"Of course I hear that," she retorted. I knew I didn't need to say that. She had better hearing than me. Korbats did have very good hearing, after all. "What do you think is happening?"
I walked to where the source was coming from. Jane and I found a little area where we could build a peek hole thing that went into the living room when we were kids. I couldn't believe that it was still intact from years of not being in use.
"Why don't we find out?" I said to Jane.
She joined me. The two of us looked through the periscope-like device. From what we saw, there was a starry Ixi running around with Kell and Corbin going after him. Mae and Xavier were trying to attack him. What the others were doing, we couldn't tell. The periscope-like device couldn't move, as it was literally in the walls. From the sound, though, I could tell there was total chaos.
"Uh oh," I whispered. I had to whisper if I was here. Since sound can come in, sound can come out (and the last thing we wanted was Mason to give us a little visit). "Looks like Mason decided to pay us a visit."
"How on Neopia did he get here?" Jane asked quietly.
"I don't know and I don't care. I just want that thief caught before he blames us for something again."
Jane stopped talking after that. She was intent on the scene that was happening below us. Mason seemed to stop in the middle of the room. What was he planning? Whatever it was, I was one hundred percent sure that it wouldn't be good.
"Now let me ask you again," he said calmly. "Where is Janet? I know she's here."
"For the last time! We don't know where she is!" Natia screamed out of view. A pillow is hurled at the shapeshifter. When it hit him, it looked like he was going to burst. Natia had the tendency to make criminals mad it appeared that today was no acception.
"All of you saw her here. One of you must surely know where she had gone."
"Well, we don't," Corbin said calmly. He slowly appeared in the window that we could see through. "Why do you want to see her, anyway?"
"Corbin, that's not something I want to share with you."
Mason picked up a mug that was on the table and threw it at the Ogrin. A Jhudora green glow circled the mug and was thrown off course. Of course, though, it went in the direction our little viewing area was located. It hit it with a loud crash and the mug broke into little pieces (though, thankfully, our window area didn't break). I was startled and let out a little yelp. The second after I did that, I covered my mouth with my hands.
I just blew our cover.
Mason certainly heard me. He looked where the hidden opening was (it was behind a pretty strong glass two way mirror). The Ixi looked at the mirror with intent, as if he was looking past his reflection.
"I must go now," he said slyly. "I have some business to take care of."
Mason then morphed into a red Scorchio and flew in the direction of the stairs. I could hear him cackle as he disappeared.
We were in so much trouble.
"What on Neopia did you do that for?" Jane hissed with no regard for volume.
"It was an accident! I didn't mean it!" I shouted in defense. I glanced at the window that we were looking through. A few Neopets were looking at the mirror. "He'll be at the attic in just a few minutes."
"Why are you talking like that?"
I pointed at the periscope-like device. From what we could see, some of the Neopets were looking around for what I hoped was the way to the attic.
"I didn't want to tell them directly," I informed. "Just in case."
She slyly smiled at me. "You clever Kacheek."
Jane and I looked around the attic for a hiding spot. We decided to hop behind some old boxes that had some old stuff from when we lived here. A few seconds later, I felt a chill in the air. Either Jonah was here or there was a draft (or both. It could always be both).
Sounds came from the ladder that led up here. A Scorchio flew up from the ladder area and landed on the floor. He morphed back into a starry Ixi and began to pant. Was he getting tired?
"I need to get Janet quick," he muttered to himself in between pants. "I'm getting tired and morphing takes a lot out of me." He walked around and called, "Janet! Are you in here?" in Jane's voice.
So he was getting tired? And when he's tired, he can't morph? Oh, I just got an idea.
"Follow my lead," I whispered to Jane.
"What are you going to do?" she whispered back.
I waited until Mason was close by. He looked at the periscope-like device that Jane and I were looking through. While he was distracted, I got out of my little hiding spot. Jane ws reluctant to follow me, but she slowly came out of her spot. Alright, time to get his attention.
"Yo, Mason," I said.
Oh, Jane almost fainted when I said that. The last thing she wanted was attention. Mason looked at me. He smiled eerily. That was a bit unnerving. Maybe I didn't think this through completely.
"Ah, Janet, I've been looking for you," he said.
Without saying anything else, he lunged at me. I quickly stepped aside and dodged. All he got was a face full of floor. The moment he hit the floor, he got even angrier. Jane just went back to her hiding spot as soon as this ordeal started.
Mason did his whole "try and tackle the detective" thing while I kept dodging and dodging and dodging. I could tell that the Ixi was getting very tired very fast. His panting was getting heavier and I could hear it clearly. Just what I wanted.
"You're not doing such a good job of fighting me," Mason said.
"I'm not fighting you," I replied. "I'm tiring you out, and it looks like I'm doing a pretty good job at that."
Mason tried to charge at me another time, but he just collapsed on the floor. He didn't even bother getting up. Either he was too exausted or he realized he was defeated (or both. Again, it could always be both). At that time, Jane came out of her hiding spot. She walked right up next to me.
"You realize that was extremely dangerous, right?" I heard Jonah ask. He appeared next to me. The ghost's arms were crossed and an unhappy look was in his eye.
"I agree with Jonah," Jane added. "You could have gotten seriously hurt."
"And when has that ever stopped me?" I asked. "Jane, we've been through a whole bunch of dangerous stuff and got through it okay, and you think that now would be different?"
Jane turned to the ladder. Did she hear something? I was assuming she did. She did always hear thing I couldn't hear. I decided to check out what Jane was looking at. I looked at the ladder and saw an alien Aisha head pop up.
"Janet, what's going-" she began. She quickly stopped herself, though. "Jane!" Natia hurried into the attic and ran up to the now rather concerned Korbat (must be the bandages). "Jane, we've been worried sick about you! What happened? Are you okay?"
"I'm more concerned about you," Jane replied. "What happened to you?"
"Oh, I ran into a door while I was chasing Janet as she went after Mason at our base." She looked past Jane and I and at Mason (who I believed was sleeping at the moment). "Speaking of him, is he okay?"
Jane glared at me. I looked away. I didn't want her to know about that. Natia could not get the idea that there was such a thing as too honest.
"So is that it?" Jonah asked. "Are we done?"
I shook my head and said, "Not quite."
To Be Continued…