Janet and Jane: The Case of the Faked Test Scores: Part Three
"This isn't my test!” James exclaimed. He slammed the paper down on the table. “I remember exactly I wrote for my essay and this isn't it!”
“But that's your handwriting,” I informed as I looked at the paper. It was James' handwriting. I could recognize it easily.
The purple Bori scoffed. “I know it's my handwriting, but I never wrote that!”
“What did you write about?” Geode asked.
“I wrote about the history of abstract art for this class. Not the artists.” He adjusted his reading glasses and examined the paper intently. “I don't get it, though. This is my handwriting and writing style, but I didn't write this.”
The female voice left the room quiet. The three of us looked at the door. A royal Zafara almost hopped into the room, taking care not to land on her dress. She looked at the paper James was reading.
“Ooh, you wrote about abstract artists?” she asked.
James scowled. “No, Erica, I did not write about abstract artists,” he answered in a growl.
“What's wrong? Are you mad at me?”
“No, of course I'm not mad at you. I'm just frustrated.”
“Why?” The Zafara (who I assumed was Erica) looked over at me. “Who's your new friend?”
“She's not a new friend. This is Janet, one of the Neopets allowing me to work with them for my internship.”
“The rude one?”
I glared at James, who flinched at the sight. Geode barely held in a snicker. Erica didn't bother to speak anymore. We all knew she got her answer from my reaction.
“Yes, I am the rude one,” I informed in a slightly bitter tone. “I am rude, stubborn, and one you don't want to be on the bad side of.” I held my arm over the table, offering to shake her hand. “Pleasure to meet you.”
Erica was rather wary to shake my hand, but she did it anyway. “Nice to meet you, too,” she said uneasily. She quickly looked back at James. “What is she doing here?”
“You know what happened – I'm pretty sure the entire campus knows by now. I, James, the valedictorian, the class's vice president, got expelled. Janet and her two friends offered to help me figure out what really happened.”
I decided to jump in. “Something that James shouldn't be sharing.”
“Janet, I've known Erica for three years now. I trust her. Just like Geode and Epsilon, she could help us out.” James got his idea face. The purple Bori looked at Erica. “Erica, you can determine whose handwriting this is, right?”
I looked at James out of the corner of my eye. “And how can she do that.”
“She's the school's scribe. She specializes in handwriting.” James handed the Zafara the test. “Erica, whose handwriting is that?”
She examined the paper for a total of ten seconds. “At first glance, it looks like yours, James.”
James groaned. “But I didn't write that.”
“I said at first glance. I'll have to look at the paper in depth, but I can tell you who wrote this.” Erica looked at me. “So what are you three doing, other than checking out your test?”
I crossed my arms. “Oh, I want to talk to this dean that expelled James.”
“I wouldn't do that. Dean Green always acts strange at this time of year.”
He is, is he? Hmm, that might have to be an investigation for another day. The fact that the dean was acting strange around graduation was an important thing to look at, but I had bigger fish to fry. Still, I had to talk to Dean Green eventually. James did say that the dean was the one who expelled him. I knew Jane talked to him a few times. Maybe it would go as well as it did for her?
Yeah, I didn't think that, either.
“Sorry, but I need to get going,” Erica informed, breaking the silence that had been in the room. “I hope things go well!”
Without another word from anybody, the Zafara left the room. James and I looked at each other in confusion. It was rather sudden for Erica to leave. She most likely had things to do, yes, but couldn't she had said that?
I decided not to dwell on that. I had more important things to worry about. Like figuring out what on Neopia happened so Jane and I could clear James' name. Also not getting lost in this building on the way out of it. Yeah, that was an important thing not to do. Still, I did get lost. Hey, I couldn't help it. This place was so big!
I only got more lost as I wandered the halls in search for Geode and James. I would settle for Jane, Natia, and Epsilon. I wanted to find someone I knew. Someone who I could talk to about this. Random Neopets didn't tend to take that type of conversation well, as you could imagine. One time Natia needed to talk to someone about a case we were on and instead of going to us talks to the nearest Neopet. Needless to say that the word spread fast.
Alright, this place seemed less occupied. In fact, I haven't seen anybody in the last fifteen minutes. Or was it a half hour? Now that I thought about it, it could easily be an hour. This was the last day that I decided not to wear my watch. The fact that I had no clue how long it was since I saw someone was driving me insane.
“But I don't want to do this anymore!”
That sounded like Erica. But who was she talking to? That wasn't to herself, I knew that for sure. Maybe I could ask her? There was nothing saying that I would get an honest answer, but it was worth a shot. Besides, she could possibly lead me out of this corridor.
I walked to the source of Erica's voice. I decided to be quiet while I walked. This way, if she was talking to someone about something that was supposed to be a secret, they wouldn't hear me coming. It wasn't even that hard, anyway – the plush carpeting in this hallway made my footsteps really quiet. The talking continued, but I didn't focus on it. I focused more on not being detected. I felt that was more important to listening to part of a conversation.
When I reached a corner, I peered around it. I saw Erica talking to this green Draik. This Draik was taller than she was – almost by a foot. Neither of them seemed to noticed me, so I went back behind the corner as fast as possible. I listened to what they were saying.
“Why did you even ask me to do that?” Erica whined.
“I told you thousands of times,” the Draik informed in a cold and unfeeling voice. “He was getting too close to them.”
“But Dean Green! You never told me why it was such a bad thing! Why? Why? Tell me and I might understand.”
The Draik – Dean Green, I assumed – put his hand to his forehead in frustration. “I have things planned, my scribe. I can't have James getting in the way.”
Erica let out an angry chuff of air. “What plans?!”
“All will be revealed in time, Erica. I can't have this information slip out now.”
“And why not?”
Dean Green began to walk away. “Let's just say that James' friends wouldn't like it. I'll tell you when they leave.” He turned back to her. “Unless you want to be like James. You don't want to be in the position he's in, do you?”
The royal Zafara quickly shook her head. “No, Dean Green. Don't expel me, please.”
“That's what I thought.” Dean Green reached into his jacket to reach something. I couldn't tell what it was at this angle and distance. I decided not to pay much attention to it.
I took a break from listening to piece what I heard together. Erica and Dean Green had something between the two. It seemed Erica was much less willing to go with whatever the dean was implying. In fact, it looked like she didn't even know. Dean Green, though, he sounded like he was planning something big. There was no doubt that I had to talk to him.
Not to mention the fact that it sounded like he was threatening Erica. Until I found out otherwise, it could easily be extortion. That was if Dean Green was forcing her to do something. Again, I would have to talk to Erica and Dean Green to get the whole story.
“Dean Green, what are you doing with that?” Erica asked.
The only thing he said in response was, “Taking care of our little pest.”
That instantly caught my attention. I looked up to see Dean Green right in front of me. Before I could even react, he splashed something on me. I let out a surprised yelp. What was that? You know what, I didn't care. I had more important things to do than wonder what I was splashed with – like getting away from Dean Green.
My first reaction was to run away as fast as possible. I scurried down the hall. By the shadow following me, Dean Green wasn't too far behind. Good thing I was faster than him. It took a little bit, but I managed to get a good distance from him.
Then I started to feel sleepy.
What? Why was I sleepy? I was feeling fine not to long ago. That thing Dean Green splashed me with! It must have been a Slumberberry Potion. No wonder I was getting so sleepy so fast.
I couldn't let myself fall asleep. Not with Dean Green following me. Not while I was alone. If I fell asleep, there was no telling what would happen to me. I had to find somebody. I didn't care who. Anybody. A random stranger would be better.
The drowsiness was getting too much to bare.
I just needed...
To keep going...
To get away...
I passed out.To be continued…