Janet and Jane: The Case of the Faked Test Scores: Part Four
I slowly opened my still very heavy eyelids and groaned a little. Drowsiness still lingered in me. My head was hurting a little. I knew I didn't get hit in the head, so that concerned me. Then again, I was knocked out. My head did tend to hurt after I get knocked out, even with potions (please – I wouldn't ask if I were you).
I began to survey my area. The room was very dark. I could tell there was a table, some bookshelves, a chair on the floor, but not much else. The room was cast in a dark blue glow. I looked at the windows. Through the thick curtains, I could see the moon through a small opening. Sheesh, how long was I out?
Then I realized that my hands were tied behind me. My ankles were tied together, too. As if this couldn't get any better.
Ugh, that Dean Green must not want me to leave. The nerve of him. When I get my hands on him, he won't live to see the sunrise. And Erica, I knew she had something to do with this entire thing. I doubt she wanted to be, but still.
Calling for help wouldn't work out for two reasons. One, I didn't know if Dean Green was close by. If he heard me, I had no clue what he would do. He was clearly a Neopet that had a plan. Two, with all the cloth that was wedged in and tied around my mouth would pretty much make any calls I did make quiet and intelligible.
Instead of freaking out and struggling like any average Neopet, I remained calm. Strange enough, I have been in this sort of situation before (again, don't ask). I would just waste my energy and I didn't have quite a lot of that at the moment. My head was still a bit foggy from the Slumberberry Potion.
“Dean Green, this has gone too far!”
That sounded like Erica. The sound came from the other side of the door. She was talking to Dean Green, that I knew for a fact. Other than that, I knew nothing about the conversation.
“She clearly heard our conversation. She knows too much now,” Dean Green responded in that cold and unfeeling voice of his.
“We said nothing about the–”
“Don't say that. She might be awake.”
Erica sounded furious. “Who cares if she knows about the experiments? You said you were going to get rid of her, anyway!” Hmm, experiments? That was new. “And kidnapping? I know you're going to get caught!”
“That won't happen. The only ones who might talk are you and Janet. Janet's taken care of. So if this gets out, I know who spilled. Got that?”
The Zafara huffed. “Got it.”
“I'm glad you see it my way. Now I have business to attend to. Watch Janet and make sure she doesn't do anything funny while I'm gone.”
“Yes, Dean Green.”
It got quiet after that. I assumed Dean Green went off to take care of this business he mentioned. I could only hear the sound of Erica thumping her foot against the carpet. I didn't bother adding to the thumping with whatever assorted grunts and groans I could make.
What did Dean Green mean by experiments? Whatever it was, it sounded like he didn't want anyone to know. Then why did Erica know? Something seriously suspicious was going on. Something more than James being expelled for stealing test scores. This was a big issue, yes, but I had more important and more time-sensitive things to attend to – such as proving James didn't steal the test scores and, oh, I don't know, figure out how I was going to leave this room alive, since I knew Dean Green wasn't going to let that happen.
After about two minutes of lying down helpless on the floor, I heard the door unlock. The knob turned slightly. The door opened. Erica came in, looked around, and shut the door behind her.
“Oh, you're awake,” she said. “I didn't expect you to be up yet.” The Zafara kneeled down me and untied the cloth around my mouth.
I spat the cloth in my mouth out. “Well, I'm sorry the Slumberberry Potion didn't knock me out for longer,” I said bitterly.
“Hey, I'm freeing you. Now might not be the best time to be snappy.”
Hold on, she was freeing me? “You are?”
“I'm tired of following Dean Green's orders.” She went behind me and untied my wrists and ankles.
“Why are you even doing what he says, anyway?” I got up on my feet.
Erica crossed her arms. “Because he's threatening me with expulsion. I never wanted to fake James' test. I never wanted to be a part of this.” She looked into my eyes. It looked like she was going to cry. “Janet, I don't want to get in trouble for this.”
I hummed at the thought of her getting in trouble. Technically, she was an accessory to a crime, but an unwilling one. If anything, it would get Dean Green in more trouble. Not Erica.
“Erica, I'm sure you're nice and I know you wanted nothing to do with this, but I can't give you a definite answer as of now,” I answered. “What I can tell you, however, is if you cooperate with me, I'm sure you won't get into any sort of legal trouble. Can you do that?”
Erica nodded with much enthusiasm. “Oh yes, of course. I'll do what you say and when you say it. If I know it, I'll tell you.” Alright, this enthusiasm was going to get on my nerves. Still, she was the best chance I had about figuring out what happened.
I opened the door and walked out; Erica followed. I said to her. “Alright, Erica. Number one: I need you to lead. I keep getting lost in these hallways.”
“No problem,” she answered. The Zafara walked right next to me.
“And Erica. What did Dean Green make you do?”
Erica instantly frowned. “The answer key. He had me steal it for him, fake James' signature on the answer key, somehow get his fingerprints on it – don't ask how I was able to do that – and fake his essays.”
“Why on Neopia would he want you to do that?”
“The closest answer I got to that was that he was getting too close to you, Jane, and Natia – whoever those two are. He said something about all of you getting in his way. I don't know. I never understood that part.”
“And experiments. What about those?”
Erica's eyes widened. “Oh, you heard that? He said something about experiments to me, but I have literally no clue as to what they could be.”
I stopped for a second and tapped my foot like I usually did when I was thinking. “Well that is something that we have to look into, I have something more important to focus on.”
We wandered the hallways in silence. I took in the surroundings, trying to figure out where we were. Sheesh, for a building this big, you'd think there'd be a directory here and there, right? Turned out Brightvale University wasn't smart enough to add that in. Put that on one of the (many) things I wanted to tell the administration at this school.
Alright, I swear we passed that tapestry three times now. Room E-7, didn't we walk by that already? Ugh, we were walking in circles, weren't we?
“You're lost, aren't you?” I whined.
Erica appeared to snap out of a daydream and said, “Huh? I wasn't paying attention.”
I brought my hand to my head in frustration. “Were you daydreaming this entire time?”
“No, not the entire time.” Erica realized what she said might not have been the right thing to say. “I'm sorry. I was just thinking about Dean Green. What would he do if–”
“Don't think about that. Trust me, I've met a whole bunch of crazy, vengeful, aggressive Neopets out there and I've dealt with them. I'm sure I could deal with Dean Green.”
I looked around the halls again. Interesting rooms, if you ask me. Observatory, digital studies, criminal investigation... Something told me this was a science wing. I was actually curious as to what was in some of these rooms. Something interesting must be in one of them.
After a bit of consideration, I decided to check the room with the words, “Chemical Studies” on the door. Erica tried to persuade me not to, but she gave up on that rather quickly and joined me. This room was huge! I knew there was a lab or two around the school, but I didn't know it was so big.
“Janet, why on Neopia are you here?” Erica asked me. “Shouldn't we be finding our way to your friends?”
I stood on a crate and looked at the things on a shelf. There were also all sorts of potions. Caustic Potion, Starlight Potion, even Kauvara's Potion! That and with other potions I didn't even know the names of. “Forgive me for being curious,” I said. “I'm looking for a map and I figured there would be one here.” That wasn't false, either. I did think there could be a map in here and it could make this entire trip so much less frustrating.
“A map wouldn't be with the potions, now would it?”
I hopped off the crate and moved it somewhere different. “You have a good point.” I moved it by a shelf with many books and hopped on it again. “Hmm, textbook, textbook, encyclopedia, textbook– Hmm?” One book caught my eye. “Hello, what is this?” I took the book off the shelf. “This looks a bit out of place.”
I examined the cover of the book. It was basically just a book – no, a journal – bound in a worn, graying leather. There was a big 1 in the middle of the front cover. Hmm, what was this doing here?
My next instinct was to look in the book. Whoa, now I knew why it was in here. There were all sorts of instructions to mix potions and chemicals together. Wait, something about these didn't seem right. Caustic Potion, Fire Jug, and a transmogrification potion? Isn't that sort of lethal? I knew that a Caustic Potion and a Fire Jug mixed together was very dangerous on its own. With a transmogrification potion, though? It was like someone wanted to use it on another. For what purpose?
I wanted to look in it some more, but Erica snapped me out of my daze by tapping my shoulder. She asked, “What's that?”
“I don't know. Some sort of journal,” I answered. “The things in here sound pretty dangerous, though.” I read one of the mixtures aloud. “Slippery Floor Potion and paint from a Relic Paint Brush. I'm not sure if they should ever be mixed.” I went through a few more pages. “And apparently that's a simple one.”
“Who would write such a thing?” Erica took the journal from my hands. “Wait, I know this handwriting. It's Dean Green's. He wrote this.”
Dean Green mentioned experiments, but this didn't seem related to them. These looked like serious weapons or something like that. That and the fact that he didn't want anyone to know was screaming suspicious.
“What's that?” Erica asked suddenly. She pulled out a sheet of paper that was sticking out of the journal and read it furiously. “Who's Evodon?”
“You are asking the wrong Neopet,” I answered. “Let me read.”
Without another word, Erica handed me the sheet of paper. The paper itself was a bit yellowed and worn, but I knew that it was written on recently. The handwriting was in cursive (of course it was). I couldn't read cursive that well, but I was able to make it out.
Everything you had suggested is perfect. I wrote it all down. Still, I need your help as always. Keep coming up with your ideas. I know you worry about these secrets coming out, but do not worry.
I do fear, however, that one of the students here at Brightvale University may catch onto what we're planning. James has been participating in an internship with a small group of detectives from Neopia Central. I had no worry about this at first, but he kept wanting to work with them and I knew he grew rather close to them. Since he had learned a lot from them and since he is rather close, if he were to find out about this, the word would no doubt spread fast.
Do not concern yourself with this, however. I have a plan to make sure he doesn't find out these secrets. If he was unable to access the school, he would be unable to find what we are hiding. I hope to expel him, but it would no doubt be difficult. He has never done anything wrong.
It is a good thing I know how to get him expelled.
Whoa. What was Dean Green planning?
To be continued…