Janet and Jane: The Case of the Vanished: Part Four
"Have you ever been down here?” James asked.
“I prefer to stay above ground,” I answered simply. It was true. I didn't like going anywhere that involved going under Neopia's surface. Whether it was a cave, a catacomb, even underground tunnels, I preferred to stay out of them. Let me just say that I haven't had the best experiences with these places.
Though in the Neopian Catacombs, it was different. I didn't pick up any creepy vibe and I didn't see anyone suspicious. The closest thing to scary about this place was this Aisha's lame attempt at a scary story. Hmm, they had coffee down here? Cool. I might have to check that coffee place out.
Okay, Janet, if you were someone working for a crime ring planning to do unspeakable things, where would you be? Or if you were mom or dad? Hmm, if I were mom or dad, I would probably be somewhere less crowded. That way, if something were to come up, such as being chased by anyone, nobody else would be involved. Oh wait, that was what I would do. If that was where my mind went, maybe that was what my mom and dad thought.
Jane led us down some empty tunnels. They were lit up with torches, allowing us to see. I was wondering why this place was empty. My answer was somewhat answered when I saw a sign that said, “Under Construction” on it in big, bold letters. Hmm... I wasn't sure if I believed that sign or not.
“What do you think?” I asked my friends.
“This place doesn't look like it's under construction,” James commented, looking around. “If you want my opinion–”
Before he could get the other half of his sentence out, I heard a shrill echo. All four of us heard it. Was that... a scream? To be more specific, was that mom's scream? I heard mom scream before (she was afraid of Spyders – something about getting a Spyder bite when she was a kid and got very sick) and that sounded like her. A lot like her.
I didn't care about what the sign said. I was finding out if that was my mom. Jane knew my motive and joined me. Natia and James had to run to keep up with us.
As we walked, I heard someone speaking. Speaking a lot, as well. Only a couple voices – three, four, maybe five. I did spot this little opening at the end of the tunnel. I did see a few figures in there. Three, there were three. One was blue, two were green.
“I told you two not to get in the way,” one voice growled. I knew that voice – it was Dean Green from Brightvale University. Ooh, what I wanted to do to him right there. You have no idea what he did back at that university. “You didn't listen, now did you?”
“Now you certainly don't blame us, do you?” one of the Kacheeks – the green one – asked rhetorically. I knew that voice. It was my dad! He was alive! (At least unless Dean Green planned on doing something about that (and if he did, I will guarantee you that he will not follow through with that)).
“Matt, now isn't exactly to be talking like that,” the blue Kacheek hissed. Ah, mom. She turned back to Dean Green. “You can't take us both out. One of us will get away.”
The green Draik chuckled darkly. His voice was even creepier than his laugh at this point. “Lauren, I highly doubt that. You know I'm faster than each of you. It doesn't take long to do you in.” He reached into his jacket and pulled out something. Was it a dagger? It looked like a dagger. Whatever it was, I knew it wasn't good.
I looked over at Jane. She looked at me. I had a feeling she knew what I was thinking. That was confirmed when she gave a slight nod to me. Natia and James tilted their heads in confusion. I would tell them if I could. I didn't have the time to do that.
Now or never, Janet.
I stood in the middle of the tunnel and let out a shrill whistle. It echoed through the tunnel. No turning back now. As soon as I stopped whistling, I ran right to Dean Green. By the time he turned around and saw me, I tackled him. He didn't fall over, but he did drop the dagger in his left hand.
I landed on my feet. Before Dean Green could react, I grabbed the dagger that was now on the ground and got in between my mom and dad and Dean Green. The Draik looked back at me. I readied the dagger and glared at him, not flinching when he did the same.
“Don't you dare hurt them or I will make you wish you turned yourself in last time we met,” I snarled.
Dean Green stepped closer to me. I stepped closer to him. He said, “Janet, this is between me and them.”
“Oh, don't you dare get me started on how this involves me.” I stepped even closer to the furious Neopet. “Listen and listen good, Dean Green. I don't know what you're planning or why you're planning it, but I will tell you right now. If you think that there is a slight chance of you succeeding, you are wrong. Oh so wrong.”
Dean Green charged at me. No surprise there. I quickly dodged him. Good news, he stopped trying to attack my parents. Bad news, he was now trying to attack me. Okay, don't panic, Janet. You could beat him. You had something he didn't.
As if Jane read my mind, she flew in and tackled him. Whoa, if I couldn't send him to the ground, I was surprised Jane was able to. She was taller than me, yes, but she was lighter. Maybe he was off balance from running. Yeah, I'll just believe that was the case.
Jane grabbed onto an arm of his and wouldn't let go. I did the same with the free arm. Let me tell you, it was near impossible to keep a hold on him, let alone keep him still. Dean Green did shake the two of us off, though. Instead of fighting like I thought he would, he ran away.
“Hey! Come back!” Natia called as he flew right past her.
“Natia, let's get him,” James said. The two went after him.
After I got my breath back, I turned to mom and dad. They were still comprehending what just went on. Not really surprising, actually. What we just did was a little shocking.
“Mom and dad,” I said, breaking the icy cold silence in the area. “Are you two alright?”
Dad blinked once. Twice. Then he spoke, “Fine, thanks.” And then he said, “What on Neopia were you thinking, Janet and Jane? He is a very dangerous Neopet.”
“Pah! As if I don't know.”
My mom decided to respond to my comment. “You know him?” the blue Kacheek asked.
“I don't – I never had the chance to meet him – but Janet does,” Jane answered. She looked at me, signaling me to explain.
And explain I did. “Oh, Dean Green is the worst! He tried to frame a student at Brightvale University because he was getting too close to us. He had the guts to knock me out and tie me up so I wouldn't tell anyone else about it. Urgh!” I stomped my foot on the ground. “You have no idea what I wanted to do to him to get back at him!”
My dad laughed a little. “Nice to see that you haven't changed a lot.” My dad and mom led us down the tunnel. “If you don't mind me asking, what on Neopia are you two doing down here?”
“We're on a case,” I answered.
“Wait... A case?” The blue Kacheek looked surprised. “You two are detectives?”
I nodded with enthusiasm. “Mhmm.”
“Our case was to find two Neopets,” Jane went on. “Two detectives, to be more specific. And it looks like we found them.”
Before anyone could respond, two Neopets ran down the tunnel to meet with us. Natia and James. Both were panting. Something told me that they weren't successful in their attempt to catch Dean Green.
“Sorry, guys,” James said in between pants. “We lost him.”
“Are these two detectives, too?” my mom asked.
I shook my head. “James is. Natia isn't.”
Natia instantly stopped panting and her eyes lit up. “Ooh, these must be the two Neopets we were looking for!” She went right up to my mom and shook her hand violently. “Name's Natia, Mr. and Mrs. Treiger! Pleasure to meet you!”
James shook my dad's hand in a much calmer manner. My dad returned the favor. While they were getting acquainted, Jane and I began to walk again. Shortly after, everyone began to follow us. It was time to report what we did to the Chia Police.
“I told you not to get involved in the crime ring case,” the police chief said in a bitter tone.
“And I told you that mom and dad were working on shutting down the crime ring and that we might need to get involved,” I snapped. “Be happy that Jane and I proved that they are alive. You see them, they're alive.”
Jane groaned, “Janet, you know I agree with you, but it's too late in the day to be snappy like this.” The shadow Korbat turned to the police chief. “You, too.”
Mom and dad whispered something to each other. I couldn't stand the police chief anymore, so I left the room. Jane quickly trailed behind. We were almost outside when our parents joined us.
“Are things always like that?” my mom asked.
“I have to say, some days are better than others,” Jane answered.
The four of us went outside. The sky was full of stars and a waning moon. There wasn't a soul out on the streets of Neopia Central at this hour. That made it all the better to walk home. And to talk.
“So you two are detectives,” I commented.
“And so are you two,” my dad replied.
“Why did you fake your deaths?” Jane asked. “And why couldn't you tell us?”
My dad sighed. “We're after this crime ring, that much you two must have figured out. This crime ring got wise and realized that we were onto them. In order to protect ourselves from them...” He stopped there. He didn't need to continue.
“As to why we didn't tell you, it was to protect you two,” my mom continued. “You didn't know we were detectives and we didn't want to tell you while we were dealing with that. Especially since you two were getting your degree in criminology at the time.”
That made sense. It would be best to keep us away from this type of stuff before we were ready for it. Now we were. We could help mom and dad with whatever on Neopia this is. I knew they were going to need the help.
“What is this crime ring doing?” I asked. “Thefts? Fraud?”
“Not really. It's a bit...” my dad said, stopping right there. “unorthodox.”
The green Kacheek pinched the bridge of his nose. He often did that when he was thinking of something to say – mostly with difficult subjects like this. “Experiments. They are doing illegal, unethical experiments that involves transmogrification.”
“Yikes,” Jane commented. “You're surely going to need help, right?”
I decided to join in. “Because if you do, we know a small group of Neopets who are willing to help.”
My mom and dad laughed a little. They knew what we were implying – and they were glad to hear that. At the same time, the two Kacheeks said, “We'd love to have our daughters help us out.”