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The Mystery of the Stolen Gem: Part Two

by ridergirl333


Also by Darkmalice2002 and demon_in_paradise

Amianale gave a high-pitched squeal “Ohmigosh!”

Flacra quietly said “The Gem.”

Indigo Musician looked as though she was ready to cry. She glared angrily at Grigknot. “Give it here”

Grigknot’s face turned a very dark red. “I would never take something like that.” “You know me better.” Ale, still panting from the blast gave a small cough and looked a Grigknot. Everyone was now looking at him suspiciously. “Oh come on, I wouldn’t steal from a friend!” continued Grigknot, very much on the defensive. Ami gave a cough, imitating Ale. “Hey, I gave that back.”

Starlight interrupted and said, “Come on, we are supposed to be friends.”

Indigo, looking more like her usual self said “You are right, Starlight. I’m sorry Grig, but everyone is a suspect.”

There was a cold silence as the NeoPets glanced at each other suspiciously.

“Well, what do you think, Ruby?” asked Indigo, always the one to break these awkward silences. Ruby was at the moment eyeing Ale very seriously.

Cries and accusations filled the living room. Ale pounced on Fire. Torrisa yelled that it was Grigknot. Ruby bounded off after Ale. Ami proclaimed with full confidence she knew who stole the Gem. Fire proclaimed it wasn’t her. Ale muttered something that couldn’t be heard over the shouting about the Battledome and Ami’s Beauty Contest. Fire grabbed her Rainbow Gun, Ale charged with his Grand Lightning Beam.

Flacra was the only one quiet, sitting down petting Noel the petpet. Noel the Anubis looked content. Grigknot also watched the commotion, glad to be pardoned, for the time being anyway.

Starlight yelled over all the NeoPets there, “Stop, stop! This isn’t helping!” All of the people at the party got quiet and looked at Starlight, except for Ale and Fire. Fire looked scared, facing the more experienced Ale, and staring at a much better weapon then her own. The two were in dueling position. Indigo jumped at Ale, about to attack from his Grand Lightning Beam, and it instead wound up hitting Indigo, who had tried to tackle Ale. Indigo was knocked across the room and sat slumped along the wall.

Starlight was the first to run over to Indigo. “Are you OK?” Inquired Starlight looking worried. Indigo Musician was panting hard. “As if that puny weapon could hurt me,” Indigo retorted, brushing Starlight off to the side. I wish I were that strong, thought Starlight. Ale ran over, “I’m soooo sorry Indigo, and you too Fire.” Indigo looked angry for a second then said “That’s OK Ale,” said Indigo sincerely. Ruby was still glaring at Ale.

Starlight suggested they go to the drawing room. “Walls of Jelly!” she said with a smile.

The group entered the Jelly room, with Noel the Anubis, Indigo’s Petpet trailing behind, playing with a metal belt clip, one of her toys.

The NeoPets raced to the more comfortable couches, Ale pouncing on a four-poster bed before the rest of the group walked in the room.

They all sat down, when Grig exclaimed, “My lock pick! What happened to my brand new lock pick set!” The other pets quickly circled around Grigknot. “My lock pick set has disappeared,” said Grigknot while flipping a large number of pockets inside out, and many interesting trinkets appeared in his paws.

Amianale gasped, bringing her hoof up to cover her mouth in a feminine manner. "My blue Cybunny doll! How'd you get that?!" She picked it up and hugged it close.

Grigknot, however, was not paying attention. His eyes were just slightly wider than before, and he began scrimmaging through all of the items that he'd pulled from his pockets. Most of the items were dulled, either from age or as a part of their look. Grigknot loved his stuff, though, so he wasn't complaining. "Maybe you left it somewhere?” Came the helpful suggestion from Starlight.

The Grundo just paused for a moment before slumping to the floor. "I didn't! I couldn't have! It's a priceless lock pick! Made from pure polished silver!"

"Well, if anyone finds it we'll know who it belongs to. Besides, it's bound to turn up somewhere around here." Starlight gave another kind smile.

Ale, who had been watching and growing agitated suddenly threw himself backwards onto the couch, lounging like a cat might. "Just one more thing to add to the list! What's next? Hey, Ami, anything of yours go missing? Or how about you, Ruby? Hm?"

Torissa shot Ale a small glare before smiling deviously. "Aww, is the little Poogle cranky? Does he need to take his nappy now?" She stuck her tongue out at Ale before giggling playfully. A few of the others joined her in this.

Ruby hadn't said anything since they'd entered the room. Her eyes were slightly glazed in thought and she had a determined look about her face. When her eyes unglazed and she came back down to earth she looked around, blinked, then quickly let her face set into that of a serious nature. "We're all suspects. Well, all of us except for Indigo of course. "Everyone turned to look at her, blinking in confusion. "I say Indigo questions us, and tries to get the one who did it to admit it."

Everyone turned to Indigo then, eyes staring, nearly unblinkingly, at their host. "Well..."

“Come on, Indi.” Ruby urged. “Whenever there’s a good mystery, we can pretty much count on you to be able to question the suspects and keep your cool.”

“I just don’t like it. I wouldn’t want to think that anyone of my friends would steal the gem. I know I accused Grigknot, but that’s because he’s a thief by nature.” Indigo sighed, pacing around the room with the anxiety of a caged tiger.

“It had to have been someone in this room.” FierceFire said sensibly, lying on a red Beanbag chair and chewing her paw in thought.

Ruby nodded in agreement. “If someone else had come into the house, we’d have noticed their wet tracks. If someone left the house and came back in, we’d notice their tracks. The thief is one of us.”

Complete silence. Indigo cast her most intimidating glance around the room. It was the glance she often used to root out guilty consciences. One by one, she turned the glare at every guest at the party. One by one, they turned and looked away. Only one member stayed firm: Ale. The Poogle returned the glare, multiplying the wrath and intensity by a thousand. For some reason, Indi felt a shiver go down her spine. Was that the fierce glare of a criminal mastermind? Or a glare that said ‘don’t-look-at-me-I’m-innocent’? Indigo couldn’t tell.

Finally, Indigo shattered the silence. “Well we’re not going to find out who stole it by standing around here all day. Go into the dining room. I’ll call you in one by one for questioning. Grigknot, I hate to break it to you but you’re first up.”

“So, where were you when the lights went out at 3:17 P.M. on the day in question?” She asked very professionally, jotting notes down in a yellow lined notebook.

“I was leaning on Indigo’s couch, minding my own business. Actually, I was playing with my lock pick set. Dang I love that lock pick set. I got it for my birthday last year.”

“I see.” Indigo said dryly. Obviously, a lock pick set was not her idea of a birthday present to cherish. “But did you not steal the gem on one other occasion?”

“Ah, I was just playing with you guys.” Said the purple Grundo casually. “Just like I played with Amianale when I stole her gold lipstick. But I gave both items back.”

Indigo nodded thoughtfully. What could be going on between those antenna-like ears? She thought. Does he think I’m stupid? He could rob banks with the ease of a Mynci throwing banana peels! Out loud, she simply said, “So what do you think happened to your lock pick set?”

“Some mangy thief stole it! The same person who stole the gem, I bet.”

“Thank you, Grig. You may leave. Tell Ale to enter next.”

* * *

Ale lounged on the red beanbag chair casually, a nonchalant look on his face. Lazily, he wiped an imaginary speck of dirt off one paw. This guy really ticks me off. Indigo thought. He thinks he’s good at everything. Well I’ll show him who’s in charge around here. “So, where were you when the lights went out?”

“You know where I was, Indi my girl.” He droned; eyes still fixed on his paw. “Arguing with you about horseshoes.”

“Hmm… in that argument, did you not threaten to ‘get me back’? Did you not say that we would ‘play your game’?”

The Poogle looked up from his paw, eyes flashing. “Don’t. Don’t even think of accusing me of being the thief because of some silly little coincidence.”

“Touchy, aren’t we?” Groaned the Gelert. In her mind, she was thinking, Coincidence my footpaw. Something fishy is going on here.

“I didn’t take your gem, Indigo.” Ale said, fighting to keep his voice level. “You’ve got to believe me.”

“I find that very hard to do, Ale.” Indigo said sincerely. “I find that very hard to do. You may leave. And tell Amianale to come in next.”

The starry Poogle sighed, casting one last venomous glance at Indi before stalking out the door.

Ami bounced in next, still clutching her blue Cybunny plushie. “I didn’t take that stupid gem.” She hastily said to Indigo. “Why would I want a Battledome weapon? Fighting messes up my fur.”

An amused look crossed Indigo’s face like a fleeting shadow, but was quickly replaced by a serious scowl. “But did you not want to wear the gem? ‘Perfect for formal eveningwear.’ Isn’t that what you said?”

“It’s too large to make into a ring or brooch and too small to make into a pendant.” Amianale said casually. “But I like the way it glitters.”

“Mmmhmm. And where were you when the lights went out on the day in question?”

A slight shiver ran down the Ixi’s spine. “Near the couch. Being scared out of my wits. Erm, Indi? Can you keep a secret? I sort of…” her voice lowered to a whisper. “Don’t like the dark.”

“I see.” Indigo said in a flat voice, still jotting down notes. Nevertheless, she’s still a suspect. She could be lying through her teeth for all I know. Indigo thought.

“I personally think that Grigknot stole it.” Amianale continued. “You’d have to be blind not to see that!”

“The lights were out.” Indigo pointed out. “We were all blind.”

Ami became really ticked off. “Whatever.”

“You may leave. Send Starlight in next.”

Starlight seemed to be a lot more nervous than Grigknot, Ale and Amianale had been. Like a skittish horse, she trembled convulsively and jumped at small noises. “You’re going to question me?” she half-asked, half-stated to Indigo.

“Yes.” Indigo said, immediately suspicious. By now, her basic pencil was flying over the paper like crazy. Why would sweet, gentle little Starlight_Shadowhunt be nervous? What did she have to fear? Perhaps that she would be caught? Indigo didn’t like thinking of Starlight as a thief. She was so kind.

“So where were you when the lights went out?”

“Standing in front of you, watching you and Ale argue.”

“Were you not also near the gem?”

“I was.” Starlight’s voice was becoming shrill now. “But you can’t accuse me of stealing the gem! Ale took it. It’s so obvious!”

“It’s not as obvious as you think it is.” Indigo stated calmly. Something was definitely wrong. Why was Star so nervous? “When I blasted Ale with the gem, did you not say something about ‘achieving something?’”

“Only because I feel so small and unimportant all of the time. I don’t know.” The shrillness disappeared from her voice, only to be replaced by wailing sobs. “I just want to be someone. Someone special. Everyone else seems to have a talent. You’ve got your horseshoes and your sleuthing. Ale has his talent in the Battledome. Ruby has her writing and Amianale has her looks. Even Grig has a talent, albeit it’s not a legal one.”

“I see. Well, you may leave now. Tell Torissa that I want to question her.”

Torissa, although far more relaxed than Starlight, still seemed a bit nervous. She sat on the red beanbag chair very stiffly, like a soldier being inspected.

“Where were you when the lights went out?” Indigo asked, her pencil point now reduced to a stub. She reached onto her straw desk and sharpened it with a Baabaa pencil sharpener.

“I was next to Starlight, watching you and Ale argue.”

“So you were also relatively close to the gem.”

“Yes, but that hardly makes me a thief.” Torissa said. “I personally think that Grigknot stole it.”

Indigo raised her eyebrows. “Why would you think that?”

The fur on the back of Torissa’s neck bristled like a cat’s. “I’m not as dumb as you think I am, Indi.”

“I never said you were dumb!” Indigo snapped. Why does this girl always jump to conclusions? She’s almost as touchy as Ale! Jumping at every little thing I say!

“No, go ahead! Say it! Everyone does! ‘Cutesey-wootsie widdle baby need a nappy?’ ‘Torrie? Can you say mommy?’ ‘What’s 1+1 Torrie?’ It makes me sick. Now if I were a Battledome Champion like Ale I’d…” Some 6th sense let Torissa know that it was time to shut up.

Indigo nodded, pretending not to hear the baby Kougra’s rant. So she wants to be a Battledome Champion, hmm? And what’s more important to a champion than her most prized weapons? Indigo thought. “On your way out, tell Fire to come in here.”

Fire seemed to have the calm confidence of Grigknot, Ale and Amianale when she strode into the room. Sitting on the beanbag chair, she looked at Indigo in the eye. “I didn’t take the gem.” She said, cool as a cucumber. “You can’t say that I’m the thief. Personally, I think Ale stole it. He seems like the power-hungry type. The big Battledome fighter.”

“But I overheard you talking to Torissa when Ale and I were playing horseshoes.” Indigo said in a tone equally as casual. “Don’t you want to be a Battledome Champion too?”

Fire nodded, a distant look in her eyes. “Yes. It’s been my dream since I was a Shoyru hatchling. I’d do anything to achieve it.”

“Even… steal from a friend?” Indigo asked.

Fire’s eyes flashed… where had Indigo seen that type of flash before? In Ale’s eyes when he was being questioned? “Don’t even think of accusing me of being the thief because of some silly little coincidence.” Was Fire’s comment just a coincidence? “I would not steal.” Fire said, voice still level. “I am not some sort of petty criminal.”

Indigo nodded, face revealing no emotion. “And where were you when the lights went out?”

“I was leaning on the couch, watching you and Ale quarrel like Lupes over a milk chocolate Chia.” The Shoyru sounded upset.

“Okay then. Send Flacra in now.”

“Why don’t you believe me?” Fire asked sharply.

“I never said I didn’t believe you.” Indigo said calmly, still jotting notes down.

“But you don’t. I can tell. Your eyes, your voice… you think I’m the thief.”

“I think no such thing.” Indigo’s voice became firm and cold. “Send Flacra in.”

With a dramatic swish of her wings, (such as actors and actresses in medieval-fantasy movies might swish their cloaks) Fire left. Flacra then entered, eyes fixed on the ground and Noel at his heels chewing on her luxury bell. “So where were you when the lights went out?” By now Indigo was sick of asking this question. But it had to be asked.

“In the room.” Flacra said flatly. “In the room watching you and Ale fight.”

“Specifically, where were you? On the couch? Near Ale and I? Near Noel?” Indigo asked, petting her Anubis.

“I was in the room.”

Realizing that she wasn’t going to get a straight answer out of him, Indigo moved on to the next question. “So what did you think of the gem?”

“It’s shiny. Powerful. Corruptive.”

“Interesting choice of words.” Indigo murmured. I asked that question looking for a motive. But I didn’t get one. I’m not really getting anything out of this Kougra! “So who do you think stole the gem? Everyone else offered me his or her opinion. You might as well.”

A bored look crossed Flacra’s face. He thoughtfully stoked his head with his paw. “Does it matter?”

“Does it MATTER?” Indigo nearly screeched. “DOES IT MATTER? Of course it matters! Like you said before, that thing is corruptive!”

“Indeed. Its luster seems to distort the emotion every eye that gazes upon its perfectly cut surface. It brings out the greed in the most innocent of NeoPets. Ale, enchanted by its power. Ami, enchanted by its beauty. Grigknot, enchanted by its worth. And perhaps another eye yearns for its glitter too. The eye of your best friend Ruby.”

“What are you talking about?” Indigo demanded, by now pretty fed up with Flacra.

The Kougra replied by mimicking Ruby. “This is the perfect weapon! If I had known how perfect it was, I would have kept it for myself.”

“Ruby would never… She’s the last person I have to question anyway. Get out of here! Leave!” Ivory-colored teeth gleamed in the dim lamplight as Indigo bared them at Flacra. His golden-brown eyes shot a furious glare at her coal-black ones. Then, he turned and left, (but not before whipping Indigo on the paw with his tail.)

Ruby entered the room looking prim and proper, as if this were a formal business meeting rather than an interview in which she would be accused of a crime. “Indi, I think we both know that I didn’t do it.” She said. “After all, I’m helping you solve the crime. So I suppose that interviewing me would be a waste of time. Do you want to talk about something else? School, sports, social events? I can’t wait to go to that birthday party on…”

Indigo put her paw up to her lips, signaling for the Uni to be quiet. “I have to question you just like I questioned everyone else, Ruby. So where were you when the lights went out?”

“I was watching you and Ale fight. If you want me to be more specific than that, I was beside you, near Torissa and Starlight and…”

“Right next to the gem.” Indigo interrupted.

Silence. For a moment, all that could be heard was the pitter-patter of rain on the roof. Then, “I would not take that gem, Indigo. Never. I solve crimes, I don’t commit them.”

“Would you say that you know a lot about the criminal mind?” Indigo asked. Part of her felt victorious. She had backed Ruby into a corner. No matter which way she answered, she’d lose face. If she said no, she’d be accused of being a poor detective. If she said yes, she’d be accused of using her knowledge to steal the gem. But the other part of Indigo felt completely nauseous. What was she doing? Ruby had been her best friend since she was a pup. Would she really steal?

Ruby was aware of her dire situation. The rainbow Uni shifted her hooves uncomfortably. “Well I… I can’t say… Maybe…”

“Maybe what?”

“Forget about it.” Ruby grumbled. “But I didn’t take the gem.” Without waiting to be dismissed, she stalked out of the drawing room leaving Indigo feeling more nauseous than ever. She’d have to accuse one of her friends of stealing but who was it? Power-hungry Ale? Mischievous Grigknot? Vain little Amianale? Was it Starlight or Torissa, two NeoPets who just want attention? Was it Fire, who wanted to use it to defeat the Space Faerie? Was it the mysterious Flacra, or was it perhaps Indigo’s best friend and fellow mystery-solver Ruby?

Time will tell. Thought the detective as she picked up her notebook and exited the room. Time will tell.

Author’s Note: Do you think you know whodunit? If so, Neomail Ridergirl333, Irisks, or Karatekid445 with your guess.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» The Mystery of the Stolen Gem: Part One
» The Mystery of the Stolen Gem: Part Three
» The Mystery of the Stolen Gem: Part Four

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