At that moment, an ominous rumbling noise filled the clearing, followed by a series of splats and thuds, as hundreds and hundreds more neggs rained down from above.
Oh dear. I raised my arms over my head, quickly running for cover in a nearby cave. Perhaps activating mysterious machines wasn’t what a good detective did after all?
“That doesn’t look good,” a small voice whispered from behind me. I turned around to see Klein, also cowering in the cave.
“What are you doing in here?” I hissed. “I’ve been trying to find you!”
“When we both fell asleep before, I got hit by a negg and thought I should run for cover…”
“Well thanks for telling me! Never mind if I get hit by a negg!”
“I panicked! There weren’t that many neggs falling before though…”
We both stared solemnly at the negg storm outside.
“Mystery solved at least,” I muttered.
At that moment, a triumphant voice rang out from the clearing,
“Ah ha! It worked! The Festival of Neggs is mine!”
I peered out of the cave, to see a dark faerie hovering in the clearing with a pleased look on her face as she observed the neggs raining down around her.
The culprit? Carefully, I poked my head out of the cave to address the villain.
“You are responsible for this?” I accused.
The faerie turned, surprised, before grinning. She looked very young for a faerie.
“Yes! Isn’t it wonderful! Kari refused to share running the Negg Festival! ‘Dark faeries can’t be trusted, Veia.’ ‘This is very important, I can’t have you ruining it Veia’. ‘You don’t have enough experience, Veia. Well it shows her. She should learn to share,” she replied, sounding resentful.
I couldn’t help but think that Kari might have had a point, looking at the destruction in the forest.
“Anyway, now people can come and collect these neggs! Is that what you two are here for? Won’t it be fun?” Veia continued, smiling and patting her machine fondly.
Just as I was about to launch into a barrage of criticism at the young faerie’s irresponsibility, Klein piped up,
“Um. Excuse me, miss. People think the neggs are gone altogether. They’re panicking as they can’t find any. I don’t think they know you’re trying to take over..I mean, run the Festival this year.”
Veia turned to him, horrified.
“What? Oh no, I didn’t think about that! I suppose Kari does spend a fortune on marketing for the festival…” she exclaimed, before finally hitting the lever on the machine. It stuttered to a stop, and with it, the neggs stopped falling.
“Oh no, oh no,” she continued. “Everyone is going to be so mad! What am I going to do? Kari definitely won’t let me help next year now! It’ll just be that irritating Cybunny again.”
To my surprise, she looked genuinely upset at the prospect. She took in the negg carnage around her, hiding her face in her hands, “This is a disaster.”
“Well, I’m not sure how you got the neggs here, but perhaps you can return them to Kari?” I suggested, trying to keep my voice soothing. “That might help things a little.”
“How am I supposed to do that?” she exclaimed, her wings fluttering more and more as she became more frantic. “It was a nightmare rigging up this machine in the first place! I’m not that powerful a faerie! I spend half my time trapped in bottles because I can’t even avoid a huge, lumbering Lupe!”
“Oh Veia.” The three of us jumped, turning to face the newcomer. Kari was there, carefully working her way through the neggs on the ground.
“I wasn’t trying to be cruel. I just know you can be...impulsive. Perhaps I should have just let you help,” Kari continued, looking around sadly at the masses of ruined neggs.
“Kari! I’m so sorry!” Veia cried, tears running down her face. “I thought it would be fun!”
“Yes, I know you have good intentions...Like I said, we just need people with a bit more experience for these big events.” Kari reached down to pick up a negg that looked fairly intact and examined it thoughtfully. She then waved her hand, and a whirl of dazzling green magic flooded the forest. I watched in amazement as it seeped into the neggs, quickly repairing the damage.
“You’ll never let me help again!”
“Well, this isn’t ideal obviously. But I can see you have initiative, and that’s definitely something we want on the team. That machine is an impressive work of magic. I’ll see about involving you next year.”
She paused, before continuing, “Klein, Detective Odinwell - I am incredibly grateful for your help finding the neggs. If I could just ask one more favour of the three of you? Please try and hide these neggs around the forest - in the meantime, I’ll head back to Neopia Central and let people know to come here for the Negg hunt.”
Urgh. Hiding neggs seemed like an incredibly childish activity for a renowned detective, but before I could object, Klein and Veia both nodded enthusiastically, the latter thanking Kari profusely. The two gathered up armfuls of neggs and disappeared into the woods around us. Well, I guess that left me little choice. Sighing, I joined them.
“Thank you Detective,” Kari said, looking apologetic.
All in all, the Festival of Neggs did turn out a little differently that year, but it was still a huge success. As for me? I was simply pleased to have solved another mystery - it made the nap I had afterwards even better.