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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 21st day of Swimming, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 106 > Short Stories > Magnolia and Agent Twin Star

Magnolia and Agent Twin Star

by peachifruit

Tom the yellow Draik waved his flashlight about carelessly, hoping it would provide some form of amusement that dull night at the Neopian Museum of Fine Art. He turned to his accompaniment -- Lisa the brown Kyrii -- who looked just as bored as he was. They’d been patrolling the museum for a few hours, but as the night grew older, they became tired and bored. Now they just stood in one spot, silently hoping for something interesting to happen.

     “Think there’ll be some thief in here tonight?” Tom inquired of Lisa.

     Lisa gave him an odd look. “What, you want someone to come in here and steal the artwork? We could get fired if we let them get away!”

     Tom sighed, dropping his flashlight to his side. “You’re right, I guess. But still, it would be a lot more interesting than this is.”

     “You think?” Lisa questioned, gazing at the decorative glass ceiling. “...Maybe it would be.” She shook her head, trying to change the subject. “Well, anyway, let’s just make the best of boring old right now.”

     Suddenly, there was a loud zap! from the next exhibit. The doorway was illuminated by a bright blue light for a few moments, and then the light dimmed considerably. “What is that?” Lisa inquired.

     “I’ll go check it out -- you stay here!” Tom replied, running down the hallway and through the next door.

     Lisa merely gazed down the hallway confusedly, somewhat worried about Tom. A gasp could suddenly be heard from the room. “NO! NOOOO! LISA! LIIIISAAAAA!”

     “TOM!” Lisa exclaimed hysterically, running into the exhibit. The light had gone -- the room was completely empty, save a flashlight rolling back and forth on the floor. “T-Tom? Tom?” She fell to the floor to pick up the flashlight. As she held it, she turned around and noticed something about a painting behind her.

     “But -- that’s not supposed to be there...” She strolled to the painting of a yellow Draik with a horrified expression on his face, reaching out to the viewer. Lisa gasped as she dropped the flashlight. “Tom! No! No!

NPIA Headquarters, an Undisclosed Location Somewhere in Neopia Central

Agent_Magnolia the disco Aisha shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “Chief, that’s creepy.

     “It’s true!” Chief the yellow Wocky insisted. “The painting there was never of a Draik -- it was originally the Mona Lenny.”

     “Oh, really? I love that painting!” Sys-op the pink Kadoatie exclaimed.

     “Well, it’s quite renowned, but the problem is that it’s gone,” Chief noted. “And that’s not the only painting, either. No one actually knows for sure, but security cameras around the museum have been showing that the same mutant Cybunny has been at every disappearance so far.”

     “And how many disappearances have there been altogether?” questioned Magnolia.

     “Five, including the one last night,” Chief replied. “Some of the cameras have even shown the art pieces moving. Again, no one knows for sure.”

     “I’ll get to the bottom of it,” Magnolia confirmed, picking Sys-op up off the table. “I’ll report back to you tomorrow morning, okay?” she inquired, heading towards the door.

     “Uh -- Magnolia, hold on a second!” Chief exclaimed. “Before you go, I’ve been thinking of sending you with reinforcement.”

     “Reinforcement?” Magnolia inquired. “Aww, come on, Chief! I don’t need reinforcement!”

     “Actually, I’ve been planning on sending you on a mission with a particular Ixi for a while now,” Chief murmured. “You may have seen her around before -- her name is Xing-Xing Li.”

     “Umm... no, I don’t recall meeting anyone by that name, actually,” Magnolia replied.

     “Really? Well, at any rate, she’s a Faerie Ixi. You two have a lot in common, really.”

     “A lot in common? I doubt it,” said Magnolia. “For one, I have a name that’s twice as easy to pronounce.”

     Chief frowned. “Well, if you don’t have that much in common, you both have the same perfect record, from what I know.”

     “What?” Magnolia questioned indignantly, darting back to the Wocky’s desk and leaning against it intently. “You’re kidding! For years, you’ve been telling me that I’M the only one AT this agency who’s never failed a mission!”

     “What’s so terrible about Xing-Xing having a perfect record, Magnolia? It’s not that big a deal, is it?” Chief inquired curiously.

     “OHHH, YES it IS!” Magnolia exclaimed. “I believed you, even! And now you tell me about Who’s-it-Li and expect me to NOT be upset?”

     “Xing-Xing is relatively new to Neopia Central, actually,” Chief remarked. “So I lied -- she’s always been a secret agent, but not necessarily at this agency in particular. She joined the NPIA just a month ago, if it makes you feel any better.”

     “Hardly,” Magnolia mused. “Where’s she from?”

     “Haiku on Mystery Island. You’re familiar with the place, right?”

     “Sure,” Magnolia replied. “Okay, now I’m curious. I’ll go on the mission with the girl and find out for myself if she’s really deserving of that title.”

Neopia Central Park

“Let me get this straight -- she said meeting in a public park would be a good place to discuss an assignment?” Sys-op inquired in sheer bewilderment, sitting in the dewy grass. “How is that logical at all?”

     “Ask her when she gets here,” Magnolia replied. “I’m sure that having a... perfect record would provide her with some common sense.”

     Sys-op glanced up at her partner curiously. “Gee, Mag, you seem just a teensy bit--”

     “Oh, DON’T go there, Sys-op!” Magnolia exclaimed. “I’m not jealous at all! I haven’t even MET the girl!”

     “I think you’re about to pretty soon,” Sys-op murmured, motioning towards a Faerie Ixi happily chatting with a nearby police officer. “Xing-Xing is a Faerie Ixi, right?”

     “Yeah -- let’s go ask her,” Magnolia replied, picking Sys-op up off the ground and starting off towards the Ixi. As they came closer, the Ixi’s conversation came to a sudden halt as she looked up at them. Magnolia stood rigidly with discomfiture. “Uhh--hi?”

     “HIIIIIIII!” the Ixi abruptly greeted, suddenly straightening herself up giddily. “What’s your name? Because you fit the description of this girl I’m looking for here at the -- OHHHH, you haven’t met my friend, Timothy!” She pointed in the direction of the police officer, a yellow Techo.

     “I’m not your friend. I just met you a minute ago! And that’s not even my name!” the Techo began to explain, interrupted by the Ixi. “It’s--”

     “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA! You’re so FUNNY, Thomas!” the Ixi exclaimed, patting the disgruntled officer on the back. “Oh -- I still haven’t introduced myself yet! I’m so silly! Hee hee! I’m Xing-Xing -- nice to meet you! Oh, and what’s your name?”

     “Uh -- Magnolia?” Magnolia replied, her remark sounding much like a question. “A-and this is Sys-op--”

     “Ooooooo, so you’re the one I’m waiting here for!” Xing-Xing exclaimed delightedly. “I’m Xing-Xing -- oh, I said that already. You can call me Xing, though. And a lot of people call me Twin Star, because that’s what my name means in Ch--”

     “All right, already, I think I’ve decided on what I’m going to call you, okay?” Magnolia replied, impatiently dragging Xing-Xing away from her spot near the police officer. “And can we find somewhere else to sit?”

     “Of course we can!” Xing-Xing replied. “Bye-BYE, Trent!”

     “THAT’S NOT MY NAME!”

     Xing-Xing followed Magnolia and Sys-op to a nearby park bench where she sat down contentedly. “So, now what do we do?” she finally questioned.

     “What do -- YOU’RE the one who suggested we come to the park in the first place!” Magnolia exclaimed, taking a seat on the opposite side of the bench. “I think you’d know the answer to that question.”

     “Oh, yeah!” Xing-Xing set her purse down in the middle of the bench. “Some security guards took pictures of the disappearances. I personally wouldn’t go near what they saw with a camera,” she drew a few photographs from the purse and handed them to Magnolia, “but here you go!”

     Magnolia looked at the photographs closely. All of them showed the same thing -- a picture frame and a bright blue light that made anything else in the picture unable to be seen. “Umm... a glowing picture frame? And these pictures are important?”

     “Well, yeah, they are!” Xing-Xing answered, leaning closer. She pointed at a silhouette that closely resembled a mutant Cybunny in the bottom right corner of the picture. “There’s our suspect!”

     Magnolia frowned. “Oh, yeah. Well. Still. We need more than some photographs of a shadow to get to the bottom of this.”

     “I know,” Xing-Xing simply replied. “And that’s why you, your adorable little kitten--”

     Sys-op looked up irately. “What--?”

     “--And I are all going to the museum tonight!” Xing-Xing finished. “We’re gonna have LOOOOOTS OF FUN!”

     “Fun?” Magnolia inquired. “How do you even know the thief, whoever it is, is going to even be there tonight?”

     Xing-Xing gave Magnolia a disappointed look. “Gee, you haven’t been researching this assignment very thoroughly, have you? For the past week, pictures have been stolen every night! And more and more security guards are disappearing, too!”

     “Yeah, I guess that’s logical. But, still...” Magnolia sighed. “All right, fine. What time should we be there?”

     “Anywhere between 11:00 and midnight,” Xing-Xing replied. “That’s when most of the disappearances have happened, really.” She stood up, taking her purse with her. “Well, I’ll see you tonight, Magnolia!” She gave Sys-op a pat on the head. “And you too, cute little kitty!”

     Sys-op heaved a sigh as Xing-Xing strolled off. “Despite that one annoying aspect about her, I think she’s a nice girl. Don’t you, Mag?” Sys-op inquired. She looked up. “Um... Magnolia?”

     “WHO does that girl think she IS -- Shylock Usulski?” Magnolia questioned indignantly, standing up. “HONESTLY! I can’t believe her!”

     “What’s wrong?” asked Sys-op. “I thought she was nice...”

     “You honestly think that, Sys?” asked Magnolia. She swaggered around, pretending to swing a purse at her side. “‘Ooh, I’m Agent Twin Star! And I know everything about everything!’” She finally sat down crossly. “SHEESH!”

     Sys-op giggled. “Aww, is Magnolia jealous of Xing-Xing?” she asked playfully.

     Magnolia eyed her partner with utter disgust. “I am NOT! Come on, Sys-op, we’re going home. No way that goody-goody Ixi is going to outdo ME!”

Neopian Museum of Fine Art

Magnolia, completely clad in black, peeked around a hallway in the museum’s entrance, making sure she was completely alone, (save a half-asleep Sys-op, of course.) After warily, (if not somewhat dramatically) cocking a lightning gun, she turned to her partner with an instructional briefing.

     “Okay, Sys-op, I’m going in. You stay here till I give you the signal.”

     Sys-op looked up confusedly. “Signal? What signal?”

     “Umm...” Magnolia paused, lowering her weapon to her side. “Uhh -- I don’t really know now... but you’ll know it when you see it, Sys-op!” Magnolia smiled complacently, walking past a marble statue of a heroic-looking Lupe. “I’ve got to at least get to the scene of the last disappearance before Xing gets h--”

     “Mag-NOLIA!” The Aisha fell back in surprise as Xing-Xing quickly leapt in front of her, holding a piece of paper. “YAY! You MADE IT!”

     “You’d think the entire WORLD doesn’t need to know!” Magnolia protested, tapping her foot in annoyance. “Can’t you be a little quieter while we’re in a museum at 11:30 at night?”

     “I’m sorry,” Xing-Xing replied, holding up the piece of paper she had with her. “This is the floor plan, by the way. So we won’t get lost in the museum, you know.”

     “And where did you get that?” Magnolia inquired suspiciously.

     “...I... know people,” Xing-Xing replied simply. “Well, you’re not gonna leave Sys-op in here, are you? Okaycomeonlet’sGO!”

Magnolia sighed as she picked Sys-op up and left the entrance hall. She followed Xing-Xing into the next room -- a short corridor leading to the modern art exhibit. “I think there was a disappearance here, too,” said Xing-Xing, looking though a clear, irregularly-shaped statue. “Hee-hee! Look -- it’s a blob statue!”

     Magnolia heaved an exasperated sigh as she and Sys-op continued into the next room of the exhibit, where there was something slightly more interesting. Lying on the floor was a cracked stone statue of something that didn’t look very modern. “Is that another security guard down there?” asked Sys-op suddenly.

     “I think it is,” Magnolia replied, picking up the pieces of the statue. This time it was an unlucky Bruce. “We’ve really got to get to the bottom of this before the entire staff goes ‘missing’.”

     Xing-Xing quickly entered the room seconds after, glancing at the broken statue. “Oooo, what’cha got there?” she inquired.

     “Another security guard,” Magnolia replied. “By the looks of it, that criminal has been here just n--”

     “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!”

     “Huh? What was that?” Sys-op questioned, looking around.

     “I don’t know -- I think it came from...” Xing-Xing looked down at the floor plan. “The Ancient Lost Desert Artifact Exhibit? That’s next door -- let’s hurry!”

     Magnolia and Sys-op followed Xing-Xing out of the room and down a short hallway (lined with authentic hieroglyphs) leading to the exhibit. But it was too late. This time, a small statuette of an Aisha in a security guard’s uniform sat on a short pedestal surrounded by a visible security system. “And the alarm didn’t go off? What’s WITH this place?” Xing-Xing questioned.

     “I don’t know, but they’ve lost another security guard,” Magnolia replied. “And I think--” A shadow could be seen moving along the wall and quickly darting out of the room. “Umm... you saw that, didn’t you?”

     “Well, let’s go after it!” Sys-op suggested, instigating a mad dash after the unidentified figure. Once in the next room, Xing-Xing, Magnolia and Sys-op had already lost the stranger.

     “I think we’re a little late,” Magnolia murmured. “He or she’s probably had enough time to hide by now.” She began looking around the room curiously in search of the shadowed criminal. Suddenly, Xing-Xing noticed something.

     “MAGNOLIA, LOOK OUT!”

     “Eh?” Magnolia had just enough time to turn around and notice a tall, gray Zafara about to strike her with a sword. “YEEEE!” Magnolia exclaimed, tumbling to the floor and furiously crawling away as the weapon nearly missed her, chipping the marble flooring. She scrambled to her feet and ran as the Zafara struck once more, this time hitting the wall. “OKAY, WHERE’D THE CRAZED ZAFARA COME FROM?!” Magnolia demanded, still running.

     “She was standing over there -- on that pedestal!” Xing-Xing exclaimed. “She just... stepped off!”

     “You mean to say that a statue came off the pedestal and started attacking Magnolia?” questioned Sys-op. “I find that a tad hard to believe -- maybe a bit creepy, actually.”

     “You COULD worry about that LATER!” Magnolia cried, running in a circle around a sarcophagus. “What happened to my PARTNERS?!”

     Xing-Xing sighed. “Magnolia, you’re pathetic,” she murmured, taking a sword solely meant for decoration off the wall. As the statue chased Magnolia around the sarcophagus once more and past her, Xing-Xing thrust the sword between them, stopping the statue suddenly. “Oh...” she murmured as the statue turned to her. “Ummm... I didn’t mean to interrupt your chasing of my partner, Mr. Statue-with-the-sword. Uhh... I really... didn’t...

     “AAAAAGH! NOOO! NOT ME! CHASE HER, NOT ME!” Xing-Xing implored loudly, breaking into a run around the same sarcophagus Magnolia had been frantically darting around earlier. She finally got a bizarre idea after glancing at the vacant pedestal the statue previously stood on. Xing-Xing ran to the pedestal and climbed on top of it, quickly jumping off afterwards. The statue ran past the pedestal, but its hand hit the side of it. The second it touched the pedestal, the statue abruptly stopped running, a few cracks forming along its arms and face. It was a statue again.

Magnolia walked towards it and tapped its arm with her paw to verify this. “How on Neopia would you think to do something like that?” she inquired curiously.

     “Oh, I don’t know,” Xing-Xing replied. “Just an odd thought, maybe? Aaanyway, since this statue was moving, I think I know what’s going on here. Whoever’s responsible for all this is switching the security guards and the artworks in the museum, Magnolia,” she explained. “See, if they wanted a particular statue in here, they would find the nearest person, take the statue, and somehow turn the person into a statue to be put on the pedestal in its place.”

     “And how do you turn someone into a statue?” Magnolia questioned. “It seems as if we’re still missing some part of the solution here.”

     “Yes, but we’ve found some of it out,” Xing-Xing replied. “Now LET’S GO FIND THE REST OF THAT SOLUTION!” She grinned from ear to ear. “We’re gonna have LOOOTS of FUUUN!”

     Xing-Xing skipped out the door and down the next hallway. Magnolia sighed. “You know, she’s really starting to irk me.”

     “You know,” Sys-op replied, “I really think you’re jealous.”

     “Wh-- but-- HEY!” Magnolia exclaimed. “No more of that, okay, Sys-op? I’m so not jealous!”

     Sys-op sighed and followed Magnolia after Xing-Xing. The next exhibit featured a collection of Neopian Renaissance paintings. “Ooo, these are pretty,” Xing-Xing cooed, looking through the gallery.

     “That must be where the Mona Lenny was,” Magnolia murmured, pointing at a picture of a Draik on the opposing wall. “And it seems like a lot of these pictures have gone missing.”

     “Well, no wonder,” Xing-Xing answered. “These paintings are worth a lot, you know.” Suddenly, a bright beam of light hit the painting just to the right of Xing-Xing. The subject of the painting, a radiant Earth Faerie, stepped out of the frame.

     Magnolia merely gaped at the painting before she had enough sense to warn Xing-Xing. “Xing -- right next to you--!” The Ixi turned to the Earth Faerie, her first expression showing her to be unfazed. She then turned to the empty frame and realized what she was looking at.

     “AAAAGH!” Xing-Xing exclaimed, stepping back. “It’s not going to ATTACK me like before, is it?” The Earth Faerie merely continued walking past Xing-Xing, quietly answering her question. Xing-Xing watched as the Faerie casually strolled into another picture frame -- this one held by a Mutant Cybunny. Magnolia gasped as the Cybunny began to run with the painting.

     “Oh NO! Get that Cybunny!” Xing-Xing squealed, leaving her spot by a picture she was previously gazing at. Magnolia, (carrying Sys-op,) and Xing-Xing followed the Cybunny to the next room of the exhibit, where she pulled what looked like a lightning gun from the bag she carried and fired at several nearby paintings.

     Needless to say, all the subjects stepped out of the frames bearing weapons of all kinds, grouping around Magnolia, Sys-op and Xing-Xing in a circle. Also needless to say, the Cybunny was getting away.

     Xing-Xing backed up against the wall where she found a collections of daggers and swords, (again, meant for decoration.) She took a dagger from the wall and suddenly threw it across the room at a button near the door. As it hit the button, the door to the next room closed, leaving the Cybunny stuck in the Neopian Renaissance room. The paintings still surrounded them, however.

     “Umm...” Magnolia began, turning to the swords on the wall behind them. She took a sword from the wall and swung it around blindly. “OKAY! WHO WANTS A PIECE OF ME?!” The group of artworks drew swords simultaneously. “Um... not... literally... a piece of me...” Magnolia looked to her right where she noticed an empty spot near the wall through which she could escape. “Ah... ha-ha... yeah... little joke there... piece of... RUN FOR IT!”

     Sys-op and Xing-Xing ran from the group of paintings after Magnolia until they realized there was nowhere to go. “Xing, you LOCKED the DOOR?” Sys-op questioned disbelievingly as Magnolia tried to kick the door open.

     “I didn’t know I’d lock it -- just close it!” Xing-Xing exclaimed. “And according to the floor plan, the only switch that opens the door is on the other side!”

     “Then how do we get out of here in time?” Magnolia queried hysterically.

     Xing-Xing glanced at the empty picture frames. “Maybe we don’t need to,” she replied. “You know -- remember the statues last time? I think all we need to do is get the pictures into the frames again!”

     Magnolia nodded unenthusiastically. Really, she hated this mission. Perhaps it wouldn’t be as awful to endure if Xing-Xing wasn’t her temporary partner. She was so... so... bubbly. And the solutions she had to problems were so... so... reasonable. Magnolia would rather have anyone for a temporary partner -- just as long as it wasn’t Xing-Xing.

     Magnolia finally realized something. She really was jealous.

     But why?

     Jolted back into reality by an arrow hitting the wall inches away from her, Magnolia stepped to the side. The group of assorted paintings was approaching, Xing-Xing desperately swinging at them with the sword she’d picked up. Magnolia noticed that above the swords and daggers was a helmet. She took the helmet off the wall and it quickly fell to her side as she realized how heavy it was. “Xing, move over!” Magnolia exclaimed as she threw the helmet across the marble floor.

     As the paintings jumped and scrambled to avoid the helmet, they fell back and were pulled simultaneously into their frames. Xing-Xing simply dropped the sword, and looked around, making sure that none of the frames were empty. “YAAAAAAY!” she finally squealed, rushing to Magnolia and holding her in an enthusiastic embrace. “You SAVED meee! You’re so SMART, Magnolia!”

     Magnolia frowned, pushing Xing-Xing away. “Okay, cut it out with the hugging. I’m not huggable.”

     Sys-op looked around suspiciously. “Um... where’d the Cybunny go?”

     Ominous applause could be suddenly heard in the room. The mutant Cybunny stepped out from the shadows with the presumed lightning gun in her left paw, faintly smiling and clapping. “You are a bunch of smart people, aren’t you?” she began.

     “What’s going on?” Xing-Xing inquired. “What are you doing to the poor security guards? That’s really mean!”

     “Mean, is it?” the Cybunny questioned. “Well, seeing that it’s so mean, and we’re all stuck in here, I suppose I should tell you. But not before a proper introduction. The name’s Paige -- it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’ve been working on creating this for some time.” She held up the lightning gun-type object. “It’s a ray specially designed to manipulate museum artworks, if you will.”

     “You’re using that thing to make paintings and statues easier to steal?” Magnolia inquired. “Gee, I thought this was so much more complex than that.”

     “You be quiet!” Paige snapped. “I spent years perfecting this ray, and you’re not about to ruin my chances at all the money I can get from all my hard work!” With that, Paige fired the ray at another painting, this time of the Battle Faerie holding five daggers. Magnolia, Xing-Xing and Sys-op ran from the painting as she threw the first dagger, slightly off target. By the time she had thrown her fourth dagger, Magnolia got an idea.

     Magnolia stood directly in front of Paige as the painting raised the dagger, and ran as she threw it. Paige was left standing in the same spot. She dropped the ray and ran as the dagger hit the wall. Magnolia ran to the ray and picked it up.

     As Paige scrambled to her feet, Magnolia looked around nervously. She didn’t exactly think this part over very well. She soon spotted a painting behind Paige of a carefree Shoyru with a butterfly net raised in the air. Magnolia fired the ray at the painting over Paige’s head and the Shoyru instantly swung the net over her head and onto Paige’s.

     Xing-Xing immediately took a pair of handcuffs from her purse. “You carry those around with you?” Magnolia inquired.

     “Well, duh, Magnolia; I’m prepared for this kind of stuff!” Xing-Xing replied, restraining the Cybunny with her handcuffs. “You know,” she began, “Magnolia, I don’t think you like me very much.”

     “Er -- well...” Magnolia murmured, ignoring Sys-op clearing her throat below her. “Where would you get tha--”

     “Magnolia, don’t play dumb with me -- that’s just as bad!” Xing-Xing told her. “And -- you know, if you don’t like me, I won’t like you either. Starting tomorrow, you and I are enemies, and I’m out to make your life miserable.” She grinned maliciously. “But NOW we’re gonna be the BEEEST of FRIENDS!”

     Xing-Xing motioned to the mutant Cybunny desperately trying to remove the handcuffs. “Let’s take Paige in, okay?”

     Magnolia sighed. “Let’s. Friend.

The End?

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