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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 23rd day of Swimming, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 68 > Continuing Series > Double Kyrii Handful: Part Three

Double Kyrii Handful: Part Three

by scriptfox

Everyone got home that night except for Heilley. At first I wasn't all that concerned, but when we sat down to the supper table with an empty chair, I began to be worried.

     "Don't tell me the girl wonder is still out playing Cheat!," MonoKeras remarked.

     "Maybe," I replied. "I hope so. I'd hate to think she had gotten into any sort of trouble."

     Blchocobo looked up. "She probably decided to have supper with Kootmufin."

     I nodded at his suggestion. "Yeah, I guess you're right. Still, she should have called. I'll have to have a little talk with her about that."

     Although I felt somewhat better, there was still a nagging doubt in my mind. After supper, I called Meggiemufin.

     "Hello?"

     "Hi, Meggiemufin. Is Heilley still over there? I haven't seen her."

     "Over here? No, she's not. She never showed up at all this evening. Koot hasn't either. You mean they weren't staying with you???"

     Meg's voice rose with her tension and my own throat tightened as well..

     "No. I haven't heard anything from either of them since Heilley left this morning."

     "Well if we're lucky, they're together. Where do you think we should start looking?"

     "The only place I can think of is Spectre's casino- that's where they both spend most of the day, it seems like."

     "Right. Meet you there!"

     "Hey, wait a minute!"

     "Yes?"

     "I, uh... I know this sounds silly, but what will you be wearing? I've only talked to you over the phone."

     "Oh..." I could tell she was almost as embarrassed as I was. "That's right, isn't it! I'll be wearing a baby-blue belly shirt, jeans and sneakers. Okay?"

     "Okay, see you there."

     "Soonest!"

     I hung up to find everyone staring at me.

     MonoKeras spoke up first. "She's really gone missing, huh?"

     "Looks it. I'm heading down to the casino now to see if anyone knows where she went."

     "Okay. I'll come with you."

     "Okay... and no, you two can't go!" Kallisari and blchocobo sighed as I pre-empted their own offers. "I need someone to stay here and wait for Heilley. If she does show up, tell her to go straight to her room until I get back. She's going to have some explaining to do."

     Kallisari blinked at my harsh tone. "Is she in trouble?"

     "Probably. But better in trouble with me than with someone else out there who doesn't care for her. Now come on, MonoKeras, let's make tracks."

     He had pulled on his trenchcoat. "Right behind you."

***

MonoKeras and I stood outside the doors to Spectre's Spectacular and watched the crowd. I sighed. "I probably should have told Meggiemufin exactly where we'd meet her."

     "Don't worry too much," MonoKeras advised. "I doubt either of you knew this place well enough to get that exact."

     "A point," I conceded. "But how many girls could there be here in a baby-blue belly shirt?"

     "I think you might try that one over there." MonoKeras pointed with one hoof. "Complete with worried look, I might add."

     "I can understand that," I muttered to myself as I wove through the crowd towards our potential friend.

     "Hey, Meggiemufin?"

     She looked up. "Hey! Scriptfox, right?"

     I grinned and let out a slight breath of relief. "Right. Sorry we couldn't meet under happier circumstances."

     Her pleasant expression was totally wiped out by her worried frown. "Yeah. I just don't get it. Koot knows better than to stay out late." She twisted nervous fingers into her hair.

     "Uh huh..." I was momentarily distracted by her hair as I mentally kicked myself for not asking about it. Girls in baby-blue belly shirts might be relatively common, but adding knee-length pine green hair to the description cuts down the odds considerably.

     "Hey." MonoKeras tapped me on the shoulder. "Are you going to introduce me, or do we at least get to go inside now?"

     "Huh? Oops, sorry. Meggiemufin, this is my pet MonoKeras."

     She smiled almost shyly. "Hi, MonoKeras. I've read a lot about you."

     He winked. "All of it good, right?"

     "Well..." she laughed helplessly.

     I rolled my eyes. "Come on, you two, let's get inside and see if we can find out anything."

     Getting in was easy. It was after we got in and I found myself inside the huge hall filled with a colourful and dazzling array of games that I found myself at a loss. Meggiemufin held onto my arm with much the same look in her eyes.

     "Do either of you know how a place like this works?"

     I looked down at MonoKeras. "Not much," I admitted. "Outside of giving Heilley her initial stake in here, I've not really messed with it."

     "Me either," Meggiemufin added.

     MonoKeras shook his head and muttered something under his breath about owners. "Okay, well come on, then. We want to see if the girls left here safely."

     "Well yeah but..." I shut up and followed MonoKeras over to a kiosk window.

     "Hey there, good looking!" the red Pteri behind the window chirped to MonoKeras.

     "Hey yourself, bright and cheerful," he replied. "I'm looking for a couple of Kyrii. Names of Heilley and Kootmufin. I'm sure you've seen them a few times."

     The Pteri laughed. "All the time! I don't know if those two miss a single weekday here! I'm afraid they've both left for the evening, though, and some time ago, too."

     MonoKeras gave her his best stare. "You're sure about that?"

     "Oh yes. Heilley in particular cleaned up this evening. She got out of here with over three thousand in winnings."

     "And that was when?"

     The Pteri frowned at a clock on the wall. "Hmm.... three hours ago? Something like that. Sorry, I can't tell you anything more definite."

     MonoKeras shrugged. "Thanks anyway, I appreciate it. See you later."

     "Any time! And next time, cash in and enjoy a few games!"

     MonoKeras laughed. "I'll do that!"

     Meg stared at MonoKeras with a respectful look in her eyes as he finished his questioning. "He really is an investigator, isn't he."

     "Yeah." I was less impressed with Monokeras' performance than I was with what he'd found out.

     He rejoined us. "Come on, we might as well go. Looks like they got out of here."

     "I'm not sure I get it," Meggiemufin said as we walked back out into the night. "What did that bird have to do with this?"

     "She's the one in charge of cashing out the chips," MonoKeras replied. "Whenever you play in there, you put down special chips instead of real Neopoints. Then when you want to leave you have to come to her to get your Neopoints. If she says both of the girls came there, then we know they finished playing for the night and were leaving."

     "Which leaves us the walk from here home to hunt through," I concluded rather gloomily.

     "Right. And with that much money on Heilley at least, you could make a good case that someone might try to waylay them for it."

     Meg bit her lip to keep it from quivering. "Then... they could be anywhere!"

     MonoKeras nodded. "Just about."

     I suddenly stopped as an idea hit me. "Hey, can't you use magic to find them?"

     MonoKeras pulled thoughtfully at his lip. "Maybe. It would be limited range and I'd need something from each of them... or from whichever one you wanted me to track."

     Meg's face lit up. "I've got a lock of Koot's hair, how about that!"

     "Perfect!"

     She reached up and twiddled with a gold ornament in her hair. I was puzzled at first until she pulled it off and part of her hair came with it. Then I realised the slightly lighter green tint to that lock was because it had come from her green Kyrii. She handed it to MonoKeras and he looked at me expectantly.

     "Well? Come on, out with it, I know it's there."

     I gulped. "Okay." Reaching down into my pocket, I avoided Meggiemufin's eyes as I pulled out the gold heart-shaped locket that held a lock of Heilley's hair. "Here."

     MonoKeras didn't say anything about it, thankfully. He simply cradled both charms in his hooves and began singing. Or maybe it was chanting that he did. Whatever it was, it raised the hairs on the back of my neck and sent goosebumps across my back. A greenish glow surrounded the objects before stretching out into the distance and fading away. We waited.

     After several seconds of silence, nothing had happened. MonoKeras just shook his head silently and handed us each back our trinkets. I hadn't realised how much I'd been counting on it to work before it failed.

     "Well," I sighed. "I guess it's off to the Chia cops. At least we can file a missing pet report."

     MonoKeras coughed slightly. "I wouldn't count on that, if I were you. They don't let you file a report for at least twenty four hours."

     "Do you have any other ideas?" I shot back. He blinked and shook his head. "Okay, then, we try the cops."

     It was something to do, but I might as well have saved my effort. MonoKeras was sadly right. The cops refused to do anything, and Meggiemufin and I left with nothing more helpful than a rather snide comment about pets staying out too late all the time. We promised to let each other know if we found out anything and then headed to our respective homes.

     I got home to find out that Heilley hadn't shown up. Although I didn't think I'd been expecting it, somehow hearing it confirmed tightened the knot in my stomach just that much more. I lay on my bed that night with sore eyes and a sorer heart, wishing I could cry and get it out. I had three pets in the house, but I might as well have been all alone for all the good that did me. Things were empty without everyone there.

     I was up early the next morning, polling my Neomail. MonoKeras wandered into the computer room to find me staring at the monitor. He joined me and read over my shoulder what I'd already read five minutes earlier:

"Dear Sir,

I am sure you have realised that your pet Heilley is missing. First, let me assure you that she is alive and unharmed. Second, let me also inform you that her continued safety rests solely upon your willingness to follow the instructions you are about to read. Following them to the letter, and without delay, will result in the return of your precious pet. Neglect or trickery of any kind will end with your pet's remains turning up in a most unforgettable place.

Lest you think I have any personal grudge or desire for revenge, let me assure you that my motive here is solely for money- and for lots of it. Your pet has been of much trouble and cost to me, and I feel that the sum of One Million Neopoints is not too much to ask to reimburse me. Accordingly, you are to leave a bag containing One Million Neopoints behind Coltzan's Shrine at sunset today. There you will find a pottery jug from Osiris' shop which will contain the location of your pet.

Do not think to deceive me by leaving a fake sum, or by trying to get there early. The location will not be there until it is time, and I will have time to verify your honesty and take appropriate measures before you could ever reach your pet. Remember: your obedience and the sum of One Million Neopoints will return your Heilley to your household. Anything else will result in destruction."

     I looked up to find MonoKeras staring at me thoughtfully. "Well? What do you think?"

     "I was just thinking about the last time I saw someone reading a kidnap note. You're taking it a lot calmer than she did. Of course, she was fake, too...."

     I slammed my fist down on the computer desk hard enough to rattle the keyboard. "Forget that!" I yelled in his face. "That's your sister out there in the hands of some ruthless cut-throat! Now quit goofing off and get real!"

     MonoKeras gulped and backed away in a defensive posture. And it was no wonder. He could count on the fingers of one hoof the number of times he'd seen me lose my temper that way. "Okay, okay! First, call Meg. You promised you'd let her know, and maybe she's gotten one too!"

     I grabbed the extension beside the computer and followed instructions. I found Meg in near hysterics. MonoKeras had been right about her getting the same note. It took me a bit to get her calmed down, but before long she'd agreed to come over so that MonoKeras could set us both down to plan out strategy. Call it a council of war, if you will. I know that at that moment, I was more than ready for a fight with whoever was out there.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Double Kyrii Handful: Part One

Double Kyrii Handful: Part Two

Double Kyrii Handful: Part Four

Double Kyrii Handful: Part Five

Double Kyrii Handful: Part Six

Double Kyrii Handful: Part Seven

Double Kyrii Handful: Part Eight

Double Kyrii Handful: Part Nine

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