When leb388 came with one of her rare "We're-going-to-have-a-lot-of-fun"
moods, easy to predict when she grins broadly and acts rather secretly, I felt
extremely guilty. It was a beautiful spring day as I was headed toward the porch
of our NeoHome. Flowers had recently bloomed, there were no clouds in the sky,
and there was cool air and a general feel-good atmosphere. A low hum from a
neighbor mowing the lawn in front of his or her NeoHome could be heard in the
distance (which reminded me that our lawn badly needed cutting, and our Neomower
had broken), and some Baby pets were playing across the street. But I was particularly
upset. For one thing, I'd have to break some bad news to leb388. For another,
I didn't know precisely what it meant.
"Li," my owner began excitedly, "you'll never
"Leb388, I need to tell you something," I interrupted.
"It happened again."
Her face fell, and she looked frustrated. "Again?"
I got up and trotted by my owner. (I'm a Desert
Aisha named Li, by the way.) We were walking down our cobblestone path and then
crossed the lawn to the Pant Devil's house, next door. We found him in his backyard,
sobbing on JamezBfod's (leb388's older brother's) shoulder. Near both of them
was a go-cart that was splattered with green goop--more specifically, with exploded
Neggs. (Normal Neggs in Neopia rarely explode, but when they do, the goop leaves
bad stains on most paint and clothing.)
"Why?" the Pant Devil moaned to himself,
his eyes closed. Jamez gave us a nod of welcome and sadly patted the weeping
Pant Devil on the back.
The Pant Devil didn't notice us, so leb388 asked
loudly, "Any clues?"
The Pant Devil jumped up, looking embarrassed
at needing to be consoled by Jamez. "Oh! H-h-hi, leb388. Hey, Li. N-n-no, I
couldn't find any. This was the second time t-t-this week--well, you know that.
I c-c-can't figure out whom did it, or why."
"I can answer the second question," leb388 replied
matter-of-factly. "I said it a few days ago, and I'll say it again. Someone
may have wanted revenge on you for gleeping an expensive item."
"B-b-but I didn't take much lately," he protested,
his embarrassment fading, "and I tried to take only really cheap things, except
for an expensive food item from some Lenny with an umbrella. Even so, nothing
was valued more than a few thousand NP, I swear! The only interesting thing
I did lately was get a higher position in my guild, that's all!"
"Your guild?" Jamez asked, blinking. "You're
in a guild?"
The Pant Devil beamed proudly. "Yep, I was moved
to the fifth council spot on the Evil Villains of Neopia guild."
"Did someone get bumped off?" I questioned.
"Yeah. I can't remember who he was, but he was
inactive all winter, so I was given the position. That was about a week ago,
"Hmm." I glanced down at the Negg-splattered
go-cart. The Pant Devil had only discovered this morning that his beloved cart
had been vandalized, and he ran to me for help. My brother, Conspicit (an Island
Poogle), and I solve mysteries, and for some reason the Pant Devil and my owner
had struck up a great friendship over the past few months.
"The splatters look rather large," I observed,
studying them closely with a Serf Lens. "They must have come from a Negg Bazooka
larger than size 30. No Neopet smaller than a Lenny could hold it unassisted.
In fact, I believe a Lenny's wings or a Meerca's tail are the perfect size for
gripping handles size 30-33. Also, the splatters are on both sides, meaning
our culprit wanted to target you directly, Pant Devil. He or she seems to have
fired from a distance on one side, then close on another. I guess one side was
facing your house, and the culprit fired from the street the first few times,
then came up close to get the other side. I think that's what happened the past
"Wow!" leb388 marveled. "Li, you noticed all
that just now?"
"Well, no," I admitted. "I was studying the cart
for about two hours, then took a break, and you came home."
"Ah. But how would someone get a Negg Bazooka?
Those are illegal in Neopia, or so I'm told," Jamez commented, trying to look
like he'd never touched a bazooka of any kind.
"I don't know," I replied, "but I think we're
dealing with an experienced villain."
"Can you figure out why someone did it?" the
Pant Devil asked anxiously.
I took one final glance at the small, one-person
go-cart so beloved by Panty and stood up. "I don't know. Maybe for revenge.
You do have a lot of enemies, and I'm going to go look around Neopia for some
leads. Want to come, leb388? We can report the vandalism at the Post Office,
My owner nodded. "Sure. We'll be back soon, Panty.
Bye, Jamez--" Leb388 stopped suddenly and looked around. "Hmm. Jamez must have
vanished suddenly. Ah well."
We started to walk back to our house, and leb388
was unusually silent until we reached the porch. "I wanted to surprise you,
Li. Wait here," she instructed. She ran out to the backyard and returned with
an old-fashioned, dingy bicycle that looked like some old engine was being carried
on the back.
"You got a bike?" I surmised excitedly.
"How'd you hide it in the backyard? Do you even know how to ride?"
"I know how to ride! Just because I can't stay
on a skateboard for my life doesn't mean I can't ride any single-person
form of transportation. My parents gave it to me. It didn't ride fast enough,
though--" she said, her grin returning, "so I had Conspicit soup it up a bit.
And he hid it in the backyard."
I marveled at Conspicit's work. He fixed it up
and attached the old Neomower engine to it from our broken lawn mower (which
I guessed was better than using it in a mower, for some reason). With a steady
push of the pedals, leb388 explained, it was a quick ride.
"Want to test it out?" she challenged.
I hesitated. "But won't we get in trouble? We
might be speeding or something."
"Nah; we need something fast-moving to catch
our Negg culprit and do research and stuff like that. We can file a report at
the Neopian Post Office first. They know me by name now there, since I'm always
caught in weird situations with Jamez or Chet Flash. Our culprit is so lucky
that he or she decided to mess with Panty and not us. Come on!"
Warily thinking of Jamezbfod, leb388's brother,
I hopped on and leb388 started the bicycle up, pulling a string attached to
the engine. I felt ridiculous, but if leb388 could help me gather clues, I was
willing to do almost anything.
"Say, where's Conspicit and Keira? I haven't
seen them today, and they're usually around," she said of my island Poogle brother
and baby Poogle cousin.
"Conspicit went out shopping and on the 'rounds,"
I replied. The engine sputtered and roared to life. "Keira's with Pegasus--she's
showing Keira some basic Battledome skills."
Leb388 nodded. Pegasus, my white Tonu sister,
was an avid Battledomer, and Keira had been asking for awhile to be able to
go with her. Plus, shopping and going on the "daily 'rounds," as we called collecting
daily freebies, could take Conspicit awhile.
As leb388 started to pedal and we gained speed,
I thought about Conspicit and Keira. I wished they was here to help; I could
really use Conspicit on the case, and Keira was very helpful, too. We were members
in the N.E.M.S. or Neopian Explorers and Mystery Solvers, organization, after
We vroomed past houses and trees, and I started
to get used to the speed until suddenly, a spurt of water hit us.
"AHH!" I yelled, caught off-guard. "What was
that?" It was gone as quickly as it had come.
"Either a water sprinkler," leb388 informed,
"or someone out to get us with a hose. I didn't get too wet; did you?"
"No," I moaned and changed the subject. "So,
whom do you think is 'our culprit'? I think most villains and Jamez are ruled
out. Sloth is the only villain who has something against the Pant Devil, and
Negg Bazookas aren't his style. He'd use his ray, if he even still has it. Maybe
"Aulus? He has it in for you and Conspicit, not
Panty, but we can check him out. Jamez is probably out of the question. He hates
Negg Bazookas as much as I do. We can check it out though, since his NeoHome
is really close by." Leb388 rounded a corner and we were nearly at Aulus' NeoHome.
"Oh! We're here."
Leb388 abruptly stopped her bicycle. Thinking
about how abnormally short our trip was, I shakily jumped off and, as leb388
put a lock on her bicycle ("Antitheft lock, a present from Conspicit," she said),
and we soon went to knock on Aulus' door.
"Hello?" came his voice as he opened the door.
Aulus, a yellow Lenny, immediately recognized leb388 and me and said sternly,
"What are you doing here?" He had accused Conspicit and I of stealing an idea
he had before. Though we were proved innocent, he still carried a grudge.
"I'll come out and say it. Did you fire Neggs
at Panty's go-cart to get revenge on me and my pets?" leb388 asked.
Aulus looked shocked. "I would never do such
a thing. You mean the Pant Devil? I admire his go-cart; it's blue, one of my
favorite colors. Why would I fire Neggs at it?"
"How'd you know it was blue?" leb388 asked. "He
just got it repainted a few days ago, after the last attack. It was yellow before.
You live pretty far from us and don't usually travel to our side of the 'hood."
"I went over his NeoHome yesterday! He stole
an expensive Chocolate Chia Cupcake from me, and I wanted it back. He refused
to give it at first, but I--"
"Had a motive to ruin his cart," leb388 accused.
"You have no right to accuse me of such a thing!"
he said suddenly. "The Pant Devil eventually gave the item back. I order you
to leave at once or I'll call the Chia Police."
While leb388 and Aulus argued, I thought for
a moment. Sensing a dispute, I said, "Leb388, let me handle this."
Leb388 stopped, looked at me, and realized I
was probably right. She walked back to her bicycle but watched me from there.
"Aulus, what was your forecast today?" I asked
quietly. He was the Weather Lenny, the only meteorologist of Neopia, trusted
with weather predictions.
"So you're going to make fun of me, too?" he
demanded. "Fine. I said it was going to be raining, all right? I was so sure
it was going to rain!"
I smiled. "For once, predicting wrong helped."
I walked away, leaving him stunned.
"Find out anything?" leb388 asked hopefully when
I reached her.
I sighed. "Nothing really important now."
To be continued....