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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 9th day of Running, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 12 > Continuing Series > Snow Job: Part Five

Snow Job: Part Five

by scriptfox

"Oh! Nice bottle, MonoKeras," chittered Myncha. "A lot smaller than the one we had during the war. Looks handy. Where did you get it?"

"From the dark faeries," Tekeli-Li said before I could reply. "They're the only ones that would make such a thing."

I nodded. "It's an inside story, but Tekeli-Li is right. Only dark faeries make this particular kind. I did them a favor and got two of these some time back."

Sabre-X stepped in again. "That was the situation that he brought to me. Now, his proposal, which Kyruggi is even now busily arranging, is to have us appointed by the Terror Mountain government to investigate this matter."

Myncha shook his head. "What's to investigate? Here's all the proof you need right here." He tapped the bottle. "Just show this to the court and it's all done."

"No, it's not," Tekeli-Li said, just as I replied, "I wish."

Myncha looked up in confusion at our simultaneous responses. "What am I missing?"

"It's a simple matter of law, Myncha," I explained. "Magical evidence can not be used in a court of law."

"But you and Tekeli-Li use magic all the time, and I don't see anyone complaining about that. You've even been in court on cases you used magic to investigate."

"That's true. But that was with evidence that was actually gathered and shown through ordinary means, not magical."

"But...."

Tekeli-Li took up the thread. "What MonoKeras is trying to say is that you can use magic to gather your evidence, but magic itself can't BE the evidence. We can use this-" he nodded towards the bottle- "to catch our Lupe, but we can't just show it in court and say there he is. We can use it to find where to look and what to get, and THAT evidence works fine in court, but the actual magic itself isn't allowed."

"But... why not?"

Tekeli-Li didn't offer to continue, so I did. "Separation of powers," I said. "The Faerie Queen has jurisdiction over all magic used in Neopia, and any sort of magical evidence can only be used in faerie courts. The legal rationalization is that judging the validity of magical evidence is beyond any normal NeoPet, so it can't be allowed. The real reason, as far as keeping it that way is concerned, is that the Faerie Queen might object."

"I don't know why," Myncha grumbled to himself.

"You don't have to," Tekeli-Li retorted. "She's a law unto herself and you don't argue with her rules unless you want to be turned into something really nasty."

"So you see, gentlemen, the need for our investigation," Sabre-X continued, smoothly getting us back on course. "We'll be a special commission, appointed by the government, to go out there and find the causes of the avalanches, and how to stop them. What we don't want them to know is that we have this lead here--" he pointed to my bottle-- "and that we know it's being done on purpose."

Myncha looked about ready to pop off with another question, but he was interrupted by the arrival of Kyruggi herself. She strode in briskly, took one quick look, and nodded around the room. "Good to see everyone here," she said. "Saves me some time. Sabre-X, I have just returned from talking with the Terror Mountain government. It didn't take much persuasion at all for them to see your little group here as a light-sent gift from above. Looks like MonoKeras wasn't wrong in estimating how nervous they were getting. Not only did they accept it, they're rushing it as fast as they can. You've got to have the whole team there for a press conference this afternoon at 2:30." Sabre-X just nodded. "Oh, and MonoKeras---" she looked at me and lowered her voice to a meaningful tone. "You've got something big here. In fact, it's so big that I predict you're going to be sick to death of politics before it's over."

"Ahhhh..." I replied with my usual intelligence. I didn't get a chance to say any more before she nodded curtly and swept out of the room. We all blinked a bit, though we were used to it. Kyruggi is not one to waste time. She gets the job done with a minimum of fuss and goes on to the next. I must say, though, I think she managed to set records in that little trip, even for her.

The only one who didn't seem taken aback by it all was Sabre-X. "Right, you heard the lady. We've got some packing and planning to do, quick, before we're ready for that conference."

Tekeli-Li started talking before Myncha could get his tongue untangled. "MonoKeras, you seem to be starting all this, but no one's said you're going to be on this commission. Why?"

I tried to act casual, which is hard to do when he gives you that lizard stare of his--particularly when, as I well know, he has the ability to see through any normal act by using his magical abilities. "Two reasons, actually. One is personal--the role I'm choosing to play is simply that of a hired investigator, because that's how I function best. It lets me collect a fee and gives me the freedom to look as I see fit. The second reason is a bit more ominous...."

"Yes?" he said, when I paused too long.

"Remember, the Blumaroos think the Bruces don't want them there. And also, remember that these avalanches are being set deliberately. The Blumaroos could well be right, in which case, powerful Bruces and maybe the whole government- could be behind this scheme to chase them out, or ruin them financially.... and these are the same pets who have hired us."

Myncha just chattered wordlessly as the import of that hit him. Tekeli-Li didn't show much emotion, and Sabre-X looked, if anything, bored. He'd already seen all this yesterday, of course, before he'd even agreed to get into it. "You might say we have two investigations in one, gentlemen," Sabre-X said. "One is our public one, where we are out there doing all sorts of huge public things like you, Myncha, organizing search teams to scour the mountains for any sort of clues. The other, though, is the secret one, and it's conducted by MonoKeras here, using his magical bottle to follow our clue from that end."

"Playing both sides of the street, and not letting either of them know what we're doing," mused Tekeli-Li. "I always thought you had the devious type of mind needed for faerie magic, Sabre-X, and now I'm even more sure of it."

Sabre-X's tusks jutted out aggressively. "I want nothing to do with your magic mumbo-jumbo, Tekeli-Li. Just be glad I can accept MonoKeras' little toy here. I like the practical, and if you don't think that the ordinary psychology of NeoPets and other intelligent beings can be as devious as faeries..."

I quickly forestalled the old running argument before it continued. "Be that as it may, everyone, don't you all have a press conference to get ready for? And while you're busy parading before the officials and citizens of Neopia, I'm just going to gather up our little prize here..." I put my bottle back up... "and go see about getting some behind the scenes work done. Just one thing."

They all looked at me. "What's that?" Sabre-X asked.

"Don't forget to get a good fee set up for me," I said, and left before they could respond.

I returned from the meeting with the newly appointed investigation team to find blchocobo sitting quietly on the front doorstep of my office. I was rather surprised at that.

"Well, hi! I didn't expect you here."

He shrugged slightly. "Why not? I'm your younger brother, can't I be interested in what's going on?" He stood up to let me at the front door.

I tapped the panel above the doorknob with my paw, then opened it. "Yes, of course, particularly after I already took you into my confidence and let you help once in this case already. Come on in." That last was unnecessary, since he'd already followed me in and shut the door with a slight frown on his face. "Is something wrong?" I asked as I sat down at my desk.

"How did you do that?"

"Do what?"

"Open the door. I tried and tried, and it was just locked, like there was a deadbolt. But you didn't have a key, you just... tapped it and it opened."

"Oh, that. Magic," I said dismissively. "Sit down and I'll tell you all about our latest big problem. I got our client all lined up and ready to go."

"Great!" and he sat down to listen as I explained what I'd been doing. As I came to the end of it, he grinned appreciatively and said, "I think I agree with Kyruggi. It's devilishly cunning and I love it."

I laughed. "Thanks, but it's not over yet. We've actually just now gotten started on it. In fact...." my voice faded out as I looked at him thoughtfully. "In fact, I may have another little job for you, if you're willing to accept a semi-permanent position with me."

"As a helper? I'd love to."

"I'm flattered," I replied, and honestly meant it. Blchocobo and I had been brothers for only a little while, but I'd already come to respect his self-control and intelligence. I opened up my case of magical supplies that I'd brought back and pulled out the faerie bottle "crying glass" that had become the key to the whole thing. "Remember I told you I'd seen our criminal setting off the avalanche by using this? I don't think I ever showed it to you."

Blchocobo shook his head silently and watched the miniature figure of the Lupe inside in fascination as he stopped for a midday snack made from an animal that he'd caught earlier in the morning. "No, you hadn't," he murmured absentmindedly.

"Well, this is it." I said rather lamely. "Anyhow, here's my problem. It shows the action in 'real time'- it shows what he is doing now- but I have no way of knowing when he is going to do something significant, or of knowing if he has already and I just wasn't looking at the time. What I'd want you to do is just sort of hang around the office here during the day, and keep an eye on things- but especially on this." Blchocobo managed to drag his eyes off of the bottle's image and quickly agreed. "Good," I declared. "Now, one more thing- I need to get your aura folded into my doorlock spell."

That perked his interest up quickly. Though the exact details must remain confidential, I will say that he was surprised and amused at how simple it was to give him access to lock and unlock the door with a mental command. After that, I left him to tend to the office and bottle while I went out for a quick bite to eat, and then back to Terror Mountain. I hoped I would get paid for travel fares on this. I could tell right now that my commuting miles were going to really add up.

I'd hoped to find Councilor Bloriarity at his office, but he was out. In fact, he was at the big press conference announcing the avalanche committee. I should have realized that, I thought, as I headed over to watch it. It was pretty much the usual thing- Several Bruces getting up and praising Sabre-X, Myncha, and Tekeli-Li for all of their past exploits in the Tyrannian war, for their wisdom and public dedication, and wishing them every success in solving such an important problem. I must say the new committee took it well, although Myncha was fidgeting, which was no surprise. I wondered what Sabre-X was doing when I noticed a few Bruces stumbling on their lines after looking him in the eye. Probably just being a normal saber-tooth Lupe, I guessed.

Sabre-X got up and thanked the council on behalf of the committee, promising them a thorough investigation and hope for a safer future. I loved that last phrase, it made me wonder if he'd thought it up himself or borrowed it somewhere. After it was over, everyone shook paws all around, light bulbs flashed as they posed, and the crowd began to break up, with everyone getting back to whatever urgent business that they had.

Councilor Bloriarity apparently didn't get a chance to speak. I managed to catch him as he was leaving the conference area.

"Excuse me, councilor, could I ask you a few questions?"

"Sorry, no public comment at this time," he snapped and continued walking.

I edged in front of him. "Actually, I was wanting to talk in private, not public."

That stopped him. He looked at me and frowned. "What about?"

I waved a vague paw towards the now mostly deserted podium area. "The avalanche problem, and all that."

He looked at me silently for a few seconds before nodding briskly. "Right. Come to my office and we'll discuss it."

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Snow Job: Part One

Snow Job: Part Two

Snow Job: Part Three

Snow Job: Part Four

Snow Job: Part Six

Snow Job: Part Seven

Snow Job: Part Eight

Snow Job: Part Nine

Snow Job: Part Ten

Snow Job: Part Eleven

Snow Job: Part Twelve

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