Landing on the beautiful beaches of Mystery Island,
Saf took in a deep breath and beamed happily. "Aah! Mystery Isle! Back to the
scene of the crime!"
"Back to the scene of so many crimes, in my
experience," muttered Angel gravely. Her last trip here had ended in the escape
of Malkus Vile, a leader of the criminal underworld who she believed had hidden
a key to her past somewhere. "Let's just get this over with. I don't want to
stay here too long."
"Not stay here too long? We should ask for
a extended holiday here," said Saf, eyeing up the beach kiosk. "Don't tell me
you're gonna go all psycho on me too, are you?"
"Uh, the word is psychic, and Jen was just
worried about what a dream like that could entail. She said so herself."
"Yeah whatever. What was the mission again?"
Angel cleared her throat and quoted in a mock-official
tone. "The NSPA Mystery Island division 3 has found evidence against the claims
of the Island's tourism department, which allegedly claims that the events that
came to pass on 11th day of Hiding, Year 4. On said occasion, a member of an
unknown tribe on the island appeared in front of an audience of millions in
front of the Neopia Central Arts District, prophesying the certain doom empire
that the unveiling of the Kumlaa Scrolls will entail. As this has recently happened,
and there has been no effect where the empire is concerned, the records proving
that the industry has dropped over the past few months, not days, seem to indicate
that the Head Office isn't being exactly truthful. The current mission is to
unearth the real reason behind the drop in tourism and a possible reason for
the Head Tourism Office to be lying to us like this. Sounds official."
"You bet. Where first? The Tourism Office?"
"Doy. Where else?"
At that moment there was a horrific scream
from somewhere in the crowds. A young boy with a Yellow Kyrii and blue Flotsam
leaped from the shies and kiosks and skidded to a halt, breathless, collapsing
on a bench outside the tourist information office. A few pets and owners darted
forward to help them. The Eyrie and Aisha stood their ground, but watched with
Spluttering, the boy caught his breath amidst
cries of 'Monster!' and 'Run away!'
Luckily the Kyrii was a little more together
than the boy. "There was a monster in the bushes," she squeaked, "A huge monster
with a ripping tearing mouth than glinted in the light, because we were just
walking through the jungle, and light only came through the trees in pieces.
It leaped forward in front of our path and glared at us, and then Ewan screamed,
and it ran away."
Eventually the boy's stifled sobs became too
much to bear, and the Kyrii halted her explanation and rushed to comfort him.
"Uh... do you still want me to answer that?"
Angel growled to herself. "Never mind. It
may be a totally unrelated incident. Let's keep going."
The manager of the tourism department at Mystery Island was a stern-looking,
middle-aged Desert Kacheek who glared at Shining_Safyre from across the desk.
Saf glared back solemnly.
"And you are confident that the appearance
of this 'Witchdoctor' is the direct cause of your drop in business?"
The Kacheek bristled slightly, and nodded.
"Yes. The incident of the last few days has left a horrible dent in the tourism
"That's odd. The last few days? This Mystic
must have been bothering you for a while then, sir. Because according to these
records, you've been experiencing difficulties for quite a few months now, haven't
She flung a bundle of documents across the
table and leaned back on the comfy computer chair.
The Kacheek went pale, and his upper lip started
to tremble and sweat. The pupils of his eyes withdrew as he looked at the papers,
and back at the Aisha.
"Just give it up. I am Agent Shining_Safyre
of the Neopian Special Protection Agency, and I am here to investigate the real
reason behind your drop in business, and whether it could prove a threat to
any innocent bystanders. I know that you are just using this Mystic act as a
scapegoat. Who was it - one of your lackeys? We've got all the evidence. Just
spit it out."
His eyes darted to the door and back, as if
contemplating an escape. He blotted his forehead with a flannel, and slumped
on the desk.
"All right. You got me. But it was not my
idea to blame the whole deal on the Witchdoctor - that was another employee's."
Saf gave him a smug smile. "So who'd you get
to play him?"
"Play him?" The Kacheek looked up from his
crossed arms. "Like an actor? Oh no. We had nothing to do with the guy. It was
just fortunate he appeared when he did so we could place the blame on him. The
right place at the right time."
"Or the wrong place at the wrong time, whichever
way you think about it." Saf's bright wide eyes skimmed over his panicked face,
and back to the desk, where a newspaper had been appropriately placed with the
silhouette of the island man on the front cover. No. He was telling the truth.
The man in the photo was not a Neopet, and he doubted any pet would have been
smart or malicious enough to trick their master, nor any human stupid enough
to fall for it. This was the real deal.
She sighed softly. "Okay. But in that case,
why would you need a scapegoat in the first place? What do you need to hide?"
The manager shuffled his feet uncomfortably.
"There... there is a creature. A creature has been scaring our customers away
from the resort. There. I said it. Well? Laugh!"
But Saf didn't laugh. She knew what the Kacheek
was talking about. Her mind cast back to the distraught young boy, Flotsam and
Kyrii they had seen just before.
"No, sir. I believe you. There is an animal
scaring the tourists away. But why have we only just heard of it? Surely we
should have been informed, at least through word of mouth. The Beast of Bodmin
has had more publicity than this! How can a 'monster' that has totally ruined
the industry of an island be so little-known, sir?"
The Kacheek mumbled something under his breath.
"I'm sorry? I didn't hear you."
"I said the witnesses were blackmailed. Bribed
and blackmailed to keep their mouths shut to stop word spreading like wildfire."
"But you couldn't stop the witnesses telling
their friends and family for fear of them meeting their fate on the Island.
And they told their friends and family. And their friends and family. It's like
putting a drop of ink in a clear cistern."
Saf stood up, the chair scraping beneath her.
"I don't think you realise how serious an offence this is, sir. What if someone
had become seriously hurt by this animal in the woods? What then? Saved a bit
of business still, did you?"
She turned and marched to the door, throwing
her words over her shoulder. "We're giving you 24 hours to put right your wrongs.
Go and warn the people now, and alert the papers, otherwise the NSPA will be
forced to intervene."
And with that she clucked her tongue for her
Snarhook, Ambron, to follow, slammed the office door, leaving the Desert Kacheek
a mass of nerves, lost in his own mangled thoughts of how he was to tell his
ex-customers their lives could be at stake.
Saf met up with her friend on the outskirts of the Mystery Island Market,
who sat on a bench chewing happily on a hot dog.
"Solved it then?"
"Not quite," grumbled Saf.
"Rats. I hoped I was gonna have an easy mission."
"What, where you didn't do anything? I did
all the work?"
"Aye. Pretty much." She lifted herself off the
seat and sauntered happily along the road with her, the sun gently warming her
"The Kacheek's off the hook. Apparently he only
used the Island Mystic story as a cover-up for the fact that the figures for
the Island tourism department were dropping. And why? Because there was a monster
in the woods scaring away his customers."
Angel bristled her fur, picturing the head of
a Skeith on the monster's body. "Just like that little boy. Hmmm. Mebees this
is just a little more serious than I thought."
"Always is. Anyway, I told him to apologise
to his customers and get them off the island, ASAP."
"And I also contacted Angle, who thinks we should
stay here and follow up an investigation on this monster."
"And then aliens came through the roof, abducted
me and replaced my brain with a thick wad of smelly cheese."
"You haven't been listening to a word I've been
saying, have you?"
Saf blocked Angel's way playfully, jerking her
out of a zombie-like trance brought on by the excessive heat and making her
trip over her own paws. "What's with you? I was talking to Jen a little while
ago. She said you were walking about like a zombie on horse tranquillisers the
last time you came to Mystery Island. Is there anything wrong?"
Angel squinted at her, bleary-eyed. "Nope. Nope.
Nothing's wrong. I just really like this place."
"Y'know. Mystery Island. The whole place is
always so alive, so welcoming... and those mountains."
She sighed like someone about to admit to a
terrible crime kept under wraps for a lifetime. "Last time I came here, me and
Jen found Rincham, right?"
"Your Kougra brother? Yeah. So?"
"Well, on the night he decided to join us there
was a horrible storm, and we intercepted Malkus Vile and his cohorts talking
about capturing him over the Heart-Charm Contact. I ran ahead, thinking I could
outrun them. And then... then I saw the mountains. Those huge mountain peaks
shadowing an abyss that it seemed would take a lifetime to reach. I don't know
what it was, but against every will I had - the will to help Rin, and to save
him - I turned from the path and started to run in the direction of the mountains.
It took every ounce of my strength and willpower to drag myself from the sight
of the mountains and back towards Rincham. And to this day I still don't know
why I wanted to see those mountains. Or what was beyond them."
Saf was silent for a while, then gave her a
supportive and reassuring look. "Don't worry about it. Maybe if we finish this
mission, and if Angle's in the very best of moods, we can go up to those mountains
and find out exactly what drew you in there. But for now let's concentrate on
finding this creature, shall we?"
Angel nodded and chatted back jokingly. "Aye.
Why not? Certainly shouldn't be as bad as the lgasho incident last Halloween,
Saf never got any opportunity to answer that,
as suddenly a Flotsam skidded round the corner and bowled Angel over onto the
"So sorry, Miss," he apologised, shaking himself
and almost immediately starting to run again.
Angel jumped to her feet. "Woah. Woah. Hey,
what's the rush?"
"There's a fight! Between that monster we saw
earlier today and some Kougra. I've gotta find Ewan and get offa this Island!"
To be continued...
Author's Note: Can you guess what it is yet? Next week, Angel engages in a
vicious duel with the 'monster' of Mystery Island.
I love to know the audience's opinions on my stories, so if you have any
compliments, criticisms, whatnot, send
'em on in!