White Weewoos don't exist. *shifty eyes* Circulation: 111,625,219 Issue: 222 | 6th day of Sleeping, Y8
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The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Absent Anubis - Part Five


by playmobil_is_my_life

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After last night's strange event, questions whirled around in my head faster than the speed of sound. The brown envelope, the two notes from the same typewriter, the pictures of the ransacked room and Raia's eagerness to help… it all made no sense.

     If Raia did write both notes, the one referring to Sethnakte's absence and the one about how she found her father's room in pieces, then why would she help us solve the mystery, to throw suspicion off herself? It was very obvious that both came from the same typewriter; if they didn't it would just be a huge and unbelievable coincidence. What if it wasn't Raia at all? And where was this infamous ink-deprived typewriter?

     I had an extremely bad case of insomnia that night. The temperature dropped to around seventy or eighty degrees at night in the desert and the tent was a little small, but comfortable, so there was no reason for me not to be able to get a wink of sleep. Well… except for this peculiar mystery. That's a pretty good reason.

     Was I missing a connection? Was Raia linked to the ransacked room or disappearance of Sethnakte? I heaved a monstrous sigh and rolled over. Damien and Charlie were both sleeping soundly to my right. I desperately wanted to get up and wander around. In the middle of the night, it was impossible to search for these answers. But maybe going for a walk would help me to relax and clear my mind so I wouldn't be so weary tomorrow.

     Silently and cautiously, I slipped out of the tent and let the flap fall back in place. The night air ruffled my white feathers. I started to walk around the circle of tents that were merely gray shadows in the moonlight. There were no clouds and everything was still. The only sound that could be heard was the shuffling of the sand beneath my large feet. My walk around the camp did just the opposite of what I was hoping: I was more awake and alert than ever.

     I paused for a moment, looking out at the deep purple atmosphere and dark skyline. Only moments later did I hear the sound of sand rustling under someone's feet. I spun around and withdrew at the sight of a figure about five yards away from me.

     "Don't move."

     After his unrecognizable voice gave the command, I heard a faint click and there was a sharp sound. A gas lantern snapped on, revealing the shadowy figure of a tall desert Ruki and a Cobrall Dagger pointed at my chest. I exhaled when I looked up into his face.

     "Dr. Kysen?"

     "It's Marlo, isn't it? One of the detectives?" The linguist spat, a look of pure disgust on his round face. "You've got a lot of nerve to be sneaking around here at night."

     "I could say the same," I answered. I found the situation a bit funny. Here I was, twice as big as Dr. Kysen and he was the one giving the harsh statements. Well, I glanced down; he was the one with the Cobrall Dagger. Shaking my head slightly as if to appear casual, I added: "What are you doing out here?"

     "I heard a noise and went to do some detective work of my own," said Dr. Kysen. The Ruki still gripped the handle of his dagger as if he was expecting me to make a sudden movement. I eyed the desert weapon anxiously and watched as it lowered to his side.

     "Why do you have that thing out here anyway?" I asked.

     "We're a mile from civilization," said the Ruki simply. "Folks come through here all of the time, day and night, pitching tents of their own while they traverse this sand trap. We don't know them and we don't converse with them because a few look rather… questionable. They're distracting too; you can't let your guard down. There are some valuable things here that we cannot afford to lose."

     'There are some valuable things here'…was he referring to Sethnakte? I wondered.

     When I remained silent as a stone, he replied, "I trust you don't need the light to find your way back. Watch out for the Black Wadjets, they're out at night as well. Good evening, Marlo."

     I had completely forgotten about the poisonous desert petpets until Dr. Kysen had mentioned them. I watched him turn swiftly and retreat back to his tent. The light from the gas lantern acknowledged the handle of his sheathed dagger and then disappeared.

     I started back to the tent, swallowed up by the vast darkness of the Lost Desert.

     ***

     Last night around dusk, the four of us searched for Raia to ask her about the envelope and note. Unfortunately, she was nowhere to be found, not even in her own tent. We even asked around but none of Darius's team had seen her. It was strange.

     The following morning, we continued our search for Raia. There were many questions that we hoped to find answers for. After my brief conversation with Dr. Kysen last night, I was still unable to sleep. I felt bad pushing away theories and thoughts… we needed them, after all. But I needed sleep more.

     We found Raia outside of her tent, writing on a clipboard that was balanced against her hip.

     "Good morning," said Damien, who reached her first. She put on one of her sickly sweet faces.

     "And a good one it is," the Wocky answered. "I'm guessing you're here to discuss the pictures?"

     "Yes we are," I said, taking a step forward.

     "Good, then come inside."

     I ducked down and followed Damien and Charlie into Raia's tent. It had the same set up as the others, except there was more room since she didn't have two extra beds. Raia spun around once we were inside and said,

     "I really don't see what more you need from me… I supplied you with the clues."

     "We just have a few questions," I said as politely as I could.

     Luna pulled out the envelope and let the pictures slide out. "You said this was what Darius's tent looked like at approximately 7pm on the 22nd of this month, right?"

     "Right."

     I took the written note from Luna and put it in front of the Wocky's face. Then I pointed to the typewriter that sat on Raia's desk. "Is that the typewriter you used to type this note?"

     "Of course it is," she said nonchalantly. "But when we go into town, I'll need to pick up a new ink bottle to refill it. It's been low for a week…"

     I grinned slyly. This was exactly the response we were looking for. Luna was busy jotting down Raia's responses in her notebook. She looked up at the Wocky and then down at her writing. Raia was beginning to squirm uncomfortably at the awkward silence. Luna crossed the room and pointed to the typewriter.

     "Are you aware that your typewriter was used to write the note that Darius found during the night of Sethnakte's disappearing act?" the shadow Yurble asked.

     Behind her black bangs, Raia's brow creased. "What note?"

     Oh, so you want to play dumb, do you? I raised an eyebrow. Or maybe she wasn't playing dumb. Maybe she really didn't have an idea about the note that Darius received. I thought that the entire team knew by now, but perhaps Darius had kept it secret. I handed her the note Darius found to let her read it. She took it and I watched her eyes dart back and forth.

     When she was finished, she put a paw to her heart dramatically. "I didn't type that! I swear I didn't!"

     "Both of these notes were typed on a typewriter that was low on ink. Who has a typewriter besides you?"

     "Well," Raia paused and shuffled her brown paws, "Dr. Kysen has one. My Father has one and I'm sure a few others do, too."

     "We'll have to check it out," I said, but my mind was focused on Raia.

     "Someone could have used my typewriter. No wait," Raia stopper herself, "someone must have used my typewriter, because I did not type that note."

     "But you typed the second note, right?" Damien pointed out.

     "Yes," said Raia indignantly. "I typed it to help you. And all you want to do is accuse me!"

     "Please calm down," I said, pacifying my tone. "We're not accusing you. We're just pointing out that it looks like both notes were typed on your typewriter."

     "Someone must have snuck in…" Raia said, apparently in her own world. "Maybe when I was in the caves someone snuck in…"

     Not possible, I said to myself. Darius said that only he, Raia, Dr. Kysen and Bek knew about Sethnakte before the rest of the team did. If the four of them were in the caves, then none of them could have been able to type that threatening letter.

     "It's a possibility," I lied. "That's all for now, thanks."

     As we left the tent, Luna rounded on me. "She's grasping blindly at excuses about the typewriter issue…"

     "On the contrary," said Damien. "I think she's on the right track." The royal Aisha's eyes were narrowed in thought. "It is quite possible that someone could have snuck into her tent to type up the first letter, evidently not knowing that she would use the same typewriter to draft a second letter to us. I mean, I'm sure strangers pass through all of the time and Darius and his team are so busy that they're always moving around, going from one location to another."

     "That's true," I replied, and told the trio about my encounter with Dr. Kysen last night. I ended with, "and he said that Neopians are always passing through and causing distraction."

     "Interesting," Damien said.

     "What's our next move?" asked Charlie, from Damien's shoulder.

     Before I could answer, Luna said firmly, "How about the Desert Marketplace? I've been dying to check it out."

     "Funny, you've never said anything about it before," I told her.

     The Yurble rolled her eyes, "We'll have to fly, of course."

     I looked at her for a moment. She seemed like she wanted to go, and I couldn't blame her. It was supposedly a giant place where you could buy merchandise and trade goods in the Lost Desert. I glanced to my right. Damien nodded and Charlie shrugged. It was obvious Luna and Damien wanted to go.

     "Fine," I said, knowing that they had me beat, "but when we get back, we're going to the caves again, okay? Hop on."

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Absent Anubis - Part One
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Absent Anubis - Part Two
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Absent Anubis - Part Three
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Absent Anubis - Part Four
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Absent Anubis



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