The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Absent Anubis - Part Five
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.
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.
"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?"
"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
"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?"
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.
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
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
"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
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
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,
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...