Chet Flash wuz here Circulation: 135,120,767 Issue: 264 | 3rd day of Storing, Y8
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At the AstroVilla: Part Five

by kemppotatoe


Rain splattered the glass wall in suite 650. Cypher sat at the kitchen table, attempting to clear her mind of all external thoughts. But that wasn't working out too well for her. A brilliant flash of lightning couldn't distract her... but the deafening clap of thunder that followed it could.

      As the Cybunny jumped in surprise, she heard a soft clatter. It sounded like something breaking a few doors down, and it happened to be right in sync with the earsplitting thunder. Standing up, Cypher pulled off her AstroVilla robe, grabbed her key, and hurried to the hall of the 26th floor.

      It was quiet, dark, and chillingly cold in the long hallway. The only sound was the occasional clap of thunder, the rain on the windows, and Cypher's own soft footsteps. Being a rather smart Cybunny, Cypher concluded that the sound of the breaking glass had come from the suite two doors down from her, seeing as it hadn't sounded close enough to be from either of them. She knew who was staying here: an affluent Scorchio scholar, one who was said to be the smartest of Scorchios in Neopia, who had checked in after the kidnapping.

      His name was Lenard Lokelbee, but went by Lenny. Cypher had met him earlier that day, and he had been very kind and told her that he was in Neopia Central for an internship with NATN, otherwise known as the National Neopian Bank.

      But what worried Cypher was the fact that he had distinctively said that he was here alone.

      When Cypher reached the door, her mood was not improved by seeing that it was not fully closed. It looked as if it had been shut in a hurry, but was not fully locked. Gently, she pushed the door open just a crack, and peered into the darkened suite.

      It was not as big as her own, surprisingly. She could easily see that the bathroom door was wide open and the light was on, and the covers of the large bed were thrown aside. Lenny was nowhere to be seen.

      Breathing hard, Cypher stepped further into the room. Rain pounded fiercely on the ornate windows on the far end of the suite. "Lenny...?" she whispered through the blackness.

      No answer. Cypher bit her bottom lip and peered into the bright bathroom. The sound of something breaking had come from in here, Cypher found out, when she saw the large bathroom mirror was shattered on the ground. She stepped back into the bedroom, going closer to the bed, all the while whispered, "Lenny! Lenny, where are you?"

      "I guess he's not here, is he?"

      The voice caused Cypher to jump a foot in the air and spin around to see the speaker. But there was no one there. The room was still empty apart from herself. "Wh-who's there?" she said, frightened beyond imaginable.

      "Oh... no one!" the disembodied voice said playfully. It was a creepy and chilling female voice, with the illusion that is was speaking underwater. "But Lenard Lokelbee is definitely not here."

      "I see that!" Cypher choked, "Where is he?"

      "Hmmm..." The voice seemed to be moving around the room.

      "Who are you?" Cypher called out, sweating.

      "Me?" The voice giggled. "I'm but a figment of your imagination!"

      Cypher gulped, shaking her head. "No, you're not! Tell me who you are and where Lenny is right now!"

      "Or what?" the voice taunted, moving again. "Are you going to go tell Griptor that your imagination is the culprit? No one believes kids, Cypher..."

      "You know my name?" Cypher looked around herself, trying to find out where the voice was going to speak from next.

      "Of course I do!" it said from near the closet. "You're Cypher the Cybunny from Happy Valley. You're the only pet of Anna, your owner, who is currently away from Neopia for twenty-eight days. You are an A student who does particularly well in history class. Your friends, Lucille, Paisley, and Dora are often jealous of you. You hope to one day be a Neopian Times Reporter, and you would absolutely love a white Weewoo. You've also recently made friends with a kitchen staff member here, Luther."

      Cypher's jaw was dropped. She instinctively looked at the door to the hallway, unsure of what to do. Maybe she was dreaming! That would be a logical explanation for this strangeness...

      "So," the voice continued, "don't believe me still? How else can I know so much about you? I even know where you live... 110285 Snowball Close, Happy Valley..."

      "ATTACK!" Cypher screamed, having made up her mind. "Attack in Suite 647! Help! Someone, please!"

      The voice gave a devilish giggle, and seemed to zoom off.


      Within five minutes, the entire hotel was wide awake, with a large portion of the guests and staff assembled on the twenty-sixth floor. Cypher herself was standing anxiously in suite 647, explaining to an upset Mr. Griptor about the strange voice.

      "... and then it just laughed and went away!" she exclaimed, "But I don't know how the mirror in the bathroom got shattered like that. If I hadn't been awake, I never would have heard it."

      Mr. Griptor gave a long, weary sigh, shaking his head. "This can't be good for the hotel," he muttered, obviously unaware of Cypher still standing next to him.

      "Mr. Griptor," Cypher said loudly, "I know you want to keep these attacks quiet, but maybe it's time to call in some help!"

      "Who do you propose could investigate such a case and keep it secret?" he asked, shaking his head. "Anyone would immediately tell the Times, and then the AstroVilla would be ruined!"

      Cypher raised her eyebrows at the stressed hotel manager. "Haven't you ever heard of the Chia Police?" she asked, smiling.

      The Kyrii rolled his eyes, sighing at Cypher. "Yes, I've heard of the Chia Police! Who hasn't? I don't know what you're trying to say, but it's definitely not helping..."

      "Then you'll know," Cypher interrupted, "that these Chias are sworn to secrecy! The Chia Police guarantees to keep all matters that they are hired for a secret unless wished by the employer to be revealed."

      "How do you know so much about the Chia Police?" Griptor asked, unable to hide his delight.

      Cypher shrugged. "When a friend's in danger of losing his job... you do a little research."


      "The name's Langer... Captain Langer. This is Lieutenant Map. We're the heads of this investigation."

      The two Chias stood in front of six other Chias, all wearing matching uniforms and serious expressions. Mr. Griptor smiled at them all, obviously relieved that he could get some professional help without hurting the hotel's popularity.

      "Thank you so very much for coming to help," he said, nodding at them. "This puts lots of stress off of the staff's shoulders."


      Griptor turned and looked at Cypher who was standing nearby, with her eyebrows raised. He sighed, turning back around. "... and the guests' shoulders."

      Langer nodded. "That's what we do. Now, we need to get some details on the past attacks. Who was kidnapped first?"

      "Lorraine Dodson, an Altadorian. She works in the archives."

      "And then...?"

      "Lenard Lokelbee."

      "The Scorchio scholar? I see... interesting... very interesting. It seems to me that the attacker is only taking wealthy guests."

      Mr. Griptor bit his bottom lip. "Well, Captain, if they can afford to stay here, they're probably rich. That's basically... everyone."

      Langer frowned. "Right. Of course. Well, take us to the rooms so we can search for clues."

      As Griptor led the team of Chias to the elevators, Cypher sighed and took a seat in one of the comfy lobby armchairs, knowing that the police would probably not find anything of significance. She herself had examined both suites with Luther.

      The most evidence they had found in the Altadorian Aisha's room was the book, How To Be A Gormball Champ, written by Ursula herself. Luther had stated how it was odd that the Aisha had this book, considering that the author had been kidnapped at the same hotel. The only other thing they found was a rather large mountain of dust underneath the bed. "Oh, I'm so gonna get the maid who cleans this room fired!" Luther had said, laughing.

      In Lenny's room, they found nothing of importance except a large collection of encyclopedias, which Cypher took to her suite for examination. Luther had thought it was a stupid idea, but Cypher wanted to at least try to figure the puzzle out, and taking items for investigation made her feel like she was accomplishing something.

      When the two young detectives showed Mr. Griptor the book from Lorraine's room, he merely looked at it and rolled his eyes. Obviously, he felt nothing of importance could come from an everyday book lying around a suite. But Cypher felt something was definitely up, and proceeded to take it to her suite.

     With any luck, the police could figure something out, or else all hope was gone. Cypher knew that secrets couldn't be kept forever, and eventually the secret of the hotel attacks were going to get out to the public.

      But if secrets couldn't be kept forever... sooner or later they'd find out who the culprit was... and stop this mess.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» At the AstroVilla: Part One
» At the AstroVilla: Part Two
» At the AstroVilla: Part Three
» At the AstroVilla: Part Four
» At the AstroVilla: Part Six
» At the AstroVilla: Part Seven
» At the AstroVilla: Part Eight
» At the AstroVilla: Part Nine

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