Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 193,091,074 Issue: 680 | 13th day of Awakening, Y17
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Janet and Jane: The Case of the Museum at Midnight - Part One

by chasing_stars44


"This place is amazing!" Natia cheered. "Could you believe that I never came here?"

      "Oh, I believe it," I replied.

      As the two of us made our way to the Historic Weapons part of the Neopian Museum to meet Jane, we looked around the exhibits. I had to admit, this place was impressive. This place was pretty much the biggest building in Neopia Central. They must have added stuff from the last time I was here. Items from all over Neopia was here -- Meridell, Sakhmet, even Kreludor!

      While we were examining the paintings, someone tapped my shoulder. I turned around to see a green Acara. He had a kind look on his face and a bright light in his eyes. The only things that unsettled me were his right horn being bent up and a scar over his left eye. Other than that, he looked normal.

      "You like the art?" he asked me.

      I nodded and said, "It's very pretty. Do you work here?"

      "I do, actually. What gave it away?"

      I eyed him up and down. He had on the museum worker's uniform. He was missing a name tag, though. "Lucky guess."

      The Acara looked down at his uniform. "Oh, I forgot I had this thing on." He held out his hand. "My name's Barry."

      I took his hand with my own and shook it. "The name's Janet, and my friend is Natia."

      "You mean the Alien Aisha playing on the sculpture over there?"

      I turned around to see Natia playing on a modern art, marble sculpture. Of all the times to do this, why did she have to do this now? While I was talking to a nice and seemingly intelligent Neopet? At least there was nobody in this wing. That would be really embarrassing. This really wasn't uncommon for Natia, though -- her middle name is "troublesome". I didn't even know why I was surprised.

      "Yes. Yes, that's her," I answered. "Natia, get off of that this instant!"

      She groaned, but she came off of the artwork. On the bright side, she listened to me. If she didn't, a lot of crazy stuff would happen. As she sulked her way over to Barry and I, the two of us continued our conversation.

      "Is this your first time here?" Barry asked.

      "Natia, yes. Me, no," I answered. "I used to come here when I was little for field trips, but that was years ago. So many things have changed."

      "Is that why she was playing on the sculpture?"

      "Most likely."

      I felt a breathing on my shoulder. Natia was right over my shoulder (of course she was). She suddenly said, "Hi."

      "Hello, Natia. Why were you playing on the statue?" Barry asked.

      The Aisha walked in front of me. "It looked like a jungle gym."

      "Of course it did to you," I muttered. I tried my best not to roll my eyes. "So Barry, do you know the way to the Historic Weapons wing is? We're meeting a friend there."

      While giving a bright smile, Barry said, "Follow me."

      He led Natia and I out of the art wing. As he led us, I continued to look around. This place was amazing. All the historical content was just amazing. Well, then there was the curtain, that I assumed led to an unfinished wing. Due to my natural curiosity, I walked towards it.

      "Hey! Janet!" Barry shouted as he came running at me. "You're not supposed to go in there. It's not finished yet."

      "Sorry, Barry. I was just wondering what was behind there," I replied.

      "Oh, that." Barry turned his head to the curtain. I still don't know if I saw a hint of worry in his face, like he hoped that I didn't mention it. "That's just the new exhibit, 'The Masks of Mystery Island'."

      "Cool!" Natia cheered.

      She began to run to the exhibit. Barry managed to grab her tail before she got too far. "It's not done yet, but it will be at the end of the week."

      "It will be?" I asked.

      "Mhmm." The green Acara led me away from the curtain. "Nobody is allowed in there until Saturday. Alright?"

      I nodded. "Alright."

      Barry continued to walk to the Historic Weapons. I followed, but my mind went back to that curtain. I knew that if I went behind there without authorization, I could get in some serious trouble. To be honest, it wasn't about what was behind the curtain. It was about why Barry was acting strange about it. I knew I saw a strain of worry in his face. I guess he was a little stressed about it. It sounded like a big job to me.

      The Historic Weapons wing was just as impressive as the art hall -- maybe even more. The walls were literally covered in weapons to the point where you can't even see what color the walls were. The weapons were from all over. Some old Smuggler's Cove items, ancient Hidden Tower arms, things from the catacombs under Neovia, how could I name them all?

      "Janet! Natia!" I heard someone call. I didn't even have to look to know it was the shadow Korbat herself, Jane. She flew right over to us. "Where have you been? You missed the demonstration!"

      "I'm sorry, but Natia got herself into trouble," I responded.

      "Played on something?"

      "Uh huh."

      Jane then noticed Barry. "Hey, I don't know you. Who are you?"

      The Acara gave out a slight chuckle, then introduced himself. " My name is Barry. It's nice to meet you. May I get your name?"

      "My name's Jane," the Korbat said politely. She turned back at me. "So did you like what you saw?"

      I nodded my head vigorously. "It was awesome," I answered. Natia, Jane, and I walked away from Barry. "Did you know there's going to be a new wing open soon?"

      Her eyes widened. "No way, are you serious?"

      "Barry told me."

      "It's true. I was there," Natia added.

      The three of us lost track of time -- looking through the wings. You know, it's pretty easy to lose stuff. House keys, time, and where you are. That's what happened to us. We got lost. The worst part was that there were no Neopets around to ask for directions.

      "Great, we're lost. Now what do we do?" I asked.

      "Relax, Janet. We can figure a way out of here," Natia comforted (though it really didn't comfort me. I guess it was that she said it). "We have three detectives here." Natia really wasn't a detective, but she thought she was. Yes she had helped Jane and I out on a couple cases, but she wasn't cut out for it. A good example would be her playing on a sculpture.

      "Natia." I looked at the Aisha with a mix between a stare and a glare. Her smile turned into a frown.

      "Oh, right."

      We then heard a loud tone come from the speakers on the ceiling. It said, "Thank you for visiting the Neopian Museum of History and Art. The museum is now closed." Then the lights went out.

      "And now we're locked in here for the night," Jane said.

      "Let's just try and find a security guard that could let us out," I muttered as I took out my glowing Miamouse, Supra. She snuck into my bag, along with Jane's black Alabriss, Alize, before we came in. Petpets were allowed in, anyway, so I didn't bother taking them out.

      Was it just me, or did I feel a draft? I looked over at Jane and and Natia. They couldn't have made the draft. Not only were they in front of me, but they were shivering a little. It surely wasn't them who made the draft by just blowing on the back of my neck. Then what caused it? There were no open windows in the entire hall and the heating vents were pumping in warm, not cold, air.

      "Is anyone else getting a bad case of the creeps?" Natia asked.

      Neither Jane nor I bothered to answer. To be honest, I was a little creeped out. The decor wasn't really helping. We were in the Tale of Woe Hall, and all the creepy pictures of ghosts and monsters were doing anything but giving us comfort. I felt like the pictures were staring at us.

      Now I was really scared. I think I saw one of the crooked pictures straighten itself. It couldn't be -- I was just psyching myself out. Things can't move on... their... own? I think I just saw one of the artifacts being adjusted while it was in a glass case! No, it was just me. It had to be just me.

      "Is it just me, or are the items moving?" Jane asked. Okay, so it wasn't just me. At least I wasn't seeing things, but that meant the items were really moving.

      "I've been noticing it, too," I replied.

      "I've noticed something, too," Natia added.

      The both of us looked at the alien Aisha and asked, "And what did you notice?"

      She pointed behind us. Jane and I looked where we pointed (and we wished we didn't). Something was appearing behind us. All we could see at the moment was an eerie light gray-blue light that illuminated the entire hall.

      It was then I realized that we were in the presence of a ghost.

      Natia, Jane, and I screamed and ran out of the hall as fast as we could. No matter where we went and at whatever speed, the ghost trailed behind us. Oh, what were we supposed to do? We never dealt with a ghost before!

      "Wait! Stop!" the ghost plead.

      No way, ghostie! We had no idea what you were going to do to us! The three of us ignored its calls and just kept running. It kept calling like it was desperate (we were the desperate ones, not it). At this point, I was getting winded. I couldn't keep this up for much longer. We needed to thing of something fast.

      Turned out our time was up.

      We ran into an exhibit with only one entrance. Oh no. We were trapped! Jane, Natia, and I huddled together and backed ourselves up to the wall in fear. The gray-blue light approached us. What was this ghost going to do to us?

      "We-we're sorry for being here after closing," I said, trying my best to stay calm, but I was terrified. "We just got locked in. We were just looking for a way out."

      "Just listen!" the ghost scolded. It appeared in front of us. The ghost was an Ixi that was about our age. He didn't look all that mean -- with light blue eyes and dapper clothes, it would be hard for anyone to look scary. "I'm not going to do anything to you unless you don't hear me out. Got it?"

      The three of us nodded our heads. Jane said, "What do you need to talk to us about?"

      "I overheard you three," the Ixi informed. "You said you were detectives, correct?"

      "That is correct," I answered. I stepped closer to the ghost. I wasn't as scared as I was when I first saw him. "The Korbat and I are founders and workers of the detective business J2. The Aisha just likes to help us out. Why do you ask?"

      The ghost floated over to me and said, "I need your help."

To be continued...

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