Janet and Jane: The Case of the Framed Detectives: Part Two
"This can't be..." I said at last. "No, it can't be..."
"I'm sorry," Nathan consoled. "I tried getting the story out of the paper, but I found out about it just as they were printing it."
"Are you alright?" Natia asked.
I avoided their eye contact. There was no possible way that Jane could steal. I knew her for years. If there was one thing she didn't like, it was crime, and I'm pretty sure that stealing from the bank counted as a crime. Even if she did, she worked on enough cases to know how not to get caught.
"No," I sharply stated. I balled up the paper and threw it onto the ground. "It wasn't her. I know it wasn't her."
"We know it wasn't her, too, but what are we supposed to do?" Nathan asked. "There's no way that I can edit the Neopian Times now, and I can't send out an article stating otherwise. I could get fired or even worse."
"Don't worry, Nathan," I said. "We're going to clear her name."
"How are we supposed to do that?" Natia asked. "Jane isn't here, and she's a big part of the business. Plus, those who know we're detectives with her will think we had something to do with it."
"Yeah, I guess you're right." I began to pace. It was what I did when I had to think. "We can't do it with only the three of us, especially since Nathan has no background in detective work."
"I've been covering up your stories for a few years now. I think I know a little bit about detective work," Nathan argued.
"I know, but you know what I mean." I sat on the table (which was pretty much what I did when I was in the examination room). "Writing about crimes is different than solving them."
There was a knock at the door. We never really got visitors, other than Nathan and Natia. The two of them were a little confused, but I wasn't. I was expecting Lyanka to come today. She probably didn't have something that could possibly help us, but I figured she would come when she read the Neopian Times with the story.
"Who is that?" Natia asked. "When did we start letting in visitors?"
"Relax, Natia," I responded. "It's a friend. She's the one who saw Jane a couple nights ago and I told her she could drop by if she found something that could help us out." I got up off of the table. "I'll let her in. You two can just stay here. I won't be long."
I walked to the front door. Lyanka knocked a few more times before I got there. When I was at the door, I opened it. The blue Aisha I met yesterday was on the other side, what I expected. A worried expression was on her face.
"Did you hear?" she asked me. "About Jane?"
I nodded and answered, "Yes, I heard. Would you like to come in?"
Lyanka then nodded. "I would like that."
I let her in through the door and shut the door behind her. We walked to the examination room with me leading the way. Lyanka seemed to be looking around. I had a feeling she was curious about this place (which wasn't all that surprising. Natia and Nathan behaved the same way when they first came in here).
"Welcome to J2," I finally said.
"J2?" Lyanka asked. "What's that?"
"It's a detective business that Jane and I started."
The Aisha tilted her head. "It is? Then how come I never heard of it?"
"It's a private business. Hush hush." I brushed a tendril of hair out of my face. "It's so we can go around, figuring out what's what without our cover being blown."
"That sounds pretty cool." Lyanka smiled. "Is there anyone else who works for you guys?"
"Well it's just Jane and I, but a pair of Neopets often help us out." I swept a bunch of hair that was on my shoulder to my back. "You're about to meet them."
There was another knock at the door. I stopped in my tracks. Lyanka did the same when I did. Who could possibly be here? Lyanka was by my side and Nathan and Natia were in the examination room. Everyone who knew where the base was was here.
"I'm going to get that," I said to the Aisha. "Just keep going straight, take the second right, and go into the first door on your left. They're in there. Explain how and why you're here, okay?"
"I think I can manage," Lyanka replied.
She walked ahead of me. I turned around and went to the door. The thought of who was behind the door was a little scary. We never told anyone else of this address. Was someone following us around? Was there a security leak?
Once I was at the door, I shakily opened it. What was behind it surprised me. A white Usul and a blue Vandagyre was behind it. They weren't even strangers - they were past clients. That was what puzzled me. If they didn't have a job, why were they here? They didn't even know how to find this place.
"Hi Janet," the Usul, whose name is Mae, said to me with a bright smile and rosy cheeks. She seemed very optimistic today. I wasn't exactly in the mood for much optimism.
"Hey Mae. Hey Xavier. What are you doing here?" I asked.
"Where's Natia? We want to discuss this with her, too," Xavier said as an answer (which it really wasn't).
I groaned. "Follow me."
I walked the two to the examination room, where everyone was (or at least there they were supposed to be until I came back). I had a feeling they were here because of the article in the Neopian Times. Why else would they be here? To say hi?
"You read the article, didn't you?" I asked, breaking the silence.
"Is it that obvious?" Mae asked back.
"I don't see why else you two would be here."
"Are you planning on figuring out what happened?" Xavier asked. The Vandagyre looked at me.
"You ask that like you don't know the answer to that." I rolled my eyes. Jane, Natia, and I did a job for these Neopets before. They knew what we were capable of.
I walked into the examination room. Natia, Lyanka, and Nathan were having a conversation, but went mute when I walked in. I felt a little awkward, but I didn't let it affect me. I went in and sat on the table like I usually do. Mae and Xavier walked in after I was seated.
"Ah! Mae! Xavier!" Natia cheered. "It's been forever! What are you doing here?"
"We heard," Xavier answered.
"Tell us someone who hasn't," Nathan sighed.
Mae looked for a spot to sit, after placing herself in a chair, she said, "Anyway, we came over to-" before she was interrupted by a knocking at the door. Another? How?
"Your turn, Natia," I said.
She didn't argue. The alien Aisha got up out of her seat and left the room. I wondered how many Neopets knew the address to this place and how they got here. It wasn't all that easy to get to. It was in a wooded area outside Neopia Central. In order to get here, you needed to go through a whole thicket of bushes and trees (it has now occurred to me that I maybe shouldn't share this stuff with you).
"So who are you?" Xavier asked, looking at the Poogle.
"My name's Nathan," he answered. "I assume you're Xavier." He was silent for a brief second. "Or are you Mae?"
The Vandagyre rolled his eyes. "Very funny," he said sarcastically.
Hold on, was it just me? I heard something from not too far away from here. It sounded like-
"I'm telling you, we just won't get along."
Oh, it just hadto be Kell. We did not get along at all. I made a face like someone opened a present only to find out that it's a terrible one. First, Jane went missing. Then, she was framed for a crime that she did not do. Now I had to work with someone whom I have more friction with than two pieces of sandpaper rubbing against each other? Oh, this was not going to be fun.
Natia quickly skipped back into the room. Following her was Kell with his brother, Corbin. Unlike Mae and Xavier, they didn't hire us for a case. We just ran into them during one. Made me wonder why they were here. I tried to avoid eye contact with either of them while I thought of reasons why they would be here. The two found somewhere to situate themselves.
"How are these many Neopets coming here?" I muttered to myself.
"Oh, that's an easy question," Natia said. I guess she heard me (that was the downside of her having four ears - she could always hear me when I didn't want her to). "I told them where it is."
How come I didn't expect this? "Why on Neopia would you ever do that?"
"So we can keep in touch." Natia smiled. "I didn't do it to everyone. Only these guys."
I felt the room get a little cold. Reminded me of Jonah. It always got cold when he was around. Suddenly, Mae screamed. Everyone flinched, jolted, had their concentration broke, or a mix of the three. Her eyes were darting across the room. The temperature rose again.
"Mae, what was that for?" Nathan asked.
"Mae says that she can see ghosts," Xavier explained.
Yep. Jonah. Jonah was a ghost who hired us for a case at a museum. It was a first for us, since we never worked for a ghost before (and we never received one from a ghost after that). It was a little scary at first, but he's actually pretty nice. Mae didn't know him, so it was natural that she was afraid.
"Don't worry, Mae. Jonah's nice," I comforted.
"What are you talking about?" Corbin asked.
"It's a long story." I adjusted myself on the table. "He's someone that we met to take a case."
It looked like everyone was having a hard time believing me. Everyone but Natia. If she didn't meet Jonah before, I was sure that she would react the same way.
"Alright, then where is Jonah?" Kell asked.
"I don't know," I said calmly. "He's a ghost."
"Then what makes you think that he's here? For all we know, Mae could have been lying."
"I assure you that I was not lying," Mae intterupted the conversation. The room got cold again. Her rosy cheeks get pale again. I had a feeling that Jonah was back in the room.
"Alright." Kell crossed his arms. I did the same. "Then where is he and why is he here?"
"I don't know," I said. "I don't know."
Then, someone quickly said, "I could answer if you would like."
A ghost Ixi appeared in front of me. Mae screamed again. Through Jonah, I saw Mae's hands glow (which meant something was about to move). The table I was on began to shake violently. So violently, I fell off. The white Usul then ran out of the room, with Xavier, Nathan, and Corbin going after her (I guess they were going to calm her down).
"You okay?" Jonah asked.
"Been better," I replied. I got off of the floor and went back to sitting on the table. "See, Kell? I told you Jonah was here."
The Wocky rolled his eyes and said, "Well how was I supposed to know? I'm a monster hunter, not a ghost hunter."
I did my best to ignore his comment. Instead, I asked Jonah, "Why are you here?"
"Same reason everyone is here. I want to help you figure out what really happened," Jonah answered.
"How would you know that's why everyone's here?" Natia asked.
"I saw everyone walking here and I overheard them. Not that hard."
Alright, so let me get this straight. My best friend was framed for a crime, and I was going to figure it out with eight other Neopets. One was a former thief. One was a reporter. One was from the Haunted Woods. One was a ghost. Two were monster hunters (with one of them being one that I can't stand). And two were heirs with telekinetic powers. Oh, this case was certainly going to be an interesting one.
To be continued…