Janet and Jane: The Case of the Framed Detectives: Part Six
"Talia, what makes you think that I committed the robberies?" Mason asked.
"You slipped up some," I answered slyly.
"Could you explain a little more?"
Either he was very clueless or he was buying some time for something. No matter what, my mind wouldn't change. He was caught.
"You seemed to know more than you claim," I explained. "Either you are the robber or you're a part of the robberies."
"What do I know?" Mason shouted. He was getting very mad very fast. I saw this before. Criminals are never very happy to get caught.
"Who stole from the Marketplace yesterday?"
Mason crossed his arms and said, "Natia. We discussed this already."
"And how do you know her name?"
"I read the Neopian Times. Her story was on the front page."
I snickered. "Natia's story never was in the Neopian Times. Not yet, at least."
The red Kyrii froze. He couldn't reply. It was as if time stood still after I said that. A few seconds passed before either of us said or did something. It felt like hours, though.
"How do you know Janet stole from the coin shop? That was never mentioned in article that was published," I added.
Finally, Mason spoke. He said, "You figured me out, huh?" I was so glad to hear those words.
"I believe I did. I have two questions left. How and why? You have nothing against Jane, Natia, and I."
Mason darkly chuckled. It unsettled me. "As to why, I never disappoint a client that's paying top dollar."
I stepped back. "You're working for someone?"
"Indeed I am, Talia." He then gained a look of confusion. "Hold on, Jane, Natia, and you? But Janet-" He stopped, then grinned. "Oh, you sneaky Kacheek."
I didn't mean for that to slip out, but it didn't really matter. I was going to turn him in, anyway. Well, I guess there was no need to wear this facepaint anymore. I rubbed the white stripe off of my forehead and tail. I was getting tired of wearing that everywhere.
"Now how, Mason. How? How were you able to imitate us so perfectly?" I asked. It sounded more like I was demanding.
"Ah, that's simple, Janet."
Mason said that in Jane's voice. I took another step back. He was starting to creep me out. Then, right before my eyes, he changed appearances (I'm not even joking). He morphed into Jane. You know, maybe it wasn't so bad that Kell was here. He possibly knew more than I did about whatever Mason was.
"Being a shapeshifter helps out when you don't want others to know who you really are," Mason said happily in Jane's voice.
"That would explain how you ate an apple without getting sick..." I muttered to myself.
"Now if you excuse me," Mason said in his own voice and turned into starry Ixi. I assumed that was his regular form. "I must get out of here."
He transformed into an Itchi and crawled under the door. I quickly regained my wits and went out the door (after unlocking it, of course). The shapeshifter was a starry Ixi again and was running down the hall. Without even thinking, I ran after him.
The two of us were running through multiple halls and rooms while I was screaming at him saying, "Just wait until I get to you!" or, "You'd wish you were in jail when I'm done with you!" Mason still wouldn't stop (who would?). I was faster than him, but I wasn't very good at turns. He noticed and used that to his advantage.
Little did either of us know that our chase would be cut off.
Mason just turned a corner and I nearly slid down an entire hall as I tried to get around it. I didn't see the Ixi, but I saw a door shut. He must have went through that. I called out his name as I charged into the room.
Once I was in the room, I ran to the other exit (most rooms at J2's base had two exits. It was just in case someone dangerous ever invaded (like now)). Before I could run out of it, someone grabbed me from behind. I was positive that it was Mason. I kicked and screamed at him to let me go.
"What has gotten into you?"
It wasn't Mason who was holding me. The voice came from the one holding me, and it certainly didn't sound like Mason (at least his regular voice). I looked behind me as well as I could to see Corbin was holding me. But he was in the interrogation room, so... Oh, so that was the room I ran into like a psycho. I still continued to try and wriggle myself out of his grip.
Turned out that Corbin and I weren't alone. Lyanka, Natia, and Xavier were in the room, too. I wondered where the others were. Did they go after Mason? I wouldn't be surprised if they did. He did come in and out.
"Corbin, let me go," I ordered. "I'm serious, you need to let me go right now."
"I won't until you explain to us what's going on," the Ogrin replied.
"You don't understand." I sighed. I was getting tired, but I refused to give up. "You need to let me go right now. I can explain later, but-"
I was interrupted from the door opening. Mae, Nathan, Kell, and Shadow walked in. Shadow was holding Mason, but he looked like me. The moment I saw him, I instantly began to thrash around to try to get out of Corbin's grip. Mason did the same. Shadow and Corbin had a hard time holding onto us.
"You little lying, deceiving, imitating thief!" I shouted.
"Me? Mason, you're the thief!" Mason yelled in my voice. It was clear to me that he was imitating me so I would get his punishment while he would get away.
"Stop it! You're lying!"
I broke Corbin's grip and ran towards the shapeshifter. Only a few seconds later, Corbin caught me again. I began my kicking and thrashing motions again.
"What's going on?" Lyanka asked.
"I found out that Mason was behind the thefts that's been happening! When I told him I knew, he ran away, and I went after him!" I explained loudly. "Now he morphed into me to prevent from being caught!"
"That's a lie!" Mason shouted in defense. "I found out that he was behind the thefts! He was so mad that he went after me!
"Liar!" I responded. "Liar, liar, liar!
"How is this happening?" Jonah asked. He appeard in front of me and studied me very carefully.
"Mason is possibly a shapeshifter," Kell explained. "It wouldn't be the first time Corbin and I ran into one. Either that or he's using that 'real Masks of Dread' thing that Corbin told me about."
"The one you're holding, Corbin, seems more like Janet to me," Natia added. Thank goodness she was starting to tell Mason and I apart.
"What makes you say that?" Shadow asked.
"You know. She seems more stubborn and aggressive," the Aisha explained. Alright, now I felt more insulted than relieved. Yes I was stubborn and aggressive, but I still didn't like being called them.
"Natia, you know I don't like being called that," I said sourly.
"She's just stating the facts," Mason replied calmly. "She is a detective, after all." After he said that, I couldn't help but grin. He slipped up again. "Mason, why are you smiling like that?"
"Since when do I consider Natia a detective? She isn't."
The room was silent after that. For all they knew, either of us was telling the truth. This was the first major thing that we said that contradicted the other. Finally, Natia said, "I-I don't know who's telling the truth. I know Janet as well as Jane does, but-"
She was cut off by Mason breaking Shadow's grip. I quickly broke Corbin's as well. They tried to grab us, but we avoided that. The fake shadow Kacheek and I clashed at each other, trying to seriously hurt the other. Well, at least that was what Mason was doing. I was just trying to figure out how to break his cover.
I managed to get away from him for a few seconds to think. Of course, the moment I was away, Mason charged at me. I was getting tired of him charging at me. Instead of attacking, I stepped aside and tripped him with my tail.
The thing is, though, when he tripped, he morphed from me to his starry Ixi self. Everyone gasped as he hit the floor looking very different from what he did. They couldn't move. It was as if time stood still. He looked at himself and he only seemed to get even more angry.
"Janet!" he roared.
He ran towards me. I quickly got out of the way before he could attack. Only he didn't turn back to attack me. He was running for the door. The one thing that I saw was a bunch of keys in his hand.
"But he doesn't..." I said to myself. I turned to my side to where my keys were to see they weren't there. He stole my keys! "Hey, come back here!"
Before I even finished that sentence, he was halfway out the door and sutting it as he left. I bolted at him. Before the door could close, I slipped out of it. The moment it closed, I heard a loud thump come from the other side. Someone (most likely Natia) probably tried to run through, thinking he or she would make it.
Mason didn't stop for a second. The moment he was out of the door, the starry Neopet went down a hallway. I, of course, chased him. We went through the entire building, pretty much. I felt like he was looking for an exit, got lost, but decided it was better to just keep running. I didn't blame him.
Then we saw the exit. Mason's eyes lit up the moment he saw the doors he went through. He went out the doors in a matter of seconds. When the door slammed shut, I finally got to them. When I opened the doors, however, he was gone. There was no point in looking for him outside. I didn't have on my disguise, he could be anywhere, and I was pretty sure he was going to try and sneak up on me. He still had my keys, too, meaning he could come back whenever he wanted. Yeah, this was not what I wanted to happen.
"Wonderful idea, Janet," someone said behind me in a sarcastic tone. "Reveal the culprit when you had no back-up plan."
Great, the last Neopet I wanted to speak to. I turned around to face Kell. The yellow Wocky had his arms crossed with a disappointed / frustrated look on his face. I didn't even have to look at him to tell he wasn't happy. It was all in his voice.
"What are you doing here?" I asked bitterly.
"Everyone started to go after, Mason, was it? After you bolted out of the door," he explained. "Natia may have seriously hurt herself when she ran into the door. Nathan and Lyanka had to stay behind to make sure she was alright."
"And how does that relate to you being here?"
Kell sighed. "I just happened to run by when I saw Mason run out the door. I was hoping to help you catch him, but you chased him off."
My anger was starting to rise. This was the absolute worst time for critisism from him. My best friend was missing, I was blamed for a crime along with Jane and Natia, the real robber just escaped from me with my keys, and he chose now to say this stuff to me?! The nerve of him!
"He was going to run no matter what I did," I informed. "At least I figured out he was doing it."
"And what good will that do with him out there, where he could do more illegal stuff?" Kell asked.
I glared at him. "I at least figured he was the culprit before you figured out he was a shapeshifter."
The Wocky threw his hands up in defense and said, "I didn't even meet him until today, when you two were playing Kadoatie and Miamouse!"
I groaned, "Alright, you do have a point-"
"I know I do."
I was about to lose it with his attitude. I took a deep breath to calm myself and finished my statement. "I'm not a monster hunter. I'm a detective. I don't deal with that stuff all that often."
"Some detective you are!" Kell shouted. He shoved me. Not because I was too close. Not because of self defense. Just because he was getting mad. "A gentle Kacheek like you should have never gone into something like this!"
I hated being called gentle. Ever since I was a little kid, I hated that word. As you could probably tell, I am as far from gentle as possible. And of course, he called me that.
"Kell, I hate that word!" I yelled.
"What word? Gentle?" he asked.
"Yes, gentle." As soon as I said that, he grinned. "Ever since I was a kid-"
"Gentle, gentle, gentle, gentle. Janet is a gentle Kacheek."
That was it! He did that out of spite! Everything else was fine, I knew he was just responding, but now he was trying to make me mad. The two of us never got along, but at least we were trying not to snap at each other. Now all bets were off.
"Stop it!" I screamed. I shoved him away from me. While he was disoriented, I grabbed his wrists and pinned them to the nearest wall. "Don't you dare call me gentle," I said in a growl. "I am the farthest thing from gentle that you will ever see. And if you call me that one more time, you'll see how gentle I really am."
Kell pushed me away from him after I finished my threat. I stumbled back and fell backwards. I looked back at him. He looked about as mad as I was.
"Huh? What's this?" he asked. Alright, I thought he would shout at me again. The yellow Wocky walked up to me and picked up something that was by my feet. He held it up to get a better look at it and began to unfold it. That was my note from Jane! "Oh, what's this?"
"Give me that!" I shouted. I quickly got up and tackled him to get that note. He kept it away from me, though. He eventually slipped away from me and read the note.
"This is from Jane! Were you planning on showing us?" Kell asked.
"Yes!" I wait a second. "Well..."
"When did you even get this?"
I tried to snatch the note from his hand, but he pulled away before I could grab it. I said, "I got it earlier today. She said not to tell anyone, but I was still going to tell you guys."
Kell turned the paper over. He seemed confused when he looked at it. "Ega?" He looked over the paper and at me. "What did she mean by ega?"
"What?" I took the paper from him and looked at the back. Kell looked over my shoulder. The letters "EGA" were written in a pale purple. I could see what was half of an N next to the A. I lightly traced the half of the N to see it disappear. I knew exactly what that was. "Jane, you genius."
"What? What is it?" Kell asked.
I faced him and said, "Follow me, if you can keep up."
I ran down a hallway. I could hear Kell's frantic footsteps behind me. He was faster than I thought he was, but I was still faster (ha ha). The place I wanted to go to wasn't that far from where we were, so it didn't take long. Once I was at the door, I began to open it. Of course it was locked.
"Janet, what is going on?" Kell asked when he came up to me. He was panting a little (I didn't blame him. I was panting, too).
"I'll explain when I get in here," I replied. I stood on my toes and swiped my hand across the door frame. I grabbed the spare key I kept up there and unlocked the door. "Now come on in."
I opened the door and walked in. The Wocky followed uneasily. I turned on a light to show all sorts of stuff. This was the evidence room. It was where Jane, Natia, and I kept most of the evidence from out numerous cases.
"Welcome to the evidence room!" I said in a showy voice. "It's where we keep all the things we stumbled across during out cases." I looked at the table to see a sliver of metal. I grabbed it and showed it off like it was a trophy. "Like this Warf whistle. You remember this, right?"
"Alright, so why are we here?" Kell asked.
"This is where the other note from Jane is." I opened a filing cabinet and pulled out the still folded note from Jane. I was very careful holding it. I brought it to the table, unfolded it, and flipped it over.
"What on Neopia are you doing?"
"Curiosity blinded the Meowclops," I said subconsiously. I was used to Natia saying that whenever Jane and I were in the middle of something. I took the second note and brought it up to the first.
"But what's the point of-"
I looked at the papers. The word "WHERE" was written on the first note, the word "IT" was written half on the first note and half on the second note, and "EGA still stood out on the second note. Some of the N was coming back, and in front of the E was what appeared to be a B. I gasped when I understood the message.
"What is that?" Kell asked.
His questions were starting to get on my nerves. "These are artificial watermarks. They disappear with heat." I swiped a finger through the "WHERE" to show it disappear.
"Where it began. And what does that mean?"
I looked at him and did something that I didn't do all week. I smiled. Not a fake smile. Not a smile for my disguise. A true, genuine smile that came from pure joy.
Then, I simply said, "I know where Jane's hiding."
To be continued…