Janet and Jane: The Case of the New Addition: Part One
Why on Neopia would Jane think it would be a good idea to get an apprentice? She knew that our cases could be ruined by inexperience (something I knew the apprentice had). J2 was a serious detective business - not a university where you could pick up a trade. I only tolerate one Neopet that wasn't a part of the business but still helps out, and Natia wasn't going to go anywhere.
I leaned on the Neopian Fresh Foods shop and began to eat my Apple Rigamaroll (I can't come here and not pick one of these up if they're in stock). When was this guy going to come? We had been waiting for almost an hour. He said one o'clock on the dot. It was 1:55. Being on time was important.
"Maybe he's a no show," I said to Jane. "We should just go."
"Janet, he said he was coming from his school to finish up some paperwork to let him start his internship," she replied. The Korbat sighed. "Look, I know you're not crazy about this, but this is a great opportunity to get another detective out in the world, you know?"
I took another bite out of my Rigamaroll. "Don't you think that he might ruin our cases?"
"Not one bit."
"How long is he going to be working with us?"
"Jane said a few months," Natia chimed in. The alien Aisha looked at me and gave a big smile like that was going to improve my mood. "Give him a chance, Janet. We were told he has the best grades among his peers and-"
"Book smarts and street smarts are two different things, Natia."
I sighed and continued to eat my food. I wasn't in the mood to wait around anymore. Maybe I could convince Jane and Natia to wait for him without me and I could wait back at our base and do something productive.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a purple Bori running towards the Fresh Foods shop. The moment he reached the storefront, he stopped and panted. I got a better look at him when he stopped. The Bori was around my height (though he was a few inches taller) and he looked about my age, give or take a year or two. He had brown, shaggy hair that was covered by a beanie. His outfit looked professional, albeit a bit messed up. There was a backpack in his hand and I could see a pair of glasses peeking out of a pocket.
"Excuse me, ladies," he said. He sounded exhausted. I was worried he was about to pass out. "I'm here to meet a few Neopets. Have you seen them?"
"Depends," I answered. "Who are they?"
"Oh, of course." The Bori began to fix himself up. "I wasn't given much information about them. I never met them before, but they were here to give me an internship about being a detective."
This guy was our apprentice?
"As a matter of fact, we might be the Neopets you're looking for," Jane said. She walked up to the Bori and held out her hand. "My name's Jane."
"Jane!" the Bori cheered. "You're the one who contacted my school!" He shook Jane's hand with much enthusiasm. "It's wonderful to finally meet you! I'm sorry about being late. I needed to do some paperwork and it took much longer than I thought it would."
"It's alright." Jane motioned to me. "This is Janet, my friend and partner."
The Bori turned to me and held out his hand. I shook it. "Glad to see you could make it," I said. Might as well make a good first impression.
"I'm Natia," Natia said. She took the Bori's hand and shook it violently. That left him rather shaken up. "I'm a detective, too."
"She really isn't, but she helps us out," I informed. "Don't mind her." I finished off my Apple Rigamaroll. "She's just excited."
"Well, it's a pleasure to finally meet you. I've been waiting for this for weeks," the Bori responded. "My name is James, and you have no idea how excited I am." He was beginning to talk fast. "I'm so sorry about running up here like an idiot. I was running late. I've never been good at first impressions."
"It's alright," Jane replied. "Now let's get going. We have a lot of work to do."
She led James away from the shop. Natia quickly followed. I quickly got another Apple Rigamaroll and caught up to them. It was awfully quiet. Nobody was talking. Natia tried striking up a conversation with me, though, but I didn't reply to her. I just ate my Rigamaroll. Eventually, she gave up on trying to talk to me.
It wasn't until we got into the forest (that was where our base was located) when we started to talk. It was Jane who asked James a question and then it turned into a conversation.
"You're rather quiet, aren't you?" was what the shadow Korbat asked.
"I'm sorry. I'm just a bit nervous," James replied.
"Why are you nervous?"
"Well, this is my first internship, and-"
"There's no reason to be nervous," Jane interrupted. She smiled at him. "Janet and I are professionals. You're going to do fine. Right, Janet?"
Shoot, I didn't want her to bring me into this conversation. I swallowed my bite of Rigamaroll and said, "Yeah, you'll be fine." Then I muttered, "As long as you don't mess up."
Jane clearly heard me. She shoved me and said, "There's nothing to fear. So tell us about yourself."
The Bori rubbed the back of his neck. "Oh, you wouldn't want to hear about me."
"Yeah we would," Natia added. "Come on, tell us about yourself."
"Well... Hey, what's that?"
James pointed out in the distance. He was pointing at our base. It was kept here because it would be hard to get to in case some bad Neopets become aware of us. Yeah, it was a bit of a walk to get to, but we never minded. Besides, the forest is very pretty when the sun's out (when it's raining, however...).
I unlocked the door to our base and we went inside. You should have seen James' face when he saw the inside. He was starstruck. I found it a little funny, but I refrained from laughed. We were walking down to the discussion room (well, it was the interrogation room, but we don't bring outsiders here anymore, so it's used more for discussion) when I heard a knocking at the door. That was strange, since we rarely had visitors.
"Jane, do you think you could show James around while I check who's at the door?" I asked.
"Sure, no problem," she replied.
I walked away from the three Neopets. As I walked, I muttered, "If Natia ordered another pizza..."
The knocking only seemed to get more frantic the longer whoever was on the other side of that door waited. Sheesh, this place was pretty big - give me some time. By the time I reached the door, the Neopet on the other side was knocking so much, I thought they were going to break down the door if they weren't careful. The moment I opened the door, the Neopet stopped.
The Neopet on the other side was Nathan. Nathan was a friend of ours. He worked for the Neopian Times and he edited our stories. I didn't know why the speckled Poogle was here, though. We didn't work on a case for over a week, so he would have no reason to be here.
"Nathan, why are you here? What's wrong?" I asked.
"Are Jane and Natia here?" he responded.
"Yeah, they're in the discussion room. Why do you want to see them?"
Nathan sighed, "I have a case for you three."
My eyes widened. I knew him for years, he covered cases for us, he even helped us out a little, but he never gave us an actual case before. It must be pretty serious, since he usually waited for the cases to come to us.
"What's the case?" I asked.
"I'd rather explain with everyone, if you don't mind," he replied.
The Poogle ran inside. Sheesh, without me inviting him in? I closed the door and went in after him. I never saw him run before. He was pretty fast. Almost as fast as me. Maybe apprehension helped him out. Whenever someone felt extreme emotion, they always seemed to run faster.
Nathan practically ran into the door to the discussion room. Luckily, he stopped in time (with a little help from me grabbing the collar of his shirt before he hurt himself). I opened the door to get Nathan in and then let myself in. Jane, Naita, and James were a little confused to see him.
"Uhmm, who is this?" James asked.
"This is Nathan," Jane answered. "He's a friend of ours who works for the Neopian Times who reports our stories." She turned to Nathan and I. "Nathan, this is James. He's an apprentice who's going to be working with us for a few months."
"Apprentice?" Nathan asked. He looked at me. I just rolled my eyes. He could tell that I wasn't exactly thrilled.
"So what are you doing here? We weren't expecting you today," Natia said.
"Well, I have a case for you four," Nathan informed. He took a folder out of the bag he had with him and took out the contents. From what I could see, they were pictures. He slammed them on the table. "Take a look for yourselves."
The four of us looked at the pictures. Some of the pictures were of some graffiti on what I assumed were building walls. Others showed major destruction of streets and shops. I wondered what was going through someone's head when this happened.
"Looks like a classic case of vandalism," I said. I looked up at James. "Well, James, you have been assigned your first case.
To be continued…