Lupe Pack Detectives-Copycat:Part Two
It had been several days since the attack on Headquarters was reported as breaking news in the Neopian Times. While both Squire Oak and I were stuck at Shade’s Neohome for safety concerns, Shade was out gathering whatever information he could dig up from his sources. I was frustrated at being cooped up, but it sure beat being immobile, unlike some of our unlucky colleagues.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been this worried in my entire life about my family, wondering if they’re all right. I wish I could go back home and review my cases with them to see if we could find anything related to this, but that’s not likely going to happen anytime soon.”
“I feel the same way, especially about the Bookworms and the Sibling Detectives Duo in addition to my family, Squire, but we have to work with what we have for now. However, don’t worry about the situation too much; we’ll eventually get to the bottom of this mess.” He nodded in agreement.
While we were waiting for Shade to return, a Neopian Post office worker dropped off some mail in the mail slot. On instinct, I picked them up. The majority of them were flyers, but there was a sealed envelope with nothing visible written except for Shade’s name. I wondered what it was about, but decided against opening it as it was someone else’s mail.
When he returned from his scouting work, I handed it to him. He did not seem confused by it, almost as if he knew who was writing to him. Instead, he headed straight to his home office. It was approximately ten minutes before he came out, so I knew that was no ordinary letter he had been reading.
“We’re in luck as it’s a coded message from my boss. There’s a meeting at the ‘Cursed’ Warehouse this afternoon, with my boss giving us the details when we arrive. I suppose now would be a good time to have the information that we have so far and bring it there,” he told us. Even though I knew Forest was able of using magic, I began to wonder how he was able to survive despite the odds. In the end, I decided that it was not important for me to know.
We arrived at the Warehouse District without attracting unwanted attention. However, as we rounded a corner, we spotted a couple of fake Defenders prowling the area. Thankfully, they did not spot us, but it was too risky for us to cross paths with them as we were almost weaponless, save for a couple of Exceptionally Tiny Laser Cannons that Shade owned and it was definitely not enough to drive them off. Just as we decided to head down a different route, we were spotted by them as they had turned at the last second, forcing us to make a run for it. Fortunately for us, we did not have to run that long before a Halloween Cybunny and a Faerie Eyrie stepped in from behind one of the warehouses.
“We’ll cover you while you head to the Cursed Warehouse. Don’t worry about us, we’re more than capable of holding these guys off,” the Halloween Cybunny yelled at us. We continued on our way, hearing the roar of a Kazeriu dominating the area. I wanted to thank our supporters, but I did not want to waste time.
Without any further run-ins, we made it. As soon as we were inside, we could see a whole bunch of unfamiliar faces, mainly DoN personnel, but there were a few, like Nimbus and Forest, that we recognized. There was also the same duo of Neopians that had saved us, leading me to wonder how they were able to head back that quickly. The rest of my family came up to me and gave me a hug, relieved to see me again.
A few minutes later, another small group, this time led by Cinnamon the Red Zafara, arrived. Almost immediately, Cinnamon angrily went up to Forest and grabbed him by the collar.
“This is your fault that we’re in this mess. I’m beginning to suspect that you had a hand with the attack at Headquarters, given your ‘expertise’ in magic. Why, I’ll bet that you’re just biding your time with this ‘meeting’ of yours, just so that you can finally take the rest of the Defenders out and remake the world to your liking.” I was about to intervene, but fortunately, Shadow Breeze the Faerie Xweetok and Melody the Rainbow Zafara, pulled them apart as Terra the Brown Gelert went up to them.
“Cinnamon, you’re being ridiculous here, accusing one of the DoN heads of leading a conspiracy for a hostile takeover. In fact, Shade and the entire Lupe Pack Detectives can vouch that he has changed, in case you’ve forgotten that they were the ones that cleared his name of any wrongdoing and brought him back to the DoN after his attack on Headquarters several years ago,” she angrily told the Zafara.
“In addition to that, there’s not a single day where my boss regrets doing what he did on that day. The last thing that we need is infighting among ourselves over something like this when we have bigger issues on hand, however, if it makes you happier, we’ll keep an eye on him,” Shade piped up.
“I don’t think that’s necessary. Based on what I heard and saw during the past few days that I was here, I have my doubts that Agent Knoll is even capable of performing the spell used in the attack, despite his experience. It takes a lot of energy for someone to use magic without using incantations,” a White Usul with a navy blue tailbow replied. There was plenty of confusion and skepticism when she was finished. I was not one of them as I did remember Shadow Breeze explicitly telling us that it took a long time for one to master spells when he taught us self-defence using magic.
“Before we get to that, I think some minor introductions are in order. May I introduce everyone to the Abnormal Investigators? The Halloween Cybunny is Colonel Seras, the Yellow Aisha is Major Katrina, and the White Usul is Captain Ocean, while the Faerie Eyrie is Captain Ocean’s adopted daughter, Mana. They are the group that assisted my sister, Audrey the Christmas Vandagyre, and I with the escaped Wraith,” Owen the Yellow Vandagyre, aka the Beacon Detective, briefly interjected. The names he had mentioned were definitely familiar to me as Owen had told us about them after returning from their world, which was similar to ours.
In order to prove what she was talking about, Captain Ocean and Mana, along with Colonel Seras, demonstrated their abilities. They were not exhausted when they were finished with their brief demo, telling me that they were experienced. As expected, Cinnamon was not convinced, but before he could challenge the Usul even further, Forest promptly cut him off before asking us if there were any details that everyone needed to know. At that point, Shade presented his notes.
“Hmm, I think I know what our next step is. We’re going to need to talk to the public faces and the various faeries as we need to know if they had any unusual encounters or visitors before this mess even started,” Forest said after hearing all of the information that was presented from various Neopians.
“Forest, what about the Order of the Red Erisim? With the Obelisk War and subsequent skirmishes, it won’t surprise me if they had new members, like the other factions that participated. They are also knowledgeable in magic as well,” Nimbus piped up. Forest noted that point, making that piece of information another priority.
When someone shouted that we had company headed our way, we knew it was too risky to immediately head out. It was better to stay and defend or at least thin out the ranks. I did not have my Jade Staff with me, but the warehouse was stocked with plenty of weapons, so I took one from one of the many crates and waited.
Thanks to that advanced warning, we were able to catch the fake Defenders and Faeries completely off guard, thus tipping the scales in our favour, unlike what happened previously. In fact, at one point, I was able to solo rush the group, constantly stunning or tripping them with the occasional help from my allies. I even used my staff as an improvised pole in order to swing around and take out a couple of the mooks.
When the battle was over, Captain Ocean began tending to the various minor wounds that we had sustained during the course of the battle while Colonel Seras attempted to dispel the magic surrounding the area. She was successful, but only a few, mainly the ones who were disguised as Faeries and Defenders, turned back to reveal that they were just regular Neopians, but with those same yellow eyes that we saw earlier. Everyone in the warehouse seemed troubled by this revelation, even the Abnormal Investigators, most notably the White Usul, although they were not as troubled as we were.
“Hah, I knew it, Owen. Your so-called friends are liars. Perhaps they’re the ones who released that Wraith in order to gain your trust. All this time, they’ve probably been manipulating you and your sister for their own plans, whatever it is. With this slip up, it appears that both of your careers at the DoN are done,” Cinnamon said, putting both Vandagyres on the verge of tears. Immediately, I walked over to the Zafara and promptly decked him with a single punch, causing cheers and claps to erupt.
“That was definitely uncalled for, Cinnamon, but I suppose it’s just your conspiracy theories going into overdrive. However, if you’re going to be a nuisance to everyone here, then I suggest that you go home right now. As well, I will not tolerate any baseless accusations, even if said accusation is from a fellow detective,” I growled. He got my message and decided to leave, nursing a bruise on his right cheek.
After he left, we began forming small groups based on the information that was already gathered. I did not mind that my siblings joined the group attempting to question those that were captured, but it was also a strategic move, given the circumstances. Fortunately, my temporary replacements were Captain Ocean and Colonel Seras.
We decided to try our best in talking to the Soup Faerie. Before we left, Forest told everyone that was heading out for various reasons to be careful and to return to the ‘Cursed’ Warehouse with any information that we had gathered, if we were successful. After all, the information was vital to our success, and being incapacitated in any way was not going to help bring down whoever was hunting us.
To be continued…