Stand behind yer sheriff Circulation: 96,860,727 Issue: 187 | 22nd day of Eating, Y7
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The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Stolen Sharky - Part Two


by playmobil_is_my_life

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We started inside, with me wondering what we were getting ourselves into. The façade was arched and very narrow, shaped like a sea cave. We stepped inside, the cool tile floor felt good on my paws. Inside was one of the most magnificent things I had ever seen.

     Above us was a huge flat tank with schools of Pfish and Pepito that swam overhead, a whiz of silver and blue zipping by. Tall aquatic plants swayed as a large Peadackle emerged from them, shaking its head and swimming off in the opposite direction. Under the tank overhead was an entrance booth, and two long hallways leading to separate parts of the building.

     "How amazing," Damien commented, taking off his hat to look up at the tank.

     "It's wonderful!" Luna chimed in.

     "Thanks," said Mindy, "it took nearly a year to design and build, but we're really happy it's finally done."

     We continued to murmur our approval, until I said, "Well, we best have a look at the Sharky's tank."

     "Oh, yes!" Mindy said, trying to sound cheerful, "That's what you're here for, right?" Before we could answer, she sort of laughed and said, "Follow me."

     So Mindy and the four of us started down the hallway on the left. All around us was glass and aquatic petpets. The air was cooler, probably to keep the water at a certain temperature. We passed under an archway and into a small room with a big wooden sign that said, "Scout's Cave".

     In front of us was a large tank, with a rock cave, bits of sea grass and smooth rocks. Everything looked normal, just like an aquatic tank setup… except for that fact that there was no petpet inside.

     I went up to the glass and pressed a paw against it.

     "When was the Sharky taken?"

     "Scout was taken sometime last night," the red Zafara said, "I was feeding him some Stuffed Sea Cucumbers… his favorite food. He can be such a stubborn guy, but he'll do anything for a Stuffed Sea Cucumber."

     "Really," I said. It wasn't a question: more of just me thinking out loud. I removed my white paw from the glass and Damien asked,

     "So how do you access Scout from here?"

     "There's a door," said Mindy, walking out of the small room. She pointed to a door that read, "Staff Only" and pushed it open.

     Inside, there was a narrow metal ladder to get to the top of the tank. Mindy let Luna climb to the top and have a look around.

     "Interesting," Luna commented, looking over the edge of Scout's tank. "Is this the only way to get to Scout? Through this door?"

     "Yes," Mindy told her.

     "Well, whoever kidnapped Scout did an awfully good job cleaning up after themselves. You'd think that there would be water spots where Scout was transported out. Since he's an aquatic petpet, that's the only way to keep him alive…"

     While the three of us just raised our eyebrows, Luna shrugged and climbed down. Once the shadow Yurble was back on the ground, she said, "You wouldn't think that the kidnapper, or kidnappers would take the time to clean up. It just seems so professional."

     I thought about it for a minute, but shook it off. Maybe there wasn't much mess and no need to clean up. We all started out of the small room and back into the hallway.

      "They obviously didn't want to leave anything behind," I said, "Right, Damien?"

     Damien, who had been looking up at the tank, looked back at me and muttered, "Mm-hmm." He seemed a little distracted. Either that, or he was thinking hard.

     "You say the aquarium building plans started about a year ago?" Luna inquired, still in her eager-to-learn mode.

     "That's right," said Mindy, "an old building was knocked down in place of it… I think it was some sort of coffee shop. Anyway, after the building started, and the purpose was explained--"

     "Which is…?" I began.

     "Ever since Maraqua was destroyed, its inhabitants' population rapidly decreased. I don't just mean the Neopets, I mean the wild petpets that shared the water with them." Mindy explained, "The purpose of The Neopian Aquarium was to preserve the petpets by keeping them out of the wild. In captivity, they're out of harm's way. And they have more chances of survival here because they receive medical attention and are away from predators."

     "Sounds like a nice thing to do," I said.

     "Well, we thought so," continued Mindy, "the staff, I mean. Unfortunately, other people didn't think so."

     My ears perked up. "There were Neopets against the aquarium?"

     "Yes, very much so. We thought they were interested in keeping the ecosystem balanced. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. They were too worried about losing business."

     "So you think that this group would have gone to any height to make sure the aquarium didn't open?" Damien asked.

     "Quite possibly," Mindy said, "at least some other staff members and I thought so."

     I was getting a tad annoyed with this game of Twenty Questions. "And just whom are we talking about?"

     The red Zafara sighed, "The Glass Bottom Boat Tours… over in Kiko Lake."

     "Kiko Lake…" I mused, "I didn't know they had an attraction like that." I had been to Kiko Lake once, but I sure didn't remember a glass bottom boat tour. All I remember were these jovial Kikos in your face all the time and eating chewy aquatic food. After a bite or so of some Tickle Gum, I knew that seafood wasn't for Eyries…

     "And when did you realize that The Glass Bottom Boat Tours was against the opening of the aquarium?"

     "Well, it only started a couple years ago, but right after the aquarium was built, and the petpets were being imported, we received numerous complaint letters from The Glass Bottom Boat Tours," Mindy's brown eyes lowered to the floor.

     "So without as many aquatic petpets, The Glass Bottom Boat Tour is losing business…" Damien wondered aloud. "Well, that's a perfect motive right there!"

     My mind started to race. A Neopet, or Neopets, from The Glass Bottom Boat Tour in Kiko Lake came over to Neopia Central just last night to kidnap Scout. Why: to prevent the aquarium from opening. It sounded good to me. The four of us could just rush right over there, burst into The Glass Bottom Boat tours and yell, "Hey, we know you took the Sharky." Then everything would be hunky-dory and that would be the end of it.

     I rolled my eyes… like that was how it worked.

     "Could we see some of the complaint letters from The Glass Bottom Boat Tour?" Luna inquired.

     "Sure, they are in my office."

     We followed the red Zafara down the hallway, past more tanks and more aquatic petpets. After a minute or so we came to a small room with a desk covered with papers, a light hanging overhead and some stacked chairs in the corner.

     "Here are the letters," Mindy produced several papers from the top shelf and placed them on her desk. We started sifting through them. Damien and Luna read the first one and I picked up the next one so Charlie could see too:

      2nd of the Month of Collecting, Y6

     Aquarium Staff,

     My name is Shannon and I am the owner of the Glass Bottom Boat Tour. When I found out about your new attraction in Neopia and what you were planning to do, I must say I was outraged. Who on Neopia do you think you are? Just because you are opening a new attraction, does not give you the right to take OUR petpets from OUR home and put them in your environment.

     I speak for all of the staff when I say your new aquarium is about to destroy The Glass Bottom Boat Tours. How do you think that we are supposed to make business when our main attractions are gone?

     You had better think twice about opening the aquarium and taking our petpets out of their natural habitat. Believe me, you have not heard the end of this.

     A Very Upset Neopian,

     Shannon & the G.B.B.T. Staff

     "Harsh," I mumbled, placing it back on the table with the rest. Luna was holding the second letter in her shadow-colored paws, and Damien was reading over her shoulder.

      "This one just came yesterday," said Mindy, and she handed over another letter. This time Charlie crawled off my head and sat on my shoulder like a Crokabek.

      "Marlo, this is looking pretty bad for Kiko Lake," the pea Chia whispered, "It's almost as if they are admitting to kidnap Scout." I agreed: it sure looked that way.

     But of course I wasn't going to be so amateurish and already assume it was someone from The Glass Bottom Boat Tour. Mysteries didn't work like that. I needed to be patient and view the situation from all angles. Patience was one of the essences that made up a good detective.

     Patience…and determination, that is. We both turned back to the letter:

      16th Day of the Month of Storing, Y7

Aquarium Staff,

After a few months you thought that this was over, didn't you? It's Shannon again from Kiko Lake and let me say that there is no way you are going to open that aquarium. If I have to take an Eyrie Cab to Neopia Central myself, then I will.

This is not over.

Shannon

      "This just came last night," Mindy tapped the letter in my paws. "We didn't get any complaints in months and I thought he realized the staff wasn't going to budge."

      Damien corrected, "or she. Shannon could be anyone's name." He turned to the group, "I think we should definitely pay Kiko Lake a visit."

      That settled it! We agreed to fly to Kiko Lake in the morning.

To be continued…

 
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Other Episodes


» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Stolen Sharky - Part One
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Stolen Sharky - Part Three
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Stolen Sharky - Part Four
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Stolen Sharky - Part Five
» The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Stolen Sharky - Part Six



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