The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Stolen Sharky - Part Four
"Please keep all hands, paws, feet, talons, wings, claws,
fins, flippers and hooves inside the boat at all times as we are now departing."
There was a soft purring sound as the boat glided
away from the dock. It gently made it's way out onto the center of the lake,
carrying the four of us, ten other Neopets on the tour, the boat driver and
Shannon, the tour guide. There were some Neopets with cameras and as the boat
stopped, we all leaned forward to look down through the glass.
"Below us is one of
the most beautiful underwater villages of Kiko Lake," Shannon said, her flat
tone brightening a little. "It is inhabited by dozens of Kikos and has been
here since Before Neopia."
There was a few loud "ooh"s and "aah"s coming
from the party across from us. An Aisha giggled and snapped a picture. It was
a very quaint village-with just a few buildings and some Kikos swimming around.
I also noticed a school of Pepito, two Slugawoos and a Flippy. This kind of
surprised me. The letters from Shannon made it sound like Kiko Lake was drastically
losing business and there was a shortage of petpets.
However, I just spotted three different species
in a few seconds and the tour boat is filled up. What's wrong with this picture?
Luna and Damien seemed to notice this too. They
exchanged a "what the heck?" expression. I couldn't see Charlie's reaction.
He was standing with his face pressed up against the glass. It still hadn't
rained, but the sky was filled with clouds. Maybe it would clear up in the afternoon.
"Please finish looking, as we are moving on."
I took one last glance at the happy village below and the boat moved further
out. I leaned back in my seat and listened to the waves lapping the sides of
the boat. It came to a halt again in front of a second village.
"This village here is the oldest one that's
been discovered in this area," Shannon pointed down, "The homes below are made
of sea rocks that the Kikos have hollowed out. This process has been estimated
to take over a year to make one home, which is important that we do everything
we can to make sure that the inhabitants are content. Before we reach the next
spot, does anyone have any questions?"
"What do the Kikos eat?" asked a red Techo.
"The Kikos eat a variety of things that grow
in the lake, such as sea pineapples, kelp, yolk beans, coral salad and tickle
gum…" I stuck a finger down my throat to pantomime gagging. Luna elbowed me
in the ribs. Shannon continued, "The Kikos have a very healthy diet. If you
wish to sample some of their foods and other sweets, there is a food shop once
we get back to the dock."
Luna raised her hand, "What about the aquatic
petpets here? With the opening of the new aquarium in Neopia Central, will the
petpets be able to strive on their own with fewer of them?"
I thought it was a pretty dangerous question.
Remembering all of the nasty letters Shannon wrote, I didn't think she'd want
to discuss the petpets. Shannon thought a moment, and Luna just continued with
her persistent look.
"The aquatic petpets are perfectly capable of
taking care of themselves," Shannon said thickly.
"Well, if the population is decreasing, then
don't you think that it's nice that they are being looked after in captivity?"
I winced. Shannon's eyes narrowed. Luna,
why do you have to keep pushing it? Why can't you just be quiet and wait until
after the tour? No one in the boat was giggling or talking now. When Shannon
finally answered Luna, her voice sounded strained,
"Yes, how wonderful it is." She turned
to the Shoyru who was driving, "Moving on…"
Luna leaned back and didn't say anything. I
looked over at her as if to ask, "Are you insane?" She shrugged and took some
notes on a sheet of paper. Personally, I thought she had gone insane. Questioning
an already-fed-up tour guide where Shannon could have just kicked her tail right
out of the boat.
The boat stopped for a third time and we peered
down beyond the glass. The "ooh"s and "aah"s started up again. There was a beautiful
castle made out of a dark purple coral and colorful sea stars that decorated
the exterior. It also had a wide door and was so high that it was only a couple
feet away from the boat's bottom. Shannon spoke again,
"Scientists at Kiko Lake believe that this is
the main underwater kingdom. Notice the size of the building and high sea grass
hiding it from enemies."
A large white Walein swam by, causing a nearby
Kiko to gasp dramatically and snap a picture. There weren't too many other petpets
scattered around, probably because we were so far out and they wanted to keep
close to shore.
"You may have noticed that there aren't many
petpets out here," Shannon said stiffly, and I looked up at her, "That's mainly
because we are so far away from the dock and there is less food. This area is
pretty much exclusive to Kikos, they prefer to hide in the deep."
She didn't mention anything about the aquarium
again on the tour. I was glad Luna kept her mouth shut the rest of the way back
to the dock.
Another tour boat passed us on our way back to
the docks. It must have been an hour we were out here. Everyone looked up and
waved politely, but I kept my focus down.
I'm glad I did.
Just for that moment, that brief three seconds
that I was looking down I saw something.
In a rock-cave, coming from an opening in the
top was a pair of red eyes. They followed my gaze until the thing in the rocks
shifted. I caught a glimpse of a metal cage and the creature's blue back, flecked
with white spots. A cage had been concealed down there and I was pretty sure
I recognized the thing inside.
It was a Sharky! Scout!
I drew in a quick gasp and gulped. Was it really
him? Could it be Scout? As I gasped the other Neopets had turned around to look
"What's up?" Luna asked. Shannon's eyes were
on me too, so I had to choose my words carefully.
"It was… uh, a really big petpet," I said lamely,
"I mean really, really big." I didn't know what else to say. Luna saved me,
"He just gets overexcited," she patted my arm
sympathetically. I went with it and nodded.
"Probably another Walein," advised Shannon. "They
are the largest species of aquatic petpet, you know."
My stomach felt fluttery. I looked out and saw
a large rock sticking out of the water. That was my mark-near the rock was where
I saw Scout. Damien, Luna and Charlie didn't seem to believe my 'it was a really
big petpet' statement. They knew it was better to wait until we were alone to
ask what that was about.
A few minutes later we returned to the dock in
Kiko Lake. We went into the Kiko Lake Treats shop and bought some sweets.
I was biting off a piece of my Banana and Chocolate
Rock Stick with my beak. Charlie was sitting on the table, nibbling a Green
Rock Slice and Damien was munching on a Kiko Lake Cookie. Luna turned to me
"So what was up with your burst of excitement
on the tour?"
I had been waiting to tell them this for a while,
and now that we had a table to ourselves, I could. "This may sound crazy… but
I think I saw Scout."
Damien's jaw dropped open and Luna gasped. "No
way!" Damien said, "You mean, somewhere in Kiko Lake?"
"Yeah. It was when everyone was waving to the
other tour boat. I looked down and I swear I saw a cage hidden between some
rocks on the ocean floor. It was definitely a Sharky."
"Did he have red eyes?" Luna asked.
"Yeah, it looked like they were glowing."
"Oh, Marlo this is amazing! If Scout really
is down there then we have to go get him!"
I rolled my eyes, "And how do you suppose we
do that? I don't think any of us could swim a mile out, pull up his tank by
ourselves and carry it to shore. There is no way that's going to happen. We'd
have to get someone to do it for us."
"Like who?" Damien asked, "Everyone here probably
thinks we're vacationing."
"Why don't we take the boat out," Charlie suggested.
I looked down at him, "Are you serious?"
"Yeah: at night. The tours stop at sunset, right?
Well, I know where the boathouse is. The keys are in Shannon's office. We'll
just sneak in and grab them, take the boat out ourselves, see if it really is
Scout, and if it is, we just have to find out who took him. I know where the
keys are; we can do this. I'm sure that the key unlocks the boathouse door and
starts the boat. All in favor?"
There was a pause. Charlie's hand was in the
air, and slowly, the remaining three paws went in the air too. It was the only
way to get to Scout.
Sneaking the keys from Shannon's office in the
building was tricky. Charlie and I decided to do it. I would pretend to apologize
for throwing a fit over paying for Charlie's seat this morning, and he would
sneak to the desk and grab the key.
Shannon was seated at her desk, sorting papers.
I casually walked up to her and said, "Hi."
"Hello," she said in her flat-tone again.
I felt Charlie crawl out of my paw and slip
around to the desk drawer. Thank Fyora it was already open. We really lucked
"Uhh, I just wanted to apologize for getting
angry this morning about the one hundred Neopoints per seat thing." Shannon
just nodded. The yellow Bori didn't look up from her papers. "But…" I continued,
"We all really enjoyed the tour… and…" I paused, trying to think of something
else to say. Turns out I didn't have to: I felt Charlie crawl into my hand,
holding the silver key, "…and we think that our visit here will be nice," I
finished, and without waiting for a response, Charlie and I started out the
Damien and Luna were waiting outside. "Did you
get it?" Damien asked when we neared. I tossed him the silver key and we triumphantly
started towards to boathouse.
To be continued…