Stand behind yer sheriff Circulation: 97,025,825 Issue: 191 | 21st day of Hunting, Y7
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The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Stolen Sharky - Part Six


by playmobil_is_my_life

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It really is amazing at how happy you could be with yourself and then out of nowhere comes something you'd least expect that could wipe the grin right off your face.

     Luna pulled the boat into the house and Shannon pulled a string hanging from above. A yellow light snapped on. It was so bright I had to close my eyes for a second. We climbed out of the boat to face the stern Bori, who had her palm out. Luna handed her the boat's keys. We prepared ourselves for a long speech.

     "What in the world were you doing with my boat after midnight?" she asked. "Hmm?"

     No one answered. Instead we just looked at each other.

     Shannon continued, "Is it that you loved the tour so much that you wanted to go on another but couldn't wait until morning?" Silence. "Is it that you just wanted to take it out for a spin around the Lake?" Silence. "Or is it that you just wanted to go for a midnight swim?" She eyed Damien's wet fur and clothes.

     "None of the above," I spoke up.

     "Would you mind telling me the reason then?"

     Again, no one said anything. Shannon looked each of us in the eye and laughed dryly, "That's what I thought. I knew there was something suspicious about you the minute you stepped inside my office. I thought maybe you weren't from around here, but I never expected you to be criminals."

     "Criminals?" Damien echoed. "We just borrowed the boat."

     "And returned it," I added. "Without a scratch."

     "How did you get the keys?"

     I was surprised she hadn't figured that out already. You didn't need to be a detective to realize that we took them from their usual spot. There was really no point in lying. "We sort of swapped them from your desk drawer."

     "Oh really?" Shannon said, sounding slightly amused. "And why did you take the boat out?"

     "We're just doing our job," Luna said.

     Shannon laughed again and said icily, "Is your job to take things that don't belong to you? Do I have to get the Defenders of Neopia out here to sort this problem?"

     "No," I said, "she's telling the truth. We're detectives, looking for a Sharky named Scout. He was stolen from The Neopian Aquarium a couple of nights ago. With all of the complaint letters the aquarium has been receiving, we decided to hang out in this area in case anything suspicious happens."

     "The letters I wrote to The Neopian Aquarium are none of your business."

     "When it involves a missing petpet then it is our business," I replied smoothly.

     "Well you aren't going to find the Sharky here," Shannon said, her flat tone turning to an angry one. I raised my eyebrows and strongly disagreed with that. "I suggest you all go back to wherever you came from and get some sleep." She turned and started to exit.

     "Hey, Shannon," Damien called, "just out of curiosity: how did you know that we took the boat in the first place?"

     The yellow Bori stopped walking and she called, "You left the door open. For detectives, you're awfully forgetful."

     "Oops," I muttered, remembering I was the last one out of the boathouse.

     "Way to go, Marlo," Luna rolled her eyes.

     ***

     Back on Bracknell Road, we were hatching a plan to pry Scout's iron cage from the rocks that restrained it at the bottom of the lake. The flight home last night was miserable. I was very tired and each flap of my white wings was a struggle. Yet somehow we managed to make it back to Neopia Central.

     After a good night's sleep we were ready to pick up the case again. Yesterday had been a very informative day: we found Shannon and got to know her better, met Jay, a Kyrii who also worked at the aquarium and discovered Scout's cage wedged between some rocks on the lake floor.

     With us, mysteries were usually wrapped up pretty quickly. A week tops, maybe. In this case, we didn't have a week-the aquarium opened in just two days and we hadn't thought of a way to retrieve Scout and catch the kidnapper.

     "We have to get back to Kiko Lake soon," Luna said. "We're running out of time."

     "I know, I know," I said in an exasperated tone.

     Damien said, "I talked to Mindy this morning. They think that the aquarium won't be ready to open in time."

     "This is so unfair," I mumbled, rolling over on the Green Sofa. "We know where the Sharky is. We just don't know how to get to him."

     "Maybe we should consider asking Shannon to borrow the boat again," Luna suggested.

     "We can't," Charlie said softly from the coffee table. "There are tours every hour throughout the day. Plus, we never asked for it. We just took it. Shannon's our top suspect. I highly doubt she would give us the boat so we could bring Scout back to the Neopian Aquarium."

     I sighed. We seemed to be stuck like a Slorg to the ceiling.

     ***

     As the afternoon progressed, we were back in Kiko Lake. Charlie and I were relaxing on the dock. Luna and Damien were in the boathouse, looking for clues between tours. I was beginning to feel a little discouraged regarding the placement of Scout's cage underwater. It was so incredibly frustrating knowing where the petpet was but not knowing how to access him. We were in a tight situation.

     Charlie and I also had our eyes peeled for Shannon and the Maraquan Krawk. Especially the Krawk; I had seen him once before while we were on the Glass Bottom Boat Tour, so I knew he was around. And, if the Krawk was working for someone here, which we knew was true, he most certainly would have to stick close by.

     We didn't need to keep an eye out for Shannon; she was in her office, arranging papers on her desk. In just the little time we had been here, I noticed that she was quite a perfectionist. She liked everything neat and organized.

     "Hey," said a masculine voice, interrupting my thoughts. I turned my head. It was a skunk Kyrii wearing silver glasses.

     I sort of replied, "hi" in a perplexed manner. He must have sensed my confusion.

     "I'm Jay, from The Aquarium. We met last night at the boathouse."

     "Oh, right," I said. I wouldn't really call that encounter officially meeting. "Mindy's friend. Sorry, you caught me off guard." He nodded and sat down next to us. Jay took a bite of the rock stick he was holding. I asked, "How is Mindy doing?"

     "I spoke to her this morning. She's still kind of worried about Scout. Me too, I guess. The aquarium opens in two days… or it was supposed to," Jay added. "Any luck finding Scout?"

     "I have an idea," I replied coolly. Remembering last night, I asked, "Did you ever find Shannon?"

     "Yes, I did," said Jay. "Shannon was sitting at her desk, totally wrapped up in these papers. It looked like she was organizing them, or re-organizing them. Then, as I said hello and introduced myself, she straightened all the items on her desk before replying," he sighed, "when I asked what she was doing, she replied, 'I don't like messes.' Strange, huh?"

     "Perfectionist," I replied. "Or just a neat freak. To be honest, I can't stand either of them."

     Jay laughed. I didn't really see what the big deal was. By the look on his face, it's almost as though Jay wanted me to make a big deal of out it. When I didn't, he shrugged and stood up. He mumbled something along the lines of, 'I best be going' and walked off. I watched the skunk Kyrii turn around the corner, into the Kiko Lake Carpentry Shop.

     "Marlo," Charlie said to me. "Shannon does seem like a perfectionist. Do you remember the crime scene at the Neopian Aquarium?"

     "You mean the metal stairs that leads to Scout's cage?"

     "Right," said the pea Chia. Shannon just told Jay that she doesn't like to leave messes. Do you remember what Luna said when she walked into that room that led to Scout? She said: ' Whoever kidnapped Scout did an awfully good job cleaning up after themselves. You wouldn't think that the kidnapper, or kidnappers would take the time to clean up'.

     I frowned in thought and said slowly, "What are you saying, Charlie?"

     "I'm saying that all of these leads are pointing to Shannon!" Charlie exclaimed. "Can't you see?"

     As I thought about it, the storyline seemed to fit. At first it had seemed too obvious that Shannon was the kidnapper. But now meeting Jay and the Maraquan Krawk it was starting to make sense. "We have to tell Damien and Luna!"

     During the short flight to the boathouse, my mind whirled with thoughts about Shannon and Scout. I half expected the case to be harder than this-Shannon wrote dozens of complaint letters to The Neopian Aquarium and it drove her to a point where she felt the need to kidnap the main attraction? It just seemed too easy… but I guess not all mysteries are challenging.

     I landed just outside the boathouse and rushed inside. Damien and Luna were in the far back corner, flipping through some paraphernalia on the shelves.

     "Guys," I panted, a bit out of breath from the flight, "listen…" I began to explain our chat with Jay and what he told us about Shannon. When I got to the part about the crime scene being clean as a Pteri Battle Whistle, Luna's brow furrowed.

     "Shannon?" she repeated, putting down a few sheets of paper. "We have to do something!"

     I replied, "We have to tell Mindy and Jay!"

     "If Jay has seen the steps leading to Scout's tank, don't you think he would have noticed by now?" Damien asked. "Maybe we should look for the Maraquan Krawk."

     "And how do you suggest we do that?"

     "I don't know," Damien said exasperatedly, "but we most certainly need to have a talk with him. He's been guarding Scout for long enough. Shannon fits the kidnapper description perfectly because she could take the tour boat out to see him and Scout."

     "You're right," I admitted. "If he is working for Shannon, then we need to find her immediately."

     "Wait," said Luna, "what if it's not Shannon? It's not like we have any direct evidence that points to her." Three pairs of eyes were on the shadow Yurble now. Luna blushed. Her statement was true: we didn't have any evidence that pointed to Shannon. After all, it could have just been a coincidence that Shannon is a perfectionist and there was no mess at the crime scene."

     I spoke up, "All right, Luna. Let me ask you this: who do you think the Maraquan Krawk is working for?"

     In the doorway to the boathouse came a strong voice that made us all jump:

     "That would be me."

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 Two
» 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



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