The Missing Mint Kyrii Ice Cream: Part Four
It said 'Go to Neopia Central' on the piece of paper. I
turned it around and shook it, hoping that it would unfold and give me a useful
clue. But there was nothing more to it.
A purple memo... But anyone could've written
down 'go to Neopia Central' on a piece of purple paper. It didn't have to be
the suspect. Perhaps it had been lying here for months!
I grumbled. That thing about the paper being
a clue... I take that back.
"Did you find something?" Mr. Chipper asked.
"Just a useless piece of paper," I replied and
tossed it to him.
"Ah... But that's in the same shade as Nidelbawr's
purse, isn't it?" the clever blue pet asked.
"Of course... You're right!" I grabbed the memo
from Mr. Chipper and examined it thoroughly, but except for the fact that it
was in the same color as stingy Needleball's purse, there was nothing unusual
about it. Then I mentally hit myself on the head, wondering why I hadn't figured
it out but Mr. Chipper had.
This whole case seemed hopeless. Here I was,
a wannabe detective having the victim help me. On top of that, I hadn't even
helped him as much as I should. No. Strike that. I was a hopeless case.
"Excuse me, Mr. Chipper," I said, "but I'll need
some time to think."
"I understand, Super Detective," he said as he
returned to his cart. "But it was a nice try, kid."
I shook my head. This was confusing. A paper
saying 'Go to Neopia Central', Missy Needleball acting all high and mighty...
But Pratar, he talked too much and gave me some useful information, things that
he perhaps shouldn't have known if he was a normal pet. Also, he had this nervous
I made a list of everything I knew and put the
possibilities under each suspect's name. They were still equally suspicious.
But it had to be one of them, since they were both pretty shady.
I began to ponder about the motives. Why would
Missy Needleball want to steal a Mint Kyrii Ice Cream? According to Mr. Chipper,
she had received a common Chocolate Ice Cream. Perhaps she was dissatisfied
and decided to steal a better one? Well, that was possible. Mr. Chipper had
left his cart alone for a moment and she certainly had the chance to steal.
But her personality... I shook my head. A lady like that wouldn't steal, unless
she was very desperate. And surely Nidelbawr didn't seem that desperate?
The other possibility would be Pratar. There
was something about him that made me distrust him. Perhaps it was his shivering
body, or the way his voice shivered... the typical telltale signs of a bad thief.
He had claimed that he didn't like the pay, and perhaps by stealing a rare ice
cream and selling it he would get the money he wanted. Then again, why would
he go to such lengths to tarnish his reputation? He seemed to be the type who
liked work, and if he got a bad reputation, then he wouldn't get any jobs...
I groaned. Both of them certainly had reasons
to do it, but then again, they also had reasons for not doing it. No matter
what, I was determined to solve this case. I had already set my mind on trying
out this detective thing for once, and be the kind of person I have always admired
to be. I had already put all that effort into finding information and trying
to figure this out, so quitting now would be such a waste. There was no way
I would give up!
With new energy, I tried to make my brain think
of other possibilities. Perhaps one of the kids that the suspects and Mr. Chipper
had talked about stole the ice cream? But kids wouldn't be so dishonest... They'd
probably beg their owner to buy an ice cream instead of going to all the trouble
of stealing one. I eliminated the kids from my list of suspects as fast as I
had added them there.
Then... Maybe... Maybe if I saw the two suspects
face-to-face, I could learn more. Yeah! That didn't seem like such a bad idea.
But where would they be now? Pratar would probably
return in a few minutes since his break was almost over, but stingy Missy Needleball...
Of course! If the memo was Nidelbawr's, she'd probably still be somewhere around
I jumped up from the pile of snow that I had
been sitting on and skipped right up to Mr. Chipper. This time, I actually managed
not to knock down the cart.
"I have an idea," I said. "How about gathering
all the suspects here?"
"You've solved it already?" Mr. Chipper asked,
"Not really," I admitted. "But if I could just
get them here, I might be able to..."
"Well, since Pratar will be coming soon, I'd
like him to stay around here while I go and fetch Missy Needleball."
Mr. Chipper nodded and told me that he would
do that. Reassured, I traveled to Neopia Central.
While traveling, I remembered the piece of paper
that I had found. 'Go to Neopia Central'... I laughed. Oh yes, I was really
going to Neopia Central!
Perhaps that paper wasn't a clue, but a fortune-telling
thing? Well, it had certainly been right about me. I walked right into the first
shop I saw, hoping that Nidelbawr would be there.
And she was. I walked up to her and tried to
tell her that standing in the Food Shop and smelling all the delicious food
wouldn't make her a fine lady. After a few humphs, angry faces and sentences
I managed to get her out of the shop and we were all set to go to Terror Mountain.
"Wait!" I heard someone call out as we reached
the outskirts of the city. I turned around and saw my sister running after us.
But it was too late. Missy Needleball was already far ahead of me, and I had
to hurry up. I couldn't afford to lose a precious suspect out of my sight, even
if it meant that Anatolia wouldn't get her bags until I had finished solving
We arrived just in time. I saw Mr. Chipper standing
there with a very nervous Pratar that seemed to talk to himself.
"What is the meaning of this?" Nidelbawr demanded
when I let go of her chubby arm.
"You might know what you have all been gathered
here for," I said as I placed the three pets into a half-circle around me.
"Cut the drama," the Bruce frowned.
I felt like saying that to her, after that dramatic
NidelbawRRR she had put me through, but experience with fine ladies like my
sister prevented me from doing a mistake like that.
"Well, a certain ice cream has been stolen from
Mr. Chipper," I begun.
"You think I'm the thief?" Missy Needleball gasped
and glared at me.
"I didn't say that," I said. "Anyhow, you three
were the only ones present at the time when the ice cream was stolen. I'm sorry
to say this, but you are the most possible suspects." I noticed from the corner
of my eye that Pratar's hooves were shaking.
"I am a detective, and I am here to solve the
case of the missing ice cream," I declared. Then I took a close look at the
Bruce and the Moehog. Nidelbawr was shivering, probably from fury, and looking
like she wanted to scream that she wasn't the thief. Pratar was also twitching,
but unlike Missy Needleball, he was just nervous. No news there. They were both
suspicious. Nidelbawr in desperate denial and Pratar shivering... Yes, it was
cold, but still...
"So tell us who the thief is already, oh great
detective," the Bruce said sarcastically. I shot daggers at her, and she glared
back at me.
Hmm... Missy Needleball just got an attitude,
having learned that this was a case and an ice cream was stolen. Perhaps she
knew something I didn't, since she seemed to be all sarcastic and smug about
it... I decided to get right down to business.
"Well, now that you know, please tell me everything
that my vague questions did not touch," I said, holding out my arms dramatically
and grinned evilly when I saw Nidelbawr's frowning face.
"I-I don't have anything to say," Pratar stuttered.
"I believe," Mr. Chipper said, "That my assistant
didn't steal the ice cream. He was with me when we were restocking and after
that I stayed here the whole time, so he couldn't have stolen it."
"T-thank you Mr. Chipper," the Moehog mumbled.
I looked at him. A nervous case like that would break down any moment, and a
long time had passed since the ice cream was stolen. No... It probably wasn't
Pratar. Or Mr. Chipper. The blue, furry, kind ice cream stand pet was too nice
to steal his own ice cream and he would not get anything out of getting his
ice cream stolen.
Then... There was only grumpy Missy Needleball
left. I turned around looked at her. The other two did so too.
"It wasn't me!" Nidelbawr protested desperately.
"Please! Believe me!"
"Well, then what do you have to say for yourself?"
I said in my best detective voice. After all, she had been pretty suspicious.
But she didn't seem the type who would commit a petty crime like that...
"I-I..." The Bruce stammered. Okay, so I admit
that I'm a little bit petty sometimes, but I actually enjoyed watching her sweat
like that. Even if she wasn't the thief, she certainly deserved that for being
obnoxious to me earlier.
"I saw something!" she said, looking at me. Suddenly
her tone turned submissive, and she continued. "I'm sorry, I forgot to tell
you earlier, but I remember that when I was standing here, I heard some sounds
that sounded like footsteps in the snow. I think that was the thief, since the
sounds were almost inaudible."
"Oh really?" I asked, looking her in the eyes.
"Or are you making it all up?"
"Of course not!" Nidelbawr snapped, returning
to her haughty self. "The reason I didn't tell you earlier was because I forgot."
That was definitely a lie. I was pretty sure
that Missy Needleball had planned this and not given me all the necessary information
from the start so she could have some power over me in the end. But this wasn't
the end. If what that annoying Bruce said was true, then the thief had to be
"That's a relief," Mr. Chipper said. "But still...
The ice cream is missing and we don't know why."
"M-Maybe it was one of those kids hanging around
in H-Happy Valley?" Pratar suggested.
"Perhaps. But interviewing all the kids..." I
muttered as I looked up. The snowflakes were falling peacefully, but I didn't
feel calm at all. A lot of feelings bubbled inside me, but most of all I was
mad at myself for my stupidity. Why had I been so confident that one of those
two pets would be the criminal? Now that a new, unknown suspect had entered
the picture, it would be so much harder to solve the case.
In fact, I doubted that I could solve it at all...
"No," Mr. Chipper said. "Those are good kids,
and sometimes I give them a lick or so from my ice creams. They wouldn't steal."
I couldn't help but to smile at Mr. Chipper's
naïveté. People like him were hard to find these days...
I focused my mind on the case, but before I even
had a chance to concentrate, a piercing scream made me shake and turn around.
To be continued...