The Adventure of Rhun and Noni: Part One
Another late night. Another desk full of paperwork. Rhun yawned, running his paws through his fur and rubbing his eyes. Kreludor had appeared hours before. The office in which he sat was a mess. Piles of forms and books towered above him all around, paperwork months and years old that had been unofficially given up on. Only one space was cleared, on his desk, and in the center sat a neat framed picture of a young female Lupe. The young Lupe’s two front canines were missing, growing in slowly for a young pup. Her blue fur was slicked back, combed into a red bow on her right ear.
Rhun paused in his yawning to look at the picture and reach out a paw to caress it. As a claw brushed across the photo the blue fur shone in exact match to the young Lupe’s. A knock at the door stopped the racing memories in his head, and quickly he placed the picture face-down, shaking his head at himself.
“Come in.” The yellow messenger Pteri that entered had known Rhun for years, and his eyes flickered over the face-down picture before he held out an envelope to Rhun.
“Looks like a case,” he said cheerfully. Rhun grunted, taking the envelope. “How ya doin’?”
Rhun paused in his examination of the envelope. “Fine.”
“Good... good... eh, you got a response for your-”
“No,” Rhun answered shortly.
“Fine fine,” the Pteri sighed and turned abruptly towards the door. Rhun sighed.
“Hey, Billy, wait.” The Pteri paused, looking back. Rhun forced a slight smile, waving the envelope at him. “Thanks.” Billy nodded, then disappeared through the door. Rhun sighed again, and looked at the envelope.
The blue Lupe nearly fell over at the yell from outside the window. He leaped up and pushed the single window open. Two Korbats hung upside down from a tree branch outside, grinning with a pleasant wickedness. Red and blue. Brothers. “Heard you got a new case,” Nut said, the red who had yelled.
“Yeah, a good case,” said Mut, the blue. “Apparently not even the Defenders of Neopia would take it.” That hit a mark. Rhun winced at the name. The Korbats cackled, swinging back and forth on their perch.
“Get outta here, you guys,” he muttered.
“Ah, come on, Boss, you know we’re pulling your tail,” Nut said, which sent them into a series of cackles again. Rhun glowered.
“Come on, what’s the case, Boss?”
“Yeah, what’s the case!”
Before he could shut the window, the Korbats had flapped into the office, their beating wings starting a whirlwind of papers. Grumbling under his breath, Rhun sank into his chair and grabbed the envelope. The brothers gathered behind him.
“Hey look, Nut, it’s from the PPL,” he yelled.
“The Petpet Protection League, bro? Wonder what they want.”
“Probably another Kad stuck up a tree,” Mut chuckled.
“I’ll call the Warf Rescue Team!” Nut shouted, and they fell into a heap of laughter. Glancing at them, Rhun slit the envelope open with a penknife and pulled out the official letter. The brothers recovered themselves enough to read over his shoulder. Then they collapsed into laughter again.
“Ah, grunt duty.”
“Yeah, sorry, Boss!”
Rhun left them rolling on his floor in tears of laughter. Grabbing his coat from the hook by the door, he disappeared out of the office.
Rhun held up the small slip of paper that had been in the envelope, checking the address. 22435 Bread Street, Neopia Central. Lowering the slip, he looked up at the huge mansion in front of him. With a sigh, he pocketed the slip of paper and approached the door. He reached out a paw, knocked, and the door opened at his touch. He was immediately on his guard.
He pulled his ray gun from the holster under his jacket and silently stepped into the neohome. It was a wreck. Lamps and tables were overturned everywhere. Not one piece of furniture had gone untouched. Creeping through the house, he checked out every room until he came to a room where even the wallpaper had been ripped from the walls and floorboards had been ripped up.
The floor creaked as he entered, and he froze as a red pot shook slightly in the corner. Holding his ray gun at the ready, he stepped slowly over to the pot and pointed at it. Reaching out a foot, he nudged it.
It burst, and a ball of white wool flew into his face. He yelled, falling backwards, his ray gun shooting.
Someone screamed and Rhun looked up to see the little Babaa that had tackled him running under a desk. Holstering his weapon, he crawled over to the desk.
“HEY! What are you doing? Are you crazy?” He growled. The Babaa’s eyes glowered from the shadows at him.
“Am I crazy? I’m not shooting up Abe’s office like a madman.”
“Where’s your owner.”
“I don’t know.”
“I guess it doesn’t matter. You’re the one I came for.” He stood up and turned away as the Babaa crept slowly out.
“What? Me? What do you want me for?”
“You’re the petpet, and the PPL are protecting you.” He flashed his Private Investigator badge at the petpet and then handed it the letter. The Babaa read it slowly then looked up at him incredulously.
“Cruelty to petpets? Are they crazy? Neglect? Not enough love? What petpet are they talking about?”
“Is there another Babaa in this Neohome?”
“Then it means you, kid,” Rhun reached into his pocket and pulled out a Grape Gummi Rat. The Babaa’s eyes widened and followed the candy. Not noticing, Rhun popped it into his mouth and chewed boredly. The Babaa glared. “What happened here?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” the petpet said, though its eyes hinted at something. Rhun sighed.
“Guess we better go then, kid.” He turned to the door.
“HEY, HEY! I might remember if I had some... help.” The Babaa stopped him. Rhun squinted and then nodded.
“Ah. I know what you mean.” The Babaa’s heart shuddered with excitement as the Lupe’s paw went into his pocket, then sank as he pulled out a small bag. He set it in front of it. “Now what happened?”
A sniff of the bag told the Babaa that this was no candy. Glaring at Rhun, it asked, “What is this supposed to be?”
“And I want money... because?”
“Well, you wanted help remembering!”
“I wanted candy, you idiot!”
“Oh.” The paw reached into the pocket once more and pulled a Strawberry Gummi Rat out. The Babaa wrinkled its nose in distaste.
“Don’t you have grape or something? Or maybe some chocolate?” it asked hopefully. With a sigh, Rhun pulled a Milk Chocolate Gelert and Grape Gummi Rat from his pocket and handed them to the petpet. Gleefully, it popped the candy into its mouth.
“Now speak.” Looking up at him through its bliss, the Babaa blinked.
“What do you want me to say?”
“WHAT HAPPENED HERE?”
“Don’t be silly. I was in the pot, remember?”
“You mean you don’t know.”
“I mean I couldn’t possibly know because I was IN-THE-POT!”
“Whatever. Let's get out of here. Come on, kid.”
“Ugh. Don’t call me kid. Do I LOOK like a goat?” Awkward pause.
“What’s a goat?”
“I- well... how should I know?! You’re the genius shooter that has torn this room apart. But obviously I’m a BABAA.”
“Fine. Come on, BABAA.”
“Call me by name,” it demanded.
“Well then WHAT IS YOUR NAME?!”
“DON’T SCREAM AT ME, LUPE!”
“TELL ME YOUR NAME!”
“WELL, YOU’RE YELLING, TOO!”
“YOU YELLED FIRST!”
“UGH.” Rhun took a deep breath, sighed, prayed for patience. “Okay. What is your name?”
“no name,” the Babaa said, beaming at his softened tone.
“No. no name, dimwit. Don’t capitalize it.”
“What?! How in the world would I have capitalized it? I’m SAYING it.”
“I can hear it in your voice.”
“Yeah whatever. What kind of name is no name anyways?”
“I dunno. I always thought it was pretty cool. No one else is named no name.”
“That’s because everyone else has normal names.”
“Well what am I supposed to do!? Roo never called me anything else! Except for ‘Ugh’... and ‘MOM – NO, NOT YOU, YOU STUPID PETPET’, and ‘YUCK, DON’T TOUCH ME, YOU GROSSNESS’. I think my favorite was ‘NO’ – it was closest to my name, ya know?” Rhun had been gaping at the petpet from the moment it began talking, and now he shook his head.
“I’m not calling you ‘NO’ or... any of that. Or no name.”
“Then what will you call me?”
“How about Non (NO-N)?”
“How about Noni?”
“Because Non is a boy’s name.”
“So? What does that matter- oh.”
“Yeah, you’re a quick one.”
Rhun rolled his eyes. He was beginning to like this ‘case’ less and less. “Come on, ‘Noni’,” he ordered.
“What about my owner? Shouldn’t we say good bye?”
“Well, where is he?” Rhun grunted. Noni blinked, looked around, and then shrugged.
“Usually he’s in here.”
“Well, obviously he isn’t now. It doesn’t matter where he is; my job is to take you somewhere safer than the environment he has given you.” Noni started blankly at him for a moment, her eyes as empty as a cloudless sky. Then she moved.
Rhun nearly tripped as Noni shrieked and shoved past him. He whirled to see her scurrying out of the room. With a growl, he straightened his coat and then chased after her. He found her a moment later in the dining room. Glowering, she stuffed a piece of paper in his paw. “Look!”
“We’ve taken your owner...” Rhun quickly read the note then gasped. “Noni! Your owner’s been kidnapped!”
“Really? Why?” Noni said, seeming unimpressed.
“I... don’t know. It says no Defenders.”
“Well, that’s exciting. Does it say where to meet them?”
“It... it looks like a clue.”
“Lemme see!” Noni snatched the note and read it out loud. Then she looked up at Rhun. “We have to save him!”
“But... what if he’s hurt...” The little Babaa’s eyes filled with tears and widened to an immense point. As she looked pleadingly up at Rhun, her lip trembled slightly. Rhun groaned.
“Not the puppyblew eyes... ugh. Fine. We’ll find your owner. Off to Meridell,” Rhun grumbled.
“What? Why Meridell?” Noni asked.
“That’s obviously what the note means.”
“You think the note means MERIDELL?” Noni demanded incredulously, looking at the note in her hoof. “How do you get Meridell from one measly sentence?”
“I am a professional P.I., kid. Now let's go. But once we save him-“ Rhun said. Noni rolled her eyes.
“Right, right, the PPL thing. And stop calling me kid.” Rhun grunted and headed for the door. It only took him a moment to realize Noni wasn’t following. He paused and looked back at her.
“Well?” he demanded. Noni stared at him blankly, her mouth slightly open as she obviously went over something in her head. Then she nodded to herself.
“Excuse me, I’ll be right there. I have to grab some stuff.”
“Well, if you plan to send me to the PPL directly after finding Abe, can you honestly expect me to not take my things?” Noni gasped. Rhun groaned as the small Babaa disappeared from the room.
“I definitely am not going to like this case,” he muttered.
To be continued...
My first story in a while; I really hope you like it. Send comments!