A couple of days ago, I was involved in an incident that changed my life. It all started when I was at a mini-mall, browsing for various items that my family needed for some reason or another. After buying a Jade Staff as one of my Battledome items, I was about to head to another weaponry store to buy a Battle Ready Pencil Box for my younger sister, Aura, a Starry Lupe, to test out, when I heard a shout to stop.
Instinctively, I turned around and saw a thief, a Camouflage Blumaroo, running away from the scene of the crime with a Bronze Scorchstone in his hands. There was no way that I could catch up with the thief because he had an insurmountable lead over me.
Seeing that there was no other option for me to catch the thief, I threw the only thing that was in my hand: the Jade Staff. There was not a lot of Neopians shopping at this particular mini-mall, so there was plenty of room for me to throw the Jade Staff when I threw it. It struck the thief near the ankles, causing him to lose his balance and fall to the ground. After he fell, I ran as fast as I could to the fallen thief and placed him in handcuffs. I retrieved the Scorchstone, lying a few metres away from the Blumaroo, and saw that it did not suffer too much damage, other than a slight dent.
A few minutes later, a Defender of Neopia arrived at the scene and took the thief away to the DoN headquarters for processing. The storekeeper, an Orange Techo, came up to me, relieved to see the Scorchstone safe and sound.
“Thank you, Detective Blizzard, for stopping the thief. By the way, when you threw that Jade Staff, you somehow reminded me of Tripwire,” she said as the Bronze Scorchstone was returned to her.
“It was just my duty, madam. Now, tell me, who in the world is Tripwire?” I said to her.
“Unfortunately, all I can tell you about her is that she is really mysterious, just like Chet Flash. I would have given you a description of her, but she hasn’t appeared at this particular mall, so all of the Neopians working here don’t know what she looks like, let alone what species she is. I’m terribly sorry, but that’s all that I can give you about the famous Tripwire.” She went back to her store, leaving me to wonder who this Tripwire was.
I finished shopping for the necessary items, along with some clothing, and headed out of the mall. On my way to the DoN headquarters in order to pick up another set of handcuffs, realization hit me hard. I could ask someone within the DoN about Tripwire and see if he or she had any more information on her. After all, Tripwire was probably considered as a ‘superhero’ by the DoN, thanks to her timely actions.
After picking up another set of handcuffs from one of the Defenders, it took me a while to locate the right Neopian, a Striped Aisha, who was in charge of the personnel working for the DoN, but I found him in his office. He listened to me explain the situation on why I wanted to know who Tripwire was. As soon as I was finished explaining, he went up to a filing cabinet and sifted through the mess of files before plucking one out.
“Let’s see, according to the file on her, Tripwire has been described as a Pink Lupe, but no distinctive features have been found because the majority of witnesses were not close enough to describe those in detail. Of course, that being said, some of the bank tellers might know what those distinctive features are because they could have seen the front of her face, but I highly doubt it, judging by the numerous witness reports that we’ve got on her. As well, nobody knows her true identity because she wears the Lupe Hero Mask over her face to conceal it and to add to that, none of the reports have ever reported her mask being taken off, just covered up by a brown fedora,” he replied as he was reading off of the folder. I thanked him for his time and left the DoN.
As soon as I came home and dropped the items off in the various rooms, I went to my younger brother’s office. After all, before he became a detective like the rest of us, Opren, a Striped Lupe, used to work as a bank teller at the National Neopian Bank. Hopefully, he would be able to tell me any distinctive features on Tripwire or anything that would help me figure out more about this unusual vigilante. As usual, I found him there, typing up a report on the typewriter. He looked up when I knocked on his door and motioned me to enter the room.
“Opren, when you were at the National Neopian, how many times have you seen Tripwire during your tenure there?”
He thought about my question for a few seconds. “Hmm, I would probably say at least five times. Let me guess, you want to know what she looks like,” he replied.
I nodded my head.
“Well, I take it that you already know the basic details about her from someone, possibly from the DoN, otherwise you wouldn’t be here asking me about her. If my memory serves me well, the most distinctive feature about her that I remember was the X- shaped scar right on her muzzle.”
I was momentarily confused at what he said. “Opren, did you just say an X-shaped scar right on Tripwire’s muzzle?”
He nodded before asking me if there was something wrong.
“Not really, Opren, but I think I have a general idea on who Tripwire actually is. You may not believe me at the moment, but it cannot be a coincidence that the Bubble Detective has that exact same scar in the exact same area as Tripwire. What are the chances of that same scar appearing on two different Lupes? Not a lot, considering how many Lupes there are in Neopia.”
He slowly digested the information for a few seconds. “You know, Ocean, you may be onto something. It has never occurred to me until now that Tripwire and the Bubble Detective are the same person, but now that you mention it, Tripwire has not been reported in the Neopian Times for over a year now. She simply vanished into thin air. I think Tripwire’s disappearance coincided with the Neopian Times announcement that the Bubble Detective was retiring due to her permanent knee injury from a Volcanic Blow Gun. Of course, I don’t know her real name, but I might be able to pull up an address for you. I just need a day or two to find it.” I nodded and left.
Opren was true to his word when he left a piece of paper on my desk a couple of days later. I picked it up and read what he had written. The address that he had written down was 499 Wishing Well Drive, which was a couple of blocks away from our Neohome. I got my black trenchcoat and fedora off of the coat tree and headed out to the address.
When I arrived at the address, there was a Pink Lupe, slightly older than me, working in the front garden, planting several Bluebells. I wondered if she was the Bubble Detective, so I went up to her.
“Excuse me, madam, but are you the Bubble Detective?”
She looked up. “As a matter of fact, I am, but ever since I retired from my duties, I am no longer a detective. My real name is Bubble Gum, if that’s what you’re looking for,” she replied as she struggled to stand up. She also retrieved a smaller version of the Carved Walking Stick lying beside her. I understood that the damage done by the Volcanic Blow Gun severely damaged her right leg, hence why she was using the walking stick and walking with a slight limp.
“I see. Out of curiosity, Bubble Gum, but why did you become Tripwire?”
She looked at me in a strange way after I asked her that question. “How do you know about my alter-ego? I’ve never told anyone about it, not even to my closest friends,” she said, surprised.
“I did a little bit of investigating after someone told me that I somehow resembled your alter-ego, so now you know that I’m a detective. The name’s Blizzard, if that’s what you’re wondering,” I said, extended a paw out to her. She extended her free hand towards mine and shook it.
“Ah, so you’re Blizzard of the Lupe Pack Detectives. I’ve got to hand it to you; you’re one smart Blue Lupe to figure out my identity. As for your question, I became Tripwire because I wanted to get away from the crowds of Neopians hounding me for my autograph or something similar just because I was well known and respected within the community. Believe me, it was never easy getting them off of my back once they spotted me. If it wasn’t for this cursed limp leg of mine, then I would still be out in the field as my alter-ego, continuing to trip evildoers with my Jade Staff.”
“I see. It must have been hard for you to make that decision to retire, knowing that your work as Tripwire would not continue anymore.”
I was about to leave, satisfied with the answers that I got from her, but something in my mind kept on nagging me. After receiving praise from the Orange Techo, I wanted to continue Tripwire’s legacy, so I went back to Bubble Gum and asked her if I could take her place as the famous crusader, promising her not to reveal her true identity to anyone else other than my family. She thought about it for a few seconds before coming up with a reply.
“Blizzard, it will be my honour to hand the torch to you.”
Thanks for reading. As always, if you have any questions or comments about this short story, you can always Neomail me. My inbox is always open.