Janet and Jane: The Case of the Museum at Midnight - Part Four
"Did you see anybody stop in here?" Natia asked Jonah.
"No, I spent the night getting those tickets," the ghost replied. "They're not that easy to get a hold of, you know."
"What about those Neopets we saw last night?" Jane suggested. "We could ask Barry--"
"And say we saw him in the middle of the museum last night?" I interrupted. "Nobody could know that we were 'locked' in the museum last night." I placed airquotes around the word "locked". "Besides, I'm not sure if we should trust him anymore."
"Why not?" Natia asked.
"Well." I was reluctant to share this, but this needed to be shared. "Yesterday, when I talked to the secretary and asked about Barry, she said that he didn't work here."
"Why didn't you tell us this yesterday?" Jane asked.
"I-I thought that she just forgot about him at the time. Well, now it doesn't look like that."
"Well if he is the thief, why is he around the museum so much?" Natia asked.
I opened the closed door of the Historic Weapons wing and examined the perimeter. Nobody was around. I walked out, my friends following me. "Probably to throw Neopets like us off. Who would ever suspect a worker stealing things?" I quietly shut and locked the door. "Then again, that isn't unheard of, these days."
"So what do we do?"
"Maybe we should 'get locked in' again," Jane answered her.
Good thing she got that sentence out before we entered the Art Exhibit. There were hundreds of Neopians in that hall. Though there was an overall happy feeling in the area, I could feel a strain of uneasiness and angst in the air.
"Janet. Jane. Natia."
That sounded like Barry, but he wasn't shouting. I guess he didn't want much attention drawn to us (and I am thankful for that). When he walked up to us, he led us away from the bunch of Neopets to talk to us. He looked nervous -- very nervous. He looked nervous yesterday, but this one was different -- like he was being truthful. I bet you 250 NP that the first thing he says is about the wreckage disappearing.
"Guys, now one of our historical books is missing," the Acara said.
I was out 250 NP.
"What book?" Jane asked, yet we knew the answer to that.
"It's a book called 'Curses, Hexes, and Spells'."
Oh, Jonah. Why'd you steal it in the first place? You could have just asked us to take a quick look at it while we were here. Oh well. Looked like I had to cover for him, "Well, can you show us?"
He quickly nodded, grabbed my wrist, and dragged me to the wing the book was in (which was on the other side of the museum). Nobody was in it. I guess that they already closed the wing. If that's the case, then why was Barry showing us this stuff? I knew he didn't work here, but if he wanted to be inconspicuous, he really should keep this stuff private. Yes, we asked, but the correct answer was no.
All of the tomes were under a glass case -- well, except for one. One glass case was completely empty. It didn't look like it was moved and it surely wasn't broken. It made me wonder how Jonah got it out of there in the first place.
"So do you know what could have happened to it?" Natia asked.
"No, not a clue," Barry replied worriedly. "Oh, I-- we need it desperately."
"Don't worry, Barry," Jane comforted. "I'm sure it'll come up in the next few days and you can--"
Barry quickly interrupted her, "No, we need this as soon as possible."
His anger was beginning to rise. This was a little unnerving to me. Yes, I have met some Neopets who reacted way worse to a crime, but this was over a dinky little book. Yeesh, I guess he needed the book to make the true 'Masks of Dread' (assuming that's why he took the blunt weapons (if he even took them)). Even if he didn't, he surely had something to hide from us. And if he was hiding something, J2 was definitely going to find out what it was.
"Why do you need the book, anyway?" I asked.
"It's for the new exhibit," Barry answered. He rubbed his bent horn. I assumed that he just did that when he thinks. "It had some old Witch Doctor spells that would go well with the Mystery Island Mask theme."
I slightly nodded, to show that I was interested -- which I really was. This could be another motive. I remembered seeing some Mystery Island Staffs in the Historic Weapons before they were stolen. He could use one of those Witch Doctor spells.
Why was he telling us this stuff, anyway? He was a little too trusting with us. Yeah, he didn't know we were detectives, but if nobody knew of this stuff, then it was likely nobody should know. He shouldn't be sharing this stuff with us, Neopets who he met only two days ago. I wasn't complaining -- I was getting some really good information on how to crack this case wide open -- but I felt like we would get in some serious trouble. If that was true, this wouldn't be the first time we would get into a world of trouble during a case (and I was sure it wouldn't be the last). It was like quicksand -- the deeper you go, the harder it is to get out.
"Well, did someone call anyone to help solve the case or at least get some suspects?" Natia asked.
Barry nodded hastily. "Yes, but the earliest someone could come is next week."
That was good. It'd be hard to investigate if the Neopolice were around. "Well, you need to do something to stop all the thefts," I said.
"I don't know what I should do." Barry paced back and forth. I could tell that he was getting a little more nervous with every step that he took. "What about the new exhibit? It opens tomorrow and I will be fired if anything happens!"
You couldn't get fired from a job you never had, Barry. "Well, Jane, Natia, and I could help you out with that. If we could take a look at the wing, we could secure it like the Historic Weapons."
Barry shook his head. "No. I couldn't do that."
Natia, Jane, and I nodded our heads. We understood this. We weren't allowed into the wing at all.
The Acara checked the perimeter to see if anyone was around. Not a single Neopet except for us were in the entire wing. We couldn't even hear anyone. "At least I couldn't do that now."
What was he implying? Did he want us to stay the night here?
"Do you mean you want us to come back after hours?" I asked.
"I don't mean that." The green Acara turned away from us and to the empty case. "I want you to stay in the museum after it closes for the night." That wasn't much of a problem for us. We were going to do that, anyway.
"Are you sure we won't get in trouble?" Jane asked. It was then that Natia didn't speak in a while. I guess she didn't want to say something that she wasn't supposed to (she did have that problem). It was good that she was getting better at being quiet.
"Relax. You won't get in trouble if you're with someone who works here."
Yeah, but you were not a worker here. "Alright. We'll do it."
Barry smiled. "Thank you so much." He began to walk out of the closed wing. "I have some stuff I have to take care of. I'll see you tonight."
When he was out of the wing, the three of us began to discuss what we were going to do.
"I think it's a trap," Jane said.
"I think it is, too, but we need to investigate this," I argued. "Something's up with that wing and we need to check it out."
"And I like springing traps. It's fun," Natia (sort of) added.
"Even if we were to do this, we're unarmed," Jane informed as she walked around the Aisha and I. "We need some sort of protection, and we'll get in major trouble if we dare touch the weapons on display. Not to mention that the Historic Weapons exhibit is on the other side of the museum."
"I can go get our weapons real quick," Natia offered. "This ticket is good for the day, and the base isn't that far from here, so I'll just run over, grab them, and run back."
That actually wasn't a bad idea. It was only a ten minute walk there and back, and if Natia ran with our weapons (which would be a very bad idea), Jane and I would barely even miss her.
"You think you could handle it?" I asked her.
"I'm positive. How hard could it be?"
Jane, Jonah, and I were reluctant on letting her go on her own, but what else were we to do? We just ended up letting the Aisha go. After she said her "Be right back"s, she ran away from us and out of the museum.
It was only when fifteen minutes passed when Jane and I began to worry. She wasn't back. We waited, and waited, and waited. Twenty. Thirty. Forty. Before we knew it, the museum was about to close. And Natia wasn't back yet. Oh, now what do we do now?
"Natia's not coming back in," Jane sighed. "Now what do we do? We don't have any weapons and we don't know what's going to happen to us."
I gave out a chuff of air and replied, "I know. I guess we have to do this without her."
To be continued...