Kads & Capers: The Petpet Detective Book 1
Life at the Kadoatery was a simple one. The petpets spent their time there in splendour; relaxing, playing, eating gourmet meals and being groomed and pampered. Each Kadoatie had their own private quarters, leading onto a vast communal space filled with anything a Kad could want. There were towering piles of plush pillows for them to rest upon, a grooming station where a wash, brush or fur-trim was available at the touch of a button, and a play area so full of toys and hidey-holes that the Kadoaties could never get bored.
The Kadoaties were very sought after petpets, and only the richest pets in all of Neopia could afford to own one. In fact, Kadoaties were so rare that most Neopets had never actually seen one in person, and they would flock to the Kadoatery to feed the petpets any food they desired through the bars.
The Kads knew each other well; their owners were rich and important Neopets that were often away on business or holiday, leaving them in the care of the Kadoatery Crew. Zug and Ziv were there most frequently; they were twin green Kads that wore different coloured bow ties so they could be told apart, however those that knew them would never get the quiet Zug confused with his loud-mouthed brother.
Currently they were the only Kads awake; another few were asleep in their rooms and they knew more were on their way. Every year on the 5th day of the Month of Relaxing, Baroness Oakhill hosted the wealthiest and most notable figures in Neopia aboard her magnificent ship for a weeklong cruise, and all of the guests would be bringing their precious Kads to the Kadoatery to be looked after for the duration.
“… and I bet the Giant Omelette isn’t even that big, I mean, I’ve heard that they run out of food like, all the time, and how can it be different flavours all at the same time? Maybe I’ll ask Jurgis, she’s Tyrannian so she ought to know, and another thing…”
“Ssshh!” interrupted Zug.
Ziv paused for a second, “…what? I don’t hear anything. Now where was I…”
“SSHH!!” said Zug again, louder.
Then Ziv heard it, the unmistakable shrill voice of Kit’s owner though tearful sobs as she said goodbye to her beloved petpet.
“Oh, Mumsie will miss you so, dear Kit,” called Madam Leversham to the Island Kad as she toddled through the door from the reception to the communal area, “Be sure to eat your neggs, to keep your coat soft and shiny!”
Kit stood close to the entrance looking tearful. She let out a quiet ‘mew’ and Ziv and Zug rushed over to comfort her before the wailing began.
“Kit, don’t cry, we’re here with you, see?” Said Ziv hurriedly. He received a louder ‘Mew!’ in response.
Zug crept close to Kit and nuzzled her. She was shaking, but did not let out another sob.
“Hey Kit, will a treat make you feel better?”
Kit considered this and nodded.
“Shall we go to the viewing platform and ask for one?”
Faster nodding this time. The three of them hurried towards their rooms and sat on their individual pedestals looking out at the sea of Neopet faces. There was an audible “aww!” when the pets first spotted the Kads, and Ziv, Zug and Kit settled in.
The Kads cried out their demands and watched the Neopets scrabble to find the foods they were requesting. Some pets had lists of the contents of their inventory and were carefully inspecting them, but others were not so organised. There was a yellow Peophin frantically going through his bag searching for food, tossing items over his shoulder, a smartly dressed Starry Chia on the phone shouting an order trying to arrange immediate delivery, and even a Skunk Grarrl sat on the floor desperately rummaging through the items that had fallen out of her bag.
Eventually some pets came forward with the items the Kads wanted, and they began to munch. They stayed for a short while longer allowing the Neopets time to take photos, and by the time they went back to the common room it was full of Kadoaties that had recently been dropped off.
Yappy the disco Kad was talking excitedly to pirate Kad Tuesday and rainbow Reaver; Taffy the faerie Kadoatie had fluttered up to settle herself into a soft pile of cushions; Jurgis and the spotted Topher had awoken from their naps and were chasing each other round the play area; and Amalthea the pink Kadoatie was perched in her usual spot high above the others looking down.
“Ah,” said Amalthea when she spotted Ziv, Zug and Kit, “now the group is complete. Gather round everyone.”
The other Kadoaties stopped what they were doing and formed a line in front of Amalthea’s post.
“As you know, your owners are all aboard my mistresses’ luxurious vessel, the Diamond Dubloon, and we are here not only to holiday, but to keep ourselves looking our very best, and hone our skills in Kadoatie etiquette. To that end, I expect each one of you to spend time attending classes to remind you that the behaviour expected of a Kadoatie should never be less than perfect. With regards to asking the pets for snacks, make sure you are only asking for healthy items full of vitamins, to keep your coat…”
Amalthea continued to give her orders, but slowly the attention of the Kads shifted behind her towards the entrance, where muffled voices could be heard coming from the reception. As the voices got louder Amalthea stopped what she was saying and slowly turned round to see what the interruption was.
“I think another Kad is coming in!” Ziv whispered enthusiastically.
“No way,” replied Tuesday “we’re all here, arrren’t we?” he asked, looking round so quickly his bandanna flew off.
Moments later they heard a rustle, and a blue Kadoatie that nobody recognised strolled through the door into the centre of the room. The room went silent, and a few of the Kads looked to Amalthea to begin the questioning.
“Hello,” she began curtly “and just who might you be?”
The blue Kad looked back and replied confidently.
“Hello everyone, my name is Estebon.” He had a strange melodic accent that no one could place. “My owner is a detective for the Defenders of Neopia, and he thought that I would appreciate a holiday here following the last case he worked.”
Excited murmurs filled the room as the Kads whispered about just who this strange new Kad might belong to.
“Pardon me, did you say detective? Is he very well known? He must be of some high-standing to have a Kadoatie as a petpet… even an unpainted one.” Amalthea asked critically.
“No, he is just a plain ordinary detective, but no less worthy of owning any sort of petpet.” Estebon replied, evidently offended by this line of questioning.
“Forgive me, but it is highly unusual for a pet of no notability or wealth to speak of to own a Kadoatie; we are prestigious and therefore highly expensive petpets! Surely you are aware of this?”
“Yes, I am aware. If you must know, my owner rescued me a couple of years ago... I had wandered, lost, straight into the face of the sleeping Turmaculus. My owner swooped in just before the slobbering giant took a bite, and I have been by his side ever since. Some qualities are worth more than all the neopoints in Neopia.”
Estebon shifted his attention to his surroundings, looking at the soft furnishings and play area. “Excuse me, but I think I will take a look around the place now.” He trotted away and made his way to the sleeping quarters.
A while later Ziv and Kit found Estebon sat high in the corner, watching everyone below him carefully.
“Hi there! Sorry about Amalthea, she can be a bit bossy sometimes, but she’s actually very nice,” Ziv began, “my name’s Ziv, and this is Kit. We were thinking of going over to the viewing platform and getting some treats, want to join us?”
Estebon pondered this. “Tell me about this viewing platform… I understand that Neopets, for whatever insane reason, will wait to feed us treats… Is this safe?”
“Oh yeah, it’s totally safe! The food is scanned before it ever reaches us, and the bars are electrified for our protection; you may want to remember that in case you ever get too close. Nothing can get in that isn’t supposed top, and no one would want to hurt a Kad anyway, but sometimes the pets get a bit excited, ya know? Try to pet us or whatever, and get a little shock. Like today, I didn’t see them, but somebody definitely grabbed the bars of my platform and got zapped away, so it’s all completely safe.”
“You didn’t tell me that,” spoke Zug from behind him, “are you ok?”
“I didn’t get a chance to say earlier, but it’s strange, right? They don’t usually grab the bars.”
Estebon faced Kit. “And you, were you there with them? What did you witness?”
Kit swallowed. “I smelt the burned fur, but I didn’t see anything.”
“Hmm,” mused Estebon, “no one saw what happened...” He looked away, lost in thought.
The three Kads exchanged puzzled glances.
“So, what’s with all the questions? Are you some sort of detective like your owner?”
“No, nothing of the sort, I just value my safety. And to be honest, I could never impose upon strangers to feed me snacks, it’s all a bit too demeaning in my opinion. Excuse me.”
Estebon jumped down and went to investigate the netting above the play area.
“He’s not like other Kads, is he?” asked Zug. The others shook their heads in agreement.
The rest of the day held no further surprises. The Kads spent their time socialising, snacking and many attended a session held by Amalthea, practising how to walk gracefully. Estebon watched this from his perch with a look of disapproval, as the Kadoaties trotted about the room cautiously placing one paw in front of the other. He heard Amalthea say that the following day’s session would be how to lap milk without messing their fur, and he decided that going to bed would be preferable to listening to any more of this nonsense.
This continued for the next few days; Estebon kept a wary distance from the others, socialising occasionally but only to ask questions about the Kadoatery. The other Kadoaties regarded Estebon carefully too. He behaved so differently to them, constantly observing them as if he thought he was the only sane one there. He studied the Neopets at the viewing platform too, seemingly unable to comprehend what would drive pets to such abnormal behaviour. It made the rest of them uneasy having him there, watching and judging, and they were looking forward for the week to be over.
Towards the end of the week three Usukigirl stylists arrived with trunks packed full of clothes and collars for the Kads to choose their new look. The stylists cooed and fussed over the Kads one by one, parting their fur this way and that, co-ordinating collars with coats, making sure each Kadoatie had a fantastic outfit matching their painted colour. They had just finished making over Yappy when they spotted Estebon crouched on the netting above them peering down.
“Oh!” Stylist one exclaimed, “an unpainted Kadoatie!”
The others stopped packing away their cases and looked upwards.
“But its name isn’t on the list!” Stylist two chimed in.
“Never mind that, we have work to do!” The third stylist called to Estebon “you there, down you come please.”
Estebon hissed aggressively at the stylists in response.
The room went silent. All of the Kads looked at him in shock. Did he really just hiss at a pet? A Kadoatie would never behave in such a manner, hissing at a Neopet is a display of the utmost disrespect. Estebon seemed to sense the shift in the room and looked at the other petpets, registering the disgust on their faces.
He turned to the three stylists, two of whom looked on the verge of tears, and climbed down.
“I apologise,” he said to the Usuls “that was unforgivable. If you wouldn’t mind, I would appreciate a new look.”
The stylists relaxed and immediately began rooting through their chests for something for Estebon to wear.
After much deliberation they finally settled on an outfit and were discussing the final touches.
“Ok, so it’s two against one. The blue suede collar it is!” said stylist two happily.
“Oh, no, I would prefer to keep my current collar, if that’s ok with you,” interrupted Estebon.
“But, it’s so boring!” cried stylist two.
“Pretty please, let us do this” stylist one joined in “your plain old collar will be just here in this cabinet ready for you to take home. Just think of how overjoyed your owner would be to see you all dressed up!”
Looking at their desperate faces Estebon quickly agreed, afraid to get them all worked up again.
“Fine, let’s just get this finished.”
They finished up and left swiftly, chattering away about their next appointment. Kit crept up to Estebon and spoke quietly.
“You look very nice.” And with a half sob she quietly walked away.
Evening drew in; the Kads had just finished their evening meals and were about to settle down for the night when Estebon cleared his throat.
“Ahem, everybody, I would appreciate it if we could convene in the play area, I have something I would like to say to you all.”
The Kadoaties looked to Amalthea, letting her decide if they should follow or not.
“Well, I for one would like to hear what our new friend has to say for himself,” she spoke “let us see what this is about.”
They walked to the play area and gathered round Estebon.
“Thank you for joining me, I wasn’t certain if you would given my earlier inexcusable behaviour. I would like to apologise to you all, not only for today, but for my attitude since I have arrived. I have been cold and judgemental, and you do not deserve to have been treated this way.” He looked at each Kad in turn “I do hope that you forgive me. I must admit, that I have not been entirely truthful with you. I am not here on holiday, but to work undercover whilst your owners are away.”
The Kadoaties began murmuring to each other in shock and disbelief. He continued, “As I have told you, my owner is a detective, but what you don’t know is that I work alongside him helping to solve crime.”
“And what crime do you believe has been committed, for you to be here observing us?” Amalthea bristled, angered at the notion that one of her Kads was being accused of doing something wrong.
“No no, you misunderstand me,” Estebon quickly interjected “I do not think that any of you have committed a crime, but that you may be the targets of a crime. You see, Kadoaties are such valuable petpets, and such a large gathering occurs but once a year, during your owner’s annual cruise. There has been talk of a pair of notorious thieves arriving in town, and it was my fear that they might try to break into the Kadoatery and steal you all away.”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” Amalthea spat incredulously.
Suddenly, the lights at the Kadoatery went out.
Hushed voices could be heard coming from the direction of the viewing platform, and a strange sawing noise began.
The Kadoaties looked around, terrified, and one by one began to wail in the darkness, creating a cacophony of chaos that rendered Estebon unable to think clearly. He shouted to the Kads to stop their wailing, but no one could hear him over the noise. He tried Amalthea, shouting over her panicked cries.
“Amalthea, I implore you, stop this din!” Amalthea continued, barely registering his presence.
“Please! You must all be quiet and hide – THEY WILL FIND YOU AND CAPTURE YOU ALL!”
This final sentence seemed to rouse Amalthea, and her wailing began to quieten until it stopped entirely.
“I must protect the Kadoaties!” She turned to the others, “please everyone, quieten down! I know the darkness is scary, but something even more frightening will happen if you don’t hush and hide immediately!”
The nine Kads stopped crying, and, bolstered by Amalthea’s words, dove into the first hiding places they happened upon.
Amalthea and Estebon shared a fleeting relieved glance, and jumped into a cushion covered box.
The second their tails disappeared the quiet whoosh of a zip wire whizzed above them and hit the wall, and a figure clad in black began to slide down into the silent room.
“Why can’t I ‘ear anyfink?” The figure said to the apparently empty room. “You said there’d be cryin’! You said we’d find ‘em no problem if we cut out the lights.”
“But they was ‘ere five minutes ago!” replied something unseen “I only left ‘em to shut up the power and ‘elp you through the bars.”
“Just shut it and look around will yer!”
Estebon and Amalthea had found themselves squashed in the box with Ziv, Zug and Kit; all of whom were visibly panicked but trying to remain calm.
“My Lady, we must think of a plan. First and foremost, we need to alert the Defenders of Neopia. My collar has a button that will alert them to our predicament; it has been put away in that trunk over there.” Estebon indicated to a chest located just where the intruders broke in.
“But there is only one pet that we can see, how do we know that the other isn’t lurking near there?” She asked.
“By using a distraction,” Zug chimed in “if we can get them to go near the grooming station we can trigger a powder that will coat them. Then we will be able to see where they are.”
“But then what? They will capture us as soon as we alert them to our presence.” Amalthea said.
“ Not if we capture them first…” Estebon mused looking upwards.
The other Kads followed his gaze to the netting above the play area.
“Of course!” Cried Ziv, a little too enthusiastically, “sorry,” he hushed, “we can round them up and drop the net onto them. Then they won’t be able to escape with any of us!”
“Ok, everyone, here’s the plan…”
The intruders were getting angrier by the minute, their incessant bickering getting less coherent the longer they looked for the valuable petpets.
“This is ‘opeless! Go switch the power back on so we can find ‘em.” the visible pet said.
“If I do that then the alarms will go off – I cut the bars down, ‘member? The sensors will bring the Defenders ‘ere in no time.”
“Hang on a minute, that’s one of ‘em there!”
They both looked at Amalthea, who was now sat at the grooming station with her paw poised over one of the buttons. Before the visible pet could reach her, Estebon piped up from his hiding place next to him.
“You there! Over here!”
“You get the pink one, I’ll get the blue” Said the visible one to the other as he rushed to grab Estebon.
Amalthea listened intently for a sign that the invisible pet was near. She felt him grasp at her tail and slammed her paw down to release a fine pink powder all over him, revealing a dust covered Blumaroo.
“Hey!” He coughed and spluttered backwards. Amalthea used the distraction to hurry to Estebon’s aid.
“Wot’s that one doin’?” Said the black clothed Pet to the other, handing him a bag.
They were looking at Kit, who had gently walked the length of the zip wire and was almost at the trunk that held Estebon’s collar.
“Well done Kit!” Cried Amalthea, “you’ve been practising your graceful walk!”
Estebon shook his head, bewildered at the petpet’s priorities in this distressing situation.
“Enough of this!” The Blumaroo hissed “I’ll bag these two and you get that’un.”
Amalthea looked to Estebon, worried. This was not part of the plan; they had hoped to distract the intruders away from Kit, but now she was in just as much danger. Her heart sank immediately as she watched a hissing and scratching Estebon being picked up and shoved into a black sack, and felt the thieving monster grab for her next. His power outmatched hers easily, and she was thrust into the sack with Estebon.
Kit had reached the trunk and was searching for Estebon’s collar as the mystery pet approached her quickly.
A wailing sound suddenly reached her ears and she and the pet turned to see one, then two, then all six of the remaining Kadoaties sat together in the play area crying louder than they ever had before.
“Forget that one, get the group of ‘em!” Yelled the Blumaroo as he dashed towards the group.
The other Pet rushed over, but as soon as they reached the spot the Kads vanished back into their hiding places, and all that could be heard was the rustle of a net dropping down upon them.
“Yessss! We got them!” Exclaimed Zug from above the play area. His brother looked over, shocked at the sudden outburst from his usually quiet sibling.
The thieves struggled to free themselves from the netting, cursing and thrashing, but stopping abruptly as flashing lights and the screaming sounds of sirens filled the room.
The door to the Kadoatery flew open and agent after agent of the Defenders of Neopia piled in. The first in the room was a distinguished looking shadow Shoyru, and as the power came back on he surveyed the scene in front of him in disbelief.
Scared looking Kaodoaties stood victorious surrounding a pair of captured burglars as Amalthea and Estebon wrestled to free themselves from the black sack.
“Well well, my old friend,” the Shoyru spoke to Estebon “it looks like your instincts were correct! While we were wasting our time steaking out the mansions, you were here having the real fun.”
“I assure you, it was anything but,” Estebon replied, but corrected himself quickly as he looked at the other Kads “at first… But I did make some new friends, so I do consider this to have been a worthwhile experience.”
“And you captured the infamous Blundering Blumaroo Brothers!” The Shoyru exclaimed as the hood fell from the face of the mystery pet. “A fine catch indeed. Though one painted himself invisible for the occasion… more than likely snuck in at an earlier point to switch the power off from the inside.”
Estebon glanced over to the trunk the stylists had left.
“Yes, that would explain it. Open and shut case it would appear! Now, I should imagine you’re desperate to get back to the Petpet Laboratory and have that crazy Kookith turn you back to your old self, eh?”
The Kads gasped in unison.
“You-you’re not really a Kadoatie?” Spluttered Taffy, horrified at the discovery.
Estebon sighed. “No, I am not. It is time for me to tell the complete truth. I have the ability to be zapped into any petpet I desire, as long as my cause is noble. The Mystery Island Mystic revealed this to me a long time ago, and since then I have been zapped time and again, in the name of justice.”
“But, who aaare you really?” asked Tuesday.
“It doesn’t matter,” Amalthea interjected before Estebon had a chance to tell them “he is an honourable, upright and virtuous petpet, who has taught us all a lesson; it is our deeds and actions determine our worth, and nothing else.”
She turned towards Estebon and licked his cheek. “Thank you, from all of us here who you have rescued with your bravery. Good luck in your next noble mission.”