Neovia, 4:30 am.
Curious about Baron's cases ? Here's the place to go to read about them.
First Case : The Mysterious Jewel Thief
I've been living here for a month already, but I still can't get used to it. The fog is particularly thick tonight and I'm shivering in my trench-coat. My breath is drawing small clouds of smoke around me.Big Skeith
, my boss, is heavily breathing next to me. He's the biggest darigan skeith I've ever seen and he smells like bacon. Don't tell him, apparently, it's rude to say people smells like bacon, which I don't understand because I like bacon.
He's wearing a tightly fitted trench-coat and his hat is deeply screwed on his head. You are only able to see two creepy red lights, where his eyes are.
Big Skeith, while being my boss, is also the chief of police of Neovia town. He's rude, loud, violent and tells things like they are, but he's the best chief there is. He gave me my chance to join the police, something I've always wanted.
I'm just a newbie here, my name is Reginald Acorn, also nicknamed SilverBaron, or Baron, for short.
We've been lurking on this street for a few hours now and I'm currently freezing. This part of the world gets really cold at night, I miss the warm and nice sun of Brightvale sometimes, And mama's delicious cooking too.
I'm not the kind of gelert to stay still, but when Big Skeith tells you to not even move « those creepy ears of you gelerts »
, you don't move those creepy ears of yours, as insulted and offended you may feel.
_ " You won't elude us much further, stupid thief. You made me run, and I hate running." Grumbled Big Skeith next to me. I could see by his air that he was fuming.
All I knew about that thief is that he was a guy and a gelert, just like me.
A shadow suddenly moved and made me raise up in alert. Big Skeith put his big and clawy hand on my head and shoved me back into hiding.
_ "There's a lot shadows around here kiddo, most of them are harmless. That is, if you don't bother them." He smirked.
What was that even supposed to mean ? How can a shadow cause any harm ?
The bells of the city hall suddenly rang, making me jump.
_ " Come on, I know you can't resist this occasion."
Big was right, for any thief, the occasion was perfect.
Maybe a bit too much I guess.
The best jeweller of Brightvale, my hometown, was staying for a few days in a chic hotel of Neovia. I saw him a few times when I was there, my hometown... Aah, Mama's cooking …
!! Sorry, I lost track and my stomach is growling.
We knew the jeweller was carrying several precious gems and high-end jewellery with him. All of them worth several millions of Nps ! Imagine how much cake I could buy with that kind of money !
As I was daydreaming about cake, Big grabbed me by my coat and spat « He's here ! »
I looked around and couldn't see anything. The lights of the lampposts were flickering, making all kinds of weird shadows around. Suddenly, the clouds moved, revealing a bright and shining full moon. And I saw him.
Standing proudly on the roof of the hotel, he was grinning with all of his shiny teeth and juggling with some shiny stones that were reflecting the moon's light... The gems !
_ " Reginald, run after him, we'll get him !! " shouted Big Skeith.
I followed the shadow at full speed, him on the roofs, and me slaloming in the streets just bellow. I could not see his face at all, but I could guess he was mocking me.
Despite my love of food and desserts, I'm really fast and managed to keep up with him, jumping over fences, avoiding running head straight into a lamppole...
In the distance, I could hear Big Skeith cursing and yelling orders to my colleagues. They were after him too, but no matter what, I was still a bit behind. I tried my best to look at the shadow, trying to find something to identify him, but all I could tell in this darkness, is that he had a small build and was shorter than I was. How come a gelert with shorter legs than me could run faster ?
As if he was mocking me, he suddenly jumped in front of me, in the street.
He smiled, most of his face still hidden under a hood.
_ "So, here to catch me kiddo ? Well good luck with that !" He laughed while playing with a gem in his left hand.
Angered, I jumped forward trying to catch him. As the tip of my fingers brushed his clothes, he suddenly moved to the side, revealing what was in front of me, and that I couldn't see as I was focused on him. The river !
I fell into the cold water and started to panic. I can't swim, and never could. The water was freezing, gorging my clothes and making me sink. Suddenly, a big and strong hand grabbed me and pulled me out of the river, Big Skeith !
As I was struggling to catch my breath, I glanced to the roof of the house in front of us, where a voice was calling us out.
_ "Thank you for the spectacle, my dear friends ! It was really entertaining, as for these beautiful jewels, they're mine now !" He said cackling as he started to turn around.
_ "Oh and one last thing, the river has a really low level in this part of the town, so with your size, you should have been able to touch the bottom easily, I'm not that mean !" He says as he exploded in laughter, the next second he was gone.
I was drenched, humiliated and Big Skeith was fuming next to me, as he punched the ground with his fist.
So much for my first case...
Case 2 : Witchcraft
The fan screwed on the roof is spinning at full speed, making my hair fly around like a bunch of untamed buzzers. I've been sitting at my desk for so long, I feel like my chair is going to have my body's print on it forever. In front of me, a massive amount of paperwork. I always knew police work wasn't always running after criminals and solving exciting cases, but still, trivial matters were really boring.
Out of boredom, I let my head rest on my desk. All around me, my colleagues are as bored as I am. As I was blowing away the hair that was falling on my nose, Big Skeith, my boss, came out of his office, making the door slam into the wall. I jumped a little while everyone else stayed still on their chairs. Most of them have been working here for months, some even for years and got used to Big's big entrances.
_ "Reginald ! Grab your things, we're going to eat !" He spat.
I don't even have time to grab my coat that he's already out of the Police Station and wandering around in the streets. I follow him into "Le Parfait", an high end restaurant in town.
_ "I know that with your salary, you can't really eat here, so I invite you kiddo. Take that as a welcome gift." he said.
A waiter approaches us. A gelert with silver hair and a shining smile, and I don't know why but I somehow feel like I've seen him somewhere before.
_ "My name is Médéric and I'll be your waiter. What will you take ?
As the waiter is doing his job, I gather the courage to ask Big Skeith something that had been on my mind for two weeks.
_ "Chief, do we have any leads concerning the jewel thief case ? I know it's my fault we didn't get him last time, so I'd really like to make up for it." I whisper, uneasy on my chair.
_ "Chh. It's not your fault kiddo, we've been after that guy for so long now, he always manages to elude us. As for leads, we don't have any." he said before going back to eating the platter of meat in front of him.
_ "I see..." The disappointment in my voice is palpable but Big doesn't seem to be angry at me.
The waiter after having served a delicious fresh water to our table goes back to the kitchen.
From the distance, the waiter named Médéric is looking at that grey gelert and the enormous darigan skeith in front of him.
_ "I really should be more careful now. But seems like none of them recognized me" he whispers while playing with a splendid gem in his pocket. "But what can I say, I love showing off!" he cackles quickly while getting weird looks from the rest of the waiting staff. "I'll be sure to play with you some more somedays, you can be sure of it."
_ "Nothing like a good meal eh.. I'm stuffed." he says as he's scratching his belly.
_ "That's true ! Thanks for the meal boss !
_ "I wanted you to feel more at peace with yourself, like I said, nobody thinks it's your fault, also you're still a newbie, you gotta learn. That's why I've picked a new case for you to work on. Do you think you're up to the task eh ?" Big Skeith is smirking in front of me, and I can see the confidence in his big red eyes.
_ "You bet I am boss ! What is it !!??" I yell in excitement, finally some action !
_ "Calm down kiddo. Here's the deal : this morning, I was looking at the letters we had received the other day and found an interesting one. Here, read it." He hands me a letter in a beautiful red envelope. The handwriting is very beautiful and delicate.Dear Chief of Police Worsley,
My name is Viktor Arnalds and I work at the biggest book shop in town, the one located next to the antique shop.
I write to you to voice a few concerns of mine.
A week ago, we received a book whose origins we couldn't tell. It's rather big and heavy and shut down by a lock.
Now I wouldn't mind too much if scratching and hissing noises didn't come out of said book. It also moves around on it's own.
Would it be too much trouble for someone of the station to come at the book shop and take a look at that book.
I am worried it might be dangerous and could cause a catastrophe if opened. I don't want to put my fellow citizens in danger.
Thanks in advance, Viktor.
I take a minute to take in what I've just read. A book that seems alive or something ? Now that's exciting !
_ "So, do you take it kid ?
_ "Yes, I'm going right away to the book shop, thanks boss !" I yell as I'm already running towards my new destination.Neovia, 13:30.
I push the heavy wood door and enter into the book shop. The smell of paper is overwhelming here but it has that unique cosy atmosphere. I slam the bell that is on the counter and wait patiently. An acara comes out of the back shop. He's the oldest neopets I've ever seen ! His eyes are completely hidden behind heavy brows and his moustache is touching the ground due to his arched back. As for his colour, I can't really tell, some kind of washed-out purple ?
_ "Hello mister ! Name's Reginald Acorn and I've been sent from the police station following the letter you've sent us" I say relatively loudly in fear he is hard of hearing.
_ "I can hear you clearly youngin !" he says, swinging his cane around. "I didn't write that letter. Viktor, come here !" he shouts.
I hear something crashing in the back shop, followed by a cloud of dust. "I'm sorry, I ... I fell.." he says shamefully, adjusting his glasses back into his nose. I somehow imagined him older but that Viktor must be around the same age as me, and to top it all, he's also a gelert ! After removing the dust from his coat, he put it back on, struggling with his wings. Being darigan must be hard sometimes...
_ "Oh ...yes.. I.. I can't believe someone came." he whispers while playing nervously with his hands.
_ "The kid is a bit shy but he works hard. I'm going back to work, do what you must." And on those words, the old acara disappears behind a huge pile of books.
_ "So .. Well.. Here's the book." he says as he places it carefully on the counter.
The book is certainly big and adorned with a lock but it doesn't seem all that mysterious to me. The book's cover is black and smells like the streets after some heavy rain. The lock is rusty but is holding on quite impressively. I take it into my hands and look at it from every angle possible. As I brush the cover, it suddenly starts to shake and growl. In surprise, I let it fall on the ground where it somehow run in circle. I don't know what kind of witchcraft this is but it's not natural !
_ "See ... This is what I meant ... We have no idea what's going on." he shrugs. "Do you.. do you think you can help us ?
_ "I don't know to be completely honest with you, but I'll try my best !Neovia, 22:08.
I'm currently laying on my bed, pondering about what I should do. Viktor let me keep the book for the time being and it's currently spinning on the ground next to me. It's been at it for hours and I'm getting kinda scared. It seems that the more scared and tensed I am, the more agitated the book is. I wonder if that has a meaning somehow ?
If I were still in Brightvale, I'm sure someone would have had an answer by now, it is the land of books after all ...
I sigh deeply and look at the book which has suddenly calmed down. It looks like it's sleeping, which is kinda creepy for a book.
I take a deep breath trying to stay calm as to not alarm it. A small print of text is visible in very tiny letters on the cover, something I had overlooked till now. I rushed to my desk and roam around the drawers in search of my magnifying glass that I have somewhere in this mess. I've never been really organised when it came to those stuff. It might sounds stereotypical but us detectives do have one of those around, it's really helpful ! As I decipher the letters, things suddenly start to make sense.Neovia 08:15
_ "Goo... Good morning Reginald." says Viktor as he greets me into the shop. "I have some great news about the book !
_ "Really ? Me too ! Last night I managed to find some writings on the cover and I think it'll help us solve this mystery !
_ "Wow that's amazing Reginald ! In my case, I managed to track down the neopet who sold us the book. He told me that he found the book in an old shack in the Haunted Woods. He said the shack is believed to belong to a witch. Or at least a magical being, that's what I heard.
_ "In that case, I'm yelling jackpot Viktor ! Look at that !" I say as I slam the book on the counter. "Here it says, "Property of Sophie the Witch, if found bring it back asap unless you want to spend the rest of your life as a mortog.
We look at each other in amazement, we finally found a clue worth investigating !
_ "So .. What do we do .. ?" the anxious little voice barely came out of Viktor's throat.
_ "The only thing we can do, go visit this Sophie. I mean, the guy who bought you the book probably stole it from her, the least we can do is bring it back. And hope we don't end up as mortogs too ...Haunted Woods, near Sophie's Shack 15:02
The confidence I showed in the book shop starts to vanish as both Viktor and me stand in front of the shack. We travelled by foot for hours before reaching this place, so it's not like we can run away with our tails between our legs now. I take the book out of my bag and as soon as I do so, it starts to be agitated again. It wriggles so violently that I can't hold it anymore. It drops to the ground and rushes into the shack, breaking some stuff inside in the process.
We both freeze in fear as an angered voice shouts from inside :
_ "What the ? So that's where you were ! Who did this ?"
The small door of the shack slams open, revealing a tall and young female Ixi. The first word that came to my mind was "green". I mean, this Ixi was green from head to toes, her long hair, her eyes, even her fur was green. She points her staff in our direction and we both raises our hands over our head.
_ "Please wait !! We can explain !!" I shout at the top of my lungs, hoping my voice can still reach her before she turns us into mortogs.
_ "Very well. You have two minutes, so get going. And fast. I have things more important to do than babysitting two gelerts from the city." she sneered.
Words jostle each other as we both try to explain to her the situation the best we can...
_ "So, that's what it is. I believe you, you both look too pathetic and rather honest anyway. I guess you must be wondering about that book uh ? I'll tell you. It's a special craft I created but that is not totally operational as of now. You take two regular petpets and the book will absorb them. After a while, a new petpet will come out of the book. Generally with two heads that match the petpets you picked to start the experiment.
_ "I didn't know something like that was possible..." I ponder over what she just told us. "But in that case, how come the book was spinning, growling and even snoring ? How is that possible ?
_ "Hmmm I wonder. I guess that spell worked after all. With this one I wanted to try something new. The book was supposed to open once the petpet contained inside would be near his perfect new owner. The lock is new however.
_ "But the book was agitated with both me and Reginald, does it mean one of us is the designated owner ? It was rather calm with me if I recall." Viktor scratches his head as he thinks.
_ "If I may, miss Sophie, I felt like the book was reacting to my feelings. I know it sounds weird and all, but I felt like it was angry at me for rejecting him.
Sophie closed her eyes, pondering over what we said to her.
_ "Well, there's only one way to find out !" she yells as she blasts a huge ray of green magic on the lock, making it explode in a bunch of tiny pieces.
The book then jumped toward me, opened up while the pages were flying all around. Only the cover is standing in my hands.
As I look down at my feet, I stop a tiny petpet. I'm not a petpet expert, but I think it was made up with a Bearog and a Meowclops, what an odd combination. The two heads are fighting which makes Sophie laugh.
_ "Looks like you fond a new friend. Now get out of my shack before I blast you with my staff !" she growls !
I grab the petpet in one hand and Viktor's arm in the other while we run away as fast as possible.
A few meters away we stop to catch our breath. I look at both the Bearclops and Viktor as I burst in laughter.
If you ask me, I believe I actually made two friends during my second case !
Neovia, on a Sunday, 14:03
Case 3 : Treasure
I try to hold my tears as I read the letter in my hands over and over again. Mama wrote to me every weeks and now that the excitement of my new life has calmed down, I realise just how much I miss her. I miss her sweet voice, her cooking and how she used to pass her hands through my hair to make it all messy. She's the most beautiful faerie Gelert you'll ever find ! She also sent a package which contains some homemade cookies (mmmhh!!) and a new sweater she made herself.
My name is Reginald Acorn, I'm 20 years old and I'm a grey Gelert ! Almost two months ago now, I moved away from my hometown Brightvale to join the Police Forces of Neovia, which had been a dream of mine since I was just a small pup ! I've already had quite a few adventures ! I came across a jewel thief that is plaguing the city but sadly, we weren't able to caught the guy just yet. Two weeks later, I met my first new friend Viktor Arnalds, and together, we solved the mystery of an enchanted book ! We almost ended up as mortogs but it was so much fun !
I wrote all the details of those cases to mama just so she can support me from afar. She said she'd love to meet my boss because he apparently sounds like a fun guy. Mama is really good when it comes to see the true nature of neopets. I haven't had much to write to her lately as things have been really calm, I'll have to see what tomorrow brings.
Neovia, Monday, 08:23
I rush out of my bed at full speed, falling over my pants that were on the floor and faceplant, almost hitting the chair next to my desk. It's 8:23 and I overslept !! My boss doesn't joke around with the schedule. We're supposed to be there at 8:00am. Not 8:01 or 7:58, 8:00 ! I don't even take the time to brush my teeth or my hair and jump right out of my place, still trying to finish dressing myself. My breath is terrible and my hair makes me look like a scarecrow but I run as fast as I can towards the Police Station, getting weird and disapproving glances along the way. Finally, the station is getting close!
I stand in front of the door, trying to catch my breath, rearrange my hair a little to be at least a bit more presentable.
As I reach the doorknob to enter the station, a Kyrii of average height gets out. He gives me a scornful look as if I was merely a bunch of trash standing in his path. His eyes are red and don't have a single shade of compassion, he's also wearing a grey suit with grey pants. He himself isn't really more colourful than that, I think his colour is shadow ? His hair is also black and held into a short ponytail that stops at the bottom of his neck.
_ "You're in my way. Move." he declares with a raspy voice.
Quite shocked by his rude attitude, I move aside, happy to see this guy disappear. He jumps into a carriage which leaves at full speed. Who even was this guy ?
I enter inside the police station, ready to apologize to Big Skeith, my boss, but he, himself look like he met with that Kyrii and he's currently fuming and cursing. Big Skeith, whose real name is actually Marcus Worsley is the biggest darigan skeith I've ever seen. He has a rude mouth, tell whatever is on his mind and likes to push us so we can give the best of ourselves everyday. He always wears a black trench-coat that is so tightly fitted to his body, it's a miracle it hasn't exploded just yet. He also wears a hat, even inside but I think that's just because he can't get used to the baldness on top of his head. He's shooting orders at my colleagues and a bunch of them rush out of the station, it feels like a tornado is currently going on here and I don't feel like moving out of the way, too afraid to get caught in it. As I stand there like an idiot, my boss spots me and yells for me to come to his desk.
_ "I..I'm sorry boss, I know I'm late bu...
_ "I don't care about that !" he screams, cutting me off. "Sorry kid, shouldn't take my anger out to you." he says as he brushes his temples with his big, clawy hands.
_ "What even is happening boss ? And who was that rude kyrii ?
_ "Hmmpf. Remember that jewel thief ? Ahaha, of course you do, you ended up in the river because of him. Well, last night, he sent us a letter, all it said was that he was bored and will just rob as many mansions as he could in a night. Some kind of challenge or something, that little ..." he grumbles, his teeth scrapping one another with a terribly high pitched noise. "As for that kyrii .. tche !" He slams his fist on his desk getting even more mad. I figure it's best to let him finish before asking questions.
_ "That guy was Raleigh Von Verzweiflung, a famous and rich tailor that lives in the outskirts of Neovia. His mansion was robbed by our star of a thief, hence why he was here. But this guy is trouble, that family is cursed and has too many secrets if you ask me... I'll have to go there and investigate myself, I can't let someone less experienced than me get into that cursed manor, too dangerous." he sighs, adjusting his hat on his head.
_ "What's so cursed about this place chief ?
_ "That guy had a wife and three sons. The wife, she was a Xweetok if I recall, passed away a few years ago. Their first son ran away a few years before that and the second son disappeared right after his mother's passing. If that doesn't sound fishy, I don't know what is. As for the last son, he's a doormat or something.
_ "I see. Please take me with you chief !
_ "You lack the experience kiddo, you have a good nose but you're far away from being a top notch detective just yet.
_ "I know that ! But how can I get experience if you brush me aside every time a difficult or dangerous case arises ?
He looks at me dumbfounded for a few seconds before he explodes in a fit of laughter, making his big belly jump up and down, almost knocking his desk over.
_ "Ahaha, good one kid ! You're pretty sharp, okay you're coming with me, you'll be able to watch my back ! But first, and I'm not joking around, you have to do as I say, understood ?
_ "Yes sir !
I watch him grab a bunch of papers, his bag and a giant sandwich that he shoves into it.
_ "Let's go !" He walks towards the door, but stops right in his track, turn around to face me and say with the most serious face before laughing again : "Did you brush your hair with a toilet brush this morning or what ? Ahahaha !!
Not cool boss, not cool.Outskirts of Neovia, 10:02
We jump out of the carriage that bought us to our destination : the Von Verzweiflung's manor. It's a really big building, you could fit my flat in there so many times ! ! We go up an alley made of tiny pebbles that makes crunchy sounds under our feet. Around us well trimmed bushes intermitted by rosebushes with an heady perfume. The façade of the building is mainly dark, giving the whole place a gloomy atmosphere. I don't want to admit it but I'm glad I didn't came here all alone. Big Skeith knocks on the heavy wooden door and a servant quickly opens the door for us. He's a Blumaroo who's age I can't tell.
_ "I'll bring you to the crime scene since it's the Master's wish. Follow me.
We follow the guy around in those never-ending stairs, covered with a red carpet. We pass by a multitude of corridors and empty rooms full of dust.
Finally, he opens a door with gold mouldings and lets us in.
_ "Here's the crime scene, investigate all you want. If you need me, please ring the bell near the door, and I'll come right away." he bows, leaves the room and close the door behind him.
_ "Now that we're here, let's do our job. Show me how you investigate kid. " says Big Skeith as he nods towards the room.
Feeling a tiny bit pressured, I start to look around. This room is huge and probably a living room. The furnitures are all made of the finest wood and not a single grain of dust can be seen. This place must be used often and be well loved. On the right side of the room, a fireplace, currently in use, giving a much more lively atmosphere. Right in front of it, a round red carpet, and sitting on it, two comfy chairs with red velvet and black wood. Hanging over the fireplace, a portrait :
On the right side, that rude Kyrii, his right hand is resting on the crest rail of a chair identical to the ones sitting there, his left hand, on the shoulder of a young darigan lupe with dark hair, probably a teen. Sitting on the chair, a beautiful Xweetok with brown wavy hair, brown fur, wearing a black and red dress. On her lap, a baby bori, whose colour must be halloween. On her right, standing next to her, a young darigan gelert with black hair. This must be the whole family. As I recall what Big was saying, I assume that lupe and that gelert are the ones who ran away. The "doormat" must be the bori. None of them but the beautiful Xweetok are smiling. I sigh and go back to the rest of the room.
With the fireplace behind me, I glance at the wall opposite, which is covered in paintings, though there are a few missing, I can tell because the wallpaper is faded where they used to hang. A large black piano is also standing proudly there, a few music sheets on the bench. Next to it, on the ground, a bunch of broken glass. I look outside from the broken window : it is possible to reach the place by climbing the façade but one must be very strong and agile to do so. I guess it's not impossible for our thief, he's done thing more impressive apparently.
I turn around looking, trying to find some clues but I really can't find anything, we know where the thief came but that's about it. Looks like he decided to expend his business to painting theft instead of just jewellery like he did until now. As I go toward Big Skeith to give him my conclusions, I hear the door open up slowly, a small bori is standing there, hiding behind the door as much as he can. He's pretty short and slim and barely a teen. He must be around 13 or 14 years old. His hair is combed like his father's except that it has several shades of red. He is wearing some kind of rather pompous coat and a red neck scarf. His eyes are red like his father's.
_ "You must be the kid living here eh, do you want to tell us anything" says Big as he gets closer to the kid who looks terrified. "Hey I know I don't have the look of a faerie princess, but come on, I won't eat you !" The bori is still frozen behind the door. "Okay, Regie, you take care of this, I'll go look around." He opens the door further, pushes the kid inside the room and close the door behind him. We both stare blankly at each other while Big's footsteps get further away until everything becomes quiet again.
_ "My name's Reginald ! I promise we're here to help ! Your father, well I assume he is, asked us to find the paintings that were stolen.
_ "... I knew it ... The paintings it is .. I don't even know why I thought things would be different this time around." he sighs, looking pretty depressed. "My name is Vincent, Vincent Von Verzweiflung, I am the youngest here. I really don't care about the paintings, but the thief did steal something that was really precious to me !
_ "Really ? What was it ? Your father only asked us to find the paintings back.
_ "A locket, made of gold with a ruby on it. The ruby has the shape on an heart." He triturates his hands nervously. "The locket used to belong to my late mother, Lili Von Verzweiflung. It was a wedding gift from my father, when he used to have feelings... She always said cheerfully that she had hidden the things most important to her in that locket, I never knew what it was. I always thought it was a ruby or something, she loved them. There was a secret to open it but she never had the chance to tell me before she .. You know ... The bijou used to hang under our family portrait, but as you can see, it's all gone. That's the only memento I had of her. My brothers are gone, to who knows where, and I'm stuck here...
The poor little guy is on the verge of crying and I can only feel pity for the poor thing. I never grew up with my father around but at least I had the best mama one could hope for. I put my hand on his head and pass my hand in is red hair just like mama used to do with me.
_ "I'll find that locket, I promise !Neovia, 17:58
_ "Excuse me, don't close the door please!!" I yell as I rush in the book shop where my friend Viktor works. "I'm sorry to bother you as I know you're closing the shop for the day, but I really need some intel !
_ "Oh.. S..Sure Reginald, take a seat." he says as a shows me an empty stool.
_ "Thanks so much, you really are the best!! You've been living here your whole life so maybe you know. Where does a thief go to to sell his stolen goods ? I mean, Krawk Island has the Smugglers Cove, so I assume there's a similar place around here to do shady business, no ?
_ "Hmmm well.." he ponders as he rubs his chin. "I'm not into shady business myself, but I heard some rumours...Do you know of the Meepit Oak Sanatorium ?
_ "Nope ! Never heard of it, though, it sounds creepy !" I shiver.
_ "It is ! It's an old asylum that has been abandoned years ago, somewhere along the time the whole town was cursed... I heard that's the place to go for shady business but please, please, please, don't go investigate alone. It's dangerous ! I really don't know much than that...
_ "I promise, thank you for the info !Meepit Oak Sanatorium, 23:17
The fog is thick again and I'm freezing. Big Skeith is hiding next to me, his eyes locked on the decaying building. We've been coming here for 4 nights already
, but so far, nothing has happened. The place is empty, rusty and bat infested. If it were me, I would just jump inside but I can't break the promise I made to Viktor. I know he's probably really worried about me, I would have asked him to come with me, but I know he's too fragile for spooky and haunted places like this one. A strong gust of wind passes by and makes me shiver. I see something move on the path leading to the only entrance of the asylum but it's just a Meepit. Said Meepit turns around and looks at us with bulging eyes. Yuck, that's super creepy !!! Mama, please protect me !!
_ "Something's happening..." whispers Big. I tense up and try to smell the air again. He's right, there are people coming this way.
Suddenly a procession of neopets : some tall, some big, the only thing they have in common are the black hoods they're all wearing to hide their identities. Or at least, I presume that's what they're for. We let them pass and watch them enter the place. As the last ones enters, Big jumps out of hiding at lightspeed, grab two of those suspicious figures, and promptly knocks them out. He grabs the hoods and throws one at me.
_ "Here's our tickets to enter this place." he says, grinning. Please remind me to never go against this guy !!
The inside is just as creepy as the outside. There's mould growing everywhere, melted wax on the ground right under the lit candles, and the walls are rusty. We follow the whispers so we can fake knowing what we were doing. The asylum has a lot of cells but in each one, at least one or two sellers waiting for their customers. All we can do now is hope our gelert thief is in here somewhere. All around the place, precious gemstones, rare artefacts, paintings, jewellery, even weapons ! The buyers uses neopoints, dubloons and even codestones to buy the various goods.
_ "I swear to Queen Fyora that I'll personally shut down this place." says Big in a whisper.
The building, for the most part is built as a square, in the middle, the garden, if you can call two dead trees and rotten leaves a garden. That garden is circled by the asylum's walls, making it a safe and closed space for the old patients that used to live here. The garden is also the only place from which you can access the last part of the asylum. It's where the cells of the most dangerous patients were located. A narrow corridor, with cells on each sides and at the end of it, one last cell. We hear a voice coming out of it, boasting the merits of those pieces of art. That voice ... Annoying and rather high pitched .. It's him ! Big and me both rush at the same time towards the cell shoving away the poor neopet who only wanted to buy stuff. Sitting on the ground, the hood covering his face, with only the tip of his ears coming out, the jewel thief was right in front of us.
_ "Oh my, looks like you got me. Please arrest me Mister Officer." he yelps in despair, as Big reaches to grab his arm to tie him up, he somehow managed to slide under him, push Big in the back so he falls down and runs past me. Shocked, I wasn't even able to move a finger.
_ "Or, you know, maybe not, I think I've changed my mind !" he smirks putting his finger in front of his mouth. "Shh, you haven't seen me !" was the last thing he said before dashing through the corridor and disappearing somewhere in the asylum.
_ "I swear I'm gonna dance in front of his cell the day I arrest him !!!" roars Big Skeith as he tries to get up. On the ground, various paintings, items made of gold and ... the locket ! It was just as Vincent described it, a beautiful locket with a ruby heart.
_ "So that's the locket the kid asked us to find eh ? I've seen lockets like that before. To open them you have to twist the jewel on top to the right and then push it down slightly.
_ "Let's see then!" I do as Big told me and thankfully, the locket opens. I get tears in my eyes as I witness Lili Von Verzweiflung's most prized possession.Outskirts of Neovia, 08:30
I only had a few hours of sleep but I really couldn't stand still, excited as I was to bring back all those items to their rightful owners. We finally reach the mansion of the Verzweiflungs and it's still as creepy as it was a few days ago.
_ "Okay Regie, I'm gonna go see Mr Raleigh for the paintings, go find the kid and give that locket back to him." Big nods to me as he follows the same servant as last time.
_ "You took your sweet time, didn't you ?" Raleigh's voice resonates in the room. How rude can you be, seriously ? I shrug as I walk away in search of Vincent.
I decide to go check the living room since it seems to be a special place for him.
I'm still far away from the room but I can already hear the music notes playing and dancing around my ears. What a beautiful melody !
_ "You're really talented, Vincent." I say gently as I enter the room.
He sighs : "You should have heard my brother Maxime. He was a genius like no other... I'm nowhere near as good as he is..." He brushes the piano's keys with a sad smile on his face. Without a word, I give him the locket and show him how to open it. He takes the bijou into his hands and tears start flowing out of his eyes while he's sobbing heavily. He falls into my arms, completely overwhelmed as I pat his back, trying to comfort him.
In the locket, a picture of the three brothers, standing in front of the piano, smiling with all their teeth. Lili's treasure.
Case 4 : Cupcake Madness
I'm laying in my bed, staring at the roof of my room. I've been stuck in there for 3 long and boring days already and it doesn't look like it will be over anytime soon...
My name is Reginald Acorn, I'm 20, a grey gelert and I'm currently fighting a cold. I'm a detective working for the police force of Neovia. Three days ago, the boss and I had to hide in front of the abandoned asylum to catch all sorts of thieves, including the most annoying one you can think of. And by the looks of it, thieves aren't the only things I caught that night ... But, the good news is, we were able to recover a stolen locket and give it back to Vincent Von Verzweiflung. The look on his face when he saw the "treasure" inside was well worth this nasty cold. I'm getting all emotional just by thinking of it !
It reminds me of how I miss Mama ... When I was young and sick, she would make me the most delicious of cocoa with some marshmallow floating in it. It was delicious and helped distract me from whatever sickness I was suffering under at that time...
A loud knock on my door makes me go back to reality. The doors opens to reveal an enormous darigan skeith, engulfed in tightly fitted trench-coat. A hat is deeply screwed on his head, letting only small tufts of grey hair around the sides of his head show.
_"Oh good, you're still alive kid !" he says, laughing loudly and slapping his stomach.
_"My wife made this soup for you. It's extra spicy but it should help free your stuffed nose." he grumbles as he lays down the bright red tureen on my table.
This tall and heavy Skeith is my boss, "Big Skeith". His name is actually Marcus Worsley but everyone calls him Big Skeith at the station so being the new guy, I just went with the flow. He's a bit rude, has a very loud mouth but I assure you that you could never hope for a better chief of police. He also kind of became a father figure for me since I've never met my own father... I respect him a whole lot !
_"Oh, almost forgot, I also got you this, kid." he says as he puts down a small green bottle on my night-stand. "Should help fight the cold, at least, that's what the pharmacist told me. And if it doesn't work, I can always arrest him!" Big cackles at his own joke like it was the funniest thing he ever said. I smile, not because of the joke, but because I'm genuinely happy he's there for me.
_"Okay, I must leave now, I have a job to do yaknow. I'll stop by later tomorrow to check on you kiddo, so sleep well and eat like there's no tomorrow. See ya !" he yells as he storms out of my flat. Big's appearances are always something.
I taste Big's wife's soup and it's absolutely delicious. No wonder he keeps on praising her cooking everyday ! I'll have to ask him to thank her for me, when he comes back to check on me. It really is spicy though, I thought, fighting the tears coming in my eyes. I glance at the medicine bottle ... I've always hated medicine and mama had to trick me with cookies every single time to get me to take them. The bottle is really pretty and the liquid is bubbling inside. The eagerness to go back to my cases is stronger than my disgust for medicines. I drink a spoonful of it and promptly go back to sleep.
Neovia, 7:15 am
I let out a big yawn and stretch while still laying in bed. The pharmacist kept his promises as I really feel fresh and ready to tackle whatever challenge comes my way ! The only weird thing is that I don't feel hungry at all, and if you know me, you know I always crave a huge breakfast. Thinking nothing more of it, I jump in the shower and let the warm water drench my fur. I wash my grey hair that is a bit sticky for some reason, plus it really needs a trim, they're getting way too long...
Once I've dried myself, I dress with my usual work attire and feel tremendous joy at the thought of finally being able to get back to work. I step outside and let the freezing air fill my lungs. Yes, to another awesome day of investigation !
_"Oh hey kid, you're back !" shouts Big as I enter the police station. "Guess that potion and the soup worked well uh ?"
_"Yes, they did ! Thank you for taking care of me boss ! And please thank your wife for me, she really is a talented cook !
_"Ahaha, I know, right !! Well, since you're up and ready, how about you join Lenny. He's going to investigate a theft and break-in at the Crumpet Monger.
_"Sure boss ! I'll be going !"
I've never had the occasion to work with Lenny before. Lenny is, well, a Lenny. He's a weird mix of faerie and grey colours and looks always completely depressed. Maybe it's the fact that he is bald that makes him so upset ? He's very nonchalant and walks as fast as snail. He also speaks in a monotonous voice and I always feel like sleeping when I hear him talk.
Finally, I can see the Crumpet Monger ! The shop is actually only 20 mins away by foot from the station but Lenny being so slow, it almost took us a WHOLE hour to get there. And since I'm still the newbie, I can't say anything. The Crumpet Monger shop is relatively small but it sells the best baked goods in all Neovia ! A cupcake is drawn right over the porch roof, and just underneath, an elegant door that opens upon a world of delicious treats ! As we get closer, I can see that the door was fractured but the frontage is thankfully intact. Lenny pushes the door and a bell rings inside. We were standing in the entrance when a mountain of hair came rushing out of the kitchen like a storm. Underneath all that hair, a meerca.
_"Oh so yer finally here ! Thank goodness ! As yer can see, we were robbed last night. All ther cakes, scones, pies, tarts and everything in between, gone !" she shrieks, visibly upset.
_"I see." ponders Lenny, completely out of it.
_"Did they steal anything else, like the cash register ?" I asked, ready to do my job.
_"Well, yer see, no they didn't. They only stole and ate whatever we had in there.
But ... shouldn't the shop be empty of pastries during the night since you make fresh ones everyday ?" I say, pointing at a small sign saying so by the counter.
_"Oh yer, we do ! In these kind of jobs, we work at lot at night. My main baker was working tonight, made a whole storm of pastries yer see to set the shop for ther morning. He then left for a short while to see our supplier as per usual yer see. It was during that short time ther shop was ransacked." she lets her arm fall flat on her sides. "We lost a lot of money tonight yer see...
_"I'm very sorry Mrs Crumpet. We will do our best to wrap up things quickly so you can re-open again. Would it be possible to talk with your main baker ?" I glance at Lenny as I speak, hoping he would step in to take the reigns but he was busy dozing off with a bubble popping out of his beak. Charming.
_"Sure yer can darling ! Aaron please come yer !" she shouts.
Coming out of the kitchen, wiping his hands covered in flour on a towel, a young Maraquan Gelert. He's of average height, has a long and weird tail with a, what, fin on it ? He is purple and his hair, which kinda look like algae, is greenish. He wears a big cooking hat on his head and a fancy looking uniform with a star on it. Around his neck, a red neckerchief.
He holds out his hand and I shake it amicably, this guy seems to be really friendly.
_"Hello, name's Reginald Acorn and here's my colleague Lenny Dot. We're here to investigate and we'd like to hear what you have to say please.
_"Thanks for coming, both of you. My name is Aaron Watson, I'm the main baker here. I think you won't have much trouble finding the culprit.
Really ? How so ?" my ears rising up in surprise.
_"Look at this, they left their prints all over the display cases. Should be easy enough to find, no ?
I get closer to the case and indeed, Aaron was telling the truth, you could see distinct prints all over it. I glance at the few leftover cupcakes there, suddenly feeling hungry.
_"Hmm yes, this is all very importance evidence...
_"Hey Regie, I hope you're talking about the prints and not the cupcakes" cackles Lenny, suddenly awake.
_"Of course I am !" I yell angry he found me out. "Dust for the prints instead of dozing off, that'd be helpful" I say, still sulking.
Alright, alright, let the pro do his job baby." he shouts proudly while holding a weird pose, showing off.
_"I really hope you catch that thief, but in all those short years I've worked here, it's really the first time this happens.." adds Aaron, rubbing his chin with his hand, still in disbelief.
_"No offence here, but you seem really chill for someone who had all his hard work eaten without being paid for...
_"Oh, that's because he took out his anger on yer poor innocent dough sweetheart" giggles Mrs Crumpet.
_"Boss, please !"
_"Okay I'm done dusting the prints and taking pictures here" says Lenny, striking another weird pose. "We will have the results tomorrow or so, so you can get cleaning your fantastic shop my beautiful darling." he adds, kissing Mrs Crumpet hand in a what I assume was supposed to be a gentlemen like gesture.
_"Oh, Oh, my, my, what a charming gentleman you are Mr Dot !" says Mrs Crumpet, blushing.
_"Urhg, disgusting." whispers Aaron while laughing slightly. "Then, I'll get back to work, thank you for coming."
I'm sitting at my desk, eating my sandwich. It took us forever to get back here, as Lenny took his sweet, sweet time. Sometimes I really wonder how come this guy still had a job considering how slow he is in everything he does, but Big told me that he's the best when it comes to little details and all the other stuff we tend to overlook. He's currently studying the prints we found and comparing them to the files we have. Whenever someone decides to move in Neovia, they're obligated to give their prints as well, I'm not really sure why, but I guess after being a cursed town for years, they prefer to use some caution. I had to do it too when I filed all the paperwork in the City Hall. I swallow the last bite of my meal when Lenny comes rushing out from the lab and sprint right into the boss's office. How weird it is to see someone as slow as a snail go as fast as a cybunny ... I guess he did find something. Not two minutes later, Big yells for me to come to his office right now. Why do I feel like I'm not gonna like this ?
_"Kid, we have a match for the prints you guys found." says Big, dropping the file on his desk. He turns around to face the window, turning his back to Lenny and I. "The culprit is a Gelert.
_"Oh, really ? Is it that annoyingly annoying jewel thief ? Though, I wonder why he would steal cupcakes..." I say, rubbing my cheek.
_"No, praise Fyora, this guy is innocent for once. Though, I wish it was him right about now...
Knowing how Big despises that thief, I feel the anxiety rushing through my body.
_"That thief never leaves any prints behind, that's why we have so much trouble identifying him... Reginald, don't you have anything you want to say to me ?" he says calmly, turning back to face me again.
_"No.. I don't understand, I haven't done anything wrong..
_"Kid, the prints are yours. Your prints are all over the display cases of the Crumpet Monger shop. Lenny even found some grey hairs that belong to you on the scene, hair that were covered in frosting. You are the cupcake thief." he looks at me, visibly disappointed.
_"But ... I haven't left my flat yesterday.." I cry, upset I could tarnish my reputation this way. "I ate the soup you brought me, took the medicine as well and went to bed. I swear I didn't do anything wrong..." I state, still sobbing. Disappointing Big is one of the last things I want to do...
_"Look Kid, I know you, I know you're not a thief nor a liar. There has to be an explication, and we will find it." he says, putting his clawy hand on my shoulder. "Oh and wipe your nose, I don't want any snot on my desk!" he adds, smiling snarkily. "Let's go on a walk, I think you need some fresh hair. Thanks Lenny for your work, you can go back in the lab work on whatever you have left to do."
_"Okay, let's go to the pharmacy and see what the guy has to say. I don't feel like you're lying like I said, but how come every evidence found incriminates you..." he grumbles as we walk in the main street.
_"I don't know, I'm really lost here... I don't remember a thing, but I do recall not feeling hungry this morning and my hair being sticky when I woke up." I follow him, looking at my shoes, still feeling shameful.
_"We're here." he says as he pushes the door open.
_"Oh hey it's you !" points a young Zafara with his head full of blond and spiky hair. "How is it doing man ?
_"I'm not your man, kid.
_"Yeah, yeah, what can I do for ya ?
_"I want "ya" to tell me more about this medicine I got from you yesterday. Are there any side effects I should have been told about when you gave it to me ?" asks Big, pushing his finger into the zafara's coat.
_"It was groovy eh man ?!" he says, still pointing his fingers at us.
"I think I'm gonna slap some sense into this idiot, if you know what I mean." whispers Big in my ear.
_"Stop being such a moron Arnold !" yells a middle-aged Kacheek, hitting his head with a stack of paper. "Ugh, I swear to Fyora, you're really an idiot. Please excuse my employee sirs. What can I do for you ?
Big Skeith, after a glance at my pathetic face, decides to explain the situation to the Kacheek himself. She closes her eyes as she listens to him.
_"Uh, Uh, I see. I do have an explanation for you, I believe. Did you wife happen to add some clawmatoes in her soup ?
_"Yes, it's one of her favourite things to put in there. Why ? Is there an issue with it ?
_"As stupid as it sounds, yes actually. I do not know the full details, but they contain some enzymes or something that react quite badly with the cold medicine your friend here took. They can induce sleepwalking tendencies and cravings when mixed together. Since the poor guy doesn't remember a thing, I believe that's what happen. What were the odds though ?
_"I see, thank you Ma'am ! Please keep slapping some sense into your apprentice.
_"I will good sir, have a nice day, sorry for the trouble !Neovia 14:30
_"Wait for me here, I won't be long kid." says Big gently slapping my shoulder as he opens the door of the Crumpet Monger shop.
I'm leaning against the façade, still unsure about what's going to happen. Am I going to got to jail ? How are Mrs Crumpet and Mr Watson going to react ? They seem really nice to me and I really don't want them to hate me. As I'm wondering what's going to happen, I hear the bell and the door opens. It's Aaron.
_"Rough day, eh ?" he says as he leans against the shop next to me.
_"Yeah, pretty much. I assume you know everything." I whisper, still full of shame.
_"Yes, I do."
The sharp answer makes me shiver, but I didn't feel any anger in it.
_"Look, as upset as I am, we know it's not your fault. Your boss said he was going to pay for the damaged door.
_"Really ? But what about the cupcakes, I mean, I ate all your stock...
_"You sure did!" he cries in laughter. "I can't believe you ate all that without feeling sick, you have some strong stomach kid !
_"Hey, don't call me kid, you're barely older than I am !" I manage to utter as I start to laugh with him.
_"Now that's better ! We have agreed on something with your boss. We're not gonna ruin a promising career, so hear me out. When you're not working your usual job, you'll come and work part time with us, that includes cleaning, deliveries, tasting my new recipes and other little things. That's how you're going to pay your debt to us. Does that sound fair to you ?" he grins.
_"You bet, thank you so much !" I say sobbing, finally relieved from the tension in my shoulders.Neovia 21:30
I lay down my pen on my desk. I desperately needed to write a letter to mama to tell her everything. After that chat with Aaron, we came back inside the shop were Mrs Crumpet gave me a delicious crêpe to cheer me up. We ended up having a good laugh over this unlikely story and I'm going to start working part time with them tomorrow. I'm really eager to make it up to them. Once again, Big Skeith was there for me, and I can't thank him enough. He talked food with Mrs Crumpet during what felt like an eternity but it was a peaceful moment. As for Aaron, despite him being rightfully angry for his destroyed goods, he opened up to me and showed me how passionate he is about his job. I felt like we were the same on that point. I really wish I can become his friend because I really enjoyed his company. I better go to bed now, I have quite a doozy of a day tomorrow !
A Petpet Named Acorn
- "My name is Acorn.
- "No. MY name is Acorn !
- "Actually, we're both named Acorn.
You look at the weird creature in front of you. It looks like a mixture between a bearog and a meowclops, how odd. You came into Neovia's police station to report your stolen bike and are now sitting in front of one of the detective's desk. You haven't seen him yet, but the guy in the lobby told you you would be taken care of as soon as possible. And there you are, sitting behind a desk, with a really odd petpet looking at you with its two heads. They appear to be arguing with each other. The bearog head seems rather full of itself and confident while the meowclops head is apathetic and look like it would rather be sleeping right now.
- "Sorry for the wait, I hope Acorn wasn't bothering you too much !" says an enthusiastic young grey gelert with silver hair. "My name's Reginald Acorn and I'll be taking care of your case. So, tell me, what's going on ? Is it something exciting ? Like, you saw some pirates sailing across the river in town ? Or perhaps, a mysterious diva invol...
- "No, sorry !" you interrupt him before he gets to excited. "I just got my bike stolen, sorry.
- "Oh... Guess no super exciting adventures today." he says, his ears dropping at the same time as his words.
You feel a bit bad for him but come on, the river across town isn't deep enough to allow a majestic pirate boat to sail across it. Trying to be nice, you decide to distract him by asking about the strange petpet named Acorn.
- "Soo hmm, what is going on with this petpet of yours ?
- "You mean Acorn ? Long story short, this little guy is the product of some witch's powerful magic.
- "Yeah, yeah, some wicked witch did.." "Yeah some wicked witch alright !!" "Can you stop interrupting me ?" "I would if you had something interesting to say!" "I swear to Fyora ...
- "Wow, it really is ... something ... ?" you say, uneasy.
- "Allow me to explain." sighs the gelert. "The Meowclops is the main body, or so I think. But both heads have their own personalities and can take control of the body whenever they'd like to. It's really...weird. I guess ?
- "You mean you don't know ?
-"Well, I got Acorn just a few weeks ago after meeting with Sophie the Swamp Witch. Magic is not something easy to understand and she didn't give me a manual of how to take care of this little guy, you see." he says, smiling and petting both heads. "Who's a good boy ? Who's a good boy ?
-"Please don't do that, us Meowclops are so over this." "I'm not, shut your cheese mouth, I AM the goodest boy." "You don't even make sense, like, can you not ?
-"Are they arguing like this ALL the time ?" you ask, quite surprise at the amount of bickering between the two.
-"Yeah, pretty much." he responds, brushing his temples. "They're quite an headache at times but, I'm having a lot of fun with them you know !" he adds, smiling brightly.
-" I guess it's all that matters... Thanks for taking the time for my complaint. I doubt I'll see my bike again but at least, it's reported.
-"No problem, we will let you know if we have any leads."
You get out of the station as the city hall's bell strikes 6:00pm. Going back home by foot is going to be such a hassle, you don't really feel motivated to go further. As you lament there, you see the detective you saw earlier going out of the station, followed closely by the strange petpet, half meowclops, half bearog. They both (?) seem really excited and run off together to live some kind of adventure. You guess that after all, despite how weird your petpet can be, as you long as you love it and care for it, it all that matters.