Lightest of Nights: A Deck of Minds
How much time passed since Shinichi departed? It had been at least ten minutes by Haibara's account. "He hasn't called." She stared down at her phone in hand. Why had he chosen to follow Kogoro instead of going after Kaitou Kid? Couldn't he have simply placed a tracer on Kogoro? And above all other things why had Shinichi been so confident with Jirokichi words of confidence in regards to Kid? She became growingly anxious by the minute. Just what was Detective Conan planning?
"Haibara!" Hearing her name called Ai looked over her shoulder to find her peers walking towards her.
"Finally, we found her!" Ayumi said.
Dr. Agasa and the rest of her friends approached as well. "Where is Conan?" asked Genta who looked around curiously.
"He went to the bathroom," Haibara quickly responded. "He should be back anytime now."
"What happened to Kaitou Kid? Did they catch him?"
"I don't know," Haibara answered.
"No one seems to know," noted Mitsuhiko.
She looked over at him. "What do you mean?" Haibara asked.
"In the past minute or so I heard some claim that Kaitou Kid is on the roof while others stated he escaped on his glider along with what he came here to take."
"I got it!" shouted Genta who raised his hand. With all eyes now on him he continued. "Maybe he escaped, and then.. he came back!"
Mitsuhiko narrowed his eyes, clearly unconvinced. "Why would he leave only to come back if he knows the police would be waiting for him?"
Genta rubbed the top of his head. "Hmmm, I didn't really give that too much thought."
A short time later an additional group of officers entered the room. This was something that caught their attention. Leading the charge was none other than Inspector Ginzo.
"He's back," Haibara noted. This was unexpected. "But why so soon?"
"Hurry, everyone to the roof!" Ginzo ordered. "We have him cornered! He won't get away this time!"
"But what if he retreats? There is always the chance he manages to make his way back through here." one of the officers pointed out.
"If he attempts it he'll be in for a surprise when he reaches the lobby." Ginzo was sure of this. "Come, we don't have a moment to spare!"
The group lead by Inspector Ginzo charged off just as fast as they had arrived.
"They must be referring to Kaitou Kid. So, he's on the roof after all," Haibara realized. "If so, could that be where Shinichi is as well?"
There was only one way of finding out. Pulling out her phone Haibara made the call. It rang and rang. There was no answer. She attempted to call for a second time. When no one picked up she placed the phone back into her pocket. It was not like him not to answer unless something was wrong. "Shinichi, just what is it you're planning?"
"Hey guys, we should follow them," suggested Genta whose eyes fell in line with the officers who were storming towards the elevators. "I don't think they will mind if we tag along."
"Yay! I want to see Kid too!" Ayumi was all for the idea.
"As promising as that may sound I don't think we will be allowed to up there. After all they're trying to catch him, allowing spectators onto the roof that would only complicate things," Mitsuhiko explained.
"Then how are we supposed to get a close up look at Kaitou Kid?" Genta asked.
"We might not get that opportunity."
"If he does manage to escape there is also the possibility that he'll swing by on his glider from window side," Hiroshi noted.
Without hesitation the three of them skipped over to the window. "Let's go!" Ayumi yelled.
This left only Hiroshi and Haibara who stood down at his side. Now that it was just the two of them he leaned down before calling to her. "Ai."
Turning, she glanced up at him. "What is it?"
"Shinichi, where is he?" Hiroshi asked. "I suspect he didn't truly go to the bathroom?"
"He went after detective Mouri," Haibara confirmed.
"Mouri-kun is here?" This was unexpected.
"He was," Haibara corrected. "He left a short time ago. Our very own ace detective decided following him was the best move to make."
"You don't sound convinced."
Haibara shrugged. "It doesn't matter what I think."
"And do you know where they went?"
"I do not."
"That's too bad, I was hoping to give him an update on the information I pulled while searching."
Haibara looked at him questioningly. "For which search?"
"Oh, sorry for not being specific," Hiroshi apologized. "Ever since we arrived I've been continuing the search I began back at the house. I have been trying to determine who Eddy truly is?"
"I see. And have you any luck?"
"No, at least not yet," Hiroshi replied. "There is simply too many names in the data base to try and determine who our guy is in such a short amount of time."
"Then we'll simply have to increase our odds," replied Haibara.
An uncertain look came on his face. "Increase our odds? By what do you mean?"
"Eddy, could be short for Edward. So try searching using that name," Haibara began. "Given what we know about the kidnapper regarding his twisting approach in the form of riddles, there's a chance he could have a background in psychology, anthropology, or possibly even sociology. All which fall under the field of social science, something I believe paints a partial picture of the man we're looking for."
"I will register those details to the search," Hiroshi said taking mind of her every word.
"Also, check for anyone fitting that profile who may also have a criminal record," Haibara added. "If this man was willing to kidnap Ran in the fashion that he did, who's to say he hasn't attempted something similar before? A man like this is bound to have a record of some kind."
"Will do," nodded Hiroshi. "I'll contact Shinichi and let him know about any progress that is made."
"Perhaps you'll have better luck than I," remarked Haibara, implying she had already attempted to do the same. There was something wrong about all of this. She didn't know what, but she was determined to find out. Haibara held up the written message in hand, knowing these were the key words for unlocking the truth.
"What am I missing?"
Since the bright light in the form of a question mark appeared in the sky all activity on the rooftop of the Midtown Tower had seized.
"Commander, what is that up there?"
"I am uncertain."
What happened next was even more unexpected. In the breath of a moment power throughout the city within a square mile shut off, bringing an instant darkness.
Kaitou Kid's eyes widened. "What the heck is going on?" He didn't allow this situation to stun him for long, knowing this was an opportunity that could not be ignored. "Now's my chance."
Before Kid had the chance to attempt his escape his left arm was grabbed tightly. "As I said before, you're not going anywhere."
Kaitou Kid rolled his eyes in moderate annoyance. "Can I get a Rain check for this little talk of ours? Because I really have somewhere I need to be."
In that instance something wrapped not only around Kid, but the officer next to him. The two were now tied together. In a burst of energy the Kid hief attempted to rip free from what bounded him. "What is this.. some kind of rope?"
No matter how hard he struggled he was unable to escape. In a matter of a second Kaitou Kid felt the ground fall beneath him, or was it that he had been pulled into the air? It was exhilarating, exciting even. There was nothing to hear, nor anything to see in that moment. Everything had fallen blank.
After about ten seconds sitting in darkness all electricity that had burned out returned in the blink of an eye.
"What was that all about?" one of the officers wondered.
"Your guess is as good as any of us," spoke another.
It was only at that moment that it was realized that their target was missing. "Kaitou Kid, he's gone! He must be the one who was behind that entire fiasco!" the commander yelled.
The following moment the door to the roof was kicked open as Inspector Ginzo and his unit finally made their appearance. Taking a quick look he was unable to spot the target. "Where is he?!" Ginzo immediately asked. "Where is Kaitou Kid?"
"We don't know. There was a sudden blackout, and once all the lights came back on he was gone."
An enquiring look came to the inspector's face. "Black out?"
"Yes, a portion of the city's electricity just short circuited right before you arrived."
Ginzo rolled his eyes. "No doubt Kid was behind it." Either way, he was not about to let him get away. "Make contact with the guys on ground level. No matter what, he will not escape! Not this time!"
The darkness that had blinded everything to the eye was now gone. His sight was now clear as ever. But where was he now? Kaitou Kid now lying on his side was still bounded back to back with the officer that had confronted him before. He slightly moved his head up to see they were on a rooftop, just not the Midtown Tower. But how did they end up here? Kaitou Kid attempted to move. The moment he did a dark shadow casted over him as he heard his imposing voice.
Not a second more Kaitou Kid was forcefully lifted to his feet, coming face to face with the dark knight yet again. "Fancy meeting you here," Kaitou Kid remarked.
"Who's there," the officer with his back now to the two asked. "Who are you talking to Kid? And why are we tied up?!"
Ignoring his words Batman addressed the man in white. "You and I need to talk. Once you tell me what I want to know, I'm handing you over to the authorities."
"What a way to warm the mood," Kaitou Kid replied.
"No! I will not allow Kid to be handed over to the authorities! I need him, my daughter's life depends on it!"
Hearing the announced Batman's focus turned to the officer tied to Kaitou. There was distress heard in his voice, coupled in with his heavy breathing there was no denying the truth behind his words. With the two still tied together Batman flipped the two to where he was now facing the police officer who jumped in immediate fright. "A giant BAT! What.. WHO ARE YOU?!"
"I was hoping to ask the same of you officer?" Batman responded softly. He was hoping this would calm him, even if only a little.
As his heart beat gradually dropped back to normal levels he responded. "Now I see, you.. you're that bat character I've heard stories about. You're the Man-Bat! I thought for sure you were nothing more than a rumor."
"You said your daughter's life depends on Kaitou Kid. Who are you?" When he didn't respond Batman reached forward, stripping the helmet from his head to reveal the man beneath. "Kogoro Mouri."
Now exposed, Kogoro stared up into the eyes of the dark knight as an expression of surprise formed on his face. ".. You know me?"
"You're a private investigator," Batman began. He was curious about the circumstances surrounding his current situation. "You're not obligated to wear this uniform. So why are you dressed like someone from the Division 2 unit?"
"Just who the hell are you?"
"Someone willing to help, but I'll need your cooperation." Kogoro lowered his head, a clear indication he did not wish to speak on the matter. "You mentioned your daughter, where is she detective?" Batman inquired. Kogoro began to shake, slowly looking up as he locked eyes with him for a second time. He said nothing, simply staring on as if to look through him.
"Listen," Batman said leaning inward. "I can't help unless you talk to me. Where is your daughte-"
"That son of a bitch has her!" Kogoro erupted in a heat of emotion.
In that moment Batman realized three things; Kogoro's daughter had been kidnapped, the situation was in some way tied to Kaitou Kid, and given Kogoro's outburst time could very well be running out. But for what? This only left the obvious to ask. "Talk to me detective, who has her?"
Back in the art gallery several feet below Haibara held the riddle in hand, reading over it time after time. "The silver blade placed into your chest I pull out into creation of Gold. Come tomorrow's fall of dawn the Gold shall flow with waves towards its destination of multiply. Bring to me the Light of whose hands are unclean to which he touches. Midnight's deadline waits at the Eye and Hand overlooking all."
With each additional read, the closer she felt to closing in on the truth which seemed to be within arm's reach. She looked up after hearing laughter from someone near. It was none other than Jirokichi. "What has him so upbeat?" Haibara wondered.
A confident look came on Jirokichi's face as he took to the center of the room. "It's time." Reaching down he pulled out a square shaped device that had been stashed away in his pocket. "Now Kid, let's see where you are."
Haibara continued to look on from a short distance away. "What is that he's holding?"
That was a question that would soon be answered. Raising the device, Jirokichi slid a finger across the top of it, which in turn powered it on. After doing so Jirokichi smiled as he raised a hand, signaling to the officer standing a few feet away.
After noticing his gesture the woman in uniform approached. "What is it?" she enquired.
"Kaitou Kid is heading in the direction of Fuji Xerox," Jirokichi informed.
"What? Are you sure?"
"Unknown to Kid or anyone else I placed a tracer on the Elephant Revenant, in a place Kid would not expect," Jirokichi relayed. "Contact Inspector Ginzo, it's time to collect."
"Fuji Xerox is in the west of Midtown," she noted. "I'll send out the word right away."
"Excellent," said Jirokichi in response. He stood in patience, his grin only widening as he waited for the message to be passed.
It didn't take long for the officer to look back at Jirokichi, shaking her head as she did. "It's no good."
"No good? What are you talking about?"
"This walkie talkie is out of juice, I'll go and grab another." Following this she dismissed herself.
Haibara who still stood near heard everything that had been spoken between the two. Could it be that Conan and Kogoro were in pursuit of him? Were they too in the west side of Midtown? She reached down, contemplating on whether she should try calling Conan for a second time. It was also at that moment that Hiroshi voiced an excitement.
"I think I have something," Hiroshi announced.
Haibara turned immediate attention to him. "What is it?"
Hiroshi looked her straight in the eyes. "We have him," Hiroshi replied. "I believe I know who has taken Ran-kun."
The amount of time that passed since Conan departed the Midtown tower had become lost to him. There was only one thing that mattered, the objective. The end of the block was now within sight. He repositioned himself on the skateboard he stood upon for the turn that he would soon make. The next second brought the tune of a ring.
Coming to a complete stop Conan took the call. "Haibara."
"Shinichi, where are you?"
"I'm a few blocks away from the Fujifilm building," replied Conan.
"That's in the west side of Midtown," Haibara noted. "As I suspected, you're in pursuit of Kaitou Kid."
"..Huh? No, that's not why I'm here," Conan replied. "What lead you to believe Kaitou Kid is heading in this direction?"
This was not what she was expecting to hear. "Jirokichi-san secretly attached a tracer to the Elephant Revenant. So wherever Kid go's Jirokichi-san will be able to track his every-"
Conan cut in. "Haibara, listen. Kaitou Kid doesn't have the Revenant Elephant."
There was a sudden silence between the two. "What do you mean? You were here when he-"
"I have it, the Elephant Revenant is with me," Conan finally revealed.
"..What?" There was a pause. "What do you mean you have it? How did you get your hands on the Elephant Revenant?"
"Look, it's a long story. We don't have much time," Conan stated. "Is Dr. Agasa with you?"
"He is," Haibara confirmed.
"Has he made any progress with the search? Has he compiled a list of names for potential suspects?"
"Yes," Haibara was pleased to announce. "There is one man in partic^^^ that we believe mi^^t be the one. His name, E^wa^d ^^ma."
"Haibara, you're breaking up," Conan said. "Can you repeat what you just-"
Before he could convey his message the connection between the two was lost. Conan immediately tried to call her back. When the call failed to go through he lowered the phone down to his side. "Dammit," he hissed under his breath.
Conan's focus then turned to the matter that had been brought to his attention. Dropping down to a knee he slid the bag sitting on his shoulder off. Reaching inside he pulled out the Elephant Revenant. "Haibara said the old man planted a tracer on this elephant somewhere. I need to find and remove it," Conan said. From first glance he didn't see anything that remotely resembled a tracer. But he knew it was there, and he was determined to find it.
"No matter what, I can't let them get their hands on Revenant Elephant."
There was uncertainty, hesitation, fear even. All emotion had to be set aside. He knew this all too well. After a long pause, Kogoro finally spoke. "He introduced himself as Eddy, the kidnapper."
"Eddy.. could it be?" A picture was now being painted. "You came face to face with the man who took your daughter?" Batman asked.
Kogoro nodded in confirmation. "He stopped by my detective agency yesterday," Kogoro began. "Just like any normal customer, he scheduled an appointment for us to meet. When he arrived he described to me a problem that had been brought to his attention."
"Tell me everything."
Taking a moment to rehash yesterday's meeting Kogoro began from the beginning. "So according to Eddy he had a friend whose daughter was kidnapped, it was told to me that her name was Nar."
"What about this friend that was mentioned?" Batman asked. "Was he ever given a name?"
"Eddy called him 'Adam' for the sake of discussion. His real name was never given. I then went on to ask him if he had any idea who the killer might be," Kogoro explained. "To which he replied he had no clue. By his own word Eddy referred to the kidnapper as Goliath."
"For the sake of discussion," Batman figured.
Kogoro nodded. "My left pocket, can you take out what's inside?" the detective requested.
Given that Kogoro was tied up and unable to reach for it himself Batman complied. Reaching in, a silver envelope was removed. "What is this?" Batman wondered. Opening the envelope he slid out a folded piece of paper that was inside. Unwrapping the page his eyes fell upon what appeared to be a scramble of random letters.
"It's a written message, however it is written-"
"Backwards," Batman cut off.
"Ho.. how did you know?"
Using the cowls lenses Batman reversed his vision of view to where he could now clearly read understand the message. "The silver blade placed into your chest I pull out into creation of Gold. Come tomorrow's fall of dawn the Gold shall flow with waves towards its destination of multiply. Bring to me the Light of whose hands are unclean to which he touches. Midnight's deadline waits at the Eye and Hand overlooking all."
After reading the message aloud there was no doubt in Batman's mind who they were dealing with. "Nigma.." He then turned eye back to Kogoro. "This is a riddle. When did you receive this letter?"
"Eddy brought it with him when we met for the first time," Kogoro replied. "He claimed that his 'friend' found it posted on his window sometime yesterday morning."
Batman looked down at the riddle for a second time, analyzing each point on their own merit. "Midnight's deadline, no doubt referring to twelve tonight considering this riddle was handed to you yesterday."
"I gathered that much as well," Kogoro agreed.
Batman faced Kogoro once more. "Detective, when was the last time you saw your daughter?"
Kogoro took a few moments to think about that before finally responding. "The last time I saw her was yesterday night, right before she went to bed," Kogoro recalled. "And while I didn't see her this morning, I did hear when she got up to go to school.. which she never made it to."
A time table was now set for when Ran was taken. It was only at this moment that Kaitou Kid finally forced himself back into the equation. "I don't get it. What does any of this have to do with me?"
"Bring to me the Light of whose hands are unclean to which he touches." Batman read that line for a third time before addressing Kogoro. "Detective Mouri, am I right to assume this is the line which prompted you to seek out Kaitou Kid?"
Kogoro was surprised, impressed even to discover how fast Batman was able to deduce that very fact. "Who the hell are you? Some kind of detective?"
"So let me get this straight," Kaitou Kid said trying to look at everything as a big picture. "The reasoning behind this creep kidnapping your daughter was nothing more than a scheme to drive you into capturing me?"
Just as Kogoro was to reply Batman cut in. "It's not that simple."
"What do you mean it's not that simple?"
Sidestepping the enquired Batman asked a question of his own. "Tell me, how did you learn that your daughter was kidnapped?"
His heart began to race as his mind fell back to that moment. "I received a package in the mail addressed to me from Eddy," Kogoro informed. "It was to be expected. When Eddy and I initially met he didn't bring with him any photos of the girl he claimed had been kidnapped."
"And you didn't find that strange?"
A brief silence ensued. "The package arrived at the agency this morning. To my despair I found photos not of someone of unfamiliarity, but of my very own daughter." Kogoro's fists tightened. "From the very beginning Eddy's visit was nothing more than a foreshadow for what had yet to occur. How.. how could I have not seen it?!"
Irritation began to fuel as Kogoro attempted to break free. "Untie me, you have to! The longer I remain staggered here the closer the deadline-"
Before Kogoro had the chance to finish his thoughts the phone sitting in his right pocket began to ring. "That tune, that's Ran's phone."
"Ran? Is that the name of your daughter?"
"You have her phone?" This was not something Batman was expecting to learn. "Did she not have it with her when she left for school?"
"She did," Kogoro replied.
"If that is so, then how have you ended up with it?"
"After I learned of her disappearance I logically went to search for her," Kogoro replied. "Eddy had made it clear Ran would be harmed if I involved the police, so I was on my own."
"Where and how did you come across the phone after you set out to search?" This was a crucial detail in his mind. Surely the location where the phone was found was also where she had been abducted?
"Her phone, I found it sitting on a bench at a bus stop. The thing is I didn't even notice it at first," Kogoro admitted. "I actually walked by, it was only after hearing the phone ring that I became aware of it. I recognized the ring tone, it was the same as-"
"Your daughter's," Batman concluded.
Kogoro nodded. "I walked over to the bench, and there it was," Kogoro said referring to the phone. "Under a magazine that had been set on top of it."
This brought more questions to the forefront. "I doubt it was left there by accident," said Batman.
"It felt almost too convenient," Kogoro agreed. "For the phone to ring just after I arrived.. he must have been close."
"Who was the call from?"
Kogoro shook his head. "The call came from an unknown number," informed Kogoro. "Of course I tried calling back, no one responded. However, almost a minute later I received a text message from the same unknown number. It read 'To obtain the sought, bring to me the treble who oppose El Acertijo'. I can't even begin to understand what any of it means."
"If the message is directed at you, then we can assume the sought is your daughter right?" Kaitou Kid spoke from behind.
"That still doesn't account for everything else," Kogoro stated.
Making a move forward Batman reached into Kogoro's pocket to remove Ran's phone. "Hey, what are you doing?!" exclaimed Kogoro.
Ignoring his words Batman raised the phone as he stepped back. He opened the newest message received, his eyes slightly narrowing at what he saw.
"What does it say?" Kogoro was anxious to know.
Lowering the phone Batman responded. "Come and get me."
"Come and get me?" confusion arose. "That's what the message says?"
"Seems rather direct compared to the rest of his written messages," noted Kaitou Kid. "Perhaps there is more to it?"
Batman's thoughts fell back to the first text message Kogoro received upon discovering the phone. "To obtain the sought, bring to me the treble who oppose El Acertijo." It was now time to break it down. "Treble, if we look at it objectively means consisting of three parts which could amount to something bigger. As a noun it would be referring to a number in regards to quantity, which in this case would be three. If looked at as a verb or pronoun the meaning can differ slightly, but the common denominator remains the same."
"Which is?" Kogoro asked.
"A collection of three, a trio if you will," Batman explained. "The mentioned treble is directly followed by the announcement of a El Acertijo. In Latin America and Mexico El Acertijo in literal terms means 'The Riddle'."
"The riddle?" questioned Kogoro. "That makes no sense. Is he referring to himself?"
"It's not that simple, it never is with him," Batman stated.
Kogoro caught on to the inner meaning of his words. "That would seem to imply that you know who the kidnapper is?"
Carrying on Batman ignored Mouri's comments. "Detective, did you consider the possibility that Kaitou Kid wasn't the only thing that the kidnapper took an interest in?"
"What are you trying to say?" Kogoro asked.
"Kid isn't the only target," Batman declared. "You are as well."
"The man who has your daughter, there are three things he seeks.. the treble," Batman explained. "Both you and Kid make up two thirds of this treble."
"Oh kay then.. who is the third?" Kaitou Kid questioned.
"That I have yet to determine," admitted Batman.
"You didn't answer my question before," Kogoro said staring deep into his eyes. "The man who has my daughter… Do you know who he is?"
To Be Continued