Lightest of Nights: A Deck of Minds
Uncertainty, disbelief, was there anything else to feel? Each of them was just as shocked as the other by the revealed diagnosis.
"Components of the fear toxin.. inside me?" Haibara was at a loss for words.
"Doc, are you sure of this?" questioned Conan.
"There is no mistaking it," Hiroshi said. "The results are unmistakable."
Conan then looked toward Ai. If the diagnosis were true there would have been warning signs, right? "Haibara, at any point did you experience any of the known effects of the toxin?"
Haibara shook her head. "Outside of a little light headedness I felt relatively normal throughout the day."
"That's strange." Conan crossed his arms over his chest. "You came in contact with the fear toxin, yet you didn't undergo any of the frightening episodes that all other victims experienced."
"How strange indeed," agreed Hiroshi. "Well, there could be a reason for that."
"And what do you think that is?" Haibara asked.
"Well, for starters your body only took in two percent of the toxin," Hiroshi reminded. "Perhaps such a small amount isn't enough to bring about the damaging side effects that have been documented."
"Well, I did have.. a dream," Haibara noted.
"A dream? What do you mean?"
"Never mind it," replied Haibara. It was all still that of a blur. "It's unimportant."
"Well since we know you came in contact with the fear gas at some point, that begs the question of the when and where," Conan said. "Haibara, do you have any idea when you might have been exposed to the drug?"
She responded by shaking her head. "I don't, sorry."
"I was afraid that would be the case," Hiroshi said.
"We'll just have to narrow the possibilities down," Conan stated.
"And how do you propose we do that Sherlock?" quipped Haibara.
Conan smiled as he looked to Dr. Agasa. "It's simple, we'll test my DNA to see if the toxin is in my system as well."
"I see," Hiroshi realized. "If there are traces of the toxin in you as we'll be able to determine you and Ai-kun were together when it occured."
Conan nodded. "Exactly."
"Brilliant," Haibara remarked.
"Whoever is producing the fear gas in Japan, we might be closer to finding them than we realized," said Conan. "Between this and the bit of information detective Takagi has I'll have this case closed in no time."
Conan's confidence was steadily rising.
"So how is it you propose to get the information from Detective Takagi?" Hiroshi asked. "I doubt he'd freely give out the details of the case, especially given the sensitivity of the situation and all."
"It's simple. All I need is a phone and this," replied Conan who pointed to the voice changing bowtie sitting upon his shirt. "I'll call him using oji-san's voice, obviously with the intent of wanting to help with the case."
"Well, that plan has worked wonders for you in the past," Haibara noted.
"Don't see why it would fail now," Hiroshi added. He then turned direct focus on Conan. "Shinichi, are you ready?"
Conan nodded. "I'm ready."
"Very well," Hiroshi said before turning for his desk across the room. "Come, let us make haste. The sooner I get a sample of your DNA, the sooner I can run the scan."
"Dr. Agasa, the sample that you need," Conan began as he followed him all the way to the desk. "Does it have to be blood?"
"Not particularly," replied Hiroshi. "A saliva sample would be just as effective. Why do you ask?"
"Good." Conan was pleased to learn this. "I'll call the others over as well."
This caught Hiroshi by surprise. "What for?"
"To truly track where Haibara came in contact with the toxin, we need to know if the others did as well."
Gotham, inside the Bat-cave
The Fear gas, the Riddler.. what was the connection? The challenge he and everyone else had been put through the day prior, what was its relevance? Batman knew the Riddler all too well. It wasn't just about testing the subjects in question, no, there was something more.. something deeper. But what?
What was the Riddler's true motive? To discover that was to first figure out if Nigma and the presence of Scarecrow's fear gas internationally was linked. It was in those silent moments of thought that a sound was heard. Batman turned in seat to discover someone approaching.
"You've been down here for quite some time now, I thought for sure you would have begun your routine patrol by now," Alfred admitted.
"I've been.. preoccupied," replied Batman who turned back to face the computer.
"I have no doubt about that. Well since you're still here I guess you wouldn't mind me reminding you of the scheduled board meeting tomorrow."
"I haven't forgotten."
"Of course not." Alfred took another step forward. "What of your overseas activities, I take it the investigation is coming along?"
"Progress," Batman simply put. "The tracer I planted while at Skytale will be on the move soon."
"That must mean production is going forward with producing the fear gas itself," Alfred figured. "It was only a matter of time."
"I've already alerted Robin about the situation," Batman informed.
"Speaking of which, how is the young master holding up in the city of Tokyo?"
"As fine as I would have hoped."
"Will he be following after the tracer you planted?"
"Yes. Though, I'm not expecting any further activity until six tomorrow morning."
"Because that's when the ship will depart?"
Alfred was more lost than ever. "Excuse me, a ship?"
"I'll get you up to speed in time." Batman then gave a command. "Computer, initiate scan."
Following this Batman stood up from the chair.
"Whatever are you scanning?" asked Alfred out of curiosity.
"The coffin Ran Mouri was stashed in," Batman answered. "I want to take a closer look. If there are any clues to unravel for what Riddler is planning next, I will find them."
"And in the meantime?"
"I have some hunting to do," Batman replied.
Batman faced him one final time as he passed. "Yes, the Ghost Dragons."
Tokyo, Japan. Police Station
She had been summoned to the Superintendent's office. Miwako could only guess to what the reason could be. Either way she would soon find out. In a short amount of time she found herself standing in front of the door to his office. Miwako knocked, bringing an immediate response.
"You can step in."
With permission given Miwako did just that. Now inside she bowed her head. "You asked to see me?"
"Yes," replied Kiyonaga. "I have something for you."
Surprise filled her face. "You have something for me?"
"Please, step forward."
Miwako was completely unsure of what to expect. Walking up to his desk he handed over a folder. Opening it, Miwako came to discover what was inside. "A search warrant.. is this?"
"Yes," confirmed Kiyonaga. "For the house that you came across registered to Aldor Sunshine."
There was now a look of accomplishment on her face. "That's great news! I can't thank you enough."
Kiyonaga sat back in his seat as a half-smile formed across his lips. "Well, you better get going. I doubt that case is going to solve itself anytime soon."
Miwako nodded. "Yes, of course."
There was no time to waste. What was to happen next was clear. As she walked through the halls of the station she heard someone call to her from behind.
"Takagi-Kun," replied Miwako after facing him.
"I just got a call from Detective Mouri," Wataru informed.
"I got him up to speed on the investigation we've been working," Wataru replied. "So if he happens to come across anything possibly involving the case he said he'd be sure to report it."
"I certainly won't say no to that."
"It looked like you were in a hurry just now," Wataru noted. "Are you going somewhere?"
"I just received a search warrant for the house we stopped by the other night. The house registered to Aldor Sunshine," Miwako relayed. "I'm heading over there now to investigate the premises."
"I see," Wataru learned. "You don't mind if I come along do you?"
"Of course not," Miwako said as she began walking. "Either way let's get a move on. I have a feeling we're getting close to getting the answers we have been searching for."
"Right behind you," Wataru said following after her.
Mitsuhiko now made his way down the side of the road. He had received a call from Conan letting him know to meet him and the others at Agasa's house. For what he wondered? No explanation had been given. He soon came to the end of a block, making sure to look both ways before crossing to the other side. Once all was clear he did just that.
"I guess I'll find out when I get there."
Mitsuhiko walked in silence, listening to the herd of passing vehicle, the whistles of the birds overhead. He raised a hand to his eyes, noting the brightness of the sun in line of his path. A man on a bicycle passing in the opposite direction waved, Mitsuhiko waved in return. He was now nearing a street intersection. Once there he stood in wait for the street light to turn red. It was during this time he took notice of someone.
"Who is that?" Mitsuhiko had taken eye of an individual walking down the right side of the street where he stood. It was someone dressed in a tan colored thick coat along with baggy pants and a pair of shades. Sitting over their head was a hood. Mitsuhiko's eyes narrowed in undeniable suspicion. "What is it, like eighty two degrees out here? They're really over dressed for a day like this."
The street light turned red moments later. There was now a decision to make. Gritting his teeth, Mitsuhiko ultimately opted to follow after the stranger instead of crossing to the other side.
"I'm sure the others won't mind if I'm a little late."
Moving cautiously and maintaining a notable distance Mitsuhiko followed after the person in the coat. What all of this would lead to was anyone's guess. He followed them up one street and down another, crossing roadside a number of two times. How much longer until they were to reach their destination? It was after having that thought come to mind that the person in the coat came to an abrupt stop. Mitsuhiko immediately took coverage behind a mailbox that was near.
"They've stopped. Could it be that they've almost reached wherever their going?"
Mitsuhiko slowly peeked out from the side of the mail box to monitor their actions. The person of interest was now in the process of observing the surrounding area. "They're obviously looking out to make sure they're not being followed," Mitsuhiko figured.
After finding that the coast was clear the person in the coat began walking once more. Not wanting to lose track of them Mitsuhiko followed after them once again. Another minute went by. It was in that time that a construction site came into view. Like they had before the person wearing the coat scoured the area for anyone who could possibly be walking in their tracks. As he had before Mitsuhiko stayed out of sight.
"They must be getting close to wherever they're going." Mitsuhiko was sure of this.
He continued to look on from where he stood beside a bus stop. A minute passed, then two. They had yet to make a move in that time. "I thought for sure they were going to enter that construction site." Mitsuhiko was surprised they hadn't. Could it be that they were now awaiting the arrival of another?
"I need to get in closer." Mitsuhiko took immediate notice of a large truck with a semi-trailer attached alongside the road. "Great, I can use that truck for cover."
With his mind now made up he advanced forward. While the back doors to the trailer were open, there was no one around, making ideal for him to wait it out there. After reaching the edge of the truck Mitsuhiko took to a knee before peeking out from behind the large tires.
"This is what you call a front row seat." He kept sharp eye on the opposition who stood no more than twenty feet away. Even with as close as he was Mitsuhiko was still unable to make out any defining features of the person he had followed. "What's going on? Why are they just standing there?"
That very question would soon be answered. A subtle sound traveled with the soft breeze that blew past, that of footsteps. Someone was coming Mitsuhiko realized. A couple seconds was all it took for someone to emerge from the depths of the construction site. Now in view of clarity was a tall man in a burgundy colored business suit. In his left hand was a silver briefcase.
By this point Mitsuhiko's heart was racing. "Now for the moment of truth."
"I was watching from the control room, you came early," the man in the business suit noted.
The person in the coat simply nodded.
"Enough about that. Why don't we get onto business, yes?" from there he raised the briefcase in hand. "I'm sure you're anxious to know what I have for you this time?"
What could possibly be inside? Money, drugs of some kind? Those were the two possibilities that registered to mind. The man in the business suit raised the briefcase in hand before making a move to reveal what was inside. What Mitsuhiko came to witness was not what he was expecting. "What is that?" It appeared to be two spray cans that sat beside one another.
"Tada! The two newest additions to our perfume brand. Both will suit you well for tonight's occasion out at sea. Tonight will bring retribution full circle."
Mitsuhiko was disappointed. Had his suspicious just lead him to a perfume sale?
The man in the suit raised the first perfume bottle. "This I simply call, the Sweet Death of Quicksand." Once placed back in its pouch he raised the second. "This beauty I call 'Second Life'."
There was nothing worth staying around for in Mitsuhiko's mind. "Alright, it's time to-"
Before Mitsuhiko had the chance to leave the man in the three piece suit began walking into his direction. "Come, there's something else I have for you."
Mitsuhiko heart began to race. What was he to do? If he ran they would surely see and chase after him. Turning he made a decision based on pressure of the moment. After taking a couple steps back he lunged into the trailer, leaping over a couple of crates to try and get as deep into the truck as he could. Now shielded out of sight he sat in the darkness of the trailer as his heart continued to dash with each taken breath.
"Please don't get seen, please don't get seen…"
That very thought plunged through his mind several times over. The sound of footsteps outside the walls of the truck could be heard clearly. It wasn't long after that the man from before was heard again.
"Here, I've also got something for you to wear." His voice carried from the entryway. A sound was heard in the moments that came, one Mitsuhiko assumed to be the opening of a box. "Here we are. This will fit the occasion perfectly. At long last this chapter in our lives can be put to a rest."
What Mitsuhiko heard next made his heart sink. The doors to the trailer slammed shut. "No way! Now I'm trapped."
It wasn't until the door was closed that its scent really registered. "What is that smell?" Bleach… Clorox? Why was its presence so strong? Even if it was the smell of product that was to be shipped Mitsuhiko would not expect it to come on this strong. It was almost as if the entire space had been drenched in its strong fume. He took small breaths, not wanting to breathe in the strong scent.
What was he to do now? Listening on he could hear as they walked alongside the truck from the outside. What was said between the two from there flew right over his head. The only thing that mattered in his mind was finding a way out of this mess without alarming the two he had just been spying on. Should he try using his phone to reach out to one of his friends?
That idea was quickly shot down. "They'll definitely hear me if I make any calls."
If not that, there was only one other logical solution in his mind, opening the doors to the back of the trailer himself. Moving quietly he maneuvered his way through the dark, occasionally having his leg bump into some unknown object. In very little time he found himself with his hands pressed against the doors, looking for any kind of handle that could lead to his exit.
"Darn it," Mitsuhiko hissed angrily. "It looks like the only way to open this door is from the outside. I'm virtually stuck here unless I let those guys know I'm back here."
His eyes began to tear up from the bleach flowing through the air. Mitsuhiko now had a choice to make, to wait it out or to let those on the outside know he was here. The decision was easy in his mind.
"I might as well speak up," Mitsuhiko said. "I'll just tell them I ended up back here by accident. I mean, what bad could come of it?"
Before Mitsuhiko could act on the decided a sound erupted, that of the trucks engine. "Oh no," Mitsuhiko said in fear. "He must be getting ready to drive off!"
With that in mind Mitsuhiko yelled at the top of his lungs. "Hey, there's someone back here! Stop the truck!" The vehicle began to slowly pull forward shortly after. Mitsuhiko's heart was racing even more now. "What, can you not hear me?!"
He tried again. "Hello, I'm stuck back here! Can you hear me, can anyone hear me?!" Like before, no one responded. Could it be that they really couldn't hear him? There was only one option remaining. "Looks like I have no choice but to call someone."
The question then became, who? "If I call my mom I have no doubt she would be angered by these circumstances." Mitsuhiko gulped at the dreaded thought of having to explain his current predicament to her. "I'd probably be better off calling Dr. Agasa."
Mitsuhiko nearly lost his balance as the vehicle began to pick up in speed. He made the quick decision of taking a seat against the closed doors. Now sitting in place he held up his phone to make an unexpected discovery. "You've got to be kidding me! No signal, really?!"
Should he be alarmed by this. Mitsuhiko lowered the phone back to his side in despair. "Well, it looks like all I can do now is, wait." He slouched downward as frustration began to emerge. "I can't believe I got myself into this mess."
Kaito laid atop his bed deep in thought. The weekend was now upon him. The question was, what was he to do in the next few days? The Revenant warrior statues, the Riddler, the Royal Flash Gang, and above all, Batman. Would the Riddler strike again? Should he make the next move in luring the Royal Flush Gang out once more, or should he wait for them to play their next card. Then there was Batman, could it be that Gotham's dark knight still wished to track him? If so that would be something else to account for.
"Decisions, decisions, decisions," Kaito repeated as he laid his hands to the back of his head. Shortly thereafter his phone sitting on his desk beside the bed began ringing. Moderately irritated by the fact his thoughts were interrupted Kaito rolled his eyes as he sat up to reach for it. "Who is it now?"
Raising the phone to eye he came to find who was calling. "Oh.. it's just Aoko." Slouching back onto the bed Kaito brought the phone to his ear before answering. "What do you want now?"
"What do you mean what do I want?" Aoko retorted. "Where are you, I've been waiting for you."
"Waiting for me?"
"Yes, at the train station. Remember, we have to catch the train to Osaka. That's where the cruise ship will be departing from that you so confidently agreed that you would be joining me on," Aoko reminded.
Kaito's eyes widened as he shot up from where he laid. "Wait, that's today?! I thought the cruise wasn't until tomorrow evening."
"I only told you like six times the cruise was Friday. Which you know happens to be today."
Kaito couldn't help but laugh. "Oops, my bad."
"Never mind that, hurry up and get down here," Aoko said. "If we want to make it in time for the ships departure we need to catch the train to Osaka that leaves at four fifty."
Kaito looked to his clock across the room. "That's less than twenty minutes from now."
"Still plenty of time for you to get here. See you soon," Aoko said before choosing to hang up.
"Great," said Kaito who lowered the phone to his side. "Now instead of focusing on my next move I get to go on some lame cruise… fun."
The doorbell rang. Conan who was the closest to the door walked over and opened it. As expected his classmates were on the other side. "Hey guys," Conan greeted. "Come on in."
"You don't have to ask me twice," replied Genta who was the first to accept.
Ayumi followed in right after him. Conan then realized the absence of a certain someone. "Hey, where's Mitsuhiko?" Conan asked.
"He's not here yet?" Ayumi questioned.
"I thought for sure he had beaten us here," Genta added.
"It's no big deal. I'm sure he'll be here soon." Conan was sure of this.
"Drinks for everyone," announced Hiroshi who stepped into the room with four cups in hand.
"Great, I am a little thirsty," admitted Genta.
"Me too," said Ayumi as the two headed toward Hiroshi.
Conan took one final look out the doorway. There was still no sign of Mitsuhiko. "It's nothing to worry about, he'll be here soon," Conan thought to himself as he closed the door.
How much time passed since Mitsuhiko had found himself in this unexpected situation? The battery to his phone had burned out a time ago, so he was uncertain of what the current time was. There was only one thought on his mind, how was he to get out of this situation? Given that the door could only be unlocked from the outside and he had no way of calling anyone, he'd have to wait for the owner of the truck to unlock it.
Mitsuhiko rested his head to the wall of the truck as he stared off into the darkness, not focusing in on anything particular. "My parents are going to be so mad." He dreaded the thought of having to face them, especially after not checking in after such an extended period of time.
Since being trapped in the storage area of the truck Mitsuhiko felt as if he had been drenched in the strong scent of Clorox. His eyes had since seized watering, though his dried tears could subtly be felt upon his eye pouches. He leaned forward. "I've been sitting for so long." He felt the need to get up. Mitsuhiko cautiously stood to his feet, given that the truck was still moving the last thing he wanted to do was lose his footing. "Let's see, I think I have a flashlight here somewhere."
Reaching a hand into his left pocket Mitsuhiko found what he was looking for. "There it is. Now to have a look around." Using the light to guide his path Mitsuhiko began his search. Moving from one end of the trailer to the other he occasionally placed a hand on top of a box to maintain balance. "Everything seems to be sealed. I guess I won't be able to find out what is being shipped inside thes-"
The truck came to a sudden stop, one which resulted in Mitsuhiko losing his balance. He immediately fell to the ground before rolling and crashing into a large crate that had been leaned against the wall. "Ouuo! That hurt!" he yelped before reaching for the top of his head. Not a second later the crate he had made contact with began to slide forward. "Uh, oh."
Mitsuhiko made an instant move to lunge out of the way as the crate came toppling down. It landed with a loud thump, one which resulted in its top falling off. "Phew, that was close." Mitsuhiko was most relived. Tracking his flashlight that had traveled a couple feet away he aimed it into the direction of where the crate had fallen. "I wonder what's inside."
Stepping around a couple boxes he walked over. Nothing could have prepared him for what he would come to discover. Aiming the projection of the light downward Mitsuhiko felt as if his heart skipped a beat. "Yo..you've got to be kidding me." There lying on the ground was the naked body of someone who was lying face down. What followed was a strong odor of familiarity, one that brought confirmation of his deepest fear. "They.. They're dead.."
What did this mean?
Gotham, Wayne Enterprises
It was business as usual.
"Will this be far enough sir?"
Bruce nodded in return. "Yes, this will be fine Alfred."
After the vehicle was parked Bruce stepped out. "Good luck with today's affairs Master Bruce. If there is anything that you may need please don't hesitate to call."
"I'll be in touch," Bruce replied before beginning his journey toward the building. He listened on as the Alfred drove off. As Bruce came within range of the front entrance the doorman waved, he did the same as he always did when coming in.
"Welcome back Mr. Wayne," greeted the doorman.
Bruce nodded. "Of course." Now inside he strolled past the main lobby, heading straight for the elevator clear across the way. As he walked he couldn't help but overhear the conversation between the desk clerk and someone who stood on the other side of the counter. "What's going on over there?"
Curious, Bruce walked over.
"Sir, listen if you would like an audience with Mr. Wayne you'll have to schedule an appointment," the clerk conveyed.
"I need to speak with him now! My travels have brought me from a faraway place you see, and I do not wish to wait any longer," the man explained. "This matter I come with is a problem that we're both intertwined in, Wayne-sama and myself that is."
"I'm sorry sir, but meeting with Mr. Wayne is through scheduled appointments only," the clerk repeated. "Now if you would like me to set up an appointment for you I'd be more than willi-"
"That won't be necessary," announced Bruce who joined the pair.
"M.. ," said the desk clerk who was surprised to see him. "It's not even six. I wasn't expecting you in until later this morning."
"I thought I'd come in early and get a few things prepared before today's board meeting at nine," to which Bruce replied. He then turned focus on the visitor. "And who is our guest?"
The man who sought to speak with Bruce faced him. "Bruce Wayne, the Prince of Gotham himself." He held out his hand. "The pleasure is mine."
Bruce shook his hand in return. "I overheard a little of your conversation. You mentioned some problem we're both intertwined in."
"Yes, that's right," the man standing before him replied as he released the hold.
"Who are you, and what is this concern you wish to bring to my attention?" Bruce asked.
"Yes, introductions are always needed before business can be discussed. I am Jirokichi Suzuki," the man relayed. "And the problem I speak of revolves around a certain thief, one I'm sure you're familiar with, Kaitou Kid."
To Be Continued