Case Closed Fan Fiction ❯ Stage Two ( Chapter 88 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
The Detective Prince
Chapter 88
Stage Two

Mid day had fast approached, finding himself in a minor back up in traffic. His phone was set to speaker, listening to the incoming information from the other line.

« Affirmative, the sample of blood you were able to obtain belongs to that of the Resplendent Quetzal, » Conan confirmed. « They are most notably found in the western parts of Panama all the way to Mexico. »

« What else do you have on this bird? »

« They’re part of a larger family known as the Trogonidae, » Conan replied. « Thirty nine species in all within the group. »

« Now we need to find out why this bird in particular was chosen for the cause. »

« Not to mention the paint mixed in with it. »

« See if you can find anything further on the subject. »

« What did you have in mind, » Conan asked. « There’s a lot of directions we can take. »

« Let’s stick with the bird, be sure to expand your searches past the Resplendent, » Bruce said. « Check the entire Trogonidae family. »

« Already on it, » Conan said. « I’ll call if I come across anything worth mentioning. »

« Good luck. »

The transmission fell blank within that instance. He turned back for the road, looking ahead to see the next intersection was fast incoming. He looked down at his watch to find there were twenty minutes remaining before thirty after one.

« Not much further to go, » Bruce thought. « At this rate I’ll arrive with time to spare. »

The sun shined bright from the window side, feeling a sense of comfort as he waited for his return. Several cars zipped by from his blindside, keeping him attentive to the task in play. Just as he was to switch on the radio he caught sight of him making his way out of the gas station.

« That didn’t take long. »

He continued around the car, dragging his hand along the top on his path to the driver side.

« Smooth as usual. » Rick said re-entering the car.

« So, how did things go in there, » Heiji asked. « Was this friend of yours able to hand us a lead? »

« He never disappoints, » Rick replied. « There’s a place called Living Green just two miles from here, a facility for plants. »

« And they have mushrooms? »

« That’s what he said, and then we’ve got this other joint clear across town, » Rick continued. « Some place called Libits. »

« Ok, where to first? »

« I say we take it to the green, » Rick replied. « It requires we pass through there to reach Libits anyway. »

« I’m all in. »

« Sit tight, I’ll have us there in no time. »

He put his foot to the pedal, backing out from the lot. Within no time they were back on the freeway, finding themselves cruising along for minutes to come. They slowed up after a couple miles driven upon finding themselves in a traffic jam.

« Talk about timing, » Rick said. « With this clog in traffic I doubt we make it to Living Green until at least another hour. »

« I see no problem in that, » Heiji said. « It’s not like we’re in a rush of any kind. »

« I guess you’re right. »

« Besides, that gives me the time to look over some of this other stuff. »

« What other stuff? »

He didn’t respond, simply pulling out the note stashed away within pocket. He resumed from where he had left off, looking at everything as as a whole. The more he read over it, the more invigorating it became, feeling as if he was getting a clearer understanding to who may have written the note. Then something came to him, staring it dead in the eye with the raise his head.

« That’s it, » Heiji exclaimed. « How could I have not seen it earlier. »

« What, » Rick questioned looking his way. « Does this have something to do with one of the bodies? »

« The riddle, » Heiji said holding up the sheet. « The thief has already let us know what their next move will be. »

« The riddles from Starlest, » Rick questioned. « I thought we were keeping our focus on the two dead men. »

« Multi tasking never hurts. »

« Ok then, » Rick said. « You know where this guy will strike next? »

« Or woman, the gender of our thief is still unknown, » Heiji corrected. « All we know is there’s a message within the context of the riddle itself. »

« I’m as clueless as the next guy, » Rick admitted. « Would you be so kind to elaborate what you speak of? »

« Here, » Heiji said handing him the slip of paper. « Why don’t you have another look. »

He accepted the sheet into hand, wasting no time in directing his focus down to the print before him.

« i am solely for the eye beyond all affiliated kins, a tune to Hear with a misdirection Red (1). »

He read through it a couple times, looking back to him with the shake of his head.

« Sorry, but I’m not seeing anything I didn’t notice before. »

« Read the second line, » Heiji said. « It’s just as important as the first. »

« If you insist, » Rick said taking a deep breath before setting his sights to the riddle once again. « superior to my the Deceiver, at the Affair shall I appear.. »

He gained nothing from reading this, feeling just as lost as before.

« Care to throw an inflated life vest, I’m drowning here. »

« That’s how I felt before, » Heiji said. « That was until I realized looking at it as a whole was incorrect, but rather as pieces. »

« Pieces? »

« Pieces that need to be connected, and rearranged. »

« Ok, now you’ve just added more confusion to the matter. »

« Stay focused, I promise all will make sense in the coming minutes. »

« I’ll take your word for it. »

« Alright, then let us start with the second phrase of the first riddle, » Heiji said. « a tune to Hear with a misdirection Red (1), notice the key words being hear and red. »

« So what of it? »

« What happens if you remove all other letters and swap the two words? »

« You end up with ‘red hear’, » Rick stated. « Is there some significance to this? »

« Maybe with a step forward, how about a red-herring? »

« A red herring, » Rick questioned. « How did you come up with that? »

« Misdirection is due to this, the word within that sequence, » Heiji replied. « Not only do I believe it was referring to its own riddle, but the message as a whole. »

« As a whole? »

« With that in mind, I rearranged how I think the riddle should play out. »

He reached into his jacket, pulling out a notepad that had been tightly tucked away. He took little time in writing out what he had in mind, handing him the notepad once finished.

« There, » Heiji said. « Give it a read. »

He gave it a look, doing as he instructed.

« a tune to Hear with a misdirection Red (1), superior to my the Deceiver, » Rick read with a pause. « i am solely for the eye beyond all affiliated kins, at the Affair shall I appear. »

Silence ensued for seconds to come as he read over it a few times more.

« You’ve rearranged the set up, now that you put it this way it does make a bit more sense, » Rick admitted. « But I still don’t quite get the meaning of it it all. »

« Think about it, » Heiji said. « The first part of the riddle is hidden with misdirection and deception, that alone links the two separate phrases together. »

« Nice find, » Rick commented. « But you said you knew where they would strike next, mind sharing? »

« Starlest. »

« Say what? »

« Their next showing will be at Starlest, I’m certain of it. »

« But why, » Rick asked. « The thief already completed a successful heist there. »

« We can’t be sure that last incident was done by the person who left the riddle. »

« Ok, let’s say this deduction of yours is correct, » Rick said. « Why Starlest? »

« That’s where the riddles were left to be found, » Heiji replied. « But don’t get too caught up in it. »

« What do you mean? »

« If what I think is correct, whatever is set to occur at Starlest will be nothing but a dry run. »

« Dry run, » Rick questioned looking back to the road. « What do you mean by that? »

« Haven’t you been following along, the culprit wants us to focus our attention to the targeted facility, » Heiji continued. « In this case being Starlest, this of course is to keep our attention elsewhere while they prep for their true heist. »

« And how can you be so sure of this? »

« The second part of the riddle all but confirms this, » Heiji replied. « Though hints have been dropped, I’m still unsure of the where. »

Rick took another look at the second part of the riddle, reading it for himself.

« i am solely for the eye beyond all affiliated kins, at the Affair shall I appear, » Rick read. « You’re right, it does sound as if they’re planning something big. »

« And I can’t quite pin point the where, especially when I still haven’t accounted for all elements within the riddle, » Heiji said. « Particularly the (1) directly after red, I’m sure there’s some significance to it. »

« So what happens now, » Rick asked. « We contact Mr. Ellson and let him know about this latest development? »

« We will, but first answer me this, » Heiji said tucking the notepad back into place. « How many Starlest facilities are located here in Gotham? »

He was hard at work, taking ample amount of time in digging up what he could on the subject at hand. Most of what was found was typical and expected, only coming across small details worth mentioning. The door cracked open from the other side of the room, keeping his sights to the screen as the sound of someone approaching became apparent.

« How are things coming along? »

« Little progress Alfred, » Conan replied. « But I might have something note worthy, in regards to the Resplendent Quetzal in particular. »

« What have you learned? »

« The Resplendent is one of the more well known birds from the Trogonidae circle, » Conan informed. « For starters it’s the national bird of Guatemala, even having a place on their flag. »

« That’s quite the find. »

« I also found an interesting story, a mythology if you will. »

« Carry on. »

« According to legend, the Resplendent Quetzal was looked upon as a figure of worship or a divine. »

« Like a god? »

« Simply put, » Conan confirmed. « There’s much to the story, but the fine details are what stand out. »

« Which is? »

« What its main feature represents, » Conan replied. « For example its green tail feathers are a symbol for spring plant growth. »

« I see. »

« Then you have the ancient Maya and Aztecs who viewed the quetzal as the god of the air, » Conan added. « Symbolizing goodness and light. »

« Am I to assume this legend has something to do with the events leading to Salomon’s Green’s death? »

« I can’t say for sure, » Conan replied. « But with the blood of a resplendent quetzal making an appearance at the scene, I’d say that warrants for a look. »

« I’m inclined to agree. »

« If there is some kind of ritual in this regard, I haven’t found it yet. »

« Keep at it, » Alfred said. « If there is something to find, you will. »

« Hopefully something that leads us to whoever is responsible for the murder of Salomon Green, » Conan replied. « From the intensity of the crime, I’m getting the vibe this was the first act of many to come. »

« That’s not too far fetched. »

« Which means finding this guy before he kills again. »

After a measurable amount of time spent on the road they had finally reached their destination, pulling into the large parking lot which was already next to full. They exited the car once parked, turning for the building standing in the wait.

« This is it, » Rick said with the close of the door. « Welcome to Living Green. »

« Did you call and let them know we’d be coming? »

« I’ve always preferred the surprise approach. »

« Right after you. »

The two moved on with nothing further, advancing toward the entrance with a step up to the sidewalk. They quickly gained ground, only a matter of time before they were to reach the doors. He looked to him as they walked, seeing something in him he hadn’t before.

« He’s so different than most, so direct and decisive.. yet calm, » Rick thought in the mist of the moment. « This string of sheer raw talent is hard to come by, especially in youth such as he. »

Not once did he take notice of him, his mind completely fixated on the task presented before them. They reached the doors within moments, stepping inside to see several other individuals strolling about.

« Now, » Heiji said looking around. « Where to find a manager. »

« That’s a really good question, » Rick said having a look himself. « There should be someone close we could talk with. »

« How about that clerk there. » Heiji pointed.

« That’ll do. »  

The two of them made their way across the room, careful as not to make contact with some who darted past.

« A lot of someone must be in a hurry. »

« Or we’ve walked in on a day where things are on sale. » Heiji said taking note of the advertising signs.

« That to is a possibility. » Rick said noticing the signs as well.

They stepped around a stand of plants which posed a strong scent, walking over to greet the clerk who stood behind the register.

« Hello there, » Rick said upon coming stopping. « Could you point us in the direction of your mushrooms? »

« Most certainly, » The young man said in response. « They are located in the outside part of our department. »

« Which is where? »

« Follow the wall there, it will take you to a door leading to the back. » He instructed pointing to the left.

« And how might we get in contact with a manager, » Rick asked. « We have a couple questions we’d like to ask. »

« Hold on, I’ll get one to this register immediately. »

« Appreciate the help. »

He then turned, coming to find him looking over something that was on his phone.

« Who’s that there, » Rick asked coming to his side. « Someone you know? »

« Not exactly, » Heiji replied. « But it is someone I’m hoping to find. »

« Let me guess, » Rick said. « Another case you’re fiddling with on your multi task list. »

« You could put it that way. »

He overheard the two speak, immediately recognizing the person in question after laying his eyes down to the phone from where he stood.

« Hold on, I’ve seen that person before. »

The two of them turned at the sound of the voice, coming to find it was the same clerk they had just spoken with.

« You’ve seen this woman, » Heiji said holding out his phone. « Are you positive? »

« Undisputedly, » He confirmed with a nod. « I recognize her apparel, she tends to wear that same outfit every time she drops in. »

« And when was the last time you saw her? »

« Three days ago if I’m not mistaken. »

« What do you know about her? » Heiji asked pushing for information.

« Not much, you should probably ask Steve about her, » The clerk suggested. « He talks with her every time she comes in. »

« Does this Steve have a last name? »

« Matthews, Steve Matthews. »

« Would he happen to be working today? »

« No, and he’s off for the next two days. »

« What about the woman, » Heiji asked. « Has he ever mentioned her name to you? »

« … Sam, I belive that’s what he addressed her by, » He replied. « If I’m not mistaken. »

« What about a last name? »

« If he knows, never mentioned it to me, » The clerk replied. « Why do you want to know, is she in some kind of trouble? »

« No, just want to talk. »

It was at that moment that his phone began to ring, stepping off to the side as he answered. Heiji could only stand in wait, watching as he engaged in conversation.

« What a lucky break this is, having her name speaks volumes, » Heiji thought. « Pending that the information holds true, we’re just that much closer to tracking this woman down. »

The conversation had been brief, setting his phone away with a deep breath. He could see the disturbance in his eyes, knowing something wasn’t right.

« What’s wrong, did something happen? »

« That was Mr. Ellson of Starlest, » Rick answered. « He wants us to meet with him right away. »

« For what? »

« It seems you were right, » Rick replied. « The thief has left their next mark. »

« A thief, what’s going on? » The clerk asked.

« Don’t worry, » Heiji assured. « It has nothing to do with here. »

« Who are you people anyway? »

« Detectives, » Heiji replied turning back  to face him before reaching into his jacket. « Here’s my number, would you be so kind to have Mr. Matthews call me the next time he’s in? »

« Sure thing, » The clerk replied. « What about the manager, what would you like me to tell her when she arrives? »

« Let her know we had somewhere to be, » Rick replied. « But rest assured, we will return. »

« Understood. »

The two turned back for the entrance, much running through each of their minds as they pressed on for the exit.

« Any idea what was taken from the scene? » Heiji asked.

« That’s the thing, » Rick said. « They’re unsure. »

« Unsure? »

« All they’ve found thus far is some broken glass and a few rearranged items. »

« But nothing missing? »

« Not from what I was told. »

« Then I guess we’ll find out when we get there, » Heiji said. « Which should only be about a ten twenty minute drive from our location. »

« Better make that thirty five, » Rick corrected. « This Starlest is not the same as before. »

« I had a feeling that’d be the case. »

« Let’s hurry, the sooner we get there, the better. »

« Nothing missing, broken glass, and a couple items rearranged, » Heiji thought. « That might just be our next hint. »

The last hours were spent along the road side, taking enjoyment in the ever lasting hill tops that were passed in the process. The sight of the many people gathered around the streets in the near distance gave him the clear, knowing he was closing in on his destination.

« Looks like the carnivals just getting started, this is defiantly the place. »

He slowed up in the seconds that followed, finding a place next to a public tree. He dropped down from the bike, keeping the helmet to the top of his head as to keep his appearance hidden. He pulled out a piece of paper, one filled with decisive instructions to follow. He casually made his way along the sidewalk, keeping his eyes peeled for a lone phone booth.

« According to this there should be one close. »

It was then that he saw it sitting directly across the way. With no vehicles currently passing by he quickly made his way to the other side. He headed directly for the phone booth once there. He stepped inside, gazing to the ground to find a batch of yellow chrysanthemum flowers tied together with an envelope attached.

« This is it. »

He reached down to grab it, feeling a spec of water touch down to his wrist upon escaping a petal. He took the time to tuck the flowers away, separating it from the envelope from them in the process. Just as he was to find what was concealed inside, the phone within the booth went off. He was almost certain who was on the other line. Thinking quickly he pulled out a small device, connecting it to the phone as he answered it.

« I’m here. »

« You’ve done well Light Knight, it’s only a matter of time before they catch on. »

« What happens now? »

« Open the envelope, you’re next task has been set, » A faded voice spoke in response. « Remember, I’m all counting on you. »

The line fell dead in the passing seconds, dropping the phone back to the hook after removing the device he’d attached to the phone.

« You have my services for now, but we’ll see how long that lasts. »

To Be Continued

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New Trail
Unfolding The Truth