The Detective Prince
The Unexpected Target
The next morning was a later start. He made his way down the stairs after having something to eat, stepping into the office on the way down. He could see him sitting back in the chair with eyes glued to the ceiling. It didn't take long for him to sense his presence, looking his way with the narrow of his eyes.
"What are you doing over there," Kogoro asked. "Shouldn't you be on your way to school?"
"But look at it out there," Conan pointed. "It's so dark and gloomy, I bet we get some rain."
"Not until this evening some time," Kogoro informed. "That's according to what I saw on the news, so don't take my word for it."
"Can I ask you something?"
"Well it depends," Kogoro said. "What is it you wanted to ask?"
"I saw you talking with a man across the street yesterday," Conan said. "What were the two of you talking about?"
"He was a client," Kogoro replied. "And what was said between he and I is confidential."
"I guess there's no use in asking why they didn't meet here in the office."
"You better get going," Kogoro said checking the time on the clock. "You have under thirty minutes before school begins."
Conan did as he said, making his way out the room.
"At least I gave it a shot," Conan thought. "What if he truly was just another client, maybe I'm just thinking too much into this."
It was a quiet walk there. It was dark, yet comforting in a strange way. Not many of the students were seen in front of the school upon his arrival.
"I guess I'm not the only one who thinks we'll get some rain," Conan thought. "That would explain why most everyone is inside."
He scoured the school yard for a last time, still no sign of his friends. With that he made his way to the door.
"We took the exam yesterday, makes me wonder what we'll be doing today."
The hallway was nearly as empty as the playground had been, only coming across two other students on his way to class. He arrived to surprisingly find two separate lines facing up to the front of the room.
"You're just in time," Sumiko said looking his way. "Why don't you take off your bag and join us."
He did as she said before heading back to the end of the first line where Ai happened to be standing.
"Class doesn't start for another three minutes," Conan said looking at his watch. "Any idea what this is all about?"
"Isn't it obvious," Ai said turning to face him. "We're setting up for the activity."
"Didn't you listen to what she said at the end of yesterdays class," Ai asked. "We're having a game day."
"Didn't quite catch that," Conan admitted. "My attention must have been elsewhere."
She turned back to the front of the room with Conan doing the same as they waited for the rest of their classmates to make it to class. His phone vibrated within a minute of the bell ringing which caused him to look down.
He took a step to the side to see who had left a message, making sure not to be seen.
"It's from Tim, must be important?"
He opened the message to see a picture of a woman. He was a little confused at first, quickly remembering what they had discussed.
"So, this must be Katina Sugo," Conan thought. "And now that I have a visual it shouldn't be to hard to locate her tonight."
He slid his phone back into his pocket before rejoining the line, hearing the sound of the bell go off in the passing minute.
Class was just minutes away, checking the time on his watch before closing his locker to see her standing a few feet away.
"Using your phone in school again I see."
"Oh hey Ran," Tim said. "Can't say I was expecting to see you before class started."
"I'm telling you, if you're not careful your phone will get taken," Ran warned. "And seeing just how slick you're not that might be sooner rather than later."
"What are you doing down here anyway," Tim asked. "Isn't your class clear across the way?"
"I came to give this to you," Ran said handing him a paper bag. "It's for Sonoko."
He looked down at it, then back to her.
"Why not give it to her yourself?"
"She won't be showing up for the first period," Ran replied. "And since you two have gym together I thought I'd give it to you."
"All covered," Tim said. "I'll give it to her for you."
"Thanks, I knew I could count on you," Ran said turning to walk. "Make sure you dress into something warm when we go out later, I heard it's supposed to cool down this evening."
He stood in place, watching her disappear around the corner.
"Wait a minute," Tim thought to himself. "We're going somewhere later?"
This left him a tad confused. Most of the period was spent with everyone doing individual work, with small conversations ensuing from time to time. She looked over at him as the class period neared its end, leaning over to tap him on the shoulder.
"Tim, are you ok," Airi asked. "You haven't said a word since coming in today."
"I'm fine," Tim said assuringly. "Just trying to get everything done."
"Not interested in homework I see."
"Pretty much," Tim said as the sound of the bell could be heard. "Great, and I only had two questions left."
"Don't get so down on yourself," Airi said packing up. "Those two last questions shouldn't take you past five minutes to complete."
He dropped his note book and sheet of elements into the bag before zipping it up, making his way out of the room along with everyone else. He carefully walked through the hall, doing his best not to get in the way of those heading in the opposite direction. It didn't take long for him to make it to the gym, taking a look inside to see she was the only one inside.
"Just the person I was looking for."
She turned at the sound of his voice, heading over to meet him by the door.
"You're already dressed and ready to go," Tim commented. "How long have you been in here?"
"I arrived at school fifteen minutes ago, but have only been in here for about five," Sonoko replied. "What did I miss in chemistry today?"
"Only two assignments," Tim replied. "With one of them being a small packet."
"That's all," Sonoko said surprised. "Friday's usually the day she stacks us up with work."
"You caught a break," Tim said. "Lucky for you, Mrs. V spent most of the class with a lecture."
"What did she say?"
"How typical of you."
"Anyway," Tim said holding out the brown bag. "Ran asked me to give this to you."
"Thanks, but you can keep it in your locker until after class," Sonoko asked. "I'd rather not have to carry it around all period."
"As you wish."
He turned to head for the locker room, stopping after only taking two steps forward.
"One last thing," Tim said turning back to face her. "Did you have something planned for later?"
"As a matter a fact I do," Sonoko replied. "Now that you mention it, I was going to ask you if you wanted to come along."
"Is Ran going with you?"
"Of course," Sonoko confirmed. "How did you know?"
"That would explain."
"Explain what?" Sonoko asked.
"You already told Ran I would be coming, didn't you?"
"Well, I might have," Sonoko smilingly admitted. "Come on it's not like you have anything better to do, it'll be fun."
"It depends, where are we going?"
"Don't want to spoil the surprise too soon," Sonoko replied. "I'll let you know as soon as class gets out."
"You're too much you know that?"
"Better hurry," Sonoko stated. "Only four minutes left until class begins."
He turned with the shake of his head, walking straight for the locker room.
The last few minutes of class they were given the opportunity to pick what they wanted to do. Most chose to either draw or talk with those around. He made his way over to her desk after packing up.
"Do you know what time we're going to go to Space Inc?" Conan asked.
She lowered the book from her eyes, looking to see him standing at her right side.
"Some time around six," Ai replied setting the book mark into place. "But I'd recommend coming over a little sooner."
"Understood," Conan said. "I've never been one to push the deadline."
"I'm curious," Ai said with the close of the book. "What changed your mind about coming?"
"I guess the thought of the unknown interests me a bit," Conan replied. "And like you said, I might learn something."
She smiled before sliding down from the chair. The two of them joined the rest of the students who stood by the door, listening to the sound of the bell ring in the next minute.
"I hope you all have a good weekend," Sumiko said on their way out. "And come back ready to learn Monday, we have a lot to cover."
The five of them stayed together as they walked, making their way all the way out to the front of the school before coming to a stop.
"So what's the plan," Mitsuhiko asked. "Are we all going to follow Haibara to the house?"
"That's what I was thinking." Genta said.
"I'll come along as well," Ayumi said. "I already told my mom where I would be this morning."
"What about you Conan," Mitsuhiko asked. "Are you coming with us?"
"I need to check in first," Conan replied. "I haven't exactly told either of them about going yet."
"Do you think they'll let you come?" Ayumi asked.
"Don't see why not," Conan answered. "It shouldn't take me any longer than an hour or two, if anything comes up I'll call and let you know."
"We'll see you you soon." Mitsuhiko said as the four of them watched as he walked away
It had been along day of school in his mind, following at her side as they made their way through the hallway.
"Please tell me you're kidding," Tim said as they came to a stop in front of her locker. "You want me to go with you to some fashion show?"
"That's only one of four segments," Sonoko said. "I'm sure you'll find one of the others to your liking."
"And how long is this thing supposed to last?"
"Don't know, but I'll tell you what," Sonoko said after opening the locker. "If things don't turn out as expected, we can always leave."
"That's not too late," Tim thought. "Maybe there's a chance I can make it to Space Inc before the six O'clock deadline."
She closed the locker door after placing a few things inside, turning to see him holding out the small brown bag.
"I take it you want this now," Tim said as she took it from his hand. "What's inside the bag anyway?"
"Nothing special," Sonoko replied. "Just some gardening supplies."
"Is that so," Tim said. "Never knew that was one of your hobbies."
"The tools aren't for me, they're for someone else," Sonoko informed. "I'm just delivering them."
"I have something I need to do at home," Sonoko said heading for the exit toward the left. "I'll see you later."
"But I don't even know where this place is." Tim stated.
"Just wait for Ran," Sonoko suggested. "She knows where the event will be held."
With that she left, walking around several other students who filled the hall to make her way out.
"Instead of focusing on the task at hand, I get to go see some show," Tim thought. "Lucky me."
There was no one to be seen upon his arrival. He headed straight for the room, removing the bag from his shoulders before walking up to the dresser.
"I wonder if this place has dress code of some kind," Conan said opening the top drawer. "Now, what to wear."
He took the next few minutes to decide on something, putting on a new set of clothes after coming to a decision.
With an extended workout planned for Monday, they had a shortened session which lasted for only thirty minutes. She could see him standing at the end of the hall after walking out of the locker room.
"Waiting for someone?" Ran asked heading his way.
"That didn't take very long," Tim said stepping forward. "Are you ready to go to that show?"
"Not just yet, I want to swing by the house to change into something else first," Ran replied. "Did you give that bag to Sonoko like I asked?"
"Sure did," Tim confirmed. "She left afterward, said she had something to attend to at home."
"No worries," Ran said turning for the door. "She can meet us there."
"How far is this place?" Tim asked following from behind.
"In walking distance," Ran replied. "Don't worry, we have plenty of time before the show begins."
"Any idea how long it's scheduled to last?"
"Good question," Ran said giving it a moments thought. "I'm not quite sure, but we could probably ask someone when we get there."
"Why do you want to know," Ran asked. "Is there somewhere you need to be later?"
"No, I was just wondering."
They made their way out the door, arriving outside to find the sky had darkened from what it had been earlier in the day.
"I'm going to head back to the apartment to go change into something else, I'll meet you at your place no longer than an hour."
"I'm going to change my clothes as well, it would make more sense if you came with me," Ran said. "The event is taking place up your way, so it wouldn't make sense for you to back track."
"Come on," Ran said walking forward. "We only have about two hours before the show begins."
He followed at her side as they made their way to the agency. Once there they opened the door to find Conan who was adjusting the tie upon his neck.
"And where exactly are you going?" Ran asked.
"The Space Inc opening," Conan replied "It's a little something Dr. Agasa was invited to."
"How come I haven't heard about it?"
"You wouldn't be the first," Conan replied. "None of us heard about it until he told us."
"That's too bad, and here I was about to ask you if you wanted to come with us," Ran said turning for her room. "I'll be just a minute."
The two of them watched as she headed into her room with the close of the door. He then looked to Conan who did the same.
"Where are you guys going?"
"Let's just say you won't be missing out," Tim replied. "Now onto business."
He reached into his side pocket to pull out a piece of paper, handing it to Conan.
"What's this?" Conan asked unfolding it.
"Blue prints to the Space Inc," Tim replied. "The facility has a total of four floors, the spectator area being on the second floor."
"What are these circled areas you have marked?"
"All the exits," Tim answered. "Two at the east end, and another being at the south/west side of the room."
"What about these two 'x' marks you jotted in?"
"Those are the only two vents in that room," Tim replied. "We need to have every escape route accounted for."
"You're really on top of this," Conan commented. "Do you really think she'll try to escape."
"It's not about her escaping," Tim said. "I'm more concerned about any uninvited guests entering, with her name being on someones hit list you can never be too careful."
"I'll be sure to keep my eyes peeled for any ongoing activity," Conan said. "On another note, how did things turn out in regards to you hacking that computer?"
"It took awhile, but I was finally able to get it to work."
"The user name that appeared on the screen was White Tiger," Tim informed. "I wasn't able to gain much more, being the fact the computer crashed not even a minute later taking out mine as well."
"Did you lose all your files."
"Yes, but lucky for me I keep backups."
"So do you think White Tiger is behind all of this," Conan asked. "Not to mention all the officers that were killed."
"If he is indeed the one responsible, than he must be controlling everything from a distance."
"What do you mean?"
"Before the whole network spiraled out of control I was able to get an idea of where the signal came from."
"Where, was it close?"
"Not at all," Tim informed. "From what I was able to pick up, I'd say he's not even in Tokyo, or Japan for that matter."
"But isn't this where his Black Yangs operate from," Conan questioned. "If he's not in Japan, then where is he?"
"That's the unfortunate part," Tim said. "I don't know where he is."
Silence ensued in the following moments. He took this time to place the blueprints into his pocket before walking over to put on his shoes.
"How long do you think it will take before you can make it to Space Inc?"
"Depends on how long this fashion show lasts," Tim replied. "I'll have my phone on, so don't hesitate to call if something important comes up."
"Loud and clear."
The two of them turned at the sound of her coming out of the room seconds later.
"I see you've got your jacket," Tim said. "Smart move, who knows what we'll get with this weather in the next few hours."
"Conan what time do you plan to be back?" Ran asked.
"No later than eight."
"I should already be here when you get back."
"Do you think we'll make it in time," Tim asked looking at his watch. "It's already almost three after ten."
"That just means we need to hurry," Ran said opening the door. "I'll see you tonight Conan, and have fun."
With that the two of them made their way out. He stood in the silence for nearly a minute before reaching into his pocket to grab his phone.
"Might as well call and let them know I'm on the way."
He brought the phone to his ear after dialing the number, listening to the ring as he waited.
"So, are you free to come along?" Hiroshi asked picking up from the other end of the line.
"Sure am," Conan replied. "Hold tight, I'll be there shortly."
"I have an even better idea," Hiroshi said. "How about I come pick you up instead, it will be much quicker that way."
"That works for me." Conan said in agreement.
"See you soon."
"I'll be waiting."
He put the phone back into his pocket after hanging up. Another minutes past before he decided to leave the room, tightly closing the door on his way out. He made his way down to the street side, not having to wait long to see the car heading his way.
He took a step forward as the car neared, opening the door to the passenger side after it came to a stop.
"We still have plenty of time before they're to start the presentation." Hiroshi informed.
"Which is at six right?" Conan asked strapping in.
"That is correct," Hiroshi confirmed with the nod of his head. "Is there anything you would all like to do before then?"
No one responded. This caused Conan to look back at them.
"Wow, that's one of the first times you guys haven't come up with something right on the spot," Conan said before turning back to face Agasa. "When do you think they will allow us in."
"What do you mean?"
"At Space Inc," Conan said. "How soon do you think they will let us in?"
"Anytime after four thirty," Hiroshi replied. "That's what I was told anyway."
He looked down at his watch to check the time, sitting back after doing so.
"We have a little over an hour until then," Conan said. "Which means we have time to spare."
"I have an idea what we can do," Genta said. "How about bowling?"
"Wouldn't that take up too much time?" Ayumi questioned
"I guess you're right." Genta said after giving it a seconds thought.
"I know just the thing." Hiroshi said starting up the engine.
"Where are we going?" Mitsuhiko asked.
"Why spoil the surprise, you'll see when we get there."
They off from there, coming to a stop after encountering a red light.
"Another surprise, I think I've had enough of those to last me an entire year."
The time continued to tick with four O'clock fast approaching. She sat in wait at one of the chairs in the lobby, continuously looking toward the elevator doors. She stood up from the chair after seeing him walk out the first door.
"Did I take too long?"
"It only took you five minutes," Ran said. "That's not long at all."
"We have roughly thirty minutes until the show begins," Tim said after checking the time on his watch. "Think we'll make it in time?"
"Don't need to."
"What do you mean," Tim questioned. "Has it been delayed to a later time."
"I got a call from Sonoko while you were up in your room."
"What did she say?"
"She's busy with something that came up and won't be able to make it," Ran informed. "And since this was her idea, I was thinking maybe we could do something else."
She took a few moments to give it some thought. It didn't take long for an idea to pop into her head.
"Ice skating," Ran said with snap of her finger. "How does that sound?"
"Ice skating," Tim said rubbing the top of his head. "Skating isn't exactly my thing, but if that's what you want to do I'll gladly tag along."
"Then it's settled," Ran said turning for the door. "We're going skating."
He followed her out, looking directly to the sky as they walked.
"Are you sure about this," Tim questioned. "It looks like we might get some rain, and I'm not talking about one of those wispy drizzles we've been experiencing."
"The skating rink is in doors silly," Ran said smilingly. "I just love the way you have an excuse for everything."
"What excuse," Tim asked. "I wasn't making any excuse, just pointing out we're looking to get some good rain."
"Oh forget it," Ran said continuing to walk. "The last thing I want to do is argue with a delusionist."
"What did I do or say to earn the delusionist label?"
She didn't reply, simply ignoring him as they made their way across the road.
"I see how it is."
Four thirty had already passed by the time they made their way to Space Inc, driving into the parking lot to find most of the spots were taken.
"I must say," Conan thought to himself. "That bird identifying activity at the park came as a surprise, defiantly not what I was expecting."
After searching for awhile longer he found a spot six rows away from the front of the building. They all got out from there, looking to see there wasn't another building in the near distance.
"I wonder why so many cars are parked in this lot," Ayumi questioned. "There was only about twenty names on the guest list."
"I'm betting most of the cars here belong to those working on the construction, look." Mitsuhiko pointed.
They all turned to the right to see a construction sight not too far from where they stood.
"What do you think they're building?" Genta asked.
"From the looks of it, I'd say it's an extention of the main structure." Conan said.
"I was thinking the same thing myself." Hiroshi said in agreement.
He pulled the blueprint sheet from within his pocket as they began walking, pinpointing where they were in relation to everything else around them. It wasn't long after that he felt someone tap his left shoulder.
"What are you looking at?" Ayumi asked.
"Floor plans for this whole facility," Conan replied. "That is for the parts that have been completed."
"And how did you get ahold of something like that?" Ai asked walking up to the other side of him.
"It wasn't all that difficult," Conan replied. "All it took was a little asking around."
"And here I thought you weren't interested in coming along."
"What can I say," Conan said sticking the sheet of paper back into his pocket. "The more I hear, the more I want to know."
They made it to the entrance soon after, walking into a surprisingly dark room. Hiroshi walked over to the man sitting at a desk in the center of the room. The conversation was brief between the two. He waved back to the five of them, signaling for them to follow.
"Right this way." Hiroshi instructed.
They stepped around the right side of the desk before heading down the dark hall. The dim lights from above flickered from time to time as they continued on.
"This place has a creepy science lab vibe to it, don't you think?" Conan asked looking to Ai who walked at his side.
"Getting a little scared I see."
"Of course not," Conan said. "I actually think it's kind of cool, this place has a unique feel to it."
"If you like it so much, why don't you ask for a tour." Ai suggested.
"Only if you come along."
After nearly a minute of walking they made their way into a large room, looking around to see others sitting at the many tables that occupied the middle of the room.
"This must be the place."
He then directed his attention to the left to see a piano sitting up on a large stage. It wasn't long after that someone amongst the crowd made their way into their direction. The tall man in a suit of black stopped once reaching them, holding his hand out with a smile.
"I'm glad you were able to make it Agasa."
"It's good to see you as well Mr. Loyd," Hiroshi greeted with the shake of his hand. "Will the presentation be at six?"
"It's scheduled for ten after," Mr. Loyd informed. "There are always those who show up late."
"That's a very true statement indeed."
He took this time to pull the blueprints from out of his pocket, walking forward as he looked down to examine the sheet.
"Conan, where are you going?" Mitsuhiko asked.
"Just showing myself around."
He made his way past a few tables in front of him, coming to a stop after reaching the far corner of the right side of the room. He took to a knee as he examined the lower part of the wall.
"There's one of the vents, exactly where he marked it," Conan said leaning in closer. "Looks way too narrow for someone to enter or exit through here, guess that means I can keep my attention elsewhere."
He stood back to his feet, looking to those that filled the room.
"Now to see if I can find the guest of the hour, Katina Sugo."
He gave the rest of the room a look, confirming where all the other exits were before deciding to rejoin the others.
"Enjoy your little stroll?" Ai asked.
"Couldn't have been any better." Conan replied sticking the sheet of paper into his pocket once again.
"How about we go over and find ourselves a seat," Hiroshi suggested. "There's no telling how many people will be here."
"Wasn't there only twenty people on the guest list besides us?" Genta asked.
"That's true, but the guest list didn't include those coming in from a technologies lab across the city," Hiroshi informed. "They've had a huge involvement in this project."
They made their way over to a table in the center of the room, taking a seat once there. It didn't take long for him to start scouring the room once more, catching sight of Officer Takagi who stood near doorway leading into the room.
"I almost forgot he was on the guest list, they must have brought him in for security purposes," Conan thought as he turned to the other side of the room. "Still no sign of Katina."
He checked the time on his watch to see it was forty eight after five, resting his hands atop the table with a deep breath.
"Conan, are you ok," Mitsuhiko whispered. "You seem a little uneasy."
"I'm fine," Conan whispered back. "I'm more anxious than anything else."
Minutes passed as he continued to watch more people fill the room, disappointed to see none of them were who he was hoping to see. He spun around from where he sat, his eyes slightly widening at who he saw sitting back a few tables.
"That man… where have I seen him before," Conan thought with a long pause. "That's right, he's the same guy I saw talking with Kogoro across the street."
There was no one seated next to him, giving Conan the feeling he had come alone. He watched as the mystery man removed a pair of black gloves he was wearing.
"This is the second time I've seen him," Conan thought. "Who is this man, and what's he doing here?"
There was plenty of free space up ahead, doing his best to maneuver around those in front of him before gliding with the ice beneath him. He could hear her gaining, turning as she slid up next to him.
"I thought you said skating wasn't your thing."
"You sure could have fooled me," Ran said. "What's with you anyway, you've been ignoring me ever since we stepped on the ice."
"That's not true; you just haven't been able to keep up."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Ran asked giving him a striking look.
"Relax, I was only kidding."
"I've known you for a little over a month now, but I really don't know anything about you," Ran said. "What do you like to do?"
"Read, operate computers."
"What about a birthday," Ran asked. "When were you born?"
"Any other brothers or sisters back home?"
"The feather has unexpectedly fallen from the tree more than anticipated."
She skidded in front of him which caused him to stop in his path.
"What was that for?"
"Why are are you being so passive with me, all I'm trying to do is have a normal discussion with you," Ran said. "Does this have something to do with me calling you a delusionist earlier?"
"It's not that, it's just... "
He couldn't think of what to say, turning away only to feel her hand touch down upon his left shoulder.
"It's ok," Ran softly spoke . "I'm here to listen to anything you have to say."
This left him frozen, leaving him unresponsive. He looked down at her, seeing that room warming smile across her face. The sound of her phone ringing in the next second released the tension from within him, watching as she pulled it from out of her pocket.
"It's my father, I really have to take this call," Ran said skating toward the other side. "I'll be right back."
He breathed out in relief, watching as she slid over to the wall.
"That's what you call being saved by the ring."
The clock ticked past six as he continued to keep his eyes fixated to him, occasionally taking the time to glimpse over at the door to see if anyone else entered.
"He hasn't said a word to anyone since arriving, that only raises my suspicion about this guy."
After a seemingly long time of sitting the long haired man finally made a move, reaching into his jacket to pull out a phone.
"Now we're getting somewhere," Conan thought. "Need to get in close to hear what he is saying, this might be my only way to learn who this man is."
He slid down from where he sat, stopping at the sound of his name being called.
"Conan, where are you going," Hiroshi asked. "The presentation will begin anytime now."
"I just need to stretch my legs a tad," Conan replied. "I promise I won't be long."
With that he walked off, slowly making his way to the table where the long haired man sat. A few of the other guests looked down at him as he past by. He could hear the deepness of his voice as he got closer, becoming more careful with each new step taken.
There was no one sitting at the back table but him, making it easier for Conan to slowly make his way to him. The closer the got the, the easier it became for him to pick up what was said. He slid under the table, using the table spread as a means of hiding himself. It wasn't until he was directly under him that he came to a stop.
"This will do, I should be able to hear what I need to from here."
The sound of others laughing at a table nearby could be heard, keeping his ears focused to the task at hand. He could hear the sound of his voice moments later, slightly pushing up to move in closer.
"The presentation has not yet started, but it should anytime now," He spoke with a deep voice. "How are things at the lab?"
He did his best to try and hear what was said from the other line, having no luck.
"Guess I'll have to try and put one and two together."
After a brief moment of silence he could hear the sound of his voice for a second time.
"Yes, she could prove most useful to this operation," He said. "If we're not able to get those neurons to function properly, we may have no choice but to enlist her along with the others."
"Enlist her," Conan thought. "Who's he talking about?"
He could hear him grunt from above, not sure what was said to cause this.
"Of course Valden, I'm watching her as we speak," He confirmed. "She's sitting directly in front of me two tables up."
"Now we're getting somewhere."
He continued to listen on, only to hear him click the end button a few seconds later which ended their conversation.
"That wasn't much, but at least I can find out what brought him here in the first place."
Still on his knees, he slowly made his way to the other side of the table. Once there he slightly lifted up the table cloth, looking straight forward.
"Now to see who this guy has his sights set on."
His eyes widened, feeling an increase in his heart rate after spotting her. He felt his grip on the cloth fade, letting it fall back into place.
"That's Haibara he's watching, could he possibly know who she really is" Conan thought. "But how, and what does he want with her?"
He quietly made his way back to the other end of the table, stepping out from under the table cloth before heading back over to the others.
"Was that walk good enough for you?" Ai asked turning to face him as he approached.
"Most certainly." Conan replied sitting up next to her.
He was on the fence on whether or not to tell her about what he had just heard. There were still several questions left unanswered, choosing not to say anything at the given time.
"I'll have to talk with her later, but right now I have to keep my eye on this mystery man," Conan thought glimpsing back at him. "Not to mention Katina, she has yet to show up."
He directed his attention back to the stage, patiently waiting as someone finally made their way onto the stage.
"Looks like things are finally getting underway."
The sound of the rain trailing along the window side could be heard before even turning the corner. He made his way to the door, stepping out to have the rain dash past the side of his face. There were no sudden movements, closing his eyes as he welcomed the heavy shower from above. It wasn't long after that he felt it all come to an end in one quick second, reopening his eyes to find an umbrella over him.
"Sorry to ruin your fun," Ran said coming to his side. "But the last thing I'd want is for you to get sick."
"I see you came prepared."
"Well it was a no brainer we would be getting some kind of rain," Ran stated. "That's why I brought the umbrella along."
"Good thinking, there's no telling when this will clear up."
"Says the guy who was standing in the midst of it all," Ran said as they began walking. "Do you always do that when it rains."
"It really depends."
"What do you mean by that?"
"The temperature, time of day, and most importantly my mood," Tim replied. "It's something that helps me forget it all, fall free from everything on my mind."
"What's wrong, have you been dealing with a lot of stress?"
"Something like that."
"Hopefully today helped some," Ran said with a smile. "Did you enjoy your time?"
"Of course, I'm glad that's what we decided to do," Tim replied. "But to be completely honest with you, that was only about my fifth time ever ice skating."
"Well you surprised me, I wouldn't have known the difference," Ran said. "If you want we could go again sometime."
"As long as you don't pull off any more of those fancy spins," Tim stated. "You made me feel like a complete rookie."
"I'm sorry about that, did I happen to taunt your ego?" Ran teasingly asked.
He smiled with the shake of his head, the two of them coming to a stop after reaching the end of the street.
"How about tomorrow, we could do something else fun," Ran said thinking up something. "Sonoko should be free, so her and Conan can come along as well."
A flash of lighting in the distance grabbed their attention for a brief moment before quickly fading away.
"Thanks for an interesting evening, I really enjoyed hanging with you," Tim said reaching into his jacket. "Before I forget, I have a little something for you."
She looked on, watching as he pulled a plastic bag from within his side pocket.
"What's in the bag?"
"It's a surprise, so don't open it until you get home," Tim said turning to walk. "I have a lot to get done, so I better get going."
He didn't get far, turning back to face her after feeling her grab ahold of his left wrist.
"I don't want you to get all wet," Ran replied. "Come on, I'll be the one to walk you home this time."
"That's not where I'm headed," Tim informed. "I'd hate to drag you along all the way up town."
She took a few moments to give it some thought, holding the umbrella out to him.
"Take it," Ran said. "At least this way you'll stay dry."
"But what about you?"
"I'll take a cab home from here." Ran replied.
She turned toward the street, holding out her hand to signal for a cab. It took over a minute before one arrived. He pulled the back door open once it arrived, allowing for her to step in.
"Anything planned for the rest of the night?" Tim asked.
"Nothing special in mind," Ran replied after easing into the seat. "Are you sure you'll be ok walking alone, some neighborhoods can be dangerous at night."
"Don't worry about it, I'll be just fine." Tim assuringly said.
"I'll take your word for," Ran said reaching for the handle. "Hope to see you tomorrow."
With that she closed the door, looking back at him after driving off to see him give her a wave.
"Something doesn't feel right," Ran thought to herself. "Why am I getting the feeling that something might happen to him, that I may never see him again?"
He stood to the same spot from where she had left, looking to the sky after the cab had driven out of sight.
"Now it's time for the real night to begin."
Everyone was quiet throughout the audience, listening to the captivating tune which came from the piano on stage. It was obvious that something concerned him, which didn't take long for her to take notice of. She gave him a soft nudge to gain his attention.
"What's wrong?" Conan whispered.
"I was going to ask you the same thing," Ai replied. "From what I can tell something is bothering you, care to share what?"
He didn't respond at first, looking down at the table before coming to a decision.
She did as he said to see the long haired man sitting two tables away.
"Do you recognize him?"
"No, I don't," Ai replied turning back to face him. "Should I?"
"I overheard a conversation he was having over the phone," Conan began. "Believe it or not, he's here for you."
"For me," Ai questioned. "Why?"
"Not sure," Conan replied. "But based from his clothing I'd say he's not part of the Black Organization."
"You're right," Ai said giving him another quick look. "He's not dressed in any black at all."
"What I want to know is how any body outside of the organization would know who you are," Conan said. "If my allegation holds true of course."
"What made you spy on him," Ai asked out of curiosity. "Have you seen him before?"
He nodded in confirmation.
"I saw him talking with Kogoro across from the agency," Conan informed. "What they were discussing is still a mystery at this point."
"I see," Ai said looking back to the stage. "So what do you plan to do?"
"Still contemplating on the matter," Conan replied. "No need to worry, I'll take care of everything."
"I have no doubt you will."
It continued to pour down, showing no signs of letting up. He was almost there, leaping from the edge of a building to touch down to the next.
"There's no building within one hundred yards of Space Inc, but that doesn't mean he can't still get the job done."
Using the capabilities of the cowl, he zoomed in on the east side of the building to pin point the only window on the second floor.
"I can see everyone in the room from here," Red Robin thought scouring the area around him. "Now to locate all other positions that room can viewed from, which should all be in this general vicinity."
If he was indeed hiding it out, he knew he had to be somewhere close. He checked several of the neighboring buildings above from where he stood, having no luck in sighting anyone. He then looked to the roof directly below, feeling a sense of success after spotting him.
"Just as I thought."
He dropped down, landing a few feet away from where he stood. Neither said a word to the other for the first couple seconds.
"Been wondering when I'd see you again, Deadshot."
He held the rifle firmly over his right shoulder, glimpsing over at him with a grin.
"Sorry to keep you waiting."
"I've already got my target locked in, make any sudden moves and I pull the trigger," Deadshot said. "You've done a great job up until this point I must say, but that all comes to an end now."
"Why are you going after Katina Sugo?"
"Who says she's the target?"
"So I see you have yet to figure it out," Deadshot said slowly bringing a finger to the trigger. "Tonights special is not Sugo, but rather your little friend with the glasses."
He felt his entire body fall numb, feeling everything inside loosen up.
"What's wrong, you look surprised?"
He chose not to respond, keeping his stance from where he stood.
"Poor kid has no idea what you just dragged him into."
"Why him," Red Robin asked. "The Sugo's are what brought you here in the first place."
"Your state of thinking is what has ultimately thrown you off," Deadshot said. "Having Sugo's name on the guest list is what they used to lure you in."
"So you were hired by someone after all, figures."
"I'm sure you're anxious to know more, but unfortunately I have a hit to complete at this time," Deadshot said taking aim. "I'll give you exactly ten seconds to make a move, better make it a good one, for the boys life weighs in the balance."
He accepted the challenge, simply pressing down to the center of his utility belt. Within that instant several lights throughout the city blacked out, including those at Space Inc.
"Can't hit what you can't see."
"Not bad," Deadshot said lowering the rifle. "You must have hacked part of the cities electrical feeds."
"I know how you like to do things from a distance, and when I saw Katina's name on the guest list I knew you would be lurking from afar," Red Robin said. "What I wasn't anticipating was who your target was."
"There's more you still have yet to uncover." Deadshot said tossing him the rifle.
It landed right into his arms. He knew right away, feeling the weight of the sniper rifle before looking back at him.
"It's unloaded, you never planned to take a shot did you?"
"This whole scenario was to test you, and I'd say you passed," Deadshot informed. "And before you ask, I have no idea what they hope to achieve out of all of this."
"Then let's start from the ground up," Red Robin said tossing the rifle aside. "Who hired you?"
"The master mind herself, Ms. Sugo," Deadshot informed. "I'm surprised you weren't able to deduce that on your own."
"That can't be," Red Robin said in disbelief. "Why would she want members of her family dead, let alone hire someone to target herself?"
"You still don't get it," Deadshot said with the shake of his head. "I don't think your mentor would be too impressed."
"Then enlighten me."
"I've said enough, you'll have to figure out the rest for yourself," Deadshot said in response. "But before I go, there's something I have for you."
He reached into his pocket, handing him a photo before taking a step back. He could see the expression on his face, choosing not to say anything.
"Why did you give this to me?"
"It's a message from Katina," Deadshot answered. "Her next move should be clear, I think you what what you must do."
With that he dropped a blinding smoke bomb to the ground, letting it circulate across the rooftop. Once it cleared Deadshot was nowhere to be found, leaving him the lone man standing.
"He's right... I know what I have to do."
Most everyone stayed to where they were seated after the electricity went out. It wasn't until several minutes later that the lights flickered back on.
"I wonder what that was about?" Conan thought.
Not wasting anytime, he turned around to see that the long haired man was no longer sitting where he had been prior to the black out.
"Great, just what I needed."
He dropped down from where he sat, which caused the others to look his way.
"Conan where are you going?" Ayumi asked.
"Be right back." Conan replied before taking off.
He raced across, coming to a stop after reaching the entryway to the room. Wataru immediately looked down more than surprised to see him.
"I had no idea you would be here," Wataru said looking toward the rest of the guests. "That must mean detective Mouri is here as well."
"No, it's just me this time," Conan said. "Is it ok if I ask you something?"
"Go right on ahead." Wataru replied giving him his full attention.
"When the lights went out did you to hear anything," Conan asked. "Did anyone happen run past you?"
"I don't believe so, I was on alert the whole time," Wataru replied. "I would have heard if someone went by."
"Thanks for letting me know." Conan said turning to walk the other way.
He gave the other possible exits a look as he made his way across the room, looking to find that they were securely shut.
"If he didn't leave through the door leading into this room, then how did he get out?"
He turned at the sound of her coming to his side.
"This is the third time you've run off since we got here." Ai said.
"Sorry, but I'm trying to figure out what happened to our long haired friend," Conan said. "When the lights came back on he was gone."
"That must mean he left."
"Not the way we came in," Conan stated. "According to Takagi when the lights went out no one left the room, that must mean he found another way to leave."
"Have you checked all other possibilities?"
The sound of his phone ringing grabbed his attention, reaching into his pocket to see who it was.
"One second, I have to take this."
He took a step to the side, answering the call after making his way to the near wall.
"I had an idea you would call," Conan said. "Sorry to say, but Katina never showed."
"I know, and she never planned on being there."
"Then why was her name on the guest list?"
"It was a set up."
"A set up, what do you mean?"
"I don't really have the time to explain, nor do I wish to at this time," Tim replied. "That's not why I've called you."
"I wanted to thank you, for all that you've done," Tim commented. "There's no telling what would have happened if I didn't have your help."
"I don't understand where any of this is coming from."
"I've given it some thought, believe me," Tim said. "But this is the way it has to be."
"What are you trying to say?"
"I... we'll discuss this later."
A long pause ensued, listening to the click of the other line shutting off. He dropped the phone from his ear, standing there for seconds to come. She looked on from a few feet away, becoming concerned from the look on his face.
"I wonder what that was all about?"
"Is everything ok?" Ai asked.
"I'm fine," Conan replied with the lift of his head. "I think it's about time we rejoined the others."
"If not through the door, then how do you think he was able to leave without anyone noticing?" Ai asked
"I don't know Haibara," Conan replied. "But that doesn't mean we cant find out."
Time continued to pass as they waited, watching as the clock closed in on thirty minutes before midnight. Nearly an hour had passed from the time they arrived. He checked his watch once more after five more minutes went by.
"She should have been here by now."
"Relax Vodka, we still have ten minutes until forty five after."
"Let's hope she's here by then, I don't know how much more of this waiting I can take."
"Why don't you order another drink," Gin suggested. "That should keep you occupied until then."
"I might just consider that."
He turned in his seat to try locate the waiter, looking to see her heading there way.
"What was the hold up Vermouth," Vodka asked. "You're usually always at the meeting site before us."
"Do you really want me to explain?"
"I'd rather you tell us why you asked us here," Gin said. "So let's cut right to the chase."
She took a seat at the third chair around the table before placing a folder to the center of the table.
"Two weeks ago you claimed to have completed a successful hit, file number Z118," Vermouth said sliding him the folder. "Why don't you take a look inside."
He watched from across the table, seeing the expression on his face drastically change.
"Gin, what is it?"
"Why don't you have a look yourself," Gin replied sliding it his way. "It seems our feathered friend has deceived us yet again."
He to gave the pictures inside the folder a look, shaking his head from side to side in disgust.
"How can we be sure this is him?" Vodka asked.
"Those shots were taken five days ago by one of our outside contacts." Vermouth informed.
"What brought him back under our radar?" Gin asked.
"I'll explain that soon enough," Vermouth replied. "But first I'd like to go over what you two know about him from your encounters."
"That's strange," Vodka said flipping through each photo. "I don't recognize any of these structures."
"And you shouldn't, those shots weren't taken here in Japan," Vermouth said. "They were taken in a place known as Gotham."
"That leaves us with the element of surprise," Gin said. "Red Robin won't know what hit."
"You're right," Vodka said in agreement. "He has no idea we're on to him."
"I will be assisting the two of you for this task, along with a few other chosen operatives," Vermouth informed. "We'll make sure the job is a success this time around."
"I'll assure it." Gin stated.
"And if that isn't enough, we have ourselves an additional target."
She reached into her upper pocket, pulling out yet another photo before placing it onto the table. The two of them gave it a look, surprised at what they saw.
"That's Red Robin," Vodka pointed out. "But who's the guy gliding next to him?"
"They say he's the cities finest, a legend even," Vermouth stated. "Code named, Batman."
To Be Continued