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Combat Boots and Red Heels

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Purple hair under the black hat. Lavender eyes scanned the empty park. A hazy cloud of smoke raised from her pale lips. Combat boots crossed, one over the other, as she waited for her employer to show up. It was gaining on 6:00 PM and most people were heading home for dinner. Given the time, it was perfect for the conversation that she was waiting for. After all, according to her employer, Kyoko Kirigiri was about to get one of the biggest paying cases of her young career.

Speaking of which, there was her employer now. A blonde man with white-rimmed glasses and a black suit, looking intently at the detective. Kyoko shook out the cigarette and threw it on the ground, stomping down on it to make sure that it stayed out. He eyed her actions as he neared her with mild interest, evidence showing that he didn’t really care, but it seemed to make for an interesting action. Interesting enough to catch his attention, since the famous Byakuya Togami wasn’t one for caring about much.

“I didn’t take you as a smoker, Miss Kirigiri,” He said as he stopped near her. Kyoko shrugged her shoulders as she crossed her foot over her other one once again, leaning against the tree once more with her arms crossed over her seat. He folded his arms himself.

“A gasper here and there ain’t much to barber ‘bout,” Kyoko replied in a cool voice, leaning her head back against the tree as she pulled her hat off her head. She ran her fingers through the loose purple hair with a single braid with her gloved fingers. “You said you got a case for me, Mr. Togami, is that so? Something you don’t want to drop a dime for?” Togami nodded his head in agreement. “And why might you want to hire a dick instead of a cop?”

“The case I’m particularly interested in ain’t one that the clubhouse got anywhere with,” He responded. Kyoko looked back at him, a spark of interest in her eyes. A case the police hadn’t gotten anywhere with was certainly something that she was interested in. If she could figure out something that they couldn’t, that’d certainly make her look good. Not to mention, how fun would it be to look into something that the police couldn’t solve. What kind of case would it be? “How much do you know ‘bout clip joints and speakeasies?”

“Insult to my job much?” Kyoko scoffed, leaning her head back so that she didn’t look at him anymore. Of course, she knew about them. Busted them too, if she got paid enough to do it. What would a man like Togami have any interest in clubs and bars? This whole case was starting to sound a bit like a revenge case to her. Fine. At least if it was, she hoped it was an interesting one.

“There’s a flapper who’s notoriously known for her flipper slides in the casinos and her vulgar habit of wiping the dough at every game she plays,” Togami continued, waving off her scoff and remark as if it was nothing. What would a Togami care about her opinion anyway? “Chumps been talkin’ about her, sayin’ she’s of the devil and she’s quite the chiseler. I think it’s all just bumpin’ gums, but they can’t seem to break it up.”

“And you’re wantin’ me to investigate to see if this isn’t just a boozehound tale, am I right?” Kyoko replied with a sigh. Rumors, so, of course, the police hadn’t solved it yet. Or would they. The police only dealt with facts, but if the rumors are true then this person seemed to be one of the best in the underground if they had avoided detection and remained a mystery this whole time. This might prove to be interesting, sure, but that would depend on the facts and proof she got for this. It’d be an interesting case, that was for sure. “What’s it to ya anyways?”

“I’ve taken interest for a private reason. Don’t you have a Need-To-Know policy?” Togami asked, receiving a nod from Kyoko. “Well, ya don’t need to know.” The detective shrugged her shoulders, not really minding so much. “I want to know if she existed, and if she does, I want her braceleted before me.”

“You talk like a big shot, but you know I ain’t allowed to turn anyone over to someone who ain’t a copper,” Kyoko replied. She made eye contact with Togami lazily like she didn’t really care about the conversation, but she was being serious about what she was saying to him. She wasn’t a detective who just did anything for anyone. She did have to follow normal rules and laws as well as anyone else.

“I’ll pay you large for this case. It’s taken my interest.” Togami’s answer was very blunt, and for someone of his status, sounded just as he said it. He was serious about paying her a thousand dollars for one case. That was more than she got in half a year. Maybe a whole year. Kyoko looked much more willing to agree once she heard that. Her job wasn’t an easy one, so the idea of getting a sum of money like that would surely set her up for the next year to be a good one. With so much as a sigh, keeping her excitement in check, she held out her hand to him.

“You got yourself a dick for your case, Mr. Togami. I do hope that you realize the amount of trouble you will find yourself in if you’re found out,” Kyoko said as the two of them shook hands.

“I don’t intend for this to leave outside of this, Miss Kirigiri.” And with that said, Togami turned and left without so much as a farewell, leaving the lavender detective by herself in the park once more. Kyoko didn’t mind. Her mind was already turning, trying to figure out what was going on. Of course, she thought to herself, he didn’t give her a name. Though, for the record, he might not know it himself. No matter. Kyoko would find the right people sooner or later who would give her the information she needed. After all, police stations were jealous of her skills. They wanted her on their teams. What issue would she have figuring out the name to the rumored Devil’s girl?

“Well, ain’t this going to be an interesting time?” Kyoko said to herself, crossing her arms over her chest once more and looking lazily up at the sky. The sun was setting. The night was the perfect time to start her case, after all.


 

“Wait, wait, wait, you’ve got a case that ain’t just ‘bout bent cars, boozehounds and speakeasies, or bindle punks and you won’t share anything ‘bout it?” Kyoko was out, walking with one of her closest friends, Makoto Naegi, who was a police officer in training, and she had just told him about her newest case, though she didn’t say anything more than it wasn’t one of her normal cases. “Come on~ Won’t ya barber ‘bit ‘bout it? I’ve got ta know now.”

“As I said, my employer was very big on closin’ his head ‘bout it. I’d know ‘bout as much as you,” She replied, brushing her hair behind her ear. She wasn’t going to say anything else about it, but there was something about Naegi’s puppy eyes that he gave her that made her want to cave in and tell him. “Oh, alright. But if a copper finds out ‘bout it, I’ll bump ya.” Naegi’s face lit up and he looked around to make sure that there wouldn’t be anyone around them to listen in and tell someone else about it. When he was sure that they were clear, Kyoko took her own scope of the land to double-check. He was only in training, after all, and he wasn’t all that good at it at the moment anyway.

“Alright, so my employer dropped a dime to me earlier and told me to meet him at the park. He started to tell me about a Devil’s girl that’s rumored to be in speakeasies, clip joints, and in gamblin’ games who’s been wiping the dough in every game she plays. Called her a flapper, but didn’t say more than that. Wants me to do a bit of gumshoeing, see if this skirt’s a real thing ‘r if it’s just ‘nother boozehound tale.” Naegi looked more interested than he had before the explanation. He wanted to say something about it but kept quiet until he was sure that Kyoko was finished. “Wants her braceleted too, if she does exist, and brought to him.”

“Don’t he know that ain’t legal?” Naegi asked, the things he wanted to say before vanishing as he heard the illegal request that Kyoko had been asked of. Kyoko shrugged her shoulders in response to that.

“If he does, he don’t care. Whatever. It don’t matter to me. He’s payin’ me large for it. It’s ‘bout worth it,” Kyoko replied, knowing full well that Naegi wouldn’t do anything about it. He trusted her, after all. If she agreed to it, it was because she figured that it wouldn’t be a big deal anyway. He probably had someone he was looking to get their money back from. After all, this wasn’t the first time she had worked with Togami, and that much was obvious to Naegi since she always spoke about this certain employer in a certain way.

“Well, your flapper sounds rather familiar. I got a friend, a Canary, who’s got gigs down in speakeasies and clip joints and the rest a bit and she’s mentioned something about a chick like that. Though, she was sayin’ that your chick was actin’ like a pro skirt, so that’s how I’ve heard her be barbered ‘bout,” Naegi replied. Kyoko’s eyes shot over to him, looking to see if he had any other information about it. Her eyes lit up in such a way that only happened whenever she was on a case and got new information or figured something out. He’d worked with her enough to figure that much out. He just shrugged in response, showing that he didn’t know anymore.

“Who’s this canary who knows ‘bout her?” Kyoko asked, detective mode turning on. She felt that rush of adrenaline fill her again, just as it always did whenever she was on a case. Detective work was in her blood, almost literally, and she was already ready to jump headfirst into the case. Naegi let out a chuckle and smiled at her.

“I’m gonna see her in a short time. You wanna join us?” He asked. Kyoko thought about it before nodding her head. It’d be the fastest way to get the information from her and the night was still young. She might just be able to figure out and find this mystery girl tonight if she played her cards right and got the right information. That wasn’t always the case when it came to her job, but that was just the same roadblock that she normally had on any case. If Naegi’s friend had seen her Devil’s girl, she might just be a real person after all. A woman in the gambling circuit who had been winning every game. She would be an interesting case, that was for sure.

“Don’t suppose that it’d do me harm.” Kyoko nodded over at him. Naegi smiled widely and took the detective’s gloved hand, starting to drag her away with him over to his car. Kyoko chuckled a bit and shook her head. Of course, he’d be excited and ready to go. What had she expected? Naegi smiled at her and dragged her to his car, opening the door up for before going around to get in himself. Kyoko slipped into the car and shut the door as Naegi got in himself. He started the vehicle and started to drive down to where he would be meeting his friend.

It was a fairly far trip, but the two of them filled it with updating the other on their most recent things about their jobs. Kyoko was mostly listening to Naegi talking, since he was a junior police officer, he had some pretty rookie cases, but they were fun to hear about from his perspective. Naegi had a way to exaggerate everything that was happening around him, so it just made it that much more interesting.

When they made it, Naegi and Kyoko waited for a bit to go in, continuing to talk as they waited for Naegi’s friend to show up. They watched out the window, but Naegi was mostly focused on his story. Eventually, a car pulled up and a girl about their age with a blue sort of bob, black skirt, black flats, and a white blouse waved over at Naegi’s car, directed at him. Naegi smiled and waved back, getting out. Kyoko, upon realizing that this was Naegi’s friend, got out herself and brushed down her outfit. A black skirt of her own with black, men’s combat boots, white blouse, black tie, and a suit jacket to go over it. Most people would complain to her about her outfit, tell her it wasn’t very lady-like, but Kyoko didn’t mind. With her bowler cap in hand, she made her way over to where Naegi was with his friend.

“Hey, Sayaka!” Naegi said when Kyoko arrived next to him. “This is my friend, Kyoko Kirigiri. Kyoko, this is Sayaka Maizono, the canary I told ya ‘bout!” Maizono gave a smile and a wave to Kyoko. Kyoko nodded her head back at her, shifting her hat to her non-dominate hand to hold it out for a handshake.

“Nice ta meet ya, Miss Maizono,” She greeted.

“The same to you, Miss Kirigiri,” Maizono replied as she took Kyoko’s hand for a shake. The two girls then let go and Naegi explained why he brought Kyoko along. Maizono agreed to answer the detective’s questions, upon the request that she stay for a bit with them. Kyoko agreed and they entered the restaurant. A half-hour wouldn’t be too bad, Kyoko thought to herself. As long as it got her the information she needed, she supposed it wouldn’t do her any harm.

After orders were taken and drinks were brought out, Kyoko brought up the conversation. “So, Miss Maizono, please, can you confirm for me about this Devil’s girl I’ve been hearin’ ‘bout?” Maizono thought for a good thirty seconds, taking a sip of her drink. A bit of wine, if Kyoko recalled correctly, given that the terms she used were typical among the speakeasies that she visited. Though, they were ones that Naegi wouldn’t catch onto, given their vagueness. This girl was smart, for sure. Kyoko would have been interested if she didn’t already have a big case to solve.

“I have seen her, once ‘r twice, if ya thinkin’ about who I am,” She started to say with a small giggle. “Of course, I ain’t actually met her. Don’t like ‘er aura. ‘Minds me of a button man, so I don’t talk ta her, but she seems charming enough.” Kyoko noted everything down in her head to try to remember it all. Her flapper was sounding more and more interesting, that was for sure. She sounded one of those prostitutes, ones who acted all charming and such, but were as dangerous as a she-devil. 

“Didja get a name?” Kyoko asked. She had just about everything she needed to know. Just a few more questions. “And looks. If ya said you’ve seen her.” Maizono nodded her head.

“Don’t got a name, but I got some looks for ya. Told ya, flapper. Bobbed, black hair, she’s as pale as the moon, and bright red eyes. Name’s not something I wanted to find out.” Kyoko sighed but wasn’t all that shocked. She did wish that she could get it. “But I do know someone who does. Friend of Makoto’s actually. One of the few coppers who’s managed to talk with her. If anyone’d know her name, it aught to be him.” Kyoko’s eye lit up once again and she practically stood up, ready to leave once she got it. “Settle down, cop. I ain’t even shared it yet.” Maizono let out of light-hearted laugh.

“Plus, you promised to stay for a bit longer. Com’on, K, stay ‘bit longer,” Naegi said, half-heartedly pulling her wrist back down. Kyoko chuckled a bit and sat back down in her chair.

“You’ve got thirty minutes with me.”


 

Kiyotaka Ishimaru. That was her next stop. Maizono had said that he was the only person she knew of that would know the name of her mystery girl. Kyoko knew the police station she was headed too. She worked there often. In fact, that was where she had met Naegi. Of course, she didn’t work there, but she had worked with and for a couple of people in there. Walking in was easy. Ishimaru worked up until it hit 10:30, that’s what Maizono said. It was 10 right now and he should be at the station.

Kyoko didn’t need permission to head back. The late-night secretary knew her well, so she didn’t do more than a nod as she walked into the back with the offices. Now that prohibition was a thing, the police station had actually become busier than they ever were about 24/7. With the turn of the times, crime became smarter, created mobs and gangs, speakeasies… Just about everything was a thing now. She almost pitied the people who had to do this for their job.

“I’m looking for a Kiyotaka Ishimaru, please,” Kyoko said to one of the officers. He nodded his head and walked off to find the requested person. Kyoko waited quietly, looking around the room. It was mostly empty. Pity. Didn’t they know that most crimes happened in the dead of night? Then again, maybe not. After all, Kyoko took her job very seriously, so she was up most hours of the night, solving her cases. The night was the best time for it, after all.

“You must be the chick who’s wantin’ ta talk.” A man with a clean, cut black hair walked over to Kyoko. She brought her attention over to him. He was in a white button-up shirt and black dress pants, and of course, dresser shoes than most. He must have been the chief or something like that. Maizono hadn’t said anything about that. “Kiyotaka Ishimaru. A pleasure to meet ya.” He held out his hand like a respectable male, so Kyoko shook his hand with her own gloved one.

“Pleasure. I was sent here by a friend of Makoto Naegi’s. Says you can help me with my gumshoein’. I’m looking into a case, a flapper in the underground who’s been clean sneakin’ out of trouble, and she says ya know the name.” Kyoko got straight into the point on her mind. No point in wasting her time if she wanted to go on anymore today. Ishimaru was quiet for a minute, thinking about what she was asking. “If you need more details, I can prove them. My employer would like to keep this quiet though.”

“You wouldn’t happen to be speakin’ ‘bout that gamblin’ girl who’s never been caught, would ya?” He finally replied. Kyoko gave him a nod and he looked more nervous than before. “You’d better follow me to my office then.” He started to walk away and Kyoko followed him back to his office. When they got there, he shut the door and gestured for her to sit down. She did and he sat down across from her.

“So, what do you need to know?” He asked. Kyoko ran through what she knew and what she didn’t. The name, the age, where she could find her, other things like that. She needed to know all of that, but she wasn’t sure if it would get her what she needed to know to solve the case. So, she started with the one thing she knew would actually help her.

“What’s her name?” Ishimaru was rather quick on answering that one.

“Goes by Celestia Ludenberg. That’s all I know ‘bout that. Dunno if it’s just a fakeloo artist name or not, but that’s the only name we knew ‘er by,” He replied. “Anything else?”

“Got an age?”

“Not exactly. Probably ‘bout the same age as you.” So, she was in her early twenties.

“Any place you know she frequents?”

“No, sorry.” Kyoko sighed and nodded her head. She wasn’t surprised that he didn’t know that. Most police didn’t know where most joints, clubs, and bars were anyway. She couldn’t really hold it against him. Worst case scenario, she would have to go to a bar and ask if anyone would know where she could find this Celestia Ludenberg and all that. “But I do know someone who does.” Now there was something. Kyoko looked more interested as he said that. “I’ve got a friend, Mondo Oowada. He’s seen her before. Mob leader, have to go to a deeper part of town to find him. Think he’s had a conversation with her too. Ya might learn more from him. More than I can give you.”

“Where exactly can I find him?” She asked. He nodded and pulled out a piece of paper, starting to write down an address. When he finished, he pushed it over to her with a smile.

“Be careful, dick. Don’t get yourself killed while you're at it.”


 

It was really late now, about 10:45, when Kyoko got to the address that Ishimaru gave her. Mondo Oowada… That’s who she needed to find. Now, where was he? She looked around the street. He was supposed to be hanging out around here with his mob, so why couldn’t she find him? She shifted a bit at a sudden burst of cold air that hit and pulled her jacket tighter around her, buttoning it up. She looked around one more time, this time finally catching someone wearing a Crazy Diamonds jacket. He didn’t look like the Oowada that Ishimaru had described, but he was definitely apart of his mob.

She watched him slip into a house, so she followed him over. It was across the street from the one that Ishimaru had told her about. Did he get the address wrong or was it right and she didn’t want to find out by knocking on the door. If she knew that he was apart of the mod, all she had to do was knock on the door and ask where this Oowada was. And she did just that, only to get directed to the house across the street. So it was right. Maybe she had come a bit late and everyone was already back doing their own thing? It didn’t matter all that much to her, so she made her way back across the street and knocked on the door.

There was the Oowada that she was looking for. He was very recognizable from the description that she was given, so she had no trouble identifying him now. He was tall, a few inches taller than her for sure, and the most identifying feature of his had to be his hair. Shaped like a cone, she took a moment to try to figure out how it worked, but then almost instantly just gave up. That wasn’t the point here.

“Good evening. I’m Kyoko Kirigiri,” She said quickly, holding out her hand to him. Oowada looked slightly confused, but he took her hand anyway and shook it. “I need to ask ya a few questions.”