Kaito let out a pointed yawn as he walked into the Nakamoris’ kitchen. Aoko, standing at the stove, ignored it. Rolling his eyes, he took a seat at the table across from Nakamori.
“Late night?” Kaito asked, eyeing the inspector’s somewhat slumped posture and the faint half circles under his eyes.
“He’s in a bad mood,” Aoko said, coming over to set a plate of food down in front of her father. Nakamori picked up the toast and took a distracted bite, chewing with a scowl. “The KID heist last night didn’t go too well.”
“KID… That bastard,” Nakamori growled. “He always finds a way to get around whatever we throw at him. It’s like nothing can stop him from getting to his target…”
Kaito’s face remained neutral, but his eyes skated quickly over the newspaper on the table, folded over to show the headline that announced yet another successful heist. He glanced back at Nakamori again and was a little alarmed to see a smile slowly growing on the inspector’s face until he was flat out grinning. It was a little creepy.
“It’s like nothing can stop him,” Nakamori said again as Aoko set a glass of orange juice down in front of Kaito. “As long as the target is there.”
“Huh?” Kaito and Aoko said at the same time.
“I’ve got it! Next time we won’t lose! I’ll take KID’s target to a secret location, far away from where KID will think it will be. No one will know where it is, so KID can’t possibly steal it!”
“No less from my dad,” Aoko said cheerfully.
Secret location, huh? Kaito thought.
“That’ll stop him for sure,” Nakamori declared, nodding with confidence. “And when he shows up and realizes his target’s just a decoy, he’ll be flustered and that’s when the task force will grab him!”
Kaito hid a flat laugh behind his poker face. Keep dreaming, Inspector, he thought happily. I know just what to do, now.
“The Suzuki Corporation again,” Kaito sighed. “And this time in Osaka.” He tapped out of the internet browser on his tablet and opened a series of photos he’d pulled from the video footage taken by his doves. He slumped down a little, his cheek against the heel of his hand as he flicked through them.
“The chairman, his wife, oldest daughter,” he murmured. “Her fiancé, youngest daughter, her best friend–” He cut himself off as he swiped to the next picture, stalling with his finger over the screen. This picture hadn’t been taken from any secret footage. He’d had to pull it from a news site because its subject, Kudou Shinichi, had inexplicably vanished from even Kaito’s rather comprehensive radar. He stared down at it then slowly swiped it aside, bringing up the next photo – one of Edogawa Conan. Frowning, Kaito flicked his finger over the screen, switching back and forth between the two pictures.
I know faces, he thought, his eyes narrowing. And that’s the same face. He stared hard at the image of Edogawa Conan for a few seconds longer then leaned back in his chair with a sigh.
“Looks like I need to do some more research.”
Kaitou KID glanced down at the sea of lights chasing after him and smiled. I should have time to make that stop. Ah, that’s the one.
He curved his glider toward a towering apartment building and swept down onto a balcony, letting the wind that came with his arrival rattle the clips on a hanger there. He straightened up, standing on the railing to look out over the city, and waited.
The door behind him clattered open.
“Who are you?” Yoshida Ayumi asked, stepping out of her bedroom and onto the balcony. “Dracula-san?”
“Heh. No,” KID said with a smile. He hopped down from the railing and knelt before the small girl. “Just a simple wizard resting his tired wings after flying for so long…” He took her hand and touched a quick kiss to it. “Ojou-san,” he finished with a wink.
Then the roar of propellers crashed over them, a rush of wind blowing KID’s cape as a glaring light washed across the balcony. KID stood and turned, raising his arm to block his face from view. The dove he had sent into Ayumi’s bedroom the moment the balcony door had opened used the moment of chaos to return to him unnoticed.
KID peered down from the balcony. Far below, police cars had gathered, directing spotlights up at the building, and he thought he could see Nakamori gesturing wildly as he shouted out orders. Smirking, KID leapt back onto the railing.
“See you, Ojou-san,” he said, and he jumped from the balcony, free-falling to drop below the helicopters before activating his glider and sailing off into the night.
“Eh? You saw the Kaitou KID?”
“Did you really, Ayumi?”
“Mm hm. He was so cool!”
“He really is the modern-day Arsène Lupin, isn’t he!”
“So? What’s the modern-day Holmes going to do?”
“Idiot. I’m gonna catch him one of these days, obviously!”
Modern-day Holmes, huh? Kaito thought, smiling as he watched the kids from a nearby rooftop. A speaker in his ear conveyed their conversation through the listening device his dove had planted on Ayumi’s bag. That was definitely one of the names the press liked to give Kudou Shinichi. It could be a coincidence…
The school bell started sounding and he looked down at his watch. “Oops. Better get going if I want to sit in on the task force’s meeting.” He looked to the school one last time and saw Conan glance back over his shoulder, looking around like he expected to see someone before Ayumi pulled him along into the school. Kaito smirked. “Oh well,” he sighed. “Another time, Tantei-kun.”
“Chairman! It’s time.”
“So it is! I appreciate your help!”
“Oh, you’re moving it to the exhibition room, right?”
“The fake will go there.”
“All previous times, we naively left KID’s prey where he indicated in his warning letters, and he swiped it anyway. So this time, we’re making it so he doesn’t know where the real one is.”
“I see! So, where will it be?”
“I’m afraid I can’t tell you that! Only my two men and I know! Of course they are… not KID in disguise, as you can see! …What are you–?!”
“Sorry, but you could be KID too, right?”
“In that case, you could be KID too!”
Kaito sighed as the conversation in his ear devolved into garbled, indignant shouts. He mostly tuned out after that, his fingers darting over the keys on his laptop. It seemed listening in on Nakamori wasn’t going to get him anywhere, and his searches were turning up too many possible spots for the inspector to choose as his hiding place.
Looks like I’ll need to narrow it down after all, he thought, glancing at the clock in the corner of his screen. I’ve still got a couple hours. The substation’s not far. His face broke into a grin.
“Oh, hey look at this. If 3 AM’s an ‘L’, right now’s ‘he’.”
“It’s 7:13 right now. At 7:20 it’ll be a perfect ‘he’.”
“…Hattori! KID didn’t mean 3 AM. He meant 7:20 PM!”
“What? Oi, where are ya goin’, Kudou?!”
High atop the Tsutenkaku, KID’s breath caught. “Kudou…” he whispered. “I was right…?”
“Osaka Castle! You guard the egg!”
His eyebrows pulled down just slightly. If this is really Kudou…
“Ah, wait, Kudou! The ‘tall building’ isn’t the castle tower! It’s Tsutenkaku!”
“At the top of the Tsutenkaku – it’s the light from the weather forecast!”
KID breathed out a quiet laugh. “Well, he’s from Tokyo after all. I guess I couldn’t expect him to research the entire city of Osaka in a few hours. But it seems he gets it now.” He pushed a button on a remote and the device on the dove standing watch at the museum made a soft sound. The bird took off into the night. “…Time for a little fun.”
At precisely 7:20 PM, the dove made it to the top of the Tsutenkaku and settled onto KID’s hand. He removed the device from her leg and the speaker from his ear, then released her back into the sky.
“Ladies and gentlemen!” KID called out, throwing his arms up as the wind rushed around him. The night echoed his words back and he tucked his hands into his pockets, reveling in the odd twist of a show that had been announced but was still an utter mystery to everyone. Well. Almost everyone.
A smirk turned KID’s lips up as he tugged down the brim of his hat. “Now, let the show begin!”
The push of a button sent fireworks screaming into the sky all around Osaka Castle. “Now then, next up is…” Another button and his bombs at the substation exploded. The buildings – the entire city – went dark in waves. He took out a monocular and turned his sights toward the first building on his memorized list.
“Hoenzaka Mikado Hospital… Hotel Dojima Century… Tenma Emergency Medical Center… Hotel Channel Ten… Naniwa TMS Hospital… Kansai Hotel World…” He scanned across the dark buildings and almost moved past his target out of sheer disbelief. It wasn’t just lights on in a window. There was a literal flashing sign on the roof. “Hm?” He breathed out a laugh. “Bingo.” Tucking the monocular away, KID jumped from the roof without a second thought and snapped open the glider.
At the warehouse, KID dropped onto the roof and dashed for the stairs. Luckily, Nakamori had set up camp on the top floor. I’ve got the advantage, he thought. I’m sure the detectives have figured it out by now. They’ll be on their way here, but they won’t make it in time~
Pausing at the only door with light shining underneath it, KID let his cape settle behind him and composed himself before quietly picking the lock and turning the handle. He stepped into the room and closed the door behind him.
“Gentlemen,” he said, tipping his hat.
“KID!” the three men shouted in unison.
That was as far as they got. The sleep gas capsule had already exploded at KID’s feet and Nakamori’s men slumped against each other and down to the floor as Nakamori himself dropped beside the small table where the box for the Memories Eggs sat.
Gift wrapped~! KID thought, scooping it up under his arm. How thoughtful! He moved quickly to the window and slid it open, breathing in the clean night air as the sleep gas dissipated. Then he carefully untied the rope around the box and lifted the lid free. A quick inspection was all he needed. It would be extremely difficult to create a thorough fake of the Memories Egg and none of his intel had hinted at a double-swap being part of the task force’s plan this time around anyway. He was settling the egg securely back into its packaging when the motorcycle pulled up in front of the warehouse.
“Oh~?” KID murmured, watching as Conan tossed his helmet at Hattori and ran into the building alone. KID grinned, and, on a whim, tossed a coil of rope with a sturdy hook down on the floor beside the window. “Okay ‘Kudou’. Let’s see what you’ve got.”
The door opened behind him and he turned.
The card gun was in KID’s hand in an instant and he fired at the floor. The ace struck right in front of Conan and the boy skidded to a stop, just barely turning away as the card exploded in a cloud of pink gas. It hardly deterred him. He held his breath and charged straight through it blind, making it to the window just as KID jumped.
Pulled that one off without a hitch! KID thought, grinning as he glided away from Nakamori’s top secret warehouse of solitude with the box for the Memories Egg tucked under his arm. Sorry, Tantei-kun, but there’s no way you’ll catch up to me now.
Ah. Right there. Osaka Bay. He started a gradual descent, guiding his glider smoothly over the rooftops.
And then he saw it – just a moment of concentrated red light through his monocle – and something hit him with enough force to jerk his whole body against the wind. Suddenly he was in an uncontrolled spiral and something snapped, the strong gale over the ocean wrenching him, and he felt the glider start to tear away from his suit. He could hardly open his eyes against the buffeting gusts and couldn’t get his bearings – he could only hope he’d made it over the water. He’d lost so much altitude already that any moment now–
KID crashed headfirst into cold water, plunging deep beneath the surface, his breath lost and water rushing in to take its place. He choked and clawed at the remains of the glider still hooked at his shoulders before realizing the futility of it. Instead, he unbuttoned the suit jacket and yanked it and the cape off altogether. They sank quickly as he forced open his eyes and he kicked hard in the opposite direction. He could just make out the faint light of the surface and fought desperately toward it but his vision was already starting to darken.
There was no explosive burst of hard won freedom or gasping for air. KID reached the top – got his head above the surface – but he was still drowning. It was only through fierce determination that he was able to keep himself up long enough to cough up some of the water and take a desperate breath as waves lapped violently at him from all sides, trying to fight their way back over his head and drag him down again.
A very demanding part of him wanted to just tread water and focus all his attention on gulping down air as best he could, but he knew he wouldn’t last long that way. Ignoring how his lungs burned, he pushed himself to swim, heading for the dock that was, mercifully, not too far away. When he reached it, he grabbed onto the edge. His arms shook and his vision went a little fuzzy when he tried to haul himself up but he had just enough strength to make it – to get enough of his body onto the damp wood that when his arms gave out underneath him he didn’t slip back into the water. He had to drag himself the rest of the way, crawling on his stomach until he was finally firmly on the dock.
A few harsh coughs shook him as his body forced the last of the water from his lungs, and he gasped in breath after breath, his cheek pressed against the planks beneath him. His whole body felt too heavy to move, but now that his survival instincts had had their say, his thief’s instincts were screaming at him to secure his position. He was far too exposed. The monocle and hat were gone, and the two young detectives had surely been right behind him. He needed to disappear.
Swallowing back a groan, KID rose shakily to his hands and knees and dragged himself into the shadows.
Kaito staggered out of the tiny shower and into the tiny room that made up his Osaka bolt-hole. He barely managed to make it into a pair of pants before collapsing on the futon and reaching blindly for some of the convenience store food he kept on hand. His fingers closed on the wrapping of a melon pan and he tore it open, ripping off a piece and pushing it into his mouth. He chewed thoughtfully then finally dragged himself upright, sitting against the wall to swallow. He snatched up a bottle of water next and took a grateful gulp.
Okay, he thought. So I lost the egg. Not ideal. But Tantei-kun, whoever he is, surely will have found it… He cringed. Hopefully it’s still okay… The box was sturdy and padded. It’s possible it wasn’t completely ruined… Kaito let out a weary sigh. Regardless, they’ll cancel the exhibit. So then, my best bet… I should bug the Suzukis’ ship.
He took another bite of the sweet bread and picked up his cell phone. It’s only 9:00. They won’t leave until morning. As long as I get it done before then, it should be fine. He set an alarm then quickly finished off the bread and the rest of the water. I can get a few hours of sleep, he thought, and he sank down on the futon again, pressing his face into the pillow. He was asleep in a matter of seconds.
By the time dawn broke, KID had already left and returned to his bolt-hole, and he spent the rest of the day in research. He already knew the egg was back safe with the Suzukis, and that Edogawa Conan was still hanging around, along with Mouri Kogoro, but the Osaka detective had been hurt in an accident the previous night. It left KID more unsettled than he was willing to admit. Add to that the fact that it had already been twenty-four hours and one of his doves still hadn’t returned… It had been a while since one of his heists had gone so wrong.
His research suggested an answer, but not one he liked. Curiosity piqued, he’d looked further into Kudou Shinichi, Edogawa Conan, and Mouri Kogoro. Apparently death cropped up around them rather frequently.
There was a soft click in KID’s ear and his hand moved up to press against the speaker there. A call was going out from the ship.
…It’s the chairman, he thought. …A murder?
KID listened through the end of the call then let out a sigh. I guess this time is no exception for those detectives. He frowned and stood, moving to his stash of disguises and picking through them as he thought the situation through. No one was supposed to get hurt as long as KID was involved. He should have realized from the start that that would be something of an undertaking this time. After all, he’d only targeted the egg because of Scorpion. He’d heard of the serial killer thief and done a little research – with a name like that, he’d considered a possible connection with Snake and his men, but in the end the motives hadn’t matched up. Still, after what he’d learned about the Memories Egg, he hadn’t felt comfortable just turning a blind eye and leaving things in the hands of a murderous thief. And now… He’d been too careless.
It’s about time I get more hands-on with this one, KID thought. He picked up a blue suit and laid it out on the futon. Shiratori’s away in Karuizawa. That should work out fine.
KID just couldn’t resist as he passed by Mouri Kogoro on the helipad of the Suzukis’ ship.
“Keibu-dono!” Kogoro called out. “We’ve been expecting you!”
“Honestly. Why do incidents always happen wherever you go?”
Ah, so Megure-keibu’s noticed it, too.
“Maybe it’s a message from god?”
“Mouri-san, doesn’t it seem like you’re the god,” KID said, pausing at Kogoro’s side with a smirk across Shiratori’s borrowed face. “A god of death, that is.”
Kogoro flinched back, his eyebrow twitching, and KID moved on, following Megure into the ship.
The cabin where the crime had apparently taken place was a mess. The room had been ransacked, and lying in the middle of it all was a young man whose eye had been shot through. He’d died quickly, if the relatively minimal amount of blood at the scene was any indication, but it was still a stomach-turning sight. KID was actually glad of the distraction when Kogoro started ranting about a robbery and a ring.
“If they just wanted to steal the ring, they could have just taken it, couldn’t they?” Conan pointed out. “But it’s strange… Not only is the room in shambles, but even the pillow’s been cut open.”
A forensics officer interrupted Kogoro’s immediate, scolding response (which KID hoped had been meant to discourage the kid from walking right into murder scenes and making calm observations while standing next to gory corpses – seriously, did he have ice in his veins?) and they mercifully moved the party to a lavish lobby, far away from the nauseating smell of blood.
In the lobby, KID kept one eye on Conan as Megure and Kogoro questioned their new top suspect. The boy was sitting quietly, tucked onto a chair with his hand at his chin and his eyes narrowed in an alarmingly focused but unseeing gaze. He was clearly working through something in his mind, and, at the mention of some missing video tapes, he leapt from the chair and bolted from the room without a word, ignoring Kogoro’s shouts.
“It’s all right,” Ran said. “I’ll get him.” And she ran from the room as well.
“…I’m going after them,” KID said a moment later, already heading for the door. “There was a murder here and we still don’t know who did it.”
Without waiting for a reply, he left the lobby, taking up his full speed the moment he was out of sight of the others. He caught up with Ran in a small waiting area outside a bank of phone booths and put a hand on her shoulder. Her immediate response was to knock his grip away in a clearly trained and focused move, her right hand already closed into a fist as she turned to face him. Just a moment later she was relaxing again at the sight of “Shiratori” standing there.
“Ran-san, a killer with a gun could still be wandering around here,” KID said. “Please return to the others.”
“But Conan-kun is–” she started, but KID settled his hand firmly onto her shoulder again and pointed her back toward the lobby.
“I’ll bring him back myself. Go on, now.”
“Please leave it to me.”
She was clearly still hesitant, but Ran headed off. When she was out of sight, KID tucked the listening device for his phone tap into his ear just in time to hear a call going through.
“Ah, professor. It’s me. There’s something I need you to look up right away. Can you check my dad’s case files for a sniper who shoots people in the right eye?”
The professor must be Agasa Hiroshi, KID thought. And this kid is clearly looking for information on Scorpion. But… I don’t actually know who Edogawa Conan’s father is supposed to be. Probably nothing but bad news if he’s the type to keep case files. Or… If this Agasa knows, then… Is he talking about–?
“What? A sniper who shoots right eyes? Got it. I’ll look into it. Call back in ten minutes.”
Heh. This seems to be a normal conversation for them, KID thought.
The call cut off and KID inched a little closer to the phones, trying to get a clear view of Conan where he was standing in the very last booth. Almost immediately, the boy shoved the door open and bolted out into the waiting area, frantically looking around.
KID had vanished on pure instinct, actually forgetting he was already in disguise. Geez, this kid is intense! he thought. It’s weird enough for someone to be that sensitive to being watched, but to react to it that way… It’s downright paranoid. Even… Even if it does turn out that this kid is actually a high school detective. Which, he was accepting more and more, was almost certainly the case. Even though it was impossible.
KID lingered just around the corner for a little while, but Conan didn’t leave the phone area. Apparently he was perfectly content to settle in for a long and serious think while he waited for his professor friend to gather some data, and KID elected to do some thinking and data gathering of his own.
He decided to head out onto one of the decks of the ship, keeping an eye out for anything strange. Ten minutes later, he heard another call connect through his listening device.
“I’ve got it, Shinichi! I accessed ICPO’s criminal database. There’s a criminal of unknown age and sex that fits. The name is Scorpion.”
KID paused on the deck, but it wasn’t at the revealing of the criminal’s name, or at the blatant address Agasa had used when speaking to Conan. It was at the missing lifeboat. He stared up at the empty rig where a boat should have hung and let out a silent sigh. All of this… is just too crazy. De-aged high school detectives. Serial killers. …Guess I better put out an emergency APB, he thought, firmly and decisively resigned. Murder cases were so much trouble.
When Conan left the phone booths, KID was already there to quietly follow, but Conan didn’t return to the lobby. Instead, he headed toward the cabins and found the investigators, and KID watched him jump right back into the case – or rather, slip right into the top suspect’s room while the adults were distracted.
Heh, not bad, KID thought. Except… Takagi had definitely noticed Conan walk into the room. Interestingly enough, he wasn’t stopping him. Does he know, too? Is it even a secret that this kid is somehow Kudou Shinichi?
Conan paused beside the bed and his hand moved to his chin again. A few moments later, he was poking curiously at the pillow, then picking it up.
“Conan!” Kogoro suddenly howled, and KID felt himself go cold as the detective’s fist came down at him. Conan ducked out of the way just in time and let Kogoro faceplant onto the bed.
“Hey, Nishino-san, you’re allergic to bird feathers, aren’t you?” Conan asked, not even acknowledging the swing Kogoro had taken at him.
“Eh? Yes, that’s right.”
“Then Nishino-san isn’t the killer!”
Everyone was reacting with surprise at the claim, but Conan suddenly whipped around, staring right at KID. KID relaxed his body mostly on reflex, letting an easy, disarming smile smooth the more dangerous expression from his face. He hadn’t even realized he’d moved into the room – hadn’t realized he’d been glaring at Kogoro who’d clearly been about to make another attempt on Conan before the revelation.
“It’s all right,” KID said. “Go on.”
“O-Okay,” Conan replied and KID got the feeling he was getting off easy simply because there was a more important deduction in the works that required Conan’s attention at the moment. “After all,” Conan continued, addressing Megure and Takagi again. “Sagawa-san’s room was filled with feathers, wasn’t it? The killer even cut up the feather pillow. Someone allergic to feathers wouldn’t have done that!”
It was decided at that point that the matter was worth looking into, and the party headed back to the lobby again.
KID kept a closer eye on both Conan and Kogoro as Megure confirmed the alleged allergy, but he was admittedly distracted when Sonoko chimed in.
“So that’s why Nishino-san ran out of Ran’s room before. There’s a dove in there!”
A dove? KID thought. Could it be Lucky? He schooled his expression and glanced down at Conan, trying not to imagine this unexpectedly sharp and daring detective managing to catch one of his doves and keep it caged.
“Inspector, have you ever heard of Scorpion?” Conan asked.
“A bad guy who goes to lots of different countries and always shoots people’s right eyes and kills them to get Romanov Dynasty treasures!”
“Oh, now that you mention it, there was someone like that on the international wanted list… Eh?! So does that mean the killer is…?”
Conan smirked. “It’s most likely this Scorpion. They probably shot KID, too.”
Everyone was leaning in now, listening to Conan, but KID stayed still, bristling at the satisfaction that last deduction had come with.
“KID’s monocle was cracked, right?” Conan continued.
Dammit, he got my monocle too?
“Scorpion shot KID down to steal the egg from him.”
“And why do you know about the Scorpion?” Kogoro asked, sneering down at Conan.
“No, I, uh–”
“Agasa-hakase told him.”
In a very satisfying display, Conan whipped around, looking shocked. About time I got the drop on this punk for once, KID thought. “Isn’t that right, Conan-kun?”
“Y-Yeah,” Conan murmured, but he was clearly shaken. He kept glancing back at KID as the discussion continued, and KID didn’t bother hiding the fact that he was watching him anymore.
Let’s see how Tantei-kun handles the pressure, he thought. It was clear now that not everyone knew this kid wasn’t actually seven-year-old Edogawa Conan. In particular, Mouri Ran seemed suspicious of him, which hinted at him actively hiding it from her. Awkward, KID thought, since his research had told him that Mouri Ran was Kudou Shinichi’s best friend, if not more. And now “Conan” lived with her and her father. There was definitely a story there.
KID settled in to watch as Conan seemed to shake off the weight of his situation, proceeding to childishly guide the people around him into accurate, if roundabout, deductions. Kogoro, however, failed spectacularly. KID had already had his suspicions about the validity of that particular “great detective.” Now he was starting to think that what he was actually looking at was a figurehead and his tiny puppet master. It was a little creepy.
“So that means Scorpion is still somewhere here on this ship,” Megure finally concluded.
Oh right… “About that…” KID said. “One of the life boats is missing.”
“So Scorpion took it and escaped?”
“I put out an emergency APB, but it’ll be difficult to find.”
“So they got away, huh…” Megure muttered.
Conan was looking fairly serious again as the other passengers murmured their relief that the murderer was no longer on board. There are more important things happening here right now, KID reminded himself. It wasn’t every day he dealt with a serial killer on the loose. If he was going to help resolve that, he needed to get serious.
“However,” KID said. “There’s still the chance Scorpion will appear at the Kosaka family castle for the second egg. No… They may be heading there already. Megure-keibu, as soon as we arrive in Tokyo tomorrow, I’d like to accompany Natsumi-san and the others to the castle.”
“Understood. Please do.”
“Hey, you heard him,” Kogoro said, leaning down by Conan. “You’re absolutely not coming along this time.”
KID quickly stepped in. “No, let’s take Conan-kun with us.”
“His unique ideas could prove useful,” KID said.
“His?” Kogoro muttered, a look of utter consternation on his face.
“Yeah,” KID replied with a barely contained grin.
If he was being honest with himself, he did want to know more about this bizarre detective and, well, murders really weren’t his thing. Conan, whoever and whatever he really was, definitely seemed to be the most competent detective in the group. If KID wanted Scorpion caught and the egg safe, Conan was who he needed.
It wasn’t long after that that everyone gathered for a late dinner, and “Shiratori” excused himself to the restroom so that KID could sneak off to the private cabins. He breathed out a quiet laugh at the room number on the door, A-221, as he picked the lock and stepped into Conan’s and Ran’s room.
He didn’t bother with the lights. The curtains were open and the moon was bright, illuminating a basket set beside the window. KID eased the door shut behind him and saw the little white head come up. Lucky cooed softly.
“Hey, Lucky,” KID whispered in his own voice. He was simultaneously relieved that she was not locked up, and guilt-ridden because she was watching him and shifting anxiously but not getting up or flying over to him. He could see the unnatural way her feathers seemed to lie and realized as he came closer that she was actually wrapped in white bandages.
“Oh, Lucky…” he whispered. “I’m so sorry.” He held his hands out to her – gloved out of necessity, though he wished he could take them off now – and lifted her gently from the cushioned basket when she willingly shuffled closer. “Here, let me see,” he murmured, and quick, skilled fingers unwound the bandages. Then they moved down her back, along her wing joints, across her breast, and over each leg. “Okay… You’re gonna be okay.”
Lucky cooed again as KID settled her back into the basket so he could retie the bandages. It wouldn’t look the same – whoever had applied them was clearly unaccustomed to treating birds – but at this point he didn’t really mind if Conan noticed the difference. If the little detective wasn’t already assuming KID was somewhere on the ship, then he wasn’t that much of a threat after all. Mostly, KID was just relieved that Conan and Ran hadn’t done anything to hurt Lucky, and had actually done their best to take care of her.
“I need you to stay with these people a little longer,” KID said, offering Lucky a treat which she cheerfully nipped from his fingers. “I’ll come for you soon. I promise.”
Lucky trilled at him and nested herself a little deeper into the cushion in agreement and KID smiled.
To be safe, he tucked a tiny camera and bug into the pot of flowers beside the couch, then headed out to rejoin everyone at dinner.
From the spare room Chairman Suzuki had provided for Shiratori, KID watched as the lights came on in Ran’s and Conan’s room later that night.
“I’m going to take a bath,” Ran told Conan as they walked in.
“Okay!” Conan acknowledged, and KID cringed at the extra layer of cheerful childishness he put on the word. Ran had been stealing narrow-eyed glances at Conan all night and apparently it hadn’t gone unnoticed. He remained smiling and bubbly as Ran gathered her clothes and towel, but the moment the bathroom door had shut he sagged, the mask vanishing entirely, replaced by exhaustion.
Sighing, Conan climbed up onto the couch, standing on the cushions to offer his hand to Lucky. “Hey there,” he murmured. “How are you doing?”
Lucky cooed softly and Conan picked her up, tiny hands cradling her with utmost care as he seated himself on the couch. She was plucking at his pocket before he even had the chance to take out the piece of bread he’d brought back from dinner for her. Smiling, he pulled it out and opened the napkin it was wrapped in, laying it on his lap for her.
“Sharp as ever,” he laughed quietly as she nibbled the bread. “I’m glad you’re feeling better.”
Once her interest in the food had lapsed, Conan wrapped it up again and set it aside. Lucky fidgeted and paced around some when he moved her from his lap onto the couch to retrieve a bottle of water. There was a clean, unused ashtray in the room and he poured some of the water into it and set it on the cushions. She came over immediately and drank, rather impressively not spilling a drop.
“It’s a little creepy how well trained you are,” Conan muttered, but he was smiling. Until he went to check her bandages.
Conan stopped cold, fingertips just brushing the clean white wrapping. “What…?” he breathed out. They’ve been retied. He’d been with Ran almost the entire night, and it didn’t look like her work anyway. It looked professional. “It couldn’t be…” Lucky tilted her head innocently at him and something in his face brightened. With just one sweeping glance around the room, Conan immediately zeroed in on the pot of flowers beside the couch and picked up the tiny camera. “You really are still alive,” he said, and there was sure and definite relief in the words.
Back in his room, KID felt like something inside him was squeezing. Maybe… I was a little too quick to judge this kid.
“Sorry,” Conan told the camera, confident and smirking again. “I won’t let you have your way, but you don’t have to worry about her.” He glanced back at Lucky who had already managed to get up onto the armrest of the couch on her own. “She probably misses you,” Conan added, turning back. “So hurry up and finish whatever it is you need to do here so you can take her home.”
The feed cut off and KID blinked at the black screen then breathed out a laugh. I think I’m starting to like this guy, he thought with a wry twist to his lips. “I definitely misjudged you, Tantei-kun. I won’t make that mistake again.”
The rest of the night passed quietly. At daybreak, the ship arrived in Tokyo and it wasn’t long before their group was piled into a few cars and heading up the mountainside.
KID felt fairly validated in his insistence at bringing Conan along when, upon arriving at the castle, Conan not only led them to the exact room they needed, but also promptly found a key pad that would open a secret passage under the castle. He’d had to bite his tongue to keep from suggesting the phrase he’d discovered in his research, but between Conan and the others they found the answer on their own, and soon they were all trekking down through dark and musty stone halls.
They’d been walking for a while when the sound of movement echoed through to them from the opening of a dark offshoot. Conan stopped in his tracks.
“What is it?” Ran asked.
“Just now, there was a faint sound.”
Kogoro turned back, raising his lighter. “Scorpion?”
“I’ll go see!” Conan said, and he was already running – headfirst down a pitch black, narrow passage. KID nearly swore out loud. He had to make a dash just to cut Ran off from running headlong after him.
“I’ll go,” he said quickly. “Mouri-san, please stay here with everyone.” KID took off, breaking into a sprint the moment he’d turned a corner where the others couldn’t see. He nearly tripped over Conan when he caught up with him. He hadn’t expected that the detective would slow down and approach the source of the noise with any kind of caution.
“Conan-kun!” he said, jerking to a stop.
“Conan-kun, you can’t just go running off after a murderer on your own. It’s dangerous,” KID scolded.
Conan let out a sheepish little laugh. “Uh, right.”
KID tried not to roll his eyes. “Stick close to me, okay?” he said, and they continued down the tunnel toward the noise. He kept one hand on the bag slung over his shoulder, ready to go for the card gun at a moment’s notice, and soon they could see a faint light moving around the corner, accompanied by too many footsteps. KID tensed, his attention split between the reckless detective in front of him and the likely trouble just up ahead, and then the glare of a separate light source fell onto them… from a hand not three feet above the ground.
“Ah! You guys!” Conan said.
KID stared down at the pack of children standing in the tunnel. They all looked incredibly relieved to see Conan.
“Conan-kun!” Ayumi said brightly.
Conan looked suddenly exhausted. “Honestly…” he muttered.
KID couldn’t help but sympathize. There was only one way this could go now – they’d have to bring the kids back with them to the rest of the group. It was a lot of people to keep track of, and danger felt imminent.
That feeling solidified in both KID and Conan when they arrived back at the main passage where they’d left the others only to find Inui gone. Conan’s eyes darted cautiously around the shadows, then accidently met KID’s for a heavy moment. There was a wordless agreement between them that now wasn’t the time to raise the alarm – not when just the mention of a sound down an offshoot had sparked a “cry wolf” response and a reckless reaction that had split their group.
Well, KID thought with a silent sigh. At least he learns.
KID took the lead again as they continued through the tunnels, the children marching along singing Two-Mix songs at top volume. He could easily understand now the reaction Conan had had upon seeing them. They had about as much of a sense of self-preservation as Conan – which was to say, they had absolutely none at all.
Turning a corner, the party stopped abruptly in the face of a stone wall. They’d hit a dead end and, not a minute later, Conan was muttering to himself, then demanding that KID narrow the beam of his flashlight onto the crown painted on the stone. KID obeyed without question and ushered the other children back as the ground shook and whole sections of the floor moved, opening yet another passage into a final, cathedral-like room.
The second egg was, of course, in a coffin. An occupied coffin. With a corpse. KID was starting to wish he’d never gotten involved.
But then Conan got that look on his face again.
“Sergei-san, let me see that egg!”
“You again!” Kogoro shouted, heading for Conan. KID grabbed him, covering his personal feelings with an easy placation in Shiratori’s voice.
“Can I help somehow?” he asked Conan. Let’s show this idiot how it’s done.
Conan took the offered egg from Sergei. “Bring your light,” he answered, and KID ran after him, back to a pedestal in the center of the room where he inserted the flashlight into a hole in the bottom on Conan’s instruction. And it seemed everyone became somewhat inclined to follow Conan’s orders once the kid really got rolling. The others put out the candles and they all gathered around the pedestal.
“Just watch,” Conan said, and he set the egg over the light.
This guy, KID thought as light shone through the eggs, raising the gold figure inside and slowly turning the internal network of mirrors into place. He doesn’t miss a thing.
Suddenly, black and white photos flickered onto the dome ceiling.
“So that’s why it’s the Memories Egg,” Conan muttered and KID’s eyes flicked down to him again.
He was still hung up on that? Such a small thing? It wasn’t even that strange, but he wasn’t satisfied with an answer that almost fit. He’s freaking relentless…
Eventually, Sergei took the egg from the pedestal and handed it back to Natsumi, but Conan wasn’t paying attention to it anymore. That mystery, and a few he hadn’t been expecting, had been resolved, and now that they had…
Huh? Now that I think about it… Where did Inui-san go? He’d allowed himself to get distracted, but Inui disappearing was a new loose thread, and it didn’t bode well.
“The mad monk, Rasputin,” Haibara said, and Conan’s thoughts derailed again.
“He wasn’t in any of the photographs, even though he was close to the imperial family.”
“Yeah… He was in one in Kiichi-san’s room–” Conan stopped short, going pale at the memory. It was like a missing gear dropping into place, and suddenly everything was turning, taking shape, answer after answer churning out in his mind.
Even so, it didn’t stop him from registering the laser scope moving up Kogoro’s chest to his right eye.
“Look out!” Conan shouted, and he hurled the flashlight at Kogoro. Kogoro went down with a shout, but no one seemed to realize what was happening.
No one except KID. He’d caught just a glimpse of the laser when Conan had shouted and he turned to the shadows, searching for its source.
Conan’s second shout was more desperate.
“Don’t pick it up, Ran!”
KID looked back just in time to see Conan leaping at her, taking them both down on the stone floor as another bullet struck the wall.
“Everyone get down!”
The children screamed and ran in three different directions. Natsumi ran too, and promptly tripped, the egg bouncing away with a clatter. Ran was still on the ground, but Conan didn’t even give her a second glance. He was back on his feet in seconds, flicking on the light in his watch and bolting from the room, following sharp footsteps into the passageway back to the castle.
KID snatched up the fallen flashlight. “Mouri-san, you take care of things here,” he shouted, not even waiting for a reply as he took off after Conan.
KID was only a few steps behind when an explosion around the corner nearly knocked him off his feet. He charged forward anyway and came face-to-face with a billowing cloud of dust rising up from a fresh pile of rubble where the walls and ceiling had broken apart and caved in.
For a moment, he could only stare. “It can’t be… Tantei-kun…”
But then he heard a startled yelp from farther down the passage. Conan’s voice.
He must have made it through just as the explosion was going off, KID thought with giddy relief. He was already clambering up into the rubble, feeling around for the best place to try to break though. Probably just blew right on through it. He thought back to Conan’s reaction to the smoke bomb KID had fired at him in Nakamori’s secret warehouse. Seems like him, he thought with a laugh.
It cost him a couple of minutes, but KID worked his way through a narrow gap at the top and started after Conan again, but around the very next corner he had to stop short. Inui was lying in the middle of the path, one eye open in a dull stare and the other blotted out with blood. Swearing viciously in his own voice, KID stepped over him and raced for the stairway up to the castle.
By the time KID made it to the Room of Knights, fire was raging through the building and Conan and Seiran were facing off right in the middle of it. Even as KID spotted them, Seiran’s gun went off and KID choked on a smoke-filled gasp. He’d drawn the card gun but it was already too late, except… the bullet hadn’t killed Conan. It had bounced off his glasses. Glasses that he’d gotten from his strange professor friend just before entering the castle.
Shaking out of his shock, KID saw Conan crouch to turn a dial on the side of his shoe, just as he had before kicking a soccer ball hard enough to pulverize the phone on the wall of the engine room of the Queen Selizabeth back in April. KID knew what was coming, but Seiran had already reloaded her gun and she wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.
KID fired first and his card struck the gun, knocking it from Seiran’s hands. Conan was already running up for the kick, and a helmet from one of the fallen suits of armor caught Seiran in the ribs with an unsettling thwack. KID couldn’t help but wince.
I guess I’m pretty lucky that didn’t happen to me back then, he thought as he ran around to the other side of the room, coming up from behind Conan rather than from the same angle the card had flown from.
“Conan-kun! Are you okay?”
“Oh, uh, yeah I guess,” Conan answered, hurrying to put his glasses back on, but his eyes moved to the ace stuck in the floor as flames licked at the paint on the metal. KID pretended not to notice. He moved past him and gathered Seiran up in his arms, casually slipping the nested eggs into his bag as he did.
“Right. Let’s get out of here,” he said, but Conan didn’t move.
KID saved me, he thought, still staring into the flames. That wasn’t surprising – he’d done research on the thief after their showdown in April and had found that what the fans (This guy has fans; what the hell is wrong with the world?) called KID’s “No one gets hurt” policy held true. But it still doesn’t make sense – why did KID go after the egg in the first place? What is he trying to do?
“Conan-kun!” KID shouted, apparently snapping the detective out of some engrossing thought. And then the ceiling gave way between them. KID dove out of the way with Seiran, but he heard Conan cry out in the midst of the cracking wood and crashing metal.
Shifting Seiran onto his back, KID forced himself to his feet again, squinting through the near-physical wall of heat and clouded air.
“Tantei-kun,” he shouted, loud as his smoke-filled lungs could manage. He staggered toward the spot where he’d last seen Conan, pushing through burning debris, and just barely caught the sound of coughing near his feet. The debris there was moving as Conan cried out again, struggling to rise to his hands and knees under too much heat and weight. KID quickly identified a still-solid wooden beam resting at a good angle and lifted it up, letting it take the weight of the rest of the debris. The second Conan had crawled free of the wreckage, KID dropped the beam and scooped him up, carrying him and Seiran both as he picked his way through to the nearest exit.
Outside the burning castle, KID dropped to his knees and dumped Conan into the grass before shrugging Seiran off of his back as well. The night air was a cool, fresh mercy, but each breath he gulped down between coughs was tainted by the acrid smell of burnt latex. He could feel where his mask was torn and damaged, hanging from his face in true horror-film fashion, and he turned away from Conan on the off chance the detective didn’t already know exactly what was going on.
Conan didn’t get up after KID dropped him. He stayed in the cool grass, just taking in the scent of it as he tried to catch his breath. Distantly, his mind attempted to assess the damage. I’m… gonna have some serious bruises, he thought, swallowing back a groan when he finally tried to move. But I don’t think anything’s broken. Heh. I’m not usually that lucky. He made it to his hands and knees then sat back to look around. Shiratori was leaning over Seiran with his back to Conan, checking her pulse and her breathing. Apparently she was fine too, because he stood then, still facing away, and demanded, “What the hell were you thinking, Conan-kun? You could have been killed.”
Conan’s eyes narrowed. “Give me a little more credit, KID,” he shot back. “I knew what I was doing.”
KID tossed a quick glare over his shoulder at Conan. Then, suddenly, impossibly, he was dressed in all white again, towering over Conan and backlit by the burning castle. What little Conan could see of his face looked almost frighteningly angry.
“Oh, really,” KID said, all flat, biting sarcasm. “You had her on the last shot, but she reloaded before you took her down. If I hadn’t been there, she would have killed you.”
“I had it handled,” Conan insisted, making it to his feet although his movements were unmistakably stiff.
“Then what would you have done if it was just you and Scorpion in there? Would you have been able to carry her out? Were you planning to just let her die?”
“Of course not!” Conan shouted back. “I–” He stopped abruptly and took a breath, bringing his voice back down. “I knew you were there,” he said.
“Oh, so you just assumed I would help you out at the risk of my own life, is that it?” KID scoffed.
Conan did his best to meet KID’s eyes. There was no monocle, but it was still difficult to see between the harsh, flickering backlighting and the shadow of KID’s hat. “Yeah, I did,” he answered firmly. “And I wasn’t wrong.”
For a moment, KID seemed genuinely taken aback, but then he scoffed again, his eyes moving off to the side.
“Hey, can I ask you something?” Conan said. “Why were you after the egg? Every once in a while you veer off from jewel theft. Even the clock tower – there were supposedly jewels in the clock hands, sure, but they were fakes. You were obviously in it for the tower itself. What are you really trying to do?”
That’s right. This is the same guy who nearly caught me back then. And he’s been… researching me, huh? “Well, let me ask a question of my own,” KID said. “Just what the hell happened to you after the clock tower heist? You cross a witch or something?”
He almost regretted the question when Conan froze, his face, smudged with ash and burned skin, looking truly young with an expression of genuine fear. Then, almost as quickly, resignation passed over him in a visible wave, bowing his head and slumping his shoulders. His gaze shifted off to the side. “More like a crime syndicate,” he sighed under his breath.
KID stared. “A… crime syndi–”
Something crashed inside the castle, another ceiling or wall giving way, and both KID’s and Conan’s attention shot back to the building, breaking the moment.
This isn’t the time to be talking about this, KID told himself firmly. There are other things that we need to wrap up here. KID knelt and pulled the nested eggs from his duffle bag. “Here,” he said, handing them over to Conan. “I trust you know who these belong with.”
Conan accepted the heavy egg, blinking wide eyes at KID. He looked young again – not in the fake, forced way he did when he was “acting” around most of the people in his life, but in a pure, honest way that KID could almost picture on the true Kudou Shinichi’s face.
“It wasn’t really the egg I was after,” KID said, and he didn’t know why he was saying it, but he knew he wanted to, and he knew he could without any real risk. “It was Scorpion,” he said. Then, reaching over his shoulder, KID pulled his cape around and turned. Conan couldn’t quite follow the movement, but KID was suddenly dressed in Shiratori’s burned suit again, though the mask did not make a reappearance. Instead, KID had produced a baseball cap to hide his face. “I’ll need to stop off to replace some of my supplies,” he said with a shrug at Conan’s questioning glance. “Then I’ll bring her in to the police.” He jerked a thumb toward Seiran. “That okay by you, Tantei-kun?”
Conan let out a scoff that might have been a laugh. “Yeah, go ahead.” He followed KID as he carried Seiran to Shiratori’s car, and even opened the passenger door for him. KID settled Seiran into the seat and buckled her in.
“Are you gonna be okay on your own?” Conan asked. “What if she wakes up?”
“Please.” KID grinned. “Like I can’t handle one unarmed serial killer.”
Conan couldn’t help it. There was a smirk forming on his face and it didn’t disappear even as he watched Kaitou KID, an internationally wanted criminal and living challenge to the pride of any detective, drive away scot free. Still, both eggs were safe, and the serial killer who had claimed two more lives in the past two nights was heading to jail. It could be worse. Conan leaned back against Agasa’s Beetle and let his eyes close with a heavy sigh.
KID dropped a sleep gas capsule into Shiratori’s car before leaving it and Seiran tucked out of the way down the block from his nearest bolt hole. It only took him a minute to stop in and reconstruct his disguise, and then he was carting Seiran into custody.
It was pretty late by the time he was breaking into Kudou Shinichi’s empty house to steal one of his school uniforms.
Just one more stop to make, he thought, admittedly eager to put this whole case behind him. He dressed in front of Shinichi’s mirror and carefully resituated his hair. It was a little alarming how close he came to the real deal just with that. I think… this disguise might come in handy down the road, he thought, grinning.
KID strolled casually through the rain toward the Mouri Detective Agency and headed up the stairs, but he stopped short at the sounds of conversation just past the open door.
“But… you are different people, right? Isn’t that right? Conan-kun?”
There was the unmistakable wavering of tears in Ran’s voice. KID went cold. She’s… Is she confronting him about his identity?
The answering silence was a little too long, and when Conan spoke again, it wasn’t as a child.
“L-Listen, Ran… The truth is, I’m actually…”
No. No no no, this isn’t right. Everything he’s done, all the effort he’s put in, how scared he was. It can’t be for nothing. He’s got to have his reasons. He’s got to have good reasons for not telling her. The image of the cheerful, childish mask dropping away into exhaustion in the cabin on the ship flashed through KID’s mind. He wouldn’t put himself through that if he didn’t have to. I need to stop this–
A vague feeling of not my business ran through him along with a faint, cruel whisper of not my problem, but he didn’t listen. Because it was his problem. It was exactly his problem.
If Tantei-kun truly wants this, he told himself. If he wants to confess this secret, he can expose me. I’ll admit to the disguise, take Lucky, and leave, and he can say whatever he needs to say. But if he’s really backed into a corner here… I want to provide him with an escape this time around.
KID found himself standing in the doorway, and, in finding himself there, his mind instantly supplied the role that would have to come with it.
“Shinichi,” Ran said, staring at him from beside the window. Conan turned. His glasses were in his hand and his face was displaying uncomprehending shock. KID smiled at him.
“Is that really you, Shinichi?” Ran asked.
“What kind of hello is that?” KID said. He didn’t even have to disguise his voice. He just had to choose his words a little more carefully. “I came to check on you after I heard you got caught in an incident.”
For a moment, Conan looked like he was having a heart attack. Then, all at once, he relaxed, the realization clear in his eyes.
Ran rushed around the couches and over to the door. “Stupid!” she shouted at him. “What were you doing? Why didn’t you ever call?!”
“Sorry, sorry. It’s just case after case, so… I’ll have to leave again tonight.”
Conan felt sick. It was like something straight out of his nightmares. He was literally watching himself make the same tired excuses to Ran while she fought back tears with anger until both lost to concern.
“W-Wait. I’ll go get you some dry clothes.” She ran past KID to the stairs and KID watched her go. The moment she’d disappeared into the living area upstairs, he turned to leave.
No, Conan thought. You’re not disappearing again. He hurried down the stairs after him and stepped out into the rain. “Wait a minute, Kaitou KID,” he said.
“You had me completely fooled,” Conan began. “Who would have thought the Shiratori-keiji on the ship was really you in disguise.” I even suspected you were on the ship, even knew for certain after you snuck into our room, but I never picked up on anything that would have given away your disguise until we were under the castle. …It’s almost scary how good this guy is.
KID raised his fingers to his lips and blew out a shrill whistle. The dove, waiting in her basket, flew down from the open window above and landed gently on KID’s shoulder.
“You knew, didn’t you,” Conan asked. “That something would happen on that ship.”
“I wasn’t really sure of it,” KID admitted. A second dove appeared in his hand, followed by a third and a fourth. This detective was interesting – a strange mix of pride and humility. He’d assumed before that there was only arrogance, but now he was forced to conclude that Kudou Shinichi had no problem admitting when he was wrong. It just didn’t happen very often. Faced with someone like that, KID couldn’t help but want to leave a lasting impression. “But I bugged the ship’s phone line anyway,” he answered.
“One more thing,” Conan said. He still wasn’t making any move to stop KID, but he was watching him closely. “You tried to steal the egg so you could return it to its true owner, Natsumi-san.” You told me it wasn’t really the egg you were after. That’s been true all along. You never wanted it for yourself. And I believe you really did want to stop Scorpion. I don’t know which motive came first, but both were… There was a vague notion in his mind he almost couldn’t put a word to: selfless, well-meaning, justice-driven… He struggled with the whole concept. Both were… good. “You knew that Kosaka Kiichi-san made it, and that he was known as ‘The Last Wizard of the Century.’ That’s why you used the name in that letter.”
“Oh~? Anything else you’ve realized?” KID asked, his voice light and cheerful.
Conan felt himself smile. It was true. It was all true. He wasn’t making excuses for this thief. It was just possible his motives really were that… pure. “Natsumi-san’s great-grandmother was the third daughter of Emperor Nikolai the second, Maria, isn’t that right?”
KID paused, glancing back. He didn’t look quite so happy anymore.
“Maria’s body was never found,” Conan explained. “That’s because, before she could be shot and killed, Kiichi-san helped her flee to Japan. Love blossomed between them and they had a baby. But immediately after, she passed away.
“In order to protect Maria’s body from the Russian revolutionary army, Kiichi-san sold her jewels and built a castle. But he didn’t choose a Russian style. He chose a German style because her mother, Empress Alexandra, was German. So Maria and the egg were buried in the secret underground room. And in the other egg, he left a clue about the castle in the hope that a descendant would find it. In this way, all the mysteries are solved.”
He could see that much… Even in the midst of everything else that was going on – with a serial killer on the loose and those grade school kids right in the middle of it all, he still caught every detail, worked out every piece until they fit together as a whole. “…I have one piece of advice for you,” KID said, glancing back with a smile he didn’t quite feel. “There are some mysteries in this world that are just fine staying mysteries.”
To his surprise, Conan smiled.
“That’s true,” he said. “It might be best to leave this particular mystery as is.”
Something in KID’s chest was squeezing again. Honestly… When am I gonna stop underestimating you? He breathed out a laugh. “Well then,” KID said as doves continued to appear, perching on every spare part of him they could find. “Can you solve this mystery, Meitantei? Why did I show up as Kudou Shinichi and help a dangerous foe like you?”
It was a question KID himself didn’t know the real answer to. He didn’t want to look closely enough at either of their situations to see the similarities – the lies they told the people around them because of the dangers they faced on their own. He wouldn’t face the truth yet. Not now.
Ran was running down the steps and KID let out a breath. It seemed he wouldn’t have to face the detective’s answer just yet either. He snapped his fingers and dozens of doves took flight at once, and their magician vanished into the night. But as KID looked down from a nearby rooftop at the little detective standing in the rain, he couldn’t help but smile.
“A detective who’s so obsessed with finding the truth that he’ll dive in relentlessly until he has every last little piece… but at the same time he’ll hold that truth inside if it’s for the sake of the people involved.” He breathed out a laugh. “You keep surprising me, Tantei-kun. I hope we meet again soon. I’ll look forward to it.”