Chapter 13:

The Villain Quips Back

My Cute Kohai is Actually My Archnemesis?!

Reyna followed Hoshi with a pout, fully aware that she was sulking. Of course she would; She was a grown woman for crying out loud! To be called cute like that…Reyna sighed and shook her head. As much as she snarked, she couldn’t endure the same to any degree. It really was her fault for provoking Hoshi so much, but she was in too deep now. As she stepped in stride next to him, Reyna glanced at him from the corner of her eye.

He barely gave her a glance before asking, “Got a question, kohai? I can’t answer anything if you don’t ask.”

There it was again. Honestly, as much as it annoyed her to no end, it was refreshing. Her only interactions with other people involved Reiko, who was just a ball of pure energy and was completely unaffected by Reyna’s gripes, rants, and silent vigils. Thinking on it, every time someone had tried talking to Reyna, throughout high school or college, they had apparently been turned away by her fiery glares. Of course, it wouldn’t stop her from pursuing them to ask if they wanted to be friends, but they would always end up rejecting her.

Looking at Hoshi, she smiled. He didn’t seem afraid of her. That was nice. And as angry as she knew she could get…well, it wasn’t like she wasn’t having a lot of fun, right? “I do have a question, senpai,” Reyna said. “Are we there yet?”

She hid her grin as face twitched in annoyance. “Almost,” said Hoshi. “A couple more blocks until we reach the station they’re detained at.”

Reyna hummed cheerfully, hiding the fact that she was actually starting to shake from being so close to a police station. “So what’s the procedure here?,” she asked. Reyna then flinched as they turned the corner and saw the station, police flowing in and out the front door.

“The police have full jurisdiction and can and will pull us out anytime,” Hoshi explained. “That being said, we have some leeway being off-brand investigative journalists.”

“Off-brand, huh…” Reyna murmured. “They’ll let us have an audience with them?”

Hoshi nodded. “We’ve got ten minutes to talk with them.”

“And we’re allowed to interrogate them?”

Hoshi wobbled his hand from side to side. “We can ask anything, but we can’t force them to answer. Of course, the police probably already have some intel on them, and we can ask all we want, but it’s the same thing: We can’t force them. It’s either we get it now or we do our own research.”

Blinking, Reyna frowned. “Wow. We don’t have it easy, huh?”

Hoshi chuckled lightly. “No, we do not. In any case…” He held the door open for Reyna. “Ladies first.”

Her mouth started to move before her brain could think, and Reyna smirked. “Oh? Are you saying you think I’m old?”

The trap successfully laid, she watched Hoshi fluster red as he realized anything he said now was a potential bomb. “N-no! I mean—Of course not! I mean, you’re-“

“Oh? At a loss for words, I see,” Reyna said triumphantly before walking in. Ah, payback felt so good. “Come on, Michiaki. We have an interview to conduct.”

“Alright, alright,” she heard Hoshi sigh behind her. He shook his head and continued walking past her. “Let me lead the way, Hikaru.”

“Nice of you to be so civil now. Honestly!” Reyna folded her arms and punched his arm, eliciting a yelp from him. “We only just met yesterday and we’re like this.”

“You talk as if you haven’t been provoking me this entire time,” Hoshi said. “You’re the culprit here, as far as I’m concerned.”

Okay, she had to admit that this was true. That didn’t mean she was going to take it lying down, however. She pouted and looked away as she folded her arms. “You’re mean. I hate you.”

“I’m not falling for that, Hikaru.”

She immediately turned back with a wide smile. “Oh? And what would you fall for, Mi-chi-a-ki?”

That was how she was supposed to tease someone, right? At least, it was what she read in her shoujo manga, but real-world application was a whole other thing. Luckily for her, Hoshi immediately turned red and looked away. “Don’t say things like that so nonchalantly, Hikaru. Someone might get the wrong idea.”

“I didn’t say anything, did I?” Reyna asked. She cheered inside as she saw his bashful expression. “Alright, fine, I’m sorry. Are we good?”

He rolled his eyes and sighed. “I feel like half of my dignity has disappeared, but yes: I’d like to think I’m still your friend after what happened yesterday.”

For some reason, Reyna’s memory flashed with the face of Check from last night. It was so curious, how Check had just left her behind after saving her from being caught… Why was she thinking about this? Reyna blinked and her memory was replaced by Hoshi looking at her with some concern. She quirked an eyebrow and smiled.

“You know, you’re pretty nice when you want to be, Michiaki.”

Hoshi frowned at that. “I am nice. I’m the definition of nice!”

“Oh, really? Then I suppose you wouldn’t mind treating me to another—“

The sudden voice from behind Reyna cut her off. Goosebumps sprouted everywhere, and Reyna’s throat grew dry. “Michiaki,” the voice said. “Good to see you. How’s work?”

Reyna watched Hoshi’s smile grow in recognition, while she herself could only turn around in fear. “H-Hoshi? Who’s this guy?”

“Ah, don’t worry about him. Sure, he looks scary, and but he’s a huge teddy bear. In fact, he’s the one who said we could come right away today—granted we got the permission, first.”

Reyna stared at the chief of police with wide eyes, a cold sweat collecting on her back. Sure, Reyna had known that she was walking into the lion’s den, but she had forgotten that she might end up encountering some higher-ups she would rather avoid. And she knew his voice, because he had caused some trouble for Flare in the past…

“Hikaru,” Hoshi said, “Meet the chief of police here, Samson Chihiro.”