Chapter 24:

The Villain Argues Against Stealthiness

My Cute Kohai is Actually My Archnemesis?!

Reyna stared at the shop and its giant neon sign. She ignored the people moving items below for the moment, because she was still trying to process what she was seeing. “Reiko,” she said, “You’re a genius.”Bookmark here

Before Reyna had left her apartment, Reiko had the brilliant idea to do a search on logos involving the moon and a raven, which led them to a location that seemed to fit the bill. While they didn’t know for sure whether it was where the gang congregated, they knew that it was, at the very least, related. That thought had led Reyna to where she was now, crouched next to the edge of a rooftop and looking at the unassuming convenience store.Bookmark here

Now that Reyna had made it, she pulled out her phone from the single-strapped bag Reiko had given her and dialled Reiko’s number. “Reiko, I’m here,” said Reyna.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I know. I’m tracking your phone right now,” Reiko said. “Make sure to take some photos. You might be able to pass them off as photos from an insider to Hoshi.”Bookmark here

“Uh,” Reyna whispered, “Isn’t that really suspicious? Like, how will I explain how I got them?”Bookmark here

Reyna could almost see Reiko shrugging from across the phone. “I’m sure you’ll figure it out. You want to impress him, don’t you?”Bookmark here

“I never said that and you know it, Reiko.”Bookmark here

Reiko giggled. “Well, you said you wanted to one-up him, which is basically the same thing.Bookmark here

“It is not!”Bookmark here

“Anyway,” said Reiko, “You should just observe for now. We really don’t know what is going on here or whether we were actually right about this. For all we know, it could be an unfortunate coincidence for a simple convenience store.”Bookmark here

“You don’t really believe that, do you?” Reyna asked. “I mean, the company literally says ‘Moon Raven.’ How do you explain that?”Bookmark here

“We can’t always assume something at face value, Reyna. That’s how you get into trouble and caught.”Bookmark here

“But they’re right there!” said Reyna, peering over the rooftop again and looking down at them. “I could go down there right now and beat the crap out of all of them!”Bookmark here

“Right. Actually a villain. Almost forgot,” sighed Reiko. As Reyna opened her mouth to protest, Reiko continued, “Look. I get that you’re mad. I would be too if my house was burned down just because. But you can’t just go barging in. You need to think about this.”Bookmark here

“Why?” Reyna asked. “It’s worked so far.”Bookmark here

“You want to take the Moon Ravens down, right?”Bookmark here

“Yes!”Bookmark here

“Then you need to stop being hot-headed, cool down for a minute, and think!” Reiko shouted.Bookmark here

“Whoa…” Reyna whispered. “Sorry…”Bookmark here

“If you want to take them down, you have to go deeper than the hired guns,” Reiko explained. “You have to see where the chain of command begins and where it ends. It doesn’t start with the thugs, it starts with whoever’s ordering them around. And even then, you can’t just attack them. You have to watch them. Wait. See who they talk to. See who those people talk to.Bookmark here

“Don’t rush this, Reyna,” concluded Reiko. “That’s how you get a whole army to mobilize against you before you even have a chance to breathe.” Bookmark here

Reyna blinked as she ran Reiko’s words through her head. “Wow, uh…It seems like you know what you’re talking about.”Bookmark here

“Let’s just say I know a few things,” Reiko said.Bookmark here

“A few seems like an understatement, Reiko.”Bookmark here

“I know where you are, and I will not hesitate to bonk you on the head!”Bookmark here

Reyna immediately felt a shiver run through her and gulped. “No thanks. I’m good! I’ll listen!”Bookmark here

“Good. I don’t want you getting hurt.”Bookmark here

Reyna sighed as she adjusted the phone in her hands and looked down at the street again. “Are you sure I can’t beat one person up?”Bookmark here

“Okay, first of all, no. Second of all…I thought you were trying to be more careful about who you attacked and who you let go? Didn’t you want to keep people like Rina out of this?”Bookmark here

“Well, yeah,” Reyna said. “I would have told them that I was going to beat them up first, and if anyone wanted to leave, they could.”Bookmark here

“You know what. I give up. You can do whatever you want, Reyna. I’ll just call someone else who needs my help right now.”Bookmark here

“No, wait! Reiko! Reiko, I need you to keep me safe-!”Bookmark here

The line cut to buzzing and Reyna drooped. “Dammit,” Reyna whispered. “I annoyed my own support enough to have them hang up on me.”Bookmark here

As she pondered her own failure at cherishing her best friend, she glanced once more at the street below, but widened her eyes when she realized the truck was packed up and about to leave. Reyna watched as the driver stepped out and a well-dressed man came from within the store to speak with him. After gesturing a bit, the well-dressed man got into a nicer-looking car and pulled into the street. The moment it passed the the truck, the truck moved to follow.Bookmark here

“Who was that?” Reyna murmured. With a frown, and remembering Reiko’s words, she pocketed the phone and began to run and blast her way across the rooftops. She did her best to keep them within her field of view, but not enough that they might see her. Of course, people below that were looking up would definitely notice her blue jets of flame, but she didn’t really care about them.Bookmark here

After what seemed like a short eternity and many different turns around the city, Reyna came to a stop and watched the car and truck do the same next to an office building at the edge of downtown. She saw the man step out and look around a few times, before his gaze sweeped her position and she flattened herself against the roof. Bookmark here

Her heart beat fast, and she waited a solid minute before daring to peek out again. When she did, she saw many more suspicious looking men opening the truck and looking at the contents within. She then stared incredulously as she saw what they were transporting.Bookmark here

“What the hell…”Bookmark here

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