His arms crossed, Woodle shared a glare with the inspector.
“What provides us the pleasure to greet you in our territory?”
The leader pretended to be pensive, placing his index upon his lips, before adding a few words.
“I can't remember sending you an invitation, though. How have you found that place?”
“This doesn't matter.” the inspector sharply replied, focusing on him as avoiding his other subalterns, or rather one of them…
“I suppose you guess what happens to the ones who dare to break in there.”
“Wait. We're not here to fight today, but to defy you.”
These words caused a great amusement both to Woodle and Ling. That supposed, it meant they came in and messed around just to obtain their attention, then to retreat? Very provocative from them. And in this way, somehow delightful.
“To defy us? How interesting! Come on, say what is on your mind.” the leader enthusiastically encouraged.
Before explaining himself, Kiseki readjusted his glasses on his thin nose, his ophthalmic lenses ran through by a burst of light.
“Let's arrange a confrontation which will allow us to clear it all. My father and I will fight all of you, allow Asperia to get rid of the Players, and bring back with us the one you call Marnie.”
“Ooh, that's startling to hear it from you. Did you learn a text by heart? I can't believe the soulless inspector I've used to is expressing so much eagerness. Don't tell me you're really gonna fight with all your might?” Ling couldn't refrain more to interfere.
Kiseki scarcely bestowed her a glance, avoiding to enter her game.
“I would appreciate if at least you didn't pollute the air with your childish prattle.”
“Ara, you've learned to bite my dear.” she pleasantly remarked.
“I grant you this. Audacious spirits are excessively rare nowadays. Ho-we-ver!” Woodle playfully waggled a finger in front of him.
Kiseki and Kazuya were prepared to this. It was inevitable they wanted to add restrictions. After all, they could as well refuse and beat them up in the field they were more advantaged in.
“We will choose the place and the day of the confrontation. Are you okay with it, Idonosoko-kun?”
Exchanging a glance with Kazuya, Kiseki after that answered.
“Choose if you wish, we don't care.”
“Then! This is settled. We will transmit the information to you in no time. However, I wonder… I wonder if you are sure that Marnie really desires to get along with you. It's out of my utmost kindness that I invite you to reflect on this.”
Without answering him, Kiseki turned back to him, already retracing his steps. After sharing a long silent glare with Reisig, the manticore followed him as well.
Albeit, after a while, Kiseki stopped and addressed a few words to the leader's right-hand, without looking back at her.
“Ling Zhen. This is your true name, right? Researching about you brought me back some souvenirs. I admit I forgot you since the time. Hence I have just one thing to say to you. Don't expect from me to be as kind as I was in the past.”
The latter didn't formulate a single word, though she squinted her eyes with delight, displaying an insane grin.
As Kiseki stated this, he subsequently pursued his way, without any more interruption.
“Catch us if you can, then.”
These were the last words of Woodle Bomme.
When the Idonosoko were far enough from their enemies, Kazuya turned back to his human form and Kiseki glanced at him.
“I should admit that your network of contacts was of considerable help to find out about them.”
“See? Having acquaintances in the street is useful. Bless my past of wrongdoer for it! Nevertheless, it still remained arduous to find anyone having a clue on their hideout. They thoroughly executed anyone who saw them going in or out of the sewers…”
After a moment being thoughtful, Kazuya glanced back at Kiseki, with a slightly teasing smile.
“I can't figure out that you have forgotten until now your dear playmate.”
“Shut your trap.”
In a playground, a seven-years-old girl was sitting at the top of an old slide. A long raven hair tumbling down her figure's back. Large almond eyes witnessed a group of children crying beneath, with their golden glow.
The source of their cries was the pain caused by little balls bristling with thumbtacks. As they were dissimulated in the sand, the alike hedgehog balls got stucked in the children's hands as they played in the sandbox.
Chuckling from atop her spot, the young girl enjoyed the scene. It was worth her waiting, no doubt. These faces conveying soreness, an unexpected one on top of that! How delightful!
“Why are you laughing at them?”
A voice raised not far from here.
Surprised, the girl looked around, beholding an older boy down the slide. Probably kind of eleven years old, he was black-haired and wearing red glasses. Annoyed more than else by his presence, the girlie merely frowned at him.
“You shouldn't make fun of their pain.”
“Haaaa?” the little girl displayed a disgusted face. “Mind your own business, mister guardian angel.”
The latter had a smile before asking her in return.
“If I am a guardian angel, then who are you? A demon?”
To these words, the supposed demon clicked her tongue.
“You don't even seem unsettled. You're a pain in the ass.”
“Wh- What?! Mind your language!”
Utterly shocked, the young fellow promptly pointed an accusing finger at her as his glasses felt askew across his face.
The sole response he had was the girl pulling out her tongue, a finger under her eye. Then she disappeared from his visual field.
Even if it didn't take him long reacting, when he circled the slide, he couldn't find her anymore.
This day, he thought it was the last time he would see that strange little girl. Albeit, within a week, he met her again at the playground.
She was playing standing on a swaying swing. The wind whirled her onyx hair strands back and forth. Intrigued, the young boy approached her. At first sight, she didn't seem to react at all to his presence. Though suddenly, as a cat cleverly bounding, the little girl got on the ground as the slide was ascending.
“Why are you here again?”
“It disturbs you?”
“It's rather you who should be disturbed. Casually, other children do avoid me. Why aren't you?”
Her behaviour was indeed troubling, clearly not matching her age, nor any convention. However, one precise feeling did prevail for the young boy.
“I'm not afraid of you. You think you can frighten anyone for that little? I'm even older than you.”
For a brief instant, she bent her head on the side. Then, a large odd grin ran through her face.
“So what? Wanna be friends, sen-pai*?”
“Why not. But first you should tell me your name. Mine is Kiseki Idonosoko.”
Looking at him in an utter shock for half a second, the black-haired girl laughed loudly.
“Hahahah, mine is Ling. Call me just Ling.”
"I come to visit my daughter."
Donna Merlish announced her presence at the police office.
"Good evening Madam. Since we barely finished her police custody, you would have to wait until we transfer her to a cell."
Indeed, the mayor was subject to an investigation as a consequence of the broad mess caused by Haru and Marnie, the confessions she made. Placed in provisional detention, it was a security both for the civilians and herself.
"I understand. Thank you."
About an hour later, the police officers were speaking of the recent events and of the jiggery-pokery it caused.
"Hey. She's been with the mayor for half-an-hour already. We can't let them that long..."
"You're right. I'll go to take her back." his colleague nodded, going at once.
Nonetheless, the police officer returned almost immediately, panicked.
"Gordon, we've got a serious problem!!"
"What happens to you?" he frowned as his associate looked like he saw a ghost. "Did you eat too much doughnuts?"
"Don't joke. Donna Merlish is unconscious... And... Lucy Merlish has disappeared!!"
*Senpai: In Japanese culture, it is an elder to whom respect is due.