---------------

- Epilogue -

---------------

"… and the crisis has averted as the Police Force had finally quelled the last remaining bits of the riot that had occurred last night. But so far, it seems that this is just the beginning. The police only caught about a quarter of the upstarts, and the instigator of all these, the Joker, is still at large.

"On other news, Aoyama Tsuruko has been released from police custody, and transported immediately moved out of Tokyo to a private train back to Kyoto. Again, her visit and her arrest is still a mystery. The Aoyama clan has refused to speak on the regards of Aoyama Tsuruko or her now deceased sister.

"And we have finally received word on the status of Kudo Ayumi, head detective of the Tokyo Police Department, who had been tragically been caught in a bomb blast, and rushed to the hospital. Dr. Tezuka, the physician assigned to Detective Kudo, was able to spare us a time to comment on her health."

The TV then showed a well dressed doctor, while there were many microphones pointed towards him. The doctor paid no mind, even with the flashing lights of camera's blinking at him.

"Kudo-san has suffered extreme burns, mostly third-degree in almost 60 percent of her body and the concrete that had collapsed on top of her had broken her ribs, shoulder and leg. We've been able to stabilize her for now, minimizing internal bleeding. She's lucky to be alive."

Then it came back to the newsroom.

"Detective Kudo, daughter of the famous Kudo Shinichi, is under close guard. Doctors say they have no idea when, or if she can make a full recovery.

"In other news, it seems there has been a glitch in the new digital mainframe which the government had been using to keep records of the public. They are advising people to bring in their documents, and apologized for the inconvenience…"

The television was suddenly turned off by Urashima Kanako. She looked towards the Joker beside her, whose eyes lit up as he heard the news.

"She survived," he stated, simply. He smiled. He laughed. "She went out with a bang… and she's still ticking! HaHAHAHahahAHAHAHA!"

"What will we do, puddin'?" Kanako asked, looking at the Joker inquiringly. "Shall we finish her?"

The Joker just looked at his little Harley with a big smile.

"Let's do something... crazier."

---------------

Kudo Shinichi looked towards his daughter wrapped in bandages, unresponsive to everyone around her. He had quickly arranged a flight back to Tokyo when he heard the news. The Chief had called some of his connections with the government and eventually had gotten Miyano Shiho involved.

She was the one that had authorized the use of the rescue helicopter, which had helped in aiding the rescue team in getting Ayumi out of the rubble, and she was also responsible for concocting a drug that had helped her recover through most of the trying stages of surgery.

The respirator bag above showed signs of movement, giving Ayumi a fixed amount of oxygen pressure directly to her lungs; the doctor also said that they'd use a pressurized chamber after two weeks to help her recover.

There was a slight knock on the door. Shinichi looked to it, and greeted as the Chief entered the room, looking at the famous detective with a solemn and apologetic look.

"Don't give me that," Shinichi stated. "She's safe."

"I should have stopped her," the Chief muttered.

"She wouldn't have let herself be stopped... she's like her mother, in a way," the detective looked towards the window. "She is a roaring tidal wave against crime... and now it seems, crime has found its own wave to smash against her. She lost this round."

"It's still too cruel..." the Chief replied. "From what we can gather with the minimal evidence we could find, the Joker just put the bomb in front of her, and walked away. He just let her watch, trying to get away, before he triggered the bomb."

"Yeah, Ai... Shiho found the kiddo's blood work interesting," Shinichi commented. "Hopefully, she can synthesize an antidote for both poisons... this paralysis, and that laughing death gas he calls JokerIZE. What about his helper... this Urashima Kanako?"

"FBI wants her, though like the Joker, she's nowhere to be found," the Chief stated. "Kudo... do you think you can assist us...?"

"No."

"Kudo, be reasonable... he's still loose out there, and we need all the help we need..."

Shinichi smiled. "And risk the wrath of my daughter when she awakens?" he shook his head. "No, Chief. Keep the streets safe, that's all you can do. When she recovers, she's going to come back with a vengeance."

"But she could really lose her life next time..."

"Maybe... but that won't stop her," Shinichi walked for a moment towards the windows, and spotted something strange downstairs. A purple car. "Chief... tell me, isn't it a no parking zone down that street?"

"Where?"

However, before the Chief could approach the window, the car Shinichi was pointing at exploded with a loud bang, rumbling. The Chief could feel the whole building shake at his feet, and stumbled slightly. Then soon, everything was shrouded with gunfire.

"He's here!" the Chief muttered as he grabbed his radio, and got his gun out. He began to walk out of the room. "This is the Chief. Tell ground unit to asses the situation, and quell it! If it's the Joker, I do not want him approaching this floor, you hear!?

"You three... stay here and guard Kudo. If the bastard really is coming for her, shoot him down!"

The three officers saluted to their Chief. "Yes Sir!"

"Alright, the rest of you... follow... me..." the Chief muttered but stopped when he stumbled slightly, getting dizzy. "Wha... what's going..." and he stumbled down, unconscious. The rest of the people on the same floor also went down as well, knocked out.

Down the hall, an elevator was slowly going up, from floor to floor, until reaching the seventh. There was a small 'ting' sound before the door opened, revealing the Joker wearing a gas mask. His clothes were once again his style, his colors; Purple pants and jacket, green vest and multicolored shirt.

Under his arm was a box of flowers.

"Tweedle dee ba boo bap bap bap..." he hummed as he strolled in the corridor, dancing slightly as he moved forward. He paused for a moment, and looked at his pocket watch attached to his belt, and flipped the cover open, and immediately closed it. He removed his mask, and smiled.

He hummed more as he passed over the now sleeping, one by one commenting with a small laugh.

"Nurse with a big chest... you had passed 'nursery' school, haven't you? HahAHAhaHA! Ooh, old man with a pee cup... sorry about that dear chum, but you'll have to hold it in a wee bit longer now... get it? HahAHaHAHAHhaHAHAHaha!"

He stepped over the police officers, who he looked at good-naturedly.

"Thank you for your efforts, Tokyo's finest, but with all the hoo-hahas going out there, and even now being used to guard the good detective, you deserve some rest," he laughed again, bending down to pat one of the officers in the cheek.

And he finally looked towards his prize. The door marked number 704, with her name at the bottom of it. He smiled as he opened the door, and declared without pause, "Hello... house-keeping..."

He saw Ayumi Kudo in her bed, bandaged completely from head to toe, but in the corner of his eye, he also spotted a shadow on bedside, looking at him. One of his hands were holding a wet towel, placing it in his mouth and nose, while the other was pointing a gun at the Joker.

"Well, what do we have here?" the Joker asked, his smile widening. "A person my sleeping gas didn't get to."

"Kami... you do look like that," Shinichi whispered shocked at seeing his visage for the first time. He had rushed in back the room when he realized that the exploding car might have been a distraction, but he didn't expect a chemical attack.

When he saw that the Chief was stumbling, he knew something was wrong. He had immediately grabbed a towel, went back to Ayumi's room, moistened it in the bathroom, and took approached his daughter's bed side, where he got her service gun out, and waited for anyone to come in the room.

He disliked guns... and disliked more wielding one. But he didn't have much choice now. And now, he was seeing the Joker for the first time. He was a bit confused at what to do.

"Awestruck by my handsomeness, I presume? HahAHAHHAHahAH!" the Joker smiled. He looked at the man curiously. "You look like her... the great detective."

"What do you want with my daughter?" Shinichi asked.

"Daughter...? Is she the spawn of the broth of your shillelagh? Good man!" he laughed. "No wonder you are also quick on your feet, father-detective. Nice improvised gas mask.

"I heard Detective Kudo has been recovering since our last encounter, and I thought it might be good to send some get well flowers." he continued, and smiled as he slowly extended his hand, which was holding the box of flowers he had been carrying. He was about to put them at Ayumi's bed, when Shinichi shook his gun with warning.

"Don't approach her," he muttered towards the Joker. "How do I know you aren't just here to finish her off?"

"Why, because she survived!" the Joker laughed. "And I always believe that what doesn't kill you makes you... stranger."

Shinichi blinked slightly for a moment, and looked at Joker's eyes as his smile widened. Those cruel deranged eyes were looking at him, but there was something odd. There was a recognizable sound coming behind him.

Taking a few seconds to see what was going on at his back, he saw a helicopter hovering outside the window. His eyes widened when he saw Urashima Kanako, wearing probably one of the most colorful red suits he ever saw, wielding what looked like an RPG launcher at her shoulders.

He jumped immediately over Ayumi, careful not to crush her under his weight as he heard a small high pitched whistle coming at him, and ended with a rather large but somehow controlled explosion. He felt some of the glass shatter on his back, though harmless and slid off his jacket immediately.

Shaking his head, he looked around for the Joker, only to spot him behind the large hole which was the result of the explosion. He looked at Shinichi with a big smile at his face, his hand going for his pants pocket. Shinichi thought he was going to pull out a gun, or something equally, or even more nasty... but it wasn't anything of sort.

"I seemed to have forgotten to return these," the Joker declared, dangling a keychain with his fingers before throwing it carefully on the floor. "Tell the detective that I had much fun playing with her... and look forward to it again. Until next time... father-detective... HaHAHAHahahAHAHAhAHAHAHahAHAHA!"

And the Joker exited from the wall, grabbing a rope ladder brought down from the helicopter that had been hovering earlier, and flew away, cleanly, laughing all the way to the sky.

Shinichi Kudo carefully extracted himself from atop of his daughter, careful not to hurt her as he stepped towards the floor, and looked at the keychain that the Joker had left. He recognized it. It was Ayumi's keychain, where she had kept most of her work-related keys, even the handcuffs.

He took a few tentative steps out towards the hole at the wall, and watched as the Joker was being pulled up to the helicopter, flying away. He'd probably be gone by the time he'd call for back-up.

He looked at the box, which the Joker had brought. It was now open, revealing some white flowers wrapped in a green ribbon. He shook his head.

"What a guy," Shinichi muttered. The Joker had blown up a car down the street to distract the police, unleashed sleeping gas to take out the remaining ones of this floor, and exited through the window and to the sky with a helicopter... probably stolen. How, he didn't exactly know... and all this to give Ayumi some get-well flowers.

Crazy. Absolutely insane.

"Well, kiddo... I hope you can use that head of yours to catch him," Shinichi muttered towards his daughter. "Because you'll need your entire prowess to catch him."

Ayumi Kudo didn't stir, though her fingers were showing movement once again.

---------------

"Puddin..."

The Joker looked at Kanako, who was wearing a nice tight-fitting colorful red outfit. He had been pulled up, and closed the door, muting the deafening sound of the helicopter rotor spinning in blinding speed.

"What is it precious?" he asked.

"Why did you use sleeping gas? Why not JokerIZE?" Kanako asked.

"Why my dear Harley," he smiled. "I didn't want to accidentally dose our dear detective, and kill her by mistake, now do we?"

She just pouted. "Why not? Why keep her alive?"

"Why, my little Harley?" the Joker asked in reply. "Want to know why?"

Kanako nodded. The Joker laughed, his smile widening.

"Simple... 'cause its much more fun this way."

- The End –

Author's Notes:

That's the end of Ace of Knaves. Hopefully, you enjoyed the story, and hopefully, with this story, you can appreciate who the Joker actually is. It's a bit odd to find people all over the internet claiming such... weird... things about Mr. J.

Will I make a sequel? Well, who knows.

Anyways, thanks for Aaron and all of you who stuck with this story. Later.