Time for more! Thanks to all my readers, watchers and reviewers. :)
"I don't know, Kaito. I might be able to put together something like these, but they're fairly sophisticated and some of the electronics are very tiny." Jii continued to study the pair of tracking glasses closely, turning them in several directions and frowning lightly as he looked over their construction. "They also seem to be custom-made. In fact, I'd probably have to take these completely apart to really figure them out." The older man put the glasses down on his living room table and cocked his eyebrow as he turned his attention to Kaito. "Where exactly did you come across these, if you don't mind me asking?"
"Actually, Kudo gave them to me last night." Kaito decided to explain things further after seeing the questions written all over Jii's face. "Well, not permanently but I was hoping to have you make something like them. His neighbor Agasa-hakase made them to help him keep track of small stuff." The magician began fishing in his pockets for the tracking device Shinichi had used earlier to demonstrate the glasses. "They're used with little, clear sticky tracking devices- Kudo slapped one of them onto a wall and it stuck there." Kaito continued rustling around in his pockets, a mix of concern and puzzlement crossing his seven-year-old features as he realized that the carefully rewrapped tracker he'd brought with him to show Jii didn't seem to be in either of his pockets.
"What's wrong, Kaito?"
"I can't find the tracker I brought to show you. I had two of them- I stashed one in the dresser in my room at Kudo's house and brought the other one with me to show you." He turned his pockets inside out in a last, desperate gesture before shaking his head and giving up. "Well, OK. I thought I brought it with me. I would have sworn I stuffed it into one of my pockets, though..."
Jii looked like he was mulling something over. "Didn't you go over to Mouri-san's detective agency before you came here earlier, Kaito? Perhaps you dropped it someplace while you were over there."
Oh yeah, that's right. Kudo had to help Mouri with a school project or something like that, so we went over to the agency. Kaito had busied himself poking around and trying to listen in on Hirota Misami's conversation with Kogoro, since the young woman had stopped by again with new information. "Yeah, we did go over there after Kudo and Mouri picked me up from school. Maybe it fell out of my pocket." He then realized that Ookami Kihagi's cell phone was vibrating on the floor and answered it.
"Hi Kihagi-kun! Are you ready to leave Konsuke-ojisan's yet?" Ran sounded like she was yelling over traffic. "You still have homework to do, don't you?"
Oh, come on. The stuff will take me maybe ten minutes, tops. Not that Ran knew that, of course. "Yeah, I do. But can I do it here at Konsuke-ojisan's?"
"You probably really shouldn't be staying there too long and bothering him like that, Kihagi-kun. Shinichi and I will be there in about ten minutes since the bus just pulled up; we'll see you soon, OK?"
Well, gee, thanks for giving me a choice. "OK, Ran-neesan." He hung up with a deep sigh. "They're coming to pick me up- guess I'll just have to leave the glasses with you and hope that Kudo doesn't ask about them anytime soon."
"Let's hope not." Jii got up out of his seat. "I just remembered- you wanted any new information I could find on your father's death, right? I managed to pull together most of the articles and press coverage from back then." He pulled out a thick manila folder and handed it to Kaito. "It doesn't surprise me that you don't remember too much, since you were pretty young when it happened."
Kaito climbed up onto the couch and spread the manila folder open, studying the photocopied articles and pictures of his father's death closely for a while. He was surprised to actually find a few things he hadn't seen yet in the pile; he thought he'd seen and studied everything about his dad's murder. "You were there that day, right? Did you see anything strange besides the guys in black hanging around?"
"Unfortunately, no." Jii visibly deflated as he sat back down across from Kaito. "I've gone over that day in my mind over and over, especially after what's happened to you now. The only thing I can clearly remember about them was that they were all wearing long black jackets and black fedora-style hats." He frowned. "They also all managed to scatter and vanish before the explosion, but that's only natural since they were the ones that planned it in the first place."
"Do you know why exactly these guys might have wanted to kill Dad?" Kaito suddenly realized that he'd become so caught up in living life as Ookami Kihagi that he hadn't really had the time to sit down and start looking into his father's murder- murder at the hands of the same men in black that had somehow changed him back into a child with...whatever they'd shoved down his throat. And that, of course, was on top of the revelation that Kuroba Toichi had been the master thief Kaitou Kid as well as a master magician.
"I haven't the foggiest," replied Jii sadly. "Of course, your father was Kaitou Kid. Perhaps he stole something that angered the wrong people." The older man rubbed his chin and looked at the ceiling thoughtfully. "But then I suppose that wouldn't make a lot of sense, now that I think about it. He always wound up returning whatever he stole in the end, and he was always very careful about his identity. Your mother and myself were probably the only two people that he told."
"What about this Black Fox guy that used to compete with Dad all the time? Could he have done it to get the competition out of the way, maybe?" Kaito was pointing at an article that talked about Kaitou Kid beating Black Fox to a gem the previous night.
Jii laughed lightly. "I really don't believe that's the case, Kaito." He chose to not elaborate any further in order to protect Kudo Yusaku's identity, even though he could tell that Kaito sensed he knew much more on the subject than he was saying. Jii wasn't a hundred percent certain that Toichi's friend had been the Black Fox, but he felt that the Kudos had begun traveling so far and so frequently after the magician's death for a reason. The fact that the Black Fox's thefts had stopped at the exact same time as Kudo Yusaku's first book tour just added fuel to the fire as far as he was concerned. Of course, the fact that the Black Fox had resurfaced last year raised some interesting questions in Jii's mind, especially since Kudo Yusaku was busier with his travel research and book signing tours than ever.
Kaito gave Jii a suspicious look, but couldn't get the question he wanted to ask out before the doorbell rang. Has it been ten minutes already? He was also surprised to see a wary-looking Shinda accompanying Ran and Shinichi as they walked into the room.
"Oh, we're taking care of Shinda tonight because Agasa-hakase has to go to a late dinner," Shinichi said after he saw Kaito's puzzled look. "We have to stop back by Mouri-ojisan's agency real quick, too- I forgot my half of our school project there."
"We just have to be quiet while we're there since Dad's meeting with a client," explained Ran cheerfully before she turned to Kaito. "Do you have your things gathered, Kihagi-kun?"
"Yep," Kaito replied with happiness that he didn't really feel. He had really wanted at least another hour to sit and glean as much information about his dad's death as possible from Jii.
Once the group arrived at the Mouri Detective Agency, they learned that they'd just missed Hirota Misami. Kogoro was still in the process of finishing out his notes from their meeting while Shinichi searched for his misplaced research project.
"So how is the case you're working on right now going?" asked Shinichi as he continued his search of the living room.
"Lousy," grumbled Kogoro in between deep puffs of his cigarette. He picked up his notes and jabbed his finger at a few hurried lines of writing. "This guy's like a damn ghost. I haven't managed to find anything solid about where he's living since he left Yamagata so suddenly and took the taxi driving job here in Tokyo." He put the notes back down and shook his head. "The only clue I've really got to work with is that betting slip that Hirota-san found in the trash, and there's no address on one of those of course. He also has four cats that he seems to have taken with him, but I've talked to almost all of the apartments in Tokyo that let people have pets and haven't turned up any newer tenants with four cats."
"Yeah- I've got their names written down somewhere, not that it'll do me much good unless I can find their owner." Kogoro waved a hand at his stack of notes dismissively. "The names were kind of weird, though. Tee, Kaa, Ou and Goo, or something like that."
"Her dad must've really liked horse racing a lot, huh?" Shinda was looking with apparent disinterest at one of the pieces of paper that Kogoro had written some information about Hirota Kenzou down on. "Well, if these are the names of his cats on this piece of paper," he continued as he held up one of Kogoro's notebook pages.
Kaito looked over after the other boy made the comment, wondering just what Shinda was talking about. Where did horse racing come into the conversation? She was just naming off her dad's cats, according to what Mouri-ojisan said. His puzzlement turned to suspicion as he remembered that one of the things Hirota Misami had brought with her had been an old betting slip from a horse racing track. Maybe Kogakure's on to something after all...but how in the heck did he make that connection?
"What do you mean by that, Shinda-kun? Those are just the names of her dad's cats, aren't they?" Ran offered the boy her own confused expression.
"Yeah, but look. They make the name of that really good racehorse that's on TV right now when you mix them up." He pointed a finger at the television, then picked up a pen and transformed the kanji for the cat's names from Kai, Tei, Gou and Ou into Goukaiteiou.
"That's true," muttered Shinichi as he turned to Kogoro. "Hey Mouri-ojisan, didn't Hirota-san also bring you an old betting slip from a racetrack near here?" Shinichi studied the TV and cocked an eyebrow. "I think that's where this race is being broadcast from right now, actually."
Ran raced over to the door, waving her hand frantically for the others to follow her. "Let's go down there right now! Maybe he'll be there since his favorite horse is running."
Can't hurt to try going there, I guess. Kaito had seen people found (and criminals caught) through even stranger ways and in even weirder places during his detective career, after all. He grabbed his jacket and hurried to follow the rest of the group outside, wondering if they'd strike gold or not down at the racetrack.