Chapter 2

Dr. Bartholomew Estheim's office was one of the several autopsy rooms located on the lowest floors of the Bodhum Security Regiment building. Constantly chilled, it was the room that housed all the corpses that were either part of an ongoing investigation or have yet to be sent to the mortuary to be buried.

"You're early, Miss Landon," Batty said aloud when the distinct swoosh sounded from the automatic doors. He continued his task digging deep into the open body to find whatever it was he was looking for.

Aqua had long since given up trying to find out how the head medical examiner was able to figure out who just entered his autopsy room without looking up. After all, there were no visible security cameras right outside the door to show who was approaching and no television screen that would show the said images had the cameras been hidden.

"You found something?" she asked instead, looking at the chart on a clipboard on top of the metal cart next to the center autopsy table.

"Yes," he said absentmindedly before forcibly removing a bullet from the body. His assistant, a stout man named Pence Seton, held out a plastic container for the slug and quickly capped it.

"Let me see that, Pence," Aqua said, holding one hand out for the container. The assistant gladly handed the slug over and turned to clean the autopsy tools the doctor used at the sink before they were to be sterilized again.

The blue-haired sergeant turned the lamp to illuminate the bloody bullet better, frowning at the obvious 9 mm caliber slug. There would be no way to determine which gun the bullet came from until they found the murder weapon itself.

"I found that nasty piece of work lodged in between T7 and T8," Batty said, gesturing for Aqua to join him by the X-rays. "The trajectory had indicated that the bullet entered from the right side, nicked the right kidney, punctured the stomach, diaphragm, and the right lung before coming up against the spine."

"The victim was above the killer," she commented.

"That would appear to be so," he answered. "Terra said that he found traces of terpen ester on that calling card?"

"Yeah," Aqua answered, dropping the plastic container into an evidence bag and labeled it for forensics. She looked up from her task to look at the older man. "You think the bullet might be laced with that stuff?"

"It's a possibility. I can't say for sure how long the victim lasted after he got shot. It is entirely possible that the man suffered greatly and for a long time before he finally died."

"You mean he was suffocating on his own blood?" she suggested.

"His lungs would have collapsed for sure," nodded Dr. Estheim. "It's a terrible way to go."

"I'll get this over to Terra's. Have you found anything that might link our victims?"

"Not a single thing," he answered tactfully. "But you'll be the first to know if we find anything."

"Thanks, Batty," smiled the blue-haired woman. She hurried out of the autopsy room and continued on her way to Terra's lab.

Meanwhile, the bespectacled man looked back down at the corpse that lied on the table. He hunched over with a frown and scanned over the exterior of the body, wondering if he had missed anything. "What are you and the others hiding… I wonder," he murmured to himself.

Larxene was never a plants girl. She simply didn't find greenery interesting. To her, plants were vegetables, to be consumed in a salad or ingredients in a great soup or stir fry. She loved the city much more than nature; she'd never go to a mountain retreat for relaxation, preferring the popular beaches at Bodhum. So she rolled her eyes when her partner looked around in awe of the number of different plants in the arboretum.

"You know, this place isn't going to go away this weekend," she said to Olette who was currently goggling at the largest Bird of Paradise she's ever seen. "We're not here for sightseeing."

The junior detective blushed at the reprimand and quickly caught up to the slick-haired woman. "Sorry, Larxene," she apologized.

The pair of detectives approached a bespectacled woman dressed in a white lab coat who had been jotting down notes on a clipboard about a particular plant in front of her. The plastic ID badge pinned on her breast pocket told the two in that she was an employee at the arboretum.

"Excuse me," Larxene intruded lightly once the woman had finished jotting down her notes. She pulled out her Guardian Corps ID and showed it to the woman, a researcher by the name of Ifalna Faremis. "I'm Detective Williams. This is my partner Detective McGregor. We'd like to ask you a few questions if that's possible."

"Sure thing," the researcher nodded as she pulled off her glasses to hang them from her breast pocket next to her ID badge. "I'm Dr. Ifalna Faremis. What can I do for the Guardian Corps?"

"We understand that there is a poison tree in this arboretum," Larxene said, cutting to the chase.

Ifalna looked at them perplexed. "Euphorbia virosa," she said almost hesitantly, "Yes. It's in my lab. What's this all about?"

"Have you inspected the tree recently? Any cuts in the trunk?" Olette asked.

"Detective, we have the poison tree for the sap, searching for an antidote, researching its effects with other plants, and the likes. There are hundreds of the cuts in the stem where we extract the sap," the woman explained impatiently. "We've had the tree for almost three years. I'm the one responsible for the tree and its main researcher, but there have been many more researchers doing their own studies involving the poison tree."

"We found traces of the sap on a piece of evidence in a murder investigation," explained Larxene. "We have reason to believe that the killer has access to the sap."

"Well, there are two other labs besides mine that are currently working on the sap," she answered thoughtfully. "But no one has access to the tree itself unless they have access to my lab."

"And those people are?" the blonde asked.

"The janitor has the master key for his nightly rounds," she answered as she thought. "The director would be able to get in too, but he's out of the country for a conference until Wednesday. Other than those two, no one else that I can think of."

While Olette jotted down the information, Larxene presented a picture of the latest victim to the woman. "Do you recognize this man?"

Ifalna took a look at the picture and shook her head. "I've never seen him before," she answered bluntly. "But this is a large arboretum and not all the researchers are here at the same time. It is entirely possible that he was here performing experiments at night. But he shouldn't have access to the sap."

"He isn't part of the other two labs conducting experiments with the poison tree sap?" suggested Olette.

"The other two labs are purely daytime labs," nodded the researcher.

"Can we take a look at the poison tree anyway?" the junior detective asked almost too eagerly. She ignored the look that Larxene shot in her direction.

"Of course," smiled Ifalna.

Ventus looked up from his notes just as Larxene and Olette stepped off of the elevator a couple of paces away from where their desks were.

"If you had been more accommodating, we could've gotten in!" the sienna-haired woman said petulantly.

"We're detectives, Olette," Larxene snarled in annoyance. "It's not our job to be diplomatic."

The yellow-haired man dropped his pen and watched as the two continued to bicker even once they reached their desks and were in the process of settling down.

"Sanctum Holdings?" asked Aqua as she efficiently cut into the argument her detectives were having. Immediately, both Larxene and Olette looked over to the sergeant who kept her eyes on the report in front of her.

"Yeah," Olette answered for the both of them. "How'd you know?"

The blue-haired woman finally looked up from the report and smiled. "I asked the lieutenant."

"What'd she find?"

"More importantly, how did she get the information?" muttered Larxene unhappily.

Although the slick-haired woman didn't question their superior's abilities as a detective—she was a very resourceful woman after all, she was still peeved that she wasn't able to find the same information as Lieutenant Claire Farron. She prided herself on her relentless pursuit of the truth, and yet she couldn't outdo the woman who was just over a year older than herself.

"She's the lieutenant," Aqua said sternly, making a mental note to watch Larxene closely for the next couple of weeks when the detective shrugged dismissively. Ventus too was concerned, though he didn't let it show.

"She found that the poison tree at the Sanctum Holdings lab had been stolen the week before Cavalieri was killed," he answered instead. "They're in the process of obtaining another poison tree."

"Then why not tell us directly?" scowled Larxene.

"Larxene," warned the sergeant, hoping to curb the blonde's anger before it got out of hand.

"Sanctum Holdings has a contract with PSICOM," Ventus continued. "If word got out that they had lost one of PSICOM's investments, they would lose their precious contract."

"Then how did Lieutenant Farron get this information?" frowned Olette.

"Don't ask," Ventus answered tersely. The unspoken tone behind the words told the junior detective to ask another time.

"What's PSICOM doing with a poison tree?" Larxene asked instead.

"That's for you to find out," Aqua said cheerfully, looking back down at the report.

"And how do you propose we do that?" she stared at her superior with annoyance.

"It's sanctioned," she answered succinctly. The other three detectives looked at each other with understanding—code meaning they are allowed to hack into the PSICOM mainframe to find the information.

"Take the rest of the day off, Larxene," the blue-haired woman added after a brief moment of silence. Larxene understood the hidden meaning behind the words, telling her to get in contact with Marluxia Thomas, her friend since college years. The pink-haired man was a DJ at the local punk rock radio station and a hacker who had to work for PSICOM in exchange for not serving prison time after getting caught disrupting the network during his college years. Larxene had assisted him with his work, but Marluxia was loyal to a fault, never revealing her name to PSICOM when he was interrogated.

For that, Larxene was more than happy to bring him onto Guardian Corps cases where he can use his hacker skills to work. And Marluxia, having figured out how they were able to catch him the last time, never refused to hack into PSICOM's network for Larxene either.

"Right," she said with a wicked smile, her eyes blazing with obvious mischief and excitement. "I'm out." She picked up her bags and all but ran off to the elevators, her eyes sparkling with mischief and excitement.

"What should the rest of us do?" Olette asked hesitantly once her senior partner was gone. Aqua had returned to her report while Ventus was typing at his computer.

"You have a quarterly evaluation to do with the Lieutenant," the blue-haired woman replied.

Olette raised an eyebrow at what her superior had just said. "I thought I wasn't due for my quarterly until the end of the month?" she asked. "That's still two weeks away."

Aqua shrugged. "She wanted to do it earlier than later. And when you're done with that, you're done for the day."

"But-" the sienna-haired junior detective began to protest.

"Go home, Olette," Aqua interrupted her. "Clear your head. Don't think about the case after work."

"After you're done, I'll take you out for dinner," added Ventus with a grin.

Olette returned the grin with a mischievous look on her face. "Is that a date, Ven?" she teased. "Wouldn't Lieutenant Farron get jealous?"

Ventus rolled his eyes in disbelief. "Why do you and Larxene think that there's something between Light and me?"

"Maybe I should ask Serah," the sienna-haired woman suggested.

"She'll only tell you that she thinks they're together," Aqua remarked. "But that's what you want, isn't it?"

Olette giggled sheepishly at being found out. The sergeant shook her head in amused resignation. "Get going. Don't keep the lieutenant waiting any longer."

"Yes, ma'am!" the sienna-haired woman saluted Sergeant Landon before she literally marched up the stairs toward the higher ranked officials' offices.

"And that is why," Aqua muttered, going back to her work, "she's still a junior detective." To which, Ventus chuckled lightly before returning to his own task at hand.

A series of three sharp raps against the shuttered glass window in the wooden door broke the strawberry-blonde's attention from the personnel files on the desk in front of her. She quickly placed the files back in their folders and set them aside before saying: "enter."

Detective McGregor opened the door and stepped into the commanding officer responsible for her team and two others in the Bodhum Security Regiment.

"Close the door behind you," Lieutenant Farron commanded, leaning forward to give the sienna-haired woman all her attention. She gave a cursory physical evaluation of the junior detective, her eyes noting the darkening bags underneath the young woman's eyes despite the sparkle within the aquamarine depths.

"Ma'am," Olette stood in attention.

"At ease, detective. Take a seat."

"Yes, ma'am."

Once the young woman was seated, Claire leaned back in her chair and continued her silent evaluation of her subordinate's physical state. She could tell that the current case that her team was on had its effects on the junior detective—that Olette McGregor was burning out at a slightly faster rate than other junior detectives at this point in time.

"How are you faring in Landon's team, McGregor?" she asked.

"Just fine, lieutenant" came the quick reply.

"Give me your report on the case."

Bewildered by the request, Olette was about to point out that the older woman must have been caught up to their progress when she was the one who gave them the tip that Sanctum Holdings was working with PSICOM. However, Claire quickly continued. "I want to know about the case from your perspective. Start from the beginning."

"Yes, ma'am," nodded the sienna-haired lady. "On January 2, 2010, we responded to a report in the First District at Broadway and Sunset. Victim was Dilan O'Connor, age 37. He was the owner of a martial arts dojo in the neighboring town of Palumpolum. According to interviews with his students, he was on his annual visit to the Dragon Temple in Wutai and was slated to resume his lessons on January 10. Records with Wutai Airways supported those claims.

"The autopsy report indicated that he was shot execution style with the bullet traveling from the middle of his forehead and shattering against the back of his skull. However, there was no sign of a struggle or that he was held captive by the killer. It is theorized that he knew his killer, but no suspect has been found.

"A calling card the size of a playing card was found placed on top of the body. The paper stock was similar to a regular playing card. The back of the card even suggested that it were printed by the Bicycle Company, but the front of the card was printed with an unusual black ink. Instead of the symbols and faces of a playing card, a single fleur-de-lis was printed."

Light nodded in agreement and comprehension, leaning back with her fingers pressed against each other in a triangle. "Continue," she said.

"On February 3, we responded to a report of a dead body in the Third District at Atlantic and Seventh. Victim was Rould Montgomery, age 33. He was a regular card player at the Serendipity casino in Nautilus until he was arrested for cheating and fraud in 2008. He was released on probation on January 15 of this year from Palumpolum penitentiary. A local magician store reported that he was in town to accept a job as a shop clerk.

"The autopsy report revealed that he died from an overdose of methamphetamine. However, he had no history of prior drug use, suggesting that he was forced into an overdose. At the crime scene, we discovered a similar card on the ground next to the body. The presence of the calling card suggested that we were dealing with a serial killer."

She paused in her report, watching the lieutenant say nothing as she continued her silent evaluation of the junior detective. Light nodded once, signaling to the younger woman to resume talking.

"The third murder was reported on March 1 after firefighters discovered a body in the burnt building on the corner of Main and Station Avenue in the First District. Despite the body being burnt down to a blackened skeleton, Dr. Estheim was able to identify the man as Even Mora, age 37. He worked as a researcher at Mako Chemical Labs. Interviews with his colleagues revealed little because he had his own lab and he had no one else working with him.

"Autopsy found that the man had been shot execution style like the first victim prior to the fire. The building had been condemned for some times and was slated for demolition. No witnesses saw anyone enter the building and no vehicles were abandoned nearby, suggesting that he was murdered elsewhere and placed in the building before the fire."

"And the fleur-de-lis calling card was in a bag made out of fireproof material," concluded the older woman. "That marked the third case."

"Yes, ma'am. It was after the third victim that we began using "the Fleur-de-lis killer" in reference to the suspect at large."

"Except we don't have a suspect yet, do we," Light mused with a hint of a smile. "You're done here. Continue with your investigation."

Olette blinked in surprise at the abrupt dismissal. She stared silently for a few minutes as the strawberry-blonde scribbled down notes on the evaluation report in her neat scrawl.

"Question, MacGregor?" Light asked without interrupting her train of thought that she was writing. "You're free to go home."

The junior detective blinked a few more times to get over her speechless state before she stood up and saluted her superior. "Ma'am."

She closed the door behind her, scrunching up her face in slight confusion at the meeting she just had. It was so cursory and so unexpected that Olette couldn't help but wonder if she did indeed go through one of the many evaluations that she'd have over the first two years of her career as a detective for the Bodhum Security Regiment. Even as she walked down the stairs and into the "bullpen", a look of bafflement remained upon her face.

"How was it?" Ventus asked, raising an eyebrow in question at the strange look upon the younger woman's face.

"I didn't expect Lieutenant Farron to ask for a report," Olette replied as the look of bewilderment turned into a pout. "I think I was supposed to give an oral presentation that I didn't prepare for and I could've done better."

Ventus chuckled at her melodramatic display of disappointment, to which Olette huffed petulantly. "I thought these evaluations were supposed to look at my development as a member of the Guardian Corps."

"You'd be surprised to see at how much Light gets just from testing new recruits on the cases they're currently on," he replied with a grin. "I'm surprised she only asked for a report and didn't actually drill you on the details of the case."

The sienna-haired lady scrunched up her face in obvious displeasure. "Ugh," she groaned. "That would've been terrible."

"You forget that Light's a lieutenant because of her acute observation. You probably gave her more information than she needed," added Aqua offhandedly, holding back a snicker as Olette slumped down in her chair. "You're done for a day, in case you need any more reminding."

"Waiting for Ven," she slurred out after a large yawn.

"And I'm done for the day too," Ventus said right after he finished up a memo to Lightning. "Don't stay too late," he looked at his immediate superior sternly. The blue-haired sergeant waved him off dismissively.
"As if Terra would let me stay that late. Go have fun."

"Later serge." Olette saluted her casually before following the veteran detective towards the elevators. "So where are we going?" she looked at Ventus eagerly.

"You've heard of the Seventh Heaven, right?" he asked while they waited for the elevator to reach their floor. A nod of confirmation told him to continue. "It's a popular hangout for members of the Security Regiment. One of Light's friends from high school actually owns the place."

"Oh?" she raised an eyebrow in amazement. "I always thought it was just a popular place at the marketplace."

"It's popular alright, but you've never heard of any incidents happening there, have you?"

A loud "ding" put their conversation temporarily on hold as the elevator doors slid open. The pair of detectives stepped into the occupied elevator and remained quiet until they arrived at the third underground parking lot.

"So the Seventh Heaven is incident-free because of all the Guardian Corps presence there?" Olette asked. Ventus nodded.

"It's about time you're introduced to some of the random secrets of the Regiment," he grinned. "Just don't tell Larxene that we went; she'll be disappointed she didn't get to come with us."

"Is the Seventh Heaven really that great?" Her question came with a raised eyebrow.

"It is the best place for fish and chips," answered Ventus once they got into his trusty sedan. "Actually, it's the only place where Larxene would even order fish and chips."

"But Bodhum's known for its seafood, how can the Seventh Heaven's fish and chips be that good?"

The blonde gave a lopsided grin as he backed his car out of the parking spot. "Trust me. You've never had fish and chips until you have it at the Heaven. Besides, Larxene loves their weekend menu too."

"They have a different menu during the weekend?" Olette asked incredulously.

"Yup. Tifa converts it into a ramen place for the weekend. No, not the instant noodle that you would've undoubtedly have in your younger years," he quickly added, remembering how little his younger teammate know about the other side of the planet beyond the geography; especially since she's never been to the region known as the "Far East".

"So where is it from?" the junior detective asked instead.

"Wutai," answered Ventus, making a right turn onto the expressway that led to the other side of Bodhum. "Tifa actually studied in Wutai after high school before she inherited the Heaven from her parents. She didn't learn how to make ramen though. She actually convinced a friend who learned the fine art of ramen cooking to move to Bodhum. It's Yuffie who's the cook during the weekends."

"Ramen, huh?" mused Olette with curiosity.

"They really only serve one style of ramen," continued the blonde. "I heard that Yuffie takes two days to prepare the soup stock for the ramen, extracting all the flavors from pork to go into the soup. You'll have to try it one of these days."

"I guess I'll have Larxene take me," she replied.

Ventus chuckled softly. "Just don't let Larxene eat too many bowls. I swear she's addicted to it."

"I'm guessing she goes there every weekend?"

"Tifa and Yuffie can count on her and Marluxia to be the first of their customers both days of the weekend when she isn't called to HQ," laughed Ventus. "It's almost like a religious thing for those two and a bunch of others too. Serah actually goes there every Sunday to join them too."

"Wow, must be something special. I'll have to join them one of these days."

The yellow-haired detective had almost said "It might be a while before that happens", but thought better than to bring up any hints of their current case. Like Light and Aqua, he could tell how this case was affecting her. He would kick himself if Olette burned out before the end of the most important case in her young career.

"Oh dear," Olette uttered as the car came to a stop. "Traffic."

Ventus laughed, "It is rush hour after all." He reached for the radio dial. "What do you want to listen to?"

"Oh," his companion said excitedly, "tune to 710 AM. There's a match for Bodhum FC tonight at AC Palumpolum."

"Football match it is."

Larxene ignored the looks she got as she walked down the familiar street in the neighborhood known locally as "Outlaw's Haven". It was an area in the Zero District where people congregated to voice their grievances against the government publicly. Yet, most of these people weren't criminals, terrorists, or traitors to the country; they were intellectuals who simply chose to defy authority—namely the government agency known as PSICOM.

Compared to the usual characters that walked down the sidewalks in Outlaw's Haven, Larxene stuck out like a sore thumb with her uniform, choosing not to hide her affiliation to Guardian Corps. Unlike PSICOM, Guardian Corps was well respected amongst the denizens of the Haven, who saw the Corps as the true protectors of the public.

She entered into one of the many buildings that appeared rundown on the outside, but extremely well-kept on the inside save for the old paint in the hallways that were chipping away with people writing on the walls. She smirked at the graffiti'd walls, remembering her first visit to Marluxia's apartment; she had been thoroughly fascinated by the various theories, poems, rants, etc. that was scrawled over the plaster.

The door to Marluxia's apartment was painted black just like all the others, but the word "punk" was spray painted across the door in bright pink. It had been something that Marluxia did the first day he got the place after he promised to replace the door if he ever moved out.

She knocked on the door and listened closely as a muffled "just a minute!" came through the door's threshold. The yellow-haired woman stifled a snicker as a loud crash followed by a string of cuss words sounded before the door swung open to reveal her friend's exuberant smile at seeing her.

"Larry!" he greeted jokingly, knowing just how much the green-eyed woman hated the male name. He quickly took a step back with a wide grin on his face as Larxene threw a playful punch at him.

"I'm fine with you calling me Arlene," she retorted while rolling her eyes, "but honestly, Larry? That's such a stupid name."

"Only because I know you hate it," replied Marluxia, backing into the room to let his best friend in. "So, what does our dear leader want today?"

"Info on PSICOM's connection with Sanctum Holdings," Larxene answered, closing the door behind her.

"Aww yeah," the pink-haired man whooped excitedly with a fist pump. "Time to wreak some havoc."

Larxene rolled her eyes at her friend's enthusiasm. It was the same reaction every single time. Sure she enjoyed these hacking sessions, but there were times when the challenges were turning banal and lacked the thrill it once had.

"Heh heh," Marluxia uttered as he leaned toward the computer monitor while his fingers flew across the keyboard with expert precision. Sometimes, Larxene wondered how on the planet was Marluxia able to keep his 20/20 eyesight. "Come on, baby."

The detective shook her head in amused resignation. "You don't mind if I take a shower, do you?"

"Just don't strut around naked. Your boobs are not that big of a deal." His brash comments earned him a solid slap on the back of his head from his friend. "Ow!"

"Pervert," Larxene muttered.

"Ew, no. Sorry, having sex with a woman isn't exactly on my bucket list."

"You're too young to have a bucket list."

"You never know when you'll die!" exclaimed Marluxia.

The banter continued on before and after the woman took her shower, changing into a large sized tee and a pair of ripped jeans, with her hair was no longer slicked down by hair gel. She continued drying her hair as she leaned forward to look at the screen, checking on the progress Marluxia was making through the multiple layers of security that PSICOM had around their network. Though he was working for PSICOM, Marluxia always preferred hacking through all the layers instead of using his login info to bypass some of the lower level firewalls. Besides, he didn't want to risk them tracing the route back to his account either.

"You in yet?" she asked the question that Marluxia detested.

"See for yourself," the pink-haired man replied, hitting "enter" with a resounding click before leaning back to appreciate his handiwork.

A series of codes scrolled across the screen in rapid succession before the telltale PSICOM interface popped up. A collapsible list of folders appeared in a window organized by various identification letters and numbers. But both Larxene and Marluxia have been in the PSICOM system enough times to recognize in what order each letter and number meant.

"What are we looking for?" the expert hacker asked as Larxene scrolled down the list of folders looking for the ones for Sanctum Holdings.

"PSICOM's involvement with Sanctum Holdings," she replied as they came upon a group of folders with the letters "SHL" in the folder names.

"Experiments?" frowned Marluxia.

"Probably" was the brief answer. "We don't know what exactly though. Just something to do with Euphorbia virosa."

"A euphorbia?"

"Not a poinsettia. A poison tree," Larxene quickly added for her friend's benefit. She backed off to let her friend retake control of his beloved computer.

"Right, poison tree," nodded Marluxia, opening the folders in rapid succession as his eyes scanned through the files faster than Larxene could ever hope to do. "L-dopa, anaerobic steroids, pluripotent stem cells, neurotoxins, usual military bullshit…" A couple more clicks later, his eyes lit up happily upon finding the keywords. "Oh, what's this? 'A mixture of sap from Euphorbia virosa and sap from Hippomane mancinella yielded a L-50 dose'… Who the hell wants this stuff!?"

"Hey, look," Larxene said, pointing at a specific section after Marluxia got annoyed and started scrolling down at a faster pace. The hacker quickly stopped on the paragraph in question and read the jargon with a frown.

"They're trying to make a PED out of poison?" he asked skeptically. "Is that even possible?"

"Who knows," shrugged Larxene. "But it would fit PSICOM's M.O. in recent years. Dr. Rose Iracebeth and Dr. Ilosovic Stayne. Guess we found our targets."

"Want me to download the records on their experiments and stash it on an encrypted flash drive?"

Larxene hummed thoughtfully. Aqua would probably want to know more about these two and she wasn't sure if they'd be able to pull anything off of the official records beyond their employment at Sanctum Holdings. "Yeah," she nodded finally. "Would be good to have a reference."

"One encrypted file, coming right up," Marluxia grinned. He inserted one of the many flash drives he kept around the apartment and began downloading the files pertaining to the two doctors involved in the poison tree research.

Larxene went back to drying her hair with the towel while her friend looked at the various references the two doctors used. One particular name continued to appear: Xehanort Carr.

"Hmm," he mused aloud. "I wonder who this 'Xehanort Carr' is." He opened the PSICOM personnel search box and typed the name in, only to find just a name and no profile of the man associated with the name. "Well that's interesting."

"What is?" the yellow-haired woman asked as she looked at the monitor over Marluxia's shoulder.

"Have you ever heard of 'Xehanort Carr'?" he asked.

"Can't say I have," she answered.

"Our two doctors have been using his research as basis for their own. But he's not on the PSICOM database."

"What about Sanctum Holdings' database?" she suggested.

"No way Sanctum Holdings would have a profile if PSICOM doesn't. You forget that PSICOM keeps extensive records on people than their individual employers do."

"So we have yet another name we need to investigate. Wonderful," she said, rolling her eyes. "Thanks, Marluxia."

"Where are we having dinner tonight?" he asked, trying not to let his eagerness sound in his voice.

"How about, Lenora's Garage?"

"Is that a new," Marluxia started to ask absent-mindedly before realizing what exactly the woman had suggested, "I don't eat electronics!"

Larxene gave a toothy grin, her eyes twinkling with mischief. "How about the Heaven then? My treat."

"But that's too far away," he whined.

"Ugh," the detective groaned with mock exasperation. "You complain too much. You should've picked then."

"Let's go to that Vietnamese place on the corner for some foh."

"You're just pronouncing it that way to get on my nerves, aren't you?" sighed Larxene.

"You got me," grinned the pink-haired man. "Come on. I know you'd love some coconut juice."

"You know me all too well." She smirked in jest. "Let's go."

Disclaimer: Both Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy XIII are copyrighted by Square Enix and Tetsuya Nomura. This is a fan production and is in no way, shape, or form to be construed as an official publication.

A/N: It's been awhile since I came back to writing this story, but I've never really abandoned it. It is in my intentions to eventually complete this fic, however long it will take me.

Rould is my version of Luxord without the "x". I figure it sounded close enough to Roald to make it a plausible name. Rose Iracebeth and Ilosovic Stayne are related to the Red Queen and the Knave of Hearts from Tim Burton's adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.

Lastly, I decided to use the term "football" instead of "soccer" not because I'm from a non-American country, but because it just makes more sense when referring to Bodhum FC (Football Club). American Football will not be played in this alternate universe. Hehe.

Hope you enjoyed the chapter and thanks for waiting. For now, I will be returning to writing Fantasia Krystallos unless I fancy writing more about this fic again.