The Mistress

March 15th 1888

Time passed by as Len continued to stare at the forbidding object at the ground, horrified. Can he take it? Yes. Although the fact that he actually held it in his fingers remained. Was he about to throw up the meal he worked so hard to steal that he digested? Maybe. Does Rin know this information? Probably not. But he'd know if she did or didn't, you can just see it in her eyes. She most likely checked the body herself before Len bumped into it. She was an extremely sharp person, it'd almost be impossible if she'd miss something. So was that what the blood she collected was for? Obviously.

Has Rin figured this all out already? That, Len wasn't sure of right now. The girl may be sharp, but could she have seen the thumb? Did she spot the missing extremity of the man?

Whether it was true or not, it was absolutely impossible to kill someone just by amputating his — or her — finger. He'd highly doubt that. Judging by where the thumb was dislocated from, he'd say that it was definitely shot by a gun. The other end of the thumb was shaped like a half of a bullet.

In his opinion, it was all about beating this man up, Len thought, standing up and scowling to himself, gazing at the man's last expression, and then shooting his thumb.

There was a man in a cloak who passed by just before the gunshot. Maybe. . .

Were there possibly two men after the victim? There was a high chance that could be it. It could easily have been a competition to kill the man; the one most likely with the cloak beat this man up in order to kill him, and the one with the gun was the one who followed, shooting this man . . . on the finger? Could that be it?

Staring at the poor corpse, Len had the feeling that he was about to find out. Find out the wrong way.

There was a rustling in the bushes: Although the blonde in the distance couldn't have heard it. A pair of bright, green eyes stared through the thicket, scowling. How could she have been so foolish as to do a stunt like that?

There had been a murderer after the man, no doubt. . . She'd known it for a while now. But she kept quiet. Why did she even keep quiet? Honestly, she didn't even know herself.

This boy had been keeping watch over the victim, and that's the sole reason why she didn't escape yet. Why? Why did she want to escape?

Her head ached; but she grunted in hushed tones, very aware that the blonde might hear her would she make the slightest noise. Why couldn't she just jump out of the bushes? She didn't even know what she was doing. . .

What was happening to her? Not knowing what was right and what was wrong anymore wasn't her. What she should do, what she shouldn't. She should be helping the blond girl and the blond boy, but something inside her took over and she was as stiff as a rock. Her mind told her that it wasn't ideal for her to do that. She was supposed to keep herself alive.

But was she on the side of the truth? Or on what was ideal and right for her?

The girl hiding in the bushes looked at her hands: Her left was holding a gun, and her right was bloody. Oh, they'd definitely not mistake her for a suspect. Which was perfectly and undeniably true, though.

She didn't even realise she'd done those things consciously. . . What happened to her? She didn't know.

She didn't know anything.

In her frustration to find out the truth, she made her escape — the blonde in the clearing wheeled around to see what caused the scampering noise before catching a glimpse of auburn hair a distance away in the coppice.

There were absolutely many ways to hate Wellington. You want to know one? His attitude.

The Lady could remember when he 'accidentally' split coffee on her most expensive dress before.

Even though she got even with the old man, she still hates him. Why? (Granted, that 'getting even' plan cost her a lot.) Well, if you hate someone, would you continue getting even with them until you think they had enough? My point exactly.

"What in God's holy name made you near this place?"

Rin inwardly swore, rolling her eyes — his loud voice. "What is your problem, you old cow? You even called a spy for me!"

Connor bit his lip and played with the hem of his shirt, looking as though he was very interested in the clean floor of the Inspector's office.

Can't I rest one week without having to see your ugly face?"

The man with the moustache in front of her scowled — oh, wait. He's got a freakin' monobrow. He crouched down a bit and leaned in so that his greasy nose was just centimetres away from hers — that sounded weird — and he said, his hairy lip quivering, "I don't like your attitude, young lady."

"That's funny," Rin spat, which made the man stand up straight again. "I couldn't remember my own parents calling me that."

Wellington growled and put aside all his gentleman-ity and snarled darkly, "You don't have any parents, child!"

"Sir!"

The two arguers looked at the only source the exclamation could have come from, and they saw Connor at the threshold, ears as red as wine itself. He looked really ticked off. After all, the Inspector's last statement hit him like a bullet. Connor himself didn't have any parents either.

Rather dishevelled, Rin looked up — glaring, may the authoress add — at Reginald Wellington with a dead serious look on her face.

"We're in here to discuss something, Welli — Inspector," Rin hastily added the word — odiously — "I wouldn't come here for any other reason."

Although she still wanted to argue a bit more regarding his stinking face, she couldn't: Not when the blond peasant was still guarding the corpse.

"I'm afraid we're going to have to put the diamond case on the hold — Sir," Rin said, nodding importantly. She took out the evidences she collected in the crime scene before Wellington opened his mouth to answer — and by this time the old codger was gaping at the odd objects the young girl had placed upon the table carelessly — and continued talking breathlessly, opening up for the first time about a case, "On the way home to my household we passed by the woods leading there and a cloaked man crossed the road, causing us to come to a short stop. My driver checked if the man hit anything on the carriage, and I went out to see what the commotion was.

"I had an — ah — acquaintance with me at the time, so he followed me out." Rin was careful to choose the right words so she would make the ambiguous lie believable. The inspector eyed her in the most disgusting way possible — not like that, folks — and he made a gesture to Connor to sit down at the stool next to him by the door, but the boy didn't budge. Stubborn as ever. Rin turned her attention back to the man and went on, "Listen to this, Mister Wellington: We heard a gunshot in the woods soon after."

Len darted after the figure, scowling.

He thought he heard someone in the bushes, and he was right: The dead man's body was far too vulnerable out in the open, so how could the suspect just leave it there with no one to guard it? Len left the victim's body where it was, because nobody would dare go near it, he reckoned.

Naturally, he was a very fast runner, and keeping up with that person — whoever that was — would be absolutely no problem for him. His feet sprung from the ground like a frog as he ran after the figure.

There was a bush up ahead and he nearly tripped over but managed to pass it off as a slight stagger before he sped up again. Picking up the pace, one thought ran in his mind wildly: Could that person have the revolver that shot the victim? If so, then why did he — or she — Len thought that least likely, but it was safe to assume so anyway — run from his sight? Also, it was the sound of soft running, which indicated that the killer may be a small person . . . or even a child.

Could it be likely that there was a mastermind behind all this, too? It could be. . . Len had a theory that there can be two people behind this killing, and he was after the weaker one. He wondered whether Rin was already hot on the track for the mastermind. The blonde was silently praying, though, that the lady won't be mad at him for leaving the corpse unattended. Although he had some opinions about the uselessness of guarding an already dead man in the remote woods where the only people in there were already, in Len's case, chasing after themselves or, in the suspect's case, running away from each other, he decided to keep it to himself since he felt like the Lady would find a loophole through that no matter what.

Sweat was trickling down his cheek as the chase heated up; the suspect must be small to be fast. The light footsteps could already be heard, and Len felt his heart race. Was he already that close? He didn't think he was running at his fastest, though; and, even, he was wearing shoes unfit for such activities. See? The facts come together in one puzzle, and maybe his theory of the suspect being a child was almost proved correct.

Feeling slightly high, Len said, keeping his voice calm and threatening at the same time, his eyes darting from left to right, "I know you're out there. We don't need to play this little game. We already know who's lost."

As expected, there was an outbreak of nervous panting in the midst of the bushes rustlings resounding in the forest, and Len finally found a speck of pinkish colour moving ahead, swaying back and forth. Bingo.

The figure ahead didn't look so threatening at all: The closer Len got, the more he got the feeling he was wrong about suspecting the figure. Although he was so sure. . . Upon closer inspection, the suspect was wearing a long thin dress that reached her — the suspect being obviously a girl — knees, and a white hat with a pink ribbon tied around the rim. Len slowed down and walked instead, seeing as the young girl in front of him had already collapsed to her knees, apparently giving up. Had he thought wrong or immoral about suspecting a child? A girl? A girl no older than his mistress herself?

Slowly, he felt his suspicion of the girl fade away when he heard the girl sob silently into her hands.

". . . never repeat what I told you. . . You're to gather information of this man. . . What's happening . . . ?"

Len felt Goosebumps erupt from the back of his neck and he stepped back carefully. The girl started to sob harder and her shoulders were shaking terribly: She began talking indistinctly, between sobs and hushed whispers alike, and that seriously freaked Len out. There was one word that Len made out, and the only reason why Len understood it was because she kept repeating it in what seemed to be every sentence; "traitor."

She had a thick accent, and occasionally Len heard her tones pitch up higher before they become deeper again.

When Len finally came to the conclusion that this girl was bonkers, the girl suddenly coughed loudly and gave one last shudder before falling face down on the forest floor.

Still horrified at what he saw, Len stood at the spot, shaken and creeped out, with his eyes wide with terror. What he just saw was . . . ?

Although something inside him was telling him to get out of there, Len approached the unconscious-ish girl with bravery and examined her.

He almost jumped when he saw a pool of white liquid coming from the girl's mouth: The girl was indeed pretty . . . had she shown the slightest trace of sanity, however. Her eyes were wide open, like, more than a normal person's should when they're unconscious (or not, even.) The corners of her mouth were twitching, too, like she was forcing that insane smile stuck on her expression as the thick liquid dripped slowly from her lower lip. Her curly auburn hair looked wet with sweat and . . . something else. He also smelled a trace of blood and . . . something else. What was that familiar scent? It was nowhere near nostalgic to Len, if that's what you're thinking.

Taken aback, Len felt his heart heave him down: That was the freakiest thing he'd ever seen.

He still heard the slight mumbling of the girl and he very much regretted following her in the first place.

Rin didn't know how, or never even bothered to, but somehow they convinced Wellington to handle the case along with them. She was just glad that the old man came through.

Where were they now?

It's kind of a long story — skipping Wellington's complaints and Rin's eventual effective comebacks — but somewhere between the lines she managed to convince Wellington to rest the 'stolen diamond' case for now and investigate this one. Inwardly, the Lady was thankful that a situation such as this came in to interrupt, because she absolutely did not want to go to prison. Who does, actually?

The three people were now sitting in comfort — or lack thereof — inside Rin's carriage, heading toward the crime scene. She was sitting right across the two men huddled up their seats in discomfort: Hayes was nervously fiddling with his collar, apparently disliking the lack of space; and of course who could forget Wellington, eyes squinted scrutinising Rin with his lopsided glasses and twitching moustache and all. Rin was just sitting straight looking pretty proud of herself, wearing that amused smile that made her look like she knew everything.

"So we have all gathered information regarding the incident," said Wellington suddenly, pursing his dry — hairy — lips. "There's a disappearance of a man named Mortimer Snow just this morning. His maid ran across the street to the station to report this. Apparently, Snow was gone overnight. He had a good job, a beautiful wife and a wonderful mansion. However, he has a horrible habit of staying late at night from working."

Wellington stared at the blonde. "What do you see in this?"

The tips of Rin's mouth escalated. "This case would be quite easy. I have theories though, and several questions I'd like to add up regarding your suspect." Rin massaged her chin, leaning forward a bit. "What makes you so sure he can be the cloaked man?"

It was the easiest question Rin could ask of Wellington in the situation, but it may be the question that would shoot Wellington's idea down.

"Because he once had a record, Ma'am, about child abuse," spat Wellington. Rin was delighted to see the look on Wellington's face, but was more interested in this man's history. "He and his wife had a child, and he filed cases on selling the baby: We don't know why, but we're pretty sure he doesn't want a child ruining his future, and he panicked. We didn't have any evidence at all of him selling the baby, or him having a baby at all, so he wasn't arrested."

"It seems like we have a stowaway, Mister Wellington," Rin mused, smiling mischievously. "Do you think his habit of staying up late at night 'working' has a connection to this?" She raised her voice a bit to emphasise the word 'working.'

"I've been thinking the same thing, actually." Wellington said thoughtfully. "What on earth would he be doing at such late times? Killing people?"

"Oh, I highly doubt that. I don't think Mortimer Snow's the type of person to be running round killing random people every night." Rin's tone was very casual in spite of the fact that they were talking about murder: She made everything sound like a normal tea conversation. She raised a brow at an angry Wellington and pointed at Snow's documents of his previous actions. "Can I have a look at that?"

Wellington raised a suspicious brow, but he obliged, half-shoving the papers in front of her face. Feeling a little nice, Rin smirked at his violent reaction and seized the papers from his hands.

Mortimer Robert Snow

Age: 43

Birth date: September 23, 1845

(Photo)

Accused of several misdeeds such as; abortion; child abuse; adultery. The said misdeeds have not been proved to this day, however we are putting this man under tight surveillance. He has been accused of child abuse because all evidences point to him. The crimes he has been suspected to have done all have a connection, and they all seem to associate with child abuse, oddly enough. This strikes us as highly suspicious, although the public won't allow us to arrest this man, for we lack sufficient evidence. His accusations and suspicious actions continue to make us sceptical, and over the past fourteen years, we can't believe he's slipped from another crime once again. He is also known to be the friend of many mass murderers and drug dealers, so it is natural for him to be one himself, isn't it?

After she finished reading, Rin furrowed her eyebrows. She raised her head to look at a waiting Connor and Wellington. "This is it?"

She could have sworn she'd seen a nerve explode at Wellington's forehead. "What, you need more, child?"

"As a matter of fact, I actually do," said Rin carelessly. "Let me ask you something, Mr. Wellington. What work does he actually do nowadays?"

Looking more than a little surprised, Wellington replied, "He works at a garden shop now with his wife."

Connor suddenly piped up from the corner, "It's actually a bit strange, eh? Inspector here says that he usually works late. What'd he be doing in the garden shop at midnight, I suppose?"

"A very good observation, Hayes," Rin mused, watching Connor flash her a grin. He had a good point: Then that must mean their number one suspect so far — and was probably the only one they had, but meh — was Mortimer Snow.

The horses outside whinnied, and the coach stopped: She heard Mills's voice inaudible through the thick walls of the carriage inside, but didn't really catch what he had to say. She strained her ears to hear clearly, but by the time she finally understood a few words, Mills's mumbling came to a stop. The silence was unbearable: They were inside a forest where a murderer must be lurking in right now, hiding from them . . . or hunting for their blood. The very thought made Rin's breathing hitch: She didn't like this one bit. Although the thrill made her go too excited to stop now. Connor, who sat at the left side of the carriage, was silent as hell. He looked seriously, well, serious: His eyes scrutinised every detail of the forest outside the window, as though he was sure there was someone staring at them. Wellington, on the other hand, looked outraged. He stood up like an idiot and exclaimed, "Are we already at the crime scene? Why're you all just glaring at nothing like that? We have to go, you incompetent children!"

Slightly losing her patience and feeling the tension of the newfound paranoia of a killer around, Rin hissed, ducking a bit, "Shut up, Wellington! You'd let the murderer hear!"

"I have a lot of cases to handle, Miss Kagamine, and the only reason why I wanted to handle this one was because my client was delayed a few hours." Wellington was seriously stupid. Like, to the point of pissing everyone off. Rin's left eye twitched when Wellington marched to the door and flung it open, stepping on the forest floor in such a flamboyant fashion. The blood running in Rin's veins boiled.

She really, really, really hated Wellington.

Rin felt Adrenaline rush and got out of the carriage herself, followed by Connor, who she saw at the corner of her eyes roll his eyes. The temperature was humid, and just being from Whitehall, Rin wasn't as used to such heat as she was earlier this morning. When she came and thought about it, waking up from bed in the morning seemed to be a long time away, didn't it? Now she's back to solving another murder case. Oh joy.

They were blasted with heat — or at least Rin thought she was — as, in Rin's and Hayes's cases, they watched Wellington disappear in the thicket, apparently determined and impatient to investigate the crime scene.

Rin heaved a knowing sigh. Mills looked at her on his seat when she mumbled, "If we're not here in fifteen minutes you should call the police force."

And with that, she turned to Hayes, nodding, like they had a silent understanding, and went off to the woods as well.

"Traitor . . . choice . . . identity. . ."

Those were the words Len had so far understood from the girl's indistinct mumbling. Fear was starting to build up inside him, and only a few more umphs, panic would take over and in not less than five seconds he'd be running out of there.

What was this girl talking about? In Len's own opinion, and based on all the evidence he gathered that led him to the hypothesis — such as the unpalatable odour, the foam from her mouth, and let's not forget her indistinct whispering — this girl might have been. . .

There was a sound of a branch that snapped, and Len sensed a rather chilling, and a barbaric presence from behind him: A shadow surfaced in front, casting down all what he could see of the girl in the daylight, and before Len could react, a deep, monotonous voice said behind him, completely toneless and all, "What would happen . . . if you did something you very much regret?"

He didn't want to look like an ignorant idiot, so Len just stayed there, one knee knelt on the ground, staring into the wide wild eyes of the unconscious girl, who gave him a blank gaze in return. He didn't recognise the voice to belong to anyone he thought he knew, however there was one thing clear in his mind: This voice belonged to someone who's known as a killer. A murderer. And Len could hear it all in his husky voice. Who else would be in the woods when it was such a beautiful day? (Plus, he caught the strong scent of blood, which he can't help smelling.)

Not moving, Len whispered, "Do you know this girl?"

There was a shuffling of feet behind him, and Len could swear that he'll die. But if the man wanted to kill him, he would've done it in the first place, right? Before he even talked.

"To be quite frank, no." The man wasn't hesitating in telling the truth at all. Or was Len just wrong about him being a killer? Maybe he was just someone who passed by; but even the town's butcher didn't reek this awful of blood. . . "She's just someone somebody I knew knew. If that made any sense, dear boy."

The girl's eyes were widening, as though she were still conscious: Like she was surprised. Len didn't want to miss that detail out. If she was conscious — and her expressing silent surprise is a very strong sign — then that must mean she knew this man, judging by the look on her face.

"Came across her when I was supposed to be searching for a man, who was coincidentally connected to her. . ." The man's voice flowed like death itself. And as for Len, if he wanted to keep himself alive and kicking, then choosing the right dialogue for this conversation was his only hope. At least, until Rin will somehow find him. He had to buy himself time. "The man I knew used to be my friend. . . But that's the thing, isn't it? He used to be. . ."

Goosebumps ran down Len's spine. Was he supposed to delve deeper into this? Apparently. It was his only choice, so yeah.

"Our big fallout was when we chased after the same woman. . ." He spat on the ground; Len felt his composure collapsing, but he managed. "We shouldn't've kept the friendship, but we couldn't live without each other, yet we detested each other; we were filled with lies. We both knew at the time that she was going to choose, and we both knew who."

With every word, his voice was starting to shake with what seemed to be rage. Len was alone in the forest with a crazy girl and a murderer under the same tree. What a situation to be in.

"You're a suitable young man. . . Tall, dashing, bright. . . Everything I wasn't."

The man coughed, like he was choking on his own words. Despite his statement almost sounding gay, Len thought the man's talking would eventually end.

"But everything he had been. . ."

Len finally gathered all his balls and turned around, gritting his teeth and somewhat preparing for a strike: In front of him now stood a tall madman, whose hair was drenched in blood and sweat. He had a pointed chin that somehow added the intimidation in his part, and tan skin that Len knew wasn't supposed to look . . . ugly on the man. (That sounded wrong, but whatever.) He looked around a head taller than Len, but not tall enough for his age; his wrinkles were apparent. His hair, not unlike the dead man's earlier, was greying; the two men could easily be distinguished as of the same age. Bloody were his khaki pants, worn out and frayed with patches of different colours. His shirt was all buttoned up, except for the one he left where his neckline was at to most likely keep himself comfortable, or it had gone loose when he beat the poor man to death. . . He wore a long, thin cloak of black with the hood down, and Len knew who this was already. The man stood, panting heavily, with exhaustion and showed every sign of conspicuous lack of sanity. His eyes were wide expressing the most fear Len had ever seen in his life, but his gruesome smile made Len flinch: He was a madman!

Head slightly tilted to one side and eyes clearly fixed upon the girl on the ground behind Len, he said, breath hitching with every word, eye twitching with every breath, "So, pretty boy . . . what do you reckon happened to this girl here?"

Len just couldn't think of anything else to say, "She's . . . demented?"

The man spit on the ground and sneered, licking his lips and showing off his not-exactly-pearly-not-even-near whites. "Lies! I could see it in your eyes! All lies!

Len made a quick movement, standing up, and moved backward, stepping over the girl. The madman killer rotated his head, stretching, and said, "I can hear it in your voice and how it trembles! Lies! LIES!"

Before Len could even register what was happening, the man reached out and grabbed his wrist; he felt like he was lunged forward and his vision went white for a fraction of a second before he felt something gooey on the tip of his finger.

"See? Smell that, smell it, boy!"

An atrocious odour filled Len's nostrils as he sharpened his eyesight: He saw his finger a few centimetres from his nose and a white substance at the tip that was supposed to be the source of the deadly smell.

A pair of crazy eyes stared at his and he did his best to avoid them, half-afraid he might go crazy as well. The smell was unfamiliar to him, and yet he already knew what it was. He reckoned the substance was extracted from the pool of liquid coming from the girl's mouth and reminded himself to wash his hands later. If there was a later.

"You know what it is?" the man whispered. Idiot, of course Len knew what it was. Quite enough of it, his eyebrow furrowed a bit, a habit he was accustomed to whenever he was pissed off. Without waiting for a reply — which was great, obviously, because Len didn't want to give one — he let go of Len, but grabbed the unconscious girl from behind and turned her around so that Len could face her.

Her eyes were still blank in space, but Len could sense that, from the trembling, she was aware of everything around her. Horrified, Len reached out his hand to save her, but the man pulled her hair so that he would reveal the sharp-edged knife held close to her pale white neck.

The killer clicked his tongue dangerously, looking at the ground. Len froze, grunting.

"Dear, dear, young man. I think you're smart enough to remember where I last finished my story off, aren't you?"

When Len didn't answer, he continued. "We have been each other's best friend since we can't remember. . . Close as brothers, we were. . . We were bonded by deprivation; we shared our similarities. . . Except, we were different."

He stroked the long hair of the girl in such a way that disgusted Len, and hummed a song of odd tone. "Our responses to the same stresses had been diverging since we were young. I think friendship had too long blinded me to the growing differences between us. And . . ."

Len flinched when the man had come too close to the girl that his lips were already moistening the girl's right ear, much to the girl's revulsion; she gasped blindly. "And we'd been in love with the same woman.

"She . . . came to our lives when we turned of age. She was the most beautiful lady we'd ever seen. Long, brown hair with waves and curls that bounced in the sunlight. . . Healthy, white skin that was as soft as a rose. . . And her personality brightens anyone's atmosphere. We won her trust, you know. . . The three of us became inseparable." His voice was dripping with a strong sign of reminiscence — until his eyes glinted and he had that craziness back. "We began lying to each other around that time: Who did our hearts belong to? Who were we planning to spend our lives with? We were absolutely clueless. . . On the night I was about to proclaim my love to her, she showed up to me, all excited and giddy. . ."

He suddenly spat on the ground again, laughing like the maniac he was. Len just watched in disgust. "She showed it to me! She showed me the ring he gave her! Haha!"

Silently, Len was praying that Rin would come sooner. . . What happened to the corpse, he wondered? Maybe they took so long. . . Or something. Hadn't Rin told him she'd gone to get reinforcements or something? It just occurred to him that all he'd ever done these past minutes was stall his life. This man was supposed to kill him, but he didn't. He wondered.

"Then he came up to me. . . My so-called friend. The man who was built up by lies of what I thought I knew of him. We'd gone our separate ways after their wedding: It was the last I'd seen of the traitor . . . and of my Olivia. . ."

The more absorbed the man was to the story, the less Len could care. He was barely even listening now. But he had to pay attention sometimes in case the psycho would ask him a question that might be the turn to his death. He also had to save the girl.

"And it seemed like I was the only one who believed of the rumour." He caressed the girl's skin lovingly, in an odd way that struck Len as not paedophile-ish, but of fatherly. "He had impregnated my Olivia with a baby girl — a rumour that only a few people believe but a scandal most people would look down upon. Except, he had been so selfish: Can you believe that he sold his own girl to a place of prostitutes?"

Gulping, Len glared at the man: This story was finally making sense now.

"They say that the baby looked exactly like her mother. . ." The psycho ran a horrendously bony finger down the girl's trembling neck. Len made a movement again but the man raised the same finger. "Don't you think that this man has had enough of lies? Don't you think that people deserve to know the truth? Don't you think Olivia's daughter would want to take this traitor down?"

"Of course. . . I'd have to kill everyone who witnessed this, too. . ."

He raised his knife — everything happened so fast — Len pushed the man out of the way, grunting — the girl dropped to the ground with a loud thud — he had to prevent this from happening — everything of him hurt like hell — he heard a loud clink, followed by a hissing noise.

Landing on the forest floor face-down, Len gathered his strength and kicked the man to the ground. As the man fell down, Len seized the opportunity to skedaddle with the girl, but he stumbled to the ground when the man grabbed his ankle.

Len grunted, thrashing and kicking the man aside, "So you think that you could solve the problem by killing the man in the hands of his own daughter?"

The man's grip on his ankle tightened, and he clung on to it like it were a lifeline. He crept up to Len, rasping murderously, "Found her working in the place, being treated like scum! Should a child of Olivia be treated like that?"

Len wrenched his foot from his grasp and crawled on the ground backwards, growling, "Don't touch me with your filthy hands, vermin."

Letting out a loud rasping noise, the psycho rolled over and nicked his knife, which had dropped when Len knocked him down. Eyes bulged when he saw that the man was about to plunge the knife into the chest of the unconscious girl, Len shouted a loud "NO!" before he threw himself at him.

There was a flash of bright white light before he heard the gory noise of someone's blood being spilt, and the far and distant cry of, "There he is!"

...

Len's head hurt so bad. He couldn't lift his eyelids to see what was happening either. It took him a few seconds to gain his memory of what happened previously. Remembering everything in a jolt, his eyelids fluttered open and he sat up straight from his position, but found himself restrained.

He blinked again and again, but he couldn't see anything but blackness. Len's eyes were starting to water when he gave up; he concluded that he was indeed in a dark room. It was really warm in here. . . But there seemed to be a sort of cool air surrounding him.

Either way, Len was sure he was in a room. He shifted around in his place and just realised in surprise that he was sitting on a bed. In fact, when Len thought about it, it had been a long time since he'd slept in a room. . . He'd been living in the streets all his life he'd forgotten how it was like being in a house. . .

Where was he, anyway? And how did he get here? What happened to the poor girl?

Len slightly flinched when he heard something creak, and stayed perfectly still on his bed (or what he thinks that what he was sitting on was a bed.) Light filled the room and he had to blink to see everything perfectly.

He was in a very spacious room: He had to admit, he hadn't been inside a room for quite a long time, let alone slept in one on a nice bed. There was basically nothing there: Just a bed he was in now and a large painting at the corner of the room that depicted a very tall and good-looking blonde man standing on top of a large mountain of what seemed to be dead human bodies — a rather grotesque image Len was somewhat disturbed to look at — and a chandelier above him that was lit.

There was, of course, the open door, where a familiar boorish-looking person was at: In her nightgown and with her hair down, Len almost didn't recognise his Mistress, Rin Kagamine.

"Oh, you're up now, I see," Rin stated lamely, scrutinising her eyes. Len felt a sting on his head and he put his hand up to touch it, but judging by the look the Lady was giving him, she didn't want him doing anything. "You've been through a lot."

"W-what —"

"The suspect turned out to be the dead man's best friend," Rin said, sighing. She opened the door wide so that she could let herself in, but she was still standing next to the threshold. "As for the girl —"

"She was drugged."

Len gritted his teeth for saying that so suddenly. Rin eyed him like a predator would a prey, but continued talking nonetheless. "Yeah, she was. She was actually the victim's daughter. And we're off the hook; Scotland Yard won't investigate on the Diamond case for a long time."

A throbbing pain spread out in Len's head, and he felt like he was going to pass out again. He heard Rin heave a sigh.

"I think you've been stressed out too much." There wasn't any pity in Rin's voice when she said that, but at least she didn't sound sadistic. More like she was tired. "I'll tell you everything in the morning."

Len still felt like there was something missing. "B-but I need to —"

Rin silenced him with one look. "Tomorrow, Len. You've enough to worry about."

She bit her lip when Len didn't say anything — she was probably so conscious right nowand she tucked a few strands of her hair behind her ear before she turned out the lights and said, "I hope you don't get nightmares."

Then the door was shut. Len was alone in the darkness once again. Her presence seemed to emanate an atmosphere that was both somewhat dark, but comforting. In any case, Len was glad she was safe. That he was safe.

He sighed as he laid his head on the pillow. Maybe he was thinking too hard. The case was closed already, but he felt like something was still missing. Besides, everything would be explained tomorrow. They'd just run into a problem, and that was that. . . He was just sucked into another one of Rin's death cases.

Len remembered reading in the newspaper that the heiress of Langley was a vicious and deadly person when it came to solving crimes. He was a little upset he didn't get to see Rin in action — and by action he meant talking non-stop about deathly stuff — and felt a little . . . left out.

Rin was going to explain everything in the morning, though. He can settle for now in this little loose end.

Those thoughts were swimming in his head for quite a while until he drifted off to sleep.

AUTHOR'S NOTE

ME: Oh God, guys o.O I'm so sorry I haven't updated for a long time! DX What with the 2012 nonsense I became paranoid! D: Merry Christmas, everyone! I'm REALLY sorry for the loose end. It sounded a bit . . . rushed D: But the idea of the gunshot SUDDENLY appearing in the woods was already vague, so this is just another problem of the day D: Sorry, guys. Imma explaining the gunshot at the thumb on the next chapter. Merry Christmas, guys! XD

CookieAddiction: Well, seeing as you're the only one who reviewed, I'm giving you a MASSIVE virtual cake! Imagine it's full of sprinkles and marshmallows! :D Thanks for reviewing, anyway :D