Northampton, England: March 4th, 2006:
The sun shined upon Hunsbury Hill Park, one of the finest parks within Northampton, England. The air was warm, basking all those that stepped outside with a pleasant heat. Light breezes passed through the air, making those within the sun not as uncomfortable as they would be without it. The shade provided those resting underneath the park's fine trees a comfortable place to sit. It was a nice place to talk with friends or relax with a good book.
Sitting underneath one such tree was the Servant once known as Saber, once known as Arturia.
Once known as Arthur, the King of Knights and King of Camelot.
Her black suit was gone as well as her intricate battle dress and armor. Now she was dressed in a simple white button up shirt with long sleeves, tucked into a pair of blue slacks that were tied to her waist with a brown belt. Her socks were also white and her brown shoes were newly polished, with a blue buckle rested on the lip. Around her neck was a blue scarf with gold trimmings, tied securely with the ends slightly moving thanks to the wind.
Her hair was undone, allowing the short white hair to reach her shoulders. Resting in her mouth was a lit Silk Cut brand cigarette, the carton resting to her left next to a small dark blue portable ash tray with two cigarette butts and ashes already inside. Open in her hands was an issue of Dan Dare Magazine, the British hero smirking and raising his trademark eyebrow on the cover. On her lap was a small MP3 player with the headphones within her ears.
"Don't turn your back. Danger surrounds you~! Don't turn your back. To the dogs who hound you~! Don't turn your back. Don't show your profile~!"
Arturia felt a nudge on her foot. She put her comic aside and glancing down to see a small brown and white Corgi looking at her.
"All done? Alright then..." She took out her cigarette and put it out in the ash tray. She carefully closed it before placing it along with the Silk Cuts in her right pants pocket and then took out her headphones before placing it and the MP3 player in her left pocket. She dusted off her pants while continuing to hold her comic in her left hand, before she glanced at the Corgi and smiled. "Come along Kay. One stop and then we'll go home."
The canine barked happily and followed his master as she walked.
Arturia had been living in Northampton for eight years, deciding to make England her home after she completed her training. She had fallen in love with the town thanks to the scenery and its people, along with the air.
The air, cool and full of familiarity, helped with her meditation.
She smiled as she noticed several of the town's youth playing a game of rugby with the parents watching from a distance.
"Give them hell Thomas!" She shouted to a dark-skinned youth amongst the boys, who waved back at her before catching the ball.
Arturia continued on her way through the trees before making it to the main road. She and Kay looked both ways while waiting for the crosswalk light, and when it turned green they walked to the small pub named 'The Brave Shine'. She pointed to the ground next to the door and looked at Kay.
"Stay." She said with a firm voice, causing the small dog to plant its behind on the pavement. She entered the pub, a bell ringing with the opening of the door.
"'Ello Altria!" The portly gentleman behind the counter with balding grey hair and a thick handlebar moustace said cheerfully as he polished his glass. "Come for a pint?"
Her new identity of Altria Pendleton took some getting used to, but Arturia got the hang of it.
"Yes, I have." She said while sitting on a stool by the counter. "You certainly know me well, Andy."
The man laughed as he began filling the tall glass. Saber looked around and watched as the other pub occupants smile while talking with one another. Some stuff about unions, some things about family business. Many discussions about opening another tab and getting another pint. Some twenty-somethings laughed while throwing darts at the dartboard, bemoaning about their lectures and lack of available work. All the while the dim bar lamps illuminated the wooden floor and dark red walls.
She very much enjoyed the atmosphere of this place.
"More developments about the current case against Sherlock Holmes the Third have occurred." Saber turned her head to the small television behind the counter, showing a man wearing the popular coat and hat of the famous detective scowling while placing his hand on the camera. "So far, the detective has denied the allegations that he had been taking credit for solving cases that his daughter, Aria Holmes the Fourth, had solved ever since she was seven. But recently, the now famous twenty-two-year-old daughter of the detective has made this statement."
On the screen now was an admittedly small teenager whose almost pinkish red hair tied into ponytails stood behind a small podium, her red eyes looking directly at the camera.
"I fully admit that my father has been using my deductions to solve cases, as well as take credit for them." She sighed as she said, "I... do admit, his skills as a detective are lacking. Nearly nonexistent in fact. I complied with his actions since he is my father. But I always knew that the truth would reveal itself sooner or later. But that does not excuse my complicity in his crime, and it shames me greatly to be a part of his usage of our legacy for monetary gain. I will fully cooperate with the authorities on this matter, and hope that I will be able to continue working with them to solve difficult cases..."
"Cryin' shame. Poor lass, havin' scum like her father takin' advantage of her." Andy muttered as he passed Arturia her Guinness.
"Well, the fact that she's willing to admit her fault and still desire to help people proves that she's the one who truly deserves the Holmes name." Arturia said as she began drinking.
"Ain't that the truth... though I hope she doesn't pick up her great-grandfather's drug habits."
Arturia continued to drink, listening only in passing to the conversations in the bar as well as the television. Everything was ordinary, the people are happy. Only thing of note was the Director of Communications being caught on camera screaming several rather creative and explicit curses and insults at his subordinates.
Then came the small report that truly caught her ear.
"Life as a Child Thief by Kazuhito Miyazaki comes out this week! It is a thrilling and tragic tell-all book of Kazuhito's childhood as 'Lupin the Kid'. The book details how he was trained and manipulated by his mother into believing he was the thief's biological son as part of a complicated revenge plot against the infamous thief. Despite his childhood, Kazuhito holds no grudge against the thief who saved his life during a particularly dangerous heist, which resulted in Kazuhito learning the truth about his 'legacy' and the arrest of his mother by Inspector Zenigata. When we sat down with the author, he revealed that the two of them met earlier this month and discussed..."
"I guess that means they will call soon..." Arturia muttered to herself as she finished her glass. She set down the mug and placed the appropriate number of pounds on the counter. "Thanks for the pint, Andy."
"Eh? Usually you have more."
"I have a home to get back to."
"It's usually seven or eight." Andy muttered as he took the glass. "Lord knows where you put it all..."
Arturia smirked and exited the pub. She looked at Kay and said, "Come along boy." He barked and followed the former Servant on her walk.
Her apartment was only two blocks away, still facing the park. The building itself was rather old, with grey stones making up the building and a tiled roof. Her room was on the third floor, a short trip up that only took about four minutes for her. She had only three neighbors, and her room was nested between them.
When she got to the floor, she noticed a small boy wearing a light blue shirt and dark blue shorts. His mother wore a light pink jacket and pink hat, walking beside him.
"Hello Miss Altria." The woman greeted, and Arturia nodded her head.
"Evening Miss Anglo, young Charlie." She greeted with a smile and friendly tone with Kay barking lightly to say hello. She passed them and began fishing through her pockets for her apartment keys.
"Hey mum..." Her ears picked up Charlie's voice from the stairway. "Who is Miss Altria? You're real friendly with her, and you saw each other a lot... but she never really talks all that much."
"No one really knows, Charlie." His mother said in response. Her tone wistful as she said, "But I think that is how she likes it."
Arturia allowed a small, sad smile to show on her face as she took out her keys and put them into the keyhole. As she entered her apartment with her dog, she thought one thing.
"Oh, you have no idea how right you are..."
Tohsaka Rin had grown in the twelve years since the last Holy Grail War.
No longer was she a small girl that once could describe as 'adorable'. She now stood a good 159 centimeters. Her long black hair was loose and reached her waist. She wore a dark red coat over a red button-up shirt with silver steel ends on the collar. Her shirt was tucked into a pair of black jeans which hugged her legs with a dark red belt tied around her waist. Her shoes were also polished black, and her socks a crimson red.
Her aqua eyes stared at the graduates of Homurahara High, who were in the courtyard of the school crying while hugging each other and exchanging numbers. The promises of keeping in contact were made, as well as the tearful brags that they'll become successful the next time they meet.
Rin watched her childhood friend Kotone from her spot as she talked with her boyfriend. "I wish we could say we would meet up again..." A bitter smirk graced Rin's lips. "But I guess it's too late for that."
Ever since the incident with her father and the 'fall' of the Tohsaka family, Rin had drifted away from Kotone. It wasn't intentional, but she had to keep her mother company and had to be home schooled until high school. They tried to bond once more there, but there had been too much awkwardness and regretfully admitted that it wasn't possible for them to continue their friendship.
It wasn't said, but her father's crimes were the cause.
Crimes that were Magecraft practices in the light of normal, human society and stripped of their meaning.
'Crimes' exposed because of Lupin the fucking Third and the Church who sat idly back and washed their hands of him and the rest of the Tohsaka family.
Oh, it wasn't like she was not ignoring what happened to Sakura. She was old enough to understand what exactly happened for Sakura's training. The thought of it still made Rin sick. But it was because of Lupin's manipulations that her father still sat in a prison cell, the once proud and graceful head of the Tohsaka Family a shell of his former self. It was the Church's fault that he remained there, and it was their fault that the Tohsaka's no longer have their once grand wealth and both Rin and her mother were now forced to live in a shabby apartment.
"I'll get them back. Don't worry father... I'll capture him and make him pay for his crimes..."
Rin turned her head to see a young woman only a year younger than her wearing a modest black and white nun outfit, a few strands of purple hair poking from the crown. Her purple eyes were warm, kind. And in her right hand was a small brown rosary.
This was her younger sister, Sakura.
Unfortunately, now her name was Kotomine Sakura.
The priest who had abandoned Rin's family had decided to adopt Sakura once the War was over, but despite her father's wishes the priest did not teach Sakura any Magecraft. He denied Sakura access to her legacy, and now she didn't even know how to use even the most basic of spells.
While Rin sympathized with Sakura, her sister had supported Father Risei's decision to not teacher her Magecraft. Rather, Sakura had complied with the decision to wash her hands of all things related to the magus lifestyle. Rin still felt disappointment that Sakura rejected the life she herself had still pursued in spite of their family's disgrace, but didn't fault the girl for it.
After all, she seemed happy. And that's what matters.
"Hey Sakura." Rin turned to her sister and cracked a small smile. "I guess I'm done with high school."
"You don't seem too happy." Sakura said with a frown. "Is something the matter?"
Rin bit her lip and looked at her diploma. "I... I dunno. I should be happy. Now I can do what I've always trained for. What I've been working too." She looked back at the high school. "But now... I don't know. It feels like I've missed out on something."
"Well, you did spend most of your free time honing your Magecraft..."
Rin could not help but glare at her sister. "Well, what else am I supposed to do? I'm a Mage! I can't just put off my training! I can't waste time, not when I now have to prove myself more than ever! You would understand too if you even bothered to..." Rin then looked down when she saw Sakura's downcast expression, her anger now cooled. "Sorry. I shouldn't have said that."
"No, it's fine. You have a right to be angry." Sakura let out a sigh as she looked back at the crowd. "Risei-san gave me a choice. Learn to be a member of the Church and act as its hand, or live as an ordinary person. I chose the latter, because that world... it hurt me. It hurt me, and I had no intention of going back. I can actually see why our uncle chose his path."
Rin said nothing. Kariya, her uncle, was now a distant memory from her childhood. Sometimes her mother would curse his name, but Rin couldn't find it in her heart to hate him. Not when he was held in Sakura's heart so dearly.
"We all chose our own path Rin. The path that gives us happiness." She clutched the rosary and touched the cross on her chest, smiling softly. "Mine was with God." She then looked back at the crowd. "Shinji's was with being an ordinary boy."
Rin turned her attention back to Kotone's boyfriend, the grinning short blue-haired boy who was scratching the back of his head while holding her hand.
Since the Matou family was as good as dead, the Association decided to just throw Shinji into an orphanage. He didn't know enough about Magecraft to become a liability, and it was ruled that because of his age Shinji would forget the details within a few short years.
They were right.
Now Ginoza Shinji, formerly Matou Shinji, was now the former Vice-Captain of the Archery Club. He had some anger issues, especially when the topic of his family came up, but he was otherwise a rather shy and quiet boy who captured Kotone's heart.
Apparently, he and Sakura kept in touch and were on rather friendly terms.
"All I hope is that you are happy with the choices you've made, Nee-san."
"I am happy." She insisted, looking at Sakura. "I just... need a few moments. I want to soak this all in before my flight."
"Alright. But please, come over to the Church for some tea." Sakura began walking away.
"Forget that. We'll get it at Ahnenerbe." Rin said with a wave and a smile, causing Sakura to huff as she walked away.
Rin turned her head back to the crowd, and saw the former captain of the Archery Club and the closest thing Rin could call to a friend, Mitsuzuri Ayako, clutching the arm of the star of the track team, Enjou Shirou. She grinned and held up a peace sign while he awkwardly mirrored the act, posing for a picture.
Rin frowned as her eyes turned to the ground. She slowly began walking away, moving away from the high school that had a place in her youth. A youth sacrificed for the sake of training and obsession.
Such was the tragedy of being a Magus.
"So, I heard the Tohsaka girl is going to partake in the chase."
Waver Velvet looked up from the thesis paper he was reading to see his former professor and now co-worker Kayneth Archibald looking down on him. The man barely changed from when Waver saw him twelve years ago. Even his attire had remained the same Only thing that really changed were the strands of grey hair and the beginning of wrinkles on the man's face.
Waver meanwhile had changed plenty. Gone were any appearances of youth. Waver had grown a good three inches taller from his childhood days, and had grown out his hair to waist-length. He now wore a dark green button-up shirt and slacks with a brown belt and loafers. His tie however was red, as was his jacket.
He wore them in memory of a friend.
He took out the cigar in his mouth with his prosthetic left hand, courtesy of a puppet maker that Waver was glad he only had to deal with once a year for maintenance, and looked Kayneth in the eyes. He no longer shirked from his former professor's gaze as he said, "Yes, well that was her career choice." Waver tapped the end into the ash tray. "I didn't encourage her to do it, but she's not exactly the type that likes to listen."
"Reminds me of another foolish student." Kayneth sat down on the chair across from Waver.
"Yes, well I like to think that whole affair worked out for the best." Waver could not help but smirk when Kayneth glared at him.
After the Holy Grail War, Waver was forced to come home and face the music. His mother slapped him for his idiocy while his dad spent pretty much the entire night lecturing him. Going back to the Clock Tower was even more of a hassle, because Kayneth pulled all the stops to make Waver pay for stealing his catalyst.
The fact that he was still the Master of a Servant in this world, one that is actively participating in hunting Lupin the Third, saved Waver from the most severe of punishments.
Kayneth however made sure that if he couldn't make Waver a glorified servant, he would make Waver's path to becoming a true Mage all the harder. Nitpicking on his reports for lower grades, remedial lessons, blacklisting Waver from apprenticeships... in all likelihood, Waver's family would never be able to increase their standing. In contrast, the Archibald family's standing had increased since Kayneth was key in uncovering the corruption within the Association. He was more or less hailed as a hero for "purifying" the Mage's Association and weeding out those who tried to subvert it.
Though his home life didn't get any better. From what Waver had heard, his and Sola-Ui's marriage was held on a string at best and he suspected that if Sola-Ui could divorce Kayneth, she would. Both parties were apparently miserable, but put on a brave face in public.
"Perhaps." Kayneth intertwined his fingers, one was a puppet hand with a slightly pale latex-like 'skin' over it. "But will this work out for the best? After all, she did receive her training from you, who was forced to learn from second-rate Magi..."
"I think I did pretty well for myself." Waver smirked as he asked, "I'm here, aren't I?"
Kayneth did not respond to that, but his glare did deepen.
Waver had been forced to learn all he could from Magi that weren't exactly the best of teachers or practitioners. Some of them barely qualified with their specialties and their lessons were atrocious. But Waver did manage to take them in and self-study, and became a rather respected Magus in the Clock Tower. A lot of the students in the lower families considered him 'one of them', which made his lectures very popular when Waver became a professor.
He also attracted the attention of one Rin Tohsaka, who wanted him to teach her.
All for the sake of tracking down Lupin the Third.
Waver knew she had the qualifications of a great apprentice, but he had been worried about her obsession. In the end, Waver taught her so that she wouldn't go to a Mage who would likely exploit and cheat her out of what little remained of her wealth and potential.
"Hope you really know what you're doing Rin..."
"As for Tohsaka? She's a bright girl who learned Magecraft advanced enough to get her here two years ago." Waver looked out the window. "Why tell me this though? Don't tell me you are concerned about my pupil."
"Nothing of the sort." Kayneth said with a scoff. "Merely letting you know so that you can be prepared for her eventual failure. Greater Magi than her tried and failed to capture Lupin the Third. All of them were either arrested for resorting to methods that suit Magi just fine but angered that policeman, or were humiliated enough that they nearly revealed everything."
"Well, Rin has her anger problems but she's not stupid." Waver informed Kayneth. "And she's stubborn. She's the most stubborn, temperamental, and brightest woman I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. Being humiliated a few times will not stop her."
Kayneth simply sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "If you say so." He then got up from his chair and nodded. "Very well, Velvet. Keep your faith, however foolishly misplaced it is."
"By the way, Professor Archibald." Waver said, causing the man to freeze. "You should really think about investing in that eLearning Software that was just released." Waver allowed a smirk to grace his lips. "It might make some of the newest batch of students compelled to stay in your class."
Kayneth clicked his tongue and left the room without another word. Waver placed the cigar back in his mouth and allowed another puff to come out of his mouth.
"Well, Rider... I know it's impossible, but I hope you're watching." Waver smiled sadly as he thought. "My journey to become a great Mage... is still ongoing." He then looked to his right hand, the Command Seals still on there and shining red in the light.
"As is your journey, Saber..."
Rin stood in front of Ahnenerbe for what seemed like hours, but a quick check of her watch confirmed it had only been thirty minutes. "Come on, don't do this. It's just one damn cup of coffee, and then a long plane ride to London. You've got over five hours before you even need to get on…"
She had promised Sakura that she would be here, that they would have one more talk before she flew out. It was a simple affair. After all, there was no bad blood between the two.
But now she was having second thoughts.
"What if she tries to pry again? I don't want to go off on her like before." Rin but her lip. So much for the calm, composed, and dignified Tohsaka image. But she had been infuriated when Sakura said all that stuff about her doing something she regrets. She did not regret choosing to become a Mage just like their father! All that training had not been a waste, because now she was in the position she had always wanted to be!
She didn't regret anything…
Rin blinked as she looked at the door of the café which was not ajar. Standing in the door was a short child with long black hair and red eyes, wearing an admittedly adorable black and white maid outfit.
It was rather easy to mistake her as a worker in the cafe's child, rather than the twenty-year-old manager, Kogami Miyu, herself.
"Um…" Rin scratched the back of her head as she said, "Was just remembering stuff, and thinking things over."
Miyu blinked and then hummed, "Oh right! You did mention that you were leaving for England last week with Mitsuzuri-san."
"You… actually remember that?"
Miyu beamed as she crossed her arms and said, "Of course! Being familiar with your regulars is the duty of every café manager!" She then giggled and smirked as she rubbed her index and thumb together. "It also makes them leave a bigger tip!"
Rin gave a sigh as she said, "I have no idea how you guys stay in business…"
Miyu and her mother had moved into Fuyuki just after the fire, much to Rin's surprise when she learned that after finally being allowed out of the house to play. After all, while tourism was up after Lupin's 'grand reappearance', there were no new residents. Nobody wanted to move into a town that had a huge fire like that as well as a short mob war inside. Despite that, Miyu and her mother had made themselves at home in the town, and Miyu became one of her friends as well as her Senpai at high school.
Nobody was really bothered by her condition, and treated her like any other young woman.
Well, most anyways.
"Illya!" The co-manager of the cafe, Kogami Maya, shouted from behind the door. "Don't take too long! You're still on the clock!"
"Alright!" Miyu turned back to Rin and asked, "Are you waiting for Sakura-san? Because she usually comes by around five."
Rin looked to the side. "Yeah, but I hope she'd hurry up. I do have to leave soon."
"Can't believe you're going off to England, leaving us all behind!" Miyu began to fake sobs as she placed her right hand over her face. "I mean, does Fuyuki mean so little to you?"
That comment stung a lot more that Miyu probably intended. "What?! No! I just… my job doesn't let me stick around. I'll probably visit…"
But now that Rin thought about it, it was unlikely. After all, Fuyuki no longer had anything of value for Lupin to get.
"Well, be sure you do." Miyu said with a nod. "Otherwise, you'll make both your sister and Senpai cr-."
They were interrupted by the roar of a motorcycle, and both looked to the side to see a police motorcycle with a helmeted officer riding on it. She took off her helmet to reveal short brown hair and brown eyes full of mirth. "Yo, Miyu!" She held up a peace sign and shouted, "I'm taking a short break from keeping the peace and busting up mobsters! Feed me!"
Fujimura Taiga, otherwise known as the 'Feral Tiger of Fuyuki' (Though God help you if she heard you call her that). She had graduated the police academy at the age of twenty and made herself rather well known to the criminal underworld and general populace, helping to arrest mobsters and put away other law breakers.
She was someone who Rin could always talk to for a fun time.
She would be leaving her behind soon…
Miyu's lips turned to a thin line. "Taiga, if you're going to eat here, I want to see some money first!"
"No buts! Your tab is already big enough as it is!"
The banter went back and forth, and the pit in Rin's stomach grew bigger and bigger. "I-I'm…" Rin sighed as she said, "Sorry, but please tell Sakura I had to leave. And that I'm really sorry." Rin then turned on a heel, not hearing Miyu's protests and Taiga's confused shouts.
She couldn't do this. She couldn't stay and be forced to see all this. Act like she was normal, because she was not. She was Tohsaka Rin, a proud Magus.
She could not afford to stay in Fuyuki another hour.
If she did, she might not want to leave…
Arturia had long since gotten used to the pain.
She sat on the hard floor of her apartment dressed in nothing but her lower undergarments, her legs crossed and her body balanced. Her eyes were closed, and her hands on her lap. In front of her were several lit candles, blowing smoke into the air. A katana with a blue and gold handle within a dark blue sheath rested in front of her crossed legs. She breathed in and out, her body relaxed as much as it could be.
She grimaced as she left her nails begin to peel back. "Clear your mind. Ignore it." The pain was mental, no matter how excruciating. Even if she could sometimes see the result, the curse in the end required her mind to acknowledge it. Arturia breathed in and out, low and calm. She did not break her concentration, even if she left the skin of her fingers begin to split and blood began dripping down her hands.
"Always keep focus." Goemon's voice echoed in her mind. "Focus upon the center of your body. Your mind is just an extension of your life energy, something that acknowledges both the physical and mental planes. You are at peace with the physical plane, but now you must control the mental. You must focus on the qi. Not allow this affliction to have control of it."
She too made that go away from her mind. She must clear herself of all thoughts.
You should have died.
The whispers in her ears were new additions. It was as if the curse was acknowledging the usual feeling of pain wasn't enough.
You damn foolish girl... you foolish child...
You lapped up the words of some wizard and never thought for yourself...
You will die sooner or later, blood and puss leaking out of your body. And while you choke for life I will smile and watch…
She breathed out, and allowed the qi to flow through her body.
It was hard... as if her life energy was coated in sludge. It was so hard directing it, made harder by the voices. Sometimes she just wanted to sleep, to sleep and dream of times long since passed.
But she could not.
This was a battle for Arturia's soul, one that she fought every night.
Eventually, she could sense that the candles had gone out. The voices and pain ended, and Arturia opened her eyes. The sun's fist rays of light shined on her. Her body was now covered by a small layer. Of sweat, and Arturia let out soft gasps.
She heard a soft whine to her right, and saw Kay.
"I'm fine, boy." She muttered as she lightly pet him, stroking his fur and feeling it. She found herself becoming calmer the more she pet him. "Everything is fine."
She had researched that having a pet tended to help people that were recovering from pain or trauma. Arturia never had a pet before, but it was lonely being in an apartment all by herself and having no one to really talk to. So she purchased Kay from the nearest pet shop, naming him after her dear brother. He was a well-behaved dog, and rather smart as well. She did not regret getting him at all.
It made the nights much easier to deal with.
She then heard the vibrations of her cell phone to her left and picked it up. When opening it, she saw on the screen a simple message.
An agent will pick you up at 0800. He will be providing you assistance on your mission while performing his own. - M
Saber looked at the clock. It was six in the morning.
Plenty of time for a quick shower and coffee before she had to deal with one of M's lackeys.
"Good morning folks, we have now arrived at London, England in the Heathrow Airport. Please wait for the fasten seatbelt sign to..."
Rin groaned as she took off the newspaper covering her face (The article on the front page reading 'MONSIEUR ZENITH THE THIRD VS KAITO KID!?: Infamous Child Phantom Thief Challenges Pale Prince Of Crime!'). "Finally..." She muttered to herself before setting the article on her lap and stretching in her seat. Over five hours in an airplane was enough to drive anyone mad. "I want coffee..." Rin thought to herself while rubbing her eyes. She looked out of the window to see the tarmac, and the grey air of London. "I hope they are here..."
Rin had to wait fifteen minutes before she was allowed out of the plane with her carry-on luggage. Then she had to squeeze herself past the other tourists and fliers. It was perhaps the worst experience Rin had to face, second only to the dangers of Magecraft and airport security.
God, she hated airport security.
But as she descended the escalator for the transportation gate, she spotted a man with unkempt brown hair with an unshaven face, wearing a brown suit and held a small white paper with 'TOHSAKA' in English scrawled on it.
"This must be Akimi Daisuke." Rin walked over to him and looked up to his face. "Sorry I'm late, but there was turbulence."
"No problem." He then began walking away, causing Rin to glare at his back. What kind of greeting was that!? He turned back and raised an eyebrow. "You coming or what?"
Grumbling to herself, Rin followed behind the older detective out of the airport. She spotted a single police cruiser with an older man in the driver's seat, a man old enough to be her grandfather.
Obviously, this was Inspector Zenigata.
The man who was supposed to be her 'co-worker' for the case.
Rin opened the trunk and threw her bag in before walking to the backseat and entering. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Inspector."
"Yeah, yeah." Zenigata grumbled out, making Rin frown. When Daisuke entered the car, Zenigata pushed the gas and they began speeding off. "So you are Tohsaka Rin huh?" He glanced back at her. "Have to say, you certainly grew up."
"Kids tend to do that, especially when twelve years pass." Daisuke added with a smirk, causing Zenigata to grunt.
"Yeah, well she's still pretty damn young."
"I'm old enough, and my skills are advanced enough that I was assigned to this team." Rin interrupted the two, her tone strong and even. "I don't see how me being eighteen has anything to do with my capabilities."
"It doesn't, but I do prefer working with people that are at least a bit experienced with this kind of thing." Zenigata chuckled and said, "Not that it helps them much, but the more experienced they are the longer they stay."
Rin was aware that Zenigata had a... reputation. The only reason a non-Magus like him and Daisuke worked together with the Association and Church was because he had stumbled onto their existence and they came to an agreement. He received one of their men or women to accompany them for his Lupin chases, and in return he continues as he was.
But every person assigned to Zenigata either quit due to frustration of Lupin or Zenigata (Or both), or they got so frustrated that they almost revealed the existence of Magecraft to the general public. Some were even arrested when Zenigata placed criminal charges on them. Rin could not help but assume it was just Zenigata's way of getting back at the Association and Church for the current situation.
She heard that their last partner, a woman named Bazette, quit last week and was now spending her nights throwing darts and knives at a picture of Lupin she's pinned to a dartboard.
"If you think I'm like them, don't insult me." Rin stated as she leaned back in her seat, glaring at the two men. "Those idiots put their pride before their duty. I'm not like them. I defer all judgement to you, Inspector. You are more experienced in chasing Lupin than I am."
Both cops seemed surprised by her declaration. It was probably not often that a Magus placed all their faith and trust into them.
"...So you really have no problem with me?" Zenigata asked curiously. "I mean, I was the one who arrested your dad, after all."
"First off, it wasn't you." Rin bit her lip and then sighed. "As for all that... you were just doing your duty based on the information presented to you, our practices translated into the closest thing normal people like you could comprehend. And honestly, what happened to Sakura wasn't far off from what you assumed." Rin then glared at the road further ahead. "Besides... you weren't exactly the one who hoped that my father would get arrested."
No, that honor went to Lupin the Third.
"...Alright then." Zenigata turned his eyes back to the road and said, "Well, if we're not going to have any problems, then I might as well tell you." Daisuke then lifted his right hand and held a red card. Rin plucked it from his hand. "Lupin is in town, and has declared his next target.
Rin read the calling card.
The Legendary Ignosi Black Diamond Will Be Mine!
- Lupin the Third.
As expected of an MI6 agent, a black Lamborghini was parked in front of Arturia's apartment complex at exactly eight o'clock.
Arturia did not say a word and simply entered the car, placing her silver guitar case in the trunk and entered the passenger seat.
The agent was a familiar one, an agent that Arturia had met several times. A man with short black, almost grey, hair with grey eyes and wrinkles on his face. He wore a dark blue suit with a light blue undershirt, anew polished black shoes.
"Why did you have to bring the dog?" Agent Nyx grumbled out as he drove his car, while Kay simply barked and panted.
"He goes where I go, Agent." Arturia replied while crossing her arms. "If he does not come, then I would find my own transport. And I'm sure your superiors wouldn't be too happy of you leaving me just because you are averse to dogs in your car."
"I am a hundred percent certain that if it decides to take a piss in here, I am throwing it out of the window."
"You are welcome to try. I would throw you out as well and drive off with this car after picking him up."
Agent Nyx wasn't exactly favorable company. The man was gruff and quiet unless spoken to. It was also not hard to see why he was MI6's favorite agent. The man practically followed every order he was issued without question. Need him to spy on a criminal mastermind for several months and seduce his wife to get evidence for his arrest? He would do it. Needed an enemy agent tortured? He would only ask what tool you wanted him to use first. Want a potential terrorist mastermind who just so happened to be a teenager neutralized? Nyx would follow him home and shoot him in the back of the head before moving onto any witnesses were in the building and then burning the whole damn place down.
Sometimes, the amount of faith as well as disinterest the general population had in their governments disturbed Arturia.
Even if it was thanks to men like Nyx that madmen were prevented from launching nukes for the sake of money or to control a country.
"Whatever you say, Queen." Arturia still did not like the title MI6 gave her. She was not one of her agents. If anything, MI6 was like a glorified assistant to Arturia. They provided her transportation, a room, and supplies. She rarely if ever needed an agent's support, especially since she worked just fine with Zenigata and Daisuke. "MI6 recently received information from INTERPOL that Lupin the Third is in the area, and seeking to steal this." The windshield then darkened, and a picture appeared on Arturia's side that showed an admittedly beautiful diamond. One that was completely black, and held on what looked like a necklace made from pure ivory. "That is the Ignosi Black Diamond, currently held within the Museum of London. It is a pure black diamond, natural rather than artificial. And the ivory that makes up the necklace along with the diamond makes it worth hundreds of millions. Billions if you find the right buyer." A picture then appeared over it, showing a red calling card. "Lupin will be attempting to steal it today, around seventeen hundred hours. I will be providing you support against his accomplice, Kotomine Kirei."
Arturia frowned as she said, "MI6 doesn't let its agents get involved with the Lupin case. Not unless there is a reason."
"It has to do with my own mission." A picture of a only man wearing a brown suit with slicked back brown hair appeared on the screen. "This is Harry Flowers, a gangster with a reputation here that is working under Fantômas the Fourth. We need him alive for as long as possible because he might be our ticket to reaching other monsters that work under her, and possibly information on the sociopath herself. He is currently the 'owner' of the diamond, and if the diamond is stolen then Fantômas will likely take him to a death trap of her own personal design and kill him while filming it, and then watching it on especially lonely nights. And that would be counterproductive for us."
"Hm..." Arturia pet Kay while looking out the side window. "So long as you keep your pursuits in-line with Inspector Zenigata's orders, your presence should not be a problem."
"M mentioned that in the mission briefing. I'll be sure to cooperate." The screens then disappeared from the windshield, and light returned to the car. "Still don't understand why you lug around that weapon. A Walther P99 would suit you better."
"I don't need a gun to be effective in my pursuit of Lupin. I'm far deadlier without one." Nyx had seen her in action, and that was just with the sword she had gotten from Goemon. "And what about you? I believe that a bigger and more powerful firearm would suit you better. I've heard the jokes from the other MI6 agents, calling it a 'prostitute's pistol'."
Nyx simply smirked. "Please. I'm over a hundred percent certain such a gun, and a harder holster, would ruin the line of my suit."
Well... Arturia couldn't exactly deny that.
Arturia kept petting Kay for the rest of the trip.
Soon, she would meet him again.
"I hope you're all ready!" Lupin the Third shouted while his grin stretched from ear to ear, his arms outstretched as he stood in front of a small whiteboard with various pictures on it.
Kirei sat on a chair in front of him, sipping on a cup of coffee while fully dressed. To his left, still dressed in a pair of black pajamas with white bunnies on it, was his daughter Riko. She had grown to a good 149 centimeters, a little short (Which she absolutely hated to be reminded of) but still a far cry from the cute little kid she used to be. She also received some of her mom's gifts in the body department, and she liked to flaunt it to anyone who might be interested or use it for her own advantage.
She had grown over the years, becoming a skilled thief. She now had skills that rivaled Lupin's back when she was her age.
But she was still young, and had a lot to learn.
"It's still early..." Riko mumbled out while rubbing her eyes. "I wanna sleep some more..."
"Perhaps you should restrict your drinking habits then." The girl to Kirei's right said as she drank from her cup of tea. Caren Ortensia, Kirei's daughter, had grown as well. Gone were any real indications that she was a 'cute kid'. Now she wore a white overcoat over a black button-up shirt with white buttons and dark blue skirt. She wore black pantyhose and dark blue shoes. Her wavy silver hair reached her waist, and seemed to pool at the seat of her chair. She had grown to a good 156 centimeters, something she enjoyed teasing Riko about in her own drawl way, which infuriated Riko more because she was two years older than Caren. "And your drug habits. Such things are unbecoming of a young lady such as yourself."
Riko's face suddenly turned red while Lupin's eyes narrowed suspiciously at his daughter. "C-Caren!"
"I knew somethin' smelled like ass in here!" Lupin stomped to Riko's suitcase and threw out all her undergarments before reaching the bottom.
There, plain to see, was a red bong.
"How many times do I gotta tell ya! No smoking this crap before a heist!" Lupin then opened the window, making Riko's jaw drop in horror.
"No, Dad, wait...!"
Then he threw it out the window, the red bong landing into a small recycling bin at the corner of the street while the sound of it shatter echoed.
Riko rushed to the window and let out a sob as Lupin began cleaning his hands. "That cost me two hundred pounds!"
"Perhaps now you see it for the unwise purchase that it is." Kirei said with a smirk. Riko glared at him with pure hate written on her face.
"God understands the pain you go through, Riko. The pain you go to clubs to in order to forget. Yet you must also see this as Him attempting to dissuade you from your darker desires." Caren continued to sip her tea while a small smirk formed on her face. "If it's a matter of nighttime companionship that makes you crave such things, I am more than willing to assist you on the matter once mo-."
"ANYWAY!" Lupin interrupted, not particularly interested in his daughter's partying life or what she got up to with Caren when they went out at night. Lupin turned to Riko, who was now beet red from Caren's statement. "Alright, look. How ya party is your business, not mine. But if we're gonna do a heist, ya gotta have a clear mind! Otherwise you'll seriously screw up!"
"F-Fine..." Riko muttered while looking away, somberly sitting back in her seat while Kirei chuckled.
"Now, while that was all enjoyable..." Kirei set down his coffee. "Can we please get back to the matter at hand?"
"Yeah, yeah…" Lupin then walked back to the board and motioned to the center picture. "The Ignosi Black Diamond, one of the only natural pure and flawless black diamonds in the world. Rumored to be one of the treasures of King Solomon's Mines, this baby's being displayed in the Museum of London for a charity event." Lupin then chuckled as he said, "And by charity event, I mean earning a pretty mint for a mobster and his boss."
Kirei got up from his seat and walked to the whiteboard and pointed at a photo of a brown-haired man. "This is Harry Flowers, perhaps the biggest mob boss in London and one of Fantômas the Fourth's favorite men. The diamond was formerly in her possession, but she loaned it to Flowers for his years of service. The police currently have him under surveillance and wish to use him in order to find out what other mobsters she has under her control." Kirei smirked as he said, "Stealing the diamond will put Flowers in an unfavorable light."
"Doing this will probably make Fantômas pissed at us." Riko crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes. "We'll be putting a gun to the back of our heads for 'em, Dad."
"Heh, still cautious as ever." That was what Lupin was thankful appreciated most about Riko. "She's not a carbon copy of me." Shaking his head, Lupin said, "Nah. She's a crazy broad but she's not stupid. She won't go after us. This is just business as usual."
"So, I assume his capture will be part of this heist." Caren smiled as she said, "Then I shall work twice as hard to make sure that this sinner lives in order to face justice."
"God, you need to stop it with this religious schtick." Riko bemoaned while placing her hand over her face.
"I like to think it helps aid us in trying times. Especially with all the times you come close to meeting Him. The fact we are all here still breathing is proof of His existence."
Lupin chuckled as he observed the members of his team bantering. Some things changed, and yet remain the same. "Alright, alright enough of that! Now listen up because in only goin' to say this once. This is the plan…
Rin could not help but be in awe of the interior of the Museum of London. It was certainly spacious, with floors and walls of light. The blue sky could be seen through the sheets of glass overhead. The beams of light were more than enough to provide illumination for the party-goers.
"Catch the game last night?"
"Thank God the weather cleared up."
"Profits are up as usual."
"…Hear about them drug killings in China? I swear, that China girl is the Devil incarnate, just like her grandfather…"
Rin sipped on her champagne as she looked towards Zenigata. "Does Lupin give a time to when he does his heists?"
"No, just a date. That's it." Zenigata replied with a huff. "He doesn't like to make things too easy for us."
Rin looked to the side as she noticed some partygoers were eying them suspiciously. "We're making them nervous…"
Well, they should be! Lupin was supposed to be coming here, and Zenigata was the only man who had even gotten within a hair's length of capturing him.
"Don't worry, we're actually getting off to a pretty good start." Daisuke chimed in with a smirk and a quiche in hand. "Usually, now's around the time they chase us out…"
"Oh, that won't happen." Rin then turned to see a man with slicked back brown hair, wearing a brown suit and a lit cigar in hand. Rin couldn't help but feel like she had seen his face before on TV… or maybe she heard his voice on the radio?
"Mr. Flowers." Zenigata greeted with a nod of his head. "Thank you for allowing INTERPOL to observe your party. It's rare that someone treats Lupin as serious as…"
"Right, right." Flowers placed the cigar back in his mouth. "I just don't want any of this Lupin shite interfering with this party. And the last thing I need is hearing that some punk thinks he can steal from me."
Rin already didn't like him. He had the air of an uncultured thug pretending to be part of the upper class.
"Yeah, if he were to steal this diamond, I bet a lot of people will be heartbroken." Daisuke said with narrowed eyes. "Some people more than others."
"…The threat was just for today, yeah? Well, this little shindig goes on until two in the morning." Flowers narrowed his eyes and leaned towards Zenigata. He took out his cigar and blew it at the elder inspector's face. "If they don't show up by twelve, or you catch them by then, you get the fuck out and don't ever come or breath in my general direction for about a hundred miles. Would you call that equitable?"
"You know, the whole smoke blowing thing went out of style years ago." Rin spoke up, causing Flowers to look at her. "Seriously. Only try-hards do that. The Inspector deserves more respect than you just throwing clichés at him."
Both Zenigata and Daisuke blinked in surprise while Flowers narrowed his eyes dangerously. He then huffed before placing the cigar back in his mouth. "Best keep things to yourself, love. You never know when those loose lips'll fall off." He then began walking towards an admittedly handsome blond man that looked like he was in his twenties and grabbed him by the arm. "Let's go." He ordered while the man dutifully followed him.
Zenigata then racked a grin. "Heh, that's a first. A Mage that actually got pissed at some punk mouthing off to me."
Rin's face flushed at the praise. It wasn't often one commented on her character. Ability? Sure. Not so much on how she acted. "W-Well what do you expect?" Rin crossed her arms as she said, "if we let every overgrown thug and know-it-all carry on like they own the damn place, it'll diminish our reputation and the Lupin case!"
"Well, you could say that we've just learned not to bother. These guys usually learn their lessons, sooner or later." Daisuke chuckled out, "Man, have to say, you're already my favorite Magus so far."
Rin grit her teeth as embarrassment washed over her. "Yeah, well…"
"That really was an impressive display." The feminine yet stern voice made Rin look up to see a pale woman, wearing a dark blue jacket and tie, a white button-up shirt, blue slacks, brown belt and shoes, and a flowing blue and gold scarf in front of her. On her head, she wore a dark blue wool cap, and slung over her shoulder was a silver guitar case.
Rin could not help but gape.
This was the Servant, the former Saber of the war her father participated in.
A hero of old made into flesh once more, assisting in the hunt for another.
Rin coughed as she looked to the side, her eyes widened in shock. "W-where the hell did that come from!?"
"Are you okay?"
"Huh? Wa-Yes! I mean, yes." Rin nodded her head as she looked at the Servant. "I... It was nothing. Was just trying to uphold our dignity and make that guy learn some respect. Nothing more."
"All the same, it was admirable." The Servant then bowed as she said, "My name is... well, you can just call me Arturia for now."
Rin frowned. "So she doesn't trust me enough?" The identity of the Servant known as Saber was restricted, apparently to prevent any leaks considering how much Zenigata cycles through Magus assistants.
It was understandable... but still kind of saddening.
"Nice to see you again." Zenigata said while shaking Arturia's hand. "How's your mutt?"
"Fine, thank you Inspector. It is good to see you again as well." Arturia was smiling as she performed the action, the air the two shared held equal amounts of respect... did these two have some sort of history?
"God, you got yourself another schoolyard crush." A man behind the former Servant said with a scoff, an older gentleman whose very presence snapped Rin out of her stupor and put her on edge. "You're even worse than me."
"That's enough." Arturia shot back with a frown before she looked back at Zenigata. "I'm sorry. This is..."
"I am assisting you with capturing Lupin, by handling Kotomine Kirei." The man interrupted, his declaration short and clear. "That is all you need to know. I will follow any instructions you give, but you are to allow me to act as I see fit when engaging him in hand to hand combat."
Zenigata looked the man up and down before saying, "MI6 huh? Never like workin' with you guys... but if you're offering help, I ain't gonna refuse. At least you're not bumping me off the case."
"The situation isn't serious enough for that." The man then frowned as he looked up. "There's movement."
"Huh?" Every one of the members of the 'Lupin Task Force' looked up to the glass roof. "But... There's nothing there..." Rin muttered out as she looked back at the MI6 agent. She needed to keep hidden anything regarding Magecraft, as she was certain the agent wasn't 'in the know' so to speak. 'Some sort of camouflage?"
"I am forty percent certain they are already in the museum, on the ceiling." His eyes then narrowed more. "Twenty percent certain that they are on the roof..." He then looked down and said, "Forty percent certain that they are... in a lower floor."
"Hey, hold on!" Daisuke shouted with narrowed eyes. "How can you just make assumptions like that? None of our sentries have said anything!"
"Classified and on a need to know basis."
"Yeah, of course. Of freakin' course..." Daisuke mumbled out while pinching his nose.
"Ignoring him being as vague and unhelpful as possible..." Rin then turned around and pointed to the crowd. "What I can understand is that Lupin will come from either above or below."
In the center of the small crowd was the Ignosi Diamond, glittering in the light with the sun's rays reflecting off its black surface and the white ivory. It was incased in a glass cube and on top of a wooden podium. Around it was a solid metal ring, with none of the observers daring to touch it.
"That thing is encased in a cube of reinforced, bulletproof glass. It's also secured on that podium, which is weight controlled and it'll sound the alarm if anything is off about the weight. Also, that ring is a sensor that forms an infrared dome around the podium, which'll make a solid dome of steel encase it and the podium, and it'll also be electrified." Zenigata then crossed his arms. "But knowing Lupin, he'll try to get rid of all of that crap. Though even if he does, the dome will still encase it as a safety feature. But that's a new addition me and Flowers know about." He then looked towards Rin. "Hey, you said you're willing to follow all of my calls on this, right?"
"Y-Yes!" Rin shouted, standing at attention.
"Good. Your job is to head to the security room on the second floor and guard it."
Rin could not help but gulp. "So... Lupin will be there?"
"No, that isn't his style." Arturia answered with a shake of her head. "Likely, it will be his or Kotomine Kirei's daughter. They are the ones good at computers and tend to handle this sort of thing."
"Typical." The agent mumbled out. "Bloody kids and their computers..."
Rin felt her heart sink at that. "B-But I...!"
"Something up?" Daisuke asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Yeah, something's up! I'll be away from Lupin!" Lupin would be near the diamond, and from the way Arturia said it he won't be anywhere near security! If he was caught... then she won't have any part of it! She didn't want Lupin's kid, who Rin had no issue with!
...But if Lupin wasn't caught, and Rin stubbornly stood her ground, Zenigata would lose his faith in her. She would be soon swapped out because she was too much of a hassle and disobeyed orders.
She would forever lose her chance to avenge the Tohsaka family.
"...No." She then looked Zenigata in the eyes and said, "I'll do my best, sir."
"Right." Zenigata then looked at the agent and said, "You can go check out the bottom floors. If ya find nothing, just come back here. Me, Arturia, and Daisuke will hang around here."
A grin then formed on Zenigata's face as he said once sentence.
"Let's catch this rat's pants while they're down."
"Oh my, this is unexpected!"
Harry Flowers stared in shock at the woman sprawled on his desk, wearing a white and red schoolgirl outfit with the top partially unbuttoned. Riko slowly turned herself, looking at the London mobster with half-lidded eyes. Her right thigh moved, giving an oh-so tantalizing peek at her lacy unmentionables.
"Chas said you were coming soon, but I was still in the middle of setting the mood." Slowly, Riko brought her feet to the edge of the desk before rocking them back and forth, a small smirk forming on her face. "No matter, I'm sure that we'll have just as much fun if we start ear-"
Harry then reached into his jacket and brought out his gun. "Sorry love, should've done your homework." Harry smirked as he cocked back the hammer. "I swing the other way."
A red cloth then enveloped Harry's hand and gun before bringing it up. He fired once, crying out in freight while Caren watched from the far-right corner of the room, behind the door and out of Harry's sight. The red scarf stretching out from her shoulders.
"Worth a shot." Riko then kicked off her right shoe, hitting Harry square in the groin and causing the man to grit his teeth and buckle. As he did that, Riko jumped off from the desk and kneed Harry's face with her right knee. His nose was crushed and spewed out blood, and his front teeth fell out while Riko fell to the ground and began reaching down for her shoe. The man's body then stood still, and then fell to the ground. "Damn. Hope he's not dead." Riko said as she put back on her shoe.
"He's not." Caren muttered while circling around the door observing Harry's prone form. "Some blunt force trauma, possible concussion. But not life threatening." She then glanced at Riko and said, "But honestly, we were meant to keep in mind every single detail of his profile. Hard to believe a master of seduction such as yourself would ignore the fact that Harry Flowers is a homosexual."
"Aw, shaddup!" Riko then bend down and began rummaging through Harry's pants. "Just help me look for the guy's keycard."
Caren simply wrapped up the red scarf around her neck, it curling around her neck. "Very well." She then bent over and began looking through his coat pockets.
The Shroud of Magdalene was one of the more useful treasures that the Lupin gang had stolen in the past few years. One would think the Church would be even more pissed at them. But with Riko's dad running around alive with a traitor for an accomplice, Riko didn't think there was any new level of 'pissed' that the Church could reach.
The part they had in the heist wa a relatively simple one. Lure Harry Flowers into his office within the museum, restrain him, grab his key card to security, and then disable the alarms. Riko knew from the file that Harry was a chain smoker that liked to light up extremely high-quality cigars he kept in a locked drawer in his office. All she had to do was sit, wait, and let her charms do the work.
Unfortunately, Riko did have a low attention span so she usually relied on Caren to help her remember small details she might have missed.
Riko felt embarrassment wash over her. "Can't believe she kept her mouth shut while I just went and did that! God, I'm gonna get her back for that sooner or later..."
Riko liked Caren, they had been friends ever since childhood. Still were, as well as occasional partners. Riko liked Caren because her sense of humor matched Riko's own. A bit of teasing, some practical jokes at the expense of others, and most importantly a love for their work. Caren loved stealing from snobs and bad men just as much as Riko, her dad, and Caren's did. And Riko herself loved to try and have Caren laugh (Like, really laugh) at something funny. She almost succeeded twice!
Sure, Riko was annoyed whenever Caren decided to screw with her... but hey, nobody said friends were perfect.
"Found it." Caren said as she lifted a small key card from Flower's left jacket pocket. "Now then, let us depart. I'd hate to keep father waiting..."
"Ah, they'll be fine." Riko said with a shrug and a smile. "They like to raise the stakes on this kind of thing, so us keepin' them won't really bother them all that mu-." Riko then frowned as she felt something. "Huh?" She then took out a small remote with a large red button. "What does this do?" Riko pressed it.
At that moment, they hear a whir and looked at the mall picture of a jockey on his horse that was behind Flowers' desk. It fell, revealing a mirror which then swung open, revealing a small yet deep safe. In it were some porn magazines, as well as what looked like over a million pound notes.
"Huh, narcissistic and likes to keep his money near him. A winning combo!" Riko felt a little drool come out of her mouth as she wiped it while walking hypnotically to the safe. "Hehe... oh man, score!"
She then felt a hand hit her abdomen, and saw Caren's blank yet stern face.
"No, we have a job to do. So we must do it." Caren then glanced to Flowers. "Someone needs to bring this man to the checkpoint, and one of us needs to go to disable the security." Caren then looked Riko in the eyes.
Riko frowned. She knew what this meant.
Both shot out their hand, Riko's hand a fist while Caren't hand was flat. Riko grimaced as they repeated the action. Now it was her index and middle finger out while Caren's was flat once more. Riko grinned. "One more!" Riko shot out her hand, outstretched flat.
Caren's index and middle finger were out.
Riko groaned while Caren smirked. "Thank you, God, for granting me my victory and for making Riko remain focused on the mission." Caren then moved towards the safe while Riko took the key card, placed it in between her breasts, and stomped out of the room.
"Razzin, frazzin'... Ugh!" Riko then began running. It wouldn't be long before someone went up to investigate what that shot was, so her thirty-minute window now turned to fifteen. "Come on, come on..."
She hid behind a corner as two mobsters ran down the hallway, likely to check up on their boss. Riko reached for the twin Walther P99s that were strapped to her hips, hidden by the cloth of her skirt.
"Nah, she can handle herself." Caren never really needed help, even if her Shroud couldn't physically harm the men it bound. "Plus, consider this payback."
Riko giggled to herself as she then rounded the corner and saw a door with a sliding key lock. She took out the card from between her breasts and slid it down the lock, and with a beep and green light she opened the door.
Inside was a single desk and chair, a single computer sitting on top of the desk, and rows of servers all whirling. "Alright then..." Riko cracked her fingers. "Time to get to work."
Riko had always wanted to strangle the guy who made hacking look like some cool, intense act in movies and TV.
'Hacking' was nothing of the sort. No weird games with the contents of the server on the line. No need to narrate and spew technobabble that were just random words taken from a 'Programming For Dummies' book and spoken because they sounded cool.
'Hacking' was boring and tedious, and it involved lines and lines of code that would make even seasoned programmers want to tear their eyes out from the sheer fucking boredom of it all.
Riko yawned as she scrawled through the code.
"Delete a few lines here, replace some there..." Riko lazily clicked on the mouse and typed on the keyboard. "God, I could use a hit..."
But no, that kind of fun came later.
"Aaand done." Riko then closed the window and got up. "Now, time to go back to Flowers' office and see I he's got more goodies that Caren missed."
"Huh, talk about a coincidence."
Riko took out her Walther and twirled around, only to come face to face with a black-haired woman wearing a bit too much red glaring at her with aqua eyes.
"I come here to keep an eye out for you, and you already beat me here." The woman then narrowed her eyes. "I'm going to give you one chance. Turn yourself in quietly, and things won't have to get nasty."
Riko grinned. God, she could smell 'newbie' coming off this woman in waves. "What if I told you to kiss my dear little rump?"
Surprisingly, the woman simply pointed her right finger and said with a sigh, "Well, I guess negotiations are useless. Was hoping to use this on your bastard of a father, but oh well."
"Oh what are you going to do? Point angrily and give him a lecture?"
The woman simply smirked.
Riko only had a second to register the ball of black and red energy forming on the woman's finger before ducking. It shot out like a bullet, passing over Riko's head and through the computer, embedding into the wall. Riko fired twice, only for blue lines to form along the woman's legs as she shot to the left and hid behind a server. Riko jumped over one to her left and when she landed on the ground, she grit her teeth.
God, she hated magic.
Kotomine Kirei sometimes was in awe of human ingenuity.
During World War 2, several people within London decided that it was a good idea to build a system of tunnels. That way they could go from place to place as the bombs dropped.
Most of these tunnels collapsed and those who traveled in them died.
During the construction of the underground, most of the surviving tunnels had been sealed and deemed too unstable to make an attraction out of them.
Unfortunately for Harry Flowers, one of these tunnels ran just below the Museum of London.
The floor within the storage room of the lower levels cracked. It was small at first, but with every passing second, the cracks grew before the stone buckled out. A pair of hands with bloody knuckled then grabbed onto the edges of what was once the floor before Kotomine Kirei pulled himself out.
"Hm…" Kirei looked up and said, "Yes, this should be the area." He then reached back down into the hole and pulled up a small duffle bag. He kneeled opening it and took out a small, circular device with a red bulb on top. "This had better work." He then turned it over with the bulb facing the floor before tossing it up. When it hit the ceiling, the sides sprouted metal legs which dug into the ceiling. "And now… I wait for the show." Kirei then chuckled as he walked to the right, towards the stairs leading up.
Hard to believe that twelve years had passed. It went so fast that Kirei had hardly noticed.
Twelve years, running from not only the law but also the Church and Association. Both of them trying very, very hard to ensure that they would all be captured for their crimes before suffering extremely long and drawn-out (And painful, very painful) deaths).
Twelve years of making the unjust lose everything and be forced to face the law for their crimes.
Twelve years of humiliating seasoned Magi and Executioners while Zenigata screamed that he would catch them next time.
Twelve years which transformed once impressionable children, one of which his own daughter, into young women who indulged in their vices and took part in the life of a thief.
Kirei could not help but imagine this was the closest he would get to Heaven on Earth.
"I do wonder who they will send today…" Kirei thought to himself as he began going up the stairs. "That Bazette woman likely broke under her constant string of defeats and humiliations… will they send someone from the Church? Perhaps one of those new and promising Magi. I wonder how I will handle them? There are so many choices…"
Kirei's eyes then widened as he jumped back. A bullet impacted the step his right foot had been, leaving a small hole.
"Hm. There was only a ten percent chance that would work. Still, I like to think I might get lucky someday and end a job as quickly as possible."
Kirei frowned as he landed on the ground. His right hand reached into his breast pocket and rook out three Black Keys, gifts from former associates of Zenigata.
The man stepped down, revealing his aged form and pistol to Kirei. "And who might I have the pleasure of leaving broken and bruised on the floor today?" Kirei asked the man, who scoffed.
"My name, the only name you need to know, is Nyx." Kirei knew that this man was a government agent instantly. He had the same cold and dispassionate eyes of a seasoned Executioner.
Which was why he knew that he could not afford to stand still.
Kirei rolled to the right as Nyx fired twice, only hitting empty space. He moved as well while Kirei used the wall to his left as a springboard, launching his body forward. His Black Keys drawn back, ready to slice the agent's ankles when he passed by.
Kirei was surprised when the agent jumped. He then kicked down right his right foot, slamming Kirei in his back and onto the floor. Kirei did not remain there for long as he twisted his body, his Black Keys slicing through the air to make the agent pay for his act.
The agent simply jumped back, all the Black Keys managed to cut was the edge of Nyx's jacket sleeve and shirt.
"I liked this one too." Nyx growled out while firing his gun two more times.
Kirei simply raised up his arm, having the bullets impact against his jacket-covered right arm. Kirei made sure that his attire was made of the same material as his former priest outfit. It hurt, but it would bruise rather than cause any permanent damage. He then threw his Black keys forward, and once more Nyx moved to the left to dodge.
But while he missed the one moving for his head (Kirei could not help but note he winced), the other two sliced through his firearm. He dropped the now ruined gun and covered his right ear, a pained grimace now showing.
Kirei did not waste any time. He went on his feet and moved forward. "I need to end this." He planted his feet firmly on the ground as he now stood five feet away from Nyx. "A few broken ribs should make him stand down." Kirei thrust his left palm forward, aiming for the chest…
…Only to find Nyx moving his right hand down, impacting against the arm and making it brush against his left sleeve. Nyx then thrust out his left fist, to which Kirei naturally grabbed with his right palm.
"GAAAH!" Kirei then screamed as electricity then rippled through his body, the shock making every nerve erupt into pain. He let go of the hand and stepped back. "Electrocution? Some kind of device…" Kirei gasped as he watched Nyx's left hand. He had something akin to brass knuckles, only silver and had some sort of blue gem over each of his knuckles which crackled with electricity. "Very well then, I need to stay out of the reach of his left hand." Kirei circled around to the left while Nyx reached into his shirt's breast pocket. "A gun?" Kirei raised his left leg and kicked forward. It would impact against Nyx's hand the moment it as outstretched, crushing it and part of the arm.
Kirei was mildly surprised when he felt no force against his left foot. No, instead he felt something sting on his left hand. He set down his foot and smoked to see a small pen point.
"This is…" Kirei then grunted as the world began spinning, stumbling slightly as he felt vertigo rush into him like a freight train.
"Hm. That was supposed to put out a fully-grown gorilla." Nyx then tossed aside a pen to the floor. "I will have to tell them to up the dosage next time."
"You're certainly one of the most prepared agents I've ever met…" Kirei breathed out as he tried to have his eyesight focus, only see one of Nyx instead of two or three.
"I'm the one they call when they want a job done right." Nyx then closed his left hand, electricity dancing on the knuckles. "I know you Kotomine Kirei. I know all about your mastery of Bajiquan, so going against you in close range is suicidal… without the necessary precautions." Nyx then rushed forward, and Kirei began kicking up with his right leg, but it was sluggish, slower than before. Nyx easily moved past it and punched with his left fist. Kirei grit his teeth as he felt another wave of electricity and backhanded Nyx with his left hand. The agent simply dropped down once more and went out of Kirei's reach. "That drug has increased my likelihood of survival by sixty percent, and your defeat by eighty percent."
Despite the new perilous situation Kirei found himself in, he smirked. "But it is not a hundred percent."
Surprisingly, Nyx grinned as well.
"No. But let's work on that, shall we?"
Zenigata could not help but shuffle in place due to anticipation. "He's here…" Zenigata purposefully scanned the partygoers rather than the ceiling. Best that Lupin thinks they were just discussing how he could get in rather than them being onto where he is. "I guess you're waiting on the rugrats, aren't you?"
Zenigata had spent the past twelve years chasing Lupin as usual. It was as if they had picked up where they left off, business as usual. Only this time, there wasn't any conspiracy involving magicians.
Also, Zenigata now had several helpers while Lupin got himself a whole new crew. One member being his own daughter, as the young girl had so proudly stated years ago when she made her official debut. Zenigata had found it fishy that Lupin took in a kid and then kept it, rather than doing an entire heist focused on rescuing said kid or dumping them on someone else. But Zenigata was ecstatic when he found out it was just Lupin teaching his kid the ropes, with Kirei copying the master thief by bringing along his own kid.
It just meant that now, Zenigata would once again be expecting four bodies in a heist rather than just two. It made things a bit easier.
Despite what had happened twelve years prior, Zenigata had managed to carve out a rather ingenious way to get back at the Church. Zenigata knew he was never the easiest of people to get along with, and one didn't stay on the Lupin case unless they were dedicated. Ever Church member or Magus that was sent to him either displayed their utter contempt or dismissed Zenigata as someone worth respecting. Or they treated the Lupin case like a big pay day for their standing in their secret cult.
Usually, the Magi were often doing something on the side that normal human laws would frown upon. So he had them taken in on admittedly shaky charges. Not enough to give them jail time, but enough to make the Association and Church take them off his hands. Other times, he just played up his overbearing personality to make them quit out of frustration.
Sometimes he just let Lupin do his work for him and humiliate the Mages into either quitting or doing something so flashy and stupid that the Association itself took them in.
The Association and Church likely knew full well that he was doing this on purpose, but as Risei said they could not afford to lose him or his expertise.
"And I do love rubbing it in those smug bastards' faces."
"Think you can work your magic and just find him right away?" Daisuke asked Arturia, who frowned in response. "Would save us a lot of trouble."
"I will not, not with this many people around." She then looked at Daisuke and asked, "Are you willing to write a believable explanation as to why a sword appears from nothing?"
Daisuke flinched. "Right. Magic. Supposed to not exist. Forget I asked."
"It won't matter. Lupin will show himself soon. He can't keep himself quiet to save his life, not when his treasure is so close." Zenigata looked back at the diamond.
"No, he cannot." Arturia crossed her arms and asked, "So, will he open with a speech or simply cut things short with a 'the treasure is mine!' declaration this time?"
"He'll likely flip a coin on that." Zenigata could not help but be amazed at how much the originally serious and reserved former bodyguard, as well as legendary hero, had become over the twelve years. The dedication to her duty was still there, but it was as if the woman had… simply moved on with her life. Like what was formerly making her reserved was now being treated as an aspect of her life she had to move on from. She certainly seemed happier because of that, and it made the two actually get along well. At least enough where he could have a beer with her. "So where is your mutt?"
"He's staying in the agent's car with the window cracked and a small bowl of water. He had reservations about that, but I encouraged the agent to see reason."
Which meant she subtly threatened the MI6 agent to doing what she wanted.
"Heh. Maybe you should invest in a doggy daycare or some-."
Suddenly, the ground slightly shook. It made several partygoers gasp in surprise while it made Zenigata's muscles tense. "What's happening?" Daisuke asked, which was answered by a sheet of steel slowly rising around the podium. "Huh? Did the alarm get tripped?"
"No." Zenigata's hands clenched and a grin spread on his face. "The electric current that's supposed to remain running when the steel door is closed just got disabled, and it triggered the safety feature. That means that the security got disabled."
"So that Tohsaka girl got her ass kicked by the brats?" Daisuke asked, to which Arturia scoffed.
"More likely that Lupin and Kotomine's children got there before she had reached the room. They are usually faster than their fathers with this kind of thing, after all."
Zenigata nodded. He did not doubt the Tohsaka girl's skills, even if she was a bit green. Nor her dedication, which he could see in her eyes.
So far, she was turning out to be leagues better than her predecessors.
"HELLO LONDON!" A loud voice echoed throughout the museum, causing everyone to look around wildly for the source. "Sooo good to be here again! And on such a nice day too! Usually it's so cloudy and grim that I feel depressed just settin' foot in here!"
"Above!" Zenigata shouted while pointing up. In the center of the overhead window was a humanoid form, revealed by the short static flickers running over its body. A hand then reached up to the head and tore off the mask, revealing the grinning face of Lupin.
"Aw, Zenigata! I had a few more lines ready before the big reveal!" Lupin said with a chuckle. "How'd you find me?"
"As if I'd tell you ya punk! How the hell did you get up there!?" Zenigata shouted while raising his fist.
He could tell what Lupin was wearing was some extremely experimental camouflage, likely made by the US military for infiltration missions. It probably bent rays of light to make it see-through or something. Not that Zenigata much about science. He was a man of action, after all!
"Hey, come on! It's not fair to ask someone their secrets when you refuse to give your own!" Lupin then shrugged. "But that should not matter." He then grinned as his legs and arms bent. "What matters…"
Zenigata's eyes then widened as Lupin then jumped off the window. He fell, speeding up as he descended with his arms outstretched.
"…Is that the diamond is mine for the taking!"
"He's got a bungee cord on!" Daisuke shouted while pointing up, and Zenigata noticed the thick black line that lead to Lupin's body and a black suction cup on the window. As it went taught, Lupin's descent slowed. He grabbed onto the glass box which contained the diamond…
…Only to blink as it was held in place.
Zenigata laughed as he said, "It's attached you idiot!"
"That's not fai-yikes!" Lupin then let go as the steel sheet then began closing around the top of the podium, letting go just as soon as they closed and left only a small hole at the top of the dome. "Uh-oOOOOH!" Lupin screamed as he then shot up to the roof, the bungee cord doing its work. The three members of the Lupin Taskforce could not help but begin laughing as Lupin then hit his head on the glass, while the civilians just gaped at the display of a world-famous thief humiliating himself. As Lupin groaned, he fell back towards the ground.
"He's going to get himself killed if he hits his head again." Daisuke pointed out, to which Arturia stepped forward.
"No, he won't." Arturia tipped her cap and opened her guitar case. As Lupin fell, Arturia took out a blue and golden hilt katana in a dark blue sheath. "I won't allow it."
She then jumped forward, her felt hand holding the sheath while her right held the handle. She jumped over the crowd of people, her eye narrowing as Lupin fell, focusing on the cable. As it went taught and Lupin's descent slowed, her eyes widened and she drew her sword.
In an instant, the cable was cut into two.
The cable hadn't even been within the reach of the blade, meaning that it was cut with pure wind pressure.
Her left hand continued to hold the sheath, but her index and middle finger reached out and tugged on Lupin's bodysuit by the collar. She twisted his body and brought it close to hers as her right foot hit the dome that held the diamond podium inside. She then jumped off it and landed on the floor while dropping Lupin's body onto the floor.
"Hey, make way! We're with INTERPOL!" Zenigata shouted while he and Daisuke held up their badges. The various cops within the crowd held up their badges as well while drawing their guns. They pushed against the crowd and circled around Lupin, who was just getting his bearings.
"Ooohhh…" Lupin's eyes groggily opened before widening at the circle of cops, aiming their guns at him. "Um… What am I doing here? Who are you people?! W-What's going on!?" Panic began spreading across Lupin's face, making the policemen and women encircling him look at each other in confusion. "I-I don't understand! Why am I he-!?"
He was silenced when the tip of a katana went near his throat.
"Please, don't treat us like idiots." Arturia said blandly as she looked Lupin in the eyes.
He simply sighed. "Eh, was worth a shot."
"You must have seriously hit your head when you thought that could work on us, Lupin!" Zenigata shouted as he threw two pairs of cuffs, one hitting Lupin's right wrist before the force made it go over his body and the second ring encircled his left wrist. The other cuffs then closed on Lupin's ankles, restraining him.
"Aw Pops, come on! This isn't necessary!"
"I may be old, but I ain't senile! If anything, I'm being too lenient on you!" Zenigata then glanced at Arturia's blade. It was a traditional Japanese sword, almost like a clone of Goemon's Zantetsuken. But while its steel was the traditional silver, Arturia's blade was strangely a deep rich blue with the edge of the blade a pure white. Along its body, thin silver lines made various symbols that Zenigata could not hope to understand. But he knew them to be Runes, Runes that would prevent the blade from ever breaking and allowing the blade to harm the corporeal plane along with the physical.
The name of this blade was Aoi Yoake.
"Well then, how about we take him away?" Daisuke suggested with a grin. "Seems that his crew is running a bit late."
"Yeah, you're right?" He then looked back at Lupin, grinning and chuckling to himself. "Got anything to say about that?"
"Just one." Lupin then clenched his fists as he shouted, "ANY TIME NOW KIREI!"
Kirei did not feel much pain when Nyx's elbow smashed against his mouth, nor much anger when he tasted his own blood. He wasn't even frustrated by the fact that the punch he landed on Nyx's chest only knocked him back and made him wheeze a bit, rather than shattering every goddamn bone in it.
He was simply annoyed by the fact that this fight was taking much longer than it should.
The agent used his distance to reach underneath the left portion of his jacket. A spare pistol was stored there, most likely. Kirei hardened his vision, seeing only one of Nyx once more, and increased his speed slightly. He closed the distance between then, making the agent's eyes widen with slight shock as Kirei slapped the pistol away. The former priest then bit his tongue as he received another punch from the electric fist, this time to his thigh. Nyx, meanwhile, scrambled away in order to reach for his gun, sliding down and picking it up as he passed it. He fired twice, one missing Kirei completely while the other grazed the left portion of his chin as well as a piece of his bottom earlobe.
He was lucky that it didn't rip open an artery.
Kirei ignored the blood as he slammed his foot onto the ground and kicked up some rubble, obscuring Nyx's vision. "He's not wasting any bullets. He's certainly a professional."
The agent was obviously trained. He wasn't just hitting about like some untrained boxer. The man knew several forms of martial arts and could easily match Kirei in his weakened state, though that wasn't saying much. Nyx used clever inventions given to him for aid, but he also seemed to only use them when necessary and preferred trying his luck himself first.
Unless he was in a situation he couldn't possibly win without using them first, which perfectly described the situation he had been in when he first met Kirei.
The agent was also intelligent. He didn't waste time by facing Kirei hand to hand. Instead he only did so in order to weaken Kirei a bit more before trying to shoot him in the back of the head.
"I cannot fight at my current state…" Kirei then kicked up more of the ground, but it was a bit harder now. He was weakening. "I need to find some way to beat him… Incapacitate him…"
"ANY TIME NOW KIREI!" Kirei then winced as he heard Lupin's scream from his right ear.
It meant that the thief had been cornered by the police, and Kirei was running late.
The next thing Kirei knew, he heard a gunshot. Kirei thought fast, and moved his head. He heard and felt the tear of flesh as well as a ringing in his ear. "Ah, I just lost a portion of my ear." Nothing that magic couldn't fix later. But how? Nyx's vision was still obscured by the dust and debris. He wouldn't fire shots that only had a low probability of hitting and waste ammunition. So how did he know where Kirei was? "Wait, Lupin's scream…" That was the only sound that could have come from Kirei. He had held his breath and stayed as still as possible. Yet when Lupin screamed, there was the likelihood that some of the sound escaped from the earpiece. Then, Kirei remembered how Nyx winced when one of the Black Keys passed by his head. "He's using sonar." Kirei then smirked and fumbled through his pockets, taking one Black Key in each hand. "Well, this certainly got easier."
Kirei then shot forward, fumbling a bit as he did so. he ran through the fog of dust, not caring when Nyx fired upon him. Kirei ignored the pain in his left shoulder from the bullet that hit, but raised his hands and dragged the blades across one another.
The screech that came from them was loud, ear-splitting. Kirei even heard ringing in his ears while he did it.
But while such a sound was painful, albeit manageable, Nyx's eyes shot open and he screamed in pain, dropping his gun as he moved his hands to cover them.
Kirei dropped his own blades and grabbed Nyx's left hand, the device over his knuckles still humming. "If one plays with dangerous toys, they should expect to be hurt by them." Kirei said simply before bringing down the arm and ramming Nyx's hand into his own chest.
Nyx screamed some more as electricity flowed through him, and Kirei let go as the flow of electricity continued for several minutes before Nyx released himself. He glared at Kirei, took two steps forward…
…and promptly toppled onto the ground, face-first.
Kirei took in a breath and righted himself before he could topple to the side. "You were definitely sturdier than most." Kirei admitted with a nod of his head. He could see even from the distance between them that the man was still breathing, which was good. Kirei didn't want to kill an opponent that put him in such a state.
Especially one that Kirei could already tell that he, and the rest of the Lupin Gang, would see in the future.
"KIREI! PLEASE! HURRY UP!"
"Someone sounds desperate…" Kirei then reached into his pocket and took out a remote, one with two buttons. The one to the left would activate the device and make it perform its function instantly.
The other would have a delay of about ten minutes.
Kirei hit the right button and slowly began trudging to the hole he just climbed out of, climbing down as carefully as possible. "I'm sure he'll appreciate the thrill…"
As soon as Kirei muttered that to himself, he yelped as the drug kicked back in and he lost his grip, falling down on his ass onto the cold, hard, and dirty ground.
"…" Kirei looked up and muttered, "Well played…"
He should get out of here before he ends up run over by the very treasure he is trying to steal.
"W-What the hell are ya doing!?"
Caren frowned as she looked up from her work, tightening the last safety strap on the now very bound and helpless Harry Flowers.
Who also happened to be attached to a zip line that lead down to an open manhole within the streets of London a block away.
"I'm pretty sure it should be obvious." Caren chided as she checked the knot that was on the top of the bathroom windowsill. "You are a very bad man, Mr. Flowers. A very important bad man that, if we left to fate itself, would be put in an unfavorable situation. One where you cannot face the justice of man for your crimes."
"You lot are dead. You're fuckin' dead, you hear me?" Flowers said with a glare. "When the cops get you, and throw you in a cell, ya won't be escaping in an hour or so. Oh no, I'll make sure I can get in there myself and teach you some manners. Then I'll hand you all over to her and she can have her fun with you, and I'll bring the bloody popcorn! I'll…!"
Caren silenced the man with a wad of toilet paper and a small strip of duct tape. "Now, now. That is not any way to be talking to a lady." Caren then gave the bound Harry an experimental tap before saying, "Now, one of two things will happen. One is that you will slide into that manhole and then get into our escape vehicle. From there, we will hand you to some proper authorities." Caren then hummed and said, "Or… the mechanism will fail and you'll fall to your death."
Harry's eyes went wide while Caren simply shrugged.
"Well, it's in God's hands now."
Caren then gave a shove, and Harry's body began sliding down the zip line with his muffled screams remaining in Caren's ears. She watched as he reached the halfway point, and watched as he began struggling against his confines despite it being in his best interests to remain perfectly still. Onlookers gasped and pointed as the line and his body began to sway about…
"What the fuck!?"
Caren frowned as she heard the cocking of three pistol hammers. "Riko."
The Shroud instantly bound one of the men behind her, the other two gasping in shock as Caren took out two balls from underneath her skirt and flung them behind. When they hit the two men square in the chest, putty began jutting out and enveloped them before hardening.
They couldn't pull their triggers even if they wanted to.
After Caren chipped away enough of the putty for the men to be able to breathe through their mouths, she glanced at the man bound in red cloth on her feet. She kneeled and asked, "So, tell me… how does it feel, knowing you were bested by a teenager and utterly failed in protecting your boss and his treasure?"
"Language." Caren said as she took out the duct tape from underneath her skirt and began binding the man's hands, feet, and mouth. The Shroud returned to her shoulders as she picked up the gun. "Such a brutish weapon." She muttered as she tossed it into the trash compartment and attached another bag to the zip line.
This one was full of Harry Flowers' personal money and expensive belongings.
On top of those were various tools and such to fool either her father or Lupin if they bothered to look.
"It is important for children to become independent of their parents." Caren thought to herself as she pushed the bag out of the window and then began walking out of the bathroom and towards security. She and Riko had agreed that if they found anything that interested them outside of the treasure Lupin had chosen, they would take it for themselves. Riko's slight leanings towards kleptomania sometimes made this more difficult, but Caren liked to think it kept them sharp. "She likely let those brutes meet me as payback for that small gag." A smirk crawled on her face. "I shall have to repay her later."
Her journey with her father had been an odd and exciting one. She had been more than happy to join him in punishing sinners by his side, but in the end she was still going by the whims of Lupin. Her father was a man unafraid to speak his mind, but still followed Lupin's wishes. She asked him this once, and he gave only one reply.
"He allows me to see a wide world, full of the possibilities that God provided… as well as its potential."
Caren supposed that her father had a point. She did enjoy humiliating their targets, and exploring the world as well as all its possibilities. She enjoyed them alongside Riko, who idolized her father. They explored a great many things together, and chose to become a team because of it.
"The Terrible Two" was what the media called them.
They would have to work on their official name later.
Caren then quickly stepped inside an open storage closet as she watched two mobsters run past it while not noticing her.
"Crazy! Those two bitches are trying to kill each other!"
"Never seen shots like that!"
"Shouldn't we… ya know, try and get the blond one?"
"Heh, fuck that! As far as I'm concerned, I didn't see a thing and if you're smart neither did you!"
"…I was deciding on rethinking my life choices anyways…"
When they passed her, Caren stepped out and looked to her right. Indeed, she did hear gunfire… as well as something else. Something that did not sound like any gun she knew. "What have you gotten yourself into now?" Caren asked herself as she jogged over.
"Ha! Ya must do horrible at carnival games!" Riko's voice teased, followed by two gunshots.
"Like you're any better! You haven't even hit me yet!"
Caren then peeked into the room and saw Riko hiding behind half a server, the top half now pieces of scrap before Riko or in front of the fort. To the left was an unknown woman, her fort equally destroyed.
What to do in a situation like this… A witty line before revealing herself?
"I hope I'm not interrupting anything."
The woman then turned towards her, and Caren simply ran forward before pushing the server-fort down. Caren noticed the lines that traveled up her legs as she leapt back, and Caren instantly could tell that this was a Magus. She threw out her hands, and several colorful balls were flung out. When they impact, they are meant to secrete a gas with the chemicals like the ones an onion secreted when cut. This would make her cry and her eyes hurt, blinding her.
But it seemed the Magus was quicker on the uptake, and shot out several small specks of darkness from her finger which impacted the balls near her. Caren covered her eyes, and felt a hand grab her by the collar. "Geez, you need to stop relyin' on those things!" Riko shouted as she dragged her behind the fort.
"They have saved our lives plenty of times." Caren pointed out, causing Riko to scoff.
"Well, duh! But ya gotta expand your skillset!"
"Says the one who doesn't bother to keep such tools on her person." Caren knew why Riko didn't bother using the little inventions Lupin made. She preferred to get their hands dirty, to steal based on her own skills rather than relying on gimmicks. Not that Riko was incapable of operating a tool made by Lupin when given to her, but she prided herself with being an excellent shot, hand-to-hand combatant, and seductress.
Caren liked to debate on the validity of the last claim.
"Says the person who doesn't know how to throw a freakin' punch!" Riko shot back with a frown.
"I would never rely on such brutish methods to accomplish my goals." Caren detested using her fists. Her body was not suited for such things, and she didn't believe in the exercise. Not when you could easily subdue a person using a pair of walking joke teeth that shot out a net from its mouth when reaching a person by ten feet.
They then heard something crack, and looked up to see the woman pointing her finger at them.
"Hi. We were fighting, remember?" The woman asked, her face displaying her annoyance.
"Ah, shit…" Riko cursed as she dropped her guns and Caren just calmly raised her arms.
"Alright, at least you're smart…" The woman then glanced at Caren. "Now, both of you are going to come quietly and tell me where your dads are. And you're going to do that now."
"Well now…" That tone suggested that this Magus was more interested in reaching their fathers than them, personally. "And is that… hatred in her tone?"
She glanced at Riko, and she saw a smirk form on her childhood friend's face. She shifted, and Caren saw the tip of a small knife handle inside her bust.
"I'm sorry, but do you know our fathers?" Caren asked curiously, causing the woman to frown.
"Know them? Yes, yes I do." Her gaze hardened as she spat out, "Hard to forget the people that helped ruin my life."
"Hey, my dad is a lot of things, but he doesn't pick on kids!" Riko shouted indignantly. "There's a line we never cross, and that's stealing candy from babies!"
"What? That's not…!"
"Hm… perhaps your father had some more… bestial intentions in mind. Lord knows how many women he takes with him a week."
"Hey, don't go accusin' my dad of that crap!"
The woman went red in the face as she shouted, "What the hell is that crap you're spewing!? As if I'd ever let that bastard…!"
"Maybe my father gave her a bad sermon." Caren suggested with a frown. "I've warned him of traveling around saying he was a preacher, but he never seems to listen."
"Sure, but it does help us find scumbags that we can steal from…"
"BOTH OF YOU SHUT UP!" That seemed to set the woman off. "Your dads ruined my family! They betrayed my father, destroying his reputation and making me and my mom pariahs! We used to be one of the most respected Magi families, and then because of your fathers…"
Caren decided to finish this.
"Our fathers have ruined a lot of lives. You will have to be more specific."
That certainly did it.
The utter fury on the woman's face was something to remember. "I am Rin Tohsaka, of the Tohsaka Family you bitch!" She turned her body and pointed at Caren. "GANDR!" With a mighty blast, Caren't head was turned into a bloody pulp.
…Or it would have been if Riko didn't take out a sheathed dagger from in between her breasts, unsheathed it, and proceeded to stab the newly identified 'Rin' through the left foot.
"GAH!" Rin shouted in pain as she veered off target and instead created a small crater on the ground next to Caren. Riko's grin then spread even more as she put her hands on the top of the barrier, lifted her body up, and kicked Rin in the chest. Rin fell back as Caren proceeded to lift herself and grabbed a pair of cuffs with small ports on the side from her skirt, slapping them on Rin's wrists. She then took out a small remote with an even smaller joystick and tossed it to Riko.
"Care to do the honors?"
"My pleasure!" Riko then flipped a small switch on the side, and flames burst out of the ports.
"Wait, what…!?" Rin then began being dragged on the ground by her wrists at ever increasing speeds. She tried to get on her feet, only to continue to be dragged. Riko laughed as she proceeded to hit Rin on the doorframe, before making her go into the hallway. "You little shits!"
"I'm not little!" Riko screamed in anger while Caren simply shook her head. That was still a sore spot for Riko...
"Oh, by the way we heard of your father." Caren then smirked. "My father called him a fool, and that he was a boor trying way too hard to impress traditionalists. He said that stealing from him was perhaps the most enjoyable thing he ever did."
They had to dodge a few more shots from her outstretched fingers for that taunt, but the rage and humiliation on her face was worth it.
"Bye-bye!" Riko then hit the joystick to the left, and Rin then flew away screaming. It continued like that until they heard a very hard thud and groan before things became silent. "Man, that was fun!"
"Indeed." That was another thing that made the two close to one another.
They found a special kind of fun in humiliating their opponents.
"Well, I suppose we should go to the escape vehicle." Caren then began walking out of the room with Riko following her.
"Yeah, gotta stop our old men from finding our loo-." Riko then stopped and looked to the left and said, "Uh-oh." Caren followed her gaze and saw a wall of mobsters, wielding a variety of firearms. Pistols, shotguns, assault rifles…
It was certainly an 'Uh-Oh' moment.
"Use this and run." Caren muttered as she handed Riko a small grenade with a monkey cartoon of Lupin painted on it. "It's a flash bang and should buy us enough time."
"Got it!" Riko pulled the pin and threw it, the mobsters covering their eyes and scattering due to expectations…
Only for the grenade to crack open like an egg, and a small toy chick to chirp about while moving on the ground.
Riko then proceeded to run the opposite direction with Caren while bullets flew from behind. "You bitch!" Riko shouted in anger while Caren giggled.
Such was the nature of their relationship.
"Kirei! This isn't funny man! Help me goddamn it!" Lupin shouted as he was being hauled away with Daisuke and Zenigata carrying him like a carpet.
"No help coming for you this time! Got a special holding cell just for you, all nice and warm back in headquarters!" Zenigata then chuckled as he shouted, "It's gonna be so great seeing you there! I cannot wait to take a picture!"
"He's serious too. Spent an entire goddamn month designing it." Daisuke added, making Lupin groan.
"Pops, this attention is flattering but…"
Arturia didn't pay attention and simply eyed the now enclosed podium. "This was far too easy…" Lupin wasn't stupid. He should have known the glass was attached to the wooden podium. Or at least had a back up to guarantee the theft if that was the case. So what was his plan to get a the diamond when the podium was encased in this?
Her question was then answered when she heard beeping.
"Get down!" Arturia shouted as she jumped back, tackling the person next to her as the floor erupted in red light. She looked behind to see a red beam of light cutting the floor around the podium.
"Took ya long enough!" Lupin then clicked his heels, and flames erupted from them.
"What!? But I checked!" Zenigata protested, only for Lupin to grin.
"I upgraded my wardrobe! This is coming from a little inch-high, foot-sized jet in my sock!"
Lupin then flew forward, and flicked his wrists which revealed two hand-sized magnets. He shot himself up before reaching out, the magnets doing their work and magnetizing his body to the top of the podium. "Sayonar-" The ground then fully cracked, and Lupin fell to the floor below. "-AAAAA!"
"After him!" Zenigata shouted, and Arturia got on her feet.
"On it!" Arturia leapt after him and landed on the basement floor while Lupin and the podium continued down a hole that was exactly where the podium was. "Underground of course!" She then spotted Nyx on the floor nearby. "Agent Nyx!" She quickly ran over and placed her fingers on his throat. She breathed a sigh of relief when she felt his heartbeat.
But now was not the time for that.
Arturia then leapt down the hole, grabbing onto a rock that was jutting out when she realized that it was deeper than it looked. Quickly, she began scaling down as she shouted, "It was about time you appeared again! I was beginning to think you actually began leading a decent, law-abiding life!"
"What can I say Arthur-chan! I like to take a break every now and then!" Lupin's voice echoed out from below.
"Perhaps, but if you did then I wouldn't be able to stop you!" Arturia then landed on the ground.
She frowned as she saw two paths.
Saber sheathed her katana and held out her hand. "Come, Excalibur." The Blade of Promised Victory then appeared in a golden shower of light, but no longer was the blade flawless. Still it was marred with dark splotches on its pristine metal.
But such faults also came with benefits.
She held the flat of the blade near her eyes and peered through the dark marks, and saw a golden trail leading to the path to her right.
The trail of Avalon.
The corruption of the Grail on Excalibur had unexpected side-effects. For one thing, her blade now allowed Arturia to peer into planes of existence far beyond human perception. Some of the things she saw were better left unseen.
But it also did allow Arturia to see the magic of Avalon once more. Which was useful, as she could not sense the sheath for Excalibur which Lupin continued to possess.
"Not yet, and not here old friend." Arturia whispered to Excalibur before making it disappear form view once more. She then ran down the tunnel before finding herself walking into a dark tunnel. One with walls made of stone, and tracks on the ground.
"The Underground?" Arturia asked with narrowed eyes. Trains were running late because of a strike, so she supposed it would make a good temporary escape route.
"Got that right, Arthur-chan!"
Arturia looked to her left and saw Lupin standing on top of a trolley with the shielded podium behind him. Grinning at her while tapping his foot.
"I am a firm believer in public transport. So why waste money on gas when you can use this eco-friendlier option!" Lupin declared as Arturia drew her blade.
"Please. You and I both know you will be using your fiat the moment you reach whatever checkpoint you made here."
"Aww… but I thought really hard about that analogy!" Lupin then hit his foot hard, and Arturia had to jump back as flames came out of the side facing her. "Ooooh weeeellll!" He shouted as he went away, his voice echoing throughout the tunnel.
Arturia didn't bother to chase after him. It would be a fruitless endeavor.
Plus, she had a good idea what his escape route was.
An idea that turned into reality as she heard the familiar sound of a train horn and the wheels of a train meeting the tracks.
Saber took in a deep breath as she got into stance, the tip of the white train entering her vision from the corner of the tunnel. She placed the sheath on her hip, held securely by her belt. She then gripped Aoi Yoake with both of her hands and waited.
Aoi Yoake was a blade forged by Goemon himself, after Arturia learned all she could under him within two years. It was made in the same fashion as Zantetsuken, but with a special metal that appeared blue and was natural. A treasure Goemon had, a metal passed down the generations. She had initially refused, but Goemon insisted saying that the metal was blessed and would help her find her new path.
Arturia loved the blade. She could hear its gentle hum and she drew it back, bringing it close to her ear.
"Focus on the blade. A blade is an extension of yourself, as well as its own being. Respect it, implore it to cut what you wish, and believe in yourself that you can cut it…"
Arturia closed her eyes and breathed in slowly she breathed out calmly as she heard the train approach her ever so closer.
The train was a material object, made of metal.
And metal, just like paper, can be cut.
Arturia opened her eyes.
"SHYAAAAA!" Arturia jumped and moved her blade in a smooth, graceful arc. A thin line formed on the top portion of the underground train, moving all the way down to the end car. She shot her right foot out, hitting the top portion.
It began sliding off before all the tops fell off with a mighty crash, the train leaving them behind.
Sheathing her katana, Arturia landed gracefully on the second car. Her face twisted in pain as she felt her right foot crumple and break, leaving a wet spot on her pants, her sock soaked in blood, and a small puddle forming. "Damn it…" Too much inertia.
"Oooh, that looks bad." She turned around to see Lupin, his child, and Kirei along with his child and a bound and gagged Flowers kneeling at the connection between the two cars. "Sorry, but this looks like your stop!"
Riko then hit a button, and the cars separated. Lupin waved his hand as he shouted, "Better luck next time, Arthur-chan!"
Arturia stayed in place as the car slowed down ever so slowly before coming to a complete stop within the next Underground stop. The potential passengers just gaped in awe as Arturia dragged herself and her pulverized foot past them.
"Out of order." She explained as she got on the escalator. When she reached the topside, she sat on the curb and took out her cellphone. She dialed Zenigata's number and said, "He got away."
"Damn… we were so close too!" Arturia smirked at that. He said that about every close call. "So where are you so I can pick you up?"
She looked at her surrounding and said, "I'm at the station close to Hyde Park."
"How did you get there!?"
"Long story." She then asked, "Can you get Kay for me? He's in the Lamborghini parked outside. Do not worry. The car is unlocked."
The glass had a face recognition software that allowed anyone authorized to open the car without receiving over a thousand volts for their trouble.
Because of the mission parameters, Zenigata was one of those people.
"Sure. See you in a bit."
Arturia then closed her phone and looked up into the sky. When it came to serious injuries, she healed at a rate like that of ordinary people. Sure, her body would prevent the injury from being life threatening and make sure there was no permanent damage, but in the end she would have to wait a few weeks before she could walk right again.
Despite that, she smiled.
"Got away from me yet again…"
Before, she would have been angry and frustrated.
But that was the old Arturia, a woman ruled by fate and duty.
She was a new Arturia, one not bound to such things. One that enjoyed life, even if the very world wished for her not to.
And she would not have it any other way.
"Damn it Agent Nyx, answer me!"
Nyx groaned as he looked up at the ceiling, now sporting a hole in the wall. Pieces of debris and dust had settled on top of his body. He coughed as he looked towards his watch.
"I'm alive, sir."
He heard a slight sigh, possibly relief, which was then followed by, "Then you should have bloody well said something earlier."
"Was dealing with some… difficulties, which incapacitated me for a time." Nyx then flinched as he picked himself up, ignoring the ring in his ears. "For one thing, notify the boys that their stupid device works but they need a failsafe for when it hits an agent's body."
"Noted, Agent Nyx." Nyx pinched the bridge of his nose as he then heard, "Lupin and his cohorts have escaped with their prize."
"Perfect…" Nyx muttered under his breath. He had thought the shock glove and poison would more than even the odds in taking down Kotomine Kirei, but that was apparently not the case. His skills were greater than what was said on the report, and he had figured out Nyx's oh-so crippling weakness of loud noises. "I assume that MI6 will be receiving one of that woman's home videos in the mail soon."
"That's not the case." M said, causing Nyx to blink. "MI6 received a very special present from Lupin himself actually. Harry Flowers, bound and gagged, and now rotting within one of our holding cells."
"…" Nyx supposed that was good news, but his pride was now hit by the fact that Kotomine and his boss had effectively done his mission for him on a whim. "I'm willing to accept any punishment, sir."
"Come now Nyx, MI6 never gave a damn about the rock and you know it. We have Flowers and that's all we've ever wanted. Stop being so melodramatic. A man who's saved Western Civilization several times is allowed the occasional cock-up, especially if it's one that didn't, in the end, compromise the mission."
"I understand." Nyx then slowly got to his feet, wincing and clutching his ribs. "What is my next mission?"
"Rest for now Nyx. We will notify you if anything comes up."
"Very well. Agent Nyx, out." Nyx then sighed as he looked down the hole.
Likely, the Queen and her merry men (Along with one woman), were now chasing the thief and Kotomine.
Despite himself, he smirked.
"Good luck to you all. And as for you lot… I hope we meet again so I may feed you your teeth."
Nyx felt it was okay to indulge in petty revenge fantasies every now and again. It might be unbecoming of one of MI6's best agents… but really, Nyx didn't give a damn.
Nyx then began slowly trudging to the stairs, which he would ascend to get to his car.
He had a family to get back to.
"I'm sorry, Inspector…" Rin muttered as she held her knees close to her chest in the backseat of the police cruiser. "I was so close to getting them… I just… lost it when they talked about my dad."
It was humiliating. In fact, it was beyond humiliating. To be treated like a side-attraction not by Lupin the Third and Kotomine Kirei, but their kids.
Their freaking kids.
They had barely met each other for an hour, and with a few short conversations they figured out how to get into her head. Figure out her sore spot and use that to their advantage.
It was disgraceful. Her, the heiress of the Tohsaka family… she couldn't even attempt to avenge her father right…
"Stop thinking like that."
Rin looked to Zenigata, who was staring to the road with surprisingly soft eyes. "It's never easy the first time."
Rin let out a hollow laugh. "Does it get any easier?"
"In some ways, yes." Rin turned her head to see Arturia, holding her dog on her lap which looked at her (With its admittedly adorable eyes). Her foot was wrapped in layers of bloody red bandages, and yet she was not reacting to it that much. Arturia smiled ever so slightly as she said, "When I faced Lupin the first time… it ended rather poorly. He just happens to catch you by surprise, and find new ways to keep on surprising you." She began petting her dog as she said, "Those surprises can even lead you to a life that you never thought could be possible." The dog then barked, as if in happy agreement.
"…And the point of this is…?"
"For you to not give in because of one bad show." Arturia explained as she looked out the window. "You will eventually get used to all of the surprises they throw at you. You will anticipate them, and eventually be on even footing with them. And who knows?" Arturia then chuckled. "You might actually move on from the person who you once were, and find your own reason to keep up the chase rather than remain in the past."
"…" Rin felt like she should be insulted. After all, the only reason why she started her obsession with Lupin in the first place to make him pay for what he did to her father and family. Even if this person was once a Servant, she had no right to act like she knew what was going on and even say she would move on.
But then again… she did not hear any mocking from Arturia's tone. It was the tone of someone who was speaking from experience rather than laying down judgement.
"…If you say so." Rin replied as she began petting the dog on the head. "It's so soft…"
"Though trust me kid, you're going to be put through the wringer before you get used to it." Daisuke began laughing as he put his hand on his face. "Like, you should hear the stories that me and Zenigata have about the times we chased these four! There was this one time with a nudist beach…"
"She does not need to hear about that one!" Zenigata shouted in panic.
"Aw come on! You are in rather decent shape for your age! Nothing to be ashamed about!"
"It does make for an interesting tale, if I am perfectly honest." Arturia pointed out, and Rin could not help but giggle at Zenigata's little grunts of protest.
It was amazing that such a short conversation was enough to lift her spirits, even for a bit…
"THERE HE IS!" Zenigata suddenly shouted, and Rin gasped as Zenigata made a sharp u-turn that would have thrown Rin out of her seat if it wasn't for her seatbelt.
"Are you trying to kill us!?" Rin demanded, only to see a big smile form on Zenigata's face.
One that grew as they began closing the distance between them and a yellow Fiat.
"All units, all units! This is Detective Akemi, and we've found Lupin and are in hot pursuit! We are between…!"
As Daisuke blared orders and Arturia began climbing out of the window and sitting on the window frame, setting her dog on Rin's lap with a wink and a smirk, Rin could not help but feel elated.
And that was because of one simple fact that became ever so clear to her.
One defeat didn't mean the end.
No, it was just the beginning.
"Treasure~!" Riko drooled as she began rubbing her face on the diamond, her eyes glazed over as she purred almost like a cat.
"Riko, you're not a beast. Have some manners." Despite saying that, Caren was also petting on the large black diamond almost affectionately. Which was cute, because she kept her ever so stoic face.
"Hey, keep your hands off the merchandise! It'll decrease the value!" Lupin shouted to the back, to which Kirei chuckled.
"Yes, much to the horror of those who value such a thing by its worth alone." Kirei then looked out the window and said, "I can only imagine the look on Flowers' face right now."
"Ah, it'll be somethin' all right. Probably looks like that Scream painting!"
"Hm…" Kirei then hummed, as if something else caught his attention.
"Great, off in his little world again…" Probably deciding whether to go to Flowers' cell and record what his expression is when meeting the people that stole from him and ruined his life.
"I'm gonna buy sooo much cake with you… oh, all that expensive booze is going to be mine!" Riko's cat-like grin began forming once more. "Oh, maybe with my cut, I'll be able to convince that host Kinji Tooyama to be with me forever!"
"Such behavior would only repel, rather than attract." Caren interjected.
"Treasure~!" Riko purred out, once again lost in her special little world of casual hedonism.
Caren simply sighed. "Forget it…"
"Aw don't get yourself down, Carry!" Caren gave a slight glare to the nickname. It was rather scary. "She'll give ya all the attention you want when she blows off her share! And no offense to the Tooyama guy, but someone left the stable door open in him and his personality just went bolted ou-!"
The sounds of numerous police sirens then blared, and Lupin looked out the window to see a police cruiser with Arturia sitting on the back-right window, her katana drawn while Zenigata was poking his head out from the driver's seat, one hand on the steering wheel and the other holding a megaphone. Behind them were twenty if not thirty other police cruisers.
"Kirei! Why didn't ya tell me they were following us!?" Lupin shouted at his partner, who shrugged.
"Now where's the fun in that?"
"WE AIN'T DONE YA PUNK!" Zenigata shouted through the volume-amplifying device, a devilish grin on his face. "WE AIN'T DONE UNTIL I BREATH MY LAST BREATH, AND THAT'S WHEN YOU ARE BEHIND BARS!"
"Ya can try pops!" Lupin shouted back, his grin equally wide while Riko stuck her face out, holding down her right eyelid while sticking out her tongue and making an especially un-ladylike gesture with her left. Caren simply sighed while Kirei burst out laughing.
This was amazing Lupin never expected so many things to change, and yet so many things to remain the same.
All because he had been dragged into a crazy magical death-match for a wish he didn't even really want.
"Lost so much… and gained so much… it's funny…" Lupin looked at the rode ahead, clearing out to make way for the high-speed and chaotic chase that was occurring. "This is my life. The world is my playpen, a never ending one full of exciting things just waiting to happen. Endless possibilities that open with the next big score…" A sad smile then appeared on his face. "I wish you were here with me to enjoy it, Jigen…"
A magazine cover then landed on the windshield, and Lupin blinked at the cover. It had a attractive twenty-something model on it, posing in a bikini. She had green eyes and blond hair which also had pink, green, and blue highlights. She was very appealing on Lupin's eyes.
"Rebecca Rossellini's Greatest Shots!" Exclaimed the cover.
"Wait, isn't that…" Lupin's mind then raced as to where he heard that name before, and what would make him research that name. Then, it hit him. Lupin began giggling before glancing behind him and asking, "Hey Riko, how would you feel like gettin' a new mom?"
Riko's eyes then widened, and she dropped the diamond on the floor. "Wait, what?"
"Ooh… a woman that is young in years." Caren placed a mocking hand over her mouth. "Scandalous."
"Ya can be the ring bearer along with Riko!"
"Wait, what are you talking about dad!?" Riko was now hysterical while Kirei raised an eyebrow at Lupin.
"I hope you don't expect me to oversee this wedding of yours."
"Dad, can we just talk about this!?"
"Nope!" Lupin then hit the gas pedal as the Fiat then sped out of the city and into the country. "Next stop: Italy!"
In the distance, the sun shined a warm orange glow. It's welcoming heat enveloping this group of thieves and their pursuers.
And even as the sirens blared in the air, Lupin the Third's joyous laugh echoed out.
A laugh that filled the heart of all that heard it with the feeling of freedom.
No matter what happened in the unforeseen future, nothing would silence it. Not even death.
Such was the gift of the Lupin family.
And The Adventure Continues…
Note: AND THAT'S ALL FROM ME AND KIIAM FOLKS!
Wow. To think I made this fic in 2013, four years ago, with the simple idea of 'how funny would it be to put Lupin in the Fourth Holy Grail War?'. But what began as a simple bit of fun became much more serious and personal as time went on. It was a way for me to share my love for Lupin the Third as well as what attracted me to the Fate Franchise in the first place. Fate/Zero, an exploration of what it means to be a hero and what sacrifices come with that title, whether you already have it or want it. Lupin being placed there allowed for me to actually put the character under a lens, to see what could make him tick in a more realistic setting. Some of the more critical moments of Lupin's lifestyle and actions (Highlighted more in the Saber-focused chapters or side-character sections) come from my own dissatisfaction with wish-fulfillment characters. It was even a way for me to break away from what I thought were rather annoying and groan-worthy cliches that have been plaguing fanfiction, showing Saber is a badass and actually casting Lupin as the villain near the end were exercises in that. But I never lost the sense of fun while watching the Lupin anime. No matter how dark it got (or was, in the manga's case), I always had a warm feeling inside of me. One that I hoped to share with the rest of you.
There is so much for me to say, but there isn't nearly enough space to write it all down. And I really don't want to bore you either.
I want to thank Kiiam, the person who has helped me plan out this story and make it what it is along with betaing it. I cannot express how much I am thankful for you.
And to you, the readers, for sticking with this to the bitter end. I am just happy this will be a completed fic, and I'm sure you are too. Your praise and criticism has helped more than you could ever possibly imagine.
I would also like to state, for the record, I am not writing any sequels or spin-offs. I have nothing more to say about Lupin or the characters I used in this world. If you guys want to write spin-offs, like Jigen being the Archer of Black in Fate/Apocraphya, you're more than welcome to.
Because while his adventure in this story is done, the legend of Lupin the Third never has a true ending.
I truly hope you'll leave your final thoughts on this fic in reviews as well as visit the TV Tropes page to add all that you think about this fic.
Until next time... peace.