Well, I got a great response from everyone about that last chapter. I'm still working on revisions, which I'm debating whether or not to update this story or start an entirely new one; what do you think?
I'd love your input.
In the meantime, I'm slowly chugging things out.
Also, I'm not from London. I don't know where an event like this would take place, how, or what. I just made this up. Roll with me.
Chapter 16 – In Which Shinichi Attends a Meeting
"My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my
business to know what other people don't know."
Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
Kaito exited the walkway, dragging his carry on behind him. His eyes flicked rapidly, quickly cataloguing all the faces waiting at the terminal gate, waiting to board the plane he had just exited. He ran a hand worriedly over his hair, combed to mimic the style of Kudo Shinichi. He was dressed in the detective's high school uniform, provided by the person himself. For the umpteenth time, Kaito mentally beat himself over the head for agreeing to this ridiculous plan.
"Hey, focus," a voice said into his ear, and Kaito scratched the side of his head to readjust the earpiece. "Is it working? Can you hear me? Are you sure this intercontinental radio thing of yours works, Hakase?"
"Can hear you loud and clear, Agent J," Kaito said quietly, moving forward and heading in the direction of baggage claim.
"Yeah, I'm Agent K. Or should I be Double-Oh Seven?" Kaito deepened his voice... "Name's Kid. Kaitou Kid."
"Focus, Kid," the child detective's voice was not amused. "Your every move could be your last."
"You're too tense, Kudo," Kaito said, weaving his way through the crowd. "The art of blending in is everything to do with looking calm."
"Don't use my name! You're Kudo Shinichi right now, remember!?"
Kaito snorted and didn't say anything. Kudo was still in Japan, but would be in London within the next several hours. Thanks to Kid's skill and resources, he had fashioned Edogawa Conan a temporary fraudulent passport and fake ID, enough to get him to London and through customs. It was too risky for both of them to come on the same flight. For now, Kaito was on his own.
"Okay. When you get to baggage claim, there should be men there waiting to take you to the hotel. The meeting is tomorrow morning, so – "
"We've gone over this."
Kaito stepped onto the escalator, descending down into the baggage claim area. As Kudo had said, there were two men in black suits standing at the bottom, the one on the left holding a sign with Shinichi Kudo written across it.
"Got them," Kaito whispered.
"I can hear everything they're saying. Remain calm."
"Who do you think you're talking to?"
With that, Kaito stepped off the escalator and approached the men. "I'm Shinichi Kudo," he said in English, with a half-smile. "Pleased to meet you."
The man holding the sign lowered it with a similar smile and held out his hand. "Miles Jackson. I wish we could have meet under better circumstances."
Kaito took his hand, shaking it strongly. His hands were rough, gritty, veteraned. The man couldn't be any older than 40, his dark brown hair cut short and his green eyes unreadable. The man had seen his fair share of hardship; it was written in his smooth but haggard features. "Same here," Kaito said.
"Jack will get your luggage, we have a car waiting for you."
The other agent nodded silently and went to retrieve Kaito's bags while Miles gestured for Kaito to follow. The car waiting for them was a simple dark van with blacked out windows.
"Be on your guard," Kudo warned in his ear. "Don't trust anyone."
Kaito crawled into the van without answering, and soon he and the two agents were pulling out of the airport. The ride to the hotel wasn't far; London was a bustling city even in the late hours on the night, the lights standing out against the dark backdrop of evening. The air was filled with the smell of car exhaust and the chatter of passersby. Kaito looked out the window in wonder, having never actually been to London before.
The luxury hotel was enormous, everything within smelling of money. Even the air tasted expensive. The revolving glass door opened into a huge lobby with glistening floors and polished glass statues that reflected the light from the star-shaped chandelier dangling above his head. Huge columns supported the high ceiling, framing the gateway to the front desk where two uniformed employees stood waiting. Bellhops and other guests roamed freely, some sitting on expensive-looking furniture located in a couple well-lit alcoves, attended to by black and white-clad waiters. Kaito could only stand slack-jawed as he was quickly ushered through the lobby, suddenly feeling very underdressed in his – Kudo's – school uniform.
Miles Jackson checked him in quickly as Jack directed a couple bellhops to fetch his suddenly drabby-looking suitcase from the van. They rose to the fifteenth floor via glass elevator, and entered the spacious room too large for just one person. The walls were painted a light lime color, contrasting evenly with the light wood paneled floor and white-sheeted king-size bed. A huge bathroom revealed a jet tub and marble sink with gold-sheeted faucets, and a rabbit-fur rug.
Miles Jackson was eager to get Kaito situated in. Gently pushing him inside, the bodyguard directed the bellhop inside to place the luggage.
"This is my room!?" Kaito said incredulously, exploring every inch of the space.
"For the next couple of days during the conference," Miles explained. "All the diplomats and representatives from other countries are staying in this hotel also."
"Whoa," Kaito managed.
"It's late," Miles said, looking at his watch. "Jack and I will be across the hall. This is my contact information, please call if you need anything. Please get some rest, Mr. Kudo."
Once the bodyguards left, Kaito let out a huge sigh, ruffling his hair back into its messy mop. "Well that went well."
"Don't relax just yet," Kudo said in his ear.
"If you could see this place, man," Kaito sighed, falling back onto the bed. His body sank deep into the mattress, and the teenager smiled reflexively. "This is awesome."
Kudo sighed on the other side of the world. "I'll be there by tomorrow night, Kid. Until then, play your part."
"Yeah, yeah," Kaito yawned, slightly jetlagged. He stripped out of the uniform and snuggled under the warm duvet. He pulled out the receiver from his ear and settled in for the night.
The conferenced was held in a huge auditorium-like room, rows upon rows of benches reserved for various leaders and their interpreters. Kaito, once again donning his Kudo Shinichi persona, sat slightly awkwardly between a large man from Russia and a tall woman from Denmark, though to Kaito she looked a little Asian. The woman was the interpreter for the average-sized man beside her, an older man with thinning hair and a square clean-shaven jaw. He leaned across the table and offered his hand, saying something in Dutch.
"He asks if you are the famous Japanese detective," the woman said in Japanese.
Kaito nodded his affirmative, taking the man's hand. "It's nice to meet you Mr….?"
"Baas," the man responded in a deep heavily accented voice.
"Baas," Kaito repeated, and the man smiled, but it looked almost forced. Kaito added him to the list of people to be suspicious of.
"Remember," Conan's voice echoed in Kaito's ears. "Its highly likely Umbra is attending the conference. Keep your eyes open, and don't trust anyone."
Conan and Agasa had landed in London a few short hours ago, and already Conan was tuned in to Kaito's surroundings, listening in through an earpiece and watching through the tiny camera built into a button on his suit. Kaito didn't say anything in response, but flashed a quick thumbs up in front of the camera as confirmation.
The conference began a short while later, different authority figures standing one by one and proposing their methods to capture Umbra. Most of the gathering was held in English, as it was a common language amongst the interpreters. Kaito didn't react to the proposals, but he had to resist the urge to snort through his nose as some of the ideas. What the hell does satellite footage do for this case? He sighed lightly to himself as the German diplomat took a seat.
Finally, Kaito was summoned to the floor. Or rather, Kudo Shinichi was. Kaito breathed deeply, and as he made his way to the front, the real Shinichi whispered, "Do you remember what you're going to say?"
"Who do you think you're talking to?" Kaito mumbled quietly before stopping behind the podium and adjusting the microphone. He looked across the hundreds of faces before him, all pairs of eyes on the youngest presence in the room by thirty years.
"Ladies and Gentlemen," Kaito said in English, and interpreters leaned close to their respective representative. "I am Kudo Shinichi, a third-year high school student from Tokyo, Japan. I have listened quietly throughout this conference and while I commend the hard thought put into your proposals, I must present the only solution."
Kaito paused. "Okay," Conan whispered as he listened and observed the aggravated murmurs.
"I've looked over every case file provided to me by the Tokyo PD," Kaito continued loudly. "I've memorized their contents. We know the mastermind behind these serial murders is slowly moving east, writing a word across the globe that as of yet has not been deciphered. We know he is kidnapping high school detectives from countries and depositing their dead bodies in others with no coherent timeline. We cannot predict what he'll do next." Kaito paused for effect. "My proposition is simple." He looked out across the huge conference room, feeling suddenly very nervous. He clenched his fists to stop the shaking.
"I offer myself as bait."
Voices immediately rose up in protest. Kaito could see the Dutch diplomat he'd been sitting next to did not offer his opinion, but still sat with his hands folded under his chin, staring intently.
"That woman," Conan suddenly said. "I've seen her before…"
Kaito didn't know which woman to whom Conan was referring, but before he could ask, an interpreter cried out for his representative, "We cannot allow a mere child to take on this task! It is outrageous!"
Kaito grabbed the microphone. "And what else do you suggest?" he asked, looking directly at the person who shouted. "Satellites aren't going to pick up anything! A joint task force won't work with different agendas! Tighter border patrols will only make this criminal harder to catch; they are highly organized, despite all circumstances, and for all we know could be in this room right now! We must lure him into a trap, and who better to be the bait than a detective?"
More mutterings, and Kaito was asked to step down from the podium. All eyes were on him as he made his way back to this seat, hands stuffed deep inside his pockets. He kept a confident grin on his face as he finally sat down, letting out a breath as he relaxed into the chair.
"That's quite a plan," _'s translator said, speaking for herself this time. Are you sure you're okay with something like that?"
Kaito looked up at her, maintaining the Kudo Grin as he'd come to call it over his experience impersonating the detective. "It's the only way," he said, and faced forward again as the British representative stepped forward to conclude the meeting and scheduled the next gathering at the same time tomorrow. Kaito didn't move as the diplomats slowly rose and filed from the room, remaining until he was the only one left in the vast conference hall.
"Well?" Kaito asked aloud. "How'd I do?"
Conan breathed loudly. "Nice job, Kid."
"Who was that woman you mentioned earlier?"
"Oh…" Conan's response was slow. "I can't remember but I know I've seen that woman before… somewhere…"
"What do I do now?"
"Let's meet somewhere and discuss further. There's not much more we can do right now."
"Roger," Kaito said, and stood, the chair scraping loudly across the hardwood floor. There was a barely audible click the earpiece deactivated.
As he was about to turn around, Kaito suddenly tensed, freezing on the spot. He could feel eyes on him, watching from somewhere, piercing burning holes into his back. Kaito reached instinctively for the inside of his lapel where he normally kept his card gun before cursing silently; it was still in his things in the hotel. He hadn't anticipated a need to change into his thief persona so he'd foolishly neglected to bring his equipment.
Kaito remained still for another minute before the feeling finally passed. He kept his guard up but finally began making his way out into the hall. The double doors swung closed behind him, and he began to make his way toward the exit. Kaito's instincts remained on alert, his eyes flicking around and analyzing every face that he passed.
Kaito rounded a corner, his eyes widening slightly as he was suddenly faced with a deserted hall, save the lone figure that stood with their back to him. Kaito stopped also, not moving his eyes from the figure, and he felt a grin creep onto his face. The adrenaline he usually only felt during heists suddenly began to pump through his veins; maybe Kaito should consider detective as a possible career choice?
"So you're Umbra?" Kaito asked, keeping his voice calm. Without Conan to guide him, the professional impersonator did what he did best: impersonate. "So my deduction was right when I said that the culprit would attend the conference." The figure didn't move, so Kaito continued. "Only someone with status and money could travel that fast around the world and not be suspicious. Who are you?"
The figure turned their head, and though Kaito couldn't make out the person's face, he could see a cruel smile curl their lips.
Kaito felt the sensation of being watched again, and barely had time to turn around before a sharp pain exploded on the back of his head, and he felt the hard ground press into his back as his body hit the floor, his vision already growing hazy. The sound of footsteps, and a dark shadow loomed on the edge of his vision. "You're good, Kudo Shinichi," was the last thing he registered before darkness crept over him and Kaito fell into nothingness.
Haha, everything is going according to plan. See you again sometime soon? Hopefully? Don't expect another update any time soon, and good luck for those attempting NaNoWriMo!
Coming Up: Chapter 17 – In Which A Gentleman Thief Joins the Party