(Even if we awake in the middle of our dream,
We've hunted for the faint echoes under shadows of countless constellations.)
Conan blew into his hands, frozen from the stale afternoon air as he waited outside the Keishichō, unable to enter the building he spent his teenage years sauntering inside. A privilege lost to his shrunken form, turned away at the entrance by guarding police officers, advising Conan to lodge a complaint over the phone, now that their front doors were waiting to be breached by reporters lingering in wait. Conan had seen a share of them loitering in the car park, ambushing arriving officers with questions about the latest developments of Kid's investigation. The young detective would have left grumbling hadn't he saved a list of contacts on his phone who could bring Conan to his desired location.
"Takagi-Keiji!" Conan called, spotting the officer exiting the police headquarters, searching around for a detective a quarter his size. Conan ran the stairs back up, ignoring the stares of the officers who thought they had successfully chased him away.
"Uncle sent me to ask some questions," Conan begun, setting foot inside the building, welcoming the gentle draft from the radiators warming up his fingers. "It's really important for the heist tonight!"
Takagi-Keiji frowned. He wasn't part of the division responsible for thievery. Conan knew that much. He pulled out his trusted pocket notepad and pointed his finger at a specific page, directly underneath a particular name.
"I was told an officer named Reika would be here today. I'm sure she won't mind a few questions about Kid."
"The second division isn't appreciating questions at the moment…" Takagi-Keiji started, unable to explain the recent dispute between reporters and police officers to a child six years of age.
Conan nodded as if he understood (because he did, duh?) and waved his hands into the air as if to share exciting news with the officer. "It's the sleeping detective Kogorō who's asking!"
Takagi-Keiji frowned, thinking about it. He spared another glance at the name scribbled in Conan's notepad before he headed towards the reception, inquiring about her whereabouts as Conan stood behind him, grinning.
Inside the jewellery store, Ginzō found the task force reduced half its usual size. Under normal circumstances, the lack of forces would have unsettled him. But his superior had determined manpower wouldn't be a mitigating factor tonight. What specifically Chaki-Keishi had in mind, Ginzō wasn't sure when he inspected the store. Other than a few officers standing guard near the entrance, the windows, and the targeted jewel, Ginzō couldn't spot any other measure Chaki-Keishi had employed to capture the phantom thief.
During the strategy meeting, Ginzō had made sure to emphasize that – aside, from the usual manpower readied at every access point – tactics needed to be employed, thwarting every possible move from Kid. In the twenty years Ginzō had been chasing Kid, he had spent his time understanding the mechanisms of Kid's operations. Fathoming Kid's ploys after spending countless hours imagining all kinds of conniving methods Kid would use to steal jewels of his fancy.
But as much as Ginzō studied his nemesis, he could only garner as much as the magician was willing to show behind his mask of a thousand faces. Grasping ceaselessly into the darkened realm of impossibilities for inspiration, generating heists that should have been inconceivable for the average person.
Ginzō had watched his personal streak of countless losses rise into the horizon, realizing he might have understood Kid less the more he chased his fluttering cape into the night. But if – only if – it had been Kaito hiding behind the phantom's mask, then surely, Kid might not have been as inconceivable as Ginzō had thought.
As the son of a world-renowned magician, Kaito had been practicing magic as little as three; hiding under the dinner table to mirror the disappearance of his father, swept away in a cloud of smoke he had witnessed on TV (as Chikage would often recount with a laugh).
"He's the best," Aoko had said, smiling at the blue roses she collected in a vase; roses that Kaito kept wizarding out of thin air to clear up the darkened clouds that had hung over his daughter's head ever since the burial of her mother years ago – clouds that had been dispelled by a presence that alit the ocean of her eyes.
But for what reason would Kaito step into the shadow of his father and pick up the mantle he had dropped, senselessly stealing jewelleries at night?
Kaito, whose memory of his father awakened with a monocle and a cape – whose memory kindled ceaseless heists under the moonlight. Heists, whose grandiosity and complexity were mere props upholding his father's legacy, untarnished and unparalleled (– second to none as Chikage had always said).
But for what reason would a renowned magician take flight into the night with stolen goods?
The inheritance his father had left behind cancelled any monetary factor. From the first notice arriving at their office twenty years ago, Ginzō had thought they dealt with an arrogant thief who thought himself above the law – staking heists and scattering clues, beginning a chase of cat and mouse in his never-ending seek of thrill.
It had never been difficult imagining that Kid's thefts weren't simple acts of thievery. From the start they had been masqueraded performances, mesmerizing fans with hocus-pocus as he stole. As though Kid wasn't an internationally wanted thief but a magician on a stage, aiming to please the crowd that gathered for him.
It was natural to pin Kid's showmanship to his arrogance and attention-seeking obsession. But if – only if – it had been Kaito plundering behind the mask of a thousand faces, then it might not have been attention-seeking, as much as it would have been an indication of something else.
Something that prompted Kid to be the centre of everyone's attention.
Almost as if –
He had been playing the decoy all long.
Ginzō searched for a cheeky grin and a pair of mischievously glinting eyes, fruitlessly. His daughter's childhood friend disappeared among the sea of countless faces.
(I want to return to the beginning when this story first set our destinies.)