Dad and I were in the client's office.

My earpiece chirped to life.
-"Don't slouch, Shirou!"

I straightened my back at once, after all, mom was watching over us from the next rooftop. The client contacted us in good faith, but a sniper rifle providing cover never hurt anyone.


Sorry! Gallows humour runs in the family.

-"My dear Aoi passed away in a car accident."
The client caressed a gem-framed portrait on his desk.
"I grieved along with my daughters. We grieved and still grieve. But a few days ago, I found signs that her passing away could have been something far more sinister than a mere drunken driver."
A low hum started to resonate in the room, every pore of my being could smell, taste, and breathe the oozing energy leaking from the magus. Because that was a Magus with M. Tokiomi Tohsaka, head of one of the more prominent families, renowned for their work and feared by their power.

Dad's response was in his trademark tired tone.
-"Got names?"

The client caressed his goatee and grimaced.
-"No. Not yet. And I am not in need of someone's else blade to get revenge. That I will have by my own hand, on my own terms."

Mr. Tohsaka raised from his desk and I could hear in my earpiece when mum chambered a round.
-"While your fame precedes you, Magus Killer, I have to say that I am unimpressed with your appearance."

Yep. Magus alright.
Ominous speech? Check.
Posh place filled with fancy yet useless stuff? Check.
More power than common sense? Oh, you betcha.

Dad smiled. It was a small thing, a tugging on his cheek.
-"Son, list three ways to take him."

I scratched my nose.
-"He smokes expensive cigars and drinks fancy tea, along with some brandy. A tri-component poison could nail him while leaving the servants unharmed."
Mum's happy noises over the earpiece made me remember her rifle, but educating a Magus on a vulnerability means losing your advantage.
"Your Rolls Royce Phantom is up for a scheduled service next month I think. Planting a package while at the dealer would be low risk but you are always chauffeured around. We would need to lure your driver away."

My mind came up blank, well, not blank, but I wanted something other than a gunshot.
I patted my pouches for my notepad. I had got a duster for my birthday but still, I couldn't find anything in the damn thing.
Finally! Mhmmm...rope...explosives...driving an airplane into his home? Nah, he should have wards for some stuff.

Ohh, that is a good one.
-"Filling your room with carbon dioxide, it is odorless and you pass from one sleep to the next."

The client's eyebrows climbed all the way to his hairline while dad sent me a disapproving look.
-"Son, stick to two-component poisons. Balancing the dosage for three is less reliable for the kill."

Mr. Tohsaka stared at dad and then barked out a laugh.
-"My, my. I will make sure to add that on my protective wards."

See? Educate a target at your own cost.

He used a small bell and the doors parted. Two girls of my age entered the office and went to Tohsaka's side.
-"I want to contract your services, I am willing to spare no expense. I want you to provide a security detail for -"

-"Dolt?!" "Shiriou-sempai?"