Chapter Ten: The Unusual SuspectsEdit

Ryouga sat in the dark, compact room unsure of himself. His only company, a large wall mirror, the door, and the dimmed sun lamp above him.

Then there was the man. The man who had been in the room for little more than twenty minutes, questioning him. Ryouga tried his best to maintain eye contact, but it was harder than it seemed. The man was very intimidating.

Inspector Osamu Iwazaki took a drag from his cigarette and leaned back in his chair.

"Okay, Hibiki... Once more, from the top," he said, blowing smoke in Ryouga's face.

Ryouga coughed. "You know," he began. "You won't have healthy babies if you smoke too much." He winced immediately after saying it. It didn't have the effect he had intended it to. Sighing, he decided he'd be better off if he cut down on the anime.

The Inspector raised an eyebrow. "I care, kid. Just answer the questions."

Ryouga sighed. "I told you everything."

"Oh, sure. You teamed up with two teenage girls--"

"They're actually guys!!"

"Fine, you teamed up with two girls, who are actually both guys, who work for a top secret organization called MERV. Jeez kid... questionable company you keep... What's this MERV stand for, anyway?"

Ryouga blinked. "Well... uhh.."

"Thought so. So tell me, kid. Was it before or after you met them that you piloted the giant robot?"

"Umm... There wasn't any giant robot."

The Inspector stood up and stared at the ceiling. "All right, kid. Start it again."

"I've already told you--"

"Yeah, well I'm lookin' for holes, kid. Humour me."

Ryouga sighed and adjusted his seat. "I had just gotten home when I got the call..."

"Ryouga?" the voice on the other end spoke. It didn't take Ryouga an inordinate amount of time to place the voice to a face-- or a name, for that matter.

"Aizen?" he replied. While the voice represented everything he wanted in a girl, he knew it was too good to be true. After all, Aizen was really a guy.

Still, she made a pretty convincing girl!

"Hey, listen. Saotome and I need your help on something..." she trailed off.

"Saotome? Which one?"

"Takao. Ranko. Whatever you want to call her."

"Him," Ryouga corrected.

"Whatever. Look, what would you say to a short mission, starting tomorrow after school?"

Ryouga blinked. This soon?

"Well... Uhhh... What about Akane?" he asked.

"You're grasping for straws, Ryouga. And yes, we've already got Akane in on this. She's going to keep Ranma busy while--"

"Her? But I'm his friend!"

"Yeah, but we really need a guy for this mission."

"What about Ranko? err... Takao?" Ryouga stammered. "Isn't he--"

"She's got her own duties in the mission that actually require her to be a girl, Ryouga."

"So he's... she's... DAMMIT, this is confusing."

"Look, Ryouga. We need your help," Aizen begged. "Can't you help us?"

Ryouga sighed. "I... What do you need me for?" he asked, resignedly.

"So you agreed to this... mission?"

Ryouga nodded. "It was supposed to be straightforward. I was briefed about all of it the next day. Apparently there was this... mentally disturbed girl who was holding a very important antique artifact--"

"The urn?"

Ryouga nodded. "Yeah, that's it. They told me all I needed to know. I didn't really think much of it, because it was Kuno's sister, right? And I know they have all sorts of old stuff in there. The traps I thought were kinda weirded out, but it's what they told me. So I took their word for it."

"All right. Skip to after school. The beginning of your so-called mission."

"Coast clear?" Aizen asked.

Ranko looked down from the top of the wall and nodded. "Servants look to be in the west wing," she said. "Nothing out of the ordinary here." She looked down at Ryouga. "How's your jumping style?"

Ryouga blinked for a moment, then tried, rather unsuccessfully to hop to the top of the stone wall. He clung to the top of the wall tightly, and slowly began to slip back down.

Ranko snickered and reached a hand down to pull him up.

"You stay up here," she told Aizen. "Me an' Ryouga might be able to handle the traps, but it might be tricky for you."

Aizen nodded. The last thing she need to do was die.

"I'll be waiting."

"Wait!" Ryouga exclaimed. "What about the fancy hi-tech communications equipment?"

"Huh?" Ranko asked.

Aizen put a finger to her chin. "Well... we're slightly over budget."


"Over budget. That's why we're on this mission. We can't afford all the fancy shmancy equipment. Especially after the... uhh... Disguises."

"Can we go while Kuno's still out? It's bad enough Kodachi's here."

Ryouga blinked at Ranko. He'd never met Kodachi, personally. He had only heard that she was good at gymnastics, and often beat Furinkan from her own school, Saint Hebereke.

"Yeah," Ryouga said. "This B and E stuff doesn't exactly make me feel kosher. Can we just get this over with?"

Ranko nodded. "We ready?"

Ryouga nodded.

"I'll see you guys in a few," Aizen said, waving.

"Over budget?" Osamu laughed. "You've got to be joking."

"Hey, after what I saw the day before, I wasn't about to ask questions!"

"A top secret government organization after a small piece of pottery, that just happens to be under budget? Come on, kid. What do you take me for?"

"Well, I thought there was something fishy at the time, but it wasn't until later that things went wrong."

Ryouga made his way into the side door behind Ranko silently. She was already at the corner of the wall, looking over.

She looked back to him and put her finger to her mouth. A moment later, she waved him over.

Ryouga silently nodded and tip-toed over to her, and looked around the corner.

"That would be Kodachi," she said, pointing down the hallway at a long-haired girl dressed in a nice dress. He's seen Akane's sister, Kasumi, dressed much the same before.

Ryouga blinked. She hardly looked disturbed to him. In fact, she looked rather pleasant. She bounced happily around the kitchen, mixed some batter, bounced back to the sink, rinsed her hands.

"She doesn't look so dangerous," Ryouga whispered.

Ranko nearly coughed. "Are you joking? She's probably got her leotard on under that thing, and what she's doing in there... She's probably concocting some kind of dangerous poison."

Ryouga blinked. If the girl he was watching was capable of that-- he'd hate to see Kasumi's other side.

Suddenly, a loud crash was heard from the direction of the front gates, along with some frantic yelling. Not only did it distract the attention of Kodachi, but Ryouga and Ranko as well.

"Oi!" someone cried from behind them. "What the devil are you doing here?!"

Ranko and Ryouga froze up immediately. Slowly, they turned to face the man who had caught them. It was an older man, he was quite slender.

"Answer me!" he said.

"Err... I... uhh," Ryouga stammered.

Ranko immediately launched into her 'Cute girl' routine. "Oh, excuse me sir!" she exclaimed, bouncing. "We just got lost and-- OH LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU! THERE'S A CROCODILE ONE THE LOOSE!"

As the man quickly turned to look behind him, Ranko and Ryouga made their escape. By grabbing Ryouga's hand, Ranko made her way to the nearest door and locked herself behind it.

"A crocodile?"

"Yeah, he... she... whatever it is, said that this Kodachi chick had a pet crocodile."

Osamu raised an eyebrow. "Really?"

He nodded. "Sounded kinda weird to me, but then, nothings ever been normal since I met those two."

The Inspector wrote a few notes down on a piece of paper. "Go on," he said.

"Well, once we got in behind that door--"

"Ooh! Visitors!"

Ranko froze up immediately after hearing the voice. Ryouga turned to face it.

"Hello!" the girl smiled. "I'm Kodachi, but you can call me Kochi!"

"Uhh... um... I'm... uhh.. Ryouga," he stammered.

Ranko slowly turned to face her, her eyes wide.

The girl merely blinked and looked towards Ranko. "My, that's a very pretty pigtail," she said.

"Uhh... Kodachi?" she blinked.

"Do I know you?"

Ranko blinked in surprise. This did not seem like Kodachi. Not in the LEAST.

But how--

"Would you like some cookies? I just finished baking them!"

Ranko twitched. "Uhh, no thanks."

"All right!" Kodachi smiled. "But you'll be missing out on the best cookies ever!"

"I'll.. uhh.. take my chances," Ranko said.

Ryouga looked toward Ranko with an apprehensive look. "Hey, shouldn't we... like... run?" he whispered.

"Oh dear, I wonder what that loud noise was," Kodachi said. "I think I'll go see what happened!" With that, she left.

"You know," Ranko said. "There's something... I guess our.. uhh... intel was wrong."


Ranko shook her head. "Don't matter," she said. "Let's go find that urn."

"She hardly seems the violent type, Hibiki," Osamu said.

"Yeah, well... Bad intel can do that."

"Anyway. You made it into the Dojo, and then what?"

"That's when the little freak showed up," Ryouga growled.

"And this would be," Osamu began as he flipped through a few files. "The kid, Kire. Right?"

Ryouga nodded. "Little freak jumped out at us, starting rattling off stuff about nasty rituals and bringing about the Armageddon."

"Oh, where the HELL are we now?" Ranko exclaimed, clenching her fists.

Ryouga blinked. "Isn't that my line?"

Ranko glared at him for a moment, then walked to a door on the side of the hall and pushed it open.

Both of them stood, aghast.

"What the hell is this?"

The room reminded the both of them of the Tendo Dojo, except... on a much larger scale.

The ceiling was almost as tall as a three story building, and the walls were at least sixty feet apart. Several training dummies were lined up against one wall, and a large shrine boasted several bladed weapons, and a few wooden ones.

But against the far wall were three pictures.

Three LARGE pictures.

"Now how did he get a picture of Aizen so quickly?" Ranko wondered aloud.

"The Aizen and Akane pictures I can understand," Ryouga said. "It's the picture of He-man that scares me."

Suddenly, a shrill scream was heard from behind them, and a midget burst through the door and ran past them.

It rolled to a stop, and then stood up.

"Are they still after-- YOU!"

Ranko blinked. "Me?"

"YOU!" the boy exclaimed. "I know what you're up to, you evil cultist!"

Ranko jumped in surprise. "Hey! Who are you calling a cultist?"

"I'm on to your dark rituals, girl!" He looked over to Ryouga. "Et tu? Betraying your entire race?!"

"Ummm..." Ryouga began. "What does Et tu mean?"

"You'll never get away with this-- Oh dear!" he suddenly broke into a run.

The rumbling noise was subtle at first, but as soon as the kid took off like the wind, it was completely audible. Ranko recognized the sound easily and barely had enough time to grab Ryouga and follow in suit.

Ryouga watched in confusion as he was pulled by the collar, dragging along the ground.

Of course, when the door broke down and something around the area of twenty guards and servants burst through it, several carrying sharp, pointy sticks... Well, even Ryouga had to pick up on what was happening and get moving.

"So you ran out of there as fast as you could?"

Ryouga nodded. "We grabbed Aizen on the way out. She was shocked as hell to see them chasing after us. That was when you guys picked up on it."

"And you ran to your friends.. Ranma and Akane?"

"That was a freak accident, really."

"WHAT THE HELL IS THIS, SAOTOME?!" Aizen screamed, trying to keep up with the rest of them.

"Why don't you ask THIS little freak?!" Ranko booted the boy in front of them for good measure.

"Oi!" the boy exclaimed. "That hurt, you know!"

"Good!" Ranko screamed.

Aizen had trouble keeping up with them, but she did manage to get a good look at the boy.

"You look familiar," she muttered loud enough for him to hear.

"I know your game, demon!" he exclaimed.

Aizen blinked. "Demon?" she said to herself.

Suddenly, something clicked in. Something that Aizen would have noticed right off the bat-- if her heart hadn't been focused on something else.

"KIRE!" she shouted, twisting her face into a scowl. "You little kitsune freak! It's YOUR fault I'm stuck down here!"

Kire looked back at the suddenly-faster form of Aizen and decided it was time to run faster.

Ranko and Ryouga watched in mute fascination as they pulled out ahead of the others.

"Kire?" Ranko muttered. "Does she know him?"

"Judging from the way she's hurting him," Ryouga stated. "I'd take a shot at yes."

The crowd behind them suddenly grew bigger and faster with the addition of a couple police officers. The makeshift parade quickly pulled into the shopping district.

It wasn't until Kire stumbled into someone that it slowed.

But it was also then that Aizen got twice as pissed.

"MASA! YOU LITTLE FREAK!" she exclaimed, then proceeded to beat the both of them to a bloody pulp.

"Ranko? Aizen?" a female voice exclaimed. "What the hell?"

Ranko looked over just in time to see Ranma and Akane running over. Ranma was looking a little disheveled, and his clothes were soaked. But from the look on both of their faces, they were more concerned with what was going on with them. Although Ranma was a little... wobbly?

"Oh, this is JUST what I need," she muttered to nobody in particular.

A few moments later, the seven of them were fumbling over each other, trying to get either an explanation, a route of escape, or a good shot.

"Run, Masa! She's gone nutzoid!"

"I'll KILL you bastards!"

"Come on, we've gotta run!"

"Oi, who's touching my ass?!"

"Sorry, I thought it was mine!"

"Kire! She's hurting me!"

"*hic* How do I get myshelf INTO theesh thingsh?"

Osamu wrote down the last piece of information down. "So that's it? You're going to stick to that story?"

Ryouga nodded. "It's all I know. As far as I know, it's the truth."

With a sigh, Osamu stood up. "All right, then. Maybe I'll have better luck with your friends."

With that, he left the room and left Ryouga alone with his thoughts.

Akane tapped her heel against the leg of the chair. She was in a small white holding cell with a glass door.

Aizen had helped her out so much the night before. Helped her pick the right outfit, trained her in acting the right way.

The truth was, besides the strange kid that constantly pestered them, she had fun.

A LOT of fun.

Ranma was actually a very likable guy, once she got to know him.

She was snapped from her reverie as she heard the lock twist on the door, and a man walked in. He was tall, looked to be somewhere in his late thirties and held a few files in his hand.

"Miss Tendo?" he asked, smiling. "I'm Inspector Osamu Iwazaki."

Akane stood up and bowed. She knew it was better to be nice to the police and cooperate. Besides, Aizen HAD said to tell the truth before they were separated, and Akane would do just that.

"You can sit down, Akane. I'm not your sensei."

Akane sat back down and waited for the man to lean against the wall.

"So, Akane... It would appear as though you were in on... whatever it was that went on."

Akane looked down and nodded.

"Care to share what happened?"

She looked up at Osamu and sighed.

"Well," she began. "It all started when we found out that Aizen and Ranko were actually agents of a top secret organization called MERV."

"You know what that stands for?" he asked.

Akane shook her head.

"Didn't think so."

"They needed to keep Ranma busy while they borrowed Ryouga, so... well, they wanted me to take him out on a date."

"A date?"

Akane blushed. "So, this morning at school--"

Akane twiddled her thumbs impatiently as Ms. Hinako rattled off about proverbs and nouns. Adjectives and conjunctive verbs.

Needless to say, Akane found her attentions elsewhere.

Namely on Ranma.

She had promised Aizen she would do this, after all, it WAS an important mission, and she WAS helping out.

Her reputation aside, what could it hurt just to ask one boy on one date?

Kuno would be insanely jealous. So would the countless other boys who fought for her affections.

But she could protect him, if she needed. Even Takao... Ranko... was good enough to stop any attempted attack on him. Besides, it wasn't like she'd be going out with him again.

She looked over at him.

Well, unless it was a fun date.

No. One date, that's it.

She watched as he looked out the window absently.

... Maybe two.

The lunch bell went off, disrupting Ms. Hinako's speech. It didn't take long for everyone to trample out.

Ryouga, Ranko and Aizen were the last to wander out of the room, leaving Akane alone with Ranma.

Ranma fiddled through his desk for a few moments before closing it. Akane nervously stood up and walked over to him.

"Umm... Ranma?" she began, smiling.

Ranma looked up in shock. "Err... yeah?"

Akane fiddled with her fingers nervously. "You.. ahh... you eating lunch?"

Ranma nodded. "Sure. My mom made me some lunch."

Akane closed her eyes. This was a challenge. A simple challenge, she could overcome it easily.

She opened her eyes and looked into his eyes. His deep, all-encompassing eyes. His great complexion, the morning stubble on his chin.

"Oh God," she said, then moved back to her desk. She couldn't do it. She just... couldn't!

"Umm, Akane?" Ranma asked, coming up behind her. "Is something wrong?"

Akane looked over at him and sighed. "Ranma... look, I... I wanted to know..."

Ranma suddenly began to feel nervous. She was stammering. Stammering because she wanted to ask him something.

He'd seen enough TV to know what that meant.

"You're having trouble with your homework?" he asked innocently.

Akane blinked in surprise. She looked at him and laughed.

"What'd I say?"

"No, silly," she smiled. "I.. Look, Ranma... Are you doing anything after school?"

"After... school? No, why?"

"Would you like to... go do something with me?"

Ranma's heart jumped into his stomach. Was he wrong, or did she just ask him on a DATE?

"Like... study?" he asked.

Akane shook her head and looked down, blushing. "Actually.. I was thinking more along the lines of... a date."

Ranma coughed. She DID ask him out on a date!

"SURE!" he exclaimed. "Err.. I mean, if you want to."

Akane laughed. "Great!" she said. "I'll meet you after school!"

"Great, so loverboy said yes. What next?"

"Well, I told Aizen, and she was happy. Happier than I would have expected. She lent me some money and told me to take him to dinner and a movie."

"And after school?"

"Well, we went to the local diner, and--"

"So..." Ranma began.

"So..." Akane continued.

The both of them looked each other in the eye and laughed.

"What would you like to eat?" Akane asked.

"I dunno," he said, then looked through the menu. "What about you?"

Akane shrugged and followed his example.

A few minutes later, the waitress arrived to take their order. The diner had a western theme, like that of a truck stop you'd find on a lonely highway. In fact, it was authentic right down to the menu, and the gum the waitress chewed on.

"What can I getcha?" she asked between chews.

Ranma looked through the menu. "I'll... err... have a cheeseburger--"

"Ya want fries or salad with that, sweetie?"

"Err... Fries."


Ranma blinked. "Sure."

"Anything to drink?"

"I... err... a cola?"

"Sure thing, sweetie. And you, hon?"

Akane shrugged. "I'll have what he's having. Except..." she scanned the beverage section of the menu. "I'll have a root beer instead."

The waitress nodded, then smiled. "I'll have that out to you in a few minutes." With that, she walked away and left a piece of paper on the counter next to the cashier, who passed it back to the cook.

"Well, that was interesting," Ranma said.

Akane nodded. "Different."

"So when was it that you noticed the kid?"

"Well, it was a few minutes later, after our drinks had arrived, but before our dinner showed up," Akane said. "If I had known what he was up to--"

"All right, just go on."

"Exthqueethe me thir, madam," The boy said, standing at Ranma and Akane's table, holding a rather... unimpressive looking menu and paper chefs hat. "Can I take your orderth?"

Ranma blinked in confusion. "Err... We already had our orders taken," he said.

The boy blinked. "Oh, no thir... That wath not our waiter! It wath an impothter!"

"Waitress," Akane corrected.

"Yeah, and it had to have been our waitress," Ranma said. "Look, she brought out drinks."

The boy blinked, then dropped his menu. "Ahh, I give up!" he said, then reached out for Akane's drink and knocked it over into her lap.

"Hey!" Akane exclaimed, trying to wash the root beer from her school uniform. "What did you do THAT for, you jerk?!"

Ranma quickly ran over to grab some paper napkins. If he hadn't been so busy trying to help clean Akane, he might have noticed the small vial in the boys hands, with the white label, written in bold, black print - 'Esoob'.

If Akane hasn't been so busy trying to control her rage in a public place, both at the boys insolence, and at Ranma's eagerness to help wipe down her lap-- thankfully she hadn't gotten anything spilled on her chest-- she may have noticed that the boy was busily pouring the contents of the aforementioned vial into Ranma's cola.

After a short amount of time, Ranma realized exactly what he was patting down with the paper napkins, and then backed off, to allow Akane to go to the bathroom. The both of them looked around and saw the offender nowhere in sight, then decided to shrug it off. If they didn't see him again, it would be better.

"Anyway, once I got in to the bathroom, I washed myself off. Then I thought... well, Ranma was only trying to help dry me off. He didn't mean anything, so--"

"Ms. Tendo, no offense... But I'm not here to learn about your personal life. Keep to what's relevant, please."

Akane sighed. "Well... This is kind of relevant..."


"While I was in the bathroom, thinking... I remembered seeing the kid pour something into Ranma's drink. I was just kind of... overcome, I didn't bring it up. But whatever it was-- it messed Ranma up... badly."

Akane left the bathroom clean. Not as clean or dry as she had been before she sat down to eat, but clean enough.

So far, the date had been going well. Except for the spillage, but then, they'd only just sat down to eat, and held a short conversation. Now that things had calmed down, she could go back out and--

"Oi! Hurry up with the bloody meal!"

Akane frowned. She could hear the drunken slur on the edge of the voice. Just what her evening needed. With a sigh, and a quick scan around the diner to locate the little brat, or even the drunk, she sat down.

"Hey, beautiful," Ranma smirked. "Wass cookin'? *hic*"

Akane's jaw dropped open. She looked down at Ranma's cola, to see it half-empty.

Wait a second... The thing the kid poured in his drink... was it booze?

"Ranma... Are you drunk?"

Ranma frowned. "Oi! I resent that implic... inclam... inplo... I ain't drink!"

Akane grabbed Ranma's drink. It was impossible for anyone to get drunk that fast. Drugs, on the other hand... Akane sniffed the drink, and immediately turned away. It smelled thick with alcohol... like a mixture of rum, sake, vodka and whiskey. Of course, seeing as Akane had only ever TRIED sake, she was taking a wild stab at the others.

Still, nothing should have been able to make him that drunk, that quickly...

"'kane? *hic*" Ranma asked.


"Are you my mommy?"

"He was drunker than an old man at a perverts convention when we tested him. It's a wonder he was able to stand," Osamu said, checking his papers.

"He wasn't. I had to practically carry him out of the restaurant, after I paid for the services and the food we managed to get."

"What about this boy--"

"We saw him when we left the diner, and I was about to get some information out of him, when he was hit by some kind of stampede. The next thing I knew, we were both caught in some kind of human dogpile."

"That's when we picked you up, then..."

Akane nodded.

Osamu stood up and gathered his papers. "Okay, Ms. Tendo... I'll be back in when I've finished with the others... Something funny is going on, and I'm gonna find out what."

Akane nodded at the man left the room. With a sigh, she leaned her head back against the wall.


Aizen had said to tell the truth.

Oh well, here goes.

"Look," Ranko began. "I don't expect ya to believe any of this, but I'm not really a girl."

"Could've fooled me," the inspector deadpanned.

"I could prove it to you if you just bring in some hot water."

"Oh, sure. Coming right up. You think I'm stupid? I know what you're capable of," he said, motioning towards the pair of broken handcuffs lying on the ground. "All you need is a distraction like that and you'll be all over me."

Ranko sighed. "It's a curse. Hot water will change me back into a guy."

"Whatever, kid. Just tell me what happened. Save the horseshit for later."

"I'm not even from this damn world!"

"Then send my regards to Alf when you see him next. Now, the mansion?"

"Look, that was all just to keep Ryouga away from the other Ranma."

"Other Ranma? Did we miss somebody."

"No, I'm Ranma too."

"The others said you were Satohara. Ranko... or Takao, I'm still not clear on that."

"I'm both, actually. But I'm really Ranma Saotome."

Osamu blinked. "You realize how much sense that makes, right?"

"Look, I'm from an alternate world. I was brought here by Aizen!"

"The girl in the other room?"

"Yeah, only she's a he, too."

"And I suppose Ms. Tendo is a man too?"

"No, but Ryouga's a little black piglet!... At least in my world he is."

Osamu shook his head. "Let's hear it then, Satohara... Saotome.. Whatever you want to call yourself."

Ranko started to explain. She explained it from the beginning, when her father brought her to a place called Jusenkyo. She then went on to explain things, rather briefly, of what happened between that time, and when she first met the god, Aizen Myoo.

From that point, she went in to full detail. She explained Aizen's situation, why they've been misleading Ryouga and Akane, and even everything up to the point of the mission in to the Kuno mansion.

In fact, she even apologized, but quite literally blamed Aizen for the whole thing.

At the end of it all, Osamu stood up, rubbed his temples and left the room.

Ranma shook his head. All he did was enjoy a single date with a girl, and he ended up in jail...

However, that was what his sober mind was thinking... his conscious mind was currently thinking about the merits of sticking his fingers into the blades of the small electric fan to his left.

The man walked into the cell unnoticed and snapped his fingers to attract Ranma's attention. After a moment, Ranma looked up and pulled his fingers away from the fan.

"Mr. Saotome?" he asked, rubbing his head. It appeared as though he was starting to get a headache.

"Y..yesh?" Ranma asked.

The man paused and sniffed the air. "Mr. Saotome... are you... composed, yet?"

Ranma hiccuped. "Compshed? 'Course I's complshed!"

"Mr. Saotome, I believe--"

"Hey, whatshu in for?" Ranma hiccuped out. "I dunno what I did, but theesh copsh don't need reashons anymore. It'sh like... the Exsh-filesh or shomething!"

"Mr. Saotome, I'll be back in about an hour," Osamu said, then walked out.

"Okay, Mishter! See ya tomorrow! *hic*"

"Well, it all started when Izanagi sent us on this secret mission," Kire began.

"Tell him the part about saving the world."

"I'm getting to that! Anyway, this Saotome guy and the Tendo chick are apparently going to give birth to the harbinger of Armageddon."

"That means the end of the world."

"Hey, you wanna tell this story?"

"Sorry, you go ahead."

"Anyway, these other two are part of some evil cult--"

"Yeah, like Cthulhu and stuff!"

"Quiet! You wanna summon him here?"

"Sorry, go ahead."

"Anyway, if I hadn't interrupted their little ritual at that mansion, they might have--

"And the diner. Don't forget I had to fix things at the diner! It was hell to get a hold of that esoob, 'member? Izanagi raised up a HUGE stink about getting a hold of his stash."

"Esoob?" Osamu asked.

"Yeah, sure... you know, the booze of the gods. Makes any mortal completely piss drunk with only a drop!" Masa said, thinking.

After a nod, Kire continued. "Oh yeah. Anyway, they might have summoned Mr. Tentacle himself here! The world would turn into a low-grade hentai."

"Trust me, you DON'T wanna meet him."

"Yeah. Big teeth, bad breath."

"And cocky as hell!"

"Anyway, we--... Inspector?... Inspector?"

"Where'd he go?"

"Dunno. Hey, remember that time we Melvined Yog-Sothoth?"

"That was a riot! He was on a rampage for weeks!"

"Too bad about that small village he ate, though."

"Ahh, he just can't take a joke!"

"Now, Aizen--"

"Inspector Iwazaki?" Aizen smiled.

Osamu paused in contemplation. She knew his name? Probably one of the other officers told her. He dismissed it without another thought.

"Now, you said your name was Aizen?"

"That's right," she said. "Aizen Myoo."

Osamu blinked. "Like the god, right?"

"Exactly!" she beamed.

"Well, let's hear your side of things..."

"Sure! By the way, how's Mika?"

Osamu blinked. How did she know his wife's name?

"Do I know you?" he asked.

"I'm hurt, Osamu! You don't remember who set you and your wife up?"

Osamu narrowed his eyes. "You couldn't have been any older than three when I met my wife," he said.

"I'm a lot older than I look, Inspector." She winked. "Besides, how else would I know about the honeymoon on Honshu?"

Osamu narrowed his eyes. "I don't like the way you're going, kid."

"Fine. What about the alley in Shinjuku?"

Osamu blinked. "What alley in Shinjuku?"

"Her name was Midori, wasn't it? Oh, and of course, who could forget Yuki on the business trip to Kyoto? But then, there's always your secretary, Rin. How many years now? Six? Seven?"

Osamu slammed his fist down. "Who are you?"

"Don't forget, Osamu," she said, smirking. She tapped a finger at her temple. "Aizen Myoo knows all."

"I... You..."

"I know Ms. Kuno hasn't pressed any charges. You're only keeping us here because you think we're lying. Regardless, Osamu, I would really hate for your wife to find out--"

"You wouldn't."

Aizen simply twisted her lips into a smile. "Wouldn't I?"

Osamu stood up. "Fine," he said. "Let me... do the paperwork, and I'll let everyone go."

"One more thing," she asked.


"Frick and Frack?"

"You mean the two weird kids in the next cell?"

She nodded.

"I want you to give them a message."

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