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    Lightest of Nights: A Deck of Minds Chapter 12 A Realized Deception Everything was accounted for; the six surveillance cameras, the rotating spot light atop the facility, and the four security guards patrolling on the premises below. "This should pose little difficulty," Robin claimed upon determining the full extent of the circumstances before him. His eyes channeled into the direction of the spot light, studying the timing of its 180 degree path it followed. "Eighty three seconds, that's a minute twenty three," Robin memorized. With that now accounted for he then focused on possible entry points. There was the front entrance far below, a vent on the far left side of the building, and the last being a half opened window on the 73rd floor of the Skytale building. The question now became, how to proceed? "My destination is the basement beneath the surface. Going to ground level is out of the question, besides the guards and spotlight they've got motion sensors installed." This left only one option. His eyes peered toward the window on the 73rd floor. "I'll have to start at the upper levels, and gradually make my way down. –TT-." With his mind now made Robin put the first stage of his plan into action. Now with the spot light occupying the other half of the vicinity he pulled out a jamming device that had been stocked within his belt. "Eight seconds," He activated it as he launched himself from the edge of the building. "Is all I'll need." He soared swiftly across the way, not a single eye to spot him as he did. He dived in past the window, silently rolling to the ground on contact before kicking up to his feet. Light was immediately brought to the dark surroundings from a mini flash light he carried. Taking a few steps Robin scoured the entirety of the small room, from the folder filled desk to the water machine beside the far wall. It was the last thing he came upon that brought accomplishment to his face. "A vent," He dropped down to a knee to size it up. "This should take me to where I want to go, or in the least get me closer." … The glass cup in hand was swayed from side to side, listening to the sound of the cubes of ice inside hit the walls for which it was contained. Kaito took a sip before placing the cold beverage onto the countertop. "Less than twenty four hours until the show begins." "Indeed young master Kaito." Beside the glass of soda was a page from that day's newspaper, an article detailing the Wayne art show that was to be held tomorrow. "Of all places for Wayne to select he chooses the Midtown Tower." "One of the tallest structures in all of Japan," Konosuke noted. "Two hundred forty eight point one meters in height to be exact," added Kaito showcasing he had done his research in that regard. "There are fifty nine floors in all, Wayne-sama's art show will be hosted on the fifth floor according to reports." "I've got a copy of the floor plans if you would like to have a look at them." "Well of course," accepted Kaito. Konosuke wasted no time in handing the prints over for him to analyze. In those moments he began to plan the heist in full. "Jii-chan, do we know where the Revenant Elephant will be on display in the exhibit?" "The information for the exact location has not been released yet, no." "I see. That just means more work for us," Kaito stated. "There are several angles to account for. And we certainly can't afford to have any slip ups with this heist, given that there will be competition." "I presume you're referring to the Royal Flush Gang?" "Precisely," winked Kaito as he snapped his fingers. He stood up from where he was seated as an expression of confidence arose. "While true I need to find out what interest they have with the Revenants, there is another goal at hand. To satisfy the audience I must not only fool the police, but outplay the Flush squad as well." "And do you believe you can do that?" "Believe?" He faced his accomplice. "I don't believe, I know. And I've got the ultimate magic trick to see it through." ….. After traveling through the darkness of the tight space he finally reached the end of the foreseeable path. The vent cage that was now before him was quickly kicked aside. Stepping out Robin stretched his arms in relief. "Finally." He was uncertain of where he was, or what floor for that matter. He pulled out the same flash light from before, aiming it forward to find he was now in a hallway of one of the many floors. As he walked he spotted printed lettering on the side of the wall. "Level 18." The flash light was turned off before being lowered down to his side. "I still have some ground to cover." Robin continued down the hall. In short time an elevator came into view. He stopped, contemplating on if he should take the risk or not. "Given the time of day there probably aren't too many people still working at this hour." His mind was set. Stepping into the elevator Robin clicked on the 'B' button, signaling for it to take him to the basement. He stood in silence as he traveled down from one level to the next. It wasn't until the elevator reached floor six that it came to a dead stop. Thinking quickly Robin launched himself up toward the ceiling. Now latched into place he gandered down at the pair who entered the elevator. "We have until this weekend to have everything wrapped up. You know the boss doesn't tolerate delays," spoke a man. "So I've heard," replied a woman standing beside him. "I haven't gotten the chance to meet him in person yet." "Can't speak for everyone, but the guy gives me the creeps." "You better not let him hear you say that." "Yah, no kidding. I would be a dead man." He laughed. "What about our funds, are you certain we'll have enough for the shows big bang this weekend?" "Given that we have two of our own patched in with the Suzuki Conglomerate we have more than enough." "In other words, we're good to go." "This is going to be the biggest bang this city has ever seen." The two carried on with casual conversation until reaching the first floor where they then exited. With the two now gone Robin dropped down from his position above. "A minor disruption." The elevator reached the basement shortly thereafter. Upon stepping out Robin activated his tracking device. "Now let's see where our merchandise is." In little time he reached a fleet of stairs. He casually walked down which brought him to another room. The signals strength was now at its peak. "I'm close." He pressed on, moving through the dark room which was filled with boxes stacked upon crates in almost every direction. After maneuvering around for a short time the crate in question was reached. It was only then that he came to make an alarming discovery. Not only was the top jarred open, there was nothing to be found within. "The supplies for Crane's toxin, gone," muttered Robin. Emptiness came over him. "… Now what?" … The night had come and gone. A new day had arrived. And for some it began sooner than for others. She walked along the sidewalk, dialing her friend's number as she brought the phone to ear. It rang and rang. When no one picked up on the other end she tucked the phone away. "She must be busy." After taking another step she unintentionally bumped into someone. "I am so sorry," she immediately apologized. The man she had bumped into was holding what appeared to be a map, added on to this was a confused expression on his face. Could it be that he was lost? She checked the time on her watch, there was still plenty of time remaining before class was to begin. Given that she looked back to the man standing across from her. "Excuse me, but would you happen to be lost?" He rubbed the top of his head. "Well you see.. I am a tourist, and this is the second time I have visited these parts," the man admitted. "I was hoping to find this coffee place that is said to be in this area somewhere." "Here, let me have a look." She stepped over to take a look at the map herself. He wasted no time in pointing out the marked location. While the place in particular was in the opposite direction of her destination she chose to answer to the call. "I know exactly where that is, I can take you there if you would like?" "Really? I'd hate to cut in to your schedule." "Nonsense," she protested. "I have time to spare. My class doesn't start for another forty minutes." "Why thank you young lady," replied the man tipping his hat. "Your generosity is most appreciated." She smiled. "Here, right this way," she guided with the wave of her hand. Slipping the map into his jacket he followed. "If you don't mind me asking, what is your name?" Looking back at him she replied. "Mouri, Ran." He nodded. "Thank you again Ran-san. You can call me Eddy." … "Hey, over here!" Conan looked over after hearing the voices of his friends calling to him. He joined them at the back of the classroom. "Conan, what happened yesterday?" asked Genta. "You were supposed to call us when you were ready to meet." "We waited and waited." Ayumi frowned. "But you never did." "Sorry guys," Conan apologized. "But something came up yesterday, so I completely forgot." "It's no big deal," Mitsuhiko assured. "Either way Eilji-sensei is scheduled to be released from the hospital this afternoon." "Does that mean he'll return to school tomorrow?" Ayumi asked hopeful. "Unlikely," replied Haibara. "I don't believe he'll resume teaching at least until next week given what happened." "I would have to agree," said Mitsuhiko backing this. "Hey, what are you guys doing this evening?" asked Genta asked of his friends. There was a brief pause. "Well, I don't believe I have anything planned in particular," answered Mitsuhiko. "I'm free as well," Ayumi replied after giving the posed some thought. Haibara was more curious than anything. "Why are you asking? Is there something you want us to know about?" "Haven't you guys heard!" exclaimed Genta. "Kaitou Kid is going to put on a show tonight! I thought we could all go to the Midtown Tower together to check it out." Conan seemed interested. "If nothing comes up, I certainly wouldn't mind." There was only one person who had yet to give an answer, and all eyes were now on her. "What time would we go to the Midtown Tower?" Haibara spoke agreeing to the inquired, even if indirectly. "Well that all depends," Mitsuhiko replied. He then looked back over at Genta. "Do you know the exact time for when Kaitou Kid plans to show up?" The first bell of the day rang in that moment, signaling that class was to begin. "We'll have to continue this later," Conan said turning for his desk a short distance away. It was only then that the thought registered to mind. "Hey guys, someone's missing." Ayumi stated. From what they could tell all of their classmates were present, and their instructor was sitting at her desk across the way. Each of them looked back at her, puzzled to say the least. "Ayumi, who are you talking about?" Hairbara asked. "The class assistant, Damian-kun." …. The sun peered down at him from above. He sat leaned against a tree, holding a phone against his right ear as he spoke. "Father, it's me." "Damian?" "Where are you now?" "I'm on the plane now. I won't arrive there until this evening," Bruce replied. "But given the estimated time, why have you called? Shouldn't you be in class right now?" "There are places my time could be better spent," Damian simply put. "That is not something for you to decide," argued Bruce. "You were given a mission, that mission is not to be aborted unless I say." "It's a waste of time," Damian retorted. "You will continue to attend class until I say otherwise, is that clear?" ".. Yes father." "I'll see you this evening. Clearly we have a lot that needs to be discussed." With nothing more to add he hung up, lowering the phone down to his side before gazing up at the sky. "Clearly…" …. Class was finally done for the day. There was a lot on his mind as he moved, nothing looming higher on his mind than the mystery of Scarecrow and the supposed Batman. Even still there was another subject of priority. The disappearance of a young women by the name of Nar. According to the written riddle given to them, the deadline for delivering what the kidnapper wished for was Midnight, tonight. "There isn't much time remaining, I have to hurry and solve this." Conan knew every second that passed drew closer to a conclusion. He arrived at the Detective Agency soon after, walking in to find Kogoro seated at the table with a boxed package in front of him. A look of questionnaire came to the young detectives face. "Oji-san, what do you have there?" Conan greeted. Kogoro looked in his direction after hearing his voice. "Home already?" He then realized what time it was after shedding eye on the clock nearby. "Time sure does fly." His attention then fell back to the box before him. "I received this package just a short time ago," informed Kogoro. "It was sent by Eddy-san. Clearly all the information I'll need to close out this case before tonight's deadline." Conan walked over to have a look for himself. Now within range he noticed something on the right side of the box. It was a sticker, one of a green question mark. It was certainly strange, but he didn't think too much into it. Without further ado Kogoro began opening the package. Just before he reached what was inside someone barged in past the door. Both Kogoro and Conan looked over to see her standing there. "Sonoko-neechan?" Conan questioned upon seeing her. There was a distraught of sorts that could be seen on her face. There was now a concern. "What's wrong?" asked Kogoro. "Where is she, Ran?" Sonoko asked in between breaths. "What do you mean where is she?" Kogoro was now confused. "Wasn't she at school?" "Ran never showed up. She tried calling me this morning, I was busy at the time," Sonoko explained. "When I tried calling back no one answered. So that's why I came here to see if she was here." Not wasting another moment Kogoro grabbed hold of his phone. He began to pace in place as he tried calling Ran himself. He attempted this several times before lowering the phone from his ear in disgust. "Dammit," Kogoro hissed. "She isn't picking up. Just where could she be?!" Kogoro then dialed another number before raising the phone back to his ear. "Who are you calling now?" Sonoko asked. "Teitan High," answered Kogoro. "I find it strange that the school didn't call when Ran didn't show up for class." There was no denying it, something was not right. But at the same time Conan felt there was no need for panic. "Her phone could just be dead," Conan mused. "However it's not like Ran not to let someone know where she is. Even if her phone was dead she would find another way to reach out. So why hasn't she?" Within the minute Kogoro removed the phone from his ear once again. "None of this makes any sense!" "What did they say?" Sonoko asked. She was hopeful, but given the look on his face she knew the news to come would not bring joy. "According to the school I called this morning to excuse Ran from all of her classes." Kogoro balled up his fist in growing frustration. "That's just not the case! What in the hell is going on?!" Kogoro slammed his fist at the side of the table, sending the received package flying to the ground as the content within fell out. It was here that the truth behind it all became clear. "What.. what is this?" stammered Sonoko at the sight of what laid before them. Conan looked up at Kogoro, he could see it on his face. He had realized it as well. Conan clutched his fist as he looked down at the scattered photos, all of which were that of Ran Mouri. "What is this?" Reaching down Conan began sorting through the photos, taking note of the written dates on the back of each. Some were taken recently, while others were from as far back as ten years. They ranged from school pictures to casual ones. The question then became, how were all of these obtained? After a short time he came across a photo on its backside with today's date. Seeing this he immediately flipped it over. Conan's heart sunk the instance he laid eyes on it. Bounded by rope and blindfolded, she was laying in the trunk of a car. "RAN!" To Be Continued
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