A five star kerfuffle is what this had all turned into, Kana Mayoi was sure of that fact. Llewellyn was off looking up bank records, Neia was hovering around constantly like a lost puppy, and here Mayoi was- stuck in the middle of a room full of Golem parts and a poorly-adapted-to-real-life book plot being stolen by a supposed copy cat killer.

“Actually,” Mayoi muttered aloud for a moment, “why is it ‘copy cat’ and not ‘copy dog’? Or ‘copy spriggain’? Undine? Gnome? Fresh water mer-sharks?”

“What was that?” Neia asked in confusion.

“Nothing, just talking to myself,” Mayoi shook her head, and resumed her search through the various junk that Terran had accumulated over who knew how long.

A lot of the “theoretical” stuff that Terran had been working on was considered illegal by a vast majority of the world’s countries, and hell, it was out and out bucking against the system that the creators of the world themselves had put into motion.

What would the Reaper in Green say if she knew about any of this? What would Mizar or Alcor think about someone trying to force a soul to come back into existence into a synthetic shell? And then there was the motive to consider in killing a man who was working on such a project.

Mayoi had no clue what to think in a case like this, but the fact that not only had someone who had worked on the islands been meddling in such affairs- plus the fact that ALSO someone on the islands had killed him…

Or was it even Terran’s plans they were viewing here?

Was it possible that whoever had stolen that book’s plot had planted all of this here in an attempt to sour the Dispatcher’s name?

“Is it worth it?” Mayoi asked, barely above a whisper.

“Is what worth it?” Neia asked back, surprised.

“This case. Finding out what happened to Terran,” Mayoi answered. “I mean, seriously? At this point, how do we know what part of this is even really Terran’s and how much of it is really the plot thief’s? And if Terran DID steal the plot to cause all of this…”

“Plot Thief?” Neia mused for a moment. “If it isn’t Terran’s doing, that sounds like a good title for whoever killed him. It’s got that noir-romantic kind of vibe to it.”

“It’s still giving them more credit than they’re due,” Mayoi scowled. “Whoever did this stole a book plot. That’s plagiarism, even if they’re using it for murder. It doesn’t take any smarts to steal a story and repeat it word for word. It’s the same as a contracted shoe maker stealing money from a church that hired him to make shoes for orphans!”

“Well, what about making something with that money anyways?” Neia offered. “Isn’t it the same as someone who takes the plot, and rewrites it to something new? Like, say, the shoe maker decided to make rain boots instead of normal shoes?”

“What??” Mayoi looked at the Lycan in confusion for a few moments, then asked, cautiously, “You do realize that we ARE still talking about a murder here, Right? And even if we weren’t- a shoe maker hired to make shoes is still not making what he was HIRED to make. He’d be making BOOTS. Which obviously isn’t what he was hired to make. It’s still stealing something meant for one purpose and putting to use for something else entirely.”

“Of course, of course,” Neia waved it off. “But even so, we do the same things every day, don’t we? Wake up, go to work, chase down killers…” she paused, thinking, “We all hope for the same outcome- them in jail and the victim avenged.” She then asked, “And it’s repeating the same thing every day and hoping for different outcomes that’s the definition of insanity, isn’t it?”

“Uh… yeah?” Mayoi frowned.

“So really…” Neia continued, “if sanity and insanity are so closely related… isn’t it a blurry line between them, and a rather fine, distinct line between them and those who do random things differently just to see what happens?”

Mayoi scowled. “So what? Someone breaking pattern and doing something insane like murdering a person in cold blood somehow makes them sane and us insane??”

“Oh, I didn’t say that,” Neia hastily held up her hands and waved rapidly, as if trying to deflect the words into the air. “I just mean…” She opened and closed her mouth rapidly, like a fish glubbing for water, and finding none in the open air. “Oh, I don’t know what I mean. I suppose I was just rambling.”

“…Yeah,” Mayoi eyed the woman suspiciously. “Honestly, I don’t have a clue what the hell you’re even talking about right now, Neia.”

“I’m, ah,” Neia turned to leave, “I’m just going to go get some tea now, I think.”

“Yes, you do that,” Mayoi tried to sound like she wasn’t actually concerned for the Lycan’s sanity. She failed. A large amount of concern bled through into her words and it just made Neia walk away (run. She’s Running? Or is it more of a brisk jog…?) all the faster. In fact- the quick abscond was mighty suspicious to Mayoi. So much, in fact, that she got up from where she was sitting and quickly began searching the room for a phone. “Damn it, why the hell haven’t they figured out how to make phones small and portable by now?”

A few moments later, Tyler knocked on the frame of the door- “Yo, Mayoi. We’ve got a-”

“Did you see Detective Neia walk by just now?” Mayoi interrupted.

“Uh….” Tyler blinked as he processed the request. “Female, about a hair shorter than you, nervous kinda looking naked Lycan?”

“That’s her,” Mayoi nodded- then processed the last fact. “Except the nude part. What??

“Yeah, she was running down the hall while stuffing some clothes into a bag,” Tyler nodded. “Looked like she was getting ready to-”

And then there was a wolf’s howl followed by the sound of shattering glass and people screaming in surprise. Mayoi and Tyler tore out of the office and hit the hallway that Tyler had just seen Detective Neia in. Sure enough, a single window on the side that overlooked a smaller building had been broken- and running across that smaller building’s rooftop was a werewolf mode Lycan, with a single bag strapped to her back, likely containing her uniform and everything else.

“Damn it!” Mayoi swore as Tyler then suddenly leaped out the window. She took a breath, and then yelled out into the office, “SOMEONE GET ME A DAMNED PHONE ALREADY!”

“…and as soon as I saw what happened, I yelled out, in the middle of class, full on starting to char-broil my desk-” Kendal took a breath, and was about to tell whatever happened next in her story when, faintly, there was a sudden crash from outside the small cafe that she and Miri were having Lunch in. Neither girl paid much attention to it however, and neither saw the descending shape of the transformed Ahra Neia falling from the dispatch building’s ninth floor down towards the six-story building just to its left.

A Lot of other patrons did, however, and were all pointing and staring, even as Kendal let out her exaggerated quote of the past:

What the What!!!” Kendal yelled out, “I didn’t expect a bloody werewolf to come jumping down from out of nowhere!!”

“Oh, Alcor!” Miri put her hands to her mouth, “Did… did your classmate get in trouble for leaping onto the fountain, or…?”

“Did he!?” Kendal laughed, even as everyone stared at her for not noticing the commotion going on outside- which really was quite obvious now, what with Tyler leaping out of the window next and spreading his wings wide- gliding down rapidly towards the rooftop in an attempt to catch the running Lycan. “Of course he did!” Tyler tackled the woman, wrapping his arms around her neck as he tried to put her into a choke hold. “He totaled the Principal’s pet project! But do you know what he said when he got scolded by the principal?”

Neia would not submit, not even by being subdued in such a fashion, and turned to run for the edge of the roof facing the street below- oh it was going to hurt but she was going to take that jump like a Lycan and either throw the dragon on her back off, or land with him between her and the street.

Tyler’s wings flared out and he tried to arrest his descent- which had the bloody brilliant side-effect of tearing the bag off of Neia’s back as she continued to accelerate and he decelerated….

“LOOK OUT!” Someone yelled from the cafe’s door to the people who were unloading bird cages from a shipping container into the pet store just across the street. The movers ran for cover as they saw what was coming down at them.

Ahra Neia continued to accelerate right into that shipping container- shattering it with a single landing–


–A flock of parrots and crows took flight, even as wood splinters, metal fragments and a lot- Actually, let’s not exaggerate or under-report here. It’s a bloody metric ton– of feathers went flying in all directions.

That, as it turned out, was enough to get Miri and Kendal to turn and look at the scene outside.

“…What just happened?” Miri asked as Neia bounded out of the broken shipping container and ran down the street before anyone could react.

And as she stared out at the chaos and carnage across the street, Kendal honestly repeated what her classmate had said on that rather interesting day, “I’m not cleaning that up.”

“Damn it,” Tyler grunted as he landed next to the broken container, “she got away.” Then, he sighed as a crow landed on his head, “This is why I do not do the hero-y thing.”

“Um, sir?” One of the workers hesitantly began to ask.

“What?” Tyler asked.

“Um… what just happened?” The worker asked.

“That-” Tyler shook his head as he held up the bag he’d wrestled off of Neia. “That would be something I have absolutely no idea about.” He started stalking off back towards the Dispatch building, “Ask me when I’m actually doing my job and not filling in for my team-mates who are off on another job!”

“Tyler!! What happened!?” Kendal and Miri came running up shortly there after.

“I just told the guy back there-” Tyler jabbed a thumb over his shoulder at the worker who had just asked that very same question. “Answer hasn’t changed in the five seconds since he asked it! I don’t know!

“Eeesh, no need to get snippy, Bonesy,” Kendal replied with a slight grimace.

“Well, he did just jump out of a building, so….” Miri let that sentence trail off. “Do you want me to try following that woman’s scent?”

“No, it’s probably all over the island and then some of the ocean, even, by now,” Tyler shook his head. “She was one of the officers at Terran’s apartment last night.”

“Oooooh….” Kendal’s lips formed an “O” as she made that sound. “So she’s the killer, right?”

“Impossible to tell until we catch her,” Obonz replied. “Also, seriously, I really doubt it’s her. It’s much too early for that kind of reveal.”

“But we aren’t in a book plot?” Miri asked, slightly confused.

“Hey, I’m actually serious about this, no meta intended!” Tyler replied. “Cases like what happened on Egg Roost are the abnormal ones! Usually these things take a couple of days at the least!”

“Fine, fine,” Kendal paused as they reached the door to the Dispatch building. “Okay, Miri and I’ll wait out here, I guess.”

And so Obonz went back into the building, leaving Miri and Kendal behind.

“Sooo…” Miri began, “What happened after that?”

Kendal laughed. “Oh, well, let’s just say that when his dad found out, he said–”

“NEIA DID WHAT!?!” Chief Nahgi Llewellyn was not amused when she received yet a call from Mayoi about what had happened just mere minutes ago.

_“Jumped out of the window like a frightened weasel,”_ Mayoi repeated over the phone.

“That’s just great…” Llewellyn sighed as she looked over the sheets of paper that recorded Terran’s financial records. “I guess that means we’ve got some idea of why Terran was depositing cash deposits of rather large sums.”

_“Do you think Neia was paying him?”_ Mayoi asked.

“Probably, but we can’t rule out the possibility that she killed him after finding out about Terran’s illicit activities,” Llewellyn mused. “I’m going to see if we can figure out where those payments came from.”

_“Sounds like a plan,”_ And with that, Mayoi and Llewellyn said their goodbyes.

“Thanks for letting me borrow that,” Llewellyn hung up the phone and handed the whole contraption back to the Bank clerk- a male Leprechaun with the typical golden skin, but had hair and eyes as green as the money his bank worked with.

“Not a problem, Ma’am,” the clerk said with a nod, moving to turn to put the phone away, but paused before doing so. “Is there anything else you need help with?”

“Yeah, can you pull the serial numbers on the money Terran deposited most recently?” Llewellyn asked. “I want to see if we can find out where the money came from. If I’m right, they were probably originally pulled from this bank.”

“That first part can be easily accomplished; the second will take a short while longer,” the man replied, and then left the room.

Llewellyn sighed. This case was insane! Not only was one of their own was now the prime suspect, but she’d shared classes with the Lycan as well! They would just have to wait to see what the bank’s search results were. If Neia was the one who was behind all of this, then…

Thankfully, the Bank Clerk came back a within short order, “We have your results, Ma’am. If you’ll follow me?”

She followed him into a different room, where the bank’s massive imaging gem resided- all hooked up to an interface that easily let them type out onto a typewriter their request, and the gem would spit out the results. Normally, serial number checks like this took hours at other banks across the world, but here on Mystryal, everything was of the top notch, high end quality spectrum. A few minutes for a search was a blessing in disguise.

“Huh,” Nahgi Llewellyn said upon reading the results. The withdrawal HAD come from the bank here, but not from Ahra Neia. No, that would have been too easy. “I’m going to need to borrow your phone again.”


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