By the way Mangetsu Go-ruden means Golden Moon. Appropriate, ne?
Chapter 5: Calming Troubled Waters
'Note to self: Steal all of the large towels.' - Son Pan
Once the police had taken statements and were long gone, we stood as close to the exit as possible just in case the lycanthropes got out of hand and tried to kill us.
"You're the one he wanted," a woman shouted from the back, "Phillip died because of you!"
I held up my hands in a gesture of helplessness. "There was nothing I could do! He's the one who questioned that maniac!"
It seems that was not an excuse because they all began to step forward. I moved backward again until my back was against the wall. At least no one could sneak up on me.
"Now wait a minute!" Bra's voice rang out above the angry mutterings and low growls. "Did you see his eyes? Did anyone see that man's eyes?"
There was silence for a moment before another woman answered. "Yes I did." The crowd parted and she walked to the front of it.
She was thin and a little nervous looking. More like a mouse than a wereanimal. "They were bad. I think that he was just waiting for an excuse to kill one of us."
Slowly the energy died down in the room. I have no idea why they believed her. So I asked.
"My name is Christine. I am the alpha female," she told me as she walked over. "The lupa of the werewolf pack. What I say is law."
I raised a single eyebrow. "You don't look like an alpha."
"Well," she smiled. "as they say, appearances can be deceiving." Then she turned to Bra. "Mark told me that he asked for your help."
She nodded. "We were already on the vampire case so it wasn't really a problem."
"Vampires...." The look of distaste was clear on her face. "They challenge us for our lands. They're trying to take over Japan you know."
I blinked. "No, I didn't know. I don't care much either."
"Oh you will. Once they are firmly in control of this country, they will expose themselves. Then real disaster will strike."
Not knowing what to say to this, I changed the subject. "Look, about the lycanthrope murders..."
"Right now it's just werewolves. That's going to soon change once the killer finds out that there are more than just wolves."
"We know who the killer is."
The calm look on her face changed at that. "Who is it? Let me know and I'll take care of them for you!"
I gulped slightly. She was scary when she was mad. "It's Eddie. The man who threatened everyone. We just wonder how he came to discover his knowledge about lycanthropes." Then it hit me. Martha in Eastern Capital. She knew something, I was sure of it.
"Guys," I briefly glanced at my watch. "It's time to take a little trip."
I knocked on the door again, waiting a few seconds before ringing the doorbell. Still, Martha never answered the door.
"What do you think happened?" I asked the little group behind me. No one answered.
I then went around to the back of the house to try the backdoor. It was ajar. Something bad had happened, I could feel it.
The four of us entered the kitchen warily, waiting for someone or something to pop out unexpectedly. Nothing presented itself.
"Can you guys spread out and search? It'll help me out..."
Bra, Trunks, and Christine split up and went into different directions. That left the hallway, the basement, the living room, and a downstairs bedroom covered. I had the latter.
As I entered I immediately put my back to the wall, instantly on guard.
The room was pale yellow with white trim and white furniture. There was an oak bed against the left wall with the dresser and the television against the right one. So far I could see nothing wrong with this room. Then I noticed faint red marks on the thick pale yellow carpet. I bent down and touched one of them with my finger. It was almost dry.
"Blood," I said aloud while moving to the left side of the bed, "Probably hers."
I followed the trail of drips to the phone on the side of the bed. That was where I found the body.
I instantly ruled out that a vampire or a lycanthrope had done it. Her throat was intact. Joanna had told me that either group tended to rip out a person's throat before anything else. Vampires only did that if they don't intend to feed.
There was only a single wound on her body, at least as far as I could tell. It was in her stomach. Martha must have crawled to the phone to try and call for help. Unfortunately she wasn't able to dial.
I viewed this all distantly, as if on the other side of a television screen. It was alright, for now. But later on I knew I would probably be having nightmares from all of the stuff that's been happening lately. Especially the stuff from tonight.
Walking out into the living room once again, rose my voice for their attention.
"Guys! I found her!"
It took the cops two hours to get out there to take pictures of the crime scene. It took the ambulance even longer to take the body to the morgue. Body... Martha has been reduced to nothing more than a body now.
Slowly the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place. I know that Eddie is at least one of the murderers but there's not a doubt in my mind that Martha knew an important bit of information. Unfortunately the bad guys got to her first.
Bra drove Christine home first before we finally made it to her house at around one o'clock. My eyes could barely stay open.
Bulma was waiting up for us. Surprisingly, my Tousan and Kaasan were there too.
"Oh Pan!" My mother hugged me hard as if I had been gone on a long trip. I just blinked at her.
"Why are you here?"
My father frowned. "Pan, stop being rude. We were worried about you."
"That club you had gone to was on the news," Bulma told us. "As soon as I saw there was a murder, I called your parents." She patted the couch beside her. "I think we'd better have a talk."
Two hours and three sodas later I was all talked out. Bra and Trunks each took their turn but it seemed like every question was directed at me. Now Bulma-san and Tousan decided to believe me.
"This sounds way out of your league, Pan," my father told me, "I mean, you're only seventeen..."
"I'm well aware of how old I am," I said coldly. Maybe a little *too* coldly. Tousan's expression hardened and he looked like he was two seconds away from grounding me. I quickly apologized.
"It's been a long, complicated day Tousan. Gomen nasai. Can I go to sleep now?"
My father was silent but Kaasan was immediately okay with it. "Sure Pan. We can finish talking about this in the morning."
I lowered my eyes. "Morning might not be good for me. Neither will afternoon and evening."
Both Trunks and Bra nodded. "We have to plan in the morning," she said. "and save lives in the afternoon and evening. We're really close to solving this!"
Tousan opened his mouth and I stood quickly. "Gotta go!"
"Pan!" He shouted after me as I ran up the stairs. Trunks and Bra were close behind me.
"We meet in the dining room at 0900 hours," Bra said officially. She glared at both of us, but especially hard at me. "That doesn't mean fifteen or thirty minutes after either."
I smiled. "I understand. It's too important anyway."
"You two need to pick out something comfortable but easy to work with."
We both nodded.
"And I'll get us some weapons."
I blinked. "Why? We can fight them!"
"Do you want everyone to know that you can use ki? I don't think so!"
I didn't really care and by the look on Trunks' face, neither did he. She was the one worried that people would say things about her.
She sighed. "Okay. *I'll* bring a weapon. Preferably an Uzi or something."
Trunks shook his head. "Little sister, you don't want to kill everyone else in the room too! Bring something small, but with stopping power. How about a 9mm Browning?"
She frowned. "How about a Beretta?"
I looked at her. "Your hands are too small."
"Look, a Beretta is too big for your hands. They would cramp up even trying to pull the trigger. By the way, since when did you know how to use a gun? And do you even have a permit?"
She smiled. "Well, I got one a couple of months ago. Kaasan suggested it actually."
"She couldn't wait to shoot something outside of the range," Trunks grinned. "Now she'll get her chance."
That necessarily wasn't a good thing... "Anyway, if I don't get some sleep soon I'll be late for our meeting."
"Alright, good night."
I awoke to the sound of somebody pounding on the door. Now, unless there was a fire *no one* should be waking me at -- I glanced at the clock -- SEVEN AM.
I groaned aloud. "Who the Hell is it?"
"It's me!" Bra sounded so damn cheerful for this early. Kami, I hate morning people.
"Do you know what time it is?" I rolled over and put the pillow over my head. I guess she heard a silent invitation because she just opened the door and came right on inside.
"Duh! Of course I know. I'm giving you enough time to fully wake up, shower, and eat breakfast. I know how slow you are in the morning Panny-chan."
Panny-chan? No one has called me that in a while...
"This is an ungodly hour," I mumbled already on my way towards dreamland. It was my summer vacation! I shouldn't have to get up until at least noon. Then it came to me.
"I'm up, alright? I remember that we have to go kick some bad guy ass today."
"That's the spirit!" She said brightly. "I'm just going to go on downstairs and cook. What do you want?"
"Doesn't matter as long as it isn't french toast."
"Pancakes and bacon it is then." She practically skipped off to cook tons of food. I sure didn't envy her one bit.
After my ritual of stretching I headed off to the bathroom to bathe and dress. Of course there would be someone occupying it just when I needed it.
Knocking on the door, I tried to tell whoever it was to hurry up. That's when the door opened and a half-naked, glistening Trunks stepped out in the skimpiest towel I have ever seen. It barely came half-way down his thighs.
Now this was not something I needed to be confronted with EVER. He was out of reach, completely unattainable. I just had to keep telling myself that.
"Pan-chan, what are you staring at?" he asked me.
I blinked. Was I staring? Most definitely. I licked my lips. My god, was I drooling? Who wouldn't be? I forced myself to look away.
"Nothing..." My voice was steady. Good. "Are you finished?"
He shifted and the towel gapped slightly when he did so. I forced myself to look up again. "Hai. It's all yours."
"I was just wondering, did the towels shrink or something?"
He shook his head. "Nope but this was the only one I could find."
"I see..." Note to self: Steal all of the large towels.
I made it down for breakfast without any further incidents. Trunks (bless his little dense heart) never even noticed my admiration of his finely muscled body. The way his legs move whenever he walks, the way his hair falls into his face when he cocks his head, they way he smiles.... Anyway, back on task. Breakfast was good and we were ready to go over our plan at eight thirty.
Around the table we sat; me writing things down and the other two thinking up ideas.
"Where do you think the bomb is?" I asked. "Where would the most logical place be?"
Bra placed a sheet of paper onto the table and smoothed it out. "This is a diagram of the club. There are four main rooms as well the basement that they use for storage."
She wrote a few words on the rooms in red pen. "The main room we have to worry about is the dance floor/seating area. If there's a bomb, it would be under or around here."
"What are the other three main rooms?" her brother asked.
"Well, there's the owner's office, the bar storage area, and the bathrooms."
"Does the basement go under the stage area?" This was my question.
She checked another picture. "Yes."
"Okay then that's where the bomb will be."
"But are we going to stop them *before* they place the bomb or catch them in the act?"
I gave her a look. "I think the first choice is the wisest. Don't you?"
"It may be wise but to me it's not the most logical." She folded her arms across her chest with a smug look.
Her Vegeta genes were rising... "What do you mean?"
Trunks spoke up for her. "How can the police arrest them if they don't have any evidence that they were going to do something illegal? We have to catch them at least about to place the bomb."
"Okay," I sighed, defeated, "we'll do it that way. Once we find out where their hideout is." That's when I placed my laptop onto the table, connected a phone line, and booted up.
"This is *my* job."
"Pan-chan," Bra warned. "Don't do anything extremely illegal."
"I won't Kaasan," I said in a teasing tone even as I typed rapidly. After I hack into the city archives, this whole process will be a snap. "If you two want to gets some snacks or something, you're more than welcome to."
"Well gee," Bra answered sarcastically. "thanks for the permission even though this is *my* house!"
An hour later I had tracked down Eddie and his gang. Turns out he belonged to a little hate group called Humans Against the Preternatural, or HAP. Sort of like the Ku Klux Klan for non-humans. I'm sure someone inside of his group was doing to vampire murders too. But one thing didn't make sense. Why go after different types of people?
The HAP headquarters was located on the southern edge of the city, surrounded by warehouses. It was so far away from the club that I wondered how they were going to get over there without drawing attention to themselves. How were they going to break in? Where exactly would the bomb go?
After shutting down my computer I jumped to my feet. "We need to go to the club. Can one of you call Christine and see if she can have the owner let us in?"
Bra pushed her brother towards the phone. "What are you going to be doing in the mean time?"
"Nothing." She frowned at me. "Nani? I earned it! People are trying to kill me, vampires want my help, my parents would believe me for the longest time...."
"Alright, alright!" She smiled. "We get it."
I crossed my arms and nodded with satisfaction. It would do for now.
There was a small trapdoor in the cement floor of the basement. Imagine that. There was a ninety-nine percent chance that Eddie and Co. would enter through it.
The bad thing was we would have to follow them from their hideout with a few cops. The *really* bad thing was that the route was underground, in the sewer system. Rats, waste, and a high stench. Ugh.
"I am not going down there," Princess Bra said in a disgusted voice. "I draw the line at that one."
"If you say so," I said slowly. "But we'll probably be in the newspaper for this. I can ask them to include you but..." That should catch her interest.
She perked up. "On the front page?"
I smiled. "Probably."
"You got me. What should I wear?"
"Something you wouldn't mind burning later," Trunks said. "We're going to be walking through things no one ought to see."
We got to the HAP HQ around eight o'clock that night. It wasn't quite dark yet, being summer and all, but the daylight was fading and fast. The Satan City police force had sent with us two fairly competent officers. I'm just glad that they weren't the donut-eating type.
At about fifty minutes past, our soon-to-be-convicts came out of the building and walked through the shadows and to a manhole cover in the middle of a side-street. After lifting the cover soundlessly from the pavement, they each filed down one-by-one. The last guy forgot to replace the cover.
We waited ten minutes to make sure that they wouldn't see us following them until it was too late to climb down the cold, slimy ladder into the darkness below.
Bra turned on her flashlight immediately, not wanting to go anywhere without a little light. I motioned to her to cup her hand around it so that the light only reached so far.
The walls were made of a boring material and the ceiling sloped upward to create a dome effect. There were small sidewalks on both sides of the river of ooze and we all made sure that we stayed on them as much as possible.
"When we get to the club," One officer, Johnson, whispered. "You three leave everything to us, okay? We're the professionals here."
I glared at him. "If you're so professional, how come it took people like us to discover their plan?"
The other cop, Smith, had the grace to look embarrassed. But Johnson knew no shame. I knew now that Victoria Smith was the smarter partner.
"We're wasting time," I said in a dismissive tone, "I'm going." I marched off down the sidewalk at a rapid pace. The others had to almost trot to keep up.
We soon came upon the area where they were. Their voices echoed throughout the tunnel because they sure weren't bothering to keep them down. I heard the clink of a pick of some sort striking metal and I knew they must be trying to break the lock of the trapdoor off.
"It's almost time," I whispered to everyone who was crowded behind me. I motioned for the two police officers to go forward. "We'll wait for them to actually place the explosives." I stepped to the side slightly to let them go by and somehow my foot slipped on the cement. Before I knew it I was falling headfirst towards the sludgy river.
I cried out. I couldn't help it. But then I felt someone grab me and pull me back. But it was too late. They heard me. I knew they had heard me.
"Well Bra," I muttered to my friend, "It looks like you'll get to use your gun after all."
The men that ran towards us were smaller in number than when they had went in. That could be both good and bad. It's good that we won't have to beat the crap out of so many people but bad since they left a few in the basement to finish what they had came down here for the first place.
Five men came at us; three were missing and that included Eddie himself. Bra, Trunks, and I spread out in front of them and I pushed the cops toward the ladder.
"Go! Catch them in the act! We'll handle things here!" I knocked aside two burly ones so that they would have a clear path.
As soon as they disappeared around the bend, out came the weapons. I'm talking metal pipes, guns, and knives that looked more like short swords. But they wouldn't be a problem coming from normal humans.
The man on the far right suddenly moved so fast that I could barely see him. That shouldn't be possible. I concentrated on their kis and noticed something that shouldn't have been there.
They weren't entirely human.
Now that was just strange. Why would a group such as HAP have those kind of people in it? Were they like a special task force to help sniff out the non-humans? I'm sure that they were sensitive to the otherworldly energies as well. But I had no idea what they were.
"Bra," I said to her as I watched the enemy warily. "Do you know what they are?"
She frowned. "You sensed it to?"
"What are you two talking about?" Trunks asked, seriously confused. "They aren't human?"
"You can only sense their human side because you're aren't sensitive to the other energy like we are." I told him. "I have no idea what else they are. It's something that I haven't ever sensed before."
"What are you discussing with your little friends shrimp?" That same super fast one asked me. He looked like he was some relative of Eddie's. He had the same eyes, hair, and facial features. "You don't need to know exactly what we are!"
"Why would HAP have you guys in the group? You're not even completely human!" Yes, my mouth does run sometimes.
He glared at me. "Even though you're going to die, I'll tell you anyway. We are of the fey."
I just stared at them. "So you're telling me that you guys are part fairy? Fairies don't have this kind of power! It's usually just magical."
"There are different kinds, idiot. Like the lycanthropes." He spit on that word. "They deserve to die! So do the vampires!"
"Wait a minute," Bra said. "Let me get this straight. You are all preternatural beings yet you hate each other. Why? A lot of the humans hate you! You should join together to fight against people like that."
It looked like she was making at least two of them think differently. But it didn't really matter. We had people to save.
"Look this is nice and all Bra, but again we don't have time." I knocked the Eddie look-alike into the wall and began to render the rest unconscious. "We all know that the murders were the work of HAP. This case is closed."
Leaving the bad guys on the ground, we walked off towards the trapdoor.
Eddie and friends were arrested, convicted, and sent up the river for a long time. The families of the murder victims all got together and sued Humans Against the Preternatural for the grief that they caused. It's my belief as well as the police's that Martha had gotten killed because she knew who had done the murders. I just wish I could have helped her.
Bra and I got lectured from Kaasan, Tousan, *and* Bulma-san on how stupid we were. Vegeta sat there through all of it with a strange look on his face. I think he was proud. Trunks just got yelled at for not stopping us. They thought he was old enough to know better.
Both Joanna and Christine thanked us for our help and told us that if they needed us again, we would be the first ones they called. I didn't know about that. Tousan will probably screen all of my phone calls and follow me everywhere I go besides school. I think he doesn't trust me.
Helping the preternatural community is hard. Convincing my Tousan that I'm not going to get myself killed one day is even harder.
Sometimes, life is too much. Even for me.