the way to a man’s heart (is through his city)
When that bastard Kirihiko stepped into the Narumi Detective Agency, Shotaro let out an enraged shout. “You!”
Philip disappeared into the garage, his duster fluttering behind himself.
“Now, now, my dear Kamen Rider.” Kirihiko chuckled. “Is that any way to greet a client?”
“You? A client?” Shotaro scoffed. He stood up from the kitchen table and swaggered over to Kirihiko. “I don’t take cases from the enemy. Get out!”
Kirihiko didn’t move. “Enemy? I have nothing but Fuuto’s best interests at heart. And I know you love this city as much as I do.” He spread his arms wide in a welcoming gesture. “There’s nobody I can turn to but you, Mr. Hidari.”
Shotaro pursed his lips. He rested his hands on his hips. “What is this request you have?”
Kirihiko took a seat and crossed his ankle over his knee. “I want you to investigate Digal Corporation.”
“It’s the company my wife owns,” said Kirihiko. “It’s a front for Gaia Memory distribution.”
The door to the garage inched open.
“Wait, why are you making this request?” Shotaro demanded. “What are you after?”
“It’s like I said: I love Fuuto. When I first went to work for Saeko, I believed that she was acting in Fuuto’s best interest.” Kirihiko’s smug smirk vanished. “But now I am plagued by doubt. Why were children given a Gaia Memory to use? What is my wife’s actual goal in all of this?”
Shotaro let out a sigh and folded his arms. It sounded reasonable enough, but could he really trust what Kirihiko was saying? He had seemed genuinely concerned during the incident with Akane Egusa. He’d even helped Double to extract the Bird Memory from her body.
“And as payment...” Kirihiko reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a small keychain. Dangling from it was a little plastic figurine.
“Ahhhh! A Fuuto-kun keychain!” Shotaro grabbed for the keychain, but Kirihiko deftly got to his feet and danced around him.
“Ah-ah-ah.” Holding the keychain high above his head with one of his unfairly long arms, Kirihiko waggled a finger in Shotaro’s face. “This is the payment for the case I’m requesting. You can have it once you’re finished.”
“What kind of payment is that?!” Shotaro grabbed for it again.
“One that’s worth more than any amount of money I could offer you,” Kirihiko pointed out. “And besides, Saeko has access to my bank account. I can’t very well write you a check.”
Shotaro got right up in his face. “Are you that much of a rich asshole you don’t carry cash?!” Yes, the case was worth taking. And despite his objections, he would kill to have that keychain. But Kirihiko’s smug face was pissing him off.
With the keychain still dangling overhead, Kirihiko smirked and pressed his lips against Shotaro’s.
Shotaro yelled and staggered backward.
And back into Kirihiko’s pocket went the keychain. He sauntered over to Shotaro’s desk and took a seat in the chair behind it. “I’ll just wait here for you to report back.”
“Get out of my chair, you—”
They stared at each other for a long while. Finally Shotaro threw his hands up. “For crying out—Fine! I’ll be back before you know it and then your ass is out of my office, you hear me?”
“I would like nothing better.”
Shotaro grabbed one of his hats off the garage door, which suddenly squeaked shut. Oh, right. “One more thing. Don’t open this door. I mean it.”
The deadly serious tone with which he said so, the lack of screaming or posturing, clearly struck a chord within Kirihiko. The man simply raised an eyebrow and shrugged. “Do hurry back before I get bored, then.”
Donning his fedora, Shotaro stormed out of the office. Akiko would be showing up for work in a few minutes. She could babysit him.
He finally had a lead on the Gaia Memory distribution syndicate. Even if he hated the sight of Kirihiko’s face, he couldn’t pass this up.