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It took a little more effort than she would have liked but Marylin soon caught up with Ms. Detective. She wanted to chew her out a little for leaving her in the dust earlier, but the girl was already on the lookout for any potential hydes lurking around. Marylin never visited the docks much, insects and water didn't tend to go well together and Marylin herself didn't know how to swim, much less wanting to give it a try in the filthy river. Hopefully, the hydes would remain on land and not gather in some boat.

Little after her hopes would be dashed "Ahg" she grumbled. Looking at Ms. Sherman it seemed that her companion also wasn't looking forward to it. Well, whether she wanted or not she had already signed for the job, and at least she could have a little fun with it. "I don't know what flank means" she shrugged as she replied to the girl "So.." before finishing the sentence she used her magic to close the gap between her and the group of hydes "Catch up with me and we'll figure it out the strategy along the way!"
This was one of the times where she liked Shiba’s pushover attitude, it meant that she didn’t have to put much effort into goading him into doing what she wanted. “Don’t worry about the grease” she waved her hand as if it wasn’t a big deal “We’ll just go take a quick look” Truth to be told she wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the piper case without at least taking one look at the warehouse. As far as she cared they had all the time in the world to gather clues for the fried piper, and given that the blood terrorist was a higher profile there wasn’t anything wrong with prioritizing it.

Dragging Shiba with her, she gave her goodbyes to Dr. Sakura and quickly ordered a cab. The trip just as expected was a silent one with Shiba being his usual self and Mana impatiently tapping her fingers. Once they arrived she took a quick look at her surroundings, the place was brimming with people, it seemed they had arrived on a busy time. She clicked her tongue, it meant she was going to wander through the sea of people for the owners of the lot. “Let’s go look for whoever’s in charge, you don’t have to say anything, but remember that if they ask we’re on behalf of the police”

Mana slowly entered the room as she inspected the books that at this point could very well act as support beams for this place. The room might be in an even worse state than the last time she visited, much to her disdain, she wasn’t sure if the fact that the hoard of books was ordered by subject made the whole thing better or worse. While taking a loot at the room Mana decided to give a quick look at her phone, maybe one of the guys at the station had found something useful for once. Instead, she saw her little rival had sent her a consolatory message. Mana bit her lip as she put her phone back in her pocket, how did he dare to even think of that as a win? She was five moves tops of getting another victory!

Thankfully the sound of Shiba's text to speech program brought her back to reality. It was one of the already many weird things he did that she already had gotten accustomed too, at least this way was faster than writing things on paper, and she was somewhat sure that at this point the program's voice spoke faster than his natural voice. “Ocular fluid, huh?” Mana repeated the words as Shiba mentioned them. Of course, even his calling card had to have some eye motif into it, she smiled. The terrorist couldn’t resist giving them a small clue, and she was going to latch on to that until she found him.

Finally, with some direction in which to take the calling card investigation, Mana stood up “Well then, let’s go look for the warehouse today” she said firmly, making it clear that she wasn’t asking Shiba if he wanted to go. “We’ll go looking at who has access to warehouses with corpses in them, and if there have been any strange incidents.”

Something that always passed through Takuto’s mind as they entered Zero Time was how much of their experience diverged from one another. Some like Cassius and Jana glowed, but as far as he knew he still looked the same in the brief moments they moved from one dimension to another. What common factor he did share with the others was some sort of pull pushing him moments before the process ended and they entered Zero Time. Maybe it was just him but he could never get used to that last part. It was if something was dragging every fiber of his being downwards.

If that was something unique to him or he was just making a big deal out of nothing he didn’t know, and given how quick the whole process was he tended to forget about it and focus on the mission at hand. Takuto stretched his arms as he looked at the now-empty streets for any sign of trouble. No monsters or other mages insight so far, so good for now at least. The last thing he wouldn’t want would have been to have fought the creature from the minute they arrived.

Takuto felt slightly more at ease now that his little wish from the meeting room had come true. He would take Hector as a teammate any day over Cassius, and now he wouldn’t have to worry about breaking anything too important. Better yet he wasn’t going to be tasked with looking out for the creature, so there was a slight possibility the other team could take care of it before they had to come in to support them.

As Jana finished doing recon over where the nearest soul vein was it seemed they had two options. Either they meet the monsters head-on at the main road and go straight forward or take the alleys where they’ll meet less of them, but might take more time moving towards the vein. “Well boss, what’s the plan?”

It would never stop bothering Mana that Shiba lived so far away from the police station, or the city in general. Mana had little to do while she waited in the train, it would be fruitless to try to think of a possible clue there. Helping her out of a dead-end was the entire reason she was visiting Shiba after all. Instead, she decided to pass time by playing a card game on her phone instead, most of the players there didn’t seem to know what they were doing so it was pretty easy for her to rack up wins. Out of all the players she had been against ever since she started playing the game only one has given her trouble and even broke her win streak multiple times.

The brat (because only a brat would have enough free time to do nothing but play) managed to drag the game long enough so that the time for her to get off the train had finally arrived. With some reluctance and while biting her lip Mana forfeited the match, she needed to have her mind on the case and not be thinking about card games when she arrived with Shiba. Though she swore she was going to get the upper hand next time. Knocking on the door she gave a polite smile to Dr. Sakura and nodded after being asked about the rules. This time Mana did have something to show him so she could force her way into the shut-in’s room.

Once upstairs, she sighed at seeing the piece of paper slip from inside the room. He had to learn to talk with people more. Grabbing the piece of paper Mana pulled a pen from her pocket and began writing a brief summary of the ‘fried piper’ case. Asking him to open the door so she could show him the grease samples, not that she didn’t plan on opening the door herself if he declined to open it. Below the case summary, she added in small letters “Did you find out anything about the calling card?”

It's not an anime but there's a series called Trick about a stage magician and a physician solving crimes attributed to magic or other paranormal phenomenons

Takuto wordlessly nodded at Hector's praise. It felt a little hollow considering that his punctuality was just 'exemplary' when you compared it to the others' but he would take whatever praise he could get. Especially coming from him. Having nothing better to do and wait he slumped over a chair and quietly waited for the other two to arrive, which would take a while. Hearing over steps he regained his upright position as Cassius entered the meeting room, quickly moving his gaze away into whatever that wasn't Cassius' general direction. It didn't take much deduction on Takuto's part to notice that he was mad at him, and probably for the petty reason of arriving earlier than him. He turned his gaze into the ceiling once Cassius moved into the chair opposite of him. If Takuto didn't acknowledge he would probably stop bothering him sooner or later.

Thankfully the other members arrived not too long after and the meeting could start proper. It seemed today's mission wasn't going to be a normal one, but to be fair when was it ever been normal?. Collecting soul essence while warding off monsters and other factions was enough of a problem, and now they had to deal with all of those things plus a soul absorbing monster and the veins messing up the battlegrounds. Takuto stretched his arms, this was going to be a pain. Mutated or not the monster was probably still vulnerable to his magic, meaning that it might not be such a difficult task bringing it down, as long as they catch it before he absorbs the other soul veins that is. On the other hand, the monster's nature gives it a giant target behind his back so the other factions are just as likely to hunt it down, which will make going for the kill shot difficult.

With all this, Takuto didn't know if their reduced time limit was a blessing in disguise or another list of trouble to add into the pile. At the very least he would get out of work early, even if it meant that everyone would be rushing towards gathering soul essence. Standing up from his chair he tucked his hands into the pockets of his suit while he waited for everyone to get ready. Five minutes weren't that of much time to prepare, and he was practically ready as he had no magic wands or relics to take out. Which speaking of, Takuto hoped that Hector would place him at a reasonable distance away from Ms.Dozier. As she had a bit of a collection of items and the last thing he needed was having to pay for another broken item.

Mana chewed a pencil as she looked at the notes for the latest case. Truth to be told her mind wasn't on it, her first instincts were to look for any establishments to see where the grease was coming from but that turned out to be a dud, and looking to see who was making it was a fool's errand. She sighed, if anyone at the station was even half as competent as her she could just handle them the case and go do something productive with her time, like continuing her search for the blood eye terrorist. Upon thinking about the case Mana could feel her blood boiling. If she considered that she had hit a dead end with this current case she was in a much worse situation with the blood terrorist. At least she could track the fried piper with enough effort, but the other culprit was practically a phantom.

Deciding that she had spent too much time sitting there doing nothing she grabbed the case files and some of the grease samples they had managed to scoop up in one of the crime scenes. Begrudgingly if she wasn't getting any results she was going to do the same thing as the police and outsource her job. Much like her, there was another person the police tended to consult when they were out of clues. He wasn't much of a detective but was knowledgeable in various subjects to be of some use to them if only he was a little less anti-social it would be easier to deal with him.

Mana reached his address, knowing him it was easier going to his house rather than making him come to the station. Besides, she had given him a secret mission; investigating the calling card Mana had received from the blood eye terrorist. If he could find clues to both the blood eye terrorist and the fried paper she could deal with two annoyances in one visit. Though she would be fine with just something that could point her towards the terrorist's identity or how he operated.
Mikhail Afanasyev

Location: Cafeteria
Time: Morning
Mentions: Cassidy @Roseate
Interactions: Open

Too busy spacing out, Mikhail didn't pay attention to his surroundings, which meant that he didn't have to react crashing against another student. With a thud he was jolted back to reality, he lost his balance for a moment but managed to take a quick step to not fall on his ass, however, the suddenness of it had made his weak grip on the coffee cup slip, so the drink spilled over the floor. Mikhail wasn't sure who he was supposed to be more annoyed at, himself for not paying attention to his surroundings or the other guy for probably doing the same. At the very least he hadn't spilled the coffee over himself, though his money still had gone to waste.

Mikhail looked at the spill and sighed, it wasn't done on purpose so getting mad was pointless, and the guy had offered to buy him another cup so at least he had some manners. Taking a look at him, he noticed that he seemed slightly unsettled, and it probably wasn't about the little crash they had. The more time Mikhail spent in this town the more he realized he wasn't in a normal place so something bizarre could have happened to him on his way to the cafeteria. Or maybe he was looking too much into it, seeing weird things in reflections tended to make one's imagination go wild.

"...Sure, please do" There wasn't any reason to refuse the offer, Mikhail still needed that coffee to get through the next class. "Were you busy listening to music to notice your surroundings?" Mikhail asked as he pointed to his ears, referencing the earbuds Cassidy had just put away. He had asked sincerely but the deadpan tone probably made the comment come off as curt or sarcastic.
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