Case 7: Russia Death Tour

Warning: Please remember this is a FICTIONAL story, so if you live in Russia just consider this another dimension.

Hatori sighed as he grabbed a cup of cold coffee from a vending machine. He looked at Kurosagi, who looked like a rag doll and asked, “Are you going to be OK?”

“I guess,” said Kurosagi with a pale face. Hatori handed her the cup of coffee and looked at the buildings that looked more like palaces. Because the plane they took from Egypt had to make an emergency landing because of engine trouble, they were now stuck in Russia. Hatori scratched the back of his head.

“I never thought that I would have the chance to visit Russia one day. I should send Kisa a postcard from here.”

Hatori looked at Kurosagi and asked, “Have you been to Russia before?” Kurosagi sipped the coffee and nodded.

“I’ve been everywhere and I happen to be fluent in every language.”

“That’s interesting, so do you know a good shop to get souvenirs?” asked Hatori excitedly. Kurosagi smirked and nodded.

“I know a place.”

Kurosagi recovered and they made their way down the stone path of Russia. While walking, Hatori and Kurosagi noticed different people going the same direction in large groups. Hatori scratched the back of his head and asked, “Is something going on today?” Hatori looked down at Kurosagi and gasped when he noticed that Kurosagi wasn’t in sight.

“Kurosagi,” called out Hatori in a panicked voice. He sighed in relief when he saw her at an ice cream stand. Hatori approached her and said, “Please don’t disappear like that.” Kurosagi took her chocolate cookie dough ice cream from the vender and said, “I was just getting ice cream so calm down.” Hatori sighed.

Kurosagi paid the vender and asked, “So is there an event going on today.” The vender nodded and said, “The prince is finally getting crowned.”

“The prince?”

“That’s right. King Ivan has fallen ill after ruling for so long and the doctors said he won’t make it, so his grandson, Dimitri, is going to take the throne.”

“Grandson, shouldn’t it be son?” asked Hatori filled with confusion. The vender laughed and said, “You tourist are funny. Dimitri is King Ivan’s grandson. Ivan’s son is long dead. According to our tradition, until the current ruler dies, the next in line won’t rule. Ivan has stayed alive and continued ruling for this long. He deserves a good rest.”

Kurosagi licked her ice cream and asked, “How old is Dimitri?”

“He’s currently thirty and has a ten-year-old son, Leo. His son will be next in line if Dimitri dies.”

Kurosagi smirked and asked, “Is the crowning today?” The vender nodded. Kurosagi looked at Hatori and said, “Well the good place I was talking about is near the palace, so we can see the crowning.” Hatori nodded with a smile upon his lips.

Hatori was excited as they walked.

“Who knew that we would get to see the crowning?”

Kurosagi nodded as she ate her ice cream. A boy suddenly slammed into her making her fall backwards and drop her ice cream into the stone ground.

“Kurosagi!”

Kurosagi groaned and looked at the small boy that lay against her chest. The boy had short blonde hair that was almost completely covered by a raggedly brown hat. He wore clothes that had patches all over it making him look poor. Kurosagi poked his back and asked, “Can you please get off me?” The boy gasped and shot off her.

“Sorry,” stuttered the boy. Hatori helped Kurosagi to her feet. Kurosagi stared down at her destroyed ice cream and glared at the boy.

“You owe me,” said Kurosagi out of spite. The boy cringed when he saw her angered expression. He dug in his pocket quickly and pulled out a red ruby. He held it to her with his head bowed.

“Please take it as an apology,” begged the boy. Kurosagi looked at the ruby and then took it into her small hands.

“This will do.”

The boy sighed in relief. The boy suddenly gasped and said, “Oh no, I was supposed to use that ruby as payment for the doctor for grandpa.” The boy burst into tears. Hatori looked at the crying boy and then looked at Kurosagi.

“Maybe you should give that back, Kurosagi,” urged Hatori. Kurosagi shook her head and looked at the boy seriously.

“He has a lot of money, so he can still get the doctor.”

“What do you mean?”

Kurosagi smirked and reached out to the boy. She lifted up the hat revealing the boy’s sky blue eyes that sparkled in the light.

“He is the little prince, Leo Anezska.”

Hatori gasped in surprise, while the boy, Leo, pulled the hat over his eyes.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” muttered Leo. Kurosagi chuckled and pulled up his hat again.

“Don’t play dumb, I recognize your face,” said Kurosagi. Leo blinked in confusion. Hatori was equally confused. Kurosagi rubbed his head and said, “The palace has royal doctors, so why do you need a doctor from the outside?” Leo clenched his fist knowing that he couldn’t hide his identity from her.

“The doctors in the palace are bad. They are hurting grandpa, so I am getting a real doctor for him.”

Kurosagi raised an eyebrow at him.

“Why would the doctors do that?”

“I don’t know, but every time they give him medicine, he gets worse. I don’t want grandpa to die.”

Kurosagi sighed and asked, “You do know that your father won’t get crowned if your grandpa is alive, right?” Leo nodded.

“I do know, but daddy told me that he wants grandpa to live too, so I need to get a good doctor.”

Kurosagi smirked and showed the ruby to Leo.

“Let’s make a deal then. If I can figure out what is making your grandpa ill, you will let me keep this ruby and give me something else of value. If not, I will return the ruby and pretend you never destroyed my ice cream. Deal?”

Leo looked at the ruby and nodded. Kurosagi chuckled and held the ruby to her lips.

“The deal is made.”

Kurosagi looked at Hatori and said, “Let’s visit the store after this, OK, Ogami-San.” Hatori nodded knowing that he had no choice.

“Do you know a doctor?”  asked Leo now confused. Kurosagi smirked and pointed at herself.

“Believe it or not, I have some experience as a doctor.”

Leo and Hatori were equally shocked. Kurosagi walked ahead of them tossing the ruby into her bag.

“Let’s head to the palace.”

Leo and Hatori nodded as they followed Kurosagi. Leo stared at Kurosagi’s back as he walked and then looked at Hatori.

“What’s that girl’s name?”

“Kurosagi.”

Leo gasped and asked, “The detective Kurosagi?” Hatori nodded. Leo sighed in relief and said, “That makes sense. I heard that Kurosagi won a medical award for saving many lives with her medical skills.”

“Really?”

Leo nodded and added, “She is pretty famous here in Russia, but we didn’t know what she looked like.” Leo looked at Kurosagi again and scratched the side of his head.

“It didn’t actually hit me before, but she looks like the girl in the painting.”

Hatori looked down at Leo and asked, “What painting?”

“It’s a painting in the palace in grandpa’s room. It’s a painting of grandpa when he was younger sitting next to a young girl. Kurosagi looks like that girl.”

Hatori chuckled and said, “I’m sure it’s coincidence.” Leo nodded.

When they reached the palace it was surrounded by many people. Leo groaned and said, “The people are everywhere.” Leo led them around the back and groaned again when he saw the guards at the garden gate.

“That’s how I got out. We can’t get back in without being seen.”

Hatori looked at Leo and asked, “Did you sneak out?” Leo nodded and said, “Mom wanted me to stay inside, but I really needed to get a doctor for grandpa.”

“The reason why he dressed like a poor boy as well,” added Kurosagi. Leo nodded.

Kurosagi walked away from Hatori and Leo making them look at her. Kurosagi approached a large rock covered in moss and pushed it aside easily. Under the rock was a tunnel.

“There’s a tunnel?” exclaimed Hatori and Leo. Kurosagi nodded and jumped in. Hatori and Leo followed behind. Leo looked at Kurosagi as they crawled down the tunnel and asked, “How did you know this was here?”

Kurosagi glanced back at him and said, “That’s a secret child.” Leo groaned and said, “Don’t call me that.”

When they reached the end of the tunnel, Kurosagi pushed aside a loose wall revealing a dark room. They crawled out one by one. Leo gasped when he entered the room.

“This is grandpa’s room.”

They heard a moan and looked toward the large king sized bed that was covered by a thin veil. Leo ran to it and pushed aside the veil, revealing his great grandpa, Ivan Anezska, an eighty-nine-year-old man with barely any hair left. Leo smiled when he saw Ivan.

“Grandpa.”

Ivan moaned in his sleep and cracked open an eye.

“Alik, I haven’t seen you for so long,” muttered Ivan in a cracking voice. Leo shook his head and said, “Grandpa Alik is already dead. It’s me, Leo, your nephew.”

“I see. I seemed to have forgotten again.”

A tear escaped from Leo’s eyes. He glanced back at Kurosagi and said, “Please look at grandpa and figure out what is wrong with him.” Kurosagi nodded and then looked at Hatori.

“Take out a container labeled ‘Medicine kit’ from my bag, while I check on the king, Ogami-San.”

Hatori nodded as he pulled Kurosagi’s bag off her back. Kurosagi went to Ivan’s side pulling his aged hand to her. Ivan looked at Kurosagi as she checked his pulse and smiled.

“So you finally came back, Angel,” muttered Ivan. Kurosagi shook her head as she looked at Ivan with his hand against her chest.

“I’m afraid you are mistaken, your majesty,” stated Kurosagi. Ivan chuckled and gripped Kurosagi’s hand.

“Then you must be related to her because you look exactly like her.”

Kurosagi cracked a small smile as she removed her small hand from his large one. Kurosagi looked at Leo and said, “His pulse is low. He may die today.” Leo shook his head.

“He can’t die. He was always full of energy until he started taking that stupid medicine.”

Kurosagi smirked and said, “You did mention that he got worse every time the doctors gave him medicine. Is the medicine in this room?” Leo looked around and sighed.

“I don’t see it here.”

Hatori held a brown kit to Kurosagi and asked, “Is there something in here that can help?” Kurosagi took it and then opened it up revealing an array of medicines. She held it to Leo and asked, “Was it any of these medicines?” Leo peeked inside the bag.

“I don’t recognize any of them.”

“Look closely. There has to be something.”

Leo’s eyes narrowed as he searched through the medicines. He found a clear container filled with purple capsules and pointed it out.

“One of the medicines grandpa took looked like that.”

Kurosagi pulled it out and narrowed her eyes. She looked at Leo and asked, “Are you sure?” Leo nodded. Kurosagi gripped the bottle. She dangled it in front of Hatori and Leo and asked, “Do you know what this is?” They shook their head.

“This is a special medicine used on people on the verge of death or people who want to die. Doctors also call it the mercy drug. It’s called Ikigami. It’s a fast killer, but adding rat poison to it can slow the process making it look like a disease. The production of it was stopped when it started to get used for assassination attempts.”

Leo’s eyes widen as he looked at his grandpa.

“You mean grandpa was poisoned?”

Kurosagi nodded. She pointed at his head and said, “His hair loss, the bruises around his hand, and his shortness of breath are a clear indication that he was poisoned.” Leo looked at Kurosagi and asked, “Is there a way to save him?”

“Depends, how long has he been like this?”

“A week or so.”

Kurosagi shook her head and added, “Then it is too late. Even if I do give him the antidote, he will still have the damage and die.” Leo burst into tears. Hatori patted Leo’s back and then looked at Kurosagi.

“But why would the doctors give him poison?”

Kurosagi sighed as she looked at the container of Ikigami pills.

“This medicine stopped production nearly one hundred years ago, so not many doctors know about it. Just having it is rare. I believe that the doctors might have not known about the poison effects.”

“A medical mistake?”

“Or someone was really trying to kill the old king.”

Before Hatori could say anything, the door to the room flung open revealing some Russian soldiers.

“Your majesty, we have…”

The soldier stopped midsentence when he saw Kurosagi, Hatori, and Leo standing in the room. He pulled out his gun screaming, “Intruders!” He pointed his gun at them. Leo gasped and screamed, “Hold your fire!” The soldier pulled the trigger. The bullet flew at Leo, but Hatori blocked it with his arm. Hatori screamed in pain as blood burst from his arm.

“Mister!” screamed Leo as he grabbed Hatori’s arm. Kurosagi glared at the soldiers as she grabbed her bag and ran to Hatori’s side. She glanced back at Hatori seeing the blood flow from his arm. She glared back at the soldiers and said, “You shouldn’t pull your gun out without questioning.” The soldiers flinched when they saw her eyes. One of the soldiers without thinking shot at them again in a panic.

Before the shots could reach them, Kurosagi pulled out two vials labeled “cheetah” and “elephant” from her bag and consumed their contents. Kurosagi grabbed Leo and Hatori and dodged the bullets at an incredible speed. She ran pass the soldiers and into the hall. She continued to run down the hall refusing to stop.  A trail of blood was left in the hall.

Kurosagi ran off the palace grounds without hitting any dead ends. She hid behind a large tree and placed Leo and Hatori down. She sighed and looked down at them. Leo was crying as he tried to stop the bleeding in Hatori’s arm. Kurosagi knelt in front of them.

“Ogami-San, are you all right?” asked Kurosagi. Hatori looked at her cringing.

“This does hurt a lot compared to the other wounds I received before,” said Hatori. Kurosagi looked down at his bleeding arm. Kurosagi sighed.

“Those soldiers were idiots shooting us. Because of that, those soldiers are going to report us as assassins attempting to kill the king,” said Kurosagi. Leo looked at Kurosagi and said, “I can explain to them that you were trying to help grandpa.” Kurosagi glanced at Leo.

“It’s not that easy. The minute they see us, they are going to shoot and if they see you with us, they are going to think that we kidnapped you.”

Leo clenched his fist and asked, “So what do we do?”

“We need to find your father avoiding the soldiers and explain the situation,” stated Kurosagi. Leo nodded. Hatori cringed and asked, “Can I get some first aid please?” Kurosagi nodded and pulled his arm gently to her. She looked into the bullet wound. She saw a glimpse of the embedded bullet and held her hand to Leo.

“Give me the medical kit in my bag that I showed you before,” ordered Kurosagi. Leo nodded. Leo pulled out the medical kit from her bag and handed it to her. Kurosagi unzipped it and pulled out a pair of tweezers. She looked at Hatori and said, “This is going to hurt.” Hatori nodded. Kurosagi pushed the tweezers into the wound. Hatori gritted his teeth trying to fight his screams back. Kurosagi yanked the bullet out with the tweezers and then looked at Leo.

“I need you to suck the wasted blood out of Ogami-San’s arm.”

“Why me?”

“I have a condition that prevents me from devouring blood.”

Leo gulped and ran to Kurosagi’s side. He held Hatori’s arm and placed his lips over the wound. He sucked the blood out making Hatori cringe. He spat the blood out and did it three more times. Hatori looked at Kurosagi and asked, “Is this necessary?” Kurosagi nodded and added, “Unless you want the bacteria from the bullet to remain in you.” Hatori shook his head. Leo spat out the blood in his mouth and was about to do it again, but Kurosagi placed a hand on his shoulder making him stop.

“That’s good enough,” said Kurosagi. Leo nodded and wiped the blood around his lips staining his arm sleeve. Kurosagi pulled a sewing needle from the medical kit and then looked at Hatori and Leo seriously.

“Don’t tell anyone of what you see today.”

Hatori and Leo nodded. Kurosagi yanked out a strand of hair from her head and looped it through the eyehole of the needle.  She grabbed Hatori’s arm and pushed the needle in making Hatori cringe. She sewed the wound shut using the strand as thread. She cut the needle away and the next thing they knew, the wound disappeared completely. Hatori looked at his healed arm in amazement.

“How did you do that?” asked Hatori. Kurosagi held up a strand of her hair.

“My hair can heal any wound when it is sewn into the skin. I only use this secret in emergencies. Congratulations on learning another of my secrets Ogami-San.”

Hatori nodded with awe. Leo was just as amazed.

“You must be an angel,” complimented Leo. Kurosagi chuckled and said, “Your grandfather said the same thing a long time ago.” Leo blinked in confusion as did Hatori. Kurosagi dumped her supplies into her bag and said, “Let’s find your father now, Anezska-Kun.” Leo looked at Hatori and asked, “Is that your name mister.” Kurosagi sighed and said, “His name is Hatori Ogami, now come along, Leo.” Leo nodded not understanding that Kurosagi called him by his last name first. Hatori followed behind.

The minute they walked out, a soldier spotted them and screamed, “Intruders found!” He pointed his gun at them ordering them not to move. Kurosagi raised her hands and was about to speak, but the soldier accidentally pulled the trigger. Kurosagi was shot in the head making Leo scream and Hatori gasp. Kurosagi fell back. She then shook her head placing a hand to her forehead. She looked at the soldier with a smirk as the bullet was pushed out of her head. The wound on her head healed leaving droplets of blood.  The soldier screamed and began to shot rapidly at them. Kurosagi was continuously hit as she grabbed Leo and Hatori and ran back into the palace. The bullets left her body as they ran. Leo looked at Kurosagi with wide eyes.

Kurosagi ran into an empty room shutting the door behind them. She placed them down and sighed as she leaned against the wall. There were bullet holes all over her dress, but no wounds on her body. Hatori removed his jacket and covered Kurosagi.

“Are you OK?” asked Hatori. Kurosagi nodded and said, “I’m just a little tired.” Leo looked at Kurosagi and asked, “How are you still alive after being shot so many times?” Kurosagi smirked at Leo.

“I’m just a monster.”

Leo shook his head and looked at Hatori.

“Is Kurosagi always like this?” asked Leo. Hatori nodded. Leo looked back at Kurosagi and noticed her torn clothes. He blushed and turned away. He noticed some blankets on a dusty bed and pulled them off. He handed them to Kurosagi and said, “You can wear this for now.” Kurosagi nodded taking the blanket into her hands. She tossed Hatori’s coat back and wrapped the blanket around her body like a toga. She tore of a piece of the blanket to make it the right size.

“Thank you, Leo,” said Kurosagi. Leo nodded. Kurosagi, Hatori, and Leo suddenly heard a siren. They peeked out of the room and began to hear an announcement.

“Attention to all citizens. We have three intruders on palace grounds who have tried to assassinate the king. They have also taken the prince as a hostage. The first intruder is a man around his twenties in jeans and a black jacket. He has short brown hair and brown eyes. The second intruder is a young girl in a white dress. She seems to be armed and dangerous. The third is a young boy wearing a brown hat. Please report them if you see them.”

Leo, Kurosagi, and Hatori were speechless. Leo groaned and said, “So they didn’t even recognize me as the prince.”

“What did you expect, dressed like that?” asked Kurosagi. Leo sighed. Hatori looked at Kurosagi and said, “This is bad. Now even the king will think we kidnapped his son and tried to kill his grandfather.”

“I know, but we still need to see him.”

Kurosagi suddenly fell to her knees making Hatori and Leo concerned.

“Kurosagi, are you OK?” asked Hatori rubbing her back. Kurosagi looked at Hatori cringing.

“The effects of the ashes do last a day, but if I use it too much, it can take a toll on this body,” explained Kurosagi. Hatori gasped and looked down at her legs. Her legs seemed to be stiff.

“So you can’t run anymore?”

“That’s right. I need to wait at least an hour before I can walk again.”

Hatori sighed and picked Kurosagi up bridal style. She looked at Hatori and asked, “What are you doing?”

“You can’t walk, so I will carry you. Got a problem with it?”

Kurosagi chuckled and said, “Not at all, Ogami-San.” Leo picked up Kurosagi’s bag and asked, “So how do we do this? I don’t want bullets flying at us again.” Kurosagi looked down at Leo and asked, “Do you know of a painting that has been in a room without ever being moved once?” Leo thought awhile.

“There’s a painting of a cat in my mom’s room, but her room is heavily guarded.”

“Can you take me there?” asked Kurosagi. Leo nodded and asked, “But how are we going to get pass the guards.”

“Is there anyone you trust?”

“Well uncle Petro might be able to help. Maybe he can take us to father.”

“Where is he?”

“He’s always around mom’s room.”

“Then shall we go?”

Leo nodded. They left the room watching every corner. Leo pointed down a different hall and said, “Mom’s room is that way.” Kurosagi and Hatori nodded as they followed Leo. Leo turned the corner and gasped.

“Uncle Petro!”

Out of the hall emerged a browned haired man around his thirties looking down at Leo. The man, Petro, hugged Leo and said, “Thank goodness, you’re all right.” Petro noticed the blood around Leo’s mouth and gasped.

“Where did the blood come from?” asked Petro in shock as he tried to wipe the blood off with his thumb. Leo touched the blood on his mouth and said, “It was an emergency first aid.”  Leo then looked at Petro seriously and said, “That announcement was all a mistake. I was never kidnapped and the three intruders were really me with Kurosagi and Hatori.” Petro blinked in confusion and looked toward Kurosagi and Hatori.

“Did you say Kurosagi?”

Leo nodded and said, “That’s right and right now because of that announcement we are being pursued. Can you help us clear up the misunderstanding?” Petro nodded and said, “Of course.”

“Wait here, while I get your father and mother.”

Leo nodded and watched Petro run off. Leo looked back at Kurosagi and said, “He went to get father, so we don’t need to go to mom’s room.” Kurosagi’s eyes narrowed.

“Why did he leave us?”

“To protect us, I guess.”

Before Kurosagi could say anything else, Hatori gave out a grunt and fell forward dropping Kurosagi. Kurosagi gasped falling against Leo. Leo fell back trying to hold her up. Kurosagi and Leo looked behind them and saw Hatori lying unconscious with a man in a black mask standing over him.

“Ogami-San,” muttered Kurosagi. She tried to get up, but her legs failed her. The masked man grabbed Kurosagi and Leo by the hair making them cringe. He lifted them off the ground glaring at them.

“The secret can’t be known.”

The man tossed Hatori over his shoulder as he walked down the hall with Kurosagi and Leo struggling.

They were brought into an underground dungeon and tossed into an empty cell. The man shut the door of the cell removing his mask. Leo gasped and said, “Aren’t you Igorek, the cook?” The man nodded and said, “I might as well show my face to you now because you are never leaving this cell.” Leo clasped the bars of the cell and screamed, “Why are you doing this?” Igorek pointed at Kurosagi.

“Blame her. I bet she already told you about the poison in his majesty Ivan. I can’t have you telling everyone.”

Leo clenched his fist. Igorek looked toward Kurosagi and said, “I expected you to be older.”

“I get that a lot child,” said Kurosagi with crossed arms. Igorek shrugged at her and looked back at Leo. He saw the tears in Leo’s eyes and said, “No crying little prince.” Leo glared at Igorek and demanded, “Why would you poison grandpa?”

“To have things go back to the way they were.”

“What?”

“I believe your tutors told you before that Russia used to be a Communist country, but went back to the monarchy after we were nearly bankrupt. The Russians want the old days to come back and that can happen with the death of the royal family.”

Leo’s eyes widen in realization.

“Does that mean you are going to kill my dad too?” asked Leo with his voice shaking. Igorek nodded and said, “Too bad you won’t get to see his corpse.” Igorek walked off with Leo screaming curses at him.

Igorek disappeared into the darkness of the hall. Leo fell to his knees crying. Kurosagi sighed and said, “Try to calm down.” Leo glanced back at Kurosagi with tears in his eyes.

“How can I calm down? My dad is going to be killed too and I can’t do anything.”

Leo leaned against the bars crying his eyes out. Kurosagi shook her head and pulled herself to Leo. She leaned against his back soothing his sobs.

“Everything will be all right. I won’t let your father die, so believe in me.”

Leo choked on his tears and nodded.

When an hour had past, Kurosagi stood up and said, “We should get out of here first.” Leo nodded. Hatori groaned making them look at him. Hatori looked at them from the ground and asked, “What happened?”

“You were knocked out by the cook, now get up so we can go,” said Kurosagi bluntly. Hatori nodded rubbing his head. Kurosagi stood before the bars.

“So how do we get out?” asked Leo. Kurosagi crunched her knuckles and gripped the bars of the cell. She yanked them causing the hedges of the cell to break off. She tossed the bars to the side with Leo and Hatori looking at her with wide eyes.

“Elephant ashes are very helpful,” stated Kurosagi crunching her knuckles. She flung her bag over her shoulder as she walked out of the cell. She looked back at Leo and Hatori and said, “Shall we?” Hatori and Leo nodded. They walked out of the cell. They entered the hallway and realized that it was a maze.

“How do we get out?” asked Leo not remembering the way. Kurosagi smirked and went to a solid wall. She felt across the surface and then pressed in a loose rock. The wall opened revealing a new path. Leo and Hatori gasped in surprise. Kurosagi pointed at the new tunnel and said, “This should lead us out no problem.” Kurosagi entered the tunnel with Leo and Hatori behind her.

Leo looked at Kurosagi as they walked through the tunnel and asked, “Did you live here before?”

“Why do you ask?”

“Well you seem to know your way around the palace and know secret paths that I have never seen before.”

Kurosagi smirked and patted Leo’s head.

“If you’re a good boy, I’ll tell you.”

Leo groaned and muttered, “Don’t treat me like you are older than me.” Kurosagi chuckled and walked ahead of him. At the end of the tunnel was a door with a dog symbol on it. Kurosagi touched the symbol and said, “If this was kept a secret, then the code might not have changed.”

“What code?” asked Hatori and Leo in unison. Kurosagi ran her index finger along the dog’s ear and then whispered, “Good boy.” The door clicked and slowly opened a crack. Kurosagi looked back at them with a smirk.

“Ready to go?”

They both nodded and followed Kurosagi out the door. They ended up behind a red curtain. Kurosagi stopped in her tracks and held a finger to Leo and Hatori telling them to be quiet. On the other side of the curtains were voices. Leo gasped and whispered, “That sounds like my dad.” Kurosagi peeked behind the curtain and saw Dimitri, Leo’s father, talking with a girl in her twenties and Petro. Leo peeked too and said, “It’s dad, mom, and Uncle Petro.”

“What are they talking about?” asked Hatori. Leo was ready to run out, but Kurosagi held him back making Leo confused.

“Please listen,” whispered Kurosagi. Leo nodded.

Dimitri sank into his chair and said, “Why haven’t the assassins been found?”

“And what do they want with Leo,” said Leo’s mother.  Petro placed a hand on her shoulder and said, “He’ll be found, Feodora.” Leo’s mother, Feodora, nodded with traces of tears still in her eyes.

Dimitri looked at Petro and said, “Until they are found, I won’t be crowned king, understand?” Petro nodded with a saddened expression.

The door to the room suddenly opened revealing Igorek with a tray of red wine.  Leo gasped and tried to yell out, but Kurosagi covered his mouth. Igorek bowed to them and said, “I brought you some wine to calm yourselves.” Dimitri thanked Igorek and picked up a glass as did Feodora and Petro. Kurosagi pushed Leo to Hatori and muttered, “Are you ready to follow me into the darkness to know the truth, Leo?” Leo nodded confused on what Kurosagi was about to do.

Kurosagi yanked out three strands of her hair and ran them across her lips allowing her saliva to soak them. The strands gave out a small glitter making Hatori’s eyes widen. The hairs now stood stiffly in her hand. Before Dimitri could sip the wine, Kurosagi emerged from behind the curtain and threw the strands at them. Each strand of hair hit a single glass shattering it. Dimitri, Petro, Feodora, and Igorek looked toward Kurosagi with wide eyes. Kurosagi smirked.

Dimitri shot up from his chair and yelled, “Are you the assassin?” Kurosagi shook her head and said, “I assure you that I am no assassin.” Kurosagi pointed at Igorek and said, “But I can’t say the same for him.” They all looked at Igorek. Igorek shook his head and said, “I don’t know what she is talking about.” Kurosagi smirked and said, “Don’t play dumb. You were the one delivering poison medicine to his majesty Ivan.” Igorek cringed.

“Is this true?” demanded Dimitri. Igorek shook his head and said, “It’s a lie!”

“It’s true!”

Leo pushed the curtain aside revealing him and Hatori. Leo pointed at Igorek and said, “He kidnapped me and placed me in an underground dungeon. He also told me that he was poisoning grandpa.”

“Leo,” exclaimed Feodora as she ran to hug him. Dimitri glared at Igorek and said, “What do you have to say to that?” Igorek clenched his fist and ran toward the door. Kurosagi ran at him with an incredible speed and kicked him to the ground. Kurosagi pinned him down using the strength from the ashes. Igorek groaned in pain.

Hatori looked down at the shattered glasses and noticed an Ikigami pill that looked like it was dissolving.

“So he tried to use the Ikigami poison using the wine as an agent,” said Hatori. Kurosagi nodded. Dimitri glared at Igorek and said, “I believe a punishment is in order.” Kurosagi glanced up at Dimitri and said, “Before you do that, you should also punish someone else.”

“What?”

Kurosagi looked toward Petro making him flinch.

“That man came up with the plan,” stated Kurosagi.

“What are you talking about?” asked Hatori in shock. Leo was also confused. Kurosagi looked down at Igorek as he struggled.

“The Ikigami drug, if found costs a fortune. This man as a cook could never afford it and it is impossible to steal because any remaining Ikigami medicine is protected in a vault that will open only to a selected few or to a person with money.”

Kurosagi glanced back at Leo and said, “When I told you to listen, did you ever hear Petro mention that he saw you before?” Leo’s eyes widen.

“He never did.”

“Igorek also appeared after Petro left us in the hall. Petro most likely told him that I was here and decided to take me out of the picture.”

Petro chuckled and said, “That is just coincidence and are you sure that Leo saw me.” Leo looked at Petro in shock.

“But I did talk to you.”

“It could have been someone who looked like me.”

Leo gritted his teeth in confusion. Kurosagi glared at Petro. Petro looked at Dimitri and said, “She doesn’t have any solid evidence that I am related to this.” Dimitri sighed and nodded.

“It is a huge accusation,” said Dimitri in agreement. Kurosagi smirked and asked, “So you want proof?” Kurosagi yanked at Igorek’s hair making him gasp.

“Did you ever meet with your employer to help with your dream of a Communist country?” asked Kurosagi. Igorek glared at her and said, “Why should I tell you?” Kurosagi smirked and whispered something into his ear. Igorek became pale and whispered, “I have.” Kurosagi nodded and then asked, “Who is it?”

“Sir Petro.”

Petro cringed and screamed, “He’s trying to frame me!” Kurosagi knocked Igorek out and then yanked out a strand of his hair. She showed it to them and said, “Let’s see if he is lying or not.” She looked at Dimitri and said, “You will be the one to see the truth.”

Kurosagi urged Dimitri to come closer to her. Dimitri knelt in front of Kurosagi wondering what she wanted to show him. Without warning, Kurosagi tossed the strand of hair into her mouth and yanked Dimitri to her. She slammed her lips into his making his eyes widen. Hatori’s eyes widen, Feodora covered her mouth with both hands, Petro blinked in confusion, and Leo was cringing. Dimitri tried to pull away, but Kurosagi held him tight. Kurosagi closed her eyes as she allowed her saliva mixed with the hair to enter Dimitri’s mouth.

See the truth, your majesty.

Dimitri closed his eyes wondering where he was hearing Kurosagi’s voice. He only saw darkness through his eyelids, but then heard a voice.

Sir Petro?

An image appeared before Dimitri’s eyes making him gasp. He saw Petro sitting in an unknown room tossing a bottle up and down. Petro looked at Dimitri and smirked.

“So you finally arrived, Igorek?”

“What is your plan to bring back the Communist country?”

Petro tossed the bottle to Dimitri. The image shifted to him looking at the bottle. It was filled with purple capsules.

“What is this?”

“A poison called Ikigami. Mix it in with the medicines that the doctors give his majesty. Oh and make sure to soak it in rat poison before you do so.”

“Why?”

“Ikigami reaction slows down with added poison. That way, his majesty will look like he died from a disease.”

Petro chuckled and said, “May his majesty Ivan rest in peace and then we can kill that stupid Dimitri.”

“So Sir Dimitri needs to die too?”

“That’s right, so do your part, Igorek.”

The image disappeared as Kurosagi removed her lips from Dimitri’s. Dimitri stumbled back as Kurosagi fell to her knees. Kurosagi huffed as she looked at Dimitri with sweat against her forehead.

“Did you see?”

Dimitri nodded and looked at Petro in disbelief.

“You were the one who bought the poison and told Igorek how to give it to Grandpa Ivan.”

Petro cringed and screamed, “Do you believe that?” Dimitri clenched his fist.

“I don’t want to believe it, but I saw your transaction with Igorek. In a room covered in drapes with a single window that could see the castle.”

Petro’s eyes widen and muttered, “How did you know that scenery?” Petro covered his mouth as all looked at him. Dimitri stood up with seriousness in his eyes.

“We treated you like our family and now you poisoned my grandpa to return the country to what it was? Are you that desperate to go back?” screamed Dimitri. Petro clenched his fist and grabbed Feodora making her scream. He glared at them as he put Feodora into a choke hold.

“The people follow you like dogs. We just need to be free from all that and a Communist country is the way to go,” stated Petro with crazed eyes.

“You’re wrong!”

Petro flinched and looked Kurosagi. Kurosagi stood up and glared at Petro.

“A long time ago, this country was about to collapse and the people needed aid. The Anezska family did that and the people decided to follow them. It was the reason why they went back to a monarchy. A Communist country is for people who don’t need a noble leader, but when a true leader emerges, then it is their decision whether to have that leader or not. All of Russia chose to have a true leader, so don’t think of them as dogs!”

Petro glared at Kurosagi with his hand shaking. He threw Feodora to the side as Kurosagi yanked a strand of her hair off.

“You are the reason for this failure,” muttered Petro. Petro grabbed a butter knife from the table. He ran at her with crazed eyes with the knife high above his head.

“Kurosagi!” screamed Hatori as he ran to her. Kurosagi screamed for Hatori to stay back stopping him in his tracks. Kurosagi ran a strand of her hair through her lips making it solid and threw it at Petro’s hand. The needle like hair sank into his hand. Petro cried out in pain as he dropped the knife and gripped his hand. The pain was unbearable to Petro as he cried. Kurosagi stood before him making him look at her. Kurosagi held her hand at him with a smirk upon her lips.

“The truth was found through Igorek and the Ikigami poison, now fall into the darkness, Petro.”

Petro let out a scream as they all looked on. Petro fell unconscious before her feet. Kurosagi withdrew her hand and looked at the others.

“Call the authorities now, your majesty.”

Dimitri nodded filled with confusion on what had happened. Kurosagi walked out the door with Hatori behind her. Leo gasped and ran after her. Feodora tried to follow after Leo, but the pain in her neck was too much. Leo looked at Kurosagi’s retreating back and asked, “Where are you going?” Kurosagi stopped in her tracks and looked back at Leo.

“To see my old friend.”

Kurosagi continued to walk off with Leo and Hatori still following. She entered the bed chambers of Ivan making Hatori and Leo confused.

“Why are you in here?”

Kurosagi approached Ivan’s bed side. Ivan looked at Kurosagi weakly and smiled.

“Angel, you came back.”

Kurosagi chuckled and said, “I told you many times not to call me that, little puppy.” Hatori looked at Kurosagi in disbelief.

“So you do know him?” asked Hatori. Kurosagi nodded. She placed her hand on Ivan’s aged hand. Ivan held Kurosagi’s hand weakly.

“You really haven’t changed, Angel.”

“I can’t say the same to you.”

Ivan placed his other hand on her cheek and caressed it.

“Remember I told you that I would marry you in the future?” asked Ivan. Kurosagi nodded and said, “Sorry that your promise couldn’t be kept.” Ivan chuckled and added, “But being with you made me so happy.” Ivan touched Kurosagi’s lips.

“I wish I could relive the time I spent with you as a child.”

Kurosagi smiled and touched his wrinkled cheek.

“You just need to move forward and go to a place that I can never reach,” whispered Kurosagi. Ivan smiled as his breathing slowed down. He closed his eyes as his hand fell from Kurosagi’s face. Leo saw this and shook Ivan.

“Grandpa?”

Ivan made no response, but a smile was still plastered on his face. Kurosagi placed a hand on Leo’s shoulder and said, “He’s gone.” Leo began to cry gripping the covers of the bed. Kurosagi looked back at Hatori, who looked at her with wide eyes.

“So the girl in the painting is you?”

Kurosagi nodded and said, “I met Ivan before he was even king. He called me Angel and I called him Little Puppy. He showed me so many secret passages and how to access them. He was one of my happiest moments.” Hatori looked at the painting of Kurosagi and Ivan together. Ivan looked like Leo. He looked back at Kurosagi and asked, “How old are you?”

Kurosagi shook her head and said, “You’re still not ready, Ogami-San.” Kurosagi walked away from Ivan’s body and past Hatori out the door.

The very next day, Dimitri was crowned and Ivan was given a proper burial. Kurosagi and Hatori experienced the events and went to the airport to return to Japan. Hatori looked down at Kurosagi and asked, “You ready to board?” Kurosagi sighed already feeling nauseous.

“Kurosagi!”

Kurosagi flinched and looked back only to see Leo running to her. Leo stopped in front of her breathing heavily.

“Why are you here?” asked Kurosagi. Leo looked at her and said, “I still need to pay you for figuring out what was wrong with grandpa.” Kurosagi smirked.

“Oh yeah, I did ask for the ruby and something else that was precious to you.”

Leo nodded. He looked at her seriously and said, “Before I give you the payment, can you tell me why you kissed my dad and why your hair became needles?”

“Fine.”

Kurosagi lifted up her hair and said, “When a strand of my hair is soaked in my saliva, they become solid needles that can cause great pain to whatever it impales. As for your first question, I kissed your father to place my saliva into his mouth so he can see the memory that I was seeing through Igorek’s hair strand.” Leo pouted and said, “That’s weird.” Kurosagi chuckled and nodded in agreement. Hatori smiled knowing that he discovered two more secrets about Kurosagi.

Kurosagi held her hand to Leo and asked, “So can you please give me the payment now?” Leo nodded. He grabbed her hand making her confused. With a bright blush against his cheek, he pulled her into a deep kiss. Hatori gasped as Kurosagi’s eyes widened. Leo pulled away still blushing.

“The most precious thing to me is my first kiss. I give it to you,” said Leo blushing madly. Kurosagi touched her lips and chuckled.

“I see. You are just like your grandfather when he was young.”

“What?”

“Your grandfather gave his first kiss to me as well.”

Leo gasped and clenched his head screaming, “No fair!” Kurosagi laughed and patted Leo’s head.

“I hope to see you again and thanks for the payment.”

Leo nodded still blushing. Kurosagi looked at Hatori who was still in shock.

“Shall we go now, Ogami-San?” asked Kurosagi. Hatori nodded snapping out of his shock. Leo watched them leave and then called out, “I promise to see you again!” Kurosagi smirked as she boarded the plane. Hatori looked down at Kurosagi and asked, “Did that really count as a payment?” Kurosagi nodded. She then pulled out the ruby within her bag and kissed it.

Farewell, Ivan.

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