Renee held on tight to his shoulders – which felt muscular and broad in her grip. She was glad she’d decided to wear jeans today instead of her usual attire of dress. Riding the moped with a stranger gave Renee a whole new experience; Renee concluded that Punk was a good rider. The wind brushed Renee’s skin gently and Renee devoted herself to feel them. The sound of the wind giving way to the skilfully maneuvered moped echoed in her helmet. For a short moment, she concentrated on the beautiful song of the wind.
Then she caught a new melody. Though soft, the melody was beautiful and soul-calming. Renee thought she recognized the rhythm – a few notes sounded familiar (she couldn't quite hear it). Slowly she came to realization that it was one of her few songs she composed when she first debut in the online video channel. She blinked and focused on the song – no doubt, it was her song. She stole a glance at Punk. She was surprised and uncharacteristically blushing – she could feel her heart thumping; uncertain if it was due to the ride or the fact that her songs were playing from his moped.
She was used to hearing her songs playing in others' MP3 player, as others' ringtone and what not but she’d never felt so surprised before. In fact, she was used to it and happy that there are people who appreciate her song. But for Punk who knew she was QianXue at first sight yet had her songs in his playlists - and still treated her normally; he even yelled at her brought a new feeling to Renee. She couldn't quite describe the feeling - it was a fluster of emotions adding up altogether.
When the moped suddenly picked up the speed without notice, the surprised Renee was taken aback. Out of fear, her hands shifted down and locked her arms tightly around Punk’s waist. Closing her eyes, she hugged him tightly without realizing it. The ride went a little wild and faster for Renee to catch but she entrusted herself to him. She had to, anyway.
When the moped finally came to a halt, Renee opened her eyes to find that they had arrived outside of her apartment. The ride left Renee in a daze and before she could reply to him, he left as fast as he came to her.
“Thank you…” Renee said softly as she looked at his back as he slowly disappeared from her sight. Renee looked around to check if the coast was clear. She recalled his words as he helped her down just moment ago. Renee had been keeping a low profile since her arrival here to trigger any unwanted pursuers – except for those she accidentally stumbled across; but that was case closed.
Renee strolled into the lobby and took the elevator up to her apartment – still wondering the identity of the said stalker. Her mind was drifting off when something Punk said earlier snapped - she took out her phone, ignoring the miscalls from Keith and looked into her contacts list. A new number, a new name appeared to her – Punk.
Is Punk really his real name!? Renee raised an eyebrow. Then she realized something out of the picture. How did Punk even know that she was QianXue? She remembered asking herself the same question few days ago. Indeed she had unfinished song and even songs that she would never publish in the phone but how could his first guess hit bullseye? And how did he had his number input in her unlock phone? He can't possibly unlock her phone - he didn't know her passwords!
And how did he know where I lived?
Her hand moved up to cradle the diamond pendant in her fingers - she had a peculiar feeling about him. The only conclusion Renee could thought of was he hacked her phone. Renee made a baby sigh.
She couldn't possibly tell her family about her predicament when it was not a solid evidence that those people are after her. Her family had really good reputation and ranking in the world - well respected by everyone else, and Renee doubted that her grandfather would make enemies with any one personally. On top of that, there was nothing much they could do, besides asking her to return - and Renee wouldn't want to return
Little did the both of them know, Punk was also slowing hacking his way into her heart. But unbeknownst to everyone, the moment she falls in love would bring an end to what the decrepit Stefan Royscott had always been protecting with all his lives.
Reaching her floor, she walked to her front door. As Renee held out her hand to reach for the doorknob, a figure walked out from the shadow and tapped on her shoulder.
Everything I treasured turning into fragments
The door of Team 127 office slid open. Punk marched in stoically and saluted his superior.
"Sir," Punk addressed him politely, his meekness slightly pronounced in the presence of the most powerful man of Law Enforcement of the East. "My apology."
The Superintendent smiled good-naturedly and waved. for Punk to stand down He sat up in Punk's chair and crossed his arms, observing the unmovable team intently.
"Team Alpha. Please relax. I am here on a social call," he spoke with an enigmatic smile. "You people deserve the honour of being on my best NB team. I heard you managed to close a high society case in two days. Congratulations! Bravo! Good work!"
Punk hid his expression in the shadows of the afternoon sun. There was too many questionable areas in the Superintendent's speech. the case had yet to be declared closed until Punk gave a direct order. On the contrary, Reaper's worrying report about how the bureaucrats had played it smoothly (regarding Punk's proactive actions and clashes with CSI) and the case closed with a red stamp on the file had Punk rushing immediately after dropping off his personal matters. He kept quiet with the rest of his team. The Superintendent waited patiently for a rebuttal but there came none. He frowned slightly.
"Well, I never knew this team to be so quiet," he teased into the silent crowd. "No matter. I was hoping that with your freed schedule now, you can help me on some quiet cases. What I mean are cases which should be kept from public knowledge. Your team seems to fit the criteria I need."
The Superintendent cared not to elaborate further on his criteria. Instead, he logged into his account on Punk's computer. A hologram of the new case documents was projected to the centre of the room. He stood up slowly and buttoned his blazer.
"The details are within. Your deadline is next week. Work fast but silently," he ordered, eyes swerving to Punk's directions.
Taking the hint, Punk lowered his head. Reaper yelled for salutations and the Team raised their hands above their left chest to see the Superintendent. As the sound-proof door slid to a close, Punk stumbled into the nearest chair and rubbed his temple.
"That went rather strangely," Punk commented after a moment of rest.
The team members looked uncertainly around. Hexane courageously approached their leader.
"The Cain Murder Case...We have yet to type the report and compiled the data for court presentations. Also, the unique compound within-"
"No, Hexane. The case is closed the moment the Superintendent came to visit us in person. I," Punk explained as he rose from the chair. "am terribly sorry for all the troubles I have brought to you thus far."
Unaccustomed to their leader's sudden humbleness, Hexane retreated to the back of the taller men in the team (who were just as shocked). Only Pan smiled and took over Hexane.
"That is right, Sir. You should have just included us in your scheme to take the last of the Underdogs down. We could have escaped unscathed with combined efforts," Pan replied with slight sarcasm.
Creamer, standing on the right of Pan, looked ready to argue for his safety from the politics. Punk immediately interrupted his speech.
"The entire team would never escape unscathed with the Conglomerate's precious Princess involved. And I do not want to risk exposing this team to further implications of the case. Now, we focus on building our reputation with this under table problem. Team CSI should have gotten the memo by now to stop bothering us and close the last case for us," Punk announced.
Creamer suppressed a sigh of relief while the rest of the team still looked unsure.
"But, Punk," Rider blurted out. "Our efforts in solving the case would go unrecognised by the media! Team CSI will seize this opportunity to steal our limelight!"
"Rider, are you an officer for fame or to save life?" Punk inquired with a pressurizing aura.
Rider fell silent. Punk disseminated the work to the team. As he read the entire document aloud, he began to realize the intent of the Superintendent. It seemed his superiors were not letting him off easily - their next case would require travelling out of the country. The rest of Team 127 began to come to same conclusion. Punk's cool stance did not expose his inner turmoil. He simply ordered for them to be ready for deployment to the West Nation (save for Reaper who would remain in the country as back up) by the next evening. The team worked till seven in the evening in a hurry to clear the required visa for travelling and planning trip itinerary. Two days would be wasted on the cross country travelling. they only had nine days to solve the case. Rider exchanged uneasy glances with Hexane. None of them dared to share their tension with the deeply engrossed Punk. He did not even notice that he was the only one left in the office after eight. Tired eyes broke his concentration. He tapped his headset.
"None from Lady Renee," Ace teased in a contrastingly flat tone. "Seven from Team CSI. One from Reaper. Three from the Superintendent office. One from XX Travel Agency."
Rubbing his temple again, Punk gruellingly listened to a playback for all messages.
The End in sight＿〆(。。)
Renee jumped and forcefully pushed the hand off her shoulder before turning around to face the stalker. Much to her surprise, it was Keith. Sighing in relief, she almost thought Punk was right about her having a stalker – when she was close to concluding that he lied.
“Whoa…chill, Rin,” Keith teased with the nickname he used to call her with. “Why are you all worked up?”
Renee looked up and waved his question away.
“Were you tailing behind…..just now?” Renee asked as she placed her thumb over the scanner on the doorknob. The thin layer of aluminium piece with networks of chips embedded underneath the knob scanned her thumb print and triggered the system to unlock the door after recognizing Renee as the house occupant.
“I was here for nearly an hour now, what do you mean tailing.…what took you so long?” Keith raised an eyebrow as he followed her into her apartment. “And where were you? We were worried for you.”
Renee strolled to the kitchen and got them each a glass of watermelon juice. “I know, you don’t have to keep tag on me. Stop with all those miscalls. I won’t answer them when I'm engaged. You’re worst than my grandpa and brother add together.”
"Where's your house mate?" Keith rolled his eyes before scanning the spacious apartment.
"I have no idea, she had never been around since I first moved in," she replied with a shrug.
Gulping down the juice, he added, “Now what is it that you needed me to do?”
A smile lit up her face as she was reminded of her babies. She gestured him up to her bedroom – and showed him her mess of wires and uninstalled music instruments. One look at them told Keith that Renee had a failed attempt in putting the gadgets together. Putting down his guitar, Keith pulled up his sleeves and worked on connecting the keyboard to her computer and laptop.
It took him nearly an hour to install the programme and gadgets together. When he was done with the installments, he looked up at Renee who handed him a cup of instant noodles.
"Just this?" he pouted. "I was expecting for more - like home-cook meal..."
Renee rolled her eyes and was about to redraw her hands when Keith snatched the cup. After lunch, the two spent the whole afternoon remixing songs and finalising some of her chosen pieces for her new upcoming album. There were laughter, jokes and teases between the two.
"Remember my very first few songs? 「Snow in Summer」? What do you think bout it?"
There was a short pause as Keith tuned his guitar. "Wasn't that the less popular ones? Why do you even care bout that? If you're thinking to remix it I would object - it doesn't worth your time."
Renee nodded to herself - keeping her thoughts to herself. It was oddly contrasting - Renee felt at ease and peaceful with Keith than when with Punk. When she was with Punk - and only Punk, her heart tend to skip a few beats and she had to prepare herself for any unexpected event from him.But with him, she had the urge to explore his many faces. And Punk obviously treated her differently. Though when Reaper was around, Punk behaved himself.
"Earth to Renee!" Keith suddenly raised his voice an octave higher. Renee looked up at him - blinking in confusion. "You should quit spacing out, it's pretty annoying at times. Anyway, before I forgets - your personal studio would be ready in three days' time; which means you can see it real soon! Excited?"
Renee blinked - not a sign of excitement was shown on her face. She simply shook her head and crossed her legs as she sat on her bed.
"Sorry, bro.." she drawled - sounding a little sad. "I have a tight schedule this week. I had to head over to the west nation to attend an event - a private auction to be more exact. Got a phone call this morning from grandpa asking me to represent the Royscott Corp. They had registered my name in the guests list - I can't decline the invitation now."
Keith's expression melted into a disappointment. "Which private auction?"
"The Magna City's - though this is the first time I hear they hold a private auction instead of a public one. I thought grandpa always decline private auction invitation ... but it seems that he has eyed some valuable properties that would be available only in that auction."
Renee looked down and sighed - her grandfather had been bringing her to auctions every now and then that he now trusted her with the mission of retrieving treasures on her own, although she had a peculiar feeling in regards to the private auction. She remembered him commenting that Private Auctions would be too filthy for them to attend - sometimes they actually meant underground auctions of black market. For him to actually accepts the invitation and sending Renesmee to represents the Royscott Corp left her speechless.
The Magna City Private Auction also required the bidders to come in pair - dressed in suits and gowns; the kind of royal high-classiness they tried to revive from the medieval age. Her grandfather was thoughtful in getting her a partner, and she wouldn't mind it - if only her partner didn't have to be her bodyguard.
"You will go with your bodyguard unless you could find yourself a partner! Do you even have any friend there that know your real identity - and he can protect you?" Renee recalled her grandfather's hasty sentences over the phone that morning. Obviously no. Keith can't fight. He runs when he sees a cockroach.
There was a momentary pause between the two high school friends before Keith looked up with a smile. "I should get going now. Time to get that Junko before she gets any further with that suspicious richie. How long will you be away?"
"Just a few days I believed. The auction lasted two days and I will take the time to tour the nation."
Heading towards the door, Keith turned back to face her with a cool smile.
"Don't forget our souvenirs."
Once Keith left, Renee looked down at her phone. It was half past nine and she was contemplating the idea to either call Punk or leaves him a message. She had finally gotten the answer to her grandfather's question that morning. If there was one person she could trust on, that person would be Punk - despite the bad chain of events she had with him. She wanted to invite him as her partner to attend the private event that no one but the invited guests could enter.
Wait ... why did I even think of him? A momentary flashbacks of Punk dropping her off earlier interrupted her thoughts of process.
Playing with her diamond pendant, she dropped the idea - she didn't want to be a nuisance to him.
Everything I treasured turning into fragments
The morning breeze invited a lone jogger on his habitual warm-up marathon. It lifted his black fringe to reveal a deep scar above his left eye which could inspire passer-bys to give him a wide berth. The route had been changed drastically after a short discussion with his coordinator the night before. The jogger was going to do an eleven-kilometre journey to Seaside Bay before turning sharply on the desolated highway to the quiet suburban town of Sleeping Heights where terrace houses dominated the main streets. The upper echelon of the caste system have apartments in this area. However, the only millionaire he was interested in was a young heiress of Royscott. He completed a further seven-kilometre jog before pausing to stretch in front of a quaint apartment building. The lights in his target's house was turned off. It was not surprising considering it was only five in the morning. A good fifteen-minute stretch and the athletic man was ready to return to home base.
Three and a half hours after the tracker left Sleeping Heights, Punk was grinning from side to side in the back seat of a stuffy HydroCab. His driver was middle-aged Uncle with an old sense of humour. Punk exchanged some of his ancient jokes and they had a good time. He had to shake the persistent Uncle off to help with the luggage - his mission starts the moment he unloaded the luggage from the taxi.
"Chief!" a loud female voice called from above the crowd at the taxi stand. "Punk! I am here!"
Punk's eyes flashed in the direction of the despicable sound. When he called sight of the yelling female, his eyes almost rolled to the back of his eye. Someone has to teach this woman to use her low EQ in this critical times. He dragged his luggage purposefully in the direction of his colleague. Hexane was elated at first upon carrying out her first part of the mission and could not contain herself at the sight of her leader. However, as he closed in, she began to shrink back in fear. The look on his face was murderous. His usual goofy grin was gone. She started to back away and almost yelled again but Punk caught her in time with a hand over her mouth. Checking his busy surroundings, he man-handled her into the airport. As morning flights always had passengers rushing for last minute check in, no one paid any attention to the brown-haired pair breaking into a cleaner's room. Thankfully, it was empty.
Punk forced her up against the wall with a left upper arm and stared her down. Hexane was choking for help but it fell on deaf ears. With a sickly sweet voice, Punk ordered her to restate her mission. Her long-term memory never failed her although it served her no use in escaping his stranglehold.
"Then, dear girl, explain to me again why I am strangling you here when you did manage to find me on your first attempt?"
Hexane thought hard as Punk loosened his hold slightly to breathe. She still did not get his intention as her face contorted in deep concentration. This woman still believes she had committed no crimes. The room's door opened unexpectedly behind them, drawing the occupant's attention away.
"Won baby, Punk is non-existent in this overseas mission. Sir Secondo is our leader's name," an old man's voice croaked.
Hexane's puzzled expression did not help as Punk assessed her understanding. He gave up and let go.
"Close the door, Rider," Punk instructed the old man.
As the click of the lock resounded in the tiny room, the old man's transformation amazed Hexane to the point of her yelping. Punk shut her up with a hard slap on her head. Rider stood before them in his usual gawkiness with his white moustache still hanging above his lips.
"I am not Rider, Sir," Rider spoke defiantly. "I am some amnesiac cleaner at the airport-turned-flight-passenger-bound-for-western-dreams Ryan. By the way, you have an odd way of choosing a meeting place."
Punk ignored him and turned to the trembling Hexane. Looks like she finally realized her mistake.
"Let's go find the couple," Punk said affirmatively.
"You mean Pan-now-known-widowed-sister-of-rebellious-step-brother-called-Creamer? I saw them both heading inside transit. I bet you ten Creamer is scowling at his role opposite big sister Pan in coffee house," Rider laughed. "You should have seen the way Pan kicked his backside through the immigration checkpoint!"
"Won't that be a sight?" Punk's shadow of an old grin returned. "Now, Lady Won, my lovely fiancée, are you ready to flaunt your non-existent gracefulness?"
Hexane barged through the door, alarming a cleaner on her tea break outside. Punk nodded his apology as he helped an old man across the threshold. He winked at the blushing cleaner and chased after his fake fiancée. The old man was left behind with a job to check himself in for a flight to Magna City. Sighing, he rubbed his arched back and squeezed with unsuspecting passengers. From the corner of his eye, he watched an amused Sir Secondo trying to calm his lady down. His sigh had another meaning - their upcoming mission to escort their celebrity suspects of the Cain case to a private auction in Magna City was boring him. On the other hand, his buoyant leader clearly had other ideas regarding the Superintendent's request. Perhaps their mission was a cover for something more interesting than uncovering potential attacks on their suspects. Putting his pessimistic thoughts aside, he silently applauded himself for keeping up to his team's standards.
Punk was hardly recognisable with his stately gentlemen behaviour and his hazelnut brown straight hair. Despite earlier setbacks, Hexane had completed her makeover with a lacy dress she would rather kill than wear. Creamer had dyed his hair the same cool black as Pan and even hid his baby blue eyes with brown contacts. Rider almost fell over laughing at the sudden change in height of the stocky Inspector with the use of insoles. He clearly want to match up with the leggy Pan who did not need much make-up with her fair, baby-smooth skin. Instead, she had a cropped hairstyle and a fashionable hat to hide part of her face. Rider thought Punk had nothing to worry about on their first overseas mission. How wrong he was.
Punk had received a troubling message from Reaper - at exactly five-twelve that morning, the Royscott heiress was spotted in a hurry of packing for travel. A recent draw-up of the first morning flight to Magna City had her name listed as VIP. He did not know if it was luck his team chose the second morning flight.
The End in sight＿〆(。。)
Renee yawned for the umpteenth time as her flight finally reached its destination. She had a dislike for flights that took at least 8 hours travelling time – especially when her family booked the whole of First Class seats in the plane for her only. Upon the landing, Renee had changed into the aristocrat attire. Wearing a black Chanel custom-designed dress, Renee fashioned herself with a black pantyhose and a pair of black stiletto. Her personal make-up artist had also pulled off a complete simple day make up on Renee – which Renee thought she wouldn't need one since she would be hiding half her face behind the black with golden trimmings masquerade mask.
As expected, reporters crowded in the airport upon hearing the leaked news that Renesmee Royscott would be attending the private function in place of her grandfather. Her arrival was very much anticipated with some of the reporters hoping to get exclusive reports in regards to the Lady’s mysterious background. And much to their disappointment, they couldn't get anywhere near to the high lady – the security provided by the Magna City’s main aristocrat, the Magna Square Corp was highly amazing. The moment the lady arrived on her way to her appointed limo, a hound of bodyguards fled to her side and skillfully blocked every other one from getting within the protection parameter.
Renesmee hated this kind of attention much. She didn’t choose to born into a family of name and wealth – if she could choose, she would want a carefree life. Getting into her appointed limo with her partner for the private auction, who was also her bodyguard – Sebastian; she was greeted by a personal schedule planner who was on board the limo.
“Lady Renesmee,” the blonde timid planner with heart-shaped face addressed politely with a small bow. “You may take off the mask once we reach the private island owned by Magna Square Corp for the private auction later on tonight. Your suite will be on the highest floor where your room will overlook the view of the island, and would be the best room to see a full sunset.”
Renesmee nodded to the schedule, without paying much attention. She looked out of the car window at the skyscrapers. Soon the scene changed to overlook the beach and its blue sea before Renee found herself going through the bridge heading towards the private island owned by the Magna Square Corp for leisure as well as private functioning.
Before Renee realized, the limo pulled up in front of the hotel’s main entrance. She took a step in with Sebastian and the planner tagging behind her. The floor of the luxurious hotel was tiled in fine marble, which made every step echo. A chandelier made rainbow colours danced across the luxurious lobby. Embroidered silk sofas with gold trimmings surrounded a large, flat-screen television. The twin door that led into the lobby was a pristine white with golden dragon-carved handles. The reception counter desk was made of amber-coloured wood and a green granite top. Exquisite paintings hung from the rich, velvet walls. Even the door hinges were engraved with swirls and elegant designs. The domed ceiling rose at least 100 feet high.
Renee blinked in amusement as she scanned the royal touch given to the hotel. If she hadn't known that she was coming to a hotel, she would have thought that it was a grand palace they’re staying at instead. With the help of her planner, they took the elevator up to the 31st floor. There were only two grand suites on the highest floor of the hotel. And Renee was to take the room 3101 – she was very much delighted though, it was her favourite numbers altogether.
The planner left Renee and her bodyguard alone in the suite after informing her of her tea-time date with the young master of the corporation at 4 o'clock later that evening – giving her with only one hour plus of resting time.
“Milady,” Sebastian bowed as he returned from loading her luggage into the master bedroom. “If you need some rest, I’ll have the date cancelled for you.”
Renee was staring out of the huge glass window that stretched from the ceiling to the floor of the room. The scenery of the beautiful blue sea and the faraway skyscrapers view of the mainland were captivating her soul. It took her a while to finally realize that Sebastian was waiting for her order.
“Oh no it’s okay,” Renee answered briefly, tearing her gaze away from the beautiful scenery. “Just follow whatever the schedule is.”
Sebastian put his hand over his chest and bowed before turning around to check out the suite - leaving the lady to take a short nap on the couch. The lady’s need must be attended to and he must ensure her stay there a comfortable and pleasant one.
When it was 4 o'clock, a knock on the door was heard and Sebastian hurried over to help his young lady out of her suite. Renee had already changed into whole new attire with the white spaghetti-string lacey dress custom-designed from Anna Sui and a pair of crystal clear Ellie-821. Renee had plans when she decided to wear that pair of 8-inch heels – it would prevent the young master of Magna Square Corp from inviting her to any other event other than a simple tea date over at the open pavilion nearby the hotel.
“Your mask, Lady Renesmee,” the planner spoke in a stern yet polite tone. Renee started to think that she was over demanding. With a small sigh, Renee was about to remove her mask when Sebastian came forward and bowed at the adversary.
“Milady has all the right to keep her identity hidden until our side has approved of the tight security provided by your side,” he said in a low monotonous base. The planner snorted dissatisfaction yet nodded at the request.
Upon reaching the hotel lobby, the elevator door opened to a pair of brown-haired couple standing side-by-side. Renesmee stared into the eyes of the gentleman, before looking sideways at his beautiful lady.
“Sir Secondo and Lady Won,” the planner addressed them with a bow after she made a quick check-up on her tablet. “Do you need help to find your suite?”
“No, thank you,” the man replied shortly after with a fine grin. “We’re fine on our own.”
With a smile, they moved aside to give way to the trio. Renee raised an eyebrow – there was something at the back of her mind that she couldn't quite piece them together. The Sir Secondo reminded her of someone, but she couldn't think of who. Fortunately, her expression was well hidden behind the angelic white mask for anyone to catch her wondering off. She’d never heard of Sir Secondo and Lady Won but they looked so elegantly matching to remind her that she didn't exactly know everyone from the high society.
“This way, Lady Renesmee,” the planner turned to look back at Renee with her outstretched hand gesturing the way towards the hotel entrance.
Without a word, Renee turned a little to smile at the couple - thanking them for giving way with a small nod before strolling towards the entrance alongside the planner and her bodyguard. It seemed to Sir Secondo that his disguise was a success. The troublesome girl could not recognise him.
Everything I treasured turning into fragments
As Punk unlocked the door of his suite with his wristband key, Hexane watched the corridors.
"Don't be so obvious. Don't you remember your training?" Punk said exasperatedly.
Hexane, squinting at a cleaner passing at the end of the corridor, whispered, "I can't help it. This place makes me nervous."
The suite revealed to be a royal blue carpeted living room fully equipped with entertainment consoles and a couch in sheer silk. The en suite bedroom was a little disappointing - despite hints of Romanesque design, it was draped in dark wallpapers and not enough room to swing a cat. Figuratively. There was room to walk but unlike the suites of Punk's imagination, it was too narrow.
Punk looked around and found Hexane inspecting every fabric for bugs. He grinned tiredly.
"Speaking of nervousness, I was pretty much a wreck when we met the Royscott Princess earlier. Luckily, we passed as strangers."
Hexane paused her search and felt obligated to hide her face as she spoke in a small voice.
"Sir, you acted flawlessly. It seems her presence disturbs you. Does she captivate the iron hearted Punk?"
Raising an eyebrow, Punk replied nonchalantly, "You, of all people, should know that it is impossible for me to love her."
Hexane probed no more and rushed off to the bathroom, mumbling about washing up. Punk watched her small back slipped away surreptitiously. Strange girl. A small vibration in his pocket captured his attention. Smoothly removing his stiff tuxedo, Punk clipped his modified headset on to his left ear.
"Pumpkin? I never knew you loved me!" Rider's honeyed voice passed over the intercom. "on the contrary to your love, I would like to make a complain about our situation. Please do not interrupt. Can you explain to me how an old man like me got stuck in some motel far from the rich man island with a squabbling couple. I can even hear Creamer's fart through the thin wooden doors of my toilet! And why do you and Hexane get to stay at some classy hotel? I can even see its exquisite interior from Pan's computer!"
Punk could see this coming. In the background, Pan and Creamer's argument were getting more aggressive.
"It's only for three days of auction and we will join you at a new location. And you know...Pan and Creamer cannot be left alone. You are their father or father-in-law. Pull your act together."
"I am warning you! I want a sixteen course meal at the end of this gruesome arrangement."
A few bantering and Punk ended the call before more complaints came flying from the background. Looking in the mirror, Punk began rubbing off the brown pencil lines which drew fake wrinkles. Satisfied with the basic clean-up, he wandered around the living room. An information booklet on the auction slid under the door with a soft whiz. Punk strode over to read it. There was a welcome dinner at some fine dining restaurant. Security will be a mess considering the number of bidders. He mentally made a note to connect to Pan for a guest list and have Creamer work his way in to the laundry room as backup. Hopefully, Hexane would prove to be more useful in trailing their targets.
"She seems to be taking very long in the bathroom," he wondered aloud as he searched his luggage for his favorite book.
"Notable yet Unknown Kings and Their Origins, Includes King For a Day, Volume Eight ."
The End in sight＿〆(。。)
Renee hummed her song softly as she followed after the timid planner to the grand garden planted with a vast variety of all colour of roses from yellow to white, and even the rare breed of blue – but the only rose that caught her attention was the blood-red ones. She couldn't help but stared at them, as well as stretching out a hand to touch them – to feel their cool petals on her skin.
“Sir Secondo and Lady Won… where are they from?” Renee found herself asking the question without looking up at the planner. She thought she heard her sniffing a soft snort before attending to her question.
“They’re from a developing company located in the North East Nation,” she replied monotonously; keeping a polite tone as she scrolled down the guest list on her tablet. “That’s all I have on the engaged couple.”
Renee looked up at her and blinked at the emphasis the planner pressed heavily on their relationship. Who cares about their relationship? Did I ask? Sebastian stole a surreptitious glance at his lady before glaring at the planner. It seemed to him that the planner was giving his mistress an indirect threat to not even think of falling for some other gentleman – besides the troublesome young master of Magna Square Corp. His gaze moved up as they reached the pristine white pavilion with pink chiffon curtains dancing to the blow of the sea breeze.
“Renesmee!” A man rose from his chair and quickly strolled to Renee’s side to escort her to her seat. “Why are you still wearing that mask? The security here is tightly guarded just for you, my love. Besides, I missed seeing that face of yours.”
Renee simply smiled; she couldn't be bothered with his wishes. Her eyes wandered off onto the variety of desserts placed on the table before her. The tiered cake stand held all sorts of small cakes and desserts – with the quintessentially British tradition of simple sandwiches, small cakes and scones with jam and cream. There were also cakes around the cake stand – Renee could identify her favourite Blackforest, Red Velvet, Japanese Cheesecake and Strawberry Shortcake. The sweet aroma of the blue Violet Flower tea was inviting Renee to take a sip.
“So, my love…how are you thinking in regards to my proposal….” The man suddenly broke her peaceful mind. Renee paid no heed to his interruption and added a teaspoon of sugar into her transparent glass cup of tea before adding a small pitcher of lemon juice – and the lovely shade of blue changed to pink. Seeing her lack of attention on him, the man added, “…you do know it’s been 3 years since the engagement proposal. How long do you need me to wait? Can’t you see the wealth of my family? This island could be yours one day. With our engagement and later on marriage, we’ll unite the Magna Square and Royscott into one sole supreme power that no one else could ever surpass! And I promise you, my love that you’ll be the mistress of the richest man and the biggest corporation on Earth.”
Renee took a long sip and placed the cup back on its saucer.
“How well do you know me, Timothy?” Renee replied coolly. “You only met me once on my 21st birthday celebration, and the next day you’d proposed an engagement to me. Now tell me, did you fall in love with me or fall in love with my money, power and wealth?”
“Of course you, my love,” Timothy replied confidently with a charming smile hoping to convince the lady – but she was no fool. She was observing him. From the corner of her eye, she saw his hands tensed into a fist for a split second. The blonde curly haired man with electric blue eyes sitting opposite of her was the youngest son of the director of the Magna Square Corp. Both his two elder brothers were incapable of running the company – a fact even his father was clearly aware of, basically Timothy was the one helping to run the company and handling most of the projects now but he would need to grab hold of a priceless badge to enable him to inherit the company with ease – and that would be a certain famous Lady Renesmee.
Renee shrugged in response and rose from her seat. “Sorry but I'm not keen on engaging to you.”
“But your grandfather is fond of me,” Timothy followed suit and held her hand. “You should give me some chance to look at me the way Sir Stefan did.”
Renee rolled her eyes. Other than rude people, she also disliked annoying ones. “He was fond of your look. Your hair and eye colour reminded him of someone he knew from long ago. Other than that, he never mentioned you at all. But if what my grandfather sees of you matters so much, why don’t you propose to him then?”
With that, she left him with the desserts untouched. Timothy looked after her as she disappeared from his sight with Sebastian. He had a stone face – unfazed by her rejection. The timid planner came about and hugged him from behind. With a menacing smile, he turned around and they both shared a deep kiss. His fingers crawled into the inside of her shirt, loosening her shirt in the process as his cold, sleek fingers brushed against her body-temperature skin. His hands swirled inside her shirt and slowly made their way to her breasts.
“You see, she’s not at all convinced yet,” he drawled as he pulled back – rolling his eyes at her stubbornness. “A lady should be weak and vulnerable, unlike her – she’s so troublesome. I hated those that wouldn't bow down to a man; whoever says women has rights? It just make them forget their origin and disrespectful at us men!”
The planner kept quiet as her lover drank from the cup of tea which Renee used earlier. “Tara, make sure all those underground events after the auction session is kept low profile. Not a word should be spread to her. I will need to put in more efforts to make that woman mine.”
Tara nodded and hurried away.
“My lady, what you did was absolutely right,” Sebastian voiced his opinion as he accompanied Renee back to the hotel. A victorious smile lit up her lips – she was enjoying the praises. “Sir Stefan would be pleased to know that you followed your heart.”
Renee nodded. She was surprised Sebastian remembered her grandfather’s advice – “Follow your heart and let your soul whisper to you the man of your life.”
She looked up ahead and continued to walk. She was also enjoying the cool breeze of the sea as she tucked her hair behind her ears as the wind blew her hair in every direction possible - and at the spur of a moment; she heard children joyous giggles coming from the beach. She looked over to the beach and saw a group of young children playing with a ball - to which she blinked. How can those children came to a tightly secured island?
She turned back to face Sebastian who was looking through a small booklet that looked too grand to be an information booklet. She called out to him and pointed to the beach. When they looked back at the beach, the group of children was nowhere to be found.
“Are you okay, my lady?” Sebastian asked, looking a little worried. Renee was thrown into confusion and nodded. Was her eyes playing tricks on her?
Staring at her, Sebastian held up the information booklet on the auction and informed her of a welcome dinner at 7 pm that night. Renee nodded as an acknowledgement and followed him back to her suite.
On the other side of the world, the famous Director of Royscott Corp was flipping through a file when his charming grandson took an entrance into his office. He was in the midst of finalizing an upcoming developing project to buy a piece of land with the famous Helusen castle erected thereon the land with thousands of years' pride.
“Granddad, why did you let Renee going to the auction all on her own?” his grandson asked promptly. “I can still make it on time for the event to be frank.”
“Don’t you want to know if that young man of Magna Square Corp is that man?” his grandfather replied without looking up. “If Renee, by all means, falls for him – that would be great. They were supposed to be destined together but God knows what went wrong, that man died after impregnating our beloved Princess – who had fallen too deep with him; causing Prince Xavier to be fatherless.”
“But what if Renee awakes? And she regained her memory as the princess?” his grandson disagreed. He was shuddering from the thoughts of facing a complete different person in his sister’s body. “You can’t possibly forget the night she-”
“I know what I am doing!” the old man cut him off abruptly, his fierce gaze caught up into his grandson’s worried ones. “She will not be awakening. I had taken all measures to prevent that – and even if she does, didn't we prepare ourselves? We still need to know what exactly happened.”
His grandson swallowed his dissatisfaction and his fingers curled into a tight fist.
“I do not want to hear any more of this.”
Everything I treasured turning into fragments
The Superintendent of the Eastern Nation was no figurehead. As he stood in front of the media reception regally, the reporters noticed he had kept his minders (or his board of police chiefs) away from the stage. He alone would suffice in satisfying the hungry wolves of reporters. Only thick-skulled Nemus strolled up stage leisurely and took a seat behind the Superintendent. As the press conference commenced, Nemus began to understand the reason for the Superintendent’s intimidating codename, “Tarantula” – the ultimate predator with eagle eyes. He shot down any reporter with damaging questions using his own question on their moral ethics. He could make them see the bigger picture of any situation, diverting their attention away from questionable police actions. He cleverly maneuvered his preys on his tight web. When a reporter began to break out of his grip, he quickly introduced Nemus as the supervisor of the Cain case. Losing his confidence at Tarantula’s show, he straightened his jacket and nervously played with the button on his black pocket. Nemus started counting his lucky stars as the Superintendent stepped in at the crucial moment of media hounding. He slipped back into Tarantula’s shadow, hoping to make a quick getaway. Unfortunately, Tarantula made a quiet remark as he faced Nemus momentarily.
“You did say you wanted to see me for something?”
After a grueling hour and a half, Nemus found himself in the glass hexagonal lift reserved for police officers with large paychecks. He lift’s other occupant hummed softly as he watched the city from above.
“Do you know why people of upper echelons want offices at terrifying heights?” his companion prompted.
“Sir?” Nemus stammered. “Well, I, er, I think because they can, well, afford the view?”
The Superintendent, or Tarantula, smiled mysteriously. “Is that all? The man aspiring to take over my position just wanted to have a better view for his office? Nemus, if that is your answer, I will make sure you are demoted to the basement for such reasons.”
“Sir! I did not mean to take your position. You are the best man for that seat!” Nemus spluttered.
“Now, now, Nemus. I was just teasing,” Tarantula guffawed. “Let us head to my office.”
As the lift door opened to a spacious lobby, Nemus exited with a contorted face. Hecould not fathom his boss’ mind. Was he really pulling a leg back then? Nemus watched as the relaxed posture of the most powerful man in Law Enforcement greeted his female secretary with a blushing comment and entered the office. Nemus followed suit.
“I can’t thank you enough, Sir, for letting my team take over the investigation. We will, of course, prove to you we are the best team we have for such cases,” Nemus started hopefully.
Team 127 was never the right choice in the first place. However, Tarantula’s blank expression as he ran through the stack of files on his table betrayed neither disagreement nor agreement. When Tarantula finally found his target documents, Nemus shifted noticeably in his seat and craned his neck to take a look. Tarantula slapped the file on his chest and smiled slightly at Nemus, forcing the latter back to his subservient attitude.
“Nemus, the reason why people like skyscraping view is due to tremendous power we feel. Every morning, I will spend at least fifteen minutes, observing the tiny heads below bobbing in their bustling life. And I know that their lives lie in my hands. My decisions would decide their safety within these walls of Eastern Nation. At the same time, I am often under scrutiny of everyone. It’s true that I wanted every criminal case to be executed according to the skills of the assigned teams. However, I am a perfectionist. Not one team is allowed to work alone. Not one team has expertise in solving all areas of crime. I never believed that any team has the all-rounder skills. That is why I only assign your team to Cain case now,” Tarantula spoke austerely as he looked into the eyes of an extremely nervous Nemus. “That is why Team 127 is finally free from this case to pursue their endeavors.”
Nemus shrank more into the chair despite his paunch making it impossible to escape the glare of a Tarantula. It was dawning on Nemus how little Tarantula thought of the CSI team’s capabilities. He would have argued back if not for Tarantula’s warning glare. Perhaps it was not how Tarantula looked down on the team but Nemus’ speech. It was too complicated.
“You had something to discuss, Nemus?” Tarantula said as he revert to viewing the documents.
“No, Sir. I apologise for taking up your time. I will take my leave now.”
Nemus stumbled over his left foot before scurrying out of sight. Tarantula could guess what the question was but he decided against encouraging it. Nemus must not know too much about Team 127 from now on. Tarantula saw through Nemus capability at logical investigations. It was no coincidence he suggested to the board at making him supervisor of the case.
The Superintendent flipped through the documents Punk sent privately after the kidnapping of a certain heiress. It was disturbing yet intriguing. Punk's deep insight and the latest Reaper’s meeting had the Tarantula quivering with excitement.
The End in sight＿〆(。。)
Back in the West Nation, the evening seemed to last longer than necessary for that certain heiress of a major corporation. Renee gave out a long sigh and pursed her lips; her eyes narrowed as she crossed her arms thinking hard. A smile broke onto her face as she thought of something good - excitement was shown on her face as she drew across the paper with a pencil. Then she paused halfway and started erasing some notes - the new inspiration had suddenly withered.
"My lady, could you please stay still?" the stylist's pleading voice broke into Renee's world. "I can't possibly set your hair if you moved too much."
Renee looked up from her paper and smiled apologetically at her personal stylist. She couldn't help it. Sitting still without a thing to do while her stylist put on some colours on her face and setting her hair bored her. So she thought she could distract herself with some song writing; who knew she got so immersed in it.
Renee was dressed and she surveyed herself once more in the mirror. The glamourous midnight blue slinky dress with tube top was one of the most sophisticated dress she'd ever worn. She didn't recall owning this piece though. The slits up its sides did more than provide a view of her long, slim legs - they were necessary though if Renee wanted to walk rather than hop like Easter Bunny. She picked up the little evening bag and put on a pair of blue pumps.
"I like it, the make up you do this time," Renee complimented her stylist who in turn blushed a little. "But sadly, no one will see how beautiful you played with my eye."
Taking out a blue mask that matched her dress, Renee wore it and looked at her stylist who betrayed no sight of disappointment. Her stylist clearly knew that her lady would not reveal her look to the strangers from her class - her lady preferred a low profile life; but she was more than satisfied to be able to serve her lady well. Dressing up the lady was her pride.
"Shall we go now, my lady?" Sebastian appeared from behind the door in a new suit. Renee smiled a little to see her bodyguard; albeit still dressed in black, was dressed in a whole new attire.
The welcome dinner was held ala buffet style in the hotel's grand ballroom, which temporary turned into a huge dining hall to fit the upper class-men. Dozens of chandelier hung up ahead of the crowds with satisfactory pride to show off the owner of the island's wealth and gracefulness. The round tables below were pulled over with velvet-coloured satin table cloth. The silverware utensils on the tables reflects off the light from the chandeliers - making them seemingly sparkling like the artificial stars.
Sebastian escorted his lady to a nearby table. His lady preferred to sit furthest from the stage - she was planning to sneak away before the opening auction that starts at 9 later that night after she had a look at the antiques that were to be auctioned for the first night. Nothing on the list caught her attention. Nothing on the list was the said antiques her grandfather wanted. Renee had seen this coming - the antiques her grandfather wanted were of high value and probably the main items; which would only be on view the next day.
Renee looked around. She recognised some of her grandfather's business partners - and some looked back at her and waved a little. They all recognised Renesmee from the way she carried herself. The mask was a significant symbol and they never questioned her - especially those business partners whom Renee comfortably addressed as 'granduncles' and 'uncles'.
"Wine?" A waiter came to her and asked politely. Renee nodded with a small smile. She looked at her empty wine glass which was soon filled with beautiful red liquid.
They look akin to blood, don't they?
Everything I treasured turning into fragments
“Such elegance. How surprising,” Sir Secondo teased his fiancée.
Lady Won blushed furiously and hid her reddening cheeks with the palms of her hands.
“You are lying,” the lady whispered as she tottered over in her pristine pink hanbok.
“Not at all. Watch your step. whoop-a-loop,” the gentleman stepped forward to cradle her in his arms before her knees hit the ground.
He helped her to upright position. The embarrassment she felt faded away as Sir Secondo made light comments on other topics and led the way to the welcoming gold lights of the Victorian styled lift. Lady Won giggled to the point she forgot her duty. Sir Secondo lightly flicked her forehead.
“Remember why you are summoned here, Won,” he addressed her informally.
Her smile faded as the lift door hid them from the corridor of suites.
“I told you the line is dead,” Sir Secondo’s rough voice chided through his barely visible earpiece.
Lady Won looked up tentatively at her boss’ furious expression. It must be the inseparable duo’s other half. That Reaper. She looked
around the otherwise empty compartment. At least, he had good timing.
“What do you mean halt the mission immediately? On whose orders is this? What? Stop blabbering! Explain yourself!” Sir Secondo’s gentlemanly façade dropped as Punk’s irritable air returned.
“You are heading to Tarantula’s office on what basis? Who had authorized you to do that?” Punk’s displeasure at Reaper’s brazen act was apparent to the cowering lady by his side. She heard a pause, as if to listen to some inaudible explanation.
“I am in charge here and the mission is active! Whether there is a stalker or not! Period! Punk Out!”
Lady Won could swear there was smoke seeping out through that trimmed nostrils of her boss. However the fear she felt could not compare to what she would experience as the lift door opened to a deserted second-floor lobby – a hanged man of familiar face swinging side-to-side to greet the couple before they could step out. His cold, lifeless white eyes reflected the abyss of mysteries she would face alongside her team but the contorted expression of anger on his face was unforgettable. The noose around his neck was so tight that she suspected his eyes would pop out soon.
On the other side of the world, Reaper redialed Punk’s number and was greeted with a female android’s voice politely refusing him connection. Punk had obviously blocked Reaper’s access to any of the team as well with Ace. He slapped his Bluetooth button to shut off and marched past a confused secretary to rap the door of the Superintendent’s circular office.
“Enter,” a cheery voice responded. “I have been expecting you. As punctual as always, Grim. Or should I call you Reaper?”
The Superintendent gave a fatherly smile as Reaper closed the door tightly. Clearly, it was a private meeting.
“I am not here on a social call, Sir,” Reaper almost snapped.
“That is some attitude, Reaper,” the Tarantula warned.
“My apologies. Please overlook it. I am here on an urgent matter. Team 127’s overseas mission must be terminated immediately, Sir!”
Tarantula leaned forward, arms crossed. Reaper’s impossible request was almost a norm but he would give it a benefit of doubt.
“I am listening. You do understand I am in a difficult mission no thanks to your incognito hostage mission, yes?”
“Sir, at least let me take Punk’s place! The real danger haunts Punk, not the suspects! Punk gave me a vague explanation of the green light for this mission which you seemed to approve on. I am not aware of the full story but as of now, his life is of imminent threat! It could even put the people associated with him in danger,” Reaper impatiently replied.
“People associated with him…Team 127 or the mysterious Royscott heiress?” the powerful superior inquired, raising an eyebrow.
“Sir, please! This is no matter to be discussed on. I have reasons to believe that everyone in his presence is in danger! Please trust me and put a line through Punk! He will not listen unless it is your instruction!”
“Remind me again who is giving orders?” the dangerous tone of Tarantula had Reaper take a tiny step back.
“You, Sir,” he spoke in a slight disgruntled voice, having a déjà vu moment earlier.
He wasted no time in explaining, cutting Tarantula’s reprimand. As Reaper paused to take a breather, Tarantula laid back in his leather-bound chair, wrinkles accentuated by the ridiculous yet stormy prediction by the insightful Reaper.
“So, you are saying…this stalker of the heiress that Punk had you to track down was actually his own?” Tarantula tried to get a measure of the situation
“Without doubt, sir. And he had disappeared from our radar the moment Punk headed for the airport.”
“Now, I will share with you why I cannot take any quicker action. The place I sent the rest of your team is on an island of the Western Nation with government approved sanction on police intervention. Unless Punk managed to find a loophole in their unreasonable terms, we cannot drop a helicopter’s rope in to fish out Punk. He is on his own the moment he entered the lion’s den. Even if there is crime involved. After all, only the rich can afford such privacy.”
Reaper sunk into the visitor’s couch at the corner of the room. His last hope was the Superintendent. If the highest power cannot save him, who can?
The End in sight＿〆(。。)
I can, Renee motivated herself inwardly as she glanced around. I can do it. The door is just a few steps away.
Renee could feel her well planned escape plan - it all seemed not to bad to her. She pursed her lips as she waved at some of the VIPs she knew. Sebastian sat straight beside her - keeping an eye on his lady. Looking at her own partner, her lips almost cracked into a small laugh - he looked too stiff for a formal event. Hiding her little grin behind her fingers, she looked up to find Timothy talking all the way to a bunch of business partners across the hall. Occasionally, a few of them would steal a glance at her way.
"He's thinking to propose to you openly later," an elderly voice spoke up. Renee tilted her head to look at her new guest before rising from her seat. "Oh, please, please. Remain seated, little one."
Renee nodded politely and took her seat. The elderly man standing before her was her grandfather's good friend - one who had seen her growing into a fine lady she is today. He was with her for as long as she could remember.
"That's absurd," Renee commented bitterly. "Are all of them, those rich young men that feed on their families' wealth that nut-brained?"
The elderly man chuckled. "He's trying to gain the others' supports. He's willing to pay them handsomely for their one support. But I'm not that interested in him. What's more important, how do you feel about him?"
"He's annoying," Renee replied monotonously. "And I don't like him. Plus I'll probably have sneaked out before he could take the move. "
"Ouch," he teased with a smile. Walking away, he added, "Then I suggest you to sneak out before the dinner starts."
It was a hint. Renee turned to look at Sebastian - who nodded and was about to rise from his seat when she pulled him down firmly. "No, you stay. Cover up for me."
"But, my lady..."
"I am no 3-year-old kid," she whispered softly as she checked around for clear escape route. "I know my way back to my suite. And in this case, I shall see you tomorrow morning."
Renee rose from her seat and stoically joined into a group of aristocrats who were on their way walking towards the entrance of the ballroom. She stirred short conversations with a few ladies who were surprised to find the Royscott's young heiress to be interested in their common topic of branded designer gowns. The moment they were outside at the main hotel lobby, Renee excused herself with a genuine smile and disappeared into the huge crowds.
She headed to the elevators and quickly made a big turn around as her eyes caught sight of the timid planner standing before that area. Renee would be recognised in no time with that mask of hers; so she had to think fast. She needed to get away from the crowd before anyone calls out to her. Renee headed to the spiral staircase which lead to the second floor of the lobby.
Reaching the deserted second floor, she scanned the ground and gave a sigh of relief when the coast was clear. She took out her phone as she strolled to the elevators (the second floor has the similar layout as the main lobby); scrolling through the messages until she came to one that asked her to call back.
"Detective Lee here, Miss Renee," Renee called back and smiled as the private detective she hired came up with some professionalism. "I have investigate for you, you do not have any stalkers in your shoe. I have gain access to some of the CCTVs located around your residential area, and I am positive that no one is on your back. But...."
"It is true that a black car was trailing behind your described moped, I've got a few witnesses who could confirm to me plus I have a footage of a CCTV located on the main street which supports their words...." he added. "And if there are stalkers, based on my deduction, I think those stalkers belong to your friend. Do you want me to do a more thorough investigation? We could discuss over the fees-"
"No," Renee answered without hesitation. "It's okay. I will bank in the remaining sum to you later. Email me the bill."
Cutting the call as she walked on, Renee scrolled down her contact lists and stopped at the name 'Punk'. She was perturbed at her private detective's findings and couldn't help herself but worries about him. What if those stalkers were after him? Does he know?
Renee was contemplating the idea of either calling him or messaging him. She doubted he knew nothing since he is a detective himself, of Narcotic Bureau - she recalled. But since he had saved her thrice, she thought she should repay him some favours - whether he needs it or not. She decided to leave a message instead then, thinking it would be awkward to talk to him on the phone. He probably didn't see her as a friend, but a lost out-of-the-box bunny.
Typing a message to Punk, she continued to walk with fast pace towards the elevator. Her legs froze on her steps as she suddenly felt unwell, as if something was disturbing her aura. She turned around - no one was in sight. Tilting her head a side, she walked on - unaware that it was a murder scene awaiting for her in front.
Everything I treasured turning into fragments
The act of Lady Won was quickly dropped at the orders of her Chief. Her compact powder had a secret bottom compartment which hid a spy camera. Faintly audible clicks resounded in the quiet lobby of the seemingly deserted basement as an East Nation's narcotics officer transformed into a field inspector within seconds. Despite the worrying remarks of her leader, she dropped to her knees and crumpled her elegant dress while searching for easily hidden clues in the dark geometric carpet. The window period for collecting evidences was short and even shorter in such a situation. Stranded in foreign world, her chief reminded her. Work fast. She could hear him speaking to her team mates in the background.
"No, don't contact the police. We are on classified mission...Yes, the photos are on the way...Where is Pan? Get her online and why is her phone even gone? What you mean by being alone? Where is Creamer?" Punk's voice of concern was apparent. "What do you mean it's my fault. Look, I don't have time for this. Fly her over. Get it done within the next to hours...I don't care. I think this murder is just the beginning. You and Creamer run the files legal or not. If you don't hear from me in forty-eight, you know what to do."
The hologram lights disappeared, leaving the right side of the dead man's face in shadows.
"I need the light..." Hexane began in a trying tone but stopped mid-sentence.
Punk had shut her compact and indicated a ear out. The couple stood in dim resolute before Hexane heard the tapping of heels. Someone was closing in. Punk's presence was gone with a passing breeze. Hexane heard a shuffle. And then, an eerie silence. Her first guess was Punk had hit a pressure point in the solar plexus but when Punk appeared with a familiar lady in his arms, she started to second guess herself. Punk would not hurt Lady Royscott. She tried guessing again and failed - Punk had pushed the unconscious girl into her arms.
"Darling, we are done down here," Punk's aristocratic tone returned. "Retire upstairs. I will take it from here."
Hexane had many questions. She became tight-lipped as her eyes roamed to the hanging corpse right behind her boss. Nodding quickly, she disappeared back into the exquisite gold lift. It did not lift her mood as she saw two pairs of lifeless eyes watching her. She was starting to miss the playful glint in Punk's eyes back in the uncluttered office of Team 127.
The recomposed Lady Won adjusted the heiress to a leaning position on her right shoulder. To an outsider, it seemed as if Lady Won was supporting another lady with her lights out. The women exited the lift (mainly using Lady Won's diminishing strength), greeted an unsuspecting bell boy and entered the Victorian suite of Sir Secondo. Punk's pre-empt protocol was clear - in a case of murder, collect evidence and act hysterical at the sight of a hotel staff or security. Resume act and proceed with high society parties. Hexane prayed the heiress would only awaken upon Punk's return.
With the extra baggage out of his mind, Sir Secondo discreetly joined the party in the ballroom. Choosing a shrouded position, he observed the party-goers. His suspects. He knew he could not rule out Lady Heiress and trusted Hexane to keep a calm mind in handling her. As he ran a finger under his chin, Punk began counting. Anyone with motive was among this crowd. He had his work picked out for him. Hard.
Punk wondered if Side-Team-Outside-Island had more luck. Little did he realise the light on his tiny headset had vanished.
The End in sight＿〆(。。)
A timid planner Sir Secondo had stumbled upon earlier that day tip-toed towards the young master of the Magna Square Corp. Seeing her appearance, the young blonde man excused himself from the crowd of men he was trying to please to have a word with his assistant. The timid planner held out her hand and the man bent over - listening with intensive interest to her whispers. He smiled at her words and quickly dismissed her before returning to entertain his small group of gentlemen.
Stealing a surreptitious glance at his Rolex watch, he gestured the gentlemen over to their respective seats before nodding to the emcee who was standing on the stage. His little surprise plan was going as planned. There is no way the lady could say a no in front of these huge crowds. Tonight will be a great night - the night all his little wishes come true.
And the lights went off. A few streams of neon laser light of red, blue and green lighted up and danced across the hall accompanied by a welcoming background melody while the emcee welcomed the guests. When the lights focused on the stage, Timothy appeared with a smile. His eyes scanned the ground - and grinned as a few ladies swooned at his presence. Dressed in white suit, he dare to bet that he was the prince charming of the night - no other man could have beat him. His plans shall melt away the snow in her heart. Renesmee would be his.
The emcee introduced the man as the organiser of the private auction before passing the mic to Timothy - which made his grin wider. He was counting down to see Renesmee's surprised sweet, blushing face to his proposal. She would not escape him this time.
"Welcome ladies and gentlemen," he spoke in a husky voice as he glanced at both the two sexes. "I, Timothy welcome you to the Magna City Private Auction; hoping you would enjoy your stay here and experience the best auction ever in your entire life!"
Applause echoed in the huge hall.
"Food will be served at the right side of the hall," he pointed over to a straight line of long tables with silver chafing dishes. Chefs were also lined behind the long tables; ready to serve the upcoming guests. "And before that....I would like to announce a special announcement.... I believe many of you have heard that Lady Renesmee Royscott is present in place for her grandfather as one of our VIP guests to this special event?"
Whispers loomed in the background and he could catch sight of some honourable guests looking around in search for the mysterious lady. Even he himself was searching for her.
"I would like-"
He looked away at his timid assistant who barged into the stage and whispered into his ears. His expression faded into an undesirable one as he gave his assistant a killer stare. But it didn't last long in his face as and he soon faced the questioning crowd with his usual charming facade.
"I would like to personally thank the Royscotts' for personally accepting our humble invitation....." Although he said it with a genuine smile, a few of the men down the stage could tell that every word was said with forced. And the chandeliers came back to life. Guests started heading towards the serving tables.
Sebastian rose from his seat and passed by Sir Secondo as he walked towards the couple talking away at the side.
"What do you mean you can't find Renesmee?" Timothy asked his assistant.
"I can't find her," his timid assistant replied softly - afraid to offend him further. "She's nowhere in the hall."
Before he lost his cool, Sebastian interrupted. Recognising Sebastian as Renesmee's bodyguard, Timothy put on his usual façade and casually asked about his lady - to which Sebastian excused her off as 'unwell'.
"I hope she'll get well by tomorrow," Timothy turned around; not bothering to face a lower-class man like him. "She'll love the events planned for as long as she's here."
Sebastian bowed low as the snobbish man walked off with his assistant by his side. With a slight 'hmph', Sebastian vowed to keep his lady away from this man. That man who only pleases the rich and discriminates the poor does not deserve to get His lady, who declared everyone to be of same stand and status and should not be divided into classes.
Without a word, and before Sir Secondo even notice it, Sebastian vanished into the crowds and retreated to his own chamber.
Everything I treasured turning into fragments
"The man who passed you. The infamous bodyguard of Royscott Corps. Sebastian. Last name unknown."
Punk closed his eyes as his eyebrows knitted together. "Dubious name. No doubt unrelated to our case."
A surprised gasp on the other end was audible. The female speaker pressed on, "Why so?"
"Gut feeling," Punk's short reply shut her up.
She knew better than to question any further.
"Still, keep his movements in check," Punk ordered quietly as his façade return in the presence of curious ladies approaching him for small talks.
The female continued with her inspection of the guests aloud, using Punk's headset as a sonar to identify the guests.
"The photos have just been processed. Our vic is one of our suspects - Avery Kanner. Rising actor and positive for Holes in Cain's party. As you suspected, it's death by strangulation. Please forgive me for saying this but our murderer is really astounding at preserving such angry expression on the vic!"
As he caressed the arms of a giggling one, he spoke without much lip movements, "When are you coming over, Pan?"
"You don't seem impressed...Rider wanted to do a last minute modification to the sub's system. ETA forty minutes."
"What ever happen to flashy appearance by the bird? Anyway, make it twenty. This is a high priority mission. Punk out."
Sir Secondo teased his female companions a little before inserting indirect questions about the guests in the gossiping. There was much more to gain from such willing duchesses with their attention to details of intimate lives of the high society. His annoyance at their haughty behaviour was hidden behind a veil of Sir Secondo's charming smiles. He wittily shunned inquiries of his private life. The existence of two of his important ladies upstairs vanished at the sudden influx of information on the dirty deeds of aristocrats.
Contrary to the merry party on ground level, the creeping silence of the suite levels had begun getting on Lady Won's nerves. She watched warily as her charge stirred frequently. Shaking uncontrollably, she got off the soft fleece bed cover and headed for the bathroom. Was it Punk's ability or the events unfolding from before? She could not calm her mind and regretted reaching out for the door to the bathroom.
The shower curtains of the bathtub barely hid a ballooning figure. The figure barely had any clothes on save for a towel to hide his indecent organs. Eyes shut, the man had a shower head shoved down his throat and the gush of water into his body spine-chillingly flowing into the peritoneum. Water had soaked through the cells and the man's reddening face looked ready to burst a horrific splash of red and pink.
Lady Won barely stifled her scream.
The End in sight＿〆(。。)
The earlier conversation he had with his grandfather left him in much dissatisfaction. He retreated into his chamber and uncharacteristically let out a heavy sigh before flickering his eyes at the woman sleeping on his bed.
"How many times must I tell you to keep out of my room?" he asked in a harsh tone, which he knew very well that that woman would pay no attention to. With a snort, he ran his hand over his table and grabbed the gallery book which featured the items on auction in Magna City Private Auction. He had just received the gallery book today; despite the fact that the auction starts today. Maybe it was just the postal delay...
He flipped through the pages and yawned at the antiques shown - he had seen these number of times when he went through the initial list with his grandfather to pick out the antiques he wanted. But it was the last few pages of the gallery book that caught his attention - it featured a list of antiques available only for exhibition purposes; and some as honourable gifts to the VIPs (includes Royscott Corp). As such, he caught sight of a portrait of a beautiful map.
"Dante's Map of Hell," he whispered softly as he read from the description. "This art is magnificent."
"But it's a counterfeit."
The man was taken aback as he spun away from an unexpectedly voice. Looking up at his fiancee in a white yukata made of sheer silk, he hissed before returning his full attention on the page.
"Oh you're speaking," he pointed out a surprising fact after a short pause. "How sure are you that this is not a genuine? You're not an expert or anything."
The fiancee ignored his question; looking uninterested and wobbled back to the bed. "Can Renesmee handle it on her own? She's not exactly groomed to be an heiress. She has too much freedom - it'll be hard to control her."
"Better than you," her fiance answered harshly. His eyes looked up at his fiancee who had fallen asleep again before dropping them back onto the page. Something in the picture gave him an uneasy feel; as if it could stir up the darkness in its watcher's eyes - whether or not its genuine.
Perhaps, this very existence of the portrait on the private island was what disturbing Renesmee's aura since the moment she took a step onto the island. Renee felt disturbed. She opened her eyes and found herself staring at dark-coloured wallpaper. It was a huge contrast as compared to her suite. She rolled over slowly; catching a good sight of the new place before sitting up on the bed.
She couldn't recall getting here. All she could recalled was she was on her way to the second floor lobby's elevators and before she knew it, darkness took over. She didn't remember falling onto the floor - but she remembered bumping onto a person while she put all her focus on typing a message. She also remembered apologising - ah!
Renee bit her lips. She remembered apologising and her head went spinning on her, there was a faint sick nausea that overtook her senses. She looked down at herself and found herself asking "Am I sick?" Her medical check up result came back negative - she didn't have any sickness. Even so, Renee can't deny feeling uncomfortable in and out.
Then it happened all too fast. She felt a sudden surge from deep down her oesophagus. She rushed out of the bed; hoping to run over to the bathroom before she throw up in a stranger's room and failed as she missed a step and fell down the bed. Her stomach was twisting and Renee disliked the uncomfortable feel it gave. Unable to contain any longer, she managed to grab a folded napkin on the table and vomited on spot. She coughed uncontrollably with her hand (holding the napkin) covering her mouth. The coughs end and she was surprised to find stains of blood on her palm. She coughed blood.
Then a movement at the side caught her attention - it was Lady Won, emerging from the bathroom. Wiping any remaining stains of blood on her mouth, she threw the napkin into the bin (it has lid) and scampered to her feet before greeting Lady Won, who didn't realise Renesmee had awoken.
"Did you help me up, just now?" Renesmee walked towards Lady Won who quickly closed the bathroom door behind her.
Lady Won stared up at her charge but kept a tight lip. Seeing Lady Won's wary look and the fact that she heard water running from inside the bathroom gave her an impression that Lady Won's fiance was taking a bath. Didn't want to bother the loving pair any further, Renee excused herself and reached out to the door. Lady Won tried to retain her to no avail, Renee had left their suite in a hurry - she was feeling extremely uncomfortable and found the need to return to her suite. It didn't even occur to her that her small evening bag and heels were left in the suite of Sir Secondo's.
Renee made little puppy run back to her suite on barefoot. Her mind went through her symptoms for allergic reaction while she try to recall the food she consumed that day in case she'd eaten one with mirin as its ingredient - but still, she didn't think that it will cause such a huge discomfort.
Only unaware to her, the waiter from earlier ago had a grin on his face as he recognised the girl; despite the mask hiding her face but a little investigation and her unnatural hair colour had gave her away as the mysterious girl on the moped with their target. With malice aforethought, the waiter in disguised served only her with the blood-red wine, which contained poison.
If she doesn't get the antidote in 48 hours, she would be in grave danger.
Everything I treasured turning into fragments