The Caelum Via was a hotel of great reputation. It stands at the very center of Insomnia, the city that never sleeps. Its grandeur boasts lavish rooms and services and an aquarium said to house fishes from all around the world. Such splendor makes it hard to miss as the social ground of the elite and the influential, a very sharp contrast from the slums that lie at the outskirts of Insomnia.
At any other time, Noctis might have scoffed at the coincidence that the said hotel was named after his family’s surname. He had enough publicity as it is, standing out as the police commissioner’s son. The owner, Weskham Armaugh, was a close friend of his father and had seen fit to adopt the Caelum family name as the hotel’s name because it was ‘classy’, as he claimed. While Noctis liked the lure of the aquarium, he himself rarely went to visit Weskham’s hotel except when his father insists.
Being the police commissioner’s son, many people believed Noctis would vigilantly follow in his father’s footsteps and be a police officer himself. But to their surprise, while Noctis did join the police force, he settled to being a police detective, claiming that being a police officer was too much work for him, much to the amusement of his father who knew of Noctis’ fondness for naps.
But when he gets a sudden phone call from the station two hours before midnight informing him of a sudden heist at the Caelum Via, Noctis knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight.
It was one of those nights. For all of Noctis’ outstanding track record on theft cases, there was one thief he hadn’t managed to catch yet: the elusive Quicksilver.
Noctis was put in charge of the Quicksilver case months ago after the last detective assigned to the case gave up due to heavy stress. Noctis had thought that it would be like his previous cases where the thieves are dumb enough to leave obvious clues behind. That or they are slow to run when it came to a chase. But not Quicksilver, if anything, he was an enigma. A bit cocky yes, if the thief’s penchant for brazen declarations of stealing precious goods a night before the actual stealing were to go by. The thief even had the nerve to return them on the next day at the station. At Noctis’ very own table!
When Noctis arrived at the Caelum Via, he had expected to see Iris, his usual patrol officer, to be the one to greet him at the entrance and brief him of Quicksilver’s latest declaration, just like the usual. But to his confusion it was the tall figure of Ignis that met him there.
“Specs?” Noctis frowned. “What brings you here?”
“Noct.” Ignis greeted, his expression grim. “While I’m happy to see you in good health, I’ve just been reassigned to work with you on the Quicksilver case.”
“What?” Noctis demanded. “Why? Is this because of Dad? Because I swear to god, if he thinks I can’t handle this case alone just because Quicksilver’s too slippery, I-“
“It’s not like that Noct.” Ignis cut off. “You know that your Dad trusts you to do your job well.”
“Then what?” Noctis pressed. “Robbery cases aren’t even your jurisdiction. Dad put you in charge of-“
“Murder and homicide, I know.” Ignis cut off yet again, adjusting his glasses. “Noct, there’s been a murder.”
Noctis sat on his office at the station, lost in thought. His mind kept playing back to his earlier conversation with Ignis regarding the recent events pertaining to Quicksilver.
“What do you mean there’s a murder?” Noctis asked in disbelief.
“Exactly what I said, Noct.” Ignis replied calmly. “As you know, the envoy of the incumbent mayor of Accordo, Camelia Claustra, checked in the Caelum Via ever since their arrival here in Insomnia. While her security detail has been cooperative with us in the police force, they seemed to have failed in informing us some details which led to this unfortunate incident: Her murder.”
“You see Noct,” Ignis continued. “The envoy failed to notify us that they had brought with them something of great value: The Leviathan’s Tear.”
“Wait- but that’s-”
“A priceless gem, yes, a perfect target for a heist.” Ignis stated. “I’m sure you can see how our resident thief comes into play. The gem is missing, the mayor of Accordo murdered and all evidences point out to one person.” He fished out a familiar card from his breast pocket. “This was found at the scene itself.”
There was no mistaking it, the flashy silver colors, the gun insignia and the fancy print, this was one of Quicksilver’s calling cards.
“Something doesn’t add up.” Noctis said, skeptical. He took the card from Ignis and examined it, his mind racing. “Quicksilver didn’t give any notice beforehand. If anything, Quicksilver always made it a point to announce whatever it is he’s stealing and goad the police into chasing after him. Why the sudden secrecy? And he’s never… he’s never hurt anyone before.”
Ignis raised an eyebrow at Noctis’ words. “It sounds like you’re defending him.”
“What? No! It’s just- It doesn’t make sense!”
Ignis sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “While I’m inclined to agree with your assessment,” Noctis gave a startled look at Ignis’ admission of agreement. “Right now, all the evidences point out against him. And do remember Noct, he’s still a thief. With criminals, there is no fixed moral code. There’s still the possibility he did tonight’s incident. In the end, we’ll have to catch him.”
“I know that!” Noctis replied, irritated. “How long do you think I’ve been chasing after him?”
“Long enough to deduce that he likes the prospect of you chasing him around.” Ignis commented cryptically.
“Hey, what’s that supposed to mean?”
Noctis growled in frustration. Damn Quicksilver for giving him a headache. Just he wait, he’s going to end up in Noctis’ hands sooner or later…
“Not looking so good tonight, detective?” a familiar lilting voice called out from behind him.
“What the fuck!” Noctis turned around quickly to find the masked figure of Quicksilver perched by the window of his office. “You! How did you get inside my office?” He quickly withdrew his gun from the desk drawer.
“Relax. No need for unnecessary violence, detective.” Quicksilver said. “I’m here to talk.”
“What do you want?” Noctis demanded. “If anything, I should arrest you right now.”
“You could try to do that.” Quicksilver stated. “But I’m afraid you’re barking at the wrong thief. I didn’t have anything to do with Mayor Claustra’s death.”
“Right, as if you didn’t want The Leviathan’s Tear.” Noctis said sarcastically.
“You wound me detective.” Quicksilver gasped dramatically. “While I don’t deny planning to steal the Tear, someone else got to it first and put the blame on me.” He gave a small pout at that. “As you’d noticed, there’s no notice given beforehand. And that rubbish pretentious calling card? The nerve! My card is fancier than that. I would never use low quality cardboard for my cards. And the colors’ are so wrong!”
Noctis blinked at the sudden outburst before remembering himself. “And why should I believe you?”
“I was framed!” Quicksilver walked closer to Noctis, who was still holding the gun up. “I would never resort to that kind of heist. I’m a gentleman thief, detective. While I have no qualms on stealing, committing murder is a different thing. Also, I’ve never been one to lie outside of my heists.” He bravely met Noctis’ gun which was now point-blank on his chest. “All these months of chasing, you should know me best.”
“Fine.” Noctis lowered his gun. “I’m listening.”
“I’m calling a truce.” Quicksilver proposed. “Let’s put off our differences for a while and work together to catch this faux me. After that, you can try to catch me to your heart’s content.”
Noctis knew trusting Quicksilver is shaky at best. Everything about him is a liability to Noctis. If anything, he has to keep the truce secret from the whole police force. On the other hand, he knows that working with Quicksilver is his best chance to resolve the case. And, there’s getting more clues to Quicksilver’s real identity, which is a plus.
“Deal.” Noctis conceded. ”But after everything’s over, I’ll be back to catching you again. You can’t escape justice.”
“Wouldn’t have it any other way.” Quicksilver agreed. He tosses Noctis one of his fancy cards. “Well, in lieu of our partnership, I give you this, detective. Call me.”
Noctis caught the card. Huh, it does look different, glossier and way fancier. “Wait, what did you mean by call-”
And Quickersilver’s gone. How does he always do that?
Noctis flips the card to the back and sees a series of numbers scribbled at the back with a note: ‘A secure line for my favorite detective. Don’t try to double-cross me. Trust me, detective. I WILL know. If you do, I’ll forget about being a gentleman and steal that family heirloom ring of yours~’
“Just try. I will catch you before you do.” Noctis smiled to himself.