Kaito grinned, scanning the crowd from his vantage point. The audience had gathered, and it was almost time for the show.
He ran over the information in his head one last time, pulling on his first disguise.
The target was a jewel called Four Elements, which was actually four individual gems that had been cut to fit together perfectly; a blue sapphire, a brownish topaz, a bright red garnet, and a clear diamond. Each individual jewel was big enough to be considered a pandora candidate, so stealing all of them at once would be killing four birds with one stone, or, four gems with one bird, perhaps?
The problem was that each gem would be stored in their own case at first, and only united later in the night. He could try to steal them when they were brought together, but that’s what the police would be expecting. He’d heard from Nakamori that the handlers who had been chosen to move the jewels had been heavily vetted, and already had several means of discovering imposters. Disguising as one of them would be possible, but more trouble than it was worth.
Instead, he was going to attempt to steal them all individually.
He was going to steal the gems one by one, wearing a different disguise each time. Under usual circumstances, even he might consider such a strategy to be a little too careful, but there was an unholy number of detectives in the audience tonight, and he needed all his bases covered.
He finished his first disguise, an older wealthy woman with a permanent frown and a holier-than-thou air about her. Perfect for avoiding interaction with other exhibition goers.
He descended the stairs into the main exhibition hall, the four corners alight with activity, obscuring the gems. That’s fine, he knew which was which. The order he gets the gems in doesn’t really matter, but what does matter is which disguise he’s wearing when he faces his various opponents.
Just as he’d predicted, his detectives and their companions had coordinated, splitting into four groups to guard each stone. The closest gem to him at the moment was the sapphire, but that was being guarded by Hakuba and Aoko; if anyone was going to talk to a sour old lady it was going to be those two. Instead, he turned to his left and headed toward where he knew the garnet was being kept.
The garnet was being guarded by three people; Sera Masumi, Mouri Ran, and Suzuki Sonoko. He was fine with Ran and Sonoko, they were good sports about all this, the wild card was little miss Sera-chan. He hadn’t actually gotten much of a chance to observe her, and his only interaction with her remained getting kicked in the face.
He was cautiously optimistic.
“Y’know, they’re not very pretty by themselves.” Sonoko was saying.
“I think they’re pretty, just shaped unconventionally.” Ran said. She was right, each gem had little posts and holes cut into them to make them all fit together, each only one fourth of a puzzle. Still, Kaito thought that in itself made them beautiful.
“Yeah, but if they look good now imagine what they’ll look like later.” Sera-chan hummed, leaning closer to the display.
They ignored Kaito as he walked up, and he resisted the urge to smile. So far so good. He’d rigged all the cases earlier, so actually taking the jewel was simple. The girls were absorbed in their conversation, so it only took a few moments before he found an opportunity where no one was watching. He quickly replaced it, and carried on his way.
He ducked behind some decorative pillars outside of the view of the security cameras, and changed his disguise. This time he was using the face of a tired office worker who had put on their very best for the occasion… which still wasn’t great. Completely unassuming.
Next target was the topaz, guarded by Hattori Heiji and his friend Toyama Kazuha. They weren’t doing a good job of it though, Kaito noted, as they were in the middle of an argument when he walked up. He didn’t even have to wait for an opportunity to steal it, seeing as everyone in the vicinity was more interested in the Osaka duo’s odd conversation than the jewel they were supposedly here to see. Everyone loves a bit of drama, he supposed.
He switched the gem, and ducked back into the shadows to change his disguise.
His next disguise wasn’t actually a disguise at all, given that he was heading back over to the sapphire next. If it was Hakuba and Aoko, he might as well go with his own face… if for no other reason than to torment Hakuba.
“Kaito! You came!” Aoko grinned as he approached them, and he grinned in turn.
“Yeah, I figured I might as well, even for just a bit.” He shrugged.
Hakuba glared at him, a single eyebrow twitching. Kaito flashed him the cheekiest smile he could manage.
“Great! Well, now that you’re here, you can help Hakuba-kun and I protect the gems!” Aoko said, grabbing his wrist and dragging him closer to the display.
“You know, that sounds riveting , but I don’t think Hakuba would want me to.” Kaito said, smirking at Hakuba.
“Au contraire, I think it'd be lovely to have you around.” Hakuba bit out through gritted teeth. Aoko sighed.
“You two need to get along better.”
“Awe, we get along just fine!” Kaito slung an arm around Hakuba’s shoulders, “See?”
“Kuroba. Remove your arm in the next four seconds or I’ll-”
“But I think right now I’m unwanted.” Kaito lamented, sliding a daisy into Hakuba’s hair as he pulled away. “Besides, I wanted a chance to look at the other gems! I’ve still got a few left I haven’t seen.”
“Alright,” Aoko nodded, “But don’t leave without letting me know, okay?”
“Oh, I’m sure we’ll know.” Hakuba sighed.
“Got it!” Kaito saluted them, turning on his heel and wandering back off into the crowd.
It had been a little more involved than the other two, but he’d gotten the gem. Misdirection truly was an incredible tool.
He took a cleansing breath, shaking off the effects of the conversation. Switching back into his Kaito mindset in the middle of a heist always threw him off a little, but it was nothing big. Normally he wouldn’t even indulge in such recovery time, but he’d saved the best for last, and needed his wits about him.
The last target was the diamond. Brilliant and clear, and by far the most impressive of the four visually. It was also going to be the hardest to steal, due to its guardians.
The final gem was guarded by Tantei-kun and his minions. Five vicious gremlins of various sizes and danger. Every time he’d ever been around all five at once he’d come out of it barely intact and incredibly exhausted.
The safest option would be to cause some sort of small distraction elsewhere (or even just direct their attention toward the Osaka duo) and take the gem in the split second Tantei-kun took his eyes off the case. That would be the safest option, but…
“Hey kids, you enjoying the exhibition so far?” Kaito grinned as all five settled their gazes on him. He was barely even wearing a disguise this time, since Tantei-kun had gotten so good at sniffing him out. All he had was a copious amount of contour, some contacts, and hair extensions pulled back in a ponytail. He wasn’t even really trying to be a specific person, just someone that Tantei-kun wouldn’t recognize.
“Yup! The gems are all so pretty!” One of Tantei-kun’s friends piped up, Ayumi-chan, if he remembered correctly.
“I know right? The diamond is the last one I have to see, but all the rest were stunning. I can’t wait to see them all put together.” He said, stepping closer to the case. Tantei-kun narrowed his eyes, tracking Kaito’s movements. Kaito resisted the urge to smirk at him. He could be that blatant around Hakuba, but Tantei-kun was a different story.
“That’s nice, we haven’t really gotten a chance to look at the other ones.” Another one of the kids, Mitsuhiko-kun? Yeah that sounded right. Mitsuhiko-kun said.
“Oh? Why?” Kaito asked, while finally getting his first proper look at the diamond.
“We’re guarding it! There’s no way KID will get his hands on it while we’re here!” The big one, Genta-kun, puffed out his chest with pride.
“Really? Well, I’m glad to know it's in such capable hands.” Kaito smiled at the boy, as genuinely as he could manage. Tantei-kun glared at him. Yeah, the brat was absolutely suspicious. That was kind of the point of directly talking to them though, so Kaito wasn’t exactly worried. Tantei-kun wouldn’t make a move until he was sure , afterall.
A yell sounded from across the room as the Osaka duo’s argument came to a head. Kaito thanked lady luck, he had been about to create his own distraction, but it was nice to use a natural one that couldn’t be traced back to him instead. The five kids all turned their attention away from the diamond, giggling and sighing at their older friends’ antics.
Kaito switched the gem, taking the brief moment of opportunity. As soon as his fingers brushed the gem though, he felt a buzz of energy zip through his arm. An incredible amount of experience with improv was the only thing that saved him from crying out.
Unnerved, he stepped back into the crowd without even saying goodbye to the gremlins. Tantei-kun would absolutely catch on within the next minute, but he had all four parts so it didn’t really matter.
He palmed the diamond piece, again feeling that zing of energy rippling off its surface. None of the other gems had done this, and diamonds weren’t supposed to be able to conduct electricity like this at all, what was wrong with it?
It… it couldn’t be, could it? Could he have actually found it…?
No. He couldn’t get his hopes up. He needed to be sure, and that meant seeing it against the moon. Unfortunately, the exhibition room wasn’t exactly the greatest place to get natural light. They often showed delicate paintings and other works in here, the kind that could be damaged by sunlight, so the room’s windows were heavily tinted and mostly for show.
He couldn’t go up to the roof just yet though. He really, really wanted to just run up there and get it over with, but this was a KID heist. KID has to make an appearance at least once. Also, what kind of gentleman would he be if he deprived his audience of seeing the whole gem all together?
The plan at the moment was to wait for Tantei-kun to make a ruckus about the fake gems, appear in a place no one could reach him easily, connect all four gems, and then escape up to the roof.
The diamond pulsed its odd energy again, feeling almost… excited.
Crap, where did that guy go?? Conan had only looked away for a second, distracted by Hattori’s stupidly loud voice, but by the time he’d glanced back, the guy with the ponytail was gone.
The gem still appeared to be there, but he knew KID always carried fakes. He was almost sure that the ponytail guy had been KID. None of the other guests had decided to talk to Conan and his friends, all the rest of them had only stepped up, nodded appreciatively at the diamond a few times, and then walked off. The ponytail guy had started a conversation with them before even looking at the gem.
…It might seem a little harsh to condemn him as a fake just for that, but this was KID they’re talking about.
Oh, also the vanishing thing. That was a very KID-like thing to do.
“Conan-kun? What’s wrong?” Ayumi asked, having apparently picked up on his agitation.
“I think the diamond here might be fake.” He said, standing on his tiptoes to get a better look inside the display case. Unfortunately, he wasn’t an expert appraiser, and couldn’t tell the authenticity of a gem just by looking at it through glass.
“What!?” Genta exclaimed, nearly pushing Conan over to look.
“But we were here the whole time, and they confirmed it was the real one before locking it up!” Mitsuhiko protested.
“Ponytail-san is gone.” Haibara commented. The other three stared at her wide eyed for a second, before looking around frantically for the guy in question.
“He’d probably already ditched that disguise. You won’t spot him.” Conan said, still trying to examine the jewel.
“You think he’s KID?” Ayumi gasped.
“What do we do?!” Mitsuhiko asked.
“We go to Nakamori Keibu and get him to get someone to check the gem again. Ayumi-chan and I will go do that, the rest of you stay here just in case. Do NOT take your eyes off the case, okay?” Conan nodded at them, getting three nods and an eye roll back.
Conan shot off into the crowd, weaving around the various guests in the direction of where he knew Nakamori Keibu was standing guard. The main entrance to the exhibition hall was lined with police. Nakamori Keibu himself was glaring at everyone who entered or exited. Old man Suzuki had forbidden him from pulling the faces of any of the guests, so he just had to stew in idleness for most of the night.
“Nakamori Keibu!” Conan called as he approached. The Keibu immediately jolted to attention, eyes snapping onto Conan’s form.
“What is it Conan-kun?” He crouched down in that way that adults did when speaking to children. Conan hated it, but in this case it meant he was being listened to, so he let it slide.
“We saw a really suspicious guy!” Ayumi burst out, coming to stand next to Conan.
“Really?” Nakamori Keibu started reaching for his walkie talkie, no doubt to call the rest of his squad.
“Yeah, but there’s no way we’re going to find him now. He was over by the diamond, and I think he might have switched it. The task force has an appraiser, don’t they?” Conan asked.
“I’ll call them over to take a look.” Nakamori Keibu nodded.
The appraiser appeared a moment later, and Conan guided the way back to the diamond’s corner. The guests parted for them this time, creating a perfect pathway for the Keibu.
Genta and Mitsuhiko had their gaze firmly trained on the diamond when they got over there, just as Conan had instructed. Haibara was scanning the crowd, glaring at everyone who thought of getting close.
“Hmm… Well, I can’t tell anything from here. I’ll need to handle the stone.” The appraiser muttered, walking around the case. Nakamori Keibu considered for a second, before whispering something into his walkie talkie.
A moment later, the intercom buzzed to life, some overworked secretary’s voice droning through.
“We apologize for the inconvenience, but we must ask every guest in the Four Elements viewing room to relocate to one of the other exhibits for the time being.”
Groans and mutters of complaint spread through the room, but no one resisted. It took only a minute or two for everyone to file out, the only people left being the police, and those who had been permitted to personally guard the gems.
“Dad! What’s wrong?” Nakamori Keibu’s daughter ran over to them, leaving Hakuba alone at the sapphire.
“We think the Diamond may have been switched, so we’re going to open the case to check. We don’t want to take chances and do it while there's a crowd of guests in here.” Nakamori Keibu said, gesturing for the appraiser to open the box.
The air pulled taut as the appraiser lifted the gem off of its cushion. He pulled out a small magnifying glass, turning it in his fingers.
“What!?” Nakamori Keibu snatched the gem from the appraiser, though Conan doubted he knew what he was looking for.
“But if that one’s fake…” Nakamori’s daughter muttered, before dashing off back toward the sapphire, everyone else hot on her heels.
“He got you again.” Haibara whispered with a smirk. Conan tore his gaze away from where the police were unlocking the sapphire’s case to glare at her.
“He got all of us. You were right there too, weren’t you?” He rolled his eyes.
“Yes, but I’m far less invested.” She shrugged.
“Another fake.” The appraiser said, followed by a copious amount of cursing from the inspector.
Hakuba sighed, such a heavy sound, dragging his hands down his face. Aoko, the inspector’s daughter, had turned such a bright shade of angry red that Conan was surprised she wasn’t cursing the same way her dad was. Conan himself took a deep breath, clenching his hands into fists. They’d been completely hoodwinked, just like Haibara had said, once again.
“What about the others?” The appraiser asked, gesturing to the other gems, whose guardians hadn’t moved from their posts, but were now regarding their charges with quite a lot of suspicion. There probably wasn’t much point in checking those, to be fair. Conan knew how much KID respected him as a rival, and he’d been a little obvious about taking the diamond. The chances the other two had already been switched? One hundred percent.
“Not much point, I’m afraid. Unless you want to be disappointed four times instead of two.”
The voice carried from above, causing Conan to look up so fast he could have gotten whiplash. Lounging casually on the railing of the restricted balcony was the thief himself, tossing the sapphire lazily with one hand.
“K-Kaitou KID!!” Nakamori Keibu bellowed, “All of you, to the stairs!” He barked at the officers in the room, who all made a break for the door.
“I’ve been up here for a while, you know. You really must look up more often.” KID laughed, hands stilling.
“If your bad habit of being up so high keeps you from the attention you so obviously want, then maybe you should come down more often.” Hakuba said, with less bite than Conan would have expected.
“Bird freak!” Hattori called from across the room.
“Let's not resort to name calling now, seeing as we might offend more than just our intended targets.” KID glanced meaningfully at Hakuba, who visibly seethed.
“Screw you KID!” Aoko-chan growled.
“Here I had decided to be nice, and you’re all insulting me.” KID shook his head in mock offense.
“I’m not insulting you!” Sonoko called.
“What do you mean, decided to be nice?” Conan cut her off before she could sing more praises.
“I could have left you know, and I still could,” KID said, getting to his feet, now walking around the outside of the railing, “But I decided to let you all see what everyone came here to see, the full gem put together. If the good inspector had been a little less cautious, then the rest of the guests would have gotten to see it too. What a shame.”
“KID….” Nakamori Keibu growled.
KID grinned, tossing the sapphire into the air again, much higher this time. In the time it was in the air, he withdrew the other three gems from his coat, assembling them fast enough that Conan had trouble following his movements. The sapphire fell…. Right into place.
The completed gem was just as beautiful as all the articles and critics would have you believe. Once put together, all the posts and holes disappeared, leaving only a breathtaking piece of art in its place. The ceiling lights filtered through it, covering the room with colored light in every hue.
Everyone froze, transfixed by the jewel. KID grinned triumphantly, holding it up for all of them to see. The trance seemed to last forever, but in reality could have only been a few seconds.
Moments after being united, the room exploded with light. Conan would have thought that KID had thrown a flash bomb, if not for the momentary surprise he saw on the thief’s face moments before being blinded. Whatever this was, it wasn’t KID doing it.
The momentary silence born of the completed gem was shattered by screams, high and scared, people calling each other’s names in confusion.
Conan raised an arm to shield his eyes, though it didn’t help against the glare, and called for Haibara. He was sure that she’d been right next to him only moments ago, but now that he reached for her, he couldn’t find her, couldn’t hear her replies to his calling. She always replied when he called for her.
He realized he couldn’t hear anyone anymore, not just Haibara. The light acted almost as a thick fog, separating him from everyone else.
“Haibara!!! Haibara answer me!! Hattori!? KID!!!”
With every name his desperation grew, and his breathing got faster. What was going on?? What had
“RAN!!” He screamed her name, but just like before, received no answer.
The ground beneath him crumbled, sending him tumbling. He got a single glimpse of a bright blue sky, before pain exploded in his head, and everything went black.