9 The Stalker
After Shuichi came to the Kurosaki residence, they came up with a plan. Rei and Ruka would be bait, while Shuichi would follow from a distance away to see if he could spot the stalker. Chihiro will be with him to help point out the stalker if she saw him.
Daisuke and Inari complained about not being part of the plan, but Rei reasoned that it would be better with less people—or creatures—involved. Rei hadn't wanted Ruka to tag along with her but Ruka insisted, saying she wasn't going to let Rei be stalked alone, especially since she was Rei's guardian.
"Is this the place?" Rei asked through the phone as she was walking towards a small ice cream parlour. It was a small hole-in-the-wall place close to a main road and that was why there weren't many people there.
"Yes," Chihiro said through the phone that Shuichi was holding. "I know it's a small place. One of my friends actually has a crush on the owner's son and that's why we come here quite often. They did say business is slow and are planning to relocate, though. Maybe after this incident they would."
"I see," Rei said. "Well, I'm going in now."
"Be careful," Shuichi warned, then ended the call. He and Chihiro stayed back a couple blocks away from the place so that it wasn't obvious they were with the two girls, but not too far away that they couldn't help if needed.
A man walked past the shop window, peeking inside, and turning into a corner nearby. He then peeked out from the corner and watched the front door of the shop.
"That's him," Chihiro said. "Ugh, how disgusting. It doesn't matter where he goes, there's always a victim."
"I see," Shuichi said. "I'll let them know."
He sent a text to Rei's phone telling her that the stalker was waiting around the corner outside and that they weren't to walk towards them, but rather away from them.
The two walked out of the shop not long after, and as agreed, walked away from where Shuichi and Chihiro were. The stalker saw it as an opportunity and began tailing the two, not realising that he was being tailed by Shuichi and Chihiro.
"Wait, what is he doing?" Chihiro asked in alarm as she saw the man walking towards Rei and Ruka.
"What's wrong?" Shuichi asked curiously.
"He's never got that close to a target before," Chihiro said. "Curses. Is it because there are only the two of them? Come on, we better intervene before he gets physical."
"Hello, girls," the man greeted and Rei and Ruka turned to him with suspicious stares. "Oh, I don't mean you two any harm," he said, glancing around minutely. "I'm actually an agent looking for new talents as gravure models. I think you would be good at it. Do you want to give it a try?"
"No, thank you, we're not interested," Ruka said sharply, glaring at the man who was leering at them.
"Don't you think you should let her decide for herself?" the man continued, looking at Rei. He moved closer and grabbed Rei's shoulder. "You're fair and cute, I'm sure a lot of guys will like you."
"Don't touch her," Ruka growled as she slapped the hand away. "Come on, Rei, let's go."
Ruka grabbed Rei's arm and pulled her away. The man glared at Ruka and reached inside his pocket, pulling out a stun gun.
Ruka and Rei stopped when they heard a loud thud, a pop, and a blood-curdling scream. They turned around and saw the man on the ground, his left arm bent at an awkward angle, and tears were running down his face.
"Shuichi-san!" Rei exclaimed. "What happened?"
"Suzuki noticed that he changed his modus operandi and we came closer," Shuichi explained calmly, still pressing his foot down on the man's back and bending the man's arm behind his back. "He was about to attack Miyagi with a stun gun and possibly kidnap you."
"I'll call the police," Rei said as she pulled out her phone from her bag.
Meanwhile, Ruka walked closer to the man, nudging his face with her shoe.
"You dare try to hurt Rei, huh," she said as she cackled manically. "Have you ever seen Hell?"
"Ruka, don't," Rei said quickly, holding onto Ruka's hand. "Please."
Ruka grumbled, but stepped away from the man. Chihiro watched on with unforgiving eyes as the man who indirectly killed him cried and begged for forgiveness. How many more girls had lost their lives or had to live in fear because of him?
The police came shortly and brought the man into custody. Shuichi wasn't charged for hurting the man because it was classified as self-defence, so they were all free to go after the policeman thanked them for helping capture the stalker.
"Well, that's another case done," Ruka said as she shrugged. "Too bad I couldn't introduce him to Hellfire."
Rei smiled at Ruka. "Thanks," she said. "And thank you, Shuichi-san, Chihiro-san."
"No need to thank me," Chihiro said with a grin. "I'm just glad he's in custody now, so I can move on peacefully."
"Rest in peace, Chihiro-san," Rei said. "Goodbye."
Chihiro smiled at her. "Thanks, Rei-kun," she said. "You're lucky to be surrounded by so many people who care for you."
"Technically, only both Ohtori are people," Ruka said, "but technicalities, right?"
Chihiro laughed. "Maybe we'll see each other again in our next lives," she said. "Goodbye."
The three watched as Chihiro's figure faded and disappeared.
"Well, that's another client satisfied," Shuichi said as he reached out to ruffle Rei's hair and smile at her. "Shall we head back home? I'm sure Yamada and Nagisa are worried."
"Okay," Rei said, "and I'll buy some fried tofu for Inari on the way back."
"You're spoiling him."