This time Inspector Sonoda was expected. The pounding of the walking mech outside the Cave of Evil was accompanied by none of the emotional turmoil as the visit that had started the whole adventure less than a week ago. Miho and Masamichi greeted each other cordially, and chatted for a few moments over tea before the Inspector got down to business.
"You wanted to see me, Tohya-san?" He asked.
"Yes Inspector; I have something for you." Miho reached down for a large, expensive-looking attaché case, and placed it on the table between them.
"What is this?"
"It's the contents of that vault; the one Yuki's kidnapper wanted your wife to destroy." Said Miho. She was trying hard not to preen, but was in fact feeling pretty good about herself.
Sonoda looked at her for a moment, stunned.
"Are you serious?"
"Absolutely Inspector. Your daughter's kidnapper was a man named Yoshi Haruki. I would imagine that the people from your organized crime division will know him. It seems that he's involved in a quiet little turf war with the owner of the vault, who was collecting incriminating information about Haruki, along with…some other things. Not a nice man at all. There's enough evidence in there to convict them both, of many, many bad deeds, and probably shut down several major crime rings in the city as well."
"Tohya-san, how did you get this?"
Miho hunched her shoulders in a dainty little shrug, playfully batting her long eyelashes.
"Oh come now, inspector; a girl has to have a few secrets."
Sonoda chuckled and leaned back in his chair.
"Very well. I just don't like the idea of you putting your life in danger to do our job."
"Hah! Believe me, Inspector Sonoda, I was in no real danger from those idiots."
The Inspector was lost in thought for a moment.
"So Detective Shinsi was right…"
"About what, Inspector?"
"He said the whole incident didn't make any sense. Kidnapping Yuki had to be an act of absolute desperation on someone's part. And yet you probably know that we haven't been able to get any of the men we arrested to talk, which indicates someone very powerful. Now we know why this Haruki was driven to try such a thing. Tohya…I'm running out of ways to express how indebted I am to you."
"How is Yuki doing?"
The inspector's brow furrowed in irritation. "How can anyone tell? One moment she's all bubbly and happy, like nothing happened, and the next she's stomping around hollering and throwing stuffed animals."
"Ah! She sound's perfectly normal for a girl her age," said Miho, laughing.
"Do you think she'll be all right?"
Miho smiled. Sonoda Masamichi , the hard-bitten professional police inspector, was as adrift as any other father, dealing with the complexities of an adolescent daughter for the first time.
"She'll be fine, Inspector, and so will you. Now you'd better get that case of evidence back to headquarters before someone discovers it's missing."
"Yes, I should." said Sonoda, and rose. "Oh Tohya-san, there's…one more thing. Meimi wanted me to invite you to dinner later this week. Is there an evening that works well for you?
"Thursday would be wonderful."
"Ah…excellent. Can we expect you at six?
"You seem a bit nervous, inspector."
"Nothing to do with you, Tohya-San." Said the Inspector quickly. "It's just that lately Meimi's dinner events have tended to be…a bit unusual."
Miho laughed. It was something that she'd been doing a lot more lately. It felt good.
"With myself and Yuki-san and Meimi-san together in one place, Inspector? What could possibly happen?"

End. Hope it works for someone. Even if it doesn't, it was fun to write.


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