Berardo had long since pulled out his notebook and had begun taking notes about what Meike was saying. He had to hold his notebook in his injured left hand but it provided him just enough stability to write with. At least there was something to go on Cockatrice had a goal and purpose made criminals findable. The worse kind where those that were crazy and you couldn’t understand what they wanted.
“Thanks for the information.”
“You don’t need to thank me for anything. I just want you to find that man. I recommend doing it before I find him or King of Endless Water might not leave any of him for you to punish. Now if you excuse us, we need to get going.”
Berardo let her and the giant King go. Just before they left King transformed back into a card and Meike put him away. With them gone the shop was empty except the clerk manning the counter.
“Will it do any good if I asked the clerk about the crimes?” Berardo asked.
Rose shook her head, “Doubtful. The makers prefer to stay out of conflicts as much as possible. Unless the murders get completely out of control then they aren’t likely to even give up information. And if the are pushed into action then they probably wouldn’t assist you. Instead doing things by themselves.”
Berardo sighed, “Alright. And showing them my badge won’t do any good?” She didn’t have to respond, just look at him and he knew that it wouldn’t do any good. He had dealt with armed criminals previously and this was much like that. If the person didn’t respect the authority of the law and felt they had strength that protected them from the law then they didn’t have to answer his questions.
He still walked up to the counter. After all there was a reason that he came here. “I would like to register for the open Destiny Burst dual list.”
The clerk nodded, “Of course. Could you fill this out.” He passed over a clipboard with a form on it.”
Berardo took it and then went to sit down to fill it out. It wasn’t very long. There were questions like what his handle was, a phone contact number, and how many crystals did he prefer to battle with. Rose helped him while Horizon looked around the store.
After a few minutes he handed the form back to the man to took it.
Berardo asked him, “Since there is this open Destiny Burst dual list could I get a copy of it?”
He nodded, “Of course. You phone will be updated with the list once we are done processing your acceptance form.”
“Good.” And with that he went over to check on Horizon.
She was looking at a bunch of devices that were in cases on one side of the store.
“What are you looking at?” asked Berardo.
“It is an card carrier. You can strap it to your arm and then your can easily pull your cards from it. I’m trying to decide if it would work with your broken arm.”
It looks stupid and had bright colors on it. There would be no way he would wear anything like that. “I couldn’t afford it. Right now I don’t have any crystals to spend on things.”
“This one can be bought with normal money too. It isn’t made with crystals. The makers just stock it to make it easier for Dreamers to battle.”
He still wasn’t going to buy it but he did look at the price since Horizon had been examining it. He choked a little bit at the price. Who would buy something like this for that price. It was almost as expensive as his bicycle had been.
“Unfortunately my detective paycheck is tight enough as it is so I’m going to have to pass.” She looked disappointed. Did she want him to look stupid. “Speaking of money. I’ve guess that the two of you are expecting to also live of my paycheck.”
“Obviously.” Said Rose, “Although some Dreamers have their heroes work job when they don’t need them for battling. I would recommend you do it however since you might need us at your side at any time in case Cockatrice attacks you, or us if we were away from you.”
“If there is a job for riding the tram then I can do that.” Said Horizon.
“No need for that.” Said Berardo, “Do you need to eat?”
Horizon’s eyes widen a little, “There was a burger place one floor down. They have fries and shakes! I definitely need to eat there.”
“Are you trying to push my buttons?” Asked Berardo.
“… …” That actually gave Berardo a little pause, “What? Why?”
“You help cultivate our bond. I can’t do that unless I understand what you want and do not want from me.”
“I, you, that…” Berardo was having trouble finding words.
“Was I doing it too often? Are you getting annoyed at me? Maybe I should turn it down a notch.” She began muttering to herself.
Berardo looked at Rose who smiled and said, “You could order her to stop if you want. However I don’t think your are going to do that. You are just going to have to let her get on your nerves until she decides who she really is. A hero’s first Dreamer has a large effect on their personality.”
“Great, more responsibility. Well, unless there is something else we need to do here. I need to get down to the station and check our lists of missing people and recent murder cases. See if there is any truth to Cockatrice murdering other Destiny Burst minor players.”
They both nodded and followed him as he began to leave the stop. However he was stopped at the entrance by a new man he had never seen before. The man wore fine clothes and had slicked back hair. And earrings. And nose rings. It was like the man was making a deliberate attempt to look like a rich asshole.
“Oh oh oh. What do we have here.” Said the man, “A hero of a dead person and their new Dreamer. I didn’t expect to see you again so soon, or ever.” He passed Berardo and got close to Rose, very close, “You could have just contacted me. I would have come over and taken you in a jiffy. You could have been mine.”
Rose didn’t back down in front of him, “Sorry, Theo, but you would be the last person I would choose to be my new master. I think I would rather be ripped up.”
“Oh, I could certainly arrange that. Something slow though so you would be sure to beg me to stop.”
“Lucky for me then I already have a new Dreamer so you can go and fuck off and leave me alone.”
“How dare you say that to me!” His eyes raged and he raised his hand like he was about to punch her.
Berardo however grabbed his arm with his good hand, “Would you kindly stop.”
The man who had previously ignored Berardo spun around and gave him an icy glare. “Who do you think you are trying to stop me? Some new Dreamer with no experience. If you want to fight I can give it to you. They you will know your place.”
Berardo gave a fake smile. “Sorry. Not interested right now. If you want to fight ask for my number and the counter and we can schedule something. However with the amount that you are bragging I don’t expect to have much trouble.”
The man’s rage was visible. “You think your better than me do you!”
Berardo continued the fake smile, “Oh, and while if you try to hurt anybody.” He pulled out his badge from his coat pocket, “I’ll arrest you.”
“Arrest me! For hurting a hero! Ha! They aren’t real humans and they would hardly stay hurt for long. Like you could arrest me for harming on of them.”
“It is like that is it.” Said Berardo getting really annoyed. “Then just try it. I would love to hear you make that explanation to the jury. I’ve sure the jury would love to hear you explain it to you.”
Berardo could hear he grinding his teeth. Finally his eyes hardened, “Alright then. Have it your way. For now. However in a Duel I can hurt them a much as I like and you won’t be able to say anything. Isn’t that right?”
The man promptly turned away and walked to the counter. As they left the building he could hear the man yelling at the clerk to get Berardo’s information and the clerk apologizing the the registration hasn’t been completed yet and that he would have to wait until it was.
“Why did you try to make him mad?” Asked Horizon.
“Force of habit I suppose.” Said Berardo as they walked through the mall hallways. “Usually when I’m talking with people like that they are a suspect. You push them to get them to make mistakes and tell you things that they normally wouldn’t say.” He paused for a second before saying, “Also people like that annoy me. Always thinking they are better than other people.”
“In Theofilus’ case he is partially correct.” Said Rose. “He is a skilled dueler especially against inexperienced duelers. You basically fell precisely for his bait. He ties to force people into duels and then surprises them with some usual hero or spell and wins there crystals from them. He is responsibly for forcing a bunch of people from abandoning Destiny Burst.”
“I can’t just back down from something like that. As a police detective I can’t back down before threats or criminals would walk all over me.”
“And you don’t like being walked over? What if they weren’t wearing shoes?” Asked Horizon.
“You do realize that is a meta…. Yes, of course you do. Was that supposed to be a joke?”
“Well. It wasn’t a very good.”
“I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better next time.”
They left the mall and took the tram back down to the main station. While he could have spent the evening at the police station the place had already been attacked once. So instead he just quickly procured the list of missing and dead people that had been reported in the last year.
With that he left the station to head back to his own apartment. Much to Horizon’s disappointment the apartment was in the lower part of the city. Places were cheaper there and the place was out of the way. It also wasn’t a sterile complex building. It was an older building that used to be an office building. However the business parts of town shifted and it was converted into a residential building.
The apartment was large and cheap. At least it was big for one person. Things felt a lot more cramped when there where three of them in his living room.
“Sorry if I’m not really prepared for hosting a pair of magical heroes. Some things you can’t really prepare for.”
Rose glanced around the place while Horizon began peeking under things and searching the other rooms. Rose said, “It isn’t that bad. It is bigger than Kathie’s place. We didn’t have much more than necessary space there. You seem to have a couple of extra rooms.”
“Most of them are already in use. I converted that room into a library while the other extra room is full of random things. We can probably condense those two rooms and the two of you share the freed up room.”
“You don’t need to go out of your way to accommodate for us. Eyes that Gaze the Horizon said that she wanted to go eat but as long as you sustain us with your crystals we do not need to eat or sleep.”
“Do not have to? But do you want to?”
“It does make things more pleasant.”
Berardo nodded, “Then the room can be yours.”
“Look, look what I found!” Said Horizon as she came out of the storage room wearing a wooden mask carved with fangs and painted red. “Why do you have these?”
“Try not to mess with my stuff too much. I got that on one of my over seas trips. An old man gave it to me in thanks for helping find his daughter.”
“There are a bunch of strange things in there? Are they all yours?”
“Who else's do you think they might be?”