A mystery story around a group of detectives who get a case shoved into their hands in which they have to find a missing girl.
A short serial, actually.
Fire looked at the envelope in his hand with a frown.
"You're saying that you want me to solve the case written in this letter?" he asked, looking back at the secret agent seated across him at the table.
"Yes, that's right," said Agent Bennett. He looked calmly back at Fire. "I'll expect you to be able to solve it within a couple of days. Much faster than the cops who were involved in this case."
They sat at a table set not far from the counter, and since it was in the wee-early hours of opening for the cafe, the only customers here were seated at the windows with coffee and breakfast before heading to work. Far enough from them that they could talk about work in progress before the day actually began.
Fire and Bennett were having coffee, with Bennett having a plate of sandwiches in front of him. Fire seemed satisfied with his drink alone; he'd already eaten breakfast early in the morning.
Fire finally frowned. "You're getting senile, Bennett. We have clients, not agents doing favors for a client's daughter. And make that this town's mayor's daughter."
"And you're a genius, Fire. That's why I shifted the request to you. Also, I thought you don't have a problem with peoples' identities, whether they're rich or not."
"I don't. But only old people shove their work down to the kids, right? I mean - you're turning sixty, right?" Fire grinned.
"I'm not! I'm fifty years old!" Agent Bennett scowled at Fire.
Fire laughed, making Bennett realize that Fire wasn't really taking the situation seriously.
"Kid, please, no jokes," he huffed.
"You know Swallowtail's procedure, though," said Fire, sitting up as he picked up the letter. "If we like the client, we take the case. If not, we throw it out the window."
"You'll like her. Ella Weiss. She doesn't like reputation either." Bennett seemed to be sure about that.
"Really?" Fire asked, questioning Bennett's confidence.
"By the way, where are the others? You're the only one here of Swallowtail," said Bennett, now puzzled as he looked around the cafe. "And - your sister, too?"
"Coming in late," Fire said, sipping his coffee. "History stayed over with Empress for the night. So it was just me at my place."
"They'll be here in a while, Dad," said Sierra, coming out from behind the counter towards them to place a plate of sandwiches in front of Bennett. "Rose just called to say that they were on their way."
Sierra smiled at her father; the daughter managed the cafe on her own with five other employees in the back as the cooks, though she managed most of the work on her own. She was the reason why Bennett enjoyed breakfast at this cafe, aside from the food. And Fire, being Bennett's pupil, set up the Swallowtail Detective Agency there with six others who became his colleagues not long after.
Fire opened the envelope and looked at the letter with a frown. Then he frowned more. "A kidnap case?"
"Uh-huh," said Bennett with his mouth full. "The case involves Ms. Weiss' best friend Maya Cortez's disappearance two months ago."
At that moment, the door opened, and North trooped in. Followed by Empress, Rose, History, Slayer, and Darken.
Empress immediately ran over to them. "Agent Bennett! Why are you here?"
"Oh, Empress - I didn't expect the rest of the crew to come here at the same time," said Bennett, looking from her to North, to the rest of the group.
"We all had North be our bus and take us here," laughed Rose, grinning. Rose liked going to the stylist to get his hair styled, as was what he did every month, changing the color of the streaks in his spiky blond hair. This month, he had his blond hair adorned with cobalt blue strands.
"I told you, I'm doing it as a favor - and it's not a bus ride!" North snapped.
"Boy, are you grumpy today," Fire chuckled. "We've got a case, partner!"
"Huh? That was fast," North looked at him, his mood switching rather fast.
"Not really. We've yet to meet the client." He handed the letter to North, who read the letter within a minute, even though it was two pages long.
"So the client is Mayor Weiss' daughter?" said North finally, handing the letter back to Fire.
"What's it about?" asked Darken, taking a chair beside Bennett.
"Ella Weiss' friend Maya was kidnapped two months ago, and because the cops have no way to find her, she wants us to find out how Maya vanished," said North.
"Do you know her?" asked Slayer, glancing at him.
"Barely," said North with a shrug. "Well, I guess being the son of the current prime minister, I should know her, but I don't hang out much with those government guys."
"Why won't she ask Bennett? I mean, he's got skills even a detective has," said Empress. "Even if he's a bodyguard right now."
"I can't, I have work, and it's as a bodyguard," said Bennett. "Secret agents don't have much free time. This is just a favor for her, since I was just going to pass by here for breakfast, as usual."
"Okay, North, get your Land Rover ready. We're going." Fire hopped to his feet then turned to History. "Wanna come?"
"Yeah," said History calmly, munching on a granola bar.
"History, be careful, got it?" Empress patted History's head. History was like a little sister among them; thirteen years old, and rather innocent.
"Fire, you mind if I tag along?" asked Slayer, slinging a red pack over his shoulder.
"You got a reason?" asked North.
"Boredom?" said Slayer.
"Well, I'm sorry for not getting much cases recently," Darken scowled. "And I only just recovered from pox two days ago. Don't blame the sick."
Slayer laughed. "I wasn't! I'm interested in this case, that's all. How did that girl find out about Swallowtail, anyway? We aren't like those big detective agencies known by everyone else."
"It wasn't me," said Bennett immediately. "Apparently, it was from her friend, Maya. That girl was a normal kid, kinda like you guys, so she'd have heard of you. Ms Weiss didn't believe a detective agency called Swallowtail existed until she saw your website and did a little research a couple of days ago. Which was how I got here with the letter."
"Say, aren't you supposed to head to work soon?" said North. "Shouldn't you be coming with us?"
"No. I'm heading somewhere else to meet the mayor, which would be at his office, not at his home."
"Oh, right," said North. Then he noticed History looking distracted as they stepped out. Fire and Slayer moved straight towards his black Land Rover in the meantime.
"What's wrong?" he asked, curious. He kept his voice low, though, in case it was something Fire shouldn't need to worry about.
“I have a feeling that . . . something's going to happen,” History replied, in that monotone of a voice that she owned.
History had always given off the look of an unemotional person. Calm, level-headed, seemingly more mature than her brother Fire. Even though she was three years younger than him.
But like her brother, she had a bit of psychic power in her, too.
Just that, according to her, it's too vague.