February 12th 1955, Lundy
Where should I begin with this story?
I, of all people, should know it best, no?
For this is my story. The story of a young reporter and an unforgettable meeting.
If I tell you the name of ‘phantom thief the Swallow’, I don't doubt some of you might remember that name. Though I will not be as vain as to believe that the real story will ring a bell immediately.
Actually, I believe that there are only few who know the truth. For instance, no one these days recalls that his true name was 'Tsubame'. For both he and I were Japanese. Something no longer very acceptable in the London of these days.
But I'm drifting off. Let's start at the start. It should be a little longer then 15 years ago.
The day where a reporter met a phantom thief.
Meeting under the moonlight.
January 6th 1940, London
"Tezuka!" a heavy voice shrieked. Said person was sitting behind a desk, his pen in his mouth, staring at a halve full paper. His gaze moved to the door as he recognized the voice.
The man in the door opening looked somewhat excited for his normal doing. He slammed on the desk.
"The Big Ben. I want you on the scene! Hurry up." He practically pushed Tezuka out of his office.
Not quite knowing what his superior was talking about, Tezuka just let the man push pen, paper and camera in his hands. "err.... I see. I'll go then."
A little out of his routine because of Sanada, Tezuka grabbed his coat.
Something going on at the Big Ben? Tezuka didn't expect much out of it. After all, there were far more important things going on in the world right now. There was war. Germany has had free game, because of the appeasement politics of both England and France. But it had gone too far and since September, the war was declared.
He doubt that the Big Ben had any connection to these important events. Perhaps the reconstruction was finished, because of the fire in October 1934?
But as he arrived at the scene, he saw a large amount of police officers. A little surprised, Tezuka tried to converse with one of them. But only to be told to go away.
Tezuka noticed that it was not the Big Ben that was of concern, but rather, a small museum located next to it. What could have happened? Perhaps a murder scene....
As a reporter, it was very unlikely for Tezuka to give up, and so, he searched for an entrance into the building.
With little trouble, he managed to work his way up on an unsurveillanced fire case.
Inside, it was damp and pitch black. An outage?
He heard ruckus outside. Had something happened?
'The tower!' he heard.
Dang it! He should have stayed focused on the tower after all!
He made way for the door, but it proved to be quite a task in the darkness. It was already late and the only place to enlighten the area was a window.
Tezuka moved towards it, to open its curtains.
But as he wished to do so, the window blew open on its own. A strong gust of wind entered, making Tezuka pinch his eyes. It was cold. But somehow, the wind felt very soft as well. Like it was somehow.... Predicting something....
"My...." He heard from behind him. Tezuka froze to the ground. He was not alone anymore.
But the sound of the voice was not hostile. It wasn't a police member either. But it send shivers down his spine.
"It seems you're not part of the police. Sightseeing?" Tezuka dared to turn his head. In the dusk of the moonlight he could notice a figure. It was perhaps nothing more but a youngster in his eyes, judging on his height and shape. But Tezuka could detect a long black cape and a white mask which he hid his face with.
"If you're not with the police, would you be so kind as to stand slightly closer to the door? I'm a little busy." Indeed, the boy seemed to be fussing with a lock of what seemed a safe.
"Who... are you?" Tezuka dared to ask. He could hear a small chuckle.
"You came here, not knowing? My my, quite interesting." A soft click was heard and the boy opened the safe. Inside where many things, seemingly of great value, judging on how they shimmered in the moonlight. There were also paintings.
But the boy took nothing more but a simple ring, not even seeming of much worth.
Without breaking much more sweat or bothering to even close the safe, he head back for the window.
"Hn?" The boy turned his head to Tezuka. "Are you after all planning on stopping me," he glanced at the camera, ", Reporter-san?”
"No.. err... I...... who are you?" Tezuka just repeated.
He smirked and jumped on the window-frame. "Have you... ever heard what a phantom thief is?" He asked him.
Tezuka was in a daze. He couldn't answer him. He weakly managed to press the button of the camera, mostly out of instinct. His aim couldn't be more off... But perhaps he'd have some use to it later.
The thief smiled, seeing as to how perplexed Tezuka was and jumped out of the window.
"There he is! After him!" Tezuka heard faintly from outside. He could slightly feel his muscles working again. He head towards the emergency exit before the police would rush in and see him as a suspect.
What now? It was already late. Should he just head home?
But the adrenaline drove him back towards the office. He had to write. Write what has just happened.
He had the keys, so he got himself inside easily. It was harder to find the light button. Seeing as to how dark the office was, he felt another chill.
It had been so thrilling to stand eye in eye with a thief. Anything could have happened in that dark room. He didn't seem to have been armed and the boy had even looked quite relaxed.... But you never know.
Tezuka sat behind his desk, uneasily biting his pen. He considered what he could and could not write. After all, if he wrote too much, he'd be suspicious of being his cohort.
Tezuka kicked underneath his desk, slightly frustrated. But what he kicked didn't feel like the wall.
"n-Niou!? Were you sleeping underneath my desk again!?" Tezuka shot backwards. The sleepy face of one of the editors appeared from underneath the desk.
"It's so much more comfortable then mine or Yagyuu's... Back from the scene? How was it?"
Niou grinned. "You've seen him, huh?"
Tezuka moved back to the desk, leaning both his elbows on it. "Just who was that? He claimed to be a phantom thief, but..."
Niou sat on the desk. "Kaitou Tsubame.... Up until now, he's made a move 3 times. Every time he did so, he has left a notice at the police with time and date, yet they couldn't catch 'im. His intentions aren't really all that clear. I guess he's just a plain thief like all the other bunch... but he's a damned good one."
On that moment, the other editor, Yagyuu, entered. "Niou-kun!" as he saw Tezuka, he frowned a little troubled. "Tezuka-kun... Has he caused you any trouble again?"
"ah, no, not really.... this time..."
Yagyuu pushed his hand against the back of Niou's head and made him bow along with himself. "I apologize for him being an idiot."
"ah.... That's alright." Tezuka frowned.
"We'll be taking our leave. Please take good care of yourself, Tezuka-kun." Yagyuu shoved Niou out of the room.
Tezuka stared back at the empty sheet of paper in front of him.
"Tsubame...." he mumbled.
He took his pen and wrote:
January 6th 1940, London
At the clock tower of Westminster, at a little past 20:00, he was spotted. The great thief Tsubame who has yet to fail his ambitions. -'