Ditko looked at the report in his hand as he questioned the member in front of him.
"Sir, as the report suggests, all the surveillance targets, Fire Brothers, Bearman, Hair Fiend, and others went missing on No.12 Highway. I know it sounds ridiculous and unbelievable but it is the facts," the member reported in a heavy tone and expression.
As one of the handlers in the intelligence department of Funeral Society, Fuco's vigilance and instinct in the past didn't vanish despite being transferred to the Flame City branch.
He had a hunch that something big was about to happen.
"Didn't our men find anything?" Ditko asked out of unwillingness.
"You know, even a real Fiend Hunter has to be careful while facing those targets, let alone the common members that rely on normal items. It's already a difficult task for them to deliver the message," Fuco couldn't hold back his bitter smile.
Ditko too fell into silence, he didn't refute anymore because it was already the truth.
Even Ditko dared not be careless against those fiends and half-fiends, let alone the common members with the least training and normal items.
"What happened there? Is it related to 2567? What is Perforation Sting up to again this time?"
Thoughts flooded his mind, Ditko couldn't stay passive and continue waiting.
"I'll go investigate myself. Report the situation here exactly to Lord Ren." Ditko then went out.
"Noted," Fuco nodded.
He saw Ditko off before rearranging the files and documents in order to present it to the Fiend Exorcist, Ren.
Just when Funeral Society made their move, some other factions in Flame City made their move as well.
Inside a dark alleyway, Albunai didn't mind the dirty walls and leaned on it while waiting for someone with a paper bag in his hand.
10 minutes later, a figure carefully approached the alleyway.
The figure first looked around outside the alleyway and when Albunai was noticed, the figure heaved a sigh of relief before entering quickly.
"You are late," Albunai said.
His dark and pugnacious face twitched as he spoke, it looked like a shark had opened its bloody jaws.
Albunai was patient enough but it didn't mean he was willing to wait for a latecomer unconditionally.
The figure who was late stepped back in terror before he muttered, "Oaker is on the case too close recently, I had to spend more time to shake him off."
"That is your problem, not a reason for me to wait." Albunai waved his hand to brush the person off.
The person was then sent flying backward, crashing into the wall while his bones cracked; his body then slid down the wall.
"This is just a reminder! If there is next time…"
Albunai didn't even finish his words but the hints between lines were enough to state his intentions.
"I won't! I won't! No next time! I swear!"
The person who suffered many broken bones didn't die, he didn't even feel pain but because of that, it made him more fearful of Albunai as he crawled on the ground without moving.
Albunai nodded and threw the paper bag in front of the person's face. Then he grabbed two bundles of money from the person's pocket before he left without turning back.
As for what would happen to the person?
Albunai didn't even care, all he wanted was to achieve his goal.
After leaving the alleyway and walking two more blocks, Albunai entered an underground bar.
There were no signs outside, no visible landmarks, other than frequent visitors, no one would know the bar's location. Or in other words, the bar will only open to familiar visitors.
Albunai walked over to the counter and sat beside Zackary.
Zackary, a handsome man with a brilliant suit didn't seem to fit the little dirty bar's aesthetic and its environment but he was still leisurely drinking on his own. Even when Albunai was staring at him, he didn't react immediately, instead, he only turned around after he finished his drink.
"You need to change your habits, otherwise people will be onto you very fast. This isn't our turf you know."
Zackary said as such but he wasn't nervous at all; he poured another glass for himself.
"I've settled my business. What about you?"
Albunai grabbed the glass before it was filled and stared at Zackary with a gloomy face.
If it was possible, Albunai definitely wouldn't team up with Zackary to complete this kind of life and death related mission.
It wasn't that Zackary wasn't strong enough, in fact among the whole Perforation Sting, Zackary was one of the handful of powerhouses, like Albunai.
However, it was Zackary's attitude that Albunai disliked: pretentious and lazy, plus… Not reliable enough!
That's right, Zackary was not reliable!
From the first meeting until now, Albunai never took Zackary as a reliable person that he could trust his back to. Therefore, Albunai didn't wish to have excessive contact with this person.
Like this exact moment, Albunai was anxious to know Zackary's progress with his mission so that he could leave earlier; he even had the thought of not seeing Zackary anymore before the real mission starts.
"My mission? Done of course! But I found something even more interesting…" Zackary replied but he also tried to tempt Albunai into listening further.
"Hey, aren't you curious about what I'm going to say?"
Before Zackary even finished, Albunai turned around and wanted to leave.
Albunai acted on his own accord entirely, he didn't stop at all and even hastened his steps to leave.
Zackary shook his head as he raised his glass, sighing softly, "What a pity! If you knew those pursuers going after the Bird of Death all went missing, you would be interested. But… that Bird of Death is really a concerning figure!"
Another sip of his sweet wine later, Zackary muttered to himself softly.
His handsome features looked a little bit weird following his self-utterance but soon, he returned to normal and went on drinking on his own at the bar.
Meanwhile, on the second floor of the independent building at the police station, Inspector Oaker entered the home with furrowed brows.
Things were quite messy in Flame City recently.
Those gangsters who should be active in their respective turfs suddenly became eager to step out of line.
Fighting, causing problems, invading other faction's turf, etc.
These activities were the main goals in the gangster's life but some did it routinely as well.
Unless something happened to a certain underground boss suddenly, it would only be some small squabbles on and off. The situation shouldn't have escalated to frequent clashes.
Judging from his past experience, the inspector was sure if the situation continued to escalate, it would evolve into a grander scale of conflict.
"What in the world happened?"
Confused, the inspector continued into his home but then, he saw someone in the room before him.
Instinctively, the inspector pulled out his gun from his waist.
However, the inspector showed joy on his face when he caught a clear glimpse of the person's face but a sudden realization followed and drove the inspector to close the door quickly.
He looked around through the spyhole, making sure that no one was following or noticing his unusual behavior before he turned around and walked up to the person in his home.
"How dare you come back to the city?"