17 • Kaneshiro's Bank

Start from the beginning

Shadow Kaneshiro turned away from his gold, sitting on one of them.

"I'm glad you understand," Fox says. "Now hurry up and return to the real Kaneshiro"

"Seriously? You guys don't have any tact. Especially with that incredible power..." Shadow Kaneshiro says. "These Palaces could net you loads of cash!"

"We're not in this for that," I tell him, crossing my arms.

"You could do whatever you wanted to people's hearts!"

"We're not like you!" Skull shouts.

"Where do you find meaning in that naive sense of justice? You know, there's already someone out there taking full advantage of what Palaces have to offer. I'll let you in on a little something... there's a criminal using other people's Palaces to accomplish whatever they damn well please"

"Black mask," I mutter.

"They don't care about consequences, psychotic breakdowns, mental shutdowns... anything goes"

"Spill it! Who're you talkin' about!?" Skull demands.

Shadow Kaneshiro snickers. "Don't even bother, you are nothing compared to them. Better be careful... a chance encounter with them could prove fatal"

Shadow Kaneshiro vanished and the Palace started to shake. Mona went over to the gold and started to meow, infatuated with the Treasure. Panther picked him up and threw him, making him turn into the car.

While the others were loading a couple pieces of gold as quick as they could there was an explosion. I got caught in it, left on the other side of it.

But I found a way around. As I went around and went to meet up with the others I saw them standing together, staring at the fire that blocked their view.

"She's gone," Queen mumbled.

"We need to go," Mona says, driving towards the exit.

"We can't just leave her!" I heard Skull shout.

"You're right, we need to head back!" Panther agreed.

"Booo! Worst ending ever! I've seen better acting, stunts and explosions in the movies," I shout, jumping out of the building after them.

I could see Skull stick his head out the door, looking back at me in shock. I gave a short wave before I fell straight back to reality.

Back in the real world I found myself standing on a set of steps, a couple feet away from everyone else. They picked up the case, which had crushed Morgana, and I went over to them.

"How did you do that?" Makoto asks me.

"Yeah, how did you not die from that jump?" Ann asks.

"It's not the first time I've had to do that," I tell them.

We went to Leblanc, going upstairs to Akira's room, a small but cozy attic. Everyone sat around a table while I sat on the bed. Makoto managed to easily figure out the combination of the golden case.

"How did you do that?" Yusuke asks.

"I simply memorized the combination. I saw him open and close it so many times, after all," she responds.

"Well that's... scary. But amazin' too!" Ryuji says.

When they opened it there were multiple stacks of money, but from where I was sitting I could tell it was all fake.

"H-how much is this!?"

"I believe one stack is one million yen..." Yusuke says.

"One, two, three... uhhh, there's thirty of them in here!?" Ann asks.

"Thirty million yen... even after splitting it, we still each get 4 million...!"

"Holy shit... it's gonna be deluxe pork soup combo for me from here on out!" Ryuji says excitedly.

"Actually..." I drift off.

Everyone looked over at me. "What?"

"It's fake"

They all grumbled, realizing that what I was saying was the truth, but they figured out that we could at least get some money for the golden case.

"Hey, you know what Kaneshiro said at the end there...?" Ann asks. "About that criminal using the Metaverse?"

"Yes. I was bothered by that as well," Yusuke says.

"Do you think it's the same one that tried to kill Yuki's shadow?"

"It has to be," I mumble.

"No point mullin' over it now. Let's wait and see how Kaneshiro's change of heart goes first. We should prolly just lay low for a while," Ryuji suggests.

"I never thought I'd hear those words coming from you," Makoto says with a chuckle.

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