Sakura flew back the way they’d come the moment Hilde turned the corner. Hilde grabbed the compact from her hand bag and used the mirror to look behind her. It took about forty seconds for Sakura to rush back and hurriedly dive into her bag.
Hilde looked back to see two women running forward. One was an Asian woman with short hair, light brown eyes and pretty features. The other was a redhead with freckles and green eyes. They had modified pistols of some kind. She turned to face them, keeping her face calm.
The two of them looked around, seemingly trying to find Sakura.
Hilde made a show of examining their fire arms. “You have permits for those?”
“Oh, yes we do,” the redhead said. “We’re actually special agents. I’m Mica, this is Amethyst.” She put a hand on Hilde’s shoulder. “You didn’t see anything… strange around here, did you?”
“Strange?” Hilde asked. “In what way?”
Amethyst cut in before Mica could answer. “You don’t look like a cop. Where’s your badge?”
“I’m a private investigator,” Hilde said. “I work with the force, but I’m not technically a part of it.”
“Sorry about Ame,” Mica said. “She gets a little cranky when I don’t sleep in her bed.”
Amethyst’s face turned bright red. “I do not!”
“Well, we’re sorry to have bothered you,” Mica said. “Ame, the… suspect didn’t come through here. Let’s go back and check for her trail.”
The two women hurriedly disappeared. Sakura peeked her head out of Hilde’s bag and breathed a sigh of relief.
“They saw you?” Hilde asked.
“It wasn’t my fault,” Sakura said. “They were Veritas agents.”
“And those guns?” Hilde asked. “Enchanted or…?”
“Not enchanted,” Sakura said. She flew up to sit on Hilde’s shoulder. “They’d never use magic. It’s more like alchemy. They specially fortify them to be deadly to magical beings.”
“I didn’t know there was a science for that,” Hilde said. “But it makes sense, since they hunt you guys and all.”
“But why were they following us?” Sakura asked.
“They weren’t,” Hilde said. “If they had been, they would’ve likely seen you with me. At the very least they’d have been doing it out of suspicion. But they were completely unsuspecting. I got the sense that they were more interested in deflecting my attention so that I wouldn’t notice anything awry.”
“But if it wasn’t them then who was it?” Sakura wondered.
“You didn’t see anybody else?” Hilde asked. Sakura shook her head. “Then let’s go back and look over the area,” Hilde stated. “Maybe we’ll find a clue.”
The pair combed over the area. Sakura didn’t sense anything. They didn’t find any traces. “Are you sure you didn’t hear them and make the wrong assumption?” Sakura asked.
“Fairly certain,” Hilde said. “Although I suppose it is possible.” She sighed. “All right. Let’s go examine the victims. And remind me to send a message to mister Thoril warning him about Veritas’ presence.”
Sakura nodded. “We’d better sole this quickly before anyone innocent gets hurt.”
“Besides the five victims?” Hilde asked. “You’re right, of course. The faster we solve it, the better.”
They hurried off. Neither one noticing the winged figure floating in the air behind them.