“Why do we fall, Sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.”
– Alfred Pennyworth
“You are still the same as before, Alfred. Is Bruce here too?”
Vicki looked at Alfred with a look as if she had just met an old friend after many years.
“No, Master Bruce has some important matters to attend to, so he couldn’t make it.”
Alfred shook his head slightly.
She muttered under his breath.
Vicki turned her gaze towards Dick, looking at the young man who was now taller than her and asked in disbelief.
“You must be Richard Grayson, right? It’s been so long, the last time we met was three years ago, or was it four?”
“It’s been nearly six years, Ms. Vale.”
“It really is you! I can’t believe it’s been that long,”
Many years ago, Vicki had a romantic relationship with Bruce Wayne. It wasn’t just a casual fling but a serious relationship.
In fact, on the day Richard Grayson lost his parents, Bruce was with Vicki at the circus, and she saw the whole process of Bruce adopting Richard.
At first, things went well between Vicki and Bruce, but their relationship didn’t last long, like most of Bruce’s romances.
However, even though their romantic relationship ended, Bruce and Vicki still go on dates every now and then…
“Have you had dinner, Ms. Vale?”
Alfred looked at Vicki, who was alone and asked, “What I mean is, if you don’t mind, would you like to join with us?”
“Thank you for your kind offer, Alfred. I’d love to catch up with you both, but I’ve already had dinner. I came to the restaurant to find William Ethan.”
Vicki politely declined Alfred’s invitation.
“William Ethan? The head of Ethan International Shipping Company? I heard that the ‘Pink Fantasy’ diamond at the auction belongs to him.”
Dick asked curiously.
“Yes, that’s him. I have a lot of questions I want to ask him in person.”
“What kind of questions? Is it related to Phantom Thief? Or is it related to the rumor of Penguin?”
Dick continued to ask.
Vicki scrutinized Dick from head to toe and smiled as she politely refused, “As expected of a child raised by Bruce, you’re almost as curious as him. But, I have to tell you the same thing I told him, these are confidential business questions for reporters, and I can’t share any details with you.”
“Well, I hope I didn’t make things difficult for you,”
Dick said it disappointedly.
“Alright, guys, I have to go now. The auction starts in half an hour, and I’m not sure if I can find Mr. Ethan before it begins.”
Vicki glanced at her watch and said this before hurriedly leaving.
“Good luck, Ms Vale.”
Alfred and Dick encouraged her as she left.
Looking at Vicki leaving, the two of them were preparing to sit back at the table.
At this moment, Dick suddenly noticed something on the floor below the table.
Bending down for a closer look, it turned out to be the empty tray that the waiter had dropped.
Since the tray fell directly under the table, Dick and Alfred didn’t notice it while chatting with Vicki.
In addition, the waiter had run too fast before, so they didn’t pay much attention to the tray still on the floor.
‘Just a simple bump and the waiter was terrified. It makes me wonder what kind of behavior those rich kids usually behave…’
Dick thought to himself, annoyed as he bent down to pick up the empty tray from the floor.
But when he picked up the empty tray, Dick’s expression instantly changed.
He saw a white card suddenly appear on the floor where the tray was picked up.
“Is there something under the table, Master Richard?”
Alfred asked strangely when he saw Dick still bending down under the table.
“Alfred, we just saw Phantom Thief!”
Dick arose from under the table with a serious expression, holding the white card in his hand.
“We’re just not sure which one is Phantom, the waiter, or Ms. Vicki.”
“Did I hear you correctly? Did you just say Phantom Thief?”
Alfred’s expression also became serious upon hearing Dick mention Phantom Thief.
Dick looked around, there were barely any people nearby, and Vicki and the waiter who were here earlier had long disappeared.
He placed the card on the table so that both he and Alfred could see the words written on it.
“To Dear Robin
At this place and time, I am one of you. Come and find me, little bird. If you can find me before the clock strikes, I will give you a surprise.
“Master Richard, this is…”
Alfred stood up from his chair in shock and quickly covered the words on the card.
At the same time, he kept looking around nervously, as if afraid that someone might see the words on the card.
“Don’t worry, Alfred. I’ve checked, and no one’s paying attention to us right now.”
Dick said it in a serious tone.
“Phantom Thief knows your identity!”
Alfred spoke in a quiet voice.
Dick took a deep breath and tried to calm himself down. He replied in a low voice, “Believe me, I don’t want to believe it either, but the fact is, he knows I’m Robin.”
“How is that possible? The Phantom Thief has only seen Robin once, how could he know it’s you?”
Alfred couldn’t believe it.
“I don’t know. Besides Bruce, you, and Barbara, only the heroes of the Justice League and Titans should know that I’m Robin. There’s no way Phantom Thief could know who I am.”
Dick frowned, trying to figure out all the possibilities.
Suddenly, Alfred hid the card in his clothes and looked worriedly at Dick.
“If Phantom Thief knows who you are, it means Bruce’s identity is probably exposed too. It’s too dangerous to stay here! Master Dick, we need to leave immediately!”
“No, Alfred. If we leave now, we will be playing into Phantom Thief’s hands.”
Dick shook his head.
“This card is his challenge to me. He wants to test me if I have the courage to stay even when my identity is exposed. If I stay, I will have to play in his game of finding him. If I back down, it’s like admitting defeat in his game.”
“Are you sure about this, Master Dick?”
Alfred stared at him.
“Do you realize what might happen if Phantom Thief reveals your identity to others?”
“I’m pretty sure Phantom Thief won’t do that, at least not right now. Otherwise, all the criminals in Gotham would have come to try and kill me by now.”
Dick replied seriously.
“Phantom Thief wants me to play this game with him, and I’ll play with him to the end!”
Dick determinedly declared.