“The only thing fair about life is how unfair it is to everyone”
– Megumi Fushiguro
“Cough, cough, cough—”
Robin covered his face with his cloak and stepped out of the tear gas fog.
After about ten seconds, the effects of the tear gas began to fade, and Robin lowered the cloak that was covering his face.
The tear gas seemed to have less of an effect than it should have.
Robin didn’t feel much of an effect after leaving the gas, unlike the tear gas grenades used by the GCPD, which continued to have an effect for about ten minutes even after leaving the gas area.
Robin looked at the smoke in front of him and knew that it would still be there for a few more minutes before it completely dissipated.
He understood that chasing after the Phantom Thief at this point, there was little hope.
“There is still a good show at the auction…”
Recalling what the Phantom Thief had said earlier, Robin narrowed his eyes and returned to the auction venue.
Before leaving, he didn’t forget to bring the hotel manager, Joey, who was still lying on the floor in the hallway.
Soon, inside the auction venue
As soon as Robin walked in through the main door, he felt that something was off.
Thanks to Commissioner Gordon and the efforts of the GCPD, the chaotic situation had been under control, and order had been restored.
Strangely, everyone was back in their auction seats at this time.
The GCPD police officers surrounded the area, and all looked towards the stage, just like they did during the auction.
However, the person standing on the podium was unexpectedly a woman.
With flowing blond waves of hair, sharp and elegant professional clothes, and a mature and intelligent face.
It was Vicki Vale, the iconic reporter for the Gotham Gazette.
Next to Vicki is Lark, and William stands handcuffed without saying a word.
A few police officers stood behind each of them, and Commissioner Gordon was among them.
‘So, this is the good show that the Phantom Thief was talking about?’
Robin snorted in his mind, he had a vague idea of what tricks the Phantom Thief was playing.
He dragged Joey into the venue and tossed him over to Lark and William.
“You’re back, Robin. How is the situation?”
Commissioner Gordon hurriedly asked when he saw Robin return.
“Sorry, Phantom Thief got away again,”
Robin shook his head slightly.
“Forget about that thief for now. There’s something more important we need to reveal to the public. Thank you for bringing Joey. We were just discussing about him.”
Vicki interrupted Jim and Robin’s conversation, speaking with a serious expression.
“If you had come twenty seconds late, I might have had to borrow two people from Commissioner Gordon to bring Mr. Joey here,” she added.
“So, what’s the situation now?”
Robin looked at Gordon and asked.
“Ms. Vale said she had some inside information about the ‘Pink Fantasy’ diamond, which she declared was behind a huge sum of money being traded illegally.”
Jim replied, “She said that everyone here has the right to know the truth, so she chose to announce it here publicly. She had just mentioned Joey collapsing in the hallway and wanting me to send someone to bring him here, and then you showed up.”
When hearing this, Robin nodded knowingly, silently thinking to himself.
‘I see, in the last line of Phantom Thief’s notice letter, ‘Hermes’ doesn’t say to Phantom Thief himself, but to Vicki Vale, a reporter dedicated to exposing the truth.’
Hermes is the messenger of the gods, and the meaning of the existence of the profession of a reporter is to be a messenger of the truth to the world, right?
Although real reporters who remain faithful to their principles are rare nowadays, this does not change the purpose of being a ‘reporter.’
At least Vicki could be considered a dedicated reporter.
She stepped to the center of the stage, took the microphone, and addressed the audience, “Hello, everyone attending today’s auction. I’m Vicki Vale from the Gotham Gazette. Some of you may have heard of me, and some of you may not.”
In fact, Vicki Vale is quite famous in Gotham, and almost everyone in the audience knows her.
“I know you have doubts, and maybe even hatred towards Phantom Thief who disrupted this auction. But I’m here to tell you that this auction is hiding an illegal transaction!”
“And the item for this transaction… is the focus of this auction, the ‘Pink Fantasy’ diamond, which is a fake!”
As she spoke, people started talking about what she said. Many of them had come to see the largest pink diamond in the world.
As for some gossip about fake diamonds, they basically couldn’t hear it at their level of status. Even if they heard about the fake diamond, no one would believe it without solid proof.
But, the one who announced this was Vicki Vale, the leading reporter of Gotham Gazette. Her words held a lot of influence.
Vicki pointed to Joey Cicero and continued, “Joey Cicero, as the host of this auction, not only allowed the fake diamond to be auctioned but also prepared a set of appraisal certificates for the ‘Pink Fantasy’ by bribing, threatening, and blackmailing the appraisers!”
“I know that accusations without evidence are pointless, so I want you to take a look at this!”
Vicki took out a visible sealed bag from her purse and displayed it on the large screen for everyone to see.
The bag was filled with different stones—diamonds, crystals, sapphires, emeralds—which are gorgeous and colorful, and each one is in excellent condition.
If someone carves it carefully, it is worth a fortune. It is a waste of money to stuff it into a plastic bag like this.
However, Vicki’s next sentence instantly shocked everyone present.
“These were all found in Joey’s manager’s office, hidden in a secret compartment, and every treasure in this bag is fake!”
These words are quite shocking, but after thinking about it, there still seem to be some loopholes.
Joey hides so many fake treasures, does he plan to auction them in large amounts?
Isn’t he afraid of exposing his secrets someday?
And isn’t ‘Pink Fantasy’ auctioned by William?
Why are there a lot of fake gems hidden in Cicero?
The more important question was- why would Phantom Thief steal a fake diamond?
“Robin, what do you think is Phantom Thief’s motive…”
Jim turned to Robin and asked for his opinion but quickly stopped.
“I knew it…”
Looking around the empty space next to him, Jim couldn’t help but shake his head and sigh.
Vicki looked at everyone with a determined gaze.
She didn’t know if there would be consequences after revealing all this, but if she didn’t speak up, she would waste all her years of hard work.
“The purpose of these fake gems wasn’t to make money through auctions from the start!”
“It was for money laundering!”
“Joey, William, and Lark were all just pawns used to launder money by using the ‘Pink Fantasy.’ The man behind everything was Oswald Cobblepot!”