"I doubt the culprit would still be inside. He is probably long gone now. You interrogate people outside. I'll check inside," Xander told Flourance, his gaze unwavering.
Flourance acknowledged the commands of their team leader and left the restaurant with a few of their men.
He left both the forensic officers in the team and Xander behind.
The kitchen was already checked briefly by one of the Delta team's members; it was empty with no possible sign of someone present there.
However, they only checked for people, but it was not specifically by scrutinizing every little thing.
As for the thorough inspection, it started in the main hall first. They were collecting clues from the outside and wanted to move inside after finishing here.
As with time, the dead bodies had chances of getting more corroded, which would hamper their collection of evidence. They didn't touch anything in the kitchen as of yet.
Xander was also following the same pattern. He distributed work among everyone. A part of his team was put to work on interrogating the citizens of the city, with Flourance in the lead.
The second part of the team was left to collect blood samples and fingerprints in the main hall.
After distributing the work, Xander was the only one who was free. He soon decided to check inside the kitchen himself.
He stepped inside the kitchen, the door of which was broken already.
His eyes scanned all over the small room, trying to find something odd.
He noticed the door lying on another end of the kitchen, and it didn't appear shocking to him at all. He had already realized that the culprit had superhuman strength and was quite impulsive as well as angry.
Otherwise, they couldn't have committed such a commotion. So, it wasn't shocking that the door was both broken and badly cramped.
'It must have been locked, which annoyed that guy even more, and as a result, he vented all his rage on this door. Still, why would he put so much effort into entering the kitchen? Could it be that the man was hungry and that's why he came here? Or is there something special about this place' Xander thought as he frowned.
His footsteps were slow but precise as if he was taking each step carefully while his blue eyes scanned everywhere.
"That seems possible and logical. I don't believe any big evil group would send its teammate just to kill a bunch of people in a restaurant. It must have been a normal bad-tempered Variant who was hungry and somehow got into a conflict with the people here. That seems to have the highest probability," he concluded deep in thought, his slender fingers softly touching his chin.
He walked over to the food container and halted when he noticed the unnatural powder-like object scattered there, which looked like a decayed part of something.
Xander observed it carefully but didn't touch it since it was all evidence, and touching might lead to some adulteration. It could result in ruining the evidence. Only forensics was supposed to touch it, that too, with specific tools.
"It's definitely his power. So I was right. He came here for food and ate from here," Xander acknowledged before turning around. He walked around the kitchen to find more clues, fully focused.
As he walked around, he soon found a white robe lying on the ground. It was covered in blood. Most of it was already red because of blood stains, yet its original white color could be seen in places.
"This robe… Did the man come from a hospital?" Xander's eyebrows formed into a frown.
"This does seem a little small for a full grown man," he muttered as he gazed at the robe in confusion.
"Was the hospital lacking in the size of that man? Or was it something related to fashion to wear a smaller size? Or could it be a man who was smaller in height and size?"
"Mayne!" he called out in a loud tone as he gazed towards the door.
A young man came running through the door as if his tail was on fire. The man had beautiful silver hair that was tied into a ponytail. He seemed to be in his early twenties, and he was quite nervous as he stood in front of Xander.
He was a regular member of the Delta team who was also the youngest.
"Yes, Sir," the silver-haired man answered as he stopped before Xander.
"How far is the nearest hospital from here?" Xander inquired, his eyes fixated on the white robe.
"Ah, it's my first time here. I'll check," Mayne answered with an embarrassed look on his face. He quickly pulled out his phone from his pocket and started browsing through the map.
As he was put in a nervous spot, he couldn't help but make a few wrong clicks. The silence was scary for him, and the feeling of a superior waiting for his answer was even more intimidating, especially when he was the newest member of the team.
"You don't have to be so stressed. Take it easy; you can take your time," Xander alluded as he realized that Mayne was intimidated.
He turned back and walked towards the open cupboard to check it while giving Mayne some room and a chance to breathe.
From the moment he called him, Mayne looked like he didn't even breathe as he tried to search for hospitals on his phone.
The silver-haired man finally breathed out. A sigh of relief washed over him as Xander walked away. He finally calmed down. Now that he was calm, he finally managed to search more effectively.
While Mayne was trying to find the answer to Xander's question, Xander was busy observing the cupboard.
Noticing the marks on the cupboard, Xander concluded, "He opened this place as well. Maybe in search of more food?"
"I got it. There is no hospital here in this town, but there is one clinic nearby. As for a proper hospital, the nearest one would be in Legion City," Mayne informed Xander.
"Legion City, huh?" Xander gazed back at Mayne, his face dark with thoughts.
"It's possible that our culprit is a runaway patient, but it's also possible that he just happened to get that robe from somewhere else. He could also get it from friends or others. Clothing shops also have such clothes. I guess this lead is quite useless since no hospitals are in this town. Collect that robe and send it to forensics."
Xander started leaving the kitchen, but just as he was about to take a step out of the door, he stopped in his tracks, "On second thought, just for the sake of it, contact the hospitals and ask if there was a patient who ran away. I'm sure we wouldn't get anything, but it's just one call. We might as well try while we wait for the report."
After finishing giving his commands, he left the kitchen.
Mayne stayed behind to collect the robe carefully while making sure that he wouldn't mess things up. It was quite hard but not as hard as the hurdles that he had crossed to make it into this team. He couldn't afford to mess anything up now.
Xander stepped into the main hall, where the forensic team was still collecting samples and bodies.
"You guys stay here. The armored truck will be here soon. Stay here and look for anything we might have missed. Every single thing is essential, big or small. You guys are also responsible to take the bodies back to our base. We would need them to find out more about how they actually died," he said all in a breath.
"I will be outside with Flourance. If you need anything, you can call me," he continued before he left the restaurant premises.
"Yes, Captain!" The men let out in unison.
Including Mayne, five people remained inside the restaurant.
The citizens of the town were confused as they saw the three armored helicopters flying above their heads.
Most of them still haven't found out about the dreadful massacre that had taken place there. The only ones that had found out about it were the ones that were interrogated.
Xander walked through the streets of the town and soon noticed Flourance in the distance.
He approached Flourance and heard him interrogating one of the townies, "Have you seen a person who was wounded? His clothes must have had blood on them."
Flourance was interrogating a middle-aged man.
"A person in bloodied clothes? I don't remember seeing anyone like that. Why? Did something happen?" The middle-aged man asked in confusion, wondering why he was being asked such questions all of a sudden.
'Did someone run away from some prison or something?' he thought, mostly intimidated. It was what most people thought when they saw these people ask the questions.
It felt like they were looking for someone. By militarized helicopters that were in the sky, it also seemed like they were from the government. So, it could only mean they were looking for a wounded criminal.
"So, you didn't see anyone. You can go. If you find out anything or remember something, you can come and tell us. You'll be rewarded heavily for the help," Flourance alluded to the men before giving him the permission to leave.
After the middle-aged man left, Flourance turned to face Xander.
"We've asked as many people as we could, but none of them claims to see someone that matches our description. Could it be that the culprit wasn't wounded?" he lamented.
Xander shook his head lightly, rejecting the notion of Flourance. He gazed back towards the restaurant before he answered, his voice a little lower than usual but calm, "I don't think so."
He continued, "The person was certainly wounded. We found the robe he was wearing. There were some hints of the blood being washed in the sink. It's possible that he cleaned the blood off his body, but still, this kind of wound would have just bled again. There must be someone who saw a bleeding guy."
"I hope it's as you say, or we would have a person on the loose who can wipe thousands from the face of this planet on his own." Flourance nodded his head softly as he hoped that they weren't wrong.
But he couldn't completely ease the ominous feeling that hammered in his heart as if they were missing something. And by the look plastered on Xander's face, he could tell that the feeling was mutual.
...To Be Continued.