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Devil That You Know Ep 14: Picking Your Battles (1)

"They always say 'Choose your battles wisely.'. Sometimes winning a war just isn't worth the overall consequence that will unfold. A hollow win does nothing in the long run, especially if everything afterwards turns to ash."


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♙Kai Hamilton♙


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"Absolutely not"


It didn't take long for Kai and his team to get back to the station. However, after telling Morris what they had learned, he reacted negatively almost immediately.


"Morris-" Kai started to speak.


Morris cut him off quickly with a raised hand and a cold stare.


"No, I'm not giving you permission to question the Major. Are you out of your mind Hamilton!?" He bellows as he glares at Kai.


If Kai was perfectly honest, he didn't want to get on the major's bad side either. Or even on his radar to be even blunter. Aresio Gasparini wasn't a man who you fucked with. His family alone was some sort of mafia, even though they will deny it until sundown. And they had deep, deep pockets, being one of the founding families of Braigas had its perks. And when a Gasparini makes a threat, they deliver. The family has been rather quiet ever since Aresio took over, however. No mystery dealing running through the city or some great upheaval.


"Morris, I get that we don't want to shake a beehive but we can't just ignore it!" Kai insisted.


The rest of his team had obviously mixed feelings about this given the looks on their faces. The Gasparini was ... different from the rest of the upper class in Briagas. They've never mingled well with the upper class of Braigas, especially those who are in the Briagas Revitalize Foundation or the BRF for short. The BRF more or less run Briagas now and have been in a tense power struggle with the Gasparini family.


"I said no! You know damn well that the Gasparini family is off-limits. Are you trying to start a damn war?!" Morris yells, slamming his fist into his desk.


"If I may?" Rafeeqa pips in as she looks between Kai and Morris.


"While I understand the hesitation to cause issues with the Gasparini family. If we just go as a gentle inquiry, I'm sure it won't be all that bad?" She suggests. "Aresio isn't like his father, I doubt he will start a war over something like this."


Morris is quiet for a few moments, his head falls down as he contemplates her words. While Rafeeqa is correct, Aresio is nothing like his father who was an even crueler devil than the BRF. The man cared little about anything other than his success and his legacy. It was due to him that things had gotten to this point with Braigas. The corruption back then was as brazen as an exhibitionist, with no shame or even mortality insight. While Kai wanted to agree with Rafeeqa but there wasn't much to go on how Aresio will react. The man was an enigma, rarely showing at public events and never one for interviews.


"And to make things worst, if we don't get something soon Cap. You know those rich pricks will be breathing down our necks." Javion said with a grunt.


He was correct on that one. Since it was just two victims thus far, it could be written off as just a random one-off. And to be fair, at least one of the victims probably had a lot of people who wanted to kill him.


The room lapsed into silence for a few moments before finally Morris looks back up. He looks annoyed as ever but there was a slight determination to his face.


"....Fine." He finally says after a beat of silence.


"One condition. You, keep your damn mouth shut! I don't want to remind you that you are already on thin ice with him. We can only hope he doesn't remember you or something." Morris said, looking pointedly at Kai.


Kai frowns but just nods his head. Morris wasn't wrong technically. This whole this could end up in a bust if Aresio just throws them out on principal. But Morris also knows that having Kai there is more useful than not.


"You'll all go tomorrow, and please, don't make me regret this." He said as he wave the team off.


Slowly they all filed out of the room. Jaivon and Arthur go off to their desk, to pack up for the day since it was already kind of late. Rafeeqa turns to Kai with a small smile on her face as they both walk out of the station. The evening air is a bit brisk tonight, given that is still


"So... this is going to be fun?" She said in a sarcastic tone.


"Hmm, tell me about it. I'm still not believing that we're going to do this. Aresio isn't a kind man in the least bit." Kai says as he remembers his vivid first meeting with the man in question.


Rafeeqa turns away, a thoughtful look forming on her face.


"You think he's really the one cause this?" She asks even though her face doesn't really appear to be buying it herself


Kai shook his head.


"My first instinct is no. Why would he? And either way, if he really wanted to kill someone, he would have done it some other way. He's got the money and the resources to do so."


"But..?" Rafeeqa asks, sensing there was more to Kai's words.


"But.. I think he may know who did. Or at least has a hunch." He finishes with a sigh and scratches his head.


He really is hoping that maybe, just maybe it was a weird coincidence. But unfortunately in this city very rarely is anything a coincidence.


"And not come to the police for it? How shocking.." Rafeeqa said in a dry tone.


Kai let a small chuckle pass his lips at the very sarcastic tone Rafeeqa had. As always Briagas was a place where justice was more of a cruel game that the rich liked to play. There are more than enough times where Kai feels like he's just running around as a child playing pretend. A bitter frown pulls to his lips as he looks down.


"...And if he did kill him, what can we really do? The mayor is different than the rest of these rich assholes. Those people I'm sure we can touch but him? Unlikely." Kai said.


He can't help remembering how risky it was when he even took down Garner. Beforehand he was still just a rookie cop, his old team refused to do anything. It wasn't like he wasn't expecting that given how deeply corrupted the force was and still is to his honest opinion. He may have made a dent in this city but he knows with time, even that will be forgotten. Rafeeqa seemed to know he was lost in thought as she nudges him. He looks back at her, the soft smile on her face makes one slowly appear on his own.


"I know it sucks but that's how it is." Rafeeqa said with a shrug. "This city has always been like that and it will remain that same even long after we are gone. That is how lustrous BRF wants things."


Kai nods to her statement. The BRF was originally created years back when the city was in an extreme tailspin of chaos, a war breaking out between the upper and lower district. The social and economic differences between the two districts were extremely drastic. The upper district ignored the cries for help from the lower time and time again. They felt that investing in the 'crime invested' district was a waste of time and resources. And so with enough time, the people had enough, and war ensued. Obviously, the upper district didn't think much at the time, but a city can't really run with half of it is in an uproar. And so the birth of the BRF, it was created to "revitalize, stabilize and build a better Briagas" is what all the commercials and pamphlets have said. However, what actually happened was the more powerful and rich families of Braigas made an exclusive club that slowly took control of the city. It is not to say they didn't do some reconstruction, the slums aren't as bad as they used to be years back. However, what they didn't tell you about in the fine print is that these new areas are exclusive or costs more than you make in a year to live in.


"It's just...frustrating." Kai grumbles.


"Hmm trust me, I get it." Rafeeqa said with a far-off look on her face.


The pair lapsed into silence as they get to the parking garage. Kai suddenly stops and then turns to her, a bit of a shy hopefulness on his face.


"Oh um... do you want to get something to eat?"


Rafeeqa looks back at him a little shocked for a second before smiling.


"Sure! Are we going back to that one place again?" She asks with a tilt of her head.


"Oh yeah, sure. Do you remember the way or?"


"Haha, yes I remember the way." Rafeeqa answers with a chuckle.


Kai then gets into his own vehicle and they both make their way back to the restaurant that Kai had brought them to beforehand. As Kai and Rafeeqa sat and eat, talking about for once not a case or anything to do with work, Kai couldn't help feeling a bit off the pace. Their new dynamic was... still new for him, he's never had anyone to really just talk to in the upper district since he got here. Rafeeqa may be more of the usual side of the Briagas police ideology of just not rocking the boat, but Kai can see the times where she looks bitterly at a shiny-dressed individual. Kai knows she at least understands the need for true justice, not that game that everyone seems to be forced to play.


Time went quickly and before they both knew it, the next day had arrived and there they all were outside of Aresio's mansion.


"...Is it too late to leave?" Jaivon said sarcastically as they all were looking around at the area.


There was plenty of security which given who Aresio was, not surprising at all.


"Let's just get this over with..." Jaivon grumbled when no one answered his previous question.


He walks up to the steps of the house, the team following close behind. After ringing the doorbell and waiting for about a minute or two, the door was opened. Behind was an older woman, dark brown hair neatly pulled into a tight bun. Beady dark-colored eyes scanned over each and every one of them before resting on Jaivon who was the closest to the door. A stiff frown pulled at her lips as she seemed to recognize the Braigas police logo.


"....May I help you officers?"


"Ah yes, we would need to speak with Major Gasparini?" Jaivon asks politely even with how cold the woman was being.


Since it was so earlier they hoped that Aresio wouldn't be gone or disappeared somewhere. No one really knows about what he does outside of his usually Major duties. The woman looks back at him, blankly for a few seconds, Jaivon wasn't sure if she was more shocked or just offended by the questions.


"....I see." She answers slowly after about a good 5 minutes of silence.


She then steps back and motions for them inside. They slowly filter into the lobby, a beautiful area with spiral stairs that lead to the 2nd floor. A three-way hallway that leads to the rest of the house. The woman had already disappeared, stating she was going to get the Major.


"Wow, I'm clearly in the wrong line of work..." Jaivon said with a whistle as he eyes all the expensive items just in the foyer alone.


"Hmm, and get stuck with a mountain full I'm sure of paperwork? Too boring for me." Rafeeqa jokes as she too can't help but be in awe of the area.


"Haha, too true." Arthur follows up.


Kai remains silent but he does appreciate the look of the area. He wouldn't imagine that Aresio is the one who decorated, this was his family's house after. However given that much of his family no longer lives in Braigas, Kai can't help to wonder who else lives here with him. He had heard vague that Aresio had a wife and kid but not much more than that.


"...And what can I help you officer with?"


Kai and his team turn quickly to the new voice. It was Aresio, although he was dressed down more casually this time around. His gaze slowly analyzed over each officer in his home until it ended on Kai. Kai immediately averted his gaze to the floor as he could feel the full heat of Aresio's eyes. He hoped that Aresio didn't throw them out on principal because of him.


Fortunately, Aresio's gaze didn't stay long on Kai and he returned his attention to Jaivon. He even raised an eyebrow in expectation.


"...We have a few questions for you Mr. Gasparini." Jaivon answers.


Aresio's expression doesn't change or even falter a bit. He stares for a second before nodding with an almost non-chantant shrug. He then leads them down a couple of halls. The halls were just as luscious as the rest of the house. He then brings them into a medium-sized sitting room. He takes a seat at the head of the room and gestures for them to seat themself as they see fit. After everyone is seated, Jaivon decides to try and fluff Aresio up a bit.


"Thank you for meeting with us, Mr. Aresio. I imagine you are quite busy." He says with a courteous smile.


Aresio again doesn't give a verbal response however the look he levels Jaivon was clear as day. It screams 'Get to the point or leave.' in vivid color.


"We know that you met with Honda the evening that he died." Jaivon's announcement cut through the silence of the room like a knife.

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