"I can't believe I ended up coming here anyway," complained Kyou, sitting in Keima's living room. Around him sat the other members of the Great Thief Capture Squad. Each person was fully equipped with whatever they needed to support their fighting style. Ikkimaru had two katana strapped to his back, Hisha was wearing some mixed martial arts gloves, and everyone else wore weapon pouches.

"Well you're here now and there's no use complaining about it," said Hisha. "Anyway, it's past 11:00, we should get to our posts. We'll split up and go to wherever we feel the thief will show up."

"Who put you in charge?" asked Ikkimaru.

"I'm President, remember? That automatically makes me the boss. Everyone fan out, and be careful."

* * *

"Get your ass over here already," thought Ikkimaru, stationed on the rooftop. "Those guys just spread out amongst the grass and lawn ornaments and such. Up here on the rooftops, I can see everything that's going on."

Ikkimaru strained his ears and eyes to sense any hint of the thief. His senses were not as fine tuned as Ginji's, however they were good enough to hear the sound of footsteps behind him. In the blink of an eye, Ikkimaru had drawn one of his katana and attacked the intruder. The masked thief had quickly jumped back to avoid the dangerous blade.

"So you came to me," smiled Ikkimaru. "I guess this means I'm going to win the contest!"

Ikkimaru threw an upward slash, which the thief dodged. However, to the masked thief's surprise, Ikkimaru had swung with the flat on his sword. He noticed Ikkimaru twisting the blade in his hand so that the blade would now finish his opponent. In the short interval before Ikkimaru could bring his sword back down, the thief delivered a chop to the teen's ribs, paralyzing him for the moment. The thief wasted no time delivering a kick to Ikkimaru's face, knocking the teen back. Ikkimaru managed to land on his feet after the attack.

"Damn, this isn't working. There's still that attack," he thought. "but it'll give away my position to the others if I don't finish him right away."

Ikkimaru reached to grab his second katana. Pulling it out from his sheath, the sword was revealed to be a near black color. Ikkimaru charged at his opponent with the blade, however as the masked thief prepared for the attack, Ikkimaru flipped a switch on the hilt of the sword, causing the sword to catch fire! The sudden burst of flame created a blinding light in the darkness to the masked thief, leaving him open to a direct attack from Ikkimaru – a slash across the chest.

"I came up with the idea of a flaming sword when I was a kid," said Ikkimaru, seeing the thief fall to his knees. "I finally perfected it not long ago actually. There are tiny grooves in the katana and the sheath has black powder (A/N: the original gunpowder, composed of charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate. Used in fireworks and antique guns) in it. The powder seeps into the grooves over time, causing the sword to turn blackish. Then the hilt contains flammable liquid in it, allowing me to use a switch to ignite it, like a lighter. The more black powder in it, the more powerful and explosive the flame is." "Unfortunately, since it means the powder must burn, it's at most a two or three time use, and the first would always be the most powerful."

"What's going on here?" asked Kotetsu, showing up with the others. "I saw a flash of light."

"Nothing much, I'm just finishing up here," said Ikkimaru, pointing to the thief. However, to the group's surprise, the thief threw down a smoke bomb, disappearing once the smoke cleared. "Damn it!"

"Way to go Ikkimaru, you let the asshole get away!" accused Ginji.

"We're all to blame here for not being prepared," said Hisha. "Let's split up into three groups – I'll team up with Murasame-kun. Shura-kun, Keiromi-san, you two are a team. Ryuuzaki-kun, Toueda-kun, you guys, too. The only way we're going to beat this guy is in teams! Now fan out!"

The two-man teams split up in opposite directions to find the thief. Each team searched high and low, but the first team to spot the invader was the team of Ginji and Makoto.

Makoto quickly threw a shuriken at the escaping thief, who spun around to avoid it. However, the shuriken was only a distraction for Ginji to launch a throwing knife at the enemy. The thief ducked in time to avoid the blade, but was nicked in the shoulder.

"This ought to slow him down," thought Ginji. However, the thief reached into his black garb and pulled out a tanto (Japanese dagger/short sword).

The thief launched his attack. He slashed at Ginji with the dagger, but the silver-haired delinquent ducked under the blade. Ginji then planted a firm kick to his assailant's abdomen, knocking him back. Seeing an opportunity, Makoto threw a throwing knife at the intruder's masked face. However, the thief managed to deflect the blade with his tanto.

"Shura-kun, I have a plan," said Makoto. "I've got an attack that we can use, but the catch is that we have to get him into position to use it."

"I already understand what you're about to ask me," interrupted Ginji. "You need me to act as a distraction so that you can attack him. Where do you need him?"

"Just get him five meters from this spot and get out the way. I'll handle the rest. Can you handle that?"

"I'll have him here in thirty seconds!" said Ginji, confidently charging at the masked thief.

Ginji threw a kick at his foe, only to have it blocked. However, another Ginji sprouted up right behind this Ginji and planted a firm punch to the masked thief's face. The first Ginji grabbed the falling man's wrist and threw him in Makoto's direction.

"A little closer," thought the two-man team.

The second Ginji charged at the masked thief, but vaporized before it could land a hit. The masked thief looked toward the other Ginji, only to find that he was nowhere to be seen. The masked thief looked around desperately for his opponent, but Ginji sprung up from the ground and planted his palm on his opponent's abdomen.

"He used a fake cover to camouflage with the ground," thought Makoto. "That's the number one prankster for you!"

"Take this!" yelled Ginji, twisting his palm. "Chuunyuuhou!" The thief was knocked back several feet by the force of the attack.

"Shura-kun, turn him around!" called Makoto. "I need to make eye contact with him!"

"Damn it!" mentally cursed Ginji, grabbing the thief and holding him in a standing full-nelson. However, he was barely able to keep the taller person in place. "Makoto, take him out!"

"I'm on it!" replied the brunette. "Kurokongouseisen!" Makoto placed her index and middle fingers on her temples and a bright flash came from her eyes. The bright light had blinded the masked thief, giving Ginji the chance to slam the thief to the ground.

"Now, who the hell are you?" asked Ginji, holding down his foe.

Ginji never got his answer, as the masked thief slowly morphed into a small, lizard-like creature. The lizard quickly scurried away, frightened.

"What the hell was that?" asked Ginji.

"That's a shapeshifter!" answered Makoto. "It's a biological ninja weapon. All it needs is a source of DNA, like a strand of hair, and it can transform into that person."

"So if this guy was fake, then where's the real thief?"

* * *

Kotetsu dashed at the masked intruder with blinding speed, throwing a punch at his face. However, with astonishing reflexes, the thief parried the bishounen's fist, flipping him over in the process.

Kyou took the opportunity to fling a deadly-accurate throwing knife at his foe's back. Sensing the killing intent from behind him, the masked thief instinctively dodged left. The thief turned his attention to Kyou, who had now prepared a throwing star between each of his knuckles. The brunette threw the weapons, only to have them deflected by the thief's tanto.

Kotetsu's foot collided with the man's face, knocking him away a fair distance, however, the thief recovered and landed on his feet. The two Disciplinary Squad members regrouped.

"Set off the signal," ordered Kotetsu.

"Sure thing, Boss," answered Kyou, grabbing a glow stick-like object from his pocket. He threw the object into the air, and, with precise aim, split it in two with a throwing knife. There was a large flash of light in the sky. "Now what?"

"We hold him off until the others arrive," answered Kotetsu.

The thief swapped his tanto to reverse grip and charged at the two teenagers. Kotetsu grabbed a combat knife and charged at the thief. The two clashed, and the sound of metal striking metal reverberated. The thief quickly planted a kick to Kotetsu's stomach, knocking him back. The thief moved in for another attack, but when he struck there was no resistance. Kotetsu had left behind a Zanzo.

Kyou took the opportunity to throw two more knives at the intruder, but they both missed their mark. However, not long after, the thief felt an invisible force grab him and push him to the ground.

"Invisible wire," explained Kyou. "Stronger than iron, but still flexible enough to be molded into string. I attached it to the knives I threw at you. I may not look like it, but I never miss my mark. There's another specialty of this wire that I think you ought to know about."

"It's flammable," continued Kotetsu, standing next to one of the thrown knives, now stuck in the ground. The black-haired bishounen held a lit match in his hand. "Hope you remember fire safety," he sneered, lighting the wire.

The flame crawled up the invisible wire, making its way to the masked thief. When it reached, the thief's clothes caught on fire and he writhed in pain. The thief rolled around to put out the flames. The thief stood up, all his clothes but his mask burnt. He charged at the teenagers angrily when, suddenly, a fist fell from the sky and smashed him into the ground. The force of the impact created a few small fissures in the ground. The man was out cold.

The fist had belonged to Hisha, who stood up after defeating the man in a single blow. "Glad to see me?" she asked her comrades, cracking her knuckles.

"I guess when it comes to heroes, beggars can't be choosers," responded Kyou.

Ginji, Makoto, and Ikkimaru arrived a few seconds later, disappointed that they had missed out on the final battle.

"So I guess next is to unmask the guy or something," said Makoto.

"You do it," said Kyou, responding curtly.

"Hell no!" replied Makoto. "What if he come back to consciousness?"

"Jeez, I'll do it," sighed Ginji, grabbing the thief's mask and yanking it off his head. The man had the face of someone in his low twenties and had straight, blue hair. "Isn't that one of our teachers?"

"That's our history teacher, Yamada-sensei," answered Kotetsu. "You'd know that if you ever showed up for class."

"You guys sure did a number on him," said Benihime, walking out from the shadows nearby. "I guess that's a passing grade."

"Passing grade?" asked a confused Ikkimaru. The others also had puzzled look on their faces.

"Once a year, a few sixth year students are randomly selected for a false robbery scenario. It's designed as a test to see if our students are, on average, ready for the final exams. You don't get any points for this, but if no one had succeeded in capturing the thief, everyone in the class would have been held back a year."

"Now that's twisted," commented Ginji.

"Save your breath, it's tradition," said Benihime. She looked at Makoto, "Of course you know that you can't publish any of this in the school newspaper."

"Yes ma'am," answered Makoto with a dejected sigh.

"Come on guys, let's go home," said Ginji. "This was a huge disappointment."

"What about Shuuki-kun?" asked Hisha. "He doesn't know anything about this."

"Oh, he's smart, let him figure it out himself," said Kyou. "I just want to go home and sleep."

* * *

The night ends in disappointment, but the students' adventures won't stop yet! Next time: Inspiration!