Chapter a Week 7 – Standby

Chapter a week is a story that’s updated once a week, but the writer continuing the story alternates every time. This serves as mainly a biweekly creative outlet for us where we try to improve our writing, but it also allows us to have fun with each other since we don’t have a story planned. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: All characters and events occurring are purely fictional. Any resemblances to real life are coincidental and not intentional.

15 years ago

“What defines a ‘human?’ This was the beginning theme of a recent article written by Donald Mateo Kennedy, which caught the attention of many people in the past week. Mr. DMK, could you please speak more about this?”

“Not mister, it’s philosopher. PHIL-O-SO-PHER. You got it, news lady?”

“I- I’m sorry, philosopher DMK, would you please speak about your recent article?”

“Yeah. Of course I’m going to. What do you think I’m here for? Anyway… so I’m sure you know already, but some months ago scientists did some data collection on people with Instincts.”

“Instincts, that’s referring to the special abilities?”

“Yeah. What the hell are you asking me for, if you already know the answer?”

“Wh– …. I’m sorry. Please, continue.”

“Right, so a while back they discovered that the muscular build of some of the people, especially with Instincts that actually affect physical capabilities, are inherently different to normal humans. We thought this was the human body gradually adapting to the special circumstances of these humans, as normal muscles would not be able to withstand the power exerted from the Instincts. If they had normal bodies, they’d be hostipitalized, haha!”

“Do you mean hospitalized?”

“Shut the fuck up, lady. I’m a philosopher, not a dictionary.”

“….”

“Now, some new research was conducted on people with Instincts that affect their mental capabilities. Like that kid, what was his name again… he like disappears on camera, and shit.”

“Do you mean Jonathan Seena? The boy who got viral by disappearing and reappearing on camera?”

“Yeah, yeah. That kid. Bunch of others like him got tested, and– well, we can’t say anything for sure right now since the test pool hasn’t been too huge, but– the structure of the brain itself was massively different to humans.”

“Oh, that’s quite fascinating!”

“Fascinating? Bitch, it’s fucking crazy! Muscles adapting to superhuman strength, sure. But brains don’t fucking change shape and shit. These fuckers, they’re not human man!”

“Change shape? So the brains were so distinct, that even the shapes were different to the brains of normal humans?”

“What? I told you, I’m not a fucking scientist. I’m a philosopher, you stupid bitch!”

…..

Comments

– what the hell? I thought that disappearing camera kid was fake

– me too, wow. the world is becoming a god damn movie

– this dmk retard is just making shit up, that camera thing was fake

– it was fake dumbass

– No it wasn’t, you can see in the footage the editing is too seamless

– no it’s fake you dumbass

– instincts? that’s a pretty retarded name

*

A few weeks ago

A female college student, wearing a cheap-looking dark blue suit, entered the Yuzuriha Detective Agency. After admiring the glamorous interior of the building for a short while, she approached the receptionist desk, where a slightly short, blue-haired woman sat on.

“Excuse me, where is Nodaka Asumi’s office?”

The receptionist looked up from her phone which she had been playing games on, and took a quick glance at the student before nodding and responding back.

“Ah, you’re Risa, right?”

Risa stood in shock for a while before she could respond. After all, even if it was a high class agency, the job offer that she had received was both an internship and relatively low-paying(at least for a detective). The only thing that stood out about the job was that it was a stand-in assistant job for the renowned detective Nodaka Asumi. But that being said, although Nodaka would stand out very much in an average setting, she was but another executive within the Yuzuriha Agency.

“Wow, you know who I am?” 

“Of course I do. I know everything, after all.” 

Risa laughed. “Really? Then how tall am I?”

“164.3 cm, at least during your last check up. You also weighed 55.7 kilograms back then, though I doubt that’s accurate now.” The receptionist gave an immediate response.

“What the hell?” The height had indeed been completely accurate, and so was the weight, though Risa weighed 58 kilograms on this day. But rather than feeling as though this person ‘knew everything,’ Risa felt more as though she was meeting her secret stalker. “Okay then, how many victims were there in the Washington GA case?”

“84, but that’s including the 35 people your new boss killed.”

“How tall is Mount Everest?”

“8,438 meters.”

“What’s the density of phosphorus?”

“1.82 grams per cubic centimeters.” 

“Woah….” Risa was amazed. Needless to say, she had no clue as to what the density of phosphorus was, but given the receptionist’s immediate response and confidence, she felt inclined to believe her. The receptionist grinned with pride, and held her hand out.

“I’m Tsukiha Natsuki. Receptionist and researcher of this place. You can just call me Natsuki. Nice to meet you.” Risa took her hand.

“Lorenz Risa. Though I guess you already know that.” As the two shook hands, Natsuki commented,


“German surname, right? Sprechen Sie deutsch?”

“Sorry, I don’t speak German.”


“I know, I’m just showing off. Nodaka’s office is on the second floor, the furthest away on the right side of the building. The elevator is right behind the pillar here.” She paused for a second for Risa to remember, before she continued. “Your hours start at 7:30, right? You’re a little early… not that it matters though— Nodaka often comes around 9-12. She did that when Kanou was around, so I doubt it’d be different now.”

“Kanou? Who’s that?… Wait, 9-12? There’s a 3 hour gap in her usual commute times?”

“Oh, Kanou is Nodaka’s precious assistant. Or at least was. It’s not like the door to her office is locked or anything, you should just be able to go in while you wait for her.”

With an expression of sheer dumbfoundedness, Risa thanked Natsuki and left.

It goes without saying, but Natsuki’s catchphrase stating that she ‘knew everything’ was completely false. If Risa had asked Natsuki about the date that some small TV show had aired, she would most likely have been unable to answer. But for someone like Risa, it just might be correct to state that Natsuki did indeed know everything.

Natsuki was born with an inherent Instinct, and thus had the ability of perfect memory from birth. Once she read something in a newspaper, she would never forget it. Not the day after, not a week later, not a year later, and not until her last breath. 

By the time she was 14, she was capable of speaking and writing all 141 official languages, and knew more about each subject than the majority of people with PhDs. Of course, she did not have a full understanding of all the knowledge she possessed. But the fact of the matter was that she was, and still is, essentially a living database.

*

Present Day, elevator of Yuzuriha Detective Agency

13:00

Just recently closing a case, Kazu and Matsuda, both employees of Yuzuriha Detective Agency Executive member Kenichi Akiro, were returning to the agency building. As they entered the elevator, they happened to enter at the same time as Natsuki.

“Hey, you all back from a case?”

“Yeah, we solved it! Though, it’d be more accurate to say that Kenichi-san solved it….” Matsuda put his hand behind his head, slightly embarrassed.

“Don’t worry about it. I’m sure you’re making contributions that you’re not even aware of. What floor?”

“The sixth. We’re about to grab lunch.”

“Oh, great! I’m getting lunch too!”

“Really? You wanna join us?”

“Matsuda… you’re even hitting on our receptionist?”

“I’d love to, but unfortunately I’ve got plans with someone else.” As Natsuki went to push the button for the sixth floor, Matsuda noticed that the button for the 15th floor was pushed.

The building of the Yuzuriha Agency had a total of 15 floors. Matsuda knew that floor 1 was the lobby, floors 2-5 and 7-14 were for each of the 11 executives and their respective employees and assistants, and the 6th floor was the dining hall. But he had absolutely no clue on what the 15th floor was for. Like Risa, Matsuda was a relatively new employee, so he assumed that it wasn’t particularly strange for him to not know. After all, none of the elevator buttons had labels on what each floor contained.

Nevertheless, seeing the button for the 15th floor piqued his interest, and even more so when he saw that Natsuki wasn’t leaving the elevator on the 6th floor, despite saying she would go to lunch.

*



“Dude, what’s on the 15th floor?” Naturally, the topic of conversation was decided on for Matsuda during lunch.

“The 15th floor? I don’t know, probably the roof or something?” Seeing that Kazu, who had worked in the Agency for much longer than he had, didn’t seem to know much about the 15th floor either, Matsuda began to ponder more. And as his interest increased, his focus shifted from the 15th floor to Natsuki.

“Why is Natsuki-san even here?”

“Huh? What are you talking about, she’s the receptionist.”

“Yeah, I know that. But do we even need one? I mean, people normally call the executives directly, right? Even the case we worked on just now, Kenichi-san got the request directly. I know she’s also the researcher, but isn’t most of the research done by detectives anyway?”

“Hm… I guess you’re right.”

“And yet the entire first floor is a lobby that pretty much only Natsuki-san is in….”

While he continued to ponder, the two detectives noticed a certain person whose tall figure juxtaposed her child-like expression resembling a lost child. It was Suzaki Yua, one of the executives of the Agency.

“What’s she doing?”

“It looks like she’s looking for someone to eat with. Her only friend Kushieda-san got called on an emergency case, after all.”

“Hm…” Matsuda raised his hand, and after catching Yua’s attention, pointed to an empty chair on the table he and Kazu sat on.

“Seriously, you’re even hitting on her?”

“No! She just obviously has no one to sit with. What’s wrong with me being a normal, sociable person?”

“So… you have no intention of trying anything with her?”

“That is a different matter.”

Yua slowly walked towards the two of them before she finally spoke.

“What is it?”

“Suzaki-san, do you want to sit with us?” Yua looked at Matsuda, then around her, then back at him, before realizing she was being invited to lunch.

“…If you insist that much, then I guess I have no choice but to oblige on your offer.” Kazu stared at Yua in utter confusion, while Matsuda grinned with joy, under the delusion that he had seduced her.

“What were the two of you discussing?”

“We were talking about Natsuki-san.”


“Hey, Matsuda!”

“What, it’s not like we’re badmouthing her or anything. I’m just curious!”

“Oh. What is it about her?”

“Well… we saw her go to the 15th floor, and I don’t think I even know what’s there.”

“The 15th floor is Miyuki’s office. Of course you don’t know it, I’ve never even gone in there in the 7 years I’ve worked here. Most people haven’t.”

“Her office?” Yua only led him to more questions than answers. “What is Natsuki-san doing, going there?”

Yua looked at Matsuda blankly and tilted her head, as if she had no clue as to what he was confused about. “The two of them have lunch every week.”

*

Meanwhile, 15th floor of the Yuzuriha Detective Agency

Is it because Miyuki felt guilty for recruiting her, a former renowned diagnostician, as a receptionist? Is it because Natsuki had only ever been assigned to two cases in 7 whole years she had worked in the Agency?

Whatever the reason, Natsuki did not particularly care, as the only reason she took the job in the first place was because of the outstanding pay that rivaled that of the executives. Besides, lunch with Miyuki was fun for her. She enjoyed it, and found Miyuki to be an interesting character.

But this particular day was different. Usually Miyuki would be babbling about some recent amusing event, or a funny joke she had heard. But today, she had barely said a word.

“Have you heard about the mass murders in the casino that occurred yesterday?” Miyuki finally broke the silence.

“Yes. I saw a report of it on the news this morning. Would you like me to give you the details on the case?”

“Haha, no, that’s fine. But I’m glad to see that your memory is as good as ever.”

“It’s my Instinct, after all…. Other than that, Kushieda asked me to look up some things on Risu Johoon, who seems to be the most suspicious in this case.”

“Oh? What did you find?”

“That’s the thing. It’s like he doesn’t exist. I can’t find anything about a Risu Johoon in any of the databases that I’ve looked into so far. No birth record, no passport, nothing. I’ve relayed the message onto Kushieda, but I plan on looking deeper into him after this.”

“I see.” Yosana stops for a while, staring at Natsuki. “I’m sorry to say this when you seem pretty enthusiastic about it, but you won’t need to look into this Risu Johoon. I’ll have some of the employees look into it, or ask another agency.”

“What? Why?”

“Natsuki-kun, do you know how many casualties there have been in the incident last night?”

“No, actually I don’t. They never specified in the news, though I suspect it is at least in the 40s.”

“There have been 153 casualties discovered so far.”


Upon hearing this, Natsuki instantly understood what Miyuki was leading up to. 7 years ago, in the aftermath of the Washington GA case, Yosana Miyuki reinstated the famous Yuzuriha Agency that she had previously refused to inherit after the death of her father, Yuzuriha Akatsuki. Yosana recruited 5 members of the investigation force in the Washington GA case, 4 of which are currently executives of the Agency, including Nodaka Asumi. The other 1 person was Tsukiha Natsuki. Not only was she not a part of the police force or a detective agency, but she was temporarily a part of the forensics team, and possessed no more deductive abilities than the average person. And despite this, there was one thing that made her stand out as one of the most useful figures in the enormous Washington GA case.

“I need you to thoroughly analyze the crime scene, and memorize every single detail about each of the 153 casualties.”

*

Meanwhile, 6th floor of the Yuzuriha Detective Agency

Hours had passed since I’d seen Nodaka-san holding the bloody knife on top of the corpses in the casino, and yet the memory is still burned into my mind. After Kushieda-san kidnapped Yamamoto Keiichi like an insane person, we’ve been waiting next to his hospital bed on the 7th floor of the agency, for what I am assuming will be an interrogation.

While we’ve been waiting, Kushieda-san has been on the phone a few times with Yosana-san, saying something like “what do you mean, in case there is a better candidate? There’s no god damn evidence and person!”

She has also reconfirmed a few facts with me. Some new facts have also been discovered within the case. The stab wounds were apparently not the actual lethal factor that killed the victims, but instead due to a toxin that was on the knife, which was discovered on the knife Nodaka-san was holding and matched to the corpses.

But despite the new revelations within the case, the two of us have seemingly come to a halt. We can’t make heads or tails of this case. The only real suspect that we’ve been able to find in this case, Risu Johoon, is apparently not in any database, so we don’t know anything about him. The state of the corpses, and the method of killing doesn’t match up with what Nodaka-san would do. Not to mention Isshiki Nao, Nodaka-san’s girlfriend. She was killed about 24 hours from now, and her body was moved to the casino port-mortem. 

Kushieda-san and I looked over the CCTV footage, but it all suddenly stopped about three hours before Nodaka-san called me, so it was quite a bit before the massacre began. The CCTVs themselves seem to have been manually destroyed by one person, as the time that the CCTVs were destroyed differ, and there are ‘stab wounds’ on the cameras matching relatively well with Nodaka-san’s knife.  But no one appearing to destroy the CCTVs showed up on the footage before they broke.

“Kushieda-san… even if there are clues that we are missing right now, I feel like this case….the perpetrator has an Instinct.”

She clicks her tongue. “Damn it. Are you kidding me?”

“Huh? What is it?” Did she think of something?

“I can’t believe I came to the same conclusion as Nodaka’s retarded assistant…”

This bitch…

“But… you’re right.” She sighs. Normally the call that a murder case was perpetrated by someone with Instincts is a call made very late. This is for three reasons, the first being that so far, a mere 25,000 people in the entire world have been discovered to possess an Instinct in the past 55 years, since they were first discovered. The predicted number of people to actually have Instincts is around 0.001% of the population, roughly 80,000 people. The second reason being that any clever case looks like it’s been committed by someone with an instinct. Take any closed-room murder. If we assume too early that someone used an Instinct to commit the murder, then we might miss out on the possibility that it is not a true closed-room murder, and some sort of trick was used in order to make one look like one. The final reason is that even if we assume the perpetrator has Instincts, there are extremely limited resources to be able to arrest someone like that. There is no complete database detailing each person’s Instincts, meaning that there are people who we don’t know have Instincts, and Instincts we don’t know about.

However, given the complexity of this case, the mass scale of the casualties that is almost double the infamous Washington GA case, it seems more and more probable by the second that the perpetrator has some kind of Instinct, and more reasonable that we should go forward with this case assuming so.

Kushieda-san looks down with her eyes closed, seemingly deep in thought. She switches between that and looking at her phone. But her expression of ponder quickly changes into frustration, and she mumbles something like “screw it.”

“Bakassistant, do you know what my Instinct is?”

“Do you mean like your instinct instinct, or your ability Instinct?” Honestly, the name ‘Instinct’ is such a stupid one. I know that it was originally made because scientists thought that instincts were closely related to the owner’s psychology and personality, but even that was proven false! Seriously, why the hell do people still call it ‘Instinct’?

Kushieda-san gives me a look of such immense annoyance that it looked like I had killed her parents. Wait, you wouldn’t be annoyed in that scenario. Damn, Nodaka-san’s inhumaneness is rubbing off on me! 

“My ability. Do you know what it is?”

“No, I don’t. Nodaka-san never told me.”

“Yeah, I thought so.” She takes the glove off of her right hand. “My Instinct allows me to see the past 24 hours of a person’s memory by touching them with my right hand. There are just three conditions. The first is that the person must be alive. The second is that I have to know three things that occurred to them in the last 24 hours. The last is that in a 10 meter radius, there can’t be any alive person excluding me and them.” She signalled a ‘shoo, shoo’ motion to me.

I stare at her in awe. Out of the 25,000 people with Instincts in the world, around 8,000 of those have been revealed to the public in the last 50 years. I remember as a child, slowly glossing over the long list of them on Wikipedia over the course of weeks. Some of them were absolutely mind-boggling, while some of them were pretty lame. But although I do remember a few of them having conditions to activate, it was the first time I had ever met someone with one, not to mention with such an extreme ability like Kushieda-san’s.

“Are there… any side effects?” I question her while I move away from the room. A 10 meter radius…. I had heard that there were 20 extra, unnecessary meters in the Yuzuriha Agency’s building, in between the 6th, 7th, and 8th floors. I assumed maybe that was because of some ventilation of something on the dining floor, but was it solely for Kushieda-san?

“Not really, but I can’t use it again for 30 days, and I can only use it once on a person.” After my 15th or so step back, Kushieda-san’s right hand seemed to glow, ever so slightly. “Oh, and since I’ll be experiencing his memories, I’ll be unconscious for the next 24 hours.”

She places her hand on top of the forehead of Keiichi-san’s unconscious body, and proceeds to immediately collapse to the ground.

Chapter a week 6: The Abnormalities

Chapter a week is a story that’s updated once a week, but the writer continuing the story alternates every time. This serves as mainly a biweekly creative outlet for us where we try to improve our writing, but it also allows us to have fun with each other since we don’t have a story planned. Enjoy!

In the starry night skies, thousands of disfigured corpses filled the silent field of Washington. Although this was a slight which most would be left traumatized by, it wasn’t for Nodaka Asumi. 

“Shit, I got blood stains on my clothes…”

Unlike other detectives, Nodaka never knew she had it. In her highschool days, she thought she was just a stronger-than-normal girl. Of course, it was a lot more abnormal than she knew was normal, but she didn’t care as long as it didn’t bother her. In fact, her strength was more helpful than not. It helped her excel in the detective’s school for elites to quickly get a spot in one of Japan’s top agencies. However, once she was able to awaken her Instincts, she rose faster than anyone, eventually being deployed to the US.

The Washington GA case was the 5th case that Nodaka Asumi worked with throughout the 4 years in the US. Although not many know about the events, due to the extreme measures that were put in to hide the case and its aftermath, it is known amongst those who know as one of the most brutals endings to a case ever. It wasn’t as though Nodaka Asumi was not successful in solving the case, in fact she solved the case perfectly. However, her solving the case resulted in the deaths of all 35 individuals that were suspects or related with them. Completely crushed bodies, all in a restricted field in washington. Her reason for killing all of them are still only known to figures that were directly related with the case.

Although this case put Nodaka Asumi amongst the names of the greatest detectives in the world, she, for some reasons, resigned immediately after the end of the Washington GA case. Upon hearing the news, Yosana Miyuki, sent an email to Nodaka Asumi. This was when Yuzuriha Agency was created.

***

When I arrived on the first floor, I saw even more bodies than I did below.

“Was this Casino this popular?” I asked Kushieda who slowly walked in front of me. “I mean I didn’t even know this place existed and this place isn’t like a big city.”

“Well it is fairly popular. There aren’t really many gambling places in Tokyo so the nearest place that people come to is here. This place is pretty luxurious and all too.” Kushieda responded to my question and she slowly stopped walking. “But it is hard to see this many people here… anyways, here is Yamamoto Keiichi.”

I looked through the body of Yamamoto Keiichi. Unlike Kushieda, who seemed perfectly normal looking at the courses that laid everyone on the floor, I still couldn’t bear the smell or look of dead bodies. I felt as though I could throw up any second looking straight into these dead bodies.

Most of the bodies on the floor had similar wounds. A clean stab that cut through the body, randomly placed a few times on the body. Yamamoto Keiichi’s body, however, looked beat up. There weren’t any sharp looking stabs. Just multiple red and purple wounds on his skin. 

“Kushieda, why does his body look more… like… beat up?”

“Oh you caught on! You weren’t as stupid as Asumi said you were,” Kushieda responded as she laughed.

“It stands out way too much! How can anyone not notice!” I yelled in anger.

“Well anyways, this is probably Asumi. The only problem is that it doesn’t look that beat up.”

“He looks beat up enough for me,” I said as I titled my face towards Yamamoto Keiichi. “Well I guess it’s hard to tell that he is dead.”

“Oh he isn’t dead. I think he’s just unconscious.”

“Huh? Did you call the ambulance then?”

“No? He is like our only clue. We can’t have the ambulance snatch him away. Don’t worry, we can just bring him with us; we know a lot of doctors that are more capable.”

I checked Yamamoto Keiichi’s body again, more closely, this time to realize that he was breathing slightly.

“Anyways, as I said, this was probably done by Asumi. I mean, I don’t think there would be anyone that’s capable enough to beat up Yamamoto Keiichi here. If there was someone like that, we would have either seen another beat up body, from Asumi, and Asumi wouldn’t have been so relaxed without a scratch as you said. Since he wasn’t completely beat up, Asumi probably left him alive as some kind of clue for us.” Kushieda explained. “I slapped him a few times but he didn’t wake up so I’m waiting right now.”

It was then when I heard a faint whisper coming from Yamamoto Keiichi. I wasn’t able to hear the voice, but Kushieda’s face started getting darker the moment she heard it.

“Oh man,” Kushieda said as she bit her nails. “Risa, call Natsuki right now. We have to go to the old man right now.”

***
Natsuki was the receptionist and researcher for Yuzuriha Agency. Although she was a part of the Agency, she never really did that much work. Most of the cases go directly to the president.

Research work, which was her expertise, was the reason why she was hired into the Agency. But most of the detectives in the agency were too skilled that they either didn’t need to find anything else for the case or they just did the research themselves. Because of this, she slowly transitioned into the receptionist of the agency that almost no one in the world knows how to get in contact with.

“Hah… these detectives are way too good.” 

So when she heard that a new intern joined, she was happy to find someone more normal that she might be able to help. Unfortunately the only help that she gave Risa was to tell her that Nodaka was at a Mahjong tournament. 

As she was sitting down playing games on her phone pondering about her status in the agency, she got a call from Kushieda.

“Hello? Kushieda?” Natsuki said as she picked up her phone. It wasn’t often that she received a phone call from a detective, not to mention the hot headed Kushieda. 

“Natsuki, I need you to research an individual named Risu Johoon right now. I’ll tell you more details later” Kushieda said with a rushed and serious voice. 

“Huh? What the hell is…” Responded Natsuki as she was quickly cut off by the beeping noises of the phone.

While Natsuki was a little annoyed that she was getting treated like this, she was rather happy that she finally got some type of job. 

“Time to finally display my skills, fufu,” Natsuki said as she rolled up her sleeves and turned on her computer. 

***
“How many times do I have to say, I didn’t do it,” yelled Nodaka Asumi, clinging on to the jail bars, as she answered the questions that the police officer has given her.

“Yeah, yeah that’s what they all say,” said the police man as he typed on to the computer monitor in front of him. 

After being arrested by the police, Asumi was moved to a police station situated around 40 minutes away from the Klar Casino. During the time in the car, she organized her thoughts about what happened and the unnatural events that followed with the police. 

From her memories, the attack happened as she was easily taking chips from Yamamoto Keiichi. She heard a loud scream come from the floor below. Little by little, people started to faint with blood coming from their guts. While everyone was panicking, Asumi quickly rushed to put Yamamoto Keiichi, who was rather confused about the situation, to sleep. While she wasn’t completely sure, the only one that she knew, on the spot, that was capable of doing something like this was Yamamoto Keiichi. However, even though Yamamoto Keiichi was unconscious, the deaths continued to happen. The strange thing, however, was that, although many were dying left and right, it didn’t seem to affect Asumi. To put a stop to this as fast as possible, Asumi ran around to find the culprit, but to no avail. In the end, Asumi was the only one alive, other than Yamamoto Keiichi, who was still unconscious, and the caller, who reportedly was in the toilet. 

Then she laid out some of the unnatural things she saw about the arrest. First, She found it extremely strange that those police officers arrested Asumi immediately. Although it was understandable why she was a suspect, as she was the only one there, it was even more strange that they didn’t even consider arresting Risa. The reason why she only called Risa was because she saw the chance that the police would appear. By bringing Risa who was unknown compared to any of the detectives, I thought that she would be able to easily escape being a suspect. This would have let Asumi send messages to other people in the agency since she was a direct witness. Even if she were to stay in jail, Asumi thought that it wouldn’t have mattered too much since Risa doesn’t help with cases. But strangely enough they just let her go for basically no reason. The fact that Risa even said that she’s related with her should have given the police more reason to arrest her. However, to Nodaka, it almost seemed like they panicked after they saw Risa. The way that they quickly dismissed her seemed awfully uncanny.

There was also the caller, the only other person that was able to survive what happened in the casino. If Risa was smart she should immediately start finding things about the caller. But Risa being Risa, Nodaka doubted that she was going to do anything of that sort. All she hoped was that someone else in the agency finds out about the caller and does something.

But to Nodaka, the strangest was the time it took for the police to arrive. The casino didn’t have any police stations nearby. The closest one also did not have the facilities or man to properly monitor a big case such as this. And the way that the police officers were awfully casual when driving towards the station that she was being taken to, it would be the most sensible to see that they are going to and came from the bigger police station that was fifty or so minutes away. The problem was this time. 

The attack and the screaming of the victims last for around twenty minutes or so. I messaged Risa almost immediately. Because of this, she was able to arrive ten or so minutes after the attack ended. The police, however, arrived almost as Risa arrived. The timing felt way too unnatural. Nodaka saw three possible cases that could have happened. 

One, the police was near the area and was dispatched to the area. This felt a little off since that would mean that they stationed only five police officers to a mass murder cases. 

Two, the police were from the smaller police station closer to the casino. In this scenario, it is highly likely that they were dispatched in small numbers because they didn’t know how serious the case was. The problem, however, was the fact that they acted extremely naturally, without shock, to the numerous dead bodies on the floor. Even if they were used to courses, the first response should have been to alert the station on the situation.

Finally, three. The police knew that this was going to happen and were stationed in the area. The problem with this is the ten minute time difference between the end of the attack and time difference. There wasn’t a reason for the police to wait ten minutes for the attack to end. If they were trying to get me arrested from the start, they should have not hesitated for a moment. It is also possible that they entered after seeing Risa enter. If they thought that she was someone else, it makes sense why they would check Risa immediately. 

Whichever it was, the police were the first mystery that she was keeping her eye on. When she arrived in the jail cell in the station, she continued to scan the area for anything suspicious. It was then when she saw an old man walk towards her.

“Nodaka Asumi, detective, gambling addict, known as the savior of the case, and most notably the killer that wiped out hundreds in Washington GA. Nice to meet you,” said an old man that walked towards the cell that Asumi was in as he placed his hand inside the cell.

“If it isn’t Ito Satosushi. I really enjoyed the sushi that I ate last week with the money that you lost in the Mahjong tournament.” Nodaka said with a smug face as she slapped the hand in the jail cell.

“Quite a greeting huh. Well you aren’t going to get another chance for that sushi anytime soon.”

“Huh cause you are gonna die of age soon?” Nodaka responded as she started laughing by herself. 

“Anyways, I need to get out of here. You obviously should know that I didn’t do any of the things in the casino. You already know I didn’t do any of the killing. You saw the bodies there right? My abilities can’t make any of those precise cuts. It’s more like BANG BANG!! WAHH!! DEAD DEAD!” You know?” Asumi said as she stood up to do punching motions.

“Well yes. But there was one body that was completely crushed. Seems very like the bodies that were in Washington.”

Nodaka was confused. She didn’t remember seeing a body that was crushed not to mention she didn’t even touch anyone. She did look around to find the culprit but all she saw were knifes flying around stabbing through the those who were screaming

With a smile, Ito Satoshi crouched forward as he looked down towards the short standing Asumi Nodaka. Watching the startled Asumi, he started to whisper.

“I know everything that happened and you won’t be getting out for a while.”

It was at that moment Nodaka realized exactly what was going on.

Chapter a Week: Chapter 5 – Idol

Chapter a week is a story that’s updated once a week, but the writer continuing the story alternates every time. This serves as mainly a biweekly creative outlet for us where we try to improve our writing, but it also allows us to have fun with each other since we don’t have a story planned. Enjoy!

“Nodaka?! Wh-why are you–”

In front of me was the lazy, laid-back boss that I’d last seen rolling around her couch playing on her Switch, covered in blood. Her usual, relaxed expression was nowhere to be seen. Instead, she looked dead serious, with a tint of desperation. Forget her usual self, I’d never seen her look like this even while she solved the previous case. 

“Calm down. We need to–” 

“Police! Put your hands in the air!” As I turned to the voice behind me, I saw four police officers and one other man, all pointing guns in Nodaka and my direction. Four of them are wearing normal police clothing, while the person in the middle is wearing a full black suit. I put my hands up, and Nodaka throws her knife to the side and also raises her hands. When the hell did these guys get here? I never saw them when I came in…

Two officers rush around Nodaka, and immediately handcuff her. “Nodaka Asumi, you’re under arrest for suspicion of mass murder.” 

*

“So you came here after being called by Nodaka Asumi?”

“Yes.”

“Alright.” The inspector closes his notepad and shoves it in his pocket. “That’s all I need. If you remember or notice anything, please tell me.” He hands me a small piece of paper. A business card? First he wears a full black suit, and now this? “Though that said, I think we have a pretty simple case here.”

“I’m telling you, Nodaka-san didn’t do this.”

“You saw yourself. She was holding a bloody knife, covered in blood, while staring down at a corpse. The knife she had matches the wounds of every single corpse we’ve observed so far. What else do you want?”

I open my mouth to retort, but I close it soon. He’s right. But… there’s no way Nodaka-san could have done this. 

“A brilliant detective like her, who looks deep into what criminals are thinking… It’s not that uncommon for great detectives to become criminals themselves.”

“Even if that’s true, something like this is way too careless for her. If she were really to commit a crime then it would be more smart, something that she wouldn’t be caught for so easily.”

“Haha, a brilliant detective doesn’t always equal a brilliant criminal.” He laughs. “Even if you’ve only been her assistant for a short while, I’m sure you’re familiar with her inhumaneness, right? She treats deaths like they’re nothing, and views murders as nothing but puzzles to solve.”

He’s right about how she can be so carefree about these kinds of things, but I can’t help but disagree. The happiness I saw in Nodaka when she finally solved the previous case wasn’t just of a kid who had beat his game. It was more than that, like she was happy that she was able to do some good in the world, putting a serial killer to jail. 


“Not to mention, with this extreme amount of casualties, Anyway, I’m going to take Nodaka to headquarters for questioning. Do you want to come along?”


“Huh? Aren’t you the head of this case right now? You’re leaving the crime scene?”

“Yeah. Are you coming along or not?”

“N-no, I think I’ll stay here.”

“Alright.” He walks away, bringing a couple of his men with him. 

It’s been about an hour since the police and I originally arrived at the scene, and a lot more personnel have arrived here since then, to analyze the entire crime scene, and block the casino off from the entire public.

Apart from my personal beliefs on her, I have proper basis to believe that Nodaka-san is innocent. Every single corpse found so far has been stabbed to death. All very clean and precise. Maybe to someone who has only heard rumors of her fighting capabilities, this crime scene sounds like something Nodaka-san would do.

But from what I saw a few days ago, it doesn’t match up. When Honda came running at Nodaka-san with a knife, she easily dodged it and kicked him into the wall with immense force. Hell, it even left a large mark on the wall, and with one kick, Honda was hospitalized.

Not to mention that Nodaka-san doesn’t carry around weapons. Since the rise of crime rates in Japan, certain organizations like the Yuzuriha Detective Agency were given special permission by the government to carry firearms. Any high standing member of the Agency carries around guns, except Nodaka-san.

It sounds strange to say, but the corpses are simply too clean. I imagine that if Nodaka-san tried to fight someone with the intent to kill them, then a lot of these bodies would be more disfigured with broken bones. All signs of physical bruising in the corpses are simply too small and insignificant. But something like that isn’t good enough to hold as evidence.

Besides, even if Nodaka-san was the culprit, this mass murder is too large of a scale, even for her. The time between her messaging me to come to her and when I found her was just short of an hour. I can’t imagine her asking for me to come while she was killing people. But the only other person found alive in the casino was Risu Johoon, who claims that he heard gunshots and screaming while in the bathroom, and proceeded to call the police.

But even that aside, there’s something that’s strange about this case.

As soon as I found Nodaka-san, the police showed up. Yet somehow I couldn’t see them? That doesn’t make sense. They even said that they saw me enter the building, and didn’t seem to even be suspicious of me in the crime scene because of that. But despite how lenient they’re being on me, they arrested Nodaka-san on the spot. –

Even Risu, who claims he didn’t see any of the crime, stayed in the bathroom the entire time, and was the one who called the police, seems to strangely be under low suspicion by the police. He wasn’t handcuffed like Nodaka-san, and the questioning conducted by the Inspector was short.

Speaking of that Inspector…. He’s strange, to say the least. Wearing a black suit, carrying around business cards… he doesn’t act or look like any of the inspectors that I met in the last case. Not to mention that the questioning he performed on me and Shirogane was frankly brainless that even I could do better. He didn’t even ask to see the text that Nodaka-san sent me. But more than incompetent, he strikes me as someone who… lacks interest.

The inspector even left the crime scene an hour after it was found, taking only Nodaka-san to the station. It wouldn’t be strange for Nodaka-san to have people who have a grudge against her, considering the type of person she is. But this case doesn’t feel like some personal grudge… something more large-scale…

Wait, this woman….

As I pondered around the lobby, one of the corpses on the ground stood out to me. 

She looks familiar. Where have I seen her?

A napkin covered her cheek, so I removed it, but accidentally touched her face in the process. 

Huh? Her body it’s…

I crouch down and touch her hand to confirm.

It’s cold…. 

On the other bodies, there was still some heat present, suggesting a recent time of death. And yet this body is completely cold, meaning that this person has been dead for at least 16 hours, or maybe even longer. I move her jaw around, and there’s some rigor. Meaning that the rigor has only started to disappear, so it’s likely to have been less than 20 hours since time of death. 

“Oh, shit.”

I turn around to see Kushieda Yuri, looking down at the body.

“Kushieda-san? What are you doing here?”

She frowns. “Miyuki-san sent me. one of her employees is the lead suspect of a case, after all.”

Ah.

“I feel like I’ve seen this person somewhere. Kushieda-san, do you know who this is?”

“You don’t know? She’s Isshiki Nao. Asumi’s girlfriend. Well, I guess it’s her ex-girlfriend now.”

Oh, shit.

“Do you think it’s possible that Nodaka-san did this?”

“Hah, no way!”

“I thought so too.”

“The corpses that crazy bitch left in the Washington GA case were so disfigured you’d have thought a giant stomped on the bodies.”

Wait, what?

“Oh right, Nao-chan was also married to Kei-kun before.”

“Kei-kun?”

“Yamamoto Keiichi. I’m sure you’ve heard of him, right? It’s such a shame… Kei-kun and Nao-chan were really cute together… but I guess that ship has long since sailed.”

“Yamamoto Keiichi?! The famous??”

“Yeah, she was one lucky girl. It’s no surprise that you’ve seen her before.”

Kushieda-san crouches down next to me, and takes a closer but quick look at the body. “Hm…” She puts gloves on, and touches the cheek with the back of her hand.

“It’s been almost a day since she’s been killed. But seeing as she’s just lying on the floor here, she was moved post mortem at least once. But why here…?” She stares at the body for a bit before turning to me. “Bakassisstant, do you have any ideas?”

What the hell did she just call me?

“Not as of yet. But this napkin was on her cheek.”

I pass her the napkin, and she examines it as she speaks.

“But man, it’s just been 10 days since you’ve come to the agency, and you’ve now run into two major cases. You sure you’re not cursed or anything?”

“Haha, maybe.” I try to give a friendly response, but I can’t help but feel a little weirded out. Nodaka-san’s attitude was definitely bizarre, but seeing as how strange she was from the beginning, I wasn’t too shocked at how she lacked empathy for victims in the previous case. But Kushieda-san striked me as someone who was more normal and serious, like Kanou-san. Yet here she was, in front of the corpse of someone she used to know, making small chat with me.

Are all detectives like this?

“But as a renowned detective, I guess you get to meet other famous people too.”

“Huh? Well, yeah, though if it’s Kei-kun you need, you can meet him right now.”

“Huh? N-now?” 

Despite the situation I was in, I couldn’t help but feel slightly excited. After all, Yamamoto Keiichi was one of my heroes as I grew up aiming to be a detective.

“Yeah. His body is on the first floor, near the backdoor exit.”

CAW: Chapter 4 – Stupid intern

Risa never had a privileged life.

Growing up, she was never the smartest nor was she the most athletic. She grew up in a normal family in a normal highschool. The only thing that separated her from other students was her willingness to be a detective. 

Current day Japan’s crime rates were higher than ever. It may have been because methods of crimes increased, or it may have been because money was harder to earn nowadays. But either way, crimes became more frequent as days went on. Naturally over time, detectives became the highest regarded jobs in Japan. They were different from the police in that they didn’t usually use force. Their jobs were solely focused on finding culprits for the police to arrest. Unlike the past where these two jobs had a thin line, detectives were now regarded with different prestige. It was a job meant for only the geniuses of geniuses.

Yet, it wasn’t a job that most teenagers wanted to become. Not only was the course to become one extremely rigorous, detectives usually had lineages of families that trained their childrens since birth. The only way for others to become detectives was usually through extremely hard work to land a spot in the detectives school. This, however, was so rare that it seemed like the option didn’t exist.

It was only after years of hard work that Risa was accepted into a school for detectives. 

‘I’m a true genius! I always knew I could get in.”

After the hard work paid off, Risa couldn’t help but feel that she was a genius. Afterall, she was the first student to get into the detective university from a normal family in the last 4 years. But she quickly realized that she wasn’t.

In the university, practically every student was built to be top level detectives. The skills that these students had involved proper experience and teachings that couldn’t be learnt by a single person with no connections. But more than that, it felt as though these students had something more. She couldn’t tell exactly what it was. But it was almost as though these students had some other force that let them get past all the obstacles that Risa faced. 

Sadly, Risa wasn’t a genius that could easily catch up to all of these gaps. The upper hand that these students had over Risa were too much. It was basically predetermined, even before Risa entered, that a student like her would be able to succeed properly. 

Risa, however, didn’t accept that. She was already behind from the start. She already broke those norms once already. Her being in the school was the results of the hard work that she put in that broke all expectations. Risa believed that if she were to try just as she did, 2, 3, 4 years ago, she would once again be able to break all expectations. Once again, she worked as hard as she could to aim for the impossible. To join the Yuzuriha Agency. 

Yuzuriha Agency was a place of legends. No one, even those in the school, knew specifically where the agency was. Nor did they know properly whether or not it even actually exists. However, from the little information that was out there, Yuzuriha Agency was where the representatives of the most established detective lineages work at. A select member of the best detectives, luxurious room to work on the most important of cases.

Risa worked impossibly hard. Yet, the reality was too cruel. Others in the school were given offers to different detective agencies to join. Most of the peers that she had started leaving little by little. Those who were left were ones who wished to finish their academic lives with a degree or those who were waiting for offers from bigger agencies. However, Risa didn’t belong to either. Forget Yuzuriha Agency. Risa was not given even a single offer. As time passed she graduated. Still without an offer, she went off to look for a normal job, giving up on her dream.

It was one random afternoon that changed everything for her. A year after she left school, still jobless, she received a mail asking her to intern in Yuzuriha Agency. Although she gave up being a detective, the pay was too good to resist. And in the depths of her heart, she probably still had a flicker of the detective spirit she thought she threw away.

And when she was called to that Agency, she thought she once again broke those expectations.

*

“I’m sorry I’m late!” I yelled as I rushed towards the round table in the center of the room. 

The enormous round table had 12 chairs. 5 filled. Each chair corresponded to the direction of the entrance to each room.

It was one of the monthly dinners in the Yuzuriha Agency. According to Nodaka, the purpose of the dinner was to discuss the success of cases in the last month and to plan for next month’s cases. I was also told that this was the spot for the president, Yosana Miyuki, to release her built up talkativeness. Although she framed it like a very important meeting that I can’t miss, she, herself, ironically did not come to the dinner. Instead she told me, the assistant with ten days of experience, to fill in for her. All I was given was a single piece of paper with a diagram of the table with names on where the seats would be.

Being the easily nervous person I am, I spent the last two hours or so organizing the events of the last crime investigation that I took a part of in Noaka’s room, causing me to lose track of time and ultimately being late. While Nodaka’s absence wasn’t much of a surprise, I was shocked to find that more than five other chairs were empty. Unlike Nodaka’s chair, they didn’t even have an assistant to fill in the spot.

“The rooms are literally 5 meters away from here, how the hell are you late?” Exclaimed Yosana Miyuki, the president of the Yuzuriha Agency. She looked almost exactly like the doodle that Nodaka had in her folder.

“Cut her some slack! Apparently… she’s not very smart,” said the short haired woman, who sat directly on the right of Yosana Miyuki. From where she was sitting, and the information that Nodaka gave me, she was most likely Kushieda Yuri, 

“Sorry?” I replied annoyingly. Although I was a little scared at the other’s presence, I was fairly frustrated that I was being called stupid on the first meeting. “I was a key member of the case three days ago, I want at least a little bit of respect.” 

“I believe that Asumi said that her assistant did nothing of note other than reacting surprisingly and being amazed at how “cool” Asumi is,” asked the long hair woman sitting directly opposite of Miyuki. “In the first place, how can you even think Asumi is anywhere near elegant? Perhaps… are you intelligent??”

“That’s hilarious, Yua,” Kushieda said as she mockingly laughed at me. “Wait if you think Asumi is cool, are you like one of her kind? You know right? She likes girls. She might be out to get you soon.”

“No need to worry about that possibility, Asumi told me that her assistant is too unintelligent to be attractive.” responded Suzaki Yua as she laughed. It honestly seemed like these two were having the time of their lives.

Did they come just to tease me?

“Don’t worry about these two, they are just playing around,” said a nicely dressed man who was sitting next to me. “My name is Haruki. Takahashi Haruki.”

“Well whatever. I don’t think I need to do introductions right Risa-kun? I’m gonna keep this meeting short so let’s skip over what we can.” said Miyuki, stopping the conversation.

“Bullshit!” Yelled Kushieda Yuri. “You said you were gonna keep it short last time and we were here for like twelve whole hours!”

“Now, now, twelve hours are a little bit of an exaggeration. If I remember correctly it was four hours forty-two minutes and thirteen seconds from the moment I sat down to precisely when I left the table,” replied Suzaki Yua.

“Who eats for four hours and whatever minutes!” Screamed Kushieda. “Man, I’d have just skipped out this stupid dinner like the other 7 if it wasn’t for Prez threatening to fire me.”

“Now, I understand that this dinner may get frustrating, but as I’ve said before, this dinner is important for us to work on the past and prepare for the future.” replied Miyuki very calmly.

It was a very natural, almost scripted response to the complaints. It made me wonder how many times people complained to him about the length of the dinner. But more than that, what surprised me was Suzaki Yua’s response to the time they spent during last dinner. I don’t know if she was joking but if it was true that’s a pretty amazing skill. Was she a savant or something?

“Well, before we get started, let us first enjoy today’s menu. Appetizer is mushroom soup.” Miyuki said, as a chef brought the food to our tables.

“Why are you doing this to me…” said Kushieda. I think I heard a faint crying sound coming from her direction.

Although I did get a little familiar with everyone on the table, there was one person who hadn’t spoken a word. There was one other man who was wearing a black hoodie, and quietly ate the food on the table. His name, according to Nodaka’s list, was Kenichi Akihiro. Unlike others, who just had their names written on the paper, Kenichi Akihiro had a note written under his name.

‘Boring loser’

This was the first time I felt like I agreed with Nodaka.

“Since everyone seems to be enjoying their meals, let’s get started with this month’s roundup. Risa, since you are new let’s start with you first. You went to investigate a serial killing related to Johnson Bang correct? His cousin is an extremely important person so good job on the case.” Miyuki said as he looked towards my direction.

“Oh sure thing.” I replied frantically as I swallowed the mushroom soup in my mouth. “I didn’t do very much, it was mostly Nodaka that did everything.”

“Nodaka is a lot like you, you know?” Miyuki said, looking at me who probably had a slightly sad expression. 

Huh? Nodaka was similar to me? That’s crazy. Although I don’t want to admit it, I haven’t seen someone that smart in my life. I also don’t gamble and drink like crazy.

“You weren’t a part of any detective family right? Yet, you graduated from that detective university. Nodaka went through that exact path too. Even Nodaka’s assistant, Kanou was it? Was like that as well.” Miyuki continued as she smiled towards me. “Nodaka was a little lost when she first started too. Although I can’t say that she grew up too well…”

“Yeah it is pretty amazing. You three are one of the five that were able to do that in history!” Kushieda said. “But the real question is… why are you so stupid unlike Nodaka or that past assisstant?”

Should I beat her up?

Although anger filled my head, it quickly dispersed at the thought of Miyuki’s words. If Nodaka was like me too, did that mean that I had a chance to become a little bit like her? At least the good sides of her…

I continued eating at that thought which made me slightly happy.

“By the way, Risa, did Nodaka tell you where she was at?” Asked Haruki, who was listening to our conversation.

“Nope, I just hope she’s not in some kind of trouble.”

*

“Ah man I’m in trouble.”

This was it. Her whole career. Her whole reputation. It all leads up to this point. She had already gone all in. As she swallowed the glass of whiskey next to her, a drop of sweat was falling off her forehead.

Little by little, she saw the symbols. Hearts. It had to be either a 7 or a 5. All odds were against her.

5 of hearts.

“Full house on the river! I win again!” Nodaka laughed as she took all the chips on the table. “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for that! Anyone else wanna join the table? Gahaha”

“You cheated didn’t you?” Angrily yelled one of the players on the table.

“I did not cheat. In fact this level of playing is very simple with an elementary level of deduction.” said Nodaka with a smug look to her face. 

“Who the hell is that,” said a bystander watching the poker match, amazed at the match that just happened before his eyes.

“Haven’t you heard? That’s the crazy casino girl.” replied the other bystander standing next to him.

Nodaka was something similar to a legend around here. The woman who has never left the casino is at a loss. The casino did consider kicking her out multiple times, but she lost just enough times to draw in more customers to the casino. It was almost as if she planned the amount of times she won that day.

“I see you don’t really have any competition now that Bang left huh? Man, you’ve grown so much since the last time I saw you.” said Yamamoto Keiichi as he slowly sat next to Nodaka on the poker table.

“It’s been a while, Keiichi. How’ve you been?”

He was a man familiar to Nodaka. Before she moved into the Yuzuriha Agency, Nodaka worked in a smaller agency as a detective. And Yamamoto Keiichi was her first and last partner in that last agency. He was also the guy who taught Nodaka how to gamble. Of course, Nodaka has now easily surpassed that of Keiichi. Appearance wise, he was a fairly short man who had long hair for a guy. He also wore a cap that was almost like a trademark of his. 

“Good, how about you?”

“I have an annoying assistant to deal with but other than that it’s like normal. Anyways, why are you even here? I thought you don’t really gamble anymore.”

“I’m sure I’m here because of the same reason as you. After all, although I might not be a part of that Yuzuriha Agency, I am a pretty well established detective.”

“Huh the same reason as me? I’m just here to gamble. Why does that have to do with anything with you being an established detective?” Nodaka responded as she tilted her head slightly.

“Wait wh- well whatever. For now I am also here to gamble.” Keiichi said with a smile. “Since Bang is still grieving about his cousin’s death, I will be your match for the moment.”

“Sure, just don’t cry when you lose all your chips.” Nodaka responded with a smug smile.

As the dealer placed the cards on the table, Nodaka thought to herself.

There is definitely something going on here.

It was extremely strange to find Keiichi here. He did gamble in the past but he wasn’t the type to just randomly come to these locations without a purpose. The strangest of all was how he hesitated when Nodaka casually dismissed her. She didn’t know exactly what was happening, but she knew that she had to know what was going on.

“So what’s your plan?” Nodaka asked.

“With this round? I can’t tell you that. You are probably gonna win already,” responded Keiichi.

“No not poker. I mean that,” Nodaka responded, trying to sound as detective and serious-like as possible.

“Ah,” Keiichi responded as his face got a little less happy. “Honestly, we don’t have the most complete idea of what is going to happen. I’m guessing that’s like you as well, otherwise you wouldn’t have come here right?”

“Yeah, I’m still trying to collect as much as possible before that happens,” Nodaka responded with her poker face. “Do you have any plans? Worst case scenario is that we mess each other up. We have the same objective anyways.” 

“That is true. But honestly we don’t have too much planned. I’m just kind of stationed here to notify my group if anything happens. They are on standby at the agency in case the perpetrator comes here. We would have a lot more prepared if we knew anything. But both the seriousness and the likelihood of the possible future is unknown,” explained keiichi, who had a slightly happy expression on his face while looking at the cards he was holding.

Nodaka now knew exactly what this was. A group on standby in case something happens? A perpetrator? This was serious for sure. Keiichi probably thought that Nodaka didn’t know much about the case. Making him avoid saying that he knows everything that would happen.

“Anyways, if something serious happens, you and I probably need to just run away. I mean there’s nothing much we can do” Keiichi said. “That’s straight. I think I won here?”

“Well, we’ll see about that,” Nodaka said as she smiled. “Thanks for the chips.”

On the table were five spades.

*

“I hate dinners,” I thought to myself.

4 hours have passed since I first got to this table. Everyone was done with their food. Yet no one left and Yosana Miyuki was still talking.

“That was when I grabbed the perpetrator and tied him up. It was quite the action sequence.” continued Miyuki.

Unsurprisingly, she solved more than one case this month. Like what Asumi said, this dinner was really a place for the president to give her heroic tales of the month.

Haruki next to me had his eyes open. Yet, I sometimes hear little bits of snoring every 15 minutes or so. He probably mastered this technique attending this dinner every month.

Suzaki Yua laughed a little every five minutes or so. Every time she laughed, the president looked a little bit happier than before. She probably thought that she was laughing at her heroic tales. But because she sat directly opposite of her, she wasn’t able to see what was actually going on. I, who was sitting fairly close to her, was the only one who probably was able to see. Her fingers were on her phone, slowly scrolling through reddit. 

Kushieda Yuri, on the other hand, was fairly attentive to the story. She was a little bit enthusiastic at the start of the stories, screaming “stop!” as loud as she could. But now she is just grabbing her head whispering some type of curse to the innocent plate on the table.

Kenichi Akihiro… well I don’t know what he was doing. He was just staring at the wall. No he has not talked for the last four hours.

Yep, this was a mess. The only reason why I didn’t leave was because I was scared that Miyuki would fire me for disrespecting his stories or something. I think that’s the reason why no one has left the table yet.

It was then when I saw a text on my phone screen.

<From Stupid boss: come to Klar Casino as quickly as possible and don’t tell anyone there. Just leave saying you have some urgent matter. I’ll take care of the president later. (attachment: photo of map)>

<Risa: What?> 

I responded immediately. The last thing I would have expected Nodaka to send me was a serious text like this. 

I waited for a response back for a few minutes yet I didn’t get a single response. Something was off. I initially thought that this may be one of Nodaka’s stupid pranks or something. Especially since she told me not to tell anyone. But her telling me to come to her favorite Casino? That seems pretty impossible. 

Maybe she finally wanted me to be a part of her investigation! 

“I’m so sorry but I have to leave right now,” I said as I stood up slowly. I tried to be as careful as possible so I don’t get fired or anything.

“Well, everyone seems like they are done so we should wrap up as well,” said Miyuki, smiling directly towards me. 

“Actually?! Intern, what did you do to him?” Kushieda asked with a surprised yet extremely happy tone as she quickly stood up.

“You can stay if you want Kushieda,” responded Miyuki.

“Haha. No. That’s enough for this month. Thank you.” Kushieda quickly responded as she pushed the chair into the desk.

*

After Miyuki made her remarks, Risa walked quickly towards the exit. Everyone proceeded to leave for their respective rooms while yelling “finally!” All who were left were Miyuki himself and Kenichi Akihiro. For a brief moment, an awkward air was left between the two that remained. The first to speak was Akihiro. 

“You know where Nodaka is at right now right?” He said with a bitter deep voice, tilting his head from the wall to Miyuki’s face.

“Where else would she be?” 

“That assistant is probably going there right now no? Why didn’t you stop her?”

“The girl probably has it.” 

“Irresponsible as always huh? Don’t blame me if she dies.”

“Don’t worry. She won’t.”

*

Because there weren’t any public transport near the area, I got on the bike that I used to get to the agency. According to the map that Nodaka sent me, Klar casino was closer than I imagined. Around thirty minutes or so with a bike. Honestly, it was a little surprising that a place like this would have a casino. Quickly, I followed the map to get the Klar casino as quickly as possible.

When I arrived, I felt a sudden chill going through my body.

“That’s weird? Aren’t there usually guards near casinos like this?” I mumbled to myself. Regardless, I quickly walked into the casino to find Nodaka.

As I opened the door I saw bodies of multiple people on the ground. Blood everywhere. There weren’t any signs of life. 

I quickly went to one of the dead bodies to examine what happened. The wound didn’t seem like guns. More like a knife wound straight to the chest. The situation was too hard to process myself. How did the perpetrator kill this many people with a knife? Why this location? In the first place, why did Nodaka call me here? Was it to stop this murder? But I did know one thing: I had to find Nodaka as quickly as possible.

Quietly as possible, I crouched and made my way up the stairs which took me to the lobby of the Casino. Similar to the floor below, there were bodies on the ground with blood everywhere. Yet, there was one thing different from the floor below.

In the center was a familiar figure holding a knife with blood all over her body.

“What took you so long, stupid intern.”

CGI being used in Anime

CG has been being used more and more in the last decade or so. And there are a lot of conflicted opinions about them. So here, I’ll be going through 4 different “levels” of CG in anime and looking at how they are used and how I feel about them.

Full on CG

Houseki no Kuni - 01 - 02 - Lost in Anime

This is your Berserk 2017 and Bang Dream. A lot of people, including myself, will say that shows that use CG as their main animation medium are very hard to look at. Rakuen Tsuihou was the biggest laughing stock of that year and pretty understandably. The movements look really janky and unnatural and the texture of the CG feels really cheap and brings down the whole quality of the animation. A lot of the public’s mindset on CG anime, however, did change with Houseki no Kuni. Many praise it to be one of the better shows. It has a widely positive reception with a mal score of 8.43. But to me this wasn’t a show that I could enjoy.

Don’t get me wrong; I do like Houseki no Kuni. I had a lot of fun reading the manga. But the CG in the show made it really hard to look at. One of the best parts about the original manga is the beautiful backgrounds and visuals. Every single frame is so full with detailed lines composed so beautifully. But the CG simplifies everything in an unnatural moving model that can’t really express what I loved about the visuals in the original manga. I heard a lot of people say the CG is fine in the show but can you imagine this show being fully animated? It would’ve been absolutely stunning. The story itself allows a lot of aesthetic experiments and I was a little bit disappointed by the CG.

But over time, I think I did get a little bit more used to it. Especially since I got accustomed to games like Persona or the Atelier series that have characters move in CG models most of the time. So I’m sure I’d be more fine with CG anime than I was 2~3 years ago.

Idol shows

𝙿𝙼𝚂」Antique Gucci MEP - YouTube

I don’t like Idol shows and I think people that like idols shows don’t like them for how good the show is too. I find, usually, that fans of idols shows like them because they like the character, or the idols. That’s why concerts featuring voice actors of the characters singing are widely popular. 

But the shows themselves are just bad and a lot of it has to do with the CG dance sequences. To me, this type of show is a lot worse than a show that is completely CG. Even disregarding how unnatural these CG dances look, the CG visuals clash with the hand drawn parts of it. Both parts look completely different because of the texture of the CG animation. This creates a huge disconnect between the daily life sections and the staged sections to the point where it doesn’t even feel like the same show. Then again, it’s not like I’m going to watch these shows even if they were to be done normally animated. 

CG Crowds

5 Best & 5 Worst Uses Of CGI Animation In Anime | CBR

CG crowds are often used nowadays as a method of saving money. Rather than spending a huge sum of money drawing background characters that are normally not given a lot of attention, they put CGI models in the background to fill up the empty space. The thing is, this tactic that they use on parts of the background that don’t take much of the attention of the audience is given attention when they look hideous. Once the movements in the background start to slightly bother the audience, it becomes almost impossible to pay attention to the other visuals in the show that they probably directed the money towards. 

This really also applies to objects that move. Like cars, for example. I’m not an expert in the animation process but I’m gonna guess CG doesn’t work too well with the drawn frames. Like the CGI crowds, they become really really hard to look at. Then again, I understand why studios are doing this. Animation is expensive and it’s hard to believe a street without any cars. But honestly, if the final product is going to look janky as most CG products are, I’d rather see a plain street that looks normal than a bustling street with people and cars that look like they are glitching in real life.

Ufotable

I spent a full page or so just talking about how much I had CG in anime, but I do like them sometimes too. Although very minor, I’m a huge fan of how ufotable uses CG to sharpen up their backgrounds. Although CGI looks really unnatural when they move, when they are still, they are usually fine. Sometimes, they even add a sharp look to the backgrounds. For example, most of the buildings in Ufotable use a mix of CGI and hand drawn animation to create their final look. The final product becomes very meticulously drawn from their shape to their aesthetic feel.

Ufotable also uses CGI for their action scenes. They get CG models to pose for the scene then  draw on top of the models. The texture of the drawings are the same because they still color and draw the way they would normally do, yet the movements feel more organized in many scenes. 

If studios are able to incorporate CG like this, without making it obvious that they used CGI or if they make it look natural and matching with the total aesthetics of the show, then I’d be happy to see studios find ways to save money like this.

Chapter a Week 3 – A Generous Tip

Chapter a week is a story that’s updated once a week, but the writer continuing the story alternates every time. This serves as mainly a biweekly creative outlet for us where we try to improve our writing, but it also allows us to have fun with each other since we don’t have a story planned. Enjoy!

It wasn’t long after police sirens flooded the scene. Risa-chan took Bang’s death as well as any normal girl would. I never called the detective agency or Asumi(the latter for much more obvious reasons than the first), but it seems that Asumi was scolded quite a bit by Yosana, since she ended up coming to the scene relatively quickly. Makes sense, since Bang’s death could have been avoided if Asumi just solved the case properly.

When Asumi showed up, she had an expression which I hadn’t seen before. Shame? Embarrassment? Definitely not guilt, but something close to the two. When she saw my face, she brightened up a little.

“Kan-chan!!! I missed you so much~!”

She ran towards me with her arms wide open, but I pushed her back. 

“You goddamn idiot, how much of the case had you actually solved?”

She pouted, before answering. “I don’t know who the actual culprit is, but I know what they’re after.”

“Could you have prevented Bang’s death?”

“Well, it was kind of obvious. The guy has 6’s all over his cafe.” Asumi replies in such a casual tone, I feel like I’m close to smacking her. And suddenly, a looming shadow appears behind Asumi. It’s Risa-chan, and she actually does slap Asumi. Hard. On one hand, I feel sorry for myself for not getting the first hit, but I am generally looking forward to these two’s future.

—–

And now, we are in the present. 10 minutes from when Asumi was slapped, and also 10 minutes since Risa-chan said she wanted to hear about the case. I’d normally have tried to stop her, but she looked both so determined and pissed off that I couldn’t help but oblige.

“As I said, I don’t know who the culprit is. I’ll first explain the details that appeared after Kanou left me.” She fakes some tears before continuing. “A couple of days ago, we were able to identify two out of the four unknown victims.”

“Wait, four unknown victims? So there was a fifth murder?” I guess it wasn’t really surprising since Bang died after the 6’s covered the store, but it’s astonishing to think that after 5 cases, the bastard Ano still covered the case up and didn’t announce it publicly whatsoever.

“Yeah. As you know, the locations of the murders were just too far away for them to be placed as serial killings. Some in the countryside, some in the city. And the police are probably still under that impression, even after uncovering three of the victim’s identities.” Asumi pulls out a small paper crumble, and opens it up, revealing three photos, but no names or descriptions attached.

“Matou Suzuki, 56 years old, found dead in a bathroom in a high class restaurant called ‘Andou Honten’ in Osaka. Unknown cause of death and no bruises, apart from a mark behind his neck with the number 1.”

“Yonagi Kanna, 35 years old, found dead in her boyfriend’s apartment in Tokyo, and also the only one who we were able to identify immediately. Unknown cause of death and no bruises, apart from a mark on her wrist with the number 4.”

“And the previously most recent death award goes to Sallow Nicholas.” Irritated, Risa-chan looks like she’s about to hit Asumi again, and she quivers and rushes behind me in response before continuing. “He was 43 years old, and was found dead on the top of the Fushimi Inari Shrine* in the morning by tourists. Unknown cause of death and no bruises, apart from a mark on his forehead reading the number 5. His temperature was quite low when he was found, but that’s probably because he was on the top of the mountain.”

*Note: Fushimi Inari Shrine is a famous tourist attraction hiking course/mountain in Kyoto. 

“Each of the marks are not too easy to tell, which was another reason why it took a while for even anyone to notice these deaths as connected. The forensics team said that the marks were burned onto each victims’ skin. They also said that the deaths are probably caused by some kind of poison, but they haven’t been able to identify any of them yet.”

Though I had seen it countless times before, Asumi still amazes me with her memory.

“On the surface, the victims seem to have nothing in common, apart from the fact that they had nothing to identify themselves, but Yonagi Kanna is an exception to that. I’m sure the police still can’t find a connection.”

“Wait,” Risa-chan interrupts, visibly confused. “If you couldn’t find out their identities up until a few days ago, why weren’t the deaths released to the public and shown to the news? Couldn’t it have helped to identify them?”

Ah, I guess she wouldn’t know. She did say that she didn’t know who Ano was before when I called her before too.

“It’s because of a certain bastard named Ano.” I answer.

“Ano… The detective that Nodaka told me to deliver her message to?”


“Yeah. This is the kind of case that the public could go crazy with. A serial killer, cult mass suicides, a curse killing citizens of Japan one by one, the press would go crazy with this. If that were to happen, then the police would most likely change the head detective in charge to someone more experienced and take Ano off the case. So as a way of trying to move up the ranks, Ano planned on solving the case all by himself, after noticing a pattern when the third death happened.”

“What a cunt.” She gives a disgusted look in response, which awfully reminds me of when she looked at Asumi.

“It doesn’t matter! He’s been taken off the case!” Asumi shouts. “Can I go back to my amazing deduction now?”

“Yeah, sure. Go ahead…”

“Okay!” She expresses a look of pride. “As Kan-chan said, the police and I suspected this to be a cult suicide at first. I then moved my theory to indiscriminate serial killings, but I changed my theory when the identities were revealed.”

“Identities? Didn’t you just describe them? They have nothing in common, right?” Sallow Nicholas, a man who is clearly a foreigner, is the nail on the coffin which to me, confirms these killings are indiscriminate.

“That’s probably what the police still think. But actually, they do have something in common. 12 years ago, there was a relatively exclusive, Japanese-styled cooking course in Montanna of the United States, in which 6 people participated in it for about 3 months. Yonagi Kanna, Matou Suzuki and Sallow Nicholas all were a part of this course.” Clearly she was leading up to something, but I couldn’t tell what it was. “That course was run by michelin star chef Johnson Bang.”

“Johnson Bang? Wait, is that–”

“Yep, that’s the 6th victim.”

“Holy shit… so these aren’t indiscriminate serial killings?”

“Nope, they’re calculated, individual murders.”

After a moment of silence, I turn to Risa-chan, who remains with a look of stun for a couple of seconds, before saying anything. “Jesus Christ… and so all we have to do is find out who the rest of the participants of the cooking class was, and the one person who didn’t die is the culprit, right?”


“Yep!” Proudly, she responds.

“Wow, maybe you really are a genius like everyone says!” Risa-chan fangirls over her in excitement, seeing Asumi in action for the first time.

Ah.. so innocent. I remember I was like that too before.

“Of course! Actually, not telling you the message to Ano was my part of my plan, too! After all, we couldn’t have been able to know if it was Ano or one of the course attendees who was the culprit! Haha! I’m so–” But before she can finish, she receives a loud smack by Risa-chan.

————-

“Hey, I know these last two days have been difficult, but I guarantee you it’ll get better. You of all people should know how it usually is here. Kanou reassures me, and it works because of how calming his voice is. It’s been a couple of days since I witnessed Johnson Bang’s death, and although it does still haunt me occasionally, I feel relatively okay considering my situation. At least that’s what I thought, but I guess I’m still tense.

Man, Nodaka really messed up, letting him go..

“Does Nodaka ever get better?”

“That’s a different issue..”  We laugh.

“So, I get why the Inspector is coming to the office, but why are the other suspects also coming?”

“Kan-chan always wants to meet the suspects before answering the case… personally, I’d rather just send him a text or something with the culprit and an explanation.” Nodaka slouches, being quite grumpier than usual.

“Why couldn’t you have done that before?!”

“ ‘Cause Ano’s not on the case anymore! No point in shoving it in his face!”

This woman…

“In the first place, how did you guys even get access to this case if Detective Ano was trying to hide it?”

“Well, we’re given special access to all national cases from the Japanese government, but the case itself was brought to our attention by an anonymous tip.”

“An anonymous tip?”

“Yeah. An actual letter was addressed and sent to me. They come around sometimes, and the agency occasionally helps out cases like this to better our image for the bigger companies. That wasn’t as much so in this case, I think the president just wanted me to kick Ano’s ass on the case.”

“Also to keep you out of the mahjong tournament.” Kanou intervenes.

“Which, if I need to remind you, I won!” 

“And was disqualified from!” In response to Kanou’s retort, Nodaka goes back to her depressed state.

—————

“As always, an excellent job, Nodaka!” Inspector Imai applauds Nodaka after listening to her admittedly great deduction. He looks to be quite elderly, possibly in his 60s. He makes up for his lack of height with either muscle or fat, but I can’t tell because of the thick clothes covering him. He wears a seemingly formal outfit in orange and black, a color combination bizarrely reminding me of the Inspector Megure in Detective Conan.

 “And thus, I believe that Kanzawa Haruka is behind these murders. Not only do the facts match, but she is also the only one from the class that hasn’t had a successful career in cooking. Perhaps she held a form of resentment against the others for doing better than her, as well as to her instructor, Johnson Bang, for not leading her to success.”

“Then we’ve also got a motive. You’ve convinced me of your theory, Nodaka. But without any direct evidence, it remains a theory. None of this will hold…”

As the two continue on in their conversation, I whisper to Kanou. 

“So the two beside Inspector Imai are the suspects, right?”

“Yep. The one on the left is Yukiyoshi Sendou. He was my prime suspect until Kanzawa, though Asumi said there was no way he could be guilty.”

“She was that confident, and you still thought she was guilty?”

“Well, more than guilty, he just seemed the most likely, at least compared to the other suspect, Honda Kennichi. The thing about both suspects is that the theory of them being guilty doesn’t stand up. Neither of them have possible motives for killing all 6 people, and there isn’t any evidence that supports their being guilty. Both of them had poor alibis, though. Honda said things like he stayed at home alone, or with his girlfriend or family, which can’t be trusted and won’t hold up in court. On the other hand, Yukiyoshi just didn’t provide any alibis whatsoever.”

“No alibis whatsoever? What? That sounds totally guilty!”

“That’s what I thought. He also happened to have hotel rooms booked near many of the crime locations at the right time.” 

What the hell? How is this guy not locked up yet?

“But motives are the problem. Yukiyoshi has no possible motive that the police or I have been able to come up with whatsoever.”

“Motive, huh…. Didn’t think that would be so important…” 

What if he’s just a crazy psycho who burns numbers onto people?

“What about the other person? Handa, was it?”


Honda Kennichi has some circumstantial evidence against him. But ultimately it comes down to motives again.”

“What kind of evidence?”

“Besides the lack of a solid alibi, he’s a researcher at a scientific lab. So the unknown poisons that killed the victims wouldn’t have been too difficult for him to get his hands on. He also had some bruises on the day he reported the crime, though he claims it was from when he tripped.”

“I see… but from the way it looks, these two aren’t that great of suspects, are they?” 


“Yeah. I think Ano just kept these two because they were his only hope to success.”

I look back at Nodaka and Inspector Imai, to see Nodaka seemingly zoning out of the conversation.

No… she’s not zoning out… is she… staring at Honda?

—————

It just doesn’t add up.

Biting my fingernails, I continue rocking on my chair, trying to think of a reason. But my train of thought(or lack of one) is interrupted by Ken-chan.

“Hey, I’m going to go now. As much as I feel bad for Risa-chan, I did leave.”

“…”

“What’s wrong? You aren’t going to beg for me to stay?”

“…It doesn’t add up.”


“Add up? What do you mean?”

“My case against Kanzawa.”

“Huh? It sounded perfectly reasonable to me. Inspector Imai is bringing him into questioning today, right? If you can find some evidence, this case should be set.”

“No, it’s not. There’s no explanation as to why he bothered burning numbers into them, or why he performed the killings weekly.”


“Perhaps he just wanted to leave a mark on them? Murderers aren’t the most predictable or understandable, maybe he got a sense of satisfaction every time he defiled the bodies that he killed and left in pure condition.”

“It’s not that your explanation doesn’t make sense, it’s just really shitty.”

With a quite visibly irritated face, Ken-chan leaves, waving his hand while she walks away.

Is it possible that I was wrong about Kanzawa? After all… 

But once again, my train of thought is interrupted, though this time, it’s the phone.

“Hey intern! Pick it up!”

“Yeah, got it.” She picks up the phone, and a while later, puts down the phone with a face of shock. “Okay, I understand. I’ll tell her.”

“What’s up?”


“About Kanzawa Haruka… he had no confirmable alibi for all the days in which the murders happened, supposedly visiting his parents weekly.”

“…And?”

“But this monday, when Johnson Bang was found dead, he was in a live concert. And there’s CCTV footage which proves he’s innocent.”

Shit.

“Maybe Kanzawa killed just the five people, and someone else killed Johnson?”

“No. Even if he had an accomplice, there’s no reason he would just not kill the last person himself.”

Actually, it could be an imposter, disguising their own murder as someone else’s…

No, that’s impossible.

None of the murders were released to the public, and the poison and burning techniques used were similar enough for the forensics team to deem the perpetrator as the same person.

“What if he changed the poison? The forensics team hasn’t actually identified it, right? If there’s one with similar effects but more slow acting, then couldn’t it work?”

“No, it’s no coincidence that the murders all occurred on Monday, so Johnson had to die on Monday. And a slow acting poison kicking in at the right time is just too unreliable.”

“Damn… then… are we back to square one? We have no suspects!”

“No, we do.”

“We do? I thought the other suspects were duds.”

“Not exactly. I have my suspicions about Honda.”

“Honda.. You were staring at him yesterday. What’s going on?”

“He ended up spilling some water on his left hand, and he acted like a dog had just bit him. I’m pretty sure his hand is burnt. That could be from the burn marks that the victims had.”

“Really? I hadn’t noticed… but it’s just a burnt hand, isn’t it? That’s purely circumstantial and is much more likely to be a coincidence.”

“It would be just a coincidence if it were only that. But that guy… he was smiling. His girlfriend was murdered just 2 weeks ago, and when he’s told about the person who killed her, he smiles.”

“…Maybe he was just relieved that he wasn’t a suspect anymore?”

“Perhaps. But that wasn’t a look of relief. That was a look of joy. Something is going on that I’m not yet aware of.” I stand up, and grab my jacket. “I’d ask you to investigate Honda for me, but this case has been going on for too long. It’s time to settle this case once and for all.”


“Ooh~ so cool!”


“Also, I don’t trust you with an investigation.”

––––––––––––

Honda Kennichi opens the door. He currently lives in the same apartment which his girlfriend was in. Not usual, but not unusual. Some people are often too afraid of moving on and try to remember their loved one by staying in the same place as them.

“Hi! I’m Nodaka, I met with you yesterday with Inspector Imai.”

He seems quite shocked. Maybe enough to be called panicked. But he manages to quickly recompose himself, and show a blank, perhaps slightly curious expression.

“Hello, can I help you?”

“Well, I just wanted to give you an update on the case. We actually got some damning evidence against Kanzawa Haruka. He has no alibi whatsoever.” The intern, who is standing on my right, turns her head to face me in shock.

“Wow… that’s… great… if he is really the one who killed Kanna, then I hope he is properly arrested.”

“Yes… I’m sure being treated as a possible suspect during this time must have been terrible. I really want to apologize for Detective Ano’s behavior. Could we come in?” I hold out a bag, with a box from an extremely high end sweets company(which is empty, but Honda doesn’t know that).

“Oh, of course. Please.” He steps back and opens the door. 

Going through the relatively small apartment to the living room, I notice various holes and marks on the walls. I manage to secretly peek through a door, and I can see a cracked television screen. 

But something is bizarre. Something is off. Ever since I first saw Honda yesterday, there’s been something about him that I just can’t place my finger on. I look at Honda, looking from head to toe multiple times. 

His face?

He’s wearing glasses, which is new… but that’s not it.

His torso…

No.

His lower body…

No. This isn’t the right direction.

He does look somewhat more happy than before. No, is it better to say ‘free’?

What is it…. The colors on him?

Colors.. The clothes?

Yeah… the police report showed that he was wearing long sleeves and pants, despite it being in the middle of Summer. And yet just a few weeks later, he’s wearing short sleeves and short legs.

….

Oh. That’s it.

I knew it. There’s no doubt in my mind now that Honda Kennichi is the one who murdered all 6 people. I’ve got the motive down. He has no alibi. All I need now is some actual concrete evidence…

The intern and I sit on the table, and I place the bag of (empty) sweets on the floor, so that Honda doesn’t open it while I try and find some evidence. I try to continue a dialogue between Honda and I, while I continue to talk about the likelihood of Yukiyoshi’s arrest, and other bullshit like that. During this, I try to casually peak around and ask some around the bush questions about the house, but nothing comes to avail. 

Until….

I’m out of things to say… 


At this point, I probably only have this left.

I discreetly reach into my phone in my pocket, press the power button three times, and my phone begins to ring. I take it out, stand up, and answer.
“Yes?” I mumble some hmms in before continuing. “Ah,” I look at the intern, sign her to come over to me, and look at Honda. “Sorry, we need to take this. Could we just have a moment?”

“Yes?” I mumble some hmms in before continuing. “Ah,” I look at the intern, sign her to come over to me, and look at Honda. “Sorry, we need to take this. Could we just have a moment?”

We walk towards the hallway, and I whisper to her.


“Hey, have you noticed anything?”


“Noticed… anything?”

“Yeah. Anything.”

“Um… I don’t know, he looks a little happier than he did in the report.”

“Come on, anything else?”

The intern takes a couple seconds to think. Thinking….


“Oh, shit!”

“What is it?”


“I forgot to message my friend!”

“Wha.. are you fucking kidding me? I know you don’t believe Honda is the murderer, but you’re getting paid to do this! Your messages can…”

Wait.

Messages.

Messages.

Messages.

A message?

Ah.

I’ve got it.

I can’t help but smirk, though I would even if I could help it.

“Hey Intern, you better turn your brain on, because Master Detective Nadoka Asumi has done it again.”

––––––––––––––––

“Oh, before I leave,” Nadoka asks. “Honda, could I ask one final question?” She said something about solving the case, but she just got up to begin leaving. What the hell is she thinking?

“Yes?”

“I just wanted to know… how did it feel to kill your girlfriend?”

Silence.

Wait, did she really just…

What?

“…Excuse me?” An array of emotions begin to play on Honda’s face, like a broken TV screen. Confusion, anger, disarray, sadness. “What in the– you… Get the hell out of my-”


“You see, I thought it was weird, changing from long sleeve to short sleeve for no apparent reason. If anything, it’s colder now than when you wore long sleeves. And yet, you’re wearing short sleeves! What reason could there be for that? Is it just a coincidence that you happened to be wearing long sleeves during the day Yonagi Kanna died? Of course not.”

“It was to hide bruises, right? Holes in the wall, a broken TV, hell, long sleeves weren’t even enough to cover all your bruises! All classic designs of domestic abuse. Kanna died approximately two weeks ago, meaning that the latest you could have been hit by her was two weeks ago, which is around the time it takes for bruises to fully heal. That’s why you’re wearing short sleeves now. There’s nothing to hide, after all.”

No, but that still doesn’t match up.

“But Nodaka, that’s only a motive for killing one of the victims. Why would Honda go out of her way to kill 5 other people?”

“That’s the thing about Honda. Why it took so long for me to connect the dots. He used the other killings as a camouflage. I’m sure he heard about the cooking class with Johnson Bang more than a couple times from Yonagi. After all, it’s 3 months with a Michelin star chef. From that, he probably formed a plan to murder Yonagi, and every member from the cooking class except for one person, to frame them. And it just so happens that one of them, Yukiyoshi, was failing in business. A perfect scapegoat.”

This sick bastard… so he killed 5 other people just to avoid suspicion?!

“The only problem for Honda would have been to allow the police to make the connection between the victims. But he couldn’t be too obvious about it. So he gave them all unnatural deaths with causes difficult to recognize, and numbered them from 1 to 6.”

“Did he kill them on Mondays for that reason too?”

“No, that was to frame Kanzawa. Her comment about visiting her family is probably true. I doubt it was hard to find a weekly event that Kanzawa did, even an amateur can manage to find that kind of information with enough trailing.”


“The 6’s all over Cafe Bang, as well as the note ‘You Cheated Me’ was placed there for the same reason. If Kanzawa was angry at the people in the cooking course for the success they couldn’t achieve, it’d be natural for her to be most upset with Johnson, the most successful out of everyone as a michelin star chef, and also her mentor who failed to guide her.”

“B-But… Wait a second, Nodaka.” Honda finally spoke up after staying silent during Nodaka’s long monologue. “The things you’re saying… it sounds like there’s no reason to suspect me instead of Kanzawa. Isn’t that right?”


“You’d be right, but you’re unfortunately wrong. You knew about his weekly visits to his parents, but you didn’t study up enough on him. He went to a live concert instead of visiting his parents on the day of Johnson’s death.” 

“Wh-what?” The shock and panic on Honda’s face was simply too clear to imply anything but this man’s lack of innocence. “But- w-well, everything you’re saying is circumstantial! None of this would hold up in court. You may as well be reading a fiction book!” He tries to form a smile.

“Once again, you’re wrong! Man, maybe you should become a pair of dumb and dumber with my intern here!”

“I’m guessing you overestimated the police’s judgement. Even with the clues, they weren’t able to piece together the deaths as even connected until after the third casualty. Panicked, you sent an anonymous tip to a certain detective agency. You realized you forgot to erase your fingerprints on the letter, so you burned your hand to remove them off of yourself. But what you didn’t realize was that there were a couple strands of hair in the letter.”

Panic once again overcomes Honda, but at an even more extreme rate. He begins to breathe heavily and quickly, enough to make me suspect he’s hyperventilating.

“Now, if I tell all of this to Inspector Imai, and considering you were one of the prime suspects in this case, I’m sure there will be enough reason to ask for a hair sample. And if that matches with the hair strands in the letter I received, then that’ll mean that you, Honda Kennichi, sent a mail to my firm with the details of a case that was private to the public, and at the time, you weren’t even involved with, since Yonagi Kanna was the fourth victim.”

Nodaka takes a short breath, and points a finger gun at Honda. 

As if to respond to Nodaka, Honda runs straight towards her, presumably to attack her. But this proves completely futile, as Nodaka slightly turns and does a massive kick on his neck. Immediately afterwards, she grabs his face, and slams his entire body onto the wall, creating a bigger crack than any we had noticed before.

She lets go, and Honda’s body lifelessly drops down to the floor, like a ragdoll.

With Nodaka’s reveal, as well as this fight, I think this beats my experience at Cafe Bang in terms of sheer surprise, since I think I witnessed a death both times.


“Do you want to carve a seven?”

––––––––––––––––––

A few hours later, Honda gained consciousness in the hospital, and confessed, seeing as he was bound to be found guilty one way or another. Nodaka avoided attempted murder charges with a self defence claim, though I’m not sure that one was justified.

The last few days here at Yuzuriha Detective Agency have probably been the worst in my life, but it’s somehow given me some respect for Nodaka, though maybe only for her intelligence. The double layer of this case… I don’t think I would have been able to properly deduce even the surface layer of the murders.


And yet despite that, because of the traction that the cases gained, the agency offered me a permanent job as Nodaka’s assistant. I don’t really expect it to go further than a babysitter, and I’m somewhat dreading the moments where I’ll have to face incidents like what happened in Cafe Bang. Johnson’s death still haunts me to this day, and I don’t think I can properly forgive Nodaka for that. But the pay is too good for me to refuse, so I’ve got no choice, as unqualified as I am.

Oh, and I ended up asking Nodaka about the other suspect, Yukiyoshi Sendou.

“Nodaka, how did you know that Yukiyoshi wasn’t the culprit? Even if he didn’t have a proper motive, didn’t he strike you as suspicious?”


“Ahhh, that guy. Nah, he’s gay.”

“What?”

“He was participating in a secrative gay group tour around Japan. Him being at the right location was just a coincidence, and he didn’t tell anyone since being publicly homosexual doesn’t do you any good around here.”

“Wha… huh… wait, how do you even know about that?”

And I also learned something quite shocking.

“Because I’m a lesbian?”

“Huh?”

“Oh, I guess I never did tell you.”

“Huh??? B-but, you and Kanou, weren’t you two-”

Maybe, a couple of things.

“Yeah, we were a thing before. Wait, you thought Kanou was a guy?”

“What…………..????”

Aesthetics over Anything

It seems like when a lot of people say “animation” they are describing visual presentation in anime. The thing is animation and aesthetics or visuals are completely different things. Whereas one describes how well the pictures flow together with cinematography or high frame rate, the other is basically describing how “cool” it looks. 

And while both are very important to anime, I’m a firm believer in Aesthetics being more important than animation or any other aspect of an anime. More than that, I think aesthetics are the aspect that pushes a 9 out of 10 show to a 10 out of 10 masterpiece.

A show I want to point to is Nisemonogatari. This is a show that a lot feel is the weakest of all the monogataris. And I would definitely agree. Nisemonogatari does feel a lot of times like a fan service season. Most of the characters that the season focuses on are all characters that have been briefly introduced yet never talked about previously. But even with these aspects that should make a show boring in normal circumstances, I think the aesthetics itself covers up all of the problems that the show has. Every second in Nisemonogatari you are on the edge of your chair, not because of a tense battle scene, but because you are speechless at how beautiful each frame is. 

Take the Shinobu bath scene. You can see the full display of Shaft’s unique aesthetics. First, you have the hyper-empty room. Shaft directly put the characters as the focus of an exaggeratedly large room. Then you have the colors that kind of look hollow to support that empty feel of the room. Both of these aspects immediately direct the viewer’s attention to the center with the red flower petals and the bright hair of Shinobu. You also see these transparent glass-like materials on the side of the bathroom that just adds to the holy like atmosphere that Shinobu gives throughout the whole scene. 

Even the infamous toothbrush scene. No one will tell you that that scene has good directing, animation, or even say it’s good (unless you are into that stuff) but the visual presentations in the scene are also really unique. Immediately as the toothbrush enters the whole atmosphere turns into this erotic pink. You see each string (?) of the toothbrush flying around beautifully with the music in every direction. My favorite part of this scene is when the camera fans to the monitor. The chair and the background is simplified and you see a video and Karen on the monitor. This single frame that just screams Shaft made me so invested in Nisemonogatari as a show.

But good aesthetics doesn’t have to be a Shaft show. take two shows for examples: Slime Isekai and No Game No Life. Both isekai shows feature the cliche of an overpowering main character. Both are very fun shows. But I enjoyed No Game No Life a lot better than Slime Isekai. And a primary reason to that is No Game No Life’s aesthetics. The world of Disboard is filled with extremely bright and flashy colors. Immediately, as the show starts off with Sora and Shiro being blasted from their dark rooms to Disboard, we are introduced to the world with an explosion of neon-like pink and blue colors. The brightness may seem a little bit blinding but it screams fantasy immediately. The contrast from their dark room with only monitors to light up the room to the brightly shining world of Disboard immediately caught my attention when I watched the show. 

That’s not to say Slime Isekai wasn’t visually pleasing at all. If you look at the cave scene in episode one, the lightly saturated bluish colors of the cave that prevent everything from going pitch black creates a very mysterious atmosphere. I can tell you that I enjoyed that visual presentation a lot more than Arifureta’s almost blinding dark cave. But No Game No Life aesthetics, more than Slime or Arifureta, is very unique. It’s a whole new setting that presents a whole new visual presentation from anything that I’ve really seen in anime. And I truly think that shows like this that can present a unique visual appeal makes it really stand out from the rest of the anime out there. This is exactly why I think shows like Aria, Mushishi, Hidamari Sketch, or Kara No Kyoukai stand way above any other shows in their genre.

You might be thinking aesthetics isn’t the only reason why No Game No Life is better than Slime and why that’s better than Arifureta. And I agree. These examples that I gave are shows that I think are just fundamentally good in other areas as well. After all shows with good aesthetics are useless if all other aspects of the show fail. But to me, a show with great aesthetics, failing on other areas is a lot more refreshing than an okay show with boring visual presentation. Because personally, I’d rather read a pretty art book than a good novel.

My Ultimate Top 5 Cute Girls show list

I adore cute girls shows. Over the last 10 years or so, they have become the staple and norm of anime and they have been dominating the market. Although there may be this negative mindset against these shows because of their repetitiveness, there are a lot of cute girls shows that are a lot more special than others in one way or another. So here are 5 shows that I believe are the 5 best cute girls shows of all time!

Is the Order a Rabbit

ごちうさSS 「意味深なごちうさSS Case5:シャロ」

If you told me to choose the cutest show of all time, I’d say Gochiusa without any hesitation. This show does everything to be cute. It has a unique setting, round character designs, fantastic voice acting, and fun events that rounds out everything. What makes this show really fun to watch is how easy it is to watch even when the show is not funny. In a lot of comedy, slice of life shows, such as Asobi Asobase, are focused on the comedic side so when I can’t necessarily relate to a joke or don’t find the joke funny, it becomes really hard for me to continue. But in Gochiusa, even when the jokes aren’t as funny you still find yourself having fun watching the characters. But more than the anime itself, because of the various events that the show holds and the deluxe cast of voice actors whom I avidly follow, the outside influence of the show makes it almost impossible for you to miss out on the show if you follow voice actors. 

Nichijou 

Nichijou!! I love that anime; it's so funny! | 鳥獣戯画, 日常 ...

Nichijou is my favorite comedy of all time. It’s explosive animations, perfect comedic timing, and most importantly Mai trolling are all fantastic. I think what makes Nichijou really different from a lot of these comedies that gets talked about a lot is the exaggeration in animation. But what gets talked about a little less is the characters. The characters in Nichijou are very unique yet they play multiple roles. Usually comedy characters are limited in their roles in shows. For example, there is the boke character and the straight man character. But in nichijou, everyone kind of plays all of these roles. Like how comedy is with friends in real life, Nichijou’s character’s role changes depending on the situations that they have been set up with. For example, you can see Yuuko playing boke yet being the straight man with Mai most of the time. Other than that, the characters are just really fun. Nano and Hakase are both so cute and watching the process of Nano going to school in the middle section is absolutely a blast.

Aria 

アニメ映画『ARIA The AVVENIRE』(アリア ジ アッヴェニーレ) 特報 ...

Aria is so immersive. Every season of Aria fills you in with the wonders of Neo Venezia. And it’s really apparent how much thought was put into mixing the setting and the characters into this relaxing pot. The show is about Mizunashi Akari, who is training to be an Undine at Neo Venezia. The characters are really fun to be around. Personality wise, they are mostly fairly laid back and relaxed in the very low stakes environment. Akari, especially, has this really bubbly personality where she finds joy in very much mundane aspects of life. And all the characters seem as though they are having a lot of fun in their life. But another huge aspect of the show is the music. I can easily say that the music in Aria is the most relaxing in anime. The instrumental of the show is usually light orchestra or piano music that is really easy to listen to. With the very detailed background along with the cool, clue color palette, the show, both visually and auditorily, gets the viewers to feel like they are sitting in Akari’s gondola. 

K-on

けいおん | 注意!サムネイル画像なので1 ... | 京都アニメーション ...

K-on is probably one of the highest regarded cute girls ever, and it is rightfully so. I mean show can you even have a cute girls list without Hokago Tea Time. K-on takes the viewers on a wonderful journey of 3 hours with Yui, Ritsu, Mio, Mugi and Azusa. Although the show does take an omnibus style, the characters grow and develop so much through the 3 years of highschool. The thing is, you can’t really feel this when you watch the show. The show does such a good job making the viewers naturally change with the girls that everything from their jokes to conversations feels like they didn’t change much. But once you go back to season 1 episode 1 after watching the movie, you will immediately be surprised at how much they change just in the way they talk and interact. And by the end you will look back at the emotional rollercoaster and be blown away by the time you spent with these characters.

Hidamari Sketch

Hidamari Sketch is arguably my favorite anime series of all time. Everything about this show is perfect. To list a few: Yuno, Yuno, Yuno, Yunocchi.

On a more serious note, Hidamari Sketch is the most special out of any show in this list because of the visuals. I’d go so far to say that Hidamari Sketch is the most visually pleasing show I have seen in my life. The first two seasons capture the very essence of late 2000 shaft, while the last two seasons have the polish you would expect from recent shaft shows. It might be a little bit jarring at the start because of the art style, but once you get used to it other visual elements like the still life or the background or the patterns become more of the visual focus. Of course, as you’d expect from a cute girls show, Hidamari Sketch also does an excellent job making fun characters for you to watch and hang out with. Other than the main four, who are all very playful and unique in their own ways, the two new characters that join in the 3rd season or the teachers at school are all hilarious characters that make up a lot of the show. 

Chapter a week: 1 “A Convoluted Situation”

Chapter a week is a story that’s updated once a week, but the writer continuing the story alternates every time. This serves as mainly a biweekly creative outlet for us where we try to improve our writing, but it also allows us to have fun with each other since we don’t have a story planned. Enjoy! 

Link to Prologue

—-

“Five–what? What do you mean?” I stumbled. Not only was this my first time really hearing about the case I was supposed to help with, but it was also the first time seeing Nodaka with any sense of urgency or hurry.

“I solved the case! Hah! I’m seriously such a genius.” She grinned. “Hey, today is May 15th right?”

“Yeah, it is.” In response to my answer, Nodaka brightened up even more. “Is there anything special about today? I was actually planning on going to the mahjong tournament today, so if it could wait till tomorr–”

“Exactly! I can’t believe I forgot!” She began waving her hands around in accordance to what she was saying, as if what she was saying was some kind of message from God. “Miyuki put me on this case that I’d be too busy to enter since she knows I’m better than her, but I’ve cracked it in time!” 

“That said, the only problem is actually telling the police who the culprit is.” She then points her finger straight at me. “And that’s where you come in!” At this point, the only emotion I am feeling is confusion. Nodaka begins to jump around the room, picking up socks scattered around the room and putting them on. “I need you to go to Shirakawa and deliver my message to detective Ano.”

“Shirakawa? What? Why?”

“Because that’s where the crime scene is, what do you think?” She crouches down, supposedly having found her other sock. “Stupid intern.” she mumbles, but loudly enough so I could hear.

“Wait, I don’t even know where the crime scene is!” Nodaka turns her head around to face me, and stares at me blankly for a solid second before replying. 

“What?! You’re an intern, how could you not know?”


“You never told me!” I retort, but she simply stares at me with irritation. No, maybe disappointment is a better word. She sighs, and hops around the room, miraculously avoiding any of the items scattered around the floor, until she reaches her desk. 

“Man, you’re so useless. So all you’ve done is buy me food and make me coffee? What do you think you’ve been hired as, a babysitter?” Unsure of how to react to various elements of her comment, I just continue watching her in silence. She reaches into a pile of documents, and grabs a pink, semi transparent document holder.  She opens it and throws a bunch of pieces of paper out from it, until she stops after looking at one, and hands it to me. “There.” She puts her finger on a yellow post-it note on the sheet, which reads a long address written in surprisingly neat handwriting.

“Alright, so, just deliver my message to detective Ano, alright?” She begins to head towards the door, presumably to the mahjong tournament.


“Wait, you mean right now?”

“Yeah, when else?” She stares at me blankly once again, like I’m asking something stupid.

“You just said “we have to go” before, aren’t you going to come with me?”

“No, no, no, we have to go! You have to go to Shirakawa, and I have to go to the tournament!  Enough stupid questions, hurry up and get this case finished!” 

“Why can’t you just call the detective instea–” But before I could ask another stupid question, Nodaka runs out and slams the door shut on her way out, leaving behind me, a confused intern, in a large yet cramped and messy room to take in everything that had just happened.

Wait, so she hired me to participate in a mahjong tournament?!

Realizing this just now, I decide to take a short break.

——-

After finally receiving my latte, I sit down on one of the smaller tables in the corner, and open the pink folder given to me. I was a little excited before this, thinking that I’d finally be able to start working on a case in this detective agency. After all, I really had been just a babysitter. But when I actually looked inside the folder, I realized that Nodaka Asumi was a consistent person. Inside the folder was a collection mostly of doodles, the most noticeable of which was a doodle of who looked like Yosana Miyuki, the current president of the Yuzuriha detective agency, bowing down to Nodaka, saying, “Please forgive me! You are the better detective and a sexier woman!”

Ignoring whether she gave this to me on purpose or not, I realize that I should probably begin to head to Shirakawa, since it’s all the way in Kyoto.

On the way to the station, I recall the conversation that I’d had an hour ago with Nodaka, and realize that even if I ignore not knowing what the case is about, I don’t know who the hell Detective Ano is.

I guess I’ll call him when I’m on the train.

I buy the bullet train ticket to Kyoto costing nearly 15,000 yen without much thought, since it was a business trip, and sit on my seat.

I flip through the pages in the folder again, hoping to find some kind of clue about the case itself, but also to make sure I could ask Nodaka everything I needed to before I called her.

In the first place, I don’t even know if Nodaka is going to pick up her phone… I also want to avoid not knowing anything at all when I deliver Nodaka’s message.

.

.

.

It was at this moment that I had realized something much, much more significant than me not knowing who Detective Ano was.

Shit…

Nodaka didn’t tell me her message.

Normally this would be no problem, but that slight fear of Nodaka not responding to the phone call was creeping upon me. I call her phone number, and of course, she doesn’t pick up. I call her again. No answer. I call her for the third time since it should be the charm, but I come to realize that no charm works on the lazy sleazeball that is Nodaka Asumi, since she doesn’t pick up.

With a little panic, I call the company phone number of Yuzuriha detective agency. Natsuki, who is probably the only normal person I’ve met in the agency, picks up.

“Yuzuriha Detective Agency, how can I help you?”

“Natsuki, can you put me through to Nodaka? It’s pretty important.”


“Uh, I’m pretty sure she’s playing mahjong right now. I can go to her if you want.”

“That’d be really great, just hand over the phone to her. Thanks a lot.”

After a little while of waiting and pacing around my small seat, I was removed from being put on hold and was put through.

“Hey, are you there?” Unfortunately, the one who came back was Natsuki, not Nodaka. 

“Yeah, where’s Nodaka?”


“She said she’s busy.”

Are you kidding me??

“Tell her that she didn’t give me the message, so I have nothing to say to Ano.”

Although there was very clear confusion in her voice, Natsuki obliged, but didn’t put me on hold, so I could hear a little of her conversation with Nodaka. I could hear Natsuki speak to her in a normal, casual tone, and Nodaka’s very obviously irritated response, though I couldn’t make out what she actually said. Although there was a little hope in me that Natsuki would fight back and respond to her, to my dismay she came back to the phone.

“Hey, what’d Nodaka say?”

There was a short pause, before Natsuki responded. “She said that since she’s too busy, you should just go solve the case yourself.” After hearing what Natsuki said, I realized she paused probably because she felt as dumbfounded as I did. That said, I didn’t really want to put her through more scolding from Nodaka, so I decided to end the conversation.

“Yeah… okay…. Uh, thanks, Natsuki.”

“No need to thank me. Good luck, Risa.” -beep-

I take a deep breath, and decide to go over the options I had.

The first one that comes to mind is going back to the agency, kicking that dirtbag in the face and making her come to Shirakawa with me, but there’s just one problem. I’m already on the bullet train, and purchased a ticket. If I go back now, I’m going to have to explain why I spent 15 thousand yen on a ticket which basically had no meaning, and I can easily imagine Nodaka not accepting this as a valid reason, and thus making me pay for the ticket out of spite. 

I’m really short on money right now, hell, that’s the whole reason I’ve begun this internship in the first place. So that’s not an option.

The only other option that I can think of right now is to do what Nodaka told me to do, and actually solve the case. But is that even possible for me? God damn…

I flip through the pages in the file holder once again, trying to think of something to do. Although it is mostly filled with poorly drawn doodles, there are occasional notes that I can’t figure out the meaning of since there’s no context. Sometimes it’s just a phrase, sometimes it’s just a collection of numbers. I consider trying to decode some of these, but considering the possibility that these are direct quotes from a soap drama Nodaka was watching, I decide not to. But then, my eyes latch onto a set of numbers that resemble a phone number. Although it was shot in the dark, I really have nothing to go on right now, so I dial it on my phone.

Miraculously, the call goes through. And even more miraculously, someone picks it up, which, after my attempts with Nodaka, feels like an act from God.

“Hello?”

A somewhat husky, deep voice comes through the phone. I freeze for a bit, realizing that I dialed the phone expecting no answer, and thus I didn’t plan anything to say in the first place. 

“Uh- ah- um…..  Are you… an acquaintance of Nodaka Asumi?” I manage to say something, but it doesn’t really make sense.

“Who is this?”

“Uh…. I’m currently interning in Nodaka Ayumi’s–”


“Ohh, Risa-chan, the new female assistant! How the hell d’you get my number?” I get interrupted, but what stuns me more is that this person knows not only who I am but even my name.


“Well, I-”

“That doesn’t matter. I feel so bad for you! You really shouldn’t have taken this job offer. Though I guess you had no choice with your financial situation…. Man, even if it was my chance to get out of that shitty job, now that I’m talking to you, I feel really bad.”

Chance to get out of his job…? Wait, my financial situation?! How the hell–

“Sorry, who are you?” I abruptly ask him, somewhat demandingly.

In response, he laughs. “You’re the one who called me, and you’re asking who I am? Hah, that’s pretty good.” He’s right, but I’m starting to feel a little frustrated. “You sound quite troubled, what’s going on?” But suddenly, he begins to sound a little more reliable and kind. No, maybe he always had this tone, but it sounded threatening because he knew things about me. 

“It’s a bit of a convoluted situation…”

“Don’t worry about it, I have more time that I need, now that I’m unemployed.”

I quickly explain what’s happened to me today. For the most part, he listened in silence, but I could hear him trying to hold in laughter occasionally. 

“…and so that’s how I got your phone number.”

“Man, that really sucks. I really feel for, you I really do.” His previous laughing suggests otherwise, but whatever. “As I said, I’ve got a lot of time on my hands, so I don’t mind helping you. I can give you some info on the case, though I don’t remember all of it, and certainly don’t know who the culprit was.” Though I’d asked the same question before, his line just now piqued my interest again, leading me to ask, once more.

“Sorry, but how do you know all of this? Who exactly are you?”

“Oh, right. I didn’t introduce myself, sorry about that. I’m Kanou, Asumi’s previous assistant.”