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!
“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.
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.
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.
“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.”