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