Part 26: Police ProceduralPart 26 - Police Procedural
The following update contains one image which could be objectionable, and a lot of text that is definitely objectionable. Don't read this at work.
"Eh? Really? What's this? Could it be me~?"
"The one over there."
Maybe I was the guy she liked!?
SFX: Various onlookers start making a fuss
FES began walking toward me, Still not averting her gaze.
"No, um~, I went to your show, too--"
"I knew it at a single glance."
FES wasn't listening to Misumi-kun. She seized my tie in one hand and pulled me toward her. Close enough for me to have an acute sense of how she was breathing.
"You're the one I'm destined for."
FES stroked my cheek with the tips of her fingers. She didn't show a hint of a smile. The seductiveness of that gesture made me shudder. I was becoming enchanted by her. I couldn't look away.
"I've made my decision."
SFX: Everyone goes silent
SFX: The crowd goes wild!
OST: Tender Hearts
Although her declaration was something quite remote from the air of ennui that FES bore about her, the gap between the two was, to the contrary, unbearably cute.
"U, um.... W, what about.... my.... feelings?"
"You don't want me?"
I was getting swept along by the flow of things. I'd end up as one of life's winners simply by becoming engaged to such a lovely girl.
SFX End. OST End.
While I was having my stupid daydream, FES murmured something in a tiny voice and swiftly went away.
Having been completely ignored by her, Misumi-kun was sulky.
Given that she could so cleanly turn down an invitation from a stud like him, perhaps FES was actually the yuri type.
"....Sh, she'd be.... a great soeur. Hehehe."
Especially if her petite soeur was a loli-type character like Nanami. Yeah, yeah.
"Ahh, what a drag...."
"Yeah, it's what Kishimoto said, right?"
"Hey, Taku, did any of Phantasm's songs have lyrics like that?"
Now that she mentioned it, two days ago, A completely different person had interrogated me about a "sword"....
I'd thought she'd cut me down for real.
The sword she'd held had differed in shape from the one FES brought to her show, but they possessed similar atmospheres. I wondered if they were connected in some way....
I don't know.... I don't know a thing.
I considered tacking on "I myself" as the last item, but I stopped. I was perfectly normal. My surroundings were aberrant. That'd be obvious to anyone.
The reason, of course, was to pick up my long-awaited Burachu Seira-tan, post-awakening version!
While I was buying it, Yua's face briefly flitted across the back of my mind, but I soon forced that train of thought to a stop.
I took a look at the Seira-tans put out on display to catch customers' eyes, but since the sculptor was Kijima Yoshio, nothing indeed needed to be said about the quality.
I'd better hurry home and savor every nook and cranny of her. Hehehe.
As long as I could gaze at Seira-tan's face every so often while playing ESO, I was happy.
Despite that, why did the third dimension have to keep bringing me nothing but burdens? It was the same now.
I thought I would pass them by without meeting their eyes, but they were blatantly watching me.
Out of the two, the first to call out to me was a bleary-looking geezer who wouldn't have seemed out of place gambling at a racetrack.
His hair was messy, his face was unshaven, and his clothes were a wrinkled suit, a sloppily tied necktie and shoes without any traces of polish on them. The very picture of a man who had failed to get ahead in life.
Somehow, the fact that he was flapping a handheld fan at himself only served to emphasize his wretchedness. His expression, too, was melancholic. He put on a flippant smile.
I had nowhere to run to. While I wavered about how to answer him, the two of them came walking right up to me.
"This is who we are."
--They had finally come. I could only think of one reason. The "staking."
"Mind if we ask you a few questions?"
"But we won't force you, of course. Ah, no need to brace yourself like that. We just want to hear what you have to say."
I started sweating. If I did anything stupid, they might start suspecting me of being the perpetrator and haul me off to the police station. I couldn't let that happen.
I resigned myself to my fate and gave a small nod.
"Er, say, d'you know about what's commonly called the New Generation Madness?"
As I'd thought.... Wiping the sweat off my forehead, I nodded back at him.
"Then, you must also know about the third case, aka the "staking" homicide? It did happen right in this neighborhood."
"Ah, by the way, would you tell us your name?"
I couldn't help sucking in a breath.
This wasn't Zhuge Liang's trap, was it....?
Or maybe they were a group of con men who'd act like policemen while talking to me, when really they were going to extract my personal information and put it to ill use. Or else underlings of the demon girl herself.
"Mm? Huh, you won't answer us?"
Once they started doubting me, there'd be no end to it. What should I do? If I answered with a false name, that alone might give them sufficient grounds to arrest me....
"Ahh, are you worried about protecting your personal info? Do I really look that untrustworthy?"
Yeah, you do....
Anyhow, his amiable manner of talking was surely just an act....
In the end, I couldn't think of anything to do and had no choice but to answer honestly.
"Can I call you Nishijou Takumi-kun, then?"
What did he mean by really....? What was with that reaction, when I'd been good enough to answer truthfully....
"Haha. Nah, that was rude of me. Forget about it."
The detective's deliberate-sounding laugh echoed through the quiet residential area.
Uuhh, I wanted them to be quicker about releasing me....
"That uniform's from Suimei, right? What year are you?"
Did I have to answer that kind of thing, too....?
"Hm? Sorry, didn't catch that. I'm already at this age, so my ears aren't doing too well. Could you say it again?"
"I'm a, a junior...."
"A junior, huh. Thanks."
Were they asking for my alibi? Could it be that they suspected me....? But that was absurd!
"Nah, it's not that you're a suspect. Just thought that if you'd been in the area around that time, you might've seen a suspicious person or heard some kind of sound, that sort of thing."
Somehow, listening to this detective talk really got me irritated.... Maybe speaking in such a way as to purposefully anger the subject was a kind of interrogation technique.
But I'd seen a suspicious person. With my own eyes. Distinctly.
I vacillated about whether it was okay to tell that to this sketchy-seeming old fogey.
Right now it seemed like she was letting me slip away, but she had the precog "Shogun" as one of her toadies. She herself must be able to use some sort of unbelievable power as well. That might truly be the case.
If so, if I were going to speak about the demon girl to the police, she might've already found out by using her sixth sense of something. And then maybe she would come to kill me....
When he said this, my heart rate jumped.
If I didn't say anything more, they'd definitely think I was the criminal. But I was scared that even if I lied by saying, "I didn't see anything," they would know I was faking it....
The older man used the fan he was carrying to fan the side of my face for me. A cool breeze stirred my hair.
I didn't exactly want to hear that from a guy who walked around with a fan in this season, but admittedly, it wasn't particularly hot today. The temperature was at just the right level for comfort.
I wiped my sweat off again and again with the sleeves of my uniform.
The color in the detective's eyes changed. I realized I must've said the wrong thing, but I didn't understand what part of it had been the wrong thing, in the first place.
"What didn't you do?"
"I, I saw.... her!"
"The scene of the 'staking'.... There was a girl there....!"
"With her hands covered in blood.... In front of the body...."
"There were lots of stakes stuck into it.... There, there must've been o, over 500 of them.... It was freaky...."
"The body was li, like a hedgehog...."
"T, that girl looked at me and said 'I'm so glad' and s, smiled...."
"She's a demon.... She's not human."
"The New Gen c, criminal is....! An ex, existence way above regular humans....!"
"She uses foresight and all these other incredible powers--"
Maybe they didn't believe me. I shut up again as that thought occurred to me.
"It, it's.... true...."
"Yeah, I know, I know. It's valuable info."
"P, please.... protect me.... with the police...."
"Before that, do you know how old that girl was? Or her clothing, or her facial features."
"By Suimei, do you mean Suimei Academy?"
"That's the uniform.... she was wearing...."
"In other words, she goes to the same school as you."
After lapsing into thought for some time, the old man grinned. And then muttered something that could have been either a real question or a rhetorical one.
"What grade do you think she's in, Nishijou-kun?"
"....I, I don't know...."
"Then d'you know her name?"
"I d, d, don't know.... I, I don't know that demon's.... na, name...."
"What about her height, weight, and while you're at it, her three sizes?"
What was up with this geezer....?
Was he mocking me? How could I possibly know even one of those!
I don't have a moronic, love comedy manga-esque power like being able to tell someone's height and weight and three sizes from a single look!
"I've gotta consider this carefully once we get back to headquarters."
"Sempai, you serious....?"
Lifting a hand to silence the dumbfounded younger detective, the older one gave him some kind of sign with his eyes.
"Eh.... Wh, why...."
They didn't believe me, after all. They wanted to label me a deviant and set me up as the criminal....
"Well, she's a demon, right? We've gotta protect you from her, don't we?"
O, oh. I get it. Thank God they believed me.
There'd be nothing more comforting than having the police looking out for me. Of course, our opponent was a demon, so maybe even the police could get felled with a single blow. But it was better than being completely unarmed.
The younger detective wrote it down in his notebook.
"Anyhoo, thanks for taking a moment out of your busy schedule. We'll guarantee your safety, so there's no need to fret anymore."
"And we might call you if we'd like to ask you something else, so I'll talk to you again then."
"Your eyewitness testimony could become be a key part of how we solve the case."
The two detectives bowed their heads to me and swiftly walked away.
After turning back to glance at me, the younger detective began saying something to the older one in lowered tones.
The older one kept walking without responding to him.
I took deep breaths.
Haaa, I'd been so nervous....
It was my first time being questioned by real detectives. I'd acted pretty suspiciously, but somehow they'd believed me.... maybe.
It'd be wonderful if the police caught the demon girl....
But the police were basically powerless, so it might not be a good idea to expect too much from them....
"Hehehe. And a mega-ero face. I was right, this kind of face, sort of like she's about to cry or about to cum, is the best part about Kijima Yoshio's stuff. Seriously, GJ, Kijima."
"Half-undressed, awesome! It's sexy to have some parts hidden! Like where she's putting her left hand and stuff, man, I can't take it."
"And her top's cast-offable! From this angle, she looks almost totally naked! Hyoo--hoh!"
"The way her hair flows is really great. It's my pet theory that her hair is the key to the post-awakening version, and I sure wasn't mistaken."
"All right, time to take a long-delayed look at her panties. Let's see...."
"Hm, hm, they did a nice job on her V-zone. The way they put in wrinkles makes it look real.... Wait, oh, ooooh, is, is this.... ca, camel toe....? Whoa, hehehe, major whoa! Way too high quality!"
"She's only the fifth Seira-tan, so maybe it's too early to decide, but isn't this the best outta all of them? Seriously, it's not like they'll ever put out something better. Kijima really is a god!"
Simply looking at her made me grin uncontrollably. This truly was a moment of supreme bliss.
I got right down to posting my impressions of the Seira-tan figure at one of the @channel figure threads.
After having done so, I checked my email and whether or not any of my friends in Furepara had made updates.
"Oops, I've got a friend request."
"Someone from Seira comm?"
"Yeah, yeah, okay."
It was the "gaze," with its usual intense presence.
When was it that I'd first begun to sense this "gaze"? I'd long since forgotten completely.
It interfered with me at every little turn. There were a lot of different elements that kept disturbing my uneventful life, but this "gaze" was right up on Nanami's level in terms of being a horrendous bother.
Fine, then maybe I'll play it.... The "It'll take more than that to make me turn around" game.
Still facing my PC, I tried to come up with the kind of lines you'd find in a manga.
"Come on out.... you bastard."
Positive, Negative or Neutral?