Part 65: A Break In The Case?Part 65 - A Break In The Case?
Ban read a file with ferocious intensity in Freesia's reception room--although it was one in name only, being a narrow space set apart by shelving.
Opposite him, Yua shrank into herself where she sat. She had been incessantly peeking at Ban's expression for a while now. She was the very picture of a child showing her report card to her parent.
Ban was reading a report on everything Yua had investigated up until now regarding the New-Gen cases and Nishijou Takumi.
Including things like a log of the chat between Takumi and "Shogun" on the day before the "staking" incident.
Yua had concluded that Takumi really was the true New-Gen culprit.
"Yes, more or less...."
She was dealing with a detective and the president of an investigations company. They were the ultimate pros when it came to "investigating."
It would be unavoidable for these two to regard as child's play any information Yua, a mere ordinary high school girl, had independently discovered.
"You've got a pretty good angle here. Well done."
"I'm especially interested in Nishijou Takumi's multiplicity."
"'Nishijou Takumi has multiple personalities, and while Nishijou Takumi - the original personality is sleeping, another personality becomes active and commits the murders.'"
"Man, it's seriously fascinating stuff."
"Um.... do you not think Nishijou-kun is the criminal?"
"....Can I say it plainly?"
Yua nodded, her face going a bit stiff.
Not only Yua but also Momose widened her eyes.
"At least, he's innocent in the 'staking.'"
"There were fingerprints stuck to the stakes pinning the corpse up."
"We obtained Nishijou's fingerprints and compared them, but there was absolutely zero overlap."
Now that everything she believed had come clattering down, guilt over the horrible things she'd said to Takumi advanced on her heart.
"Though, we haven't made it public to the media yet."
"By the way, it was Suwa's achievement."
"Truthfully, I got taken off the case."
That was the reason, why Ban wanted to tell his junior Suwa that there was no need to go as far, as calling to inform him of the seventh case.
"You really.... you need to conduct yourself better."
"Well, I'm partly responsible, since I told you about GE rates, but...."
"Don't worry about it."
"And the thing about the GE rate also bothered me on a personal level."
"Well, Nishijou is still under investigation for everything except the 'staking' case."
"Your deductions could be correct, Yua-chan."
"Do the police think New-Gen isn't a string of serial killings by the same murderer?"
"Still no idea."
"Only, it seems like the seventh incident just happened a little while ago."
"Personally, I think there are multiple criminals."
"Whoops, I sure talked about a lot. I'll get fired if they found out my mouth slipped. Let's keep it off the record."
Ban mischievously pressed his pointer finger to his lips.
Yua tilted her head in surprise, as she'd been convinced the previous conversation was the reason they had summoned her here.
"I want to ask something about your school."
"She should be in the same grade as you."
"I feel like I've heard the name.... but I've never spoken with her."
"Ah, I see...."
"I, is she.... the criminal?"
"Nah, it's a totally different affair. I pulled an all-nighter yesterday because I was checking up on her."
Ban grinned and winked at the puzzled Momose. And then he swiftly turned back to face Yua.
"No.... I haven't.... but...."
"What are you talking about?"
Yua raised her head with a jolt. Her expression was filled with shock.
"Ho, how do you...."
Opposite her, Ban, too, put on a surprised face at her reaction, though he'd asked the question himself.
"Where did you see it?"
"....In a tunnel near the station."
"Nishijou-kun.... and Kishimoto.... -san were--"
"FES, you mean. And?"
How she had gone to a manga cafe to see Nishijou Takumi.
How he had run away from her when she approached him a little coercively.
How she had frantically chased him through Shibuya. And how he'd lost her in the end, and just as she was ready to give up, she saw Takumi and Ayase entering the tunnel.
"They were talking about something on the lowest step...."
"Ah, err, but I couldn't hear what it was...."
"And then, all of a sudden--"
"It was an incredibly big sword.... one that wouldn't have fit in a bag...."
"....It's the same as what I saw."
"Except I didn't see Kishimoto."
"It was Aoi Sena, the girl whose name I mentioned earlier."
"Actually, there've been eyewitness reports about Aoi swinging a sword around coming in from several places in Shibuya."
"But what I saw.... really didn't look like a magic trick...."
"Did you see anything else?"
"....I don't know whether or not you'll believe me, and I haven't told anyone else about it, but...."
"At the time, Kishimoto-san.... didn't stop at drawing a sword...."
Yua cut herself off and slowly licked her lips.
She appeared to be wavering over whether or not to say it. Her eyes swum around.
"Almost like there was really two of her there...."
"I was completely at a loss...."
"I've confirmed that both Kishimoto Ayase and Aoi Sena have made contact with Nishijou Takumi."
"I can't see it as being a coincidence."
"Somehow, it feels like unreal things are all that keep happening around him--"
"It'd be so much better if we could attribute it to monsters or magic-users...."
Momose, disliking the oppressive atmosphere, sipped some of the tea her subordinate had carried over and took a breath. Next she crafted a smile and made an attempt to change the subject by force.
Yua let out a relieved breath, wearing a face that said this had saved her.
"What are they called again?"
"Aren't there a bunch of different types? Around ten of them."
"But I, um, got them from a friend, so I don't know much else."
"I, I was joking...."
"Oh, my, I think they're pretty cute."
"Doesn't public opinion prove me correct?"
"You ought to go buy one yourself."
"Where can you purchase these things?"
"I think you can buy them there if you line up on a Friday."
Yua was in the middle of talking, but Ban stroked his unshaven chin as he put his head together with Momose.
"It can't be, Ban-chan...."
He'd caught me by surprise, as it hadn't so much as occurred to me.
And before I could reply, Rimi inexplicitly said, "I wanna come too," so I was compelled to go along with the flow and come to the hospital with them.
It's just that I'd thought it wasn't the time or place for me to act considerate of others, not with "Shogun" menacing me.
I.... don't want to die.
After going in through the front entrance and reaching the lobby, Misumi looked around as if he were at a total loss.
Had he come all the way here without knowing? If so, it'd be too exasperating for words.
"This is the outpatient clinic...."
"The hospital building is next door...."
"Daichi~n, get a hold of yourself--"
It was the hospital I'd attended in the past. And I'd been back shortly before this. As a result, I was fairly familiar with what could be found where.
Unable to help remembering Dr. Takashina, I uttered a silent groan.
Misumi-kun turned back toward me as he started walking toward the hospital building.
"H, how.... should I know...."
This was a general hospital, so it had a lot of different departments. If I were to think about it--
"P, probably in the surgical ward...."
"B, but maybe in the psychiatric ward...."
For some reason, even I'd been brought to a room in the psychiatric department after the commotion at O-Front.
"You sure know a lot, Taku."
I don't think it's quite common sense.... I wouldn't have known, either, without the experience of having gone back and forth from this hospital countless times.
Misumi-kun and I thought it would be a bother to the other patients if we walked all around the hospital interior, so we ended up asking at the nurses' station. As predicted, they told us her room was on the floor for psychiatric patients.
When we entered, there was a bathroom included on the right-hand side and a bed at the very back. The light of the setting sun shone through the window beyond it.
Positive, Negative or Neutral?