Chapter 1: The Second Arrest of Riko Mine Lupin IV
Toys, miracle blossoms flowering in the hearts of the chosen. Some become beautiful flowers, some, poisonous. It is the age of great detectives. But the modern age has room for more than one kind of detective...and more than one kind of thief.
I always thought it strange that at Tokyo Butei High, there was only one descendant of so many famous historical people. Perhaps these people were so busy living they didn’t have time to continue their legacy. I stood here in the center of Yokohama’s town square, the sounds of clicking from a laptop strapped around my cousin’s neck sounding in my ears, and heard a gunshot ring out across the sky.
“The Boyne Jewel belongs to the Phantom Thief Empire, Holmes,” said a silver-haired figure in a black mask. I couldn’t help but notice her costume was designed to emphasize her cleavage. That couldn’t have been very practical for jumping across buildings, especially on a cold sunset like this.
“Are you with I-U or not?” shouted my partner, Aria H. Kanzaki, the one who had fired the bullet.
“I work for whoever pays the highest,” said Riko Mine, her breasts bouncing as she laughed. “Just a little nepotism, that’s all.”
“Then I’ll have to put a stop to you myself,” said a voice, straining to climb over the wall of the building opposite the busty thieves. A girl about Aria’s age and about Aria’s height, a magnifying glass with a ribbon and cat ears on it in her hand, held out her arm to the orange sky. Her blue eyes flashed with a spark of light, and an aura surrounded her.
“ARIA!” she shouted.
Aria nodded in return.
“Two guns and two swords,” Aria said, sliding one of her guns back into its holster as she drew her blade from her back.
“And two hands,” said the girl in the deerstalker cap. “The legacy of the great detective cuts through the lies.”
“The law of friendship becomes our guidepost. Aria Holmes Kanzaki IV, the Quadra!” Aria said, striking an awkward pose with her weapons.
“Sherlock Shellinford...the Psychokinetic!” said the bold pink-haired girl, hitting an even more awkward pose, but with more gusto.
“Holmes Generation, on stage!” the two of them said at the same time. An empty bullet dropped out of Aria’s gun and collided with Shellinford’s pink aura, creating a small explosion of pink smoke behind them.
“Such kids, aren’t they?” said the girl with the computer beside me, taking her lollipop out of her mouth. This is my cousin Saku.
“Aria, wait for me!” I shouted to the sky.
How did I find myself in this mess?
The story begins immediately after we defeated Vlad. Riko declared that she was on equal terms with us now, and jumped off into the night sky. Her school uniform had been converted into a parachute, leaving her in only a pair of golden underwear. The winds carried her across the city and away from Yokohama Landmark Tower. Her precious rosary was hanging around her neck, giving her hair the strength to grasp the parachute. If she lost concentration for a second, she would fall to the ground.
The air was getting thin. Riko let herself be lowered just a little more, keeping out of the range of the streetlights that had turned on down below. A large mansion was coming into view. It wasn’t as elaborate as Vlad’s place. The lights looked to be off. Riko thought about picking up a gift for Kii before she slipped back into her normal school life. Stealing things was always fun for her, and if she played her cards right, she could coerce the owner of the house into letting her stay overnight.
Riko positioned the tips of her toes towards her landing spot, and pulled on the parachute. The winds swept beneath her, sending chills down her spine. She felt her body being pushed backwards, towards the highest room of the mansion. Riko twisted her upper body, shifting her center of gravity to the right. Her feet touched base on the cold, layered tiles of the mansion.
Riko still had her rosary with her, and inserted a thin strand of hair into one of the locks on the window. She kept her hand near the gears until she heard a “click” sound. The window opened up. Riko slid her feet in first, feeling around for something solid. They knocked into a lamp, before settling on the top of a desk just beyond.
As her body entered the mansion, she felt a relieving sensation spread across her figure. The past few days had been rainy and humid. The house was warm and air conditioned. Riko knew she had to take it slowly, but her body was bruised and dirty. Her gun and her mind had been completely exhausted. She continued easing in her body. Then her body stopped moving.
“Merde,” she said under her breath, “Riko’s boobs are stuck...”
The lights turned on. Riko panicked, trying to pull herself out in the opposite direction. She pushed her hand into the sides of the window and yanked her body outward. The roof was slippery, and Riko’s feet stumbled to get a grip. She heard the entirety of the window being opened, and saw someone peer out.
She had short silvery-blue hair and a black headband. She was dressed in a black dress as well. Her eyes were kind. From what Riko could see, she looked to be the same age, with the same kind of development. The girl turned her head and saw the tail end of Riko’s blonde hair flowing in the night wind.
“Why would a thief try to steal from another thief’s house?” asked the girl, “I admire your courage. I’ll let you inside.”
Riko was sitting on a stool outside the bathtub, washing her body. She looked down at her hands. There were blisters on them, and she could still occasionally taste blood running off her mouth. Riko poured a bucket of water over her head, cleansing her long hair and turning the world into a wavering vision before her eyes. When her vision returned, she felt renewed. Her rosary was still hers. There was time to get back to Tokyo.
A thought flashed in her mind. She had seen articles and books lying around the house, many of them French in origin. There came a knock at the door. Riko looked towards the steam-covered entryway and slid into the bath. She didn’t want her host to see her bruises. The water washed over her skin, causing Riko to momentarily jump from the heat.
“Can I come in?” asked the girl.
“Sure,” said Riko.
The door slid open as the girl confidently walked in. She had removed her headband, causing her silver hair to fall down to her shoulders. She sat down on the same stool Riko had been using, feeling the warmth of her body that still remained.
“You go to Tokyo Butei High?” asked the girl. “I recognized the uniform.”
“Riko does go there... sometimes,” Riko said.
“I’m the student council president at my school,” said the girl, “You may have heard of it. Holmes Detective Academy?”
“Holmes...” said Riko under her breath, omitting the “H”. “Don’t keep calling me about that favor I owe you, Aria.”
“You left your student ID out. Nice to meet you, Riko Mine. Or should I say, Lupin IV,” said the girl.
“I’m not just a number! Riko is Riko. That’s what Kinji told me! What right do you have to call me that?” said Riko, standing up in the tub in anger. The silver-haired girl stood up as well and pressed her own ample bosom against Riko’s. Riko felt her nipples tensing up.
“Because I’m actually your second cousin. I come from another branch of the family, one that started from Lupin II. You can call me Henriette Mystere,” she said.
“Or should I say Arsene?” Riko sneered, “Riko knows who you are. You’ve been all over the news. How is it that you have henchmen while Riko’s been left out in the cold?”
Henriette stepped back. “Those three? They’re hardly worth the trouble. I’m the one doing most of the work.” She was still for a moment. “How did you know that was me? Sherlock hasn’t been able to read even the most basic hints.”
“Riko is a master of disguise too,” said Riko.
Arsene sat down and splashed some shampoo from a nearby bottle onto Riko’s head. Riko’s face turned bright red. Arsene stepped into the bath behind her and began rubbing her fingers through her hair, taking out the grime that had accumulated from the fight with Vlad.
“Riko, I want to take you under my wing,” said Henriette.
Riko wiped her eyes with her arm. “You’re not lying, are you? Riko can do things on her own, she doesn’t need help from anyo-”
“I heard about the busjacking. Twenty informed me about the fight with the vampire werewolf tonight. I know you want to break away from the Lupin name, but the more you continue this vengeful streak, you’ll never be able to do it. Our great-grandfather may have been opposed to the law, but he was always trying to make the world a better place. Killing people won’t do that,” said Henriette.
Riko had tears starting to well at the bottom of her eyes. “But if Riko doesn’t get rid of a Holmes, she’ll never break out of her great-grandfather’s shadow. Stealing would make me more like him.”
Arsene grabbed the shower handle and sprayed water over Riko’s head, restoring her blonde hair to its familiar shine. “We have possibilities the original Lupin would’ve never dreamed of. You’re an unpolished gem, Riko, and I can see what it’ll take to make it polished. We’ll go for a heist at sunrise.”
Riko turned around and hugged Henriette. “Riko approves, yay!” She had a devious smirk on her face, obscured by the vapor filling the bathroom. What she didn’t know was that Henriette, embracing her in the other direction, had the same expression.
Chapter 2: The Boyne Jewel
Aria and I were worn out after the fight with Vlad, and had decided to spend the night sleeping on the bench inside Yokohama Station. She was curled up on my lap, her little demon horns that she always wore poking me in my sleep. My body was too tired for Hysteria Mode to activate, and the two of us fell asleep very quickly. The next thing we were aware of was the sound of trains running through the station for their morning commute, and of the sun breaking through the buildings to greet us with its warmth.
“Aria...?” I asked.
She was still soundly sleeping. I slid down the dewy bench, taking off my jacket and bundling it up, placing it under Aria. Her pink hair was falling off the bench in every direction, and she was muttering something about Leopon in her sleep. I pulled out my phone and checked when the next train was coming.
I heard the sound of someone’s stomach growling. Aria woke up. Her face turned to a saddened expression, and she clutched her stomach. Instinctually, she moved her hand down to her legs and pulled out her gun.
“Kinji, what were you doing with me? I have something on my mouth, and your clothes are...” she muttered.
“That’s drool,” I said.
“Really? I’ll blow a hole in you if you’re-,” Aria’s stomach growled again, “I’m hungry.”
“It’ll be an hour before we can get back to Tokyo, and the next train isn’t coming for half an hour,” I said, scrolling through screens on my phone. “Do you want to run to the convenience store?”
“Can we get peach buns?” Aria asked excitedly.
I gave a tired, but confident smile. “Sure.”
There was a store not far from the train station. The clerk looked at us as though he recognized our uniforms. I couldn’t tell if his expression was one of fear or of gratitude. Our very presence, especially an S Rank like Aria, could attract potential trouble. I gave him a wave that said we’d be out of here quickly.
Aria ran to the sweets aisle and started grabbing as many peach buns as she could. Her arms had three boxes of the treats, and she hadn’t even gotten something to drink yet. I was waiting by the front of the store, looking up at the ceiling and reflecting on everything that had happened last night when I felt someone bump into me.
“A girl?” I asked of myself, “Then why isn’t Hysteria Mo-...” I looked downward to see a familiar face. She was in high school the last time we met. Though so many years had passed, she was still shorter than me.
A large pair of headphones covered her ears, and she was dressed in the bright blue and gold jacket worn by the Yokohama Police. A lollipop was in her mouth. She had stopped by here to pick up more. Her voice was disinterested, but not unobservant. Her hair was a bolder shade of pink than Aria’s. What is it with me and pink-haired girls?
“Kishi,” she said, “It’s been a long time. Anything interesting happen?”
That’s one way to put it. “Saku,” I said, “So you’re with the police?”
“Not just any police. Genius 4. The smartest group of thief-catchers in this city,” said Saku, “The stuff they teach you in Informa comes in handy sometimes, but every case is different. You have to improvise.”
Aria snatched the plastic bag containing her peach buns and two drinks off the counter. She turned around and saw me and Saku talking. She dropped the bag. The cardboard and plastic clunked against the tile floor. Aria drew out her gun and pointed it at Saku, not caring if she couldn’t hear.
“Kinji’s mine! I’ll pump you full of holes!” said Aria, before realizing she had exhausted all her ammo in the fight with Vlad.
“Aria, calm down!” I said, grabbing her arms and pushing the firearm closer to its holster. “She’s my cousin.”
“Cousin?” Aria asked, dumbfounded by the idea of us being related.
“Saku Tohyama. Peace,” she said, giving a quiet V-sign. She turned to the clerk. “Don’t worry, sir. I’ll take these two down to the police station.” She leaned close to me and whispered “Just go along with it. You too, shorty.”
“The name’s Aria!” she said.
The three of us walked into the police station. It was largely empty, save for two people silently conversing amongst themselves at one of the tables. Saku hooked up her laptop to the wall and started typing up a form briefly detailing Aria’s incident. She kicked her feet around under the table, coming across something soft. She reached down without changing her expression once, and pulled out a pink and yellow deerstalker cap.
Someone was heard clanging their head under the table. A girl with pink hair tied in two large circles crawled out from under the table, a small stream of tears rolling down her face. She had a large bump on her head.
“Sherlock,” said Saku.
“Sherlock?” Aria said in surprise, “A-as in Holmes? There’s another one of them out there?”
“Ow, my head,” said the girl with the cap, slumping over beside Saku on the desk. She perked up instantly, “Oh, Saku, you haven’t seen Kamaboko, have you?”
“Are you listening to me?” said Aria, “I asked who you are.”
The girl called Sherlock stood up proudly, swiftly placing the deerstalker cap on her head. She pulled out a purple cat-eared magnifying glass with a ribbon on it, and held it to her eye, making it look like she had a monocle on her face. We saw something flash in her eye, like tiny sparks of electricity. Sherlock held the magnifying glass above her head. She would’ve hit the overhead light humming above her, but she was far too short.
“Milky Holmes’ leader, Sherlock Shellinford!” a pink aura surrounded her, pulling down the iron cables suspending the light on the ceiling, “But you can call me Sheryl.”
The leftmost cable completely snapped. The light swung downward. Saku ducked out of the way, and Sherlock was knocked to the ground. She stood back up, ignoring the second bruise on her head.
“How can you possibly be a Holmes?” Aria said, “My great-grandfather was a great detective! He pioneered crime-solving and self-defense. You’re...as weak as stupid Kinji!”
“Aria,” I said quietly, “I’m standing right here, you know.” I looked around the room, and noticed a picture hanging on the wall. Saku’s group, Genius 4, was standing outside the police station with a humorless gray-haired man in a gray suit. At the front of the picture, standing on top of an orange crate, was a short blonde girl.
“Ah, that’s us,” said Saku.
“Your leader is a 13-year old girl?” I asked.
“That’s Kokoro-chan!” said Sherlock excitedly. “Aren’t you...Butei, you said...led by a 13-year old girl too?”
“I’ll pump you full of holes, you false Holmes!” said Aria.
“Aria!” I grabbed her arms, restraining her. She kicked me on my back with her legs. That girl is nimble. “That’s what got us into trouble in the first place.”
“She’s not a false Holmes,” said Saku, throwing out her lollipop and placing a new one in her mouth before my eyes had time to notice, “Aria H. Kanzaki...looking at the family registry, it seems she’s your second cousin. Lived in London most of her life before coming to Holmes Academy.”
“We have an Academy?” Aria said, her face in shock and her eyes white with disbelief, “How much of my family business am I being left out of?”
The phone started ringing on Saku’s desk. She picked it up and nodded. The shuffling of paper and the swinging light were the only other sounds in the room. Saku put the phone down and closed her laptop. She waved her finger around the room and pointed at Aria. More confused silence followed.
“You’re coming with me,” she said, “Reports are coming in from Kamitsu about Arsene and Lupin downtown. I want a Holmes to back me up,” Sherlock was jumping in front of her excitedly, “Who won’t break things. Solve this case, and I’ll pardon you for the convenience store. Deal?”
Aria checked her back to make sure her swords were in place. She took one gun out of its holster and clicked it. “Provide me with some more ammo, and it’s a deal.”
“Done,” said Saku. She started walking out of the police station, and turned to me. “Kinji, protect Shellinford. I don’t want her screwing up another case. You’re good with women, right?”
The door slammed shut. I could see Aria giving me a wistful face. She was still my partner. This was just like old times. Cousin Saku had a way of convincing me to do her menial tasks so she could focus on fashion or gossip or hacking. Sherlock Shellinford hung at my feet like a puppy. She wasn’t much taller than Aria.
Sherlock pressed against my chest and looked me straight in the eye. “We’re going.”
The Boyne Jewel was a finely crafted blue gemstone from Ireland. Its rounded shape and smooth cleavage made it stand out. The gem had been brought to Japan in tight storage, almost several sizes too small for it, causing the public to wonder what mystical powers it held. To unhook the security around the gem and expose it to the fresh air of the world was Arsene’s goal. With her new kin, she may actually get it done.
“Prepare yourself, Yokohama!” said Arsene, tipping her small hat.
The sound of a grappling hook gun was heard beside her. Riko ascended to the ceiling of the museum, dressed in an outfit almost identical to her cousin’s. The edges of the costume had been decked out with lace frills, and some white had been stitched across the black to make her stand out more.
“Riko’s never worn anything this exposing before,” said Riko, rubbing her arms across her chest, “She never knew the Lupin family was this flashy.”
Arsene reached around her waist and pulled out a glass cutter, making sure to take out two windows on the rooftop. Her cape blew in the morning wind, brushing past Riko’s stomach. Riko tried to resist the urge to laugh, yet covered up her hand with her mouth. “Committing crimes from the shadows is never how we’ve done things. Getting away with it in broad daylight is much more exciting. Your name and your legacy will be remembered. If you kill someone, you’ll be cast as a villain. If you steal something, you’ll be treated as a hero.”
“Even if Riko’s a thief?” said Riko.
“Especially so,” said Arsene, “You’re already doing things that great-grandfather never thought of.” She pulled up on the glass panes and grabbed Riko’s grappling hook from the rooftop, “Your new legend starts today.”
Arsene and Riko descended into the museum, hovering just above the glass case where the Boyne Jewel lay. Arsene took off her crown, revealing a tiny canister of spray. She asked Riko to cover her nose. A light mist spread throughout the museum, revealing the cube of lasers keeping the jewel safe.
“Where’s your Empire?” Riko whispered.
“I sent them chasing after a lottery ticket,” said Arsene, “That’ll keep them out of my way for a few hours.”
Arsene produced a small mirror in her left hand and held it in front of the lasers on the corner of the cube. The beams of light reflected outward, hitting the bronze statues and old paintings that also occupied the floor. She nodded to Riko.
Riko reached into the front of her outfit and pulled out another hand mirror. She wasn’t used to the feeling of gloves on her hands, and her grip around the metallic edges was slippery and incomplete. The mirror got caught between the valley of her cleavage. Riko felt her body slip on the wire, plunging her breasts and the mirror in between the lasers, sending them across the room.
“Stay like that,” Arsene said.
“Is being a Lupin meant to be this embarrassing?” asked Riko, “Riko doesn’t want to do this if Kii isn’t here.”
Arsene stretched out her hand and, using the same glass cutter as before, traced a hole in the top of case. She grabbed the Boyne Jewel, setting off an alarm. Red lights flashed and sirens glared. Riko spun around on her rope and landed on her feet. Arsene clutched the jewel in her hands.
“Riko has to get out of here,” Riko said. Arsene grabbed her by the back of her collar, running her finger down the nape of her neck. Riko felt her second cousin’s breath on her back, sending a chill up her body. The mirror stuck between her chest jiggled.
“This is where the fun begins,” said Arsene.
“Riko!” shouted a high-pitched voice from the end of the corridor. A girl with demon horns in her hair, two swords drawn, stood at the end of the hallway. Beside her was a girl with a laptop and headphones, currently spinning out a cable into the wall to get the floor plan of the museum.
“This is the police,” said Saku, not changing her cadence, “Stick ‘em.”
Chapter 3: Sheryl Shellinford Opens Hostilities
Without Tsugiko to take her to the museum, Saku and Aria had to get there on foot. The sky was bright and humid, and by the time they were a few blocks away from the station, sweat was dripping down the bodies of both of the girls, staining their uniforms a darker, yet more translucent shade. The weight of the weapons on Aria’s body didn’t make her feel any better.
Saku was expending more energy than she was used to. Students in Informa did most of their work behind the scenes, learning how to search security camera footage and file reports. Their job was important, but undocumented. All she was doing now was acting as a tour guide for her cousin’s girlfriend (though she had never formally declared herself as such), in the noonday heat.
Saku looked behind her at Aria. The twintailed girl was older than Kokoro, but the air she gave off was younger, more innocent. Saku noticed Aria staring at her golden police badge with a catlike curiosity. She lowered her headphones and tossed her lollipop stick into a nearby trashcan, and slowed down the pace at which she ran. Aria came to her side.
The two passed through the business district, coming beneath an overhang that gave both of them some much needed shade.
“You’ve been staring at me for some time,” Saku said, holding her hand against a pillar.
“I’ve never worked with the police before,” said Aria.
“Your great-grandfather had a lot of run-ins with Scotland Yard. You don’t want to get involved in that sort of thing?” said Saku, pulling the wrapping paper off another lollipop. She slid her tongue around the sugary orb’s ring before sticking it into the corner of her cheek.
“Butei don’t deal with the police. W-we don’t need to,” said Aria. “They expect us to handle everything on our own. If it wasn’t for Kinji, I might not have made it this far. Having everything in your own hands is tough sometimes. Where’s the rest of your squad anyway?”
Saku bent down and tied her shoelace, then stood up. She pointed towards the street sign. A circular mirror reflected an elaborate pseudo-ancient arch, the grand entryway outside the Yokohama museum.
“A winning lottery ticket was stashed in a professor’s desk. Kokoro and the others are going to stop Milky Holmes before something blows up in their faces,” said Saku. “I was picking up some snacks for the case when I met you guys. Good thing, too. Arsene’s a much bigger deal than the Three Cards.”
“Arsene?” said Aria, surprised. “You mean there’s more than one Lupin? Damn you, Riko...”
“We’ve waited for long enough. Come on!” said Saku, picking up the pace.
Aria checked her guns to make sure they were fully loaded, and set off with Saku. The path to the museum was short, but getting in would take much longer. The police had barricaded off the museum ever since a glass pane on the ceiling had been cut open. Saku barely stood at the same height as the other officers.
“Out of the way!” Aria shouted, climbing on the back of one of the cars, “I’m with Tokyo Butei High, and...”
“Let me handle this, shorty,” said Saku, pulling out her badge. She flashed it to the gathered officers. Whispers of Genius 4 fluttered among the crowds, which quickly parted to make way for the two girls to pass. Saku punched a number into the security console at the front of the museum, causing the doors to slide open on their own.
“That’s so cool,” Aria said, mouth agape.
“They’re on the top floor,” Saku said, pushing Aria along. “The gemstone exhibit is there. That’s the only thing those two would want to steal.”
“Aren’t the more showy exhibits here?” Aria said, looking around.
“I have a hunch. You can trust me as much as you can trust Kishi,” said Saku.
“I guess,” Aria said, pulling out one sword and one gun from within her uniform, “but I’m only doing this because you’re family. I-it’s not like I wanted to, okay?” Her face turned bright red. Saku smirked, and started running up the escalator towards the third floor.
“Do you even know where we are?” I asked.
“I live here, I know every nook and cranny of this place,” said Sherlock, walking between the dilapidated buildings and alleyways that were dark even in the daytime. “I had a job at that place before!” she pointed excitedly towards a family-owned ramen shop. The sound of customers’ feet sticking to the floor could be heard even outside.
“I don’t think they’d put a museum in this part of town,” I said.
Sherlock turned to me, her eyes lit up in excitement. “Elly and Cordelia and Nero are counting on me! This is the first real case we’ve taken on since we got our Toys back, and I’m....” she stopped in mid-sentence as a cold wind blew past her, ruffling her collar, “failing at it, aren’t I?”
I sat down at a bench in front of a love hotel. I couldn’t see much through the tiny windows, but memories of what got me into this whole mess came back. That day when Riko had called me up to her room, and greeted me dressed like Aria. Riko knows that Aria is the one who can activate my Hysteria Mode. I think she feels kind of jealous about that. Shirayuki does too. There’s no way out of this for me at this point.
“I’ll see if I can find some help,” I said, asking a passerby going through the area. He was a plain looking man with glasses, dressed in a suit. “Do you know where I can find a girl about this high,” I held my hands at chest level, “with pink hair and a high pitched voice?”
The man pointed his hand at Sherlock. I shook my head, and let him continue on. I turned to Sherlock, who was now looking through her wallet for enough money to pay the vending machine, and asked her where the rest of her team was. It was odd to see a Holmes without a partner.
“Nero found this lottery ticket behind the school, so Cordelia hid it in a desk in an unused classroom, then Mr. Nijuuri offered to look after it for us, and Elly said ‘yes’. Then they saw Twenty running away with the lottery ticket! We need that! Our food budget isn’t all that much, especially since Mori moved in,” said Sherlock, waving her arms about the whole time.
“Where were you when the desk was stolen?” I asked.
“Trying to break into my old bedroom with Kamaboko,” said Sherlock, “but I used my Toys too much and fell asleep.”
My face shifted to a deadpan expression. I could feel a bead of sweat rolling down my cheek. “Break....into your own bedroom? What’s going on at your school?”
Sherlock’s snack had gotten stuck in the vending machine’s metal jaws. She was pounding against the giant slab of food and metal, trying to free her treat. Her Toys, I think they were called, activated out of stress, causing the machine to rise into the air with a pink glow around it. Shellinford didn’t have any metal on her body, so such an ability must be innate. I wonder if Aria could do that?
A candy bar spilled out of the machine and into Sherlock’s hands. Then three more of the same candy bar, and one from a completely different part of the machine. Sherlock danced around, losing control of her Toys. The machine ceased its hovering, and started falling towards the ground.
There wasn’t much time to think.
I dashed towards Sherlock and pushed her out of the way, narrowly dodging the machine myself. On the mat in front of the love hotel, I had pinned her down, hovering over her like a beast. Like Aria, her frame was small for her age. Her hat had blown off her head and onto a nearby lamppost, flapping about like a wandering bird. Her eyes looked at me, more curious than scared. I could see myself reflected in them, and my eyes, too, had changed.
Aria, please forgive me.
Whenever I get aroused, my Hysteria Mode activates. I’ll do anything a girl asks of me. My reflexes and my senses become heightened, but I always feel bad after using it. Kinji Tohyama is supposed to be an ordinary student, not a Lothario who charms women with false words and genuine actions.
Sherlock had tempted me. My blood was boiling, my body became tense, then relaxed. I wrapped my arms around Sherlock’s shoulders and picked her up. My foot scooped up her hat, and I placed it on her head, covering up her giant ribbon. Sherlock’s mouth opened in delight. I think it turned into the shape of a heart.
I set her down and took out my cell phone. I placed a quick call to Aria.
“A Holmes needs a partner, doesn’t she?” I asked after Aria picked up.
“Kinji? What are you - AAAAH!” I heard Aria say on the other end of the line.
“I’ll be right there,” I said to Aria, hanging up. I placed another call back to Butei High to see if they could figure out where the signal was coming from. Sherlock was jumping up and down in front of me, waving her hands in the air. Her feminine charms overwhelmed my conversation, and so I looked down at her.
“Tohyama, I think we go that way,” said Sherlock, pointing to a street sign.
Yokohama Museum, it said.
Of course. It is a pretty big attraction in this area. I gave a quick sigh, a quick smirk, and bent down on one knee. “You must be hurt,” I said in that smooth voice, “Come on.”
“No, I’m fine,” Sherlock insisted, “but sure! Let’s go!” She climbed on my back, grabbing the collar of my uniform like a horse. I rolled with it. I had my weapons and a light high school girl on my back. Compared to the things I’ve encountered before, this would be no problem. The signs would guide me towards our destination.
Towards Aria and Saku.
When it was only them, Aria and Riko were on equal terms. Both were Quadras, and though their guns were of different makes, their skills were equal. Against Arsene, however, Aria was outmatched.
Shirayuki and Jeanne are paranormal Butei, gifted with supernatural powers. The Toys that the people of Yokohama have seem similar in concept, but much more varied and easier to use. Holmes Academy is the only regulation on them, and even that is a gamble. Arsene blew a kiss across the air. Aria’s vision became blurred, simmering down to reveal Arsene and Riko standing in front of her.
“You’re stealing something again?” Aria shouted, “Stupid stupid stupid Riko!” She fired off a barrage of shots before thrusting towards Arsene with her knife. Every shot had missed, landing against the glass windows, and her sword had cut nothing but air. Aria looked up to see Arsene hanging upside down from a chandelier.
“Illusion Toys,” said Arsene seductively, “Come on, little ‘Olmes, you’ve dealt with the Lupins before, haven’t you?”
“Stop taunting me!” Aria said, firing another shot. Arsene repelled it with a swish of her cape. Aria narrowly dodged the blast, sparks flying around her feet.
Riko fired a shot across the floor, aiming towards Saku. Saku titled her head to the left, letting the bullet embed itself in the wall behind her. She sucked on her lollipop a bit, and tapped some more keys on her computer.
“Please stop doing that,” she said.
“Why aren’t you helping me?” Aria asked.
“Riko would fight you, but Riko doesn’t want to hurt innocent bystanders. Who are you, anyway?” asked the blonde girl.
“Saku Tohyama,” Saku answered in an almost bored tone, “Yokohama Police.”
“Ooh, a Tohyama,” Riko licked her lips. She wound her hands around Saku, pressing her ample breasts against the girl’s back. Saku’s face blushed bright red, but she continued typing something into her computer at rapid speed. “Kii’s family is cute. Do you have one of those Hysteria Modes too?”
“Aria, fire one shot ten degrees above my head, and another thirty degrees to the left,” said Saku.
“O-okay,” said Aria, drawing her second gun.
Aria aimed the sights of her guns where Saku had asked. She closed her eyes and pressed down on the triggers, letting fly two bullets. The one shot from her left hand pierced through the cable holding a rotating art sculpture to the ceiling. Saku sidestepped and let the rounded piece of modern art fall around Riko, leaving her with little room to move. Riko tried to push aside the heavy wooden planks, but their ends had become embedded in the ground.
The other bullet grazed past Arsene, taking off a bit of her hair on the flyby. The bullet landed in the control box for the room, turning on the enhanced security. Saku not only knew the security system from having been here so many times, she had helped to install it.
Arsene shook her hand wildly from the shock, releasing the Boyne Jewel. “Trying to hide it with your Toys, are you?” asked Saku. “Clever. If you give us the jewel, the next shot won’t miss.”
“I’ll get it,” Aria said, walking over to Arsene, switching her gun for a sword almost instantly. “A Lupin is a Lupin. An eternal rival. To win this time over one of them will be...”
“Your phone is ringing,” said Arsene.
Aria reached into her pocket. It was Kinji on the other end. The sound of cars and footsteps could be heard behind him, along with the rattling of a chain fence. Wherever Kinji was, it wasn’t back at the police station.
“Kinji, what are you - AAAAAAAAAAAAH!” said Aria.
Aria felt herself being lifted into the air. She flailed her arms and legs about, trying to get a sense of direction, but the blue aura surrounding her had full control over her body. She looked downward, and saw Arsene moving her hands like a master of marionettes, jerking Aria’s hands and feet about as if they were on a string. Aria’s vision had turned blue and blurry, but she could make out something on the ground below.
The Boyne Jewel.
Arsene had no intention of giving it back. She had stuffed it between her cleavage, leaving it wedged near the bottom of a deep and sweaty valley. Arsene laughed, her breasts and the jewel shaking along with them. She swooshed her hands downward to bring Aria’s face close to her chest level.
“That’s no fair!” shouted Riko, who had been using the combined strength of her hands and her hair to remove the wooden planks around her. “You told Riko we were going to be thieves!”
“Stealing from another thief is also the way of thieves,” said Arsene. “This jewel is of no value to you, anyway.”
Riko shot her long hair out to the sides like a pair of drills, cracking the wood. Saku casually ducked out of the way once more. Aria was close to the ceiling now, yelling something at Saku.
“Sorry, Kanzaki,” said Saku, “I can’t get you out of there.”
“Stupid Saku!” shouted Aria, pounding the air. On her last punch, Arsene flicked her finger, causing Aria’s punch to narrowly miss her own face. “Riko, save me! We’re equals, right?”
Riko walked past Arsene, her hair waving about like Medusa’s many snakes. She grabbed the edge of her flashy phantom thief outfit and reverted to her Butei High uniform in an instant. Somehow, it had been washed and pressed, despite being under mounds of wooden debris and mounds of sweaty Riko. She held her two swords directly at the Boyne Jewel.
“You never told me the Jewel strengthened your Toys,” said Riko.
“The game wouldn’t be as fun if I did,” said Arsene, licking her lips. That motion caused Aria to whirl around like she was on an amusement park ride, turning her eyes into spirals. Saku still showed no reaction.
“Riko wants the Jewel too,” said Riko, “and she’s willing to destroy it. Its properties are not only great on the supernaturally gifted like yourself, but even a fragment of them on a bullet lets me control their trajectory with my mind. It’s the same kind of material as my rosary. That Jewel’s a Lupin family heirloom. It should go to someone who actually has Lupin in her name.” Riko shifted the direction of her left pigtail upwards, aiming it at Arsene’s neck.
“I’m still here,” said Saku, rapidly transcribing this into her laptop and sending it back to Yokohama Police HQ, “I can hear everything you’re saying.”
“Shut up!” shouted the two Lupins.
Outside the museum, Sherlock and I arrived. She was more out of breath than me, for some reason. My hyper awareness in Hysteria Mode (and the strange blue aura) made it clear that something was going down on the top floor. There were cops out front, but they didn’t know me, and they didn’t trust Milky Holmes, so we appeared to be out of luck on getting to the scene of the crime.
Sherlock reached into her pocket and took out a tube of fish paste, happily chomping down on the pink treat. Her eyes lit up and her body posture changed. She was standing stronger, more energetic, looking even better than she was when I met her. Sparks flew through her eyes, and a faint pink aura surrounded her.
“That was fast!” I shouted, nearly slipping out of Hysteria Mode.
“I’m full of energy and ready to go!” said Sherlock, “I’ve been training, so I think I can handle more than myself....”
“You think you can?” I said, worriedly.
“Psychokinesis!” Sherlock shouted.
The energy surrounding her body concentrated itself around her hand, spreading out into a bubblegum-colored bubble that enveloped us. Sherlock clenched her hand into a fist and lifted us upward. I tried to remain perfectly still. This bubble didn’t seem too stable. We approached the top floor. The windows were locked down with steel, and the roof had been closed off as well. Nobody could get out or in.
“Your monologue won’t be a problem. The only thing stronger than steel is a detective’s mind!” said Sherlock, her voice deepening with sheer power.
She lifted up her right leg and kicked the pink bubble, sending us above the city district. By this point, the sun had begun to set, coloring all of Yokohama a golden yellow. Sherlock took in a deep breath, closed her eyes, and pushed her hands into me. I hit the edge of the bubble, at which point we flew forward like a pinball, smashing through the steel and landing in the room where Aria and Saku had been dealing with the Lupins.
“Kinji! You took way too long!” said Aria, shouting at me while glowing blue.
“Kii!” said Riko, her devilish smirk changing to a schoolgirl’s glee towards her crush in a split second, “You’re such a pervert. Crashing into here through the ladies’ water closet.”
“Sherlock Shellinford?” said Arsene, “How’d you... nobody’s Toys can break through the museum’s defenses.”
“Really?” said Sherlock, standing up and dusting herself off. “I’ll have to remember that next time.”
“You really are an idiot,” said Saku.
Chapter 4: A Glimmer in the Streetlights
Sherlock turned her eyes to Arsene. Her eye level was Arsene’s chest level, and the first thing she was drawn towards was the Boyne Jewel. As the jewel shook back and forth, a faint musical ping could be heard being released from it. Sherlock nodded, not bothering to check with Saku or myself if she should do anything. She took one step towards Arsene and made her finger into a gun.
She focused on the Boyne Jewel. The moment her psychokinetic aura collided with the jewel’s own power, the aura surrounding Aria and Arsene shorted out. Aria felt the effects of gravity catch up to her, and pushed her skirt down as she landed on the hard floor. Her knees were shaking in stings of pain as she stood up and checked her guns.
“The network won’t allow us to show panties,” said Sherlock. “It’s okay.”
Riko threw one of the knives from her hair, making a clean cut through the Boyne Jewel. She took half of the gemstone and stashed it between her own breasts. Riko walked over to the window and tossed off her uniform, revealing a set of underwear borrowed from Henriette. It was even lacier and paler in color than her usual outfit. I tried to avert my eyes, not wanting to further aggravate Hysteria Mode.
“I thought you said we couldn’t show panties,” said Saku.
“The censors make an exception for Riko’s underwear,” said Riko, striking a coy pose. She flipped her uniform over her head, transforming it into a parachute. “Riko’s found her prize. She’s out of here!”
Arsene snatched the other half of the Boyne Jewel and followed after her. “Half of this thing is worthless. Hand it over, Lupin IV.”
“The name’s Mine,” said Riko, winking.
Riko and Arsene leaped out of the hole created by me and Sherlock on arrival, heading up to the rooftops. The room fell silent for a second or two. Aria, her knees still shaking, walked over to Sherlock and placed her hand on her shoulder.
“Did you blow that hole in this building?” asked Aria, her eyes white with shock.
“Yeah,” said Sherlock, placing her hand behind her head.
Aria smiled. I hadn’t seen that expression from her much, and it usually came at my expense. Maybe it’s because she had found another Holmes, one who lived a life that didn’t involve family members in jail or someone trying to kill her. Aria held out her arms and embraced Sherlock. The both of them blushed bright red.
“We should do that more often,” said Saku, switching out her lollipops once more.
“I-I’m sorry I called you a fake Holmes,” Aria said, “I don’t know where your motivation comes from, but you saved me. You’re family, too.” She wiped the tear that was pooling in her eye and looked towards the rooftop. “Let’s get that jewel back.”
“I’m a partner now?” said Sherlock in disbelief, “Thank you! Thank you thank you thank you! Shorty!”
“The name’s ARIA!” said Aria.
I turned to Saku. She was walking towards the stairs, ushering me to come along. “We may not be able to fly, but we can help,” she said, “You’re family, too.” I gave Aria a thumbs-up. Aria gave me one back. As Saku and I ran down the stairs to the first floor, Aria and Sherlock were surrounded by a glowing pink sphere, rocketing out the hole and onto the rooftop.
Aria and Sherlock finished announcing their names. The policemen and the citizens of Yokohama were gathering around the city square just outside the museum. Saku showed her badge and let us push ahead, keeping our partners in check. She turned her laptop towards me, showing a close up view of the battle, and up Aria’s skirt.
“Saku, you didn’t need to-” I said.
“I know all about your Hysteria Mode,” said Saku.
I questioned, “Did they really teach you all this in Informa?”
“I’m a Tohyama. I have Hysteria Syndrome too. My trigger is having something sweet in my mouth,” said Saku, her voice raising in tension.
“So, you...” I said, surprised but not too surprised.
“I’m always in Hysteria Mode,” said Saku. She reached into her pocket and took out a pair of speakers, turning them up towards the sky. “Lupins, this is as far as you go.”
“Nyeh!” said Riko, sticking out her tongue. She chipped away at a fragment of her half of the Boyne Jewel. Using her twintails as a second set of limbs, she slid the tiny fragments of crystal into the ammunition magazine on her gun.
“That belongs to the museum!” said Sherlock.
“Riko... I didn’t think you’d actually do it...” said Arsene, “You’re a phantom thief. We may be criminals, but we’re not scoundrels.”
“Sorry, Henriette,” said Riko. “You’re right. I should make my own legacy as a Lupin. And these magic bullets are the way to do that.”
Sherlock had stopped in mid battle. The spark of Toys had faded from her eyes. “Eh?” she said, “Henriette? No, no, that’s Arsene. Henriette is back at the Academy.”
“Is she always like this?” asked Riko.
“That’s correct,” said Henriette, folding her arms across her chest and standing in the middle of the sky, kept aloft by her blue aura, now half as powerful as it was before, “I’m not Henriette.”
“Of course, of course!” said Sherlock, recovering her energy.
“How crazy is this city?” asked Riko, pointing her guns at Aria and Sherlock’s shoulders, “Riko thinks all of you should learn that being a Butei is not all fun and games!” Her hair had shadowed her eyes, “Die, two ‘Olmes!”
Two bullets fired out. We heard the gunshots, then saw two blue streaks fly across the sky. Riko’s smile grew wider and creepier. The bullets were under her mental command now.
They shot up into the air like a rocket before taking a nosedive, aiming themselves towards their target.
Their speed accelerated at a rapid clip.
Sherlock stepped in front of Aria and held her hand out. The bullets were tiny, and time was on the line. She pointed her finger like a gun at one of the bullets. “Do-KAN!” she shouted. A pink aura impeded on one of the bullets’ blue aura, causing it to fall to the ground harmlessly. The other bullet kept going.
“Au revoir!” said Riko in a scratchy voice. The dissonance between her tone and the fluidity of the language was too much.
The other bullet was headed for Aria. She was shaking her gun about wildly, trying to line it up with Riko’s bullet. As soon as she did, the bullet was somewhere else. Aria fired off a shot, hoping it would hit. It didn’t. She braced herself for the impact. When she opened her eyes, a figure in a cape had swatted away the projectile.
“Arsene?” asked Aria.
“What will killing your enemy accomplish?” asked Arsene, “I saw your battle last night. You and Aria are rivals now. Give her a sporting chance. If you’re not going to be a proper phantom thief, then I’ll take the side of the detectives...”
“Arsene!” said Sherlock, wrapping her hands around the thief’s waist. “Er, for now,” said Arsene.
“TRAITOR!” shouted Riko.
“You’re the one who’s a traitor!” said Arsene.
I turned to Saku. I drew both of my guns. Saku was typing rapidly on her laptop, showing me a scenario. It looked like she was playing a bullet hell game. Her skills as an officer were pretty good, because soon, it wouldn’t be a game.
“This is Riko’s revenge!” said Riko.
Riko unloaded an entire magazine’s worth of jewel-tipped bullets into the air. They twinkled in the sky, metallic stars lighting up the encroaching night, before becoming a hailstorm of steel.
“Shellinford, get the Jewel back,” said Saku over the intercom. “Aria, I’ll be sending you an e-mail. Do exactly as I tell you. Kishi... you’re a Tohyama. Trust your instincts.”
Three bullets headed towards Arsene. She used her illusion Toys to send two of them into an unknowable abyss, and the third into a fire hydrant. A curtain of water sprayed around the area.
Aria took out the next three, firing carefully placed shots. None of them looked to be lined up with Riko’s shots at first, and all of them just barely intercepted, but the bullets collided in midair, knocking each other to the ground harmlessly.
I looked up into the sky. It was difficult to see at this time of night, but the streetlights of Yokohama guided my vision. I knocked out five more. For every bullet we hit, Riko looked to get more mentally tired. When there was only one bullet remaining, she drove it into the ground herself, realizing she had lost. As she slumped back on the roof, Sherlock lifted the Boyne Jewel out of her cleavage and carefully carried it across the rooftops into her arms.
“Yay!” said Sherlock, almost dropping it.
“Shellinford!” said Aria and Arsene.
“Heh. No matter,” said Riko, her dark mode dropping out from tiredness, “Riko will be back at school soon enough. Farewell, ‘Olmes, Kii.” She whipped off her uniform, stripping down to her underwear, and launched herself into the sky, this time heading back towards Tokyo.
“We won,” said Aria, “We won! Wait, where’d the Boyne Jewel go?”
Arsene was holding both halves of the gemstone. She pressed the smooth edge where Riko had made a cut together, uniting the round jewel back into one. A blue glow shone out from the cleavage, bonding the two halves. Parts of it were chipped off, but it was mostly back in one piece.
“I’ll be taking my reward,” said Arsene, “Until we meet again, Holmes!”
“Get back here with that!” said Aria. “Why aren’t you stopping her?”
Sherlock leaned over the edge of the railing, looking towards the moon. Aria could see it reflected in the young detective’s eyes. “If I won all the time, we couldn’t call ourselves rivals. I think I give Arsene a purpose, so one botched case can’t hurt me that badly. She kinda gives me a purpose too.”
“Not quite what great-grandpa would say, but I see what you’re getting at,” said Aria, “Kinji, thanks for the help!” she called down to me. “As expected from my slave!”
“Slave? So you’re into that kind of thing? Kinky,” said Saku.
“NO!” I shouted, “Aria, watch your mouth, please!”
Morning dawned once again. Sherlock had offered for us to eat breakfast at Holmes Academy, as guests. Aria was impressed with how her family name had not been tainted all across Japan. Though I got the feeling she wanted to lord it over Shirayuki when we got home.
Aria and I were at the train station, with Shellinford and Saku seeing us off. We presented our tickets and got into the car, staying near the door to say our goodbyes.
“It doesn’t matter how useless you are, you’ll always be my cousin. Now show them what an E Rank can do,” said Saku.
“Thanks,” I said, giving a quick sigh.
“Oh, there’s Nero! And Elly! And Cordelia!” said Sherlock, turning her head around, “See ya, Aria! I hope you can get a team of your own someday,” she said.
Aria smiled and held her hands to her mouth, yelling out to her fellow Holmes. “Just you wait and see! I will! It will be the best team ever!”
With that, the train doors closed. Aria opened the window, watching the countryside roll by. Outside, she could hear Sherlock talking with her friends, and Saku talking with her own team, about how neither of them had gotten the lottery ticket, losing it to the wind. I think I heard the sound of a golden mask smacking someone on the face.
“What do you think’s going to happen to us beyond here?” asked Aria.
“I don’t think I can quit being a Butei now. Saku would never let me hear the end of it,” I said, resting my chin on my hand, “but for now, all I want is some peace and quiet.”
“Are you saying it’s not peaceful and quiet enough with me around?” said Aria, looking a little bothered.
“No, it’s fine, I like it!” I said nervously, “It’s just that after...”
“Stupid Kinji!” Aria shouted.
I let out a scream that could be heard all the way back at the train station. I think I’m coming to grips with what it means to be a Butei, and what it means to live up to a family legacy. But I still have a long way to go.