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Dream... or Not

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Chapter 1.

A dark figure walked around a huge machine filling an entire room and pressed some buttons on it. He muttered to himself and pressed a big red button while pulling a lever next to it down. The machine shook for a moment and the lights on it blinked but came to shuddering stop then. The man looked around the room, at the surrounding of himself and the machine but didn't find anything new or different in there. It led to only one conclusion. The machine hadn't done what it was supposed to do.

"Shimatta!" The man cursed and kicked the nearest thing which happened to be part of the machine control panel. "Still not working! It better work in two months or the engineers will find themselves dead!" With those words he left the room, his lab coat swishing behind him. A woman leaning to the door frame watched after him and lit a smoke then. She was about to leave when some new lights blinked on the machine and new reading appeared on the screen. The woman glanced at a screen above the control panel of the machine and smirked. Something had indeed happened. Maybe not how the man had intended but something had indeed happened. And…

The woman walked to the control panel and twisted the dial. It looked like a new player was in the game. Pity, she didn't have the time to investigate it. She needed to go meet with her fellow organization members to hash out the last details of DJ's assassination at Eddy P.


When it happened, she wasn't exactly sure what or how or even when it had happened. Maybe it was because she was so tired at the time but the things that happened after that… It would have been impossible to explain them to anyone. Not that she would've tried it that often.

The unfortunate (or fortunate) victim of circumstances was a sixteen-year-old girl named Jade Ahola. She was walking home from her friend's place after planning to have DC anime marathon with two of her friends on the next weekend. But at that time all the girl wanted, was go to sleep and sleep long, long time. The school day had been long and even though she'd ditched all her school books home before meeting with her friends, her bag still weighed. Thus she decided to take a short-cut through a little side-alley. It was a route she'd used often and there shouldn't have been anything different on this time.

But then Jade reached the end of the street and was more than a bit surprised. The position of the sun had changed and so had the rest of the surroundings. It was like a mid-day now. The buildings looked wrong and… even the atmosphere was a bit wrong too. Jade looked at the direction she'd come from. Maybe she'd taken a wrong turn? In her fatigue it was entirely possible…

The scene behind was wrong now too. There was no park where she'd walked from. Just more buildings parallel to the ones in front of her. Like she'd gone from one street to another through the narrow side-alley.

"Mitä ihmettä?" (What an earth?)

Jade looked in front of her once again. She should probably move. She had no idea where she was. Had someone drugged her? Had she walked through magical portal? Had she fallen asleep?

The girl took a deep breath and began crossing the street. No cars were around but she still looked first left and then right before crossing. It was quiet time. But only for that moment. Then another thought entered Jade's mind. She looked down at her wrist watch to see if it was still showing the time she remembered seeing previously or if it had changed along with her surroundings. The watch said it was about 16 o'clock. Several minutes ago, when Jade hadn't walked through that side-alley, it had been 19:30…

Something flashed in the edge of the girl's field of vision on her right and she could heard tires screeching. Slowly, the girl lifted her head up. And the sight froze her. A blue sports car with two white stripes across the bonnet of it was speeding straight towards her. It wasn't even trying to slow down. Jade tried to move but by then it was too late. She couldn't dodge it. With everything just happened to her, she was far too confused. And a moment before the impact, Jade saw something even more confusing: the driver of that car. The woman had a short brown hair and a butterfly tattoo under her left eye. It was a face she could recognize from almost everywhere. The face of Chianti, a sniper of the Black Organization from Jade's favorite manga Detective Conan.

The car hit the girl and sent her flying in the air. Jade landed on the pedestrian side walk. She just barely managed to protect her head from hitting the concrete slabs the side walk was made with. But despite her dizziness, the girl could see another car behind Chianti lookalike's. It was one she easily recognize. A black Porsche 356A. Gin's car. And it looked like there was a person remarkably like Vodka on the front passenger seat.

"What is this? What's going on?"

The cars drove away. Jade tried to get up but found it impossible. Her whole body was hurting and felt bruised all over and who knew what else had happened to her. She felt dizzy. The edges of her vision turned black and fuzzy and before she could fully progress what was happening… Both her mind and body shut down and she drifted into blissful nothingness.


Elsewhere

Chianti was in a bad mood. She hadn't gotten to shoot the target. Actually she hadn't gotten to shoot anyone that day. First the sudden rain, then backing off and finally Akai Shuichi interfering. Not to mention that Kir most likely had been caught by FBI and now some random girl had run under her car.

"And if she made even one scratch… I swear I'll kill her…" She muttered angrily while practicing shooting in the simulation room. She took aim and pulled the trigger. The target lived. She had missed the target again.


Back in Beika

"Ojou-chan, you shouldn't be sleeping in a place like this." An old woman kneeled beside the girl who lied on the ground on her side with her left arm cushioning her head and right one tucked by her chest. The girl was wearing a violet jacket, blue jeans and had a purple shoulder bag with her. Her hair was light brown –maybe even blonde – but about the eye color the woman couldn't say anything. Neither about the girl's nationality or name. She was quite tall for her estimated age though which must have been somewhere around fifteen to eighteen. The woman tried to lift the girl to sit up but noticed then that the girl was bleeding from her temple and from her mouth.

"I have to call an ambulance!" The woman realized and went to search for her phone from her purse. Before dialing the emergency number, she quickly checked that the girl was still breathing. For her relief she was. In ten minutes the ambulance had arrived and the girl was lifted in to be taken to the hospital.


Haido central hospital

"I just found her lying on the side-walk. I have no idea of who she is…" Jodie heard a female voice on the corridor. She turned around the corner and saw an old Japanese woman talking to the doctor. The doctor gave a gentle smile to the woman.

"I think you should go home and rest a bit, Kaikyone-san. We'll inform you when the girl wakes up but right now we'll observe her. Tomorrow we'll know more." The doctor told the woman kindly.

"Yes…" The woman nodded slowly.

"No need to worry. It seems she survived with surprisingly few injures from her hit-and-run but as I said: we don't know for sure when she will wake up." The doctor continued to calm the woman down but had to leave soon to check other patients.

The woman, Kaikyone-san seemed to be still on the verge of tears. Feeling pity for the woman, Jodie walked up to talk with her.

"Are you alright, ma'am? Could I help you somehow?" The American said.

"No, I'm fine…" The woman began but changed her mind in mid-way. "Actually yes, you could… This bag. It belongs to the girl. Could you take it to her room? I'd do it myself but my legs can't handle the stairs. I'll give you the number."

The woman gave the purple shoulder bag to the agent and told the number of that mysterious girl's hospital room.

"Alright, may I have your name too? In the case I the girl asks for it. After all we don't know when she'll wake up." Jodie asked, trying to grasp some more control for the situation.

"Kaikyone Sakiko. I live in Beika town, district four." Sakiko smiled. Then the old lady left. Jodie sighed but headed towards the stairs. On the way there the foreigner took a notice of the room number she had been given… That room was right next to Mizunashi Rena's.


Jodie knocked on the door of her destination. A quiet answer told her to come in. She entered the room and saw a young girl lying on the hospital bed and a nurse adjusting the pillow under her head.

"Oh, you're her friend? It's so good that you came, but I don't think she will wake up today yet. She hit her head quite badly." The nurse smiled apologetically and left the room before Jodie had a chance to protest.

The agent looked at the door closed behind the nurse and then back at the unconscious girl.

"Well… since I'm your friend now, I think I should know who you are. People are bound to ask some questions from." The woman muttered at the girl in front of her. The only reply she got was the girl's even breathing behind the oxygen mask.

"I hope you don't mind if I check your bag… To find your name." Jodie placed the bag on a table by the end of the hospital room and opened it. From inside, she found a calendar and a sketchbook. Deeming the calendar more likely to yield results, Jodie picked it out of the bag. The calendar was pretty simple and clean yet used-looking. It had a lot of paper pieces and post-it notes between the pages and some drawings all around the gaps between markings such as: 'Movies with M-chan!' and 'Ojisan's anniversary' and 'Meet with niisan'. The latest marking was on today's date. Strange, wasn't the brother informed then? Jodie flicked through the calendar but didn't find any signs or indicators about the girl's identity. She sighed and put the calendar on the table. Maybe she could see if there was any cards that had her name on them. But then…

"Wait a minute…" The agent picked up the calendar again and opened from the page she had seen some drawings. At first she hadn't really paid attention to them as she'd looked at the text markings but now… One of the drawings caught her interest. It was her own picture and even her fake name – Saintemillion – written underneath it. Jodie froze as she saw the other pictures. Pictures about Akai Shuichi, Edogawa Conan, Haibara Ai… even about Vermouth and some other organization members she could identify because of a basic description she'd received during briefing before leaving America.

"Who…Who an earth are you?" Jodie said quietly as she looked up at the sleeping girl. These people, civilians or enemies… They weren't people to just connect to each other. She looked at the other pages of calendar again. There was some text next to them on a language she couldn't identify aside from English and Japanese. English was mostly song lyrics on the post-it notes. Japanese was about meetings and everyday occurrences to be remembered. The mystery language was by the drawings and some other markings on the calendar. Things the girl wanted to keep secret.

It was a mystery. And Jodie really didn't like the context and location of this mystery.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2.

“Alright, I have to calm down now…” Jodie muttered to herself, stopping in the middle of the corridor and taking a deep breath. She had been hurrying to the hospital room that FBI used as a meeting and planning room. The woman was carrying the calendar of that girl who lied in coma in the room next to Mizunashi Rena’s hospital room.

“But how is possible that she knows what some of the organization members look like. Especially about these members who we already know… They are pretty high-ranked… And how does she know about us?” Jodie frowned. Should she really tell about the girl to the other FBI agents? The girl was in coma just like Mizunashi Rena. Probably because of hit-and-run incident… but it was still far too big of a coincidence.

“Maybe… I won’t tell about her yet. I don’t know that much after all and it seems like she won’t endanger us right now… In any way… Yes, I must not do hasty decisions.” The woman turned around, heading back to the girl’s hospital room. She put the calendar back to the girl’s bag and left. Behind a corner a young boy looked at her retreat before slipping into the room himself.


 

The boy went through the girl’s bag. He locked some files and numbers from her phone and snatched a set of keys. One of the keychain decorations had emblem from Kyoto’s flag on it. Seeing that there was nothing else incriminating there, the boy sat on a chair by the girl’s bedside.

“Hello, little sister. We can’t meet for a long time yet but remember these instructions… They are the same I gave you before you came to Tokyo. Number one: You are not Kagemiya Hoshi here. You are Okiya Tsukiko. Number two: lie about everything they ask you. And number three: Find one person you’ll trust explicitly. Good luck.”

The boy left the room and the girl.


 

Kaikyone Sakiko walked on the corridor of the hospital. Two weeks had passed from the day she had found that young girl. Time to time she came to see if any improvement had happened in the girl’s condition. The woman always brought something little with her to liven up the dreary and sterilized room. Usually flowers or paper cranes. Sakiko stepped in the girl’s room after knocking the door twice. No one was there. As usual.

“Mumei-chan… I brought some flowers this time. I hope you like them…” The woman said and put some buttercups to a water glass. The old and withered flowers had already been collected away by the nurses. Sakiko had taken to call the girl ‘Mumei-chan’ (meaning ‘no name’) since she didn’t know her name but didn’t want to call her ‘girl’ all the time. She sat on a chair next to the girl’s bed. Sakiko had a lot of time to use because her three sons had already left home and her husband died several years ago. She still owned a music store in Beika-cho but she had considered in selling the place to one of the employees there.

The girl breathed evenly but didn’t show any signs about waking up. Heart monitor beeped steadily. Sakiko got on her feet slowly. It was the time for her to go home. She was taking a step towards the door when she heard a quiet voice. The girl was mumbling something in her sleep.

“Mumei-chan…?” Sakiko approached the bed and leaned closer to hear what the girl was saying.

“Hime-san, wake up before the crows arrive. Please…” The girl whispered urgently before falling quiet again.

“Mumei-chan, you are the one who should wake up.” Sakiko smiled, smoothing the girl’s cheek gently before leaving.


 

Next April

Jodie yawned. She was again in the room of that unconscious girl. And once again a bunch of questions floated in her mind. Who was this girl? What did she know? Was she a spy? And why there weren’t any signs about her identity?

“Should I already give up? How can I find anything about her if all I know is the hair color and she fact that she can draw quite well?” She hadn’t told other FBI agents about the girl. Not mentioned with a single word during those months they had been at the hospital.

The female agent closed the door behind her and began walking randomly around the corridors. Patrolling. It was patrolling, not aimless wandering. Sometimes she stopped to give some orders and advices to other agents who were keeping a watch. After a while, when she was finishing a conversation with James Black, a Japanese woman came to talk to her. Jodie recognized her as the one who had given the girl’s bag to her at the beginning. They’d talked occasionally if they crossed paths but otherwise not actually interacted. Jodie did know that the woman’s name was Kaikyone Sakiko.

“Sumimasen… but could I talk to you?” The woman asked politely.

“Of course, Kaikyone-san.” Jodie nodded. As the woman spent more time with the girl than the agent, she usually had some news about her. The good and the bad. “James, could you wait a bit?”

“Sure.” Black took a step back for illusion of privacy.

“It’s about the girl… Since you are her friend I thought you should know…” Sakiko began.

“Sorry, but what makes you think I’m her friend?” Jodie interrupted. “I’m not denying it, just curious, as you are the one that led me to her in the first place.” The girl did know her name. Fake name only, thankfully.

“I found a drawing of you when I tried to find out what was her name… Anyways, two weeks after the girl came here, she spoke.” Sakiko told her.

“Did she wake up then? I haven’t seen her awake and the doctors haven’t said anything of such.” Jodie frowned.

“Ah, no…” The old lady shook her head slightly. “Only a brief sentence in her sleep was all I could hear.”

“What did she say?” Jodie asked. And Sakiko told her.

Hime-san, wake up before the crows arrive. Please…

“Hime?” Jodie repeated. While the way of address wasn’t anything recognizable for her, the context and the circumstances made her draw alternative conclusions. That girl had arrived to the hospital about an hour after Mizunashi Rena! How it was possible that she knew about the reporter?  Or was this yet again another coincidence? It couldn’t be!

“Well, I have to get going now. Thank you for looking after her, too. Take care!” Sakiko bowed shortly and left.

Dumbfounded and wrong-footed, Jodie slowly turned back to address Black about their previous topic of conversation. Whatever that had been…

“Jodie-kun? Who is the girl that woman was talking about?” Black asked a bit warily. It wasn’t good that an agent was distracted during such an important mission as the one they had going on at the hospital.

“I… I don’t know much about that girl…” Jodie tried to gather her thoughts. What exactly was is that she even knew?

“But at least something?” Akai remarked, appearing behind Black.

“Shuu, when did you arrive?” Jodie asked with a hint of surprise in her voice. Damn Akai and his stealthy steps. She hadn’t heard anything when the man had sneaked to them. Was he a ninja or something? Even Black seemed a bit startled.

“A few minutes ago…” Akai shrugged. “But you were so deep in your thoughts that you didn’t notice it. What is this all about?”

“There is a girl in this hospital in a coma. She was brought here on the same day than Mizunashi Rena about an hour later. I heard that she most likely had been hit by a car but since no one witnessed it, it’s just guesswork. I have no idea who is she as she has no identification with her, nor has anyone tried to contact her cell phone I found from her bag.” Jodie explained.

“And you got involved in this how?” Akai asked.

“It just happened. The details don’t matter in this case.” She waved her hand dismissively.

“Is there anything else about her? Than her words we just heard from that woman? Kaikyone-san? Or the fact that apparently she was led to make contact with you because of some drawing…” Black asked.

“Yes, the pictures in her calendar, including the one mentioned.” Jodie said quietly. “The people she has drawn all over the pages and scrap papers between them… Makes this all complicated. It’s probably better if I show you. The room is just around the corner.”


“Well, what a coincidence… Right next to Mizunashi’s room.” Akai smirked when Jodie opened the door and they stepped in.

“Yeah…” The woman walked straight to the table where the bag was and opened it, letting the men following her to close the door behind them. She fished out the calendar and offered it to her superior. “Here.”

Black took the calendar and began flicking through it. He froze when he saw some of the drawings. “This… How?” He uttered before passing the calendar to Akai. When the other FBI agent saw the pictures, he just chuckled a bit but didn’t otherwise comment or react to them.

“Shuu?” Jodie asked carefully.

“Nothing. She could have seen these organization members at streets but haven’t had any ideas who they actually are. Besides… This date here…” He pointed at a picture of Gin and Vodka. “An associate of mine told what happened then. A bomb in shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto. He wasn’t in the train but his friend did give comprehensive description fitting to these two.”

“So you think she could have been involved there? Maybe even be that friend?” Black asked.

“Exactly.” Akai nodded. He gave the calendar back to Jodie who put it back to the purple shoulder bag. “My opinion is to ignore her for now. She is still in a coma and won’t harm us. And if no one has tried to contact her, it means no one misses her.”

“But isn’t it weird that there is no signs about her identity? And what were those weird words then? She could know something about Mizunashi.” Jodie argued.

“It’s not my head-ache. Like I just said, she is still in a coma. She won’t endanger our mission here if she isn’t even awake. And if she happens to wake up… we shall think about it if it is while we are still here.”


Jodie and Black left the room. Akai told them he was going to stay there for a while to look for clues just in case. The girl just slept on peacefully and nothing indicated that something could have been wrong with her or the entire situation.

“So, what brings you here? And how is possible that no one has asked about you or tried to contact you? Are you even connected to Midorikawa?” Akai asked aloud even though he knew the girl wouldn’t answer. “I guess you are not going to wake up.” He continued. The girl didn’t react in any way. Akai walked a bit closer but stopped when the girl frowned. A weak voice spoke quietly but Akai could hear a hint of urgency in the voice.

“Hime-san, wake up already! They are coming. They are here soon!”

By an instinct Akai grabbed the girl’s shoulder and shook it carefully.

“Hey, are you alright?” He asked her but she was again deep in her sleep, the lines on her face smoothing out once more. “Won’t you wake up?” He added a bit quietly before leaving the room. He needed to think about this carefully. ‘Hime-san’ was a name used for Mizunashi Rena by one person only after all. And that person had told Akai about the shinkansen. But Midorikawa Shugo was hard person to question. He always managed to slip away either physically or metaphorically.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3.

She was in a void. Or then she wasn’t. The space she laid on – or floated in – was pitch black, like deep and dark water. She could breathe just fine there (or was it actually breathing) but all of her limbs were heavy. Like they had been made of lead.

She laid on her back and tried to look around. Right above her was something that resembled the surface of water but above that wasn’t anything that could have been called ‘a sky’. The water-like thing continued there and was also black, maybe even more than the one that surrounded the girl. Sometimes there were voices that spoke but she either couldn’t remember them afterwards of the water drowned the exact contents.

“Hello, little sister. We can’t meet for a long time yet but remember these instructions… They are the same I gave you before you came to Tokyo. Number one: You are not Kagemiya Hoshi here. You are Okiya Tsukiko. Number two: lie about everything they ask you. And number three: Find one person you’ll trust explicitly. Good luck.”

That was the voice right at the beginning. She didn’t hear it again and eventually gradually forgot about it.

The girl didn’t know how long time she was like that. Just lying in the dark and waiting. A minute? An hour? Several hours? A day? She wasn’t sure at all.

Suddenly the girl noticed that she was standing on her own two feet. The surface-like thing was above her head now but while she felt like she was standing, there wasn’t anything beneath her feet. The emptiness – or water – continued there. Now though she was able to move her legs and arms.  She took some steps. She noticed it was pretty easy but not as easy as… where she usually was. What was before this place again?

“Where am I? Who am I?” The girl thought for the first time. She got no answer. There wasn’t anyone else with her. Or was there? The girl looked around herself and saw someone a couple of meters away from me. She lay on her back like the girl had done earlier and seemed to be asleep, floating in mid-air… mid-water? But the strange thing was… The girl recognized that woman.

“Is she…?” The girl approached the prone form of the woman. “Mizunashi Rena…”

But how did she know the woman? What an earth was going on? Was this a weird dream – or nightmare? Or was this a bad fantasy story? The girl truly hoped it was just a dream. But if it truly were just a dream… why she hadn’t woken up already?

“W-What is this? What is happening?” The girl watched the unconscious newsreader and grabbed her shoulders. She felt solid but the girl had a feeling the woman wasn’t actually… there. “Hime-san, wake up before the crows arrive. Please…” Why was she calling her that?

“Mumei-chan, you are the one who should wake up.” A voice said but it sounded to come from somewhere very far away and echo a bit. The girl looked around but once again didn’t see anything to indicate where the voice was coming from. She shook Mizunashi’s shoulders even more. Tears appeared in her eyes when the woman didn’t react at all. “Please, wake up… I… I don’t want to be here alone… This place is scary…”


 

The girl stood silently beside Mizunashi. She didn’t want to wander around that weird place anymore. It was too scary. Too absent of everything. Time to time it was like a presence nearby to be felt but she never saw anyone. The girl didn’t need anything as she stood vigil. No food, drink or sleep. She only feared that she would be alone.

Time lost its meaning in that void.

And at point she got a bad feeling. Something was coming toward the two of them. The girl frowned and saw shadows flickering somewhere far away. They grew and shrank in turn but every time seemed to be a bit closer than before. Then one of them came much, much closer than the others previously and she recognized it as a crow. A bad omen. The crow flew around, sometimes came closer but always flew further, like he hadn’t seen them. Once he landed right next to the two females and opened its beak. It sang nine notes that formed a melody.

“That melody… Nanatsu no ko?” The girl’s eyes widened. The crow flew away and didn’t come back but the ominous feeling didn’t leave with it.

“Hime-san, wake up already! They are coming! They are here soon!” The girl once again grabbed onto the unconscious reporter’s shoulders and shook her once again. “One… one of them might already be here…” She added, scared.

Then… something touched her shoulder, like a hand, and shook it a bit. The girl also heard a male voice. Unlike with the previous voices, she could actually say this one was male one. But it also came very far away and she could barely even hear what he was saying.

 “Hey, are you alright? …Won’t you wake up?”

And something happened there then. The water around everything evaporated and Mizunashi with it. The girl didn’t have time to react to anything when all she could hear was static. The darkness was gone, replaced by bright pure whiteness. The girl fell on her knees and for the first time noticed wearing some hospital clothes. At least she thought she was. She had never stayed at hospital for extended time.

The static rattled everything again. This time it revealed another girl. She looked just like her. Jade. That was her name. The other girl looked just like Jade but had black hair. Her eyes were closed, like she was asleep. She was wearing the hospital scrubs too and underneath her bare feet was a kanji painted. It was one of the few Jade could recognize.

Star

“Hoshi…” She whispered and like triggered by the word, the world tilted. The both girl’s fell. Hoshi first, limp like a ragdoll. Jade then, curled tight into a terrified ball.

But Hoshi fell slower, making Jade fall right into her. There wasn’t a crash though. Only flickering images, static filling her ears and finally… Finally a blissful darkness.


 

Her eyes flew open. She felt dizzy and could barely even see anything. What little she could see though, was that she was lying in a dark place. It was a room. Slowly the girl sat up and looked around. Now she could see much better. The lights of the room were off and made the room pretty shadowy. But everything was pretty light. The walls, bed sheets, curtains… Everything was grey, not black. The room resembled pretty much a hospital room. The steady beeping of heart machine confirmed it.

The door of the room opened and a nurse stepped in.

“Oh, you have woken up. That’s good. Are you okay? You heartrate rose so rapidly…” The nurse asked. The girl licked her dry lips. Her throat felt parched.

“I think so. What happened?” She mumbled weakly. Her voice was hoarse. The nurse went to a nearby station and returned with a paper cup of water with a straw in it. She helped the girl to drink from it with small sip as she went to explain the situation.

“You have been in coma for a while. I heard you were hit by a car.” The nurse told her.

“How…How long time…?” The girl swallowed.

“Five months.”

“Oh…” She let out a breath she hadn’t realized to be holding. Five months was something she definitely hadn’t expected. And being hit by a car… Well, she didn’t really remember it. Maybe later…?

“It’s closer to midnight right now, I think you should sleep over the night. I’ll bring you some food at tomorrow morning then.”

“Alright… I am tired.” The girl noted and leant her head back to the pillow once more.

“Before I let you fall asleep again…” The nurse spoke up again. “What is your name? Can you recall it?”

“Okiya… Okiya Tsukiko.” The girl replied, half asleep. Not Jade, not Hoshi… Where did that thought come from?

“Thank you.” The nurse left.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4.

Waking up on the next morning was hard. Tsukiko felt like she had slept only a few hours. The girl yawned and looked around. The room was brighter and now she could see everything better.

“Geez, I’m so tired…” The blonde mumbled as she rubbed her eyes and stretched. After the long rest in actually surprisingly comfy hospital bed it felt good to stretch properly and feel the joints pop on their proper places… Once the mandatory cat-imitation was done, Tsukiko noticed something near the bed. A chair and her clothes neatly folded on it. And on the top of her clothes was a little piece of paper. The girl took the paper and began to read it.

“These are your clothes you had when you were brought here. We have washed them and the items, which were in the pockets of your jacket, are now in your bag.
If you want to you can walk around the hospital in your own clothes but we still hope that you’ll sleep and eat in your own room. We also hope that you won’t leave the hospital in any case. Your wounds are not fully healed yet and you have just woken up… Bla bla bla…”
The girl didn’t read it ‘til the end. She had already gotten the point. She’d be able to walk around without looking like a patient but she mustn’t leave the hospital. Okay, she wasn’t going to do it then. Leaving the hospital that was.


 

Jodie stretched while walking on the corridors of the hospital. Somehow she had managed to get some sleep last night a bit but not that much. After all the agent needed to be alert during all the times.

“Oh, excuse me miss…” The woman heard behind her. It was the same nurse she had met before in that unknown girl’s room.

“Yes?”

“The girl you were worrying about… She woke up last night.” The nurse told the American woman. Jodie nodded.

“Well, that’s good to hear. Has she told her name?”

“Hai, she is Okiya Tsukiko.”

“Thank you for this information. I’ll visit her later so she can rest a bit first.” Jodie smiled. The nurse bowed a bit and left then to check the rest of her patients. Jodie watched after the woman’s retreating back but left soon too. The agent was right now heading to Professor Agasa Hiroshi’s house where a boy named Edogawa Conan waited for her. The boy had something very important to tell to her.


 Tsukiko yawned again and lifted her legs down from the bed. It felt weird after lying still for so long time. Slowly she was up though, standing on her own two feet. The blonde took a step and another one. It was slow progress and in the half way across the room Tsukiko had to lean against the wall for support.

“Is this was the little mermaid felt like when she got legs?” The girl muttered but continued walking then. The distance was only three meters but for her it felt like three kilometers. Eventually Tsukiko reached the far wall opposite the bed though. There were a little table and another chair there and on that chair she collapsed on. A moment later the girl noted her bag placed on the table. Tsukiko opened the bag. Everything in there was in a different order than previously and it meant only one thing: someone had rummaged through it. Instant paranoia struck Tsukiko but she shrugged it away. Maybe it had been done only in order to find out who she was…

Slowly, the girl made her way back to the bed. This time it was a bit easier. Once there, Tsukiko changed into her clothes and sat down on the chair next to the bed with a sigh. Getting exhausted so quickly…Well, it was only expected.

Someone knocked on the door and opened it. It was the same nurse than the one who had come to check on the girl on the previous evening. Now she had a breakfast tray with her.

“Ohayoo gozaimasu!” The nurse greeted with a smile. “I brought some breakfast for you.”

“Thank you.” Tsukiko said quietly and offered a smile back. Her throat was feeling a bit hoarse after the time of disuse.

“I have to say you speak very fluent Japanese even though you look a bit like a foreigner. Have you been here a long time?”

“Well, kinda long, yes.” Tsukiko replied a bit nervously while inwardly she screaming and panicking. “’Japanese’? ‘Been here’? What? Am I in Japan now? What an earth has happened?”

“Oh, sorry, my mistake…” The nurse suddenly apologized. “Of course you have roots in Japan, more or less, since your name is Okiya Tsukiko.”

“That’s okay, I’m used to it.” The blonde girl gave a tight smile. Maybe it was better for her to pretend that she was – indeed – Japanese.

The nurse left and Tsukiko ate the porridge the woman had brought. At the same time the girl drew a new picture to her calendar. It was a habit of hers, drawing whenever possible. When the drawing was finished Tsukiko smiled – the picture was pretty good – and wrote a sentence in English under it. After that she took her bag and checked what exactly she had had with her on this impromptu trip… Tsukiko had her green cell phone and its battery charger, her calendar that she’d leave on the table, a pencil case, a little mirror and… a glasses case.

“What is this doing here?” Tsukiko frowned and opened the case, finding a pair of familiar eye glasses. They belonged to her friend K-chan from junior high who had got new ones a few weeks ago. That was when Tsukiko had asked the other girl if she would give her the old ones. The blonde put the glasses on her face. The lenses weren’t too strong but still the wrong prescription so she could feel how she had to automatically squint when she had them on. When Tsukiko glanced at her reflection in the little hand mirror, she noticed how she looked very different with glasses. More like a Japanese girl, though her hair color was far too blond. The girl smiled: maybe she could use these glasses as a disguise. Although she wasn’t exactly sure from what she should hide.

When Tsukiko placed her bag back on the table she noticed some blue car paint in the buckle of the bag’s strap. “Hmm… Where has this come from?” The girl mused aloud but let it be. When leaving the hospital room, Tsukiko took her cellphone with her. The phone fees be damned, she had to contact her family somehow.


 

“Oh, one of them is in this hospital?” Akai spoke to his phone. He was on the roof of the Haido Central Hospital and observing the surrounding area with a pair of binoculars. Jodie, who was at the other end of the line, was explaining the situation to the man. The tired-looking agent headed to the door that led inside the hospital. “Roger…” He stated before hanging up the call. Right when he was descending the stairs, the phone beeped, indicating the arrival of a new message. Once checking from whom the message was, Akai opened it in mild puzzlement. The contents of the message made the stoic man blink in surprise.

“You’ll look after her, won’t you, Rye?
–Hibiki”

Beneath the message was a photo of the girl lying unconscious in the room next to Mizunashi’s.

“Nani…” The green-eyed man breathed and almost missed the person walking past him up to the roof.


 Tsukiko walked through the corridors and finally found a staircase that led to the rooftop of the hospital. When she was walking those stairs up, the girl passed someone who was coming the said stairs down. Somehow he seemed familiar to her but Tsukiko didn’t remember meeting him before. Besides with the glasses she had on her face now, she couldn’t really get a good look at him. Not to mention the fact Tsukiko wasn’t really even trying to look at him. Nevertheless she got a feeling about meeting him before. Or at least seeing him somewhere. A feeling of familiarity.


 

 “Sometimes… it’s painful to know the truth…” A young girl, who passed him, mumbled quietly in English. She was obviously deep in her thoughts and not paying attention on her surroundings. Akai recognized her voice immediately and stopped dead on his tracks at the foot of the stairs. He looked up at the girl’s retreating back with a slight frown on his face. The man had heard that voice on the previous day when he’d been in the room next to Mizunashi’s… Checking the girl whom the message, he had just received, concerned.

“What she is doing here? She should still be in coma… What is her connection to Hibiki?” Questions twirled around in the agent’s mind but he pushed them aside, continuing his way towards Mizunashi Rena’s hospital room.


 

Tsukiko closed the door behind her and opened her cell.

“Hmm… I’ll call to my brother… He should be answering… And not to worry about me as much as mum…” The girl scrolled down on his number and pressed the ‘call’ button.

“The dialed number is not located. Please, check the number…” A metallic female voice said almost as soon as the call ‘connected’.

“What an earth? Has he changed his number? How about mum then…” Tsukiko chose another number with a deep frown only to get the same response. A deep sigh. Where was she? And what should she, – no – what could she do? 


 

Jodie was on her way back to hospital with Edogawa Conan. The boy was the one who had found out about the Organization member hiding somewhere in the hospital. It was the information she’d gone to listen earlier in the day. And right now the female agent had just informed Akai about the Crow, letting out a sigh right after the call disconnected.

“What’s up, Jodie-sensei? Is something bothering you?” Conan asked next to the woman.

“Only a bad timing…” Jodie muttered.

“Timing? Has something else happened then?” Black who was driving the car asked, glancing at his subordinate via the rear-view mirror.

“Yes, it’s about that girl next to Mizunashi Rena’s room. I heard she woke up last night.” Jodie explained to the man.

“That is quite bad timing indeed. But right now we have to concentrate finding this organization member before they figure out Mizunashi’s presence there...” Black admitted.

“Ano, what girl are you talking about?” Conan asked curiously, hiding his annoyance. He didn’t really like information being kept from him even when those people were his allies. A presence of a girl whom FBI was taking interest in and that he didn’t know about? Very irritating. Considering she only now woke up… But apparently he had to wait for the explanation for a moment longer.

“It’s a long story. I’ll explain it later.” Jodie stated. “We have to keep the priority of things in our mind. And right now finding the organization member is the more important than worrying about a young girl. No matter what the odds of her presence being a mere coincidence are.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 5.

Tsukiko let out a deep sigh after sitting at the roof for about half an hour and thinking about her current situation. A bunch of questions were running about in her head, ready to form a hurricane. What an earth had happened? Where was she? Why was she there? And even when the girl was walking back to her room, those questions still bounced around.

About at the half-way on the corridor of her room, the blonde stopped her approach. There were some people right in front of the door of her hospital room. Two tall ones, probably adults, and one shorter one. All of them seemed distinctly familiar despite them being at distance and Tsukiko still having her friend’s glasses perched on her nose.

“Tho- Those three…” The girl slipped behind a corner and lifted the glasses on her forehead. “I must have seen wrong…” She muttered, peeking to the corridor where those people still were talking about something. Now, when Tsukiko had a good look on them, she could easily recognize them and could only gulp at the realization. There was no room for further thoughts though as those three people entered her room.

“Oh no, I left my calendar on the table. If they see my drawings… I’m in trouble. In big trouble…”


 

“Eh, where is she?” Jodie asked once the door was open and trio was met with an empty hospital room.

“It seems she only eats here.” Conan stated as he pointed a nearly empty plate on a table placed next to an open calendar. The boy took a good look on his surroundings but couldn’t find anything noteworthy.

“She has drawn something again…” Jodie mused, picking up the calendar. “Sometimes it’s painful to know the truth.” She read under the newest drawing. The picture had only one person in it. A young woman with a long black hair and friendly eyes. But right now her eyes were very sad and teary, and her smile wasn’t that bright either. The Miyano Akemi in the picture wasn’t watching towards the person who held the calendar, only the page’s bottom corner in front of her.

“That sentence… I heard it not long ago.” Akai thought aloud.

“Really? Who said it?” Jodie asked with great curiosity while keeping the page of the calendar towards her chest, hiding it effectively from view. The words made the man blink and realize he had spoken his thoughts aloud. Akai sighed, this time inwardly.

“It was a blond girl on her way to the roof a bit after you called. I doubt she is still there.”

“What did she look like?” Conan asked then. Once Jodie had mentioned the girl on the way to the hospital, he was curious to know more about her. The boy still didn’t know much though.

“She wore glasses and had a violet jacket. That’s all I noticed since we were going to opposite directions.  I doubt she noticed me… And I still stand in my opinion that we should ignore her.” The message from Hibiki was in the agent’s mind. While he had no idea what the other person wanted from the girl other than keeping her safe, Akai was certain it included keeping the girl out of the Organization business. And if no attention was drawn on her by the FBI…

“Do you think so after seeing this drawing she drew?” Jodie practically showed the drawing to Akai’s face. The man frowned a bit and remained silent for a moment before answering carefully weighted words.

“Yes.” The Silver Bullet finally stated, taking the calendar from the woman and closing it slowly. “I do think so. Right now we have to concentrate on the Organization and the wolf hiding in this hospital.”

“What if she is a spy too?”

“I doubt that.” Conan commented. “It’s very unlikely for her to be a spy. You said she had been in coma, right? Do you really think that organization would send a spy immediately to this hospital? Besides it’s impossible to fake coma for that long a time period.”

“Okay, okay then. Maybe she is not a spy.” Jodie mumbled in dismay. She obviously wanted an excuse for keeping an eye on the girl. “But who is she then? And where is she now?”

“Well, since her bag is still here I think she is still at the hospital.” Akai stated and placed the girl’s calendar back on the table. After that he left the room. The agent’s thoughts were in slight disarray. Seeing the picture of Akemi had shaken him. The words written right below it had nailed any double-meaning there might’ve been. And it all just made him wonder just how much the girl knew. Previously he had been able to dismiss the drawings as coincidences but now… He had even more of a reason to keep the girl out of this all. Oh, how he hated life debts…


Tsukiko peeked behind the corner right in time to see Akai leaving the room. Jodie and Conan left it a moment later.

“Kami, am I at Haido Central Hospital? In the world of Detective Conan? Trapped in here?” Even more questions bounced around her head. The whole situation was absurd yet it seemed to make sense in some bizarre way. “Well, at least that explains why I can’t contact my family... But what should I do? What can I do?”

Really, what should she have done? Go and tell everything to them? Hi, I’m from another world! Bad choice, they had more important things to think about. They had no need for distractions or liabilities… And they probably wouldn’t even believe her… Scratch that, they definitely wouldn’t believe her.

“Okay, I need to make up a cover story. And…” Tsukiko’s thoughts came to a halt as she remembered something. Actually two things. The first one was the car that had hit her mere minutes after arriving: a blue Dodge Viper. Chianti’s car. The fact was something ground-shakingly terrifying that also explained the blue car paint in the buckle of her bag's strap. And the second thing was from the night before… “Did I say to the nurse… that my name is… Okiya Tsukiko?”

What a mess… Tsukiko could practically feel how her brains got overheated. A proper thinking fever.

“I need something to drink…” The girl muttered, making her way to downstairs.


 

She found herself standing in front of a drink automat of a patient lounge, pondering what would she choose to drink. Her hand found its way to rub her eyes gently. The glasses of wrong prescription were already affecting her… And the shock of realization of her surroundings was also wearing on her.

“Aisu tii… 350 yen.” Tsukiko inserted three coins into the machine and pressed the matching button. After a few seconds the girl picked the lemon ice tea can from the machine.

“Weird… Last time when I saw those coins I had two and half euros.” The blonde mumbled as she opened the can. She had to fumble a bit on the clip due her glasses but eventually opened it just fine.

“Neechan… Are you tired?” A kid’s voice asked from somewhere on her left. Without looking at him, Tsukiko took a sip from her drink, left-handedly.

“Nope. Why do you ask?”

“I just thought. You have been in coma for five months and I saw how you just rubbed your eyes.” The boy, none other than Edogawa Conan, answered. “And for a coma patient neechan is up and about quite well.”

“If you know I have been in coma, then you might also know who I am.” The girl remarked dryly, still not looking at the kid. And lo and behold! The kid went into detective mode!

“I heard that your name is Okiya Tsukiko. I also know you really like drawing and you are allergic to some uncooked vegetables.” Conan told. Tsukiko noted idly he wasn’t mentioning that she possibly knew a lot but maybe that was a sign that the boy wasn’t suspecting her. She had no idea that someone was trying to cover her knowledge.

“Uncooked vegetables?”

“Carrot for example that was in the salad. You had bitten one but left it on the plate among the rest. You obviously like carrots but can’t eat them like they were. About everything else was eaten though.” (A/N: Let’s say that the food Tsukiko ate is like the food served in airplanes…)

“Good job, Tantei-chan. As I expected…” The blonde clapped her hands together a couple of times, half-heartedly. “Everything you said is true, more or less. But tell me… Can you also reveal why you came to talk to me?”

“Well… I…” The kid was obviously taken aback by the comment ‘As I expected’. “I wanted to ask some questions from you.”

“How brave of you… Go ahead then. Ask.” The empty ice tea can flew to the nearest thrash bin, tossed by the girl’s left hand. That caught Conan’s attention too.

“Aren’t you right-handed?”

“Probably…”

“I mean your calendar was at the right from your plate after you had drawn into it. And you had also placed your fork and knife to the right edge of the plate-…”

“Yes! You are right. No need of telling all your deductions, Tantei-chan.” Tsukiko snapped. “Was that the question you wanted to ask?”

“No… I just…”

“Well, I’m heading back to my room now and I have no need for stalkers… So could you ask it quickly, Tantei-chan?” Oh, the enjoyment Tsukiko got every time she saw the boy reacting to the ‘nick-name’. His eye twitched and it took a moment for him to find a way to reply. Apparently the nick-name threw him off guard due its annoyingness.

“What is the reason you came here?” Conan finally managed to ask. Thankfully Tsukiko had recalled the details of her accident a moment before so she had no problems in answering. She just didn’t feel like telling to the boy. He’d just freak out. Better keep it vague then…

“I got hit by a car somewhere in Beika town, closer to Haido though since I’m here... If I remember right it happened in November though.” At least the estimations of DC timeline told her so. Tsukiko spared a glance on the boy. The gears were moving steadily, trying to find as much information as possible.

“I already know that. I want to hear more about the accident itself.” Conan ‘whined’.

“Then why didn’t you say so?” The brat and his questions were starting to irritate her. “Okay, I’ll tell you then. I was walking across a street when a car came behind corner, over-speeding, and hit me. The car didn’t stop nor that other car that was driving right next to the one hitting me. It was probably a street race or something. Aren’t there two such gangs around here? Black Star and Red Comet?” The explanation was short and precise. Tsukiko even tried to divert the detective kid’s attention to another possible explanation. “Satisfied?”

“Do you remember anything about those cars? What did they look like? It might help me to catch the culprit.”

You? What do you mean by that? I didn’t ask your help. Besides what could a kid like you do?” How annoying. He was acting like a greater detective to a complete stranger(though he did that in regular basis) and most likely thinking he could catch the culprit(which he can’t). “Besides, I doubt there is any chance of catching them. It was a pure accident after all.”

“But…” Conan seemed annoyed too. ”Fine, just tell me about those cars.”

“There is nothing to tell.” Tsukiko shrugged and slightly shook her head. “But you are in luck that I happen to be interested in expensive cars since they are interesting to draw… I can give you a picture if you just wait a moment…”

The girl took a step away from the drink automat. “I’ve got a calendar in my room – are you know since you sneaked in – and with some luck it might even have a page or two to spare…”

“But can’t you really tell me anything, Tsukiko-neechan? Since you like cars you’ve probably recognized them…” Damn, he caught on the lie. Not that he knew it was a lie.

“If you really want to know… the car that hit me was a blue sports car… possibly a Viper and the other one was a black Porsche 356A…”

Mistake. I had said too much but now it was already too late. Conan’s eyes widened and before I could react he had grabbed my hand and was dragging me to upper stairs with a hurry.


The shrunken detective led Tsukiko to the third floor where her hospital room was. Dragged really. But once the girl saw Jodie there, waiting, she stopped. And despite the strength of the boy, he still was only a first grader. And no amount of strength or willpower could move someone considerably bigger. No matter what sort of picture the movies and openings gave of the boy since usually Ran was reduced into a Damsel in Distress…

At the sudden stop, Conan gave Tsukiko a surprised look. The girl made a split-second decision of how to deal with the situation. There was no way she’d willingly come along no matter how exciting it would be! That would be just plain suspicious… Tsukiko pulled her hand free hand back and did something that surprised everyone – even the girl herself. She spanked Conan’s cheek. In the moment of confusion Tsukiko took her chance to free her hand from Conan’s vice-like grip. Then she dashed off, past stunned Jodie and to the direction of her room.


The girl ran away. Conan watched after her while rubbing his stinging cheek. Jodie walked up to him squatted down on the boy’s level.

“Are you alright, Cool Kid?” She asked.

“Yeah… I just didn’t expect that she would hit me or anything like that.” The boy muttered. “I think we should go after her. I know where she is.”

“Did you find out something then from her?” The female agent questioned as they made their way towards the girl’s room.

“Yes… And I’m almost certain that she knows more that she let on. She was deliberately vague when I asked questions.”

They arrived to the door but when Jodie tried to open it, she found someone was holding the door knob and thus trying to stop her opening the door but restricting the movement of the knob.

“Okiya-san? What are you doing? Let the door knob go.” Jodie called through the door.

“Le-Leave me alone!” They heard from the room. The agent tried to twist the door knob a couple of times but no avail. Conan looked at Jodie and then at the door knob.

“Turn it to the other direction.” The boy said quietly.

“Eh?”

“Right now you are turning the door knob clockwise. Turn it to the opposite direction. It also opens the door but I bet she doesn’t expect it.” The kid explained, nodding his head towards the door behind which the girl was, clutching the knob with her both hand to prevent it from being twisted. Jodie considered the situation a moment and did like Conan had described. They heard a surprised yelp behind the door and a soft thump when the door opened. The duo found the girl sitting on the floor a short distance from the door. She had most likely fallen down when the door opened, taken by surprise.

 “Why can’t you just leave me alone?” Okiya Tsukiko asked angrily as she got on her feet.

“Okiya-san, calm down. We just want to talk with you.” Jodie said, attempting to placate the girl. The young blonde just huffed, her hands on her hips and gaze on the floor.

“…Fine then. Talk what you have to.”

“Tsukiko-neechan, what do you know about… us?” Conan asked. Tsukiko frowned as she heard a different tone in his voice, ‘the detective tone’. The more curious and adult-like one. The girl sighed deep.

“Nothing special… Nothing worth of mentioning.” She waved a dismissing hand while looking out the window. The girl turned then and walked to the said window, her hand burying themselves deep into her jeans pockets.

“Okiya-san, is it okay if we come here time to time to check that you are alright?” Jodie asked carefully, sensing the girl’s obvious discomfort.

“Whatever…”

“Alright, we’ll see you at some point tonight then.” With that the duo left the hospital room and Tsukiko sighed again. For a minute she weighed about the possibility of telling everything to them but in the end she’d decided to stay in her first option.


 

“She might be in danger.” Conan stated once he and Jodie were walking around the floor without any particular destination. Now they were far enough from the girl’s room (and Mizunashi’s) so they could talk relatively free.

“Danger?” Jodie repeated in confusion. “What makes you think so?”

“She told me about the two cars that she saw: a blue Viper and a black Porsche. The Viper was the one that hit her and the accident happened in Beika town.” The chibi detective told with a worried frown evident on his face.

“She was brought in a bit after Mizunashi’s accident…” Jodie remembered. ”It was probably when the Organization was leaving from Beika after they tried to kill Mouri-tantei.”

“It’s possible that they remember her but it is also possible that they didn’t pay any attention to her. But she made clear she didn’t think we’d have any chances in finding them. Although it might’ve been due the fact I’m just a kid.”

“But the drawings in her calendar…” The female FBI agent thought aloud. “They can’t be just a coincidence… What’s more, she indicated knowing about us despite the fact we meet for the first time.”

“Yeah…”

“I don’t care what Shuu is saying but I’m going to keep an eye on her. She is either dangerous or in danger, and we’ll find out exactly which one.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 6.

Tsukiko had fallen asleep. She could deduce it from the fact she’d also woken up. Thankfully so since the chair she’d been dozing on hadn’t been the most comfortable one. Scratch that, it was awful. In any case, when the blonde had woken up, she’d noticed something extra in the hospital room she was occupying. Someone who definitely didn’t belong in there. It was tantei-chan, Edogawa Conan. The boy was sitting on the floor near the door and leaning against the wall. The boy was deep asleep and his legs were sticking straight ahead. It was quite cute sight actually. The boy for once looked like his physical age. Tsukiko smirked at the sight and quietly, she rose up from the chair. She slowly approached the shrunken detective. She crouched in front of him and gave him a fillip right in the middle of his forehead. The action woke him up immediately and effectively.

“Ouch! Why did you do that?” The boy demanded immediately, a hand flying to cover that hurting spot on his forehead. Impressive, he wasn’t even bleary-eyed for having just woken up.

“What are you doing here?” Tsukiko asked calmly despite the angry frown on her forehead. “Keeping an eye on me? Or just taking a nap before catching Kusuda Rikumichi?”

“Hmm… yeah…” He mumbled, thoughts elsewhere. Maybe his brains were still half-asleep…

“Which one of those two opinions?”

“Both... Hey! How do you know about Kusuda?” So now he’s alert then. Slow…

“It doesn’t really matter now, does it? But time is running now. You should hurry. Otherwise the conflict might start without you.”

“…” Crumbling something inaudible under his breath, Conan got on his feet and left the room in a mild hurry.

“Tch, no need to thank me at all for waking you up… I’m sure you would have woken up on your own just fine…” The sandy-blonde girl muttered sarcastically as the door closed. She turned around to walk to the only window of the room and moved the curtain aside a bit. After a moment or two, she could see two pairs of car headlights driving past and vanishing into the darkness.

“Tomorrow…”


 

For the rest of the night, Tsukiko couldn’t sleep. The situation was far too interesting and exciting… And scary. It wasn’t every day that one woke up in a fictional world. It wasn’t every day that you ended up somewhere where you could potentially die just because you were at wrong place at wrong time. Okay, it could happen in the real world too but in this one the frequency and risk was much greater. So Tsukiko just sat next to the window and played Backgammon with her cell phone in order to waste time. She was feeling skittish. She needed to do something.

And for hours she did just that until someone knocked to the door and opened it. It was Jodie.

“Come.” The woman said simply. Tsukiko blinked once but ended the game and followed the agent. But before leaving the room though she took my calendar with her; she definitely didn’t want to leave it alone anymore. She didn’t need any strangers asking difficult and awkward questions from her. At least not any more than they already threatened to do.


 After following Jodie through the corridors, the duo entered to the room the FBI was using as a planning room. Their pseudo headquarters. Once there, Tsukiko opened her mouth to ask ‘why?’ – a question that had plagued her mind since leaving – but the female agent beat her to a punch and began explaining. Well, ‘explaining’ was an exaggeration. She only told the situation with once sentence.

“You’ll stay here that we can keep an eye on you.”

Tsukiko blinked and looked away from everyone whose attention was on her anyways. “How… risky. This way I’ll hear all of your plans.” She muttered but let the others hear it too. She tried her best not to show how interested and happy she actually was about the situation. It wasn’t easy but she managed.

“While that’s true we can’t make the same mistake than we did with Kusuda.” Black told her. Oh, he was in the room too. Tsukiko glanced at the older man sideways and gave a thoughtful nod to his direction.

“I suppose that makes sense though I’m not privy to the background of that particular sentiment.” She stated and produced her cell phone from the pocket of her slightly faded jeans. “Am I correct to assume that I have to give my cell phone away too?”

“That’s right.” The old man replied and nodded to Jodie to take the phone. The woman moved to take it but the girl just dodged her hand a sidestepped with a little twirl to stand by Akai’s side, promptly ignoring the curious glances around. When she offered the phone to Akai, he frowned briefly but took the phone anyways.

“Take a good care of it, okay? I just got high scores in Backgammon.” Tsukiko grinned and pocketed her hands into her now-empty jeans’ pockets. She then proceeded walking through the room, once again ignoring the glances. By the opposite wall from the door, Tsukiko leaned casually against the windowpane and gazed outside. She let the agents’ voices wash over her as their conversation continued.

Time to time the girl received some curious glances but she tried her best to ignore them. Tsukiko listened the agents’ conversation but didn’t really concentrate in it. After all, she already knew what they were going to do in the end.


 

After a while Akai left the room ‘to plan’ and Jodie mentioned his ‘happy’ attitude towards the prospect of the Organization possibly attacking the hospital. Black assumed it was due the fact the younger man having now the chance to take revenge on the murder of his (ex-)girlfriend. Assumption which caught Conan’s interest. After some more questions and answers about the topic, the boy finally asked the woman’s name. And Tsukiko spoke without thinking.

“Tantei-chan…” She sighed without looking at the present company in the room. “You already know her.”

“Stop calling me ‘Tantei-chan’…” Conan frowned in irritation but Jodie interrupted him, grasping on the first slip up the girl had made that day. The information about the cars didn’t count.

“What makes you think so, Okiya-san?” The female agent asked. “You barely even know what we are talking about.”

“I…” How was possible that every time… Every single time Tsukiko managed to say something worthwhile, it would be something that would raise suspicions and cause problems for her. She sighed mentally before offering an explanation. “I noticed it from a newspaper.”

“Newspaper?” Jodie echoed.

“Hai. At least I think the woman in the photo was the same than you are talking about now… Tantei-chan was in that photo too. Besides, it was pretty big headline when the last robber from the one billion yen robbery was caught. If I hadn’t noticed it I would have been blind or something.” The blonde girl explained in a manner that seemed calm but inside she was anything but. “Moreover… What are the odds that some other bank robbery of that scale would’ve happened in the timespan you just laid out. Unless it would have happened during the time I was in coma… But in any case this is no mystery novel where bodies and crimes are dropping from the sky.” If only… Don’t lough, Tsukiko. Don’t you dare to laugh and blow this up now…

“Okiya-neechan…you are rather talkative, you know…” The little nerd with glasses remarked.

“Eh? I really am not. Only when I need to explain things to kids.” His eye twitched. It was quite hard to hide one’s real thoughts and at the same time take care that no one would suspect one… while giving an impression that one wasn’t a complete pushover or idiot. Time for topic change. “But… now that we are talking about the article… something in that headline is bothering me…”

“Really? What is it then?” Jodie asked with interest. Tsukiko could hear from her voice how curious the woman was. Was this an interrogation now?

“Well… you said it was a murder and I guess it is true since you are from the FBI and probably know this case and the modus operandi of these guys you were talking about much better than I do… But that news’ headline said that the ‘One billion yen robbery perpetrator committed suicide’. I wonder why that is so…”

“Because the gun was left there pretty close to her with her prints on it and there were no signs of anyone else having been there. And Japan Police Forces doesn’t know about this organization we are chasing.” Conan gave the answer with a bored tone in his voice and the best deadpan look he could muster.

“Oh, I see.” A fist hit an open palm in fake realization. In her mind she couldn’t help adding though why FBI was aware of the organization then. Was Vermouth the only reason? But in the end the aim of her question was reached: the discussion had come to the end for Tsukiko part. Finally the attention of Jodie, Conan and others’ in the room was turned off the girl. She sighed quietly. She really should be much, much, more careful with what she was about to say. Especially when everything was in the beginning for her. 


Hours passed. Conan left the room to go to the roof with an intention of talking with Akai. The FBI agents left too, scattering about the hospital or alternatively to catch some sleep. Tsukiko was left alone in the meeting room. She yawned.

“Geez, they said they’ll keep an eye on me. How is that possible if they leave me alone without bothering to even lock the door…?” The girl shrugged and tore a page from the calendar with her.  One of the few pages that had only one side drawn. But the drawing could serve its purpose too… Tsukiko wrote a short note of three sentences and left the page on the table there. Hopefully the right person would pick it up. Oh well… If anyone else picked it up, only thing it would do was messing their heads if they were to find the ‘hidden’ message of it.

‘So tired. Gotta sleep. I’m at mah room.
-Tsukiko’


 

Tsukiko wasn’t sure how long she’d slept when she woke up again. But what had woken up the girl was something she could hear from the corridor. Voices. How brilliant soundproofing this hospital had… Those voices were coming closer though before finally stopping right behind the door of her room. When the door opened and the girl gulped inaudibly.

“It seems this room is empty. You’ll wait here.” A man’s voice said. Obviously he didn’t notice her… Tsukiko was hugging her knees and otherwise tightly curled up underneath the comforter. Moreover the room was extremely dark at night time. So the man (whose identity the girl could guess) naturally didn’t notice the slight bump on the bed or the blonde hair on the pillow. Tsukiko wasn’t sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing though… Maybe a good thing since Camel (that’s who the man was) couldn’t afford losing minutes and Eisuke needed to be pushed out of way. Or then bad thing since Eisuke was being left in the girl’s room and apparently the agent’s observational skills needed work as he didn’t notice the name tag outside the door being filled by now..

“Eh? Wait! I wanna talk with my sister.” Another voice argued back. “Hey! Don’t!”

Yeah, the identities were pretty much confirmed now. Tsukiko didn’t bother turning her head to double check. The door closed with a little ‘click’.

“Great… It’s locked…” Tsukiko thought with a heavy sigh which didn’t alert Eisuke of her presence quite yet. The boy tried to open the door but after a while he gave up and sat down on the edge of the hospital bed.

“Geez, I finally found Hidemi-neesan and now I can’t even talk to her…” The teen sighed, shoulders slumping. Tsukiko decided now to inform him that he wasn’t alone in the room.

“Well, would it have been better if you hadn’t found her at all?” She asked, causing him jump up in alarm and then trip on the floor. Once on his feet again though, Eisuke dashed to the door and flicked the light switch next to it. The room became illuminated and forced Tsukiko to blink a couple of times. When she had the focus of her eyes in control again, she heard Eisuke speaking again, asking one simple question.

“Who are you?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 7.

"W-Who are you?" Eisuke asked. Slowly, Tsukiko sat up and took the glasses on the bedside table. Placing them on her face, the girl faced him. The high-school boy was obviously shocked and still holding his hand on the door knob. The girl chuckled.

"Hondo-kun, that door won't open." She told the boy in amusement.

"Who are you?" Eisuke repeated his question and added a demand. "Answer to me."

"You don't need to know it yet." Tsukiko quipped, getting on her feet and walking to the door. Eisuke took immediately some steps away from her, trying to keep distance. The action made the blonde smile. Though that smile wore off right when she tested the door knob. "Damn Camel…"

"Eh?"

"…" How to answer to that? Tsukiko wasn't exactly sure how much she could say to the boy but finally spat out: "I know he was ordered to lock you in an empty room. But my room… Why couldn't he at least check this room out properly?!" In frustration, the girl kicked the door and crossed her arms on her chest. Eisuke just remained quiet and gaped at her. Well, the situation probably wasn't most usual in any possible way… Tsukiko let out a sigh, her arms relaxing and falling on her sides.

"Sleep. I'll try to open this door." She told him.

"E-… How are you going to do it?" Eisuke asked with an uncertain tone in his voice. Naturally.

"With a hair pin, of course. I have some in my bag even though I never use them…"


Eisuke fell asleep quite soon. It was good: it meant Tsukiko didn't need to wait any longer. She lifted her glasses on her forehead and walked to the table with her bag to take some items out from it: three hairpins (all she owned), her old, blue cell phone that had been hidden underneath all her other stuff and its hands-free. Immediately, the girl dialed the number of the green cell phone she'd had given to Akai and pressed the 'Call' button. The vibration of that 'official cell' was off and so was the keypad lock. It meant Tsukiko only needed to wait…

After a couple of minutes the call was connected. Something probably had hit the green cell's 'Answer' button.

"My phones are not from this world so they shouldn't harm hospital devices…" Tsukiko thought idly while breaking the lock. It was harder than she had believed it to be (though she had known it wouldn't be a walk in a park) but thankfully she had something to listen whilst working. After a couple of minutes Tsukiko stopped what she was doing and concentrated on listening only and memorizing the information she received. A smirk spread over the girl's face. It seemed everything was true... All those well-reasoned theories, Tsukiko had read back at home from the Internet, were true. The trio in the neighbouring room were truly planning all upcoming events right there…. All from the car chase to the events in Raiha Pass…

"But it's not the time yet. Besides I already knew…" Tsukiko mumbled, hanging up the call and taking off the hands-free. "Gotta admit though… It's nice to have a confirmation about it…"

The girl got up and walked up to her bed. Eisuke was sleeping soundly there. Probably the fact his sister is alive and safe(at the moment) had relaxed him and allowed his body to finally catch up the sleep he must've missed duo stress.

"Good." Tsukiko whispered, going to change her clothes behind a screen and then continuing with the lock-picking.


The FBI was having a meeting. Black told about the plan he'd come up with. The escape plan with three vans. The last chance like he called it. And when the meeting was about to end, that was when Akai and Conan stepped in.

"Creeping like a shadow and disappearing like a fog. That's their favourite ploy..." The man told the rest of the agents when closing the door behind him.

"Where have you been? The strategy meeting is over!" Jodie scolded him immediately. Poor man...

"No problem... Three stretchers and three outside parked vans already tell me what the plan is." Akai stated. "It doesn't seem very cunning but I was expecting something like this. Right, boy?"

"Yes!" Conan smiled.

"What do you mean, you two?" Jodie didn't like when someone – anyone – was acting like they know more than others did. Maybe she was just stressed out… "And isn't it already the time for Conan to go home?"

"It's alright! I already told them that I'll stay over Agasa-hakase's. I even took a short nap!" Conan explained but eyed the room then. "Umm… Where is Okiya-neechan?"

"That's right... Has anyone actually seen her since our previous meeting?" Jodie asked but the agents in the room just shook their heads.

"In her room it seems…" Akai said, holding a paper that he'd picked up from a nearby table in his hand. "She left a note."

"What does it say then?" Jodie questioned.

"…Nothing special." The Japanese man said, turning the note around. Without saying anything else about the matter, he folded the paper half and put it to the same pocket with the girl's cell phone. "I wonder how much she does know… Is she like Hibiki?"


"Click!" The lock said. Tsukiko let out a sigh of relief and collapsed against the wall right next to the door. "If I had been Kaitou Kid that would have been over in five minutes… or even less. I guess I just need to practice a bit. Kami knows what might happen in this world…" She took her shoulder bag and put the remaining hairpin back. The other two pins had broken during the door-opening mission. Eisuke was still sleeping when the blonde snuck out of the room, leaving a note for the boy, and headed to the meeting room. She knocked on the door and stepped in.

"Ohayoo!" Tsukiko smiled.

"Oh, ohayoo, Okiya-san. Did you sleep well?" Jodie asked.

"Pretty well, I think." The girl lied, grimacing inwardly. She was honestly almost dead on her feet. Camel would pay... "Sorry for leaving without telling you first but I was really tired back then. How are the things doing here?"

"Fine, I think." The woman replied. At that Tsukiko checked the time from her watch. It was 11:07 am. Soon… Very soon the chaos would occur… Three accidents practically were waiting for their turn to take a place on this stage that is life. The girl smiled as she looked out of the window. The actors were stationed and only thing left was the special effects and props to put the wheels in motion.


A fire, a gas attack and a food poisoning caused a flood of patients to the closest hospital. And that hospital just happened to be Haido Central Hospital. The hospital where the FBI, Conan and Tsukiko were.

The girl ate the half of the lunch a nurse had brought her and gave the rest to Eisuke.

"I think it's better if you stay here and don't let anyone come to this room." She said as he began to eat his share. Eisuke blinked.

"Why?"

"Because only a few people: Akai-san, Conan-kun, agent Camel and I, know that you are in this hospital. It's better if you don't walk around." The blonde girl explained. "Besides the FBI is wary and they don't know your sister's real allegiance yet so naturally you can't go to the room next door to talk with your sister. There are three FBI agents on the watch after all."

"How do you know about it?" The bespectacled boy frowned.

"It… doesn't matter…" Tsukiko mumbled, getting up from her chair and walked to the window. Crossing her arms once again she looked at the smoke still coming from a tower block where Haido Cinema was. "I'm not your enemy. To be honest I don't even want to keep you away from your sister. But in this situation it's the best course of action. The FBI doesn't have any trust in me yet and doesn't know you are here or that Hidemi-san has woken up... They are out of loop in so many things here." The girl added with a chuckle.

Eisuke stayed quiet for a moment and asked then: "Why are you doing this then? Who are you?"

"Hmh… At least I'm not from the FBI." Tsukiko mused. Right, she still hadn't introduced herself to the boy. "It doesn't really matter who I am. But I have a brother too and I know how hard it is when you don't know anything about someone who is very important to you. Maybe you can call that a reason."

"Geez, just tell me your name. It's annoying because I don't know how to address you." Eisuke's attitude changed completely and made the girl to open her mouth in surprise. That was the thing bugging the boy? Not knowing how to address her? "We are… allies, right? More or less. You already know my name, so shouldn't I also know yours?"

"Might be… Allies, huh? That sounds good." Tsukiko smiled, turning her back to the window and leaning against the windowpane. "Watashi no namae wa Okiya Tsukiko. Hajimemashite Hondo-san." She gave and short nod. Bowing wasn't really her cup of tea. " Though… Is it okay if I call you just by your first name?"

"It's fine. Hajimemashite, Tsukiko." The two teens shook hands. Right after that Tsukiko sighed in relief and grinned.

"I don't know why but I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders." The girl stretched her arms towards the ceiling. It was somehow a great relief. She had made the first friend in this world and one less person in front of whom she'd have to keep up appearances. One less person watching her back with a suspicious look in their eyes.

The moment was interrupted by a knock on the door. Eisuke hid behind it when Tsukiko went to open it.

"Yes?"

"Okiya-san, here is a delivery for you." It was the same nurse who had taken care of the girl and thus wasn't surprised at all that she wasn't wearing the hospital gown.

"Ah, arigatou gozaimasu." Tsukiko thanked the woman as she took a basket full of fresh fruits from her.

"You're welcome." The nurse smiled and left. The blonde closed the door and carried the basket to the table with a thoughtful frown on her face.

"Hmm…" Carefully, Tsukiko opened the cellophane wrapping around the basket and moved some fruits out of it. There had been a familiar name as the sender's: Kusuda Rikumichi, and if the girl was right, there should be something extra in that basket.

"What are you doing?" Eisuke asked curiously, while watching her doings from the sidelines.

"Nothing special…" Tsukiko replied absentmindedly as she found what she was looking for. A little bomb. The girl took it from the basket and put it in the pocket of her jacket without a word.

"What was that?"

Tsukiko remained silent. She didn't want to spook the boy. He already had enough to think about as it were. The girl picked up an orange from the basket. The fruits wouldn't be poisoned. It wouldn't make any sense for the organization to do so.

"Eat some. You must still be hungry." She told to him as she picked up her shoulder bag from the floor. "Oh yeah… I'm not sure when I'll be coming back so I'm locking the door. Just in case."

"That's not needed. I'm not going anywhere." Eisuke crumbled while selecting an apple.

"Okay, good, see ya!"


Tsukiko run the stairs down, swiftly and efficiently dodging the other patients, and took the bomb from her pocket. After observing it for a while she removed a trigger from it. It was simple enough after all: only a simple contraption on the side of the plastic case. Next was removing the tracker. It was harder as it was inside the casing and underneath the wires, hidden effectively. After those actions, Tsukiko headed to the hospital's parking lot. Jodie and Camel had just come back from their trip to get rid of the flower-pot-bomb that had been addressed to Black. speaking of which, how did they get the man's name? Was he actually a spy? Nah, that was just a crazy theory of some…

"Okiya-san? What brings you here?" Jodie asked the girl as soon as she had the younger blonde on her sights and within hearing distance.

"Oh, just a fruit basket with a nasty little toy hidden in it. Someone by the name Kusuda Rikumichi had sent it to me." Tsukiko shrugged and showed the bomb. "I already removed the trigger from it but… I don't really feel like walking around with a bomb in my pocket." The girl offered the agent a nervous smile.


Camel was standing a few meters away from the rest on the parking lot, wondering who the girl who had just come to talk with Jodie was. It was weird enough that a seven-year old boy was with the FBI (even though Camel knew the boy was smart and helpful) but also a young girl…

"Camel-kun? Is something bothering you?" Black asked suddenly from the man.

"Who exactly is that girl?"

"To be honest... we don't really know. It seems she is helping the FBI and Akai-kun seems to be in opinion of ignoring her… Let's just say that right now we are keeping an eye on her. Just in case." The older man answered.

Camel nodded and left the parking lot to his assigned guarding place. Somehow he had an uneasy feeling about that girl but kept those thoughts firmly to himself.

Chapter Text

Chapter 8.

The agents gathered on the parking lot, left in hurry to find all bombs the Organization had sent to the patients of the hospital in disguise of gifts. Tsukiko sighed inwardly. When one knew what would happen for sure, it was hard to just follow without trying to do anything about it.

The girl sat down on the ground and took the orange she snatched from her gift basket out for her bag. Conan gave her a curious look.

"What's up?" The blonde asked with arched eyebrows as she peeled the orange. The boy frowned.

"Why…? How can you be so relaxed in a situation like this?" The little detective asked with slight tone of accusation in his voice.

"Because…" Tsukiko paused for a dramatic effect. "Whatever is going to happen now it's impossible to stop it. So, why should I get stressed up and think different ways to stop them if I know it won't help at all? Instead, I should stop to think countermeasures to minimize the damage others will cause."

"What makes you think this is impossible to stop?" Conan jumped immediately on the suspicious statement.

"Nee, Tantei-chan... you are pretty smart, right?" The girl ate the first bite of the orange.

"Don't call me like that…" The kid detective murmured. "And answer to my question!" Short fuse apparently. What happened to the level-headed detective of East? You sound like Hattori Heiji now… But Tsukiko ignored the outburst in favor of her story she began to tell.

"Imagine a huge, well-guarded fortress. Inside the fortress is a treasure that every, every single guard is keeping an eye on and worrying about. Of course the surrounding area of the fortress is also well-watched and it's impossible for the enemy to break in and steal the treasure-..."

"So? What does that have anything to do with our current situation?" Conan interrupted me. Were his brains stuck on battle mode instead of planning mode now? He should've realized what Tsukiko meant by now. The girl shot him an annoyed glare.

"What do you think? If you wanna get that treasure but it's impossible to break in and just take it… How can you get it then?" She huffed.

Conan frowned. He didn't get the meaning of that question but still gave his answer: "It could be possible if the treasure is outside of the fortress." That got the girl smile widely.

"You are very close to get the point of these questions." She grinned and ate two bites of the orange. "Well, obviously the guards wouldn't like to move the treasure away from the fortress because they think the fortress is the best and safest place for it. And in that fortress are also some civilians that don't know about the existence of the treasure. So, what could make the guards move the treasure to another place?"

"The enemy should make the guards think the fortress isn't a safe place anymore?" The boy guessed.

"Exactly! You are pretty smart indeed. Do you want some orange?"

Conan remained quiet but Akai, who hadn't said anything to Tsukiko's little questions but attentively listened, smirked, saying: "I see. You think that's their goal? How did you find out about it?"

Tsukiko grinned, "That was a piece of cake – or a bite of orange… Anyways, I found-..." She began explaining but got interrupted again. This time by Black who fortunately hadn't listened(as it would've raised even more unnecessary questions) the questions Tsukiko gave Conan.

"WHAT?! Mizunashi is in the television right now?! Is it really her?" The American exclaimed to the radio he was holding. Calmly Tsukiko ate the last bites of her orange and got on her feet. "Go to her room and check the situation there!" It was the order the girl had been waiting for. And indeed a second later Conan and Akai realized what was going on. Right like Tsukiko had 'assumed'.

"Tell the leaders of each block: Don't let them go into Mizunashi Rena's room!" Conan yelled in panic.

"I guess we are too late…" Akai muttered, glancing at the hospital and then at Tsukiko who was trying her best to hide her smile. Not that anyone else noticed it.

"Finally…" The girl whispered. The planning duo had finally found the real reason behind the bombs. And naturally at the very same pace than in the original manga.


The quartet that had been on the parking lot, was on their way to the third floor when Conan suddenly jerked the sleeve of Tsukiko jacket.

"What is it Tantei-chan?" The girl asked without slowing down or even glancing at him.

"Those hints you gave us…" The boy began but it was now Tsukiko's turn to interrupt him.

"…Didn't work at all. You didn't figure it out in time."

"Did you know what was going on?"

"Yes and no. Like I was about to say on the parking lot, I found this tracker inside the bomb I gave to Jodie-san." Tsukiko dug out a little button-like thing from her jeans pocket and showed it to the boy. "This little thing made me think about what exactly was going on... Which is also why I tried to hint you…"

"Why couldn't you tell outright about it?" Akai joined to our conversation. The three of them fell into a step a couple of meters behind Black. What an odd group they made…

"Of course I couldn't! If I had, it wouldn't have helped at all. The bombs had to be collected anyways but searching and disabling the trackers from them would be waste of time." The girl explained with a shrug.

"Waste of time?" Conan repeated, frowning once again.

"Don't you get it? In any case the Organization would make the agents gather to Mizunashi's room in hurry like what happened recently and then the odds of at least some of the trackers would working would be quite high."

"And everyone would think that telling about the trackers was just a way to buy more time and make everyone careless. Leading suspicions towards you." Akai concluded the explanation with his trademark smirk on his face.

"Correct. But mostly because I knew that telling about the trackers would have led to the very same situation than we are now." Tsukiko lifted the tracker on the level of her eyes and looked at it closely. "By the way… what do you think about it? If I had been a spy from the Organization, would I have been sent that bomb?"

"Probably not. The spy should concentrate on gathering all sorts of information, not to think how to get rid of the bomb without raising suspicions." Conan stated with the same deadpan tone he had used when Tsukiko had asked about the weird newspaper headline. Why you brat… "Why do you ask?"

"There isn't really any special reason. And the question itself was also mostly a rhetorical one. But thank you, Edogawa-kun. It's much easier for me to stay here when I know that at least someone is not constantly suspecting me." The girl smiled down at the boy.

"I didn't say anything about not suspecting you anymore... Hey, aren't you calling me with that nickname anymore?"

"Oh, I can continue it if you want to, Tantei-chan."

"I do not!"


They arrived to Mizunashi's room. Akai and Conan told the other agents about the trackers inside the bombs.

"What shall we do now?" Some agent asked.

"With what's happened, there's no point in staying here any longer. We are going to use our last resort which I told you about this morning!" Black said. Meanwhile Tsukiko crouched beside Conan.

"I told you so…" She whispered to his ear.

"When?" The boy hissed back. Oh, hadn't his brain caught up yet? Well, with all those plans of his, he probably didn't pay much attention on what Tsukiko told him.

"Remember the questions I asked ten minutes ago? The fortress I mentioned meant this hospital, the guards FBI agents, the enemy was the org and the treasure represented that unconscious newsreader…"

"Oh, let me guess. The civilians unaware about the treasure were the patients in this hospital?" The kid didn't bother whispering anymore.

"Bingo!" The blonde girl grinned.

"Conan-kun, Okiya-san, what are you talking about?" Jodie had noticed the duo wasn't really listening the plan.

"A-, we just…" Conan began but Tsukiko beat him to it.

"Tantei-chan just happened to ask some unimportant questions. Like kids do. Nothing special." She explained quickly. The chibi detective gave her evil-eyes.


When Conan made his childish suggestion about moving Mizunashi with Agasa's Beetle, Akai took his cell phone before the boy could make a call and said: "You may be that, boy... but this is not an option. This is our job. I can't allow ordinary citizens to get involved in this any longer."

"D-Demo…" Conan stuttered.

"Leave the rest to us." The man stated, giving the phone back and then telling about his own plan. Tsukiko sighed. The man said he got the idea from Conan's suggestion but in reality he and the boy had planned it in advance. Oh, well… It was a great plan anyways.

Like expected, Camel volunteered as the driver for the van where Mizunashi Rena would be. Jodie walked around the room, telling to every agent their position during 'the chase'. But suddenly and quite unexpectedly she stopped in front of me.

"Okiya-san, you are going to be in the van number one." She said. "You'll lie on the stretcher."

"Heeeh?" To say the girl was surprised was a grave understatement but she ended up just shrugging and saying: "Whatever… I believe in this plan. I guess I'll be alright."


Conan stood on the corridor and let his eyes follow Tsukiko who stepped out of her room. She had gone to leave her bag in there for the course of 'the chase'.

"Bye then, Tantei-chan!" She smiled. "See ya later."

"Say, Tsukiko-neechan… What did you mean with the earlier?" The boy asked.

"Oh, that. Nothing, absolutely nothing." Tsukiko said and walked past him. "Don't worry about it, Tantei-chan. Everything will be fine, at least during this day." She smiled.

Conan frowned.


"Ah, no… Good luck." Jodie said to Camel who thanked. Tsukiko snorted.

"The luck really is needed during this unlucky mission." The girl smirked.

"What do you mean?" Jodie snapped. Apparently, like Conan, she never missed a chance to question the girl.

"Hmm… Maybe I should fix that statement a bit. I meant 'The luck is needed during this successful mission with unhappy end.'" The blonde girl shrugged and left during the silence she had caused with her words. "See you at the vans."

"'Successful mission with unhappy ending'? What does that mean?" Someone pondered aloud.

"Hopefully nothing. We have to go now. Everyone to their positions. Quickly." Black said and all agents left to downstairs. Conan watched after Camel with a nervous look on his face.

"Don't make that kind of face. The success of this strategy is necessary." Akai told the boy, startling him. "Or is it that you're just nervous about my word?" The man smirked.

"No... Not at all." Conan smiled nervously but added then. "Her words just…"

"She might have a good grasp on the situation when it's not expected but I doubt she is an enemy."


It was the time for the vans to leave the hospital. Tsukiko was lying on the stretcher in the van number one and six agents were seated around her. And two more agents were on the front, 'behind the wheel'. It was uncomfortable to say the least but could one do in a situation like hers? The van started its engine. Tsukiko closed her eyes against nervousness and tried to relax. Everything would be fine. She'd be just fine...

The girl listened carefully the car's engine and the way it echoed. It was the only way to find out where the car was driving and what was happening around it. Right now they were still in the underground parking lot of the hospital but soon they headed out along a metallic slip. The tires made a sound like 'rata tata ta' instead of the smooth hum they usually made on concrete and asphalt. And now the sound of the tires had died down. Instead, Tsukiko could hear the other cars around. They were outside. Closing her eyes, the girl concentrated on finding a certain sound. It was easy because inside the van no one was saying anything…

It took a while but finally Tsukiko heard it. A sound of a motorbike: Chianti was following them.

Chapter Text

Chapter 9.

Tsukiko waited. She laid on the cot with her eyes closed. She was patient. She had to. That was practically all the girl could do. She glanced down at her hand and noticed them shaking. Tsukiko clenched them into fists. But of course one of the agents noticed it.

What’s up?” He asked. The girl opened her eyes. If she remembered right, his name was Johnson.

“Nothing. I’m just a bit nervous, that’s all.”

“Nervous? Why?” Apparently the agent had a lot of faith in the plan.

“Don’t you hear that motorbike? It has followed us almost all the way from the hospital. And… I bet there are at least two more bike following the other vans.” Tsukiko didn’t mention Vermouth’s bike. That would’ve raised more than enough unnecessary questions. The agent looked outside through a shadowed window.

“You are right. How did you notice it?”

“When a person is nervous and there isn’t really use for eyes it’s better to use ears.” The girl muttered. “And of course I had a good guess… It was likely that they would follow these vans and try to find out what is the one that has Mizunashi.” She explained before closed her eyes again. Minutes passed and then the motorbike’s sounds became more and more quiet.

“What? Are they giving up?” The agent who had talked with Tsukiko noticed with a frown on his face.

“Probably…” Some other agent thought aloud.

“No.” Tsukiko said sharply. “I doubt it.”

“Well, little girl, what do you think then?” A third agent sneered at the girl. Tsukiko glared him and his name tag saying ‘Murray’. She didn’t like his way to talk. He was probably one of those people annoyed that Conan and Tsukiko were at the hospital and helping the FBI. Well, he was half right(only half): this was FBI’s mission and in real life there shouldn’t be any kids around. But it still didn’t give him any reason to talk to the girl with that tone or look her down. Especially when she was right. Time to make him think.

“What would you think about this then? What could be the other reason for their retreating than giving up?” Tsukiko snarked. It was better to let them deduce it themselves than tell the answer straight away. Some brain exercise and all. Plus they were still suspicious about the girl and her motives.

“A-! Could it be…?” Realization dawned on Johnson’s face. He opened a little shutter in the wall that separated the passenger side from the drivers. “Taylor, inform boss the motorbike that followed us is retreating. It’s possible that the organization has found out Mizunashi Rena’s location.” He said to the agent who was sitting next to the driver and had the radio. The agent, Taylor, just nodded before the shutter was closed.


 

Soon after that Tsukiko fell asleep. The lull in action and lowering adrenaline was the cause of that. Plus she was used to sleeping during long road trips. It made the time go faster. When she finally woke up, the van was already back at the hospital. Tsukiko yawned and sat up. No one was in the van anymore. She yawned again and got up on her feet, heading to the van’s door and opening it. Some agents including Black were in the parking hall, waiting for something. A quick look around revealed that the two other vans weren’t there yet.

“Ho? Aren’t numbers two and three here yet?” Tsukiko asked.

“No, not yet. Number two is on its way here but we have lost contact with number three.” Black answered, frowning at the radio in his hand.

“So the first part of the Plan succeeded… Amazing.” The girl had hard time not to grin in her glee so she decided to attract attention to something else. Fortunately she spotted something – or someone – right for the purpose.  There was a shadow behind a car a couple of meters away. “A le le, what is that?” Tsukiko pointed at the shadow. With an agent(Johnson again) she made her way there. “Jodie-san?” She ‘gasped’.

“Agent Starling? What is she doing here?” Johnson crouched down to shake her awake from her shoulders. After checking if she’d hit her head and she still had a pulse. The woman woke up disoriented and with the other agent’s help the trio made it back to the others. Black was surprised at the sight of her.

“J-Jodie-kun? I thought you were somewhere… else. Camel-kun said…” He stuttered. Poor man. The day wasn’t going as planned at all for him.

“Camel, Camel… He tricked you! How is the mission?” As soon as Jodie had gathered her bearings, she was full of ire and pent up frustration. Thankfully the van number two arrived soon so she didn’t go into full blown rant(probably in English too). And a bit later also Akai’s Chevrolet found its way to the parking hall. Camel was with him. Akai in the other hand refused to tell anything to anyone until they were at the planning room. During the whole way there, Jodie was glaring evilly at the back of Camel’s head.


Akai and Conan explained their plan to the rest of the FBI agents. Everyone in the room was shocked, excluding Tsukiko of course. And being the over-observant little twerp he was, Conan naturally noticed the lack of reaction.

“Okiya-neechan, you don’t seem surprised at all.” He said.

“Maybe because I’m not surprised…” Tsukiko muttered back. Not low enough for no one to hear though.

“So, you are saying you knew about this?” Jodie’s attention snapped on the girl. Tsukiko took a step backwards when the woman leaned towards her accompanied by evil eyes.

“Yes, I did. More or less. This was quite easily predicted after properly assessing the situation.” The girl. Then one of the agents who had been in the van number one opened his mouth. It was the accursed Murray. Tsukiko glared at him.

“I’m more curious to know how you knew the organization’s plan.” He said. “You knew about the three following motorbikes and the reason for their retreating.”

“Like I said earlier… I had a good guess. Anyone with brains and the amount of adrenaline I had could’ve deduced it. To win the enemy, you have to know the enemy. When you know the enemy, you can see through their moves and predict them. So, you must know them in order to defeat them.”

Silence followed the statement. Tsukiko couldn’t figure out why. After all that’s exactly what Akai and Conan were doing all the time. It shouldn’t have been that surprising really. But then, she was an unknown factor still. Finally Akai broke the silence by asking the one question (among several others) that Tsukiko didn’t really feel like answering. “And who is your enemy?”

“The people who put me in this hospital.” Tsukiko stated with a curt tone and hid a yawn behind her palm. “Sorry, didn’t really sleep last night. I was trying to open the door of my room. Someone had locked it…”


The door closed behind the girl. A silence reigned for a while, mulling over her declaration of locked room doors and lock picking.

“Camel, where is that Eisuke-kid?” Akai asked then, breaking the silence once again and concluding the train of thoughts in the room.

“I put him to a hospital room that was right next to Mizunashi’s. There wasn’t much of choice.” Camel stated like it was obvious. Jodie facepalmed at the answer.

“Well, we didn’t inform you…” She muttered, making the man look at her in confusion.

“What do you mean?”

“Okiya-neechan sleeps there. She was in coma about as long time as Mizunashi-san.” Conan chirped up. Cue a wave of facepalms from the other agents in the room.


Tsukiko sat on a chair opposite of Eisuke. The high schooler himself was sitting next to the window and gazing outside, deep in thought. The aura emitting from his told the girl that he clearly wanted to be left alone and let to think through all resent events.

“They probably want to meet you. The FBI, I mean.” Tsukiko stated finally, fishing a peach from the fruit basket on the table and a napkin from a little pile of them. Where they had come from, she didn’t know. Eisuke’s head snapped up but settled then back on his palm, his gaze refocusing on something outside.

“Guess so…” He muttered and frowned.

“Are you even listening to me?”

“Should I?” Okay, that was out of character.

“Well, you don’t need to but…” Tsukiko paused when another yawn came. The boy remained silent. She sighed. “Whatever. I’m going to get some sleep now. Please don’t watch when I’m changing.” The girl got up from the chair and laid the napkin with the peach a top of it on the night stand next to the bed. She took her hospital clothes and changed into them quickly. It was a talent she’d honed at junior high. Back then she used to be a bit self-conscious about her body and didn’t like to be naked even in the presence of other girls. Now however… Well, quicker the deed was done, the better. Why waste time?

But in the end the warning wasn’t even needed. Eisuke barely even noticed Tsukiko was there. The girl laid her bag next to the bed and climbed between the covers. Finally, she could catch some more sleep.


“Knock, knock, knock…”  The sound came through the dreamless sleep and woke the girl up. She blinked blearily and yawned. Someone was at the door and that someone also opened it. The nurse who Tsukiko had seen semi-frequently.

“Morning, Okiya-san!” She smiled.

“Morning…” Tsukiko mumbled and sat up. It was sort of weird to be called with that name all the time. The name also made her think about the problems she was probably – most likely – to face later then.

“I came here to tell you that today doctor will give you a health check-up. If you are alright you can go home already today.” The nurse told the girl with a polite smile. Tsukiko gasped. That wasn’t good at all. Well, it was good in a sense. No need to hang out at the hospital… But in the other hand leaving was problematic too. Because… where would she go then? Somehow the girl managed to keep her poker face on though and gave a tense smile.

“Oh… That sounds great. Thank you for the information.” Tsukiko grimaced internally at her hollow words and swallowed the uncomfortable bile in her mouth down. The nurse left after telling to come and get the girl for the appointment when needed. Tsukiko collapsed against the pillow with a sigh. She needed to come up with something and quickly. And that was when she noticed something missing.

“Wait a minute…” She shot up and looked around. Where was Eisuke? He should’ve been right there, in this room.


 

Tsukiko changed her clothes and left for the FBI’s planning room. There were only few agents and… Eisuke.

“Morning, Okiya-chan. Did you sleep well?” Jodie asked her. The woman was like nothing has happened last night. Maybe it was because of Eisuke’s presence.

“Yes, I did. Of course it won’t fully make up for yesterday but… Hmh? Where is Tantei-chan?” Tsukiko looked around in the room but didn’t see the fire hydrant sized detective anywhere.

“Conan-kun? He left home. Some hours after you went to sleep.”

“I see.” The girl gave a tense smile to the female agent. She really need to find something to change a subject then.

“Umm… Tsukiko-san?” This time it was Eisuke who spoke. Tsukiko noted that he had added ‘-san’ ending to her name. She had expected it though. In the other hand she had not expected the next question. Or had but hadn’t expected it to be him that asked it. She seriously shouldn’t underestimate Eisuke. “Is something bothering you? You seem troubled.”

“Ah, no. I’m alright. I just heard I might be discharged today…” The girl tried to smile, unsuccessfully. She didn’t really have much of a poker face.

“But?” Eisuke prodded, much to the amusement of the scant few agents in the room. Thankfully there weren’t that many to an audience.

“But what? It’s a big relief. I just…” Tsukiko could practically feel how her nervousness levels were rising.

“Okiya-chan, you don’t have any place to go, right?” Jodie noticed. She had suspected the matter for a while. Even though everyone’s attention had been on the Organization and what they were going to do, there was little things that made the bells in Jodie’s head ring in worry. How no one had even called the hospital and asked after a girl of her description. How Tsukiko almost suspiciously eagerly participated in foiling the organization, like trying to distract herself from thinking certain things. She had never mentioned where she usually lived, never really referred to her family in any way(and there had been lull in the action that had allowed for idle conversation despite mutual distrust)… She had reached out to the people she’d only just met and never tried to contact anyone outside the hospital even with the hospital phones.

“That… That is not true… I do have a place to go but… I can’t…” Tsukiko’s hands were shaking in her panic. It was glaringly obvious that she felt trapped in the room full of strangers.

“Okiya-san… Tsukiko-san…” Jodie reached for the girl in the verge of tears. “Let’s go to outside. At the roof, wouldn’t you say?” The woman steered the girl gently out of the room and to the upper floors.


Tsukiko let Jodie to take her to the roof. No one was there to look at her. No one would mock her for missing her friends K-chan and M-chan. She swiped K-chan’s glasses off her face and furiously wiped the tears appearing in her eyes. She missed everyone dammit. Her family, mother, father and little brother that she jokingly called Iruka despite being actually named Lari.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Jodie spoke then. For a moment Tsukiko had forgotten the woman’s presence but in the end it didn’t matter.

“I… Stuff happened. I came to Tokyo without telling anyone. Got in the accident. Came here. No one has found me and all the number’s I tried before meeting with you guys aren’t working.”

“I see…”

The silence fell.

“I don’t even know whose been paying my hospital bills, dammit!” Tsukiko kicked the wall surrounding the roof in a fit of anger. She hated being so helpless.

“You don’t?” Jodie blinked in surprise.

“No! I mean, I figure at first things just went on while I was a Jane Doe and they’d arrange things once getting my name but… I asked the information desk today after hearing about my final check-up coming… They just said it was all handled and had been since I came in. Some mysterious donator or something. I managed to scrounge the name after many, many minutes of needling the nurse.”

“Who was it then?” It was true. Jodie had asked first when the eccentric older lady Kaikyone Sakiko had dumped the responsibility of Tsukiko on her. Back then she had also gotten the answer of the matter ‘being already handled’ but ultimately left it alone then.

“…Hibiki. Hibiki Boshi. And after I woke up and my name was in the system, he gave an instruction to put the money directly into covering my hospital bills.” The girl was frowning now.

Listening to the girl, Jodie came to a decision. She had been mulling over it for a while but this conversation solidified it. So she opened her mouth and asked Tsukiko:

“Would you like to come and live with me?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 10.

“You’d let me stay with you? Really?” Tsukiko asked in disbelief. The offer had surprised her completely. It wasn’t something the girl would’ve ever expected or had even dreamed about. This was something right out of a fanfiction. (Ha ha ha)

“Sure. You’ve been great help to us.” Jodie smiled. And this offered her a chance to observe the girl further. And maybe also find out why Akai got along with her so well. Especially considering his antisocial tendencies.

The girl blinked a couple of more times before…

“Okay.” It was the best (and only) option that she got at the moment. She’d take what she could from it. And if the time came when she had to leave… Well, that was for then.


 

On the way to New Beika Hotel

“And you said that Eisuke will get to the witness protection program?” Brown-haired girl and Edogawa Conan’s pseudo-confidante, Haibara Ai, asked from the shrunken detective. The boy had just told her about the fact that Mizunashi Rena was actually a member of CIA and spying the organization and now also helping FBI.

“Yeah, I heard he doesn’t want it. FBI is trying to make him accept the offer.” Conan replied, bouncing his soccer ball to balance on his back and then back in front of him. “And the other problem is that girl…”

“Yes, this Okiya Tsukiko character. You mentioned her earlier. What exactly is her situation?” Ai inquired.

“Well, she is pretty mysterious. Doesn’t really want to tell anything about herself. She seems to know a lot and was a great help to us despite the distrust on both sides. Ultimately, I don’t think she is a bad person even though she is otherwise suspicious.”

“Well, what do you know about her then?”

“Aside from her name? Not much. She was in a traffic accident and in coma about the same time than Mizunashi. She is smart and while she keeps things she knows close to her chest, sometimes she lets something slip. And she has taken to annoy me deliberately.”

“How so?” Ai quirked a smile at the disgruntled boy.

“She calls me ‘Tantei-chan’ all the time.” Conan spat, clearly offended before sighing. “Maybe that is a good thing though. A sign that she doesn’t have any idea of who I really am…”


Back at the hospital

On their way back from the roof, Jodie and Tsukiko met the same nurse who the girl had talked with earlier during the day. It was time for Tsukiko’s final check-up. And thus the girl left with her to meet a doctor. Meanwhile Jodie headed back to the plan room to meet with the other agents.

“So… You seem to have decided something.” Akai stated right when Jodie closed the door.

“Yes. I’m taking her to live with me.” Whatever the agents in the room had thought she’d say, this wasn’t it.

“Jodie-kun, are you sure?” Black asked in complete befuddlement. Jodie simply nodded resolutely.

“You are not suspicioning her anymore then?” Akai had a faint smirk on his face but his eyes were the ones properly expressing his amusement. Jodie scoffed.

“Of course I am still suspicious of her. There is more than one occasion that have… simply not fit. And while it’s doubtful that she is a spy, she is more than likely to be otherwise connected to the Organization. This way I can keep an eye on her.” The woman explained before turning to directly address Akai. “And may I ask why you have been all this time, more or less, defending her?” She glared while the man calmly stared back.

“I don’t know what makes you think so… but I’m not defending her.” Akai stated, with his arms crossed. Yes, he wasn’t. Simply keeping an eye on her because of a debt. Well, not a debt. Just a request he was heeding to. And he was wary to know how Hibiki knew the girl.

 “But it was your idea to take her to the van number one. She was even aware about your and Conan-kun’s plan while we weren’t. And you never even considered the chance about her being a spy. What is that, if it’s not defending?” Jodie accused.

“It true I didn’t listen to the accusations about her being a spy. And that was simply because of the facts we went through earlier. And about the plan she already knew… I have no idea how she found out about it if she really was trying to break a lock in her room. Maybe you should ask about it directly from her.” There was a clear tone of irritation in the man’s voice though his face remained impassive this time. Jodie seemed ready to argue but both the warning look from Black and the fact her phone rang, interrupted her. Conan was calling her from New Beika Hotel.


It appeared that Tsukiko was well and fine to leave the hospital. It was a big relief to her. Especially now that she even had a place to go. During the check-up the doctor had taken the girl’s blood pressure as well as checked her hearing, vision and weight in comparison to her height. He had asked questions whether Tsukiko felt nausea or dizziness or general weakness in her limbs. For the duration of the examination, Tsukiko had hidden her glasses as she actually had near perfect eye sight and didn’t want the doctor to point out anything unnecessary. But then it was over. And Tsukiko was now on her way towards the plan room. She had previously signed the release forms and thus had no obligation to stay at the hospital. But since Jodie was still with the other FBI agents… well, it wasn’t exactly advisable for Tsukiko to leave just yet.

“Signing papers… Grr…” Tsukiko glared at the wall in front of her. She had... She had used western alphabets in signing messily. The reason was simple really. She didn’t know the correct kanji for writing ‘Okiya’. ‘Tsukiko’ was easy. It was just ‘Moon’ and ‘Child’. And as the only other way to get out of signing was to use hiragana… Yeah, not gonna happen. Only primary schoolers write their name in hiragana and for a high schooler to do so… Beyond embarrassing. So Tsukiko chose the lesser evil. And she could always pin it on the influence of the internet or something.

“It’s already two o’clock… Jodie might leave soon to New Beika Hotel…” Tsukiko muttered to herself as she checked the time from her wrist watch. “Hmm… Maybe I should try something…” Tsukiko place a new memory card into her extra phone and attached a mike and wire on it too. She slipped the phone into the inner pocket of her jacket and attached the mike onto the collar in a way it was hidden from view. The quality wouldn’t be the best but it would serve its purpose eventually.

“Friday the 13th… Five hours before the incident of Raiha Pass…” Tsukiko spoke to the mike quietly as she began the recording.

The bespectacled girl knocked to the door and stepped in then. Jodie was still speaking on the phone. Actually, it seemed the call was quite in the beginning. Which was weird since Tsukiko had been quite the long time at the check-up. Maybe this was just the first sign of screwy timelines.

“Jogging in a hotel?”

“Yeah, that guy’s a real jock. He did the same thing two years ago.” Akai snorted.

“I heard he was in Japan before. Doing what?” Jodie, no. That question wasn’t to be answered. Tsukiko felt like facepalming but remained quiet and immobile on the background. No need to alert anyone on the room in any way that she knew more than necessary. She really wasn’t on the mood of making up excuses and half-lies.

“Never mind. You better go bail him out. You know the hotel, right?” Akai deflected easily.

“Yes…”

“Whatever you do, don’t let the Japanese police find out the FBI is in town.” Black reminded the woman.

“I’m well aware of that!” Jodie nodded and was leaving the room when Akai stopped her.

“Oh, and Jodie… Watch your back. I have a bad feeling about today.”

“Just because it’s Friday the 13th? I’m not the superstitious type.” The woman smiled and left. “Stay put, Tsukiko-chan. I’ll be back as soon as possible.”

“Hai.” Tsukiko nodded with a slight smile, remaining watching the door that closed after the female agent. She paid no heed on Black who eventually left the room too, leaving her and Akai alone in there. And wasn’t that nerve wrecking? Tsukiko’s favorite character with her in the same room without any distractions. And no, she didn’t think of him as boyfriend material like she knew some fans did with their favorite characters. It was just… the mind blowing possibility and opportunity that couldn’t be described properly. That in the long run in real life wouldn’t matter in any other way than being a wonderful experience.

But Tsukiko showed all that aside and composed herself.

“Hmm…” The girl hummed absentmindedly and turned on her heels to face the man. “Nice last words, Bakai…”

“Last words?” He repeated with an arched eyebrow. He knew exactly what Tsukiko was implying but silently demanded clarification of what all did she actually know. The sandy-blonde girl smirked.

“This is the last she’ll hear of you. But you probably already know it since you told her to watch her own back.”

“When you heard about the plan, about letting the organization to get Mizunashi back, you weren’t surprised at all. While you could’ve avoided questions back then I know you didn’t give a proper answer. How did you know the plan that was supposed to be known only to four people?”

“Don’t change the subject…” Tsukiko frowned in irritation before sighing. “The reason why I knew the plan is that I eavesdropped it. But if I had admitted it back then, I would have been in troubles. Bigger than before.”

“And now I’m curious to know how you managed to do it while presumably being behind a locked door.” Akai almost smiled while saying it. Tsukiko merely arched her eye brows took her blue spare cellphone from its hiding place and showed it –and the mike wire attached to it – to him.

“With this it was easy. I simply called to the cell that I gave to you and listened to the whole conversation whilst working on the lock.”

“Two phones?” Akai said with… was he impressed? “And what made you decide to you make that call? No one knew we were at Mizunashi’s room. No one knew what we were about to do.” The agent took the green phone Tsukiko had relinquished earlier from his pocket and gave it back to the girl. She picked it but then suddenly cut the on-going recording, unattached the wire, popped out the memory card and dropped the spare cell on his hand instead.

“That is a topic we can discuss about later.” Tsukiko smiled. “Now… Six hours. I’ll be waiting for your call. No matter what has happened.”

“I guess you won’t answer even if I were to ask ‘why’.” He put the blue phone to the same pocket where the green one had been.

“Bingo~!”

“Am I right in guessing that you won’t tell me where did you get inspiration to draw this?” Akai drew a piece of paper from the same pocket he’d stowed the phone away and turned the page around. The drawing was a copy from a picture about DC chapter 609’s page 4. The moment when Mizunashi Rena shot at Akai in Raiha Pass.

“The purpose of that page is to attract your attention and get a chance to talk privately with you.” Tsukiko answered. “You are not the only one who is planning all the time after all. But I have to admit I was also lucky. If someone else had noticed that paper and the drawing… Well...” She let the sentence trail off.

“Where you got this idea to this drawing then?”

“That is also something I’d like to save to another time. All secrets shouldn’t be revealed right away. Ne, Bakai?”

“Hmh…” He obviously didn’t care much about the nick-name Tsukiko had bestowed upon him but didn’t particularly feel like it was something worth complaining about. Smart man.

“Well, I’m off now.” The girl stated then after a little silence. It was accompanied by a little absent wave. Besides it was about the same time Black that came back to the room, meaning that they couldn’t have continued their conversation even if they had wanted to. Akai slipped the folded calendar page back to his pocket.

“One more question, if you don’t mind…” He said. “When you said that the people who put you in the hospital… Did you mean the Black Organization specifically?"

“Saa… I don’t know. After all we don’t know for certain they were the ones to hospitalize me. It’s only conjuncture at this point.” Tsukiko smiled. They all knew that it was more than likely it had been the organization members that had put the girl into the hospital but initially the information didn’t do anything good. “But let’s agree that at least I’m not an ally of theirs. And if the actions they presented here at the hospital tell anything about their general MO… Well, it’s very unlikely I’ll ever be on the same side than them… Anyways, I wish you luck with the ‘unhappy end’, Bakai…” And with that, she left the room. Right outside Tsukiko fished out the memory card from her jeans pocket. She smiled at it before stowing it away again.

Chapter Text

Chapter 11.

After looking around for a while, Tsukiko was directed to the hospital room that once housed Mizunashi Rena/Hondou Hidemi. And there was Eisuke, once again he was sitting by a window but this time he was reading a letter.

“Letter from your sister?” The girl asked, closing the door behind her and then taking a seat. “What did she write you about? Hidemi-san, I mean…”

Eisuke lifted his gaze slowly from the letter and glanced at the girl. He folded the letter then, so that Tsukiko couldn’t read it even upside down. Not that she’d actually do it.

“Nothing special…” The bespectacled boy muttered.

“I see. Private letter then, huh?” Tsukiko nodded knowingly. It was the first (and last) contact with his sister for a while. It was understandable that Eisuke wanted to keep it to himself.

“Yes.”

“Eisuke-kun…” Tsukiko began then. Eisuke slightly frowned when he noticed that she’d changed the way of addressing him to a bit more formal but didn’t comment. “Are you going to the witness protection program? I heard from the FBI agents that your sister requested it for you.”

“I know but I don’t want to go. Even if it was her who originally asked it, I’m not going to hide.” Eisuke said and straightened from the slight slouch he’d been sitting in. “I’m not the same little kid she used to know.”

“But you are just as reckless and clumsy as you used to be then?” Tsukiko snarked, making Eisuke shoot a narrowed look at her.

“And how you know about it?”

“I have just heard things…” She waved the question away before looking out of the window and decidedly not at her conversation partner. “But I do know it’s hard to be apart from the ones you care about.”

That seemed to spark a question in the boy. “By the way… How about you? Are you going to the witness protection program or something?”

“I don’t see any reason why would I need it. I was here just by circumstance. Or do you know some reason for me to be in danger?”

“Well, I just happened to hear about your accident that was caused by that organization. And you were also helping the FBI…”

“That is true. But fortunately for me, it was a mere accident. Nothing more, nothing less. I’m sure they won’t remember my face or see me as a threat. Though there is that one sniper…” Tsukiko trailed off.

“What? Who are you talking about?” Eisuke rose from his chair in worry.

“Just that woman who was driving the car… I’ve heard she is quite a temperamental person and an excellent sniper. My bag scratched her car and it’s possible that she is pretty mad at me…” She mumbled deep in her thoughts. “…But I should be fine because at that time I wasn’t using my glasses.”

“Hey, Tsukiko-san? What an earth are you talking about?” Eisuke waved his hand in front of Tsukiko’s face, snapping her up from her thinking. “Are you in danger or not?”

“No. I don’t think so.” The blonde girl smiled. “Don’t worry. Besides, I’ll be living with Jodie-san now. What’s more safe than having an FBI agent to keep an eye on me?”


 

Not long after, Tsukiko said goodbye to Eisuke and left. As she walked the stairs down her stomach decided to finally inform the girl that it was well into the dinner time. Thus advised her to eat something. Checking the time from her watch, Tsukiko realized it was a bit after 4 pm. Around three more hours until the car fire in Raiha Pass then. So the girl checked in with a nearby agent and headed out to the nearest fast food place.

“Damn, when even was the last time I ate?”


Haido Central Hospital, around 7:16pm

Tsukiko was tired and waiting impatiently for the eight o’clock but of course she couldn’t show it in any way. The girl took a remote control from the table she was leaning her head on and opened the television in the room. After a while of zapping through the channels and she settled on some random news channel she’d found. Some seven o’clock news were playing but had nothing interesting in them. Nothing that Tsukiko could connect with. While it could’ve been useful for her to start keeping up with the news, right now she couldn’t have bothered less.

The girl yawned and leaned her head against her arms. When she fell asleep, she let the television on. An agent who had followed the running news with half-ear took the remote control and was about to shut down the television when his colleague stopped him.

“Don’t shut it down. Who knows what has been happening recently. It’ll be good if we know what’s going right now in the world and not just at this hospital.”

“Tch, I’m up to my neck full of news.” The agent with the remote complained. “I already watched them this morning and I’m probably going to be watching them all the time at home once we leave this hospital. At least for now I want a little break from them.” He was pointing the remote towards the box when a news reader began telling about a car accident in Raiha Pass. The agent promptly left the room in a hurry to find agents Black and Starling. Jodie and Camel should be soon back from the hotel anyways.

In the fuzz and buzz around, Tsukiko also woke up when the agents came hurrying back into the room.

“The car that exploded was a black Chevrolet. The person found inside was a man in his 20’s or 30’s. The ones who discovered it were two police officers travelling by car to a different accident. According to those officers, the car blew up all of sudden in front of their eyes…” The voice of the news reader spoke the few known facts about the case. All agents in the room were watching the news. And Tsukiko was sitting behind them watching their backs. The girl let out a yawn and rubbed her eyes. She had no idea how long she’d been asleep. Probably not very long.

While Tsukiko couldn’t see the TV screen, it didn’t bother her. There was nothing for her to watch; only a picture about a burnt car and some polices investigating it. More important was what the news reader was saying. And the audio came clear and loud for everyone in the room to hear.

“No! That is not Shuu! He made somebody a sacrifice for the organization!” Jodie said resolutely. But it sounded like she still had doubts.

“He must have done that.” Black agreed but there was a faint tremor that hid something underneath it all. Did he know about the plan?

“If we go to the police and check, we will know!”

They made the decision about going to the main police station to check the body’s finger prints from Conan’s cell phone Jodie had borrowed from the boy earlier. Tsukiko didn’t comment how the situation was too convenient.

But she refrained from commenting it for a while. When Black went with Jodie, they took Tsukiko with them though. It surprised the girl but apparently the plan was for him to give the females a ride to Jodie’s apartment from the police station after getting the results and then going back to the hospital to tell the other agents whether or not it had been Akai in the car.

“Bakai wa Bakai…” Tsukiko mumbled as they were leaving the room. “Even if it’s him, at least he knew to expect this all. Or at least I hope so…”

Slap!

Tsukiko head snapped to the side and her glasses clattered on the floor. She blinked in surprise. Her left cheek was stinging. Jodie had slapped her! A proper bitch slap even but with an FBI agent’s strength! Tsukiko looked up and gawked at the woman. She glared back at the girl with fury in her eyes.

“So, you are saying he knew he’d be killed?!” Jodie shouted. “Are you?”

“Why not?” Tsukiko shrugged. “He’s bloody smart and apparently worked within the Organization for years. Of course he knew getting killed was a possibility. I’m not saying it was the only one but…”

“Don’t say it ever again! Never!” She turned her back to the girl and left the room. Tsukiko just smirked despite her stinging cheek.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have provoked her…” The girl stated cheerily, picking up her glasses from the floor and checking that the lenses were undamaged. “Besides we know next to nothing about the current situation and Akai-san’s fate.”

“Okiya-kun, why did you then…?” Black began but Tsukiko interrupted him.

“Does one need a reason to say what they want to say?”


 

In front of the Main Police Station

They arrived pretty quickly to the police station, thanks to less traffic than during daytime. Jodie got out of the car and walked to the station. Black and Tsukiko stayed at the car and began to wait in silence. The girl took her cell phone from her pocket and checked the time. It was 8:09 pm. She sighed and put the phone back to her pocket then. Black watched at her curiously for a while and asked then:

“Are you waiting for something?”

“A call from my friend. He promised to call me today no matter what.” Tsukiko replied shortly. She didn’t want to mention any details about the person who was probably going to make a call to her. And of course the explanation was a bit weird since no one had tried to contact her through any means. But well, if push came to a shove, Tsukiko could always say that it was her birthday, the 13th April. Which it was but Tsukiko wasn’t sure if it counted in the DC world. There was no need for her to explain herself any further since Black just nodded and turned his glance towards the police station where still Jodie was waiting for the results.


 

It was only mere minutes later that Tsukiko’s phone rang. She picked it up quickly. Too quickly that it would have looked natural and relaxed. The fact that she stepped out of the car before answering the call only heightened the impression.

“Moshi moshi? Tsukiko speaking…” The girl spoke carefully to the phone.

“You know who this is. Are you happy now? That I called?” A familiar voice on the phone replied. Tsukiko smiled.

“Yes, I am happy. It seems everything went as I calculated.”

“Hmph…” Akai huffed. “Can you tell me now how you seem to know everything what is going to happen?”

“Nope. I can’t do it now. I wanna tell it face to face.” Tsukiko glanced around her. No eavesdroppers on sight. “Now I’m just telling that I’m coming to meet you the 6th of October.”

“And that is the only reason you wanted me to call you?” Now there was an annoyed tone to be heard in his voice.

“Well, if I had called, I could have done it on a wrong moment…” The girl explained slowly before pausing. “By the way, I’m in front of police station right now. Jodie is checking some fingerprints on Tantei-chan’s cell phone. Those fingerprints will match with the body that was found from your Chevrolet, right? Are those finger prints Kusuda’s?”

“It seems it’s impossible to hide anything from you. But yes, you are right. Those fingerprints belong to that organization’s spy…”

“Nee, Bakai… Are you alright?” Tsukiko asked suddenly when the thought occurred her, thus interrupting him.

“Pretty fine. Probably a broken rib or two after getting shot at my lungs but at least I wore a bulletproof vest that saved my life.”

“I see… I’m glad that you are alright.”

“How about you? I know that Jodie at least is still suspicious about you even if she offered you to stay with her…”

“I’m pretty fine.” Tsukiko laughed. “My cheek just hurts a bit. Jodie happened to slap me after I provoked her to. But otherwise I’m fine. The doctor gave me clean bill which you heard about even.” While the doctor may have told her about the possibility of losing memories due the head injury and trauma, Tsukiko wasn’t worried about it. She remembered exactly what had happened and what her life had been like before the accident. Her only problem was getting used to Japan and figure out exactly how she’d ended up in this world.

“I see… Did you have anything else? I need to go now.”

“Nope. Take care. See you on the 6th of October!”

“And how you are going to find me?”

“Hmph, don’t underestimate me Bakai. I’ll find you.” Tsukiko grinned and ended the call. Around the same time Jodie came back from the station with detective Takagi. Tsukiko got up from the low stone fence she’d sat on and walked back to the car before the female agent or the detective noticed her. The girl got back into her seat and plucked in her seat belt.

Chapter Text

Chapter 12.

Jodie was crying. She cried and cried non-stop for a long time before calming down. James offered her meager word of comfort while Tsukiko remained quiet. The girl glanced out of the car window, trying to hide her face and the fact there was a slight tug of a smile on her lips. Luckily her hair could hid at least part of her face thus hiding the fact she wasn’t upset at all. And due the fact she wasn’t upset, Tsukiko also noticed the motorbike and its driver who drove past the car, checking the situation. Tsukiko bowed her head and hid a smirk. This time from the woman driving the motorbike. It seemed that her intruding to the storyline hadn’t changed the main Plot after all. It was a relief.


 

Vermouth drove past the Police Station. As she had expected, there was a car parked right in front of it. The assassin saw a woman’s figure inside the car, leaning against the steering wheel with her shoulders shaking and most likely crying.

“There is no need for two Silver Bullets. Only one is enough…” The woman thought, before turning her attention on the back seat. There was an addition that Vermouth hadn’t expected. It was a young girl, sitting on the back seat and looking out of the window before hiding her face. But what little she had managed to see of the girl’s face, indicated that the girl wasn’t seem upset or sad at all. Absolutely the opposite in fact: the girl was slightly smiling to herself.

“Who is that girl? What is she doing with the FBI?” The woman pondered as she continued driving. “Have I seen her somewhere before?”

When she was far enough from the police station and the FBI agent’s car, did she finally slow down. That girl had certainly caught her attention and Vermouth really wanted to know who she was.

“Wait a moment… Is she that girl from back then?” She thought aloud. “But that girl didn’t have glasses…”


 

Vermouth sat on the back seat of Gin’s Porsche as they were driving away from Beika district. She had just told him not to suspect Môri Kogoro without any proofs and made sure in that Agency would be safe for a while.

They turned around a corner, Chianti speeding in front of them when they saw a young girl crossing the street and checking the time from her wrist watch.

“No good…” Vermouth thought as the girl stopped and turned around. She was like a rabbit in the light beam. Frozen still and her eyes widened like she had recognized something rather than realizing she was in danger. The woman bit her lip as she saw Chianti’s Viper hitting the girl and making her fly like a ragdoll. The girl fell to the curbside and afterwards didn’t move at all when Vermouth peeked carefully towards her direction from the Porsche.

“Such a bad luck…”


 

Vermouth frowned. It was possible that the girl was same than from back then but all the same she wasn’t sure about it. And there were some things that bothered her. The girl’s expression had been a pure surprise, not fear or anything like that. She had recognized them and likely couldn’t believe it. But how and why were the questions here. The other thing was that girl in the car with the FBI. Her smile that she hid quickly was something opposite than anyone would expect from a person who associated with the FBI. After all one of the agents had recently died.

“Or then she simply wasn’t that close to Akai. Hmm… I think it’s safe to to assume those two girls are the one and same. But otherwise I’m lacking information.” The woman smirked then and speeded up again. “This is getting interesting…”


 

From the roof of the building opposite to the Metropolitan Police Station, a slight female figure was watching the traffic in front of the entrance of the station through binoculars. Especially she followed the girl first exiting the silvery Mercedes and answering her phone. Once the girl ended the call, did the woman pick her own phone. She scrolled her contacts and called then one.

 “Moshi, moshi?”

“Konbanwa, Hibiki.”

“Aa, Saya. Any news?”

“Hoshi-chan is safely out of the hospital and-… Oh!” The woman, Saya, peered through her binoculars once again when she saw a motorcycle speed by. The platinum blonde hair of the driver was what attracted her attention and from the movements of the driver’s head, she could see that… “Vermouth has spotted Hoshi-chan.”

“I suspected as much…” The person at the other end, Hibiki, sighed. “I’m thinking that she will eventually make contact with her.”

“Will is be safe to Hoshi-chan?”

“She will live.” The male voice answered with a sigh. “Kami, this is going to be grueling… Well, at least I can tell baachan that Hoshi-chan is safe and sound and awake. If not for anything else but making sure that a missing person report isn’t filed in…”

“I see… How’s...?” Saya paused but took then a deep breath and continued then. “How’s our Silver Bullet?”

“He’s fine. Stashed at one of Yamato’s hideouts temporally… Are you coming home today though?”

“Nah… I’ll check in to a hotel. See you tomorrow.”

“Right… Oyasumi nasai, Saya-nee.”

“Oyasumi nasai, Daiki-kun.”

“It’s Shugo. Shugo. I was Daiki only once ten years ago and back then you didn’t even know me.”

“Whatever you say.” Saya laughed and hung up. She looked down at the street and noticed the car was beginning to drive away. It was time for her to take her leave too.


Around half an hour later they finally drove in front of the building Jodie lived in. And even though Tsukiko already knew what the building and everything around it should look like, she was still amazed. Everything was so different when seeing it for real, not only in manga or in anime. And being in Japan in general was much different than in Europe.

Tsukiko followed Jodie to the floor the woman’s apartment was. It was pretty quiet there but since it was already late evening, it was understandable. Jodie opened the front door of the apartment and let Tsukiko step in first. A pair of slippers was found from the side cabinet for the girl and then they continued the way to living room. All this happened without the agent saying a single word to the girl.

“I guess she is really upset… Well, it shouldn’t surprise me. After all, she was Bakai’s girlfriend before he infiltrated into the organization…” Tsukiko thought but then spoke up: “Jodie-san, I do understand that you are sad and upset currently, but you can’t just lock up yourself and stay silent all the time either.”

What that girl didn’t say was obvious (“I’m here. You offered to look after me. Woman up!”) and also made the woman look at the girl with surprise and a tinge of embarrassment.

“Yes… I guess you are right. My apologies…” Jodie scratched the back of her head with her left hand and sighed. Then she led Tsukiko to a door in the end of the corridor where a guestroom laid.

“This will be your room during the time you are staying here.” The woman explained as she opened the door and clicked the lights on. Tsukiko stepped in and looked around. The room hadn’t been used for a while(if ever) and thus there wasn’t much of anything. Just the necessary: a bed, a desk with a chair, a drawer for clothes and simple curtains in front of the window right above the desk.

“It’s just fine. Thank you once more, Jodie-san.” She smiled sincerely, turning to look over her shoulder at the woman.

“It’s pretty late now. I guess we can clean up here tomorrow. I let you borrow some of my clothes for the night and tomorrow so we can wash yours soon.” Jodie said. Tsukiko nodded without saying anything. She wasn’t even sure what else she would’ve said.


The next morning dawned with sunlight peeking from in between the curtains, waking up Tsukiko. The girl felt extremely relaxed. Despite sleeping in a new place, she’d slept much better than back at the hospital. Maybe that was a sign that she was getting used to this world. Or then it was simply the absence of stress caused by the Organization lurking nearby ready to strike.

Tsukiko got up from the bed and walked to the kitchen. Jodie was already there, making breakfast. At the sight of the woman, the girl snickered a bit, making her turn around.

“Oh, you are already awake, Okiya-chan.” Jodie smiled at the girl. “Did you sleep well?”

“Yeah, pretty well.” Tsukiko answered, her voice full of mirth. And naturally Jodie took a note of that.

“What’s so funny?”

“We have identical pajamas.” The pajama that Tsukiko had borrowed from Jodie was nice one. Even though it was a bit over-sized at the chest area. But as long as it didn’t have any buttons to struggle with, it didn’t really bother Tsukiko.

“Well, I have a habit of buying similar clothes if they fit well. It’s sometimes quite hard for me to find well-fitting clothes from here.”

“It’s because of you height, right? Since you are American, you are taller than Japanese women generally are.” Tsukiko guessed, gesturing with her hand Jodie’s approximate height a bit above than her own head. “Good, she already seems a bit brighter than yesterday… Or then she is faking it because I’m here…”

“That’s correct! I have to say that you seem quite tall too for your age. I remember when I was teaching English at a high school for a while and the all the girls were quite a bit shorter than I… While you are almost the same height.”

“I’m almost 170 centimeters tall.” And when Tsukiko thought about it… Didn’t Ran say in the Golden Apple case that she is 160cm tall? That’s make her almost ten centimeters taller than the karate champion!

By the counter Jodie sighed then.

“Okiya-san… What brings you here? I mean no one has tried to contact you…”

“I kind of ran away from home…” Tsukiko said bluntly. She knew what the agent wanted to know so she had come up with one last night. It was… relatively good in Tsukiko meager opinion. At least enough to push off suspicions for a while. And now was the time to test it. Would Jodie believe it?

“Ran away from home?”

“Well, kind of… My parents are travelling around the world all the time because of work. We haven’t spoken to each other much lately.” The girl began. “So because they also have a lot of work they are doing abroad, they think it’s easier to work and have nice time together at the same time. Or that’s what they said to me and my brother before leaving. Obviously they are in no hurry back…”

“You have a brother too? Then why hasn’t even he tried to contact you?”

“He is already an adult and isn’t living home anymore. He has been off for years.” Tsukiko continued, hoping that Jodie wouldn’t make the explanation any more complicated with all those questions. “I was coming to see him before he was moving to yet another apartment and also to help him a bit in the move. But because I didn’t inform him beforehand that I was coming he can’t exactly worry about me.”

“Are you going to meet him soon then?”

“Nope, he forgot to tell me his new address and he also has a weird habit to change his cell phone number after changing his place of living. I was meant to get both of them when meeting him.” The girl shrugged and added mentally. “At least when he is changing his identity…”

“That’s what he did anyways when he moved from home to Tokyo…” Tsukiko ended the explanation. Jodie looked like she’d understood the girl’s situation and why exactly she didn’t fancy going home anymore.

“What’s your brother’s name?”

“Okiya Subaru.” Currently Tsukiko didn’t have any other choices for an answer. Not if she were to maintain her cover even after meeting with the man. But she was sure the things would turn out well. After all he didn’t really have chances to refuse the idea. Not when Tsukiko had that recorded conversation. But she had to wait until the October the 6th when he would move to the Kudou house. More time for him to get used to his new identity…


 

The two females ate the breakfast in silence and afterwards cleaned the guest room. Jodie seemed to enjoy when she had something to do instead of wallowing in sad thoughts. They promptly cleaned the entire apartment together once Jodie really got going. Well, with the agent being away for a while because of the case at the hospital and having no time to clean, it was about the time to banish all the dust balls away from the corners. And Tsukiko had to admit that some normalcy did some good for her too. Even if it was cleaning.

“Okay, let’s go out now!” She informed Tsukiko after they had finally finished. The girl blinked in surprise.

“Where are we going?”

“To the mall, of course! You need some new clothes. You can’t wander around in those very same clothes all the time.” Jodie ruffled Tsukiko’s hair when passing the girl. “At the same time I can show you places nearby so you know where is anything. I doubt you’ve looked around much when visiting your brother before.”

“Not much, no.”


 

Never could have Tsukiko believed that a whole day – a whole ‘normal’ day – with Jodie would be so tiring. And spent mostly shopping. They went to three different malls to find clothes for the girl. And money wasn’t a problem. Thankfully Jodie had a good taste and eye for clothes and found quickly good-looking and fitting clothes for Tsukiko. Only once Tsukiko had to intervene and say no when Jodie suggested a miniskirt but that was only in the beginning.

Jodie paid it all. It was more clothes than Tsukiko would’ve chosen herself if she were shopping alone but… Apparently the woman was taking her role as the girl’s guardian seriously.

“You don’t really care about girly clothes, do you?” Jodie asked Tsukiko on the way back.

“Well, I don’t really know. I think I’m sort of a tomboy but my okaasan has always said that I’m not. I do like skirts but they must not be too short and I prefer leggings underneath them. The same goes with shorts: not too short. But I still feel the most comfy in long jeans.” Tsukiko pondered. “But I still can’t stand any lace or frills or certain shades of pink. It’s just not me.”

“Well, if that’s the case, we got good clothes for you…” Jodie smiled and the girl smiled back.

“Hm? Do you have something in your mind?” Tsukiko asked then, noticing how the woman had trailed off. “You look like you want to say something.”

“Well, I was just thinking… should you go to school. After all you are in that age and have just spent over five months in coma. If you are out of school you will fall behind really badly.” Jodie didn’t look at the girl when she said that. Tsukiko adjusted her glasses absentmindedly but nodded.

“I understand…”

“But if you are living with me I guess you can go to the same school you have been. If I understood right your home isn’t in Tokyo…”

“I’m from Kyoto. Okaasan’s family if from there.” Kyoto belonged to the Kansai area which had a distinguishable dialect. Meanwhile back in her own world, Tsukiko’s mother’s family was from Savonia area which also had a recognizable dialect in Finnish. If one were to compare them, both Kansai and Savonian dialects were often linked to humor… And while Tsukiko couldn’t be sure how much her speaking habits translated into Japanese (she didn’t really need to think about grammar and such things when speaking, just like she didn’t need to when speaking Finnish, her mother tongue), if she ever slipped to Kansai sounding wording like she sometimes did to Savonian, at least she had a backdoor to use in case questions arose. “I agree with you, Jodie-san. I also think that I should go to school…”

“How old are you?”

“Sixteen, freshman in high school.”

“Oh, that’s good. I know a good school you can go to. Its name is Teitan High. That’s the one where I was an English teacher.”

“Teitan… tantei…” Tsukiko mumbled, tasting the name, like she hadn’t ever heard of the place before. “Why were you teaching there?”

“It was related to the case here… I was undercover for reasons.” Jodie explained vaguely. Tsukiko just nodded and didn’t ask more questions about it. It was obvious for the girl why the agent didn’t want to elaborate that case. It contained a showdown with Vermouth and the only reason Jodie was still alive, was Akai’s involvement.

“Right, now we have to buy you a school uniform.”

“A school uniform?”

“Haven’t you used one before?”

“No, I haven’t. It was a private school I was before. Pretty boring and tiring place, especially when you could see from the clothing what was your social status. I’m just happy I don’t have to go there.” Tsukiko half-lied with a smile. The school she used to go back home was half public and half private school. Besides school uniforms weren’t used in schools in Finland. And the thing that actually tired Tsukiko in her previous school was the junior high students in the same building.

“Well, this’ll be a nice chance then. A bit different situation.” Jodie smiled at me again. She had smiled a lot during that day. Good.


 

Picking a school uniform was done quickly. There surprisingly wasn’t any hassle because of Tsukiko’s height and thus a blue blaser-and-skirt combination, a green tie, a yellow vest-thing and a white shirt, accompanied by a pair of black knee socks and brown loafers.

“I can use black cotton stockings on winter, right? So I won’t freeze to death?” Tsukiko asked nervously from Jodie as they were picking indoor shoes for her from another shelf. They still needed a short sleeved white shirt for summer period. And more socks.

“Yes, you can. Teitan allows it as long as the stockings won’t have any pattern in them or are see-through.” The woman assured her. “Monday will be your first day in Teitan High then. I’m going to make the call today. They might give you some tests on the morning but I’m sure you’ll do just fine.”

“Sounds good.”

“I hope you’ll get some new friends once there.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 13.

Who could have believed that one day she would go to Teitan high school? Not Tsukiko, at least not before the following Monday. But there she was, standing in front of the class 1-B of that school, more or less ready to introduce herself. The teacher of that lesson, Kawaoka, stood next to the blonde girl and had written her name on the black board behind them. Tsukiko was internally grateful that the teacher had written the name and not her. Her kanji writing wasn’t anything neat or tidy to look at.

“Konnichiwa. Watashi no namae wa Okiya Tsukiko desu. Yoroshiku.” Tsukiko said and gave a bow to her new classmates. Reviewing some Japanese etiquette on the night before had come handy. While Jodie might not notice discrepancies that easily, now Tsukiko was with other Japanese people. Manga environment might give her some leeway but common courtesy was important. Besides, in this manga, people were highly paranoid and suspicious of each other. Tsukiko certainly didn’t need to ring alarm bells for any of them.

The blonde straightened up and noticed a lot of curious stares coming to her direction. Maybe it was normal with any new student but it still felt awkward. When they’d arrived to the school, Jodie had insisted on taking a photo of her in the new school uniform in front of the school and even then Tsukiko had felt like ducking from stares.

“Okiya-san, you can take the seat at the third row. The seat right next to the window.” The teacher told her. Tsukiko nodded and made her way to the desk. Window places were her favorite ones even if they screamed ‘protagonist’.


 

The first class went quite well but when the break started, came the moment Tsukiko had been dreading. About everyone (or at least the most curious individuals) gathered around her desk and started pelting her with questions.

“Where are you from?” Kyoto.

“Is that your original hair color?” Yes?

“Do you prefer soccer or baseball?” Neither. Ice skating was the best.

“Do you have a boyfriend?” No.

“What kind of family do you have?” Parents, a brother and a grandmother.

“Why did you choose Teitan?” It was closest and recommended.

Tsukiko tried to answer the questions as soon as they were asked but soon she found herself totally overwhelmed by them.

“Hey, stop it already!” A loud voice yelled, cutting through the chatter that had only increased in volume, and silenced thus the crowd. The source of interruption was a girl with beautiful pitch chestnut colored hair on two braids down her back and a pair of glasses perched on her nose. She was holding a math book in her hand and looked like she was ready to hit indiscriminately anyone and everyone with it. Tsukiko wasn’t sure should she call the girl her savior or to duck under her desk.

“Class president, we are so sorry. Did we interrupt your reading?” A boy from the crowd drawled.

“We are so deeply sorry, Miyoshi-sama.” Another boy continued with the same unapologetic tone. Judging from their speech, similar hairstyles and overall stance, Tsukiko guessed the two boys were friends and possibly from the same sports club. Maybe Soccer as that was Teitan’s strength.

The class president’s, ‘Miyoshi-sama’s’, brown eyes flashed dangerously behind her glasses. Her eyes narrowed and then she swung her whole arm and hit both boys on their heads with her book. And it was the book’s spine, not one of the covers, which hit them. Both boys went down, holding their heads.

”Ouch… That really hurt…” Tsukiko thought with a wince but wasn’t really sorry for them. They were the ones loud and disruptive.

“That wasn’t the point this time, Narukami-kun, Morimura-kun.” Miyoshi replied to the downed boys. Tsukiko could hear the cold edge that was making everyone present shiver. “You should give Okiya-san more space to breathe and actually chance to answer to your questions. Not to mention staying out of her personal space. And the same goes with you guys!” She pointed at the rest of the class that were still around my desk with her book. Everyone flinched away.

“Tch, you always do as you please, Miyoshi-hime” A third boy said, taking a step forwards. He had tidy and handsome appearance, short-cut black hair swept to the side, and shrewd eyes. He seemed not to respect Miyoshi even though she was the class president. “But if you feel like concentrating on reading, I guess I could take you title and responsibilities then.”

“That’s not needed. I’m already done with this book, Honda-kôtaishi.” Miyoshi gave him a cold smile. The boy, Honda, probably would have replied something scathing back, if the teacher of the next lesson (chemistry) hadn’t come in. Everyone hurried back to their seats but continued chatting. It became clear very soon that no one listened during these lessons. And the dynamics just witnessed… Interesting. Tsukiko glanced around with arched eyebrows and was about to lean over her book and start doing the calculations when a new voice addressed her.

“So you noticed it, huh?” A girl’s voice spoke up from Tsukiko’s right. The bespectacled blonde turned my head to the direction and saw a girl with dark slightly wavy polka hair and light grey eyes sitting next to her. The girl smiled at Tsukiko.

“Yoroshiku, Okiya-chan.” She said. “My name is Hanajima Megumi.”

“Yoroshiku mo…” Tsukiko replied a bit warily when she noted the way of address. ‘-chan’, not ‘-san’. “What did you mean by noticing?”

“The main two figures in this class: the first is the class president, Miyoshi Mai-san, who reads on every break, is antisocial and calculative and makes people fear her right-swing. Narukami-kun and Morimura-kun, whom she saved you from, are our class’s soccer stars and always teasing Miyoshi-san and not taking her seriously because she is a girl. I bet they have crushes with her though.” Hanajima explained with an air of someone used to recite information and gossip.

“I see. Is the second figure the third boy? Honda-kun, was it?”

“Hai. Honda Hiro… He is always competing with Miyoshi-san. Both in academics and for the place of class president. The reason is pretty simple. They used to hang out in junior high (not dating but still more or less together) but because the both are very competitive personalities and quite intelligent too, they broke up after Miyoshi-san won the vote for president. It was only by one vote and afterwards Honda-kun got mad and accused foul play. He said that if he ever manages to beat up Miyoshi-san in any exam, he’d get the place of president.”

“I guess that Miyoshi-san accepted the challenge?” Tsukiko smirked in amusement. It was quite obvious from the short exchange of barbs.

“Yes, and hasn’t lost yet.” Megumi muttered in slight dismay before brightening again. “You are lucky, by the way.”

“How so?” There was something about this girl that screamed ‘wrong’ to Tsukiko. Maybe it was the falseness of her cheer or the duality of her opinion about Miyoshi.

“It seems you caught Miyoshi-san’s interest. That’s probably the only reason she interrupted her own reading and protected you from that ‘question tidal wave’. You can be sure she will continue protecting you. The same thing happened to me.”

“…” Tsukiko remained quiet, frowning thoughtfully. She wasn’t sure what to say. The class was really weird but also interesting and entertaining. And maybe she could try to make friends with Miyoshi. Definitely not with Hanajima though.

“Is that your original hair color?” Hanajima asked then, interrupting Tsukiko’s train of thought.

“H-Hai… I know it’s quite blond but…” The dimension traveler stuttered, bringing her hand to her hair and tucking some strands behind her ear. All the while very self conscious of the fact that it as one thing that set her apart from others. No matter if her manners or speech or clothing were perfect and blending in. Her hair would always bring attention to her. Very unlike in back home where blonde hair was perfectly natural and just one color among others.

“This class notices soon all abnormalities in person’s appearance or behavior. My eyes drew attention at first since they were so light grey.”

“Yes… I noticed.” Tsukiko nodded slowly. “Well, I don’t know about others but certainly at least you seem to notice everything.”

“But now I’m left alone for the most part. Soon you’ll be fine too. The first day here is the worst one.”


 

The lessons went on and Tsukiko continued talking with Hanajima. Finally she had to ask the question in her mind.

“Ano… Why no one is listening on that teacher?”

“Because he knows nothing. Or then he knows but is just incapable of teaching anything. I bet even Nakata-kun, the idiot of our class and with the lowest scores, could do better than that teacher.”

Tsukiko nodded slowly. Not because she agreed but to show that she was listening. While biased and with veiled insults, Hanajima did provide her a good picture of the situation with her new class.

“Thank you, Hanajima-san. You have helped me a lot.”

“You are welcome.” The gossiper smiled. “Oh, I almost forgot the most important thing! Stay away from Toudou-chan’s clique. They are real snobs. Always looking down everyone else and thinking they are this class queens. Just looking at them makes me feel sick and-…”

“You have been part of that clique, right? And despite what you say, you haven’t really quit either.” Tsukiko interrupted her.

“How did you find out?” Megumi seemed shocked. She had been pretending to be impartial with the strife between Honda Hiro and Miyoshi Mai but her hidden expressions and veiled comments said otherwise. Hanajima Megumi did not like Miyoshi Mai. And when she mentioned the clique, she got new fuel to her speech even if her words disagreed with her thoughts. And her role as an observer and gossiper fit perfectly among the stereotypical roles of a ‘mean girl’ gang. Hanajima Megumi was the blackmailer and the deceiver.

“A good guess.” Tsukiko smiled placidly and looked out of the window on her left. It had been so obvious to figure it out from the style Hanajima spoke about them. Seemingly scathing at them but still proud there was a ‘club’ like that.

“Pretty good guess indeed.” Hanajima smiled nervously. Apparently she didn’t like her cover being blown up so soon. Had she been deceiving other new students like this too then? Tsukiko glanced around the classroom and her eyes caught a pair of identical heads with identical braids down their backs. The only difference between them was that one of them was quietly chatting with a busty copper-head girl and the other was hunched onto herself.

“… But you should be fine if Miyoshi-san continues protecting you.” Hanajima continued but trailed off when she noticed that Tsukiko wasn’t listening to her anymore.

“Good.” Tsukiko said even though she was sure she could fare just fine, this was just school after all. But she did definitely need to stay on her guard around Hanajima. Any piece of information on her hands could possibly be a weapon to be used against others. Be it a metaphorical or not.


 

On the floor above, in the class 2-B, were two girls chatting. Their names were Mouri Ran and Suzuki Sonoko.

“But did you hear already? Class 1-B got a new student today.” Sonoko told to her best friend.

“Sonoko, how did you find it out? The student didn’t come to our class after all.” Ran laughed.

“The whole school is talking about it! Poor girl, she went to the problem class…” Ah, so it was because of the class, not because of the student herself.

“I wouldn’t call it a problem class.” The karate champion frowned.

“Ran, you are too kind-hearted. That class has a big problem. It has about all stereotypes depicted in high school mangas.” Sonoko waved the protest aside. Ran sighed.

“You can’t be serious.”

“First is the class president, Miyoshi Mai-chan, who rules the class with her beauty and intelligence. Then is her rival, Honda Hiro-kun, who is as smart as she is and always throwing a comment to her direction. There is also a snob club ruled by Toudou Yuuko-chan, who looks down everyone else who doesn’t belong to that clique. And there are both girls and boys among that group.”

“Wow, you know quite a lot about them…”

“After some idiot had the audacity to compare me to them, I had to find out more. And I didn’t stop yet.”

“There is more?”

“Yeah, in that class there is also two soccer players who are not very smart or good but still considered as stars among the boys. Was it Narukami and Morimura…? And there is also the weird one who is not one of the outcasts flocking behind Miyoshi-chan.”

“And what do you mean by the weird one?” Ran frowned.

“The person who knows everything that happens in the class, gives advice to new people and spreads rumors that are actually true if exaggerated and thus actually hurt people. I’m talking about Hanajima Megumi-chan.”

“Oh, I think I know her. That girl with dark blue hair and light grey eyes? She seems to be trailing after the… clique you said?”

“Yes, that’s her! But I thought her hair was dark green… Maybe it depends on the lightning… Anyways, she is the ears of this school. She is never who she claims to be. I wouldn’t trust in her.”

“…” With everything just revealed, Ran didn’t know should she have been happy or worried about her friend’s knowledge.

“Then there’s also a pair of identical twins, a person who sleeps during all lessons and someone who reads yaoi manga all the time and draws doujinshes about her class mates: a real fujoshi I’d say.” Sonoko continued explaining but stated then. “But of course the majority of that class’s students are absolutely normal ones even if there is the strife and two fronts in the class. One behind Honda-kun and one behind Miyoshi-chan.”

“…Now I’m also starting to feel sorry for that new girl.” Ran gave an apologizing smile towards the floor under their feet.

“Well, as long as that girl stays away from the snob club and sticks to class president, she should be fine. And still stays in alert of course.” Sonoko shrugged.

“Is that so…” Ran sweatdropped.

“Yeah… Why do our kouhais need to be so weird?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 14.

The next lesson started and Tsukiko kept an eye on Hanajima. Maybe it was some remaining paranoia from the events at hospital but she didn’t want to become too close with the gossiper. At least not yet. Actually, better fix that to never. Tsukiko wasn’t prejudging type but… That way Hanajima looked around the class all the time and observed everyone there, except Tsukiko, was creepy. Thankfully it seemed like Tsukiko was too new in the class for anything to be found yet.

“She is aware like a detective… But she isn’t one. She is aware only to find out something juicy to spread forward as a rumor.” Tsukiko thought as she made notes from the black board and reminded herself once again to keep her guard up around the other girl.

“Okay, since you don’t seem to work well right now, we’ll change the seating order.” The teacher on the front of the class room announced after putting the chalk down with a resounding ‘clack’. The teacher was a young woman this time but Tsukiko had already managed to forget her name. “You are new in this class, right?” She suddenly addressed Tsukiko in brisk manner. She was maybe slightly rude but it didn’t bother Tsukiko. She had much ruder teacher once.

“Yes, I am.” The blonded nodded.

“You can stay where you are, but the rest of class… Take your things and come here to pick up a number.”

That caused a lot of noise. The chairs scratched the floor; students muttered something or other more or less mutinously and complained why she was the only teacher who made them change seats every month. They walked to the teacher’s desk in clumps and picked up a little piece of paper from the green felt hat the teacher was holding. Each paper had a number of a row and a number of a seat when they were counted from the door to window. Until that point Tsukiko wondered why that teacher had the hat with her when she came to the classroom. Well, now it answered the question though it also brought up another point. Why did she had a hat? Why not a jar or something?

Eventually everyone had found their new seats and Tsukiko got the chance to look who would sit near her for the next... month? To her relief, Hanajima’s seat was now at the other side of the class and the members of snob club were mostly at the back of the class.

“I wonder how that is possible…” Tsukiko thought as the clique had been there also before changing the seats.

In front of Tsukiko was now a boy who seemed to belong to a sports club and, what she could see from his scribblings in his notebook, that club seemed to be tennis club. Next to Tsukiko in the other hand was sitting Miyoshi Mai, the class president. She flashed the blonde a quick smile before starting to read the book in front of her. This time it was a book about geology. Behind Tsukiko was the hunched-to-herself quiet girl who had been at Tsukiko’s desk during the first break but hadn’t said anything. The one talking had been the girl who now sat behind her. And like Tsukiko had guessed before, they were identical to each other.

“A twin pair with opposite natures, huh? Is this class full of stereotypes?” Tsukiko sweatdropped.

“You noticed then?” Miyoshi stated without raising her eyes from her book. It was still the geology one. Tsukiko took a moment to realized that she was actually talking to her. And it was sort of scary, like Miyoshi had read her thoughts.

“Umm… Yeah… Kind of…” The blonde stuttered but frowned then. At the change of expression, Miyoshi looked at her with a curious look in her eyes. Tsukiko took up to explain it. “Hanajima-san said almost the same thing to me on the previous lesson.” The said girl looked up at the mention of her name and waved at Tsukiko. She waved back without much enthusiasm.

“Stay away from her.” Miyoshi said, faintly scowling in the direction of the other girl before returning her gaze to her book.

“Huh?” Tsukiko blinked.

“Hanajima is not what she claims to be. I want to make it clear right away.” The class president told her. “No matter what she claims, she is still part of Toudou’s clique. Almost everyone else in this class thinks she is a good person but I know she is still the same she used to be: person who sells secrets forward.”

“I noticed. And she was pretty surprised when I told her I knew she hadn’t really quit with that club.” Tsukiko smirked.

“Oh? You are smarter than I anticipated then. Finally someone who understands how twisted this class is.” Miyoshi sighed and closed book. “Hanajima used to be like you at the beginning. She also came in the middle of the year and I tried to protect her, steer her away from Toudou and her clique. She was fine at first… But then she joined up with them from her own will. I guess she was playing with me since the beginning. I was stupid not to see it before.”

“I can see it. She was an unknown to you. And then she ‘quit’ the club and began gathering up rumors and secrets by being friendly with everyone. People trusted her even though she then sold those secrets on to the snob club who in turn spread them on after being twisted and made juicier but still having a smidge of truth.” Tsukiko reasoned.

“Exactly! You are even more observant than Hanajima. I really hope you don’t turn to the evil side like she did.”

“Don’t worry. I have never been into gossiping. I hope we two can be friends, Miyoshi-san.” Tsukiko tried not to laugh at Miyoshi’s statement of the ‘evil side’ and offered her hand.

“I hope so too. You can call me Mai; I’ll call you then Tsukiko.” Miyoshi smiled warmly and took the offered hand. She did give it a funny look. Maybe it was too Western of a gesture…


 

The school day ended and Tsukiko followed Miyoshi to the lockers. The two girls were chatting happily with each other the entire way. It was at the lockers when Tsukiko heard a vaguely familiar sounding voice from nearby.

“See, Ran! I told you the girl would be fine if she sticks with the class president.” The voice belonged to Suzuki Sonoko. Tsukiko was honestly amazed that she recognized her voice because the only place she’d heard Sonoko speaking was the anime. And it was more the context than the voice itself that allowed Tsukiko to make the connection. The blonde turned around towards the voice and saw two girls, Sonoko and her best friend Mouri Ran. And more than likely, Tsukiko was the topic of their conversation. While it slightly irked her, in the other hand it was expected. She was the new student after all.

“Oh hell… why her of all people?” Miyoshi muttered as she slammed the door of her locker. Tsukiko was surprised at the language she used. Sort of out of character of the proper class president. Even Hanajima or Toudou hadn’t garnered this sort of language. Then again, they’d been in the classroom then. “She is almost as bad as a mixture of Toudou and Hanajima. Too curious and always eager to find out the newest going-ons of this school. If her attitude were different and she were in our class, I bet she’d be part of Toudou’s clique too.”

“Really? Who is she then?” Tsukiko blinked. Surely Miyoshi was exaggerating…

“Well, maybe she is not that bad but I still don’t particularly like her.” Miyoshi sighed. And there Sonoko was coming to our direction, dragging Ran along with her. “In any case, may I introduce you to the heiress of Suzuki conglomeration, Suzuki Sonoko-san. Annoying both in and out of school.”

“Kouhai Miyoshi Mai-chan…” Sonoko began menacingly. “I heard everything you said about me. Are you telling lies to the new student?” An arm was thrown on Miyoshi’s shoulders and forcing the girl’s knees buckle a bit. Miyoshi scowled while Sonoko glanced at Tsukiko. “You are the new student, right? What’s your name?”

“My name is Okiya Tsukiko. Nice to meet you Suzuki-senpai.” Tsukiko smiled, giving a short bow to the other girl.

“Damn it, Suzuki, let me go! And I didn’t say anything untrue as it was my pure opinion about you!” Miyoshi growled and tried to shove the rich girl’s arm away.

“Where is the respect towards your senpais?” Sonoko asked in faked exasperation.

“You don’t deserve any!” Miyoshi finally managed to duck away from underneath the arm. “Besides, Tsukiko-san is not easily influenced. She already managed to see through Hanajima’s cover and I’m sure she already knows a thing or two about you too. Especially with knowing your name now.”

“Really?” Sonoko blinked and then grinned at Tsukiko’s direction. “Please, tell me what you know.”

“Okay then…” Tsukiko drew a breath and exhaled. She needed now to carefully weed out any private and unnecessary information. “But shall we get going? It’s nicer to talk while walking.”


It was once out of school that Tsukiko began talking.

“Your name is Suzuki Sonoko. You are the second daughter of Suzuki Shiro and Tomo. You have an elder sister named Ayano who is already engaged. Your family owns Suzuki Conglomeration and your uncle Suzuki Jirokichi is the advisor of that company. He is also very obsessed beating Kaitou Kid. Your best friend appears to be Mouri Ran-san who I know to have recently won the regional Karate Champion ship… Is that already enough?”

“Nope, I want to know how much you actually know.” Sonoko smirked. Tsukiko sighed but obeyed.

“Well, that was your family and best friend.” The blonde nodded to the dark-haired girl’s direction. “There have been some vague rumors about you having a boyfriend but your family has managed to protect your privacy… But from the school rumor mill though I’ve heard about your constant teasing. Especially when targeting your best friends love life. Apparently there has been talk about a relationship between Mouri-senpai and a high school detective and local celebrity from your class, Kudou Shinichi-san. Who, I could add, has disappeared mysteriously and not having been heard since.” It was a risk to say all that. But sitting next to Hanajima for the first two periods had paid off. She actually talked about all that and more. But Tsukiko also knew that Conan would hear later about the conversation and become more suspicious about her. Paranoid little brat… But now to conclude the explanation. “And after that detective’s disappearance you have shown up as the Deduction Queen of Teitan High.”

“Impressive, Tsukiko-chan! You are a good information digger.” Miyoshi clapped her hands while smiling widely. Sonoko shot a curious look at the blonde girl and Ran remained quiet.

“Do you know anything else? I get the feeling you’re omitting something.” Sonoko pushed her face closer to Tsukiko’s. The girl took a step backwards.

“Um, no? Why would I? I only today began here.” Tsukiko lied. She really didn’t want to risk saying anything else. Oh, she did know so much more. For example about Ran, Conan – or Shinichi – and about so many other people. “I think I have to get going now though. My guardian is waiting for me. See you guys tomorrow!”

With hasty backwards steps, Tsukiko got some more space for herself and waved a goodbye.

“See you tomorrow!” Miyoshi waved back and the blonde turned to leave.

“Tomorrow I will put you through a deduction test! Let’s see which one of us is better detective!” Sonoko shouted after the girl. Tsukiko waved a hand over her shoulder, indicating she’d heard.

“It was nice to meet you.” Ran finally spoke up too but Tsukiko could barely even hear her voice.

“What’s up with her today?” The new girl thought but twisted around, jogging backwards.

“Yeah, it was nice to meet you too, Mouri-senpai.” The blonde grinned and managed to coax a smile from the karate champion. It was good. Kind girls like her… they shouldn’t be down. Because they remained strong for others, others should also be their support when needed.

Chapter Text

Chapter 15.

Miyoshi waved a goodbye to Tsukiko and sighed then. “She is a good person. I think you should be nicer for her too.” She glared at Sonoko.

“I was just normal.” The older girl complained. Mai snorted.

“Right…” The class president muttered skeptically.

“She knows quite much though, like she’d done background work. She has just transferred here and already was able to say that much…” Ran said then, feeling like she had to interrupt before the two began arguing. It had happened some time and it wasn’t pretty.

“Ran, you are thinking too much. All those details can be found anywhere, it’s just a matter of recalling them. For example about my family. We are rich and have been in newspaper several times. Especially Jirokichi-ojisama lately.” Sonoko explained.

“Not to mention that she had to listen to Hanajima prattle for the first two periods.” Mai added.

“I see… Maybe you are right…” Ran muttered. Has Shinichi rubbed off to her to make her suspicious of everyone? “I have to go now too. Conan-kun must be home already. See you tomorrow.”

“See you, Ran! Don’t think too much of it. Oh, I know! Think about your husband. That should relax you.” Sonoko grinned.

“Shi-, Shinichi is not my husband!” Ran blushed rapidly.

“Yes, yes, of course not. See you!”

“Bye, Ran-senpai!” Mai added.

”Bye, Miyoshi-chan.”


 

Tsukiko rang the doorbell and waited until Jodie came to open the door. She still didn’t have a key yet but Jodie had promised to get her one on the up-coming week. And to be home when her classes ended.

“Hi, Okiya-san. Had a good day?” The woman smiled at the girl but Tsukiko noticed her eyes were a bit swollen and red. Like she had just cried. Tsukiko decided not to comment on it and just smiled back.

“Yes, I had a good day.” The girl replied and stepped inside. Jodie closed the door behind her and then led the two of them to the kitchen.

“That’s great to hear. Which class did they put you in?”

“My class is 1-B. Do you know that class?”

“Pretty well, it’s packed with stereotypes. One needed a firm grasp in both teaching material and their personality types in order to get the classes going properly.” Jodie chuckled. “It took a couple of weeks but I managed it eventually.”

“I see.”

“Did you make any friends?”

“Yeah, Miyoshi Mai-san, the class president, and I are pretty good friends now. I also got to know Hanajima Megumi-san but she gives me an uneasy feeling…” Tsukiko told. “And when Mai-san and I were on our way home, we walked part of the way with two girls from the class above us. Their names were Suzuki Sonoko and Mouri Ran.”

“Oh, those girls. I know them from my time at Teitan. Ran and Sonoko are both really good girls even if we tended to run a couple of cases together. I hope you can get along with them. And Cool Kid lives at Ran’s place.”

“Does he really?” Tsukiko feigned surprise. “I already knew that.”

“Yes, he does. And about your classmates then…” Jodie paused to think something positive about them.

“They all are pretty talkative. Or noisy…” The girl pointed out.

“True, but the majority of them are good people. Especially Maki Namida-san.”

“Maki… Namida? Who is she?” Tsukiko frowned, trying to remember if she’d heard such a name.

“You probably didn’t notice her. She is pretty quiet person and always in the shadow of her twin sister, Tsunami. They both belong to that clique part of your class but the last time when I saw of them it seemed that Namida wanted to quit. Somehow.”

“But because of her sister’s dominating nature she can’t? I think I know the girl you are talking about. She sits right behind me after the seating order was changed.”

“You have good eyes, Okiya-san. I’m surprised you noticed that detail.” Jodie gave an impressed look at the girl. “There are just so many nuances when it comes to the interactions within that particular class. It took me for a while to discover all of them.”

“Uhh… That’s what everyone keeps saying…” The girl muttered. The woman quirked an eye brow.

“Did you say something?”

“Ah no, I didn’t. I’m going to change my clothes now.” Tsukiko made a hasty retreat to the room she’d already taken to call as ‘hers’.


 

Tsukiko changed into some of the clothes she and Jodie had bought during their shopping spree on last Saturday: a pair of blue jeans, a pink t-shirt with a funny print – although she wasn’t quite sure if that picture was a bird or a fish – and a black hair band to keep her sand-colored hair away from of her face. They all fit well and thus made the girl smile. Little things to make her life go on in this new world.

“I do wonder though how long of a time I have to be here… Is there even a way home? I have no clues…” Tsukiko frowned, making her way back to the kitchen. There he began helping Jodie with the dinner. The girl chopped the vegetables and Jodie put them into a cooking pot. They were making some simple chicken noodle soup.

“You are good in chopping. Have you cooked a lot?”

“Pretty much, yes. After all I have been on my own for some time…” Tsukiko replies, amazed how easy it was to tell lies that were based on the truth. “Do you need my help anymore? I think I should do my homework now.”

“Go ahead. I’ll call you when the dinner is ready. Thank you for your help.”


 

Jodie waited until the girl was in her room before taking her cell phone from the pocket of her jeans. She speed-dialed Black’s number and pressed the call button.

“Hello? Jodie-kun?” The man answered.

“Yeah, it’s me.”

“What is Okiya-kun’s situation?”

“Well, today was her first day at school. I enrolled her to Teitan High. She seems to be adjusting well to all this.”

“That’s good to hear. What have you found out about her background?”

“She doesn’t really care about talking about herself much but what I found out on Saturday, is that she used to live in Kyoto has a family of four. Her parents are abroad because of their work and her older brother, Okiya Subaru, lives somewhere in Tokyo.” Jodie explained quickly. She was afraid that Tsukiko would come from her room and hear the conversation. And that would do nothing good for the trust already built between them.

“Somewhere in Tokyo?” Black repeated. “So even she doesn’t know where?”

“She doesn’t. She told her brother was moving to a new apartment and has a habit to change his phone number in the process. Okiya-san was coming to help him but got into that accident. And apparently she didn’t even tell her brother she was coming for visit in order to surprise him.”

“Her brother is unaware that she has been in accident?”

“Yeah, there is no way she can contact him…” Jodie sighed. “But isn’t it still weird that no one has tried to contact her? She was so lost at the hospital before I offered her to stay with me…”

“Actually one person did contact her. It was when you were at the Police Station checking the finger prints…”

Jodie bit her lip. She didn’t want to remember anything about that day. She had already done her crying for the day, she didn’t want to break down again. “What did she talk about with her… friend then?”

“I don’t know. She went outside to talk with him. She just seemed she had been waiting for that call eagerly. She phrased it as…’He promised to call me no matter what’.”

“Strange…” Jodie tapped her finger against the table and let her gaze to drift some papers she’d been filling to register Tsukiko living with her in the same apartment. There were parts that Tsukiko had filled personally though… Like her birthday. 13.4. she had written in British order though with the dots rather than using slashes. Jodie took a moment to reverse the numbers to Japanese/American form, 4.13. “But maybe it was for her birthday. She has marked it as the thirteenth of April in official papers.”

“Maybe.” Black agreed. “It is also possible for her to pick the date because that was when you offered the place to live for her. A chance for new life.”

“That’s true…” Jodie mused. “I’ll try to ask it at some point.”

“Let’s hope she’ll open up more with the time. Right now we can only watch and wait.”

“You are right. I need to go now though. The dinner is cooking.”

“Jodie-kun, do take care also about yourself.”

“I will. Bye.”


 

Tsukiko let a smile spread across her face. She knew Jodie would make a call right after she had left. She just knew it! But she was also surprised that the agent hadn’t noticed her. The girl was standing right next to the doorway while the woman thought she was in her room doing her homework. After all Jodie had heard when Tsukiko closed the door of her room but not seen it directly as there wasn’t a direct visual connection between the kitchen and my room. Afterwards Tsukiko had snuck back, next to the kitchen’s doorway to listen to her phone conversation.

“I knew she’d report FBI what she had already found out about me. I’m surprised she didn’t do it when I was at school, even less of a chance to be eavesdropped.” Tsukiko thought and slipped back to her room once the call was over. “But it seems she believed my cover story… But I didn’t expect Black to become suspicious about that call I made… I must be careful even if Jodie came up with a good reason after seeing my birthdate.”

Yes, her birthday had been on the same day than Akai’s ‘death’. With all the excitement going on in the hospital, Tsukiko had promptly forgotten about it. And afterwards she didn’t feel like reminding Jodie about the date. Besides, this was Detective Conan world. It wasn’t like she actually aged there. But she could also say that on last Friday it had been her sixteenth birthday.

Tsukiko did her homework quickly but not too tidily. Thanks to that world studying in Japanese was as easy as she was used to Finnish, her mother tongue. She had assimilated the language somehow and could read and speak it fluently. Because of her slight rush to cover up her eavesdropping, she didn’t really concentrate on the problems presented on the homework sheets and thus made several mistakes. Her handwriting wasn’t that tidy either.

“Well, I can’t help it. I’m not used to write kanji…” Tsukiko shrugged and packed her school satchel for the next day.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16.

When one had a lot to do, time surely went forward. It was like Tsukiko had only recently been in that accident but in reality she had been in the Detective Conan world about three fourths of a year. And the half of that time she had been in coma. Of course, there also was the fact that the year would keep going on and on over and over again so in reality it was probably just a month or so…

“Let’s see… ‘Black Impact’ was in approximately November since the Poltergeist case was in October… Then were my months in coma until the ‘Clash of Red and Black’…” Tsukiko mumbled whilst scribbling some nonsense to her notebook. “Raiha Pass incident happened the 13th of April and I enrolled to Teitan High on the 16th…”

“Okiya-chan, you’ll be late if you don’t hurry!” Jodie’s voice called from outside of the girl’s room.

“If I run I can leave in five minutes!” Tsukiko yelled back through the door. In reality she probably wasn’t going to run, just walk faster than usually.

“Okay, then. Don’t be late!”

“I won’t!” The girl continued scribbling. “Hmm… And Jodie is still keeping an eye on me… I can’t wait until October the 6th so I can implement the next part of my plan.”

Tsukiko got up from her chair and put her notebook and writing utensils aside. While she trusted Jodie not to go snooping through her things, she had written her notes in Finnish just in case. The girl picked her school bag from the floor and cast the last glance about her room. It was tidy enough.

“I’m going now!”


 

She was late. She should’ve left earlier. Time had escaped from her again. But now it was too late to be sorry about it. Tsukiko just had to run as fast as she could. She dashed through shopping district and the park near it. It was a shortcut she’d discovered her first week into school.

“First block… second block… third… fourth…” The girl counted in her mind. The first lesson would be Kawaoka-sensei’s. She was the same one who’d made the class to change seats on the first day. She was young but very strict about the rules. And – believe it or not – she was the only person the snob club’s leader Toudou Yuuko respected. And that was only because of the teacher’s beauty.

“They are hopeless…” Tsukiko muttered as she reached the school gate. She was breathing breathed heavily but she’d made it just in time. A couple of minutes to spare to calm down and get the inside slippers from her locker.


 

“You were in hurry, didn’t you?” Maii asked as Tsukiko took her seat next to the other girl. Tsukiko slumped against her desk, leaning her head against her crossed arms and sighed.

“Yeah, how did you notice?” The blonde muttered.

“You forgot your glasses.” She replied and flipped a page of her book. Something about electronics…

“Ah! How…? I…” Tsukiko lifted her head and touched her face. Despite using the glasses for the past weeks, she still hadn’t noticed them missing.

“And judging by your reaction, you aren’t using contact lenses either.” Mai concluded without lifting her gaze from her book. “I’m quite surprised about that. But considering your actions during lessons, you probably don’t need your glasses as much as I do.”

“Well, yes…” Tsukiko stammered, a bit loss as to what else to say. The glasses had been a spur of a moment decision in order to throw off people in the case someone was gunning for her. But the hit-and-run had been just an accident even if it had involved some of the most high-ranking and short-tempered members. Now she just continued wearing them because leaving them out would be suspicious.

“Observing and noticing things is everything you need in this class. I have been watching you during the lessons when I’ve had the chance. You have a habit of taking your glasses off during lessons when you are sure no one notices. And that’s the reason why I also recognized you. Aside from the obvious hair color.”

“Noticing… Recognize… Right.”

“You look very different without your glasses. You’re eyes are pretty shade of greyish blue, you shouldn’t be hiding them.” Tsukiko blushed slightly at Mai’s compliment.

“A-Arigatou…”

“Aww! Okiya-chan! You look so cute! Do you have contact lenses?” Hanajima’s voice broke the silence between the two girls. The gossiper was standing in front of Tsukiko’s desk, smiling brightly, and was nothing like the girl Tsukiko had met on the first day.

“So you have accepted your role now?” Tsukiko asked, diverting the course of conversation away from the previous topic. A week ago Hanajima had officially ‘joined back’ to the snob club thus causing a bit problems between her and some the other people in the class. No wonder though. After all she had tricked the majority of them. Everyone except Mai, Tsukiko, the snob club and some select few.

“Yes, I have. This is much better now. I was so tired of faking.” Hanajima had a cold edge in her voice that vanished quickly enough. “But tell me now whether or not you are using contact lenses today.”

“Yes, I am.” Tsukiko lied. “But only for this day. They are pretty hard to put on.”

“I see.” Hanajima smiled and retreated as abruptly as she’d arrived. “Bye, Okiya-chan! Bye, Miyoshi-san!”

“Bye!”

“…” Mai didn’t even bother to answer. Only when Hanajima was back in her seat did Mai finally speak. “She is a real pain in the neck. Two-faced devil. I don’t know how you can stand her.”

“I know but I simply haven’t had that much exposure of her. I haven’t seen all of her faces like you have. The first innocent one that you must have seen when she began school here. But there still must have been something that made you reach out and try to help her.” Tsukiko observed.

“…Hanajima is a lost cause.” Mai answered at length. “If you want to help someone, try Namida-chan.”

“Maki Namida? You mean the girl usually sitting behind me.”

“Yes, she didn’t come to school today and she wants to get out of the snob club. She is a good person if a bit shy.”

Their chatting came to the end when Kawaoka-sensei came to the classroom. Mai got up and instructed others too as part of her duties as the class president. The morning routine that happened in all Japanese schools so to say.

“Stand up.”

“Salute.”

“Sit down.”


 

After school Tsukiko headed to the bookstore. She wanted something to read. Manga, mystery novel, fantasy flick, short stories, anything. Just something to read while waiting for October.

“Hm hm hmm…” Her finger trailed backs of the books as the girl searched for something interesting. Nothing had caught her attention just yet.

“Do you always hum yourself when looking for something? Okiya-neechan?” She heard a familiar voice to ask from somewhere on her left and towards the ground. Tsukiko looked down in surprise.

“Ta-Tantei-chan?!”

“Don’t call me with that nickname.” Conan hissed whilst glaring at her. Tsukiko noticed a group of kids behind him. Two boys and two girls; the Detective Boys then.

“Conan-kun? Is that your friend?” The dark-haired girl with a hairband, Yoshida Ayumi, asked.

“’Tantei-chan’? Funny nickname you’ve got Conan.” The boy who was the biggest, Kojima Genta, remarked without letting Conan answer to the first question. The situation reminded Tsukiko slightly of her first day in Teitan. The flood of questions and people wanting theirs to be heard.

“Well, we have met once before. It was kind of a case…” Conan tried to explain.

“And because he ran all around the crime scene and asked weird questions from everyone, I decided to start calling him Tantei-chan.” Tsukiko concluded. “How about you guys? Are you his friends?”

“Yeah, we are Shounen Tantei-dan! We solve a lot of cases.” The kids except the brown-haired girl, Haibara Ai, told in unison.

“I see.” The high schooler smiled. “Nice to meet you. I’m Okiya Tsukiko.”

Despite the situation and Tsukiko’s familiarity with Conan, in the end the kids weren’t exactly interested in her. They rather opted to read mangas, especially Kamen Yaiba. Conan in the other hand began looking around in the shop. Up until Ai placed her finger on the boy’s cheek and turned his head to the right direction.

“That way. You are looking for mysteries, right?” She said.

“Right…”

Conan ran to take the last piece of the newest Shinmei Kaori’s book but someone else took it right in front of his face. And that someone was…

“Eisuke?” Tsukiko said aloud, forgetting the ‘kun’-honorific from his name completely. He didn’t seem to notice it though; he was already surprised enough about meeting both Conan and her so suddenly. Conan was surprised too, but his attention was then drawn to Ran and Sonoko who were also in that store, accompanying Eisuke.

“Ah, Suzuki-senpai, Mouri-senpai… You are here too. Looking for something special?” Tsukiko greeted them as they’d not seen each other at school. The blonde girl had avoided as much people as possible from seeing her without glasses. Speaking of which, Conan hadn’t yet commented the lack of them…

“Yes, we were actually looking for a book our teacher recommended for us.” Ran answered.

“I see.” Tsukiko nodded. That made sense. And fit with the manga plot too. Karaoke Box Murder Case.

“Hey, how do you know Eisuke, Tsukiko-chan?” Sonoko asked then. “Are you two dating or something?”

Eisuke blushed and began stammering something or other. Tsukiko remained calm and tried to keep her voice level despite the slight flush dusting her cheeks. “No, we aren’t. Is that a question variation of which you ask everyone you meet?”

“Maybe…” The rich girl trailed of while grinning unrepentantly. “But you didn’t answer to my first question. How do you know him?”

“We were in the same hospital and happened to talk a lot.”

Sonoko didn’t look very happy about that boring explanation but decided to let it be when Ran pointed out the book they’d come to buy.

“Hey, isn’t this the book our teacher recommended to us?” The karate champion picked the book in question from the bookshelf. Using the distraction to her advantage, Tsukiko snuck a few steps closer to Eisuke.

“It seems you are finally ‘out from the hospital’… Was FBI keeping you safe for a while?” She asked quietly from him.

“Yes... How about you? I didn’t hear anything about you after you left the hospital.” Eisuke replied back with equally quiet voice.

“I’m staying with Jodie-san and attending Teitan. She is keeping an eye on me and reporting to Black-san every week.”

“Eh, why?” The boy blinked in confusion.

“I don’t know… But don’t worry about it: I’m sure everything will be fine eventually.” Tsukiko flashed a smile at him.

“So… you are in Teitan too then?” Eisuke changed the subject.

“Yeah, almost since I got released from the hospital. Jodie-san enrolled me. I’m on class 1-B now.”

“Good luck then. I’ve heard a lot of rumors and gossip about that class.”

“Everyone is saying that to me but I’m doing fine there…” Tsukiko huffed with a slight pout on her face. She grinned then. “It’s quite fun actually on that class. I’m definitely not bored while there. And I made some friends too.”

“I see.” Eisuke gave Tsukiko one of his smiles that made him look like a girl.

“Oh, look at that. What is that if it’s not love?” Sonoko’s face suddenly appeared between the two of them. They both blushed but Eisuke much more harshly. Tsukiko took quickly a half-sliding step backwards.

“Su-Suzuki-senpai! That-…”

“S-Sonoko-san, what are you-…”

“Sonoko, why don’t you just leave them alone?” Ran sighed.

“Suzuki-senpai, there is nothing between us.” Tsukiko tried to explain but Sonoko wasn’t listening. Tsukiko had only one choice left: to say something that was true and irrefutable. “There is no use of falling in love to someone who already has his heart reserved.”

That made Sonoko stop her babbling. All those teens, Sonoko, Ran, Eisuke, even Conan, were looking at Tsukiko now. The girl grinned at their faces.

“What? I’m just talking nonsense. See ya tomorrow.” She turned to leave the bookshop quickly and efficiently. Sonoko was fast though.

“Eh! Chotto matte!” The girl grabbed the blonde’s arm. “You are coming with us. We are going to celebrate Eisuke’s coming back and since you’re his friend…”

“I also got to attend, right?” Tsukiko deadpanned.

“Bingo~!”

“May I also state to the record that I really don’t like how you stressed that word? Because I really didn’t.”

“Do I look like I care?”

“I suppose you don’t, Suzuki-senpai…”

Chapter Text

Chapter 17.

Ai gave a look at Conan and nodded to the boy to come a bit closer.

“What now?” Conan asked.

“Those two… They are Hondo Eisuke and Okiya Tsukiko then.” Ai glanced two teens in front of them, talking quietly.

“Yeah, but Okiya doesn’t have her glasses right now.” Conan admitted and couldn’t help but wonder why as at the hospital she’d used them all the time. Eisuke didn’t seem to even blink at the change though. Maybe he’d seen her without glasses… Or maybe he was overthinking the matter.

“I see. She was helping you at the hospital with Mizunashi’s case and seems to get along well with Hondo-kun.”

“FBI is still keeping an eye on her. I don’t really get it. She has done nothing suspicious. Not at the hospital and not outside of it. Ran has told me occasionally about her.”

“Well, knowing much about the situation even though she had been in coma for the duration of the situation developing is pretty suspicious. It’s more than natural that she is suspected to be a spy.” The young scientist remarked.

“I know. But I also know that she isn’t a spy, just has a good eye for details and deduction.”

“Saa… And how do you know that?”

“Eh… I…”

“Hey, brat, we are going now!” Sonoko interrupted the conversation between the two faux children. Conan shrugged and followed the rich girl out of the book store where Ran, Eisuke and Tsukiko already were, waiting for him. Ai followed him a couple of steps behind.


 

It was time to decide the place where the quintet would go to celebrate Eisuke’s ‘comeback’. While Tsukiko already knew the place due manga, she didn’t take a part to the conversation. After all she was supposedly not from around Tokyo but Kyoto with only occasional visit to the area. The first suggestion was a cake place. Then came an eatery with spicy food. Eisuke denied both of the suggestions so Sonoko said there was only one place left.

“Karaoke! Let’s go to Karaoke Box!”

“Yappari…” Tsukiko muttered unenthusiastically. Behind the high schoolers walked Conan and Ai, still whispering to each other. Tsukiko turned slightly to glance at them and then the man behind the vending machine. The man that had been following them since leaving the book store. A stalker who’d be killed at the karaoke place. Frankly, Tsukiko didn’t care much about him. He was a creep and murderer himself after all. And to her just ink on pages.


 

Tsukiko didn’t feel like singing. She knew about none of the songs that were played but she still had to try. She was more familiar with songs used in anime openings than J-pop or children songs.

“Okiya-neechan, you sing well but you don’t catch all the words and that’s why you lose points.” Conan told her when the girl had finished with her first song and given the microphone to Sonoko. Tsukiko found she’d gotten the lowest score she had ever scored in any singing game.

“Look who’s talking, Mr. Tone-deaf.” The girl glared. “I’m just not used to these songs.”

“What kind of music do you like to sing then?” Ran asked the blonde.

“I prefer European and American music. I really like singing in English.” Tsukiko ran a hand through her hair. Then she spotted the look Conan was shooting at her and let out a short laugh. It was like he wanted to say ‘Okiya-neechan… I’m not tone-deaf.’ with his glare.

“Conan-kun, why are you looking at Okiya-chan like that?” Ran asked.

“No. It’s nothing.” Conan muttered, looking away.

“Did you get mad when I said you are tone-deaf? I’m sorry. But your singing is just horrible.” Tsukiko smiled at the boy apologetically. He turned to glare her once more.

“Okiya-chan, you shouldn’t say things like that.” Ran said then to Tsukiko. She thought the blonde was being mean. “Conan-kun is just a child.”

“I think it’s better if we are honest to kids. They are terribly honest back after all. Besides I don’t like telling lies.”

“Ran, it’s fine. I’m sure that brat doesn’t even care.” Sonoko said as she was choosing a song for her. “Besides, she needs some outlet to make herself feel better after her own low score.”

“Oi!” Tsukiko shot a glare at the other girl who just snickered in response.

“Ano… Ran-neechan… Okiya-neechan is right, I can’t really sing.” Conan smiled shyly to his ‘Ran-neechan’.

“See, he even admits it. Okay, now my song is coming. Great Sonoko will take the high scores!”

Tsukiko leaned back in her seat and closed her eyes. It all was pretty relaxing actually. She had never been to karaoke before, just played SingStar with her friends occasionally. Besides, she had to take it easy until the receptionist of the Karaoke box would scream.

The songs went on. Conan sung again, then Eisuke, then Ran and Sonoko sang a duet. Sonoko again on her own.

“Tsukiko-chan, it’s your turn now. Choose something you can actually sing.” Sonoko said.

“Huh? Is it my turn already?”

“Either you or Eisuke, but Eisuke isn’t back yet so go ahead. Sing us something good.”

“Well…” Tsukiko picked up the microphone and leant towards the screen where all songs were shown. “Maybe this…” It was one of the first songs she’d learnt for that band and still one of her favorites. The music started playing. Ran and Sonoko didn’t seem to recognize the song but Conan did.

“Beatles?” The boy asked aloud. Tsukiko nodded with a smile and began singing. The song was for Eisuke and Hidemi even if the unfortunate boy wasn’t in the room with them currently.

“Yesterday… All my troubles seem so far away…
Now it looks as though as they’re here to stay…
Oh, I believe… in Yesterday…

“Suddenly… I’m not half the man I used to be…
There’s a shadow hanging over me…
Oh, Yesterday… came suddenly…

“Why… she… had to go I don’t know, she wouldn’t say…
I… said… something wrong, now I long for yesterday…

“Yesterday… Love is such an easy game to play…
Now I need a place to hide away…
Oh, I believe… in Yesterday…

“Mm mm mm mm…”

The song ended. It was a short song. But it didn’t matter. Ran clapped her hands.

“Great job, Okiya-chan. You did much better than with your previous song.” The kind girl complimented.

“Thank you, Mouri-senpai…” Tsukiko blushed at the praise.

“Hmm… not bad but you can’t still beat me.” Sonoko sighed with a shrug. The younger girl arched her eye brows at her.

“I can’t? And who says so?”

“I say. I, the Queen of Karaoke.”

“The Queen of Big Ego, more like.” Tsukiko smirked.

“What?!” Sonoko rose up from the sofa and grabbed the microphone from the blonde’s hand. “What did you say, kouhai Okiya Tsukiko-chan?”

“Well, shall have a competition then?” Ran suggested slightly. “There is a competition mode too, in these machines.”

“Sounds good. You can choose the song, Okiya-chan.” Tsukiko really didn’t like the way Sonoko was saying her name and thus asserting her as better but nevertheless picked up the other microphone from the table.

“Fine. But you better look out because this song might be too hard for you, Suzuki-san.” Tsukiko countered, not acknowledging the other girl as her ‘senpai’ and thus as better.

“You keep just talking. I can sing anything. And win you even when you have an advantage.” Sonoko declared.

“We’ll see.” Tsukiko picked up another song from the Beatles. It was Hello, Goodbye. It was a funny song and quite good to be sung together.

The intro ended and we started to sing.

“You say yes… I say no…
You say stop… I say go go go…

“Oh… no…
You say goodbye and I say hello…
Hello, hello…
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello…
Hello, hello…
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello…

“I say high… You say low…
You say why… I say I don’t know…

“Oh… no…
You say goodbye and I say hello…
Hello, hello…
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello…
Hello, hello…
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say goodbye…

“Hello, hello…
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello…”

When the song ended all four of them(minus Conan) waited eagerly for the results. Which one had sung better? Sonoko or Tsukiko? The veteran or the newbie? The challenger or the challenged?

Bling!

“Fi-Five…” Sonoko stuttered staring the screen. Tsukiko gulped. She had won but only by five points. There was no telling how Sonoko would react to that.

“Awesome. You both were so awesome.” Ran was clapped her hands, praising both girls.

“Okiya-neechan, that was great!” Conan smiled to Tsukiko. The girl smiled back, tiredly. She had given her everything to that song. Her tense shoulders relaxed.

“You just had luck with that song. And the advantage…” Sonoko muttered.

“Suzuki-senpai…” Tsukiko tried to appease the older girl by reverting back to ‘senpai’-address. “Don’t be a poor loser. You did great job with that song. It’s only five points.”

“Hey… It’s been 30 minutes since he left. Where’s the star of the party gone?” Sonoko huffed, picking her phone and checking the time. Tsukiko sighed internally. She had had a lot of fun time with them even though the girls were quite tiresome. But they were nice and good people. Good friends maybe even.

Chapter Text

Chapter 18.

Eisuke was finally back. Looking pale and shivering, just like Tsukiko had expected. Though the reason was a bit ridiculous. The blonde girl checked the time from her watch. It was about the time for the phone call from the reception. After all the time they booked the karaoke room for, was at its end. Not to mention that soon after that call a scream would be heard when the receptionist would find the killed stalker.

“Rrrriing!” The phone on the wall rang. Eisuke tried to take the receiver but in his haste messed around and Sonoko grabbed it, pushing the clumsy boy aside.

“Ah, yes? …Eh? Oh! Is it that late already?! …Ah, we’ll leave.” Sonoko hung up the call then.

“Conan-kun, don’t forget anything, okay?” Ran told the boy who nodded.

“Time to go? Well, I have to say I had much fun with you all. Thank you for inviting me.” Tsukiko smiled. They were picking up their things when they heard the scream. Conan dashed from the room. Tsukiko suppressed a sigh. It was going to be a long day. She should probably call Jodie and tell her it would take a while. But not until she officially knew what was going on.


 

The police arrived. Megure, Takagi and Chiba. With Conan’s help they narrowed the amount of suspects to three – or four if Eisuke was included. Tsukiko followed the proceedings attentively but silently.

“And who are you?” Megure asked from Tsukiko then. That’s right, he already knew the other four but she was a new addition and wearing the same uniform than the other teens.

“Me? I’m Okiya Tsukiko. Nice to meet you, keibu-san.” The blonde replied, trying hard not to stutter. The question had been quite sudden.

“She attends the same school with us.” Sonoko added.


 

The reason for Eisuke’s nervousness was found. Apparently he saw the two people in room four making out and thought they were both men. In the other hand, so did Megure and Takagi.

“How rude!” The other person from room four yelled. “I’m a woman!”

“Ah… Really…” Takagi stammered.

“This is rude…” Megure sweatdropped.

“Well, she also does body building so people mistake her for a men sometimes…” The dark skinned man and the woman’s boyfriend explained.

“Oh… So it was like that.” Eisuke sighed.

“Do you have something against same-sex pairs?” Tsukiko asked the boy. Because Gosho’s approach to the topic was… dubious at best.

“No… The sight just startled me and…” Eisuke shook his head.

“You imagination took care of the rest?” The girl grinned, making the boy flush.

“Tsukiko-san!”

“But thank goodness!” Ran spoke up then. “You were acting so strange. I was worried about you!”

“You…” Eisuke blinked.

“Really… I’m glad.”

“Y-Yeah… Thank goodness.” The boy blushed again.


 

The case moved slowly to its conclusion. Conan used Sonoko to tell his deduction. The murderer, Honma Kyuota, had been looking for justice and killed his son’s kidnapper and murderer. He was arrested and thus the high schoolers and the kid with them got to go home.

“Ah, it’s already late. I forgot to call in the end…” Tsukiko dialed Jodie’s number. She hoped the woman would answer as she vaguely remembered that Conan had tried calling her but the agent hadn’t answered.

“Where are you?! I have been worried!” The answer came immediately. Jodie probably had carried her cell with her all the night since coming home.

“I’m sorry. I was singing karaoke with my friends when someone got murdered there. And…”

“Was Cool Kid there?”

“Yes…”

“I see. Come home quickly and tell me everything. You must be hungry.”

“Yes… I’m on my way already.”

“Good. Don’t take any detours.”

“I won’t. Bye!”

“Bye.”

“Who was that?” Eisuke asked when the call ended.

“Just... Someone who takes care of me and worries a lot.” Tsukiko smiled smiled.

“I see…”

“Ano… Do you guys run into murders or other crimes often then?” Tsukiko decided to ask. “It was sort of weird how the inspector seemed to know all of you…”

“Yes. This is unfortunately common occurrence.” Ran sighed. “Man, it turned out to be the worst welcome back party…”

“Yeah.” Sonoko nodded.

“But I was really impressed!” Eisuke spoke up. “By Sonoko-san’s detective show! It was like seeing Nemuri no Kogoro!

“Yeah! It was an amazing deduction, enough to surpass Shinichi!” Ran joined in, completely forgotten about the murder itself.

“Y-Yeah?” Sonoko sweat dropped a bit.

“C’mon, Suzuki-senpai. Don’t tell us you don’t remember a thing.” Tsukiko joked.

“Well, o-of course I remember! What else would you expect from the Deduction Queen?” Sonoko rebuffed immediately, shrugging off the accusation.

“Nothing else.” Tsukiko smiled and with a side-glance noticed the expression on Conan’s face. He was suspecting something. Good…


 

Conan slowed down his pace a bit, his eye fixed on the back of one Okiya Tsukiko

“That girl… Does she know… who I am?” She frowned but shook his head. It was impossible. Not something to suspect since first meeting. But the way she’d treated him back at the hospital despite all the teasing… and just now she had known that Sonoko didn’t remember anything she had ‘deduced’.

“Or was her behavior due how FBI treated me? Anyways I have to keep an eye on her and find out how much she does know. Maybe this… insight is the reason why FBI is still suspicious about her.”

“By Shinichi, do you mean high school detective Kudou Shinichi?” Eisuke asked, making Conan to tune back to the conversation.

“Yeah!” Sonoko grinned. “And also Ran’s husband away from home!”

“So-Sonoko!” Ran protested, her face red.

“You’re in a high school marriage?” Eisuke blushed too at the thought.

“Of course not! Not to a guy like him!” The karate champion denied.

“He’s out of town because he got caught up in some case! It’s a long distance marriage!” Sonoko waved off the protests.

“Wow…”

“I don’t think that’s quite correct.” Tsukiko gave a lopsided smile to the two girls and Eisuke. “If they indeed were married, I’d heard of it already from Hanajima-san. Nothing gets past her normally.”

“Oh yeah, there were some books I wanted to buy, so can go on ahead!” Conan spoke up then and took some running steps back towards the shopping district and the book store there.

“Eh… Right now?” Ran asked.

“It’s alright! Tsukiko and I will go with him and walk him back to the Detective Agency then.” Eisuke said and went after the boy. All formalities had dropped between him and the girl who jogged after the two boys.

“Matte! Don’t decide things on your own, Eisuke.” She shouted after them. “Bye then Mouri-senpai, Suzuki-senpai. See you tomorrow.”

When the trio crossed the street and vanished from view, did the girls left behind speak up again.

“Those two go pretty well together. Right, Ran?” Sonoko giggled to Ran who sighed.

“Sonoko… Leave them be. They are just friends.”

“Right now, yes. But who knows what will happen in future with them.”


 

“So? What is it? Since you two came with me all this way…” Conan asked. “There’s something you wanted to say, right?”

“Ask Eisuke.” Tsukiko muttered, nodding her head to the boy’s direction. “I’m just a tag along for obscure purposes.”

“Yeah… I was thinking, and I’ve decided to go to America.” Eisuke answered.

“Eh? So you decided to accept the witness protection program?” Conan asked.

“No, I had to turn that down. As I’ve said before, I hate to be tied down. And it seems the bad organization you told me about hasn’t made me a target yet.”

“Then why the United States?”

“I want to become a CIA agent, like my father and sister! After that I’ll expose every bad person’s deeds! And with my sister, I’ll bring down that bad organiz-…” And Eisuke walked into lamppost.

“You’ll have to do something about that clumsiness before even thinking about the CIA…” Conan deadpanned.

“Th-That’s true…”

“Are you sure about the CIA? They sound pretty ruthless. Of course I only have the television interpretation but…” Tsukiko sighed and ran a hand through her hair. “They serve the interests of USA even if they work in international scale. Not to mention that it will take years until you can even consider applying. Can you really wait for that long?”

“Yes. I’m sure.” Eisuke nodded resolutely. “And you’ll keep me updated of things going at this side of ocean, right Tsukiko?”

“I will.” The girl smiled.

“But then… If you’re going to go, why did you come back to school?” Conan continued.

“Even though it was short, I wanted to see my friends before I go. And I wanted to confess my feelings to Ran-san.”

“Huh?”

“I told you so…” Tsukiko mumbled like she had known it in advance.

“I had a crush on her since first sight! I’ve never met someone that pretty and nice…” Eisuke blushed. “But it sounds like she has some feelings for Shinichi-san… And I don’t know how Shinichi-san thinks of her…”

“Eisuke.” Tsukiko stopped, making the other two stop too and glance back at her. “What does it matter?”

“Eh? What do you mean?”

“I mean that…” Tsukiko ran a hand through her hair again and closed it into a fist while thinking the correct words. “What does it matter whether or not Mouri-senpai likes Kudou-san? The Heisei Holmes has disappeared anyways. They are not an official couple despite the gossip on the halls of Teitan and what Suzuki-senpai says…

“And I know what you are thinking! You are thinking of trying to find or contact Kudou-san and ask him if it’s alright for you to tell Mouri-senpai about your feelings. Just so you don’t step over bounds.”

“But wouldn’t that be just right?” Eisuke asked.

“No! Because they are your goddamn feelings. You decide yourself who knows and doesn’t know about them. You did all the effort to come back to Teitan just to see everyone when you could’ve gone and left without a word. You don’t need a permission from some jumped-up detective who hasn’t even been there for her during the past six months!”

“…Yeah. It does sound like that.” Eisuke admitted. Conan was quietly staring at both of them. “Unlike Shinichi, I wouldn’t leave Ran-san alone. I wish to bring her to America one day and live happily with her.”

“No, forget her.” Conan said quietly.

“I’m not asking your opinion… If anything Shinichi’s…” Eisuke laughed while Tsukiko walked past them. She couldn’t stand it. Conan – Shinichi – asserting himself as a wall between Ran and the rest of the world. Ran could take care of herself and make her own mind. She wasn’t a damsel in distress despite how much she cried after Shinichi in worry.

“And I already told you. Forget Ran.” This time Conan had more power in his voice. Eisuke looked at him with confusion. Tsukiko didn’t show any emotion, just stopped like the other two.

Then Eisuke burst out laughing.

“Hahaha! So the mystery is solved at last! Now I can go to America with a clear mind!” He laughed.

“So that’s why went to such convoluted way…” Tsukiko chuckled a bit. “I still stand by what I said, Kudou-san.” She shot a glare at Conan.

“What you knew too?” Eisuke asked her.

“Well, kind of… I know everything.”

“You…” Conan was speechless. “How long time…?”

“The reason I went to Mouri-tantei’s office was because I heard he was the last person to meet Rena before she disappeared. I didn’t know at the time that she was my sister and a CIA agent. I thought for sure that Mouri-tantei had joined up with some bad guys and hid her away someplace… So I did some research about Mouri-tantei on my own before I met him! I wanted to know what the person called ‘Nemuri no Kogoro’ was like! As I did I began to understand something. There was a big difference in his detective skills before and after he became ‘Nemuri no Kogoro’. And the fact that next to him, there was always you!” Eisuke crouched a bit at Conan. “Just like with Sonoko-san today!”

“And it wasn’t very hard to figure it out after finding out that Kudou Shinichi disappeared a bit before Nemuri no Kogoro appeared.” Tsukiko added with a shrug.

“Yeah. When I tried to figure out how of why you became small, my head started to spin. So I decided not to think about it. But you really were that Kudou Shinichi.” Eisuke nodded.

“I really was? You make it sound like you knew from the start.” Conan was worried. If it was that easy for those two to figure it out, what about the organization then?

“Yeah… It was just a guess though! Once Mouri-tantei began making waves in public, you stopped coming to school. And there was one time I fell on purpose, not by accident.” Eisuke explained. “Remember what I said when I first met you? ‘Nice to meet you Mouri-tantei.’ Like that!”

“But his feelings towards Ran are true.” Tsukiko poked the older boy to his side. “And I still encourage him to tell her about them.”

“Ouch, how do you know about it?” Eisuke muttered, rubbing his side.

“As I already said, I know everything.” The girl smiled. “I got to go now. Jodie-san said not to be late. See you again someday!”

Tsukiko disappeared to the crowd ahead of them.

“I didn’t tell her anything then. She must have figured it out on her own after she got released form the hospital. That’s when I last saw her before this day.” Eisuke stated, watching after the girl.

“Yeah, I know.” Conan watched to the same direction even though the girl wasn’t visible anymore.

“Oh, right! Have you heard?” The older boy (if only physically) whispered. “Something seems to have happened in the FBI.”

“Something?”

“Well… Judging from the mood, someone seems to have died. But if you haven’t heard about it then it must be fine.”

“Yeah, it’s fine.” Conan thought.

“Well, I’ll leave Ran-san to your care. And keep an eye on Tsukiko too. I have a feeling that she will get caught in problems sooner or later.”

“Sure. Don’t worry.” Conan waved to the boy who vanished into the crowd too. “Maybe Sonoko was right. Those two could really fit together…” It took a while until he realized what he had thought. He shook his head harshly.

“No, I’m not like her. I’m not pairing up anyone. Besides I have something much more important to think about… But still… they have something in common. Unbound curiosity that will lead them in forward… And into danger too…”

Chapter Text

Chapter 19.

Tsukiko leaned back in her seat and stretched. It was finally the 4th of October. It was amazing how fast the time went by. She barely had even noticed. Or then it was because the cases really jumped from one to another and the seasons jumped in similar way depending how long the previous case had been. Nevertheless, it seemed like a mere blink and she’d gone from June to October. A relatively lot had happened too though. For example…

The girl reached for a letter lying on her desk. It was from Eisuke and had arrived last week. The two of them had exchanged addresses on the last minute before his flight had departed to America. And yes, Tsukiko had been there with Jodie to see him off.


 

“Tsukiko, you don’t need to hug me that tight. I’ll be fine there.” Eisuke blushed as the girl finally let him go and took a step back. They were at Narita Airport. Tsukiko, Eisuke, Jodie and two other agents.

“But I don’t know when I’ll see you for the next time.” Tsukiko muttered, hastily wiping tears from her eyes. She was just so damn emotional…

“Ahaha… I see but you don’t need to cry because of me.”

“Of course I need to! You are my very first friend I have made…” The girl felt Jodie’s gaze in her back and quickly amended. “…in Tokyo. It should be given that I cry when you are leaving!”

“Yes, yes… I suppose so.” Eisuke smiled.

“This is the last call for the flight NQ-5492… All passengers, please, go to the gate…”

“Hondou-kun, we’ll be late if we don’t hurry.” One of the agents said to Eisuke. Johnson. He had been in the van number one and had also listened to Tsukiko when she had something to say. How long had it been since then already? It felt like centuries since those events. “Take care of yourself too, Okiya-san.” He smiled to the girl who nodded and smiled back.

“Hey, Tsukiko, will you give me your address? Even if I can’t tell others how I’m doing, you know the truth about the situation… I don’t want to cut all contact to Japan.” Eisuke suggested then. “You don’t need to if you don’t want to but…”

“No! I’d be glad to. You are my friend so of course I want to hear how you are doing. Here…” Tsukiko took her sketchbook and after flipping through it, she found a drawing she’d drawn about the two of them, in hospital clothes. Turning to the other side of that page, the girl wrote Jodie’s address down and then ripped off the page to give it to Eisuke.

“Arigato, Tsukiko. Wait for my first letter. I’ll put give you my address with it then so you can write me back.”

“I will. Take care!”

“See you again, someday!”

“See you again!”

And the boy left with the two FBI agents, disappearing to the crowd.

“Letters? Isn’t that pretty old-fashioned?” Jodie asked the girl then.

“Maybe it is… But it’s still cheaper than making calls. I do have his number and e-mail address though.” Tsukiko shrugged. “But I’m confident that we’ll meet again someday. Sooner or later.”


 

Tsukiko stretched again and smiled at the photo that had been in the first letter she’d had received from the boy. The photo was now on the wall above my desk. Eisuke was in that photo, smiling and behind him was the Statue of Liberty. He told in his letters that he was taking the opportunity to see sights before they continued to the capital.

“From New York to Washington DC, huh? I hope you will make a lot of friends there.” Tsukiko mused while reading through the newest letter that had come that day. Eisuke was doing fine. School was hard but he wrote that he had still pretty good grades. He hadn’t mentioned anything about friends yet and Tsukiko could see from his letters that he wanted to come back to Japan. Quite a lot actually but knew that he also wanted to stay in order to eventually help his sister. The boy was homesick. Tsukiko could only hope to alleviate it by keeping him updated of everything that was going on in Beika.


 

The next day, Friday the 5th. Tsukiko was on her way from school(Mai had class representative duties) when she saw a group of kids walking before her. They were the Detective Boys, and with them some other boy. The blonde girl knew who the boy was: Sugiura Kaito from Teitan elementary school, class 1-A. He had commissioned help from the detective kids.

Just when Tsukiko was pondering how to approach the kids, one of them happened to look behind them and see her.

“Tsukiko-neesan!” It was Ayumi’s voice. The little girl apparently remembered Tsukiko’s name even though they had met only once and even that was very brief.

“Hello, kids!” Tsukiko greeted them and caught up with them. “How are you doing today?”

“We’re fine!” The kids chorused.

“Today you have glasses. Did your vision go worse?” Genta asked with his no-so-polite way.

“Nope. Last time when we saw I had forgotten them.” The girl smiled, adjusting her glasses slightly. They still irked her sometimes but mostly she was already used to them.

“So you see pretty well without them too?” Mitsuhiko asked. “If you forgot them, then you probably didn’t have contacts either but you seemed to see just fine last time.”

“Well, yes…” Tsukiko nodded and sensed a perfect opening. “But tell me…What’s with you guys? Are you playing detectives or something?”

“We are not just playing.” Ayumi chirped.

“Yeah, we solve real cases.” Genta continued.

“Don’t you remember? I’m sure we mentioned it last time we met.” Ai asked dryly, a small smile tugging her lips.

“Even right now we are right in the middle of a case.” Mitsuhiko told proudly. “This Sugiura Kaito-kun just gave us a commission. And we’ll solve it tomorrow!”

“Really? Can I come then too? I’d love to see Shounen Tantei-dan in action.” Tsukiko asked.

“Yes!” The choir said immediately, Ai and Conan only nodding belatedly.

“Good. Where do you have the case then? Or should we meet at somewhere else first?” The teen asked even though she already knew the answer to it. But she had to ask. And even if it sometimes got on her nerves.

“Ah, we haven’t asked yet.” Mitsuhiko mumbled embarrassedly and turned towards their client.

“My house is an apartment called Mokuba-sou at Beika-cho 2-chome 23rd.” Kaito told them all. “And I’ll be waiting Kuroshi-… Edogawa!”

“Ah… Okay…” Conan replied in slight bafflement. Considering that the other boy basically fanboyed over him earlier, it wasn’t surprising. Kaito left home then, leaving the other five kids and Tsukiko to make their plans for the next day.

“How come it’s mostly about Conan?” Genta frowned.

“And what’s this Kuroshi thing about?” Mitsuhiko asked.

“Maybe he just wanted to say yoroshiku?” Ayumi suggested.

“Or simply a verbal tick?” Tsukiko shrugged, glancing sideways at the shrunken detective by her side.

“Wasn’t Mokuba-sou at Beika 2-chome 23rd at…” Conan pondered with a serious face.

“Oh… Do you know something? About the apartment?” Ai asked immediately.

“Ah, no… I just thought that it’s pretty close to Hakase’s house.” Conan sweatdropped a bit. Ai didn’t seem to notice it but Tsukiko did. She seemed to notice everything. Maybe because she had read the Detective Conan volumes so many times and read all weird theories at forums that she now noticed all things – even the smallest ones – that had something to do with those theories. How annoying… But also fun… Should she try playing high school detective too? Probably not thought. It’d draw too much attention to her.

“Well, see you there then. Is ten o’clock okay?” The teenager spoke up.

“I think it sounds good!” Ayumi agreed.

“And even Genta-kun has already woken up then.” Mitsuhiko agreed.

“Of course I am. I won’t miss a case we are given to solve.” Genta grinned.

Tsukiko bid goodbye to the kids and headed home. On the way she took her cell phone and wrote a message she sent to the spare cell that was still with certain dead man walking, talking and generally living.

– See you tomorrow.

Soon she got a reply back.

– So the time for answers is near then.

Tsukiko smiled, her fingers flying on the buttons of her phone.

– Yes. Finally a chance to talk face to face. But not before the case is solved.

– Case? What do you mean?

– When I say a case, I mean a case. You’ll see it tomorrow. Now… be patient, Okiya Subaru-san.

I suppose you won’t answer even if I ask where you found out about that name.

Now Tsukiko didn’t reply anything. It wouldn’t lead anywhere anyways. Not yet at least.


 

“Tadaima!” Tsukiko called from the hall, taking her shoes off and to the shoe cabinet and putting slippers on. “I’m going to do my homework!”

“Okaeri!” Jodie called back, setting aside a magazine she’d been reading. “You don’t need to say that always. I already know you’ll do them right after you come home from school. Why don’t you relax today? It’s Friday after all.”

“Well… no.” The girl shrugged. “But I’m going tomorrow to Beika-cho at 10 am and I don’t know when I’ll be back.”

“Oh? May I ask why?” The woman tilted her head to the side.

“I’m going to go and see when Tantei-chan and his group solving a case there. The kids got commissioned today.” Tsukiko explained. “I saw Tantei-chan more or less working at hospital back then and with the murder that took place at Karaoke Box but… This is something harmless for a change. And I want to see how his friends work with him.”

“I see.” Jodie nodded in understanding. “Have fun there then, I’m going to sleep ‘til midday.”

“Just try. I know you always wake up at least at eight o’clock so you have no chances to sleep ‘til midday.”

“And who’s saying so? You, who wake up at 6 am?”

“Didn’t you hear me?” I grinned and dodged a pillow Jodie threw. It was great to see her in that bright state. It seemed she had mostly gone over Akai’s ‘death’. It also seemed that the suspicions towards me weren’t as bad as before. She wasn’t giving a report to Black every Monday anymore.

“Yeah, maybe we all can relax a bit now…”


 

Back in Beika-cho, Okiya Subaru placed the borrowed phone on the kitchen table and looked up at his ‘guest’. Well, guest was a bit of a wrong word, after all the teenager had picked the lock of his apartment and had been waiting for him to arrive that day.

“Should I be concerned about your presence here? Especially when you haven’t exactly explained yourself.” The man asked. The boy quirked a smile.

“Haven’t explained what? You need to be more specific… Okiya-san.”

“We could start with that name for example. While I’m grateful that you provided me with identification and all necessary papers, I’m still curious as to why you picked that name for me. I’m certain that you already know the name that girl picked for herself.”

“Yes, Tsukiko-chan… I know her.” The boy nodded, not really answering the question.

“According to the mail she sent, she knows that name too.”

“Yes. She will meet you tomorrow. And when you get to talk… All I ask you is to listen to her with an open mind.”

“…Oh? May I ask why?” Subaru’s curiosity was piqued. The girl had tested the limits of what he could tolerate of not knowing but now he had a chance to hear it. And her connection to this boy, Hibiki, was curious yet they didn’t seem to be keeping contact, thus the boy set him up to keep an eye on the girl.

“You may… but I won’t answer.” Hibiki smiled. He turned away from the window. “Now, may I interest you in taking a long, long walk slash drive once the evening falls?”

“You may… but not until you actually answer to one of my questions.”

“What is it then?” The teen straightened up from his mild slouch, his face suddenly serious, like anticipating that he would not get away from the situation with any more elusive and evasive answers.

“Out of all people you are connected with, why are you so invested in her?”

“That…” Hibiki swallowed and flashed a bright yet not sincere smile. “I can’t answer to that. Sorry. Maybe with time…” The boy seemed to fall into his own thoughts for a moment. Subaru didn’t interrupt him as he waited what Hibiki might have to say. “A couple of months I’d say. Until Tsukiko-chan is adjusted to everything and more open to the possibility of meeting me too. Or something…”

“I see…”

“No, you really don’t.” Hibiki laughed. “But thank you for trying. Just listen to her when you have your long-awaited conversation and then… she might ask you something that you might guess already. I hope you accept her request but won’t push you to.” The boy said cryptically. “See you again someday.”

And he left. Subaru got on his feet to make some coffee and plan the route he’d drive that night. While he didn’t really care about Hibiki’s mysteriousness the boy had gained during the past year, he did appreciate his clues and suggestions.

Outside the house a green motorbike drove away, the landlord’s son waving after the teen. Subaru looked around his apartment, wondering why he should be out the night. Was something going to happen there soon? In the end he pocketed the memory card that had most of information he had obtained during his short stay in Mokuba-sou. Everything else was either replaceable or non-sensitive.

“Tomorrow… some light will be shed to this darkness.” He mused the words of his late co-worker. “Not by a distant start but by gently guiding moon.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 20.

Morning around 7 o’clock. Tsukiko woke up and checked the time from her wristwatch she had placed on the bedside table. Due the lack of proper clock, it sufficed. The girl yawned and sat up.

“Hnh… What was I going to do today again?” Tsukiko thought while rubbing sleep away from her eyes and then ran a hand through her hair. “Ah, right! Today is that day. The 6th of October.”

The blonde girl stood up and took a look at the clothes laid out on her chair. Simple jeans and long-sleeved t-shirt. She changed into them quickly and went to kitchen to make something for breakfast.

“You are early, Okiya-chan.” Jodie stood at the kitchen door, yawning.

“Good morning, Jodie-san!” Tsukiko smiled, in the midst of making sandwiches. “It seems you are too.”

“Hmh… I’m going back to sleep. Don’t make much noise, okay?” The woman turned around and shut the lights of her own room.

“Okay! See you later tonight!”


 

Late, late, late… She was almost late again. So she ran. It was pretty amazing though… Tsukiko had woken up so early but still managed to be late from her meeting… But only almost.

“Tsukiko-san, you are late.” Was the first thing greeting the girl when she arrived to Mokuba-sou. The one to say it was Mitsuhiko in his polite yet childishly blunt way.

“Well, I underestimated the time I had and needed to come here.” Tsukiko laughed but sobered soon. “But now I think we should concentrate on the subject at hand…” The six of them turned to look at the house Mokuba-sou. Or what was left of it. “Who is the suspicious person of this house and what is he doing every night…” The girl paused. “Or should I say… What is it that the person used to do and why this house looks like this now?”

“Well, those questions do hit the mark well.” Ai spoke up as they all stared at the charred remains.

“Are we even in the right place?” Mitsuhiko asked. Not to doubt but to assure himself that Sugiura Kaito was alright.

“That reminds me, sirens were ringing last night…” Ai mentioned. “But I didn’t even dream that it could be from here.”

“Then what about the boy we met yesterday?” Ayumi had tears in her eyes. “What happened to Kaito-kun?”

“Maybe he got caught in the fire…” Mitsuhiko muttered.

“It… It can’t be…”

“No… The boy named Kaito is safe.” Inspector Yuminaga appeared behind the kids and Tsukiko. ”He had some minor burns… But he was rescued by a firefighter and is sleeping at the hospital right now.”

“Thank goodness!” Ayumi smiled in relief.

“Yuminaga-keibu!” Conan greeted the officer.

“Hey, you’re the kid from Mouri’s place. Haven’t met ya since the Red Horse case.”

“So? Did anyone die in this fire?” Conan asked immediately.

“Fortunately, no one has died yet… But Kaito’s father has been severely burned and is barely breathing right now at the ICU.” The inspector explained gravely.

“Then, when the fire occurred, the kid’s family and the rest of the people living in the apartment were able to get away?”

“Well, no… The kid’s mother was just on a trip with her friend… And when we called the hotel she was staying at, she seemed surprised and said she’d come to the hospital right away. Also, there are three people living here but none of the three were home when the fire occurred, and they came back this morning…”

“If none of them were home during the fire, then it’s possible that one of them was the one to light it.” Tsukiko stated suddenly.

“And what makes you think so?” The police inspector asked the girl.

“These kids were asked to investigate what one of the inhabitants of this house was doing every night. Although Kaito-kun didn’t tell who it was or what kind of weird those things were. But it is still suspicious that something like this happens when one of the …three people living here is already noted to be suspicious somehow.” The blonde explained.

“But it would help a lot if we could see those tenants and hear more about them.” Conan continued.

The three tenants were brought closer and Ai hid immediately behind Conan. She was shaking and sweating really hard until inspector Yuminaga asked those three men to answer his colleague’s questions. Tsukiko also took a closer look at ‘Okiya Subaru’ and noted him glancing at her too. The girl let herself to smirk a bit before turning away.

“It has been a while, hasn’t it Bakai?”

“Ano... You okay, Ai-chan?” Tsukiko kneeled in front of the auburn girl and watched her carefully. In the same motion she blocked the view between the girl and the men.

“Yeah… I’m fine.” Ai mumbled, being surprised how her bad feeling was over so suddenly.

“Who are those three?” Conan aske Yuminaga once he was back with the kids.

“From right to left they are Hosoi Ryuhei-san, a carpenter; Okiya Subaru-san, a graduate student and Makabe Ginya-san, a freelance worker.” The inspector answered.

“Okiya Subaru-san?” Ayumi noticed. “That’s the same family name than Tsukiko-neechan’s.”

“That must be a coincidence.” Tsukiko tried to explain, though smiling. As she hadn’t talked to him yet, she couldn’t just go and claim him being her brother. Even if that was the girl’s plan…

“But you two even look alike.” Genta pointed out. Luckily at that point one of the police officers at the scene brought Kaito’s diary from the ruins of the house to the inspector, thus distracting everyone when Yuminaga began reading it aloud. Tsukiko was ‘saved’.

5th October

The weather’s been dull since this morning. I have to go to school early but I bet the Red Person can sleep late.
When I came home from school, I tripped at the doorway. Thank goodness the White Person was just about to leave!
In the evening I saw Green Person. He was visiting his friend but still wouldn’t tell me who it was!
Tonight Red Person, White Person and even Yellow Person aren’t home. I’m all alone with just my dad! I want to play more, but the detectives are coming tomorrow so I guess I’ll go to sleep early!
I wonder who that is. Someone came home late tonight and he’s arguing with my dad…
It’s the Yellow Person… I wonder if his strange actions were found out by dad.
This is scary so I’ll block my ears and try to sleep.
I have to talk about this to Edogawa after I get up tomorrow.

“Then it’s definitely the yellow one who set off the fire!” Genta announced.

“Yeah! And he’s even lying about coming back home in the morning!” Mitsuhiko added.

“But boys…” Yuminaga sighed. “This yellow person… Who is he?”


 

The investigation continued and inspector Yuminaga (+ Conan) asked some questions from the three tenants who now were suspects. The kids brainstormed hard, too, to find out what those colors – Red, White and Yellow – could mean. And Green. But that was Tsukiko’s main concern. Just who was the Green Person? It wasn’t part of the original story. While it could just be a fluke, a little wrinkle in the fabric of this world, it could also be something else. Tsukiko didn’t believe it was her fault though. While butterfly and ripple effects were relatively unpredictable, she seriously doubted that she could’ve spurred an appearance of completely different person at this point of timeline.

But still… who was it? And who had this person been visiting?

“Ano, keibu-san… I thought about it a little and… Isn’t it a bad idea to base our investigation off of what’s written in a kid’s diary? Three people who are red, white and yellow… It’s true that this seems to hint about the residents but… It’s still a kid’s diary so this could just be a kid’s fantasy…” An officer with a funny looking face whispered to Yuminaga.

“That can’t be!” Ayumi protested immediately.

“He told us there’s someone who does suspicious activity every night!” Genta continued.

“I don’t think he’s making that up!” Mitsuhiko concluded.

“In general, children are sometimes disturbingly honest about people around them.” Tsukiko shrugged. “Especially when they can get away with it, like in a diary.”

Then came Conan’s Sherlock Holmes quote. And Subaru’s answer to it.

 “Oh! You also like Holmes!” And the boy was thrilled for finding another person on the same wavelength than he was.

“Yes… I used to have all the novels. Unfortunately they all are in ashes now.” The man answered. When Yuminaga agreed with Holmes’s words thus drawing attention to himself, Okiya turned to look at Tsukiko.

“It has been a while.” The girl smiled at him.

“I’d like to know how you found me.” He said quietly. The tone wasn’t angry, just curious while the man tried to make sure no one else around heard them.

“Once the case has been solved, then I’ll answer to any questions I can. Just like I mentioned in the mail yesterday.” Tsukiko crossed her arms on her chest and changed the weight from her left leg to the right one.

“I can’t wait…” He mumbled.

“But here and now I have question to you though… Is it okay if we pretend to be siblings? After all we share the same family name.” The girl asked quietly. “Besides… I have told Jodie I have a brother and those kids already think that we two are related somehow.”

“…”

“And it’ll help us both to keep our covers up.”

“Covers… You mean you aren’t who or what you claim to be?” Subaru asked.

“More or less, yes…” Tsukiko sighed but gave a faint smile at him then. “But what do you think? Is it okay?”

“…Considering the circumstances and how the situation has developed already, it’s better to go along with it.” The man sighed inaudibly. “But you really do owe me an explanation.”

“Sure. You’ll get one.” And Tsukiko stepped towards the kids while Subaru headed to the other two tenants of the house.


 

During the conversation Conan got his crucial clues in order to solve the meaning behind the nick-names and thus the case itself too.

Minicars, ‘Kuroshiro-kun’ and Kaito’s behavior in general.

And the boy solved the case.

Okiya Subaru was the Red Person since him watering flowers reminded Kaito of a fire-engine.

Hosoi Ryuusei was the White Person since he always had band-aids with him and thus was like a walking ambulance.

And finally… Makabe Ginya was the Yellow Person with dirt under his nails from digging the yard, like a construction vehicles. The motive was the monies hidden in the garden from day-trading that the apartment owner had found.

(And apparently the Green Person was some acquaintance of Subaru’s who owned a green motorbike. Tsukiko had a feeling though that she wouldn’t find out anything else about them in the near future.)

After good news from the hospital, everyone scattered about on their own ways. The kids went to meet Kaito at the hospital with professor Agasa and Conan handed Subaru the key of ‘Shinichi-niichan’s’ house. While Ai didn’t really agree with idea of the suspicious tenant living next door, she was quickly shut up with Conan’s comment about Holmes fans who couldn’t possibly be bad people. Bullshit excuse but… Oh well…

Tsukiko wasn’t at the present when all that happened, just recalled everything from memory and waited until Subaru entered the European styled house and the kids had left with Agasa to the hospital. The girl stepped out of the shadows of the buildings opposite the Kudou residence and walked to the gate. She rang the bell once and was granted an entrance.

“I guess I owe you, Akai-san.”

“You have a lot to explain.”

“We have time, don’t we?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 21.

“Quite an impressive collection of books.” Tsukiko said when the two of them stepped into the library of Kudou residence. It seemed like an appropriate place to talk, being partially a living room and an office and all. Even if the amount of bookshelves and the books in them were distracting.

“Don’t change the subject.” Subaru crossed his arms and gave the girl an annoyed look as much as he could give with those glasses and squinting eyes.

“Well, where should I start then?” Tsukiko sat down on one of the sofas nearby and leaned back. “Even though I know a lot, I still don’t know everything and I’m definitely not a mind reader. For example I don’t know what you already know about me and what do you want to know.”

“I know the things you have told me but that’s it.” He walked to the desk and leaned his hip against it. “But for the starters you could tell me who you really are.”

“Yeah, knowing the identity of one another is the first step to the trust…” The girl hummed, nodding her head slowly while deciding how to go on about the matter. “My identity is actually pretty funny thing because I really don’t have a proper one. At least not in this world.” She shrugged. “I’m being serious though. I don’t belong to this world. For me this whole place is originally just a good manga, born from the imagination of a man named Aoyama Gosho. I’m sure you have never heard about him.”

“And I’m supposed to believe that?” Subaru kept frowning while the words of Hibiki told him to keep an open mind.

“Well, I’m not going to force you to but… Can you imagine any other reason for me to eavesdrop the conversation you, tantei-chan and Mizunashi-san had at the hospital? Or how I was able to tell you that we’d meet today for sure? Or that there would be a case before we could talk? Or how I was able to draw a picture about your ex-girlfriend Miyano Akemi-san without ever meeting her?” The girl arched her eye brows and gave a challenging look at him.

“… Alright. Let’s assume then that you are from some other world and you have read everything going on here from some manga–” Subaru began. Could an explanation like that also be the reason for Hibiki’s behavior? They both had a mental calendar where they kept tally on things that had happened and was going to happen?

“That manga is named Meitantei Conan if you really want to know. Because tantei-chan is the protagonist for a reason I shall not divulge to you.” Came the interruption, causing the man just sigh while the girl turned her gaze to the ceiling as she bent her head back to rest on top of the backrest of the sofa.

“Why are you here then and what is your goal?”

“I have no idea. I just appeared here and ended up getting hit by a car. Imagine my shock when I saw the driver and thought it was some deranged cosplayer…” Tsukiko drawled before blinking at the latter part of the question. “My goal… is to live my life and go home someday if possible. But I have no idea how I came here and I’m not in any immediate danger, I’m not in hurry.” Not to mention that because the timeline looped, it was doubtful Tsukiko would age either. Hey, maybe she could help in taking down the Organization and only then go home?

“What kind of back story you have told to Jodie? I understood you are still living with her.”

“I told my parents are travelling around the world, mixing their jobs and holidays together, and my brother has left home to live in Tokyo while studying there. I also said that he was moving again to another apartment but because of his absent-minded personality he forgot to tell me his new address and cell phone number.”

“Cell phone number, too?”

“Yes, a habit of changing his cell phone number along the place of living.” Tsukiko smiled at the high ceiling. “The idea was that I was on my way to help him to move but got into the accident. And because I hadn’t told him I was coming he had no reason to worry or try to contact me.”

“And everything that because no one tried to contact you when you were at the hospital?”

“Correct.” The girl nodded. “Oh, and okaa-san’s family is from Kyoto. Mostly because I have a feeling I might slip into a dialect resembling Kansai-ben.”

“What’s your real name then? I guess that ‘Okiya Tsukiko’ is not your real name.”

“…” The girl grinned at the man, lifting her head up in the process. “Yeah, that’s definitely not my real name. The name ‘Tsukiko’ was just my username on several forums in my own world. As for the family name then… I randomly picked it up before falling asleep. I was quite disoriented when waking up at the hospital…” She trailed off. “But if you really want to know, my real name is Jade. Pronounced as ‘Yah-dey’, not ‘Zdeid’.”


 

The conversation flowed on from there. A bit stilted and awkward at places because neither of them was ready to share all the details of what had been going on lately but it went on anyways. And Tsukiko made clear how she had planned everything in advance at the hospital. Eavesdropping, the note with a drawing, a conversation back then there and…

“A recording?” Okiya repeated.

“Yup! I recorded our conversation when Jodie-san had left and Black-san was elsewhere. I wonder what would happen if I give it to her…” Tsukiko smirked. “Just kidding. I have no intentions of telling her. But I was prepared to blackmail you just in case. Thankfully there is no need for that though. We both need someone to keep each other’s covers up and it’s easier if it’s from mutual decision, not coercion.”

“How many people know the truth about you? If I can even call it a truth.” Subaru asked.

“Only you.” Tsukiko got up from the sofa. “We are sort of accomplices now then. Of staying quiet about big things… This won’t be easy, right?” The girl sighed.

“No, it won’t.” He agreed.

“But to nicer things now. It’s so wonderful to have a brother! Back home I have a younger brother but I’ve always wondered what it’s like to have an older one.” Tsukiko smiled at the man. He was definitely surprised about the sudden change in attitude. That didn’t surprise the girl though. She had acted so mysterious and cryptic and evasive earlier but now let her guard down and was cheery and mischievous.

“You are a strange girl.” Subaru stated, walking towards Tsukiko. He placed his hand on top of her head. “Make sure you won’t talk too much and take care of yourself, imouto.”

“No worries, Subaru-niisan!” Tsukiko grinned once the shock of the sudden acceptance vaned. “I’m good at keeping secrets!”

“I’ve noticed.”

“Nee… Don’t your eyes hurt when you wear those glasses? I have to take these ones off sometimes because my eyes hurt.” Tsukiko tilted her head and allowed Subaru’s hand to drop off.

“I’m already used to them. Why are you using glasses anyways? You shouldn’t have any reason to hide.”

“Well…” The girl scratched the back of her head a bit embarrassedly and turned to face another direction. “It was just a strange feeling that told me to keep a low profile and hide. And I happened to have these glasses, which belonged to a friend of mine, in my bag. And now… we look alike enough when we both wear glasses and are more or less blonde.” She grinned then, making the man sigh deep.

“You really are one of a kind...”

“Yep! Annoying, cheeky, curious, I don’t really listen to others – no matter whether am I talking or not – and I really like enjoying the time by myself. Those characteristics are all quite important to know about me.” The girl probably would have continued on the same vein if her cell phone hadn’t rung just then. Jodie was calling.

“Moshi, moshi?”

“Tsukiko-chan, is the case already solved?” The woman at the other end asked her.

“Well, yes… I’m coming back soon. It took longer than expected and then something else came up.”

“Okay, good to know. I just wanted to be sure. See you soon.”

“See ya.” Tsukiko hung up and turned back to Subaru. “Two more things before I leave. I prefer being called by my first name and I’d really appreciate if you wouldn’t say any word about this arrangement or my situation to tantei-chan.”

“Maybe I can do that much.” The man replied dryly and took a cell phone from his jacket pocket. It was the same one Tsukiko had given him at the hospital. “I don’t need this anymore. I’ll give you my own number.”

“Alright. Good.” She nodded, taking the cell and putting it to her bag she had carried with her the whole day. “Speaking of telephone numbers… Jodie-san has changed her own. She bought a new cell a bit after your death. But otherwise she is doing quite alright now. And Mizunashi-san has warned her about the organizations new member… This Bourbon is some kind of detective or so I have heard.”

“Did you really hear about it or know in advance?” Subaru smirked knowingly. Tsukiko grinned after making a mock-wince.

“Ouch. I knew yes… But I also heard the phone conversation.”

“Mizunashi contacted me a couple of days ago about that Bourbon but couldn’t say much. She is still under their surveillance.”

“Something we all expected.” Tsukiko nodded thoughtfully. “I’ll take my leave now. See you someday, Subaru-niisan! Make yourself at home.”


 

“How was your day?” Jodie asked when Tsukiko came home. The girl took off her shoes and walked to the living room, smiling all the time.

“Pretty good. And this might sound weird and unbelievable but I found my brother during that case!” She grinned.

“Really? What happened?” Jodie gaped and leaned forward, eager to hear the story. And Tsukiko indulged the woman, starting to explain the case the kids solved and how ‘her brother’ had been one of the suspects.

“But weren’t you worried? That your brother might have been the one who burnt the house down?” Jodie asked mid-way through the explanation.

“Not really, no. It wouldn’t fit in his character and he didn’t have any motive to burn down a house where he’s living at. Especially without saving anything from his apartment before the fact…. So no. That’s not him at all. Anyways…”

The girl continued how Conan offered ‘Subaru-niisan’ a place to live and how the ‘siblings’ had talked through all that had happened during the past months. Tsukiko was surprised how easily the lies came from her mouth during the conversation and how Jodie actually believed all that…

“Tsukiko-chan? Are you alright? You became suddenly so quiet.” Jodie’s voice made Tsukiko blink from where she had trailed off at the end of the explanation.

“Ah… I’m fine, just a bit tired.” The girl smiled tiredly and lifted her glasses off her face and rubbed her eyes in order to wipe away the little tears that had appeared. She hated lying. She really, really hated it. But she didn’t have much choice in order to go on about her life.

But at least she had a confidante and an ally now.

Chapter Text

Chapter 22.

Okay… How did she end up into this situation again? Why in earth was she here? Why couldn’t she simply say ‘no’? It wasn’t that hard of a word to say after all… If someone had been reading or listening to Tsukiko’s thoughts, they probably would have asked what an earth the girl was talking about and where exactly was she then. Maybe the person who was standing next to the blonde could tell…

“Kiddo-sama, you are so amazing!” Sonoko squealed right next to Tsukiko, making the younger girl to cover her ears. Yes, she was at Kinza crossing, watching Kaitou Kid’s heist with the Suzuki heiress, Ran, Conan and Kogoro. The latter of which Tsukiko had been finally introduced to.

“Suzuki-senpai… Would please be a bit quieter? Just a smidge?” Tsukiko asked the polka-haired girl carefully.

“Why?” Sonoko blinked.

“For many reasons really. One of them being the fact that Kid hasn’t even showed up yet. And your screaming is so high-pitched and loud that it’ll break someone’s eardrums at this rate. Or at least will break eyeglasses. Have you considered a career as an opera singer?” Tsukiko joked and pointedly removed her own glasses from her face and placed them into glasses case and then to her bag.

“You…” Sonoko shot a glare at the younger girl and was about to retort something but got distracted when the other Kid fans started shouting, yelling and squealing when they noticed Kaitou Kid flying behind the buildings that surrounded the crossing. Or at least the doll with a hang-glider and a propeller was gliding about. Sonoko joined to the choir of admirers.

Tsukiko just sighed.

“I’m going closer to that building over there. It’s too stiffling here.” She pointed the multi-stored building with a banderol running down one side and LED screen down the other side. “See you after this is over.”

“Are you sure? You won’t see much anything from there.” Ran asked with a frown just before Kid appeared on the display platform.

“I know, don’t worry. I just have some other businesses there.” Tsukiko waved her hand dismissively and made her way through the excited Kid fans.


 

Kaitou Kid aka Kuroba Kaito noticed a movement from the corner of his eye. A girl turned around and heading to the opposite direction from all the other fans who in turn rushed towards the display platform. And him of course

“How strange… Who is she?” The thief pondered for a moment but shoved it aside. The heist itself was more important and some random girl who probably had an errand to run.

“Ka-Kaitou Kid-san! Make a comment!” A reporter approached him with questions.

“Ah, well then please convey this to senior advisor Suzuki Jirokichi.” The thief began. “This time was a bolt from the blue, so without taking too much time, I’d like you to forgive me for not sending you a notice.” He tilted his top hat at the camera.

Four giant nets were lifted to block all the entrances to the crossing, thus presumably prevent Kid from leaving too. The teenager glanced at the nets nonchalantly. It was as he’d expected when inspecting the area with Aoko.

“Kid-sama, transform into me and escape!” One of the fans said desperately.

“You can use me too!” Another added. Oh, how dedicated fans he had. It was probably supposed to be disturbing if Midorikawa was to be believed. But Kaito simply accepted the fact and moved on.

“Your concern if not necessary. Everyone… that things have come to this, it’s merely a confirmation.” Kid told the assembled crowd.

“Then what do you intend to do after this?” The reporter asked.

“That is… Well…” He shrugged and put the shoes with Purple Nail amethysts inside his jacket. “Since I’m done with my work, I guess I’ll head home.”

“How… How will you do that?”

“By teleportation.” The phantom thief announced boldly and proudly. “The legendary heels, Purple Nail. I’ve definitely obtained them this time! Well then, til next time. In the next ten seconds, I’ll go ahead through space and time.” And when everyone was confused and stunned by the proclamation(except good inspector Nakamori currently trying to tackle him), dropped he a smoke bomb to vanish. With the help of black cloak concealing his white attire, Kaito rushed through the audience, towards the building with a huge screen. But there…

“That girl… Did she know I was coming here? How?” Kid stopped short, about a meter from the girl who stood in front of the building and was smirking triumphantly.

“Once eyes are opened, you are quite predictable, Kaitou-san.” The girl said, her eye twinkling in restrained mirth, before she executed a flamboyant bow at the stunned thief. “I wish you luck for tomorrow.”

“Right…” Kaito recovered his poker face. “Are you coming to watch the show tomorrow then, ojou-san?” Kid asked with his playful tone before taking his place right under the screen, next to the blonde girl. And was that hair color natural?

“Sure. I want to see your face if and when tantei-chan figures out your trick. Although I might already know it, I won’t be sharing any tips with him. Promise.” The girl winked and placed a pair of glasses on her nose.

“I hold you to that.” Kid attached himself to the wire and shot the three numbered cards one by one to the audience. He then gave a signal to his assistant to jump down and thus began his ascent to the roof.


 

Tsukiko watched as Kid rose up to the roof of the building and ‘appeared’ with the assistance of yet another smoke bomb. Up there he spoke briefly with the tv crew up there before leaving the fake shoe and falling…

And spreading his hang glider just in time to get over the net.

“What a showoff…” The girl chuckled, fishing her phone out of her jeans pocket and calling to Ran’s number. She looked up just in time to see a flash of black-and-white collide with Kid. Conan was pissed.

The call connected.

“Moshi moshi? Mouri-senpai? I need to get going now… Yes… I’ll see you at school tomorrow… Bye.” And the call was done. Ran sounded worried, as expected… Honestly, Tsukiko wasn’t surprised. Her behavior gave the karat champion a good reason to mother-hen over her. With Tsukiko being suddenly so evasive and distant.

It took a while before the net was finally moved aside and away, thus letting the audience to leave. Tsukiko went along with the other spectators, avoiding the Mouri group who had presumably gone to meet with Jirokichi.

A little tink sound was heard when Tsukiko’s foot hit something on the ground. The girl looked down and noticed something down there she was surprised to find that anyone else hadn’t already noticed. She picked up the little item. Kid’s monocle. The monocle was white and a bit dirty now, after lying on the ground and having numerous people walk past it. The lens was broken after getting hit by Conan’s soccer ball but otherwise it was intact. The girl took a handkerchief from her bag and wrapped it around the monocle. After slipping the package back to her bag, Tsukiko headed home.


 

Next day

Tsukiko yawned and stretched. The lessons of the day had been more boring than ever before (thus far at least) and somewhat had felt slower, too.  Mai smiled at her but didn’t say anything. As the class’s president, she had to keep up the appearance of a perfect student regardless of her personal feelings. (Not that it prevented her from using Mai-Chop on others.) Well, Mai’s grades were already excellent so she in turn helped Tsukiko a lot in subjects than biology. That was the blonde’s specialty. Tsukiko did surprisingly well in Japanese too. For some reason the girl was able to understand the language as well as she understood Finnish and English. Latter of which was Tsukiko’s ‘thinking language’ though. And sometimes Tsukiko had to suppress her laughter when she listened to her classmates during English lessons: their pronucation was horrible.

Finally the bell rang to signal the end of the day. Tsukiko sighed in relief, picking up her school satchel and left the classroom quickly. Mai hurried after her.

“Tsukiko-chan, wait!”

Tsukiko stopped and turned half-way around to glance at her friend. Mai grabbed the blonde by the shoulder.

“You are not running anywhere. At least not like without saying anything.” The class president stated but allowed the other girl to continue walking to the shoe lockers, falling in step with her.

“Oh… Gomen…” Tsukiko gave an apolotegic smile to the brunette.

“Where are you going in such a hurry anyways? I know you are heading to Kid’s heist tonight but that’s in the evening. There’re hours to go.”

“There is a place I’d like to visit prior that. And then I have to do my homework. I don’t feel like doing them after the heist. Who knows how late that’ll be?” The blonde chuckled.

“I see.” Mai nodded. “Well, I’ll see you tomorrow then. And remember to tell me everything.” The girl smirked, opening her shoe locker.

“Fine, fine.” Tsukiko grinned back.

“I’m not telling everything though…”


 

Ekoda high school

Kaito changed his shoes and headed to the main gate. Tonight he didn’t really need to plan for his heist because he was going to use the same trick than yesterday. Midorikawa had advised otherwise but Kaito had other plans.

“Breaking Thurston’s principle number three… I can’t wait. But…” His thoughts drifted to the girl he had met yesterday. She had waited for him and claimed she knew his trick. Well, considering that she knew exactly where to wait for him, it was possible. The only problem was that she had known the trick before it was performed. While it was possible that she deducted a possible way out just like he had constructed the trick itself by seeing the security measures at Kinza crossing… It was still seriously unlikely. “Just who was she?”

“Finally you came. Took you forever. I guess I wouldn’t have needed to hurry.” A girl’s voice said from his left. After hearing the voice before Kaito knew exactly who it was. He turned to face the girl who was leaning against the school fence. The same girl who he had met yesterday. She let out an exaggerated sigh but smiled at him then.

“Who… you…” Kaito was speechless. Once again the girl had made him to drop his poker face. The said girl pushed off the fence and approached the boy.

“My name is Okiya Tsukiko. Nice to meet you Kuroba-kun.” The girl offered her hand which Kaito took after a few seconds, still staring at her. He was studiously ignoring the western custom the girl exhibited, it only went along with her exotic hair color. Even if the name was Japanese.

“Why are you here?” Kaito asked composing himself once again.

“Nothing special. I just came to return this.” The girl shrugged. She then opened her school satchel and gave a small package from there to the boy. Kaito watched at the package, then at the girl, the package again…

“It’s not a bomb or anything else dangerous.” The girl – Tsukiko – said impatiently. Kaito took the package and unwrapped it. The monocle laid on his palm for a second before he folded the handkerchef around it again, before anyone else could see what he had.

“But how…” How did she find him?

“It doesn’t matter. Good luck tonight. I’ll be watching.” The girl said before turning around and leaving the confused boy standing at the school gate.


 

Evening

Tsukiko was there again. At Kinza crossing. She really didn’t feel like being there. And why did she sound so depressed? Maybe because she knew how the heist would end and being surrounded by hyper Kid fans wasn’t really improving her mood. But Tsukiko remained with the group, listening to Sonoko’s hyping and Kogoro’s nasty comments. They weren’t even allowed to go to the area where the shoes were as the middle of the crossing was already blocked by the nets. The girl sighed. Of course Conan noticed it.

“What’s up Tsukiko-neechan?” The boy asked.

“I think I’m going home now. Kid won’t show up if he doesn’t have any audience and people to distract officers from the trick itself.” Tsukiko stated blandly. “Besides… If you are here, he won’t be getting away with the treasure.”

“What do you mean?” Conan frowned.

“Nothing, tantei-chan, nothing. Our hope is resting on your shoulders.” The girl ruffed the boy’s hair and headed away from the giant net.

She had gotten only a few meters away when someone grabbed her by arm. Due the crowd around, Tsukiko only slightly tensed but didn’t make any move otherwise. Not even to turn around to see the thief’s face shadowed by the black cap.

“Where are you going? I thought you ‘wanted to see my face when tantei-chan figures out my trick’.” A familiar voice asked jokingly, quoting her words from the previous night.

“I already know what that face will look like. After all I saw that face today during our previous meeting.” Tsukiko replied easily. The hand let go of her bicep.

“I doubt that.” The phantom thief slash high schooler scoffed. Tsukiko merely smirked and walked on like she hadn’t even been stopped.

“Go ahead, Kaitou-san. And good luck.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 23

It was the day after the heist. Tsukiko sat in a park in the middle of Ekoda and dig a small spoon into the small paper bowl of ice cream she had. A small smile found its way on her face.

“He’ll surely come~~.” She grinned before stuffing another (small) spoonful of ice cream into her mouth.

“Okiya-chan… You surely surprise me.” A boy’s voice drawled and a head of messy dark brown hair appeared in the girl’s view.

“Why, Kuroba-kun, that’s my job. I surprise everyone around me.” The lighter brunette chuckled.

“But to write a meeting place and time on the handkerchief you wrapped around the monocle…” Kaito Kuroba sat next to Tsukiko Okiya like they had been friends for a long time.

“People generally pay more attention to what is inside that what is around. You toss all the wrapping papers away after all without looking for possible secret messages.” Tsukiko shrugged. It was a slight reference to the case with Azusa Enomoto and her brother as a suspect. But Kaito wouldn’t know about that case so it was fine.

“True, true. I disposed the handkerchief as soon as I had read the message. But do tell me, do you always plan meetings that thoroughly?” The young magician tilted his head in a very cat-like manner.

“No, Kuroba-kun. Only the ones that need to be more or less in secret. After all I’m friends with Tantei-chan.”

“I see. He knows nothing of what you do then.”

“Basically yes. I rather keep my business as my own, thank you very much.”

“How did you find me?” The poker face was this time firmly on its place.

“I have my resources. Resources that I’m telling to no one. Not even to you, sorry. But no need to worry, no one else can use those resources either.” The last spoonful of ice cream made its way to the girl’s mouth. “Yummy!”

“Why did you come to find me then?” Kaito decided not to point out her slightly bi-polar behavior.

“Because I wanted to meet you without your mask on. I wanted to become your friend because I know what is like to hide without actually running away.” Tsukiko placed her now-empty paper cup on the bench next to her and smoothed her moss green dress shirt. Then she took her glasses off her face. “I also know why you are doing what you are doing, and I agree with your reasons.”

“How…?” The boy asked softly as he had anticipated something like this her to say since the first time they saw.

“My resources. Anyways… I want to help you. With my own ways.”

“Why?”

“Like I said earlier, I agree with your reasons to do what you do. Besides, I’m also possibly on a hit list of a certain organization. I don’t know if it’s the same one than yours but it’s possible. We both need allies either way. And I want to see Tantei-chan’s face when he realizes the heists aren’t going like he predicts.”

“You are one interesting person, Okiya-chan.” Kaito could only say.

“Please, call me Tsukiko.”

“Okay, Tsukiko-chan.”


 

Time went forward quickly but slowly at the same time and Tsukiko found herself lounging on the sofa of the library of the Kudou-house and filling some English crossword puzzle while Okiya made dinner in the kitchen. The teen girl flipped through the pages of her notebook. She felt like something was about to happen. And it did.

Bling!

“Subaru-nii! You got text message!” She called while making no move to take the phone to him. Mentally she was snickering at calling him ‘brother’ all the time. But it had been an agreement between the two. They’d treat each other like sibling also in private so they wouldn’t slip up on public. In no time actually the other bespectacled occupant of the house had walked to the room and scooped his phone from the coffee table. Why he had left it there in the first place would be a mystery to the girl for a forever probably.

“What is it?” Tsukiko asked, clicking the ballpoint pen in her hand.

“It’s from Edogawa.”

“Tantei-chan? What does he want then?”

“I need to go to Agasa’s and switch gasoline to water in the canister they have there.”

“Gasoline to water… Oh, this is that case.” The girl snapped her fingers in enlightenment. Subaru let out a sigh.

“Of course you’d know about it.”

“Yea, you can’t really expect anything else from me, right?” Tsukiko grinned. She pushed herself up from the couch and strode to the door. “Shall we go now then?”

“Yes, that message didn’t say anything when they’d be here.”


 “Say, does Edogawa already know about our supposed connection?” Subaru asked as he was screwing the cork on its place.

“Nope. At least I don’t think so. I can’t wait to see his face though when he does.” Tsukiko grinned from her crouch where he kept the canister steady. “But I guess that’ll take time.”

“You do realize you denied our connection during the arson case?”

“Yeah, but I can brush it off by saying I didn’t want to affect on his reasoning by saying my ‘niisan’ was one of the suspects. He’ll understand it.” At least when Genta’s father would be one of the suspects in a future case…

“And when you say that, he’ll also realize you knew about the Plan.”

“I knew the details of the three vans’ ruse.”

“But to him you only said you had a good guess. I’m the only one who knows about your extra phone.”

“I did? Oh, yeah, I did…” The blonde girl fell deep in thought. “…Don’t flatter yourself, Bakai. It was a part of my plan.”

Okiya chuckled and straightened his back. “If you say so. But do tell me when you know how to deal with the situation.”

“Well, maybe I won’t deal with it then.” The teen shrugged when the canister was taken to the place where the real one had been. Thankfully the canisters were about identical. “Maybe I’ll let him hanging on a thread. After all he trusts on your word and might suspect that you told me about the Plan. After all we both agreed to pose as siblings.”

“So, you expect me to deal with the situation even when the looks and names were coincidental and you were the one to wrap up this mess.” Was that irritation in his voice? Yes it was. Tsukiko held back a snicker.

“I wouldn’t call it a mess. And even if it were I didn’t say that you should deal with it either. After all, we don’t need to report our every move to Tantei-chan. He suspects everything around him anyways. I was never off the hook and I’m sure that even though he trusts you he is still vary. He hasn’t confined in you his biggest secret yet. A secret why he is so eagerly going after the Organization.”

If Subaru was going to ask what the secret was, he didn’t get a chance as the sound of Professor Agasa’s Beetle reached their ears. They hid behind a corner and Tsukiko turned off the lights before the garage door slid open and the car drove in.

The scene in front of them occurred on a torturous pace but when the culprit, Ena Ginbayashi, finally revealed and then admitted killing her fiancé by arson, the ‘siblings’ shared a knowing smile. Predictable criminals.


 

But the case Tsukiko had been waiting for a long time came around finally. Paperplanes. Back home the case had been one of her favourites and it still was. And she simply couldn’t wait for it.

The exams on the week previously were a killer though. She spent almost every afternoon at the Kudou house where Okiya helped her to study and now when the exams were over, she was at the house again, slouched on the couch. Subaru hadn’t properly woken up yet but had let her in anyways. This far he hadn’t complained about Tsukiko’s behavior yet maybe he – like Jodie had been let to believe – thought  that it would be just siblings spending lost time together. And maybe it didn’t bother him that much as Tsukiko didn’t come when he was doing something important. Something ‘plot-worthy’ like the girl had put it.

“I’m hungry…” The girl muttered and got up. She dumped the book she had been reading, the Art of War by Sun Tzu, to her bag. Miyoshi was definitely rubbing on her with her strange book choices. Oh well, the book was interesting enough and that was the most important point in the matter.

The girl walked past the bathroom while putting her glasses in the glasses case. She knocked the door briefly before calling: “Subaru-nii, do ya want some… breakfast? I can make some.”

“Sure.” Came the reply.

“Okay. Ya brushing your teeth now or after it?”

“Now. Why do you ask?”

“Nothing, nothing…” Tsukiko snickered before heading to the kitchen. She closed the door just in time to hear the front door open. A small laugh escaped her lips as she began to go through the cupboards.

“Shinichi… Where are you!?” The blonde girl could hear Ran calling. She realized it was pretty good thing that she had left the library. Although her school bag was still there.

“She can’t see it from the door though…”

“You are here, aren’t you? Answer me!!”

“SHINICHI!!”

“And she notices the bathroom…” The blonde girl took a look in the fridge. It was quite nicely stocked. “At least Bakai understands over healthy eating habits while disregarding his sleeping rhythm.” She mused and pulled some vegetables out. A nice salad would do today.

“You should’ve told me you were coming back!!”

A silence. Or at least the shouting stopped. Tsukiko held her breath because otherwise she would’ve bursted out laughing.

“Hey, don’t tell me this is a thief!?”

“Sonoko, your deduction skills truly astound me.” The blonde shook her head while starting to chop the ingredients to right size. Hmm, did Subaru have any feta-cheese? It would be a nice addition. And it tasted really good.


 A phone call and apology later, Tsukiko decided to step in. She could hear Sonoko downright fangirling over Subaru.

“Umm… Can I get your photo? And then maybe your e-mail…” The rich girl gushed.

“I don’t mind…” Subaru answered. Tsukiko could hear amusement and reluctance in his voice as she approached the trio behind the girls.

“Suzuki-senpai, you already have a boyfriend.”

“E-!” Ran and Sonoko spun around.

“Tsukiko-chan!” The girl’s exclaimed.

“Good day!” Tsukiko grinned and waved at them. “Niisan, your breakfast is in the fridge. I made some extra too and already ate my lunch.” There was a slight jab towards the man who merely frowned briefly.

“Ah, thank you, Tsukiko. I’ll eat it later probably.” He smiled pleasantly.

“Okiya-chan, what are you doing here?” Ran asked politely when she recovered from her shock.

“I came to visit Subaru-nii after the exams were over. And made him breakfast today since he was working with his thesis so late last night.” Tsukiko smiled, in similar way than Okiya just had. It had become a habit of her to poke him with her words. Usually he poked back, just like real siblings would.

“Sonoko, Okiya-chan is right. I’ll tell Kyougoku-san about this.” Ran turned to berate her best friend while Tsukiko walked past them and whispered something to Okiya who nodded slightly.

“Then only a photo.” The girl with a headband smiled, using her phone with her ring finger.

“But can I eat something before that? I haven’t gotten anything since I woke up. You can also join.” Subaru offered.

“Yes, I made some extra salad. It’ll surely be enough for you two too as I already ate.” Tsukiko continued.

“Thank you but we should make up for what we did to you…” Ran almost stuttered.

“If you insist… why don’t we go to Welcome Burger, the place where you were eating at earlier?” The man suggested, giving an example on his deduction skills.

“Welcome Burger? I’ve never been there.” Tsukiko mused.

“Huh? Did we mention that? That we came from Welcome Burger?” Ran asked.

“No, but this is a trivial thing… I started to notice because of you, the one with brown hair. When you thought I was a thief, you declared it defiantly. But when you figured out I wasn’t a bad guy, you stepped back and started talking behind the long haired girl, as if you were hiding from me. Normally you’d do the opposite, right?” Okiya addressed to Sonoko. “That’s probably because you made quite a favorable impression on me as opposite sex, and tried not to let me smell your bad breath. In the other words, I thought you might have eaten that new garlic sandwich from WB.”

“That’s amazing!” Sonoko exclaimed but Ran was doubtful.

“But there are other dishes with garlic like Ramen and Gyoza.” The long haired girl pointed out.

“Yeah, but you used your cellphone with your ring finger, Suzuki-senpai. No one does that unless they have a good reason not to use their thumb, pointer or middle finger. Most likely you still had some oil in your fingers after using them to eat French fries.” Tsukiko grinned as she offered her explanation.

“Not to mention there’s still a little salt left on the mouth of the girl with a long hair.” Ran licked the remaining salt away when Okiya pointed out that fact but soon the girls dashed into the bathroom. And once again the two shared a smile.


 

“Who? Who? Who an earth is that man?” Sonoko questioned in great confusion. “Tsukiko-chan’s big brother? Why didn’t she tell us?”

“Beats me…” Ran thought aloud. “But I might have seen that person before somewhere. I think he looks like someone…” She looked past the door ajar where Okiya was tapping a message and Tsukiko peering past his shoulder at the screen of the phone.

“Other than Tsukiko-chan? Then that must be your man, Shinichi-kun! Like a detective among other things!”

“Ehh? He doesn’t look like him! Besides Shinichi is not my man.” Ran retorted.

“Well, from my point of view, Subaru-san seems to be better as a detective…” The rich brunette mused smugly.

“G-Guess so… Even Shinichi would…”

“Heheh, why don’t we have a match between Subaru-san and Shinichi-kun? Maybe even Tsukiko-chan will participate.”

“A match? How?”


 

Subaru turned the paperplane made of a page of a newspaper or a phone catalogue in his hands. Tsukiko bowed to see the downside of the plane and took an extra notion on the dots and lines drawn in it.

“You found this in your house’s garden?” Okiya asked.

“Y-Yeah! That’s why I want to capture the guy who did this!” Sonoko declared, full of vigor.

“I think that rather than capture him… We should release him.” Tsukiko mused as she straightened up. Sonoko seemed to catch only half of her words.

“Well, if we can’t capture him, at least find out who he is and why he’s flying these planes.”

“Release him you said.” Subaru repeated Tsukiko’s words and turned the plane downside up.

“Yeah, it has a Morse message.”

“I see… Interesting code indeed.”

“Did you already figure out what it is?!” Sonoko exclaimed as Ran got a message from Shinichi… well, Conan.

“Yeah, this paper plane is probably an SOS.”

“Eh? An SOS, you say?” Ran asked the phone.

“You mean someone is asking for help?” Sonoko asked Subaru.

“Yeah, and it seems that the situation requires urgent attention.” Okiya nodded.

“This person has sent these planes the day before yesterday and more planes yesterday and today. We need to see a picture of a different kind of a plane as quickly as possible.” Tsukiko explained. The man glanced her briefly as he hadn’t seen her this serious since Haido hospital.

Chapter Text

Chapter 24.

“Another kind of paperplane?” Sonoko asked. “One with different markings?”

“Yes. They reported on the news that around 100 paper planes were scattered and collected in the metropolitan area yesterday morning and the day before it.” Okiya explained.

“Thus it’s more than likely that today there are new planes too.” Tsukiko nodded.

“And if the messages drawn on the planes yesterday and the day before are different, then maybe we can narrow down the number of places where the guy sending these SOS messages could be.” The man continued. “I wish I had watched the airplanes more closely when I first was the news but even I thought it was just a prank.”

“Don’t beat yourself over it, niisan. Maybe it was meant to look like a prank. I mean… Why would someone use such an elaborate and complicated code to ask help? The paperplanes are bound to attract attention anyways, why didn’t he write ‘HELP’ to them?” Tsukiko reasoned on his right, making him think about it too.

“…By the way, when was this paper airplane found in your garden?” Subaru asked instead of continuing his other train of thought Tsukiko had given him.

“We found it the day before yesterday.” Sonoko replied. “But can you first tell me why does this paper plane have to be an SOS?”

The answer came straight away, like Subarau had been waiting for the question. “The markings drawn on its body. See, the sizes of the circles on the front and back are almost the same.” The paper plane was twirled around. “The three bars are three times larger and the circles.”

“Not to mention that the space between every two circles is about the size of one circle.” Tsukiko pointed out when her ‘brother’ wrapped the plane open.

“R-Right! It seems to be some kind of code.” Sonoko admitted as she got better look on the markings.

“This is Morse code, which is often used as a means of communication. The circle represents the ‘dot’ while the bar represents the ‘dash’.” Okiya told them all except Ran seemed to be paying more attention on the explanation she got from Shinichi.

“Morse code… You mean the code that appears in old movies?” Sonoko asked.

“Yes, although usually they write the dashes horizontally like this, but maybe this is a kind of message in which the three dots and bars are separated and linked vertically. In morse code, three dots is ‘S’ and three dashes is ‘O’.”

“You must’ve heard it sometime in those movies you mentioned. Ya know: da-da-da, daa-daa-daa, da-da-da.” Tsukiko clarified when Ran finally payed a bit more attention on them than a moment ago.

“So, it’s an SOS! A distress signal to ask for rescue, that is!” The long haired karate champion declared.

“Eh?”

“That’s what he wrote in his message.” Ran told Sonoko.

“No way! Shinichi-kun solved it too?” The brunette seemed to be completely stunned.

“Yeah… And he said to send him a picture of another type of paper airplane once we find one.”

“’Shinichi-kun’?” Okiya repeated. “Speaking of whom, the landlord of this house was also Shinichi, wasn’t he? Have you consulted him as well?”

“Ah, you don’t know him?” Sonoko asked. “He’s the high school detective, Shin-…”

“Ki-Kinichi!” Ran interrupted. “I consulted a boy named Kinishi in our class who loves deduction!”

“Oh… Not Shinichi-kun, but Kinichi-kun?” Subaru asked. Tsukiko decided to stay quiet. It was much more fun to observe everything from the sidelines. Just like she had done at the hospital back then. Oh, the funny reactions and stammering words.

“Y-Yeah! The Shinichi who lives here is just a high school student with no special ability. And we were asked to clean his house while he’s absent from school.”

“Just a high school student? That never occurred to me… After all there wasn’t a single trace showing that he used to live here…”

“Eh? Really?”

“Yes. There weren’t any clothes, journals or albums… Well, I’m just saying what I noticed…”

“Maybe he put them away somewhere because he thought it was embarrassing for us to see them when we come to clean…” Ran thought aloud.

“Speaking of ‘putting away’, when we were at WB, the shop manager told the assistant to get rid of the paper plane that got stuck on the bill board, didn’t he?” Sonoko remembered suddenly.

“Then let’s go now to get it!”

“Ah, wait!” And the two girls were gone again.

“Roles reversed indeed.” Tsukiko chuckled when they were out of the door. “Usually it’s Sonoko dragging Ran around.”

“So what was this ‘Kinichi’ thing?” Subaru asked when he walked to the library window to watch after the other two. Tsukiko gave him an amused glance.

“You noticed?”

“It wasn’t exactly a convincing lie.”

“Nah, it wasn’t but I rather not to tell you anything that would disturb the Plot.”

“The Plot? You still talk about it.” The man looked back at her.

“Yes. I prefer not to change things too much so you have to figure it out on your own.” The girl shrugged and sat on the sofa. “It’s much funnier that way.” She turned to look at the wall clock before looking at Subaru again. “They’ll take their time. You can eat your salad now, niisan!”


 

“A symbol of an antenna? On the cell phone?” Sonoko asked once she and Ran were back and Okiya had gotten the first look on the yesterday’s paperplane.

“That’s right… They’re identical!” Ran noticed, comparing the two pictures.

“So if we combine the antenna with the five dashes on the body, we get ‘radio waves are zero’. And if we consider the first SOS, the meaning becomes ‘I’m being held in a place out of reach from radio waves, please help me’.” Okiya explained.

“That’s amazing! Detective Subaru-san!!” Sonoko praised the man.

“But we only figured out that he’s out of the cell phone’s service area.” He pointed out. Before the girls could begin the guessing game, Tsukiko cut in behind her book she was reading on the sofa.

“A tower block house.” They all turned to look at her but she didn’t lift her gaze from her book. “The mountains are out because they are too far away and the planes were collected only in the city. Underground is out because the planes need to fly to get around. High building is the only option. Besides in very high places the cell phone is constantly looking for a better service thus the situation is like no service at all. I’ve noticed it back… home.” Tsukiko hesitated a bit with the last word because she couldn’t tell the girl’s that she was living with their ex-English teacher who turned out to be an FBI-agent. After all, the woman was supposed to be back in the States. At least that’s what the girls thought. “But more important is to know if there have been more planes today.”

They switched on the TV and right on cue the news were running there.

“Earlier this morning, the kidnapper committed suicide by jumping off a building while escaping from the police. He hasn’t been identified yet, and the whereabouts of the shipbuilding company president, Daita Ikuo-san remain unknown… The police are considering any grudges against Daita-san, in order to find out the identity of the kidnapper and resume the search for Daita-san…”

“All the channels are talking about this…” Ran stated, Sonoko agreeing with her. “They said on the morning news that Daita is a hard-working man who used his previous experience as a sailor to make his business big…”

“Eh… Let’s leave this for now, and search for news about the paper airplane.” The brunette grumbled.

“Shouldn’t we instead put one on one?” Tsukiko asked, looking at the TV screen thoughtfully. “It seems that this news isn’t that unrelated at all.”

“If Daita was kidnapped and imprisoned somewhere, then is makes sense that he’s flying all these SOS airplanes every night while trying to avoid being noticed by the kidnapper.” Okiya told them.

“Then this Daita-san is the paperplane guy?!” Sonoko realized.

“Yeah… I find that very likely. And since he was a sailor it’s no wonder how he knows Morse code. Since it’s used as a means of communication during ship emergencies.”

“But why didn’t he just write where he was imprisoned directly in the letters instead of this code?”

“He was probably told that his family would be harmed if he did anything incriminating, and he believed it. I guess he still thinks that even now, after that kidnapper committed suicide.”

“I see! That’s why he used these markings!” Ran was looking at the two planes they had. “With this, even if the kidnapper found one of them, he would think it’s a kid’s prank.”

“Like I pointed out earlier.” Tsukiko grinned.

“And since the two airplane collected yesterday and the day before it were both made from pages of the same magazine, I guess Daita-shacho is tied to something and can’t move much so he can only reach that magazine…” Okiya added.

“Th-That’s cruel!” Ran seemed really worried by this point.

“And now a follow-up report on the paper airplanes…”

“Oh, here it comes!” And their attention was once again glued on the screen.

“Right now, I’m in a park in front of Beika Tower mansion, where a paper airplane was just found…” A reporter told them. “First of all, this time there are no markings on the side of the fuselage. But on the other side, there’s one circle plus four half-circles on the right and left. Moreover…” The paper plane was flipped around. “There are strange folding lines on the plane this time… The mystery thickens more and more. In addition, occasional strong wind gusts are blowing across the metropolitan area, widening the field of search…”

“Folding lines?” Sonoko repeated.

“I can’t see them well from the TV…” Ran muttered. Okiya stayed quiet and just dug out a notebook from his pocket and ripped a page off.

“Niisan?” Tsukiko questioned, like supposed to in the situation. She didn’t want to give out too smart impression after all.


 After several unsuccessful attempts to recreate the original airplane, Ran finally decided to ask Subaru what exactly he was doing. Sonoko in the other hand had a some sort of idea of what was going on and said: “Speaking of paper airplanes, there are lots of different ways to fold them, right?” Thus giving Subaru the idea of what he needed to do. Tsukiko smirked behind the two girls. Conclusion almost reached.

“BE?” Sonoko asked Subaru. “Those three black circles mean ‘BE’?”

“Yeah, possibly…”

“Then this is morse code for ‘B’ and ‘E’, right?” Ran guessed.

“No. This is a Japanese Morse code, not an English one.” Okiya explained while holding the miniature paperplane. “One dot represents ‘HE’, while two dots represent voiced consonant marks. If we combine them, we get ‘BE’.”

“But what kinda message does ‘BE’ stand for?” Sonoko frowned.

“Can’t you tell from the shape?” Tsukiko asked them, not bothering to hide her smirk now.

“The shape?” Ran repeated.

“A squid?” Sonoko’s answer seemed a bit uncertain but was correct anyways.

“Squid is ‘IKA’. Add it to ‘BE’, and it becomes ‘BE-IKA’.” Subaru explained. “In the other words, this paper plane is telling us about Beika Town.”

“Is that a joke?” Sonoko half-chuckled.

“No, I don’t think so.” Tsukiko crossed her arms and walked closer by measured and slow steps. “We need to combine all the facts we know now. If this really is Daita-san who flew the planes, he counted this on the fact it would look like a prank and the kidnapper wouldn’t connect the planes on him.”

“Combine what we know?” The girl with hairband asked.

“Yes, we have an SOS, a ‘zero radio waves’ and ‘Beika’. What can we deduce from that, Deduction Queen?”

“We’d get ‘I’m in Beika town at a place that’s outside of cell phone’s service area’…” The brunette thought aloud.

“Is there a place like that in Beika town, other than underground that Okiya-chan ruled out?” Ran pointed out worriedly.

“A skyscraper.” Subaru stated. “The base-station antenna for cell phones is aimed at the earth’s surface, which has high population density. So it’s difficult to make a call from high locations. But even if you got the signal, you’d pick it up from multiple bases due to the height. The cell phone would switch to the radio wave with the strongest signal, therefore going into ‘roaming’… In the end, it’d be out of service.”

“Which is basically what I said earlier.” Tsukiko pointed out with a huff. Why didn’t these people listen to her? Or then they did but had to stick in the Plot anyways. Hmm… She probably should look into that. Nah! Too much work, this was no Doctor Who with fixed points in time! “But now we need to figure out what is the place where Daita-san is being held. I mean, there’re kinda many skyscrapers and other tower block buildings around here.”

“Well, it’s difficult to imprison a person in a hotel, since so many outsiders come to do things like ‘make up the bed’.” Okiya said immediately. “That would mean that Daita-shachou is prpbably imprisoned in Beika Tower apartment building.”

“No way! That’s really close!” Sonoko exclaimed. Geez, she seemed to be doing that a lot.

“Well, the ‘out of reach’ hint only suggested that he was imprisoned in a high-rise condominium.”

“Yea, his cell was most likely taken away by the kidnapper.” Tsukiko added.

“We should tell the police about this…” Okiya suggested right when Ran’s phone rang. The girl answered to it and judging by her face it was Shinichi calling to her. And despite the fact that the other three occupant of the room could only hear Ran’s end of the conversation, the entirety of it was quite easily deciphered by her answers.

“I’m still at Shinichi’s house… Eh? So you solved the paper plane code? … But can’t I only see one side of the building from there? … Okay! I got it!” The call ended. “Sonoko! I leave the rest to you!”

“Eh? Wait!” The brunette shouted after her best friend who was already gone. She turned to talk with Subaru. “Should I leave calling the police up to you, Subaru-san, and go with Ran? It’s kinda hard to explain a code like this to police.”

“No, it’s probably better that you call them, since you have police acquaintances…” The man replied.

“Yeah, I’m sure Mouri-senpai will do just fine with Kinichi-kun’s instructions.” Tsukiko nodded enthusiastically. Damn, she was turning into a stereotypical anime character. She could just imagine the heroine of the story nodding her head with a determined expression on her face and her hands in fists by her chest while expression her faith in someone… Oh, wait, Tsukiko was in an anime now! Oh great… Please note the sarcasm. “And if you have troubles with the code explaining, I’m sure Subaru-nii will help you out.”

“O-Okay…”

Suddenly Tsukiko’s cell phone started to ring. She smiled faintly at the ring tone which was the Detective Conan theme(the same one than in the beginning of the DC movies).

“Moshi, moshi? … Oh, yeah. Sorry, I was visiting niisan. We stumbled upon a case but it’s solved now… Yeah, I’ll come now. I can’t wait to tell you about the case! … Yes, bye!”

“You need to go?” Subaru asked.

“Yes, I gotta go home now.” The blonde girl went to pick up her school back by the sofa and pushed her glasses on her face in the process. “See you tomorrow, Suzuki-senpai, good luck with the phone call. Bye, niisan, I’ll leave you alone for a couple of days now. Thank you for the help with my exams.”

“Uh, thanks…” Sonoko waved while Subaru merely smiled.

“See you.”

And with a blur of blue and light brown, the younger teen was gone.


 

“A case you say?” Jodie asked while pouring tea to cups on the kitchen table. Tsukiko nodded.

“Yes, you know the paper planes that have been flying around the past two days? We solved the codes written on them with the help of Mouri-senpai and Suzuki-senpai.” The girl took the other cup Jodie offered and drank it gratefully. “Kami-sama, I’m hungry… I didn’t eat anything since that lunch salad I made for Subaru-nii and myself. The case truly took us with it.”

“What happened with the case then?” Jodie smiled as she took a seat opposite the girl.

“Oh, that. I don’t know the final conclusion yet but I can tell you what we deducted from the planes and news…”


 On the next day Tsukiko relayed the information on the case to Miyoshi too who listened with rapt attention and was truly interested in the reasonings behind each plane and what that all lead to.

“If Suzuki hadn’t gotten the paper plane in the first place, Daita-shachou could’ve easily died.” The bespectacled girl stated. “It’s entirely possible that Ran-senpai came in on the last minute.”

“True.” Tsukiko nodded before looking ahead of them. “Hey, isn’t that Mouri-senpai and Suzuki-senpai? And Edogawa-kun too!”

“It is, let’s catch up with them.” And the two ran to catch up with their school mates(+one kid).

“Suzuki!” Miyoshi clapped her hand on the rich girl’s shoulder to hold her up a bit and get her attention while Tsukiko did the same to Ran.

“Mouri-senpai! Ohayoo!” The blonde grinned.

“Ohayoo, Okiya-chan, Miyoshi-chan.” Ran smiled while Sonoko was disgruntled by the sudden stop.

“Ohayoo, Ran-senpai.” Miyoshi smiled. “Tsukiko-chan just told me about the case you worked with her brother yesterday.”

“She did?” Sonoko asked.

“Yes, Mai-san was really interested in it.” Tsukiko grinned before turning to greet the elementary school student with them. “Ah, ohayoo, Edogawa-kun.”

“Ohayoo, Tsukiko-neechan!” The boy chirped while having a mental battle with himself. A brother? Tsukiko had a brother? No, wait! Hadn’t they been solving the case at his house? Then that meant that…

“Ne, something wrong Edogawa-kun?” Tsukiko tilted her head.

“N-No… Why should be?”

“Good.” The girl smiled and faced the rest of the high schoolers. The moment of distraction gave the detective moment to think about the newly obtained information.

“She couldn’t have known about the Plan. And there’s no way Akai-san would’ve contacted her just like that or told the plan beforehand… So how? They didn’t even know beforehand. No one knew her beforehand. And she couldn’t have just figured out our plan like she did with the vans nor did she know Akai-san’s new name. So how on earth…”

“Were you talking about the case when we interrupted you by the way?” Miyoshi’s voice cut into Conan’s thoughts.

“Yes, Ran just told me how Shinichi-kun got impatient and yelled at the rescues personel. And the policemen.” Sonoko snickered. “That’s not like him at all, is it?”

“I don’t know Kudou-senpai that well so I can’t say.” The class president shrugged.

“He did it even after giving me very accurate instructions…” Ran confirmed.

“Oh, I see it now! It’s because his beloved woman was in a crisis!” Sonoko practically decided.

“That’s can’t be! It’s not in his character…” Ran was quick to deny it while Miyoshi and Tsukiko snickered. “And I’m not his woman.”

“Well, one can’t know for sure since he is not here, right?” Tsukiko offered.

“Say, Tsukiko-chan, why didn’t you use your glasses yesterday?” Sonoko pointed out suddenly

“Eh?”

“You didn’t wear them at all when we were there and saw perfectly. At first I thought you were just wearing contact lenses once again but then you put them on when leaving. You resemble more your brother with them on though…”

“I can see surprisingly well even without them but I in some occasions I prefer using them.” The blonde smiled but Miyoshi was the only one to see how strained it was. Tsukiko didn’t need to worry about the question much longer when Sonoko raised up another question.

“Okay… By the way, who was the winner of Shinichi-kun’s and Subaru’s deduction match?”

“Beats me… It was a tie, wasn’t it?” Ran suggested.

“Nuh, Subaru-nii won for sure.” Tsukiko pouted.

“A deduction match?” Miyoshi asked.

“Yes, it began as such.” Ran nodded.

“Well, Daita-shachou left the hospital safely, and I guess Subaru is drinking in celebration right now!” Sonoko declared.

“Drinking?” Conan was immediately grasping threads of information.

“On the shelves of the kitchen, there was some alcohol that wasn’t there when we came to clean before!” Ran answered.

“Well, niisan is an adult. Adults drink. But niisan knows how to drink moderately so it’ll be fine~!” Tsukiko smiled, like reassure Conan that nothing bad would happen to the house. Sure, the chibi detective already knew it but it was fun to tease him a bit.


 

When Conan was at his school, Tsukiko decided to ask a question that had ‘bugged’ her for a while.

“Ne, Mouri-senpai… What was this ‘Kinichi’-thing? I decided not to question it while there but it has been bothering me a bit…”

“It’s just that Shinichi asked not to tell anything personal to Okiya-san so I improvised on the spot.” The karate champion explained a bit sheepishly. “Could you also keep it as a secret from your brother please?”

“Okay… I trust your reasoning since I don’t know Kudou-san. But you owe me for keeping this from Subaru-nii.” Tsukiko said mock-seriously. “Like cooking something really good for me someday!”

“Sure!”

Miyoshi waited until the upperclassmen were out of sight before stating: “He is not your brother really, is he?”

“What are you talking about, Mai-san?” Tsukiko asked in confusion while internally sweatdropping and panicking. What to do, what to do, what to do…

“You try really hard to emphasize that you have a brother. Maybe a bit too hard. You gush over him and act a bit like you aren’t used to having one. Your use of glasses is another thing. You look completely different when you use your glasses and when you don’t. Your eyes are open without them and you take them off like the tire your eyes. Sometimes you even forget to put them on which just proves my point… Were you adopted? Do you use glasses of wrong perception just to look like your brother?”

“You caught me, Mai-san…” The blonde sighed. “We aren’t related by blood but I’ve always wanted an oniisan… Please don’t tell anyone.” She clasped her hands together, making sure not to link her fingers like westerns did. “Please, please, please… I don’t want any more troubles. I already have enough of them.”

“It’s alright. I don’t have anyone to tell your secrets to.” Miyoshi smiled. “And I doubt anyone else will figure it out either. After all you haven’t told that many people about your brother, right? And I figured the glasses thing only because I use them for real. I’m sure you’ll be fine.” The class president clasped the blonde’s hand reassuringly. “People aren’t that aware of their surroundings like I am.”

“Thank you, Mai-san…”

Chapter Text

Chapter 25.

”Booooooriiiiing…” Tsukiko poked her cell phone lying on the bed. “I have nuthin’ to doooo… Someone caaaaall meeee…”

“You should get used to being alone. It does good to a person.” Jodie stated as she passed the half open door of Tsukiko’s room. The girl rolled on her back and groaned.

“If you haven’t noticed… I have been alone for a week. After school I’ve come here and done my homework. Then I’ve just sat here and read, doodled, listened to music et cetera, eta cetera. I’ve been in near to no contact with my friends outside the school. I do enjoy being on my own too but too much is too much. You are also doing your job who knows where…” The blonde waved her hand aimlessly in the air. If the FBI agent was about to reply, she didn’t get a chance when Tsukiko’s cell phone rang.

“Uh… Moshi, moshi? … Mai-san! … Of course I can come. Where shall we meet? … Okay!”

Sometimes savior arrived on the most convenient moment. When Tsukiko started to prepare meeting up with her friend, Jodie smiled faintly. The woman was relieved to see how well Tsukiko got along with her friends. At first the agent had been a bit vary about the whole situation, considering how the girl had behaved at the hospital back then but maybe it was nothing bad and worrying…


 

Tsukiko scrolled through the latest messages of her phone and checked the news in process, to get some sort of hint when in the timeline she was. The time in DC world was one messed up one after all and she couldn’t even be sure what season of the year it was now. (A/N: Read fic About Edogawa. It’s established there quite well by the characters themselves.) She couldn’t find anything. Maybe this was around some quieter time. Or those cases in the Anime Originals that she had never really watched and that were stuck in every possible gap.

“Nah… I’ll notice when something happens.” The blonde mused while pocketing her phone. She was slightly worried about this meeting with Miyoshi. This was the first time they met outside school and it had been only a week from the ‘revelation’. Back then Tsukiko had texted Subaru immediately and they’d agreed to say, if one were to figure out their ‘un-relatedness’, that Tsukiko was adopted. And if one really thought about it, it could also explain why her ‘parents’ weren’t exactly concerned about her whereabouts.

“That’s only a plan B though. There won’t be that many people able to figure it out. Hanajima is too blind to obvious things outside gossip and doesn’t even know that I’ve a brother, others don’t care. Tantei-chan already knew that we aren’t related. Ghi-hih… His face was funny when he heard of it though… Jodie and the rest of the FBI in the other hand are too busy with the Organization to notice and none of them have met him either. And they don’t know about my use of glasses as much as Mai-san does. Heiji is probably a threat but it’s unlikely that I’ll meet him in near future though… Kaito… Nah. I won’t see him that much… Sera… She could actually figure it out. Yikes.” The dimensional traveler thought as she neared the meeting place, a nice café by Haido park. Miyoshi was already there waiting for her.

“Tsukiko-chan!” The dark-haired girl waved. She had changed her braids on a high ponytail, leaving only a couple of strands on the sides of her face. It suited her really well, as did her clothing: a lilac cardigan with light blue skinny jeans and dark grey boots.

“Mai-san!” Tsukiko waved and jogged the rest of the distance. “I’m not late, am I?”

“No, not at all. I just arrived, too.”

“Okay. You look good.” Tsukiko smiled as she took a seat opposite the class president.

“Thank you. You don’t look half bad yourself.” Miyoshi smiled back, nodding at the blonde’s clothes: light green – almost white – dress shirt, midnight blue vest and white jeans. She had also pulled her hair back on a blue headband that matched the vest.

“Thank you, Mai-san.” A faint blush spread on Tsukiko’s cheeks by the compliment.

“You are welcome. Shall we order now?” The dark brunette gave a menu to the blonde. Tsukiko had hard time not to drool at the photos of the cakes and other sweets.

“H-Have you already decided?” The blonde stuttered. The list of various delicious delights was making her faint. Miyoshi didn’t seem to notice the stutter though.

“Yes. Have you?”

“I think so.”

“Good. Kouki-san!” A waiter peeked from the back room. He smiled immediately as he spotted who was calling him.

“Ah, Miyoshi-san. It has been a while.” The young man – maybe in his early twenties – greeted. “Is this a friend of yours?”

“Yes, this is Okiya Tsukiko, my classmate. Tsukiko-chan, this is Ishihara Kouki. We have gotten acquainted along the way.” Miyoshi introduced. Was that blush on her cheeks?”

“Nice to meet you, Ishihara-san.” Tsukiko smiled.

“Nice to meet you too, Okiya-san. Are you ready to order now?”

“Yes, I’d like to have a small coffee with milk and a slice of strawberry cake.” Miyoshi pointed the items from the menu.

“The normal one then.” Kouki smiled to her while writing the order on his notepad. Miyoshi blushed a bit more. “And what for you, Okiya-san?”

“Hmm… Jasmine tea and a piece of chocolate cake. It was hard to decide since they all look so good.” Tsukiko grinned a bit sheepishly.

“Then you just need to come here more often and try the other ones too. Miyoshi-san has come here for a long time but still sticks to strawberry cake.”

“Kouki-san!” The class president shushed him while he and Tsukiko laughed at her flustered face.

“Ah, the great class president and Queen of class 1-B finally breaks.” Tsukiko giggled.

“Tsukiko-chan, not you too.”

“I’ll be with you shortly.” Kouki mock-saluted them before going to the kitchens.


 

“Mai-san… Why did you exactly call me today? We have been avoiding each other for a week and now we meet. Outside the school at that…” Tsukiko asked behind her tea cup. “Not that I have anything against meeting outside school time!” She added hastily.

“I… I thought you needed sometime to settle down after I found out about your… situation. You seemed quite distressed back then.” Miyoshi answered quietly.

“Ah, it’s fine, Mai-san. Really. I was really surprised, that’s all. While it’s true that I prefer people not knowing, it’s not a sore spot for me or anything. Subaru-nii and I are close anyways and usually people don’t question it because we look more or less alike.”

“That’s good to hear. I was worried about you.” Miyoshi put her coffee cup on the table and cut a piece off her cake with the cake fork.

“Nee, Mai-san… Do you have a crush on Ishihara-san?” Tsukiko asked bluntly then, making Miyoshi almost choke on her cake.

“Wh-What? Crush on Kouki-san?”

“Yes, other than the fact you call him by his given name, you also blushed when he greeted you. And to be honest… I think he likes your company too.” Tsukiko smirked as she leaned her elbow on the table and propped her chin against her hand.

“D-Do you think so?” Miyoshi stuttered quietly.

“Yeah, he was really happy to see you and I think…” The blonde looked to the direction of the cash register where the man was – and glancing at them time to time. “He was prepared to talk to you like he usually does. My presence was a disappointment.” She chuckled.

“Is that so…”

“Yes, I’m quite certain of that. How old is he anyways? He doesn’t look that old.”

“Twenty-one.” Oh, how quiet Miyoshi’s voice was. And oh, how red her face was. Tsukiko tried really hard not to laugh.

“Hmm… Not a disaster. You should make a move.”

“I… Someday maybe.”

“Now is better.”

“Eh? How so? You aren’t even certain about his-… feelings…”

“That woman.” Tsukiko nodded her head towards the other end of the café. “She has been watching Ishihara-san for a while now.” She turned her head to look at the woman in question. Miyoshi did so too. “And judging how she looks at him, I bet she’d un-dressing him with her eyes.”

“Eh? No way!”

“Yes way.” The blonde stuck the last piece of her cake to her mouth. “I’m going to the bathroom now. You better act before that… woman does.”

“O-Okay…”


 

Five minutes later Tsukiko came back to their table. Miyoshi was still blushing furiously but now she was smiling brightly. The woman in the other hand had stomped away without ordering anything.

“Well?”

“We have a date tomorrow. It’s his day off.”

“Sunday date? How romantic. Congratulations!”

“I couldn’t have done it without you, Tsukiko-chan. If you hadn’t figured out-.”

“Mai-san is flattering me. I merely observed my surroundings and reasoned from them. It was quite obvious if one dared to look.”

“Thank you anyways.”

“You are welcome.”

“I-I’ll pay your order too.”

“Demo, Mai-san…” But the dark-haired girl had already gone to the cash register where Kouki was stationed. Tsukiko smiled. “OK then… We’re even now.”


 

“What are you looking at with so thoughtful face?” Tsukiko looked up from the mirror in front of her at Jodie who was in the doorway of the bathroom. The girl twirled a finger around a strand of hair.

“I thought about changing a hairstyle… I’ve always wanted side bangs and at one point the parting of my hair was on the left and not on the middle. I guess the time I spent in the hospital, messed up a bit with my hair and then it stuck like this.” She explained. “I could also grow the rest of my hair a bit longer too… At least past my shoulders…”

“How did you get the idea so suddenly?” The agent walked behind the girl and they both looked into the mirror.

“I’ve thought it for a while actually.” Tsukiko lied smoothly. Actually she had gotten the idea on the previous day after her meeting with Miyoshi. The other girl had looked so different with that simple change of style… It looked nice and could work for other purposes too… “You know we aren’t too sure is the Organization after me or not, right? And even if I’m no threat to them I did scratch accidentally one of their cars, the Viper, and stereotypically villains are really possessive over their cars. Or people with expensive cars in general.”

“Hmm… Maybe it could work… If not for distracting the Organization but for a simple change of style… I think it could suit you quite well actually.” Jodie thought aloud while moving the girl’s hair on the side, as if to see what would the new style look like. “We could go tomorrow to a hairdresser’s after your school. What do you think?”

“That sounds great Jodie-san. Thank you very much.” Tsukiko chirped happily.


 

On the next day Tsukiko was excited. She was on a cheery mood the whole day. She questioned Miyoshi thoroughly about her date with Kouki and was even civil to Hanajima who tried to butter her up. The polka-haired girl failed miserably but didn’t leave them huffing and puffing like on previous times. Hopefully she wouldn’t get used to it though. Tsukiko also managed to have a small conversation with Maki Namida who had come to the school again. The other girl was really shy and glanced time to time to the direction of her sister and Toudou as if scared they would listen to the conversation which was actually cut off quite abruptly when Maki Tsunami came closer and dragged the poor girl off with her. Tsukiko narrowed her eyes at the behavior but didn’t comment it. She was on a far too good mood for that.


 

-New hairstyle, what do you think? Read on a message that Okiya got on the afternoon of that day. The message was accompanied by a photo of Tsukiko grinning on a barber’s chair and making a peace sign. On the background was a mirror where he could see Jodie taking the picture with a smile on her face. The man smiled faintly.

-That looks good on you, Tsuki. Any particular reason why? He replied.

-Just wanted something new. It makes a difference, doesn’t it?

-Indeed it does. Good idea.

-Thanks. ^o^

Chapter Text

Chapter 26.

Agasa’s car was full. That’s the thought Tsukiko had as they headed to a sushi place. Thankfully she was seated on the front seat. With Conan on her lap. She had been surprised to hear she’d been invited since she had never before met Agasa and Conan – and possibly Ai too – didn’t exactly trust her. But she had heard that the other members of Shonen Tantei-dan had gotten the idea to invite her too because she was ‘pretty’, ‘nice’, ‘not as busy’ and ‘smart’. Their words not hers. When they had met, Ayumi had been quick to compliment to Tsukiko’s new hairstyle. Ai had also given her approval, saying it suited the older girl better than the previous one and gave her more mature look.

One other thing that bugged Tsukiko was how the professor had gotten her cell phone number since she had given it this far only to Akai/Okiya, Jodie, Miyoshi, Ran and Sonoko. Even Conan didn’t have it yet. Unless he had gotten it via Akai which Tsukiko doubted. So she had asked about it.

“Ah, Conan-kun asked it from Ran-kun.” Agasa had answered. Right, so now Tantei-chan also had the girl’s number.

The third thing bothering the blonde was Tantei-chan himself. He was talking on the phone with Hattori Heiji while sitting on Tsukiko’s lap. He wasn’t even trying to cover his conversation. Maybe because he knew that Tsukiko knew about his real identity and her body could act as an extra barrier against the curious ears of the little detectives. It didn’t help much though.

“Hey, hey! Didn’t I tell you guys not to disturb me?” The bespectacled kid chastised his friends.

“Ne, Tantei-chan… If you want to have private conversations on the phone it should be in a place where people don’t have a chance to eavesdrop. A car is one of the worst places.” Tsukiko stated while keeping her eyes on the road and half hugging the boy. She could just imagine Heiji’s face when he heard her voice at the other end of the line.

“Hey, Kudou… Where are you calling from? And who was that girl with you?”

“Ah, it’s okay… We’re all on the way to lunch. And that was Tsukiko… -neechan.” Conan added the suffix with a bit of delay. In his mind he rather called the girl Okiya-chan but in front of the kids he had to keep it a bit more childlike. “And stop saying things you shouldn’t be saying…”

“Hey, kids, let Edogawa-kun have his conversation. It’s rude to listen to other people’s calls.” Tsukiko turned to face the Shonen Tanteis with a smile.

“Okay, Tsukiko-oneesan/-neechan/-san!” They chorused and sat back.

“So then, what did you mean by ‘I think so too’?”

“I asked Haibara to give me 100 pills of that drug…”

“A… A hundred!?”

Tsukiko kept her chuckle in her throat.

“Yeah, even if it sounds like a lot, what if it isn’t enough?” And then Conan retold what Haibara had said to him when he had made that request.

“Kudou… Even though that little girl had it right on the mark, I think it’s best if you tell you Ran-neechan everything… Besides, you want to tell her too.”

“You idiot! It’s not like that! Besides, I can’t do that!” This time Tsukiko couldn’t hold it back anymore and her shoulders started to shake in suppressed laughter. Especially when the Shonen Tanteis appeared again in the gap between the front seats. One thing led to another and Conan hung up his phone call. When Agasa started talking about the sushi place where they were going, Tsukiko got a chance to ask the chibi detective a question.

“Ne, Tantei-chan… Have you told Haibara-chan yet? That I know about you.” She asked quietly and felt the boy stiffen. Whops, she wasn’t supposed to know about Haibara’s real identity. “It was exactly hard to figure out that she has the same predicament that you. Besides I heard your phone conversation loud and clear. Did you already forget that? I don’t know who she is but I bet she is going to ask you about my knowledge sooner or later.”

“She doesn’t know yet anything. I decided not to tell since she is already suspicious about Subaru-san.”

“Ah, I see… And the kids don’t know yet that we are actually ‘siblings’.”

“You denied it back then.”

“Because I didn’t want it to affect on the investigation. Well, I’ll tell it someday when it comes up again.”

“How did you-?” But they were already at their destination.

“Okay, everyone out!” Agasa announced as cheerily as he could after Haibara’s accusation. They were – indeed – at a revolving sushi restaurant. Tsukiko got out happily that Conan’s question about her knowledge about the Plan had been interrupted.


 

“Wahoo!!”

“Awesome!!”

“The sushi is revolving!”

“I can eat whichever plate I want?” The kids were absolutely thrilled to see how the system in the restaurant worked.

“That’s right! Eat all you want.” Agasa smiled. “But be sure not to put the empty plates back on. That’s rude and against the rules because you pay according to how much you ate and what plate you took.”

“But what if the sushi I want never comes around?” Genta asked.

“Then you can order it from the menu.” Conan answered. “Tell the professor what you want and he can order it from the touch-screen. They even have tea and egg custard!”

There was a little mishap when Genta tried to take a dish that wasn’t for him but in the end the kids ended up happy.

“Looks like it wasn’t a bad choice coming here.” Haibara smiled.

“Yeah… Even though it can’t compare to proper sushi restaurants, it’s still best to find a place where everyone, especially kids, can eat happily.” Conan agreed.

“True, true… Thank you one more time for inviting me with you, Agasa-hakase.” Tsukiko thanked from her place between the professor and Haibara.

“You are welcome Tsukiko-kun. I hope you enjoy the food too.”

“I will!” The girl took chopstick and separated them neatly. The trick was to pull them evenly and slowly apart while holding from the end to the sticks, like she had learnt from Azumanga Daioh. “Itadakimasu…” She chuckled mentally.


 

“Whew, I’m full!”

“It really was tasty!”

“Yup!” The Shonen Tanteis complimented.

“Ah, they even have pudding for dessert!” Mitsuhiko noticed, making Genta accidentally knock his empty sushi plates off the counter table. When the kids were picking up the plates, a guy accused them for trying to tamper with the bill. Tsukiko stayed emotionless and sat still on her seat, straightening the plate pile in front of her. That guy would die soon, no worries there. Annoying bastard…

Commotion occurred, the irritating food critic practically provoking everyone in the shop. Tsukiko got enough.

“Sir, your meal for today is on the house, so could you please leave?” The owner of the sushi place asked the oh-so-great-imbecile.

“Oh? It’s free? Then I’ll have to eat more before I leave!”

“S-Sir, how could you?”

“Hey, you!” The blonde girl got on her feet and crossed her arms. “Do you have a problem with your hearing? The owner guy said that it’s on the house if you leave. In the other hand it’s not free if you stay.”

“Who are you? Who do you think I am?” The almost dead guy half shouted.

“My name doesn’t matter but I know you alright. You are that infamous food critic that has taken as his job to rule over the world of restaurants like some sort of God. You decided which ones get to blood and which ones you drive into bankrupt. It sickens me. I was having a great time here until you decided to open your mouth and ruin the atmosphere and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that.” The girl glared the man from a safe distance. She didn’t want to become a suspect on the murder case after all.

“Shut up, brat! You know nothing about my line of work! It’s hard and demanding from a person and it doesn’t help that people like you interrupt it!”

“There are few occasions that make me pissed. One of those is being locked into my own room.” Tsukiko continued despite the stares she was getting. She didn’t even notice how Haibara stepped behind Conan, eyes wide in fear. “Other is people who think they are better than others. Thankfully those people meet their end soon though because there’re always others to avenge the wrong they or their acquaintances have faced. You are no God, sir. You are a Devil and even devils shall meet the judgment of the God. Sooner than they think actually.

“So if I were you, I’d think of my sins and pray for forgiveness.” And with that Tsukiko turned on her heels and strode to Agasa. “Shall we go now? I guess the prick got the general idea now.”

“Yes, let’s go to pay.”


 

Agasa paid their bill, shocked about the high price but hey, there were seven people eating together and Genta ate as much as an adult if not more so it was naturally high. Tsukiko had offered to pay her own but the offer had been promptly squashed by the rest of their group. She had been invited after all.

“Professor, you should bring us back here sometime!” Ayumi chirped.

“But only when there aren’t any disruptive customers…” Ai added.

“Yeah, but Tsukiko-san was so cool when she confronted that guy.” Mitsuhiko smiled before shooting a glare towards the person in question. Conan and Genta were also glaring to that direction.

“Oh, thank you Tsuburaya-kun. But it was nothing really. He just managed to piss me off properly.” The blonde high school student waved her hand dismissively.

“WAAAH!” Was heard behind them and them a thump when a body hit the ground. A chaos took place before Conan managed to make it stop. He explained the food critic had been poisoned by cyanide and told professor to call the police and an ambulance.

“You know… This’s what I’d call an irony.” Tsukiko smiled from her place by the wall. She was leaning against it casually, her arms crossed on her chest and one leg over another. She didn’t notice the worried and frightened looks Haibara was sending to her direction.


 

“Why is it you again…?” Inspector Megure asked when he had gotten an overview of the situation. “Conan-kun… I used to think that is was old Mouri who was the jinx. It looks like it should be you…”

”Ha ha…”

”We aren’t any jinx!” Ayumi butt in. “We are Shonen Tantei-dan!”

“It’s not our fault when a case occurs!” Genta agreed.

“You should say that the case calls to us!” Mitsuhiko added proudly.

“So? How did the poison get into the sushi?” Haibara asked.

“That… We haven’t checked the victim’s stomack contents yet, so we’re not sure if it did…” Takagi answered. “But the investigation team just reported that the plate the victim last held had poison on this part of the plate so it’s highly probable.” The detective pointed the left side of the plate.

“I see… that culprit pretended to go get the sushi, used their hands with poison on them to hold the sides of the plate and then had it circle to the victim…” Megure thought aloud.

“Yes… When the victim took the plate, the poison transferred onto his hands, so when he held the sushi to eat it.” Takagi confirmed the theory.

“But isn’t that unlikely?” Tsukiko asked and the attention of the police officers and the kids were on her. “What I understood from the facts Takagi-keiji told us… the poison was only on the left side of the plate… It’s uncertain which hand the victim would use to take the plate and eat the sushi, or would he use different hands for those… And even if the whole edge of the plate was laced with the poison, the victim’s hand shouldn’t wipe it away from that big area. Besides I don’t think the culprit would put poison on their own hands. After all there is no certain way to wipe it off in such a short time safely. And there is no way the culprit would’ve used gloves to do it. No one uses gloves in a sushi restaurant. Not only it’s impolite but also attracts attention.”

“And you were again?” Megure asked a bit tiredly. Apparently he was quite tired with people other than the police butting into his investigations.

“Okiya Tsukiko. I was here with the kids. I… had an argument with the victim.”

“Yes, but there is no way that Tsukiko-oneesan would be the bad guy!” Ayumi stepped forward. “Tsukiko-oneesan didn’t go even close to the guy and when he collapse she was with us all the time.”

“That’s right!” Genta nodded.

“Anyways, what are you saying anyways with your… opinions?” Megure asked the blonde then.

“I’m asking if it’s possible that the victim got the poison with something else than the plate. Did you check the fingerprints on it yet? I bet it’s only the victim’s. Poisoning the plate is uncertain anyways since anyone here could’ve taken it.”

“Whah, Tsukiko-neechan is smart!” Conan gasped childlishly.

“Of course I’m smart Edogawa-kun. I’m sixteen after all.” The girl huffed, and puffed her cheeks.


 

“Food critic? The poisoned Agatsuma-san was a food critic?” Ah, they finally had the ID of the victim known.

“Yes, he’s famous for his biting reviews. The restaurants he gave good reviews for were indeed very good. And he has very positive reader response.” Takagi read from his notebook. “On the other hand, the restaurants that got bad reviews would suffer from a decline in business and some even had to close.”

“Hmm… This may be the motive for the murder…” Megure thought aloud. “The question is, how did the culprit get him to take the poisoned plate…”

“Eh? What?” Tsukiko blinked. Hadn’t they listened to her at all? She crouched on the level of the chibi detective. “Ne, Tantei-chan… Is it just me or did Megure-keibu and Takagi-keiji just shrug off my observations?”

“I think they don’t know you yet that well so they can’t take you points into a serious consideration.” Conan sweatdropped and laughed nervously while Tsukiko pouted.

“Mou… That’s not fair. I thought them really hard…”

“Ehehehe… I think they were great though.”

“Really?”

“Yup, have you been on crime scenes before we got to know?”

“Are you fishing for information, Tantei-chan?” Tsukiko thought, resting her chin on her hand. “No, I haven’t… But I do have seen my fair share of crime shows. The American ones. You know CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds, Mentalist…”

“Ah, I see.”

“Yes, I pick up things from those and use that knowledge I get.” The girl smiled. “But putting the whole situation into a definite conclusion isn’t my forte. I’ll let you handle that part, meitantei.” She winked and got up, leaving Conan watching her back as she walked to Agasa and the kids.


 

The day turned to an evening. Conan had asked Takagi to have all the other plates to be checked for any poison, just in case. The result, just like Tsukiko had predicted, had been zero plates with poison. When the kid dashed to check out Genta and Ayumi’s seats, the girl merely smiled from her own where she casually leaned against the table. Time for the deduction show.


 

“It really was bad luck…” Conan began with Agasa’s voice. “But I’m not talking about the murdered Agatsuma-san. I mean the culprit who’s laughing inside because they think they’ve succeeded!”

Oh, the faces the suspect were making.

“I say this because I’ve discovered not only how Agatsuma-san was murdered, but also how the poison was disposed of. Even though I came here by chance I was still able to see through this childish trick instantly.”

“That means the culprit really is one of these three!” Takagi said in joy. Was it really that nice to be right since the beginning at least in something? Well, that was probably a consequence of working with freelance detectives.

“That’s right, just as you police suspected. The culprit was one of these three who had a grudge against Agatsuma-san.”

“Hey, what’s wrong with you!? Saying things like that out of the blue!” The female suspect whose name Tsukiko had already forgotten shouted. “Don’t think that just because you’re big you can stand there and pretend you’re some great detective. Did you see it? Did you see one of us put the poison on the plate!?”

“No, I didn’t see it…” Conan/Agasa said.

“Then, you’re bluffing!”

“It’s because none of you actually did it. The one who put poison on the plate was actually Agatsuma-san himself!”

“But Agasa-san, if the one who put the poison on the plate was the victim himself, wouldn’t this be a suicide?” Megure frowned.

“No, Tsukiko-kun was on the right tracks since the beginning. The poison wasn’t only on the plate but also on something he touched before he took the plate.  This is why only Agatsuma-san’s plate had poison on it.”

“B-But you’re talking about…” Megure stuttered.

“What is it?” Takagi frowned.

“Hey, kids!” Tsukiko called from her seat. “When you’re eating at a revolving sushi restaurant and something you like comes around… What will you do before you take the plate? What will your hands touch?”

“Hm, let’s see… First, I’d prepare the chopsticks.” Mitsuhiko thought.

“Pour water into the tea cup…” Ayumi mused.

“Put soy sauce in the saucer…” Genta muttered.

“Hmm… Those are good too but how about in-between different dishes.” The blonde looked at the sushi plates in front of her. “What would he touch every time he finishes a plate? What do you do Kojima-kun?”

“Eh? Me?” The boy in question pointed himself.

“But Okiya-san… All the things at Agatsuma-san’s seat were tested, and there was no poison on anything.” Takagi explained. “So it doesn’t matter what he touches before taking the plate, he wouldn’t…”

“Then…” Tsukiko turned her gaze calmly from the detective to the seats in front of her. “Yoshida-chan, would you come here for a moment?”

“Yes, Tsukiko-oneesan!” The little girl hurried to the older with a smile. “What is it?”

“Could you tell me what’s at Tsuburaya-kun’s seat but not at Kojima-kun’s?”

“Let’s see… Oh, chopsticks! Genta-kun’s seat doesn’t have chopsticks!”

“Because Genta-kun always uses his hands to eat…” Mitsuhiko chuckled.

“My dad told me before! If you’re from Tokyo, you eat sushi with your hands!” The bigger boy defended.

“Then, after using your hands to eat, wouldn’t there be something you’d need to touch?” Conan asked, like ha had just gotten hang on Tsukiko’s train of thought. But of course it was just and act.

“Something I want to touch? I just lick my fingers…”

“Then, after you lick your fingers.”

“Umm… After I lick them…”

“Is it like this?” Haibara stepped forward. “The wet towel! Since you’re directly touching rice with your fingers, you would want to wipe off the oil, water and rice before taking a plate. So, do you mean the poison was put on the wet towel?”

“Is that it, professor?” Conan asked, looking up at the elder man.

“Ah, yeah…”

“But there wasn’t a wet towel at the victim’s seat…” Megure pointed out.

“But a proof of using one is, right?” Tsukiko asked, glancing at the professor and the kid with a bowtie behind him.

“Exactly!” And at that moment the inspector noticed the corner of the plastic wrap of the towel.

“This- This is-!”

“That’s right… This is the corner of the plastic packaging housing the wet towels…” Conan/Agasa continued the explanation. “…that are available right at the entrance. The culprit likely put the poison into the pack beforehand using something like a syringe.”

“I see! Taking a plate after wiping your hands with the poisoned towel and then using your hands to eat sushi would result in death… That way, there would only be one plate with poison on it!” Takagi got it now. “Just like Okiya-san said in the beginning!”

“Right!”

“But, before Agatsuma-san was poisoned, he ate a lot of sushi! When he was eating these, didn’t he use a wet towel at all?” Megure questioned while peering at the pile of plate’s at the victim’s seat.

“No, because his wet towel was replaced sometime in the middle. Possibly when he was arguing with the manager or confronted by Tsukiko-kun.”

“B-But if someone went to touch your wet towel, wouldn’t someone notice right away?” Takagi asked. “Something like ‘Hey, what are you doing?’”

“Agatsuma-san was left handed. He used the towel every time before eating a new sushi so it most likely he but it somewhere near his left hand.” Tsukiko pointed out. “Which basically means that the person sitting on his left is the culprit.”

“That means you, Aizono-san. That towel was placed right next to you!” Conan/Agasa announced. “Sitting next to Agatsuma-san on the left, pretending that the poisoned towel was your own and putting it next to his would make switching them not difficult at all!”

“W-What are you talking about!?” The culprit stuttered. “If that were the case, how did I get rid of it? That poisoned wet towel! Was I carrying anything like that officer sir?”

“No… When we conducted the body search, we didn’t find anything like that.” Takagi answered a bit uncertainly.

“See! If you’re going to accuse me of being the culprit, first explain how I got rid of the towel!”

“Ah, suspects… Always asking for proof.” Tsukiko chuckled. “Don’t you understand it makes you sound even suspicious? But yes, there is a proof other than your motive, opportunity and lack of a proper alibi… The towel simply disappeared. Poof!”

“‘Poof’?” Conan sweatdropped. “What Tsukiko-kun means… You used the revolving sushi transport system that automatically removes the plates after a while.”

“Right! All you have to do is put the poisoned towel onto a plate you removed, than put it back again! That way, when the time’s up, the plate will disappear on their own.”

“It was probably when Agatsuma-san collapsed. While everyone’s attention was on him, the place got replaced. Agatsuma-san’s old towel was probably wrapped around the poisoned towel and the plastic packet, then placed on the plate… Since both the towel and the rice are white, it wouldn’t be noticed unless you looked carefully.”

“And since people around were shouting about food poisoning and panicking, no one noticed the switch because everyone was putting the plates back on the conveyor belt.” Tsukiko added.

“B-But wasn’t that belt stopped immediately?” The culprit tried to squirm his way out of the situation.

“Yes… It was stopped about two or three minutes after he collapsed.” The owner-no-more-suspect answered.

“Then how could it be so coincidental with the plate being removed in those two minutes…”

“True, if it were a plate that had just been taken off, it would take awhile before it was recycled…” Conan, now by the culprit’s seat stated. “But if it were switched with the first plate that was taken, the machine would scan the micro-chip and think it had been going around too long. So, wouldn’t it recycle it right away then?”

“Where is the disposed sushi put?” Megure asked. Confession time, finally. Tsukiko got up from her seat. She was about to walk out of the shop when she heard Conan’s next words. She had forgotten how dramatic they had been in this case.

“But, niisan, do you know? The one who stained this delicious food was you yourself. Using that which can never be wiped away… The poison known as ‘murder’.”

The murderer was escorted away by the police and the group of five kids, a teenager and an adult watched him go.

“Ya know… Even though that Agatsuma guy had it coming and in my opinion deserved what he got… that culprit was quite pathetic. True, it’s sad that he had to split up with his girl but it was his own fault too. He let the prank and the comments bug him too much. He should’ve acted as an adult and ignored the situation, maybe even start a new blog anonymously, but most of all paid more attention on his girl than to Agatsuma.” Tsukiko stated.

“Tsukiko-san is right.” Mitsuhiko nodded. “There was no real victim his time.”

“But that doesn’t mean that murder is right. Got it?” The teen looked seriously at the boy. “Murder and crime in general is never the right answer. Remember that, kids.”

“Yes, Tsukiko-oneesan/-neechan/-san!”


 

The group left the restaurant and packed into Agasa’s car. This time Ayumi got to sit on Tsukiko’s lap. The little girl was delighted about that fact. Meanwhile on the backseat Haibara gripped on Conan’s shirt with her left hand. No one but the boy noticed it though but even he didn’t take it up. Not in the car with the kids able to hear. Not to mention Okiya-chan…

“But Tsukiko-neecchan was cool back there.” Genta announced. “She could figure out the case with professor and Conan just like that.”

“Yes, Tsukiko-neesan was brilliant.” Ayumi chirped.

“Ah, guys… It was nothing. I only got those ideas after listening Agasa-hakase’s explanation. Before he started to tell us his deductions I had no idea who was the actual murderer.” Tsukiko laughed.

“But you were on the right tracks since the beginning.” Mitsuhiko pointed out. “You could be a great detective in the future.”

“You think?”

“Yes!”

No one saw the uncomfortable and suspicioning look Haibara was sending at the high schooler’s direction.

“What I saw… What I felt… What she said… Could she be… one of them?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 27.

Tsukiko bid goodbye to Miyoshi by the end of the day before heading towards Ekoda. She had managed to arrange a meeting with Kaito. The boy would teach her lock-picking. After the mishap at the hospital, Tsukiko had become determined to become better at breaking through different kind of doors and other ‘road blocks’.

“Kuroba-kun!” The blonde waved enthusiastically when she spotted the boy. Then she noticed he wasn’t alone at the gates of his school. Nakamori Aoko was with him.

“Ah, Tsuki-chan!” The magician greeted. He had already calling her by a nickname? Oh well, don’t question the train of thought of Kuroba Kaito. “You are early. I thought it would take longer for you from Beika.”

“Nah, Kawaoka-sensei let us go a bit earlier since our class behaved so well for once. And who is this?” The girl turned to face Aoko.

“Ah, this is Nakamori Aoko. We’ve known since we were kids.” Kairo introduced the girl.

“Nice to meet you Nakamori-san. My name is Okiya Tsukiko.” Tsukiko offered her hand to shake the Ran-look-a-like’s. The other girl took it with a smile.

“Nice to meet you too, Okiya-san. But do call me Aoko. I’m more used to hear my father being referred as Nakamori-san.”

“I understand. You can call me Tsukiko then. Usually people refer my brother as Okiya-san.”

“Okay, Tsukiko-chan!”

“Are you done?” Kaito asked from the sidelines. Apparently the introductions had taken too long time on his taste. Well, he was quite informal person.

“Yes, Kuroba-kun, we are done.” Tsukiko said mock-seriously, making Aoko giggle.

“How do you know each other then?” The dark-haired girl asked them. “I’ve never heard of you from Kaito.”

“Well, we met quite recently and Kuroba-kun agreed to help me with one thing so here I am now.”

“Where did you meet then?”

“Actually it was during one of Kid’s heists. We happened to talk while waiting for the great trick happen and got along quite well since we are both fans of the phantom thief but not obsessively so like… Suzuki-senpai.”

“Yeah, I’ve seen that girl… She… is quite scary actually.” Kaito thought aloud.

“So you also support Kaitou Kid.” Aoko frowned.

“Yes, I do. You just need to see past the mask to understand him.” Tsukiko smiled.

“Understand? There’s nothing to understand on him. Kid is only a thief who ridicules honest hard-working people!” Aoko protested.

“Well… That’s also one opinion…” Tsukiko and Kaito exchanged an awkward glance when Aoko went into a rant about how Kaitou Kid was a bad person and no one should admire him.


Eventually they parted ways with goodbyes despite their differing opinions about Kid. Well, Aoko wasn’t a petty person to judge people on what they liked. Otherwise she would have cut her ties with Momoi Keiko who was also a Kid fan

“Say… Why do you want to learn lock-picking again?” Kaito asked.

“I simply want to be get out of room’s I’m locked in. The last time it happened I spent almost all night trying to get out and broke at least two hair pins. You could’ve done it in a minute.” Tsukiko shrugged as they arrived at the Kuroba house.

“Why do you get into locked rooms then?” The boy shot her a suspicious look while fumbling for his keys.

“Well… Last time it was a pure accident really. But don’t want it to happen again.”


The house was really nice. Homely. A smile spread on Tsukiko’s face. From all the places she had been this far, the Kuroba house was her absolute favorite.

“Okay, my room is in the upstairs.” Kaito nodded towards the stairs when they had taken their shoes off and put slippers on.

“Alright! I love your house by the way.”

“Err… Thanks?”


“Not bad. You can use hair pin quite well for an amateur.” The young magician grinned when Tsukiko finally tossed the padlock to him. It had been a test to see the girl’s skills as they were now.

“I take that as a compliment…”

“Do so, it was one.” The boy placed the lock on the table on his right before turning to face Tsukiko again. They were seated in the Kid’s lair where was a whole box of padlocks and actual locks removed from doors. “I guess you have never used an actual lock pick, have you?”

“Nope.”

“Alright. I think it’s better if I teach you to use one. They are more accurate than hairpins anyways.”

“But less inconspicuous.” Tsukiko stated when folding her legs on the chair  she was sitting on.

“True but they can be hidden quite well.” Kaito pointed out.

“Yeah…”

“So, pick a lock.” The thief gestured the box between them. “And I’ll start your first lesson in the art of lock-picking.” A Cheshire cat grin spread on his face. Apparently he started to get used to the idea of a new ally and friend.


The next weeks Tsukiko hand and wrist were hurting continuously and she had to use a brace on it while writing so she wouldn’t get a tenosynovitis. It annoyed her a bit but at the same time she was glad for two reasons. One was that she made some progress (She had managed to lock and unlock the front door of Jodie’s apartment when the woman was at work somewhere.) and the other one was that she got to know Doctor Araide. The man was really nice. Maybe a bit timid but always ready to help when asked. And he didn’t question what she was doing to get her hand so sore.

“Thank you again, Araide-sensei.” Tsukiko smiled when she hopped off the bed of the nurse’s office. She had been there again for the check-up on her wrist.

“You are welcome. It’s getting better now but don’t put any strain on it so it won’t get any worse.” The doctor smiled back. “Come to the next check-up in a week.”

“Okay… Good that it’s getting better. Jodie-san was getting worried I would fall behind with my school work.” The girl chucked, picking her school bag on the floor.

“J-Jodie…-san? Jodie Saintemillion-san?” Araide stuttered, his hand stopping writing the memo of this check-up.

Whops… Well, thankfully it was Araide who heard it since he knows that Jodie is an FBI agent and knows that she is still most likely in Japan.

“Yea, that’s her name. Do you know her?” Tsukiko tilted her head while smiling her eyes closed. Not that it was seen due her glasses.

“She was an English teacher here some time ago.” The doctor answered.

“Oh, I didn’t know that. She’s really wonderful person don’t you think?”

“Yes, I suppose so…”

“Well, this was quite an interesting piece of information and enjoyable conversation we had earlier but now I have to go. See you next Friday!” The girl waved before leaving the office.

“See you…”


“Gee… I hate this…” Tsukiko huffed when she lifted her pencil off the paper again and shook her wrist.

“Then what have you been doing with it since it hurts that much?” Subaru asked behind his book, Study in Scarlet.

“Um…” Tsukiko hesitated a bit before deciding to answer. Subaru wouldn’t tell anyone anyways. “I’ve been practicing lock-picking with a help of a friend so I wouldn’t get locked somewhere again.”

“…” The man lifted his gaze from the book. Tsukiko held his gaze until he laughed. “You are still bitter about that?”

“Yes. I spent the whole night trying to open the door! I still haven’t forgiven Camel for that.” The girl huffed.

“I guess you’ve been practicing really hard then.”

“Yes, I have.” The blonde nodded seriously before a wide grin she had adopted from Kaito broke out. “And I have already managed to break through Jodie’s front door.”

“Oh, that’s impressive. Has she noticed it?” Subaru asked.

“Nope! Or I don’t think so…”

Subaru’s phone rang.

“Ah, Agasa-hakase… Of course I can… Yes, I’ll be going now.”

“What’s it?”

“Professor asked me to get the kids from the fishing trip. He has gone to fix his ‘ham and eggs’ cooking machines he gave to his neighbors and its taking longer than it should.”

“Oh, I remember this!” Tsukiko snapped her fingers in realization.

“You do? Does that mean someone is going to die?” Subaru frowned.

“Not exactly…”


 

It was the time for Shonen Tantei-dan to leave home and excited, they rushed to the edge of the pier and started waving to the approaching boat. Their excitement faded quickly away though when they noticed it wasn’t Professor Agasa coming to get them but Subaru and Tsukiko.

“Huh? It’s not the professor?”

“He’s the one who is living next to professor’s house, right?”

“If I’m not mistaken he’s Okiya Subaru, a graduate student…” The kids talked.

“Did something happen to professor?” Conan thought aloud when Haibara grabbed his shoulder. “Huh?”

“Hey, kids!” Tsukiko waved from the boat with a bright smile on her face.

“It’s Tsukiko-oneesan/-neechan/-san!”


“Eeh!? Professor couldn’t come!?”

“Are you sure?” Genta asked when Okiya had explained the situation to the kids.

“Yeah. Seems that the machines for making ‘ham and eggs’, that the professor created and gave to the neighbor, were bad, so complaints poured in. He thought he’d be able to fix them quickly, but it’s taking more time than he expected, so he asked me to come to pick you guys up.”

“And I tagged along just for fun since I was already at niisan’s.” Tsukiko added.

“’Niisan’?” Mitsuhiko repeated.

“But didn’t Tsukiko-oneesan say back then that it was a coincidence that you had the same name?”Ayumi asked.

“I said that, yes, but it was because we were in the middle of a case. I didn’t want to affect on your judgment. Even though I had a complete faith in Subaru-nii, he was still a suspect in the eyes on the police.” The blonde teen explained.

“Ah, I see. That makes sense.” Mitsuhiko nodded. Tsukiko straightened from her half-crouch, she had been while talking to the kids, and shot an ‘I-told-you-so’ smirk to Subaru. The kids had accepted the explanation just like that, like the girl had predicted.

“Ok now, continue your chat after getting on the ship!” Iwao, the captain of the boat they had used to come to the pier. “Hurry, or else the sun will set.”

“Mind your steps.” Okiya instructed the kids who were helped on the boat by Iwao.

“Okay, Yoshida-chan, hop here.” Tsukiko held out her arms for the smaller girl who jumped on the teen’s lap giggling. During all that Haibara didn’t remove her eyes from the ‘siblings’ and clutched onto Conan’s jacket while staying firmly behind him.

Finally Conan got enough. “What’s wrong with you?” The chibi detective asked.

“I can feel that person… The both of them…” Haibara whispered. “They feel like what you call the ‘Men in Black’…”

“Y-You can still feel it?” The boy stuttered in surprise.

“No… I felt that when I first met him on that arson case but… The source of that unique pressure must have been him. And then her… There was no doubt of it when she confronted the food critic who died later… I’m sure that I snese those who turned your body into a child’s with that drug!”

“Aren’t you just thinking too much?” The male faux-child sighed before they were ushered to the boat too. Haibara tripped (because she wasn’t looking where she was going) but thankfully Okiya caught her in time.

“Whoa… Keep an eye on where you’re going.” The man advised the girl.

“Y-Yes.” She stuttered.


 “But it’s unfortunate…” Mitsuhiko sighed when the boat was off. “We caught so many, but we can’t eat them…”

“The professor seems to be busy…” Genta continued.

“So how about I do it for you guys?” Subaru offered.

“Can you actually cook?” Genta asked in wonder.

“Yeah, more or less… I’m not as good as a first-class cook but I can do home cooking.”

“Nah, Subaru-nii is a great cook!” Tsukiko laughed. “I love his food.” And apparently that was enough confirmation to the kids, making Haibara watch the two of them in confusion. The dark pressuring aura was nowhere seen or felt after all.


 

They all ended admiring the sunset from the boat and after Ayumi noticed Ikkaku Rock, they all wanted to see it closer. When heading toward it, they met briefly three men looking for their friend but paid no particular attention on them. So they docked by the rock.

“Anyways, this Ikkaku Rock is the Children’s rock!” Iwao announced while tying the rope on a smaller rock. “Please enjoy yourselves!”

“OK!” The kids chorused.


 

“After looking at it more closely, it’s more like a rock covered with many holes than a horn.” Mitsuhiko observed.

“Aah, Seems that is was scraped off considerably by ocean water.” Conan stated.

“Erosion.” Tsukiko ran her hand along the rough surface. In her other hand she had a camera she had borrowed from Jodie for the trip a few days ago. “It makes this place look more mysterious and gives the surface aged look. I like it.”

“Ah, look over there!” Ayumi exclaimed, pointing at the sunset. “Let’s take a photo of the sun before it sets!”

Smiling, Tsukiko brought up the camera and snapped a couple of photos. “Okay, kids, line up there! Subaru-nii and I will take photos.”

“We’re counting on you!” Genta smiled as the elementary school kids hurried to take places. Tsukiko zoomed the camera’s focus closer while Okiya used his cell phone.

“Ano… Subaru-nii…” The blonde girl blinked at what she saw on the stone next to Haibara after snapping one picture. She zoomed in even more. The man looked at the screen on the camera briefly before walking closer to the kids.

“Hmmm?” He leaned close to Haibara. “The rock behind you… Something’s written on it.”

“Saba, koi, tai, hirame?” Conan read aloud.

”Could it that someone engraved the name of fish they caught for memory?” Mitsuhiko guessed.

“But it’s awful to do things like this…” Ayumi whispered.

“Hey, check this out!” Genta yelled from short distance. “Something is stuck between the rocks!”

“What!?” Conan shouted.

“It’s a fin you out on your foot when diving…” Mitsuhiko noticed.

“It’s stuck tightly, and I can’t take it out.”

In no time Conan had sprinted of, looking for the owner of the fin. And he found her. The kids and Okiya and Tsukiko followed him to the body. Subaru was quick to take a look on the body with Conan while Tsukiko stayed in the background. She didn’t really fancy being close to dead bodies. She had managed to get through the sushi case by thinking it was just a fictional character that had died and by really disliking the victim who was as guilty as the murderer.

“I guess she had trouble while diving and couldn’t swim well so she struggled until she ended up here, but unfortunately nobody found her.” Haibara stated.

“Yeah… This is Ikkaku Rock where ships sink… Nobody would approach this area.” Mitsuhiko agreed.

“Anyway, let’s carry her to the boat!” Genta decided.

“Yeah, it’s pity to leave her like this.” Ayumi continued.

“No… I say we wait until the police arrive before moving the body.” Subaru said while crossing his arms on his chest. That got the kids’ attention. While Conan explained them why this was a murder and not an accident, Okiya turned to face his ‘sister’ who was sitting on a smaller rock and calmly watching the situation. He walked closer and spoke on a low voice to the kids wouldn’t hear them, neither the actual ones nor the shrunken teens.

“I thought you said ‘not exactly’…”

“Yes, not ‘going to die’ but ‘already has’.” Tsukiko smirked.

Chapter Text

Chapter 28.

The police arrived and the Inspector Yokomizo Juugo examined the body, telling exactly the same deduction aloud than Conan had done earlier. When the kids told him that, the police cornered the chibi detective for being a smartass and asked if he had known the victim’s there beforehand.

“That’s impossible! When I came, I just thought someone might be here…” Conan replied with a nervous smile.

“Hm? Why would you think so?” Yokomizo frowned.

“Because of the fin wedged in the rocks…” Subaru stated getting the inspector’s attention. “There’s a fin wedged in the rocks opposite here… That kid must have thought so after he saw that. Firstly, no one would bring an extra fin here just to play a prank so it’s natural to think it’s a message left by the owner saying she’s still here…”

“Then let’s pull out the fin and see what’s written on it…”

“No need for that.” Tsukiko interrupted. “We already pulled the fin out and it’s pair that we found stuck in the rocks elsewhere. There was nothing written on them.”

“Speaking of which, wasn’t there something carved on the rock next to the fin?” Mitsuhiko recalled suddenly.

“Yeah! Fish names!” Ayumi nodded.

“There are four types!” Genta added.

“Fisn names?” Yokomizo repeated in slight confusion. Tsukiko could practically hear doubt in his voice.

“Ah, yes! I remember…” Mitsuhiko stated. “Mackrel.”

“Carp.”

“Sea bream.”

“And flounder.” The kids(+Haibara) told the police officer.

“What are those? Maybe someone carved the names of the fishes they caught as a prank?”

“That’s impossible, Juugo.” Iwao had arrived to the scene. “Let’s not talk about mackerel, sea bream and flounder… There’s no way you could catch a carp at sea.”

“Oh… Isn’t it Ida. You brought them here, right?”

“That’s right!”

“You know each other?” Ayumi asked.

“Yeah, We’ve been friends since we were kids. At that time, we wanted to swim better so we came here by my father’s boat.” Iwao answered with a smile. “He was really scared, always hiding behind me! How annoying… Say, your brother who came with us… How’s he now? At the end, he was so scared he didn’t even get off the boat.”

“Yeah, my elder brother Sango still can’t swim…” Yokomizo admitted a bit reluctantly before focusing back to the case. “But what does sea bream, flounder and so on mean… It’s not like the legend of the Dragon Palace.”

“Could it be a dying message?” Conan asked.

“Eh?”

“Yeah, in the victim’s left hand is a line made by the sun. It’s shape indicates that she was wearing a wrist watch of some sort.” Tsukiko told him. “When Edogawa-kun and I searched around this Ikkaku Rock, we found a matching diving watch.” She lifted up the watch in question with a handkerchief, giving it to the inspector. “The width of the side – which is quite heavily scratched as you can see – matches also with the scrapes on the stone.”

“So that’s why you two think that’s her dying message…” Haibara stated, although a bit wary about the blonde girl.

“Yeah…” Conan nodded.

“But the culprit came back, didn’t they?” Mitsuhiko pointed out. “What if they carved those words so frame someone else?

“If that were the case, don’t you think they would have left the watch in an obvious spot for us to find? Instead, the watch was hidden on purpose, so that the culprit wouldn’t know she left those words as her dying message.” The bespectacled kid replied. “Even though boats don’t usually come near this rock, there’s still a chance he might be seen by someone… She knew the culprit won’t stay here for long, so she hid the watch and left the message for the police who’ll spend time investigating after her body was found! See, here are the initials engraved on the back of the watch, so even if it were found much later, we can still know who it belonged to.”

“Which leads us to the second point…” Tsukiko mused. “The message was in katakana that’s easier to carve on the stone than kanji and obviously has some hidden meaning so it’s safe to assume that it’s actually the murderer’s name in it. Because even if the murderer saw the message while changing the mouthpiece, he would dismiss it as a prank because it doesn’t say his name straight away. If it were kanji or even the name written in hiragana or katakana, the culprit would scratch it over. Hmm… This sounds a bit like the airplane case, right niisan?” She looked over her shoulder at Okiya who nodded.

“Yes… Now we need a clue to solve the message and the watch could be our best bet at the moment…” The man stated but Yokomizo was bugging Conan about the victim’s identity, since he was being so smart, and missed completely the points the ‘siblings’ had found. Tsukiko facepalmed behind the officer’s back.

“Ruri?!” And cue the arrival of the suspects.


Yokomizo questioned the three men who were the victim’s – Akamine Ruri’s – diving mates. Tsukiko didn’t pay any particular attention since she already knew their story and alibis.

“Say, oniisan…” Ayumi began. “What kind of fish do you like?” Oh, the innocence in her voice. Tsukiko almost cooed at that. She felt like scooping the girl up and hugging her tightly like a teddy bear.

“Can you tell us one at a time?” Mitsuhiko asked with a suspicioning frown on his face.

“Come on, tell us!” Genta demanded. “My favorite fish is eel!”

“Really? I like Salmon and Zander.” Tsukiko smiled, unknowingly attracting Conan’s attention. At that Yokomizo started chastising them for interrupting the investigation with unnecessary questions. When pointed out that the fish names could be the names of the culprit’s favorite fish, he stated it being unlikely, while sweatdropping.

“Not necessarily, it’s a good idea.” Subaru thought aloud. “A naïve and innocent imagination, unrestrained by common knowledge can sometimes successfully untangle the problem and find the key to the truth… Weren’t there a number of cases that were solved as a result of some hint from these children?”

“Uh, sure… though there weren’t that many…” But in any case the question was repeated.


“Eh? Niisan, your diving watches are the same as Miss Ruri’s!” Conan noted.

“Ah, yeah… Miss Ruri had these specially made for us.” The guy with an eye patch explained.

“She said that since we were a scuba diving group, we should all wear some kind of symbolic thing.” The guy with a mask continued.

“It’s even engraved with ‘Akamine Angelfish club’.” The last guy – aka the culprit – added unknowingly giving Conan the hint to solve the carving on the stone.

“That’s right, I got it! The fish names!” Mitsuhiko exclaimed. “If you add a kana character to every name, it can make a full sentence!”

“Add kana character…” Ayumi repeated a bit uncertainly as she couldn’t follow the train of thought of the boy with freckles.

“What’re you talking about?” Genta frowned.

“If you add ‘-ku’ to mackerel(saba), you get ‘desert’(sabaku)! Seabream(tai) becomes ‘want to meet’(aitai) if you add ‘-ai’!” The other boy started explaining enthusiastically. “So the dying message actually means, ‘If you want to meet, come to the desert’!”

“What about the flounder?” Ayumi asked then.

“If you do this, the hidden meaning of the name will be ‘appear’.”

“But… Who would wait for someone in the desert?” Genta asked in turn.

“Isn’t that oneesan dead already?” Ayumi reminded.

“Th-That’s true…” Mitsuhiko had to admit, albeit a bit reluctantly.

“Furthermore, even if it were such a coincidence, it wouldn’t do much to help this situation, would it?” Haibara pointed out. “It doesn’t matter if you add or take something away… You probably can’t find the hidden meaning in the end.”

“But we already have all the clues we need to find the truth behind this case.” Tsukiko smiled from her spot on the rock again. “Right, Subaru-nii, Tantei-chan?” She tilted her head once again in a closed eyed smile. Her smile just widened when they two reached the conclusion.

“You guys are great!” Conan praised the Shonen Tantei-dan.

“It’s true that you really can’t underestimate the power of innocent thoughts.” Subaru nodded thoughtfully while leaning his chin into his left hand.

“Does that mean you already…”

“Know who the culprit is?” Mitsuhiko and Ayumi questioned.

“Yes… All thanks to you guys.” Subaru smiled.

“What happened?” Haibara asked Conan with a low voice.

“That guy was saying it all along!” The young detective smirked confidently. “‘The one who left Miss Ruri here at Ikkaku Rock and murdered her… It was me!’”


The suspect started complaining about the late time. After all it had started to darken considerably already. But just when Inspector Yokomizo was about to yield, Conan, Subaru and Tsukiko interrupted him.

“Wait a second!” The trio said simultaneously, making Conan and Subaru glance and each other and Tsukiko chuckle at their faces.

“What’s up with you two?” Yokomizo asked the males seeing as Tsukiko was sitting a bit away from them.

“No… I thought this kid had something to say…” Okiya began.

“Ah, but if you want to say something Subaru-san, then go ahead.” Conan stammered.

“I said that we’ll take our time in listening to you after we go to the station.” Yokomizo stated angrily at their face.

“But if you do that…”

“If we do that, the culprit will manage to destroy vital evidence.” Tsukiko said calmly, her humor completely gone now. “Right, tantei-chan?” Her voice wasn’t even teasing this time when she used the nick-name.

“Yes, pretty much.”

“Evidence? What evidence?” Yokomizo asked which lead the kids to point out to him that it was about evidence that proved the culprit had left the victim on Ikkaku Rock. “Hey, destroying evidence? Could you mean that…?”

“Yes, I guess that means the murderer is one of these guys.” Iwao realized, meaning the three men with them on the rock.

“How can you say that?” The facemask guy shouted.

“It’s true that she went missing while she was diving with us three days ago, but…” The eye patch guy began.

“It could be that some bad guy picked her up in his ship, and left her here!” The real culprit concluded the thought his friend had started.

“No, I don’t think so.” Okiya stated. “You said that this lady sent a message saying ‘Please take care of the rest’ after disappearing, right? That proves the culprit is one of you. I’m afraid that the culprit sent that mail after leaving her here, so that you wouldn’t start searching for her immediately. To do that, he would have to stop diving, go back to the ship before anybody else, search for her cell phone and send that mail.”

“Yea, unlike phone calls, mails have addresses so if you didn’t use her cell phone, it would be suspicious.” Tsukiko added.

“I see! That mail couldn’t have been from her because she can’t dive while carrying the cell phone with her.” Yokomizo started to get the idea of the situation. “From that, the only one who could’ve written that message is one of those who know about these circumstances. Which could only be you guys!”

“But… Where’s her cell phone?” The facemask-hothead asked.

“Well, if it was me, I’d throw it somewhere in this vast ocean after sending the mail.” Okiya smiled.

“Then you don’t have any evidence.”

“No… Not just evidence. This lady has left us the name of the culprit!” Conan told dramatically. “Isn’t that right? Aosato Shuuhei-san?”

Dun dun dunn. Time for the real thing. The real game of puzzles.

“I’m saying that this lady had engraved the name of the culprit on this Ikkaku Rock. The full name at that, Aosato Shuuhei.” The boy continued when the suspects protested the accusation.

“Haa? Where did she write that?” The murderer asked, obviously worried and thinking how he could’ve missed something like that.

“She engraved a coded message for us to find with her divers watch. Thus leaving us a clue who to look for. With this I mean the fish names on the stone. Saba, koi, tai, hirame.” Tsukiko grinned and crossed her legs. ‘But how’ was written on almost everyone’s faces there.

“At first glance they’re just fish names but if you consider the letters that were scratched behind the divers watch, perhaps you’ll be able to understand what we mean.” Conan picked up where the blonde girl left the explanation.

“The letters that were scratched?” Mitsuhiko repeated.

“Yes, I mean the letters between ‘Akamine Angel’ and ‘Club’.”

“That which was scratched from ‘Angel Fish Club’ was ‘Fish’. “Haibara answered. “In the other words, she says ‘delete the fish’.”

“He-Hey, wait a minute! By ‘fish’ you mean ‘sakana’, right?”

“But mackerel, carp, sea bream and flounder are all fish, aren’t they?”

“If we have to delete the fish names, all will go!” The kids butted in but Iwao came to the rescue.

“I see… It’s the kanji!”


When Conan explained what the code was about, Tsukiko got on her feet quietly. Her face was dead serious, not that anyone else but Okiya paid any attention on her. The blonde rubbed her wrist slightly before securing the brace and dropping her shoulder bag on the stony floor of the Ikkaku Rock right next to the small rock she had been sitting on.

“Did you actually see me coming here!?” The culprit demanded. “If you didn’t see me, stop this nonsense.”

“I didn’t see you, but I know you had another reason for coming here today.” Conan announced. “You came to switch the regulator! I believe you nicked the pipe of her regulator with an edged tool while she was diving three days ago and made it seem like there was an air-leaking problem. So you brought her to this Ikkaku Rock, left her like this and lied saying you’d come to picke her later, right?”

“You expected she couldn’t escape because nobody comes to this Ikkaku Rock, and she can’t swim.” Tsukiko told.

“So he came to switch his regulator with that nicked regulator, so if the nick was found later, it would appear to be an accident from when he was diving.” Yokomizo agreed. “He can just put vinyl tape on the nick and use it to return.”

“Did you actually see such a thing?” The murderer demanded. Culprits, demanding proof… So predictable…

“The bandage under your mouth…” Subaru noted. “You said you were browsing the web in an internet café while resting your chin on your hand and so your pimple was smashed, right? In internet cafés, there are no mice for left-handed people. That means you rested your chin on your left hand. The smashed pimple should be located under the left side of your lips, but considering the location of this bandage, I see that it is not on the left hand side, is it?”

And the final evidence, smear of lipstick was found. There was conversation about the victim’s diving habits and about the motive of the murder which Tsukiko had to admit was better than before(the sushi case) but anyways murder was always a murder.

And then… he seized Ayumi as a hostage.

“I’ll let you guy experience the same!” He announced.

“Ayumi-chan!?” The rest of the kids shouted.

“Shuuhei! Don’t do something so stupid!” The facemask guy shouted to his ‘friend’. So the culprit explained his escape plan(made demands and orders).

“Psycho.”

“Eh?” The murderer risked a look at the source of the voice, Tsukiko, who had her hand casually clasped together behind her back.

“Only psychos would risk the lives of ten people to ensure their escape while holding a hostage after killing the one person they intended to.” The girl said a cold smile on her face. “You realize the same thing might happen to us than to this Akamine Ruri. You are willing to risk even the lives of your friends who surely would have done the same than you did three days ago if they were as knowledgeable as you about previous events.”

“Shut up!” The guy yelled, not removing the knife from Ayumi. Tsukiko did shut her mouth but her gaze didn’t leave him. She just tilted her head and opened her eyes a bit more behind her glasses, regarding the man coldly. Slowly her smile turned into a smirk…

“0.12 percent…” Okiya said. “That would be the probability that criminal will succeed in escaping. That’s about 1 in every 1000 people. However… Some of those under evil’s influence get tired of living while hiding their identity and always having to look over their shoulder… If we eliminate those who voluntary surrender and those who commit suicide… Those who successfully escape are next to nothing. Will you really be able to endure the feeling of loneliness and pressure?”

“S-Shut up!” The knife was away from Ayumi. With a swift movement of hand, Okiya knocked the sharp object in the air and seized the little girl from the murderer’s arms.

“Interesting and completely free tid bit of an information! I hate people who take children as a hostage!” Tsukiko punched the bad guy in the face before driving her left knee into his stomach. The murderer fell on his knees groaning when the girl took a step away from him. “That’s the third thing that makes me really pissed.” She said darkly.


 

Inspector Yokomizo took Aosato Shuuhei to the police boat (and decided he didn’t see Tsukiko assaulting the guy). Meanwhile the kids were busy praising Subaru.

“But was it true? The story of 0.12%...” Conan asked.

“It was just a random remark of course.” The man answered with a smile. “I thought I had to provoke him so that he’d move the knife away from that girl.”

“You’re really great!” Mitsuhiko gushed. Meanwhile Haibara stayed behind Conan, keeping her gaze firmly on the ‘siblings’, one discussing with the children and the other nursing her wrist.


 

“Ow, ow, ow…” Tsukiko complained that night while rubbing her wrist. The brace was laid on the table in front of her.

“’Don’t strain it’ was it?” Okiya asked when offering her a fresh cup of tea.

“Yeah… But that guy really pissed me off… Taking Ayumi…” The girl muttered behind the cup and took a sip.

“You are lucky you weren’t also arrested in the process.” The man continued.

“Yes, yes…”

“By the way… Zander is a Eurasian fish.”

“It is?” The blonde girl looked up in surprise. “Damn, I really like it. I bet Tantei-chan is even more suspicious of me now.”

“Hmm-m…” Subaru took a seat next to her on the sofa. “You can stay here for the night since it’s so late already.”

“Okay, I’ll just text to Jodie then.”

A short silence fell.

“Ne, Bakai…” Tsukiko grinned. ”Who do you think will kill me first because of my wrist? Araide-sensei or Jodie-san?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 29.

The name is Okiya Tsukiko. Or that’s what I tell people. The truth is, that I’m from another world. A world where this world – the world of Detective Conan – is just fictional. I still don’t know what happened or how but here I am now.

I got caught up with the events when I landed to Haido Central Hospital due hit and run accident by a member of Black Organization, Chianti. Even though it was an accident I’m sure the woman wants me dead – if she knows I’m alive that is. One thing led to another and after spending five months in coma I woke up just in time to participate in Clash of Red and Black. With my reasonings and gaining and unexpected ally – Akai Shuichi – I managed to avoid the worst of the FBI’s suspicions and ended up living with agent Jodie Starling.

Due the name I gave to a nurse when being half-asleep, I decided to stay in touch with Akai Shuichi even after his ‘death’. He had become a valuable ally to trust and I knew with his new identity – the looks as well as the name – there would be questions about our connection. So I cooked up a story about Okiya Subaru being my brother. Eventually, when I met him again, I told him the truth about my origin which he thankfully believed and thus agreed for us to pretend to be siblings.

No one else knows about my real past, not even Edogawa Conan to whom I revealed knowing his real identity. He is also an ally of sorts but I’m afraid I can’t tell him that I know his future. That knowledge used wrong could cause great disturbance with the Plot that is already fragile and unpredictable as it is.

But I have made friends otherwise too. When enrolling to Teitan High I got acquaintaned with a girl on my class named Miyoshi Mai. She is really smart and managed already find out that my ‘brother’ and I aren’t blood related. Then there is Mouri Ran and Suzuki Sonoko from class above us and the Shonen Tantei who I met with a case that led me to be reunited with my ‘brother’. Other person I’ve met is Kuroba Kaito AKA Kaitou Kid. He is a great person and has taught me the Art of Lock-picking.

Hiding isn’t what I do. Lying and predicting others are. And that’s what is keeping me safe.


Tsukiko opened her eyes and blinked a couple of times. It took her a while to recognize the place she was. The room was completely unfamiliar to her. What’s more, her head felt like she had ran into a wall.

Groaning, the blonde girl sat up and took her glasses from the bedside table. She didn’t put them on though, since she didn’t actually need them. Now she recognized the room. It was the second guest room of Kudou house where she had been staying for a night once again.

“What a weird dream… That I don’t remember…” Tsukiko muttered and got up with a wide yawn. She secured the brace around her wrist once again and exited the room then. It had been almost a month from the previous check-up on doctor Araide’s clinic and her wrist was almost as good as new once again. Both the doctor and Jodie had chewed her ear off when they had heard that she had worsened her wrist but punching the murderer during Ikkaku Rock case. But now it was much better. Actually in Tsukiko’s opinion it had already healed but used the brace anyways. Just in case.

“Hnnnn… I hope Bakai has made something good for breakfast…” She muttered when wandering down the hall. It was completely empty except for the few decorations Kudou Yukiko had chosen there on the year something something…

“Why do I get a déjà vu feeling?” Tsukiko asked aloud, suddenly wide awake. She looked at the hallway around her. It was eerie-looking, just like… “In my dream.”

The girl gulped as she recalled the events of the dream – no, a nightmare – she had just had.


The hallway was empty and darkened when the blonde girl walked long it. She turned around the corner and headed to the stairs.

“Subaru-nii? Are you there? I’m going out now.” Tsukiko called. “I know it’s late but I need some stuff from the convenience store for tomorrow. I’m going to meet up with Mai. I did tell you, didn’t I?”

No answer. Tsukiko stopped at the bottom of the stairs.

“Subaru-nii? Did you go out too?” She headed towards the Kudou library where the ‘siblings’ spent the most of their time. It was a nice place after all. A desk, a sofa, a TV, lots of interesting books…

“Suba-…” The blonde opened the door and froze. In the middle of the room was a pool of blood. And that blood was coming from a figure of a woman. At first Tsukiko didn’t recognize her but as she threaded closer and got a look on her face…

“Kir…?” The next question in her mind was why. Why was she killed? Why was she here? And who was the killer? Tsukiko kneeled beside the body and felt the woman’s neck. Not for pulse but for the body temperature.

“Still warm.” Tsukiko looked around to see any signs of struggle and found none. Instead there was a bullet hole in the window.

“Chianti?” Was the thought she got from that and was about to move away from the body when something cold pressed against her neck.

“Don’t move.” A cold male voice ordered. Tsukiko didn’t need to risk a look at the person speaking, she knew who it was. Gin.

“Wh-Where is Subaru-nii? What is this woman doing here?” She stuttered out. “Why does she look like Mizunashi Rena-san?”

“Your brother wasn’t at the house when we arrived.” Gin answered.

“’We’? So Vodka is possibly here too…” The girl thought.

“B-But why are you here?”

“We merely followed the traitor… and found a shadow.” The gun pressed harder against the girl’s neck. “Not to mention a dead man alive.” The last remark was full of gleeful malice that made Tsukiko shudder.

Click.

A gun clicked but it didn’t right behind Tsukiko. It was heard farther away.

“Let her go.” Was the order from the door of the library. A familiar voice that even Tsukiko hadn’t heard for a while. The gun left her skin but she could bet that it was still aimed at her. But now she risked taking a look behind. Akai was standing there. Not Okiya but Akai.

“I said, let her go.” The FBI agent repeated. For a second Tsukiko wondered why the man had shed his disguise just like that but figured then that he had heard the conversation. And since Kir was already dead…

“Why should I? She is just a shadow, with no real place here.” Gin replied coldly.

“’A shadow’? And what do you mean with that?” Akai frowned, but not in confusion. He was curious to know what was the story behind this name.

“No record anywhere about Okiya Tsukiko except from Teitan High School and Haido Central Hospital. A witness meant to be dead yet surviving without our knowing. And she knows so, so much it disturbs me.”

“Okay, that’s out of character…” Tsukiko thought.

“Couldn’t that be said also about me then? After all I’m codenamed ‘Silver Bullet’ by your boss.” Akai smirked. No emotions were seen on Gin’s face when he glanced behind Akai as if waiting for something or someone.

“Looking for Vodka? I knocked him out back in the hall. He was sneaking around the back door.” Came the reply. “Now, let Tsukiko go. You know fully well that she won’t speak to anyone about anything. Not even when she would have a chance.”

“I don’t think so. Chianti has wanted a revenge for a long time.” And at that a sniper’s bullet ripped through the air, hitting Tsukiko near heart. She had been kept on the line of fire all the time.

Bang!

Another shot was fired but Tsukiko didn’t see who shot at whom. She was too busy to bleed to death on the floor, next to the body of the CIA mole. The one who spoke next told her it though.

“You have gotten slow, Akai.” And with that a pair of steps left the room.


A hand landed on Tsukiko’s shoulder and she jumped, almost shrieking but clamped her hand over her mouth.

“Tsukiko, what is it?” Subaru asked and the girl looked up at the bespectacled face.

“I… I’m fine.” She managed to get out.

“No, you’re not. You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“I just… Recalled a dream that I just saw…”

“A dream? What sort of?”

“It was nothing, forget it.” The girl was about to walk past the man but the firm grip on her shoulder prevented her from doing that.

“It’s not ‘nothing’ if it frightens you like that.”

“Our cover was blown, alright? They killed Kir, you and me. That’s it.” Tsukiko said angrily and pushed past him when the grip loosened.

“But you know it won’t happen. Kir won’t screw up, she holds her mission in such a high regard. I have no intention of drawing attention on myself and I’m sure you try your best not to attract any unwanted attention.” Okiya told the girl who stopped in mid-step.

“Yes. I know it. But sometimes I can’t help thinking ‘what if’…”

“Then you just need to remember the Plot you are so adamant to protect. Nothing like it will happen, right?”

“Yea…”


Conan called Tsukiko on the next day. He was going to the police station with Ran and Kogoro because of a serial killer case and asked if she was interested too. The blonde girl had found it weird but not given it any further thoughts.

“Say… Edogawa-kun… Have you had any weird dreams lately?” Tsukiko asked, flipping the page of a magazine. Jodie was out so it was safe to talk.

“Eeeh? No… Why do you ask?” Oh, he was such a poor liar.

“Nothing… I just had really weird dream on the night before last… I was thinking if you had one too…”

“No, I haven’t had anything the like. The only funny thing I’ve encountered was a beetle with a ‘V’ taped on its back.” The chibi detective answered.

“V taped on a beetle’s back?” Why did that sound familiar? Wait a minute… A dream of a cover blown, a beetle, a serial killer and… She glanced at the calendar on the wall. It was almost the 7th of July, Tanabata. The Raven Chaser!

“Yeah, but I think it was just a prank.”

“Well… Sometimes even the most insignificant things matter the most.” Tsukiko stated. “But I’ll be at the station then. Does Mouri-tantei know yet?”

“No, but if you butter him enough, he’ll let you come just fine.”

“Okay…See ya then.”

“Yeah, see ya.”

Tsukiko hug up the call and folded her magazine. “Raven Chaser, huh? I better keep quiet about this then. Don’t want the FBI messing up the Plot.”


Kogoro accepted Tsukiko with them just fine when the girl gushed how she had read about his cases. Other factor that helped in this was the fact that she was a female.

“I acted just like Eisuke did, didn’t I?” Tsukiko asked Conan when Kogoro had gone to the conference room.

“Yeah, a bit.”

They sat down next to a vending machine to listen to the conversation in between the officers and Kogoro. Tsukiko used an extra earpiece that Conan and brought with him. They had just heard the part where Yamamura introduced himself as a police inspector so they both sweatdropped.

“Say, did the boy with glasses come?” Yokomizo Sango asked Kogoro.

“The boy with glasses? You mean Conan?” The sleeping detective confirmed.

“Right, right! Edogawa Conan-kun. When he is around, cases always seem to be solved somehow!”

“Come to think of it, that’s happened to me as well.” Yokomizo Juugo agreed.

“It’s happened to me also!” Yamamura butted in.

“You guys too?” Takagi asked, obviously delighted that he wasn’t the only one witnessing the enigma that was Edogawa Conan. It probably creeped him out more or less.

“Actually, it’s also happened to us.” Sato nodded.

“And then…” Yamamura continued. “You’d lose consciousness and the next thing you knew, the case would be solved, right?”

When the other officers disagreed, Conan and Tsukiko shared a glance.

“Be more careful.” The girl mouthed to him. Unfortunately they couldn’t talk since Ran was sitting right next to Tsukiko.

“Ahem. I’d like to commence the conference now.” Inspector Megure had arrived with Shiratori and Superintendent Matsumoto. The other officers hurried to their seats. The meeting was about to start.


“For starters… The common factor between the previous five cases but not the sixth was that all of the victims were stabbed to death with a large knife.” Shiratori told the room. “And judging from the puncture wounds the killer raised their right arm and then plunged the knife downward.

“Also, the victims in each of the five cases were attacked with a stun gun, kidnapped and killed and left at the primary crime scenes.”

“In the other words the locations mark something…” Tsukiko muttered.

“Did you say something, Okiya-chan?” Ran looked up from the book she was reading.

“Ah, nothing, nothing… Just thinking stuff.” The blonde girl laughed nervously.

“Be more careful.” Conan mouthed to her when the karate champion’s attention was off the blonde.

“Now, one question surfaces.” Shiratori continued. “Why did our suspect, after disabling the victims take all of the extra time to relocate them and then proceed to kill.”

“I told you the places matter… You don’t need to be a genius to profile that the killer is a perfectionist.” Tsukiko thought angrily. Geez, the people were slow. And they were police officers!

“Next, on the bodies in all six cases we found Mahjong tile with red circles on the front and alphabet letters with a black vertical lines on the back. These appear to be messages left by out killer.”

“Otava…(Big Dipper in Finnish)”

“About the red circles…” Ogino Ayami from Saitama prefecture began. “On the 7-Pin tiles, only the top-right and bottom-left of four bottom circles are left unmarked.”

“The alphabet letters look like two A’s, E, H, Z…” Yokomizo Sango continued. “Along with an upside-down L.”

“In the other words this case is all Greek for you guys.” Tsukiko thought drily.

“Also, among the accessories often carried by the six victims, one of each item was taken away.” Shiratori continued.

“Could they have merely been dropped while they were being kidnapped by the suspect?” Chiba asked.

“No, when it comes to only one of each item missing… It’s natural for us to assume they were taken by the suspect.” Shiratori answered.

“Our main question should be what the messages are supposed to mean.” Megure stated, putting down his papers.

“There is one other message.” Shiratori told then. “Left by our sixth victim, Ryuuzaki-san, were the words: ‘Tanabata… Kyo.’ That was his dying message.”

“Ryuuzaki-san was probably at the rest house in Mount Daikan when his brake oil was leaked out.” Yokomizo Juugo thought aloud. “Which must also be where he saw his eventual murderer.”

When Kogoro stood up to present his opinion, Tsukiko promptly tuned him out.  He did have something useful there too but around the point was just a mesh of words that mislead.

“But if it were that simple motive… The killer wouldn’t drag the victims around. And with this explanation there would be no point with the letters and the vertical line on the back of the tiles.” Tsukiko wrote on her small notebook she had taken with her and showed it to Conan who nodded.

“Umm… What do the alphabet letters mean then?” Ogino asked.

“Why did the suspect take extra time to transport the victims elsewhere for his kills?” Yamato Kansuke added.

“Also… Regarding Ryuuzaki-san’s dying message, what does it…” Takagi began.

“Yes, thank you…” The girl thought. At least someone didn’t believe blindly in Kogoro’s ‘deductions’. And Yamato Kansuke was one of Tsukiko’s favorite officers.

“Let’s ponder the significance of those six locations to the suspect.” Superintended Matsumoto announced. “Should there be any significance, it could very well lead up right to out killer.”

“And it had to be Irish to put the investigation back on the tracks…”

“As for the six victims… They’re bound to be related to the suspect somehow. Discovering the common factor among these six will be the fastest way to get to the killer. It’s still possible that the connecting link lies in a game of Mahjong, as Mouri-kun suggested. Also, the alphabet letter and black lines on the back of the mahjong tiles… along with the dying message ‘Tanabata… Kyo’ are problems you need to unravel.”

“Yeah, you said it…” Tsukiko chuckled mentally. Organization was obviously worried about their NOC list. Hmm… It shouldn’t be too hard to switch a memory card to another before Irish gets it… and Kaito had trained Tsukiko well not only with the lock-picking but quick hands as well.

“Listen up everyone. It’s extremely likely our suspect will commit another crime. We have to bet our pride as police and put a stop to this. At times like this, we much put aside our territorial imperatives and rivalries and promote the free exchange of information with one another in order to capture out suspect as soon as possible. I urge you to do your best in your investigations.”

“Yes, sir!” Everyone in the room chorused.

“Uhuhuhuu… Using the Japanese sense of honor for your own purposes… Well done Irish.” Tsukiko mused with a great amusement, taking the earpiece off when the officers started to pour out of the room.

“Looks like the meeting is over.” Ran smiled and closer her book when Yamamura had ran past them to the bathroom. Behind him walked a disguised officer who Tsukiko knew to be Vermouth.

“Looks like it.” Conan nodded.

“Yeah, I wonder what the case is about.” Tsukiko grinned and slipped the earpiece to Conan’s pocket. The three got up from the bench when the local officers went past.

“Oh, Inspector Matsumoto.” Ran smiled, making the man to turn around. “Long time no see. Is Sayuri-sensei doing well?”

“Ah, you’re Mouri’s… My daughter is doing just fine.” Nice save, Irish… “Well, Mouri. I’m counting on you.”

When Kogoro saluted and expressed his ‘vow’ Tsukiko looked pointed away from him, suppressing her laughter. The man simply was too amusing.

“Chiba-keiji, did you lose a little weight?” Conan asked when Matsumoto and Megure were gone.

“Oh, you noticed? I’m on a diet now.” The detective told proudly. “It’s popular on that morning TV program, you know?”

“Speaking of weight… Shiratori… Haven’t you gained some by comparison?” Kogoro asked. The man in question stopped.

“Let’s not joke around, Mouri-san.” The curly-haired inspector sweated at the accusation. “I go to the gym twice a week, you know.”

Behind the Tokyoite inspector the Yokomizo brothers were having a conversation.

“How unusual.” Juugo stated. “Big bro drinking black coffee.”

“Yeah, the doctor put a limit on my sugar intake.” Sango replied. “And speaking of which, didn’t you hate sweet stuff?”

“Three murder cases in a row on my desk. I can’t function without glucose.”

“But luckily the case of Ikkaku Rock is already out of the way, right?” Tsukiko smiled, making the younger of two brothers look at her.

“Eh, you again…”

“Yup, me.”

“What are you doing here?” The inspector frowned.

“Edogawa-kun invited me.” The blonde girl grinned.

“Ikkaku Rock?” Yokomizo Sango repeated from his brother’s side. “Oh, I heard of it. You are Okiya Tsukiko-san, right?”

“Yes, that’s me.” Tsukiko paused. “Is something wrong?”

“Is that really your hair color?” The man asked, eyeing curiously the girl’s blonde hair.

“Yes, it is. Why does everyone ask about it when they meet me? I obviously don’t have dark roots showing, do I?” The girl sighed.

“Well, it’s very unusual color.”

“I know…”

The Yokomizo’s went to separate ways, the elder one only stopping to talk with Ogino who asked about Conan. Tsukiko smiled faintly. When she had seen the movie she had found the woman suspicious but in the end it had been just a red herring.

“Karasu~, naze nakuno~…” Yamamura was coming back from the bathroom. Conan and Tsukiko both turned towards the source of the song. “Karasu wa yama ni~…”

“Kawaii nanatsu no…” Tsukiko whispered when Conan ran to the newly promoted inspector. ”Ko ga aru kara yo…”

“Yamamura-keiji, that song…” The boy began.

“I see you haven’t noticed yet.” Yamamura flashed his badge.

“Yes, we can see that. But would you tell us what made you sing that particular song?” Tsukiko smiled. “Yamamura-keibu?”

“’Why’ you ask… Well, I just heard it outside the bathroom. It sounded like push-button dial tones.”

“That officer with glasses…” The blonde girl mumbled with a frown.

“Exactly, I saw him dialing on his cell phone when exiting the bathroom.”

“Okay, sorry, gotta dash.” The girl sprinted down the hall with Conan.

“Don’t tell me, those guys…” The chibi detective ran and ran.

“Tantei-chan you are thinking aloud.” Tsukiko remarked, making the boy looking up at her. “But there is no doubt of it, is there? One of the crows was here snooping the investigation.” She said with a low voice when Conan jumped to look out of the window.

“There…” The boy spotted the officer and dashed to stairs, past Megure and Matsumoto. “Going to bathroom!”

“I’ll make sure he won’t get lost!” Tsukiko added, running after the faux-child.


They reached outside just in time to see the officer getting to a black Porsche 356A, Gin’s car. Tsukiko gulped nervously as she recalled her nightmare. The car drove away.

“Now the question remains why they were snooping around.” The girl stated, looking at the boy. “What do you think? Let’s make this our own investigation.”

Conan looked up. Seeing the smile, the one she had practically copied from Akai, on her face, he nodded.

“I’m going to tell the professor about this but…”

“No Haibara, no Subaru and no FBI. Just us two.”

“Fine.” The detective nodded, extending his hand to the girl who took it. “Just us.”

“It’s settled then, Kudou.”

“Yeah, Okiya.”


“How was the day, Tsukiko-chan?” Jodie asked when she finally arrived home.

“Just fine. I’m going to sleep now though. Tomorrow will be a long day for me.” The girl got up from the couch she had been lounging on and reading her notes about the case while waiting for the agent to come home.

“Long day? Something special then?”

“Yeah, Edogawa-kun and I are going to investigate one case so we’re going on a trip with professor Agasa.”

“Ooh, sounds exciting!” Jodie smiled to her. “What sort of case is it?”

“A serial killer one. We eavesdropped to a police conference today so…”

“But isn’t tomorrow a school day?” The agent noticed suddenly.

“Yeah, but I thought I could take two days off since I’m already ahead of others. And if this is really a serial killer with only one victim left, we need to move fast to find clues.” Yes, thanks for Finnish school system Tsukiko was indeed ahead of her classmates in some subjects. She could afford being absent two days. She hadn’t taken any other days off school after all.

“Alright, you have my permission. Just be careful and good luck.” Jodie smiled.

“Thank you, Jodie-san!”


Road trip. That described the situation quite well. Conan read the map while Agasa drove and Tsukiko browsed Internet with her cell phone to find any clues concerning ‘Tanabata… Kyo’. Of course the girl knew everything about the case already but it was fun to look for the facts and clues on her own. Moreover, this was a great opportunity to see places in Japan.

“So… Did Haibara find out?” Was a question Tsukiko wanted to ask but couldn’t risk it in front of the professor. He was bound to blurt it out to the shrunken scientist at one point.

Visiting the places was quite a quiet affair. Conan looked around for clues, Tsukiko scribbled notes and Agasa stood on the background. But by the end of the day it was done and Tsukiko just collapsed on her bed when she got home. Even Jodie didn’t bother her with questions seeing as the next day was a school day for the girl.


“Ano, Tsukiko-chan, where have you been the last two days?” Miyoshi asked when the girl sat on her seat.

“I thought I was going to get a cold so I decided to stay at home.” The blonde answered.

“A cold? It’s summer now.”

“Yes, it is. But common cold can be gotten at any time of the year. I’m sure you’ve noticed.”

“Uh, yes I have indeed. My cousin got a cold two years ago. In August. It wasn’t a nice one even. He was bedridden for a week.”

“That’s nasty.”


After school Tsukiko received a mail from Conan, telling about the police operation in the mall. She smiled before replying: ‘I’ll be there soon’.

And she was. The girl crouched on the floor beside the boy and they followed the scene unfold in front of them. The suspect arrived and boarded an escalator. The police officers started whispering furiously while Conan took off his backpack. Tsukiko narrowed her eyes slightly when she spotted Vermouth in disguise approaching the suspect.

“That woman…”

“Yeah.”

And the Black Organization member was taken as a hostage.

“Oh dear…” Tsukiko let out a shirt laugh but Conan jumped into action. The soccer ball fell across the web of escalators and hit the suspect, Fukase Minoru. In the mess the police officers neglected to notice Fukase’s girlfriend picking up the knife. And Vermouth left the scene quietly.

“Let’s go, Okiya.” Conan ran to the escalators, the girl right behind him.

“Yeah.”


They went all the way to the underground parking garage where Tsukiko hid behind a pillar while Conan confronted the woman. After all Tsukiko’s face wasn’t exactly known to the organization. And if it was, it wasn’t as an opposing force.

“Is it alright? To walk away like that?” Conan asked. “Isn’t there something you want from that guy? Vermouth.”

“There’s nothing that can be done. And didn’t you want me to leave like that?” The mistress of disguises answered. “Not to mention… That man likely isn’t the killer.”

“Yeah. That’s true.”

“A man who can’t even raise his right arm to use a knife can’t be our assailant.”

“Assuming he didn’t hurt it after committing the crime, that is.”

“Beyond that… I’m impressed you managed to figure me out. Or was it your friend who did it?” Vermouth obviously enjoyed the face Conan made when Tsukiko was mentioned. “She’s right there, isn’t she?” The woman nodded her head towards the pillar behind which the blonde girl was hiding. At that, Tsukiko stepped out.

“The echo of the footsteps, eh?” The girl cringed. “Tantei-chan’s steps were too light to catch properly but mine… were a whole other case.”

“Oh, it isn’t our mystery girl is it? FBI’s little protégé.” The female Raven smiled smugly. “I remember seeing you. Twice.”

“I remember seeing you too. Twice. No, thrice. ” Tsukiko said calmly. “But I bet you don’t have my name do you?”

“I could find it out if I wanted to. But now, how did you figure my disguise out?”

“Your ankle.” Conan smiled.

“Ankle?”

“Yea, there was a bulge near your right ankle. You have a gun concealed there, right?” Tsukiko smirked.

“And even after that guy wounded your face with a knife, I don’t see any blood seeping from it.” Conan added. This made the woman touch the ‘wound’ and then pull the disguise off.

“I guess I’ll have to make a blood-seeping mask next time, huh?” She stated while examining the mask. At that Tsukiko had a chance to take a good look on her. The actress was beautiful indeed and it was great to see her face to face but at the same time the girl couldn’t help but thinking what a manipulative bitch she was. Still one of her favorites though.

“I think you purposely made yourself his hostage and planned to utilize you gun to turn the tables on him once you were out of the police’s sight.” Conan told, waking the girl from her thoughts. “Well, I doubt you would really put your gun to use, anyway.”

“And I didn’t expect to receive a compliment from you.” Vermouth smiled after she had taken her ankle holster off.

“Maybe so, but why is your organization following this serial murder case?” Tsukiko asked, crossing her arms on her chest.

“My, how straightforward.”

“Just tell it. I wonder what would the FBI do if they were aware about this operation.”

“NOC. And you wouldn’t really tell it, would you? You haven’t told yet so why would you now.”

“It’s never too late. What does NOC has to do with this?”

“Non-official cover…” Conan whispered. “A member of yours working undercover as a civilian became one of the victims?”

“Right. That NOC, perhaps seeking some sort of insurance, carried a memory card containing our entire NOC list.” The woman admitted.

“Entire list… You actually have your entire NOC list in one place where they got it?” Tsukiko snorted.

“Well, the Organization had planned to get rid of them shortly anyways. However…” Vermouth lit a cigarette.

“That person was killed by someone else first.” Conan concluded the thought.

“Correct. And now, their killer…”

“The memory card was in one of the items the killer took.” Tsukiko smirked. “It would be quite bad for you guys if the police would get a look into that database. But isn’t it lucky though… If the killer hadn’t taken it, the police most likely would have investigated it anyways and would already know the contents of that card.”

“Wait, the fact that you’re here means the NOC was at the conference.” Conan realized suddenly. “No, that’s not it… You had one of your partners disguise as an officer. That’s why you infiltrated the conference, was it not? You wanted to ensure that your partner’s disguise was still airtight! And if it weren’t, you would’ve continued your own infiltration.”

Vermouth listened all this calmly, like amused, which she definitely was while Tsukiko regarded the woman from her own place.

“Who is it? Who are they disguised as!? Is the real officer safe?!”

“Tsk, tsk…” The woman smirked. “Our conversation has come to an end. It’s on you two to solve the rest. Their code name is… Irish.”

“Irish.” The boy repeated.

“Right. Irish whiskey is nicely distilled, with a mild taste.” Vermouth explained before changing her behavior completely. “Excuse me, security guard? These two look lost.”

“They’re lost?” The security guard asked from the other side of the hall. Conan turned around.

“No…” And on that moment Vermouth slipped into her car.

Good luck. I wish you the best.” She sped out of the parking garage, Conan running after her a few steps. Tsukiko followed him with a calmer pace.

“What’s with the villains and their flashy cars?” The girl asked aloud.


The duo walked to the place where Conan had left his backpack and Tsukiko her school bag.

“I’m heading home now. See you tomorrow, Kudou.” She stated while glancing the time from her wrist watch.

“Were you serious though?” Conan asked. “About telling the FBI.”

“No. Which leads to my question I intended to ask earlier… Did Haibara find out?”

“Yeah, she heard professor and I. I’ll tell her the details we got today to find out if she knows anything.”

“Okay, call me then.”

“Yeah…”


Tsukiko was checking her mails when the call came.

“Kudou, what is it? Did you miss my voice that much?” The girl grinned when answering. She was the only person in the classroom at the moment.

“Don’t play around Okiya. They’ve found the seventh victim, Shindou Sumire, from Ayase city in Kanagawa prefecture.”

“Oh, I see… That’s bad then. The killer might try to disappear now.”

“Yeah. And behind the Mahjong tile was a triangle this time.”

“A triangle? That’s weird… What could it possibly me-...” Tsukiko cut herself off as people started to come into the classroom. “I’ll call you later.”

“Eh, cho-chotto matte-.”

“Ohayoo, Tsukiko-chan.” Miyoshi greeted the girl as she took her seat next to the blonde.

“Ohayoo, Mai-san.” Tsukiko smiled and was about to strike up a conversation when…

“Hey, did you already hear?!” Somehow Hanajima had appeared in front of Tsukiko’s desk once again.

“Hear what?” Miyoshi glared.

“The Dark Knight’s helmet has been stolen. The one Kudou-Shinichi-san used in the school play!”

“Eh? Really?” Miyoshi’s eyes widened when she took in the news.

“’The one’? You mean there’s more of those?” Tsukiko asked.

“No, not at all. But the thing is… the whole drama club is worried. You should’ve seen Mouri when she heard of it.” Hanajima babbled.

“But what is this thing about Kudou Shinichi? I thought he disappeared from the face of the earth.” The blonde continued.

“Oh, right. You don’t know.” The gossiper gasped. “He appeared in a school play and solved a murder that one of our school’s late students committed there during the play. But this has to be kept quiet. We don’t want our school’s reputation to go into an ashtray.”

“No worries. I won’t tell anyone.”


“Eh, I said I’m sorry…” Tsukiko said to her phone. “Mai-san wants to discuss with me about something. I’ll meet with you later then.”

“Okay, I’ll tell you than what I’ll find out.”

“Yep, see ya, Tantei-chan.” And she hung up. She was right outside the school and out of sight. She wasn’t going to meet with Miyoshi but buy a memory card identical to the one in the good luck charm. And then she’d try switching them in an undetectable way. And she’d probably need a new one anyways for her cell phone so she could record Conan’s deductions and the culprit’s confession when at the Touto Tower.

“The 7th of July…” The girl mused as she looked at the date in the corner of her cell phone. “Tanabata.”

“Geez, back home I’d have summer holiday now.” She shrugged, heading towards the closest electronic store. On the way there she wrote up an e-mail to Agasa. The professor had sent her a picture about the beetle with tape on its back for some reason.

The Beatles are brilliant, aren’t they?
I especially like their song ‘Help’.
-Okiya Tsukiko

“Khihihihi.”


It was already the night when Tsukiko headed to Touto Tower. She had discussed with Conan about what he had found out about the case with Heiji via phone and the boy had told the girl then that he’d go to talk with Mizutani Kousuke who’d be framed for the murders. Together, they made plan how they would proceed.

The girl boarded the elevator well before the police arrived to the tower, her hand fumbling the memory card nervously in her jeans’ pocket. When in the right floor, she hid behind the structure to listen to the conversation between the little detective and the man who was as victim as the others had been.

“But it’s too bad, huh?” Conan stated. “To have so close to the sky and not be able to see the stars.”

“No. I can see them.” Mizutani replied. “Whenever, wherever… Only those stars…”

Tsukiko pulled her cell phone and started writing a message. She dug out a business card she had gotten after the Ikkaku Rock and from there she got the address. With a grin she sent it.

“Hey, Mizutani-san… After drinking that wine you are planning to commit a suicide, right?” Conan continued the conversation. “’There are eight people I cannot forgive. Now, only one remains.’ The one that still remains… Mizutani-san… It’s you isn’t it?”


Yokomizo Juugo took out his cell phone when a message arrived, certain that the only reason a message would come, would be extra information about the case. When he opened it he was surprised though.

“What is it, Juugo?” Sango asked his brother.

“An e-mail message…”

“Is it something important?” Matsumoto asked in turn.

“Yes, it is very important.” Juugo looked up at the rest of the officers who had stopped for a moment when they all had reached the viewing platform. “You aren’t Superintendent Matsumoto, are you?”

“What have you gotten in your head now?” Matsumoto/Irish frowned.

“Then answer to this question: When your daughter Sayuri was poisoned in her own weddings, who was the culprit and what was the motive.”

“Her husband was it. They are happily married now though.”

“And the motive?”

“How would I know? It wasn’t in the files.” And with that the impostor attacked.


“The shock and the anger when you learned the details of Nanako-san’s death… I think I understand it. That’s why you went to the hotel in Kyoto and investigated those seven people, right?” Conan was still in his explanation. Tsukiko checked the time from her watch and let out a small sigh. The situation was nerve-wrecking. Nervously she pulled her cap deeper in her head and made sure her hair was hidden underneath it. The organization had spotted her once(Vermouth didn’t count) and if it saw and recognized her for the second time… It would be disastrous for her and for Subaru. And then for Kir too…

“Just as you said…” Mizutani sighed. “On that fateful day, two years ago if I hadn’t gone to meet my friend Nana wouldn’t have died. When I think of that I can’t forgive myself.”

“But you mustn’t commit suicide! That just means you’re murdering your-.” When Conan’s attention was completely on Mizutani, Tsukiko walked quietly to the table with a backpack and a wine bottle and swiftly changed the memory card inside the good luck charm. She had managed to buy the exact brand but she guessed the organization wouldn’t notice even if it wasn’t the exactly same one.

“I know that! I know that, but… I can no longer bear to live in a world without Nana. Not to mention I’ll get a death sentence anyway…”

“It won’t be a death sentence. After all Mizutani-san, you didn’t kill anyone. Wasn’t there someone who asked you, with your kind heart, to take guilt on yourself and commit suicide in exchange for them killing those seven people?” Conan asked gently and on that Tsukiko stepped in. The memory card was safely in the breast pocket of her jacket inside a small metal case.

“We don’t object to your desire to take responsibility for Nanako-san’s death. But the one that other person really despises and wishes to kill is actually you, Mizutani-san. And it’s because you were the one who took away his beloved sister.” She told the man as she walked forward in her dark attire that consisted of a black cap, dark violet thin jacket and dark grey skinny jeans. Glasses she had left home with her bag.

“Yes… Isn’t that right, Nanako-san’s big brother Honjou Kazuki-san?” The two detectives turned to face the real culprit of this all.

“Oniisan!” Mizutani exclaimed in surprise. “Why are you here?”

“Bastard, you have no right to address me that way!” Honjou hissed and turned to address Conan. “Brat… How did you know I did it?”

“I made no sense, no matter how I looked at it.” The young detective answered. “If Mizutani-san had been the culprit the logic behind choosing the positions of Polaris and the Big Dipper as the crime scenes wouldn’t have made sense.”

“Because that would’ve stained his precious stars with blood.” Tsukiko stated sadly yet a tad smugly. “Thus staining all his memories with Nanako-san as well.”

“As such, I thought this may have been a plan someone alse had come up with in order to make the star-loving Mizutani-san their scapegoat. When I realized that, everything came together.”

“Since the beginning it was clear that the positions of the crime scenes meant something. They mirrored exactly position of the Big Dipper and Polaris which meant that the killer was a perfectionist.”

“But, the sing on Mizutani-san’t apartment door was slightly crooked and the handwriting wasn’t very tidy either. And by comparison the phone number written on your name card was in very neat handwriting. There was even a faint pencil line, to ensure the writing was straight. And inside your organizer even the names and addresses of those that sent flowers were clearly recorded.”

“And everything this shows that you are a perfectionist, doesn’t it?” The blonde girl grinned. “Just the person we are looking for.”

“You… Just who are you, really?” Honjou seemed to recoil slightly, like preparing to attack or to shield himself from Conan’s piercing gaze and Tsukiko’s wide grin(adopted from Kaito).

“Edogawa Conan…”

“And Okiya Tsukiko…”

Tantei-san.” The duo finished in unison. It was official now. Tsukiko was a detective just like Conan, Heiji and eventually Sera too.

“The one who told Mizutani-san the whole story of how Nanako-san died… It was you, wasn’t it?” Conan asked.

“Yeah… That day when I heard from this guy that Shindou Sumire, the artist, was staying in the same hotel on the same floor, I went to her personal art exhibition to ask some questions.” Honjou told. “At that time, I happened to overhear Sumire and Ryuuzaki talking.”

“And you passed on the information to Mizutani-san while adding your own lies.” When Mizutani looked down at Conan in confusion, the kid provided an explanation. “On the first anniversary of Nanako-san’s death, everyone who had been on the 6th floor brought flowers.”

“If it was that they were guilty, only one or two would have come but all seven came.” Tsukiko sighed. “The only possible reason for that was that they wanted to express their gratitude. They wanted to say, ‘Thank you’ for allowing them to board the elevator.”

“Then, could it be… Nanako wasn’t chased out…” Mizutani asked uncertainly. “But instead voluntarily…”

“Yeah, that’s right.” Honjou nodded. “Nanako was that kind of a girl. But even still! That doesn’t change the fact that it was because of them boarding that elevator that she died!”

“So you decided to taint your sister’s memory and her kind-heartedness! Her sacrifice saved the lives of seven people that you took then! You made her death be in vain!” Tsukiko hissed. “Just how pathetic are you?”

“Mizutani-san… Indeed, Nanako-san did die in place of those seven people.” Conan said seriously. “However…even though you’re also a substitute by taking Honjou-san’d place and killing yourself to atone for his sins, there’s a world of difference there! And that difference is as great as that of a star in the sky and a stone rolling on the ground.”

“Nana…” Mizutani’s shoulders slumped slightly. “I quit…”

“What?” Honjou gasped.

“I’m sorry. I won’t be committing a suicide. This boy’s words brought me to my senses.” The young man walked to the table on which the wine bottle and his bag were. “And I’m sure that Nana in heaven wouldn’t want me to commit suicide either. I’m returning this to you.” It was a small pouch containing the stolen items plus the memory card Tsukiko had switched. “I have no need for it now. Please turn yourself in, oniisan.”

“Damn!”

“Honjou-san.” The bespectacled kid drew the killer’s attention once again. “Those are the items you took from the seven victims, right? You handed these to him and assured him that, if he dies with these on him, he would be presumed to be the murderer, right?”

“Tsk, it’s a good thing I came.” Honjou sneered. “When I heard that Mouri-tantei was investigating I rushed here fearing I would be exposed. I lied to you because I was hoping you would be the one taking revenge on them. But you didn’t have the courage to do so. That’s why I had to do it myself!”

“That isn’t courage! It’s merely self-satisfaction!” Conan shouted.

“Shut up!” A knife was drawn. Conan and Tsukiko both took an instinctive step back. A frown appeared on the girl’s face. “Since Mouri-tantei isn’t here, that must mean you two came alone! Don’t belittle me!” The killer attacked.

“Look out, Edogawa-kun!” Tsukiko dashed forward from the side while Conan backed up. She didn’t manage to do anything though.

Bang!

The knife clattered off to a distance, Honjou slumped on the floor and Tsukiko skidded to a stop, looking to the direction where the shot had come from. She exchanged a glance with Conan then and the same thought was going on in their heads.

“Damn, that part of the plan failed…”

“Did I make it in time?” The fake Matsumoto asked when he took out the badge of the original one. “I’m Matsumoto from the Police Headquaters.”

“Police Headquaters?” Mizutani repeated. Tsukiko took several steps back and stopped the recording her cell phone had been doing in her jacket pocket when Conan readied his stun gun wristwatch.

“Are you injured?” Irish continued.

“No…”

“Come with me to the station.” The impostor lifted Honjou off the floor. The dart flew through the air but hit Mizutani instead of Irish. The young man fainted and Tsukiko caught him, laying him on the floor. Now the Organization member’s attention went to Conan for a second.

“Shit! Like I’d be caught by the likes of you!” Honjou tried to attack with a stunner but the fake Matsumoto knocked him out.

“As I thought…” Conan said, his body language telling he was ready to flee at any moment. “You’re Irish, aren’t you?”

The tall man straightened up and flashed a manic grin to the boy. Tsukiko, finishing dragging Mizutani to a safe corner(from the helicopter machinegun in the future) walked forward too, making sure she was on the opposite side of Irish than Conan.


“What have you done with Superintendent Matsumoto?” Conan asked when Irish emptied the contents of the pouch on the table with the wine and picked up the good luck charm. Tsukiko made sure to stay behind his back once again and this time… This time she wasn’t smiling like she had with previous cases. This case was dead serious and there was a chance that she’d die. With everything else she had given a bit sociopathic image of herself since she tended to smile/smirk/grin as she followed the cases proceeding. It was simply so exciting to witness the case solving and she still hadn’t really wrapped herself around the idea that she was in a fictional world. A fictional world she could as well die. The girl was still half waiting that she’d wake up back home and be disappointed that it all had been just a dream.

But not anymore. The nightmare almost a week ago and been a wake-up call to reality. In future –if she were to survive this case – she would probably still be giddy about the cases but she would also understand that they were real people dying and she could die for real.

“Don’t tell me…”

“Nah, he’s still alive. But tell me which one of you boys sent the message to Yokomizo? Now he can’t be my scapegoat anymore.”

“Boys? Did it happen again?” Tsukiko sweatdropped. Sometimes when she had tied her hair on a low ponytail and worn a cap and a black baggy fleece jacket, she had been mistaken for a boy, but now she had a violet jacket! And it wasn’t unisex styled one! Well… Conan wore pink sometimes so maybe the color codes weren’t as strict in this world…

“I did it. Besides I bet the original one is found by now.” The girl stated, deciding not to correct the man for getting her gender wrong. She could always use that confusion for her advantage after all.

“Ah, you. Vermouth mentioned you. Called you Shadow.”

“Kage(Shadow)?”

“Yes, a shadow that tails the organization.” Irish fished the fake memory card from the charm.

“I’m assuming that’s the memory card containing the Organization’s NOC list.” Conan stated.

“Yeah, might be. When did you find out I was a fake?” Mr. Codename asked after pocketing the card. Tsukiko let a small smirk grace her lips before it slid away.

“I had a general idea.” The young detective shrugged smugly. “If Vermouth, the master of disguises, had sent someone else to infiltrate in her stead, that could have been made impossible due the difference in body stature. And when I thought along those lines… you were the first one to come to my mind.”

“And cancelling out the suspects helped.” Tsukiko added. “Yamamura is too goofy and he was singing Nanatsu no ko after hearing the dial tones Vermouth caused. Megure-keibu got stabbed by the first suspect’s girlfriend. Yokomizo Juugo recognized me from Ikkaku Rock and when his brother Sango mentioned hearing about the case form him, he didn’t deny it.”

“I see, as expected of Kudou Shinichi… and the Shadow.” At Irish words Conan tensed visibly. Tsukiko leaned slightly forward, ready to act despite the fact she had never really practiced karate or anything. K-chan had taught her a few Kung Fu moves but that’s it. She should probably ask Subaru to teach her a bit. “Before matching the fingerprints, I was skeptical too.”

“Have you already reported this to your boss?” The shrunken teen asked, shoulders still tense.

“No, not yet. I haven’t told anyone.”

“Not even Gin?” Tsukiko asked. “After all he’s the one who supposedly killed Kudou.”

“Yeah…” The man mused, sinking into a flashback for a moment.

“Why?” Conan demanded.

“There was once a time when he shot a fellow member of the Organization that made a mistake. He left the body to burn there at Haido City Hotel where it eventually turned to ashes. That member was someone I respected like a father.”

“Pisco!?”

“Heh. You’ve investigated us thoroughly, haven’t you? To have failed in killing Kudou Shinichi and then failing to see through your true identity… he’s made a huge oversight. I’ll be taking you to meet that person to have you act as a witness in order to overthrow that conceited and cold-blooded bastard.”

“Interesting scenario.” Tsukiko mused aloud. “Since we are talking about who knows whom… how many people exactly knows about me then? I know that Chianti holds a grudge over me for scratching her car – accidentally that is – and I met Vermouth who obviously told you about me… but anyone else? Do they even know about the Shadow?”

“No one. Vermouth was certain I’d meet you here so she gave me that codename. Said you know more than you let on. Talked about Shadow thinking like the Organization, predicting them.” Irish glanced at the girl, obviously not noticing the identifying mistake he made earlier, before focusing on Conan again.

“Perhaps I do.” The blonde said quietly. “Perhaps…”

There was a second when both of the detectives’ attention was off the man and that’s when he attacked. Conan fell across the airspace of the viewing platform, hitting Tsukiko and knocking her down too.

“Have no fear…” Irish told the boy when he put his gun behind the waistband of his trousers and approached him. “I’m just going to knock you unconscious. Unless I bring you back alive I should think you being Kudou Shinichi, is something that person would find hard to believe.”

Conan had managed to get his glasses back on his face. Tsukiko got on her feet slowly but didn’t stand up yet. She hadn’t anticipated that move at all.


Conan shouted when he flew and landed on the floor again. Tsukiko had been lying on the floor for a minute now. She had tried to fight back but as she had thought before… she had no proper skills for that. Only what she had seen on TV and been taught by her friend. The girl managed to look up just when Conan slumped against a pillar and Ran dashed into the room with a security guard. The blonde couldn’t be seen by either of them though.

“Conan-kun!” The long haired girl ran to the injured boy. “Conan-kun! What happened?”

“Ran…-neechan…” The boy struggled to speak.

“Are you alright?” She asked.

“Are the two of you alright?” Irish ran towards them. Tsukiko managed to get her upper body off the floor.

“Detective Matsumoto! It’s serious!” Ran got up. “The other detectives downstairs were…”

“Attacked by the culprit?”

Conan got Ran’s attention by touching her leg.

“No good… Run…” The boy told her. She kneeled down, not hearing him properly. “Run… He’s…”

“Mouri-senpai! That’s not the real Matsumoto!” Tsukiko yelled before coughing: Irish had stricken her by the throat but she had managed to avoid the worst damage. Now the security guard went down and the gun was pointed at Ran. The karate champion stood up once again.

“Not the real Superintendent Matsumoto?” The girl repeated at the gunpoint. Her hand clenched into a fist.

“Don’t…” Conan struggled to stand up and was still half crouching on the floor.

“It’s alright.” The dark haired girl reassured the boy, a determined look in her eyes. A confident smile appeared on her face.

“What’s so funny?” Irish asked. “Don’t tell me that you think you can dodge a bullet.”

“That’s exactly it.”

“Interesting. Let’s give it a try.”

Bang!

Ran dodged the bullet and attacked, knocking the gun out of the man’s hand. Irish slumped on the floor after a hit to the jaw. Conan glanced at the bullet hole near his head in the pillar.

“Amazing…” The kid muttered but soon his focus was back on the man who was getting his bearing together.

“I have to hand it to you, little lady.” Irish spoke as he got up. “I had forgotten that you’re a karate expert.” And he attacked Ran. The girl was quick to answer to the offence with her own.

By the opposite wall, Tsukiko got slowly on her feet, still massaging her throat. She better not interfere to the fight.

“Damn, I really need Subaru to teach me…” She thought just when Ran managed to kick the impostor in the face, ripping the bottom half of the mask. When she saw what she had done, she froze.

“Focus, Mouri-senpai!” Tsukiko yelled, straining her throat again, but in vain. The other girl took all the following hits and lost her consciousness when she heard Conan reassuring her with Shinichi’s voice that everything would be fine.


When Irish shed the remains of his disguise both Conan and Tsukiko were gone, both of them having gained some of their strength back.

“Run, run… Allow me to enjoy this even more.” The man called after them. Conan set a trap by leaving his wristwatch with the light on into a closet and then kicking a soccer ball at the man. He managed to only hit the flashlight from the man, not knock him out like intended. And the second shot didn’t come when Irish broke the boy’s belt mechanism.

“One… One… Four… One…” Tsukiko counted in her head the shots Irish had fired with the gun.

“What a pity… You were so close there.” The man taunted the boy.

Bang!

The shoes were useless now too.

“Eight…”

“What’s wrong? Already out of ideas?”

Bang!

A bullet hit the floor between Conan and Tsukiko.

“Nine…” The girl didn’t say anything, just scooped the boy by his waist and ran away. Thank god the boy was light!

“Yeah, that’s the way.” Irish urged them tauntingly, firing the gun again. Tenth shot. He’d reload the gun now.


When the two got outside the Tower it had already started to rain. Tsukiko let the boy down to ran on his own. They rounded a corner and Conan got to the stairs up. Three bullets whizzed right past Tsukiko. Irish wasn’t even aiming at her. She wasn’t an obstacle nor anything useful. Or then she was. Useful that is.

Irish pulled the girl away from the stairs and threw her against the railing. It hit painfully in the small of her back.

“Gah!”

“And the shadow shall sleep.” Tsukiko slumped on the ground, barely conscious.

“Let’s end this game of cat-and-mouse, shall we?” Iris suggested when starting to climb up the stairs. Just then Conan dashed around the corner and knocked him down, seizing his gun in the process.

“How the tables have turned.” The detective stated, aiming the weapon at the man. “Now… Hand over the memory card!”

Right then the lights of the Touto Tower went off.

“They’re here, huh?” Irish muttered. A black helicopter with a spot light flew on their level. Conan got blinded and Irish took the opportunity to get his gun back and threaten the boy. The man’s cell phone interrupted the intimidating moment though and he got up to answer it.

“It’s me.”

“How is it? Have you secured the memory card?” Gin asked from the other end of the line in the helicopter.

“Yeah.” Irish took the card from his pocket.

“And who’s that?” Came the question, referring to Tsukiko lying by Irish’s feet.

“The boy? Just a nuisance. Dead.”

He was lying. Tsukiko realized that. ‘Why’ was the question. Maybe there was no reason to kill her or then… the reason was the same that protecting Conan. After all she had already changed the plot by telling Irish the Superintendent was found. And the fact his cover was blown had been the reason why the man had been originally killed. Maybe he had realized the possibility by now.

“I can’t really see you. Hold it out further.”

Irish did as told after tsk’ing a bit.

“That’s right. A little more.” Without the man noticing, Chianti aimed at him and the fake card. “Now!”

Bang!

Tsukiko tried not to flinch when she heard the shot and Irish collapsed. Thankfully the attention of the other members was entirely on the man. Irish fell near Conan by the stairs while his cell phone fell near the girl, allowing her to hear the conversation in the helicopter.

“Bingo!” Chianti rejoiced after the successful shot.

“I wanted to shoot.” Korn complained halfheartedly.

“Aniki…”Vodka began, unsure why the shot had been fired to kill the other ‘agent’.

“Look below.” Gin said as an explanation.

“That’s…”

“He has no means of escape. Thanks for your service, Irish.” But then the silver haired man noticed the tip of Conan’s shoe in the monitor. “There’s someone else down there!”

“Hey, pull yourself together! Wake up, come on!” The boy was kneeling beside Irish’s limp body. He lifted the man up. “It’s alright! It didn’t hit your vital points! Once we take care of them…”

“That won’t work, Kudou.” Tsukiko said behind the bespectacled kid. The boy risked a look at her and noticed that her gloved hand had disconnected the call. “The Organization will finish him off. After all the real Matsumoto should be found by now. The Police is coming up.”

“No, we just need medical treatment.” Conan protested.

“I see it now…” Irish whispered. “Why Vermouth speaks so highly of you two… Silver Bullet and Shadow.”

Bang!

Chianti fired at Conan from the helicopters new position but Irish pushed the boy’s head down.

Bang!

The second shot hit the man on the back and he moaned in pain.

“Irish!”

“Kudou Shinichi… Keep coming after us…” The man was gone.

“Irish!”

“Kudou!” Tsukiko called. “Toss his gun to me and run!”

“Okiya!” The boy looked up.

“Quickly! Those guys can do anything now they noticed you. They think me I’m dead so I’ve the element of surprise. I go to protect Mouri-senpai! I count three and go… Three!”

“Yes!”

The gun slid right next to Tsukiko’s hand and she seized it quickly. Somehow the feel of cool and hard metal gave reassurance to the girl. The helicopter decided to move to the position it had been earlier.

“Two!” Conan prepared to run.

“One!” The girl stood up quickly and aimed the gun at the helicopter.

“He was alive?!” Probably rang in the copter.

“Go!” She fired once before taking off running. And right then the machinegun attached to the copter began to fire. The Organization’s attention went to Conan though who started running the stairs up, just like in the Plot. The helicopter followed him to upper parts of the Tower.


Tsukiko skidded to the viewing platform and to Ran. Bullets tore the glass and the shards flew everywhere.

“Guah!” One bullet hit Tsukiko on her left side, right between ribs and hipbone. She stumbled on the ground and moved to shield the older girl from the shards.

“Dammit…” Thanks for the adrenaline she didn’t really feel any pain yet but she knew the blood loss would be big if she didn’t do something. But not now though, she needed to make sure Ran was alright. All she heard was the bullets hitting the metal structure of the Tower.

Then the bullets stopped.

“Bungee jump now?” The girl thought, looking up. And right on cue there was an explosion heard. A smirk spread on Tsukiko’s lips when she sat up against the wall next to Ran. “Great work… Kudou.”

But then she flinched from the pain radiating from her bullet wound.

“Great, I feel like Catherine Willows…” She mused sarcastically, referring to the two last episodes of C.S.I. where the character in question had appeared. “Shot with a machine gun on the left side…”


The helicopter crashed on the right of Vermouth who drove along a highway with her V-Rod.

“As expected of the Silver Bullet. He has his ways. I hope he’ll keep also the Shadow close…”


There was voices from the direction of the stairs leading to the elevators on Tsukiko’s right. She lifted up the gun instinctively while pressing down on her wound with her left hand.

“Who’s there?” She called. “Identify yourself!”

“The Police.” Came a reply. “You are safe.”

“How can I be sure? Identify yourself!” The girl demanded.

“Okiya-san. Everything is fine now.” Another voice joined. A voice that Tsukiko recognized.

“Yokomizo-keibu?”

“Yes, I got your message.” The man appeared with a few other officers that Tsukiko didn’t recognize and Megure. The gun she had been holding clattered on the floor and with her now freed hand, the girl took off her cap, letting her hair fall down.

“Thank god…” She sighed just when the lights of the viewing platform lit up again. “Say… How did you know it was from me? I didn’t sign it.”

“Well, you did write ‘this impostor needs the same treatment than the Mackerel guy’… Did he get it?”

“No… I tried though.”

“You can save your chat for later.” Megure interrupted. “You both need medical attention as well as Ran-kun.”

“’kay…” Tsukiko got on her feet carefully but slumped against the wall then. The blood loss was making her dizzy. Thankfully one of the unnamed officers came to her help.

“You need to go to hospital, miss.”

“Alright…”


The police officers that were injured by Irish were patched up now. Tsukiko was lying on a stricter and her wound had been tied tightly. She wasn’t going to the hospital yet though as she had demanded to talk with Conan before going. Her statement would be taken when she’d be in the hospital and felt better.

“Hi, Tsukiko-neechan.” The boy greeted the girl for the appearance’s sake.

“Hi, Edogawa-kun.” The girl smiled weakly. “I’m going to hospital soon… but I wanted to talk with you first.”

“I wanted to talk with you too.”

“About what?”

“You did great today.”

“Thanks… But I didn’t really do anything. You were the one to chase away the copter and you solved the case about completely.”

“You realized who was the fake officer.”

“Nah, I just got a picture message from Agasa-hakase about the weird beetles the kids found and how he had intercepted the code. After cancelling out officers, Matsumoto popped out almost immediately. He’s Beatles generation anyways, isn’t he?”

“…You are really Shadow then. Predicting the Organization’s moves since the hospital.”

“I have no idea how Vermouth got that idea. Speaking of whom… what am I going to tell Jodie-san and Subaru-nii? They’re bound to ask how I got shot.” The girl flinched slightly again

“Tell about a third party but don’t say it was the Organization… That’s what I’d tell.” Conan looked on the side, as if checking no one was too near to listen.

“Are you going to tell Haibara then? About my involvement.”

“Probably… But as a person who don’t know about my real identity but treats me properly. Like the FBI does.”

“Okay… Heh… the painkillers are kicking in. Head’s getting dizzy. Gotta sleep now.” And with that she fell into a slumber. Conan was about to turn around and walk away when she grabbed his wrist.

“Hey, Kudou… You know you can trust me. Right? We’re on the same side.” The girl asked tiredly. The boy’s gaze softened at the uncertainty in her words and a faint smile appeared on his face.

“Yeah… I know it now.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 30.

Tsukiko flipped a page of the newspaper she was reading. There was some talk about a rich woman who won in the lottery and was looking for her childhood friend and first crush.

“Hmm… Isn’t Tantei-chan going to go and solve this one? And then will be the ‘Let it be’ -case…” She mused before folding the paper and placing it on the bedside table of her hospital bed. There was a bunch of Get Better -cards and flowers there. Jodie visited her every day and made sure the flower had always fresh water. The Shounen Tantei-dan had also visited with Agasa and brought her chocolate and cards they’d made themselves. Conan had visited both with Ran and Sonoko and also on his own. Subaru had stopped by every second day on times when he knew Jodie wouldn’t be there. The man had asked her what exactly had happened and the girl had told him after trying to dodge the question her best.

“And after your dream, you decided to take a risk like that?” He had only said, disappointed. Tsukiko’s mood had plummeted at that but then the man had ruffled her hair and told her not to keep secrets like that from him. “I do worry about you.”

Jodie had believed the story about the unidentified third party when she heard the story from both Conan and Tsukiko. She stated the theory of it having been the Organization but none of them had known.

“Yeah… maybe…” The two had exchanged a glance.


The girl’s thoughts drifted to the evening after Tanabata when Detective Satou had questioned her about the events.

“Why did you send that message to Yokomizo-keibu? Why not some other officer?” The woman had asked.

“He was the only Police whose number I had. And since he had recognized me I was certain he wasn’t an impostor.” Tsukiko had replied with a faint smile.

“Where did you get the information for the questions that revealed Superintendent Matsumoto to be fake? You weren’t at his daughter’s weddings, were you?”

“Edogawa-kun was there when Suzuki-senpai solved the case and he told me that the motive most likely wouldn’t have been written up to the case report.” The impostor exposed in the same method twice… First Jodie blew up Vermouth’s disguise as Araide and then Yokomizo Irish’s…

“What exactly happened at the viewing platform?”

Tsukiko had looked at her hands on her lap.

“I rather not talk about it… if you understand.” She had answered quietly. Satou looked up at her. “Edogawa-kun and I confronted the real culprit and got a confession from him…” Tsukiko reached for her phone that was laid on the table and took the memory card with the deductions and confession out. Conan and she had decided to give that one to the police since there was no word about the Organization.

“We recorded it all.” Since there was two of them taking the honor (and mentioning Heiji as a helper helped too) it wouldn’t be as weird as in the original scenario. And if needed, they could also say that Conan just told what he had learnt from ‘Shinichi-niichan’. The trick had worked before.

The memory card was dropped on Satou’s palm. The woman smiled to the girl, thanked and left then. Tsukiko had looked out of the window then. She had been close to death on the previous night.

“I suppose that was a good enough wake-up call…”


“Say, Kudou… Why did you originally call me to the Metropolitan Police station back then?” Tsukiko asked, straightening her glasses. Conan had once again come to see her on his own.

“I wanted to see your behavior… I know something about you but not much. I guess I was a bit suspicious about you even though Subaru trusts you.” The boy fidgeted.

“What made me so suspicious?” The girl frowned at the complete turnaround in his thoughts regarding her.

“How you just know things, like the Plan… And Zander, your English skills…”

“And now?”

“I know to trust you. There’re still things I’m not certain about concerning you and I’m going to find out about them but I also know that you aren’t a bad person or my enemy.”

“That’s good to know.” Tsukiko chuckled. “But what exactly made you trust me so suddenly?”

“I know that Subaru wouldn’t let you so close if you were a person to tell forward things. And if you had told the Organization about me or Haibara, we’d probably be already hunted down.” The faux-child replied. “And when I saw your determination to catch those guys and fight them… You are definitely not part of them despite what Haibara says.”

“She says that?” The girl looked up in shock. “Why?”

“She gets the feeling from both you and Subaru. We know why so about Subaru but-…”

“I have no idea why she’d get that feeling about me.”

“She suspects you for being a spy despite what I say to her. But she is set like that also with Subaru.” Conan shrugged.

“I see… I need to look into that then.”

“… Be careful. After all I need you to be alive to figure you out.” The boy flashed a grin to the girl who started laughing.

“I can’t wait for that, Tantei-chan.”


Miyoshi was sitting on a chair near Tsukiko’s bed and telling the latest news from school.

“…And people are still naturally freaking out about what happened to Touto Tower.” The brunette said.

“Oh, what happened then? It wasn’t on the paper.” Tsukiko tilted her head. Miyoshi, the Shounen Tantei-dan and a few others hadn’t been informed how the blonde had gotten injured or where. They only knew it was some sort of an accident.

“They won’t say really. I only know that some massive damage happened to the Tower. The repairs will start as soon as possible. Anyways, some people are talking about a terrorist attack.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, and it doesn’t help at all that Toudou, Hanajima and Maki are spreading rumors around.”

“I see… Shouldn’t you tell the teachers then? I mean, if they are causing panic…”

“I might do just that… They need to be put on place.”

“Report on them tomorrow before the school starts so they can’t prepare their defense then.” The blonde girl grinned.

“Good idea.” The class president glanced at her watch. “I got to go. Get better soon, Tsukiko-chan. I can’t stand long them alone.”

“But you do have Maki Namida-chan to talk with, right?”

“No, she hasn’t been at school for a week now.”

“Right… She was absent when I came back from my two days break.”

“Yes. See you then.”

“See you!” Tsukiko waved to the other girl when she left the hospital room. With the same opening of the door two other people slipped in.

“Yo, Tsuki-chan!” The messy-haired boy greeted her cheerfully.

“Hi, Tsukiko-chan!” The girl with him smiled brightly.

“Hello, Kuroba-kun, Aoko-chan.” Tsukiko greeted them back. ”Great to see you.”

“We were so worried when we heard that you had gotten into a hospital so we came to see you right after school.” Aoko explained as she sat on the door side of Tsukiko’s bed. Kaito walked to sit on the other side.

“Where did you hear that then?” Tsukiko asked.

“I dunno. Kaito heard it somewhere. I decided a long time ago not to ask where he gets all that information he does.” Aoko shrugged. “But tell us now what happened.”

“Well… I was in an accident. I’m not exactly sure what happened. Anyways I still need to be here for a few days but I’ll be released soon enough.” The blonde girl smiled. “So no worries.”

“But Tsuki-chan… How bad it is? You’ve been here almost a week now.” Kaito asked while leaning his elbow against his knee and his chin against his hand.

“Hmm… I’d describe it as… Ace of Spades.” The messy-haired teen blinked immediately. After all he used that card as his trademark as Kid when driving a point across. And he usually needed to make his point across when facing Snake or other dangerous criminals. His eye darkened soon after making that connection.

“That bad then?”

“Yep.”

“Hey, Tsukiko-chan, do you want something to drink? There’s a vending machine on the corridor.” Aoko asked then, sensing that the two probably wanted to talk alone. They seemed to have some secret business going on but nothing worth of prying at the moment.

“An orange juice please.” Tsukiko smiled and the Ran-lookalike nodded.

“Tsuki-chan, who were they? Don’t tell me you were-…” Kaito began as soon as Aoko was out of the door.

“I was at Touto Tower if that’s what you’re asking. And they were the Organization bugging me. Heh, their helicopter had a bloody machinegun.”

“Tsuki-chan, you should stop this. It’s not too late for you to turn around and ignore them.” The young magician leaned closer to her, pressing his hand against the mattress.

“No, it is too late. They might not know my name or face and are even thinking me as a boy now, but I won’t turn a blind eye on what they’re doing. They affect my family and friends anyways. And I’m the Shadow; I tail the Organization and predict their moves.” The girl ended her short speech with a confident smile. Kaito straightened up and walked to the window, sticking his hands to his pockets.

“If you say so… Tsuki-chan.”

“And by friends I also mean you. You need more allies than just Kounosuke-san.”

“Yeah, true that…” The boy ran a hand through his messy hair and turned to face the blonde then. “I just can’t bear the idea of you getting hurt because I let you get involved with my messes.”

“That’s just a sign of you being a good friend.” Tsukiko smiled.

“I guess so…” Kaito smiled back. And just then Aoko arrived.

“Tsukiko-chan, I brought your juice!”


The following week went quietly for Tsukiko in the hospital. People still stopped by and cases happened outside the hospital. The blonde read about them from the newspaper Jodie brought her every morning.

“So the serial killer is caught then? That means the EWSN case is closed and right after that is…” A grin spread on the girl’s face on the day she’d be released from the hospital. “Iron Tanuki.”

She flipped through the paper. “No article about Takagi yet… Probably tomorrow then. I wonder what Kuroba will think about the heist note…”


One the next day the girl found herself sitting in Café Poirot with Ran, Conan, Kogoro and Takagi.

“Anything interesting in the news, Ran-senpai?” Tsukiko asked. The karate champion had insisted the blonde to call her by her first name. After all, the younger girl had protected the other.

“Hmm… Here is an article about Takagi-keiji. Listen: ‘Risking life for a capture performance! The following day, it was found out that one police officer was shot by the criminal, whom he managed to subsequently arrest!’.” The long-haired girl read aloud from the paper.

“Yeah, well… It only happened because my gun was taken from me at the beginning.” The detective rubbed his head embarrassedly.

“You should be thankful! Because of my deduction it was discovered that the serial murderer’s wound was on his back.” Kogoro said, doing his best to appear cool.

“However it was great! Since it was solved!” Conan smiled.

“Ah… It was great. Everything was great.” Takagi agreed though his thoughts went obviously elsewhere judging by his blush. When Ran pointed it out and the detective blushed even more furiously, Tsukiko couldn’t help but snicker.

“Did something good happen?” The blonde asked smugly.

“Ah, no, n-not really…”

“I know what happened! I saw it!” Conan promptly announced.

“What? What? What’d you see?” Ran questioned immediately.

“In the hospital, with Satou-keiji…”

“Waaaa, wait…” Takagi tried to stop the boy, failing miserably.

“Seems optimistic…” A voice next to them stated sourly. They all turned to look at the table next to theirs. “That undefeated guy…”

“Nakamori-keibu!?”

“All my attempts to catch that arrogant thief failed…” The inspector of Kid taskforce continued. “He keeps defeating me… HOT!” He burnt his tongue.

“Ah, excuse me!” The waitress Enomoto Azusa apologized. “Is it too hot?”

“No, it’s fine! Just fine for someone that has a cold heart like me!”

“A cold heart…” Takagi repeated in confusion.

“Because there’s no news about Kid, I have no chance to compete…”

“Didn’t you see it?” Kogoro asked then. “The newspaper…”

“Newspaper?” Nakamori frowned.

“Look!” Ran lifted up the paper she had been reading. “It’s on the front page! This time is a challenge letter from Kaitou Kid to old enemy Suzuki Jirokichi.”

When Nakamori shouted in shock, Azusa turned to address Tsukiko. “This came here ten minutes ago. I was asked to give it to a blonde girl sitting near bespectacled kid. I guess it means you.” The waitress gave a simple white envelope to the girl who took it.

“Thank you…” Tsukiko turned it to see a possible address there but found none. Instead there was a series of five numbers: 75014.

“Oh… I think I know whom it’s from…” The blonde opened the envelope and found a short letter there.

Tsukiko read the note quickly and smirking folded it to put it back to the envelope, and then slipped the envelope to her bag. She straightened her glasses before standing up.

“Excuse me… I need to go.”

“Tsukiko-neechan, where are you going?” Conan called after her. Naturally he was worried after the events two weeks back. The girl looked over her shoulder and grinned.

“I’ve got a date.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 31.

”EEH!? He might be an impostor!?” Ran exclaimed. “The Kaitou Kid who sent the notice letter this time!?”

“Yeah… Uncle Jirokichi said so!” Sonoko explained. “Didn’t I send is to you? The image in that notice letter. Wasn’t there something strange?”

“Y-Yes… Actually, I felt it was a little bit different from the usual illustration, but…”

“Not to mention that the letter was written vertically. Usually Kid has written his notices horizontally.” Tsukiko added. “The choice of words was also weird and old-fashioned.”

“Then… Why call us?” Kogoro asked in irritation.

“A girl’s sixth sense!” Sonoko explained happily. “Somehow I feel that Kid-sama will come! Well, it seems like I’m not the only one who has that sort of feeling…” Behind them was inspector Nakamori giving instructions/pep talk to his subordinates.

“…The phrase ‘The moon will be swallowed by the darkness’ in the notice refers to the night of the new moon, which is tonight! Keep watch over the surroundings of the room with the vault closely!” The man boomed.

“Inspector Nakamori… Come on now…” Kogoro muttered. “But why the surroundings of the room? Shouldn’t you be inside the room, keeping the surroundings of the vault under surveillance instead?” The detective thought aloud.

“It’s pointless, detective Mouri…” Jirokichi had arrived. “In any case, come and have a look at my prized possession, the Iron Tanuki.”


“Oh… So that is the impenetrable vault?” Kogoro admired. “Just by looking, you can tell that a tremendous amount of effort is needed to open it…”

“I bet that even one mistake will be deadly then…” Tsukiko remarked dryly, glancing around the room. No furniture at all.

“But installing the vault in the wall makes it look more like a vault room…” Ran pointed out.

“Yeah. The size of the vault is about four square meters short of six-tatami area. It’s a room surrounded by a 50 cm think layer of metal!” Jirokichi explained seriously but proudly. “During the war when I was still a child, I once his here together with my parents during an air raid!”

“That means there are air holes in there…” Conan comfirmed.

“Ah, it’s that small window over there… Look! Just below the door! A gap of about 3 cm.”

“But when you came out, did someone open it for you from the outside?” Ran asked.

“It’s very easy to open it from the inside. As for method to open it from outside, I am probably the last person left in this world who knows…”

“And the lack of furniture of this room?” Tsukiko asked, pointing the floor.

“Ah, yes.” Jirokichi nodded. “Mouri-tantei is a smoker, right?”

“Yeah…” The sleeping detective nodded.

“May I borrow a cigarette?”

“Here, one cigarette…” Kogoro was about to give it but was stopped by the hand of Jirokichi’s new bodyguard who inspected the cigarette before giving it to Jirokichi.

“Ah… He’s the bodyguard I hired a few days ago! Even though he’s rather reserved, he’s very reliable!” The rich man told the detective.

“Oh, I see…”

“Well, pardon me…” The cigarette was flipped in the middle of the room. Some enormous noise began to echo around the room and giant thick and heavy metal nets slid to cover the walls, floor and ceiling.

“Whew… That’s impressive.” Tsukiko chuckled letting out a low whistle. She crouched next to Conan then, seeing the funny face the boy was making. “Rich and their toys and joys, right? Suzuki-san surely has money.”

“Yeah… He definitely seems to like cages and such…” The mini-detective sweatdropped. “Just like by Kinza-crossing back then.”

“True that, true that…” The girl grinned as she watched the servant Akitsu to go into the room to retrieve the cigarette. “Say, Suzuki-san…” The blonde stood up. “When the mechanism is off and something is put into the room… when the mechanism is on again, it won’t detect the object, right?”

“Yes, that’s right.” The old man nodded.

“Then what happens when the object is removed? The weight in the room changes after all…”

“The alarm will be set off. Any changes in the weight when this is on will set off this trap.”

“Oh, that’s clever!” The girl smiled.

“Thank you, I planned this all myself.” Jirokichi closed the door of the room and the group prepared to leave to another part of the house.

“You’re hindering our preparations…” Nakamori complained.

“Hmph! I already told you that it’s useless. It’s a fake! Detective Mouri and the rest should go home too. Nothing will happen tonight.”

“Hmm… I wouldn’t be so sure…” Tsukiko hummed but no one heard.

“Of course, the so-called natural enemy of his, this little brat here, should also head home…” Jirokichi continued.

“Y-Yeah!” Conan grinned nervously.

“Guess we should head on home…” Kogoro shrugged.

“Eh- You’re leaving already!?” Sonoko protested.

“Kid doesn’t seem to be coming anyway…” Ran agreed with her father.

Thumps!

Ouch…” Conan and the maid Seto Mizuki crashed together and ended rubbing their faces simultaneously.

“Ah, I’m sorry!” Seto apologized. “Are you alright?”

“Y-Yeah…” The boy nodded.

“I was looking for a dog.” She explained. “I was looking left and right and didn’t watch where I was going. That’s why I bumped into you…”

“A dog?” Sonoko asked. “If you mean uncle’s beloved dog Lupin, it was hospitalized due to bad health a few days ago. That’s what I heard from uncle.”

“Ehhh!?”

“You’re a maid and you don’t know about it?”

“Ah, yes… It’s my first day you see…” The young maid admitted. “But it’s such a pity… I heard that there was a cute dog here and I was looking forward to it… My pet dog died last month…”

“O-Oh I see…” Ran apologized in sympathy.

“But well, I raised that dog from the time it was young and it was already very old…” Seto smiled before leaving.

“…” Conan watched after her.

“Ya thinking what I’m thinking, Tantei-chan?” Tsukiko asked, putting her hand to the pockets of her knee-length dress. It was one of the few dresses Jodie had insisted to buy her.

“Depends what you’re thinking.” Conan replied, making sure that Ran, Sonoko nor Kogoro heard them. The blonde girl grinned.

“New body guard, new servant, new maid… It’s as if Suzuki-san is inviting Kid in.”


“Hey, old man! Disable the security devices now!” Inspector Nakamori shouted suddenly. “Something was dropped in the room!”

Conan and Tsukiko’s group turned to listen.

“That card wasn’t there before was it!?” Nakamori and Jirokichi were looking at the card in the middle of the room.

-As mentioned in the notice,
before the moon reappears from the darkness
I will some for the important treasure in the stomach of Tanuki.
Kaitou Kid (doodle)

“Kai-Kaitou Kid… This is the real one!” Was that joy in the Inspector’s voice?

“But, how did he leave the card in this room…” Kogoro thought aloud. “Why didn’t the weight sensor detect anything?”

“Hmh… Let’s first find the cause…” Jirokichi stated.


Nakamori boomed instructions with more vigor than before and then argued with Jirokichi who kept insisting that it was an impostor and not to worry, the security system would catch the Kid anyways.

“Didn’t I show you? The crime prevention device in the room that the safe is in! If he steps even a single foot into that room, he will activate the weight sensor on the floor and be covered by the iron fences in an instant, just like a rat in a sack!” The old man told the police.

“However, Kid already entered the room to deliver this notice letter!” The inspector argued back. “He has already prepared a plan to quickly get through that device.”

“About that…” Conan began. “When Kaitou Kid delivered that notice letter we were nearby, right?”

“Eh?”

“Well, although there was nothing there when the room’s door opened the first time, the next time, the notice letter appeared, right? During that time, weren’t we always near the room?”

“And like I confirmed from Suzuki-san… The mechanism won’t detect the weight difference between two times when it’s on, but the change during one time. So if something is added when it’s off, the device won’t detect it when it’s on.” Tsukiko explained.

“That’s right.” Jirokichi nodded.

“In that case, did he put the letter there when it was off…” Kogoro thought.

“If uncle says so, the switch was off at that time, right?” Sonoko pondered.

“Oh, that reminds me, when he showed us how the weight sensor worked, he tossed a cigarette in…” Ran remembered. “After that he turned off the switch to retrieve the cigarette…”

There was a pause.

“AAH!!! That servant, he entered the room to find it!”

“That foolish guy is Kid! While pretending to pick up the cigarette, he artfully put the notice letter in there.” Nakamori muttered.

“But I don’t think that servant is the only one who could have put it there!” Conan pointed out.

“Not to mention I checked the room before the door closed…” Tsukiko mumbled.

“The bodyguard who is always by uncle Jirokichi’s side also could have when uncle carelessly opened the door he could’ve put the letter in!” The boy continued.

“Except the servant – and the rest of us – would’ve spotted it since the notice was found in the middle of the room.”

“The maid that’s just been hired and first came here today could do it too, right? Because she was restlessly crouching to look for the dog…”

“But the maid wasn’t near the door when the switch was off, right?” Kogoro pointed out.

“Yes! We were shown the crime prevention device at that door. But the room that has the safe…” Conan hurried past the corner, others following him. “Look, there’s another door here! Assuming that the maid is Kid, while searching for the dog, she could pass the notice letter through the door’s slot when the guards weren’t paying attention, right?”

“But it’s hard to toss the notice beneath the door hard enough to end in the middle of the room without it getting stopped by the door itself or by the speed running out. Or friction.” Tsukiko thought aloud.

“And because uncle was yelling with a loud voice at that time…” Sonoko mused, continuing Conan’s theory.

“Maybe the voice could be heard from here.” Ran agreed.

“It’s true… even over here, she could know when the switch was off…” Kogoro nodded slightly.

“Besides, these three people were just hired recently.” The bespectacled kid stated while shooting an evil glare towards Tsukiko who had argued against his points.

“In other words, the possibility that Kid is here in a disguise is quite high…” The sleeping detective continued.

“And now you noticed it…” The blonde girl muttered. When Nakamori barked orders, Conan tugged Tsukiko into a crouch by her sleeve.

“Why do you work against me, Okiya?” The kid hissed, obviously annoyed. Tsukiko looked at him and grinned.

“Well, I just pointed out the possible flaws in your deductions.”

“You’ve never before done it.”

“I haven’t? Well, maybe not as straight forward but I do have stated alternative opinions, right?”

“You argued against all the candidates of being Kid. How do you explain the note getting into the room then?”

“Well, Tantei-chan… Maybe he did is after all while being one of them… What was the word Nakamori-keibu used… Ah, ‘artfully’! Or then… maybe it was simply magic.” The girl grinned, getting up and humming happily when she joined Ran and Sonoko again.

“Something about uncle seems strange…” Sonoko muttered. “He would always say, ‘Let me see that sneaky thief with my eyes!’ in an excited way… But this time, he lets the impostor go without investigating any of the evidence… Maybe uncle is Kid-sama!”

“Come on…” Ran laughed.

“Scary…” Tsukiko sweatdropped and glanced at Conan then who was thinking hard all possibilities.

“Hey, have you found Kaitou Kid?” Seto had come to the corridor, pushing a dinner with a serving trolley.

“N-No… Not yet…” Conan replied.

“Ah, you’d better not go through this corridor…” Ran whispered to the young maid.

“Eh? Why?” Seto asked.

“Because you’re being suspected of being Kaitou Kid…” Sonoko muttered.

“Eeh!?”

“It’s all the fault of this brat who speaks too much.”

“No worries, I’m certain that you’re not Kid.” Tsukiko reassured with a knowing smile on her face.

“Uh, thanks… But that’s troublesome anyways… This food – master said I must send it into his room…” Seto sighed. “I’m new so I didn’t know about this recently master always eats dinner alone in his room. The other maids area also worried… Also, when we clear up the dining ware afterwards – and I don’t know why – there will be two plates missing every time…”

“Plates? Why?” Ran asked.

“Not sure…”

“The food and plates are not the only strange things.” Akitsu joined into the conversation. “After dinner when master goes into the room to check on the vault I heard he would always take a cane with him…”

“Uncle using a cane?” Sonoko exclaimed.

“Oh… right…” Tsukiko pressed her hand into her chin for a moment before grinning. She looked up and exchanged a glance with Seto who nodded almost invisibly.

“…I’ll have to trouble you, butler…” Kogoro dug out his coin wallet. “Help me buy some cigarettes…”

“Ah, yes…” Akitsu nodded and then leaned to whisper to Seto. “That… Just now master, called using the extension phone saying ‘Isn’t dinner ready yet?’”

“U-Understood! Right away!” The maid hurried forward with the trolley but bumped into Kogoro  who dropped the wallet. The coins scattered on the floor. “Ah… Sorry…” When trying to come for help, the poor girl knocked over the water can, soaking both the coins and the detective who was about to start picking up them.

“Sorry!”

“It’s fine…” Kogoro gritted through his teeth.

“Hey! What are you doing!?” Jirokichi had appeared on the corridor at the commotion. “Send the food to my room quickly!”

“Y-Yes sir!  Right away!” Seto squeaked when picking the coins to her handkerchief and drying them. She gave them to Kogoro then. “I’m sorry I got you so wet…”

“It’s okay, it’s okay…” The man reassured her, probably feeling bad that she had gotten a scolding because a mere accident.

“Hmph… Whether it’s the maid or the butler…” Jirokichi crouched to pick the last coin. “They’re all useless!” He tossed the coin to Kogoro with his right hand. “Only this bodyguard can be considered capable!”

“That- Can I ask you what was the matter when you asked for me?” Seto asked nervously.

“Matter?”

“Eh? Didn’t you say this, when sending dinner over: ‘come give a hand’ or something…”

“A-aah… That’s what I said, that’s what I said! Anyway let’s go to my room first!”

“Yes, sir!” And the duo left.

“Hmm… I’ll go to  find a bathroom… See ya soon.” Tsukiko went to another direction.

“Do you find it for sure?” Sonoko called after her. “You haven’t been here before.”

“Yeah, no worries. We went past it, right?”

“Yes.”


Akitsu was coming back from buying cigarettes for Kogoro when something suddenly pricked him beside the neck. The poor man slumped on the arms of a grinning girl.

“Got ya!”

“How long did you wait for him?”

“Not long. The tobacco store is right behind the corner after all.”

A chuckle. “You surely take a look on your surroundings.”

“So do you.”

“True that, true that…”

“Alright… Let’s get him to Jirokichi’s room like planned.”

“Guh, for a skinny guy he surely weights a lot…”

“Yeah… You doing well this far?”

“Oh please. This is easy. You?”

“Just fine.”

“We gotta hurry. People might start wondering soon where we are…”


When Tsukiko arrived back, Sonoko joked that she had got lost since it took such a long time.

“Ahahahaa… Yeah, the way back was a bit trickier.” The blonde laughed. She spared a glance at Conan who was deep in thoughts, trying to figure out what was it all about. Just when the realization flashed on the boy’s face, Ran came to tell the boy that the dinner was ready. Near them Jirokichi had ended inspecting the vault and Nakamori checked his bag just in case before the man would leave to have a dinner with his old friend. Jirokichi took his car keys from his jacket pocket and tossed them to the bodyguard. With his left hand.

“At any rate it doesn’t matter if I’m here or not.” The advisor of Suzuki corporation explained. “That guy’s so-called natural enemy… this little guy, is here to guard it. The rest is up to you, little guy!” The man patted Conan’s head and the boy smirked.

“Yeah!”


“But who did he disguise as this time? That Kid…” Ran pondered when the five of them were eating dinner. The food was truly delicious.

“A moment ago, didn’t that guy who acts like he knows everything say ‘the security system was on in the bank room, so the only people that could’ve possibly left the note’… other that us and the police were the dark-skinned bodyguard, the useless servant and the muddled maid.” Kogoro listed out.

“Okay… That’s a bit rude…” Tsukiko muttered, taking a next bite.

“Well, the bodyguard should be cleared of suspicion. He just left with uncle Jirokichi.” Sonoko laughed.

“Then is must be either the servant or the maid…”  Ran stated.

“It must be the servant. I asked him to buy some cigarettes for me and I haven’t seen him since.” Kogoro told them.

“But the maid can also pretend to be lost.” Ran pointed out.

“Well, couldn’t there be someone else too then? Someone we haven’t even suspected before…” Tsukiko enquired. “Like…”

“Uncle Jirokichi!” Conan announced. “If it were him, he could easily place the notice while the system is turned off, right?”

“True, and he knows exactly when the system is on or off.” The blonde girl continued.

“You brat, you should’ve mentioned this earlier!” Kogoro barked in irritation.

“I just thought of it…” Conan smiled sheepishly. “Besides, it was uncle Jirokichi who picked up uncle’s coin when it fell out, right?”

“Ah, yeah…”

“At that time, which hand did he use?”

“I think it was his right hand…”

“Then, when uncle Jirokichi threw the car key to the bodyguard, which hand did he use?”

“Umm, I think it was his…”

“It was the left hand.” Tsukiko looked up from her plate, blinking once. “I’m certain of that.”

“Yes, it was the left hand. I remember it too because he used his right hand to take out the key but used his left one to throw it. I thought it was strange.” Ran confirmed.

“He’s really Kid!” Kogoro exclaimed.

“Then it’d be best to tell inspector Nakamori, right?” Conan asked. “If we chase after them now, we might still be able to catch them!”


Nakamori was told, superintendent Chiaki, who was the friend Jirokichi supposedly was about to have a dinner, arrived.

“Th-That is!” The maid Seto came running. “I went into the master’s room, to clean up the mess. I opened the closet door a little and I found… Master tied up inside, sleeping!”

“Then, that guy who just left is…” Nakamori began nervously.

“I went into the room to double check; there are a lot of wires in the closet. A tag is stuck on it saying ‘Don’t touch, dangerous’, it doesn’t look like it’ll be easy to get him out.” A task force member with the young maid confirmed.

“How is this possible? That guy entering the safe… It was only 2-3 minutes…” Nakamori opened the door to the vault room and indeed there was a note stuck on the door of the Iron Tanuki.

“Ah, you shouldn’t go in.” Conan interjected when the Inspector was about to go into the room and check if Kid had really been there. “Since it was Kid, the security system must still be on…”

Tsukiko followed everything happen in front of her and exchanged a glance with Kid.

“Artfully you say… I think it’s just pure magic. And it’s perfect.” She said.


The police were off, leaving the manor about completely deserted.

“Until now, there were a lot of security guards…” Ran stated.

“Everyone left…” Kogoro chorused.

“Well, at least the staff are in his room trying to get him out.” Sonoko pointed out. “But if uncle really was Kid… They’re really all gathered together…”

“That’s true, but isn’t that odd?”

“What so?” Tsukiko tilted her head. And Ran explained the complexity of the situation.

“Hey, Conan-kun has disappeared again!” The girl noticed suddenly.

“Well, the opponent is the Magician under the Moonlight: Kaitou Kid.” Kogoro muttered. “He’s probably off doing something again.”

“I was thinking more along the lines that anything can be expected from them.” Tsukiko mused with a smirk, staying standing on her place when the rest went to other direction, probably looking for Conan. None of those three noticed someone opening the door of the safe room, grinning and closing it then.

The mystery person pressed the door shut and slipped the gloves on as they approached the Iron Tanuki, the challenge to all thieves in existence.

“You must really like it…” A voice said behind them. “Disguising as a girl.” Conan shut the door behind himself.

“Ah, don’t you think it’s much cuter like this?” The faux-maid grinned, taping a piece of paper on the door.

“That time, when uncle Jirokichi told you to ‘bring over the food quickly’, you quickly pretended to be the muddled maid and hurried over to uncle Jirokichi.” The boy explained with a bored tone. “But, you didn’t expect you’d cause uncle Kogorou to drop his wallet, causein the coins to drop all over the floor. If you went over to pick them up you’d leave fingerprints on them… If you suddenly wore gloves you’d cause suspicion so you deliberately pushed the water over, right? This way the coins will be wet, and you’ll have a reason to wipe them with your handkerchief.”

“Ah, is that when you realized that I was Kid?” The disguised trickster asked, turning one dial carefully. Very carefully. You couldn’t be too careful with the contradictions of Samizu Kichiemon.

“No, it was what you said at that moment. That’s when I realized. Together with the previous outdated notice letter. If you read the words on the bottom of each column form left to right, it becomes the sentence ‘come give a hand’! That is, that letter was actually a letter asking for left from Kaitou Kid, written by advisor Suzuki himself!

“Saying the advisor is trapped in the closet, that’s actually to divert the action force away from this this room, right?” The chibi detective continued while the other person with him in the room continued working. Suddenly there was a stop though and a new marking appeared on the paper.

The maid smirked and took a step away from the vault. “Maybe so…” She pulled her gloves off. “But you’re wrong in one thing.”

“And what’s that?” Conan chuckled. “Are you giving up?”

“No, I am not the person to open this one. That is job of a professional.” Seto’s hand touched something hidden by the collar of the maid uniform and her voice changed.

“Right, Tantei-chan?” The maid grinned just when yet another person stepped into the room.

Chapter Text

Chapter 32.

The maid smirked and took a step away from the vault. “Maybe so…” She pulled her gloves off. “But you’re wrong in one thing.”

“And what’s that?” Conan chuckled. “Are you giving up?”

“No, I am not the person to open this one. That is job of a professional.” Seto’s hand touched something hidden by the collar of the maid uniform and her voice changed.

“Right, Tantei-chan?” The maid grinned just when yet another person stepped into the room.


Conan took a step backwards in shock.

“O-Okiya!?” He exclaimed.

“Bingo~!” The girl sang, tossing her gloves over the little detectives head. Kid, disguised as Tsukiko, caught them midair. Conan glanced at him too when he walked past the boy and to the vault and Tsukiko.

“Oh, good work Tsuki-chan…” The thief smirked after a glance on the notes. He removed an earpiece that had been hidden by the blonde hair and removed the glasses too, giving them to the girl. “I’ll continue from now on.”

“Good, I don’t fancy doing any mistakes and getting killed by this thing.” Tsukiko shrugged, taking off her head gear and letting her hair fall down. She wasn’t using a wig, just some hair dye to change the color of her hair. “Be careful Kid-kun.”

“Wha-… How? When?” The boy behind them was stuttering. Tsukiko held up her phone that Kid had tossed back her and took a picture of the chibi detective’s astonished face.

“Oh, that face I’ve wanted to see for a long time.” Kid grinned as he began to work with the vault. He took a better look on the notes on the door and swallowed. “Alright…”

“Yeah, it’s tricky… I wonder why you wanted to set it as a test for me.” Tsukiko muttered darkly. “I want my jacket intact by the way.” The girl gestured the jacket Kid was wearing. Conan noted it was the same one she had worn back at Haido Central Hospital.

“You’re my apprentice; of course I set up tasks and tests for you.” Came the reply.

“Why the scary face?” Conan asked suddenly, noticing Kid’s serious take on the task at hand. “Don’t tell me you need my help?”

“No, you’d just screw it up.” Tsukiko muttered dully, making sure to be out of the line of fire.

“That door behind you… There are many traces of being penetrated by something, right?” Kid stated. “That should mean if this dial is not turned correctly…”

Click.

An arrow shot out of the dial towards Conan. Tsukiko pulled the detective out of the way and the arrow jammed itself on the wood of the door.

“This will happen! Truly a pro’s work!” Kid laughed cheerily but nervously while patting the door.

“I think… I should leave the explanation of the current situation until we have safely opened the door. Okay?” Tsukiko suggested from her place, leaning against the wall next to the door and examining the arrow on it.

“Hey… Don’t these tiles over here look especially new?” Conan noticed, pointing the tiles right in front of the vault. “Look, here…”

“Hmm…” Kid turned another dial. Tsukiko felt like facepalming.

“Idiots…” She muttered while taking off her mask of Seto Mizuki.

A narrow panel that was hidden before opened and an axe swung down. Kid lifted Conan out of the way just in time.

“T-Truly a great safe made by the ‘Master of Traps’ Samizu Kichiemon…” The shrunken child stated, sweatdropping. Kid turned to glance at yet another dial that had opened. It revealed to have only a small doll with a fan. In the fan were the words ‘You lose’.

“This guy is really too much.” The thief muttered. “So, you should also know why I’ve been asked to come here? Otherwise you’ have told the police to arrest me…

“Ahem!” The blonde girl behind them coughed.

“…Tsuki-chan already.”

“Yeah, because of advisor Suzuki’s weird actions recently…” Conan answered. “Always taking away two plates is to use one to contain water, the other to contain food. And then, he tied those plates to his cane, and sent them into the vault through the space under of the vault! Besides, he was always talking to someone in the vault.”

“Yeah!” Kid turned the last parts of the lock he’d been lock-picking while the boy had told his explanation. “All of this for him, who was accidentally locked up in the Iron Tanuki…”

A rumbling sound began from the Tanuki and at that Tsukiko finally walked forward, the initial danger being over by now. The giant door lifted open easily and Lupin the dog trotted out.

“This little guy!”

“Woof!” Lupin went to lick Conan’s face and Kid took a look at the dog’s scarf.

“Just like Suzuki-san said then.” Tsukiko smiled. “It’s in the scarf.”

“Yes, the paper with the instructions to open the Iron Tanuki!” Kid examined the paper. “He has to look at this every time before opening the vault.”

“This means the reason was really…” Conan began.

“Yeah, he only realized his pet dog Lupin wasn’t with him after closing the door of the vault… In desperation he came to me for help. After all, who else is able to open this complex vault in such a short time…” A swish of cloak and ta da: Kaitou Kid was in his white attire again. “Besides me, Kaitou Kid. There shouldn’t be anybody else!”

“Except with the way you’re teaching me… One could think that you are trying to make me your successor…” Tsukiko picked her jacket off the floor where it had fallen now and put it on. “But it’s impossible. I’ll never be as good as you.”

“Yeah, but it’s fun anyways, right?” Kid flashed a grin at the girl who smiled back. He walked to the window then and pushed aside a curtain. “Looks like they’ve already found out that old man is the real one and are turning back.”

“Say, you’re really taking a risk… And putting Okiya in it too… Weren’t you worried this could be a trap devised by uncle Jirokichi to catch you… And by accident Okiya too.” Conan frowned.

“Aah, at first I thought it was a trap too… But after understanding the reason for asking my help I decided to help out. After all, as a fan of the ‘Gentleman Thief’ Lupin…” The magician climbed on the windowsill. “Seeing Lupin imprisoned in such a dark cage… It’s impossible not to help, right?”

And he flew off. Next to Conan, Tsukiko leaned her elbows on the windowsill too.

“Ya want an explanation now?”

“Yes…” The detective gritted through his teeth.

“Woof!” Lupin barked.

“Don’t get too friendly with me. Based on our names we’re enemies.” Conan deadpanned. Tsukiko chuckled.

“Okay… Let’s see… It began at Poirot. You remember the mysterious letter I got back then?” The blonde asked.

“Yeah…”

“I’ve got a date.”

“Well, it was from him. We planned the beginning of this about together but it was my idea that he’d come disguised as me and I’d be the maid.” Tsukiko zipped up her jacket. Conan noted that she looked about the same than Kid had while disguised as her. So apparently the girl had an exit ready too. “My job was to find out details of the days between the note in the paper and this day. So I did. Missing plates and such. And I gave those details to Kid-kun and you at the same time. Handy, ain’t it?”

“Yeah… And uncle Jirokichi? He believed it all?”

“Yep. This voice changer that I have in my collar has two settings. One is the Seto Mizuki voice and the other was Kaitou Kid’s trademark one which I used when I was talking privately with Suzuki-san. Kid-kun had an earpiece through which he listened to the situation.”

“And when Tsukiko went to the bathroom…”

“We stunned the servant guy, Akitsu.”


The man slumped on the arms of a grinning girl, well the thief with a girl’s face.

“Got ya!” He sang in triumph just when his partner in crime appeared behind the corner, her arms crossed on her chest.

“How long did you wait for him?” Tsukiko, the real one, asked.

“Not long. The tobacco store is right behind the corner after all.” Came the reply.

A chuckle. “You surely take a look on your surroundings.”

“So do you.”

“True that, true that…”

“Alright… Let’s get him to Jirokichi’s room like planned.” Kid took a proper hold on the unconscious man under the arm pit while Tsukiko grabbed the man’s legs.

“Guh, for a skinny guy he surely weights a lot…” The girl muttered while they walked along the corridor. Jirokichi had made sure it was empty.

“Yeah… You doing well this far?” The thief indicated to the blonde’s role as a maid.

“Oh please. This is easy. You?” Tsukiko had a bad feeling but hoped it was just her pessimistic realism kicking in.

“Just fine.” A grin.

“We gotta hurry. People might start wondering soon where we are…” The two of them hoisted the servant to Jirokichi’s room and into the closet. Kid pulled out a Jirokichi mask under his/Tsukiko’s jacket and pulled it over the man’s face. The wires would be Tsukiko’s job to place.


“But why? Why did you do this?” Conan leaned his head on his hands in a childlike manner.

“Well… Because it was fun. And your face was really worth of seeing!” The girl snickered. “Anyways, the story is like you deducted. Wrongly but that’s not the point. Kid was disguised as the maid to free Lupin, the end. I’m going home now.” She stepped back and eyed Conan for moment with a soft smile. “You won’t sell me out, right?”

“Nah… Nothing was stolen this time… But say… was it true? Are you his apprentice?” Conan was still looking out of the window.

“Kind of. He teaches me useful tricks anyways. Like lock-picking. I rather not get locked in my room ever again.” Tsukiko stated, placing her glasses on her face.

The bespectacled kid blinked.

“You are still pissed out that?”

“Well, didn’t I say that it’s one of those things that’ll make me tick?”

“Okay then…”The shrunken teen let out a suffering sigh.

“This night was pure magic, don’t you think? And it was perfect!” Tsukiko grinned before leaving the room. Conan’s head snapped up.

“Artfully you say… I think it’s just pure magic. And it’s perfect.”

“She… She gave me a chance to figure it out. And I didn’t notice her voice coming from a wrong direction.” The boy buried his face to his hands.


“Eeh!? That dog Lupin was trapped in the Iron Tanuki!?” Ran exclaimed on the next day when Sonoko told her the truth behind the case.

“Yeah, but don’t tell anyone else.” The rich girl pleaded.

“However, after getting Kid’s help he didn’t give him anything in return.” Kogoro stated behind his magazine.

“But he did, didn’t he?” Tsukiko pointed out while sitting on Kogoro’s desk, much to the man’s displeasure. “He gave a wonderful challenge. I bet Kid would’ve tried it anyways eventually.”

“Yeah… Although uncle said he’d thank Kid thoroughly… but ‘That’ll have to wait until he is handcuffed’. That’s what uncle said…” Sonoko sweatdropped.

“Eh… So it’s like that…” Ran smiled awkwardly.

“The rich and their joys and toys…” Tsukiko muttered. “Some people have too much free time…”

Conan gave a weird look at the girl for the choice of phrasing, probably considering about the possibility of her being the Kid again. The blonde girl caught her look from her place on the desk and stuck out her tongue at the boy playfully then.

Chapter Text

Chapter 33.

Beep beep beep beep, beep beep be-p!

The alarm clock was silenced with a groan and a grunt. The owner of the clock sat up, pushing the duvet of her bed aside.

“I need a new clock with a nicer sound…” Miyoshi Mai muttered, getting on her feet and walking out of her room. On the way she undid her braid she had done for the night and said a good morning to the photograph on the wall. In the photo were a young girl and a teenaged boy. It was Miyoshi herself and her cousin, Takuya who was a police officer nowadays.

“Ohayoo, Mai-chan.” The brunette’s mother greeted the girl in the kitchen. Miyoshi tied her hair on a side ponytail while greeting back.

“Ohayoo gozaimasu, okaa-san.”

The two sat at the kitchen table and began eating.

“Is otou-san…?”

“He left to work earlier today.” Came the sharp reply.

“In the same time than every day.” The girl muttered.

“What did you say, Mai-chan?” Danger, danger…

“Nothing.” She ate quickly.

“How has your school been lately?” The woman asked. She had about the same hair than her daughter but it was pulled on a tight bun in her neck. She was already in a suit that was in a pristine condition despite the fact she had just made breakfast for the two of them.

“Just fine.”

“No problems with anything?”

“No. Everything is fine.”

“Good. We don’t want anything affecting your grades after all.”

“…Hai, okaa-san.” Miyoshi finished her breakfast and got up to put it in the sink. “I need to hurry now thought. I’ll buy my lunch from combini then.”

The woman tutted disapprovingly. “You should wake up sooner to make your own breakfast.”

“I like bento…”

“It’s not proper.”

“Yeah…”

“It’s ‘yes’, not ‘yeah’.”

“Yes, okaa-san.” Miyoshi corrected her posture slightly before hurrying out of the room and back to hers as quickly as possible.


The class president brushed her hair and was about to braid it again when she remembered what her class mate and only proper friend Okiya Tsukiko had told her once.

“Mai-san should have a high ponytail more often. It looks prettier.”

“Maybe so…” Miyoshi smiled faintly before pulling her long dark brown hair up and tying it on the said style. When looking at herself on the mirror, her smile widened a fraction and her eyes became brighter. “This is my face. This is my body and hair. I decide what they look like.” She stated while straightening her glasses. She pulled the jacket of her school uniform on and made sure her tie was straight.

“I need to hurry.”


The brunette slipped from the front door without her mother spotting her and berating for such a free hair style. According to her, braids were the only acceptable style of hair at school. Otherwise the girl wouldn’t be taken seriously.

“Guh, they made me look like a little girl…” Miyoshi muttered, hurrying to the combini right by the tower block she lived in. On the way she greeted Yoshida Ayumi who lived in the same house and was now hurrying to meet with her friends Kojima Genta and Tsuburaya Mitsuhiko with whom she’d walk to school then.

“One time I was like that too…” The teen girl sighed when going to pay her bento. “Those times are far behind though…”


She walked to school alone that day. She had left in such an early time that Tsukiko didn’t catch up with her. Nor did Suzuki or Mouri. But it was fine. Anything to get out of that house.

“Ohayoo, Mai-san!” A cheery voice greeted Miyoshi quite soon after she had sat down at her desk and began to read one of her numerous books she always carried with her. This time it was Arsène Lupin, gentleman-cambrioleur. Tsukiko had recommended it to her. And speak of devil, there she was.

The brunette lifted her gaze from the book. Tsukiko was standing right next to her desk, smiling brightly even behind her glasses that hindered her eye-sight and almost bouncing on the balls of her feet.

“Ohayoo, Tsukiko-chan.” Miyoshi smiled. “What makes you so happy today?”

“I don’t know actually. I just woke up today and had a feeling that this is going to be a good day.” The blonde shrugged and went to her seat between the window and Miyoshi’s seat. Lucky girl to have a window desk.

“You always seem to find something to smile about.” The brunette chuckled.

“Yea… I guess I’m sometimes quite optimistic. Sometimes I’m pessimistic realist. It depends a lot really.” Tsukiko grinned. “You like the book then?” She gestured the book Miyoshi had.

“Ah, I didn’t really get to read it yet.”

“Oh, I’ll leave you at that then.” The other girl took of her glasses and started to dig through her school bag. The class president followed that for a moment before turning her gaze to the book then.

“I noticed you had a put a ponytail this time. I like it.” The blonde added.

“Yes, I decided to try something a bit different.”


As usual, Hanajima came to bother them once again during a recess. She left soon thought when Tsukiko pointed out that the snoopy girl had forgotten her normal shoes on and not put on the shoes used indoors. Somehow she had failed to notice it until now.

And as usual they tried to strike up a conversation with Maki Namida. The shy girl replied with a reserved smile while glancing around for the Snob Club and her sister. When those were nowhere to seen, the girl gradually relaxed and they had quite an enjoyable conversation.

“Nee, Mai-san, what do you want to become when you grow up?” Tsukiko asked during the second recess.

“Hmm… My parents want me to become a doctor…”

“Don’t they all?” The blonde laughed and Miyoshi had to join to that. The other girl’s laugh was just so bright and made everyone else happy around her.

“Yeah, I guess so… But personally… I’d like to become a mystery novelist. That’s why I read all those strange books. I want to know all the needed facts as accurately as possible for my books.”

“Ooh, that’s just like… Umm… It had something to do with a ghost story here…” Tsukiko trailed off, trying to remember something.

“Hosaka Hideaki-senpai? I heard of it too then. I’ve also read those books he borrowed from the library long time ago.” Miyoshi remembered the ghost story from back then. It was solved though now. But she still remembered it clearly since the girl had spotted the books beneath the desks several times at the time of the ghost story was running wild.

“I see! But what makes Mai-san want to become a mystery novelist then?”

“I enjoy solving puzzles. I also like creating them. Sometimes I call to my cousin in the Metropolitan Police Department to ask if he has anything interesting going on. I think the facts he gives me from the point of view of both the police and the culprit and offer him possible explanations then. He told me that sometimes my ideas have led to the arrest of the correct culprit.”

“Really? That’s great! But you don’t want to become a detective then?”

“No, I couldn’t do it day to day, year to year. I’d rather be like Kudou Yusaku-san who is consulted sometimes by the police. One could probably say that he is my target.”

“I see.” Tsukiko smiled just when Kawaoka-sensei came to the room and next class began. Miyoshi didn’t pay much attention to the lesson though. Her thoughts were in the girl next to her.

Okiya Tsukiko was one strange girl in her opinion. She asked a lot and listened well, talked much but didn’t actually tell anything. Miyoshi had put her best skills in the game to find out anything about the girl. This far the class president only had gotten a glimpse of the girl’s personality and interests. There was also a fact she had been hospitalized before coming to their school and was living with someone she’d rather not mention.  She had an older brother with whom she wasn’t blood related. She had said not a single word about her parents, adoptive or not. The girl knew a lot of things. Simply knew. And also had a knack for detective work. She got really well along with the people she met, especially Edogawa Conan with whom she had been investigating the serial murder case across Japan.

And then there were her looks and behavior. Her hair color was really blonde, not natural for Japanese or Asian at all, and her eyes were greyish blue, unusual color that one too. She wore glasses even though she said she didn’t need them(And that Miyoshi had found out and asked about). Her mannerisms weren’t exactly Japanese either which was weird, especially considering that she most likely was in a Japanese adoptive family. She did know how to use chopsticks and was polite enough to people but sometimes it seemed like she wasn’t exactly sure how polite she should be. She also had problems with writing and reading kanji even though her pronunciation was perfect and she could speak and understand spoken Japanese fluently. It was like her hand wasn’t used to write the characters.

In short, Okiya Tsukiko was a mystery.


“Say, are you going to meet Ishihara-san today again?” Tsukiko asked Miyoshi as they walked home.

“Yes, okaa-san thinks I’m going to study in library though.” The brunette nodded.

“Okay, I’ll go then. See you tomorrow again!” The blonde hurried off.


“Kouki-san, thanks for this evening once again.” Miyoshi smiled to the young man with her.

“You are welcome, Mai-chan. It was nice to spend time with you. My days off the work would be tedious otherwise.”

“Oh, are you saying that you date me only to have company during your off days?”

“Wh-What? Of course not, Miyoshi-san! I truly enjoy your company and you are my everything. I love to see you both at the café and outside it.” Ishihara stuttered, slipping into the old way of addressing the girl. Miyoshi chuckled.

“I was only messing up with you, Kouki-san.” She laughed, making the other smile.

“I know…” He pecked the girl on the forehead before they went to their own directions. After all Ishihara couldn’t be seen near Miyoshi’s house. One couldn’t be sure who’d see them and gossip to her parents. It wasn’t about Kouki himself, it was about boys in general. The class president wasn’t allowed to date because she needed to concentrate on school work. Even friends in general were under Miyoshi’s mother’s magnifying glass. But since there hadn’t really been many of them, there had been no worries.

“I’ll be in trouble is anything about my private life leaks to them…” As much as Miyoshi hated to admit it, she was financially completely dependent on her parents.


The girl walked slowly through Haido Park, anticipating the moment when she’d be home. On the way she looked calmly around in the park.

“The sprinklers are replaced now…” Miyoshi noted, stopping to look at them. She had been in the park back in November when Mizunashi Rena had been interviewing Domon Yasuteru. And the sprinklers had been smashed for some reason and thus created rain.

“Who was it and why?” There had been a shadow slipping from one tree to hide behind another. The girl hadn’t seen it properly though. It had been a person with short hair and long coat. Probably a female or very slim male.

“And on the very next day Mizunashi Rena-san left for an extended leave. Did she get a cold from that sudden rain?” The girl leaned her chin on her hand. “But for five months… and after that a notification that she had quit. That’s highly impossible.”

She dug out her cell phone from her bag and chose Takuya’s number.

“Hmmh… Mai, I’ve told you not to call when I’m work.” Miyoshi’s cousin answered at the other end of line.

“Sorry, Takuya-nii, but this is important.”

“Important or interesting? I know you won’t call at this time unless you have a hunch for a strange case.” There was some chattering on the background. Takuya was at the department.

“You got me.” The girl laughed. She could hear her cousin was also amused. He knew her too well. Out of all of her family members, Miyoshi got the best along with her cousin. “I was wondering if there have been any incidents or general chaos concerning the absence of the news anchor Mizunashi Rena in the last… April. That’s when she announced leaving after being on a leave for a long time. No one does that for real.” She walked to sit on a park bench. The call could take a while.

“Mizunashi Rena? I heard from my friend in Haido department that in Haido Central Hospital there was a television footage running about her. It said she was coming back to work soon and gave an impression she had been in some hospital. What’s weird though is that the footage was shown only in that hospital. And a bit before the footage there had been three simultaneous incidents around the hospital that caused patients to flood there.”

“Oh, I remember that too… A fire, a food poisoning and a gas attack, right? It was even on the news.”

“That’s right.”

“When did this all happen?”

“Hmm… I not exactly sure. No, wait! My friend joked about all the bad happening before Friday the 13th so nothing was left to happen on that day. He was wrong though as a strange car fire happened on that day in Raiha Pass. I was the one to go and check it.”

“Really? Could you tell me more? Please. This sounds really interesting.”

There was a sigh but Miyoshi could tell it had no real emotion behind. “Alright then… There had been some other cops called because of an accident in the Pass and they happened to witness the car, black Chevrolet 1500, go up in a boom. That’s when me and my partner were called in. It was an obvious homicide you see. A male victim and all. It was really hard to identify him but we had a stroke of luck with us.”

“Stroke of luck?”

“Yes, an acquaintance of the police, Jodie Saintemillion, had met the victim in a roadside diner earlier during the day and was able to provide fingerprints in her cell phone and a basic description to us.”

“Jodie Saintemillion?”

“Yeah, I don’t know how exactly she is known to the police other than getting mixed in a couple of cases… I heard Megure-keibu and Takagi talking something about an FBI-agent on a holiday with a boyfriend and getting involved with their cases but I’m not sure whom they were referring to.”

“Hmm…” That was odd. The class president decided to file that information for later use. After all Jodie Saintemillion was her previous English teacher’s name. “Could you give me the description of the person in the car fire?”

“Sure…”


Miyoshi thought hard all the information she had just got. She was standing in the middle of her room and staring at her wall full of notes and newspaper clippings. She usually covered it with a dark blue sheet from prying eyes. She was certain that her parents wouldn’t approve this pastime of hers either. They already disapproved Takuya’s career choice.

“Mizunashi Rena disappears November 25th(dunno which date actually). Soon after that Hondou Eisuke who resembles her greatly comes to our school. He disappears after the Christmas holiday. Weird things happen April 12th at Haido Central Hospital. The next day in Raiha Pass a car is blown up. The victim is already shot dead… During the weekend Nichuri TV announces Mizunashi Rena to have quit her work. April 16th Okiya Tsukiko comes to our school. Later I found out she had been in an accident so she couldn’t start earlier. A couple of weeks later Hondou Eisuke comes back to our school. He is said to have been in a hospital. On the next day he isn’t there anymore. He has left to the States…” Miyoshi went through her notes and jotted down simple marks on calendar pages among the clippings on the wall. “Is it just me or does this sound like too big to be a coincidence?”

The girl looked up at the timeline. She had several questions in her mind.

“Where did Tsukiko-chan say to have been hospitalized?”

“Why is Jodie-sensei still in Japan even though she told us she was to go back to America?”

“Why are two FBI agents getting involved with cases in Japan?”

“Is it possible that one of those agents was Jodie-sensei? If so, why was she at our school as an English teacher?”

“What the hell is going on with this case?”

“…” The girl read the description of the victim of the car fire. “Why does this sound familiar? I don’t forget faces. Ever.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 34.

Tsukiko sneezed. She hated cold. Winter was fine but cold was horrible. Especially when her winter gear wasn’t as good as back home in Finland. And the Japanese school system – or society or something – definitely tried to kill her when it forced her to wear that too short skirt during winter.

“At least I can put thick cotton tights under it so I don’t need to struggle in mere knee socks…” The blonde muttered, pulling her dark blue beanie better over her ears and wrapping her ruby-colored scarf tighter around her neck. She let out a slight yawn then. Staying up plate the couple of previous night didn’t do any good on her sleeping rhythm. Tsukiko still didn’t get how Subaru managed with his irregular sleeping rhythm.

“Bloody ninja…” She rubbed her eyes a bit before placing her glasses back on her face.

“Hmm… It’s right after the New Year now… Doesn’t that mean...” The girl looked up to see an achingly familiar person walking towards her, holding an umbrella against the slight wind and snowfall. Well, not exactly a familiar person but the face was familiar. It was a face Tsukiko hadn’t seen since Haido Central Hospital because her supposed ‘brother’ wore that disguise of his all the time, even in her presence because one could never know when someone decided to ring a doorbell…

Tsukiko kept her gaze fixed on the ground and fumbled for her phone in her pocket. She wasn’t really going to call or text to anyone but she needed to at least seem to do something to avoid looking at the scarred face of her good friend and important ally. And she didn’t want to draw Bourbon’s attention on herself by being associated with Akai. She couldn’t know for sure how much the detective of a Raven knew about her. She didn’t know if Vermouth had told him anything.

So she sped her steps slightly and passed the person who had baffled so many people back in the girl’s home world and spurred up several theories. Scar Akai. That’s what he’d been named back then.

“Did something happen!? I don’t remember parking my car around here…” Tsukiko heard suddenly via a nearby side street. The voice echoed slightly in the structures of the narrow alley but allowed her to hear it clearly. She hadn’t heard that voice for a while. James Black.

“Don’t tell me you saw someone from the Organization?” Camel joined. Tsukiko decided not to grit her teeth.

“N-Nothing like that! I just lost my way, that’s all…” Jodie replied a bit nervously. “That aside, did you get some good alcohol?”

“No… I couldn’t use my card at that store, so…” Black explained.

“And I also didn’t have much yen with me…” Camel added.

“Sorry, Jodie-kun, but could you pay for me first?”

“Ehhhh? I thought I was relieved of paying today, my wallet’s empty!” Jodie exclaimed.

“Jodie-san!” Tsukiko stepped on the street and acted like she had just heard their voices. The three agents turned to look at her as she jogged forwards.

“Tsukiko-chan, I didn’t know you were on the area today.” Jodie smiled. Tsukiko had stayed the two previous nights at Subaru’s so the woman could spent some time with her colleagues outside the work.

“I decided to take a walk in the snowfall. It’s pretty. And nii-san wanted me out of the way while cleaning up.” The girl smiled, pulling her beanie once again lower to her head. “Konnichiwa, Black-san… Camel.” The latter name was said a bit icily and bitingly. “Long time no see.”

“Hello, Okiya-kun. I see you are well today.” Black smiled back to her. Camel in the other hand was a bit baffled how his greeting had been obviously less polite and very reluctant. But since he had a good idea why it was so, he decided not to comment. Jodie hid her smile behind her palm. The girl surely knew how to hold a grudge.

“Yes, I am. I see you are well too.” A yawn made its way on Tsukiko’s face again but she hid it quickly. “Sorry, I haven’t slept that much lately.” She lifted her glasses and rubbed her eyes with her right hand. “I swear I look like a panda bear…”

“Tsukiko-chan, you should take better care of yourself.” Jodie berated the girl.

“Nah, I am. You should take a look on Subaru-nii’s sleeping schedule. I swear he never sleeps when normal people do…” Tsukiko shrugged. “How about yourself? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“Ah, nothing like that…” The female agent gave out a nervous smile. “Anyways, I need to take a trip to a nearby bank. Do you want to come with me?”

“Sure. I have nothing to do anyways.”

“Okay, please wait for me at the store.” Jodie told Black and Camel then, and she and Tsukiko hurried off.


The whole way to the bank Jodie was deep in her thoughts.

“Say, you came from right to that alley, didn’t you?” The female asked suddenly.

“I made a left turn, yeah.” Tsukiko nodded thoughtfully, trying to map out the route she had walked.

“You didn’t see… anyone familiar did you?”

“No. At least I don’t think so. Why do you ask? Did you see anyone then?” The girl tilted her head.

“I thought I saw.” Jodie’s gaze lingered on Tsukiko scarf and beanie for a moment before she looked forwards again. The girl glanced at her scarf too then.

“Oh, right… Red… Akai… and this dark beanie too. Dammit, why did these have to appeal my eye so much? And mention of panda eyes too. And asking about seeing a ghost. I’m such an idiot…” Tsukiko made a mental headdesked facepalm.


They got to the bank just when Haibara and professor Agasa stepped out. Tsukiko greeted them briefly but followed Jodie then. The agent stepped on the line to the ATMs and the girl took a look around. She didn’t really fancy being a hostage.

“Umm, Jodie-san, I need to use the bathroom. I’ll be here shortly though.”

“Okay…” The woman nodded but seemed to be deep in thought. The girl hurried in the corridor leading to the bathrooms and got around the corner just when the group of five robbers arrived.


Hiding in the bathroom wasn’t fun but at least she didn’t need to wait for long.

Bang!

The first shot was fired now. Next one came a bit later. The blonde girl sneaked out of the bathroom and found Conan peering to the main area where the hostages were giving up their cell phones. And there was a two familiar faces besides Jodie and Scar Akai.

“Eh? Is that Miyoshi and Ishihara?” Tsukiko noticed, when crouching on Conan’s level. She touched gently the boy’s shoulder, making him jump but she shushed him quickly.

“Let’s go back…” She whispered and they hurried to the men’s toilet where the rest of the Shounen Tantei-dan was hiding.


“Eh, Tsukiko-oneesan was here too?” Ayumi asked.

“Yeah, I came here with a friend of mine who had to use the ATM.” Tsukiko explained with her ‘Okiya-smile’. “But now we need to hide in the case someone comes to check here too. We need to be really quiet, okay?”

“Yes.” The three nodded and went to hide in the stall nearby.

“Who did you come with?” Conan asked with a low voice.

“Jodie-san.”

“Okay…”

“Hurry up! Walk quickly!” Was heard from the corridor. Tsukiko and Conan slipped into the stall with the rest of the kids just when the door opened.

“Ok, call me when you finish!” The robber told Jodie who was bound with the duct tape.

“Hnn-hnn!”

“Huh?”

“Hnn-hnn!”

“Oh, right… Your arms have been tied up, so you can’t move your underwear… Allow me!”

“Pervert…” Tsukiko gritted her teeth but didn’t need to worry about the robber when Jodie kneed him right on the face. The man flew on the floor and the agent got rid of the tapes on her face and wrists. At that time Conan stepped out of their hiding place.

“As expected of an FBI investigation officer…” The boy stated. “You did it…”

“Why are you here!?” The woman exclaimed quietly. Tsukiko peeked out of the stall.

“When I heard the gun shot, I found these four hiding here and decided to stick around.” She told, taking off her scarf and beanie and wrapping them up before putting them in her shoulder bag. “As for them… I didn’t get to ask. Why are you here, guys?”

“We came here with Mitsuhiko to make a deposit, but had to take Genta to the bathroom because of his stomachache.” Conan explained.

“Then, we heard a loud sound, ‘bang’!” Ayumi continued.

“That’s why we’ve been hiding in the bathroom.” Mitsuhiko added.

“A-Although me stomach has already calmed down…” Genta decided to mention.

“And? How many robbers are there?” The only non-kid asked.”

“Five. All of them have guns.” Jodie answered.

“Sure enough, are they after the money then?” Tsukiko frowned as the three of them casted a glance on the unconscious robber.

“Yeah, they said they would pack the money in the cases they brought along… Though it’s doubtful…” Jodie told. “They sorted out the ones with companions and used only the branch chief to pack the money… If so, why does everyone seem oddly concerned with the time…?”

“Uh, Jod-.” Tsukiko had heard steps. Just then the agent’s whole behavior changed.

“Who cares? If I can defeat one of them, nothing is impossible! I’ll go for it, all by myself! The game starts here!”

“It’s fine! You don’t need to try…” An unfamiliar voice said behind the woman. She was hit by a Taser and slumped on the ground. The other occupants of the bathroom had already hid.

“Pfft, I was right deciding to come here…” A third robber snickered at his own brilliant idea.

“This guy…”

“Don’t… There’s nothing we can do… Carrying him may prove troublesome…”

“We don’t have time for that! Take off his mask and jacket, then arrange him so he’s sitting on the toilet! He’ll appear to be a customer that was discovered hiding in the bathroom and beaten by the robbers, right?”

“But this woman knows who he is…”

“True…”

“Well, no one knows who she is or where she’s from, right?”

“Yeah, she’ll quickly vanish…”

“That’s right!”

And the robbers left. Conan opened the stall door and the kids jumped off the lid of the toilet seat they had been standing on. Tsukiko climbed down too: she had been sitting on the water tank.

“What should we do? They got Jodie-sensei…” Ayumi asked in worry.

“Let’s go outside and beat those guys up!” Genta suggested/ordered.

“But aren’t there five of them?” Mitsuhiko pointed out while Conan checked that the way was clear for them. Tsukiko looked into the stall where the unconscious robber was seated.

“No… There are four.” She smirked.

Chapter Text

Chapter 35.

Tsukiko prepared the toilet papers on the floor with the help of the kids and signaled Conan to make the phone call to another robber. Then she sneaked on her place in the toilet to wait for him. It was better if Conan was in the position by the papers with his stun gun wrist watch in the case the bad guy wouldn’t slip on the papers.

“Hey, hey… You’re still out cold!” The man stuttered as he saw his partner in crime still sitting on the toilet seat quietly. “Then, that call just now--!?”

“Well… Maybe he called from the land of dreams.” Tsukiko leaned smugly against the stall behind the man. “But let me tell you… doing a crime never pays you anything. Just costs it all.”

“G-Girl, where’d you come from!?” The man shouted just when she took off running. “H-Hey! Wait! Wait a minute!”

“He seriously thinks I’ll stop and wait for him when he is a criminal and has a gun… How thick he is? Well, thick enough to call to his girlfriend right before committing a crime of this size.”

“Wait, or else…” There was a sound of gun loading. Tsukiko rounded the corner and dodged the toilet papers on the ground. “I’ll kill you!”

The man slipped and fell. Hit his head. The end.

“That was handy.” Tsukiko stated as Conan checked whether or not the man was still conscious.

“W-What should we do, Conan?” Genta asked as he, Ayumi and Mitsuhiko peeked behind a corner.

“Ah… He seems to be unconscious…” The bespectacled boy observed. “Let’s tie hit up with the hose from the bathroom for now.”

“The toilet paper strategy was a big success!” Genta rejoiced suddenly.

“We practically used it all up!” Mitsuhiko added.

“Yeah!” Ayumi nodded. “What do we do next?”

“How about this? Let’s use his cell phone to call his partners!” Conan dug out the guy’s cell phone from his jeans pocket. “Before we called him, he must have called some other numbers, which may belong to one of his accomplices.”

“Or may not…” Tsukiko chuckled mentally while dragging the hose the kids. While Conan made the call, she used a knife she’d found in the bathroom to cut the hose to pieces of a right length. Then she began to tie the man up.

Conan ended the call soon enough but after scrolling through the phone records he found out that there was no other person to call to.

“Hey, Conan? What are you doing?”

“Hurry up and call!”

“That person just now said there wasn’t much time left!” The kids told the boy.

“Time?” He repeated.

“Now when you mention it… Jodie did say that they were glancing at their watches constantly.” Tsukiko mused aloud in her crouching position her elbow on her knee and her cheek against her hand. “And there was a bunch of other oddities in this robbery.” She glanced at the boy and… bling bling! He had the answer.

“I got it…” Conan stated. “I understand now what’s their plan.”

“Y-You understand…?” Mitsuhiko repeated. “You understand what robbers’ plan?”

 “Yeah… Those robbers probably intend to disguise themselves as hostages in order to escape from the bank.”

“D-Disguise…” Genta frowned.

“How?” Ayumi asked.

“You probably noticed how those robbers all looked the same, right?” Tsukiko asked. “All of them wearing similar ski masks and jackets.” The kids nodded.

“The one left in the bathroom by his partners had his mask and jacket removed. Afterward, this guy who was called here also removed his as well.” Conan continued. “In other words, the robbers planned to choose five people among the hostages, knock them out with the stun gun… Then, cover them with the masks, put the jackets on them, and have those hostages pose as the robbers themselves!”

“But won’t they be found out immediately?” Genta asked.

“Nope, as you saw with Jodie-san, the hostages have their eyes and mouth covered and their hands tied behind their backs.” Tsukiko smiled a bit.

“I see! They have no idea what the bad guys are doing if they can’t see!” Ayumi realized.

“That’s right… Which is why they separated of the hostages the ones with some companion and those alone who came alone. The robbers will choose five of those who came alone, dress them up, and when those people disappear, no one will say anything because they came alone and no one can prove anything.” The blonde girl deadpanned while going through her bag to find anything useful. Nothing. Only one thick book that she didn’t feel like sacrificing to beat up the robbers with and a metal tube in which she kept her lock-picks. Hmm…

“W-When they disappear?” Mitsuhiko asked.

“What do you mean?” Genta mumbled.

“Do you know why they forced only the branch chief to collect all the money in the bank and pack it into the cases they brought along?” Conan asked the rest of the kids.

“Isn’t it because he knows the most about the bank?” Mitsuhiko guessed.

“In a small branch bank like this, you can withdraw 100 million yen right away and another 200 million yen from the ATM, totaling 300 million yen in cash. It takes quite a while for only one person to collect and pack all that cash in the cases…” The bespectacled kid explained while Tsukiko tried to compare the amounts of money to euros.

“7 euros is about 1000 yen… That makes about…” She took her phone and used the calculator in it. The numbers were a bit too big even for her. And seven was a complicated number to divide with. “710 580 euros from the withdrawals, 1 421 200 from the ATMs and altogether… about 2 131 700 euros. That’s a lot still.” She muttered.

“Then, why only one person?” Mitsuhiko asked.

“Because the cases were never meant for storing the money.” The teen girl stated while pocketing her phone. “My bet is that those cases are containing bombs.”

“Bo-Bombs!?” The kids exclaimed.

“Yeah, they’ll put the cases with those bombs behind the counter where the branch chief, Jodie-san and the five fake robbers are, all asleep. Then, they’ll put the money that the branch chief had taken out near and let the bombs go off. The next thing we’ll know is that the bombs have blown up, killed those seven and the police will be none the wiser.”

“What she means, is that after the explosion the police will rush in and with all the money flying around, they’ll think the explosion was from the attempt of opening the safe. And this attempt will be considered a failure in which the explosion kills the robbers, together with the branch chief and Jodie-sensei.” Conan clarified.

“That’s what I said.” Tsukiko pouted.

“No, you didn’t.”

“So, the robbers didn’t intend to steal the money, did they?” Genta interrupted.

“No, they may have forced the branch chief to transfer a large amount of money to a bank account online, which would then be forwarded to their own account. They intend to transfer the money from Japan to some offshore bank.” The shrunken teen explained.

“Which is why the branch chief must die too in the explosion.” Tsukiko added.

“Su-Such smart robbers…” Mitsuhiko stuttered.

“No, they’re idiots!” Conan announced. “Even if they are able to transfer 300 million yen from here, the HQ of the foreign exchange bill center will stop any remittance over 5 million yen without certain cause as required by law. That regulation didn’t exist in the past… But, with the rampant fraud and money laundering these days, it’s necessary. Perhaps the plan to attack this bank was formed long ago, but it took substantial amount of time to arrange for the personnel and weapons?”

“Then, this plan has failed anyways, hasn’t it?” Mitsuhiko asked.

“What idiots…” Genta added his own opinion.

“Well, not necessary idiots…” Tsukiko mused aloud. “But not sharp enough to keep up with the world. Anyways, the guns are definitely real and most likely the bombs are too. In any case, we gotta capture them. Otherwise seven innocent people will get killed and the robbers walk free and possibly try this again. I doubt it but it is a possibility anyways…”

“Capture them?”

“But how?”

“You gonna use that gun, Conan?” The kids spoke when the faux child put the gun behind the waistband of his jeans.

“No, I’m just holding onto it in case something happens…” The bespectacled boy answered. “I’m not going to fire it!”

“Okay, guys, ready to head out?” Tsukiko got up from her crouch and dusted her knees. She was straightening her glasses when the kids gave out their protest and doubt.

“We’ll be safe! When that moment comes, they won’t be able to notice us!” Conan assured them.

“That moment?” Ayumi repeated.

“Maybe they’ll shout out, so that their hostages can hear…”

“DAMN!! WE’LL BE BLOWN UP WITH THE BANK LIKE THIS!! BASTARD, GIVE ME A HAND!!”

“Yup, that’s the sign.” Tsukiko grinned and the five of them proceeded forward.

“Ayumi-chan, keep the elevator door open!” Conan instructed. “Genta, move the cart in front of the elevator to the counter where the hostages are gathering! Mitsuhiko, Tsukiko-neechan and I will go there first!”

“Everybody, act quick but keep calm and don’t make any noise, okay?” Tsukiko asked. The kids nodded. “Good, I know you can do it.” She smiled and all of them hurried to their tasks.

“Wait, Conan-kun! Is it really safe…?” Mitsuhiko began and stopped when they arrived to the hall.


The boys lifted the cases on the counter from where Tsukiko and Genta laid them on the cart carefully but quickly. They pushed the carts to the elevator. The door was thankfully held open by Ayumi.

“Ayumi! Get out, quick!” Conan yelled and the girl did so. Tsukiko continued with the cart onwards since she was quickest, left the cart with the cases to the elevator and got out right in time before the bombs went off.

“Phew, that was close…” Genta sighed.

“We’re lucky it didn’t explode immediately!” Ayumi smiled happily.

“It wasn’t luck.” Conan put in bluntly. “To disguise themselves as hostages, the robbers have to tape their eyes and mouths like the rest, and their hands have to be bound behind their backs. Just now, after shouting, they must’ve used their mouths to bind both hands together, and then walk into the midst of the hostages… After taping their eyes and mouths, they then passed both legs through their bound hands. This way, it’ll look like their hands are bound behind their backs.”

“Nice job being a killjoy…” Tsukiko muttered. “But you are right though… They used a timer which was set up with just enough time for them to get into tape and to the sea of hostages. And before you ask, no, a remote control wouldn’t work because with bound hands they couldn’t throw it away after pressing the button. If the police were to find the control by them, they’d be suspects immediately.”

They were there now.

“But, how can we find the three robbers left among these people?” Ayumi whispered. “Haven’t all of their eyes and mouths been covered?”

“It’s very simple! If I use the robber’s voice to shout to this…” Conan lifted his bowtie in front of his mouth. “All right! Everyone stand up now… Walk towards the direction of my voice!”

The hostages began to get up.

“Good, walk slowly! Don’t trip on the person in front of you!”

“How do we find the culprits like this?” Mitsuhiko asked. But they just waited still while the hostages walked forward until they saw a group of three men still sitting on the floor.  Conan walked to them while Tsukiko slipped around the hostages so she wouldn’t be noticed by the robber who’d wake up in the toilet and come to the hall at any moment.

“It’s you three, isn’t it?” Conan asked the robbers. “Not obeying orders outside of the plan, you can only be the robbers themselves! All right! Let’s get the tape off the bank employees first! Open the main door!” The boy told the Shounen Tanteis.

“Okay!”

“When the police come in, they’ll only see the three restrained robbers here, in the corridor and the one lying in the bathroom…”

“Who’s lying in the bathroom?” The robber who had been knocked out by Jodie earlier had woken up by the explosion and now caught Conan around the neck and lifted the boy in the air. “Whether it’s that foreign woman, or this little brat… What is they’re trying to do!?”

Tsukiko dropped her bag soundlessly on the floor and grabbed only one item from there. She sneaked closer just when the robber found the gun Conan had taken to keep with himself.

“Let the boy go!” The girl pressed the cylindrical case of her lock-picks against the neck of the robber’s jumper. The diameter of the case was roughly the size of a barrel of a gun and due the thick fabric of the shirt, the man couldn’t tell the difference.

“What do you think you are doing?” The bad guy hissed through his teeth.

“Even if you kill the boy, you’ll die immediately after that. Let him go!” The blonde girl demanded loudly.

“Who are you!?”

“Just an annooying foreeigner…” She dragged her words in the same way than Jodie had done in the bathroom before she had been caught. “I count three… And then I won’t hesitate because I hate the likes of you…”

“But the brat goes first… Down to hell…”

Bang!

The bullet whizzed right past Tsukiko and hit the robber in the shoulder. Conan got on the floor and looked up immediately. He saw that Tsukiko had only a thin metal cylinder in her hand and seemed as shocked as he was.

“That wasn’t me…” She said, looking around. The hostages were running around and the two of them couldn’t spot anyone. Even Tsukiko couldn’t though she knew who it had been.


“It seems everyone is all right!” Professor Agasa smiled to the kids when they all were gathered outside the bank.

“Of course… Edogawa-kun and an FBI agent were there!” Haibara muttered.

“Not really, this time…” Conan began.

“It’s thanks to the Shounen Tantei.” Jodie continued while looking at the trio.

“Definitely!” Tsukiko nodded.

“Tsukiko-chan!” The blonde girl was glomped suddenly. The girl struggled to stay upright and looked up to see a head of dark brown hair on a high ponytail.

“M-Mai-san?” She stuttered.

“Thank kami-sama that you’re alright! I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard you talking to that robber. And then I heard the gunshot! I wasn’t sure was it you or the robber and I was so scared!” The class president babbled, keeping the blonde close. “I swear I haven’t been this scared since the bus-jacking!”

“Bus-jacking?” Tsukiko repeated. The other girl couldn’t be talking about the case in DC volume 29… The Akai Shuichi introduction case…

“Yeah… It was a long time ago… What I gathered from the plan here… The things were almost identical!”

“Hold your horses, Mai-san…” Tsukiko interrupted. “I haven’t the faintest of what you’re talking about.”

“It was a bus-jacking in which I was taken as a hostage among the rest of the passengers. The kids and professor were there as well as Jodie-sensei and Araide-sensei… The culprits took our cell phones, had explosives with them with a timer and made two of the passengers to dress up as them. I remember it clearly because I was sitting in the front of the bus. I saw everything so clearly. And back then I didn’t have Kouki-san with me!”

“Speaking of which… Why were you here today? In this bank?”

“Well, Kouki-san was going to take me to a restaurant but wasn’t sure whether or not his card would work in that one so we came to get some cash.” Miyoshi shrugged. She seemed to be about to continue but her attention went to the kids talking with Jodie.

“But, we still don’t quite understand…”

“Jodie-sensei, don’t you teach English?”

“When did you start working with the FBI?” The kids asked the woman.

“The FBI?” Miyoshi asked aloud, eyes narrowing. Tsukiko looked at her nervously but didn’t really know what to say.

“Don’t tell me you’re acting?”

“Genta-kun always wanted to act as Kamen Yaiba!”

“Y-Yeah, it’s acting…” The woman smiled nervously. Miyoshi’s gaze didn’t falter from her though.

“What now? That thought-filled expression…” Haibara asked Conan then.

“I was wondering who shot the culprit with a pistol in the end…” The bespectacled boy replied. “With Jodie-sensei unconscious and Tsukiko-neechan didn’t have one… Who else could have done it?” He thought aloud.

“Eh, he’s gone?” Jodie’s head snapped up and she began looking around frantically. “Wasn’t he with the hostages?”

“Who?” Miyoshi asked. If Jodie was with the FBI… who could she be looking for?

Suddenly the girl remembered the description of the victim of the Raiha Pass car fire. Because she didn’t forget faces… She remembered clearly the face of the man who had changed into the outfit of one of the bus-jackers while the other one had been doctor Araide. The man had sat on the floor right next to Miyoshi’s seat. In the hearing the man had said his name was Akai Shuichi.

“Jodie-sensei knows him. She should surely recognize him from back then. Instead, according to Takuya-nii, she had told Takagi-keiji that the man in the car fire was just someone who she had met in the roadside café. Why do that? Unless…” Miyoshi had crossed her arms and was deep in thought. She lifted her head to look at the woman’s interaction with two foreign men. “She actually knew the man but couldn’t say it to the police because of her line of work. The FBI. The man was also an agent but since they have no jurisdiction here… Something happened at Haido Central Hospital in which the FBI was involved and then the man, Akai Shuichi, was killed in Raiha Pass. But why would the FBI be here in Japan? And the fingerprints from the phone… Very uncertain method: they could belong to anyone.”

“Who were you looking for just now?” Black asked Jodie.

“Th-That is…” The woman stuttered before changing her mind. “No, it’s nothing… Forget that I mentioned anything…” And she walked away. Tsukiko watched after her.

“I probably should go too…” The girl said a bit uncertainly.

“Why?” Miyoshi tilted her head.

“I…”

“You said once that you don’t live with your brother and asked me not to tell anyone that you are adopted. You said it was complicated and didn’t want any troubles.” The class president interrupted. “Has it something to do with the fact that you are living with an FBI agent who happens to be my previous English teacher?”

“Yeah… Kinda…” Tsukiko ran a hand through her hair a bit embarrassedly. She gave a sideways glance towards the remaining agents at the place.

“It’s alright if you don’t want to tell. I also have things I rather not talk about. Especially my cases.”

“Cases?”

“Yes, like I said before: I solve different sort of cases on my free time…” Miyoshi watched at Jodie’s retreating back. “But when they are unfinished… I don’t like talking about them.”

“I see…”

“Mai-chan…” Ishihara hurried to the brunette. “The police says we can go now.”

“Okay, let’s go then Kouki-san.” Mai smiled to her boyfriend. “See you at school, Tsukiko-chan!”

“Yeah, see ya!” Tsukiko waved to the other girl who left with the young man with her. She let out a sigh. Once again. Once again Miyoshi had figured something out. But she didn’t know how much the most intelligent girl of their class actually knew.


"Jodie-sensei confirmed the fingerprints and is now looking for someone… Who could it be? A ghost of Akai Shuichi? Grief-stricken people usually see ghosts of their loved ones everywhere… Wait a bit…” The girl remembered suddenly the scene Jodie had caused in the beginning of the robbery.

“Are you Shuu?” The woman had asked the man sitting next to her. And the man had definitely been solid for everyone to see. And he had looked exactly like the man from the bus-jacking.

“There is no way he could’ve survived the car fire… Unless… Either the prints were confirmed wrong, either by being from a wrong person and a wrong person in the car. That scenario would need a huge mistake or a faked death. In the case of faked death it needs at least two helpers. Or then the person here was a wrong one. Either someone who greatly resembles this Akai guy or then someone is going around while wearing his face. Probably latter because it would be too big of a coincidence for Jodie to meet them… But why would anyone do that?”

“What’s wrong Mai-chan?” Ishihara asked the girl. “You seem thoughtful.”

“Ah, it’s nothing, Kouki-san. I’m just thinking about a case of mine. I’m missing a lot of data at the moment.”

“You should take a break from those cases of yours. They will wear you out eventually.”

“But Kouki-san… I’m not thinking about them all the time.”

“Something huge is going on. The FBI is involved. And somehow so is Okiya Tsukiko.” Miyoshi looked behind herself where she saw Tsukiko hurrying after Jodie and taking the woman’s hand then into her own.

Chapter Text

Chapter 36.

Tsukiko frowned at the message she had just received from Miyoshi. The message had a video clip about three youngsters breaking into a large mansion like house in order to light it on fire. According to them it’s ‘to test how fast the firemen would arrive in the middle of forest’. Idiocy in Miyoshi’s opinion and Tsukiko had to agree. The video had been put on the class posting list last week by Morimura whose relative from somewhere else than Tokyo was one of the guys in the video.

“That mansion looks familiar…” The blonde mumbled while watching the video. Miyoshi had stated the video was a fake one and the boys had exaggerated their reactions in the last room before running out of the house.

The camera was led through the front doors which were open for some reason to a large area in the middle of the house. It was empty. Only the stairs led to the next floor and ripped up colored papers where stuck on the doors surrounding the area.

“That place looks disturbingly familiar…”

The trio run the stairs up and peeked to every room in the second floor. Then they came to the door which was blocked by a cart full of boxes. Two of them, Tsukiko noted they were using gloves to they wouldn’t leave prints and then get arrested for the arson they planned.

“God, this is not the Red Wall house!” The girl almost toppled off the bed when she came to that realization. The camera was past the cart now and the door was being opened… The three guys with the camera were silent when they met the sight. The body of Akashi Shuusaku sitting on the white chair and the red wall in front of him. Then they began to scream and ran out. They only closed the doors and pushed the cart on its place before hurrying to their cars and driving away. What Tsukiko understood from their panicked words was that they would not put the video on the internet.

“Well, some common sense they have then… But why to send this to Morimura then?” The blonde sighed and got up from her bed, putting her bag on it. She should go and return a couple of books to the Kudou library that had become about the main source of her reading.

“But it would be nice to get there anyways… Without the body there. This was one of my favourite cases after all. Hmm…”


On the way to the 2nd district of Beika Town, Tsukiko typed up a message to Conan.

- I got an interesting video and I don’t think it’s fake despite what Mai-san says.
I’d like to investigate it but all I know is that this place is somewhere else than Tokyo.
I’m no good at recognizing different dialects so could you please help me? If you want to
you can also come with me to investigate this. We were such a good team last time, right?
Reply soon, okay? I really want to get out of Tokyo and investigate this case I’ve named
the Red Wall case. I’ll send you the video if you’re interested, Tantei-chan.

Tsukiko

“And send.”


Inspector Yamato Kansuke and detective Uehara Yui had just introduced the case they had been working on with for a while to the residents of Detective Agency Mouri when Conan’s cellphone beeped. The boy took it out in puzzlement and opened the mail he had got. When he read the message, he almost dropped the phone. Okiya had a video about the Red Wall.

“Yamato-keibu… How many people are known to have visited the crime scene?” The boy asked.

“Apart from officers no one. At least not to our knowledge…” Yamato answered. “Why do you ask?”

“Tsukiko-neechan has a video about something she calls the Red Wall case… She says it’s outside Tokyo but doesn’t know anything else.” Conan showed the message to the two police officers.

“Do you think it could be…?” Yui began.

“It can be anything. Would you call her, kid?” Yamato gave the phone back. “And put a speaker on.”

“Okay!”


“Utsumuku sono senaka ni… Itai ame wa tsukisasaru… Inoru omoide mite ita…”

”That was quick…” Tsukiko mused closing the door of the Kudou mansion behind her. She had only dropped the books on the coffee table of the library and left then. No need to linger any longer when Subaru was half-asleep anyways. (She got in through back door which she lock-picked open. No need to tell Conan. She didn’t do it anyways that often. Only when she knew that Subaru was finally resting properly and didn’t want to disturb him.)

“Moshi, moshi, Tsukiko speaking…”

“Ah, Tsukiko-neechan, it’s Conan.”

“I can hear that.” This was weird. Why would the boy call her ‘neechan’ in the phone? Unless there was people around. People who listened the conversation.

“I just wanted to ask where you got the video. The one you want me to check out.”

“It has been going around our class during this week. One guy of our class, Morimura, got it from his cousin or something who lives somewhere… somewhere. Many people didn’t pay any specific attention on the vid though and even Mai-san says it’s a fake. Too exaggerated reactions or something like that. But I’m curious though and it’s quite a good excuse to get out of Tokyo, what do you think?” Tsukiko turned around a street corner and began walking towards the Detective Agency. She had a feeling what day in the DC timeline was in question now.

“Well… Maybe… Could you send me the video?”

“Possibly. Would you be interested then? I can’t really say anything about the dialect the guys on the video were talking with. I only know that the video was taken about ten days ago.”

“Two days before the body was found.” Was heard on the background. Tsukiko frowned as she arrived to the end of the street along which the detective agency was. Yep, there was the car of Uehara Yui.

“Say, tantei-chan…” She picked up a small pebble and hurried in front of the house. “I’m not in a speaker phone, am I?”

“No… Why do you ask?”

“Because you’re a bad liar.” She threw the pebble in one of the middle window panes of the agency.


Tink.

Everyone in the detective agency turned to look at the window behind Kogoro. There was a small mark of something hitting the glass. Ran went to open the window.

“T-Tsukiko-chan!” The long-haired girl exclaimed.

“It’s rude to eavesdrop, ya know!” Tsukiko shouted back, her arms crossed on her chest but an amused smile on her face. Inspector Yamato limped to the window.

“It’s rude to butt into other’s investigations.” He remarked.

“But I haven’t done it yet! And if you invite me, it won’t be butting in. Someone else will gladly do it for me.” The girl grinned. “So… Am I guessing that the location of the Red Wall is in Nagano then?”


The car ride was long and the end of it was a bit bumpy since they took a shortcut through a forest. On the way there Tsukiko showed the video she had received to Inspector Yamato who confirmed it was the place they were going to.

“We need to find these brats to make sure they didn’t decide after all to spread this around. And make sure they aren’t related to this…” He muttered in irritation. He seemed to be on a bad mood and Kogoro’s complaining about the road didn’t improve it.

“Well… Isn’t it about time you tell us about the bloody red wall hint?” Conan asked. “Tsukiko-neechan didn’t even show me the video.”

“Could it be that the wall that was dyed deeo red with human blood is somewhere in the forest?” Ran panicked.

“No, no! Actually the blood smearing that Kan-chan talked about was…” Uehara was about to calm the girl but Yamato got ahead of her.

“Hey, don’t go that far…” The man said. “We don’t want preconceptions interfering with your deductions.”

“So you let them be in the dark with you dramatics?” Tsukiko scoffed in amusement.

“Well, it’s why we drove to Tokyo to bring you guys here and let you have a look at the scene yourself.” The inspector seemed to ignore the fact that Tsukiko hadn’t been originally invited. “Moreover…” He added to Uehara. “I’m higher-ranked that you. Stop calling me ‘Kan-chan’.”

“Yes, yes, Yamato Kansuke-keibu!”

Tsukiko muffled her laughter into her sleeve.

“At any rate, can you at least priviledge us with exactly where we’re headed?” Kogoro asked.

“To an old house built inside this forest. Its name was ‘The Mansion of Hope’.” Uehara told.

“’The Mansion of Hope’… What a charming name!” Ran smiled a bit nervously.

“Charming name yes. But considering that we’re headed there I can only guess that this ‘wall of blood’ is there…” Tsukiko muttered.

“Yes, it was only called that until three years ago.” Yamato continued the story. “Three years ago, the miserable-looking dead body of a woman was found in the warehouse of that mansion. Since then that locals haven’t called it ‘Hope’… They’ve been referring to it as ‘The Mansion of Death’.”


It was already dark when they arrived to the old mansion. Tsukiko looked up at it. Yep, it was the same than in the video…

“It’s become a bit old but it’s a splendid house. Originally, it was a vacation house for the rich…” The inspector explained to Ran and Kogoro. Meanwhile Conan talked to Uehara.

“Yamato-keibu seeking help from Kogoro-ojisan, it’s not like him…” The boy whispered.

“Ah, that’s because the person that he really doesn’t want to lose to is also participating in the investigation of this case!” Yui answered with a wink.

“Then, that person is a police officer as well?”

“Yeah! But we’re officers with the Nagano Prefecture Police Headquaters, while he’s an officer of this area’s jurisdiction station.”

“But, isn’t it true that local policemen don’t work with those from the headquarters?”

“To be honest, that person was Kan-chan’s classmate since elementary school, and it seems like they competed with each other in whatever they did. Although he graduated from the Law Department of Touto University with a top grade, he didn’t take the career test and went into the prefectural police… However, for some reason, he decided to work in the jurisdiction station…”

“Decided… or demoted?” Tsukiko thought aloud near them, not taking her eyes off the mansion in front of her.

“Eh?” Yui looked up at the girl.

“If those two were competing in everything possible and he – despite graduating with top grades from the most prestigious universities in Japan – decided to become a police officer just like Yamato-keibu… One would think his relocation to the jurisdiction station wasn’t by his own choice. Unless he did something against orders when he had a chance not to and that caused the situation now.” The girl stated simply. “And what I caught from the conversations earlier, you were away for a while, right, Uehara-keiji? A lot of things can happen during that time.” She shrugged.

“So, they were colleagues at the same Nagano Police HQ?” Conan confirmed.

“That’s right! I guess it was because of Kan-chan’s strategist-like name…” Uehara nodded.

“Hey, Uehara!” Yamato called from the stairs. “Let’s go inside!”

Tsukiko went to follow the man while Yui continued discussing with Conan a moment longer. Nothing on the man’s face indicated whether or not he had heard the girl’s ‘deductions’. But she guessed it didn’t really matter. At least not yet.


They went inside and inspector Yamato climbed the stairs leading to the second floor half-way up from where he explained the situation while the rest of them stayed in the first floor. It was actually quite lengthy explanation from the situation originally to the time when the locals began to call the house The Mansion of Death. Their group wasn’t shown the photos of the previous residents of the house, telling only their names and occupations. Not a word of who had died and which two were married.

“Umm… I just noticed something…” Ran said uncertainly. Tsukiko looked up from the photos which Kogoro was still observing.

“What is it?” The blonde asked.

“There are marks of unglued colored paper on the door…”

“You’re right, this door has similar marks…” Kogoro noticed.

“Aah, perhaps they are…” Uehara began.

“They’re for color classification, right?” Conan asked. “I guess they stuck colored paper on the doors to their rooms to make signs. Since all the names of those six people have colors!”

“Ah, like nick-names!” Tsukiko snapped her fingers. She remembered when she had read the manga chapters how she had realized it even before Conan. And guessed that the murderer was Midorikawa only because green was the complementary color of red. The clue in the chair had confused her then.

“Idiots! Their names are printed on the photos, and no one has a name with the kanji of color…” Kogoro rifled through the photos.

“Dummy, it’s the pronunciation! Even I got it and I suck at kanji-writing.” The blonde girl huffed.

“You do?” Ran asked.

“Yeah, why to use kanji when you have two other perfectly working writing systems. Heck, the westerns work with one and they do just fine. Nothing too complicated.” The girl failed to notice Conan’s narrowing eyes and then a smirk on his face. They were wiped away soon though when he also pointed out to the ‘famous detective’ how it was the sound, not the kanji that made the nick-names. Ran got it immediately and Yamato agreed with the observation.

“They used colors to distinguish not only the room, but also themselves. Look!” He lifted up a calendar page which had a color-kanji on each day. “This cooking duty rotation table we found in the store room. What’s written on it are not their names but colors. They might even call each other by color…”

They all walked the stairs up to the next floor and to the door of the atelier of Akashi Shuusaku. All that time Inspector Yamato explained the circumstances of the death. Outwards opening door, cart full of books…

“Then, that room is…” Kogoro began while stepping past the cart.

“Yeah, when we arrived he was really thin, and had died of hunger.” Yamato opened the door. “In this disgusting room with the Red Wall.”

Ran and Kogoro panicked immediately when they saw the room but Tsukiko kept her cool with Conan. The detective duo stepped into the room. The boy walked immediately to the spray paint bottle on the floor while the blonde girl stepped closer to the wall.

“It’s paint.” Conan stated, calming Ran down. “Look, the spray can lying on the floor, the nozzle has the same red color paint as on the wall.”

“Stench of paint… The room is obviously ventilated properly by now but it was a closed space for a long time so some of the smell is still lingering…” Tsukiko remarked after sniffing the wall a bit.

“But what are these? These black and white chairs…” Kogoro asked when he and Ran finally dared to step into the room. “Looks like they’ve been painted and nailed to the floor on purpose.”

“The body was upright on the white chair.” Yui told them.

“C-Could it be a message left by the culprit?” Ran asked.

“No, it isn’t. Because in this room a listening device was installed.” Yamato told the girl.

“And the culprit would’ve taken the spray bottle and disposed it somewhere else.” Tsukiko added while looking at the painting tools on the table by the white wall.

“I… I see… The culprit eavesdropped on this room, and determined the condition of the person inside through the sounds… After the sounds stopped, if the culprit came to this room to check if that man really died he’d have retrieved the bug. But since the bug is still here…” The not-sleeping detective thought aloud.

“Yeah, only the victim was locked in here… The culprit never entered. That is to say, the red wall, and the black and white chairs are really a dying message left by the victim.” All occupants of the room turned to look at the wall at the Inspector’s words. The limping man asked then Kogoro’s opinion of the case and predictably the dozing smoker guessed Akashi Shuusaku.

“Wrong!” Tsukiko butted in, making the adults look at her. “He was the victim. And no, I’m not saying it because of the video.” She added when Inspector Yamato was about to mention the clip. “I’m saying it because of the obvious facts in this room and otherwise. This Akashi-san was an artist. This is his atelier… or workspace. Then, there is a signature in the right bottom corner of the red paint. He signed this dying message as his own piece of art. Besides… isn’t ‘Red’ a bit too straightforward. It even ignores the painted chairs.”

“She is right. The shriveled-up person in this room was that Akashi Shuusaku.” Yamato agreed.

“However, she passed away three years ago in the storeroom of this house.” Uehara added.

“Don’t tell me she was also murdered!?” Ran panicked.

“No, her heart had always been rather weak. She was searching for something in the storeroom when she had and attack, and well… Her husband Shuusaku-san was completing his work in this room. It was already half a day later when he noticed his wife had collapsed.”

“No way…”

Kogoro threw in another wild guess which truly irritated Yamato then.

“Steps in the stairs.” The blonde stated just when…

“Trying to meet a worthy man in the wrong way… is as bad as closing the door on an invited guest.” A new male voice stated from the doorway. Inspector Morofushi Taka’aki had taken the stage now. “I see… When it comes to dealing with a famous detective, you brought him here yourself instead of just calling… Not bad… However, your attitude towards Mouri-tantei right now is exceedingly impertent. Friends of ancient times would’ve been ashamed of you, Kansuke-kun…”

“Why are you here?” Yamato fumed. “This is none of your concern!”

“No no, this is under the jurisdiction of my Arano-sho department… How could I shirk my duty?”

“Yep, someone else will definitely do the butting in for me… At least when one takes Yamato-keibu’s point of view.” Tsukiko grinned to herself. Yui glanced at her, remembering the girl’s words before they had left Tokyo. Behind them Kogoro and Ran discussed about the proverb Morofushi had said when stepping into the room.

“I’ve heard it a bit differently… ‘If the prophet does not come to the mountain, the mountain will come to the prophet’.” Tsukiko smiled. “The meaning is about the same right? At least it fits to how mister… rival elaborated the meaning of his words. I like that proverb. Unfortunately it’s very religion coated. One can’t really use it without people looking at your way.” She shrugged before stepping closer to the two inspectors.

“…That sealed window was broken from the inside… The drawing tools like the brushes and paints were all thrown out from there. The only one left in this room was this red spray can…” Morofushi talked. “Also, the victim bit his own finger… and used his blood to sign his name at the edge of the wall. Based on these clues, I’d like to hear the opinion of a famous detective… Of course, that would be done in front of me… At any rate, when the body was found, a number of drawing tools were scattered outside… I’ve always felt suspicious of that…”

“Isn’t is obvious? They were thrown out by the victim in the case the murderer would come back and try to mess up with the dying message…” Tsukiko muttered, sitting down on the black chair. She looked at the white wall and had to squeeze her eyes shut immediately. “Guh…”

“Tsukiko-neechan, are you alright?” Conan asked next to her. The girl took of her glasses and pressed the fingers of her right hand on her eyelids.

“Fine… My eyes just hurt from staring that red wall for such a long time…”

“Even if we’re colleagues, if you continue to treat me with contempt…” The conversation was still ongoing.

“Ah, I know, I KNOW! I won’t appear beside you before you draw your last breath! KOUMEI!!!”

“Ko-Koumei!?” Conan, Kogoro and Ran asked simultaneously. Tsukiko chuckled into her fist.

“Ah, I forgot just now, how impolite of me… My surname is Morofushi and my name is Taka-aki… It can also be pronounced as Koumei…” The ‘intruding’ inspector introduced himself. “In the future… Please look after me.”

Tsukiko could just see Conan sweatdropping.

Chapter Text

Chapter 37.

When inspector Yamato once again asked Kogoro’s opinion about the odd crime scene, Tsukiko got up from the black chair and walked to the farthest corner of the room. There she dug out a small sketchbook she kept all the time in her bag nowadays, and a regular propelling pencil: Pilot Super Grip 0.5, green. She began sketching the room from there. First appeared the rough outlines indicating the floor and walls. Then the door to the corridor and the pair of chairs in the middle of the room. Next was the supply table with empty canvases behind it and finally the red paint on the wall pictured on the right. The spray bottle was drawn into the picture too and at the Tsukiko frowned.

“Isn’t it weird?” She thought aloud quietly. “That the spray bottle is lying on the floor… Shouldn’t it be next to the victim’s chair since he used it?”

“Ah le le… What are you doing Tsukiko-neechan?” Conan hung on the girl’s left arm that was holding the sketch book, like he had done when Kogoro had gotten the photos about the previous inhabitants of the house. But since the blonde didn’t have strength to hold the boy up, she was dragged towards the floor.

“Tantei-chan… Don’t do that please…” Tsukiko muttered when she was kneeling next to the boy.

“But I wanted to see what you wrote!” A childish whine.

“I didn’t write anything. I drew.” The girl showed the drawing of the crime scene. “Because some things you can see when you think like the one setting up them. In this case like an artist.”

“An artist? Are you one then?” Conan had somewhat smug expression on his face. Like he was trying to belittle the girl.

“Of course I am!” The blonde huffed, puffing her cheeks proudly. “Even Mai-san says so.”

“Miyoshi-neechan?”

“Yes. Since our class is full of stereotypes and Sawamura doesn’t qualify as an artist, I get the title. Others agree to that, even the ones in art club for some reason…”

“Sawamura?” The boy frowned.

“She draws doujinshi about everyone in our class.” Tsukiko grimaced. “This far I have been spared. Probably thanks to Mai-san… But go now and think like an artist.” The girl shooed the kid towards the adults, slapping his back gently on the way.


“Red… White… and Black…” Conan said aloud to the two inspectors and the rest of the adults. “Maybe he wanted to use those three colors to tell us something? Because the other colors were thrown out of the window… Tsukiko-neechan says that they were thrown out so the culprit wouldn’t mess the dying message. So all the colors must mean something!”

“Oh… Who’s this young boy?” Morofushi asked Yamato.

“He’s staying at Sleeping Kogoro’s detective office… His name is Edogawa Conan.” Came the explanation.

“Edogawa Conan…”

“Also…” Conan slipped to the corridor. “The cart that was stacked with boxes full of books and blocking the door… Who do they belong to?”

“They were Aoi-san’s.” Uehara answered. “We mentioned her earlier: the wife of Akashi Shuusaku-san, who was the man that died in starvation in this room. Three years ago, she died of natural causes in the storage room… Maiden name: Kobashi Aoi-san. These books were taken from the shelves in her room and put in these boxes. Given that she was formerly a novelist, she had a lot of books…”

“Then, could it be that a relative of Aoi-san hated Shuusaku-san because of her death and killed him?” The boy asked. “When Aoi-san had a heart attack in the storeroom, Shuusaku-san was drawing and only found out half a day later!”

“But, Aoi-san was an only child and since her parents died young…”

“Then, aren’t the four men who used to live with these two suspicious?”

“Eh? Why?” Ran asked.

“Because who else would know that Aoi-san’s room would have that many books? Enough to block a door. Who else would know that these door open only outwards and even consider using those books to block the door?” Tsukiko stated behind everyone else her back turned to them while sketching the room from another angle(from the door so she’d get the broken window too).

“In the other words, the culprit might be the actor, Midorikawa Naoki-san… The fashion designer, Yamabuki Shouji-san… The CG designer, Momose Takuto-san… or the musician, Naoki Shirou-san. It must be one of them…” Conan thought aloud, not even noticing the looks he was getting from the adults. When he did though… “Isn’t it right, Kogoro-ojisan?”

“Ah… Yeah…” The man stuttered when he couldn’t do anything else than confirm the brilliant deduction that made sense to everyone.

“I see… Up to now, it’s been the same as ours… The reason you didn’t tell us is because you think that this level is easily done, right?” Morofushi smiled.

“Y-Yeah, well…”

Yamato’s cell phone rang. Tsukiko lifted her gaze up from the sketchbook and looked into the direction of the man curiously. She was keen to know whether or not the three wannabe arsonists had contaminated the scene or not. According to yelling in the phone and afterwards they hadn’t.

“Well, I hope you aren’t being too hard on him, since he’s only just recently made detective.” Morofushi stated calmly. “Maybe he was just surprised to see a body for the first time, and ended up touching some items from the scene…”

“Then, you and the novice detective found the body?” Kogoro asked.

“Yeah, after finishing another case, I came here and asked him to stop in front of the house… Because I wanted to bring some flowers to the storage room…”

“F-Flowers?”

“Ah, forgot to mention that Yamato-keibu and Morofushi-keibu were classmates of the one who died here three years ago, Aoi-san…” Uehara told them. So Morofushi explained how he had found the body and mentioned the victim’s prints on the art tools outside of the broken window.

“Well… Doesn’t that make Morofushi-keibu on the suspect list then?” Tsukiko smirked, flipping a page of her book and starting to draw the remaining items on the supply table. “Although I don’t get how the dying message could indicate to him. Or why the prints would be on the spray paint bottle but not on the listening device while the victim’s prints are completely missing from both.”

“Eh?” The people in the room exclaimed apart from the two inspectors.

“But assumptions are too early to make yet. Right?” The girl grinned over her shoulder. The sketch book was closed with a snap: there wasn’t much to draw on the table.

“In any case, the ones on the art tools are from Akashi Shuusaku-san but the ones on the doorknob and spray paint can belong to you and your subordinate.” Yamato had turned to address ‘Koumei’ once again.

“It’s like the ‘bamboo shoots in the snow’. How very interesting…” Koumei smiled. And once again Kogoro was baffled by a proverb. Ran explained it and made the sleeping detective question the rarity of the situation.

“Don’t you understand? The victim was locked in this room, right? Normally when you want to leave, you would grab the doorknob, wouldn’t you?” Yamato explained. “Painting a wall red with spray-paint should also leave the victim’s fingerprints. The culprit didn’t return to this room either.”

“And since the victim’s fingerprints are not there, then there must be a reason why he erased them… Or maybe…” Morofushi began but changed what he was about to say. “At any rate, it’s best if we go see those four people. We need to get something out of them.”

“Hmph! If you want to see them, then go by yourself. In my place how about you take that brat and the girl with you. Now that I finally have sleeping Kogoro here, I need to use his intellect to solve this case. Kids shouldn’t hear these kinds of things…”

“Can I come with you, Yamato-keibu?” Tsukiko asked. “I suppose we need to get the video I have in my phone to be analyzed.  And I can listen to music while you and Mouri-tantei discuss.”

“Sure… And after seeing those four people, bring the brat and girl back to my house and report the results. You wouldn’t get a reaction anyway.”


“So?” Kogoro began. “You wanted to discuss the case with me…”

As a reply the detective got only snoring. Tsukiko stifled her laughter and continued drawing, this time the people she had met during the day, while listening to music from her cell phone.

“The case must have tired him a lot…” She smiled. “Not only because of its strangeness but also the silent competition going on in the investigation.”

“You are right.” Uehara smiled back via the mirror.


“Oh, you told them their fingerprints were found on the doorknob and watched their reactions…” Yamato asked Morofushi when they all were gathered in front of his house. “Any results?”

“T-There was! There was some strange!” Ran told. “He was very nervous and said he never heard of it, and then said he might’ve touched some drawing tools when he went there before!”

“W-Who was it?” Kogoro asked.

“It’s Naoki Shirou-san!” Conan said.

“Say… He was also acting a little strangely when we asked him questions before…” Uehara remembered.

“Yeah… Although we have our eyes on him… But, we have no proof…” Yamato stated. “It’s already late. Let’s rest tonight, and get a few officers with us to question him tomorrow morning.”


The rest of the occupants of the house had already gone to sleep. Tsukiko opened carefully the door of the room she and Ran shared and peeked on the corridor. No one was out there anymore. The girl glanced behind her. Ran was deep asleep.

“Okiya, what is it?”

The blonde almost jumped when she heard the quiet voice. When she got her heart to calm down, she looked at the speaker.

“Kudo… Don’t do that.”

“Why are you awake?” Conan asked.

“Why are you?” Tsukiko asked back.

“Looking for you.”

“Same. Let’s go somewhere else to talk. I want to hear all the details of the interviews.” After all she had forgotten the exact details a long time ago.


The two sat by a low coffee table/dining table in the living room and slipped their legs under the kotatsu. Tsukiko reached to lit the lights. Hopefully no one would notice the duo.

Conan relayed the details of each interview and Tsukiko wrote down the main points of each. Then they went through the notes gathered about the circumstances of the crime and Tsukiko’s drawings. The girl also showed the video to the boy finally. Conan had sense to grimace at least when he saw the part with the corpse. Otherwise he was quite unfazed.

“Do you have any ideas yet?” The boy asked when returning the phone. Tsukiko shrugged.

“A few… How about you?”

“Naoki Shirou-san seems suspicious but…”

“Could the dying message really be that simple? Even Mouri-san can deduce that.”

“Yeah… What is your other idea?”

“Who says that one was my idea at all?”

“You stated it. It must have gone through your mind at some point.”

“…True.”

“Well?”

“The missing prints and the place of the spray can… Since the culprit didn’t return and the victim had no reason to wipe the prints… What if there was a third person who did so? Stumbled upon the body, touched the doorknob and spray can but wiped their prints away. A third part like those idiots on my video.”

“Are you sure that those three didn’t wipe the prints away?”

“They wore gloves: no reason to. And the video wasn’t cut at any part so it’s all one shoot.”

“That’s true too…”

“But there is one other idea that I got earlier… I need to test it first though…”

Neither of them noticed the owner of the house standing in the shadow of the corridor near the rice paper walls and listening carefully to every single word said.


“What? You know who killed Shuusaku?” Yamato asked next day when they all were in Uehara’s car once again. “Really?”

“Yeah, I was thinking about it while going to sleep last night, and I think I’ve got it!” Kogoro told him happily.

“Then, who is the culprit?” Ran asked.

“It’s the one you said was weird last night: Naoki Shirou! The victim, Akashi-san, was sitting on the white chair facing the red wall. That is to say… He’s telling us that he’s red!”

“Then, what about the black chair?” Conan asked.

“Black is, of course, the culprit! What will you see if you sit on the black chair?”

“A white wall!” Ran realized. “I see! He wanted to tell us the culprit is the person who’s called white: Naoki Shirou-san!”

“Bingo!”

“I don’t want to disagree with you… but, that deduction…” Uehara began.

“Ignore him, Uehara… So annoying…” Yamato muttered.

“But…”

“Could it really be that simple then?” Tsukiko thought aloud. “After all there is the case of missing prints, paint tools outside of the window and… wouldn’t it just be easier to paint the chairs? Red dedicated to the victim and white for the culprit.” She was holding three fingers on her knee while bending the thumb and forefinger to hide under her palm. Conan was the only one to notice it though, recognizing the reference to her theory about the third party.

“Hm? In front of Naoki Shirou’s apartment… Quite a few people have gathered…” Yamato noticed when they were approaching. The car stopped and they all got out. “Has something happened?”

“K-Kan-chan, look!” Uehara pointed to the second floor.

“Ko-Koumei!?” The inspector hurried the stairs up to his colleague. “Hey, don’t tell me…”

“Yeah… I had this ‘worried’ feeling for some reason, so I came to have an early look, and… It was already like this.” Mmorofushi told the tanned officer.

“R-Red Wall!?”

“Must have seen our movements last night and decided to take action first…”

“Swift as the wind, eh?”

“Yeah… ‘The object in our palms might not be within our grasp’… we were careless…” At this point the rest of the group was up too. And this time it was Conan who explained the proverb to Kogoro.

“Even if it was placed in our palms… that doesn’t mean we can absolutely grasp it – that’s what it means…”


“The victim is the musician, Naoki Shirou-san… The time of death is deducted to be between 10:00 and 11:00 last night. The cause of death is suffocation due to constricting pressure on the neck. Apparently, he was strangled… From the seat of the victim we can see that the main wall has been painted by the spray paint can to a bloody red color…” Inspector Yamato listed the facts of the scene of crime. “Based in this, it’s very likely that the culprit of this case is the same person who starved the imprisoned Akashi Shuusaku a few days ago…”

“So, does this mean that this red wall is also the dying message of the victim?” Kogoro asked.

“No… This wall had to have been dyed red after Naoki Shirou-san was strangled… It’s not like he would have painted it before he even met the culprit.” Morofushi told them.

“Then, does that mean the red wall is actually…”

“Yeah… The culprit probably painted the wall red on purpose…” Uehara stated.

“Hey, hey, this is too weird! Why would the culprit purposely leave a dying message like that?”

“He’s probably challenging us the police!” Yamato fumed.

“True… The culprit probably made this death scene to look like that of Akashi-san’s on purpose.” Morofushi agreed. “To send us a challenge notice… Come solve this mystery and catch me if you can…”

“But why leave the bottle here?” Tsukiko asked, her eyes once again fixed on the colored wall. “I can just barely understand it on the first scene where the victim painted the wall although the place of the bottle is weird as is the lack of fingerprints. But here… Why is the bottle still here? Isn’t the wall a message enough? And by the way, this means that Mouri-tantei’s deduction of the dying message was definitely wrong…” She flashed a quick smirk that was gone soon due the entire situation’s gravity.

“Yes, it’d confuse people if the wall and Akashi-san’s chair were both white!” Conan added.

“Th-That’s true…” Kogoro muttered. “Then, what exactly does it mean? This red wall…”

“In any case, we know one thing!” Yamato stated. “The primary suspects are those who lived in the mansion with Akashi Shuusaku: Midorikawa Naoki, Yamabuki Shoji and Momose Takuto, these three people!”

“Eh? Why’s that?” Ran asked.

“Because besides the victim here, only those three knew about the scene of Akashi-san’s death…” Uehara explained. “The bloody red dyed wall… And that Akashi-san died on a chair… However, we didn’t tell them that Akashi-san died on a white chair with a black chair behind him, and that the chairs were nailed to the floor. Therefore… although he wanted to recreate Akashi-san’s death scene the culprit only managed to put the victim on the chair and dye the wall red.”

“But isn’t the culprit going to worry?” Conan asked. “Imitatin the dying message without fully acknowledging the last death scene?”

“Th-That’s true…”

“There’s definitely some significant parts of the dying message missing…” Tsukiko dug out her sketchbook to sketch her drawings and the details of the previous scene. “Seeing that the message can’t be simply the red wall… You have to consider the entire room…” She flipped on the right page but when the girl was about to focus her gaze on it, she had to squeeze her eyes shut. “Dammit, I did it again…” Her hand found its way to rub her eye lids again.

“Anyway, let’s go ask those three were they were and what they were doing between 10:00 and 11:00 last night… I still have things to discuss with sleeping Kogoro about this case.” Yamato stated. “Sorry Koumei, those two are still going to tagalong in your car.”

“Hm… I must reject your kind advice to prevent self-disgrace…” Morofushi replied. “Kansuke-kun… you want me to bring this bright young boy along again… I’ll decline this time. Just let me investigate alone. Once I discover the truth, I’ll contact you.”

At that point – was it just her imagination? – the inspector met Tsukiko’s eye. The girl blinked once before letting her glasses to fall back in place. She smirked.

“Understood…”


Everyone’s attention went to Ran’s explanation of the proverb once again. Seriously, Kogoro… Meanwhile Morofushi walked to his car, Tsukiko slipping after him quietly and unnoticed. The girl got on the passenger seat right before Yamato Kansuke limped outside of Naoki Shirou’s apartment and could spot her. No one of the people up there noticed her disappearance.

“Tell me… What exactly made you come with me?” Koumei asked when they had driven for a moment.

“Tsk… Don’t try that. You got an idea from Edogawa-kun’s words and my actions. I also have an vague idea of what’s going on since I’m capable of thinking in about the same mindset than the artist, Akashi Shuusaku himself.” Tsukiko chuckled. “Besides you practically invited me to come.”

“True. But I don’t think you’ve told me your name.” The inspector glanced at the rear mirror.

“Okiya Tsukiko. I’m friend of Ran-senpai and Edogawa-kun.” The blonde girl introduced. “Uehara-keiji is following us.” She stated then and took out her cell phone, typing a message to Conan.


“Say… Where is Tsukiko-chan? I haven’t seen her since the last crime scene…” Ran noted when they were driving to the house of Midorikawa Naoki.

“Tsukiko-neechan said she’s doing some investigation on her own and will contact us when she gets a good idea.” Conan looked at the screen of his phone. “Or that’s what she says in this message.”


Tsukiko and Morofushi visited all three suspects. Every one of them noticed her blonde hair but no one commented it. They didn’t even comment her presence. Probably because Ran and Conan had been with Koumei last night.

“Where to now?” Tsukiko asked when they were leaving Momose Takuto’s studio.

“I think we should take a look on the original Red Wall once again.” Came the reply. The girl smiled faintly. This was getting dangerous now but there was no backing off anymore.

“Sounds like a plan.”


Koumei was sitting on the white chair, staring at the red wall deep in thought. Tsukiko was sitting on the black chair, looking up at the white wall.

“Think like an artist.” The girl said while typing it to the message to Conan. The inspector looked back, at her and in process happened to get a glimpse of the white wall. The realization came to him immediately as he already had all the pieces of the puzzle in his hands.

“The both times you rubbed your eyes after staring at the red painted wall were unintentional… second time more so than the first time.” Morofushi stated. “You already had an idea about the true meaning of the dying message.”

“A vague one yes. Complementary colors were what struck me when I saw these chairs but I couldn’t be sure. It wasn’t until last night when Tantei-chan told me about chess that it came to me.” The blonde took off her glasses and put them into a glasses case in her bag. “But without a proof… I didn’t dare to open my mouth.”

“I see…” The man got up to write a message to Yamato. But then…

“Look out!” Tsukiko exclaimed as soon as she spotted the culprit of this all, Midorikawa Naoki, to raise the metal pipe. She was too late though and the inspector was knocked unconscious. The girl got on her feet immediately and ran out of the room. The actor came after her, reached by the time she was going to the stairs and tripped her with the same pipe that was used the assault Koumei. The blonde stumbled down the stairs, the both flights, and slipped into darkness.


“WHAT!? Koumei’s disappeared!?” Yamato yelled to his phone. They were driving away from the three culprits’ houses and were quite worried since they’d heard Tsukiko was with the other inspector who wasn’t cleared from the suspicions yet. “What were you doing, Uehara? … Gojou forest, that’s where the mansion is! Koumei must’ve gone to the mansion! Get over there immediately!”

The call ended just in time for the e-mail message to arrive.

“Hm? Koumei sent a message…”

“Maybe he already knows who the culprit is...” Ran smiled. The inspector opened the message and his expression changed immediately.

“What? What’s written in the message?” Conan asked in worry. He had gotten that one message from Tsukiko earlier but it had only repeated what she had stated earlier.

“The late Koumei…”

“Hey, hey, don’t say unlucky things…” Kogoro stuttered but the inspector was already dialing Uehara’s number.

“Hey, Uehara! Have you found Koumei!?”

“I’ve arrived at the mansion… But it’s on fire… That mansion of death…

Chapter Text

Chapter 38.

The mansion of death was indeed ablaze when the Mouri household and Yamato Kansuke arrived.

“Ko-Koumei…” The inspector uttered while staring at the orange flames licking the already darkening sky.

“If he was in the house, then he must have already…” Kogoro began.

“No way…” Ran whispered. “How about Tsukiko-chan? She was with Morofushi-keibu, right?”

“Okiya…” Conan thought angrily. “You better not have died…”

A silent cough got the boy’s attention though and he looked around to see Uehara holding Morofushi and Tsukiko lying on the ground right next to them. Then the boy looked up. Yamato seemed to be ready to dash into the flames.

“All right, Yamato-keibu!” He raised his voice so it could carry over the sound of the flames and collapsing structures. “There’s no use entering the house now…”

“Shut up!! How can you say it’s useless if we don’t even try!?” The police officer snapped.

“Because… It’s meaningless to do that now, right?” And the man saw the trio on the side, dust on the faces of all of them.

“Ko-Koumei!” He limped closer. “Hey, whose blood is that!?”

“I entered the house through the backdoor, where the fire hadn’t spread, and found him lying at the crime scene with his head bleeding…” Uehara explained. “Okiya-chan was unconscious at the bottom of the stairs. I suppose she fell down on them… It seems like someone hit him and possibly tripped her.”

“Who was it, Koumei!? Who did it!?” Yamato demanded urgently.

“Don’t bother… He’s completely unconscious. They both are. Moreover, the wound is on the back of his head. If he was suddenly hit from behind, it’s unlikely he saw the culprit’s face…”

Tsukiko coughed quietly again but didn’t wake up. Ran kneeled beside the blonde girl began wiping soot away from her face with a handkerchief.

“But the culprit can be anyone among the people over there…” Conan stated while looking at the three suspects of the case. Oh the confusion…


“Eh? It was Naoki Shirou’s cell phone?” Uehara asked. The two victims of an assault were lying on hospital beds and kept in the same room for safety reasons. Both of them were still unconscious though. “The mail was sent to those three people from that phone?”

“Yeah… It’s possible that the culprit stole the phone after killing him and changed the mail address afterward.” Yamato explained. “Then, he proceeded to send the same mail to the three suspects, including himself…”

“I see… The three suspicious ones are Midorikawa Naoki-san, Yamabuki Shouji-san and Momose Takuto-san…” Kogoro listed the suspects. If Tsukiko had been awake she’d have facepalmed. Seriously, listing the suspects in every chapter… “If the culprit calls the other two over, he wouldn’t be the only one without an alibi when the house is burned down…”

“But why did he have to light the house on fire?” Ran asked.

“Don’t you see?” Conan butted in. “The dying message of the red wall left by Akashi Shuusaku-san somehow reveals the name of the actual culprit! so it’s no surprise that the culprit would want to burn down the mansion.”

“Unfortunately, Koumei-keibu happened to be inside with the blonde girl, so the culprit had no choice but to knock him out and trip her and then attempt to burn them to ashes with the mansion…” Yamato sighed.

“And, does that mean you’ve already discovered the meaning behind the red wall?” Ran smiled to Conan.

“Well, if only that were so…” The boy smiled back nervously. And got hit a top of his head by Kogoro.

“Hmph! Don’t act so full of yourself when you don’t know the truth!” The chain-smoker stated, irritated.

“Well, even though we’ve lost the first crime scene… We did receive a new clue. That text message from Koumei… ‘The late Koumei’…” Yamato had taken the message up on his phone again.

“Could it have been purposely sent to Kan-chan by the culprit?” Uehara asked.

“I don’t really think it’s possible. Because that message was interrupted halfway; he said that he’d contact Yamato-keibu as soon as he discovers the truth…” Conan pointed out. “So, it must be that Morofushi-keibu was knocked out by the culprit when he was trying to text Yamato about what he found out and pressed send before he lost consciousness. And thanks to Tsukiko-neechan’s message shortly before it, we know that too.”

Once again Kogoro didn’t get the reference in the proverb and Ran had to explain it to him. Uehara concluded that it must mean that one of the late Akashi Shuusaku’s friends was the culprit and the red wall message was meant to scare the culprit.

“We don’t know what his dying message is trying to say…” The woman sighed.

“Well, compared to that, what’s even more confusing is why did the culprit leave the message of the red wall in the room of the next victim, Naoki Shirou?” Yamato stated. The conversation turned then to the motive of the first murder and the unclear text message of the Koumei.


“Say, Conan-kun… What did Tsukiko-chan send to you earlier?” Ran asked when the quartet was walking on the corridor of the hospital. Uehara was staying in the room of Morofushi and Tsukiko.

“The same she told me earlier when we were in the red wall room for the first time: ‘Think like an artist.’ But I don’t really get it… I’m not an artist after all. Ehe he he…” The boy rubbed his head. “But I think she had an idea about the culprit since the beginning. She said she needed to test her theory and told me last night that suspecting Naoki Shirou-san is too simple.”

By then the girl’s words at the second crime scene came to the boy.

“Seeing that the message can’t be simply the red wall… You have to consider the entire room… Dammit, I did it again…”

“She definitely had an idea…”

“Sorry about this, calling you all the way out here, and not letting you do much…” Inspector Yamato told Kogoro.

“No, no, I’m the one who’s embarrassed about not contributing enough… Despite what you said, why do I get the feeling that the one you really wanted to invite is this brat with glasses?” The sleeping detective frowned.

“Well, this little kid is a pretty good choice for keeping as eye on Koumei…” Came the explanation. “Since Koumei often starts to ignore everything around him when he begins to reason, ending up unaware of any danger he’s in… So, he may not even listen to the two of us… I thought maybe a bit of naïve advice from a kid may get through to him but he still went off by himself like that, dragging a civilian with him too…”

Conan deadpanned mentally at those words.

“Anyways, if you solve the mystery of the Red Wall, make sure to contact me first…”

“Sure…”


Tsukiko blinked once. She blinked twice. She took a deep breath and found she had an oxygen mask on her face. The pair of greyish blue eyes looked around in the room. She wasn’t in the mansion anymore. She could remember the sound of the flames around and the outline of someone taking her out of the house. Probably. It all could be just her imagination. In any case though, the girl wasn’t there anymore.

“Ah, Okiya-chan, you’re awake.” A female voice said near her. It took the blonde a while to locate the source of the voice but when she saw Uehara Yui, a smile found a way on her face.

“We were worried.” The police officer told the girl. Tsukiko let out a chuckle.

“It’s official now… I hate hospitals.”


“Wearing light green when performing surgery is because they keep seeing blood while they operate…” Conan explained to Ran and Kogoro.

“They keep looking at it…” Yamato continued.

“Afterimage…”

“Their focus…”

“This Akashi-san was an artist. This is his atelier… Then, there’s a signature in the right bottom corner of the red paint. He signed this dying message as his own piece of art. Besides… isn’t ‘Red’ a bit too straight forward?”

“My eyes just hurt from staring that red wall for such a long time…”

“Think like an artist.”

 “Dammit, I did it again…”

The realization came to them as did Tsukiko’s words from the last two days.

“I see… So that’s why the chairs were painted white and black at the first crime scene…” Inspector Yamato smiled.

“Yeah! Because Shuusaku-san liked chess!” Conan agreed.

“If so, why did the culprit create a red wall at the second crime scene too… Even after leaving this clue we still can’t understand the truth behind it…”

“What if there was a third person who did so?”

“You have to consider the entire room.”

“I see! The original message…”

“Was not ‘Red Wall’…”

“The only person who would think like the culprit…”

“…is Naoki Shirou!”

“Finally…” A new voice joined in. “You’ve finally deduced up to here…” It was inspector Morofushi who was being helped by Uehara.

“Ko-Koumei!?”

“They definitely took their time, right?” Tsukiko walked to the group behind the two. She was still adjusting her coat and pulling her beanie over the bandage on her head. She had hit her head in the stairs after all. But no broken bones which was a relief. “Pity I couldn’t see their struggle in the end.”

“Tsukiko-neechan, you knew since the beginning who was the culprit, didn’t you?”  Conan glared at her.

“Maybe…” She smiled but when she saw the slight glare she was getting from Yamato too, she sighed. “Okay, yeah, I had an idea who it could be. I mean… Black and white are opposite so why not the culprit be the opposite from the red wall? Complementary colors, you know. But it was just a hunch and no evidence so I decided to stay quiet an observe what else we had other than the dying message.”

“But is it okay? To be walking around?” Kogoro asked Tsukiko and Koumei.

“Yes, I’m quite alright…” Morofushi told the detective. Tsukiko merely nodded.”

“All right, I understand now! Let’s go reveal the culprit!” Yamato huffed.

“‘Drawing mochi on the floor will not satisfy your hunger’…” Koumei stated. “Such a pity, the conclusion from our deductions is like mocha drawn on the floor… It can’t be eaten…”

“In other words, we lack evidence…”

“But… Naoki Shirou-san said this before, right?” Conan pointed out. “He’s going to that place called Lecce in Italy soon… If he’s gone, you can go and find him there!”

Tsukiko couldn’t help but smile at the faces the two inspectors made.

“Oh, this is rather interesting…” Morofushi smiled.

“In that case, I have a great idea.” Yamato smirked.

“I have a clever plan too.”

“Hey! You should let headquarters handle this case.”

“Then, why not try this?” Conan asked. “Type your paln in one word using your cell phone and let the other person see it! Just like Kongming and Zhou Yu before Battle of Red Cliffs!”

“Not bad…”

“Hmph! So troublesome…”

“Who wants to bet that they have the exact same plan?” Tsukiko asked amusedly. Uehara glanced at her and smiled too.

“Well, it’s entirely possible…”


Empty fort strategy


The three suspects were talked to once again and the culprit swallowed the bait. Tsukiko was kept out of their sight though because she had seen the face of the culprit and the culprit himself knew it too. When one of the other suspects asked about her absence, it was easy to Yamato say that she was still unconscious.

But now the plan was in motion. The first half was over but the most important part was still ahead. Or like Koumei said: “100 kilometer journey is only half over after 90 kilometers.”


“What? A taxi robber around here?”

“Yeah, we need to head there right away…” The two police officers watching the back of Naoki Shirou’s house left. But before the real culprit, Midorikawa Naoki could make his move a drunken man sat down against the fence and a masked man continued his  march past the apartments. This made the murderer hesitate.

“Mister, you’ll catch a cold if you sleep here!” A boy with brown hair and striped shirt told the drunkard.

“Shuddap!! What’s a kid know!!” The man shouted, scaring the boy.

“Kaji-kun, what have I told you about talking to strangers?” A girl resembling the boy appeared on the street and took the boy’s hand.

“Not to, Tomo-neechan.” The kid went as close to the girl as possible and practically hid his face into the knee length skirt she was wearing.

“Come on now, Kaa-san is waiting for us.” The girl sighed, pushing her braided hair over her shoulder and leading the boy away.

“Hai…”

“Who does that stupid boss think he is…” The drunken white collar worker muttered.

“Are you alright, dear?” A couple stepped in, the woman supporting the man who seemed to be drunk too. “Let’s make that the last drink and go home!”

“Pshh! Two or three more should be fine!” The man slurred. He tripped on the other man’s leg then and stumbled on the ground.

“Ah, sorry…” The sitting man with a tie around his forehead waved. Extortion followed and wiped all suspicions of the masked man being a cop. Especially after the said man climbed up the apartment wall and nicked a pair of panties that a woman had just hung up to dry on the balcony next to Shirou Naoki’s apartment. The man slipped easily into the murdered man’s apartment and stole cash from there. Midorikawa ran to the front of the apartment only to find the police cars gone from there too.

So when the panty thief was gone with his new-found cash, the double homicide offender took his chance. He went to look for the right shoe.

“Perhaps… This is the shoe you were looking for?” The boy from earlier asked, holding up the shoe in question.

“The heel of the shoe is loose and it’s easy to see that someone hid a cell phone memory card inside…” The boy’s ‘sister’ appeared beside the kid as he removed the heel.

“That’s right… The city of Lecce corresponds to the heel of the boot-shaped Italy on maps!” The boy announced proudly.

“W-Who are you!?” Midorikawa stuttered.

“Come on we’ve met several times already, did you forget about me so soon?” The boy took off his cap and removed the wig then.

“And me… You tripped me quite nastily earlier this day.” The girl sighed, when taking off her wig and revealing her blonde hair.

“Edogawa Conan…”

“And Okiya Tsukiko…”

Tantei saa…

“De-detective?” The culprit managed to say. At that the rest of their party arrived.

“But I believe…”

“You haven’t…”

“Forgotten about us…”

“Right?”

“Midorikawa Naoki-san!” They said after one other.

“Then the police leaving and the random acts of crime…” The actor began.

“Yeah, it’s the empty fort strategy!” Yamato told him. “If we simply remove the police, you would definitely suspect that it could be a trap, and that the actual police force is hiding somewhere else.”

“However, when you witness those people around the apartment who look nothing like tha police and they’re committing small crimes, you’ll let your guard down…” Morofushi continued. “Basically, the ‘empty fort strategy’ is to ‘purposely shoe weakness and let the enemy think there is no trap’…”

“So it’s true, you guys purposely talked about the boot to get me to expose myself…” Midorikawa sighed.

“No, we believed from the beginning that you would some here.” Yamato stated. “We tried to lure you here before that… Why would the culprit duplicate the same dying message at the second crime scene? If the wall was not actually the dying message the victim left us…”

“Exactly.” Koumei picked the explanation from that. “If it’s not the victim nor the culprit, but a third person who painted the wall red. Then we can come to the conclusion that the culprit duplicated the scene to confuse the police investigation.”

“So, is the third person Naoki Shirou-san?” Kogoro asked.

“Yes… He is the only one besides the culprit who would change Akashi-san’s message… When he arrived there, the writing on the wall probably said: ‘The one who killed me was Naoki’, pointing at you, Midorikawa Naoki!” Yamato announced.

“I see, so when Naoki Shirou-san came to borrow money, he happened to see the message on the wall and thought that it was pointing at him, so he painted over it.” Uehara realized.

“But why didn’t he use kanji to avoid confusion?” Ran thought aloud.

“Because if he spray paints kanji, it’s hard to make the small details clear.” Conan explained to her.

“And when he painted over it, Naoki Shirou-san did not consider that the ‘Naoki’ on the wall did not refer to his last name, but rather than to you, the only person whom he addresses by their first name…” Morofushi continued.

“So afterwards, he tried to hustle you when he realized the true meaning of the dying message?” Yamato guessed, addressing the murderer this time. And the confession came. After that Tsukiko pretty much tuned out the rest of the conversation. While she had liked the case itself back home… once again, she found the murderer extremely annoying and pathetic. He didn’t have a proper motive other than that he was in love with Kobashi Aoi and decided to take a revenge on her death.

“‘No distant meddling on close ones’. Maybe… Outsiders should not interfere with the relationships between close people…” Koumei stated before Uehara led Midorikawa away.

“Well, Koumei, you take care of the rest.” Yamato told his rival. “Since you’re the one who figured it out first. Although I don’t like it much, you go ahead and write the report.”

“Hmm… I knew it.” The inspector with a bandage around his forehead smirked. “Apparently, you had that kid follow me around to spy on me. But no matter what, I was a suspect, which seemed too dangerous for him to stick around me… Basically, you asked me to bring along that intelligent kid because you never suspected me from the start, right? Al let him be an ally to help discover the truth.”

“What are you saying? He’s only a little brat!”

“When we were thinking that the culprit was challenging us by recreating the red wall at the second crime scene, he was the only one who said: ‘Isn’t the culprit going to worry? Imitating the dying message without fully comprehending the first crime scene?’ If it weren’t those words and the girl action right after it, I don’t know whether we would have discovered the truth behind the red wall.” Came the explanation. “And it was the same case for the proof. When we were stumped because of the lack of evidence, that kid mentioned information about Lecce, leading us to the answer… Letting me take the credit for this case so I can return to work in Nagano… That was your plan all along, right?”

“A plan that wasn’t exactly subtle.” Tsukiko added, appearing behind Koumei. She grinned. “Such unnecessary thing…”

“Hmph! If our roles were reversed, you’d have done the same for me, right?” Yamato and Koumei exchanged annoyed glares.

“No, no… I would never act as childish as you did…” Koumei smiled.

“What!?”

“I would’ve done a much better job, not letting you find out one trace of my plan.”

“Oh really?” I understand!” The hotheaded inspector growled before limping away. “Fine! I’ll just take credit for this case! You can just stay where you are for the rest of your career!”

Tsukiko chuckled. Obviously those two were rivals until the end. Rivals and best friends just like Heiji and Shinichi.

“Okay, now when the mystery is finally solved, I can delete that video from my phone.” She stated offhandedly. “And I gotta buy that book from somewhere…”

“Book?” Koumei repeated, woken up from his thoughts about Conan and the boy's similarities to a certain book character.

“Yes, the one Kobashi Aoi wrote. My interest was piquet, especially after watching the interactions of you two inspectors.” The girl smiled and got one in return.

“Do read it. It’s one of my favourites.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 39.

”Oh, this is going to be too much fun.”

Subaru looked up from the screen of his computer and at his ‘sister’ who was sitting on a sofa and reading a message she just received.

“What is going to be?” The man asked.

“Nothing, nothing…” Tsukiko waved her hand dismissively while the other one was typing a reply.

“Whenever you make that face, I know it won’t be ‘nothing’.” Subaru remarked.

“What face?” The girl looked up from her phone finally but the man was back doing whatever he had been doing with his computer thus not replying. Tsukiko narrowed her eyes. “Subaru-nii, what face I make?”

No reply. Just the tap-tap sound of the keys. The girl got up and walked to the desk. She placed her chin and palm atop of the screen and glared at the man.

“Bakai~…”

“You make certain kind of smug face whenever you get a clue of something happening. Something that you know in advance. And when I see that face I can expect you to get injured.” The man replied calmly.

“I don’t get injured all the time!” Tsukiko huffed, looking away and puffing her cheeks. “And I don’t get into those situations deliberately.”

“After hearing the recount of your last case I beg to differ.”

“Are you forbidding me from going then?”

“…No. Even if I did, you’d just go anyways.”

“True.” Tsukiko’s cell phone beeped. “Oh, I gotta go now. Planning to do, people to meet.”


“So… does your brother know what exactly you are planning this time?” Kaito asked while researching the security measures and staff lists of Bell Tree First online.

“Other than getting thrown overboard? Nothing…” Tsukiko shrugged before continuing examining the Turbo Engine Scooter that Kid had used when stealing Cleopatra’s Vanity case.

“Overboard?” The messy haired teen froze. He was already used to the girl’s offhanded comments but sometimes they managed to hit home. Even when he didn’t understand their meaning.

“Don’t worry about it. This will be an easy heist. Or as easy as it can be considering that it’s Suzuki Jirokichi-san whom we are facing.” The blonde decided not to mention the fake terrorists that would show up. “But he did guilt trip me after my previous… case.”

“Well, you did manage to get knocked down the stairs by the culprit.” Kaito pointed out. The case had been a good while ago already and after that Tsukiko had stayed clear from problems for a good while.

“Yeah, yeah… please don’t you also start. Having both nii-san and Jodie-san watching after me is hard enough. But anyways… Neither of them knows that I’m associated with Kaitou Kid himself. Subaru-nii knows I’m learning lock-picking from a friend and that I’m planning something with said friend… Say, do you need a new motor to this one?”

“Don’t change the subject…”

“But I want to~…” The blonde whined playfully. It was nice to debate with Kaito. Almost funnier than with Subaru. Or was that even debating? Oh, well… “So, do you need a new motor? I think I know where to get one. And I want to do my first solo gig.”

The boy turned around in his desk chair to look at the girl’s… back. “...Yes, it does need a new motor. Where do you think you’d find one?”

Tsukiko turned to face the magician. A grin spread on her face. “Guess.”


A shadowed figure walked to along a road until she came to the house she was looking for. She didn’t bother using the gate; she just climbed over the fence.

“Jody Hopper said that the Japanese people are peaceful idiots… But for not having any alarm system to house where about the most paranoid person of this world lives… That’s almost insane…” She mused aloud when walking to the back door that would lead to the basement floor.

The lock was picked easily and quietly, and the figure slipped inside. She made her way to the basement floor, while making sure that her boots with wedged heels made no noise. The shadow dodged the narrow stream of light that came behind one door. She did allow herself to peek in and to see the auburnette girl working with her lab equipment before continuing to her destination. She did not see the girl looking up from her work for a moment.

The shadow stepped into a room which obviously served as the old professor’s tinkering area and began going through the large boxes of… stuff. Broken, dismissed, about to be used again, anything. At the moment there was one she was especially looking for. The motor of Conan’s Solar Powered Skateboard. The motor had been replaced a while ago but the old one was still in pristine condition she’d heard. It was identical to the new one, just didn’t have as long of a battery, and what’s best: it wouldn’t be missed as the professor didn’t do his inventions to just anyone and at the moment he had no ideas for the old motor. Actually he hadn’t many ideas for reusing his old inventions. He just started from a scratch or made modifications to the old ones.

“Here you are…” The intruder whispered, fishing carefully the surprisingly light motor out of one of the boxes. She put it into her black back pack and took out a red spray bottle(one can’t help their handiness) and a simple template from there.

Klack-klack. klack-klack

She shook the spray bottle and left her mark: a red Kanji of ‘Moon’ on the table in front of the box. Then she uncapped a calligraphy pen and wrote a little message underneath it.

“No worries, Hakase-san and Ojou-san.
The motor will go to good use.
I don’t take things I don’t need.
I don’t take things other people need.
Be honored since you’re my first ones.
Be honored since we shall meet again.

Red Moon”

Suddenly the lights went on. Tsukiko blinked. Dammit, Haibara probably heard the spray bottle.

“Who are you?” The shrunken scientist demanded from the doorway. Right, she couldn’t see Tsukiko’s face at all nor recognize her otherwise. After all the blonde was wearing the black boots, a black skirt with a black suit jacket, maroon colored shirt with light blue tie and on her head was a black fedora with a ribbon of the same color than her shirt. And her hair was tucked under the hat. Overall if she were to describe the outfit, she’d say it was like a black version of feminized Kaitou Kid outfit. Without the cape of course.

But now back to the matter at hand. The teen glanced towards the door and capped the pen she was holding. Poker face, poker face… “Shouldn’t little girls like you be sleeping now?” Thank god for the voice changer she had decided to take with her and hid in her collar once again.

“I can stay up if I want to.” Haibara glared. “I asked once and now I ask again: Who are you?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” All the ‘props’ were now safely in the back pack and a towel prevented the metallic ones hitting each other. “Maybe I won’t tell you.”

The glaring continued.

“I’m no enemy, ojou-san… I merely came here to get something I really, really need and you don’t need.” The blonde’s tone was a bit mocking as she talked the faux child.

“Basically you stole it.” Haibara stepped into the room. She had her suspicions about this intruder as she had felt her earlier. As a bad feeling that didn’t actually threaten her but scared anyways.

“If you want to look at it like that.” Tsukiko straightened her black gloves and tipped her hat so it shadowed her eyes even more. Thankfully those ice thin disguises worked well in this world. “But now I shall take my leave.” She strode to the door which the scientist wasn’t blocking anymore and simply dodged the girl before disappearing into the darkened stairway. Haibara turned to watch the intruder’s back.

“You still didn’t answer me. Who are you?”

“Akai no Tsuki(Red Moon).” Came the reply but then there was no steps, no sound of door being closed nor anything else. Just the young girl in her lab coat standing in the messy room of inventions, with a message written on the table along with a red ‘moon’ painted on it.

“And that doesn’t answer to anything.” Haibara muttered after reading the message left.


“Hakase’s was broken into?” Conan repeated in astonishment. Haibara had just told the boy of the events of the previous night while they were on their way to school. Around them the rest for the Detective Boys were talking about the previous Kamen Yaiba episode and behind them Ran and Sonoko had a conversation of their own.

“Yes, they took the motor of your skateboard and left this…” The auburnette showed a photo of the message left directly on the table that she had taken with her cellphone camera right before leavening to school.

“Did you see them? If you don’t usually go to Hakase’s invention room…” The bespectacled kid asked before taking a look on the photo.

“A young woman. She gave me creeps when arriving and I heard them when she was about to use spray paint for the message.”

“Okay…” Conan read the message and mentally sweatdropped. It couldn’t be her, could it? He could definitely see her doing this. The question was why she needed to motor.

“So? Do you have any ideas?” The scientist asked, tilting her upper forwards to see the detective’s face better.

“Huh? Ah, no… Not yet.” The boy laughed.

“Oi, Conan, you saw it too right? The move Yaiba made last night!” Genta called and the two faux children were dragged into the conversation.


Tsukiko unscrewed the old motor of Kid’s scooter and put the engine of the skate board on place. A few oily smudges appeared on her face in process but she didn’t care.

“And the pedal button to the board part so the engine will stop when the weight is lifted off…” The girl muttered, a grin appearing on her face. This all was so much fun. Doing things behind the scenes, annoying people who had oh-so-white values(she considered herself grey) and of course the thrill caused by all that. “Oi, Kuroba, could you check these linkings? I’m not that good with mechanics…”

“And your brother studies engineering in Touto University…” Kaito sighed and got up from his tinkering to check out the progress the girl had made during the past hours. It had taken some time to first understand which parts did what and what exactly needed to do in order to attach the engine to the scooter and make it work safely.

“That doesn’t mean that I’d ask him for help that I’d know what he is exactly doing…”


“Today is the day… Today I shall be awesome… Today is the day… Today I shall shine…” Tsukiko hummed happily her made-up lyrics to a made-up tune as she approached the rendezvous. From there she’d continue her way to the airship waiting for their group. “Today is the day of stepping into the spot light…”

The blonde walked past a television screen in an electronics shop showing the news about identifying the symptoms or the killer bacteria stolen from a research facility(which was later blown up) supposedly by the terrorist group Red Siamese Cats. Supposedly because Tsukiko knew the truth. After all, Lost Ship in the Sky had been one of her favorite movies.

“I’m enjoying this too much…” She sighed as she walked away.


And they had a lift off! The children, Ran, Sonoko and Agasa admired the view of Miracle Land near which the airship departed while Kogoro stayed firmly away from the window. Tsukiko was also a few steps safely away from the glass pane and kept her eyes on the blue sky in front of them rather than the ground beneath the ship.

Ran did try to coax her father to take in the view but…

“Shut up! I have a lot in my mind now!” The sleeping detective shouted.

“Come to think of it, Mouri-kun is afraid of heights, isn’t he?” Agasa thought aloud.

“It’s not like that!” The chain-smoker raged alone.

“How about you, Tsukiko-chan?” Sonoko asked slyly. “Why are you standing so far away?”

“Ah… I have to admit… I’m not very comfortable with heights to some degree.” The blonde laughed nervously. “I’m fine with airplanes and tall buildings but if I can see through the surface beneath my feet, be it grating or glass… I barely handled coming the steps of the Eiffel Tower down and there used to be a time when I was terrified of scenic elevators because for me… It’s only a pane of glass protecting me from the fall. I need something more solid in front of me.”

“Eh? The Eiffel Tower? You’ve been to Paris?” The rich girl hung into that little detail immediately.

“Yeah, once… I prefer London though.” Tsukiko shrugged.

“Say, do you think Kid-san always enjoys scenery like this?” Ayumi asked Genta and Mitsuhiko.

“How I envy him!” The freckled buy declared immediately.

“But still…” Genta muttered and looked up at Sonoko. “Are you sure Kid will actually come?”

“Of course he will! He even sent a reply to Jirokichi-ojisama.” Sonoko answered while taking her phone and looking for the reply received. “Here.”

The boy tried to read the message, failing miserably.

“Hey, you–  it won’t make any sense if you only read the hiragana!”

“Tsukiko-neechan, can you read it to us then? You got the message from Sonoko-neechan too, right? Ran-neechan did.” Conan butted in. Tsukiko blinked once before frowning and bowing to talk with the boy.

“Hey, just because I said I fail in kanji during the Red Wall case doesn’t mean that I could be compared to Kojima-kun. There’s a nine-years-age difference after all.” The blonde told the bespectacled kid. “I can read newspaper well enough anyways.”

“Prove it!” The kid grinned and huffing, the girl took out her phone. She thanked her luckystars that she had decided to go with ‘I have contact lenses’ today.

‘I cordially accept your invitation to board your airship. However, I simply could not bear witnessing a 72-year-old senior in such a nervous state over a six hour flight. Instead, I will only take possession of the gem once the airship begins to near Osaka City. Please do enjoy your flight until then.

Kaitou Kid.

PS. An acquaintance of mine shall present the confirmation of our presence within the two first hours from the departure.’

Was that good, Tantei-chan?” Tsukiko asked, pocketing her phone. Behind the blonde Sonoko began fantasizing of Kid getting her into his possession, making Tsukiko facepalm.

“‘Acquintance’?” The shrunken detective thought. “Could it be… that she’ll make a proper appearance now? But how is she planning to get away from Jirokichi-ojisan and Nakamorikeibu’s grasp?”

“I’ve been considering this for a while but… She really does have a unique personality.” Haibara stated about Sonoko.

“Could say that.” Conan agreed.

“Speaking of which, are we the only passengers on board?” Agasa asked, making Sonoko snap out of her fangirling.

“I recall a reportage writer named Fujioka-san…” The teen began, looking around for him. She turned around just in time to see the man approaching them. “That guy!”

When seeing the man, Tsukiko eyes narrowed and she bit her teeth hard together so she wouldn’t make any unsavory and suspicious comment.

“He insisted we allow him to write a report on the battle between Kid and Jirokichi-ojisama…” The polka-haired girl explained. “And offered us his services. Other than him…”

“Hello, excuse me!” A new voice joined them. “Would you happen to be Mouri Kogoro-san?”

The detective grunted in response and looked up at the person speaking to him.

“Nice to meet you. I’m the director here with Nichuri TV – the name is Mizukawa.” The man gave his business card to Kogoro. “I also have one of our reporters, Nishitani Kasumi, and our cameraman, Ishimoto Junpei.” Mizukawa indicated the two people with him.

“Nice to meet you.” Nishitani Kasumi greeted.

“Likewise.” Kogoro nodded.

“Oh, look at that: the other bastard and the bitch are here too…” Tsukiko thought bitterly and tuned out of the rest of the conversation. Thankfully Jirokichi joined them soon enough. Althought the conversation had turned to the Red Siamese Cats. And naturally Nishitani and Ishimoto led the conversation.

“But who says it actually was the Red Siamese Cats or that the bacteria was actually stolen?” Tsukiko crossed her arms on her chest and tilted her head to the right slightly, giving a challenging glance to the adults in the room. “If the group was eradicated a year ago… It could be now just someone using their name. After all the only lead people have at the moment is the manifesto spread online. And about the bacteria… why blow up the whole laboratory if it was really stolen. It would be a different scenario if the explosion had been smaller, thus infecting people right away when spreading to the surroundings but now it simply destroyed all the evidence of any bacteria in the lab.”

“Yes, that’s true but one can never be too careful. After we have no evidence to indicate otherwise.” Mizukawa laughed. Oh, he was too gullible. Maybe that’s why he was here and not on the ground level looking for more information about these terrorists.

“If you say so… Just… the seven days deadline is closing today. One could think that threat is only a hoax.” The girl shrugged. Better not attract any more attention. But she had to get that out right in the beginning. To give an opposition to the manipulation of those three who had infiltrated on this ship.

“I don’t care if it’s killer bacteria or something else…” Fujioka had walked closer. “I’ve flown to many places where germs move about like crazy and I’m still as healthy as a horse. We human beings are stronger than germs.” He added to the children.

“That’s right!” Mitsuhiko smiled in relief.

“Then again… if it’s you little brats, you might just croak and be gone!”

“Eeeh!”

“Please stop! Don’t say things that will frighten the children.” Ran told the man.

“That’s right, you’re too inconsiderate!” Sonoko stepped forward.

“The situation is bad enough as it is.” Tsukiko added. “Even though I just said it might not be the original Red Siamese Cats nor the bacteria going around, they are still creating panic with that manifesto of them and people like you aren’t helping the matter at all!”

But the disgusting man just laughed and walked away. Tsukiko glared after him. Thankfully Jirokichi reassured the children then and let them go and see the views from other windows too.


Their group was given a tour in the Sky Deck where the jewel was presented. But just before exiting the room where they had gathered together again, Tsukiko spotted a person belonging to the staff of the ship leaning against the wall.

“Eh… That band-aid…” A smirk spread on her face as she remembered that ‘plot-point’ from the movie. “Maybe I should’ve told him not to use them… Nah, it’s funnier this way.” Her smirk just widened when she noticed a thumbs-up from him: a signal to leave the confirmation of their presence.

The boarded a scenic elevator inside the airship that allowed them to see the structure of the flying horizontal balloon. Sonoko could miss the chance of teasing Tsukiko about her little fear.

“I’m fine with the elevators nowadays since the floor isn’t see-through and the go up such a short while.” The blonde retorted. “You don’t see me panicking like Mouri-tantei here, right?” She pointed over her shoulder with her thumb at the detective who was mumbling why the walls were made of glass.

“True…” The older girl pouted, obviously disappointed that she didn’t have a new way to tease the girl. After Eisuke hadn’t been heard of for a long time and the blonde hadn’t told that much about herself. And her brother was cool, smart and good-looking so obviously that didn’t work either.


They arrived to the Sky Deck. Kogoro dashed out of the elevator as soon as the doors opened. The children dashed towards the display case where Inspector Nakamori was at guard with his men.

“This is the place that Advisor Suzuki is so proud of…”

“The Sky Deck.” They all were told by the Advisor. “Part of the roof can be opened and closed. It’s good for sunbathing and is more than suitable for stargazing. Though there are many ways to have fun… This time, in order to capture that guy, I added a little something…”

A short (read: non-existent) chat with Nakamori ensued then them was the time of introducing the price of this challenge.

“Allow me to show you. That’s the lapis lazuli I’m using as bait on that guy. The big jewel, Lady Sky.” Jirokichi told them.

“Beautiful…” Ran breathed as they all admired the blue stone.

“This blue color possesses a certain je ne sais quoi.” Sonoko commented.

“The golden grain are sparking!” Mitsuhiko stated.

“Just like stars!” Ayumi chirped.

“Lapis Lazulis are really pretty. I’ve never before seen one this big.” Tsukiko smiled. “I love the color though. The deep blue like the night sky and the gold making it look like the Milky Way was painted across it…”

“Look at the largest spot among the golden grains.” Jirokichi instructed them. “Doesn’t it look like something?”

“The largest spot, you mean?” Mitsuhiko repeated.

“It looks like a woman’s face!” Ayumi noticed.

“That’s correct. That’s the reasoning behind the name ‘Lady Sky’. Even the ancient Roman natural historian Mulanius described it as, ‘A fragment of the starry firmament.’ It certainly is most suitable for it to be displayed on this sky deck.”

“How fitting…” Tsukiko smiled. “Starting from back in the end of the Middle ages Lapis Lazuli was exported to Europe from African countries and ground into powder to make paint, ultramarine blue. But because it was so expensive and hard to get, it was only rarely used. The art on that time was mainly strictly religious though and eventually ultramarine became the symbolic color of Virgin Mary who is one of the most significant and popular holy figures in Christianity. In some paintings her entire clothing could be painted in that color. Nowadays the use of very similar bright but dark blue can be interpreted in the flag of European Union which also has twelve stars in it forming a circle. And in some art twelve stars are used to form a halo of Virgin Mary. When she stepped into heavens, she was crowned as the Queen of Heaven and that crown was made of stars.”

“Really? That sounds amazing!” Sonoko clasped her hands together. “Such a great story and a romantic in a way.”

“Yeah, in a way Virgin Mary could be the Lady of the Sky…” The blonde stated, gazing at the stone in the glass case.

“How do you know that much of the subject then?” Ran asked.

“Well, I’ve always been interested in history and as an artist I’ve been looking for information about the symbolism and origin of different colors. Combining those isn’t a feat. I look at things in historical and artistic way rather than religious way.” Tsukiko shrugged. Right then Nakamori began demanding why the precious stone was ‘in a plain, ordinary glass case’. Thus giving an excuse for a demonstration of the safety measures.

“The glass is bulletproof, able to deflect bullets even from machine guns… And it won’t open without both the input of my fingerprint and a certain passcode. Don’t you realize this system is as strong as steel?” Jirokichi explained smugly.

“Something like that won’t help us at all.” Nakamori scoffed. Tsukiko crouched next to Conan.

“Hey, Tantei-chan, do you think there’ll be any traps this time?” She whispered so only he heard.

“How should I know? And even if I knew, why would I tell you, Akai no Tsuki?” The boy deadpanned.

“I don’t know whatever you are talking about.” The girl hummed cheerfully. “Besides, I didn’t ask for what are that traps but do you think there are traps. Oh well, Suzuki-san will probably tell anyways as Nakamori-keibu is being so skeptical.”

“Seriously, what’s even with that name?”

“Well… Don’t you know that the full moon is also referred as the red moon? And since Kaitou Kid is the magician under moonlight and prefers performing during full moon… Isn’t the choice of name just obvious? And– …”

Breep, breep, breep, breep.

Genta had touched the touch screen on the display case. A brownish red boxing glove was revealed, punching Kogoro right in the face and sending him flying.

“Otou-san!” Ran hurried to the fallen man.

“They didn’t have a trap like this in their system, did they?” Jirokichi asked Nakamori, referring to the earlier mention of the attack of the Red Siamese Cats. Kogoro got on his feet and began running back.

“What the hell were you doing, you stinky brat!” By the time the detective arrived on the platform on which they all were standing, he got electrocuted. Tsukiko let out a low whistle.

“That answers to your question.” Conan sweatdropped, glancing to the direction of the sensor that had sent the ‘wave of pain’.

“It’s true that they didn’t have these traps, but…” Nakamori led the Advisor to the display case. “What would you do if he did this? If he points a gun at you like this, you’ll have no choice but to open it with your finger, right?” The inspector made a fake gun with his hand, pointing it at the old man’s head.

“Well, I don’t imagine he’d do something like that but in that case…” Jirokichi pressed two numbers, 4 and 7, and then #. A trap door opened beneath Nakamori’s feet and the man fell beneath the floor. “In that case I simply do this!” The old man laughed.

“Could it be that he’s fallen into the sea?” Ayumi asked worriedly.

“Don’t worry, Yoshida-chan, I’m sure Nakamori-keibu is alright. Suzuki-san wouldn’t do something that cruel. Besides, if Kid fell into that trap and it were to drop people to the sea… Well, he would just fly away with that hang-glider of his thus defeating the purpose of this baiting as Suzuki-san wants to catch him rather than prevent him from getting the target. That’s what all these other traps are for too.”  Tsukiko reassured the girl.

“Good thinking, girl. Something like that wouldn’t happen.” Jirokichi pressed the hashtag button again, opening the trapdoor and revealing pissed off inspector.

“Damn, what the hell kind of a trap is this!?” The man raged.

“Do you still think it’s an ordinary glass case?” The advisor asked. Tsukiko followed as Conan took a look at the floor paneling. Maybe she should write it up… Although it was actually quite easy to remember…


The group was on the lower decks now. When Ran and Sonoko went to visit bathroom, Tsukiko slipped away to deliver the confirmation. She went all the way back to the Sky Deck where Kaito already was, watching the gem.

“Hiya!” The girl greeted.

“Ah, konnichiwa.” He replied formally in the case there were some hidden cameras. “Have you been enjoying the journey this far?”

“Yes, immensely. But now if you excuse me…” Tsukiko dropped her small back pack on the ground and dug out her ‘art supplies’: the template, the calligraphy pen and a spray bottle of red paint that was half the size of a regular one, making it easier to hide and use.

The red ‘moon’ was quickly painted right below the part of the display case where the touch screen and the boxing glove were and underneath it came a text:

“We’re here to enjoy.
We’re here to perform.
So sit back and watch us fly.
Sit back and admire.
Tonight the dark side of the moon
shall be painted red.

Akai no Tsuki & Kaitou Kid”

”It’s quite good don’t you think?” Tsukiko grinned when she finished drawing the Kaito Kid doodle underneath the message so the three parts of it formed a straight vertical line. She hid her three items again when she heard the elevator dinging. Ran had arrived. The blonde looked up. “Ah, Ran-senpai!”

“Tsukiko-chan, did you also want to see the gem again?” The karate expert asked.

“Yeah, but instead this message captured my attention.” The younger girl indicated the freshly painted text. “Apparently they’re here then…”

“Eh, we need to inform Jirokichi-san then!”

“Yea, I’ll take a photo and go to show it, okay?”

“Sure!”

Tsukiko snapped the picture with her phone and hurried away then. She really didn’t feel like seeing the next act of this soap opera. Yeah, it would be fun to watch but at the same time it was really embarrassing.

Right when Tsukiko stepped out of the elevator, Nakamori and his men arrived to the vertically moving contradiction.

“Ah, Nakamori-keibu…” The girl began.

“Yes? What is it?” The inspector asked a bit impatiently.

“I just went to see the gem again with one of the waiters but… There was a matter there…”

“A matter?”

“Yes, a message. I was just coming to show you and Suzuki-san this…” She showed the photo. “According to the drying of the paint, it was made a bit before we arrived. The waiter and Ran-senpai are up there now…”

“Nani?!” The police officers hurried into the elevator. As soon as the door closed, Tsukiko let out a sigh.

“I guess I’ll go to show this to Suzuki Jirokichi now…” And she headed down the stairs.


As expected, the Advisor of the Suzuki Corporation was excited. He didn’t go to see it himself though which slightly surprised Tsukiko. Nevertheless every single one of them were enjoying the flight. Even Kogoro managed to forget his fear of heights as he chunked down beer after beer.

Tsukiko watched the interactions in the ship with a fond smile on her face. They all better enjoy everything this before the group of fakes would arrive… Sonoko was teasing Ran. Conan received a knowing smile from Haibara. The Detective Boys were planning something and naturally the cake tasted good.

At some point Jirokichi received a call which got some people, including Conan and Tsukiko vary and soon after that the chaos ensued. The ampule was found as were the first rashes discovered. Completely fake but with entirely equally alarming results.

“Are you playing a zombie?” Tsukiko asked, while stepping forward. “At least it seems like it, Mr. Unlikely.” She aimed a punch in the man’s stomach, knocking him out completely and thus lifting some attention off Ran for the later events. She let Fujioka collapse on the ground, not bothering to neither catch him nor show sympathy through any other means. The man was a greedy bastard after all.

“Good that nii-san bothered to teach me.” She merely stated.

“Tsukiko-kun, it’s best that you disinfect your hands now.” Agasa told her.

“Uh, yes…” It could be good the get all possible skin contact away.

“This way, we have alcohol-based sanitizers in the prep room.” The other one of the waitresses told her. Tsukiko merely nodded. She didn’t particularly like that woman either seeing she was one of the terrorists but she was one of those who were used but the three main villains of this case.


Tsukiko washed all the way of her arms and even her neck, too. Just in case. She didn’t want any rashes showing. She didn’t feel like being locked anywhere or she wanted anything itchy that’d distract her from operating efficiently.

“It seems there’ll be a delay in our plan.” Kaito stated as they were the only ones in the prep room.

“Yeah… Proper postponing that all sensible people understands.” Tsukiko stated. “By the way, did you notice something weird between the rashes Fujioka-san had and the ones the other waitress had?”

“Other than the size and number of them? No.”

“The ones on Fujioka’s face and neck were shaped like palms. And if that bacterium really spreads via droplet contact…”

“The way rashes have appeared doesn’t make any sense.”

“That’s right. Something is terribly wrong with the facts presented.”

“I saw that Fujioka guy earlier grabbing that neechan’s arms…”

“Spreading via physical contact then? Is there such bacterium that does so?” Tsukiko frowned. “I know it can be airborne or via insects like with malaria, the saliva of some animals, dirty waters… Okay, there’s salmonella but that’s a virus and it spreads via animal faeces that contaminate waters…”

“Something is not right anyways…” Kaito glanced at the door way. “We better go now.”

“Yeah…”


Right when they arrived to the lounge room where the rest were gathered, they heard sound of the choppers. Alarmed glances were exchanged before Tsukiko hurried to sit in the same table with Ran and Sonoko. She took notice that all the kids except Haibara were gone.

“Good, according to the plot then…”

The door burst open and a man in a black suit resembling one of a SWAT pointed a machine gun at the occupants of the room.

“Don’t move!” He ordered. Everybody looked up. Somehow they had failed to hear the copter arriving.

“Who the hell are you?” Nakamori demanded at once. Another man walked in, acting like the leader of the group. He even had his mask away.

“Did you find the ampule?” The man asked.

“The Red Siamese Cats…” The Inspector realized.

“I’ve planted bombs on this ship. So long as you control yourselves and hear me out, I will refrain from detonating them.” The fake-leader explained.

“Voof-voof!” Lupin barked his disagreement.

“Now Lupin, simmer down!” Jirokichi told the canine. That time Ishimoto’s hand inched towards his camera but the electronic device got shot in pieces, making everyone think that he was not one of the bad guys.

“I told you to behave!” The terrorist reminded them. Tsukiko crossed her arms. It was both now both a protective gesture and confident one. She kept her eyes away from the dark-clad and heavily armed men.

“We, the Red Siamese Cats have hijacked this airship. Now surrender you cell phones.” Two of the goons, one tall and one short came forward at that order with bag in which the all hostages out their phones. Tsukiko gave her spare one she had taken with her once again. It was also the one she had used earlier in the case the bitch, Nishitani, would blurt out something. Then she backed up to stand next to Agasa to provide more shield to Haibara. The shrunken scientist contacted Conan then.

“I hope they’re alright…” The blonde teen whispered so that only the two closest to her could hear.

“Me too…” The professor agreed with an equally low voice.


Ishimoto noticed that Mizutani was scratching his palm and Nishitani declared immediately that the director smeller like a smoke… Of course it would be those two. Tsukiko took out a palm-sized spray bottle she had prepared earlier. It contained paint that would come visible only two to three hours from spraying it as the particle in it would come contact with oxygen. Earlier, when going to wash her arms, she had sprayed it on the back of the other waitress when her innocent colleague had fainted. And now she’d mark the other two. After all she was close enough to them.

Fffsssh.

Fffsssh.

They didn’t notice anything.  One of the terrorist did though.

“Hey, what is that?” The grabbed the bottle from the blonde.

“M-My inhaler. I’m allergic to the pollen in the air. C-Can I have it back? I need it please…” Tsukiko explained nervously. She did lie but at least the small can resembled an inhaler and she really was allergic to pollen… of Alder and Birch and the latter one didn’t even grow in Japan. And her allergy wasn’t bad enough to need an inhaler. But the hijackers didn’t need to know it.

“Hmph, have it then, girl.” The small can was tossed back to her. Tsukiko felt like smiling at her success but she couldn’t be sure who was watching her. So she settled watching as Mizutani was taken to the smoking room and Ran got worried if she was infected.


A couple of minutes passed and Tsukiko grew more and more nervous. She kept her eyes on Nishitani all the time and indeed, she looked up and asked not so quietly from Ishimoto where the other children were.

“Children?” The terrorist ‘leader’ repeated.

“Yeah… If I recall, there were three boys and another girl about her age.” The woman replied while pointing Haibara.

“Find them.” The order came to the two thugs.

“You just had to say that…” Tsukiko muttered while glaring at the woman. She noticed clearly from her spot by the wall that Haibara was about to contact Conan but knew the boy couldn’t answer. And right then the evil waitress took the detective badge from the girl.

“My, how sneaky of you.” The short-haired woman commented and hit the girl in the face.

“Are you alright, Ai-chan?” Ran and Sonoko hurried immediately to the child.

“Shame on you for slapping a child.”

“If you try something like that again, I’ll kill you!” The woman told the shrunken scientist.

“The third thing that really pisses me off… People who take children as hostages… People who injure said children.” Tsukiko walked forward as the woman’s attention was briefly on the trio. She kicked the woman behind knees, making her collapse. “I’d really like to beat you up from what you just did. But I refrain from doing that…” The blonde stated while staring down at the woman coldly. “…after all you already have a target painted on you back, bitch.” She let out a manic grin before walking away. The woman got up and pointed a gun at the girl’s head.

“What do you mean?” The waitress demanded.

“Mean? Oh, probably that red ‘X’ on the back your shirt.” At that moment the two thugs came back to the room, the four ‘missing’ kids with them.


“You guys did this?” The leader asked the Detective Boys while examining one of the disarmed bombs.

“I was the one who did that.” Conan told him immediately, stepping up to protect the others. “They had nothing to do with that.”

At that the man put the bomb down and walked to the boy. The other three kids back up immediately but Conan stood on his ground.

“Such bravery.” The man mocked and grabbed Conan from the scruff of his neck, dragging him towards the window.

Was it an instinct or a mere reaction? Tsukiko didn’t know but the next thing she did, was to rush forward to stop the man.

“Don’t do that! He’s only a kid!” She shouted when the two thugs stopped her, restraining her movements effectively.

“Since we are getting rid of the nuisances…” The leader stated and the window was open then. The thugs pushed Tsukiko forward and in her momentum of speed she couldn’t really do anything else than stumble with her steps when the man holding Conan took a hold on the front of her shirt pulled the girl her back first towards the open rectangular hole that led into freefall.  And on that moment she acted along another instinct: she tried to grab the thing nearest to her. And on that moment it was Conan who was dropped right after her.

Tsukiko felt only air rushing past her as she hugged Conan tightly against her chest. It was only ten seconds into the fall when she could hold back anymore. When she finally realized what had happened.

“I… Iyaaaaaaaaaah!” She didn’t remember what was the last time she’d screamed like that. Even in amusement park she didn’t scream in the rollercoasters. She liked speed and adrenaline she got from those. But now…


Up in the airship Ran dashed forward, as if to jump after them but Kaito was faster. He dived and caught up quite quickly with the two but catching them in the rapid air currents was much harder as they tended to surge upwards time to time. Finally he managed to grab Tsukiko’s ankle and get a good hold on them(Conan was sandwiched between the teens.). They dived through a cloud and the hang glider was opened, revealing the situation to the people up in the airship much to their relief.

“Hard to believe they’d toss you out a window…” Kid muttered. “Especially after you joked about it, eh, Tsuki-chan?”

“…”

“Tsuki-chan?” The girl was shivering and clutching the front of Kaito’s jacket, still squeezgin her eyes shut. “Right… What now then, Meitantei?” Kid turned his head a bit to address the boy. “Are you giving up?”

“That’s not even opinion! Return to the airship at once!” Conan ordered, pointing upwards.

“Don’t be ridiculous. My hang glider doesn’t have an engine on it. And with the weight of three people there’s no way we could go back. Besides Tsuki-chan needs to get some solid ground beneath her feet now. So… Consider yourself lucky to still be alive!”


They landed on a beach in Sakushima, Aichi Prefecture. Tsukiko’s feet didn’t hold her up so she just sat down and wrapped her arms around herself, still shivering and breathing erratically. Conan was let on the ground by Kid who immediately crouched beside the girl.

“Tsuki-chan… It’s okay now…” He smiled gently. The girl nodded, taking a huge gulp of air and trying to even out her breathing. Eventually she calmed down and opened her eyes.

“I’m… I’m okay…” She whispered, forcing a smile on her face.

“Nee, are you sure Okiya? You have the fear of heights after all.” Conan asked worriedly.

“Yeah… I’ll be just fine…” The girl nodded again.


Conan called to Heiji who was at Bell Tree Tower with Kazuha, waiting for the airship to come. Meanwhile Kid played with a friendly goat. Tsukiko merely followed this all while sitting on a railing of the small bridge they were at. She was still a bit shaken of the turn of events. She had planned originally to hide somewhere in the ship and avoid the kidnappers but they had arrived sooner than she’d thought.

A sound of choppers was heard again. It was a police helicopter this time. Conan hung up his call with Heiji and called to Inspector Megure as Kudou Shinichi.

“I’d like to make a request inspector… Allow me to board that helicopter. Me, Kudou Shinichi.”


It took a bit of a coaxing for Kid to disguise as Shinichi but in the end the trio found themselves in the helicopter with Satou and Takagi. In her mind Tsukiko was a bit worried. She had no idea what she was doing there. After all she had no intention of jumping off the copter like the other two. So she had a really bad feeling about what those two were planning. Yep, there was no way they’d leave her behind.

Kid managed to dodge Sato’s questions well and when Tsukiko’s presence was mentioned the girl just smiled.

“I got caught up with a certain sort of case you could say and met up with Kudou…-san. And then this airship caught our attention.”

They approached the airship fairly quickly. Kid gave instructions to go ahead of the ship and maintain the same speed the pilot had given him a moment earlier.

“Nee, you’re not doing what I think you’re going to do, eh?” Tsukiko frowned, her arms crossed tightly. Kid smirked.

“No need to worry okay?” He told her.

“I’m not coming… I’m definitely not coming…” The girl muttered as the teen and the child sitting in front of her stuck their hands out of the window.

“Kudou-kun, what are you…?” Sato began. Kid closed the window and he and Conan took of their headphones.

“C’mon, Tsuki-chan.” Kid grinned to her. “It’s perfectly safe. And this time you’re prepared, right?”

The girl sighed and took off the phones. “Fine, but this is the last time you coax me into anything…” The blonde reached forward and took a hold of the lapels of Kid’s outfit(Teitan school uniform). Conan hugged the girl around the waist, this time more comfortable between the two teens.

“All right then, please excuse us.” The door was opened with one hand while the other held Tsukiko close by her waist. And the trio jumped off. This time the blonde managed to keep her scream inside her. The two police detectives were left behind to watch after them, confusion and astonishment written all over their faces.


The trio landed safely a top of the roof of the airship and Tsukiko was quick to release the hang glider before something like in the movie could happen. She didn’t need any unnecessary comic relief at the moment. When one of the thugs appeared on the roof to shoot at the police helicopter, the trio went flat against the surface to avoid being noticed.

“I really want to get inside…” Tsukiko muttered. She really didn’t like the feel of the wind in her hair at the moment. Normally she enjoyed it, like when in a boat or in rollercoasters but at the moment… And that was also one of the reasons she had folded ‘the wings of the white devil’ so quickly.

The terrorist went inside fairly quickly, allowing the three to walk towards the entrance. All that way Tsukiko had a firm hold on Kid’s hand. The magician got comfortable against one of the air vents though and gave Conan the fingerprint of Suzuki Jirokichi that he’d acquired about a week ago.

“By the way, about your important girlfriend… It’s best that you keep an eye on her. That man Fujioka grabbed both her arm earlier. She did push him away quickly, though. Since it wasn’t via coughing or sneezing, I don’t think she’s infected.” Kid told the shrunken detective. “What do you think, Tsuki-chan?”

“…I think that something is seriously wrong with this whole terrorist system. Like I stated earlier, it’s entirely possible that these aren’t the Red Siamese Cats, just people using their name and reputation, and that this is no actual bacteria here.” Tsukiko stated.

“Well, I just thought to let you know.” Was Kid going to take a nap? A top of an airship?! Crazy thief…


Conan and Tsukiko descended to the inner parts of the ship.

“We need to find the bombs now, right?” The girl confirmed.

“Yeah.” The boy gave her an earpiece again. “I’ll help you with the locations of the two previous ones while checking the other two places.”

“There is one definitely behind the smoking room… If there is actually some bacteria.” Tsukiko grinned.

“You are certain about that theory of yours.”

“It’s merely the facts that are telling me so. The bigger picture is the one that isn’t clear for me yet.”

The duo looked through the entire ship. Well, the inner parts and found only two bombs. The sat down on the grating corridor with the bombs between them. Conan began pondering the situation and it’s strangeness while Tsukiko took the switchblade knife offered to her and disarmed the bombs by cutting the two wires from both of them.

Heiji called to Conan and told the situation on the ground level: how the news had spread and how the whole city of Osaka was in panic.

“What?” Conan put a speaker on.

“The bullet train station is jam-packed with people trying to escape Osaka to the west. Even the highway and local roads are congested with cars leaving Osaka bound westward. Not to mention bank employees and security guards have all evacuated. Now’d be a great time to rob a bank, huh?”

“I think it’s better not to do that.” A kid’s voice was heard. Was his name Satoshi? “Security systems nowadays are pretty tight.”

“It’s a joke, a joke. Don’t interrupt when adults are talking.” Heiji huffed. Suddenly Kid touched Conan’s shoulder, startling the boy a bit.

“I saw something interesting.” The thief explained.

“I can take the phone, Kudou.” Tsukiko offered and the boy did so, if a bit reluctantly. Tsukiko waited until the two were out of earshot and disabled the speaker. “Hattori-san, still there?”

“Eeeh… You’re… Okiya Tsukiko-chan, right? Ku-Conan-kun mentioned you once.”

“Yeah, when we were on a way to eat sushi. Anyways, I was just thinking about your idea of robbing a bank… What if someone were to strike a place without such a tight security…”

“That’s a valid point. This far it seems that all the airship has been doing is to cause panic.”

“Yes. There is three… possibly four infected people. Three of those have been confirmed to visit the smoking room where the bacteria was supposedly released. Fourth person is either one of the kids who peeked in, especially Kudou has been worried about Kojima-kun towards whom an infected waitress sneezed. But he has showed no signs of infection…”

“And who is the other potential victim?”

“Ran-senpai. The guy, who was first discovered to be infected, touched her arms earlier. I didn’t witness it so I’m not sure what exactly happened so don’t start making assumptions okay?”

“Neechan, huh? Hey, wasn’t it said that kids are especially prone of getting infected?”

“Yeah… But there is something that doesn’t add up. The first one infected had rashes all over his arms, neck and face. The second one, the waitress, had only in her right palm and a narrow area of her left arm above her elbow. The third guy had only in his right palm. You know what I’m getting at?”

“Yeah, the symptoms are not consistent.”

Suddenly Conan came running back and took the phone from the girl.

“Hey!”

The plan of the robbers was quickly explained to Heiji who was sent to Nara.

“Okay, is it show time now?” Tsukiko asked as she and Conan sneaked to the corridor.

“Yeah…”

“Well, I wish you luck then.”

“Where are you going?”

“I shall mess up with their heads now.” Tsukiko took out the red paint spray bottle, the template and the calligraphy pen. “It’s graffiti time.”


Brrrr… Brrrr… … Brrrr… Brrrr…

A cell phone rang in the sack among its friends. The leader of the group took it out. The ID on the screen of the blue phone was ‘Trollolololo’.

“Hello?”

“Pizzeria Yutaka. I need to inform you that your pizza has arrived on Deck C, corridor 5, room 28.” A female voice told politely before turning into gleeful. “Catch me if you can, Red Siamese Copycats!” The call was hung up. The leader sent two thugs to check out the mentioned area.


On the door of the room 28 was painted red ‘moon’ kanji once again and underneath was yet another message.

“I’m still here.
I still have no fear.
I’m Red. I’m Moon.
And I’m right behind you.”

“Eh?” The door of the room slammed right in the faces of the two and they stumbled against the opposite wall against which they hit their heads and everything in their eyes went black.

“They fainted? Pity. They couldn’t see my outfit then…” Tsukiko stepped out of the room, wearing the same clothes than when she had ‘borrowed’ the engine from Agasa’s. This time she had a pair of narrow sunglasses on her face though.

The girl dragged with a great effort the two thugs into separate rooms and locked the doors of those after disarming the men. It wouldn’t do any good if they were to shoot the locks open.

“Hmm… I’ll just leave these here.” She tossed the guns underneath the bed of the room 28. “Then to my next destination…”

On the way down the stairs Tsukiko came across with Conan who had fetched his skate board from his room and was now following when Ran was being escorted to the smoking room.

“Hand shaped rashes…” The girl whispered, getting the boy’s attention. They hid into a room when the escort left.

“Right where Fujioka touched her.” The blonde commented. She could already see the train of thought going on the silent boy’s mind as they left the room.


The plan was in motion. Tsukiko slumped on the ground, making just enough noise to alert the people in the lounge. Cat-A came to check the situation but got darted but Conan’s watch she had borrowed(this time actually borrowed). The boy checked the man’s fingernails which were blackened just like he’s seen.

“Hurry, the next Cat is probably coming…” Tsukiko whispered urgently.

“Yeah…”

When Cat-B found his fallen comrade, he failed to notice anything wrong with the ‘handle’ that descended right next to him, resulting him rising up and falling down when he had grabbed it.

“You know… I hated his haircut.” Tsukiko commented. Conan casted an incredulous glance at her. “What? Can’t I say what I’m thinking?”

“I… I don’t even know what to think about that one…”

“Good, then it served its purpose.” The blonde grinned, while tucking her hair more carefully underneath her fedora. Meanwhile Conan answered to the radio the Cat and dropped.

“If it’s about Cat-B, he’s out cold on the roof. Which is strange… since cats shouldn’t land on their backs.”

“And about those to receiving the order from Pizzeria Yutaka… It managed to get cold already!” Tsukiko sang. The connection was cut then. “If I’m guessing right… They’d sent now C, D and E now… Can you handle them, Tantei-chan?”

“Yeah, you go to the dining hall.”

“Righty-o!”


Conan defeated the three Cats with the traps set for Kid on the Sky Deck.

“Hey, hey… Are you serious?” Kid jumped down on the deck. “What is all this?” He actually sweatdropped.

“The third trap Uncle Jirokichi set up just for you.” Conan answered confidently as he walked towards the thief.

“Is that so? Tsuki-chan failed to notify me about it then… If I stole the jewel and escaped from that hole by firing my grappling hook…” He winced at the mental image. “That was a close one!”

“It would probably also activate if you were to lift the gem skywards to check the inside of it.” Tsukiko appeared from behind the platform. She took one of the Cats’ radio.

“Weren’t you going to the dining room?” Conan asked.

“Change of plans…” She pressed the mike button on the radio. “Pizzeria Yutaka. Cat C, Cat D and Cat E have all messed up in our kitchens. They are incapable to return. Cat D has locked himself into a cupboard, Cat E got punched into face by our cook and Cat C suffered a severe electrocution. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.”

The looks she received from Conan and Kid were identical, saying ‘Are you serious?’

“What?” The girl grinned, but right then the leader of the group stepped out of the elevator and began firing at them with the machine gun. Kid took a shield behind the gem display platform. Tsukiko hid behind the pillar the electrocuting sensor was installed in. And Conan… Well, he predictably knocked the guy out with the football of his.

“Your turn now, Kudou.” Tsukiko tossed the radio to the kid. “I shall go to mess up with these guys a bit more.”

“Okay…”

“Kid-kun, we’ll see later, ‘kay?”

“Yup!” Kaito grinned.


Conan made his radio announcement with the radio after confronting the ‘leader’. The rest of the terrorists were caught. Execpt for three… The three real culprits. But Conan wasn’t aware of them yet. He just contently returned Lady Sky to Jirokichi and went to talk with Ran then. He explained to the long-haired girl how there was no bacteria at all and realized then… that Fujioka was the real mastermind of the plan.

Tsukiko watched the boy run towards the entrance to the roof of the airship. She wasn’t smiling this time.  It wasn’t the time yet. But she did take the cell phone she had and rang to the one that was still in the lounge room.

“Pizzeria Yutaka. Congratulations for catching the terrorists. Pity that they are all fake though. Your radar has missed three main culprits.” She stated in an official manner through her voice changer.

“What do you mean? Who are you?” Nakamori’s voice asked in irritation.

“There’re two of them among you, Nakamori-keibu. Look for red target painted on their backs.”

“There’s…” The man was probably looking around for the red ‘X’s.

“Fujioka-san. Ishimoto-san. Nishitani-san.” The girl merely replied. At that moment Sonoko’s scream was heard. “Gomenazai… I should’ve warned you earlier…”

“Hey, girl. Come forward if you don’t want your friends to die.” Ishimoto had taken the cell phone from Nakamori.

“Nope! Catch me if you can! Red Moon over and out!” The blonde chirped cheerfully.

“Are you sure? What if they actually kill them now?” Tsukiko looked up to see Kaito sitting on a railing above her.

“Nah… If they do, they’ll do it at once. There’re some explosives aboard after all. Besides I trust in Kudou’s judgement in this matter now. I believe he’s going to solve this one way of another.” The girl smiled.


A couple of minutes passed and suddenly the whole ship began to shake.

“Whoa, whoa, what’s this?” Kid looked around and took out his grappling hook gun.

“I-I don’t know…” Tsukiko stuttered. The ship began to turn into vertical position. The thief fired the gun at the metal structures of the ship and grabbed his apprentice by the waist. They hung in the middle of the ship until the alarms went on and the automatic steering system straightened Bell Tree First. The duo slammed against one of the walking platforms.

“That was quite surprising…” Kaito stated.

“Could you let go of me now?” Tsukiko asked in turn. The boy looked at her and then his arm that was still wrapped around her waist.

“Oh… Okay.” He unwound the arm and the two got on their feet, Kid offering a hand to Moon. “Shall we go then, my dearest accomplice?”

“I don’t see why not, Kid-sensei.”


The hostages in the lounge were getting up on their feet and gathering their bearings after the sudden change of up and down. Kid stepped into the room first, Moon following him.

“Oh dear, what a surprise!” The magician stated a bit mockingly. “I wanted to survey the situation in the hall and the ship suddenly lurched.”

“Who wants to bet it was Tantei-chan’s fault?” The girl grinned, stepping to lean against the wall and crossing her arms and ankles loosely.

“You…” Haibara muttered while Nakamori raged at the male thief.

“Me.” The blonde grinned. “Oh, forgive my manners.” She stepped away from the wall and walked to the front of the room, right before the two culprits who were unconscious from the lurch. “I am Akai no Tsuki, the Red Moon. I’m the apprentice of Kaitou Kid and shall act as a confirmation. Whenever there’s a heist, you can expect me or my signature to appear indicating our presence. Pleased to make your acquaintance.” She made a theatrical bow.

“You are Okiya Tsukiko, aren’t you?” Haibara asked. She had gotten the feeling of something was wrong since the beginning and Conan’s behavior had confirmed it. After all the boy had stated he had no ideas about the person who broke into professor’s which was impossible with the wit like his. And it was no secret to her that the two, Edogawa and Okiya(whether it was about Tsukiko or Subaru) had some sort of agreement that wasn’t on her territory.

“Nope. I merely borrowed her face for this entrance of mine. She gave me the permission to though.” Moon grinned.

“Umm… Where’s Conan-kun?” Ran asked the duo then.

“Don’t worry. That boy is alright.” Kid reassured the girl and began untying the ropes binding her wrists to the bannister. “He should be here soon…” He straightened up then. “Well, please help untie everyone.”

“I think I’ll go to check the waitress in the emergency room. After all Fujioka escaped from there.” The female thief stated. “By the way, I’d appreciate if you didn’t arrest me only for being associated with him. Personally I have no intention of stealing anything. I just do this for experiences and skills.”

“You assume you’ll just let be walk free?” Jirokichi asked when Kid walked to the bag of Ishimoto and fished the lapis lazuli ring, Lady Sky, from there.

“Well, yes. After all, I’m the confirmation. And I’m not from here.” The girl grinned manically.

“Well, ladies and gentlemen…” Kid was delivering his dramatic exit line now. “As assured, the treasure has now become mine.” The ring vanished and he bowed. Moon tipped her hat.

“But no worries: we shall meet again. No worries: this won’t be the end.” She stated and followed the phantom thief out of the lounge room.


“We shall depart now then. See you in a week.” Kaito waved to the girl.

“See ya.” Tsukiko ran to the emergency room where the waitress was still bound and sitting on the floor between the two beds.

“Are you alright, ojou-san?” She kneeled beside the woman and removed the cloth gagging her.

“Y-Yes. I think so…” The older female stuttered.

“Good. Here, let me help you.” The blonde untied the waitress’s hands. “The rest of the staff are waiting for you in the dining room. If you were so kind to help them out. Their predicament is as bad as yours just was.”

“B-But the infection…”

“It’s alright. The infection is actually just skin irritation caused by lacquer.” The black-clad girl stood up. “But now I need to take my leave and join sensei. If you happen to see the blonde teen girl, would you give this to her and thank her for her co-operation?” She took out her own green phone and gave it to the woman.

“Who are you?”

“I’m the Red Moon. I’m the shine of the night sky, Lady Sky.” The girl bowed slightly and made her leave then. For Tsukiko’s mouth those words were very uncharacteristic but for Akai no Tsuki they were perfect.


Tsukiko changed into the clothes she had when arriving to the airship and went to the lounge.

“Hey, everything alright now?” She peeked in.

“Tsukiko-oneesan!” Ayumi cheered and ran to hug the girl.

“Hi, Yoshida-chan. I’m glad to see you in one piece.”

“Where were you?” Sonoko asked the blonde. “You fell with  Conan-kun and Kid-sama after all.”

“Yeah… That happened. But it turned out alright. We got a ride with a police helicopter because Kid disguised as Kudou Shinichi-san. And… I swear those two are insane!” Tsukiko declared. “They jumped of the helicopter with me and landed on the roof of this airship.”

“Eeeh! Cool!” Genta cheered.

“Yeah, this accomplice of Kid’s was waiting for us and told me to hide in my room while she and Edogawa-kun took care of the terrorists. Kid was taking a nap on the roof.” The girl continued her explanation as the older girl led her to the table to sit. “Speaking of which… She borrowed my phone. Has anyone seen it? The green one I didn’t give to the criminals.”

“No, we haven’t seen anything like that.” Mitsuhiko shook his head.

“I doubt she’ll return it.” Haibara stated from the table next to theirs.

“No way, she promised!” Tsukiko whined.

“Don’t worry about it, Tsukiko-chan.” Sonoko reassured the girl. “You got close to Kid anyways. Twice at that! I wish I were you…” A dreamy expression appeared on the polka-haired girl’s face.

“Hey, where’s Ran-neechan?” Conan asked suddenly, looking around. A sly smile appeared on Tsukiko’s face.

“I walked past her when coming here. She was on the way to the Sky Deck.”

“She probably wanted to see Kid again.” Haibara added.


The three – Conan, Sonoko and Tsukiko(dragged along my Sonoko) – hurried to the Sky Deck. When the elevator doors binged open, Kid was just stepping away from Ran. The thief kissed the back of the girl’s hand with that familiar smile on his face before straightening up.

“Kid, you bastard!” Conan shouted, running forward. But Kid was faster and managed to escape with the help of his grappling hook and his hang glider.

“Kid-sama! So cool!” Sonoko gushed.

“You say that even after what he did to me…” Ran shot a look at her best friend.

“What’s ‘that’?” Conan asked. They noticed then Lady Sky put on the karate-champion’s left ring finger but Ran did give her answer.

“Well, it’s something that Shinichi would never do.”

“… Oh!” Tsukiko grinned. “He managed to convince you that he was Shinichi then? I wonder what he asked from you~…”

Ran blushed at those words.

“Why? Why is it something that Shinichi-niichan wouldn’t do?” Conan asked in confusion. “Why do you think that?”

“Well, that’s because…” Ran bent forward to talk with the boy but stopped then. She noticed the band-aid on his cheek. She straightened up immediately. “Not because I like him! Don’t get me wrong!”

“That was very tsundere reply… “Tsukiko settled musing aloud. She wanted to tell Conan what exactly had happened moments earlier but refrained  from doing that. One was that she didn’t know how to tell it without raising suspicions. The other was that she didn’t want the boy to kill the thief in the next heist.


“But the face would be worth of seeing…” The blonde girl snickered when she was heading towards her room to pack her things.

“Excuse me, miss…” It was the waitress from before. “I was asked to give this to you.”

“Oh, my phone. Thank you very much. I was wondering whether she’d return it. Good that she did. I need to call niisan. He’s probably worried sick.” Not. Jodie would though.

“That lady asked me to relay her thank you to you.”

“Oh, thanks. She’s one mystery, isn’t she?” Tsukiko laughed and the waitress joined in too.

“Definitely.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 40.

”Excuse me, what? What happened?”

Tsukiko sighed. She knew she shouldn’t have told Miyoshi about everything that happened on the airship. But then Sonoko would’ve told everything and exaggerated it. Or then the class president would’ve tried to investigate the matter.

“Yes, I got thrown out along with Edogawa-kun. Kid dived after us thus saving us. Later we returned to the ship by jumping from a police helicopter. Sato-keiji and Takagi-keiji can testify if you don’t believe me.” The blonde explained.

“I do believe you. That all just… You really get into trouble…” Miyoshi shrugged.

“I know… It’s not my fault though.” Tsukiko muttered. At that the other bespectacled girl took a glance on her watch.

“Great. We need to hurry now or we’ll be late.”

“What?” But Miyoshi had started to run already. Tsukiko sprinted after her. Why they had to have school right after the weekend of adventure? The blonde had even returned back to Tokyo on the day after incident because Jodie had told her to. Travelling alone in a bullet train and missing the visit the Bell Tree Tower? No thanks. But it happened… She even missed the okonomiyaki with Heiji and Conan i.e. Magic File 4!

“Well, at least Subaru and Jodie don’t know about my… stunt.”


When the two arrived to their classroom, the whole class was buzzing. Literally. Everyone was chatting with each other of texting with someone.

“Whoa… What’s this…” Tsukiko asked aloud.

“If I were to guess…” Miyoshi picked one abandoned newspaper from some boy’s desk. “It’s about the new thief or whatever she is…”

“Oh… You mean Red Moon? The one claiming to be Kaitou Kid’s apprentice?” The blonde tilted her head.

“Yeah. They got a vague description of her on Sunday’s paper and now the whole Japan is talking about it. Crazy… She has appeared only once!” The class president scoffed and showed the other girl a fuzzy photo on the front page of the day’s paper. “And she’s still in the headlines…”

“Hmm…” Tsukiko took the offered paper. “Why would she? I mean… She only appeared once, like you said.” Faking this all was easier than she thought. Maybe because she was merely fishing for Miyoshi’s opinions now.

“Hmph… The media is speculating of course! Her age, nationality – after all Kaitou Kid appeared in Paris for the first time –, her exact connection with Kid, personality and goals…”

“Oh, I see…” The blonde folded the paper with a slight smile on her face. “I can’t wait to see how the heists shall turn out now.”

“Well, I guess Conan-kun will be frustrated. Predicting one thief is one thing but two…”

“And Nakamori-keibu will get grey hair.”

“That too.”

The teacher came to the class and the lesson began. No one paid attention though and the teacher didn’t even notice. Tsukiko was also among in her own thoughts as she read the two page article speculating about Red Moon.

“I can’t wait to show this to Kaito…” She grinned. When she lifted her gaze up though, she noticed Miyoshi watching her. “Sorry, I didn’t read the paper today.” She smiled a bit sheepishly.

“It’s alright.” Mai smiled back. “I’m also interested a bit about this turn of events. Not as much as about my cases though…” The class president added.


The speculation about Red Moon continued throughout the week in the papers but moved from morning papers to tabloids and magazines. Tsukiko didn’t bother buying every single one of those magazines as they repeated each other when there wasn’t that much information yet. But she did browse some of them in stores when she happened to spot a new article.

And for her surprise Subaru didn’t talk about this new thief with her at all. Maybe the man had managed to avoid the hype or then he wasn’t interested. Tsukiko did spot him reading the newspaper she had brought with her on Monday and raise an eye brow at something there but she couldn’t be sure what it was since the paper had naturally had several other articles.


But anything that happened during that week couldn’t top the next week’s Thursday. The day didn’t start that well though. First Tsukiko was terribly late from school. Then the lessons were either terribly boring or very difficult for some reason. And lastly she had been meant to hang out with Miyoshi but the other girl had had to cancel on the last minute.

“I’ve been asked elsewhere. Sorry.” The class president apologized.

“Okay… It’s a case, right?”

“Yeah… Or rather, my assistance is required with something. I don’t know the exact details.”

“Right. See you tomorrow then.” And they had parted ways.

At home Tsukiko had changed her clothes and after glancing at the homework decided not to do them.

“Screw this. I’m going to a walk.” She had tossed her glasses a top of the homework and left then after grabbing her smaller shoulder bag.

Which had led here to her current location, sitting on the low brick fence that surrounded some park. People walked past her on the sidewalk… People coming from work, school… Going home, grocery store, movies, cafes… People on their own, in groups, as couples… People laughing, smiling, chatting… Serious, pensive, indifferent…

“I miss my friends…” Tsukiko laid her eyes on the sidewalk in front of her. “K-chan, Mi-chan… Vi-chan, E-chan… J-kun and… J-kun… You all… I miss you all so damn much.” The blonde wiped tears on her sleeve furiously when she noticed them. “Dammit this all…”

“Homesickness?” A female voice asked. Unfortunately familiar female voice that made Tsukiko’s skin crawl slightly. She lifted her head up and there stood Vermouth herself in the middle of busy street. The girl had no problems recognizing the woman as she’d just spoken but an outsider would had a bit harder time due the thick braid the blonde hair was tied on and the sunglasses that almost obscured the entire face but were still see-through. It was how well simple disguises worked in this world, the protagonist’s glasses being the primary example.

“You were surprisingly easy to find, Shadow.” The woman continued and sat next to the girl.

“So? What do you want from me then?” Tsukiko frowned as she took in the woman’s outfit. It wasn’t her regular motorcycle overall that showed her clavicle and a bit more… This one had a dark brown leather jacket zipped all the way up and dark blue skinny jeans accompanied by black boots. Some blending in then…

“Why do you think I want something from you?” Vermouth laughed. “Here.” She offered the girl a cola mug. Tsukiko took it warily and peeked under the lid.

“Fanta. My favourite. But how…?” She looked up at the woman.

“I know exactly who you are and where are you from, Jade.”

Tsukiko froze at the sound of the name used but recovered quickly. Of course the disguising crow would find something like that. And if she knew the truth, then it would also explain the nick-name the girl had acquired during Raven Chaser.

“It’s pronounced ‘Yah-dey’.” The girl decided to state. “So… You say that you don’t want anything from me but you did come to find me so that must mean that you think that I want something from you.”

“Correct.” Vermouth smiled. “There is a machine in one of the buildings that organization owns. There is nothing else there and the machine had been abandoned for a few weeks now…”

“And?”

“That was designed to rip a hole between dimensions. Or so I’ve heard. I don’t know how exactly it actually worked. No one else has noticed anything though…”

“You noticed me.”

“Yes. Your reaction when I first saw you was just so unique. And then you were actually smiling when you saw me while that FBI agent Starling was crying over the death of Akai Shuichi. So I started suspecting that something had happened in that forgotten branch of the Organization. And I found the log of testing that machine on the day Kir was caught.”

“…I can feel a ‘but’ coming next.”

“No one believes the machine actually works as you didn’t appear there so all founding was cut away. And according to the memos I found it only works in one direction.”

“So what use do I have with it then?” Tsukiko huffed and glanced at her Jaffa mug then. It smelled really good… “If it can’t get me home.”

“Aren’t you at least a bit curious to know what’s going on at your home? What I managed to see before it shut the connection from me, is that time from your supposed leave has passed a few years now… and you’re still there.” Vermouth leaned her cheek against her fist and gazed at the girl lazily, observing her every reaction.

“What!?”

“Yes, it’s like you’ve never left your home but you’ve changed… Or so your little brother is telling to that you time to time.”

“…C-Can I see what’s going on there then? Can you take me to that building?” The girl asked shakily. A smirk appeared on the woman’s lips.

“I was waiting for you to ask that.” She told the girl. “But first you need to drink that.”

“There’s some sleeping pill, right?”

“Of course. I can’t go telling you the locations of organization buildings even if you are too scared to say anything that could disturb the Plot.”

“…” There was no reply as Tsukiko began sucking the Jaffa through the straw. Thankfully there was no extra taste in the drink. “How much did you see, when you got information from world?” She finally asked.

“A bit this and that. Mostly snippets that proved that you were indeed from another world, like moments when you were reading some very old cases.”

“Ahaha… I see… Did you like the drawing style back then?”

“Not a catastrophe in those. Anyways, you should see more than I did as it’s connected to your life at the moment.”

“Okay… Why are you doing this then? Why are you helping me?”

“Because I want to?” Vermouth suggested.

“We both know that isn’t a sufficient answer…” The mug was empty now and Tsukiko tossed it to the nearest trash bin. “Shall we go then?”

“Yes.” The two females got up from the fence and walked to a motorcycle that was parked not far away. Vermouth took her helmet and gave another to Tsukiko.

“The drug should start working in the next ten minutes so make sure you hold tight and tell me when you feel faint.” She told the girl.

“I already feel dizzy…” Tsukiko muttered as she put on the helmet.


The girl managed to stay wake a few more minutes into the ride until her head dropped against the woman’s back. Her hold around the actress’s waist didn’t loosen though and they made it safely to the underground garage of the building. Vermouth placed the sleeping girl to sit on the ground against the motorbike and went to check that the building was empty once again. One could never be too careful.


“It’s in the top floor. Elevators aren’t working anymore either since the power was cut but I’m sure the stairs are no problem to you.”

“What are you hinting? I’m in better fit here than back home.” Tsukiko glared the woman walking next to her.  Vermouth just laughed.

“Nothing, nothing…”

“If the power is cut, how is that machine working then?”

“It has its own generator in the room.”

The room was large and dimly lit by some electric lanterns. Vermouth had probably brought them there. The shape of the room was rectangle, not very wide but quite long – maybe 5x25 meters approximately… First along the wall was some desks full of papers – someone had left in a hurry, not caring about the notes left behind. After the desks were low control panels, on the both sides of the room.

“Okay, I’ll stay clear of those buttons…”

Then there was some sort of grey cabinets with lights on the doors. Maybe they were the generators… Between the cabinets was a cylinder with a diameter of one and half meters reaching from the floor to ceiling, leaving very little space to walk between it and the generators. And naturally the cylinder also had lights and buttons on it. All the whitish lights in there made the machine a bit eerie looking and cold with its dark bluish grey steel.

“Walk past it.” Vermouth instructed, pushing Tsukiko to the right of the cylinder/pillar. There was a round shape on the floor that was divided in six sectors and one circle in the middle. The shape sunk into the floor a bit as it processed to the center but the circle in the middle was a bit convex in turn. Behind the shape was a bit of something too, taking the space of the empty corners so the room ended to the shape. Tsukiko looked on the side to see that the generators also hugged the shape of the circle.

“That’s where you were supposed to arrive.” The woman instructed, leading the girl of stand in the small circle. She went to pick up a helmet from the floor. It wasn’t the same style motorcycle helmet than the two had used when arriving but more like one that Suzuki Jirokichi used. “Put on this helmet. It will allow you to see everything that happened after you left. I don’t know how much time has passed though so don’t be surprised, alright?”

Tsukiko took the helmet silently. She had no other opinion than trust the woman in this matter. Besides she was terribly curious to know how the things were at home. So she put it on and drew a visor in front of her eyes. (A/N: It’s like Sera’s helmet actually but since Tsukiko hasn’t read Detective’s Nocturne yet she can’t compare them.)

“Ready?” The girl heard Vermouth’s voice from distance. The woman was probably standing by the cylinder now. Tsukiko gave a thumbs-up. “Three… Two… One…” Vermouth pressed a button on the cylinder and pulled down a lever. Floating screens invaded Tsukiko’s field of vision.

“Do you see them? The screens?”

“Yeah… How can I get through them?”

“Take one you want to see and simply touch it. Those are visible to only you thanks the helmet.”

Tsukiko reached to the nearest one. In a flash of light she was watching the view of the screen right on the visor of the helmet, like she was there herself.

Jade walked through the side street and hurried home. Her brother was sitting on the sofa and watching some document from the television.

“Hiya, Lari.” The girl greeted the boy.

“Hiya, Jade.” Came the reply. “Did you have fun with your friends?”

“Yeah. But we also did the homework so now I’m free.” Jade lifted her arms above her head and stretched.

“Hmph, are you going to continue your DC marathon next? The one you started last week?” Lari gave a bit crooked smile to his sister. Jade looked at him in confusion.

“Why would I do that? I’m not interested in it anymore.” And she headed to her room, leaving the boy watching after her in even greater confusion.

“But you watched it even yesterday and were excited about the recent files…”

Tsukiko blinked as the memory ended.

“My all DC fangirliness… Where did it go?” She pondered aloud.

“Excuse me?”

“This was from the day I arrived to this world.  I’m certain of it. And just before, with my friends we were talking about making our separate DC marathons a joint project by watching the episodes together. But now…”

“Maybe all your ‘fangirliness’ came with you here.”

“Yeah…” Tsukiko waved her hand over the screens visible only to her. Better get this over with soon.


Thirty minutes later the girl took off the helmet and sat down on the floor.

“A little pause…” She sighed and hung her head a bit. “Three years… It’s been three years now…”

“…That’s quite lot.” Vermouth stated thoughtfully.

“Yeah, I’ve almost finished high school now. And in a way I’ve missed all that fun they had.”

“But you still were there.”

“Yeah…”

Tsukiko’s cell phone rang. She didn’t recognize the number but answered anyways.

“Hello? …Oh, Jodie-san! I’m actually at town at the moment and taking care of a few things… No, I don’t know when I’ll be back. Maybe in a few hours so I most likely will miss the dinner… Yeah, sorry… Say, where are you calling from? I don’t recognize the number… Camel’s cell? Okay… Yeah, bye.”

“That FBI agent keeps good tabs on you then…” Vermouth smirked.

“She is my guardian. And after getting into hospital thrice… she tends to worry.” Tsukiko pocketed the phone and took the helmet again. “Okay, time to catch up with the manga and the movies then!”


Jade opened her computer and put headphones connected to it on. She opened DCTP, the trusty page translating Detective Conan manga files, and began reading. It had been forever since she last had done anything related to the series in question.

“I wonder why. It’s such a good series after all.” The girl mused aloud as she flipped through the files, commenting them time to time.

“That is so Bourbon. Finally he shows his face!”

“Takagiih! Don’t die! Why you again?!”

“Uuu… Cold case… Déjà vu! Why Subaru you are always brushing your teeth when some comes to a surprise visit...”

“Mystery Train. Blegh that case, but the showdown was good. So many obvious suspicions confirmed now. Thank you Gosho!”

“Kid thought Sera was a boy? This is too funny…”

“Who is that guy!? Yumi’s love story? Why? Thankfully it’s a bit different than the rest…”

“Jodie appears again? Yay!”

“And Makoto!”

“Sera has two brothers? And who is that kid?”

“I SMELL PLOT!!! FINALLY!!!”

“Jade, what are you yelling here?” Lari appeared to the doorway.

“Oh, just some catching up…” Jade waved her hand dismissively. “I don’t get why I stopped reading this.”

“…Why did you decide picking up again?”

“Umm… I’m not sure… Curiosity? And Himaruya(author of Hetalia) isn’t updating anything…”

“Okay… Well, it was time for you to read it again. We’ve been worried.” Lari smiled.

“We?”

“Your friends and I. You were such a diehard fan and then you just stopped.”

“Yeah…” Jade clicked the forum open since she had read everything she could find. “Stupid Golden week… I want the next chapter of Scarlet Series…”

“Don’t forget the three movies: 15, 16 and 17.”

“Have you seen them?”

“Yeah, I began reading DC a bit after you stopped.”

“Were the movies good?”

“Decent. The 18th – this year’s – is better than those combined though.”

“Are you on the forum by the way?” Jade indicated the DCTP forum open on the screen.

“Yeah, but I’m not telling my username to you though.”

“Why not?”

“Just because…” The boy grinned. Jade pouted.

“Well, I’m going to make an own account anyways.” She announced then.

“Do you know what username you’re going to use?”

“Yep. MoonRaven, the same than I have at FanFiction!”

“I see…”

“I’m never going to give up on this series again!”

“That’s great to hear…” Lari left the room then, leaving Jade to read forums and watch the three movies she’s missed.


Tsukiko took off the helmet with a smile. Now she had not only caught up with her life but also with DC.

“Satisfied?” Vermouth asked.

“Yeah. Thank you.” The girl smiled. “Say… is it possible to get things from my world? After all what I saw, I’m not affecting the Plot in the released mangafiles.”

“What do you have in your mind then?”

“Well, first of all I want that cell phone my other self has… Blue Lumia 620. And there is someone that I’d like to get to help me here…”

“I’ll see what we can do.”

“Good, I’d like to get him here as soon as possible so he can adjust being here and this world can adjust to his presence…” A sly smile appeared on Tsukiko’s face.

“… I think I shall not ask.”

“Don’t. It won’t be a surprise then.”


An hour later, the motorbike dropped Tsukiko near Mouri Detective Agency where the girl decided to ask the question bugging her the whole day.

“Say… Why did you decide to help me like this? I don’t think you’d do anything like this without a price.”

“You are already paying the price by being here and making this game interesting.” The woman replied and drove away. Tsukiko frowned.

“Game… Yes, we both are playing this game where we are betting our lives in. We both are manipulating the said game… But the difference between us to is, Vermouth, that while you disregard the rules and aim for your own purposes while not knowing anything about the outcome… I disregard the rules to keep the known outcome in line and work in the shadows. I protect the Plot since I know it while you try to break it in pieces with my help. Sorry, Miss Rotten Apple, but that’s not happening. You might be an acquaintance of the Shadow but you are not an ally.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 41.

”Okay, that’s so unfair. You’re telling me that you ditched me back then because the kids had asked you to accompany them to investigate the haunted depot? And you met with Hattori Heiji-san with whom you sent messages to Tsuburaya-kun’s cell phone, giving the solution?”

“Yes, how many times I need to say it?” Miyoshi sighed from the other end of the line.

“Well… how about a half a dozen? After all it’s been two months since that and it’s only now that I managed to get it out of you?” Tsukiko huffed, changing the channel on the television. News were running there.

“I’m sorry; I just knew you’d react like this…”

“I’m not reacting ‘like this’!”

“Yes, you are! You are being incredibly childish.”

“Well, I would’ve wanted to investigate that store house. Designed by Samizu Kichiemon and all! And meet Hattori-san! Why didn’t the kids call me anyways?”

“They thought that you are too close with Conan-kun and wouldn’t have kept quiet about it.”

“They should know that I enjoy messing up with him even more…” The blonde muttered. Her attention strayed to the television screen again. They were announcing that the trial for the robbery case in Teito bank back in January would start soon. “Oh, wait a second… Niisan! The robbery case from back then is on the news!”

Subaru walked to the library and settled standing behind the sofa that Tsukiko was occupying at the moment(again).

“You said you wanted to know more details about that one, here you go.” The girl got up and continued talking with Miyoshi.

“Ah, the news are running now. I’m watching them too. And… Oh!”

“Oh what?” Tsukiko muttered.

“Nothing… I just think I know where to go tomorrow…”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Related to one case of mine…”

“I see…” Miyoshi wouldn’t… Was she really investigating Raiha Pass? Nah… Don’t jump into conclusions Tsukiko!

The two ended the call quite quickly. It seemed that both of them were in hurry to get into their own things now. Tsukiko went back to the library where Subaru was now sitting on the sofa and watching the footage running on the television, a thoughtful look on his face.

“Well?”

The man looked up.

“’Well’?” He repeated.

“Are we going to that area? I bet Jodie is going to the Beika department store anyways, in hunt of the cap that Scar face wore back then.” The girl explained.

“And the organization is surely making their move now.” Subaru nodded.

“Who do you think is the man impersonating… you?”

“…Bourbon. He surely is investigating this.”

Tsukiko approached the sofa and sat down next her ‘brother’. “So… What’s the plan?”


So, on the next day the siblings found themselves in the Beika Department Store. They decided to split up though, as Tsukiko wasn’t too fond of Miyoshi meeting Subaru yet and Subaru wanted to avoid Jodie and possibly any other familiar faces they might encounter. And Tsukiko had other plans for the day too…

In any case Tsukiko managed to find Conan, Ran and Kogoro right when they were about to go and talk with Jodie and Camel.

“Jo-Jodie-sensei?” Ran noticed. “Wh-What are you doing here?”

“Just… Just a little investigating…” The female agent stuttered.

“And aren’t you becoming fluent in Japanese, too?” The karate champion noted.

“Ah, that’s because of Camel here…”

Tsukiko held back a snicker at the expression on the said man’s face.

“Yeah! I’ve become fluent in Japanese! Because I like Japan! Got a problem with it?” Jodie declared then.

“Ah, no…” Ran smiled’ nervously.

“Jodie-sensei… If I recall, you’re the FBI agent who was teaching English at the high school…” Kogoro remembered.

“Didn’t you go back to America?” Ran added.

“N-No… I still have a few things to do here…” Jodie told them. “Th-This is my partner, agent Camel. Make sure to say hello whenever you see him.”

“Wherever we may meet, it’ll be a pleasure to see you…” The other agent nodded and the two left. That’s was Tsukiko’s cue to meet with the trio.

“Guess who, tantei-chan!” She covered the little boy’s eyes.

“Tsukiko-neechan.” The kid answered without any hesitation.

“Correct!”

“Tsukiko-chan, you’re here too?” Ran greeted the blonde.

“Yeah, I figured I needed something new so I came here. And then I spotted you three.” Tsukiko smiled. “Say, who was that woman just now?” She asked as Ran and Kogoro weren’t supposed to know that she was actually connected to Jodie and the FBI.

“Oh, she was my previous English teacher, Jodie-sensei. Pity, you couldn’t attend on her lessons. They were really good.”

“Is that so?”

“Yeah, though… what I’ve heard about your English skills, you probably wouldn’t have even needed them.”

“Rubbish! Learning from a native speaker is different than regular school lessons. I bet I would’ve enjoyed those lessons of hers.” Tsukiko waved her hand. “But say… What brought you lot here?” She asked when they headed towards another section of the floor. She noticed from the corner of her eye that Subaru was approaching that clerk lady Jodie had been… erm, harassing with questions earlier.


“Geez, it’s already past 1:00!” Kogoro muttered while glancing at his watch. Tsukiko checked the time from her own one too. After she’d been filled with the details, she’s decided to tag along with them.

“Seems the client isn’t coming…” Ran glanced around.

“Stop, stop! We’re going home!” The man announced then and pressed the elevator button. By then Conan and Ran noticed the bag by the elevator doors.

“What’s with this paper bag?” The boy asked.

“Maybe someone lost it?”

“It’d be best if you didn’t touch that…” A man approached the quartet. Tsukiko narrowed her eyes at him. “Because it probably has a bomb inside…”

“A bomb!?” Ran exclaimed.

“’Probably’… What makes you say that!?” Kogoro demanded immediately.

“That’s because… I’m also strapped like this!!!” The man revealed  what was under his jacket: packets of C4(probably) strapped with ducktape around his chest.

“A BOMB!?”

A panic but most of all a confusion rose in the room. The man with the bombs explained what had happened to him and that the sender of the 13 red t-shirts should be located. Tsukiko took a step away from the center of the attention, towards the crowd of spectators. This time she didn’t want any attention to herself. In the back of the crowd she also managed to spot Subaru and Scar face. But now wasn’t the time to confront either of them. Subaru because it wasn’t needed for anyone in the floor(Conan, Ran, Kogoro, Scar face) know about his presence. And Scar face… well, that much was obvious.

But what Tsukiko didn’t know, was the Mai was there too. She was in the far end of the crowd, drinking a canned coffee and observing people around her. She was sure that whoever was walking around while wearing the face of Akai Shuichi, would be somewhere close to the Teito Bank. Especially since his face was shown in the news just a day before. And the department store was her biggest bet since one could easily blend in there and follow people without their noticing.

“He is deliberately showing himself to the people associated with Akai… And now it’s easier to him since people are looking for him too… Damn, why I have to be stuck in this floor?” The bespectacled girl’s eyes wandered to the people on her left. And there… “There he is! I can’t believe my luck! I found him!”

The face of the man was definitely the same she had seen on the previous occasions. And the scar was also about the same than during the bank robbery. But when one had a face memory like Mai’s, one could easily say that it wasn’t the exact same one.

“A mask. As I thought. He isn’t the real one.” She smirked before focusing on the case going on. Ran was settling the shirt sleeves according to the folds in them. And then Conan got to the work. With all thirteen of them.


Tsukiko stayed quiet during the process of Conan investigating and slipped deeper into the crowd. She better get to Subaru now when everyone’s – even Bourbon’s – attention was on the shirts.

“Hi…” She whispered, tapping the man on the shoulder gently.

“Hello.” Subaru replied. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Why?”

The man looked at the girl and offered a smile.

“You are planning again something.” He stated. Tsukiko blinked.

“What makes you think so?” She arched her eyebrows.

“I’ve learnt to read you quite well.”

“…Good. That’s the job of a big brother. Looking after the little sister.”

“I suppose so… Excuse me…” Subaru weaved his way through the crowd to see the t-shirts better. Tsukiko stayed behind and took out her cell phone. Maybe she could give Jodie a call. Just to ask how she is doing.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Jodie-san… How are you?” The girl asked a bit nervously.

“Tsukiko-chan! I’m fine thank you for asking. But what’s so suddenly? Has something happened?” Tsukiko could hear worry in the woman’s voice.

“I’m fine yeah… A bit scared though…” Tsukiko didn’t even need to fake it. The case was making her nervous for some reason. Maybe it was the organization outside. Maybe it was Bourbon nearby and she might accidentally slip something(like that would happen…). Or maybe it was something else entirely hitting hard on her.

“Scared? Tsukiko-chan, where are you?”

“Beika Department Store… In a floor that’s closed because some guy has placed bombs by the stairs, escalators and elevators…”

“A-… Tsukiko-chan…” Jodie paused. “I’m sure it’ll be alright eventually. The police is by the stairs after all.”

“Really? H-How d’you know?” Tsukiko fingered the cell phone charm in her phone, Totoro, absent-mindedly.

“I’m in the floor below with Camel now. Say, can  you see anyone familiar there?”

Familiar… Jodie meant Scar Akai but Tsukiko decided to dodge the question.

“Umm… There’s Edogawa-kun with Ran-senpai and Mouri-tantei trying to solve the case of red t-shirts… I met up with them and tagged along to this floor. And then there’s Subaru-nii! He came with me earlier but we split up since we had our own things to find.” Well, it was true in a way. Tsukiko had wanted to find Conan and co. while Subaru went to find information about the Scar face.

“No one else? You don’t see anyone who’s even remotely familiar to you?”

“No…” Tsukiko spotted the Scar face in the distance just like Subaru did. “I don’t see anyone.”


Mai crossed her arms on her chest and smug smile found its way on her face. She had now both seen Tsukiko’s brother for the first time and confirmed her suspicions that Tsukiko was somehow related to the case of Raiha Pass. Hmm… the girl would need a better name for that case to call with… Reichenbach. Yes, that would work well.

The brunette followed as her classmate ended the call and the girl’s brother returned to her side after spotting too the scarred man. A satisfied smirk was also on the man’s face as he pushed up his glasses, half covering his face. He seemed to say something to Tsukiko to which the girl nodded and reply something quietly.

“Complicated matters… Tsukiko lives with an FBI agent and not with her brother. She barely even mentioned her brother before Suzuki and Ran-senpai met him. She admitted being adopted and being scared that it’d be discovered… So, probably Jodie-sensei doesn’t know about that fact either. According their behavior just now, they both know that this ‘Akai Shuichi’ is a fake one but neither of them seem to be going to tell anyone nor confronting the man about it. They both have a good reason to let him roam around with that face then. But why…? What could they be protecting then? The location of the real one? Or the person who presumably killed him? Or both? Either way they work well together… Like real siblings now that Tsukiko isn’t trying to emphasize their relation. She seems happy with him. That’s good…”

Mai smiled at the sight of the two of them before focusing on observing the fake Akai once again.

Chapter Text

Chapter 42.

A message binged to Tsukiko’s phone and she dug it out once again. Totoro dangled happily from the Lumia as she went to check what was the message about.

“Asdfghjkl! It’s the chapter 896 spoilers!!!” The blonde’s face brightened immediately and she went to scroll the pages of the Chinese files.

“What is it?” Subaru tilted his head a bit to see what the girl was reading.

“Ah! Uh… Spoilers!” Tsukiko pulled the phone closer to herself. “You shall not read them. It might ruin the Plot!”

“The Plot… So you have a connection to your world’s files now…”

“Yes. The new chapter appears weekly there. They’re ahead of our time for months, maybe even years…” Tsukiko explained. “So I won’t show them to you.”

 The phone was connected to internet in Jade’s world, allowing Tsukiko to read the files and watch anime now since Jade was doing that too. Tsukiko could feel it in her gut that Jade hadn’t stopped reading DC. The blonde even read her other self’s posts on the DCTP forum as MoonRaven and to Cbox as Akai Tsuki.

“To think she uses that too…” Tsukiko chuckled mentally before stopping. Since when she had begun considering Jade as a separate person from her. Probably when she realized that the two of them lived separate lives now.

“I wonder if I’ll ever go back there… If I even ever want to…” She read the last pages of the file and her smile vanished. While the girl had anticipated that something like that would happen and was kind of excited over it, she couldn’t help but worry… What would happen to her then?

No! Now was not be the right time to focus on that. She should concentrate on the situation right now!


Tsukiko put away her phone and walked to the direction Subaru had gone to. She peeked into the cafeteria area where the man was looking out of the window.

“Subaru-nii…” The man turned around.

“Ah, Tsukiko. Sorry for leaving so suddenly.” He smiled as the girl approached.

“It’s alright… I wasn’t really paying attention to anything. I’m the one who should apologize…” She shuffled her feet, a bit uncomfortable under his gaze.

“What is bothering you now?”

“Nothing!” Tsukiko replied quickly. Too quickly, making Subaru give her a pointed look. “Well… I guess those spoilers both excited and worried me… But I’m sure it’ll be solved before it comes crucial in our timeline.” She added hastily.

“…If you say so.” Subaru knew not to pry when Tsukiko began talk circles. Circles that both pulled people into conversation but also pushed them away.

“…” The girl frowned and fidgeted for a moment before hugging the bespectacled man tightly. Subaru looked down at her in surprise before returning the hug and patting her head a bit awkwardly.

“I think I should ask now too of what’s going on.” He stated.

“Nothing yet. Just enjoying the moment as long as it lasts… Because I guess that there will be a day when there won’t be any Okiya Subaru whom Okiya Tsukiko could hug…” Tsukiko muttered against his shirt. “And no matter what I’ll say then, I know I’m going to miss this all.”


Subaru spotted Gin’s Porsche parked in front of the department store and Chianti keeping watch in the window above it. During that all Tsukiko kept quiet as she sat on one the chairs of the café but a faint smile was found on her face. She had a plan. A plan to mess up with the organization a bit.

“Sir… Excuse me?” A waitress asked Subaru.

“Ah, pardon me… I’ll be going now…” He answered. “I just wanted to see what was going on outside. Even though this floor is occupied by a bomb, those outside are paying no mind at all…

“However… For those holding their breath, waiting with impatience in this heat… I’d like to treat them to some hot, bitter coffee.”

“Hmm… I would like to have a tea actually.” Tsukiko told the waitress with a smile as her ‘brother’ left the room. She didn’t really fancy listening to Conan’s deduction this time. And she really felt like drinking a cup of tea. It always calmed her down.


Mai watched as Tsukiko first followed her brother to the café on the side and a bit later her brother coming out but not her. The class president frowned. Why had that happened? So she went to take a look.

The brunette found Tsukiko sipping tea while sitting sideways on her chair, her legs crossed and watching out of the window. The blonde’s glasses were placed on the table and she was leaning her right elbow on the chair’s back. Tsukiko took another sip and Mai left. No need to be noticed yet.

Sleeping Kogoro gave out his deductions about the case and revealed that the ‘innocent civilian’ was actually the culprit himself. But what followed a bit after was confusing to the class president. It was something about an e-mail message that the man had received. Ran sent a reply message which went to the cell phone of a random man. When asked, he denied making the deductions on the phone and told it had been a man with burn mark and evil-looking eyes. And that made Conan panic and Mai frown.

“So the fake Akai is also a good detective. He wants to get out of here and thus is even risking of being found out. But why would he want to get out of here so quickly? I understand that no one wants to be in the same floor trapped with a bomb but if he is enough smart to make such deductions, he should also realize that those bombs are fake.” She thought while her eyes followed Conan who dashed to the escalators.

“I need more coffee…”


Conan ran down the moving stairs. He was panicking. What was Akai doing, walking around like that? It would endanger Kir!

The train of thought was interrupted when Jodie grabbed him by the shoulder.

“Why are you in such a hurry?” The female agent asked the boy.

“J-Jodie-sensei?”

“Could it be that… you’re looking for the same person that I am?” Jodie asked seriously.

“Ah… no…” The kid stammered.

“Seems that this place is dangerous, just like that message said…” Camel approached the duo. It got Conan’s attention.

“That message?”

“The message Shuu left for me…” Jodie explained.

“Ah, did you meet Akai-san?” Conan asked immediately.

“No, he secretly wrote a message on my coaster while I was away from my seat at the café.” The woman told. “It said ‘Run! This place it dangerous’…”

“What is this talk about?” A new voice joined in. Tsukiko came down the escalators. Conan noted that she was wearing now the same jacket she’d had back then at Touto Tower. “This talk about Akai-san possibly being alive?”

“Tsukiko-neechan!” Conan exclaimed and was about to ask something but remembered then with whom they were. whether it was about the whereabouts of her brother or her choice to wear that jacket, the girl didn’t know. But she replied nevertheless.

“Hi again, Tantei-chan!” The blonde waved cheerily but turned to address the agents then. “I think you are wrong. It was confirmed after all. Stop chasing ghosts, Jodie-san. Bakai wa Bakai and nothing will change that. Not now, not ever. Why don’t you just accept it?” She stated sternly before walking away and leaving Jodie in mixture of confusion and anger.

“Didn’t I tell you not to say that ever again?” The woman whispered. Tsukiko turned her body half-way to face the agent.

“You did but I decided not to listen.” Came the reply and she disappeared into the crowd while pulling her cap on and stuffing her high ponytail under it. She took off her glasses then and put them into her bag since she was out of sight now but not out of earshot.

“So why is this so dangerous then?” Jodie decided to handle the situation with Tsukiko later and asked for an elaboration to what Camel had stated earlier. “The bombing case is over…”

“I saw in the window of the hotel across the street the shadow of a sniper and, below, a black Porsche 356A.” The man answered.

“Camel, take care of the kid!” Jodie ordered and dashed off.

“That’s my cue then…” Tsukiko muttered and went down the stairs. She hid her bag behind a potted plant where no one would spot it. All of those people failed to notice a third party observing them.

“Something big is definitely going on. And Jodie-sensei and that man, Camel …they both think the fake is a real one. And according to Conan-kun’s reactions, he does too. But he is more panicky. He knew from the beginning that Akai didn’t die in the first place…” Mai frowned but smiled then. “Wasn’t it his phone that confirmed the prints? I guess I found accomplice number one.”

“But I need to check my theory first. Always check, check, double check and check again…”


Chianti peered through the sniper scope at the crowd coming out of the department store doors.

“It’s him! It’s him, it’s him!” She called gleefully into her radio. “I found the ghost!! He’s at the left side of the front entrance… Right next to your car!! If you want confirmation, do it quickly Gin! I have an itchy trigger finger, you know… It could go off at any moment!”

She waited and waited for a reply but got nothing.

“What are you doing!! Kill him? Don’t kill him!? Decide now!!” The sniper practically screamed. And on that moment the person they thought to be Akai looked up and smirked at her.

“He noticed… That guy, he noticed me!!”

The people began rushing back into the store and Chianti lost sight of the man.

“Wh-Where!? Where’d he go!?” But as she looked for him, she spotted someone else. Someone weaved their way through the crowd while keeping a firm hold on their black velvet cap that covered their sandy blonde hair. Someone with violet jacket and black, fingerless gloves. That person stumbled out of the crowd backwards and looked around, their left arm covering quite well their face as they still hold onto the cap. And then they looked up too, grinned while the cap shadowed their eyes. They lifted their right arm up and closed all fingers except the thumb into a fist and then jerked it down, giving the sniper a thumbs-down. And they rushed back into the crowd, crouching slightly so they couldn’t be spotted from Chianti’s position, no matter how good of a sniper she was.

“That brat! He appeared again!” The woman cursed.

“Brat?” Oh, now she had Gin’s attention.

“Yes, that brat from Touto Tower. The one Irish told to be dead when he wasn’t! He was down there too! I saw him!”

And so was she seen too.

“It’s useless staying here any longer, Chianti… We’re leaving. Inform Korn as well.” Came the orders.

“Wait, what do you mean!?”


Tsukiko dodged the worst of the crowd the best she could. It was surprisingly easy actually. Kaito had taught her well and now she was going into the same direction that the rest of the people around her.

But she could avoid everyone. The blonde bumped into someone and stepped on the side.

“Gomenazai…” She muttered while making sure her cap wasn’t leaving her. But then she looked up at the person whom she’d bumped into. She got a glimpse of a black cap and a burn mark on the cheek before her instincts began working and she fled, not knowing what else to do in the situation.


In the safety of the department store, she quickly took of her cap and jacket, and put them into her bag which she retrieved behind the plant. She stuffed her gloves into the pocket of her white jeans and put on the glasses once again. Now she should find someone… Hmm…

“Tsukiko-chan, there you are.” Jodie grabbed her arm. “I was worried.”

“Worried? From our previous discussion, I would’ve assumed that you were angry.” The girl snorted.

“Yes, I still am but this place is dangerous. Camel saw Gin’s car outside earlier.”

“Oh…”

“Who-Whoah! Gaah!” Someone stumbled from the crowd next to them, towards them, probably accidentally tripped since there still were many people and at the moment they were rushing to get those gift certificates. Tsukiko got a glimpse of dark brown hair on a ponytail and a pair of glasses but then her attention went on the can of coffee that slipped from the grasp of one Miyoshi Mai. While the class president and to-be-writer managed the right herself, the coffee can continued its way down, down, down…

Down. Right on Tsukiko’s hand. The blonde straightened her bended knees and offered the can back to Miyoshi.

“You should be more careful, Mai-san. Otherwise you miss what’s right in front of you.” The girl grinned. Mai blinked once, like frozen by those words, before waking back to the reality. The brunette smiled and took the can.

“You could say that again, Tsukiko-chan. It just gave me a brilliant idea.”

“Really? How so? And how come you are here?” The blonde girl gave the class president an uneasy look and a crooked smile.

“Well… I merely followed a hunch… And now I’ll follow a lead.” Mai glanced at the coffee can she had and smirked. “I need to go now thought… To locate that lead.”

“Ano, Mai-san… What’s that case of yours called? Do you name them?” Tsukiko called after the brunette.

“Yeah. At first it was called a ‘Confusing cellphone’ case but now… Since I love mysteries and Sherlock Holmes… I’m going to rename it. I’m not going to tell it you thought. It’s a secret! And secrets are what make the life interesting.” Mai waved to the two. “It was nice to see you again, Jodie-sensei!”

“You too, Miyoshi-san.” Jodie waved back before turning to address Tsukiko. “Now… we’re going home and no disappearing acts, Tsukiko-chan.”

“But I gotta find Subaru-nii…” The blonde muttered, looking pointedly to other direction. “We got separated when the bomber case got solved and I went to follow Edogawa-kun… He surely is worried.”

“Fine… I need to find Camel anyways. You go to find your brother. But call me when you’re coming home. We need to talk.”  The agent stated sternly. The girl nodded before hurrying away.

“Talk… God, I’m in trouble! I really hope it won’t be anything bad though…”


“Subaru-nii! Found ya!” Tsukiko tackled the man from behind. He took a step forward from the sudden weight she threw on him but straightened himself quite soon.

“I see you got back inside safely.” Subaru stated.

“Yes, it’s a pity I couldn’t hear their reactions though…” The girl mused. “Are you going to find Tantei-chan now?”

“Yes, that’s what I was about to do. That strategy of his… Did he really think that it was…?”

“According to his reaction, yes.” Tsukiko nodded. “He was about to ask even me about it but Jodie and Camel were around. Speaking of which, I managed to provoke her again.”

Subaru didn’t quite deadpan but the tome in his voice was slightly amused. “You didn’t happen to sue the same words than on the hospital.”

“No…?”


The sibling duo met up with Ran and Kogoro and found Conan then. The boy was following while people crowded around the help desk and the poor department store workers.

“I see… A gift certificate… I’m not sure if this was the smartest method, but seems that the customers’ criticism will be even higher now…” Subaru told the kid.

“Subaru-san!?” Conan exclaimed in surprise.

“He said that he was on the same floor as us when the bomb case occurred.” Ran explained to the boy.

“Why are you here!?” There was an edge of panic still in Conan’s voice. Tsukiko resisted the urge to chuckle.

“I had some business at the Teito Bank, which is located nearby. As I was leaving I saw you guys and figured I’d give my greetings, but as soon as I got close the case happened.” Subaru told with a smile.

“I found him quite soon… I was surprised to see you here though.” Tsukiko smirked. “I could’ve dragged you into shops with me if I had known earlier that you were coming here…” She threatened the man playfully as they both knew how the girl hated shopping.

“Tsukiko…” Her ‘brother’ warned her.

“Yeah, yeah… I know… I won’t ever do it.” Tsukiko waved a dismissing hand.

“But But you could’ve come and talked to us at any time…” Ran told Subaru.

“I thought you were busy, so… Even Tsukiko left you alone and I know how much she loves participating in solving puzzles…” At that Kogoro had to ask Ran who exactly Subaru was thus they were introduced to each other.

“But what did you mean?” Ran asked then. “About Conan-kun causing the customers to criticize something?”

“Ah… It’s nothing important…” The bespectacled man smiled. “It’s just a boring story about a pack of wolves who lost their easy prey.”

“And missed their Shadow(Kage)…” Tsukiko added, winking to Conan’s direction.

“But isn’t Teito Bank rather far away from where you’re living?” Kogoro asked Subaru. “Why’s your bank account in such a far away place?”

“No… I went to that bank for some other business…”

“Other business?” Conan hung into those words immediately.

“There was a robbery case there, remember? They were showing some videos of it on the news, and someone I used to know happened to appear, so I went there hoping that he might use that bank…” The strawberry blonde man told the boy. “If he uses that bank, he might live around here… I thought I might get lucky and find him…” He turned a bit to leave.

“So you couldn’t find him?”

“Actually, I happened to see him on that floor…”

“And I spotted him on the outside.” Tsukiko added while straightening her glasses.

“Unfortunately, it seems he wasn’t who I thought he was, so I didn’t talk to him…”

“But there’s no way we could’ve been mistaken…. So known that face is to us.” The siblings went to their separate ways, leaving Conan to ponder what exactly had happened during the last minutes.

Chapter Text

Chapter 43.

Tsukiko was sitting on the sofa of Jodie’s apartment. The woman was standing in front of her. They both had their arms crossed on their chests and frowns on their faces. While Jodie looked straight at the girl, the blonde refused to look at the woman and was currently staring the coffee table between them.

“Tsukiko-chan… why you are so strongly against the idea of Shuu being alive?” Jodie began. Oh, a difficult question right in the start. Damn…

“I’m not against it. I simply see it impossible that he’d be walking around just like that and thus endangering Rena-san.” Tsukiko stated calmly. “What I understood is that… You saw him during the robbery and concluded that he had amnesia. But don’t you think that even then he’d stay more hidden, subconsciously protecting what he was ready to sacrifice his life for. And now you think he has his memory back… Wouldn’t in that situation he has even more reason to hide? Especially when he left you the message that the department store was a dangerous place. Why would he walk into a trap he obviously foresaw?”

“But what if…”

“Use your own common sense, Jodie!” Tsukiko looked up, dropping the formalities. “It isn’t like his behavior and you know it too. You just refuse to believe it! You refuse to accept that he isn’t coming back!”

“But the message on the coaster was on his handwriting! And who else would it be then?” Jodie argued angrily.

“I know nothing about the message since I have never seen Akai-san’s handwriting and not even this message you mentioned. About this… Ghost you’re chasing after… I suspect it’s one from the Organization trying to figure out if there was something fishy in Akai-san’s death. Someone not believing that he’s ready to sacrifice everything by walking into a carefully crafted trap.” Trap not actually meant for him but for the suspicions towards Mizunashi.

“You saw him in the floor with the bomber, didn’t you?” Jodie whispered accusingly.

“And what if I saw? Maybe I wanted to protect you. You ran straight into the ambush after that fake. Did you even consider that it would be all trap? Not for him but for you or any other FBI agent.” Trap to reveal whether or not the FBI was in the plan faking Akai’s death.

“Fine… Be that way then. I’m going to find him anyways and get the truth out of him. If it’s Shuu, he shall tell me what exactly happened and if it’s someone from the organization, I’ll make him spit why he’s been walking around disguised as Shuu!” Right, now the woman was enraged towards the man she’d seen. Great…

Tsukiko got on her feet slowly. “Good that this matter has been solved. I rather not discuss about this again… Since our opinions differ so much.”

“Yes, I completely agree with that. But tell me, what makes you so strongly against even the possibility that Shuu is alive?” Jodie looked straight into the girl’s eyes with a pensive look on her voice. “I remember that you got along with him even back at the hospital surprisingly well.” The woman remembered when she had asked why the man had been defending the girl who at the time had been considered a possible threat to them.

“I’m merely using ice cold logic to this situation while you throw yourself into danger without looking around properly. If it appears that Akai-san is indeed alive, of course I’ll be happy.” Even if it means losing my brother. “He is a good ally after all.” The girl shrugged and headed to her room, leaving Jodie watching her back.

“Tsukiko-chan… I told you once and now I’ll tell you again… You don’t need to act strong all the time, especially when you don’t feel like it.” The woman said quietly when the door had closed. “And to borrow your words on that day… ‘You can’t lock yourself up and stay silent all the time’. While you talk things aloud… none of them are personal. You are hiding behind that mask of yours and I’m afraid what will happen to you when it breaks.”


Tsukiko leaned against the close door of her room and breathed heavily. Her head hung and her hair was covering her face effectively.

“I’m fine… I’m fine…” She muttered. “I’m just fine… Stay calm… Everything will be fine eventually. I’ll be fine…”

But she wasn’t sure. To be honest she was scared what would happen to her when the Scarlet Series would come up on the timeline. How would Jodie react to the fact that she’d known all the time where Akai was and that they’d been pretending to be siblings? Or how would she fit into that role again? Would Akai even continue as Okiya Subaru? What would she do?

“I’ll just run then… Run away before I break down.” She looked up at the ceiling before sliding down to sit on the floor.


Mai rummaged through her closet. It had to be there. Had to!  Where was it? The coffee can she had kept as a memory and hid from her parents. They’d be scandalized if they knew their daughter was keeping an empty can of coffee as a memento from a bus jacking she’d been involved in.

After a few minutes the girl found the can. It was the same brand she always drank and in every way the can looked identical to the one Tsukiko had stopped from meeting up with the floor. It definitely brought memories to the brunette’s mind.


It was the interrogation of the witnesses/hostages of the bus jacking. Mai was a bit nervous. The situation had been terrifying after all. The bus she’d been riding to Beika Museum had been suddenly taken over by two guys in ski garment and goggles. Even in the stressful situation it hadn’t been hard for Mai to figure out that the two had an accomplice at the back of the buss and singling out the woman had been easy. The skis had struck her suspicious but she hadn’t thought that much about them. Though they had given her a bad feeling anyways.

What had reassured her a little had been the familiar faces with her. Jodie-sensei and Araide-sensei. When the English teacher had caught the girl’s gaze, she’d given the class president a reassuring smile. And when she’d put the safety on in the Tokarev the other culprit had had with him, Mai had found herself able to breath. At least one of them couldn’t do anything too fast.

Two men had been called to the front of the bus when they went to the tunnel and told to put on the ski jacket and the goggles and then sit down on the floor. Araide-sensei had sat on the left side of the bus while the other man sat on the right side, next to the place where Mai sat.

And then Conan-kun had announced that the ski bags were full of bombs. The girl didn’t have any time to think it when the bus driver already hit the brake and they swerved to a stop. Mai collapsed on the floor and hit her head. The next minutes were a blur to her. Conan-kun told Araide to restrain the accomplice’s arms and then the said woman was shouting that the bombs were going off. The class president wasn’t even sure how she got out of the bus, just vaguely that someone grabbed her arm, hauled her up and dragged her out. Or that’s how her mind pieced it. And the bus had blown up.

“Mai-chan…” The girl looked up to see Takuya-nii’s concerned eyes.

“Yes, Miyoshi-keiji?” She asked politely as he was in duty.

“Why don’t you go to walk on the corridor a bit? You could even buy some coffee from the vending machine that’s there.” The young officer gave the girl a few coins.

“Okay…”

The trip on the corridor didn’t last long but it helped Mai to clear her thoughts. She was able to realize that it was the other man next to Araide-sensei who’d helped her out. So she dug out more coins from her purse and bought another coffee.

On her way back to the room she happened to trip on her shoelaces that had gotten loose. While she managed to regain her balance and take a hold on the table in the hearing room, she dropped both of the coffee cans. Someone did catch then though.

It was the same man.

“You should be more careful. Otherwise you’ll miss what’s right in front of you.” The man stated in a way that Mai took as a bit mocking but decided not to comment it. The man offered the two cans which he had caught with his right hand to Mai. “These are yours, right?”

“The other is for you.” Mai took the one closer to her, the one with more prints but back then she didn’t think of it. “As a thank you for helping me.”

“It was nothing. Anyone else would’ve done the same.” Standard reply accompanied by a shrug.

“Not necessarily. When people are in such a panic, they tend to think only of themselves.” The girl countered and opened the coffee can she had. After taking one sip from it she opened her mouth again. “You haven’t told me your name yet.”

“Neither have you.” He replied and opened the can he had.

“Miyoshi Mai.” The brunette offered her hand for the man to shake. She also noted that while he still had the ski jacket the other busjacker had given to him, he had changed the hat to his own beanie.

“Akai Shuichi.” The man took the hand and shook it shortly but firmly.

“Nice to meet you then.”

“Likewise.”


“And where was that birthday present from Takuya-nii…” Mai walked now to her desk and opened one of the drawers. She picked one square shaped flat box and placed on the desk. She put the can right next to it and sat down on her desk chair.

“Right, let’s see if this works…” She opened the box and picked up a small brush with very thin and light hair in the end. Then she opened a smaller lid from other section of the box, revealing some fine, white dust. She dipped the brush on the dust and began carefully dust the can. Finger print after another were revealed to the girl. She smiled victoriously when she saw how clear they were and lined just perfectly to indicate the spots the fingers had been placed when the can was caught.

“All five of them. Perfect!” The brunette giggled a bit and but the brush away. She pushed her glasses up her nose and took a sticky clear and see-through film and pressed it evenly around the can, protecting the prints. “Now… A call to Keiji-san…” The class president flipped open her phone and chose number two from her speed dial.

“Hello…?”  Takuya’s sleepy voice answered.

“Hi, Takuya-nii! I got something for you…”

“And what could that be?”

“A set of fingerprints. I want you to compare those to the ones from the phone and the corpse from the black Chevrolet case. You remember the one I’ve been thinking lately?”

“Yes, I do remember that one… You realize that anything you discover can’t be used as evidence really…” Mai could bet the young officer was scratching his head at the moment.

“I do… It’s for my own investigation. I want to confirm something…” The girl replied vaguely, inspecting her nails at the same time. “If my hunch is right… Then I need a new direction to my investigation…”

“Right… I’ll come to pick those prints when I can. Say… Did you use my gift to get them?”

“I did. Thank you for it. I’ll put this little evidence to an evidence bag now to wait for you.”

“Do that. Say… what’s the name of the investigation this time?”

“Reichenbach Falls. Though I did think about something beginning with ‘Scharlach’ but I wasn’t sure what could be the second part of it.”

“That’s still… surprisingly fitting. I’ll see you again, Mai-chan.”

“See you, Takuya-nii.”


Tsukiko’s phone rang. It took a while until she answered to it.

“Hello?” She stated dully: she didn’t even bother checking the caller’s ID.

“What sort of greeting is that, Jade?” The all too familiar female voice chuckled.

“It’s my greeting. How did you get my number and why are you calling?” Tsukiko didn’t care even if she sounded rude. At the moment she didn’t feel like caring what anyone thought about her.

“Oh, someone is annoyed. Anyways, I got it from your phone while you were asleep from the effects of the sleeping pill.” Vermouth replied. “And I called you to inform you that your little stunt has the Organization completely aware of the Shadow now. You might want to watch your back and keep a low profile.”

“That think that Kage is a boy. Irish identified me as such back in Touto Tower and said that to Gin too when he told I was dead. Lied for some reason.” The blonde girl shrugged and pressed her unoccupied ear against the door. There was some noises coming from the kitchen. Good, Jodie wasn’t eavesdropping then.

“Yes, I’m aware of that. And you ought to know that they are also calling you Kage. I’m the only one using the original English name for you.” Did the woman sound smug about that fact? How out of character…

“Whatever.” Tsukiko got on her feet and went to her drawer. She opened the top one and took out the flat metal box she had had with her in the Tower with her. Nowadays she kept all her memory cards in it. “By the way… Don’t call me Jade. It’s… It’s not me anymore. I’ve changed and so has she. We have literally grown apart.” The girl muttered, remembering how Jade was already almost nineteen in her world while Tsukiko was stuck as a sixteen-year-old.

“But it is your name. Names are important and they never truly vanish. They tend to come and haunt you when you least expect it.”

“Are you talking about your own experience?” The blonde slammed the drawer shut in irritation. “I bet you wouldn’t like being called Sharon either anymore. You don’t want any unpleasant memories brought up, right?” A small smirk graced the girl’s features as she remembered how Vermouth would react in Mystery Train when Yukiko would bring up Itakura Suguru.

“My, my, Shadow. That’s not how you treat your allies.” The woman tsk’ed, seemingly unaffected by Tsukiko’s words but the girl knew better.

“Well, you’re not my ally, just an acquaintance. And I think I’ve already made it clear.” And the girl hung up. She looked at the number in her phone records for a moment before saving it under the name ‘Rotten Apple’. Tsukiko put her phone on the desk and slumped on her chair with a sigh. She picked up the box next to the device then and opened it. She had three memory cards there. One was the one with her conversation with Akai at the hospital right before Raiha Pass. The other one had her old messages, numbers, photos etc. from her old phones (the blue one that was previously a spare one was thrown away now. The green one was the spare now.). And the third… It was the one she had taken before Irish got his hands on it.

“Kage won’t stay quiet, you know…” Tsukiko picked up the last one and lifted it on the level of her eyes. “Not when she has information just waiting to be used. Not when she has a true ally to help her. It’s time for Kage to contact Sanjuu.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 44.

Tsukiko waited two weeks until finally making her move. Those weeks were relatively quiet in the household and the girl had done her best to avoid people she knew. She had also taken up to go for a long jog every evening after school when she had finished her homework. To keep herself in fit. This world required it.

It was a Saturday again and she left the house again in her jogging gear. She pulled her hair on a high ponytail and was off on her way again. She jogged through Beika Park and headed towards Beika Station then. There would be enough people and chatter around for her to make her phone call. And people would be so busy that they wouldn’t eavesdrop to her conversation either.

The girl took a seat on the closest bench outside the station. When looking around she noticed that it was the same one under which a cat basket with a bomb had been hidden in movie 1. Tsukiko chuckled at the thought and took out a cell phone. It wasn’t hers thought. It was the one Irish had used and then dropped when being shot. The girl had slipped it to her pocket before ordering Conan to toss the gun to her. And now it would serve as the business phone of Kage.

“Who said I was white? It needs the morals, means and motive to determine one’s standing on this chess board. You are white, Kudou. You and the majority of your allies. The Organization is naturally black. But then there’s us. The ones who belong to neither one. Haibara, Akai, Sera, me… We have white morals nowadays and out motives are white. But the means to reach our goal… they are more black.” The girl thought as she flipped the phone open. “I don’t know about Red Moon or Tsukiko but Kage is definitely grey… And at the moment that’s me.”

When realizing that she had begun thinking Tsukiko and Jade as different people and the possibility that she’d never go home, the blonde had decide to think her other two alter egos as different people too. Not only it would help her maintain her cover but also it would ease her conscious when Kage would start acting more actively. Besides their personalities differed a bit. Tsukiko was cheery and smart. Red Moon was mischievous and relaxed. And Kage… Kage was calculating and predicting their enemy with a hint of malice.

“I won’t regret this.” Tsukiko whispered and pressed the call button. It was a number she’d made up for a made-up person. And that person was Ishikawa Yamato aka Sanjuu, her OC that she’d created years ago in her own world and now brought him to this world to help her.

“Kurosawa speaking…” A relatively young male voice responded in the other end of the line. Oh yeah, that was the man’s current surname now.

“Is it Sanjuu? Am I speaking with Sanjuu-kun?” The girl asked, keeping all the emotion out of her voice.

“… Who is this? Who are you?”

“So it is you… Your voice is exactly like I imagined.” Tsukiko chuckled.

“So it is you. The one who brought me here.” The other participant of the conversation countered.

“Well, I couldn’t think of anyone else. How have you adjusted? We messed up with the timer a bit so you have physically been here even longer than I have so your personal history has had more time to adjust to the timeline here.”

“It’s… been okay. But significant points are missing from there too.”

“Yeah… It’s only you and not your friends that I created along with you… I’m sorry.” Tsukiko fiddled with the end of her ponytail while thinking The four siblings of Midorikawa family and Yamato’s girlfriend Tsubiyama Renkon aka Rose Turner. Back then she’d put so much thought in those characters.

“It’s alright. I wouldn’t want to endanger them either. I looked into them though… They all have existed in this reality just like my past but aren’t in this… canon timeline.” Yamato shrugged. “I guess we can just assume that Tokiko-chan, Akashi-kun and Hoshi-chan are still aboard while Shugo and Renkon… well, they’re dead.”

“Yes. I think we can assume that. But now we should talk about why you are here, stuck with me and what is the purpose of this phone call.”

“Yes… I’m quite interested to hear your excuse for that.”

“I have a list of people who work as NOC for the Organization… And I think that the best way to make this tree fall and get rid of the shadow it’s casting over us, is to start from the roots. From the bottom layer that is keeping the things going. But I don’t have enough skill or even guts to strike yet…”

“So you need me, the one who was trained by the Organization since a kid but got away relatively scotch free.” Yamato sighed.

“Correct. I want to use the Organization’s tricks against them. I have the list one of their NOC had before they were killed and I have the phone of one of their late code-named member. No one can trace it. Not even them anymore since they’ve disconnected it from their systems.”

“…Who died this time?”

“Irish. Oh, and by the way… It was your brother who organized it.”

“Why I’m not surprised? Right, I’m in. I want this Organization gone as soon as possible. Even if it means I’ll become my brother’s enemy. After all… there’s no Jin-nii left who’d call me ‘Sanjuu-kun’. There’s just Gin to whom I’m just Yamato. The useless brother who he helped to get out and is incapable of killing…”

Tsukiko stayed quiet for a moment. That’s how she’d created Yamato. Her platinum blonde man who stayed in the lower levels of the Organization while his big brother climbed the ranks and acquired his own codename, Gin, becoming a ruthless killer in process. Yamato who got Midorikawa Shugo to work as a hacker for the Organization and Tsubiyama Renkon to become a sniper and later a spy infiltrating to FBI. And both of them died. Renkon after she confessed to FBI her role and ran away from the organization, only to be sniped a year before current timeline. Shugo after he helped another traitor(coincidentally Akai) to get out of Japan and then stole bunch of vital information from the Organization’s database. He died a month later, killed by Gin.

And if one were to ask when Yamato had gotten out of the organization… It was a bit after he had gotten those two friends of his involved.

“What a messed up mind I have…” The blonde muttered. “The power of imagination is great indeed…”

“I think I won’t ask what you were just thinking.” Yamato stated, reminding Tsukiko that they were still talking on the phone.

“You know what it is anyways.” The girl shrugged.

“Yes, I do. But now… what’s the first name of the list?”

“Let’s see… Horake Yuuki-san. Lives in Shibuya. Single. I’ll give you his address soon but first…” Tsukiko smirked: Kage was visible now. “Let’s talk about our plan…”


Horake Yuuki closed the door after yet another tiring day as a secretary of one of the most influential estate agents. But when he came to the living room, he could sense that something was amiss. Something was misplaced.

Breep breep

He received an e-mail. He didn’t recognize the address. Warily, he opened it and read in confusion.

“Pray for your sins, Crow.”

Beneath was a media link. He opened it too. A song began to play. It was in English.

“Ring around roses…
Pockets full of poses…
Ashes, ashes…
We all fall down.”

“Ring around roses… Pockets full of poses… Ashes… Ashes… We all fall down…” A male voice stated in tune with the song in Japanese as the song began playing over and over again. Horake spun around and his face met the barrel of the gun. Holding the gun was a man with about chin-length platinum blonde locks, deep green eyes. He had a black cap, a black simple jacket, underneath the jacket a dark green shirt and dark grey jeans. “Or at least you shall along with your fellow Crows.”

Horake noted that the man had a gun also in his right hand and was wearing a pair of black gloves.

“Did the Organization send you? I’ve done nothing wrong!” He shouted.

“No… I’m on my own. I’m Sanjuu and I work with Kage. We are hunting the Crows like you.” The blonde man stated coldly. “Goodnight.”

Bang!

The body of Horake Yuuki fell in the middle of the floor of his living room, completely lifeless even before he hit the ground. Naturally, when there’s a bullet hole in one’s forehead.

Yamato put away his guns and took out his phone. In no time he got the call.

“Well?”

“Done. He got the message right in time.”

“Good. You realize there’s no backing up now?”

“I do. I hope you do too.”

“…I do.”

“Say… What should I call you? Kage is one thing but what is your name?”

“Kage…miya. Kagemiya Hoshi.”

“Somehow I’m not surprised.”

“Well you try to come up with a name in a spot! Anyways, I’ll call you again when it’s time for the next… hunting time.”


Mysterious murder in Shibuya. The Police is clueless.

That read as a headline on the front page of every newspaper on next morning. And naturally that was the topic of discussion everywhere. Literally everywhere. Mai unfolded her newspaper and placed it on her desk with a frown on her face.

“Ohayoo, Mai-san!” Tsukiko greeted the class president as she arrived to her place.

“Ohayoo, Tsukiko-chan.” The brunette replied whilst reading. “Have you already read the news?”

“Oh, please… It’s everywhere! Every channel has it on their news and the newspaper stalls are full of tabloids with that on the front.”

“True.” Mai nodded. “The police have no leads though… They have an e-mail address that leads to a dead end, a vague estimate of the caliber of the killing bullet and a rough guess of the height of the killer but that’s it. The lock was picked and Horake Yuuki-san was surprised. There were no signs of struggle so I guess the killer was threatening him…”

“You know… They are publishing surprisingly many details now…” Tsukiko mused aloud. “I would expect the police would try to hide the exact circumstances of the murder in order to prevent copycats.”

“Me too. Oh, look! Someone is suggesting that it was a carefully preplanned assassination.” Mai pointed a column next to the article.

“That’s… quite farfetched.” Tsukiko leaned closer to read the pointed part of the page. The babbling there was definitely something not to be taken seriously.

“Quite…” A new voice joined in. The girls looked up from the newspaper to see Maki Namida standing near Mai’s desk.

“Konnichiwa, Namida-chan.” Tsukiko greeted the girl.

“K-Konnichiwa, Okiya-san.” The quiet girl blushed. “Konnichiwa, Miyoshi-san.”

“Konnichiwa, Namida-chan.” Mai smiled to the girl. “How are you today?”

“I’m fine… How about you, Miyoshi-san? Okiya-san?”

“We’re fine too.” Tsukiko replied. “And you can call me Tsukiko. All my friends do that too.”

“Okay…”

“You had an opinion about this, didn’t you Namida-chan?” Mai pointed the article.

“Well, yes… I just thought how unlikely is for a person to become assassinated nowadays… Yes, there’s still mafia and some hitmen but what the papers state is that Horake-san didn’t have any enemies and even at work he was well liked.” Namida told the two girls and blushed then. She had spoke whole sentences to the two people she really admired. The two who weren’t in the clutches of her sister, Toudou Yuuko and Hanajima Megumi.

“I was thinking that too, Namida-chan!” Tsukiko grinned. “I wonder what weeds this guy writing this part here was smoking.”

“Tsukiko-chan!” Mai shushed the blonde.

“What? It’s an expression.”

Namida chuckled. Maybe she could become friends with them. After all, that devil trio wasn’t paying attention on her anymore that much.

“Take a seat, Namida-chan. I bet we have a lot of time before Motone-sensei comes. He’s always late!” Tsukiko gestured the seat near the two which Namida gladly took with an eager nod. The day had gotten a great start.

Chapter Text

Chapter 45.

”Catch her!” Inspector Nakamori shouted. A horde of officers ran after a black-clad young woman who ran through the corridors. In his fist he was clutching a heist note that had been delivered to the police station five hours prior Red Moon’s… excursion. Heists they couldn’t be called since she didn’t steal anything. She only visited places unnoticed and gave a warning when and where she’d come. And because she was associated with Kaitou Kid, Nakamori was the one to go after her.

“Damn you, Red Moon…”

“Today I shall come.
Today I shall have fun.
You won’t see me.
You won’t find me.
But watch me fly.
Red Moon.”

Only the last word had been written in red. And there they were. In a thirty store hotel where her signature could be found from the lobby, painted in the middle of the marble floor. All the exists had been blocked once the signature had been detected(the paint had still been wet). And from the surveillance cameras it had been confirmed that she was still in the hotel, running to the upper floors.

“Sir, I got a message for group B. They’ve cornered her to one of the rooms in the last floor.” An officer came to tell Nakamori.

“Why haven’t they caught her yet then?!” The inspector answered.

“The door is blocked, sir.”

“Then unblock it! It’s not that hard is it?”

“No, sir. Right away, sir.” And the officer ran off. Nakamori boarded the elevator to the top floor after casting a spiteful glance outside. A crowd was there, cheering on the female… intruder, because someone had accidentally leaked the note to the media. There were surprisingly many people despite the only five-hour-timeframe. The inspector of Kaitou Kid taskforce guessed that they were interested in her looks more than her skills. He had seen many of those people with a camera.


Red Moon grinned as she dug out her escape method underneath the bed of the hotel room. Those police officer’s thought she was trapped when actually she had no intention of going into a dead end voluntarily. At least into a one she couldn’t escape. She had prepared this makeshift parachute a week ago and now was the time to test it.

“It’s only thirty stores. With a parachute made of shower curtains. Call me crazy, that’s exactly me.” The girl muttered as she fastened the harness around her body and walked to the window then. The glass panel was pushed aside quickly as the locked and dead bolted door wouldn’t hold the police officers for long. Red Moon could already hear Nakamori barking orders to his men. She gathered the parachute to her arms and climbed to sit on the windowsill. She glanced down in the crowd gathered beneath. Perfect.

Crash!

The door broke down.

“Catch her!”

“I don’t think so…” Red Moon leaned forward. “It was myth confirmed!”

And she jumped while tossing the shower curtain in the air above her. She fell a few meters until it opened properly and she descended softly. Back in the room, Nakamori was in the window with a few other officers and cursing loudly. No wonder. She had gotten away and written on her parachute were the words ‘You lose’.

The female’s feet touched the ground and she got rid of the harness while the parachute covered her and several of her ‘fans’. The trick was a similar to the one Kid had used when escaping Kudou Shinichi at the clock tower heist. She shed her jacket and discarded her hat and sunglasses, and stuffed them into her back pack and pulled a lilac hoodie over her dress shirt. In the slight chaos no one noticed anything and she was able to walk away calmly.

“Until next time… Nakamori-keibu. Until next time…” Red Moon smirked as she took off her neck tie and zipped up her hoodie.


“I still can’t believe it actually worked…” Kaito mumbled when the two were sitting on the backseat of Jii’s car and riding to Kuroba’s. “And you are supposed to have fear of heights!”

“It was a myth confirmed. And as long as I’m in control of my falling or it doesn’t come as a surprise, I’m fine. Besides it was only thirty stories, not several hundred meters like back in Bell Tree First.” Tsukiko argued back.

“You said that to Nakamori too… ‘Myth confirmed’. What is it?” Kaito frowned.

“It’s from an American TV show called Mythbusters. I absolutely love it. They tested the shower curtain parachute myth once and they confirmed it as long as the person has enough time and proper instructions. You should watch that program sometime…” The blonde giggled. The other teenager watched her for moment before smirking too.

“Well, I wonder what sort of headlines we’ll get tomorrow.”

“Oh yeah! I can’t wait for it either! I gotta be careful when reading it though… I can’t have Mai-san to figure it out…”

“A detective on your class too? That must be a pain.”

“Mai-san isn’t a pain. She is my first and best friend here…” The girl trailed off when seeing the kicked-puppy face that Kaito made. “Don’t worry, you are one of my best friends too. The pain is Hanajima who snoops around for rumors to sell forward.”

“Ouch… I can imagine that.”


Red Moon made a spectacular escape!

After her debut appearance alongside with famous phantom thief Kaitou Kid, Red Moon has made yet another appearance. It’s questionable whether she will team up with Kaitou Kid again or what is her exact relationship with him. Her objectives are currently unclear too. She visits and leaves hints how to improve security but doesn’t steal anything like her supposed mentor Kid.
On last night’s visit she once again painted her signature Moon on the floor of Hotel Hanabi before escaping through the upper floors. She used a parachute made of shower curtains which had a taunting message ‘You lose’. It was most likely meant to the Kaitou Kid taskforce who were set to chase and capture her. In the parachute she abandoned was also a message ‘Because I can’ written underneath the cloth. It’s unclear whether it indicates to her motive or the fact that the parachute was made of shower curtains.
This female intruder has already gathered a massive fan base which is almost as extensive as Kaitou Kid’s. The theories of her identity and relationship with Kid are the current hot topics among the citizens of Tokyo and the rest of Japan…

“Okay, that’s creepy…” Tsukiko muttered as she read a couple of the theories printed underneath the article. One of them suggested that RM and Kid were lovers DESPITE the fact that to the outer world Kid was supposed to be in his thirties-forties and RM was estimated to be in her early twenties.

“Ah, you read that one too.” Mai leaned to take a closer look on the page of the blonde’s newspaper.

“Yeah… I wonder what these guys are thinking… Or smoking…”

“Tsukiko-chan!” The class president shushed the other girl.

“What? Sensei isn’t in the class yet.”

“I think that these people should take their own writings into a critical scrutinity…” A quiet voice said behind the two. Namida was sitting on her seat once again. To be honest it was surprising considering how many times she had been absent lately.

“Ohayoo, Namida-chan.” Tsukiko greeted the girl. “I definitely agree with you. They should take a look on their own writings and realize how crazy they are.”

“I wonder why the paper is even publishing those theories…” The shy girl continued before blushing bright red once again when Mai’s gaze fell upon her.

“They’re taking anything that’ll help them make more money.” The bespectacled girl shrugged. “Even the craziest theories. Like this one suggesting that Red Moon is Kaitou Kid’s daughter.” She pointed the part of text right below the lover-theory.

“People really are bored then… Not wanting to accept the explanation given by them themselves: that she’s his apprentice.” Tsukiko sighed, folding the paper then. Kawaoka-sensei stepped into the room and Mai stood up. It was the time for the morning routine once again.

“Stand.”

“Salute.”

“Sit.”

Tsukiko did it all without any hesitation. It kind of reminded her when she was in elementary school and they stood up next to their desks first thing in the morning. The teacher said: ‘Good morning, students.’ to which they all chorused: ‘Good morning, teacher’. It stopped when she went to the third grade though…

“Times change…” The blonde mused as she took her note books and pencil case on her desk.


A week later came the heist note from Kid to Suzuki Jirokichi. It was the time for Kirin Heist. Tsukiko and Kaito made a plan that could include the both of them inside the temple designed by Samizu Kichiemon (once again him…). Kid would disguise as Nakamori while Red Moon would take the female reporter’s role. But she wouldn’t need to be that old lady like in the original Plot. She could be a younger one, Wakahisa Minako, age 27, single with a few admirers at her workplace.

And now she was on her way to the temple alongside with the kids.

“Oh look at you. Those DB parkas suit you definitely well.” She smiled to the five children.

“Thank you!” Ayumi, Mitsuhiko and Genta chorused.

“Now, let me introduce myself. I’m the reporter of this case, Wakahisa Minako. Next to me is sitting our cameraman Masui Shougo…”

“Nice to meet you!” The man greeted.

“And in the front seat is… uh…” What was his name again?

“Hello… I’m the soundman, Hisumi…” The man in the front stated not too friendlily.

“Oh… I heard that the soundman was a bit younger…” Yep, Kaito had messed up in the lines a bit. Singed up to come as his role but then dropping out of contact so they had to pick up a veteran soundman.

“They couldn’t get in contact with him, so they called me at the last minute…”

“It’s got to be the typhoon…” Masui looked out of the window to the mountains. “That youngster must’ve gotten cold feet.”

“Well, we all can’t be equally dedicated to our work…” Tsukiko mused while checking her disguise via a makeup mirror. Everything was in order: both her short-cut chestnut brown hair and the mask alongside with the chocolate brown contact lenses. Her voice changer was snugly beneath her collar, out of view. She smiled at her reflection a bit. Everything was set now.


They arrived to the temple and Tsukiko helped the rest of the crew to set up their equipment. Meanwhile Jirokichi explained to the Detective Boys how the mechanism in the temple worked. The demonstration began.

Piii

Piii

Piii

Piii

The electricity was shut off now. Tsukiko glanced at the direction of Kid/Nakamori but didn’t make an eye contact. There were too many keen eyes looking around. Well, soon one of those would be closed.

The upper half of the central pillar rose up as Nakamori’s subordinates turned the four keys in the four pedestals, revealing a Kirin statue with a horn made of amber on its head. The pillar was closed soon enough though and the conversation turned to the creator of the temple, Samizu Kichiemon.

“There’s writing on the base of the pillar!” Conan noted suddenly. “’One who desires to find Kirin without depending on the correct way must devote themselves to changing.’ Do you understand the meaning of this?”

“No, not yet…” Jirokichi admitted. “But it’s okay as long as I have these four keys in my hands! It won’t be stolen!” He laughed confidently.

“Optimistic old man. If we assume that guy has three accomplices, all he needs to do is cut the lights and steal the keys for an easy heist…” Nakamori muttered.

“That’s true…” Haibara agreed. “And if Kid were to tamper with these artificial lights, it seems the power would instantly go out… Not to mention that he most likely has Red Moon helping him…”

“Yeah… And then the electrical current in the pedestals would be off too… At least I can be assured that if the lights go out, the pedestals are being guarded. Though I don’t know if they’ve been switched with Kid’s underlings…” The man/teen glanced at the taskforce members. “I can’t trust those three from the TV crew either…” Except for one… “Damn it! If there was just one keyhole… I could guard it by myself…” Nice manipulation Kid! The kids agreed immediately. Even Haibara didn’t suspect anything.

Tsukiko smiled and turned to address the crew with her then.

“Okay, shall be begin? The broadcast of the decade?”


“So here we are! It’s only ten minutes before the time Kaitou Kid and his accomplice Red Moon announced! Will Kid really show up at this mountain temple where the Shounen Tantei are lying in wait?” Tsukiko spoke to her microphone, half copying the words from the original Plot. She crouched by the kids and gave the mike for them to speak to. “Okay, let’s catch Kid!” In your dreams…

“Okay!”

“Don’t change channel!” Jirokichi told the camera before they cut it.

“Let’s take a five minute break!” Tsukiko announced. “We’ll be on standby three minutes before show time. I’m counting on you guys.”

The Detective Boys sans Conan rushed to guard the pedestals and Jirokichi nailed the keys to the wall with a hook. And right on cue the lights went off.

“It’s show time indeed…” The blonde girl grinned and removed the stun gun from her pocket. She couldn’t leave her spot but she had done the smuggling in.

“A blackout?” Kid said with Nakamori’s voice. The girl tossed the stun gun towards the voice and heard a soft sound of it being caught.

“Don’t get flustered, a blackout is to be expected!” Jirokichi barked. And right then the wind blew in.

“Are you getting this?” The girl asked immediately from the two men behind her.

“Yes, but in this darkness, there’s nothing…” Masui replied.

“And the audio!?”

“We’re picking it up, for now…” Hisumi answered.

“Keep it going then. Get everything you can!”

Bzzt… Tsukiko heard the stun gun. And then the four beeps. And then…

“This sound…” Jirokichi gritted his teeth.

“Could it be!?” Nakamori shouted.

There was a flash of a light from the taser and Conan’s shout. Ayumi ran to him immediately, the rest of the Detective Boys following her. Mitsuhiko pointed his flashlight at the Kirin. The horn was gone!

But that moment no one paid any attention to it as Ayumi’s cries and begs for Conan to open his eyes and wake up filled the small room of the temple.

“What are you doing!?” Jirokichi demanded. “Why aren’t the lights back on!?”

“Calm down!!” Nakamori shouted then. “Everyone stay where you are!!”

“Wait, what exactly happened!?” Tsukiko asked.

“Did Kid come!?”

“Who knows…” The crew spoke behind her.

And the lights came back. Now the attention went immediately to the missing horn of the Kirin and to the fact that the keys were still nailed to the wall.

“How in the world did…” Jirokichi muttered.

“I don’t know how, but during the approximately one minute long black out, he or his accomplice ran around in the dark and got to the four pedestals with the keyholes. That much is certain…” Ai stated. And indeed, there were four cards on each pedestal, right above the keyholes. Nakamori got reports from outside the temple and began barking orders. He wanted to take Conan immediately to a hospital and set cars to pursue Kid who supposedly was fleeing by some other means than flying due the typhoon going on. But…

“What!? Due to a landslide, the roads are closed!? Are you sure!?” The inspector asked the task force member who was by the window.

“Yes, sir. They say it’ll take two to three hours to get it cleaned up…”

“Hey now, if that youngster was given poison or something…”

“It wasn’t poison!” Ai announced from the central pillar from which she picked up the stun gun. “Look! A stun gun… It seems as if Edogawa-kun was knocked out using this… It seems Red Moon is also here…” The girl showed a note taped on the handle of the gun. ‘I’m here too! RM’ it said.

“I see… That guy took out his toughest opponent first. I’m sorry…” Jirokichi was kneeled down beside Conan with Ayumi.

“It’s not ‘I see’!” Nakamori muttered and approached the old man. “It’s because you made a huge fuss to the media about that jewel you found last week! You provoked that guy before you had a proper security team set up!”

“It was a month ago…” And Jirokichi began explaining the extensive safety measures he had taken to catch Kid this time.

“The rich and their money…” Tsukiko sweatdropped internally. It was a pity that she had to stay in the side lines in this role. At Bell Tree First it had been much funnier…

“…Kid and any of his accomplices are still here!” The advisor of Suzuki Corporation announced.

“Huh?” Tsukiko blinked. “Uh oh…”

“Well then, it’s your turn, Nakamori-keibu! Other than the children, go ahead and pinch everyone’s face…”

“Before that, there’s something I want you to clear up for me…” Nakamori/Kid stated. “That horn, made from amber… How did Kid steal it from that statue!?”

A retell of the situation at hand followed along with an observation of fluorescent paint being in the keyhole of the pedestals and in the keys too. Nakamori/Kid made a ‘deduction’ of Jirokichi being the Magician of Moonlight in disguise.

“Wait!” Ai called then. “Why not allow the Shounen Tantei to conduct the searches? If the inspector and the advisor are Kid and his accomplice there’s the possibility you could pretend to conduct a search to deceive us…”

“That’s right!”

“You can relax if it’s us!”

“There’s no way we could be Kid’s accomplices!” The rest of the kids agreed.

“That’s true but…” Nakamori muttered.

“Though, we’ll also search everyone else. That’s okay, right?” Ai addressed the TV crew. Tsukiko let out a sigh, just like her role would in that situation.

“Alright. You’re just kids after all.” She smiled.


The search was conducted but nothing was found. Nakamori/Kid and Jirokichi began arguing once again. Tsukiko suppressed a chuckle. Kid truly could pretend to be that inspector really well. Maybe it came from the constant interactions with him.

Eventually the girl tuned out the arguing though and began following Ai who was doing her silent deductions. She got a vital clue from Mitsuhiko and from there the Detective Boys got to the real start of the solution of the case.


“What? You want to review the video and audio from the blackout?” Masui asked. “If you wish to do that, you can probably review it once you go to the broadcasting van parked outside, but…”

“Why would you want to do that?” Tsukiko tilted her head confusedly. God, this woman was a real ‘blonde’.

“We want to see whether you caught any odd lights or sounds.” Ai explained.

“That’s a good point… Since in that darkness to turn the four keys in the pedestals at the same time would require some sort of signal.” Jirokichi agreed.

“I don’t mind, but there weren’t really any odd sounds…” Nakamori added a bit grumpily. “The only thing that shined was the light from the stun gun that Kid used to knock that youngster unconscious and the lights these brats used when they ran over to that youngster, I believe…”

“But what to do… I want to review the video and audio, but I cannot allow anyone suspected leave this temple…” The advisor realized then.

“Ah, but I can contact the broadcasting van and ask them to bring over a monitor and other stuff we need. Then we can replay the video and audio from the blackout.” Tsukiko pointed out.


“With the keys nailed to the wall like that, we won’t see a trace of him! It’s my victory!”

“Blackout?!”

“Don’t get flustered, a blackout is to be expected!!”

“Are you getting this?”

“Yes, but in this darkness, there’s nothing…”

“And the audio!?”

“We’re  picking it up, for now…”

“Good, keep it going! Get everything you can!”

“This sound…”

“Could it be!?”

“Uwaaaaa!”

“Co-Conan-kun!? Hang in there, Conan-kun!”

“Kirin’s horn… It’s gone!!”

“Why aren’t the lights back on!?”

“Calm down!! Everyone, stay where you are!!”

“Wait, what happened!?”

“Did Kid come!?”

“Who knows…”

They watched the footage but in all honesty there wasn’t much to see. The screen remained black throughout the feed. The only exceptions were the light from the stun gun, the Detective Boy’s flash lights and then when the lights finally came back on. The Detective Boys proceeded to explain to Suzuki Jirokichi how they had protected each pedestal and Nakamori questioning the condition of the floor panels. And then was Tsukiko’s turn.

“Umm… Excuse me, if you’re saying that Kid has accomplices among us, I know someone that’s suspicious…”

“The guy in charge of the audio!” Masui pointed at Hisumi. “Even though is was supposed to be a young staff member, he suddenly got replaced.

“I told you… That’s because they suddenly couldn’t get in touch with that guy!” Hisumi protested. “If you’re going to go that far, then you’re suspicious too, aren’t you!?”

“Huh?”

“I heard about it! The person who is really in charge of the camera for this program was a lower classman of mine from college, but you somehow forcefully took it from him!”

“What are you saying!? He’s the one who asked me to substitute for him because he didn’t have the confidence to so a live broadcast fresh out of college!”

“I also heard about it from the director over the phone… Since advisor Suzuki was going through the trouble of getting children matching parkas that they wanted to replace him with a veteran…” Tsukiko added.

“Going through trouble, you say…” Jirokichi approached them. “I only paid for the Shounen Tantei’s clothes to be made because the TV station said it’d be more thrilling that way! And also… weren’t you the one who called me and recommended a merchant to get the clothes from?”

“Eh? Me? But I don’t know…” Tsukiko made a confused face. Well, she had done that call as Wakahisa Minako but of course she couldn’t show that. It had to be made like Kid had pulled strings behind everything(well, he had).

“Hey, what’s going on over here?” Prefect intervention Kid/Nakamori! Tsukiko let out an inward sigh of relief.

“Hey… Did you call us Shounen Tantei here because someone else told you to?” Ai stepped forward.

“No, it was written in the postscript of that guy’s advance notice. ‘This time, we’re done with child’s play. We shall do battle as adults.’ That’s when I realized that guy was weak against kids, so I called in the Shounen Tantei!” Jirokichi explained.


Ai went back to Conan and the rest of the Detective Boy’s to ponder the puzzle they had at hand. Tsukiko followed from the corner of her eye when Conan woke up and figured out the mystery.

“I figured it out! Why Kid knocked me out… And of course Kid’s identity… Which of those people he is!”


“Y-You figured it out, Conan-kun!?” Ayumi asked. “You know who Kid is disguised as?”

“Yeah. I think I know who Red Moon is too. She didn’t trigger the trap but I know she’s been watching us the entire time…”

The kids told the task force members to look for a person tied up somewhere and sleeping and then began confronting Kid.

“You cannot open the door!” Ai told Jirokichi and Nakamori. “Because right now, his escape has been delayed and with no accomplices here, he’s breaking out in a cold sweat.”

“N-No accomplices, you say?” The advisor stuttered.

“Hey now, did you forget? In order to make the pillar slide and the statue of Kirin appear, he’d need help.” Kid/Nakamori reminded the children of the mechanics of the temple. “…Not to mention that he most likely has dragged that apprentice of his here too.”

At that the Detective Boys began explaining how they themselves had made the pillar slide and how inspector Nakamori was actually Kid in disguise. Naturally the fake inspector defended himself, pointing out the existence of the cards in the pedestals. To that the kids told about the sound they had heard.

“Mosquito sound…” Conan stood up. The time of faking unconsciousness was over now. “After the age of 20, hearing begins to deteriorate and it becomes difficult to hear high frequency waves. Only the Kids could hear sounds which instructed them on the timing of the pedestals. Even if there’s a sound, if nobody says anything it won’t be questioned. That’s why you impersonated a member of the TV staff and got the young member out of the way, right? To prevent him from noticing those sounds.”

“You didn’t tell us that part about the mosquito sound…” Ai deadpanned.

“Ah, sorry…”

“Then, where’s Kirin’s Horn?” Jirokichi asked.

“About that…” The bespectacled young detective dug his hood a bit and pulled out the amber horn. “It was in the hood of my parka! His plan was to pretend to take me to the hospital while I was unconscious, and then slip away with the jewel. Of course, I realized it right away when I got up because of the jewel’s weight. Incidentally, the fluorescent pain was applied when he borrowed the keys from advisor Suzuki to show us Kirin. That way, when the keys were inserted into the keyholes, fluorescent paint would be applied to them as well!”


After that explanation they could hear… well, one would be quite deaf if they didn’t hear the real Nakamori’s knocking and yelling outside the temple.

“Hey, it’s me! Nakamori! Open the door! That’s Kid disguised as me in there!!”

Jirokichi gave the command to let the inspector in. As soon as the door was opened, the real Nakamori stamped all the adults of the room(including Tsukiko in disguise) except Kid.

“How’s this, Kid! I’ve tagged all of the adults except for you! The inspector pressed the stamp on his own forehead too. “With this, you won’t be able to secretly disguise as anyone with ease! Because the only one without my seal IS YOU!!” The stamp/seal was thrown outside the temple and the door was closed. “Alright, old man! Don’t open the door no matter what! This time, his number is up!”

“Alright then… How’s this?” Kid shot the wires of the lights with his card gun, causing yet another blackout. A hole blew into a floor and Genta was pushed through it.

“Spotlights!” Nakamori yelled. The temple got lit up once again. “Find him! The one without my seal on his face! He is Kid!”

“B-But inspector…”

“Everyone has a seal on their face…”

“It’s only Kid that has disappeared!” The task force members answered upon inspecting the occupants of the room.

“How… How’s that possible!?”

“Hey, a little help?” A voice asked nearby. It was ‘Genta’, stuck in the hole on the floor. From his explanation, Ai’s earlier observations and Conan’s deductions, Nakamori concluded that Kid was probably under the floor. The door was opened and people rushed out, including Tsukiko and Detective Boys. Soon Conan realized though that it was Kid and not Genta who had slyly directed them outside the temple. So he ran back inside.

Meanwhile Tsukiko headed with the rest of the camera crew to the van and began setting their things ready for leaving. They did get on a tape though when Kid, disguised as a taskforce member, flew out of the temple by the force of Conan’s soccer ball.

“That squad member is Kid! Arrest him!” The boy yelled. Kid escaped to the forest, the police on his heels. With a sigh Tuskiko pulled out her phone.

“Watch your back. Literally.” She sent to him and stretched her arms then. The disguise was beginning to feel uncomfortable. The wig, the mask, the figure of that woman(Wakahisa Minako was bustier than the girl), and the scratchy material of the collared shirt. It was some expensive mark or something.

“Okay, guys! Time to go! Let’s take the children home too!” She called to Masui and Hisumi. Neither of them had suspected anything the whole time.

Chapter Text

Chapter 46.

The dummy was launched and the crowd was cheering. Nakamori instructed his men to check everyone inside. Among those task force members was also an extra. Red Moon smirked to herself.

“Nakamori-keibu isn’t falling on that one again… Good. He’s learning.” She thought as she prevented the Kid and RM fans inside the manor from leaving. “But we still have that one trick in our sleeve…”

And right then Kid – disguised as Nakamori Aoko – slipped past the squad members.

“Please wait a moment!!” Red Moon’s ‘colleague’ stopped ‘her’. Tsk, what a newbie…

“I’m Nakamori Aoko! I just came to drop off a bento for my dad, so I can go, right?” ‘Aoko’ asked.

“A-A bento?”

“She’s Nakamori-keibu’s daughter! Don’t you know!?” Red Moon told the other police with the gruff voice of her role.

“I-I’m so sorry!!”

“No no, keep up the good work…” ‘Aoko’ saluted before leaving. As soon as ‘she’ was out of sight, the second trespasser decided to disappear too. When a bunch of task force members came to the manor the heist had been, RM took her chance to slip away. She blended in among the rest of similarly clad people and managed to an empty corridor where she shed her uniform and the mask.

“No use hiding them…” Red Moon smirked as she dropped her card a top of the pile of clothes.

“Thank you for the loan.
They are surprisingly
comfortable and
easy to move in.
Not to mention helpful
when blending in.
Red Moon

She slipped then among the rest of the fans, trying to get out. Now she wasn’t wearing any mask and since none of the police knew her face beforehand, she was safe.

Thirty minutes later the blonde was finally out of the heist location and walking towards a bus stop. On the way she dug out her cell phone.

“So… Ya got out too then?” Aoko’s voice answered.

“Cut the crap Kuroba. I was taught by the best.” The blonde muttered without a real heat behind her words. “And when are you going to take that… look off your face?” The girl glanced around in the case someone was tailing her or otherwise eavesdropping.

“Soon? Anyways, I just put the jewel in the mail. It wasn’t the Pandora.”

“Somehow I guessed it after seeing the size of it. I’d bet that the legend itself should be at least the size of the tip of thumb thus causing the jewel to be the size of Blue Birthday in order to conceal it inside of it…”

“Good point. But we can’t be too sure. And if I – we – don’t check those first, Snake and his gang will come and they aren’t subtle at all.” Kaito sighed, still using his ‘girlfriend’s’ voice.

“And you are? Subtle?” Tsukiko chuckled as that was what she was now: High school student Okiya Tsukiko.

“At least no one gets hurt on our heists!”

“Sure not… In any case. I think you shouldn’t use that trump card of yours anytime soon. Someone might get suspicious. Not of you but Aoko-chan and Nakamori-keibu.”

“What do you mean?”

“This is the fifth time you’ve used Aoko-chan’s face, no? That’s the face that won’t get pinched in the fear of Nakamori-keibu’s wrath and Aoko-chan’s mop. Someone’s bound to notice. And even if they won’t connect it to you, Kuroba Kaito, they might make a direct link between those two. Not to mention that you return the stolen goods to Nakamori.” The bus arrived and the girl got on. “In any case, I’ll see you tomorrow. Let’s discuss more then.”

“Yeah, jaa ne, Tsuki-chan!”

”Jaa ne, Kuroba.”


And once again, the heist was the hottest topic when Tsukiko, Mai and Namida stepped into the classroom. The younger of Maki twins had taken up walking with them if they happened to match their steps. She still blushed vividly whenever talking to them though.

“Again?” Mai shook her head. Tsukiko’s shoulders slumped slightly.

“This is getting old…” The blonde muttered. Yeah, she liked attention and it was interesting to see when others thought about her alter ego but too much was too much. Especially when the theories were downright insane and majority of RM’s fans seemed to be male. Why? She had no idea.

“Well, she became popular by tagging along with Kaitou Kid so I suppose she’ll stay in the headlines.” Namida shrugged. “And Kaitou Kid’s heists never get old. Always new tricks and excitement.”

“True but the theories! And the insanity of this fandom!” Tsukiko waved her arms helplessly. “They just… argh!” She stomped to her seat.

“My, my… Tsukiko-chan, one would think you don’t like Red Moon.” Mai smiled slyly as she sat beside the blonde.

“I do like her. I admire her courage and independence. Skill and wit. But I hate that craziness wrapped around her. Even Kid doesn’t have the like.” In a way Tsukiko didn’t like when saying she admired her alter ego. Red Moon had many qualities, she didn’t have. Kage was the same. Those two were a way to keep her sane and maintain low profile. Could she call it a split personality disorder? Maybe…

“You sure? You obviously haven’t read the right papers.” The class president snorted.

“Well, I think I’ll stay clear of those ‘right papers’ then…”


“Aoko-chan got an invitation to the highest platform of Touto Tower? And she doesn’t remember attending to that competition?” Tsukiko arched her eye brows and looked up from her packing.

“Yeah. That’s what Akako says. And I think I know what that message on the back of the diamond meant.” Kaito stated while pulling on his disguise of the day: Nakamori Ginzou.

“Well, doesn’t that mean we are going to the Tower then?” The blonde smirked and continued packing. The boy took a look of what she was doing and frowned.

“…Are you sure you need that?”

“Yes. Red Moon can’t afford being afraid of heights.” Another perk of Tsukiko’s layered personality: while Tsukiko couldn’t stand seeing nothing beneath her feet, RM fared just fine. About Kage she wasn’t sure yet.

“You talk like that isn’t you.” Kaito snorted.

“Well, haven’t you ever felt like whole another person when wearing that silvery white cape of yours? That shield your father created to protect the wearer’s identity.”

“…No. I never forget who I am.”

“That wasn’t the question.” Tsukiko zipped her back pack and got on her feet. “In any case I’m out now. See you up there.” She took the fedora from the clothing rack along with a long but light coat that she pulled over her wine red dress shirt and was about to leave.

“Hey, Tsuki-chan, wait!” Kaito called after her. The blonde stopped, the fedora half-way on her head. “How are you going to get in that floor?”

The girl smirked. “With skill.”


It wasn’t too hard to slip into the elevator and get to the top floor. All Tsukiko needed to do was to distract the staff to look in the other direction and then sent the vertically moving box back to the middle platform.

And in the top floor the situation was already getting heated. The extremely rich antagonist had confronted Kaito as Nakamori and put Aoko to sleep. He was assuming that Nakamori was the original Kid retired from thievery and Aoko was the new one. Oh, how wrong he was.

Tsukiko walked towards the commotion and secured the straps of her back pack, clipping them together across her chest and around her waist. Now there was no way it would slip off. Pulling her fedora even deeper to her head and pushing her sunglasses a bit, she stepped right behind the corner, waiting for an appropriate moment to walk in.

“Well, well… You’ve caught onto the ‘stake that sticks up gets pounded in’ part, but what are you going to do? The circumstances are quite similar, however unlike last time your partner won’t be of any help to you…” The mistaken antagonist talked to Kid. “Admired as the ‘Woman of Twenty faces’, she suddenly disappeared in Paris 18 years ago… Lady Thief, Phantom Lady!”


For a moment Kid seemed to fall into the memory, a story he’d heard from the Phantom Lady herself, but not for long.

“Well? What are you going to do, Kaitou Kid… I don’t mind if you ride in that car to flee like you did 18 years ago but back then, it was a slim bike. No matter how small this Lotus 7 is, it won’t clear the window frames on this special observation deck.” The evil millionaire stated. “Of course, it’s a moot point, since that replica won’t run…”

“I see… So the story about this being a super-rich guy’s prized collection was a complete fabrication…” Kid smirked slightly. “And that huge ruby that’s going to be delivered next week – that’s a replica too… You planned for it to be stolen by Kid, so that you could secretly sell a whole lot of them later.”

“And as for the accomplice… Phantom Lady-san has already retired…” Red Moon stepped out of her hiding place, a wide smirk on her face. “But I, Red Moon, have taken her place.”

“What are you doing here?!” The man frowned.

“Didn’t you get my notice? It should’ve arrived today as I delivered it personally…” The girl asked innocently.

“Here, sir… It arrived five hours ago…” The antagonist’s minion gave a card to the man.

“Light of Paris
Light of Tokyo
I shall come in that light
once I’ve found the truth.
I shall leave in that shadow
once I’ve touched the stars.
Catch me if you can.
Catch me if you dare.

Red Moon

“It can’t be helped then. It all has been arranged… What’s left is for Kid’s life to be taken and the fake Kid we’ve trained to take up the task will… As for Red Moon… She is new. We can easily find some other use for her when she disappears.”

“Who do you take me for?” The disguise was shed accompanied by a smoke bomb. “Do you really think you could so easily steal a Phantom Thief’s life!?”

“I was trained by the best, don’t take me lightly even though I’m new.” Red Moon announced. She pulled the ‘turbo engine scooter’ over. “Time for test ride~…” She hummed and positioned her left feet over the button of the engine.

When the smoke finally vanished, the two trespassers were out of sight.

“Tsuki, you stay in the edge and behind me, clear?” Kid told the girl.

“Roger that!” The blonde drove to the space between the display cases and the windows. It was narrow but she had only a scooter and with a high speed she managed just fine.

The two vehicles looped around and came up behind the group of idiots. Those goons began firing at them but thankfully missed the moving targets.

“Kid! Left!” Red Moon yelled indicating that she’d move away from the display cases.

“Vertical!” Came the reply. The small Lotus bumped into one of the vitrines and tipped on its side… And slid out of the window.

“Oh, by the way! I sent that note to the police too!” The female ‘outlaw’ shouted over her shoulder before following her teacher out of the window.


Air rushed past her. But it didn’t feel bad or scary, like when falling from the airship back then. Now it felt safe, thrilling, liberating. Like there was nothing wrong in the world.

The scooter was folded up and attached on the back Red Moon’s belt. Then she pulled the handles on the straps of her back pack. A paraglider shot out. Copying Conan and movie 8 but who cared, this far she had done practically nothing than copying.

From the corner of her eye, she could see Kid panicking when hurrying to open the lock of Aoko’s handcuffs.

“Tsk, always have more than one piece of your tools. One can be easily lost…” The girl mused before landing in the midst of the woods of Shiba Park. Somewhere far the replica car crashed and even further away the sirens were heard. When her feet hit the ground, she took off her fedora and glasses and gave out shudder. A wide happy smile spread on her lips and she stretched her arms towards the inky black night sky.

“Aah, how brilliant that was!” Tsukiko sighed happily. She proceeded gathering and packing her paraglider then and detaching the scooter from her belt. It weighed quite a lot after all.

“Akai no Tsuki. No… Okiya Tsukiko.” A relatively young female voice stated behind the blonde. Tsukiko froze for a second but didn’t turn around.

“I should’ve seen it sooner really. When Nakamori-chan and Kuroba began talking about that new friend of theirs. When quite soon after that a new thief appears with Kid…” The voice continued.

“Ah, you must be Koizumi Akako-san, right?” Tsukiko smirked when she finally managed to connect the dots. “Kuroba-kun has mentioned you once or twice.” The blonde turned around to face the young witch with dark magenta-tinted hair. “What do I owe to get this pleasure?”

“I got a prophecy from Lucifer. At first I didn’t understand whom it concerned but after spotting you at the Tower… It made sense. The Child of the Moon veiled in black donning the mask of Red.” Akako stepped closer.

“Why, thank you… but what is that prophesy about?” Tsukiko tilted her head and smiled her eyes closed.

“One steps on forbidden area but is invited.
One lets lies slip past their lips.
Thou are one, thou are three.
No one knows whether to trust thee.
Thou aren’t from here,
but from space between spaces.
Thou must step warily in the midst of your lies.
Reality shan’t be disturbed when thou flee.
Lies must not make thee.
Once they do, thou can not return.”

“That’s… interesting.” The blonde kept her smile on but opened her eyes now. “Thank you.”

“I hope you understand what it means. I had enough troubles in finding you.” The witch turned on her heels and slipped into the shadows the trees casted everywhere.

“I think I do…” Tsukiko muttered, hoisting her back pack on her shoulders and stepping on the scooter. Time to go back to Kid’s lair. “I think I do…”


“Geez, kaa-san! You could have at least told me that villain from 18 years ago still hadn’t been arrested yet!” Kaito was talking to the phone while watching news about the evil millionaire’s arrest. Apparently that guy’s name was Goudzu. But who cares! Tsukiko was sitting opposite the boy and flipping through a magazine that Kuroba Chikage had subscribed some time ago.

“In the end, I had to deal with all his pent-up aggression… It wasn’t easy, you know?” The messy haired teen continued.

“We had to.” Tsukiko corrected him.

“Yes, we had to.” Kaito added to his mother.

“But you captured them for me, right? What an accomplishment My Kid Jr. and his beautiful assistant Red Moon-san!”

“Why, thank you.” Tsukiko grinned.

“Anyway, Chikage-san… When are you coming back to Japan?” Kaito switched off the box.

“My friend here seems rather taken with me, so I don’t think I’ll ever be able to return…”

“Hey, some on now…”

“Oh, that’s right! There are some guys who are like President Goudzu’s disciples. I hear that up until not they’re been using the same MO in order to line their pockets… A long time ago, mommy worked really hard to collect all the evidence. I got so tired collecting it all, so I left it all on the other side of the hidden storage room… So, Magician under the Moonlight-san? Punish those guys for me too! I’ve already mailed you the evidence list so thanks a lot! And Tsuki-chan will surely help you!”

“Wait, now hold on!!!” But the call was already disconnected.

“So… What’s the next job?” Tsukiko hopped off the armchair, tossing the magazine aside and sat next to Kaito. “Ooh! Sakamoto Ryouma! Sounds interesting.” She smiled while reading the mail over the boy’s shoulder.

“A pain in the neck more like…” Kaito muttered.

“Hey, do you think we can include Tantei-chan too?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 47.

”I will once again clean up Japan!”

The sentence Sonoko quoted made the rest of their group: Ran, Conan, Tsukiko, Mai and Namida, look at her.

“Okay, whose line is that?” The polka-haired girl asked.

“Let’s see, I’ve heard is somewhere before… Who was it?” Ran thought aloud.

“That’s pretty famous quote I think…” Namida whispered.

“It was Sakamoto Ryoma.” Mai stated. Not surprising really that she knew. She was the best in their class and had that amazing memory of hers after all…

“On June 29th in the 1863, the third year of the Bunkyuu Era, Ryoma wrote that in a letter addressed to his older sister…” Conan continued.

“Whoa! That’s amazing, Tantei-chan!” Tsukiko grinned to the boy who sweatdropped.

“Impressive indeed.” Mai blinked. She’d heard a lot of Conan and saw him to solve the case with the haunted warehouse but remembering details like that in such a young age…

“No… That’s what I heard on TV! Because of the current ‘Ryoma Boom’.” The bespectacled boy explained nervously.

“Is that so…” Sonoko muttered.

“But Sonoko, why are you quoting Ryoma?” Ran asked her best friend.

“Jirokichi-ojisama’s museum set up a Ryoma exhibition last week. And who do you suppose sent out an advance notification of attendance? None other than our dear Kaitou Kid-sama! That’s who, zeyo!”

“’Zeyo’?” Tsukiko couldn’t help but repeat with a slight chuckle. Sometimes Sonoko’s antics were just too funny.

“Don’t make fun of Tosa dialect…” Namida muttered, her cheeks flushed. “My grandma was Tosan…” But all that went unheard by everyone else except Mai who patted the shy girl on the shoulder sympathetically.

“’Zeyo’, Sonoko? Are you speaking in a Tosa dialect now?” Ran asked the rich girl.

“I suppose so~! I was studying up on Ryoma, and I guess I got carried away…”

“Yeah, a bit.” Tsukiko snorted. “Say, Suzuki-senpai… Did the notification also tell whether Red Moon is coming?”

“Sure, sure… I’m sure we’ll see her too… as long as she doesn’t try to hog Kid-sama entirely to herself!” Sonoko declared loudly.

“No worries for that… He already has other people to do so… Aoko-chan, Akako, Hakuba…” The blonde thought and stifled a laughter. Yeah, all of those pairings existed in fanon. All of those three wanted Kaito/Kid for themselves and for themselves only, though the reasons differed a bit…

“But I don’t think there’s anything at the Ryoma exhibition that Kid would want to steal…” Conan stated his doubt.

“Of course there is! The pistol Ryoma received from Takasugi Shinsaku, along with a gun belt!” Sonoko rebutted immediately.

“A gun belt?”

“That’s right! A magnificent belt with a huge ruby embedded in the buckle!!”

“Imagine if that ruby were to have Pandora inside… No worries though.” Tsukiko mused and took out her phone. She should probably meet soon with Kaito and discuss about their plan once again.

“Suzuki, stop yelling in the middle of the street.” Mai sighed in irritation. “You are going to embarrass all of us.”

“…Is it a real thing?” Conan decided to distract Sonoko before the older girl could snap at the lower classman.

“Ryoma even wrote about that belt in a letter and we have a certificate of authenticity from a famous appraiser!!”

“Yeah, if we assume that appraiser is clean…”

“Well, why wouldn’t it be real? Jirokichi-san bought it, after all!” Ran smiled.

“Actually… he wasn’t able to…” Sonoko explained a bit embarrassedly. “The person putting on the exhibition and providing the belt as a centerpiece doesn’t seem to want to sell it…”

“Hmm, I wonder why…” Tsukiko deadpanned mentally. Her cellphone beeped, informing her about a new e-mail. “Gaah, I gotta go…”

“Okay, but you are sure coming to the opening of the exhibition?” Sonoko called after the blonde who was already a couple of steps on her way.

“Sure! I wouldn’t miss it for anything!”

“Hey, are you two coming too?” The rich girl turned to address the other two lowerclassmen. She didn’t care about them as much as about Tsukiko but hey, she could always be nice. “I’m sure Jirokichi-ojisama won’t mind. He likes to brag.”

“Sorry, I’ve got a meeting then.” Mai shrugged. The class president was actually going to meet Kouki but that she wouldn’t tell that gossiper.

“I need to stay home.” Namida explained quietly. “Family stuff… Sorry.”

“Ah, alright then. It’s just us three and Tsukiko-chan then.”

“Like before.” Ran mused.


“Ojisama~! It’s been a while~!” Sonoko greeted her uncle.

“Oh! Since that time with the Iron Tanuki!” Even thought they had also met at Bell Tree First, they rather not mentioned it. It had been stressful and maybe even slightly traumatic time.

“There’s quite a crowd of guests lined up!” Ran noted.

“Yeah! In addition to the Ryoma Boom, they also heard about Kid’s notice…” Jirokichi explained to the trio. “Of course, if I were in charge of the exhibition, I would have flooded the newspapers and TV stations with ads, gathering a crowd several times this size!”

“Say… Isn’t it rare for you to lend out space in the museum for someone else’s exhibition?” Sonoko pointed out suddenly.

“I didn’t want to at first, but since I learned Kid would be after it, I knew I couldn’t leave it up to amateurs…”

“Amateurs?”

“Yes… The man behind this exhibition, Tarumi, opened exhibitions for each of the previous ‘Booms’, like the ones for Yoshitsune and Nobunaga… And because of lax security, something gets stolen each time…”

“So… one could think that all was intentional since this guy didn’t bother to learn from his mistakes…” A new voice joined in. Tsukiko had arrived.

“Tsukiko-chan! You made it!” Ran greeted the blonde.

“Yeah, I got held up in the traffic bit but now it’s over. Finally!” Tsukiko rolled her shoulders. “Ugh, the bus was really cramped. In any case… don’t you think it’s suspicious then? That every time something gets stolen? Like deliberately?”

“Yeah! I wish you had bought the Ryoma gunbelt, oji-sama! Was the price too high?” Sonoko agreed.

“On the contrary, it was quite a bargain… I just haven’t been able to get my personal appraiser to determine its authenticity before buying…” Jirokichi replied.

“But didn’t you get a certificate of authenticity from a famous appraiser?” Ran pointed out.

“That’s right… I felt uneasy about whether or not it’d be able to hook Kid…” This time the man sweatdropped. Hmm… was he also actually suspicious about those guys? Tsukiko leaned her head against her palm thoughtfully.

“But Kid was hooked, wasn’t he?” And enter the greedy forgers. “Even though his target doesn’t seem to be the gunbelt… That gun belt is authentic… It’s the original one that Ryoma received from Takasugi Shinsaku! Isn’t that right, Hanamura-sensei?”

“Indeed…” The appraiser next to the belt owner nodded. “Based on the condition of the leather, it is from the approximate time period… The ruby in the buckle is superb… Furthermore, Ryoma even drew an illustration of the belt in one of his letters… I am therefore compelled to declare it the genuine article.”

“Believe if you want to…” Tsukiko mused to herself while stuffing her hands into the pockets of her jeans. “You are in the same league with Goudzu… Forgers and the real thieves…” Only Conan heard her though.

“If you girls would like, why not come see the genuine article with your own eyes? A special viewing before it opens!” Tarumi told them. The blonde felt like gagging at the tone he used on them.


“Wow~! So this is Ryoma’s gun belt!” Sonoko leaned closer to the display case with Ran. Tsukiko in the other hand was standing on the side with her arms crossed. She was curious to see it, naturally since ti was the one claimed to be real, but last week she had already seen several of them when she and Kaito had gone and ‘borrowed’ the fakes from Tarumi’s warehouse.

“It sort of gives off an aura, doesn’t it?” Ran commented along with her best friend. “There really is a picture of the belt in this letter…”

“But you can’t read the words…”

“Well, messy handwriting makes it easier to copy and forge, doesn’t it?” Tsukiko smirked. “No one can be too sure what the real one originally said.” She received a glare from the two men. The appraiser told them then what the letter supposedly said.

The group proceeded to look at the other exhibits in the room. Sonoko stopped by a hanging scroll on the wall.

“And this hanging scroll is…” She began.

“He wrote that scroll without thinking as be lamented the depravity of the Tokugawa government!” Hanamura told the girl.

“Well, there are doubts about its authenticity as well…” Jirokichi added, Conan and Tsukikosilently agreeing beside him.

“If you lack confidence in my eyes to that extent, then after the Ryoma exhibition is concluded you may also show it to your own appraiser…”

“That’s what I intend to do!”

“Of course, that’s provided you’re able to keep these items away from that Magician of the Moonlight’s demon hands…”

“Well then, I appreciate your assistance with the building’s security, advisor Suzuki…” Tarumi told Jirokichi before the shady pair exited the room.

“Hey, is it possible that the items on display are insured for a lot of money?” Conan asked Jirokichi.

“I also suspected that and looked into it… but the amount is only a drop in the bucket!” The advisor answered.

“Kid getting his hands on these items isn’t the problem you know…” Tsukiko stated once they were out of earshot. “Since Kid returns everything he has stolen. The problem lies in the black market.”

“Black market?” Conan repeated.

“Yeah… Did you hear about the arrest of President Goudzu? He was leading party in the black market selling copies of stolen goods. Lately he finally got arrested though after he was targeting Kid and trying to get him killed.” The blonde girl explained.

“Eh? Someone tried to kill my Kid-sama!?” Sonoko popped seemingly out of nowhere.

“Yeah, I heard the plan was to get the real deal out of way and then have an impostor to continue. And unlike the real Kid, they wouldn’t return the items via police or at all. Instead they’d remain missing and a bunch of copies would be sold at high price. Thus the low insurance prices.”

“Where did you hear about that then?” Conan asked Tsukiko. A grin spread on her face.

“Try to guess~… But I can tell you this: the same trick was about to be used on Phantom Lady 18 years ago in Paris when Kaitou Kid appeared for the first time. Goudzu was there too, trying to kill her and get an impostor to replace her. It failed and she disappeared while Kid-san took the stage.”

“Kid-san? Doesn’t she usually say ‘Kid-kun’?” Conan thought while Sonoko began pestering her uncle about the safety measures this time. In the end there was only a space reserved for the returned items.

“If we at least knew what time and day he was coming, we could prepare…” Jirokichi sighed.

“Eh? He didn’t even write when he was coming in this notice?” Sonoko exclaimed.

“That’s right!” Nakamori had arrived with his men. “Even though he’s never before sent out a notice that didn’t at least have a hint of when he’d arrive…”

“Are you implying that this is some copycat pretending to be Kid!?” Jirokichi was immediately alarmed.

“No… The announcement definitely came from him…”

“I bet he intends to send another notice with the time and date after he sees an opportunity!” Sonoko butted into the conversation. “Like, maybe his schedule is full and he’s waiting until it’s convenient!”

“Yeah, the right time to clean up Japan from yet another stain…” Tsukiko muttered.


Tsukiko wasn’t there when the second notice came but she knew what read on it. Easily. After all she’d been there when Kaito had written it.

“Tomorrow evening, as the building is closing at 20:00, I will bring the pistol along with the other items. In the name of Bakumatsu Patriot, Sakamoto Ryoma, I will once again clean up…
-Kaitou Kid”

“So… Kid-sensei…” Red Moon leaned back on her seat and let her hands stop checking her equipment. “How excited are you actually about tomorrow?”

“Quite. Good to have people like Goudzu behind bars.”

If we succeed and Tantei-chan won’t get us caught.” The female pointed out and adjusted her hat better.

“Why are you even wearing that at the moment?” The other teen questioned with a frown as he packed the fakes into the body suit.

“Because I’m Red Moon, not Tsukiko at the moment.”

“What do you-?” Kaito looked up to see the girl’s demeanor slightly different than he usually saw. More relaxed and mischievous. Less witty but equally clever. More mature but also more childish at the same time. It was scary really. “But why?”

“To protect my identity and sanity. Didn’t she tell you? Being a whole different person when doing these heists? When you stated never losing yourself? It meant me. The Red Moon.” The blonde leaned closer to the boy and smiled slyly. Oh yeah, she seemed to me more flirty like this too. Kaito sweatdropped.

“Her-… Your sanity?” Poker face, Kuroba, poker face.

Her. There has happened a lot to her lately. Things she can’t necessary handle. Thus me. Thus Kage. To protect her.  To preserve her sanity and secrets. And this is something I tell only to you. This is something no one else shall know. So we can live in peace. So we can do what we must.” Yeah, that was Red Moon alright. Making her sentences rhyme by repeating the beginning of them.

“…”

“Are we good now?” The female tilted her head with a smile. “Do you have any questions?”

“Who is Kage?” Kaito asked.

“Oh, don’t worry about that one. You’ll hopefully never encounter them.” Red Moon waved the question off. “It’ll be just Tsukiko and me. And I’m only here when needed. Tsukiko is the original and most real one of us three. Ever since Jade was left behind…” The tone in her voice turned a bit sad when remembering the girl back in their original world. But there was no going back. At least not yet, if ever.

“’Jade’?” The boy repeated in confusion.

“She is unreachable. Don’t worry about her either. And please don’t tell about her to anyone.” Red Moon offered a teary smile, before leaning back and continuing her work with the equipment. Kaito watched her for a moment before leaning to take the fedora off her head. The girl blinked and looked up, tears falling freely now.

“I don’t understand everything you just told me, but know that you are not alone.” The messy haired teenager whispered softly and pulled the girl into a hug. For him she was Tsukiko, no matter which alter ego of hers was on the surface.


“I hate crowds!” Tsukiko declared when she, Ran, Sonoko and Conan were at the Ryoma exhibition. The room was almost flooding of people. Thankfully they weren’t in the room themselves yet.

“It’s still two hourse before the announced time, but Kid-sama might already be here!” Sonoko gushed.

“But with the gates, he wouldn’t be able to sneak the pistol in…” Ran pointed out. “Besides, he said he was coming here today to return things that another thief stole. Maybe he’ll just give up?”

“Nah, Kid-kun would never back up from a challenge he has sent himself.” Tsukiko rebutted. Okay, the heist in the Hopper’s magic show was an exception but he appeared there anyways, though for a different reason.

“Eh? Another thief?” Conan asked. Oh, did you get some new information Tantei-chan?

“That’s right! The three items Kid’s returning this time – Ryoma’s letter, his bloodstained sake cup and the pistol that was in his pocket when he was assassinated – were all items that were stolen twenty years ago by the mysterious female thief, Phantom Lady!” Sonoko told the boy.

“I mentioned her yesterday, didn’t I? Some people are speculating that Red Moon is following in her footsteps though no evidence about it has been found.” Tsukiko recalled the article in the morning paper.

“Phantom Lady?” Now that the mysterious thief had been mentioned twice in a short timespan, Conan’s interest was piquet.

“Yes! She was a great thief known as the Showa Era’s Woman of Twenty Faces! She wore horror makeup and was very popular for only targeting large companies and very rich individuals with unscrupulous earnings!” The rich girl continued. “Well, she loses to my Kid-sama, of course!”

“Even when Kid-san was the one to save her life in Paris?” Tsukiko chuckled.

“If what you are saying is true… Especially then!” Sonoko announced proudly.

“But why are the items that she stole being returned by Kid?” Conan tried to get the conversation back on the tracks.

“How should I know? Maybe they know each other!”

“They are similar thieves, right?” Ran agreed.

“Very…” Tsukiko mused as she watched Conan running to the bathroom. In distance she also saw Kaito, ready to go and hint the little detective of the real state of affairs.


Ran and Sonoko pushed their way into the crowd, during which Tsukiko took a chance to disappear and do what she needed to do before the great confrontation. Oh, this was going to be so fun! The grin of Red Moon found its way on her face.

“Kid-sama’s announced time is in four more minutes. Think it’s about time that we go in?” Sonoko flipped her phone shut.

“But there’s so many people that we wouldn’t even see Kid if he showed up…” Ran stated. The two girl’s glanced at each other before noticing a group approaching the exhibition room. “Ah, Nakamori-keibu!”

“And Jirokichi-ojisama too… Let’s head in too!”

“Yeah!”

“I think it’d be better if you don’t!” A voice said by the level of their waist. Conan pushed his way through the crowd and out of the exhibition room, covered in sweat.

“Why shouldn’t we go in?” Sonoko demanded immediately from the ‘brat’.

“I thought you wouldn’t want to get wet… Since is seems Kid really does intend to clean up there!”

“Hey, where is Tsukiko-chan by the way?” Ran noticed for the first time the absence of the blonde girl.

“She… She is in the crowd! I saw her!” Yes, the boy had seen her. And this time he wouldn’t try to stop her. Either. After all the place truly needed cleaning up.


Red Moon tossed the white top hat in the air. Preparations were ready now and it was the showtime.

“Kaitou Kid!” Nakamori exclaimed. The thief clad in white was standing on the gunbelt case.

“And Red Moon!” Jirokichi noticed the female in her black attire balancing on the rim of the giant vase inside which Ryoma had supposedly hid as a child.

“They got through the metal detecting gates, so they’re unarmed! Seize them!” Nakamori barked as Kid was making a bow to his audience. Red Moon laughed.

“Sieze? Arrest? You’ve got wrong people this time Keibu-san.” The female snickered. “We aren’t taking anything from here. Just returning a lot of them while you shall be the clean-up crew!” She spread her arms with a tilt of her head, making the male population of the fans cheer. Apparently anything more showing off move made them act like a mindless cattle.

“Clean up? The only think getting cleaned up here is you, after you’re captured!” Jirokichi told the duo. Unknowningly the wrong duo.

“Indeed…” Kid agreed. “However, if you’re going to clean up, you need water. So I shall create some rain in this very room…”

“Oh I’ve always wanted to dance in the rain. Puddles are so much fun.” RM clapped her hands happily together. “Not as much fun as Pizzeria Yutaka though…” She added as an afterthought. At that Kid lit the matches thus activating the fire sprinklers.

“Well, that’s all from me…” The male thief bowed.

“Hey, wait a minute! Aren’t you going to return those three items?” Nakamori frowned.

“This shower shall make everything clear…” Kid began.

“…And this rain shall wash away the muddy waters…” Red Moon continued. The two disappeared with the help of mist created in the room.


Nakamori set into work immediately, telling his men to check for guests who have just left and are dripping wet. Problem: all the guests were wet inside and outside as it was a rainy day.

“Then, what about the items he said he’d return?”

“They are on top of the gun belt display case…” Hanamura told them, taking the sake cup into his hand. “Oh dear, I’m sorry, I accidently got my blood on the sake cup… But since these items appear to be forgeries it won’t be a problem.”

“The problem is with the gun belt.” Tarumi told as he lifted up the lid of the display. “Th’The antitheft device was destroyed!? Then, Kid switched the gunbelt inside with a fake!? Damn!!”

“You know… That’s kinda crude work… I doubt Kid-kun would make it like that.” Tsukiko emerged from the crowd, dripping wet.

“Tsukiko-chan, you are soaked!” Ran hurried to dry the blonde girl with a handkerchief. “You’ll catch a cold…”

“I really hope I won’t…” Tsukiko muttered, taking her own handkerchief too and patting her hair dry. “This is what I get when I want to see Kid-kun once again close up…”

“What were you saying about the anti-theft device, Tsukiko-oneesan?” Conan appeared by their side.

“That Kid wouldn’t destroy it so crudely. He’d confuse it so the alarm would still blare when those two would check the item. Not to mention that it’s quite easy to destroy before in the hopes of the belt getting stolen and putting a fake in there in the first place. Something like that those two would plan…” The girl jerked her thumb towards the direction of the two forgers. Suddenly Nakamori noticed the plate beneath the display case dripping paint.

“The gunbelt was a complete fake from the beginning, because…” And the truth was out. “Hey, is what it says on this plate true?”

“N-No, that’s just nonsense!” Tarumi denied immediately.

“First of all, where are these mass numbers of forgeries?” Hanamura added. “There’s only lightweight plastic pistol and the fake sake cup and letter…”

“Keibu-san!!” The men of Kaitou Kid taskforce called.

“This gunbelt and pistol were placed on me while I wasn’t paying attention!”

“Me too…”

“There’s also a note on the belt: ‘Borrowed from Tarumi’s warehouse’…” They explained.

“That Kid… He took advantage of the crowd to put them on us…” Nakamori gritted his teeth.

“I see… You broke that anti-theft device to make it look like a robbery… And this time you planned to sell off the gunbelts.” Jirokichi smiled smugly as he realized the plan. (He hadn’t heard when Tsukiko had told her guess to Ran and Sonoko.)

Nakamori went to examine the writing scroll hanging from the wall.

“PULL”

A bunch of forged letters were stashed inside of it.

“Speaking of which… Red Moon was standing on that vase…” Tsukiko pointed it. “I doubt a vase from the 19th century would have withstood her weight…”

Sonoko’s head perked up at that and she walked to the vase in question.

“CRASH”

And it went down. The vase had withstood the weight of the female thief but when hitting the ground in an angle, it went in half.

“Hey, Sonoko?” Ran panicked.

“But Kid’s plate said to do this!” The rich girl explained. “’Crash’…”

Nakamori and Jirokichi came to examine the ‘crashsite’.

“Hey, there are a bunch of sake cups inside!” The inspector exclaimed.

“And each of them has a blood stain…” The advisor noted. “If we conduct a DNA test on the blood, it’ll be clear who was making the phony sake cups… I wonder if the same thing as before happened with all these cups? With you rubbing your cut finger on them and getting your blood on them. Well, it’ll all be revealed when we search your warehouse. If we find a pile of forged items that you haven’t sold yet…”


“Ah, there you are…” Tsukiko jogged to Conan and Kid(disguised as bulky middle aged man). “Are you done now?”

“Yes, we are.” Kid smiled. “I’ll see you later, Tsuki.”

“’Kay.”

“Yes, I think I’ll let you go this time, for Ryoma’s sake…” Conan deadpanned.

“Hm? You’re a Ryoma fan?” Kid blinked.

“My mother is… She was born in Tosa, and even acted the role of his maiden elder sister before…” The boy told the two.

“I can relate…” Kid chuckled. “Not being able to stand up to my mother… Later~!”

Conan sweatdropped and Tsukiko smirked at his expression.

“Yep. That’s right! I talked with her a couple of days ago.” She told the chibi.

“Say… what was your role this time?”

“Mine?” The blonde blinked. Yes, technically it had been her role as Conan didn’t know about how she had managed to separate ‘Tsukiko’ and ‘Red Moon’ from each other. “Well, to point out the fraud and put place the sake cups in the vase when visiting last night as a member of a clean-up crew. The cameras had some distortion for a minute.”

“I see… Say, what exactly do you know about President Goudzu?” The two began walking slowly back to the others.

“About what I told you earlier. Selling forged objects after the real ones have been supposedly stolen. But with Phantom Lady and Kaitou Kid the problem was that they were returning the stolen goods to the police. Thus the killing order. I faced the guy with Kid-kun at Touto Tower a while back…” Tsukiko shrugged.

“I see…”

“Is that all you can say?”

“Yes… What? No!”

Chapter Text

Chapter 48.

Mizune Sonya, 23, model
Ueno, Tokyo

Kage sent the message and flipped their phone shut. They leaned back on their desk chair and flipped the page of geography textbook. The three of them were alone. Kage, Tsukiko and Red Moon.

“How long do you think it’ll take for Sanjuu to kill her?” Kage asked from the other two.

“I don’t know and honestly I don’t care.” RM huffed, moving the hand of their shared body, slamming the book shut.

“I see you’ve adopted Kaitou Kid’s pacifistic standing.” Tsukiko mused and walked to lie down on her bed.

“I have not!”

“Oh yes, you have.”

“No, I haven’t!”

“Yes-…”

“Shut up you both! You are causing a headache to me.” Tsukiko shouted, effectively shutting the other two up.

“You can’t boss us…” RM pouted.

“Oh yes, I can. I’m the original after all.”

“No, you aren’t. Jade is the original.” Kage argued.

“No. Jade and I are the same more or less. She changed when I was gone and you are just extensions of me.”

“Whatever…”

“I’m off. Night, Tsuki. Night, no-gender.”

“Hey!”

“Kids…” Tsukiko threw her arms behind her head and closed her eyes. “It’ll take two days by the way.”


“The Mouris and Conan are going to London?!” Tsukiko exclaimed to her phone.

“Ouch… And yes, they are. I heard from Suzuki who wanted someone to rant to…” Mai sighed from the other end of the line. “Are you jealous too?”

“Yes…” The blonde muttered. “I’ve always wanted to go to London…” Again…

“Well, save money and travel when you are older.” She could practically hear the classpresident shrugging nonchalantly.

“Mou… Mai-san, you aren’t helping at all this matter…”

“And you need to stop being childish. We still have our whole life ahead and honestly after listening to Suzuki for hours end, I rather not hear about this matter anymore.”

“Why did you give her your number then?”

“I don’t know… I had something to do with the connections of our parents I guess.”


Meanwhile at the MomoBara Studios Mizune Sonya, a beautiful blonde half-Japanese woman was taking a break from a photo shooting. She walked to her dressing room and searched for her cell phone to check if she had any new messages. From her manager or from her Boss. New assignments always came the most inconvenient times…

The woman had a new message indeed but it wasn’t from any number she recognized. In puzzlement, she twirled her hair on a topknot and opened the message then.

“Pray for your sins, Crow.” Was written in it. And there was a media link too. Without thinking anything about it, Sonya opened it.

“Ring around roses…
Pockets full of poses…
Ashes, ashes…
We all fall down.”

The song played was creepy. Sonya shuddered as it began playing again. Her mother used to sing that to her when she was a little girl but even then she had thought the song scary.

The door of her dressing room closed quietly. The woman lifted her gaze from her phone to the large mirror in front of her. A man was standing right in front of the door, his hands casually inside the pockets of his jeans.

“You all shall fall down, Mizune Sonya. You and your fellow Crows.” The man told her. She froze and in a second he was right behind her, caressing her cheek. “I don’t understand what you even did for the organization… All the information you gather is easily accessed vie simple hacking… All the people you meet, met other Organization members too… You just live with the money you get without doing anything useful. You just look pretty.”

“W-Who are you? Did the Organization send you to get rid of me then?” Sonya whispered.

“No… I’m on my own. I’m Sanjuu and I work with Kage. We are hunting the Crows like you.” Yamato repeated the words he had told Horake Yuuki a while ago. His gloved hand took a hold on the back of the woman’s head while the other one lifted her chin up a bit. Their eyes met, a confused and scared hazel the determined but sincere emerald. “Goodnight.”

With a swift motion and a resounding crack, the body of Mizune Sonya fell forward on the make-up table. Yamato let out sigh and called to the same number than last time.

“Got her.”

“Good. Everything good?” Kage answered.

“I’m fine. I just hate killing pretty ladies…”

“Tough. I’ll send you the next name in two weeks. To make sure that the cops won’t catch any trail…”

“The cameras aren’t working at the moment. I’ve got twenty minutes to get out.”

“And by feet the way out takes… A what? Five minutes?”

“Three if I take the elevator.”

“Do it then.”

“Will do.” Yamato hung up and sighed. Kage was much more demanding and colder than Tsukiko. He was kind of disappointed that he hadn’t spoken with the real of her yet. Just with that… Shadow.

The man closed Sonya’s eyes and made his way to the door. On the way he slid the security lock on its place, creating a locked room murder for the police to solve.


“Another one? Another one of our NOCs were killed?” Kir asked in great confusion. She was seated on a sofa of the lounge in one of Organization's bases.

“Yeah… I heard about it recently too.” Bourbon shrugged and took a sip from his coffee. “The MO was different but the message Mizune Sonya received was the same than the one Horake Yuuki got. and since Police didn’t tell the media about the message, it’s safe to assume this wasn’t a copycat.”

“The public will panic.” The woman thought aloud. The years of experience as a news reporter had taught her a lot of useful things that she hadn’t been taught back in States when training to be a CIA agent.

“Definitely.” Vermouth stepped into the room while ripping a latex mask away from her face. “I just came back from the MPD headquarters. They have absolutely no leads. Only an e-mail address they can’t trace.”

“Really? Did you get it?” Bourbon cocked his head on the side.

“Yes, I did. The address belonged to-…”

“Is everybody here?” Yet another voice joined in. It was Gin and Vodka who had arrived this time.

“Oh, even you are here.” Bourbon stated.

“Boss’s orders.”  Vodka replied. “He wants everyone here.”

“Yes, and I don’t understand why!?” The last two needed people came through another door. Chianti was glaring about every single person in the room, except Korn.

“Where’s Rum? Wouldn’t they be here too, since everyone else are here too?” Kir asked carefully.

“Like they’d appear.” Chianti scoffed.

“Rum is with Anokata.” Gin fixed a stare on the occupants of the room. “Anokata will contact us soon about these recent attacks so you all better shut up and listen carefully. Especially considering how many of our agents has died during the last months.”

“Yeah…” Kir thought. “The death toll has increased indeed…” Miyano Akemi was executed. Tequila died in an explosion. Sherry ran away. Gin killed Pisco. Hara Yoshiaki was also executed. Calvados killed himself. Kusuda Rikumichi was missing, most likely dead. One of their NOC died along with six other people during the Tanabata Serial killing case. Irish was killed after he was done investigating the case and retrieving the NOC list. And now Horake Yuuki and Mizune Sonya were gone. Wait a minute…

“Say, Gin…” The ex-news anchor began. “The NOC list Irish was supposed to retrieve… How can we know that the memory card Chianti shot was the real one?”

Everyone stared at her. No one had even considered the thought.

“What are you saying Kir?” The silver haired man glared at her coldly. Kir had to suppress a flinch.

“I mean…”

“That someone switched the memory card before Irish got his hands on it.” Vermouth stated. “Like I was about to say before your arrival interrupted me oh, so rudely… The e-mail address that the police can’t trace… It’s the one Irish used to have.”

“But who could have gotten their hands on those?” Vodka asked dumbly.

“That bastard of course!” Chianti spat. “That bastard who we thought was dead but ended up shooting at us. Kage! He who appeared at Teito Department store when he-…” She pointed at Bourbon. “…-was walking around disguised as Akai.”

“Are you sure?” Vermouth smirked.

“Of course I am, you bitch!”

“Kage…” Gin muttered. “He might not work alone then…”

Right then the TV screen by the side wall flickered on. A view of a dimly lit room appeared with only a dark silhouette sitting in a large desk chair and another one standing on the side.

“Evening my dear agents. My Crows, my comrades.” The figure on the chair spoke. “As you probably have heard, two of our members undercover have been targeted. While it is unfortunate, do not do anything yet. We can’t be too sure if this all has been one big coincidence. There have been only two deaths after all.”

“But Boss…” Gin began.

“Do you question my judgment, Gin?”

“No… I’m sorry, Boss.”

“May I ask why you are forbidding us from taking an action?” Bourbon leaned forward in his seat.

“I’d like to hear that too… After all, the message sent to the ‘victims’ clearly indicated a connection to us.” Vermouth added.

“My decision is final. Have a good day.” And blackness took over the screen.

“Well, thanks for nothing. I’m out of here.” Chianti huffed and practically stormed out of the room, Korn – who had remained silent throughout the whole gathering – trailing behind her. Gin and Vodka left soon too, but not before Gin casted a warning glare on the remaining three in the room.

“I wonder why Boss doesn’t want us to investigate this…” Bourbon mused.

“Maybe he thinks we’ll be targets too then…” Kir shrugged. “Although if this Kage is behind these assassinations and has the list, I don’t know why he worries so much. Kage must know already about us.”

“Unless they aim for the lowest rank first.” Vermouth pointed out.

“True…” The only male in the room nodded. “You know… if we had Hibiki on our side, we’d have a chance to track this shadow down.”

“Hibiki?” Kir frowned.

“Yeah, that one hacker who uses our codes and a codename similar to ours even though they’ve never stepped on our side.” Bourbon replied.

“He steals information from our database and causes financial problems to some of our cover companies.” Vermouth continued.

“Really? I thought he was just a legend. A rumor.” Kir mused.

“No. He is real alright.” Vermouth shook her head, her platinum blonde curls waving gently. “And he really likes pissing off some people.”

“Two players making their moves against the Organization… The FBI should be informed about them…”


Jodie’s cellphone rang. When the woman answered, Tsukiko peeked into the living room from the keyhole of her door. She had a weird feeling about that call.

“Who wants to bet it’s Kir?” Kage snorted.

“Not me. You are going to win it anyways.” Red Moon glared. Tsukiko couldn’t help by sigh.

“Would you please not do that again?”

“No.”

“Don’t copy me!”

“You are the one copying me!”

“Shut up!”

“…Who wants to bet we are in trouble?”

“You mean Tsukiko will be in trouble.”

“Yes.”

“Great… Now you are ganging up on me…” The girl facepalmed before going to find her phone. She probably should call Conan… Especially now when she heard the agent mentioning the words Tanabata and Touto Tower.

“Uh oh…” Tsukiko muttered. She was in trouble. And the kid wasn’t answering. “Dammit, Tantei-chan… Answer now…”

The phone just beeped until it was suddenly taken away from the girl. Tsukiko spun around. Jodie was standing there, looking absolutely livid.

“You knew very well that it was the Organization behind the attack on Touto Tower, right?” The agent glared. Tsukiko felt like shrinking. She wanted to hide somewhere far, far away where she wouldn’t be found.

“Let me handle this.” Kage practically pushed Tsukiko aside. Red Moon shrugged on the background when exchanging a look with the girl.

“Just let them. They’ve been bored for days end.”

“As if I don’t know about it…”

“Yes, I did know. So did Edogawa-kun if that’s what you are asking next.” Kage replied calmly, straightening their back and staring back into Jodie’s eyes levelly.

“How long time did you know?”

“…Ever since Tantei-chan and I cornered Vermouth in the parking area of one department store. She gave us useful information and later we confronted Irish who was disguised as Matsumoto-keishi.” Kage lied. No need to tell that they’d decided to keep the investigation to themselves since the beginning after hearing about the Nanatsu No Ko back in the Police Station.

“Why didn’t you tell us then?”

“You’d have just attracted attention.” Kage shrugged. “Besides in the end it was for nothing. Irish died and the memory card we tried to get our hands on was destroyed.”

“That’s not what I heard. According to Mizunashi Rena, there has been to killings of their NOCs. While their boss is forbidding them from investigating, they all are suspecting a person called Kage behind these attacks.”

“Kage?” The teen tilted their head. “It seems there’s a new player on the board then.”

“Yes. And if you know anything about this, you better tell me right now. No hiding.”

“I was at the Tower, yes, but I saw no one else there except Conan, Irish, Mizutani-san and Honjou. Plus that machinegun equipped helicopter.”

“… I’ll let you go this time. But next time something like this happens, you are to tell me right away, is that clear?” Jodie was still glaring at them. Kage nodded reluctantly.

“I will.”

“But Tsukiko won’t.”

“Yep, I have no intention of telling her about the Mystery Train ahead of time…” Tsukiko agreed silently.

“She’ll get more pissed then.”

“Let her.”

“Meanie.”

“Weren’t you supposed to be the grown up one of us?”

“She spends too much time with Kaitou Kid.”

“And you don’t?”

“I spend time with Kuroba Kaito.”

“Shut up you both.”

“I just don’t understand why you go deliberately in danger.” Jodie was looking sad now. No doubt thinking about Akai. “I care about you Tsukiko and I worry about you. Why do you…”

“Because that’s my duty as a detective.” The blonde girl smiled after making Kage step aside. “To get involved in cases and solve them. It’s mere coincidences when the Organization happens to be involved.”

“I see. Just be careful. I don’t think I could handle it if something were to happen to you too.”

“You are not the only one. Nii-san is also always worried about me.” Tsukiko grinned sheepishly.

“Well, with your reputation and hospital visits I’m not surprised.”

“Hey!”

Chapter Text

Chapter 49.

Tsukiko could only stare the amount of curry sitting on the counter. She closed her eyes and opened her mouth while turning her head to face her ‘brother’. But then her mouth closed and she shook her head. While one of her hands remained on her hip, the other one came to meet up with her forehead.

“Why?” The blonde girl asked behind her palm.

“Why what?” Subaru merely smiled.

“Why this much curry? You know very well that I won’t help you eat it as I hate curry.” Tsukiko didn’t even bother to hide her irritation from her voice.

“Well…”

“Or is this a new plan to keep tabs on Haibara-chan? Offering food to her and her friends?”

“Actually no. I happened to put too much spices so I had to mild it up. But good idea. Maybe they’d like some…” The man placed his chin against his hand thoughtfully. Tsukiko could only stare at him in disbelief.

“…” She spun on her heels and marched out of the kitchen. “I refrain from commenting!” The girl called to him as she made her way to the library where her homework was waiting. She could deal with her ‘brother’s’ antics later.

“How can someone be so awkward?” Tsukiko shook her head.

“But isn’t that how you like him? Cool, smart, mysterious but socially awkward?” Kage grinned on the background.

“I didn’t ask for your opinion, no-gender!”

“Oi, don’t pull that card! It’s already bad enough as it is when Reds calls me that.”

“And since when I gave the permission to call me ‘Reds’?” Red Moon arched her eyebrows.

“I don’t need one.”

“Sure you don’t…” Tsukiko snorted.

“But you gotta admit that you used to be hardcore Akai-fangirl back home as Jade.”

“Emphasis on the words ‘used to be’… I grew up from it pretty fast.”

“Says who?”

“Fine! I still like him but not like like. I prefer him as my brother now, thank you very much.”  Tsukiko could practically see Kage and RM high-fiving each other. Something they did only when ganging up on her. She sighed.

“But first the homework and then dealing with him… And I need to eat dinner too…”


“Alright, Subaru-nii… Since you seem incapable of making the right amount of curry I’ve decided that we’ll do something completely irrelevant time to time.” Tsukiko was her arms crossed on her chest glaring down at Subaru who had lifted his gaze up from his book.

“And what that would be?” The man asked, removing his glasses and placing them a top of his book on his lap. He rubbed his eyes momentary before putting the eyewear back on his face. Tsukiko smirked. Obviously he didn’t think it would be anything bad.

“Anime marathon!” She announced gleefully.

It was a miracle that the book didn’t slip on the floor. Subaru was definitely surprised about the sudden and completely unexpected decicion. He did try to cover it though, by blinking(quite stupidly) and making a strange noise in the back of his throat.

“An anime marathon?” He repeated.

“Yep. It’ll be fun. And useful.” Tsukiko sat on the sofa next to him.

“Useful? How so?” Subaru pushed his glasses a bit. The girl looked at him and smirked, making the man think whether or not he should be worried about this all.

“Because thanks to this…” The blonde held up her Lumia phone. “We have a chance to watch the anime called Meitantei Conan!”

“But not today.”

“Not today… Of course not today! We have kids to invite to curry.” The girl jumped up and walked to the window to take a look at the street, the houses along it and the darkening sky on the background. “You know… There’s no lights at Hakase’s house.”

Subaru walked to stand behind her and looked outside too. “I wonder if something has happened…”


The sibling duo made their way to the neighbor’s house. Tsukiko shivered slightly at the chilly evening wind and cursed silently her decision not to take a jacket.

“The door is open…” Subaru noted, pushing the front door gently. It swung slowly open.

“Agasa-hakase and Haibara-chan would never leave the door open…” Tsukiko whispered. While they had no security cameras and such, they were still quite paranoid. They’d definitely not leave the door unlocked, even in a hurry, because of all the inventions and Haibara’s research.

The two stepped in to find the house completely empty.

“I could guess that Haibara-chan has gotten mixed up in a case with other kids but for Hakase to be gone too like this…”

Drrriiiiing!

The housephone rang. They turned to look at it. Who could it be? After exchanging a look, Subaru stepped forward to answer the phone.

“Hello?”

It was hung up immediately.

“Strange…” The man stated as he placed the receiver back to its place. Not long after that the phone rang again. But as soon as Subaru answered to it, the call was hung up again. “Something must be up…”

“Say… The Mouris came back from London yesterday, right?” Tsukiko asked suddenly, her face thoughtful.

“Yes… Do you know something about this then?”

“I do indeed.” A smirk sneaked on the girl’s face. “I’ll go fetch my jacket, you shall figure out what to do next.”


When Tsukiko came back, Subaru was standing by the gate and holding the spare tracking glasses. The man held them out for Tsukiko to take as he couldn’t really be seen without his glasses outside the house.

“Alright… You take a look on the map then…” The blonde girl placed the familiar unfamiliar pair of glasses on her face. “By the way… I’m going to tell Yukiko-san how you screwed up with the curry next time when she comes to visit…”

“I’m terrified.”

“Oh, sure you are.” Tsukiko snorted and pressed the button on the frame of the glasses. “The detective badges are all about…”


“So that’s it! I got it!” The voice of one of the bad guys rang on the empty corridor of the abandoned house. “It’s the confinement room!! This was all a strategy in order to get you out from that room!! Hurry back there and tie them all up good!!”

Tsukiko and Subaru peeked around the corner and exchanged a look. While these guys were alone(at least to their knowledge) they weren’t being subtle at all.

“Hey, what happened!? Were the brats there!?” The man dressed up as a constructor worker continued talking to his phone and making his way to the stairs. “Hey!? Hey!?”

“Hey…” Subaru tapped the man on the shoulder. In a flash that man was on the ground, out of cold.

“Good that I took this with me.” Tsukiko was twirling a roll of tape around her finger. “You go ahead. I’ll wrap this guy up in a nice little packet for the police to find. Oh, and I’ll call the police too.”

“You really like bossing me around today…” Subaru stated amusedly, making the girl look up from her ‘wrapping a nice little packet’.

“I do?” She blinked.

“Yes.”

“Whops… Sorry.” Tsukiko grinned. Subaru just shook his head and made his way upstairs.


About five minutes later, the blonde girl hurried up too. The police was on their way already after all.

When she was in the correct floor, Tsukiko could already hear the children and Subaru talking. After the three real kids praised the man, Ai took the turn to speak.

“Coming to check on us because the lights weren’t on… It’s almost as if he had been keeping watch over the house the entire time…” She accused.

“Yeah… The truth is I had been keeping watch the whole time, waiting for you to come home.” Subaru answered, making the shrunken scientist even more wary. “I made too much curry for lunch today, so I was thinking of sharing some, you see…”

“You wouldn’t believe the amount he made…” Tsukiko sighed, stepping into the room. “I still can’t fantom how he succeeded in it…”

“Tsukiko-oneesan!” Ayumi waved to the older girl.

“Hi, Yoshida-chan. Hello, kids.”

”Tsukiko-neechan? You were here too?” Conan questioned.

“Yep. When we found the other guy in the stairs, I stayed behind to wrap him up.” The blonde showed the tape roll. “I also called the police.”

“Why did you even have a tape roll with you in the first place?” The boy deadpanned while the rest of the kids were making plans of eating curry on the next day at the Professor’s house.

“Well… When it comes to you guys… One can never be too sure.” Tsukiko smiled. “But I hope you’ll enjoy the curry anyways. I can’t stand it.”

“Eh!? You don’t like curry!?” And of course the kids hear the last sentence.

“Yes. I hate curry. I do like spices… but not curry.” The girl explained. Back home it had also bugged her: why everyone in DC World seemed to love curry and why they were always eating it. Oh well, she didn’t need to eat it. And hopefully she wouldn’t need to eat that cream stew either…

Chapter Text

Chapter 50.

Tsukiko let out a massive yawn. She really felt like falling asleep. Okay, it was her own fault in a way but…

“Hey, Tsukiko-chan, could you at least pretend you are awake?” Sonoko leaned closer to the blonde who was hiding yet another yawn behind her palm.

“I can’t help it… I went to sleep past midnight…” Tsukiko pouted and leaned back in her seat. “Why are we even on the move so early?”

“Because we are going to a cake buffet to celebrate Ran’s victory. Didn’t I tell you?”

“Ah… I might’ve dozed off…” Wait… Cake buffet? Then that’d mean… Tsukiko glanced behind her. Yep, there she was. In her grey fedora and brown jacket, looking like a boy. Sera Masumi was about to take the stage.

“What is it now? Are you even listening to me?” The rich girl muttered in irritation.

“Yes, I am. I just…”

“Did you see a handsome guy over there? After Eisuke left you behind, you have been lacking romance from your life, eh?”

“I’m not like you, Suzuki-senpai!”

“Demo saa, what kept you awake so long, Tsukiko-neechan?” Conan piped up.

“An anime marathon with niisan…We had the second part of it and watched about fifty episodes… And most of them were fillers…” Tsukiko slumped deeper in her seat. Yep, episodes 55-106(seasons 3-4) were watched now, accompanied by laughing at the horrible animation style, facepalming at the cases in TV originals and gritting teeth at the way the anime crew had messed up with the order and plot related cases. Tsukiko bet Subaru had been more interested in watching her reactions than the actual episodes. Although episode 13 had been kinda bad for him… Even though it was a messed up one…

“A-Anime marathon?” The boy stuttered.

“Yeah, after he messed up with the curry back then, I managed to blackmail him into it. Of course we keep pauses but… Well, it’s fun anyways and he is surprisingly interested in the mysteries and puzzles in that series.”

Tsukiko could see from their expressions that none of those three could imagine Okiya Subaru to have and anime marathon with her. Especially not Conan.

“But really, Ran. You truly are unrivaled!” Sonoko gushed, turning her attention back to her best friend. “Winning the Kanto Karate Championship and all!”

“It was all thanks to the flipping axe kick Kasumi-senpai taught me!” The new champion smiled brightly.

“Well today, as promised, the cake buffet at Haido Hotel is my treat! So eat up and you’ll get even stronger!”

“Yeah! I’ll eat a lot and get super, super strong!”

The topic switched to Shinichi and his confession to Ran in London. Tsukiko decided not to comment it but she couldn’t help but wonder… Why exactly had Sonoko invited her too?

“If you’re careless, Shinichi-kun may have a change of heart! He’s so… You know how he is, but he’s still surprisingly well-liked! One day a powerful rival may suddenly appear, you know?” Sonoko winked. And then…

“Pervert!! This person just  groped me!!”

“Ah, no, I just…” The person aka Sera Masumi tried to explain. Tsukiko took notice at the person behind her whose hand was also raised in the air as Sera didn’t let go of it.

“Don’t act all innocent! You touched my butt just now!! Ran, payback!”

“Got it!”

“Ah, hold o-!”

Tsukiko just sighed and buried her face behind her palm while Ran aimed a kick with her knee. A kick that Sera blocked, leaving the other two girls baffled. Next the new player on the board struck forward with her left hand which Ran dodged just barely.

But the last move of the fight didn’t come. Ran didn’t make a flip backwards to dodge Sera’s kick. She didn’t need to do it. She couldn’t do it. The kick came but it was stopped.

“I think this is already enough of this misunderstanding…” Tsukiko stated, her right forearm blocking the kick and her left hand having pushed Ran on the ground. Anime and manga had been unrealistic with this case. There was no way that Ran could have dodged the kick the way she had done. There simply wasn’t enough space for it in the bus.

“I’m sure you all agree…” The blonde continued. Damn, her arm was already hurting. She stepped aside and Sera stepped back too. Ran and Sonoko were muttering about strong perverts and wondering what sort of misunderstanding was this about.

“That person’s not the pervert!” Conan announced behind the long haired karate champion. “Because! I saw it! When this person grabbed the hand that touched Sonoko-neechan’s butt! And then that’s how Sonoko-neechan grabbed this person’s hand!”

“This hand here…” Sera showed the hand of the real pervert. Naturally Sonoko got mad at that person then, chasing him out of the bus.

“I-I’m so sorry! I went to kick you without even making sure…” Ran was apologizing thoroughly.

“It’s fine, it’s fine! I’m just glad that misunderstanding was cleared up!” The ‘boy’ who Sonoko thought to be hot smiled. “Besides… You’re my type, so I’ll forgive you…” ‘He’ told Ran making her blush. Wow, if that’s not blatant flirting I don’t know what is. You aren’t even bothering to fix the identification mistake… “Or something, haha… Where are you headed?”

“Haido Hotel.” Tsukiko answered from her seat while rubbing her forearm. She’d surely get a proper black mark on it by the end of the day.

“What luck! I’m also headed to that hotel.”

“Really!?” Sonoko asked in excitement. Conan in the other hand settled in glaring at the young ‘man’.

“Thanks for the earlier! Little boy…” Sera winked.

“Eh, Tsukiko-chan, are you alright?” Ran leaned closer to the blonde girl, finally remembering her presence.

“Yeah, I’m just fine.” Tsukiko smiled. “I couldn’t let my friend get hit.”

“You could’ve hurt yourself badly…”

“Say, where did you learn to fight even?” Sonoko butted in.

“Ah… I…” Tsukiko glanced briefly at Sera. “My brother taught me. After the Touto Tower incident I thought I should know how to defend myself better. I still am not that strong but I know how to block attacks before they reach their full strength…”

“Good eyes you have then.” Sera commented too. “A bit later and I could’ve broken your arm.”

“Well, good that you didn’t.” The blonde girl smiled. “I’ll survive with a mere black mark.”

“Tsukiko-chan, you can’t just shrug it off like that!” Ran chastised the girl.

“Demo, Ran-senpai…”


“What!? You don’t have a room for me!?” Sera confronted the front desk man. “Why not? I made a reservation!”

“I’m terribly sorry. We should have declined your reservation, it was our mistake…” The man apologized.

“Then do you have any other rooms available?”

“W-Well… It’s just that currently, due to some concerns about hauntings, the hotel annex is being renovated and we have fewer rooms available. We have no vacancies…”

“Isn’t there anything you can do?”

“Haido Hotel… Isn’t that where Conan and Haibara went to stop an assassination? Where Pisco kidnapped Haibara and she was forced to drink Paikaru thus returning to her original form?” Tsukiko thought when she made her way along the rest of her group towards the elevators.

“I would think so…” Kage stated before yawning.

“I wonder if the annex under renovation only because of hauntings then. Pisco did set the vine storage in fire.”

“Who cares? I want cake!”

“Tsk… Your childishness shines through once again…”

“Please don’t start again…” Tsukiko sighed before focusing on the presence.

“Tsukiko-chan, we found the elevator!” Ran called from a distance. The blonde jogged to them as fast as she could with her high-soled boots.

“Ah, go ahead then. I need to use a bathroom.” She told the trio. “I’ll be just behind you.”

“Don’t tell me…” Sonoko’s expression turned smug all suddenly. “Don’t tell me you want to keep an eye on our mysterious savior.”

“Whaaaat? Why would I want to do that?” The blonde’s eyes widened.

“Ha! I saw you looking at him several times. At the bus, during the walk here from the bus stop and also here. And you’ve spaced out a couple of times. Tsukiko-chan has a crush!” The polka haired girl declared.

“I do not! I wouldn’t fall for… them.” The last word came with a bit of difficulty as Tsukiko couldn’t tell the trio about Sera’s real gender yet.

“And why’s that?” The heiress of Suzuki corporation crossed her arms on her chest and leaned closer while smiling smugly.

“Because… Kami, you seriously didn’t notice?” Tsukiko sighed while facepalming. There was two reasons why she wouldn’t have a crush on Sera. One, she was a girl. While Tsukiko had no objections to girlxgirl pairs and didn’t even care which gender she’d fall for… it was still a slight factor. And two, Sera was Akai’s sister. And Akai was at the moment Okiya Subaru, Tsukiko’s brother. So following that logic, Sera was Tsukiko’s sister. Not that anyone knew about it. But anyways, dating Sera would be like incest in Tsukiko’s mind and that she didn’t approve.

“Notice what?” Ran asked in puzzlement.

“Ah, nothing… Let’s just say that it takes one to know one.” The blonde waved and went to find a bathroom.


When coming from the bathroom Tsukiko heard immediately a scream coming from somewhere outside.

“Oh great…” The girl muttered, making her way to the elevator about the time when Conan ran from the stairs and past her. Tsukiko let him run. Today she didn’t have the energy or the right shoes to run after him. So she calmly made her way to the elevator where Sera was walking to, too.

“Hello again.” The tomboy greeted the blonde.

“Hello.” Tsukiko smiled back.

“Why aren’t you with your friends? You were heading for the cake buffet, right?”

“To be honest… I’m not that fond of sweet things and at the moment I don’t care listening to Suzuki-senpai and her enquires about my love life as I don’t have one.”

“I see… So you took an excuse to get separated from them then.”

“Not really… In any case though, I bet that cake buffet it crowded by now. Things like that are extremely popular.”

“I can believe that.” Sera chuckled. “What did they say when you told you weren’t coming with them?”

“What makes you think they said anything?” Tsukiko arched her eyebrows.

“Well, I already got quite good of a picture of their personalities. They surely had some suggestions ready.”

“Suzuki-senpai suspects that I’d try to engage an conversation with you and that I have an crush on you.”

“Oh… Is that so…”

“Yep. For the record, I don’t. Have a crush that is.” The blonde smirked and took off her glasses. They weren’t doing any good anyways. And she was tired. No need for a headache too. “I believe we weren’t introduced properly earlier… Okiya Tsukiko, nice to meet you.” Tsukiko offered her hand which the other girl took.

“The name is Sera. Nice to meet you too.”

Conan rushed past them and other guests of the hotel, three suspects of the case in tow. Just when Sera was about to pull her hand away, Tsukiko gripped it tighter.

“Sera who? I’d like to know the full name of my new friend to whom I don’t have a crush on.” She smirked.

“Just Sera. For now… Why so curious?” Sera responded to the smirk on her own challenging one.

“Alright then.” Tsukiko let go of the hand. “Let’s just say that it’ll be fun when the others realize what I did.”

The messy haired tomboy blinked once and took a better look on the other’s knowing smile and mischievous eyes.

“You…?” Sera chuckled then. “This is certainly a first one. How did you notice?”

“It takes one to know one.”

The two watched the elevator come back down. A security guard stood with them after Sera had called him over. The elevator stopped on the sixth and second floor for some reason before reaching their spot. The doors opened to reveal completely empty box.

“Shall we? I bet you are also worried about the boy.” Sera asked Tsukiko.

“Why not… I seem to be running into cases anyways…” The blonde sighed and the newly formed duo stepped into the elevator. Before allowing the doors close, the dark haired teen told the security guard to keep a good watch on the elevator.


“S-Suicide!?”

“Then what was the person’s shadow that Hirukawa-san saw?”

“Perhaps what I saw was the wind making this jacket flutter…” The suspects talked. The woman, Hirukawa, the culprit, whatever one wanted to call her, was especially pushing the idea of suicide forwards. Tsukiko remembered suspecting her from the start because she had talked so much since her introduction and was obviously pulling the strings since the beginning. And she was the only one who could’ve set the whatever-trap that had been made. “I-It’s all my fault… I pushed him to do this with my words…”

“No…” Conan interrupted. “This was most likely…”

“A murder…” Sera stepped in. “Isn’t that right? Conan-kun?”

Tsukiko peeked into the rooftop too and mentally sweatdropped. What was with the detectives and their enigmatic and dramatic entrances?

“And that isn’t suspicious at all… No wait, I came with her. Tantei-chan might just assume she heard his name from me…” The blonde muttered before facepalming. Great… Just great…

“B-By ‘murder’… Are you saying you saw someone push him off from here?” The chubby woman of the suspect trio exclaimed.

“No… I just happened to know that the man who fell to his death was quite drunk…” Sera explained. “Having picked up from you lot while you were talking. Due to my line of work, my ears are quite good, you see…” She emphasized her point by pointing her ear with her pinky.

“B-But why wouldn’t it have been a suicide?” The woman continued.

“Look, his shoes are even lined up as they should be…” The man with her continued.

“’Should be’?” Tsukiko stepped out on the roof too. “Who said that it’s a mandatory or a signature of a suicide to have the shoes taken off?”

“Yes… That’s just a preconception, you know? Up until now, I’ve seen innumerable jumper scenes, but just about none of the bodies had been shoeless… Well, I guess you’ve been influences by movies and TV, where it’s become a keyword of sorts. It’s easier for dramas to strike that chord emotionally if, once you see shoes lined up on a roof, you know automatically that there’s been a suicide.”

“Bloody Americans messing up…” Tsukiko muttered under her breath. At least the crimeshows she used to watch had the facts straight.

“Nowadays not so much but, in the past, detective dramas would show blood dribbling out of the mouths of people who hung themselves… It’s the same sort of thing. In reality you wouldn’t see blood coming out, but it was done in order for the audience to realize that the person was dead. Plus it carried more of an impact…”

“Usually blood comes out of mouth only if one is injured in the lungs, since it hinders breathing, or stomach because human body automatically repels blood from the digestion system. Of course biting tongue is one opinion but very unlikely…” The blonde girl added. Wait, didn’t Conan explain the blood coming from the mouth thing in hanging situations in that Tennis-Curry-something case…

“Although… having seen those sorts of dramas or movies, there are people who, when they’re about to jump to their deaths, mistakenly think they ought to take their shoes off first. “ Sera had walked to the edge of the roof and was peering down. “However, seeing as how the man who fell to his death had been heavily intoxicated and requested time to sober up… There’s no way, in such a groggy state of being, he would do things such as take his jacket off and place his shoes neatly atop it.”

“Not to mention to tie the shoelaces again.”

“Exactly.” The tomboy nodded. “And even the possibility that some random person placed this here as a prank must be rejected, seeing as how the position of the shoes is directly above the man who fell to his death!”

“Which means…?” Tsukiko prompted the other girl on. She was excited. Not because of the murder but the fact that one of her favorite characters was present now.

“I means that we’ve been brought to no conclusion other than that these shoes were deliberately lined up and placed here by the culprit, in order to disguise this as a jumper suicide, you know?”

“T-Then where is the culprit!?” The culprit conveniently panicked. She must’ve thought that Sera had already seen through the entire scheme.

“I bet they’ll be arrested real soon now since I asked the guard, before I came up here to the roof, to keep watch over the elevator and stairs…”

“W-What is all this?”

“What kind of person are you!?” The other two in the culprit’s company asked immediately. Seriously, couldn’t they speak without stuttering at all…

“My name is Sera.” Came the answer. “Just like this little boy here… I’m a detective.”


“What!? There wasn’t anyone there? You’re saying that, besides this man who fell to his death, there wasn’t anyone at all in the hotel annex?” Sera questioned the police once they all were assembled on the parking lot.

“Y-Yeah… According to the guard who had been keeping watch over the stairs and the elevator, you all were the only ones to have gone in or out…” Takagi told her.

“-And just who would you be, hmm?” Megure growled. Oh, poor man… Surrounded by overly smart self-proclaimed detectives. The similar thoughts were seen on the inspector’s face when he heard about Sera’s ‘occupation’.

“But then, why was this man there? He shouldn’t have been able to stay there, since the hotel annex was undergoing renovations…” The tomboy thought aloud.

“The deceased Uesumi Teigo-san was the son of the owner of this same Haido Hotel, you see… They made an exception and allowed him to sue one of the rooms in order to avoid media…” Megure explained.

“By ‘media’, then…” Ran began.

“Is this person famous?” Sonoko continued her friend’s train of thought.

“More like infamous.” A police officer with longish brown hair pulled on a low ponytail chuckled. He had a notepad and pen in hand and had been making a lot of notes before speaking. “Teigo-san was arrested in the past for being a ring leader of a money transfer scam. However, there wasn’t enough evidence to try him so now he’s just person to find his way to the headlines of weeklies.” He shrugged. “Used to be that is.”

“In any case the media caught wind of it and it seems there had been a big uproar about it until last week.” Takagi continued. Tsukiko in the other hand kept an eye on the other officer. He seemed to be a police detective by rank just like Takagi and somewhat familiar too… “With things like Teigo-san flying off the handle at his media interviewer, and breaking the window in the sixth floor hallway using a fire extinguisher.”

“And because of that, the number of guests staying in the annex dropped significantly and even the hotel could abide him anymore.” The unnamed detective continued, turning his gaze back to his notebook. “But there is rumors that the renovations in the annex are being used as an opportunity to force him flee aboard.”

Then came the explanation of the situation from the victims/suspects of how the body had fallen down right when they’d been backing up the car. And Conan busted the theory of something having been attached to the car and making the victim fall.

“But it’s strange…” Sera stated. “While I was waiting for the elevator with Okiya-chan… I’m pretty sure it stopped on the 6th and 2nd floors…”

“Ah, I remember that too.” Tsukiko noted. “I thought it was strange too as there shouldn’t have been anyone in the annex besides this guy.”

“Was there really no one else?” Sera inquired.

“I-It stopped?” Takagi repeated in confusion.

“When was this?” Megure demanded immediately.

“There was a big commotion about a man having fallen and then this little boy brought the lady and the others to the elevator to go to the roof… It was right after that. The elevator went nonstop to the top floor but for some reason it took its time coming back down…”

“But if I remember correctly, there should have been two elevators.”

“Only one is at use at the moment since Teigo-san was the only one staying in the annex.” The mysterious officer flipped his notebook shut and put it into his breast pocket. “Though the investigators are searching the entire annex now… It’s entirely possible that they’ll find no one.”

“What about surveillance cameras?” Conan asked. “They’re installed in the elevator and the hallways, right?”

“About those… When Teigo-san flew into a rage, he spray-painted all over the hotel annex…” Takagi explained. “And even the surveillance cameras were all painted over… I understand they’re all blacked out and nothing can be seen from them!”

Upon this information Conan and Sera both smirked. A black box inside the annex was waiting to be lightened up by truth. Tsukiko smiled faintly too. She couldn’t wait to see the duo in action and maybe also throw in her own contribution, too…

“Tsukiko-chan… You definitely have your eyes on him…” Sonoko suddenly elbowed the blonde on the side. “You’ve been looking at him all the time. A! Don’t try to deny it.” The rich girl lifted up her hand to silence the younger girl who had opened her mouth to protest. “Besides you seem to be getting along extraordinary well… Who knows, maybe the feelings are not so one-sided…” The polka-haired gossiper giggled. Tsukiko could only roll her eyes and sigh.

“Trust me, Suzuki-senpai… It’s nothing like that. I assure you…”


Accompanied by a ghost story, the group made their way to the second floor of the annex. The suspects were naturally left on the parking lot but the mysterious officer was still with them. And Tsukiko couldn’t help but wonder why she had this bugging feeling about him.

“This graffiti certainly is terrible…” Takagi commented the tainted walls. There was even ‘Die’ written on there.

“Guess they’ve no choice but renovate…” Megure agreed. “Oh, Chiba-kun! Have you found anyone?”

“No. Not yet…” The chubby detective responded from the large window right opposite the elevator. Next to him was an electric wheelchair. He told the inspector and the rest that when he’d found the vehicle, it had been still moving. “There was fishing line attached to the front wheels and in-between the front wheels, so I checked with the hotel… They said this was an electric wheelchair that Teigo-san, who had fallen to his death, had been borrowing…”

“So he had bad legs?” Megure asked.

“No… It seems that he was just using it to cruise around the hotel annex…” All the officers present sweatdropped including the one standing behind Tsukiko. The one making a new memo to his notebook.

“Then it’s possible Teigo-san was behind the aforementioned commotion regarding the ghost as well…” Takagi realized. “He may have planned to use fishing like to manipulate the unoccupied wheelchair and scare the  three victims who came to visit him today, on the second floor where the elderly man who committed suicide was staying!”

“It would be consistent with his character.” Megure nodded.

“Even so, this fishing line is extremely long…” Sera commented while kneeling beside the chair and examining the said line. “The rubber bands were the first to give out and there were many tied on.”

“And the footrests have scratches like they ran into something…” Conan continued. “Couldn’t the culprit have used this?”

“Take a look out the window here…” Megure told the duo. “This is the opposite side of the hotel from the parking lot where Teigo-san fell to his death. Even if the culprit did use the wheelchair, they couldn’t have accomplished anything!”

“Not from this floor…” The officer still standing by the elevator mumbled and flipped the page of his notebook backwards, like checking some information. He blinked as he found what he was looking for. “Me-Megure-keibu!”

“What now, Miyoshi-kun?”

“Miyoshi…?”

“The window that Teigo-san broke with a fire extinguisher in the sixth floor… It’s directly above the place where he fell, right?”

“Yes, it is.” Tsukiko smiled brightly. “We should probably go to check that floor since it’s likely he fell via that window.”

The officer looked at the girl in a slight confusion at her sudden agreeing but smiled at her then.

“You are the one who memorized the floor plan of this hotel, Miyoshi-kun. You surely have already an answer even though you are asking me…” Megure grunted in mild irritation.

“Ah, Megure-keibu… What are you saying? I’m just confirming the facts from other sources too…” Miyoshi rubbed the back of his head and let out a nervous laugh. Megure just settled on shooting a glare on the young man before they assembled on the elevator to make their way to the sixth floor. And Takagi and Megure were surprised by the elevator doors opening on the wrong side, leading Conan explaining the structure of the hotel and the officer called Miyoshi sigh as Megure once again shot a glare at him.

“It’s not my fault that you decided to lean against the doors…” He muttered, earning a comforting pat on the back from Takagi.

“He seems to be annoyed by something anyways. It’ll pass.”

“I know…” The notebook was flipped open and scratching of the pen filled the empty space of the sixth floor corridor once again.

“You surely are obsessed with your notebook, aren’t you?” Takagi chuckled.

“A bit… Maybe…” Miyoshi shrugged.

“Excuse me… Miyoshi-keiji…” The duo turned around to see Tsukiko standing there. “You don’t happen to be Mai-san’s cousin?”

“Ah…” Thoughts were almost visibly whirling in the officer’s head. “Yes, I’m Miyoshi Takuya. Are you friend of Mai-chan’s then?”

“A classmate. Okiya Tsukiko. Nice to meet you.” The girl offered a hand to shake which the detective took.

“Nice to meet you too, Tsukiko-kun.”

“Say… You are faking it, right? You just pretend checking details from your notebook while you actually remember them exactly as they are.” The blonde smiled as Takagi made his way to Megure and the rest of them who were looking around the scene and noting the window Takuya had mentioned. Conan also noticed the dried paint on the wall.

“Ah, you are the first one…” Takuya smirked slightly and glanced at the quartet walking around. “But yes… I do conceal my skills at memorizing the best I can… Once I write the information up on my notebook, I remember it word to word. I just use this so other people wouldn’t notice it too. I rather keep quite low profile. Though Megure-keibu seems to have noticed. Or at least suspects something…”

“I know that Mai-san has a photographic memory so I thought that just maybe… It seems I was right though.” Tsukiko grinned while crossing her arms on her chest.

“I heard from Mai-chan that you are quite a detective yourself too… Have you already figured out the case?”

“Have you?”

The challenge was thrown in. Takuya let out a short laugh.

“Maybe… The wheelchair, the fishing line, the paint cans, the elevator and its stops… It all makes sense once you’ve found all the pieces.”

“And there’s only one person who went into the annex before the incident…”

“That Hirukawa lady!” Sera announced. “She’s the culprit!!”

Everyone turned to look at the tomboy.

“So she has reached the conclusion too…” Tsukiko smirked. Takuya glanced at her and then looked at Sera again.

“She…? Oh!”

“If you would please set things up per my instructions and bring Hirukawa-san over here?” Sera was telling to Megure and Takagi. “Because this incident is already Case Closed. I’ve already solved it!”

“This is going to be interesting, don’t you think?” Tsukiko asked Takuya who nodded, a bit overwhelmed by the people he’d met during the day.

“Yes… Definitely…”

Chapter Text

Chapter 51.

After the demonstration of the course of the murder was set up, the suspects were escorted to the sixth floor. And naturally that Hirukawa lady was the one to suggest that the conclusion was suicide, like she wanted everyone believe. Tsukiko suppressed a snort and decided to stay in the sidelines, behind Takuya and out of the direct sight of the other two high school detectives. Did Conan even count properly as one anymore? True, he was Kudou Shinichi in reality and had the brains but… he was still a kid right now. In elementary school, with kid friends, part of Detective Boys, with not many people taking him seriously… and all in all hard to group with Hattori, Hakuba and Sera together as he was now. Yes, he worked together with them well and they took him seriously but…

Tsukiko sighed, she was getting side-tracked. But she focused just in time to hear Sera reacting when Megure mistook her gender and called her ‘he’.

“Me? I’m…”

“Yeah, Sera-kun, was it?” Takagi confirmed. Takuya covered his mouth behind the group and only his shaking shoulders and mirth in his eyes was an indicator of how he found the whole situation amusing. Tsukiko also let out a short and quiet giggle.

“Anyway, could you tell us your deduction, Sera-san? We’ll listen and let you know if there are any parts that are wrong…” Conan told the… was gender-confused a good word in this situation? She had no problems but everyone else did. This needed some thinking…

“Tsk, who cares? Just keep watching.” Kage smirked, crossing their arms.

“No-gender is right. The term doesn’t matter, only the reactions to it.” Red Moon grinned. “Do we have any popcorn?”

“Stop, calling me by that name!”

“Nope. So, the popcorn?”

“I don’t have. Maybe later today we can get some. Especially if we continue the anime marathon.”

“Whooo-ooo!”

“Hmph…”

“Someone’s crumpy ~ .”

“Shut up both of you. I’m trying to focus.” Tsukiko sighed. Why did she had to play referee to these two? Or rather a babysitter… She was going to have one hell of a headache later. She was sure about it.

“…Because the trick I’m going to tell you about will be put in practice for you right here!” The tomboy continued. Tsukiko noted that Hirukawa the culprit seemed a bit nervous and quiet while the other two questioned the choice of place.

“I’ve said this before…” Sera began. “Teigo-san’s jacket and shoes were placed on the roof beforehand in order to make this incident look like a jumper suicide. They were fakes planted there so that we wouldn’t figure out the real scene of the crime was actually here in the sixth floor… Hirukawa-san, you did that in order to hide the fact that you used the elevator to fling Teido-san to his death!”

“N-Now just a minute!” The chubby woman in the murderer’s company protested.

“When he fell from above Hirukawa-san was inside the car in the parking lot with the two of us!” The man next to the females continued. And then was Hirukawa’s turn.

“That’s right… So tell me, how I could have controlled the wheelchair and elevator?”

“Sure thing!” Sera smiled. “Just by having pressed buttons on the elevator, you needn’t have been there in order to transport Teigo-san in the electric wheelchair from the 2nd floor to the 6th floor and dump him, and then return the wheelchair to the 2nd floor! Of course, you did need to have prepared a long fishing line with several rubber bands attached to one end…”

“Fishing line and rubber bands?”

“Well, why don’t we hear it from you then…” Hirukawa smiled confidently. “How one could automatically cause someone to fall to their death. This witchcraft-like trick…”

And Sera began the explanation. She pointed out every step and part in the plan confidently. When doubt was expressed she only told them that they only needed to watch and see how it had happened. Inspector Megure gave an order to Chiba who was ready in the 2nd floor and by the elevator. And the metal box began moving. Tsukiko eyed the closed door with interest as she and Takuya had been the ones setting the trick with Sera(Chiba helped too).

The doors opened and the wheelchair rolled out, heading towards the window of the sixth floor, right above the place of the fallen man. Oh, what a pun…

But right when the chair was a few meters from the window, Tsukiko strode forward. She grabbed the handles of the wheelchair and stopped it’s movements.

“Sera-sa~n… Aren’t you forgetting something?” The blonde asked innocently. The tomboy blinked before giving out a nervous laugh.

“Forgetting? What have I forgotten? You are the one interrupting the demonstration.”

“But you are so close… why didn’t you…” Tsukiko muttered.

“Really now… Inspector, do you really trust these kids to take part in investigation?” Hirukawa asked Megure. “They barely even agree with each other so how can you expect them to solve something like this. Especially accuse honourable citizens!”

“Really now, yourself woman.” Tsukiko stated before Megure could answer. People definitely were shocked of her impolite way of addressing the older woman. “Sera-san almost got it, just forgot a little detail. I thought it was obvious so I didn’t comment at first. Even a person who wasn’t here could deduce this case after I called.”

“Who did you call?” Takuya asked curiously. The girl had been with him about all the time so when had she been making any calls to any direction?

“Well, I more like requested a call… In any case I talked with Kudou-kun.”

“Ku-Kudou-kun?” Megure spluttered. Conan also stared at the girl in shock. Yes, he’d considered making a call as Kudou Shinichi after seeing the plan without the paint cans but had doubted that Sera would’ve not realized them belonging to the plan. He gave a narrowed eyed glare to the girl who studiously ignored it. Apparently Tsukiko had learnt to know him well. Too well…

“Yes, I told Conan-kun to make the call and describe the situation, then I asked his opinion to what I had already deducted and he agreed with me.” Tsukiko smiled. “Do you believe me or do I have to make a call?” She was already taking her phone out of her pocket. Megure glanced around a bit. Tsukiko noted that Conan had already slipped behind the corner.

“Alright, make the call.”


"Okiya-chan, what is it now?” A sigh was heard from the other side of the line. Damn, he was a good actor.

“Nothing special, Kudou-kun…” Tsukiko shrugged. “They just doubt me. And I haven’t even told them what was missing from Sera-san’s deduction.”

“You haven’t even explained why you think something is missing.” Sera retorted with a frown.

“Paint cans.” Came the reply. Tsukiko gave the phone to Megure and Takagi and went to place the aforementioned cans on the correct points. Meanwhile Conan as Shinichi instructed the two officers to hold the cans in place and Sera took the wheel chair back to the elevator.

“You suppose around here would work, Kudou-kun?” She called.

“Around here? I’m not at the crime scene, so there’s no way I could ascertain that…”

“I suppose se, huh! Alright, then I’ll set it in motion!” The chair was on the move again.

“That’s right, the wheelchair Teigo-san had been placed in after exiting the elevator on the 6th floor, proceeds toward the window.”

“And, the paint cans that had been held against the wall by the spilled paint underneath the window…” Sera began with a question in her voice.

“…will catch the wheelchair’s footrests and the tips of those footrests will slip underneath those cans. The rear wheels will lift up, the armrests will strike the wall and due to the recoil, the victim will thusly be thrown out the window! Then the culprit, having confirmed the victim’s falling death before her own eyes, made up and excuse to go to the roof by saying that she had seen a suspicious human shadow there and thereby brought the elevator down from the 6th floor to the 1st floor…”

“Chiba-kun, set it in motion for me!” Megure gave an order.

“Doing so pulled on the fishing line that had been attached to the front wheels of the wheelchair as the wheelchair made a quick about-face, it headed back toward the elevator…” And so on and so on. Tsukiko zoned out during the explanation. As she knew the cases, they were interesting, a bit creep and horrifying(people died), but looking for clues was fun. It was only when the culprit was exposed that the long explanation began to bore her…


Hirukawa confessed, she told everything. Even the fact that the victim had come up with the ghostly wheelchair trick. It surprised the cops, even Takuya whose eyebrows almost vanished under the hairline. So the case was closed. For real. And while Conan was shooting murderous glares on Tsukiko and suspicious one on Sera, the two girls chatted happily about all sorts of random things. Mostly Sera asked Tsukiko about the places around and if she’d been involved in cases before. Tsukiko… well, she tried to ask about Sera’s life in America but not much was said. Apparently the tomboy had taken the mysterious standing with her too that she’d take with Conan, Ran and Sonoko.

Eventually they parted, with Sera winking and telling to see them soon. And so the way home was spent with Sonoko teasing Tsukiko with Ran occasionally joining.


“Hey, do you know what day is it?” When Kage asked the question, Tsukiko blinked. She had a bad feeling about it.

“No…?”

“You sent a name to Sanjuu. He’s doing the kill today. I need to send that nursery rhyme in three hours.”

Tsukiko sighed. Well, it was true. It was that day. The blonde dug out her black phone.

“Fine… I’m going to take a nap. You handle this matter.”

“Gladly.” The un-gendered teen grinned as Tsukiko fell into a slumber. “Nighty night.”


The Weekends editorial office, Beika

The journalist was writing up his latest scoop. He was in hurry. He had to be ready in half an hour. All the others had already left home.

Tap, tap, tap, ta-tap, ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-tap, tap, tap…

The sound of the keyboard echoed in the cubicles. The middle-aged man was so immersed with his writing that he didn’t even notice his phone signalling him about a new message. He didn’t even notice when a shadow appeared silently behind him and the picked up the phone, opening the message.

“Ring around the roses…
Pockets full of poses…
Ashes, ashes…
We all fall down.”

The man’s head snapped up but before he could turn around or otherwise react, a thin wire was already wrapped around his neck and was cutting his air supply.

“Konbanwa, Hanajima-san. You are going to die tonight. You and your fellow crows.” A male voice spoke behind the journalist. “My name is Sanjuu and I work with Kage.”

The journalist, Hanajima, clawed the wire on his neck, drawing blood. But when finding it didn’t work he attacked the other man’s hands. Only to reach black leather gloves. The wire tightened.

“Trying to be smart? Too bad for you. It’ll just prolong your death. As a warning to your associates…”

It took almost a minute but to the poor journalist it felt much, much longer until he died. Yamato released the wire and let the man’s dead body slump in his desk chair.

“Maa… And I need to clean up this mess he has created…” The platinum blonde man muttered as he leaned against the desk and began going through the journalist’s computer files. “I could just delete these all but… Who knows what we’ll find. And police doesn’t need any of this information… I’ll just take the whole thing with me.”

Yamato unhooked the computer from its multiple wires and cords and exited the cubicle with it.

“Hibiki shall go through this one in near future…”


The first school day after all possible excitement dawned. Tsukiko suppressed a yawn as she walked into the class. Once again it was buzzing around. This time it was due two pieces of news. The blonde made her way to her seat near which Mai and Namida were discussing. The newspaper was laid out on… Tsukiko’s desk.

“What’s going on?” The bespectacled blonde asked in mild irritation.

“Oh, ohayoo, Tsukiko-chan.” Mai nodded.

“Ohayoo…” Namida whispered.

“Ohayoo. But you didn’t answer to my question.”

“Well, there’s been another murder…” Mai began.

“Teigo Uesumi? I was there. Your cousin sends his greetings.”

“You met Takuya-nii?” The class president blinked.

“Yeah. We were investigating a case at Haido City Hotel. Edogawa-kun was there too.”

“Alright… In any case, no. This isn’t about it. It’s about… well, Hanajima’s uncle. He was murdered two days ago at his working place. He was a journalist for a huge gossip magazine and I hear Hanajima was close to him and he is the one who inspired her… well…” Mai trailed off, unsure how to end her sentence because while she didn’t want to speak ill of the dead, she definitely didn’t like Hanajima. And if her uncle was the one to inspire her…

“To gossip.” Namida quipped. “And this case is the reason why she… she is so subdued now. Normally she’d be buzzing about eagerly to find every breadcrumb or the latest gossip.”

“And that is?” Tsukiko arched her eyebrows.

“Class 2-B got a new student today.” Mai answered with a shrug. “I don’t know is it he or she. Usually we would thanks to Hanajima.”

“I see. Maybe we’ll see them later today. And we can always ask Ran-senpai and Suzuki-senpai.”

“Suzuki… Guh.”

“C’mon, she isn’t that bad.” Tsukiko smiled.

“For you maybe…” Mai muttered.


The trio of them were walking, just walking without any specific destination and talking about everything that happened lately. Normal discussion among friends. A few steps ahead of them were Ran and Sonoko but soon enough the five girls adjusted their pace together. Sonoko immediately picked up the topic that had been bugging them all: the new student.

“But Sera-san sure is popular, isn’t she!” Ran pointed out.

“She is! She’s cheery, sociable, boyish, and cute…” Sonoko agreed. “And on top of that, she’s a Jeet Kune Do-using female detective!”

“Detective?” Mai’s attention perked up a bit more. “I’d like to meet her then.”

“Sera…-san?” Tsukiko muttered as if she didn’t know who they were talking about. “Ah, you don’t mean-?”

“That’s right. The ‘guy’ you were crushing on!” Sonoko announced.

“I wasn’t crushing on them!” The bespectacled blonde protested. “I told you I wouldn’t. Besides I noticed the moment we met them that they were a girl.”

“Hmm… Since you are such a tomboy too I guess it’s understandable…” The rich girl grinned. “And the only thing that goes against her… and Tsukiko-chan too, are those small breasts.”

“Well, sorry, eh!” A weight appeared on Ran and Sonoko’s shoulders. “For being flat-chested!” Sera grinned. Tsukiko in the other hand raised her hand and slapped the polka-haired brunette on the back of her head.

“My lack of curves doesn’t bother me but I still don’t like when people point it out.”

“Gah, Tsukiko-chan, chill.”

Sera smirked at their interaction before lifting a bit the lapels of her school uniform jacket: “Despite my chest being flat, my mum’s breasts are pretty huge, so mine should  eventually develop, right!”

“I-I guess…” Sonoko muttered.

“Y-Yeah…” Ran agreed.

The junior-class men also had differing reactions. Mai was staring at the new girl bemusedly, Namida was blushing heavily at the subject at hand, and Tsukiko… she was pointedly looking in the other direction and stifling giggles. Sera’s outgoingness was definitely something very American. If she actually had spent time in America. The blonde girl remembered seeing conversation on the forums that the female detective could have been in Britain after all… So who knew… maybe she was, maybe she wasn’t. The speculation was about her mother’s origins and also Amuro’s possible British heritage.

“Sera-san, it’s great to see you again.” Tsukiko smiled to the girl just when the other had finished questioning Conan’s whereabouts.

“You too, Tsukiko-chan.”

“You know each other?” Mai frowned.

“Uh, yeah… Sera-san was also at the Haido City Hotel solving the case with Edogawa-kun and your cousin. That’s where we met for the first time.” Tsukiko explained before introducing her friends to the transfer. “Sera-san, these are my classmates Miyoshi Mai-san and Maki Namida-chan.”

“Nice to meet you, Sera-san.” Mai nodded, while Namida offered a shy smile behind the class president’s back.

“Nice to meet you too, Miyoshi-san, Maki-san.” Sera smiled brightly.

Chapter Text

Chapter 52.

Was a week or two that passed? Tsukiko wasn’t sure since she’d completely lost the track of time. The excitement over Sera’s arrival still hadn’t vanished. She was simply absolutely brilliant person. And Takuya was interesting too. Tsukiko had had Mai to tell her more about her cousin and his career as a police officer.

And others’ reactions to Sera? Well, after the case with curry, a cat and a carpet, Subaru had chewed Tsukiko for not telling him that Sera had arrived and demanded a reason for it. The girl had only given him a flat stare plainly saying: ‘Are you stupid?’ and the matter had been dropped.

And the situation currently? Why, it was Tsukiko, Sera, Ran and Conan standing in the Mouri Detective Agency while Kogoro poured over his newspaper. The topic of discussion was one Hattori Heiji that was coming for a visit. Tsukiko was excited. She’d wanted to meet the other high school detective for a while already. Especially after the phone conversation during Bell Tree Express.

“Oh yeah? The son of the Osaka Police Chief, huh…” Sera mused. “And on top of that a high school private eye… That’s amazing!”

“Yeah, His name is Hattori Heiji-kun!” Ran smiled. “It’s Hattori of the West and Kudou of the East. That’s what they’re called according to Hattori-kun!”

“So then he’s a rival of Kudou-kun’s!”

“But the only time they had a showdown was in the beginning, and recently they’ve been working together to solve cases…”

“At any rate, they’re two halves that make up a whole…” Kogoro chuckled before a full-blown manic laughter: “A far cry from Japan’s greatest Detective: Yours Truly, Sleeping Konoro-sama!”

“Japan’s greatest? Surely there’s more…” Tsukiko frowned. “What about Soda Ikumi-san or Mogi Harufumi-san? Or another high school detective Hakuba Saguru-san?”

Then answer was some crumbling from the dozing drunkard’s direction.

“And so? Why is he coming then?” Sera enquired.

“Dunno… He said he’d tell us when he arrived…” Ran explained.

“I’m sure he’s bringing us yet another complicated case since they play as West and East in their detective games…” Kogoro muttered, his attention back on the newspaper. Tsukiko briefly glanced at the headlines and was relieved to see that the police still didn’t have any leads with the case media had dubbed as ‘Hunter of the Crows’.

“West and East, huh…” Sera became thoughtful. “Then tell me straight up, between the West and the East, which one is the greater detective?”

Dun dun duuunnn…

Tsukiko grinned at their expressions. While Ran tried to state that the two teenage sleuths were equal when it came to wits and Conan with (failed) subtlety suggest himself, Tsukiko chuckled.

“I think neither is the correct. True, it takes great intelligence to piece together a puzzle but I think it needs even greater capability of thinking to create the puzzle from the scratch and hint others about the greater picture without being too obvious.” The blonde explained. “So my vote goes to Kaitou Kid-kun and his apprentice Red Moon.”

“It’s West…” Someone muttered behind the door of the Agency. And the door opened, showing very pissed off Hattori Heiji. “This high school detective of the West, Hattori Heiji, is way, way above, ya dummy!!!” Apparently the Osakan had only focused on the two choices of the question and not the third one Tsukiko had suggested. “I keep quiet for one second and this is the kind of nonsense that spews out…” He glared at Conan.

“Ha-Hattori-kun!” Ran gasped. But Heiji’s attention was now on Tsukiko.

“You’re that girl then? That female detective that came out of nowhere and started sniffing about Kudou…” The Osakan was leaning a bit too close to comfort…

“Ah no… You’ve mistaken.” Tsukiko grinned nervously, leaning back slightly. “I’m Okiya Tsukiko, we talked in phone once. The one you are looking for is Sera Masumi-san.” The blonde pointed the tomboy who was today wearing some clearly boyish clothes. Although Tsukiko also had some not so girly ones…

“I wouldn’t say I’ve been sniffing around…” Sera smiled.

“Y-You’re a girl!?” Heiji exclaimed. “Your chest is pretty lacking, considering…”

“They’re due to pop out any day now!”

Tsukiko crossed her arms on her chest. Before she hadn’t really cared about being mistaken for a boy but when people were all the time pointing it out(to Sera but you  get the point) the blonde was also becoming a bit uncomfortable.

“Anyway, my mom’s skinny too, but her breasts are pretty big so I’m not worried!” Sera explained cheerily.

“Is that the only topic she can talk about?” Kage crumbled sleepily.

“I dunno, I don’t care… But it’s annoying how people always notice her lack of figure first…” Red Moon sighed.

“True.”

“Anyway, what happened to Kazuha-chan? I heard she was coming along too…” Ran questioned Heiji.

“Yeah… She had an errand to run on her way here…” The tanned teenager told them. “A little while ago, Kazuha’s mother got some packaged curry as a souvenir and got super addicted to it. Since that curry is only sold at family restaurants in Tokyo, she asked Kazuha to buy some if she’s going to be in Tokyo! So she had to find that family restaurant before anything else…”

“Then she’ll come right after she gets done there, right?” Ran confirmed.

“And? What’d you come here for, Heiji-niichan?” Conan asked, still a bit irritated about the interruption the Osakan had caused. And the way he’d insulted the kid’s intelligence. But right when Heiji was about to explain Kazuha called. A murder had happened in the family restaurant she was. What a surprise…

And right before they left to the murder scene Sera had… the gall to suggest a competition between the West and the East. Naturally Heiji was thrilled about the idea while Conan sweatdropped.


“I hope this won’t take too long…” Tsukiko sighed when they were on their way to the family restaurant Danny’s. Sera looked up.

“How so?” The tomboy asked.

“Well, I have plans for today. Specifically an anime marathon with nii-san.” The blonde explained despite the guilty feeling that was beginning to settle on the bottom of her stomach.

“Anime marathon? I remember you mentioning something like that just before we met for the first time.”

“Yeah, we do that. Or rather, I blackmail him into it. Subaru-nii does enjoy that anime but… he is somewhat reluctant to have the marathon. Usually the marathon takes place after he has screwed up something…” Tsukiko laughed.

“What did he do this time then?” Sera smirked. Apparently tormenting brothers was nothing new to her.

“Well…” The blonde dug her hand into the pocket of her jeans and took out a slip of a folded paper. “Today’s grocery store list. I bet he’s going to call me about this. He was supposed to give me a list of useful books to read but…”

“I get it.” The other girl grinned. “But you do remember the plans for tomorrow too?”

“Tomorrow? Oh yeah…” Tsukiko sighed. “I dread to know what’ll happen tomorrow… Suzuki-senpai has planned something… And Mai-san is in it too…”

“I’m sure it’s nothing dangerous or humiliating.”

“I hope so…” And the blonde sunk into her mental emo corner.


“Then this is what happened, right?” Who put Ran in charge? “Kazuha-chan, you were buying the curry at the register here, when suddenly, a male foreigner came out of that restroom and said that someone had died and to call the police, right?”

“Yeah…” The Osakan girl nodded. “He also said in a loud voice to seal off the restroom and to not let anyone leave just in case!”

“Did the foreigner say all that in English?” Heiji asked his… *cough cough* girlfriend.

“It was in Japanese! That person was in the first one to find the dead person!”

“A foreigner who can speak Japanese fluently, and the first to discover the body… that’s pretty suspicious, isn’t it?” Kogoro pointed out.

“Well, if you ask us the real suspicious ones are you lot, who barge your way into crime scenes all the time…” Megure stated as he approached the seven of them. And Tsukiko had to admit that he had a point…

“Me-Megure-keibu! Actually, recently every time I come to the scene they just let me pass, saying: ‘Keibu-san called you here didn’t he?’.” The sleeping detective explained nervously. It was true thought. They had been allowed to come to the restaurant just like that once the officers outside had spotted Kogoro. “And? What was the cause of death?”

“Poison.” Takagi read from his notebook. For real, not pretend reading that Takuya did. “There was a piece of candy laced with a sort of cyanide poison found in the corpse’s mouth and from the corpse’s pocket we found more of the same sort of candy, so…”

“Then is may well be a suicide, huh?”

“Yes, the foreigner who was the first person to discover the body also said as much…”

“Who the heck is he? That foreigner…” Sera butted in. “He seems to be someone oddly accustomed to crime scenes. An acquaintance of yours?”

“W-Well, I suppose you can’t say he’s someone unrelated to the police…”

“Oh, great… Don’t tell me that he’s…” Tsukiko groaned and yes, indeed…

“I’m so used to it in my line of work, I just did it without thinking…” Who else but Andre Camel stepped forward.

“A-Agent Camel!?” Ran exclaimed.

“This foreigner with the mean face is an acquaintance of yours?” Heiji asked immediately. Tsukiko couldn’t help but chuckle behind Sera.

“Serves him right…” She muttered with a grin. Sera gave her curious look but didn’t comment quite yet.

“He’s an FBI agent, and it just happens he’s here in Japan on vacation, right?” Conan came to the poor agent’s rescue.

“Y-Yeah…”

“Convincing, isn’t it?” Kage snorted. They were even less fond of the agent than Tsukiko was. Actually they weren’t very fond of any of the FBI. Red Moon was indifferent to them.

“So-so what happened was I’d eaten here with some friends once and couldn’t forget how good the curry tastes, so I came back to eat it again on my own… that’s when I encountered this case…” Camel explained.

“First running up and down in a hotel stairs due refreshing orange juice in the restaurant in the upstairs and now curry… Seriously, does this man think with his stomach?” Tsukiko deadpanned mentally. The men made their way to the restroom to take a look on the corpse while Sera and Tsukiko both trailed a few steps behind and then took places away from the stall. Camel began explaining the situation further.

“Then what’s your basis for saying that this is a suicide?” Sera asked.

“I heard his voice… ‘Even though we’re childhood friends, I won’t hear you out on that sort of request. The one who served Abe-san poison and committed the murder was me, so I have no choice but to take responsibility!’ After saying that he suddenly let out a groan and as I hurriedly came out from the toilet to see what happened, this is what I found…” The American agent explained. And the explanation continued. And continued until… “He spoke just like this boy does!” Cue the first clue that gave Heiji an advantage in this case. Though headstart could be a better term…

“Then you’re saying it was Kansai-ben!?” The Osakan asked immediately.

“I don’t know if it was called ‘Kansai-ben’, but at the end of his words there were a lot of ‘ya’s and ‘de’s…”

“In that case, this ‘Abe-chan poisoning case’ might’ve been a case that happened in the Kansai area…” Sera noted, putting the officers into a rush to search the clues. Meanwhile Camel was not so subtly glancing at the tomboy and how familiar she seemed to be.

“Hmm? What? Is there something on my face?” Sera asked the foreigner.

“Ah, no…”

“If you’re wondering whether I’m a boy or girl, the correct answer is girl! Just that my breasts haven’t developed yet.” She smiled.

“Nee, Sera-san… Could we go and see what Ran-senpai and Kazuha-san are doing? I doubt there’s anything else for us to see here.” Tsukiko took a step away from the wall, completely ignoring Camel in the progress.

“Alright, why not… Though we do have to keep an eye on Hattori-san and Conan-kun.” The duo made their way out of the restroom. In the short corridor leading to there, Heiji and Conan were both talking about the case. Or rather Heiji was enquiring how far the kid already was and then pointing out how superior the Osakan himself was. After bugging the elementary-schooler-lookalike enough, the teen finally told how the last words of the man were actually said in Kansai-ben.

Coin in the air…

“No matter whether we’re childhood friends or not, I’m not hearing you out on that! The one who served Abe-chan poison and committed the murder was ‘jibun’! So ‘jibun’ there’s no choice but to take responsibility!”

…and the coin drops.

“That’s right there! That was how he said it! What I heard were those exact words!” And Camel and company had arrived too. “Right? So like I said, the deceased man confessed to his role in the poisoning case and committed suicide as a way of taking responsibility. That’s what it comes down to, right?”

While Megure and Takagi stuttered the recent turn of events(since they obviously got now what was the real state of things), Sera stepped up to explain.

“In Kansai dialect, the word ‘jibun’ actually means ‘you’…”

“Eh? How come? In Japanese, ‘jibun’ means ‘me’, right? How would it mean ‘you’?” The agent questioned in confusion.

“As an example, in the expression ‘temaedomo no sekinin desu’(It’s our duty), ‘temae’ refers to one’s self, however… When people are arguing, they’ll say, ‘temee’ in reference to their opponent – it’s the same thing here. The Japanese language is pretty complicated, you see!”

“Well, we Japanese understand since we’re used to hearing Kansai-ben on television, but for you who learned Japanese in America, I suppose it would have been impossible.” Megure told the other man.

“In short, if we replace the ‘me’ and ‘I’ with ‘you’…” Kogoro began his thought process. “’The one who served Abe-chan poison and committed the murder was you! So you… you’ve got no choice but to take responsibility!’ That’s what it’d translate to…”

“Hey, when that guy said ‘served’… are you sure it wasn’t ‘laced’?” Tsukiko asked suddenly. Nope, she didn’t feel sorry at all for stealing Heiji’s lines. She also wanted a bit more attention instead of just blending on the background.

“Yeah… But I was thinking it was strange for someone to say they laced a person with poison, so I thought I must have misheard them say ‘served’…” Camel admitted.

“That clears it then.” The blonde clapped her hands together and smirked. “Because it wasn’t ‘abe-san’ or ‘abe-chan’ that the man said but ame-chan. And that refers to amedama(candy). Considering that the guy had a poisoned candy in his mouth and more in his pocket, it makes perfect sense.”

“Ame-chan and Abe-chan, huh…” Megure muttered.

“T-The pronunciation does sound similar…” Takagi admitted.

“B-But why would you add a ‘-chan’ suffix to a candy?” Camel protested.

“That’s because the Japanese language is pretty complex, you know?” Heiji explained with a wide smile. Conan sweat-dropped.

“But if that’s the case, that means there was a culprit in the restroom who made that man to take the poisoned candy into his mouth, right?” Sera pointed out, bringing the investigation back on the track.

“Yeah, and the fact this FBI guy here didn’t hear that culprit’s voice means that probably, the culprit had arranged to meet with this man who was encouraging him to surrender, but before he seated himself at the same table, he called the victim to the restroom and poisoned him to death.” Heiji theorized. “After saying some convincing things over the phone to get him to the restroom, the culprit just had to kill him. He wouldn’t have had to say anything, and the data from the phone would be gone once the mobile phone was dropped into the toilet water…”

“But what the culprit didn’t count on was that an FBI agent would have happened to be in the restroom, and immediately locked all the customers inside the shop…”

“So, in short the murderer is still in this restaurant, right?” Tsukiko confirmed.

“Alright! Narrow the suspects down to men in their thirties and forties, and question them individually! Since they’d have to be around that age range in order to be childhood friends with the victim!” Megure ordered and Takagi went to take care of it. Although what it seemed… Camel was going with the two officers too.

“And so that’s why, right now, I’m one step ahead of this guy here!” Heiji announced cheerfully while patting Conan’s head.

“’This guy here’… Isn’t Kudou-kun the one you’re competing with?” Sera asked, making the Osakan sweat nervously and hastily correct what he meant. Honestly, there was just so many times you could slip and fix but apparently the teen detective hadn’t ran out of them yet. Tsukiko shook her head in expiration.

“Well, if you’ll excuse me… I’m going to take the win on this case… If the culprit was childhood friends with that man who was murdered, the culprit’s probably from the Kansai region. This that would go right over a born-and-raised Tokyoita like Kudou’s head will be clear as day to some from the Kansai region like me!” Heiji grinned before going to question the suspects with Conan.

“I… am gonna make a call.” Tsukiko mused. “See ya soon.”

“Right, we’ll be right here.”  Sera waved when the blonde went to outside of the restaurant to call. There wasn’t much privacy inside. First of all there were so many people in and secondly there was a hushed silence so there was no problem for people to eavesdrop.


Tsukiko leaned against the wall of the restaurant and was scrolling through her phone log to Jodie’s number. She just about to call when she raised her gaze up from the phone’s screen and spotted a familiar looking car outside.

“Of course… I had forgotten that they were this close already.” Pocketing her phone, the blonde made her way to the car and knocked on the window of the passenger side. Jodie looked up from the picture on her phone that Camel had sent her.

“Tsukiko-chan?”

The girl just waved with a smile and Jodie opened the window.

“Hello, Jodie-san, Black-san.”

“Hello, Tsukiko-kun, how come you are this side of Beika?” The American man behind the wheel greeted the teen.

“Well… long story short, Hattori Heiji-san came to visit Ran-senpai but while at the Agency his girlfriend called from this restaurant and told there had been a murder and a big foreigner man was preventing anyone to leave. Our lot came her