The fifth file: The middle year
Subfile seven: Clock Tower
Shugo did end up going to the funerals as Yukiko’s plus one. Apparently, it was half-required for females to have male company, thus why Kaito was also accompanying Chikage. The ceremony itself wasn’t that long thankfully. It was afterwards when they were heading to the cemetery when the trouble happened. In the form of several reporters. Rude men being intrusive and downright rude with their questions. Not to mention disrespectful.
“Where’s the school you went to?”
“Is it true that you weren’t getting along with your mother?”
“Who is your father?”
“Is the rumoured lover going to come here?”
And so on and so forth.
“Is there something you don’t want us to know?” One of the reporters smiled, like he’d just hit the gold ore. Shugo’s eye twitched at the tone but Chris Vineyard simply smiled back at them and dramatically turned her back at the coffin.
“A secret makes a woman woman.”
Powerful statement. It completely stunned the nosy men.
“Sir, you are being disruptive.” Shugo spoke up, approaching the men.
“Who are you?” One of the reporters glared.
“A guest who’d like to remind you that we are in funerals and you are being disrespectful and rude. Save your questions to some other occasion.” Shugo glared back but kept his cool. No use of losing his temper here. Especially with the news camera present. But the news reporter was being polite and remaining at the background and only commenting the presence of some people, unlike the other reporters who were only after a scoop.
But then some security personnel were there and herding the vultures away.
“Ah… Thank you, young man.” Chris said with a faint smile.
“You’re welcome, Miss Vineyard. Even if you are a walking mystery for the media, it was still wrong for them to corner you here.” Shugo replied. The funeral procession was moving forward then and they went to follow. After a moment of hesitation, Shugo offered his arm to the woman.
“Did you know my mother well?” The actress asked. With her body language and tone of voice, it was easy to forget that she was Vermouth in reality. Even though the aura was the same if slightly darker than previously, Shugo wanted to forget about the organization and the entire mess around it.
“Not really. I met her once in New York. Auntie Yukiko was her friend and thus we met up.” Shugo explained. “I’m here as auntie’s escort as uncle Yusaku was unable to come.”
“I see.” Chris hummed. “How did you find her then?”
“She expressed her distaste at your sense of humor.” The boy deadpanned, getting a polite chuckle in response. “And I think that… she didn’t want to leave her legacy upon you.”
“Oh? Is that so?” Distant politeness.
“Yes. How to say it… The impact and legacy Miss Sharon crafted upon this world is unique and vast. She didn’t want to let go of it because while she had difficulties achieving it, it was also something she enjoyed doing.” Shugo played back to the gut feeling he’d gotten back then in New York. “Now you are the one people are looking at and they’ll compare you to your mother. Things might’ve been easier for you, with you stepping onto her footsteps, but there’s no way you’d ever reach her shoes.”
“Does that make any sense?”
“Hmm… I think it does. Very enlightening, Mr…?”
“Midorikawa. Shugo Midorikawa.”
They parted ways with Chris needing to meet with other funeral guests and Shugo caught up with Yukiko again.
“Yukiko-basan?” He laid a gentle hand on her shoulder.
“Oh, Shuu-chan… I can’t believe… I still can’t believe that Sharon is gone now.” Yukiko sniffed.
“She was great actress. And a good friend too I suppose.”
“The best.” The woman agreed and dabbed her wet eyes with a handkerchief. “She was one of my best friends.”
After the funerals they met up with Chikage and Kaito, and made their way to the luxury apartment the Kudou’s had in LA. There the quartet had a movie marathon of films where Sharon Vineyard had starred. Chikage comforted Yukiko while Kaito and Shugo spoke with low voices about the scenes and plot. It was nice. A bit melancholic but nice.
“Ara… Nice boy that Shugo-kun…” Vermouth hummed as she removed the mourning garb and changed into something less somber. “Smart too… But foolish.”
The friend of Yukiko’s son was interesting but nothing of importance to her. The boy might’ve perceptive and his behavior somewhat strange when Shinichi had confronted her while in disguise but ultimately, he was…
“A sky. Everchanging, ever present but still distant sky.”
Maybe she was wrong. Maybe he could be important too. But he should remain distant. Because skies sheltered angels.
School continued. Christmas and New Year went by and then it was March again. And Kaito had a big target in his mind. The Clocktower by Ekoda train station. Of course, it didn’t stop him from going after some smaller targets too (and earning the ire of Nakamori family) but the big thing was coming up and Shugo’s assistance was needed in preparations and execution alike.
At school, Kaito was reading the recent new about his alter ego once again. And giggled over the knowledge of having fangirls. Naturally…
“To hell with legions of fangirls!” Aoko scoffed, stealing Kaito’s minitablet. “You wanna know what I think of that thief? It’s like he’s trying to become the biggest loser in the universe!” She messed with the tablet until it lost the image and then shut the screen.
“Oh, don’t get so upset.” Kaito placated the girl. It would’ve been good if he hadn’t continued with, “It’s not like that dumb gumshoe of a dad you’ve got is ever gonna beat him or anything.”
“Kaito.” Shugo barked.
“After all… One, two, three!” The tablet flew in the air and Aoko caught it. “He’s a great thief who can’t be chained!”
“How can you say that?” Aoko protested. “He just abandons or returns everything he steals. That’s not being a gentleman – it’s just smug!”
“Aoko-chan… Both of you, please stop.” Shugo sighed, pushing the girl away from Kaito’s desk just as Akako approached them.
“I rather like that part of him.” The witch smiled. “He’s charmingly cute, like a mischievous little boy.”
“Don’t let him deceive you! He’s just a criminal and that’s all there is to it!” Aoko grabbed onto Akako’s shoulders. “And you’ve seen Kid’s next target on the news, right?”
“Oh, the old clock tower across from the station, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah. That clock belongs to the people of this town! You’d have to be pretty awful to go and steal something like that!”
Shugo snatched Kaito’s tablet from him and opened the news tab about the up-coming heist. The owner of the tower sounded smarmy even in the article. And considering that he was only interested in money and had already switched the gem in the clock hands for a fake… Just desserts about to be served.
“And besides, that clock tower is…” Aoko muttered.
“I heard they were going to move the clock tower soon anyway.” Keiko joined the discussion. “It’s supposed to be the landmark of a theme park somewhere.”
“Is it at least going to stay in country?” Shugo asked.
“Dunno.” The bespectacled girl shrugged. “Everyone’s saying that if it’s gotta go, it may as well go to Kid.”
“Two wrongs don’t make a right!” Aoko snapped.
“As much as I admire her sense of justice, her arguments are getting old…” Shugo sighed.
“You said it.” Kaito agreed.
“And your insults towards her father are getting old too.”
“But Shuu-chan…” The magician whined.
“No buts. You know I’m right. Just because she disagrees with you, doesn’t give you any right be baiting her like that.” Shugo hissed back.
“I don’t know what you’re planning, but I wouldn’t go through with this one if I were you.” Akako stated then.
“When the 20 000th song is sung from the historic tower whence it carries, the demon of light will fly from the east and strike down the sinner in white, for whom the bell tolls disaster.” The witch intoned.
“Is that supposed to be my fortune or something?”
“It’s no mere fortune. It is a prophecy imparted to me by the vile Lucifer himself.”
“And it just so happens that the time will come on the same night you’ve scheduled in your notice.”
“Koizumi.” Shugo spoke up. “This Demon of Light… Is it really of East?”
“Yes, it is. Why, do you know whom it is about?”
“Maybe…” The hacker smirked. This would be fun.
“Well, whether you believe it or not is entirely up to you.” The girl announced then and sauntered away.
“She must really like you.” Shugo told Kaito. “This is the… third time she has warned you one way or other.”
“Maybe… Though I wish she’d stop acting like I’m Kaitou Kid while we’re in public.”
“Granted, she is not very subtle about it but in the other hand, school is the only place where she sees you without much suspicion.”
“Yeah…” The young magician muttered. “Ready for tonight?”
“Yes. Nakamori-keibu already invited me over.” Shugo nodded.
“Good to know.” The boys shared a grin.
It was show time.
Helicopters were buzzing around the tower. Police cars were patrolling the surroundings. The entire crossing in front of the tower was cordoned off by the police. Shugo followed Nakamori inside and was guided to sit at a table in the room the Kaitou Kid Task Force had taken for their meeting room. The boy placed his computer on the table and hooked it onto the security system of the tower.
“All patrol cars and helicopters around the clock tower: Contact me the moment you spot anyone suspicious!” Nakamori spoke to the announcement system set in the room. “To the guards in each block of the tower: No one gets through without my approval!”
Shugo tapped the microphone disguised as a tiepin and received a quiet confirmation from the ear piece he was wearing in his right ear. It was hidden under headphones over his ears, only one of which was working so the voices wouldn’t get mixed and meshed. Shugo wouldn’t be talking directly to Kaito this time but send cues by tapping the microphone on the Morse code if needed. It would be challenging but since Shugo had his seat with his back against the wall, there was no chance of people peering over his shoulder.
But the systems were now checked, it was time to wait.
“Do you really think Kid will show, Nakamori-keibu?” Detective Konno asked from the inspector’s right and then proceeded to read aloud Kid’s heist note. So that was the guy who’d leak info to Shinichi… “But you’d need a crane to steal something so big…”
“You idiot! If he says he’ll steal it, then he’ll steal it!” Such faith in your thief, inspector…
“It’s the hands of the clock.” Shugo glanced to the direction of the door where the slimy owner of this time had appeared. The boy then glanced at the information packet. Takarada Futoshi was the man’s name. “50 years ago, as mayor, my father spent a fortune to have them crafted by a famous clockmaker overseas. There are very large diamonds embedded in the hour hand, making the clock a highly valued piece of art. I’d bank on those jewels being what he’s after.”
Shugo wasn’t really interested. After all the real diamonds were already sold and replaced with fakes. He was only invested in making sure that Kaito managed to leave the message, make an appropriately big scene and leave safely.
And speaking of which, Takarada was finally leaving. His mournful request of protecting the clock for the sake of his late father was… incredibly iffy. Shugo pulled a face at the man’s back but returned then to neutral visage when his neighbor Tomura gave him a look.
“I wonder if Kid is already inside or only arriving.” The teen grinned, receiving a headshake and an exasperated sigh.
“This is the front entrance! An officer just discovered Kaitou Kid’s hat!” Crackled through Shugo’s left headphone. And moment later.
“Hey, what’s going on? There’s an extra helicopter!” Nakamori shouted to the radio. Shugo perked up as Tomura went to instruct the front entrance.
“It seems to be reinforcements from HQ.” Kanno replied.
“I never asked for any reinforcements.” Nakamori protested. Shugo watched the reactions in amusement while listening to Kaito’s end at the front entrance and waiting…
“What?! Kid’s been spotted inside the building?!” And Nakamori got the news. “Hey, now. Are you sure it’s really him?”
Well, that was first. Sceptism was good. Especially considering that similar initiative hadn’t been shown before by his men. And after a bit of prompting, it was revealed that the officers were following instructions from someone in the helicopter from the police headquarters.
Shugo smirked and let his fingers fly as he connected to the frequency of the helicopter and promptly hacked to the computer Shinichi had with him there. The detective boy had the schematics of the tower open and blinking dots indicating the positions of the police officers. He was currently telling the men to check the air duct of the third floor’s men’s bathroom.
“Shin-chan is impressive, ne?” He smiled to the microphone he pulled out of the headset. There was a surprised choking sound.
“Wha-… Midorikawa?” Shinichi spluttered and made Shugo grin. “What are you doing here?”
“Same than you I recon. Helping out.” The hacker boy replied while with one hand begun to tap a code for Kaito.
Nothing much but all Shugo could tell for now. It was lucky they weren’t actually stealing anything this time. Though setting up the trick had been difficult and time-consuming.
“But unlike you… I was actually invited.”
“Megure! So it was you!” Nakamori was connected to the helicopter now too. “What are you doing here? And with some gaki, no less! I’m the commanding officer here! And we’re not even in the same division!”
“Hear that Shin-chan? You have been demoted to gaki now.” Shugo chuckled and started moving the schematics around the screen, his and Shinichi’s simultaneously.
“I didn’t ask for your opinion, Midorikawa. Wait a moment…” Shugo assumed that this was the moment when Shinichi grabbed the radio from Megure. “Keibu-san, I hate to be rude, but we don’t have time to argue. If you want to catch that thief, then follow my orders!”
Shugo looked at the window on his computer screen that indicated that he was recording everything Shinichi said. Because… Just because Kaito looked like Shinichi and sounded like him… It didn’t mean that he had the same tone of voice. So this was purely for reference purposes.
“He’s been exposed before pulling off his heist. He’ll be unsettled since the cogs of his plan are coming apart. This is our best chance of arresting him.”
Yeah right… Shugo tapped another message.
“Okay. I’ll calm down…” Kaito muttered and Shugo could hear him taking a deep breath.
“W-Who’s that? Who the hell are you?” Nakamori growled.
“Kudou Shinichi, tantei desu yo.”
“Shin-chan… you are so full of it.” Shugo muttered, miffed at being sidelined. He’d need to get Shinichi’s attention soon so he could continue to distract and unsettle him in turn.
“Oh, I know him. He’s that high-school detective who’s solved a lot of baffling murders.” Konno said.
“Then this isn’t your division either! We’re dealing with a thief here!” Nakamori shouted. Shugo stifled a chuckle, whilst relaying further directions to Kaito who was still navigating the vents. Good thing that the players were keeping each other distracted.
“Keibu, he’s a high-school student. They don’t have divisions…” Konno laughed and receiving a nasty bump on his head as a thanks from Nakamori.
“Regardless, leave this case to the police! An outsider like you should just sit still in his helicopter!”
“Nakamori-keibu, do you want me to keep Shin-chan occupied?” Shugo raised his hand. “I can multitask if needed.”
“Good idea, Shugo-kun.” Nakamori pointed at him, ignoring the nickname used on the high-school detective. He was about to continue when Tsukauchi from the tables opposite Shugo called for the man.
“Kid was spotted in the airducts, disguised as a cop! We’re tracking him now!”
And Shugo was leading Kaito towards the outer wall so he could set up an ambush. He raised a hand against the headphone over his right ear, listening carefully for any message that Kaito might give him. With his left ear he heard Nakamura from the ducts give his report.
And then Shinichi interfered again.
“Stay calm. Right now, he’s only a prey in your clutches. Tell us your current location.” That’s right, while messing with Shinichi’s computer, Shugo had disabled the position dots. Shin-chan was civilian after all and Shugo had Nakamori’s go ahead to keep him occupied.
Good thing that Nakamura was confused himself so that he had to follow Kaito to the exit to see where he was. Shugo really didn’t want to listen to Shinichi’s smug speech. Confidence was good but the way he just barged into Nakamori’s operation…
“Nakamori-keibu… Permission to trash Shin-chan’s computer?” Shugo asked just as Shinichi commanded the troops in the fourth floor to be ready to corner Kid.
“Wait!” Nakamori said before demanding Nakamura’s location from the man. And Shugo heard “Nakamura’s” voice from both ears as Kaito relayed misinformation.
“The target has abandoned his officer disguise and is currently running down the stairs! Requesting backup!”
“Alright. He’s in a panic and has ditched his disguise!” Nakamori concluded. “All officers on the third and fourth floors, head to the stairs!”
“Still, how does that brat know the layout of the clocktower?” The man wondered.
“Oh, that’s because I sent out data to his laptop earlier. It’s the same we gave to Midorikawa-kun so I thought there’s no harm…” Konno received another bump.
“You idiot! Shugo-kun! Erase the data from the brat’s computer!”
“On it, Nakamori-keibu!” Shugo saluted. “Hear that, Shin-chan? No more butting in.”
“I was not-!” Shinichi protested before cutting the radio connection. But the point was made and Shugo was already in progress of erasing the data mistakenly given to the high-school detective just as the clock struck twelve. Shugo moved his hand to his pocket and sent a signal with his phone.
It was showtime!
Outside the preset devices in the scaffolding let out smoke in front of the tower, a screen was rolled down and projector turned on. That had been fun to photoshop.
Shugo gave an amused huff at Nakamori’s reaction and listened to Kaito tell him that he was in position now and writing out the message.
And there went Nakamori. Up to the stairs. About five minutes later Shugo heard the one-sided conversation Kaito had with the man.
“Sorry, Nakamori-keibu. I don’t have time to play around with you right now. It would appear that you’ve god a Joker in your hand this time. And if you must call someone here, do so after cracking the code in the center of the clock’s face.”
Shugo got up from his seat and stretched his arms above his head whilst stepping towards the window. The helicopter was getting closer.
And then a gunshot was heard. And at the ground there was a faint red glow for a moment before vanishing. Akako…
“Just how many rules and laws are you breaking now… Heisei Holmes…” Shugo muttered, glaring up at the helicopter.
Another gunshot rang.
But instead of the screen flying up, it flew away. And Kaito with it. All the way over the guaranteed area and into the crowd.
“I’m safe.” Kaito told Shugo.
“See you tomorrow.”
Shugo slipped the headphones off and hid the earpiece to his pocket. A sound of steps alerted him of Konno’s approach.
“Midorikawa-kun, you can pack your devices now. Someone will take you home once Nakamori-keibu gives the okay.”
“Alright. Sorry, I couldn’t be much help.” Shugo smiled apologetically.
“No need. You are still young but your insight and technical expertise is invaluable.” The detective replied.
Shugo deigned not to reply, just nodded in vague agreement and headed back to his seat and began packing all the cords and knick-knacks away along with his laptop. Thankfully it was weekend, he could sleep in.
Shugo glared blearily at his phone. There was a message from Shinichi.
What was the name of that thief last night?
The hacker blinked sleep away from his eyes and squinted at the clock at the corner of the screen. 08:42 AM. Way too early for Sunday morning.
Why are you asking me?
was too distracted by the
code the thief left behind.
Just curious really.
Nah, find out yourself.
As a punishment for
interfering and then for
interrupting my sleep.
It was the 22nd March. Shugo and his fellow archery club members were in Miyakonojo, in Miyazaki prefecture, the island Kyuushu. They each had a competitor number attached on their hakama and were waiting for their turn to shoot the four assigned arrows. The numbers weren’t sequential between them but by some luck Shugo was in the same group with Yamada. Imai was in a different group as men and women had their own sections in the competition.
The boy looked around in the audience as the current group of high school boys was shooting. According to numbers he would be in the group after the next one.
“Ara, Midorikawa-kun? Is that ya really?”
Shugo looked to the direction of the voice and blinked at the girl standing in the stairs between the seat rows. She was dressed in hakama and kosode, just like other competitors of the place with that addition of the breastplate – muneate – that the women wore and had her dark locks drawn on a hightail. She was terribly familiar…
“Hisashiburi.” The girl smiled. “I’m glad ya recognize me.”
“It hasn’t been that long…”
“Only almost three years.” Kaori deadpanned. Shugo gave a sheepish smile.
“I’ve been busy. Not much opportunities to visit yet.”
“Well, at least I get ta brag to Hattori-kun and Toyama-san that I got ta meet ya.”
“Aa… how is Aizawa-kun?” Shugo asked then.
“Why don’t ya see it fer yourself?” Kaori nodded towards the boys currently shooting the arrows. “Aizawa the third furthest from us.”
“Of course he is…” Shugo muttered and peered towards the end of the row of archers. And then at his target. “He has improved.”
“Aizawa found his calm few months back. I think he could rival even ya with accuracy.”
Aizawa Hotaru had been in the same archery club in Osaka with Shugo and Kaori but had always had certain impatience in him that hindered form doing his best. He had a good aim but sometimes people managed to rile him up just before kyudo practice and he didn’t manage to calm down soon enough so Shugo had very seldom seen the boy do his best. And with the boy’s insomniac tendencies and long-ish hair, he always had quite unkempt appearance.
“Did you brush his hair before the match?” Shugo joked.
“Naturally. His cats managed to mess it up once more.” Kaori huffed.
“Hey, hey, Midorikawa, introduce us.” Yamada poked Shugo.
“Yes, Midorikawa-kun, please introduce us.” Imai chimed in, her palms together and eyes drawing crescents. Shugo sighed. He really didn’t sign up for this.
“This is my rival and the second ranked in accuracy tests of Kaihou Middle school, Haruoka Kaori-san.” Shugo introduced the girl. “Haruoka-san, these are Yamada Seiichi-kun and Imai Susume-san, from the kyudo club of Ekoda High. They are ranked the third and fourth within our club, respectively.”
Nods and yoroshiku’s were exchanged.
On the floor, the competitors left and the next took places.
“Aah, we need to get going, Midorikawa.” Yamada blinked. “We’re in the group after this one and we need to get our bows before everything.”
“Yes, you do.” Imai said drily. Kaori chuckled.
“Go on, we girls will reserve the seats fer ya…” The Osakan smiled. “And please direct Aizawa here if ya happen ta see him.”
Stepping to the line and following the ceremony of shooting the arrows might be somedays tedious and repetitive but Shugo found it soothing and relaxing. Eight steps. Four arrows. First two, then sitting down and standing up to shoot the other two. Deep breaths. Within the rhythm set together with the other competitors standing in the row.
He shot well. Probably well enough to get a place on the next round.
The competitions took the entire Sunday. Shugo made it to finals with Aizawa in the men’s section while Imai made in the women’s section. And while Shugo didn’t win the competition, he was still in the top ten and the result more than satisfied him. And there was always next year.