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A Mystery From Another World

Chapter Text

The trains sped in and out of the station. Businessmen and woman were loaded and unloaded in waves that never seemed to wane. Golden eyes watched each one of those nameless salary workers, ones that would never amount to anything more than what they already were. Cynical, perhaps, but it was the truth. After all, a truly honest job rarely lead anyone anywhere. There were no other paths but one in those jobs. It was no surprise any one of these nameless and faceless workers would be enticed into another life. Another place. Another world.

Another world was precisely the reason the golden-eyed boy- a boy no older than 18 to the day, was waiting in this endless sea of suits and echoing footsteps. Waiting for a face to match a name within an ocean of the opposite all around him. Forgetful conversations and tired words filled the air as everything appeared to ignore the boy who stood still in the center of it all. There were no eyes filled with concern or confusion, much less interest, directed to the child in heart of the bashing waters. What else could he be but a child? There was nothing else for him to be.

That was his reason for being here. He would be more than a child. More than a simple prodigy. The words of that man rang out in his head, the one from the show that his sister loved to watch so much.

It's just that even a prodigy becomes a normal person once they're out of their twenties.

For two years, seven hundred thirty days, those words rang through his head. Every stroke of his pen against the paper, every click against the keyboard, every praise from his instructors were nothing more than a reminder of those words. With every reminder, he began to fear he would fall into such an abyss. A prodigy today, but nothing more than a nameless and faceless worker tomorrow. The thought alone terrified him to the core. He may be a prodigy to those around him now, but after he took his first step as an adult it would all become nothing but a burden. Compared to his past self as he falls deeper and deeper into the ceaseless void of the unknown workers.

He refused to be in such a place. It was nothing he desired. It would be his grave if he became nothing more than a figurehead for those to point at and watch. Whoever desired such a life had already given up to the abyss of the commonplaced.

Amongst the brushes of shoulders and bags, a strong hand clasped onto his shoulder is more than enough to capture his attention. A strongly built man, nearly the height of his father, with a face unlike those around him. The boy recognizes him, he was the one who invited him after.

“Dr. Watson, it’s good to see you again.”

“As good as it is to see you, Galahad, I assume your trip went well?”

“Yes, the trains are very efficient here.”

“So you say, yet you look like a half-dead fish.”

“Sleep was unobtainable on the trip, but that is nothing new for me.”

Dr. Watson mumbles something under his breath about the carelessness of a child. Galahad knows very well he is right and does not give a comment, better to start off on good terms than to start off half off a cliff. The doctor leads him through the crowd, up the stairs, and into the bustling city streets. He is brought to a home, a temporary one purely for this occasion. This is where he will spend the next six months. Galahad opens the door, only to be met with a mess unbefitting of an adult.

“Watson! I’ve found it! I knew it was still here!”

A blue haired man, with hair in disarray, erupted from the mess covering the floor. Books, loose papers, folders, pictures, pillows, clothes, almost anything one could imagine was waded through by the man on his way towards the door. In his hand was a short whip that was held high above his head. Watson shook his head with a smile, knowing he would be the one cleaning up as per usual.

“Good lord Holmes, I leave you for a half hour and you’ve already torn up the house. What an impression you’ve made.”

“Best your temporary replacement know my habits early, oh yes would you mind making some tea for us?”

“How you will live without me I wonder.”

Watson shut the door and disappeared into the kitchen. Galahad was left with the man. A man, who at that moment, looked very different than on tv or in articles. It seemed that in interviews, Watson was not exaggerating how he lived in a mess of a home.

Sherlock Holmes, the World’s Greatest Detective. A cold- despite his smile, calculating- despite the mess, and dispassionate- despite his excitement, man. Galahad keeps his gaze locked, he knows he is being analyzed. He did it with everyone, and yet people still thought they could pull the wool over his eyes. It seemed the nameless were clueless to the power of knowing one’s name regardless.

Dr. Watson returns with a tray in hand, hot tea filling the sitting area as they sit surrounded by clutter. Holmes had brushed the clutter off three chairs to make room, though Galahad was almost sure it made the floor even less navigatable. Holmes pointed at him with the riding crop, barely knocking the tray from his assistant’s hand. Both appeared not to notice, perhaps it was normal for them.

“Galahad du Lac, son of Lancelot du Lac and Elaine Corbenic, though you live with your father following a custody battle. You were a prodigy in school and yet you look for work instead of seeking higher education, of course, even a prodigy cannot have everything now, can they? You have a little sister you care for, yet you are reclusive to all. You came here because you know my profession and wish to make something of yourself, yet you are greatly inexperienced,” Holmes paused to take a long sip from his cup, “And furthermore-!”

“Holmes.”

As if he’s a child being scolded, Holmes looks out the window and drinks from his cup. Watson, in his everlasting gentleman charm, apologized for Holmes’ out of place comments and hope it did not offend him for bringing up certain things. Galahad silently nodded, he knew what he was getting into when he applied. However, he had hoped to make it to his first case before this happened. So much for that wish.

“Well, we are sparse for time right now. Since you’ve gotten so much on him, what do you think Holmes?”

“How good is he at cleaning?”

“Better than you.”

“He’s hired.”

Watson rolls his eyes and hands Galahad three papers. He picks them up and instantly recognizes one of them. A man with a similar air to Holmes, and a man his father knows. Merlin Ambrosius, a half-incubus according to rumors and the one who raised his father’s boss. How a man who should be in his sixties at least looks the same as he did at age twenty is a mystery all on its own. The other two, in strange coincidence all have white hair, are a mystery to him. The one with tanned skin is listed under the name Shirou Emiya. The pale man only had a single name listed, Karna, yet there was a note of how that was possibly a false identity.

“These three are connected in a case of the supernatural. While outlandish, there is plenty of proof of them dealing with or bringing people into contact with demons. Starting today, you will assist us both in this case until the six months are up. If the case is solved before the time is up, you may come long for another or spend the rest of the allocated time how you wish.”

Holmes pointed towards the man with the large earring with the riding crop, “We will start with him. Simply because, where he is, the other two are close by. At least, they are for now.”

Galahad nods. He had 6 months to prove his talents were more than a simple prodigy’s. 6 months to escape the ever quickly closing path to a life worth living. 6 months to make himself a name.

 

And so, the clock began to tick.

Chapter Text

Galahad watched as Watson cut open the woman on the table. The body. It was nothing more than a body now. It was no longer a woman who died naturally at age 27. It was a nameless body with no past. There was nothing to it except its soul. The soul that stayed in place even after it died. A rare occurrence, but an obtainable one. Its legs are held far apart, as are its arms. The doctor marked a small ‘x’ where its diaphragm is located. He started with the scalpel before continuing his cut with the dissection scissors. The forceps kept the tissue away from the fragile organs. He called Galahad over to pin down the flaps of skin he pulled back, exposing the abdominal cavity for all to see. The teen swallowed the feeling creeping up his throat, this was half of his job now, he had to get used to it. Watson went back up through the chest, cutting through the ribs and the sternum as if it was chopsticks being separated. At the midpoint of the forearms, he made another incision. Again, he moved, this time back to the diaphragm. He cut away the wall of the body, pulling the rib cage back and pinning it to the table. The thoracic cavity now laid bare to two pairs of prying eyes. As was what the doctor was looking for.

Watson gently pushed the heart to the side and lifted the lungs, revealing a dull and cracked crystal-like ball. He plucked it from the cavity as if he was picking out a donut from a box. He brought it over to a triple beam balance on another table. Galahad released the flaps he held back to continue watching the doctor. With a few soft clicks of the counterweights, the soul’s weight balanced out. 21 grams. He took a cloth measuring tape and carefully wrapped it around the soul. 4 centimeters and 23 millimeters. As he jotted down the numbers and units of measurement, he rolled the cracked ball around in his hand.

Galahad looked closely at the soul. It was rare to see one out of the body. Photos were even rarer, it wasn’t until a few short months ago that it became possible to so. While the body was alive, the soul flowed throughout all of it like blood. Once the body died, once organ failure finished, it became a small ball that cracked minutes after death. Theoretically, it was possible to bring someone back to life during those sparse moments. Of course, there was never really any experiment to prove so. Human experimentation involving death- even if it was temporary, was highly illegal. Not to mention nauseating, even though he prepared by not eating anything beforehand.

“You know, it wasn’t until I meet Holmes that I ever saw a soul. I still don’t know how or why I suddenly had the ability, and I’ll likely never know. He certainly won’t say anything.” He turned to Galahad with the soul held up to the boy’s face, “But, a prodigy like you has never had to ask such a question, right?”

It’s an innocent question. Yet, Galahad can hear something in his tone that stings. Watson was a normal person. An intelligent one, but he was still a normal person. He wasn’t a prodigy. He was a normal man surrounded by those who weren’t. He still is a normal man. Well, as normal a man who spends all his time with Holmes can be.

“Watson!”

The door to the room is slammed open by the detective. It held enough force to make the walls shake and the contents of the shelves shudder as they began to near the edge. An obsidian glass skull near the door was unlucky enough to tip over and begin its descent towards the floor. Holmes caught the skull before it could shatter on the floor, in the process shaking the display cabinet it once perched upon. A porcelain heart was knocked over by the vibrations, nearly becoming countless fragments on the hard floor if not for Holmes catching it with his free hand. Slowly, he put the objects away in the cabinet and walked away with his hands raised. When nothing moved again he turned to face Watson and Galahad.

“Do you know if Galahad would prefer food before or after the collection?”

“Hm. Before. He’ll need the energy.”

“I’m very fit if you must know.”

His words fell on deaf ears. Holmes walked out of the room without another word while Watson went back to taking notes on the soul. Galahad took a look at the notes. It was short, yet detailed.

Subject A-39
Weight: 21 grams
Size: 4.23 centimeter
Shape: Ball
Color: Dull yellow
Life Span In Body (Life): 27 years, 130 days, 1 hour, 4 minutes, 9 seconds
Life Span in Body (Death): 10-23 days
Life Span out of Body:

There’s a moment of pause in his writing. His pen lifts off the paper and he watches the soul in his hand. A soft hum filled the air, with the closer Galahad got to the soul the quieter it got. Another crack formed on the ball’s surface. Then another. Then another. A new one would form quicker and quicker than the ones before it. The hum cut out completely with the dull color turning pitch black and falling apart in his hand. Watson made a loose fist and carefully took off his glove as to not let any of the crumbled soul fall out. He took off his other glove and dropped both of them into the trash can. He unpinned the ribs and removed the ropes around the limbs, wrapping the body in an off-white sheet. He jotted down quickly, 5 minutes, before putting the report into the large binder.

Getting rid of the body was fairly easy at this point for Holmes and Watson. Students who wished to study anatomy more but unable to secure more lab hours would take the bodies off their hands with little trouble. Galahad felt something unpleasant pool in his stomach, he didn’t know where they got the bodies in the first place. He doubted they dug her up, it was rare for a deceased person in Japan not to be cremated upon death. If they had stumbled upon her, then they had stolen from a family who still thought the person was alive or missing. Watson shook his head when he was asked, simply saying he would find out on his first investigation with Holmes.

He didn’t understand what he meant until Holmes brought him to an abandoned apartment complex. A temporarily abandoned complex specifically, the other tenets were simply staying in a nearby hotel until the investigation was complete due to a mysterious occurrence on the property. Holmes ducked under the police tape and ended the complex, whereas Galahad was stopped by one of the officers.

“He’s with me Fuuma. Watson’s on a breakthrough.”

The officer, Fuuma, simply nods. Galahad enters the crime scene, unsure if the officer knew what they were doing or if there was a string of lies around the truth. He decided it would be best not to question it at the time. If his second thought was correct, then his opportunity went down the drain immediately. He couldn’t have that.

At the third floor’s furthest room, the teen gulped down the vomit raising from his throat for the second time that day. It may be a bigger number considering what happened earlier, but this was the second time he remembered. The hanging sheets outside on the balcony had covered up the horrors inside. The entire living area was covered in blood and entrails, the limbless body in the center of the room looks like it belonged to a teenager. Galahad feels as if the walls are watching him, trying to figure out why he’s here.

“Ah ha, they weren’t kidding it was messy. Well, here’s some holy water. Use it if the ghoul gets too close before it dies.”

“..What!?”

The bottle is shoved into his hands as Holmes exits the room and closes the door behind him. Galahad tries to push to door open, only to find Holmes keeping it closed from the outside. He was locked in a room with a ghoul. That detective is an absolute madman. Was this why Watson gave him a crash course on what a ghoul was when they were disposing of the body? Both of them, absolutely mad.

Taking a deep breath to steel himself, he walked towards the corpse. His mouth was filled with drool, far more than what should be normal. It was as if it was forced down his throat even after he died. Galahad felt his mouth go dry. The boy had his soul sucked out by the ghoul. The most terrifying part, it was still mostly wet. He looked around as he backed away from the body, keeping an eye on the doors around him. One of the doors, it led to a bedroom most likely, creaked open. At first, he couldn’t tell what he was looking at until it lunged at him like a fox to a rabbit. He let out a scream and backed into the other wall. The ghoul, it didn’t look any older than he did with its hair falling out of the pigtails, crashed onto the floor. He heard the bones in its body crack as it pushed itself up, pushing against her skin as if they were broken. Its eyes were sockets of pitch black as it lunged at him again.

Galahad rolled onto the floor, getting up as he heard the ghoul crash against the wall. As it began to get up, he splashed it with the holy water. It writhed like a worm in a curious child’s hand, screaming like a wounded animal in a language that certainly wasn’t anything he had ever heard.

“F-_◾️•UH|_-◾️!”

He ran towards to open kitchen, the ghoul crawling behind him after it recovered from its screaming fit. There was a knife on the floor, probably dropped by either the corpse or the ghoul when it was alive. Galahad grabbed it and moved to the side, missing the ghoul by a hair as it crashed into the counter. Using its moment of weakness, Galahad splashed more holy water on it. He held the knife above the twitching body and slammed it down on the side of its head. Right at the base of its skull. The body jerked again, reaching out towards him as if to try to live long enough to catch him. It arms dropped along with its head, which drooped with its mouth open and knife sticking out of its head with blood clotting in its hair around the blade.

Galahad let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. Heaving heavily, he covered his mouth as he let out another scream. He had just killed something. Something that looked like a person. It still didn’t register properly in his head.

“Ah good, you’re alive,” Holmes was suddenly there, patting his shoulder in what Galahad assumed was faux sympathy.

They gathered up the ghoul’s body, the whole time Galahad tried to swallow the vomit that threatened to erupt from his stomach. Fuuma took the body and gave it to a female officer, telling Holmes it would be cleaned up for the autopsy. It was then Galahad knew where Watson was getting the bodies. The police knew. They were supplying them. Was it like that back home as well? Was that how the doctor was able to continue his research without much hindrance? Was his father involved with this?

He pondered those questions and more as he and Holmes made their way back to the home. On the way, he heaved up the lunch from earlier into a trashcan, choking back tears as the burning sensation filled his throat and mouth. When he finished, Holmes offered him a donut from the box he had picked up while Galahad threw up the contents of his stomach.

 

The clock on his phone struck 2.

Chapter Text

“I would like to introduce our two new students. Corbenic Galahad and Khatri Arjuna.”

Galahad bit the inside of his cheek, it had been years his mother’s name had been used for him. According to both Holmes and Watson, it was necessary. While it was unlikely anyone knew him, it was safer to use a surname no longer attributed to him to throw off suspicion. Though, Galahad was not excited to have to go through high school a second time for this investigation. How Holmes managed to get him into the school this quickly while the headmaster was gone was amazing. Not to mention in the same class as the boy he had to follow.

“It’s nice to meet you, my name is Arjuna. I count on your good favor.”

Arjuna bowed, completely cool-headed. The boy next to him speaks formally, something that sparks up conversations from the class. Murmurs of him being so polite, so formal, and having such good Japanese are shushed by the teacher who motions for him to speak.

“It’s nice to meet you, I am Galahad.”

The teacher points them each to a desk, starting with the attendance before beginning the first lesson of the day. The teacher’s words are drowned out as Galahad thinks over his assignment. Three of the ghouls Holmes had collected for Watson in the last week had been connected by a single factor. All had been students at this school that visited Karna Khatri’s cafe before they went missing, only to be found again as a ghoul. An innocent enough factor, but according to Holmes and Watson, it was immediately a red flag.

The school day was a blur to the false student, once it was over and the daily cleaning was done, he began to trail Arjuna. The boy had left the moment he could, not taking a second to stay any longer than he was obligated to. Galahad stayed a few feet behind him, far enough to not appear immediately as if he was following him, but close enough to keep an eye on him. It appeared that Arjuna’s school commute was an hour and twenty-five minutes, however, it may be faster when returning to his home compared to leaving it. When the destination was reached, Galahad stayed behind a few minutes after Arjuna went in. He didn’t want to seem suspicious entering.

'The Lotus Cafe' was written in neat letters and characters, underneath it is smaller text reading '& Florist Shop'. The building has large windows where booths are aligned, a number of groups or dates already sitting there or the other tables. There are two separate counters, one with baked goods on display while the other is plain save for the plant or two on it. When he enters the cafe, a small bell rings and brings the two manning the counter to look over. Arjuna, who returns his attention to the customer in front of him, had a short flash of recognition in his eyes. The other counter, the one with the sparse decoration, is manned by a man whose gaze would make hell freeze over.

Karna Khatri, most likely an alias. The surname is new information, Holmes simply told him it wasn’t necessary for him to know until now. Regardless, the possibility of it being one meant one big thing. He was hiding. If it was either someone or something, Galahad didn’t know. His job was to keep an eye on Arjuna, Holmes said he was handling Karna.

“Excuse me. Are students allowed to use a table for study here?”

“Over there. Don’t cause any trouble.”

The pale- the far too pale- man points to a group of small tables near the far wall. Galahad nods a thank you and makes his way over. He and Arjuna make eye contact for a moment, and for a fraction of a second, he was sure he saw the boy glaring at him. He sat down at the tablet and pulled out his laptop. He kept two windows up, one for faux school work and another for notes on his investigation. Galahad looked over towards Arjuna, attempting to get a reading on his soul. To a normal person, it would seem impossible. But to a prodigy, it was nothing more than focusing on a person and ignoring everything else around them. For a moment, the soul seemed to disappear from his sight completely. He looked away and then back again, the same thing happened. Did he have something to cover up his soul? Or was there a different reason? Was that what a demon soul looked like? Galahad stared at his laptop screen as he pondered these questions.

“Hey, we’re closing up.”

Galahad jerked back in his chair, gripping the side of the table to stop himself from tipping over with the chair. After he steadied himself, and the chair was back on all four legs, he looked up from his screen to the pale man from before looking at him. He checked the clock on the wall. It was nearly 10 PM. Galahad rubbed his eyes and began to pack up his things. Had he fallen asleep?

“You haven’t written anything.”

The man probably didn’t mean anything by it, he was most likely just curious. But that sentence nearly knocked the air out of Galahad. For a split second, he was afraid he was already being found out. The other man left as the boy scrambled to put his laptop away before returning and handing him a small bag. Inside was a clear plastic container full of cucumber slices.

“It’s good to eat when you have a headache. Don’t stare at the screen for so long even if it’s school work.”

Galahad nodded and made his way out of the cafe and onto the sidewalk. He passed by groups of people, young and old, who were experiencing the nightlife. Many of them were adults, although some were students or the elderly. It was different from his home, though he was never out at night like this. As he walked, Galahad saw people shining flashlights in and around alleyways. One of them noticed him and ran up to him.

“Hey, have you seen this person?”

It’s a picture of a woman. Fujimura Taiga. According to the poster being shoved into his face, she was last seen seven days ago. Apparently, she had been last seen here. Galahad shook his head, to which the woman holding the paper sighed. She mumbled something about knowing it was a bad idea to ask a high school student before the man with her suddenly grabbed her shoulder.

Galahad and the woman followed the man’s hand to find him pointing at someone across the street. In the bright street lamps, the woman in green almost looked drunk. The boy did a double take at the poster and realized it was the missing woman. But something didn’t add up to him. Why would someone missing for a week suddenly show up drunk? The man ran across the street and helped Taiga back over to the woman with him.

Taiga didn’t seem all that concerned with the fact she had been missing. Laughing off the concern from the woman and the man. She looked at Galahad in confusion and asks why he’s not at school. She then looks around to finally notice that it’s nighttime, laughing at her blunder with time. Seeing how she seems fine, Galahad makes his way past the three and towards Holmes’ house. He hears the woman suddenly scold Taiga for collapsing and probably being drunk. There’s a muffled sound of surprise followed by laughter.

But the casual laughter from them is suddenly cut off by a bloodcurdling scream. Galahad whips his head around to the man’s head smashed against a building’s wall and the woman neck is bending the wrong way. He was only so far up ahead of them when Taiga looked at him.

 

A ghoul’s eyes were staring right at him in the dark.

 

There’s a moment of his brain shutting down. There’s no way she was a ghoul. She was fine, probably drunk, but definitely not dead. But there’s no way a human could have done that so quickly. He felt his throat go dry as he turned back around and ran. He could hear the ghoul behind him chase him, and Galahad isn’t about to risk the alleyways for safety. As he runs with it on his heels, he tries to justify how she could have transformed so quickly. There wasn’t any way he could as he nearly tripped on his own two feet. Luckily, he only staggered for a second and was still able to keep himself ahead of the ghoul. But for how much longer, he didn’t know.

He looks back behind him to see the ghoul is tottering itself. Its shoes clip the sidewalk as it reaches out for him. Galahad makes up his mind and changes direction to run into an alleyway. Hopefully, he can get it to crash into a wall to give him more time. The ghoul is facedown on the ground when he looks back. When it gets up he can see its face is cut and bruised, it seems out of it before going down the alleyway after him. In a flash of panic, his back foot caught the heel of his front foot. The wind was knocked out of him as his chest hit the ground. Galahad collected himself as fast as he could, crawling just out of the way of the ghoul’s attack. As he got up and began to run again, he felt a hand grab his ankle. His chest hit the ground once more, he coughed as the air escaped his lungs once again. With his free leg, he kicked behind himself as hard as he could. The first kick didn’t hit anything, but his second and third made contact. His second kick didn’t do much more than stun the ghoul momentarily, but his third hit hard enough to make it release his ankle. He scrambled on the pavement to get up when he heard the unmistakable sound of a ghoul’s voice.

“T|◾️_ •◾️|-...H◾️L•!”

A loud gunshot rang out. Galahad gripped his head as his ears began to ring shrilly. He looked behind him to see the ghoul dead on the ground, blood beginning to pool around her shoulder. That shouldn’t have been a kill shot, but the ghoul had stopped moving. A hand suddenly gripped his shoulder, shaking him out of a stupor he hadn’t realized he had fallen into. Blue eyes stared down at him as he processed what happened as his ears continued to ring.

“Watson? What is-”

A hand is clasped over his mouth as the doctor gives him a look. The doctor went over to the body of the ghoul and began to wrap the wound of its shoulder. It was then that Galahad noticed it was still breathing. After Watson finished, he grabbed the boy’s arm and pulled him away from the body and into a side restaurant hidden within the alleyway. There was no one there but a cook, who pretended not to see them as Watson lead him through the restaurant to its other entrance on the street. Exiting the building, the two began the walk back to the house. While in the restaurant, Watson put his revolver away and unless someone looked at his gloves, no one would see the gunshot residue. The entire walk, any question Galahad had died in his throat.

When they returned to the house, Holmes was waiting for them. He had a strange smile on his face as Watson began to pour tea into some cups for them. Galahad sat down and tried to settle his shaking legs.

“So, I assume you had a fun night out? Or has Watson dragged you back from nearly dying?”

 

Three cups are placed down as Galahad tried to ignore the continuous ringing in his ears.

Chapter Text

Galahad listened to the television in the living room as he poured a cup of coffee. Watson had put out a plate of breakfast out for him, covered up so it would stay warm. He took the plate and coffee to the living room, where Holmes and Watson were watching the TV. When he sat down, Holmes stole his cup away. Galahad kept his plate out of reach from Holmes after that. Watson had better luck in securing his food, seeing how the detective hadn’t laid a hand on his.

The reporter on screen continued as the view changed to a hospital;

“Fujimaru Taiga has been making a recovery at the hospital. According to staff and herself, she recalls nothing of the week she was missing nor of what happened after her friends rediscovered her. Video recording of the event shows Fujimaru fainting before the brutal act took place. The authorities are currently investigating the situation, and it is currently unknown if Fujimaru will be charged with the murder of her two friends. According to one of the officers, this case is uncomfortably similar to one from nearly a decade ago…”

The volume is turned down by Holmes, who makes a hum of acknowledgment to Galahad’s complaint. He turned to Watson who was examining a skeleton’s hand. The boy wasn’t sure if it was a cast or not, nor was he sure why the doctor was doing so.

“I got a call from that guy this morning. The similarities are too much to be a coincidence he says.”

“You think that woman got tangled up in a spider web?”

“Almost certainly. Do you think the cafe is involved truly?”

“No, I think that is its own case all on its own.”

Holmes smiles, “Looks like all these years have done some good for you.”

Galahad stared at them with a bored look on his face before returning to watching the TV. He took a moment to hope the impending police investigation wouldn’t interfere with the one he was currently working on, he was clearly shown on a few recording running from her. Maybe they would ignore him however, it wasn’t uncommon for something so simple to be overlooked.

 

The school day passed without much incident, a number of students attempted to speak to him about how he was in the videos but little came from those attempts. He kept an eye on Arjuna, whom Galahad was sure was watching him as well if the feeling of someone watching him was any indication. Lunch proved useful for an interesting circumstance, Karna showed up to give Arjuna his lunch. According to the overheard whispers, the man told him if he was going to cook his own lunch he might as well remember to bring it with him. What made it interesting was that Galahad was sure he saw Arjuna go out of the classroom with his lunch in hand. He made a mental note to see if this would happen again on another day. At the end of the day, he once again followed Arjuna to the cafe. Only that time, he planned to only stay a short while as to not raise much suspicion. Or perhaps it was to avoid another encounter with a ghoul late at night. Either way, he put an alarm on his phone to remind him to leave before he spent too much time there.

“How may I help you?”

“Just a coffee, black.”

Galahad chooses the same spot as before, pulling up his laptop like last time. He did another check of Arjuna’s soul, once again seeing it fade in and out of existence like a mirage. Curious, he looked over to Karna to do the same. It appeared to be normal. Nothing unusual about it. Perhaps Arjuna was simply a strange anomaly. There was another strange occurrence though. A girl, probably from the school based on her uniform, ran up to the counter Karna was manning. She heaved heavily, obviously appearing as if she sprinted all the way to the cafe. She took a moment to catch her breathe, at which most customers returned to their own doings. Galahad listened in the best he could from the distance he was at.

“Gladiolus and Sweet William. Please.”

“Would you like them together or separate?”

“Together.”

Karna nods and turns to grab what Galahad assumed were flowers. A bouquet is handed to her, beautifully crafted from the angle the boy could see. She thanked him and walked out. At the angle at which he sat, Galahad wasn’t sure if she had paid or not. Karna did not call after her, so he assumed she did. That was the most unusual thing to happen that trip to the shop. The remainder of his time was spent typing on the computer and drinking the bitter coffee. He should have asked for some milk, this was far more bitter than what he was used to.

The alarm on his phone went off in his pocket, he was grateful his phone simply buzzed and didn’t begin to ring loudly. He began to pack up his things when his phone went off again. He checked it to see it was a text from his sister. He already had an idea what it was about, so he slipped it back into his pocket before finishing his packing. As he exited the cafe, he pulled out the phone to check the message. Before he could read more than a word, he walked right into another person. For a moment, he thought he had walked right into a wall.

“I’m sorry.”

The man, who was a giant of a person, apologized as he walked into the cafe. Galahad felt a shiver crawl up his spine. There was something strange about him, but he couldn’t place his finger on what it was. He looked behind him before shaking his head. It was probably nothing.

 

Dad said you were on the news. He’s been trying to call you since this morning.

It’s not important. I’m not dead.

 

When he opens the door to the house, he sees Holmes on the floor surrounded by papers and a skull. Galahad weighs it in his head to not ask and simply see what Watson is doing. The doctor is not in his lab, but the kitchen where he is cleaning a jar in the sink. Their eyes meet when he walks away from the sink.

“Holmes said the eyeballs needed to go.”

Galahad slowly backed out of the kitchen and returned to the living room where the number of papers seemed to have doubled. Holmes looks at him and raises an eyebrow at his expression. There’s a moment where Galahad debates inside himself if he should ask or not.

“Why did Watson have a jar of eyeballs?”

“Oh, those were mine. Just realized there was a crack in the glass so I got rid of them in case they were rotting.”

“Why did you have those?”

“No idea. Came with the house.”

 

Galahad began to hope that he would be questioned by police as his phone buzzed with four new messages.

Chapter Text

“What are your thoughts on what is happening right now?”

The guest, who looked perhaps ten to even those who knew his real age, adjusted his glasses as he spoke.

“Obviously it’s fantastic. A human turning into a ghoul without dying and turning back? It’s so far fetched that even a well trained golden retriever would have difficulty bringing it back. I suppose you actually want me to explain what’s going on. Well, I haven’t the slightest idea.”

“Eh?! But isn’t this sort of thing your specialty?”

“Demons are my specialty. Ghouls aren’t demons.”

“Aha! That’s right. Someone like you would like to investigate the fantasy. Though I suppose you have the looks for it.”

“And you have the looks of someone who is currently sleeping with his boss in a desperate attempt to keep his job.”

The show host pales slightly at the blunt observation from the guest. He looks over at the camera before turning back to the guest.

“That observation of yours is very...useful, isn’t it Mr. Anderson?”

“The dog you use as a mascot during the children’s shows’ time could have figured that out quicker than you.”

“...Okay. That one hurt.”

 

Galahad closed out of the tab of the interview. Hans C. Anderson. A writer and demon investigator. Mash loved watching his interviews and reading his books. Seeing him getting involved in something like this could be a sign of something worse to come. Or perhaps it was simply nothing but people believing he would have an idea on what was going on. Holmes just nodded and said he might have an idea on something, but certainly not with what people were asking. Perhaps he meant the writer knew something about that cafe.

But for now, he had to focus on finding a hole-in-a-wall shop. Watson needed something to be bought after school, thus making his planned scouting marked for the next day. Apparently, the shop was known for selling unusual wears. Galahad checked the alleyways carefully, in case there was something that looked strange. There was nothing so far expect some side entrances to shops or restaurants. When he looked away from the last alleyway before he had to change streets, he saw Arjuna. The boy across the street went into an alleyway, still dressed in his school uniform. Galahad crossed the road after a car passed by and turned to follow him down the alleyway.

He found the boy speaking with a man with long white hair. The man was handing him an unidentified bottle while telling him something of its effects. Galahad pushed himself up to the wall to listen and not be seen.

“Remember, don’t use too much okay? Bad things will happen if you do.”

“What do you mean?”

“Aha, you see, too much of that will make the brain only think of that. It makes every other organ useless. It’s a quick way to kill someone if you aren’t careful. Any more than just a few drops can really mess a person up.”

Arjuna narrowed his eyes at him. He looked ready to shove the bottle back at the man before the other held up a hand. Galahad couldn’t see the white-haired man’s expression, but he could hear the smile in his words.

“Haha! Now, now...you know the rule here. No refunds once you buy. It’s the same system that…”

The man trails off as he looks over towards the wall he’s closest to. Towards the entrance of the alleyway. Towards Galahad.

Galahad’s eyes widened as he tried to push himself closer to the wall as if to trick the man into thinking he was simply seeing things. That plan, however, did not work. If anything, it gave the man certainty that he had seen someone. Galahad held his breath once he started talking again.

“Well, you should be getting back home now, shouldn’t you? You wouldn’t want to make your older brother think you decided to run away now would you?”

Something in those words hit Arjuna harshly. To Galahad, it simply sounded like a way to tell a kid to go home. But from what he could see of the teen, it looked like those words were said intentionally to pierce. The student glares at the man before shoving the bottle into his bag and exiting the alleyway. In his annoyance, he apparently missed Galahad. Once he was gone and down the street, Galahad left his hiding space.

“Well if it isn’t Galahad. What brings you to my little hole-in-the-wall?”

When he was told to find a hole-in-a-wall shop, he had not been expecting the shop to be a literal hole in the wall. As in, he had made a hole in a wall and was operating a shop with that hole. Really, he should have expected something like this. After all, this man was Merlin.

Merlin Ambrosius, the adoptive father of his dad’s boss. He often hung around the office like a lazy cat, but something was rather strange about him being here. Keeping an eye on the man, Galahad pulled out his phone and opened up Mordred’s twitter. If anyone wanted to know what happened when the officers were off duty, the Pendragon heir’s twitter was the quickest place to do so. And low and behold, not even a day ago there was a post with Merlin in the background of the picture.

“How are you here?”

“Ha ha, wouldn’t you like to know? ‘Fraid I can’t say. Trade secrets you see.”

“...what did you sell him?”

“Oh? Concerned for a friend?”

“Yeah, something like that.”

“Can’t say. I have a rule about disclosing purchases to those who didn’t buy it.”

“Tch.”

Merlin smiled a cat-like smile at him. He pulled a box out from his jacket pocket and handed it to him. Actually, he shoved the small box into Galahad’s hand and grabbed him by the shoulders and turned him around.

“Give that to the doctor for me why don’t ya?”

Galahad felt something on his backside push him forward as he used his free hand to stop himself from crashing face first into the ground. He looked back to tell Merlin off for kicking him only to find himself staring at a blank wall. As he got up, he kept staring at where the shop and Merlin were just a sec prior. He used a hand to brush across the brick wall only to find nothing but bricks. Not a single hole to be found. It was as if it had never been broken in the first place. As he slowly made his way out of the alleyway, he looked down at the box he was given. What did Watson have to do with this guy?

 

When he returned to the house, Holmes and Watson were eating a meal that could be compared to a fancy 5-star restaurant's dishes. The takeout boxes confirmed they hadn’t cooked it themselves. He grabbed a plate himself and gave the box to the doctor.

“That guy could charge so much more for this stuff if he wanted. I’m sure that sister of his would love that.”

“Maybe. Of course part of the reason they get so many customers is how cheap it is to get.”

“Mh, Yes, by the way,” Holmes paused to eat more of his food, “what’s in the box?”

Watson put down his utensils and opened the small box. Inside was two notes addressed to him and Holmes. He handed one of them to the detective who read it aloud.

“‘Tell your new guy he can’t steal my business as you did.’ Ha, you think he’s been holding a grudge this whole time?”

“Seems like it. Mine is a sales pitch.”

Galahad listened to their talk as he ate. It seemed as if there was a history between the three of them. That wasn’t too surprising when he thought about it. Weirdos knew other weirdos. After he finished his plate, he put it in the sink and went to his assigned room. He hadn’t thought to mention what Arjuna had purchased at the table, somehow it just didn’t seem important to do so. As he sat down at his desk, he realized the event wasn’t playing fully in his mind. It was as if what had actually occurred was lost to him. What did that guy even buy? Did he even buy anything? Was he even there? Was the shop even there? Did the shop even exist?

 

He leaned back in his chair as he questioned those five things.

Chapter Text

“Khatri, do you have a minute?.”

Galahad paused his process of putting on his outdoor shoes to listen in on the conversation. He was on the other side of the lockers, but the voices were loud enough and clear enough for him to hear perfectly. Somehow the unknown person’s voice was familiar to him.

“I’m afraid I don’t. I need to get home to help at the shop.”

“Please. This shouldn’t take more than a minute.”

“Well then, please do so before I leave.”

“Of course. Does your shop allow take out?”

“As long as it’s thirty minutes before closing at the lastest.”

“Then can you send this order to my home when you get there? I can give you the money now if you’d like.”

“Hm, alright. There’s someone there to pick it up correct?”

“Yes. My father should be home.”

Galahad watched as Arjuna left the school and the person he was talking to turned to walk down the lockers next to the row they were just in. The two of them locked gazes and a sharp slap of realization hit Galahad. The voice had sounded familiar to him because he heard that voice whenever Mash was on the phone with her friend.

“Hah ha! So Mash wasn’t kidding that you were here.”

Fujimaru Ritsuka. Mash’s best friend who lived overseas. And, by the looks of the armband, the student council president. Galahad wondered if that nickname was still in use or if becoming part of the student council got rid of such a name.

“Weird how you’re here though. Aren’t you an adult?”

“It’s for a job.”

“Ah, is it? That’s got to be interesting.”

An idea suddenly popped into Galahad’s head. He could get an inside source with the investigation with those ghouls who had been students here. Not only that, but this was Mash’s best friend, there was little chance of her turning out to be the one responsible. Not to mention how that news report said a similar incident had happened about ten years ago. Unless she was turning people into ghouls at age 7, then there wasn’t much to worry about.

“Ritsuka, can I ask something of you?”

“Of course, what is it?”

“If you hear about anything suspicious here can you let me know?”

“Oh, is that for your job? Well then, I guess I can let you know if anything happens. Not much happens here though.”

Not a minute after she said this, the acting headmaster came running down the hall towards them.

“Fujimaru! You have a phone call waiting for you!”

Ritsuka smiled at Galahad as she waved goodbye to him. She skipped down the hall as the older woman bent down to catch her breath. The acting headmaster nodded towards him and turned to walk after the student council president. Galahad wasn’t entirely sure if that was something unusual for the school. It was strange how the acting headmaster had run down here instead of using the PA system to call her down to the office though. Perhaps that was just something the woman did regardless.

 

Galahad entered the cafe, the small bell on the door rining to alert customers and staff alike that someone had entered. There were fewer people than the last two times he had visited, barely taking up a quarter of the cafe. Arjuna is talking softly with his brother, his face becoming more and more annoyed as the conversation continues. Karna ends the conversation by turning away which only serves to make Arjuna appear more annoyed. His composure is back by the time Galahad steps up to the counter to order.

“How may I help you?”

“A cup of coffee, black.”

As Galahad typed away at his laptop– and remembering how he should have ordered his coffee with sugar, the few other people in the cafe slowly filtered out. Soon it was only him and the brothers. He looked over slightly, not enough for it to be immediately obvious, to find Arjuna staring. For a moment, he thought Arjuna was staring at his brother but following his gaze, it appeared he was staring at the door. When he looked back he saw Arjuna was clenching a napkin in his fist as he glared at the doorway.

“I’m sorry. We have to close early today.”

Karna’s flat monotone nearly makes Galahad crush his cup in shock. The clock says only 6 PM. The cafe had previously closed at 10. What would cause an early close like this? Was it related to how few people were in today? The amateur detective thought about those questions as he packed up. As he left, someone bumped into his shoulder.

“I’m sorry.”

Galahad continued back home, with a large wave of deja vu washing over him as he walked.

 

When Galahad entered the house, he heard Holmes speaking to someone. They were sitting at the kitchen table and talking away. Well, two of them were. There was a third party standing off to the side.

The man speaking to Holmes did not seem human. On the outside sure, even if he was dressed in a gaudy outfit with enough gold to pay off a school’s worth medical student debt. Galahad could tell purely from that and how he spoke that this man was an arrogant one. His red eyes were narrowed with his mouth twisted into a snarl. Holmes was sipping from his cup as the man continued.

“Well? What are you going to do about it?”

“Good question. Galahad, what’s the status on your investigation?”

“Uh,” he’s caught off guard for a moment, “I have an insider source now. That should help with things I can not personally encounter.”

“See? Already on the case. There’s no need to worry about a repeat of ten years ago. Unless these abnormal ghouls are also part of that project, I believe it should be unrelated to your partner. If it does become connected, I assure you we will make sure it does not come to bother you.”

That answer seems to please the gold-haired man. He looks over to the person in the corner who smiles softly at him. Galahad awkwardly sits down at the table as Holmes continues to drink from his cup. There’s another cup in his reach, and not seeing Watson around, he takes a sip from it. It takes approximately two seconds for him to regret that choice. He sputters as he spits out the liquid.

“Oh, yeah, this isn’t tea. It’s salt water.”

“Why.”

“I was bored.”

Galahad doesn’t have time to question the mad man when the front door is slammed open and Watson’s voice can be heard. A fury of steps towards to kitchen is the only warning of the coming onslaught. A deep voice is yelling at the golden-haired man about being left in the tree of a children’s playground on purpose.

 

It takes 6 seconds for Galahad to realize that Anderson, one of his sister's favorite authors, is yelling profanity at the red-eyed man who looks far too smug.

Chapter Text

“You are an uncouth, despicable, self-centered, deplorable, insatiable, and self-satisfying piece of sadistic garbage that would make even a homeless man with leprosy sob in pity for the one less fortunate than him in that horrific outfit skinned from those cut from the worst cloth possible!”

“Fuhahaha! Is that all you got, you twisted author?”

“I’ll give you enough words that would take the average reader 3.7 years to fully read without a break!”

Galahad wasn’t even being threatened and yet he felt very intimidated by the 146cm author. Anderson, who looked very much like a ten-year-old despite his very deep voice, was standing on a chair to meet the eye of the other man. He was jabbing his finger to emphasize his words as if to turn it to a barb to strike the other man in the heart with each blow. The person in the corner, whose hair is a mess of green, has gone to leaning on the table by their elbows to listen to the verbal assault. He’s sure that the goldie doesn’t see it as such though.

The goldie. The demon. That’s what he was. He was almost surprised Holmes associated with one, but the shock soon wore off when he remembers just who Holmes was. A supernatural detective. Why wouldn’t he would work with demons? That was the obvious thing for him to do in this job.

The demon, whose name was hissed by Anderson, looked far too relaxed with the yelling directed at him. Holmes held up a cup that Watson poured more tea- this time it was definitely tea, into the cup. Watson was left standing, the table only had four chairs and all of them were taken up. He didn’t seem so bothered though, in fact, he seemed a little too happy with his position.

Gilgamesh. A demon who was undeniably fond of the human with him, a human named Enkidu. From what he heard from Holmes chiming in every so often, Gilgamesh had come to them ten years ago to demand they investigate what was happening with the school. The same school he was going to right now. As he digested the information, he had to question why someone would act so soon after something like that. It certainly wasn’t a small case, so ten years would not be enough for it to exit people’s mind. The news reports proved that. What was the plan here?

“While this is quite entertaining, we do actually have something to-”

Whatever Holmes was about to say was cut off by him slamming the cup in his hand down on the table. He shot up from his seat so fast that the chair fell over. The door of the fridge was thrown open as Holmes grabbed a milk carton and began to drink straight from the carton. After he had supposably drained half the carton, he wiped his mouth with his sleeve and slammed the carton down on the counter. He pointed an accusing figure at Watson who had a very uncharismatic smirk on his face.

“Merlin! What the actual hell is in that!”

Galahad watched as who assumed was Watson shifted into the strange shop owner from the day before. His smirk grew even larger as he snicked at Holmes’ bright red face. He pointed towards the pot in his hand.

“Oh, you know, just a nice little bit of Coralina Reaper and Dragon’s Breathe extract in there.”

Footsteps came running towards the kitchen. Watson- the real one Galahad assumes, is dressed in his lab attire with his glasses pushed up on his head. At his sudden stop at the doorway, the glasses fell down to his nose where they laid half off.

“What happened! I heard Holmes yelling!”

“Merlin happened!”

Watson’s face turned from a mix of shock and worry to one of blankness. He let out a deep sigh and readjusted his glasses. The man looked away to mumble something under his breath. He gave a disappointed look at both Holmes and Merlin before turning around to return to his lab. Galahad decided now was a good time to turn in for the night. He didn’t think he could deal with this at the moment.

 

The next day, Galahad found himself being approached by Ritsuka at lunch. The student had pulled him outside and pulled out her wallet to buy drinks from the vending machine as Galahad questioned how he ended up on the ground this quickly. She tossed him one and opened her own with a satisfying sizz coming from the bottle.

“I’ve got a scoop for you.”

“And what would that be?”

“Mame Chishiki, the school librarian. She’s been acting very strange lately. Like, suspiciously strange.”

“Care to elaborate on that?”

“She’s been seen hanging around the kitchen, specifically around the knives. I think-”

Whatever Ritsuka was about to say slipped away like the bottle of soda that fell from her grasp and sprayed the concrete with the fizzy substance. Galahad jumped up when she began to scream. Following her line of sight, he saw a girl standing on the edge of the school’s rooftop. The student council president broke out into a run towards her, almost in a futile effort due to the woman standing on the roof. Waves of students came out to investigate the scream, not to mention plenty of teachers. Galahad ran over to where Ritsuka was, his own drink falling to the ground and mixing into the grass just outside the concrete. The girl was screaming her head off telling the student to stay put.

Time seemed to freeze as the girl held up what Galahad thought was a knife. It wasn’t sharp. It was a plastic knife used by students. That didn’t seem to matter to her though. At the moment time began to speed up once again, the girl stabbed the utensil straight into her throat. Right where the hyoid bone would be. A sure hit to kill. Her body staggered as she made herself lurch forward. Mame’s blood stained her uniform as she dropped like a rock in a well. There was a sickening crunch as her body crumpled onto the ground beneath her. It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds, it just couldn’t have been. But it felt as if time had slowed for this girl just to show off her final moments to everyone watching.

Screams erupted from the crowd. Screams of shocked confusion. Screams of denial. Screams of teachers. Screams of students. Screams of concern. The schoolyard was filled with nothing but screaming.

Galahad found himself staring at her corpse. He couldn’t move, it was as if his limbs were paralyzed. He couldn’t stop staring at the scene before him. The twisted, mangled body of someone Mash’s age. She even had glasses like her. Short hair like her. She probably loved books just like her. The longer he stared, the more he saw Mash dead in the grass. Galahad felt his knees buck from under him. Unconsciously, his arms went out to save him from hitting the ground face first. Like that girl was a silent thought in his mind as he felt a burning sensation crawl up his throat.

The soda he had before, the small amount that escaped from being dropped to the ground like the rest of the bottle, found its way to the dirt underneath him. As did the breakfast and what he had of his lunch. The burning feeling in his mouth numbed the feeling of his teeth clashing together. He could hear himself gagging a second time over the deafening screams of onlookers.

There’s something pulling him up from the ground. He can feel his arm being flung over something and an arm that not his own holding on to his side. A voice he can’t quite hear is yelling over the crowd. His legs are numb and are barely able to keep up with whatever is pulling him. Galahad feels the coolness of the school surround him as he’s pulled further inside. Further from the outside. Further from the scene. Further from the blood-soaked grass. Further from the corpse.

 

The school nurse recorded seven students being admitted to the clinic due to nausea the day the school closed early because of a suicide.

Chapter Text

Is everything alright?

Galahad had stared at the message on his phone for what felt like hours. Everything was not alright. But there was no way he would tell Mash that. No, that would just make things worse. He was sure Ritsuka must have made mention of what had happened, or else he wasn’t sure where the out of nowhere text came from.

It’s nothing. Just the job. I’m fine.

He doesn’t check to see her response. His phone is tossed onto a chair where he’s hung old clothes that haven’t been sentenced to the washer yet. The covers of his bed are pulled up over his head as he attempted to fall back asleep. The school was closed that day, and he couldn’t be more grateful. Galahad was absolutely exhausted. This break was something he would take full advantage of, at least as much as he could before Holmes inevitability dragged him out to complete whatever task he doesn’t want to do.

The buzzing that erupts from his phone is muffled by the various clothes on the chair, barely audible as Galahad closed his eyes. The light from the window barely reached inside his blanket’s barrier. His own closed eyelids blocked even more of the light. Soon, any remnants of light disappeared as Galahad drifted back into sleep.

 

“Hey, why are you hiding?”

The purple haired girl looked up from her hiding place under the old slide. Mash, barely five-year-olds, had been curled up under the play equipment for nearly 30 minutes now. The surrounding ground was still wet from the earlier rain. Where Mash was, the ground was dry but hard. As if the dirt had been packed together and cooked in a furnace like clay.

“I’m playing hide and seek. You should leave, you’ll give away my spot.”

Galahad, a prodigy at even seven-years-old, raised an eyebrow at that. Mash was in a park that barely anyone went to anymore. It was overgrown and rusty. Even the slide had seen better days, near the bottom it was cracked. Whoever was playing with her must have left already, it had been far too long for her to still be hiding. Pulling her out from under the slide, Galahad looked around the abandoned park. There was no one else there but them and a chipmunk or two running through the tall grass. The other person must have given up at this point and gone home.

“Come on, let’s go back home.”

Taking his hand, Mash nodded solemnly. Her shoes were wet and muddy. It felt like every step made something else squish in them. As they walked down the sidewalk as the sky began to turn from blue to a mixture of warm colors. When they reached their home, the sky had become pink and purple with the clouds spread out like fluff falling out of a ripped stuffed animal.

The doorknob stopped short of turning all the way. They were locked out. Mash tried to turn the doorknob in a futile effort to get it open as Galahad quietly fumed. Of course, why would that guy leave the door unlocked when his kids are out? He probably still thought they were out playing. That way he wouldn’t feel as guilty for going out. Galahad clicked his tongue and pulled Mash away from the door. She shot him a confused look as she pointed to their house as if to tell him they were already home.

Mash shook her hand out of his grip to run back to the door. She furrowed her brows behind her glasses as she stared at the lock. As if staring at it while turning the doorknob would suddenly unlock it. Galahad stood near her, not wanting to risk some creep coming after her. Perhaps he was too young to care about that, but when it happens at your school despite security then he had the right to worry.

Quick footsteps heading towards them stole their attention away from the door. They were both scooped up in someone’s arms. Galahad flung his legs around in an effort to hit whoever picked them up as Mash let out a scream from confusion over who had picked them up.

“Oh thank god you both are okay.”

“Papa! You scared us!”

While Mash calmed down once she realized who was holding them, Galahad continued to fling his legs around. A number of times he landed his foot square on his father’s hip, another few into his stomach, and still more on his ribs. Lancelot didn’t appear to notice the assault on his person as he hugged the two children closer. With the grace befitting of a knight, he unlocked the door and brought his children inside without putting either of them down for a moment. He stood still for a moment before plopping both of them down on the couch.

Lancelot pulled out his phone and talk softly to someone on the other line. Galahad was sure it was whoever he was meeting with, probably apologizing for leaving so suddenly. He turned to them after hanging up and his calm face had turned to anger.

“Where the hell were you!”

Mash suddenly curled into herself at the sound of the shouting. Galahad himself tried to push himself into the back of the couch. Lancelot ran a hand through his hair in frustration as he continued.

“Well? Where were you!”

“The...the old park-”

“The old park! Why the hell were you there!”

“I-I th...thought it was a good hiding spot…”

“It was raining out there! You could have gotten sick or worse! I told you to stay in the house and the yard!”

“I’m sor-sorry.”

The five-year-old was in tears and her voice cracked nearly with every word. She curled further into her self as she began to sob loudly. She took in sharp breathes every time she tried to talk afterward, her own words being swallowed by her throat as more tears rolled down her cheeks. Galahad tried to speak up until his father turned his attention to him.

“And you! Where the hell were you!”

“I was at Mordred’s house-”

“Then explain how when I called her father to check on you, I’m being told you never showed up!”

“I-”

“And then I’m being told that Mordred didn’t even know that you were supposed to be over! So where the hell were you!”

“Why do you care! You were just with some woman again! You just talked to her!”

“I was speaking to Artoria to call off the search since I found you two! I was worried sick! No one knew where you two were and a god damn predator is stalking around still! Why would I be seeing a woman when my children are missing and possibly kidnapped for all I know!”

Lancelot rubbed his face and let out a deep sigh. He took each of his children’s arms and pulled them off the couch and lead them to their rooms. Mash was crying with a cracked little voice as she sniffed and rubbed at her eyes. Galahad tried to hold back his own but that proved futile as he felt tears roll down his checks.

“You’re both grounded under further notice. I’ll call when dinner is ready, but until then you aren’t leaving your rooms. Bedtime is at 7:30 sharp.”

Galahad kicked and screamed at his door after his father closed it. He shouted every bad word a seven-year-old would know and a few more. His feet began to hurt as he continued to assault the door.

“I hate you! You stupid father! I hate you!”

 

He was awakened by someone shaking him harshly. He groaned and pulled the covers closer to him, only to have them ripped away from him in an instant. The large pillow under his head was pulled up to cover his face. Once again it was snatched away. Galahad turned over to plant his face into the bed which seemed to deter the person trying to wake him.

At least, until he felt the bed dip repeatedly in a pattern. Someone was jumping on the bed next to him. He let out an annoyed groan and lifted his head to see who it was. The moment his head was lifted he was pulled off the bed and onto the floor.

“Alright, he’s awake. Now give me my pay.”

Galahad looked up to see Anderson being paid by Watson. The author held out his hand a little bit longer to which Watson forked over roughly another 2,000 yen. According to what he could hear, it was for his dignity. As he groggily got up, a note pad is tossed at his head.

“Holmes wants you to buy some things.”

 

It was at the moment the rain began to fall that Galahad was sure Holmes was some kind of sadist. He must have known it would begin pouring halfway through his shopping trip when he was halfway to another store and thus having to take shelter in a bus stop. His lack of an umbrella and a coat were possibly his worst decisions today. There was only one other person at the bus stop that day. Possibly because it was rather out of the way from the usual stops.

Out of pure curiosity, Galahad looked over to see who stood next to him. Apparently, the person had decided to do the same. For approximately 5 seconds, they shared a gaze. Once that time passed, they back up to the edge of the bus stop wall with wide eyes.

“You!”

Of all the people he had to be stuck with in a bus stop in the rain, it had to be the guy he was investigating. Arjuna. Of fucking course it was him.

“Are you with her? I swear to god if you are…”

“Her? Who are you talking about?”

“Fujimaru. She’s been following me all day. She stopped once the rain began.”

“Oh. Sorry to disappoint if you thought I was also following you.”

Arjuna narrowed his eyes at Galahad. As if he was trying to determine if he was lying or not. Luckily, Galahad had years of practice.

“I’m not lying, I’m just grocery shopping.”

He was totally lying. The only food in his bad was a collection of ramen noodles. Luckily the bag was opaque, so it was impossible to tell unless the bag was open. Arjuna raised an eyebrow but seem to accept the answer. A fog of silence overtook them as the rain pelted the glass coverings. After twenty minutes of silence, Galahad attempted to make conversation. He might as well try to get some information out of this encounter.

“So. You live with your brother. What’s that like?”

“It’s like a single parent. Expect worse. Because it hurts more when you make them upset.”

“No idea what that’s like.”

“Single child?”

“No, I just hate my dad.”

“I guess that’s fair.”

“What? Do you hate your brother?”

“Only from 8:30 am to 10 pm.”

“Oddly specific.”

Not to mention useful. It seemed those were the hours of school and work. While it could be a joke, it could work in his favor. During school hours, he could easily get someone to watch in on the shop during that time. As well as the 75 minutes it took him to get there. Afterward, he himself could stay until the cafe closed. Yes, this would help with figuring out if they are connected to those cases. It would also help Holmes’ investigation into Karna’s connection.

The sound of a rusteling bag brought Galahad’s attention to Arjuna pulling out an umbrella. He opened it away from him, barely reaching out past the bus stop’s ceiling but it certainly wasn’t a small umbrella. When it finally processed in Galahad’s brain, he realized something was strange about Arjuna having an umbrella.

“Why did you use that earlier?”

“What part of ‘That Fujimaru girl was following me’ did you not get?”

“You hid at a bus stop to wait her out?”

“Yes.”

A cylinder-like object was thrown at Galahad which nearly hit his face if his free hand hadn’t grabbed it as quick as it did. With that, Arjuna left the bus stop and made his way down the sidewalk to either the shop or another store. Looking at what was thrown at him, Galahad found he was given a mini umbrella. He had no idea what to do with the information that Arjuna had been carrying around two umbrellas. Nor did he know what to do with the umbrella. Did he keep it or give it back when they returned to school? He honestly did not know what to do in this situation.

 

His phone dinged with a notification. Watson wanted him to pick up another item. An item that was eight miles away from where he currently was.

Chapter Text

“Hey Galahad, any ideas on what Mash would want for her birthday?”

“It’s not until the summer, why do you ask?”

Ritsuka shrugged her shoulders. Something about being curious about what she should get was cut off by downing her drink in a single gulp. She let out a content sigh and leaned back against the bench. The girl looked around innocently before leaning towards Galahad.

“I think something’s up with Khatri.”

“No, really?”

“Don’t give me sarcasm. Something’s weird with him.”

“And what’s that?”

“There was another suicide from this school this weekend. Both of these people were last seen speaking to Khatri before going off somewhere a little bit before ending up dead.”

What? Another death already? Not only that but the fact both of them had talked to Arjuna before they died was suspicious but not exactly incriminating. There had to be a reason for them to do that after speaking with him. But who was the second one?

“The second one was out at the marketplace. I was following Khatri and saw him talking to Yuutou Ikuyo. I followed her afterward and saw her go into traffic without hesitation. Well, me and about 200 other people. Yuutou was in the student council, she was in charge of managing activities,” Ritsuka took a breath, “It’s just suspicious to me.”

“Why were you following him?”

“I had a gut feeling it would be a good idea.”

“Why?”

Ritsuka looked around once more before leaning in closer. Galahad leaned back from the invasion of privacy. There’s a moment of silence before she whispers her reason.

“A demon goes to the shop for payment. Two girls suddenly die after talking to him, it’s almost like he took their souls.”

Galahad choked on his drink. He hacked like a cat with a furball in its throat. Ritsuka landed a few hard swats on his back to help get rid of whatever was lodged in his throat. He coughed into his hand before staring at Ritsuka.

“Demons? You don’t really believe that do you?”

“Don’t try to hide it Galahad. You’re a prodigy. You’ve seen exactly what I’m talking about.”

“Tch. I don’t-”

His collar is roughly pulled down by the girl. She knocked their heads together hard enough for Galahad to wince in pain. Ritsuka’s own sharp gold eyes were glaring daggers at him as her mouth curled into a snarl.

“If you’re not a prodigy, then I’m a fucking ancient king. Don’t play dumb with me du Lac. I know you are one and I know you’ve seen the demon.”

“What demon-”

It dawned on him. In that very moment, it dawned on him like the first-day break after a polar night in Norway. The man he had bumped into after leaving the cafe when it closed. The same man he bumped into when it closed early. He was a demon. But how had Ritsuka figured that out?

“How do you know?”

“You don’t think I gave up after Yuutou did you? I went to the cafe and stayed until they closed. I saw that demon, he couldn’t have been anything else. Humans don’t appear from brick walls that only lead to trash cans and no door or balcony.”

“But why do you think Khatri is responsible? Maybe the demon got to them before him and it’s just a coincidence.”

Ritsuka shook her head. She said there was no way for that to be possible. Demons couldn’t kill humans. It had to be another human. But, that brought up a whole new possibility.

If it wasn’t Arjuna, then it was likely Karna. The fact those other girls had all gone to that cafe before they died didn’t help his case either. But why would Karna have to make a deal with a demon? The same went for Arjuna. Neither of them would need to make a Faustian deal with any demon. Expect, he recalled the report Holmes had. An assumed alias. Not his real name. They definitely had a reason if they were hiding their identities. He needed to tell Holmes. No, he needed more information before he made any judgments.

“Do you have a plan?”

The smile on the girl’s face looked far too innocent for Galahad’s liking.

 

“Yo! Khatri! Wait up!”

Ritsuka did not have a plan. This was not a plan. She lied straight to his face when she said she had one. This was a suicide mission.

Arjuna didn’t turn around. He picked up his pace as Ritsuka dragged Galahad down the sidewalk behind her. That did little to deter her though. She picked up her own pace as the poor boy she way dragging desperately tried not to fall flat on his face from the force pulling him. This whole thing was going to kill him before a ghoul did. At the very least it would injure him greatly. Why couldn’t he have just said no and done the investigation on his own?

“Got you!”

The student’s bag is pulled back by the student council president, cause him to nearly lose his balance. He regained it with the grace a cat and turned to glare at the both of them. The disheveled look on Galahad face was offset by Ritsuka’s bright smile.

“Hey there Khatri. Would you like to hang out?”

“No-”

“Great! The cafe’s a good place, let’s go there.”

Ignoring his various protests, Arjuna soon joined Galahad in the position of being dragged around by Ritsuka. He shot a look at Galahad which was returned by a look of desperation as they were pulled down the sidewalk. They were both now victims to her not-plan. Expect it was far more embarrassing for Galahad. He was an adult being dragged around by a teenaged girl who still called her father ‘papa’. But Mash still did as well. Suddenly he wasn’t sure how to feel about that.

The bell rang out as the three enter the shop, altering the owner to their presence. Karna’s eyes widened a bit before he returned to his neutral face. Arjuna tried to start his work, a desperate attempt to get away from them, only to be told that he could hang out with his friends instead of working that day. It sounded more like Karna was telling him not to work instead of giving him a choice. The teen looked between his brother and the two people with him, looking ready to say they weren’t his friends before sighing and accepting the decision. They followed him up the stairs to the upstairs home. The easiest way to open early and close late was to simply live above the business after all.

They left their shoes at the top of the stairs and entered Arjuna’s room. Ritsuka immediately plopped herself on the bed, spreading her arms and legs out as she claimed it as her setting area for the duration of their time there. Galahad sat down at the desk chair, keeping an eye on Arjuna as he closed to door behind him. There was a moment of silence before he spoke up.

“Okay. Why are you two here?”

“I wanted to see how soft your bed was.”

“Bullshit.”

“Mh, no jokes? Okay then,” She sat up and crossed her hands under her chin, the cheerful color went from her face, “Your brother’s business is suspicious.”

“A cafe and a flower shop are hardly unusual.”

“One dealing with souls definitely is.”

The remark catches him off guard. His mouth left agape from whatever he had originally said as it left him like a leaf in fall wind. The expression of shock changed into one of anger and apprehension. Galahad can see a fist form in his hand.

“What are earth are you imply-”

There was a large crash downstairs. The three of them froze. That was the sound of breaking glass. It wasn’t something small like a cup either. It sounded like something had rammed into the windows. Shrill screams suddenly filled the store. Galahad got up and knocked the chair over in the process, following Arjuna out of the room with Ritsuka behind them. Arjuna was nearly sliding down the stairs with how fast he ran down, almost slipping once he turned at the bottom. Once the store was visible to Galahad, his blood ran cold. Surrounded by the broken glass was a girl with bones trying to break from her skin and red staining her uniform. He heard Ritsuka gasp out beside him. Mame Chishiki. The girl who had thrown herself from the building just a few days prior.

“What the hell…?”

The ghoul, there was no way that thing was still alive, staggered forwards as it’s black eyes looked around. It’s gaze landed on Galahad. He was frozen in place as the ghoul began to rush at him. Arjuna was standing in front of him, a clear collision course. That’s what one would think logically anyhow.

Instead of crashing straight into Arjuna, the ghoul sidestepped past him, going directing towards Galahad. It doesn’t register properly until Ritsuka pulled him away at the last moment. The ghoul hit the wall. Hard. It sounded like something broke, either the wall or the bones or possibly both. Galahad pushes himself and Ritsuka out of the way as the ghoul begins to get up. Arjuna back up along with them, getting as far from the ghoul as they could in the few seconds they had. As the ghoul set its sights on them once again, a sharp shatter was heard. The ghoul’s head jerked over to in front of the counters.

Karna’s arm was bleeding, his opposite hand holding a broken bottle. The blood was dripping down onto the floor into a puddle. His sharp eyes were staring down the ghoul as it turned fully to him. It lunged at him, crashing into the counter’s front when he steps out of the way just seconds before it could collide with him. As it reeled itself back up, Arjuna broke out into a run towards his brother. The ghoul lunged at him once again, missing as Arjuna threw Karna to the ground. He fell on top of him, seeing the ghoul skid across the floorboards as his brother let out a pained hiss. He had hurt his injured arm further by landing on it.

Galahad’s head spun as he tried to think of what to do. He didn’t have any holy water on him, and he didn’t have a weapon either. The ghoul pushed its self up, rocking around like a bag of rocks as it stood. It turned its head and caught sight of Galahad once again. In a moment of desperation, he threw himself to the floor as it rushed towards him. Lifting his head, he saw the broken bottle. It was his best bet right now.

Scrabbling up and grabbing the bottle, Galahad readied himself in case it attacked again. Just like before, it broke out into a run towards him. Instead of moving out of the way, he waited until it was an arms reach away and jabbed the bottle towards it. It punctured its neck, which was already cut from when it was alive. The ghoul sputtered and jerked before falling limp. Galahad pushed the ghoul away as it dropped back, possible contouring its spine far past what was natural. He looked over to Ritsuka, who was standing frozen in shock, and over to Arjuna, who was trying to stop the bleeding without making the glass too small to pull even more embedded into Karna’s skin.

 

It was a few minutes later when the ambulance arrived with the police. Galahad watched as those cut by the initial crash and Karna were lead into the ambulance if the injuries were severe enough. From what he overheard, a few people needed nine snitches at the very least for their injuries.

Chapter Text

“In the recent development of the ghoul attack on The Lotus Cafe & Floral Shop, owner Khatri Karna is reported to have no lasting damage. The same goes for the patrons injured by the glass window’s breaking when the ghoul broke in. While many were skeptical of this being a ghoul attack, the perpetrator's lack of fresh blood and state of decomposition being too far in for a living person who had only died mere hours prior. The ghoul’s identity has not been revealed, a request by the family. A reporter at the hospital has received an interview from the younger Khatri brother, who was there during the attack. According to other witnesses he had…”

“Watson. How much do you know about ghouls?”

“Almost die to something over a hundred times and you get to know it very well.”

Galahad wasn’t sure if he was exaggerating or not. With how Holmes played it, it could very well be an understatement. Regardless of what it was, he was sure Watson had some idea of what was going on with the ghouls. Both the normal and unnatural ones. It was just a matter of if he would tell him. So far, Holmes had simply given him the run around by answering any question with another question.

“What can you tell me about them?”

The doctor said nothing as the tea kettle rang out in its shrill voice. It settled as it was taken off the stove and placed on a table mat. He poured a cup of black tea for himself and left the kettle in the center if Galahad wanted any. Galahad watched as he pulled out a bottle of rum from the cabinet and poured a shot into his teacup. He left the bottle on the table and took a long sip.

“What I can tell you and what I should tell you are two very different things. I could tell you ghouls are actually fairies from the far west that once ate only dreams but now eats human souls. Since you don’t have any info, you’d believe me.”

“I wouldn’t believe something so stupid.”

Watson chuckled, “Ghouls are humans who wanted to stay alive. They wanted it so much that they will take it from others in order to live.”

“That does make sense. And the abnormal ghouls are like those girls…”

He didn’t get a response. Watson just smiled and drank his odd tea-rum concoction. Galahad stared as he thought through what they had said. Then it hit him.

“I guess I will believe whatever you say. You just lied didn’t you.”

“Yes. I’m afraid Holmes’ has rubbed off on me over the years.”

“Is this question dodging a game to him?”

“You just need to ask the right questions.”

He pours himself another cup and adds another shot. He downed the concoction within a few seconds and brought the cup to the sink. The rum was put away as well, apparently, Holmes wasn’t allowed near alcohol without supervision. As he walked out of the room, he left some parting words.

“Well, I have to go dissect a ghoul before her family starts freaking out. Hopefully, they won’t notice the stitches.”

Galahad was unsure how to feel about that comment.

 

What was the right question? He had tried being blunt, vague, backward, anything he could think of. But, alas, it was for not. Holmes only answered with another question, answers so vague it was better to forget them than anything else, and some weren’t answered at all with Holmes just having some off-topic remark to say. Galahad wasn’t sure if he was being like this on purpose purely to annoy him, or if even Watson had to endure this all the time.

After another dozen failed attempts at getting a real answer, Galahad thought back to what the doctor had said. Asking the right questions didn’t mean it had to be Holmes who answered. Even if he had the right questions, it didn’t mean anything unless he asked the right person.

“Where is Anderson right now?”

“Out with his daughter. She said something about going to the park.”

 

Parks were not a scarcity in the city. There were two not even 6 kilometers away from the house. Taking a shot in the dark, he went to the park up north. It had a small lake it boasted proudly about. From the site to maps to its mascot.

It was just as crowded as any park back home. He thought there would be fewer children around, what with the cram schools and clubs. That made him think they would only have free time on the weekend. But, here he was, surrounded by children and their parents.

He found the author sitting alone on a bench overlooking the lake. Anderson was writing with a quill. Not one of those pens made to look like a quill either. A real, ink well dipped quill. Galahad wasn’t even sure if they made those anymore. There was a girl in a black dress of frills and hoops feeding bread crumbs to ducks and the ducklings not too far away.

“Hey, Anderson, what can you tell me about demons?”

“What, are you so lazy that even reading a book so difficult? Listen to an audiobook of it, those are rather popular.”

Galahad sat down next to him as the girl walked off, probably returning to her mother. He wasn’t sure where Anderson’s daughter was. Based on what he knew from Mash, his daughter should at the very least be a teenager. Possibly even an adult. Maybe she had gone off to get something?

“How similar are ghouls to demons?”

“Both like souls and used to be human. Other than that, not much. Sell your entire soul and you’ll become a demon no matter what.”

“Is there an overlap between ghouls and demons?”

“I haven’t the damnest idea.”

Anderson stopped writing and began to put his things away, telling Galahad to read the books and only ask those questions in private. He was busy with his daughter after all.

“Alice! We’re leaving now!”

There wasn’t any response. He looked towards the lake and dropped his bag. He called out for whom Galahad assumed was his daughter. No response one again. Anderson circled the lake, calling out and checking the water. Did he think she had fallen in? At the age she should be, she should know how to swim.

“Did you see anyone here when you arrived?”

“Only a girl in some Victorian dress, she went tha-”

Anderson took off in the direction Galahad had pointed. Momentarily frozen in shock, Galahad grabbed the bag and chased after him. Something told him that girl was not just some random kid in the park. The author suddenly turned and called out the name again. This time, he got a response.

“Dad!”

Alice, so he assumed, ran at Anderson with tears in her eyes. She crashed into, crying, as Anderson asked where she had been. She let out a shaky sob before she spoke.

“I, I saw Illya and wanted to play. She had, had to go home and, and her brother needed to get back to work and I said I could get back on my own but, but I got lost. Then this nice guy offered to bring me back because I was crying he, he even offered to buy me a cookie so I would feel better.”

As Alice cried and Anderson checked her over for injuries, Galahad looked over to the guy who had brought her back. The two shared a look of shock. It was Arjuna. What were the odds of that? He walked towards him and started up a conversation.

“How’s your brother?”

There’s a moment of hesitation in his voice, “He’s fine. He only needed a few stitches. He needs to be careful though, to make sure they don’t come loose.”

The two lapsed into silence. Anderson took his bag from Galahad and thanked Arjuna for helping his daughter. Alice in hand, he turned and began towards the park exit. Galahad figured they were going somewhere else for family bonding or something. He wouldn’t know much about those kinds of activities.

He felt his phone buzz with a new message. As he pulled it out, Arjuna pulled out his own. It appeared Ritsuka had made a group chat of them for whatever reason.

“How did she get my number…”

She sent a picture of some butterfly. That was...just weird. What was the point of sending them a butterfly picture? Sure it was pretty looking, but why?

“What the hell…are you seeing this?”

“What?”

“In the background. Where the apartment door is.”

Galahad zoomed into the picture. Right under the number 10 apartment door, was a body. Ritsuka wasn’t sending them a butterfly, she was sending them a body.

Chapter Text

“I imagine you have questions.”

“No shit Sherlock.”

Had they been talking to Holmes, that line would have been even more fitting. Sadly it was just Ritsuka in the spot she had brought Galahad for lunch. Expect now Arjuna was there. The student council president looked a little too calm, but perhaps she had already freaked out the day before. Galahad wondered if they were technically breaking the law by being at the school outside of school hours. He still wasn’t exactly sure what the rules were here about school property.

“Allow me to explain.”

“Are you trying to do a British accent?”

“Is it accurate Corbenic?”

“Not even close you dodgy tosser.”

“Psh, buzzkill.”

“How on earth did you two switch between English and Japanese that fast?”

“Regardless, I was following that guy from Mr. Khatri’s shop. Before you accuse me of solely stalking your shop, I followed him because he kept acting weird about entering. I just happened to be walking down that way. Anyway, so I followed the guy back to his apartment when he suddenly froze. Like, it looked like he had stopped breathing.

When he started to move again, he pulled the door slammer right off its hinges and began to smash it into his head. For some reason, he didn’t stop. It was like something had taken over his body and ignored the body’s attempts to keep itself alive. I mean, that’s the best I can describe it as. I looked away because, well, that was fucked up.”

“While that’s a fantastic story for before lunch, what's with the butterfly? The body by itself makes more sense.”

Even with his question and sarcasm, Arjuna looked like he was shaking. He had a right to. A student going to a very obviously closed shop, with police tape no less, and acting so suspicious would raise some alarm. Not to mention the description of the guy’s suicide. Something was very off about that, the body would stop itself from harming itself like that normally.

The student, Gotou Gai, was known to change his personality based on what he watched on tv. Even Arjuna and Galahad knew that after such a short time. But this? This had to be something else. Something else was going on.

“So, since we’re basically a team now-”

“I never agreed to this!”

“WE’RE BASICALLY A TEAM NOW. I’ll check into some stuff. Something isn’t adding up right to me, and I don’t think it is to you two either. This isn’t a demon...I just know it.”

“You are literally insane.”

“But you’re going to help anyway!”

Only Ritsuka could blackmail someone into helping the investigation after originally accusing them. Galahad was unable to back out now, he had asked her for help. Really, one of his worse decisions so far. At least it couldn’t get any worse.

 

It had gotten worse.

The three of them found themselves at the police station for interrogation. Well, actually it was four of them. Arjuna’s brother, barely out of the hospital, was there as well. He was in the interrogation room, while they were all waiting outside. It was simply to figure out more about the situation, and since all of them had been close to the ghoul it was only natural they were being interrogated. Bad enough, right? It got worse. Holmes and Watson, the supernatural detectives, were the ones interrogating them. Luckily- or unluckily, Holmes was dealing with them while Watson dealt with interrogations.

Holmes, being just as difficult but now as cold as dry ice in the mountains, was no help in figuring out what was happening. Galahad had an idea that this would happen at some point, but he expected to be the one interrogating. Not being the interrogated. Even Ritsuka looked nervous being stared down by the detective’s cold features. Arjuna was a different story. Galahad expected him to be more outspoken in this situation. But he was silent, glaring at the door which sat between him and the interrogation room.

When Karna was let out of the room, Galahad couldn’t help but notice how pale he looked. Not just pale, deathly. His eyes didn’t help at all. If he turned into a ghoul Galahad wasn’t sure if he could tell the difference. The man was trembling, not obviously, but if you stared at him you could see the shaking. Arjuna barely got a word out to his brother before he was brought into the interrogation room. His brother was less than happy with that.

“You said he wouldn’t have to be interrogated.”

“I did, but I never said anything about this incident.”

Holmes looked ready to physically restrain the man if he tried to get to the door. Karna and the detective had a stare down. One pair of cold, dead eyes against another pair of cold, dead eyes. It felt like an eternity before Karna sat down reluctantly. He took Arjuna’s place in glaring at the interrogation room’s door.

 

It felt like hours had passed before Galahad was brought in. Even when Arjuna was let out, he and his brother weren’t allowed to leave. Ritsuka was the next. She looked as if she was trying to appear calm, but her nervousness was obvious. The entire time Arjuna had been in that room, she had been pacing around. She wouldn’t sit down, she just needed to keep moving it seemed. When she finally exited, she only looked slightly less nervous than before. And then, Galahad was sat down across from Watson and the door was closed behind him.

“How are you feeling?”

“Fine.”

“Is Holmes treating you well?”

“He’s more assholish than usual.”

“Really? He’s actually rather decent today. Usually, he’s interrogating. Maybe he’s upset I said I would deal with it.”

“I see.”

“What do you think of Kharti’s cafe?”

“I keep ordering the black coffee. I keep forgetting how strong it is. Catches me off each time.”

“Hmh, the same thing happens to me whenever I allow Merlin to make anything when he’s over. Even Holmes is kinder.”

“Riiight…”

“According to the others, you were in the shop when the ghoul attacked. Can you describe what happened?”

“We heard a crash. We ran down and saw the ghoul. It ran at us, moved past Arjuna and Ritsuka pulled me out of the way. It kept going after me until Mr. Kharti broke that bottle on himself.”

“Who is we?”

“Arjuna, Ritsuka, and myself.”

“Where were you?”

“Upstairs in Arjuna’s room. He was the first one out, I was second, and Ritsuka was the last one down the stairs.”

“Did you attack the ghoul?”

“Yes.”

“How did you attack it?”

“I used a broken bottle to stab it in the throat.”

“Where did the bottle come from?”

“Mr. Kharti broke it on his arm to distract the ghoul. It fell to the floor and I picked it up.”

“Where was Arjuna during this?”

“He had pushed his brother to the ground so the ghoul wouldn’t get him.”

“Where was Ritsuka during this time?”

“Behind me...she was when I was turned around and stabbing the ghoul.”

“You don’t know where she was before that?”

“She wasn’t in my line of sight.”

“She was the last one down, correct?”

“Yes.”

“You said the ghoul moved past Arjuna, could you elaborate on that?”

“He was directly in line with the ghoul’s path. It just sidestepped him and went after me.”

Galahad’s brain is reeling. Every time he thinks back he has to ask himself, am I remembering that correctly? The questions are jumbled together and he can’t tell one from the other. He can’t tell what was first asked or what’s a follow up anymore. There are too many questions that seem so insignificant that he can’t keep track of them.

“Is there anything you that you can tell me?”

“No.”

“Is there anything you expected me to ask?”

“No.”

“Then I believe we’re done here.”

Watson closed the folder he had. Pictures, testimonies, all that should be used was there. Galahad can’t remember if he was shown them or not. He likely was. When they exited, Watson announced they would have to call them in again if needed but for now they were free to go. Galahad left with them, he wasn’t supposed to let them know he was staying with the detectives.

Ritsuka called out to Arjuna, saying she wanted to talk before he left. Karna only nodded when Arjuna turned to him, getting into their car and starting it. Galahad was pulled into the conversation as well.

“Something was off about that right?”

“Definitely. If we were being questioned on that, why wasn’t my brother? What were they talking about?”

“There’s got to be a way to figure out what is going on. That’s not a normal interrogation.”

“What do you expect to do? Steal the interrogation logs?”

“A great idea, doubt we could pull it off.”

“I could get them.”

The two looked at Galahad. It was an outlandish statement for sure. Especially for them. But, he would have an opportunity to get those papers. He did live with them after all.

“Just give me a few days.”

Arjuna left soon after, leaving Ritsuka and Galahad outside of the station. The girl looked around, back at the station’s door, before leaning towards Galahad to whisper something about texting him details later. Unsure of what she meant, he simply nodded.

 

Later, Ritsuka texted him a list of names. Apparently, there were more victims than just those three they knew. Eleven dead students who all appeared as ghouls soon after they died.

Chapter Text

Himuro Kane. The track team’s ace at the high jump. Went missing on XX/XX/20XX with Makidera and Saegusa, and found dead ten days later.

 

Makidera Kaede. The star sprinter of the track team. Went missing on XX/XX/20XX with Himuro and Saegusa, and found dead ten days later.

 

Saegusa Yukika. The manager of the track team, formally part of the cooking club. Went missing on XX/XX/20XX with Himuro and Makidera, and found dead ten days later.

 

Ayaka Sajyou. Originally from ◾️◾️◾️◾️◾️ and has become a sort of ghost story. Disappeared after a family suicide happened in her apartment building- no report on if it was her own or another family. Supposably found dead.

 

Mitsuzuri Minori. A member of the archery team. Found hanging within the club room.

 

Mitsuzuri Ayako. Part of the martial arts club. Found dead with her neck sliced- unconfirmed if suicide or murder.

 

Ryuudou Issei. Former student council president. Found unconscious at home, reportedly died in hospital.

 

Tohsaka Rin. Former student council vice-president. Supposably killed by her sister, debate if it was assisted suicide or not.

 

Mame Chishiki. The school librarian. Committed suicide by jumping off the building and cutting her throat.

 

Yuutou Ikuyo. The student council’s activity planner. Walked into traffic. (No ghoul yet)

 

Gotou Gai. Happy-go-lucky guy. Smashed his head in. (No ghoul yet).

Sent by Ritsuka Fujimaru yesterday

 

 

From the earliest date, it seemed to be happening over the course of at least 12 months. It would start and stop randomly, spiking without a real pattern. The first time it’s three, then it’s one, then it’s two, two again, and finally another three so far.

He would have to look more into the previous cases later. He only had a little bit of time to get the log before the doctor came back. Holmes was still in the house, but he was asleep. At least, Galahad thought he was asleep. The detective was leaned back in an armchair with a newspaper covering his face. It looked to be a few weeks old, not even a mention of ghoul attacks on it. He still was careful getting into Watson’s study, he didn’t need the detective to cross-examine him.

The door was barely opened- just wide enough for him to slip in. Galahad stepped lightly until he hit the carpet, hoping that would be enough to hide his footsteps. The doctor had already put away the logs, so he simply had to find the folder it was in. He opened the first cabinet and looked through it. The dates weren’t even close. Some of them dated back 20 years ago.

Looking in another cabinet, he found something even stranger. Logs dated back nearly 40 years. All in Watson’s handwriting. But that didn’t make sense. Watson was pushing thirty, not sixty. Galahad reached in but stopped short of pulling out a folder. One mystery at a time. He could deal with questionable ages at another time.

A third cabinet opened left the folder he needed in view. He reached in only to find it fitting snuggly in place. One hand wasn’t going to dislodge the dense stack. Using both hands, he tried to remove the object from the cabinet drawer. When it came loose, Galahad found himself falling back slightly from the sudden lack of resistance. His foot shot out to keep himself from landing on the floor, nearly pulling the rug out from under him. The air in his lungs caught in his throat as he heard the front door open. Actually, it sounded like it was slammed against the wall.

He looked down at his hands as Merlin’s voice rang out in the house. He had two folders in his hands, no wonder it was so hard to pull it out. But- which was the one he was looking for? In the panic that grew with Watson and Holmes’ voice filling in the nearby room, he shoved one of them back into the cabinet. Carefully, and as fast as he could, he slid through the door with the folder in hand and made his way to his bag just down the hall.

 

When he entered the sitting area as calmly as he could with his bag in hand, Merlin was pointing an accusing finger at Holmes.

“You’ve done something! I know you have!”

“People’s taste change over time, just because he liked a play a few years ago doesn’t mean he’ll still like it now.”

“Don’t give me that excuse. He said, right to my face, that he never remembered seeing it.”

“Well, he is stressed. It possible that’s affecting his memory.”

“Merlin, it’s not that big of a deal.”

“Yes, it is! You saw the pictures you had taken from the previous time. Yet you don’t remember a single time!”

Galahad awkwardly walked by the trio, not looking at any of them. He was not about to involve himself in that kind of drama. Especially not when both Merlin and Holmes were involved. Really, Watson was seeming like the calmest person in that conversation. Anyone who could stay calm when those two were acting up has a skill unlike any other.

 

“What the heck? Who are these people?”

The trio flipped through the papers in Ritsuka’s room. Galahad’s house was out of the question- lying through his teeth that his father was out of town so he couldn’t have people over. Arjuna’s was still under investigation. There was no way they’d be doing this in public, so Ritsuka’s house became the place. Her father was busy in his office, telling her to get him if they needed anything. Galahad wondered how different her father raised her from his own. Both were raised by single fathers but they were still so different.

The folder, dated 5 full years before their interrogation left all of them confused. He must have shoved the wrong one back. The most confusing thing, however, was one of the people.

Vrisha Jani, a 29-year-old mute woman with a striking similarity to Arjuna’s brother. Ignoring her single visible eye that was a deep red color, she looked as if they could be twins. They would be the same age at this point. The muteness was a problem for the interview, yes or no questions were the most common with her file. The few that required more than that were written out and scanned. She was deemed unsuspicious and highly unlikely to be the perpetrator of the crime at the end of the investigation.

Looking through the small file built on her, all of them found some strange things. Her weight was normal for a woman, yet she was listed to looking a little underweight. She had a daughter that was considered her little sister, a small note of her having her at such a young age being the reason. No one had ever heard her speak, yet they had seen her start before stopping herself. There was a side note stating it was believed she had lost her voice and did so out of habit. A bartender with extensive knowledge of alcohol yet she reportedly never had a drink in her life, not even drinking a little with customers like her co-workers. Despite having a daughter, she no longer had the ability to reproduce naturally. Not incriminating, but definitely odd.

“Kharti, do you know this woman at all?”

“No, I’ve never heard that name in my life. Why does she look so much like him…”

“Maybe you’ve got a secret sister?”

“I sure hope not. My brother’s enough sibling for me.”

“What does that even mean?”

“I have no idea.”

 

A loud crash shook the trio. A wave of panic covering all of them as they rushed out of the room. There was no way a ghoul would target a home right? It wasn’t like there was anything to attract one here. Then again, they did have living souls in themselves. But so did everyone else in this city.

“Papa! Are you okay!?”

“Ohhh...my hip. I think I cracked my hip.”

“Papa…” The tone of exasperation was not to be mistaken for anything else.

Galahad and Arjuna shared a look. What kind of person popped so loudly that it sounded like a crash? Probably the same kind of person that wore a turtleneck sweater near summer. The man got up and rolled his shoulders, sending a similar sounding pop out around the room. It was loud enough to make the two visitors jump. Seriously, what the hell made those kinds of noises!

 

They looked over the files once again- trying to figure out what they could even do with unrelated that had nothing to do with their case. Twelve different files with no clear connection to the current ghouls. But then they found a connection, this was for a ghoul investigation.