Chapter 1: Prologue
KAITOU X IS BACK?
It’s been 3 years since the famous High School Detective caught the notorious Kaitou X and the streets of the city were finally rid of Japan’s most wanted criminal. However, witnesses beg to differ, and just last night the sickening Red Box appeared again in a quiet unassuming neighborhood in the X district. The victim is the 16 year old Kyo Fujihara. Her family is in mourning, but they were able to give a few statements.
According to Fujihara’s mother, Kyo came home at around 4 in the afternoon, grabbed a snack and headed upstairs. Her mother didn’t notice anything unusual and had assumed that the young girl was just tired. Her brother had notice a few light thumps coming from Kyo’s room, again the family didn’t notice a thing. However, when it was time for dinner, Kyo wouldn’t come down even if she was called. The mother went up to Kyo’s room to wake her only to find a few scattered textbooks and papers and the horrifying Red Box slowly staining the carpet. The police were notified immediately. Specialists have speculated that a Kaitou X admirer, similar to… Continued on page 4
ARCHAEOLOGIST FOUND DEAD
Jonah Sinclair and his family’s bodies have been found! Jonah Sinclair was a rising star in the archaeology field and was frequently asked to join several expeditions all across the globe. The half Japanese, half English archaeologist’s most recent trip led him to the dessert fields of Egypt for 2 years. He and his family were back in in Japan for the unveiling of the new Ancient Egypt exhibit at the X Museum. They left with their chauffeur for a private viewing party, leaving their only daughter Arsinoë at home with her aunt. They never came back home.
Police have been adamantly searching for the missing family for months with no leads until yesterday morning. An old married couple happened upon the wreckage of a Subaru. Upon closer inspection, the family saw 4 corpses lined up at the foot of the wrecked car. 3 were perfectly embalmed and showed no signs of rotting as well as stripped completely bare except the cloth bandages wrapped around their bodies. The fourth body only had a bedsheet tunic wrapped around the waist. The corpse’s head was severed and in its place was a jackal’s head sewed on haphazardly. The jackal head and body of the corpse were in varying stages of decay. All 4 bodies had their insides removed with no signs of any cuts or outside marks to indicate that any incision was made.
The police have proposed that the murderer had extensive knowledge about Egyptian cultures in order to mimic the mummification process practiced hundreds of years ago, and some have suggested … Continued on page 7
Chapter 2: Client [Arsinoë]
Neuro and Yako get back into the swing of things
They were quiet during the walk to their client’s home. Before the Sicks incident, before any major threat came to the Demon’s food source, Neuro would have been dragging the teenager by her collar and comparing her to trash cans along the way. However that fiasco was over, and Yako certainly didn’t wish to be harassed to that degree again. But she felt like she was waiting for some form of abuse to happen, and for lack of better words, the anticipation was killing her. She’s exhausted of being so high strung during the month Neuro’s been back and this silence certainly wasn’t helping her relax.
“Be quiet slug, I am trying to enjoy the smell of this puzzle.”
Yako quickly shut up and caught up a bit to the Brain Eater’s strides. Was the scent that enticing? She asked herself. Her question was answered with the Demon wiping away his corrosive saliva with a sleeve. His eyes were frenzied, and the grin plastered on his face only seemed to grow wider and wider at the prospect of eating the mystery.
Now it certainly wasn’t farfetched to say that Yako missed Neuro. She was a sentimental human being, its in her nature to miss people, even if they didn’t miss her.
“Has something caught your interest little louse?”
The blonde just shook her head smiled. “I’m just happy that you’re back Neuro.”
“Well in that case,” said the Demon with a smirk, “Ring the doorbell for your master.” She felt his gloved hands in her hair slam into the doorbell of their client’s home. We’re already here? Was the only thing in her mind when she felt her face connect with the doorbell.
“How strange, there’s some dirt on the doorbell. Wow sensei! You’re cleaning it up with your face, how kind of you, I’m sure the client appreciates your charity work.” Goaded the Hellspawn with an innocent face.
“I-i take that back, I’m happier without you!” said Yako as she was struggling to prevent her assistant from slamming her face into the doorbell again. “Neuro, stop it.”
“But I thought you were happy that I’m back and recovered from my injuries?” He teased.
He released his grip on her head when the sounds of scratching approached the door. It was followed by the sounds of shuffling feet and the unlocking of the door which opened with care. The first thing Yako saw was the wavy honey colored hair and deep brown eyes of the dog that stood near its owner.
The owner was, by her body language, reserved and quiet, maybe even shy. She was young, only a few years younger than the detective. The only other thing Yako noticed was the guide cane she was holding and how the girl’s eyes were shut.
Yako was opening her mouth to introduce herself before Neuro elbowed her face into the door frame. “Are you Arsinoë Sinclair-san?”
“Y-yes.” Said the girl with a noticeable flinch when she heard Neuro’s cheery voice. “Are you the detectives my aunt hired?”
“Yes! This is the famous detective Katsuragi Yako and I’m her humble assistant.”
Said detective finally managed to get Neuro’s elbow off of her with a dissatisfied huff. Yako waved her irritation away, after all, letting her emotions afloat was awfully unprofessional. “It's nice to meet you Arsinoë-san. I’m extremely impressed and fascinated with your father’s contributions to archaeology, I’m truly sorry for your loss.”
The girl smiled at Yako’s word’s. “Thank you for your condolences Miss Detective. My aunt and I are truly grateful that you accepted this case.”
“Big or small, sensei would never turn down an offer. She’s a workaholic like that!”
“Well, please come in. Lori, living room. Please follow my dog Miss Katsuragi, Mr. Assistant.”
The golden canine was already down the hall when she barked to indicate that they should hurry up. Yako looked at the walls framed with photos of the late archaeologist and his family on various expeditions. The house was very lovely, even without her father’s architectural knowledge Yako could tell that the Sinclair’s house was modern but cozy. It was terrible to think of the quiet girl living in a home that was emptier than ever. Dogs and relatives are fine, but it’s nothing compared to the daily interactions of a closely knit family.
The dog nudged the two to sit on a couch. After seating the two, the dog settled in at the foot of the opposite couch.
“Such a well trained dog!” said the blonde as she cooed to Lori. The dog got up and started to sniff Yako’s outstretched hand. “And well tempered as well!”
Lori grew tired of licking Yako’s hand and moved on, curious about the tall person sitting cross legged with a disinterested face. The golden retriever nudged the Demons leg only to slowly back up, snarling.
“‘Well tempered’? Looks like this mutt still needs to show some respect to higher predators.”
Yako felt the demonic aura creep out like tendrils and infecting the poor dog’s mind, filling it with horrifying images similar atrocities. She was caught entirely off guard and shrieked in surprise.
“Jesus Christ Neuro, why are you mind screwing the dog?”
“It is a form of asserting my dominance. Back in Hell, if anyone showed any disobedience to a figure with higher authority, they would have been subject to torture much more extreme than what this mongrel is experiencing.”
“Well we’re not in Hell are we? So what if the dog growled at you, it isn’t worth scaring the poor thing to death, especially when her owner is practically 2 doors away .”
He released his grip on the retriever’s mind and let it scamper away with its tail between its legs, letting his focus switch to the blonde. The Demon smiled wryly at her chastising. “My my, what a negotiator you’ve become! The slug has certainly achieved a competent level of rational ability while I was away.”
She sighed and turned away, resting her chin on her folded arms propped on the couch arm. “Though I appreciate the attention and compliment, I’d rather hear it without the condescending remarks you’re implying.”
“But Sensei,” he retorted, pulling up his innocent mask, “I’m genuinely moved by your efforts to change yourself. Sensei is such an inspiration!”
“Don’t you dare pull that on me Nougami Neuro. That empty mask is ridiculously easy to see through, and I’m honestly surprised to see people fall for that face.”
“I will keep it Sensei, seeing as our client is coming with refreshments.”
Oops I guess i never updated the fic on AO3 ;; I can't sleep rn so I'm updating it right now hh
Chapter 3: Dog [Analogy]
Contemplation and more case work
Shortly after he spoke, Arsinoë came in with her aunt who was carrying a tray of tea and persimmon cake. The blind girl settled herself on the couch. Lori trailed behind Arsinoë the entire time, determined to offer protection against the terrifying beast that sat across from her owner.
“Good afternoon Detective Yako-san, I’m Ueda Masami, Arsinoë’s aunt and guardian. Thank you so much for accepting our case.”
“Ah, it’s no problem Ueda-san. I can assure you that my assistant and I will do everything in our power to catch the party responsible.”
The older woman smiled at Yako’s determination. Her eyes shone with admiration. Such youth, such ferocity, they seemed to say.
“Well, as you know, my niece is the daughter of Jonah Sinclair-san. The police department found them some months ago,” she paused to take a calming breath. “Frankly, the police haven't been much help at all. They’ve been lovely helping us cope, but they’re just as lost as anyone else.”
“We’re going to tell you the same thing we told the police Miss Detective. Sinclair-san and my sister left with Marcus, my nephew, for a private viewing gallery for the museum. It was to commemorate the archaeological finds of Sinclair-san and his team.”
Yako nodded at that. "Yes, I recall that. Sinclair-san and his team were kind enough to let their artifacts into select museums across the world. He volunteered his university’s museum to showcase for part of the Japan tour."
"Papa always held his university close to his heart. Both he and mama were..." Arsinoë took a shallow breath. "They were sentimental like that."
Yako looked sympathetically at the girl. “Arsinoë-san, please don’t push yourself too hard. We aren’t here to make it difficult for you.”
“However, anything you are able to recollect is helpful to both sensei and I.” Interjected Neuro, tactlessly as usual. Yako glared at her demonic counterpart for his unnecessary comment. He smiled back innocently as usual while a sudden sharp pricking sensation threatened her back. It let her know that Neuro did not enjoy being reprimanded.
Arsinoë just quietly cleared her throat and nodded. “Yes, I understand that Mr. Assistant,” she said with a small pause, “Please just give me a minute.” Yako noticed that she started to curl in defensively and sink into the couch. Yako glared at Neuro again. She’s told him about this before, he needed to stop being so aggressively happy when meeting with clients, they get unnecessarily defensive and start restricting their body language. Neuro responded by pressing his claw or hair or whatever into her back. Then Lori moved in front of her owner, beginning to go into a more aggressive mode.
Yako felt the increasing pressure in her back and quickly slipped into a more casual tone. “Take all the time you need Arsinoë-san, we only want to work with you. Please, continue.”
“The unnecessary and unconditional loyalty the mutt has for its master is truly irrational Yako. It was willing to die for its master, even after being intimidated by me. What kind of force binds the dog to the human?”
“I dunno, I guess it depends on how long Arsinoë-san has had her dog."
Neuro subsequently tripped her. “I’m not interested in the mutt and the girl. What binds one species to another? What compels humans to keep lower beasts as companions?”
Yako got up from the pavement. “Thousands of years of selective breeding? We’ve domesticated several animals over our years of existence for food. We also started breeding for more desireable and more docile traits to better handle them or something. But for dogs and cats, we usually keep them as companions which kinda breaks the pattern.”
She glanced behind to Neuro “I mean, it’s not TO much different from what you’re doing with us, I think. The part with evolving us to produce your food.”
Yako dusted her skirt off. “Considering that you’ll probably outlive the entirety of the human race, I’m sure you’ll be end up breeding your ultimate puzzle through the constant stimuli you're providing Neuro.”
He gave a small hmmm at that.
“Actually, I heard a theory that wolves self domesticated themselves to be with humans in order to get benefits, this is all coming from a friend of mine by the way, and this symbiotic relationship grew. Now we ended up both evolving to the point where humans and dogs get extra hormones that strengthens relationships whenever they look at each other.”
Yako pulled out her phone to check the time. “Ah, Neuro, I gotta go meet up with Higuchi-san for lunch.”
“Very well. I won." Neuro said with a sly smile.
"Haha, I know you tear it all down Neuro."
His smile grew more devilish. "Really, you should just let me program the firewall and the antivirus software instead. It’ll be thousands of times more effective than that second rate hacker’s.”
She sighed. “If you did it, literally no one would be able to touch or hack it. Besides, it’ll be another puzzle for you to be occupied with for a short while.”
“Oho, challenge accepted, I look forward to solving this puzzle and breaking your hacker's pride."
Yako left it at that, and with a smile and a short 'bye', she left the Demon to his own devices.
As Neuro walked back to the office, in between memorizing where had the highest potential for a Puzzle, he began to reevaluate what musings Yako had babbled about.
Perhaps his counterpart was right. He was, in a way, "domesticating" humans and harvesting their puzzles. He also had several "companions" he keeps on hand. But why? No doubt they were useful humans, Neuro had chose to keep them close, so it was mandatory for them to be useful. But what about the fidelity exemplified by the blind girl and the mutt? The relationship was baseless, what benefits could be brought by being companions to humans at this point? The dog lives like a slave and acts like a fool, and yet it never struggles to break free from nonexistent binding chains. Humans also barely benefit from dogs anymore either, yet they still welcome a resource draining beast into their homes. Yet the devotion both have for each other!
He wondered if he would be able to create such a bond.
More chapter updates,,
Chapter 4: Date [Friends]
Just a snack break
“I gotta tell ya Katsuragi, your partner is one helluva monster.”
“At least you have fun programming our security systems. I honestly think that no government has a more secure firewall than us.”
“All to satisfy a single Demon and his insatiable mind.” he sighed in response.
“Haha, well you gotta admit, freelancing does have benefits.”
Yūya sipped some of his coffee and leaned back. “Hey, a little money never hurt anyone. Plus Neuro tests the extent of my abilities. It’s nice to get a breather like this after doing menial labor for those slave drivers.”
Yako hummed in agreement. “How is work by the way? The police use you for anything cool yet?”
“Nah, all of the stuff the NPA sends me are way too easy. The last thing that was remotely interesting was that terrorist thingy you sent me a few months back.”
She smiled at that memory. As soon as she told Yūya about her little predicament in Argentina, she could hear his breath hitch at the prospect of such a spectacular chance. Ever since HAL, the NPA’s been giving Yuya nothing but busy work which left him craving desperately for a bigger thrill. Yako ended up capitalizing on his urges and gained a valuable technological consultant for all her computer needs.
Why would she need one? Akane was perfectly capable with most things that have screen. Whenever Yako was confused with her laptop or with her phone, Akane was her go-to gal. Yuya on the other hand created such incredibly defensive fire walls which kept prying eyes away from her agency’s inner mechanisms. After all, international fame meant international threats. And with the sheer amount of attention she constantly attracts, she doesn’t need anyone trying to weasel their way onto their private network.
And ever since Neuro came back, well, he needed to do something to idle the hours away. As much as she missed him, Yako was not about to let herself become a plaything for the demon again. So as best she could, she suggested that Neuro occupy his time by dismantling the fire wall and check for weaknesses.
Somehow, miraculously, she got him to do it. Yako Katsuragi managed to convince the demon who devours mysteries to be her fire wall inspector.
All to keep him busy on their off days.
Not that it stopped him from using her as the subject of his rather over the top BDSM plays.
“What about you Katsuragi? Anything cool happened since you-know-who showed up?”
“Well we started getting back into the murder mystery genre but they haven’t been too difficult to really solve. The cases have been coming in a lot more steadily now, but again, it barely takes any time to solve ‘em. I’d imagine Neuro’s been having a ball with all these cases, but I have a feeling that he isn’t ever gonna be satisfied. Like, ever.”
Yuya sipped his coffee and stared out past Yako. “I had that feeling too.”
She sighs. “When will it be enough Yuya? Am I doing enough for him? Have I accomplished and evolved enough for him to be proud of what I’ve become on my own?”
Yako rubbed her temples in frustration. “It’s nothing but endless teasing from him, you know? He’s only mockingly praised my achievements and he’s still so goddamn fake with it, I just-” Yako clenched her fist, forgetting the cup of coffee in it. The contents spilled a bit and she gave a yelp as the hot coffee spilled onto her hand.
The clatter caused some heads to turn around, but the din of the café quickly returned. Yūya handed her some napkins while eyeing her as she wiped her drink from her hand.
“I’m not a people reader like you Katsuragi, but my suggestion is for you to, like, legitimately talk to him about this?”
He jabs a stirring straw in her direction. “You told me about what happened between you guys three years ago, during that giant showdown against Sicks, about how he trusted you enough to take care of X all by yourself.” Yuya sticks the straw into his mouth and checks the time on his phone. “If that didn’t mean jack shit to him, well… you get the idea.” He stands up, flips his sunglasses down and grabbed the remainder of his coffee. “In any case, I gotta head back to work. Just see what happens when you talk to him.”
“Yeah, yeah. Bye Yuya, thanks again for the fire wall!”
The ex-hacker just waved bye to her and made his way back to the station.
Yako looked back at her now empty cup and stared idly at the biscotti crumbs on her plate, entertaining ways to even begin to approach Neuro about this topic. None of them ended that well.
Her phone chimed with a familiar ringtone and she glanced at the screen, a little wary of the incoming text.
--> Come to the office
Followed by one of his terrifying new emoticons that was more threatening than it seemed and it was moving very suspiciously on the screen somehow?
Yako groaned again, ran a hand through her curly locks, gathered up her stuff and then left to do whatever menial task her demon boss came up with.
Woah new content! I'm gonna have to remember to update FF for this chapter