“The incident occurred at…”
Natasha spread the documents over the table as she spoke.
“A tourist hotel in the snowy mountains. Do you know Westminster Hotel?”
“If I recall, it’s famous as a resort. I always wanted to stay there once, but…”
“I stayed there when I was around five. That hotel you see, it was built as if stuck fast to the back of a cliff. So both the first and roof have their own exits.”
“The roof too? Where is that connected to?”
“There’s a viewing platform. The view was really nice, and I think they had some binoculars you could use at a charge. Also, you can cross from the roof to the top of the cliff. There’s a forest just past it, so you’ve got to try picnicking there.”
A resort hotel. A forest on a cliff, and a viewing platform. It didn’t seem I could manage it with mental memos, so I wrote it down.
“The incident came to light November 12th. Early morning. One of the hotel’s security found the body while doing his rounds through the first floor’s park.”
“Park? Just how big is the place?”
“Yeah, I don’t have any detailed documents right now. By my memory, it’s quite wide. That place’s park had a large pond and orchard and some scraggly hedges… and there were some strange bronze statues around; a little ominous, I guess?”
Bronze statues? And why?
“The body was found right next to one of the statues stationed around the hotel, it seems.”
Natasha turned through the papers. There was an overhead map of the scene.
On the left side of the rough sketch, a vertical line was drawn, and beside it was the word hotel. So from that line to the left was probably the hotel. That would make the right side the park.
Perfectly in the center of the park, a circle was drawn.
“What’s this circle?”
“That’s the statue.”
“What sort of statue is it?”
“Wait just a minute. I’m sure I got a picture of it with the documents.”
Natasha looked through the scattered photos atop the desk one by one, before crying out, ‘Eureka! This is it!’
I accepted the photo from her. On it, surely photographed from below, was the form of a warrior riding a white horse.
The horse and warrior were of stone, but the verdant sword thrust out towards the sky was reflecting the sun’s light. No matter how you looked at it, that was a real sword.
And that sword was smothered with a red liquid.
“Is this blood?
“That’s right. It’s a match with the victim’s blood type. And it’s undoubtedly real blood.”
Bronze statue. Sword. And blood.
The sword in the statue’s hand had to be at least two meters above the ground. The statue was fixed to the ground, and it definitely didn’t look like a weight a single human could deal with.
“Um, I’d like to think not, but that wouldn’t happen to be the murder weapon, would it?”
“Of course not. The murder weapon’s over here.”
Natasha took out another picture.
“This is the murder weapon. It’s the holy sword Blutgang.”
I inspected the photo as I spoke. That tidy sheath held a simple sword that had a sense of age to it. Honestly, it looked blunt.
“What is this?”
“I’m telling you, it’s the holy sword. It’s received the blessing of the spirits, a true sacred artifact.”
I had a headache. What’s with this case?