After that, I spent some more time in the café, speaking to Jessica Belliqueuse to see what sort of person she was.
As she laughed with an awkward face, she’d answer pretty much anything you asked, but she didn’t really like talking about private matters, and if you asked about her family, she’d laugh, “Ehehehe,” to avoid the question.
… She had a few secrets. Of course, as long as she did her job properly, I didn’t care about that.
If there was something I learned, it was that she already received an acceptance letter from the college, and as long as she paid the matriculation fee, she’d be a college student starting next year. Of course, she didn’t have that money, so if played poorly, she may have to try again next year.
… She had no ability to plan ahead, that was a little unsatisfactory.
A mere eighteen years of age, apparently two months to nineteen… when I got a general grasp of the female magic swordsman’s lineage, I finally decided to leave the café.
… The flight was tonight. When I told her she’d be arriving at the destination point tomorrow morning, Jessica’s mouth formed a smile.
“I’ll be off, Mr. Daniel.”
As she said that with an utterly unclouded expression, she waved her hand and ran off.
Once I confirmed I could no longer see her back, I turned and made my way to my office. Just as she had something to do, so did I.
Before returning, I dropped by the bookstore to see if they had any material on Westminster Hotel.
Taking a travel brochure in hand, as expected of a first-rate tourist hotel, I thought. I found it at once. After purchasing it, I opened it at once outside the shop. After confirming the hotel’s phone number, I called it on my phone.
Briiiiinnggg… the dial tone continued for a while, before I heard the throaty voice of a male.
‘Thank you for calling. You have reached the Westminster Hotel.’
For a moment, I thought of naming myself, but I refrained. Rather than unnecessarily putting him on guard, it felt best I pretended to be a customer.
“Um, the truth is I’m searching for a hotel I could lodge at tomorrow. Are there still any vacant rooms?”
‘My apologies, sir,’ unsuited to his deep voice, the person on the other line continued on in a courteous, and polite tone. ‘At present, the hotel’s business has been suspended. We are not taking any room reservations.’
In this period of December? No, it’s a hotel where a murder took place, so did they close to prevent a scandal?
I thought for a moment, but then I saw in red letters, in the corner of the brochure.
※The hotel has temporarily been closed for the months of October, November, and December for renovations.
Wait, it was closed in November? Does that mean there were no guests on the day of the incident? And if it was currently closed, then who am I speaking to right now?
“Then I can’t visit the hotel? I really wanted to see the viewing platform…”
‘If that’s what it is, then have no worry,’ the person on the phone was trying to make his voice sound as cheerful as possible. But as his natural voice was throaty, it only sounded even more threatening to the other party.
… This guy wasn’t cut out for the service industry.
As I held such a trivial impression, the voice continued on its polite explanation.
‘Our hotel is, at present, open for visits twenty four hours a day. The viewing platform, of course, alongside the park, indoor pool, restaurant, sports gym, and many other facilities are open for public use. If you find yourself in the area, by all means, stop by.’
… But he added something on.
‘A portion of the viewing platform and the park have been closed off, so please keep that in mind.’
The viewing platform and park. Meaning the murder scene.
“Is that so? Then I’ll definitely stop by tomorrow.”
‘We are pleased to have you.’
The throaty voice said amicably.
“By the way,” I said after I confirmed his voice had died down. “Are you an employee at the hotel?”
‘It is as you say. I am the one charged with managing this hotel, my name is Rijkaard.’
The manager? Why is such a person on receptions?
Reading my question, Rijkaard went on. ‘As all of our hotel staff is currently on holiday, I am managing the receptions.’
“Is that so? But if that’s the case, wouldn’t there be a problem with security?”
‘Perish the thought,’ he hurriedly denied it. ‘Our hotel’s security is always perfect, and even now, we have a security team stationed up twenty four hours a day. Please feel ay ease.’
And wasn’t one of those guards just killed? I wanted to retort, but as I was playing a virtuous outsider, I didn’t put my mouth out on the matter.
After that, I tried talking a bit more, but I didn’t find any particular leads. After hanging up the phone, I chewed over our exchange.
… At the time of the crime, the hotel wasn’t in service.
But it was free entry. The manager did say a portion was off limits, but that was surely the crime scene.
Meaning it should’ve all been free access on the day of the crime, and it was simple to enter both the park and the viewing platform.
What’s this, it’s a terribly strange feeling. If I were to put this emotion to words…
… It was too well put together, wasn’t it?
It was an environment as if setting the stage right for the murder.
Without any guests, and all the staff on holiday.
It was free to enter, but the security system was active.
Oy, oy, isn’t that the perfect timing to do something without anyone getting in the way?
Is it coincidence? Or inevitability?
No, there’s no way it’s coincidence. Someone was pulling the strings. I could only think so.