Ibusuki took a deep breath, and exhaled.
The door before her led to the chief detective’s room. Around six years had gone by since she was first stationed at the prefect, but she had never entered this room before.
She resolved her will and knocked on the door. A voice called out, “Enter.”
As Ibusuki went in, the individual who replied sat at their desk, sitting with their back to the door.
“I heard you wished to speak with me.”
When Ibusuki started out, the man who had been facing the window slowly swiveled his chair.
That man… Chief of criminal investigations Kirishima Kankurou’s eyes were tightly shut. As if he was sleeping.
A black-suited figure, and facial features with gloom finely chiseled in. Some part of him gave off the impression of a funeral parlor. He slowly opened his eyes. As he raised his gaze, he took in Ibusuki’s face as if to intimidate her.
“… Detective Ibusuki.”
Even the demon officer who usually took charge at the scene, Ibusuki, stood transfixed before a bird of prey, faltering a bit.
“There’s only one reason I called you in. I have something I must say about my only son… about Kirishima Chizuru.”
“I’ve overheard that Chizuru has been found around crime scenes as of late. Is that true?”
Ibusuki realized she hadn’t been saying anything besides Yes the whole time.
“I see. What I want to inquire to is his conduct around the crime scenes.”
“Conduct… is it?”
“That’s right. I heard today’s amusement park case was the third.”
“… Let’s see. Yes, that’s right.”
Ibusuki hesitated for a moment.
To speak the honest truth, Kirishima Chizuru often stuck his mouth into police investigations. Even if she gave an order for those concerned to remain on standby, he’d arbitrarily slip out. The boy was a pain.
That being the case, even as a joke, he was still the son of the executive before her eyes, and it didn’t seem a good plan to express her honest intent.
… Those thoughts did sweep over her for a moment, but Ibusuki didn’t like to suck up to her superiors.
“To be quite frank, your son’s attitude is quite intolerable at times. First, he loiters around the scene. He doesn’t heed our warnings. And he sticks his mouth into our investigations.”
“… I see.”
Detective Chief Kirishima’s eyes narrowed in intrigue.
“He sticks his mouth into investigations, huh… then I hope you’ll also let me be, ‘quite frank,’ Ibusuki-kun. Has anything he’s said ever missed the mark?”
An unexpected point pricked, Ibusuki was troubled to respond. Looking back on it now, Chizuru’s words had always been to the point. More so the more she thought over it. So Ibusuki’s reprimands of Chizuru could be called unreasonable depending on how you looked at them.
That being the case, Ibusuki still had a reason she felled annoyed at the boy. Chizuru would always mandate it before the police had an opportunity to notice the truth. So Ibusuki would always be left unable to notice the gravity of his remarks, and ‘What is this guy even talking about,’ she’d end up thinking.
“… His words are relatively on point.”
“I see. I knew it. By the way…”
Kirishima folded his hands over his desk.
“There’s something I’d like to ask in regards to assistant inspector Atami.”
The topic suddenly changed, and Ibusuki felt suspicious. She couldn’t read the criminal affair’s chief’s thoughts.
“That’s right. He’s increased his arrest rate considerably these past few days.”
“Yeah… I also found it strange.”
On the detective track, Atami was an elite who had taken an exam to skip right over police box service and rise to the prefect. But as he was still a young man of twenty five, he couldn’t think on his feet at the scene. He made much too many blunders.
And the other day, he had let a murderer and larcenist run free, making quite a large incident of it. Since then Ibusuki had penalized him by putting him on, ‘grunt work,’ not giving him any important roles in the field.
“… Ever since he let that murderer/larcenist escape.”
The chief tapped his thumbs together.
“What was the first one he resolved?”
“The Dying Message Y case…”
“The Yumoto City Middle School Teacher Murder Case, huh.”
Correcting the official name, Kirishima stopped the movement of his hands.
“… And that’s also the first case Chizuru showed his face on the scene, is it not.”
“I-It couldn’t be,” Ibusuki opened her eyes, “What you’re trying to imply is…?”
The one telling Atami the truth was Chizuru.
That’s likely what he wanted to say.
But chief of criminal investigations, Kirishima Kankurou made cold eyes and stood. He was of relatively high stature, and he looked to be over six feet. Ibusuki was tall for a woman, but she wasn’t a match.
He turned his body towards the window, locking his hands behind his back.
“I’m not trying to say anything.”
“But let’s see… If in the million to one chance that Chizuru is… next time he tries involving himself in a case, make sure you keep him away. Alright?”
Unable to read his intent, Ibusuki was troubled to answer. But with the same intonation as if he had recorded his previous statement, he repeated an identical, “Alright?”
Ibusuki inevitably gave a “Yes,” in reply.
“And also… to make sure Detective Atami and Chizuru don’t get involved with one another, keep the two of them distanced.”
“… By which you mean to say?”
“Do I really need a reason?”
As he suddenly turned his head towards her, the criminal investigations chief’s face was colored with something close to ridicule. Ibusuki became irritated, holding some restless sentiment as she was left with no choice but to agree.
You can go now, hearing those words, Ibusuki left the room.
As she walked down the corridor, a hazy feeling swelled up in her chest.
… Just what went through the minds of that parent and child.
“Oyyy, Chizuru! Wake up! Rise and shine.”
His aunt Hibari tried to tear away his blanket. Chizuru groaned as he tried to pull it back. But without any physical strength, Chizuru was mismatched, and the cover was removed from the picture.
”Good grief, how old are you supposed to be… and I just pulled an all-nighter, you hear!”
“Ah, was your deadline today?”
Light novel author Hibari had said, ‘crap, it’s almost deadline,’ not too long ago.
“That’s right! I’m just a little off from finishing up… so Chizuru, you need to get up already and go to school.”
As he said that, Chizuru began pulling back up the cover that had fallen to his waist.
“… Don’t sleep!”
Hibari pulled the cover down to the floor. Chizuru shrunk his body into the fetal position.
“God, get a grip on yourself! My sister’d cry if she saw you like that.”
Receiving her words, Chizuru slowly raised his body.
With the movements of an old man, he rubbed his shoulders and stretched out his arms. As he turned his head, his neck let off a few cricks.
“… Come to think of it, it’s almost been two years.”
“Hmm? Yeah, you’re right. Just a month and then some.”
Hibari’s expression clouded.
“So it’s already been that long since she died.”
“… Which means I’ll have to meet that old man again? How bothersome.”
“That old man’s your own father. Still don’t feel like forgiving him?”
“If that guy actually shows some sincerity, I’ll forgive him.”
“You’re saying that again. I’m sure it’s hard on Kankurou-san too, and it’s not like he’s forgotten about my sister. The reason you don’t give up the ‘Kirishima’ name is also…”
“Because legally changing your name is a pain. At the very least, too much trouble for me.”
“No when you set, ‘breathing is a pain’ as your standard…”
At that moment, the doorbell let off a sound. Hibari went over to the living room and answered the intercom.
On her return she was smiling.
“It’s your friend from school.”
“Oh, how could you tell? Could it be she’s your girlfriend?”
“It’s not that. I only have one friend.”
“… That so.”
“Morning Chizuru. I came to get you.”
Beppu Ageha said as she waved her hand. The girl waiting in the entranceway had a flashy butterfly pin fastened to her hair.
“Good morning Ageha. What’s wrong? For you to come to my house.”
“No, see we usually meet at Yumoto Park, right? But the police put up a rope so I can’t go in.”
As they talked, the two left the apartment. Outside was a drab cloudy sky.
“Right. It seems there’s been a murder.”
“Hmm… it’s been quite dangerous around these parts lately.”
“That’s not true. Well, it’s not a comfortable thing for an incident to occur, but they do happen daily… hey, hey more importantly!”
Ageha put her hands together, looking at Chizuru with sparkles emanating from her face.
“How was your day at the amusement park with Yuzu-chan!?”
It’s true he had gone to the amusement park with his junior, Tsukioka Yuzuki. Ageha probably heard about it from Yuzuki. Come to think of it, while he’d said that to his aunt, perhaps Yuzuki was also a ‘friend’… as he was thinking that,
“Did something happen? Did anything happen?”
Ageha asked with shimmering eyes.
“… Nothing you were hoping for. If I had to say, a murder incident’s about all that happened.”
Ageha held her mouth half-opened, her hand sinking down. Eventually, she spoke.
“It’s been quite dangerous around these parts lately.”
The day’s classes ended, and school was over.
As a member of the go-home club. Chizuru promptly prepared to go home. His classmate Ageha also got her things together, “You only ever move quickly when you’re going home…” she mused.
“I’m sleepy. So I want to go back quickly and sleep.”
“Today’s a Thursday.”
“…? Yeah. What of it?”
“We have cram school.”
Chizuru crumbled at the knees.
“Uwah… this is the worst. Uwah…”
“You don’t have to be so depressed. Not that I’m going today.”
“Eh? How unfair. Then neither am I.”
“No, no, it’s not unfair, I have to manage my funds. And even if I’m taking a break from cram school, I’m going to club. For right now, we’re quite busy.”
“Ah, come to think about it, I heard from Yuzuki. You’re writing a special feature on the student council president, right?
Ageha held up her index fingers, pushing them together as she answered.
“Right, right he’s returning from England… Right now, the school’s ablaze with all sorts of talks about him.”
Even if you told him that, Chizuru had a nature where he couldn’t hold interest in someone he’d never met before.
But Ageha kept talking on at her own pace.
“But you see, interestingly enough, that student council president you see. Just like you, he’s…”
At that moment, the door to the classroom was opened.
Into their homeroom, the special class’ classroom, that individual boldly stepped in. With the school’s uniform blazer and a necktie firmly over his body, he stopped his feet right in front of Chizuru.
Chizuru tilted his head in confusion. What could this person want, thought he as he looked at the details of his face.
Bespectacled, on the handsome side, with a stern set of eyebrows. His even cut hair was often visited by a comb.
“Uum, who might you be?”
The boy made a look of shock, “… Hah?” he muttered. Ageha pulled at Chizuru’s sleeve in panic.
“Chizuru, it’s the president! The student council president.”
“Ah, yeah, yeah.”
He cleared his throat.
“… I’m the SC president, Noboribetsu Koushirou.”
He named himself, but Chizuru wasn’t particularly impressed. Now that’s a long name, was all he thought.
“You’re Kirishima Chizuru-kun… right?”
“Ah, yes. That’s right. Why do you know?”
Chizuru asked aimlessly.
But without answering that, Noboribetsu leisurely raised his hand, thrusting out his finger right in front of Chizuru’s nose.
“Kirishima Chizuru-kun… i need you to take part in a deduction showdown with me.”
The student council president, Noboribetsu Koushirou clearly declared.