「Foreigner is back again!」
I smile at the kids who are following me around.
In my heart, I want to hit them very badly.
Especially the kid with the shaved head who pats my butt. My ass is not cheap. I'll send him a bill with interest when he comes of age.
But as soon as they saw Fumio Kijima and Saori Moribe enter the park, the kids' annoying attention shifted to them.
「Fumio, you're late! Stupid!」
「Fumio! You're so stupid!」
「Shut up, you little brat! I won't stamp it!」
「No.. the stamp! Even though, you’re Fumio! I'll tell auntie!」
「Yes, yes, I get it, I get it」
Fumio bows lightly to me as he brushes aside the kids who are clinging to him.
「Well, let's get started. Saori-chan, please!」
Saori presses the play button on an old-fashioned boom box with an unfamiliar brand name “Aiwa” on the bench.
The long beginning start was characteristic of cassette tapes. The first second or so of the sound was distorted, as if the tape was being stretched.
Nevertheless, somehow, a light piano sound in D major resounds, and the radio gymnastics starts.
The kids started to do the exercises as hard as they could when the music started. They finish the second part of the exercise, and Saori presses the stop button to end the exercise.
I walked up to Saori as the kids lined up in front of Fumio to get their stamps.
「You too. Claudia, why are you come here again?」
「I've been thinking that I should integrate myself into the neighborhood community. I'm an outsider in many ways...」
「You certainly look like a foreigner, don't you?」
「Inside, though, I'm very much Japanese. Anyway, how is my Onee-chan? Is she strict?」
「Yeah... Coach is... a little scary... I guess. And Teruya-senpai too... She's loud」
（She's really like a little animal. This girl...)
I couldn't help but laugh at Saori, who turned her head and let out a faint voice.
Yesterday and today, I participated in radio gymnastics and talked to her, but she doesn't seem to have sold her soul to the devil or anything like that.
Except for the fact that my abilities don't work on her, she's just a girl, a girl who's more weak-minded than most.
I wonder if it's Fumio who's suspicious after all.
At least, I had Tachioka keep an eye on Saori, but it might have been in vain.
Oh well... It's Tachioka anyway.
While I was thinking about this, Fumio came up to me after stamping.
「Good morning, Claudia-san, you're early again」
The smiling Fumio is ugly, but he has a surprisingly high likability in my mind. To be honest, I'm not sure what it is about him.
「Actually, I'm a nocturnal person, but I'm putting my best effort. Even now, my eyes are watery」
「So you're going home to sleep?」
「Yes, I'm going to sleep, sleep a lot. Sleep, sleep, sleep」
An idle exchange.
To tell you the truth, I'd like to quickly ask a critical question and settle the matter black and white, but I don't want to get to the core of the matter and have to bare my fangs now.
After all, for Detective JK, all we need is to find out who did it and make it public. That's enough to get our name out there. It's the police's job to catch them.
However, the powerful maid I encountered last night saw my face too. If Fumio or Saori is the culprit, it would seem that they should be more careful....
「Even so, Fumio and Saori seem to be good friends. Maybe you guys are dating?」
It was an unthinking comment, but Saori reacted excessively.
「W-we're not dating! We're not in a relationship! Oh, yes, childhood friend! We're childhood friends, so it's only natural that we're close! O-onii-chan!」
Her face was red, and she was screaming, waving her hands in the air. I can only imagine how she must be feeling.
「Well, of course... Onii-chan is so cool and popular... I mean, I... If I had the chance... You know...」
While Saori is mumbling in the direction of the day after tomorrow, Fumio whispers to me in a whisper.
「Don't tease her.... Saori-chan is a very sensitive girl, she can't say no even if she doesn't want to. If you were to tell her that you're going out with me, that would be a problem, wouldn't it?」
（I wonder... These guys are so troublesome. Especially when Fumio has no intention of lying in his statement...)
「Hey, Fumio, is Saori and you like this all the time?」
If so, I pity Saori.
「I mean... It's only recently that I've started talking to Saori-chan. We used to go to school together when we were in elementary school, but I don't remember much about it...」
「Is that so? Saori」
「Well, I happened to be helped by Onii-chan, and we only started talking again last month... I think」
After we parted ways, on the way back to my house, I tried to sort out the details of the incident.
If I could get access to the police investigation information, I would be able to get a clearer picture, but for now, my sources are newspapers, magazines, the Internet, Tachioka's story, and Teruya's story.
The first person who went missing was a female student named Misuzu Kurosawa.
She went missing after arriving at school and was found in front of the school in the middle of the night 13 days later.
Misuzu Kurosawa was followed by Masaki Haneda, who went missing.
And after that...
Tachioka encountered a devil and had part of his memory stolen.
That man was abducted from a love hotel.
Tachioka says he was invited there by a girl named Mai Fujiwara, but that's a lie.
I heard from Teruya that Mai Fujiwara was a regular prostitute. Tachioka probably bought her for money.
What complicates matters is that Mai Fujiwara is crazy about Fumio.
The relationship between the two is not clear.
It might be better to ask Tachioka more about it.
Then, eighteen members of the track and field club went missing.
This is where the story suddenly starts to get complicated. There is a lot of missing information.
One of the girls went missing after Fumio told the police that he was suspicious.
However, the girl was just trying to make Fumio feel guilty for rejecting her.
（Fumio, you're really popular. Why is that? Even though, he's so ugly)
And the first student who went missing, Misuzu Kurosawa, is on her way home with Fumio when men in a large black car kidnap her. It seems that not only Fumio but also Misuzu Kurosawa's boyfriend witnessed this, so it is not a crazy story.
As for the other kidnappings, it is known “that door” was not used for this one.
What I don't understand is what happened after that.
After all, the next day, Fumio “suddenly” rushed into the office of the Kamishima clan.
A summary site on the Internet says that he saw a black van carrying Misuzu Kurosawa, but honestly speaking, a person who can raid a yakuza's office for such a reason must be crazy.
Moreover, right after Fumio's raid, the police conveniently followed him into the office.
It's a convenient turn of events that would make a novel.
The police found Misuzu Kurosawa, Masaki Haneda and several other women in the office, all members of the track and field club except for four first-year students.
According to Teruya, the powerful maid who came after her the other day is one of the four first-year students who are still missing.
In other words, it is safe to assume that these four students are still in the hands of the devil.
Teruya's sister, Anna Kamishima, and the other members of the gang were arrested. Fumio was arrested as well, but was released soon after.
On the Internet, there was an atmosphere of heroism toward Fumio at first, but as soon as his middle school graduation photo was exposed, it was concluded that he was just a bullied kid who lost his temper and attacked the gang while crying and screaming.
Even now, when someone writes an angry post on the Internet, they say, “He’s strong when he’s angry!“ and is often used as an ASCII art.
Anyway, the timing of Saori's “saved” seems to be right here.
『All the time, I mean... I've been talking to Saori-chan only recently. We used to go to school together when we were in elementary school, but I don't remember much about it』
Fumio was not lying when he said this.
In other words, it's impossible that the two of them conspired to do something.
It was Tachioka who started the story that Fumio was suspicious.
Misuzu Kurosawa and Masaki Haneda, who were rescued, are currently in a close relationship with Kijima. He has a lot of girls with him. Looking at this situation, I can understand what Tachioka is saying. Fumio is the one who benefited the most from the “Mysterious Disappearance Case”.
On the other hand, the reason why Saori is suspicious is because my ability doesn't work on her.
If the blessing given to me by the angels doesn't work, I can't help but suspect that some non-human being is involved.
After returning home, I stepped into the dining room and found my sister eating breakfast.
「I'm home… Oh, I'm hungry! I want a fried egg with both eyes! And toast with jam!」
My sister looks at me as if she's annoyed.
「Claudia... Why don't you do it yourself?」
「Well. Onee-chan's fried eggs are better than mine, no matter what anyone thinks」
She puts the toast on her plate and stands up.
Then, when she put her hand on the refrigerator door, she turned around as if she remembered something.
「By the way, there was a mail from Tachioka」
「Hmm, what its saying?」
「He's writing in a very pompous way, but he wants me to call him back for details」
As she says this, she pulls out her phone from the hip pocket of her jeans, starts up a mail application, and slides it across the table.
I looked at the phone that had slipped into my hand and raised one eyebrow.
There was a sentence written on it.
『Saori Moribe has already died once』
(1) ASCII art, computer text art created with ASCII (American Standard Code For Information Interchange) code. ASCII art uses ASCII characters to produce images ranging from simple and functional emoticons to elaborate works of art.