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Chapter 6: Duel Noir 3
"It's over!" Asakura shouted at the air, out of nowhere.
Who has he been talking to this whole time?
"It's Game Over. Hurry up and call the police here already! You're watching, aren't you?"
"Who exactly are you talking to?"
"Those bastards watching us."
"Didn't I say? The Duel Noir is broadcasted as a show. I dunno if it's a live broadcast or not, but at the very least there should be someone watching us on the other side of a monitor somewhere."
"No way... There are security cameras somewhere?" I glanced around in shock. There didn't seem to be anything camera-like anywhere.
"Yeah, they've gotta have tons of cameras with microscopic lenses set up somewhere. I scoured the place looking for them myself, but I couldn't find a single one."
We're being watched, this very instant...
I wrapped my arms around myself to stave off the sudden chill I felt.
"Incidentally..." Kirigiri continued the conversation, expression as cold as ever. "Upon whom were you exacting your revenge?"
"I-Inuzuka-san?" I repeated.
"That guy... That piece of shit was the true culprit behind the serial arson case."
"But... isn't he a detective?" Not to mention, he was a Class 3 detective. Detectives don't just rise that high in the ranks every day. Wasn't that proof in itself that he was proactively cracking cases and fighting crime?
A detective like that wouldn't just...
"What, you think detectives can't commit crimes? You think detectives are all knights in shining armor and saints? Well, let today be the last day you ever think that. He's a goddamn fuckface. That bastard... committed crimes, over and over, so that he could solve them and make a name for himself as a detective. He's personally sustaining his own detective business."
"That can't be true..." It felt like everything I'd believed in up until that point was crashing down around me. Weren't detectives there to protect the weak? It shook me down to the very foundation of my identity.
Aren't detectives... heroes?
"Guess he really needed to pull some shit to rise in the ranks after the DSC showed up on the scene. Though really, it's a disgrace that he managed to make it all the way up to Rank 3. The world should be giving me a round of applause for this. I condemned evil to its grave. The world is better off... with Inuzuka dead."
"But... but..." I couldn't find the words past that.
"Why did you kill Amino-san and Enbi-san?" Kirigiri asked.
"Enbi looked like me, so I used him as a body double, just like you thought. Amino... Well, I thought I could use one more person for the dismemberment trick, so I picked him at random. Incidentally—you, young lady, I picked because you were the newest member. I had thought a newbie who didn't know left from right would play the role of the pitiful criminal just as planned."
"Hmmm, I see." Kirigiri crossed her arms and turned away, moving closer to the wall.
"In the end... even if I lost, I still got my revenge. I'm grateful to the Committee in that sense. Maybe these past few days have at least saved me. I got revenge, and fulfilled my life's purpose. It's a refreshing ending. But—it's about time for that to be over, too."
Just then, I heard sirens from outside, signalling to us that it was time to draw the case to a close.
"Did the people on the other side of the monitor call the police?" I swiveled my head towards the noise.
"The end is nigh." Asakura tossed aside the knife in his hand. "But, damn, I really panicked when I thought I might get set on fire. There I was, sitting there in the chair with a knife the whole time so I could shut the girl up when I needed to. I thought, if I'm found out, I'll take her down with me—I'll kill her even if I get a Game Over. But I never would have thought I'd be lured out of the armchair that way. I don't think she even knew I was afraid of fire... That was reckless..." He gave a pained smile towards Kirigiri, behind her back.
Maybe her determination broke Asakura's heart. No doubt, Asakura had assumed that I would indict Kirigiri as the culprit, and that would be the end of it. And in practice, I did suspect her. If she had made one wrong move, I might have even laid a hand on her. If that had happened, then I would never have indicted the true culprit, "Enbi" a.k.a. Asakura, and the 168 hours would have passed with his victory. Or else—in the worst case scenario, Kirigiri and I would have taken each other out, and then it really would have been And Then There Were None.
Thinking about it that way—Kyouko Kirigiri had saved me. Such a small detective solved such a big case. She had already proven her talent with no room for doubt. She had the power to fight back against crime. She was the detective that could be the real knight in shining armor.
Kyouko Kirigiri was becoming more and more intriguing to me.