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Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]

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#1Akira Shimada 

Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:50 am

Akira Shimada
How in the world did Nilan find out about everything that ever happened? She would never know. Perhaps the incursion had left him with intel regarding the presence of both his favoured Rune Knights in Orchidia. He had already worked with Akira already, despite being aware of everything. The man had been rather pleased with her work too, but clearly he expected to see the duo to be cracking cases together, just like the old times. The Shimada had no real knowledge about any of this though, she merely accepted the offer to share another coffee with the inspector out of courtesy. Little did she know that a similar offer had been extended to a certain ex-healer.

The oblivious Shimada was actually glad to have had the opportunity, because while the injury and the lack of a functional magic had her feeling rather down, she still wanted to offer the services of her sharp mind. Maybe the inspector could utilise her skills to solve a case or two. She was meaning to meet him and ask him if she could, although she dreaded his refusal, given her state and the potential dangers that often surrounded the high profile cases. Maybe he would offer her a team to guide again... In all fairness, there was a high chance she would have to give up on her true mission and accept a fate similar to the inspector's, given her incompetence derived from unfortunate circumstances.



Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:50 am

Orchidia was surely going through a terrible time. It was subject to the demonic incursion first, then there were the mutated plants, and now there was a murderous madman on loose. Haru, of course, wasn’t aware of that last problem yet. When Nilan requested to meet with him, he assumed there was more development with the plant problem.

Haru made his way to the teahouse and reached the location a few minutes earlier than planned. The weather was getting worse by the day and his cloak wasn’t doing the job of keeping him warm enough. He had to wear a couple more layers of clothing and a scarf to escape the winter’s sting. As he entered the building, he was greeted by a waitress. Haru smiled at her while he removed his coat and scarf. The smile froze as his eyes fell upon the face that brought a hotpot of mixed emotions.

Who else could do that to him… except Akira Shimada.

The orange-haired swordsman sighed and walked up to the table where his old partner sat. They have been on a rollercoaster even after their recent reunion. He had invited her to the Rune Knight event in the hopes of getting her back into the faction. But that backfired horribly. He didn’t blame her for reacting that way; only wished she had the maturity to think of the bigger picture and hold her tongue.

Honestly, Haru had no idea who Akira was anymore. She had changed quite a lot if he was to trust the rumours. But he didn’t have to blindly believe them. She was right there. He can ask her. “Shouldn’t you be resting some more?” he asked, once he was near her table.


#3Akira Shimada 

Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:51 am

Akira Shimada
And there he was again. She was really going to take some time to get used to the change in his appearance. She almost mistook him for another man, perhaps because she wished he was, just to avoid the awkwardness that immediately clung to the tense atmosphere that hung between them. She'd arrived at the tea-house earlier than the inspector and apparently earlier than her intended partner. This could just be a coincidence, but especially because Nilan was still not here, it felt more like a set up. It seemed as though the older man was politely offering these two a chance to dissipate the unease and reconcile.

She cleared her throat and scrutinised his form to attempt analysing his motives. After the general unpleasantness at the gathering, perhaps he bore ill-will towards her after all. As usual, he took the lead in commencing a conversation, she sighed softly, wondering if she had detected a note of concern or was he merely making small talk. 'I should be, but I feel like I'm wasting away in there.' she conceded. Her own dark coat was supported by the back of her chair, a woollen hat cap peeked out from one pocket, the other held the gloves and her scarf hung draped over it all.

'Do you frequent this tea-house, or are you here for some work?' she asked curiously, to confirm her hypothesis. The scent of baked goods permeated her lungs as she took another long draw of breath, almost as though preparing for another sigh. Idly she picked up the menu that was left on the table for her. The waitress who seemed rather taken by the swordsman dejectedly stood by Akira's table, She held onto the other menu, perhaps with hope that he wouldn't be joining the Shimada tonight.



Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:12 am

Much to the waitress’ disappointment, Haru did take the seat opposite to Akira as they delved into the conversation. She handed him the menu with a curt smile before walking away. Haru noticed none of that, however. His eyes were glued on his ex-partner’s face. “It’s not wasting away. It’s called recuperating. If- No. When the next attack happens, that town needs you as well. But I’m sure you already knew that,” he said, holding her gaze as he spoke.

The tension was real. His brain oscillated between the several modes. It identified the person sitting opposite him as a friend, and in the next second, it saw her as a stranger. And in between those two was that fluttering feeling where it saw her as the girl he longed to be with. The whole ordeal was new and strange to the young man, and he looked down at his menu aimlessly to escape the awkward silence.

Thankfully, by the time she asked the next question, he had had the time to compose himself a bit. He looked up at her as he replied. “No. I’m here because Inspector Nilan said he had something to-” just then the door to the teahouse opened and in came the Inspector with a few other Knights. “Ah… Speak of the devil,” he said, looking beyond Akira towards where the group were. The inspector spotted them almost immediately and waved to the two. Haru waved back and the group joined the duo.

“Sorry if I kept you guys waiting for long,” the inspector apologized as he took the seat next to Haru. For some reason, seeing that Akira and Haru weren’t there alone made the waitress extremely happy. She returned to the table with more menus, looking chirpy.


#5Akira Shimada 

Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:04 am

Akira Shimada
She scoffed softly at his words. It was soft enough for him to miss the sound, but perhaps not the dismal expression that went with it, if he was still looking her way. For the most part, it seemed he was content with avoiding eye contact by hiding behind that menu of his. It was unfortunate for the Shimada that his inquiry was borne less out of concern for her and more for the people she was meant to defend. Perhaps, that was just a rouse, she could hope, but if it wasn't, the Shimada couldn't blame her ex-partner though, given everything...

Little did he know that it wasn't just the injury that would probably prevent her from taking part in anything too risky, not unless she gave into that lurking death wish of hers. She was debating whether it was prudent for her to let him know about her lacking magical skills. Maybe not yet, after all she did have the wand. Though she still had to experience what its powers offered.

The weapon was laced through the belt loop of her trousers. She still favoured all black, though her woollen cap was greyish and her gloves were a girly pink, not that she was too great at being sneaky anymore, given the golden orb that floated over her head. Before she had made up her mind about divulging her weakness, he chose to reveal that it was in fact the Inspector who had invited him to the cafe. His revelation was in perfect tandem with the inspector's arrival too and he brought with him three other Knights, all sporting their uniform. 'The devil indeed.' she muttered as arrangements were made for them all.  



Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:52 am

Haru sat there staring at the menu, pondering on ways to dissipate the awkwardness between the duo. He couldn’t help but steal glances towards the golden orb that hovered above Akira’s head. The swordsman wondered if it was okay to ask her about it or if he should let her explain it herself. Before he could decide, however, the inspector and his trio arrived.

“Not at all. We just walked in,” he replied to Nilan, downplaying the time so that he didn’t feel bad. Besides, he had come on time and it wasn’t his fault that Haru had reached there earlier than planned. “Great! Since both of you are here, let’s get down to business,” Nilan said. Until then, Haru had not put the pieces together. He only realized the inspector had deliberately got the two together knowing that they used to be partners. Or maybe he assumed they still were. He turned to look at Akira and raised an eyebrow. It had only one meaning; he wanted to ask if she knew about the set-up.

He wouldn’t have much to time to converse with his ex-partner just through facial expressions. Nilan began to explain the situation and it caught Haru’s attention. It would seem there have been several murders within Orchidia and the Knights had no clue who the culprit might be. “I really need you guys on this one. These three are the ones who are officially assigned to the case. But… they got nothing,” he said. There was no disappointment or distrust in that statement. He just stated the fact as it is. The three Knights did look ashamed though. Haru noticed all three looked down at the table when he turned to them to introduce himself. “Hey! Don’t fret it. We’ll nab the one. Together,” he said, trying to bring the morale up for the three.


#7Akira Shimada 

Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:26 am

Akira Shimada
The questioning look that Tsuru offered was addressed by a nonchalant shrug on Akira's part. She'd had her suspicions when he showed up, but nothing concrete enough to raise an alarm. Besides, there was no harm and foul intended on the Inspector's part, surely her ex-partner realised that. Their attempts at quenching this thirsty awkwardness were barely successful. She noticed Tsuru's eyes linger on her orb yet again, she could see why, the girl had never bothered to supplement its existence with any sort of an explanation. This was mostly because she'd been consistently debating whether she should tell him the truth about her mission, or not.

For the moment, information relayed by Nilan interrupted such possibilities. She slapped the table with her menu while setting it down. A certain annoyance crept into her demeanour and her actions. 'You're kidding me right? Three Knights assigned to a single serial killer, in a time as perilous as this and they have nothing?' she said, darkly. Nilan too was taken back by the swift change in her temperament. She wondered if they would extend her the courtesy of benefit of the doubt and if they'd attribute her aggression to the cursed injury she'd sustained in her battle against the demons.

She was aware that the excuse for their incompetence sat snugly in her own accusation. With so much going on, it was probably difficult to keep track of the actions of a single person. She sighed softly, composing herself to avoid venting all her frustrations on the poor souls in front of her. 'Well, we certainly won't be needing these menus, you three are going to show me-' she stopped and cleared her throat to correct herself. '-us the crime scenes right away.' As she spoke she collected and stacked the menus.



Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:17 am

Haru had no idea where it came from, but it startled him as much as it did the Inspector and the other three Knights. He was the one known for such volatile bursts, not Akira. The swordsman wondered how much she had changed over the two years. The inspector stuttered before ushering the three Seated Knights out of the booth. “Yeah, show them the latest two,” he said, and then muttered something to one of them that Haru couldn’t catch.

The group stood up and was on their way towards the exit when the waitress came running. “What’s wrong? Did I upset you?” she asked. The second question was mostly focused towards Haru. “Uh… Something came up. We’ll be back later. Very sorry,” he replied. He didn’t dare stop while he spoke, afraid that he would be giving more ammunition to Akira to snap. “I sure hope so,” the waitress whispered longingly as she watched the Knights exit the teahouse.

Once outside, Inspector Nilan took his leave and commanded the three Seated Knights to show the duo the crime scenes. All three looked positively horrified as they began half-jogging towards the first location. Haru wanted to ask Akira not to be so harsh on her poor subordinates. But then, he realized, technically, he too was ‘under her command’ considering he was just a Lieutenant. So, he kept quiet and just followed.


#9Akira Shimada 

Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:16 am

Akira Shimada
Getting a move on served more purposes that just the one. If they could get the job done soon, they'd have done their duty and hopefully put a stop to this serial killer's nonsense. But additionally, she'd also not be obligated to spend as much time with the ex-healer. She already felt a stab of guilt at having channelled her personal frustrations at the Rune Knights, especially in the presence of Nilan who had remained her only friend through her tumultuous journey as she navigated her role and dealt with all the rumours that came with it.

She cleared her throat, almost as though that was enough to serve as an apology. Of course, it didn't. The damage was done, but if this sense of intimidation whipped them into working better, she was already accustomed to being the villain, at least this way some tangible good would come off of it, hopefully. The waitress must have missed her little charade since she had the gall to interrupt the leaving party. Aki was surprised that she was still bothered by the attention showered upon her ex-partner. She reeled in any emotions to prevent further damage to her reputation, especially if there was a risk that it came from a personal root.

The Shimada followed the three to the first location. A cursory glance was enough for the guy leading the group to announce that there was nothing. 'See, nothing.' he said, holding out his hands as though he was presenting the area. Akira narrowed her eyes and scanned the place herself, her gaze lingering on the slightly smudged chalk line. 'Who was the first on the scene?' she asked, if these three were in charge, it had to have been one of them. Her eyes now flitted between the three Knights.



Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:35 am

Their walk to the first scene was a swift one. In less than five minutes, they were entering a narrow side alley that was barricaded to keep the public away. The three Knights seemed to gain a bit of confidence once they entered the scene. They were happy to see that the place was exactly as they left it as. No surprises, which meant less chances of being yelled at. But, in all honesty, it was a lot of nothing. The chalk line displayed how the victim had fallen after being killed, with a bit of blood splattered on the nearest wall. Most of it had pooled right under the body—which was obviously taken away—and had dried up now.

The blood was mostly in the upper part, indicating the possible location of the injury that claimed the life. “Slit to the throat?” Haru guessed, and it was confirmed by one of the Knights with a simple nod. There really was nothing else in the scene. Maybe they could have gotten a bit more information if they saw the body, but it was too late for that now.

“Well, let’s see if there’s something in the other location,” he said, taking a step towards the alley’s exit. One of the Knights mumbled something that made him stop and turn towards the trio. It was clearly a disgruntled comment on how they were wasting their time and there was nothing there in the other crime scene as well. Haru didn’t hear what the man said, but he had heard enough of those mumbles to know they all had the same point. “Too much trouble to even show us the location now?” he asked, not giving a chance for his partner to have a go at them—which would have been worse for them given her mood.


#11Akira Shimada 

Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:46 am

Akira Shimada
The guy who had taken the lead in directing the group towards the crime scene, was also the one who was the first on the scene apparently. The other two were quick to throw him into the line of fire. But Akira just shook her head and said nothing. She was about to ask some questions, when Tsuru decide to take the lead, as per usual.

As much as she missed their dynamic, she was definitely not satisfied with his line of questioning. While his deduction about the wound was right, it wasn't the only thing to be gleaned from the scene. There was more to crime scenes than bodies, murder weapons and cause of death. Surely the Knights appreciated that right? Apparently she was wrong.

While there truly was no evidence, there were still a lot of questions that needed answering. Questions nestled between intent, also known as the mens rea and the execution of the act, or actus rea. Apart from that, the scene, despite its rather empty nature, was like a stage. There were entries, exits and witnesses and other possibilities to explore. She remained icily silent though, making her own notes about the alley and keeping a mental list for one final interrogation before she dismissed the three.



Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:05 am

If he had any inkling that Akira wished to spend more time at the crime scene, he wouldn’t have ushered the group towards the next location. He had no idea, however. So, off they went towards the second destination. This one was in front of an apartment building, in the main streets of Orchidia. Haru had no idea how there were no witnesses in such a wide and busy lane. The only explanation was that the murder occurred late at night.

The section of the street where the murder occurred was barricaded just like in the alley they were before. The first responder to this murder was also the same one. Haru figured he was a very diligent Knight. But then again, being there first doesn’t help anyone if he couldn’t gather any proper evidence.  Nevertheless, Haru didn’t say anything and focused on finding something that the other Knights might have missed.

The orange-haired Lieutenant looked around. There were many buildings. And way too many windows. The murderer made quite a bold move with this one. He couldn’t have possibly ensured there was no one watching at the wide open street from any one of these windows. So, he must have had other means to conceal his identity. “Who were the two victims?” Haru asked, trying to see if there were any similarities between the two.


#13Akira Shimada 

Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:58 am

Akira Shimada
On the way, she'd asked for the names of the three Knights. The keenest of them, who was the first responder to both the cases went by the name Vincenzo, the other guy was Lorenzo and the girl was Marta. With all the details that were not being shared, Akira had a plan brewing in her mind. She was someone who liked to work in silence and use the moments freed up by the lack of constant communication to form theories and hypothesis based on observations. She was the sort that would then use minced words to relay with precision, questions that would either serve to reinforce, confirm or destroy her theories.

She trudged along with the rest of the group to the next murder scene. Oddly, this one was starkly different to the one before. The set up was contrasted so much with the previous crime scene, that it made Akira wonder why they thought the murders were related at all. There had been no weapon on the scene yet again. The Shimada revisited her mental notes as her partner asked yet another question. This one was answered by Marta, who clearly had spent a fair bit of time poring over the files of the two cases, but was lacking the field experience.

Her previous answers had made it pretty clear that she'd barely taken anything from the scene. 'Both of them are female, both of them under thirty. One of them was a mage, the other was a scholar - a librarian to be precise.' she looked nervously at Akira, wondering if that was sufficient. 'Blunt trauma to the head...' Aki mumbled softly. From the Shimada's deductions the woman was attacked from behind and then the door to the apartment was closed and her body fell, slumped against it, the spatter and the trail of blood were still visible.



Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:51 am

There were some obvious similarities between the two targets of the serial killer. While they may have employed their wits in completely different fields, there was no denying that the two were smart; honing one’s magical capabilities and becoming a scholar, both required a certain aptitude. So, they were looking at a killer who hated capable women under thirty. That deduction—sound as it may be—doesn’t help the case move forward by much. Nothing that doesn’t get them a potential suspect was of much use to them.

Haru would have loved to help with the investigation bit, but he knew his partner was better at it. So, he let her take charge. Maybe this scene provided a bit more information than the first one. The three Knights didn’t seem to think so. The lady looked too terrified to even speak to the two of them unless she had some key information to convey. Among the two men, one kept whining about how this was a waste of time, and the other continued pseudo-praising the culprit for not leaving any evidence and pulling off a ‘clean’ crime. “You think all this blood here is ‘clean’?” Haru snapped, frowning.

When it become clear that the three of them weren’t going to be of any more use, Haru figured they would be better off dealing with this case just by themselves. The two of them, like old times. He asked the three of them to stay a few feet away from the duo and then spoke in a hushed tone to Akira. “Should we send these guys back to the station? The girl is clearly scared and the two guys are getting on my nerves,” he said.


#15Akira Shimada 

Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:08 pm

Akira Shimada
'Yeah.' Akira responded in a monosyllable to her partner. Her hands were on her hip again as she still worked on connecting the murders. There was no similarity between the execution or consistency in the locations, except the victims nothing else fit any checklist. They would have to get permission to go see the bodies, or at least put in a request to get the forensic reports. Given that the girl had seen the files, maybe she could shed some light on the matter before they were dismissed. Before Tsuru could send them away, Akira quickly exchanged a few curt words with the very nervous girl.

The Shimada had been right about her, she seemed to have something of a photographic memory as she relayed the reports word for word, or so it seemed. Easing up a little, she decided to help the poor woman along and offered her a quick pat on the shoulder. 'You're good, get these guys to get better too will you?' she joked. The oh-so-diligent Seated who had been the first on both the scenes looked a little disappointed, but the other one was practically beaming as though he'd just received the compliment and not her. Aki rolled her eyes, wondering if there was something up between them.

If time had permitted, maybe she would've allowed herself to make small talk. But her intimidating nature was working miracles and she wasn't just about to give that up yet. Perhaps and if they were done solving the crime, she could indulge in such things. Following which the three were dismissed and Aki turned to Tsuru. 'Coffee?' She asked, cocking her head. She needed a clear head and the kick of caffeine to connect the dots. Perhaps her Tsuru would be able to provide some insight too.



Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:28 pm

Haru was glad that Akira agreed to dismiss them. If he was to hear that guy explain how much of a waste of time this whole thing was one more time, he would have punched him in the gut. He stared down the two guys—who were quick to find the floor very interesting—while Akira conversed with the lady. Soon, the three were asked to report back to the station and the duo decided to go get some coffee while they discussed the case.

All towns and cities in Fiore always had at least one café within vicinity. So, it was not a difficult task to find one close by right away. Haru had always wondered how they managed the competition with so many so close to each other. But every time he asked the question to a café owner, they all said they were making good profit. The Lieutenant figured Fiorians must really like their coffee.

Sitting at a table right outside the café, the duo waited for the waitress to bring their cappuccinos while pondering over how to bait the murderer. “I wish we had the files with us. Would have helped to see how the two victims looked. Maybe there were more similarities in their physical appearance as well,” he said. Just as he finished the sentence, their coffee was served. Haru added sugar and began to sip on it, leaving Akira to her musings.


#17Akira Shimada 

Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:36 pm

Akira Shimada
The girl was rather distracted. Mostly because while she had plucked up the courage to share a beverage with her ex-partner amidst the bustle, she hardly knew what to say to him now that they were alone. At least this time there was no annoying waitress. In fact, quite the contrary, they were greeted by a waiter. She had an admirer in the man, but he also seemed super wary of approaching the Shimada. Akira was as oblivious as Tsuru had been about the whole thing though. The waiter must've chickened out of serving them, because their orders were finally taken by a woman, a rather practical one though... She wasn't batting her eyelids at Tsuru or anything.

Finally, he broke the silence. 'We... potentially could get them.'  Akira had been fiddling with her wand for a while. It was supposed to be her tool, now that she was without a functional magic. Perhaps she could use it to contact the girl and ask her to fetch the file. Most likely the three of them were using the break to grab a bite too, after all, it was just past dinner time. She seemed like the sort who wouldn't dawdle, at least not after she'd finally earned some praise. Now, the Shimada wasn't adept at using the wand yet, but she closed her eyes and focused, deciding to speak her thoughts out in a hushed whisper, so that they may translate to the woman correctly. That way, Tsuru would probably be able to deduce what she was trying to do.



Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:54 pm

“I suppose we could go to the station as well after we finish the coffee and get the files,” he said, unaware that his partner already had that covered. Haru couldn’t see that she was holding the wand in her hand as the table was blocking his vision. So, when he saw her closing her eyes and concentrating, he was rather confused. “What are you doing?” he asked, softly. He thought her curse was acting up and was a bit worried. “Is it hurting? We could continue this tomorrow if you want to rest,” he added.

However, as he sat up straight, he noticed the wand and realized what was going on. “Oh… That,” he said, slouching and getting back to his coffee. Haru wasn’t fond of that weapon. Had it been his call, he would have destroyed that thing on sight. But it wasn’t his call and all he could do was find solace in the fact that it was at least with someone who wasn’t going to use it selfishly for their own needs or with someone who was a fanatic. Despite Akira’s newfound ‘belief’, he still trusted that she was a sensible girl and wouldn’t hurt the innocents.

“Please tell me you asked the girl and not one of those nitwits,” he asked hopefully. Haru was judgemental to a degree, and he hated having to work with those who constantly complained about their job. Once they were done with their coffee, Haru decided to meet with the girl midway and get the files so that they could get to work quickly. “Let’s go. We got a murderer to catch,” he said. He paid for the coffees and got off the chair, ready to go.


#19Akira Shimada 

Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:07 pm

Akira Shimada
Akira scowled even though her eyes were closed. Tsuru was constantly talking while she was trying to focus, that didn't help at all. She held up the wand a little higher, so its head was visible over the table. She did so with the hope that Tsuru would notice the damn weapon and give her a moment of silence so she could relay her message accurately. Sure enough, her plan worked, but only sort of.

While it was clear that he noticed the wand, he didn't quite embrace silence immediately, first he made his derision towards her choice obvious and then decided to prod her about which rookie they should pick. Once she was done effectively relaying the message or at least so she believed, her eyes flared open to glare at Tsuru. 'Yes, the girl. The wand was the fastest way.' he was the only one she cared enough for, to defend her actions.

She rolled her eyes at his usual hurry, which was strange because for her sake he was willing to postpone this whole thing to tomorrow. The Shimada was on board though, there was something reckless about this murderer. Her throat felt scalded as she gulped down her own coffee, thankful for the generous dollop of foamed milk that took away the sting somewhat. They were on their way towards the station, but Aki had a feeling they may just end up reaching before the girl, considering that she may have chosen to go eat further away than they had. If only they knew what awaited...



Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:28 pm

Haru gave a childish frown when Akira opened her eyes and glared at him after her telepathy trick. The frown vanished as quickly as it came. Now that he knew she wasn’t bothered by the curse, he was keen on finding the murderer before there were more victims. The two were on their way to the station and were already halfway there. That’s when Haru noticed a large crowd near the entrance of an alley. It was the turn they had to take to go to the Rune Knight base. The Lieutenant didn’t have a good feeling about this.

He walked through the crowd. At first, they wouldn’t let him pass. But the moment they realized he was a Knight, the group parted, making way for the two to reach the scene. “Oh my god!” he muttered, seeing the dead woman in the middle of the crowd. It was Marta, the girl they had asked to get the file. Haru rushed to her side to check her pulse. They were too late. She was dead. He turned to his partner and shook his head.

“Did anyone see the killer?” he asked, looking around at the crowd. There was no response from anyone. Not a single person dared to make the slightest noise after that question was raised. In a moment, the ‘whiny’ Knight came through. Upon seeing the girl’s body, he stopped in his tracks. Shocked, he dropped the two sandwiches he held in his hand and ran towards the dead girl, screaming and crying. Haru had to physically hold him back to prevent him from moving the body. As much as he understood the sentiments, he couldn’t have him meddle with the crime scene.


#21Akira Shimada 

Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:47 pm

Akira Shimada
Akira was feeling a bit lighter, now that they at least had some plan for a headway. She was looking forward to comparing the files on the scenes, having all that information strewn in front of her would definitely aid in finding the missing connection. The two Knights walked swiftly side by side, Tsuru's strides were much longer than hers, but she kept pace, by just taking almost twice as many steps. The closer they got, the faster their pace, till they almost broke into a jog.

She wasn't expecting to have to stop before the turn, but knowing it was approaching at least she slowed down, which was the only thing that stopped her from banging into her ex-partner as he halted. 'Wh-' she swallowed her word as he made his way towards the assembled crowd. That sinking feeling must have been mutual. There were only a few reasons people gathered this way, either something flamboyant or something extremely macabre. It wasn't difficult to deduce that it was the second, from the haunted expressions.

There was no blood this time. There were bruises around her neck though. There were signs of struggle, but nothing too extravagant. This was almost a crime of passion, it was as though the murderer knew the girl.The files had been flung to the floor, but there weren't as many papers there as Aki was expecting. The real sense of loss, only stabbed the Shimada when she noticed the grief displayed by Lorenzo. Somehow, she'd remained detached up until then, but his organic reaction, caused tears to spring into her eyes. She blinked them away quickly and grit her teeth. This now felt very personal.



Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:06 pm

Lorenzo’s grief told Haru that his relationship with Marta went beyond that of a colleague. He could empathize because he knew he would be devastated the same way if anything were to happen to Akira. Now that he thought about it, he didn’t have to imagine the situation. He remembered how he felt when he saw her in that hospital bed after two years with a curse on her back.

It took a while, but finally, he managed to clear the crowd, convince Lorenzo to wait at the hospital, and barricade the area. The coroner appeared soon after with his squad and they began their work, collecting and marking evidence while the two supervised them. Once the area was secure and the body was sent to the mortuary, it was time to analyse the evidence and nail the guy. There was no time to rest. They can’t afford to lay traps and hope that the guy falls for it.

Fortunately for them, the murderer seemed to be in a particularly aggravated state that evening. One victim was not sufficient for him. The sun had set and Haru figured it would be best if they worked at the station where there could lay out all the evidence to come up with a plan. However, before they could reach, they were ambushed by a masked woman in an empty street. Haru noticed her presence first when he saw something move from the corner of his eyes. Since it was dark, he wasn’t sure if there really was someone there or if it was a trick of light. But, when he heard muffled footsteps, he was on edge and was certain that they were being stalked by someone. “We are being followed,” he whispered softly without making any outward change in his expression.

He hoped that the attacker would presume that they were unaware and make the mistake of striking so that he could counter attack efficiently.


#23Akira Shimada 

Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:26 pm

Akira Shimada
Aki balled up her fist in frustration, there was just so little that they could do. Though this murder did offer another piece of the puzzle, all the three murders had happened at night. Her teary rage filled eyes were enough to scare away the stragglers who tried to linger after Tsuru's professional clearing. The area was barricaded, Lorenzo was escorted away too, Vincenzo was nowhere to be found... Yet. There was still nothing concrete that indicated who the murderer was and Aki's mind was making up wild theories. They didn't quite add up, mostly because she was yet to find a motive. She followed Tsuru blindly, assuming he had something that was guiding him, a suspicion? A lead? Maybe he'd noticed something that she had missed.

She recognised that he was headed for the station, when it came into her view. It made sense. The damn files were now in evidence though, which meant that they had even lesser to work with. That's when she was forced to heed his warning. She'd been oblivious to the scuffle behind them, so consumed by the overwhelming and repetitive sense of helplessness. Upon being warned however, she was surprised she could miss the sound. In her defence, there was a muffled quality to the steps, someone trying very hard to mask their presence... and failing. 'Maybe, someone isn't happy with where this investigation is leading...' she muttered under her breath, as she took a sharp turn away from the Rune Knight base.

An attack right in front of the base would be too reckless for a killer who seemed to have a knack for leaving no evidence. 'If they are following us, we best lead them away from the quarters.' she said, it was apparent that they had the same line of thought as her partner. She was more than comfortable setting both of them as bait, it had become something of a speciality for her now. The scuffling got closer and Aki latched onto her partner's arm, mostly so that they slowed their steady pace. Although, it could be read otherwise.



Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:50 pm

After his warning, they took a detour into the less crowded narrower alley, away from the station. He knew what his partner was trying to do and played along. One might miss the footsteps in the main street, but not when there were no one else around. The stalker must have figured that as well, since she first slowed down and then came to a halt. After the footsteps stopped abruptly, Haru heard the sound of a notch. Arrow. In that same moment, Akira held onto his hand. He pulled her closer suddenly, jerking her away from where she was. Haru had no idea who the target was. But if it had to be someone, better him than her. So, he pulled her in front of him, putting himself between the attacker and Akira. Besides, if it really was the killer, the chances of him targeting Akira was far greater. He had been going after the ladies after all.

It would seem his instincts were right. Moment after he pulled Akira away, an arrow shot past exactly where she was. The killer, realising she had missed her mark, attempted to run away. But Haru was quick enough. He turned on his heel swiftly, and dashed towards where the arrow came from. The swordsman landed on the target with all his speed and pinned her down. She was quick, however. The instant she was down on the ground, she bucked her hips and threw him off, attempting to flee again.

Haru was down on the floor and realized she would escape by the time he got back on his feet and started chasing again. So, he pulled his trusty hilt, activated the blade and thrusted it at her leg. The wind blade pierced her left calf and she fell down. The masked killer dragged herself away from him and was in the middle of pulling the blade out of her leg when Haru called it back to his hand. When she realised she too was being pulled towards him, she let go of the blade and the hilt flew back to him. Now, her would was bleeding and he thought it unlikely for her to try fleeing again.


#25Akira Shimada 

Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty on Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:11 pm

Akira Shimada
For the briefest of moments nestled in her ex-partner's arms she felt all the emotions she hadn't for what felt like an era. She felt a child-like joy at being protected, the Shimada felt precious. For the last few months she'd been feeling less like a person and more like a tool, the true sadness was the fact that she had accepted that fate. The feeling soon gave way to rage, which she was compelled to misdirect at Tsuru. She had the divinitas, he'd just risked his life for nothing. But she didn't have the time to show her gratitude or her misplaced aggression.  As Tsuru turned to finish what he'd started.

There was a simple way to confirm whether the one who had shot at her, was indeed the culprit of all the crimes from the scenes they witnessed tonight. She swiftly turned, her gaze following the movements of her ex-partner. As he disabled the woman, Akira unbuckled her wand and pointed it at her target. Swiftly reading her memories as she bled from her leg and dragged herself away in an almost pitiable manner. What Akira saw, chilled her to the bone. It wasn't a woman after all... It was Vincenzo. The sense of betrayal peaked and for a moment she wanted to tear right into him. 'You foul monster... Vincenzo' she said, as began walking towards him. She offered her partner a hand to help him off the ground, not that he'd need it. It was more a gesture to show a united front.

There were so many vile things she wanted to do to the man. She had to pause for a moment just to peg the various fates she had in mind for him against one another to see which would be the most cruel.


#26Sponsored content 

Murderous Madman [Quest: Hatsuharu]  Empty

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