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Mystery Serial

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Hanyuu's picture
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Here is a fic I've been thinking about for a while. It's not finished, but I've decided to post it in serial form anyway. I intend for it to comply with Knox's Decalogue, so I hope you'll be able to play along.

Spoiler:
This is my first time to do this. Please be gentle.

Spoiler:
“FAAAATE-CHAAAN!” screamed Nanoha as she hugged her body against her own. “Oh god!”

“Nanoha!” Hayate pulled Nanoha off the blonde. She had gotten some of Fate's bodily fluids on herself as well, and looked around for something to wipe herself off with. It was then that she noticed Erio and Caro standing just inside the doorway. Caro had already wretched up her dinner. Erio was trying to stay strong for her, although his face was ashen as well.

“Wh. . . ” Erio gulped. “What –” he tried to ask, but his bile-laced dinner came out instead.

Vivio bounded into the room, evidently curious about all the commotion. Einhart trailed shyly behind her. “Mama!” beamed Vivio. Her eyes went wide. “Ma. . . ma?” she asked before collapsing in a heap next to the already unconscious landlady.

“Vivio!” Einhart cradled Vivio, but turned so that she wouldn't have to see.

A disheveled Subaru came in next, laughing and looking back at the person following her. “It's fine, Tea. No one will notice.”

“Stupid Subaru!” said Teana, trying to smooth her hair. “Everyone will notice if you –” She covered her eyes as soon as she saw what was on the bed in the middle of the room. “Oh god!” Subaru's jaw went slack.

Yuuno, Vita, Shamal and Signum arrived wearing only towels, having come directly from the outdoor bath. Signum shoved Teana and Subaru out of her way. “Testarossa!” Her powerful strides quickly brought her to the bed. She slowly reached for Fate's hand and found a folded piece of paper in it. Although Fate's fingers clenched the note tightly, Signum pried it free.

“I'm sorry everyone,” Signum read. “I didn't want to hurt you, but I can't go on. I love you all, but I'm going ahead. Goodbye.” Vita slammed her fist into the wall. Signum looked pleadingly at Shamal, who could only look away and weep.

“What could I possibly do,” thought Shamal as she cried. “That knife is too deep in her heart; she's been gone for a while now.”

“Let me see that, Signum,” Yuuno said. Signum silently handed over the note. His brow furrowed as Yuuno read it over a few times. “This looks like Fate's handwriting, but something's not quite right. What do you think, Nanoha?” Yuuno held the note up for Nanoha to see.

Nanoha looked at the note in a daze. “Huh? I. . . g-guess y-you're right,” she said through her sobs.

“Furthermore,” said Yuuno, leaning close to Fate's body, “There are some marks here on Fate's throat.”

Signum looked quizzically at Yuuno. “What are you trying to say?”

“Well, basically,” Yuuno suddenly felt conscious of all the eyes on him. “That this is not suicide. This is murder.”

ULTRADJ4EVER's picture
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Why is it always Fate getting hurt? It seems like all the doujins and some fics that i've read, Fate gets seriously injured

Q: Where am I?
A: Everywhere.

Crazyla's picture
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It's her tragic past aura... it makes people want to see her getting hurt (usually to see her raise once again).

I point Nanoha as the culprit, the one who finds the body is always the first suspect.

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I started to read but how could Nanoha kills Fate QQ I will never and even give my life for my Fate-chan :<


Spoiler:

depression76's picture
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People usually use Fate as the one who keeps getting hurt because they have the mindset that the recuperation from horrible wounds is awesome, fighting while being heavily wounded is a very heroic gesture itself, and as a lot of people like Fate, she's the perfect one for the job. This same mindset is also what most shonen mangakas have in mind, probably why they like wounding their characters a lot.

Quote:
Why is it always Fate getting hurt? It seems like all the doujins and some fics that i've read, Fate gets seriously injured

Lol, the number of fics of Fate getting injured is nothing compared to the number fics with Nanoha cheating with Yuuno, really, so you don't have to worry.

And to not be off topic, Hanyuu, my money's on Subaru, buuuut I'm not too sure until the next chapter's here.

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"Landlady"

Spoiler:
Fate trudged up the path to the inn with the others. There was a slight sheen to her face from sweat, even though most people wouldn't consider the walk strenuous.

“Fate-chan, are you sure you're okay?” asked Nanoha. “You seem tired.”

“H-huh?” Fate panted, then breathed deeply and stood straighter. “I'm fine; don't worry.”

“Yeah!” exclaimed Hayate as she slapped Fate on the back. “We're already at the inn. It's hot spring time!” Fate laughed nervously when she saw the gleam in Hayate's eyes.

“Welcome to Chestnut Inn.” The landlady bowed deeply from the waist. “Please come in.”

“Welcome to Chestnut Inn!” called out two young women in the same voice.

“These two will be taking care of you during your stay,” said the landlady. “Mannom and Nammon.”

“Oh, twins,” remarked Nanoha as a smirk crossed Hayate's face. “Which is which?”

“I'm not sure myself,” sad the landlady with a sigh. The twins smiled and tilted their heads in mirror image of the other. “They're almost always together, so you needn't worry. Please come this way, and I can give you the keycards to your rooms.” The landlady led the way to the reception desk.

“Starting from the second floor, Captain Signum and Doctor Shamal will be in Room 201. Officers Lanster and Nakajima have Room 202. Miss Ru Lushe, Miss Stratos and Miss Takamachi will be in Room 203, which is Japanese-style. The rest of the rooms are on the third floor. Colonel Yagami and Captain Vita have Room 303, which is also Japanese-style. Mister Mondial and Mister Scrya will be in Room 302. And you and Captain Harlaown will have Room 301.” The landlady had passed all the keycards to Nanoha. The framed Nanoha picture on her desk also indicated who was her favorite heroine of the Time-Space Administration Bureau.“Please be careful with the keycards, as there are only two for each room.”

“What happens if we do lose them?” asked Nanoha.

“Well, we would have to use the master keycard to open the room. It would, unfortunately, take a few days to replace a keycard were it lost.” Nanoha nodded in understanding. “Nammon and Mannom, show the guests their rooms.”

Each of the twins raised a hand and replied in unison, “Yes, ma'am. Ladies, if you'll follow me please. We have your robes prepared. . .” One of the two finished later, since she had to add the words 'and gentlemen' on account of Yuuno and Erio.

“Ah, Captain Harlaown,” the landlady called out as they were leaving. “Please wait a moment. There is a package and a message for you.”

“Goodness, Fate-chan, you've been getting a lot of messages lately.” Nanoha smiled. “Who are they all from?”

“Uh. . .” Fate's eyes darted back and forth. “My mother. It's nothing you need to worry about Nanoha.” After taking her package and message, she –



“What was the message?”

The landlady's back stiffened. “I don't read my guests' messages Mr. Scrya.”

“But you wrote it down, didn't you?”

She fidgeted in her chair. “Y-yes, I suppose I did. It was from Admiral Harlaown. It mentioned that there was an unexpected solar flare, which would knock out the interplanetary communications satellite. And before you ask, I have no idea what was in the package.”

“Who was the package from?”

“A Mister Uss. Ahnon M Uss, I believe.

“I see. What did you do after that?”

“I went back to the kitchens to assist the chef. I went out around 11:00 to arrange the light lunch, but was otherwise with the chef until time for dinner.”

“Thank you for your help. If later I have any more questions, I hope you'll help then, too.”

“Certainly.” The landlady stood stiffly and walked out of the room.

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"Investigation"

Spoiler:
“Why is it so hot in here?” asked Yuuno as he wiped his brow. After Signum and Hayate took the others downstairs, Yuuno, Shamal and Vita had taken turns changing into more practical clothing. The landlady was also present, claiming it as her right as inn owner.“I thought I was feeling hot because we dashed up here from the hot springs, but I'm still sweating.”

Vita noticed the air conditioner remote on the small table. “It's set to forty-five degrees,” she said.

Shamal looked up from Fate's body. “That would explain why the body's still warm. That makes estimating the time of death more difficult.” Vita smashed the remote in a rage.

Yuuno frowned. “What's your best guess, Shamal?”

“I would say that she died about two to three hours ago.”

Yuuno began looking around the room. It was much like the one he shared with Erio, except that this room had a queen-sized bed instead of two twins. The door opened into a small entryway, with a closet on the right and a toilet room to the left. When opened, the door blocked access to the closet. The room was deeper than it was wide, at about six meters by four meters. A full-body mirror hung on the wall next to the closet. A bamboo desk and chair were placed along the right-hand wall. A small TV sat on the far side of the desk. A nightstand and a lamp were positioned to either side of the bed, which was opposite the TV. The vent for the air conditioner was too small for anyone to fit through. A narrow loveseat sat in the space created by the oriel window at the far end of the room. The window itself was locked from the inside.

In addition to Nanoha and Fate's bags, there was a small, opened package on the desk. Inside there was an empty jewelry box. The inner cardboard backing indicated that the jewelry box had held a necklace. If there had been an invoice, it was gone now. On the floor nearby was a small, heart-shaped pendant, along with a few links of chain.

Next came the hard part – the examination of the body. There were marks under her neck, in the shape of a necklace chain. Their faintness indicated that Fate didn't die from strangulation. The chain had probably given way after Fate had lost consciousness, but before she had died. The lack of blood on the floor showed that the killer moved Fate to the bed before stabbing her. A small piece of wrapping paper was pinned against Fate's chest by the knife. There was relatively little blood on the bed. On the handle of the knife were written the words “Chestnut Inn”.

“Is this one of your knives?” asked Yunno.

“Y-yes, it is,” answered the landlady.

“Yuuno,” called Shamal, “I've found a keycard in Fate's pocket.” She held it out.

“Thanks Shamal.” The other keycard was in the electronic light switch by the door. Without the keycard in the slot, the electricity in the room would automatically shut off. There was no way to turn on the air conditioner if the keycard were not present. Yuuno turned to the landlady.“There are only two keycards for each room, right?”

“That's correct,” she replied. “I had to use the master keycard to open the door when we...” she swallowed hard. “When we found Captain Harlaown.”

“Didn't Nanoha have her own keycard?”

“Captain Takamachi said that Captain Harlaown had left her own keycard in the room, so Captain Takamachi gave hers to Captain Harlaown when she wanted to lay down this afternoon.”

“Is there a way to verify when the keycards were used?” asked Yuuno.

The landlady shook her head. “The only data stored on them is the number of times that they've been used.”

“I'd like you to check that information, please. And can you check when the air conditioner in this room was turned on?”

“I'll have to take the keycards to the reception desk to check them. Nammon and Mannom can use the the central unit to check the history of the air conditioner.”

“Very well. Please inform me when you've finished. We're done checking this room, so please check these keycards, too.” Yuuno gave the two keycards to the landlady. As the lights went out, Shamal placed a sheet over Fate's body.

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These ones are short, so there are three today.

"Erio"

Spoiler:
“Erio”

Lunch had mainly consisted of small sandwiches and and some slices of local pears. Erio had hoped for a something a bit more filling, but the landlady had assured him that the chef was preparing a large dinner. Fate had seemed a bit uneasy as lunch progressed, though. Her face had flushed at one point and she appeared to lash out at something under the table. Caro decided he would ask Fate about the package later.



“How do you know about the package?” asked Yuuno.

Erio glanced around nervously. “I asked her to buy it for me.”

“And what did you ask for?”

“A. . . necklace,” mumbled Erio.

Yunno was surprised by that. “One with a heart-shaped pendant?”

“. . . Yes.”

“I see. Why did you buy that necklace?”

Erio turned red. “For Caro. I wanted to surprise her.”

“But you never got it, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Then what happened after lunch?”



Erio glanced up at the clock, which read 15:00. Since lunch ended around 13:00, Caro, Vivio, Einhart and he had been playing table tennis for about two hours now. Although he was happy to be paired with Caro, her short arms had trouble covering her side of the table. Vivio and Einhart had started to close the point gap about an hour before, and were now in a solid winning streak.

Caro was panting beside him. “Shall we take a break, Vivio, Einhart?" she asked. "Let's go to the hot spring!”

The two young girls readily agreed. A bath would be nice to relax, thought Erio – even if the baths were regrettably sepa. . .



“Uh. . .” Erio had paused mid-sentence and turned red again. “I mean. . .” Yuuno smiled.

“Anyway! We went to the hot spring. You were already there.”

“I was. You stayed for about one hour, then left, saying you wanted to take a nap.”

“Right, so I went back to our room.”

“Did anyone see you?”

Erio took some time to reply. “No. Not until dinner.”

"Caro"

Spoiler:
The table tennis match had been going well at first. Erio was able to cover for her, and someone's snickered “Shorty” comment had filled Caro with a desire to crush the opposition. That passion had burned out by the end of the first half hour. Now Einhart and Vivio were catching up, while her arms seemed shorter and shorter.

“Shall we take a break, Vivio, Einhart? Let's go to the hot spring!” Caro needed a break, and was delighted when the two girls agreed. The hot water would be perfect for her sore muscles, even if the baths were unfortunately sepa. . .


Yuuno looked up from his notes, blinking in surprise.

“Uh. . .” Caro's skin tone now matched her hair. “That is. . . umm. . . We met Commander Yagami and the others in the women's bath.”

“Were Fate or Nanoha there at that time?”

“No.”

“How long did you stay in the bath?”

“About 45 minutes. Then I went to my room for a while.”

“Did anyone see you then?”

“The maids were walking down the hallway. I asked them to not disturb me until dinner time, because I wanted to sleep.”

“Did Vivio or Einhart come back to the room during that time?”

“No.”

"Vivio and Einhart"

Spoiler:
It had been difficult at first, but now Einart and Vivio were ahead in the table tennis tournament. One more game and the match would be over.

“Shall we take a break, Vivio, Einhart?” asked Caro. “Let's go to the hot spring!” Caro was visibly tired. Besides, it seemed like a good idea, so they agreed.

“Will you help us wash our backs, Caro?” She didn't seem to hear. 'Oh well,' thought Vivio. 'Maybe Fate-mama will help us!'

But when they went into the showers, Subaru told them that Fate had gone to her room, not feeling well. Nanoha had also gone to make some food for her. Subaru helped in their place. Then Vivio, Einhart, Caro, Subaru and Teana all went into the bath. Hayate, Shamal, Signum and Vita were already there.



“How long did you stay in the bath?” asked Yuuno.

“I don't remember. Perhaps about two hours?” replied Einhart. Vivio had lapsed into silence after mentioning Fate.

“Did anyone leave during the time you were in the bath?”

“Caro left early on. Everyone else stayed until we all decided to leave.”

“What did you do after that?”

“Vivio, Subaru, Teana and I went inside and played some video games.”

“You didn't go back to your room?”

“No. Caro made us promise to not disturb her before dinner. She said she would get us ice cream if we kept our promise.”

“Did Caro say why she wanted to be left alone?”

“No.”

Crazyla's picture
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Caro??? oO
Yandere Caro who thought that necklace Fate bought for Erio meant something between those two? That'd be... hilariously creepy.

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Yandere Caro is amazing! Keep it up, Hanyuu!! :D

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Today's update is late, sorry. I was suffering from internet issues.

"Nanoha"

Spoiler:
Fate was ignoring her again. Now Nanoha's foot hurt, too. She had just been trying to tease Fate a little, and now there was going to be a bruise. Not the exciting kind of bruise like from the time Fate overheard people talking about Nanoha's zettai ryouiki, either. Nanoha noticed that Fate wasn't touching her food, though. Perhaps she really wasn't feeling well?

Fate stood up from the table. “I feel a bit tired, so I'm going to go lie down for a bit. Please excuse me.”

“Are you alright, Fate-chan?” Nanoha asked. “Do you want me to come with you?

“Ah, no I'm fine; don't worry.” Fate left in a hurry; she came back in a few minutes, however. “Nanoha, can I borrow your keycard? I must have left mine in the room.”

“Are you sure you don't need me to help?” Nanoha held out the keycard.

Fate took it, laughing nervously. “No, no, it's fine Nanoha.”



“When did Fate go to your room?” asked Yuuno.

“It must've been around 12:50. It was before everyone had finished lunch.” Nanoha was having trouble talking with her hoarse voice. She had slain a forest's worth of tissues since Fate had been found, but she had stopped by the time Yuuno began to question her.

“Where did you go after that?”

“I went to the kitchen. Fate-chan didn't eat much at lunch, you know, so I thought I'd make her something to see if I could make her feel better.”

“What did you make?”

“Some rice porridge with apples and honey.”

“Sounds nice. And when did you take it to her?”

“At about 14:00. She must have been asleep, because she didn't respond when I knocked on the door. So I left the porridge with a note outside.”

“What did you do after you left her?”

“I went back to the kitchen to clean up. Then I went to the hot springs. That must have been around 15:50 or so. I saw Caro on her way out.”

“I see. Did you stay there until dinner?”

“No. I got out about 17:00 with Vivio and Einhart. I had some preparations to do for making Fate's dinner.”

“When did you take this dinner to Fate?”

“Shortly before 18:00. Again, Fate-chan didn't respond when I knocked on the door, and I didn't have a keycard, so I left it outside with another note. Then I came downstairs to eat with everyone else.”

“You went up to see her around 19:00, right?”

“Yes. Subaru and Teana had left a little while before, but Caro and Erio were sill there, so I thought they would be able to look after Vivio and Einhart. Hayate-chan came with me as well.”

“Had Fate eaten anything?”

“No. Both her lunch and dinner were untouched, so I was really worried. I asked Hayate-chan to bring the landlady with the master key.”

“And that's when you found Fate?”

Nanoha could only nod as she sobbed.

"Chef"

Spoiler:
Today had been a difficult day. Thirteen guests meant that the chef had been in the kitchen all day. Mannom and Nammon had been able to help with washing the dishes and some small things like peeling potatoes, but they weren't able to do much more than that. The chef wished that the landlady had hired some temporary kitchen staff. The landlady herself was in the kitchen, although she was in and out fairly often. And of all things, one of the inn's knives had been used as a murder weapon! Of course, the chef had been too busy to notice who had taken it. There had been too many people coming and going from the kitchen today.


“When did you notice that the knife was missing?” asked Yuuno.

“One of the twins mentioned that she couldn't find it when she was slicing some meat. . . so that must have been around 17:00. The other one noticed that a paring knife was missing then too.”

“Besides the staff, who else was in the kitchen today?”

“Well, Captain Takamachi was here after lunch and again before dinner. She's a really good cook, you know? Lots better than the twins.”

Yuuno remembered his early days with Nanoha, at the Midoriya Cafe. Those days had been delicious. “Did Nanoha come to clean up the dishes she used?”

“She did. She came back around 15:15, I guess. I told her we could clean the dishes, but she insisted on doing them herself.

“Did anyone else come to the kitchen?”

“Yeah, the young guy was there a little after 16:00.” Yuuno wasn't certain that he liked Erio being called 'the young guy' – it implied that Yuuno was old. “Actually, one of the little girls came in shortly before him. That's all, though.”

“Which little girl?”

“I don't know. Captain Takamachi is the only one I know, since the landlady keeps a picture of her at the front desk.”

“What color hair did she have?”

“Pink.”

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"Penultimate"

Spoiler:
“Mr. Scrya.” The two voices in unison told Yuuno that the twins were behind him. Back in Fate and Nanoha's room, he had been looking over the scene again. The amount of blood near Fate's body should have been greater. “We have the report from the central unit of the air conditioner system.”

“What did you find out?”

“There was a spike in power demands from this room, starting at 18:30.”

Why would the murderer set the air conditioner to turn on at that time? Setting it for that time would not create an alibi for any of the suspects, nor appear to incriminate some other suspect, since everyone except Fate was eating dinner. Then, the only remaining explanation was that the murderer had attempted to use the air conditioner to hide the true time of death. Shamal had earlier estimated the time of death to between 16:00 and 17:00. But if Fate had not been killed then, that would leave –

“Mr. Scrya,” the landlady called out. “I have the keycard records you asked for.”

“Thank you.” Yuuno took the paper from the landlady's outstretched hand. “Has the trash been taken away today?” he asked the landlady.

“It was this morning, but before you arrived. At around 07:00.”

“I want you to check the trashcans for wrapping paper.”

The landlady raised an inquisitive eyebrow, but chose not to inquire about Yuuno's reasons. As the landlady and the twins left, Yuuno turned his attention to the list.

KEY 201A – 1
KEY 201B – 0
KEY 202A – 0
KEY 202B – 1
KEY 203A – 2
KEY 203B – 0
KEY 301A – 2
KEY 301B – 1
KEY 302A – 1
KEY 302B – 0
KEY 303A – 1
KEY 303B – 0

It seemed that most roommates had only used their keycards when they had originally put away their baggage. Yuuno had used his keycard to open the door to the room he shared with Erio, so his must be KEY 302A on the list. Since KEY 302B showed no uses, that meant that Erio never used his keycard. Erio had lied about going back to the room after the hot spring.

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Omg Han this is awesome continue soon~ But but ! You are a bad girl to have killed Fate ! D: You should have killed me instead è _é


Spoiler:

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Nanoha-sama wrote:
You are a bad girl to have killed Fate ! D: You should have killed me instead è _é
This is the voice of true love.

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^ Nanoha would do anything for Fate. So adorable. Wonderful job, Hanyuu~

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"Reveal"

Spoiler:
Everyone had gathered in the dining room. Signum leaned against a wall while Vita paced back and forth. Around the table, Shamal and Hayate were comforting Nanoha, as Caro and Erio were both staring down, seemingly wanting to be somewhere else when Yuuno announced his deduction. Teana and Subaru were sitting awkwardly next to each other. Vivio had fainted again, and was lying on a couch, her head cradled in Einhart's lap. The landlady, the cook and the twins stood along the far wall.

“This has been a terrible thing to have to investigate,” said Yuuno. “But there is only one person here who could have committed this murder.” A quick smirk crossed the murderer's face. Were they that confident in their trick?

“That person,” there was a brief glare on Yuuno's glasses as he used a finger to push his glasses higher on his nose. “Is you!” Yuuno's arm swung in an arc, bringing his finger to point squarely at her chest. “Nanoha!”



Vita cursed and the look on her face made Yuuno think that he would be seeing Fate again very soon. Signum restrained Vita. “Continue,” she said, although her face showed that she, too, was inclined to speed up Yuuno's reunion with Fate.

“How could she be the murderer?” asked Shamal. “Nanoha was in the bath at the time of death!”

Hayate glared at Yuuno. “She was,” her gaze turned on Caro, who flinched. “But Caro wasn't! Neither was Erio.”

“That's true,” Yuuno conceded. “His keycard is unused as well, so he didn't go to his room as he said.”

“Erio is innocent!” Caro jumped up, sending her chair clattering to the ground.

“How do you know?” Hayate's eyes narrowed.

“I . . . uh, we . . .” Caro stammered. Withering under Hayate's gaze, she looked down at her feet. Erio's hand reached out for hers.

“Let me explain,” said Yuuno. “Caro and Erio left the baths within fifteen minutes of each other. Caro arranged for her to be the only one in her room for a two-hour period. Furthermore, she was willing to ensure this by bribing Vivio and Einhart. Erio was also gone during these same two hours, yet didn't go to his room.” Yuuno turned toward her. “Caro, where was Erio?”

Caro and Erio had both turned scarlet. “He . . . he was with me.”

“Which one of you took the paring knife from the kitchen?”

“Caro did,” answered Erio. “I didn't know that she had taken it already, so I also went to the kitchen. I guess she had already figured that I was pretty hungry after lunch and table tennis.”

“And then what?” asked Hayate. “I don't believe that even Erio could eat for two hours.”

Caro continued to redden, reaching a crimson. “When I was . . . um, giving some food to Erio, I tripped. Erio tried to catch me, but I wound up falling on top of him.” Caro glanced at Erio. “Th . . . then we . . .” She trailed off, though the deepening red of their faces said enough.

“That doesn't mean that Nanoha murdered Fate!” Vita yelled.

“Indeed, Yuuno,” said Shamal. “Now everyone has an alibi for the time when Fate died.” Yuuno saw the same smirk flicker on Nanoha's face again.

“Only if the time of death is correct,” replied Yuuno. Shamal's brow wrinkled. “The air conditioner was only on for about half an hour before we found Fate.”

“Then . . . that would mean that Fate died earlier. About two hours earlier.”

“And the only one without an alibi then is you, Nanoha.”

Nanoha raised an eyebrow. “That's some pretty circumstantial evidence, Yuuno-kun.”

“I can do better. When Fate came back after lunch, she said she had accidentally left her keycard in your room. You then gave her your keycard. Thus you were apparently left without a keycard to your room.”

“That's right.”

“If so, then the keycards to your room were used twice. One keycard was used to when you went to put your bags in the room. Fate then supposedly left this keycard in the room. The other keycard was used when Fate went to the room after lunch.” Yuuno held out the keycard data the landlady had given him. “Instead, the keycards to your room were used three times.”

Nanoha shrugged. “I don't see how that means anything.”

“What it means is that you never gave Fate a keycard after getting them from the landlady. You used a keycard when you put your bags in your room, but Fate never left a keycard, because she didn't have one. At this point, you still had both keycards. After getting a keycard from you after lunch, Fate used it when she went to lie down. The third use is from when you went to kill Fate this afternoon. You then left the keycard in Fate's pocket to make it appear that she had forgotten the other in the room.”

Nanoha ground her teeth. “You still have no conclusive evidence.”

“When Fate was killed, you placed the wrapping paper from Fate's package on her chest to keep the blood from landing on you. This explains both the small piece of wrapping paper pinned to Fate by the knife and why there is less blood than expected on the bed.” Yuuno looked at the landlady. “Did you find any wrapping paper?”

The landlady shuffled her feet nervously. “No, Mister Scrya.”

Nanoha smiled. “See? The real murderer has probably thrown it away already.”

“Even if you had thrown it away, the trash hasn't been taken away since 07:00 this morning. It's not in your room, nor any other room, yet it must exist.”

“Then you must have missed it.”

“Tell me again, why did you get out of the hot springs at 17:00?”

“Because I needed to make Fate-chan's dinner.”

“Which you took to her around 18:00, correct?”

“Yes.”

“Even though Fate would have eaten lunch, at most, three and a half hours prior?”

Nanoha glared at Yuuno.

“Rather than that, I think you got out of the hot springs at that time because Vivio and Einhart were as well. After all, you couldn't have them find what you had, and still have, hidden in your robe.”

Signum walked over and stood in front of Nanoha. “Takamachi. Do you have it?”

Nanoha looked around. All the eyes in the room – sad, fearful, disbelieving – looked at her. Nanoha reached into her robe and pulled out the torn, blood-stained wrapping paper. She laid it down on the table. Vita collapsed in a spitting rage.

Hayate reached out to Nanoha. “Why, Nanoha-chan? Fate-chan loved you!” She placed a hand on Nanoha's arm. Nanoha shoved her away.

“You saw the way she was today! She's been growing more and more distant over the past months,” said Nanoha. “You've seen the way everyone looks at her at work; you've heard what they say when she walks by!” Nanoha's eyes widened and her voice became livid. “And for the past few weeks she's been getting these messages from somebody, which she never let me see, giving me some lame excuse about the messages being from her mother. Then today she gets a package! Delivered here, even though we're supposed to be on vacation! She wouldn't let me see that either, but I saw it anyway – that ridiculous necklace with a heart!” Nanoha was breathing hard and gesticulating wildly. “Fate-chan, my Fate-chan, was seeing someone else!”

All the color had drained from Erio's face. “Nanoha-san, that necklace was something that Fate-san had bought for me. I was going to give it to Caro today.”

Was . . . was that all? Had her Fate-chan just been helping her children, Nanoha wondered. “Then what about those messages?” she demanded.

“I didn't know what kind of present to get Caro, so Fate-san and I have been writing messages. I wanted her to keep it a secret, so I asked her to not tell anyone.”

Nanoha sank to her knees, laughing. In a few moments, she collapsed into a heap, wailing and apologizing to Fate.

And today is the last installment. I hope you were able to play along and/or enjoyed it.

Crazyla's picture
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Joined: 02/05/2012
Posts: 434

Damn... I guessed right after all. oO
Scary...

JustMadman's picture
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Joined: 08/09/2011
Posts: 93

I honestly thought it was Caro. And you killed Fate over such a small matter! D:
I'm a bit curious though. How many of you readers here actually thought it through before guessing/predicting the killer?

ULTRADJ4EVER's picture
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Joined: 01/22/2012
Posts: 383

To me, it seems a little typical it would be her

Q: Where am I?
A: Everywhere.