World“s First Demon Lord Chapter 18: Dead Ends and Theories
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March 14, 2:22 pm, Tokyo, Japan
Sakura felt like she needed to rip out her own hair. But she wouldn't because it took ages to grow it this long.
Two weeks. Half of her allotted one month was gone.
And what did she have to show for it? Sakura wasn't sure anymore. The more she stared at her whiteboard, the less confident she became in the whole thing. There didn't seem to be anything of use here.
Well, not exactly true. Sakura looked over the section about government procedure when it came to homicides. She knew now that the government definitely did not send people to the police station to ask about dead bodies. They did that through email. She wrote that new bit of information on her board.
The problem was, all of was all based on a small sentence a detective said off-handedly in a conversation. There was no way something as small as that could be used as evidence. Especially from a conversation that was off the record.
What seemed so promising at the beginning ended up being a gigantic dead end. She had spent a week on that lead.
With that avenue cut off, Sakura had no choice but to follow up on the other lead; the foreigner.
How does someone try to find information on a person you don't know the name of? Sakura had once asked that question to a person very important to her. The answer they gave had been simple: you start with the people in their circle you already do know.
That meant Detective Kiritaka.
Sakura had a lot under Detective Kiritaka's name. She went over all the information once more.
For the last four days, Sakura had been tracking Detective Kiritaka's movements, as well as looking into where he had been for the past few months. It turned out that the good detective was actually quite busy. He took his job seriously, going over crime scenes thoroughly, and kept his work relationships professionally.
At home, he was similarly dedicated.
To enjoying himself as much as possible, that is.
Seriously. How did he get enough money to go out to bars and karaoke every night? Was a policeman's salary really that high?
Not to mention, his manner of...playing...was quite...different. Let's just say it involved a lot of...toys. At least the women he played with seemed to enjoy it just as much as he did.
Still. Sakura had snorted when she found out his particular proclivities.
And he had the nerve to say her and her friends just had 'fetishes.'
Sakura shook her head. Moving on.
The amount of money the Detective was spending, coupled with the line about knowing the government official did look like a solid lead. The problem was that unless she could get some more solid evidence on where the Detective was getting his money, what she had now was still situational. At best. That's what made looking at his name on the board so infuriating.
She needed something more solid.
But the more she dug, the more questions she had.
First, there was the discrepancy between Detective Kiritaka's words and his lifestyle, aka "where was he getting all this money?" She looked up the average policeman's salary, and then looked up the prices of all the places he was going to. Yep. Something definitely wasn't adding up.
Second, there was the discrepancy between Detective Kiritaka's words and the words of the police department, aka "Was Detective Kiritaka deliberately hiding something, or was it all a misunderstanding?"
Screw it. Sakura picked up the phone again.
"My name is Takamura, I'm with the Chunichi Shimbun, and I'm sorry, I need to know about all the deaths in the Kanto area for February 21st," said Sakura on the phone, hardly taking time to take breath. She hated using this low voice, but it was handy in cases like this.
The officer started their spiel about the notice sent out, but Sakura interrupted her, spinning a story about losing it and being worried about getting fired because they were an intern, and they just needed to know the number for that day, and specifically for the-
"There was none," said the officer suddenly.
"The report said there were no deaths that day, but you should already know that from the report you have, right?" said the officer.
Sakura was stunned for a moment, before she realized what was happening.
"Oh right! Right you're so right, I have the report and it says no one, for the entire Kanto area, right?"
"Not even in the Zoshigaya Cemetary?"
"None reported at all, in the entire area."
"Thank you so much!" she quickly whispered, before cutting the call.
Of course, she couldn't use that little slip as evidence either, as it was obtained under false pretenses. But it did confirm one thing:
Detective Kiritaka was hiding something.
He didn't report the death. Or at the very least, someone from the police department was withholding information that should be released to the press. After all, it was simply a list of the dead, mostly used for obituaries, or to find out who a John Doe was. If they didn't report it, then they must have some reason for doing so. She added this information to the board, under the "disrepancies with Detective" section.
Even with the information that Detective Kiritaka gave, this new angle that the detective, probably with the help of the government officials he was meeting with, were covering these deaths up. That would explain how the detective was going to all these places; cause he was being payed by the government, under the table.
Which lead to the third question:
Why was the government working with Detective Kiritaka to hide dead bodies like this?
Of course, the reason the detective gave made sense at the time...but the more she thought about it, the less it fit with the new pieces of the puzzle.
If they were simply keeping information to themselves in order to keep the public safe, and to keep the serial killer from escalating, why was the government involved? Why were they paying the detective so much? Why wasn't the rest of the police department involved either?
Well, it was possible that they were, and that they were simply told to withhold more information but...from the conversation she had with the officer over the phone, Sakura felt that there was more to it.
Something about this whole picture seemed off.
Sakura frowned as she looked at her board. All of the pieces she had gathered were here.
If the detective really was as dirty as she thought he was…
If he really was lying about the whole serial killer thing…
She closed her eyes, counted to ten, and opened her eyes. It was a trick she learned in college whenever she was stuck. In order to see the problem with fresh eyes.
These were all the pieces she had gathered.
"But that doesn't mean that all the pieces I have are true," Sakura said aloud. "People lie after all. Why should I believe everything he said?"
She quickly looked over all her information again, heart pounding as she poured over the Detective's statements. He had made a lot of claims that she had simply taken as the truth, withouth really looking into it. But the biggest one was...
Was he telling the truth about working with the government?
Sakura's eyes went wide as she looked again at her board, trying to fit all the pieces.
Hypothetically speaking, if her hunch about the Detective's lies were correct...
Someone, not the government, was paying a detective to hide dead bodies. Specific dead bodies, that were being so well hidden, that they weren't even reporting it to the newspapers. It would explain the detective's caginess, his salary disparity…
Surprisingly, it fit. It really could be-
No. This was just conjecture. Sakura bit her lip as she thought over her theory, pacing around the whiteboard. She bit her marker, only to find the taste of ink on her mouth. She retched, and rushed to the bathroom to was her mouth out.
She looked up on the mirror once she had washed her face.
She could be wrong about a whole bunch of things.
For example, despite his shady personality and hobbies, Detective Kiritaka could very well be innocent. He may have been tricked by an organization that was pretending to be the government, or maybe he was being blackmailed. Any potential blackmailer certainly had enough potential information for that.
Despite everything, all Sakura had was tiny scraps of information and a very strong hunch. Stories couldn't be written off circumstantial evidence and hunches. That wasn't proper journalism.
'That person' would not consider that proper journalism.
She needed evidence. Real, hard evidence.
And now, she knew what she was looking for.
She looked into her own determined eyes in the mirror, then headed back to her whiteboard.
How was she going to uncover evidence of police corruption?
Turns out, she already had a lead.
Sakura took out her whiteboard marker, and wrote down the one question she hadn't yet gotten around to searching yet.
"Where do these dead bodies go?" she read, circling it once she was done.
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