[EN][Shortfic][T][PL/DGS][AsoRyuu][Historical] past and future (come and go in this town)

Thảo luận trong 'Fanfiction' bắt đầu bởi antirrhinea001, 10/10/21.

  1. antirrhinea001

    antirrhinea001 Metal

    Tham gia ngày:
    29/6/21
    Bài viết:
    61
    Nghề nghiệp:
    Thủ thư
    Nơi ở:
    Pherae, Lycia, Đại lục Elibe




    past and future
    (come and go in this town)​

    Author: antirrhinea001
    Length: Shortfic
    Language: English
    Genre: Historical, Romance, Mystery
    Rating: T
    Fandom: 大逆転裁判 | Dai Gyakuten Saiban | The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles; Layton Kyouju Series | Professor Layton Series
    Relationships: Asougi Kazuma / Naruhodou Ryuunosuke
    Disclaimer: Dai Gyakuten Saiban cũng như series Ace Attorney thuộc quyền sở hữu của Shu Takumi và CAPCOM. Series Professor Layton thuộc quyền sở hữu của Hino Akihiro và LEVEL-5. Mình chẳng sở hữu gì ngoài fanfic này.
    Warnings: Spoiler to bự cho Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2 cũng như series Professor Layton. Có nhắc đến yếu tố tội phạm và bạo lực. Cân nhắc trước khi đọc.
    Status: Hoàn
    Summary:
    Curiosity overwhelms Professor Layton as he finds a series of letters and journals in his search for the secrets of the Old Bailey. What he's about to discover is perhaps one of the most romantic stories blossoming amongst the ashen clouds of the city of mist.
    For Asoryuu Week 2021

    Archive: AO3 - Twitter


    MỤC LỤC

     
    Chỉnh sửa cuối: 17/10/21 lúc 11:01
  2. antirrhinea001

    antirrhinea001 Metal

    Tham gia ngày:
    29/6/21
    Bài viết:
    61
    Nghề nghiệp:
    Thủ thư
    Nơi ở:
    Pherae, Lycia, Đại lục Elibe




    on a dark and stormy night​



    [February 27th, 2024 - 2:00 PM
    The Old Bailey - Records Room]

    Apparently paternity leave does not deter London from asking Professor Layton for his intellectual assistance, nor does it deter Layton from conducting any research.

    It was a request of the Old Bailey itself - to help catalogue the documents Scotland Yard was too lazy to organise, and find out the secrets of the old English courts in the process. A simple request, yet it piqued Layton's interest. As a result, since the early hours of the morning, the Professor has been pouring over cases dating back over a century ago and trying to find any information without being distracted by the puzzles they have to offer.

    As the Professor picks up a folder labelled "The Asogi Files" (Asogi? The surname sounds distinctly Japanese, and yet quite familiar - if he recalls, his brother Desmond did mention someone from the Bronev family with that surname over a cup of tea?), a small envelope slips from the folder and falls onto the pristine floor. Not wanting any vital documents to be damaged, Layton bends down to retrieve the envelope. As he is about to put it back where it came from, he scans over the address.

    "221B Baker Street" it reads. As in, the Sholmes Museum?

    Peculiar. As far as he is concerned, none of the publications of The Tales of Herlock Sholmes mention any Asogi at all.

    Curiosity has won over him as Layton opens the envelope to take a peek at the contents inside. Unfortunately for him, the letter is written in Japanese, and many of the characters are quite unfamiliar. Considering most of the documents he has read so far dates back from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, it comes as no surprise. Besides, a gentleman must not act like a child over the slightest of inconvenience, he tells himself. Yet, he cannot help but pout.

    He's been sitting here for quite too long, he realises. He really needs some fresh air.

    Moments later, Professor Layton walks out of the Records Room, citing "some fresh air and a tea break" for the temporary halt in his research. Once he crosses the gates of the old courthouse, the Professor occupies a phone booth and dials a number.

    -oOo-

    [February 27th, 2024 - 2:30 PM
    The Old Bailey - Records Room]

    "Alright, I see how it is," Dr. Sycamore examines the letter and scribbles its contents on a piece of paper. "Whoever wrote this letter had left us with a simple puzzle. I've translated the puzzle in question for your viewing pleasure."

    The doctor then recaps his fountain pen and hands the paper over to his brother.

    "Dearest Ryuu, thank you for all that you've done. For me, and for our found family. Ever your partner, Kazuma."

    "That was quick," the Doctor quips.

    "It is but a simple puzzle, Desmond," the Professor replies. "Our next mystery would be, why a letter like this was included in a case file in the first place."

    "The most obvious answer would be, someone accidentally left the letter there after reading the case files. Most likely, it's the receiver." Desmond smiles. "But that's not the answer you are looking for, is there? There's definitely a story behind it, and you are going to find out what."

    "Well, they did ask me to look for the secrets of the Old Bailey." Layton sighs.

    "And the names in the letters do ring a bell as well," the Doctor readjusts his fountain pen inside his pocket, then sits up from his armchair.

    "You know something about this, Desmond?" Layton asks, his eyes widen slightly in bewilderment.

    "I may have come across those names while I was conducting my own research here a few years ago." The Doctor heads to a different section of the archives, taking out several journals and envelopes. "I might have a story for you, and it is no doubt a most interesting one. Let us start there."




    Letter No.134, from Mr. Asogi Kazuma to Mr. Naruhodo Ryunosuke, dated February 13th, 1903

    Dearest partner,

    Allow me to send my most sincere apologies for my late reply. The Public Defender's Office is currently swarmed with so much work, I hardly find time to pen you a heartfelt correspondence. As the esteemed Detective says, and I am certain you are aware, crime never sleeps in London - the demonic British winters did nothing to assuage the crime rate in the King's Domain, if not only to exacerbate it. Please send my warmest regards to my workaholic father and dutiful sister on my behalf, as I cannot find time to pen even one letter, let alone three.

    By the time this letter reaches you, I would imagine the first flowers of spring would start to bloom. Have you been taking care of yourself, or has our dear Susato-chan finally coerced you to stop burning the midnight oil and retreat to the comforts of your futon at a more reasonable hour? Speaking of our darling sister, in her latest correspondence, she mentioned you were currently working as a professor at the Law department at Teito Yuumei University. You must allow me to deliver my most heartfelt congratulations - I would have sent you some of the finest chocolates in London if they had not been rotten by the time you received them. Professor Naruhodou of Teito Yuumei - that must have felt rather grand, would you not say? If I were to depart for Yokohama right now, I would seal the deal with a kiss upon my return.

    As my work at the Public Defender's Office keeps piling up to no end, the ashen clouds and howling winds of winter had left me dreadfully exhausted, so much that sometimes I have lost the feeling of my sword arm or lost sleep over a trite noise gnawing at my windows. It was only well after we had parted that I realised how much I crave your company. Either absence truly does make the heart grow fonder, or have the cold winters numbed my senses so much that my soul, burning with my love for you, became my only source of warmth? At times like these, I have only your sunny smile and crystal-bell clear laugh in my feeble memory as my nocturnal companion. I must confess, I long for your loving kiss and warm embrace. May I be a tad selfish to ask for your beautiful fingers to caress my skin and comb my hair, and your crystal bell-like voice to sing lullabies to me so that I may sleep more easily at night?

    There is more to my sudden influx in workload, regrettably so. There had been a series of mysterious disappearances as of late, the victims were often of royalty, nobility, and members of justice. As a result, my former mentor, Lord van Zieks, and his housemate Inspector Lestrade were looking into the case, and they asked me for my assistant. As far as we have gathered, the case would be too convoluted for the three of us to solve alone. "I wish Naruhodou were here," our dear friend, the Inspector, would lament. "He would have solved this case in a flash."

    Would it be presumptuous if I were to invite you to London with me, just for this one case? Should you ever come to The King's Capital, you are always welcome at my flat at 127 Chancer Lane. It is within walking distance to your old lodgings in Baker Street, and I suppose you would waste no opportunity to visit the Sholmes while you can. We all miss you terribly, and I am sure you also miss us, especially the savoury meals courtesy of the little Dr. Wilson.

    Ever yours,
    Kazuma



    "Mr. Kazuma Asogi was quite a prolific barrister amongst the British courts, back in the first years of the 20th century," Desmond recalls. "He was disbarred due to being involved in a political scandal, and after his probation, came back to work as a prosecuting counsel before finding his true calling at the defence table."

    "And Mr. Ryunosuke Naruhodo was The Great Ace Attorney, that much I am aware," Layton replies, "A friend of mine is one of his descendants. But what does he have to do with The Asogi Files, if the papers concerned Mr. Asogi?"

    Desmond hands his brother another folder. "You might want to see it for yourself."

    "If you insist. State vs. van Zieks, the counsels are Mr. Asogi for the prosecution and Mr. Naruhodo for the defence," the Professor reads, flipping through the files. "Lord van Zieks was accused of murdering Inspector Tobias Gregson, and Mr. Naruhodo managed to, let's see here, not only prove his innocence, but also solve the Professor Killings ten year prior. Was this the scandal Mr. Asogi was involved in?"

    "Indeed. I shall spare you the gory details, but it turned out Mr. Asogi was involved in the murder in some way, and was therefore disbarred shortly after the case." Desmond sighs, "After that, Lord van Zieks also took a leave of absence, no doubt too distraught from the cases' revelations."

    "Or, he might have been disbarred roughly at the same time as well," Layton surmises.

    "That's a possibility. I suggest you look over The Asogi Files and the court proceedings to see the whole picture. The whole case was a mess."

    "I can surely tell by your sigh," Layton lets out a chuckle. "But let's get back to this one. Did Mr. Naruhodo accept the invitation to visit London?"

    "Ah, now that's another interesting puzzle," the Doctor then hands his brother two files: a telegram message, and a journal. The telegram message reads:

    "It took me quite a while to solve this puzzle back then, I admit." Desmond sighs.

    "Hmm. Was Mr. Asogi visually impaired, by any chance?" Layton asks.

    "I'm not so sure, but from the journals I've read from Mr. Naruhodo and their family doctor, Dr. Wilson, Mr. Asogi had suffered from brain damage prior to the scandal," the Doctor replies. "What, have you cracked the code already?"

    "It's Braille, Desmond. You know what Braille looks like, do you not?" Layton draws a rectangle and six neatly placed circles inside it onto a piece of paper. "Each character is represented by a number of holes, limited by these circles," he gestures to the drawn circles, and points to the top one on the left, "for example, hole 1 represents the letter A, and holes 1 and 2 together make the letter B. And if I'm right, the message reads:

    see you in london

    "My question would be, why Braille?"

    "Very astute. Yes, that was the answer I've gotten as well," Desmond ponders, "Honestly, that's where I was lost. However, I did gather that Mr. Naruhodo was known to be very personal with his puzzles, and made sure whoever he sent the puzzle to must be able to solve it in thirty seconds or less."

    "Do you reckon Mr. Asogi might have had the need to know Braille?" Layton asks.

    "I'm not so sure. I've never gotten access to Mr. Asogi's full medical records, so I have a scant idea of the severity of his brain injury." Desmond scratches his chin, deep in thought. "But that's not why we're here, are we now?" He hands Layton the open journal. "This is Mr. Naruhodo's entry, four months after the letter was sent."




    [Mr. Ryunosuke Naruhodo's Journal, Entry number #134, dated June 15th, 1903]

    It was around midnight when I had finally reached Trafalgar Street from the deck. Susato-san had been correct in her deduction that I needed at least a parasol for my trip, for it had been pouring buckets as soon as I've reached Port Dover. The streets were dark and empty. The carriages and omnibuses had long retired for the night. I suppose it would be for the best - no rider would be gracious enough as to accept a passenger who smelled like dried fish and natto in the dead of the night. Which posed yet another predicament - travelling from Trafalgar Street to Chancer Lane on foot, with two trunks on one hand and a parasol on the other would have been quite the chore. I did not think to phone my dearest Kazuma and ask him to lend me a helping hand - I could not impose his hospitality any further. He deserved to sleep undisturbed after Scotland Yard had quite frankly worked him to the bone.

    Deciding to forgo my parasol, I wrapped my cloak snugly around my body, fixed my hat, and dashed through the dark streets. No sooner had I crossed the street than I realised my grave mistake. Myopia had proven to be a vice amongst the pitch-black midnight streets - it is nigh impossible to see anything under these ashen clouds even with perfect vision, and with the heavy rain fogging up my glasses, observing my whereabouts should be a futile pursuit. If I were to take out my parasol and save myself the trouble, however, it would be quite the hassle to handle two trunks on my own. So I braved the pouring rain and kept on walking, praying to whatever deity would listen that I may reach my destination one way or another.

    After a long while, I took refuge under the roof of a shop window. Just as I took off my prescription glasses and wiped them dry with my handkerchief, from my peripheral vision, a suspicious figure came towards my direction. I suppose any blurred figure would look suspicious to a near-sighted man, but who in their right mind would be loitering the pitch-black street under this torrential rain? Making sure that I had my trunks in check, I made a beeline for the nearest alleyway and hid behind one of the larger boxes, trying to make myself as insignificant as possible.

    "The demonic winters did nothing to assuage the crime situation in London," Kazuma had told me such in his letters. Would that apply to the pitch-black, rainy summers as well? In this small corner, I sunk deeper into my thoughts, my regrets since I had left the station and walked all this way from Trafalgar Street. If only I had contacted Kazuma the moment I stepped foot outside my train compartment - maybe right now I would be safe in his arms, drinking his delicious herbal tea while listening to his endless complaints about the British weather instead of hiding from a supposed criminal under the unforgiving rain.

    Suddenly, I heard the same footsteps coming towards my hiding place.

    Almost instinctively, I covered my mouth, trying not to make a sound. The footsteps kept coming closer, and closer while I tried to make myself smaller and smaller. A million thoughts ran through my head at once. "What if they were a thief or a murderer who would target any poor chap loitering the streets at night?", "What if they found me?", "How would Kazuma feel, if he woke up the next morning and found out that I had gone where he could not follow?" I closed my eyes, trying to search for Kazuma's jovial laugh at the back of my mind to ease my worrisome heart.

    The footsteps kept coming closer, and closer, and I kept my eyes shut, until I heard the warmest, most familiar voice.

    "It's safe now, Ryuu. You can come out now."

    My eyes became wide open. Kazuma? What in the world was he doing here?

    "Some Scotland Yard patrols had apprehended the shady figure chasing after you earlier, and had sent them to the gaol post-haste. They will bring him into questioning tomorrow morning."

    More footsteps, but I was no longer terrified, only confused. Dearest Kazuma should have been sleeping soundly, wrapping himself in heaps of blankets at the moment. Why would he be here? Thoughts kept running over my head as I felt a gentle hand touching the top of my hat.

    "Ahahaha, were you that frightened, partner?" That booming, jovial laugh was unmistakable. It really was him, the madman. As I looked up, he had already reached out a hand. "Come on, up you go. My flat is just around the corner. I trust you have brought your parasol?"

    I responded with a simple nod. Kazuma took my hand and hoisted me up, offering to share his parasol while I took time to look for mine. He then took one of my suitcases and urged me to follow him down the street until we reached a small flat just around the corner. Kazuma then opened the door and ushered me inside, tossing me a thick towel as he told me to dry myself. He said that he would draw a warm bath for me, that I should prepare a set of fresh clothing for the night.

    It was not until I had come inside Kazuma's bathroom, peeling the soaking layers of my outfit off my shivering skin, that I felt well and truly safe.



    Lời tác giả:
    • Fic cho rằng PLvAA canon và dòng thời gian của series PL đi song song với dòng thời gian của series AA
    • [Layton 7: LMJ/LMDA spoilers] Thời hiện tại diễn ra hai năm sau khi Layton chính thức nhận nuôi Katrielle (cố bé đã 4 tuổi). Giáo sư và anh trai đã hòa thuận trở lại, và Tiến sĩ Sycamore đang giúp em trai trông con.
    • Các mốc thời gian trong quá khứ: DGS1 diễn ra năm 1899, DGS2 diễn ra năm 1900. Mọi sự kiện trong thư từ và nhật ký diễn ra vào năm 1903.
    • Vào năm 1902, Núi lửa Pelée ở vùng biển Caribbean phun trào, và Châu Âu chịu ảnh hưởng từ tàn dư của thiên tai đó - riêng ở Anh Quốc chịu ảnh hưởng suốt 3 năm (1902-1905). Như vậy, "the ashen clouds" (tạm dịch: bầu trời xám xịt) sẽ được nhắn tới khá nhiều trong fic.
    • Tên tiếng Nhật có trường âm là do người Nhật phát âm/viết. Tên tiếng Nhật không có trường âm là do người Anh phát âm/viết.
    • Việc Ryuunosuke trở thành giáo sư ở tuổi 26 ở trường Teito Yuumei là chi tiết lấy từ series Professor Layton - Layton là giáo sư trẻ tuổi nhất ở Gressenheller, tham gia đội ngũ nghiên cứu và giảng dạy vào năm 27 tuổi.
    • [Layton 6: Azran Legacy spoilers] Trong fic này, anh em nhà Bronev khả năng là có quan hệ họ hàng xa với dòng họ Asougi.
     
    Chỉnh sửa cuối: 13/10/21
    Nhược Hư TướcDoko đã thả thính cho thớt.
  3. antirrhinea001

    antirrhinea001 Metal

    Tham gia ngày:
    29/6/21
    Bài viết:
    61
    Nghề nghiệp:
    Thủ thư
    Nơi ở:
    Pherae, Lycia, Đại lục Elibe




    we can feel the warmth forever​




    [Mr. Ryunosuke Naruhodo's Journal, Entry number #135, dated June 15th, 1903]

    Kazuma lives alone in his tiny flat, and judging from how little furniture he has, I do not suppose he expects any guests other than for occasional tea breaks or urgent business. His bed, however, is large enough to host two people, for my dearest often tosses and turns in his sleep - or so he had told Lord van Zieks prior to this arrangement. As such, it came as no surprise that I would sleep in Kazuma's room, on the same bed as he does.

    It was only quite embarrassing to think of, as it has been so long since we were last intimate.

    Memories of the SS Burya had never brought me any joy, and yet not all was hopeless. We were wide-eyed schoolboys back then, Kazuma fearlessly facing the Western winds and I, being stuffed in his large trunk, trying my hardest to stay as quiet as a mouse. The first fifteen days had been smooth sailing, as we were in each other's company, talking animatedly about our dreams and decisions to traverse the Queen's Capital to our heart's content. Until that incident happened, we were... happy. Hopeful, even.

    Then news of Kazuma's apparent passing reached me that fateful morning, and I was inconsolable. Susato-san's kindness helped assuage the turmoil in my heart somewhat, but nothing could ease the aching pain threatening to consume me.

    Even now, four years after the incident, plus a two-year exchange programme of a lifetime, I could scarce believe that I would be reunited with my most beloved, lying side by side on his bed as he held me close, whispering sweet nothings into my ear until he tired himself out and slept soundly in my arms. I held my dearest as close as he had held me, brushing his hair with my fingers and singing him an old folk song.

    He told me in the morning, "It was the best sleep I had in years."



    "Why, isn't this lovely," Professor Layton exclaims. "The way our dear Professor wrote about his dear friend in his journal, it almost seems like they were betrothed."

    "Ah, but of course," Dr. Sycamore chuckles, "I suppose Mr. Phoenix Wright had spared you the details, but they were, for lack of a better term, married. A secret wedding for a forbidden love, blossoming under the ashen skies of London, thriving until their deaths in 1952. They had planned to keep their secrets well beyond their graves, and it wasn't until recently that the true nature of their relationship came to light."

    "I see," the Professor ponders, "Is this the Old Bailey's secret that they talked about?"

    "It is a well-guarded secret, yes, but I would not call it the mystery we are looking for."

    "Ah, of course. Pray tell, what happened on the SS Burya?" Layton asks.

    "The information I've gotten from Mr. Naruhodo's other journal was, as he and Mr. Asogi were en route from Yokohama to London in 1899, Mr. Asogi had tripped over a black cat and subsequently died of blunt force trauma," Dr. Sycamore informs.

    I'm sorry Hershel, I let you down.

    "Though, as you can see, these journal entries read 1903, and yet he was still alive then."

    "Which would mean he was resuscitated somehow?"

    "That would be most plausible," Dr. Sycamore scratches his chin in thought. "It is puzzling how a man could survive from that nasty fall. Mr. Asogi must have been very fortunate."

    I can't pull you up. Now give me your other hand!

    "Perchance, did he experience amnesia?" Layton ventures.

    "Speaking from personal experience, are you now?" the Doctor smiles sadly, "Yes. He did suffer from memory loss for as long as six months. After regaining his memories, his brain injury still proved to be quite troublesome."

    Take the mask. It's yours. You must solve the last puzzle, Hershel.

    Randaaaaaall!

    "Ah. So that's how it was."

    Desmond gestures to the journal, "Let us continue."




    Kazuma leaves for work early in the morning, and comes back late at night. As he was leaving this morning, after only having toast and orange juice for breakfast, he profusely apologised for being a discourteous host and leaving me to my lonesome. I did not mind one bit, however, for he was kind enough to offer me a place to stay - by his side, no less, and I told him as much. He did promise to take me out to the fanciest tea shop in Chancer Lane, though, and I bade him farewell, waving at him until he disappeared into the midst of the ashen sky.

    There was not much to do being inside a tiny flat whose owner tidies up often. It felt peculiar, having so much free time on my hands. Back at home, Susato-san and I had clients almost every day and dealt with different cases from civil to criminal. Some days, we hardly had any time to sleep at all. I wonder how Susato-san would handle our business back home - she had been adamant that I travelled here to aid Kazuma and had reassured me that she would take care of our heavy workload in my stead. I had raised an objection, stating that it was hard enough to maintain our business as usual with two people, let alone one; and yet she was persistent that she would be able to handle my share of work as well.

    "Kazuma-sama was my brother as much as he was your betrothed," she had said, full of determination and conviction, "if we had not lent him aid during his moments of distress, I would not be as shameless as to consider myself his sister any longer."

    I borrowed Kazuma's tea table to pen a quick letter to Susato-san and draft a short telegram before heading to the post office.

    In several of our previous correspondences, Kazuma had instructed that I cover my face and use a pseudonym if I were to walk the streets of London. Trouble was, I had brought no mask to cover my face entirely; after several moments of pondering, I opted for a simple silk face mask as well as a feather boa that Kazuma had tucked away in his darkest corner, wrapped them just above my nose, and wore my prescription glasses. My old classmates tended not to recognise me with my glasses on, and I decided to use this to my advantage.

    I then chose my pseudonym carefully, an unassuming name crafted from Christian myths and wordplay. I had once mused about it in one of my bimonthly letters to Kazuma, and he had replied with a laugh, written in bold ink, as boisterous as his actual laugh. I hope Susato-san recognises me from the pseudonym, as well as the wordings I chose that it was my message...

    The journey to the post office and back to Kazuma's flat was uneventful. And what a relief it was, for I was still reeling from the shock of last night's events. With a little more time on my hands, I made some tea and sweets for myself, as well as prepared the ingredients for Kazuma's late dinner.

    Kazuma arrived home just as the beat patrols began lighting the street lamps and I had just finished making his favourite beef stew. He shrugged his coat off his shoulders and joined me at the table, not forgetting to give me a chaste kiss on my lips before he was seated. We ate in comfortable peace - Kazuma praised my culinary prowess between bites while I chastised that he should eat more slowly or else he would choke. I had always cherished Kazuma's enthusiasm towards the food I made for him, and his compliments have always made me blush scarlet.

    This domestic bliss... it felt as if we were married.

    We retreated to our bed moments later, wrapped in each other's embrace as I recited my friend Natsume Souseki's various haiku and narrated his stories to my drowsy partner. Kazuma's hand wandered at my back as he provided his witty commentary and made guesses in between the kisses he peppered onto my neck.

    If marrying him would mean staying just like this, wrapped up in my darling's embrace, listening to his steady heartbeat and sweet nothings, letting myself be peppered with kisses until the end of our days, then I would gladly trade anything to keep him company for eternity.

    As I had finished telling Natsume-san's story and Kazuma's eyes were barely open, I reached over to turn off the night lamp.

    Kazuma then whispered into my ear.

    "Tomorrow, I shall take you to see Lord van Zieks," He said, in a soft murmur. "There is something important he must tell you."

    "Ooh, you're not even going to tell me what he wanted me for?"

    "Oh no, I am not going to talk shop while we are in bed." Kazuma sighed, "but I assure you, this is a puzzle I am sure you would enjoy immensely."

    "I do not like the sound of that," I chuckled. "But you are right. Let us sleep for now."




    No puzzles on these entries. Just the gentle musings of a lover.

    Hershel Layton stares at the penmanship in silence.

    No. A gentleman should not be envious of the joys of others and pity the sadness of one's self. A gentleman should not act like a forlorn child without his favourite toy. And yet, he cannot help but wonder.

    Randall, his best friend, his boyhood crush. If he had been more adamant in stopping him from exploring the Ruins of Akbadain that day, would Randall have stayed in Stansbury with him, Angela, and Henry? Would his friendship with Randall be any different, or would it blossom into anything more? Or would he have fallen with the Mask of Chaos another day? Now that Randall has been alive and well, can he fix his long-broken relationship with Randall, now of all times, after too many years of hurt, betrayal, and estrangement?

    Dearest Claire, the woman of his dreams, the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. If he had stopped her from heading to the laboratory and proposed to her that night, would Claire have lived, or would she have died another day? Would it have hurt more if she died before or after he had proposed?

    He is almost afraid to ask.

    "Hershel?" His brother's voice breaks him from his reverie. "You're staring at the journal for a while now. Is everything alright?"

    "Just fine, Desmond." He wipes a tear from the corner of his eyes. "I'm just reminded of some bad memories, is all."

    "Look, you can talk to me about anything, alright?" Desmond sighs. "I know we're not as close as siblings should be - I'm trying to amend that, mind - but I've also experienced loss first-hand. I know what it feels like to lose the one you love. Or to be estranged from them."

    "Thank you, Brother," Hershel manages a small smile. "I will keep that in mind."

    Lời tác giả:
    [Layton 7: LMJ/LMDA spoilers] Chancer Lane là khu phố nới Katrielle mở Văn phòng Thám tử. Năm 1903, tòa nhà đó là căn hộ cũ của Kazuma, được lão cấp trên quý sờ tộc mua làm quà kết thúc kì thực tập và nhận công việc mới. Họ chọn con đường này là vì mấy tiệm bánh nức tiếng đều tập trung ở đây.


     
    Chỉnh sửa cuối: 13/10/21
  4. antirrhinea001

    antirrhinea001 Metal

    Tham gia ngày:
    29/6/21
    Bài viết:
    61
    Nghề nghiệp:
    Thủ thư
    Nơi ở:
    Pherae, Lycia, Đại lục Elibe




    the joyous and sad times fade​




    [Mr. Ryunosuke Naruhodo's Journal, Entry number #136, dated June 16th, 1903]

    We set off to Sholmes' Suite first thing in the morning.

    When I asked why we could not travel to Lord van Zieks' mansion straight from our flat in Chancer Lane, Kazuma simply shrugged and told me I needed a change of clothing. I supposed he was not keen on feather boas, as he had gracelessly shoved them in the back of his wardrobe, so I complied. Besides, there is no reason to waste another opportunity for us to visit Herlock and Iris before we set off on solving this puzzle; even though I had my doubts, I did not raise any objections.

    Iris greeted us at the door and gave each of us a hug, then ushered us in to join her and her father for breakfast. Herlock was busy manoeuvring the machine on his work desk; nevertheless, he waved his hand with a jovial hello upon my entry and urged us to have our meal without him. Today's breakfast was bacon and eggs served with toast - Iris' culinary skills are impeccable as ever. As we ate at the makeshift tea table, we regaled her with stories of the Mikotoba family from the Empire of Japan while she kept me updated on the affairs of our friends and family in London.

    As we had finished our meal and Iris poured each of us a cup of her special herbal tea blend, I asked her about Lord van Zieks. Upon hearing that name, she steered her focus towards her teacup in a sombre manner.

    "Uncle Barry was hurt very badly the other day," she told us. "I have been giving him prescriptions for his sickness; and Kazu and Gina have been great help in taking care of him, but I am not sure when he will recover."

    "What happened?" I inquired, and Kazuma answered.

    "He was poisoned just before his latest trial. He was enjoying a nice tea break with Inspector Lestrade and I when he felt unwell, and as we promptly put him to rest, Toby sniffed out something strange in his teacup. We were fortunate enough to reach the nearest hospital in time - had we not made it, we might have lost him."

    Three years after Lord van Zieks cleared his own name and put an end to the elaborate farce known as the Curse of the Reaper, and he was still subjected to these petty assassination attempts? Despicable .

    "His condition is stable, but he is still on bed rest, and has since moved to his home office for professional matters." Iris continued.

    "Did anyone find out who did it?"

    "No idea," Kazuma sighed, "but we were able to make our deductions and singled out several house servants. Our suspects previously served opposing houses that had failed to curry favour with the King."

    "And because my esteemed uncle is now under strict witness protection, he is neither able to leave his mansion nor receive any visitors." Iris pouted. "Which would mean that I cannot invite myself over for a chat, or even to update on his health! We make do of that predicament using my luck charm, and I have Kazu or Gina deliver his medicine, of course, but it is not the same as seeing him in the flesh."

    Which would mean, without permission from officials, no one else may enter and leave the van Zieks mansion as they please.

    "Are you visiting Uncle Barry?"

    "We are. Lord van Zieks wants to see Naruhodou. He says it's important."

    "How are we going to see him if we are not permitted?" I asked.

    "Simple," Kazuma laid a stack of documents on the table, "I have forged an entry request for you, using a fake identity. You shall be entering and leaving the residence as Asougi Shigemi, an exchange student from the Criminology Department at Gressenheller University, assigned for an internship with the Met under Inspector Lestrade."

    "In other words...," Iris smiled mischievously.

    "... you shall be posing as my wife." Kazuma finished with a smirk.

    Is this another of your convoluted methods to tell me you wanted to win my hand in marriage, Kazuma?



    "Desmond," Layton narrows his eyes, his face expressionless. "Please do not tell me this is your inspiration to dress up as posh ladies."

    The man in question lets out a sharp sigh - if they were not in the Records Room, Layton is sure that his brother would let out a hearty laugh - "Well, I do not know what to tell you. From Mr. Asogi's drawings, Mr. Naruhodo was quite the graceful lady." and hands him a parchment.

    The Professor unrolls the parchment to examine the contents, only to find a picture of a mysterious British lady, wearing a dark-coloured afternoon dress with simple embellishments, hiding her face with a parasol in one hand and holding a purse in the other. The Doctor then hands him another journal, filled page to page with dresses and accessories from the Victorian-Edwardian era.

    "This is... Mr. Naruhodo in disguise?"

    "Correct," Desmond nods, "It appears that Dr. Wilson was also a talented seamstress, and Mr. Asogi had a great eye for fashion."

    Layton flips through the journal, marvelling at the various designs, "You mean to say that Mr. Asogi designed this himself?"

    "Considering the initials on the sketches and the fact that this is indeed one of Mr. Asogi's many journals, I would say that is more likely than not," the Doctor argues. "I assume the dreadful weather had made him restless, and he chose to spend his pastime accordingly."

    "A noble pursuit."




    Kazuma knew I could never refuse him anything. Kazuma also knew I could never refuse Iris anything. Which would be exactly why he had roped Iris into this, other than the fact that Iris is an amazing seamstress in her own right.

    They dragged me to the now-vacant attic and, to my astonishment, presented me with an array of the most exquisite of outdoor dresses. I would venture an educated guess and say that they had all of this planned from the very start, but I tried not to voice it. Kazuma seemed to read my thoughts anyway, per usual, and guffawed when I indignantly told him that I might not look good in a dress. He and Iris seemed very much determined to prove me wrong.

    And prove it they did.

    I could scarcely recognise myself as I looked into the mirror. Instead of a Teito Yuumei student with the usual black gakuran, a woman in a teal dress, with long dark hair and a matching top hat adorned with roses stared at me with her expressive brown eyes. They handed me a mask and told me to try it on - the accessory framed my face perfectly. Iris handed me a dark-coloured pouch, instructing me to give the contents to Lord van Zieks once I met him. Kazuma then gave me a black parasol - elegant and fitting for a young British lady - and guided me to solve the puzzle he carefully hid in the handle. It was an intriguing puzzle, but one I could easily solve in five seconds or less. When I asked, he smiled and told me this would help protect me later.

    We hailed a carriage and traversed the streets of London, until we reached the outskirts of the city and carried onward to reach a large mansion by the riverside of Richmond. We stepped out of the carriage, Kazuma held out a hand to support me and paid for the fares.

    "You must not talk until we have reached Lord van Zieks' room," Kazuma had instructed, "I shall tell you everything once all parties involved were present. For now, please do as I say. Can you trust me?"

    His gloved fingers laced with mine as we walked towards a Scotland Yard officer, and I retreated to Kazuma's back and let him handle the talking. They exchanged a few words and, as soon as the bobby had finished checking the papers, allowed us to proceed. My sweetheart's stance was as commanding as he had been when we were schoolboys, when he first defended me in the High Courts; however, he did not seem as ephemeral and out-of-reach as he had been back then. At the time, I had been a stranger to the legal world, who could only admire my partner from afar; after two years studying as well as practising law in Great Britain, I was proud to say that I could finally stand by his side on truly equal grounds. If anything, the trials and tribulations we had endured for the past years had done naught but brought us closer. I had been proud to take his hand then, and I was even prouder to take his hand now.

    Kazuma wasted no time as he rushed to lead me to Lord van Zieks' home office-cum-bedroom. A foreboding unease arose in my heart as we ran, hand in hand, past the Met guards and house servants loitering in the hallways. No sooner had we reached the largest door at the end of the third floor hallway than we stopped, my darling briefly released my hand as he greeted our friend guarding outside the door.

    Inspector Lestrade did not waste time for small talk; rather, she ushered us into the room and ordered one the servants to fetch us a cup of tea as soon as she saw us.

    The room was larger than any bedroom I have ever seen in my life. Not even the bedrooms of the public baths back home could compare to the mere size and might of this room.

    Lord van Zieks was sitting up on his bed by the window, reading a manuscript. I handed the small pouch to Kazuma, and he hastened to the Lord's bedside, giving him the pouch. In my peripheral vision, Lord van Zieks shook his head as my sweetheart was conversing with him, and Kazuma sighed and laid the pouch on the nightstand. Gina and the two men stirred quite the commotion as they exchanged words - after a long moment, the Lord shook his head yet again and covered his face with his hand, positively in jest. I must admit, we had all seen Lord van Zieks in better days, but seeing him acting so jovially around his subordinates and housemates (former in the case of his trusted apprentice) had brought a warm sensation in my heart.

    After a while, Kazuma beckoned me over to the bed.

    "Have I yet to introduce you, my Lord," Kazuma asked, "to my darling wife?"

    Lord van Zieks narrowed his eyes, as if he were trying to look past my mask. "No, I do not believe we are acquainted, Mr. Asougi. Forgive my discourtesy. Might I ask for the young lady's name?"

    "The name is Shigemi, my Lord," I lifted the hems of my dress and bowed, just as Iris had taught me moments ago, "Shigemi Asougi. It is a great honour to be in your presence."

    "Mrs... Asougi, is it not?" I could feel his scrutiny from his narrowed eyes, and fidgeted with my parasol in worry. "I pray for your forgiveness for my discourtesy, however; had I not been confined to this bed, I would have invited you for a cup of tea. I wish we had met under more favourable circumstances."

    "I have heard about your ailments from my esteemed husband, my Lord." My words were trained, yet my worries were not. How serious could that poison be to scarcely incapacitate one of the strongest men I had had the pleasure to be acquainted with? "I hope you shall be making a swift recovery."

    "Likewise," the Lord sighed. "It is very troublesome to handle case files, being confined to my bed, and it would be discourteous to ask my subordinates here to trouble themselves with the grunt work."

    He talked a bit more about his family, how he had missed his niece's (who we all knew to be Iris-chan) thirteenth birthday because of his convoluted case he had found himself in; how his life had been, living with meddlesome troublemakers who made his life a living hell - however, one that he would not wish to trade for anything; how grateful he was that Gina had been most kind to let him indulge in his love for dogs and help her take care of Toby. I took every word he had said into heart. Being here, listening to his anecdotes, has given me proof that, despite having everything he held dear taken by the Professor Killings, Lord van Zieks still had not lost hope; its resolve, and this makeshift family he found himself in had restored that hope and done wonders for his psyche.

    After the servant brought the tea and walked out of the room, Gina locked the door, and Lord van Zieks cleared his throat.

    "That being said, I suppose you are not here for small talk. Mr. Asougi brought you here precisely because you are well-versed in solving puzzles, correct?" I nodded, and Lord van Zieks gestured to a vacant armchair.

    "Well then, please have a seat, my lady. I shall regale you about our situation at hand."

     
    Chỉnh sửa cuối: 14/10/21
  5. antirrhinea001

    antirrhinea001 Metal

    Tham gia ngày:
    29/6/21
    Bài viết:
    61
    Nghề nghiệp:
    Thủ thư
    Nơi ở:
    Pherae, Lycia, Đại lục Elibe




    a signal whispered in my ear​




    [Mr. Ryunosuke Naruhodo's Journal, Entry number #136 (cont.), dated June 16th, 1903]

    "Though I must let you know why we asked you to conceal your identity in the most elaborate way possible." The Lord sighed, "We are in safe territory now, Mr. Naruhodou. Pray, take off your mask if you feel any discomfort."

    Lord van Zieks already knew who I was. It was reassuring to know that, false identity or not, in the confines of this bedroom, there would be no room for pretence. I sighed in relief but refused to take off my mask, for fear that myopia, along with my forgetfulness, may cause me trouble as soon as I leave this safe haven.

    Dearest Kazuma had taken the liberty of embracing me from behind, kissing me and reassuring me that, after all that's said and done, I am still the man he loves. Euphoria paved the way for any doubts and discomfort I had since the moment I concealed my identity - Kazuma's kisses always have that magical effect on me. I could hear Gina teasing and the Lord sighing in jest - I frowned at them, pretended to be affronted.

    "Pray, forgive my discourtesy of subjecting you to any discomfort, but the case at hand is one most convoluted," the Lord continued. "Had we not endured such a hassle, I fear the consequences might be dire for us all."

    "I suppose it wasn't so bad, getting to wear a pretty dress and all." I replied. "Though, if you must refuse to address me as, uh, Defender Asougi's female betrothed, we should lower our voices. I would not want any of your servants to overhear us."

    Kazuma gave me a couple of case files, and I flipped through them as Lord van Zieks summarised the situation.

    The mysterious disappearances started two years ago, claiming an esteemed judge as its first victim. From then on, a number of law enforcement officers, including prosecution counsels, police officers, even defence attorneys from well-to-do houses simply vanished from their homes. From the testimonies of the victims' families, each of the victims received a strange letter in the mail several days before their apparent disappearances, with a peculiar sigil as the wax seal. Their latest victim would have been Lord van Zieks himself, had it not been for the tea break he had with his subordinates and Inspector Toby's astute nose. The Lord also recalled receiving a letter of such nature, with the same wax seal and similar handwriting to the other letters.

    I asked for the details of these letters, and Gina instructed me to turn to the last few pages. The pages detailed the sigil used on the wax seals - a red wax seal with circles not unlike that of an archery target surrounding an intricately designed "T" - and the content which the letters entail: an invitation to enrol in an agency of sorts, along with threats promising dire consequences to the immediate families of the victims if they refuse to comply. I asked about the families in question, to which Gina replied that they have all been placed under witness protection.

    Lord van Zieks had no immediate family left except for Iris-chan - his brother and sister-in-law had passed away thirteen years ago, and yet neither she nor Herlock were under witness protection... or were they? Baffling. Do they think they alone can protect Iris from harm, or do they simply not trust the police? Now that I have thought about it, it should come as no surprise that Herlock never trusted anyone amongst the Metropolitan besides Lord van Zieks, the deceased Inspector Gregson, Gina and Kazuma. Gina herself is an Inspector who expresses clear distrust towards the police, and if the fateful trial three years ago was any indication, Kazuma has every right to mistrust the Yard. Even so, had Lord van Zieks and his companions considered the possibilities that Herlock and Iris are in as much danger as these families? Knowing both of them, however, one would assume that they could take care of themselves in times of crisis.

    I enquired about the poison that was used on Lord van Zieks, and Kazuma redirected me to another folder. The files detailed the kidnappings, arranged from the first to the latest, with notes about the pattern of the series of crimes. Investigation of each crime scene showed a silver ornament with an aviary creature carved onto it - a different one for each crime scene - and examining victims who returned showed signs of chloroform being inhaled or ingested. The first victim, shortly after his return, had had his lodgings burned down while he was residing in a trial at the Old Bailey, with his wife and children still inside. Since then, the others either never returned, or - if they were - had their families immediately put under witness protection. As for the latest crime, Gina stated that, after several hours of interrogating the suspects, she had discovered that Lord van Zieks was also poisoned with chloroform, just enough to incapacitate him instead of killing him.

    What should be most peculiar are the silver ornaments... Why would anyone leave any trail of their crimes? Perhaps they are the clue to the organisation we are looking for? I enquired if there are any records of the ornaments, and Lord van Zieks gave me a set of parchment paper. The files were filled with drawings of the ornaments, organised according to the order in which the incidents occurred, detailing the species' common names and their native habitat. These are as follows:
    • The Ahanta francolin from Sierra Leone
    • The lesser ground cuckoo from Honduras
    • The Tundra swan from Prince Edward Island
    • The cotton pygmy-goose from Hong Kong
    • The Elegant imperial-pigeon from Australia
    • The Macaroni penguin from Antarctica
    • And finally, the Wilson's storm petrel from the Great British Empire
    Silver ornaments and birds... peculiar.

    Kazuma also pointed out that the Commissioners who were kidnapped used to be ex-Reapers, who were rounded up and tried publicly after we had figured out the truth behind the secret agency, and most of them went missing after their subsequent kidnapping. Could it be? I tried to piece the evidence together, and have finally reached the answer. I turned to Kazuma, seeking his sharp eyes, and he immediately understood. Lord van Zieks and Gina seemed to have gotten this as well.

    "Wot are we waitin' for?" Gina slung her satchel on her shoulder and put her cap on. She became more like an Inspector than Lord van Zieks' insufferable housemate, in both appearance and mannerism. "Get movin', will ya? We're goin' to Scotl'nd Yard!"

    I am not at liberty to discuss my findings here, but they were most fascinating. We are one step closer to the truth now.



    [February 27th, 2024 - 4:00 PM
    The Old Bailey - Records Room]

    "Interesting...," Layton scans the text and makes notes of the clues. His brother, on the other hand, looks pensive. "Do you know something about this, Desmond?"

    "I have done some fair share of reading," the Doctor nods. "There's something about this case that... concerns me personally."

    "Does this concern the Azrans?"

    "Journals of all parties involved did not mention any of the Azran artefacts, though there are several connections." Desmond appears pensive. "Let's recount the facts, shall we? Stand up, Hershel. You might have to stretch your legs for this one."

    "Oh?" The professor tilts his head. "You've piqued my interest, dear brother. What are you trying to show me?"

    Desmond takes his hand. "I shall introduce you to a critical thinking technique, practised by the Greatest Detective of Great Britain and the Great Ace Attorney alike." They move to a larger, emptier section of the Records Room. "Allow me to introduce you to the Dance of Deduction, the Logic and Reasoning Spectacular!"

    "Oh? Is this another puzzle?"

    "It can be. Let us look at the facts."

    [The truth about the Agency]

    > The sigil <

    "The victims first received a letter with a peculiar sigil on the wax seal," the Doctor starts, pointing a finger up. "The sigil looks similar to a practice target at the archery range, with an embellished "T" in the middle."

    "Desmond, wait. We should examine the sigil a bit more closely."

    The Professor takes out a magnifying glass and holds it just above the evidence.

    "Would you look at this, Desmond," Layton exclaims, "Do you not find it strange?"

    "What have you found?"

    "Practice targets do not have these markings, do they?" Layton points out, "These four corners look as if they were some type of fortress, and the markings look similar to that of brick layouts."

    "Very astute. I expect nothing less from you."

    "Mr. Naruhodo described the symbol as a practice target lookalike, but it does not seem like the case now, does it not?" Memories come rushing it - the gears are turning in his head, and a familiar image reappears in his head. Judging from Desmond's wide eyes, it seems he has also recognised the true nature of the sigil as well.

    "Our dear professor was a barrister with little to no knowledge of archaeology. It would be impossible for him to consider this possibility. But this sigil... it can only signify one thing - rather, one of the legacies of the Azrans," the Doctor explains. "The image... is indeed that of the Nautilus Chamber of Akbadain!"

    > The silver ornaments <

    "It seemed that Mr. Naruhodo had already solved this puzzle, but let us look at this again." Dr. Sycamore recounts the puzzle. "The ornaments are all made of silver, and all of them have images of birds carved onto them. Their species are, in order of the incidents that occurred, are as follows:
    • The Ahanta francolin from Sierra Leone
    • The lesser ground cuckoo from Honduras
    • The Tundra swan from Prince Edward Island
    • The cotton pygmy-goose from Hong Kong
    • The Elegant imperial-pigeon from Australia
    • The Macaroni penguin from Antarctica
    • And finally, the Wilson's storm petrel from the Great British Empire
    "That alone would not make any sense," Layton ponders, "but Mr. Naruhodo pays much attention to the birds' habitat as well. Perhaps he also noticed something?"

    "The clue isn't the exact location, it's the continent where they come from," the Doctor explains. "If we arrange the aviary species to their corresponding continents from largest to smallest in land mass, and take the letter in the same position as the number of letters in the continent's name..."

    "How do we handle the Americas?" The Professor asks, then stops. He checks the clues again. "Just a moment. These places all have one thing in common: they were old British colonies. Because Great Britain did not have colonies in South America, they should pick a bird from Honduras, which is in Central America. Maybe that's where they wanted us to focus on?"

    "It's plausible." Desmond nods, "Then we shall take into account the words North and Central, and take the fifth letter in tundra swan and the seventh from lesser ground cuckoo."

    "The letters will then spell:
    t a r g e n t

    It's obvious. Argent is another word for silver, and the ornaments all have images of aviary species. What other secret agency in Great Britain would be invested in the Azran Legacy, and have their members wear silver-coloured uniforms and code-name them after birds?

    Professor Layton looks at Doctor Sycamore, eyes wide in utter shock. The Doctor, in turn, looks devastated. His eyes become hyper-focused on the floor as he grits his teeth and bites his lower lip, his shoulders stiff and his hands balled into angry fists. Hershel reaches out a hand, wanting to comfort his brother, but Desmond quickly turns away.

    "Desmond... you say that you have looked into this case, many years ago...," Hershel speaks slowly, contemplating each and every word, "You are not saying that... This is..."

    "Yes... it is as it sounds...," Desmond breathes, his voice constricted with great anger and sadness, "In his quest for the truth, the honourable esquire had discovered Targent, a cult still in its infancy."

    "That would mean...!"

    "Yes... Targent had been destroying families as far back as the Edwardian era...," the Doctor chokes, his eyes trying to hold all the tears he has tried so hard to never shed, "...and, as you can see from these records... they almost destroyed a found family as well... just as its members were still healing from their emotional wounds..."

    "That's...!" Layton's eyes widen in shock. "My Goodness... I've never known... And this is part of your research into the Azrans?"

    "Indeed. While searching for any clues that would have led me to my greatest enemy, I stumbled upon a research paper about The Great Ace Attorney and his contribution to solving the puzzle of the Professor Killings." Dr. Sycamore continues, finding his voice, "His mastery in puzzles and noble pursuits had piqued my interest, and I tried to find out more about the other mysteries he had solved in his lifetime... until I came across these documents."

    "And that's your clue to find out more about Targent?" Layton asks, and receives a nod as his answer. "So the Jean Descole persona is based on... the Masked Disciple? Prosecutor Asogi?"

    "Indeed. You have seen me admire his penchant for fashion... and it appears in the letters he sent to Mr. Naruhodo that he had shared my love for the theatrics."

    Seeing his brother, seething with anger and on the verge of breaking down from trauma, Hershel does not have the heart to tell him that the Masked Apprentice's getup is most unconventional, if not, quite frankly, ridiculous.

    Back to the matter at hand, however...

    "Something about this seems... off, however," Layton scans the journal entry again. "What would a secret cult obsessed with ancient civilisations want with the courts? They would not place harm unto law enforcement officials and lawyers for no reason, would they?"

    "You give them too much credit sometimes, Hershel," Desmond chuckles darkly, "but you are correct, there is a reason why they would go such lengths."

    [Targent's Agenda]

    > The victims <

    They first examine the list of victims: seven victims, all worked in law-related professions. Scotland Yard Commissioners, Judges of the Old Bailey, Prosecution Counsels serving the Crown, and Defence Attorneys from noble families. The noble families were in favour of the King, and the van Zieks were amongst the most favourable of the Courts.

    Though there is one more thing in common between them...

    "Desmond, do you recall the Sholmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles?" Layton asks.

    "Of course," Desmond shrugs, "I have a collection of all the editions of The Adventures of Herlock Sholmes stories I could find. The original monthly Randst Magazine chapters, as well as the first editions of the published book. Why do you ask?"

    "These families were all very familiar, and they tie to the noble house of Baskerville," he explains, "Take House van Zieks for instance. I'd assume that the Lord van Zieks we've read much about so far was Lord Barok van Zieks, a prosecutor of formidable reputation and close family friend of Mr. Naruhodo. His brother was Lord Klimt van Zieks, betrothed to Lady Elizabeth of House Baskerville."

    "Of course I'd know that, but where are you going with this?"

    "Do you remember the first few case files you showed me, about the Professor Killings? Who was the last victim of the Hound?"

    "Lord Klimt van Zieks?" Desmond enquires, and Layton nods, "And since he was Lady Baskerville's husband, that would make this case relevant to the Baskervilles?"

    "Indeed. These noble Houses were either close families and friends of the Baskervilles."

    "But what about the Commissioners?" The Doctor edges on, and the Professor takes out another stack of paper. The folder reads The Reapers .

    "While I was cataloguing for the Old Bailey earlier, this has caught my eye," he flips open a page to find a list, and shows it to his brother, "See these names over here?"

    Desmond takes a scan at the file, and his eyes widen, "Weren't they... the Commissioners that were kidnapped?"

    "Precisely. The Reapers of the Old Bailey, a well kept secret of the Court, exposed by one Mr. Naruhodo," Layton recounts, "It was first thought to be only one Reaper - namely, Lord Barok van Zieks, whose reputation was that of a fearsome Angel of Death who would bring upon misfortune for the defendants he had prosecuted."

    "It turned out that the Reapers were a secret organisation, involving many Inspectors and Commissioners of the Yard, led by the then-Lord Chief Justice Mael Stronghart." Desmond continues. "Which would mean that these Commissioners were also connected to the Professor case?"

    "Indeed, Lord van Zieks resided in both trials regarding the Professor as well," Layton states. "Which can only mean that all the victims were connected to the Professor Killings cases!"

    "Though one more thing has crossed my mind," they ponder, "Why would Targent care so much about the Professor Killings?"

    >Targent's relationship with the Professor?<

    "Think of the Professor Killings case as the Yard's Pandora's Box. As Mr. Naruhodo solved that difficult puzzle, he inadvertently exposed a series of wrongdoings amongst the police, and had Lord Mael Stronghart stripped of all of his power."

    "That's right," Desmond nods, "His moniker wasn't just for show."

    "Remind me of something, dear Brother," Layton muses, "When Pandora accidentally opened the box, what did she do?"

    "She closed it, immediately."

    "That's right," the professor smiles, "With the darkest secret of Scotland Yard being known to the public, there must have been a rush to cover up their tracks. And because all of the victims had direct involvement in the opening of Pandora's Box, they were asked to close it again."

    "A feasible theory," the Doctor nods, "Then who would be in the right mind to do this? How do you suppose they'd carried out their plans?"

    "None other than those loyal to Lord Mael Stronghart." The Professor flips to a page from the court transcripts, "The Lord Chief Justice believed that a dark shadow must be cast in order to conquer the dark shadows of London, and thus established the Reapers from this doctrine."

    "Since Targent was established by those who were loyal to Lord Stronghart, they should follow the same principle, you mean?" The Doctor sighs. "Their purpose might be different back then, but they still used the same procedure. Kidnapping former Reapers and those involved with the Professor trials to recruit them into Targent, sending threats to kill their immediate families, and exacting their threats if they refused."

    "Either that, or they wanted to silence the people involved in opening the Pandora's Box for good."

    [Deduction Complete]​

    Lời tác giả:
    • Ryuunosuke là trans (người chuyển giới). Lão Bê Vê Dét cũng là trans, nhưng lão là người bày ra trò này, và đám nhóc láo toét ở (đợ) nhà lão nghe theo vì thấy buồn cười. Thành ra lão mới phải đi xin lỗi vì làm làm Ryuu khó chịu.
    • Ryuu bị cận nên Iris đã cắt kính lắp vào mặt nạ sẵn cho Ryuu.
    • Hershel và Desmond đang tap dance trong lúc suy luận.
    • Lại chuyện "anh em nhà Bronev là hậu duệ nhà Asougi" nhưng lần này là để trêu Desmond/Descole. Mấy cái mặt nạ nhìn buồn cười không thể tả được.

     
    Chỉnh sửa cuối: 14/10/21
    Doko đã thả thính cho thớt.
  6. antirrhinea001

    antirrhinea001 Metal

    Tham gia ngày:
    29/6/21
    Bài viết:
    61
    Nghề nghiệp:
    Thủ thư
    Nơi ở:
    Pherae, Lycia, Đại lục Elibe




    the wind blows, the seasons fade​



    [February 27th, 2024 - 4:15 PM
    The Old Bailey - Records Room]

    "That takes care of Targent and their schemes," Professor Layton rubs his chin, deep in thought. "My question now would be, whether Mr. Naruhodo ever found out about this or not."

    "Mr. Naruhodo and Mr. Asogi were some of the best minds London ever had at the time." Dr. Sycamore replies, "Even within a limited amount of time in their hands and few puzzle-solving resources at their disposal, I wouldn't be surprised if they had exposed several of Targent's members."

    "I'm quite curious about this myself, believe it or not." Layton smiles, "Pray, do you have records for their thought process at the time?"

    "Hold on for a moment," The Doctor moves to a different section, and pulls out a notebook with a red cover. He flips through the pages, skimming its contents before handling the journal to his brother.

    "The handwriting is considerably legible," Hershel exclaims. "I presume, this is not one of Mr. Naruhodo's journals?"

    "Astute as ever," Desmond laughs, "Yes, this belonged to a certain Mr. Asogi. I suggest we go with that entry. It's quite worth the read."




    [Mr. Kazuma Asogi's Journal, Entry number #145, dated June 16th, 1903]

    1400 hrs

    We gather the necessary paperwork, and after a few moments, Inspector Lestrade and I escort Ryuunosuke outside, not before ensuring extra security around Lord van Zieks' office. The gracious Lord had allowed us to take his personal carriage, and we instructed the carrier to ride us back to Sholmes' Suite. Ryuu has adjusted better with his Shigemi persona than I had ever hoped he would, but a dress is never efficient for running amok under the ashen clouds of the city of mist, and he needs a change of clothes if we want to investigate in peace.

    Inside the carriage, we start laying out our plans. Ryuu will find information on the Reapers and the Professor Killings again in the Records, I will head back to our shared office to retrieve the evidence my Lord requested and try and convince Iris to help me look for some information in the Library, and Gina will head to the evidence room and report her findings to us after we regroup.

    1430 hrs

    We reach the Sholmes Suite just as planned. Iris rushes to help Ryuu with his clothing, while Gina and I reassemble our paperwork and try to pitch our ideas with Mr. Sholmes. We've reached the same conclusion: the Yard has to relate to this mysterious organisation somehow - either they are colluding with them, or are threatened into looking the other way. That would be the most plausible reason as to why this crime has been overlooked for too long.

    The most peculiar piece of evidence should be the silver ornaments - I'm sure Ryuu has figured out what secrets they hide, but we are never sure until we have more concrete reasoning. Why those victims specifically? Why Inspectors and Commissioners directly working under Shithe Stronghart? Why poison Lord van Zieks? So many questions and so few answers.

    Ryuu changes his clothing in record time, rushing down the stairs eager to get a move on, and I give him a different mask to hide his face with. He still keeps the parasol I gave him, and I let myself smile. The little Dr. Wilson has agreed to my proposition, telling me that she would look into it posthaste. I pray that the Great Spirits may protect us, for all our sake, and that we shall be reunited after the trials and tribulations, safe from harm.

    We scatter to our planned destination at 2:20 PM sharp.

    1440 hrs

    Each of us keeps our communication device close to us and pays attention to the signal - not only to contact the others whenever necessary, but also to collect any of the information we've gathered. I make a dash to my lord's office as soon as the carriage reaches the Prosecution Services Office, and look for the evidence in the secret compartment of his file cabinet, just as he had instructed. I take out some of the files and read the details Lord van Zieks had collected about the evidence.

    I scan the files quickly to get an overview of its contents, and put the evidence box in my satchel.

    I'm about to walk out of the Headquarters, ready to head home, when I sense someone following me. Without thinking, I lure them through the large streets and small alleys of the bustling city under the ashen skies until I could feel that they've lost me. Another day of not drawing my sabre, another day of not losing my temper, and another win in my books. I check my satchel to make sure the piece of evidence is intact - fortunately, it is - and head home.

    1530 hrs

    When I arrive home, everyone has been waiting for me, gathered by our small tea table and enjoying Iris' latest blend. Before I could heave a sigh of relief - everyone I cherish in this dreadful city had returned safe and sound at my flat - they bombard me with questions of my whereabouts and what happened to me in the past hour. I answer truthfully - no point obscuring the truth when it's what we go to the lengths for in the first place. Their worries quickly wane as I steer focus towards the matter at hand.

    Ryuu presents the files he had gathered (read: cajoled the Yard's records keeper to give them to him, how clever) about the previous cases. He draws our attention to the names of the kidnapped victims, and I point out that most of them never returned to their homes. My partner also notes that some of the victims looked similar to the servants amongst our list of suspects, who had allegedly staged the poisoning scheme against Lord van Zieks, and voices his suspicions that the victims might have agreed to join the secret agency, and is currently working on their next target.

    I take out the piece of evidence and place it on the table, explaining that it's something Lord van Zieks has gotten from his sister-in-law - the Lady Baskerville herself - several months prior to her death for safe-keeping, and he had been doing research on the object in case the information he has collected might be useful. As we observe the piece of evidence in the box, Iris' eyes become wide open, and she demands that I hand it over to take a closer look. She points out, seconds later, that the markings on the piece of evidence are identical to those on the sigil.

    Iris then tells us about an ancient civilisation called the Azrans, specialised in the most advanced of technology, and vanished due to unknown reasons. Many an archaeologist have been looking for evidence of their existence ever since the Queen first took reign, but few could find anything concrete. I inquire for more information, and we wait in bated breath as she projects her findings onto the wall: a map of a circular-shaped construction with familiar markings. Iris explains that this map depicts the Chamber of Akbadain, first theorised of its existence and drawn by Professor Donald Rutledge, is said to lay dormant underground in the town of Pleynoth. Apparently the piece I have taken home with me - called an Azran Egg according to the papers I've collected - is connected to the ancient construction somehow. If the markings on the sigil and the Egg are identical, then... Is this why they were coming after Lord van Zieks? To retrieve the Egg? What about the other victims? And what would they do if they had laid their hands on it?

    Inspector Lestrade presents the evidence files she stole from the Records Room (Have I told you I absolutely adore you today, Gina? Because I adore you, very much.) and draws our attention to the photographic prints of the silver ornaments. She compiles the list of all the officers who were supervising each crime scene, and notes that some of them reported to have lost items with similar descriptions. If these are among the people planning espionage-related crimes, this is the peak of sloppiness. I wonder how these folks became policemen in the first place...

    I shall list out the deductions we have made so far for convenience's sake:
    • The supposed secret agency only recruits Scotland Yard officers, judges and attorneys who were either ex-Reapers, Shithe Stronghart supporters, or close friends with the Baskervilles.
    • This secret agency appears to be keen on aviary creatures and the colour silver, just like a certain shithe former Lord Chief Justice.
    • This agency did not aim to recruit Lord van Zieks. Instead, they want to weasel certain information out of him - particularly, information about the Azran artefact given to him by Lady Baskerville.
    • We have yet to find concrete evidence for this claim, but it's possible that they wish to revive the Azran Legacy. For whatever reason, we know not.
    Ryuu reminds the group that I was being followed prior to reaching our flat - and with all the evidence we have gathered so far, we all suspect them to be an agent of this secret cult. Mr. Sholmes tells us to be careful from now on - I may have distracted them and covered my tracks well, but they would find us out sooner or later.

    "First things first, though." Mr. Sholmes declares, "Mr. Asogi, you must tell my brother about this. I suppose you are familiar with the newly-appointed Lord Chief Justice?" I nod, and point out that Chief Justice Sholmes only accepts written or typed reports of work-related matters.

    "Good, you've already acquainted with that good ol' stick in the mud. Yet he is nothing if not swift in his actions." The good detective continues, "Time's a wasting, my good fellow. Let us write that report posthaste, and send it to him by the end of the day!"

    There is no time to lose. Ryuu and I rush to my typewriter, my partner helping me dictate this report while the ladies reorganise our evidence. Iris helps us in getting our main point across - we could hardly submit projections from a communication device or evidence of a nonexistent civilisation, anyway. The report is finished in record time, and Gina hands me my satchel with all the evidence in it while Mr. Sholmes hails a carriage and instructs me to meet with the Chief Justice posthaste.

    Our time is short. I need the carriage to run at full speed if I want to reach the Lord Chief Justice's office just before it closes.

    1650 hrs

    I rush to the Lord Chief Justice's office right before it closes. Fortunately, Chief Justice Sholmes is still nursing his cup of tea by the time I arrive. I give him the report and he reads it, occasionally asking questions, making notes, and requesting additional evidence, to which I provide in full. After he is finished, he nods and thanks me for the information, and tells me that he would send the service after our suspects.

    If our deductions prove to be true... their next target, the Counsels presiding over the Reapers and Professor trials, exposing Shithe Stronghart and his crimes in a court of law, would be Ryuunosuke and myself. I pray that Chief Justice Sholmes and whatever plan he may concoct would handle the case swiftly.

    Chief Justice Sholmes is a man of honour, and Mr. Sholmes has spoken highly of his brother, but could I trust his squad team to not have any moles? Could we trust them? I know not. All we could do right now is to put faith on the only person Mr. Sholmes would place his trust in the entire system, and hope that the Spirits had heard my prayers for this farce of a crime to end as swiftly as possible. I walk out of the Chief Justice's office and sigh. I had carefully laid out the plans to wreak havoc upon the streets of London with Ryuu under the ashen skies by the time I posted that letter to him, four months ago. Right now, it seems that I must put the plan for another time. No matter. I had sworn to keep my dear partner safe at all costs... Even if it meant having to push our travel plans around London much further... even if it meant having to move far away and separate ourselves from the family we love.



    Professor Layton rubs his temple, resting his eyes for a brief moment, and picks up the journal again. He re-reads the entry and turns to the next page. As he flips forwards, he notices an envelope tucked between the pages. A blank envelope, with neither name nor address. He opens the parchment to find a small letter, and beckons Desmond over to read with him.




    To my learnt friend,

    Your deductions are as splendid as I expected. Regarding your suggestion, I have requested my trusted companions to handle the situation swiftly. My family, as well as others, will be safe for now and ever, and the courts shall decide how the perpetrators you've pinpointed shall pay for their crimes at the earliest convenience. Once again, I am indebted to you, and you have saved us all from another great tragedy.

    However, achieving full victory might be a far-fetched dream of ours. The dark shadows looming over the city of mist are far too great for any of us, and I fear we might not be able to quell this darkness during our lifetime. The best we could do, right now, is to keep faith, and keep trying.

    Enclosed in this letter are two tickets for the Express d'Valenciennes, scheduled to leave London for the city of Brussels in three days. After all these years of trials of tribulations, you deserve a holiday amongst the picturesque Belgium. Kindly accept this humble gift of mine, and pray, forgive me for my numerous discourtesies against you.

    I wish you a safe trip, and the best of health.

    Best regards,

    Your learnt friend.


    The brothers re-read the letter, confusion written on their faces. The handwriting is vastly different from that of either Mr. Asogi or Mr. Naruhodo, and possibly addressed to either of them. The tone of the letter is melancholic, pessimistic even, yet the underlying kindness can be read between the lines.

    There is one thing they know for sure: whoever wrote this letter must have cared about the receiver a great deal.

     
    Chỉnh sửa cuối: 15/10/21
  7. antirrhinea001

    antirrhinea001 Metal

    Tham gia ngày:
    29/6/21
    Bài viết:
    61
    Nghề nghiệp:
    Thủ thư
    Nơi ở:
    Pherae, Lycia, Đại lục Elibe




    the feelings will always be close​




    [Mr. Kazuma Asogi's Journal, Entry number #150, dated June 19th, 1903]

    Itinerary for our trip to Brussels. My memory issues may never fully recover, and Ryuunosuke has always been the more scatterbrained between us, so I'm writing this down before we both forget.

    June 20th, 1000 hrs, we arrive at House van Zieks in Kensington for brunch. He will give us more information about our temporary escape.

    June 20th, 1100 hrs, we board the Molentary Express, Deluxe Compartment. Ryuu has not ridden a luxury train before in his life, and we intend to make the most of our experience in this one hour. If my memory serves, we shall reach Port Dover at 1220 hrs

    June 20th, 1230 hrs, we board the ferry to Port Calais, France. We should reach French soil in about an hour and a half. Let's say 1330 hrs. We should be able to rest here before moving on.

    June 20th, 1400 hrs, we meet with the carrier that Lord van Zeiks had booked for us. His picture should be included with my pass, which should be on my right coat pocket. Hand that to the driver for recognition. May ask Ryuu to translate any French if necessary.

    June 20th, 1700 hrs, we reach Paris, France. Lord van Zieks is most gracious to book a hotel room, giving us plenty of time to sight-see around Paris. After we leave our luggage, I shall take him around the city, and treat him to one of the nicest restaurants in town, though I need to ask him to interpret for me during our time here. My experience as a sailor has no use for French, and between the two of us, my partner is more fluent in the language of love. How I wish to hear those beautiful words flow from his lips again...

    From this point until we leave Paris on June 21st at noon, we shall traverse the city of love to our heart's content. Ever since I was accepted into the exchange programme to Great Britain, I've always wanted to show Ryuu the world. It's time I make the best of this opportunity.

    June 21st, 1230 hrs, we should reach Gare du Nord Station after lunch, ready to board our train to Antwerp. (R: Kazuma, "Gare" already means "station". Saying that is the same as calling chai "chai tea" and Loch Ness "Lake Loch Ness". K: You're the French expert, not me.)

    June 21st, 1300 hrs, we board the Express de Valenciennes to Antwerp, Belgium. Fortunately this is another luxury train, which would mean another long moment of respite. Hopefully nothing will happen, we will have plenty of rest and Ryuu will have plenty of sleep until we reach Antwerp.

    June 21st, 1800 hrs, we should be able to reach Antwerpen-Berchem Station, if I have yet to lose track of time. We should have until 6:45 PM to eat a light dinner. Ryuu will try to stuff his face with food. Try to stop him if we want to safely travel to Brussels through the night.

    June 21st, 1900 hrs, we meet with House van Zieks' personal carriage. Note to self: remember to give the letter with the family seal and Lord van Zieks' signature to the carrier - he should be able to recognise it. From then on it's en route to the van Zieks' ancestral home in Brussels until the crack of dawn.

    Note to self:
    • Remember to bring Nyasougi and Chuunosuke for convenience's sake.
    • Nyasougi and the pocket watch Ryuu gifted me for my 22nd birthday are in my left coat pocket. My passport is in my right waistcoat pocket, and my boarding passes are in my right coat pocket. Try not to bring too much clothing as we might need to buy extra for our disguises, and put our stipend in its secret compartment.
    • Lord van Zieks has given me more than enough allowance for the two of us to travel to Brussels and stay there for two weeks, though it's best practice to stay prudent. No harm in treating Ryuu to a restaurant or two, however, and the recommendations list should be included in my small notebook.
    • Remind Ryuu to take the parasol, as he has left Karuma in his rush to travel here. Different country or no, he will need a sabre to protect himself with.
    • Remember to bring enough books to read for this trip, especially the book on puzzles Ryuu always likes.
    • Remember to buy Ryuu something for his birthday on this trip to give him this July.
    To Ryuunosuke: A train compartment contains a number of unknown passengers, boarding several stops. At the first station, 1/6 of the passengers leave the train. The pattern then continues at the next stations: 1/5 of the remaining passengers get off, then 1/4, then 1/3, and then 1/2. At the final station, all the remaining passengers exit the train. If we assume that no one got on the train during the whole ride, what's the fewest number of people that could have been riding on the train when it set out?
    R:
    Six. I may be bad at mathematics, but you've clearly underestimated me.



    [February 27th, 2024 - 4:30 PM
    The Old Bailey - Records Room]

    "The letter we've just read comes from Lord van Zeiks, then," Layton ponders, reading the next entry. "Apparently he was sending them off to his ancestral home in Belgium to safely hide from Targent. What of Mr. Sholmes and Dr. Wilson?"

    "Targent had been colluding with the Metropolitan Police from the evidence we've seen so far," Sycamore replies, "but since the Lord Chief Justice is Mr. Sholmes' esteemed brother, it would be safe to assume that they would not dare neither harm nor hide of the Sholmes family, lest they get in trouble."

    "What would happen to Targent then?"

    "It would seem that Chief Justice Sholmes have rounded them up and put them on trial," Desmond recounts, "but for some reason, several of its members escaped prosecution and presumably went into hiding, which would result in the Targent we've seen today."

    "I see," Layton nods solemnly, "so that's the story of the greatest secret of the Old Bailey."

    "Not a happy one, I'm afraid." Desmond sighs. "At least the main cast of our story are all safe and sound. The next entries of the journals mostly detail the esquires' trip to France and Belgium. Would you like to read them?"

    "Of course, Desmond," Hershel pours another two cups of tea, one for his brother, and one for himself. "I'm in the mood for some peaceful bliss. And who knows, we might find some interesting puzzles there."




    [Mr. Ryunosuke Naruhodo's Journal, Entry number #140, dated June 20th, 1903]

    The skies of Paris are much clearer here than in London, and the atmosphere is quite different as well.

    As soon as we reached our hotel room, Kazuma and I immediately discussed our agenda for our stay - what to do, where to visit, what to eat, et cetera. It is a pity that we had missed the World's Fair three years ago - after all, it had been a turbulent year for all of us in London - but I still wished we could have been to the Fair with my dearest, marvelling at the science they've discovered and new technology they've invented. There were several other activities we could do to make the best of our time, however, and as he listed our Lord van Zeiks' recommendations and I provided information of my own, we'd settled on our itinerary, and set off to explore the city of light.

    During the recent days in London, Kazuma had been the one to take my hand and lead me around the city of mist. This time, it was my turn to lead Kazuma through the streets of Paris. Our fingers laced with one another as I led him through the bustling roads, asking for directions and reading street signs all the while to reach the fancy restaurant of our choice. Dinner was served with beefsteak juicier than what we had had at La Carneval with some red wine - I now knew why Lord van Zeiks has always been careful with his selection of vintage wine, though due to my natural aversion to alcohol, I would need to abstain from indulging myself too much.

    After dinner, we went to see an opera called "La Diva Éternelle." Kazuma had read it from Lord van Zeiks' list of recommendations and, as I'd confessed to him years prior that I have yet to see a theatre performance other than the traditional rakugo, cajoled me into going with him. We'd gotten enough funds to hire a private box for ourselves, so that I could interpret the lyrics and retell the story to my beloved without causing a scene. My dear partner seemed to think that French is another difficult puzzle even though it is easier compared to the cacophonous German he'd learnt during his apprenticeship, and would not accept otherwise. That shameless flirt even had the audacity to say that French sounded more lovely from my lips than those of the natives! How he could say those embarrassing words with a straight face is yet a puzzle I could never give an answer to.

    The opera we saw talked about the lost city of Ambrosia, its rise to power as a staple of art, music, and culture, as well as its sombre decay. The benevolent Queen had blessed the city with bountiful love and happiness, and thus, the citizens were given free reign to write music and produce art. Unfortunately, their prosperous era was soon to come to an end as the Queen contracted a deadly disease. Ambrosia's citizens scoured the lands to find the cure in hope to save her from the inevitable, and discovered the Eternal Life elixir. Sadly, just as the elixir was procured, the Queen passed away. The citizens all grieved for their benevolent ruler and took the Eternal Life themselves as they await their Queen's supposed rebirth. As the curtain fell, signalling the finale, what fate awaiting the city remained unknown.

    A quaint tale indeed. It should have reminded me of something else, but I could not remember what.

    As soon as we got back to our hotel, Kazuma carried me to the queen-sized bed and kissed me fervently, and I returned his affection in kind. We slept soundly in our shared bed that night, limbs entangled in each other, enjoying our well-earned respite and privacy.

    [Mr. Ryunosuke Naruhodo's Journal, Entry number #141, dated June 21th, 1903]

    In the morning, we decided to visit the Musée du Louvre.

    I led Kazuma through the halls of the large building, marvelling at the largest reservation of art and culture while explaining to my dear about the history of each artefact we'd seen and the halls we'd traversed. I told him about the renovations under Napoleon III and the Baron's decision for the redesign of the infrastructure, including the pillars and hallways. I told him about the French Commune and how the movement almost destroyed the building in a forty-eight hour fire. As we walked down the aisle full of old paintings, I recounted how artists of the exhibited paintings had lived and died, and what symbolism they were trying to convey. Kazuma stayed silent most of the time, opting to listen to my endless spiels, humming occasionally so I could acknowledge his undivided attention.

    It was not until we visited Parc Monceau and sat on a secluded bench at the pavement of Boulevard Malesherbes that Kazuma turned to speak, reminiscing of our first Tanabata together and musing about the holiday.

    "It's a pity you have to celebrate your birthday here in Europe," Kazuma said, "I would have given anything to travel back to Japan with you."

    "And I wouldn't have missed spending my twenty-sixth birthday with you for the world," I replied. "Susato-san and I had expected as much. I shall stay here until we see this case through, together."

    Kazuma caressed my palm, not wanting to subject our relationship to public scrutiny any more than usual, and changed the subject, asking me to narrate the stories of the statues he had seen earlier. I laughed and complied, telling him about the architects responsible for the renovations of the park, as well as the many artists and musicians who were inspired by the picturesque public park. My dearest hummed as he listened to me retelling the life stories of Guy de Maupassant, Claude Monet, Louis-Hector Berlioz, and how art and music had meant to them.

    We headed to a restaurant near our hotel for a light lunch and went back to our rooms to pack our bags. As soon as we made sure nothing was amiss, we took the carriage to Gare du Nord and waited for our train to arrive, saying our farewells to the city of light and departing for Antwerp.

     
  8. antirrhinea001

    antirrhinea001 Metal

    Tham gia ngày:
    29/6/21
    Bài viết:
    61
    Nghề nghiệp:
    Thủ thư
    Nơi ở:
    Pherae, Lycia, Đại lục Elibe




    as the tears of lovers
    change into a sea​



    Lời tác giả:
    • Đây là AU Án mạng trên chuyến tàu tốc hành Phương Đông nên những cảnh báo về nội dung tương tự tiểu thuyết gốc, cụ thể là có nhắc đến bạo lực và án mạng
    • Tàu tốc hành Phương Đông không hề đi qua Bỉ, nên tác giả đã bịa tên một con tàu khác trên tuyến đường từ Paris sang Antwerp
    • Société Franco-Belge là tên một hãng đóng tàu hỏa có thật.




    [Mr. Ryunosuke Naruhodo's Journal, Entry number #141, dated June 21st, 1903]

    Main ideas of Le Figaro newspaper article, dated June 21st 1903:

    Hugh N. Reffuze, a gangster and serial killer from Michigan, USA, had just escaped justice last month (May 12th). Declared Not guilty in the court of law. Apparently the verdict was a result of a series of bribery, corruption and legal technicalities. (K: It seems that justice systems are rotten everywhere. - R: I’m not going to lie, we’re going to have a lot of work ahead of us.)

    He allegedly killed 12 children in the city of Detroit. His last victim was a five-year-old child of a wealthy family, named Caroline Solstice. He first kidnapped her and asked for a hefty ransom. The family paid the ransom, and found out that their daughter was already murder. After bearing witness to the injustice of the court, the victim's mother was stricken with grief and anger, suffered an illness and passed away. Several days later, her father was found dead in his room with a gun in his hand. (R: My sources tell me that the American system doesn't have a jury, and there was no concrete evidence against him. - K: I'm reconsidering ever moving to the Americas at all. Honest. - R: We could either return to Yokohama or stay in London. Your choice. We have plenty of time.)

    The defendant has vanished from the public eye since then and no-one has had any information of his whereabouts. Sources said that he had fled the country. (K: Where could he possibly have run off to, I wonder? - R: He probably took a steamship to Europe. An American would not be able to handle being out in the Pacific for too long. - K: Haha, I suppose you are right, partner.)




    [Mr. Kazuma Asogi's Journal, Entry number #151, dated June 21st, 1903]

    he first-class compartment of the Express d'Valenciennes is as elegant as I expected. An impromptu holiday in a most beautiful luxury train, alone in a compartment with the most beautiful partner - what else could I ever ask for?

    After we leave our luggage in our compartment, we move to the dining car for a light tea break. Ryuunosuke's eyes light up at their selection of herbal tea, pointing out the ones that would taste the sweetest. I usually prefer a more earthy taste, but since I had wanted to spend this holiday indulging my partner, we opted for a floral blend and some custards.

    "Iris told me once that custards don't go very well with sweet tea because they’re too indulgent," Ryuu says, looking at the selection of pastries in the menu, "but since she's not here to tell me off, I suggest we test this hypothesis."

    "Who did you learn that rebellious behaviour from? Mr. Sholmes, perchance?" Definitely not me. I've always been more of a refined eater. "Well, don't blame me if you end up getting sick of custard after this, then!"

    Thankfully the tea is light and the custard isn't too sweet. Ryuunosuke takes the first bite and savours it, and I could see the gears of his head turn as he tries to decipher the recipe behind the dessert. My eyes are busy focusing on the man before me, pensive at the taste of a custard, thinking of how best to replicate the taste and which tea blend would best go with it. He takes out his trusty journal and notes down his thoughts. His scrawl is as messy as ever - I fear he might not be able to read his thoughts afterwards.

    We were about to go back to our compartment when we heard a scream. We see a woman in the corridor, an unmistakably frightened look on her face. In the compartment that she peered in, there lay the body of a man, lying on his chest. Of course. A murder mystery in the middle of a holiday. Just our luck.

    Ryuu holds my hand and caresses my palm, trying to calm my nerves. We return to our compartment, careful not to disturb the crime scene, and plan our next step and our role in this mystery. I've taken the liberty of asking the conductor for more information, and asked whether there were any police officers on board. Since there are no law enforcement officers amongst the passengers, we’ve decided to take on the case.

    We investigate the crime scene and kindly ask the medical doctor on board to provide an autopsy report. The victim died almost instantly after suffering from twelve stab wounds to the chest. The compartment window is wide open, and I would have thought that the true victim ran from the scene as soon as they finished committing the crime had Ryuu not pointed out that there are no footprints around the window area. Around his corpse, we could find a handkerchief, a pipe cleaner, a round match and a charred piece of paper. We first proposed a hypothesis that the round matches belonged to the victim, but after another round of investigation, we found another packet inside the victim's luggage.

    The charred piece of paper cannot be salvaged, but we could make out the words "Solstice" from its remains. As expected from my partner, Ryuunosuke has found out the victim's true identity from the piece of paper alone.

    We moved on to interview the people in the car. There are twelve passengers excluding myself and Ryuunosuke, and all supposed witnesses have an alibi, but their testimonies are all laden with discrepancies.
    • The victim's roommate knows about the note. He's very surprised when we mention it, and say that he thought the note was burnt to a crisp.
    • The widow next door says that the killer came into her compartment, but she also told her maid to lock the door beforehand. If the maid had locked the door, then there could have been no man entering the compartment at the time.
    • The conductor says that he has not been at the wagon at the time, whilst the maid confesses to seeing a man wearing the typical Société Franco-Belge train conductor uniform.
    • We ask the witnesses about the Solstice case as well as the victim, Caroline, and they all express strong emotions. One witness breaks down and cries whilst cursing the child's murderer over and over.
    We inspect the luggage of all passengers in the car, including ours:
    • A bloody knife is found in the widow's purse. Ryuu gets a hold of it for further examination and finds that the blood on the knife is that of the victim's.
    • One of the passengers' luggage is wet, with their passport and official documents destroyed.
    • The maid's bag contains the uniform in question. There's also blood on it, and Ryuu confirms that it's the same blood as the two other samples'.
    We go back to our compartment and discuss the case from there.



    [February 27th, 2024 - 4:45 PM
    The Old Bailey - Records Room]

    "Interesting puzzle, don't you think?" Doctor Sycamore asks.

    Professor Layton appears pensive. He re-reads the journal entry again and again, trying to find any clue that could lead to solving this puzzle. Mr. Asogi has written about the case in detail, and yet he could not help but feel as if something was missing.

    Hearing his brother's voice, Hershel perks up. "Oh... yes, indeed! I would be lying if I said I wasn't remotely interested."

    "I bet the good esquire has also written his deductions in the next page," Desmond rubs his chin, "but shall we re-enact another Logic and Reasoning Spectacular?"

    "You're really having fun trying to get into these brilliant minds, aren't you, Desmond?" The Professor stands up and stretches his limbs, "Alright then. At your request, brother, we shall perform another Dance of Deduction."

    [The Passengers on the d'Valenciennes]

    >The Victim<

    "The first mystery would be who the victim was," the Doctor lists out the mysteries. "Mr. Asogi said here that Mr. Naruhodo could figure out his true identity with only one piece of evidence."

    "The charred paper with the word Solstice," Layton replies. "At first I had thought whether it was talking about the Summer Solstice, the date in which the incident happened, though I suppose it would be something more personal."

    "Take a look at this newspaper article, helpfully translated by Mr. Naruhodo," Desmond takes the blue-covered journal and flips to a page. "The article talks about a murder and a serial killer on trial a month before the incident."

    "The defendant's name is Hugh N. Reffuze, and the victim's name is Caroline Solstice." Layton reads. "That's the name written on the piece of paper, isn't it?"

    "Of course...," Desmond snaps his fingers, "that must have been how Mr. Naruhodo could solve this mystery in a flash."

    "If I'm right, then," the Professor nods, "the victim of this case is none other than Mr. Hugh N. Reffuze."

    >The Other Passengers<

    "Aside from Mr. Asogi and Mr. Naruhodo, who else is on the wagon at the time?" Layton asks. "Mr. Asogi has not mentioned a single name in this entry."

    "Correspondences from Mr. Naruhodo, Ms. Mikotoba, and Lord van Zieks have shown that Mr. Asogi was generally bad with people's names," Desmond relays. "Though, in this case, I suppose he had wanted to protect their identities in case his journal fell into the hands of others."

    "That makes sense," Layton reaches for the journal and re-reads, "There were twelve passengers in the wagon, and so far we've only read the testimonies of the victim's roommate, the widow from the compartment next door, her maid, and the conductor."

    "Several others discussed the case in May, 1903 with the esquires, and they all expressed strong emotions." Desmond points out, "what makes them feel such emotions, I wonder?"

    "Hmm, that does sound like a concern," Layton nods, "Do you suppose... the passengers have something to do with the case in May?"

    "It's possible. Let me see if I could find a list of passengers in Mr. Naruhodo's journal." The Doctor flips the blue journal open again, moving his eyes quickly through the pages. "Ah, I've found it! Mr. Naruhodo has kindly drawn a map for the compartment. No names still, but at least we've finally had a grasp of the passenger list."

    Layton takes a look at the given list. "Hmm, still doesn't help a lot with our case. The notes are quite all over the place," he exclaims. "Could the counsels have been obscuring something?"

    "It's possible. I'd say this puzzle is unsolved... for now."

    [The murder]

    >The Evidence<

    "Let's look at the evidence next." Desmond takes out his notebook, copies the map from the blue journal and makes notes. "Aside from the charred note, which would be rather obvious, do we also have other clues as well?"

    "Yes. Let us start with the crime scene," Layton rereads the journal entry. "The wide-open window would insinuate that the killer committed the murder and escaped, but there were no footprints around the area, and the train was still running, correct?"

    "Precisely. You'd be surprised as to how fast trains could travel at the time.” The Doctor points out, "If you read Mr. Asogi's itinerary again, you will see that their train from Paris only took 5 hours to arrive at Antwerp. Therefore, had the killer really made their escape via the window, there would be no possibility of survival."

    "The items surrounding the victim would be the handkerchief with the peculiar embroidery, the round matches, and the pipe cleaner." Layton recounts, "Mr. Asogi did not mention the cleaner any more from that point, so I suppose that's unimportant."

    "Mr. Naruhodo did not mention it in his notes either. But the mystery of the handkerchief is solved right here," Sycamore reads, and hovers his pen to a text-box in his own notes, "It belongs to the noblewoman sitting in this compartment."

    "Ah, I see, but..." Layton trails off as he reads his brother's notes again, "are you sure this is the compartment with the damaged luggage?"

    "Yes, I'm pretty sure I copied exactly from Mr. Naruhodo's map." Desmond retorts, "Why, is something the matter?"

    "What other embroideries can be found on the handkerchief?" Layton asks.

    "A sigil with the letter S," Desmond replies. In a split second, his eyes are wide open. "My Goodness. Hershel, you don't mean...?"

    "It's just a guess, nothing concrete, mind you," Hershel says slowly, "but I think the noble-woman in question might have been a lot closer to the trial in May than we thought. She could have possibly been a family member of the victims in that case."

    "Don't you find the roommate of Mr. Reffuze's reaction to the piece of paper a bit quaint?" Sycamore asks, "Didn't he say something about having thought it was burnt to a crisp?"

    "You're right, that is peculiar," the professor ponders. "He knew about that piece of paper, and he saw it burn. I suppose he might have burnt the piece himself."

    "Considering the other witnesses' reaction, I'd say we found ourselves the answer to our puzzle earlier." Desmond snaps his fingers. "The passengers were all relevant to the trial that happened in May, 1903, or better yet, they were all members of the Solstice family."

    >The True Culprit<

    "Now, let us look at the murder weapon," Desmond continues. "The knife was found in the widow's purse, and had the victim's blood on it. She also said that the killer came into her compartment, but told her maid to lock the door."

    "If we considered all her words to be true, then I suppose she would either be the killer or an accomplice, though, she also said that the killer was a man," Layton sighs. "It's times like these that I wish I could have seen their minds at work."

    "Agreed. We're also tracing their steps from scattered notes, so there is no guarantee that we could grasp all of the facts." Sycamore throws his hands in defeat. "We could certainly try and piece it from the breadcrumbs we were given, though."

    "Alright, let us continue." Layton compares the notes again, "I'm also concerned about the passengers' recounts of the time of the incident. Mr. Asougi had stated that all of them had an alibi, but their testimonies were all laden with discrepancies."

    "The victim's blood was not only on the knife, but also on the conductor's uniform found in the maid's bag," Desmond recounts, "The conductor said he had not been stationed at the wagon at the time of murder, but the maid had claimed to see a man in the conductor's suit. That would mean the maid was making up her alibi and covering up for the conductor as well."

    "Though, she had to mention him in her testimony. Why?"

    "A slip-up, perhaps? I'd say she's not used to committing crime, nor covering up for one."

    "That would mean, the widow, the maid, and the conductor are complicit to the crime," Layton lets out another sigh. "At this rate, we could possibly assume that all the witnesses have killed the victim."

    "Why do you think that?" Desmond narrows his eyes, "There isn't any concrete evidence that leads to the facts. How can you be so sure?"

    "I'm not, Desmond, but think about it," the Professor reasons. "If we assume our hypothesis that all of the passengers are members of the Solstice family, then surely they would want justice for the crime against the five-year-old Caroline and her family."

    Sycamore's eyes waver as his brother speaks. "Very true... and because justice was not on their side in the trial in May, they would have wanted revenge?"

    "Other than that, the man in question was a serial killer, and had been tried several times on the account of kidnapping and murder," Layton rubs his chin in thought. "There were other children murdered before young Caroline, and if the man were still alive, that vile man would take more young victims."

    "You don't mean... all the passengers acted as their own judge, jury, and executioner , and offed the man who ruined their family?"

    "Precisely."

    "Well, if all our hypotheses are correct, and if they are all aligned...," the Doctor checks his notes to see if they were missing anything important, and concludes. "I'd say the case is good as solved."

    [Deduction Complete]​

    "There's something else that bothers me, though." The brothers go back to their seats as Layton speaks, flipping open the red journal again, "The conclusion Mr. Asogi had come up is that the killer was a mafia who smuggled themselves onto the wagon, killed Mr. Reffuze and subsequently themselves as they jumped out of the window. Why?"

    "Think back to the Professor Killings case fourteen years prior to this incident." Desmond recounts, "Mr. Asogi's father was wrongly accused of being the true Professor, and was sentenced to death in foreign soil, leaving behind his wife and his young child. The wife, stricken with grief, became ill and passed away. Of course Mr. Asogi would sympathise with the family in question."

    "And Mr. Naruhodo? In our accounts, he was a man obsessed with finding the truth." The Professor inquires, "Why would he go the lengths to obscure the truth of this incident as well?"

    "I reckon it's because he was the counsel who helped clear Detective Asogi's name," the Doctor surmises, "and exposed the actual Professor in the process. He might have seen first-hand what a broken family would do to a person - in his case, his beloved partner and future husband - and commiserated with the family enough to be willing to look the other way."

    "That would be why their records of this case were a mess then. This puzzle is not one of logic," Layton concludes, "but one of morality. There's no use trying to bring the truth to light, as it could only hurt and serve no other purpose."

    Dr. Sycamore nods, and stands up. "Now that we've found out about the largest secret the Old Bailey holds and the well-kept secret relationship of the Wrights, I think it's high time we cleaned up and left."

    "I concur, it's almost dinnertime." Layton laughs, and joins his brother in arranging the files accordingly. "What would you say if we go shopping for dinner, hmm? We need more tea blends for Flora, Alfendi would fancy a cookie, and Katrielle would love to have some custard for dessert."

    "You spoil your kids too much, Hershel," Desmond chuckles. "Alright then, let us go. I'll give you a hand with dinner."




    [Mr. Ryunosuke Naruhodo's Journal, Entry number #142, dated June 21st, 1903]

    The case we've just solved on the train had me thinking. The scale was much less grand than that of my first few cases in Great Britain - no government secrets to expose this time round - yet they pose such similar questions. How many murderers are wrongfully exonerated from corrupt systems all over the world? How many families have grieved over the injustice they've witnessed first-hand, so much that they had to take matters in our own hands? Are all our efforts to reform the system ever going to pay off? Lord van Zieks was right: the shadows looming over the legal systems have grown far out of our control, and the mistakes of our forefathers might possibly be too much for a handful of people to fix.

    I try not to dwell on the subject too much - it is a holiday after all. As I'm here alone with my beloved, sequestered on the small carriage that would take us all the way from Antwerp to Brussels, I've never felt happier.

    All thoughts about the case can wait until we return to London. Right now, it's just us, with the moon above our heads, and peaceful days ahead of us.

    .
    .
    .
    -fin-

     
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