I got my daily dosis of huehuehues with this title.
I tried my best to implement that glorious write-in and still make it sound natural within the flow of the dialogue. You tell me how it ended up.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ [X]Write-in by >>166731
[x][X]There are people more suspicious than Kosuzu! Like...
-[X]Her penfriend. She happens to know Ms. Knowledge personally, and she isn't the kind of person who would act like this.
It's as clear as day that the officer's tale is riddled with lies and innaccuracies. Normally, the witch would simply ignore it and go investigate on her own, but this time a good friend of hers is about to get jailed under such a lame excuse. She simply cannot stay idle and watch Kotohime take Little Bell away like this! So mustering all the annoyance she had bottled up until now, the witch slams the table loudly with her hands and shouts at the top of her lungs: "Objection!"
The witch couldn't tell why did she use that strange term, seeing as it doesn't precisely roll off the tongue. Maybe Kotohime's oddities are rubbing on her... In any case, that's one more tick on the 'Things she always wanted to say' list, and the scream has the intended effect. The officer stops in her feet and looks at the magician with an exasperated look, fed up with her constant interruptions. Kosuzu also seems a little bit angry, but that's probably because the witch is treating her furniture without care. The blonde girl doesn't notice that, though, and points and accusatory finger at Kotohime.
"I can't let you take her when your story has more holes than a Gruyère cheese!"
"Marisa, Gruyére doesn't have holes," comments Little Bell.
"Oh, really? I'm not that good with the names of cheeses," the witch smiles awkwardly and scratches her temple. "How about Gouda?"
"No, that doesn't have many holes either."
"That's better," Kosuzu nods.
"Let's just leave it at Swiss cheese, alright?" interrupts Kotohime.
"That's a generalization. Not all Swiss cheese have holes, you know?" the librarian says.
"Whatever, I don't care. If you have nothing interesting to say then I'll be taking our le-" "Hold it!"
The witch shouts and slams the table a second time, which earns a glare from Little Bell.
"Ugh, what now? I hope it's not about cheese again," Kotohime sighs. "I'm alergic to dairy in the first place."
"Your confusing rethoric won't work on me, lunatic princess!" exclaims Marisa. "I see through your smoke and fabrications!"
"First, you're the one being confusing right now. And second, I don't smoke."
"Don't evade the question, Kotohime!"
"You haven't asked anything!"
"I said your confusion rethoric doesn't work on me!"
"Get on with it already!" shouts Kosuzu.
"Okay, okay! Cheese
, you're an impatient one, aren't ya?"
"And now you're resorting to puns? Seriously?" the officer groans. "Are you just trying to buy more time? Because that isn't helping her case."
"Take it cheesy
!" laughs the witch, which earns her a deadly glare from the lunatic princess.
She has already poked the officer enough - further attempts to piss her off would have dangerous consequences. Having had her fill of fun, the witch breaths in, hawks and begins to speak in a serious tone.
"Very well then. For starters, I have serious doubts about your men's inability to catch a single guy, not failing once or twice, but three times," the magician raises three fingers and wiggles them at Kotohime. "But let's set that aside for the sake of discussion. I'm much more concerned about the boy's behavior."
"What about it?"
"If he took all the trouble to avoid the guards, why would he invoke magic to tear down the wall? That would make a lot of noise and attract unwanted attention."
"I said before that people tend to not think things carefully when they're under stress," counters the officer. "My guess is that he was in a hurry and decided that breaking the wall would be faster and easier than climbing it or sneaking past the doors."
"Yet he did it a few yards away from the north door, where there were guards watching."
"Maybe he found his escape route blocked by my patrolling men, and found no other way?"
The officer's voice has a hint of insecurity, and the witch takes it as her cue to strike her attack.
"Impossible. If they were nearby, they would have hurried to the scene after he invoked the wind. They would have seen him jumping over the debris, and chased after him."
"He was already gone," Kotohime is visibly nervous. "And guards aren't permitted to engage in pursue outside the walls at night, for their safety."
"You don't know magic, do ya?" the witch grins.
"Releasing such a great amount of magical energy without an external source takes a big toll on the caster, regardless of capabilities or prowess," the magician explains while she takes her hakkero off. "He'd need to 'cool off' before being able to cast magic again. Moreso for a beginner like him. Releasing a spell of that intensity must have depleted his stamina a lot..." The witch slams the table with her hand, this time a lot more gently, as if to emphasize her argument. "...to the point he wouldn't have been able to move for a while."
Kotohime darts her gaze away from the witch and fidgets around. That's strange: she read that people who were pointed flaws and contradictions in their alibis would react much more effusively. Guess she has to make do with what she has, the witch thinks to herself. At least she knows she's on the right track.
"Which leads me to believe that either your men were nowhere near the area when the 'elusive boy' used the spell - which I very much doubt -, or..."
A grin from ear to ear draws on the witch's face. She got her right where she wanted.
"By the way, Kotohime, how's your head doing?"
"Eh?" the question catches her completely offguard.
"You said you got slammed into a wall twice this day. I figure that must have hurt a lot..."
"Well, yes, it did, but I'm okay now," Kotohime furrows her eyebrows. "What's that got to do with-?"
? I only rammed my bum into you once."
The officer winces once she realizes her slip-up.
"Eh, well, that's, uhhhhh..."
"Now, now, missus
, I hope you understand the situation you've gotten yourself into," the witch chastises Kotohime, enjoying the irony of the situation. "I have other ways to know what happened. It'd just take me more time and effort. You know where I'm getting at?"
She can practically hear the noise of Kotohime's teeth gritting in absolute frustation, and it's like music to her ears. Blowing things up is fun and all that, but if beating people with her brains feels this good, she could get used to it too!
"I'll learn the truth eventually, but I'd prefer if you told me right now. It'll make my job easier," continues the maigican. "Don't leave any details out."
The officer looks down dejected, exhales a sigh of defeat and speaks again:
"Just after he tried to riot the masses in front of the north door and escaped, we found out he had a rope prepared to climb the wall. Me and some of my men awaited there, waiting for him to return, to ambush him."
"Really? He isn't so stupid to go back to the place he was spotted earlier," comments Kosuzu, who has been silent all this time.
"But he did
"Oh, c'mon, you've gotta be kidding us," exclaims the witch.
"Not this time, Marisa," Kotohime shakes her head. "He tried to escape by using the rope he set up earlier, but he fell right into our ambush. However, when we were about to aprehend him, he used the magic, send us all flying and we were all knocked out."
"The cornered fox turned out to be more dangerous than the hounds, huh," mutters the witch. "And what about the wall?"
"The spell was strong enough to take it down, especially since it was in a such a precarious state."
The witch has to give her a point there; the wall really is in a bad shape. She remembers Akyuu joking about how someone could tear it down by sneezing on it. She wonders what was her face when her jest came so close to the truth. She probably doesn't even know, seeing as how Kotohime went out of her way to hide the facts from the witch - the officer surely must have done the same to the rest of the village. And that reminds the magician of something:
"Wait, so if you ambushed him, that means you must have got at least a glimpse of his face, right? How does he look?"
"Hum, well, how do I say this..."
Kotohime rolls her eyes and scratches the back of her head.
"Don't tell me you also don't..." says the witch.
"Neither I nor my men remember him," admits the officer. "And our symptoms tally with the ones displayed by Miss Motoori and the boy's parents."
The magician groans and resist the urge to slam her face on the desk. She thought she had a good chance to get useful information from the lunatic princess, but this is getting her nowhere. She guesses she has to do her inquests on her own from now on.
"I still don't get why are you taking me to the office," says Kosuzu. "I didn't know he was being chased, honest! And it looks to me it was your
fault that he got away. You should always be ready for your suspects to resist!"
"First of all, I'm not detaining you," explains Kotohime. "And second, even if I wanted to detain you, I do not have solid proofs to justify an arrest."
"Then why are you doing this?" asks the witch.
"Because the people are worried."
"Huh? Whaddya mean by that?"
"Think about it for a second: we've had a youkai level magic casted on the village grounds, which destroyed part of the centennial - no, millenial wall that protected the village from feral youkai. And worst of all, the culprit has escaped, and we're nowhere near to resolving the incident."
"Oh, I see," exclaims Little Bell. "People would lose the sense of security they've had for so long, and would be understandably afraid to even leave their houses.
"That still doesn't justify anything," says the witch.
"I just... I'm doing this for the people, Marisa," Kotohime hangs her head down. "If people see the guards doing something, that'll put them at ease, even if it's only a tiny little. And admit it, Miss Motoori is
the most suspicious person in the list."
"Nuh-uh, that's where you're wrong!" the witch wiggles her finger at the officer.
This is it; this is where the case takes a turning point! The witch has to think carefully... who is the most suspicious person in this affair, the one they should be focusing their attention to? The elusive boy's moves were strange to begin with, but Reimu's already got that end covered. Reimu herself has been acting very strange too, but that's probably because she prefers to work alone. And Kotohime's attempts to conceal the truth also put her quite high on the list. But if there's one person that's more suspicious than the others, that is...
"Kosuzu's penfriend, Ms. Knowledge," says the witch. "None of this would've happened if she didn't give her the book."
"Ms. Knowledge?" repeats Little Bell, stupefied. Poor innocent girl probably thinks too highly of her friend who she has never met in person.
"Yes," nods the magician. "I know her personally, and all this thing about exchanging books rubs me the wrong way. That isn't her style. She's way too protective and possessive towards her books to be sending them by courier to the human village."
"So you think she targeted Miss Motoori or his friend specifically?" ponders Kotohime.
"No, no, too convoluted, too risky. If she really wanted to target someone, she has a buttload of special spells, hexes and maleficiums she can cast from really far away, in the commodity of her library."
"Or maybe she wanted to go for the subtle approach," the officer guesses. "Or she wanted to get rid of the youkai in the book by all means."
"I don't think so, but..."
The witch doesn't want to believe that her dear friend would do such a dastardly thing, but the truth is that she can't really rule out those two possibilities.
"What if she genuinely had no idea, like me?" asks Kosuzu. "I mean, with my ability I can distinguish demon books. If she's as powerful as you say it is, she should have been able to do it too. But this time, I couldn't do it. Maybe the same thing happened to her!"
The so-called "curse" on the book that supposedly only allows a certain people to read it, the witch remembers. Little Bell might have been unable to use her ability due to it, but Ms. Knowledge, being the expert magician that she is, should have noticed the existence of the curse immediatly. But if she knew, then why did she still send the book to Kosuzu? No matter from where do you look at it, Ms. Knowledge's actions seem to willingly target Kosuzu...
"In any case, we all agree that we should be investigating the one who caused this entire incident, not the ones who was essentially setup by him or her, right?" the witch glares at Kotohime, who remains impassive.
"The problem is that Ms. Knowledge lives outside my jurisdiction," she says. "I cannot afford to send men to that vampire's den."
"Then I'll do it, on two conditions," jumps the magician.
She would have done it anyway, but she can't let this opportunity fly by.
"State them..." sighs Kotohime.
"One, that you'll leave Kosuzu alone, at least until her parents come and give their consent," the witch says. "Of course, this means they'll have to be present if you still decide to interrogate her further."
The officer closes her eyes, and after a second, nods somberly.
"And the second?"
"You'll never, ever
use your 'eyes' on her, ya hear me? I don't want to find her mind shattered by your shady techinques."
"Who the hell do you take me for, Marisa?" exclaims the officer, clearly offended.
"Think of what the rest of the villagers will think of the police force when they learn that children are broken in the name of order..."
"Agh, alright, alright, if that makes you happy, I'll promise it!" shouts the officer. "Happy now!?"
"Yep, very much," the witch grins. "But if you could just bring us a table of select Swiss cheeses, I'd be much-"
"Sod off," the red-haired snorts. "Now if you excuse me, I have a maid to look for."
Oh, that's right, the courier maid! The witch had completely forgotten about her. If Kosuzu's penfriend is an impostor, the maid must necessarily be one as well. If they could only catch her, she could point her in the right direction after some 'red-eyed persuasion'. But if the penfriend is really Patchouli, and thus the maid is Sakuya, Kotohime and her men wouldn't stand a chance... but that's why the witch is going to the Scarlet Mansion for. In any case, she has to give credit where it's due: the lunatic officer isn't a complete moron after all.
"Oh, and by the way, I am very sorry for all the inconvenience we have caused to you, Miss Motoori," Kotohime bows at a perfect angle at the little librarian.
"However, if you remember any detail that might help us in the case, please come by to the office."
"Ah, eh-eh, yeah, sure," Little Bell mutters.
Without another word, Kotohime gracefully leaves the room, taking short steps. The witch has to admit it; for someone who leaves the stage with the tail between her lags, she knows how to keep her dignity. Once they hear the sound of the front door sliding closed, Little Bell suddenly glomps the witch and scrubs her face all over the magician's chest in glee.
"Oh, thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!" she exclaims, her voice muffled by the witch's clothes. "I was very scared!"
"No need to thank me. That's what friends are for, aight?" the blonde girl laughs.
"Hey, Marisa, you are going to leave now, aren't you? To ask Knowledge?"
"Yep. Reimu's busy kicking the boy's as-" the witch interrupts herself when she sees Kosuzu frowning in concern for her friend. "I mean, going after your friend. So
I'm the only one who can do it."
"Yeah... say, Marisa, can you... can you do me a favor?"
"What is it?"
"If by any chance you find my friend, could you... could you bring him back here safe and sound? Please?" Promise Kosuzu you'll do everything on your hand to save him.
You can't make any promises, but you'll rescue him if you come across with him.
You know she cares for him, but he hurt people and stole from your father, and he must be punished a little bit for that.
Also, as a reward for completing this "paralogue" without breaking a fight, you'll be treated to an extra scene on the next update. Huzzah for you! If you know your Touhous well enough, it might give you a huge hint for this mystery. Isn't that nice?