“—Holmes-san, do you really know who the culprit is?”
After returning to Kura in Teramachi Sanjou, I numbly asked in a loud voice, while Holmes-san returned a conspicuous frown.
“Please don’t say something like ‘culprit’ in such a loud voice. Don’t you think this is an insecure shop?”
Upon hearing those words, I was taken aback and placed a hand on my mouth, while Manager, who had been tending the store, chuckled cheerfully.
“As usual, Aoi-san looks to be in good health.”
Manager kindly narrowed his eyes as he wrote his manuscript with his favorite pen. As I thought, Holmes-san and Manager were quite alike. Like father, like son.
The grandfather, Owner, was totally different, though… but leaving that aside…
“S-Sorry.” I apologized.
“For now, just sit down and drink some coffee.”
With a light gait, Holmes-san went to the back of the shop.
Even as I sat down on the sofa, I couldn’t relax.
“How was the flower arrangement exhibition?”
Manager asked gently, so I went, “Yes, well,” and looked him in the eye.
“It was really beautiful. All the students’ works were so vivid, but they were overshadowed by the huge arrangement done by the head of the school that was placed in front of the entrance.”
“I see. Perhaps I should go take a look.”
“Okura is a walkable distance from here, too.”
“In fact, I’d like to look at the exhibition, then eat the famous cream-filled bread on the way back.”
“Yes, there is a place in the vicinity of Okura that sells bread filled with plenty of cream, although it’s eat-in only. The fresh cream isn’t too sweet, and is perfect with red bean jam.”
“Wow, fresh cream and red bean jam goes together unexpectedly well, huh!”
As we chatted, the fragrance of coffee swept over my nostrils.
I lifted my head to see Holmes-san holding a tray.
“Aoi-san, good work for today.”
He then placed the usual café au lait in front of me.
I really enjoyed the café au lait, for it caused my cheeks to loosen up. After placing his and manager’s coffee on the table, he also took a seat.
“U-Um, could I go with you to the Forest of Correction tomorrow as well? I’m getting so invested in this case that I’m really curious about it.”
I asked, though I found it difficult to fully express myself. Holmes-san responded with a cheerful nod.
“Yes, Aoi-san, please come along with me. Rather than getting invested, you’re already completely involved in all this.”
That’s good. I really want to see the truth for myself.
“So, Holmes-san, who do you think sent the threatening letters?”
I asked in a small voice while leaning forward. Holmes-san took the letters out of his pocket again and laid them out on the table.
“Aoi-san, could you take a good look at these two letters?”
“YoU aRe NOt fiT TO BE ThE SAIō rePreseNTaTivE. aNNounCE yOuR reSIgNAtiON imMEdiATely.”
“hUrrY uP AnD rESigN. YOU’re aN eYeSOrE.”
They were the two threatening letters which had been formed from newspaper cut-outs.
“Do you notice anything looking at them?”
I carefully studied the two notes, and then went “Ah” in a raised voice.
“The two notes are somehow different.”
In the first note, each letter was cut out and pasted tidily, but the other was quite a mess.
“Do you feel anything looking at this?”
Holmes-san asked with a twinkle in his eye, but I was lost for words.
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