Chapter 3: Unexpected Alliances
Disclaimer: The characters belong to Kishi Yusuke, Fuji TV and TBS.
Previous parts: 0, 1, 2
Spoilers for: Kagiheya episode 3
Word count: 1173
Synopsis: Naruse Ryo enters Friedman & Serizawa as an up and rising criminal defense lawyer.
Junko found it ironic that despite Enomoto’s obsession with security, he kept his basement office unlocked. Once, when she questioned him about the apparent paradox, he cryptically replied, “Security measures exist to protect things of value. There isn’t a need for me to do so within the office.” He then went back to fiddle with the Aki lock he had procured from a client a while back. He still hadn’t cracked that particular one.
Unsatisfied with Enomoto’s answer, Junko mentioned the contradiction to Serizawa and Naruse. Serizawa rolled his eyes, muttering something about why anyone would bother understanding what goes on in the mind of that “security weirdo”. Naruse, on the other hand, gave his usual smile and said that people should be allowed their contradictions.
Junko then decided that she was just going to make use of Enomoto’s security lapse and visited him after her office hours. He didn’t seem to mind, and even gave hints that he found her company acceptable. As she filled him in on the information she had collected from some of the people at the Shogi Association, he brought her a cup of tea.
“Say, Enomoto-san, do you think Takewaki-san and Kurusu-san were really dating?” Junko began.
Enomoto looked up from his laptop. “What makes you question that? Wasn’t this confirmed by their colleagues?”
“Kurusu-san didn’t seem to know that Takewaki-san may have owned a cell phone. Yet his colleague had testified to Takewaki-san using a cell phone recently. If a man gets a cell phone, wouldn’t his girlfriend be one of the first few people to know?”
Enomoto clicked on the Shogi Association’s homepage to look through the list of people whom Junko had interviewed. No one stood out in particular, except for Kurusu. Something about the woman did not sit right with him, but he refrained from voicing his thoughts lest Aoto mistook that he was obsessing over another pretty face.
Undeterred by the lack of an answer from Enomoto, Junko pressed on in her questioning. “Say, supposing you did have a girlfriend, would you tell her if you got a new mobile?”
Enomoto paused in mid-scroll over a Shogi player’s profile. “Supposing…?”
Junko gave a quizzical look at Enomoto. “Yeah. Supposing you had a girlfriend. You don’t mean to say that you’re currently attached, do you?”
“I don’t see how that is relevant to the issue at hand. And why are you working based on the assumption that I don’t have a girlfriend?”
Junko decided it was time to give her collaborator some friendly advice. “Enomoto-san, you have to be less blunt and more gentle with girls when talking to them, you know? Then you’ll get to be popular with the ladies, like Naruse-san is.”
Enomoto’s eyebrows narrowed ever so slightly, but the expression was lost on Junko, who was happily sipping her tea.
Junko’s footsteps were always very distinctive. She walked with a brisk and sprightly manner, unlike most of the other people who stepped into his office. Therefore, when Junko burst through his office door that morning with great energy, Enomoto wasn’t all that surprised.
“So you’ve solved the lock room mystery!?” Junko began.
“Yes, I have…” Enomoto paused in mid-sentence when he saw Naruse step into his office. He didn’t hear him coming down the corridor. Junko looked at Enomoto, and sensing the unasked question, ventured to explain. “Naruse-san is here in lieu of Serizawa-san, who had to handle another acquisition project.”
“Frankly speaking, I also quite like playing the detective.” said Naruse, as he closed the door behind him.
“And I must apologize for triggering your allergies the last time I was here. I heard from Aoto-kun that you needed to get some medication from the pharmacist because of that.”
Enomoto’s eyes shifted slightly before he turned to set up his laptops. “That’s nothing.”
“Enomoto-san, do you know who the murderer is?” Junko could hardly contain her excitement.
Enomoto didn’t meet her eyes. “There’s something I’d like to show you.”
Enomoto directed the lawyers’ attention to the two computer screens he had set up in front of them. “I’ve chosen to analyze the matches of the Shogi players connected with Takewaki, especially their recent ones. In particular, first-kyu Inagaki Mari seemed to recover by a hair’s breadth from certain matches in the league. As I compared her moves in the end game with that of the Shogi software, ‘Quick Fingers’, there was a 90% match between them.”
“So you’re saying that Inagaki is cheating and that Takewaki picked up on that?” asked Naruse.
“But how could she cheat using a computer program when she has to be physically present throughout the entire match?” Junko countered.
The links slid into place for Naruse. “She had an accomplice…”
Enomoto wordlessly handed Junko the portfolio of another Shogi player. As she read the player’s profile, her eyes widened in surprise. Enomoto continued his deduction, “This other player also had a record of moves which greatly resembled the playing style of ‘Quick Fingers’. So it is highly probable that the two of them are accomplices.”
“Why couldn’t it be anyone else? Why are you singling her out?”
“If you compared her current results with the previous season, the difference is too great to be explained by chance alone.” said Enomoto as he looked up from his laptop.
“Everyone has their ups and downs! Couldn’t she have worked hard to get her results instead of cheating!?”
“Please calm down and listen to me.” Enomoto’s expression was neutral, in contrast to Junko who looked conflicted. “I believe that these two players are cheating through the means of a mobile phone during the Shogi league. And if Takewaki had discovered this fact, and somehow obtained the aforementioned mobile phone, the two of them would desperately want to retrieve it.”
“Even at the expense of murdering him.” added Naruse.
“Please stop. I don’t wish to hear anymore of this.” Junko placed the file on the table as she started to make her way out of Enomoto’s office. She quickly grabbed her bag and was about to rush off when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She jumped slightly in surprise and turned around to face Naruse, who seemed concerned.
“Aoto-san, does the truth make you uncomfortable?”
“Does it distress you to know that this Kurusu-san and Inagaki-san might have murdered Takewaki-san?”
“I…” For once, Junko was at a loss for words.
“Truth is something which cannot and should not be distorted. All Enomoto-san did was to elucidate the truth. You shouldn’t be angry at him for doing what is right. Could you say that you knew everything about Inagaki-san and Kurusu-san? Everyone has a hidden side to them, don’t you think?” Naruse gently guided a chastised Aoto back towards Enomoto’s table as Enomoto looked on the exchange between the two lawyers in a thoughtful silence.
For a brief moment, Enomoto’s eyes met Naruse’s, and the two men shared a smile. Junko shivered, even though the air-conditioning in Enomoto’s office wasn’t turned up.