chapter five — game, set
Julie Guile walked away from the port and hailed a horse-drawn carriage. Once inside, the unsteady movement rattled her body, and her long black hair fluttered in the wind, alternating between sticking to her pallid face and flying away from it.
Julie sat alone, jostled around in her seat, her eyes deep in thought.
“It makes sense now….” she whispered absentmindedly. “I was the one who took Huey’s pulse after he collapsed. I was certain that it was stopped, and that he looked dead. All this time, I’ve wondered how he did that….”
The view outside the window gradually turned into a dense urban scene. Among the crowds of people, Julie was feeling more and more secure. Her revenge was finally complete, and it was time to escape.
The coachman called out to her in a cheerful voice, almost hysterically so: “Nice weather today, miss.”
Julie ignored him.
He doggedly continued, “Sure was cloudy earlier. Looks like it’ll be a nice day today.”
“…Yeah,” Julie muttered. She narrowed her eyes.
Then she thought of Victorique, and a smile peeked out from the corners of her mouth. That strange but beautiful girl probably didn’t realize it herself, but it had taken her no more than an instant to answer the question that Julie had asked herself over and over again for the past ten years.
Julie remembered finding that tennis ball on the floor where Huey’s body should have been. He must have played dead back then by using the same trick. That had terrorized the children, and was one of the reasons that they ended up turning on each other. And after he left the group, he robbed them of their lives with his dangerous pranks.
“It’s all clear to me now….” Julie squeezed the heart-shaped pendant that dangled on her chest.
But she had executed the perfect revenge. The adults who had imprisoned the hares inside the box and tortured them to death were now gone, along with the boy who acted as their hound. The story had finally come to a close. Now all she had to do was escape … the further, the better.
…Suddenly, Julie realized that something was amiss.
The carriage wasn’t heading toward the train station from where she planned to leave the country, but was instead turning around a different corner. The station faded into the distance. Flustered, Julie shouted at the coachman, “Where are you going?!”
“…Where are you going, miss?” the coachman repeated. He was a young and handsome man with aristocratic features and lips that curved into a mocking smile. His body was wrapped in an overcoat far too elegant for a mere coachman, and an expensive silk tie was coiled around his neck.
“Who the hell are you!?” yelled Julie, transfixed by the coachman’s strange hairstyle—one she had never seen before, swept forward and hardened into a point.
“My name is Gréville.”
“The famed detective.”
The man yanked on the reins, causing the horses to whinny and come to a stop.
At the same time, Julie heard the sound of running footsteps. She gulped. Before she knew it, dozens of policemen were descending on the carriage from all directions.
Julie looked outside. They were in front of the police station, a squarish structure lined with many rectangular windows covered by iron bars. This building, reminiscent of a prison, possessed a long and infamous history, and the mere sight of it was enough to intimidate someone. The faded orange brick walls seemed to be slowly closing in on her.
Julie peered at the front of the building. A boy and girl were standing there with linked hands, staring back at her—that Oriental boy Kazuya Kujou, who had called himself the third son of an imperial soldier, and that thoroughly blue-blooded girl with golden hair, Victorique, whom Julie privately referred to as the little detective.
Julie shrugged. Then she faced the coachman and smiled. “I guess this is game, set?”
“…You said it.”
The coachman jumped out of the carriage, opened the door from the outside, and courteously offered a hand to Julie. His aggressively pointed hair nearly struck Julie in the face. As she took his hand and stepped outside, the coachman puffed his chest out and proclaimed, “Julie Guile, you are under arrest for the crime of murder!”
For a moment, Julie smiled.
Then she set off walking toward the police station, an icy expression on her face.