Sailor Moon Fan Fiction / Detective School Q Tantei Gakuen Q Fan Fiction ❯ Codename: Athena ❯ 30 Meters Underwater. The Case of the Underwater Locked Room Murder ( Chapter 8 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

SailorStar9: Chapter 7 goes up and no review. You guys don't like me anymore. (Pouts)
Disclaimers: I own nothing.
Chapter 8: 30 Meters Underwater. The Case of the Underwater Locked Room Murder
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Time passes…
“Wow.” Kyu awed once they arrived at the beach.
“This is great.” Kazuma agreed.
“Hey Kyu, Kinta, let's go.” Megumi nodded.
“Umm, are you going to dive?” Kyu asked the pink-haired girl.
“Of course!” Megumi beamed.
“How come you come to the beach and not scuba dive?” she scolded.
“The paradise that exists in the water. There are gorgeous fish and a colorful coral reef. Isn't it nice?” she dreamed.
“I see.” Kyu sweatdropped.
“Umm… sorry, but I don't really want to…” he protested mildly.
“I prefer the beach paradise too.” Kinta agreed.
“Did you say something?” Megumi quirked a brow, her voice turning angry.
“No, nothing.” both Kinta and Kyu chorused.
“Then, let's go!” Megumi beamed.
“Yes.” Kinta and Kyu sighed.
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After meeting up with Ryu and Ami, the six headed off to the rental store.
When the automatic door slid open, the first thing the six students heard was an outraged voice.
“But that can't be!” a female customer protested.
“Please clam down.” the store keeper tried to pacify his enraged customer.
“Maybe Ikezoe-san went home first, by himself.” he reasoned..
“We called his cell phone, his house and even the hospital, but we can't find him anywhere!” another male customer argued.
“He must had gone diving. His diving suit is missing.” another inferred.
“Then, Ikezoe-sensei…” the female surmised.
“Can we check the storage room?” customer number Two asked.
Then, the store keeper noticed the newcomers.
“Um... Is anything wrong?” Kyu asked.
“Oh, uh…” the store keeper stammered.
“Hirokazu-san, I have a reservation.” Ami reminded the manager.
“Oh Ami-san, welcome.” Hirokazu smiled at his old time customer.
“Ami-chan, you know him?” Megumi asked the older girl.
“Yes. I'm been here very often in the past.” Ami replied.
“Manager, please come with us.”
“Oh okay. Please wait a moment.” Hirokazu nodded.
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“Missing?” Kinta echoed.
“Yes we came with Ikezoe-sensei.” Hosoe Sachiko replied
We work in a hospital. We haven't seen him since last night. When I checked Ikezoe-sensei's luggage this morning, his diving suit and equipment were missing.” she quickly added.
“Why do you think something happened last night?” Ryu asked.
“Last night, we were drinking at a bar near here. But since then, no one has seen Ikezoe-sensei. It doesn`t look like he went back to the hotel either. So we think he might have gone night diving since we were talking about it over drinks.” Kawakita Mamoru replied.
“Night diving?” Kyu echoed.
“To observe sleeping fish or coral reef at night, right?” Megumi confirmed.
“Just as I thought.” Akiyama Mashaharu replied, coming out of the storage room.
“One oxygen tank and flashlight were missing from storage.” he reported.
“One boat is missing too.” Fukunaga Hirokazu added.
“That means Ikezoe-sensei really…” Hosoe added worriedly.
“Went diving by himself I guess.” Akiyama finished her sentence.
“Let's look for him.” Hosoe quickly added.
“If he went night diving, he must have gone near the shipwreck.” she nodded.
“Something doesn't add up.” Ami whispered, getting behind Kyu and Megumi.
“I agree. It's strange.” Ryu nodded, getting beside her.
“Huh?” Kyu blinked, turning slightly to look at the two older teenagers.
“Strange? What is it?” Megumi asked.
“We took a diving calls right? Diving into the sea alone at night and diving after drinking alcohol is near suicidal.” Ryu reminded them.
Kyu nodded.
“Don't you think it's strange that, an experienced diver like Ikezoe-san, doesn't know that?” Ami frowned.
“Um… sorry Ami-san. As you can see, we've got a problem now. Can I cancel for today?” Hirokazu asked.
“No, we can't do that.” Megumi protested, before Ami could answer.
“Huh?” Hirokazu blinked.
“We'll look for him together with you.” Kyu offered.
“We appreciate your offer, but you guys are kids.” Kawakita objected.
“We'll help you together.” Kinta stepped forward.
“We may look like kids, but we're from DDS.” he added, looking straight into Kawakita's eyes and showing his notebook.
“DDS?” Akiyama echoed.
“The famous Dan Morihiko's… DDS?” Hosoe gasped.
Kinta nodded proudly.
“Oh, he showed it off.” Kazuma complained.
“I'm so having a talk with him about school rules after this.” Ami shook her head.
“You tried that, and how many times has it worked?” Ryu reminded her.
“Point taken.” Ami replied.
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After a while, the eleven were on board a motor yacht and heading out to sea.
“What a luxurious yacht.” Kinta exclaimed.
“Is it?” Kazuma asked unsurprised.
“This yacht is Ikezoe-sensei's.” Hosoe told them.
“Wow.” Kyu awed.
“Doctors sure are rich.” Megumi nodded.
“Not all doctors are.” Kawakita balked.
“Ikezoe-sensei's family owns a big hospital, so he's special. A regular research doctor like me is really poor.” he added.
“Don't be jealous.” Hosoe told him.
“We'll reach the diving point soon. Get ready.” Akiyama reported, from the driving port.
“This diving point is somewhat cone-shaped. An old shipwreck is at the bottom of the sea, at the depth of about thirty meters. If Ikezoe-san went night diving, he must have come here. Please look around as you head for the sunken ship.” Hirokazu requested.
“Okay, let's go then.” Kinta said.
“Okay. Megumi nodded.
Then, she blinked, “Huh?”
“What are you doing, Kyu?” she asked, noticing that Kyu was planning to sneak away.
“Aren't you doing to dive?” Kazuma asked.
“Eh? Um… maybe…” Kyu stammered.
“Come to think of it, you always had a stomachache when we had swimming classes as DDS, didn't you?” Ryu pointed out.
“Either he can't swim or he has aqua phobia. But I seriously doubt it's the latter.” Ami remarked.
“Kyu! It's just diving, so you don't have to swim.” Megumi told him.
“But…” Kyu protested.
“Ah! This is troublesome.” Kinta complained.
“No, its okay! Please don't do that!” Kyu protested as Kinta literally dragged him back.
“It'll be okay. Diving and swimming are two different things” Kinta assured him.
“Even if you say so, I'm not really good in water.” Kyu protested hotly.
“Hey, is he a beginner?” Kawakita asked.
“Is he really okay?” Hosoe asked.
“No, I won't be okay at all!” Kyu shouted.
“Don't say it so confidently.” Kinta scolded.
“If you're a beginner, you should dive with a buddy.” Akiyama suggested.
“Buddy?” Kyu echoed.
“The buddy system. It means you pair up and dive with a partner.” Ryu explained.
“Yeah, you`re right. If an experienced diver pairs up with him, he should feel safe.” Hirokazu agreed.
“I'll go with Kyu.” Ryu offered.
“Kinta go with Kazuma.” he added.
“Okay.” Kinta nodded.
“I'm okay by myself.” Megumi added.
“Are you sure?” Ami asked the pig-tailed girl.
“Of course. I'm good at diving, though I might not look like it.” Megumi boasted.
“Then it's decided.” Kinta said, bending to Kyu's level,
“Y… yeah.” Kyu answered weakly.
Kawakita, Hosoe and Hirokazu dove off first.
“Hurry up!” Hosoe chided.
“Do I really need to go in?” Kyu stammered nervously.
“Hurry in.” Kinta told him and pushed him off the deck.
Ryu jumped in, followed by Kinta and Kazuma.
“Save me!” Kyu cried out, as he flailed about in the water.
“Hold onto to me.” Ryu came up to him
Ami sighed and dove in after Megumi.
“Are you alright?” Ryu asked.
“Yeah.” Kyu nodded.
That's Ryu-kun for you. Megumi wondered.
“Kyu.“ Ami begun.
“Yeah?” Kyu turned to the older girl.
“Remind me to give you extra swimming tuition after this is over.” Ami remarked and dunked her head into the water.
“Hey! What is that supposed to mean?” Kyu protested while the others laughed.
“She does have a point.” Megumi agreed and dove in after the blue-haired girl.
“You're a girl too. You'd agree with her.” Kyu muttered.
After the commotion, the four boys dove in.
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Once in the water, Kyu begun flapping about like a frog.
Ryu came to his rescue once again.
After making sure Kyu was all right, Ryu signaled to Megumi and the pink-haired girl responded.
Letting him know that she was going under right now, Megumi took off after the adults.
Midway, she noticed that Ami had stopped as if she was waiting for something.
Signaling to the older girl, Megumi asked what was wrong.
Ami shook her head, revealing nothing.
Still clinging on to Ryu, Kyu marveled at the beauty underwater.
I'm really okay, even though I can't swim. It's really beautiful in the water. Kyu wondered.
A cry underwater caught the group's attention and the DDS students turned to see where it was coming from.
Ami let out a knowing smile at the very familiar cry.
A dolphin swam right in front of her and begun making smaller and smaller circles around the blue-haired girl.
When its nose came right next to her, the dolphin nuzzled her exposed cheek affectionately.
Ami bit back a giggle and took hold of its dorsal fin, allowing herself to be pulled off by the playful bottlenose dolphin.
The other five blinked, shrugged and dove after the girl and the mammal.
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Diving deeper, Megumi rose a hand, indicating she was going off.
With that, she split off from the group and heading out on her own.
After a while, Megumi swam around some cliffs before the shipwreck came into view.
That must be it! she wondered and swam towards the sunken ship.
Swimming around the hull, she came to the bow when she was attacked from behind.
Her attacker managed to pull off her goggles after a brief tussle.
Megumi struggled against her assailant and in the middle of the fight, her mouthpiece came off.
The attacker unbuckled her weight belt, making Megumi float to the surface.
As Megumi floated upwards, she struggled to breath since her mouthpiece had came off.
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Nearby, Ami was swimming with the bottlenose dolphin when she noticed Megumi was without her mouthpiece.
Giving the dolphin a nod, they swam after the girl.
Kinta and Kazuma noticed that something was wrong with Megumi and swam after her.
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As Megumi floated upwards, Kyu and Ryu noticed her plight and that Kinta and Kazuma were going after her.
Looking down, they saw the shipwreck and swam down to it
On the hull, they found Kawakita and Hosoe outside the ship's cabin.
Kawakita pointed inside the cabin and Kyu and Ryu peeked through the window.
Inside laid a motionless figure.
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Before Kinta and Kazuma could get to Megumi, Ami and the dolphin reached first.
The dolphin then swam underneath Megumi, carrying her on its back.
Quickly, it headed up towards the surface.
Once above water, Megumi gasped for air.
Turning to the dolphin which saved her life, she smiled, “Thank you.”
The dolphin let out a cry in response.
“Megu, you're lucky we're near.” Ami told the girl.
“I'm just glad you were.” Megumi agreed.
“Are you all right, Megu?” Kinta asked, coming up to the surface after a while with Kazuma.
“Yeah.” Megumi replied.
“Is something wrong?” Kazuma asked.
“Someone attacked me.” Megumi replied.
“What?” Kinta and Kazuma chorused together.
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Back underwater, Kyu and Ryu managed to pry the locked door open with a crowbar.
Kawakita and Hosoe went in, a touch light in hand.
Inside was a dead Ikezoe Hajime.
Kyu and Ryu followed in and Kyu got hold of the regulator.
Huh? The tank is empty? he wondered.
Looking around, he scoured for clues.
Kawakita tapped Ryu on the shoulder, indicating that he and Hosoe were heading back with the corpse..
Outside the cabin, Ryu handed them Hajime's body and the two adults went up.
Left alone, he looked at the lock then at the hinge.
Just then, Kyu came in front of him, waving frantically and showing Ryu his regulator.
Ryu quickly removed Kyu's mouthpiece and slotted his spare into Kyu's mouth.
Kyu sighed in relief.
Then signaling to Kyu, the two headed up.
“Are you all right?” Ryu asked his partner once they were above the water.
“Yeah, thanks.” Kyu replied.
“Hyperventilation.” Ryu explained.
“Huh?” Kyu blinked.
“It's common for beginners like you. It means you use up an excessive amount of oxygen without noticing it.” Ryu clarified.
“Oh…' Kyu nodded in understanding.
“Anyway, it's good that you're okay.” Ryu commented.
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“Yes, he was on the shipwreck.” Akiyama reported.
“Yes.” Hirokazu nodded
“Name?” Akiyama asked.
“Ikezoe Hajime, one of my customers.” Hirokazu replied.
“According to my examination, the cause of death was a blow to the head. Alcohol was also found in his body. The approximate time of death was yesterday, at midnight.” Akiyama stated.
“Probably while he was diving by himself, he got trapped in the ship. And when he panicked, he hit his head somewhere and died.” Kawakita reasoned.
“That room in the sunken ship was locked, so it's not possible for someone else to have attacked him.” Kinta surmised.
“Is that really so?” Ryu questioned.
“What?” Kinta blinked.
“Do you mean this wasn't an accident?” Kazuma asked.
“Don't be ridiculous! What else could it be, if it wasn't an accident?” Kawakita protested.
“Then why was Megu attacked?” Ami posted a question.
“Maybe someone was pulling a prank.” Hosoe suggested.
“A prank?” Ryu rose a brow.
“Why would someone pull a prank that could have killed her?” he asked.
“You're right. I'm sorry.” Hosoe apologized.
“Anyway, let's head back to land. We have to explain this to the police.” Akiyama proposed.
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After a while, the yacht set sail back to shore.
“What's wrong?” Kinta asked Kyu, noticing his thoughtful look.
“If what Kawakita-san said was correct, in that room..” Kyu begun, his mind going back to the shipwreck..
“I see. It is strange after all.” he blinked, realizing something.
“Huh? What's strange, Kyu?” Kinta asked.
“But if that's true, then who…” Kyu pondered.
“I have no idea what he is saying!” Kinta protested loudly.
“We didn't even get to see the spot, so…” Kazuma tried to console the frustrated Kinta.
“It's no use Kinta. We all what happens when Kyu is in that mood.” Ami reminded him.
“Ryu-kun, is it true that the deeper you dive, the more oxygen you'll consume?” Kyu asked the blue-haired boy.
“Yeah, that's true. The deeper you dive, the more oxygen you use.” Ryu replied.
That answered, Kyu immediately headed towards where the tanks were kept.
“Hey Kyu!” Kinta shouted after him.
“I see! That's how it is!” Ryu remarked, realizing the same thing.
“Huh?” Kinta blinked as Kazuma, Megumi and him turned to Ryu, puzzled.
“I think I know what Kyu's getting at.” Ami commented.
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Kneeling before the oxygen tanks, Kyu inspected each and every gauge before finding what he had came to look for.
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Meanwhile, Ryu had gone to Hosoe with a request.
“Medicine chest?” Hosoe blinked.
“Yes, it seems that one of my friends cut his finger.” Ryu replied.
“Just a second.” Hosoe said, getting up.
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“Megu!” Kyu shouted a while later, running back.
“Oh, he's back.” Kazuma noted.
“I want you to remember something.” Kyu said, coming before the pink-haired girl.
“Huh?” Megumi blinked.
After Megumi told him what he wanted to know, Kyu smiled, “Just as I thought.”
“That means this is …” Kazuma begun.
Kyu nodded, “There's no mistake.”
“But what about the locked cabin?” Megumi asked.
“That was also a trick.” Ryu answered.
“Ryu-kun.” Kyu nodded.
“It's not so hard to lock that room.” Ryu remarked.
Then, the two nodded simultaneously.
“The mystery has been solved.” they chorused.
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“A murder?” Akiyama exclaimed.
“What do you mean?” Hosoe asked.
“That was an accident.” Kawakita insisted.
“No, I'm sorry but it was a legitimate murder.” Kyu replied.
“Try to remember how the cabin looked.” he added.
“When I touched Ikezoe-san in that room, I happened to see the tank's gauge and found that Ikezoe-san's tank was empty. Isn't it strange that a person would have an empty tank at a depth of thirty meters when Ikezoe-san didn't die from a loss of oxygen?” he reasoned.
“Maybe the air leaked out from the regulator.” Hirokazu suggested.
“If that's what happened, the leaked air should have accumulated at the top of the room. But there was nothing like that. In other words, the victim didn't die inside the cabin. He must have been killed elsewhere and moved there afterwards.” Kyu pointed out.
“But the cabin was locked, wasn't it?” Hosoe asked.
Ryu took over.
“Yes, it's true that the cabin looked like a locked room. But it's possible to lock it even from the outside.” he commented.
“Huh?” everyone else gasped.
“The door had corroded in the water, and there was a gap. With a little trick, it could be locked from the outside. With this.” Ryu explained, showing them a roll of surgical fiber.
“What's that?” Hosoe asked.
“This is surgical fiber from the medical chest. Before you close the door, loop the string through the bar. If you pull it slowly, the door can be locked easily.” Ryu commented.
“That's just a kid's inference. If you close the door, the string should still be there. There was no string in that room.” Kawakita waved the explanation aside.
“You doctors should know that this string dissolves in water after a while right?” Ryu asked.
“Huh?” Kyu and Kazuma blinked.
“If you use a water-soluble string, it won't remain at the scene.” Ami supplied.
“There is such a thing?” Kinta asked.
“My mom's a doctor, Kinta. Remember?” Ami reminded him.
“Oh yeah.” Kinta replied sheepishly.
“Sorry, but that's impossible too. Don't you know that the string wouldn't dissolve in thirty minutes?” Akiyama rebuked.
“Ryu-kun…” Kyu breathed worriedly.
Ryu let out a mysterious smile.
Ami gave a `I-know-that-look'sigh.
“What? They aren't able to prove anything at all.” Kawakita remarked.
“DDS isn't that great after all.” Hosoe agreed.
Kyu frowned and called out, “Wait a second please. I want everyone to remember something when we dived to look for Ikezoe-san. I paired up with Ryu-kun and Kazuma paired up with Kinta. Megu and Ami were by themselves.”
“According to my memory, there were three divers before us and one pair went ahead of us.” Megumi reported.
“What? But then…” Hirokazu gasped.
“Right, there were eleven people who dived in total.” Megumi nodded.
“Megu's photographic memory is recognized by the National Research and Development Center, so we can trust her.” Kyu quickly added.
“Eleven… You mean there was someone else besides us?” Kawakita frowned.
“Then it makes sense that she was attacked.” Akiyama agreed.
“Is that so?” Kyu asked.
“If there's a way to make it eleven people without another person getting involved. Right, this is a courageous trick that is carried out in the limited space of the sea.” he nodded.
“After murdering him, the culprit put a diving suit on the dead body, tied a rope to him and then sunk him under the water. The next day, he launched the boat with the body tied up and arrived at the diving point. While we were hesitating to dive, the murderer went into the water without being noticed by anyone and cut the rope. Then he dived with us, as if nothing had happened by making the dead body look like a living partner. We were in the water, and our visibility was limited because of the goggles and because of the diving suits, it becomes difficult to recognize who is who. This was a crime that skillfully took advantage of all these environmental factors.” he continued.
“So who in the world is the murderer?” Hirokazu asked.
“There was one person who suggested the buddy system to us, right?” Kyu answered.
Everyone turned to Akiyama.
“Me?” Akiyama blinked.
“Akiyama-san, you're the one who killed Ikezoe-san.” Kyu accused.
“What are you talking about?” Akiyama asked.
“I can't believe I'm a suspect just because I suggested the buddy system. Besides, there`s no evidence that proves that I killed him.” he replied.
“There is evidence.” Kyu rebutted.
“Huh?” Akiyama blinked as Kyu walked over to the oxygen tanks.
“This.” he replied, pointing to the said tanks.
“The tank again?” Hirokazu asked.
“When I checked everyone's tanks, I found one tank except my tank and the victim's tank… Akiyama-san, this is your gauge right?” Kyu asked, picking up the gauge after everyone to see.
“This tank is almost empty. It doesn`t make sense that an experienced diver like you would use up an excessive amount of oxygen like this.” he added.
“I see! That's how it is!” Kazuma exclaimed.
“Huh?” Kinta blinked.
“The amount of oxygen consumed differs depending on the depth of water. In other words, the deeper you dive, the more oxygen you use up.” Kazuma explained.
“That's right. The culprit had to get to the sunken ship before anyone else to make the locked room. Because you suddenly dove in so deep and were working at that depth, you used up more oxygen than the others. When I heard about hyperventilation from Ryu-kun a while ago, I noticed it.” Kyu replied.
“Akiyama-sensei.” Hosoe turned to him.
“Did you really do it?” Kawakita asked.
“What? That's also just a deduction. Why would I…” Akiyama questioned.
“Akiyama-san, you said that the string wouldn't dissolve in thirty minutes, right?” Ryu posted a questioned.
“What?” Akiyama hissed.
“How could you estimate the time to be thirty minutes?” Ami asked.
“At that time, we didn't say how long it took for the culprit to do the preparation. Akiyama-san you just confessed that you committed the crime at that time.” Ryu commented.
“With that type of lock, you could pull the string out after locking it by doubling the string. From the beginning, you didn't have to use a water-soluble string.” he added.
“That was a great leading question.” Megumi complimented.
“You can't run anymore can you, Akiyama-san?” Kyu asked.
Akiyama shut his eyes and smiled, “I can't believe that kids figured it out.”
“Akiyama, you…” Kawakita hissed.
“Why did you do such a thing?” Hosoe asked.
“Because he was the director's son. The director didn't want to accept me even though I'm better than his son. As his son, his future was guaranteed. That's just not fair.” Akiyama replied.
“Just because of that?” Kawakita shouted.
“I just wanted to see that arrogant director suffer for once.” Akiyama remarked.
“How could you…” Hosoe gasped.
“If you guys weren't here, I could've pulled it off.” Akiyama commented.
Cupping his hand on his forehead, he laughed.
Back in the water, the dolphin let out a cry.
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SailorStar9: This chapter is down.