“Oh, good, you’re still here!” Rhutowski beamed at Caria as the Lawyer set about unlocking the jail cell door.

“It’s not like I have anywhere else to be, John,” Caria resisted the urge to roll her eyes at the one-eyed snake. “How’d you spring this anyways?”

“Oh?” Damez Vivex laughed as he opened the cell, “You’d be surprised what you can get away with by forging the right paperwork. My family has been in the business for years. It’s what’s made us such good lawyers.”

“Interesting, very interesting,” Caria smirked. “What do you know about nullifying someone-elses adoption papers?”

“Depends on where and when the papers were signed, and by whom.” Damez replied. “And, there’s also the matter of what claim of lineage you’d even be protesting.”

“Say…. My daughter, A Mystryal Detective, adopting a Mutt?” Caria offered.

“Hmm… bit tricky that. Mystryal operates on a whole other level of paper work, but it can be done if it was first signed within one year.” Damez offered a sad, apologetic smile as he continued, “Anything longer than that, and I’m afraid there’s nothing much I can do. Also, you’d have to be the child’s legitimate mother to file a claim of protest… and since I doubt you’re a full blooded Lycanthrope, well, I don’t see how that would work at all.” He shrugged, “Also, as there is a law about an adopting parent having to be over a certain age and holding a legitimate job? Your daughter is old enough to be free of any legal claim you might have on her. Plus if she’s a Detective as you say? You’d have a better chance trying to fight an avalanche with a snow shovel and surviving long enough to-”

“That is completely unfair!” Caria’s protest cut the Lawyer off, leaving him to watch as his ‘client’ turned to march out of the room. “Who wrote that stupid kind of law?!”

“People who actually want children going to homes that love them?” Rhutowski offered quietly.

“You’d better watch your step, John. I overheard there’s a Dragon out for your blood while I was in here.” Caria glared at him in response. It was a firm, resound glare that said exactly what she was really thinking: “Say another word and I’ll throw you into that jail cell for them to find your corpse in.”

“Y-” Rhutowski gulped, “Yes, Caria!” He then followed Caria and the lawyer out of the building, thinking idly, ‘I wonder who she was talking about? Couldn’t be Kana. Right? No way Kana would want me dead… I haven’t done anything!’

“Well, going by the trauma to the side of the skull?” Tyler Obonz began as he showed the skull to Mayoi, Ayako, and Robert Hoss under a coroner’s magnifying glass. “Looks like either one or two blunt impacts by a wide shovel blade. Would definitely stun her, if not cause her to start bleeding internally. If she wasn’t killed by the initial impact- Joan Hayamoto would have suffered major internal trauma and the blood pressure in her skull would have killed her anyways.”

With Tyler having successfully freed the skeleton from the ground and had it moved to Tategami Wyoh’s dedicated morgue during the time it took Mayoi to question Kinzy Hoss, the lot of them were now in said dedicated Morgue. It was a fancy morgue, Tyler thought. It was a good place to look at a person’s remains- better than the rapid fire hack-job of a kitchen freezer back in Egg Roost- but it was too neat and shiny compared to Tyler’s preferred morgue room back home on Mystryal. There were no windows in that building; there were too many windows here.

‘Oh well,’ he shrugged, and then moved onto the arm fractures. “Looking more closely at the arm wounds, I’ve noticed what I’m assuming are three different impacts to the fronts with the sharp edges of a shovel- I’m assuming the same shovel that delivered the side blow to the head, and then the decapitating blow to the neck.”

“Any idea on the order of the wounds?” Mayoi asked.

“If I had to make an educated guess?” Tyler mused for a moment, then replied, “Head blow first to stun- probably threw her into the open ditch in the process. Killer thought she was dead, started burring her, then noticed her struggling. So a stab stab stab- blocked by the arms.” He looked the skull over for a moment, then added, “The fourth strike was either another side smash to stun, or the decapitating blow.” He nodded, “Yeah, I’d say it’s likely another side smash to the head to stun, then they went for the neck. Over kill, really. If she was hit in the head twice, the second blow would have killed her for sure.”

“Probably heat of the moment,” Ayako let out a soft whine. “The Killer didn’t know if she’d recover or not from another stun, so they went for a finishing blow.”

“Well,” Mayoi sighed, “now we just need to figure out who did the deed, and why.”

“Why is a good question,” Robert nodded. “Dad said he was giving up on Joan because she had a kid. But whoever did this timed it all so everything seemed to point to dad. It’s almost like a frame up job, when you think about it.” He shook his head. “I can’t figure out why someone would want to do that though.”

“Easy,” Mayoi declared, “use the romantic tension, call off the search at just the right time, make it seem like the Town Guard Chief is the killer, and everyone focuses their ire on him rather than the Real Killer.”

“So who benefits from all the misdirection?” Ayako frowned, as if waiting for a random idea. “Any ideas, Mika’n?” She turned to look for a person who wasn’t there.

Silence filled the room, and Tyler coughed awkwardly. “Well, that’s unfortunate. I was actually kind of looking forwards to one of her theories.”

“I wonder if she’s busy right now?” Ayako mused. “Maybe we could give her a call?”

“Sorry, Kiddo,” Mayoi patted her daughter on the head, “It’s probably for the best if let Mika’n be for now. I’m sure she’s busy with school work.”

“Aw, okay,” Ayako nodded.

I SAID SLOW DOWN!!” Mikari Yuki cried out as she ran down the street.

“No way!” Kendal called back with a grin. “You Gotta Catch Me First!!”

“Woah! Time out for a minute!!” Mikari slowed down to a stop so she could catch her breath, “Damn, are you fast for just getting out of the hospital. And I thought you said you were TIRED!?”

Kendal, jogging in place, just grinned, “Once I got running I felt GREAT! I haven’t felt this great in years! Maybe not even since before I was born!!”

“Hah, yeah.” Mikari rolled her eyes, continuing to pant for breath. ‘And here I thought Faye was excessively full of energy.’

“Anyways,” Tyler coughed, drawing attention back onto himself. “If there’s nothing else for me to do?”

“Hm?” Mayoi raised an eyebrow. “What? You got a hot date or something?”

“Very funny,” Tyler rolled his eyes, “But no, actually. I’d like to come along with you on investigation duty for the time being.”

“Oh? Changed your mind on case work already have you?” Mayoi smiled at him, “Alright, that’s fine with me as long as you think you’ve got everything off the body for now?”

“Truth be told, it’s possible I’ve missed some things, and given the state the body was in when we found it…” Tyler gave a small shrug. “I can’t be sure right now, and going over everything again and again likely isn’t going to do me any good at the moment. Besides, if I’m with you on the actual detective work, I might hear something that kicks everything else into place.”

“All right, that’s fair enough,” Mayoi nodded. “Let’s get moving on that, then. To the Crime Board!”

One (suspiciously bat themed) scene transition later…

“So we need to look at all of this in a completely new way,” Mayoi began pacing in front of the Evidence Board erected inside Robert Hoss’s office. “Let’s forget our preconceived theories about the case and start fresh. What do we know?”

“Joan Hayamoto was killed out in the field, on site, with a shovel,” Ayako recited. “It’s looking like an impulse kill, with the shovel being the weapon of opportunity.”

“Let’s compare to what we know from Kua Traen’s dream-memories of the event,” Mayoi continued on.

“Wait, what memories?” Robert asked.

“Right, we didn’t catch you up on that part yet, did we?” Mayoi smiled in apology. “Kua Traen, one of the workers who discovered the body, says that every now and again, he’s had dreams of the murder, but lately they were getting stronger, and that’s what pushed him to join the sewer line excavation team.”

“So we potentially have an eye witness testimony of the murder from the victim,” Robert nodded in understanding. “Rare, but it’s held up in court before. What did the boy say happened?”

“Right,” Mayoi opened her note pad and read from her notes. “Kua remembers being on site, although he says he doesn’t remember his physical gender in the dream, talking with a male dragon, who was using a shovel. There’s a gap, and then Kua is being buried alive. That’s it as far as events go.”

“Did he get a time of day?” Robert asked. “Or a good look at his attacker?”

“The trees are thicker now than they were fifty years ago,” Mayoi noted, “but Kua says both parts appear to be during the twilight hours. Probably sunset, as he said the attacker was outlined by the sun. Kua doesn’t remember the face, but he’s fairly certain the attacker was male, but not a dragon.”

“Hmmm…” Robert mused on it for a moment, then said, “I think we need to revisit when exactly Joan went missing, to verify time of death, and then to find out who exactly would have been working on the sewers at that time.”

“Should we speak to the family again?” Tyler added to the pile of suggestions, “Maybe see if they remember something specific about why Joan would have been out there?”

“We could just look the records up?” Ayako suggested. “Like we did for the body ID? See who was working back then and see?”

“Good ideas, both of you,” Mayoi nodded. “Mister Hoss? Why don’t you take Bonsey and Ayako down to the records room. I’ll go talk with the family again.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Robert nods.

Outside the Mayor’s office:

“So… are they always like that?”

“Huh?” Robert Hoss glanced down at Tyler as he asked that question. “Are who like what?”

“Those two-” Tyler pointed at the see through office door, through which could be seen Alexa Izala and the Mayor discussing something.

“I’m not usually down here enough to say for certain,” Robert frowned. “Probably? Or maybe not. It could just be they’re discussing the murder case.”

“Well that’s a shame,” Tyler frowned. “Wish I knew what they were arguing about.”

“I could try and listen?” Ayako proposed the idea.

“Nah, no need to, I’m just curious, really,” Tyler shook his head. “Also, just killing time since it looks like they’re going to be a little while more.”

“Fair enough,” Ayako nodded at that, and together, the three of them resumed their wait for Alexa Izala to leave the office.

Sahha Morgan was the current, and most recently elected Mayor for the town of Tategami Wyoh. As Lamias had longer lifespans than most others, the Morgan Family typically served for longer terms as mayor than any other Mayors in the town’s history. The Morgan family were especially known for their incorruptible moral standards. The Previous Mayor, Ju’Rahk Morgan, had worked during the time of the murder, and only recently- recently for a Lamia, that is- stepped down from the position, citing the stress of the job as a factor.

The Morgan family were also known to heavily support their family and friends when some ill-fated event happened. Idling in wait as they were, this fact alone was something that made Robert Hoss wonder about Ju’Rahk’s twin brother, Tu’Rahk.

“Remind me to check the Morgan family job listings while we’re in there,” Robert mused, even as Alexa Izala seemed stepped out of the Mayor’s office, still conversing with the Mayor.

“–‘ll get right on that, Sir. If there’s anything else?” Alexa asked.

“No, I-” Sahha Morgan paused, his pale blue eyes hovering over Alexa for a moment before diverting over towards Robert Hoss and his two temporary companions. “Robert! What a surprise! I wasn’t expecting to see you again today after this morning’s excitement!”

“Afternoon, Mayor,” Robert nodded in greeting. “Well, like before, I’m here on business.” He motioned to Tyler and Ayako, “These are two of the Mystryal detectives. We’re here to look into the record hall.”

“Again?” Alexa asked. “What for? Don’t tell me you you found another body!” Her eyes widened in shock and imagined horror.

“No, we didn’t,” Tyler said, smiling at his fellow Dragon as a means of stopping her panic. “We actually need to look at the work records, this time.”

“We need to see who was on the digging team for the Sewer lines back when Joan Hayamoto was killed.” Ayako explained, “We think that whoever killed her was working the night shift back then.”

“The… Night shift?” Sahha Morgan frowned. “Well, I can tell you one thing without actually looking at the records, but we don’t authorize night time digging, and haven’t for the last-”

“Fifty Years?” Tyler guessed.

“Well, yes, I think that’s it,” Sahha nodded. “My uncle, Tu’Rahk, used to be a digger like that. He complained that his hours were halved after the rule took effect.”

“So he was a night shift worker, then?” Ayako asked. After getting an affirmative nod, she pressed on, “Do you think we can speak to him about his time then? He might have seen something back then that can help us.”

‘Or committed the crime,’ Robert heard the unsaid sentence in his own thoughts.

“Sorry, but that’s going to be impossible,” Sahha shook his head. “My Uncle died a few years ago. Committed suicide by over dosing on heart medication.”

“What?” Robert blinked in surprise. “I never heard about that.”

“It wasn’t something we publicized, since he was out of the country at the time,” Sahha admitted. “It’s part of the reason my father resigned. Losing a twin like that…. It’s hard on anyone, let alone Lamias. The Sight offers us a glimpse at another side of people that others rarely get to know.”

“I hate to ask this,” Robert began, “but I’d like to speak with your father. Maybe Tu’Rahk told him something in confidence?”

“It’s worth a shot.” Sahha nodded, paused for a moment, and then said to Alexa, “Hold all my calls until I get back, please. I’m going to take my lunch break now.”

“Heh,” Alexa held back a faint giggle at the irony of the situation. “That I can do, Sir.”

“Hey, right,” Ayako clapped her hands- “While you’re going to talk with the Former Mayor, I’d still like to take a look at those records.”

“Yeah, sure, might as well take care of that too,” Tyler nodded.

“Out in the field?” Nuhar Izala frowned. “I can’t think of a reason why my mother would have been out there. Father never mentioned any theories either. He always assumed it had been a dumping ground, rather than the murder site.”

“Do you know anyone who might have been around back then, working the night shift?” Mayoi asked.

“Well…” Nuhar paused, then shook her head. “No, I don’t.”

“What about you, sir?” Mayoi asked.

“Hmmf.” The orange scaled dragon sitting next to Nuhar- her husband, Sorna Izala- could have passed as Mayoi’s long lost uncle, given how similar a shade of orange their scales were. His eyes, however, seemed fuller of honesty than anything Mayoi knew of her relatives. “I want to say no, but…” He nodded. “I think my father worked double shifts before I was born. His day job was… plumbing, I think? I never found out what his night job was, but I think it might have been the same thing. So it’s entirely possible he used to work on the sewers. He changed jobs after I was born, though, and then started his own business when I was fifteen.”

“Do you know where we could find you father at this time, Mister Sorna?” Mayoi asked.

“Unfortunately, yes,” Sorna shook his head. “The place called Tobias’ Pipe– with the smoking pipe on the sign. You can’t miss it. It’s the only bar in town that serves the… clientèle it does.”

“And who would that be?” Mayoi asked.

Well, this is an interesting coincidence,” Robert Hoss mused as he and the Mayor met up with Kana Mayoi outside the “Tobias’ Pipe”- a Tavern that, besides liquor and ‘friendly’ games of cards, specialized in vapor-based drugs. “Mayor Morgan, this is Kana Mayoi, the third detective sent from Mystryal. Detective, this is Sahha Morgan, the Town Mayor.”

“Ah, is this one whose mother is presently in our jail system?” Sahha asked, extending a hand in offering.

“That’d be me, alright,” Mayoi nodded as she shook his hand. “What are you two doing here?”

“We came to talk with my Father,” Sahha said. “His brother-”

“Worked on the night shift digging the sewer line?” Mayoi finished his sentence with a wry smile.

“Got it in one,” Robert nodded. “What about you?”

“I’m here looking to speak to the owner of the place,” Mayoi answered. “Supposedly he worked the same gig back then.”

“Well, then,” Sahha Morgan laughed. “This is a fortuitous event, isn’t it?

“Yeah,” Mayoi smirked. “Let’s see if fate really is smiling down on us today, eh?”

And with that, the three of them entered the shop.


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