Momoe hadn’t skipped a beat once both her and the boy locked eyes, each going in opposite directions on the same dirt road. One direction lead away from the docks while the other went straight to it. Momoe stopped in front of the boy, looking as disheveled as ever. The bags underneath her eyes got worse by the day, but the real strange part was that smirk plastered on her face. “Done investigating already? Seems awfully quick, if you ask me.”
From all the time that Hibiki had attempted to analyze her character, without personal interaction, he had been stupified, yet here she stood, the SHSL Smuggler in the flesh. Not only was her tone odd in the atmosphere at large, so too were her actions. Aurel, her partner in cuffs, had appeared, although a small part of Hibiki wondered if Momoe simply didn’t have enough self-preservation to check the scene of the crime. However, the tutor was given a psychological puzzle yet again in the form of Miss Momoe Mizuno and there hither her attitude.“...It seems my assumptions were not unique here...”
Hibiki assessed his odds of overpowering her for information and came up with rather negative results, but it also seemed unlikely for Momoe to leak anything without any leverage, “...I’d ask if you had found anything, but I believe it would be a moot point.”
He glanced at the surroundings and found no help for him there either, “Feeling lucky?”
“Threats, huh? Didn’t take you for that kind of guy,” she scoffed and turned her nose up. “I’ve just been out for a walk. You’ve got guts trying to accuse me of something.”
Ah. Maybe it wasn’t right for Hibiki to be critiquing Miss Maiya’s social inadequacy when he wasn’t exactly up to standard himself. The tutor stood there blankly for a second as he tried to process what to do with himself because now she was on the defensive and he really wasn’t fit for this line of questioning. After a moment he let out a small sigh and came back to the conversation. “...A-”
No, that wouldn’t work either. Her facade was starting to irk him as he tried to shed some kind of fake light on the situation, attempting in vain to find a silver lining. ‘In concise terms, I believe you do not rationalize the idea of revealing the truth, but I do not believe whatever you have will become a worthy trump card.’
Or that’s what he wanted to say anyway.“Is it wise... To be out for a stroll at this very moment?”
Momoe’s smirk returned.
“Who knows? Goes the same for you, you know. Why hang around this place?” she asked him, pulling up her shoulders in an exaggerated shrug. “If I had to wager a guess, you think there’s a reason to link the docks and the crime scene. Am I wrong?”
Hibiki nodded as he studied her expression and body language. Obviously, Momoe thought she held something of utmost importance to the case, but that was the concern. What would be left to pick up besides what had already been found? There was the supposed weapon, time of death, location, body... All were found at the scene of the crime. It would have only been a follow up based on the evidence provided to arrive at the docks. However... What point in the timeline did the killer arrive at the docks? Before? Or after?
A source of water to clean, storage shake full of hiding places, close to the murder... It had to either be something well hidden or something that only the first person to the scene could find, that’s all Hibiki could draw from the situation.“Why wouldn’t there be... Miss Mizuno?”
She waved her hand dismissively. “Oi, oi. It was just a guess, don’t take it so seriously.” Momoe looked past him and towards the cabins. “Although… I can’t say you’re off the mark. Tell you what; investigating is a bit of a pain, and I think you’re good at keeping secrets. I know something you want, and you have info on the scene of the crime. Fill me in on what it’s like, and I’ll tell you what you’re waiting to hear. Sound like a deal to you?”
That was all he needed to do? Not go through any hoops or a legal contract? Well, it seemed the tutor had been bested once again, even if unknowingly. He blinked for a second before scratching his side. “...Yes, beyond adequate.”
Considering his monopad was absent, there wasn’t much exchange besides a verbal explanation amounting to his eavesdropping and probing of the evidence found earlier.
“...How informative. No wonder you’d come here. Well, catch!”
Suddenly, Momoe pulled something out of her pocket and tossed it at the tutor using an underhand throw. While he was busy trying to catch it, she walked right on past. “Found it at the docks. Let’s keep it between us, alright?”
A few steps away from Hibiki, Momoe turned on her heel and looked back. “Oh, and don’t get any funny ideas. Me and the thief stared longingly into each-other’s eyes all night, couldn’t get a wink of sleep. Neither of us are reasonable suspects. I think he might have a crush on me, really.”
She snickered and continued on her way, taking her leave of the other ultimate.
You would think that someone who had spent so much time with a feline companion that they would have quicker reflexes, yet that was not the case for Hibiki. He managed to stop the object from hitting him in the chest, but not from it falling onto the dirt road. So much for keeping evidence in pristine condition. As the tutor glanced back up to see the tail end of Momoe’s trenchcoat a single thought slipped past out.“Ritsu...”