༺ First Encounter ༻
‘Is it only this much?’
August Detective Academy, London’s largest detective training institute, was established to tackle the bizarre cases that unfolded around the whole world.
‘I thought this place would be a bit different than the rest.’
In the midst of delivering her lecture to the freshmen class, Jane, a newly appointed professor, couldn’t help but chuckle as she witnessed the incident unfold before her very own eyes.
She deduced, “The method of the crime must have involved the use of poison.”
“That’s right. His condition seemed bad from some time ago, in fact, so it must have been a slow-acting poison.”
Earlier, a male student in her class rose from his seat to answer the professor’s question but then… he suddenly collapsed, vomiting blood in the process.
At August Academy, hailed as the sanctuary of detectives, a calamity thus ensued— a ‘murder’ had taken place on the academy grounds.
Naturally, all aspiring detectives in the class would be drawn to such a big case.
“The motive for the crime… could it be a love affair?”
“Well, he’s London’s greatest scoundrel and scumbag after all. There must be plenty of people out to kill him.”
Seeing the lifeless body of the student, the atmosphere grew increasingly serious, with aspiring detectives attempting to piece together the puzzle pieces to solve the crime and figure out the identity of the killer.
Yet, the professor, with an apathetic expression on her face from start to finish, quietly averted her gaze from this scene and muttered to herself.
‘I never thought that they won’t be able to find the culprit even when I am right in front of them.’
Indeed, the culprit behind this case was none other than the professor herself.
‘There are so many detectives, how come no one noticed?’
Across Europe, nowhere else harbored more detectives than London— the place where the prestigious academy is located.
Therefore, she firmly believed that someone would notice and uncover her crimes in this haven of detectives. If not, then, she surmised that she might at least encounter a promising detective.
At least a single person.
However, her expectations had been shattered, already making her lose all hope in this gathering bunch of detectives after a year at the academy.
Boldly and unscrupulously, she committed the blatant murder right in the heart of the detectives’ camp.
Yet, the aspiring detectives, the so-called investigators, failed to connect the dots— utterly oblivious to their proximity to the victim.
For someone who had been disappointed with these detectives for a year already, their ineptitude in this murder case had been the final straw.
“I’ll have to hand in my resignation today,” she concluded thus.
There was no point in staying in this place any longer, knowing that these substandard students were meant to become future detectives.
Calmly withdrawing her gaze from the scene of the crime that she enacted with her own hands, the professor started collecting the documents and organizing her thoughts.
Seemingly, there was no one in this academy who could quench her thirst for a challenge.
It was unlikely that such a person existed anywhere else in the world.
Just as the professor was about to depart from the scene, an unexpected event unfolded before her.
“…My head hurts.”
For some inexplicable reason, the male student she had targeted and had presumably killed, stood up from his collapsed state, wiping the blood off his mouth in the process.
The male student then stared at the professor with a hazy expression on his face amidst the terrified crowd of detectives.
The composed image of the professor began to waver ever so slightly at the paranormal incident before her.
It was confirmed that the blond-haired male student had departed for the afterlife right before her eyes. She had witnessed and confirmed it herself, so there was not a shadow of a doubt that the student was dead.
Yet, miraculously, right in front of her very own eyes, he just stood up— alive and breathing as if he had just awakened from a particularly long slumber.
She couldn’t even fathom how he may have realized the danger or the trick he had used to survive.
This was the first time in the professor’s life that such an occurrence transpired.
Throughout her childhood, misdemeanors, and felonies, she had never failed in any of the crimes she had committed. Nobody escaped her grip— a relentless curse that was seemingly inescapable.
Seemingly inescapable till now, that is. The curse had been shattered, all thanks to the unpredictable blond-haired male student who had completely evaded her crime.
“Shouldn’t you have told me you weren’t feeling well?”
As her heart quickened, the professor inquired the student in a low-pitched voice.
“How about I take you to the infirmary?”
Her expression remained as stoic as ever, but her eyes, usually devoid of vitality, now glinted like a snake, a predator, that had just spotted its prey.
However, for some reason, the male student’s condition didn’t seem much severe. His eyes appeared to be unfocused as he kept staring blankly ahead.
‘…Is something wrong with his head?’
The professor furrowed her brows, pondering this unusual and almost otherworldly development.
For the first time in her life, she felt a desire to engage with someone who was seemingly beyond her grasp. Thus, any aftereffects of the incident might complicate things and hinder her future enjoyment.
“Student, what’s written here?”
To ascertain his condition, she pointed to her name written on the blackboard. The one she wrote during the self-introduction.
Soon, annoyance flashed in the male student’s eyes, even though they seemed to retain the haze that reflected his mind.
“What should I do if you don’t know even know that?”
After a moment, the male student, still somewhat hazy and lost, began to explain in a voice tinged with clear annoyance.
“…James Moriarty is Sherlock Holmes’ most famous nemesis and his archenemy.”
His voice reverberated throughout the classroom.
“A genius who published a paper on the Binomial Theorem at 21, causing a sensation across Europe. However, due to his criminal bloodline, he’s also considered to be London’s most dangerous man.”
The chaotic classroom grew tense.
“His nickname is the ‘Napoleon of Crime’, and he is behind half of the crimes and is responsible for attempting the most number of crimes in London.”
Yet the male student continued to explain, looking more and more weary.
“But even this perfect guy ends up at the Reichenbach Falls eventually… Ugh, just forget it.”
Abruptly, he ceased his explanation, letting out a deep sigh in the process.
“I should’ve told you to do your own research. Is game development a joke to you? You can’t even do basic character research and keep bothering me like this…”
As all eyes focused on him, the male student seemed bewildered by something unknown. Meanwhile, the corners of the professor’s mouth curved upward.
“What’s this place?”
It appeared that the time for her to submit the resignation letter might need to be delayed a bit.
“You seem to be misunderstanding something, student.”
For the first time in a long while, the professor found what she had been seeking, her thirst finally quenched. She felt as though destiny had brought this person right before her.
As my mind cleared from its haze, I beheld the person who started questioning me.
Tall, slender, with well-groomed ashen hair, and an impeccably neat attire.
Though appearing very young at first glance, she still emanated a professorial aura in her every gesture and demeanor.
Deep dark circles adorned her pale face, perhaps from immersing herself in her studies, but they were still unable to conceal her attractive features.
“I don’t know all the detectives, but I’m certain that there’s no detective named ‘Sherlock’ Holmes in London.”
As she gazed at me, a mix of awkwardness and familiarity washed over my being, while she slowly began to speak further.
“And my name is ‘Jane’ Moriarty, not ‘James’ Moriarty, student.”
She gently tapped the name written on the blackboard, fixing her eyes on him.
“I haven’t even published the paper on the Binomial Theorem that you just mentioned. In fact, it’s scheduled to be published tomorrow, and no one else knows about this except for me.”
As I met her unwavering gaze, cold sweat began to trickle down my forehead.
“I’ll pass on the ridiculous nickname ‘Napoleon of Crime’ and all those malicious insinuations that you’ve made in my name.”
Her curious gaze locked onto me, and she bobbed her head slightly like a young lizard before posing a question seemingly filled with exasperation but underlaid by deep interest.
“But what in bloody hell is up with this Reichenbach Falls?”
If someone unfamiliar with her observed her, she would appear cute at first glance. However, at that moment, I couldn’t help but realize…
“What’s going to happen to me there?”
As described in the original work, Professor Moriarty before me habitually tilted her head as though deeply curious about my words.
The improbable final boss of the game— the one I had criticized so harshly in the classroom just now, must be Jane Moriarty.
“Come to my office after class.”
My first encounter with her couldn’t have been worse. I was sure of it.