༺ Summary ༻
“Have you arrived, my dear?”
Exiting the hospital lobby and heading to the café where Professor Moriarty was currently located, she greeted me after sipping her freshly brewed coffee.
“You’ve been through a lot. How does it feel to have made the queen your slave?”
Suddenly, she paused mid-sentence, frowned, and started rummaging through her pocket.
“…The coffee is quite bitter.”
Subsequently, Professor Moriarty, having torn the portable sugar packet she took out from her pocket, unhesitatingly dissolved the sugar into her coffee.
“Do you know, Mr. Adler, what sugar and crime have in common?”
As I blankly watched her, she posed that question while opening a second sugar packet.
“I’m not quite sure.”
“Both stimulate the pleasure center of the brain, causing it to release dopamine as a reward.”
Saying so, Professor Moriarty, with a sip of her now modified coffee, expressed a joyful countenance and lightly nodded her head from side to side.
“Ahem… Would you like some of this natural drug?”
A woman in her early twenties— looking ordinary and cute as she swayed slightly after eating something sweet. From just that sight, she appeared no different from anyone else in the world.
“So, you’re saying when you commit a crime, you feel the way you do now?”
“In reality, it’s many times more intense. A shiver runs through my entire body, to the point where I can’t even control myself any longer.”
However, no matter how cute she appeared, Moriarty was still Moriarty. She was the embodiment of pure, undiluted evil.
“But recently, I seemed to have lost that feeling. Even if I put 12 sugar cubes into my coffee, there was no joy in life.”
And then, she, placing her coffee to the side, began to stare intently at me.
“You appeared before me in such times. Just by looking at you, you stimulate my pleasure center.”
Her gaze deepened. It was hard to describe, but if I had to, it was shining with a dark gleam.
“It’s an emotion I hadn’t felt in a long time.”
I inexplicably felt a chill run down my spine, but I tried to maintain a composed expression. The professor mumbled, tapping her finger on the table.
“Actually, I wasn’t the one who directly subdued the queen or made her lie down and surrender. Yet my heart is still pounding this much.”
Her voice was as intense as when we had first met.
“Even though I didn’t commit heinous crimes like murder, kidnapping, or confinement… It’s truly astonishing.”
“I turned the queen of an entire kingdom into a slave. Isn’t that a major crime in itself?”
“Is it? Regardless, this is the charm of criminal consulting. I’ve realized it clearly now.”
The feeling of tainting Moriarty, who still displayed the somewhat awkward demeanor of a newbie in society, with my own hands was quite peculiar.
It wasn’t to the extent of feeling pride, but for some reason, I felt as if we were both being swept away by a powerful current… together.
Unable to articulate the inexplicable emotions I was feeling, I momentarily closed my eyes and soon opened my mouth to change the subject.
“You might gain weight that way.”
Upon hearing those words, she, sipping her sugary coffee, cocked her head to the side and then froze in place then and there.
“…Do I look like I’ve gained some?”
In truth, she didn’t look like she had gained any weight at all. Given her eating habits, it seemed all the sugar she consumed probably went straight to her breasts instead of her stomach.
However, if she were to become the final boss and collapse due to poor health, the world would be in danger. Hence, I had to relay those words to her. Professor Moriarty started to contemplate with a grave expression on her face.
“I’ll reduce it by one packet from now on.”
She then declared this with a slightly gloomy expression and rose from her seat.
“Shall we slowly withdraw from the crime scene?”
It was indeed time to leave this place, as Holmes was still on the other side of the street— inside the hospital, to be exact. If the professor and Holmes were to meet right now and things got tangled up, it’d be disastrous.
“So, how was my criminal consulting today?”
As I walked the streets of London with Moriarty, having both risen from our seats, she posed a question to me.
“Would you like me to give an assessment?”
Upon my query, she made an intrigued expression.
“It’s the first time someone is evaluating me.”
“First, I have a question.”
With anticipatory eyes, she looked at me, and I posed a single query to her.
“What exactly was in that document?”
Professor Moriarty finally contacted me in the early hours of the morning. There were only a handful of hours left before the promised time of deadline at that time— I was pressed for time.
However, just before the queen arrived, she had successfully bribed a nurse and handed over some documents to me, detailing various misdeeds of the Bohemian Queen’s prospective husband.
How exactly did the professor obtain that crucial document that played a decisive role in subjugating the queen?
“It’s a document I roughly fabricated.”
“No matter who I am, I can’t possibly obtain legally recognized evidence documents in just a few hours.”
The answer given by Professor Moriarty was quite shocking, to say the least.
“But now, the contents of that document will become a reality.”
“By now, the second prince of Scandinavia would have departed from this world, poisoned by an unidentified ‘mana’ mentioned in an anonymously delivered letter.”
“His death will likely be announced as a drug overdose. The evidence submitted by the queen will be accepted as truth. After all, the dead cannot refute the claims superimposed upon them.”
In short, she meant that she had silenced him permanently.
Speaking of mana, could it be that Professor Moriarty was also a mana user?
“How about it, Mr. Adler? This perfect crime that I’ve specially crafted for my dear assistant— you.”
As I was lost in thought, Professor Moriarty, filled with a sense of anticipation, posed the question to me.
“The score for this rehearsal…”
If the aim was to make her a plausible ultimate villain, I had to be firm here.
“Out of a full 100 points, I can only give you 50, Professor.”
Hearing my words, Professor Moriarty’s eyes widened in surprise as she tilted her head.
“What do you think the reason is?”
“…For killing a bad person?”
To her, who seemed to have a different line of thought than what normalcy would dictate, I began speaking in a tone reminiscent of scolding a mischievous child.
“It’s because you, Professor, directly intervened in the case.”
“Due to that curse of yours, isn’t it so that all your wrongdoings end up becoming perfect crimes? If you overuse that trick, you will quickly become bored.”
“That makes sense. You’re right.”
She nodded in agreement, a look of realization dawning on her face.
“But I couldn’t help it, Mr. Adler. It looked risky.”
“I can’t have my little bag of sugar melting away now, can I?”
Hearing her subsequent words, I had no choice but to keep my mouth shut.
“What’s the matter, Mr. Adler? Are you feeling ill?”
“That’s quite unexpected. I didn’t expect someone like you – who can walk through the downtown of London and bed practically any woman you fancy within a day – to have such a reaction to my words.”
“Don’t sexually harass me, Professor.”
Leaning back with a tilt of her head, the professor, who had previously been inquiring about my feelings, burst out into an uncontrollable fit of laughter at my last remark and took the lead in this calm walk of ours.
“Professor, I might have given you 50 points earlier, but in reality, there wasn’t much else to criticize.”
“…Is that so?”
“The lines you instructed me with and the psychology of the queen that you have so masterfully captured, knowing that she still had me in her heart, were precisely on point. You just shouldn’t step in directly from the next time.”
“So, what should I do if such a situation arises again?”
Upon hearing my words, she suddenly looked back and posed the question.
“I don’t want to get any deducted evaluation points from you again.”
I pondered for a moment upon her smiling inquiry and then replied in a soft tone.
“Let’s start spinning webs in the back alleys of London.”
It’s a given that a credible final boss would have charismatic subordinates.
“We are crime consultants, after all. We need underlings to get their hands dirty on our behalf.”
“Let’s create an underworld organization that will plunge London into darkness in the future, Professor.”
Upon hearing those words, the eyes of Professor Moriarty began to gleam with a renewed dark intensity.
“Indeed, you are the best assistant I could ask for.”
Was getting used to that look a good sign or a bad one? I didn’t know…
A few days after ‘The Scandal of the Bohemian Queen’ had concluded.
– This is the story of a scandal that shook the Bohemian kingdom and Charlotte Holmes’s cunning plan that was brutally shattered by one man.
At the boarding house of 212B Baker Street, Rachel Watson was intently typing away on her typewriter.
– Holmes often scoffed at men for their lack of wisdom, flashing her distinct arrogant smile. However, since this incident occurred, one hadn’t heard her utter such remarks any longer.
As she reached that passage, she licked her lips, suppressing a smile and focusing intently on her writing.
– And whenever the topic of Isaac Adler or that half-taken photograph came up, Holmes would always refer to him with the honorable title of ‘that man’…
“Look here, Watson.”
Suddenly, from behind her, the neutral emotionless tone of Holmes’ voice echoed.
“When did you arrive?”
“Just now. Speaking of which, didn’t you promise the queen? We agreed not to release the case as a novel.”
“I’m writing it just for fun. So that our future descendants can read it someday.”
“…Do you really have to write it?”
Holmes, with a long frown on her face, asked Watson, who merely responded with a mischievous smile.
“It’s the story of our dear Holmes’ first love. Of course, it should be recorded.”
“I think there’s a misunderstanding here. I am not in love with ‘that man’. He’s just an unsolved puzzle to me…”
“Alright, alright, let’s call it the ‘story of your first defeat’ then.”
Holmes blushed upon hearing that remark.
“I haven’t lost yet.”
A heavy silence thus ensued.
“I’ve just received admission documents for the academy. I’ll probably be enrolling in a few weeks. So, if I go in there and come across him who has run away from my grasp… then…”
Holmes, trailing off, subtly averted her gaze to the side. Watson, watching her closely, licked her lips again and murmured to herself.
‘So Holmes has this cute side to her as well.’
The arrogant genius girl who, from their very first meeting, looked down upon August Academy’s founder— Dupin, as a dim-witted woman.
And just as if to prove that her statement wasn’t false, she was a monstrous child who managed to solve a myriad of cases in just a matter of days, often returning the majority of the credit to the police as if it were a gift from her to the incompetent forces of London.
With a physique and age that didn’t match her always mature manner of speaking, and her languid, weary eyes that seemed to pierce through everything, she had been an untouchable entity for Watson… up until just a few days ago, that is.
“…If I do that, it would at least be a draw. Do you understand now?”
Yet, this world-weary child was now talking passionately, almost like an adolescent girl hit by puberty.
Holmes, when there was no case to solve, would always be listless and lethargic. In such times, no matter how much Watson protested, she would continue with her perilous chemical experiments.
But recently, Watson couldn’t see that side of her any longer.
The current Holmes was aflame, thanks to Isaac Adler— the first being who had managed to deal her a defeat.
‘…But that man is dangerous.’
Yet, on the other hand, Watson was worried about this new side of Holmes.
It’s true that in this recent case, she had witnessed unexpected facets of the man named Isaac Adler, but he was still undoubtedly the biggest scoundrel and trash that roamed in the city of London.
“And me going to the academy isn’t solely because of ‘that man’.”
“There are rumors circulating that suspicious incidents have been happening within the academy recently. Therefore, I thought I might as well investigate while I’m there…”
“Yes, Holmes. Everything you say is right.”
Thus, with a hint of worry in her gaze, Watson, observing Holmes till now, soon sported a sly smile and struck an encouraging pose.
Now was the time to trust Holmes.
Although she was still mentally immature, the fact that she was the best detective in London remained unchanged.
And then, Holmes, narrowing her eyes while looking at Watson, proved that fact once again.
“This isn’t the time to tease me, Watson.”
“After all, it’s not me who’s gotten a man. It’s you.”
Upon hearing those words, Watson froze, hands still poised over the typewriter.
“What, wha— what are you talking about, Charlotte?”
“If you’re meeting a man secretly, my dear Watson— When you hurriedly left in the middle of the night, claiming there was an emergency patient at the hospital, you wouldn’t have been emanating the scent of perfume, would you?”
“That, that? The perfume I sprayed in the day just had a strong scent…”
“And I suppose instead of a stethoscope in your haphazardly-thrown-together medical bag, there wouldn’t have been a bouquet of flowers sticking out?”
“If such situations continued for several weeks, even that dimwitted Inspector Lestrade would have noticed, not just me.”
“What, what are you on about?”
As Holmes continued, Watson’s face grew redder. Soon, she hurriedly stood up, pushing Holmes from behind.
“Come on, time to leave. Weren’t you preparing to fit into a school uniform?”
“I just did.”
“Then go have your meal downstairs. Mrs. Hudson has prepared food for you.”
With that, Watson ushered Holmes, who was scratching her head, out of the room.
“We’re not even dating…”
Pausing to look around, Watson, with a blush on her face, began to type again.
– It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
“Still, I can’t help but worry about Holmes.”
Switching the typewriter mode from writing to receiving, she murmured as she inserted a lower-grade crystal.
“…It would have been nice if Isaac Adler was as kind and innocent as she is.”
“Why do you look like that?”
As I was about to enter August Academy with Professor Moriarty, an unexpected incident occurred.
｢It’s been a while, hasn’t it?｣
Unthinkingly lifting my tingling hand, I saw the message that had appeared.
｢Evening of the 21st. Let’s meet at the usual place at 7 pm.｣
Feeling dazed, I clenched my eyes shut.
“…Who even are you, damn it.”
I had completely forgotten the fact that the original Irene Adler had a fiancé.