༺ The Organization ༻
A few days after moving into the dormitory of the August Detective Academy.
“…This is driving me crazy.”
Having gone through the student files I obtained with the help of Professor Moriarty for quite a while, I laid down on the bed, sighing softly.
‘Who on earth was that?’
The mysterious message that landed in my hand a few days ago…
The one who sent it was probably Adler’s fiancée in the original work or, at the very least, someone he was seeing on the premise of an engagement.
Because ever since I possessed this body, all contacts from women came through letters. However, only this person’s contact came through the transmission magic engraved on Adler’s hand.
And the name saved in that transmission magic by Adler was, precisely, ‘Fiancée’ and nothing else.
‘I really don’t know.’
The problem was that I had absolutely no idea who that person is.
Adler’s fiancée in the original work was a British lawyer called ‘Godfrey Norton’.
Of course, in this world, the gender of the characters was reversed, hence she would be a woman, not a man.
However, there was no woman with the surname ‘Norton’ and with the profession of a lawyer in the entirety of London.
Even considering the possibility, I had thoroughly checked all the female students at the academy who majored in law, but there was no such person.
As a last resort, I had written letters to the mansion’s servants who were hospitalized due to the recent fire that broke out. However, when the butler visited me in the hospital she said that she was clueless about this fact, the chances didn’t seem promising.
‘It’ll be the 21st in a few days.’
Who on earth was the person who contacted me to meet somewhere unknown on the evening of the 21st? Just who was it that had the only contact channel registered by Isaac Adler?
Isaac Adler, in the story I reviewed, was already deceased from the perspective of the original work, so there wasn’t much information about him.
In other words, it was a headache-inducing situation for me, where no lead could be seen even with the knowledge of the possessor.
‘No, it might be better not to meet her at all.’
However, on second thought, it might be better not to contact her— someone that I didn’t even know.
It’s clear that the good-for-nothing Adler, with clearly impure intentions, must have been trying to woo this person.
Because getting involved with me now would be quite risky for her.
These burn marks that were irritatingly painful even now were the proof of that claim.
The arson case at my mansion was currently under police investigation, but they were unable to find any leads as of yet.
And if the police couldn’t find any leads, there was only one plausible answer…
A deliberated terror with the usage of mana.
Considering none of the servants were mana users, it seemed likely that someone from outside had secretly infiltrated the mansion and set up such a trap for me.
It seemed that not only the women of London but also among the mages, there were those who detested Isaac Adler enough to want him dead.
It was indeed a good decision to move my residence here.
While lying on the bed and sorting through my complex thoughts, I soon sighed and got up.
‘I should handle the immediate problems first.’
Dwelling on issues that just couldn’t be resolved by thinking would leave me neither dead nor alive.
So, I should tackle what I am able to do right now.
｢Mr. Adler, there’s an urgent matter.｣
For instance, meeting our professor, who had been sending messages to the receiver embedded in my hand ever since I registered for the transmission magic.
｢Come to my office.｣
I had a feeling that I could clearly see the hardships that awaited me in the future.
. . . . .
“Have you arrived, Mr. Adler?”
Upon arriving swiftly at Professor Moriarty’s office, I could see the Professor sitting upright on her seat and quietly waving her hand to me in greeting.
“What’s the urgent matter, Professor?”
“Actually, there isn’t any urgent matter.”
Watching her, I asked a question. Meanwhile, she only showed me a sly smile before responding with those words…
“I just wanted to see you, so I contacted you.”
“Is that so? Then, I’ll be on my way.”
“Playing with a professor who feels like dying of boredom at any moment is one of the main duties of a graduate student, Mr. Adler.”
With a flick of her finger, the office door locked automatically, just like before.
“I’ve always wondered, are you also a mana user, Professor?”
“Well, what do you think?”
The ‘unknown mana’ presumed to be used on the prince during the last incident, the ‘curse’ said to be on her, and so on and so forth…
I was brimming with questions about her.
“Let’s discuss that later. Shall we continue the conversation we had last time?”
“The conversation from last time?”
“The criminal organization. The one that will engulf the entirety of London in the future.”
However, judging from Professor Moriarty’s reaction, pressing her at the moment seemed not feasible.
“I had high hopes when I heard you were organizing such a formidable group. Yet, there hasn’t been much progress for days already.”
“It’s not something that can be created overnight, Professor.”
Hearing my response, Moriarty displayed a faint look of disappointment while rummaging through a sugar packet on her desk.
“It must be nice being detectives. Clients come to them willingly, and they can promote their services legally.”
“Certainly, being a criminal consultant for you was fun, but this prolonged waiting is getting troublesome.”
Upon closer inspection, her shoulders were slouched, and there was a lack of vitality in her eyes.
It reminded me of the way Holmes from the original story appeared during periods of case shortages— a similar form of withdrawal could be seen in Professor Moriarty.
“Isn’t there some way or method we could employ?”
In truth, her concerns had also occupied my thoughts over the past few days.
While Professor Moriarty was set to become a global figure thanks to the binomial theorem paper she published a few days ago… at the moment, she was merely a first-year assistant professor.
And as for me, who was employed as her assistant, I was quite well known in London, but it was as a form of infamy.
To sum it up, we lacked brand recognition.
Not to mention building an organization, even finding clients for criminal consultation proved challenging for us.
If such circumstances persisted for a few weeks, or even just a few more days, Moriarty’s interest in criminal consultation would undoubtedly wane to an all-time low.
Even now, wasn’t she, like a case-deprived Holmes, somberly chewing on sugar lumps?
“There is a way,” I proposed to her while thinking till here.
“…What did you say?”
Fortunately, after racking my brain intensely over the past few days, I had come up with a rather promising idea.
“We can establish a foundational backing for our organization and simultaneously find our first client,” I explained to her in simple words.
“And we can do it immediately.”
Upon mentioning this idea, Professor Moriarty, who had been listlessly munching on sugar, ceased her actions and her eyes began to sparkle once more.
“Mr. Adler, you always show me something new,” she remarked in a subtle tone.
“You flatter me.”
“So, what is this method?”
I responded by handing her a document that I had kept in my pocket.
“Just stamp your seal here.”
“Oh, finally planning to make me your slave?”
“Please refrain from making such inappropriate remarks, Professor…”
Professor Moriarty took the documents that I had offered with an animated expression while tilting her head thoughtfully
“This is the method?”
Her reaction was understandable.
“A mock crime consultation club. I’ll be the supervising professor, and you’ll be the president. It’s intriguing, to say the least.”
The document I presented to her was none other than a club establishment permit.
“How does this become ‘the method’ that you are speaking of?”
“Don’t you understand?”
“To be honest,” she replied, “No, I don’t.”
Moriarty, who had been tapping her desk till now, looked down at the permit and began to speak.
“So, because we currently lack reputation, you’re proposing we use this method to scout the talent needed for our organization?”
“In a nutshell, yes.”
“Nevertheless, posting such a notice in this academy which is teeming with detectives seems quite the audacious act.”
Her argument certainly had merit.
If one were to establish a ‘ mock crime consultation club’ at the foremost detective academy in all of Europe, the ones who would likely join out of sheer curiosity would be the detectives with abundant free time or a penchant for novelty.
“Even if by some otherworldly stroke of luck, a student genuinely interested in crime were to approach us, distinguishing them would be near impossible. And getting them to entrust us with a request would be even more challenging.”
“And if there were students with such intentions, to begin with, it’s simply illogical for them to be at a detective academy in the first place.”
Faced with Professor Moriarty’s sound logic that refuted my proposal, I could only…
Before I knew it, a chuckle escaped my lips.
“Why do you laugh so, Mr. Adler?”
Because oddly enough such logical reasoning had no place in this academy.
“It’s nothing, Professor.”
The August Detective Academy.
The main stage of the game and the place where the protagonist— Holmes, would enroll in a year’s time. This place was also home to the culprits of a series of incidents that would unfold about a year later.
And I was certain…
Although we might not be able to capture the attention of all of them, I was confident we could at least pique the interest of one student in our club.
And if we’re talking about the real culprit behind the original ‘The Red-Headed League’ story – the fourth smartest woman in London – she would be the one.
Even if she wasn’t quite on the level of Colonel Moran, the incomprehensible confidant of the original Moriarty of the novels, she would still be more than suitable to be a member of our organization.
“Please stamp it already.”
“Even after all I’ve said, you still ask?”
“If you’re not satisfied with this venture you can kill me, Professor.”
As I spoke those words while looking straight at her eyes, Moriarty began to tilt her head from side to side with a faint smile on her face.
A habit she often displayed when she was deep in thought or intrigued by something or someone.
As she stared back intently, not hiding her characteristic mannerism, I wondered what she was thinking about me right now.
“Please be assured.”
I felt a slight chill down my spine but even so, I managed to stay composed.
The event I was about to instigate would undoubtedly be a highly satisfying one for Professor Moriarty.
“I will make London a paradise just for you, my dear Professor.”
Even though I spoke as such only half of it was true.
Because the young genius residing at 212B Baker Street would also be granted admission to that paradise.
“Is this the ticket to enter that promised land, Mr. Adler?”
Of course, the first to enter was Professor Moriarty, who stamped her approval on the permit with an uplifted corner of her lips.
“Thank you, Professor.”
It was time to recruit followers to participate in the tightrope walk that would unfold between the two geniuses of London.
That evening, in the lobby of the August Detective Academy—
“Why are there so many people over there?”
“Did the new transfer students come?”
“No, if that were to be the case, everyone would have gathered by the wall.”
Students who had finished their classes began to whisper among themselves, noticing the crowd around the bulletin board.
“…Ignore it. It’s just those detective wannabes getting excited about something.”
“But seeing that many people makes me curious.”
“Then let’s go check it out.”
And from behind that crowd,
A girl stared at the board with a cold expression on her face.
Specifically, her gaze was fixed on a part written in large red letters at the bottom of the board.
“Is this a coincidence?”
The girl who murmured in a soft voice, began to move towards the 3rd-floor interview location, gently touching a mark on her forehead.
“There are people who think like me out there, huh…”