Chapter 13: Growing Feelings.
Len and Erza have continued on their job of investigating the murder of countless young woman at the inn, Succubus Wing, and bringing the murderer to justice.
Throughout the entire investigation, Len has found a certain pattern among the victims besides the gender. They all have a certain tattoo on their right arm; something he found out by Celina is called the Wing of the Succubus. Apparently, this are given to those who are marked by rich men who only desire one that woman to serve him, who also gets the most tips. Not only that, those who are marked by these have an increase in sexual desires, but it is mild so it only causes the girl to like being around the guests more.
So, Len has come to a conclusion that the killer is only aiming for those that had this promotion.
Also, based on the testimonies he had from employees, he can come up with a conclusion that the killer is a female.
The testimonies are as followed:
"When the murders happened, I was taking care of the Manager's Office." She said, "After that, when I heard a scream at one of the employee's rooms, I rush there and find Ai dead, killed by a cut on her tongue."
"Is she one of the employees here?" Erza asked.
"Yes. But I find it strange." The blue haired woman placed her hand on her chin with her well-endowed breasts pushing on the table. "The rooms are only opened to the employees and Manager Celina, plus there is a barrier that was put up 24/7 to keep out any perverted men from entering."
"Say, why are you at the Manager's Office?" The knight mage asked.
"Manager Maxwell has the tendency to leave her rubbish around the office when she is alone, plus…" Testa placed her hand on her cheek with a happy blush and a longing smile, "I'm like his loving wife~…"
"Oh, don't you know?" She stated, "Celina is a guy."
"EH?-! B-But he looks like a woman in all sides!"
"Oh, he was cursed by an accidental potion went wrong and he gain most figures of a girl while retaining his manhood."
"Rei-chan was a great girl…" Onse muttered, "She was beautiful and capable, not only that, she is really kind to all the newer staff… I still don't get why she was killed…"
"That's why I and Titania are here to find out." Len said, "Please, I need you to tell me what happened there."
"O-Okay…" Onse steadied herself, "During the time of the murder, she and I were in our room. What we're doing… I rather not say. It's really embarrassing."
"Sure." Len said, his mind already thinking of all kind of intimate things the two girls are doing. That thought caused him to slam his head on the table.
"A-Are you alright, Heartfilia-san?"
"It's fine. Carry on."
"O-Okay… After that, Rei left to go to the bathroom." She continued, "After a while, I realized that she is taking a little too long and went to find her. When I found her, she… she…" Tears starts to flow out her tears as she falls into sobs.
"I-I understand!" Len panicked, not sure what to do, "That's good enough; you don't have to say anymore!"
"My younger sister Minty was killed in the third murder." She muttered, "During that time, I was entertaining some guests when a scream was heard at the baths. It was only when Testa told me that it was Minty."
"I see." Len muttered, "Was it the female baths?"
"Ah, yes. The one for the employees."
"So, only the female staff can enter the bath?"
"Yes. There is a barrier to prevent any man from entering, except for Celina-san."
After all those testimonies, it is obvious that only a female employee can perform all these feats. Len and Erza can come to a conclusion that only one of the three are the killer, considering that Celina is not a wizard of any sorts, and that he has a clear liability to all the murder as recorded by Testa, and she is his stalker.
That aside, Erza have been acting weird since the first night's incident at the bath.
On the second day, Len walks along the hallway from his shared room towards the one of the third victim's scene of crime. This time the body was found in the baths, "The body was covered in cuts that leads to death via blood loss…" He reads the report in his hands.
Len then noticed Erza walking down the hallway towards him, "Oh, good morning, Titania." He greeted, "Any luck?" But the knight just walks past him with her head pointing down.
It is now the third day. "The fourth, and the second latest, body was found at the kitchen with countless magic knives sticking out of her body like a cactus." Len read the report while walking up the stairs, "But they were all without fingerprints. In other words, they were manipulated by a form of moving magic, like Titania's…"
He then noticed Erza walking down the stairs, "Ah, hey, Titania, are the testimonies-" The scarlet-haired mage punched the blonde in the face, causing him to fall down the stairs hard, "Itetete…"
"You… saw them, didn't you?" She muttered.
Len realized what she meant and blushed hard, "N-No! I didn't!"
"You better not!" Erza shouted as she stomps away from him.
It's now the forth day. "The second and first victims were killed in the same room, by slitting of their tongue." Len muttered reading the report, "With the testimonies up till now, I have an idea on who might be the killer. But…I need more data to get a conclusive result…"
Unknown to him, Erza is walking towards him as if thinking about something as well. The blonde mage was walking rather fast and with him thinking non-stop, they ended up crashing into each other. "Ah!"
"Owowow…" Len grunted, "Wait, kya…?"
He then noticed Erza on her bump grunting in pain as well, "Oh, it's you, Titania. That 'kya' is from you? You're surprising feminine."
*Blush* "O-Of course I am! I'm still a girl!"
"But I thought you give up your femininity already."
"EK!" Len crawls back as Erza brandish her sword, "W-Whoa, take it easy!"
"You… You scum!"
The rest of the afternoon was Len trying to run away from the sword-wielding mage.
It is the morning of the final day, and all the suspects are assembled at the manager's office, Len and Erza standing with them as well. "So, you assembled us here, why?" Celina asked.
"I was just cleaning up the baths." Umi sighed, "My arms are so sore…"
"And I just woke up…" Testa yawned, the girl is wearing her yukata quite loosely, Len nearly exploded in a nosebleed, but staying four days and night finding her in that pattern makes him rather immune to her sexiness.
"I was still eating breakfast too…" Onse sighed.
"Well, for starters, I like to apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused to any of you." Len said, "As for why you're all here, I like to say that I found out who the killer might be."
"Eh?-! Really?-!" Onse cried in joy.
"W-Who is it, then?-!" Testa cried.
"Before I expose who she is, I like to explain how each of the killings are done." Len said.
"The first murder: Ai. The victim was killed in the room where only the employees are. By the cut of her kill wound, it would seems that it was cut by a sharp knife at least. She wasn't. The wound was caused by a wind blade formed via magic. Considering how the victim was killed in one hit, the killer must have done it within the room looking at the victim. The second one was done the same way."
"The third murder: Umi's sister, Minty. She was killed in the bath via with blood loss from a series of cut wounds all over her body. The weapon is still the wind magic, as all the wounds are made all at the same time, which is impossible for a blade weapon. Plus, the bath she was killed in was only opened to employees only, and the time she was killed was a few minutes after the bath time for staffs."
"The fourth murder: I dubbed it Cactus Corpse. (Erza: That's lame…) The body is covered in magic knives sticking out from all over her body. The weapon here is also a type of wind magic. By manipulating the air, she can move the knives into the air and stabs her in them. The kitchen, obviously, is only available to staff alone."
"Now, all these murders have seen to have a no possible suspect. But she slipped up and revealed her tail in the latest murder: The death of Rei." Len explained, "She was killed in the staff bathroom, which has a magic lock that only the employees know. But that's the thing. Not all the employees use this bathroom as the combination code for the lock is only known to two people."
"Now that you mention it…" Umi thought for a while, "The staff bathroom is hardly used at all. The only people using it are Manager Maxwell and…"
"That's correct." Len nodded, "In order words, the killer…" He points forward, "Is you! Testa!"
"W-What?-!" Testa cried.
"Testa, the murderer?-!" Celina cried.
"H-He's speaking nonsense!" Testa cried, "There is no proof of such a matter!"
"Oh really?" Len looked at her, "Tell me, where were you during the murders?"
"A-At the manager's office, why?"
"Oh? That's odd." Len said, "Celina Maxwell told me that this office is locked at all times and only he has the keys to this office. And the lock isn't a magic lock. Just a normal lock. Even if you break into the office by picking the lock, he would have noticed. Not just that, the windows of the office are often sealed shut."
"Also, we checked your background." Erza announced, "You were born from two mage parents, making you a mage from birth. And you have been tutored with the magic arts, with Wind Magic as you specialty, the same magic used in the murders."
"Not just that. I have check with the other employees." The blonde carried on, "The Wing of the Succubus tattoo also represents special privileges and that include getting special treatment by Manager Maxwell. You confessed to us that you like him, and it's obvious that you are jealous of them and killed them to prevent them from getting near him."
"Testa, is this true?" Celina asked sternly, "Why would you do this? You're my best hostess! So why?"
"Why?" Testa muttered, "Because, you refuse to look at me!" This caught the manager by surprise, "I… I always loved you, since I joined this inn. The reason I joined in because that I want to be with you. But then I heard about those marks, I couldn't believe that you would choose all those girls instead of me! They… They all deserve to die!"
"You killed Rei-chan for something like that?-! Just because you are jealous?-!" Onse cried angrily, a knife in her hand, "You… Pay for what you did!"
"Calm down, Onse-san!" Len said grabbing her arms and not allowing her to move.
"Let me go!"
"You idiot, Testa!" Celina shouted, "I didn't gave you that mark not because I don't want you! It's because I don't want you to be violated by those men out there!"
"I…I love you too, Testa." He muttered, "But… for someone like me to like a perfectly normal person like you is impossible. Back then, there were men that requested to only have you, and are willing to pay any amount. But I refused them all, not wanting you to get that mark. It is both a blessing, and a curse. You can only take care of that one person, and you can't fall in love with another."
"Manager… you… all this time…" Tears starts to overflow from her eyes, "I'm sorry… I'm so sorry… I… I…"
"You know, I kind of feel sorry for her." Len muttered to Erza, "All she wants was for Celina to look at her, to love her. But she gave in to the dark thoughts and these happened…"
"You're right." Erza muttered, "Love is a powerful thing. It can both empowers us, or destroy us."
"Titania, did you suffered like Testa before?"
"If you don't wish to say, then don't." Len said, "Just to let you know, if you have something on your mind, don't keep it yourself. Tell it to me. I would be there to listen, always."
"Len…" Erza's face starts to get really red, 'W-What's going on? W-Why is my heart…?'
Len sighs while sitting in the warm waters of the bath, "Ah… my head feels kind of sore…" He rubs his temples tiredly. He looks up into the night sky, "Tonight is the last night here. After this, we will go back to Fairy Tail. Now that I think about it, I was here to train with Erza but she just ignores me for the past five days we're here."
"Good evening, Len-san."
He turns around to find Umi and Onse wrapped in nothing but a towel. Blood spurts out from his nose but it wasn't as serious as before. "W-What are you guys doing here?-!" He cried.
"Well, Manager Maxwell wants to thank you so he asked us to serve you for the night." Onse explains, Umi nodding shyly, "A-Also, she would prepare the reward money for you first thing tomorrow morning…" The green-haired girl muttered.
"No, I mean why are you wearing just your towels?-!" Len cried.
"Oh, relax." Onse tells him as she rips off her towel to Len's shock, only to reveal her light blue bikini, "We're wearing swimsuits. Come on, we're not that bold to wear nothing into a bath with a guy."
"I-Is this okay?" Umi asked shyly, she wearing a blue one piece swimsuit.
"I-I guess?" The blonde said, "I mean, it is Celina Maxwell's request so…"
"Shall I wash your back then?" Onse asked, "Or maybe, you want something more~? Nothing sexual though."
"No thanks, I'm fine!"
"You look so cute when you blush~" Onse giggled, "If I wasn't a lesbian, I'll date you."
"W-What are you saying, Onse-san?-!" Umi cried, "You can't flirt with the guests!"
"Relax, I was only kidding with him." Onse smiled, "Besides, with that body of yours, you won't be able to get a decent man."
"S-Shut up!" Umi cried blushing, "I just grow slowly!"
"At the age of 25?"
"A-At least I'm not like a cow!"
"You're just jealous that yours aren't as amazing as mine!"
"I'll be leaving then…" Len sneaks away from the arguing girls. He, however, was bumped into another woman, her partner in this mission, Erza. The scarlet haired lady is really dressed in nothing but a towel. "Ah, Titania…"
Erza blushed at the eye contact and ran into the bath covering herself as much as possible, "What's with her…?" Len wonders.
"T-Training is over, okay?" Erza muttered to Len, "Y-You did well…"
"A-And… can you…" Erza muttered, "Stay in the bath with me?"
"W-Well, something happened in the first night…" She muttered as she fiddles with her index fingers, "A-And… I want to finish what I started…"
"I-It's just I don't like keeping things unfinished, okay?-!" Erza shouted angrily, "Don't you dare think of anything else!"
"I didn't…" Len muttered.
Len and Erza both arrive back at their guild, the members of Fairy Tail as crazy as ever. Natsu picking fights, chairs flying everywhere, Gray stripping for no reason, Juvia watching him strip, Mirajane at the bar serving up drinks for the other more solemn members including the Master himself.
At least, that's what Len would want to see. But this time, the usual rowdy members are all crowding around the bar accepting jobs and running out of the guild, "Why's everyone in a hurry?" Len wonders.
"Oh right, it is that time of the year again…" Erza remembers.
"Eh? What time of the year?" Len asked, "Anniversary? Someone's birthday? Master's birthday? Halloween? Year dance? Harvest Festival? Oh wait, we have that one already…"
"You seems rather curious over this?" Erza said, "I guess that's to be true. You are Lucy's twin after all."
"Len-niisan!" Lucy cried as she tackles her brother to the ground, "You okay?-! Are you hurt?-! Did Erza did something weird to you?-!"
"Calm down, Lucy." Len said with a bump on his head, "I'm fine. That thing was settled without any fighting. Although… it was kind of sad for the killer…"
"No, it's nothing." He looks over to Erza, "Hey, Titania!" He called out to her, "Thanks for the trip. I guess it works, in a sense? Maybe we can go again sometime?"
"A-Ah…?" Erza's face turned red, "S-Sure! W-Whatever you say! I-I need to report to the Master!" She ran off elsewhere.
"Ah, she's gone…" Len muttered, "Geez, she is acting weird since the first day…"
"Now that you mention it, Erza is acting weird." Lucy said, "Did something happen during the past five days?"
"Not really…" Len think for a moment, and the accident on the first night pops into his head, and his nose fires blood like a rocket.
"A-Ah! Len-niisan!" Lucy cried.
"I-I'm fine…" Len tells her covering his nose, "I think… I might have an idea why she is like that…"
"You see… there is a… err… incident…" Len muttered, "In the baths… together… naked…"
Lucy's face is overshadowed with her bangs shaking angrily, "Lu…cy…?"
"Niisan… You pervert!"