“Well then, let’s begin tonight’s meeting.” Ooi declares, leaving the task force in shock.
“There’s supposed to be eight of them, but only seven are present.” Light reaffirms. “That must mean that-”
“They probably killed one of their members.” Ryuzaki finishes. ‘I thought so. If Ryuzaki believes the same, then that means it has a higher probability of being true.’
“In order to further the growth of the Yotsuba group, and best serve its financial interests,” Ooi continues. “Who should we kill next?”
We all tense at the declaration. “You see?” Matsuda says proudly. “It’s just like I told you last week!”
“But before we get to that, there are several topics we need to discuss. First, there is the issue of Hatori’s death.” Ooi explains to the men around him.
“That was unavoidable.” Namikawa interjects. “To be honest, in a certain sense, I’m relieved that Hatori is dead. Kira has demonstrated that we must be committed to these meetings. We now know what will happen if we try to leave.”
Ooi nods. “I… think we all understand what Hatori’s death means for the rest of us. Let’s not take it lightly. Now, moving on. Our next topic is Eraldo Coil’s report.”
The other task force members around me gasp. “One of their members just died, and that’s all they’re going to say?” Mr. Yagami speaks the feeling going around the room.
‘Although, you have to admit, they are efficient, adjusting so quickly.’ Kiyohime comments, and I silently agree.
“So did we really pay five million dollars for this report?” Higuchi asks indignantly. “I mean, come on, look at this! He hasn’t found out anything important about L, like his name or his face! Is this Coil guy seriously going to be of any use to us?”
Ooi tries to calm him down. “Hold on a second. There is something very interesting in the last part of this report. Coil’s warning us that we can’t afford to take L’s existence too lightly. In particular, it says the concentration of killings that are beneficial to Yotsuba will likely be noticed by L if they continue on Fridays and Saturdays.”
They remain silent for a moment, before Mido speaks up. “Sounds like this Eraldo Coil has figured out what we’ve been up to. I admit, it’s quite impressive. At any rate, I personally believe we should stop killing every weekend.”
“This is unbelievable.” Matsuda comments. “It’s like they’re trying to confess to everything!”
“Hmm, as long as we have this video as evidence, we could probably arrest all seven of them.” Mr. Yagami adds, and I immediately know that Ryuzaki won’t respond well to that suggestion. I glance at my insomniac friend, and see him tense, before watching the screen again.
“Kira hasn’t been flexible up till now, has he?” Higuchi complains. “It’d be nice if he could spread out his killings over the whole week.”
“The fact that Coil noticed what we are doing makes it too dangerous to continue killing at our usual pace.” Mido continues. “From now on, we have to be even more careful, and make sure that nobody else happens to notice a trend in these deaths.”
“Too late for that to work…” I mumble under my breath, before focusing in on the screen again.
“Now, onto the main topic.” Ooi decides. “Who should we kill?”
“I think we should focus on E. L. F. Insurance.” Mido suggests. “If they expand into the Japanese market, Yotsuba and many other companies will lose valuable clients to them.”
Ooi nods. “Agreed. Alright, any objections to killing these people from E. L. F with accidental deaths?”
“No objections.” They all call out in unison.
“Is this for real? How can they do this so easily?” Light asks, stunned. I nod in agreement with him. ‘Yeah. These people developed Kira’s cold, hard demeanor just like that! I’m impressed.’ I try not to let my thoughts show on my face.
“Another potential candidate is Santaro Zenzai, a member of the Kugisawa Group.” Ooi adds. “He’s been protesting Yotsuba’s resort development plans. Zenzai’s known to have high blood pressure, so we can designate a time for him to suffer a stroke, resulting in natural death. Any objections?”
“Kira? Deaths by accident? By disease? Designated times of death?” Light lists, and I mentally curse them for letting so much information slip. “It’s all just as we suspected! We were right.”
“No.” Ryuzaki responds coldly, and I can’t help but agree with his statement. “Unfortunately, we can only be completely sure after those people they’ve named are dead.” The task force stares at him in varying degrees of disgust. “We will continue to monitor these meetings and take note of what they say, how they act, and most importantly, whether the people they choose actually die. If we can confirm a connection between their actions and the deaths, then we’ll definitely be able to catch Kira.” He tries to eat a large amount of ice cream all at once, but the others interrupt him.
“Ryuzaki!” Both Light and Mr. Yagami yell at once.
“What is it?” He asks with his mouth full, most of the attempted bite having fallen back into the bowl. “There’s no need to yell in unison.” Were the situation not so tense, and if I didn’t know how and when to play my cards correctly, I would have laughed.
“I can’t carry on, knowing these people will die!” Light objects. “That’s just immoral!”
“Right!” Mr. Yagami agrees, and I glance back to Ryuzaki.
“Here it comes…” I her him mutter under his breath, and I have to crack the tiniest smile, before quickly replacing my poker face.
“I know you’re planning to catch Kira by letting these guys actually carry out these murders, but we can’t let that happen!” Light pleads his case.
“That’s right.” Mr. Yagami continues. “It’s obvious these seven men are behind the killings! With Matsuda’s testimony and this footage we’ve recorded, we have all the evidence.”
Ryuzaki places down his bowl, and tries to explain. “You’re making this difficult. If we were to take action now, everything we’ve done will go to waste.”
“So what do you say we take care of the E. L. F. in three weeks, and as for Zenzai, we’ll ask Kira to kill him this weekend.” Ooi suggests.
“If that’s what they’re going to do, there’s not much time left!” Mr. Yagami exclaims, before turning to his son. “Light, we already know the phone numbers of these board members, don’t we?”
“Yeah.” Light grabs the page and hands it over to his father.
“I don’t care who we call. I need to reach one of these men and have them stop these murders!” Mr. Yagami grabs his phone, and almost dials in a number.
“Please, hold on.” Ryuzaki tries to reason. “That will cause suspicion. It would mean the investigation caught up to them three days after they were contacted by Aiber.” He pours himself a cup of coffee. “Also, it would make it far more unlikely that we would be able to discover who the real Kira might be. We can’t afford such a huge setback, seeing how far we’ve come.” He sets his coffee down. “In order to catch Kira, we’re going to need some solid proof.”
Light thinks for a moment, before asking, “Ryuzaki, if one of these seven men is in fact Kira, would it be safe to say that if I try calling one of them, the odds of that person actually being Kira is going to be one in seven?”
My eyes widen in realization of his plans, before I smirk.
“I’m thinking there could be more than one Kira among them. A probability of two in seven, at most.” Ryuzaki responds, before Light leans onto the computer counter.
“If we’re prepared to let them know that the investigation’s catching up to them, let’s place our bets on these odds. Ryuzaki, I’m going to pose as L.” Light reasons, thinking out loud. “Judging from their conversation so far, the one least likely to be Kira, but with the most influence is…”
“Namikawa.” Light, Ryuzaki, and I all say in unison, while Matsuda calls out Ooi’s name in the background.
We all ignore him, and I sigh. “Based on my interactions with him, I would have to agree that Namikawa-san is the least suspicious of the seven. If you’re going to call any of them, I’d suggest him.”
“If you are going to make a call, please, use this phone.” Ryuzaki suggests. “It’s set up so it can’t be traced or tapped.”
Light nods, before reaching over, and taking the phone from him. I turn my attention back to the screen.
“You know, this whole thing would go a lot faster if we kill off the execs of our rival companies, and be done with it.” Higuchi complains.
“Ah, that would be going a little too far.” Mido reasons, and I see Namikawa answer his phone.
“Why? We can kill them and split their holdings.” Ooi debates, taking Higuchi’s side.
I glance back to Light, who speaks into the phone, “Is this Reiji Namikawa, head of the Yotsuba Group’s marketing department?... Listen carefully, but don’t draw attention to yourself. I am L. I’ve placed cameras and wiretaps around that meeting room. Even as I speak, I’m recording footage of your entire meeting. The first thing you discussed was Hatori's death. Now you’re debating who to kill next. Am I correct?... If you are not Kira, or if you are someone who can’t contact Kira directly, let’s make a deal. I need you to delay the deaths of E. L. F.’s president and Zenzai-san by one month. I doubt it would be difficult for someone of your standing to accomplish that… If you complete your end of the deal and cooperate with our requests from now on, then your crimes, no, not just yours, but everyone’s crimes, with the exception of Kira’s, will be pardoned, based on the premise that Kira blackmailed you into attending these meetings… If you tell the others about this call, they will panic. It would be of no advantage to you. Everyone would be arrested immediately. But that’s not my intention. I’m planning to go one-on-one against Kira. Listen, if I win against Kira, you will be acquitted of all charges. If Kira wins, then you’ll be free to carry on with your comfortable life. Just play along with both parties. Staying on the sidelines would be best. You’re not in a position to lose anything, regardless of who wins in the end. You would only be at a loss if I decided to arrest you, right here and now. That’s all for now.”
“What’s going on, Namikawa? Who was that?” I hear Ooi speaking, and I tear my eyes away from Light to focus on the screen again.
“Ah, one of my men screwed up again, I’ll have to fix it on Monday.” He lies to them, before continuing. “Anyway, sorry for the interruption. Let’s get back on topic. We were discussing when we should kill Zenzai and the men from E. L. F. Here’s what I’m thinking. We’ll give Coil one month to reveal L’s identity. If he still hasn’t uncovered the information we need, then we can go ahead and kill the targets randomly. Then we’ll give him another month to investigate, and repeat the process. Once we get rid of L permanently, we can go back to killing two or three people a week. In other words, our top priority should be the elimination of L.”
They stay silent for a moment, before Mido agrees. “I see. Once we kill L, there won’t be anything standing in our way. But until then, we need to be careful.”
“Right. Sounds like a reasonable plan to me.” Ooi agrees as well, nodding.
“We need to be extremely careful if we don’t want to get caught.” Higuchi adds.
“Then we’re in agreement. We’ll give Coil one month.” Ooi concludes, and the others all agree in unison. “We will still be meeting on a weekly basis. That is all.”
“That went well.” Ryuzaki remarks, and I nod along with him.
“Better than I believed it would go. Well done, Light-kun.” I congratulate him.
“Yeah.” He nods, as if in a daze.
“You really are amazing, Light. Not only did you manage to delay the killings, but you also set up Namikawa as a potential mole for us.” Ryuzaki compliments. “Sounded exactly like the sort of thing I would do, and you thought of it quicker than I did. At this rate, if I end up dying somehow, it’s quite possible you would be capable of succeeding me.”
My eyes widen. ‘Succeeding him? As in, take the title of L for himself? If Light-kun still remembered the Death Note, he would say yes in a heartbeat! This would be a perfect opportunity to win in this battle! If only Light-kun remembered!’
“What?! Why are you being so morbid?” Light exclaims. “There isn’t time for that! We only have a month to figure out Kira’s identity and gather evidence against him to prove it! This is only the beginning.”
Ryuzaki reaches over for a couple papers lying next to his computer. “Yes, but you and Mirai-chan were the ones who first noticed the connection between Yotsuba and Kira. You might actually be more capable than I am. I honestly believe you could take this on. Tell me, if I should die, would you take over for me as L?”
My eyes narrow at the meaning and purpose behind Ryuzaki’s words. ‘A test, huh? Now I’m kind of glad that Light-kun doesn’t remember.’
We all stare at him for a while, before Light speaks up. “What are you talking about? As long as we’re joined by these,” he holds up the handcuffs, “we would die together, anyway.” He realizes something, before continuing. “I see. Ryuzaki, I’m sorry, but I’m gonna have to tell everyone what you’re really thinking right now. He thinks that if I am Kira, then there are two possibilities. Either I’m just pretending I’m not him and putting on an act, or Kira’s power has passed on from me to someone else, and I have no memory of ever being Kira in the first place. He’s trying to determine which, if either, is the truth. The first theory, if I am putting on an act, he will never remove these handcuffs. No, even if I wasn’t pretending to be innocent, I’m sure he still wouldn’t take them off. Ryuzaki still believes that I’m Kira. Even if that power had been passed to someone else, he thinks I would have planned to have it returned to me once I’m safe from suspicion. In other words, I wasn’t being controlled at all. He thinks it was a plan to pass on the power, and have it returned to me once I think I’ve been cleared.” My eyes widen. ‘Well, if he figured out that much of the plan, without either of us screwing up, then I’m surprised Ryuzaki-kun hasn’t deduced that I’m Kira yet.’ Light continues. “Ryuzaki’s theory is that once I steal L’s title, I will become Kira again.”
“Correct.” Ryuzaki flat out admits, without any hesitation whatsoever.
“Taking on the identity of L, having the power to control the police in every country, while being Kira in secret, it’s ideal.” Light continues, staring at Ryuzaki coldly. “And you’re thinking I could do it, no that I would do it. That’s what you’re saying, isn’t it?”
“Yes.” Ryuzaki replies, nonchalant.
“But what about now? I told you, I don’t want your title, that should prove, even to you, that I’m not putting on an act, shouldn’t it?”
“If this is all an act, and you are trying to steal my identity, there’s no chance you would be foolish enough to reveal your plan in front of everyone. Wouldn’t you agree?” Ryuzaki responds, still confident. I can feel the tension in the air, and I know a fight is imminent.
“Ryuzaki…” Light grabs Ryuzaki’s shoulder, and spins his chair so they face each other. Light crouches so they stare at each other dead in the eye, and asks, “Do you think that I’m actually capable of becoming a murderer? Kira? Even after I help you catch him? Do I seem like that kind of person to you?”
‘Oh Light-kun.’ I look at him sadly. ‘You aren’t just capable of it, you did it. And now, you don’t even remember bringing justice to those who could not do it themselves.’
They stare at each other a moment, before Ryuzaki tells Light, “Yes you do. I’ve always thought so.”
I rush over the moment Light’s fist flies for Ryuzaki’s face, at the same time, Ryuzaki’s leg is outstretched to try and push Light off of him. Matsuda is moments behind me, and we pull them apart from each other. I wrap my arms around Light in a hug from behind, trying to keep his arms at his sides.
“Okay, break it up! Once is enough!” Matsuda yells, scolding them. “It was a draw, so let’s just leave it as an even match, okay?!”
“Yeah, you’re right.” Light agrees, turning away. “Anyway, let’s focus on catching the Kira that’s in front of us right now.” I release him, just barely realizing the slightly intimate position I was in with him. “As long as I have the handcuffs on, you shouldn’t have any complaints.”
Ryuzaki turns back to his computer. “I suppose so. We only have a month, so there’s no time to get distracted.” Matsuda and I both breathe a sigh of relief.
“Ryuzaki.” Mr. Yagami begins.
“We have plenty of footage from this meeting. Can’t we use that as evidence against those seven men and prevent the murders of other criminals?”
“Unfortunately, no.” Ryuzaki reaches for the sugar, and begins to add the cubes, one at a time, to his coffee.
“No? But why?”
“At the moment, we’re not sure if Kira is among those seven men. If all they have is a tenuous connection with him, Kira will kill them as soon as they’re arrested. We have to be absolutely sure that Kira is among them, so there’s no point in detaining them now, if it does turn out to be one of them, it will still be difficult to determine who the culprit is. I believe it’s still far too early to make our move.” Ryuzaki explains, dropping sugar cubes into his coffee all the while.
“Hold on. At the same time, we can’t definitely say that he’s not among the seven.” Mr. Yagami tries to persuade. “That means that there’s a change that the killings will stop if we take this opportunity to arrest them!”
Light agrees with his father. “I think Dad’s right, there is a chance. We have to act on it.”
I shake my head, and take my chance to intervene. “I’m with Ryuzaki-kun on this one. If we arrest them unnecessarily, we’ll only be doing more damage than good. For all we know, Kira could pass his power on to someone else before we have the chance to interrogate them properly.”
Light looks at me with a hint of betrayal in his eyes. “So you’re saying that we should just let these men die?”
“I’m not saying that at all. We have a month before they’re killed, and if we arrest the men now, we could stop the killings before they happen. On the other hand, Kira may not be one of the seven, and may just be listening in on their meetings, the same as we are.”
“But if we don’t detain them, then they could just kill the E. L. F. president and Zenzai-san before we could stop them!” Nothing I say seems to get through to him, so I sigh, and lean against the computer desk.
Luckily for me, Ryuzaki cuts in before Light can continue. “Excuse me, but I think that, from now on, I should go after Kira by myself, although, if Mirai-chan decides to continue working with me, she may. You may continue to use these headquarters as you wish, I will also be here, but we will be working independently. You can conduct your investigation under your own direction. Feel free to arrest those men if you like. I will be carrying on my own investigation, we’ll only get into arguments if we don’t act separately and split up at this point. This is… for the best.”
We stare at him in shock. “Are you saying you’re going to find out who Kira is by any means necessary?”
“Yes. This case will never be solved unless we capture Kira himself. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t say that preventing more deaths is pointless. But if we don’t uncover the entire truth, once and for all, Kira will only appear again and the number of victims will continue to increase. That’s why I believe it’s more important to find out who Kira really is. As I’ve been saying, I’m opposed to arresting those seven men. If you want to do so, you will have to take responsibility for it. I will pursue Kira on my own, alongside Mirai-chan.” He stands, and makes his way to the glass stairs, dragging Light behind him. “We only have one month. I wonder who will succeed…”
“Ryuzaki, where are you going?” Light exclaims in confusion.
“To Amane-san’s room. Sorry, I know you’re on your father’s side and all, but I can’t remove these handcuffs. I’m afraid you’re going to have to come along with me.”
I follow them out with a sigh. “Might as well keep them from fighting again.”
I follow them into the elevator, and onto Misa’s floor. When we open the door, the idiotic she-demon sits up suddenly. “Light! I didn’t know we were supposed to have a date!” I raise an eyebrow at the drop of honorific, but still catch her change of tone when she sees Ryuzaki. “Oh right, I should have known.” Then, she sees me. “Oh, Mirai-chan! I guess a double date wouldn’t be too bad, then.”
“Misa Amane-san.” Ryuzaki says, walking over to her on the couch. “Tell me, do you love Light from the bottom of your heart?”
“Huh? Well, yeah!” She recovers from her shock remarkably quickly. “Of course I do!”
“But you also worship Kira, don’t you?”
He leans in closely to her, and continues his interrogation. “So then, if you had to choose between Light and Kira, who would you pick?” I hide a giggle at seeing Light pulling on the chain to try and get Ryuzaki away from Misa.
“What?!” She exclaims, before running over to hide behind Light. “That’s obvious. Of course it’s gonna be Light. I’m really grateful to Kira and want to meet him someday in person, but that’s not true love.” She grabs hold of Light’s arm like a teddy bear, the sight chases away most of my mirth. “I’d definitely choose Light.”
“But your precious Light is planning to catch Kira. Isn’t that right?”
“Well yes, of course I am.” Light responds calmly.
Ryuzaki leans in closer to them, making Misa jump and grab onto Light. “He says he wants to catch Kira. Now, what will you do?”
“Well, if that’s what Light says, then I’m gonna support him, no matter what.” Misa replies, determined.
“I see. So if you were given the opportunity to work with Light on this investigation, would you take the offer?”
“What? Ryuzaki!” Light responds, sounding miffed.
Misa keeps talking before he gets the chance. “Yeah! Of course I would! I’d do anything I could to help Light!”
“Wait, hold on a second,” Light says to Misa, before turning to Ryuzaki. “Where are you going with this?”
“I’m planning to have Aiber pose as Eraldo Coil again. He’ll tell the Yotsuba group members that while he was investigating L, he discovered that Misa Amane might know who he is. He’ll also tell them that L brought her in for questioning on suspicion that she was the second Kira.”
“That part is true.” Misa comments, and Ryuzaki walks across the room to look out the window.
“If the Yotsuba group believes that Misa could be their lead to finding L, then they’ll say that they want to meet her to discuss their advertising campaign. They’ll use that opportunity to question her. Thanks to Matsuda’s screw up, they might already be considering Misa as their new spokesperson, so this could work.” He thinks out loud.
“Yeah, right!” Misa agrees wholeheartedly.
“We can’t do that.” Light objects.
“This plan is too risky, who knows what could happen to you.”
“Oh wow, does that mean you’re worried about me?!”
I laugh. “You were never this concerned about my joining the task force.”
He turns to me, and almost glares. “Please, as if you’d listen to any objections I had to make.”
I pause, before nodding. “That’s very true, Light-kun.”
Misa jumps on him in a hug. “Don’t worry. I won’t mind doing something like this if it’s for you, Light.” I swear, I can see her eyes in heart shapes right now.
He turns back to her, and puts his hands on her shoulders. “Listen, Misa. If they suspect that you might know who L really is, we don’t know how far they’d be willing to go to get that information.”
She puts her arms up in a strongman pose. “No problemo! I won’t say anything, even if they torture me!”
“I can attest to that.” Ryuzaki and I say in unison.
“But Kira can control his victim’s actions before their death.” Light tries to reason. “There’s a good chance he might manipulate her into revealing what she knows, and then kill her! Also, if he does manage to kill L, he won’t have any use for Misa. He’d kill her to keep her silent!”
Misa whimpers. “Uh, I don’t like the sound of that.”
Ryuzaki holds up his right hand to Light. “Light. You forget, that if we win against Kira, Misa won’t die. Besides, as long as we’re handcuffed together, you and I share the same fate. If I die, so will you.” He lets his hand fall. “If that happens, Misa is the one who would grieve most of all. Either we lose and both die together, or we successfully catch Kira.” He turns to Misa, holding out a hand, expecting an answer. “Which is it?”
“We catch Kira!” She exclaims energetically. “I would never dream of living in a world without Light!”
“Yes, that would be dark.”
“Cut it out! This is just crazy!” Light yells, now exasperated.
Ryuzaki glances over at Light. “We’re running out of time, and I’m starting to get desperate. As for Misa Amane, I’ve turned to her because I know her bravery and love for you is boundless.”
I raise an eyebrow at that, wondering if the investigation had gotten to him and he’d gone insane.
“Do you really mean it?” Misa asks, sounding awed. “Oh no, I think I’ve totally misunderstood you all this time! I even called you a pervert! But you actually do understand how I feel, don’t you?”
“Yes. Misa is indisputably the most perfect and worthy woman for Light.” Sarcasm drips from his statement, and I try not to laugh.
“Yay!” She runs over and kisses Ryuzaki on the cheek. “You’re such a sweetie, thank you Ryuzaki!”
He touches his cheek, stunned, before muttering, “I could actually fall for you…”
“Let’s not go that far. Besides, don’t you like Mirai-chan that way already?” I start to choke on air, coughing a few times, before looking at her incredulously, but she doesn’t seem to notice. “But you could maybe be a friend of mine! Would that be okay?”
“Yes. So now I’ve gained yet another friend…” Ryuzaki contemplates.
“Yeah! Of course, any friend of Light’s is a friend of mine as well!” She grabs my hand and Ryuzaki’s hand, before making us all twirl together in a circle. “Let’s all be friends together!”
‘Oh dear Shinigami King, is that chick making this room sound sparkly?!’ I hear Kiyohime freak out inside of me, and I can’t help but smile at her sudden discomfort.
“And of course, I would never think of betraying any of my friends. With our powers combined, we’ll arrest Kira!” Misa strikes a silly magical-girl pose.
“What is this, an anime?” I mumble under my breath.
“Unfortunately, Light’s taking a different investigative approach from us, and will be working with his father and the others.” I look at Ryuzaki, and see him smirking. ‘So that was your plan, Ryuzaki-kun. You damn idiot.’ “I’m afraid it’ll just be you, Mirai-chan, and I.”
“Huh? What’s up with that?” Misa asks indignantly.
“Come on, L, now you’re just playing dirty.” Light complains, and I try not to laugh. “You’re leaving me with no other choice than to join your-”
“No, that’s quite alright.” Ryuzaki interrupts him.
“What are you talking about?” Misa decides. “Of course he’ll be joining us!”
“That’s not it either!” Light exclaims, exasperated. “I’ve been opposed to this investigation since the beginning! It’s too dangerous for her!”
“Oh Light…” She purrs, and I look at her oddly. “You’re so sweet, thank you for worrying about me. But please let me do this. I want to be useful to you, somehow.” She clasps her hands, and speaks dreamily. “If I can be useful, you’ll love me even more! And besides, I would gladly die if it were for you, Light.”
I raise an eyebrow, and conceal a smirk. ‘She’d be willing to die for him, huh? How intriguing…’