Quillsh looked in the mirror many times before deciding to leave. He had dreamed for so long with the day when his lonely life would end, but instead of being happy, he feared to betray L by marrying the woman who broke his heart; anyway, what could he do? To abandon the lady just before the nuptials would be an unforgivable knavery, although there would only be there the judge, plus Marshall and Ralph as witnesses. They had decided to hold a private ceremony at the Melbourne residence, preferring not to have guests until the religious wedding, which would happen when the danger was over.
Like an automaton, my boss went to his wedding, praying for a miracle; he liked to imagine that at any moment his beloved detective would appear doing something outrageous to save him. When he arrived, Elizabeth greeted him with a hug and guided him to the piano room, which was beautifully decorated.
—Do you like it, my dear? It's awesome to get married right in the place where we felt in love.
Quillsh coughed and said—: Everything is beautiful, but I'm not feeling very well.
Miss Melbourne wrinkled her nose and said—: You're not going to change your mind, are you? You didn't even tell me what you think of my dress. Do I look pretty?
She was more beautiful than ever with her snowy trousseau, but her beauty just accentuated her wickedness.
—You look lovely, Lizzie, but I need to get some air —Quillsh said heading for the exit, but Marshall cut him off.
—This will not take long. Just sign the documents and then leave if you want to. Think of the lady.
Intimidated by the imposing bodyguard, my boss went back to the salon. The bride made him drink some tea that she had prepared, and indicated to begin the protocol. Quillsh heard the words of the celebrant as a death sentence, and saw the walls of the room waving and the objects moving slowly. Lately, he had felt like living in an unreal world, but at that time the symptoms became stronger. When he dropped the pen that the judge gave him, Elizabeth looked at him angrily, and Marshall put his hand on his gun. Ralph thought that the guard would shoot our boss if he didn't sign. Time seemed to be frozen until the doorbell activated it again; the maid went to open the door, and then a group of polices entered and announced: "Lord Quillsh Wammy, you're under arrest for terrorism, espionage, attempted murder and child abuse." The accused one threw himself in their arms with a smile on his face, and was taken to the police station in the middle of a commotion. No one could believe that the famous millionaire was traveling handcuffed in a patrol. He felt so bad, that he fell asleep as soon as he was in the provisional cell, but woke up when he noticed that a nurse was extracting his blood. Albert Collingwood was watching.
—I'm sorry about this —he said—. Dad and I have much affection for you, but it was impossible to keep hiding your crimes. From now on, my superior will be in charge of the bombings' investigation.
A few hours later, I was freed. Unfortunately, the police had found L's bloody shirt and the purchase notes of chemicals, but my boss took responsibility for everything, including the tapped phone line just to save me. Things seemed to be pitch black for him, even though my gun wasn't found.
The orphanage was closed, and the children were distributed among other asylums. I could have returned to my home, but I didn't want to leave my best friend, so I rented a room near the police headquarters. When I visited him at night, I knew something horrible: Quillsh was under the effect of drugs, and the studies indicated that he had been often consuming narcotics. With that aggravating, he would be prosecuted for the crimes attributed by Nell, and also for the aggression against Lorenzo and the hospice fire. However, he was calm, because inside the prison he was safe from Elizabeth; his only regret was not being able to see Eric Clayton.
—Ralph will give you the tickets for the show. One is for you and the other for L. You must find him before the nineteenth day — he ordered to me.
When leaving, I ran into Miss Melbourne, who asked me why her fiancé refused to see her, and I lied saying that he also had not accepted my visit. She requested me to accompany her to his house because Marshall was not present, and said that suspected that her boyfriend was a drug addict, which enraged me, so I ended up saying that I was sure that someone gave him substances without his consent.
After dumping her at home, I sighed in annoyance for having to return walking to the hotel. My savings were buried at one side of the children's home, and couldn't recover them. I was walking through a dark alley, thinking how hard it would be to find a new job, when a bullet whistled near my right ear. My reaction was to lie in the ground covering my face, and I heard behind me the footsteps of someone running while moaning in pain. A few minutes later, little L appeared before me, rubbing his ears. He was still wearing the elegant party outfit, though his hair was a mess.
—Damn it! I couldn't put on my earplugs in time! — He complained—. But it was worth it. It will be easy to identify your attacker because of his wounded hand.
When he hide the revolver under his coat, I realized that he had saved my life. I never thought I would be so glad to see him again.
—Just in time, brat! Where have you been?
—I was watching over Melbourne residence, when I saw you, Mr. Ruvie. I heard about Mr. Wammy's arrest, and I want to talk to him.
—It's not safe to walk out alone. Lorenzo is untied.
—Yes, I now; I was also hanging around the hospital. He hasn't showed himself at the police station, right?
—No. As far as I know, he is still disabled. If you want to see Quillsh, then you should get rid of the gun first.
—I don't like carrying it, but we need it more than ever.
L spoke with indisputable authority. He was just a couple of days away, but he seemed to have changed a lot; the kid had just shot a man again, but he was not scared anymore. He had built between himself and the world a barrier that protected him against unpleasant feelings.
A really tall guy with a huge mustache pounced on L when saw him enter the police station.
—You are the child who appeared in the video! You'll have to tell me some things—tackled the man, who was the superintendent Morton.
For our surprise, the boy made a face of huge sadness and began to sob: —All what Nell said about Mr. Wammy is false. He is the kindest man in the world —he expressed with a really pitiful voice, so the captain got very afflicted and led us to the desired jail cell without questions. Everyone in the headquarters was moved by the convincing performance of our detective, although he didn't pour any tears; indeed, since the time that he cried outside the Great Hall, he became unable to release tears.
Quillsh jumped off his chair when he identified his visitor.
—My dear, you're here!
—Good evening, Mr. Wammy — L answered coldly. The gentleman was surprised not to be greeted as usual, but continued with joy:
—Why did you leave? I missed you very much.
—Our relationship is over, but I'll help you to get out of here — the boy said, looking away.
—I don't understand; you promised to stay with me until your mother appeared.
L took a deep breath, and then he went on, planting his words with histrionic indifference:
—Our partnership has ended, but I'll still solve the bombings case. I hate to leave puzzles incomplete.
Quillsh began to apologize about Elizabeth, but the boy abruptly cut him off:
—I don't need your apologies. You have your priorities and I have mine. I came here just to ask you some questions and make a request.
—Go ahead, then —Wammy said resignedly.
—Your fiancée's garden was covered with cement?
—Yes, it was. I never understood why she sacrificed those precious bushes.
—And by chance, Mr. Marshall did that work?
—Exactly. How do you know?
—Please try to recall some other things —L continued, evading the question—. Where did you hear the surname "Lawliet" before registering me?
—I don't know. It was long ago.
—The day before we went to the notary office, you visited Mr. Collingwood, and you were talking about his men, right?
—It is very likely that the surname was one of those officers.
—He mentioned a police wounded in action; what else can you tell me about him?
—I just know that the officer was on vacation when he realized that a pregnant woman was being kidnapped, and confronting the thief he suffered a serious injury that earned him a medal. That's what Albert told me, without specifying details.
—Now I make the request: I want you to give the concert tickets to Mr. Ruvie to attend it with your girlfriend.
—I already gave them to him, but to go with you.
—No way. It is absolutely necessary to do as indicated to close this case once and for all. Well, now give me a hug. I'm leaving.
Quillsh immediately pressed against the bars to fulfill the instruction, and was surprised to feel a lock pick placed under his coat. He held L in his arms a while, until the child stopped struggling to get away.
—Would you like to hear my father's name? —the boy timidly said, and my boss nodded—. Then prepare your ears. Bye now.
Once we were near the exit, L stood in the middle of the people who was there, and showed up a chocolate bar.
—I'll give this to the first one to tell me who I look alike! —he announced. The police officers shouted in unison: "The officer Lawliet! Lawrence Lawliet! "
—Exactly. Since all of you were right, there will be sweets for everyone! —the little detective announced, while throwing a handful of chocolates and candies. We took advantage of the distraction to disappear.
L never spoke about his parents again, and he was genuinely uncomfortable when anyone attempted to investigate the topic; so, when I returned to Osaka, I did it secretly. It was a few days away from Christmas, and both Salvin as I wanted to be back in time, so this time we had a good plot. The reader will notice that I'm a little ahead of the facts, but I think if I narrate this part first, the bizarre outcome of the case will be more understandable.
The first thing we did upon arriving at Eastern was to contact the police. By that time, Lawliet had been catched, and I just had to tell the story of his arrest to fetch information about him. The Japanese agents soon found his name in an unsolved case from two years ago: the disappearance of Commander Reizei Rei. Everything was going so easily that we couldn't believe it! The young policewoman had left his work shift without any explanation, and then his car was discovered charred in the forest. Inside of it was found an unrecognizable body, but the investigators assumed it was Rei, because of her clothes. The strangest thing was that all the pictures of her disappeared before the incident. They did not find any at home, and even those that were in the police department vanished. They classified the incident as an accident, but the victim's sister said that she suspected an officer named Lawrence Lawliet was guilty.
We asked for data about that girl, and couldn't help but shudder when we knew she was a nurse student named Higurashi Yukiko. As they had different surnames, it was easy to deduce that actually they weren't relatives, and therefore, they won't resemble each other. Later, we went to the Osaka University Hospital to look for the short nurse we saw before, who was Yukiko, indeed. The poor girl was very troubled, and burst into tears when we said we were looking for Rei. We settled on a lonely café to talk calmly, and Salvin ordered a good portion of relaxing tea. She couldn't speak at first, but were patient and waited until she got enough courage. My partner translated what she said for me.
—Rei and I grew up together, so we were pretty much like sisters. His father married my mother shortly after both got widowed, when we were a few months old, so loved her like someone of my lineage.
The nurse paused again to continue crying, and then asked:
—Do you have the child with you?
I asked Peter to tell her he was adopted, because I was sure he wouldn't like to see her. Yukiko sighed with relief knowing that he was alive.
—Thank Goodness! I thought she had executed him!
—Why would she kill her own son? —my friend inquired.
—It was all because of Reizei Rintaro —Yukiko declared spitefully—. He raised his daughter under military discipline, because his beloved wife died during childbirth. Rintaro repeated all the time that Rei had to be as perfect as her mother, but luckily, he ignored me. Mom and I were there just to care for her daughter. Yearning to please his father, Rei entered the police force, but began to suffer from a terrible conjunctivitis that didn't diminish with medications, so, his superiors ordered her to take vacations. I guess she had much stress because of the kidnapping of the ambassador. Did you hear about that case?
I shook my head negatively, but Peter nodded. Our informant returned to the theme:
—Rintaro was mad when he learned that she would be suspended for four months, but had to accept it. An international criminology technical seminar was about to be held in Spain, so Rei decided to go there, and I accompanied her, because I speak a bit of Spanish. It was the Christmas of 1978. As we stayed away from her father, she began to heal, and I saw her relaxing for the first time in forever. My sister was very pretty, and got the attention of lots of foreign officers who attended the seminar, but she ignored them because Rintaro was a former agent of the Keipeitai who hated anyone who was not of our nationality. I advised Rei to get a boyfriend and fly away, but she was annoyed, until we discovered an Englishman with a guitar in the hotel terrace. He was playing Eric Clayton songs, and my sister fell in love with his voice. He was not handsome, but polite and nice, and introduced himself as Lawrence Lawliet. From day on, they became inseparable, and once posed for a cartoonist; the funny thing was that the artist misspelled their names, because he only spoke Spanish. He wrote "Ley y Lorenzo", and then their Colleagues nicknamed them "Four Laws" because they were "Ley Ley and Law Law". One day, I saw my sister very nervous and I made her confess that she was pregnant. Lawrence was really happy, and immediately proposed. Everything seemed resolved until she asked Rintaro for permission to marry, and that nefarious one told that he would kill her if she was with a foreigner. To make matters worse, it was almost time to go back, and Rei's belly was already noticeable. Trying to extend her vacation, my sister threw herself down a hill. She got several stitches in his head, but fortunately did not lose the baby; however, when she left the hospital, he dissolved her engagement and announced she would abort the child. Lawrence was furious, so my sister and I escaped to France following the path of Santiago. It was a tiring trip, but we always find caring people who supported us to follow the route. Once in France, we hid in the Pont Blanc orphanage, where the baby would be accepted when born. The people of Aquitaine was very friendly and we had a good time there, but Lawrence found us when she was about to give birth, and kidnapped us, helped by another guy. They put us in a fishing boat, and later locked us into a cabin in the middle of a forest. We had no idea where we were, and we felt very afraid; although Lawliet wouldn't hurt my sister, could keep us captive for life. One day he visited us alone, and Rei decided to pretend a delivery, so she could steal his gun and shot him at close range on one knee. I nearly fainted with shock, but when I saw my sister aiming at his head, could gather enough strength to take her away. After that, Rei and was not the same; she learned to solve problems by force and enjoy violence. We got into the depths of the countryside, where the childbirth happened. Thanks to god everything went well, and we continued escaping as soon as we could.
At this point in the conversation, the nurse yawned repeatedly, so we sent her to rest. She gave us the address of her apartment and told us to come at noon to continue talking. The teacher and I went to the stores looking for toys for the boarders. I was amazed by the amount of figurines with shinning lights and funny sounds, and knew that all our children would love them, but not L. l bought for him a cute porcelain tea set, although I didn't know if I would ever see him again.
At the appointed time, we arrived at Yukiko's home with a package of sushi to share. It was shocking to see a lot of things I had heard about without believing in their existence; there was the tiny room with the well-made bed and the phonograph, still waiting for its occupant. On the shelves of the living room there were books in French, and Clayton discs. It was a sad home, with no photos, paintings, or television.
—Rei rented this place to hide her son —Yukiko explained—. I was pleased to move, because I could get rid of Mr. Reizei and start my own business. In the afternoon, I took care of three boys about the age of my nephew, but they could not play together. The poor kid was locked up all day waiting for his mother, who appeared every evening after work. She said she came here to listen to her favorite music, as Rintaro did not allow foreign artists at home, but I know that she actually loved her baby, even if didn't bother spending money on him or even giving him a name. How is he called now?
—William Oakley—I lied.
—Sounds very cute. We called him simply L, because Rei wanted to confuse him with false information, so he could not locate us once we left him in Pont Blanc. For this reason we teach him to speak and write only in French.
—Now William speaks also English, basic Japanese and some Spanish and Italian. He is an exceptional student — the teacher proudly declared.
—He was too smart, so I didn't like being with him. He made too many questions, and I did not know what to say. Poor little thing. Besides all, we made him believe he was sick and couldn't be exposed to sunlight. I regret so much all that cruelty...but, by the way, you haven't told me how you found William.
—If you don't mind, we would like to listen first how you returned to Japan after the escape from the cabin —Salvin said. The girl blushed and rubbed his hands nervously.
—I've never talked about it before. It scares me to remember, and I feel very embarrassed. I wouldn't want my nephew to know that.
I asked my partner to tell him that the information would be stored in Wammy's House as confidential, as all the records of our inmates. She calmed down and continued his story:
—It was horrible. Rei had a Japanese merchant friend who loved her. When we got out of the forest we found a small town, and we managed to call him by phone. It was not hard to rescue us, because his plane was in London. Once we returned to Osaka, the man threatened to reveal our secret if my sister did not marry him, so Rei killed him in cold blood. I saw everything, but I could not stop it —Yukiko was disturbed, but after some minutes she recovered—. Now I want to know how my nephew came to you.
We gave her a very light version of truth: just explained that a man left him in our orphanage.
—For sure, it was Lawrence who did it —Yukiko deducted—. He was not bad in the deep, but went mad when couldn't be with his loved ones. Shortly before my sister disappeared, Lawrence found her and proposed again. Her poor lover planed to extort a businessman from Winchester caught stealing trade secrets to get much money and convince Rei to accept marrying him. Due to his knee injury, Lawrence could not aspire to higher positions within the police corporation, so he felt as a looser and started drinking too much. To get rid of him, my sister told him that she had killed his son, making Lawrence reveal to everyone their story, including Rintaro. Rei moved to a hotel fearing his father threats, and asked me to accuse Lawrence if something happened to her. One afternoon when I returned from school, I couldn't found my nephew. I was horrified to think that his grandfather had kidnapped him, so I tried to contact my sister, but one commander told me that she went out early from work and did not return. Nobody knew anything about her, until her body was found far away from the city two days later.
Yukiko began to mourn again. I was tempted to tell her the truth, but Salvin squeezed my shoulder, guessing my intentions. Maybe he was right: it was better to miss her than to loath her. When our informant calmed down, she said as conclusion:
—The poor Lawrence was interrogated, but they never found evidence against him. He refused to believe that his wife was dead, and swore to find her and the baby. After seeing the corpse of his daughter, Rintaro had a heart attack, and I was alone in the world. I couldn't find out anything about my nephew, until I saw your ad in the newspaper. Excuse me if I didn't talk to you before, but I was crushed; only after learning that William is well, I feel peace again.
The girl sighed contentedly. Our conversation had helped heal the wounds of her heart. We said goodbye to her thanking for her confidence, and left the house that imprisoned the little detective for the first six years of his life.