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[x]It would be better if he went straight to the point and asked her directly about her involvement in the murder.
The interrogation room was a tiny, barebones cubicle barely three meters wide, with only a simple table and a pair of stools made of aluminium. The undecorated concrete walls and the lack of any lighting besides the desklamp helped make the chamber even more claustrophobic than it already was. Supposedly it was a way to crack the suspect’s reticence to collaborate while maintaining plausible deniability that it just was the way Japanese buildings were made; after all, the police had to have a room to interrogate people and all other rooms simply were being used already for other purposes. In Shin’s experience, most of the times this helped rattle them enough to make them want to get it over as quickly as possible, which lead to them revealing more than they first intended.
Not with this shrine maiden, however. She had been sitting by her lonesome in that room for almost five minutes, and the detective hadn’t seen her move or say anything at all during that time. Whereas most people would already be feeling somewhat anxious or impatient, it all washed over the woman, who stood as a pillar of serenity and stoicism despite being doubly cuffed to the chair and table by the hand and an ankle (“a necessary precaution”, Whateversuke had said). It would not be easy to make her crack, Shin thought, if possible at all. But it was fine by him. Noone had ever matched the detective’s determination to uncover the truth. And he liked a challenge.
The detective took a deep breath, mentally preparing himself for the ordeal. He needed to look professional, organized, confident in front of her—make her see he was the one calling the shots. And do not let her notice his distress over the photo of her he still had on his pocket. Calm. Collected. Professional. There was work to do.
With as much confidence he could manage in his stride, Shin opened the door and took a seat in front of the shrine maiden. Her hazel eyes followed him across the room with only the barest hint of interest.
“Good evening. I am Detective Shin Moto from the First Investigation Division,” he introduced himself. He then pulled the case files from his suitcase and placed it on the table, still closed, “I need to ask you some questions regarding an incident that occurred last night.”
Shin thought he had seen her perk up a little when she heard the word ‘incident’, but it was so slight it might had been her trying to stretch after being still for so long. The detective took out his notebook and pen, ready to write.
“First of all, since you had no identification on your person,” or nothing else for that matter, “the moment of your detainment, we need your name, ID number, date of birth and address before we proceed.”
The shrine maiden stared at Shin for a long moment, in complete silence. Whether she was thinking what to tell him, or whether to answer him in the first place, the detective couldn’t tell. Her stony face was like a closed book under key to him. But eventually, her thin, dry lips slowly parted as she spoke for the first time with a flat, yet assertive tone.
“Chiyo,” she finally responded. Then, after a few seconds, she added: “...Chiyo Hisamura. That’s my name.”
The detective eyed the woman suspiciously. The way she had pronounced it, as if she was not used to say it aloud, and how she said that last sentence like she was reassuring herself, made him almost sure that it was not her real name—likely one she had come up with on the spot, or given by someone else very recently. But it was too soon to contest her lie yet.
“Alright, Miss Hisamura,” he slowly muttered, penning the name down, “your date of birth, please?”
“… Is it absolutely necessary?”
Shin blinked, taken aback for an instant. Who the hell asks that kind of question?
“Er, yes, it is. I must take all your information for the report.”
“I don’t see how my age is relevant to the incident.”
Had she not been cuffed, Shin was sure she would have crossed her arms defiantly. Instead, she opted to glare at him through squinted eyes, daring him to ask her again at his own risk. The detective suppressed the urge to rub his eyes in frustration—Calm. Collected. Professional.—and wrote down his estimation: ”Eighteen? Nineteen? Ah, how time flies...” ‘Somewhere around early twenties.’ If her exact date of birth did become an important clue for the case, he could always ask her later.
“… No address.”
“So you’re homeless?” Shin asked, arching an eyebrow. “You don’t live at a shrine, or a temple, or—“
“No!” Chiyo cut him off, raising her voice. There was a small, sad scowl plastered in her lips for a small moment, before she caught herself and returned to her previous expressionlessness. “No, not anymore.”
As he wrote, thoughts rushed around in Shin’s head. The uniform miss Hisamura sported was too elaborate and worn-off to simply be a disguise, meaning she at least used to work as a priestess at a shrine in the past. If she was unwilling to give her personal data, perhaps he could ask around to find which one she was previously living in. The problem was that Chino, as a town with a centuries-long religious tradition, had more than fifty temples and shrines in the area. With the entirety of the police force occupied with the case, there was no manpower to spare for going to each and every one of them. The detective needed some evidence linking the miko to the murder before they’d acquiesce such a request.
“Hey. Shin, was it?” Chiyo called him.
“Yes?” The detective blinked, suddenly taken out of his contemplation.
“You’re trying to solve the incident too, right?” Shin opened his mouth, but Chiyo didn’t let him respond. “We’re both on the same side. Take these things off me,” she shook her arm, making the cuffs rattle, “and let me do my job, and you won’t have to worry about it anymore.”
Shin could do nothing but stare back at the shrine maiden in consternation. Perhaps more shocking than her outrageous proposition was the fact that there was absolutely no hint of jest or sarcasm in her voice when she said it. The nerve of this woman...
“Sorry, miss, I’m afraid I can’t allow that,” the detective told her, shaking his head, “you haven’t answered my questions yet, and you’re not being exactly cooperative as of now.”
Chiyo let out a long, exasperated sigh—the first openly obvious sign of emotion she had shown yet—and muttered something between her teeth, too low for Shin to hear. Nothing very nice about him, if he had to take a wild guess. The not-so-imperturbable maiden was finally starting to lose her patience.
“Alright, fine!” she grumbled. “So if I answer all your stupid questions, will you let me out?”
”That depends on your answers you give me.”
”Not until I can confirm you had nothing to do with the murder.”
”Need I remind you you barged into the crime scene without authorization and assaulted several officers of the law not a half an hour ago?”
”First tell me: Do you know one Yukari Yakumo person?”
Time remaining: ::Timer ended at: 2018/11/13(Tue)20:00
I originally planned to have this part split into two, shorter updates, but it didn't flow right so they ended up merged. Next update will be much shorter, to keep with the original plan to do two updates today. Also, don't worry about the very short timer, this choice isn't really that important in the bigger scheme of things.