(Where we last left off Detective Conan, the main cast took a vacation to the Bonin Islands, where the Kaito Kid conducted a successful jewel heist. Meanwhile, Conan finally begins to remember a fateful encounter with Masumi at that same place, the Bell Tree Resort, ten years ago...)

The elevator door closed. Masumi pushed the button for the sixth floor.

"...So, what's on the sixth floor?" Conan asked.

"A surprise," Masumi said.

Conan looked at her funnily.

"No, really, that's the answer that Elena-san..."

The door opened. Standing there was Subaru Okiya, AKA Shuichi Akai.

Startled, Masumi took a step back. "Big Brother...what the heck are you doing here?"

He smiled. "Shinichi Kudo, in case you haven't realized it by now, there's a sizable omission in your memories. Elena-san has decided that the time has come to make you whole again. Are you ready?"

Conan hesitated. He looked at Masumi and then back at Akai.

"Yeah, I'm ready."

He stepped out of the elevator and followed the FBI agent to the place where ultimate truth awaited.

Scene Transition

Okiya slid his card key across the scanner on the door knob. And with that, it unlocked. He, Conan, and Masumi stepped inside.

"So let me get this straight," Masumi said. "You were *on the same ferry* that we took to get here, and you didn't say squat?!"

"I figured it was best to keep myself hidden in case he didn't remember," Okiya said. "Sorry about the mess, by the way. I didn't think to clean up before you two got here."

Then they saw it: that weird contraption hooked up to the wall. It consisted of three electrodes and a LCD display, as well as the bundle of thinly disguised computer components and circuitry.

"What's this?" Conan asked.

"Whoops, excuse me," Subaru said. "I forgot: you'll need a pillow."

He took one off the bed and put it down on the floor right next to the device. "Kudo-kun, please, lie down."

Conan sat down on the pillow.

"No no no," Subaru said. "Like I said, lie down. Rest your head on the pillow."

Conan did so. "Uh, how's this going to help me remember?"

"You'll see," Subaru said in a singsong voice.

"So are we gonna do Shiho after him?" Masumi asked.

"Nope," Subaru said. "Elena-san figures that can wait, until another time. Another era, one where the Miyano family no longer has to live in hiding."

"Man, how cruel," Masumi said. "That's like her whole childhood, right?"

Akai didn't answer. Instead, he began strapping the electrodes to Conan's head.

"This would work better if you were bald," Subaru said. "But I guess you don't want to have to try and explain to your comrades why all your hair's gone. I think it'll work well enough anyways."

"What will?" Conan asked. "Tell me what it is right now or I'm leaving."

Akai sighed. "We're going to send electroshocks to select regions of the brain which, coupled with the images on the screen, should cause you to fall into a trance-like state, where your brain will spend the next few hours de-constructing and recalling what happened ten years ago, without posing the risk of neurological trauma. In short, you'll fall asleep and dream about the past. You'll wake up early tomorrow morning remembering everything that we need you to. Will you consent to this process?"

Conan nodded. "Let's get this over with already."

The electrodes were in place. The screen was put above his face like one of those bright light thingies in a dentist's office.

"Recalibrating instruments," Okiya said. "Process will begin in 10, 9, 8, 7.."

"Good luck, Kudo," Masumi said. "I'll be waiting when you wake up."

"...2, 1, ZERO!"

He flipped the switch. Conan felt like a million volts of electricity were coursing through his body. It was excruciating, but only for a few seconds. The display above head came to life and unleashed a torrent of super-fast images played on repeat. Half a minute later, Conan was out like a light.

Opening

(Cup of Trembling by B'z)

(Each fresh breath of life is a fresh chance to start anew! A great gathering of detective prodigies at the Bell Tree Resort! Young minds collaborate and compete to solve a difficult challenge! All the while, Elena and Atsushi's master plan takes root! With the body of a child but the mind of an adult, my name is...DETECTIVE CONAN!)

Above all, I'm afraid of you seeing me like this

The youthful vigor sapped from my bones

Too afraid to proceed, too afraid to turn back

A wretch, recoiling from my own shadow

Wallowing in self-pity like a pig wallowing in its crap

I can't check my phone, lest you might try to call

I can't live at home, lest you might try to visit

All I have left is the clothes on my back and

That dreaded bottle, whose contents I dare not drink

Oh I'm going nowhere, a pinwheel spinning in circles

This Cup of Trembling I now raise to my lips and swallow

So I may face the demons haunting my restless nights

I can't show my face to you until I can call myself a man

Until I've walked a full moon carrying my cross

The Detectives' Classroom From 10 Years Ago! Part One!

The foghorn blared loudly in the Port of Yokohama.

"Hurry, hurry!"

Shinichi, Ran, and Yukiko dashed wildly towards the docks. Or, at least, they would, if not for the luggage they were carrying.

"Anata, hurry up!" Yukiko called out to the man falling behind.

Yusaku was heavy-laden with bags. He panted hard as he struggled to keep up. "I'll be there in a minute!"

"We don't have a minute!" Yukiko protested.

"Whose idea was it to stop and check out the shops in Motomachi?" Yusaku retorted.

They reached the moored ferry just on time. Yukiko showed the three tickets to the bouncer; subsequently, she and the two children in her care climbed aboard. As the ferry began to depart, they waved goodbye to Yusaku and then went to find their cabin.

Scene Transition

"Hmm, 215, let's see..." Yukiko muttered. "Ah! There!"

They made their way to the little cabin, which had six beds, a stack of three on the left and a stack of three on the right. There was a small narrow space in between and a small window from which one could gaze out at the vast expanse of water which was the Pacific Ocean.

"Alright, you can set your bags down on the..."

"Huuh?" Shinichi said, noticing the set of bags already on the floor. "There's somebody else in this...?"

"I told you already, sharks can't hurt you in this big metal boat!"

"You're just saying that, aren't you?!"

A dark-skinned little boy, a little girl with a ponytail, and a woman in her early 30s who vaguely resembled Jessie (from Pokemon) stepped into the cabin.

"Huh?" the woman said. "I guess we've got ourselves some roommates. Hi, I'm Shizuka Hattori."

She extended her hand.

Yukiko shook it. "I'm Yukiko."

"Ooh! You wouldn't happen to be that famous actress, would you?!" Shizuka exclaimed.

"Shh, not so loud!" Yukiko said. "But yeah, I'm Yukiko Kudo."

Yukiko looked down at the boy and the girl. "Aww, they're adorable! Are they both yours?"

"The boy is," Shizuka said. "The girl's a friend we brought along. And yours?"

"The same," Yukiko said. "These two are the best of friends so we brought the girl with us."

As the adults talked...

"Ey, youze," the dark-skinned boy said to Shinichi. "Can sharks get us here?"

"Huh?"

"On dis boat, can sharks attack us?"

"Don't be silly," Shinichi said.

The boy turned to the girl. "Just like I told'ya!"

The girl didn't answer but rather looked kind of embarrassed.

Ran looked at the girl and smiled really big. "Hi, I'm Ran Mouri! What's your name?" She extended her hand.

The girl shook it. "I'm Kazuha Toyama."

"Kazuha, huh? There's a girl in my class named Kazuha."

"You mean that girl who died or something a few weeks ago?" Shinichi asked.

"She didn't die!" Ran retorted. "She's just really sick so she can't go to school anymore."

She turned to the boy. "So what's your name?"

"Me? I'm Heiji Hattori."

Heiji looked at Shinichi. "What's yours?"

Shinichi grinned. "I am Kaito!"

Ran nudged him roughly with her elbow. "You're not either!"

"Am too. I can do magic tricks just like a phantom thief. Watch!"

"You mean that thing you've been practicing since school let out?" Ran said.

"Shh!" Shinichi said. "Don't ruin it, Ran! Alright, prepare to be amazed."

Scene Transition

Shinichi reached into his backpack and took out a medium sized square plastic bin/container. He then took out a tall milk carton made out of the standard cardboard-like material. He set both of these things on the floor.

He removed the tape that he had applied to keep the milk carton sealed tight.

"Shinichi!" Yukiko scolded. "Do not spill milk all over the floor!"

"I won't," Shinichi promised.

"What're ya gonna do wif dose?" Heiji asked.

"Watch and be amazed," Shinichi said. "First thing you should know, this milk carton is full of water."

He poured it all into the container. Then he took a sizable rock out of his pocket and set it down gently on the surface of the water.

"What the heck...?" Shizuka marveled.

"Eeehh?!" Kazuha said. "It's floatin'! It's really floatin'! Howdja do dat?"

"Magic," Shinichi said.

After a few seconds he took the rock out of the water and held it in his hand.

"Dat ain't nuffin impressive," Heiji said. "It's saltwater, right? Ya just put in a bunch of saltwater so stuff would float in it, like in da Dead Sea or somethin'."

"You calling me a liar?" Shinichi said.

"Lemme try," Heiji said. "I should be able to do it too."

"No way!" Shinichi said. "You called me a liar, so I'm not letting you...!"

"Stalling for time, I take it?"

Another little boy had stepped into the cabin.

"Who are you?" Heiji asked.

"Pardon, I couldn't help overhearing you two," the boy said. "I think I know how he did it. Let me guess, you were gonna wait a minute or two and then let him try?"

Dang it, Shinichi thought. How'd he know...?

"It goes something like this," the boy said. "First of all, he filled the milk carton halfway with saltwater. Then, he filled it rest of the way up with freshwater. Just now, for this trick, he poured it all into the container; as the freshwater was at the top of the carton, it fell into the container first and as a result was at the bottom while the saltwater was at the top. So, of course, if you put something in the water right after pouring it, the object will have an easier time floating. However, since saltwater is heavier than freshwater, it will immediately begin to sink to the bottom, whereas the freshwater will rise to the top. After this happens, that heavy rock won't float anymore, but the whole process takes some time, which is why you're stalling."

"Y-you're totally wrong!" Shinichi said, flustered. "Nothing about your deduction was right!"

"In that case, why not try putting the rock back in and we'll see if it floats this time," the boy dared.

After a moment's hesitation, Shinichi angrily threw the rock to the ground.

"Hey! Didn't I teach you better than to be such a poor sport?!" Yukiko snapped.

"Color me impressed, Mr...?" Heiji began.

"Kaito Kuroba."

"Whoa, so your actual name's Kaito?" Heiji asked.

"Yup. Of course, the Kanji in my name is different from That, but..."

"Kaito! What are you doing bothering random strangers?"

His mother, Chikage Kuroba, picked him up and then looked at the other people in the cabin. "I'm terribly sorry if my son's been a nuisance to you."

"No, not at all!" Shizuka said.

"Yeah, he just showed up my know-it-all son," Yukiko said. "It was quite the spectacle."

Shinichi just stood there with a very glum look on his face.

"Hey, later you guys should come over to my cabin and I'll show you something really neat," Kaito said. "Alright, bye!"

Scene Transition

Roughly 24-25 Hours Later

At last, the ferry came to a stop along the docks of Tengai-jima. The several hundred passengers got off the boat and onto the shores of the tropical island paradise, which hosted one of the greatest hotels/resorts on Japanese soil.

After they all got settled in their rooms, the various kids and their guardians headed down to the lobby floor. The contest was scheduled to start at 5:00 PM.

They had all come to Tengai-jima to compete in the so-called Young Sherlock Scholarship Contest, for the chance to win a ¥1,000,000 per semester scholarship for any college of their choosing (plus, the Top 8 finalists would have their trip paid for).

"Whoa," Shinichi said.

Several dozen children, most of them Shinichi's age, and their guardians crowded the lobby. They were waiting for the Convention Hall doors to open.

"Hey, mom, what time is it?" Shinichi asked.

Yukiko looked at her watch. "It's 4:35."

"Eeeh?" Ran said. "So we've got to wait another twenty five minutes?"

"Hmm, you're pretty good with math," Shizuka said. "Perhaps you should've signed up too?"

Ran shook her head. "No thanks, all that detective stuff doesn't interest me one bit."

"And what about that scholarship?" Shinichi asked. "That could come in handy when you're a grown-up."

"W-well, it's not as though a girl like me could win anyways..."

"What are you talking about?"

They turned to see a short-haired kid standing right next to them.

"Huh?" Ran said.

"What did you mean by 'a girl like me' couldn't compete?" the kid demanded. "There are plenty of girls in this contest, and one of them might be the winner."

"And you are...?" Kazuha asked.

"My name is Masumi Sera."

Sera...Masumi, Shinichi thought. "That's a weird name for a boy."

"Huh? No, I'm not a...!"

"Ah! Masumi-chan!"

Masumi-chan? Heiji thought. What kind of a sissy is he?

What appeared to be a little girl came running up to Masumi.

"Masumi-chan, I got your notes out of the car," the 'little girl' said. "I figured you might want to do some last-minute refreshing. Oh, and here's a little bit of ice cream."

"Huh? Where'd you find that?" Masumi asked, taking the ice cream graciously.

"A nice lady outside is offering free samples."

"Thanks a lot, Satoshi-kun...Eh? Where'd your sister go?"

Scene Transition

Shiho Miyano, a little girl with reddish brown hair and a sort of natural perm, stood in the big room filled with plastic tables and metal chairs, with a desk at the front.

"You said you wanted to see me?" Shiho asked.

Her mother, a woman in a lab coat with look red hair and big round glasses, held a phone in her hand. "Here you go, dear: your father's on the line."

Dad? Shiho thought as she took the flip phone, curious as to what he wanted. "Hello? Dad?"

On the other end she could barely make out some kind of noise. It was like sniffling, perhaps?

Is dad...crying? she thought. "Dad, what's wrong?"

Elena couldn't stand to watch or to listen. She went to the other side of the room.

Due to various circumstances, That Woman had informed them as of three hours ago that the scheduled date would have to be changed; the operation would begin shortly after they got back, meaning Atsushi wouldn't get to see his daughter face to face one last time.

Elena did of course have her suspicions about the change; was Vermouth really in cahoots with the enemy? Was she setting a trap for them? Nonetheless, at this point they had no choice but to trust her.

Shiho tugged at her mother's shirt. "Dad wants to talk to you."

Elena took the phone. "Alright, thanks. Leave through the back and return to where all the other boys and girls are waiting."

After Shiho was gone...

"That must've been hard," Elena said.

"And it isn't for you?"

"You know that isn't what I meant. And anyhow, I've still got some time left with Shiho before I have to say goodbye."

"But what about Akemi? You talked to her yet?"

Elena shook her head. "I'll give her a call later."

"When?"

"Like I said, later."

"Is there something different about her to you?" Atsushi asked.

"Of course," Elena said. "She's the only one who knows what's going to happen."

"Shouldn't that make it easier? At least she understands, so there's some closure."

"Maybe, but I can't help but think that she won't be able to keep from crying. Shiho won't cry at all, obviously. Well, if nothing else I left Shiho a present. I've entrusted Akemi with making sure that Shiho gets it."

"And what is that?" Atsushi asked.

"A series of recordings from me, one for each birthday until she becomes nineteen."

"But won't that incriminate us? I mean, to Those People it'll look like we knew of our untimely demise ahead of time."

"Not if they don't find out."

"Well, I guess just this once it's alright for you to be a little selfish," Atsushi said.

Elena looked at the clock on the wall. "Hmm, alright, I'm going to have to call back later."

"Time for That Thing to start?"

"Yeah. Soon I'll be witness to the birth of the Silver Bullet."

Scene Transition

"Huh? What's going on?"

"Alright! It's starting!"

"Boy, I was starting to think I'd be sitting here all day."

The throngs of test-takers poured into the conference room.

"Good luck!" Ran called out as Shinichi made his way into the crowd.

Shinichi took his seat right next to Shiho.

"Open up, open up, what flower has opened up?" Shiho sang to herself softly. "A lotus flower opened up. Just when I thought..."

"Yo," Shinichi said. "You know what we're about to do?"

"Huh?"

"I noticed you coming out of here earlier. Through the side door. You know any important test details? Anything at all that'll help?"

"Um, well, first off is gonna be the writing part," Shiho said. "So that we can't cheat by looking at each other's papers, any two or three people sitting together will all be given different tests to complete. Any second my mom will start handing them out."

"Your mom, huh? That's cool. What about pencils? I forgot to bring one."

"It'll be fine. Everyone will be given a pencil, and there's more up front if yours breaks or otherwise stops working by accident."

Elena repeatedly dinged a loud bell, which was enough to quiet everyone down and give her their undivided attention.

"Boys and girls, welcome to the Young Sherlock Scholarship Contest," Elena said. "For today, you will only be doing the written portion. It's a sixty-question test; the first fifty questions are multiple choice and worth one point each; the last ten questions are to be answered in writing and worth five points each. There is no penalty for unanswered questions, though you will receive no points for such. All answers must be filled in neatly or at least be readable to receive credit. You must score at least 70 points to pass this exam; those who fail to do so will not take part in the second part of this competition tomorrow morning. You have one hour and twenty minutes to complete the test; if you finish before then, quietly come up to my desk and hand in your work and then you may go. It goes without saying that if you are caught cheating in any way then you will be immediately disqualified and asked to leave. Likewise, if you talk during the test or engage in any sort of disruptive behavior in spite of repeated warnings then you will also be disqualified and asked to leave. Now I will be handing out your tests and pencils, and you will hand in to me any cell phones that you have on your person, and then we will begin. Any questions before we start?"

Most of the test-takers were either too intimidated or too apathetic to raise a question, so the tests and pencils were quickly distributed.

Most of the students either immediately noticed the peculiar smell let off by their pencils or they noticed other students sniffing them and followed suit. After they had spent a moment of their time on this novel smell Elena dinged the bell again.

"BEGIN!"

Scene Transition

The Next Day

"Hey, mom, you know where I can get a fork?"

"Huh?"

"A fork. It can be plastic or steel. Don't make a difference either way."

"Um, I think the sponsors of the contest have a hospitality suite set up on the bottom floor somewhere."

"Alright, thanks."

"Wait, aren't you going to brush your hair? It looks like field mice have been playing in it all day."

"Nah. By the way, where's Ran?"

"She got up first thing this morning and headed out to collect sea shells down on the beach. In any case, be back in the testing center by 9:30. You can't afford to miss it, just in case."

"Alright."

Scene Transition

Ran and Shinichi made it to the lobby, where the various children were gathered right outside of the Convention Hall.

Elena stood in front of the door, holding a piece of paper in her hand.

"...To those who failed to pass the first round of testing, I am terribly sorry that you came all the way up here for nothing. In any case, enjoy whatever time you've got on this gorgeous tropical island, and feel free to get a snack or a meal from our Hospitality Lounge, which will remain open until tonight at 8."

Did we miss it? Shinichi thought.

"Now then, onto those who did pass," Elena said. "These eight individuals passed the written exam by scoring a minimum of 70 points..."

Those who progressed to the second round were as following:

Saguru Hakuba (Score: 93)

Junya Tokitsu (Score: 91)

Shinichi Kudo (Score: 87)

Natsuki Koshimizu (Score: 85)

Heiji Hattori (Score: 84)

Kaito Kuroba (Score: 80)

Shiho Miyano (Score: 79)

Masumi Sera (Score: 73)

Ran turned to Shinichi. "Congratulations!"

"Shh!" he replied.

"To these eight people, be aware that in the end only one person will win the coveted prize," Elena continued. "Hence, this second and final round is designed to eliminate seven contestants, so that there may be a single victor. If the eight of you will please follow me inside the testing room..."

Those eight people stepped forward and entered.

Scene Transition

"What is this...?" Heiji muttered out loud.

There appeared to be a two-lane road, stretching from one end of the room to the other.

The most striking thing of all, of course, was the gigantic bus sitting there in the middle of the road.

There was an archway right in front of the bus.

"Boys and girls, this is it," Elena said. "The person who passes this test, if any of you, will be awarded the scholarship. Step inside the bus, if you will."

They walk across the "road", went to the entrance door to the bus, and climbed the steps.

Inside the bus was a number of mannequins, in sitting position and dressed like real people. Five of the mannequins were male, two were female.

"These seven mannequins represent seven people," Elena explained, also stepping inside the bus. "They comprised a group of six students part of a college debate team in England, which, as a few of you are aware, is my home country. And of course there's the driver. They went on a road trip to participate in a debate tournament at another college somewhere else in the country. At one point they passed through a dark tunnel; when they emerged from the tunnel, they were shocked to find that one person among them had been murdered via blunt trauma to the head. Your job is to figure out who among these six people is the killer, and how the crime was committed. You may collaborate, but in the end I'll only be giving credit to one person for having solved the case. You may ask me questions relevant to the case, though I may or may not give you a straight answer. Alternately, if you have a mePod or some other kind of mobile device that can connect to the internet, feel free to use it, since in real life this resource would be available to any detective. You don't have to figure out the killer's motive. The reason for this is that I believe this to be unnecessary and also too great a burden for any detective; the human heart, after all, can be far from complex than even the most convoluted of criminal investigations. You may leave the bus and wander the testing room to your heart's content, but if you leave the testing room then that's as good as a forfeit, unless I give you special permission to do so, such as to go to the bathroom, after which you must come right back. Are there any questions? No? Good, you may begin."

And may somebody here prove his or her self worthy of the title of Silver Bullet, Elena thought, stepping out of the bus.

Scene Transition

They quickly noticed that each of the mannequins had a name tag posted to their shirt.

The bus driver's stated name was Rory Sedgwick, age 43. The victim's stated name was Seymour Dobson, age 20. The victim sat in the fourth row back, though because of the middle aisle it would appear on first glance that the victim's row was easily accessible to any of the suspects.

The other students were Alan Murphy (21), Daphne Potter (20), Lester Gilligan (19), Philip Barnes (24), and Katherine Pertwee (22).

Everyone took a minute to examine the wound on the "corpse". Apparently Elena had simulated blood with ketchup.

"...Yup, it even smells like ketchup," Kaito said.

"Gross," Natsuki said. "What if that was actual blood? You'd just be fine with sniffing it?"

"Well, if we aren't willing to get our hands a bit dirty then how can we even call ourselves detectives?" Saguru said.

"By the way, you look a little older than the rest of us," Heiji said.

"Y-yeah," Natsuki said. "I'm just young enough to qualify for the competition."

"I think it's pretty obvious where we should start," Junya said. "Let's check everyone's belongings and look for a murder weapon."

"Hold up," Natsuki said. "The inside of this bus is supposed to represent the crime scene immediately after the fact, right? What if, after murdering the victim, the culprit opened a window and threw the weapon out."

"No, that's not possible," Shinichi said. "Look, there's no visible way to open it, see? It can only be done from the driver's seat and the front passenger seat."

Just to make sure the scrappy kid wasn't lying to throw everyone else off, Junya carefully examined the window himself.

Saguru walked to the front. "I guess this would mean either the murderer still has the weapon among his or her things, or it was thrown out the window, in which case it was either the driver or, what's his name...Philip Barnes."

"I think we can automatically exclude the driver," Kaito said. "There's no way he could just leave the car without any driver and expect it to keep going without hitting anything or slowing down."

"Agreed," Natsuki said.

"Huh? Where's the dark kid?" Shiho asked.

Heiji came climbing back into the bus. "According to the test lady, in their witness statements none of these people claimed to have heard an open window. Furthermore, she says the police investigated the tunnel and found nothing out of the ordinary."

"I figure nothing out of the ordinary would include gloves," Masumi said. "Wouldn't the killer wear gloves?"

"Good point," Kaito said. "Any potential murder weapon in this vehicle might be checked for blood and fingerprints."

"I guess this fact discounts the possibility of the killer stashing something in someone else's bag," Saguru said. "If something that had the killer's fingerprints was found in somebody else's belongings, that'd be super suspicious, especially if it had zero fingerprints belonging to the person whose bag it was found in."

"Alright then, it's like I suggested earlier," Junya said. "The murder weapon's either on the killer's person or among his belongings. Let's get down to searching."

Scene Transition

As the blaze began to rise into the air, That Person walked away from the scene.

After a little while she could faintly make out the sound of police cars and fire trucks; fortunately for her, they would be on the lookout for a burly short-haired Japanese man in his late 20s, not a half-Caucasian long blonde haired woman in her 40s.

This marked five buildings in the span of ten days; neither the police nor the Organization would think anything of a sixth, even if it did happen to be the home of Atsushi and Elena Miyano, and their three children.

The phone rang.

She answered. "Yes?"

"How're you coming along?"

"Quite well," Vermouth said. "I've created a forest; one more tree won't seem out of place. If I do it right, then no questions will be asked."

"You are going up against your uncle and father, though."

"My father is a wicked man, and he made me just as bad as him. I don't give a flying *expletive* what he thinks."

"But after this job, I'm out," she continued. "I'll pass along information and little stuff like that, but nothing like this."

"You scared?"

She scoffed. "I think you know me better than that, Nobutaro. It just isn't in my best interests to take risks like this."

"You're taking such a risk now, though."

"Yeah, well, you don't exactly have an overabundance of expert fire setters," she said, thinking back painfully to a certain American girl a few years back who certainly must've died a terrible death. Or maybe she succumbed to smoke inhalation and didn't suffer much?

"Very well, then. I just called to check up on your progress. We're all counting on you, Fusae."

He hung up.

To Be Continued

Ending

(Spirit by Rina Aiuchi)

There are only two kinds of people in this complex world

Those who'll fight for what's precious and everyone else

Sometimes I lay awake at night wondering why this is

Is it perhaps that we believe all hope is already lost?

It takes a lot less effort to tap out and forfeit the prize

Hang our heads in shame and defeat, a prisoner of war

Too many voices have cried out "Awaken, thou that sleepest!"

What we need is soothing balm so these bones may stir again

Come, you and me, together let's put on a show for the ages

Hurry, the curtain rises, the epic drama begins to unfold!

Oh you graceful swan, dancing in the middle of the downpour

All the world's your stage, and every eye is fixed on you

You've got heart, and nobody can ever take that away from you

Give them what they came for, the indomitable human spirit!