The limousine turned into the gravel road. Nancy and Conan looked awestruck at the immense size of the country estate.
"Hey, ojisan, how many acres is it?" Conan asked eagerly.
"A little over 400," the chauffeur answered.
(Author's Note: Japan is a country with a high population density. As such, the price of land can be astronomically high in certain parts of the country, such as Tokyo).
"Wow," Eri said. "Does he just like to take long walks in the countryside or what? If you don't mind me asking, of course."
"A large open space is a must for his hobby of choice," the chauffeur said. "Well, mostly that of his daughter, but I digress."
"His hobby?" Nancy said.
"Horseback riding. Mouri-san, I suspect you've heard of his daughter?"
"His daughter," Kogoro repeated. "Hmm, his surname's Udono, so...Ah! Don't tell me?!"
(Cup of Trembling by B'z)
(Each fresh breath of life is a fresh chance to start anew! The leisurely pursuits of the wealthy, Uncle's favorite sport, and a malevolent schemer! Perceiving the one and only truth! 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 Equestrian Murder Case!
Earlier that morning...
"NOOO!" Kogoro screamed at the TV, a glass of club soda sitting on the table. "You friggin STUPID referee, that most certainly WAS NOT a stinkin' TIE...!"
He was knocked over backwards in his chair by a flying purse, thrown by his wife.
He stood up angrily.
"Don't you have anything better to do than watch horse races on that infernal screen?" Eri said. "I mean, anything at all?"
"Shaddup," Kogoro said. "It's my day off. As you'll recall, I spent all of yesterday working my tail off, same with the day before that."
Conan and Nancy had been sitting on the couch quietly while reading manga. Just then, however, Conan finished with his and stood up.
"You could at least get dressed," Eri said. "It's almost 1:30 in the afternoon."
"Later," Kogoro said dismissively, sitting back in his office chair.
"But isn't one of your former clients coming to visit today?" Eri said remindingly. "The man whose daughter's boyfriend you investigated."
"Pah, it's nothing to get dressed up over," Kogoro said. "It's not like my client's gonna turn out to be some kind of rich and..."
"Ah-le-le?" Conan said, looking out the window. "That's a limousine, isn't it?"
Kogoro and Eri peered out the window and sure enough they saw a super-long black car.
With a shrill piercing cry, Kogoro turned off the TV and dashed off to go get changed.
About two minutes later, there was a knocking at the door. The man who came was greeted by an abnormally well dressed Kogoro, who had even taken a few seconds to apply cologne and brush his hair.
The price tag's still on Uncle's suit, Conan thought with a deadpan look. Did he find that on clearance somewhere?
"You must be Udono-san," Kogoro said.
"Uh, no, sorry to disappoint," the man said. "I'm Udono-san's professional chauffeur. I was instructed to come here to take Mouri-san and his family to the Udono estate, which is located in Niigata-ken."
"Niigata," Eri said. "That's quite some way from here."
"If you accept, you will all have dinner with my employer and his family as soon as we arrive," the chauffeur said. "Mrs. Udono is quite the cook, from my experience, and she is able to afford the highest quality ingredients to make a meal out of."
"Well, it's got to be better than this old hag's cooking!" Kogoro said, laughing haughtily, to Eri's extreme annoyance. "We accept your employer's gracious invitation. We'll just get our stuff, use the toilet, and then we'll be ready to leave when you are."
The car pulled into the garage; immediately afterwards, the garage's sliding door descending and the lights automatically came on with a flicker.
As they got out of the vehicle, the garage's side door leading inside the house opened and a man stepped out to meet his guests.
"You must be Mouri-san," he said. "I'm Kiyomatsu Udono. Ah, and that's my better half, Harumi."
His wife waved to the guests from the doorway.
"If you'll please leave your shoes at the doorway before entering," the chauffeur said.
They did so and then stepped inside.
"I am sorry, but the meal won't be ready for another quarter hour or so," Harumi called out from the kitchen.
"Oh, that's quite alright!" Kogoro replied.
Eri looked at the pictures hanging on the wall. "Are these your children?"
"Yup," Kiyomatsu said. "Mitsuha and Kimihiko."
Kogoro took a look. "Aha! I knew it! Your daughter's THE Mitsuha Udono?"
"Who is she, dear?" Eri asked. "You act like she's famous."
"Well, she might've won a few big races," Kiyomatsu said.
"Now, now, don't be so modest!" Kogoro said. "Your daughter made it to second place in the Japan Cup three years in a row."
(Author's Note: The Japan Cup is the largest and most prestigious annual horse racing event in the country.)
"W-well, I guess," Kiyomatsu said with a chuckle. "I'm hoping she'll make a comeback to professional horseracing one day, and finally win First Place."
"Yeah, but what she's accomplished already is still quite impressive, especially considering her young age," Kogoro said. "Is she here now?"
"Uh, no, actually, she doesn't live here," Kiyomatsu said. "She and her brother have a dorm up at Tohto University."
"Oh, but they actually were supposed to come here today to visit," Harumi said."
"Were?" Conan said.
"They were supposed to have been here twenty five minutes ago," Harumi said. "Oh, and Mitsuha said her boyfriend was coming too."
"Ah! What's that out the window?" Nancy said, standing on her tiptoes to look out.
Kiyomatsu and Harumi took a peak.
"Yup, that's Kimihiko's car," Kiyomatsu said.
The chauffeur stepped out into the garage to open the sliding door so they could park the car inside.
The nine people were seated at the dinner table, their plates lined with steamed buns filled with lamb meat, with a side of stir fried rice and vegetables.
"So you're the boyfriend I've been hearing so much about," Kiyomatsu said.
Taki Kawane nodded. "It's a pleasure to meet you, sir."
He turned to Kogoro. "And I guess you must be that famous detective Mitsuha's parents hired to spy on me for a week."
"Dad! Is that true?" Mitsuha demanded.
Kogoro wasn't really sure how to respond.
"Hey, no hard feelings, man," Taki said, sensing the mustached detective's discomfort. "If it made them feel any easier about me dating their daughter, I'm all for it. Just seemed like a bit much when you caught me in the dorm bathroom with my drawers down."
Kimihiko very nearly spat out the tea he was drinking. Nobody would've blamed him if he did.
"So, uh, Taki, is it?" Harumi said. "What do you want to do when you get out of college?"
"Taki wants to be a social worker," Mitsuha said enthusiastically.
"Oh? A social worker?" Harumi said. "That's an interesting choice."
"One of my best friends in elementary and junior high, she came from a broken home," Taki explained. "She was raised by her mom, who was a drug addict. Social services didn't catch what was going on, and when she was little she burned her hand on the stove really bad because of her mother's negligence. She ended up on drugs too, and it totally ruined her life, and to this day, I can't help but think, would her life have turned out any differently if she was put into a foster home, or maybe adopted? So this thing has been on my heart for a long time, and now I just know this is what I was meant to do."
"I can respect that," Kiyomatsu said. "You're doing something important with your life. Unlike certain other people we know."
With that last remark he shot his son Kimihiko a dirt look.
"Hey, dad, quit it!" Kimihiko said. "For the thousandth time, I consider theater something important to me, and I'm not giving it up. And no, also for the thousandth time, I'm not a...!"
Kogoro coughed loudly.
"...I guess this wasn't a good time," Kimihiko said. "Excuse me."
He stood up from the table, having already cleared most of what was on his plate. "Hey mom, is my old room still intact?"
Harumi nodded. "Nothing's been changed, even that video game console of yours is still plugged in."
"Alright, thanks. I think I'd like to spend some time up there, maybe take a nap."
As soon as he was gone...
"Uh, if you don't mind me asking..." Kogoro began.
"Kimihiko has decided he doesn't want to make a decent living and a respectable name for himself," Kiyomatsu said. "Instead, he wants to prance around in costumes like some kind of queer."
"Dad!" Mitsuha protested. "There are plenty of heterosexual men involved in theater."
Kiyomatsu scoffed. "Or so they say."
Mitsuha turned to Taki. "Hey, when you're finished, do you want to ride Sunshine?"
"S-sure," Taki said.
"Why so bashful?" Mitsuha asked. "Hold on, don't tell me that you're...?!"
"I've always had a thing against horses, alright?" he abruptly admitted. "Everybody's got something, be it spiders or the dark or thunder, and my thing's horses!"
Mitsuha chuckled. "Alright, you can just watch then."
She turned to Conan and Nancy. "Do you two want to ride the horses?"
Their eyes lit up.
"Really?!" Nancy said excitedly.
"I'd love to!" Conan said in his characteristic childish voice.
Kogoro looked kind of glum. Eri picked up on this pretty quickly.
"What is it?" she whispered.
"Nothing," he said, practically whimpering.
"Oh, I see," she said, a strange look in her eyes.
Eri turned to Mitsuha. "Excuse me, it seems my husband's got too much pride to admit it, but he really wants to ride the horses too, if you don't mind."
"That's fine!" she said. "The more, the merrier, right?"
"Ah, but don't take Bucephalus," Kiyomatsu said.
"Huh? Why not?" Mitsuha said.
"I've been training him hard today, trying to break him in. Sunshine's just been lazing around and grazing, so she could use a little workout."
"Okay. Have they been fed yet?"
"No, I'll do that in a little while. Sunshine can eat after you're done with her, go and have a good time."
They entered the stable, and at that moment both horses got excited. Mitsuha walked over to the pen on the right, pulled away the (mostly) empty trough, undid the latch, and opened the door. Sunshine stepped out.
Sunshine nuzzled Mitsuha affectionately. "Hey girl, it's been a while, hasn't it?"
She turned to them.
"Now, listen, this is very important," she said. "You NEVER approach a horse from behind: If it kicks you in the head, that's it. You're dead. It's important to note that a horse can't kick you from the side, though you should still definitely be careful. If a horse looks upset, steer clear of it. Now, who wants to ride first?"
Kogoro raised his hand. "Uh, pardon me, but is that THE Sunshine, the horse you rode in the Japan Cup all those years ago?"
"Yup," Mitsuha said. "She's pretty old now, but she can still ride fine, or so dad says."
"What kind of horse is she?" Conan asked.
"A thoroughbred," Mitsuha said.
"Yes, but I think he means to ask..." Taki began.
"The name of the breed is the thoroughbred," Mitsuha said. "A cross between indigenous British and Arabian horses specifically sired for racing purposes long ago."
"But do thoroughbreds even come in white?" Kogoro asked.
"There are such thing as white thoroughbreds, although they're exceedingly rare," Conan said.
"And quite valuable too, I imagine," Nancy said.
Mitsuha tied Sunshine to a wooden pole. Then she went and grabbed several tools and began grooming the horse (cleaning/smoothening its fur with a brush and removing dirt, mud, and plant debris). After that was done, she checked Sunshine's body for sore spots or wounds. She couldn't find any, so she then put on some padding, and then finally the saddle over the pads.
"Wow," Nancy said. "I didn't know it took so long just to prep a horse for riding."
"And...done," Mitsuha said. "Alright, who wants to go first? Mouri-san?"
"Uh, no, I'll let these two br...er, sweet children go first," Kogoro said.
Oh, so it's sweet children now, is it? Conan thought with a deadpan look.
Mitsuha helped Nancy and then him get up on top of Sunshine.
"Whoa," Nancy said, a borderline shell-shocked look on her face.
"What is it?" Conan asked.
"Never mind, I want to get down!" Nancy said. "I want off! I want off! I WANT OFF!"
"A little too high up for your tastes, huh?" Mitsuha said with a chuckle as she let Nancy down.
"What's with you?" Conan said to Nancy. "Tall heights like this never bothered you before."
Nancy didn't know how to respond.
"Alright, Conan-kun," Mitsuha said as she undid the rope tied to the pole. "You seem like the brave type. Don't let go of that harness no matter what. You think you can handle that?"
Conan nodded. "Sounds simple enough."
"Alright, great. GIDDAP, Sunshine!"
Mitsuha smacked Sunshine on the behind, and the horse started running. It ran out of the barn.
"WHHOOOOOAAAA!" Conan screamed.
"H-hey now!" Taki said. "You sure a kid should be up there when the horse is running like that?"
"It'll be fine," Mitsuha said. "You mollycoddle a boy and you rob him of a normal healthy childhood."
Normal healthy childhood, Nancy thought. It's normal for a child to be afraid. This may be because of their inherent immaturity as compared with adults, but...perhaps they're always afraid because they're always in danger? Children are some of the most vulnerable and powerless people in this world. When I was up on that horse...no, it wasn't the same as Ran Mouri the high school student doing it...relatively speaking, I was much higher up than I would've been as a grown woman. I might as well have been standing at the edge of a bottomless cliff, except with the knowledge that I was likely to slip and fall to my death at any moment. If anything, Shinichi isn't scared enough...
She then noticed that Mitsuha was running after Sunshine and Conan, and that Taki and Kogoro were following suit.
"Chotto matte!" Nancy called out, running to catch up on her little legs.
Kogoro panted hard, beads of sweat hanging down his face as he slowly rode Sunshine back towards the barn.
"What's wrong, Mouri-san?" Mitsuha said cheerfully. "You look like your life just flashed before your eyes."
I think it did, Kogoro thought, exasperated.
"Maybe it's just because Uncle's not as young as he used to be?" Conan said.
"S-shut up!" Kogoro said. "I'm fine, look!"
What was that?! Conan thought.
"It came from the barn!" Taki said.
At that moment, Bucephalus came running out of the barn and towards some random direction.
"What could've happened?" Kogoro muttered. "Sunshine, go faster! There's no time to waste!"
They entered the barn, just to find...
Mitsuha gasped, and then screamed.
Her father, Kiyomatsu Udono, was lying on the ground, a big bloody spot on his balding head.
Taki ran up to Mr. Udono and examined his body.
He shook his head. "I'm so sorry, Mitsuha."
He stood up. "Still, maybe he can be saved! Somebody quick, call an ambulance! I'll go get your mom and brother!"
He ran out and headed towards the house.
It wasn't too long before the place was crawling with cops.
"My name is Detective Sasamoto. Can any of you tell me what happened?"
After hearing Kogoro's explanation of what they witnessed...
"I see," Detective Sasamoto said. "You heard him scream, the horse came running out of the stable, and then you found his body. May I ask if any of you know what he was doing in there?"
"He was feeding Bucephalus," Harumi said, teary eyed.
"That's the name of the horse," Taki said.
"So he was all alone in there with the horse?" Sasamoto asked.
"It would seem so, yeah," Kogoro said. "It goes without saying there was no body at the time that we went in there to saddle Sunshine, the other horse. When it happened, right after the scream, we didn't see anybody else leave the barn, even though there are only three entrances and exits, all of which were visible to us. We only saw the horse Bucephalus leave."
"Huh? Why are there police cars?"
"Kimihiko, why on earth didn't you come when mom called?!" Mitsuha demanded.
"I was playing a video game with my headphones in," Kimihiko said. "It was pretty loud too, I doubt I would've heard it if a bomb went off a quarter mile away. Eh? Where's dad?"
"Kimihiko, your father is..." Harumi began. "He's..."
Kimihiko ran into the barn, where he saw the blood stains on the ground and the police tape that preserved the basic outline of the body's position.
"No," he said. "No! NO! NOOOO! Dad, NO!"
He fell to his knees and burst into sobbing. Taki put his hand on Kimihiko's shoulder.
Another police officer came running. "We've managed to located the horse. It has bloodstains on its front right hoof consistent with the wound on the body. A more thorough analysis should confirm what we already suspect: that the victim was killed by a blow to the head from the shoe worn by that horse."
"Excellent work," Sasamoto said. "Well, it would seem that this was an unfortunate..H-HEY!"
Conan, ignoring all warnings, ran into the stable and looked around. He climbed onto the fence door and looked inside Bucephalus's pen. Then he looked up at the ceiling.
It could've been done that way, he thought. Now I just need to find it, and wrap this up before the police have a chance to leave.
"Ah, gomenasai, I havta go pee!" Conan said, running towards the house.
Having found what he was looking for inside of the house, Conan returned to the scene of the crime.
Kogoro was standing next to Sunshine's pen.
Conan ran inside the pen, and aimed his tranq dart at Kogoro. He fired, Kogoro fell over backwards with a startling thud, and he readied the voice-changinv bowtie.
"Uh, what are you doing?" Officer Sasamoto asked. "That really isn't a good place to..."
"Pardon me," Kogoro/Conan said. "I am so stricken with brilliant inspiration as a detective that I can't even stand up."
"Brilliant...inspiration?" Sasamoto repeated. "As a detective?"
"Indeed," Conan/Kogoro said. "You don't appear to recognize me, but perhaps you've heard the name of Sleeping Kogoro?"
"Eeeeehhh?!" Sasamoto exclaimed. "You're him?"
"That I am, and I'm here now to solve this mystery...this murder!"
All of the "spectators" to Conan's deduction show gasped, except for Nancy, who could tell from the onset that Conan suspected foul play.
"First, I'd like for all of you to set your attentions on Bucephalus's pen. You'll notice, of course, the metal gate that divides his pen from the center area of the barn where we people are standing, or, alternately, sitting. Facing that pen, I'd like for you to look up. You should notice two wooden beams running from left to right: one of them is very slightly past the gate, the other is very slightly behind where the victim was standing when he died. For the sake of brevity we'll refer to the former as Beam A and the latter as Beam B."
"What's that got to do with anything?!" Kimihiko demanded. "We already know how dad died, right?"
"Anyways," Kogoro/Conan said, ignoring Kimihiko's rudeness, "here's what happened. If you'll look at the gate, you'll notice that it has a large square hole, big enough for a horse to stick its head in. When Bucephalus does so, it's able to reach and thus eat from the feeding trough, that black round plastic container. Based on this, the fact that the victim came into the barn to fill the trough with horse feed, the culprit had a pretty good idea about where the victim would be standing."
"In the time frame after we came into the barn and got Sunshine, but before Udono-san the victim came in here to feed Bucephalus," he continued, "the culprit snuck in here and set up his trick. He attached two strong fishing wires to Bucephalus. The first such wire, which we'll refer to as Wire A, went from Bucephalus's body up over and across Beam A, and then it extended to the top of Beam B, where on that end it was attached to a horseshoe. The second wire, which we shall call Wire B, was notably shorter, and it stretched diagonally from Bucephalus's body to Beam B, where it too was attached to the horseshoe. A trained horse knows that when there's any sort of string or rope attached to him, he shouldn't try to move."
"However," he continued, "horses also know to come running when somebody whistles for them. And a young horse generally has very good hearing. When Udono-san entered the barn, the culprit was watching, and at that moment he whistled. Bucephalus knew that the whistle was from some distance, and that he wouldn't be able to come straight, because of the gate. So what did he do? He went out the other way, through the side door, the door to his pen. As soon as he did so, he quickly expended Wire B, and it pulled the horseshoe off of Beam B, falling onto the victim's head. It was a heavy enough blow to kill him, since a horseshoe can weigh up to 2 pounds or more, and it fell from a tall height, and since it hit him in the right spot, his head.
"After the horseshoe fell," he continued, "at that point Wire A ran up and across Beam A but then extended downwards diagonally, perhaps resembling a triangle. Wire B was more or less horizontal at this point. When Bucephalus pulled back towards the side door, he reeled in both wires which were attached to the now bloody horseshoe. This did present a problem, of course. The horseshoe would be pulled up Beam A, but it would simultaneously be pulled the other way by Wire B. The solution was that Wire B, when attached to Bucephalus, was taped on weakly, so that it would come off under strain. Once it did so, Wire A would be reeled back, pulling the horseshoe over and across Beam A, and then it'd fall down into Bucephalus's pen, with Wire B still attached by its link to the horseshoe. So then, both wires and the bloody horseshoe were dragged on the ground by Bucephalus as he ran out of the barn."
"From there," he continued, "Bucephalus ran to answer the whistler. He ran to the back of the house, where the culprit was waiting. He pulled the wires and tape off and then applied the bloody horseshoe to Bucephalus's foot, then putting the spare horseshoe and the leftover parts in his backpack to dispose of later. Isn't that right, KIMIHIKO-SAN?!"
Every eye turned to Kimihiko, horrified by this revelation. Well aware that the evidence would be found soon enough, he fell to his knees, defeated.
"Kimihimo, why would you kill father?!" Mitsuha demanded. "Was it because he disapproved of your career in theater?"
"Y-yeah," Kimihiko admitted. "But it was more than just disapproval..."
"Kimihiko, I want you to listen carefully, because you know how I hate to repeat myself," Kiyomatsu said over the phone. "Your mother's already got this visit scheduled and I don't want to be the one to tell her off, but...after tomorrow, don't you dare show your queer ss at home ever again. You're dead to me now. You hear me?"
Over the phone, Kimihiko was trembling. His father was disowning him? For so long he'd been afraid of his father's disapproval, but this was crossing a line. How dare he? How f***ing dare he?! He clenched his fists in rage.
I'm gonna kill him, he vowed silently. I'M GONNA KILL HIM!
"It didn't matter how many times I told him!" Kimihiko said. "He wouldn't listen! He never listened!"
"Listened to what?" Taki asked.
"THAT I'M STRAIGHT! I HAVE A GIRLFRIEND!"
He burst into tears.
(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!
It was getting late. The police had already taken Kimihiko away, and the chauffeur was ready to take them home.
As they got into the limousine, Conan remembered.
Crap, he thought.
Over in the barn, Kogoro awoke to Sunshine licking his face.
"GAAAH!" he shouted, waking up. "An animal licked me! A big animal licked me! Gross!"
End of Episode