"Oi, Mitsuhiko! Come back!"
Mitsuhiko ran down the slope in the deep forested interior of Haido Park and splashed into the stream, chasing still after the rogue soccer ball.
Finally, he slipped and fell in headfirst.
Conan ran into the water after him. "Mitsuhiko! Are you all right?"
Mitsuhiko emerged from the water, holding the soccer ball triumphantly. "Ha ha, I've got it! I got it!"
"And you're both soaking wet," Haibara said. "What'll you tell your folks at home?"
Mitsuhiko stopped grinning. "Aw man, you're right! My mom's gonna be super mad if I go in tracking mud and water all over the place."
"We can go get washed up at the Professor's house," Conan said. "And at the house next door, I...er, that is, Shinichi Kudo-san, has some old children's clothes lying around in boxes that we can change into."
"He won't get mad if you do?" Ayumi said.
"I'm pretty sure he'll be okay with it," Nancy said with a grin.
"Oh, and how would you know that?"
Nancy felt a cold shiver run down her spine as that boy, Shiro Ayamori, stared her down with a suspicious glare.
"B-because Kudo-san's a nice guy, right?" Nancy said, chuckling fakely.
It's much too late for the two of you to try and trick me with your clever lies, Shiro thought. If he's Shinichi Kudo, then I guess that makes her...Ran Mouri? We have That Drug, and various intelligence agencies have infiltrated our ranks in the past, so I guess it's possible certain outside sources could get their hands on it too, but...
"Hey, Genta-kun, what are you doing?!" Haibara snapped.
"Stop playing in the dirt," Conan said derisively.
"But there's something here!" Genta said. "It's this thing sticking out of the ground!"
That was enough to perk their interest. About half a minute later, they had succeeded in unearthing it. It was a large bag, and later several more bags would be unearthed.
When they unzipped it, opened it and looked inside...
(Cup of Trembling by B'z)
(Each fresh breath of life is a fresh chance to start anew! Officer Takagi faces a crisis of manliness? Enter the new and improved Takagi 2.0! Meanwhile, the chase is on to bring the Greenscarves robber group to justice! 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
Metropolitan Police Detective Love Story 10! Part One!
When he showed up at the Police Station that day, his colleagues immediately noticed something was different.
Well, not really. He had shown up like this a few times before in the past few months. But he exuded that certain impression even more strongly now than he had in the past.
There was a spring in his step, a kind of lightness to his feet. He might as well have been skipping.
In fact, Takagi was skipping, while also humming merrily to himself as he checked in for work.
He passed by the posse of three middle-aged, balding, overweight cops eating donuts. These three men probably wouldn't have much to do with each other, if not for one shared interest: Sato.
"There he goes again," one of them said.
"Hmm, I wonder why he's so happy?" another one of them said sarcastically.
The third man got up. "Hey, Takagi-kun, wait up!"
"My, you certainly appear in a good mood today," he said.
"Yup, I've got big plans for later," Takagi beamed.
"These 'big plans wouldn't happen to involve Officer Sato, would it?" the man pressed.
"Huh? How'd you know?" Takagi said.
"Oh, I see," the man said, anger rising in his voice. "The two of you are gonna make sweet love late into the night and have a baby or two together, ISN'T THAT RIGHT, Takagi-kun?!"
"N-no!" Takagi said. "I'll be heading over to her place and then we'll cuddle on the couch and enjoy a good movie."
"Oh, and what kind of...movie would that be?" he demanded. "Something you rented from an adult videos store, I take it?!"
"We're gonna watch a chick flick, okay?!"
"There's this chick flick movie that came out late last year," Takagi said, blushing. "It looked really good, so me and Sato-san are going to watch it together. Don't tell anybody, though. It's kind of embarrassing. Now if you'll excuse me."
With that, Takagi walked off.
"That lucky dog," the officer murmured bitterly.
"It is our sworn duty as Miwako Sato's Line of Defense to break those two apart," his associate declared.
The man who had talked to Takagi scowled maliciously. "There's only one way. Personally I don't think Officer Takagi deserves anything this terrible, but it's got to be done."
Chiba quickly closed the laptop when he heard somebody coming.
"Oh, Takagi, it's just you."
"Playing Dungeons and Warcraft on the job, I take it?" Takagi guessed.
"Eeeehhh?! How'd you know?" Chiba demanded, looking around suspiciously. "And I was so careful too. You're not gonna tell the Inspector, are you?"
"Nah," Takagi said. "Hey, listen. You know how yesterday at That Time I was on duty in Nerima investigating another complaint about the serial underwear bandit, right? So I wasn't there when the police were tipped off about you-know-what."
"You want me to fill you in on what happened?" Chiba asked.
"Yeah, if you don't mind."
"Alright, so, we got to the scene and..."
The police cars had swarmed the park.
All around the park, posters celebrating the reigning emperor Naruhito's birthday were up, put up earlier in the day and to be taken down on the following morning.
Megure ran up to the boy, who was surrounded by his young friends.
"Don't tell me that you're the ones who...!"
"Yup, we, the Detective Boys, discovered the bags, Megure-keibu," Mitsuhiko announced proudly.
"I think we have a right to know, Inspector," Haibara said. "The three bags carried a large amount of cash. Considering that it was buried in the ground, I take it the cash was stolen?"
"W-well, let's not jump to conclusions just..."
Sato came running. "The money has been counted."
"It comes up to ¥12,000,000,000. To be clear, we called the station and confirmed that was the total amount stolen during the Southpaw robberies."
(Author's Note: 12 billion Yen is roughly equivalent to 120 million U.S. Dollars.)
"Also," Sato continued, "about half of the bills are marked, and were stolen by the Southpaws during that time frame."
"Good work," Megure said.
Nancy tapped Conan on the shoulder.
They walked some distance away from the others, so that they were out of earshot.
"I take it you know who these Southpaws are?" Nancy asked.
Conan nodded. "I guess you wouldn't know, because you don't usually read the news, but they were a six-man bank robber group that was pretty well-known in Tokyo about a year and half ago, scoring five successful heists in the span of about 3 months, but then they seemingly retired and ceased their activities. I kind of considered investigating them at one point, but then, you know, this thing happened at a certain amusement park."
"So why'd they stop?"
"They had to, for the clock to start counting down."
"The statute of limitations," Conan said. "They couldn't use any of that money until it expired, which would've taken several years had we not uncovered it today, so they just buried it where they hoped it'd stay hidden until that day finally came."
"But now their jig's up," Nancy said. "Do you think they'll try to steal it back?"
Chiba ran up to the Inspector, accompanied by four people.
Curious, Conan and Nancy returned to where the others were standing.
"Eeehh?!" Megure exclaimed. "They want to walk around the crime scene?! Certainly not!"
"B-but, they all claim to have good reason," Chiba said lamely.
The four people were: first, a teenage girl and a woman in her early 20s, her older sister. Their names were Momoko and Anzuko, respectively, their last name being Kuramochi. Momoko was wearing a bright red jacket and short shorts, with half-black, half-blonde hair that was pulled back into a ponytail. She was carrying a handbag. Then there was a big, bald guy named Daisuke Amagi. Both of his arms were tattooed extensively. Then there was a man of average build, somewhat taller than Daisuke. His name was Takeshi Ohta, and he was wearing a business suit. He had a briefcase and an expensive-looking watch adorned his right hand wrist.
"And why do the four of you need to be *here* of all times?" Megure demanded.
"Um, well, after swim practice today my sister came to walk me home," Momoko said. "This morning I couldn't find my phone as I was leaving for school, so I figured I must've left it somewhere here. So I asked Anzuko if we could swing by here so I could try to find it."
"Last night I brought my girlfriend here to this park to propose to her," Takeshi said. "But I chickened out and we left. I didn't think anything of it until this morning when I realized I'd lost it, so I'm here to retrace my steps."
"I regularly go jogging along this route," Daisuke said. "I came here last night, and then this morning I realized I couldn't find my wallet anywhere. As I was passing by, I decided to go find my wallet before somebody can make off with my hard-earned Yen."
"I see," Megure said. "So you were all here last night, and you all lost something. Did any of you see each other last night?"
They all shook their heads.
"B-but to be fair, it was dark out," Daisuke said.
Could it be...? Conan thought. "Hey, misters, what do you do for a living?"
"Ah, um, I'm a day trader," Takeshi Ohta said.
"And you?" Megure asked Daisuke.
"...Actually, um, I work at a nightclub," Daisuke said sheepishly. "As a bouncer. I suppose that kind of makes me sound like a shady character, huh?"
"Just in case you might want to verify my identity, here you go," Takeshi said. He took a card out of his wallet.
"Ah ah ah Oji-san look out!"
With a crash, Conan bumped into Takeshi, knocking him off balance for a few seconds and the card out of his hand.
"S-Sumimasen," Conan apologized childishly. "I was tying my shoe when I fell."
"I didn't see anything," Genta mumbled suspiciously.
Curious, Daisuke picked up the card and looked at it.
"Hmm, why do you have an American Driver's License?" Daisuke asked.
"W-well, truth be told, I was born in Japan but I was raised by my grandparents in the USA, where I lived until about 2 and a half years ago," Takeshi said. "In any case, I don't plan on going back there any time soon, and I've got a Japanese Drivers License too, though I think I left that at home. I might as well just throw that one away."
"No, you should definitely hold on to this," Daisuke said. "This is a standard-issue American Driver's License. Flashing this around is a surefire way to impress the ladies."
"Thanks, but like I said, I've already got a girlfriend, and she wasn't all that impressed by the card," Takeshi said, taking the License back.
"Hey, mister, can I look at it real fast?" Conan asked eagerly. "I've never seen an American Driver's License before."
Takeshi handed it to Conan.
Conan stared at the card intently; sure enough it was a California Driver's License. Then he looked up at Takeshi.
This can't be right, Conan thought. What more, that person didn't...
Takeshi took the card back from Conan and put it in his pocket.
"AH-LE-LE?!" Conan said, pointing at Daisuke. "Mister, haven't I seen you somewhere before?"
"Uh, what?" Daisuke said.
"That's right, like half a year ago Ran-neechan and I went to go pick up Uncle from a nightclub," Conan said. "You were the guy who wouldn't let her enter, right? This was at a club in the Golden Gai neighborhood of Shinjuku."
"I-I guess it could've been me," Daisuke said. "That is where I work, a nightclub in Golden Gai."
"Eeeeh? And do you see a lot of foreigners?" Conan asked excitedly.
"Uh, sure. We get a lot of tourists around those parts, and plenty of them visit our nightclub."
"And if somebody's breaking the rules do you GRAB 'em and THROW 'em out?!" Conan asked, a little too enthusiastically.
"Conan, you're making us look like a bunch of little kids," Mitsuhiko muttered with annoyance.
"No, we're normally not allowed to manhandle people," Daisuke said. "A lot of nightclubs have gotten sued for that kind of thing in the past, so almost nowhere does that anymore."
"Oh, okay," Conan said in an innocent childish voice.
"Oi, what was with that?" Haibara whispered, elbowing him. "Didn't you tell me before that your mother has an American Driver's License? And does Mouri-san really visit nightclubs?"
"Nah, they're too loud and obnoxious for his taste," Conan whispered back.
"So where were the four of you today?" Megure asked.
"Like I said already, I was at school and then swim practice," Momoko said. "Anzuko has three college classes today, so I imagine she was up there most of the time. She came and picked me up a few minutes ago."
"I was at the Tokyo Stock Exchange all day," Takeshi said. "Scored some lucrative deals, as usual."
"As usual?" Chiba said.
Takeshi grinned. "Of course. I've made my fortune trading stocks here in Tokyo. My net worth is in the hundreds of millions of yen."
(Author's Note: This is equivalent to a few million U.S. dollars.)
"And yet you've only been in Japan for 2 and a half years?" Anzuko said skeptically. "Sure."
"You calling me a liar?!" Takeshi demanded.
"Maybe I am," Anzuko said. "What are you going to do about it in front of a bunch of police officers?"
Takeshi growled and left it at that.
Conan then noticed Momoko's hair.
"Hey, neechan, could you bend down for a moment?" he asked.
Momoko looked like she was in a daze.
Conan tapped her on the leg. Snapping out of it, she bent down to Conan's level. And then...
"H-hey!" she protested. "Why the heck are you sniffing me, boy?!"
"Neechan, you said you're a swimmer, right?" Conan said. "Does that mean you have a swim cap?"
"Ooh, can I see it?"
"Aww, pretty please? I've never got to see one up close before."
"I said no!" Momoko snapped.
"Oh, and why is that?" Conan asked. "You act as though you have something to hide."
That seemed to have struck a nerve. She unzipped her bag and practically threw her swimming cap at Conan.
He examined it carefully for about ten seconds.
Then Momoko snatched it back. "See? I've got absolutely nothing to hide. So wh..."
Her hand started shaking. Her breathing became rapid and erratic. At the same time, she broke out into an intense sweat on her head.
"Yo, sis?" Anzuko asked. "You feeling okay?"
Takeshi, Daisuke, Megure, Chiba, and the Detective Boys all looked at Momoko.
"Yeah..." Momoko managed weakly. "Yeah, I'm fine."
Momoko looked straight at Megure. "Look, can I just find my phone and go?!"
"Uh, yes," Megure said.
By that time, Conan had already dashed off on his own.
As he was running, he saw something lying next to a tree, something that caught his eye.
He walked over and examined it.
I see, he thought with a grin, pocketing that thing.
He returned to where the others were.
"B-by the way," Daisuke said. "What exactly are the police doing here?"
"Oh, that?" Chiba said. "I suspect you'll find out in tomorrow's..."
"Spill it already!" Momoko snapped. "What'd you find?!"
"It was a bunch of stolen money, alright?!" Chiba blurted out. "We found money that a group of bank robbers stole."
"Chiba-kun!" Megure reprimanded.
"S-sorry, it just sort of slipped," Chiba said.
If Conan didn't know any better, he would've thought that Momoko was...breathing a sigh of relief?
No, he thought. She isn't the only suspicious one here. Rather...THEY'RE ALL LIARS!
"So yeah, it was like Conan-kun was just acting really weird," Chiba said.
"He is an eight year old boy," Takagi reminded. "I think the way he normally...is causes us to forget that fact sometimes. So what happened?"
"Well, we let each of them walk around and conduct their searches," Chiba said. "Momoko-kun found her phone and Daisuke-san found his wallet, both rather quickly, and then they left. Takeshi-san spent about three hours searching for his ring before giving up and leaving. Oh, and Conan-kun and his friends made the front page of the Beika Times."
"Yeah, I saw it this morning," Takagi said. "So, what became of the money?"
"Tomorrow morning it's going to be shipped to the banks that were robbed. I guess that, for the time being, it's just sitting in storage somewhere on the fourth floor."
Takagi and Chiba turned to see Yumi looking at them.
"Detective Saitoh and the others want to see you," she said.
"Uh, sure," Takagi said, standing up. "Where at?"
"The fourth floor."
He couldn't quite make out why exactly, but Takagi felt a deep sense of dread as he climbed the staircase to the fourth floor, like he was marching to a wooden scaffold.
As soon as he pulled open the door and stepped inside, they were waiting.
Ten men. The full present membership of Miwako Sato's Line of Defense.
"W-what's going on...?" Takagi stammered.
"Wataru Takagi, you have been summoned," the group's ringleader said. "Follow us."
They stood gathered facing the door leading to...
"Takagi-kun, I trust you know behind this door?" the ringleader asked. "I'll give you a hint: it's the money."
"The money?" Takagi repeated.
"Bingo, you guessed correctly. There's 12 billion yen. We're offering you this chance: go in there and pocket some of it for yourself. There's so much that nobody'll notice if you take, say, a million or two. And we'll guard the door so that nobody catches you."
"Takagi-kun," another one of the men said, putting his hand on the young man's shoulder. "Just think of what you could with all that money."
Suddenly feeling angry and disgusted, Takagi shook himself free. "No! Just...no! You are all guilty of entrapment. That's a criminal offence, so there's no mistake. Consider yourselves lucky that I'm deciding not to rep..!"
He stopped whenever he realized that they had surrounded him.
"Takagi-kun," the ringleader said. "Forgive us. We're doing this for Sato's sake."
"W-what are you gonna do with me?!" Takagi demanded. "Hands off!"
"I'm afraid you don't understand the situation at hand," the ringleader said. "We're going to lock you in there and then all of us are going to testify to Megure-keibu that we caught you trying to..."
"Let him go. Now."
Shiratori stood there, posing coolly.
The ringleader scoffed. "Shiratori-san, it's bad enough that you have abandoned the cause of Miwako Sato. Now you would betray us altogether?"
"I think you have trouble remembering," Shiratori said. "I founded Miwako Sato's Line of Defense; as such, I and I alone have the authority to disband the group, and I already have. You were on the verge of framing a fellow police officer of a crime he didn't commit. Face it: Sato-san doesn't love any of you miserable lot, and she never will. But if you follow through with this, she will hate you. Is that what you want?"
It was as if the group was gripped by paralysis.
"Takagi, come over here," Shiratori said.
Takagi was quick to do so.
"They won't bother you any more," Shiratori promised. "Isn't that right?!"
The men all nodded and agreed, if with some reluctance.
After a long but somewhat unproductive day, Takagi got into his car, turned the key in the ignition, and drove off.
He could scarce get there any faster (and he was in fact going over the speed limit by about 2 MPH).
Me and Sato, snuggling close on the couch, he thought, daydreaming (a bit dangerously, as he didn't notice that one pedestrian who he very nearly hit).
Finally, he was there. He went up to the doorbell.
Combing his hair one last time, he felt a rush of confidence as he rang the doorbell.
Only, fifteen seconds later, the door didn't open.
Huh? Takagi thought.
He waited a few seconds and then rang the doorbell again.
And again. And again.
"Uh, Sato-san, are you home?!" Takagi shouted.
"Just a moment!"
Sato opened the door about a quarter.
"Uh, this isn't a good time," she said.
"Not a good time," Takagi repeated. "Um, might I ask why?"
"Look, can you just come back another day?" Sato said.
"Surely you haven't forgotten what today is," Takagi said. "That is, the plans we made."
"Yeah, I know and I'm sorry," Sato said. "I'm up for tomorrow, if you wanna reschedule."
"A-at least tell me why," Takagi said.
"I'm sorry, but I can't," Sato said. "After tomorrow I'll be happy to..."
"Is there somebody else here?" Takagi asked.
"Huh, what are you-"
Takagi forced the door open and ran inside.
"Takagi-kun, you don't need to be here right...!"
Takagi entered Sato's bedroom. Then he saw it.
He unzipped the bags and looked inside.
He turned to see Sato standing at the bedroom doorway, sighing.
"F-for real?" Takagi asked.
"Yeah," Megure answered over the phone, a bit reluctantly. "I asked Sato-san to put the money in the police van and take it home instead of to the station."
"Takagi-kun, did you get a chance to see the morning paper?"
"The article plastered on the front page says that the police are holding onto the money at the station," Megure explained. "We expect them to try and steal the money before tomorrow."
"Ah, Takagi-kun, is that you?"
"Chiba?" Takagi said. "You're in on it too?"
"Yeah," Chiba said. "Me and a few trusted officers were asked by the Inspector to stake out the station tonight, so that maybe we can catch the Southpaws in the act and put them behind bars from good."
"You got all that, Takagi-kun?" Megure said.
"But what am I supposed to do?" Takagi asked.
Megure sighed. "Well, since you're already at Sato-san's place, you might as well...stay and help her guard the money."
"Ahh, you really mean it?" Takagi said. "Thank you, sir!"
"We're counting on the two of you. Over and out."
With that, the Inspector hung up.
Takagi looked at Sato. She looked back at him.
"You want me to set the movie up?" she asked.
"Yeah," he said. "Did you really rent it, considering-"
"Nah," she said, "but I checked and it's on Nitflix. We can just stream it."
Conan was seconds from nodding off when his phone rang.
The bright white screen contrasted sharply with the dark of night.
"Are you staking them out again?" Nancy asked.
"Yeah. Their window of opportunity is closing. If those people don't strike tonight, they won't have another chance to recover the money."
"What am I supposed to tell mom and dad?" Nancy asked. "That you're at the Professor's again?"
"Just tell them I'm at the library doing some late night studying."
"If those people don't show in about thirty minutes I'm calling it quits and..."
There it was.
"And?" Nancy said.
"It's them," Conan said. "I think, anyway. I'll call you back."
He hung up.
The bright yellow headlights of the robbers' van began to fade out as it pulled into the parking space and got closer to the dull-colored fence.
The van stopped. Conan hid behind the brick corner, expecting the van door to slide open any second. Instead, there was a delay.
The van just sat there, humming.
And then finally, they came out and headed in the direction of Sato's apartment.
This is it, he thought. They'll probably have one guy stay behind, their designated getaway driver. If I approach it from the left, I should be able to slip a tracker on the car body without being seen. Then I bail as fast as I can and let the tracker take care of the rest.
He crept up to the left side of the van, crouching down, his heart racing. He figured that the guy in the driver's seat probably wouldn't be able to...
He took the gum out of his mouth and wrapped the miniature tracking device in it. He stuck his hand underneath when...
One of the men, presumably the driver, a cigarette in his mouth, stepped into view. He looked at Conan. Conan looked back at him.
Without saying a word he made a run for it, but on those tiny legs of his he didn't make it far before...
"Berra...you do understand, right? Why I can't be with you. When you're near, even for one second, holding my urges back is the hardest thing in the world to do."
"Eduwado...if it'll make you happy, eat me now."
"No, Berra! Don't tempt me!"
"Do it. I can't stand to see you like this. I've tried for too long to force you to be something that you're not. This is who you are, and you have my permission. Do it, do it now, before I change my mind."
"Well, okay. Goodbye, Berra."
For the next thirty seconds, Takagi and Sato watched as "Eduwado" devoured "Berra" whole.
Then the movie was over.
"That last part was the most erotic thing I've ever seen," Takagi said.
"Yeah, the way that his fangs plunged into her..." Sato said, sighing dreamily.
Takagj grabbed the remote and turned the movie off. Both of them got up off the couch.
He looked at her and she looked at him.
"Don't even think about it," she said.
"T-think about what?"
"What was that?" Sato said.
They ran to the front to see a bloodied hand stuck through the broken glass and unlocking the door. Before they could stop him, the burglar had forced the door open.
"Takagi-kun, go grab a gun!" Sato said. "It's under the mattress in my...!"
But then an armed man emerged into the hallway from the bedroom.
Then another man smashed through the window and entered the house.
Within seconds, five armed men, all donned in ski masks and thick coats, surrounded Takagi and Sato.
"Put your hands where we can see 'em!" one of the men barked.
Not as though there was any other choice, Takagi and Sato reluctantly did so.
"Alright," one of them said. "Nobody has to die today, just tell us where the money is."
It wasn't lying on the floor of Sato's bedroom anymore; earlier they had decided on a safe place to hide it.
Neither of them spoke up.
One of them brandished his gun threateningly. "Hey, we asked you a question and we expect a f***ing answer!"
Takagi and Sato looked each other in the eye, wondering if they should just come out and say where the money was.
A sixth man entered through the door, holding a certain little boy that both Takagi and Sato recognized quite well.
"Conan-kun?!" Sato exclaimed.
"Hey, what the h**l, man?" one of the men said to the guy who was holding Conan.
"I found this kid snoopin' around the car. Whadja want me to do with him? Should I blow his brains out?"
The robbers turned back towards Takagi and Sato.
"You cops tend to have a rock-solid sense of duty," one of the robbers said. "I can respect that. Maybe you're stupid enough to throw your own lives away to keep the money out of our hands. But do you want this brat to die with you? Huh? Tell us where the money is, or we'll kill him, and then both of you. This is your last chance."
One of the thugs looked out the window. "Yo, somebody's bound to have called the cops. We'd better wrap this up quick."
While they were distracted, Conan used his wristwatch to stun the guy holding him. He dropped the ground and tried to make a run for it when another robber grabbed him by the back collar and literally threw him a few feet out.
Conan hit the ground hard. The robber came towards him menacingly.
Realizing he had to do something, Takagi swallowed and then ran at the robber who was threatening Conan.
That's right, he thought. If I can grab his gun, maybe I can flip the tables. Even if I die, maybe I can at least protect...
Takagi's face hit the floor, his head throbbing from being punched.
Then they gathered around and began beating the tar out of him, and roughing up Conan also.
Sato looked on, horrified, for about ten seconds, and afraid, both of betraying the confidence of her fellow police officers who had entrusted her with the safekeeping of the money, but also of letting this go on.
Finally she couldn't take it any more.
"ALRIGHT!" she screamed. "I'll TELL YOU where it is, so just STOP!"
They stopped and looked at her.
"It's in the top of the kitchen pantry."
Takagi, half-conscious, could hardly believe it.
They failed. He...failed...
Then everything went dark.