Character List:

Kataoka Isamu – Client

Adachi Niou – Missing Person


Ayumi and Ran took to the task of finding space in the office for the three of them. They worked for a few days, organizing files and furniture until they were at last able to squeeze three small desks alongside Shinichi's, formerly Kogoro's, work desk. They were little more than school desks but they would work for now. Ayumi, her hair tied back in a handkerchief, lovingly polished the marred wood of the second-hand desktops. She felt like she was walking on air. She had butterflies again, like when she was a new officer.

"Ayumi-chan!" Ran called from the kitchen "Why don't we take a break. I am exhausted. We can finish up after lunch."

Ayumi straightened, inspecting her work. Ran was right, Ayumi was sweating and her hands were tired from scrubbing and washing. The sun was streaming in through the wide windows, casting the shadow of "Mouri" in reverse on the carpet. Ran emerged carrying cold drinks and offered one to Ayumi.

"Ah! Thanks Ran!" She said and they sat together on the couch. Just as they had settled, they heard footsteps and voices on the stairs. Mitsuhiko and Genta appeared, carrying several boxes from a takeout restaurant.

"Ran-san! Ayumi! We thought you might like to have lunch with us!" Mitsuhiko said, offering the plastic boxes. He had traded his usual suit for a much more casual t shirt and jeans. Genta, however, was in his police uniform. He was still on duty for another week before his resignation was complete.

"How thoughtful." Ran said, taking the boxes and laying them on the coffee table. The boys took seats opposite Ran and Ayumi.

"Where is Shinichi?" Genta asked.

"Sulking somewhere. He's still not sure that you three should be allowed into the Agency. 'Meitentei Kudo' doesn't think he needs the help." Ran told them. The three exchanged nervous glances as Ran began to eat.

"He'll see." Ayumi said determinedly. The boys nodded and they all began to eat.

As they were finishing, Ayumi had begun to clear away the table when a faint knock come from the door to the office.

"I'll get it," Genta said and lumbered towards to door.

"Is this the Mouri Detective Agency?" A man asked, his voice quiet and distant. Genta told him it was and invited him in. Mitsuhiko signaled to Ayumi and they sat on one of the sofas, opposite Genta and the stranger. Ran, though out of sight, listened intently from the kitchen doorway.

The man was disheveled. His hair was un combed and his suit jacket wasn't buttoned. He had a small protruding belly and jowly cheeks. He ran his hands through his hair. Ayumi judged him to be in his forties at the latest but worse for the wear of life.

"I-uh, I got the right place?" He asked, looking between them.

"You do. What's on your mind?" Ayumi asked.

"That's what I'd like you to find out. My name is Kataoka Isamu. I'm retired. You understand? I live in town with my wife. But…You gotta help me. I'll pay you ¥50,000 a day to help me. I want you to find someone for me."

"Now, just calm down." Mitsuhiko said soothingly. "Tell us who you want us to find. And why."

"Listen to me. Listen to me!" He said frantically "The last few weeks a name keeps ringing in my head. I dream about it. 'Adachi Niou' over and over. 'Adachi Niou' I can't stop thinking about it."

"Maybe you read it somewhere. Or saw it on television." Genta suggested.

"I don't know where I picked it up. But I can't stop thinking about it." He said "You gotta do something about it. You gotta find this guy. Find out what's going on. I know he lives here in town, I just know it. But, I've checked the phone book and I asked around but nothing…nothing."

"Do you have any other information?" Ayumi asked. Kataoka shook his head.

"The story seems a little far-fetched." Mitsuhiko said "You want us to find a man you have no information about, who you're positive lives within the city but isn't listed in any records? It reeks of a prank to me."

"I brought the money along. Will ¥100,000 convince you?" Kataoka removed an evelope from his pocket and handed it Genta. He opened it and saw that was stacked with the promised money. He handed it to Ayumi. All of them exchanged glances. Their suspicions were high but the what sort of prankster would spend this money on a joke?

"If that's the case," Ayumi decided "I think we should take the case."

"Thank you! Thank you! But listen, take my private cell number. My wife isn't to know anything about it." Kataoka scribbled his number onto a piece of scrap paper.

"Why's that?" Mitsuhiko asked, taking the paper.

"She…She thinks I'm crazy. I think she hates me. She tells me to give up this whole deal and not think about it anymore." He said sadly.

"We'll do what we can, Kataoka-san." Genta said. "We'll get started right away and let you know if we find anything." The man thanked them profusely and Genta lead him to the door. The three looked at the envelope in Ayumi's hands. ¥100,000 was absolutely nothing to sneer at. Ran reappeared, ecstatic.

"I heard everything!" She said "Congratulations!"

"Shouldn't we check with Shinichi first?" Mitsuhiko asked "He may have something to say about this."

"Oh, shut it, Bengoshi!" Genta said, the title dripping with irony. "He said he would let us take a trial case so why not this one?"

"I agree with Genta!" Ayumi said "I think we should get to work right away and tell Shinichi about it once we have it solved."

"As always, the brain is out voted by the brawn…" Mitsuhiko sighed. Ayumi and Genta paid him little mind.

"Where should we start?" Ayumi said.

"I have to get back to my patrol," Genta said "But I think you and bengoshi over there should start asking questions about this Adachi Niou. Someone has to know who he is."

"And don't worry about Shinichi," Ran added "I'll take care of him. You guys get straight to work. I'm so excited for you!"