Author's Note: Well, I somewhat sheepishly present my first (rather unplanned) Detective Conan fan fiction. I guess this is what happens when you spend three days marathon reading the manga and combine that with a love of the supernatural, but here we are! There were a few other stories I saw in this vein around the site, but I thought I'd try my hand at writing one myself... In many ways, this is also something of a writing exercise for me, since I haven't actually sat down to write a story in half of forever.

Reviews are always more than welcome, and hopefully people aren't too out of character, considering this is the first time I've ever written for this series. It's a bit embarrassing, really...

EDIT: 5/22/16: I uploaded the revised version of this chapter, hopefully it goes through okay!

Blood and Snow

Chapter One

The Start of Something World Changing

Hattori Heiji wasn't exactly one to believe in the supernatural.

Sure, he carried the good luck charm that his childhood friend, Kazuha, gave him at all times on his person, but that seemed to be his limit in terms of belief in the supernatural. Even then, he didn't exactly fully believe in the supposed power of the charm, in spite of it saving the life of his best friend, Kudo Shinichi at one point. It was after all, something that could have been passed off as mere coincidence at the time. As far as Heiji believed, there wasn't exactly any reason to suspect that something like supernatural forces were at work, as there was no proof to attest to this fact.

Or any proof really, to attest to the existence of the supernatural at all, for that matter. Every piece of evidence of such things as ghosts and monsters that he had come across had always turned out to be faked in some manner- just a bunch of frauds. Until he actually encountered decisive proof that couldn't be argued against, he would be holding on to his skepticism, thank you very much.

And yet in spite of his firm skepticism, Hattori Heiji was now facing down that which he thought was impossible- irrefutable proof of the supernatural. His own eyes were showing him a different kind of reality than what he was used to, something that made him question his firmly held beliefs. What he was seeing should be impossible, he told himself. There had to be some sort of other explanation for it than what his mind found itself almost automatically jumping to. After all, he was a person of logic- a detective, hardly one to be given over to supernatural fantasies. And yet...

It was pretty hard to deny the existence of what was in front of him. What was coming at him, rather.

And to think that the day had started off so nice.

It was the early morning, the sun having only been up for about an hour or two on this winter day. There was a light snow falling, but it was already starting to clear up, clouds giving way to clear, blue skies. The sun was starting to peek out of the aforementioned clouds now, shining down on the white powder that equally coated the ground and the buildings alike. Just as the last of the snowfall was ceasing, a bus pulled up, carefully maneuvering it's way through the snowy roads.

"We're finally here~" Came a girl's tired voice as the doors to the bus opened up. Stretching a bit and glancing behind her, she looked towards her companions. "Come on, hurry up!"

"We're coming Sonoko, just a second." Light blue eyes flickered briefly over towards her friend, before glancing down to the young boy who sat next to her. "Come on, Conan-kun, let's go." She said, smiling down at him as she stood up and offered him a hand to help him out of the bus. "I bet you and Ai-chan are looking forward to trying out the slopes, right? I hear this ski resort has some pretty good ones for kids." She noted, briefly glancing over at the young girl who was getting out of the seat behind them.

"Mm, we sure are, Ran-neechan!" Came the perky, chipper sounding voice of the young boy with glasses next to her. Conan took the hand offered, getting off the seat and grabbing the bag he had carried on with him, all while letting off an irritated internal sigh that didn't breach his face at being treated like a kid, once again. He was perfectly capable of getting down without that helping hand. Of course, since it was Ran's hand, he decided against letting his protests show on his face.

Well, when you looked exactly like a kid, he supposed it was unavoidable that people would treat you as one- however frustrating it might be.

"Does he even know how to ski?" Sonoko asked incredulously, glancing down at Conan as he came off the bus with Ran, Ai following behind the pair. "He doesn't exactly look like the type."

"I do!" Conan protested. He did, in fact. Granted, he hadn't gone skiing that often since having his body shrunken- but he did know how to ski, and thought himself fairly good at it.

"Well, if he says so." Sonoko said, arching an eyebrow, remaining unconvinced, shifting her bag on her shoulder. "Well, for now, let's get checked in, I guess." She said, glancing over towards the ski lodge where they would be staying over the next three days.

"That's right. Do you both have everything from the bus?" Ran asked, glancing back at Conan and Ai, to which the pair nodded in acknowledgment. She still was holding Conan's hand in her own, worried that he would wander off somewhere as he was wont to do sometimes- of course, that was mostly during investigations, but he'd been known to do it off and on in other situations too. It was almost as if he didn't feel that he needed to company of an adult (or at least, someone of an older age) around him. Ai was a bit similar, but the air of maturity she exuded had Ran convinced she could at least walk about without the need of someone holding her hand.

"Ah, that's right." Sonoko said, as if suddenly remembering. "We're meeting someone here, right? Kazuha-chan and her boyfriend~ right?" She said, the part coming out rather teasingly, followed by a playful grin that matched her tone of voice.

"That's right." Ran said, nodding her head. "Ah, but I wouldn't say that sort of thing in front of either of them. Kazuha-chan still hasn't said anything and Hattori-kun's a bit... clueless on that matter." She said, putting it lightly.

"Tch, after all this time?" Sonoko said, half rolling her eyes as they trudged towards the ski lodge. "I can't decide which of you guys is worse- you and Shinichi-kun, or those two." She shrugged her shoulders. "Well, I guess at least Shinichi-kun has the excuse of not being around." She paused, tilting her head to one side as if considering her words. "Or rather, doesn't that make him the worse? He can't even be bothered to hang around you, too busy with whatever weirdo case that's been taking up so much of his time. Some genius detective he is if he can't solve a single case after all this time."

I'm right here, oi. Conan couldn't help but think to himself, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. The brief snicker he heard from Ai's direction didn't exactly help matters much. It wasn't exactly like it was by choice, either- if he had any say in the matter, he would be normal sized and would be going on this ski trip with Ran as Shinichi, and not Conan.

"It's not like that." Ran protested, holding up her free hand. "I'm sure Shinichi would be here if he could. It's can't be helped that's he's been busy. He's a bit famous, after all." She said, sounding a little sheepish about the implications of Sonoko's words, but not exactly denying them either.

"Well, whatever." Sonoko shrugged her shoulders, pushing open the door to the lodge. "Anyways, did they say they'd be here before or after us? If we're going to take advantage of that prize package that you won, don't we all need to be here for it?" She asked, glancing back at Ran.

That was the cause of the ski trip, a three day, two night prize package that Ran had won from a raffle. Of course, as it turned out, it would be null and void if she didn't have five other people besides herself to bring along with her. Thus resulting in a quick call to Kazuha, in order to confirm with the Osakan girl that she and Heiji could make it to the trip, to which the answer was a slightly hesitant yes. Ran had heard that Kazuha couldn't really ski, and wondered if she was really doing the right thing by inviting her along- she didn't want to put her on the spot or make her feel uncomfortable going somewhere that she might not have any fun in. But it seemed like her excitement over seeing Ran again won out, not to mention Heiji's enthusiasm over seeing Conan again, who he appeared to have grown rather close to.

It was cute, really. The two of them acted just like brothers- though Ran admitted that she was a little worried about Conan's habit of imitating Heiji when it came to investigating crime scenes.

"I'm not really sure- I think we could just hang out in the lobby for awhile until they come, if they aren't already here. I don't think it should take them that long to catch up if that's case..." Ran drifted off a bit as she followed Sonoko in, scanning the lodge, looking for the Osakan pair.

"Ah!" Conan pointed off somewhere, before glancing up at Ran with big smile. "There's Heiji-niichan and Kazuha-neechan!" He said, enthusiastically. Part of that wasn't exactly faked, Conan was more than pleased at a chance to see his friend and rival again (and perhaps, hopefully, to have a peaceful trip with him where no dead bodies or missing people turned up).

"Ah." Heiji's ears perked up upon hearing Conan's voice, glancing in the direction it came from. Spotting the quartet, he flashed a grin towards them, setting down the hot chocolate he'd been drinking and heading over towards them. "About time you four turned up! I was startin' to suspect the whole lot of you had gotten lost."

"You're here earlier than I suspected you would be." Ran confessed, letting go of Conan's hand now that they were safely inside, sure that he would like to talk with Heiji himself. "Sorry about that, considering that I was the one who brought the trip up and everything." She apologized.

"Ah, don't worry about it." Heiji said, waving a hand. Jerking back his hand, he pointed towards Kazuha without really looking at her. "This idiot had to drag us out 'ere this early."

"Who's the idiot?" Kazuha huffed, joining them. "If we'd done it your way, Heiji, we'd be here super late and cause problems for Ran-chan."

Heiji gave her a rather unconvinced look, but decided not to argue the subject, his attention instead turning towards Conan, a broad smile appearing on his face. "Yo, Ku-" he stopped himself quickly, realizing what he was about to say, "...Conan-kun." He corrected himself, playfully reaching over to ruffle his hair, the teasing look on his face hinting that he knew full well that Conan didn't particularly care for this, but was just messing with him anyways. He got the usual glare from the pint-sized detective in response, but it didn't make Heiji's grin flinch in the slightest. "Been a while!"

"Same here, Heiji-niichan!" Conan said, donning the mask of the chipper child once more, wishing that Heiji could take a little more care with his words. For all that he trusted Heiji implicitly, the so-called Detective of the West wasn't exactly the world's best liar. "I'm glad you could make it!"

"Oh, I see you brought along Ai-chan too." Kazuha noted, glancing down at the light brown haired girl. She'd never really spoken to her all that much, and something about the strange mature air that she gave off was a little off-putting, but at the same time, she found herself wanting to know a bit more about her. She was probably just another precocious kid, just like Conan, considering how often the two were found around the other, talking almost in secret.

"That's right. I was going to invite dad along at first..." Ran said, not noticing Heiji's grimace in the background. "But he said he wasn't really interested. So I asked Conan-kun if any of the Detective Boys were free to come along." She explained. Although Conan had told her that the rest of the Detective Boys were busy, in truth the only person he had asked was Ai, and never really intended to ask any of the others. For one thing, he wasn't convinced that they would be able to decide between themselves fairly which one would go, and the other three would probably still want to come along anyways, adding an extra cost to the trip that he wasn't sure the Mouris had the funds to pay for.

"I see!" Kazuha said, nodding her head. "I hope we get along, Ai-chan!" She offered the supposedly younger girl her hand, smiling broadly at her.

"Likewise." Ai said after a brief moment, taking Kazuha's hand and giving it a small shake.

"Well, we're all here now, so why don't we check in?" Sonoko offered, having observed the reunion between friends. "Ran, you have the prize certificate, right?" She asked.

"Right here." The dark brown haired girl said, pulling the certificate out of her bag, where she had put it for safe-keeping. "I'll be back in a second." She said, then paused, glancing back. "I'm assuming Conan-kun and Hattori-kun will want to stay in a room together... Ai-chan, do you want to stay with the three of us? I can't imagine you would want to room with two boys."

"Yes, that would be fine." Ai said, smiling slightly at Ran. "If it's not too much trouble."

"Not at all!" Ran said happily. She was able to talk to Ai more often these days. Usually, the girl was so withdrawn and had been hard to get along with at first. It seemed like she was actually trying to be hard to get along with at first, to be honest- but after awhile, that had melted away a bit. She still gave off a bit of an unapproachable air sometimes, as if she carried some sort of burden on her shoulders (but what kind of burden could a seven year old girl possibly have?), but it mellowed out a bit once you got to know her some. Room arrangements decided, Ran headed over to the main desk where she went through the process of checking them in and getting their room keys. After listening to the various information provided by the clerk, such as when meals would be served and when the baths would be open, she headed back to the rest of the group, room keys in hand.

"A pair of keys for you two." She began, handing a key to Heiji and Conan each, with a light reminder to Conan to not lose it. "And keys for the rest of us." She said, passing out the remaining room keys to Kazuha, Sonoko, and Ai. "Our rooms are right next to each other, on the second floor." She told them, before repeating the information that the man at the desk had provided her with.

"Then, why don't we go put our stuff down and hit the slopes?" Sonoko asked, glancing around the group. "Maybe we can find a cute ski instructor for you to hang out with to make Shinichi-kun jealous~" She suggested, leaning on Ran's shoulder a bit, a playful look crossing her face.

Conan twitched a bit at the suggestion, and was secretly pleased when Ran, a bundle of nerves, blew of the offer, much to Sonoko's great disappointment. No doubt Sonoko would go about finding one for herself though- it was easy to forget she was dating someone herself, at times.

"Then, we'll meet up back in the lodge around..." Ran paused briefly, to glance at her watch. "Let's see, around twelve thirty. That should give us plenty of time to get some lunch when they serve it at one." She said, before glancing down at Conan. "Will you be alright with Hattori-kun, Conan-kun?" She asked him, leaning down a little bit in order to make better eye contact.

"Yes!" Conan nodded, grateful that he would be sharing a room with Heiji. Trying to act like a proper little kid all the time could get rather exhausting. "It'll be fun to talk with Heiji-niichan!"

"Alright then!" Ran said, smiling at him before straightening back up. "Then, let's find our rooms."

As they were putting their things away, Heiji couldn't help but let out a big yawn, catching Conan's attention.

The shrunken detective glanced over at his friend, raising an eyebrow. "So exactly how early did Kazuha get you up this morning?"

"Too early." Heiji said dryly, rolling his eyes in remembrance. It wasn't like he was a stranger to early morning hours, often waking up early to get in some kendo practice- but there was a limit to even that. "Not enough coffee in the world. Don't know how she's not tired herself."

"It's a mystery." Conan said, shrugging his shoulders. "Not really one I care to solve either. Speaking of which, how has that been going for you?" He asked, unzipping his bag and pulling out his clothes, starting to stow them away in the provided dresser.

"I've solved four cases since I've seen you last." Heiji declared, holding up his fingers to display the number in question. "Which considerin' it was all of last month that I did 'em, it manages to be both an accomplishment and a bit distressin' actually." He admitted, rubbing the back of his head a bit. "Such much for our nation's low crime rates."

Conan snorted a bit in response. "Well, hopefully this will be a normal trip for once, without any kind of calamity." He paused then, glancing around nervously for a moment as if he expected to hear a scream of some kind. When none came, he visibly relaxed somewhat, heaving a sigh. It was becoming something of a grim running joke that the two of them couldn't go anywhere without someone tripping over a dead body- on occasion, doing so very literally. It would be nice, for once, to have a normal vacation with his friend.

Well, as normal as one could get when you had been shrunken down to a seven year old.

"By the way, from the way Neechan doesn't seem to be worried 'bout comin' here, I guess she hasn't heard about the rumors about this place?" Heiji asked, quirking an eyebrow.

"Rumors?" Conan asked, glancing up at Heiji. "What rumors?" He asked again. Though, knowing Ran as he did, he had an inkling of what the rumors could be about. There was one thing that his childhood friend hated more than anything- and that would be ghost stories.

"Vampires." Heiji said, a slight chuckle could be heard in his voice as if he himself thought the idea was laughable. "Apparently maybe around a hundred years ago, there was some kind of vampiric killer that used to lurk around this area. Supposedly they sealed 'em up somewhere in this very area, deep inside his mansion or somethin' like that."

"Vampires?" Conan said skeptically, eyebrows arched. "I would have suspected another story about Yukionna, or maybe a even Yeti, but vampires- really?"

"Well, that's what I heard." Heiji said, shrugging his shoulders. "Thought it was a bit strange myself. Well, hopefully Neechan won't learn about it, wouldn't wanna spoil the trip she's been looking for-" He was cut off then by a small shriek from Ran next door and heaved a sigh, rubbing his forehead. It didn't take a genius or a detective to know that was not exactly the same kind of scream she let out whenever she stumbled over a dead body. "Annd someone just told her huh."

"Sounds like it. Probably Sonoko." Conan said, heaving a sigh himself. "Well, if it's vampires, at least she should be calm while it's still light out." He reasoned. "Not that there would ever be any such thing in the first place."

"I know, right?" Heiji said, grinning a little as he finished unpacking. "By the way, Kudo." He began, glancing over at the Detective of the East. "Are you sure you can even keep up with me with that shrimpy body of yours? I'd hate to leave you behind in the dust." He asked him, changing the topic with one of his usual mischievous grins.

Conan shot a glare back towards him. "I think I can handle keeping up with a hot blooded detective. Be careful not to melt all the snow in your wake, Hattori." He shot back.

"Oh, interesting!" Heiji grinned, taking this as a challenge. "You're on then, Kudo."

"Are you sure you'll be fine, Kazuha-chan?" Ran questioned, looking somewhat unconvinced. Although the story that Sonoko had told her earlier still worried her, she'd decided to dismiss it as just a silly rumor- she'd come here to have fun, after all! Besides, it was still broad daylight, so there wasn't anything to worry about right now to begin with. "We came all this way to ski after all... You don't even want to try?" Ai had already decided to stay in their room and read some novels, so she was a bit disappointed that Kazuha wouldn't be joining them either.

"Well." Kazuha began, sounding a bit sheepish. "Skiing isn't really my thing, you know, Ran-chan. I'll be fine here in the lobby. It's quite pretty here, actually!" She assured her friend.

"Are you sure you don't want to find a good looking ski instructor to teach you in order to make a certain someone jealous~." Sonoko suggested in her usual teasing manner, clearly having not quite given up on that idea yet.

Kazuha blushed at the suggestion, shaking her head. "There's no way he'd even care about something like that to start with!" She said, mouth twisting into a slight frown as she thought about it. She'd tried to confess to Heiji any number of times... and it just never really worked out for her. There were a few times, even, when she thought he was about to confess to her- but that never really worked out either. She was left sort of at a loss about how Heiji really felt about her. She knew beyond a fraction of doubt that the two of them were close friends, and that there was no force on earth that could change that, in spite of how much they argued with each other. She just didn't know if the two of them would ever progress beyond that.

"You're no fun." Sonoko pouted, shrugging her shoulders. "Anyways, you should give it a try, Kazuha-chan. You won't get any better if you just avoid it." She pointed out.

"That's true, but..." Kazuha began, before she got cut off.

"If you don't want to go skiing, why don't you give me a hand then?" The friendly voice that spoke up was that of a young woman's, who appeared to be in her early twenties, a photographer, from the looks of the equipment peeking out from her duffel bag and the camera around her neck. She had a curly mess of black hair that was currently being held back in short ponytail, clipped out of her eyes with silver and gold hair clips, and dark brown eyes. Her jacket was a rather shocking pink color, impossible to miss. "Ah, pardon me. I couldn't help but overhear you girls." She said, seeming a little bit flustered at having revealed herself to be eavesdropping, however inadvertently. "Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Yukishiro Riko. I'm staying at this lodge myself."

"Ah, I'm Mouri Ran." Ran introduced herself, then glanced over at both of her friends. "These are my friends, Suzuki Sonoko and Toyama Kazuha." She introduced the two of them, both of whom nodded back in acknowledgement to Riko. "Are you perhaps a photographer, Yukishiro-san?" She inquired.

"That's right!" She said cheerfully. "I take photographs for various nature magazines." She told the girls. "Are you three here on a girl's trip?" She asked them, glancing between them.

"Ah, not really." Kazuha said. "There's three other people along with us too, but they aren't here at the moment." She told her. "We won a trip in a raffle. Or, well, Ran-chan did." She told Riko.

"I see. How lucky!" Riko said. "I never win anything. I have the worst luck with those things. The most I've ever won are tissue packets." She told them with a small chuckle.

"What's this about helping you, though?" Kazuha asked, sounding a bit curious. It would give her something to do, after all, and a good excuse not to make a fool of herself out on the slopes.

"You see, I was hired to take photos of the area surrounding the lodge for their website and fliers. I was actually supposed to meet my assistant, Masaru, here today- but he just called me and told me that he wouldn't be able to make it. Seems like he got a bad case of food poisoning last night. If you ask me though, he just wanted to avoid the cold." She chuckled. "Well, it's put me in a bit of a bind, seeing as I've got a deadline in two days, and I'm not really sure I'll be able to manage everything by myself. It's not impossible, but... well, it's definitely not the ideal situation either."

"I see. That certainly does troublesome." Kazuha said, considering the offer. "But I don't really know much about photography."

"That's okay, you don't really have to." Riko told her. "Mostly it's just a lot of carrying things and setting things up." She told her. "Not much technical stuff, but a lot of work. And you look like a strong girl, after all! I'm afraid I'm a little lacking on the physical strength side." She admitted, teetering a little to the side her bag was slung over as if in example.

"Mm, I guess it sounds a bit fun." Kazuha said after a moment. "Sure, why not? Ah, but I have to meet everyone back here by twelve thirty for lunch, at least." She recalled, glancing over at Sonoko and Ran.

"No problem! I should be heading in for lunch myself at that time." Riko told her with a bright smile, seemingly pleased at having found some help. "You're such a nice girl!" She complimented her brightly. Setting down her bag, she rubbed the shoulder that it had been hanging on for a moment, making a small face as if were sore from just this short period of time. "I had to cram most of my stuff into this bag since Masaru wasn't around... if you give me just a second, I'll go back to my room and get another bag to split things up in. My room's just on the first floor, so shouldn't take more than a second." She told Kazuha.

"Sure, I'll watch this one!" Kazuha agreed, before turning back to Ran and Sonoko. "So there you have it. I guess I'll be helping Yukishiro-san." She told the pair. "You two have fun skiing." She paused, and then, as an afterthought, put her hand on Ran's shoulder, and lowered her voice somewhat. "Ran-chan, keep an eye on Heiji, will ya? I want to make sure that he's not taking this chance to flirt with any pretty girls." For all that she wasn't entirely sure as to what their own relationship status was, to hell with it if she was going to let Heiji flirt with strange women.

"Alright, I'll keep an eye on him." Ran laughed a little. For someone who wasn't actually dating him, Kazuha could get rather possessive of Heiji. On the other hand, she often found herself feeling the same way about Shinichi, so she supposed that she could hardly talk.

"So you came along with your childhood friend and two kids who live in Mouri-san's neighborhood, huh?" Riko asked curiously, having selected a location from which to take photographs for the moment. The gentle snow from earlier in the morning had already disappeared, leaving it a rather clear, sunny day, perfect for taking some photos. She was sizing up the spot with her hands, trying to determine which would be the best shots to take.

"That's right." Kazuha said, setting down the bag she was carrying and setting it down, crouching over to unzip it. "Since I'm from Osaka, I don't get many chances to see Ran-chan, so I take them as they come. Even if they involve something I'm not any good at." She told her. "Well, Heiji is always eager to see Conan-kun, so he wanted to come along too. They get along really well, like brothers." She told Riko. "Yukishiro-san, what do you need for your shots?"

"Ah, that's right." Riko came over crouching down and pulling out a tripod. "Could you set this, let's see..." She trailed off, eyes scanning the area around them. "How about over there, by that fallen log?" She asked Kazuha, pointing over towards it. She nodded as Kazuha took it from her. "That's right, that's perfect!"

"And? This childhood friend of yours is named Heiji?" She asked Kazuha, while taking a final survey of the area, and nodding to herself. "From what I heard earlier, it sounds a bit like you want something more from that..." She commented innocently, laughing a little as Kazuha's face lit up like a Christmas tree. "Well, it's none of my business, I suppose. My friends are always telling me that I'm too nosy for my own good! I can't help it though. What's interesting is interesting!" She admitted, trudging through the snow to where Kazuha was.

"Well, I sometimes feel that way..." Kazuha admitted, sounding a bit sheepish herself, awkwardly shifting her feet back and forth in the snow. "I've tried confessing to him before, but it usually doesn't go very well." She told her. "It doesn't help that more than half the time, he's up to his ears in a case or something like that. It just seems like he's always busy with something these days, you know?"

"Case?" Riko asked, glancing over at her as she removed the camera that was slung around her neck. "What do you mean by that?"

"Ah, he's something of a detective." Kazuha told her, scratching her cheek a bit. "He's known in some circles as the Great Detective of the West. He's solved a bunch of cases in the past. I think he gets it from his father."

"A detective, huh?" Riko said, a considering look on her face. "Do you think I could possibly consult with him on a matter that's been bothering me?" She asked her.

"What do you mean?" Kazuha inquired.

"Well you see," Riko began, moving to unzip her jacket, pulling it back a bit. Around her neck, concealed by the jacket, was a necklace pendent on a golden chain, a gold fan backing holding a teardrop shaped pearl in place. "It's about this." She said, holding the pendent up a bit so that Kazuha could see it. "It was passed down to me from my great-great grandmother. I don't really look it, since there haven't really been any foreigners in the family since then, but she was British." She told her. "It was the last great work of a famous English jewelry maker who was close to my great-great grandmother. Part of a set, actually. He made them for her wedding not long before he passed away."

"Heh, it's pretty." Kazuha commented, to which Riko smiled, zipping her jacket back up again, the cold air already starting to seep into her bones.

"Isn't it?" Riko said, beaming. "He also made a pair of earrings and two bracelets to be worn with it for her, but due to various circumstances, this is the only piece we have left." She told her. "Naturally as his last piece, it's pretty valuable, so I've always had a lot of people bothering me to sell it. That's nothing new." She told her. "But since it's the last piece of something that was important to my great-great grandmother, I don't like the idea of having to part with it. I'd really like to keep it in the family."

"At any rate, recently, I've been getting some strange notes in my mailbox." Riko confessed. "It seems whoever is sending them wants to get their hands on my necklace no matter what." She told Kazuha. "It's getting to be a bit of problem... they've even gone so far as to breaking into my house once." Upon hearing a slight gasp from Kazuha, she shook her hands in front of her, as if to alleviate the girl's worries. "I wasn't home then, and it seems like they ran away almost as soon as they got the door open, so nothing went missing... As for the necklace, I always wear it wherever I go, so it wasn't even left at home in the first place."

"Ran away?" Kazuha inquired. "They took all that effort to break in just to flee straight away?" She asked her. It seemed a bit strange.

"Ah, that's probably because of my dog, Tarou." Riko said with a small laugh. "He's a pure blooded Doberman, so he can look a bit intimidating, so I guess he ran straight for the door and scared them away." She chuckled a little at that. "Whoever they are must not know me very well though- Tarou is well known in the neighborhood for being a sweet dog. Whenever someone comes to the door, he's right there, wanting to play with them. But I guess to a complete stranger, it could be somewhat intimidating..."

"That's certainly true. I could see how someone could get the wrong idea, especially if they were breaking into the place." Kazuha nodded her head. "From what I gather, you want to ask Heiji to find out who is sending these notes, right?" She asked her.

"That's right, if it wouldn't be too much trouble." Riko said. "I've asked the police to look into the matter as well, but they don't seem to be coming up with any answers... and I'd sort of like this to be taken care of as soon as possible, before I start getting all paranoid about it."

"I'll mention it to him at lunch then!" Kazuha told her, giving her a smile. "I'm sure he'd be happy to help you, Yukishiro-san!"

"Ah, wonderful." Riko said, clapping her hands. "That takes a load off of my mind, Toyama-san." Clearing her throat. "Well, with that out of the way, how about we do what we came here for and take some pictures?"

Time quickly marched on, and before long, everyone had gathered together back at the lodge in order to eat lunch. Heiji and Conan hadn't really seemed to settle their skiing grudge match from earlier, not judging from the way the both of them were eyeing each other across the table, as if silently telling the other that they would finish this after they ate lunch. Ran assured Kazuha that Heiji was far too busy competing with Conan to flirt with any girls. When she asked Ran about the time she had spent helping out Riko, Kazuha quickly got into the story she had heard from the photographer.

"So she's gettin' a bunch of threatening notes, and someone tried to break into her house, huh?" Heiji asked, after hearing the story. Part of him, as excited as he was at the prospect of a case falling into his lap, was also hoping that it stayed at a bunch of notes and an attempted break in. He'd already experienced how quickly this type of thing could escalate. "Obviously from someone who knows about the value of that fancy necklace. What do you think, Ku-no, Conan-kun?" He asked glancing over at the shrunken detective, who was sitting between Ai and Ran.

"Well, it would be a good idea to see the notes in question." Conan said thoughtfully, putting off munching on some rice. "They obviously don't know her well enough to know that she keeps the necklace with her at all times, and aren't aware of her dog's personality." He theorized.

"But it sounds pretty. I sure would like to see it myself." Sonoko said. "How nice, to have an exclusive set of jewelry designed by someone so famous for your wedding." She said, her expression hinting at the fact that she was envisioning her own wedding, with said fancy jewelry, most likely between her and Makoto. There was, of course, also the distinct possibility she might be picturing her groom as Kaito Kid- or perhaps both of them, knowing Sonoko.

"I'm sure she would show you them if you asked." Kazuha said, setting down her chopsticks. "She said she was going back to her room to get some things for the next shoot, but she would be down in awhile." She told them, pushing her chair back a little. "I'm going to step out for a second myself- I was hungrier than I thought! Watch my things while I get some seconds?" She asked them, standing up. As she did, there was a small sound, of something falling out of her jacket pocket. Blinking, she peered down, wondering what it could have been. She hadn't put anything in there, had she?

"Is this it?" Ai offered, the object coming to rest against her foot. Leaning down underneath the table, she picked it up, revealing it to be a film canister.

"Probably." Kazuha said, leaning across the table to take it with a small frown. "It looks like on of Yukishiro-san's film canisters... I wonder how it got in my jacket." She said, giving it a brief shake. There was a strange clatter inside the canister, though it also seemed to be muted by something.

Even from across the table, the sound caught Heiji's attention. "That doesn't exactly sound like film. Let me see it fer a second." Heiji asked, extending a hand to take it, a small frown appearing on his face as Kazuha passed it over to him. Uncorking the lid, he frowned a bit, before reaching in to pull out it's contents. Dangling from one hand was a golden chain, and sure enough, attached to it was the pendent in question. The other hand held a small, folded white piece of paper.

"Eh?" Kazuha blinked. "That's Yukishiro-san's necklace... what was it doing inside my jacket pocket?" She asked, sounding confused.

Silent still, Heiji unfolded the note in question, eyes scanning over it. Conan had come around to his side of the table, and was reading over it as well. As they read, their expressions turned grim, and Heiji looked up at Kazuha. "Was there ever a time while takin' pictures that this Yukishiro-san began to act strangely? Or did you notice anythin' out of the ordinary?"

"Strangely?" Kazuha began, a worried look coming across her face. She knew what that expression on Heiji's face meant- and she knew that it usually meant nothing good. "Now that you mention it, when we were heading back to the lodge, she suddenly got a phone call. Before she took that call, I think she was planning coming straight in to have lunch, but she changed her mind suddenly, and went back to her room at first. It seemed the call bothered her a little, but..." she trailed off, as if something clicked together in her mind.

Just a few seconds later, a shriek let loose from the floor just above them.

It seemed like this case wasn't going to simply stop at some notes and an attempted break in, after all.