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|Release date||September 13, 2013|
The novel was released on September 13, 2013 and was published by Seikaisha along with illustrations by Rui Komatsuzaki.
Publishing company Seikaisha announced the novel on June 3, 2013.
DSC (Detective Shelf Collection)
Each detective has an ID, with a DSC number. Detectives register in what is known as the Detective Library to get their ID (Kyoko only registered recently when the novel begins, so she's the starting rank of 9). The Detective Library contains files on 65,000 detectives, their information made public so that anyone can view them and choose the detective relevant to whatever is bothering them for a case.
The DSC number has three numbers. The first number signifies what their specialty is, with the second number going into a bit more detail of that specialty. The last number signifies their rank, for example:
Eigo Amino (Age 35) - DSC 367 - Business crime - Business spies - Rank 7.
Shita Enbi (Age 28) - DSC 245 - National crime - Terrorism - Rank 5.
Kou Inuzuka (Age 41) - DSC 943 - Murder - Locked room - Rank 3.
Kyoko Kirigiri (Age 13) - DSC 919 - Murder - Impossible crime - Rank 9.
Yui Samidare (Age 16) - DSC 888 - Freedom crime - Kidnapping - Rank 8.
The DSC Detective Library classification goes as follows:
0 - General - General.
1 - Religious crime - Brainwashing, illegal teachings, etc.
2 - National crime - Terrorism, rebellion, destructive action, etc.
3 - Business crime - Fake currency, embezzlement, breach of trust, etc.
4 - Nature crime - Destruction of nature, poaching, illegal disposal, etc.
5 - Technology crime - Illegal access, using the internet to swindle, etc.
6 - Sex industry crime - Prostitution, gambling, etc.
7 - Art crime - Art theft, counterfeit selling, etc.
8 - Freedom crime - Threatening, confinement, kidnapping (acts that take away one's freedom), etc.
9 - Murder - Mugging with murder, murder in locked rooms, etc.
The higher detectives get in rank, the lower their number becomes. The highest rank is 0 and they are known as zero-class. When their middle number becomes 0, it means that they have mastery over a wide range of topics in a particular branch, making them double-zero-class. 00 class alone means they are a pretty famous detective and the top of the crime. However, there are also those who become triple-zero-class, making them legends. While the Detective Library has been active for about 15 years, only four people have managed to achieve 000 class.
First Black Letter
Hear me, Detective. Listen to the cries of the Black.
Place — Sirius Astronomical Observatory — 30,000,000 yen
Weapon — Large clippers — 5,000,000 yen
Weapon — Anesthetic chemical — 5,000,000 yen
Trick — Murder in pieces — 80,000,000 yen
Total cost — 120,000,000 yen
This detective is summoned according to the above cost — Yui Samidare.
Second Black Letter
Hear me, Detective. Listen to the cries of the Black.
Place — Norman's Hotel — 80,000,000 yen
Weapon — Knife — 5,000,000 yen
Weapon — Revolver — 15,000,000 yen
Weapon — Hammer — 3,000,000 yen
Weapon — Rope — 3,000,000 yen
Weapon — Automobile — 10,000,000 yen
Trick — Locked Room — 100,000,000 yen
Trick — Disappearing Act — 100,000,000 yen
Other — Cash — 1,000,000,000 yen
Total cost — 1,316,000,000 yen
This detective is summoned according to the above cost — Suisei Nanamura.
Volume 1 Summary
Sirius Astronomical Observatory Murder Case 1
A young girl awakes on the ground with tears streaming down her face and her right arm handcuffed to a bed. She doesn't remember if she is crying because of a sad incident or because of 'that' dream. She tries to gather her thoughts and remembers that she arrived with 4 other detectives at Sirius Astronomical Observatory to meet a client. A sign that read “Welcome to Delightful Sirius Astronomical Observatory” is crossed out to read “Welcome to Despair Sirius Astronomical Observatory.”
She gradually remembers that her name is Yui, and that she and the other detectives must have been tricked as the client never showed up, but instead, they ended up in this situation. Yui frees herself by lifting the bed a little and releasing the chain and goes to examine her surroundings. She spots Kyoko lying unconscious on the ground next to blood-stained hedge clippers and hesitates to go near her.
Yui finds the other detectives lying on beds; decapitated with their bodies switched around. With a heavy snowstorm outside to prevent anyone from getting in or out, and the fact that only she and Kyoko are alive, Yui suspects the unconscious girl of killing them. Her suspicions deepen when she spots the key for Yui's handcuffs in Kyoko's grip.
Kyoko awakens at the sound of the handcuffs click, and after spotting the clippers, slowly reaches out for them. Yui quickly handcuffs Kyoko's left hand to a chair, afraid of what Kyoko would do with the clippers and confronts Kyoko on her suspicions of her being the murderer. Kyoko denies killing anyone and begins recalling of what she remembers from before the current situation: All five of them were alive and chatting in the hall when a white smoke fills the room. Everyone apart from Kyoko drops to the ground unconscious, and she quickly pretends to be knocked out to see how the events proceed. However, the murderer comes up behind Kyoko and places a cloth drenched in a chemical to make sure she was knocked out for sure. Kyoko recalls how she gripped the culprit's hand before blacking out, which was a mans hand, and concludes that Yui being the murderer was out of the question.
Yui then ties Kyoko's other hand to the chair with her hair ribbon and continues to investigate her surroundings to make sure no one else apart from her and Kyoko were in the room.
Yui thinks through the details of the murder and how they resemble a black letter which was delivered to her a few days ago. Kyoko asks to read it, which Yui complies with, and announces that this wasn't a normal murder scene, but instead, they were pawns in a game.
Duel Noir 1
This chapter is the only chapter written from the criminal’s point of view. The unnamed criminal is in the hospital waiting room, waiting to receive painkillers because his leg hurts. An old man sitting next to him strikes up a conversation, hinting that he knows more about Unnamed than he ought to. Unnamed thinks that the old man is part of some religious cult or the press, but the old man gives him his business card which reads “Salvation for Victims of Crime Committee — Tokichiro Endo.” Tokichiro wants Unnamed to think of the Committee as a non-profit organization that has no connections with the government. Unnamed scoffs, thinking they’re probably like a religious cult anyway — they get close to victims with promises then ask for a ton of money.
Just as Unnamed is about to leave, Tokichiro asks him, “Don’t you want revenge?”
It seems that five years ago, Unnamed was living an average proper life with a proper job, until everything was taken from him. Unnamed was living in a neighborhood where arson occurred continuously, with no one able to catch the arsonist. One day, Unnamed too got caught in the fire along with his wife and two-year-old son. While they all came out with heavy burns, he was the only one to survive. A detective eventually caught on that the arson was made in locations that formed a star on a map, and easily deducted that it was the work of an astrologist who lived in the center of that “star.” However, when the detective came down upon the astrologist’s residence, the astrologist had already burned to death and the case was wrapped up as an arson-ending-in-suicide.
Unnamed had let his hate grow since the time of his accident, because he wanted to take it out on the criminal, but with the astrologist dead, he didn't know where to vent his hatred at anymore. Because of his physical state, he lost his job and now spends his life on government funds. Here he was filled with hatred, disgust at how his life was like now, as well as a strong desire to start a new life. And here was an old man who said he would be able to give him the very things he wanted — revenge and a new life. Unnamed decides to hear Tokichiro out.
Tokichiro tells him that the real criminal is still at large. But before he is to tell Unnamed who that criminal is, Unnamed is to accept certain conditions first. Unnamed suspects money, but Tokichiro says that the condition is that he must exact his revenge on the real criminal and kill him. “Revenge” is what their Committee calls “salvation.” To achieve this salvation, Unnamed must have “determination” to kill, the “money” to kill, and the “technique” to kill. But since many people, including Unnamed, are amateurs when it comes to technique, the Committee will formulate the perfect murder scenario for him for a fee. Unnamed scoffs and goes to leave again, thinking that this is some elaborate story to get money out of him, but Tokichiro says that the Committee will gather up funds for him and thus Tokichiro will not have to pay anything.
The reason for this, Tokichiro says, is because there are certain people in the world who love to gamble — not on horses, but on people with revenge in their hearts who strive to get away with the perfect crime. When the Committee recruits promising people like Unnamed, they get sponsors who provide for the funds for the “salvation” process. For the Committee to formulate a plan for Unnamed, he would use his funds to buy “cards” from them that contain the various elements that become his murder plan. These “cards” are particularly pricey — for example, in a previous murder plan the Committee formed for someone else, the card for “metal bat” was worth 300,000 yen. Unnamed wonders who the heck would pay 300,000 yen for a metal bat that they could just buy in any sports store, but Tokichiro says that that is because this metal bat is worth that price. This metal bat would not have any lingering hints attached to it, such as the make or origin that it can be traced to, security cameras in the store that could catch you buying this bat, etc. All for the perfect crime.
However, with every gamble there must be a thrill. And so, after the Committee forms the “deck” of cards that make up the murder plan, they will also choose a detective to be assigned to this case whose rank is the equivalent to the total cost of that “deck.” By having a detective, the Committee believes that this will lead to a most pure form of “salvation.” Unnamed is to send a letter of challenge to the detective who is assigned, exact his revenge, and then avoid being caught by the detective for 168 hours. If he succeeds, the total cost that made up his “deck” will be given to him to use freely. They would even erase his past history so that he can start a new life. However, he must not kill or even as much scratch the detective assigned to him (anyone else is fine), and if he loses, his connection with the Committee is severed for good. He will be treated as a common criminal and he must pay the funds that were provided for him. Since Unnamed obviously can’t pay them back, Tokichiro implies that he then best be prepared to kill himself.
Unnamed knows that Tokichiro is baiting him, because after all this explanation, Tokichiro will absolutely not tell Unnamed the real criminal’s name until he accepts. To add more incentive, Tokichiro says that so far the detectives have only achieved a 28% success. The plans that the Committee formulate are that perfect. Tokichiro can see that Unnamed is ready to make his decision, but suggests that Unnamed think about it for another night.
Sirius Astronomical Observatory Murder Case 2
Yui tells that she is a high school girl, who goes to an all-girls school. It’s a really well-known mission school for rich girls, except the religious part of the school has died down quite a lot. Although working part-time is forbidden in the school, she petitioned to be a detective which the headmaster Sister agreed to joyously because the Sister saw being a detective as “volunteer work.” Yui is the only detective in the school. She also lived in the school campus dormitory, ever since she entered this school. After some description, Yui mentions that she noticed the black envelope in her post box on the winter of her first year in high school, in December. So far Yui has received 2 love letters in her all-girls school, one of which she has turned down and the other she didn't know who was from.
The black envelope contains the black letter, along with another letter written by “Ooe Yoshizono ” who says that he is speaking on behalf of his client. He wants her to meet at Hatesaki station on December 22nd, 3pm to be picked up, so that she receive an interview with his client at Sirius A.O. and, upon his approval, become privy to details of his very important case. Yui looks up information on Sirius A.O. online but finds limited information.
Yui takes absence from school and arrives at Hatesaki station. At this point is when the snowstorm is slowly beginning to fall. Because the station is pretty empty, she learns quickly that the other people who gradually join her at the station are other detectives who have also been called to this case. They are Eigo, Shita and Kou.
Yui, judging from Kou’s looks, thinks that he is a poor drunk but changes her mind when Kou deducts her lifestyle simply by taking a look at her. Despite his love for drink, Kou is a keen detective.
Arriving on the dot of the appointed time at the station, last of all, is Kyoko. The other detectives are surprised that such a young girl is part of their team, with Yui being probably the most surprised because Kyoko is wearing her school’s uniform. Her school also has a middle school section, and Kyoko is wearing the uniform for 7th graders. Yui has never heard of a detective in their middle school. She talks a bit with Kyoko as they are driven to Sirius, learning that Kyoko is a new transfer student who just entered her school.
The driver drops them off a bit away from Sirius O.A., telling them that his orders were that he drop them off there and they are to walk the rest of the way. Along the way, Kyoko and Yui talk some more. Kyoko thinks something is wrong and suggests to Yui that they leave, but seeing the three men walking ahead in front of them, she whispers “can’t leave them to die” and decides to stay on board.
From here they reach Sirius and investigate the building and its furnishings. The detectives investigate the place while waiting for their client to come, who doesn't appear. Eigo thinks they should leave, but Kou thinks this is part of the interview and says they should wait it out. They all pick a room in the observatory to stay the night, with each person more or less with or without a change of clothes, when white smoke fills the hall and Yui falls to the floor unconscious, leading to the current situation.
Duel Noir 2
This chapter only contains a picture of each detective’s DSC.
Sirius Astronomical Observatory Murder Case 3
This chapter is a continuation of chapter 1, with Yui still not believing that Kyoko isn’t the murderer. While Kyoko is tied to the chair, Yui investigates in Kyoko’s place, doing as she instructs until Yui is basically the “helper” reporting to the “all-mighty princess detective” sitting in her chair. Through her investigations, Yui learns that the corpses of the three bodies are actually cut into smaller pieces— the arms and legs are cut into three pieces, with all body parts rearranged.
In this chapter we first hear something about Hope's Peak Academy. There is a moment when Yui jumps up to the roof to investigate, showing off amazing jump power that even surprises Kyoko. Yui says that she set records with her perpendicular jumps, and if she had gone into a sport or competition of some kind, she could have been able to get into Hope's Peak Academy. However, since she chose to become a detective, which doesn’t involve that much jumping, she is not a Hope's Peak student.
Through Kyoko’s deductions, they get down to the conclusion that Yui is put up to play the role as detective, while Kyoko was set up to play the role of the murderer, by the real murderer. Therefore, if neither Yui or Kyoko are the murderer, the real murderer had to have been one of the three dead men. Yui says that isn’t possible, but with Kyoko’s thought process, they conclude that another man — someone who looked exactly like one of the three men they’d seen — was murdered beforehand and cut into smaller parts for easy transportation. Then when the murderer killed the other two men, he could use these smaller body parts he’d transported to succeed with the three-body crime.
However, there is no place in the building for the criminal to hide. Yui has searched everywhere, and even when the rest of the detectives were alive, they had searched the building thoroughly to find no place for a full-bodied man to hide in. So, Kyoko suggests, what if it isn’t a full-bodied man?
To prove her point, she asks Yui to trust her and untie the ribbon around her right hand. Yui does so, because a part of her can’t really believe that such a small child can be the murderer. Kyoko, still sitting with her left arm chained, takes a bottle of whisky from Kou’s bag and pours it over her legs. Then she takes a lighter from Eigo’s bag and holds it up, saying that she will light herself up in five seconds unless the murderer reveal himself. Yui thinks she’s gone nuts, but Kyoko tells her to be quiet and counts down. Just as she reaches to one, a man’s voice calls out “I’ve lost” and Kyoko, standing up, tells him to come out from there. A man, who looks very much like Shita, comes out from inside the small easy chair. Both of his legs are amputated from the thighs down because he lost them in a fire. But they still hurt.
Duel Noir 3
The real murderer’s name is Tadashi Asakura. He is holding a knife, which he kept at Kyoko’s back the whole time in case something went wrong and he had to kill her straightaway. Tadashi asks Kyoko when she first noticed that the chair she was sitting in was hiding him, and she says that it was part of her analysis from the very beginning. Since Tadashi’s lost the game now though, he’s pretty much given up on any hope and reveals to Yui and Kyoko what he knows about the Committee. It’s his way of getting back at them, with the hope that the two can end their game and stop other people like him from going down this path.
Tadashi had chosen Detective Shita through the Detective Library because they looked so much alike, calling him out with the same letter he’d given the other detectives but with an earlier time so that he could kill him before the other detectives arrived. Tadashi uses prosthetic legs to get around, which Kyoko noticed when they were walking to Sirius but made no connection with the murder at first. Tadashi killed Kou, who was the real criminal in the arson case — Kou was a detective who committed the very crimes that he later solved so he could increase his rank. This shocks Yui very much because she has the image that detectives should be honorable and defenders of justice. Eigo he killed to complete his murder scenario. He chose Kyoko as his scapegoat because he thought she would be the most useless one of the bunch, but it turns out that this was his fatal error.
Police sirens are heard, and the police arrive to collect Tadashi. However, when Yui and Kyoko turn around next, the police that they thought had surrounded the building are nowhere to be seen. One hour later, the real police arrive and Yui and Kyoko are driven back home. The police that had arrived first had been working for the Committee.
Later on that day, Yui hears on the news that a black car was found crashed from sliding down the side of the mountain road. The man inside died from severe injuries due to the crash, and the police wrapped it up as an accident. The man is identified as Tadashi Asakura.
Normality returns to Yui’s life despite such a severe murder case. Kyoko attends school like normal, and Yui corners Kyoko to set up a date at the Detective Library. From their talk with Tadashi, Yui is interested in finding out more secrets on the Committee and thinks looking up info at the library will be a good start.
Yui’s impression of Kyoko has greatly improved since the first time they met, and Yui thinks of Kyoko as really cute and admirable.
At the library, they learn that they have increased in rank, with Yui now rank 7 and Kyoko also rank 7. Kyoko states here that she aims to be zero-class, if she is to be acknowledged as a detective, and in order to raise in rank, she will have to solve four more cases similar to the Sirius one. But waiting around for these cases to fall into their laps isn’t going to happen, which means she will have to actively find these cases. To do this, she investigates detectives that are of triple-zero-class with not much case history, meaning that they must have solved Committee murders to achieve such rank, but doesn’t find much info she can use, so she moves on to the double-zero class. Even then, the two don’t find much info, so they write a note to the detectives, saying that they wish to know more about the “Salvation for Victims of Crime Committee, please contact Yui Samidare.”
While they wait for someone to contact them, Yui learns a little more about Kyoko. She was born into a family of detectives and is raised by her grandfather; according to Kyoko, she has no father or mother. Yui calls Kyoko’s residence to ask her to meet her at the school on Christmas at 7pm (Yui stays in the dorms for the winter holiday, saying she has a reason for not going back home)
Yui takes Kyoko to the school rooftop, showing her a brilliant sight of the campus. There, Yui reveals to Kyoko that she lost her younger sister when she was young. Her younger sister was kidnapped and killed, and it is still an unsolved murder case. This became Yui’s reason for wanting to become a detective. Yui feels that being a detective is her duty because Yui could have been the one who was kidnapped instead, since she and her sister looked so alike. Yui feels that she sometimes is unable to see her reason for continuing to be a detective, but seeing Kyoko and how she acts inspires her. Yui tells Kyoko that if, one day, Kyoko is also troubled like her over her reason for being a detective, then Yui wants Kyoko to stay her true, pure self.
Yui gives Kyoko a present, Rose In Vitro, which Kyoko is very pleased with. Kyoko asks Yui if she sees Kyoko as a replacement to her sister, which Yui denies. Kyoko is Kyoko, and no one can replace her dead sister, Yui says. While Yui is grateful to Kyoko, Kyoko also says that she is grateful to Yui for believing in her during that murder.
The two shake hands when Yui’s phone goes off. Yui answers it to hear Wagner’s Die Walküreplaying on the other end, including a live trumpet. A helicopter arrives above them, where this song is being played. A man’s voice on the other end tells Yui “Merry Christmas,” and the owner of this voice jumps out of the helicopter onto the rooftop they are on. Yui recognizes him as Suisei Nanamura, whose ID number is 900. A double-zero class in 9 distinction is pretty rare.
Yui guesses that this has to do with the Committee, and Suisei agrees, taking out a black envelope from his inner suit pocket. Suisei invites them to join him, which the two agree.
The book ends with another black letter, this time addressed to Suisei Nanamura. Because this Duel Noir comes at such a high cost, Suisei says it is a sign from the murderer that they fully intend on winning.
Volume 2 Summary
Immediately after his arrival by helicopter, Suisei takes the girls to the top-floor restaurant of a really fancy hotel. The cost of being on that floor for one night is 74,450,000 yen. Suisei takes a look at Yui and estimates the value of her glasses, coat, and shoes, telling her that by knowing the value of what a person wears, they know that person’s true nature. He is able to determine that there is a tragedy in Yui’s back story from how she has good quality shoes that support her leg power but is a detective instead of an athlete.
Suisei invites them to dinner while they discuss the case. He puts a Santa hat on Kyoko for no reason, which Yui lets slide because it’s cute. Plates and plates of food appear before Suisei, disappearing rather quickly. This is Suisei’s fifth Duel Noir, which he credits to bad luck. Normally, not many detectives know about Duel Noir or the Committee.
Suisei tells the girls that the Duel Noir is broadcasted to its viewers as a “closed circuit” event, where people watch the events unfold while drinking and eating. While he doesn’t know specifically who those people are, they are very rich people— to view the closed circuit, he says, one needs to pay a sum that’s enough to build 10,000 schools in a developing country.
Suisei asks them why they are chasing after the Committee. Yui says she can’t let evil run free, but Kyoko says she doesn’t really care because she is only interested in being recognized for her detective abilities… although she does admit to feeling frustrated about being used by the Committee. Yui indignantly asks Kyoko if she doesn’t have a will of her own, if she is a mere doll who doesn’t make a move unless she is requested to by a client. Kyoko appears angry at this, and tells Yui that a detective who acts without representing a client is only doing it out of ego.
Suisei breaks up their argument and says that while a detective is not to act on their own impulses, a detective without a policy cannot be trusted. In that way, the two girls balance each other out.
Suisei tells them what he knows. So far, there are an xx number of detectives (a double digit number) who have gone missing during their investigations of the Committee. He says that the Committee actually has an office in a building, where people can freely walk in and out. To the public eye, they are an open, non-profit volunteer organization. But no matter how deep you dig, none of the slime about them pops up. Suisei says that a detective investigating the Committee has told him that the Committee has a true purpose that isn’t just about putting on a murder show for rich people. However, that detective has been missing since, and Suisei does not know if the detective was gotten rid of because they came too close to the Committee’s secret.
Suisei asks Yui if she thinks the Committee is evil— the people that are targeted were murderers, and they run free without being punished, while those who’ve lost everything are forced to go back to living proper lives. To those wretched people, what the Committee offers is indeed salvation because it fits their idea of getting back at their wrongdoers and fixing this unfair world. Yui wonders if that is the Committee’s true purpose, to be a necessary evil.
Yui upholds her sense of justice. She says borrowing the power of an evil organization to change one’s life is selfish. No matter what despair there is, it’s meaningless if it isn’t conquered on your own.
Yui asks Suisei if he considers the Duel Noir murderers as victims who are to be pitied and Suisei says that he doesn't care about that. He exists to solve the mystery that lays out in front of him, not to care about its people.
Suisei tells them that the Committee is led by one person, called the chairman. They could be male or female. The chairman founded the Committee 10 years ago and it has been active since. Kyoko asks if the chairman is possibly a former detective. The Duel Noirs involve unsolved cases, or cases that did not accuse the real criminal. The Committee finds the real criminal which the police wasn’t able to, and makes them the target of the game— this takes deductive skills that only a detective possesses. And it would have to be a rather high-ranking detective. Kyoko says that, among the four detectives of the 000 class, one had deleted his record from the DSC. That person is the most likely suspect of being the chairman.
Suisei applauds Kyoko, thanking her for explaining that thought process so that he doesn’t have to. He thinks highly of Kyoko's fast deductive skills, saying they are as fast as his, and he’s glad that there's someone around who can keep up with his brain. He doesn’t know the identity of the detective who erased his file from the register, because when Suisei first registered for the DSC, that detective's file was there no longer. The only people who would know that person’s identity would be the three other detectives who share the 000 class, or the founders of the DSC— that person was also apparently involved in the founding of the DSC as well. Yui remembers that Kyoko’s grandfather was one of the founding members and wonders if he is the nefarious chairman.
Suisei says that despite knowing that much, there is nothing he can do against the Committee because it is all conjecture. Even making a protest against the 000 class cannot be done because the abilities of the 000 class are so vast that one cannot compensate for them with time, money, and talent. If any of the detectives of the 000 class were to “fall from grace” and become criminals, they would need a national level of security to confront them. Yui is awed because if a detective of Suisei's rank easily admits to his loss against the 000 class, they must be highly formidable. The closest the three can get to the Committee is by capturing the Duel Noir criminal and getting info from them.
Suisei puts on a rucksack that a waiter hands to him, and explains that he wants the girls to join him on his Duel Noir. Except this time, since they are not the detectives assigned to it, it's very possible that they will be killed. Yui agrees readily to help him, while Kyoko gives Yui a look but agrees as well. The Norman's Hotel where the Duel Noir will take place is a dilapidated hotel deep in the mountains and far from civilization. They will be setting out for it the day after tomorrow because Suisei has something to do tomorrow that he cannot get out of. He doesn't think letting a day pass by will be a handicap. Then he opens a window of that top-floor restaurant and jumps out, bidding them good luck. The rucksack he had on is a parachute.
Yui and Kyoko continue their dinner. Kyoko says she won't die easily, and Yui says of course she won't, silently adding to herself that Yui will protect her if that time comes. She doesn't say this out loud because she doesn't want Kyoko to think that Yui is seeing her dead sister in Kyoko. Also, Yui isn’t confident that the ghost of her sister doesn’t haunt her, because somewhere in her heart, she still feels a desperate need to atone and save the girl she couldn’t save.
A waiter goes to them with the check for the dinner— 62248 yen. Suisei hadn’t paid for them. Kyoko takes out her credit card and puts it all on the card, while Yui looks at her in awe.
Yui insists on walking Kyoko back home since it’s late, which Kyoko says she doesn’t need. She demonstrates this when Yui pretends to attack her from behind and Kyoko twists Yui’s left arm in a self-defense move. Yui says she wants to walk Kyoko home anyway because she wants to talk more with her. Kyoko wordlessly starts walking away at this, and Yui takes this as an invitation to walk beside her.
Yui asks Kyoko if it’s possible for the Committee chairman to be Kyoko’s grandfather, but Kyoko says that it isn’t because her grandfather has never registered in the DSC. If he’s never registered, then he’d never have an account to delete in the first place. Her grandfather is very proud of the Kirigiri name, and detests the idea of detectives raising their rank. He was the only one in his group against the establishment of the DSC. Also, since her grandfather mainly lives overseas and deals with people from various countries, Kyoko says that the Committee is probably a small-scale organization of one country in his eyes.
Yui thinks about how incredible the Kirigiri blood must be, judging from Kyoko. But since none of the detectives they’ve met reacted to the name Kirigiri, Yui thinks that the Kirigiri detectives must act behind the shadows, without bringing attention to themselves. She wonders to herself why Kyoko’s grandfather allowed Kyoko to register for the DSC if he himself was so against it.
They arrive at Kyoko’s residence, and Kyoko sighs that she is past her curfew because walking with Yui had slowed her pace. Yui offers to explain to Kyoko’s guardian, which Kyoko accepts, saying that would be a big help. They walk onto the mansion grounds. Kyoko lives here with only her grandfather and three housekeepers. She started living here the past 2 months; before that, she had been traveling overseas with her grandfather for the past 5 years. But since she had no choice out of attending Japan’s compulsory education, she came back alone.
Kyoko tells Yui to wait outside while she gets her grandfather. Yui tells Kyoko to take off the Santa hat first, which Kyoko had never noticed she was wearing. As Yui waits, it begins to snow. She thinks that Kyoko must be very close to her grandfather because she seemed really upset about breaking curfew. Meeting Kyoko has lightened the loneliness and nihilism that Yui feels as a detective, and she tries to imagine the two of them being together still next year. All she can imagine is pitch-black darkness.
A voice cries out from above her, “Are you the fiend trying to seduce my Kyoko!?” and she sees an old man wearing a haori. The old man jumps down behind her and hits her knees with his cane and pushes her shoulder down so that Yui ends up lying on the concrete. His cane is about to come down on her head when Kyoko cries out “No, grandfather, it’s not her! She’s female!” Kyoko’s grandfather pulls away the cane, peers into Yui’s face, and even gropes her chest to see for himself that Yui is indeed female. He got the wrong idea because he had heard that Kyoko was eating dinner with a man.
Kyoko’s grandfather is described as having glossy silver hair and appearing young. He does not have deep wrinkles, and his body isn’t bent, his back is straight. His eyes have a bright twinkle in them. While he held a cane in his right hand, it didn’t appear as if he had it because he needed support but rather because he used it as a weapon.
Yui explains to Kyoko’s grandfather that she came home late because they were discussing a case, and to please excuse her for breaking curfew. Kyoko’s grandfather says “Screw the curfew! If it involves detective work, I will allow Kyoko anything.” He tells Yui that being detective is the infallible thing one must do as a Kirigiri. Even if they’re faced with the death of a family member, a Kirigiri must prioritize their role as a detective.
While Yui still has Kyoko’s grandfather there, she asks his permission that Kyoko leave home for a few nights to deal with the Duel Noir, which he readily gives. Yui is rather surprised by this, since surely he must know that dealing with a Duel Noir means danger for his beloved granddaughter. She wonders if she should ask him questions about the Committee but he disappears back into the mansion before she can.
Before going inside herself, Kyoko asks Yui if what her grandfather said earlier is strange, if it is strange to prioritize detective work even if it involves the death of a family member. Yui says she considers it strict rather than strange, since it must show how much dedication the Kirigiri family has to being a detective. However, Kyoko says that isn’t what it really means. What it really means is that, for a Kirigiri, their work as a detective is far more important than the death of a family member. This is a doctrine that must be adhered to, as if like a religion. Kyoko asks Yui again if she thinks that is strange, and Yui says it’s not very normal, but she still thinks it’s amazing because it shows how much pride they have in their abilities. Kyoko keeps pressing Yui, asking if it isn’t normal, and Yui wonders if Kyoko is feeling doubts about what she’s been taught as a Kirigiri. Yui asks Kyoko what she thinks, and Kyoko says that she doesn’t think of it as strange at all… but that could only be because she’s convinced herself that it isn’t. Because if she doesn’t think that way, she would end up empty inside.
Yui hugs Kyoko, reassuring her that as long as Yui is around, she won’t let her feel that emptiness. She tells Kyoko that she’s fine just the way she is. They say goodbye, and Yui walks back to her dorm amid the falling snow, well past her own curfew.
Norman's Hotel is a gothic-styled hotel that was open for business 20 years ago. However, it only ran fruitfully for 5 years before it began to earn a bad reputation— for some reason, it became a place where people committed suicide. However, it wasn’t until a certain murder incident that the hotel was forced to close down completely. One night, a man staying at the hotel suddenly ran screaming from his room carrying a large hammer and broke into the other guests’ rooms, killing them in their sleep. He killed thirteen people in one night and was arrested the next day. When questioned by the police, the man said that someone was peering at him from inside the wall and had tried to strangle him when he screamed. So he fought back in self-defense. As he killed the thirteen people, he had apparently been imagining that it was “that someone inside the wall.” Because of this murder incident, the hotel shut down and it lay abandoned for the past 15 years.
Suisei timed their arrival at the hotel so that the Duel Noir has 120 hours remaining. He reminds the girls of his nickname “Allegro Agitato,” meaning “furious and swift.” He got the nickname because of how fast he is able to solve cases. Yui is honestly looking forward to seeing him work.
As they walk towards the hotel, they come upon a sign that says “Welcome to Norman's Hotel. We will cater to your every desire.” Someone had crossed out part of the word “desire” so that instead it read, “We will cater to your every despair.” The same thing happened in their last Duel Noir, and Kyoko wonders if it is meant to be a sign that the Committee’s game is taking place… or if it’s by someone just fooling around.
When the three reach the front door of the hotel, they open the thick double doors to find a small room inside with another set of double doors. They open this to enter the hotel lobby, which is as wide as a gymnasium. There is a chandelier hanging from the ceiling, red carpeted floors, and a sofa with table on one side of the lobby 15 meters away from them. For a hotel that looks run down on the outside, the lobby didn’t look pretty bad.
As they step into the lobby, an old man wearing a tuxedo and standing next to the sofa shouts at them. “Wait, wait, hold that door open!” They turn around to find the door closed… and locked. It doesn’t have a keyhole, instead having locked automatically. They are unable to open the door from inside the lobby.
There are seven people around the sofa, and they had been locked in this place since yesterday. The seven there begin to stir because the arrival of Yui and the others have brought the total number of people to ten, and after asking if there is a detective among Yui and co., they say “Finally, it’s about to begin!”
Yui is confused by their behavior until the old man in the tuxedo gives Yui a letter in blood-red ink that was addressed to the group, which says,
“To everyone participating in this auction, First of all, thank you for participating. What we have for auction are the likes of which you have and will never see again. But before this auction is to begin, two conditions must be fulfilled. One, that there are 10 people participating and, Two, one of those ten must be a detective. Once those conditions are met, the auction will begin on that day at 6pm. For those of you who have arrived early, please wait in the lobby in the meantime. Signed, Ercassam Auction.”
Yui is perplexed. Apparently the other seven were invited to this hotel to participate in a secret auction. The old man in the tuxedo pulls out a familiar black envelope containing his invitation, which Yui reads.
“Monsieur Mitsuru Toyano’oh, you are invited to attend the Ercassam Auction. We await your arrival at the appointed time and place.
Date: December 26th, 5PM Place: Norman's Hotel Dress code: Formal”
Because the auction is expected to prolong at most for 7 days, please bring necessities for your stay. Accommodations will be free. Signed, Ercassam Auction.”
Even Yui, who is bad at English, recognizes that Ercassam is Massacre spelled backwards. Mitsuru splutters, saying that Ercassam is the name of a famous auctioneer. Mitsuru says that he was invited to the auction by an Ercassam representative while he was attending a small-scale auction. The others began to realize it was a trick (some like Mitsuru are still in denial) when not only was the door locked on them, the windows were also covered shut by shutters. There are four doors in the lobby, but all are locked. They say they tried, since yesterday, every method they could think of to escape. Suisei thoughtfully lifts up the table, then slams it through the wall to see if they could escape that way, but the insides of the wall are made of concrete. Cell phones are also not in service because, they surmise, there is jamming equipment preventing them from getting signal. The group decides to go around with introductions in the meanwhile.
Yuzen Minase (age 25, freelancer) says his family was once nobles who owned lots of land, but now they’re landlords of a rundown condo. His noble blood urges him to make himself a name again, but for now he’s living on part-time work and allowance. He earns small change by selling stuff on net auction, which is where one of his dealings told him about this auction and invited him.
Mitsuru Toyano'oh (age 59, escape artist) introduces himself as Seiunsai (the name Mitsuru is his real name, while Seiunsai is his stage name), and as an escape magician whose skills rival that of Houdini.
Akio Chage (age 42, occult researcher) introduces himself as a man who knows “just a bit” on the conspiracies of the world. One night, he snapped photos of a UFO on the top of a building— he says it wasn’t his first time seeing a UFO, but it was his first time getting good pictures of it— and while he was wondering what publishing company to send them to, the Men In Black arrived, confiscated his camera, and instead gave him an invitation to this auction. Akio also wore a baseball outfit to the auction because that is his idea of formal wear.
Meruko Mifune (age 22, former psychic girl) came to this auction because her hobby is collecting vacuum tubes and she heard that she could get a special one at this auction. Akio reveals that he’s heard about Meruko; she was a famous psychic girl in the past, who as a child was able to bend spoons with her mind. She was famous for about half a year before the mass media brought her down as a faker. Yui asks her if she can still bend spoons, to which Meruko feels that, yes, she thinks she can. She takes out a spoon from her travel bag, but nothing happens to it.
Mikado Shinsen (30s? business employee) appears to Yui to be the most sane person of the lot so far. He speaks calmly, politely, in a way that shows both naivety and intelligence. However, the wrinkles on his forehead also appear to Yui as if he has the most secrets. While Mikado has no interest in auctions, he has the ability to sense impending death and death that had already occurred, and by feeling that from this hotel, he happened to step inside out of curiosity and got swept up into this whole affair. Yui is unable to brush him off because Kyoko is able to sense that as well; she calls it “hearing the reaper’s footsteps” while in Mikado’s case, he sees it like a dark, dark shadow. Yui also thinks his senses are correct because, while they don’t know it, they are involved in a Duel Noir.
Sae Yozuru (age 21, recently bereaved) is draped over the sofa, appearing to be asleep. She is wearing mourning attire. Mikado speaks to her, telling her it's her turn to introduce herself. Sae first says she wants to die, then explains that her husband passed away the other day and an invitation to this auction was one of the things he had left behind. Sae came to this auction because she wanted to know what her stoic husband was after. While Sae appears to drift back to sleep, Yui notices slash scars on Saes wrists peeking out from beneath her mourning suit and feels that they speak a lot about Sae's untold story.
Taehime Uozumi (age 20, maid) is the seventh and last of the unfamiliar group, dressed as a maid. She has a husky voice. Taehime says that she was employed by the auctioneer to serve the other guests food and clean their rooms, although she is also allowed to participate in the auction.
After first asking Suisei's permission, Yui introduces herself and tells the group that they are detectives who have come to capture a criminal, leaving out details about the Duel Noir and the Committee. Instead, she tells them that they received a notice that a murder was about to take place between the space of today and New Year's day.
When Kyoko is introduced, Yui insists to the doubting group that Kyoko is a prestigious detective but Kyoko reminds her that they are simply a middle schooler and high schooler in this case. If there is a detective the others can rely on, it would be Suisei Nanamura.
Suisei takes this opportunity to snap his fingers in the air and introduce himself grandly. No one questions Suisei's dependability, and Yuzen asks him what they should do. Suisei says they will wait until 6PM comes around and see what this auction is about.
Emergency rations of a week's worth are prepared for the group. Kyoko decides there is nothing else she can do and sits on the floor and waits, but Yui is restless and takes a look around the lobby. The locked doors are so sturdy, it would take an axe or a hammer to break them open. She sees a panel of the hotel layout at the front desk.
Norman's Hotel 5F — Observatory room 4F — Rooms 401-412 3F — Rooms 301-312 2F — Rooms 201-212 1F — Lobby, Front desk, Dining hall
Since they can’t leave the lobby though, she can’t explore them.
A small office room for staff is behind the front desk, containing nothing but a small office desk. There is another door inside, which Yui opens to find a bathroom. Yui is about to step back out when someone pushes her into the bathroom from behind, locking the door behind them. Warning Yui to keep her voice down, Taehime takes out a card from her apron pocket and shows it to Yui.
Turns out that Taehime is also a detective, although the rest don’t know that. She’s here on an undercover operation, and wearing the maid outfit because it was supplied here, not because she likes it. Yui asks her if she’s here about the Duel Noir but Taehime has never heard of such a thing. Taehime specializes in cases that deal with counterfeits, and she has been after Seiunsai for the past few months. Although Seiunsai appears to be an agreeable old man, he is a con artist who has tricked loads of money out of many people by selling counterfeits. When Taehime heard he would be in this auction, she contacted the auctioneer so that she could join undercover as a maid. But she didn't expect the auction itself to be a trap.
Yui tells Taehime about the Duel Noir, since they're fellow detectives, and Taehime thinks it's possible that Seiunsai is the culprit. In any event, she had grabbed Yui aside because she wanted her to know not to touch Seiunsai since he was her case. Yui promises, and they shake on it, promising to share relevant info with each other.
Yui returns to where Kyoko is sitting and doesn't tell her about Taehime, at least not yet, since she is undercover. They wait for 6PM to come.
Detective's Black Death
Yui spends the time reading a mystery novel she brought along. Suisei sits in quiet thought with his legs crossed, not moving a muscle. Seiunsai, Yuzen, Akio, and Meruko loudly play cards, while Mikado reads a complicated-looking book. Sae is still draped over the sofa, looking asleep and muttering to herself from time to time. Taehime moves about busily around the front desk, pretending to be her role as maid.
When 6PM comes around, a door clicks open. Suisei opens it. Inside they find what appears to be a dining hall. There is a long table with a white tablecloth at the center of the room, five chairs on each side. There are plates, forks, and knives set at each place on the table. The room has a high ceiling, with a balcony that circles all around the room so that people can walk up the stairs to it and view the dining hall below. All of the windows are locked down so they cannot see outside. There is no one inside the room.
Entering the dining hall, they notice two strange things. On the left side of the room is an electronic billboard counting down in red numbers. Currently, the numbers say 111:57:48, with the 48 counting down to 47… 46… Yui understands immediately that it's counting down the hours left of the Duel Noir. Next to the billboard is a booth the size of a telephone booth. There is a door in the front of it for people to enter it. Further along the wall, past the booth, is a fireplace. There is wood in it, and appears ready to light at any time.
A mechanized voice suddenly speaks up, as if broadcasted through the entire hotel. “Welcome, all who have gathered here.” Yuzen cries out, “Who are you?” and the voice replies, “I'm right here, look up!” They look up at the balcony, where there is a portrait of a young Caucasian male with brown hair. It's a portrait but the boy's mouth moves. In that mechanized voice, he says, “Hey there, I'm Norman. I'm a serial killer who died half a century ago.” Yui thinks that she must be dreaming, but Suisei had gone up the balcony at some point and was already investigating the portrait. He says that it isn’t a portrait at all, but an LCD screen put into a decorative frame. The screen is running an animation whose mouth movement goes along with the voice so that it appears to be talking.
Norman tells them that they must be anxious to start the auction and, ignoring their questions, tells them to take their seats at the table so that he can begin explaining. When everyone is seated, he first tells everyone to empty their pockets and put all the cash they have on the table. Any money they carry will not be eligible for the auction. Sae looks mournfully at the money, saying that if she doesn’t have money, she feels her desire to die grow greater. Norman tells them to body check their neighbors as well so that no one cheats and hides money on their person. He orders Taehime to collect all of the money on the table and throw it into the fireplace. She hesitates a bit, but does as she’s told. Then Norman, to cries of outrage, tells her to take the matches from the mantlepiece and light the fireplace. Norman tells them not to fret, and to stretch their legs under the table. There they find heavy knapsacks, which they pull out. Each knapsack contains 100,000,000 yen. Uozumi confirms that they are authentic.
Norman tells them that this money is a present from him, which they can use freely for the auction. Those cursing Norman suddenly shower him with praise, and Sae wants to live again and remarry and have children. Mikado wonders what sort of auction it must be, for this large amount of money to be provided for them.
Norman tells them that until the timer on the electronic billboard reaches zero, they will be holding an auction every day at 6PM. Since the time limit of the Duel Noir is until January 1st at 10AM, that means the auction will be held five times at most. No one will be able to leave the auction house until the auction is over. Also, there will be only one item, the same item, put up for sale at each auction. That way, if they miss buying it at one auction, they would have the chance to get it next auction. That item is “the Right of Detective”— the right for whoever has it to be detective.
The group is confused, while Suisei and Kyoko immediately look at Norman suspiciously. Norman’s face changes into a hideous expression and he reveals that there is a serial killer hiding inside the auction house. By the way, it isn’t Norman. After all, he’s dead. When night comes, that serial killer will kill one person per night. However, that serial killer has a weakness, and that weakness is the detective. The serial killer cannot kill the detective and they cannot kill in front of the detective in order to keep their identity secret.
Yuzen and Meruko are still confused, but the rest seem to have got it. Whoever wins the Right of Detective in the auction gets to be safe from the serial killer for the night. Yui proposes to the group that whoever gets the Right that night can gather everyone and protect them all so they won’t be killed, but everyone is skeptical. Mikado says, apologetically, that they’ve only just met and he can’t be sure that Yui would protect him properly if, for instance, she was Detective for the night. She could double-cross him. Being Detective themselves would be the safest choice.
Norman recaps on the rules of the auction:
Rule 1 The “Right of Detective” will be put up for sale at every auction.
Rule 2 The serial killer will kill one person each night. However, they cannot kill whoever has the “Right of Detective.” Also, they cannot kill in front of the person that has “Right of Detective.”
Rule 3 The “Right of Detective” is only effective until the next auction.
Suisei speaks up at this point and asks Norman to guarantee to them that the rules will not be changed later on. Norman does not respond. Yuzen yells at Norman to answer them, but Suisei interjects and says he understood. Suisei says that he thinks this criminal will not go back on their rules since the preparations for all of this was done so meticulously. They would be wanting to enjoy this game and not do anything to ruin it.
Norman speaks again, telling them the schedule for each day.
7:00 AM Wake up 6:00 PM Auction 10:00 PM Sleep
He says that the dinner they will have tonight is the only one that will be prepared for them. Starting tomorrow, they are responsible for feeding themselves. While rooms are prepared for the guests, their rooms will be locked from 10PM to 7AM the next day. The 10PM time is a curfew, so they must be inside their rooms by then. If they do not follow this curfew, they will be penalized by no longer being able to participate in the auction. Their room doors can only be opened by whoever has the “Right of Detective”… and by the serial killer, who has a master key. The Detective must also follow the curfew and be in their room at 10, or else they will lose their privilege. However, having a curfew does not mean that they have to stay in their rooms until the next day. After 10PM, the Detective can leave their room and get the others out of their rooms.
The last thing Norman tells them is that whoever is still alive when the timer strikes zero can take home the money they have. So, if a person decides not to spend any money on the auction and is able to survive for the next 110 hours, they can take the entire knapsack with them. Norman recaps the rest of the rules:
Rule 4 Guest rooms are locked from 10PM to 4AM. Everyone must be in their rooms by 10PM.
Rule 5 The serial killer has a master key. Whoever earns “Right of Detective” will also possess a master key.
Rule 6 If you survive, all of the money that you have left is yours.
The auction will be processed by private bids inside the booth. No one will know how much each person bid until after everyone is done. Since the money they have comes in 1,000,000 bills, that would be the smallest amount they could bid. Once they make their bid, the money that they’ve bid will not return. When someone enters the booth, the next person has 10 minutes to enter the booth and make their bid, otherwise the auction will close automatically. Yui thinks that this rule is set in place so that if one person enters the booth, that leaves the others no choice but to also enter.
Having at last explained everything, Norman suggests that they have dinner first before beginning the auction. As he’d said before, this dinner will be prepared for them. He tells Taehime to step up in front of him. Warily, Taehime walks up the balcony to stand in front of the portrait. In a flash, Norman’s face changes into the evil look of a serial killer and a gunshot rings out. Taehime seems to falter, and there is another gunshot. Taehime stumbles backwards, over the balcony railing onto the table below. She lands on top of her own knapsack, as her seat was the one closest to the portrait. There are bloodstains over her apron where she was shot twice and her face is pale. Yui is about to reach for her when Taehime suddenly bursts into flame.
Suisei cries out for them to extinguish the flames but only he, Yui, and Kyoko do so with their coats. They’re too late to save Taehime, and Norman says “Tonight’s menu is a fully roasted maid.” Norman had sacrificed the maid to show the others that this auction wasn’t a joke. Also, her death does not count for the night because “she wasn’t killed, she was cooked.” Since the dead cannot participate in the auction, their money will also be confiscated and he orders one of them to throw her knapsack into the fireplace so there won’t be cheating— not that it would make any difference since she had landed on her knapsack when she’d burned so there was nothing left. With the participants suddenly reduced from 10 to 9, they begin the auction.
Volume 3 Summary
- Kyoko Kirigiri
- Yui Samidare
- Eigo Amino
- Shiita Enbi
- Kou Inuzuka
- Tokichiro Endou
- Tadashi Asakura
- Suisei Nanamura
- Seiunsai Toyano'oh
- Yuzen Minase
- Akio Chage
- Meruko Mifune
- Mikado Shinsen
- Sae Yozuru
- Taehime Uozumi
- Gekka Ryuuzouji
- Johnny Arp
- Rei Mikagami
- Ryuuzouji Gekka
- Rikorne (Rico/Riko)
- Mikagami Rei
- Night Flyer
- Hitomoshi Tsurugi
- Salvador Yadorigi Fukurou
- Kakitsubata Korisu
- Yaki Hajiki
- Mizuiyama Sara
- Shirasu Suntetsu
- Hari Hironori
- Kuchiki Kaei
- Kuchiki Otsuko
- Oboro Tatsutora
- Kumano Seika