Chapter 33:

The Calm Before the Storm...

Tales of Virtual Shopkeeper

I’ll be coming back for you very soon, Yui Shiotani. I’m going to strike when you least expect it, so you better be prepared to die!’ – That is what Watashi had told me before vanishing into the night.

Mayoi Oda seemed to know something about Watashi, the killer who murdered Nagi’s father. So I had decided to ask her for more information and, apparently, she had figured out that Watashi exclusively targets people who play Utopia Online. I couldn’t help but think back to the accusation that Homura had made earlier – That Nagisa was Watashi. Nagi did seem to have an unusual hatred towards Utopia Online, but that wouldn’t drive him to commit murder… would it? Nagi definitely seemed have a motive for killing players, but I just couldn’t believe that my childhood best friend was a murderer! Instead, my mind had landed on another suspect – Kiran. But she seemed so nice. Was she really a killer? I wasn’t sure, but I certainly knew how to find out.


Lunchbreak. I was sitting at the back of the classroom telling Bonabelle and Homura about my encounter last night.

“No frickin’ way,” Bonnie exclaimed, “Watashi met with you in Utopia Online while standing right outside your house?! And they knew your real name?!”

“Hey, keep voice down,” I said, “That isn’t exactly the kind of information that I want to spread around the entire school!”

“Hehe, sorry,” she said, sheepishly rubbing the back of her head.

“And you’re absolutely sure that this guy isn’t Nagisa Mul?” Homura asked.

“Nagi is my best friend,” I stated, shooting a death glare towards the chuuni girl, “If he was secretly going around killing people for all these years, I’m pretty sure that I would’ve noticed!”

“But if Nagi isn’t Watashi, then who is?” Bonnie pondered.

“I think I know the answer to that – Mii.”

The two Modern Crusaders looked at each other before letting out a unified ‘who’.

“Ryuuhei Miiki, he goes by the name Kiran in Utopia Online.”

“I still dunno who that is,” Homura stated.

“Why do you suspect this Kiran guy so much, Yuu?” the more astute Bonnie asked.

“Well firstly, Mii is, aside from you two, the only Utopia Online player who I’ve told my real name,” I explained, “And secondly, he always seemed to be hiding his true-self by playing as a girl in-game.”

“So what? I play as a girl, too,” Homura interrupted, completely missing the point. (Seriously, how is it possible to be so mindbogglingly idiotic?)

I chose to ignore her and continue vocalizing my theory.

“At first, I didn’t think much of it. I mean, I also play as the opposite sex in Utopia Online, so who am I to judge? But now I’m wondering if there was more to it, like he was trying to hide something?”

“So, are you going to report him to the police,” Bonnie asked, “Your dad’s a cop, right?”

“I can’t,” I sighed, “My evidence is purely circumstantial. What if I’m wrong? Mii would never forgive me for accusing him of murder!”

“Then how are you going to prove that Mii’s guilty?”

“I’m glad you asked, Bonnie,” I replied, smugly puffing out my chest, “We’re going to stalk him!”

“Woah, woah! Time out, Yuu,” the New Yorker said waving her hands out in front of her, “That’s, like, super rude, potentially dangerous and quite possibly illegal! And besides, do you even know what this guy looks like or where he lives?!”

“Well, not exactly,” I admitted, “But I’m sure that we can ask around town! If he was standing outside my house last night, then he can’t live too far away, right?”

“I guess that makes sense…”

“What’cha say, Bonnie? Wanna come with me after school and ask around, just the two of us?”

“What about me?” Homura piped up.

“No offense, Homura, but you’d probably get in Yuu’s way,” Bonnie apologized awkwardly, “You’d probably say that we were looking for a demon lord, a fallen prince or a haunted milkman… or something like that.”

“Whatever, I know that Nagisa is the real killer anyway,” the chuuni scoffed, walking away from the desk, “Don’t come crawling back to me when you find out I was right!”

“Speaking of Nagisa,” I began, “Can you make sure that he doesn’t find out about last night? I kinda promised him that I’d stop playing Utopia Online.”

“Well, that’s gonna be hard,” Asami retorted.

“Oh, c’mon! I’m not that addicted to Utopia Online!”

“That’s not what I meant. I meant that it’ll be hard to keep that from Nagisa,” she corrected me.

“Oh? How come?”

“Because he’s standing right behind you.”

I turned around, greeted by a rather disgruntled-looking Nagisa Mul.

“You played Utopia Online last night? Didn’t you promise that you wouldn’t do that anymore?!”

“Look, Nagi! I can explain – There’s this real-ass zashiki-warashi living in my virtual shop’s storage-closet and she told me that Watashi's victims are all--”

“People who play that stupid game, right?” Nagisa frowned.

“W-wait, you knew that already?”

“For a genius such as myself, it was easy to figure that out,” Nagi bragged, “Doing simple research on all the confirmed Watashi victims is but child’s play!”

“And he’s so humble,” Bonnie snarked, rolling her eyes.

“That’s why I wanted you to quit playing that stupid game, Yui! I didn’t want to lose you!”

“Hang on,” I began, “If you knew, why didn’t you tell me? No, scratch that, did you tell anyone?”

“I did tell my father, but he refused to announce it to the public. Utopia Online’s ‘oh-so-precious reputation’ would’ve been on the line,” the boy scoffed.

“If you knew something that important, you should’ve told the freaking police,” Bonnie pontificated.

“You think I don’t know that?!” Nagi barked, “Look, I’m sorry that I didn’t tell anyone! I was scared, OK?! What if Watashi found out and went after me?!”

“Well, Yuu and I were just talking about searching for Watashi,” Bonnie informed him, “Want to tag along with us? We can catch him together~”

“Your offer is tempting, but I have to attend my father’s funeral. He was far from the best father in the world, but he was still my dad.”

The surrounding air had become melancholic. Nagisa was clearly distraught about his father’s passing, but hopefully GaRam Mul’s soul would soon be able to rest easy. After school, Bonabelle and I were going to search all over town for Ryuuhei Miiki, the man who was (hopefully) responsible for all those unjust killings.

“This is the place, huh?” Bonnie asked.

School had ended a few of hours ago and Bonnie and I had immediately started searching for Mii’s whereabouts. (After changing out of our uniforms, of course. There’s nothing wrong with looking fashionable while hunting for a serial killer.) After searching all over town, we finally found someone who could tell us where Mii lived. Now the two of us were standing outside his house. Welp, here goes nothing. I reached for the door and…


The door opened and we were greeted to a muscular man wearing nothing but his underwear – Ryuuhei “Mii” Miiki.

“Can I help you ladies with something?” he asked politely.

“Wow, guess you really are a dreamboat,” I muttered.

“Do I… know you?”

Asami was staring down at the man’s crotch area, examining his tight underpants.

“Are those… women’s underwear?”

“Yeah, s-so what,” the man blushed, covering his delicates, “Who do you think you are, coming to my house and judging my life choices?!”

“Oh, right! I’m Asami Usami, and this is Yuu Watanabe!”

“Y-Yuu Watanabe,” he stammered, “S-so you really are a girl?”

“You… don’t recognize me?” I asked.

“Look, we don’t have time for this,” Bonnie sighed, “Yuu knows that you’re actually Watas--”

“I don’t think that he’s Watashi,” I interrupted bluntly, “It seems that he genuinely doesn’t know who I am.”

“W-wait, you thought that I was W-Watashi?”

“Aheh, sorry about that,” I apologized weakly, “It’s just that I met Watashi, and they knew my name and--”

“You MET Watashi?!” Mii blurted out.

“Well, I guess this lead was a bust?” Bonnie frowned.

“Guess we should go home now, it’s getting pretty late,” I said, “Sorry for, y’know, accusing you of being a serial killer, Mii. No hard feelings?”

“I-it’s fine,” he smiled, taking the situation surprisingly well, “I-if you don’t want to walk back home, you could always s-sleep over for the night?”

Bonnie and I looked over at each other and nodded.

“Sure, I don’t see why not,” we replied in unison.

“A-alright then, come on in.”

The two of us stepped inside. I removed my black Mary Janes at the genkan, while Bonnie removed her red high-heel boots. Although we didn’t have any luck finding Watashi today, I have a gut feeling that we’d find the killer soon! It was only a matter of time before they slipped up and made a crucial mistake… But for now, I needed to figure out where I was going to sleep tonight.