Chapter 3

"N is dead."

Roger's words were a knife brought down upon Hachi's heart. Tears didn't hesitate to run down his soft, pink cheeks. Despite having fifteen years of Wammy's House under his belt, Hachidori could have passed for a ten-year-old. The ball in his hand tumbled to the ground before he did. The rubber bands covering its exterior blurred as it rolled into the corner. Hachi fell to his knees, a small puddle of salty tears appearing on the lush brown carpet before him. Even his jet black hair, usually gelled upright, was wilted, a dying flower.

Origin opened his hand, revealing a small, intricately folded bird of orange paper. A small breeze was elicited from the older boy's lips. The crane almost flew across the room, landing upright on Roger's large oak desk. A small spider was dozing lazily in a cage next to where the bird landed. Awoken by the intruding origami figure, the spider clawed at the side of its barred enclosure.

"What happened?" Origin asked. He stood at the back of the room, his idle expression unchanged by the news that had devastated his younger friend.

Roger walked over to the fallen rubber band ball. "N was murdered. He clawed his own eyes out with a toy train." Roger's silver hairs were outlined in the sunlight that streamed from the window.

Hachi had been reduced to a heap on the carpet. Tears still dripped from his eyes, like an old tap that hadn't been tightened properly.

"There were several peculiar details at the scene. The case calls for professionals, such as the two of you." Grasping the ball in his hand, Roger closed his eyes. He seemed as though he were swallowing something bitter. "Nate's body. His name was Nate River."

Origin stepped forward, his shoed feet squashing the carpet beneath them. "Why are you telling us this?"His voice was slow and methodical, as though every word was measured carefully before spoken. "I've been told that even L's name was not revealed upon his death."

"You two are to be investigating the case," replied Roger. "Long before he died, Nate requested that his successor be chosen by competition. This only seems fitting. When one of you solves the case, you will be granted N's title and you will have access to his resources."

"If you cannot win at the game, if you cannot solve the puzzle, you are just another loser." Hachi stood up, wiping his face with the back of his hand. The stream of tears had slowed to a halt. "And I will win at the game."

Origin grinned, a row of white teeth revealed beneath his lips. "I will solve the puzzle."

To Be Continued...