Murder Mystery Theatre: Mountain Of Death


Kaido (emitter), Jon, Michiko, Hiei, Yori

Date: January 23, 2015


None given.

"Murder Mystery Theatre: Mountain Of Death"

Unknown location

It's a cold stormy night, the rain falls all over the mountainside and Kumogakure, washing out trails and roads and the like as the lightning lights up the night sky as if it were the daytime. Most people have managed to be smart enough to take shelter inside their homes to avoid the inclement weather save for a couple of merchants who were caught out with their cart from the neighbouring village. The mud and other debris makes climbing the mountains to Kumogakure treacherous and with the footing unsure, they must sometimes double back to find a more passable route.
It is on one of those switchbacks, that one of the merchants, a pair of brothers by the name of Hidoshi, stumbles upon something that doesn't feel like a log, or a rock. The one who stumbled, the younger brother Kai, bends down and remarks to his older brother, Han, "'Ho Nii-san, I think I stumbled over something, it ain't a log neither." Han, having to deal with his younger brother who's not quite all there in the head (then again, he's not much more with it) says, "Well, what is it then?"
Kai starts to dig a little until what's revealed gives the man a fright, "Nii-san! It's a body!" Han blinks, "A body?! Kai, run to the gates of Kumo, get someone down here quick, they need to know about this! Just run straight up this path, Kumo's not more than a quarter of a mile from here, go, now!" Kai nods and quickly runs to the gates and bangs on them, "HELP! HEEEEEEEEELP!!!! Someone's been kilt! We need the authorities! It's just down the path! Hurry!"

"Blinkin' rotten weathah tonight," complains a squawking voice that seems to be coming from a tall, cloaked figure trudging up the path toward Kumogakure. "A chap'd freeze his pinions tryin' t'fly in this lot, an' sittin' undah it ain't much bettah. I 'ope you appreciate me comin' along, I saw quite a few rock croppin's that woulda made a decent sheltah fer the night. But no, I'll put up with it so you kin get 'ome to ya — "
The figure turns suddenly, nearly upsetting the source of chatter — a crow that had been huddled close against the cloak's hood, almost invisible in the dark. "Whoa! Oi, Jonny-boy, what now?! We're almost theah, I kin practically feel the roof over me 'ead!" The calls for help become clear a moment later. "Let's go," says a deeper, more human voice. "Oh blitherin' banshees, of all the times fer duty t'call!" the crow splutters, clinging tightly to Jon's shoulder as he dashes back down the path. XP

Hiei was having dinner with his family and receiving a smack in the face from his son's favorite nin-ken plushie toy when there comes a knock on his door. He passes the baby food over to his wife before getting up to answer it. A guard bows before speaking. "Raikage-sama, there is some trouble in the outskirts of the village on the path to the front gate."
Hiei nods. "Have someone saddle Snake Eyes, I'll be right there." Hiei moves down to his armory and grabs his katana from it's stand. Belting the sword on as he makes his way towards the door, he pauses only to tell his wife that he'll be back and grab his heavy duster before he's making his way towards the front gate. Once there, he mounts his large black warhorse and takes off at a gallop into the storm towards the incident.

Michiko was just relaxing in her house when she heard about the incident. The girl frowns a bit at hearing such, but she nods and dresses herself in a cloak to block the storm, though not much else is added to her usual Shinobi clothes. She meets everyone at the spot where this dead body was found, bowing lightly in greeting to everyone. Being late to the party wasn't too bad considering she didn't live within the walls of her village. Well, not typically.

When all interested parties arrive being led by the panting Kai, his elder brother Han has already dug away most of the mud and dirt to expose the body. At first glance, the body is of a young female, clothed in what looks to be villager garb, although it's not quite as clear with the darkness and rain if that's the case. There are no obvious signs of wounds on her, but that will take a closer look to know for sure. From what can be immediately seen, there is no obvious signs of any sort of fight here, although with the storm, and the fact that this is a well-travelled road, it would be hard to tell in any case.
As the group comes up, Han takes off his hat and clutches it to his chest and says, "My lords, she's deader than a doornail, my brother found her when we was climbing the mountain. Tripped over her if'n you catch ma meanin'." Kai turns and nods vigourously and says, "Uh-huh! uh-huh! I tripped and found her when I dug."

Jon steps forward and holds up a stern hand toward Han. "Never disturb the crime scene. I'm grateful you called us in, but I need you to step back and not touch anything further, please." Jon pulls out his badge. "I'm Saito Jon, with the Kumogakure Police Department. I'll see to things from here on." Scruvo finds a perch under a nearby shrub while Jon slowly looks over the area. "Crikey, ain't you chaps nevah read any crime serials? That's th'first thing they always tell folks. Oh, Jonny-boy, looks like we got some more Kumo chappies on th'way." Jon nods while inspecting the scene. "Good, let's hope there's a competent medic amongst them."

Hiei arrives on the scene while the two brothers are giving Jon the situation. He pulls Snake Eyes up to a halt and slides from the horse's back. The horse wanders off next to the shrub where Scruvo perches. Hiei slides a torch from the saddle and breathes on the tip, lighting it aflame. Being careful not to disturb anything, he walks over to the body and lowers the torch, settling into a crouch. He glances over at Jon. "Detective Saito." Hiei peers long at the body while Jon inspects the immediate area. The girl is dead, no doubt about that. He attempts to see what kind of weapon or jutsu might have killed her. He glances over at the crow. "There are others coming, I'm sure a medic will be among them, given the circumstances."

Yori's eyes scan the scene as he nears and the boy frowns deeply as he reaches up to pull the hood of his cloak tighter around him. Doesn't matter how hard he tries the rain is still going to sneak in. With others arriving and…wait, another Saito? And a Police Officer at that. Well then that's good. The boy bows deeply to the others when he nears them but remains quiet as his eyes scan first the body, then the surrounding area. With the others working around the body and the surrounding area the boy goes to meet up with the other kids that found the body, offering them both a boy. "Hey. I'm Saito Yori. How long ago did you guys find this," he motions back to the body before he continues, "And did you notice anything strange when you found it? Anybody around or anything?"

The brothers jump back when Jon tells them to hold it! Han babbles, "I jest want to help! I din't do it!" Kai nods vigorously as well, "I din't do it nither! I jest tripped over her I did!" The two gratefully allow Jon to take charge of the scene and stay near their cart which they've helpfully moved off of the road to the other side of the scene.
When Yori speaks to them, they turn and look at the boy wide-eyed and Han says, "We find it no more then a half hour ago, I sent my brother immediately to get you all and bring you back here." The two then look at each other at the next question and blink, "We were jest passing through, too dark to see anything strange… although, all the paths that lead up the mountain were all closed and washed out save fer this one, strange cause this one don't lead straight to the main gates and we was going to have to go around to be able to get into the village, what with Kumo being closed and all."

— Jon would get the sense that this is probably not the actual site of the murder, even with the weather, there's no signs of a struggle or anything to suggest she was murdered here.

— Hiei would immediately see that she has defensive wounds all over her hands, indicating that she was in a struggle of some sort. She has many superficial cuts on her body, but none that would have been immediately fatal. Beyond that, he would notice her clutching a piece of parchment in her hand, closer inspection would be needed to find out exactly what it is, and what is on it.

— Michiko would discover that she died due to exsanguination (bleeding out) but how is not immediately apparent whether it was from a weapon or some sort of jutsu.

"Raikage-sama," Jon replies with a brief look. Respect for superiors is all well and good, but time can be of the essence in criminal investigations, and it seems to be what Hiei is here for anyway. Jon makes a methodical sweep of the area, examining everything within a radius of several meters. It all looks pretty ordinary for a rain-soaked mountainside. "No signs of a struggle," Jon reports. "I don't believe this is where the murder took place. It would be helpful to know how long the victim's been dead." Jon focuses his attention on the ground where the victim was buried, trying to discern whether it was recently dug (besides Han's work, drat it), moved through ninjutsu, or if the body seemed to just 'pop' into place there. "Does anybody here happen to have earth manipulation capability? I'd like this ground analyzed if we could manage it."

Hiei frowns for a moment as he inspects the body further, moving over a little to allow Michiko room to do what she needs to. He is aware of Yori questioning the brothers, but as his eyes spot something, he lifts his head towards Jon. "Detective? I believe I've found something." He passes the torch to him, should he need it. "She was recently in a battle. There are defensive wounds along her hands and arms and various wounds on other parts of her body from a bladed weapon, though I highly doubt that's what killed her." As a swordsman, he is intimately aware of the kind of damage a blade can do to a body, and the wounds he's seeing couldn't possibly have killed her, not even if they had gone untreated. He pauses a moment longer and squints before he points towards the girl's hand. "And I think she's clutching something in her hand, but I can't really make it out."

Yori nods to the brothers as he listens to what they were saying. "Did you pass anyone within the last hour or so on the road?" The boy asks as he points down the way they'd come, opposite the direction of the village. He frowns slightly as he listens to what others are saying while also paying attention to the brothers. So far there's nothing overly useless, just more mystery.

"Indeed… There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with her aside from those outer wounds," Michiko says, as the chakra pulses would detect both internal and external injuries. The girl says, mostly to Jon, but also Hiei and Yori, "She likely died from having all the cuts on her. Too much blood loss… I'll see if I can figure out how long she was dead for, but give me a few moments, as it'll take a more thorough analysis." The Iwata pauses, though, at the mention of earth jutsu. Well, she can do that first, if need be. The girl makes a few handseals, ending on 'snake' to indicate she was using an earth technique, sending chakra through the ground to try and figure out what the grave was like for the girl. Dug? Or perfectly surrounding? That didn't take much energy, though, and she quickly moves on to check on her body again, using 'ram' to power her chakra and send it through the body once more.

The brothers look on still wide-eyed as the group investigates, the younger turning away as Hiei moves the body, trying hard not to retch. When Yori asks them, Han blinks and looks at Kai and says, "Well, not a person… persay, but Kai thinks he might have saw a shadow back at the last turnoff that might have been someone, huh Kai?" Kai is looking a little green, but nods and says, "Yuh-huh! I was helpin' Nii-san move the cart out of a pothole when lightnin' struck and I thought I saw the shadow of someone pass by through the trees, heading down the mountain."

— Jon would see that the grave wasn't man made by any sort of tool, but whether it's via ninjutsu or not is hard to tell.

— Hiei would notice that she is in fact, a kunoichi of Kumo, by the name of Takashima Manami, a genin. He also would see that the parchment is ripped and is obviously a message of some sort, all that can be made out is: "M--t me o--s-d- Kumog--u-e, at -h- east -r-ss--ad a- midnight w-t- t-e money, c--e alone." There is a name, but the kanji are so badly damaged that it is impossible to know what it is. For reference, the time is now 2 am.

— Michiko learns the most as she finds out that a very powerful Earth user moved the body from a great distance through the ground to here. She's been dead for just under 2 hours and the cuts look too clean to have been made by a weapon.

Jon takes a look at the wounds Hiei indicated. "Hmmm. Ritualistic possibly." Scruvo shakes water from his feathers. "Oh corks, tell me we're not dealin' wi' another cult whackjob. Last one thought I wos some blinkin' totem an' tried to make off with me. 'Course, it might've been fun for a bit, bein' venerated by a human an' givin' 'im 'ogwash. 'Th'spirits say y'must dance in a tub o' ramen while yodelin'!' 'Yes O wise bird sage, do they say wot flavah?'"
After compiling the clues found so far, Jon taps his chin. "Seems like extortion was involved." Seems like, of course, although in real detective work, what it seems like is usually what it turns out to be. I mean, we're not playing some wacky murder mystery here, right? :P "I think we need to expand our search area, this scene's not giving us many leads. We'd better check that turnoff where they saw the shadow."

Hiei tries to decipher the clue as best he can, reading it out loud. "Meet me outside Kumogakure at the east crossroad at midnight with the money, come alone." He frowns slightly. "I can't make out the name signed at the bottom. The writing is too badly damaged." He then takes the time to study the girl's face. "Detective, I think you're right. We should expand our search…I recognize this girl. She's one of ours, her name is Takashima Manami. She's a genin. I recognize her from her academy graduation. I gave a speech to her class."
Hiei stands up and looks around. "I'll leave a clone here and go back to the village to secure the body. I'll make sure the medical corp performs an autopsy. We might get a little more information." He clears his throat. "Yori, Michiko, you're with us." He performs a seal and another Hiei *poofs* into existence. The clone says to the brothers. "I'll escourt you to the village proper before I return to get the body."

As the brothers explain about the shadow on the switchback Yori nods, then gives them both a friendly smile. "Thank you." He says before bowing to them both again. He knows they're about to go and, when Hiei calls to him, the boy nods to the Raikage. "Sorry you guys had to see this," he tells the brothers and really he is. Death isn't fun, not even for him, though he's dealt with it enough already. When the shadow clone Hiei poofs into existence Yori goes to stand with Michiko and Hiei, eyes flicking down to the body briefly with a sad look.

Michiko hmms lightly. "She's not been dead long… Coming into the two hour mark, actually." The girl glances between Hiei and Jon and absorbing their offered information. "Whoever did this is pretty skill in earth jutsu. They managed to transport the body from a distance, so we should be careful…" She frowns a bit. "Also, the cuts themselves… I think it was created by some sort of jutsu if they weren't created by an expert swordsman…. They're surprisingly… 'clean', I guess I should say…" Michiko stands up, then, stretching just a bit. The girl doesn't like to hear that it was a fellow genin that was meeting up with someone suspicious, but she takes it in stride. "After you two," she says to Hiei and Jon.

As the group reaches the turnoff (the east crossroads) the storm has passed enough that it's no longer raining. As your vision pans along the scene, it's clear that there was some sort of fight here, and there are blood splatters all over trees, bushes, rocks and the ground itself that the rain hasn't washed off. There is also a blood trail that leads off into deeper into the forest that might be from either the victim or the killer. There are also footprints that can be seen in the mud coming from the opposite direction towards the village that clearly aren't of the brothers as it's only one set of prints. The whole area looks like a gothic horror painting in the darkness.

— There are several avenues for investigation:

1) The area where the fight looks to have taken place.
2) The blood trail leading off deeper into the woods.
3) The footprints.

Jon raises an eyebrow. "Positive ID? That's useful. Make sure your clone tells that to the police back in Kumo, they'll want to find out what they can from the victim's family." And, y'know, the family deserves to know as soon as possible and all that, but when you're in this line of work you can't spare a lot of empathy for every bereaved soul you interact with or you'll go nuts. :/
At the crossroads, Jon is presented with a bit of a conundrum. He's the most qualified person here to stay at the scene and analyze what happened…but he's also one of the better combatants, and chasing the blood trail, or even following the footprints back, could be a dangerous task. In the end, Jon decides the others can go after the potential murderer because nobody wants the fun actiony part of the scene taken away they're qualified Kumo shinobi. And one of them is the flippin' Raikage even. "Raikage-sama, I recommend you investigate that blood trail. You might take one of the others with you or send them both to follow those footprints, I don't know enough about their capabilities to make a recommendation. I'm going to stay here and see what I can learn from the battleground." With that, Jon starts to examine the area.

Hiei makes sure to tell his clone to relay the information to the police department and inform the victim's family of her death. There had to be a reason that the genin was out here in the first place, since Kumo was on lockdown and she had no business out here to begin with without permission. Which means either a guard looked the other way, or was negligent in his duty. Which would be promptly dealt with when he got back.
Now at the crossroads, Hiei nods to Jon. "Understood. Yori, I want you to stay here and assist the detective, perhaps see what you can decipher about those footprints." He looks at Michiko. "You're with me. Let's go." He then runs along in the direction of the blood trail while trying to keep it in sight as well as extending his senses to see if anyone within the vicinity was using chakra. Another way for him to track the possible culprit.

Yori moves with the group and keeps a constant eye around them as they go. After all there is a murderer on the loose somewhere. His eyes flick here and there, searching the area as best as he can with only the moon to light the surrounding area. When they arrive at the scene the boy looks around with a faint frown but says nothing. This is outside of his knowledge base really. It's pretty horrible though with the blood and all that.
At Hiei's words Yori bows slightly, "Yes sir." He states before glancing at the other Saito, "Let me know if I can help." With that he walks over to where the footprints start and crouches down to look at them, trying to get a sense for how many people and who they might be. When he rises again he slowly follows the trail.

Michiko nods and takes off after Hiei, relying on a combination of eyesight and her own senses along the ground to follow the trail. "Hmm… Do you sense anything, Hiei-san?" she wonders, even as her own senses reach out. The trees and tunnels surrounding Kumogakure would all be familiar to the girl, at least. Right now she's trying to find something unusual.

— Jon would realize immediately that whatever happened here, was extremely violent and extremely quick. It almost looks like someone yanked the blood right out of Minami, judging by the splatter pattern. The ground is distubed right in the middle and it's pretty easy to stipulate that whoever killed her sent her from this very spot to where she was found. There also is a few fragments of paper and torn photographs scattered around.

— Hiei and Michiko immediately would notice that there are 2 people trying to hide a short distance away in the direction the blood trail is leading.

— Hiei's clone would also follow along with the body and since it took about an hour for the group to arrive at the crime scene, and this is top priority, the autopsy would be completed immediately and what would be learned is that there are traces of poison that made the victim bleed more heavily from her wounds than she would have normally, probably by a poisoned senbon. There is also evidence that the victim recently engaged in sexual activity but there is no evidence of rape.

— Yori would notice that the footprints are of someone who is heavyset and wears big sandals (which is not the victim) and further investigation would find that down a steep cliff, an unconscious heavyset nin lies on the ground.

Well, this is a messy scene. :P If the brothers who found the body are to be believed, which seems sound enough for now, then this must have happened after they passed through here. Jon pictures the events in his head. The victim came to the crossroads as directed (must have been offroad or coming from a different direction than Kumogakure or the brothers would've run into her on the way). She was assaulted and quickly killed, with apparently little regard for keeping the area clean of evidence. Then her body was transported through the ground…not to keep it hidden, but in fact to place it on the only usable road in the area. This killer seems to have some bizarre motives. o.oa Well, at any rate, those scraps are probably the best lead at this point. Jon sets about fixing the jigsaw puzzles of paper and photo.

Yori reaches the cliff edge where the footsteps lead and looks over carefully. When he sees the unconscious nin down there the bly mentally winces before he turns back to yell at the others, "There's someone over here that needs help. Looks like he's from Kumo!" There's not much the boy can do himself and even getting down there will be a pain. Still, he does start looking for a path or at least some footholds.

Michiko (and assumedly Hiei) notice the two guys within a decent range, and Michiko immediately makes a few handseals so that the two men end up trapped in a demonic grave, of sorts! Hands would grab them and drag them into a coffin that immediately traps them with stone ribs to keep them in place. Wherever they might be, Michiko would go over to them to try and check to make sure that she… actually caught them. Once that was confirmed, she would tie them up a bit more and release her hold on the jutsu to drag them off back to the group.

— Jon takes a while to fit it all together, but the papers seem to be love notes between the victim and someone with the initial "M." and the photos are of the victim and another nin in various passionate embraces, presumably this M.

— Yori would find a path nearby that leads down the cliff to where the heavyset nin is and be able to help him once he gets there.

— Michiko on the other hand, would have no issues capturing the two, they both were arguing with each other, but gape and cry out once the Demon Graves capture them.

Joy. -.-; You run into a lot of sordid things as a criminal investigator, and you develop a certain insensitivity to some of them, but others are more difficult. Oh well. By the time Jon is done playing match-the-edges, the others have returned with suspects. Jon looks them over briefly. One of the ones Michiko caught is the same guy who was with the victim in the photos. e.e Jon clears his throat. "You know, I'm sure my associates don't appreciate having to be out on a night like this any more than I do," he remarks. "I think we'd all rather be indoors, wouldn't you? But we don't get that option. Not until we find out exactly what happened here tonight. So, the sooner somebody tells us the truth, the sooner we can all go home…and whoever talks will probably get off easier. We're listening."

Yori made his way down the path to the Kumo nin, kneeling next to him to rouse him. He gives the man some water, makes sure he can stand okay, then helps him back up the cliff to join the others. Once there he helps him sit before looking to Michiko. "Michiko-san, it looks like he fell off that cliff. He may be injured." Best to report it at least so the medic nin can take a look. His eyes then move over the other two curiously but he falls silent as the older Saito takes control and starts asking questions.

Michiko blinks a bit at the news, leaving the two men she captured with Jon. He seems to be taking care of it! She peers briefly at the man Yori found before sending a pulse of chakra through his body to look him over. Any injuries she finds are dealt with as best she can for the time being. "I think he'll be fine, Yori-san," she tells the boy. "Take it easy," she tells the Kumo-nin.

The heavyset Kumo-nin slowly wakes up and goes, "Huuuuuuh?" as he looks around, wondering why he's being guarded as if he's a criminal. There are three suspects, all of them have indications that they were in a fight recently. The heavyset nin is a Chuunin by the name of Hideyoshi Tatsuo, the second is a tall Wanderer who shouts, "You have NO RIGHT to question me, I'm a Hideki Matsuo, and I have nothing to say to you!" The third is a muscular villager who refuses to say much save, "Ningata Hideo." which is obviously his name.

— Michiko would recognize Tatsuo who is a known Earth user.

— Hideo happens to have a big splotch of blood on his shirt that obviously isn't his.

— Matsuo is the gentleman in the picture that Jon pieced together.

Jon scowls and holds out his badge. "You are in Kumogakure territory and you are connected to a murder case! You WILL cooperate with this investigation or you will find yourself in a world of pain!" >Jon grabs Matsuo by the shoulder and drags him off. "We're going to interrogate them separately. Each of you take one of the others and question him, I'm starting with THIS scumbag."
After pulling Matsuo out of hearing range of the others, Jon shoves him up against a boulder. "All right, you better have a really good explanation for what you're doing out here tonight. Tell me what happened."

When the men start complaining about how their rights are violated the younger Saito looks surprised. With all the blood and such all over the place wouldn't they be more worried or curious if they, you know, weren't somehow involved. Still the boy doesn't speak up with the others present since he is by far the youngest and there are much more experienced folks to handle things.
Until they split them up, of course. Yori looks after Jon a moment, then glances at Michiko before turning back to the Kumo nin, Tatsuo. "Hideyoshi-san, can you tell me what happened? What do you remember? How did you end up down off that cliff?" He asks softly, crouching down a bit so he's on the level of the man who'd been injured. Best to not move him probably. Just let him answer from here.

Michiko ends up taking on Hideo. "Hmm… Ningata-san, please tell me what you were doing tonight. I'd rather you did so without my having to cause too much pain…" she comments lightly, a tendril of metal starting to snake its way up towards his neck threateningly. "Do you know these people, is a question you can answer, as well as why you are out here in the middle of the night."

— Matsuo oofs as Jon slams him up against a tree and tries to shove him off before he says, "So what? I had nothing to do with it…" He glares at Jon before he looks down and says, "Ok, look, I was given a message down in the village of <name of small nameless Kumo village near the neutral zone border> telling me to be here at midnight. I got here around that time to hear the sounds of fighting, there were three nins fighting, the two people your friends have and a kunoichi that I know. That's it!"

— Tatsuo looks up at Yori and blinks blearily at him and says haltingly, "I was just patrolling along the roads when I heard the sounds of fighting at the crossroads. I ran to see what was going on and I saw those two" he indicates the other two suspects, "Fighting with who looked to be Takashima Manami, my girlfriend… I tried to protect her, but I got hit with some sort of attack and I stumbled around disorientated, and I think I must have fallen off of the cliff. I don't know what else to tell you."

— Hideo blinks at the metal tendrils and gulps a little as he looks at Michiko, he swallows as he says, "Look! It's not my fault! I got a message in <nameless Kumogakure village near the neutral zone border> saying to come here at midnight with some money or else. I got here and I saw THAT guy…" He glares towards Matsuo, "Attacking Minami and with that fat ninja helping. I tried to protect her, but I'm no ninja, she was bleeding really heavily from cuts and I couldn't stop the bleeding, then all of a sudden the earth swallowed her up! It was THAT man I tell you!" He snarls at Matsuo, "You SUMMIT! YOU KILLED HER!"

Jon snorts. "A 'kunoichi you know'? I'd say you were a lot more than acquainted with her, pal. You'll look a lot better if you're open with us." Jon locks Matsuo in place with a genjutsu of a jail cell, then moves back to the group. "Okay, that one says he got a note telling him to be here at midnight, and he showed up to see the other two attacking the victim. What'd you guys get?" :/

Yori listens to what he's told before he nods and goes to meet with the others. After he hears what they have to say the boy frowns a bit as he mulls it all over, trying to think of what happened. "So if Matsuo-san was in the pictures with Minami-san, and Tatsuo-san says he was her boyfriend…it seems to me that someone was trying to blackmail Matsuo-san and Minami-san for the pictures." Yori says, starting slowly but building momentum as he goes. "I believe that may be Hideo-san. If Tatsuo-san was really on patrol and he found them doing this deal and the picture he may have killed Minami for cheating." Of course he could be way off base. It's possible one of the others killed her during the whole thing as well.

Michiko peers briefly at Hideo, then simply nods and keeps him in place with the metal bindings. She makes her way over to the other Kumo-nin, listening silently. "Frankly, I have no idea what to believe… Hideo-san said that he received a message to come here at midnight with money, then he saw the our other 'friends' fighting, upon which he attempted to protect Minami-san. He couldn't stop the bleeding, then the earth swallowed her."

The three suspects just look down at the ground, awaiting judgement from the group. Obviously one of them is the murderer and it's up to the group to figure out who it is.

Clues That You Know:

— Minami was killed via exsanguination by poison (probably by a poisoned senbon)
— She was moved from this spot to where she was found via a powerful Earth Manipulation jutsu.
— She had a note telling her to be at this spot at midnight with money and to come alone (blackmail).
— She has defensive wounds all over her, indicating that she was in a fight.
— There is a lot of blood that didn't get washed away here at the murder site.
— Footprints lead you to find Tatsuo having fallen off the cliff, unconscious.
— A blood trail leading off lead you to find Matsuo and Hideo.
— At the site, love notes and pictures of Matsuo and Minami together were found.
— Tatsuo is a Kumo-nin who is a known Earth user.
— All three claim to be her boyfriend.
— All three claim the other two were fighting along with Minami.
— Matsuo and Hideo both claim to have recieved a note stating to be here at midnight.
— Tatsuo claims to have been attacked and stumbled and fell off the cliff.
— One of the three is lying.

HINT: Something is missing in all of this. How did she get from here to where she was found?

Hrmmmm…Yori's explanation is plausible, but there's no concrete proof. e.e And anyway, if there was blackmail involved, all of these guys need to be hauled back for further questioning. :P "All right, this whole thing stinks no matter who the killer is. All three of you are under arrest pending further investigation." Jon nods to his compatriots. "Let's get them back to Kumo."

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