Yaaaaaawn. Conan Edogawa fluttered his eyes open and stretched his little, shrunken arms. Beside him to the right, Kogoro Mouri was happily snoring in his bed. Conan looked at his watch. 'What?! Nine o'clock in the morning already? I slept for almost ten hours!' He thought. 'Well, it's not that surprising considering how the case developed yesterday. I suppose it doesn't matter because today is Sunday and the next three days are holidays.' Conan looked over to the empty futon on his left. Heiji and Kazuha had stayed over for the night, after they were visiting the cherry blossom festival yesterday; Heiji had mentioned to Conan yesterday that the two of them would have to get up early for their travel back home. 'Must've already left ... well then, bon voyage,I guess,' Conan thought as he got up and went to the bathroom, to brush his teeth.
'I wonder if he remembers that I asked him to do some research about Rena Mizunashi ... well, I guess I can send him a text later and it'll be fine,' Conan thought, while getting his toothbrush from the sink. He squeezed the tube next to his toothbrush for some toothpaste, but nothing came out of it, no matter how hard he squeezed. 'What? Already empty again?'
"Here, take some of mine," Heiji said and passed Conan his own toothpaste.
"Ah, thanks, Hat ... tori..." Conan said and hastily turned his head around, just to see Heiji Hattori standing in the bathroom, brushing his teeth as well. He hadn't noticed the teenage detective from Osaka before. "What the flipping heck are you still doing here?! Didn't you say you were supposed to get up early?!", Conan yelled. Raising his voice that much caused him to cough multiple times.
"Yeah, supposed to is the right term," Heiji exclaimed with an annoyed expression on his face. "But Kogoro-san was snoring so loudly, I could barely sleep at all and now my entire scheduling is obsolete! How do ya put up with this every night?!"
"You ... cough cough ... get used to it, just a matter of time, really ... cough," Conan replied.
"Hey, Kudo, what's with the cough there?" Heiji asked. "Don't tell me ya've caught a cold while solving that case last night in the forest?"
"No ... cough ... it's nothing ... cough cough ... okay, maybe it's something. No matter, it's not like I had any plans for the holidays besides reading and I can do that just as fine with a little cold," Conan said, still coughing.
"Sounds more like a little to me. Ya got any medicine in this cabinet?" Heiji asked with concern in his voice.
"No, that's really not neces- cough cough -sary," Conan said in response. "Alright, maybe a little bit. Give me that small box over there."
Heiji took the box from the cabinet and gave it to him. "Hey, ya sure about this? It's not labeled or anything, is this really gonna help ya?"
"Don't know yet," Conan explained. "It's a new cold medicine Professor Agasa is working on. He asked me to test it the next time I've got a cold and next time is apparently now, so why not do him the favor?" He took the little pill from the box in his mouth and drank some water from the sink to swallow it more easily. "Anyhow, if your schedule is messed up now, you better get a new ticket for your travel back to Osaka quickly."
"What?" Heiji asked, brushing his teeth again. "But I'm not traveling back just yet."
"Huh?" Conan wondered.
An hour later, Conan and Heiji were sitting around the table in the living room of the apartment above the Mouri Detective Agency, eating breakfast together with Ran, Kazuha and Kogoro.
"What?! An uninhabited island?!" Kogoro exclaimed between bites. "And that's where the two of you will travel next?"
"Yep, that's right," Heiji said, "visiting the cherry blossom festival and ya all was just a bonus."
"Oh, did someone hire you for a case on that island?" Ran asked.
"No, it's-," Heiji started, but he was interrupted.
"No, no," Kazuha quickly said, "it's just for some stupid television show."
"Yer the stupid one..." Heiji mumbled.
"B-but will you still catch the boat to that place now?" Ran asked with some concern in her voice. "It will probably set sail super early, right?"
"Nah, we've got plenty of time!" Heiji smiled, much to the annoyance of Kogoro.
"Then what was all the riot about getting up early for?!" Kogoro exclaimed.
"Relax, I just had planned to get there early to get a closer look at the other invited participants," Heiji explained, "because they are all just like me ... high school detectives!"
"High school detectives? Which are all participating in a television show?" Conan inquired.
"That's right! Nichiuri TV has gathered the best high school detectives from all over Japan and they want to find out who of them is the best. Kinda inspired by the Koshien baseball tournament. The name of the show is," Heiji put some kind of elusive intonation into his voice, "Competition of the Super High School Detectives!"
Ran, Kogoro and Conan were left a bit speechless. "W-what...? Competition of the Super High School Detectives...?" Ran asked. "That sounds ... interesting..."
"It sounds dumb, ya don't have to pretend otherwise," Kazuha laughed, "that's why I told Heiji not to participate in something that already has such a stupid name. It'll probably end in him becoming the joke of our whole school."
Heiji glared at Kazuha. "Hey, it's not like I wanted to participate, ya know, I had my doubts too. But the letter said that I was invited as the Great Detective of the West and thus would represent the Kansai region too. I couldn't just let some random no-name represent Osaka now, could I? Besides, if I attend this event, maybe I'll get to see that guy again ... the one who will surely represent the East..."
'The guy who will represent the East...?' Ran thought and blushed. 'Shinichi!'
Kazuha giggled. "Hey, Ran-chan, yer face is completely red!"
"Huh?" Ran looked at the girl and fanned herself some air. "W-well, it's a pretty hot day today ... all muggy and stuff, I wonder if there'll be a thunderstorm later..."
"Hmph, who cares about the weather?!" Kogoro exclaimed. "What interests me more is whether or not that detective brat will show up!"
Kazuha giggled again at Kogoro completely missing that she and Ran were already talking about that. "Well, surely he will!"
'Well, surely he won't!' Conan thought and glared at Heiji. 'But this guy should know that too, shouldn't he? Besides, Ran and I cleaned up my house just three days ago and there was no message left on the answering machine ... no letters in the mailbox either and the Professor, who usually takes care of that stuff, didn't mention anything about an invitation. He would've told me about such a letter, wouldn't he...? Yeah, probably would've...'
"Why don't the three of ya come with me and Kazuha and see me off?" Heiji proposed. "The invitation said that bringing some company would be no problem. Who knows, maybe the representative of the East, also known as the arrogant bighead that is Shinichi Kudo will suddenly appear out of nowhere!" Heiji put on a smug, cheery smile and patted Conan's head a few times. "Ya're excited to meet him again too, aren't ya, little one?"
Conan glared at Heiji with exasperation. "You sneaky, little bastard..." Conan mumbled, so it was only audible for him and the detective from Osaka.
"No, no, ya've got it wrong," Heiji said at the same volume and winked, "the little bastard here is ya, remember? I'm the big bastard!"
Two hours later, the group arrived at the port that was given in the invitation sent to Heiji. Meeting point was the big cruise ship in the harbor, which was so big that none of the five missed it even for a second. The sea was a little rough, waves crashing against the quay wall. While it was hot and rather muggy like Ran described to excuse her blushing because of thinking about Shinichi, it was also rather cloudy, with only a few spots where sunrays were able to fall directly to the ground. Probably not for much longer though, as there were already some dark clouds on the horizon, probably thunderclouds.
Heiji, Conan, Kazuha, Ran and Kogoro went ahead toward the cruise ship, where they spotted someone who apparently worked for Nichiuri TV, as evidenced by his jacket with the lettering saying exactly that, Nichiuri TV,and their typical logo, a pig with a counter-clockwise circling as the pig's eye. He was slightly smaller than Heiji, had a light mustache and a receding hairline; most of his hair was combed to the back, popping out behind his ears.
The guy went towards the group as soon as he spotted them, looking nervously to his clock. "You're late, Hattori-kun," the guy said, "you really have to be more on time. We're running on a pretty tight schedule here. Anyway, hello everybody, my name is Hiroo Tsuchio, I'm a director with Nichiuri TV. Alright, we have to get going now..."
"Sorry, sorry," Heiji said, "we've got a bit lost on the way here." He took a side glance to Kogoro, who avoided his gaze with an indignant huff.
"Let's just get to the island first, yeah? The other ones are already on board the ship," Tsuchio said.
"Is..." Ran mumbled, blushing. "I-is Shinichi also on board?", she asked, with a bolder tone this time.
"Huh?" Tsuchio halted in his movement, looking at Ran and Kazuha.
"Shinichi Kudo!" Kazuha exclaimed. "The best high school detective in the East of Japan!"
"Ah, the representative of the East? The thing is, we haven't heard anything from him today an he is not here yet, so I'm not sure what his status is. If he doesn't show up in the next few minutes however, I don't think he will participate then," Tsuchio explained.
"What...?" Ran mumbled.
"For real now...?" Kazuha said.
Heiji snickered. "What a shocker," he said without the slightest hint of shock in his voice.
"Tsk, what the hell did you expect?" Conan mumbled, clicking his tongue.
Kogoro went over to Tsuchio. "Is there a hotel on the island, where all the companions of the detectives can spend the night and stuff?"
"No, but all guardians can stay over night in..." Tsuchio rummaged in his pocket, pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to Kogoro, "...this hotel. Tomorrow, after the recording, you can come to island and pick him up."
"I see," Kogoro said and read the card Tsuchio handed. "But, I'm not his fa-..."
"Anyway," Heiji said, interrupting Kogoro, "this child can come with to the island, right? He's my little assistant."
"Ah, I don't know," Tsuchio said; he suddenly got a bit nervous when Heiji raised an eyebrow and continued hastily, "N-no, I'm afraid he can't come with you. But you can entertain yourself in the hotel, little guy!"
'I'm just fine, thanks...' Conan thought.
"Maaan, bummer." Heiji muttered.
"How about we get to the boat now, yes? We need to leave!" Tsuchio said.
"Just a moment, I forgot my bag in the trunk of the car, let me just get it real quick!" Heiji exclaimed. "Come on, Conan-kun, you can give me a hand!" Conan looked irritated at Heiji, because he didn't know why Heiji would need his help to get a single sports bag, but he went along with him to the car anyway.
"Geez, this Hattori-kun..." Tsuchio said and looked to his watch again.
"Hey, at least he is here now, right? You just said that a few more minutes would be still fine!" Kazuha said, not hiding that she didn't like the director's complaining about Heiji.
"This ship is really huge..." Ran wondered, ignoring Kazuha's remark. "Did you invite one high school detective from each of the 47 prefectures?"
"No, just from four! One for representing the South, the West, the East and the North of Japan each. I just picked this cruise ship as a meeting point, because there is no way you can miss it." Tsuchio said.
"I guess that's true enough..." Ran said.
Meanwhile, Heiji and Conan were out of the group's hearing range, standing at the open trunk of Kogoro's rental car. The detective from Osaka grabbed the bag from the trunk and completely opened the zipper. "Here, hop in," Heiji said.
"..." Conan looked from Heiji to the open bag and then back to Heiji. "...what?"
"I'm gonna smuggle ya on this island in here! Don't worry, the only thing in there are my school uniform with matching shoes, my clothes from yesterday and some fresh underwear, so nothing nasty," Heiji explained, "once ya're on the island, I'm sure they won't just send ya back. At the least ya'll be able to compete from behind the cameras, maybe even more."
"What the...? What, are you planning to score an easy victory again, by having me in your team, because nobody knows about my real capabilities, like you did when you competed with Kazuha to go to the real Koshien?" Conan said.
"Relax, it's not like that," Heiji smiled, "but of course I knew that Shinichi Kudo wouldn't be able to attend, so I thought that maybe this way ya could compete a little bit regardless of yer circumstances. After all, the brain is the same and come on, where would be the fun in me just sweeping the competition all by myself? In the end, the only one that is almost a challenge for me is ya!"
"I see how it is," Conan gave him a deadpan look, "you asked Uncle and Ran to come here, because otherwise I wouldn't even have accompanied you to this harbor for something silly like this TV show. And that's also the reason why you tried to sell me as your assistant to the director..."
"Well, to be fair, you're kind of my assistant," Heiji said.
"Oh please, you're my assistant," Conan said.
"No, I think you're my assistant," Heiji said.
"Let's be real, we're kind of equal," Conan said.
"I still think you're my assistant," Heiji said.
"Alright, have fun on the island, bored to death because you have no competition, while I enjoy a comfortable stay at a luxurious hotel. See you!" Conan said and turned around to go back to Kogoro and Ran.
"Wa-wa-wait, ya're my equal, okay, equal!" Heiji hastily exclaimed. "Please! And come on, ya're interested in what kind of mystery the network cooked up too, right? Right?!"
"Okay, okay, I'll do it," Conan said, went back to Heiji and carefully stepped into the bag; he sat up for a second and pointed a finger directly into Heiji's face, only an inch away from his nose, "I'll do it for the mystery, not for you!"
"Yeah, yeah, I got it," Heiji said happily, as Conan laid back into the bag, so Heiji could zip up the bag almost completely, leaving a small slit open for Conan to breathe a little bit easier. Heiji shouldered the bag. "Oof, have been eating too much of Neechan's food recently? What do you weigh, 20 kilograms?"
"Still feisty 18 kilos, a perfectly normal weight for a first grader, thank you very much!", came the muffled response from inside the bag. "Now stop talking and walk faster before the boat leaves without us!"
Heiji made his way back to the group, where Tsuchio was looking on his watch even more nervously than before, something that Heiji wouldn't have thought was possible. "Hattori-kun, really, how much time does take to get one sports bag? Anyway let's head to the boat!" Tsuchio said.
"But ... we are right in front of it," Heiji said and pointed to the cruise ship.
"No, no, that was just the meeting point, because it was impossible to ... you know what, just come on, we don't have time for this!" Tsuchio exclaimed and went ahead to the boat, with Heiji, Kazuha, Ran and Kogoro following them.
"Where is Conan-kun?" Ran asked.
"Oh, right, he took his skateboard from the trunk and said he would spend the day at Professor Agasa's place," Heiji explained.
"Geez," Ran sighed, "that child, can't help but to run off all the time!"
'When did he get his skateboard into the trunk of a car I only rented yesterday?' Kogoro thought. 'That brat must be even sneakier than I already assumed...'
"Yeah, well," Heiji laughed and patted his bag, "he's really a little brat, isn't h-argh!" Heiji exclaimed, as he promptly received a fierce kick into his side from the bag around his shoulder, after the brat part of his sentence.
"H-Heiji, are ya alright?!" Kazuha worriedly said.
"It's nothing, don't worry," Heiji reassured her, "what I wanted to say is that it was my suggestion that Conan-kun should leave, since I knew he wouldn't enjoy sitting around in a hotel the whole day, waiting for me..."
"Ah, I guess that makes sense," Kazuha said. "Conan-kun is just like Heiji after all," she said to Ran. "Without a mystery, they both get easily bored!"
"Yeah, I guess," Ran said with a little smile.
"Nice save," Conan whispered from inside the bag.
"Thanks, but from now on the peanut gallery remains silent and kickless, okay?!" Heiji hissed under his breath, to which he only heard a muffled snort from inside the bag.
The group followed Tsuchio to a considerably smaller boat. "Alright, this is it. Come on, time to get on board." Heiji nodded and crossed the small footbridge to get on the boat.
"Heiji!" Kazuha yelled, making Heiji turn around. "Ya're representing the whole Kansai region, get it? I won't forgive ya if ya lose!"
Heiji grinned. "Don't worry," he said and turned his cap around, "I wouldn't throw my hat into the ring if I didn't plan on winning!" He waved the three of them a last goodbye and then went along with the director, already spotting two other teenagers sitting inside the boat. He turned to Tsuchio: "The bag comes with me into the sitting area?"
Tsuchio shook his head. "No, the luggage gets stored in the back of the ship, safety protocols for boats and stuff. I need to talk to the captain real quick, around that corner and then just put it with the other bags, alright?"
Heiji nodded, the cue for the director to leave. He followed the described path and spotted the other people's luggage. Putting his bag with them, he zipped it up a bit. "Sorry, but ya'll have to spend the boat trip in there too. If we'll reveal ya too early, they might just turn around the ship and leave ya at the main land and that would kinda defeat the entire purpose of this exercise, right?"
"Yeah, yeah..." Conan huffed. "So? Do our fellow competitors seem excited?"
"Not really," Heiji said, "two guys with long hair, one with black hair and the other with light brown hair. Black Hair Guy is playing with some handheld console and Brown Hair Guy is listening to something on his massive headphones. I thought they would be more excited ... anyway, do ya also want something to keep ya busy during the trip? I could give ya my cell phone..."
"Nah, I've got my own with me, thanks," Conan said. "Just one more thing, Hattori: have you ever met this director guy before?"
"Nope," Heiji explained, "this was my first meeting with him. Before this, he only said that I would recognize him because of his Nichiuri TV jacket." He zipped up the bag again, careful to again leave open a small slit for breathing purposes.
After an hour on the boat, Conan felt quite bored in his bag, even with his phone at hand. 'Really now, letting myself get smuggled in a sports bag on to an uninhabited island, just for some mystery scrambled together by the same television network that also produces cooking shows with Yoko Okino ... Ran's right, I really am a mystery freak ... well, can't go back now.'
Suddenly, Conan felt a sharp pain in his chest and his heart started to pound fast and irregularly. 'Th-this ... feeling! It ... it can't be!' Conan thought, clutching the shirt underneath his blue blazer. 'M-my body ... is b-b-burning up...! Don't tell me ... I-I'm ... going to turn back...?!' He looked to the small slit in the zipper and put one finger through it, easily pushing the zipper open from the inside. 'I can't ... turn into myself in Hattori's bag ... I'd rip right through it ...' Conan stepped out of the bag and zipped it back up instinctively, not noticing that he had left his cell phone in there. He frantically looked around, but it seemed like the passengers couldn't see the luggage area from their seats. They probably couldn't have seen him even if there was a clear line of sight, because the dark thunderclouds that were on the horizon when they were in the harbor where right above them, blocking out almost all light from the sun; the sea had become even rougher, thoroughly shaking the boat. 'Great ... I'm still on a boat ... with four people that can't know my identity on it, two of them detectives like me ... what do I...'
A huge wave crashed against the boat, shaking it violently; Conan, who's legs were already shaky due to his condition, was caught completely off-guard by that, stumbled and fell right over the ship's rail. "...do...?", Conan asked out loud, completing the sentence from his thoughts, while he was falling head first into the waves. He only had time to utter this little word, before he was unnoticedly swallowed by the raging sea.