Still filled with doubt, Hotaru enlists Stella to help her uncover the truth about Saito.
Chapter Four: She Knows it’s Hard:
Hotaru had a problem: Saito might be a murderer, but she had no proof, just a broken-down confession. Sure, that was useful, but she still had doubts. Actually, the loli demon didn't know what to believe. Thing was, Hotaru didn't know where to start.
The loli demon thought about her situation when she heard shouting down the street. Curious, she decided to take a look. Stella stood outside an ATM, screaming.
"How the fuck did I lose that much money?" she screamed. "That bastard!" She looked up and saw Hotaru.
"What?!" the wolf demon snapped. Hotaru shrugged.
"I'm looking for a friend," she said. Stella looked at her.
"That right?" she asked.
"Yeah," the loli demon replied. "I might need some help."
"And you're asking me?" Stella asked, narrowing her eyes at her.
"Yeah…" Hotaru replied, biting her lower lip.
Stella shrugged. "Whatever, does this friend have an address?"
"Here," Hotaru said as she reached into her shorts pocket and pulled out a small piece of paper. Stella read it over.
"Happy Puppy Apartments, huh?" she asked.
"Yes, he told me on the third day we met," Hotaru said.
"Okay, let's go," Stella said. Both women headed off into the early morning darkness.
"I'm Hotaru, by the way," the loli demon said on the way. "What's your name?"
"Stella Craig, I'm a friend of Lucy's," the wolf demon replied.
"I see,” Hotaru replied. “Hey, why were you shouting at the ATM earlier?" Stella clenched her teeth, but tried to keep herself calm.
"Oh, my ex ripped me off again,” she said with a matching tone. “Don't want to talk about it."
"Ah," the loli demon said, nodding.
"I don't want to talk about it, okay?" Stella grumbled.
"Fine, fine,” Hotaru said, putting up her hands. “We don't even have to talk until we get to the apartment." Stella took a deep breath.
"Thank you," she muttered.
The apartment looked abandoned, nothing, broken-down nothing. The grass didn't really exist. The ground consisted of dried mud. The demolition sign in the lot had almost fallen off. Hotaru and Stella had flat looks on their faces.
"Wrong address?" Hotaru wondered.
"Want to check?" Stella asked. The loli demon shrugged. The women knocked on the door. Hotaru leapt back as it nearly fell off the hinges.
"Hello?" Stella called inside. "Anyone here?" The ladies slowly took a few steps in.
"Hello? We're here for a couple of questions about one of your tenants," Hotaru said.
"Shhh!" Stella whispered as she paused. "I hear something." Hotaru looked at her.
"Where?" she whispered. Stella took little steps to her right and reached out her arm. Her hand touched glass.
"Here!" she said.
"Huh?" Hotaru asked. "How do you know?" Stella turned to her with a grin.
"I hear things others can't," she bragged. The loli demon didn’t get what she was saying at first.
"How?" she asked. Stella gave her a huge grin.
"I'm a wolf demon," she said.
Hotaru blinked. "You're joking, right?" When Stella said nothing, the loli demon looked at her with big eyes.
"Holy crap! You really are!" she said.
"Yeah, but that's not the point," Stella said. "Look." Hotaru glanced through the glass. An old man sat on the other side with a glazed face. Hotaru leapt backwards.
"Oh shit, he's dead!" she cried.
"No, no," Stella said. "He's just asleep. I heard him gurgling softly. See? Look." The wolf demon gave the thin plexiglass a hard tap. The old man inside leapt awake. He saw the women and slid the glass open.
"Yes? How can I help you?" he asked. Hotaru stepped forward.
"Excuse me sir," she said. "I'm looking for my friend, Tajizawa Saito. He gave me the address to this place, but not the apartment number. Do you know where I can find him and his mother?" The old man gave her an odd look.
"I'm sorry, who did you say?" he asked.
"Tajizawa Saito," Hotaru repeated. "Do you know him?" The old man straightened up his glasses.
"Yeah, I did know someone by that name," he said. Stella gave him a puzzled look.
"Did?" she asked. "What do you mean /did/?"
"Tajizawa Saito did live here with his mother in apartment 103," the old owner said.
"What happened to them?" Hotaru asked. The owner's face became serious.
"Ten years ago, Saito walked in on his mother and her lover in her bed," he explained. "That quiet young man snapped and stabbed them both to death. Three days later, he jumped to his death from the apartment roof."
By sunrise, the latest body count had risen to eight in the past two months.