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Phantom Thief F’s Scenario ~Mystery of the Missing Diamond~
A girl stares down at the battered surface of a well-worn desk in her office, cerulean eyes scanning the contents on the table. With the usual assortment of ripped newspaper clippings, notes scrawled messily onto fraying paper, stacks of novels teetering dangerously, and her camera to the side, the items scattered across it appeared to be among the everyday objects in the beginner journalist’s world. A soft sigh escapes her lips as she sets herself onto a chair before her workplace, grasping a pencil. She had been yearning for a new story to publish, a scoop, as she called it, which would make an everlasting mark on the public eye. However, it seemed impossible in such a dull place as her town, seeing as the only events worth noting were the occasional disappearances of beloved house cats and the distraught owners left behind. In short, nothing that interested the public. However, on the side of the desk she hadn’t looked upon, her gaze soon fell onto a letter. Secured in an envelope tinted a creamy vanilla, she handled it with caution.
“A letter..?” the girl was bewildered. She had no such memory of ever placing that letter on her desk.
Expect me tonight at the auction party on the S.S. Fantastic, where I shall create the ultimate display of phantom thievery. The “Diamond of Happiness,” the supposed jewel that is said to bring an eternal joy to the owner, (and the grand prize of the auction) will be stolen as of tonight. I will see you there, my dear.
-Phantom Thief F
Her eyes widen at the note, but amid the immediate confusion and bone-chilling fear, one thought sticks in her mind.
“A scoop!” Camera and notepad in hand, she speeds quickly to the pier in the city she had once only dreamed of.
When the journalist arrives at the boarding gate, she mills quietly amid the bustling bodies, searching for the phantom thief. However, remembering her duties as a reporter, she lines up her camera to take a picture of the extravagant ship. Before she manages to snap a shot, a man rushes frantically off the boat in her field of vision. The journalist stares at him, intrigued, before recalling to take note of such an appearance. He is ornately dressed, with a crisp white tuxedo and carefully styled hair; he must be someone of importance. On her notepad, she jots down quickly: “Auctioneer: Why is he so pressed for time?” After the man leaves her sight, her camera’s viewfinder falls onto a girl, wearing a simple white shirt stained with what appears to be oil. She yawns casually as she steps onto the boat, appearing extremely out of place in her unkempt rags and with a wrench hanging loosely in her hand. A quick glance to her watch tells the reporter that the other woman is late to the event. Another note is written. “Mechanic: She looks lazy, but…”
As the mechanic disappears through the ship doorway, she raises her camera once more to her eyes. As the reporter lines up another shot, a loud commotion over the dock intercepts this; she turns quickly to observe. A policewoman grips the arms of a man wearing a business suit and a tall silk top hat, face stony as she pushes him along the deck. Under her breath, the policewoman mutters, “Sick business man…”
Another entry is scrawled. “Police: She looks like a strict woman.” Behind the arrested businessman, another man stands. His hair is neatly slicked to the side, and a cruel grin paints his lips as he jeers towards the woman, finger raised mockingly. The policewoman sends him a cold glare as she shoves the dark-suited man further along. The aspiring writer shakes her head. It was foolish for the man to dare taunt an officer, however it appeared he had some experience with defying the law. More words hit the page. “Mafia: He is so noisy! I’ve never seen such an idiotic man!”
Finishing her notes, the journalist steps aboard the ship, seeing that she was slightly distracted by her encounters. The extravagant room is already filled to the brim with people, whose eyes snap to her as she enters. Particularly, a green-haired woman adorned in what could only be the frilly garb of a magician poses cheekily. She grips a top hat in one hand and a rabbit on her shoulder. The woman is performing a show for the goers of the boat, standing near one of the large windows of the ship. “Magician: Nostalgic! A true performer!” Just as the reporter’s pencil lifts off the page, a loud shriek of a whistle cracks the air, and the reporter’s eyes snap to the sound. The same policewoman is glaring at the mafia man from before, body tense as he gives her a rowdy smirk.
An exasperated sigh passing through her, she spots two people sitting on ornately decorated couches across the room. One stumbles, spilling his wine slightly as he presses a hand to his forehead. He, like the auctioneer, is also clothed in a clean and professional suit, although he looks very drowsy. Recognizing him immediately from television, an excited flurry of words is recorded. “Politician: He is clever and popular, but can’t think much when tired.”
Next to him, a well-endowed woman hands him a container, looking almost sly. “Have your medicine.” The politician mutters thanks, washing down the pill with a gulp of red wine. There is something enchanting about the woman, with her good looks and stoic composure. “Doctor: She is a mysterious lady, I can’t understand her…”
Next to them, a gentle-eyed young lady extends a platter of alcoholic drinks, offering them to guests. “Waitress: What a pretty girl!” Accepting a glass filled with iced whiskey, another woman, dressed finely in a silky red dress and an elegant hairstyle, sits with delicately crossed legs. Like the politician, the journalist is able to quickly identify her as a famous actress. “Actress: She is a rich, wealthy woman, and popular in movies.”
Looking up from her notepad, the girl watches as the room falls silent. From the corner of her eye, she spots the auctioneer previously seen step boldly up to the podium, his arms raised to quiet the crowd.
“Ladies and gentlemen!” His voice is booming and fills the previous silence as his violet eyes survey the room. “Shortly, the star of the night will make its appearance!”
The signal given seconds later, a box, finely sculpted of bronze, opens before him. A large diamond resting on plush, wine velvet is presented, the lights glistening off the crystalline surface. The Diamond of Happiness. The wondrous silence lingers, and then fades, as the room comes alive once more with fascination, joyful cries echoing through the space. The auctioneer appears satisfied, grinning down upon the crowd. The layers of armed guards protecting the gem behind him are a menacing backdrop to the beautiful sight. The security of such a jewel had not a flaw, the journalist mused. She quickly dubbed the mysterious letter as a juvenile prank, seeing as it was an impossible crime. The “go” given, the room once again erupts into noise. Bids, printed on wooden signs, fly into the air as eight particular bidders fight for the auctioneer’s attention, whose hammer dances with the shouts that emit.
Moments later, just as the winning bid was to be announced, the lights suddenly spark out. The room is bathed with darkness. Silence follows, fear enveloping the stomach of the journalist. Soon recovering slightly from shock, the crowd bustles, confused, when suddenly, a gunshot echoes through the room. A loud, feminine scream follows it. The journalist is shocked, the sound tearing through her ears as she almost drops her camera. Fumbling with the strap between sweaty fingers, she frantically snaps photos in hopes to catch the culprit.
Shortly, the power returns, and all eyes fall on a window of the boat. The glass is shattered large enough for a person to sneak through, pieces littering the floor. “Someone’s fainted!” The cry slices through the tense air.
Quickly, the room bustles into a frenzied action. The doctor tends to the fallen politician, scarlet liquid dripping from his lip. Behind them, the actress cleans up fallen glass, sweeping it aside. In the flash of the moment, the magician collides into the waitress, and doves, their snowy wings flapping, escape out of the shattered window. Watching their release, the distraught performer clutches her hat in her free hand. The mafia taunts the auctioneer under the cold gaze of the policewoman, while the mechanic holds a report for the power outage in hand. The journalist remains alert, still hoping for information, before her gaze falls to the ground. A bullet lies at her feet. “Who shot it, at what, and why?”
Just as the question was whispered, the shriek of the auctioneer told of the end. The diamond. Gone.
The chaos increases, the guards searching frantically for the culprit. In the panic, one person is left unaccounted for. Racing towards the broken window, the journalist’s pencil flies with the notes written.
“Broke through the window, jumped out the deck, dove into the sea…” She mutters senselessly as she writes, gears spinning in her mind. Peering out into the ocean, one object is spotted bobbing in the waves. An eerily drifting silk hat.
The end of an impossible crime has come, it seems. A classic case of another “whodunit,” only this one has yet to be solved. The culprit? You who had a front row seat saw it…