Sakura went right to work. There were a lot of people walking around Geiseltalsee. She just had to find the pair who needed a little fairy push towards each other.
She spotted some young men who were arguing and looked like they’d come to blows any minute. They were no good. She could twist their aggression a bit, but it wouldn’t be healthy in the long run.
On a boat, two other young men were joking around while returning from some kind of expedition. She could work with that.
Hilde went right to work mapping out the areas the cameras had been and calculating where they were all visible.
Bianca Toured the scenes with her, holding her hand as they walked. She didn’t pay much attention as Hilde looked around.
“This is odd,” Hilde said. Bianca looked. The camera mount was still there. “It looks almost like claw marks,” Hilde observed.
Bianca looked closer. There were scratches left that did look like they might’ve come from claws. That made the case a little more interesting.
In the next spot, they found the same marks. Hilde found a small, goopy green thing on the ground as well.
“What is it?” Bianca asked.
“It looks like a bit of vegetable,” Hilde said. “Maybe kale, pepper or cucumber.” She held it close to her nose and shook her head. “I can’t tell, it’s been here too long and it’s such a small piece. And not exactly fresh.”
“Well, it’s probably not important,” Bianca noted. “Just a bit of someone’s lunch.”
“Yeah, probably,” Hilde said. “It’s the marks that have me concerned. They look almost cat-like but they’re too large and there’s something off about the way they’re spaced.”
“And it would be odd for random teenagers to scratch up the thing,” Bianca pointed out.
“Which means that there’s more to this case than meets the eye,” Hilde said. She scrutinised Bianca’s face. “You don’t have to be so happy about it.”
“I’m just glad that we’re finally getting another case where I can use my unique talents,” Bianca said. “Plus, you have to admit, cases like this are more interesting.”
Hilde didn’t say anything. These cases were more interesting in the sense that anything could happen and her experience didn’t end up meaning as much since supernatural creatures operated under a different set of rules than she was used to.
Still, it was nice to see Bianca happy. She’d seemed disinterested in their cases lately.
“Can you get us set up with an invisibility spell of some kind?” Hilde asked. “I’d like to try setting up a camera in secret. At the very least, it’ll tell us whether our opponent can somehow sense them or they’re watching the area.”
“Yeah, that’s not a problem,” Bianca said. “I’m not sensing any magic at play, here. So, our creature may not use it. Which is a little odd. Normally, beings that normal humans would describe as ‘supernatural’ at least use some basic glamour to hide from sight like Sakura. But if that is the case here, it’s such a small level of it that I can’t detect it. Though I have to ask, why not just make ourselves invisible and wait?”
“Because if whatever this thing is can detect when it’s being watched I don’t fancy the idea of being on the receiving end of those claws,” Hilde said. “Or seeing you in that situation.”
“Why Miss Müller, you really do care!” Bianca declared.
“You’re lucky you have such a dynamite body or I might get annoyed with you over jokes like that,” Hilde stated.
The pair moved away from the lake to prepare for the test.
That night, they waited in their hotel room, watching the live footage. Just to be careful, they’d used a different spot for their camera than the old man.
There was a splash behind the boat. Nothing was in view.
A brief glimpse of something heading towards one of the spots the old man had left a camera. Then another.
“What are we even looking at?” Bianca wondered.
“Your guess is better than mine,” Hilde said.
Their first proper glimpse came when it crawled into the old man’s boat. There was a brief frame of something roughly a hundred twenty centimetres tall and humanoid. It appeared to have a beak of some kind and a shell.
Parts of it faded from view while others stayed visible.
“It’s almost like it has a chameleon’s camouflage,” Hilde observed. “But much stronger. So, what is it?”
“An aquatic creature with claws and camouflage…” Bianca muttered. “I really can’t think of any. I… wait, what’s it doing?”
Hilde turned to the screen. The creature was knelt down and grabbing something out of the water.
“A cucumber?” Hilde muttered. “Why does it… Wait… Could it be?”
“Do you actually know what it is?” Bianca asked.
“I can’t recall ever hearing them described as camouflage but the shell, beak… carrying a cucumber, that all sounds like a kappa from Japanese folklore.”
“Well, that ‘kappa’ of yours is running off with our client’s boat,” Bianca said. “Come on, let’s get on my broom and see if we can’t chase it down.”