Thiens's Resolve

It's 3AM and you're there again. You're always there, every day, for the past 3 years, 2ꟷ6AM unfailingly. The stale air of the attic settles uncomfortably all around you, as the only intelligible sound is the papers you're shuffling through. You've done your best to keep your idea board hidden from Mom and Pop, all those red strings and pins. And pictures. Sal would say you look like one of those crazy TV detectives, looking for clues and digging up evidence. He'd start going on about how it didn't matter if the answer was already in the plot. No one could realistically solve cases like this. Maybe Sal was right. You keep shuffling.
There are hundreds of documents about your family history. Going back to the 1800s, before your ancestors even thought of leaving Vietnam. Before they had to. Shaking yourself out of it before you begin to think to much, you jot down something else you didn't notice before. It's crazy how you've barely even made it through half of the documents there. Will it take another 3 years? More? 4 hours of reading writing, deducting, etc. How much more effort would you have to put in before you could find out, who killed Phuong?
You cast a tired glance to the center of your idea board, your sisters smiling face haunting you. It had to have been arranged, you tell yourself, just like you had been for the past four years. A creak in the floorboards downstairs draws your attention. Switching off your lamp you try not to breath. If Mom or Pop catch even a hint of what's going on you're done for. You absolutely couldn't let yourself be done for. Phuong was counting on you. Just like she had been that night.
It's 4:15 now. You want to pick up the pace so you can sneak back to your own apartment without issue. It wasn't hard convincing your parents you wanted to move out. They even sounded like they saw it coming. With little to no persuasion they let you go house hunting once you turned 18. The problem of course, was that the only available residence was in their same apartment complex. In all 15,400 square miles of the city, every realtor you met with directed you back there. You remembered how you felt at the end of every appointment. Angry, confused, suspicious. With every appointment you spent more and more money. More than you made and more than what you reluctantly accepted from your parents as you walked out. All to be led back to the hellhole where it all happened. Sal was a sweetheart for letting you crash with him for six weeks straight, but even you could notice that a welcome had been overstayed. Swallowing your pride, you called the last realtor, thanked Sal for everything, and found yourself right back where you started. Phuong would be disappointed at how you gave up, not even trying to move out of town. But Phuong was dead.
The document you're currently going through catches your eye. It's about someone you haven't added to the family tree yet. But from the looks of it, they didn't seem to be family at all. Mira Lang peered at you from the photo attached to the form. Her eyes seemed to follow you as you skimmed through. Something about "Tiger's Eye" and a sort of...agreement. You stick her picture to the board and wonder where you've seen that before. And why a Korean person is muddled up in your Vietnamese family tree that prides itself on being "purebred". You skim again. Words like exchange and terms of agreement appear often. But after that it seems like a dead end, the following papers talking about land and old family members. Taking down as many notes as you can you set a reminder to look this up tomorrow. It's 5:30 anyways. You start packing up and moving things back into place. You return your idea board to its hidden compartment in the desk. You place the documents in their dusty boxes and blow out your lamp. Gathering your things, you go to the edge of the attic wall, where you first discovered the damp, weak wood that could give you access to your parent's home, and you squeeze through, back to your own realm. You descend the steps feeling a new resolve. Tiger's Eye. You were one step closer to solving Phuong's murder, and one step closer to mental rest. For the first time in a long time, you go to bed with an inch of weight off your shoulders.