Erika: "I've been told that you and Hibari stayed in the gym quite longer than the others, is that right?"
Yuu: "Yes, we've told that much to the police."
Erika: "You were both still here when Oda found the victim. You really didn't notice anything? You didn't hear his screams? You never crossed him as he was going back and forth from this place to the school?"
Yuu: "I didn't..."
Kagami: "We didn't realize a thing!"
Erika: "Is Azuma the kind of girl that requires a lot of time to prepare herself? Does she usually stay in the changing room the longest?"
Erika: "She doesn't really look like it, but I was just wondering..."
Club Member B: "It's not that, rather Azuma is always the last coming to the changing room in the first place. She always volunteers to do the tiresome works like recovering equipments and putting them back to the storage room. That's the kind of person she is."
The other girls nod.
Club member A: "That's our prince, she's always considerate of others and always offers to help them."
The girls nod again with even greater assertiveness.
Yuu: "That's how I've been nicknamed... I didn't choose it or anything..."
It looks like she has her personal fan club. Come to think of it, I think that Oda implied the students gathered to watch and support her when she confronted Baba.
Erika: "Then that day wasn't an exception? You told Hibari to go ahead and you joined her later?"
Funny, is it uncertainty what I see on her face? And it isn't just her, Hibari too. This is a simple question, if it happened it happened, if it didn't happen it didn't happen. What is there to think so much about? Why are they taking their time, if not to consider whether it is safe to answer positively or not? What exactly are they hiding?
Yuu: "Yes... I stayed in the gym a bit more..."
Kagami: "But it was just a bit!"
In other words it wasn't just a bit.
Erika: "I see. So that's why Hibari left school earlier. And if I understand correctly, that's an usual thing. It's pretty normal considering Azuma's character."
Kagami: "Yeah! Nothing strange!"
Everyone seems to agree.
Erika: "Let's change subject then. I've heard there are a lot of interesting rumors regarding this school. What can you tell me about that?"
Again this awkward silence. They have much to tell, but they are scared of telling.
Erika: "I'm particularly interested in ghost stories, every school has at least one."
It's not like they didn't understand the first time I asked. They know what I'm looking for and that's precisely why they don't want to talk. There is however someone that looks less scared than the rest. An unskilled eye could easily mistake her reaction for fear, but not mine. She isn't afraid, she is nervous. From the very beginning she was anxious, and she is particularly anxious about me. With people like her it isn't even fun, I really hope she is not the culprit or my favorite entertainment is destined to end pretty soon.
Oda said something very interesting about her. She is Teramoto's sidekick number one. Not 'friend', 'sidekick'.
Erika: "Do you know anything about that, Hibari?"
Kagami: "I know nothing!"
It's not that she is scared of talking, she doesn't want to talk.
Yuu: "... I know more or less what everyone else does."
Erika: "And what everyone knows?"
Club member C: "There are spirits that roam in this school..."
Erika: "Spirits! Like in ancient spirits, or spirits of relatively recently departed people?"
Club member B: "Both... but mainly spirits of students who died in this school."
Erika: "Students died in this school in the past?"
I send an inquisitive glance to Satsukawa.
Satsukawa: "It didn't happen. There are no such records."
Club member A: "It happened! It was during the war. A lot of students died."
Satsukawa: "That's not possible, this school didn't even exist back then."
Club member B: "There was a school and it was completely destroyed. All records of it went lost but the spirits remain."
Erika: "I see, that makes perfect sense. There was another school that existed in this very place, but it was completely destroyed during the war. All records of it are lost and that's why nobody knows or even remembers such thing. There you have it, Satsukawa-san."
Club member A: "This school is cursed..."
A curse. That's interesting, but I wonder if it is really just about the spirits.
Erika: "Is that so, Yuu Azuma? Do you also believe that this school is cursed?"
Yuu: "I don't know..."
Erika: "But you heard the tales, right?"
Yuu: "The spirits are strong, or so they say..."
Erika: "But it was just students, isn't it? There's no reason they would be strong, there's no need they would curse this place. No, I rather think... that this curse is the very reason they're bound to this place, this curse is the very reason that makes them strong."
I make a pause and take a look around. There is no doubt, I'm on the right track, they are all surprised I reached these conclusions. And yet there is no reason they should. After all if it was just about spirits, what is inside this shed wouldn't make sense. And then there is what Teramoto said...
The girls literally jump on their feet and open their eyes wide. So they all know in the end! Why all the secrecy? Why are they so afraid?
Erika: "It seems that this name isn't new to you. Can you tell me more? What do you know about it?"
Club member C: "Don't pronounce his name! Especially not here!"
Erika: "Uh? You mean... Pazuzu?"
Club member A: "Kyaaaa!!!"
Club member B: "Don't say it again! Don't say it again! Don't say it again!"
Yuu: "E-everyone... calm down!"
But they are all in panic now. The girl that cried a while ago, evidently the most emotionally unstable, decides to run away. When the others realize that, one by one they follow suit.
Satsukawa tries to stop them, but it's pointless, they are quick to run and hard to catch, that's what they train for every day. Only Azuma and Hibari remain.
It seems that the latter is starting to grasp the situation and turns her head left and right with a dumbfounded expression. She wasn't particularly scared by my utterances, but it looks like she is beginning to worry about remaining alone with me. She steps back still insecure about what to do.
Erika: "Stop there, Hibari! You don't really think you can escape me forever, right? Running away is pointless."
Kagami: "W-what do you want from me?!"
Satsukawa: "Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you girls? Why did they run like that?"
Kagami: "Of course they ran away! You can't name demons so carelessly!"
Erika: "Why not?"
Kagami: "Because simply by naming them you give them power on this world! You named him twice, that means he can see us! And if he can see us he can cast his curses on us! That's why they ran away!"
Erika: "Fascinating! So they believe Pazuzu himself killed Gotsuji?!"
Yuu: "W-wait! Wait!"
Erika: "Ah ha ha ha ha! Oh this is so great! You should just see your faces! Incredible! This is simply amazing!"
Erika: "Lucifer, Leviathan, Satan, Belphegor, Mammon, Beelzebub, Asmodeus, Ronove, Gaap, Zepar, Furfur! I've dealt with demons before! So many you can't even imagine, I bet you didn't even know their names! So what? Demons?! Let them come at me! I will destroy them one by one! One by one! Without mercy! Without fear! I'll enjoy see them exploding in a thousand pieces! And after that I will grab their innards and rip them away! I will take them as a trophy and put them on display for everyone to see! Ah ha ha ha ha!!!"
Kagami: "Y... Yooouuu!!! You're mad! You're crazy! You're completely insane! Great detective, you say?! You're just a deranged woman! Who even let you inside this school?!"
Erika: "Oh, now I'm insane! You believe in demons, spirits and curses, and I'm insane! What a foolish girl you are!"
Satsukawa: "Erika... we're supposed to question them... not to fight with them!"
Erika: "Do not interfere with my methods, Satsukawa-san. I know what I'm doing!"
Kagami: "No, you don't! You're just a stupid woman! Stupid, stupid, stupid stup..."
Yuu: "Hey! Hibari-senpai, stop it!"
Dlanor: "This discussion is pointless. Let us put it to an end for now."
It seems that they have only noticed Dlanor now. She remained silent the whole time and now she suddenly speaks with her usual emotionless and analytic demeanor. But I guess that is precisely why her intervention is having such a strong impact. She did a good job, I didn't really have any intention to prosecute this childish squabble. I won't get anything else from these girl as things are now.
Erika: "Dlanor is right, we can't waste any more time with you. Just go playing with the rest of your club members, the adults have important stuff to do in this place."
Hibari is literally livid, she's growling and trembling and she looks as if she could jump and bite me at any moment. She reminds me an enraged chihuahua.
Yuu: "Let's go, Hibari-senpai..."
Fortunately Azuma is a lot more levelheaded and manages to dissuade her from doing something she would certainly regret later. They go, and we are finally free to investigate the crime scene.
Satsukawa: "Erika... what was that? Why do you scare the witnesses? Why do you enrage them? I'm really not comfortable with that."
Erika: "Satsukawa-san, it's really not a surprise that you don't feel comfortable with my methods. You aren't used to them and you probably never will. But what exactly would be the point in me being here, if my methods were exactly the same as yours? It is precisely because I'm an unconventional investigator that you can expect from me results you wouldn't normally obtain."
Satsukawa: "I understand, but there's a limit. I'm well aware that you're a person that defies common sense, but Rokudou assured me you could be reasoned with. I want to believe he's right. I want to believe you can do some good for the sake of this school despite everything..."
Erika: "If by 'do some good' you mean helping you in solving this murder case, then you can rest assured that I will."
Satsukawa: "And how what you just did helps us with that?"
Erika: "Are you that blind? Didn't you realize how many informations we just obtained from them?"
Satsukawa: "Uh? What do you mean?"
Dlanor: "Mister Satsukawa, they would have never mentioned the demon and they would have denied knowing about him. But the way they reacted proves without a doubt that they know."
Erika: "Exactly! Considering the situation, rather than acquiring informations through a direct inquiry it's a lot more efficient to probe them by causing a reaction."
Satsukawa: "Well... okay, but... what about what you said to Hibari about all those demons?"
Erika: "Oh, that? I was merely challenging her. Satsukawa-san, I think you still don't quite understand the situation. Kagami Hibari doesn't believe in all that fluff, she wasn't afraid that Pazuzu would curse us or anything."
Satsukawa: "But... she said..."
Erika: "What she said is absolutely irrelevant. She's lying, she's full of lies, and I still haven't figured out all the reasons behind them."
Satsukawa: "And you think that by enraging her you'll understand that?"
Erika: "She's stupid and she's proud, it's a perfect combination. Now that I've openly defied her, she'll do something. And since she's stupid, she'll do something stupid, and the more stupid things she does the more I'll learn from her."
Dlanor: "Unless someone else is doing the thinking."
Right, that's not something I should forget. My real enemy in this war isn't Hibari, it's probably someone a lot smarter.
Erika: "At any rate, we came here to check this shed. It's about time we start."