Satsukawa: "This is all sort of interesting, and I guess there's quite a few things that Kubota isn't telling us right, but... does this bear any relevance to the case we're supposed to solve?"
Erika: "Observe, Satsukawa-san! Look at your surroundings! You'll never know where a hint might be hidden!"
Satsukawa: "Sigh... just like I thought..."
Erika: "Remember what I told you this morning: if someone is hiding something, then there might be someone else who knows the truth and who's blackmailing him."
Satsukawa: "About that theory of yours, there's an important particular that I think should be considered."
Erika: "Oh, you made your own thinking, not bad. Let's hear what you reasoned about."
Satsukawa: "According to you there's a possibility that Gotsuji was blackmailing someone, and that's how she got all that money."
Satsukawa: "But let's even say that she was blackmailing a certain student, then we'd need to explain how that certain student could afford to pay that much for her silence."
Erika: "Well, that certain student is probably acquiring money through illegal means."
Satsukawa: "But then isn't it easier to think that Gotsuji herself was doing that in the first place? It seems to me that your theory is unnecessarily complicated."
Erika: "Perhaps, but we should consider whether the victim was more likely to do something criminal or to simply blackmail a criminal."
Satsukawa: "Okay, let's even accept that as a valid hypothesis. But then what we're looking for is a secret concerning some kind of shady activity. It must be something that can allow someone to earn a lot of money."
Erika: "Well... yeah. Your reasoning follows..."
Satsukawa: "Then how exactly does that apply to Kubota?"
Erika: "Tch... How should I know? Maybe he was hiding illegal drugs in that bag."
Satsukawa: "Are you seriously thinking that?"
Erika: "Well... no..."
Satsukawa: "Right, then let's forget about that bag for now. We have a job to do, and my boss is expecting results. I'd like to write something sensible in my report tonight."
Erika: "Aaah, fine! Fine! It's not like I was really that interested in that bag anyway!"
Satsukawa: "Then what's the next step? If we wait a little longer there won't be any student left to interrogate."
Erika: "I was planning to pay a visit to the literature club."
Satsukawa: "Oh, I see. Excluding Teramoto she's the only relevant witness you still haven't talked to."
Erika: "That's right, and I expect to learn a lot from her."
Satsukawa: "You still think she's a probable culprit?"
Erika: "She was the victim's best friend, just for that reason alone, she's quite high in my list."
Satsukawa: "Then why not Meito Oda? He was a lot closer to the victim and he's been her friend since childhood, unlike Takamiya."
Erika: "And who said that I don't suspect him?"
Satsukawa: "Really? It seems evident to me that someone tried to frame him. You said it yourself: that message wasn't meant for him."
Erika: "Since someone quite evidently tried to frame him, then he can't be the culprit. That's what you're thinking, right?"
Satsukawa: "Yeah... Hmmm?"
Erika: "Let's get going, as you said earlier, we don't have much time."
Satsukawa: "All right."
We walk back to the main building, cutting through the empty athletic track and passing by the gym. The girls from the basket club must be there, I suppose they recovered from their psychological block at this point.
The literature club is on the second floor, this is something I learned by browsing the various files on the case that Satsukawa gave me yesterday. I am not sure about its actual position, but this isn't a big school, we should manage it somehow.
Erika: "By the way, Satsukawa-san, regarding my blackmail theory..."
Satsukawa: "Aaah, you still haven't given up..."
Erika: "I just realized you're taking for granted that the blackmailed one must be a student."
Satsukawa: "Well, I can hardly see how an adult could be intimidated by a minor..."
Erika: "Don't underestimate the new generations, they're getting bolder and bolder every passing year."
Satsukawa: "So, what if it isn't a student?"
Erika: "I think that anyone with a steady income could've managed to gather the amount of money that Gotsuji spent. It isn't that much when you consider that her costly purchases were probably made in a time span of several months."
Satsukawa: "I can't deny that, but is there an adult that the victim knew enough to learn his dirty secrets?"
Erika: "What about a teacher?"
Satsukawa: "A teacher?!"
Erika: "According to your files, Gotsuji's homeroom teacher was Nagaoka, and he was her homeroom teacher even the past year and the year before that."
Satsukawa: "Are we talking about the same inflexible Nagaoka? He doesn't really look like the kind of person that would stray from a honest path. And it's even more unlikely that he'd bow to a student's blackmail."
Erika: "Do you really think that people are exactly how they look? What you've seen is just Nagaoka's mask, and behind that there's still a human with human flaws."
Satsukawa: "No matter what, that man wouldn't bend to a young girl's whim."
Erika: "You seem so certain of that! I bet he could even get down on all four and beg her to never tell his secret!"
Satsukawa: "Ha ha ha... no way!"
Erika: "Why? You can't picture that? I think..."
What did I just saw now? There is a small storage room in this corridor, a storage for cleaning tools. The interesting part is that it is open, or rather the fact that the keys are still inserted in the keyhole. And it is not just some keys, it is a whole bundle; I imagine that these are the groundskeeper's keys.
And where is the groundskeeper now, or whoever is the owner of that bundle? There is absolutely no one around here, what an absurd display of irresponsibility! It is true that currently there are not many students around, but this is still way too careless.
Erika: "Well, well... if it isn't my lucky day..."
Erika: "Satsukawa-san, I think I can finally show you how come I knew from the beginning that originally there wasn't any latch attached to the P.E. shed's door."
Satsukawa: "What? Really? How?"
Erika: "We're very lucky. There's a small storage room just in front of us, and we can use this for my explanation."
Satsukawa: "I see... but... does any storage room work?"
Erika: "Of course, Satsukawa-san, in a few minutes you'll understand everything."
Satsukawa: "Really? Then... go on, I'm listening..."
Erika: "I prefer to make you realize my reasoning with a practical example. The fastest way is to try and close that storage door from inside."
Satsukawa: "I see... then I'll try it."
Erika: "There, take care, it's pretty dark inside."
Satsukawa: "Just like the P.E. shed."
Erika: "Right, my point here is that all storage rooms are more or less the same when it comes to certain particulars. For example, there are no windows. Keep that in mind."
Satsukawa: "Yeah, okay I'm inside now."
Erika: "Do you still hear me, Satsukawa-san? I hope this door isn't too thick."
Satsukawa: "I hear you loud and clear."
Erika: "Well then, close the door."
Satsukawa: "Sure, okay... give me a sec..."
I hear Satsukawa's fingers moving along the surface of the door.
Satsukawa: "Hmmm... wait, I can't find the locking mechanism."
Erika: "Really, Satsukawa-san? How come you can't find it? Isn't there a latch or something? *giggle* *giggle*"
Satsukawa: "No, there isn't anything here. There isn't even a handle."
Erika: "But why, Satsukawa-san? Why?!"
Satsukawa: "Well, this is a storage room... why would someone need to lock himself insaaaAAAAH!"
Erika: "And finallyyy! Finally you realize the absolutely... obvious!!!"
Satsukawa: "Aaaaaaaah!!! A ha haaaaaa!!!"
Erika: "Do you understand now? Do you finally understand what kind of idiot you've been?"
Satsukawa: "Damn! Damn! Damn! How couldn't I... aaargh! This is so stupid! So stupid!"
Erika: "Yes, you've no idea how many times I've been wondering why you didn't think that a latch in a storage room made absolutely no sense! No one in its right mind would build something like that. Of course, if the storage room was later converted into something else, then it can be explained, but that still means the latch was added later!"
Satsukawa: "Yes! Yes! I see it now! It's all so obvious!"
Erika: "Aaah, isn't this extremely pleasant to my ears? What do you think, Dlanor? What's the best adjective to describe Satsukawa-san in this situation?"
Dlanor: "He is an idiot."
Erika: "Indeed! An an incredible idiot!"
Satsukawa: "Okay, okay, I got it! But... uh... what the?"
Erika: "Is there a problem, Satsukawa-san?"
Satsukawa: "I think this door must have jammed or something..."
Erika: "Boo-boo! Try again!"
Satsukawa: "Try again what? Uh... huh! Erika..."
Erika: "Yes, Satsukawa-san?"
Sutsukawa: "Did you... did you just lock the door from your side?!"
Erika: "Incredible! My cure is already taking effect! You're getting smarter by the second!"
Satsukawa: "Erika... this is not funny! Open the door, now!"
Erika: "No way! You haven't learned your lesson yet. Stay there for a while and reflect on your own stupidity!"
Satsukawa: "Erika! I'll get seriously mad at you, if you don't open this door, now! Erika! Erikaaa!"
*BAM* *BAM* *BAM*
Satsukawa: "Erikaaa! Damn it!"
Erika: "A strong man like you, surely you can knock this door down. Oh, wait! Maybe that place is too cramped, you can barely move!"
Satsukawa: "Damn it, Erika! You can't do this to me! Open this damn door!"
Erika: "Well Dlanor, it's just you and I, now."
Dlanor: "It appears so, Miss Erika."
Erika: "It's a pretty neat feeling, being free to go where I please without that bothersome cop."
*BAM* *BAM* *BAM*
Dlanor: "It is been a while since the last time you enjoyed such freedom."
Erika: "Indeed! Being a wealthy girl can really be a nuisance. I can't get anywhere without someone escorting me."
Satsukawa: "Damn it, Erika, open this door!"
Erika: "Satsukawa-san, if you keep making that much noise, someone might hear you. Do you really want to be found in such a shameful situation? Just stay there for a little while, I'll be back and free you and no one will ever know."
Satsukawa: "Wait, where are you going? Erika! Don't go anywhere! You heard me? Erika?!"
Erika: "Let's go, Dlanor."
Dlanor: "As you wish, Miss Erika."
Satsukawa: "Erikaaa! Damn it!"
*BAM* *BAM* *BAM*
Erika: "Don't I love to trap guys inside closed rooms? *giggle* *giggle* *giggle*"