It was an exhausting day.
My mind is tired, my body is sore. Certainly a lot of things have happened. Too many battle of wits, too much running around, and as if that wasn't enough, I have been tackled and pinned on the floor. That last bit wasn't nice at all.
That is why I unceremoniously let myself drop on the comfy armchair of my hotel room. It wasn't elegant nor lady-like, but after all that I have been through today, I think that I can be excused for this little transgression from the proper etiquette. In the end, I am really tired.
Satsukawa: "Today was really hectic, wasn't it?"
An inevitable comment, considering the situation.
Erika: "Indeed, but I've seen worse. Thanks for taking me back to my room again, Satsukawa-san."
Satsukawa: "No problem, that's my job."
Erika: "You say so, but now you need to drive back to the headquarter again, don't you?"
Satsukawa: "Well... yeah. I still need to write my report..."
Erika: "Kimura is going to eat you alive."
Satsukawa: "Don't remind me that, please..."
Erika: "You really surprised me back then."
Satsukawa: "I think... I surprised even myself..."
Erika: "Ha ha! It appears I'm having a very bad influence on you. You must be careful!"
Satsukawa: "I wonder... did I really do the wrong thing? As a law enforcer I'm supposed to respect and uphold the rules, so my actions were certainly wrong, objectively speaking. And yet, I don't really feel guilt about it. Deep inside I feel that I made the right choice. If I could go back, I'd do it again."
Erika: "See? You're already on a dangerous path."
Satsukawa: "Aren't you grateful?"
Erika: "Why would I? I was already giving up on the idea, but you gave me the right chance. If you didn't, I wouldn't feel like I've been ran over by a steamroller now."
Satsukawa: "Ha ha ha... They really went too far, I'm very sorry..."
Erika: "No, they just did their job."
Satsukawa: "All that you threatened was to ruin an interrogation, that's hardly a good excuse to harm a civilian. I'll never accept something like that."
Erika: "I see... that's how you interpreted the situation. It's strange, you were the only one that understood what I was thinking, you alone figured out my plan. That should mean you're the one that knows me the best, but if you say such things, I guess that Kimura understands me better after all."
Satsukawa: "What do you mean?"
Erika: "You said that all that I threatened was to ruin an interrogation, as if I couldn't do anything more than that. Kimura and his men didn't think it that way. I'm surprised that they let me keep that tool, it could've easily become a weapon. Maybe the thought finally crossed their minds when they realized what I was doing."
Erika: "What is it, Satsukawa-san? You suddenly tensed up."
Satsukawa: "I don't quite understand what kind of mind game you're playing with me."
Erika: "I'm just telling you that you should be careful. So many people have told you that already, so many times, and you still haven't learned it."
Satsukawa: "Why would you tell me this, if you were really planning something bad?"
Erika: "Good point. Why am I telling you? Maybe because it isn't fun when someone is as naive and trusting as you are."
Erika: "You better go. You have a job to do and I want to take a bath."
Satsukawa: "Yeah, that's a good idea. You do that. You'll feel a lot better after."
Erika: "I'll see you tomorrow morning. Have a safe trip."
Satsukawa: "Later then. If you need anything..."
Erika: "Yeah, I know."
He remains a while there, silent. I think he is trying to remember something important that he wanted to tell me, or maybe he remembered it already and he isn't sure if he should mention it. Whatever it is, in the end he gives up.
As he is about to leave my room with his hand already on the doorknob, I decide to tell him something that bugged me for a while.
Erika: "You should stop doing that. It's annoying."
Satsukawa freezes on the spot and then turns around with a concerned expression.
Satsukawa: "What do you mean?"
Erika: "Every time you're nervous around me, you cross your arms."
Satsukawa: "Do I... really do that?"
Erika: "Occasionally. You just did it a while ago. Like I said, it's annoying."
Satsukawa: "I'll try to be careful about that..."
Erika: "That's right, you should be careful."
Satsukawa: "He he..."
Naturally, when I said that I was annoyed by that, I was lying. I just wanted him to know that I noticed this bad habit of his.
At this point the situation has gotten pretty awkward and Satsukawa probably wants to run away as fast as he can. Not like I can blame him.
So, before I know it, he is gone, and I find myself alone again. Or rather, it is more correct to say that I am alone with Dlanor. Then again, that makes as much sense as to say that I am alone with my armchair.
Dlanor: "Your behavior is illogical."
Dlanor: "You do not want Mister Satsukawa to get closer to you. You do not want him to become your friend. That is why you acted that way with him just now."
Erika: "So? I remember that I had explicitly told him all that from the very beginning. There's nothing illogical about it."
Dlanor: "Normally you would consider people mistakenly believing you are their friend an advantage. Sometimes in the past you even actively deceived people into believing they could trust you."
Erika: "I have no plans concerning Satsukawa, no strategies that involve him directly. That's all."
Dlanor: "What Mister Satsukawa did today suggests he is on your side. Even if you denied it, you are grateful."
Erika: "Am I grateful that he helped me? Yes, I am. But I do not feel any more gratitude toward him, than what I'd feel for a sunny sky on a day out. In other words, that's just a variable outside my control that turned out to play in my favor. Nothing else."
Dlanor: "If Miss Erika says so, then I will not insist on this matter."
Erika: "Good. Then, is there any other concern?"
Dlanor: "Yes. Today we have learned that Miss Hibari was just a red herring, a needless variable."
Erika: "I've been suspecting that for a while."
Dlanor: "The problem is the message. According to your reasoning, there had to be three different fingerprints. However Miss Hibari does not fit in your equation, she is a fourth variable. That means..."
Erika: "I know... My reasoning was wrong... Don't you dare to point that out in front of Satsukawa, or anyone else!"
Dlanor: "You know I would never do that, Miss Erika."
Erika: "Is the culprit smarter than I thought, I wonder? Hibari messing with the crime scene might have caused a distortion in my assessment."
Dlanor: "This is neither an impossible crime nor a plausible incident."
Erika: "Then what else the culprit was aiming for?"
Dlanor: "Supposing that the culprit acted according to a specific plan, then there is only one possible answer."
Erika: "That's a reckless statement, Dlanor. You should be open to more possibilities, even those you don't expect. At any rate it's probably what you're thinking. It's a bit more difficult than a plausible incident, but in the end the basic concept is similar and the long term effects are the same."
Dlanor: "It could be easier if the conditions are favorable."
Erika: "That's right. But enough with that! I decided to leisurely enjoy this case, so I have no reason to rush for a solution. I'm going to take that bath now."
Dlanor: "Miss Erika, I have a request."
Erika: "Oh? That's quite a rare event! What's your desire, Dlanor?"
Dlanor: "Today... they air Fuwa-Fuwa Purin Nyan..."
Erika: "So? Don't tell me you want to watch it."
I take a deep breath and then I let out a long sigh.
Erika: "You really have a weak spot for those things. In the end you're just a kid... or... that's what I'd say, if I didn't know that Fuwa-Fuwa Purin Nyan is actually a show for perverted lolicons disguised as an anime for little girls."
Dlanor: "I do not have perverted feelings nor anything of that sort..."
Erika: "I know... you've just been fooled by the appearances and you're too innocent to notice the blatant fan service."
Dlanor: "They never let me watch it at the mansion..."
Erika: "Of course! Rokudou and the other servants would never allow you to stay up that late. When does it air again?"
Dlanor: "Half past one AM."
Erika: "Seriously... how are you going to wake up tomorrow?"
Dlanor: "It is all right. I will definitely wake up in time like usual."
Erika: "Aaah... all right, you win, we'll watch it together. Somehow I've become interested in it."
Dlanor: "Thank you, Miss Erika!"