We take our leave so that
the principal can return to her work, whatever that may be. With
Dlanor and Satsukawa by my side, I walk through the deserted
corridors of the Mitsugi institute. I can faintly hear voices coming
from the classrooms as I pass by, teachers teaching their lessons to
their many bored students.
The next step of my plan
requires to put on a little show, and a show needs spectators. So I
have no choice but to wait until lunch break, which will start in a
little less than a hour.
Satsukawa: "Can I
ask you what exactly are you plotting?"
Ah, I almost forgot about
Satsukawa, I should have seen this question coming.
Erika: "Weren't you
listening? I'm going to teach Teramoto what's her place."
Satsukawa: "I know
that. What I don't, is how exactly are you planning to do that."
Erika: "Are you that
impatient? Surely you can wait a few minutes."
Satsukawa: "The more
you try to avoid the subject, the more I worry. I need you to tell me
what you're planning before you do it."
Erika: "But then you
might decide to stop me, and that would be counterproductive for the
success of my strategy."
exactly the point!"
don't raise your voice, you're disturbing the lessons."
sorry... Wait, don't chance the subject again!"
Stairs after stairs we
reach the first floor. Satsukawa is following me without even minding
where we are going, he is too focused on the current discussion.
worrying for nothing. I won't do anything to Teramoto until
Erika: "If all goes
Satsukawa: "But you
said I'd know what you're plotting in a few minutes."
He lets out a sigh.
Satsukawa: "I'm sure
there's something that I'm missing. Why do I need to wait a few
minutes? Wait... it's almost lunch break..."
Erika: "See, you can
answer your own question by yourself."
Satsukawa: "In other
words you plan to involve someone else in your machinations."
Satsukawa: "Who are
you involving this time?"
Satsukawa-san, it's a wonderful day, you shouldn't spoil it with
you say I shouldn't relax when I'm around you? By the way, what
exactly are we doing here?"
Erika: "Why? Aren't
We have reached the
cafeteria. It almost look as if it is a completely different place,
now that there aren't any students around, but soon enough it is
going to become pretty crowded. The food stalls are being prepared at
this very moment, three people are busy replenishing the shelves with
fresh products: an-pan, melon-pan, yakisoba-pan, croquettes,
cream-pan, donuts, salad-pan, pizzas, miso-pan, various types of
sandwiches, and so on. These will soon become casualties of a fierce
war. When the bell will toll, repeated assaults from waves of hungry
students will make short work of them.
But this is no concern of
mine, because I am already here, and I can take whatever I want
without going the trouble of fighting for it. This is all third rate
commoner food, but there is the added bonus of being able to choose
first. That alone, I am sure, will greatly improve its flavor.
food is meant for the students of this school... I don't think..."
Erika: "Excuse me,
which among these rare delicacies is the most sought after?"
croquettes are by far the most delicious. They usually sell out after
the first five minutes or even less."
Erika: "I'll have
three of those. Satsukawa-san, why don't you also take some?"
Satsukawa: "I... I
think I'll just take one of those yakisoba-pan..."
Erika: "Aaah... what
a waste! You should always pick the best option when you have the
Satsukawa: "But if I
chose the croquettes, there'd be less for the students..."
Erika: "That's the
best part of it!"
really are... hopeless..."
After paying the vendor
for the food, we sit at one of the many empty tables of the
cafeteria. I specifically chose one in a central position.
Erika: "Maybe I
should wait a while, it'd be fun if the first students rushing here
would see me already eating their precious croquettes."
Satsukawa: "Give me
a break, why do you even care about such petty mischiefs?"
Erika: "I like to
see the reactions. Dismayed faces are particularly endearing to me, I
can never have enough. Oh, but there's also dejection, outrage,
shame, shock, disillusion. So many different flavors!"
all pretty negative stuff."
Erika: "But do you
know what I like the most? It's that particular expression you can
only see on those who realize they've just been busted. It's a
mysterious thing, some become completely red, probably because of the
intense shame they feel, others turn pale, I suppose from the shock
and from the fear of the consequences, but invariably they all start
sweating a lot and their lips warp in funny ways."
Satsukawa: "I guess
that's what you want to see on Teramoto's face."
Erika: "Oh, not only
Satsukawa: "Let me
double check something, just to be sure: the reason we're here today
is to find more clues about the murder case, right?"
Erika: "How rude,
why are you even doubting that?"
for a moment I almost forgot that my job is to find a criminal, and
not to support you in your questionable hobby."
Erika: "My favorite
hobby is to solve mysteries, Satsukawa-san, I'm an intellectual
Satsukawa: "But not
all the mysteries are about crimes."
Erika: "What if I
told you that the mysteries of this school are all, in a way or
another, related to the murder case?"
seems a bit fortuitous."
Erika: "Then, what
if I say that they might be related?"
Satsukawa: "And I
guess we can only be sure after we thoroughly investigate them."
Erika: "Is there any
Satsukawa: "Well, I
guess I cannot deny that Teramoto is connected to the case. The P.E.
shed was her secret base, after all."
Erika: "Don't forget
the murder weapon, and the hammer too. Those are both hers."
Satsukawa: "Come to
think of it, when you consider that both the crime scene and the
weapons are directly connected to Teramoto, it becomes very hard to
believe this is a murder she planned."
Erika: "And there's
more, the person that was meant to find the corpse is also closely
connected to her."
we making a mistake then? Teramoto had nothing to gain from this
whole set up, she's already paying a heavy price, and she turns out
as the main suspect."
Teramoto and her circle are directly involved in a non planned
accidental murder, or someone wanted to frame her."
right, there's also that first hypothesis. The fact that we didn't
find fingerprints on the sword or the hammer, might suggest this is
actually the case."
Erika: "If she could
think that far, why didn't she move the corpse elsewhere?"
she couldn't. Maybe she didn't have enough time."
Erika: "But then why
involving Hibari of all the people?"
is also deeply connected to that place, and unlike Teramoto she knew
the victim well. She might have been chosen as an ideal scapegoat."
normally I'd completely agree with you. The idea of that girl
betraying her best friend to save her own skin is certainly
don't think she's the kind of person that could do that?"
Miss Teramoto showed genuine concern for he friend. It is very hard
to believe it was all an act."
"I see... but if someone really tried to frame her, don't you
think we would've found Teramoto's fingerprints on the weapons? Why
would the culprit remove them?"
"Maybe they weren't there to begin with..."
"How? Even if you suppose she cleaned them recently, unless she
was wearing gloves, she would've still left her fingerprints."
"What's even more strange is the fact that she didn't seem to be
worried about that, as if she already knew we didn't find them."
"How do you explain that?"
"I don't know, but it doesn't matter. In the end when I'll be
done with her, I'll just need to ask, and she'll obediently answer."
"So there's no other choice, we need to go with your plan..."
"It's all for the best in the end. Even the principal agrees
with it, although she doesn't want to openly admit it."