Friday, October 26, 2012

Chapter 4 (n)

Erika: "You sure are making a lot of noise."

Kuon: "Oh my, that's not good. How unbecoming of me! It's certainly rude to rejoice in front of the loser, I beg your pardon, my dear lady!"

Erika: "You're very amusing, I really wish our little match would've lasted longer."

Kuon: "If you insist, we can still play until a proper checkmate."

Erika: "Oh, we can do that. But before, there's something that I'd like to ask."

Kuon: "My dear lady, there's really no end to your questions! Ha ha ha!"

Erika: "What can I say? I'm a very curious person, and I just can't understand why your priorities are that messed up."

Kuon: "My priorities?"

Erika: "For example, why is it more important to you to protect your cool image in front of your friends, rather than your credibility as the president of the student council in front of the teachers?"

Kuon: "Huh? Where does that even come from?"

Erika: "I think that for your academic career and your future, the latter is definitely more important. If you had some common sense, you'd agree with me."

Kuon: "I'm sorry but I'm really not following you..."

Erika: "You see... this is just like your move. Why did you decide to take my queen rather than my knight?"

Kuon: "Ha ha ha ha ha!!! My dear lady! As my friend explained just a while ago, a queen is three times more valuable than a mere knight! I didn't even need to think about which to choose!"

Erika: "Maybe you should have, Kubota."

Kuon: "H... huuuh?!"

Erika: "I guess that answers my question. You're the kind of guy that is quick to act and slow at thinking, aren't you? *giggle* *giggle*"

Kuon: "Ha ha ha ha! After losing on every front, you still dare to mock me! I guess I was mistaken, you know not when it's time to accept your defeat!"

Erika: "Who are you talking about, Kubota?! Certainly the theory that I exposed was absolutely worthless, and my claim that Baba spilled the beans was just a bluff. But why are you so naively assuming that blaming you for the murder of Gotsuji was my real objective?!"

Kuon: "What is this trickery?! Isn't solving that case the very reason you're in this school?"

Erika: "Of course! But so what? There's no rule that I can't inquire about anything else!"

Kuon: "W-what?! Ah ha ha ha ha! I hope this isn't just an excuse to pretend you haven't been defeated! You gave no indication whatsoever that your real purpose was something else!"

Erika: "But that's only natural! It is true in chess as it is in war and in many other situations: you should never let your enemy know what your true intentions are! This is one of the basic principles of Sun Tzu's teachings!"

Kuon: "Wise words, but isn't this logic a bit too convenient, my dear lady? You might as well say that it doesn't matter that you lost this chess game, because that wasn't your intention to begin with!"

Erika: "True enough. Then I guess I have no choice but to demonstrate that I've indeed reached my real objective, that my bluff actually succeeded, and that you've fallen for my trap... completely!"

Kuon: "Ah ha ha... ha ha ha... What in the world are you talking about?!"

Erika: "Haven't you realized it yet? You were so focused on the game and on disproving my baiting theory, that you carelessly said a lot of things that you're definitely going to regret. For example, from our conversation it clearly emerged that there's something strange going on between you and Baba, and you still haven't provided a decent explanation."

Kuon: "But of course I did! I..."

Erika: "What? You saved Baba from Nagaoka out of goodwill? You let him ditch his punishment for no apparent reason? You casually met him in an isolated place?"

Kuon: "Ha! Why not? I see no problem at all!"

Erika: "Sure! You don't really expect me to believe all that, and you don't care. As long as I can't prove that you're lying, you think you're fine. But you've completely forgotten the situation you find yourself in, and that was a fatal mistake. Because even if you don't care about what I think, I believe the same cannot be said about your friends. They've witnessed the whole exchange, and I'm sure they're expecting a better explanation. Don't you think?"

And suddenly Kubota begins to understand the dire situation he finds himself in. His eyes move from side to side, examining the faces of his friends. He doesn't need to ask to get proof that my words are true. Even the glamorous girl, who couldn't take her eyes off of her nails for a single second, is now looking at him with a stern expression. These are the same guys that gossiped about Junko Andou for weeks, after all. Their curiosity and suspicions won't be quenched by some half-baked lie.

Kuon: "Wait... I can explain!"

Erika: "Don't bother, I'll do that!"

Kuon: "Wait!"

Erika: "It's pretty simple to understand. For example, why did you know that this bookmark was lost?"

Kuon: "Gh! I... of course I knew... because... because..."

Erika: "Because?"

Kuon: "Because Baba was obviously upset! He claimed that I lost it, and he wanted it back!"

Erika: "Ha ha ha! Nice comeback! Not bad at all! But unfortunately that can't work anymore!"

Kuon: "Why?!"

Erika: "Because there's more that slipped through your big mouth! You said that Baba isn't really interested in Fuwa-Fuwa Purin Nyan, didn't you?"

Kuon: "I've never said that! I can't possibly have said that!"

Erika: "But you did! And everyone here have heard you! You're contradicting yourself! If Baba isn't a fan of Fuwa-Fuwa Purin Nyan, then this is nothing but a vulgar piece of paper to him!"

Kuon: "Whether I knew that it was lost or not doesn't matter at aaall!"

Erika: "It does! As well as everything that you said back then! That was really a very instructive lesson on how an otaku's mind work, but... how come you know such thiiings?!"

Kuon: "Aaargh! I'm an incredibly erudite person! My knowledge has no limits! Of course I..."

Erika: "That bag wasn't something that you gave to Baba, it was the exact opposite! He gave it to you!!!"

Kuon: "Wrooong!"

Erika: "The true fanatic of Fuwa-Fuwa Purin Nyan, it's you!!!"

Kuon: "Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!"

Erika: "It's true! This is the truth that you so hardly tried to hide!"

With an elegant flourish I point my finger straight at Kubota. It is time for my declaration!

Erika: Kuon Kubota, you are an otaku!"

Kuon: "Nuoooooooh!!!"

Erika: "Yes! And you aren't a regular otaku either, you're one of the most disgusting kind! Listen, everyone! The main character of Fuwa-Fuwa Purin Nyan is thirteen years old, and the same is true for the rest of the cast! Do you understand what that means?! This brings us to an even more dreary conclusion! Kubota is a lolicon!"

Kuon: "Gaaaaaah!!!"

Erika: "There's no mistake! This is his real face!"

Kuon: "Wrong! This is all wrong! I won't acknowledge your lies! I won't acknowledge them! You've got no proof!"

Erika: "Then let me show another decisive evidence!"

Kuon: "There's no such thing! No such thing!"

Erika: "Consider this! Just a while ago Kuon Kubota was sleeping, wasn't he? Don't you think it was strange?"

Kuon: "It wasn't strange at all!"

Erika: "Certainly, this fact by itself wouldn't be that strange. But according to your friends this is something that happens cyclically ever week!"

Kuon: "Gh... why did you keep track of something like that?!"

Erika: "Pretty amazing friends you have, Kubota! This girl was even more specific! She said it happens every Thursday!"

Kuon: "Whyyy?!"

Erika: "Incidentally, Fuwa-Fuwa Purin Nyan airs every Thursday at 1:30 AM! Considering that each episode lasts 30 minutes, not much time is left for Kubota to sleep! No wonder he needs to make up for it later!"

Normal Girl: "Aaah! That's why!"

Erika: "Yes!"

Kuon: "Nooo!"

Erika: "By the way, Kubota..."

Kuon: "What now?!"

Erika: "This is checkmate in two."

Kuon: "No way! This is ridiculous! It can't be! You've lost your queen, and so early in the game! There's no possible way! No possible... ah... Aaaaaaaah?!"

Erika: "Have you finally noticed the threat?! Taking your bishop? Saving my knight?! Don't make me laugh! I'll do neither! This is my move! Bishop takes pawn at f7! Check!!!"

Kuon: "Wait!"

Erika: "I can wait all the time you want, but nothing will change! Unlike you, when I said that this game had already ended, I really meant it!"

Kuon: "This is impossible! How could you know a trick like this?! Aren't you just an amateur?!"

Erika: "Ah, certainly, I did mention that I'm not really into chess and that I only play it occasionally... But that doesn't mean that I'm an amateur at all!"

Kuon: "You... you tricked me!"

Erika: "In a thousand of different ways! Blame yourself for letting me trick you!"

Kuon: "There must be a way I can save my king... wait! Why am I bothering about this?! That's not what I should worry about right now!!!"

Erika: "That's because you've got no sense of priority at all!"

Kuon: "You haven't won yet! This is not the end!"

Erika: "Why are you wasting your time, Kubota? You cannot take my bishop, and you cannot protect your king. That means you only have one option left. You must move your king to safety, and there's only one square he can go to!"

Kuon: "This is not the end! Yes, I might have said a lot of things, but what of it?! Just knowing about how an otaku feels doesn't mean that I'm one! Right now haven't you just said that Fuwa-Fuwa Purin Nyan airs at 1:30 AM every Thursday?! How come you know about that?! If your logic was correct then I should conclude that you're also an otaku! Ha ha! What do you say, my dear lady?! I'm turning your weapons against you! King to e7!"

Erika: "What foolishness! I've absolutely no interest in such a worthless show. I simply know about it because Dlanor likes it. Right, Dlanor?"

Dlanor: "Fuwa-Fuwa Purin Nyan is the best."

Kuon: "You're not going to fool anyone with that!!!"

Erika: "All right, then I'll tell you the real reason. I've simply investigated it, I'm a detective, that's my job!"

Kuon: "But it makes no sense! Why would you do that? You couldn't possibly have known that I..."

Erika: "I had already understood the situation with an almost perfect accuracy... two days ago!"

Kuon: "That's impossible!"

Erika: "Why not? You came up with an excuse to take that bag with you, and Baba didn't mind that all. It was pretty easy to reason out who among you actually wanted those doujinshi. At the same time it became clear that for some reason you didn't want to let us see them. That kind of irrational behavior is typical of a kid who's worrying too much about how others might see him. Fuwa-Fuwa Purin Nyan was my only clue, so it's only logical that I investigated it a bit. Then, after talking with your friends, I grew even more certain that you really like that show. But more importantly, there's something that you said two days ago that really intrigued me."

Kuon: "Gh... something... that I... said?"

Erika: "'There's absolutely no place in my heart for anyone else but...'"

Kuon: "Uaaaah! Stop! Stop! Stop!"

Erika: "...Fuwa-Fuwa Purin Nyan, maybe?"

Kuon: "Don't saaaay it!!!"

Erika: "Isn't it time to give up, you disgusting pig? Why don't you just admit that you're one of those weirdos that fall in love with fictional characters? So lame! How laughable! Are you that pathetic?"

Kuon: "Wrooong! This is absolutely wrong! Definitely wrong! Unquestionably and decidedly wrong!"

Erika: "So you're choosing to keep on denying it, even though there's absolutely no doubt at this point. That won't do! I can't settle for something that half-assed! Good! I happen to have a very nice idea on how we can get out from this impasse! By the way, Kubota, are you a Christian?"

Kuon: "What does that have to do with anything?!"

Erika: "I ask because you said a few things that would indicate that you are: 'ask and you shall receive', 'omnia munda mundis', 'doubting Thomas'. All of those are Gospel references."

Kuon: "Yes, I'm a Christian! But why does it matter now?!"

Erika: "Because that's what gave me the idea! I think that it's really fitting, yes, absolutely perfect!"

Kuon: "W-what... are you... planning?"

Erika: "Does 'fumie' ring a bell?"

Kuon: "Y-you... don't mean..."

Erika: "At the time of Christian persecutions, they came up with a simple and yet clever system to tell apart those who followed that religion and those who didn't. The 'fumie' were basically depictions of Jesus or the virgin Mary that people were asked to step on. For those who didn't believe in them, those were just wooden boards with some carvings devoid of any value. But for the Christians, those were sacred images that they couldn't possibly defile. Isn't it amazing how a simple belief can completely change the way a human interprets reality? Let's use that very system to determine whether you really are an otaku or not! Incidentally we have the right tool just in front of us. This bookmark is just a worthless piece of colored paper to me, But for an otaku... I think you explained it in great detail how valuable this is."

Kuon: "You can't be... serious..."

Erika: "Oh, but I am! This is your chance to clear your name, you really have no reason to refuse! Come on, Kubota, take it! Take this meaningless piece of paper!"

Kubota reluctantly obeys. His trembling hand reaches for the bookmark, and with noticeable uncertainty picks it up.

Kuon: "W-what do you want me... to do?"

Erika: "Ha ha ha! It's quite simple. You just need to... destroy it!"

Kubota brings the bookmark in front of his eyes. His face is pale and covered in sweat. If only he could see how dumb he looks at this very moment! I knew that this would be fun, but I didn't imagine it would turn out to be so amusing!

Erika: "Wait a second, Kubota, no cheating!"

Kuon: "W-what do you mean?!"

Erika: "I saw you! You closed your eyes! That won't do, absolutely not! You must keep them open, wide open! Look at that adorable Fuwa-Fuwa Purin Nyan! Look at her joyous and innocent smile! Look at her fragile and minute body! Watch her closely, Kubota! Impress what you see in your mind and then..."

I move closer. With a wicked grin, I whisper in his ears, cruelly and mercilessly.

Erika: "Tear it apart... rip it to shreds... break it into a thousand little pieces..."

Kubota's body shivers. The hand that is holding the bookmark is noticeably shacking. He finally grabs it with the other.

Erika: "Don't close your eyes, Kubota! Come on, do it! What's the matter?! Didn't you say that you aren't an otaku? There shouldn't be any problem at all! Come on! Do it! Do it! Dooo iiit!!!"

Kuon: "Uooooaaaaaaaahhhh!!!"

Erika: "Yes! That's the spirit! What are you waiting for?! Destroy it! Destroy Fuwa-Fuwa Purin Nyan!"

Kuon: "I'll do it! I'll do it!"

Erika: "Yes! Do it!"

Kuon: "I..."

Erika: "Come on!"

Kuon: "I..."

Erika: "Break her!"

Kuon: "I..."

Erika: "Kill her!"

Kuon: "I..."

Erika: "Slay her!"

Kuon: "I caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan't!!!"

There he goes.
Every trace of resistance flows away from his body as the air in his lungs is released through his scream. His willpower, his flamboyance, his confidence, his tension, his fear, all of those disappear. Kubota's friends observe him speechless as he lets out the secret that he had always kept inside. There is no longer any point in struggling, this is the end. Devoid of its spirit and of its vital force, Kubota's body falls limply on the table. A 'thud' can be heard as the head bumps on the hard surface, and yet no reaction to pain can be observed.
Like an artist contemplates his finished work, I admire the result of my efforts. A sense of fulfillment blooms in my soul, and with a mischievous giggle I move my hand over the chessboard. Calmly and gently I take my piece. Slowly I move it over the final square. I delicately place it down and sweetly I pronounce the final judgment.

Erika: "Knight to d5... Checkmate."


  1. Masterful chess game. Will try to use the same tactic in the future!

    1. Be careful, it can backfire if they don't take the bait, and it wouldn't have worked if only Kuon deployed his other knight. Still I guess the satisfaction of checkmating your opponent after he took your queen is worth the risk of losing the game.

    2. Exactly my thought. Oh my, you took my queen..! By the way, checkmate. It's just too fun, like that bizarre game log I found long ago in which white sacrificed all of his pieces except for a single knight which he then used to checkmate the enemy king trapped between his units.
      Erika's reasoning is always so much fun to read, man.

  2. Wow, bravo man. Bravo.

    Pretty masterful back and forth here. I thought Kuon had actually managed to win there but I also knew that Erica is far too petty a person to agree she lost with anything remotely like grace or humility.

    I don't see what any of this has to do with the case though. Although, with Erika, it doesn't really need to.