Rokudou: "You heard her, Satsukawa-san, Milady's always right. Hu hu hu!"
Satsukawa: "I see, that's a relief..."
Dlanor: "Mister Satsukawa, you seem to be skeptical."
Erika: "Is that so? You don't have faith in my intellectual skills?!"
Satsukawa: "Ah... no, that's not it... I mean, I do think you're very smart..."
Erika: "Very smart? That's an understatement. What do you think, Dlanor?"
Dlanor: "I find his lack of faith disturbing."
Rokudou: "Hu hu hu, relax, Satsukawa-san, Milady is just joking."
Satsukawa: "Give me a break, for a moment there I thought you were going to burn me at the stake."
Erika: "Burning people alive, that doesn't sound half bad. That was quite an effective method to get rid of witches in the past."
Rokudou: "Interesting, should all the witches be burned?"
Erika: "Only the bad ones."
Rokudou: "Which are the bad ones?"
Erika: "Very funny, Rokudou..."
Satsukawa: "I have the feeling that I'm missing something."
Erika: "Don't mind it, it's a long story."
Dlanor: "By 'witches' Miss Erika means those who can use 'magic'. Bad witches are those who use 'magic' for evil purposes."
Dlanor: "Magic is anything that can alter reality itself."
Satsukawa: "What can possibly do that?"
Erika: "Lies, fabrications, delusions, myths, legends. There's plenty of those in our world."
Satsukawa: "They don't actually change reality..."
Erika: "Depends. That really depends."
Rokudou: "Why don't you give him a demonstration, Milady?"
Erika: "A demonstration? That could be interesting."
Satsukawa: "I'm not sure I understand, but maybe your definition of 'reality' differs from mine..."
Erika: "Well, I think you nailed the problem there. Do you know what's real? Do you know what isn't real?"
Satsukawa: "Uh... is that one of those philosophical questions?"
Erika: "Tell me, Satsukawa-san, what color is the sky?"
Satsukawa: "The sky? The sky is blue... isn't it?"
Erika: "Is that a real fact? Is that reality?"
Erika: "Is 'blue' something that actually exists?"
Satsukawa: "Ah, there's actually a specific wavelength of light that correspond to the color blue, and that can be scientifically measured."
Erika: "True, but why does that specific wavelength correspond to the color blue? Is that something that's inherent in that wavelength, or is it more correct to say that such association is purely arbitrary? Other species see colors differently than us, does that mean that they're wrong? Does that mean that we're right? The truth, Satsukawa-san, is that there's no such thing. Colors, as we perceive them, aren't part of reality, they only exist inside our minds. And yet the only thing that we see are colors. The world we live in, and that we consider our reality is a gigantic illusion."
Erika: "And I'm not even done. What's the sky anyway? What is it made of? Where is it exactly? Is it the air? Is it the stratosphere? Is it the space beyond it? I'll tell you what the sky is: it's a lie. It's just the illusion that something definite exists above our heads. It's just the amalgamated result of what our eyes perceive. That's why we have ridiculous expressions such as 'starry sky', as if stars were just sparkling dots decorating a giant dome."
Erika: "So let me ask this again. What color is the sky?"
Satsukawa: "I suppose... it doesn't really have a color... Or rather... it's pointless to ask..."
Erika: "See? I changed your reality."
Satsukawa: "If by that you mean that you gave me a headache, then I agree..."
Erika: "Oh, sorry, I didn't consider your limits."
Rokudou: "Do you understand what 'magic' is now, Satsukawa-san?"
Satsukawa: "Well... more or less..."
Rokudou: "The world is filled with such magic, it's all around us, and we don't even realize it."
Erika: "By the way, Satsukawa-san, Dlanor correctly stated that bad witches are those who use magic for evil purposes. However, what's an evil purpose?"
Satsukawa: "Causing harm to others for personal gain?"
Erika: "That's not a bad answer, but that's still open to interpretations. What constitutes 'harm'? What can be considered 'personal gain'?"
Satsukawa: "I'm not sure..."
Erika: "In my opinion the very act of robbing someone of the truth is harmful. Yes, that's indeed a most detestable crime. As for personal gain, that could be anything from a mere materialistic need, to the selfish desire of painting the world of your favorite color."
Satsukawa: "What about white lies?"
Erika: "That's an oxymoron. Lies are never pure. The intentions behind them might be so, but not the lies themselves. By the way, Satsukawa-san, the reason Rokudou a while before sarcastically asked me which are the bad witches, is because I am a witch myself."
Satsukawa: "You're a witch?"
Erika: "That's right, I'm a witch of truth. I wasn't joking when I said that I changed your reality."
Satsukawa: "Well, according to your definition of 'magic' and 'witch', I guess that makes sense. However..."
Satsukawa: "What is the truth?"
Satsukawa might seem a bit dim-witted at times, but it is amazing how fast he can learn. That question wasn't bad at all. But he is still very inexperienced. If he knew better, he would never ask what is the truth to a witch of truth. Bernkastel, what would your reaction be, if someone asked you what miracles are? Would you laugh? Would you sneer at him? Would you get angry? It took me years to reach a complete understanding of what 'truth' really means. It isn't something that can be explained in a few words, or rather, it isn't something that can be explained with words alone. Which is why that question is almost offensive to me. Even if I tried to explain, he wouldn't understand. And even if he could understand, I would still refuse to give him such a precious treasure for free.
So I won't tell him.
Erika: "I think we've talked enough about this. It's getting late, and I'm hungry. If you don't have anything else that's work related to discuss, we can continue our chitchat while having breakfast."
Satsukawa: "Actually, there is something else."
Erika: "Wow, today you're full of surprises."
Satsukawa: "It's about Junko Andou. I imagined you wanted to know more about her, so I took the liberty to investigate her."
Erika: "Now, that's what I call efficiency. I'm impressed. So, you did find something, right?"
Satsukawa: "As a matter of facts, I did. I found her name in our archives."
Erika: "Ha ha ha, how come I'm not surprised?! I knew that there was something fishy about her! Then, what crimes did she commit? Do tell me!"
Satsukawa: "Sorry, Erika, but I think I'll have to disappoint you."
Satsukawa: "In the reports I've found, she isn't mentioned as the perpetrator, but as the victim."
Erika: "A victim..?"
I am surprised, and yet, I really shouldn't be. In fact I should have already imagined it.
But still... this is really surprising, in a pleasant way.
Satsukawa: "Junko Andou has been abused by her father. Only two instances were reported, but it likely happened more often. Her father has quite a long criminal record, but that's mostly minor stuff. In almost every case the cause was alcohol abuse. Junko Andou's case was notified to the social workers, but in the end it was decided that there was no need to take her away from her family."
Erika: "When was the last abuse reported?"
Satsukawa: "Eight years ago. That's about the time when Junko Andou's mother died giving birth to her second child. It seems that that's what caused the father to start drinking, and from there it kept going downhill."
Erika: "A very sad story, but quite unoriginal. So, Junko Andou has a younger sibling? A boy?"
Satsukawa: "A little sister. The fact that there never were other reports of abuse suggests that her father overcame the worst phase of his crisis."
Erika: "Or that he became more cautious."
Satsukawa: "Always assuming the worst scenario..."
Erika: "By the way, what kind of abuse are we talking about, specifically?"
Satsukawa: "Physical abuse. Again, sorry to disappoint you."
Erika: "Why? That doesn't mean that something worse didn't happen. Did they check?"
Satsukawa: "She was nine years old..."
Erika: "Does that man even have a job, considering his bad drinking habits and all?"
Satsukawa: "If memory serves me well, in the last archived report, two years ago, it says that he's unemployed."
Erika: "Then, what do you think?"
Satsukawa: "I don't know, it certainly isn't a good family situation."
Erika: "You've seen the girl with your own eyes. How did she look to you?"
Satsukawa: "I think that she still shows the scars of her bad experiences."
Rokudou: "That certainly isn't surprising considering the trauma she has suffered in her childhood. That's a very delicate age."
Erika: "Do you think someone like her could become a murderer?"
Rokudou: "It often happens that the victim becomes the victimizer, but I'd rather expect her to transfer her anger to someone weaker. Her situation alone doesn't make her significantly more likely to be a murderer than her female peers."
Satsukawa: "There isn't really much that connects her to the victim anyway."
Erika: "Except Oda. Also, I'm pretty sure she's the one who installed the latch on the abandoned shed. And that means she's one of the few persons that knows how to open it."
Satsukawa: "And the motive?"
Erika: "Who knows, that's the least important part in an investigation anyway. We may know more after I make Teramoto talk."
Satsukawa: "Sounds like a plan."
Erika: "Well then, shall we go?"