Friday, July 13, 2012

Chapter 2 (e)

Satsukawa: "Ahem... that's why I say... it really isn't the investigators' fault if by some circumstances there aren't enough proofs to convict a criminal. And often it isn't because the criminal was particularly intelligent and cautious. When someone commits a crime there's always a series of random factors that can interfere with the plan, that's why it's usually not a very smart idea to kill someone. But sometimes someone just has the sheer luck to never encounter any of those random factors. No witnesses, no slip ups, no leads inadvertently left... and so on."

Erika: "But as long as the culprit is still alive, you can question him, and if you know your job you'll be able to spot his contradictions and ultimately incriminate him."

Satsukawa: "That's only if you actually have a lead as to who the culprit might be. And in some rare cases, there are persons that just won't spill the beans no matter what."

And again, I cannot debate that because of that damn incident.

Erika: "But then, if you find someone so clever and stubborn to defeat any attempt from the investigators to make him confess, wouldn't that be a very exceptional person?"

Satsukawa: "Well, I suppose you're right on that. But it's still different from how mystery novels depict the would-be perfect criminals. They're usually banking everything on a perfect execution of the crime itself, but they're not really good at keeping their mouths shut. Often they're as stupid as to incriminate themselves by blurting out particulars of the crime they're not supposed to know. And what's most ridiculous is that they confess their crimes even when a good attorney could easily destroy the flimsy proofs that the detective used against them. Deny everything, deny even the undeniable, that's how a true criminal would act."

Erika: "That's really not fun at all..."

Rokudou: "Satsukawa-san, you seem to have your own peculiar theories about criminology. That was really interesting."

Satsukawa: "Yeah, I've always been fascinated by crime, murders in particular. I decided to become a police officer with the precise intent to join the criminal investigation section."

Rokudou: "And here you are. You're an accomplished man."

Satsukawa: "I believe I am, I'm exactly where I wanted to be."

Erika: "You still have a long way if they made you babysit me, assistant inspector."

Rokudou: "Hu hu hu."

Satsukawa: "That's going to change soon. I still have a long career ahead of me."

Erika: "Then treasure this rare opportunity you've been given to witness a true detective at work. You might learn a lot of useful tricks that will help you in your... career. Albeit with the limited brainpower you possess it's probably useless for you."

Satsukawa: "Believe it or not, that's what I intend to do. But it's not my plan to emulate you and your methods. I just want to learn whatever I can from you, and then use it in my own way."

Erika: "Quite a commendable attitude you have. Then let the teacher test the pupil's skills."

Satsukawa: "Again?"

Erika: "What are your thoughts regarding what I've found in the victim's room?"

Satsukawa: "Well, that was a valuable lesson. That taught me the importance of knowing the value of products that are commercialized, and the importance of knowledge in general. I suppose that what makes a great detective isn't just logic, perception and intelligence, but also a wide understanding of the world in all of its facets."

Erika: "Certainly, that goes without saying, but that isn't quite what I asked. I want to know what you deduced from the elements that emerged. In other words: what can you say regarding the inexplicable purchases that the victim made before her death? I gave you enough time to reflect about that, or was your mind too much occupied with the shed's trick?"

Satsukawa: "Well, I did try to reflect about that issue too... but I think it's early to draw conclusions. Anyway that's certainly a matter that's worth being investigated."

Erika: "What's the point in holding down your thoughts? Let them flow freely, you can check whether they're wrong or right later. It's a common mistake for the average man to be restrained by baseless preconceptions. that's what the good mystery writers often exploit. Don't be afraid to consider even the most improbable scenario, as long as it isn't outright impossible there's absolutely nothing wrong with that."

Satsukawa: "And what's outright impossible?"

Erika: "Magic, demons, witches, mind powers, implausible futuristic technologies. That sort of things."

Satsukawa: "I wonder if it's really all right to treat a real murder case as if it's a classic mystery novel..."

Erika: "You mean that those things are more likely to be true in the real world?"

Satsukawa: "I mean that there's more that I'd consider outright impossible in the real world."

Erika: "Like what?"

Satsukawa: "Villain-like characters, for example. People committing crimes for implausible reasons."

Erika: "You have a detective-like character just in front of you, do you really believe that's impossible for a Moriarty to exist?"

Satsukawa: "Good point... but still, that's very unlikely."

Erika: "Yeah, whatever you say. I suppose Shoukou Asahara is a nice guy then."

Satsukawa: "Now... you've just mentioned one of the worst cases the MPD had to deal with... But there's no point in going from one extreme to another."

Erika: "In the end it doesn't really matter, who cares if people are good or bad? That's not for a detective to judge that. All that we need to determine is whodunit, howdunit and whydunit."

Satsukawa: "And yet again that's mystery novel terminology..."

Erika: "Now we're facing the mystery of Hitomi Gotsuji and her costly purchases. Howdunit?"

Satsukawa: "There are several hypotheses we can make. In the first place we don't know if she actually purchased those items herself. They might be gifts from someone she knew."

Erika: "It's possible, but I believe you concluded that it was improbable she had a secret boyfriend, right? And I can't really see who else would be willing to pay for all that stuff."

Satsukawa: "Yes, you have a point. Unless we're dealing with an extremely paranoid individual that wouldn't even use the victim's phone to contact her, I think that's not an option."

Erika: "Let's put this crazy scenario aside for now and let's assume there isn't any paranoid secret boyfriend."

Satsukawa: "Then it'd be indeed unlikely that those are gifts, and even if they were, it would be quite suspicious."

Erika: "Go on."

Satsukawa: "I crosschecked the various witnesses' depositions. I think it's safe to conclude that the victim didn't have a part time job. Unless it was something with a completely random schedule and that could let her gain a huge amount of money in few hours each time."

Erika: "Yes, that's a very good reasoning so far. Sooo... where does that lead us?"

Satsukawa: "I guess that what you're thinking is that the victim was involved in some illegal activity."

Erika: "Which would provide interesting possibilities for the motive behind our murder case, wouldn't it?"

Satsukawa: "I can't deny that it would explain many things... but we have no clue as to which illegal activity she'd be involved with. Anyway there's still a chance that she won the money, or that she found it."

Erika: "That much money? What kind of magnate happened to lose his wallet while roaming on this awesome side of Tokyo?"

Satsukawa: "You're the one who asked me to say whatever crossed my mind."

Erika: "Of course, where would be the fun then?"

Satsukawa: "... Whatever..."

Erika: "As for winning money, is there actually any evidence that Gotsuji was a gambler?"

Satsukawa: "None, but then again we don't have any that she was a criminal either."

Erika: "Well, that's different. It's only natural that a criminal would keep his shady life a secret from anyone. But it's rare for a gambler to keep the secret, or rather to manage to keep it secret."

Satsukawa: "Maybe she wasn't really a frequent gambler, but she still got lucky at the lottery."

Erika: "Can't you check if she actually won anything?"

Satsukawa: "I suppose I could ask the team to investigate that, but we cannot check the underground gambling sites, and we know there are a few in this area."

Erika: "Now it'd be fun if she was involved with the Yakuza, but I think that's against the rules of a proper mystery novel, right?"

Dlanor: "I have nothing against that."

Erika: "Ah, that's right, that's one of the twenty rules of your friend."

Satsukawa: "You lost me again... but yet again I must express how little comfortable I am with treating a real case as if it was a mystery novel."

Erika: "Yeah, yeah... no need to remind me that every time. At any rate I suppose that she might have acquired that much money, if she stole it from some criminal organization."

Satsukawa: "I suppose so, but I don't really think Yakuza would kill a kid so easily. Those families that survived to this day are not stupid, they know the risks involved with murdering people. And they definitely wouldn't do that in a school using such a conspicuous system."

Erika: "I agree. Then the other option is that she was involved in a small gang, a juvenile one."

Satsukawa: "Maybe our cultists are involved in some shady business. If that's the case Gotsuji might have been part of their group and she was punished after they found out that she was embezzling more than her due."

Erika: "Hitomi Gotsuji fell upon the wrath of Pazuzu. I suppose that fits, it's an interesting scenario."

Satsukawa: "However we have no reason to think she was particularly involved with their occult rituals."

Erika: "That doesn't mean much. The occult fluff might be just a cover and the real members are probably those who believe that the least."

Satsukawa: "I think you should really talk with this Teramoto girl."

Erika: "No, not yet. If I understand correctly she's a tough one. I prefer to meet her when I'm properly prepared to crush that hard carapace of hers."

Satsukawa: "I see..."

Erika: "So, what else can you think about? Don't tell me you're done already."

Satsukawa: "Well... I don't really know what other explanation could there be..."

Erika: "You were doing good. Something with a completely random schedule and that could let her gain a huge amount of money in few hours each time. That's what you said, right?"

Satsukawa: "Something else other than illegal activities?"

Erika: "Yes, sort of. Except it doesn't really need to be a huge amount, just a lot of money."

Satsukawa: "You don't mean..."

Erika: "Yes, I mean exactly that!"

Satsukawa: "That's a bit..."

Erika: "What's wrong, Satsukawa-san? Don't tell me you never heard of enjo kousai before. She was almost eighteen years old. What else girls of her age do when they want to buy a Louis Mutton bag?"

Satsukawa: "Well... certainly... it makes sense... if it was just compensated dating..."

Erika: "Oh please... am I really supposed to buy that? That's just an euphemism for prostitution. Of course they'd never admit that, seeing as how it's illegal. By the way, Satsukawa-san, you never told me if the victim was a virgin. I'm sure our unscrupulous coroner checked that."

Satsukawa: "Ahem... she wasn't."

Erika: "See?"

Satsukawa: "She had several boyfriends, that's really not that strange for a girl of her age. Anyway, we would've noticed if she received calls and messages from strange phone numbers."

Erika: "What if she used internet for that? Do you really think she'd give her personal phone number to her clients?"

Satsukawa: "Good point, I'll tell the geeks at the headquarter to check if they can find something regarding that."

Erika: "I wish I could check that hard disk myself."

Satsukawa: "I think that might be arranged, if you're fine with a copy."

Erika: "I'd be very grateful for that."

Satsukawa: "I'll see what I can do."

Erika: "There's a another explanation as to how Gotsuji might have acquired that much money."

Satsukawa: "Another one?"

Erika: "You're completely clueless, aren't you?"

Satsukawa: "You don't mind telling me, right?"

Erika: "Sigh... you aren't even trying! Oh well, I guess I'll tell you then."

Rokudou: "If it's milady's last hypothesis, that's probably her favorite."

Satsukawa: "So in other words so far we've been discussing about what she thinks are the less likely possibilities?"

Erika: "Silence! That's not true at all! I just left the best for last, but that doesn't mean it's the most probable."

Satsukawa: "Huh?"

Rokudou: "It means that's what she likes it the best for her own reasons."

Erika: "Okay silence now, seriously! The last hypothesis is..."

I make a dramatic pause. A great detective should always pay attention to details such as pacing and theatrics. That's the essence behind a detective's declarations. Substance is what's most important, but form is what makes the difference. It's not just pure aesthetic, it's also a powerful psychological weapon against the guilty minds. You won't scare anyone with clumsy words and a submissive attitude.

Erika: "Blackmail!"

Satsukawa: "Blackmail?"

Rokudou: "I see..."

Erika: "In other words the victim was blackmailing someone. That would explain where did she get that money from and why that someone wanted her to die. If you connect the dots it's really simple. If she was blackmailing someone, it's only natural that she wanted to meet that person in secrecy to receive her payments. And that's only natural that the blackmailed would hate her and that he'd decide to solve the problem... radically. It'd be a real classic, not really original, but that's a whydunit that always works. Of course that means that someone has something to hide and that the victim somehow learned that secret. Given all these reasons I believe our next step should be to inquire into the private lives of everyone that was involved with the victim and look for any shady secrets they may hide."

A perfect execution. My exposition was flawless and no one can really confute its plausibility.
I see that Satsukawa is evaluating my words carefully. He is probably thinking that it is indeed a sound theory and that it is decidedly the right lead to follow. After all bending people's will to mine through my rhetorical skills is one of my many qualities.

Satsukawa: "You aren't saying this just because you really want to nose about in people's private lives, right?"

Rokudou: "Hu hu hu hu!"

Erika: "Satsukawa-san! I'm offended!"

Why did he become smart all of a sudden?!

Satsukawa: "Well, if someone is hiding something, it's probably not a good thing. I don't mind helping you in exposing their felonies, even if it isn't related to the case."

Erika: "Like I said, it is related to the case!"

Satsukawa: "Okay. At any rate I think we've discussed enough. When are we going to collect even more evidences and testimonies? I supposes there's still a lot of students you want to talk with."

Erika: "No point in going there when they're still busy with their lessons."

Satsukawa: "Then, what's the plan?"

Erika: "The plan, Satsukawa-san, is to take our time and find a nice place where we can have our lunch. I don't suppose that we can find high quality restaurants on this side of Tokyo, but there ought to be one of those characteristic family driven traditional eateries. I'm really in the mood for some hand made udon to eat with a pair of bamboo chopsticks. Aaah, did I ever tell you how much I love chopsticks? And after enjoying our meal in all tranquility and waiting for time to pass, we can go back to the Mitsugi institute and resume our investigations, while the students are busy with their club activities. Does this plan sound good enough to you? *giggle* *giggle*"

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chapter 2 (d)


Erika: "Anyway, Satsukawa-san, I believe I've found something very interesting yesterday night."

Satsukawa: "Yesterday night? While you were in this hotel room?"

Erika: "Of course, where else?"

Satsukawa: "What's so interesting in this place?"

Erika: "I've been looking at the pictures in Gotsuji's photo albums, silly. Overall they helped me in acquiring a better understanding of the victim's personality and life, but there are three of them that piqued my curiosity."

I show the three pictures to Satsukawa. They all depict the victim with her friends in different situations. In one they are in a karaoke private room, in another they are inside a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. The last seems to be a prank shot taken while an unknowing Gotsuji was typing an e-mail with her phone.
Satsukawa examines them attentively, but as I expected he doesn't even understand what he is supposed to notice.

Satsukawa: "Well... hmmm, she seems to be enjoying herself..."

Erika: "Indeed, Satsukawa-san, I just wanted you to see how much the victim enjoyed that little life that remained to her! Or maybe you were supposed to say something smart for a change."

Satsukawa: "Okay... so there's something wrong with these? Hmmm..."

Erika: "What all these pictures have in common?"

Satsukawa: "Well... they're all taken by someone other than the victim... or they used a self-timer..."

Erika: "A little better, but still quite far from it."

Satsukawa: "Well, hmmm... she's with her friends... probably even in this picture where she's alone."

Erika: "Incredible observational skills indeed... Look, I'll give you a little help, that picture that you just mentioned is probably the best to start from as there aren't that many other particulars to notice."

Satsukawa: "She's using a phone... hmmm?"

It seems that he finally realized something and quickly checks the other two photos.

Satsukawa: "You can see Gotsuji's phone in all of them. Is that what I'm supposed to notice?"

Erika: "Now we're getting somewhere! Remember? You've found her phone at the crime scene. You showed me a picture of it, it's definitely the same."

Satsukawa: "Then this provides further confirmation that it was really the victim's phone... but we already knew that."

Erika: "There's something different, something that you can see in these three pictures, which is missing from the phone as you've found it."

Satsukawa: "Huh?"

Satsukawa examines the photos again. It's really funny to see him hopelessly trying so hard to find the particular that I noticed.

Satsukawa: "Wait... hmmm... hmmm... Wait, maybe I got it..."

Erika: "What did you get?"

Satsukawa: "I wish I could have that other picture with me to make a comparison..."

Erika: "Can't you remember the details of something you've seen? As an investigator you should have a better photographic memory."

Satsukawa: "Well... I'm not really sure, I never thought this was an important particular..."

Erika: "Everything is important, Satsukawa-san. Even the smallest particular might turn out to be something vital to solve the mystery."

Satsukawa: "Anyway I think it's this strange cell strap, isn't it?"

Dlanor: "That cell strap represents Doro Doro, an alien cat character from a kid's show."

Satsukawa: "So what you've noticed is that it's missing from the phone we've found, right?"

Erika: "Exactly! Isn't it strange?"

Satsukawa: "There might be several explanations for that... how is this supposed to be relevant to our case?"

Erika: "As I said... every particular might turn out to be relevant! This is something odd, and it'd be best to confirm how come that cell strap is no longer where it's supposed to be."

Satsukawa: "Maybe the victim got tired of it."

Erika: "She wouldn't have removed it before finding a replacement, don't you think?"

Satsukawa: "Depends... or maybe she simply lost it."

Erika: "A few days before she died?"

Satsukawa: "How do you know?"

Erika: "The pictures in the photo album were sorted in a chronological order as it's often the case. The one where she's in the ryokan is one of the most recently made. Remember what her father told us? Gotsuji went on a vacation with her friends during spring break, and there's no doubt that that's when this picture was taken."

Satsukawa: "Okay... that's really recent then..."

Erika: "You just don't seem very excited about this finding..."

Satsukawa: "Actually no. Like I said, there's no indication that this is relevant to the case."

Erika: "But it might! It's usually because of particulars such as this that the culprit is incriminated in mystery novels."

Satsukawa: "But this is reality, not a mystery novel."

Erika: "But don't you understand how wonderful would it be if I were to catch the murderer using something like this? It'd be perfect and dramatic, a fitting element to use for my final declaration!"

Satsukawa: "I suppose it'd be really cool if you could find the cell strap in the culprit's pocket and somehow use it to prove he's guilty. But wouldn't that be a bit too convenient? I think that mystery novels really get ridiculous sometimes. They always show how the murderer conveniently betrays himself with some kind of slip up."

Erika: "There's always some kind of slip up involved, if there wasn't, it'd be a perfect crime."

Satsukawa: "The perfect crime is yet another myth of mystery novels. They make it look as if you need an exceptional man to murder someone and get away with it. In reality murder cases solved in the world range between 30% to 70%. That's quite a lot of 'perfect crimes', and that doesn't take in account those murders that are never found to begin with."

Erika: "In countries like Japan and Germany it's about 95%. I blame the laziness and incompetence of the other countries' police for such low rates."

Rokudou: "I think it's probably because they have a harsher judicial system. Japan is particular famous for that."

Erika: "Nonsense! They're just applying the law as they should rather than letting attorneys dominate the courtrooms as it happens in the United States."

Satsukawa: "There's still that 5%. There are around 600 intentional homicides committed in Japan every year. That means about 30 homicides remain unsolved year after year. And this is one of the countries with the highest solved cases rate and the lowest murder rate."

Erika: "That's what happens when you don't let a great detective like me investigate the crime."

Satsukawa: "My point is... unsolved crimes are not necessarily the result of exceptional criminal minds. Most of the times it's just a series of purely situational factors."

Erika: "I can agree as long as the situational factors you're talking about are related to the investigations' flaws."

Satsukawa: "So you're confident that there's absolutely no crime you wouldn't be able to solve?"

Erika: "..."

Rokudou: "Ahem... I believe that as milady is now that would be the case."

This is quite frustrating.

Satsukawa: "I know your trust in Erika's skills is nearly absolute, but..."

Why does that incident keep coming up?

Rokudou: "It's not just because of my personal ties with her, I assure you..."

Why does that still affect me?

Satsukawa: "But still, you need to realize sometimes you just don't have any lead to follow..."

I am Erika Furudo. I am the witch of truth.

Rokudou: "I think I agree with milady when she says that a crime without any clue that could lead to the culprit would be a perfect crime, and I don't believe a perfect crime exists."

Erika: "A crime where absolutely nothing is left."

Satsukawa: "Huh?"

Erika: "A crime where there isn't a crime scene to investigate. A crime where there isn't any corpse to examine. A crime where all the weapons were destroyed. A crime where there isn't any witness you can question..."

Satsukawa: "..."

Erika: "That is the worst possible situation for a detective."

Rokudou: "Milady..."

Erika: "But in the end even that can be solved. It's just that you won't have any way to verify that your reasonings are correct, and the stubborn goats will never recognize that what you've found is the truth, no matter how sound and logic your arguments are. It's the kind of scenario where idiocy will reign supreme and where everyone will just keep thinking whatever suits them the best. You won't be able to prove them wrong. You won't be able to rejoice from seeing their faces as they recognize their mistakes. You won't be able to bask in everyone's admiration as you state the one and only truth..."

Rokudou: "..."

Satsukawa: "..."

Erika: "Aaah! But I still know the truth! That's a fact that doesn't change. And that's what matters in the end, right?"

No... that's wrong. I'm just fooling myself. It doesn't really matter as long as I can't prove I'm right. I must show incontrovertible proof that my reasonings are correct. There mustn't be any doubt. Everyone must agree that I found the culprit... even the culprit must realize how pointless it is to deny the truth after my exposition of the facts and confess.
Only then I can truly find satisfaction. Only then I can truly say I have completed my job as a great detective. That's my raison d'ĂȘtre.
Without that... I am nothing.
Without that... I disappear...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chapter 2 (c)

Erika: "I think it is obvious at this point that there is some kind of odd fake cult that spread among the students of this school, and that the ringleader chose the old P.E. shed as his, or more likely her, base of operations."

Satsukawa: "And that ringleader is most likely Maaya Teramoto, right?"

Erika: "So it seems. But what's important is that this ringleader somehow managed to create a climate of terror about her or rather about what she represents. According to Meito Oda, Teramoto is constantly targeting female students to 'convert' to her beliefs, and there's enough evidence to conclude that they're brought to that shed to witness whatever strange rituals or magic shows they perform in there."

Satsukawa: "You seem to think that a whole deal of persons entered that place."

Erika: "Look at the facts. You've found a lot of different fingerprints and DNA samples. I suppose most of those are hairs, right?"

Satsukawa: "Yeah... for the most part..."

Erika: "This is probably something that has been going on for at least one year. I don't expect all and everyone to leave traces that remained for that long. Sixteen persons is already quite a lot."

Satsukawa: "But what are they doing exactly there?"

Erika: "Who knows? We heard a strange story about demonic curses and students that died long ago. I suppose they're told all the particulars during those gatherings and then they're taught strange things about Pazuzu and how you should never enrage him or something."

Satsukawa: "Bu how could that scare them so much?"

Erika: "Oh, there's probably something more than that. I believe our ringleader has several tricks up her sleeve. Maybe she even summons Pazuzu in front of their very eyes!"

Satsukawa: "You mean... for real?!"

Erika: "No, silly! Do you really think that demons actually exist?"

Satsukawa: "I just wanted to make sure you weren't implying they do... I mean... you said you killed demons before..."

Erika: "Oh that... there's actually a pretty logic explanation. How would you kill something that doesn't exist?"

Satsukawa: "Uh... you can't?"

Erika: "Wrong! To kill something that doesn't exist you just need to break whatever is the delusion that keeps it alive in the minds of humans. Have you ever heard about Nietzsche? He claimed that God himself died, and that we humans killed him."

Satsukawa: "Well, so... it's just metaphorically speaking..."

Erika: "Just metaphorically speaking... You have no idea how strong and dangerous metaphors can be. With the right 'metaphors' you can shape society as you see fit and you can bend entire nations to your will. Do not underestimate what lies in the world 'beyond', it holds more power than any physical weapon can grant."

Satsukawa: "The world... beyond?"

Rokudou: "The 'meta' suffix in 'metaphor' and 'metaphysics' is a word of Greek origins that means 'beyond'. I think that's what milady is referring to."

Satsukawa: "I'm not sure I'm quite grasping all these philosophical concepts. I'm a pretty materialistic man in the end."

Erika: "You'd be surprised if I'd show you how very little of what you consider 'material' is actually so. And aren't you the one who claimed it's logic to wonder whether the supernatural exists or not?"

Satsukawa: "Well..."

Erika: "Nevermind, we're pointlessly digressing! We were talking about our mystical ringleader and how she created a fictional world, a metaworld, that she uses to control the whole school."

Satsukawa: "But... for what purpose?"

Erika: "Since when power isn't a worthy goal in itself? I don't think there's any need to imagine a deeper reason."

Satsukawa: "I can understand why someone would want to be the leader of a nation, but the shady ruler of a bunch of students?"

Erika: "People are naturally attracted by power, no matter how little and trivial it is. Even if it's power on the weakest person of the world, or on little helpless animals, there are still pitiful persons that pursue it. What our ringleader managed to create is not a small feat and this could be just a testing ground. We're talking about someone who's most probably just a high school student. Today a hundred schoolmates, tomorrow a cult with followers in the order of ten thousands."

Satsukawa: "Can something as ridiculous as the curse of an ancient demon really have such success among people?"

Erika: "Oh, trust me, I've seen worse."

Satsukawa: "Anyway, why the abandoned P.E. shed? There's already an occultism club, why not there?"

Erika: "I think there might be a few reasons for that. One could be because that place doesn't officially belong to anyone, so it's hard to connect it to a precise person. Another reason could be that more space was needed, or more freedom. It's a club in the end, there's a limit to what the teacher that supervises it would accept; that demonic statue and that magic circle, for example. I bet they put up a harmless facade in their club and brought the most controversial stuff to the shed. There might be even more reasons, but I guess these suffice."

Satsukawa: "And so we get to that door and that latch."

Erika: "Precisely. They didn't want people to enter inside without their authorization, so they devised a method to shut the door from outside, and it's a method that stinks of stage magic."

Satsukawa: "You're suggesting they wanted to give the impression that they used magic in order to close and open that door?"

Erika: "Possibly. Or maybe they're telling that someone or something is always inside the shed, and the fact that the door is locked by a latch from the inside should be enough to prove it."

Satsukawa: "Scary... but then this has nothing to do with the murder of Hitomi Gotsuji."

Erika: "I have no doubt at this point that this trick wasn't devised for the purpose of creating a closed room murder scenario. It previously existed and it was conveniently used by our killer, but I have no idea what exactly he or she wanted to achieve with that."

Satsukawa: "Well... maybe to put the blame on Pazuzu?"

Erika: "But that's absolutely pointless! Only a complete idiot would..."

Satsukawa: "Well... I agree, but..."

Rokudou: "Is there a problem, milady?"

Erika: "No, nothing... I was just thinking... I guess this case isn't that simple after all, there are probably complicating factors."

Satsukawa: "Wait... I just realized... If what you're telling me is true... then what kind of trick they used to open the door from outside?"

Erika: "Finally you understand! Didn't I tell you before that the real trick is not how to close it, but how to open it?"

Satsukawa: "Maybe they still used strings pulling them from the crack on the opposite side."

Erika: "I don't think they used strings at all."

Satsukawa: "What? How can you be so sure?"

Erika: "It's not practical, they probably had to do this several times, for months. They also wouldn't leave strings around risking that people would spot them thus destroying the illusion."

Satsukawa: "Then there was some kind of mechanism..."

Erika: "Nobody found any kind of mechanism, right? The latch is a completely normal latch, even Dlanor confirmed that."

Satsukawa: "Maybe there are holes in the door..."

Erika: "There are no such holes, I confirmed it."

Satsukawa: "Then they used a magnet!"

Erika: "Please, what kind of giant magnet would they need? That door is about four centimeters thick and the latch is quite heavy. And before you say electromagnet, we confirmed that there are no working power plugs around there."

Satsukawa: "Then... with a metal wire of sort..."

Erika: "Oooh? How exactly would they use a metal wire? Please explain! *giggle*"

Satsukawa: "Well they... uh... damn! I give up!"

Erika: "Just what I thought!"

Satsukawa: "But I still don't understand what gives you such confidence that this trick even exists, and that they regularly made use of it to close the door."

Erika: "What really begs a question, Satsukawa-san, is how it is possible that you're still oblivious to the most obvious inconsistency regarding that latch."

Satsukawa: "What? What do you mean?"

Erika: "Because if you had realized the obvious, and I'm sure you hadn't, you wouldn't bother me with such inane questions."

Satsukawa: "Did you ever considered the fact that people don't like it when you make them feel stupid?"

Erika: "But that's precisely why it's so funny, Satsukawa-san! Ha ha ha ha!"

Satsukawa: "Nevermind... Could you just please illuminate this fool from the height of your supreme genius, milady?"

Erika: "As much as I enjoy this delightful display of scorn and sarcasm, I fear that I must deny your request."

Satsukawa: "Why?"

Erika: "Because I prefer to wait for the best possible moment to make you realize how incredibly blind you are."

Rokudou: "Hu hu hu hu."

Satsukawa: "Rokudou-san! This is no laughing matter!"

Rokudou: "I beg your pardon, Satsukawa-san, it's not my fault if I never cease to be amused and enthralled by the lovely remarks of my mistress, hu hu hu hu!"

Satsukawa: "Damn, you're both devils!"