Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chapter 4 (d)

Teramoto: "Good morning, Furudo-san, Satsukawa-san."

Erika: "Good morning to you, Teramoto."

Satsukawa: "Good morning..."

It seems that she is in a good mood. At any rate her pride hasn't diminished of a single bit.

Teramoto: "I've been told that I'd find you here, Furudo-san, I came here to thank you."

Erika: "You wanted to thank me?"

I pretend to be surprised. I laugh with amusement.

Teramoto: "Kagami told me what you've done. I'm really not sure what to think about you, but, for now, you have my gratitude."

Erika: "Do you really think that I've done you a favor, Teramoto? All I care about is to expose the truth. I couldn't really let the case to be closed before my job was done."

Teramoto: "Even then, you saved my friend. Regardless of the reason, I feel the need to thank you."

Erika: "Good, well done! Now everyone witnessed how much you care for you friend. Nice move, Teramoto."

Teramoto: "What... do you mean?"

Erika: "Oh, nothing. It's just that some people think you might be the one who tried to frame Hibari."

Teramoto: "W-what?!"

Outrage. Not bad.

Erika: "It's all right, it's all right! You've just demonstrated that you care a lot about your friend, therefore you can't possibly be the one who framed her, right? That couldn't have been your original intention. Which is why I'm telling you: good job! You couldn't have waited for a better chance to show your goodwill!"

The students around us start murmuring.

Teramoto: "Are you... are you insinuating that my honest words of gratitude are fake?!"

Erika: "Uh? Me? No, not at all! Ah ha ha ha!"

My laughter is filled with scorn. Teramoto grits her teeth and her eyes burn with hatred.

Teramoto: "Forget everything that I said! You're just a despicable person! I shouldn't have come here!"

Erika: "Are you leaving already? Why don't you take a seat? There are so many things we could talk about."

Teramoto: "There's absolutely nothing that I want to tell you anymore!"

Erika: "Oh, I'm sure of that! I wonder how many little secrets you're hiding!"

Teramoto: "I'm leaving!"

The murmur becomes louder. The spectators are discussing the scene that they have just witnessed. Has it been a memorable show? Or was it dull and boring? Judging by the reactions I would say that the reception is definitely positive. I think it was a good performance overall, just a few improvisations here and there, but the script was followed closely enough.
However the spectators are under the wrong assumption that the show is over. One of the key actors is about to retreat behind the curtains, so they concluded that this is already the end. Wrong! This is just the end of the first act, the best part has yet to come.
Teramoto is completely unaware, she doesn't know that the stage still requires her presence. She is walking away, followed by her entourage, as if she has no longer any business with me. Oh, but this is also part of the script. She must keep going until I say the word. The next line is mine, and the second act will not start unless I recite it. Should I do it now? No, it is still too early! Let them think that this is really the end, let us wait a little more! After all it doesn't matter how far she goes, she will hear me, and then she will stop. Because that is her role, because that is what is written in her script! She cannot defy her fate, she is just a pawn, a puppet, a marionette!
Dance to my tune, Teramoto, it is time!

Erika: "Pazuzu!"

The crowd falls silent. Time freezes. The second act begins.
I cannot see Teramoto's face, because she simply stopped there, midway, she didn't turn around. But I bet she is surprised, I bet she can't believe to her ears. And yet everyone heard me, everyone knows that I dared to utter the forbidden name. The girls around me are particularly shocked. Even if not all of them are among those who believe in Teramoto's lies, they all know that I have just defiantly broken a taboo, they know that this equals to a declaration of war. Most males are confused, but they can still read the mood, they can still tell that something major is happening.
Meanwhile Teramoto is immobile, paralyzed. She probably doesn't want to believe that I am actually challenging her on this ground, or maybe she is trying bide her time while she thinks about how to counter my move.
Very well, if she is so indecisive, let us give her an incentive! Let us remove any doubts that she might have! Let us make it clear that she didn't misheard anything! I stand up, and showing my most evil grin, I once again repeat:

Erika: "Pazuzu!"

My voice echoes in the now silent cafeteria. The shocked expressions multiply among the many faces of the crowd. I feel it, it is all around me! Fear! Outrage! Dismay! But this is just an added bonus. These meaningless students are just small fries, I cannot feast upon them, they cannot sate my hunger! My real prey is in front of me. She finally turned around, she is finally facing me, and what a wonderful view is she! Her soul is boiling with rage, but she is smirking at the same time. She knows what I am trying to do and she has accepted my challenge. It is almost as if she is telling me: 'Come on! Say it again! Say it, if you dare!'
Pathetic! Utterly ridiculous! Why would I even have a problem with that? I will show her how little I care about her stupid rules! I will show her how little I am affected by her superstitions!
But first I want to get closer, first I want to make sure she can look directly into my eyes. So I walk, slowly, but relentlessly. Her demon is nothing before me, I am by far scarier! My hands are sharp talons, my exposed teeth are pointed fangs ready to savage her! This is the truth, there is nothing supernatural about it! Demons aren't otherworldly creatures, demons are humans that have fallen into the depths of their own dark souls! And I am one! Look at me!
I am so close now that I could bite Teramoto's nose off before she could even feel the pain. I am a ferocious beast ready to devour the helpless game in front of her. But she is doing quite a good job at keeping her cool, because as much as she recognizes the dangerous animal that I am, she believes to be safe behind the bars of her cage made of tricks and lies. If only she knew how little protection they actually provide!

Erika: "Pazuzu!"

I hear the squeals of several terrorized girls. One even dropped the melon-pan she was holding. The whispering resumes, but curiosity prevails. All eyes are on us, excitedly awaiting for what will happen next.
I briefly look behind me to see what Satsukawa is doing. He is still sitting in front of his table, and he is covering his face with both hands. Quite amusing.
Teramoto's grin is now showing less derision and more anger. This is more like I want it, but it can get better. Whatever will she do, now that I trampled over her precious taboo? Too many people have witnessed my defiance, she can't possibly let it pass without saying a word. But no matter how she decides to answer, she will fall directly into my trap. She is an actor, she is a pawn, she is a puppet. She had bound herself to her own strings, I just pulled them. Now she must play her part.
Amuse me, Teramoto, dance on my palm! Do not disappoint me!

Teramoto: "Foolish... woman..."

Erika: "What's the big deal? It's just a stupid, worthless name!"

Teramoto: "Names hold tremendous power! You're just an ignorant fool who doesn't know what she's dealing with!"

Erika: "Is that so? Then why nothing has happened yet? Shouldn't Pazuzu appear or something at this point? Why I don't see anything?"

Teramoto: "He's here. Pazuzu is here! He's right behind you!"

Several people scream and try to get as far as possible from where the demon supposedly is.
What a stupid and pathetic trick she is pulling anyway. Pazuzu is behind me? Don't make me laugh! As if there is even a chance that I will watch behind me. Only a complete idiot would fall for that!

Teramoto: "What's wrong? He's here! Don't you want to see him with your own eyes?"

Erika: "You're the only one who can see anything behind me! You're making a fool of yourself, Teramoto!"

Teramoto: "I can see him because I have the gift! He's normally invisible to the eyes of common men, but you've summoned him, he should be visible to you!"

Erika: "What a pathetic excuse!"

Teramoto: "What's the matter? Are you scared?!"

Erika: "Scared of what? Your demon is absolutely insignificant! If he's really that dangerous, then tell him to do something! Tell him to strike me! Tell him to bite me or whatever! Can he at least touch me? How come I don't feel a thing?!"

Teramoto: "You're just not worth the effort! Pazuzu is laughing at you, he thinks you're funny! He'll pay you a visit pretty soon, when you'll be alone. You'd better prepare yourself!"

Erika: "Why not now? Is he shy?! He can't perform in front of a crowd?!"

Some guys are laughing, but most people are serious or even scared. This is a pretty exciting battle.

Teramoto: "The more you're making fun of him, the more he'll make you regret it!"

Erika: "Aaah, I'm already bored! Is this all that you can do, Teramoto? Are you all words and no facts? I'm quite disappointed! I was under the impression that you were better than this. I thought you could prove that demons exist with something more substantial than void threats!"

Teramoto: "I refuse! People like you aren't worth the effort! People like you would still deny the supernatural even if they bumped on it! If you saw a ghost you'd say it's just your imagination! If several people saw it, you'd call it mass hysteria! Your irrational skepticism and closed mindedness is that ridiculous!"

Erika: "Don't underestimate me, Teramoto, if you could prove that demons exist, I would believe it! I can endure any truth! That's the kind of person I am! If the truth is that magic exists, then I will accept even that! But first, you must show me the proof!"

Teramoto: "It's useless, I won't waste my time with you."

Erika: "Then let me be completely blunt. Whether the supernatural is true or not isn't the issue. The issue is that you're just a fraud. All of your claims are nothing but badly conceived lies! You're not an arcanist! You're not an occultist! You're not a demonologist! You're not a medium, an esper, a priestess, a spiritualist nor anything! You're just an amateur who filled her head with a bunch of occult stuff from various sources without ever achieving a proper understanding! You wouldn't tell the difference from a serious magical theory and a baseless urban legend to save your life! In the end your pretentious supernatural lore is nothing but a pile of garbage without any worth whatsoever! Don't you even realize how messed up your lies are? How could you become any more pathetic! Don't make me laugh! This is so stupid it isn't even funny!"

Teramoto: "Shut up! What the hell do you think to know?! Who the hell do you think you are?! You know nothing about the spiritual world! Don't come and pretend you know what you're talking about!"

Erika: "If you're really that good, then prove me wrong! Stop hiding behind your lies and your worthless excuses!"

Teramoto: "Now you've seriously pissed me off! I don't normally use my powers to curse people, but I think I'll make an exception for you! On my name I'll curse you to an existence of pain and madness! And may you never find salvation until your last day on this world!"

Erika: "Ah ha ha ha ha! Keep telling your lies, Teramoto! Keep spouting your meaningless words! At this point everyone should've realized that this is all that you can do!"

Teramoto: "What a pathetic attempt to discredit me! These girls know what I can do! These girls have seen that what I tell is the truth! Your insults won't change that!"

Erika: "Then let me see what they've seen! Come on! Show me these great powers of yours!"

Teramoto: "Unfortunately I can't! I'm no longer allowed to perform my rituals. I'm already working on sealing the demon elsewhere, but it'll take time. For now I have no choice but to keep a low profile."

Erika: "Then I'll allow you!"

Teramoto: "What?!"

Erika: "Let me participate to one of these 'gatherings'! You've done a lot already, I'm sure you can do one more!"

Teramoto: "Are you serious?!"

Erika: "What's wrong? Can't you do that? All you need is twelve volunteers, right? You've got one already, I volunteer! You can use my spiritual power however you want!"

Teramoto: "As if I can really do that after all that have happened! The teachers would never allow me..."

Erika: "They currently have no authority over that shed! It's been sealed by the police, and no one can prevent the investigators from using that place however they deem necessary in order to solve the case."

Satsukawa: "Wait a moment, Erika! We never talked about this!"

Satsukawa finally decided to join me.

Erika: "Don't you want to solve this case? This is a chance to learn more."

Satsukawa: "Kimura will never agree with this!"

Erika: "Why not? Do you really think he'd care just because someone died there?"

Teramoto: "This is... crazy... crazy! How can you ask me to perform my ritual there..."

Erika: "What's wrong?! Aren't you dealing with dead people on a regular basis?! Why are you suddenly so uneasy?! Does it bother you that much to be in the same room where someone was killed? How odd!"

Teramoto: "T-that... that's not it!"

Erika: "So, can you do it or not?"

Teramoto: "I'll get in trouble if I..."

Erika: "You're not going to do it by your own initiative. This is something that I'm explicitly asking you to do! You won't be held responsible for that."

Satsukawa: "That means... I will?!"

Erika: "I doubt the principal will make a fuss about that, don't you agree?"

Satsukawa doesn't answer, but he knows what I mean. Wakamatsu is willing to pretend to look elsewhere while I deal with Teramoto. That much was made clear just a few hours ago.

Erika: "Then it's decided! You can start making the necessary preparations."

Teramoto: "Wait a moment! I didn't agree to do that!"

Erika: "Does that mean you're pulling out? After all that I've said? I already knew that you were a fraud, but I thought you had a spine."

Teramoto: "Yooouuu!"

Erika: "Oh, I see! You're afraid that I'll see through your tricks. It's quite understandable!"

Teramoto: "Ridiculous! That's not the issue at all!"

Erika: "Then what's the issue? What's the problem?!"

Monday, September 10, 2012

Chapter 4 (c)

The discussion regarding the case goes on for several minutes. Satsukawa seems to be quite excited about the constant progress that we have made so far, but the truth is that we have reached a dead end. I have already talked to everyone that it is believed to be related to the crime, almost all the evidences that could be gathered were already analyzed, no conclusive proof has been found. Gotsuji had many friends, but most of them have solid alibi, so there is no point in questioning them. The culprit must be among the persons that I have already talked to, but I am missing vital clues. Therefore my only option at this point is to probe those people, in other words, I must cause reactions. I will throw stones into murky waters and look for whatever will surface. The problem is that certain conditions are required in order to get the best possible results, and that means I must patiently wait.
At any rate I still haven't received any reports regarding the victim's computer, they sure are taking their time with that. Hopefully something relevant will come up. For now, I must keep the pressure on certain individuals. I can't really be sure it will give me any results, but since they are still hiding things from me, there is a chance they will turn out to be useful.
Finally, the bell signals the end of the fourth period and the start of lunch break. The almost soundless atmosphere suddenly livens up with the voices of hundred students talking at the same time. On the background an ominous noise can be heard. It starts as a quiet rumble, but then it grows in intensity, more and more, until it becomes a thunderous roar. It's coming closer, it's heading right where we are. Satsukawa looks worried, but there is no need to. The stampeding crowd of hungry students is aiming for the food stalls, and where we are now, we are relatively safe.
Here they come. Like a raging torrent they flood inside the cafeteria. A huge compact crowd rapidly forms around the food shelves, completely hiding them from my sight. The many voices blend into an incomprehensible mass of noises, but occasionally I can distinguish students yelling their requests and vendors stating the prices.
They are all pretty much focused on their battle, so only a few actually noticed us. More people will, though, as soon as they leave with the spoil of wars in their hands.

Dlanor: "Miss Erika, I think you are overdramatizing the situation."

Satsukawa: "Uh?"

Erika: "Don't spoil the mood, Dlanor. This is war, that's how these guys and girls see it. It would be rude to trample on their feelings by downsizing the seriousness of this everyday strife."

Satsukawa: "Ah, I can empathize with that... It certainly brings back a lot of memories."

Erika: "Satsukawa-san, did you also need to fight for your food, back in your high school days? Didn't you bring your own bento?"

Satsukawa: "I wasn't that lucky, my parents have always been pretty busy with their jobs. What about you, Erika?"

Erika: "Me? The mere thought that something like this could happen in the all girls boarding school I was enrolled in is utterly preposterous. Running and yelling were prohibited and severely punished. At any rate, the cafeteria there was the real deal, they served us food directly at our tables. This one here barely qualifies as such, there isn't even a kitchen."

Satsukawa: "This is a catering service, I think. The food is made elsewhere and then brought here every day. Look, I think it's even written on these tags... Food service provided by Ushiromiya... group..."

Erika: "Would you shut up, Satsukawa-san? I'm trying to concentrate!"

Satsukawa: "S-sorry..."

Damn it! I have just listened to something extremely unpleasant. I feel like I am going to puke now.
I better think about something else, I must concentrate on my surroundings. More and more students have noticed me at this point, it is only a matter of time before Teramoto shows up. Meanwhile it wouldn't be a bad idea to try and listen to whatever the people around me are talking about. If I focus, I can listen to specific conversations even in the middle of this chaos. I just need to isolate the background noise from what really interests me. This isn't something that everyone can do, but with enough practice and the right aptitude it isn't impossible.
I am picking up several conversations, most of them are trivial and irrelevant, but some are about me and about what I have done yesterday. The news regarding how I freed Hibari from suspicions are already spreading, just like I hoped. That girl must have been bombarded with questions from her many classmates this morning, and she certainly didn't omit to tell that she is no longer a major suspect. Inevitably that has become a hot topic, I am witnessing it right now.
That apart, nothing really relevant is being said. I was hoping for indiscretions, some kind of rumor that could pique my interest, but nothing of that sort is being discussed. Two boys are joking about Teramoto and about how her secret cult was uncovered, they think they cannot be heard in this confusion. A mixed group of five is discussing about the great Hibari hunt that I started yesterday, one of them actively participated, and he is giving a detailed account of his heroic deeds. Another group is animatedly arguing about the supernatural, one guy keeps telling that it's all rubbish, but he is outnumbered by girls that apparently have been thoroughly fooled by Teramoto's tricks and propaganda.
Pointless, this is all absolutely pointless. The small and trivial talks of these brainless students aren't of any interest to me. So I decide that this isn't worth my time, I might as well stop focusing.
However... a group of girls that was originally talking about Hibari, suddenly changed topic, they are talking specifically about me now. This isn't particularly relevant, but at this point I am curious, and I need to kill time anyway.

"Who's that woman anyway? Great detective Erika Furudo? What's with that?"

"She doesn't look much older than us, do you think she's actually a detective?"

"I've heard she's just a civilian, the man with her is the true investigator."

"I'm sure I've heard the name Erika Furudo before..."

"No way! Are you telling me she's actually famous?"

"Don't listen to her, her memory is really bad. She's probably confusing her with someone else."

"Uaaah! That was mean!"

"I'm just stating the truth."

"At any rate she's a strange person, no matter how you look at it..."

"She's kinda scary..."

"Careful! Don't look into her eyes! Don't make eye contact!"

"Ha ha ha ha!"

"Wait! Wait! I remember now!"

"Oh? So who's she? I'm really curious!"

"She's one of the victims of the Rokkenjima incident!"



"Rokkenjima incident? What the hell is that?"

"Ancient history."

"W-wait a second! Victim? Does that mean she's a ghost?!"

"Don't be silly! I told you her memory is all jumbled up, there's no way that woman is actually related to that incident."

"That's meaaan!"

"Do you remember the story about that incident? I only have fragmented memories."

"Yes, a few years ago there was still a lot of people talking about that. It all suddenly died out at one point, and everybody stopped caring ever since."

"So, was Erika Furudo one of the victims?"

"Absolutely not. I've read several articles about the Rokkenjima incident, I remember all the names of those who are supposed to have died there. Erika Furudo is not among those."

"But I'm sure..."

"You're probably mixing it up with something else."

"Hmmm... now I remember. There was this girl in middle school that was a real fanatic. She knew everything about the Rokkenjima incident, every speculation, conspiracy theory and so on. She's the one that told me about Erika Furudo."

"That doesn't look like a reliable source, don't you think?"

"But still, when you think about the Rokkenjima incident, a great detective really fits nicely, don't you agree?"

"Ha ha ha! So true!"

"C-can somebody tell me what this Rokkenjima incident is about? I feel left out!"

Satsukawa: "Erika? Are you still with me?"

Erika: "Where else do you think I am?"

Satsukawa: "I've reminded you something bad, you shouldn't think about it."

Erika: "I wasn't thinking about that!"

Is this a damned conspiracy to remind me that hateful case? To think there are still people talking about that cursed Rokkenjima incident in this century! The students of this school shouldn't even remember that day. Now I am really in a bad mood. There is nothing that I could hate more than an unresolved mystery!

Satsukawa: "We should concentrate on the current case. Don't you need to talk with someone? Why are we still here doing nothing?"

Erika: "We're waiting for that someone to appear."

Satsukawa: "Who are you talking about?"

Erika: "She'll come; surely. At this point everyone should know that I'm here."

Satsukawa: "Sometimes it's really difficult to follow you, you know?"

Erika: "That's good, I don't want to be followed."

Satsukawa: "Not even by your partner?"

Erika: "Dlanor is my partner, you're just an occasional helper."

Satsukawa: "Well... it's always good to know what your role is... Oh..."

She is here. Followed by her entourage, Teramoto makes her appearance. All the actors have been assembled and the show can finally start. The spectators seems to have noticed what is about to begin and they gradually become quiet, not unlike what usually happens when the lights of a theater are turned off.
Unknowingly following the script, Teramoto spots me and comes closer. My first line comes after hers, so for now I simply look at her, waiting.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Chapter 4 (b)

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."

Satsukawa: "That's exactly the point!"

Erika: "Satsukawa-san, don't raise your voice, you're disturbing the lessons."

Satsukawa: "Ah... 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.

Erika: "You're worrying for nothing. I won't do anything to Teramoto until tomorrow."

Satsukawa: "Tomorrow?"

Erika: "If all goes as planned."

Satsukawa: "But you said I'd know what you're plotting in a few minutes."

Erika: "That's correct."

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."

Erika: "Maybe."

Satsukawa: "Who are you involving this time?"

Erika: "Relax, Satsukawa-san, it's a wonderful day, you shouldn't spoil it with needless worries."

Satsukawa: "Didn't you say I shouldn't relax when I'm around you? By the way, what exactly are we doing here?"

Erika: "Why? Aren't you hungry?"

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.

Satsukawa: "This 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?"

Vendor: "Our 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 choice."

Satsukawa: "But if I chose the croquettes, there'd be less for the students..."

Erika: "That's the best part of it!"

Satsukawa: "You 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!"

Satsukawa: "That's 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 hers..."

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?"

Satsukawa: "Because 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 rapist."

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?"

Satsukawa: "That 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 other way?"

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."

Satsukawa: "Aren't 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."

Erika: "Either Teramoto and her circle are directly involved in a non planned accidental murder, or someone wanted to frame her."

Satsukawa: "That's 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?"

Satsukawa: "Maybe she couldn't. Maybe she didn't have enough time."

Erika: "But then why involving Hibari of all the people?"

Satsukawa: "Hibari is also deeply connected to that place, and unlike Teramoto she knew the victim well. She might have been chosen as an ideal scapegoat."

Erika: "Well... normally I'd completely agree with you. The idea of that girl betraying her best friend to save her own skin is certainly fascinating, but..."

Satsukawa: "You don't think she's the kind of person that could do that?"

Dlanor: "Yesterday Miss Teramoto showed genuine concern for he friend. It is very hard to believe it was all an act."

Satsukawa: "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?"

Erika: "Maybe they weren't there to begin with..."

Satsukawa: "How? Even if you suppose she cleaned them recently, unless she was wearing gloves, she would've still left her fingerprints."

Erika: "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."

Satsukawa: "How do you explain that?"

Erika: "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."

Satsukawa: "So there's no other choice, we need to go with your plan..."

Erika: "It's all for the best in the end. Even the principal agrees with it, although she doesn't want to openly admit it."