Friday, October 5, 2012

Chapter 4 (i)

Erika: "So, is that what you usually do here? Playing games?"

The two boys look at each other with puzzled and slightly concerned expressions.

Sunglasses Guy: "You're not going to rat us out, right?"

Bleached Guy: "Hey, it's not like we just play games anyway."

Normal Girl: "Right, sometimes some of us do their job, unlike you."

Bleached Guy: "Yeah, but it's not like I do absolutely nothing, I give you all my moral support."

Sunglasses Guy: "Ha ha ha! Damn right! But let's keep it between us, okay?"

Glamorous Girl: "Don't worry, she's no friend of Nagaoka, I doubt she's on the teachers' side. And even if she was, we'll just deny everything as usual."

Sunglasses Guy: "What about the cop?"

Satsukawa: "I can't really say I approve your slacking off, but I guess I can turn a blind eye on your crimes."

Erika: "I've no interest in exposing your petty misdeeds. Such trifles aren't worth my time."

Bleached Guy: "There you go, you're safe."

Sunglasses Guy: "All right!"

Erika: "To be honest, I was about to ask you what did you think about Kubota's blatant negligence of his duties, but I guess you don't really care."

Bleached Guy: "Not at all."

Sunglasses Guy: "The way he manages to always be the boss without doing anything productive is what I respect the most in him. He's the supreme lazy genius!"

Normal Girl: "I think he should be a little more serious though..."

Sunglasses Guy: "There she goes again."

Normal Girl: "Why don't you understand?! If he messes up, we're going to pay the price as well!"

Sunglasses Guy: "Stop worrying about the future! Live the present!"

Bleached Guy: "That's our philosophy!"

Glamorous Girl: "Idiots..."

Erika: "I see... I think I understand now..."

Bleached Guy: "By the way, how come you're so interested in our boss? You don't think he's the culprit, do you?"

Sunglasses Guy: "Ha ha ha, no way!"

Glamorous Girl: "I think she's got her eyes on Teramoto."

Normal Girl: "Right! Right! I was there in the cafeteria earlier! I've seen how you challenged her! That was cool!"

Erika: "I'm glad you liked my little show."

Normal Girl: "I'm so curious now! I want to see how it goes!"

Glamorous Girl: "Forget it. Unless Teramoto herself asks you to go, you'd better stay out of it."

Normal Girl: "I know... but still..."

Erika: "Why are you that afraid of Teramoto?"

Glamorous: "I'm not particularly afraid or anything, I just think it's unwise to crash her parties. It's like respecting unwritten rules, nothing major will actually happen if you don't, but you might get disliked by everyone if you do."

Normal Girl: "Right! Right! Even if you don't believe in deities, it's rude to disrespect their temples. You won't get smitten by a god, but you'll still be hated by the faithfuls."

Glamorous Girl: "This school has its myths and legends, and Teramoto is the priestess. That's just how it is."

Satsukawa: "Is that how you see it? When you put it like that, it doesn't look like something bad."

Erika: "That comparison doesn't work. We aren't talking about a religion, or traditions. Teramoto just made everything up out of thin air."

Glamorous Girl: "So? Isn't it the same thing? It's all made up either way, the only difference is when it was made up."

Normal Girl: "Waaah! You're such a nihilist!"

I thought that girl was just a bimbo, but it looks like she has some brains. I would probably like her style, if I wasn't so annoyed by her air of superiority and her lack of respect. She still hasn't moved her eyes from those nails.

Erika: "Then, what do you think about what I'm doing? I've already challenged Teramoto, and I plan to expose all of her lies."

Glamorous Girl: "You're not a student of this school, you don't have anything to lose."

Normal Girl: "I don't think you'll win, there's definitely something strange inside that shed. But I'm still fired up at the thought of your challenge!"

Erika: "And what if I completely destroy her?"

Normal Girl: "No way! Ha ha ha."

Glamorous Girl: "That'd be bad."

Erika: "How so?"

Glamorous Girl: "You might question Teramoto's ways, but she always kept things under control. I've heard stories; there was a lot more bullying and delinquency before. The principal will say that it's all thanks to her, but I disagree. There was no way for us girls to fight against troublesome guys like Baba or Oda before, but Teramoto created an united front. She keeps the scum in check through one of the few things that they can understand: fear. I shudder at the idea of what would happen, if she were to suddenly lose her influence. It'd throw the whole school into chaos."

Throwing the whole school into chaos, that doesn't sound half bad!

Sunglasses Guy: "Girls are scary..."

Bleached Guy: "Indeed."

Glamorous Girl: "You're wasting your time. Teramoto has nothing to do with what happened."

Now, that was quite a bold statement. What is even more interesting, is that she talks about this delicate subject as if it didn't concern her, half boringly.

Erika: "You look pretty confident, but then who's the murderer according to you? Who should I investigate about in order to not waste my time?"

Glamorous Girl: "I don't know who did it, but if I'd have to pick one, I'd pick Junko Andou."

Erika: "Junko... Andou?"

I didn't really expect her name to be mentioned, this might be interesting.

Sunglasses Guy: "Who's that again? It rings a bell..."

Normal Girl: "Don't you remember? A few months ago we did a lot of talks about her."

Bleached Guy: "That's the short, unsociable chick."

Sunglasses Guy: "Ah! That one! Quite the oddball."

Erika: "Please explain, why exactly did that girl catch your attention?"

Normal Girl: "It all started one day while we were hanging out..."

Erika: "You guys spend your time together even after school?"

Sunglasses Guy: "Of course! We're all friends here!"

Erika: "Then, what happened?"

Normal Girl: "We were just going to a karaoke and... that area is a bit shady, you know, especially after dusk. Anyway one of us spotted Andou and said: 'Hey, isn't that girl one of our schoolmates?'"

Glamorous Girl: "It was me, I spotted her. I never forget a face."

Sunglasses Guy: "I had absolutely no idea who that was."

Bleached Guy: "Same with me. I remember all the cute girls though."

Normal Girl: "Aaah! That's mean! Ha ha ha!"

Erika: "So what about seeing Andou there? Why did that become a topic for your conversations?"

Glamorous Girl: "It's because of the people she was talking to."

Normal Girl: "Shady people."

Bleached Guy: "Those were yakuza, I tell you."

Glamorous Girl: "At any rate, those men were clearly crooks."

Satsukawa: "Are you really sure about that? Are you certain you didn't get the wrong idea?"

Glamorous Girl: "I'm pretty sure."

Bleached Guy: "Yakuza! Definitely yakuza!"

Sunglasses Guy: "The hell do you know about yakuza?"

Erika: "What do you think those men wanted from Andou?"

Normal Girl: "That's what we've been discussing afterwards."

Bleached Guy: "At first we didn't even know her name, then we did a bit of research. That's when we learned how much of an oddball she is."

Sunglasses Guy: "Pretty much everyone told us that she barely talks to anyone, and she never looks into your eyes. In short, she isn't normal."

Normal Girl: "I think she has some kind of mental disorder."

Erika: "Isn't it possible that she was simply being picked up or picked on by those shady men?"

Normal Girl: "With those baggy clothes she was wearing, I doubt she attracted their attention."

Bleached Guy: "You could mistake her for a boy, not the kind of chick that a yakuza would make his move on."

Glamorous Girl: "It's hard to tell what that girl thinks, but I'm pretty good at reading the body language. I had the impression that those two were familiar enough with her. In other words it wasn't a first encounter."

Erika: "Then, what do you think they were discussing about?"

Glamorous Girl: "I don't know... business, probably."

Erika: "Business... uh?"

Satsukawa: "It seems to me that you're painting her as a murderer way too easily."

Normal Girl: "But she's a wacko! If there's a psycho killer in this school, it must be her!"

Erika: "However, there should be some sort of connection between her and the victim, don't you think?"

Normal Girl: "Maybe she just didn't like Gotsuji for some reason."

Sunglasses Guy: "Wait, are you saying that she might kill again? Scary!"

Normal Girl: "Ah! Now that you mention that, it's quite probable!"

Satsukawa: "Whoa, guys! You're running quite a lot with your imagination!"

Glamorous Girl: "There is a possible connection though..."

Yes, there is one, and it is quite obvious, but I hoped they would tell me something that I didn't know already.

Normal Girl: "Now that you mention it, she's a member of the do-it-yourself club just like Oda, right?"

Bleached Guy: "I've heard that Oda and Gotsuji were childhood friends. Maybe Andou was jealous, so she decided to eliminate a bothersome rival."

Sunglasses Guy: "No way!"

The conversation gets interrupted, as Kubota gives signs of waking up. Honestly, I am amazed he managed to keep sleeping through the loud talks for so long.
He stretches his body and yawns loudly, without any consideration for the rest of us.

Kuon: "My dear friends... I have a dream... I dream of being able to dream without being abruptly woken up!"

I don't think he realized that I and Satsukawa are here, yet.

Kuon: "In other words, because of you I'm not allowed to dream, and what is a man without his dreams?! Hmmm..."

He finally looks at me with his sleepy eyes. I guess his clouded vision needs some time to bring me into focus. He stares at me with both of his eyebrows raised for a few seconds.

Kuon: "Oh... if it isn't my dear lady..."

Erika: "Good morning, Kubota."

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Chapter 4 (h)

Satsukawa: "Erika, are you still with me?"

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

Satsukawa: "I don't know... sometimes you just space out all of a sudden."

Erika: "It's probably because of you, you're a boring person."

Satsukawa: "What?! No, I'm not!"

Erika: "Yes you are... sometimes..."

Satsukawa: "I never thought of myself as a boring person..."

Erika: "That's what all the boring persons think."

Satsukawa: "Is that... so?"

Erika: "Yes, they all think they're pretty interesting, and they can't understand how someone could be bored by them."

Satsukawa: "But I'm not that kind of person... I've always been a very outgoing guy who can socialize with everyone."

Erika: "That doesn't mean a thing. There are boring persons that are pretty extroverted, but they're still boring, because they keep talking about inane stuff. By the way, this conversation right now is excruciatingly boring, so let's stop this, okay?"

Satsukawa: "All right..."

I wonder if I have become a little more like Bernkastel. When you know so much, when you have seen so much, when you have experienced and thought so many different things, everything that isn't particularly strange and unusual becomes dull and stale. The boredom that sometimes I feel is almost unbearable, but it is probably nothing compared to what the witch of miracles must endure.

Satsukawa: "By the way, Erika, don't you think we've been idling for too long?"

Erika: "I wasn't idling at all. All this time I've been busy thinking about the case."

Satsukawa: "While you were talking with me?"

Erika: "I wasn't really paying attention to our conversation."

Satsukawa: "That's... huh... What the hell I've been doing for the past two hours?!"

Erika: "Talking by yourself, I guess."

Satsukawa: "..."

Satsukawa lets out a dejected sigh.
This is really funny. I have completely lost any cognition of the passing time, while I was reminiscing the Rokkenjima incident. I vaguely remember that I have been talking with Satsukawa, but I can't tell about what. This is no good, a true detective should always memorize everything, including boring and irrelevant particulars. I need to be more careful in the future.
On the bright side, at this point lessons have already ended, and club activities have started, which means it is time to pay a visit to a certain guy.

Erika: "Satsukawa-san, to tell you the truth, there isn't really much that I plan to do before challenging Teramoto. So until then we can only wait."

Satsukawa: "I see... Wait! What exactly are we doing here, then?"

Erika: "Nothing much, but there's somewhere that I'd like to go to while we're still here."

Satsukawa: "Is it related to the case? Because I've got quite a backlog of paperworks to do, and..."

Erika: "Satsukawa-san, it almost looks like you want to be done with me as fast as possible, as if you weren't happy to be in my company. Try to choose your words with more care, I could get the wrong idea."

Satsukawa: "Ah... ha ha ha... I didn't mean to..."

Erika: "I know. Anyway, to answer your question, maybe it's related, maybe it isn't. It's still worth a shot, and we don't have anything better to do."

Satsukawa: "All right, I got it. Where do we go?"

Erika: "The student council's room."

Satsukawa: "Ah, I see... You suspect there's a connection between Kubota and Teramoto."

Erika: "That's more a certainty than a suspicion. I'm more interested in understanding why Kubota is following her orders."

Satsukawa: "Blackmail?"

Erika: "Probably, but about what? That's what I want to know."

Satsukawa: "Well, I'm not really looking forward to listen to that guy's babbles again, but this is work. Shall we go?"

Erika: "Indeed, let's go."

Kuon Kubota is certainly a pretty interesting guy. His exaggeratedly dramatic mannerisms defy any common sense, and the way he reasons is all messed up. But I think that is just his way to distract people from his many shortcomings. I must admit that his tactic is effective, in a way. I haven't talked much with him, but it was really hard to keep focused on what I really wanted to talk about, he has a knack for derailing the conversation away from subjects that bother him.
I think I have already figured out what he is trying to hide the most, but I don't quite understand why. His image as the student council president should have been damaged already, his incompetence should have been already demonstrated. And moreover it doesn't seem like he cares that much about it, that guy doesn't seem to have any shame. But that doesn't quite fit with my theory. So what I think, is that he just has his own peculiar view of what is shameful and what it is not.
How come, Kubota? What am I missing?
I am going to find that out very soon. We have reached the third floor, and we are now in front of the door of the student council's room.
I knock. A female voice invites me to enter. From that I can deduct that other members of the student council are here; at the very least, one of them is. This is what I was hoping for.
I open the door, and I step inside.

Erika: "Sorry for intruding."

I quickly count the people inside: five.
At the far end, near the windows, there are two guys. Judging by the way they look and the shabby state of their uniforms, I would never think they are student council members. One has bleached hair, the other is wearing sunglasses; quite a characteristic pair. I wouldn't go as far as to say that they are delinquents, but they don't exactly look like model students either. Moreover, apparently they are busy playing some card game.
Closer to the door, sitting at the long table, there is a glamorous girl, covered in makeup, with a fashionable hairstyle. She isn't even looking at me, her eyes are religiously focused on her nails, which she is polishing.
There is then another girl, standing at the opposite side of the table. This one seems to be the most normal person of the whole group, and I bet she is the one who answered to my knock earlier. Even so, right in front of the chair that she was probably sitting on, I can spot a magazine. No doubt she was reading it a while ago. In the end I can safely conclude that not a single person here is taking his role seriously.
The fifth member is, naturally, Kuon Kubota himself, who is being uncharacteristically silent and quiet. In fact, he is sleeping. Why am I not surprised!
While examining more attentively this strange group, I notice that there is something that they all have in common. They are all, in a way, good looking people. Even Kubota is the kind of guy that could make a young girl's heart beat faster, if only he wasn't such a weirdo. These students must be popular, and that certainly played a decisive factor when they were chosen for their current roles. But normally people like them avoid responsibilities, they are more fit for a student party than a student council.
This would be quite surprising, if the reason wasn't already blatantly obvious. These guys aren't here to work, they are just like Kubota, they are here to look good and important, and then they do whatever they please. They probably use their popularity and influence to push most of their chores onto others. Come to think of it, I already know that Kubota did that with Oda.
This is indeed an interesting bunch, I wonder who came up with this revolutionary approach to run a student council. Maybe it was Kubota himself, I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case.

Normal Girl: "Aaah! You're that detective girl!"

Sunglasses Guy: "Whoa! Really? Is she going to arrest us?"

Bleached Guy: "What the hell are you talking about, idiot? She isn't a cop."

Satsukawa: "She's not, but I am."

Bleached Guy: "See? That's the one who's going to arrest us!"

Sunglasses: "Ha ha ha ha! I guess I'll call my lawyer then!"

Glamorous Girl: "Those two idiots, why do they always need to be so silly?"

She shakes her head in disapproval, while blowing on her nails.

Normal Girl: "Ah, hmmm... what can I do for you... err..."

Erika: "Erika Furudo."

Normal Girl: "Right, Furudo-san!"

Erika: "I came her because I wanted to have a little chat with Kubota, but it seems that he's pretty busy at the moment."

Bleached Guy: "If you want me to wake him up, there's no problem!"

I think I have a good idea of how he plans to do that.

Erika: "Please don't, let him sleep for another while. I think I'll take this chance to ask something to you guys instead, if that's okay with you."

Sunglasses Guy: "I haven't done anything, I'm clean!"

Bleached Guy: "Hey, are you completely stupid?"

Glamorous Girl: "Besides you aren't clean at all, when was the last time you bathed?"

Sunglasses Guy: "A true man must smell! That's how you get the chicks to fall at your feet!"

Glamorous Girl: "Yeah, they all drop dead like mosquitoes when they smell you."

Normal Girl: "Ha ha ha ha!"

Sunglasses Guy: "Tch! What a bitch!"

Glamorous Girl: "You wish."

Erika: "You guys really get along, I see. I'm almost envious! *giggle* *giggle*"

Normal Girl: "They always pick on each other, but they're good friends."

Sunglasses Guy: "I'm not! Not at all!"

Glamorous Girl: "Who wants to be his friend, anyway?"

Erika: "Regarding Kubota, does he always sleep when he's here?"

Bleached Guy: "Nah, normally he comes here and talks all the time. This is one of those rare occasions when he's tired and remains quiet."

Glamorous Girl: "That happens at least once every week."

Normal Girl: "Thursday, it's always on Thursday. I wonder why..."

Just like I suspected.

Erika: "What do you think about him?"

Normal Girl: "Uh? About Kubota?"

Sunglasses Guy: "Maybe she wants to know if you like him."

Normal Girl: "Idiot!"

Erika: "I didn't meant it that way, I just want to hear your general opinion."

Normal Girl: "Hmmm... he's a strange guy, but that's part of his charm, I guess."

Sunglasses Guy: "Go on and admit you've got a crush on him."

Normal Girl: "That's not true at all, jerk!"

Bleached Guy: "I think he's cool, he's a bro."

Sunglasses Guy: "I didn't know you swung that way."

Bleached Guy: "Shut up, faggot! It's called bromance, I just respect the cool guy, no homo."

Cool guy, uh?

Sunglasses Guy: "Man, I was just kidding! Of course I respect Kubota, he's our boss."

Bleached Guy: "He's fine, when he doesn't start with his obnoxious talks."

Sunglasses Guy: "Ha ha ha! So true, that damn son of a fox! I could kick his sorry ass into the next week, when he does."

Glamorous Girl: "At least he's got style, unlike you cavemen."

Bleached Guy: "I'm no caveman, I'm smart and neat. This guy on the other hand..."

Sunglasses Guy: "The hell, you dork! You're no better than me!"

Bleached Guy: "Yeah, then why do you suck so much at chess?"

Sunglasses Guy: "That's just not my thing! That's all! And then you suck too when you play against Kubota."

Bleached Guy: "At least I am a match, unlike you."

Sunglasses Guy: "You still lose every time!"

Bleached Guy: "I tied once!"

Sunglasses Guy: "As if that counted!"

Erika: "Kubota is a good chess player? Interesting."

Bleached Guy: "He's a pro. Can't win against him."

Glamorous Girl: "You're both amateurs, that's why you keep losing."

Bleached Guy: "Bulls! I'm the strongest in my neighborhood!"

Normal Girl: "Ha ha ha ha!"

Bleached Guy: "Don't laugh!"

Normal Girl: "But... come on! Ha ha ha!"

Bleached Guy: "Don't laugh, I said!"