Saturday, November 24, 2012

Playing with pets is fun!

The following images
contain spoilers about
"Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni: First Night"

Click to enlarge:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Chapter 5 (e)

Sumomo: "We separated briefly after that. Hitomi and I went ahead to our classroom."

Meito: "I stayed behind to check Andou's bicycle. In the end we decided to bring it to the lab, so we could work on it later."

Erika: "But you didn't."

Meito: "Not my fault..."

Sumomo: "Once we arrived at our classroom, Hitomi looked through the window, and after a while she witnessed them going to the do-it-yourself club."

Erika: "Jealous?"

Meito: "Nah... she just spied on me so she could tease me later, which she did..."

Erika: "Nothing else happened while the two of you were alone, Takamiya?"

Sumomo: "We weren't really alone, most of our classmates were already there..."

Meito: "I managed to rejoin them just in time, before Nagaoka-sensei arrived. Then homeroom started, and after that, it was just the usual boring stuff, until lunch break."

Sumomo: "That's when Hibari-san barged in our classroom."

Meito: "Ah, I remember that..."

This is yet another particular that I missed.

Erika: "Who was she looking for? Gotsuji?"

Meito: "Who else? She wanted to remind her that that day they were supposed to have some kind of special training for whatever reason."

Erika: "And Gotsuji had forgotten about that?"

Meito: "Typical of her. An argument ensued because she didn't want to train until that late, even though it was already decided."

Erika: "Hibari wanted to train until 6:00 pm, but Gotsuji wanted to end it 15 minutes earlier. Why?"

Meito: "Who knows..."

Sumomo: "I guess... she needed to meet someone..."

Erika: "That's right, she needed to meet someone at exactly 6:00 pm. And we all know where she was supposed to meet that someone at, right?"

Meito: "I don't understand. Why did she need to meet someone by that place? Why didn't she tell anyone?"

Erika: "Wasn't it because she wanted it to be a secret?"

Meito: "I just don't understand. What kind of secret was she trying to protect? She's always been the kind of person that would tell you everything straight, and she wasn't ashamed of anything."

Erika: "I think there's a lot that she hid from you, Oda. Don't you think so, Takamiya?"

Sumomo: "..."

Meito: "That can't be."

Sumomo: "I think... Furudo-san is probably right..."

Meito: "What... kh... I don't get it... I don't get this at all!"

Erika: "I already know what happened after Hibari left. You ate lunch together, and then there was that incident with Baba. Am I missing anything?"

Sumomo: "Hmmm..."

Meito: "I don't really remember anything strange about Hitomi, no matter how many times I relive that day in my mind."

Sumomo: "I've told you about lunch..."

Meito: "And I've told you what happened after."

Erika: "And after that?"

Meito: "What else is there to tell? We returned to our classrooms for the fifth period. When regular classes ended, each went their separate ways."

Sumomo: "That was the last time I saw Hitomi-chan..."

Meito: "I wish I could say the same... damn it!"

Erika: "Then, let's try to imagine what could've happened later."

Meito: "How am I supposed to imagine that?"

Erika: "Just do it. You knew Gotsuji, and I know many facts concerning this case. You guys just tell me your theories. I'll tell you when they don't match with facts."

Meito: "This is pointless..."

Erika: "It isn't. Takamiya, would you like to start?"

Takamiya: "Hmmm... When did Hitomi leave the gym?"

Erika: "According to her club members, she ended training at 5:45 pm, and then she went to the changing room with them. We can assume that she stayed there for about 10 or 15 minutes."

Takamiya: "We can't be certain she went directly to the shed..."

Erika: "Slash!"

Takamiya: "Uh?"

Meito: "Slash?"

Erika: "Yeah, slash! You're theory has been slashed! Would you mind to explain why, Dlanor?"

Dlanor: "Miss Hibari testified that she found the victim's message inside her locker very shortly after 6:00 pm. Then she immediately rushed to the abandoned P.E. shed, where she found Miss Gotsuji already dead."

Erika: "Considering this short time span, it's really unlikely that Gotsuji didn't go there directly. Which is why your theory has been slashed!"

Sumomo: "She's acting crazy again..."

Meito: "What the hell is wrong with her?"

Erika: "How rude! Stop questioning my methods!"

Meito: "Why should I even believe what Hibari said? She could be the one who killed Hitomi!"

Erika: "An interesting theory, but consider what we reasoned about earlier. Gotsuji was supposed to meet someone at 6:00 pm, while Hibari wanted her to be still training at that time. So, in other words, she can't be the one that Gotsuji was supposed to meet."

Meito: "Well, okay but... What if Hitomi was doing something wrong in that place and Hibari found out?"

Erika: "That's why I said this is an interesting theory, but that still means Gotsuji went there directly."

Meito: "Well... okay, but how can you be absolutely sure?"

Erika: "It'd be too long to explain, just trust that my deductions are absolutely true. If you really can't, just pretend they are, for now."

Meito: "What the hell is this... a game?"

Erika: "Takamiya, what do you think? Is Hibari a plausible murderer?"

Sumomo: "Hmmm... I don't know... I think Hitomi was really important for Hibari-san... but if she did something wrong against Teramoto-san..."

Erika: "Then you don't exclude this possibility."

She nods quietly.
This is getting pretty fun, I will play a bit with this theory with them.

Erika: "Okay, let's try to define better your Hibari culprit theory."

Meito: "I'm not saying that she must be the culprit..."

Erika: "I know. You really are new to detective work, Oda, aren't you? In theory making you first make assumptions and then you check if they match with the facts."

Meito: "I don't really care about that stuff..."

Erika: "Let's say that Hibari murdered Gotsuji, did she plan it beforehand?"

Sumomo: "Hmmm, that wouldn't make sense..."

Erika: "Correct! Then how did she find where Gotsuji was?"

Meito: "Maybe she became suspicious that Hitomi insisted so much to end her training earlier, so she followed her."

That wouldn't be possible, if she really remained in the gym with Yuu Azuma, but Yuu Azuma could be an accomplice.

Erika: "What about the mysterious person Gotsuji needed to meet?"

Meito: "Maybe Hibari arrived first."

Sumomo: "Hmmm, are we really so sure that Hitomi needed to meet someone there?"

Erika: "Oh, that's an interesting idea. Elaborate."

Sumomo: "It's just a thought but... maybe the shed was her objective, and she wanted to get done before it was too dark."

Erika: "Well that's not bad. It might work, if whatever she was planning to do was something quick. It was already dusk at that time."

Meito: "Wait a moment. Where did that message come from?"

Erika: "There's a possibility that Gotsuji wrote that message for a completely different occasion. Let's just disregard this issue for the time being. Takamiya, please continue."

Sumomo: "Hmmm..."

Meito: "Wait... wait just a moment. This is wrong. Why do we need to imagine the last moments of our friend?"

Erika: "Why not?"

Meito: "Why not? This is simply insane!"

Erika: "There must be a lot of confusion in your mind, Oda. You want to know what happened, but you don't want to think about it. How exactly do you expect to learn the truth, if you're not ready to face its darkest side? Well, it's not like I don't understand you, a long time ago I was also like that, but that's absolutely irrational."

Meito: "I... I know... it's just..."

Erika: "What about you, Takamiya? Don't you want to know what happened? Are you afraid to learn the truth?"

Sumomo: "..."

She takes a few seconds to reflect, her face is like a mask made of stone.

Sumomo: "I'll do it."

Meito: "Hey... are you sure? I've seen what happened there with my eyes already, but you..."

Sumomo: "I'll do it."

Erika: "Good. Imagine the scene within your mind. Gotsuji is in front of the shed, unknowing that Hibari is following her. What next?"

Sumomo: "... Hitomi opens the door... she must've found a way to open it."

Erika: "I see. What is she looking for?"

Sumomo: "I don't know. Something that she isn't supposed to take... or see..."

Erika: "That will suffice for now, we can learn what it is later. But Hibari is watching her."

Sumomo: "She has seen enough. She goes inside the shed as well, and catches Hitomi red-handed."

Erika: "Go on."

Sumomo: "Hibari is very angry, but Hitomi isn't the kind of person that would simply apologize. An argument ensues..."

Meito: "Let's stop this..."

Erika: "Continue."

Sumomo: "Hitomi wants to walk away, but Hibari doesn't want to let her go that easily, she physically prevents her from leaving the shed."

Erika: "In other words they come to blows."

Sumomo: "Hmmm... I don't know who attacks who first."

You are almost there, Takamiya. You are almost there.

Erika: "What happens next?"

Sumomo: "Hibari is very angry, she isn't in her right mind anymore. She takes the nearest object that can be used as a weapon."

Erika: "What is that weapon?"

Meito: "Wouldn't that be the sword?"

Erika: "Slash! Your theory is rejected!"

Meito: "Uh? Why?"

Erika: "What is that weapon, Takamiya? Come on, you should know it!"

Sumomo: "A hammer... I guess..."

Erika: "Correct! The victim was first struck by a hammer! So? Go on! Please, do tell me! What happens next?!"

Sumomo: "Hibari realizes what she has just done. After thinking it over, she decides to tamper with the scene to make it look like the demon did it."

Erika: "Slash!"

Sumomo: "Uh..."

Erika: "Gotsuji is simply lying unconscious on the ground. Sure that was an awful thing, but is that a reason enough to kill her? Hibari isn't risking that much even if what she has just done comes to light."

Sumomo: "She's stupid, so..."

Erika: "Slash!"

Sumomo: "Why?"

Erika: "'The culprit was stupid, that's why she did it!' Are you kidding me? Who's going to accept such a sloppy explanation?"

Meito: "But Hibari is that stupid! Damn... why am I even going along with this?"

Sumomo: "Maybe she thought that Hitomi was already dead..."

Erika: "Well, now that's more acceptable, but still a bit lame."

Meito: "Sumomo... stop this. This is ridiculous. Hibari isn't a murderer. You're getting dragged in that woman's unsavory games."

Erika: "Well, if it isn't a sudden change of heart! You're the one who first said that Hibari might be the culprit!"

Meito: "Shut up!"

Sumomo: "Hmmm..."

Meito: "Sumomo!"

Sumomo: "You're right, Meito-kun... We shouldn't imagine such things without proofs."

Erika: "You're not accusing anyone, you're just using your imagination. Proofs aren't necessary at all!"

Meito: "That's still wrong!"

Erika: "Ha! Ha... ah ha ha ha... Why don't you tell that to all those damn goats..."

Meito: "Huh?! What the hell are you talking about?"

Satsukawa: "There you are!"

The angry cop finally appears. It was bound to happen sooner or later, and I am very glad it happened later. I can say that I am pretty much satisfied at this point.

Satsukawa: "I've been looking for you everywhere!"

Sumomo: "I knew it... she escaped again..."

Meito: "Huh? Again?"

Erika: "What's the matter, Satsukawa-san? I've been here all of this time waiting for you. I wasn't hiding or anything."

Meito: "No... you were definitely hiding..."

Satsukawa: "Just tell me you didn't cause any damage this time..."

Erika: "Like I said, I never moved from here. I was just having a pleasant chat with these two. Right?"

Meito: "Well... it wasn't really pleasant, but everything else is true..."

Sumomo: "Yeah... she didn't do anything particularly strange..."

Satsukawa: "*Sigh*... What about your challenge with Teramoto, Erika? We're already late."

Erika: "Oh, don't be silly! There's still plenty of time! But, whatever, I guess it's time for me to show up."

Satsukawa: "Then let's go... and don't try to escape again!"

Erika: "Where do you think I'll go, anyway? Sorry, it was really entertaining, Oda, Takamiya, but as you can see I must go. I'm going to crush Teramoto and all of her lies under my heel. Her reign of falsehoods and deceits will end today. Aren't you thrilled?"

Meito: "If you can really do that..."

Erika: "I will. That's a certainty!"

Meito: "Then, show no mercy..."

Erika: "Ha ha ha! You don't need to tell me that!"

Sumomo: "Hmmm, I also think that Teramoto must be stopped. I'll be cheering for you. Good luck, Furudo-san."

Erika: "I need no luck, but thank you for your moral support. Just leave it to me. When tomorrow you'll come back, this will be another school. Let's go, Satsukawa-san!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Chapter 5 (d)

It will happen very soon.
Teramoto sent one of her lackeys to tell me where I should go when they will start gathering. The appointed time is 5:30 pm, about 20 minutes from now. Everything is in order. Eleven first year students have already been selected to join us in this final ritual. It seems that, albeit the whole school is talking about this special event, no teacher has been alerted, or maybe they are just turning a blind eye. What matters is that so far there are no signs of potential interlopers, and It can be expected that there will be none. Something less to worry about.
But if what I have heard is true, then the actual ritual will start much later. There is no need to be in time just to listen to long and boring explanations about how to behave during the event. Right now there is something more interesting to witness.
Satsukawa certainly learned a valuable lesson a few days ago, so he knows that he shouldn't lower his guard around me. But I guess that he didn't imagine that I could vanish in plain sight. The point is that I couldn't really miss this rare chance. As soon as I spotted Oda and Takamiya together, I knew that I had to follow them. Considering this is already this late, normally they should be heading home. The mere fact that I have seen them going somewhere else inside the premises of this school, is enough for me to understand that at least one of them has something important to tell to the other. Well, the key point here is that I must try to eavesdrop on their conversation, and Satsukawa was in the way.
They are sitting on a bench, in a small green area behind the main building. It can't be said that they are being particularly secretive, but there might be still something interesting to hear. Fortunately in this place there are many things I can hide behind: trees, bushes and even small fences.
I must say it was quite funny how I fooled Satsukawa, I must refrain from laughing, or they will notice me. He just averted his eyes for a few seconds, and I quickly hid crouching between the small gap of two vending machines. The poor fool didn't even think I was still close by, and he started running in the direction he thought I was escaping to. The ironic part is that I am still pretty close to where we both were, and he is probably looking for me in some remote place.
Don't laugh! Don't laugh!
I am pretty close, I can already catch some words, but I need to go a bit further. I am behind the bench they are sitting on, but since they occasionally face each other, I still risk of being spotted. I need to quietly and swiftly move to the next hiding spot. It is about five meters from here, but I can do it. I just need to wait for the right moment. Turn your head, come on! Come on!
All right, now!

Sumomo: "Uh?"

Meito: "Ah?"

Erika: "..."

This is embarrassing. How could this happen?

Erika: "Aaah! Good evening, how do you do?"

Meito: "What in the world are you doing?"

Erika: "Me? Why? I was just passing by... Fancy meeting you here."

Sumomo: "Hmmm... nice to meet you again, Furudo-san."

Erika: "Am I interrupting something?"

Sumomo: "No."

Meito: "Yes."

Erika: "Really?"

Sumomo: "Err..."

Meito: "Not in that sense! We were just talking..."

Erika: "Good, I like listening to interesting discussions. Please don't mind me, and feel free to continue."

Meito: "Why do you need to stay?!"

Erika: "By the way, Oda, I'm glad to see you're starting to feel better."

Meito: "I don't feel better at all..."

Erika: "But the fact you're still here means that you resumed club activities, doesn't it?"

Meito: "I just realized that doing nothing all day makes it even worse. I thought that by working on something I could distract myself, but it didn't work that well..."

Erika: "I see, that's why you looked for Takamiya and asked her to cheer you up. Makes sense.

Meito: "That's not what I asked from her!"

Sumomo: "We were talking about Hitomi. It's been a week already..."

Meito: "It still doesn't feel real..."

Erika: "Don't tell me you were just brooding over her loss and remembering the days when she was still alive. Boring..."

Meito: "You're tone is completely different from the first time I've talked to you. The truth is that you don't really have any sympathy all!"

Erika: "Why would I? I didn't even meet that girl. Why should I care about her and not about any other person that dies in the world with each passing second? Do you feel sad for all of them? Don't be a hypocrite!"

Meito: "You wouldn't be that way, if you ever lost someone dear to you!"

Erika: "Now, you really said something absolutely stupid."

Sumomo: "Furudo-san!"

Erika: "Stop being such a drama queen, Oda, you're making me feel sick. You think you're so special just because you've lost a friend? What about those who have lost their entire families?"

Meito: "You say another word and I'll to punch you in your face, I don't care if you're a woman!"

Sumomo: "Meito-kun!"

Erika: "You're so self-absorbed that you don't even realize that you're not the only one mourning Gotsuji. But I don't see her acting all depressed and angry like you do!"

Meito: "What the hell are you talking about?! Who's..."

Sumomo: "..."

Meito: "..."

Erika: "Oh? Did you suddenly notice?"

Meito: "Shut up!"

Sumomo: "Both of you, give it a rest..."

Meito: "Damn it!"

Oda takes a deep breath. He realized that he should calm down.

Meito: "I'm sorry... Sumomo..."

Sumomo: "Why are you apologizing? It's nothing..."

Erika: "What a great girl! Well, Takamiya, I'm sure that Oda didn't bring you here just to chitchat. There must be a more specific reason."

Meito: "That doesn't concern you!"

Sumomo: "Meito-kun wanted to know more about Teramoto and her strange rituals."

Meito: "Hey..."

Sumomo: "The whole school kept talking about that since early this morning."

Meito: "Kh.. I've always known about Teramoto and her clique, but this whole ritual thing is completely new to me. I've suddenly learned a big secret about my world that I've always been unaware of for all this time. Both Sumomo and Hitomi have been part of that, and I've never been told a thing. I've found Hitomi dead inside that shed. I can't stand anymore all this shit!"

Erika: "Aaah, I'm totally with you on that. It's time for all the truth to be told, don't you agree?"

Meito: "..."

Sumomo: "By the way, Furudo-san, shouldn't you prepare for the big event?"

Erika: "There's still a lot of time. I see no harm in chatting a bit before that."

Sumomo: "Also... where's Satsukawa-san?"

Erika: "Oh, now that you mention that... Where did that man go, I wonder? Well, he'll probably show up sooner or later, no need to worry."

Sumomo: "Hmmm..."

Meito: "I'm going home, there's nothing for me to do in this place."

Erika: "Could you stay a bit more, Oda? I have a suggestion."

Meito: "What's now?"

Erika: "Since the three of us are all gathered here, it might be a good chance to talk about what happened on the day of the crime."

Meito: "Why do I still need to answer questions about that?"

Erika: "What I'm suggesting is a bit different. Think about it, I'm a great detective, and you're the two persons who knew Gotsuji the best in this school. Who better than us can shed light on this murder?"

Sumomo: "You're proposing to discuss about what truly happened that day?"

Meito: "Sorry, but I'm calling myself out. I've no intention to play detective games with you."

Erika: "How strange, I thought you wanted to know the truth at all costs."

Meito: "Of course I want to know what the hell is going on!"

Erika: "Then I'm offering you a chance to take an active role on that. Of course, if you have a better idea, please go ahead."

Meito: "Kh... The hell with you!"

Erika: "Well it looks that you'll join us, after all."

Sumomo: "All right... where should we start from?"

Erika: "From the beginning. Who met her first?"

Meito: "... I did. She was waiting for me in front of my door, like usual."

Erika: "Oh right, she waited for you so you could carry her schoolbag."

Meito: "Yeah... uh... huh?! Why do you know?!"

Sumomo: "Hem..."

Meito: "You told her that?!"

Erika: "Focus! What did you do then?"

Meito: "What do you think we did? We started walking to school."

Erika: "Anything relevant happened during that time?"

Meito: "Nothing. We just talked about inane stuff like usual. I kept grumbling like usual. She kept teasing me like usual."

Sumomo: "They joined me on the way to school. That's when we met that day."

Erika: "Do you remember Gotsuji telling you something strange or unusual?"

Sumomo: "Hmmm..."

Meito: "That was the usual garbage... nothing important at all."

Sumomo: "She told me that Meito-kun was a beast and that he tried to assault her. He he..."

Meito: "You don't have to tell her these particulars! Beside, that was totally false! Just Hitomi being her usual self!"

Erika: "Ha ha ha, I see. It looks like you used to have a lot of fun together. But was Gotsuji really her usual self? Wasn't she different?"

Meito: "Not at all."

Sumomo: "..."

Erika: "According to Takamiya, lately she was a bit strange."

Meito: "What? Really?"

Sumomo: "Hmmm... yes, I really think she was different."

Meito: "I had no idea..."

Sumomo: "Maybe it was just with me..."

Erika: "It's more likely that Oda was too dense to notice."

Meito: "Hey!"

Erika: "And in the end, men simply can't understand the subtle changes in a woman's heart."

Meito: "Kh..."

Sumomo: "So true..."

Meito: "Please, Sumomo, don't team up with her..."

Erika: "Did anything else happen on the way to school?"

Meito: "Not that I remember..."

Sumomo: "You had that accident with that girl from your club. Right in front of the school gates."

A girl from Oda's club? Junko Andou again?

Meito: "Ah, right. I got hit by her bicycle."

Erika: "We're talking about Junko Andou, right?"

Meito: "Yes... you know her?"

Erika: "How did that accident happen?"

Meito: "She had tinkered with her bicycle again. She has this obsession of fixing everything that is mechanical or that has electric parts. When there's nothing wrong with them, she wants to improve them. But that usually results in making them dysfunctional instead."

Erika: "In other words she goes on an endless cycle of fixing and breaking everything around her?"

Meito: "I never thought it that way... but yeah, that's a good way to describe her daily routine. She only does that with things that belong to her, though."

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chapter 5 (c)

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."

Satsukawa: "Uh?!"

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."

Satsukawa: "Magic?"

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?"

Satsukawa: "Hmmm..."

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."

Satsukawa: "Uh..."

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."

Satsukawa: "Aaah..."

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..."

Erika: "However?"

Satsukawa: "What is the truth?"

Not bad.
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."

Erika: "Huh?"

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: "And?"

Satsukawa: "Nevermind..."

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?"