Translator: DarkHeartedAlchemist Editor: Weasalopes
【Episode 2】Murder and Gift: Part B (1)
■ Search Results for 『Gift』:
• An outstanding talent. A unique and distinctive power.
• No search results.
• Someone possessing a skill or an ability outside of the limits of human understanding.
「Now tell me Kuhoh, and be honest with me… do you possess some hidden special talents… or gifts, by any chance?」
Now I know this might be sudden, but let’s switch to the events that took place the next day after the incident for a bit.
After we, and by [we] I mean Fujisato and myself, were done with the morning portion of the supplementary lessons, we made our way to the cafeteria to have lunch together with Kuhoh. The place was even more empty than usual, and, of course, Kuhoh was already there, patiently waiting for us. We greeted one another, exchanged some mundane pleasantries… and then I went straight for the kill.
「Oh I see. Is that…. What you want to talk about?」
Kuhoh asked, and then was deep in thought for a while.
Fujisato, who was sitting next to her, just smiled cheerfully as she observed our exchange. If I had to take a wild guess, then she was probably thinking that it was Part 2 of the Chuunibyou conversation I had with her, and she was just politely rolling along with it. If that was actually the case, it’d make me quite relieved.
「So? Do you possess some special abilities, and used them to kill people before? Like last night, for example?」
「Last night, huh? Indeed, I don’t have any alibi for yesterday.」
She straight up said it… oh wait, that was not a confession, she was just following along the tone of discussion, no matter how out of place it sounded.
「Monjiro-senpai, since you’re asking me that, then I presume you have some evidence that points me to killing someone?」
She stopped munching on her oyakodon bowl to give me a smug, fearless smile filled with confidence. She pointed her chopsticks at me in a provoking manner, and she looked so natural doing it too. As expected of my kendo-practicing kouhai.
「Wow, Nagi-chan, you look like a warrior challenging Monjiro to a fight!」
「Really? Thank you then, kendo is all about intimidation after all. When faced with an opponent, no matter a veteran or a complete newbie, it is always important to gain as much psychological advantage as possible, while telling yourself that you’ll win, you’ll definitely triumph over your enemy. 」
「Ehehe, is that how it really is? I’ve always thought that kendo was all about clear mind and fast, powerful blows combined with loud shouting.」
「That’s one way to go about it, but it’s true that in kendo, a split second can make a difference between victory and defeat. So if I had one of those powers or skills senpai mentioned, this could prove quite convenient for me.」
「Now this is unexpected, Kuhoh. So even you’d turn to using such dirty tactics as long as it’d be to your advantage?」
「But can skills and abilities really be called dirty tactics, senpai? In my opinion, as long as you possessed some kind of skill or power since day 1, or worked yourself to the bone to acquire it through extensive training, this power is now a part of you, and there’s no shame in using anything at your disposal to achieve the desired results. Whether you’re good looking, have good hearing, excellent eyesight or a high IQ, no one should dismiss them as some cheap tricks obtained through underhanded means.」
I see. It was a specific point of view, but it suited her nonetheless.
I’ve always thought that using my assassin’s training to obtain an edge in martial arts or sports would be cheating, and that’s how I turned to academics and becoming a part of the Librarian Committee. But Kuhoh thought that there’d be nothing wrong using my inherent skills to my advantage. That was something that I’ve never even thought about.
「So senpai, according to you, what kind of an ability do I possess? If it were up to me, then I’d like to be tall and pretty and have the same idolish aura around myself just like Fujisato-senpai. Yeah, that would’ve been pretty nice.」
「Eh? W-What!? I-Is that what you think about me, Nagi-chan? You know, I don’t think that having a pretty face should really count as a special skill.」
Visibly embarrassed by Kuhoh’s flattery, Fujisato frantically waved her hands around. That motion undeniably suited someone as cute as her, that’s for sure. I see. So something like that, a subconscious action that could influence those around you in various ways could be called a kind of Gift as well.
「How about flying or levitating then?」
With the ability to fly, the killer would’ve been able to tail me while remaining unnoticed, and he could also travel up and down the stairs without making even a single sound.
「Using an ability to fly as a means of assassinating people… or perhaps to provide various kinds of misdirection to throw the authorities off the right track, something along those lines?」
「But if you had an ability like that, then wouldn’t it better to just fly really high into the air with your victim in tow and simply drop them so they’d just get splattered all over the ground? No corpse that can be identified, no problem for you, and for the police or detectives, an even bigger headache!」
「Wow, what a cold-blooded suggestion, Fujisato-senpai. And here I thought that you looked so cute and innocent. I guess it’s true that looks can really be deceiving, huh?」
「W-Was it really that cold-blooded?」
Said the girl who dreamed of moving zombies like they were just cannon fodder. That aside, I’ve gotta say, this was a truly nice, relaxing lunch break… but that does not mean that I can let those two off the hook for now, even if they’re just chatting and giggling and smiling like any other high-school girl.
Last night, Shiki approached me and said:
「Monjiro, was there anyone else in the vicinity of the school while you were making your way to the clock tower?」
Fujisato and Kuhoh immediately popped into my mind. The former was working at a nearby convenience store, while the latter was just leaving the building after kendo practice, so I marked both of them as potential suspects.
「If not flight or levitation, what kind of superpower would be appropriate for me to have?」
Despite it all sounding quite nonsensical, Kuhoh seemed to be enjoying talking about it.
Similar to myself, she was also a member of the Librarian Committee, knew that the room upstairs in the clock tower belonged to Shiinamachi-senpai, and even possessed a key to the clock tower. That would make her the prime suspect, but for a prime suspect, she was getting into this murder and superpowers topic way too much. Was she that good of an actress, or just a simple airhead?
「I think you’re a jack-of-all-trades, Nagi-chan! You look like someone who can do virtually anything!」
Indeed. When I looked at Kuhoh, she really gave an impression of being someone who could have actually been trained in the art of taking lives.
「Hmm… Then how about this? Kuhoh could have been trained to completely eliminate the sound of her footsteps.」
The ability to move and maneuver without making a sound is one of the essential skills for pretty much every assassin. By suggesting that, I wanted to confirm whether or not she had any kind of training in that particular area, and since she was skilled at kendo, then she should be able to do so, even if just to some degree.
「Does something like that can really be classified as a special ability? Well true, if we’ll think of a gift as a skill or ability acquired by means of training, and not something you’ve been born with, then sure, that sounds about right. I mean, as a kendo practitioner I use my legs all the time, but I was never able to eliminate the sound of moving around completely.」
「Eliminating the sound of footsteps… This skill sounds so lame.」
Both of them were right to some extent. As for Fujisato labeling this skill as「lame」, is somewhat makes me feel gutted. Afterall, I had to learn this so called 「lame」skill through years of dedication.
「However, senpai’s specific phrasing and peculiar choice of words makes me feel like you’re indirectly trying to establish whether or not I am the culprit in some murder case. Isn’t that right, senpai?」
Kuhoh narrowed her slender and clear eyes, and the corner of her lips curling up in a smug smile. It was as if she’s saw right through my entire charade.