Translator: DarkHeartedAlchemist Editor: Weasalopes
【Episode 2】Murder and Gift: Part B (2)
「Guilty as charged, that is exactly what I’m going for. For you see, Shiinamachi-senpai was murdered last night.」
「Eh? Murdered? What are you talking about? I just met her in the Librarian Committee’s office.」
Yes, because she didn’t die even though she was killed.
「I’ve stumbled upon senpai too, just this morning, actually. For someone who was supposedly murdered, she seemed awfully calm, laid back even.」
So Fujisato saw senpai too? In that case, if either one of them was the killer, that would be a clear sign that something was wrong here, and that their attempt at murdering her ended up being a spectacular failure. Then again, me being alive and well would’ve also been as big of a giveaway. If one of them was in fact the culprit we were looking for, then I must say that their ability to keep a poker face in a situation like that was nothing short of outstanding. Perhaps this was what my sister meant when she told me that 「all women to a degree are skilled actresses specializing in lies and deception.」
「Is this a setting for some bizarre detective game or mental puzzle? Could this be the reason why you went to see Shiinamachi-senpai yesterday, senpai? I see, I get it. When you think about it, our clock tower is a perfect spot for a game like that.」
Kuhoh was really quick on the uptake. She deduced something like that from the bare minimum of information she had access to, and naturally arrived at the most probable conclusion.
「Exactly. This is a brainstorming detective game where the setting is senpai’s murder!.」
Lying like that was obviously very dangerous, but I had no other choice. This was a necessary action in order to apprehend someone who did something even more dangerous.
「Eh, did I heard that correctly, Monjiro? You went to visit Shiinamachi-senpai in her room last night? C-C-Could it be that the two of you actually…?!」
Fujisato’s cheeks went beet-red up to her neck. The direction of her deductions seemed really specific. Then again, any normal high-schooler, be it a guy or a girl, would’ve probably arrived at the same conclusion.
「It brings me great pain to crush your maidenly fantasies, Fujisato-senpai, but you’re completely off the mark here.
Shiinamachi-senpai is regularly making pajama parties for the members of the Librarian Committee. Monjiro-senpai and I have attended one such party in the past, but since he was the only guy there, he spend the entire evening curled up in a corner, looking like an abandoned puppy.」
「And what did you expected me to do, huh?! I was all alone, surrounded by a gathering of girls! I was practically stranded deep behind the enemy lines!」
Fujisato just laughed cheerfully at my emotional comment.
「That’s to be expected, Monjiro, especially since you’re such a down to earth, serious person. But you know, given the circumstances, I think none of the girls would’ve minded if you acted a little bit more loosely towards them. If it’s just for the teasing purposes, no one would’ve accused you of sexual harassment, believe me!」
「Yeah, I know. But there was just no chance for it back then.」
Since all of the girls back then were crowded together and were chatting nonstop about all things great and small, I couldn’t even find an opening to jump into the conversation, so I just decided to sit in a corner not to get in anyone’s way. It was a bit later that Kuhoh finally took pity on me and joined me to have a chat about martial arts related matters. She really saved me back then. And now here I am suspecting her. When I put it that way, I actually feel like kind of a d*ck, you know?
「Was there anyone else with you, or was it really just the two of you?」
That was the question that I have thoroughly expected. After all, it would be weird for a boy and a girl in the height of puberty to be alone in one room late at night, right? I can totally see all those indecent implications forming inside Fujisato’s mind.
「There was also Shiinamachi-senpai’s kouhai. Her name is Yatono Shiki…」
「Eh? Yatono-san was with you as well?」
Fujisato reacted to the name. How curious.
「She a friend of yours, Fujisato?」
「Not really, since she’s obviously someone who… doesn’t seem to have many… friends. What I’m trying to say is that she’s more of a lone wolf type, you know? A scientist who keeps to herself. But supposedly, she has a following of loyal fans!」
Lone wolf, following of fans. This is somewhat unexpected.
I never would have guessed that a loner like Shiki to have any kind of fans. But it takes all kinds of people to make the world, and it seems that her… unusual demeanor could very well be in a strike zone of certain types of people.
「So? The three of you had a brainstorming session?」
Kuhoh asked casually, keeping the conversation going. If she was really the culprit, then her ability to keep her cool and play the fool was truly a cut above everything I have ever encountered before. Maybe that was the point? She was acting all proper and upfront with everyone in school, all the while concealing her identity as a ruthless murderer who had no problems with running her fellow students through with a blade, using that charade of hers as a smokescreen for killing Shiinamachi-senpai and me. I mean, when it comes to abilities, she was definitely someone who could’ve done it if she tried. But deep down inside my heart, I really didn’t want to believe she was the one who killed us, since she was such a good friend both to me, and Shiinamachi-senpai.
「What was the discussion centered around? Verifying how exactly Shiinamachi-senpai was murdered?」
「Pretty much, but with a little fantasy twist to it. So keep that in mind while I’ll explain from the beginning…」
I told them the events of last night in a storytelling fashion, omitting the happening in the bathroom of course. When I was done, I took a deep breath and fixed the glasses on my nose, waiting to hear their reactions.
「Let me think…」
I told them everything I could within reason, explaining senpai’s and my own death with as much detail possible, including how afterwords the three of us: senpai, Shiki and I tried to recreate the culprit’s actions and understand his/her way of thinking. Having Fujisato’s dismissing smile from our previous assassin’s conversations pictured in my mind, I kept my mouth shut about senpai being a Nightkin and Shiki being her Vassal.
「So, are you interested in joining our little game?」
「Pulling something like that without some kind of superpower. That’s why you mentioned all those things before, right, senpai?」
「Oho~ So you were up to something so interesting while I was on my shift at the shop! Now I really want to join in on the fun too! All right, count me in!」
Interesting, huh? It’s actually a good thing that Fujisato was not present at the scene when the murders happened. I have a feeling she’d have just fainted on the spot since everything was cleaned up only when Shiki arrived.
「As for the suspects… Oh, I see. We met last night in front of the school gate, so naturally, I’m the most suspicious person. Now I see what you were going on about, senpai.」
「Eh, not only Shiinamachi-senpai, you also met Nagi-chan last night, Monjiro?」
Fujisato’s cheeks turned red again. Is her mind always filled with indecent thoughts?
「I happened to run into her as she was going back home from the kendo practice.」
「Regrettably, Monjiro-senpai and I are not in any kind of intimate relationship.」
To tell you the truth, hearing Kuhoh said that she felt somewhat regretful made me quite happy. We might’ve not been best friends, but talking with her was always a pleasurable experience for me, ever since that pajama party where she went out of her way just to comfort me.
「Okay, then let’s get the facts in order. No matter how we choose to approach it, I am obviously the most likely candidate for being a prime suspect, the reasons being: 1) I am skilled in Kendo, a type of martial arts utilizing a blade 2) as a member of the Librarian Committee, I possess the key to the office, 3) my short stature seems to be in line with what Shiinamachi-senpai saw, and 4) the timing of my meeting with Monjiro-senpai overlaps perfectly with the events taking place inside the clock tower.」
Kuhoh admitted that she was the prime suspect without even batting an eye.