Translator: DarkHeartedAlchemist Editor: Weasalopes
【Episode 2】Murder and Gift: Part B (3)
「I think we can rule Fujisato-senpai out from our circle of potential suspects. At the time of the crime she was at work, and that can be confirmed with her manager should the need arise. The only way for her to do it would be to have a twin or a body double take her place while she was away to do the deed.」
「Twins huh… That’s a nice concept, but unfortunately, I’m an only child…」
Even if Fujisato really had a twin or a body double, there was no way someone like her could be the killer, she was too pure and delicate for that. That, and there’s also the problem with the silent sound of footsteps.
「Then again, me being the culprit would be so anticlimactic.」
「Right? It’s always too boring and predictable if the prime suspect turns out to be the culprit all along. There’s no suspense or creativity in such a setting.」
They were right entertainment-wise. Even if Kuhoh tailed me without being spotted for so long, there was still the issue of the sounds made by the heavy door to the clock tower, or the creaking boards of the stairs to senpai’s room.
But those problems were irrelevant as long as we sticked to the assumption that the crime was committed by using supernatural means. If the culprit was someone with a Gift, then all bets were off. If what senpai and Shiki told me was true, Vassals of the Nightkin all possessed powers outside of the realm of human understanding, making it possible to even have such a cheat-like ability like my immortality, so maybe somewhere out-there was a Gift that made silent movement or flight possible.
「Are there any other characters beside Monjiro-senpai?」
「No, there’s no more people involved besides the one I’ve already mentioned.」
This was only a game to those two, but even so, Kuhoh really got into it. And Fujisato was a great contributor to our discussion too, even though I’d thought she was going to be more of a listener than an active speaker. Who knows, if this whole thing wasn’t about me getting killed with senpai, maybe I would’ve enjoyed this little mental exercise too?
「Monjiro-senpai, according to common methods of misdirection, our first suspect is Shiinamachi-senpai, since she died at the very beginning of your story.」
「 Oh, I know what you’re talking about: the setup where the culprit is the person who was thought to have died at the beginning right? Isn’t it pretty popular in those kinds of stories?」
I knew of this setup as well. I’ve read about it countless times.
Because the first victim’s identity was not known to the readers, who they were could only be guessed from their clothes and whatever the author decided to include, but then it turns out that not everything was as it seemed. It was a scenario in which the dead person disguised himself or herself as someone else, taking that person’s identity and mannerisms in order to lose the unwanted authorities attention. But that was not the case here. When I arrived at the scene of the crime, Shiinamachi-senpai was already dead, and yet she survived. Just as she said, 「If today weren’t a safe day, it would’ve been dangerous.」
In other words, although senpai did not die, that was really a close call that might’ve ended up with her dying for real if I didn’t show up.
「 I think Monjiro-senpai should be given more attention as a potential suspect..」
「 Hmm? Me?」
「 Oh I get it! You’re talking about that 「The protagonist is the culprit」 scenario, right?」
「Yes. He narrated the story in first person, so we should take everything he said thus far with a healthy dosage of criticism. Since he was the protagonist, then we have no way of knowing whether or not everything he said was the truth. For all we know, a part, half, or everything he said up until now may just be smoke and mirrors.」
There was some truth in what she was saying. I’ve accepted senpai’s invitation, and I am in possession of the key to the clock tower, I had both the reason, and the means to be at the crime scene yesterday. So assuming that I was the killer, I went to visit senpai who was not suspecting a thing, stabbed her to death when she was the most vulnerable, and faked all of my actions since that point to misdirect anyone who would’ve tried to get to the bottom of this murder mystery. But I knew better than anyone else that this was not how it was. I was killed together with senpai, and then resurrected and made immortal by her. If I really was the killer, I wouldn’t be able to explain what happened from the point a sword pierced me from the back to the moment I regained my consciousness.
「The most suspicious person after you, senpai, would be Shiki-san.」
Kuhoh continued to rank each character from my story in terms of suspiciousness.
「She is the only person possessing the knowledge of everyone else’s movements, so if she wanted, she could’ve acted accordingly to steer the events in such a way that all suspicion would not be focused on her. If she’s a frequent guest in senpai’s room, then logically, she must have a spare key to it. And since she knew that Monjiro-senpai would be paying Shiinamachi-senpai a visit, she could hide herself somewhere in the room. After all was said and done, all she had to do was to dispose of Monjiro-senpai when he was still shocked after discovering Shiinamachi-senpai’s dead body. After that, she’d only need to go back to her room in the computer laboratory and go to senpai’s room again, becoming the one who discovered both corpses.」
Giving some thought to what Kuhoh just said, suspecting Shiki would be the logical choice. She was right after all, there was no need for the culprit to hide behind the clock until I arrived, for if he/she knew that I was coming in the first place, he/she could’ve just wait somewhere inside senpai’s room, just as Kuhoh remarked. Even the excessive amount of blood wouldn’t be a problem, if he/she could just use the bathroom to wash him/herself up without raising any suspicion. And since Shiki was a frequent guest in Shiinamachi-senpai’s room, she must have at least one spare set of clothes prepared for herself whenever she’s using the bathroom.
「 Does Shiki-san fit the description of the mysterious figure Shiinamachi-senpai saw? Is she tall?」
「Quite the opposite, actually. She’s rather short.」
Thank goodness we are treating this whole thing like a simple game. Were it not the case, then we couldn’t have established the fact that Shiinamachi-senpai, who should’ve been dead under any normal circumstances, witnessed a petite figure at the scene of the crime. Abiding by the rules of 「Dead men tell no tales」 and 「people die if they are killed」, mine and Shiinamachi-senpai’s testimonies would’ve been invalid under normal circumstances. But thanks to this case having little to do with what could be considered as 「normal」, senpai managed to survive, and lived to tell her tale.
「Anyway, even if I’m the prime suspect, in my opinion this Shiki-san is the murderer here. Monjiro-senpai, what do you think about it?」
Kuhoh smiled cheerfully as she offered her opinion on the prime suspect in our little game. Her hypothesis was indeed very probable, so much in fact that if I didn’t knew better I’d have probably agreed with her and take her words for an absolute truth.
Note to self: for your own safety, never try to play mind games with Kuhoh Nagi.
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