Hyouka:Volume 2 Chapter 4

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4 - "Bloody Beast"[edit]

The next day.

It was another fine day, with fine weather covering the entire country. A good day for leisurely activity. Watching a bit of TV for once in the morning, it showed people heading off to the sea and mountains. Ahh, tanned skin, smiling faces, that's what I call a vacation!

And here we were, huddling our desks in the corner of the classroom having a meeting.

Then again, I had no preference either way. In fact, having a meeting might even suit me better. If I had to be free, then I would prefer killing time in an air-conditioned cafe sipping away at a hot cup of coffee. On such an occasion, only black coffee with its bitter taste would suffice.

"Oreki, stop daydreaming! We're supposed to be thinking of a solution here!"

My consciousness returned to the meeting. Even without being told, we all knew the agenda today was the solution to the movie "Mystery (working title)". Since we were only discussing it, we weren't exactly going beyond our responsibilities as "observers". But then, I was merely listening silently, as it was just Satoshi summarizing the situation,

"...In other words, what Haba-sempai said was correct — the sealed room was rather rigid, as it's not easy breaking into a double sealed room. Especially the outer sealed room, which was practically shouting 'as though you can break in',"

The outer sealed room Satoshi was referring to was the second sealed room which Haba was mentioning yesterday. As the entrance to the right corridor was being watched by Sugimura, no one would be able to sneak inside perfectly without being seen.

Chitanda tilted her head and said timidly, "So it can't be broken into? But, how could you be so certain?"

"Well, you see, Chi-chan,"

Ibara took over the explanation.

"It's under the pretext that Haba-sempai's second sealed room exists. If that is to be broken into, then they must have filmed something about when and how it was broken into. If that's the case, then the cast could have treated this 30 seconds as a blind spot where they would show how the killer breaks in. But we've not seen anything of that sort in the movie. As the movie was very simple, there's just not enough room to insert anything extra."

"Oh, I see. So it was never mentioned whether the killer sneaked through during the brief moment Sugimura-san wasn't watching the hall, right?"

Ibara nodded and continued, "Besides, it's the same thing if it was Sugimura-sempai trying to escape from Senouchi-sempai and the others' lines of vision. That's why I hadn't thought Hongou-sempai would consider the possibility of a second sealed room. That was just Haba-sempai thinking too much. Instead, thinking from the premise of who had entered the right side corridor would have been better."

Give it up already, Ibara. Where's the fun if you have to do all the thinking? Though Ibara quickly gave a self-deprecating smile and waved her hand to dismiss what she just said.

"Nah, that probably won't work as well. Since they've already shot the part with Sugimura-sempai shown standing above the hall, which means he was watching the whole time."

Silence. The meeting had come to a deadlock.

Recognizing the stalemate, Chitanda suddenly spoke.

"By the way, I nearly forgot,"

She took something out of the bag she was carrying on her shoulder.

"Here, have some."

It was some sweets wrapped in small elegant boxes with English words written on them. It seemed they were whiskey bonbons.

"What's with these?"

Faced with the sudden appearance of such luxury, Ibara said that looking half-amazed. Chitanda smiled gently.

"These are samples for a new recipe. It was sent to us as a gift by the candy makers for the Bon Festival. Though we hardly eat many sweets, so..."

Upon opening the lids, each small box contained around 20 rather large whiskey bonbons.

"Since I got it as a gift, feel free to have them."

She handed one over to me. I removed the paper wrapping and put the chocolate in my mouth. I could smell a strong flavour of almond and whiskey as I bit it.

Chitanda asked, "How is it?"

"...It tastes strong."

To the point of getting drunk. I was thinking of having another one, seeing as she went out of her way to give them to us, but decided otherwise.

As each one of us got their share of candy, I began to do some thinking.

The biggest challenge this mystery posed was its limitation of information. As Ibara had put it, as it wasn't really filmed meticulously, there was hardly room to insert anything extra. To begin with, was it even possible to solve the mystery just by watching the movie? I really don't want to watch it again just to confirm. Besides, the movie never even showed the fact that the entrance to the hall and the north-facing windows were boarded up. Was it possible to film the rest of the scenes in time for the day after tomorrow (Yes! The day after tomorrow!) just by our own observations...

I thought from the perspective of the retired screenwriter Hongou Mayu, writing a mystery script despite having no prior knowledge of detective fiction, and working so hard on it that she got gastritis from being too stressed out. Eba was right in describing her as a sincere and attentive person. She has my sympathies though, as the people from the filming division were unable to get the script she worked so hard on. I wonder how she would feel if she were to hear people tell her "Can you really solve this just by watching the film?"

Well, I'll leave that aside for now.

"...Whoo."

A strange sigh was heard.

An amazing sight appeared before my eyes. I had two bonbon wrappers in front of me. Satoshi also had two, while Ibara had one. But was that six wrappers from bonbons that Chitanda had eaten? And she was in the process of unwrapping a seventh as we were watching. I frantically stopped her.

"I think that's enough for you. Since it's alcoholic, after all."

Upon being told this, Chitanda stared at the seventh bonbon on her palm, then looked at the wrapper beside it. Just when I was wondering what she would do next, she promptly put the bonbon into her mouth.

As she was quite indulging herself, she said, "Oh, I've eaten this much already. It's got some strange taste, so I felt curious and had more."

Eating more just because she was curious......

"Chi-chan! Are you alright?"

Noticing how serious the situation was, Ibara called out to Chitanda, who merely responded with a smile.

"I'm fine, why do you ask?"

"But, you look strange."

"I'm fine, I'm fine... Fufufu..."

Umm, your laughing is way different from how you normally laugh.



As the appointed time had arrived, Eba came as usual and stood by the door with her emotionless expression, though this time she raised her eyebrows.

"That smell... is that alcohol?"

Satoshi promptly replied, "Nope, just whiskey bonbons."

As if Eba cares about the difference. In any case, she seemed to lose interest in the smell and handed a bundle of paper over to me.

"Oreki-san,"

Ah, yes. I stood up to receive the copies. It was the script that I requested from Eba the other day. With this, I would be able to find out just how much Hongou intended to put in her script.

"It would've been better if I had this yesterday,"

Indeed it would have been better if I had had this earlier. I then smiled bitterly upon noticing my thoughts. Didn't I decide not to care much about this problem? Maybe I was getting fired up after shooting down Nakajou's and Haba's theories in quick succession.

If I don't have to do it, I won't. If I have to do it, make it quick. At once, I opened the script and looked up the part mentioned the day before, to find out if there was any mention about the surroundings of the scene of the crime. Without even searching, the page I flipped to ended up being the part where I was looking for.


Kounosu: "There's another set of master keys in the office, can someone go get them?"



A cut here is recommended prior to shooting the door being unlocked.

Upon unlocking the door, only the boys are to enter the room. (The girls are to stand side by side at the door.)

Kaitou-kun is to lie on the ground. While it may be plain to the observer, please have him hold his arm to emphasize the pain. He is unconscious and unable to call out for help.


Sugimura: "Kaitou!"


The boys are to run towards him.

The order of who reaches him first is fine.

Upon helping Kaitou-kun up, Sugimura-kun is to discover the blood on the floor with his palm.


Sugimura: "Blood."

The girls will <scream> together.

Katsuda: "Kaitou! Dammit! Somebody help!"


Katsuda-kun will go and open the window. (Please be careful not to get injured by the glass.)

Please take a few moments to shoot the outside of the window. Make sure there are no traces of footsteps outside.

Katsuda-kun is to go towards the Left Stage, whether it's through the stage or the backstage corridor is fine. Though as the stage is filled with rotting wood, please take extreme care when walking through it.


It was written in quite some detail. I see, no wonder she was so stressed out if the whole thing was written in such a style. From the description "Make sure there are no traces of footsteps outside." - it was how Nakajou had said, when Hongou went there the grass had still not yet grown completely. Based on this fact, Nakajou was actually right.

As I was thinking, Chitanda said to me, "Is that a script?"

"Yeah."

She seemed pretty hammered.

"Looks good, very good. I want to have it."

...She's really drunk. Normally it would have been fine to just hand it to her, but as I'm quite worried about her now, I decided not to. In turn, I called out to Satoshi, "Satoshi, you have a book binder?"

Satoshi gave me an indignant look.

"As if anyone would carry that around."

"You have a stapler then?"

"I do have one; it's a small one, though."

He placed his hand inside his drawstring bag and took out a stapler. Not everyone carries such things around with them either. I quickly stapled the pages together.

"I wonder what we should do with this?"

"Losing it would be bad, so you keep it with you,"

As per Ibara's instructions, I placed the script copy into my shoulder bag. Upon seeing that we were finished, Eba spoke.

"Then, let us go. We'll be heading to the Class 2-C classroom."

Upon exiting the classroom, a tune started playing on cue. It's the light music club today, the song was... The March of the Black Queen. I kept wondering why for the past few days the music would play upon us leaving the room. I reckon it probably has something to do with our appointment being at 1pm, which would be the time when the music clubs would take turns having their practice sessions on different days, as I do not hear music from other music clubs.

Ibara asked Eba, who walked ahead of us, "Who're we meeting today..."

"Sawakiguchi. Sawakiguchi Misaki, of the marketing division, though she was hardly involved in the filming process. As the filming is incomplete, advertisement of the movie has also been stalled."

Then she shouldn't be included as part of the crew, isn't that kind of misleading? Such a straightforward question was responded to by Eba with a straightforward answer.

"Sawakiguchi was deeply involved in the early planning stages of the project as well as the direction it would take. So she might have some good ideas concerning the mystery."

She then added, "At least that's what Irisu has determined."

Hmm, initial staff member, huh? Though Eba may say Sawakiguchi might come up with some good ideas, to me it's just another member of a motley crew. Being involved in deciding the direction of a project wasn't really much. As Irisu had mentioned, and based on our conversations with Nakajou and Haba, Class 2-F's movie has no other direction apart from that of the mystery genre. As if someone involved in deciding such a direction would be able to deduce anything... Though as I thought that, I said nothing.

We came upon the connecting corridor, when suddenly Chitanda raised her voice.

"Oh! I remember now!"

"W-what is it, Chi-chan?"

Ibara staggered as Chitanda practically shouted into her ear, while Chitanda looked quite happy as she placed her hands before her chest.

"This Sawakiguchi-san, she's good at drawing, isn't she? My memory seems to be fuzzy today, I can't believe I couldn't remember who she was just now."

Hmm? Chitanda knew who she was? Eba turned her head around and asked, "Drawings? Sawakiguchi does occasionally draw some illustrations, but how did you know that?"

Chitanda smiled and said, "In the Arts Preparation Room. Oreki-san, you should know. And yet you're quite mean to keep quiet about it!"

Now she's got me dragged into this. She sure is a merry drinker. Thank goodness she's of the pleasant type. Umm, where were we? The Arts Preparation Room?

As I tried to recall, Ibara got there before me.

"Oh, she's one of those girls that borrowed that strange library book!"

That strange book, a mean way of describing it, but that reminded me. This spring, I was involved in a quiz challenge involving art and the names of many girls. And Sawakiguchi was one of those girls.

As though trying to recall, Chitanda's eyes wandered round and round.

"Yes, that Sawakiguchi-san. If I remember correctly, her drawing was the one that looked kind of strange,"

While I wasn't too familiar with memories regarding someone else's artwork, as a member of the Manga Studies Club with an interest in all things visual, Ibara nodded in agreement.

"You're right, I remember as well. Whether her drawing was terrible or full of personality, her art just seemed different from what her classmates were drawing for their assignments."

"Maybe she was drawing it in an abstract style?"

Though not familiar with the situation, Satoshi decided to say something.

Ibara said with a troubled look, "Something like manga that looks poor at first glance, but is actually good?"

Walking some distance ahead of us, Eba laughed softly.

"You've seen Sawakiguchi's art? In that case, you probably won't find it strange once you meet her in person."

I wonder what she meant. What's she trying to insinuate?

Eba stopped as we arrived outside the Class 2-C classroom.



The girl there had her hair tied into a chignon. Rather than a chignon, calling it a Chinese hair bun would be more appropriate. With two Chinese hair buns wrapped with cloths adorned with dragon patterns on both sides of her head, she wore a tank top and jeans. Her skin was slightly tanned. In her hand was a magazine... it seemed to be an astronomy magazine. The overall mismatching girl noticed our presence and waved one of her arms, smiling to us.

"Ciao!"

And greeted us in Italian. Chitanda promptly greeted her back without hesitation.

"Good afternoon, Sawakiguchi-san."

Sawakiguchi gave a big sigh, and shook her head in an exaggerated way that reminded me of those overreactions seen in American movies.

"No, you don't seem to get it. When I say 'ciao', you should greet me back with 'ciao' as well! Otherwise it won't connect. Now, let's do this again. Ciao!"

I looked on with troubled eyes at Chitanda, who took it rather calmly.

"Oh, I'm very sorry. Then, ciao."

Yup, she's really drunk. Normally, Chitanda would have been panicking already after being faced with such unexpected responses.

Watching this all along, Satoshi whispered to me, "She's kinda eccentric, isn't she?"

"Seems so."

"So Kamiyama High School still has strange people that I don't know of..."

He sounded quite regretful, as though talking about a companion of his own kind. As though she'd heard us, Eba gave an awkward smile.

Meanwhile, upon hearing Chitanda's response, Sawakiguchi became very cheerful.

"Thank you for coming all this way. The name's Sawakiguchi Misaki."

In turn, Eba introduced us to her.

"These are the people from the Classics Club. Do go easy on them, Misaki."

Indeed, if she didn't go easy on us, I'd be at a loss. As Eba didn't introduce us individually, we had to do so ourselves. Sawakiguchi didn't seem intent on memorizing our names, or maybe she was just listening selectively.

After Satoshi announced his name, she said, "I see. Anyway, have a seat."

"Okay."

As we got ourselves seated, Eba took her leave. As soon as Eba closed the door, Sawakiguchi stretched her fingers so much we could hear them creak.

"So you're the ones who helped us out on our project, right? Well, how did you find the others' deductions? Were they good?"

Satoshi said bluntly, "Not really."

"They were rejected?"

"Yeah."

Satisfied with the response, Sawakiguchi nodded many times.

"That won't do, if the students don't endure hardships. Young'uns these days sure know nothing about hardships."

As she spoke in an exotic deadpan-like accent, for a moment, I nearly couldn't make out that she was saying "Young ones". She seemed to be the sort that likes to utter meaningless stuff, though I don't particularly dislike people with such interests.

On the other hand, Satoshi said jubilantly as though digging out some treasure, "Well, it is a difficult case, after all. If one intended to sit down and solve this, then it wouldn't be interesting if they didn't digest the details properly."

What do you mean "digest the details properly"? As far as I know, Satoshi has two mottos. The first was "Jokes are to be made on the spot, so too are misunderstandings to be dispelled right away." The other was "Conclusions cannot be made from databases alone." And it's not like he could solve the case himself using his own database anyway.

Sawakiguchi laughed.

"You guys sound pretty reliable. As expected of the people Irisu recommended. Well, if my assumptions end up scattered, I'm counting on you to sort out the bits."

"Leave that to us."

If you're gonna make such a verbal promise, don't come crying to me if you end up overdoing it. Though, Sawakiguchi was also overdoing it.

"Alrighty! Then I'll be counting on you fully."

Satoshi spoke in a frank and relaxed manner.

"Sawakiguchi-sempai, you probably must have had it tough. Is the marketing division making any progress? It must be tough with the product being unfinished, right?"

"True."

Sawakiguchi made a sulky expression and crossed her arms.

"It's true that without the product, we couldn't make any advertising posters. But we'll think of something."

"Then, what seems to be the problem?"

"Isn't it obvious?"

She sighed deeply.

"We still need a title. We can't do anything without a title. We can't even decide on a suitable font either. Normally a title would be added when a movie is finished, but the problem now is that the movie is not completed."

That goes without saying. Anyone involved in advertising during the Cultural Festival would have to make banners or posters, but it feels extremely lonely not being able to do anything due to the lack of a title.

Sawakuguchi then smiled at Satoshi.

"At any rate, we'll have to do something with the script. Before you hear my theory, I'll take any questions from you, so fire away."

Even when she asked us to fire away, I ended up flinching at her overenthusiastic manner. Yet Chitanda didn't seem to mind a bit.

"Then we will begin. Sawakiguchi-san, you were involved in choosing the direction the class would take for the festival, right?"

Sawakiguchi looked puzzled and said, "Well, yeah, I was involved."

"You decided to make a movie, with mystery as the genre, and you entrusted Hongou-san with the script, right?"

"Yeah."

Chitanda stretched her body across the table.

"How did you decide upon that? Please tell me."

What's she trying to ask? What's that got to do with the main topic anyway? Though she was still as articulate as usual, she didn't seem to be thinking properly. I promptly chided her.

"Chitanda, stop saying something so foolish."

At which point Chitanda turned her head towards me.

"But I'm curious about it!"

She then turned back towards Sawakiguchi. She's beyond help. Thank goodness that Sawakiguchi didn't take it badly as she smiled and waved her hand.

"If there has to be a relationship, then you could say everyone is involved in the decision-making process. I'm not saying this as a figure of speech, either."

Satoshi asked puzzlingly, "What do you mean by that?"

"Nothing really. When a group has very few members, then direct democracy is the best way of getting things done."

"...So they're all given questionnaires to fill out?"

"You think pretty fast."

She tapped lightly on Satoshi's shoulders.

"Numbers are justice, and I believe the best happiness derives from the largest majority, or something like that. As we didn't battle it out through debates, basically we had things decided with questionnaires."

I still have doubts about whether the minority would be convinced as a result, but recalling what Irisu had said, the objective of Class 2-F was to get their project completed. If they could decide on something good, then they would do it. So deciding via a questionnaire might be reasonable after all.

Chitanda asked once again, "Umm, does that include choosing Hongou-san as the screenwriter?"

Sawakiguchi thought for a moment, before smiling bitterly.

"Ah, that one's different. As Hongou was the only one capable of doing it, we didn't even bother with a confidence vote for her."

"She did it voluntarily?"

"No, she was nominated for the role. Though I can't remember who nominated her."

Upon hearing that, Chitanda raised her brows as though looking sad. I had absolutely no idea why, as I didn't know what feelings Chitanda was holding when she asked such a question.

While I was entrenched in thought, I noticed Sawakiguchi take something from beside her feet. It was a sack. Like a drawstring bag, it was the possession of strange people. Sawakiguchi stuck her hand inside.

"Hmm? I thought you were interested in knowing how we got things decided? Anyway... here."

She took out a notebook.

"I don't know if you'll find this useful, but I brought it anyway."

Chitanda opened the notebook that was handed to her. It was full of numbers and words, and it took me some time to comprehend the meaning of them.


No. 4 - What should we be making?

- Art gallery -- 1
- Play -- 5
- Haunted house -- 8
- Movie -- 10

Movie decided



No 5 What movie should we make?

- Taiga drama[1] -- 1
- Absurd comedy -- 8
- Slapstick comedy -- 3
- Mystery -- 9
- Hard-boiled fiction -- 2
- Abstain -- 1

Mystery decided



As we flipped through the pages, more details were written.


No 31 What murder weapon should be used?

- Knife (stabbing) -- 10
- Hammer (beat to death) -- 3
- Rope (strangulation) -- 8
- Others:
Burn by oil -- 1
Thrown from high places -- 2

Knife recommended (Hongou retains the right to veto)



No. 32 - How many victims should there be?

- 1 person -- 6
- 2 people -- 10
- 3 people -- 3
- Others:
4 people -- 1
Everyone -- 2
About 100 -- 1
- Invalid vote -- 1

2 people recommended (Hongou retains the right to veto)



I understood after having a brief look at it. It was the collection of questionnaire results. Ibara, who also realized what it was, turned to ask Sawakiguchi, "May we borrow this? It might be important."

"Sure thing. It's already been decided, hasn't it?"

So whether we could borrow it was not a problem at all, huh? Seeing as we were chosen by Irisu to determine the validity of the deductions, she must have deemed the lending of such stuff trivial. What on earth was going on in Chitanda's mind? ...That was the real mystery.

She's probably just drunk.

Chitanda closed the notebook and carefully brought it to her chest.

She then inquired, "This may sound awkward, but may I ask something else from you?"

"Sure."

"Sawakiguchi-san, are you close to Hongou-san?"

That question sounded familiar. If I remember correctly, that was what she asked Eba as well.

Sawakiguchi looked a bit troubled as she replied, "Umm, we were only classmates, that's all."

With such details, one could determine what sort of person Hongou Mayu was. It was not hard to guess that she wasn't intimate with an eccentric person (according to Satoshi) like Sawakiguchi.

Chitanda didn't hide her disappointment as she lowered her head.

"I see..."

"You have anything else to ask?" Sawakiguchi asked Chitanda and the rest of us.

I didn't have anything in particular to ask, and neither did the others. Upon sensing we'd finally come to the main topic, Sawakiguchi leaned forward a bit.

"Right! Now you'll hear my theory. If you were to suggest that it wouldn't work, then... you know what I mean?"

She smiled as she said this in a mischievous tone.



"You know, when I heard the search for the killer starts right after what we have filmed, I wondered whether they're actually gonna go down that route."

Sawakiguchi started off with that while looking at us perplexed. Though we were at a loss trying to understand what she meant.

Ibara asked, "...What do you mean?"

"Well, if we're gonna make something for the Cultural Festival, wouldn't it better if we do it with a bang? It'd be pretty dull if only one person died.

"Haba may go all excited like an idiot and declare 'Now this is bloody true mystery!' Though for me, even if you tell me it's mystery, I just imagine it to be something else completely. I think Hongou must be thinking the same thing. The real story starts after all this."

Something else completely?

As though looking for something, or someone, she turned and spoke.

"You, over there."

She was speaking to me.

"What would you normally associate with the idea of 'mystery'?"

As if I could answer right away when suddenly asked like that. What do I associate with mystery, huh? As the books I've read would probably not ring any bells for Sawakiguchi, I decided to list some other more famous titles.

"Something like the Murder on the Orient Express?

Yet that answer didn't seem to satisfy her, as she raised her brows.

"You sure are an anorak[2]."

I ended up replying instantly.

"But I thought that was a pretty famous title?"

Sawakiguchi raised her finger and waved it while going Tut, tut, tut.

"That's why I said you're a 'detective fiction' anorak. Don't you realize? What titles do you normally find when you enter a video rental store under the genre 'mystery'?"

I had no idea what Sawakiguchi was trying to say. Looking around me, neither did anyone else.

Sawakiguchi raised her voice in irritation.

"In the questionnaire, when it was decided that we would do mystery, nobody said anything about detective fiction. Why don't you get it? When one mentions mystery, normally they would associate it with titles like Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street, right?"

I see, guess I was mistaken in thinking otherwise.

...No, wait a minute!

That's not mystery! The titles Sawakiguchi listed were more like slasher movies involving monstrous serial killers and innocent victims... In other words, that's horror, not mystery.

Yet surprisingly, someone actually agreed with Sawakiguchi. It was Satoshi, who nodded as though feeling moved from the bottom of his heart.

"Ah, indeed, that was a blind spot."

Was he trying to joke along with her? He seemed to have been waiting for the right timing to do so.

In order to stop him from joking any further, I said, "Satoshi, are you serious?"

By saying that, Satoshi is guaranteed to abide by his motto "Jokes are to be made on the spot, so too are misunderstandings to be dispelled right away", and stop right away. So I was surprised by his next response.

"Why do you ask?"

He's actually serious?

"Are you actually saying that Friday the 13th should be counted as mystery?"

"I wouldn't. But it wouldn't be strange if it was either."

Sitting beside him, Ibara demanded, "Explain yourself, Fuku-chan."

Nodding and clearing his throat, Satoshi answered, "All right. The problem lies with the semantic use of the word 'mystery'. It is indeed true that mystery includes detective fiction, basically a story with a killer and a detective. But on the other hand, elements of suspense would also be counted as well. In that case, even horror titles would be included... like Friday the 13th."

Ibara didn't look particularly convinced. Satoshi relaxed his expression a bit.

"Mayaka, you ever been to a bookstore?"

"Yeah, but not often."

"Go look for magazines under the 'mystery' section. Comic magazines would do as well. You'll see what I mean. Or you could also look for the 'Summer Mystery Fair' lineup. You'll discover that detective stories aren't the only books listed under 'mystery'."

Hmm...

Like Ibara, I wasn't convinced, though I knew where he was coming from. It's true that most media works containing the word "mystery" would be printed in a blood-stained style. As detective fiction would rarely involve such tragic bloodshed, it's appropriate that such a "blood-stained" font would certainly not be suggesting detective fiction. Yet normally, no one would think of associating the word "mystery" that way. Sawakiguchi Misaki was just too original in her way of thinking.

Well, the problem now was how the conversation was relevant to the main problem.

With Satoshi's support, Sawakiguchi said while puffing her chest, "That's what I meant. Come to think of it, you guys are experts in deduction, I heard - that's why you were misled by your instincts. So I'm sure you'll know how this movie would continue? Basically, no one else has entered the room where Kaitou died, which means there's a seventh person amongst the group. Besides, Hongou was looking for another person in addition to the other six to appear in the movie."

Now that's the first time I heard that. Yet the way Sawakiguchi has gone about it, could it be... Soon enough, she voiced out my concerns,

"As everyone began suspecting each other to the point of losing trust for one another, the serial killer would appear. While we wouldn't know how many he would kill, it's probable that everyone dies in the end. So maybe we could arrange for a couple to survive and kill off the killer. The last scene would have the couple vanquish the killer, and then kiss in the glow of the sunrise. As for the title... How about in English? ...'Bloody Beast', or something like that. Sounds pretty creepy, huh?"

My concerns were completely spot on. Yet Sawakiguchi didn't seem to be joking. She even added "This should be able to convince everyone." She was acting as though horror was the correct answer. She believed too much in her own values that she couldn't accept any other explanation.

Unable to hide her troubled look, Ibara countered, "B-but Sempai, what about the sealed room? The door was locked."

Sawakiguchi replied matter of factly, "Does it really matter whether it's locked?"

"...!"

"Since it's a killer with supernatural powers, he'd just walk through the wall. Aha, then how about this? A cursed spirit. Hmm, that would also be good, an occult movie."

I- I see.

...I just had a feeling at what a flawless explanation that was. Who would have thought that the sealed room problem which had troubled us for four whole days could be solved by such a simple solution? "Does it really matter whether it's locked?" Never a wiser word has been said.

Ibara, Chitanda, and Satoshi all seemed to have something to say, though I was no longer interested in hearing them, as Sawakiguchi had wonderfully deduced that it was the workings of a poltergeist.

Since it doesn't really matter whether the door's locked!



We returned to the Geology Room.

The first to oppose Sawakiguchi's proposal was Chitanda.

"She's wrong, she's definitely wrong. Sawakiguchi-san's theory does not reflect Hongou-san's true intention!"

"Of course. She seemed pretty serious though. It's hard to tell whether she's joking or not."

Ibara too agreed with Chitanda.

Seeing the both of them fervently opposed to Sawakiguchi's proposal, Satoshi probably felt mischievous as he said, "Then try and prove it wrong,"

He added with a gentle smile, "...Theoretically."

Jeez, Satoshi can be mean sometimes. Ibara held her tongue. That was to be expected, as Sawakiguchi had more or less given up on even deducing the case. Whether it's the sealed room, alibis or the murder weapon... they can all be explained away by the fact that "the killer is a poltergeist with supernatural powers". Simply perfect.

Faced with such a perfect despairing situation, Chitanda refused to budge.

"But it's wrong."

"That's why I said try to disprove it theoretically."

"It's wrong, it's just wrong, because... Oh!"

What was it? She seemed to have thought of something.

No, turns out she was just stumbling aimlessly as her eyes wandered drowsily.

"Ah, it's like a kaleidoscope." she muttered.

A kaleidoscope?

...Before I realized, Chitanda's face had gone white. Though her skin was normally quite pale, this time it was whiter than before. I didn't even get to ask whether she was fine or not before it happened.

Chitanda's body began swaying left and right, before finally falling flat on the nearest desk with a thud.

"Chi-chan!"

Ibara tried to help her up, but it was no use. Before long, we could hear her snoring softly. She seemed to have passed out from drunkenness. It's probably not good to stare at her sleeping face. To think that she could take seven whiskey bonbons before collapsing despite each containing so much alcohol... Guess I'll let her rest for now.

As I met Satoshi's gaze, he shrugged his shoulders.

While I wasn't about to avenge Chitanda's fall, I still said, "What about you, Satoshi? Do you accept Sawakiguchi's theory?"

Satoshi smiled and shook his head gently.

"It's true I was interested in her bold imagination, but practically I find it hard to believe. Though I have no basis for disproving it."

So Satoshi's also opposed to it.

I smiled.

"Well, unfortunately, I'm also interested in such imagination."

"Figures. After all, she managed to solve everything with just one simple explanation, finishing everything in one go, so to speak. So it's not unreasonable for you to be interested in it as well."

"Well, it's not exactly free from contradictions."

As I unconsciously let that slip, Ibara's interest was piqued.

"So it can be disproved?" she said while raising her voice.

Contradiction, or something of the sort. While it wasn't exactly a long explanation, I still spoke.

"If you consider Haba's words yesterday, then Sawakiguchi's theory cannot be correct. However, it's not really something complicated.

"Even as Hongou has collapsed half way into making the script, if they were to make the latter half of the movie into a splatter or occult horror movie, then they're gonna be needing plenty of props, that's the truth. And wasn't it said that they lacked the most important prop needed for all that?"

"The most important...?"

Ibara looked puzzled.

Satoshi turned and said to her, "You know, when Haba was complaining near the end,"

Ibara seemed to recall thanks to that hint.

"Ahh!" She yelled and met his gaze, "I know... The fake blood."

"Yup. Hongou's instruction asked for enough fake blood not just for Kaitou alone. As Haba did complain about Hongou's instruction, no matter what, this meant Hongou's instruction did not involve filming of any scene with lots of killing. As Hongou did not intend for any scenes with lots of bloodshed, she only requested one packet of fake blood. She did not request any other weapons or makeup either. As if that's possible. At any rate, Sawakiguchi had said it herself,"

Satoshi took over what I was about to say.

"A horror movie with only one victim is just too lonely."

I nodded.

Perhaps Sawakiguchi was serious in thinking that way. She may be a bit too self-righteous that anyone else might view it as absurd nonsense. It might work if she had guessed some of it correctly. But as she only worked with the marketing division, she was not aware of the work done by the other divisions, so she ended up guessing wrongly.

Feeling bored for some reason, Ibara muttered, "Hmph, explanations are just supplementary,"

Quite an esoteric way of putting it, I thought.

Neither Satoshi nor Ibara had any objections. And so Sawakiguchi's theory was considered and duly buried. But this meant all three detective wannabes' theories had been rejected...

All we could hear was someone snoring. It seemed Chitanda had yet to wake up.


Translator's Notes and References[edit]

  1. Taiga Drama
  2. Note for Americans (The Hyouka series is translated in British English): In British slang, an anorak is a person who has a very strong interest, perhaps obsessive, in niche subjects. This interest may be unacknowledged or not understood by the general public. Although the term is often used synonymously with geek or nerd, the Japanese term otaku and the American term "fanboy/fangirl" are probably closer synonyms. -Wikipedia
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