Hyouka:Volume 4 If I Have to Do It, Make It Quick
Story 1 - If I Have To Do It, Make It Quick
I understand that some people have personal preferences, but I wouldn’t say that I hope to have one.
Thinking back, I did not actually have a unique upbringing. While my father was rarely at home, he still managed to maintain the family. My sister was a rebellious, arrogant and strange person who quickly saved up money as soon as she entered college to escape on a long adventure, but it’s not like she had six arms and three faces. And I, Oreki Houtarou, have not had any intense, life-changing experiences, as expected.
Once, I was involved in some trouble that no one should have been through before. During that period, I had no idea what was happening, but I got to know Fukube Satoshi, who is still a close friend. At that time, my sister said that it was a trivial matter that happens all the time, but I was really indignant that it should happen to me. In the time when I was busy twitching my eyebrows and complaining about everything being annoying or difficult, I had graduated from middle school without realizing it. Thinking back about it, however, I realise that they were indeed all insignificant matters.
My results at school were not bad. I was not a genius, but I was not so terrible at studies to be so worried about it. Aimlessly following most of those students in the Kamiyama City area with average results, I tried to get into Kamiyama High School. Studying for the examination was difficult, and yet to my expectations.
Kamiyama High was the perfect link between middle and high school. While it was the best school for further studies, it had an acceptance rate of more than 90%. Even considering the existence of private schools, most people who wanted to enter Kamiyama High were able to pass the test. I also somehow passed the test and got into Kamiyama High.
During the school entrance ceremony, I thought that Kamiyama High would also have various occurrences. I was sure that in my three years here, there would be some eye-catching incidents.
However, everyone here, that is to say my peers, would have their own personal experiences that catch their attention, so I have not had the chance to say, “I see, this is something different” and show my pride. While I was leaving Kaburaya Middle School, I gazed upon the school building and muttered, “In the end, it seems that nothing special happened here.” I would probably say the same thing when I graduate from Kamiyama High three years later.
That is because I hold an unshakable motto.
No matter how much I try to think about it, I somehow cannot remember when I started following that motto. It was neither taught to me by someone, nor did I read it from somewhere. Even so, I hold firm to this motto.
If I don’t have to do it, don’t do it. If I have to do it, make it quick.
I like my motto from the bottom of my heart.
But because of that, I was thrown into a predicament after class. On my table there were two pieces of writing paper. The first had the topic “Feelings after the first month of school and future aspirations” written on it, while the second was blank. The guidance counseling department must have thought well of freshmen and believed that we could fill at least two pages with our aspirations. I sure am thankful for that.
Since this was homework, I had written it yesterday at home. I absolutely cannot remember exactly what I wrote, but I did complete it. So why do I have to stay behind after school and again face these questions which answers I cannot recall? Actually, this should be a surprising mystery, but if I had to summarize the cause in one sentence, it would be, “Sensei, I left my homework at home.”
Satoshi laughed at my writing, which was stuck at three lines out of the two given pages.
“That’s definitely the Houtarou who doesn’t do optional things. I dare say it would be difficult for you to talk about aspirations. Then again, shouldn’t you have at least done it more properly?”
Seems like you don’t understand at all. I objected while holding my mechanical pencil between my fingers and spinning it.
“I did complete it last night.”
“Then why are you having so much trouble with writing it a second time?”
“Because it’s the second time.”
Satoshi looked at me suspiciously.
I spun my pen again. Well, I was trying to spin it again, but as it was rotating with too much momentum, it grazed against Satoshi’s face and flew off to a corner of the classroom. I calmly stood up, picked up my pencil and went back to my seat while acting that nothing had happened. Satoshi put on a nonchalant air, as if wondering if something had happened.
“What’s so unpleasant about writing a second time?”
“I could write the first essay properly. I’m trying to make this second essay follow the first, but in the end I’m still unable to write it well.”
I had put in much effort last night to fabricate some aspirations. Throwing that away and writing from scratch was actually rather difficult. Satoshi smirked as if he was happy about something.
“Haha... I sort of get it. Then, why don’t you just recall what you wrote last night?”
“It’s precisely because I wrote it so well that I can’t remember.”
The bottom of the mechanical pencil hit the table with a clunk. Satoshi shrugged, as if the punch line of the joke had been delivered.
It was nearing the end of April. It was after school, but it wasn’t that late yet. Besides myself, there were still many others in the classroom, having their own private discussions. There was a slight drizzle outside, which had been going on for two or three days now. The weather forecast said that there would be heavy storms between the evening and night, but that’s not the only reason why I wanted to get home early.
Satoshi sat down at the corner of the table and peered into my purse, while spinning the drawstring bag he always carries around his shoulder.
“You sure look like you’re going to take a long time. You’re going for club activities, right?”
At the mention of the word “club”, I grimaced.
With the guidance of my motto, I would of course have no interest in joining any clubs. Since I’m aspiring for an easygoing high school life, why would I intentionally do something which requires so much energy?
But one letter threw my hopes into disarray. It was a letter from Benares, India. “Join the Classics Club,” it said. Thanks to some bad luck and a reading error, I am now in the Classics Club, as instructed.
The person in front of me is Fukube Satoshi, a Classics Club member. On top of that, he’s also a Handicraft Society member as well as a member of the Executive Committee. He enjoys cycling. What a man of leisure.
“Chitanda-san is curious about something. She said it would be good if you could come.”
I fell silent and stared at the tip of my stationary pen.
Chitanda was also a member of the Classics Club. Her full name was Chitanda Eru.
According to Satoshi, the master of trivial information, Chitanda is the daughter of an old family which owns a large plot of farmland in the Northeast region of Kamiyama City. Her distinguished back ground isn’t really reflected by her appearance. She just simply looked like a really neat student in the same grade with long hair and a dainty face. Chitanda... upon hearing that name, I stayed silent without thinking. Was this noticed by Satoshi? Actually, it’s because I’m somehow not good with her.
I joined the Classics Club because I thought that it would be empty, but due to Chitanda also entering the club, it actually became a real club. But that’s not all.
She’s not exactly a type I dislike. An energy-saver like me doesn’t have strong likes and dislikes. But on the day we met, Chitanda asked this of me, “Why was I locked in that room... I’m really curious.”
That day, Chitanda was in a locked classroom, but had not noticed that she had been locked in herself. Being the one who unlocked the door, I was of course not the one who locked it. It is understandable to find it mysterious, but Chitanda just had to ask me to solve the mystery. Being overcome by her extremely strong request, I had to explain my thoughts on how it happened.
Thankfully, I somehow managed to show off my prowess that day. However, after the truth of the matter had been revealed, I had a strange premonition on the road back home. My energy saving motto is unshakable. That’s because no one would intentionally try to cause a complete stranger to waver from his insignificant beliefs. That is normal, and so was what Chitanda did that day. But... the phrase “I’m curious”, together with Chitanda’s huge eyes coming way too close. These have been ingrained deep in my memory, as a strange premonition of what’s to come.
“I had Chitanda-san fill up the authorization request application form. All that troublesome paperwork is the professional duty of a loyal Executive Committee member like me.”
“Sounds tough. By the way, how do you spell ‘assiduous’?”
“You don’t get points for using words you forgot how to spell. How about replacing it with working hard or something?”
Satoshi is basically someone who says what he wants whenever he wants to, but he’s definitely not an obtuse person. He let out a small sigh and spoke.
“Well, if you don’t want to go, you don’t have to force yourself to go for club activities.”
I wouldn’t say that I don’t want to go. It’s just that after school, for today at least, completing “Feelings after the first month of school and future aspirations” is more important than going off to the Classics Club. It was just my intention to put in more hard work as a proud student of Kamiyama High. Hmm, I think I won’t be able to get my point across if I don’t use the word “assiduous”.
Ignoring my essay paper which had not filled up at all, Satoshi stifled a yawn. When I glanced outside, thinking I would see the never-ending spring rain, Satoshi suddenly turned towards me with a grin.
“Oh yeah, I just came across some interesting talk. Apparently, a clichéd rumor has been floating around. Have you heard of it?”
I raised my head. The fact that I could be so easily distracted is proof of how bored I was with the essay. Satoshi nodded in a self-satisfied manner and raised his index finger with a snap.
“It’s totally clichéd. I had always wondered if Kamiyama High, the largest school for further studies in Kamiyama City, and home to many suspicious clubs, held any dark secrets or supernatural occurrences, but what I was really interested in was that such talk actually existed.”
“What’s with that finger?”
“Ah, sorry. No reason whatsoever.”
Satoshi quickly withdrew his index finger, but maintained the grin on his face. “Don’t you want to listen to the strange stories and suspicious rumors of the school?”
I fell silent, thinking of what to say, but Satoshi continued.
“In the dead of time after school, the piano starts playing on its own in the music room…”
“All right, that’s enough.”
I don’t think it’s interesting at all. I thrust out my palm and stopped him from telling his tale.
It is indeed clichéd. There was also this kind of talk in elementary and middle school. These school rumors may seem original, but they all have the same format. I wouldn’t say that I’m fed up with them, but I simply have no interest. I’m disappointed that Satoshi, as a man of many hobbies, has brought me some boring talk.
“You don’t understand, Houtarou. Do you actually think I find the commonplace ‘weird school stories’ interesting?”
I wonder about that. A while ago, you were interested in the structure of the postal life insurance.
“You’re wrong. Isn’t it obvious that I’m more interested in the fact that this rumor got started in the first place?”
“There are three hundred and twenty first year students like us, wandering around aimlessly like pitiful lambs in a totally new environment. And just two weeks after entering school, we have become able to say ‘It really exists in this school.’ Don’t you find this growth to be remarkable?”
Satoshi’s hand widened, showing his joy.
I see. Now I understand what he’s trying to say. I laid my right elbow on the table and rested my chin on my fist.
“That is indeed true. While familiarizing yourself in a new environment, there probably wouldn’t be space for things like rumors to spread. You’re trying to say that because people have become more accustomed to this school and started having more time, room for strange rumors was created, right?”
“Yes, exactly. You understood unexpectedly quickly.”
“It reminds me of blood type divination.”
As I accidentally blurted out my thoughts, the good-humored Satoshi suddenly stopped nodding.
“…Why do you say that?”
“It seems like a topic you would bring up in your very first meeting with someone. Both sides hardly understand the topic that they are encountering for the first time. In most cases, the conversation would flow smoothly and harmoniously but in reality, many people wouldn’t believe a word.”
Satoshi sucked in his breath and his eyes widened. I winced at the exaggerated response.
“What is it?”
“Well, I’m shocked!”
Satoshi exclaimed, and I sat up straighter.
“Houtarou actually criticized an interpersonal communication technique! I was beyond a doubt that Houtarou had shut his eyes to becoming a social animal!”
What a rude guy.
“I don’t dislike people. I can say that while looking you in the eye.”
I insinuated, while staring at Satoshi in the eye. Of course, Satoshi did not like that, and turned away.
“Fine, I understand. It’s just Houtarou conserving energy.”
Is that something strange?
“So, how about it? Would you like to listen to the symbol of the first years’ free time, the mystery of the music room?”
No matter what kind of tedious talk Satoshi brings, it’s not the case that I want to listen to it. It’s just that if I suddenly announce that I’m not interested, he would probably say something like, “As expected, you turn your back to the social situation, Houtarou. Trying to listen with interest no matter how boring the topic is the first step to a harmonious interpersonal relationship.’” Well, since I’m currently writing about my ambitions, it shouldn’t be a hindrance. I picked up my mechanical pencil, returned my attention to the questionnaire and said,
“If you want to tell your story so badly, I’m listening.”
Satoshi cleared his throat intentionally.
“It was yesterday. A first year girl went to the fourth floor of the Special Block.”
“It’s not Chitanda, is it?”
I had planned to not listen to the story, yet I responded to the first sentence.
Besides the music room, the Special Block also houses the geography lecture room, which is the Classics Club room.
Our first year classroom was on the fourth floor of the General Block. To get to the fourth floor of the Special Block, one would have to walk down three flights of stairs, then go through the roof passageway to the Special Block, then walk up to the fourth floor. On a rainy day like this, the roof passageway can’t be used, so one would have to use the sheltered pathway on the ground floor. That is annoyingly far.
Actually, the fourth floor of the Special Block is a remote region of Kamiyama High. I can’t think of any girl other than Chitanda who would intentionally go there.
Having been interrupted from the outset, Satoshi looked downhearted for an instant.
“No, it’s not.”
“Then, who is it?”
It seems that I made him angry. Time to shut up.
“After school, the girl went to the fourth floor of the Special Block. It was almost six. Since the school gates are locked at six, there was hardly anyone still in school.
“As she was walking up from the third floor, she noticed the melody of the piano. For better or worse, this girl knew how to appreciate music. The music was amazing and the girl was overwhelmed by the abundant expression of the piece. It was a melody that one could easily get accustomed to. It was Moonlight Sonata. The girl was in the midst of taking something she forgot to bring, but being immersed in the music, she stopped there in a daze.
“The corridor, stairs and girl were painted crimson by the setting sun. It was as if the world had burst into flames and was about to burn up. The beautiful music was just like a requiem devoted to one’s last moments. Feeling a shaky feeling creep up from her feet, the girl actually…”
I had an objection to Satoshi’s story.
“It also rained yesterday, so there was no sunset.”
“Yes, the air was damp with the continuous rain, as dusk drew near. The feeling of discomfort coiled around the skin, as the noise of the rain faintly mixed with the music. The timbre of the music etched an inexplicable feeling of anxiety on the girl’s heart.”
What the hell…
It seems that Satoshi’s skill has not declined in the slightest.
“Kamiyama High is well-known for its artistic clubs. It isn’t strange to have a piano expert of this level. The girl wanted to give a compliment to the pianist, so she put her hand to the doorknob of the music room. There was indeed music coming from that room. Besides, where else would have a piano other than a music room?”
I believe there’s a piano in the gym that’s used for ceremonies. But I kept quiet, thinking that I should not pour cold water on Satoshi again.
“But the moment she was about to open the door, the music was suddenly interrupted. Wondering what had happened, the girl slowly opened the door."
While acting out the action of opening a door, Satoshi’s voice became soft. From the stifled voice, I knew that the scary part was imminent.
"After she did so, she went into the music room, which seemed to be filled with a bizarre atmosphere.
"All the curtains were closed, and it was pitch-black. The girl instantly looked at the piano, but there was no one there. The lid of the piano was up, yet there was no pianist. ‘Why?’ the girl thought as she faltered. She shifted her gaze to her left and right, and then she saw it. A female student with long, messy hair drooping on her face and fiery, bloodshot eyes clad in a sailor uniform lurking in a corner of the music room!”
With his hands clasped together, Satoshi shook with indignation. What a detailed act.
“Having been stirred up by a hair-raising event, the girl fled immediately without turning her head. Later, the girl found out that on that day, the piano club had sole possession of the music room. Also, the only person in the piano club, who was a third year student, had unfortunately injured her finger, and couldn’t have played the piano!
“But Houtarou! It is also impossible for the piano to play a tune by itself. Unless you consider the piano club member who regretfully committed suicide before the National Competition…”
“Someone committed suicide?”
Satoshi put on a serious look as he neared the summary of the story. This solo performance has taken longer than usual.
“I guess. It probably happened, but I’m not sure.”
For some reason, my writing pace had actually increased while I was listening to Satoshi’s nonsense. Perhaps my writing ability is connected to my mental state when ignoring him. I spoke without even looking up.
“It was actually you who knew about the piano club’s possession of the music room as well as its sole member, right?”
Satoshi seemed to give off the feeling of a bitter laugh.
“Brilliant deduction, Houtarou. That’s right. The piano club president, Tamaru Junko, is currently undergoing treatment for her index finger.”
I wouldn’t know the girl student witness, let alone the events in the piano club. But Satoshi would. As a member of the Executive Committee, he would have detailed knowledge of the clubs in Kamiyama High.
Satoshi’s pompous tone changed into one of amusement.
“It seems that there really was a ghost-like girl student wearing a sailor uniform with messy hair. The first-year girl who witnessed it was probably scared or shocked, but during today’s lunch break, this incident was being talked about in class A.”
“It’s obvious that she was wearing a sailor uniform.”
At any rate, male students in Kamiyama High had to wear the gakuran, while female students had to wear the sailor uniform. I would be surprised if there were female students wearing blazers or smocks.
“The question is, will this story spread? If it does, how and at what speed would it propagate? If you document the process of circulation, it would probably become the basic material for folklore research. It will be called ‘The Second of Kamiyama High’s Seven Mysteries’. At present, I wonder when it would reach my class D.”
Satoshi said it jokingly, but he was fairly drawn to the idea. Indeed, isn’t Satoshi just the person to have a deep interest in something like the means by which rumors propagate?
But I did not have time to be concerned with Satoshi’s research. There was something in Satoshi’s words that I could not let go.
“Wait a minute. What did you just say?”
“Hmm? Folklore. Well, you could also call it urban legend. By saying folklore, I was trying to instil a sort of nuance…”
“No, that’s not it.”
On seeing my countenance suddenly change, Satoshi also looked dubious.
“What’s the matter? Did you really find the strange tale of ‘The Moonlight Sonata Piano’ that interesting? I sure didn’t expect Houtarou to have an interest in such a thing…”
I didn’t really care about the story. But if what Satoshi said was true…
This is no simple matter. Some action is needed to deal with it.
It all depends on the questionnaire in front of me, “Feelings after the first month of school and future aspirations” If I can finish writing this quickly, there would be no problems.
However, as I thought about hurrying up, my mechanical pencil just got stuck and the words just wouldn’t appear. If I have to do it, make it quick. However, just like there are situations when it is possible to do things quickly, there are also times when that is impossible.
The rain would not stop.
While listening to Satoshi’s detailed story, I was intent on filling up the questionnaire. I finally finished writing my ambitions for the second time and was just thinking that I would be able to go home, when a person with fluttering black hair appeared in the classroom.
“Ah, you’re still here, Oreki-san.”
An almost non-existent smile surfaced on my eyes and mouth. This person was the Classics Club president, Chitanda Eru, a female student who lacked elegance but was undoubtedly a beauty. She was walking straight towards me, causing those classmates who were still in the classroom to give me meaningful looks all at once. Well, I guess that’s understandable.
I pointed in the direction of the blackboard.
“Your classroom is over there.”
I was in class 1-B. Chitanda was in 1-A. But she just smiled and said,
“Yes, that’s true.”
She was already close enough, but she drew closer by another half a meter and stopped. She then took out a handout from the clear file in her hand.
“I’ve filled up the form, Fukube-san.”
“Ah, many thanks. This form is really unnecessary no matter how you look at it.”
Come to think of it, Satoshi did mention that Chitanda was in her classroom completing some paperwork. Since it was called the authorization request application form, I initially thought it was a joke, but it seems that she was really writing something. I glanced at it, but only saw that it was titled “Club Application Confirmation Form”.
Satoshi retrieved a leather-bound notebook from his drawstring bag, folded the form twice and placed it in the notebook. After witnessing that, Chitanda turned to look at me. Her huge eyes betrayed her neat image. Her pupils dilated, and her look made me feel hot.
I recognize those pupils and eyes. It was only this straight look of Chitanda that could cause the energy-saver Oreki Houtarou to solve mysteries. Since the day I met Chitanda in the Classics Cub room, I had not experienced this again. We didn’t really have many chances to speak personally, after all. But I had a hunch. Here it comes.
Before her lips could open, I quickly spoke.
“You came at a good time.”
Having lost her momentum, Chitanda blinked. Using the excess energy from the sense of liberation from completing that annoying questionnaire, I laughed with extreme lightheartedness.
“I’ve just heard a strange story from Satoshi. It’s a really weird rumor.”
“Are you talking about that incident?”
“Have you heard of the ‘Secret Club Invitation Memo’? It’s known as ‘The First of Kamiyama High’s Seven Mysteries’.”
Again, Chitanda’s huge eyes blinked repeatedly.
For a moment, her lips narrowed in doubt. She then linked her hands together in front of her chest and her usual smile returned.
“Hmm? What’s this about a secret club? Is this true?”
“I didn’t believe it at first, but instead of listening from me…”
I turned to look at Satoshi.
“Satoshi, tell her the story.”
Trying to digest the course of events, Satoshi hesitated for a while. Satoshi took a slight glance at me, and I waved my hand while smiling, urging him to speak.
As expected of Fukube Satoshi. He didn’t refuse when I asked him to speak. Satoshi sat up straighter on the table, and took on a more cheerful tone.
“Right, thank you for listening to the story of ‘The Secret Club’… The Executive Committee is also in charge of freshman invitations. This is what I heard when I was there,” he began.
“In any case, Kamiyama High has too many clubs and societies. Since there are so many clubs, there would obviously be many invitation posters. In the first school term, the notice boards in school would probably be overflowing with these posters. Of course, using the notice boards require permission. If you do not get the stamp of approval from the Executive Committee, you cannot stick your poster on the notice board.
“Nonetheless all it needs is a piece of paper and one thumb tack. If we do not patrol frequently, pirated versions of invitation posters appear. It is also the duty of Executive Committee members to tear down such posters when we see them. There is a penalty for legitimate clubs which put up these pirated posters. At the worst, their club funds could be cut.”
“…That was unexpectedly severe.”
“That’s right! It’s really quite serious.”
Having been quickly taken in by Satoshi’s flowing speech, Chitanda nodded her head repeatedly while listening.
“But then, every year, there is just one invitational poster from an unknown club. Well, I guess it’s more of a memo than a poster. Anyway, last year, there was a piece of paper that looked like it was cut out from a notebook detailing the time and place to meet. The memo on the notice board was not officially recognised, and needless to say, the club was also illegal. The Executive Committee President, Tanabe, then realized that there was a secret club that the Executive Committee did not have a hold on and that the club was holding secret gatherings.
“The purpose of the club and the identity of its members were unknown, but they knew what the club’s name was.”
“And what was it?”
Satoshi laughed while bearing a broad grin.
“The Silk Spider Society.”
Chitanda repeated that phrase a few times, trying to digest it. Suddenly, she said, “I often see their nests at my house garden.”
You can actually tell the species of spider just by looking at its nest?
“Based on the confiscated memo, Tanabe-senpai tried to get in contact with the Silk Spider Society, but it did not go well. The designated spot was an empty classroom, and on top of that no one could enter without a key. As Chitanda-san would know, it is impossible to borrow the key without a valid reason. With that, Tanabe-senpai concluded that the Silk Spider Society did not actually exist. He believed that the memo on the notice board was just a prank of a childish student. But then…”
Since he had reached the climax of his story, Satoshi put emphasis on his words.
“On the day of graduation, one of the graduates said to Tanabe-senpai, ‘…I was the president of the Silk Spider Society. Please also take care of the next club president. If you can find him, that is.’
“The newly-appointed Executive Committee president, Tanabe-senpai, had no intention of allowing any unapproved objects on the notice boards. They are probably also holding a gathering this year. The Executive Committee members are keeping their eyes peeled, but they still have not found it as of yet…”
Satoshi shrugged, ending his story.
Like the music room story just now, Satoshi modulated his voice without creating a relatively unnatural feeling. I have known Satoshi for a long time, but I never knew that he could tell a story so well. This guy would probably be a silent cinema narrator in the future.
Chitanda let out a small sigh.
“There is indeed such a strangely large variety of clubs in this school. It wouldn’t be surprising to have a mystery club among all of them.”
Indeed, compared to normal full-day general education schools, Kamiyama High’s culture-related clubs are too diverse. There are over fifty different clubs, from the Acapella Club to the Magic Society, and in autumn, the three-day Cultural Festival will start. It would seem comparatively inelegant not to have one or two mystery clubs. I replied,
“The Silk Spider Society? If you take into consideration the fact that its purpose is unknown, it is quite similar to the Classics Club.”
“The Classics Club is not like that!”
Chitanda exclaimed, but after some silent thought, Chitanda could not agree with her previous statement.
“I can’t really say that they are dissimilar…”
Which reminds me, Chitanda said that she joined the Classics Club for a special reason. She said that it was some personal matter, so I have not questioned her further.
“One single memo in the midst of countless invitation posters, huh?”
Chitanda held her head in her hands and thought for a while. With her eyes staring fixedly into the distance, she looked like a refined young lady.
But soon after, with one large nod, Chitanda’s emotions cleared up in a flash. She put her hands in front of her chest and said,
“That’s right… I’m curious!”
With the questionnaire paper in my hand, I stood up.
“I thought you would say that, that’s why I said that you came at a good time.”
“What do you mean?”
Chitanda shrugged curiously.
“Of course, we’re going to find the memo.”
First, I asked Satoshi about the number of notice boards the Executive Committee is responsible for.
As expected, Fukube Satoshi had not tallied the number.
“Hang on a sec.”
He muttered, and began counting.
“There are two boards on each floor from the second to the fourth floor of the Normal Block. On the first floor, there are also boards at the infirmary and staff room, so there is a total of four boards. There are also boards at the passageway. On the second floor passageway, there is one near the Normal Block and another near the Special Block. There is one board on each floor of the Special Block. This brings it to a total of sixteen.
“Also, there is one board per landing. In that case, since a building has four floors and two flights of stairs per floor, there would be another sixteen boards.”
Since I only wanted to hear the grand total, I ignored the calculation, but Chitanda did not do that. To Satoshi who had bent his finger too much, lost count and was just staring at his fist, Chitanda gently said,
“That’s wrong, Fukube-san. If a building has four floors and two flights of stairs between floors, there would be twelve landings altogether… since a four storey building has three landings.”
“Er… Ah… That’s right.”
He bent his finger again. His hand somehow turned into a shape that a suspicious rapper would be envious of.
“And that brings the total to…”
Satoshi looked amazed.
“One notice board can fit at least ten posters regardless of size. As a result, this small school would have at least three hundred posters.”
“Isn’t there also a notice board in the gym?”
“Now that I think about it, there is indeed one there. And there’s also one in the Martial Arts building… so there are thirty locations in total. The Executive Committee is certainly putting a lot of hard work. What a great committee this is!”
Satoshi looked up at the ceiling and exclaimed with emotion.
Surprisingly, Chitanda ignored Satoshi, who was overcome with emotion. Without commenting or even giving him a cold remark, she merely shifted her gaze. Did she already discover the method of dealing with Satoshi even though they have only met a few times? Obviously, that was true.
Chitanda turned to look at me.
“It seems that there are thirty locations in total… Do we search all of them?”
As if. Doing that will betray my belief and cause me to die as punishment.
“Wouldn’t it be better to consider where it would be first? Which is the most suspicious spot? It’s not too late to use our feet only after thinking about it.”
“Mayaka was talking about it before.”
Satoshi replied, with a mocking look on his face.
“’That Houtarou always uses his head before using his body,’ she said.”
“Isn’t that a good thing?”
“As a result, you usually end up not using your body at all.”
Of course, I could not refute that.
Mayaka refers to Ibara Mayaka. For some reason, I’ve been in the same class as her from elementary school. Now that I think about it, we entered different classes for the first time in high school. She was not especially friendly with me, but she had a really close relationship with Satoshi. They say there’s no accounting for taste, but Ibara has a crush on Satoshi.
“Who is Mayaka-san?”
“Hmm. Well, I’ll have the chance to introduce you eventually.”
Satoshi has been confessed to many times, but he has never accepted her. I have no idea why, and I have no interest in finding out. Anyway, as Mayaka had pointed out, I was now using my head.
“Suspicious places… In other words, if a secret club put up a memo, where would be its most likely location, right?”
“What conditions do you think the location should fulfill in general?”
I asked. Chitanda thought a little and answered with upturned eyes.
“If it is seen by an Executive Committee member, it would be taken down. If it were me… I would definitely place it in some corner of the school, where it wouldn’t stand out. For example, the area around the geography lecture room would do, since hardly anyone walks past.”
“Well, I guess. For the notice board at the Martial Arts building, the memo wouldn’t be spotted if any related club members or Executive Committee members were not present.”
But there would be a problem if the memo was in such a corner of the school. I declared with as much self-confidence as I could muster,
One should not do what he is unused to. From the corner of my eyes, I noticed Satoshi frown, and I wondered if I had been excessively blunt. But then Satoshi was not the problem. It seems that the concerned Chitanda did not find anything strange at all.
“Is it wrong?”
“You were not mistaken at first.”
I took a breath and added,
“If the Silk Spider Society’s invitational memo has been put up… it would be at the entrance to the staircase on the first floor, or at any of the landings between the first and fourth floors.”
Chitanda tilted her head.
“In other words, you think that it is somewhere on the route that first year students would use, right? But that’s…”
She murmured, pondering about it. If I had an better understanding of language skills, I would be able to explain faster, but unfortunately, I do not have Satoshi’s speech techniques. I was trying to recall what to say next, when Satoshi butted in.
“Well, well. It seems that Houtarou has thought of something. Chitanda-san’s theory is that it is in a corner of the campus, while Houtarou’s theory is that it is along the first year’s line of movement. Now that we have determined the two sides of the coin, wouldn’t it be faster if we go check it out?”
On hearing the suggestion, Chitanda’s started moving quickly. She turned back and exclaimed,
“Then, let’s go!”
I nodded, and carried the school designated shoulder bag on my shoulder. I met Satoshi’s eyes for a fleeting moment, and he turned away, whistling.
“Which middle school were you from?”
Since entering high school, I have been asked this question countless times, but this is the first time I am asking this question. Chitanda has also probably been questioned about this repeatedly, but she answered without a hint of reluctance.
“I was from Inji Middle School. Fukube-san and Oreki-san were from the same middle school, right?”
Satoshi’s voice came from behind.
“Fukube Satoshi and Oreki Houtarou were known as the Earth, Wind and Fire in Kaburaya Middle School.”
Who? Where? What are you talking about?
It goes without saying that I was not well-known in middle school, but Satoshi was. He used to be the Student Council treasurer.
Chitanda and I went down the stairs in a line, while Satoshi followed behind. After school, as the day gradually became cloudy, there would be a large amount of traffic at the staircase. We did not spread out horizontally so as to avoid being a hindrance.
On the landing between the third and fourth floors, there was a notice board with posters of various colors competing for attention. Each club was devoted to different directions of design, producing a chaotic atmosphere. Chitanda pointed at a particular poster.
“I like this one.”
That poster was circular, and boldly occupied a large amount of space. Below the simple invitation “Would you like to join the Handicraft Society?” was a knitted panda. It was not drawn, but was embroidered. The embroidered panda was stuck onto the circular paper as part of the invitational poster. I was overwhelmed just imagining the amount of time and labor that was used. Why would someone go so far…
Seeing that I couldn’t say anything, Satoshi put his hand on my shoulder.
“What do you think, Houtarou? Seeing this detailed craftsmanship that totally opposes your energy-saving belief, you can feel the determination and workmanship of the artists, but you can’t say a word about it.”
“I think that experiencing different cultures is always exciting.”
“I’m really glad about your honest opinion.”
Satoshi nodded deeply, turned to Chitanda and stuck out his chest.
“I also got interested in that, so I joined the Handicraft Society.”
Chitanda became speechless. It seems that she was unaware.
If Chitanda continues interacting with Satoshi from now on, she would probably come to know of his active personality. Sooner or later, she would come to think, “Does Fukube Satoshi have any constancy at all?”
After Chitanda touched the notice board, a poster sagged by a large amount.
“Ah, has the thumb tack fallen off?”
Chitanda leant over and searched the floor, but she could not find the thumb tack.
“…Anyway, it doesn’t seem to be here. Let’s move on.”
We then went to investigate the landing between the third and second floor, as well as the landing between the second and first floor.
Decorative words, tasteful slogans, intricate craft, and various illustrations ranging from the realistic to manga style. All kinds of work to attract freshmen were displayed in front of us. There was no limit to the variety of club activities. The Ink Painting Club had painted a landscape, the Manga Studies Club had illustrated a four-frame manga, the Shogi Club and Go Club had presented their respective chess puzzles, and the Marching Band Club had pictures of their gala performance. Kamiyama High’s slightly embarrassing physical activity clubs were also not letting up, for the Basketball Club, Volleyball Club, Track-and-Field Club and Baseball Club were inviting students under the delusion that they were the most appropriate place for all high school students to pour their energies into.
“Ahh, looking at it again, Kamiyama High is really awesome!”
“You’re right. You cannot even see the board of the notice boards.”
Taking a backward glance at the two who were having fun commenting on each poster, I felt that I had made a mistake tagging along with them.
These were posters that I pass by everyday, posters that I have seen tens of times.
However, facing them head-on, I was affected by the energy that I wanted to run away from, and I felt dizzy.
Despite that, we somehow managed to descend to the first floor.
We were in front of the entrance to the staircase that all first years use. The notice board there was the most disordered one we had seen.
Satoshi laughed and said,
“This is the first notice board that freshmen see. This is the prime location, so it’s a warzone here.”
Is this notice board really cared for properly by the Executive Committee? There was not a single poster of normal size. The notice board was filled with recruitment posters the size of postcards. Because this is the prime location, it is shared by many clubs. I see this everyday on the path to and from class, but I’m still not used to its chaos.
In front of this mess, Chitanda somehow seemed to have reached an understanding.
“Ah, I see. So that’s how it is.”
I looked over my shoulder and grinned.
“I still don’t understand why Oreki-san thinks that the notice boards that attract public attention are suspicious, but with so many posters here, an unauthorized notice would be hard to spot.”
In other words, the best place to hide a stick is a forest.
For an instant, I wanted to show my pride and say, “Of course, that is the reason," but that would just be showing off. I’ll just be honest here.
“… Ah, sorry. I did not consider this. I forgot that the notice board here was in such a state.”
“Eh? Then why?”
“I’ll say it only if it’s actually here. If it’s not here, I’ll be too ashamed to answer.”
Chitanda touched her lower lip with her finger and smiled. She stood in front of the notice board and said, “It would be troubling if we cannot find it, then. Just now, Oreki-san was strangely confident that it would be there. I would really like to know why!”
That was a little exaggerated… Speaking of which, it seems that Chitanda already knows that it’s not like me to have a self-confident attitude, although we haven’t talked very much.
With her large eyes widening even more, Chitanda perused the notice board. I couldn’t help but feel uneasy at her eyesight that seemed to be able to see through the back of a page. She probably isn’t very intuitive and sharp, but she was by far the best at memory and observation. At our first meeting, I didn’t even know of Chitanda’s existence, but she even knew my full name. That was the result of strong memory and observation. On the other hand, it was difficult for me to remember everything about this notice board.
“Global Act Club, Debate Club, and there’s also the Hyakunin Isshu Club Ah, the Fortune Telling Club! I have a friend who joined that club.”
Chitanda started looking from the top right corner of the notice board and moved to the left, lowering her gaze and shifting to the right against when she reached the end, as if reading a catalog.
“So, I suppose it’s there?”
Satoshi asked. Chitanda was so focused on the notice board before her that she did not notice the irony in that question. “Kato Music Club, Table Tennis Club, Arts Society… nope.”
Chitanda groaned, as she straightened her body, which was bent forward.
“It seems that the Silk Spider Society’s invitational memo is not here.”
Chitanda gave a bitter smile filled with disappointment.
Seeing this expression for the first time, a feeling of guilt welled up within me.
“If you think about it, we do not know whether this secret club has put up their memo as of now, so Oreki-san was not wrong.”
So, she even used these comforting words.
Unexpectedly, I felt like apologising to Chitanda. This is not due to my weakness. It’s just that Satoshi and I, whether we wish to or not, view things with a pinch of salt, but Chitanda seems to totally disregard that inclination. She should be a little more doubtful, in my opinion. Does she even consider that there are wheels within wheels, or if she is being cheated? It can’t be true that Chitanda is just a fool, right? Despite that, why hasn’t she doubted me? I think I may have taken this farce too far. But then the plan has progressed thus far without a hitch. Having gone too far to retreat, I can only proceed with the plan. Thankfully, Satoshi’s voice came from behind Chitanda.
“I wonder about that. I think it should be there, though. You can’t really tell if it’s there just by looking.”
“What do you mean?”
Chitanda turned around and asked in return.
“I think that it would take some effort to do things behind the Executive Committee’s back. Well, whatever. If it’s been put up we’ll find it eventually.”
Satoshi shrugged with one shoulder.
“But more importantly, I also want to know why Houtarou thought that it would be in the middle of the first years’ line of movement.” “… Ah, you too? Alright.”
I replied with a toneless voice. I probably sound unexpectedly down.
I asked wile aimlessly moving my hands,
“Hey, Satoshi, if you had to hide an object in school where would you choose?”
Satoshi probably didn’t expect that question to suddenly appear, for his response was slow.
“Hide something? Well, I guess it depends on size. Assuming certain conditions are met… I would choose the empty classroom in front of the staff toilets on the first floor of the Normal Block. No one goes there.”
“Some Japanese-style room, I suppose, since only the Tea Ceremony Society would use it.”
“I see. Then, where would you hide it in Kaburaya Middle School?”
Satoshi’s response was even slower. “That’s obvious,” he said, and grinned.
“Ah… I see.”
“That’s how it is.”
We exchanged phrases that made us seem like partners-in-crime.
“I think I understand what you’re getting at, Houtarou. It certainly seems to be the case.”
“Eh, what are you talking about? Is there really such a suitable hiding place in Kaburaya Middle School?”
Chitanda, who had been left out, edged into the conversation with large curiosity and slight dissatisfaction.
“I wouldn’t call it a really suitable hiding place. The first place that comes to mind is the pantry. A large crowd of people visit every day, but no one pays much attention.”
Chitanda still did not understand the explanation. She did not know the difference between the pantry and the Japanese-style room. I said straightforwardly,
“Satoshi wanted to hide the object in a remote location in Kamiyama High. However, when it came to Kaburaya Middle School, he actually wanted to hide it in a crowded place. What about you? If you had to hide something in Inji Middle School, wouldn’t you pick a hiding spot which everyone sees but does not look at?”
Chitanda took a breath and brought her palms to her mouth.
“You’re right. I do not know why, but I would not hide it in a corner.”
“The question is whether you’re familiar with the place.”
“We are still quite unfamiliar with Kamiyama High and think of it as a new place. Since we are not use to this new environment, we choose to hide things in secluded areas. On the other hand, we spent those three years in middle school and we know every nook and cranny in the school building. Because of that, we think that it is better to boldly take advantage of blind spots, rather than hide the object from public notice inexpertly.
“Even if you hide something in unusual places like the Japanese-style rooms and empty classrooms, the occasional visitor might be watchful of his surroundings. Since people still go to these remote areas, it would be considered risky to leave objects there. As a result, the Silk Spider Society would distance itself from such locations.”
“I see!” Satoshi exclaimed.
“So it would be at the staircase entrance, huh. Indeed, there is no place in the school that no student would visit. If that’s the case, it’s just as Chitanda said earlier, ‘You hide a corpse in a battlefield.’”
That’s one disturbing illustration, but it’s true.
“The more inexperienced one is, the more he displays the unconventional. There are no first year students in the Silk Spider Society. A mystery club worth its salt would have seen through that without hesitation.”
Chitanda seemed like she was deeply moved. With an unbearably serious face, she took a deep breath, ruminated on what I had just said for a while, then nodded slowly.
“Indeed, that is natural. It was naïve of me to think that it would be hidden at a corner of the school. It seems really unnatural that the memo is not on the notice board, though.”
“Well, something’s that’s not there doesn’t exist. Houtarou’s confidence can’t always be relied on.”
Satoshi joked as he moved towards the notice board. Then…
He stopped in his tracks. All of a sudden, his face became serious once more and he reached out to a postcard affixed to the notice board. It was a large postcard that seemed to be asserting itself in a group of slightly smaller postcards.
“That’s by the Baseball Club, right?”
“Yeah, that’s it. But don’t you think it’s a little out of place?”
Satoshi gave a half-hearted reply as he turned over the postcard.
Underneath the postcard, there was a small, torn piece of essay paper fixed to the board. On its front surface, there was text that had been aligned with a ruler. The words which had been written by a black felt-tip pen read:
“Silk Spider Society Two Members Required 05021722LL”
“So it was there… It’s strange, but after hearing your explanation, I felt it was natural that it would be there, so I was not surprised at all.”
Chitanda, who was more taken aback than surprised, said. On the other hand, Satoshi was staring intently at the contents of the memo with almost no expression.
And then, he said slowly,
“Executive Committee Authorization Stamp, no check. Now, time to do my job…”
And destroyed the memo.
While we were searching for the memo, many first year students walked by in front of our eyes. They were all putting on their shoes at the staircase entrance, and starting on their journey back home.
“I’m somewhat relieved. I have to go to the staff room to submit my homework, and I’ll go home after that.”
“Yeah, I guess I’ll head home too.”
Chitanda looked blank for while, but immediately smiled.
“Alright. Then this is farewell… ‘The more inexperienced one is, the more he displays the unconventional.’ I shall remember that.” With that parting phrase, Chitanda waved her hand in front of her chest.
Contrary to the weather forecast, the intensity of the rain gradually decreased. Satoshi and I held umbrellas and started walking back home. On the way, we passed through a shopping district with an arcade, and we finally managed to close our umbrellas. Satoshi broke the silence.
“I thought that something was off from the start.”
His voice was thick with amazement, sarcasm, and to some extent, criticism.
“After hearing about ‘The Moonlight Sonata Piano’, you suddenly asked ‘By the way, what’s the first of Kamiyama High’s Seven Mysteries?’ I was thinking, did Houtarou actually turn the conversation around?”
“I am much obliged.”
I said. Actually, the key was Satoshi surmising my intentions and helping me out. If not for that, I don’t think it would have gone that smoothly.
Satoshi turned his umbrella in a circle. It was a grey, fashionable umbrella with a checked pattern. It was totally different compared to my vinyl umbrella. The drops of rain pattered on the walkway we were walking through.
“The plan of ‘Controlling a Mystery with Another Mystery’ was amazing.”
There was just one reason why I purposely brought up the story of the Silk Spider Society. That was to cause Chitanda to be unable to bring up the mystery of the Moonlight Sonata Piano.
According to Satoshi, it was yesterday when a female student from class 1-A heard the piano at the music room. That apparently became the talk of 1-A at around lunchtime today, but it hadn’t spread to Satoshi’s class, 1-D, yet.
There was one phrase by Satoshi that I could not ignore. That was “I wonder when it would reach my class D.” If he was wondering when the story would become the talk of his class, he must not have heard it from his classmates.
Then, when, where and from whom did Satoshi get the story?
There was no need to even think about it. Before coming to my classroom, Satoshi was in the Classics Club room, the Geography Lecture room. Chitanda was in that very room filling up the authorization request application firm. Chitanda is a student of class 1-A.
Ergo, Satoshi had obviously heard it from Chitanda.
Another point was that Chitanda wanted to come to my classroom. That gave me a premonition. I didn’t know if it was a good or bad premonition, but this is what I thought: Since I had solve The Mystery of the Locked Room, wouldn’t Chitanda want me to solve the mystery behind the Moonlight Sonata Piano?
I thought that I was over-thinking. I could count the number of times I had met Chitanda. I don’t think that I’ve done anything to show that I can be relied on, and my assumption that Chitanda wanted to come to my classroom in order to tell me the story could be wrong.
But, while I had doubts about my premonition, I had to prepare for Chitanda’s arrival. The best case scenario was that I left before Chitanda reached my classroom. But then I had to stay back to complete the homework, which I had forgotten to bring. I could not return home freely, so I thought of counter-measures.
Then, Chitanda finally arrived.
Her main motive was to hand in the form to Satoshi, but the fact was that she came. I did not want to be concerned with the story of the music room, so I thought of fighting that curiosity with curiosity in another topic. Specifically, ‘the First of Kamiyama High’s Seven Mysteries’. The scheme was successful. Chitanda was clearly about to mention the story of the music room, but her interest was diverted to the secret club.
“I understand what you did, but I don’t understand why. What were you planning when you replaced the mystery of the Moonlight Sonata Piano with the story of the Silk Spider Society? It can’t be that you wanted to escape because that mystery was beyond your powers, right?”
That is, of course, wrong.
Also, it’s not what I wanted to do, but I didn’t have a choice.
“About the piano story, I formed a conclusion immediately after hearing it. You can check if it’s true if you go to the music room.”
If you need a reason, all I have is one sentence.
“The music room is far away.”
The light rain hit the vinyl room of the arcade and made a rustling sound. A lightweight truck drove through the narrow road of the shopping district in a constrained manner. A spray of water soaked my shoes.
Then, Satoshi took a really deep breath.
“… I see. I get it now. As expected from Houtarou.”
The music room was on the fourth floor of the Special Block. To get there on a rainy day, one would have to go down to the ground floor, use the sheltered pathway and then climb up to the fourth floor. It’s really far from my classroom.
The weather forecast said that the rain would become stronger in the evening. I had absolutely no interest in going somewhere far like the music room.
That is exactly why I brought up the story of the secret club. The First of Kamiyama High’s Seven Mysteries, which I asked Satoshi to present, was extremely appropriate material to draw Chitanda’s attention. I would then suggest searching for the memo, go to the staircase entrance and go home when it was over. Thus the plan was set.
Whatever was up with the piano in the music room, it was not a topic for me to be involved in. If I don’t have to do it, don’t do it. But, when Chitanda says “I’m curious!” with those blue eyes…
“If I have to do it, make it quick.”
In short, I managed to get it over with as quickly as possible.
However, Satoshi was singing a different tune.
“Houtarou, that’s not a good thing.”
“…” “If you want to announce your motto, your should do it magnificently and with pride. Now, you’re just making an excuse.”
I can’t reply to that.
On the contrary, I also could not look at Satoshi in the face. With the hushed pitter-patter of the spring rain, I could only stare at my soaked feet.
I love my motto from my heart.
But today, I don’t feel any satisfaction from facing problem after problem with my belief. Instead, only guilt remains in my heart as I wonder if I had done the right thing.
The trick had gone well. Chitanda was persuaded to go down to the staircase entrance, and she also had admiration for the paradoxical explanation. Also, while Satoshi was drawing attention, I managed to secretly stick the Silk Spider Society invitational memo onto the notice board.
The memo was made from a scrap of essay paper. They had given two sheets of essay paper for the high-spirited freshmen to write “Feelings after the first month of school and future aspirations.” Obviously, there was no way I could write two whole pages for that. Thus, I put the leftover sheet of essay paper to good use.
I appropriated the thumb tack from the staircase landing. When Chitanda saw the dislodged poster and thought that the thumb tack had fallen off, it was actually already in my hand.
Everything had gone as planned. I prevented the story of the piano from being told, and I thus managed to return home, as I had hoped. But now, even I recognise that my motto seems like an excuse. There is no room for argument. Even while the plan was being carried out, I was thinking that I should stop. I want to get home quickly, and I don’t want to go to the music room. Alright, the goal is justifiable. But what about the method?
The arcade came to an end, and we came to an intersection. I would have to hold my umbrella from here on. Satoshi stopped, peered at my face and let out a strange laugh.
“Houtarou, do you understand your basic fallacy today?”
I think that I know what it is, but I don’t think I’m absolutely right. I stayed silent.
Satoshi shrugged with forced grandeur.
“Fighting a mystery with a mystery. Yeah, I like it. It’s a good twist.”
And then, just like I had done to him earlier, Satoshi stared into my eyes and spoke.
“But that’s not to your taste.”
I quietly looked away.
“If you really wanted to conform to your motto, there was only one thing to do. It can’t be helped that you forgot your homework and had to stay back. Chitanda’s arrival was also not your fault. But why didn’t you just say ‘I don’t know’? That, is your fallacy.
“No matter what topic Chitanda came up with, it was not your duty to find the answers. You could half-heartedly listen and then ignore it. Actually, isn’t that what you’ve always done?”
… That is indeed true.
Why did I even think of blocking a problem with a problem? That was definitely better than going to the music room, but that was unmistakably a time-consuming method.
Why did I choose to do that?
Satoshi’s words stung, but they were not without truth. If I had really wanted to shun Chitanda’s attack, couldn’t I have ended it by just saying “No idea”?
Satoshi’s strange smile became even deeper.
“I’m glad to be able to teach you something other than miscellaneous knowledge. Alright, Houtarou? I know exactly why you chose to do that.”
“That’s because… ‘The more inexperienced one is, the more he displays the unconventional.’”
This phrase sure rings a bell.
I think I know why Satoshi’s smile seems weird when I should have been used to it. The only part of him smiling was his mouth.
“Houtarou still isn’t familiar with the situation that he belongs to the Classics Club, which Chitanda-san is in. That’s the reason. That’s why you used such a roundabout method. You probably planned to reject Chitanda-san today. But in my eyes, that was not a rejection.”
“I didn’t exactly want to reject her.”
I did think that Chitanda was a nuisance, but it’s not like I wanted to sever all connections with her and never see her again.
“Of course. That was only a deferment of the status quo.”
That’s a word that mysteriously made sense. To deal with Chitanda’s arrival, the display of her unparalleled curiosity and the time I would have to spend, I chose deferment. That word is seriously apt in this situation.
I also knew what comes after that.
As if washing his hands of my situation, Satoshi looked up at the sky and opened his umbrella with a bang.
Satoshi carried his checked umbrella on his shoulder and walked out in the rain. Satoshi’s house is just straight ahead. Mine is after the turn. The pedestrian crossing signal was still red.
In the end, Satoshi turned around.
“By the way, what do you think about ‘The Moonlight Sonata Piano’? Don’t worry, I won’t tell you to go all the way to the music room.”
In this wet drizzle, I shouldn’t be feeling thirsty, yet I licked my lips. I looked at Satoshi’s feet.
“It was before six, when the school gate closes. There was one female student with an injured hand in the music room. She had messy hair and bloodshot eyes… because she had just woken up.”
“The piano club member slept because she was tired. To ensure that she woke up before six, she set an alarm. She placed ‘Moonlight Sonata’ in the CD player.”
“I see. Kamiyama High has vigorous club activities, after all. Of course there would be a CD player in the music room! You would definitely understand if you went there, since the CD player would still have the same setting. Ah, you sure destroyed my dreams! I shouldn’t have asked.
The signal turned green. There was a tune which indicated that it was safe to proceed. Satoshi took one step and spoke, his words sounding like that of a prophecy.
“I think going to the music room would have helped you fulfil your motto in the long run. Today’s unsolved mystery will come with great interest. I have no intention of pursuing the matter, but what about Chitanda-san? Well, I’ll be going now. See you tomorrow.”
Translator's Notes and References
- Houtarou actually asked how to write 鑽in 研鑽を積むwhich means to devote oneself to one’s studies.
- This is a play on 草木を眠る三つ時 which means the dead of night.
- If you, like Satoshi, are interested, go to http://www.jp-life.japanpost.jp/en/index.html for more information.
- I believe this refers to a club where members play Uta-garuta, a Japanese card game based on poems - 
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