The Zashiki Warashi of Intellectual Village:Bonus Part 7
11:15 – 11:30 AM
- I’ve narrowed it down to a single target.
Enbi: “Let’s go back over our information, detective. The murder weapon was a crossbow from Dounyuu’s collection. I think it would have been nearly impossible for any us or the corporation group to steal one since it was our first time in the mansion. We wouldn’t know there were crossbows there and, even if we had heard about it secondhand, we wouldn’t be able to put together a plan to steal one.”
Hayabusa: “And even if the murderer who had stolen the crossbow was from the Hoshimi side, Shuuren, the head of the family; Dounyuu, the son; and Ren, the maid, were already dead.”
Enbi: “That left Akua, the wife, or Kanpa, the daughter. But Kanpa was confined to a wheelchair and thus couldn’t move the furniture to create the blind spots. Since she and Kariba, the bandaged butler, got along well enough for him to help her take a shower, you might think they were working together…but that would have been difficult. Or rather, if Kariba was helping the murderer, there had to have been easier methods. Like poisoning the food.”
Hayabusa: “That left just one person.”
Enbi: “Akua, the wife. She was the only one left. She had taken a shower after the maid was attacked, but she might have been afraid she’d gotten blood on herself.”
Hayabusa: “I had wondered why they would attack when there were so many visitors, but it was the opposite. Without enough suspects around, she had known they would suspect her first.”
Enbi: “And if Akua was the murderer, I was pretty sure I could set up the perfect trap.”
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
- Enbi told everyone about the underground cell and Osakabe-hime.
- Suspicion turned toward the previously unknown Osakabe-hime.
- Akua tried to defend that Youkai at the source of the fortune telling, but Kanpa mocked her.
- Kanpa said Osakabe-hime didn’t matter. Any bluff would work as long as they had the brand recognition of raising a monster that would tell them the future. Even if Osakabe-hime died here, they just had to get a different Youkai. She said the fact that Akua didn’t understand that proved she was an outsider.
- Everyone decided to go defeat Osakabe-hime. If that stopped the murders, it meant she had been the murderer. They all went to search out weapons and planned to gather in the entrance hall!
- C’mon, c’mon, everyone! Come with me!!
Hayabusa: “Not that they could have defeated the Youkai without a real Onmyouji showing up. And the Hoshimi family didn’t seem like the type.”
Enbi: “It was lucky Enbi-chan doesn’t specialize in Youkai, wasn’t it!? But that’s why I used that as bait. With this going on, the murderer would have to shift suspicion elsewhere. They would have been planning to stop after Dounyuu’s ‘suicide’, but now they’d have to continue.”
Hayabusa: “But why would Akua be that set on protecting Osakabe-hime? If she didn’t know about the basement, she never would have seen the Youkai.”
Enbi: “There were no secrets between family and that was how they brought their family together to strengthen their power to see into the past and future. Akua hadn’t fit into her new family, so learning about Osakabe-hime, their greatest secret, had to look like proof that they had accepted her. …And so she couldn’t let that proof be destroyed. She wanted them to accept her as part of the family by knowing all their secrets.”
Hayabusa: “How had she learned about Osakabe-hime if she’d never seen the Youkai?”
Enbi: “Who knows. There may have been some information written down. Akua had operated the tunnel’s traveler’s god to seal us in, so something may have referenced what that was originally for.”
Hayabusa: “But wait. Then Akua’s first target would be…”
Enbi: “Kanpa, the daughter who was so hard on her. Kanpa was also the one who said it didn’t matter if they got rid of Osakabe-hime. Ironic, isn’t it? She was fighting to prove she was part of the family, but she would end up with no one left.”
12:00 – 1:00 PM
- Enbi suggests we act separately.
- Enbi seems to want some heavy furniture to place on top of the basement entrance.
- The scariest possibility is if “she” panics, abandons her plan, and tries to run off on her own. With the keys, she can lock the door from outside, trapping us all inside.
- Meanwhile, “she” has never been in the underground passageways, so she doesn’t know their layout. If she thinks she can escape with Osakabe-hime that way, we can lure her into a dead-end and trap her.
Enbi: “Note that this is different from what I was saying before. It was supposed to be about Osakabe-hime, but here I am worrying about a human murderer with the keys.”
Hayabusa: “In other words, you were bluffing.”
Enbi: “To be honest, it’s easier to put together a plan based on people doubting you than based on them trusting you. The entrance hall is a wide-open space and, even if I managed to lure them away, it would be to a long underground passageway. That would end badly for us when Akua had a crossbow. They’d catch on quickly I was tricking them, but it didn’t matter. If I just asked them to protect Kanpa, they might betray me, but if I got them to choose the easiest path themselves, no one would complain.”
Hayabusa: “And in fact, a lot of them noticed something wasn’t right and started doubting you. Yatsui Toshi and Matsushima Ryou did, I think. You were just a kid and your argument had fallen apart from the moment you started discussing whether this was a Youkai or human murderer.”
Enbi: “Um, just to be clear, that was part of my plan. The trick to the murders was placing furniture along the walls in multiple rooms to cover an entire wall when viewed together, so you could actually eliminate the risk by splitting everyone up and having Hatsutomo Naru, Toyokawa Ryuu, and everyone else watching from multiple viewpoints. Creating a strained atmosphere and getting everyone to doubt me was the easiest way of doing that.”
Hayabusa: “In other words, you intentionally lost their trust so they wouldn’t listen to you. And that would naturally send them where you wanted them.”
Enbi: “Exactly. Even if we didn’t make a self-destructive charge at Akua and her crossbow, we could lock her up by placing a dresser on the door after she ventured underground. That wouldn’t get the keys back, but since she wouldn’t have any food or water, we could wait her out.”
Hayabusa: “And then…”
- None of the others showed up.
- I’m waiting for Akua all alone near the entrance hall.
(The following was added after the fact.)
- Akua shot me with a crossbow.
- After eliminating me, Akua entered the underground passageway.
Enbi: “That gave me a headache. What kind of stupidly honest person sticks with it even when you know you’re being tricked?”
Hayabusa: “I couldn’t tell what you were doing. Akua had two rewards: Kanpa and Osakabe-hime. If you wanted to stay with the safer one, Kanpa, that was fine with me. If I went there too, it just would have made things more dangerous. And…”
Hayabusa: “You asked me to do it. Plus, it allowed me to protect someone from the murderer.”
1:00 – 1:30 PM
- I inspected the detective near the entrance hall.
- His wound is deep. Removing the bolt would only make the bleeding worse.
- He needs to be transported to a medical facility and soon, but the mansion’s exits and the private road tunnel are sealed by Akua.
- I need to take the keys from Akua ASAP.
- This is my first time feeling a desire to do good for no personal gain.
- This goes beyond what they call “dere”. Hishigami Enbi has fallen in love for the very first time.
Enbi: “Enbi-chan’s scary once a heart of justice awakens within her! Whoosh, whoosh!!”
Hayabusa: “Oh, no. She’s not just mad! She’s swinging some kind of blunt weapon around! You always make my head hurt because nothing ever changes the fact that you’re a Hishigami Woman. Just like Mai.”
- Akua came out of the underground passageway with Osakabe-hime.
- As soon as the murderer showed up, Enbi-chan used the natural frequency of the glass to destroy the Glass House. Shards rained down on the entire entrance hall.
- Akua took the brunt of it and was half-killed.
- Osakabe-hime was an immortal Youkai, so she wasn’t harmed.
Enbi: “And that’s how justice won the day!”
Hayabusa: “You just glossed over it by mentioning the natural frequency, but what exactly did you do!? And I was collapsed right next to the entrance hall, but I didn’t get a single scratch from that!”
Enbi: “Oh, c’mon. That’s a secret of course. But if it was just glass, a burner and ice water might have been enough.”
- Enbi retrieved the keys.
- There was a storm outside, but it wasn’t powerful enough to block off the road.
- The survivors left and Kariba, the butler, lent me his shoulder.
- I borrowed a hard disk from the underground storage. That allowed me to continue investigating the mannequin incident.
- Also, Kariba-san, the bandaged butler, was under the mistaken impression that the wound on his face hadn’t healed and he was actually quite good looking.
- Enbi-chan used the keys to release the “traveler’s god” in the private tunnel. That just leaves waiting for the ambulance!
Hayabusa: “What was that about a hard disk? That’s theft!”
Enbi: “C’mon, no crass complaints right at the very end! And besides, the mansion was about to collapse and we had to evacuate, so I was really protecting the property they were about to lose.”
Hayabusa: “And who was it that destroyed the mansion in the first place…? I feel like I just ran across a hybrid of an arsonist and a burning building looter.”
Enbi: “But…huh? Didn’t we come across something else while putting together this report, detective?”
Hayabusa: “Hm? What are you talking about?”
Enbi: “Right here: Yatsui Toshi, Matsushima Ryou, Hatsutomo Naru, and Toyokawa Ryuu. What about the mystery of the collapsed mountain road and mannequin? If we look through this report and connect this part to this part and that part…”
Hayabusa: “You’ve got to be kidding me. We just solved a case several years after the fact.”
Enbi: “So there really was an answer.”
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