Part 25: 6/3/11-6/6/116/3/11
The rain's started up again. It's just great. I headed down to the shopping district, ran into that gas station attendant again. Shame they're still not hiring.
Attendant: It's been like this since they built that mega-store outside town a few years back…
But lately, it's been noisy here too. I understand that everyone is afraid of the murderer, but…
…It seems they're actually excited, having something big and fresh to chat about.
Heh, am I overthinking it?
Anyway I figured the fox would like to know I'd succeeded.
Anyway, I went back to work at the hospital again earlier. That weird nurse was there too.
Oh, it's you, the student worker. I see you're doing your job.
I'm sorry. I haven't introduced myself.
I'm Sayoko Uehara. Nice to meet you.
> The nurse seems kind…
When you're done here, come on by the nurse's station. I'll pour you some hot coffee.
I hear you're a high schooler…
Hmhm, your skin is so smooth…
Hey… You know what I'm getting at, don't you?
Don't worry, no one'll see…
I mean she's kinda hot and all but this is all more than a little creepy.
Oho… How adorable!
…I like you.
When's the next time you're coming? I'll adjust my shift.
Looks like even a town like this has something fun to do…
> You can feel mischievous affection coming from Sayoko…
> You feel a faint bond forming between yourself and Sayoko…
Sigh, do I want money and supernatural power THIS bad?
I'll see you again.
> You finished your job and went home.
The rain's not letting up tonight, I'm sure the fog's coming soon. Not that we've got anything to worry about.
I stopped by the shrine and picked up another ema request.
Think I'm looking for a child this time. I'll have to keep an eye out. Anyway, after my customary Aiya bowl celebrating our victory over the forces of supernatural evil I headed home. Seems the rains are ending tonight.
Weather Announcer: The week ended on a wet note as rain clouds moved into the area.
As a result, a thick fog is expected to form in the Inaba region later tonight…
> It seems the fog will set in tonight…
Also did I mention a while ago that I'm an idiot? Because I am.
> Drink it…?
> …The milk was halfway to becoming yogurt.
> Your Courage has greatly increased.
> You don't feel well…
> You decided to go to bed early today…
Just to be safe I checked the midnight channel, but there was nothing there. Looks like once again the killer has failed. I'd sleep well tonight, you know, if I hadn't just drank a bunch of rotten milk.
I was down by the river today. There was a really pathetic looking kid there, I had a hunch and guessed he might be the one from the ema.
Boy: I don't have any money.
Paranoid little kid.
Boy: You're not here for anything else, then, right?
I don't have any friends. So nobody ever wants to talk to me…
> The boy seems sad…
> He said he doesn't have any friends.
> Perhaps he's the one who wrote the ema request the fox showed you.
Lonely Boy: Everyone talks about things I don't know about. Right now, they're all collecting stickers…
I have a sticker, too, but they all said, "Everyone has that one…"
If I had a rare sticker, I bet they'd become my friends…
> The boy wants a rare sticker so he can make friends.
Only thing I have like a sticker is one of those prize redemption stickers from Tanaka's.
> The boy noticed the Prize Sticker.
Lonely Boy: "Granter of your desires"?
If this sticker can do that, then I'm sure to make friends!
Mister, can you give me this sticker?
Yay! Thank you!
I'm sure to have lots of friends now!
> The boy ran off cheerfully.
> Will he make lots of friends…? You should ask him another time.
Not sure that's going to work but it's worth a shot. I ran into Chie later on.
> You decided to train with Chie.
Whew. Let's call it a day.
Some asshole-looking guy showed up just as we were finishing.
W-Well… training! I'm working out!
Takeshi: Huh? When are you gonna graduate to being king of the hill?
K-King of the hill…?
Takeshi: In kindergarten it was the Runt Gang, in elementary school you were an Ally of Justice…
Middle school, it was the Vanguards of the Lunch Revolution, wasn't it?
Haha, so… What is it now? You a Protector of Earth's Peace?
You know, I'm not going to sit there while some douchey guy talks shit about a friend even if she does know the guy.
Huh…? Wait, what're you saying?
> Chie is in a panic.
Takeshi: Oh, uhhh… I didn't mean that in a mean way.
I'm Takeshi Kouno. I was with Chie up until middle school.
…I'm not gonna get in you guys' way.
Hey, what are you…?
Takeshi: Oh, how's Yukiko-san doing…? Does she have a boyfriend yet…?
…She's fine, and I don't think so.
Takeshi: I see. Cool, cool.
She still good-looking? Maybe I should try for her again…
Takeshi: I'll see you later. Say hi to Yukiko-san for me.
> Chie looks somewhat sad to see Takeshi leave…
> What should you do…?
I already deeply despise that Takeshi dude and all he stands for but the mood really needed to be lightened after all that shit.
> You pulled out your best joke…
> You showed Chie your impression of a different Takeshi…
Hahaha! What, was that supposed to sound like him!?
> Chie is laughing hysterically.
I-I'm sorry. He really is rude, huh?
Seriously… He was always staring at Yukiko…
H-Hey, don't get me wrong. He's nothing but an old classmate to me!
We're just friends, y'know…? We used to get that a lot, though.
> Chie smiles somewhat sadly…
> You felt that you learned something about Chie…
> You feel your relationship with Chie has grown deeper…
I'm just saying Takeshi may be the killer and only by punching him a lot can we be sure. Not that I'm still sore about how much of an ass he was.
…But that's all in the past!
Let's head home.
> You talked with Chie about various things while walking home.
Maybe this Takeshi guy is pissing me off so much because we've stalled so badly in the case. We need a new lead, badly. I hope Kanji gets better soon.
Kanji was back in school today, finally.
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Haha, where'd the manners come from?
Well, um… I didn't know you guys were my senpai.
Uhh… Thanks a bunch.
Though I don't really remember what happened…
There are some things we'd like you to tell us about.
First off, who was that boy you met with?
I-I really don't know much about him…
I mean, I've only met him twice…
Yeah, but you walked home from school with him. What did you guys talk about?
Uh, well… He just asked stuff like… If anything different happened lately…
But I dunno where my head was at… When I came to my senses, I blurted out that I wanted to see him again.
To a guy.
I, uh… I don't really get it myself.
Girls are so loud and obnoxious, so, y'know… I really don't like dealing with 'em.
Guys are a lot more laid-back.
S-So, uh, I started thinking… What if I'm the type who never gets interested in girls…?
And I couldn't accept that, so I kept spinning around and around in my head…
Well, I can understand the part about feeling more relaxed around dudes.
I could sort of see where he was coming from too, but we had more important things to deal with.
I'm fine now.
I mean, it was all in my head, when y'get down to it. I was the one shutting out that stuff.
So, uhh… Our family's run a textile shop for generations… Oh yeah, you already knew that.
My parents are kinda weird… They say stuff like, "Dyes are one with the universe," and "Cloth is alive…"
That's the kinda house I grew up in. So I've been interested in sewing and stuff since I was a kid.
But the second I say stuff like that, people look at me funny…
Girls make fun of me, the people in the neighborhood treat me like I'm some zoo animal, so I was sick of everything.
And when I got to my senses… I was running wild.
Shit, what's with me today? I'm going on and on about myself…
Forget all that. Man, I must look really lame right now.
Honestly I don't know if I could have put up with bullshit like that either.
Nah, I doubt it…
Haha… I've never talked about any of this stuff before.
Guess I never had anyone to tell it to.
I guess I wasn't really afraid of girls. I was just scared of people in general.
But all that's behind me.
Wow, I'm surprised… You're a good kid…
D-Don't call me a good kid…
Hahaha, no need to get embarrassed. You're a big guy, you can take it.
Hey, is there anything you remember after you ran into us the second time?
You know, after you chased us away and said you were gonna take us down.
Huh? Uhh… I went home…
I was gonna sleep it off in my room… Wait, I think someone came…
To your house!? Who was it!?
Uh, well, it was just a feeling I had… I dunno if anyone actually came…
It seemed Kanji didn't really remember being grabbed either, sadly.
When I woke up, I was laid out on the floor of that sauna place.
A dark entrance…
Could it have been a TV?
Huh…? Now that you mention it, maybe so…
Uh, why do you ask?
Oh, no reason… I was just wondering.
Did the police ask you anything?
Well, my mom had called the cops to look for me, so they questioned me for a while.
I told them exactly what I just told you and they looked at me like I was crazy.
So, like… Are you guys playing detective or somethin'?
Mmm, well, something like that.
Anything I can do to help?
If there's some bastard out there who put me through this, I ain't gonna rest until I make 'em pay.
Seriously? Awesome! You'd make a great addition to our team!
Whaddaya say, Leader?
I can see no downside in the hardest son of a bitch in Inaba joining up with us. Even if he likes to sew.
Thank you, Sir! I'll put my life on the line for you guys!
I'll do my best!
> Kanji Tatsumi joined your group!
> He'll definitely be a strong asset in solving the case.
Things are looking up again.
Well, if we're gonna welcome aboard a new member…
Should we take him to our special headquarters?
We're still calling it that…?
C'mon, let's go!
Well, nobody would ever guess what we were talking about if they overheard us, that's for sure.
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Huh? Shurr, I waf lifnin'.
Close your mouth!
So, uh… someone's killing people with a TV…? What, is he beating them to death?
No, they weren't being beaten with a TV! Were you listening at all…?
Don't worry, he'll understand once we sees the place with his own eyes.
But the way it happened was just the same as with Yukiko.
The killer kidnapped him first, then threw him into the TV.
Yeah… It's scary.
It seemed our fears were true, by the way. Other people were watching the Midnight Channel.
Student's Friend: Yeah. I keep wondering who'll show up next.
TV-Loving Student: I knew before it came on that he'd be the next one to appear.
What's that dude's name? That first-year who used to be in a biker gang…
Who the hell d'you think was next?
His name is Kanji Tatsumi…
And he wasn't in a biker gang-he's the one who beat the shit out of those leathered-up pansies.
So who are you dipshits…!?
I can't stand it…
Sure, they have no idea it's related to the murders, but still… How can they talk about their schoolmate like that?
They're like onlookers at a car crash. As long as it's not happening to them, they're dying to see…
Damn, this sucks… We don't even know who's gonna be targeted anymore.
Yosuke was sure right about that.
What was the other thing we thought they had in common?
People involved in the initial case, about Ms. Yamano, are the targets… How about that?
This was always the flimsier part of our assumption.
Hmm. Think we're wrong about this one too?
I dunno… That announcer was involved with their mothers, not them.
We haven't come up with a reason yet why the killer would target their children.
You guys sayin' you don't have any clues?
Well listen up, 'cause I got somethin' big.
When I made my comeback at school today, there was an annoying brat hanging around.
Turns out he was snooping around about Senpai's and my disappearance, so I took this from him.
I dunno what the hell this all is, though.
Uh, and you took it anyway?
> You took the paper from Kanji.
> There are several lists…
> Which one will you read out loud?
When I saw the lists, my jaw hit the floor. It was like a lightbulb went off. Whoever that person talking to Kanji was, he'd seen something we'd never even considered.
> Mayumi Yamano 4/11, Saki Konishi 4/13…
What're these dates? April 11th…?
Oh, they found the first body on the day school started, so that would have been… the 12th.
The 11th is the day before that…
I know I can't forget the day Saki-senpai's body was found… That was the 15th.
So then, what are these dates? And what does "List of TV programs" mean?
What's "Saki Konishi, April 13th"…?
I would have entirely forgotten about this, I can't imagine how someone who doesn't know anything about the Midnight Channel or anything could have put it together.
I see… Yeah, there's no doubt about it.
Oh yeah… I saw that, too. They were interviewing her because she found the first body.
Then this part… "Mayumi Yamano, April 11th." Is that the day she appeared on TV, too…?
Oh, she was on! I remember now! That was when the affair hit the news!
Hey, wait a sec… Yukiko, didn't you get interviewed too?
When did that interview air!?
I-I think it was when I was absent from school… Um…
It was the day after I met you on the embankment. I had my kimono on… Do you remember?
It was a terrible rainy day made substantially brighter by that encounter, so I had no problem remembering it.
I went shopping that day, so… April 15th!
And right after that, I was kidnapped.
Kanji! What about the television special you were on!?
Oh yeah, that thing… Damn show made my mom go apeshit on me and…
The date! Just tell us the date!
Uhhh, I don't remember the exact date… But it wasn't too long before I met you guys.
It's true, then… Everyone was on TV before they disappeared.
So, you think the killer's targeting people he sees on TV…?
I was so caught up with the news reports about the incidents that I didn't notice at all…
Seriously I really want to meet Kanji's friend again to thank them, that list might have broken the case.
Now that I think about it… When the killer failed with Yukiko, they moved to Kanji instead of trying again…
Maybe this "being on TV" thing is some stupid rule that the killer's following.
That's right… The killer could've targeted the same victim again…
I think there's a definite connection here between the kidnapping and the TV broadcasts.
The victims weren't just involved with the first case. They were also shown on the mass media.
That must be it…
But if so… What's the motive? Why kill someone just because they were on TV?
Argh… Dammit, now that I think about it, we haven't gotten anywhere!
Why can't I be smarter…!?
Dude, why beat yourself up? I think you guys are awesome.
I mean, you guys noticed what was happening to me and risked your lives to stop it.
That's more than enough.
You rescued me, too.
We may not have solved the mystery, but we've saved two people already.
That's true, but…
What's more, everyone's deduction that Kanji-kun might be next was right on the nose.
I know! We were so close.
To be fair to us Kanji did sort of leave us with few ways to keep him safe.
Well, if we know this much, I think we can outsmart the killer next time. Then it's a countdown to their arrest.
Don't forget, it's always possible that Kanji-kun was the last target.
Or so we hope… We've thwarted them twice already. Here's hoping the killer's learned their lesson by now.
Anyways, let's keep checking the Midnight Channel like usual when it rains.
That reminds me… The school campout's next week. I hope it doesn't rain.
It's for both the first-year and second-year students, so we'll see you there, Kanji-kun.
Seriously? School, huh…? What a drag…
Yo, mind if I order another grilled steak?
I'm gonna finish this one up while the next one's on the grill. We're… going Dutch on the meal, right?
Well, let's get going. I think our new teammate needs to meet Mr. Bear.
Huh? What's up?
Fine, whatever… I'll go for something cheap, like ramen.
Wait, or should I get a takoyaki set…? Man, I can't decide.
None of it.
After all, we needed to get him some glasses.
VIDEO- "The Glasses"
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Didn't think it was a bear, though.
Hey, why IS it a bear?
Me neither. I've been wondering too.
I-It's kinda cute…
M-Mind if I pet you?
No touching allowed, Mister.
Wha--!? Don't give me any lip, bear!
Uhh… By the way, I been wondering. You were kidnapped too, right, Yukiko-senpai?
Huh…? Yeah, it wasn't look before you.
So like, that means you came out to everyone too?
What was it like for Senpai-
I was already wincing before the slap even came.
Oh, sorry… I didn't mean to hit you so hard…
I'll be more gentle next time…
What a pair of dimwits…
Oh yeah! Here's a present from me, Kanji! It's to celebrate you joining the team!
Ah, so these are the glasses you guys told me about.
Hurry and put them on.
Huh? S-Sure… But hang on, aren't these different from everyone else's?
I'm not sure why Teddie even makes these things but they're hilarious.
I-It looks perfect on you… Heehee…
Haha, damn, dude. It looks great on you!
I had a normal pair ready for you. But Yuki-chan insisted on this one. She wouldn't budge!
Yeah, real funny, you smartass!
Wh-Why are you taking it out on me!?
> Kanji grabbed the other pair of glasses that Teddie was holding…
You took my spare pair… Kanji, you must really like those!
Ahaha! Oh, my sides!
This is the real one. It wasn't easy getting it to you.
Why the hell did you bother making a spare if it's more useless crap…!?
Dammit! I'll get you guys for this someday!
Things are really looking up. If we keep our eyes on the news I'm sure we can figure out who'll be next, and be ready when the killer returns.