Part 15: A One-Man PlayPart 15 - A One-Man Play
Right, what kind of weird thoughts were going through my head? I'd gotten all suspicious. How stupid.
Besides, Nanami had said that Gero-froggies were a big fad among highschool girls, so there was absolutely nothing strange about Yua possessing some. Yeah, that's right. That's how it was.
Honestly, there were times when it sucked to be so overly imaginative. No point in getting cowed by my own delusions. Hahaha.
Still gazing up at me, Yua tilted her head. I hastily gave her a friendly smile.
"Ah, er.... um...."
"Th, that's, re, really, a big fad now.... isn't it...."
Did I say something bad just now?
My bad premonition wouldn't go away. The deja vu I had sensed the instant I saw the three Gero-Froggies dangling from her bag.
Mistrust raised its head in me, surging up to control my heart. Should I trust Yua or not....
Her voice was clearly getting shrill.
"They're re, really popular, aren't they. Ahaha. Although I, I, um, don't think they're v, very cute, either."
"Some friends gave them to me.... B, before I knew it, I already had three...."
The more Yua spoke, the more unnatural she started to sound.
I felt hollow. I told her in my heart that she didn't need to say anything more.
"Sh, shall I show them to you?"
"Ummm, w, wait a moment, please...."
Her hand was shaking minutely. Perhaps because she was in such a hurry, she had trouble taking the straps off.
"H, how strange, I wonder why they won't come off.... Co, could they be tangled--"
When Yua tried to forcibly pull the straps away, her bag fell off the bench. Because the fasteners weren't closed, notebooks and textbooks came tumbling out from inside it.
If it were several minutes earlier--
I might have moe'd over Yua's clumsy side. But now all I could do was freeze in place. Because--
It seemed to be some kind of scrapbook. The memos, the clippings, everything in it had to do with a certain series of incidents.
I saw it clearly.
My voice was hoarse. Yua feverishly gathered the scattered memos and clippings and shoved them back in her bag.
Yua rose, hugging her bag to her chest. Her smile from before had completely vanished, and she hung her head uncomfortably.
"Wh, what was that....?"
Yua didn't answer.
Why won't you answer? Answer me.... Say something to me....
If you don't say anything, won't I start thinking you must be feeling guilty....?
"You mustn't trust in anyone. You mustn't listen to anyone."
Seira had been right after all.
3-D girls were the worst, each and every one of them.
This sucks.... This fucking sucks....!
Even though I'd started to forget all about that incident.
Even though, since the police hadn't shown any signs of coming to talk to me about it, I'd made myself think I would get by without having anything to do with it. Even though I hadn't wanted to get wrapped up in it.
Her voice made my blood run cold.
A voice so chilly that my spine seemed about to freeze. I could hardly think of her as being the same Yua as before.
On top of that--
Yua's grip on my wrist was abnormally powerful.
She gripped it so tight that pain shot through me. Such a violent pain that it was enough to made me wonder if she would clench me to bits, all the way down to my bones.
I tried to shake her off, but she wouldn't let go. On the contrary, she pulled me closer, making me pitch backwards.
She whispered from behind me.... more so than that, right beside my ear, sounding as though all emotion had died in her.
Shuddering, I timidly, timidly turned around.
The color residing in the depths of her glaring eyes wasn't sane.
"I'll apologize for deceiving you, but that goes for both of us."
"You, too, hid something from me."
And that was why she had approached me.
The fact that she'd been concerned about me since the first time she saw me.
And the fact that she'd said she liked Burachu.
And the fact that she'd promised to go together with me to pick up the post-awakening Seira figure on the day it was released.
And the fact that she'd smiled and nodded as though she were having fun listening to what I was telling her.
And the fact that she'd said she wanted to become better friends with me.
And the fact that she'd gotten worried about me when I didn't come to school.
And the fact that she'd been nice enough to call me admirable.
All of it, all of it, had just been her saying whatever came to the top of her head....
I clenched my fists in frustration and grief.
Why did I try so hard to believe in someone like her....!
"There's something I want to tell you."
"You won't say you won't listen?"
"You should listen."
"Won't you listen?"
"If you don't listen...."
If I don't listen, what....
She was like a different person from the Yua I'd known up till now.
Her gentle, calm atmosphere had vanished.
Now I sensed an unapproachable atmosphere. And an indescribable tenacity.
Her tone was absolute in its self-possession. No, "cool-headedness" might be a better way to put it. Her usual frailty was nowhere to be found.
No, I don't want to listen.... I tried to cover my ears.
But I couldn't do it. Yua had captured one of my hands.
She wasn't gripping it as hard as before, but she showed no sign of letting go. She wouldn't let my hand move freely.
I was stunned.
My heartbeat leapt higher.
I couldn't stay calm. I was so shocked that I lowered the one hand covering my ear. That was when Yua's accusatory voice reached my ears.
Of course I recognized it.
I soon saw it for what it was.
It resembled a cross but was in truth a stake. One didn't often see stakes with such a distinctive shape.
At the very least, I had only seen them once before.
"Surely you must know it?"
"Of course you know it."
"I won't let you say you don't know it."
"It'd be strange if you didn't know it."
"You know it, don't you?"
I desperately shook my head. Greasy sweat stood out on my forehead. All I could do for the time being, as I wiped it, was shake my head from side to side.
"In your room."
"Under the bed."
"On the floor."
"It fell there."
"Didn't it fall there?"
"Or did you throw it away?"
"In any case, it fell."
"And.... it's the same as the stakes used in the third 'New Gen' case."
"I'm saying it's the same."
"It's the same, isn't it?"
"It's unmistakably the same."
"It's the same."
"As the stakes used to pin the corpse to the wall."
I was positive of it.
Did she think she was some kind of detective? "The high school girl detective, Kusunoki Yua," or something like that.
But Yua's reasoning was fatally mistaken.
I knew the killer.
I'd seen her with my own eyes. That demon.
"So.... so what?"
Yua lowered her head and let out a small breath. Her grip on my wrist weakened, and at last she released me.
What the hell was "yet" supposed to mean here!?
"While we're at it, let me confirm one other thing."
Knowledge about future events.
It's different from prediction made from experience or from information analysis.
It refers to the special sense that transcends the usual perception of a human.
Its existence isn't scientifically proved.
Precognition reveals itself in different forms:
as flashback phenomenon or as dreams (a foresight dream).
Mediums, fortunetellers and ancient sorceresses are ones with such ability.
However, there are many imposters who just pretend to have it.
I unthinkingly let my mouth fall open.
As I wracked my brain, Yua plunged a hand into her bag and pulled out a piece of paper with a full-color image printed on it.
"Why do you have a photo that replicates the third 'New Gen' case?"
"Furthermore, you sent this image out on the day before the incident."
"It was left behind in the cache of the PC you use."
I got this image from a guy called "Shogun," who I chatted with for the first time that day! I didn't make it myself!
The fact that I'd downloaded it should still be recorded in my browser's history. Of course, I'd show that to Yua!
But hold on, how had Yua gotten her hands on the image in the first place....?
How had she known it was left in my computer's cache....
The one time she came to my room, she couldn't possibly have had any time to check out my PC....!
She was trying to set me up!?
"S, save me...."
This was too much for me....
Because I was gross? Because I didn't have any friends?
Yua said nothing, only shook her head a little.
"I also wanted to investigate your PC, if at all possible, but I didn't have the chance."
Room 37.... the room I always used. The bitch totally thought she was some kind of detective....
Still wearing that expression, she began fishing around inside her bag again. This time she brought out a print-out and pushed it at me.
But I had no choice but to look. I'd be falsely accused if I didn't find some way to resist.
My everything? Could she have stolen all my personal information? Was Yua a hacker?
Heart pounding, I unfolded the print-out. Contrary to my expectations, though, rather than my personal information, what was printed there looked like the backlog of an online chat.
"'Neidhardt' and 'Shogun'--"
Eh? What was this? Why had it ended up like this....?
"You are 'Neidhardt,' Nishijou-kun. The timestamp there starts on September 28, at about 3:00 in the morning."
"The next day, you went to '@Cafe.'"
"You typically go to '@Cafe' after school."
"And you go to school 2.5 times per week. I heard from your classmates that the days you attended school last week were--"
"Monday, Wednesday, Thursday."
"Last week's Monday was.... September 29. The same day as on Shogun's timestamps."
What? What.... was she saying?
Yua briefly cut herself off--
Then, finally catching my gaze straight-on, she gave voice to the relentless truth.
"I don't want to hear anything"
"Time is uncertain"
"My memories are self-contradictory"
"There are errors in my field of sight"
"The world isn't turning"
"This must surely be a game"
"I'm.... not me"
At last my Seira-tan wallpaper appeared on the monitor.
"This isn't the world"
I instantly started up ESO, without a second's hesitation.