Part 38: The Group DivePart 38 - The Group Dive
SFX: Computer Noises
I'd left my PC on, and the Seira-tan in my screen saver radiated pale light and a smile into the rest of the dark room.
I locked the door from the inside and flung myself heavily down on the sofa.
When I closed my eyes, I couldn't help recalling what had happened today.
Of all things, to be suspected by the police....
They must be making some kind of mistake. I wasn't even capable of murder.
Do a better job of investigating. This isn't a game.
Since they had totally failed to find the true perpetrator, they wanted to maintain their reputations by using me as their scapegoat.
Yua was my enemy.
Lately I'd thought I was safe, because she hadn't shown any signs of movement. I'd been ecstatic, thinking she wouldn't attempt to make contact with me anymore.
But today I'd been forced to realize my mistake.
I needed a Di-Sword to resist the likes of her.
I cast a glance at the cheap sword leaning up to one side of my PC.
It was a fake-- According to Ayase, a Di-Sword was "only visible to those with the power."
Nanami had clearly seen my sword on the day I bought it.
Besides, unlike Ayase and Sena's swords, this one didn't glow.
Where could the real thing be.... I had to acquire one ASAP.
Don't they say that multiple personalities are really rare in Japan!? Yua's seen too many movies and novels!
--But that chat log was consistent with what Yua had told me.
"She fabricated it.... It doesn't count as evidence...."
--But nor was there any proof that I didn't have multiple personalities.
"The doctor didn't diagnose me as having multiple personalities...."
--But for some reason, Dr. Takashi went away.
"I'm me! I know myself better than anyone!"
--But I don't understand myself.
I was assaulted by a tingling sensation at the back of my neck.
The usual presence. The gaze of someone watching me.
"Th, that's right, it's 'Shogun,' he's the criminal, the chat log said so, didn't it."
"And Yu, Yua is 'Shogun's' underling!"
"'Shogun' was behind all the New-Gen cases...."
--But did "Shogun" truly exist? Was not that itself a delusion?
"I, I, I'm! I'm normal....! I'm normal....! Are, aren't I!?"
Cradling my head, I shouted at no one. The one who replied was--
"You've got mail~, dummy~"
I dragged myself over to my PC and checked my email.
The title was "Found something interesting."
Must be more of his trolling. He was trying to get my head to shut down again.
I couldn't afford to go along with Grim's games now, but for the time being, I stuck to just reading the text of his mail.
Note: For some reason, it seems that Grim's email glitches and simply produces a black screen for me. I was forced to find an alternative image for this part, from an earlier translation. Ensue=ESO.
A video taken by.... the New-Gen perp!?
My fingers trembled against the mouse. I couldn't tear my eyes away from the email.
Did he mean-- The criminal showed up in there--?
Who was it? ....Surely not me?
My desire to see it warred with my longing not to.
This was "proof." Proof that I wasn't the criminal-- Or else, proof that I was--
I didn't know which would turn out to be the case. It was akin to a gamble.
Sensing the ringing of my internal alarm bells, I moved my mouse cursor up to where the link was located.
But I couldn't quite work up the courage to click the URL.
I didn't do it! Yua herself was the one on the killer's side!
Furious, I clicked the URL.
The word "Loading..." appeared in the video window.
In actuality, it only took about ten seconds to load, but to me those ten seconds felt like eternity.
SFX: Multiple indistinct voices ring out, both male and female, young sounding. Crying, moaning, yelling. Their words are barely distinguishable from each other, the only certainty is that they are afraid.
The background was pitch-black. It looked like somewhere indoors.
In an attempt to somehow gather information from within the video window, I brought my face closer to the monitor.
It was dim and hard to see, but several girls and guys were there. They were raising their voices, being terribly boisterous.
On occasion they let out violent shouts, their voices breaking horribly.
After watching for a little while, I grasped that there were five people present. Including the cameraman, that made six.
The cameraman didn't enter the screen in the slightest.
Though I could tell there were five people, the darkness prevented me from seeing their faces clearly.
As though to affirm one another, they caressed each other's heads, patted each other's shoulders, and embraced.
I heard a girl's high-pitched weeping, as if she'd been overcome by emotion.
It was certainly a singular spectacle, but how was this video related to New-Gen?
Was the New-Gen criminal really the one who had filmed it?
The image slowly zooms in (representing the videographer coming closer). This is accompanied by the sound of rusty metal squeaking, perhaps from an old wheelchair...
His five subjects, who had been about five meters away, gradually began to show up larger and larger.
The picture was rather grainy.
Maybe someone had lowered the bitrate as much as possible when they encoded it, so as to make the file as smaller.
Modern video cameras should be night-vision capable, so I wasn't sure why this cameraman hadn't taken advantage of that.
Was it an old camera, maybe?
The camera panned from side to side, revealing the surrounding scenery.
The reason not a single building appeared on the tape-- was because this was the roof of a high-rise.
The five girls and guys were at the edge of the roof of a very tall building.
I finally understood.
What this video signified. Why he'd said it had been taken by the New-Gen criminal.
The case in which five people jumped off the roof of Cornelius Tower, which should have been sealed off like a "locked room situation" in a detective novel.
The first in the sequence of New-Gen incidents, the one that could have been either murder or suicide.
The five shown here hadn't been acting boisterous.
All had sunk down on the spot and were screaming and crying as they pressed their bodies together.
Unable to give up, even though they were fated to die soon.
One shook his head and sobbed no, no; one fell to her knees and wept with her shoulders heaving, clutching at her hair; one turned to the cameraman, crying, asking why he was doing something like this; one had already gone mad and was laughing as tears poured down his face....
Disconsolate anger: Why does this have to happen to us? Many raw emotions forming a downward spiral.
In opposition to that, bizarrely-- The cameraman's voice never entered the video.
This cameraman was.... uncannily calm....
"Stop it.... Stop it!"
Nothing would change, no matter how much I pleaded with a video that had been filmed almost a month earlier.
I knew it was meaningless, but I found myself unconsciously shouting at the monitor.
"N, no, none of them wa, wants to die....!"
The videographer moves steadily closer, the squeak of rusty metal following.
Perhaps driven by fear, they retreated from the camera as though crawling.
They no longer had anywhere to run. If they scooted back a little further, they'd fall.
He had driven them this far into a corner, but he sought to take no other action.
The teenagers stop making any noise. The only sound is the wind roaring around the rooftop.
The wind was strong on the roof of Cornelius Tower.
Pushed on by the wind, they seemed about to stumble.
One misstep, and they would fall.
As though they had given up, they joined their hands.
They gripped each other's hands firmly.
Suddenly, all is silent. Not a single sound can be heard
I almost thought that even the sound of the wildly blowing wind had stopped.
All I could hear were the cars running along the Shuto Expressway below the building.
The cameraman still did nothing.
One of the five
I froze in front of the monitor, feeling as though a cold hand had grabbed hold of my heart.
"Why those same words again!?"
This was the first New-Gen incident, wasn't it!?
The phrase "Whose eyes are those eyes?" was supposed to be the dying message from "Vampire House," the fourth case!
This was crazy!
The film continued, ignoring my internal screams.
I bit my lip and covered my eyes.
The sound of five bodies hitting the ground
The squeak of rusty metal
This, too, had been a homicide. The criminal had been there when it happened.
And I knew
Mixed in with the sound of the powerful wind on the rooftop.
Mixed in with the sound of five people intently weeping.
Mixed in with the honking of the cars on the expressway below.
I had distinctly heard another, fainter sound.
The sound I had heard when the cameraman advanced.