Part 58: ValuePart 58 - Value
Screaming wildly, picking up my chair, and attacking a juvie.
It'd feel so good to bust those fools--always getting too carried away--with the iron hammer of my wrath.
Unaware that they were about to be smitten by God's judgment, the delinquents went on grinning at me.
I casually picked up my chair.
I heaved it up over my head and walked up to the first thug who had made fun of me. His face froze, the grin still plastered on it, at my sudden actions.
DQN A: "....Ah?"
I could feel the impact.
He collapsed in place, and in the blink of an eye, a pool of blood began to spread across the floor.
For a moment, the classroom was enveloped in silence--
While coolly watching them disgrace themselves, I took the chair one more time and slammed it down with all my strength on the delinquent who lay collapsed at my feet, motionless.
His body convulsed.
But whether because he'd passed out or because he'd already died, he didn't make a sound.
I got a little freaked out.
If I went easy on him here, who knew when he might get up and launch a counterattack.
He was a juvie, so he might be used to walking around with a knife or two in his school bag.
I'd already resigned myself to the fact that my life was done with, but I didn't like pain.
I had to kill him.... I couldn't pull back until I was sure of his death.
I crashed the chair into his head for a third time.
Hehehe. How pleasurable.
There was currently a bit of splatter horror playing back in my brain. Ahh, I seriously wanted to beat them all to death.
The more I thought about it, the more I felt driven by the urge to do it.
Maybe, the second I acted so recklessly, the world would reset itself, and my simulation of "the choice that leads to an unhappy outcome" would come to an end.
And I'd return to the previous world.
Rimi would be there, just like she was supposed to. Misumi-kun would come to chat with me in his friendly way. Everyone would totally forget how I'd shamed myself.
No one would mock me.
My mind went dazed. Maybe I had a small fever.
The kind of fever you get during growth spurts? Or a delusion-induced fever? Not that such a phrase existed.
Even if I couldn't go back to the previous world, they'd only think I was crazy. No, they probably already thought so. I had nothing left to lose, so I didn't care either way.
A week ago, when I heard from the nurse that Nanami was alive, I'd thought:
I wouldn't mind if they treated me like an oddball and carted me off to the hospital.
It'd be nice if it were the same hospital as Ayase. Where was Ayase hospitalized, anyway?
The jail-esque hospital she'd been admitted to in the past?
Even that would be fine. It'd be somewhat preferable to this school without Rimi.
I lost the ability to suppress my magma-like urges.
I couldn't prevent laughter from swelling in me. Everyone in the class regarded me with strained expressions.
A girl's voice....
On top of that, such an anime voice....
Wh.... who? Who the heck was talking to me?
I looked around the classroom one more time. Everyone had gone petrified, their mouths closed, in response to my suspicious behavior. I couldn't spot anyone who seemed to be speaking.
For starters, this voice-- It gave me a weird sensation, like it was resonating directly inside my head.
An aural hallucination? Or had I created a new delusionary girl?
Eh? Wh, what just happened....?
She'd answered my thoughts.
Had she read my mind?
No, it must be imaginary....
"Whaddaya mean, Kozu-pii!?"
"Wh, where is here!?"
"Who are you!?"
When I shouted, my classmates scooted away from me as though fleeing.
The voice didn't answer my questions.
It continued talking, using peculiar intonation.
I went cold. I had goosebumps.
This is what she said in a very bright and cheerful tone.
Hunched over in my seat, I held my head.
The world didn't reset itself. I didn't return to the parallel world where Rimi was.
The mountain of documents piled up on each employee's desk had now completely vanished.
It must be that they went tumbling down in the earthquake, followed by Momose giving out orders to clean everything up. Thanks to that, the office left a clean, refreshed impression on him.
Regarding it from the corner of his eyes as he sighed, Ban settled down in the wheeled chair he'd pulled over. He fanned his face busily with his beloved fan.
"What is it? Sighing all the way as you came here."
"Have you ever seen someone perform a magic trick where a sword appears out of nowhere?"
"Who knows.... I'm not that familiar with sleight of hand."
"Then what about teleportation?"
"Like going inside a box.... that sort of thing?"
"Mm, no, that's not it...."
"What're you trying to say? Are you trying to learn a party trick?"
"No, if you don't know what I mean, that's fine. It's probably not related."
"You're an odd one."
Momose shrugged and took one of the bean paste buns that Ban had brought as refreshments, popping it into her mouth.
Suwa brought over two paper cups. The green tea he'd poured in them was steaming.
"Oh my, I'm sorry to make you serve us tea, Suwa-chan."
"Miho-chan has a cold, and she's taking the day off, see."
"Nah, no problem."
Smiling breezily, he handed Momose and Ban their paper cups.
Momose had also taken a liking to the young and honest Suwa, and she didn't disparage him the way she did Ban.
"More importantly, what were you talkin' about?"
"I was asking for advice on the kinds of party performances a policewoman might like."
"Haa... how intriguing."
"If not, your upward mobility is going to be severely limited."
"You make it sound like I've got no hope of getting promoted."
"It's true. If it frustrates you, take your work more seriously."
"But I do take it seriously."
Ignoring Ban, who'd scrunched his face up as if he just couldn't accept it, Momose held the box of bean pastries out to Suwa.
"You have some too, Suwa-chan."
"For the record, I paid for those outta my own pocket."
"Thanks for letting me have them, Sempai."
Watching his junior bow his head neatly and reach a hand toward the bean pastries, Ban sighed yet again.
Suwa, who had circled behind Ban, tilted his head as he peered at it.
"What's this graph of?"
"The GE rate in the Shibuya area over the past year."
"Don't you think it's strange?"
"You're the one who told me that Shibuya's average GE rate is high, even compared to the rest of the world."
"No, not that."
"Is, is that even possible?"
"I dunno. But the graph seems unnatural, somehow...."
"There are too many small variations in the numbers."
"The guy from before, was Professor Outa his name? He said, errr, what was it again? Something like how the GE rate had increased compared to half a year before. Is it related to that?"
"By his research, the GE rate shouldn't undergo such minute shifts."
"You mean, some kind of abnormality is occurring, and it seems like it might be man-made?"
"But five years? If it's continued that long, couldn't you say those are ordinary conditions, rather than anything abnormal?"
"There's one more thing."
"Salaryman with their two days off would be grateful for that, I guess. Not that it's got much to do with me."
"Haa, I'd love to have Saturday off. I haven't taken had any breaks in two months."
Momose shook her head a little in response to the disappointed-looking detectives, both of whom had hung their heads.
"I can only assume that someone is deliberately making it happen."
"Yeah, New Year's and the Bon festival are purely human things."
"Animals and plants don't celebrate them."
"Could it be the will of the planet or something?"
"The will of the planet? That's pretty grand-sounding."
"But even if it hypothetically existed, d'you think the Earth is gonna say 'Happy New Year' to us?"
"I, I was jokin'...."
"New Year's is one thing, but the Bon festival is only a custom in Japan."
"It's too well synchronized with Japanese social activity.... huh."
"Isn't that kind of natural for Shibuya....?"
"By the way, look here and here."
"It goes really high in these two places, see?"
"The one on the right looks like the peak for the whole year."
"Forget a year. It's the highest in a decade."
"What's the date?"
"The one where eight people died though its magnitude was 3?"
"They still haven't determined why the victims from it died, right?"
"Huh, that so?"
Ignoring the two detectives' exchange, Momose continued her explanation.
"You know that there was a large-scale outbreak of electromagnetic waves on the same day, don't you?"
"It seems like all computers in Shibuya broke down. But I'm an analog guy, so I don't know too much about it."
"My laptop at home got fried, too. I don't have time to repair it...."
"They say the earthquake generated the rise in electromagnetic waves, but the truth might be the exact opposite."
"Hey, hey, they didn't say anything like that in the newspapers or on TV."
"It's my personal deduction through and through, but...."
"These two earthquakes.... I think they were acts of man, not acts of God."
"Because neither of them was normal."
"The previous earthquake was only magnitude 3, but eight people died in it."
"And the one this time around was magnitude 5, with 118 deaths."
"You're saying too many people have died?"
"Besides, there are rumors about how the sky turned white."
"Now that you mention it, as time passed, everyone totally stopped reporting on it."
"Someone may have been putting pressure on the media."
"We may need to take a thorough look at all the businesses and groups with connections to the Meiwa Party...."
"That's Momo-chan for you, always fast at work."
"I didn't hit on anything likely-looking. I gave up."
"Gave up, you say.... Momo-cha~an."
"It isn't that your deductions are off the mark after all, Momo-chan-san....?"
"That could be the case."
"Even then, I spend a lot of time researching this. To the point of disregarding my real work."
"At times like this, it's a detective's iron-clad rule to attack things from another angle."
"Sempai, do you have anything in mind?"
Stopping his fan-waving hand, Ban licked his lips.