Part 118: Halloween Party II
Everyone gathered together, wondering what was going on. On the serving cart in front of him was a large, sliced, chocolate cake.
"As the highlight of tonight's Halloween party, I have prepared this Sachertorte for you all. As you can see, this was made specially for the Ushiromiya family, and bears the crest of the One-Winged Eagle in chocolate!"
The stupendous cake drew a gasp of admiration from all present.
"What a splendid cake...! A perfect highlight for the party."
"Oh, no. It's not just the cake. Tonight's cake has a little secret. Master, I ask that you explain that secret to everyone!"
"Very well. This is a bit of a game. There's one, tiny thing in this cake that will make you a winner."
"It's an almond...!"
Ange shouted happily. Kinzo looked at her fondly and nodded.
"Whoo! It's been a long time since I played the king game...!"
"I'm guessing the subject matter was a bit different when you played it..."
"Hahhahahahahahaha. So, what happens to the person who becomes the king?"
"The king gets to name one wish. Then, we shall all try to grant it together."
"Oooh! Sounds interesting...!"
"Uu-. Kings are boys. Girls can't be kings."
"If a girl wins, they get to become the princess."
"The almond! The one with the almond wins! Right? Right?!"
"Ahahahaha, that's right. You're incredible, Ange."
"In times like this, luck can tell you something about a man. Can't let myself lose now!"
"Hold up there. Let's let the smallest kids choose first."
"Good idea. Ange-chan, you can go first."
"Hey, you're the big cousin now, Maria! Let Ange-chan go first."
"Uu-uu-uu-! But what if Ange wins, uu-!"
"I am gonna win! The almond wins, the almond wins!"
"It seems we old fogies must hope that leftovers are lucky today."
"If we're going by age, I guess that means Kinzo's last."
"Wahhahahahaha, but weren't you a thousand years old?"
Everyone burst out laughing. Her real age was unknown, but she claimed to be 19 years old. In front of Ange lay a large cake, split into several pieces. Just one of those pieces was the winner.
"No way. I only want the winning one."
"Well then, you'll have to try and guess right on the first shot. Go ahead, pick one."
Battler pushed Ange's small back towards the table with the cake.
"...Which one... should I take...?"
The chocolate cake was cut into 15 pieces. I wanna pick the one with almonds and become the princess! One of them has an almond. Which could it be...?
I get to choose first, but it sort of feels unfair. I mean, it is, isn't it? My chances of getting the right one are one in 15. There's no way I'll get it. And then, when Maria onee-chan goes after me, she has a one in 14 chance of picking the winner. The next person has a one in 13 chance, then a one in 12 chance, and the last person... will win for sure??
"Onii-chan, this isn't fair...! The person who goes first has a disadvantage...!"
Everyone laughed. Apparently, there was something wrong with my calculations, but I still didn't like it.
"Then let us start this contest of luck with Ange-sama. Please, feel free to make your selection...!"
If I have to pick one out of so many, there's no way I'll win. But for some reason, tonight, it feels like I might actually win after all. I have no reason for feeling this way, but when I'm in a good mood, lady luck always brings me fortune.
"Have you decided yet?"
"Yeah. I've decided. This one's... the winner."
I concentrated on my fingertip... and pointed at one of the 15 slices. The slice I chose was...
Hey, look! Actual interactivity, here in the final episode!
I'd leave this open for a thread vote, but, spoilers - the rest of the scene plays out identically regardless of choice.
"This one? Are you sure?"
"I've made up my mind. I want this one...!"
When he asked me whether I was sure, I felt a little uneasy. Still, at times like this, it's better to stick with your instincts. It was one of the few bits of philosophy that the young girl had learned from her few life experiences. Gohda took the chosen slice, put it on a plate with a fork, and handed it to Ange.
"I go next!! Uu-uu-, which should I take!"
It was Maria's turn next. She was excited, determined to be the winner. I walked away from that group, all by myself. I was struck by a temptation to quickly cut the cake open and check for an almond inside.
However, I stopped myself. If I check my piece first, my chance of winning is one in 15. However, if I wait for some other people to check their slices, then when I see that they've lost, my chances will go up, if only slightly. In other words, instead of searching for the almond right away, my chances will go up if I wait for some other people to lose. But if someone picks a winner while I'm sitting around here, the chances of my slice being a winner will go to zero. It'll be tough to calculate the right moment. I need to wait just long enough for as many losers to show up as possible. My chances of winning are highest if I can check my piece immediately before someone else wins. Yeah, that's the trick to winning this game!
BGM: Reflection Call
Even though no one else can touch the cake that's sitting in front of me... The almond inside it will appear or disappear depending on whether or not the other people win or lose.
...?? I was in such a good mood that I felt dizzy, and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with my theory. But I did realize that something was strange. There is always just one truth inside a cat box. No matter what happens outside the box, it shouldn't be able to shake the truth inside. And yet, I'm being shaken about by events outside the cat box, trying to use those to change the way I observe the box's contents.
...I don't even know what I'm saying. Another me inside me is trying to say that, but it's too hard for me to understand. I feel like I'm drifting... I got so cheery and excited that, even though I'm not sleepy, my mind feels hazy. Maybe it's 'cause I drank Dad's adult drink...
After I've seen that everyone else has lost, my chances of winning will be 100%. I tried to find the contradiction in my thinking, but I didn't really get it, so I stopped. It's much better to have a 100% chance than a one in 15 one, so I decided to bet on that. I couldn't wait to open this precious treasure chest, but I waited for everyone else to choose their pieces and check them.
"How is it going? Has anyone found a winner?"
"Uu-! Mine didn't have one."
"I lost too. And I wanted to be the princess...!"
"Even if you lose, this Sachertorte really is beautiful and delicious. It's such a good decoration, it's almost a shame to eat it."
"How about you? Find any almond?"
"No, not me either. What about you, Hideyoshi nii-san?"
"Mine's a loser too. Looks like I've used up all my luck with my company and my wife."
"What exactly do you mean by that?"
"What about you, Doctor Nanjo?"
"I'm checking it now. Games like this can truly can be fun, every now and then."
"Yes. Sometimes, a simple test of luck, without any strategy or tactics, can be quite entertaining. What about you, Beato?"
"Where's the liar that said leftovers would be lucky?! Grrrrrrrr...!"
"What about you, Ange? Was there an almond in yours?"
"I'm checking now..."
"Oh, you still haven't touched yours?"
I was following my own personal probability theory, but I didn't think I could explain it well to Onii-chan, so I didn't mention it to him. I wonder if there's an almond in there. If I win, I'll be tonight's princess. I'll be happy if I win, but even if I don't, it'll still be a really fun night, so that's okay. It stopped when this cake game started, but before then, everyone was having a lot of fun trading tricks, quizzes, and riddles. This game is fun too, but I want to play like that again soon.
"What's up, Ange? Oh?"
"Wh, whoa!! Ange got it! That's awesome...!"
At the same time, a stir rose up in the other corner of the room.
"I got one, I won...!"
"Hoh! So Eva won...!"
"My, my! Congratulations, Eva-sama...!!"
"That's wrong!! I won! Mine has the almond!!"
I held the almond high and shouted across the room. The crowd around Eva split, and everyone started at me, surprised. I was surprised too. The thing in her hand was, without a doubt, an almond...
"Gohda. There seem to be two almonds, so are they both winners?"
"But, that shouldn't have..."
"Does this mean that one of the two made a mistake...?"
"Ange-sama's is clearly an almond. How about your end, Kanon-kun?"
"Eva-sama's is clearly an almond."
"Hohhohohohohoho. Then it seems that they both win."
"Heheheheheheh...! What an odd occurrence. What's all this, Gohda?"
"Ah, umm, well, it seems we've had a little mistake... Uh, perhaps they should do rock, paper..."
"Come now, don't be stingy. It just means that two almonds have appeared to signify the queen and the princess."
"Precisely. Let's have them both be winners."
"Ah, well, but..."
Gohda was hesitant. Actually, he had prepared a single special dessert for the king. It had been decorated in a way that made it hard to split for two people. So, it wasn't convenient for there to be two kings. When Eva heard Gohda mumbling something to this effect, she shrugged and laughed.
"The princess. I'm the princess...?!"
"I'll be your attendant. That works, right?"
Of course it worked. Ange had been worried that Eva would be declared the winner, since she had spoken up first. So, she hadn't even dreamed that Eva would give it up to her.
"But, are you sure...? You won too."
"It's okay. I get to be your attendant. Come, princess. What wish do you want granted...? Let's hear it."
"I've... already chosen my wish..."
"Oh. And what is it? Won't you tell your aunt?"
I want this fun time to keep on going. Forever. The young me spoke for the desire in my heart.
"Wh, what we were doing before this was fun, so I'd like to keep doing it!"
I get the feeling that the nuance has changed. Still, that was unmistakably my wish.
"What we were doing before this? Oh, you mean those tricks and quizzes?"
BGM: Stuffed Toy
"Hold up there. I already used up all my material for tricks."
"Then let's do quizzes and riddles."
"So, we all just have to entertain Ange-chan with quizzes?"
"We can all present quizzes to our princess to entertain her."
"I see. Understood."
"Wahahaha! Yes, how intriguing. Then, Ange, let us do it this way. Everyone will give you a quiz or a riddle, and you can try to solve them. Each time you succeed, I will give you a medal."
"He probably means commemorative medals. If you get a lot of puzzles right, you'll get a lot of medals."
"Hohohohohoho. Just gathering medals is a tad boring, don't you think?"
"Yes. Depending on the number of medals you collect, I shall give you a fantastic present...! Well, do you suddenly feel fired up?!"
"It sounds amazing. So, there's even a prize...!"
"*giggle*. Isn't that great, Ange?"
Everyone gathered around me, smiling, as they thought about what sort of puzzle they'd give. They're all thinking about me, so that they can play with me. Just the feel of having that all to myself almost made me explode with joy at becoming the princess.