Part 126: Quiz Tournament (Natsuhi's Question)
"Ange-chan. You don't need to use math. Make sure you remember the problem clearly... How long... is the candle when it burns out...?"
"Ah! That was a close one...! The candle goes out when it's 1 centimeter long, so the rest doesn't matter!"
The flame on this candle dies when the candle is 1 centimeter in length. In other words, it can never get shorter than 1 centimeter. So the right answer is the fifth choice, "About 10mm"...!
"You are correct."
"Oooh, splendidly done, Ange! How clever of you, not to be misled!"
"I didn't even need division. I almost got tricked...!"
"You were pretty mean there, Genji-san. You even asked her if she could do division. That was a trap, right?"
"Correct. My humble apologies."
"Hahhahahahaha. After all, Genji-san is the sort who can trick you without changing his expression in the slightest."
"Congratulations, Ange-sama. This medal is proof that you have correctly solved my puzzle."
"Thanks! Eheheh, I got another medal, Aunt Eva...!"
"Heheh, nice going!"
"I'll get lots more. I'll get a ton, and then Grandfather will give me a great prize!"
"Yes. Give it all you've got, my granddaughter...!"
"Good luck, Ange-san. I am rooting for you."
"There must be others waiting for you. Perhaps you ought to search for the next challenge."
"Okay! Thank you. I'll try even harder now...!"
We dashed away. There are still many people waiting to give me puzzles. I have tons of chances to get medals. Okay, who should I challenge next...?!
After Ange and Eva left, Battler, who had been watching their progress, came over.
"Oh, Battler. I am not certain, but she does seem to be enjoying herself."
"I heard your puzzle, Genji-san. Even I was almost taken in back there."
"You honor me."
"Still, it's not quite what I'd have expected. Who'd have thought that you'd give a trick question like that? I figured you'd make a straightforward, simple puzzle."
"Hahahahahahaha. You might expect such a thing from him, silent as he is, but he is much more of a schemer than he appears."
"Very true. If you play a chess match against him, you'll see that right away."
"He even fools me, from time to time. He'll trick me right to my face, with that stern, serious expression of his. He has always been like that. And yet, despite the numerous occasions on which he has fooled me in the past, I keep on getting tricked. Wahhahhahahahahahaha."
"Come to think of it, what sort of relationship do you and Genji-san have?"
For just an instant, Kinzo glanced at Genji's face. Apparently, he didn't plan on touching on this subject if Genji had any objections. However, Genji spoke as though the matter was no longer a secret.
"Wahaha, 'knew me', he says...! We were partners in crime, you might say! The two of us were both prodigal sons of rich families. A pair of ruffians who caused their parents nothing but trouble."
"Genji-san, a prodigal son...? That's a surprise... So, Genji-san also moved to Taiwan, where he met Grandfather?"
"...No. I am a native of Taiwan."
"Genji-san was born in Taiwan. Well, since Taiwan was under Japanese rule before the war, he is still Japanese, of course."
"He was a man who hated losing. When we first met, we fought all the time. Once we hit it off, we became the best of friends."
"...There was a lot of disorder and conflict after the war. The Master is the one who saved me during that chaotic period. If I spent the rest of my life trying to repay that debt, it would not be enough to pay it back in full."
"...Don't say that, my friend. If only I had been a little more persuasive, I might have saved your family as well... I was too cowardly to save anyone but you..."
Kinzo, predicting this chaos before it happened, worked out a way for Genji and his family to escape. However, Genji's family possessed great wealth in Taiwan. They were unable to abandon it, and they decided to remain there. This wealth had been built up thanks to their close relationship with the Japanese-run government of Taiwan. The new regime after the war wasn't likely to welcome them with open arms. Much mayhem and confusion followed. And Genji was the only one who escaped harm.
...I don't know what happened to make this man, who Kinzo has called a troublesome prodigal son, change so drastically to become the person he is today. It was a story of friendship between the two of them, and there could be hardly any point in an unrelated person sifting through history books to interpret it however they pleased. They had been good friends since long ago, and they owed each other their lives. Though the troubled times had tossed them about, their friendship held firm for decades... Genji's role was now that of the butler, but when they are alone in the study, they sometimes share a drink and reminisce about the days of their youth. And they're still that way today.
Leaving Kinzo and Genji to reminisce, Battler walked off on his own. It would be rude to ask for any more detail, and he didn't need to know. Kinzo and Genji had been friends since long, long ago. That was something he already knew.
BGM: Stuffed Toy
"Yeah. Let's beat them!"
"Hahahaha. Very well, we'll play along."
"The two of us have prepared some formidable puzzles for you."
"Should I go first? Or you?"
"I will start."
"Huh? White black white black... huh??"
"I'll say it once more. White black white black white ???? black white black white black white. What does the '????' stand for?"
This is... a really hard one. White black white black white ? black white black white black white. Is it... gray?? Is it that easy...?
"Th, this is a surprisingly hard one, coming from you, Natsuhi nee-san..."
Aunt Eva was groaning. Apparently, this one's really hard.
"I, is it really so hard...?"
"...There's a chance that some people won't understand, if they haven't had the right experiences."
"Eva-san aside, I think Ange-chan would have seen it a lot at school and kindergarten..."
"Wh, what the heck? I don't have a clue!!"
Is it a problem that I could get easier than Aunt Eva...? It's hard.