Part 128: Quiz Tournament (Kanon's Question)
BGM: Endless Nine
"Well done, you got it...! From floor one to floor four, there's only one floor that ends in 'th'...the 4th floor."
"Yeah! The 4th floor fits, but the other ones are the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floors."
"N, nicely done... And even I didn't figure it out until I had the answer given to me..."
Apparently, Uncle Krauss once had this puzzle shown to him, and he wasn't able to answer it right. He looked a bit downcast to see a kid like me solve it. For some reason, he looked even more mortified to see that Eva had solved it. How strange.
"Come on, now. Let's see that medal."
"This medal is a mark of Ange-chan's intelligence. I mustn't let you have it, Eva."
"Heh, sore loser...!"
"Thank you, Uncle Krauss. Am I incredible?!"
"Very much so. You're a more flexible thinker than your uncle. I am proud to have you as a niece."
Krauss's riddle in Japanese:
The gist of the puzzle is the same, but instead of "_th" being the clue, the word for "what floor" used at the end of the question is "nan gai". The words for each of the answers provided:
A: 1st Floor / ikkai
B: 3rd Floor / sangai
C: 5th floor / gokai
D: 7th floor / nanakai
E: 9th floor / kyuukai
...and only sangai ends in -gai, so the answer is that it's on the third floor.
"I do hope you enjoyed them."
"I did! Thank you, Aunt Natsuhi and Uncle Krauss!"
"I hope you can enjoy all the tricky questions, without worrying about your medal count too much."
"We all hope that this becomes a wonderful night, just for you."
"We really are enjoying ourselves."
"Yeah! We're having a lot of fun!"
Krauss and Natsuhi smiled at them as they dashed away.
BGM: White Shadow
"We did the best we could, but I'm not sure how much they enjoyed them."
On the other side of the room, Ange and Eva were counting the medals they had gathered so far. Ange and Eva. Such an unexpected pairing, but they looked like they were having a great time.
"...A future parent and child, unrelated by blood. Watching them like this, they look just like a normal parent and child."
"Yes, they do. Bonds between people are nurtured by the heart. Ties of blood do not bond as strongly."
After saying this, Natsuhi bit back her own words and stared at the floor.
"...I was just... surprised that I would dare to say such words..."
"...You don't need to worry about me."
"I understand how you felt. Unable to become pregnant, you were forced to feel shame for many years. In that situation, any woman would be shocked if they were handed a baby whose parentage they didn't even know, and then told to adopt them."
"...That was no reason... for me to push you off a cliff..."
"True. You will have to carry that cross for the rest of your life."
"...Yes. I am prepared to do so..."
"In that case, the suffering you must endure will come from the cross you bear. Not from me."
"You don't... despise me...?"
"Don't make that dejected face. No, perhaps it's the other way around. As long as you continue making that dejected face, I will feel no desire to punish you. As long as you continue to carry that cross, I will feel no desire to hate you."
"Do you mean... that you don't hate me...?"
"To tell the truth, I did hate you. I hated your guts. I hated you so much, I wanted to hang up a pillow with your picture on it and use it as a punching bag!"
"But, as I watched you, that feeling faded away. You regretted and lamented. And I'm sure you'll never forget that feeling for as long as you live."
"How could I forget...? After all, I'm a murderer..."
"Your cross is a heavy one, doubtless. I can feel compassion for you now. I'm serious. After all, Kinzo was the one at fault, right? It's his fault for having an illegitimate child in the first place! And the way he forced that child on you was even worse! He should at least have been able to avoid hurting you by saying 'please take care of this poor child', instead of 'you can't give birth, so adopt this kid'. Men! That Kinzo...!"
"Then let's do it this way. Hold out your arms."
"H, huh? L, like this...?"
"...U, umm, th, this is a little..."
"I'll never say this again, so let me say it once. After all, I never had a chance to meet my mother."
Still hugging Natsuhi, Beato spoke in a whisper. She spoke those words that she would certainly never say again...
"Thank you for worrying so much for my sake. But I really don't hate you anymore. Please, believe that, Mother."
BGM: Stuffed Toy
"What about those two?"
"Shannon-chan and Kanon-kun? Sure, it looks like they'll put up a good fight."
"Do you need something, Eva-sama and Ange-sama?"
"...Don't be stupid, Nee-san. They're asking us for puzzles."
"Ah, m, my apologies."
Shannon was as absentminded as ever. However, Kanon looked extremely calm, and would probably have a well-polished puzzle ready.
"...*sigh*. Okay, I'll go first. While Nee-san thinks up a puzzle."
"O, okay. Sorry..."
"So, if I'm buying time for Nee-san to think up a puzzle, I'll have to make one tricky enough to keep you stumped for a while."
"Eheheheheh, you've got guts, kid. Let's have it, shall we? Show us the hardest one you've got!"
"Don't provoke him! I want a easy one!"
"Now that I have Eva-sama's permission, allow me to present an insanely difficult puzzle."
"Leave this to me. I'll solve it!"