Part 134: Quiz Tournament (Jessica & George's Question)
BGM: Stuffed Toy
"That's right. Miyoko is supposed to be honest. So, once someone says that someone else is Miyoko, they can't be her."
"So, since the middle one and the right one aren't Miyoko, the left one automatically is. And since Miyoko speaks the truth, then it's also true that the kid on the right is Satoko."
"Which means that the only kid left, the one in the middle, is Rika. Perfect!"
"You solved it like it was nothing! Ange, you really are smart like your Mom!"
Dad rubbed my cheek and hugged me.
"Listen up, Ange. Life will lead you through countless puzzles. Aunt Eva is here to help you now, so it's okay to rely on her. However, you have to solve most problems in life by yourself. When that happens, you must remember the advice you've gotten from those who have helped you in the past."
"Okay. I get it."
"...Eva nee-san. Take care of Ange."
"Yes, of course."
Even though the cousins were the only ones who hadn't given us puzzles, Mom spoke as though I was leaving on a long, long trip. Weird.
"Let's go, Ange-chan. The game will be over soon."
"I wonder what Grandpa will give us for getting all these medals...!"
"Me too. Still, we've already gotten a lot that's far more wonderful than that prize."
"What do you mean...?"
"We've all had a lot of fun talking to you like this, Ange-chan."
"...? I don't get it. You're weird."
"I'm sorry. Let's go then. Now, all that's left are the cousins and Beatrice, I guess."
BGM: White Shadow
"No, that's not it. "
Rudolf put a cigarette in his mouth and toyed with his lighter. Though he should have done this easily, he somehow managed to mess up several times.
"I... wanted to take this to my grave. No, to hide it away in a cat box. If I just kept my mouth shut until tomorrow night, I'd be able to do that. It'd be easy."
"I... might be killed tonight. That's what I wanted to talk about."
"...I knew. I knew that you had something you were hiding."
"Did you? Guess I still need more practice."
"...If it isn't about Ange, then who is it about? Not Asumu-san, surely..."
"It's about Battler."
"...That comes to the same thing. I've tried to behave as an adult towards Battler-kun, right? Even though he's Asumu's son, I've tried to treat him the same as Ange. I do think of him as a child in our family, so don't worry."
"He's not just a kid in our family. He's my kid and yours."
"I'm sorry, but you'll have to let me draw the line here."
"You don't get it. He's my kid... and yours."
"You didn't have a stillbirth. Asumu did. Back then, when I was double-timing the two of you, I got myself stuck and couldn't find a way out..."
"You don't mean... You don't mean..."
The sin Rudolf committed when his mind was at its most chaotic... was to switch the two babies.
"I was better off financially back then. I was young, and I didn't give a damn about what lengths I went to. I threatened the hospital with money... and switched your kid with Asumu's."
If Kyrie had a child, Rudolf would have two households to worry about. However, if Kyrie had a stillbirth and the child who survived was Asumu's, that would settle everything. The stillbirth might even have given him a chance to break off his relationship with Kyrie. It was a grave sin, one that simply couldn't be forgiven as an act of youthful enthusiasm and immaturity.
"...There's a chance she figured it out. However, she raised Battler, who loved her as a mother, with all the affection she had."
And in Kyrie and Battler's cases, he had to atone for an even greater sin. He stole every moment of everyday family life that they should have shared as mother and son. Until this very day, Kyrie had believed that Battler was Asumu's child. Though she had acted kindly towards him on the surface, she had always kept a distance in her heart between herself and Asumu's son. Finally, Rudolf's conscience had been unable to bear seeing her like that.
Kyrie sank into a crouch, unable to speak.
"...Feel free to curse me. In fact, I couldn't complain if you killed me where I stand. That's how horrible my sin against you is. This is the secret I wanted to confess before the cat box closes over us."
"I'm so sorry, Kyrie. And to you, Battler..."
"Yeah. Now, there's only George onii-chan, Jessica onee-chan, Battler onii-chan, and Beatrice left."
"Oh, they're finally here."
"We could hardly wait. Thought you might have forgotten about us."
Finally, we challenged George onii-chan and Jessica onee-chan.
"Sorry to keep you two waiting. So, did you think up some incredibly hard ones for us?"
"We decided to give you one puzzle together."
"My, my, even one riddle from this pair sounds challenging."
"It's a special puzzle we made just for Ange-chan, so good luck."
"I'll solve it. I'll definitely solve it!"
"Okay, then let's go. Jessica-chan, let's set them out."
"There you go."
They placed three small, colorful, cubic boxes on the table.
"Ange-chan, do you think you can guess which one has the medal inside...?"
"Can't do it without a hint. That's just luck!"
"That's right. So far, this is just a test of luck with three choices. In other words, your odds of winning are one in three."
"George. This isn't a quiz, right? It really is just a test of luck."
"The puzzle comes later. Let's move ahead."
"Okay, Ange. Which of these has a medal inside, do you think? Just say the first one that pops into your head."
A red box, a blue box, and a green box. There's no way to know which one it's in. This really is... a test of luck. In a way, this is even worse than a hard puzzle. After all, if you solve a hard puzzle, you'll always be right. But in the very beginning, I picked the almond with a one in 15 chance. Compared to that, a one in 3 chance is 5 times easier to get.
There's no point worrying about it. Might as well test my luck again.
"Then, this one."
"The red box? Then let's set this box right in front of you. Wouldn't it be great if there was a medal inside? So, let's start with a little warm-up. What's the probability of the medal being inside that red box?"
"One in 3."
"That's right. If this really is a simple test of luck."
"Heheheheh. Are you sure, Ange? Are you a~bsolutely sure you're happy with that red box? After all, we're gonna make you open it in a second. If it's a trap, it'll be re~ally scary."
Jessica onee-chan grinned threateningly.
It's not fair for them to scare me like that, not after I've already made my choice. And I know. All of the boxes have the same probability of having a medal in them. Whether I try to open the red box or change my mind and try the blue or green boxes, the probability will be the same. So, stick with your first choice is my motto. I'll stay with this red box. I won't change my mind.
"I'm happy with the red box. I'll bet on it!"
"That's the spirit. But seriously, the traps a~re terrifying. Why don't we show you just how scary they are?"
Jessica onee-chan laughed creepily, then opened the green box.
I was a little scared. No, that's a lie. I was really scared... If that came flying out of the box I opened right at my face, I might fall to my knees and start crying...
"Ange~, are you sure you want the red box...? Something really scary might come flying out, right...? Are you sure you don't want to switch to the blue box...?"
"I'm not scared! I'll stick with the red box!"
"Hahahahaha, you're going a bit overboard, Jessica-chan. So, now one of the boxes is gone, and there's only two left. This is where the puzzle starts, Ange-chan."
"You mean, which box is the medal in?"
"We have the red box that's been sitting in front of you the whole time, and the blue box here in front of me. Which has a higher probability of having a medal inside it? That's the puzzle."
The red box has a higher probability
They're both the same
The blue box has a higher probability