Part 158: Trick Ending
I walked over to the door that represented the answer I had chosen. Then, I put the golden key into the keyhole, and turned to face everyone.
"...That's right. Sorry."
I gripped the key tightly and twisted. Then, the key and the door flashed brilliantly... and slowly faded away. Beyond the door... was a strangely colored space. If I step into this, I'll reach the future I chose. Before taking that single step, I spoke without turning back.
"The Ushiromiya eagle never turns back. So I won't turn around, but I'll say this! Thank you, everyone. But this isn't goodbye! I'll always be with you all!!"
"Yeah. You won't turn back. But we'll always be standing behind you."
"...That's not it!! Despite it all, I still believe. I'm positive... that everyone will come back!!"
"That is good. Ange. I look forward to the day when we all meet again."
"Ange, my adorable granddaughter. We may be away for some time. Here, don't forget this. It's your prize from that quiz party."
"...This was lying next to me when I woke up on the sofa, wasn't it? This was... my prize."
"Take it back to the future with you, and treasure it."
I... took a step forward. Forward... into the future.
Video: Good End
My nose was filled with the smell of the sea. I must have been standing still for a very long time. This is... a point cutting through the sea.
I was standing on the bow of a boat. I was still holding that thing.
"...Lady. If you stand around there too long, you'll freeze."
BGM: The End of the World
Captain Kawabata's face peered out at her.
"You can see it now. That's the old Ushiromiya family dock."
"Whoo. Not even a trace of it left."
"...I see. I've come back here. It's been a really long daydream... no, a long and windy side trip."
No matter what sort of tales are woven and written about the past, they have nothing to do with my tale of the future. I swore to live life looking only to the future, without turning back. If swearing that has a purpose, then this hasn't all been just a daydream. And besides, I've brought many things back with me from that long side trip. Among those, there are even some things that are immediately useful.
"...But yeah, this isn't going to be useful for anything."
"...What was that?"
"My regrets. I've shed my old shell."
"So, with old Rokkenjima right in front of you, you're having a change of heart?"
"...That's not what I meant. I meant I've had enough of being human."
I won't waste that long journey. I now have a new way to live. And that isn't as the human called Ushiromiya Ange. I am... reborn.
"Hmm? Sure, whatever you say."
Captain Kawabata buried his face in the driver's seat.
"...What is it, Lady? Why the troubled face?"
"I feel like taking a step into a new life."
"You already have."
"True. If I could sell off all the Ushiromiya family wealth that's burdening me, maybe donating it to some charity, that would be a huge relief. Then, I'd finally be able to escape from the shell called Ushiromiya Ange."
"...It seems a waste of all that money. You could do anything you wanted with it."
"Who cares? My point is that I don't need it."
"...That may be true. Then again, not everything that you'd be selling off belongs to you exclusively. For example..."
"Are you talking about the Ushiromiya group stock?"
"...That's right. They may be little more than scraps of paper to you, but doing something like that could shatter the whole company... I don't think my boss could bear to have that happen."
"Yeah, I know. It's like that for the Sumaderas and President Okonogi alike. There are plenty of people who're in a tough spot because I can do as I please."
"...There's no doubt that you're a VIP, Ange-san. Wouldn't it be better to stay hidden here, instead of doing something extravagant...?"
"What would be the fastest and most convenient way to prevent this VIP from doing as she pleases, I wonder?"
"...Hmm, what would be the best way...?! Well, we could break out the drinks, have a good time, and..."
"...Well, that may be true."
"The Sumadera family is chasing me. They even managed to barge into President Okonogi's building with perfect timing. Someone leaked the fact that I was there."
"Are you saying my boss sold you out? Then why would he give you a bodyguard?"
"Since he doesn't know what sort of whims I'll act on, President Okonogi wants to have both the Sumadera family and me indebted to him. That way, he can sell information about me, let me slip out by a hair, and keep track of my whereabouts, having both me and the Sumadera family in his debt while keeping a trump card in his hand."
"You're definitely over-thinking things there..."
Amakusa wore a forced smile, trying to smooth things over.
"After that, you will kill the Sumadera hit men, and President Okonogi will have a trump card to use in negotiations with the Sumaderas. If I die, the Ushiromiya group will be stable for the time being. Plus, they'll be able to draw the line with the Sumadera family. On the other side, the Sumadera family itself will be able to neatly do away with Kasumi oba-san, the leader of their overenthusiastic radical faction. Both sides will finish their bargaining with a draw, and everyone'll be happy."
"...Whew. That's a pretty interesting story you've thought up there."
"The golf bag you brought with you. I've had a look at what's inside. Are you planning to start a war or something with all those guns? But it had a sniper rifle. Would a bodyguard who's always by my side really need something like that?"
"Well, you never know what might happen..."
"Why would a bodyguard, who works best when traveling light, choose to abandon his position for a whole day to get a gun like that, and right before we leave for Rokkenjima?"
"...Lady, you're over-thinking this, okay...?"
"When I reach Rokkenjima, you'll suggest that I go visit the place they died or something, getting me alone. That's the bait. The bait to lure in Sumadera Kasumi and the others waiting for me on Rokkenjima. After that, you'll use that ridiculously huge gun to round them up. The end."
"...Well, what's wrong with rounding them up? Isn't that what a guard's supposed to do?"
"In addition to a cutting-edge sniper rifle, you also had a modern German submachine gun."
"Those are really handy. No matter how many people the Sumaderas have, I could round them all up, no trouble..."
"There was one more. A handgun. Even though the sniper rifle and the submachine gun were the best and the newest models, the handgun alone is beat up and old-fashioned. See?"
"C, cut it out. This isn't funny..."
"A handgun is something you're always supposed to have on your person, right? So, why would you go get a second handgun, and go to the trouble of getting an unusually old one? There's a theory that explains this. That is... that it's the same kind of gun Sumadera Kasumi and the others are using. This is a Tokarev. A gun once used by the Soviet military, which has gotten pretty popular in the Japanese underground. A very likely weapon for the Sumaderas to be using. Also, having Sumadera Kasumi die would be convenient for the Sumadera family as well. They could have leaked... no, exchanged information from their side as well. Therefore, it is possible that you knew beforehand that the Sumadera hit men would be using Tokarevs."
Amakusa was speechless. Was he speechless because this was all true, or because he was stunned by the determination with which Ange pointed that gun at him?
"The plan that you... no, the plan that all of you made together... It was to use me as bait to lure Sumadera Kasumi to an uninhabited island, to set it up so that both sides appeared to have finished each other off, and to settle everything nice and neat for both President Okonogi and the Sumadera family."
A single line of cold sweat dripped down Amakusa's forehead... With the wind whipping through her hair, Ange spoke coldly.
"...You haven't taken the safety off."
"I know. Tokarevs don't have a safety."
BGM: About Face
It shot into his gut, making him double over in pain. Ange, who knew that he had a gun hidden in his pocket, plucked away his chances of a counterattack. Amakusa, with blood spurting from his forehead, did not close his eyes again.
"...The perfect, easiest way to confirm a death, without even being a doctor."
Kawabata, whose face went pale as he noticed the gruesome scene on the deck, stuck his face out. This time, Ange pointed the barrel of the gun at his forehead.
"Before we left, you said that you needed more time because there was something wrong with the boat. However, if you've been bought, then we can say for sure that you were buying time so that Sumadera Kasumi could set up her ambush on Rokkenjima."
"...I, I have no... no idea what you're talking about...!!"
"You're a cat box, inside of which is a Kawabata who was bought and betrayed me, and a Kawabata who hasn't betrayed me. Now then, how can I kill the part that betrayed me?"
"S, stop...!! Don't shoot...!!"
"I just have to shoot the whole cat box to death."
Then, with a second bullet, she performed a perfect examination. She had... survived. Surely, she had survived the web of conspiracy that had been wrapped around her so skillfully.
Ange returned to the bow of the boat, faced the strong winds head on, and peered into the future in front of her. The boat whose owner was gone... headed towards the endless horizon, on and on in a straight line. She prayed that the truth she truly desired to reach lay before her.
Then, she heard the sound of clapping. The sound of clapping, on a boat where Amakusa and the captain were no more. However, Ange didn't look surprised. She calmly and slowly turned around.
BGM: L&D Circulation
"...Oh, you're here, Erika."
"Anytime there's someone who wants to expose the truth, I am there. *giggle*giggle*."
The boat had already passed by Rokkenjima. The island's silhouette was now off in the distance. The boat headed towards the endless horizon, continuing on its endless journey. The new Witch of Truth announced the beginning of this endless journey to her fellow witch.
"At the end, will there be a truth for me to find?"
"After all this, just what sort of truth are you looking for?"
"...Hmph. You're right. I know that the truth isn't worth anything. And there's one more thing I've figured out."
"That bewildered look on Amakusa's face when his scheme was exposed. That was pretty good."
BGM: Umineko no Naku Koro ni