Part 27: The Great Court of Illusions III
BGM: Solitary Deep Sea Fish
Ironically, the witch had to prove that a human had committed the crime...
"...Still, this is getting pretty difficult. Until 3:00, Erika was in the lounge. And you have to pass through there to reach the second floor. In other words, she's practically like a manager for the guesthouse's second floor."
"...This may be trivial, but if it was possible for someone to go up to the second floor without Erika noticing, we should be able to prove that the crime was possible for anyone."
"It's probably possible for a human to climb up to the second story window if they really wanted to."
Of course, Beato had also thought of striking back that way. And Bernkastel must have thought this as well.
"Battler, Nanjo, Gohda, Kumasawa. We realize that the crime was impossible for all these people in the guesthouse. However, what about the people in the mansion?!"
"As I have already said, and as my master has even proclaimed with the red truth, I was in the lounge on the first floor of the guesthouse. And to reach the second floor, one must pass through the lounge. In other words, it was impossible to reach the second floor without me seeing it."
"And what if that wasn't impossible? For example, what if someone placed a ladder against the outer wall of the guesthouse and snuck in through the second story window?! There must be a way to reach the second floor without passing through the lounge! This way, it was possible to reach the crime scene without you seeing it...!"
Beato finally struck back. Before now, she had let Erika take total control and attack her with the red over and over. During that time, Beato's counterattacks with the blue truth had been few in number, even including this one...
"Of course, I knew you'd try saying that. I couldn't have my lookout in the lounge become meaningless. So first, I must prove that my lookout was perfect."
"...First off, because of how the guesthouse is constructed, it is impossible to reach the second floor without me seeing it from the lounge. There are no places under cover, and neither are there any physical or mental blind spots. My master, repeat it!"
"<Good>, my master! So, next is Lady Beatrice's theory that there might be a way to reach the second floor from the outside. This really is a problem. After all, there are trees that could probably be climbed, and someone could have used a ladder. We also can't be certain that crawling up the rain gutter would be impossible. But I can't let you do that."
"Hoh, you won't let me...? And how's that? Did you stay up all night circling the guesthouse?"
"No, you couldn't do that. You were in the lounge...! From the lounge, you can only see a small part of the outer perimeter through the window!"
"That's true. I couldn't prevent all methods of climbing up to the second floor from the outside. However, I was able to prevent all entry from the second floor."
"...I had already foreseen this move. Frightening... and so persistent...!"
"Because of how the guesthouse is constructed, the only method of entry from the second floor is the windows. The locks? Not important at all. I only had to prove that none of the windows or shutters were opened even once."
"After I witnessed the location of the hidden gold, I returned to the guesthouse and immediately began severing all methods of entry to the second floor of the guesthouse that didn't pass through the lounge. Yes, it's exactly the same. No different from the rest...!"
"Well, I did have my swimsuit from when I drifted here."
"...You're insane... At a house where you were welcomed as a guest, you did something like that in the middle of the rain even though nothing had happened yet...?"
"For a normal human, it would certainly be an impossibly dubious action. However, she is the witch's piece."
In the middle of all that rain, Erika sealed all the windows from the outside... to create an alibi showing that no one could have snuck into the guesthouse from the outside. She climbed up the wall herself, and did that to all the windows on the first and second floor. No, to all things which could possibly have permitted entry. After hearing that she'd listened to the cousins' room all night long without sleeping a wink, even this new bizarre action didn't seem quite so impossible...
That had probably also... looked like a venomous spider. A disgusting spider crawling over the outside guesthouse wall during a storm...
"...You, just what do you... think of this Ushiromiya family...? Is this how you repay us for welcoming you as a guest...?!"
"To a detective, the Ushiromiya family is nothing more or less than the stage upon which the crime occurs. Before the outbreak of the crime, it was important for me to memorize the names of the characters, memorize the layout of the land, and prepare for the upcoming crime by devoting my time towards collecting and creating all possible alibis."
"From my perspective, detectives who don't prepare anything before the outbreak of the crime are pretty third-rate. After all, we all know that someone will die wherever we spend the night."
"...Furthermore, when the crime was discovered, Erika confirmed that none of those seals had been broken. That's why Erika wasn't the first one to reach the cousins' room when the corpses were discovered."
"Even without inspecting the corpses, she could be certain of several things thanks to the red truth. It was more important to check the seals and construct alibis."
"My master is perfect. All I did was prove everything perfectly by following my master's orders...!"
"Well done, Erika. My double, my piece...! What do you think, Lambda? Doesn't this prove that Erika's lookout in the lounge contains absolute reliability as far as constructing alibis...?"
BGM: Smile-less Soiree
"...Yeah, I acknowledge it. Erika, your seal is perfect. I'll acknowledge it in red. It was impossible to reach the second floor of the guesthouse without passing through the lounge, and impossible to reach it at all without Erika, who was in the lounge, knowing about it!"
"Thank you very much, Lady Lambdadelta...!"
"So, you know what's coming next, great Lady Beatrice! Therefore, the time of the crime is limited to the single hour between 24:00, when they were confirmed to be alive, and 1:00 AM, when our party in the lounge started!"
"Uu, gah... ah..."
"I've already said it, but at 24:00, I went down to the lounge, hit it off with Doctor Nanjo, and was engrossed by a discussion of the mystery genre in the archive until 1:00 AM."
"...It's a bit embarrassing, but I grew so engrossed with this discussion... that I wouldn't have noticed if anyone had passed through the corridor during that period. Quite a regretful mistake for a detective."
After doing all that maneuvering and setting up seals to guarantee a perfect alibi, she became too engrossed in a mystery discussion and left an opening...? Her relaxed smile was completely shameless, the total opposite of her words. It almost seems like it's the other way around. It's enough to make you think that this was an intentional trap... to make it clear to all that only Natsuhi didn't have an alibi between 24:00 and 1:00...
Her eyes clearly hinted that Natsuhi was the only one who fit this description...
It should have been a crime whose time and location were completely unknown during that long night. But because of the alibis Erika had constructed, it had been limited to the time period between 24:00 and 1:00. Erika left the cousins' room at 24:00. This is the last confirmation that George and the others were alive. And after the party in the lounge started at 1:00. it was impossible to reach the cousins' room by any method.
"...Damn her, and from a mere human..."
"This is quite bad... The night has been sealed up into an hour, and at this rate, there won't be many suspect pieces left..."
"...Damn it, Lady Bernkastel... Not bad at all..."
"Unlike Battler, I'm not an idiot. After this game's repeated five times, I have more than enough cards in my hand. *giggle* *giggle* *giggle* *giggle*!!"
"Then let us continue. Let's examine the alibis of the remaining suspects, the people in the mansion. After all, we only have to worry about the single hour between 24:00 and 1:00. That shouldn't be difficult at all."
"First, at 24:00. At this time, Natsuhi, Krauss, and Genji are in the second floor corridor, and all of the others are in the first floor dining hall. This has already been shown by my master's red!"
"Yeah, that's right. At 24:00, Natsuhi, Krauss, and Genji were in the corridor on the second floor of the mansion. The rest of them were in the dining hall on the first floor. And as you know, there was a mysterious knock, and a letter with the One Wing seal on it appeared. The discussion surrounding that continued on until 1:00. I will say it with the red truth. Of all the people in the dining hall, not one of them left the dining hall until 1:00 AM...!"
Since the time that the crime was possible had been limited to between 24:00 and 1:00... The adults in the family conference, who, as had been guaranteed, hadn't left the mansion between 24:00 to 1:00, all had proven alibis.
"...A, and how do you intend to prove that?! Erika's in the guesthouse! Did someone prove it by using one of your favorite seals on the dining hall door?! You have no convincing evidence or proof...!!"
This overbearing red truth hadn't only given alibis to the adults in the dining hall. It also gave alibis to Shannon and Kanon, who had come to serve tea, and even guaranteed that they never left the dining hall. In other words, the only ones who didn't have proven alibis... were three people: Natsuhi, Krauss, and Genji...
No, there were only two left. If Krauss and Genji had their alibis proven, it proves that no one but Natsuhi could have been the culprit...!
"Let's do Genji next. He's a victim, but you can't deny the possibility that he committed the crime in the cousins' room and then was killed himself."
"And furthermore, while he was in the second floor corridor at 24:00, he then returned to the servant room to transfer the phone call for Natsuhi and was completely isolated."
"Which means that it was possible for Genji to commit the crime-"
"I'll say it in red. When Genji finished transferring the call, he immediately returned to the waiting room. That's just a cold, hard truth, without any evidence, proof, seals or alibis, got it?"
"Then, at 1:00 AM, there was another break in the family conference, and Rosa returned to the guesthouse. At that time... I'm truly thankful for your cooperation, Ushiromiya Eva-san. Please rise...!"
BG: Deep Blue Jeer
"She's the person who taught me how to make those seals. And she helped me to check the alibis of those people under suspicion...!"
"During the break at 1:00 AM, I went to Genji-san's waiting room and used the same seal as Erika-chan...! In other words, if this wasn't broken, it would mean that no one entered or left that room between 1:00 AM and the next morning...!!"
"Now, Kanon-san and Kumasawa-san. Please rise."
Kanon rose expressionlessly, and Kumasawa got to her feet timidly.
"In the morning, you two went to wake Genji-san because he had slept in, right? And at that time, you noticed that the door was sealed, broke the seal, and opened the door, correct?"
"...Y, yes. I thought it was some kind of prank."
"I didn't think deeply about it at the time."
"I'm not asking for your opinions. Just give us the facts. Did you break the seal and enter the room?"
"During the short break at 1:00 AM, the first two to leave the dining hall were Rosa and Eva. Until Eva returned, everyone in the dining hall remained there. After seeing Rosa off, Eva went to the waiting room and sealed it. Of course, she did not enter the room at all at this time."
"This is all information gathered from the people involved. It isn't a red truth without a basis. It's a truth due to proper reasoning constructed from testimony. Not only testimony, but the limits of scientific investigations such as collecting fingerprints were used here."
"After all, Kinzo-san's study is a treasure vault with all kinds of chemicals! I obtained all sorts of results to create an ultimate truth, infinitely close to a red truth. This isn't a science mystery, so I'll spare you the details."
As Erika swaggered around the cathedral, she arrogantly touted her scientific knowledge. She had thorough knowledge of all the chemicals in Kinzo's study and had used them to conduct a scientific investigation, which had now been acknowledged and made into a red truth by Bernkastel. She didn't explain the details, but she had obtained results that were convincing even without the red truth.
Collecting fingerprints with aluminum powder. Component analysis of the mud under someone's shoe and various chemical reactions from the clinging rain water. Erika just walked into someone else's study several times and used several chemicals however she pleased, all without asking the family's permission. However, no one could fault her for this. The pieces couldn't hinder any action the detective might take for the investigation. That's the power of the detective's authority.
"...You act like you own the place... From now on, I'll tell everyone I meet. If someone claims to be a detective, never welcome them into your house as a guest."
"That's probably a good idea. Giving shelter to a detective is just about the worst omen of misfortune out there."
"...Because of this, it has been proven that it was only possible to reach Genji's waiting room and commit the crime between 24:00 and 1:00 AM. And furthermore, by Erika's investigation, it has been proven that it was impossible for Genji to reach the cousins' room."
It had already been made clear in red that, after transferring the phone call to Natsuhi, Genji had gone straight back to the waiting room. And because of Erika's scientific investigation, further red had been added, saying Genji never left the mansion after 24:00... Because of this, it's been made clear that Genji couldn't have reached the guesthouse, much less the cousins' room...
BGM: Patchwork Chimera
"...I... impossible... ahhh."
Natsuhi's mouth flapped open and shut like a suffocating goldfish. And that's an accurate analogy. Natsuhi's mind was blank and spinning out of control, and she felt as though she really would suffocate.
"F, fool!! Do I look like the kind of woman who would falsely accuse her husband?!!"
"...Beato. Natsuhi's denied it. I'll give you the same chance."
"...You understand, right? Or wait, don't tell me... You aren't going to take advantage of the fact that Krauss is missing to try and pull a Devil's Proof on me, are you...?"
Beato realized that they were rapidly approaching the end of this battle. Normally, these alibis of Erika's would still have many places that Beato could argue against using the blue truth. However, all of those alibis had been accepted by Bernkastel and Lambdadelta as red truth, and Beato no longer had any room to argue...
"...It's like... those witches are distorting things so that they match with an outline Erika's drawn up..."
"That's right. If the Game Master, Lady Lambdadelta, accepts a truth, its authenticity will not be questioned. The world that comes after will be formed based on the final remaining truth... This happens no matter how far this final truth is from the real truth."
"There's no way Uncle Krauss is the culprit. He's being held prisoner somewhere."
"...W, wait, we can't deny the possibility that Aunt Natsuhi was skillfully tricked into believing that during the phone call..."
"Do you suspect Natsuhi and Krauss, Battler-kun?"
"Erika's truth has been constructed in a cowardly fashion, but it is a proper truth. Though the witches did conspire with her, it has still been acknowledged as a red truth. In other words, it cannot be a fake truth built only on lies. This means that even Erika's truth makes sense. The truth about Natsuhi and Krauss being the culprits is also very possible. Though it is a mixture of truth and lies, it 'makes sense'."
"...No. I'll... trust Aunt Natsuhi... and Uncle Krauss. I realize that they're in some money trouble."
"But even so, I don't want to believe that they're the culprits. No, I can't believe it...!"
"On this game board, where the red is steadily cornering Natsuhi, how do you intend to let her escape?"
"I, I don't know... However, I seriously don't want to give up...! Aunt Natsuhi was just caught in a cowardly trap. Erika's reasoning has fallen for that trap completely...! So whether it's intentional or she's being manipulated, Erika is aiding the true culprit."
"...Erika has accused Aunt Natsuhi of being the culprit, but even if everyone here believes that, in fact, for that very reason, I want to be the one person who trusts Aunt Natsuhi...!"
If everyone believes it's her, will that become the truth? If everyone accepts a lie, will that become the truth? Must an honest person be dragged up to the guillotine, all alone and taunted by the liars?
"I... don't like it. If no one will believe Aunt Natsuhi, then I will...!! The real truth isn't something that's determined when everyone accepts it! It's something you find after thoroughly investigating both possibilities...! So this trial is a downright lie! This trial exists for no reason other than to set Aunt Natsuhi up as the culprit!!"
"...Beato is doing all she can to plead Natsuhi's case, right?"
"Wrong. Beato is trying to refute Erika's argument. She's just defending! You can't fight in this trial by simply resisting all of your opponent's claims. This is why Beato always cornered me in the past...!"
"She isn't going to beat Erika by finding flaws in her reasoning! She has to find a different truth and show Lambdadelta, the commander of this game... that her truth is more correct than Erika's...!!"
"Can anyone create a truth where Natsuhi isn't the culprit without violating the red truths that Lady Bernkastel has shown...?"
"...I, I don't know... But, as long as I don't believe that Aunt Natsuhi is the culprit, there's got to be a different truth!"
"It's even alright if the culprit for the crime was a witch. That's better than having Natsuhi be framed by an incorrect truth...!!"
"...So, no matter how much red truth you are shown, you won't believe that Natsuhi is the culprit, correct?"
"Yeah...! For everything, there should always be some people who believe and some who don't...! No matter how much evidence is stacked up against her, someone has to believe that she's innocent!"
"There must be several truths in the world that cannot be proven with evidence. I don't ever want to accept that something's true just because everyone says it is!!"
Is there some reason that you have to believe it?! Until you see the back of the moon with your own eyes, you can't deny either the possibility that nothing is there or the possibility of a thriving culture of space bunnies...! You should never assume something is the truth until you actually check it. This court is a malicious thing, trying to force a single interpretation on a truth that cannot be checked.
I believed there was a society on the back side of the moon!! But that was in elementary school, and I was made fun of and laughed at. So I thought it was embarrassing to think that a society lived on the moon... and I threw away that 'belief'. I'd been told by a book my mom read me that rabbits lived on the back side of the moon, so I'd believed that for a long, long time. But when everyone said that was wrong, I abandoned that truth without even trying to check it! Even without evidence, I abandoned the truth I believed in...!
And now, everyone is starting to believe that Aunt Natsuhi is the culprit. Even though no decisive evidence has been shown...! Even without evidence, Erika's words sound reasonable, so they're probably the truth...? And that's why you're throwing away your 'belief' that Aunt Natsuhi is innocent despite a lack of proof?!
"...Understood. Then I will give you just a single red truth. This is the single bit of power I will give you, now that you hold the will to fight in the truest sense."
"By the name of the Finite Witch Virgilia. No, as the former witch Beatrice, I will grant you this red truth."