Part 35: ???? III
Video: Opposing Truths
BGM: Hello Your Dream
In her hand... was the red longsword of the Decalogue. She also had a blue short sword.
In Battler's hand... was a golden longsword. The two rivals once again... No, for the first time... they truly confronted each other.
"Sorry to keep you."
"You did NOT. Your return was sooner than I ANTICIPATED."
Dlanor's form disappeared in an instant. As though her slow, dignified movements from before were only a lie...! The curve drawn by the longsword of red truth burned itself into the retinas of those who saw it. Before anyone had enough time to follow that curve, it was already approaching Battler's chest...!
"It's possible to show a different truth by using a different interpretation!! When multiple truths exist in parallel, the authenticity of both is questioned!!"
In this closed off world, it's possible for differing truths to exist at the same time. Furthermore, as long as multiple truths exist, it's impossible to claim that any of the truths are the single truth. In other words, even if I can't overturn Erika's reasoning, by questioning its credibility... and conquering it, I can defeat it...!
"Bern's reasoning is perfect. You won't be able to overturn it easily. But still."
"If you can present a theory on par with Bern's, the fight will come down to a verdict. That means it's possible that either one of the truths will be defeated and denied!"
"...This plot twist is truly laughable...!! I'd expect nothing less from a plot twist by a demon!!"
"Then let me ASK!! What is this theory with someone other than Natsuhi as the CULPRIT?!!"
Battler's golden longsword drew both red and blue curves at will.
"It's possible to construct it using the revenge of the baby from 19 years ago, which Aunt Natsuhi confessed about."
"Knox's 1st. It is forbidden for the culprit to be anyone not mentioned in the early part of the story! A person first introduced in the 5th game cannot be named as the CULPRIT...!!"
"Knox's 8th. It is forbidden for the case to be resolved with clues that are not presented! Was there ever any foreshadowing showing that you might be the baby from 19 years ago?!!"
"The red truth from the 4th game that I am not the son of my mother Asumu. The feeling that Dad was hiding something in both the first game and this game. In particular, in this game, it was made clear that there were some special circumstances having to do with my birth."
Battler proposed that he might be the baby from 19 years ago, and announced that he would reconstruct the crime with himself as the culprit. As Dlanor cautiously held her sword at the ready, she gauged the distance between them...
Now that Battler had inherited the position of this world's territory lord and attained the rank of Endless Sorceror, his movements surpassed human understanding. By now, the physical distance between them probably counted for nothing. Because their extremely agile battle was surpassing the point where the concept of distance made any difference.
"...A good START. Let us hear... your theory with Battler as the culprit...!"
"Yeah, I'll let you hear it. I'll prove that this explanation also works, and that you can't be certain Aunt Natsuhi is the culprit...!"
BGM: Final Answer
This time, Erika stepped forward. In her hand, there appeared a scythe like one a grim reaper might hold. A ruthless scythe for reaping everything that threatened her theory...!
"It has not been specified that the time of death was between 24:00 and 1:00. Therefore, it's possible that the crime didn't occur between 24:00 and 1:00...!"
"There's a restriction on any murders in the cousins' room! From 1:00 AM until the discovery of the crime, it was impossible for the crime to occur in the cousins' room!!"
"Knox's 8th. It is forbidden for the case to be resolved with clues that are not PRESENTED. If the crime actually was carried out in the cousins' room, clues must have been SHOWN. Because clues were not given to the detective, Lady Erika, who was on the watch for any abnormalities inside that room until morning, such a crime is IMPOSSIBLE...!!"
"By the time of the crime's discovery, you mean the point at which I let out a scream and everyone gathered there. Even if it was impossible to kill them before that point, it was possible to kill them afterwards...!!"
Battler used a blue flash to deflect both of the red truths that Erika and Dlanor had flung at him...! Erika's eyes went wide. After all, what he had said was completely absurd.
...At that time, they still hadn't been killed...?! Even though corpses with their necks sliced open were laying there?!
"I see, since you believe they were dead by that point, it probably looks as though the dead have been brought back to life to you...! So this might look like magic in your eyes."
"...In that case, I won't be the one to take the next shot at you!"
"Fool!! How often do I have to say it?!!"
"The deaths of the four people in the cousins' room have been proclaimed with the red truth!! Furthermore, those corpses were witnessed by a large number of people!!"
The fierce shower of red was blocked by a magical barrier set up by Ronove, who suddenly appeared right in front of Battler. Now that Beato was gone, the demons shouldn't have been able to manifest themselves in the real world... However, he 'existed' here, and calmly dealt with Erika's attack.
"Y, you, Ronove!! H, how did you get here...?!"
"Well, who cares, this all works out nicely. Now there's no need to go looking for you. I'll capture you here and deny your existence too!!"
"...I'll leave it to you. Teach her that you can't control everything with a single, arrogant truth."
"<Yes, your majesty>."
" "...Well then, allow me to be your opponent for a bit. What do you say, Miss?"
"In that case, when do you claim the red truth death proclamation happened?! Are you saying you can pinpoint that?! You can't pinpoint it, so you can't deny that the death proclamation was made at the time of the crime's discovery!!"
"That does not deny the possibility that the murder occurred after the morning of the second day, after the so-called 'discovery of the crime'...!"
"Then, you're saying... that the victims were alive at that time?! Even though their necks were sliced open?!"
"Did you see that yourself, Miss Detective...? It may be true that all corpses would not lead to a mistaken examination, no matter who it was that checked to see whether they were alive, but it has never been said that there was a rule against something other than a corpse being called a corpse."
Erika swung her scythe recklessly, but Ronove blocked everything with elegant gestures made with the shield on one of his hands.
"S, so, at that point in time, no one was dead?! There weren't even wounds on their necks?! In that case, why did Battler scream?!"
A pitch black hole opened beneath Erika's feet and swallowed her up. She could probably see through to the other side of the hole. It was the same thing you'd see if you looked down out of the skylight on the ceiling of this cathedral.
Virgilia could already be seen in midair inside the cathedral. As Erika fell from the heavens, Virgilia was right below her and caught her on the end of a divine spear which sparkled blue!
"CORRECT. Unless someone other than Kinzo makes the corpses disappear, your theory FAILS."
"Geh, gah, gammiiiiiiit, this is nothing... graggh... gah...!!"
Virgilia's blue divine spear skewered and pinned Erika in midair. Erika struggled, filled with hatred, but she couldn't get it out easily. Then, all around her, several small, fast things clanged off the walls and enveloped her.
Then seven people manifested themselves at once.
"...You... lowly paperweights...!!"
"After George's death, his corpse was never moved!"
"After Jessica's death, her corpse was never moved!"
"After Maria's death, her corpse was never moved!"
"After Rosa's death, her corpse was never moved!"
"After Genji's death, his corpse was never moved!"
"After Krauss's death, his corpse was never moved!"
"Therefore, the corpses couldn't have vanished after being discovered!! Your theory about Kinzo carrying the corpses away fails!"
...Erika was probably capable of escaping this even with Kinzo's existence denied by making only a small revision to her theory. However, to her, having to revise a theory she had already created... was extremely humiliating!
"Looks like you toyed around with your plan too much in order to corner Natsuhi like that."
"You played around too much with your reasoning. At this point, your master isn't the only one who can speak of Kinzo's death with the red truth."
"This is what you get for playing around in the witches' darkness. Know that, Furudo Erika...!"
"Nngh, gggh, ggh...!!"
Of course, even Erika had doubted Kinzo's existence from the beginning. However, it had previously been impossible for anyone to deny his existence in that trial except for Bernkastel and Lambdadelta, who had sided with each other. And because of the willful silence of those two, the truth about Kinzo had truly been unfixed.
And yet, to think that Battler... had become a witch... a sorcerer, and capable of using red without proof!! However, she had her own Inquisitor of Heresy who could also use red without proof to counter!!
"...Forgive me, damn geezer."
"Overcome it, Battler. Don't let my corpse stop you...!!"
"Presentation of evidence. I'll present a corpse which could possibly be identified as Ushiromiya Kinzo's...!!"
"Can you prove that this corpse is Ushiromiya Kinzo's?! No matter how much it resembles him, unless you can prove that it is him."
"...Ooh. Any counter with the red truth will be ineffective? I guess that works."
"It may be true that the existence of third-party corpses has already been denied with the red. However, if saying that with the red is forbidden, *giggle*, Battler has nowhere to run to. Heheheheheheheheheh!"
"That's right... In this closed-off Rokkenjima, there is no objective way to show that this corpse is Grandfather's."
"And that itself suggests the possibility that this corpse is a body double! This unidentifiable corpse cannot serve as proof of Kinzo's death...!!"
"...Checkmate...!! My theory does not waver!!"
Dlanor had sealed off the red truth as a means of proving that Kinzo's corpse had been shown. Even with the power of witches, Battler couldn't argue back...!
"...How are you gonna prove that the corpse was Kinzo's if the red truth is sealed? It's impossible. It can't be done...!"
"...With red or blue, right...?"
Then, when Dlanor... met with Battler's golden flash, she was unable to fully block it with either her red longsword or her blue short sword, and she was blown backwards into empty space...! It was a direct hit... without any miscalculation. Though she had always seemed as firm as a small giant before now, she was finally blasted away and slammed against the wall as though she was the slender girl she appeared to be...!
"D, Dlanor?! Wh, what are you..."
"...G, gold truth...?!"
The golden longsword, which had been drawing red and blue trails before now, finally drew a curve which retained its divine golden color. The truth it showed... was neither red nor blue. It was gold... truth...!!!
"Wh, what is that...? Lambda, does this follow the rules?!"
"...Yes. Gold truth, effective. The gold truth... can only be used by the territory lord of this world... no, only by the Game Master himself!!"
"Wh, what did you say...?"
"...Gold TRUTH. A divine truth woven in a different fashion than the red TRUTH. Its strength is on par with the red TRUTH. It may sometimes be INFERIOR. But it is sometimes SUPERIOR!!"
"That glitter... is proof that Battler-kun truly understands Beato."
"...I've shown it. Shown that the corpse is Grandfather's."
"YES. Gold truth, ACCEPTED. Unless Lady Erika's theory undergoes some revision, it will be DESTROYED...!"
Erika cried out in pain. It wasn't the pain of her body being pierced. It was the pain of her own theory being defiled...!
"Battler, it would be excessively unrefined to say any more."
"Even without saying another word, you've fully made your truth about the corpses' disappearance 'understood'! I see, 'that thing' you're thinking of doesn't conflict with any of the red in this trial so far!"
"Wha. What the...?! Why is that, great Lady Lambdadelta?!! He still hasn't explained everything...!! I still have many ways to argue back, like Hideyoshi's closed room, the seal on Natsuhi's personal room and the button in the closet!"
"...So. You still intend to argue back against Battler...?"
Only Erika, the one who was supposedly so intelligent, couldn't understand. She couldn't understand that Battler had already found the real truth.
"Because of this, Grandfather's absence has been verified, and the dishonorable relationship between Aunt Natsuhi and Grandfather has been removed from consideration!!"
"Furthermore. Because we have raised doubts about the time of death for all who have died so far, the alibis for everyone besides Aunt Natsuhi go back to square one...!!"
"If you try to argue that the crime was impossible for everyone except Aunt Natsuhi, it won't work!!"
Dlanor, who must have risen to her knees at some point, slowly stood up... The flash from the golden longsword was still buried deep into her chest. Though pain didn't show in her expression, her awkward movements clearly showed how serious the damage she had taken was. Even though she herself knew that the match was long over by now... Dlanor didn't abandon her duty...!
"...Knox's 7th, it is forbidden for the detective to be the CULPRIT!! The detective is obligated to have an objective point of VIEW. Your theory violates this OBLIGATION!!"
"Furudo Erika is the detective in this game, not me!! And by Knox's 9th, it is permitted for observers to let their own conclusions and interpretations be heard...!!"
"Knox's 8th, it is forbidden for the case to be resolved with clues that are not PRESENTED! Until now, you have been the DETECTIVE! Was it ever shown that you were not the detective this time, and that you were an observer with a subjective VIEWPOINT?!! Unless it was, you do not have the right to falsify your point of VIEW!!"
"In this game! When I figured out the device of the epitaph's riddle, I witnessed Grandfather. As has already been shown in red, Grandfather doesn't exist. It was impossible for me to witness him! Therefore, it has already been shown that my viewpoint wasn't objective!!"
"It is possible that it was just a sheet or something fluttering in the wind and rain which you mistook for Kinzo. It cannot be used as foreshadowing to form a basis for Knox's 9th...!! Mistaking things for something else is a right permitted to all observers!!"
It's the red truth Beato used to counter my blue truth claim that 'someone disguised themselves as Kinzo' to make it seem as though Grandfather had appeared. In other words, on this island, all illusions which might lead someone to mistake something for Grandfather, including someone else pretending to be Grandfather, 'most certainly cannot work'.
All of Aunt Natsuhi's schemes to make it seem that Grandfather existed were hidden in the relatives' blind spots, all of them clever tricks like 'he was here just a second ago' or 'he's in his study alone now'. They never tried to make anyone mistake something they saw for Grandfather himself, so there are no contradictions. If they had tried to dress one of the servants in Grandfather's robe... it would probably have been seen through in an instant... It has been guaranteed that none of the characters in this tale would 'mistake something for Grandfather by sight'...!
If someone still claims to have seen Grandfather, it becomes a 'falsehood'. Allowing falsehoods to be contained within their observations is a right granted to everyone... except for just one person. And that person is 'the detective'...!!
"Because of the right granted by Knox's 9th, people are allowed to mistake a sheet in the wind for anything else and tell about it. However! Mistaking it for Grandfather in particular is not permitted in this game due to the red truth!!"
"...So, once you claimed to have seen Kinzo, it was no longer misrecognition... but INTENTIONAL. In other words, this proves that the observer wasn't objective... is what you are SAYING...?"
In this case, unintentional 'misrecognition' is not permitted by the rules of this game. However, it is possible to intentionally 'lie about seeing' something you never saw...!! And that is an action not permitted to a 'detective' burdened with the responsibility of an impartial perspective...
"Forgive my crazy argument... It's all finished now."
"No, it's ALRIGHT."
You will surely protect the real truth from the tyranny of any plausible truth... that might claim to exist as the sole truth and try to exterminate all fragile TRUTHS...!!
Battler's golden longsword... drew a massive blue arc as though splitting the heavens.
"I'm glad I could fight with YOU...!!"
"Therefore, my perspective in this game is based upon the 9th, not the 7th...!! The fact that I claimed to have seen Grandfather is proooooooooooofff!!!"
...The noise which rang out across the cathedral... was the sound of Dlanor's longsword clattering to the floor. Simply letting go of that was the same as resigning to the proud Dlanor. Though the blue trail Battler had drawn was aiming right for the top of Dlanor's head, it stopped a hair's breadth away... If it hadn't, Dlanor would probably have been annihilated without leaving a single scrap of flesh behind.
BGM: Hello Your Dream
"I've paid my debt. Let honor be to your father. The Decalogue was neither arrogant nor judgmental...!"
"H, honor to... my FATHER..."
Dlanor... sat down on the floor... and completely abandoned her will to fight.
"Wh, what are you doing, Dlanor?!! Lame, pathetic!! You stupid half-wit murder doll!!"
"You've tainted the honor of your own father, shame on you!! You still call yourself mystery's wedges?! Will you surrender to magic?! The history of the mystery genre won't allow that!!"
"...You're the one... that doesn't understand what mystery is all about. If you see mystery as nothing more than a weapon with which to sneer at your opponent intellectually,"
"...I won't let you ever say so again!!"
"...B, Battleeeeeeeeee... eeer...!!!"
"His goal was to make Aunt Natsuhi look like a murderer...!! From the beginning, this has all been a drama of revenge intent on framing Aunt Natsuhi...!!"
"...You still can't pull out the blue spear that's sticking through you, right?"
"Yeah, that's right. From Erika, I haven't heard of a single way for the corpses to disappear that doesn't involve Kinzo. Looks like your theory is about to be denied, doesn't it?!"
"Th, this spear is just... ugh, gaaaaahh...!! You paperweights... get out of my way...!"
...The deeply piercing blue spear and the seven red stakes tormented her theory. They won't come out... they won't come out...!!
"...I acknowledge the mistake in Erika's reasoning and the need for revision."
"Wh, what the... my master?!?!"
Watching Erika's face contort with pain as she struggled to escape from the spear, Bernkastel spoke this with a disgusted expression. Faced with the facts, Bernkastel had acknowledged Erika's loss herself. Erika gazed at her master, who was no longer confident about Erika's own victory, with a mixture of shock and despair...
"Ooh, agh... hh... y, yes, my master...!! I'll revise it... I'll revise my theory...!! Gyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggghhhh...!!"
As Erika's face twisted in humiliation and tears streamed from her eyes, she withdrew and revised her own theory in accordance with her master's order... Mumbling quietly, she made various revisions with the blue truth, had them acknowledged by Lambdadelta, and finally had the blue spear smashed and was freed... Though that blue truth did indeed explain how the corpses had disappeared, it couldn't conceal its desperation and was a bit of truly shabby reasoning.
"...My master... I, I've taken it out... My theory... is perfect..."
"Are you kidding me? It's horribly pathetic. But I'll forgive you. Because your face and your theory are so lame it's funny! *giggle*giggle*giggle*giggle*giggle*!!!"
Erika was taunted by her master, who wore an ugly expression. She thrashed about on the floor, crying bitter tears. The wounded Dlanor stepped out before her, as though shielding her, and she spoke to Bernkastel, as well as Battler.
"Yeah, that's right. Regardless of my truth, yours can exist at the same time. That's what this world is like. No one can disprove them, so even if there are various truths and even if they contradict each other wildly, they can exist at the same time. Here, as many truths exist as you can imagine. No one can just deny that all on their own...!"
"YES, that is TRUE. I won't let anyone deny Lady Erika's TRUTH."
"As long as I'm here, I will protect that TRUTH. No matter how pathetic it is, I will not laugh at that TRUTH."
...The words of Dlanor, whom Erika had previously looked down upon, led Erika to once again thrash about on the floor, sobbing.
"And. Because no unique truth exists, everything is covered in darkness. Therefore. While both my theory and Erika's theory are impossible to deny, neither is a unique truth. They are vague, and while neither can be denied, neither is certain...!!"
"Because there has been no decision, the Illusion of the Witch still exists. The only one who will be permitted to expose that is neither Erika nor the rest of you."
"...It's me alone! I won't let anyone expose Beatrice's illusion except me!!!"
"The verdict is revised...!! Because of the truth presented by Ushiromiya Battler, Erika's truth is no longer unique! However, Erika's truth is impossible to disprove! Therefore, both of their truths exist together! The conclusion of the 5th game is rescinded!"
"The game goes back to being even!! And I transfer the position of Game Master from myself to the Golden Sorcerer, Ushiromiya Battler!!"
"Yeah!! I'm the new Game Master!! I'll weave the 6th game...!!"
"Erika, let's settle things for good this time!! Stand up!!"
"...Y, yes, I will stand... I'll make you regret... giving me a chance to clear away this shame...!!! My master, please give me an opportunity to fight with Battler again in the 6th game!!"
"Wow, incredible. She said 'I'll give you a chance'."
"Isn't this a miracle? The Witch of Miracles, Bernkastel."
"Y, yes, my master...!!!"
"Of COURSE. I will give it my all in the next game as WELL."
"Heh, heheheheheheh!! I won't pretend to be a guest any longer. Together with Dlanor, I'll tear your game to bits!!"
"Sure. I'll invite you to my 6th game...!! Sorry, but that title of yours...<Checkmate of the>... isn't cutting it."
"It's your game. You can decide the name yourself! Just bring it on...!! I, Furudo Erika, am a detective before I am a witch!!"
Just watch, Beato. I'll take charge of your game!!
TO BE CONTINUED