Part 59: Detective Proclamation II
BGM: Happy Maria! (instrumental)
It was hard to imagine that the person who had been sobbing pathetically and this person now were the same. That's how vile her face contorted to be... The two witches were also cackling with ugly smiles...
"I so understand. When you become Game Master, it feels like you've become God and you get all sure of yourse~lf."
"...It was the same for you, Lambda. You lost because of a stupid mistake with walking corpses. Stupid Game Masters, stupid mistakes, stupid pride, stupid losses, stupid Battler, stupid everything. *giggle* *giggle* *giggle* *giggle*!!"
"Stupid losses, stupid Battler, stupid everything. Ahahahahaha, has a nice ring to it. Nice one, my master. *giggle*giggle*! Stupid Battler, stupid everything, stupid Battler, stupid everything."
"If that stupid Battler really thinks Erika's at a disadvantage, then I really pity him. A detective proclamation isn't what you need to kill a moron."
"Death by falling on a piece of tofu?"
"It'd have to be soft tofu too."
"Add some gochujang chili paste and you've got a snack that'd go great with some wine. *giggle* *giggle* *giggle*!"
It had all been an act to get the duct tape for the seals from Battler... Even though the duct tape that had tormented him so much in the last game had become unusable in this one, he had fallen for Erika's act, and she had gotten what she wanted, though just three rooms' worth. The illusion that Erika had an overwhelming disadvantage was just an act. A trap to trick Battler and make him hand over the duct tape.
"With this, I can kill Battler perfectly...! I figured out those pathetic closed rooms long ago...! A perfect closed room? Dumbaaaaaaaaaaaaass!! I'll show you a real perfect closed room! And I could almost cry for joy at the fact that you gave me the weapon that will finish you...! My master, Lady Lambdadelta...! Thank you so much for going along with this act!"
"It was fun. No need to thank me."
Bernkastel had probably said something disturbing, but in her good mood, Erika didn't care a bit. That pudding-for-brains moron, thinking he's done something so noble! I'll make you regret it, kuhihihi!!
"Alright! Let's use these seals at our leisure...! You did great too, Dlanor. It seems that Battler trusts you, so he believed every word you said."
"Don't tell me you've hurt your conscience. You little murder doll."
Dlanor looked at Erika in a slightly lonely way. Then, after shaking her head slightly, her gaze turned hard, and she looked at the darkness Battler had disappeared into.
"...He should have known that this was a no-holds-barred FIGHT... How foolish, Lord BATTLER. This is, without a doubt, the result of your PRIDE."
BGM: Kina no Kaori
"Yeah, all of the lovers clearly possess a strong will!"
""This is a victory for love...! That, we shall extol!!""
...Everyone had gotten used to these two overdramatic demons. George spoke quietly with an annoyed expression.
"We'll only extol that after we've passed your trial and someone has been given the miracle of magic."
"I agree... We've all passed the first trial. What's next? I won't hold back anymore... I'll do whatever it takes..."
"...Yes. We won't lose."
"We won't lose either."
"Yeah. And of course, the same goes for Battler-kun's group."
"...Of course. I doubt anyone here is so naive that they hope to win by having the others forfeit."
"Right... Anyone weak enough to drop out would have no right to be here right now."
Even Beato, who seemed to be the shakiest one of the six, was strongly determined. The two demons nodded, taking note of the six's continued resolve.
"So, what's the next trial? Don't tell me you still haven't decided..."
"Well, we thought at least some of you would drop out."
"We didn't think that you all would remain. This is a happy miraculous miscalculation due to love!"
"Shut up. So? Are we going to play musical chairs or something to make sure someone drops out?"
"We've decided to have this trial eliminate one group no matter what!"
"This trial is the second twilight of the epitaph-"
""'Tear apart the two who are close!!' Ahahaha hahahahahahahahahaha!""
"...I don't understand."
"Zepar-sama, Furfur-sama... what sort of trial is this? Do you mean we're going to kill each other...?"
"That'd settle things quickly."
"Though it's not exactly civilized."
"Love is carnivorous."
"...We can't all just find happiness together... can we..."
"This is what they call a zero sum game. It's an economic word, but maybe you've heard of it...?"
"N, no, my apologies..."
"Zero sum game. It's where victory and losses all cancel out to end up with zero. In order for someone to win, someone else must be forced to lose. It's the ruthless way of this world."
"...Heh. If only everyone, could be happy... But there's no way an ideal world like that could exist."
"No, there is!"
BGM: Melody (instrumental)
"...The Golden Land...? What are you talking about...?"
"...That's right. If you reach the Golden Land, all love will be satisfied. However, like heaven and hell, that's not a place in this world."
"I wouldn't want that. Love has meaning because we find it in this world. I could never support a sad lovers' double suicide, where they are only united after death. I'll stick to my love in life. I won't lose to anyone."
The door to the Golden Land can be opened by solving the epitaph's riddle... That is a place where love and lives are all whole and can be revived...
BGM: Waltz Op. 34
"Right. What're you trying to make us do with this 'tear apart the two who are close' thing...?"
"It is quite simple!"
"The only possible way to tear apart two lovers is by the sad farewell of death!"
"The second trial involves killing one of the six!"
"Of course, any lover with their partner killed is disqualified."
"In short, one group of lovers must fail during this trial!"
"...You say kill so simply. What are we supposed to do?"
"You can just fight to the death-"
"Or you can decide by a lottery of some sort."
"Like hell we'd choose by drawing lots. Let's have a fair and square duel."
"...Though if we do that, I imagine that Battler-kun, the Game Master, and Beatrice, who is the Golden Witch even though her memory is gone ...will have a substantial advantage."
"Ah, w, well, I wonder about that..."
"Don't worry! For this trial, we have made everyone's powers equal."
"Even the Game Master, Lord BATTLER, is taking this trial on an even footing with everyone else."
"In that case, it's fair..."
"Is it completely and purely on an even footing?"
""Yes, it's perfectly even! In a one on one matchup, victory would be decided by luck!""
"It's perfectly even-"
"So it'll probably take some time before it's settled."
"So, is the trick to attack when you're in a superior position, I wonder?"
"Duels that take time are, of course, wonderful!"
"Why would anyone leave it up to luck? Of course we want to fight in a situation to our advantage."
Beato was the first to notice. If the six people were truly on an even footing and wanted to fight so that they could win, they would have to pair up and concentrate their attacks on a single person. If that happened, then the pair containing the member they were targeting would, of course, band together and resist. In other words, it would never be two against one. In that case, it would become two against two, and a matter of luck.
However, at this time, the third pair watching all this... could team up with whichever pair they liked with no risk to themselves, defeating the opposing pair with certainty...
"Sounds troublesome. It means that it isn't to your advantage to move first."
If you advance and fight, it's a matter of luck. If you sit and wait for the others to start fighting, it's certain victory. The fight would never begin in this situation...
"...Maybe we could just have everyone fight the person next to them one on one. Then, as soon as one fight is settled, the trial will be over."
Unless everyone could abandon any naive hopes for a two on one fight, this trial would never begin and never end. In that case, if they made a gentlemen's agreement and had everyone duel at once, it would be no different from drawing lots, but it would at least be even...
"That won't work. If we do that, everyone will just defend instead of fighting proactively. All they need to do is wait for someone to lose before they do."
Shannon's point was a sound one. If both fighters just glared at each other without attacking, then neither would lose. All they had to do was wait for someone other than themselves to lose first. This brought them back to the starting point. No one would fight proactively.
"In the end, no one will move, and nothing will be resolved..."
"...Since there's this arithmetical situation where we all have the same strength, it's almost like a puzzle."
"True. It would have been an interesting duel if our strengths were unknown. However, since we've been told that we're perfectly even, this duel is no different than rock, paper, scissors."
"...In that case, why not use rock, paper, scissors to decide it...?"
"Are you crazy...?! I'm not gonna do that! Even if someone does lose, there's no way they'd accept their loss!"
"...If they don't accept it, then they will be attacked by the four winners. In the world where all are equal, the losers will have no chance of surviving..."
"True. Well now. Is rock, paper, scissors actually the most reasonable way to settle this?"
"It is extremely reasonable. However, if you ask me whether I'd be reckless enough to entrust my fate to a random number generator, the answer is no."
"Please do consider that problem...!"
"This is the second trial we have for you!"