Part 63: Logic Error II
As Erika lightly raised her right hand, a single gold butterfly appeared from the darkness behind her, flitted between the index finger and middle finger of Erika's raised hand, and became a white piece. Then, she lifted it high into the air...
"This is the one exception. The walk-in closet next to the entrance!!"
Bang!! Like a falling white lightning bolt, the white piece hit the board... landing by a weak spot in Battler's formation...
"Yes, it is HERE...!!!"
With a crash, the door of the closet, which was just off to the side of the guest room's entrance, was impaled by a spear that represented the blue truth. Dlanor had spun around and thrown it. The door was completely pierced, and the spear stuck in so deeply that if a human had been hiding in it, it would have pierced their chest as well. Its still quivering handle was a testament to the force with which it had been thrown.
"There are no places in which to hide other than THIS. You are now hiding in HERE."
"...What do you say, Battler-san...? Have you been struck through the chest, for a literal Smothered Mate...?"
"...Battler-san. It's our move now."
"Yeah. I thought it would be like that, Erika. You intentionally left one spot open so you could stuff me into that coffin. It's the same move that trapped Kinzo in Natsuhi's room. I saw this move coming."
"Oh, did you? Then let's see your response. But let me make a prediction."
"Let's hear it."
BGM: Solitary Deep Sea Fish
"Then I'll make the same prediction. I'll checkmate you in just two moves."
"...These predictions contradict each other. Who will be the liar, I wonder...?"
The air burst and sparked. The silence would hurt one's skin.
"Then GO. It is your TURN."
"...It's useless. Your lowly coffin won't be able to trap Battler-san."
"Here's my response."
Slowly, Battler held his hand over the chess board. A gold butterfly that had appeared from the darkness rested on Battler's finger and became a black piece. That black piece was the king, which represented Battler.
"...This is my response... to your 'Battler is hiding in the closet'... Take this."
Like a black bolt of lightning this time, Battler slammed his piece down on the white piece of Erika's that had cut deep behind his lines... crushing her piece. It scattered like a golden spray and melted beautifully into the darkness as a faint cloud of gold sparks drifted about...
"It's the same technique he used to let Kinzo escape from the study in the last game. Distract the observation of the observer, and disappear into the darkness."
Next was Erika's turn. A gold butterfly popped into existence in front of Erika... and she grabbed it right out of the air. She then lifted that hand into the air... and raised the white piece high.
BGM: Patchwork Chimera
"Objection. Gohda severed the chain back when the crime was first discovered. Since the chain lock is not functioning, it is impossible to use it to create a seal."
"Objection overruled. Erika repaired the chain lock. ...See?"
"...Impossible. How could she have repaired a brass chain?"
"It is possible to repair. Have you forgotten, Beato? The duct tape seals. Erika used that duct tape to join the two cut ends of the chain together, 'sealing' them. In other words, the chain was repaired by the duct tape, and this room once again became a closed room locked from the inside."
"O, objection. Erika-san has already used up her duct tape seals, hasn't she...?! She shouldn't be able to use them anymore...!"
"Objection overruled. The use of the duct tape wasn't limited by the number of strips, right? It was by the number of rooms. The only restriction was to limit it to only three rooms. Erika chose this guest room to be one of those rooms. So, Erika has the right to seal as many places as many times as she wants within this room."
"...That's right. I... gave her permission to do that."
"This is what you get for your PRIDE. Sympathy is the evil liquor that the proud are most fond of."
"So, with this retroactive move, I proclaim that the chain lock has been repaired by the duct tape seal and has regained its original functionality. And, thanks to that, I locked the room upon entering it and made this guest room a closed room from the inside once more."
The white piece Erika held aloft... represented the seal caused by the chain lock. This move would draw out Battler's king and drag it to the guillotine.
The piece for the chain lock was slammed down right at Battler's king's throat.
Battler's face contorted. Beato, who was watching from behind, grimaced even more. This move... was very painful. If his logic said that he had hidden in the closet until Erika left and used the uproar in the bathroom to escape, then the chain lock must have been unset. In other words, he couldn't respond to this demand. If he didn't respond, Erika would use the blue truth in her next move. She would probably say 'you hid in the closet, then used the disturbance in the bathroom to escape. Since you then couldn't set the chain lock from the outside, you left it undone'... And she would be right.
This was... checkmate. As Erika had predicted, she would strike the finishing blow on the second move. And on top of that, she would probably use the disappearing Battler to solve most of the crimes that were to follow. Losing the battle in this closed room would steal a major deciding piece from Battler...
What if he could say 'the lock created by the chain is still intact'? That... would be fatal to Erika. It had already been shown with the red truth that this guest room could only be made into a closed room from the inside. So, this hopeless closed room would instead become Erika's coffin. For a riddle like this, Erika probably wouldn't solve the mystery of Battler's disappearance until the end.
Each unsolved riddle gives an advantage to the witch side. Battler... wanted to respond to this demand if at all possible. However, if he responded... If he answered by saying that the chain was still set... He would have to abandon the logic saying that he had escaped while Erika wasn't looking. Once he escaped, he wouldn't be able to set the chain lock again. It would make a riddle to corner Erika, but he would have to construct a different escape method.
Even a move such as him leaving the closet during the scene in the bathroom and hiding in another place--say, under the bed--wouldn't work because he had proclaimed that 'Battler does not exist within the guest room'. If he could construct logic that allowed him to escape from here while preserving the chain lock's position, then Erika would be the one facing a fatal blow. However, if he didn't have that logic... if he failed... it would be a logic error. The worst and lowest forbidden move that would instantly end the game in his defeat. He would have no way to recover. For Battler, deciding how to respond to this demand... was a very advanced and difficult decision...
"B, Battler-san. This guest room has already been restricted in many ways by the red truth due to its closed room nature. How do you plan on escaping from this...?!"
"...If only I could do something about the chain lock... If only..."
If he could somehow trick the matter of the chain lock, he could make Erika have to deal with a terrible closed room! It would probably end up as a finishing blow to her. But in order to do that, he would need to make a trick for escaping 'the closed room that existed before Erika came back'... which was now 'the closed room sealed by the chain that Erika set right after entering the room', and on top of that, he had to make sure that 'the chain that could only be set from the inside remained in place'...! If he could do that... if he could find a way... then it would end here...!
But I still can't think of that trick...! Right now, Erika is demanding to know whether the chain lock is still set or not. I need to decide whether I'll take that challenge or back down... and I need to do it right now...! If I can find a certain-win trick, then this is the end...! But if I don't have that trick, I should just acknowledge that I slipped out of the closet, undid the chain, and escaped... and back out of the fight... If I say the chain was set without a trick up my sleeve, then it's impossible for me to escape. In other words, it's a logic error...!!
"Even if we lose the fight in this room, there will still be chances left to us. We've still only started the second day, haven't we? We have plenty of time to reconstruct an impossible murder."
"...No, that's no good. If I acknowledge that I've escaped from this room now, it's the same as acknowledging that I'm the culprit! If I back down from the fight in this room, it's the same as accepting my defeat in this game."
Battler's point was a valid one. Since all of the other humans were still locked in the guesthouse... then if Battler alone was alive and free to move... Erika would probably base her explanation for all of the following impossible crimes on the blue truth that Battler was the perpetrator. If they wanted to forcefully turn that around, they would have to rewrite their tricks and logic so that 'someone other than Battler' would be set up as the perpetrator. To fix up one flaw, they would have to create new flaws, and the flaws might eventually pile up and kill Battler. Even running away would mean tightening the noose around his own throat.
The first truth... that Battler is the culprit... has already been hit upon! And yet, I have to struggle desperately to get out of this...! I need to...!!
I'm on the edge. I've definitely been cornered in a dangerous spot. However, if I can just change my position, everything might turn around at once... If I can just make this chain my weapon... I can kill Erika...!!
"Yeah, it's clear. No matter what move we choose, it'll turn for the worst just as Erika wants. If it's horrible either way, I'd like to choose the move that has the biggest reward if we win...!"
"...You're going to call even though you have no logic for escaping and no trump cards? You think you can accept her demand and win...?!"
"My cards might be useless. However, with just one more card, they might become a straight, a flush, or even a royal flush. If hell waits for me after both options, I'll take the one that'll finish her off if I win...!"
"Th, that's an insane move. Sometimes, when madmen jump into the path of death, a miracle will occur..."
"It's impossible!! H, how could you escape this closed room without removing the chain?!!"
"...There's only one difference between heroes and madmen. It's whether they win or lose. I'll be looking forward... to your big victory..."
If I can finish things with this move, then as I predicted, I can kill Erika on my second move. I still can't think of a trick for escaping this closed room. However, there has to be something... there has to... Once I think of that, I can make a magic illusion of me changing into a butterfly and slipping out of the crack in the door like smoke... If I have even a drop of that mad magician's blood in my veins, please let that honor... give me just a fragment of a miracle right now...!
"Please give an answer to Lady Erika's DEMAND. Will you RESPOND, or will you REFUSE...?!"
Slowly... Battler's hand stretched out to his king piece on the board. He lifted it up... and slowly... held it aloft... tracing a large circle in the sky...
Would Battler respond... or wouldn't he? Would the lock caused by the chain be preserved, or wouldn't it? Would Battler's king crush the piece of the chain lock that stood right in front of it...? Or would it slip away like a ghost... and escape...
"This is... my response. As predicted, on my second turn... you're through. Here it comes. Furudo... Erika... aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!"
Battler's king had become a black lightning bolt and crashed down onto the board... Where had it gone?! On top of the piece of the chain lock? Or past that piece...?
BGM: Infant Queen Bee
Battler's king... had left the chain lock piece in its place... and had slipped past it...
"Heh, heheheheheheheh... Yeah, it sure would be cool if you could say that the chain lock was still set, wouldn't it...? Don't you think that'd be cool...? But do you know what they call a fool, who's full of himself and jumps into the path of death just because it's cool...?"
"That red truth of yours just now has cut off your own logic!! Please have the impartial referee make her judgment immediately!! Great Lady Lambdadelta aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!"
"Motion received. Lambdadelta. Does this make logical sense? Your inspection please."
"Motion received. Battler. Show me. Let me see... your cards..."
"...It is a royal flush... right...? If you've got nothing, you won't get out of this with just a 'sorry', okay...?"
"...Yeah. I have no intention of apologizing."
"...If it's a logic error, the game board will be blown away. You have inherited this game board from Beato. It's the one thing, you have left of that precious Beato. So, you must not accept a logic error."
As long as they can keep thinking of new logic to escape with, they will not die, cannot die. However, that would be like living in an endless living hell of the mind.
"...Even if you manage to crawl around forever after falling onto the darkness of thought, you'll just be eternally trapped in a hell where you constantly think of ways to escape the closed room while denying the logic error. Are you sure?! Are you sure?! This is nearly as bad as the depths of oblivion, got it?!?! It's like the difference between falling from the roof of a ten story building and falling from the roof of a hundred story building!!"
"...Lambda. Battler has already finished making his move. Players can't take back a move once it's made. Act as an impartial judge, carry out our motion, and see whether or not Battler's escape from the closed room is logical... and whether there has been a logic error or not."
"Be slow, accurate, and meticulous like an archeologist. And, be as fast as a guy at an ice cream shop when he forcefully and skillfully scoops out that sweet, fragrant vanilla/soy sauce ice cream!!!"
"Y, yes, I know that. Battler... let me see it."
"Beato, do you think I'll lose?"
"...I don't want to think that. After fighting with the old me many times, you finally reached the miracle that I so wanted you to find. So, I'd like to believe... that you'll win through a miracle once again...!"
"...This woman called Beatrice... The whole time... she fought on that same border between reason and madness. She fought with a mixture of sadness, anger, and several other emotions for me that can't be described with words. And in the very last game... at the very last moment... she managed... to seize victory."
That might... have been the purpose of the card Beato had been gripping as she fell. Beato passed away... without realizing that she had won. In the final game... the true victor... was Beato...
"That Beato entrusted me with this game board. So, I'll win. So, I need you alone to believe in me. Beatrice..."
"If I believe, and a miracle occurs..."
"I do believe in you...!! Battler-san...!!!"
"It'd be so cool if you vanished even though the chain is still set, wouldn't it? Kyaaaaaaaaaaaa hhahhaaaaaaaaahhh!! Like hell you caaaaaaaaannn!! Like hell you can do iiiiiiiit!! If you could do that, you really would be a witch!"
"If you could vanish your way out of this closed room like a puff of smoke, I'd have to acknowledge it! It'd be the work of a wiiiiiiiitch!!!"
"Quiet, Lady Erika! Lady Lambdadelta is conducting her INSPECTION."
With sweat gathering on her forehead, Lambdadelta inspected the movements of the pieces from Battler's side. She was as accurate and meticulous as an archeologist, just as Bernkastel had told her to be.
After gulping stiffly, Lambda looked between the formation of the pieces on the board... and Battler's face, which remained tense but steady.
"...I have... finished my inspection..."
"There's no way the logic works...!"
"I'm very sorry."
"Wh, which way am I supposed to take that...?!!"
"It was fun. Now, this is the end."
"I told you, which way am I supposed to take thaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!!"
"Silence!! I have finished inspecting Battler's move. My decision-"