Part 72: Red and Blue Truth III
Battler disappeared from that closed room. The chain lock is set. Did he disappear by magic? Of course not! There has to be a trick! Kanon didn't save him with magic. He just came, took Battler's place, and set the chain. Everyone knows that much!
The problem is the next step. No, it's actually the step before that one. Kanon was in the cousins' room in the guesthouse. That room was completely sealed with duct tape, and it has been proven that the seal was effective until the time of the logic error. In other words, Kanon escaped from a closed room that was absolute, with no possible excuses or twisted logic.
<Good>! This is why she called it a simple yet ultimate closed room. How did he escape from the perfect closed room known as the cousins' room? Heheh. If I got stuck thinking only about that question, I'd be no better than your average kid detective. That room is a perfect closed room, so 'there is no way to escape'. In other words, trying to think of ways to escape from there is a waste of time!
The cousins' room is a completely sealed can. If he was in there when it was sealed, then it's already game over. In other words, at the time the cousins' room was sealed, he wasn't inside it anymore! In other words, let's look at the time I checked everyone's locations and sealed the rooms. That's the most suspicious part.
At that time, we have the five people in the next room over, whom I confirmed with my own eyes. Hideyoshi, George, Kumasawa, Shannon, Nanjo. I mentioned the names of those five people during the location check... and confirmed that they were in the next room over. Then, I checked to see whether 'everyone' else was in the cousins' room... and had that confirmed for me as well. I said 'everyone', so whether he was Kanon or Yoshiya or even Purupurupiko-Man, they all should have been sealed in the cousins' room.
It seems perfect. However, though that word 'everyone' seems perfect... something's fishy! The correct definition of that word 'everyone'...refers to 'all humans whose names I did not mention directly'. In other words, there are exceptions! For example, it's been confirmed that Hideyoshi and George were in the next room over.
It seems that Kanon told Jessica that his real name was Yoshiya, but that was no red truth. In other words, what if Kanon's real name is the same as one of those in the next room over?! They seem to be about the same age, so let's use George. So, what if there were two Georges in that room?! That doesn't violate the red truth saying that Hideyoshi, George, Kumasawa, Shannon, and Nanjo are in the next room over. Let's say that Kanon's real name was Tanaka George. Both Ushiromiya George and Tanaka George could exist in that room at the same time! In other words, there were six humans with five names! It looked to my eyes as though there were only five people in the next room over, but a sixth person, Kanon, was hiding somewhere. I don't have the detective's authority, so it wouldn't be that difficult for him to fool my eyes and hide.
I see, the double name trick... Stupid, so stupid...!! Alright, I've made my logic!! Kanon, who was hiding in the next room over, not the cousins' room, left by the window after the seals were placed-
The gun had fired, and the tip of my finger was stained with blood. The blue truth gunpowder had exploded. Ah, dammit... I've already... had Dlanor seal that one... 'Blue truth arguing about the window of the next room over is forbidden', so I can't use it...!!!
"...Oh, an accidental discharge? Careful now, guns can be dangerous. *cackle*cackle*cackle*."
"Sh, shut up!! It's just a little mistake...!!"
"...The window of the next room over. You sealed it with some absurd trick, right? Gaap told me."
"I, is that so? And so what?!"
Beato has figured out everything I've been thinking. And she's acting so confident, telling me to go ahead and use that argument...!
"P, please remove it. That fool... I'll make her regret this...!!"
""It seems you are ready, duelists!! Please face each other with your pistols. Then fire with the sparks of truth!!""
After facing away and readying herself one last time, Erika spun around. Beato had been facing her since the beginning. She had a confident, challenging smile, as if she'd been kept waiting. Then, without any signal, the two slowly raised their guns... pointing the red and blue glints that hid within their barrels at each other.
"Come. I could do with a little fun."
"First is how Kanon escaped from the cousins' room. I'll use that as my bullet!"
"Hoh, so you'll start from there. Let's have it. Hold nothing back!"
"Here I go!!"
After holding the gun high and pointing it at Beato once more, Erika pulled the trigger with statements of red and blue truth.
The goat attendants chattered and clapped their hands. I see, such a move would be possible... they said! Ah, I love watching this. I love being surrounded by this chatter. After all, I am the detective!!
Any other theory would be impossible!! If this doesn't work, then there's no truth left!!
As soon as she said 'that is all', both of them fired at the same time. After the blast rang out, it was Erika's gun that fell to the floor...
Beato's red bullet had knocked Erika's gun from her hands. Was it... arrogance, or confidence? If she had just aimed that bullet at Erika's heart, the whole thing would have been over... Beato had missed on purpose. There was a confident smile on her face. It was as though she was offering to play with Erika a little longer. No, this is because it's Beato. Beatrice, the witch who mocks others with unsolvable closed room tricks...!
It was a thoroughly merciless red truth... It really was... severe...
Now that it had been limited to five people, any leeway for Kanon hiding there had been completely denied. Since only those to whom those five names referred existed within the room, Erika couldn't even make a new theory by suggesting that one person held two names, so that the five names referred to only four people, and allowing for Kanon to sneak in even though his name wasn't on the list. Furthermore, the part about how people could only use their own names was a fatal blow that cut down countless theories...!
"That's insane... A, are you saying, that Kanon slipped out of the room by magic...?! Ghh, gkk... M, more importantly, why did you just knock my gun away...?!!"
"The human side must crush all of the witch's riddles, whereas the witch side need only crush the human's theories once. Don't you find that unfair? So, I decided to have it be even."
"I've decided that I'll make my victory condition be the destruction of all of your theories. I've won the riddle of Kanon's escape, but there's one more! Let's return to the first battleground, where you gave Battler so much trouble!!"
When Beato snapped her fingers, that guest room of Battler's was reconstructed. She meant to fight once more in the room that had threatened Battler with a logic error, determined to settle things once and for all.
"Erika, pick up your gun. We'll have this room be your coffin!"
"...I say the same to you!! I'll make you regret... ever giving me this chance!!"
"...X? A basis which does not need to be explained? So, what are you going to let her do?"
"Let's give Erika permission to use blue truths for Kanon and this 'guest room trick'...without making her explain how he escaped from his closed room."
If a theory for explaining how Kanon saved Battler did not also explain how Kanon escaped from his own closed room, it would have no basis. Erika had already lost that basis. Beato was giving her a handicap by saying that she didn't need to explain that part.
"O, of course!! You've already used the red truth to guarantee that Kanon saved Battler! It's only natural that I be given this privilege...!"
Erika faced away again and concentrated even harder...! As though twisting the knob on a radio, she turned all noise and idle thoughts down to zero.
Let's go, Furudo Erika.
BGM: Liberated Liberater
As long as Kanon reaches this place, rescuing Battler isn't hard. The trick is as follows: Kanon used some kind of escape trick X to reach the front of the guest room. While I was busy in the bathroom, Battler left the closet. Battler undid the chain lock. Battler went outside. Kanon entered in his place. Kanon set the chain lock. Kanon went into the closet. The end! This satisfies the two red truths about the chain lock being set and Battler's absence. And, in exchange for this escape trick, Kanon remains inside the guest room. There's no room for argument on how tightly this room can act as a closed room. That chain is cursed. In this demonic closed room, one person must remain as a sacrifice for it to be acceptable.
...However, is such a simple theory really enough...?
The rescuer switched places with him. Then, the rescuer hid in the closet. No other sort of theory is possible. And yet, Beato thinks she can win. In that case, does some other trick exist...? It's impossible!
But if I give in here, I couldn't call myself a detective!! Consider it, imagine, don't stop thinking... That's how you drive blue wedges into witches!!
...One thing I can think of... yes. A wordplay trick! It can only be some kind of 'wordplay' that just barely slips through the net of words spoken in red...! In that case, I'll crush all possibilities! I'll have them repeat line after line!! This final duel... has already begun, even though we haven't pulled our triggers yet...!!
"I acknowledge it. At the time Battler was rescued, only Kanon entered the guest room. I believe that was the whole point..."
"Repeat it. 'From the time I entered the room to the time of the logic error, Battler, Kanon, and I were the only ones who entered or exited the room.'"
"I acknowledge it. From the time you entered the room to the time of the logic error, you, Battler, and Kanon were the only ones who went in or out of the guest room."
"Repeat it. 'This refers to three people.'"
"I acknowledge it. It refers to three people: you, Battler, and Kanon."
"Confirming definition. Can I accept 'three people' to mean to the number of bodies? You're saying that three bodies went in or out of the room, right?"
I've had enough of things being mixed about with names and numbers of people. I want this point to be clear...!
"Of course. Three people--in other words, three bodies--went in or out. Only you and Kanon entered, and only Battler left. It has already been said in red that all people can only use their own names. Therefore, the names Erika, Battler, and Kanon can only be used by those people."
"Repeat it. 'I am not the rescuer.'"
"Of course! You are the detective, are you not? Don't worry, I will respect that!"
"Confirming definition. 'How do you define rescuer?'"
This is also important. I want to quickly remove the possibility that I rescued him accidentally.
"'The rescuer' means someone who reset the chain lock after Battler undid it. It does not matter whether they intended to save Battler or not."
Since she said 'after Battler undid the chain lock', it's impossible for this to have occurred before I set foot in the room. After that point in time, I would not undo the chain 'for all eternity'. After all, the game had been suspended at that point. Therefore, it was impossible for me to have been the rescuer accidentally.
More... I can focus it even more... The chain can only be set from the inside. It's impossible for a person to escape on their own. Therefore, we know that Battler didn't escape by himself. And I'm not the rescuer. Only Kanon can be the rescuer. And, Beato has already said that Kanon is the rescuer in the red truth.
...There's nothing to doubt. There's no room for anyone but Kanon to be involved. At least, so far!
"I acknowledge it."
"Repeat it. 'The word guest room includes all of the bedroom, the bathroom, and the closet.'"
"I acknowledge it. I've no intention of wriggling out of this by saying the closet isn't part of the guest room."
"Confirming definition. The inside of the guest room is divided into three sections: the bedroom, the bathroom, and the closet."
"I also recognize it as such. Furthermore, you have already confirmed with the red truth that two of those sections, the bedroom and the bathroom, had no one hiding in them."
"Repeat it. 'There is someone in the closet.'"
"Why's that?! Because Kanon is hiding there?!"
"Kanon can use magic. It's true that he hid himself in the closet for a time, but he then immediately vanished with his magic...! So, there is no one in the closet! I cannot respond!"
"I ask you to repeat it once more!!"
"Fool, the witch side has no obligation to explain how they did things with magic!"
...No, it's completely obvious. There's no way she can say that Kanon disappeared with magic using the red truth! After all, magic doesn't exist!!
I've gone through every last minor detail. And yet, there's an uncanny lack of dubious points. I can't imagine that any fluke could arise to replace the theory I've had since the beginning. Kanon must be in the closet. He has to be. There's no way he isn't!
I'll say it again! This closed room can only be escaped from by switching places with a rescuer. If Kanon tried to escape as well, another rescuer would be needed. However, no rescuer exists for Kanon! Battler 'escaped', so it's impossible for it to be him. And I won't undo the chain 'for all eternity'! The people who have gone in and out of the room have been confirmed both by name and number of people!
The game ended while I was inside the guest room, so I did not undo the chain lock that I had previously set. So, it can't be that he escaped behind my back after I left the room. Furthermore, the chain lock was set at the same time I entered the room. No one could have left the room during the few seconds between the time I entered and the time I set the chain lock. The guest room was sealed at the time that Battler's 'corpse' was examined, so until I came again and broke the seals, it was absolutely impossible for anyone to go in or out. Therefore, when I entered the room, it is certain that Battler was hiding somewhere inside the guest room. The only chance Battler had to escape was after I broke the seals. To be even more specific, he had no chance to escape except for the time I was in the bathroom.
By the above premises, Battler's trick to escape with the chain still set is as follows!
Because of the aforementioned reasons, the only one who could have set the chain lock, which can only be set from the inside, and allowed Battler's escape... is Kanon, the only person to enter the room except for me and Battler!
Whoa, that was close!! They almost got me... they almost tricked me!! I thought that I had cornered him in the closet. It's the opposite!! They're trying to make me think he's in the closet!
What was the order in which I searched the guest room?!
First, the bedroom. We confirmed with the red that there was nothing there. Then, the bathroom. We confirmed with the red that there was nothing there. That's it right there!! When we examined the bedroom, there was nothing there. However, while I was investigating the bathroom, Kanon slipped out of the closet, and 'hid again' somewhere in the bedroom! In other words, the guarantee that no one was in the bedroom... was torn apart after just one minute...!
I've spotted it!! This is the witch's trap, an attempt to lure me into thinking that Kanon's in the closet...! The place he's really hiding... is the bedroom...!!
BGM: Engage of Marionette
That was a close one. At that rate, I'd have said there was nowhere to hide except inside the closet, and then she'd just say that the closet was empty. Huh? N, no, wait...
I see... now I get it... It's a logic switching trick...!
Damn that Beato... So, in resolving the logic error, she's discovered this strange trick!! If I only notice the closet, she'll have Kanon hide under the bed. And if I only notice the bed, she'll have Kanon hide in the closet. Even though either one would be right, I'd lose no matter which I chose. Unless I expose both at the same time, I can't checkmate her...!
Incredible... I've never heard of such an unfair trick... If it was a sleight of hand, it'd just be a cheap one. If it was a mystery, it'd just be cheating... However, in this witch's game, it's a legitimate... 'logic trick'... In chess, it'd be called a double check. No, a discovered attack. Or wait, would it be a discovered double checkmate...?
Even though this sort of logic would be a foul trick in the mystery genre, in this world where witches and mystery war, it is... such a refined board layout... The beautiful placement of the black pieces that cornered my white king felt almost like an art, so beautiful that, if I were a god in some old legend, I might wish to stick it in the sky as a constellation...
...For the first time, I felt honored... at being allowed to participate in this game of truth and witches as a human. And, ironically... it taught me, the one who had always believed in a single truth, that there isn't necessarily just one truth. If I just broaden my perspective, I can see completely different truths. And though each of those truths are 'true', they are incomplete if they are all you can see...
...In my life until now, just how many truths have I missed because I was blinded by some trivial truth... This is... the truth of the world...
Slowly, with a soft and quiet gesture... like a flower opening with the morning dew dripping down its side... Erika raised her gun...