Part 128: Dungeon
October 4th, 1986, 10:37 PM
There were no windows, and with the weak light bulb, one could just barely make out the state of things around them. It appeared to be an old forgotten underground storage room, with some kind of dusty furniture haphazardly thrown into it...
However, even with just a little light, one could at least make out that it probably wasn't a storage room. After all, that room was sealed off with iron bars.
BGM: Corridor of the Sands of Purgatory
"I don't know... Could this be underneath the mansion...? Has there always been a room like this... directly underneath the dining hall...?"
They had dropped into what had appeared to be a pit, falling into this room. Therefore, it was natural to assume that this room was directly under the dining hall. However, not even Krauss could bring himself to believe that there were pitfalls rigged in his beloved dining hall, where he had enjoyed his meals for years, and that this dungeon-like room lay directly beneath it.
But the ceiling above was of crude stone craftsmanship, and they couldn't understand how they could've fallen from somewhere up there. No, all five people who had been dropped here thought the same thing. Although they'd had the sensation of falling into a pit, there was no way there could be pitfalls in the dining hall, nor could this dungeon-like place be directly under it. But, the truth was that they actually had fallen into this place and were locked in. So, they were confused.
"...It is lucky that no one was hurt after falling from such a height..."
"...Shannon, Kanon. Did either of you two know about this room...?"
"...No. We did not know of this room either."
"R-Really... We really... don't know about a room like this..."
There was a long silence, as if Krauss was evaluating their answer...
"...No, it's probably true that you don't know. After all, this is the clean-freak Shannon we're talking about. If she knew about this room, she'd probably scrub this place until it was sparkling. The filth of this room is proof that you two don't know of it. More importantly, I think we should worry about what to do next."
"E-Exactly... We need to call the police, o-or rather administer first aid as soon as possible..."
Nanjo's words were hollow. Obviously. Six people had been killed in the dining hall. Everybody had seen the exact moment when they'd been killed. And since half of their heads had been destroyed, anyone could tell that the deaths had been instant with just a single glance. Everyone understood that first aid no longer held any meaning...
"Thank you, Doctor Nanjo. We already understand that our partners are no longer alive. Thanks for trying to console us by mentioning first aid."
Once again, a gloomy silence dominated the atmosphere. But Krauss shook his head harshly over and over and, for the time being, decided to forget the pain of losing his wife, and to dedicate himself to figuring out where they were.
Nobody answered. Without any kind of discussion or mercy, six people had been killed in an instant. And, Kinzo had even been so bold as to proclaim that we'd become sacrifices for a ceremony involving 13 murders. Since we've been locked up in this place, we too will probably become the ceremony's next sacrifices soon.
Around this time, our eyes became used to the darkness... and, bit by bit, we were able to understand more about the dungeon's interior. What we thought was furniture haphazardly left in the dungeon turned out not to be furniture at all. They were... things like small cages to lock people in, restraints, or else... torture racks. At any rate, it was obvious that it was eerier than a mere jail cell.
Since the objects were rusted together and coated in thick dust, there was no doubt that they had been forgotten. Maybe you could even call these things Kinzo's sealed and forgotten madness. However, we had been locked away in this room. Those objects weren't exactly comforting to people who were locked up, hoping to be released without harm...
"...At any rate, let's get out of here. We've lost loved ones and friends and would like to spend some time shedding tears, but more than that, I'm worried about the children."
"...I-I wonder if the children are safe..."
"All we can do is pray... Come to think of it, Kumasawa and Gohda aren't here."
"Perhaps... they were able to get away safely..."
"You never know. It would be a relief if they were able to meet up with the children..."
"When the going gets tough, Gohda-san is reliable, and Kumasawa-san is knowledgeable and calm... I'm sure they'll be able to help the children..."
"...Hahahaha. Yes, that certainly would be comforting."
Shannon and Krauss smiled bitterly a little. But they quickly realized how improper that was and stopped, clearing their throats.
"I agree. What Father carried out in the dining hall was... the six murders of the first twilight from the witch's epitaph, right?"
"Then, the second twilight is to 'Tear apart the two who are close'. We can't deny the possibility that Gohda-san and Kumasawa-san may have been killed after escaping together. We can't cling to the optimistic idea that they must've gotten to the guesthouse and are protecting the children."
Kyrie coldly analyzed the worst-case scenario. For her, it was heartbreaking to have lost her beloved husband. But right now, the most important thing was protecting that husband's son, along with the other children, from becoming the insane Family Head's sacrifices. She overcame her sadness with the parental urge to protect children from sorrow.
It seemed that both Kyrie and Krauss were strong enough to forget about their grief, if only for the time being... They would let their tears flow later. In order to protect the children, they had to act.
"Anyway, let's get out of here... It seems to be a rather old cell. Couldn't we break the bars with something? Let's try searching the entire room for some way to escape."
"I wonder if there are any torture tools lying around all these torture cages. They might be useful as weapons, or to break the bars."
Kyrie pulled a lighter from her pocket. She herself didn't smoke, but she kept one tucked away in her pocket to light Rudolf's cigarettes. It was an extremely valuable source of light for searching in this dim dungeon.
"...W-What should I help with...?"
"Please just keep up your strength. Father will probably come soon. You're the only one whose words will reach him. In a way, you might be holding our lives in your hands."
"...My words... will no longer reach him, I think. I'm sorry, but I don't believe I will be of any use..."
"Then lend us your expertise as a doctor. I wonder if there exists a drug that can make people instantly faint."
"...A drug that makes people instantly faint...? What are you talking about...?"
"We believe we fell through a pit and landed in this dungeon. In that panic-stricken moment, that's what we believed happened."
"...But I measured the breadth of this room and came to a realization. This dungeon can't be underneath the dining hall."
"Why do you say that...?"
"...You're an idiot, Nee-san. Compared to the dining hall, this dungeon is too cramped."
"Exactly. The first person to fall was Krauss nii-san. The second was myself. When you fell into this room, did you move from that spot, Krauss nii-san?"
"...It's embarrassing to say, but the landing hurt, and I lay there groaning in pain. Immediately after that, Kyrie-san came crashing down next to me."
"The distance between where we were standing and the places where we landed is clearly off."
"C-Certainly, when you put it that way... I was the next to fall, so I remember fairly well where you two were standing. The distance between you two in the dining hall might have been greater than this entire room."
"We fell into a pit and directly dropped down here. It's not like we fell into multiple interlocking pipes and were all collected here. The fall was instant, wasn't it? I don't remember rolling around in some sort of elaborate water pipe system."
"...True, we can't explain it with a pitfall. What a strange tale."
"What does that have to do... with a drug that makes people instantly faint, like Kyrie-sama was talking about...?"
"But in reality, we did fall."
"More accurately, we felt as though we fell into pits. That was only natural. After all, we experienced something that couldn't be described any other way."
"I-I see... In other words, this is what you want to say... We did not fall into pits... We were attacked with something like a blowdart, for example, and lost consciousness instantly. It could be that we just remember the instant we fell to the floor as though it were falling through a pit..."
"...I see. That's a much more persuasive explanation than there being numerous pitfall traps in the dining hall that we've never noticed, even after decades eating there."
"...Nee-san, do you have a watch?"
"Huh? Y-Yes. I have a pocket watch... Umm, it's about 22:40."
"...Yes. My watch says the same. In short, it's only been a bit more than ten minutes since that uproar in the dining hall, at most."
"My watch has the same time. That's much too short a time to knock us out and carry us somewhere. Judging only from the time, it's reasonable to assume that we did fall through a hole leading directly underneath the dining hall."
"They could've tampered with the watch hands as much as they wanted. While we were passed out, they may have wound everyone's watches back. We're incapable of proving that this possibility doesn't exist."
"...Whether it was a pitfall or a drug that induces fainting, it does not change the fact that we need to be on guard..."
"...Well then, Doctor Nanjo, is there a drug that can do that?"
"Well... It's the same as your reasoning, Kyrie-san. I cannot prove that there isn't a drug with that effect that I don't know about."
"...As they say, you can never be too careful. Sorry, it was a useless question. I just thought that with my hypothesis, I could suggest that this dungeon might not necessarily be directly underneath the dining hall."
"Exactly. I'm truly sorry. I've only been asking about and prying into useless things."
"No, it's quite promising. If you notice anything else, please tell us. It might become a hint to escaping from here. Rudolf was always talking about you. He said he was always surprised by your ideas, and they would sometimes give him valuable hints. The fact that you're here is a blessing within a tragedy."
"...Thank you. I heard something from Rudolf-san as well. He said that you usually just swagger about, but when things get serious, you overflow with a sense of responsibility and can be a very dependable older brother."
"Hahaha, that's too kind. Dammit, at any rate, these iron bars won't even budge. How are things on your end, Kanon?"
"...No, this side is no better."
Krauss and Kanon tried wiggling the bars in various ways. There were a few bars that could be twisted... and a few had enough space to rattle a little bit around in, but they couldn't be broken with human strength alone. However, there was still hope if they could use some kind of lever-like tool. It was still far too early to give up yet.
The children's lives were hanging in the balance. Even if there was no hope, they couldn't stop their struggle. And, it was better for them to act this way. If they were to stop, there's no doubt they'd once again be overcome by the grief of losing their loved ones and curl up, clutching their knees...
"...I've found some small stones that we could hold onto and hide. Something like this could probably be used as a weapon. Though, it'd probably be impossible to whittle down those iron bars with them. How about you, Shannon-chan...?"
"No, nothing. Ah, this is... a phone."
"I doubt it's connected. But, we might be able to use the cord as some form of string-based weapon. If we break it, we could take out the metal parts. Krauss Nii-san, there's a keyhole for opening the bars, right?"
"Yes. It's a pretty large hole, quite old fashioned. If we twist some wire into it, we just might be able to pick it."
"We might be able to use the metal parts of the phone as a substitute for something. This phone will become our weapon."
"It's just like investing. Our weapon is information."
Krauss and Kyrie laughed together at how they hadn't even thought of using the phone as a means of communication.
"...What are you doing, Nee-san?"
"Ah, um, I just wondered if maybe the phone was w-working..."
"(*whisper*) ...You dummy, Nee-san."
At that point, Shannon let out a small, surprised cry.
"What did you say...?"
It was like when people move out of an office, taking everything with them, leaving only the telephone behind... That's the feeling the phone gave off, having been left in the corner of the cell. The cord was wound into a coil, the tip of it being swallowed by the wall, and just looking at it, there was no reason to assume that it wasn't hooked up. But, to think that it was actually was...
Kyrie took the receiver from Shannon and pressed it to her ear. Certainly, the electric hum of a phone was a familiar sound. And this phone was certainly live.
"Wh-What good luck...! Let's contact the police...!"
"Hold on...! This is too good to be true. Could it be bugged...?!"
"If they were planning a trick like that, normally they would cut the telephone line. There's actually a good possibility that they overlooked this. If they notice, they might actually cut the line this time. There's nothing we could tell the police that would be problematic for us if they overheard."
...Surely, that was true. The point of a wiretap is to overhear some important piece of information, but the way things were right then, she couldn't think of a single thing that would come up in a conversation to the outside world that might be troublesome to have overheard. Kyrie instantly concluded that it was more likely to be a mistake on Kinzo's part than a trap...
"Y-You do have a point... I believe you start with 0 to make calls through the external line..."
"Kanon-kun, I'm going to make a phone call, so will you watch how things are out there for me? If you sense somebody coming, let me know."
However, she pushed the hook down and re-dialed many times. It didn't seem to be working very well.
"...The outside line begins with 0? 110 would be 0110 then, right? It doesn't seem to want to go through..."
"Hand it over here, I'll try to call..."
Krauss took the receiver in Kyrie's place and tested various things... But in the end, they were unable to notify the police...
The phone itself was definitely live, but the circuit was apparently cut somewhere. Did this mean that 'they' were not so naive?
"...So it's useless after all..."
"It means our enemies aren't naive either..."
Kyrie let out a deep sigh, leaned against the wall, and hung her head for a while. As cool-thinking as she was, for a brief moment, she may actually have had the naive hope that the phone might actually work. She sneered at herself mockingly for holding onto that naive hope for even a single moment.
Then, she remembered just what was happening here. Truth be told, even after being shown a scene like that right before her eyes... or rather, exactly because of that... She still couldn't think of that gruesome mass murder as something real... It was less that she couldn't believe it... and more that she didn't want to. Ushiromiya Kinzo killed six family members. He summoned strange, witch-like, demon-like people... right out of thin air, and with something like magic, began to kill people one after another...
...It's just all so screwed up. Even though she definitely saw it, there was no way she could accept that spectacle...
But when those six had had their heads blown apart, a golden arrow had flown around and around the room. That had truly looked like... magic. Was that another thing we just saw wrong?
There's no way it was magic. It was definitely some kind of setup. Since those heads were smashed, there's no doubt it was some kind of explosive. For example, a styrene toy plane like they sell at candy stores, painted gold, and with a powerful explosive loaded onto the end of it. However, though it had seemed to be flying about at random, Kyrie couldn't imagine that after being fired six times, each time had perfectly hit the victims square in the head, one after the other. It couldn't be that there was a computer control system for finding and hitting targets, making it a high-tech styrene plane on the same level as a guided missile, right...?
A number of mysterious people appeared out of thin air, six people had their heads demolished by a mysterious golden flying object, and the five of us were locked away in a mysterious dungeon by a mysterious set of pitfalls, or else put to sleep by some fainting poison dart...
The family conference started a bit after 22:00. It's only been a bit more than 30 minutes since then. Most likely, even though I witnessed it myself, that event took place in such a short period of time, so I still can't understand it, and I still can't come to grips with it. For argument's sake, even if we did get ahold of the police, it would probably be impossible for anybody to accurately explain what we saw... Even though I saw it just now, my brain's fried, and I have no confidence in what I saw myself...
Kyrie tried her hardest to cheer herself out of her overwhelming confusion, to just hold onto her sanity...
"Dammit, what's going on here, dammit, dammit...!"
Krauss started to become desperate, hitting the hook multiple times and resetting the dial. Krauss had also been feigning composure, but he was unable to hide his panic. The more he retried the dial, the more the pretense of serenity peeled away... I don't know what's going on anymore... Kyrie couldn't help but pray that the events that had just occurred were a dream...
...At that time, the look on Krauss's face changed.
"I see, how shallow, old man...! Since we can't contact the police, the external line has probably been cut, but he failed to sever the internal line...!"
"The internal line? Krauss-san, where did you call...?!"
"The guesthouse. I'm calling the room where Jessica and the rest are staying...! Ah?! Hello! Hello?! It's me...! You're...! Gohda?! Is Jessica there, is she safe...?!!"
"Dad!! Is it Dad?! I'm so glad you're okay...!! Is Mom okay?! Is she there?!"
Krauss choked on his words. Krauss had clearly seen Natushi's head crushed, had seen her killed right before his eyes...
Eventually, he was going to have to tell that to Jessica. However, Krauss began to fret over whether he should tell her now or not... and lost his words. But even that was an answer under these circumstances...
"...Yeah. I understand. I'm sorry... for asking."
Jessica's voice was filled with tears...
Krauss was certain now. Jessica and the rest had heard everything, start to finish, after meeting up with Gohda and Kumasawa at the guesthouse... When they learned that six people had been killed, they must have been anxious to rush over to the dining hall. Luckily, he'd been able to call before they'd stormed off towards the mansion. Krauss was relieved at this good timing during such a tragedy...
"We have Kyrie-san and Doctor Nanjo, as well as Shannon and Kanon here. We've been locked in a place that's like a dungeon, but don't worry. We'll figure something out."
"A dungeon? Where?! We'll come and save you...!!"
"Unfortunately, we can't figure out where this is either. We think it may be under the dining hall, but that might not be true. Anyway, Jessica, you must stay where you are. You've heard about what happened from Gohda and Kumasawa, yes?"
"Yeah... Grandfather... everyone..."
"Grandfather isn't in a sane state of mind right now. If you encounter him, you'll be in danger. You might be killed...! You mustn't even think about trying to come and save us...! We'll take care of ourselves."
"Th-Then what should we do?! Damn you, Grandfather, how dare you do that to Mom and the rest...?! I'm gonna kill that undying bastard...!!"
"Jessica, if you talk like that, you'll sadden your mother. Those aren't the words of a lady."
"Anyway, put your own safety first. Lock all the guesthouse doors. But you mustn't overestimate how safe that will make you. The large window in the first floor lounge might get broken. Stay in your room, and use a bed to make a barricade. There's a toilet and fridge in there too, right? You should be able to stay holed up until tomorrow morning. Listen up, I'll say it again. Don't think of doing anything violent. Don't even think about trying to take revenge for Mom! Only think of hiding, of getting through this without provoking our enemies."
After that, Gohda took the phone... and was firmly told to supervise the kids well, as an adult. Gohda, with his face covered in a cold sweat, repeatedly replied "Yes sir, yes sir!" in an excessively tense voice.
From there, Kyrie took the receiver and spoke with Battler, and when Shannon and Kanon got their turns, George and Jessica answered. Following that pattern, Nanjo and Kumasawa picked up as well, so that all members of both sides took the receiver in turn, confirming that everyone was safe for now, even if their location was unknown, and encouraging each other, coming to an understanding on the current situation for both sides. They wanted to talk forever, but now was not the time to chat. Krauss explained that they would be hanging up for now, and those in the guesthouse consented.
"If anything happens, we'll call. Wait by the phone so you can pick it up quickly. Again, be careful. You mustn't do anything rash...!"
"...Y-Yeah, I understand... As long as you and... Kanon-kun and the others are okay, then that's good enough for me... We'll do our best. Stay safe...!"
"Yes, of course. Well then, I'm hanging up for now. Be on your guard."