Part 48: New Rule
October 5th, 1986, 6:50 AM
Even though Kinzo had heard of the six deaths, his emotions did not waver. The expression on his face as he gazed out the window... was a smile, as though his opponent in a chess game had just made a spectacular move. It was unimaginable that this expression could appear on a father who had lost many children at once.
"...Under Rosa-sama's orders, Gohda and Kanon are calling the police. After that, she ordered us to follow your orders, Master... What shall we do?"
"...This island has already been cut off from the real world. Phones and the like will be useless."
"Should I have them stop?"
"...Until the roulette is finished, what they do to pass the time is up to them. Let them do as they like."
"...Umm...is there anything I should tell Rosa-sama?"
"Y, yes...! M, my apologies...!"
Shannon cowered in fright at this sudden rage. Genji made a gesture as though telling her not to say too much. Shannon couldn't help but regret speaking out of turn...
"However... You are also free to do as you wish. Genji. And Shannon. You have done well serving me until today."
"Y, your words are to good for me... but, umm..."
"...We are furniture who have sworn to serve the Master. No matter what the time, we will be waiting by your side. Until the very end."
BGM: Witch in Gold
Nanjo often recommended that Kinzo write a will because of his health, but each time, Kinzo had gone mad with rage. Since that time, you would think that 'will' would have been the word Kinzo took most exception at. Because that word had come out of his own mouth, Shannon couldn't help doubting her ears for an instant.
Shannon hurriedly prepared the side table and some writing paper. Genji also began preparing the usual green, evil drink, just as he was ordered...
"I am ready."
"...Hmm. Where should I start from? Should I also speak of my life? It would be fun to leave a record of my memorable games. It truly is fun to read the records of old games from over a century ago, a journey searching for those players thoughts. So should the game record of my life also beckon those in the future to go on a journey searching for my thoughts? Hmph."
For a while, Kinzo considered where he should start speaking from, strutting all over the room with his hands behind his back...
"Hmm. Thank you, my friend. Well then. If I am to speak of my life, I must begin writing from when I met that witch. Shannon, copy this. My meeting with Beatrice took place a long way back. What year of the Showa era was it...? I think, after the war..."
It would be a lie to say we weren't still bitter. Even now, if we gave in just a little, we'd feel like going on a rampage like Jessica, protesting with some kind of violence.
According to what Gohda-san said after he got back, right now, Kanon-kun was looking after Jessica. Apparently, she was still very emotionally high-strung.
"Rosa-san... There is nothing more I can accomplish by remaining here. The phones may not be working, but tomorrow, the boat will come, and we should probably be able to reach the police. We should leave this place as it is for the police's investigation."
"...I agree with Doctor Nanjo. If you stay in a place like this for too long, it is bad for your health. Let us return and make some black tea..."
"...That's right. I agree with that. Battler-kun, George-kun, are you ready...? Let's close this place up. We should also leave this place as it is for when the police come."
"You're right. Battler-kun, are you alright...?"
"...Yeah. I've cried all I can. I'm fine now."
The police would surely find some evidence from a thorough investigation. But we hadn't been adult enough to wait for that. I had investigated the chapel in my own way, trying to grab the culprit before the police got here.
"Come on, let's go out. Maria, we're going. Don't keep staring at it...!"
"Come, come, Maria-sama. Let us return... It is cold here."
"...Father, Mother. Thank you for everything. I will, definitely become a man who doesn't betray your expectations, Father..."
George spoke his last words of farewell to his parents. After seeing that, Battler imitated him.
Just looking at their faces, it looked like they were sleeping... but it was too bitter...
"...At least you were allowed to rest in a cool place like this. I'll definitely get who did this... Definitely..."
"It is worse than vulgar... This is horrible..."
When the door to the chapel was closed, we learned about that creepy scribble for the first time.
"When we first found this, it was like this. It was probably drawn by the culprit..."
"...The culprit was a witch, so this is a magic circle to summon a demon or something...?"
"Kihihihihihihihihihihi... This is the seventh magic circle of the sun. Don't you even know that...? Kihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihi."
"Hey!! Don't I always tell you not to make that creepy laugh!!"
"Maria, go on. What does it mean?"
"...Sacrifice of thanksgiving...? So killing Father and the rest was so that they could be sacrifices for this magic circle...?!"
"Calm yourself, George-kun...! This is the culprit trying to provoke us. It doesn't mean anything. Just thinking about it poisons the heart."
"...And there's some English written... 'HAPPY HALLOWEEN FOR... MARIA'. I see. And the key to open this door was handed over to Maria... is that what this is?"
"...But this is the chapel. Maybe Maria doesn't mean Maria-chan, but the Virgin Mary. In that case, you could read this as a blasphemy against God, in the name of Halloween. They say that witches who make contracts with demons swear to always defile God's name. In that sense, this really is a witch-like crime."
"...You sure know a lot. Did you hear that from Maria?"
"...Yeah, something like that."
"What do you mean, special meaning?"
"Well, umm... they carried six human corpses all the way over here, and made these elaborate decorations. We can't tell whether she called the six of them over here before killing them, or whether she killed them before carrying them over here, but either way, it would take a lot of effort... Why did the culprit want six people to die here...?"
"...That is true. In doing something that elaborate, there would be an extremely high chance that when the police came, some disadvantageous evidence would be found. There is no way the culprit failed to notice that. Then, why did the culprit go to all the effort of doing this, is the question we face..."
"In that case, there's one question that comes out of this place. What meaning did this place, where we found the six corpses, have?"
"...This chapel... was important to Father. Since I was a kid, I was strictly told not to enter it."
"Uu-. Maria also came here once, got in lots of trouble... Uu-..."
"An important chapel...? Does it have some relationship to the Ushiromiya head family...?"
"I don't know. Father viewed this chapel as very sacred, and he treasured it so much that he had it redecorated several times. But as everyone knows, Father wasn't a devout believer, so much so that he loved black magic. I've never heard of him coming here to offer his prayers to God."
"...As far as I know, the Master has never come here. We even call this the 'forbidden chapel'... umm, I thought it was eerie, like a haunted house."
"Even if Father never approached it himself, for some reason, he made the servants clean it several times a year. It felt like he kept it clean all the time so that it could be used at any time."
"And even so, it's called the 'forbidden chapel'... Ihihi! It may be indiscreet, but doesn't it have an interesting ring to it? Doctor Nanjo, you're an old friend of Grandfather's, right? Have you heard anything about that?"
"...I have heard about it long ago, but I forgot what he said to evade the issue. That's right, didn't he say something like...someday, he too might be able to receive a blessing there. But unless a miracle occurred, that day would never come."
"What does that mean? What would he do in the chapel? He couldn't mean his own funeral, right?"
"I wouldn't believe that of Kinzo-san. He was a man much more focused on the living now rather than things after death. However, it does seems that this was the root of all the complexity in the inheritance problem."
"Then what would he do in the chapel? Pray? Aren't confessions done in the chapel? Anyways, it sounds suspicious."
"...I don't know why, but just as Doctor Nanjo said, in Grandfather's eyes, it seems that since this chapel was constructed, it was decided by fate that he wouldn't receive a blessing unless a miracle occurred."
"How do you know that...?"
"See, it's clearly written over there. Look, over there."
It looked like some message had been written there in English. The rust showed that the message had been written there since construction.
"...My English sucks. What is it...? ...<This door is>... <opened>... <only at>... <probability of>...?? Sorry, my English sucks."
I gave up after I was unable to finish reading the first of the two lines. It looked like the others could read it properly.
"...Umm, I think it went 'm', 'b', 't', 'q', so, umm, umm... how many did that mean, I think... umm... umm... Anyways, this is incredible. You can't even count close to that with all the fingers on both hands. It really would be impossible unless a miracle occurred."
"...Certainly. He wanted to give a spectacular gambling-style example, very much like how Kinzo-san used to talk."
"What is it, what is it, can everyone read it? Someone tell me what it means too."
"Kihihihihihihi. At least learn English. How did you get into high school without even being able to read this much? Kihihihihihihihihihi.
"Mind your own business. So, what's written there?"
"...It means something like this. 'This door is opened only when a miracle occurs. You will be blessed only when a miracle occurs'."
"...Grandfather's magic is based on astronomically low probabilities. In other words, the miracle that would open this door, would probably require an incredibly vast magical power. Kihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihi."
"Ni-ce job, you can shut up now. Rosa-san, will you let me take Maria with me to English class? Looks like it's useless to try and learn English unless you start when you're young after all."
"...The forbidden chapel. Whether or not the witch Beatrice really was a witch, it is whispered that she actually existed several decades ago, and was Grandfather's mistress."
"This is, umm, just my imagination, but... perhaps the Master really did truly love Beatrice-sama. However, he was already married, so they couldn't be united."
"...I see. If Beatrice was dead, and could be revived with the magic of a miracle, now that Grandmother is dead, he could marry her with his head held high. And if they married in this chapel, could it be a fairy-tale story like that?"
"...I don't think that story is so preposterous. It is a well known fact that Father still loves Beatrice deeply. Also, even though I said it was creepy, I get the feeling that the interior of the chapel used to be quite magnificent. The thought that Father built this chapel in the hopes of having a wedding with his dead mistress, actually might not be that unlikely."
"...By the time he built this chapel, Grandfather probably knew that he would never use it as a church as long as he lived. But, he prayed for the witch to be revived by some miracle. And he thought that if that miracle occurred, they could be married here..."
"...I see. If you think of it that way, this would be a place of utmost significance to Beatrice-sama as well... And he knew it was a chapel never to be opened. A story of sad love."
Even though Gohda-san's body was even bigger than mine, his words were touching. Everyone was silent, but it seemed that they agreed with that view.
"Even though he knew it was a chapel not to be opened, he still probably dreamed of the day that a miracle would occur. Kinzo-san was very romantic in his younger days. I feel as though I understand him."
"Ihihi. I wonder. But you all came in four times a year to clean it, right? What do you mean, forbidden? Didn't we just go in ourselves? That wasn't a miracle or anything. We brought the key, clunk, and we're in. That's all that happened, this is ridiculous."
"Wh, what are you talking about...?"
I'd thought I had just been messing around because I hadn't liked the atmosphere of that story. But then Aunt Rosa suddenly jumped on me, with a really serious face. Aunt Rosa's face grew increasingly pale. She looked at the magic circle on the door, then at her hand, back and forth, back and forth.
"Wh... what has happened, Rosa-sama...?"
"...Kihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihi. It took everyone too long to figure it out. Kihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihi..."
...When a kid pulls a prank, it sometimes goes unnoticed by the adults, and the kid who did it loses heart. If one of those pranks catches someone later on, it makes that kid really happy. Maria's celebration just now looked a lot like that...
"...Y... yeah, yes. There was only one of those keys. It's the key to the Master's treasured chapel, so there is only one, with no duplicates. It is normally kept safe in the key box in the servants' room, but..."
"That's right. And Genji-san said that it had gone missing... So someone stole it... put it in that envelope and handed it to Maria?! And yesterday!"
"...What the...? So in other words... isn't that strange?"
"...That's absurd. This story is getting strange."
"Wh, what could this be...? I don't have a clue what you're talking about..."
"Me too. Would you explain it for us...?"
...Gohda and Nanjo's failure to understand definitely wasn't because they were stupid.
"There's no mistake! It was closed!! I opened it!! Definitely!!"
Aunt Rosa kept closing the door, locking it, pulling on it to check the lock, and opening it again. Her face was becoming pale again...
"Until I took the key out of Maria's envelope and opened this door, it was definitely locked!! But this key was in the envelope and in Maria's care, right?! And that happened yesterday before noon?!?!"
"...What did you say..."
"Isn't that... strange...?!"
"It is. Maria received a unique key from a woman calling herself a witch midday yesterday. In other words, from midday yesterday until this morning, when Rosa-san unlocked the door, this chapel was a closed room."
"...How did they get those six people in here, and then how did they kill them?!"
...That had all been a worthless problem! From midday yesterday until this morning, this chapel was a closed room. But our parents had been with us until last night. How had the culprit opened this door?! And how had they closed it?!
BGM: Golden Sneer
"If you tell me to show you how I open locks with my power, then I can show you. But that will not make you surrender."
"This 'explanation with humans' you talk about! The time that theory is exhausted will be the time of my victory!! Come now, how will you destroy it? If it was a human, what trick could they have used to defeat it, hmm~?"
"It's just like the closed rooms last time. Not enough information!! It's impossible to reason like this! Any excuse could be made, any trick could work!! Guessing is useless!"
"Ha! That again? There's no proof so you'll wait and see? The information is uncertain so it's impossible to reason...? Ha, this is always the excuse you humans use when you stop thinking. What is this pretense, you lowly human?!"
"Are you saying that unless you're like Laplace's demon, you can't even think, you incompetent fool?!! And you speak as though a lack of information is disadvantageous to you, when it's actually the complete opposite, you see?"
"The more information you're given, the more it will pain you! It will only cause the strength of the compressor squeezing you to increase! *cackle*cackle*cackle*cackle*cackle*!!"
"Oh, in that case, let me say this. It's impossible to verify that this is a closed room in the first place!! If we're talking about demons, let me say this."
"...It's possible to prove that this isn't a closed room. Just showing that someone can go in or out like this is enough!"
"But it is impossible to prove that this is a closed room!! You can't deny the endless set of methods of getting in. In other words, this is one of those Devil's Proofs!! This definition of a closed room really is impossible to prove!!"
"So, after you stop thinking with a lack of information as an excuse, this is what comes next. Oh well. If that is your move, then I will accept it. Continue."
"First off, it looks like you're trying to say that the chapel is a closed room. Just a short while ago, I really did spend some time looking around in there, and I couldn't find any way in or out except for the door.
"If there was a 'hidden door' or something that I wasn't able to find, your premise is completely blown away!! In other words, whether I was able to find a hidden door or not, you can never deny that there was some method X by which the closed room could be entered!"
"And this method X could be carried out without magic. After all, it's a 'hidden door'! I'm sure that in this chapel, there's some hidden door that's impossible to find. So there's no reason for me to guess, because magic is impossible!!"
"...Hohoh, so you use that reasoning. *cackle*cackle*, how naive. An expected move. Let me make my move in response. I always thought the idea of 'closed rooms' in worthless human detective novels was ridiculous."
"Why? Because they're used the wrong way. When a closed room appears in a detective novel, do you really think that is a closed room? You don't, do you?!"
"What trick did they use to make this look like a closed room! That's what you think. In other words, there hasn't been a completed one in the century's worth of closed room murders which humans have piled up!!"
"Oooh!! Don't say that, mystery fans are pretty scary! Christie is probably grinding her teeth in her grave!"
"For the Devil's Proof, all you had to do was bring someone a demon to prove it, right? Well that's convenient, as a witch, demons are my good friends, I'll bring as many as you like!!"
"Sounds great!! 'Dad and the rest used a hidden door to enter the chapel, or were carried in through it'! How do you plan to beat this move?!"
"With this. Regardless of whether they were living or dead, 'the six people definitely entered through the door'!!"
"Huh?!?! Dumbass!! The door was locked, how'd they do it?!!"
"I opened it with magic, and invited them inside!!"
"That can't be true!! Since I can't accept magic, there's no way I'll accept that!! You're lying!! That door can open with some trick. Or maybe there's a hidden door, but I won't accept any other way!!"
"...In most games, this would be decided as a draw, but that would terribly dampen the interest of this game!! We will have no draws. You will either accept and submit to me, or deny me!!"
"At least I agree with you there!! We'll settle this without fail, just as you wish!!"
BGM: Organ Short #600 Million in C Minor
"A new rule?! I'll bet it's a rule that'll give you an advantage, right?!"
"Of course not. I will give to all of you that which you couldn't stop demanding. The reason that you incompetent fools always stop thinking in grief is a 'lack of information'! And if I then give you information about that, next you start doubting whether the information is true or not, 'denying the basis'!"
"Isn't that convenient? That really is a clever little phrase to shelve your incompetence. I shall eliminate that convenient excuse. You should thank me, *cackle*!"
"You said they entered through the door, and I said that couldn't happen. Are you saying that's an evasive answer?"
"Wh, what is this...?! Keep explaining!"
"No matter what magic move I use, you can always keep running away by repeating 'lack of information' and 'denying the basis."
"...Even though I would still win in the end that way, it would be extremely boring. Because of that, I think I'll give you that 'information' and 'basis' that you want."
"However, you'll probably doubt each word I say. That isn't bad in itself. I also will use every possible move to make you submit. I don't dislike our posture of searching out the best moves for ourselves."
"...But that won't make a game. So I set up this rule."
"Everything I speak in red is the truth! There's absolutely no need to doubt it!"
"Are you telling me to believe that...?!"
"This is a game between you and me. In a game, the rules are sacred!! Those who take that lightly are not qualified to play!!"
"Alright, I got it, I'll accept that rule!! Even an elementary school kid can get into an endless argument and find fault with everything. Then let's restart right now, and continue where we left off. I'll repeat it again. 'Dad and the rest used a hidden door to enter the chapel, or were carried in through it'!"
"...I, is there any proof?!"
"<Stop>!! I will supplement the rule. When I speak the truth, I will use red, and when I do, I do not bear the responsibility of establishing that by showing proof! It is simply a fact and the truth!!"
"The reason is simple. I carried out all of the crimes with magic. So for any impossible crime, all I have to do is wave my magic staff before your eyes."
"But that wouldn't make a game! It would be like the barbarism of ignoring victory and defeat in a chess game and punching your opponent!"
"W... well, that is true. If you were a witch, there'd be no need for you to show proof. Because you could do anything with magic, it'd be pretty horrible... What an unfair game...!"
"So shall we resume once more? Six people definitely entered through the door. I unlocked it with magic. How will you defeat this magic, this closed room?!"
"...Th, the key! Genji-san and the others said there was only one key, but that's impossible to prove! The culprit secretly made a duplicate key...!"
"Arg... Th, then what about this. The culprit made something other than a legitimate key and opened it! I don't know what, but maybe a wire! A tool for picking locks!!"
"What is this naive move? It is impossible to unlock the lock to the chapel without the chapel's key!! Although it can be opened with the power of magic, right...?"
"Then what about this!! There's something wrong with the door itself! Even while it is locked, there was some way to pass through it...! As to what that is, I can think of a few ways! Maybe like on the big doors to a castle which have a smaller door on them, there was another door here! It's also possible that they removed the hinges, and then removed the whole door before entering!!"
"Wahahahahahahahahahaha! Is this the intelligence of a hundred years of humanity, Battleeeeeeer?! When the door to the chapel is locked, it prevents any and all methods of entry or exit!! As long as you can't use magic, right...? *cackle*! Is it about time for checkmate?!"
"Not even close!! You said that the six people entered through a door, but you didn't say it was the front door! They might have entered through another secret door!!"
"You talk too much, you incompetent fool. Then let me advance more on my earlier move. The six people definitely entered through this front door!!"
"That's screwed up!! The door was locked, it was impossible to unlock without using that single key, and yet six people entered through this door?!?! How did they do it?!! Magic, you say?! Damn it, damn it damn it damn it damn it damn it!!!"
"Wahahahahahahaaah!! Have we already exposed a human's limits?"
"Then shout that you resign!! When someone gives up and shouts that, it is customary for the king to be defeated. Come on, do you give up?! Then proclaim your submission, and kneel so that your king is defeated!!"
...Damn iiiiiiiiit... It's no good, no good, no good... So I can't win against the witch...?! This isn't chess at all, I've just been made to take the losing side in a chess problem...! Is quibbling about details and getting a draw the best I can do...?
"That definitely won't happen...! Will I surrender, or will you?!! There will be no resolution other than those!! What happened to that bravery when you said this would be torture for us both?!"
"Oioioioi, what a let down, isn't that disappointiiiiiiing? Ushiromiya Battleeeeeeeeeeer...????"
Damn iiiiiiiiiiiit, what should I do, what should I do?!! I can see it, I can see the place where I'll face checkmate...!! Aaaaaaaaah, it's no good it's no goddamn good, all of my hard fought moves are nothing more than desperately moving my king, running away from check. No matter how many times I move, I can't escape from check. So even without waiting for the next several moves, I can see mate in my future!! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh, damn iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit...!! After a few more moves, ...I can see where I'll face, ...checkmate...?
...Don't give up, Ushiromiya Battler. If I can see myself getting closed in upon... Then if I turn the chessboard over... I can anticipate the next move, right...?
Kyrie-san told me... When considering something, the closer you get to the very, very end, the easier it becomes to anticipate.