Part 69: Possibility of a 19th Person
October 4th, 1986, 9:00 PM
BGM: Fishy Aroma
"...So there can be more than 18 people! Which means I can defeat the line of reasoning that says any crime impossible for all 18 people must involve magic. That's a big scoop."
"Pardon me. Battler-sama, would you like some black tea and cookies?"
A plate set on a silver tray that he held was filled with delicious-looking, steaming black tea and cookies. I really don't like this guy's smile. For some reason, it doesn't look like a smile used to warmly greet a guest. It feels like he's mocking me somehow. I don't know if he really takes me for an idiot, or if it's just a joke or something, but it's really irritating me.
"...I don't need any. I'm busy now. Leave me alone."
"Oh, my. Such a shame, and the cookies were so delicious too. Cooked so wonderfully they would be wasted on a mere human."
"I'll eat some when I feel like it. Just set it down somewhere and get out of here."
"Will that be acceptable? Then I shall do so. You may eat them when they get cold and stale, and then regret to the fullest that you did not eat them while they were fresh."
"...You really are annoying. Well, you're a lot better than that Beato, who keeps doing that creepy cackle right next to my ear."
"Yes, yes, that is quite true. There are times when Milady's laughter becomes quite undignified. Every time I hear it, I find it painful to comprehend why such a noble demon as myself must serve such a Master. Pu ku ku ku..."
"...Man, you're weird. If you don't like it, then couldn't you just not work for her?"
"And yet, to continue serving is furniture's joy. If we do not serve, we would hardly be furniture."
As Ronove mocked me and giggled, he followed my earlier words literally and placed the black tea and cookies in a random spot nearby.
"...In any case, it appears you are now more confident in the existence of a 19th person, yes? Would you be gracious enough to allow me to hear your opinion?"
"...Yeah, sure. I'm just going to say it again in front of Beato anyway. No reason to hide it. Basically, it looks like there's a hidden mansion somewhere on this island, and that Grandfather had his mistress living there. So, the question that's been torturing me about whether there are 18 or 19 people... can be easily resolved."
"You have driven yourself into a corner because of the dead-end that you yourself have created. Even though you deny the witch, Battler-sama, you hold a double standard, and refuse to accept that the culprit is one of the 18."
"...The easiest way to deny the witch would be to suspect one of the 18. It isn't easy to gather alibis for every one of them. You always find at least one person with a fragile alibi. I could probably continue to deny the witch forever if I just used that person as a scapegoat."
"However, I refuse to do that!! Aah, it's useless, it's all useless! Every one of those 18 people is either a parent, a relative or a cousin to me! And those reliable servants, who are sometimes serious and sometimes fun to be with. I won't let myself use any one of them as a scapegoat!!"
"In the past, my resolve wavered. That's how Beato hit me where my heart was weak."
"...Ah, accepting and understanding one's own weaknesses. It is not something that can often be accomplished. Battler-sama, you use this theory about a 19th person as a spear. Or should I say, a shield? In any event, in contrast to how unprepared you were in the previous games, the fact that you now have a compass bearing on how to fight... is a dramatic leap forward, let us say. With this, you can suspect a 19th person and pursue your theory that the culprit is a human, without having to doubt any of the 18 you love and respect."
"That's it exactly. Like in the first game, when Kanon-kun was killed in the boiler room, there were plenty of tricks I could've mentioned without hesitation, as long as a 19th person existed."
One might think he was attacked by Kumasawa-san, who had gone down into the boiler room with him, or maybe that someone who had appeared to be dead earlier was actually faking and had ambushed him. Either way, it was a move that forced me to suspect one of the 18. However, by simply proposing that a 19th person existed, there was no longer any need to suspect one of the 18 for that murder in the boiler room.
Using this argument, it's easy to explain, for example, the problematic case that has already occurred in this game, 'who gave Maria the letter?' Even if all 18 people have alibis, I could easily explain everything by saying that a 19th person must've visited her and given her the letter.
"...Hmm, hmm. I'd say that's quite a good move. Now, how would I strike back against it?"
"...You still have plenty of weak points, even if you are aware of them. Maybe the '18 person attack' would be an effective move. To judge the strength of your defense, it may be amusing to contest that point again."
"Then how will you do it, demon butler...?!"
"How naive. Of course, I knew you'd probably try that move...!"
"My, my. Please respond to it."
"Witches and demons and the like... There's no more fitting move for you guys to use."
When you try to make some claim to humans like us, we always counterattack by telling you to show some proof. Because that's a human move. But I'm fighting with a witch. I'm taking part in a battle with someone who isn't human!
And some moves exist that can only be used in a game against a witch. There are cheap moves! And that's what this 'Devil's Proof' is. Because it's impossible to prove!
In order to prove this, one must find this mansion and actually bring Beatrice out of it. That's called actual proof in the human world. However, if we follow the rules of the 'Devil's Proof', you can't deny that she exists, even if there's no proof that she does. Because it's impossible to prove that something doesn't exist. That's right, I'm finally able to turn the tables using this 'Devil's Proof', which tormented me so much before.
Those guys were always trying to force me to accept the existence of the witch with it. After all, it was physically impossible for me to show any proof that 'witches don't exist' and deny Beato's claims. That's why I kept getting hit with the reckless argument that witches do exist... and was unable to counterattack. And that's why I'll spin the chessboard around right now!
In other words, because this problematic and mysterious mistress is craftily hiding herself, it'd be perfectly natural if you never found her no matter how hard you looked. So, you can't say that your inability to find this 19th person proves that she doesn't exist. Therefore, it's impossible to deny the 19th person's existence.
Beato used the 'Devil's Proof' to make denying her own existence impossible, but this time it's become my weapon. If we can get away with this argument, then forget just a 19th person, this island could be full of people we don't know about, and even if there were 10 or 100 of them, she still couldn't deny that they existed. In the last game and the one before that, among the murder scenes that showed up, there were several that were extremely intricate and must've taken a lot of effort to set up.
It's really hard to imagine a single culprit setting up all of those. However, if not just a 19th person, but 10 or 100 people were hidden somewhere, that wouldn't be any problem at all. If they all split up the work, they could handle any job in a short period of time.
You can't deny that even 100 people were there just because they weren't seen or noticed.
Even though I'm saying it myself, it's such a stupid argument that it makes me wanna throw up! However, because it's such a dirty move, it's a perfect one to use against a witch.Well, this is just my imagination, but what if about 100 suspicious men wearing goat masks were hiding in the shadows... Something like that's worse than laughable, almost like they're cockroaches.If you see one, it means there's 100 more hiding somewhere.
"...But my opponent is a witch. And after all, that's the kind of competition we're having, isn't it? I'll use any kind of reckless argument to explain it using humans and deny the witch!!"
"...Anyway, with this move, I won't have to doubt any of the 18 who are close to me again. I won't suffer a defeat like last time again...!!"
"...I see. You have learned from your previous defeat. That is good. It's no surprise that you've become so devious now that you're in your third game."
"...You first strengthen your own defense. That is truly a solid first step. Quite a spectacular move, I would say."
"Well, even if we do assume that there's a 19th person, there are still a few tricks left that I can't resolve, like the actual number of master keys, no matter how many humans I add. Still, it isn't bad as a first step, for the time being."
"Battler-sama, your trump card is the important piece called the 19th person. You countered my move of asking where the proof was by using the 'Devil's Proof'. A good skirmish. Although I must apologize for making a move by myself when Milady isn't here, I find that I too am growing slightly interested. I wonder if you will allow me to make yet another move on Milady's behalf?"
"...Let's have it. I've got no shortage of opponents, be they witches or demons!"
"Hempel's Raven...?? What are you talking about?"
BGM: Organ Short #600 Million in C Minor
Just then... aah, that enraging laugh I've heard so many times started echoing. The room was filled with dazzling golden butterflies, and in the center of that whirlwind, the Golden Witch appeared.
"If it isn't Milady. Good morning."
"...'Hempel's Raven', was it? Such a familiar old move I could almost laugh. To think the day has come when I get to show it off to Battler. It's a classic move to use against a 'Devil's Proof'."
"...Ronove, I will make this move. Do not get in the way of my fun."
"So you've finally shown up, you guffawing witch. I see you're laughing like a freak just as usual. This guy was talking behind your back just now, telling me how undignified you look when you do that. Right?"
"How rude. Is that true?"
"Nonsense. Why would I speak such gossip about Milady, whom I regard with such sincere respect?"
"...I can't believe you'd say something so shameless. Doesn't look like we'll be getting along well together..."
"*cackle*cackle*cackle* Well, that is fine. Let us return to the point at hand. 'Hempel's Raven' is used to show actual proof using the contrapositive. In other words, it is a move like this... What must you do to prove that ravens are black?"
"Huh? What are you talking about?? Prove that ravens are black... Wouldn't you just have to catch a raven and check to see if it's black?"
"That's right. You must simply prove that 'if it is a raven, it is black'."
"Do you see that, if you instead prove that 'birds that aren't black = not ravens', you would reach the same argument? If you go throughout the world and examine all birds that are not ravens, and prove that none of them are black, then as a result, you can claim that 'therefore, black birds are ravens'. This is called an argument by the contrapositive. Is that too difficult for you?"
"Yeah, no kidding. I've got no idea what you're saying."
"Battler-sama, what about this example? Let us say that you have two boxes, and one of them is a winner, with a cookie inside. Of course, the other one is a loser and is empty."
At this moment, 'it has a cookie inside = you win', which implies that 'you do not win = it had no cookie inside'. When such a relationship exists, the latter is called the contrapositive...
When 'if A then B' is true, then 'if not B then not A' is also true.
"...In other words, if you choose the box at random, whether it's the winner or the loser, you'll be able to figure out which box has the cookie in it after your first move."
"That is correct. If the cookie is in the box you open, then the 'Devil's Proof' is satisfied. You can directly prove that 'this box is the winner = this box has a cookie in it'."
"However, if the box you open is empty, then the reverse, Hempel's Raven, is satisfied. In other words 'this box does not have a cookie in it = this box isn't the winner."
"And as long as we accept the premise that there are no more than two boxes, the contrapositive shows that the other box is automatically the winner."
"...Well, I think I'm starting to see your reasoning. Only poison can stop poison, and only twisted logic can stop twisted logic. Then what? How does that overturn my claim that, 'because there's definitely a 19th human hidden on this island, even if all 18 people have alibis, I still won't have to accept witches'...?"
"Very well. I will teach you about my move. First of all, you are stating that 'the culprit is not among the 18 = the culprit is a 19th person'. *cackle*cackle*! So if you use the contrapositive, it ends up like this."
"In short, 'the culprit is not a 19th person = the culprit is one of the 18'!"
"Huuuh?! What the, what do you mean?!"
"Only that I've countered your move. Let's try and keep things simple. Ronove, explain. It seems you've made things easy enough for Battler to understand with your cookie in a box analogy."
"Then forgive my presumption. Allow me to explain my earlier example once more."
In this situation, you have an '18 person box' and a '19th person box'. So the cookie represents the culprit. Battler-sama, let's say you open the 18 person box. Because the cookie is not there, you have paradoxically proven that 'therefore, the cookie is in the 19th person box'. That lets us make an even more paradoxical claim.
In other words, if it was first shown that the 19th person box was empty, it would prove at the same time that 'the cookie is in the 18 person box'. Battler-sama played this move in order to avoid having to doubt any of the 18, but it's now been used to prepare an '18 person attack'...!"
"...Nngg... what the hell...?"
"So, that move I was so confident in... was actually a double-edged sword?"
"That's right. As soon as you played that move and attempted to explain everything with a 19th person, you'd already taken on a risk that you might be forced to accept that the culprit was one of the 18."
I see... 'Hempel's Raven'. So this is a countering technique?!
Wait, if I really think about it, this counter is really disadvantageous for me. This isn't a cookie we're talking about. If I imagine that the 'loser' treasure chest actually has a bomb in it, it gets even clearer. And there aren't just two treasure chests, but 18 plus 1 more for the 19th person. If you think of it as a total of 19 boxes, it gets even easier to picture.
I didn't want to place the bomb in the boxes for any of the 18, so I used the 'Devil's Proof'... and created the 19th person box so I could throw the bomb in there. That much was fine. But then, Beato struck back. Now, if the contents of the 19th person box are empty, that'll automatically mean that the bomb's in one of the other 18 boxes. If I could examine what's inside all 18 of those boxes, then as long as I can show that the bomb isn't in any of them, I'll be able to safely show that the 18 are innocent. If that were possible, I'd have nothing to fear!
However, in reality, that'll be almost absolutely impossible. The police wouldn't come here in this typhoon. We don't have access to scientific investigations or experts or anything. In short, we can't prove anything decisively! It'll be impossible for me to find any proof other than simply gulping down whatever alibis each of the 18 give. That means I personally have to prove their innocence, and I have to do it perfectly. Like by staying with them the whole time, never letting them out of my sight for a second. By doing that, I could probably be sure of that person's innocence, sure that the bomb isn't in their box.
...However, in practical terms, that'll be impossible! In other words, I'd have to expend an incredible effort just to check the contents of one box. And there are 18 of them! In other words, unless I bound all 18 of them in chains and watch over them, it'll be impossible to prove that all of them have empty boxes. However, Beato only has to open one box, the 19th person box, and show that it's empty to prove that the bomb's in one of the other 18 boxes. (Furthermore, there's no need for her to show 'which' of the 18 boxes has the bomb!) I've got 18 times more work to do to explain my pet theory than Beatrice does for hers...
BGM: Closed my Heart
"However, 'Hempel's Raven' turns that problem around... and makes it possible to prove things easily!"
"By using 'Hempel's Raven', various reckless arguments become possible to prove true or false. For example, let us say I make the proposition 'All humans except me are foolish'. Normally, I would have to examine all of humanity except myself and show that they are all foolish. However, in reality, it would be impossible to investigate billions of people. It's just the same sort of effort you'd need to open all 18 boxes."
"*cackle*cackle*! However, by using 'Hempel's Raven', the contrapositive of that proposition would change it into this. If you, to use your phrase, spin the chessboard around on the claim that 'All humans except me = foolish', you would have to do nothing more than prove that 'not foolish = me'. ...And what do you think that means?"
"*cackle*cackle*! As soon as I know the fact that 'I am wise', I will be able to show in an instant that every one of the billions of people in the human race is foolish. In less than a second, I could finish proving that the entire human race is more foolish than me!!"
"It truly is the strongest and fastest QED in the world, this 'Hempel's Raven'!"
"Wha... What a ridiculous argument...!!!"
"It is a very, very convenient move. Not only demons, but gods also use it. When they propose that 'the blessed = the servants of a god', the contrapositive is 'a human is not a servant of a god = he must not be blessed'."
"So in order to prove that servants of gods are blessed with divine protection, they only have to bring ill fortune down upon those people who don't receive such protection."
"...So, by bringing misfortune down upon those who don't believe in them, they prove their blessedness."
"An enormous cost is required to give humans happiness. However, it takes a lot less to bring humans misfortune."
"*cackle*cackle*cackle*cackle*cackle* So by using 'Hempel's Raven', gods are actually giving believers the joy of divine protection for cheap."
"...Y-You demon. It's a demon's argument... That's crazy...!!!"
"It seems we've gone off-topic. Let us get back to the point."
"The move for my counterattack is complete. And now, in response to your claim of 'the 19th person is the culprit, therefore, the 18 are innocent and the witch doesn't exist,' I say 'therefore, if I can prove that the culprit is not some 19th person, we can be sure that the culprit is either one of the 18 or a witch, right?'"
Just when I'd thought I'd countered one of their strong points, their counterattack had been this reckless argument that I couldn't possibly have anticipated...! Is this... gonna be impossible after all...?! To continue denying the witch on an island with no more than 18 people... and still believe in the innocence of those 18 people... Is that just a delusion?! Am I just trying to escape reality?!
Not yet... Don't give up this desperate struggle yet. Who cares about 'Whoever's Raven'? They're just trying to confuse me by bringing up weird bits of trivia... I used the 'Devil's Proof'. Don't feel uncertain about something you've used once. Believe in the spear you've drawn. And then, forcefully... gouge it in...!
"...Ah, wait a sec, I want to be sure. I'll admit I talked about a 19th person to keep it simple, but if we're gonna use the 'Devil's Proof' to raise the number of people above 18, then we'd have no way of knowing if there were 10 people, 100 people, or an indeterminate number of people.
They countered my twisted logic with something even more twisted. So the only thing that could counter that... would be even crazier twisted logic...!
"Hmm, I see. Even if I somehow prove an alibi for the 19th person, as soon as I do, you will think up a 20th person and claim that they are the culprit. By repeating this endlessly, you would make it so I kept searching for their alibis for all eternity. I see, I see, *cackle*cackle*! Just like a demon king summoning a plague of locusts. I wouldn't expect anything less from Kinzo's grandchild. It looks like you have been gifted with a talent in summoning."
"...In short! It's impossible to always prove an alibi for each person X outside of the first 18! How do you like that, Beato...?! Now that I know we're having a battle with twisted logic, I won't lose!"
"*cackle*cackle*cackle*cackle*cackle*cackle*!! How foolish... Who do you think I am? I am the Endless Witch! The thought that you could challenge me endlessly is just absurd. Endless control means that I am able to kill endlessly."
"...When your 19th person folds, you will summon a 20th, and when your 20th person folds, you will summon a 21st, and when your 21 person folds and your 22nd person folds, you will summon a 23rd person, a 34th person, a 64358223579673204th person! Did you think you'd have me at your mercy for all eternity?!"
"I laugh at 'infinite regress'! The 'infinite' doesn't work against me!!"
"Well then, how will you kill my 'endless'? Just try and show me!!"
BGM: Organ Short #600 Million in C Minor
"...!! Here it comes..."
"When I speak in red, it will contain absolutely no illusions. If I say once in red that there are no more than 100 people on this island, you will no longer be permitted to create a 101st person."
"*cackle*cackle*! See, Battleeer? What truth shall I tell in red this time? Where shall I strike for the kill and force you into hopelessness? *cackle*cackle*cackle*! Come, show me your usual frightened face..."
BGM: Closed my Heart
"...Why... are you laughing...?"
I wonder what kind of creepy look I had on my face as I laughed right then. That red sure is scary. Every time it jumps out, I'm driven into the depths of hopelessness.
But... I've already realized something. There's no need to be overly afraid of the red.
"...Hoh. What do you mean by that? Suddenly looking so relaxed..."
"Sorry, but I was waiting for you to take out that blood-red treasured sword of yours. Let's see, what'll you proclaim in red this time?"
"You aren't going to say 'the culprit was one of those 18 people', are you? Be careful, since that'd mean self-destruction for you, right? That'd be the same as throwing away your own witch theory yourself. A complete resignation."
That's right, the red wasn't always a weapon that worked in Beato's favor alone. It was the other way around. If she used it the wrong way, it was dangerous enough that she could bring about her own death. If she used it carelessly and said something that ended up denying herself, that'd be exactly the same as self-destructing.
"Of course, it'd be sad and difficult for me to accept if you told me in red that one of the 18 was the culprit. No matter who the culprit actually was, I'd definitely have to deal with some tough emotions..."
"But before that, it would mean your defeat! Saying in red that the culprit is a human is equivalent to your proclamation of resignation!! If you wanted us to finish each other off in a simultaneous clash, I'd say that's a pretty interesting move. However, this particular battle will end in my victory!!"
Until now, she's used that to severely wound me, and each time, the tiny foundations supporting my heart get split in half. However, if she uses it carelessly, then I can also gleam a little information about the truth. In the last game, I used that to my advantage, especially during the chapel's closed room trick, and almost completely got her boxed in at one point.
But she was pretty sly herself. She learned from experience, and since then, she's started using discretion in the timing of her red... This feeling of tension was almost literally like a battle with real swords. This is a high-level intellectual battle. No, not an intellectual battle. This really is twisted logic. This was the world's craziest and worst battle of twisted logic...!!
"And after that, if you proclaim in red that none of the people in this group are the culprit... that's right, that might be a fatal wound to me."
"...I'm surprised that you no longer have even an atom of fear for the red, which once terrified you so much... You're quite resilient."
"Try taking it out. That treasured sword, that trump card of yours. This time, you might be able to make me surrender with a single stroke, right...?"
"...*cackle*cackle*cackle* ...Interesting. I wouldn't have it any other way..."
Of course her red's always wiping out my only rays of hope. But... don't be afraid of that. On this island overcome with falsehoods and illusions, the only thing I can trust is... the information she speaks in red. It's my only way across the chasm of hell. Just a single tightrope. Her merciless blood-red blade is the only way I can survive. This isn't just walking on a tightrope, it's like literally walking on the edge of a blade...
Of course I'm afraid. Because my victory condition is the denial of witches, then, to use her contrapositive logic, the culprit must be human. But I didn't want to search for a culprit amid the 18. That's what made me stick to a weak position, since I had to claim both that it couldn't be a witch and that it couldn't be one of the 18. Last time, I was unable to understand that, so that's where she hit me, leaving me tattered and defeated. But that's okay. Let her hit me. Let her attack. No problem...
Someone said it once in an old sword-fighting movie. That 'A good fortress has one, and only one, intentionally weak point'. The enemy would gather there. They would be lured there. And that would be where the actual battle took place. As long as I understood my weak points, and as long as she wanted to attack those weak points, it was as if I were luring her into launching an attack there...
Gauge the distance between us with care...retreating step by step. Make them move forward. The more she recklessly flourished that red, the more chances I would get to strike back. Don't be afraid of the red. Keep her cornered, so that she'll have no choice but to refute me with the red...!
"...Hmph. How surprising that you can be this desperate and yet this difficult. One cannot make light of someone putting their life on the line, no matter what the era. It's no surprise you're Kinzo's grandchild. The more cornered you are, the bolder you become!"
Ronove cleared his throat.
"It appears to be a stalemate. That black tea I worked so hard to make is getting cold, Milady."
Ronove, who was supposed to be her ally, roguishly rushed her into making her next move. Beato probably thought she'd managed to smile back and appear confident, but she couldn't hide the sweat building up on her forehead. By now, she had completely lost the confident feeling that had allowed her to turn her nose up at her worthless opponent.
Of course, she probably wouldn't be cornered by something like this. She's just being cautious. Until now, I've been inexperienced. I didn't know how to fight, and I wasn't strong enough to be her opponent. However, now that we've reached the third game, she's realized that I'm starting to become more skilled, and she's grown more cautious, thinking every move over carefully...
Sure, that's just fine, Beatrice. Sorry to keep you waiting. Are you happy now...?
"...Now it's starting to get interesting, huh...? Hihihihi!"
"This isn't getting us anywhere... Then, should we get to the heart of the matter and go with the usual?"
"...Hoh. The usual, you say? Then, by all means. If I don't hear you say that, I guess I just won't feel like starting..."
The first move was mine...
"Here I go, Beato."
BGM: Dread of the Grave
"...If I hear you say this in red, I'll have no choice but to suspect one of the 18. I won't be able to say a 19th person did it, so all doors will be closed to me."
"...However, I believe the culprit definitely isn't one of the 18! There's no way any of those 18 could commit such brutal murders...!!"
"I'll say it again. Repetition requested! 'On this island, there are only 18 people'."
Whew...! I'd avoided what would've been the worst red for me. If she'd repeated that, I'd be faced with those two worst choices of accepting the witch or suspecting one of the 18, like last time all over again...
But Beato hadn't proclaimed my ultimate and greatest weakness in red. She refused to repeat it, even though there was no reason for her not to strike, even though it was a weakness she should've been drooling at. She hadn't sliced me up with red by using that move, which should've been as good as forking a rook and the king...! This was a big sign of my advantage.
That's right. The culprit isn't one of the 18. I won't suspect anyone...! And since the culprit isn't a witch either, it means a 19th person exists on this island. And that's you. A person who, as Grandfather's mistress of 30 years, has been secretly living in a hidden mansion in the forest for a long, long time. The 'human' Beatrice...!!