Part 85: The New Witch
October 5th, 1986, 10:30 AM
It was still her turn to rest, but her expression made it look as though she couldn't sleep deeply with all this tension.
"...Take it easy and lie down. Keep this up and you'll have it pretty rough later on."
"Thanks for the concern. I just couldn't fall asleep. I've already taken a shower, so I'm good for now. The next person can rest."
"What about you two, Kyrie-san? Rudolf-san?"
"...What will we do, Rudolf-san? Shall we rest?"
"You can rest. I'll stay awake. That's the only manly thing I can do right now."
"Then I'll stay awake. Staying awake with my husband is the only womanly thing I can do right now."
"...*giggle* You two truly are close."
"You should talk. *giggle*."
"It seems Eva and Hideyoshi-san are out cold. It appears that, unlike Rosa, they can't fight against their age."
As though in response to those words, the door to the hall clunked open. Eva and Hideyoshi returned from the guest room.
"You should talk, Nee-san. Why not take it easy and sleep?"
"...I just can't get to sleep. Taking a shower shook my drowsiness off. Rudolf, Kyrie-san, you can rest if you want."
"Sure, thanks. Well, for now, let's say I appreciate the sentiment. Why don't you go first, Aniki?"
"How kind of you. But I cannot rest first. That is the most I can do as the oldest brother right now."
"Do not worry, the two of us will stay awake until the very end."
"*giggle* More importantly, Eva nee-san, are you okay? You look a little pale."
"...Come to think of it, you're right. Hmmm? Could it be a bit of a fever?"
Hideyoshi put his hand up against Eva's forehead. It seemed that Eva wasn't feeling her best.
"That goes without saying. That's what happens you break your sleep cycle at your age. Is it a cold?"
"...Natsuhi, could you call Doctor Nanjo down?"
"...I'm fine, you don't have to make such a fuss over it. I have some medicine, so I'll be okay. I tend to get fevers when I'm tired. Don't worry."
"...Nee-san, take it easy, okay?"
"...Well, I won't say anything. As if I'd say bad things about you behind your back, Nee-san."
"...What is it? Nee-san, you've been acting strange for a while. Shouldn't you get a little rest now?"
"That isn't good. Rest. And I'll hold back too, so that your headache doesn't get worse. I've had a bad headache myself for a while now."
"...Thank you. ...Well then, I'll take those words to heart and rest for a while."
"What is it, Eva? Why so angry all of a sudden? Sorry, please let us rest a bit longer. Sorry, sorry..."
After apologizing several times as though praying, Hideyoshi followed Eva out of the lobby.
"That's no surprise. There was a murder early this morning. And since then, we've been eating canned food and carrying guns around. It's natural that we'd start to build up stress."
"I wonder if the kids up there are building up stress too. I'm worried about Maria. She tends to throw tantrums at times like this."
At that moment, they heard the sound of wild footsteps coming from the second floor. The guesthouse wasn't a cheap building, so they wouldn't normally have heard the sound of footsteps. It was like the sound of someone stamping their feet in frustration. And an instant later, accompanied by what seemed to be the sound of her running out into the second floor hallway, they could hear Maria calling uu-uu-uu- over and over again, sounding displeased.
Rosa grabbed her head, her hair flying, and she voicelessly moaned in anguish... The adults conscientiously turned their backs to her, pretending not to notice. The noisy clamor came down from the second floor and flew into the lobby. It was Maria, who was sobbing, along with the other children and Nanjo. In other words, they had all come downstairs because of Maria's tantrum.
Rosa couldn't hide her dizziness at this new annoyance her daughter was bringing to everyone...
BGM: Scar Sound
"Uu-uu-uu-!! Uu-uu-uu-!! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!!"
"...What is it, Maria? Could you be a little more quiet? Everyone's watching."
"It's that rose of hers from the rose garden... She suddenly started saying that she was worried about it."
"...I think she's half asleep. She suddenly woke up and started going on about how worried she was about that rose. Maria-chan, calm down. That was just a dream..."
"Uu-uu-uu-uu-!! That rose belonged to Beatrice and me!! So if I don't take care of it, Beatrice is gonna get mad!! It might get snapped off again! Uu-uu-uu-! Uu-uu-uu-uu-!!"
The sudden rise in the tone of Rosa's voice surprised the children. But Maria's crying just grew louder, and her tantrum just grew fiercer.
"R-Rosa-san, you mustn't scold a child so unsparingly... At times like this, it's best to give them some warm milk or something."
"...Is there any here?"
"The milk we just had for breakfast is empty now..."
"Doesn't anyone have a sedative to use on kids...? You know, those silver pill things?"
"I have some!! Yes, I'll search for some now and give them to her!!"
Without hiding her displeasure, Rosa grabbed the handbag that had been set on the sofa and fished around for some medicine. It seemed she had brought some child-use sedatives for Maria's tantrums.
She found it and opened the bottle, but it must have been empty. Irritated, Rosa shook the bottle several times, but that didn't change the fact that nothing was in there. As she did that, Maria's crying grew even more intense...
Hideyoshi returned from the washroom, folding a handkerchief soaked in water.
"...Whoo, this is one nasty fever... I'll bet it's the poisonous air at this family conference that got you... For now, you can forget all about the other relatives. Okay?"
As Hideyoshi spoke to her kindly, he set the soaked handkerchief on Eva's burning forehead. Eva rested her own hand on top of his.
BGM: Worldend (solo)
"If my hand feels nice, your fever must be pretty bad. Don't worry, the medicine'll start workin' soon. Plus, my hand is a magic hand. I just put it against your forehead like this, and any fever'll melt right away."
"You're right. Your hand always makes my fevers fade..."
"Yep. No need for a doctor when you've got my hand. Don't worry and close your eyes. My magic'll make that fever fade away..."
"Yes, I know... I can feel your magic."
Hideyoshi was about to say it was just a placebo effect, but he stopped. If Eva said she could feel magic coming from his hand, then that was fine for now...
"Yeah. It does. Only those who believe can tell, though. There's actually a lot of magic like that out there in the world."
"...If magic actually exists... then I wonder if witches actually exist too."
"Oh? You mean that witch of the forest, Beatrice? She probably does exist for those who believe. Just like the gods. They don't show themselves except in front of those with strong faith."
"...I did it too, you know? Long ago, I was able to use magic."
"Oh? Really? Then you were a witch too."
"...I... had dreams that I wanted to come true no matter what. After wishing strongly and trying hard, they always came true without fail. With my magic, my grades were always the best, and I even became the student council president... and worked hard to get into the university I wanted. Everything I wished for was granted."
"That's right. Your magic was always a thing to be reckoned with... You're definitely a witch. And you work harder than anyone. I know all about it."
"...When... I was a kid, the whole time, there was another me inside myself, who always supported me. And that other self was a witch. I didn't believe in Beatrice, the witch of the forest. I always believed that if a witch of Rokkenjima did exist, it was the witch inside my heart. I was so grateful to that witch inside myself. I was always grateful... that she brought me to you..."
"...You get too timid when you're sick. Don't say anythin' for now. I'll stay like this the whole time, until your fever's gone down."
"It's okay. As long as I'm with you, there's nooothin' to be afraid of! Remember the time we went to that dangerous country and the whole bus got robbed? I drove 'em off!"
"...Didn't you just hand over your gold watch and beg them to go away? It was pretty lame, but it was cool..."
"...Don't move your hand away... no matter what... Not even if I fall asleep. And if something creepy sneaks in here, protect me..."
"Yep, leave it to me. That's why I'm tellin' you to stop worryin' and get to sleep. Because the medicine and my magic'll start workin' real soon..."
Eva finally calmed her heart and closed her eyes.
It seemed that Maria was having a tantrum, and screams of uu-uu- could be heard, along with Rosa's rebuking yells. That probably hurt Eva's ears. Or maybe it was giving her a headache.
Eva moaned as though in pain and buried herself in the covers. It was easy to guess what was happening. Maria had probably had a tantrum for some reason, gone down to the lobby, and started arguing with Rosa, who then scolded her daughter. And then, maybe that got too embarrassing to be shown in front of the other relatives, so Rosa had taken Maria out into the corridor.
Hideyoshi had no desire to butt in on Rosa and Maria's problem. But just for now, since Eva's condition was so bad, he wanted them to take their ruckus somewhere else.
"...Wait just a sec. I'll ask them to keep it down."
"...C-Come back quickly..."
"Don't worry, I won't leave this room."
Hideyoshi removed the chain, opened the door, and stuck his face out into the corridor. He immediately met Rosa's gaze.
"I'm sorry, did all this noise wake you...?"
"...Maria-chan, sorry. Aunt Eva isn't feelin' well, and she's tryin' to sleep. Could you quiet down a bit...?"
Maria's tone didn't change after Hideyoshi's request. Rosa slapped Maria's cheek, lifted her up while covering her mouth, and dragged her towards the entrance, trying to at least put some distance between her and Hideyoshi's room. She would still probably be noisy for a while, but he had warned Rosa for the time being.
Relying on Rosa's actions as a mother, Hideyoshi closed the door.
"Looks like it. It's tough for Rosa-san too... Come to think of it, our George is almost too good to be true. We should be grateful."
"...You're right... Nng, hand."
"Oh, sorry, sorry. Look, it's the magic hand."
He put his hand on Eva's forehead again.
A truly peaceful look rose to Eva's face, and bit by bit, she began to drift off into the land of sleep. As he had promised, Hideyoshi kept his hand on her forehead...
She hadn't been able to withstand everyone's gazes in the lobby, and had yelled at the children to go upstairs, dashing out of the lobby. Then, she had gone out into the corridor, only to have Hideyoshi say that she was too noisy. Where should I go now? Where should I take this child who's having a tantrum? She felt as though tears of frustration were about to come out...
As Maria kept struggling in an attempt to scream, Rosa put her mouth up to Maria's ear... and tried to persuade Maria in a properly calm voice.
Maria nodded her head several times, moaning uu-uu-.
"...Why do you want to see it so much? I'll listen as your mother, so will you tell me quietly? I'll hit you if you scream."
"...My rose... Beatrice revived it. It might have snapped off again... I'm worried about that... I can't sleep until I'm sure..."
Apparently, she was still upset about that marked rose from yesterday. Rosa felt her headache throbbing again, but she was at least a little relieved that Maria had now stopped her screaming.
"Anyway, everyone is having a hard time right now. So don't bother Mama and everyone else. You can worry about that rose all you want tomorrow, when it stops raining. So for now, listen to me...!"
"No. No no no no. It's my Beatrice's rose... uuuu, uu-uu-. Waaaaaaaaaaahh!!"
Rosa reflexively covered Maria's mouth. She had spoken a little too harshly and gotten her agitated again... Rosa realized that it was partly her own fault and clicked her tongue in self-hatred. But Maria thought that was directed at her, and her crying grew even fiercer...
"...Please, just be quiet... What can I do to make you stop crying? What should I do to make you listen to what your Mama says?"
Suddenly. Maria stopped crying so fast that it seemed unnatural. Then she turned around... and muttered.
"Yes. If we go to the rose garden and see my rose, I'll calm down."
"I mean it, Mama."
If it would keep Maria quiet for the time being, Rosa thought that even going out into this wind and rain would be a small price to pay. She thought it might be a bit reckless... But in the end, no murder or anything of the sort had actually occurred. All of that clamor since this morning had been a farce set up by Kinzo. If you carefully thought about that chain of closed rooms, it clearly had to all be an act...
"...Will you really listen if you get to see the rose?"
"Yes. I mean it, Mama. Kihihi."
Rosa didn't overlook that creepy laugh, and lightly hit Maria with her fist. And she shrugged, as though giving up.
"...Fine. If it's just one look, then I'll agree. Will that work?"
"Yes, Mama. I promise. Kihihihihihihihihihihihihihihi."
Once again, Rosa tested the weight of her gun.
It'll be okay. It's only an act. There was never a murderer on this island in the first place...
BGM: Organ Short #600 Million in C Minor
"Indeed. They are being considerate of Rosa's pitiful relationship with her daughter... and are forcibly changing the subject. The group that includes you went up to the second floor... and is talking about something else while watching TV."
"Goddammit!! Someone, notice them! Who's the closest, is it Uncle Hideyoshi?! Please, notice that those two are leaving through the front door, aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!!"
"It won't reach, it won't reach, *cackle*! Don't disturb their precious time together. Fuhahahahahahaha...!"
He didn't notice at all that Rosa and Maria were going outside through the front door. In that case, there was no way the others in the lobby, which was even further away, would notice. Much less those in the cousins' room on the second floor...!
"Why are you so panicked? Didn't you defeat me with that bold move, saying that the culprit died in an accident on the first twilight?"
"...Doesn't that mean there's no longer a culprit on this island...? *cackle*cackle*cackle* What is there to be so worried about...?"
"Shut up, I can see right through you!! Someone stop them, those two'll be killed!! Someone, stop theeeeeeeeeeeeeeem, aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!!"
The two of them could be seen in the rose garden. The rain was still awful, but fortunately, the wind had died down a little... No, maybe that wasn't fortunate. Because maybe, if the wind had been a little fiercer, Rosa might have hesitated to go outside...
Maria found her rose with the gold lace and stared at it lovingly. Rosa had accepted the promise under the condition that Maria would only get one look at it, but she didn't want Maria to complain that it hadn't been enough later on, so she decided to go along with Maria until she was satisfied. She believed that there wasn't a culprit, but on the off chance that she was mistaken, they were now in an extremely dangerous position. Rosa realized that faintly herself. If things got bad, she would throw away her umbrella and ready her gun.
...After glancing at Maria's innocent happiness, Rosa gazed warily in all directions.
...? Were her eyes just tired? Even though no one should have been there, she thought she saw something glitter in the dark rose garden.
...Gold-colored...? It had to be her imagination.