Part 97: The Witch's Courtroom III
"45, understood, attacking everywhere!!"
"410, understood. Die, Battler!!"
The Chiester Sisters each readied their own golden bows and fired golden arrows. The two only pulled the bowstring together when using precision guidance. If they were fighting against an enemy before their eyes, they fired their bows at the same time. And their might did not suffer in the slightest.
"Wha, i-i-it was deflected?!?! There's no barrier, it was deflected by resistance alone... Uh, 45, Target Analysis!!"
"45, understood... Huh, whaaaat...?! D-Did I... break down? Am I insane...? A-Anti-Magic Resistance Power, Endless Nine... E-Even mythical-class magical attacks won't be effective against the target!!"
Golden bow warheads could penetrate any magical armor through reciprocal corrosion. When one tried to block them with anti-magic resistance power, even eight digits were not sufficient to prevent their penetration.
By the way, even famous gods that appear in myths rarely reach as high as nine digits. For that reason, nine digits were enough to measure pretty much all sensible values. Battler had buried all 9 of those digits with nines...
"...How foolish. When Battler-sama gets serious, magical arrows and the like aren't enough to even make his hair tremble."
The Chiester Sisters dropped their golden bows in shock... To Battler himself, it was as though a pair of dragonflies had flown past his shoulder.
"...What are you doing? Is that some kind of game?"
The Chiester Sisters couldn't hide their fear at Battler's ferocity, and they backed up as though they'd been struck. Beatrice watched this scene in shock...
"...B-Battler, what... is this supposed to be...?"
"Just like you see. You aren't my opponent."
"She is!! That impostor over there, who's using your name!!!"
"...I'm fighting against a witch. I face off against an opponent who claims to be a witch, and I deny witches by defeating them. I've seen more than enough of your arrogance."
Then, Battler's eyes grew as sharp as blades as he stared down the cruel witch.
"Understood. Preparations are complete, so go whenever you're ready. Beatrice, stay back and rest."
Beato looked at Battler timidly. She still hadn't been acknowledged as his opponent. Was she qualified to watch the game board from the sidelines...?
"Beato, stay back and watch!! I'll tear it off!! I'll thoroughly dismantle this fake witch!!"
"I won't let someone like this call themselves a witch!! You protected the honor of true witches!"
"You don't need to say anything."
"On your behalf, I'll teach her that the name of the Golden Witch definitely isn't that cheap!!"
"...Thank you, Ronove. I get most of the rules now."
"...I see. You can't win with magic, so you came to face off with me in a world where victory is decided by something other than magic."
"Yeah, I do. I'll crush all of your twisted logic, Aunt Eva!!"
"I-I am not Eva...!! That is the name of the old shell I shed. I am a true witch, born inside of her...!!"
"Don't try to trick me! Your true form isn't a witch or anything like it, but a flesh and blood human. The human culprit, Ushiromiya Eva!!! Virgilia, reconstruct the second twilight!!"
BGM: Lost Paradise
"Huuh? Ridiculous! Come, arise, try to remember! What form did Ushiromiya Hideyoshi have?!!"
"Whaat? What's this supposed to be?"
"...It's a summoning of the dead. A witch can easily bring even the dead up to the stand for testimony..."
...Talk about convenient. He looked as though he couldn't see what was going on here, almost like a person on the other side of the TV.
"Witness summons. Ushiromiya Hideyoshi's testimony. Come, Hideyoshi, speak...!"
"...I was taking care of Eva in our room the whole time. Of course, Eva didn't leave the room."
"Aunt Eva. Around here, testimony that isn't red isn't worth crap. I demand that he repeats it again in red!!"
"Oh yeah, that's right. Sure, say it in red!"
"See, look. This makes it impossible for Eva to be the culprit, right?! How will you counter this?"
"Ridiculous. That move's so lame, I could yawn."
"...Beato never used such childish tricks, not even once."
"Repetition requested!! 'Aunt Eva was also in the room for the entire time before and after the crime'!!"
"Uncle Hideyoshi was just there to create an alibi. You made him stay in the room and stealthily snuck out. If that isn't true, this guy should be able to say so in red!!!"
"I-I refuse to repeat it...!"
"Hideyoshi's evidence is sufficient!! There's no need for me to repeat that, right?!"
"...She has refused. You need show no mercy. This is check."
"Yeah, I'll take it. This opponent's slow!!"
"Check!! Maybe Uncle Hideyoshi didn't leave the room the whole time. But saying he was taking care of you the whole time... is a bright-red lie! Therefore, no alibi exists for you!! You had a chance to slip out of the room and kill Aunt Rosa and Maria! If you think you can dodge that, try proclaiming in red that 'Aunt Eva didn't take a step outside of her room'!! You can't, right? Checkmate!!!"
"...Wh-What the hell...?! I-I don't get it...!!"
"Sorry, Aunt Eva. Even if you aren't used to the rules, beating your opponent down with all your strength is how this game is played. Right, Beato?!"
"The witch side resigns. Let us continue on to the next game. Next is the fourth through sixth twilights."
She was probably also angry that a shot had been taken at her while she still didn't get what was going on... However, I won't go easy on her at all. Just like she didn't go easy on the victims at all, I won't go easy on her...!!
"Virgilia, next crime! Let's reconstruct the case with Dad and the rest!!"
"My move won't change. Aunt Eva, you are the culprit!!"
"This time, you don't even have an alibi from Uncle Hideyoshi!! You claim that you were sleeping in that room all by yourself. But that's not true!! If you can proclaim it in red, just try it!!"
"...I refuse. So tell me! Eva is just a woman. And the people who died were three adults with two guns, right? How did she kill them all by herself? How did she do it with those stakes as weapons? Like everyone keeps asking, how is this stake-shooting device constructed?!"
"Explain that!! Unless you can explain it, even if Eva doesn't have an alibi, that doesn't mean that it was possible for her to commit the murders!"
"I refuse to explain!! It's a 'Devil's Proof'! Just because I can't explain it, that doesn't deny the existence of an unknown murder technique, or maybe an unknown weapon!!"
"In short!! Even if I can't explain how the stake-shooting device is constructed, that doesn't prove that it doesn't exist!!"
"Wh-What the hell?!! Does that ridiculousness even count?!"
"...Your 'Devil's Proof' is valid."
"Agreed. It's a valid 'Devil's Proof'. Battler-kun can claim that a stake-shooting device exists without bearing the responsibility of explaining how it is constructed. The witch side cannot object to this move."
"...N-Not bad... How pushy..."
"That's right, you shouldn't be able to say it! If you can't say it, it's over, checkmate!!"
"...Th-That's so irrational...! This is... messed up...!"
"Those are the rules of this game. How about some black tea first? And some delicious cookies as well."
"I don't need all that!!"
"Ah, that pisses me off...! So you fight like a coward just because you can't win with magic...!!"
"Don't get irritated. Drink some black tea or something. I'll take mine straight. What about you, Beato?"
"I-I am fine... More importantly, Battler, don't let your guard down. Your opponent is only unfamiliar with the rules. This will only really start once your opponent gets the gist of it..."
"But I'll crush her. I'll thoroughly crush her. Because she isn't a witch."
"If I accept her as a witch, all your stubbornness will count for nothing! I don't care what kind of irrational argument or twisted logic I have to use, I'll crush her with all my heart and soul!!"
At the time, there had been no one on the first floor except for Eva and the victims. As before, no one could establish an alibi for Eva. Back then, Eva had claimed that they'd disappeared while she went to the bathroom, but there was nothing to support that, and the witch side couldn't repeat it in red either. Using the same style of argument as that question regarding the stake shooting machine, the witch side asked once more how Eva could have strangled both of them at the same time all by herself, but of course, Battler splendidly counterattacked by refusing to explain because of the 'Devil's Proof'.
Under the storm and stress of Battler's spirit, the witch side was completely swallowed up, having to resign three times during the short period of time she had to grasp the rules...
Listen to this one.
"This time, let me take the initiative. Ronove, reconstruct the fourth through the sixth twilights! Pick out Ushiromiya Kyrie! For now, let me return to the murders of Rudolf, Kyrie and Hideyoshi during the fourth through sixth twilights."
"...Wh-What is she thinking? Why would she return once more to a situation where she's lost?"
"I see... This is an unusual attack, and one you do not use. Be careful."
"At the time, the survivors were barricaded in the guesthouse. They didn't have food, but out of concern for their safety, they were at least prepared to go without eating until the next day."
"...However, in the end, three of them went out for food."
"...That's right. In the end, three people went outside to get food."
"And yet, she herself suggested that they leave the guesthouse to get food. Isn't that a contradiction?"
"Yes, a spectacular contradiction. A contradiction exists in Kyrie's pattern of behavior."
"R-Ridiculous! There's no way that kind of magic exists!!"
"It's a 'Devil's Proof', right?! Just because you don't know about that magic doesn't deny its existence! And I don't bear the responsibility of acting out that magic for you. And yet, you have even less room to counter this argument!!"
"*giggle*giggle*! I wonder if it's alright to fight this way."
"Yes. It is truly a spectacular move. Battler-sama, your response, if you please."
"That's a weird strategy she's taking... So just what is this?"
"And yet, she herself took the initiative, taking the contradictory action of going out to get food. Unless you can explain this contradiction, she will use this violent move to claim that magic was the cause."
"...Well, that's probably what Kyrie-san thought in the beginning." But she probably... uh... thought through a few things midway, then changed her mind and decided that food really was necessary... It'd be bad if, when things got tough, we were so hungry that we had no energy, and, well..."
"...She is claiming that this change of heart was due to magic. In short, while it might be extremely difficult, you must explain the reason for Kyrie's change of heart."
"...Wh-What are you saying...? You're talking about the inside of Kyrie-san's head, right...? Can I also summon Kyrie-san's ghost and question her?! Beato! Can't you call Kyrie-san here or something?!"
"She cannot. That is a move permitted only to the witch side."
"...Aaaaaaahhh, damn it!! She was probably... umm... thinking of us kids and... umm... on the whole, thought that food was necessary and..."
"You must present your claim through objective means. You'll need concrete proof that Kyrie changed her mind and decided that food really was necessary for some specific reason. For example, if someone heard her say that, or if it was written down somewhere."
"So it's impossible to explain!! You don't have a single counter to my move! Isn't it your turn to resign now, Battler-kuuun...?!?!"
"...It is possible to hypothesize endlessly as to the reason behind her change of heart. And, it is impossible to crush all of those endless possibilities."
"A detestably spectacular move. If Battler-sama were to have a method of countering, it could probably only be that move."
"...Wh-What move is that...?"
"...Well, I wonder what kind of move it could be. I have the feeling that it was Milady's specialty, but I cannot remember."
"...Nnggg... Quit being stingy and tell me...!"
"Beatrice, no answers will be given to those who stop thinking for themselves. Think. Think in your own way!"
"Why don't you resign right now?"
"And I'll corner you even more with red. Until the last instant before she died, Kyrie's behavior pattern of 'not going to get food = not going to the mansion' was maintained!"
"And yet, she took the initiative and headed towards the mansion. She was pushing a cart, ready to carry food. Why that contradiction?"
"Because I controlled her with magic!!! This is proof that my magic exists, and that I am a witch!!"
"...Shut the hell up...!! A-Are you saying that she never even changed her mind?! That the whole time until she died, Kyrie-san thought 'we don't need food', and 'we won't go to the mansion'? Then why did she step forward herself and say that they should go to get food, and go to the mansion...?!! Are you saying that Kyrie-san was being controlled with magic?! That's stupid...!! How... how should I break through this magic?!"
"...If only Kyrie were here, and just told us the reason behind her change of heart... No, I've already been told in red that she never even changed her mind...! What should I do...?!! There's no move that the human side can counter with!!"
"The more I learn about this game, the more advantageous the rules seem for the witch, right? Even if I lose in a lot of areas, if I can win in just one, that alone can display the existence of a witch."
"...In other words, Battler-kun has no way of denying witches other than a complete victory! How truly funny that even though you thought you could corner me and call me Eva, it's all been spun around by nothing more than the inside of your respected Kyrie-san's head, right?!"
"*cackle*cackle*cackle*cackle*, ahhahahahahahahahahaha!! Just do it, resign!! If only you'd just accept it! If only you'd just lose!"
"...Damn iiiiiiiiiiiiiit... It's impossible for a human to prove... I can't do anything but guess at what the dead were thinking when they acted. Furthermore, I can't deny the magic based on conjecture alone. To break through it, I need objective proof as to why Kyrie-san had a change of heart..."
"...But damn it, it's been said in red that no proof exists as to why she changed her mind and wanted food... What should I do, damn it, damn it...!!!"
"...Nggg...! 'Not going to get food = not going to the mansion'. But then how should I understand Kyrie-san's thoughts, which actually do contradict each other...?!"
"You can't understand!! It's impossible to understand, and impossible to interpret!! That darkness is all of the witch!"
"Come on, it's useless to think, so quit, okay?! You just can't deny witches! After all, I exist right here."
"I am the Golden Witch!! I stole that name from the former witch over there!! You can't deny that I am Beatrice!!!"
"Damn iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit...!!! You have no right to use that name...!"
"...And yet, I can't think of a move to deny it...!!!"
Battler could no longer counter this witch, who was laughing insanely in triumph...
He didn't want to give up, but no move appeared. He ground his teeth, making fists with both hands. But even so, he couldn't think of a brilliant counterattack...!
"Battler-sama, your time limit is over, so will you resign...?"
"...The human side has no move in response. It will res"
"Wh-What did you say...?"
"Huh?! What kind of move could possibly exist, Predecessor-sama?! Won't you tell me what kind of move could deny this magic of Beatrice's?"
"You can't, it's impossible!!"
"...If the proposition that 'not going to get food = not going to the mansion' cannot be explained by itself, I will explain it with the contrapositive. In short, you can also explain it with 'she still went to the mansion = she had a goal other than food'."
"...Th-This is less my specialty, 'Hempel's Raven', than it is Battler's specialty, 'chessboard thinking'. If it was impossible for Kyrie to have gone to the mansion with food as a goal, then we can only explain it by saying she had another reason that got her to go outside despite that. In other words, if we can prove that she had such a goal, we can defeat this magic...!"
"I-I see... So, she didn't go to the mansion with food as a goal, but she had a different goal, and she said she wanted to go and get food in order to disguise her real goal..."
"...T-True enough, it might be possible to find an explanation that way. But... how?!"
"Yes, there is no problem. I shall reconstruct the scene where Ushiromiya Kyrie died. We cannot call Kyrie's ghost here, but by finding out what Kyrie left behind, we may be able to use that as a weapon."
"Ha, hahahahahahahahaha!! Fine, search as much as you want!!"
"There's no way you'll learn anything! I just said it in red a short while ago. Kyrie did not leave anything written down! No matter what you find, how could you possibly figure anything out?!!"
"...We may find nothing..."
"But, Battler is grinding his teeth, fighting to think of a move to break through you. This is all that I can do..."
"I-I am completely clueless when it comes to fighting on the Human side... We need to find evidence, right...? Then what should I search for?"
"The Great Lady Beatrice is getting down on her knees and crawling around! And she's even indecently searching a corpse? *cackle*cackle*cackle* That look suits you...!!"
"...Say whatever you wish... I cannot do any more than this... I care not how I am despised..."
"...However, I cannot throw Battler away, as he is fighting for my honor... Even if I must crawl on the ground and search through dead flesh, I must answer to that responsibility..."
Bathed in the witch's sneers, Beato searched through Kyrie's corpse. She fished through the pockets, taking what was inside out and laying it on the floor...
There was no special, suspicious object... Although Beato was down on all fours and being sneered at, that was all she could find.
"Ahhahahahahahahahahahahaha!! What's with that seedy looking trash?! How do you think you can break my magic with that stuff?!"
"Worthless, worthless, are you a moron?!! How can you be so lame, and right after you cut in between us, talking so tough?! Aaah, how pathetic, how embarrassing!! Why don't you just give up and die forever?!"
The witch fell over laughing, lambasting Beato. Beato hung her head, trying to withstand this shame.
"...Milady, are you finished with your inspection?"
"...I-Indeed... I will not find any more than this..."
"Can you make any counter from this evidence? If not, then the human side must resign."
"Obviously, you don't have any room to argue back!! I am a witch. You cannot break through my magic!!"
"You're no longer anything but a former witch. A loser who isn't even allowed to take the name Beatrice anymore!! Come on, pile up as much trash and rubbish as you like, and just try to break my magic!!"
"...You can't, right? You can't, can you? Kuhhihihihihi, and why's that? It's because I'm a witch. It's because you're just a loser without a name!! Kuhhihhyahhyahhyahhyahhyah!!!"
BGM: Thanks for Being Born
As Beato held back tears at the words of humiliation she was being showered with, she tried to find if Kyrie was holding something else, to find something that could save Battler from his plight, searching earnestly. However, nothing more came up...
"...Damn it... Please, Ushiromiya Kyrie... You must save your son from his plight... Please, after death, lend me power for his sake..."
However, Kyrie's body did not answer. It was only natural that a corpse would remain silent. No dead person existed that would answer Beato, who had lost the Endless Magic...
"It's pointless, pointless, pointleeess. Toying with the dead is a privilege only for witches. For you, who is neither a witch nor even a Human, no one exists who will lend a hand!!"
"You'll be alone for all eternity!! You have no witch or Human allies, and no one will save you!! If that's frustrating, why don't you cry?! If only you'd just apologize, saying 'I'm sorry I'm so useless'?! Ahhahahahahahahahahahaha!!"
"...Sorry, Battler... I... couldn't help you... at all..."
"I-I don't need consoling...! Just how could you possibly argue back with this pile of rubbish...?!!"
"Just how could you possibly strike back with this rubbish I scraped together while she sneered at me...?!"
In front of Beato, who was still crawling on all fours and hitting the pile of objects Kyrie had left behind with her fist, Battler also crouched. And, after patting her on the shoulder in thanks, he moved that hand to the ground, picked up the cigarette butt, and held it up over his head.
"...What are you trying to say with that trash...?"