“Yes, I’m a liar. I’ve lied to you, and I’ve lied to Doujima-kun. I’ve also completely broken the promise to become a petit bourgeois.
“But you’re also a liar, Kobato-kun. Have you noticed? While you were indicting me, you seemed to be enjoying yourself the entire time. While you were delving through your thoughts, not letting any small detail escape, you were so energetic and lively. It’s a lie to say that you don’t want to make deductions. Your idea of a petit bourgeois is a lie.”
I’d noticed, but didn’t we promise to not talk about it? Those are personality traits that are difficult to overcome, but that is why we need to seriously attempt to change…
No, I’d never really tried to amend my ways. I was indeed enjoying myself, during that time with the Charlotte, during the case involving Kengo’s note, even when Osanai-san was kidnapped. And needless to say, I was also enjoying myself during that exchange.
There was nothing I could say about being called a liar.
Osanai-san continued, as if spitting out the words.
“Everything’s a lie. Everyone says that I’m dating Kobato-kun, but that’s also a lie. I’m said to be a gentle girl in school, while you’re an innocuous companion with a brilliant smile. Those are also lies. I even lie at home, and you probably do that, too.
“It’s all been lies… even the thing about us being a fox and wolf, that’s probably a lie as well. After all, you were fooled like this, and you’re still wrong.
“If Isawa-san and her gang were merely eyesores, I could have just incited the kidnapping, as you said, and that would be the end of it. But why did I choose such a method? You don’t understand, and you didn’t even try to. I really didn’t want to do it like this. It would be fine if Isawa-san didn’t abduct me, I thought. That’s why I initially abandoned the plan to incite an abduction. There’s no need for me to intentionally put myself in danger. When I chose the plan to increase Isawa-san’s criminal charges, a plan that would only come into play if she really dragged me away, do you think that revenge was all I was thinking of?”
Bathed in the sunlight filtering through the glass, Osanai-san hugged herself.
“I was afraid. No matter how much I act tough, it hurts to be hit. If I get a deep wound, it’ll stay on me. If Isawa-san would really lay a hand on me, I would want her to be far away from me, as long as possible. I’d want her to stay away from me, for a year, or even half a year. That’s why I had her become a kidnapper. I exposed myself from danger. I lost a battle to win the war. If not, I would always be afraid for my safety. If what I did was a lie, it was a lie to escape from a scary person.
“Kobato-kun, you said that you believed in me. But I also believe in you now. I know that you definitely won’t do things that I’m afraid of. That’s because all you can do is think. You’re a person with no capacity for empathy… just like me.
“Also, you know how I am, and you saw through my plan just like that. If we’re not an exceptionally witty fox and wolf, if us trying to become petit bourgeois is just a lie, what is left? Do you know?”
If I’m not really a wolf, yet believe myself to be one, and declare myself to be turning into a petit bourgeois, which is also a lie.
That’s just like cotton candy. The thing that caused it to be swell into a sweet lie is just a pinch of sugar.
Of course I know what’s left, Osanai-san, I thought as her lips slowly moved.
“All that’s left is two arrogant high school students…”
“Hey, Kobato-kun, I don’t think there’s any point in us being together any more.”
If it wasn’t just my imagination, Osanai-san’s voice sounded somewhat sorrowful, but it was still calm, and far from emotional.
Osanai-san’s hands were wrapped around the tape recorder, as if it were precious to her. She continued talking while giving off the impression that she was talking to it.
“I’ve always thought of this. In the first place, our promise was to lend each other a hand so that we can become petit bourgeois. To prevent us from getting caught up in trouble, to allow us to live peacefully everyday, you’ve used me as your shield, and I’ve used you as mine. So that nobody can point at our backs and say, ‘That’s the kind of person he is,’… we thought the pact to be a definite necessity while we were in middle school. And I do think that was indeed the case.
“But now, I think it’s been enough. In Funado High School, no one thinks of us as anything other than a plain couple. Those who knew us in Takaba Middle School also won’t say anything now that two years have passed.
“On top of that, us aiming to be petit bourgeois is just a lie. We claim to have that goal, but we know it to be untrue. We lament how bad it is not being little citizens, yet we never considered truely following the path. .. Don’t you think this will never go away as long as the two of us are together?”
I quietly nodded.
“Exactly. I’ve also noticed it long ago. I tend to gravitate to the detective role the most when I’m with you. Even to the point that I would create materials when there weren’t any… All I can say is that I was being spoiled by you.”
“I was also too dependent on the sense of security I had with you being around. But if so, that’s fine. If we’ve become unable to find meaning in becoming genuine petit bourgeois, we could hold onto this arrogance, like it’s a secret just between the two of us.”
That was quite the sickening proposal. Under this, Osanai-san and I would become conceited and only think of ourselves as special, but live out our high school lives normally, without breathing a word about it… although I cannot declare with confidence that our current state was not entirely like this. Then again, if we could derive pleasure from that, closed happiness is still happiness. However…
“But Osanai-san, that isn’t why we’re together.”
“Yes, we’re together for the sole purpose of using each other at our own convenience. It’s because of this promise that you accompanied me for my sweets pilgrimage throughout the summer even though you had your doubts. You came along because you thought I had some plan, even though you don’t really like sweet things.”
That was exactly how our symbiotic relationship worked… it was not a one in which we were dependent on each other.
“Indeed, when I was with you, I constantly wondered what you were thinking. There was too little material for me to base my thoughts on, so at some point I started wondering if you simply wanted to do a sweets pilgrimage. It was a little distressing.”
“I was also happy that you came along without a word of complaint, but I was always thinking of ways to effectively imprint the map onto your memory… It was a hard time for me too.”
We fell silent.
In my head, I evaluated Osanai-san’s proposal. Had our petit bourgeois slogan outlived its usefulness?
I can’t agree with that. If we lose just a little self-control, Osanai-san and I would immediately be talked about behind our backs again. It’s miserable even thinking about it now. Contrary to what Osanai-san said, it’s not the case that I’m unable to find meaning in becoming a genuine petit bourgeois.
So, what about the method to bolster my self-control by being with Osanai-san to avoid situations that would test my self-control? Had it reached its limits?
That might be true. It’s because of Osanai-san that I solve mysteries. Since I have this side to me, it wouldn’t be strange for Osanai-san to consider revenge schemes only because I ‘m with her. If that is the case, then there are already cracks in the our relationship.
…I’d already noticed this, though.
Osanai-san and I had quite some difference in opinion, but we apparently often came to relatively similar conclusions.
“I don’t think there’s no meaning in us being together.”
Osanai-san gasped in surprise, but I continued.
“I do think it’s lost its effectiveness, though. You do have a point.”
With a sigh, Osanai-san shook her head.
“…As I thought, you responded this way.”
“I had no choice.”
“No, I wasn’t talking about the contents of your reply, but of the method.
“Kobato-kun, I’m bringing up the subject of breaking up here. If that sounds too much like a thing for lovers, then let’s call it a dissolution of our relationship. You should understand, right? If I’d always thought this way, why did I not bring it up until today?”
I didn’t even need to think to answer that question.
“You couldn’t afford to break relations with me before dealing with Isawa Hasemi, right?”
“Exactly. Don’t you think that was selfish of me? Especially when you were angry at me for lying and entrapping Isawa-san.”
“For Isawa-san, you were going against the rules, so it was natural for me to be angry. But I don’t have the right to be mad at you for using me.”
I became increasingly calm as I answered her question.
Although that was no place for either of us to be calm, Osanai-san was also totally composed. A cold smile appeared on her childlike face.
“There you go. Even when I selfishly bring up the topic of bidding each other farewell, we can’t even bicker. We try to judge if it’s the appropriate thing to do. All we can do is think. We don’t get angry, and we don’t even feel the slightest hint of sadness. It might be good to stay like this with you around…
“But we can’t stay together forever.
“Today, I completed a bit of homework from middle school. I think this is a good opportunity.”
She was right.
In the first place, Osanai-san and I being together was only a transient measure.
Time to make a decision.
“I understand what you were trying to say… Let’s go our separate ways.”
However, Osanai-san’s response to my statement was difficult to understand.
She closed her eyes for an instant, and when they reopened, a teardrop leaked out from the corner of an eye. She’d laid out a logical proposal, and I agreed to it after some consideration, so there should be no cause for sadness. For some reason, Osanai-san whispered.
“…I’m sorry, Kobato-kun…”
Editors (Tier 2) : Joshua Fisher
Assistants (Tier 1) : Definitelynotme, Rolando Sanchez
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