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Thursday, September 9, 2021

Chapter 102 Special News Program

「Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm ♪」
 
 I hummed as I took off my uniform and turned on the TV with the remote control.
 
 I was in a good mood.
 
 Today, I ate lunch with Junichi-sama while comforting him.
 
 I put on a sober face and said, “Don't worry, cheer up! Kurosawa-san will be back soon” but in my heart I chuckled, “There's no way she'll be back”.
 
 Now that Misuzu Kurosawa is gone, the girl who is closest to Junichi-sama is probably me.
 
 The love that is born from continuously comforting Junichi-sama's broken heart. I'm sure that Junichi-sama will fall in love with me soon.
 
 After school, I went to the club activities...... but Ninagawa and I only had a brief track time together.
 
 Then we went back to the dorm, had dinner in the cafeteria, and just got back to my room.
 
 Tonight, there is a drama series that I've been looking forward to. Today is the last episode. I definitely can't miss it.
 
 But as soon as I turned on the TV, the sound of an emergency bulletin rang out, and a message appeared in white letters on the screen.
 
 As soon as I saw it, I went rigid with my hand still holding the remote control.
 
「What!? Sis got caught!? The girls were released safely? What...... what's going?」
 
 I'm not joking. My love story with Junichi-sama is just getting started.
 
 No, it's not the time to be thinking about a love story.
 
 If my own sister kidnapped one of our students, of course I would be suspected, and I would have no place at school.
 
 In the first place, my sister is paying for all my school fees and living expenses. If my sister was arrested, all of that would stop.
 
 I don't even know how I'm going to survive if that happens.
 
「It's a lie! This is absolutely a lie!」
 
 I'm sure it wasn't my sister who was involved in the women's track and field club.
 
 My sister would never lie to me.
 
 If my sister says she did not do it, then she did not do it.
 
 I changed the channels one after another, as if clinging to hope that there was some mistake.
 
 I hoped that somewhere it would be reported as a false alarm.
 
 And then...
 
 When the title of the program appeared on the screen, “Special News Program - Large-scale Kidnapping: What Happened to the Girls?” I stopped changing the channel.
 
 
 ◇ ◇ ◇
 
 
 After arriving home, my mom fell asleep because she was not feeling well.
 
 My dad just said, “I believe in you. and don't worry about your mother” before he went back into the bedroom.
 
 I thought my dad would be more upset......
 

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 And not feeling in the mood to say anything about dinner, I took a cup of ramen from the kitchen counter and poured hot water over it.
 
「Oh, another lonely dinner, Devi」
 
 Lili, who was floating in the air, said teasingly, and I twitched my lips in annoyance then said, “Shut up”.
 
 And while holding the lid of the cup of noodles with my chopsticks, I turned on the TV in the living room.
 
 I feel like it's been a long time since I've watched TV.
 
 I suppose that's true. After all, I've been spending most of my evenings with the girls.
 
 As I randomly changed the channel, I saw on the screen, “Special news program - Large-scale kidnapping: What happened to the girls?”.
 
 I wondered what kind of news they were reporting.
 
『Today, I changed my schedule and watched a news about the kidnapping of a young girl, which had caused a sensation in the world for the past few weeks. I'd like to give a thorough examination of...... which seems to be called “Mysterious Disappearance Case” on the Internet』
 
 There were several people seated at a semi-circular table with the familiar host and female announcer of a lunchtime information program in the middle.
 
『Today's commentators are as follows. First up is Professor Hiroya Tanaka, a professor at Hosei University and an expert in social pathology. Next, a researcher with expertise in criminal psychology--Yoshitake .......』
 
 The guests are introduced in order.
 
 As for me, I can't help but wonder why comedians and idols are always included in these kinds of information programs.
 
 I understand that it is necessary to include the viewpoints of ordinary people, but because of the familiarity of TV personalities who are not experts in the field, the stories of these “ordinary people” tend to dominate the show.
 
 With this in mind, I opened the lid of the ramen and sipped the noodles. Yes, the seafood flavor is delicious after all.
 
 Then, as I stared blankly at it.
 
『Finally, on behalf of the students of the school where this incident took place, we have a first-year student, Rin Fukuda』
 
『P... Please take care of me』
 
「Bufoooooo!!」
 
 Rin Fukuda, who looked like she was about to die, appeared on the screen and I spewed my ramen.
 

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「Cough, Cough, w-w-w-what is she doing here!!」
 
「Fumi Fumi! Look, there! You're going to spill the soup on the carpet, Devi? Is that okay, Devi?」
 
「Oh, that's not good」
 
 I hurriedly ran to the kitchen to get a dishcloth and wiped off the ramen soup that had been spattered on the table.
 
 Of course, all the while, my eyes were glued to the TV.
 
『Now, let's take a look back at what happened』
 
 The screen switched to an illustration and narration with frightening music in the background.
 
『K-san, a third-year schoolgirl, went missing, and a few days later, her best friend H-san disappeared from her room. 13 days later, K-san was found in front of the school wearing the same clothes she was wearing when she went missing, and she testified that she had no memory of the time she was missing. And a few more days later, this time, eighteen of the twenty members of the girls' track and field club went missing all together after school』
 
 Well, it's not wrong.
 
 It's not surprising that Ryoko and Kyoko are not included in this story, since they have not been discovered by the public.
 
『And what's more, the first-year student, F-san, is missing』
 
 I nearly spewed out my ramen again, but stopped myself.
 
 Yeah, I should probably stop eating.
 
 F-san is in the studio right now, you know? 
 
 The person on the edge of the screen looking like she's dying is F-san, right?
 
 What is it? Shimura! Behind you! I wonder if it's something like that. (*Note: Ken Shimura -> popular comedian, but he died at the age of 70 due to pneumonia caused by COVID-19. My deepest condolences)
 
『F-san left a note saying that a third-year boy named K was the culprit and then disappeared, leaving this Boy K injured after someone attacked him on his way home』
 
 Sorry, I have nothing more to gush about.
 
 That K is me, no matter how I think about it.
 
『Actually, this F-san had asked this Boy K for a relationship, but was rejected, and to make up for it, she staged the kidnapping in order to frame him as the kidnapper』
 
 How could the media know about that!?
 
 I looked at Lili and she shook her head, “It's not Lili, Devi”.
 
『And yesterday, this Boy K returned home together with K-san, the schoolgirl. This K-san is the third-year schoolgirl who was kidnapped first. And she was forcibly kidnapped again in a black van while she was on her way home with this Boy K』
 
 Aside from the fact that Kasuya-kun doesn't appear in the story, but the information is surprisingly detailed, where on earth did this story come from?
 
『But here, the case took a major turn. The next day, this Boy K went to the yakuza's office by himself. We don't know why he did that, but when the police raided the office of the after receiving a report that there was a gang war, they found this Boy K confronting the members of the gang. And there were the kidnapped schoolgirls』
 
 Then, the screen switches to show the image of us coming out of the office.
 
 It's an image of me and the girls coming out with blankets over our heads.
 
 There was a lot of commotion, but fortunately no faces were shown.
 
 Next, the screen switched to the host.
 

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『So, it seems that the culprit has been arrested and the case has been resolved, but there are still some girls who have not been found, right?』
 
『Yes, four first-year students from the women's track and field club have yet to be found, and the police are going to pursue this matter closely』
 
 The host turned to the commentator as the analyst responded.
 
『Tanaka-sensei, what do you think about this case? 』
 
『Yes. It's a large-scale kidnapping that is unprecedented in Japan's criminal history, but it's hard to imagine that the scale of the gang that was caught this time. I think that perhaps a larger criminal organization is involved behind it』
 
『I see』
 
 There, the comedian interjected.
 
『This F girl is a terrible person. She has nothing to do with the kidnapping itself, right? In my opinion, she's the most unforgivable』
 
 Immediately, Rin Fukuda bounced on the edge of the screen.
 
『That's right. She's the worst kind of woman, taking advantage of other people's misfortune to get revenge on the man who dumped her. You're from the same school, aren't you? Do you know her? What kind of girl is she?』
 
 The Enka singer spoke to Rin Fukuda. (*Note: Enka (演歌) is a popular Japanese music genre considered to resemble traditional Japanese music stylistically)
 
『A, Ahaha.... ha, s-she is just an ordinary girl』
 
 Rin Fukuda replies with her eyes swimming wildly.
 
 After all, if I'm asked to comment on myself, that's what I'll say.
 
「Nishishi~, this is a very interesting, Devi! Lili would like to make it a little more interesting, Devi」
 
 And with that, Lili disappeared into thin air.
 
 The sight of Rin Fukuda on TV was too unbearable.
 
 But her eyes suddenly went rigid as she stared around the side of the camera.
 
 Probably, she got the message.
 
 The next moment, she opened her mouth again, looking like she was about to cry.
 
『Oh, um.... It's not that I lied, but...... the truth is that she's too self-centered and doesn't like it when she's not the center of the discussion. She's the type of person who wants to be admired...... and wants to make a good impression even if it means bringing other people down.......』
 
 It seems that the instruction was to answer the question properly.
 

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 My impression was that she was surprisingly good at self-analysis.
 
 However, the professor was relentless in his attack on her comment.
 
『Excessive self-love and excessive self-pity. This is the so-called monster child. In Europe and the United States, this kind of behavior is corrected from an early age through counseling, but Japan lags behind in this field. Japanese people called them in funny way as “Kamatte-chan” and let them go unchecked. They are just plain sociopaths. I think they should be locked up in an institution of some kind』(*Note: Kamatte-chan (構ってちゃん) is a terms for someone who is an attention-seeker)
 
『Society...... Unsuitable......』
 
『Fukuda-san, you should probably stay away from that girl』
 
『A...... ahaha......』
 
 I had never heard such a cheerless “ahaha” before.
 
 From there, the commentators made a series of blunt and accusatory comments about the girl F.
 
 Rin Fukuda no longer had any life left in her. She was not breathing.
 
 At the edge of the screen, she was drooping so low that her whiskers were reflected in the screen.
 
 For those of us who know that Girl F is Rin Fukuda, it was a public execution to the point of disgust.
 
 Once the constant bashing of Girl F had subsided, she must have tried to change the subject. But the researcher, who was an expert in criminal psychology, opened his mouth.
 
『If I may. I think this Boy K is the problem. He pretends to be a hero. It's insane that he rushed into the office of a gang. It is these out-of-control civilians that complicate the investigation......』
 
 However, when he had said that much, suddenly a commercial came on. When the commercial ended, the researcher was nowhere to be seen, and the seat he was sitting on had a huge stuffed bear on it, which was quite unnatural.
 
 Biased media coverage at its finest.
 
 As I was twitching my cheeks, Lili reappeared.
 
「I’m back, Devi」
 
「Where have you been?」
 
「To make this show more interesting, I gave them an anonymous tip, Devi」
 
「Tip?」
 
 Almost as soon as I asked, the host opened his mouth.
 
『Well, during the commercial, we received a tip from a viewer. Our staff confirmed that the evidence seems to be quite conclusive. This is audio only, so please listen first』
 
 The serious expressions of the commentators were shown on the screen in turn. Only Rin Fukuda's was at the top of her head, though.
 
 Then, what started to play was the conversation between Kasuya-kun and his juniors.
 
 The part about Kurosawa-san was cut off, and the names of the people were covered with a beeping sound, but it was easy to tell who was talking to whom if you listened.
 
 I gave Lili a stern look.
 
「Devil trick?」
 
「Yes, Devi」
 
「I guess so」
 
 I let out a sigh as we exchange what has become a standard conversation.
 
 I was planning on finishing my revenge on Kasuya-kun with my next move, but now that she's released this audio, it's overkill.
 
『This is the conversation between the students who were seduced by F-san and attacked Boy K......』
 
 As the host opened his mouth, the Enka singer looked as if she had smelled a pest, and muttered, “Sounds like a very troubled school”.
 
 The atmosphere in the studio must be terrible. But then the comedian suddenly made a move.
 
『I get it, this boy K must have been really cornered and had no choice but to run into the yakuza's office. Once he found out that the yakuza had kidnapped the girl, he knew he had to do something about it, so he went in. I think he's very brave』
 
『That's right. This case was almost solved thanks to this boy』
 
 I finally understood why comedians and TV personalities are placed as commentators in these programs.
 
 In other words, they are the ones who adjust the atmosphere of the place.
 
 And the flow of the program gradually elevated Boy K to the status of a hero for solving the case. Regardless of this, Rin Fukuda continued to expose her whiskers to the general audience until the end of the program.
 

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Edited by Kanaa-senpai 
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