I heard the sound of a hot tub hitting the tiles.
The yellow buckets were piled up in the shape of a mountain.
The noisy voices of the girls echoed off the walls painted with Mt. Fuji.
「Ugh...... that's unfair!」
Next to me, Shima-senpai sank into the hot water up to her mouth, and stretched comfortably.
「Uuun, Nnn! Well, Moribe-chan had a lot of work to do with that girl. It can't be helped. I think you did a good job, my friend」
「What do you mean?...... I fall into a pig at the last minute」
「It's a good thing it was at the end. I've been through so much, thinking I'd been beaten to a pulp, and now today I've been subjected to such...... embarrassment」
Shima-senpai shakes her head, as if remembering something. It's not just the heat of the water that's making her face red.
「How many times did you cum..?」
「Why are you so curious? W-well...... after the third time, I didn't know what happened. They were relentless. And after we were released from here, I couldn't help but feel embarrassed」
「Are we going to be released......?」
I turned my attention to the four people who had been interrogated as major sinners.
I don't know what they did to them, but they are still in tears.
Even now, the four of them were huddled together at the edge of the bathtub, crying.
「Now, what do you think? But even if we could go back, the track and field club would be over. We've already seen each other's dirty parts. I don't think I can forgive Konparu either」
I can only see a future where I will be bullied by everyone I whip.
「The truth is...... if Hatsu-chan hadn't been in such a state yesterday, I would have switched places with Shiratori」
「Eh? Is that so?」
「The first day I whipped her, it was just to encourage me. She's a smart girl. But she's bluffing, so it's hard for me to make a decision...... But still, she's someone I can trust」
「Someone you can trust? Shima-senpai, were you close with Shiratori-senpai?」
「Actually, she's my niece」
「Don't shout so loud. Everyone's looking at you」
「I'm the youngest of seven siblings, and she was the child of my oldest sister who married in Tokyo. She came here to go to college and now she's staying with me」
「I've never heard of it」
「That's because I never told it. But she's one of my relatives, so I can believe her. Well, I'm sorry about it, Moribe. I hope you don't feel bad about it. She's just a competitive person」
While replying to the question, I remembered the exchange with Shiratori-senpai.
◇ ◇ ◇
If I get carried away, I lose. So, I stood in front of Shiratori-senpai and swung the whip down as hard as I could.
「Ugh! It's hurt...」
Shiratori-senpai's face distorts in pain, but she looks up at me with a somewhat relaxed look, and that appearance sparks my anxiety.
I think she's planning something.
But I want to get some information out of her.
She said she knew who the four sinner and that she knew everything about them. If I can get her to tell me that, I might be able to end this whipping today.
「About the four deadly sinners, is it Konparu-senpai?」
「Do you think so?」
I don't reply, I just whip her. I'm not going to play into that trick.
「What makes you think it's Konparu?」
Shiratori-senpai is still asking questions. But I still whip her with my mouth closed.
I don't think Shiratori-senpai expects me to give an easy answer, but is she planning to repeat the question and make me impatient?
「Shiratori-senpai, don't you want it to end!?」
「Losing in a game is not good for me」
What in the world is this person talking about?
It's not a game or anything like this.
She shrugged her shoulders as she looked at me, showing my annoyance.
「Well, okay. If you want to know, I'll tell you from the beginning. What was the common factor between the four of you who were chosen to be the inquisitors in the first place?」
Common factor? The first four people chosen were Yui-chan, Takasago-senpai, Captain, and me. What do the four of us have in common? We're all in different categories, and we're in different grades.
「Don't you get it? It's our hair. Out of the eighteen, twelve of us have short cuts. And yet, not all four of those chosen have short cuts, so of course there's a point to it」
(It is true that...... the captain of the club was left out, and the next one chosen was Shima-senpai, who has a short cut)
「I can see what you're thinking on your face, you must thought that Shima-senpai is a short cut, right?」
I stopped whipping my hand and closed my eyes.
It's dangerous, she even read my expression.
As I inhaled to take a deep breath, Shiratori-senpai opened her mouth.
「It was probably unexpected for them that our captain didn't make it. So, they had to add one of their own in a hurry. You saw Shima-senpai's attitude? I think that princess knew that Shima-senpai was not one of the four. So it doesn't matter that she has a short cut」
(I see. If I may say so......)
The next moment, I opened my eyes and before I knew it, she had walked right up to me and had her face right up to my nose.
I let out a yelp and backed away. She opened her eyes wide and still thrust her face at me.
「Now that it's gotten this far, the next question arises, right? There are two people left who don't have shortcuts. How come me and Konparu were not chosen?」
I almost let out an audible “Eh” but I spun my mouth.
I don't think that's enough to answer the question, but I feel like once I break down, I'll just answer it randomly.
「It's just that, you know? If the short cut is a characteristic of the four of them, then isn't it okay if it's not Shima-senpai but me or Konparu?」
As soon as I thought about it, Shiratori-senpai suddenly twisted her cheeks into a scathing expression.
「The answer is simple, because “we-are-ugly”」
For a moment, I had no idea what she was talking about.
「On the contrary, once this search for the guilty is over, you will be able to see the Confinement King...」
When Shiratori-senpai had said that much, the silver-haired maid interrupted.
「It's “Confinement King-sama”」
「That means you'll become the comfort of the “Confinement King-sama”.... And he has no use for ugly people」
I was confused. It's not that she's ugly, she's just unsociable.
It's just that if you keep your mouth shut, you look like you're up to something, and that scares me. The face itself is rather cute.
「What's with that face!」
Suddenly, Shiratori shouted loudly, and I shrunk back. No matter what, I don't know what kind of face I was making.
「You! You think you're prettier than me, and you're looking down on me, right! Oh no. You cute little pretender. You act like you're having a hard time with the whip, but when you step out the door, you're laughing your head off. I'm sure of it. You're a black-hearted bitch, a terrible bitch」
Shiratori-senpai stared my face as she rattled off a bunch of cynical words. I didn't have time to say anything back, I just backed away.
「You think you're the cutest, don't you? Oh, I get it. I've figured it out this time. The truth is that the four deadly sinners were the first four chosen, right? That's the kind of twist you see in movies. Tell me. It's you, isn’t it? It's you, right?」
As I backed away, Shiratori-senpai continued to press me. This girl is crazy. I mean, does this mean that she didn't know what she was doing? I almost shouted, “No!” But I swallowed my words and raised my whip.
Then, Shiratori-senpai said in a sarcastic tone.
「Oh my, you whip me when it's inconvenient. Heh.... I mean, you're the sinner, aren't you? If you're whipping me now, that proves that you're the sinner. Everyone, watch me, because if she whips me, she's the sinner!」
The reason and logic were absurd. But the momentum was pushing me around, and I was confused. Still, as long as I don't open my mouth, I'll be fine. I repeated in my mind.
「What's wrong with you? Are you scared? Small fry! Fucking small fry! It's like you're confessing you're the sinner! Apologize to everyone. Apologize to everyone!」
No. I can't talk back. But when someone abuses me this much, I feel so frustrated and annoyed that my eyes start to burn. Why do I have to be told this much? I'm supposed to be the one with the whip! It should be Shiratori-senpai who hurts when she is beaten!
「See, apologize to everyone!」
(No! It's not me!)
The moment I shouted that in my mind.
Shiratori-senpai returned to her usual sullen and unsociable face, as if her spirit had fallen, and said to the silver-haired maid.
「Maid-san. What about this?」
「Eh? Eh? Eh? I-I didn't reply!」
Shiratori-senpai replied with a pouting face to my unconscious distraction.
「You guys were probably told not to answer the question. However, I thought there was no such restriction as 'not using words'...... It's called non-verbal communication. If you say yes or no to a question without saying it out loud, you've answered the question, of course. So I tried to push you until you unconsciously did so」
「...... What do you mean?」
「You just shook your head as hard as you can」
I felt the blood drain from my face.
I was too preoccupied with my words. I should have known that. But I was being pushed around so much at once that I had no time to think about it.
Then, when I turned around and before I knew it, the sackhead woman was standing behind me.
I was stripped of my clothes in an instant, and before I could even let out a breath, my body was entangled with the rope.
After I rolled on the floor in a tortoise shell bondage, the sackhead woman walked over to Shiratori-senpai and untied her rope.
「Phew.... I'm so stiff」
Looking up at Shiratori-senpai, who is snapping her neck as she says this, I am overcome with a sense of despair.
I've fallen. I've fallen.
I'm being whipped.
I'm going to be beaten up like Captain.
I was so scared that I burst into tears at the thought.
「Uuuu...... Uuuu...... Sob, uuuu」
Shiratori-senpai looked down at me and, as usual, with an unsociable face, spoke.
「Don't worry about it. I'll finish it all before you get whipped」
Then she turned to the silver-haired maid and spoke.
「The sinner are the four first-year students, Kishijo, Saito, Inui and Hotta」
Immediately, everyone who was crowded around Shima-senpai stopped moving and Yui-chan turned to the silver-haired maid with a look of surprise on her face.
Only Shima-senpai's lustrous breaths echoed in the silence.
「I understood. Now, the four of you will be interrogated in a separate room. Torture, take them with you」
The sackhead woman then took out what looked like a knife and urged the four girls to step out into the hallway, squaring their chins. As the four girls walked out, terrified at the sight of the knife, the silver-haired maid opened her mouth.
「I'm going to interrogate them now. I'm sure this will be over soon, so everyone please stay put」
When the silver-haired maid left, a sigh of relief escaped from the menagerie. There was no one to open their mouths. The only one with a pouting face was Shima-senpai, who was shaking her body.
I boldly asked Shiratori-senpai.
「Why did you know it was the four of them?」
「I think it's rather strange that you don't know...... Oh well. It's a simple process of elimination. As I said before, the characteristics of a great sinner are shortcuts. In other words, the first four, plus the six of me and Konparu are unlikely. And Shima-senpai is also unlikely, as I said before. Ota sisters are not capable of doing such shady things, and Amemiya does not have the guts to keep her mouth shut after being beaten so badly. That leaves us with eight」
Until that point, I can kind of imagine it.
「And if it was four of them who humiliated her, then it's kind of unnatural for people who don't usually work together to do that, isn't it? That's why Adachi, Koike, and Omuta who hang out with Konparu are unlikely. I don't think Sato, who hangs out with me and Takasago-senpai, would be able to do that...... So that leaves four people: Kishiro, Saito, Inui, and Hotta. It's not that these guys are always together, but...... you can think of one girl who treats all of these guys like dirt, right? The top student in the same short distance as these guys.......」
「That's right. That's what I meant. I checks with Shima-senpai, just to be sure, that the person who was humiliated, Fujiwara, and Teruya, are in the same class, so I can guess the rest」
About thirty minutes later, the four of them returned, accompanied by a silver-haired maid.
Although they didn't appear to be injured, the four of them were in tears. When I called out to them, they just sobbed and couldn't even speak properly.
The silver-haired maid looked around at us and opened her mouth.
「Now that we have confirmed that the four of them are the sinners, we would like to inform you of your future plans」
I heard a gurgling sound coming from the room. Maybe everyone was thinking the same thing. Will we be able to go home?
We waited patiently for the silver-haired maid to continue.
「Tonight, we have a dinner party hosted by the Second Favored Princess, so I hope you will all enjoy yourselves there. Especially for those of you who are the sinners, this may be your last supper, so I recommend that you eat to your heart's content so that you will have no regrets」
「What is the de-dessert?」
「Please look forward to it」
When asked by Takasago-senpai, the silver-haired maid smiled.
「First, the inquisitors, Kayama-sama, Takasago-sama and Shiratori-sama, please go back to your rooms, and Shiratori-sama, please use the room that Moribe-sama is using. Please finish bathing before I come back later to dress you individually」
The word “dress” caused a slight buzz. But the silver-haired maid didn't seem to care, and looked around then spoke.
「As for the former pigs, I will now take you to the large bathhouse created by the Second Princess. Your clothes will be prepared there, so please take your time and enjoy your bath」
Then we were untied from the ropes and brought to this large bathhouse that looked like a public bath in the city no matter how I looked at it.
Apparently, this second favorite princess had a bit of a strange sense of taste.