In fact, getting away from her for a moment and resetting my mind seemed like a good idea.
Then, as I get up from my seat, she says casually.
「I'll have a coffee. Black is fine」
「You want me to brew it?」
「I just want to drink coffee made by the King. It's royal coffee, after all」
「...But, all I have to do is push a button, though」
「All that matters is that the King did it for me」
Shiratori-san's casual talk was not like her, and I felt a weird tension in her voice and shrugged my shoulders lightly.
I walked to the drink bar corner, picked up two cups of coffee, set one on the coffee machine, and turned it on.
I hear the whirring sound of the coffee machine, and brown liquid begins to drip into the cups.
（I'm too used to consuming stories...? Well, I guess I understand some of the nuances. But "You can see it. You're just not trying to understand?" That's a lie）
In fact, there was a red color surrounding her. This must mean that despite her vigilance against the <Eyes of Truth>, she couldn't avoid mixing a lie with part of her story.
Soon, while thinking so, the coffee was poured into two cups, and I returned to my seat with them in my hands.
「Here you go, coffee」
「I'm honored. Royal coffee. So, did you get everything straightened out?」
「Yeah, I mean, not everything is clear」
Immediately, Shiratori-san's expression turned cloudy. It was only for a moment, but her eyes certainly swam.
I felt as if she had been hit by a lucky punch.
It seemed that I had given her a different response than she had expected.
And with a somewhat restless look, she stirs her sugarless coffee with a spoon, stares at me intently, and opens her mouth to speak.
「...Too much story consumption, in short, is The Law of Prägnanz. People tend to perceive things in close relation to each other by grouping them together. In this case, the bullying incident in the basketball club and the incident in which Hanabusa-san was attacked and Moribe had little to do with each other. Still, they are connected as one story based on the stories consumed before. And the circumstantial evidence is presented as if it were a fact—」
「You talk a lot」
「No, not at all」
When I interrupted her, she looked at the window.
（What? Hmm? Huh? Is she in a hurry? She is in a hurry, isn't she?）
As I thought, I couldn't sense the leeway that Shiratori-san used to have. Maybe the point that everything is not clear is not good for her.
The phrase "consuming too many stories" is puzzling, and my thoughts are naturally drawn to it. Shiratori-san must have been trying to lead me there. In fact, it is in that direction that she is now trying to correct the conversation.
This makes me chuckle in my heart.
（Saki Shiratori is defeated! I can already see where to attack!）
「Then, what is the relationship between Sakon-san and you, Shiratori-san?」
When I asked her this, she turned back to her usual sullen face and glared at me.
「I'd like you to ignore that part if you can」
She looked at me like an intimidating civet. But I can't be intimidated at this point.
「Why do you want me to ignore it?」
「...Shima-senpai told me. The King has no delicacy. If things you don't want to be touched are not touched, you won't be able to reach a conclusion」
「I'll try to deal with this delicacy, but for now, what if I ask you to let me hear it by force?」
She let out an exaggerated sigh, "Huff..."
「Well, I don't have a choice. If you promise not to confine me, no matter what you hear, I'll tell you everything, no questions asked」
A blatant precaution. In other words, it contains something that makes me want to confine her.
（Does it mean that other nobles of the demon world are involved? What's the point of having an oral agreement? Is this a trap? If the nobles are involved, I wouldn't be surprised if some magical tools would penalize her if she tells the truth... But I don't have to confine her. I can just call the maids when the time comes. That way, it doesn't mean that I lied...）
Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but after much deliberation in my mind, I nodded quietly.
Then her mouth relaxes slightly. And she took a sip of coffee and frowned bitterly, even though she had told me that black was fine.
「Well, let me tell you the story chronologically... How it all started...」
Then she opens her mouth with a slight pause.
「"Ritsuko Sakon came to kill me"」
「Huhhhh!? What? What are you talking about!?」
I shout out loud unintentionally, and all eyes gather around me. I sip the coffee with a cup in my hand as if I'm in a hurry to make up for it, and I frown at the unexpected bitterness of the coffee.
「Yes, well, I understand. That's the normal reaction」
Shiratori-san nodded her head with a sullen expression on her face. After waiting for the others to avert their gazes, I asked her in a whisper.
「Why did you do that? Did you do something to her, Shiratori-san?」
「If I say I did, I did; if I say I didn't, I didn't」
「Why are you talking like that again? You're just dodging the point...」
「Well, I'll leave it to you to decide whether "I did" or "didn't." At this point, it's okay to say there are possibilities in both cases. In other words, it was Schrodinger Shiratori」
In my mind, I replace the name with "Schrodinger Shoebill."
「King, I'm sure you've met her before, my junior, Sato. She has a big brother in the same year as me, in the next class. And this guy fell in love with a girl on the basketball team named Kaitou, despite the distance status」
I had heard the name Kaitou many times before I came here.
It was the super ace of the women's basketball team who suddenly quit the team. Her disappearance has led to bullying, to say the least. But what in the world does this Sato-san's brother have to do with it? I don't get the story at all.
「He knows he's not a good match for her as it is, but he wants to win her somehow, so Sato's brother came to me. Maybe he had heard something about me from Sato」
「So, Shiratori-san, did you cooperate with him?」
「If you say I did, then I did. In exchange for various conditions, I gave him some instructions on how to get her to fall in love with him, and he got Kaitou safely and happily」
「What do you mean by 'how to fall in love'?」
「Maybe, as you can imagine, a very simple version of what the King did to us. Of course, he doesn't have the King's convenient power. More like DIY confinement」
For my part, I'm a bit taken aback. I can't help but be disgusted by Shiratori-san and Sato-san's brother because they did the same thing without the power of "room."
「But, I never heard anything about this Kaitou girl's disappearance...」
「There are lots of ways to do that, and that's not a big problem」
「So, Kaitou, who is in love with Sato-san's brother, easily quit the basketball club. And Sato, the little sister, says that Kaitou has been very attached to her brother. And that should have been a happy ending... Is that it?」
At this, Shiratori-san cowered her shoulders with a wry smile.
「Well, actually, Kaitou had been stalked by someone. And probably the worst kind of stalker」
Kaitou? => link
Revised on August 13, 2022.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.
Thanks for reading.