Teramoto: "Do you believe me if I say that she never showed any grudge toward me? It was really as if nothing happened, not that we became friends or anything though. When I first explained my projects to her, she listened attentively and then she approached the issue as if she was a machine that was just given a mission. She never questioned stuff like 'why should I do this', 'why do you want to do this', and so on. All that mattered to her was what kind of tool I needed and how she could perfectly create it."
Erika: "Just as I thought. Then let me confirm something, it was Junko Andou and not you who came up with the idea of that elaborated lock."
Teramoto: "Yes... what I suggested back then was something similar but simpler. Andou then insisted to know exactly what kind of purpose I needed that for. Then she rejected my project and proposed her own. She became suddenly talkative when she started to explain all the reasons why my idea was wrong and her was better. It's as if she was an expert on locking devices or something. She kept repeating that the best lock is a lock that you can't see to begin with.
Naturally it's not like she suddenly gave a damn about my cult, she just wanted to do a good job for her own sake."
Satsukawa: "I think this is a pretty relevant point. In other words you're confirming that Andou knew how to open that door."
Teramoto: "Obviously so, she's the very person that came up with that system... Wait... are you suspecting that she killed Gotsuji?"
That's a pretty good question, but she should have realized this sooner. Certainly what she told us so far doesn't really help in mitigating our suspicions. Is Andou the kind of person that would kill someone in cold blood? I still lack conclusive evidences, but everything seems to indicate that yes, she is that kind of person. However we still lack any proofs regarding a possible relation between her and the victim. Is Oda really the only connection?
Satsukawa: "To your knowledge, how many persons knew the trick to open the shed's door before the crime occurred?"
Teramoto: "Everyone in the occultism club knew... plus Kagami and Andou."
Erika: "That's too many people. Any of them could have told this secret to someone else."
Teramoto: "I think you're forgetting something relevant here, great detective. Even if someone knew how to open the door, there was nothing he could do without the proper tool, and only two of those exist. Kagami has one and I have the other."
Erika: "... Of course it's not like I forgot anything, I was just getting to that."
Erika: "Silence! Anyway Junko Andou could have made more of those without telling you, or she could have created another one later. I think she gave them a specific name, if I'm not mistaken..."
Teramoto: "Yeah... how do you know? When she gave me mine she said that it was 'Slim Jim'. That made me laugh, to think that she would give a cute name to a tool she made..."
Just as I thought.
Satsukawa: "What if someone stole your Slim Jim or Kagami's and then put it back before you noticed?"
Teramoto: "I can't think of many people who could do that with mine without being ninja."
Erika: "However in Kagami's case I think it would be pretty easy. Whenever she plays basketball her stuff is completely unattended, and she's not bright enough to notice if someone rummaged through her belongings."
Satsukawa: "So in the end there are still a lot of possibilities..."
Erika: "The simplest solution is still the more probable though. Don't you agree, Teramoto?"
Teramoto: "Why are you asking... me?"
Dlanor: "Miss Erika is suggesting that the culprit is more likely someone who already possessed both the knowledge and the tool to open the shed's door."
Teramoto: "I thought you said that Kagami isn't the culprit! Wait... that leaves me, doesn't it?!"
Erika: "I'm glad that you finally realized where you stand."
Teramoto: "It wasn't me... I didn't do anything wrong... I mean, apart from all the wrong things that I did... But I never killed anyone! I could never! I'm not a monster!"
Erika: "Does that mean that you made someone else to do that?"
Teramoto: "Neither! I'm not such a fool to not realize that I'd be still guilty!"
Satsukawa: "And you never happened to give the order to 'punish' Gotsuji, just like you did with Andou and anyone who stood in your way?"
Teramoto: "No! There was absolutely nothing between me and Gotsuji!"
Erika: "Interesting. Perhaps you're telling the truth, and you're completely unrelated to the crime, but what if you're the culprit and you're simply denying your responsibility in a desperate attempt to save yourself from the consequences? You sure showed that tendency with all those: 'I never did anything wrong'!"
Teramoto: "That's different! You must believe me! I'm not lying!"
Erika: "So... it's not like you're telling us all these things about Andou to divert our attention from yourself, right? I just want to make that sure."
Teramoto: "What?! I... I wasn't even thinking about that! Everything I told you about her is the truth! You can ask my friends to confirm my version of the facts, if you wish!"
Satsukawa: "That's enough, Erika. Like I said, this isn't a trial, and this isn't an interrogation of a possible culprit either. Right now we're just collecting Teramoto's statements. Whether they're true or false, that's something that we'll evaluate later."
Erika: "Fair enough. You heard him, Teramoto. So please, be at ease. *giggle* *giggle*"
Satsukawa: "So, is there anything left that you need to tell us about Andou?"
Teramoto: "Nothing much... Of course the inner mechanisms inside the statue of Pazuzu were also made by her, after she improved my original project. She made me spend even more money because she insisted that a cheap infrared remote wouldn't have worked. Kagami was usually the one that operated that."
Satsukawa: "I really feel like an idiot now for wasting that much time checking the shed a few days ago. That Hibari really pulled a nice prank on me."
Erika: "Sure she did."
Satsukawa: "You knew it all along, didn't you...?"
Erika: "I suspected that. It didn't hurt to check that place carefully though."
Satsukawa: "Yeah, of course..."
Erika: "Ah, I almost forgot! We still need to ask you about the murder weapon. Surely you're not going to confirm that ridiculous story that you told us before."
Teramoto: "That sword is cursed..."
Erika: "Are you still saying that?!"
Teramoto: "Wait... let me explain! I didn't make that up. At the very least I'm not the one who did."
Erika: "What do you mean?"
Teramoto: "I found it among my family heirlooms. There's a storeroom back to my place that I'm not supposed to enter, and you can't imagine how many antiques have been lying there forgotten for who knows how many years! I was looking for some kind of treasure that could impress my friends and our guests, and I found something that surpassed my hopes by far. It was sealed inside a box, and when I say 'sealed' I mean that there was an actual magic seal placed on it."
Erika: "In other words one of those piece of papers that are meant to seal curses."
Teramoto: "Yeah, one of those."
Erika: "And naturally you didn't think twice before breaking it, considering how much you believe in all that stuff."
Teramoto: "It... it was already broken and all tattered! I told you that it was really old! Anyway once I opened the box, I found the wakizashi inside. There was a letter too and it was written by the former owner. He wrote that he believed that sword to be cursed. He stated that there was a demon lurking inside with a thirst for innocent blood. If one was to carelessly wield that sword, he would be possessed by the evil spirit and he would kill the closest person. Fearing that destroying the wakizashi would cause an even greater calamity, he asked the priest of that time to seal it and to keep it forever under his watch inside the sacred grounds of the shrine."
Erika: "Is this all real, Teramoto? You aren't telling us another of your stories, aren't you?"
Teramoto: "No! I swear, this is the truth! I still have the letter somewhere! It's authentic! Can you imagine how ecstatic I was after such a rare find? That's why I brought it with me to my secret place. It became one of my best pieces to impress our guests!"
Erika: "Yeah, I can imagine. I bet it killed at your parties."
Teramoto: "You don't think that the curse was... real?!"
Erika: "Now are you worrying about that?"
Teramoto: "But it happened! Someone actually killed with that sword, just like the letter said!"
Erika: "No, Teramoto, how stupid can you be?! The murderer used that sword because you worked your way to make half the school know that it was a cursed weapon. Because he or she wanted to make it look like the crime was related to your occult club, thus directing the investigations on the wrong path.
As for what concerns the owner of that wakizashi, he was psycho! He killed an innocent person under some sort of crazy compulsion, because his mind was all messed up! But of course you can't expect a deranged individual to simply admit his crimes. So, very much like you, he started telling to himself that it wasn't his fault, that he never did anything wrong! Then he came up with a convenient fantasy to put all the blame onto something else. 'It was a demon! This sword is cursed! It's not my fault!' He convinced himself so hard that he ended up entrusting the wakizashi to a shrine, and so he washed his hands off his crime! Case closed!"
Damn... did I overreact? I was caught up so much in the excitement that I ended up saying more than I wanted to. I just can't stand it when people act so idiotically when the truth stares them in the face. I lost it, I couldn't stay silent any longer. That's not good, I need to exert on myself more self-restraint. I have the bad habit to let my excitement take over me causing me to act against my better judgment.
Teramoto: "How... how do you know all that?!"
Erika: "That's the only logical deduction that one gifted with a decent brain can make, come on! Do you think that any sane person would come up with such a story?"
Teramoto: "That apart... didn't you just imply that the culprit is completely unrelated to my club?"
I said too much.
Satsukawa: "Anyway... regardless of curses, what were you thinking when you brought a real sword to school? Do you understand how irresponsible that was?"
Teramoto: "I... I'm sorry..."
Erika: "Well it's not like it would have changed anything. Sword or not, the murderer would have killed anyway."
Satsukawa: "Why didn't you tell us this since the beginning?"
Teramoto: "My father will kill me when he'll know what I've done..."
Erika: "That seems appropriate."
Teramoto: "Why?! I didn't kill anyone! You think so as well!"
Erika: "I never said that."