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#trial

She rolls her eyes. 

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“Let’s play a game Cameron… let’s pretend that I confess, tell everyone the truth of what happened.  Let’s say, it paints me out to be a murderer, does it matter if I’m sympathetic?  Or cruel?  Cold hearted?  Evil?  Good?  No… no I’d guess that two… or three… no probably four of you of you would vote for me.  I couldn’t even blame you, it’s what we’ve been doing all the time here right?  And I’d be a hypocrite to start saying don’t do that now… besides regardless of a confession or not you get the truth at the end.  If that’s all you care for… all you have to do is wait.  These trials are for one thing and one thing only, determining guilt." 

She was always ready, and willing to vote someone else up to get executed if she knew who exactly the killer was after all.

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"And I can’t trust that little demon, who knows how this dreamscape place works.  None of us should, we’ve seen how sketchy her power can be at times, for all we know everyone’s dreaming about every word, phrase, and sentence spoken here.  And I’m not going to soil myself with a false confession.

Jester’s eye twitched at Khaski’s soft words.  For a moment she seemed disarmed, loose before her body stiffened up.

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Bullshit, don’t try and pull that kindness out of your ass Khaski.  You nearly killed me when teach died!  You think that the killer would be dumb enough to think that you’d offer them amnesty when they killed Minami!?" 

Her eyes narrowed at Khaski. 

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"I bet… I bet you’re just waiting to hear a confession so you can tear away what little hope the killer has.  Get some sick satisfaction of revenge right as they think they’re in the clear… that’s what I’d do if I were in your shoes anyway."    

As Crescent speaks she stiffens again, avoiding eye contact even if he can’t tell that she’s looking away.  They’re making everything so hard, hard to keep it together, hard to think, hard to feel, hard to push away everything that was bashing and threatening to overwhelm her heart, like a lump in her throat that was swelling through her whole face.

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"I… I…!" 

She zips her mouth shut, quite literally as she curls over and clutches her head.  A muffled scream of frustration wheezes its way through her lips as she recoils from all the stares and words aimed in her direction.”

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“Stop… just stop looking at me, stop talking to me… you don’t know how hard it is to keep my heart from shattering into pieces right now.”

Her eyes are watching the votes, her heart quivers, her fingers twitch and curl, and sweat starts to roll down her face, down her arm, things feel blurry.  Never before has she felt such dread, pressure, pain, and fear all at once.  It’s was like walking through a cloud of smoke and filling your lungs with nothing with toxic air and feelings.

“Otoma… I… Ich…" 

Tears start to roll down her eyes. 

"I didn’t do it… please believe in me that I didn’t do it.  Trust me please…"  She manages to look up at him. 

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"I’m begging you please, I need you to believe in me!”

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Nothing definite… Nothing definite at all.

He shouldn’t be happy, and he exactly isn’t- but he’s a little relieved. But isn’t that just as bad? He’s been so caught up in his own feelings that he hasn’t even considered how Minami must feel. He’s been ignoring the hard line towards the truth because of his feelings.

He looks up to somewhere, wondering if she’s yelling down at him with everyone else- at them all. 

“… You didn’t do it, right Jester? I know you didn’t.” He looks over to her, and smiles. “You… Don’t remember any of it, right? You… You couldn’t move the statues, right? I know you didn’t. You wouldn’t endanger your future.” Not their future- her future. Her bright, shining future. “I’ll trust you. I always will.” And he’ll never regret it.

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“I…”

He lets out a sigh of frustration. Nothing about this temper tantrum Jester was throwing was good. The shouting in his direction… made him feel…

“Wanna know what I think?”

Awful. Just awful.

“I think someone’s lying to save their own skin.”

And yet–

“But I don’t want it to be you, Jes. Even if some of the evidence and motive points to ya. I’m… not really sure what my next theory is. And even if it’s you, I… I dunno if I could–”

Crescent’s breath hitches. He’s forced to pause. How he wished to look at anything other than pure darkness.

I-it’s just – look, this game fucking sucks. I never asked to be a part of this dumb murder mystery bullshit. And participating in it has always sucked. I don’t want anyone else to kick the bucket. But that’s what the little demon wants, right? More death?“

He always knew, deep down, he didn’t want to watch any more people die. And he got his wish, didn’t he? He can’t see anyone at all. 

"I can’t… thank someone for murder. It doesn’t feel right. I mean… I can’t imagine what Taniguchi must be feeling right now. But god…. my best friend is gonna be okay… I can at least be thankful for that, right? So if no one’s confessing, then…”

(Kenzo is gonna be okay. He’s gonna be okay. Whatever happens, at least he’ll be okay. That’s what matters.)

He clenches his jaw hard, but not before speaking his final thought:

“Fuck this shit.”

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Augh. This is turning into a pity party, isn’t it? They’re taking a claim to heart, and if it was a fact. How ridiculous, How-

Wait, Cameron might be onto something. If evidence won’t do it for them, then maybe…

Khaski closes his eyes for a couple seconds, before his brows wrinkle against each other. A hand goes up to his heart, loosely clenching at his shirt. A gentle and quiet chuckle leaves his lips.

“That is true. Whoever did this, you saved our loved ones. You saved my closest friend, who’s very dear to me. If something were to happen to them, I wouldn’t know what to do. So, there is no way I could blame you. There is no way any of us could blame you.”

His voice is soft, tired. Soon, his face raises to offer a calm smile.

“You have saved so many people. It is not fair to have you go through a punishment. Truly, I only wish to know what happened to Minami. I promise, that if you confess before this trial is over, that I will not vote for you.

A pause, a nod to himself before he takes out his mirror.

“In fact…”

And then, Khaski raises his mirror to show his own vote.

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“Please, stop….”

Copperfield still wasn’t looking at anyone, and still sniffling a bit. The tension of the trial was clearly wearing on them. Even though they were back in the tent, they may as well have been futilely screaming into a mirror with the dead, for what good they were here.

“….Jess, nobody’s calling you a loony. Listen to everyone. Nobody is mad at you, or shouting at you. We just want to know what happened.

Copperfield runs the edge of their fingernail along the railing, again still not looking at anyone. They’re confused. They don’t know what to do, and can feel a blanket of static enveloping them, ready to drown everything out. But they keep going.

“Didn’t you hear what REM said? Nobody is watching. It’s just us here. Only us. Ulna, your great-aunt won’t know if you did it for her. Jester, your dad won’t know if you did do anything. And you saved our loved ones too. I wouldn’t…. how could I hate you for that?”

“Whichever of you did do it- thank you for saving innocent people who don’t deserve to be here. And my boyfriend. You’ll always be my friend, even now.”

And they had been fighting it this whole time, but after letting that off their chest, Copperfield was trembling. They could feel everything around them getting dimmer, quieter, more subdued. No matter what happened, it was going to be okay. They had to keep that in their heart. Just keep smiling and it would be fine.

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Jester starts to gnaw on her ribbon in frustration.   Things were getting out of control fast, over one little flat hand that she mindlessly let do it’s own thing.

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“…So it’s between me and Ulna then?  That’s what you’re all saying right?”

She pounds her arms on the podium, steam escaping her ears and the sound of a train whistle blowing through her nose.  

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“Shadows, smadows!  Even if the door couldn’t cast a shadow closed there could’ve been something in there like a mirror or even Minami coulda casted one!  It’s not like you can escape from your shadow right!?" 

Her own shadow seems to detached from her feet and nod along side her before going back to normal.

"You… you…!" 

She glared daggers at Ulna, anger starting to bubble up in her throat. 

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"Cartoonish!  What a way to describe the trap, I wonder who else it could’ve been?  I guess since I’m the loony one here with the amazing gift of just being able to do whatever the hell I want I guess it has to be me then right Khaski?  Ulna!?  What’s next?  Gonna say I transformed myself into some kinda slingshot to hurt rocks at Minami next?”

She was throwing a tantrum, or maybe she was just letting out a lot of pent up frustration and anger.  Or maybe it was stress… or maybe it was something else.

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God haven’t you all been listening!?  Anyone can kill here, you could kill to save your own loved one, or another person’s love done or… oh I don’t know!  Maybe people just wanted to escape and leave!?  Who says you have to care about someone’s loved one if you care about yourself?  It’s happened time, and time, and TIME again!"  

She huffed a few times, moving a few stray strands of hair out of her face before placing both her hands over her face.

"Fine Ulna…" 

She mumbles before giving a cutsey look her direction. 

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You’re wrong, I don’t remember a thing, so I couldn’t have done it.  Teehee~“ 

She winks, and a star blips from her eye down into the void.

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"That enough to convince you it’s not me?  Or were you just asking because you wanted to guilt a confession out of me?  Or maybe you just want to feel better about yourself if I say that ‘I did it’ aloud right?   Makes it easier than just pointing the finger at me directly.  We’re friends after all right?  Wouldn’t want to accuse little ol’ me after all I’ve been through right?

She turned her adorable face towards Crescent. Was he really able to recall everything from way back then!?  

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“What you’re… you’re gonna suggest I just… CARTED TWO WHOLE STATUES!?  I couldn’t even move Serica way back then, what makes you think that I’d be able to haul two heavy ass statues like that all the way to the balcony!?  Look I’ve gotten stronger with my gift for sure but I can’t just… bend reality to fit my needs!"  

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”…Jeez can you all make up your mind?  Are you saying that I somehow moved statues, setup some kind of trap… for self defense in order to save my dad!?  Or is it something else, please, do enlighten me on the great conspiracy theory on how I cracked up this wonderful plot to kill Minami.  I’m sure that our lovely audience of… billions of people would love to know!  Because I’m pretty dead in the water about everything that’s going on here!“ 

There’s cricket chirping, even if Jester knows that chances are billions of people are in fact watching this whole event.  

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Gradually… Crescent shifts himself to face forward once more. One of his hands places his mirror down to grip on the handle of his cane. The end of the cane taps idly against the podium a few times as he listens to everyone. He’s not focused on the sound of the cane, rather the feeling of it hitting the hard surface.

“If there was dust on the banner… then yeah, it’d make sense for the rocks to have been used with itBut why catapult instead of throwing them? But uh, let’s say that’s what they were used for for a sec…”

Gentle rapping against the podium continues.

“And I think Ulna’s been pretty blunt about how her gift works. Traveling through shadows would uh… need shadows. And she already talked about how affected she was by the motive, so… Uh… ”

His mouth is left ajar, as if he has more to say but he’s silent. His eyes widen slightly, as if he’s remembered something else. As if he’s remembered multiple things. 

In the end, he looks… hesitant.

He shifts in his stance uncomfortably, gripping on the handle even tighter. Listening to Ulna’s pleas didn’t make him feel any better. There’s a reason why he didn’t like playing along in trial at first. And he’s being terribly reminded of that reason this very moment. But he also doesn’t like not knowing the truth.

“… Listen, Jes, I know ya talked about comedic timing and shit. But remember when ya inflated your own hand to move Ser around ages ago?”

Oh. So he’s bringing that up.

“I know that was different. And I know… uh…”

He hates this. He hates being here. He knows he does. He knows he looks terribly hesitant to speak up. And yet–

“We talked about using our gifts for self-defense, didn’t we huh?”

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“I’ve told you, and I will continue to tell you: I did not commit this crime. My power would allow me to enter a room without going through a door, but in order for me to end up on the precise other side of the door, it would probably have to cast a shadow or have something that casts a shadow near it. There is a reason that I usually travel using corners.”

Ulna folds her hands nervously. She really doesn’t want it to be Jester, she doesn’t. Not the woman she rode the ferris wheel with and who she had trusted so much. But the theory that it was Madam doesn’t make that much sense, either. But she doesn’t want Jester to die. But-

“The setup itself is… rather cartoonish, I’d say. With a lot of moving parts. Especially if the banner was used to launch something at Harley. The only other person I could think of with the capacity to set something like that up would be Cameron, but they already said that their experience with large-scale stage magic is minimal.”

Her hands tremble slightly, so she shoves them under her podium. She’s not wanting for time like Otoma. But she wishes that someone would interrupt her to tell her that she was wrong. That no one had committed such a crime. And yet.

“I think… Miss Madam is not the least unlikely person to accuse. But we all saw her reaction during the motive, did we not? Her hostage, it was not someone that she would kill for. I could only see her killing if the motive was not a factor at all.”

She looks up, making eye contact with Jester for the first time since the accusation.

“…Please, please tell me that I am wrong." 

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“Oh! Jester. With a gift as flexible, of course.”

Why did he not consider it? The repercussions of having an ability this versatile. Khaski’s eyes focus on Jester as he ponders over it.

…It’s a bit of an upsetting thought. But not a possibility that should be left ignored. Otoma is looked at next.

“Ah, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it does not matter. Knowing who could’ve entered and left a locked room is good for the process of elimination. In fact, it leaves us with Ulna and Jester as our two possible candidates if we don’t go any deeper. Or unless someone here knows how to pick locks and has simply never mentioned so. Which would still be hard to do since the door lock was jammed from the inside.”

A shrug. That might be stretching it.

“We still cannot reach a definite conclusion, though. Let’s consider the rest of the evidence again.”

He hums.

“Our culprit must be someone capable of moving two heavy suits of armor without leaving any marks on the floor. I can confirm that physical strength alone wouldn’t be enough.”

Madam, Serica and Ulna get a passing glance. 

“Those two are the only things I can come up with right now that could point at specific people.”

“I would also like to add that the banner was probably used as a way to catapult the rocks towards Taniguchi, considering the coarse dust found on it.”

Just something to consider. But then again, how does that get them closer to the culprit?

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“What I meant by how she cannot harm us with her gift is that it also probably cannot make her carry things that she couldn’t normally and so on.” Otoma nods his head towards Ulna. He feels… Calmer. But, he’s not sure if that’s a good thing or not.

Love made people do such terrible, horrible things- killing for the sake of their loved ones, covering for their loved ones… Was he functioning on logic, or was he simply trying to cover for someone else? Was he truthful, or was he just grasping at straws?

He’s become so human thanks to all these people. Doing these things.

“… Jester raises a good point, actually.” Genuinely, too. “Why create a locked room murder? Now that I think about it- At least two people can enter a locked room, Ulna and Jester. And perhaps Madam, if her power is advanced enough by now. In fact, I could be able to too, if I used my pausing ability creatively enough… But that’s neither here or there.”

They have determined one thing after all of this discourse, one thing…

The ability to enter the locked room, and the fact that it was a locked room, does not matter at all." They’d determined that they’d wasted a lot of time. "Too many of us could enter for it to matter, and it might not have even been a true locked room mystery, with the aid of a potential accomplice. Who could move those statues? That is what becomes important…”

He thinks. He doesn’t know. He has no idea- It could be Jester. It could be Madam. Maybe he was right, and Minami had set this trap herself and fallen victim to it, and the murder happened at the hall of mirrors, unrelated to the trap at large. 

“… And the fault at this distraction lies with me. I… I suggested the wrong thing, and I led us astray- ngh.” Perhaps, the whole time, the fault was with him. From the beginning of this game. From the beginning of his existence.

If he was stronger, if he was someone with some power beyond what he’d been given, he could’ve…

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When I was about 13 I was living in a boarding school in New Hampshire. Woods and lakes and room to wonder. On the smaller lake, known simply as the lower lake, there were the remains of a 19th century flour mill. No trace of the organic buildings were left but you could find great millstones and stone work still managing the water course. The drystone construction, built without mortar, was surviving well. In part because of the care and consideration on drainage. This is why I am able to write this.

There was a stone lined drain going from the level land above, throgh a tall wall facing the water fall that drove the wheel, that drove the stone that ground the flour. It was a straight line You could see light from the other side. It ran about 25 feet, 8 meters. Dark, wet, likely infested with spiders and wet creatures that live in darkness.

For some reason I thought it would be a good test, a character building experience, to crawl through it. It was too small to crawl on knees and elbows. So I needed to shimmy. Arms out before me, arching my back to adjust my length, them relax forward. Progress was slow. Right in the middle the roof stone sagged down a lot, unlike every other stone. I directed my anger toward the mason for hiding this poorly made stone where it wouldn’t be seen. Should something get stuck, a log or stone, it would be in the worst location, as far as possible from either opening.

I spent a long time in this spot beneath the earth, in the quiet. I was alone. I weighed the possibility of getting stuck there. Having to wait till I lost weight underground. Possibly drowning if it rained. Living with my thoughts if were stuck. My body never being discovered. Or untill my bones fall from the lower opening. Maybe after so much time it wouldn’t be connected to my disappearance.

I would know right away if I couldn’t fit. I can see plainly the rest of the tunnel is constructed well. So I inched forward after the lengthy risk appraisal that was on edge. I would go towards the light. When I got fully under the drooping stone I had to exhale to go past it, taking shallow breathes. I came out with that achievement but there was a cost I did not anticipate.

Today, and during my life, the reflection causes rather severe anxiety when it comes up. It is a retrospective fear. A dizzying sort of fear. Maybe the adult knowledge that it was all risk with no gain. The feeling doesn’t diminish with age and I know I’ll have to carry it my whole life. I think the trigger is exhaling to fit under the stone. I would go through that tunnel again with another boy. He would go too with my encouragement. But then, there would be no danger of loss of life. Plenty of opportunity for a traumatic memory, but no death. I, or he, would go for help. But I live with that decision. And in a way, I know I died that day.

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I do not How this text post will be renderred in Tumblr Normal / Legacy Page ( IndexPage and PermalinkPage ) And Tumblr AMP Page ( PermalinkPage on AMP )

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マキアージュ ドラマティックスタイリングアイズ 「運命のブラウン… 資生堂 Shiseido Co., Ltd. / Jul 21, 2020

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26 SEP 2020 Saturday

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“…”

Copperfield really did think it could be Ulna. And they still couldn’t dismiss it. But now it seemed less likely. But all their theorizing of the setup of traps, perspective, trying to frame this in terms that they understood, they could work with, to try and be helpful for once it meant nothing, did it?

Hell, they almost made things worse.

But they listened, and tried thinking of something else. Again, they figured that the how would eventually lead to the who. They didn’t want to point fingers. They cared about everyone… almost everyone here.

“Crescent was onto something with the pillows around the swords, I think. If a gift wasn’t used ton move them, and the killer didn’t want to make a lot of noise, that would be the best thing to do, right?”

“And there isn’t some fancy trick or special technique to move them! It’s probably something a lot easier? Even if you’re not strong enough to lift or wear the armor, anyone here could with enough effort drag it! And if you put the armor on top of the banner, and then dragged the banner around like a sled, it wouldn’t make noise and would be easier to pull!

“At my other job, doing home A/C repairs. We do things like that! Not only because compressor units are really heavy, but because we don’t want to scuff up people’s floors dragging things around!

“No trap doors. No knowledge of mechanics or engineering! Just a trick anyone who’s had to move would know!”

Copperfield couldn’t look at Jester, or Ulna, as they said this. They were just looking up at the ceiling, and when they were done, down at their own feet. Tears were welling up in their eyes.

They didn’t want more people to die. Maybe it was better that they had been wildly off the mark.

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“Huh…?  What are you talking about?”

Jester doesn’t seem to quite understand what Madam is talking about at first until she takes a closer look to her hand, and her eyes seem to dilate for a moment as her fingers stiffen in their flattened paper like state.

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“Haha… that’s not funny." 

She manages to twist her vision over to Madam. 

"I’m not confessing to anything, cause I didn’t do anything wrong.  My gift just thought… it would be funny to activate like that I guess.  Comedic timing… right?" 

So much for ‘control’.

"I mean…" 

Her hand inflates back to normal. 

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"Y-Yeah I guess you’ve got a point that I could’ve slipped through the cracks but seriously!?  Flattening myself to be paper thing to get through a door?  I could’ve just flattened my arm reached through the door and opened it from the inside!  Would’ve been way easier than slipping in and slipping out like a paper caught in the wind.  I mean… why would I do something that’d implicate myself!?  I’d be better off making it look like anyone coulda killed her with an unjammed door right?!

But Madam’s words… well she couldn’t help but grit her teeth and bite her lip. 

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“Of course I love my dad, everyone knows about it at this point.  It’s an open secret at this point… heck he’s probably watching right now… or dreaming?  Love you dad… I’ll be home soonish."   A pause.  "Probably…?”

She scratches the back of her head wondering what he’d be thinking right now.  hopefully he’s not worrying too much.

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Sooooooo… fine, I had a motive.  But tons of people here did too, that doesn’t mean anything.  People could’ve killed to save their own or other people’s loved ones.  Just cause I care for my dad doesn’t mean that I killed Minami for it.

She looks over to Otoma.

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And If I was gonna kill anyone, I certainly wouldn’t be aiming to kill the person that my boyfriend’s a good friend of.  That’d be silly, no it’d be heartless!  I’m not some black-hearted crone trying to rend his heart apart!" 

She looked over to him, she had been watching the whole trial, the way that he seemed to be anxiously speaking, or rather staying quiet.

Now’s not the time to let her feelings get in the way of things.

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”…Why’re you all looking at me like you’ve already made up your mind?  We got time to figure out all the nitty-gritty details, let’s not rush into anything head first right?  We might as well try and figure out all the details that we can right?“ 

It feels strange, to turn to Crescent and hear him speak so calmly, to hear him trust her enough that all he seemingly wanted was her word.

Still, she took a deep breath and lightly patted her cheeks as she looked at Crescent square on.  Even if he couldn’t see her, looking directly in the eyes made it feel that he was boring into her soul even without sight.

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"I couldn’t have moved the statues, how would I even have carried them around?  My arms might be loosey goosey sometimes, I can even make them 'look’ bigger and stronger…" 

She demonstrates as she flexes and sure enough her arms look comically beefy before they deflate to her normal muscle size.  "But it’s just all for jokes and affects, I wouldn’t have any way to move or carry those statues around.”

Hopefully that’d be enough for him, she hoped at least.

“Serica…" 

She pauses as she again averts looking at her dead in the eye. 

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"That’s a pretty sound summary… but I can’t help but wonder.  Let’s say that it is one person.  That narrows things down pretty much, but if there are two people involved… how do you know that this second person didn’t kill Minami?

Her throat feels dry as she speaks, but nevertheless she presses on.

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"Someone could’ve slipped in, removed the multi-tool, let the second person in to kill Minami, that person leaves while the other person resets the multi tool into the wall and slips right out like it’s nothing.  At the very least… if you can’t explain how someone like me moved those statues, you’d have to at least consider the fact that a pair could move them easier.”

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“Seems there’s.. a lot to consider. Should we take it from the top?”

“Someone… or perhaps, two someones, planned a murder. There’s no half assing a plan like this– not with this motive. They gathered rocks from the island, gathered bedsheets and pillows from the prison, and transported the suits of armor from the throne room to the balcony. How… it’s hard to say, for now. They set up a trap, and wait. Moving on, Minami appeared, and we don’t know for certain if it was meant for her or not. Rocks fall, a sword is swung, blood is spilt, and she escapes to the Hall of Mirrors.

“At this point we can assume that the culprit took chase… as Harley locked herself in the room. You mentioned the bandages, Ulna, right? Long as I knew her she always had them, always kept that arm covered… so I assume it was Harley herself who bandaged her wound now that she thought she was alone, thought that she was safe. Except… somehow, the culprit entered in. And…”

“That glass shard. It was embedded deeply in her chest. This… wasn’t an accident. There was intention in entering the room, there was intention in causing Harley further harm– to protect someone else, someone important from being caught up in a killing game.”

Serica couldn’t actively defend anyone who had suspicion on them without evidence otherwise. She couldn’t just stand by, silent and not contribute to trial, not probe the conversation along.

Not with that empty seat across from her still boring a laser sharp stare into her head even without its occupant sitting there.

“…”

But that didn’t mean she had to be the one pointing fingers.

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The corner of his mouth twitches as Ulna defends herself. He listens with an unwavering, lax expression. He listens for a hitch in her voice – some kind of hesitation with her words – anything eyes couldn’t see. But as she continued to fire back at the accusations thrown her way, he thinks on it.

“Can’t take inanimate objects, huh? … Then I guess your gift doesn’t exactly fit the bill.”

His shoulders shrug slightly. If he was wrong, he’d say my bad and carry on.

He doesn’t stop listening for voices, however. And the force in Jester’s tone – the certain words she uses – strikes him as peculiar. In his mind, he can picture the blonde acting as emotive and excitable as usual. But his train of thought is cut off by the sound of Otoma struggling to keep it together. At that… Crescent’s expression softens. He didn’t expect it, but he’s not entirely void of empathy.

The sound of shattering glass causes him to suddenly turn to the podium next to him with widened eyes.

“Uh… Ya good there?”

And then Madam points it out–

“Oi – what’s she doing with her hand?!”

He suddenly regrets bringing up the possibility of Jester melting under the doors with what he’s forced to hear next. Voices, voices, more voices and the sound of his jaw clenching so tightly it hurts. Madam’s words were making it harder and harder to keep a cool persona. He’s left speechless and with his own thoughts. Thoughts he doesn’t want to have. His head turns towards the voices – to Madam, to Otoma, to Ulna – and finally, to Jester.

“C'mon. There’s stuff that don’t make sense. Like how would Jes move those suits of armor anyway? We agreed they’re heavy as shit. And what would she even need pillows for?”

He turns his whole self towards her podium. The corners of his lips curl upwards. For some strange reason… he smiles. It’s a genuine, hopeful smile. And his voice is a little more gentle..?

“Look at me, will ya? Look over here for a sec – or I’ll just pretend ya are since I can’t tell. Just say how ya couldn’t have done it and prove Madam wrong. Simple as that! It’s just… telling the truth, yeah?”

Just hoping the lingering thoughts he’s having are wrong.

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Ah.

Ulna almost wishes that she hadn’t asked. Jester… one of the people who had been earnestly running with the charge against her before. Someone whom she’d confided in almost as much as Jester had in her. And someone who she considers a friend.

Her heart sinks where instead it should soar at the suspicion being taken off of her. Oh, Jester…

Ulna’s speech is soft, stripped of the hardness it had acquired when people were accusing her.

“It might not… have allowed her to hurt anyone. But… sliding under a door would not qualify as hurting anyone, would it…?”

Uncomfortably, she folds her hands, twiddling her thumbs. Anything to give her something to focus on other than this. 

“…I don’t believe fabric could be used to pick a lock… it would probably have to be a solid object. Miss Madam could probably make it solid, but… I don’t…”

All she can do is rest a hand against her cheek.

Jester, oh, Jester… 

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