The Lying Counselor’s Eloquent Reasoning - Chapter 7
“So, Tomomi, I’m going to ask you again in an abrupt manner, what was on the menu for today’s bento that your mother prepared for you?”
“Also, what did you think of the taste, whether it was good or bad?”
“Why do I have to tell you that?”
“Haha, this too is a significant matter. First of all, I need to know if you can properly recall the bento you had for noon today. This is a test of your memory. Secondly, can you accurately describe the taste of the food? This is a test to confirm that your sense of taste is functioning smoothly. This is just between you and me, there are a lot of young people these days, you see? Their memory is not stable, or their taste buds are not working as they should. Well, in your case, I’m sure it’s not so, but it’s just a precaution – a check to be safe. Now, please answer my question swiftly and simply.”
“Well, no, I mean…”
“Let’s start with the menu for today’s bento.”
“Menu? I-I believe it’s something with beef…”
Not good. I didn’t taste it myself, therefore my memory of it is as uncertain as one can imagine.
“Well, well, well? You don’t seem to be able to remember much about what you had for noon today, huh? That’s quite a lot of forgetfulness for someone so young, wouldn’t you say? How unfortunate.”
“No, you’re wrong! It’s merely forgetfulness!”
“I see. Then what did it taste like?”
“Taste? She said it was delicious.”
“N-No! It was delicious! Really!”
“Are you sure?”
Uroma squinted and stared at Tomomi in a quizzical way.
“So, let’s hear your food report on what exactly was so delicious. You have five seconds.”
“Eh, five seconds?”
“Three, two, one… alright, your time is up. The legitimacy of your words has just been completely lost.”
“Wait a minute! Why are you counting from three within five seconds?”
“I won’t allow the liar, Tomomi, to talk back to me. In any case, you didn’t really eat the contents of this bento, I bet.”
“That is, that is…”
“From the tone of voice you just adopted, I assume you had a friend or someone else finish the meal for you. Why didn’t you eat your own bento? After all the trouble your mother went through to make it for you?”
“Today’s dish had a side dish I hate, so――”
“Yes, I got your word. You said there was a side dish in it that you hate. That’s a strange thing to say, isn’t it? Earlier, when I asked you what was on the bento menu, all you could say was that it contained something with beef, yet you recalled that it included something you didn’t like? Don’t tell me you hate something with beef? In that case, there’s no such thing as a vague term for something, surely?”
Damn it. I accidentally said something strange.
“Tomomi, why are you making so many false statements about this bento? Is there anything you don’t wish to be disclosed?”
“For example, you didn’t like this bento – or rather, you didn’t like the person who made it, not the bento itself?”
“Y-You are so annoying!”
“It’s your fault for refusing to tell me the truth. Liars are subjected to a lengthy and painstaking interrogation session by me.”
After saying that, Uroma abruptly rose to his feet and approached right in front of Tomomi. Then, bending forward, he faced her and asked, “Now,” while staring directly at her face. It was annoying beyond all limits. Whenever Tomomi turned away, he would move around in that direction. Those cloudy eyes were gradually closing in on her.
“Enough! I get it! I’ll tell you everything!” Having lost her patience, Tomomi shouted. “It’s just like you said! I don’t like the woman who made that bento! That’s why I asked my friend to finish it for me!”
Once she had admitted the truth, Tomomi began to feel tired of mending her ways. She revealed everything about her family situation and her strained relationship with her stepmother.
“Hmm. That’s not exactly what I would call a harmonious family.” Uroma commented as he returned to his chair with a look of triumph and sheer satisfaction. “So, I suppose the mysterious incident you just recounted, in which a cord got caught around your neck as the cause of your skin color abnormality, could also be due to your less than harmonious family life. Possibly. Perhaps… I guess?”
Uroma once again stared at Tomomi with cloudy eyes. It was as if he had seen through everything and was exerting pressure on her. The atmosphere seemed to be such that it would be difficult to cover it up. As one would assume, Tomomi resigned herself to the fact and decided to share the truth.
“That’s right. Exactly what you’re thinking. This is the outcome of what I did to that woman. I was trying to freak her out. I was so annoyed with her, and I figured if I pulled something like this, she’d be turned off by me. I wasn’t serious. So, that… I attempted to imitate suicide by hanging myself.”
“Whoa! So you hanged yourself? And the cord stuck to your neck. What a risky story.”
“I-It was an act, that’s all! I was very cautious so as not to end up dying for sure!”
Tomomi screamed with all her strength. Yeah, really, it was nothing more than a prank. That was simply an accident.
“Well, here’s how it goes. I am in my room, and she comes to my room for something, okay? Then she would knock on my door. I would curse her from inside the room as forcefully as I could, and right after that, I would hang myself with a cord from the curtain rail. That was the plan. Of course, I had rigged the cord so that it would never strangle me.”
“I see, the moment she opened the door, her daughter was hanging in front of her… As a mother, it’s truly a chilling sight. Assuming you succeed, that is?”
“Yes. If I succeed…”
Upon reflection, she realized that she had done a very silly thing. The more she confided in Uroma, the more embarrassed she felt.
“The result was… appalling. I hung myself the moment she opened the door to my room, but the cord snapped in an instant. Therefore, I only ended up falling on the carpet before her. Needless to say, she immediately asked me what was going on, but there was no way I could tell her the truth…”
“Well, I’d be too embarrassed to say that I failed to commit suicide and fell, whether it was for real or fake.” Uroma chuckled nastily. Tomomi felt her face growing more heated.
“Well, that’s how it happened, the cord got stuck on my neck! And right after that, this is what my body ended up like! This is the whole story!”
“Everything? No, I don’t think so.”
“What? I don’t have anything more to tell you, okay?”
“That’s right. In your limited perception, what you’ve just said may be all there is to know, but I don’t believe that to be the case. Yes… something very significant is missing…”
“Something significant? What’s that?”
“Your true feelings, Tomomi.”
Uroma unexpectedly dug something out of the pocket of his white coat again and lifted it up. Looking at it, Tomomi’s wallet came into view. It was the one she had kept in her bag.
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