Miyoko no Naku Koro ni
Betrayal Chapter (2nd Arc)
Episode 9: A Nameless Penalty
Frederica Bernkastel, with her friend, Omoikane, and her Piece, Kashima, watched the scene calmly. Hosoda tried to punch Miyo in the head, a blow that might have killed her, but she put up her shovel in defense. The wooden handle broke with the force of the punch, and the metal head went flying off somewhere in the woods. Miyo’s eyes were wide and she was screaming inadvertently, too terrified to move.
In the blink of an eye, Hosoda had the child by the throat, holding her down against the leafy ground. One hand was enough to wrap around Miyo’s tiny neck, but he added his other one, too, just to put more force into it. The big man in grey strangled the girl without mercy. Before she could even die of lack of oxygen, Miyo died from having her neck squeezed so hard that her cervical vertebra cracked and her spinal cord was crushed and broken.
“What a shame,” said Kashima, who had been allowed to appear in the Witches’ tearoom at least this once. “You can kill a human over the course of several hours, or even the course of several days, if you know a thing or two. That’s obviously the way to enjoy it to fullest. But that big oaf, Hosoda! How dare he?! He killed her in twenty seconds!”
“Silence,” said Rika sternly. “This is not for your entertainment, but mine. And it doesn’t matter to me exactly how that girl dies, whether it’s instant kill or a long, extended death. I don’t feel pleasure, but only a mild sense of satisfaction, from knowing that I killed her again.”
“Now then,” said the big lady, Kaneko, preparing a pot of jasmine tea. “I will entertain myself filling in the blanks, since you left a few for me to figure out. Though, to be honest, they are much too easy to solve.”
“You have my apologies, then,” Frederica replied with a slight smile.
“First,” Kaneko resumed, “What role did Meisa Ebina play in this? Is she working with or against those children? She revealed this time that she wanted to help them, and I do not believe she is lying. It seems she despises Sky House. I’m sure she wants to shut the place down. Perhaps she is being threatened to keep quiet, or can’t yet find enough evidence. She probably intends to have Fumie or Sayuri tell their stories of abuse once they are free.”
“I’m sure the details will come to light as we keep playing this game,” said Frederica.
“Well then, second is the question of why Eriko was killed and whether it had anything to do with Ebina knowing the escape plan. I can think of one option right away. Bernkastel, you could have had your Piece, Kashima, tell Hosoda that there was an escape plan and that he was free to do what he pleased to Eriko as punishment. But, giving a Piece information that he’d otherwise have no access to? That’s surely too crude, too close to cheating, for a grand Witch like you.”
“Incorrect,” Frederica answered, and her eyebrow twitched once. “I used my Piece exactly as you said. Do you think it is wrong to using crude methods for this game?”
“Oh, I can hear the bite in your voice,” Kaneko said, chuckling. “I am sorry. No, there is of course nothing wrong with this game. Or if there is, we are Witches, and such things don’t matter to us. However, mature Witches value refinement, good story-crafting, and elegance. What I mean to say is that this isn’t quality entertainment, my dear. It’s like watching a cat torment and kill the same mouse over and over again. Do you think you could make the next round more interesting and a little more sophisticated?”
Frederica gave a small sigh and nodded to Kaneko. “Kashima,” she addressed her Piece, “don’t interfere at all, this time. We’ll give Miyo a bit more of a fighting chance. If, that is, she still has any will to fight. Oh, and one other thing. The rule of your M.O. in the story is still in place. Should any one of those kids cause humiliation or harm to Meisa Ebina, kill the child.”
“Am I free to do so however I like?” asked Kashima, looking like an eager dog.
“Yes, with the abilities and tools available to you as a human in this setting.” Frederica was looking down at him scornfully as he knelt. “The usual restrictions to you apply. Try to use magic, or try to act outside my will, and I’ll snuff out your existence for good this time.”
“Yes, ma’am,” said Kashima, bowing his head to hide his smile.
Frederica made her Piece vanish and set him up as usual in the Sky House starting several years ago. She went about “setting up the gameboard,” so to speak, for the next world.
End of Betrayal Chapter (2nd Arc)
Next Time: Desperation Chapter (3rd Arc)
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