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Ai Morishita’s Short Story

Please Listen in My Stead

THE EXCHANGE MEETING was already on its third day.

I was keeping my eye on Ayanokōji Kiyotaka to track Hashimoto Masayoshi's movements, and by chance, we happened to be in the same group. Yet, I was having trouble because I couldn't get any information.

I wondered if those two had connected.

Have they decided to team up, or is it just me needlessly worrying?

I wanted to know.

Not to protect Sakayanagi Arisu, nor to protect Class A.

I did it for myself.

And to satisfy the approaching needs for esteem.

Surely, detectives who came across murder scenes must’ve been fighting such impulses every day.

“It's almost time for the exchange meeting.”

I heard a voice from behind.


When I didn't respond, my name was called.

But I ignored it and tried to pick up the voice from the part of the tree where I had placed my hand.

“Could you please be quiet? I was listening to the voice of the forest.”

I shook off the disturbance from behind and focused my attention.

“...Huh? The voice of the forest? What is that?”

How noisy.

It seemed he fell into the trap I set, but he was a bit of a nuisance right now.

“Don't you understand? The forest is alive.”

I continued to give a simple explanation.

“If you touch a large tree like this, close your eyes, calm your mind, and listen, then you might understand what I'm saying.”

“...I see?”

It seems he didn't get it.

Well, that was fine. It seemed I'd successfully lured him out.

Ayanokōji Kiyotaka was a very interesting existence.

No matter how close I got, I couldn't see his true nature as a human being.

The line between how much was serious and how much was a joke wasn’t clear.

I wanted to know. I wanted to know more about him. I couldn't help but want to know.

Let's have him listen to the voice of the forest instead of me.


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