I was waiting 15 minutes in front of the boys’ tent for Horikita to come out . She stood stock still for a while, laying her eyes down to check up her condition . She then slowly raised her head looking around . When her eyes met mine, her pupils swayed for a moment . Her figure approaching me with heavy footsteps didn’t seem to be frail .
“… Ayanokouji-kun . Could you come for a moment…”
I turned around once again to check if Ibuki lined in front of the shower room .
“What’s wrong? Did something happen?”
“Follow me… We can’t talk here . ”
With only uttering this, Horikita left the camp moving towards the forest .
“What happened? Are we going to enter the forest searching for food again?”
Horikita kept on walking without answering my calls . She stopped once we couldn’t see the camp anymore . Horikita turned back wanting to say something, but hesitated for a moment as if having second thoughts .
“… It was my negligence . I wanted to say to you after I realized it was a mistake . Is that alright?”
“… It is stolen . ”
“Y-you aren’t saying you underwears were stolen, are you?”
“No . Even worse . The thing stolen is… key card . It was a complete mistake . ”
Falling into self-hatred, Horikita showed a facial expression I hadn’t seen until now .
“I wanted to talk to you since I trust you . I couldn’t consult with someone who might be a culprit . It’s so embarrassing I want to die…”
I was honored to hear that, but I couldn’t possibly rejoice in front of her when she was feeling down .
“Such a big mistake…”
“No, the one who stole it is to blame . Alright?”
“Even so, it’s a matter of responsibility . It has nothing to do with me being in a bad physical condition or covered in mud . ” Said Horikita regretfully, casting her eyes down . The leakage of information could bring big damage in the trial .
“I shouldn’t have let go of the card even for one second . But instead, I…”
“Don’t blame yourself . Maybe it won’t console you, but I think you did the best you could do . ”
I didn’t know if she had heard me . All she did was bit her lower lip as in regret .
“We shouldn’t announce this publicly for now . We should grasp the situation first . ”
“Yes… I think so too . ”
Everyone would have panicked if they had known the truth . I wanted to avoid that at least .
“I suspect two persons . Karuizawa and Ibuki . ”
The former one would have done it out of simple hatred . Horikita hurriedly explained she could have stolen it out of fun .
“The chances are low . Karuizawa was the whole time in front of the shower room . ”
“Are you sure…?”
“Yes, I can affirm . The same thing about the two girls who were receiving orders from her . ”
“If that’s correct, the chances of Ibuki being the culprit is high . She could have known about the existence of the card in the morning and the timing was just too good . However, don’t you think stealing is a very dangerous stake? Since the name of the leader is carved on the key card, only looking at it is supposed to be enough . Maybe she’s mimicking crime on purpose . ”
As if seeking for my answer, she looked at me with suspense . I laid my hand on Horikita’s shoulder and calmly said:
“We could understand that if we examine the timing and inquire Ibuki . If we’re going to doubt Ibuki then we shouldn’t keep our eyes off her . Her escaping away would be the worst scenario . ”
“That’s right . But excuse me, I wonder if you could return before me to follow her immediately . ”
“… Is that so? I get it . I’ll go back and look out for Ibuki . ”
She probably had the urge to be alone in order to throw up . I left Horikita by herself and returned to the base camp .