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Akarigurashi-hen Chapter 3 (明暮し編 其の参 Akarigurashi-hen Sono San, Light-Inhabiting Chapter Part 3) is the third chapter in Akarigurashi and the seventeenth chapter of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Meguri.

Summary[]

The chapter begins with the club having fun in various games and Rika and Satoko holding hands while watching the Hinamizawa scenery. In the present, Satoko is trying to kill Rika while thinking that she loves her and wants to spend happy days with the club forever; some of Satoko's thoughts are blacked out. Satoko finally corners Rika and pulls the the trigger, however she narrowly misses. It's revealed that Keiichi arrived in the nick of time and grabbed Satoko's arm to make her miss. Rika is assured by his arrival.

Satoko tries to shoot Keiichi but she's completely out of bullets. Keiichi begins to speak but Satoko yells that he should've been injected with H173 and developed symptoms of Hinamizawa Syndrome. Rika says that she's been trapped in darkness for so long, but her bonds with her friends are what allowed her to get this far. In a flashback to Rika and Keiichi's conversation at the shrine, Rika leaves feeling defeated since Keiichi can't possibly believe that Satoko would kill her. Keiichi's thought process is shown: he wants to believe Rika but he wants to believe Satoko too, and can't believe she would kill a friend even knowing he's also killed before. Keiichi then recalls memories from previous Fragments (from Rika's original loops and Satoko's new loops), and realizes that countless tragedies have occurred because of someone failing to believe in someone else. Keiichi wonders how many times he's watched Rika die and how many times he's lost to fate by failing to grab the hands reaching out to him, and wonders if this really is okay. Keiichi goes after Rika and takes her hand, and assures her that she can trust him. Rika is elated. Keiichi says he has a suggestion to make first.

The flashback continues. Shion appears with Kasai to take Satoko to have some fun. Rika sees them off, and Keiichi, Rena, and Mion, who were watching in secret, step out and greet Rika so they can prepare a surprise birthday party for Satoko. Mion commends Keiichi for realizing how much Shion's been doting on Satoko lately. Keiichi says he wants to talk about something with everyone first, and tells the group everything Rika told him earlier. Rena and Mion are skeptical; Rena asks Keiichi if he'd believe her if she said aliens invaded Hinamizawa and were spreading a virus around, and Keiichi assures her that he'd reach out to help her. Keiichi says everything he just explained is the preamble, and that Satoko must still have H173 in her possession. Rika affirms it, and when Keiichi asks about the vaccine, Rika is shocked and says there's still no guarantee he'll recover. Keiichi gives a knowing smile, and Mion promises to keep watching Keiichi until the moment Satoko injects him. Keiichi says he'll put on a show for their first move.

Later, Satoko knocks out Keiichi at his house and injects him, with Rena and Mion watching in secret and confirming it. At school the next day, Keiichi tells the group he's not feeling symptoms yet. Shion dragged off Satoko again. The group still can't confirm what it was Satoko injected Keiichi with, but even so, that doesn't mean she'll kill Rika. Rena and Mion voice their desire to keep Rika safe and consider their options, and Rika remembers how Takano overcame her past and gave her the H173 vaccine. Rika sees that this Fragment has many miracles piling up, and doesn't think she'll get lucky again.

Mion says that she wants to be in a position where she can take action no matter what happens, and Rena proposes to Keiichi and Rika that they put on a show: Keiichi will pretend to develop terminal symptoms and kill Mion to make her disappear, giving her the ability to move freely. Keiichi will disappear soon after while Rena will act as Rika's bodyguard. The group declares the beginning of their Matsuribayashi festival accompanying operation.

In the present, Satoko is shocked that the tragedy was a complete ruse. Rika asks about Rena and Keiichi points to a ladder in an open window, having gotten her outside for immediate first aid. Satoko asks Rika if she pulled this off through divine revelation and laughs. Rika says her plan was haphazard however, and Satoko replies that she has a trump card of her own. She throws her emptied gun, and while Keiichi dives to protect Rika, Satoko goes to a locker and pulls out a shard from the Onigari-no-ryuuou.

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