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Lovers' Talk (睦言 Mutsugoto) is the twelfth chapter of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Oni.


In the secret ritual storehouse, Ritsuka visits the sleeping Seiji in the morning and feeds him some sake. Seiji continues sleeping. Ritsuka hopes he'll wake up soon and laments that she was the only one who didn't suffer Oyashiro-sama's curse back then, and wonders if it's because she's a member of the Furudes. She believed she deserved punishment alongside everyone else but is still glad her parents are alright. Okai consulted her about Souhei and Oryou's arranged marriage, and though Ritsuka was hesitant she still encouraged them despite knowing how Seiji really felt. Ritsuka says she still feels a little happy about the circumstances; every time Seiji called her "Ritsuka-sama" she didn't want to get closer to him, but now she can be close while he's sleeping. Ritsuka apologizes to Oyashiro-sama for her behavior and tells Seiji that he can still call her "Ritsuka-sama", and just wants to hear his voice again.

At the military clinic, Souhei and Takeshi talk. Souhei explains he came back to Hinamizawa three years ago, which Takeshi sees is around the same time he got into charcoal making and let his brothers sell it. Souhei asks about the Hinamizawans in the base, and Takeshi mentions that Dr. Takano's researching an endemic disease to the region. He also ominously mentions that people who suffer the disease experience fits of anger, and to further research are "canned and shipped out." Takeshi says this clinic is nicknamed the canning hospital, and that the only way people get out is packaged as canned human meat and shipped out of the factory. Souhei is freaked out, but Takeshi laughs and says it's just a horror story. However, soldiers who experience attacks like that are considered dangerous when there's no telling when they'll do it again, so the soldiers are refused to return to their original posts and are sent out, or "canned."

Souhei worries if Takeshi will go on a tantrum just to get out of the clinic, and Takeshi jokes that he just attacked a senior officer who was being unreasonable and will go home soon. Souhei calls him out for it, and Takeshi replies that he's no good with fights either.

Takeshi asks Souhei what he thinks of the nurse Zhao and mentions how similar she looks to Oryou, and feels he's falling in love. Souhei blushes and says they look nothing alike, and when Takeshi grills him about it, Souhei explains he and Oryou had a private wedding ceremony. Takeshi is shocked that he could become the head of the Sonozakis, but Souhei says it'll be in name only since Okai is still alive. They toast in celebration. Takeshi wonders how Seiji and Ritsuka would feel about it, but Souhei remembers that he got into a fight with Seiji before being deployed and never made up with him. Takeshi says not to worry and recounts a time in the past when Seiji punched him for badmouthing Souhei. Takeshi once said that Souhei abandoned the village, prompting Seiji to defend Souhei and tell Takeshi to apologize. Takeshi tells Souhei to survive all of this and gpolozie to Seiji when he gets back.

The men remember how Seiji was treated poorly after his mother became a demon; kids would ignore Seiji, throw rocks at him, and even dump manure on him and push him into rice paddies, which went ignored by other villagers. Seiji just kept smiling and enduring all of it, with Ritsuka and Okai being his only allies. Souhei inquires about Okai, and Takeshi explains that Okai gave food to Seiji as a kid and helped him and Takeshi get jobs when they got older, and looked after everyone in the village. Seiji being close to Oryou and Ritsuka helped stop other men from interfering.

Souhei remembers that Seiji did go into a fit of rage but not a violent one, and thinks he might not have the endemic disease since he's not at the clinic. Souhei then mentions Seiji getting deployed and asks Takeshi where to, but he has no idea. Takeshi figures Seiji would get sent here since he's a Hinamizawan, and looks forward to drinking with him and Souhei together.

Souhei and Dr. Takano watch some Hinamizawa patients sleeping. The doctor explains that these patients are suffering from a severe case of the disease and are in a drug-induced sleep. Infusions are being given to pump nutrients and medication directly into their bodies via their blood vessels. Souhei is amazed by this, and Dr. Takano explains that they sometimes cut back on the sleep medication to assess the patients' situations, but this caused them to turn violent when they woke up. So long as they receive proper medication, they won't die right away, however repetitions of this process will gradually weaken them. Souhei wonders if there's a cure, but the doctor says they've tried various methods to no avail. Even people who've only had one seizure can't be cured, and even docile people will go into fits of rage more often; eventually they'll begin attacking people at random. They can't send Hinamizawans to the front lines otherwise the worst will happen, and anybody who shows symptoms have to be restrained. All Takano can do is sedate them and wait for them to die, and so he wants to find a cure.

Souhei is speechless. Takano explains that decades ago, people died so easily. and that old remedies like prayers and charms have changed form thanks to the wisdom of humanity. Losing to this endemic disease means going back to be swallowed by superstition, and wants to save everyone in Hinamizawa. He knows that being told the curse doesn't exist will be hard to accept, but suggests that the curse and disease are the same thing, and wants to work with Souhei to get to the bottom of it. Souhei agrees with his way of thinking. Souhei and Takano then discuss the former's marriage. Takano shows interest in visiting Hinamizawa after the war ends and wants Souhei to show him around as the future head of the Sonozakis. Souhei hopes to do so.