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Irotoutoshi-hen Chapter 14 (第14話 Dai Jyuu-yon Wa) is the fourteenth chapter of Irotoutoshi-hen.

Summary[]

On Saturday, June 22nd, the day before the Watanagashi Festival, Keitarou, the club and their parents meet at the Maebara residence. Satoko chews out the kids for acting on their own but is glad they're safe. On video call, Rika praises the kids for exposing Marutake as the culprit behind the harassment. Kururu and Inori, also on a video call, express their shock that Marutake seemed so carefree around Polaris when he was actually manipulating them and Hinamizawa. Rena explains that Marutake actually isn't a freelance photographer, having done some research using her connections with the publisher she works for. Marutake is actually a famous scoundrel among the authorities who goes around stirring up trouble and takes bribes in exchange for not publishing stories about it. Mion realizes it's related to "that," and explains that her mom explained earlier that the Sonozaki family has been having trouble with the second generation of Sonozakis for a long time. The second group threatened Mion's group to pay up otherwise they'll publish a story about Hinamizawa and Polaris's troubles. The group concludes that Marutake got wind of that trouble, made connections with the Sonozaki group and their connections to the criminal underworld, and is now trying to extort money from them.

Rika thinks that Marutake probably doesn't realize that stirring up trouble between Hinamizawa and Polaris and releasing a story will accelerate their symptoms for Hinamizawa Syndrome and Polaris Syndrome, and states that this can't be overlooked. Mion wonders what to do about Marutake, and wonders about him being demoned away. Everyone becomes horrified, and Rika says that can't be done anymore in the current era. Mion tries to defuse the situation when she sees how shocked everyone is, with Keitarou also trying to calm down Kururu and Inori.

There's currently no way to pin charges on Marutake since the Sonozakis are doing the blackmailing, and there's nothing illegal about hunting for stories. Inori suggests getting Hinamizawa and Polaris to get along quickly so that Marutake's articles become at odds with reality. The rest of the group is surprised. Keitarou and Rika say this can't be resolved by having Polaris put up with it since both sides need to learn to respect each other at their own pace. Inori apologizes for not being able to help, and Keiichi assures her it's fine, since Hinamizawa's tradition is to help each other without earning gratitude.

Kururu thanks the Hinamizawa group for their consideration, and says that Canopus was also standing back and listening. He introduces himself, explaining that even though Polaris was formed with people who are weary of trusting others, that doesn't mean they don't want to learn to trust again, and thanks the group for their consideration of Polaris. He apologizes for speaking up in retaliation when he suggested taking over the town council earlier. Keiichi also apologizes for Hinamizawa driving him into a position where he had to do that, and says that Polaris shouldn't blame themselves for being powerless. He says that them moving here allowed for increased tax revenue and more infrastructure improvements and that they really are a help to the village. Canopus seems relieved.

Rika figures that if Marutake lost the protection of the Sonozaki group, he'd no longer be able to extort money with his stories. She wonders what even caused the feud between the first and second generations, and Mion says to give her some time to handle it, and asks Keiichi for help tomorrow. Tamaki and the kids offer to find more information on Marutake. Inori and Kururu start to leave to work on festival preparations. Canopus greets Rika. He says he's heard about her getting injured and admitted into a hospital, and thanks her for taking the time to meet with him and wishes her well.

Rika ponders. The culprit behind the deaths and disappearances in the previous Fragments will likely act tomorrow as well since it's the Watanagashi Festival; considering the circumstances, it's likely Kisaku. She also considers it could be Kisaku's assistant, but Canopus's comment has convinced her. The only people who should know about Rika's condition and which hospital she's in are the club members and those close to her. The only people who could kill her are those who knew, and though she only warned Kisaku in the previous Fragment, he probably thought the murder plan was leaked and learned the location from Satoko. She imagines Kisaku becoming intent on killing Rika and causing Oyashiro-sama's curse. Rika rules out his assistant since there's no way Satoko would tell him, and is certain that Kisaku really is the culprit.

Characters[]

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