The Doll That Took A Detour: Chapter 1: If I Have To Do It, I'll Do It Quickly; Subchapter 312 min read
Hyouka Volume 4: The Doll That Took A Detour
Chapter 1: If I Have To Do It, I’ll Do It Quickly
“Ahh, you’re still here, Oreki-san.”
Through my lips and eyes, I expressed a hint of joy. The Classics Club’s Head President, Chitanda Eru. She is undeniably a beautiful girl although she doesn’t show off, and she was headed in my direction.When it comes down to it, many students in the classroom would usually barge into the room if there’s something going on. She would never do that. I pointed in the direction of the blackboard.
“Your classroom is next door.”
“Yes, so it is.”
Is all she said. She closed the distance between us and stopped about half a meter away.
First, she retrieved a print-out from her clear file.
“Fukube-san, I filled it out.”
“Oh, good job. No matter how I look at it, this document seems unnecessary.”
Come to think of it, Chitanda had mentioned something about filling out a document in the Club Room.
An application request of some sort, I thought it was a joke but she really did fill one out. I was only able to catch a glimpse of the words “Club Budget Confirmation”.
Satoshi pulled out a leather book from his handbag, and stuffed the two folded printouts into it. As I watched him put it away, Chitanda tilted her head and turned her gaze towards me. Her big eyes betrayed her usual graceful impression. They were filled with a passionate heat, the pupils appearing dilated.
I recognised the look in those eyes. The energy-saving Oreki Houtarou, being interrogated for answers by Chitanda, could not look straight ahead. Not even a day has passed since my first meeting with Chitanda in the Classics Club room after school, where I had been frozen. I hadn’t been given much of a chance to speak. But my intuition told me…that she’d come again.
Her lips parted, on the verge of speech, but I quickly interjected,
“You came at a good time!”
Chitanda’s eyes twinkled as she looked at me intensely. I let out a quick laugh to cover the awkwardness of my sudden outburst.
“I just heard something odd from Satoshi. A strange rumor.”
“Ah, tell me more.”
….I knew it.
“It has to do with the ‘Poster of the Secret Club’, do you know of it? He mentioned it being one of Kamiyama High School’s Seven Wonders.”
Once again, Chitanda’s big eyes blinked incessantly.
Her lips pursed momentarily in suspicion. But clasping her hands in front of her chest, she regained her original smile.
“Eh? What is it, this Secret Club? Is it real?”
“I couldn’t believe it either but, well, before I go on….”
I turned to face Satoshi.
“Satoshi, take it from here.”
Can’t he catch on to what I’m doing? Satoshi seemed perplexed. He kept glancing in my direction but I just continued to smile, gesturing at him to continue the story.
That’s Fukube Satoshi for you. If he’s told to talk, he won’t say a thing. He repositioned himself in his seat, and with a cheerful voice said,
“Okay, just hear me out. About the “Secret Club”… I’m on the General Affairs Committee and I manage the Freshman Solicitation as well. That’s where I first heard the story.
“Anyway, there are too many clubs at Kamiyama High School. Theoretically, the more clubs there are, the more posters there will be. For example, in one full semester, wouldn’t the school noticeboards be flooded with solicitation posters?
Of course, you’d need permission to display it there. Unless you obtain permission from the General Affairs Committee, you’re not allowed to post anything up. That said, you are just given a piece of paper and a thumbtack.Although it’s a rare sight, occasionally an unauthorized solicitation poster will appear. It’s the responsibility of the General Affairs Committee to find and remove them. If a regular club is discovered putting up unauthorized posters, they can get slapped with a penalty, with the worst being budget cuts.
“…..That’s unexpectedly harsh.”
“You’re right! It IS harsh.”
Reeled in by Satoshi’s superfluous story, Chitanda nodded her head as she listened.
“Nevertheless, every year there is one poster that keeps appearing on the board from an unknown club. Rather than a poster, it’s more like a note. Last year, there was a paper, just a piece torn from a notebook really, that listed only a time and meeting place. They weren’t on the official list of clubs, so their activities weren’t authorized. Tanabe-senpai of the General Affairs Committee said that it was a secret club unknown to Internal Affairs and the Communications Commission, that have been quietly recruiting all throughout Kamiyama High. They really exist. The purpose of the club is unknown, nor do we know the kind of applicants they accept. All we know for sure …is their name.”
Satoshi cut himself off at that point. Chitanda had fallen for it hook, line and sinker.
“The ‘Orb-Weaving Spider Club.’”
“Orb-Weaving Spider….” Chitanda muttered. Then suddenly she said,
“You can find those web nests in my garden too!”
…From looking at its nest, she can tell what kind of spider it is?
“Last year, relying on some notes that were recovered, Tanabe-senpai tried to discover the “Orb-Weaving SpiderClub” but was unsuccessful. The meeting places are in vacant classrooms but he couldn’t get into the room. Chitanda-san, you would know about that too. You can’t borrow a key unless you have a good reason. Tanabe-senpai then concluded that the “Orb-Weaving Spider Club” was a sham and someone was posting up fake notes on the bulletin board for fun. However…”
As Satoshi approached the climax of the story, he adopted an ominous tone.
“The day of the Graduation Ceremony, one student approached Tanabe-senpai and said: “I am the President of the Orb-Weaving Spider Club. Give my regards to my successor next-term. If you can find him that is…”
Tanabe-senpai, who was promoted to Committee Chairman, had no intention of allowing any unauthorized posters on the bulletin board. Surely this year, the recruitings will again appear somewhere. The General Affairs Committee Members are on the look-out for them, but so far they’ve found nothing.”
With that said, Satoshi shrugged his shoulders.He had shrugged his shoulders at the end of the Music Room story as well. His intonation didn’t seem unnatural. I’ve known Satoshi for a long time now but this is the first time I’ve ever heard him talk like this. Perhaps Satoshi is fit to be a Narrator in his future. Chitanda breathed in and heaved a shallow sigh.
“Indeed. It’s true that this high school is filled with strange clubs. And among those many clubs there are unknown ones.”
If I recall, if we consider the general curriculum of a daily schedule, Kamiyama High School has a diverse number of liberal art activities. The Acapella Club, the Magic Club, and more than 50 other clubs. The Culture Festival lasts for three days in the Fall. It would be folly to expect to find even one or two secret clubs there. I added:
“Like “The Orb-Weaving Spider Club?” The purpose of their club is to be secretive, kind of like how the Classics Club’s purpose is a hidden one.”
“No, the Classics Club is…”
She started to say, contemplating her thoughts for a moment, unable to accept it.
“….I don’t think I can say that that’s not true but…”
Now that I think about it, Chitanda said she joined the club for a special reason. She only told me, “it’s something personal,” and well, I’m not going to press the issue.
“Is it just a single note on the wall of many recruitment posters?”
Chitanda rubbed her hand on her cheek, deep in thought. She squinted a bit as she did that, leaving behind any trace of an elegant young woman. With a big nod, Chitanda’s expression suddenly cleared. She positioned her hands in front of her chest and said.
“Yes….I am curious!”
Alright! With the questionnaire in my hand, I stood up.
“I thought you might say that. That’s why I said you came at a good time.”
Said Chitanda, tilting her head in confusion. I said,
“Of course, now lets go look for that note.”
But first, I needed to ask Satoshi how many bulletin boards there are in this school. Fukube Satoshi too seemed unsure of the number.
“Hold on just a sec, k?”
He began counting on his fingers.
“On the second to fourth floors of building two, there are two locations per floor. On the first floor, since there are also locations in front of the infirmary and staff room, there are four locations. On the second floor passageway, there is one on the building side, and one on the special building side. In the special building, there is one per floor – that makes a total of 16. Then, there is one on every stair landing. That is to say, since one building has two staircases and four floors, there are sixteen locations.”
I only wanted to hear the total, but instead I got the whole rundown. Chitanda was nonplussed. Satoshi continued folding his fingers as he counted and she said gently,
“You’re wrong, Fukube-san. If it’s a four-story building connected by two long pathways, there should be 12. Because there are three on the landing of the stairway.”
“Eh, ah, I see.”
He bent another of his fingers. He looked like some kind of suspicious rapper.
“So if you add it all up…”
“There are 28.”
Satoshi had an astonished expression on his face.
“Each bulletin board could have more than ten posters of varying sizes. As you said, this small school might have more than three hundred posters to look through.”
“If it’s bulletin boards, then there wouldn’t be any in the gymnasium, right?”
“There are, now that you mention it. And in the Martial Arts building too… meaning 30 locations in total. It’s going to be a tough job, huh. Maybe even tougher, considering I’m a General Affairs Committee Member!”
Satoshi exclaimed, whilst looking up at the ceiling. To my surprise, Chitanda ignored Satoshi’s loud outburst. Without any comment, or second thought to him. They’ve only recently met. Learning how to deal with Satoshi so quickly I see, of course it was the right way to deal with him. Chitanda turned her sights towards me.
“I hear there are 30 places total but… are we going to look through all of them?”
No way. If I were to do that, I would be betraying my creed.
“Before that, let’s consider where exactly would be the best place to put the note. It beats walking around aimlessly.”
“It’s like what Mayaka said before!”
With a teasing expression, Satoshi said,
“‘Houtarou puts his brain to use before his body’.”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“As a result, she says you never wind up doing anything.”
As expected, my gulp made no sound. Mayaka refers to the thorny Ibara Mayaka. Somehow, we’ve been in the same class every year since elementary school. Which reminds me, high school is the first time we’ve ever been in separate classes. I have no problem with that, as it’s Satoshi that has a connection with her. Even bugs who eat knotweeds would know that Ibara has feelings for Satoshi.
“What kind of person is Mayaka-san?”
“Hm. Well, I’ll introduce you when the time comes.”
Despite being confessed to many times, Satoshi has not once accepted her feelings. I don’t know why he hasn’t. I don’t really care. In any case, like Ibara pointed out, I have to go put my head to use.
“A suspicious place…A secret club posting a solicitation notice…the most suitable location would be somewhere…”
“Roughly speaking, what kind of place do you think they’d post it?”
At that question, Chitanda looked up and answered.
“Their note would be removed if the Committee finds it right? If it were me… I’d post it somewhere inconspicuous, like a bulletin board at the corner of the school. Like the one next to the Geology room, where hardly anyone walks by.”
“I guess so. Even the Dojo’s Bulletin board would work too. Unless a Committee member walks through there, they won’t see it.” Satoshi agreed.
However, that wouldn’t do. I responded confidently.
Did I sound too straightforward? My attitude had been brash, and at the corner of my eye I saw Satoshi muttering something. But Satoshi isn’t the problem. More importantly, did Chitanda suspect something?
“Are we wrong?”
“Well, it’s not wrong.”
I paused briefly,
“If the Orb-Weaving Spider Club were thinking of finding a place to put it up…maybe it’d be on the bulletin board on the entrance to the first floor, somewhere on the stairs leading up to the fourth floor.”
Chitanda tilted her head a bit and said,
“So you mean, somewhere enroute to the classrooms, where we freshmen would walk by? But that would mean…”
She muttered and was lost in thought. I’d get this over with if I could just find the right words, but unfortunately I don’t have the art of conversation that Satoshi has. I could see Satoshi muttering from the corner of my eye, telling me that I need to wrap this up quickly.
“Well, Houtarou is onto something. Chitanda, you check the board at the corner of the school building, Houtarou, you check by the grade levels. This would make everything go by faster, right?”
Chitanda agreed very quickly. She turned her foot and said,
“Well then, lets go!”
I nodded as I slung my school bag over my shoulder. When I looked at Satoshi, he turned the other way, and started whistling.