Chapter 4 – The Eyewitness Report
When was it that I first met that man, again?
Where did I meet him?
My memories are vague. I’m not sure.
It just goes to show how unmemorable that place was, and I just happened to meet him there. No, we didn’t really talk to each other directly, so I should probably say that our paths crossed there.
If I remember correctly, I met him on the path that linked these two random countries in the middle of nowhere. I don’t remember what kind of place it was. I just remember that it was on a path.
Ah, but I entered this country by going through this gate, so I must have happened across him on the path that extends a long way outside the gate. Now that I think about it, I seem to remember walking along that path.
The time was… that’s right, it was evening. Or was it morning…? It was probably morning.
I arrived at this country around noon today, and I met that man while I was on my way here, so it must have been morning.
How’s that? A flawless bit of logic, if I do say so myself. What, you don’t care? Ah, I see….
…? Yes, it’s true. I did happen across that man on the path. Why are you still trying to confirm that fact? Even though you’re the one who asked me.
I just wanted to relax and go sightseeing in this country…
The man you’re asking about was certainly headed towards the country on the other side—that ordinary country with no distinguishing features.
Well, it’s nice to occasionally visit an ordinary country. I liked how they didn’t try to show off. It really was “just another country”.
This country is not like that, though, is it?
Eh? What’s with that expression?
Please, you must be joking. Looking at how eccentric that man’s clothing was, there’s no way this can be an ordinary country. I’m sure this country must have some incredible secret hidden away. It’s enough to make my heart beat faster in anticipation.
…Ah, that’s right. You people are dressed ordinarily enough. Why’s that?
That man is just weird? Ah, I see…
And then, the soldier in front of me spoke with a bitter expression.
“Just to confirm once again… You really met a man who matches this description? On the path outside the country?”
The man held up a sketch in front of me. The eccentric attire of the man that I happened across has been faithfully reproduced in it. That appearance is strange enough to make you want to blurt out something. What the heck is this? No, I’m serious.
What kind of man would walk around looking like this? If it was me, I would want to kill myself out of shame. This is a level of shame that would persist for all eternity.
However, the important details of the face in the drawing were black and smudged, so I couldn’t tell for sure.
No matter how closely I look at it, the fact remains that I don’t really remember that man’s face.
The soldier looked at the paper and the part I was staring at, and said,
“…Can you remember his face?”
“No, not at all.”
In turn, I asked the soldier.
“By the way, what exactly did this man do?”
“He’s wanted for theft. He stole money from the safes of several rich men in this country.”
“A man who was dressed in such a fashion?”
“You can’t judge people by their looks after all…”
“Not his looks, but rather, his attire.”
And then, the soldier sighed, folded the piece of paper into quarters, and put it away in his pocket.
It looks like the investigation is over. The soldier said “Thank you, Miss,” and gave me a salute. I imitated his pose and said,
“No problem. I only did what was natural—by the way, was my testimony of any use?”
Hearing that, the man once again went back to having a bitter expression.
“No… I don’t know. Knowing where the criminal is is certainly a step in the right direction, but…”
The man let the sentence trail off ambiguously.
He stopped saluting and said,
“We’ve heard a lot of eyewitness reports, but unfortunately, none of them remember the criminal’s face.”
Ah, I see.
“So you mean…”
“That’s right. The only thing people remember is his eccentric attire.”