I felt slightly relieved realizing that Hiromi was not as hard-hearted as I had thought.
“Then what happened after? Why were you the only one to return? We were expecting you and Maria Akizuki to bring Mamoru Itou back safely,” Masayo said.
I looked over the faces of the assembled committee members. How was I supposed to dispel their suspicions? A lie might make everything worse. There was nothing to do but tell just enough of the truth to prevent any inconsistencies.
“I tried to persuade Mamoru to come back with us. But he refused. So I had no choice but to come back alone. Since we couldn’t leave him alone, Maria stayed too.”
“So Maria Akizuki is still trying to convince Mamoru Itou?”
I glanced away when I answered.
“So what did you plan to do once you came back? Were you going to come clean to your parents, your teacher, and the Board of Education?”
“You don’t know? What did you…?”
As Masayo grew visibly angry, Hiromi cut in.
“It’s reasonable that you were confused. Anyone would be at a loss in this situation. …but you know what to do now, right? All you have to do is answer questions honestly. Leave everything else to us. Okay?”
“But why did Mamoru Itou refuse to return? Did you ask him?”
“Yes,” I nodded.
“What was his reason?”