Yama Arashi and I met with the principal and head teacher as soon as our schedules permitted, and we gave them an honest account of events. They concluded that the paper had deliberately embellished its article to settle a grudge against the school. Red Shirt paced the room while arguing in defense of our actions. He bemoaned his younger brother's invitation to Yama Arashi as though it were his own personal failure. The newspaper was clearly in the wrong. It was scandalous. The two of us were victims of a travesty.
On our way home, Yama Arashi cautioned me that Red Shirt's behavior was fishy. I replied that Red Shirt had always been suspect, and his behavior today was nothing new. "Don't you realize? Red Shirt schemed all along to call us out and involve us in yesterday's brawl." That much I hadn't realized. Yama Arashi has a ruff exterior, but he's by far my superior when it comes to insight.
"He triggered the brawl and then worked the paper to publish that article. The man's a first-rate villain."
"Red Shirt was behind the article? That's hard to fathom. Would the paper really be so easily influenced?"
"It would be easy if he had a friend there."
"Do you think he has such a friend?"
"Even if he doesn't, it would still be easy. Just feed them a bunch of lies, and they'll run with the story."
"What a bind. If this is really Red Shirt's scheme then we'll both lose our jobs over it."
"If things don't go our way, we're finished."
"If that's the case then I'll tender my resignation tomorrow and head back to Tōkyō. I wouldn't stay in this wretched hole if they begged me."
"Your resignation won't upset Red Shirt in the least."
"That's the truth. What would upset him?"
"The scoundrel always contrives some way to erase all evidence of his misdeeds. It's hard to get the upper hand on him."
"What a bother. So we take the rap for all this? It's a rotten situation. Is divine justice our only hope?"
"Let's give it a few more days and see what happens. If worse comes to worst then we'll have to catch him at the hot springs."
"And just let the brawl incident run it's course?"
"Exactly. We attack instead at his exposed underbelly."
"Agreed. I'm not much of a planner, so I'll entrust the details to you. When the time comes to act, I'm in."