With this, Yama Arashi and I parted. If Red Shirt was behind it all as Yama Arashi surmised, then he truly was a low-life. We had no chance of outsmarting him. Our only recourse was brute force. It occurred to me that there can be no end in this world to warfare. Even on an individual basis, the final mediator was brute force.
The next day I awaited the newspaper, but on opening it I found neither correction nor retraction. At school I pressed Tanuki, who replied that it would likely appear the following day. The following day a retraction appeared in tiny size six typeface. Of course there was no acknowledgement of the paper's errors. I went again to the principal, who responded that we couldn't expect anything further. This principal, with his raccoon-like face and his frock coat posturing, was surprisingly powerless. He couldn't even make a country newspaper take back a sham article. I was so angry that I offered to go alone and have it out with the editor. He implored me not to, for fear that they would publish additional defamations. He was basically telling me that the paper can write what it pleases, whether truths or lies, and there's nothing we can do about it. He added further exhortations, like a monk preaching silent acquiescence. If this is how newspapers operate, then they should be promptly done away with for the sake of the common good. What I learned from Tanuki that day was that exposure in the newspaper is synonymous with the bite of a snapping turtle.