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Everyone is in the classroom again, except Satoko. They believe she has a cold, and Rena hopes she will get better soon. Outside, Keiichi is greeted by Ōishi, the detective from the police force in Okinomiya, who asks if Keiichi can call Satoko out so he can talk to her. After getting word of Satoko’s absence as well as who Keiichi is from two passing students, Ōishi comments on what a famous painter Keiichi’s father is (in a snooty tone, as Ōishi is more unkind than in previous arcs). He tells Keiichi not to make enemies in such a small town, otherwise he may be struck be a grudge he had no idea of. As he says this, Ōishi puts his hand on Keiichi’s shoulder and begins to squeeze it threateningly, but Irie walks up and stops any further action. Ōishi says he was going to question him, to which the doctor tells him he needs a warrant first.

Inside a spare room in the school, Irie checks Keiichi’s shoulder and says Ōishi’s used to that behavior. Keiichi tells the doctor Ōishi wanted to see Satoko. Irie explains that after their parents died, both Satoko and Satoshi were put in the care of their aunt and uncle (who is the younger brother of Satoko‘s father). However, Irie says he has heard that those guardians were abusive to Satoko and Satoshi. “Luckily or unluckily”, he continues, that aunt was beaten to death by a drug addict on the evening of last year’s Watanagashi Festival. Fearing this was the result of the curse, the uncle went into hiding by living with his mistress in Okinomiya (see Rina in Tsumihoroboshi-hen). Irie nods when Keiichi concludes Satoko must have been freed to live with Rika, but apparently Ōishi has been following her, acting like the uncle.

Behind the school, two kids (Tomita Daiki and Okamura Suguru) inform Keiichi that Satoko’s uncle has returned. Keiichi believes that to be the reason for her absence from school, and later that day walks to the uncle’s house. When he gets there, Keiichi watches Irie pull up in his car who had picked up Satoko on her way back from shopping. She, however, appears frail with hazy purple eyes, but begins to pick the bags out of Irie’s car when her uncle opens the window and yells at her for leaving the kettle on when she left. He swears and tosses an ashtray at her when she starts to speak, Irie walks behind her much to the humor of the uncle. A voice behind the man calls him “Tep-chan” (short for Teppei Hōjō), as he seems to be involved in a game of mahjong. Keiichi is in disbelief at Teppei making Satoko do chores while he plays around, but she approaches him and weakly tries to stop him. He spots bruises on her neck, arm, and leg, making him even more concerned; however Irie covers his mouth and tells him to resist taking any further action. Satoko smiles for a moment, and says even though her nii-nii is gone she has a new nii-nii now: Keiichi. He responds telling her he will never run away, to which Satoko’s eyes widen for a moment. Her uncle yells at her to hurry back in with the drinks, and she disappears into the house.

Inside Irie’s car Keiichi wonders where Satoshi ran off to and why he decided to not take Satoko with him. Irie says Satoko probably thought she was a burden, as she was left behind. He brings up a Child Welfare Law which separates a child and parent, but Satoko will not admit to the abuse. Irie says she believes that enduring the punishment of her uncle is like a trial she has to pass through, otherwise Satoshi will never return. Keiichi says if he ever feels things are going to far, he will report the abuse immediately, even if Satoko holds a grudge against him for it. Irie begins to ask why, but the scene stops.

Keiichi wakes the next morning to an empty house, and later is walking down the streets of Hinamizawa when Tomitake rides up to him wondering if he can point the way to the Furude Shrine. When the two get to the top of the stairs, they find Takano there waiting for them. After some introductions, Takano claims to be a beginner being taught the basics of photography by Tomitake, who wants to take photos of the Watanagashi Festival (which is dated to the day after tomorrow). Takano speculates on what would happen if a person were to imitate Oyashiro-sama’s curse (foreshadowing), and Keiichi asks if she knows something (foreshadowing). She is about to tell him, but again the scene stops.

At school the next day, Rika suggests they all go see Satoko to see if her cold is any better, when Keiichi rounds on her, Rena, and Mion for putting on an act when they know she is under her uncle’s abuse. After school, Mion decides to call off activities because she realizes Keiichi isn’t in the mood. He wants to go over to her house to “borrow a big pile of manga. All at once.”

There, he addresses her as the heiress to the Sonozaki family, one of the three great families of the Onigafuchi Village. Hesitantly, Keiichi requests for the target of this year’s curse to be moved from whatever it previously was—and be changed to Teppei Hōjō. He repeatedly says he doesn’t care whether Mion’s involved in it, or if she has nothing to do with it. He states that “I just want to save Satoko!” As he repeats his request, Mion stops him and says she would like to make dinner, asking him to leave. She unhappily answers that were she the person in charge, she would gladly oblige his wish. However many rumors are spread about the Sonozaki family, Mion resolutely replies that “murder is a terrible thing. We‘d never do anything like that.” She gets up and as she walks out of the room, Keiichi apologizes.

The next day inside the school door, Rena happily exclaims that Satoko’s shoes are there among the others. Keiichi dejectedly states that doesn’t mean she’s been freed from abuse, but they head to the classroom regardless. Once there, Satoko smiles at them until she senses their staid attitudes. She loses the smile, and asks who sent the Child Protection Officer to her uncle’s house, as it caused an uproar when he broke in all of a sudden. Rika pulls Keiichi away and informs him that their teacher, Rumiko Chie, was the one who sent the officer, but Satoko denied any abuse and the officer left. Keiichi listens to Rika as she tells him this occurrence makes it the third time reports of child abuse surrounding Satoko have come and passed. More about Satoko’s past is revealed: One of the reports came up while her late father was alive; her father that died was actually her stepfather, because Satoko’s mother remarried. Satoko made up a false story of abuse about her father to set him up, but the officer that came found out the truth. Rika tells him that because Satoko lied then, the child protection agency may just merely be watching her.

Lunchtime, and Rena contemplates what it is like to be a bride. Keiichi looks at Satoko, sees her smiling, and pats her head affectionately. She has a sudden flashback of Satoshi doing the same thing, and she sends Keiichi flying against the teacher’s podium. When Keiichi tries to check to see what’s wrong, Satoko backs away and in a convulsion vomits on the floor. He slowly approaches her, but again she bats him away into a desk. Mion asks what’s happened to Satoko, yet she continues to say “no…no…no”, then grabs hold of window curtain and repeats the words “I’m sorry…I’m sorry…I’m sorry…”

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