Aw, well. Looks like this has gone as far as it could’ve.
If Battler is not the culprit, after putting the key in his pocket, he did not touch it afterwards. Likewise, taking something off of Battler’s person while he’s unconscious still counts as pickpocketing.
But, let’s go further. This isn’t enough.
Earlier, you suggested two explanations as to how the key got into the pot.
Let’s get rid of both of them, shall we?
The culprit is the one who put the key in the pot. This includes direct or indirect means. Someone other than the culprit directly putting the key into the pot as a result of the culprit’s manipulations or machinations does not count as either indirect or indirect means. This, naturally, eliminates the possibility of Battler just planting the key on someone and them putting it into the pot of their own free will for some arbitrary reason afterwards. (After all, I did say “as a result”, not that it was the part of the culprit’s hypothetical plan to begin with.)
String trick? Fat chance. No string or an object whose function would be that of a string was ever attached to the red skull key. Of course, you could try and claim something like ‘Battler did the string trick from before but the key attached was some other random key X’. But then you can’t explain how the people who find the red skull key find… the red skull key.
But that’s not enough, either.
You’ve brought up the possibility of a switch several times. Let’s buldoze that one, too. I will add to the red truth: The only key in Rudolf and Kyrie’s room at the moment the group arrived at their door was the red skull key. No other object that could be mistaken as a key existed inside the room at the time, either. Now, I draw your attention to Kinzo’s search. Kinzo, during his search, would have found anything that was a key or could be mistaken as a key-like object. He found no such things on anyone he searched - and he searched George, Shannon, Jessica, Battler and Nanjo. So, how does the culprit have anything to switch the key with? I’ll add even more: The group went directly to Rudolf and Kyrie’s room after they left Natsuhi and Krauss’ room. At no point during the trip between those two rooms was there a moment where anyone in the group could’ve added a key or an object that could be mistaken as a key-like object on their person. Phew. Can’t have you accusing me of having things too loose, you know?
I could’ve said it more simply, of course, such as ‘Battler put the red skull key in his pocket’, but I always do welcome you to doubt me. Worked out well so far, hasn’t it? Come on, it’s a trick! Why else would I dedicate a paragraph instead of a single red? It must be wordplay! Even right now, I’m probably just bluffing to get out of you guys figuring out my clever deception!
I do admit, I’m surprised why it took so long for Jessica’s absence for the door text to be noticed. I was pretty sure you guys’d go down that path instantly. Oh, well. Had Jessica attempted to leave through the window of Hideyoshi and Eva’s bathroom, her hair and clothes would have gotten soaked in water because of the rain. There was nothing in the bathroom she could’ve used to cover herself - be it her clothes or hair. There were no spare clothes in the bathroom. The clothes Jessica came out of the bathroom with are the same one she wore when she came in, of course. Ah, and of course. Minus her vomit, her clothes were indeed NOT soaked in water when she came out of the bathroom, and her hair was dry.
And after all of this, I must point out you have yet to attempt to even tackle the study.