Kamisama no Memochou:Volume 2 Chapter 7
Meo was joyously picking her clothes. She changed her shirt or the ribbon tying up her hair every two minutes, and kept opening the door of the study to ask: “Mr. Assistant, what do you think about this?” Any one would do! Really.
Pole and Rocky smiled wryly, while Yondaime was sitting on the table grumpily. The manly atmosphere that filled Hirasaka-gumi was all but destroyed (But it’s already like this since Meo appeared).
A whole night passed after the incident, and it is now Saturday morning.
As I stayed up in the night and was hurt, I fainted in Yondaime’s car, they said that they couldn’t wake me even with an elbow attack, and was carried to the bed in the office. That’s why I wasn’t too sure about things that happened after that. Ahhh, it’s bad. I stayed outside for two days without telling my sister, I’ll get killed.
“Oi, any one of them would do, just hurry up and scram! Hasn’t the matter been solved already? Don’t just stay here, Kusakabe is waiting for you!”
Not hiding his impatience, Yondaime shouted at the door of the study.
“Okay! Thanks, Mr. Boss! Wait for awhile!”
What answered him was an innocent voice.
“Where is that person right now?”
“He’s at the place where a doctor I know stays. Though he’s a surgeon, there’s no other place that he can go, as the underlings from Tabara-gumi are looking for him. He’s just a bit weak right now, not too hurt.”
When I think about it, why was Yondaime so sure from the start that Kusakabe Masaya’s fingers were safe? Not only his fingers, his ears were alright as well. After confirming his safety, we noticed that he wasn’t hurt, though rather weak.
“Oh, please. You’ll figure it out after thinking for a bit.”
Yondaime rolled his eyes.
“Tabara-gumi wants to portray him as the person who defalcated the company, right? If they wanted to pretend that he committed suicide, what would Kishiwada-kai think about it if he’s lacking an ear or a finger? Obviously they’ll know that he was imprisoned and tortured. At that time, they might be asked why didn’t they hand him in right after catching him. So they must ensure Kusakabe Masaya’s body is unharmed. The ears and fingers were probably from the underlings who did something wrong.”
It’s no wonder that Yondaime said that it was a random threat. I only understood that it was only a simple thing after hearing his explanation. Though the world is usually like this, it feels as if we have to continue to greet the next morning after a lost fight.
“Did Kusakabe request to see Meo himself?”
“That’s right, and he said that he’ll pay too. But not a word of thanks. That’s why I hate the yakuza.” Yondaime seemed to be somewhat annoyed: “Remember to tell Alice to charge him appropriately. We’re not doing volunteer work.”
Oh, I see. So he wanted to see Meo.
Then— Meo indeed won.
Though this isn’t really a matter of winning or losing now.
“…… Did you guys ask Kusakabe?”
“Why did he ask Meo to run away with the cash?”
Why didn’t he use other methods? Even for self-protection, he should have other choices. Why did he use a method that caused himself and Meo to be unable to move, there’s no such need, right?
“Why would you want to know that, is there a need? It’ll only make Alice happy.”
“You have a point……”
“And don’t ask even though you already know the answer, you’re only similar to your owner in this matter.”
Being criticized like this, I cringed:
“Though we know about it, there’s a lot of places where we don’t really understand as well.”
To Alice, this would be the truth but not the facts.
In addition, Alice was still determined not to tell me anything about her request in my plan even after the matter ended.
Yondaime tsk-ed, and ruffled his hair.
“Look at the items that Kusakabe bought when you were monitoring the supermarket.”
The matter that Alice was investigating. Maybe Yondaime knew about the meaning of this?
“Well…… Things like a kitchen knife, deodorant, sewing kit, lighter.”
“Isn’t there something like a pair of scissors or knives?”
How did you know? I blinked in surprise.
“Won’t you know after just looking at it? Those were the tools to cut down the fingers.”
“Their fingers are cut down if they did something wrong. Do you need a more detailed explanation? Though not much people would do this themselves. The scenes in movies when the palm is upwards are all lies. Actually, they must curve the fingers upwards with the palm downwards, fixate it with a kitchen knife or something then cut it down.”
Ah…… So the disposable chopsticks and bandages were for this. I unintentionally imagined the clumsy and bloody scene and felt a chill on my back— Kusakabe Masaya was alone in the dark hut, placing his little finger on the finger cutting device that was like a primary school project.
“He probably wouldn’t be able to see a doctor at that time. The cut part of the finger couldn’t heal because bones were still jammed there. So they must use scissors or a small knife to cut it short, then sew the surrounding flesh together. The air freshening spray is actually used as an anesthetic. They wouldn’t be able to feel anything for some time after spraying the whole can onto their fingers.”
My face was probably stark white when he finished saying that.
“……. Why…….. did he want to do that?”
“That’s probably why he hid near the house of the boss of Kishiwada-kai. Probably to negotiate directly with him if all his arrangements couldn’t work?”
The yakuza are really a bunch of idiots, Yondaime said.
“It’s about time to prepare the car.”
Yondaime stood up, and turned his head back to say while he was about to walk out of the office:
“Kusakabe probably wants to retain the method of money laundering as well.”
The steel door closed slowly. I sighed. Since Alice refused to explain, Yondaime looked more like the detective this time……. Birds of a feather, I suppose.
This is actually a simple reason, it’s just that I’m too dumb to notice it.
Even so, the answer would probably be crossed out if it is directly written on a paper, huh? The way of expressing it is too ironic. Thinking of Kusakabe Masaya’s tragic decision so that he could protect his family, I couldn’t help but feel a chill on my back.
Hiding in the city while avoiding his pursuers, he called numerous other people too. Actually, he didn’t do that so that he could escape overseas, he was looking for a medium to send the money overseas.
He was trying to finish laundering the two hundred million that Kishiwada-kai gave him that he couldn’t finish laundering it.
I looked beside my foot. The Boston bag was just like a shell that was left over after an organism shedded it. All the answers.
The door of the study suddenly opened, and Meo rushed out.
It was an elegant white dress with frills on the side, daringly showing her shoulders. Though it’s only April, is the brain of this girl in summer mode all year? As it was short sleeved, the bandages around her left wrist could be clearly seen— her hand that tried to grab her father’s hand at that moment.
Meo’s hand— definitely caught it.
“Is your hand okay?”
“Eh? Ah, yeah. Though it still hurts a bit, the bones should be okay. It’s my first time doing an X-ray, it’s so fun.”
This girl’s life really seems to be quite happy.
“…… Why did you appear there?”
Telling you not to run out alone for so many times, but my requests were just useless. Meo’s face clouded over for a moment.
“Erm…… well…… Sorry. But……”
Meo glanced at Pole and Rocky standing at the entrance.
“I told them. Told them that I wanted to go. Then they brought me there.”
I turned around to look at the two. Pole and Rocky lowered their heads with their faces red. Don’t do that, it’s disgusting. Don’t they have any resistance towards women?
“Aniki, please forgive us. Sou-san scolded us because of this yesterday……” Pole joined his palms together, lowering his head to apologize to me.
I shook my head. Actually, I wasn’t about to blame them.
Because the one who won was Meo.
“Mr. Assistant, is your wound okay?”
“Mnn— ? I’m okay, don’t worry.”
I used my hand to touch my cheek covered with gauze. You really can’t say that I’m hurt like this. Compared with the prices that the others had to pay, mine is more like dust.
Compared with the burden that Kusakabe Masaya and Meo are shouldering……
“…… Meo knew it from the start?”
“Why did your father run away? Why did he tell you to hide the money? The reason he told you not to call the police?”
“I don’t really understand things that are too complicated……” Meo tilted her head. “But the building is where dad, mom and I lived. If dad is not there, the big sisters would be troubled too. That’s why I believed that he would come back.”
Being able to continue to live at Hello Palace, Meo continued to believe this until now. Believing that everything will return to its original state.
Kusakabe Masaya, himself, believed that such a miracle will occur as well.
The last words that he shouted out in that phone call— the Thai that he said only to Meo.
“Those words…… I’m not really sure what that means. He said ‘You have many mothers’. Maybe he’s talking about the big sisters in the building? Don’t worry because there’s a lot of people, does he mean that?”
The words passed through Meo, and went into Alice’s ears.
Being able to read the meaning in those words like that isn’t easy at all.
He did all that just to protect that building.
To protect the people gathered at his side from all parts of Asia— his family.
The matter that he is most scared of, is the dirty money of unknown sources in his hands— he’s afraid that the fact that the money laundering ability of Hello Palace has reached its limits would be known by Kishiwada-kai. If Kishiwada-kai knows of this, they would definitely just abandon Hello Palace. If they abandoned the money laundering too, the yakuza would probably get rid of Hello Palace that was their filter, while the people who lived there would be unable to continue living in Japan. Calling the police would have the same results.
That’s why he chose to run.
The more surprising thing is, he really pretended that he defalcated the company. Since he had no way of getting near to his home, he called Meo to take away the money. Mikawa and Tabara-gumi probably felt surprised too, huh? Because they didn’t even know what Kusakabe Masaya’s motive was.
Which means, no that Kishiwada-kai would not realize that there are still ‘‘money that haven’t been laundered’’, they pretended that he ‘‘did not launder the money, but took it’’. The only thing that he could do is to get more time. Frantically running away, struggling, praying and waiting for a miracle to occur. What an idiot, how could things return to its original state?
But Meo shook her head while smiling:
“There’s no such thing. Because Dad is still alive. It’s okay as long as he’s still alive. There would be a day when things would return to its original state.”
As long as he’s alive……
Meo squatted down with her back to me and opened the zipper of the Boston bag. Using her hands to search inside. All the answers are hidden in the secret pocket in the back of the bag. I searched for it and pulled out the thing hidden inside it.
I saw this before, it’s a pure white phone that was the same model as Kusakabe Masaya’s. After I opened the phone, a group photo of a man and a woman at a beach somewhere appeared on the screen. The Kusakabe Masaya in the photo was probably just over thirty, while the woman beside him was the spitting image of Meo.
The answers are always the simplest. Though I don’t know how Alice noticed this.
There was absolutely no need for Kusakabe Masaya to stay in touch with Meo. Because he knows of Meo’s exact location anytime.
Because at Meo’s side— Meo’s mother is always with her.
“Mr. Assistant, what’s wrong?”
Meo tried to peek from the back, but I hurriedly stuffed the phone back into the hidden pocket and zipped it up. Because Kusakabe Masaya once said that he’d give it back to her when she’s older, so it’s better to respect his wishes for now.
While thinking about this, he’s actually by his wife’s side all along as well.
Using this bag to carry the money used in money laundering each month, probably it isn’t just to prevent loss or robbery, huh?
Meo and I walked out of the office in between Pole and Rocky, then took the elevator to the first floor. Gentle rays of light shone out from the scale-shaped clouds, it’s just before noon on Saturday. Yondaime’s Civic (how many cars does this guy have anyways?) was waiting for us on the slope in front of the building.
At the instant when she got onto the car, Meo turned over her head and said:
“That’s right, Mr. Assistant. I’ll tell my dad about what you said to me.”
My jaw dropped. Say what?
“If that’s not okay, then I’ll leave it in Mr Assistant’s hands. When Meo is sixteen, you’re probably eighteen already, right?”
If it’s not okay…… What does that mean? And what does she mean by leaving it in my hands?
“Thank you so much. A huge……. Thank you!”
Looking at the Civic 3 driving away, Pole suddenly said.
“I really have to report this to ane-san. Betraying her is really bad.”
“But as you’re our aniki, it’s better if other people talk behind your back.”
What are you guys talking about?
I suddenly realized that my spring break is nearing its end, the week passed in a flash.
Yesterday, I went back to Hanamaru Ramen Shop to continue my job after sending Meo away. I dragged my tired body back home. I haven’t slept at home for quite some time now. I didn’t wake up until the radiant sun shone onto my eyes from the seams between the curtains. Sleepily looking at the clock, it was already ten.
“I didn’t make your breakfast.”
Those were the cold words by my sister when I finished changing and walked down to the first floor. I could only fill my stomach with bananas and oranges, then went back to my room. I’ve passed my probation and would start working officially today, so I’ll just eat at Hanamaru as an employee then.
To me, the matter had already ended, but I would sometimes search online for news related to this.
Until yesterday, my sense of danger had already numbed. When I calmly think back about things, the things that I’ve done had already brushed past crimes. The employees in Hello Corporation saw my face too. It’s okay for me, but the violence by Hirasaka-gumi might already be complained now.
Up till now, the assault at the bank parking lot yesterday hadn’t been exposed yet, and there’s no sign that the police are investigating the matter. But indeed, I did something that Tabara-gumi would mind (about this, Yondaime told me not to be so worried of it, and nothing would happen), would I really be okay? I really feel uneasy if I can really return to the ordinary life of a normal high school student.
The bells of the school would ring at about half past ten.
Ignoring that, I continued to browse webpages meaninglessly, and then I heard footsteps walking up the stairs.
“There’s a frivolous guy called Kuwabara or something at the entrance, he said he’s here to pick you up.” My sister said. I was taken aback and sprung up from the chair. Is it Hiro?
A blue imported car was parked in front of my house.
“Your sister is so pretty, can you introduce her to me?”
The first thing that Hiro told me when he saw me was that…… This guy is really……
“Erm…… Is there anything wrong? Why didn’t you call me before you came here?”
“You might run away if I called you.”
The voice of a young girl came from behind Hiro. In shock, I straightened my back. The window of the backseat was open, and I saw a small teddy bear and lustrous black hair. Why is Alice…..?
“Just get on the car first.”
Hiro opened the car and forced me into the car, beside Alice. The dress that Alice wore was warm-colored, with a slight country style, having square lattice patterns on it and has frilly sides. She looks really like a doll in that.
“I didn’t know that you have so many clothes.”
“If possible, I would wear mourning clothes when I go out. But I can’t wear that because of our destination.”
“Don’t you have to work part time at Hanamaru Ramen Shop today as well? Today is the last day of the spring break, so you’ll only be free on today. Hiro, let’s go.”
“Erm…… Where are we goi—”
Hiro’s car accelerated, and I was flung onto the seat, and couldn’t even finish my question.
“Be careful! You’ll squash the present!”
After Alice said that, I immediately noticed the box. It was a black box with Hanamaru printed on it.
“Master’s special ice cream cake. You didn’t squash it, did you?”
The box was slightly squashed, and the lid was almost open. Looking into the box, there were four cake-shaped ice cream decorated with chocolate and biscuits that were surrounded with dry ice.
“It seems okay…… What a special ice cream.”
“It’s an Easter egg.”
“It’s Easter today. Don’t you know that? It’s to celebrate Jesus Christ’s revival three days after being executed on a cross. Almost all Japanese would celebrate Christmas, but not much people know of the exact day of Easter. It might be because this day is not just a celebration, since there were sufferings first, the miracle was more valuable. Even so……”
Alice closed the lid.
“I’m a proud Japanese without any integrity. I just want to enjoy the taste of the ice cream. I don’t care if it’s Good Friday or Sabbath, just leave that to Kusakabe Masaya. We just need to celebrate the miracle of reunion.”
The miracle of reunion?
Our conversation stopped there.
Alice gazed at the back of the driver’s seat. Hiro silently steered the steering wheel. The posh imported car felt just like a deep sea fish that was well taught, silently sliding on the road. Where are we going to? From the direction, we’re not going to the station or Hanamaru Ramen Shop.
“…… Don’ you have anything to ask?”
Alice asked softly.
“Would you answer me if I asked?”
“No, I probably wouldn’t tell you anything.”
Hiro’s shoulders seemed to shake for a moment. He was laughing. As usual, Alice is a really detestable person. I already knew what she was thinking about, so I wouldn’t blame her for not telling me anything at that time.
“Then can I say anything I want? These are just my sudden thoughts, but you just need to listen.”
An expressionless answer, but through the small teddy bear, Alice was still holding the sleeves of my shirt tightly.
“— I originally planned to deposit all of the two hundred million yen into Kusakabe Masaya’s account, but you stopped me, right? Then we deposited part of the money into the account of the guild, while the rest, into other unknown accounts.”
Alice nodded lightly.
When I told her the contents of my plan that time, the thing that Alice requested me to do was this. Which means, the donation to Kishiwada-kai wasn’t the only lie that I told to Mikawa.
Actually, there was only about ten million yen in Kusakabe Masaya’s account. Even though the receipts were only worth ten million yen, if only you place a large stack of receipts before them as bait, it would be enough. Alice said that at that time, and it indeed happened as she said. I think they’d probably don’t have the time to check all of the receipts of the five hundred people, right?
“Though I didn’t investigate this, and they’re only my assumptions, all of the accounts are probably Kishiwada-kai’s accounts opened everywhere using other people’s names— isn’t that right?”
The side of Alice face froze slightly. From this moment on, it would be the territory that Alice wanted to protect.
“Alice, you went through money laundering as well.”
I slowly said that, as though it was a sigh.
I think, that is the only answer.
Separate the dirty money from unknown sources, depositing the money using different names into a few hundred accounts, hiding the source of money and returning it to Kishiwada-kai. That is money laundering.
The reason is actually really simple. Alice was just helping Kusakabe Masaya, who stayed in the city though he was at risk, completing his task. To deal with the money that hadn’t been laundered yet. So that Kishiwada-kai would not abandon Hello Palace. To protect— the home of Kusakabe Masaya, Meo, Yi Ling-san and the others.
This is already not what a detective does. As Alice have said herself. Besides—
“Isn’t money laundering a crime? If you know their accounts, you would be arrested if you were exposed that you instigated other people to transfer the money. Though I’m not too sure about this, this method is probably not too good, because the chances of getting exposed is quite high. So……”
I stared at Alice’s face that was like a doll:
“So that’s why you didn’t tell me anything, isn’t that right?”
Transferring the money was Alice’s own orders, I only followed her instructions. That’s why I didn’t do anything wrong at all. I’m not sure if it really is that great, but that was the way that Alice chose to protect me.
I closed my mouth. Actually I really feel like saying this to her…… You say that you don’t have any way to save or protect anyone, those are all lies, but I couldn’t say it out loud.
What’s the reason? I don’t know.
There was a long silence. Hiro’s car avoided the road that was in a traffic jam, then drove to a wide road after passing by three traffic lights.
“— Now, do you understand the emptiness of digging out the words of the dead?”
Alice said with a hoarse voice.
I nodded. These matters are meaningless to anyone, but there’s no way of expressing it besides using words. Alice kept repeating this, hurting her own soul again and again.
“So it’s meaningless now, isn’t that right? Meo and Kusakabe Masaya, you and I are still alive, and must continue to live on. Kishiwada-kai probably knows of the truth of the defalcation now. Even so, the burdens that Kusakabe Masaya was shouldering will not disappear; the mess that Mikawa cooked up must be handled by him and his company. Those are the rules of the yakuza. Additionally, the fact that the ability of their money laundering had reached its limits cannot be changed, and the time that it collapses can only be delayed. No matter how a detective plays his tricks, buying time, the things that had been damaged cannot be returned to its original state. Even so—”
Alice looked at the scenery outside the windows. The car drove onto the slope, and the scenery around us felt rather familiar.
“Even so, we have to continue to live on. Gather the fragments to cover up the cracks, using a broken oar to row in the water. We have to live on if we are still alive— that is the order that God gave to all living organisms, and NEETs are not excluded from this. So let’s think of people who are still living. See, we’re here.”
People who are still living—
Eh? We’re here?
The car stopped silently, it looks like a parking lot. There were countless white lines on the asphalt road, while there weren’t many cars there. I went closer to the window of the car to look outside, and I could see quite a few large buildings at my left.
I know this building. The name of the hospital that was hung on the large entrance was still fresh in my mind.
“Hurry up and get down, don’t forget the present we brought for the patient.”
Alice kept using the head of her teddy to push my head, while I opened the door and walked down unsteadily like a dolt.
“I heard that Ayaka regained consciousness yesterday.”
I only understood what Hiro meant after a long time.
Ayaka…… Regained consciousness?
“What are you spacing out there for?”
After walking down the car, Alice used the bear to push on my waist while pulling on my sleeve:
“Are you still going to say something like you don’t want to see her or something like that?”
“Eh? Ah, no……”
Thinking of people that are still alive.
Meo said this before, as long as we are still alive, it will definitely return to its original state. So that I would believe those innocent words, I’ve already went through many meaningless things. Even so…… Even so…….
Even if I don’t believe in it, miracles still mercilessly, uncaringly, unmovingly happens on any person. Even if nobody notices it, even if nobody is thankful for it.
“That’s why we need four Easter eggs. Listen, if Ayaka can’t eat the ice cream yet, I want two. Do you hear that, Narumi?”
“Mnn, I hear you.”
I nodded weakly in answer.
Hiro looked at us while smiling, then walked towards the entrance of the hospital. Alice pushed on my back. With her unreliable hands, her unreliable power.
Let’s just think about people who are still alive.
I reconfirmed the weight of the box of ice cream in my hands again, and walked towards Hiro’s silhouette.
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