Kamisama no Memochou:Volume 4 Chapter 5

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Chapter 5[edit]

Even though I hadn’t come here ever since spring break, I still stopped subconsciously in nostalgia as I saw the entrance of the aggregative apartment that had a sign with Hello Palace written on it. It felt like the incident that time happened two years ago already.

It was the first case I came in contact with after officially becoming Alice’s assistant, and even developed into an incident when we clashed severely with a yakuza organization— a case related to money laundry. The stage of the incident was the apartment before my eyes. However, never would I have thought that I would still have a chance to visit again.

I took out my phone to reaffirm the time. Five in the evening. Same as the time that we agreed on. Although the scorching heat of the afternoon still remained in the roots of the trees in the streets, the connection point of the pavement railings and inside the cavities on the asphalt road, it was quite cool in the shadow formed by the rectangular, four-storey building.

Even so, quite a large amount of courage was needed for me to step into the entrance of the building. After all, the one that I am planning to meet is—

“— Mr. Assistant!?”

All of a sudden, a girl’s voice rang behind me, making me turn around after getting startled. Before my eyes, there was a girl whose eyes were widened and hair was tied into three locks. With an extremely tight fitting T-shirt with short sleeves and long hot pants, her coffee colored skin that radiated a sense of health felt unbearably dazzling.

“Meo?”

“Mr. Assistant, it’s been a while! How are you how are you?”

Meo ran over and hugged my arm. As usual, she was a girl full of energy when doing anything and was unguarded from head to toe. This girl whose name is ‘cat’ would be the client in the incident during spring break.

“Are you here to see Meo?”

“Ah…… No……” The current me can’t look at her sincere gaze directly, and thus averted my gaze. “Actually…… I’m here to see your father.”

“Ehhhh—!?”

Please don’t prance all around while holding on to me, my shoulder is going to be torn off soon.

“Then it’s almost the same as coming here to see Meo!”

I wish quite a lot that she could share with me a tenth of her optimism. But not more than a tenth.

“But what are seeing Papa for? Is there anything wrong? Perhaps it’s that? ‘Please allow me to marry your daughter!’ or the like?”

“What are you talking about? That’s not it!”

Meo’s father— the ex-yakuza that I saved with my bluffs and deception, Kusakabe Masaya.

As for the reason that I still need to deal with this person, of course it’s because of Yondaime.

“In any case, hurry up and come up! Mr. Assistant, have you eaten dinner yet? Meo is going to cook dinner. Do you want some?”

Meo happily pulled me into the doorstep. How should I get into the topic when I meet Kusakabe Masaya? While thinking of questions like this, I thought of the matters that occurred after Yondaime gave us the request.


After watching Tetsu-senpai and the others spread out to the streets as they received Alice’s orders, I gave Yondaime a report, regarding the matters that I heard from Renji-san.

That person hated Yondaime because of a female called Hison, because Yondaime caused her to die as he used her as a shield, and he accepted a sum of money from the yakuza as a deal not to speak of that anymore, taking charge of the role of an accomplice who wiped out evidence of Hison’s existence as well. That was what he believed in.

“Renji-san said, Yondaime admitted to it as well. But how can this be possib—“

“He’s right. That time, I didn’t want to die, so I hid behind Hison when the opposing party stepped into the room with a knife. And she was stabbed to death in my place.”

Lies! I originally planned to shout that out, but it distorted in my throat and stopped.

“So what? It does not concern you. Didn’t I tell you not to investigate irrelevant matters? You just focus on thinking how to stop Renji and how to deal with the advertisements.”

Yondaime forcefully pressed his fist on my chest, giving me a warning by my ears with the voice that was like a sharp blade, and walked out after that.

When only I was left, I directly sat on the emergency backstairs. Yondaime’s words and my sweat were stuck on my face.

Because he didn’t want to die, he hid. A person was stabbed to death in his place.

Are you really telling me to believe in such a thing?

Although this might be a despicable action, let me propose a request to Alice about this then.

“Why do you need to know about the woman called Hison?”

Alice, who returned to her bed in the office, asked while pounding on the keyboard. She spoke in a tone that sounded somewhat deliberate, which means it was her habit of asking about something that she already knows about acting up again.

“Because Yondaime is lying.”

“Not so.”

With her back on me, Alice answered firmly.

“Think back on what occurred to Tetsu. You said that same thing as well.”

What occurred to Tetsu-senpai. In the death incident that became one of the reasons for the abolishment of the Gardening Committee, he lied that he was the one that caused someone to die—

“Which means, before you and I expose the truth, those do not count as lies at all.”

Alice’s words interrupted my thoughts.

“As you believed that those were lied, and I added some words as well, it turned into lies. In that incident— half of it should not count as the job of a detective. A type of element that only exists in humans was too firmly planted in my head.”

Alice’s voice sounded extremely heavy. Perhaps she is in repentance?

“That quality of yours is a power that I do not have. The form that you make sometimes invites more resentment. You executed the things that one cannot do as a detective in a careless manner. That is ‘story’. Although you might not notice it yourself.”

I felt a pain from my chest and pressed my fist on my ribs. Alice turned around, and her black hair fluttered as well.

Her smile was so gentle.

“However, that is fine as well. If an assistant detective does not do something that a detective cannot do, there is no meaning for his existence. The request that you have proposed is for your friend, Hirasaka Renji, is that right?”

I suppressed my feelings of joy and apology in my heart and nodded in response. The pointer moved speedily, and a file was opened on one of the monitors.

“The Korean female called Hison had once worked at a night club called Lou Lan at Shin-Okubo. As her name is the same as a famous Korean female artiste, it seems like she directly used her own name as her nickname. The shop was once assaulted by Shura-dou that was led by Hirasaka Renji, and the case was broadcasted in the news and was recorded in the police’s files as well.”

“…… Why…… have you already investigated this?”

“I just found out about this.”

The detective spoke as though it wasn’t anything to be awed about.

“As for which part I need to investigate, I actually knew from a long, long time ago.”

Facing Alice’s understanding words, I couldn’t help but sigh.

“As for the rest, please collect information by yourself. Fortunately, the shop is more or less connected to us.”

“…… Eh?”

“This…… is a night pub where Asian women work at. You probably have an inkling now, right?”

My hand that searched in my memories seemed to have bumped into something. In surprise, I could only feel as though my jaw was about to drop.

“Here, this is Kusakabe Masaya’s phone number. Hurry up and give him a call.”

Kusakabe Masaya was one of the key members in a yakuza organization in Kansai, but he got out due to his dissatisfaction of the organization’s way of dealing with things. After that, he went to various countries in Asia, bringing his marriage partner back to Japan. In the process, the many females that he got to know went to Japan with his help to work, and without an alternative, Kusakabe Masaya even started a new company.

Actually, when I think about it, the extent of his popularity made me feel like Hiro-san is just a small potato. After all, a large crowd of females did indeed go overseas and followed him to Japan, so it really wasn’t simple.

The last time that I saw him, since he was running away, his charisma couldn’t be felt at all. However, not only did the Kusakabe Masaya that spoke to me while being separated by a table wear a flamboyant purple suit, he wouldn’t give people an impression of frivolity, and he was like what Meo once said, a dangerous middle-aged man that was like a wildcat, having a trace of sweetness in wildness. He wasn't just a baddie, but a complete arch-villain.

“It’s time for me to work soon, so keep things short.”

The venue of our meeting was not in the place where Kusakabe Masaya and Meo lived at, but an office at the first floor of Hello Palace. I heard that Kusakabe Masaya recently started a high-class club, the job of a night owl in its entirety. I heard that he was really, really busy, so busy that we could only meet at this time before he goes to work.

“How is Hello Corporation right now?”

“The company is still present, but I let go to show my responsibility. Is this still the time for us to chat about all this?”

I contracted my neck. I wasn’t too sure about what occurred after the money laundry incident, but since the apartment was still there, perhaps the matter had already passed? Or is it possible that there is just a short lag before the incident sinks?

In any case, I must focus on things that I should do.

“I’ve mentioned at the phone as well, it’s about the night club at Shin-Okubo called Lou Lan. You…… probably know about it, right?”

Kusakabe furrowed his brows slightly and nodded in response.

“It’s our system. It was under Tabara-gumi, and was taken by Gotouda-gumi after that, but it went solo quite a long time before.”

I sighed softly.

“It’s like this, right? There was a conflict with a gang consisting of juvenile delinquents, and the gang seized the shop away.”

“Why do you know—“

Kusakabe’s expression changed drastically. His gaze turned into that of a ferocious beast.

“You know the person who did that, right? The one called Hinamura.”

“Y- Yes…… Actually……”

It wasn’t called Hirasaka-gumi that time, and most of the ones who did that were probably Renji-san’s underlings, which means, Kusakabe Masaya still hadn’t found out about that up till now. The young yakuza who saved him a few months ago was actually the main culprit who seized his shop, how can this be possible……

Of course, Yondaime hadn’t realized that as well. For the money laundry, Hello Corporation and Tabara-gumi supporting it, and also the other companies related to them, had already developed into a convoluted organizational structure. If not for Alice, who searched for clues, would anyone ever find out about such a strange connection?

I heard Kusakabe cluck his tongue twice.

“…… Whatever. It already passed, and does not concern me anymore. What about Lou Lan?”

As it was a shop that he let go of long ago, I wondered if he still remembers it. Thus, I asked in a respectful tone:

“The Korean person working in the shop that time who was called Hison.”

“…… The woman who was killed?”


So he knows about it as well. Even knowing the fact that she was killed. I used my hands to lean forward while supporting the table.

“Do you know who killed her?”

“God knows! One of the underlings from Gotouda-gumi. That was why they wanted to seal people’s mouths. I only heard of this from the others.”

I forlornly lowered my head. That’s true. So that nobody would be aware of it, they had long buried this incident in the darkness, and knowing that she was murdered was already quite impressive.

“That means that Gotouda-gumi is having revenge on Yondaime in vengeance, right? Because their shop was stolen away.”

“If Hinamura was the mastermind, that should be so. But is there really a need for them to kill him?”

“I heard that Yondaime once lived with Hison-san. On the day of the incident, they were in the same room as well. Was it because Hison-san went forward by her own accord, or some kind of accident occurred? These are still not clear.”

“Why are you investigating this? Aren’t you only in high school? Do you want to die young?”

“A previous companion…… Is still in doubt. He thinks Yondaime used Hison-san as his shield.”

“You should ask Hinamura himself.”

I did that long ago. And I don’t want to remember his heartbreaking answer right now.

“Then isn’t it as he said then?”

“He isn’t a person who would do something like this. He must be hiding something, that’s why……”

“Are you an idiot? It’s not like he’s framed by the cops, right? If it’s just an inner conflict between you, then fighting or talking it out among yourselves would solve it.”

As though all the gas in my body was let out, I collapsed on the chair and thought: ‘That’s absolutely right.’

If it could be solved by talking things out or by fighting, it would still be fine. It’ll be great if we could just drag Renji-san to the stage where Yondaime is standing on. However, it’s impossible for that to be achieved according to the current circumstances. It’s evident that Renji-san does not plan to accept the challenge head on.

If we just need to bait Renji-san out, he can actually be forcefully dragged out by using Tetsu-senpai, Major and Hiro-san’s power. But I’m hoping for Renji-san to make his own choice. Making a choice once again after knowing the truth. Would he choose to go face to face with Yondaime? Or would he choose to continue with his back to ours?

To know the truth is to face death. I recalled the words that Alice was always saying.

I am chasing this truth, and I think I still might lose someone forever. Including Yondaime, including Renji-san, and including me.

Even if that’s true, I still can’t stop.

Kusakabe Masaya stared at me at a side as I stayed silent, and snorted.

“Anyway, I’m not too sure about the related details. As I owe you a favor, I can help you to ask the people from Gotouda-gumi, but they definitely wouldn't say anything.”

“It…… Should be so, right?”

If they could simply speak of this to outsiders, they wouldn’t have needed to hide the details concerning the case with so much effort.

“And then, we’ll probably be able to find out some things if we check out the flow of the money.”

“…… Money?”

“If Gotouda-gumi really did give money to Hinamura, we can definitely find some traces even if they gave him cash. Aren’t you really good at finding out about these things?”

I nodded furiously with my jaw agape. I think my expression that time was probably quite idiotic.

I understand now. I never thought of it.

“I’ll give it a try, thank you—“

“You will have no friends.”

I was stopped by Kusakabe’s words, making me unable to speak anything.

“The so-called flow of money is the true personality of that guy. Do you really understand?”

“…… I understand.” I stared at the back of my hand. “However, if we don’t do anything, we’ll lose even our other friends.”

If we just silently waited, everything would leave to a place that can’t be touched by our hands. If so—

“You’re really a persistent fellow.”

As Kusakabe said that as well, I really couldn’t rebuke him at all.

“After this, don’t get near Meo. It’s already enough when she has one useless person like me by her side for eternity.”

“Okay……” Why did he mention Meo all of a sudden?

When Kusakabe Masaya reaffirmed the time on his watch and stood up, the sounds of the door opening rang behind me.

“Kusakabe-san, I heard that Ming Hai is here, is it true?”

When I turned around, I met the gaze of a female wearing a miniskirt.

“— Ming Hai!”

The female walked around the desk and ran to the chair by my side and sat down with a ‘thump’.

“Didn’t I tell you to see me at the shop? You never showed up at all!”

“No, well, I’m just sixteen after all……” Besides, it’s evident that your shop is a pub that one can bring the ladies out of.

The Chinese beauty is called Yi Ling-san, and she’s a pub lady who took good care of me when we investigated Kusakabe Masaya’s case. With her young appearance, most would probably believe it if she said that she’s a college student, and as I heard that she already arrived at Japan for quite some time, her Japanese is quite fluent. But for some reason, she uses Chinese intonations when calling only my name.

“I’m going to work right now, do you want to go with me?”

“Please listen to me properly, I’m just sixteen!” And please don’t grab my hand, I’ll get a fright.

“If you’re not here to accompany, then what are you here for? Ah— Is your target Meo? Why are there so many lolicons in this modern world?”

Kusakabe-san, please save me. I don’t even know how to speak so that women can understand me!

“Yi Ling, weren’t you living near Shinjuku five years ago?”

Kusakabe spoke in a low tone as he ignored my words.

“Haven’t you helped out a few times at Lou Lan of Shin-Okubo as well?”

“Yes, yes…… Eh? You aren’t telling me to help out again, are you? But is the shop still here?”

“It’s not like that, this guy has something to ask of you. Do you remember a Korean woman called Hison?”

Yi Ling-san looked at Kusakabe and I with a curious gaze and nodded slightly.

“…… Yes yes yes. She was an extreme beauty, and she’s the number one over there. I remember it clearly, and I often chatted with her as well.”

I couldn’t help but grip Yi Ling-san’s hand tightly.

“What kind of person was she?”

“What kind of person? Wasn’t Ming Hai just in primary school that time? Eh? What? What kind of relationship do you have?”

“Erm— That female called Hison— Her boyfriend is my friend.”

“Hison’s? This…… Ehhhhh!? But shouldn’t that girl’s boyfriend be Gotouda-san? Narumi, you’re an acquaintance of Gotouda-san?”

I fell into a daze with my jaw wide. What? What did she say? Gotouda?

Kusakabe Masaya stood up as well, and questioned Yi Ling-san in my place as I had already lost consciousness.

“Gotouda, does that refer to the boss?”

“…… Nnn, uh huh. Weren’t you talking about this? Hison said that she’s Gotouda’s mistress as well.”

Mistress.

The yakuza boss that originally took command of the shop, his mistress.

Strangely, my mind started to cool down. I understand now. No wonder nothing happened between Yondaime, Renji-san and her, living together like three siblings. Do they know about this? Nono, it’s impossible for them do make such an innocent promise if they knew. Or perhaps, the thing that Yondaime is hiding is this?

How would this turn out to be if this continues?

Or is it completely different from the drawing sketched in my mind? A drawing that had more unpleasant elements added, and had colors of desires mixed.


“Mr. Assistant, won’t you have dinner before going?”

Meo sent me out while pulling on my sleeve.

“Oi, Meo. Don’t let people that you don’t know in when I’m not home.” Kusakabe Masaya poked his head out of the driver’s seat and cautioned her repeatedly.

“Mr. Assistant isn’t a person that I don’t know!” “Just be obedient.”

Ignoring the squabble between the father and daughter, Yi Ling-san approached my side and said softly before sitting in the back seat of the car:

“I’ll help you to ask people that I’m familiar with that time. It’s just that many of them already changed shops or jobs, or even quitted and returned to their motherland, so I can’t be sure about this. As I recall, a few girls should have lived in the same apartment as Hison that time, it’s just that I don’t know how to contact them.”

“…… So sorry. I’m counting on you then.”

“Let me ask you, it’s a murder case, right? Wouldn’t it be better if you don’t meddle in cases like this?”

In the end, I had no other choice but to inform Yi Ling-san of the news of Hison-san being stabbed to death, and as I predicted, she immediately started to worry about me.

“I’m hoping that I can do that as well.”

I think so from the bottom of my heart. Why can’t we just be normal lazy NEETs? Why couldn’t we have met at the back alley behind the ramen shop because of us fooling around?

The car that had two people on left after leaving a hint of warmness, and Meo pulled on my hand once again that moment.

“You’re really not eating before going?”

“…… Nnn, sorry.” I don’t have an appetite at all, and as her father said, doesn’t allowing me to step into the room feel a bit wrong?

“But weren’t you always staying in Miss Detective’s room?”

“Nnn— But that’s…… The detective agency office.”

Even I, myself, thought that it didn’t explain anything at all. It was indeed Alice’s bedroom, and she did indeed wear pajamas all day long. I only felt it then, should I take more note in this aspect?

“Meo is ok anytime as well!” What ok? “If you’re in a bad mood, you can come over no matter it’s my house or the restaurant I’m working at. Because I haven’t paid you back for your help.”

I couldn’t help but berate myself. Couldn’t she have answered in a more cheerful tone? But Meo was still looking at me with a smile on her face, a smile so radiant that even rays of sunlight can’t be compared with it.

“I’ll wait for you!”


Yoshiki-san did things quite quickly, and sent us T-shirt with the band logo printed on it at the start of August. Mika-san and I were called to the designer’s workroom to get the sample.

“This— is really extremely awesome! Super cool!”

The workers in the workroom started to put on the T-shirts with the band logo printed on it, including Mika-san. Even the QR code of the official website didn’t feel off on it, and was successfully fused into the Japanese pattern. It could only be said as a piece of work at the level of a master.

“Fujishima-san, how many would you need? Thirty or so? Just take it. Since your web of contacts is so wide, you can definitely distribute a lot of them.”

Nonono, I don’t have so many contacts. However, as Hiro-san requested me beforehand, I still took thirty of them gratefully.

“And this. Yoshiki-san told me to give this to you.”

After saying that, Mika-san took out another T-shirt with the logo of the band that was carefully contained in another plastic bag from another bag.

…… Wait, that doesn’t seem to be the same. Although the picture was exactly the same, this……

“Embroidery?”

I curiously opened the package and touched it to reaffirm the fact. It wasn’t printed on. Including the QR code, the surrounding picture was completely sewn on.

“Eh? W- What is this? Why is this here?”

“I heard that this is the ‘original’.”

Original?

“Yoshiki-san said that he wanted to try making an embroidered pattern, so he made this himself. He said something like it was made by editing the original design and the scan, just that I didn’t really get it.”

I was totally speechless. He actually did it till this extent? Although he said that the picture would be more visible if the picture was sewn on. I touched the surface of the T-shirt once again. Like tatami, the embroidery was densely packed and had a sense of luster. It couldn’t be imagined how long a time would be required for it to be completed.

“…… B- But, why is this here?”

“Yoshiki-san told me to hand this to you.”

“Whaa—!?”

“Because this T-shirt was Fujishima-san’s suggestion in the first place! Besides, you’re the boss of the advertising department, so there is no person more suitable than you to wear this shirt!”

I seriously got an incomparably valuable thing, and don’t really dare to wear it easily. But I can’t just return it to him, so I could only accept it and walk out of the workroom. If I bid it online after the concert ends, how much money would I get, I wonder? As such an instant flashed through my mind in an instant, I should really beat myself up properly.


I speedily rode my bike back to Hanamaru Ramen. Hiro-san had already arrived before the kitchen backdoor. I immediately handed the sample T-shirts to him.

“This is quite nice. They can probably count as the first self-made T-shirts that Alan Garba released. If I tell the girls that they can get them two days earlier than the shops, they would definitely be extremely happy.”

Hiro-san happily filled the colorful T-shirts in numerous plastic bags, saying that he was going to give them to girls that he knew well as additional service.

“These would probably be on a magazine next month or so, right?”

“Yes…… It turned out like that somehow.”

The more surprising thing was, there was actually a request from a fashion magazine unrelated with the band for us to accept an interview. As Yoshiki-san said that he didn’t want too much publicity, firmly refusing to get interviewed, Mika-san and I were thinking of a way to refuse them nicely the previous day. Although the magazine would go on sale after the concert, to increase CD sales and publicity, having such chances won’t be bad. After all, it could achieve a promotional effect without having to pay, and that made me understand deeply the importance of the public media. We sent emails to news websites or magazine companies, and what’s left was just to wait for them to take the bait. It seemed like we were starting to go on track.

It was still fine when my schedule was full with my job of advertising, but when I returned to the back alley after the job ended, I started to feel gloomy again. After all, not only Hiro-san, Major and Tetsu-senpai would come over most of the time as well. That day, two of them appeared after noon passed as well.

“This gang actually dissolved long ago, and seemed to have been gathered by Hirasaka. The guy who was originally their leader is currently working at a locomotives’ firm, so we can ambush him when he goes home from work.”

“Do we have the time to go slow and steady like this? How many people are there in the gang that you spoke of?”

Tetsu-senpai looked at Major’s laptop computer while retying the bandages on his hands. It felt like Tetsu-senpai seemed to have been injured more recently.

“There are about five who go for regular gatherings. I’ve just heard Hirasaka’s instructions, and they’re probably having a meeting at the karaoke at the east pass.”

“Then why don’t we barge in right away? That would be quicker. Bringing them down one by one is just too tiring.”

“Do we need to use shock shells?”

“Idiot, isn’t that a karaoke? Someone will call the police.”

“Then let’s use tear bombs. There won’t be sound nor brilliant light.”

“The problem is, there’ll be smoke!” “And tears as well……” “And snot!” “But basically, those are basically trickled down from the face, so it won’t be too dirty. Some people would even pee their pants if shock shells are used.”

The two who ended their discussion(?) stood up, and were planning to pass by me and Hiro-san’s sides. However, Tetsu-senpai seemed to have noticed that my gaze was like that of a lost lamb, so he stopped and gave me a wry smile.

“It’s not like we’re sending them all into the hospital, as we’ll need to talk to them after beating them up.”

“Really? You won’t beat them up so much that they can’t even open their mouths, will you?” Hiro-san showed a doubtful gaze.

Major took out an IC recorder, playing the contents of the so-called ‘discussion’.

’…… What? That person’s gaze is dangerous. If he just takes down his shades, you’ll think that he’ll kill you. Get it? I heard that he originally disappeared somewhere around, and was quite relieved.’

’Of course, I’m quite annoyed with Hirasaka-gumi, and we were forbidden to get in a lot of shops, so of course, there’s bad blood between us. And Hirasaka-san is quite free with his money as well. But that isn’t the problem. Anyway, that person is scary. I can only obediently do as he says. Attracting the police? But of course, wasn’t there a fire as well? But that person is scarier.’

’Ouch! Okay, okay, we won’t take action anymore. Who would want to get involved with people like you!’

The voices of quite a few men could be heard at the same time, so the situation couldn’t be clearly grasped. But It seemed like they were the people who attacked the live house at Ueno.

To make them obey him, Renji-san used money— And also, fear.

“But nobody actually said that they were beaten up by Renji.”

Tetsu-senpai spoke in a soft voice.

“In the end, it was really effective when I beat them up, and they became really submissive.”

Recently, senpai and Major’s actions really can’t be said as those of a detective squad anymore, which would be spying on the den of Renji-san’s underlings, and trying to convince (Tetsu-senpai was in charge of this part) them.

“Yondaime is currently busy with the critical stage of his official business, and those from Hirasaka-gumi are workers for the event as well, so they can’t just do as they like. That’s why they’re leaving me the good stuff.”

“If we don’t catch Hirasaka, it would have the same meaning as picking up trash, Tetsu-san.”

“Even so, we don’t know where he is, so what choice do I have? I want to have a showdown with him as well. That guy probably changed phones again, huh?”

“In the past, Hirasaka was indeed the one with the most potential to be a wanderer among us.”

The two walked out of the back alley, while I picked up the list of facilitator that Major left. Almost half of them had already been crossed off. What chilling efficiency.

However, as Hiro-san looked at the list from behind, his tone turned heavy.

“…… Since he can mobilize such a large amount of people, why didn’t he directly take action?”

I glanced upwards at Hiro-san and looked at the name list once more.

Hiro-san was absolutely right. Renji-san repeatedly instigated his underlings to undergo small hindering acts. All of the booked venues for the concerts were assaulted in some way, and there were some where only the garbage dump was ruffled.

Yondaime, who heard the report, said in a tone full of sarcasm that it was probably just a wild dog peeing to guard its own territory. However, it was exactly for that reason that some members of the gang were put in charge of each event venue in the end, which would mean that a web of security would have to be spread for almost twenty four hours a day.

It was quite a knotty problem for Hirasaka-gumi as well, but it still returned to the previous question.

Renji-san— What is he planning to do?

If he just wants to hinder the event, there are still many other ways as well. After all, we already know that his funds are probably quite sufficient. If he just wants to lower Yondaime’s credibility, there are probably more weaknesses to exploit.

Why did he only take lame actions?

“In any case, let’s leave it to Alice to think of the reason. We’ll just have to obediently be her hands and feet to continue investigation.”

Hiro-san stood up and added:

“Ahhh, that’s right. Yi Ling called for you.”

“Ehegh!?”

I made a strange noise accidentally. Yi Ling-san was Hiro-san’s ex-girlfriend. Since that person was always deceiving women, without exception, it isn’t that happy when he breaks up with girls. I recall that Yi Ling-san told me that she should have deleted Hiro-san’s number from his phone.

“She said that she got in contact with the girl living next to the woman called Hison.”

When I stood up, my knees accidently banged on the corner of the wooden stand with force.

“Wa…… Wa- Wait a minute! Why did she contact Hiro-san! Why not me!”

“Probably because she still can’t let go of me?”

WHAA—! What sort of optimistic thought is that!?

“Let’s not talk about this for now. Narumi-kun, I think it’s about time you remembered the fact that you’re a high schooler, right?”

“I’ve almost forgotten about it completely.”

During the spring break, I once had the same feeling as well. Am I able to go back to my normal school life when the new semester starts? I won’t continue to live on directly in this back alley, would I?

“In any case, this is a killing incident related to the yakuza, so you shouldn’t poke your nose into this so much, Narumi-kun. It’s dangerous. Actually wanting to fish out such profound things out of a girl that you met for the first time, that’s my job, of course.”

I sat down, heaving a long sigh on my knees. Hiro-san was right. Perhaps Yi Ling-san handed the matter to Hiro-san because of worry that I would get in trouble?

“Narumi-kun, you did well, so it’s fine.”

Hiro-san’s unexpectedly forceful hand came in contact with my shoulder.

“The event seems to be getting more heated as well. Didn’t Mii-chan praise you as well?”

“However, no matter how heated it is, if a bomb falls, everything would be destroyed.”

Since I already met Renji-san for three times, perhaps……. I am able to do more?

“Regarding these parts, you don’t need to be so similar to Alice.”

Hiro-san laughed at me from the bottom of his heart.

“Similar…… to Alice?”

“Thinking that everything is her fault, she said that she would feel more easy like that. Actually, what truly requires courage is to allow someone to keep custody of something.”

Hiro-san explained with a gentle gaze, making me feel as though I fell to the bottom of the ground.

When Hiro-san left the kitchen backdoor, I sat alone on the old tires, pondering while listening to the weak cicada cries. Staying here alone won’t do any good. Right now, Renji-san and I have a point of connection. I can only mull over this myself.

When I was in deep thought with my head lowered, Min-san poked her face out of the kitchen backdoor.

“Oi, Narumi. Alice’s lunch is done. Chinese cold noodles without noodles, egg and ham. Get it to her, please.”

I thought, what would be left if so much has been taken out? In the end, I saw that there were just small pieces of cucumbers floating in the cold soup. What kind of dish is this!? I’m already feeling downcast, so can you not ask me to deliver this kind of thing? Just looking at it made me unhappy.


“I have already found out about the personal money and movements in a few accounts belonging to the leader of Gotouda-gumi.”

Alice explained while munching on cucumbers on her bed. Numbers were densely packed on the monitors behind her.

“A sum of money obtained by the shop manager each month was stopped along with Hison’s disappearance. Although it might just be an outsider’s testimony, she might indeed be the mistress of the male party.”

“Nnn……”

“And on the month that Hison vanished, there was an unknown expense of twenty million yen.”

I felt chilled and recalled Kusakabe Masaya’s words. The flow of money is the true nature of mankind. It is indeed so. When the NEET detective gets involved, everything will be exposed under the sun.

“Among this, ten million yen was for a doctor.”

“…… Doctor?”

“The identity of the doctor was easily found out— A surgeon Gotouda-gumi is particularly fond of using. Probably because they tried to cure Hison? It is possible that the fees were used to shut his mouth, or as the fees to take care of the corpse…… But the regretful thing is, that doctor was already quite old that time, and has currently passed away.”

I swallowed the saliva in my mouth after some effort.

“The other ten million was deposited to a real estate agent at the Adachi district.”

“…… Real estate?”

“And the said agent was a scoundrel working with Yondaime as well.”

As I recall, Pole seemed to have mentioned something similar as well. When Gotouda-gumi that was in charge was chased out, Yondaime once worked together with a real estate agent to do something on the rights of the building and land.

“So the ten million yen was to let Yondaime shut up?”

“There is such a possibility, because Yondaime should not have had a proper bank account at that time.”

I sighed, and took out a can of Dr. Pepper from the fridge.

So he really did accept such a sum of money? If the flow of money is properly proven, it seems like he doesn’t have a choice but to admit it.

Yondaime’s— true nature.

“Allow me to confirm this once more. These are probably Hirasaka Renji’s thoughts, correct? A member of Gotouda-gumi infiltrated Yondaime’s apartment just to kill him, but because Hison, as the person living together, wanted to protect Yondaime, or he used her as a shield, in any case, she was mistakenly killed. After that, Yondaime accepted a sum of money, and treated it as though the woman called Hison did not exist from the start.”

I felt an ache in my heart and nodded in response. However, Alice, who finished her Dr. Pepper in one go, spoke with her eyes narrowed.

“I am already unlike you, who use the intangible thing known as ‘virtue and righteousness’ as a foothold to judge Yondaime. However, my conclusion is the same as yours. There seems to be something off with this case, a point of uncertainty.”

“…… Eh?”

“Pray tell, why did Gotouda-gumi not kill Yondaime directly?”

I looked at the detective’s cold, expressionless face. The meaning of those words slowly seeped into my skin along with the cold wind.

That’s right. It’s indeed strange.

Because of Hirasaka-gumi that was led by Yondaime, Gotouda-gumi lost the protection racket of the night club Lou Lan. Besides, Yondaime was the secret lover of the said organization’s leader, so it isn’t strange even if he was targeted. That was what I originally thought.

If so, why did they allow Yondaime to live— Even giving him the sum of money?

“…… The matter of wanting to kill Yondaime, perhaps it was just an action taken without permission, and wasn’t instructed by Gotouda-gumi?”

“Is there a need to use up tens of millions to help such an underling? Even if they were just trying to protect the name of the organization, there should have been other ways.”

That’s true. It was even more unreasonable than the reason of the organization wanting to kill Yondaime in the first place.

“I think…… Probably, the former basis of the hypothesis was wrong.”

“…… Which part?”

I asked while thinking.

If Yondaime and Gotouda-gumi weren’t enemies from the start— won’t that be more logical?

However…… IS that possible? If so, there’s even less of a reason for Yondaime to be killed.

“It cannot be known right now, but it is possible that everything is correct as well. In any case, we can only wait for the news found out by Hiro.”

Alice’s mutterings were like the remains of plankton, accumulated below frozen air.

“If this is done to hide a certain lie, the truth hidden below will definitely be even worse than the current situation.”

*

It was already a week after when Hiro-san returned to Hanamaru Ramen. That time, Major and I were analyzing a large quantity of surveillance records behind the kitchen backdoor.

“How’s the situation? I asked for some ice cream from Min-san.”

From Hiro-san’s tone as he walked into the shade from the sun, I perceived an unnatural sense of unhappiness. Major might have noticed it as well.

Even when I took the cup with the vanilla ice cream from Hiro-san, he didn’t seem happy at all.

“Currently, we’ve closed down on five places where Hirasaka might be staying at.”

A rigid, business-like tone.

“We couldn’t grasp the location he’s staying at. If we know his phone number, it’ll be okay when we check it out through the GPS, but it seems like he changed phones again, and would often turn off his phone as well.”

“He doesn’t already know that Alice can locate him by tracking his phone signal, does he?”

Major sighed.

“It’s possible as well. After all, we’re almost too invincible in this city, and are too famous. If anyone tells Hirasaka that we have overwhelming skills, it won’t be strange.”

Regarding Alice’s detective skills, most of the weight was placed on phones, an item that is filled with important personal information. When she is facing an opponent whose phone signal can’t be detected, she’s actually not that great.

“Besides, Hirasaka and co. hasn’t taken action since August. Both preemptive and follow up attacks were put on hold.”

“Might they be planning to make trouble on the day of the concert itself?”

“There’s a possibility. We can’t loosen our guard— In any case, the people in Hirasaka-gumi basically don’t have anything to do as well, so it probably doesn’t matter. But speaking of which, what has Hiro-san got?”

“Ahh, yes.”

Hiro-san approached the wooden stand, taking out a silver object from his pocket. It was an IC recorder. As Major was in charge of modifying it, its reception was excellent. One of the must-have tools of the NEET Detective Squad.

However, Hiro seemed to be hesitating if he should hand the recorder to Major. He stood blankly by my side while staring at the recorder on his palm.

I thought, so even this person can show a look of sadness when he sees something?

“So you’re letting us listen to this before Alice?”

Major asked. Hiro-san finally nodded.

“Nnn. I hope that you can listen to it first, and then decide if we’re really going to let Alice listen— Ah, no. Of course, we’re definitely letting her listen, but anyway……”

Hiro-san stammered. Major nodded silently, connecting the recorder to his laptop computer. Sounds came from the speaker, and sounded like aches that spread to the eyelids when one takes an injection.

’…… Say, so you’re really not from the organization?’

It was the voice of a woman that sounded rather exhausted. The both of us glanced at Hiro-san.

“It’s the person who lived by Hison before this. I searched for her for a whole week. She’s an ordinary salarywoman right now.”

I swallowed. He found her? According to Yi Ling-san, she was the person who lived by the room where the incident occurred.

’They told me that I absolutely can’t speak of this…… Eh? N- No! Not to the company! Don’t tell them, f- fine, I’ll tell you.’

“…… I was slightly anxious as well. I’m quite sorry for that.”

Hiro-san smiled wryly. Such threats shouldn’t be those of a gigolo.

’But I know next to nothing. I was sleeping that time…… Yes. It was some time before work, in the evening.’

Hiro-san’s questioning voice could be faintly heard.

— You worked in the same night club as Hison, right?

’Yeah…… But Hison was almost fired that time.’

— Why?

’She said that she was going to ask for a month’s leave because of her body. She probably lied. As the shop owner asked me to check it out, but I didn’t see any tampons in the trash, but it was probably true that she was sick. It looked like her hip hurt so much that she couldn’t stand.’

— Is it because of illness?

’I don’t know. I heard that she almost couldn’t walk, and a guy would occasionally go to take care of her.’

— Did that person have his hair bleached white?

’Nnn, that’s right. Do you know him? …… Sorry, I won’t ask anymore …… Hmm, that guy seemed to have came that day as well. All of a sudden, a huge noise came from the next room, and a girl’s scream could be heard…… A car came immediately, including a few men in black that I once saw. I sneaked a peek through a small slit through the door, and I saw Hison being hauled away while being covered in blood. The knife was directly stabbed in her stomach. According to the men in black, the blood wouldn’t stop if it’s pulled out.’

I subconsciously tightened my grip on the edge of the gas tank so that I won’t just collapse.

’And there’s the guy as well. His shoulders kept bleeding…… Yes…… The person who stabbed him? Hmm, I didn’t see it, but I might not be able to keep my life if I saw him….. Yes. Nnn.’

— Apart from Hison’s scream, did you hear other people’s voices?

I felt that Hiro-san’s questioning voice was getting weaker.

“Eh? …… Nope, it wasn’t Hison. That wasn’t Hison’s voice.”

I widened my eyes, and shifted my gaze to Major and Hiro-san’s faces.

’It was another woman’s voice. Saying something like ‘I won’t forgive you, I’ll kill you, you thief’ and the like.’

Woman.

The person who stabbed her was a woman?

The recorder finally stopped, while a heaviness that caused us to be unable to move even a finger filled the valley formed by the buildings.

Three people could listen to the details of the death that was recorded. Is this a good thing? Major took action first. He moved the data from the recorder to his computer, and returned the silver recorder to Hiro-san after ejecting it. After taking it, Hiro-san stood up while exposing hesitant looks for a few times, walking towards the emergency backstairs after that.

On the other hand, I sat on the gas tank, and was unable to move.

It felt as though Hiro-san’s footsteps were extremely far from me. Major put on his earphones once again and started to type. It seemed like a hole was opened somewhere, and warm water flowed out. However, the desert was still boundless, and we must still continue to walk on. Thus, I was shrouded in a strange feeling.

I stood up. It seemed like Major called me, but I flung the voice away, dashing out from the gap between the buildings. The glaring sunlight of August shone in my eyes. My whole body was sweating, while what stuck onto my neck area was the voice of the woman recorded in the recorder.

I moved my bike parked at a corner of the charged parking lot to the road, forcefully kicking up the stand. Each time I stepped on the pedals, the voice of the woman was swallowed by the choppy wind, and gradually moved further.


In the Hirasaka-gumi office, only Yondaime was left. It was the first time I saw that there wasn’t even one person on the sofa separated by a desk. As people were put in charge of guarding the five pre-booked concert venues, there wasn’t any spare manpower to chill out at the office.

Yondaime was battling with a stack of bills, and just glanced at me when I entered the room. When our gazes met, I couldn’t help but lower my head.

“…… Sorry for coming here without permission.”

“You’re one of our own, and you have the key as well, so what about permission? Don’t you have an appointment for a news interview today as well?”

“Ah, I already handed that to Mika-san.”

“Then you can take a rest for two or three days. Renji isn’t moving right now as well, so only Major and Alice can find his den. You’re on a daily salary, so you can just take breaks when you can.”

“Yondaime, you’re really stubborn regarding money.”

“I was raised by cheapskate parents, after all.”

How was he raised to form such a materialistic person with a twisted personality?

I closed my eyes, tightly gripping the sweat in my palms and raised my head again, moving to Yondaime’s side after walking around the sofa and the desk. As he usually dons a webbed vest with his shoulders bare, the tattoo of the emblem on his arm could be clearly seen.

I unconsciously extended my hand to touch it. Yondaime shifted his gaze from the bills to me.

“Have a problem?”

When I silently touched the emblem, Yondaime stood up and flung my hand away. My hand that was flung away felt a slight pain.

However, my fingers did indeed feel it. A scar. A deep scar covered by the tattoo.

“Why you—“

Although my collar was gripped, I looked directly into Yondaime’s eyes filled with anger.

“So the one who was supposed to be stabbed wasn’t Yondaime.”

In the eyes of the wild wolf, flames of fury continued to burn, and changed into scorching charcoal.

“What are you trying to say!?”

“Hiro-san went to see a girl that seemed to have lived next to Hison-san, and found out about the day of the incident as well.”

Yondaime gave a low roar in anger. I felt a pain as though the interior of my clavicle was going to snap. I gritted my teeth and thought of my next words. Hison reached a state of immobility because of her hip and abdominal pains, and probably didn’t have the energy to protect Yondaime, causing her to be stabbed. Then, after the incident occurred, Gotouda-gumi’s odd actions. Why didn’t they kill Yondaime?

There is only one simple answer.

“The person who was supposed to be stabbed was Hison-san from the start.”

While speaking such things, I didn’t dare to look at Yondaime’s face.

“Yondaime’s shoulder was slashed to protect her, but even so……”

You still couldn’t protect her.

Those words couldn’t be spoken, and kept piercing me in my body. “Those are just your delusions.”

Yondaime pushed me away and sat on the chair.

That’s right. I just pieced them together randomly. However, such a truth cannot help at all. Can we say this to Renji-san? Impossible. That’s just too heartbreaking.

“So didn’t I tell you not to investigate as you like? Idiot.”

Yondaime’s words felt as though they were flipping my clavicles around. Would maintaining my original ignorance be better? I don’t know, because Renji-san is troubled in his ignorant state as well.

Say, Alice. I probably can’t be a detective anymore. Although I rushed out without telling you anything, I have no idea what to do at all. Should I tell something to that person who liked Hison-san very much? Or perhaps, I should give him a lie that is not funny?

“Even I don’t know, so it’s best if you know.”

I leaned my back against the wall, and blankly stared at Yondaime’s face. Those were the gentlest words that I heard from him up till now. I was ashamed, and wanted to walk towards the exit, but I could only lie on the back of the sofa.

I even thought if I should continue treating Renji-san as an enemy, going into a showdown, and getting both parties injured. Would that be better?

No, what am I thinking? Have I forgotten the words that I shouted at Yondaime? The T-shirt embroidered with the emblem is still in Alice’s custody. It was just because of a frantic attempt to maintain the connection between Renji-san and I that I did such a thing.

I can’t let everything end without telling anything, right?

“I’m not too sure about that guy as well.”

Yondaime spoke faintly.

“We always fooled around and fought together, while the favors that we owe each other are numerous as well. But he’s a person whose thoughts aren’t clear as well.”

“But you became sworn brothers with a person that you don't know so well, and made a promise to each other as well. So you carried all the dirty stuff on your shoulders for a person you don’t understand, making such a stupid lie as well?”

“Just shut up if you know it!”


After I stepped out of the Hirasaka-gumi office, I did not return to Hanamaru Ramen, but went home straightaway. I updated the official website for the band, uploading as many happy words as possible to promote the large celebration held the next week. It was quite miraculous. Even though my mind was in such a confused state, I started to calm down when I was typing out an essay, and it won’t be a problem no matter how many lies I need to say.

It might be as Mika-san said, part of me is probably suited for writing essays. But even so, I don’t plan to take part in a humble job that requires me to lie forever as well.

After ending the updating of the messages, I lied down on my bed.

Alice has probably finished listening to the recording Hiro-san brought by now.

As for her, what sort of conclusion would she come to? She isn’t the Alice of the past anymore. Knowing the importance of stability based on ignorance, and knowing that the vengeance that Renji-san holds is actually a misunderstanding.

Should we tell Renji-san and hurt him?

Or should we stay silent and let him wither naturally?

I don’t want to hear either answer from Alice.


’Since you had already reached Hanamaru Ramen, you left without showing up. What were you thinking!? And you did not pick up the phone even though I called so many times! You are probably relishing the short time of wanting to stay on the bed, right!?’

Early next morning, I was awoken by Alice’s furious phone call.

“…… Uuu. Haaa……”

When I was about to say something, I could only make unclear comments as I still wasn’t fully awake.

’Can you at least use a language known to mankind.’

“Erm….. Is there anything wrong? —Ah, oof…… Sorry.”

I was nearly scolded again. Even though there’s nothing special, you should at least show up as an assistant detective!’

“Erm….. I just feel like, after listening to that….. Well….. It was hard for me to meet Alice face to face.”

Just imagining that we would have to listen to the recording once again made me feel pained.

“No matter how one gets along with anyone, in truth, this will not decrease. It will only be slowly accumulated, absorbing moisture, and expanding non-stop.”

“That’s exactly what’s making me feel pained.”

“You coward. Even daphnia can tolerate water pressure and osmotic pressure, but what about you?”

So sorry for that. “…… I was wrong. I’ll head over right away.”

“M- Mmph, I did not tell you to come over.”

Why are you calling me then?

“Fine, I feel bad troubling you as well. I’ll just sleep for the whole day.”

“I do not care, hurry up and buy a crateful of Dr. Pepper for me right away!”

So what do you want really? I finally remembered when she hung up that I wore the clothes that I went out with and slept until now. Uh oh, if I don’t hurry up and bathe, I’ll smell terrible. And the computer still wasn’t turned off as well. The screen was stuck on the page when I finished updating the blog.

There were already a few responses on the blog. There were some netizens who logged in while wearing the T-shirt as well. There were some comments on the page with Alan Garba’s photo as well.

The celebration is starting. The embers that I started were already spreading in the city, reaching an unstoppable state.

After bathing, I returned to my bedroom and took out the luxurious embroidered T-shirt that Yoshiki-san gave me. I was the one who started the fire. So indeed, it won’t do if I don’t wear it myself, huh?

The inner side of the embroidered shirt stuck closely to my skin that was just bathed.

I went to a familiar wine seller to stock up on Dr. Pepper, and went to Hanamaru Ramen right after that. When I finished parking my bike by the shop and was about to head to the kitchen backdoor, I met Ayaka, who was sprinkling water at the shop entrance.

“Good morning, Fujishima-kun! This…… Wow.”

Ayaka continued to stare at my T-shirt, and hurriedly spoke after staying silent for some time.

“Your shirt is so cool!”

What do you mean by speaking of only my shirt?

“This should have been made by Yoshiki himself, right?” Min-san added behind the portiere.

“Ehhh?! You know just from a glance?”

“That’s right. It doesn’t suit you at all. It’s too regretful for the shirt, since so much time was spent. What a waste.”

Shut up! What are the two of you commenting for!

When I appeared at the detective agency office, Alice, who was sitting on her bed, assaulted furiously after turning around.

“And I was thinking why such a magnificent T-shirt is floating in thin air, so it is just Narumi? After all, compared with the shirt, the sense of your presence is equal to zero, causing me to be mistaken.”

What the heck? Is laughing at my clothing together becoming something like a trend? I made a sour face and placed the Dr. Peppers from the crate into the fridge.

“Where did you steal the shirt from?”

“Yoshiki-san made that for me! So sorry, but this one is especially for my use!”

As I was quite annoyed, I carried five cans of Dr. Pepper to the small table in one go, opening all of the cans together as well.

After that, I sat at the edge of the bed, having a slight sense of shadiness in my heart while observing the response that Alice would give. In the end, she actually finished all of the five cans in one go. In such a small body like hers, which part can still contain two liters of liquid?

Alice piled up the empty cans like a tower and showed a lonely expression.

“…… You are indeed working hard.”

“Eh? Eh?” What are you saying all of a sudden?

“If it is just for helping Yondaime, it has long exceeded the extent of simply helping. It is the same even if one looks from an objective perspective, and would even have some sort of illusion that you might have another road other than becoming a NEET to choose from.”

“Erm…… Actually, you don’t need to treat it as an illusion.”

Never would I have thought that Alice would say such things to me. However, why is she wearing an expression like that of ice cracking?

“I would sometimes think so. Was tying you to the position of an assistant detective a wrong decision? Perhaps you can actually be another type of person?”

Why? Why are you suddenly mentioning such a thing?

“Erm…… As I didn't come yesterday, are you angry?”

“Not angry.”

“You’re indeed angry……”

“I am not! I am just having second thoughts.”

Just at my side, Alice kneeled down and pressed her hands on her knees, looking at a side in displeasure. On the other hand, I felt my heart ache. Why did I make her show such an expression?

“Sorry, I was wrong. Indeed, I’m always busy with the event, and as for Alice……”

“What does that mean!?” Alice flushed while her hair and voice shook. “I am not a little rabbit that will die when nobody takes care of me!”

“Ahh, mnn…… That’s not it, I don’t mean that.”

“That should be my line! Listen well, what I meant by having second thoughts is regarding me easily allowing a boy without strong mental strength to shoulder the heavy burden caused by the words of the deceased.”

Alice used her slender fingers to point at my chest.

Easily allowing me to shoulder the heavy burden caused by the words of the deceased? But isn’t that just my role? An assistant detective just needs to stay by a detective’s side—

Being tied to the position of an assistant detective? Does that refer to me? Is that really true?

I turned around to look at Alice’s moist eyes.

“I probably……”

I chose my words carefully.

“I probably can’t be a detective anymore. After this incident, I understood.”

It seemed as though Alice’s gaze was about to melt into the sea.

“Indeed, I’m not as tough as Alice. Whenever I encounter unfavorable matters, I would get flustered, and run in the bamboo forest by myself, causing myself to be wholly injured and bruised. I’m clumsy, and don’t have enough foresight. However……”

I unconsciously gripped the edge of the bed tightly.

“As long as I can continue being an assistant detective…… Half or a third, although I don’t know how much I can shoulder. Because…… Because even Alice can’t completely……. Are you okay?”

Alice suddenly closed her eyes, using her forehead to ram into the chest part of my T-srhit.

“—Ouch! Alice?”

“What!” Alice’s voice shook even more than just now. “Being so self-righteous. Thinking that you know everything, saying that you want to shoulder my burden.”

Alice’s words that were full of emotions continued to fall onto my knees, causing my skin to feel scorched.

“How thick-skinned are you? Even though you are so slow that you will not feel anything even if explosives are placed in your shoes. Stop being so opinionated. Saying something like half? A third?”

“E- Erm…… Sorry—“

A small fist was closely pressed below my clavicle. Alice did not raise her head and continued:

“…… With your narrow shoulders, it is only five percent at most…… But it is still better than none— I cannot find any other descriptions fitting of this.”

“Ah……”

My voice nearly shook in relief and joy as well. It’s better than none, it’s fine even so. As long as I can reduce the pain on the thin shoulders even slightly.

I supported Alice’s slight weight with my chest, listening to the inorganic noise ringing in the air-conditioned room, awaiting Alice’s next words. Waiting for her to shift the five percent to me.

After that, Alice pushed my chest away with her hands and raised her head.

“I have investigated the roots of the leader of Gotouda-gumi.”

“Nnn.”

“The said leader’s wife divorced with him five years ago and went back to her mother’s home, and is currently staying in a hospital for mental illness.”

“Nnn.”

“Since Gotouda’s main physician already passed away, there is only circumstantial evidence. For instance, the divorce was some time after Hison was killed, and the sounds that the ‘girl’ living next to Hison heard.”

But those are the truth, right? If not, Yondaime probably wouldn’t have made such a large sacrifice, just to hide the truth from Renji-san.

Thus, I gave another question. I think, this is probably that five percent of mine, right?

“…… In Hison-san’s abdomen, there was child of the boss— Isn’t that right?”

“That should be so.”

Alice’s hands that were supported on my chest trembled slightly.

“So that’s why the boss’s wife aimed for her abdomen?”

There is no need to continue. I almost said so to Alice. But this must be changed to words. After all, this is Yodnaime’s pain. Even if he isn’t at the scene right now, we must still bear it with him together.

The thing that Yondaime wanted to protect, but was unable to.

And then? What should we do?

“…… Should we tell Renji-san about this?”

As I was really unable to find out the answer, I could only ask Alice the question. I thought in my heart, even she is probably unable to find the answer, right?

Alice shook her head while supporting herself on my chest with her hand.

“Regarding this part, I cannot—“

That moment, Alice widened her eyes, while the words that she was about to say froze on her lips. Alice’s small hands, the slender fingers, continued to touch— the band logo on my T-shirt.

“…… This thing……”

“What is it?”

Alice’s hand gripped the T-shirt. I sensed the body temperature that was originally used to maintain her own life seemed to have seeped into the material, almost collapsing me in uneasiness, and thus caught hold of her wrist. However, Alice flung my hand away, and stood on the bed.

“…… S- So…… So this is how things stand.”

“Alice?”

“I understand. I understand now.”

Understand what? I swallowed the question. As I looked at Alice’s green face, I noticed that something was being emitted from her body.

“We must inform him.”

“…… Eh?”

“We must inform Hirasaka Renji of this truth. Yondaime is wrong. Even if it is quite a sorrowful matter. Sealing up the wounds, even though he would feel better like this— It is still wrong.”

Alice squatted down, and used her hand to gently hold my shoulders.

“We must find Hirasaka Renji!”


When I walked down the emergency backstairs after leaving the detective agency, three silhouettes were gathered before the kitchen backdoor. The more surprising thing was, Hiro-san, Tetsu-senpai and even Major were wearing a T-shirt with the band logo printed on.

“…… I- It feels a bit disgusting.”

My true thoughts that I couldn’t conceal accidentally slipped out from my mouth.

“And you dare to say that even though you’re wearing the same T-shirt?” Tetsu-senpai shrugged.

“Just wearing this on the streets is good promotions. Although there’s less than a week left, we’re thinking of doing something to contribute.”

Hiro-san showed his pearly teeth.

“I think, if we hand these T-shirts to the patriotic comrades that I know, and we undergo a shooting match at Shinjuku in broad daylight, it would probably be a large hit.” Major seemed to be full of vigor.

“Please remember to take off the T-shirt when you’re caught by the police……”

I sighed and sat on the second step of the emergency backstairs by Hiro-san.

“Did something happen at Alice’s place?”

As Hiro-san asked while staring at my face, I was startled, and prepared to stand up.

“Why do you ask……”

“After all, it’s quite rare that Narumi-kun looks full of vigor.”

“Ahhh……”

Is it really that rare? That’s true. And I would only seem full of vigor at these times?

I really wish to become a person full of vigor.

“Alice told me that we must find Renji-san.”

She did not tell me the reason, and I’m not too sure what it was as well. What did Alice realize? And it was after she looked at the T-shirt.

The truth that we must tell Renji-san about.

“That’s all?”

“What do you mean that’s all? …… Um, yeah. That’s all.”

“Hmmm?” Why does Hiro-san look somewhat evil?

“Saying that we must find him. It’s easy for her to say, but he really didn’t have any movements recently.”

While showing a displeased expression, Tetsu-senpai roughly stuffed red bean ice cream into his mouth. His arm was full of bandages, band-aids and the like. Recently, it does seem like he doesn’t have any new bruises.

“So it seems like we’ll have to hide and wait on the big day? Although it can’t be certain if Renji would appear himself.”

“On the day of the concert, our comrades will gather all skills to form a strict guard. It will be so strict that we’ll bomb anyone that enters to death.” Don’t do that, idiot! Why are you planning to kill our customers!?

“Will they really make trouble on the day of the concert?”

Hiro-san crossed his hands before his chest.

“What does Renji want? We are still ignorant of this even at this time. Even though they didn’t need to make so many small problems, as long as they damage the electrical system or commit arson, the blow on us would be bigger. Them doing all this would only cause security to be more guarded.”

Although I don’t wish for him to say such unlucky things, Hiro-san is completely right. I used my elbow supported on the wooden stand to think of the actions that Renji-san took up till now. The results? He just assaulted each concert venue, and did made some small problems. Just that point made people curious about that.

No— Actually, there’s a stranger thing before that.

That would be judging that Renji-san was the main culprit from the start.

This matter started from the time he stole the T-shirts from the Hirasaka-gumi storeroom. Although I didn’t think back on this properly up till now, such an action was already strange. Because of that, we found out who did that. Among the people outside, the only person who has the key is just Renji-san.

Why didn’t he even plan to hide his identity? If he allowed everyone to think that only small fries were making trouble, that would make us loosen our guard even more. Since we already know that our enemy is their past leader, it forced Hirasaka-gumi to stay in an extremely guarded state. Making all of the underlings security guards—

“…… Ah.”

I accidently made a noise, while the three raised their hands to look at me. However, I did not have any time to care about their gazes, and I pieced out a complete hypothesis in my mind, making a loud roar.

But what if this is exactly Renji-san’s motive?

Assaulting each venue, causing the gang members to disperse. If so, of course, it would be harder for them to assault the live houses, but on the other hand……

I stood up and took out my phone. “Narumi?” Tetsu-senpai curiously called me. I dialed Yondaime’s number, and with my hand full of sweat, I moved my phone to the side of my ear. Hearing the waiting tone that gave people a sense of emptiness ring repeatedly, it caused my heart to throb while I got short of breath. Nobody answered…… Please pick up, hurry up and pick up the phone. When I was about to give up and hang up, my phone rung in my hands once again.

It was Pole. Uneasiness condensed in my throat.

“— Aniki, Sou-san……”

My rapid heartbeat almost covered Pole’s voice.

“Sou-san was attacked! Now…… He’s in the hospital!”

Before I finished listening, I was already starting to run. “Oi! Narumi!” “What’s wrong, Vice Admiral Fujishima?” I escaped from the voices that rang behind me, and immediately kicked up the stand of the bicycle.


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