Volume 5 Epilogue
VOLUME 5 – CONNECTED FEELINGS epilogue
– Because of the case, I didn’t have a lot of time to practise.
However, in the two days before the performance, Haruka put all her energy into practising and was able to finish the performance properly.
At the conductor’s signal, she stood up and bowed at the audience.
In the very back seat, Keiko waved her hand.
Sitting next to her, Yakumo was sleeping with his arms crossed.
Keiko kneed Yakumo and woke him up.
– My mother really does some amazing things.
At Keiko’s urging, Yakumo rubbed at his eyes and lifted his head. He might have just been stretching.
Haruka thought the sight of Yakumo and Keiko sitting together was very strange.
Keiko must have taken Yakumo out of the hospital forcibly.
Keiko had ended up staying at Haruka’s flat ever since that day. Kazuhiro must have been dancing around at home.
Keiko’s interest seemed to have been piqued by Yakumo, the son of her old friend, and she’d sneaked into his hospital room.
Then, she’d met Isshin and ended up interested in him too. Finally, she said that both would be hard to throw away, which was cryptic to Haruka.
If Kazuhiro heard that, he’d definitely faint.
Though the case this time had really been tough, Haruka thought that the gain was worth it.
A bond that had been cut for fifteen years had been connected again –
Haruka gave a slight wave and then left for the wings of the stage.
After she finished cleaning up, she left the school, only to hear the sound of a car horn.
She spotted Keiko waiting there with her car. Yakumo was in the backseat too.
‘What is it?’ asked Haruka as she approached. Keiko stuck her face out of the window.
'Yakumo-kun said he’s going to Nagano to pick up something he forgot, so I’m going to drive him back since I’m heading there anywhere. What will you do, Haruka?’
Of course –
There was actually a meeting after the performance, but she was going to skip that today.
Haruka quickly stepped into the passenger seat. Right after she did, the car started.
'Hey, Yakumo-kun, what did you forget?’ asked Haruka as she turned around.
Yakumo ran a hand through his hair, seeming bothered.
'Something I’ve been looking for this whole time.’
Perhaps he wasn’t feeling well, because after he yawned like he always did, he lay down in the backseat and shut his eyes.
Within five minutes, he started sleeping.
'Haruka, Yakumo-kun really is such a nice boy,’ said Keiko earnestly.
Haruka looked at the backseat through the rear-view mirror. Yakumo’s eyes were shut, completely still.
'He is. But Yakumo-kun doesn’t understand a girl’s heart at all. He’s too thick-headed.’
Yakumo’s eyebrow twitched. He seemed to have heard. However, he didn’t say anything.
Since he was pretending to sleep, it felt like Haruka shouldn’t wake him up.
– It’s a nice feeling.
Haruka met Keiko’s gaze and smiled.
* * *
Ishii had so much paperwork to do –
With the story getting as huge as this, the police had to present some sort of opinion.
However, the situation made it difficult to present, and fifteen years had passed. There had been a search at the scene, but since the house had burnt down, that wasn’t certain either.
Ishii thought that the case wasn’t exemplary – the first investigation had been misread.
There was no point blaming anybody now, but if they had focussed more on why the testimony had been off, this wouldn’t have happened.
However, that was just what people did, not just police. The people in charge weren’t perfect.
They couldn’t charge Miyuki with the case that occurred fifteen years ago.
Partly it was because the statute of limitations was up, but at the time, she had been a ten-year-old girl. She couldn’t be charged for a crime.
However, the murders fifteen years ago hadn’t been Miyuki’s only crimes. Starting with the attempted murder of Yakumo, she had put her hand to many crimes.
They would have to start putting together cases for each of those.
If possible, Ishii wanted Miyuki to spend the rest of her life in prison.
In any case, if he didn’t hurry to finish these reports, Miyagawa would yell at him again. Ishii focussed on his work.
– I wish Gotou would help a little.
Ishii looked up at Gotou, who had an unlit cigarette in his mouth.
Ever since that case, Gotou would often sit like this to think.
At first, Ishii had thought that Gotou was thinking over what had happened, but recently, Ishii started to believe that wasn’t the case.
Still, Ishii had no way of knowing what Gotou was thinking.
Suddenly, Gotou stood up.
'Ishii. I’ve decided,’ declared Gotou loudly.
'What have you decided?’
The menu for lunch? They always got Chinese delivered, so pizza would be OK once in a while. Contrary to Ishii’s idle musings, Gotou’s eyes were the picture of seriousness.
'I’m gonna quit the force.’
Ishii’s voice squeaked.
Quit the force? Gotou? What is he saying –
'Please don’t joke a time like this.’
'Shut up. I’ve decided.’
'Bye. Keep fit.’
Indifferent to Ishii’s confusion, Gotou grabbed his jacket from the chair and left the room briskly.
– Eh, now? He’s kidding, right?
'Detective Gotou, please wait.’
Ishii hurriedly ran after Gotou.
He fell –
* * *
Haruka supported Yakumo, who was using his crutch, as they climbed the slope through the forest.
Keiko was also pushing Yakumo from behind.
Like that, they finally reached the log house.
Since something like that had happened here, it looked uncanny even at noon.
Haruka opened the door together with Yakumo and went in.
– I wonder what he forgot.
Haruka looked around, but she didn’t say anything.
Yakumo hopped away from Haruka to the storeroom where he had been shut in.
Then, he picked up a metal rod and hit the wall of the storeroom.
He kept hitting the wall.
Dust flew up and the wood snapped.
Yakumo put his hand in the gap and tore off the wood forcibly. There seemed to be something in the back.
Haruka helped Yakumo to tear off the wood. Keiko joined them and they put all their effort into breaking the wall.
After a while, a space appeared on the other side of the wall.
– Could this be?
Keiko lit up the other side of the wall with her torch.
There was a human skeleton lying there.
Yakumo didn’t say anything, but Haruka understood even without an explanation.
This person is definitely –
So she hadn’t been mistaken. Somebody had come to save Yakumo and stand against the man with the red eyes, standing between them to protect him.
That must have been this person –
As Keiko held the torch, she cried silently.
Yakumo looked at the skeleton with a blank expression. He had finally found what he was looking for. However, it was in an incredibly depressing state.
Haruka’s chest hurt and she gripped the red stone on her necklace tightly.
I wonder what Yakumo is thinking now –
Yakumo had always kept the fact that Azusa had tried to kill him in the bottom of his heart. Now, they had met again. What could he be thinking –
Suddenly, Haruka noticed that the skeleton was gripping something.
'Hey, Yakumo-kun. That’s…’
When Haruka said that, Yakumo reached out and picked it up.
It was a silver locket.
Yakumo appeared to have noticed it as well, and he opened the locket. There was a photo inside.
In the photo, Azusa and her child, Yakumo, were smiling, their cheeks pressed together.
They’re smiling really happily –
This might have been the photo that Takeda took.
'I forgot that there’d been a time like this…’
Yakumo said just that, closing his eyes.
Haruka had no way of knowing what had happened in Azusa’s heart.
However, there was one thing she was certain of. At least at the moment this photo was taken, Azusa had been happy.
'I know. Don’t say anything.’
Yakumo interrupted Haruka’s words.
Right. He had remembered something he had forgotten, so that was enough.
Yakumo put the locket in his pocket.
Eyes brimming with tears, Yakumo bid his mother farewell.