Volume 8 Epilogue



Like an empty shell, Ishii sat at the desk and looked up at the ceiling.

Though a week had passed since the incident, he still hadn’t been able to get back on his feet.

After the limestone cave collapsed, with Eishin’s help, he somehow managed to carry Youko out.

However, she had already stopped breathing.

– I couldn’t save her.

Ishii’s regret had a left a deep scar in his chest.

If he had noticed Youko’s cry for help earlier, she wouldn’t have lost her life.

– She had planned on dying from the beginning.

That was what Yakumo had said.

Youko might have really been thinking that way, but that didn’t make Ishii’s regret go away.

During the investigation afterwards, it was proven that Yakumo had been falsely charged. Though there was still the interference with a public servant in the execution of their duties, the situation was taken into account and it became an non-indictment because of extenuating circumstances.

There was a non-indictment for Gotou too, but there was a disciplinary dismissal from the police.

Even if it had been a false charge, he hadn’t just helped a suspect escape – he’d even used violence against a police office. It couldn’t be overlooked.

Ishii understood that. But still, he didn’t accept it.

Normally, it wouldn’t have been strange if Ishii had been giving a disciplinary dismissal as well, but Gotou hadn’t let that happened – he’d taken all the blame on his own shoulders.

The police wanted everything to settle down as quickly as possibly too, so they dealt with the situation by saying that Gotou had ran off alone and that Ishii hadn’t been involved.

‘I was never suited for detective work,’ Gotou had said with a laugh.

But what was he going to do now – it didn’t seem like he had thought about anything in particular.

Ishii didn’t know how the Unsolved Cases Special Investigation Room was going to be without Gotou either.

It would be difficult for Ishii to continue alone. The Unsolved Cases Special Investigation Room would probably be shut down, with Ishii being shafted to another division.

It was a barren room with just two desks and no windows, but it was still full of Ishii’s memories.

He had first met Gotou in this room.

He had been involved in many cases after that – the time had flown by.

He would be truly unhappy about the place where he had so many memories disappearing.

Ishii took off his glasses, rubbed his arms and wiped the tears that had welled up in his eyes.

However, there was a silver lining in the case.

It was Hatsune, Minami’s daughter who had been raised by Seidou. Minami’s mother, Tamae, had taken her in.

Tamae had been like an empty shell until then, but then her grandchild appeared.

Tamae’s eyes were energetic – like a different person’s.

She would definitely treat Hatsune well. And Hatsune would probably have her own life, rather than being her mother’s reincarnation.

There was another thing on Ishii’s mind.

Nanase Miyuki had suddenly disappeared from the collapsed limestone cave.

– She’s still alive.

Ishii was sure of it. They would meet again soon.

What would he be able to do then, by himself? He thought about it, but nothing came to mind.

'Detective Gotou, it really is impossible for me on my own.’

Ishii’s shoulders drooped as he murmured that.

'Stop crying.’

The door opened.

Miyagawa was standing in the door with a cardboard box in both hands.

'C-Chief Miyagawa! W-why…’

Ishii stood up instinctively.

'You haven’t heard?’


'Don’t just say “Eh”. I was demoted. So, that’s… er…’

Miyagawa fumbled for words awkwardly.

Ishii had an idea of what he was trying to say.

'Could it be that you were transferred to the Unsolved Cases Special Investigation Room…’

'Unfortunately, that’s exactly it,’ said Miyagawa with a sigh.

Though Ishii was happy that the Unsolved Cases Special Investigation Room hadn’t been closed, he had a terribly bad feeling.

'What’s with that displeased look on your face!?’

Miyagawa glared.

'Ah, no, that isn’t…’

Even while Ishii replied, he couldn’t clear away his anxiety about the future.

* * *

– That felt good.

That was the first feeling Gotou had after receiving his punishment.

He’d thought that he’d feel some regret after a couple of days, but he didn’t.

He realised anew that he hadn’t been suited for being in the organisation in the first place.

He had been nervous about how Atsuko would react when he explained, but she was more nonchalant than Gotou had been.

'I don’t like the police anyway.’

She said the same thing that she had on the phone. Gotou had thought she had just said that to encourage Gotou, but it looked like she’d meant it.

'I’ll do part-time until things calm down,’ said Atsuko firmly, without seeming troubled or worried.

As a man, there was nothing more embarrassing than having his wife look after him, but Gotou decided for now to honestly depend on her.

'If you drive without paying attention, you’ll get into an accident.’

Gotou came back to reality when Yakumo called out to him.

Gotou noticed that the light in front of him was red and hurriedly stepped on the brakes.

'Isn’t that dangerous?’ said Haruka with a dissatisfied frown as she sat in the backseat.

– Man. Who do these two think kept them safe?

Gotou thought it, but he didn’t say it aloud.

Though a lot had happened, he was just happy that they were all OK and together.

Of course it was the case for Yakumo, but Haruka was like family to Gotou too.

Family wasn’t just made up of blood ties.

Even without them, people connected with each other. Gotou thought that.

'Gotou-san, what do you plan to do from now on?’ said Yakumo.

Even Yakumo, who always spoke so hatefully, seemed to be concerned.

It wasn’t like Gotou had no plans at all about the future.

'I’m thinking of starting a business.’

'What is it?’ said Haruka, sounding very interested as she leant forward.

'Work that can be done by an ex-police officer is limited.’

'I have a bad feeling,’ interrupted Yakumo while looking aside.

– His feeling’s probably on the money.

'I’m going to open a detective agency.’

'Oh, you’re going to be a detective?’

'Right. And a detective specialising in spiritual cases, at that.’

'So a spiritual detective then.’

Haruka laughed.

In contrast to that, Yakumo’s expression was stiff – he seemed to sense what was coming next.

'Well, that’s right. So I’m looking for an excellent assistant.’

'I’m just going to say this, but I won’t help,’ Yakumo said coldly, having read Gotou’s thoughts.

'Whose fault do you think it is that I lost my job?’

'Please don’t blame your own incompetence on others.’

Yakumo ran a hand through his messy hair.

– This brat. Acting so high and mighty just because I was holding back!

'It’s your fault!’

'I don’t remember asking for your help,’ Yakumo said plainly.

– I really shouldn’t have saved this guy.

Though it was a bit late, regret spread in Gotou’s chest.

* * *

Haruka visited Seidou’s temple with Yakumo.

Gotou said that he would wait in the car. It looked like he didn’t want to see Eishin.

'Thanks for coming.’

The one who welcomed them in the temple was that very Eishin.

He had a gentle smile on his face. When Haruka looked at him like this, he really did seem like Isshin’s teacher.


Haruka bowed her head.

'That really was a terrible situation you were in,’ said Eishin, scratching his bald head.

'It was,’ agreed Haruka.

When she was caught by Nanase Miyuki, she though that she really would die, but in the end, Yakumo saved her.

It seemed like she was one of the people Yakumo thought was important to him, at least. That was enough for now.

'Half of it was your fault,’ Yakumo told Eishin brusquely.

'Well, I can’t deny it.’

Eishin was rather bold. His expression didn’t change at all when Yakumo said that to him.

'Could I ask one thing?’

'What is it?’

Eishin looked at Yakumo

'When did you realise what Seidou-san had done?’

'I was curious when he told me about Hatsune-chan’s reincarnation, so I looked in to it. Though I didn’t know for sure, I thought that might’ve been the case.’

Eishin’s eyes were faraway.

'Why didn’t you ask him?’

'Because I wanted to believe that Seidou still had a conscience… Would it sound like an excuse if I said that?’

'It would.’

Yakumo ran a hand through his hair as he looked down.

Haruka thought that Eishin wasn’t lying.

He had wanted Seidou to go to the police himself. He had probably sent Yakumo to give him that chance.

'One more thing.’

Yakumo put up his index finger.


'About my… grandfather. How long?’

There was a silence.

Eishin looked up at the ceiling as if reminiscing and then finally started to speak in a murmur.

'I knew from the start.’


'Because I didn’t think it was something you should hear from another person, but something you should find out on your own,’ said Eishin, interrupting Yakumo’s words.

In the back of his eyes, it looked like there was a deep sadness.

'That might be true…’

Yakumo’s eyes narrowed as he looked down.

'Could I ask one thing?’

This time, Eishin looked at Yakumo.

'If it isn’t a pointless question.’

'What happened to Minami-san?’

'She… is with Youko-san.’

Yakumo’s expression softened.

'So the two of them were able to meet again.’

'They were.’

Yakumo gave a short reply to Haruka’s words.

– Was Minami released from her hatred?

That question suddenly came up in Haruka’s head, but she couldn’t find an answer.

If she could be with the person she loved, there was no need for her to hate anyone. Because that was the happiest thing –

Haruka thought that the both of them must have been released from their worries. Though that might have just been a convenient way for her to think –

Yakumo stood in front of the Buddha statue at the temple’s entrance.

When he looked straight at it like that, it was like they were talking.

'After I was almost killed by my mother, I came here together with Uncle,’ murmured Yakumo.

'With Isshin-san?’

'Yes. Uncle held my hand and said this.’

'What did he say?’

'You are my older brother’s child and my older sister’s child. But I decided to be with you for another reason.’

Yakumo’s eyes looked a little wet.

'Another reason?’

'I want to be together with you, Yakumo. If I don’t, I feel like I’ll be crushed by my fate. Save me… That was what Uncle said.’


'That’s right. But I was the one always being saved by Uncle. Without knowing anything, I had thought that I was the only unfortunate one.’


'Even though I really wanted to say thank you, he left before then…’

Yakumo bit down hard on his lip.

While supporting each other, Isshin and Yakumo had faced their fates, which they couldn’t run away from. Haruka felt that anew.

Isshin wasn’t here now. But Yakumo wasn’t alone. There were many people who had inherited his feelings.

– I’m one of them.

Haruka gently held Yakumo’s hand –