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Shinrei Tantei Yakumo
Volume 7 Chapter 3

VOLUME 7 – THE LOCATION OF THE SPIRIT file 03: release ()




‘Masato-kun, don’t be selfish.’

Haruka pulled at Masato’s arm as she pleaded.

However, he didn’t reply. He just looked at his feet without moving.

After leaving Yumiko’s house, Haruka was going to take Masato home, but once they reached the convenience store, he started being stubborn, saying, ’I won’t go back.’

It wasn’t like Haruka didn’t understand how Masato felt. He wanted to find Yumiko no matter what. But the sun had already set and the surroundings were becoming dark. Since they had been late the day before as well, Haruka couldn’t bring him around any longer.

Yumiko, a child the same age as him, had gone missing. His uncle and aunt must have been worried.

’I won’t go back.’

Masato’s tone was forceful.

He wouldn’t budge an inch until he found Yumiko. That strong will came through clearly.

’Your uncle will worry, right?’

’I don’t want to go back.’


’I’m going to look for Yumiko-chan until I find her.’

It looked like Masato felt that was his duty.

Haruka looked at Masato’s face and placed a hand on his shoulder.

’I can’t do anything, in the end.’

Masato bit his lip.

’That’s not true.’

’It is. I still haven’t found Yumiko-chan.’

He really did believe everything was his fault. It hurt to watch him.

’Please believe in us.’

’I don’t want to!’

Haruka had said that to console him, but Masato interrupted her with a shout.


’Sensei, you always save me – I can’t do anything. Even though I should be the one to search, this is just the same as last time.’

Masato’s face was red as his eyes welled up with tears.

Haruka was trying to determine what to do when Yakumo called.


<Did something happen?>

Yakumo said that as if he had seen right through Haruka’s troubles.

Even though he acted like he didn’t have any interest in others, the truth was that he paid more attention than anybody else.

’Masato-kun doesn’t want to go home.’

<Doesn’t want to go home?>

’He says he’s going to search for Yumiko-chan.’

<So you don’t know what to do.>


Haruka felt like Yakumo was smiling on the other side of the phone.

<Hand the phone to Masato. I’ve got a request.>

’A request?’

<Just hand it over.>

Haruka did as Yakumo told her to, giving the mobile to Masato and telling him that ’Yakumo-kun has a request’.


Masato answered the phone, sounding confused.

Haruka didn’t know what they were saying, but she could see Masato’s dispirited expression becoming energised before her eyes.

’Got it. I’ll go back and look into it.’

After saying that, Masato returned the phone to Haruka.

Yakumo had changed Masato’s mind in such a short time – it was just like magic.

’Hey, what did you say to Masato-kun?’ asked Haruka quietly, turning her back to Masato and stepping a little ways away.

<I asked him to look into something for me.>

’Look into something?’

<Yeah. I asked him to talk to family and firefighters to find out where they’ve searched for Yumiko-chan.>

Could it be –

’An excuse to make Masato-kun go home?’

<I’m not you – I wouldn’t lie like that.>


<I have an idea, though vague, about where she is.>


Her voice jumped an octave in her surprise.

<At this stage it is just a theory, but if that location has already been searched, that would mean my theory is wrong.>

’I see.’

<Well, I can’t deny that it was also an excuse to make him go home.>

If it was just asking about the search, it didn’t have to be Masato. That was probably the main intention.

<You’d be wrong if you think Masato’s just a kid. He has his own firm will.>

The way Yakumo said it was like he was talking to himself.

Yakumo could be right. Masato had his own firm will. He would hate being treated as a child most.

’Then what are you going to do?’

<Gotou-san is taking me back.>

’Then I’ll drop Masato-kun off and come back too.’

After saying that, Haruka hung up.

Yakumo said that he had an idea about where Yumiko was. Perhaps they would find her soon.

Haruka’s chest was filled with that hope.




After exiting the clinic, Gotou drove Yakumo to Haruka’s home and then drove to the town area where the Nagano precinct was.

He was going to get information from Wakabayashi.

Yakumo had given him the request easily, but it would be rather difficult getting information from a precinct in a different jurisdiction.

Gotou parked in the Nagano precinct parking lot with heavy feelings.

The three-storey building with a flat roof seemed incredibly large. Gotou hit his cheeks to clear his mind and went through the front entrance.

He passed through the waiting area lined with sofas, put his elbows on the reception counter and called out to a uniformed officer nearby.

’Sorry, but could you call the officer named Wakabayashi-san for me?’

’What is your business with him?’

The officer looked incredibly annoyed.

’Gotou from the Metropolitan Police came – he’ll understand if you tell him that.’

When Gotou said that with a hand wave, the officer cocked his head but still picked up the internal phone. After a short exchange, he said, ’Please wait there.’

Gotou sat on the bench by the wall and absentmindedly watched the traffic safety video playing in the lobby.

’You really came?’

After about five minutes, Wakabayashi showed up with an exasperated smile.

When Gotou nodded back, Wakabayashi gestured with his chin to suggest they go out.

Little gestures like this reminded Gotou somewhat of Miyagawa. He was probably angry since he’d been gone for two days without leave – Gotou started worrying about that a little bit too late.

’Do you have a car?’ asked Wakabayashi after they exited the front entrance.

’Yes, I do.’

’Then shall we go around the block?’ said Wakabayashi.

Gotou was grateful for the suggestion. Inside the car, he wouldn’t have to worry about anybody listening in and they would be able to talk in depth.

’It’s this one.’

Gotou walked with Wakabayashi towards the parking space where he’d parked his car.

’I’m sorry about how Kurita acted earlier.’

Wakabayashi bowed his head as he walked.

This man was a much greater man than he’d imagined if he could offer an honest apology like this to a detective outside his jurisdiction.

’Ah, that? I did something unnecessary too.’

’That’s true.’

Wakabayashi laughed heartily with shaking shoulders.

He didn’t seem like a bad guy.

Gotou sat in the driver’s seat and Wakabayashi sat in the passenger’s.

’Do you mind if I smoke?’

Wakabayashi took a case of Short Hope cigarettes[1] from his pocket.

That was some refined taste.

’Go ahead.’

’How about you?’

With a cigarette in his mouth, Wakabayashi held the case out towards Gotou.

Gotou wanted to smoke, but he had promised Yakumo that he would stop smoking when he took in Nao.

’I stopped.’

’Worried about your health?’

’No, it’s for my daughter.’

Even though he was the one who said it, he couldn’t help but feel embarrassed.

’You have a daughter?’

’That surprising?’

’You don’t look married.’

Gotou didn’t ask why.

People often thought Gotou was still a bachelor. He didn’t understand the reason well himself, but it seemed like he didn’t smell like family.

’I’m often told that,’ replied Gotou.

Wakabayashi smiled as he lit his cigarette.

The nostalgic smell of tobacco made him feel itchy, but Gotou started the car.

’Do you know who the body is?’

After driving for a while, Gotou spoke to Wakabayashi again.

’I can’t tell you... is what I want to say, but it’s going to be in the newspapers tomorrow anyway. We don’t know who it is right now. Waiting on blood type too. All we know is it’s a woman.’

’Is that all...’

Gotou felt disappointed about the lack of information, but it had just been a short time. The corpse was a skeleton – it wouldn’t be easy to discern anything.

’And we don’t have certain investigation results yet, but that corpse is at least thirty years old.’

’It must have been buried for a while.’

’Not definitely.’


’It could have been buried there recently.’


Gotou certainly couldn’t deny that possibility.

’Are you really a detective?’

’Thinking isn’t my strong point.’

’Seems like it.’

Wakabayashi snorted.

Thinking about it, it was an awful thing for Wakabayashi to say, but mysteriously, Gotou didn’t get angry. Perhaps because of Wakabayashi’s atmosphere.

He turned left at the intersection and left the town area.’

’Do you know how she died?’

’There was a sign of a depression of the skull. Probably hit with something blunt in the head.’

’Rather awful.’

’Really. Ganging up to beat a frail woman to death isn’t something a person should do.’

Wakabayashi said that with anger.

It really wasn’t something a person should do – Gotou looked out the window grimly. Though it wasn’t as if there were no lights, there weren’t many.

’So how’s the case with the missing girl going?’

Gotou asked another question after a pause.

’That’s tough too... No leads at all.’

Wakabayashi blew out smoke and scratched the back of his neck.

Gotou could feel his irritation at the investigation that wasn’t going the way he thought it would.

’Has it been two days since she’s gone missing?’

’We’ve focussed on searching around her house, but we can’t even find any evidence.’

’Do you not know the reason either?’

’We don’t. She’s too young for a disappearance. It would be easy to think somebody kidnapped her, but there was no ransom...’

So we have no place to start searching – was probably how Wakabayashi felt.

’Do you think she was spirited away?’ said Wakabayashi while pressing the cigarette into the ashtray.

’Spirited away?’

’Like when tengu or demons take children away.’

Come to think of it, Yakumo had said that.

’Putting aside whether she was spirited away or not, we think that she disappeared because of a ghost.’

That wasn’t what Gotou thought. It was a second-hand opinion from Yakumo. Normally, Gotou would think he would be laughed at, but for some reason he felt like Wakabayashi might believe him.

’A ghost?’

’Yes. That girl is possessed by a ghost. That ghost is leading her to wander while ignoring what she wants to do.’

Wakabayashi didn’t agree or deny what Gotou said. He just looked out the window silently.

The silence continued.

Finally, Wakabayashi spoke, like he was holding something back.

’Actually, the girl that disappeared is my relative’s kid.’

Everything added up with that one sentence.

Wakabayashi was listening to crazy stories about ghosts seriously and cooperating with Gotou from outside his jurisdiction because he was in a situation where he had to take any port in a storm.

Wakabayashi suddenly seemed much older.

’Is that so...’

’You two think that the kid’s disappearance and the discovery of the corpse are related somehow, right?’

’Though it’s just our instinct.’

’Tell me what you’re thinking.’

Wakabayashi crossed his arms.

It made Gotou feel somewhat nervous.

’The ghost that’s possessing the girl is probably the corpse found under the tree.’

’I see.’

’Who is that? Why is she possessing the girl? If we understand the reason, we can find the girl. That’s what we think.’

Though Gotou declared these things, this was all knowledge from Yakumo.

Wakabayashi’s eyes looked distant.

’Why did this happen?’

The flickering streetlights illuminated Wakabayashi’s face.

His eyes looked like they could be smiling or laughing.

For a while, neither of them spoke. The sound of the engine sounded excessively loud.

’This is the curse of the witch,’ said Wakabayashi quietly with his eyes closed.

Gotou didn’t understand what his words meant –




– I wonder what sort of woman Rin was.

On the bus ride back, Haruka thought about the woman whom she knew only the name of.

Curse? That was ridiculous. She was suspected and oppressed. She lost the person who supported her. How did she feel?

Was she angry at the people who cornered her? Or –

Haruka’s chest prickled with pain as she imagined it.

When she returned home, she headed for the room Yakumo and Gotou were staying in.


When she opened the sliding door, Yakumo had his chin in his hand as he read something that looked difficult.

He didn’t lift his head.

’What are you reading?’

She peered in from beside Yakumo.

It was a notebook covered in dust and brown from age. There was a pile of similar notebooks on the table.

Words were written closely together on it, but at points, some of them were blurred.

’I found this at the Kinasa Clinic.’

Yakumo finally lifted his head.

He had an unusually grim expression.

’The clinic – as in the place where the mess with the witch began?’

’Yeah. I found something interesting.’

Yakumo fished through the box on the table and pulled out a photo.

It looked like it was taken at a high elevation, with the Togakushi mountain ridge in the background. In the foreground stood a middle-aged man in a doctor’s gown and a long-haired woman who was looking slightly downwards.

It was black-and-white with the colours warped at places, so it was hard to determine anything clearly. But –

’Could this woman be...’

’Correct. She’s Rin-san,’ said Yakumo.


Haruka took the photo in her hand and looked at it again.

She really couldn’t see the face clearly, but from her appearance, she didn’t look like a witch at all. She looked as dignified as her name would suggest[2].

’The person beside her is the clinic doctor. His name is Kawakami Harunobu...’

Kawakami was smiling in the photo.

’Were they married?’

’I don’t know. But...’


’No, never mind.’

Yakumo smiled self-derisively and took back the words he had started to say.

When he responded like that, Haruka became even more interested. She thought about asking again, but Yakumo spoke up before then.

’How did your side of things go?’

Yakumo ran a hand through his hair.

’Ah, well. A lot of things are still vague, but...’

She’d only given a summary on the phone. Haruka started from the beginning and reported the details of the information she had gathered to Yakumo.

Yakumo looked disinterested with his chin in his hand, but when she mentioned that Rin’s son had red eyes and a horn on his head, his expression changed completely.

’Is that true?’

’I don’t know. There was a rumour like that...’

’I see.’

Yakumo said that quietly and crossed his arms.

’Oh, also.’

Haruka gave the file she had received from Yoshii to Yakumo. It was a file of copies of articles about the murder case that had occurred at the cottage more than twenty years ago.

Yakumo looked through it with a difficult expression.

Finally, he murmured, ’I see,’ and shut the file loudly.

’Did you figure something out?’

’I have no positive proof, but I see the outline of the case.’

’Hey, what do you mean?’

’There’s something I need to confirm,’ Yakumo said, evading Haruka’s question and taking out his mobile.




Ishii received a call from Yakumo in the evening.

– There’s something I want you to look into.

After receiving Yakumo’s instructions, Ishii went to the hospital immediately.

He was there to meet the coroner, Hata.

He went through the entrance, took the stairs to the basement by the elevator and advanced through the dim and damp corridor to push open the door to the autopsy room.

’Who is it?’

A creepy grin appeared on Hata’s wrinkled face.

Because they were in the autopsy room, it doubled how terrifying his face usually looked.

’E-excuse me... It’s Ishii Yuutarou.’

’Oh, it’s you, Ishii-kun? Haven’t found Gotou yet?’

’No, I know where he is, but... More importantly, there is something I would like you to confirm...’

Ishii wiped the sweat from his forehead.

’Confirm? Keep it short. I’ve got to play with that soon.’

Hata pointed at the stainless steel bed in the middle of the room.

The head was on top of it.

Its skin was swollen so Ishii couldn’t tell how old it was or what its face used to look like. Only those open eyes kept looking at Ishii blankly.

And those eyes were dyed deep red –

’Actually, that is what I would like you to confirm.’

Even while Ishii prepared to run away, he looked at the head.

’Oh? What do you want to know about this guy?’

Hata stooped over and looked at the head, smiling happily.

He really was appropriate for his job as a coroner. Ishii felt like he would faint at any moment.

’Ah, er. Actually, Yakumo-shi had a request...’

Ishii cleared his head and continued speaking.

’From Yakumo-kun?’


’What is it?’

’Ah, yes. About that... He wanted to confirm whether there were any injuries on that head.’

’Injuries... That man died from a head injury... Is that what Yakumo-kun thinks?’

’I don’t know...’

Ishii wasn’t certain.

That was all he had heard from Yakumo on the phone. Ishii didn’t have any idea why he wanted to confirm that.

’Well, fine. I planned on looking into that even without being told.’

’Is that so? Then please contact me once you have the results.’

Ishii wanted to leave this place as soon as he could.



’Could you help me a bit?’ said Hata, rubbing his hands together.

’Eh? Me?’

– Again?

’It won’t take any time at all.’

Even though Ishii didn’t recall agreeing, Hata took latex gloves out of his doctor’s gown and threw them at Ishii.

’Er, I have an urgent...’

’Could you hold this for a second?’ said Hata, ignoring Ishii.

– Hold this?

’Hurry it up!’

’Ah, yes, er...’

’You just have to hold it.’

Hata’s eyes goggled at him like a fish’s. A shiver ran down Ishii’s spine.

It was the first time Ishii had seen Hata look like that. If Ishii refused, he might be eaten from the head down. Ishii reluctantly put on the latex gloves he was given.

’J-just for a bit.’

’You just have to press down the head.’


When Ishii approached, the smell of formalin prickled at his nose.

Ishii held down the head with shaking hands.

The skin was swollen so it was squishier than he imagined.

– I really can’t do this.

Ishii jumped back, pushing forward with both hands.

Then, the head fell of the stainless steel bed and rolled to Ishii’s feet.

The deep red eyes stared at Ishii.


He was already at his limit. As Ishii shrieked, he fainted.




’I’m back.’

When Gotou opened the sliding door, Yakumo and Haruka were sitting opposite each other. The atmosphere was so suffocating they could have been talking about a breakup.

’What’s with this awful mood?’

When Gotou spoke up, Yakumo lifted his head, looking extremely annoyed.

’You’re much more awful, Gotou-san.’

’What’s that supposed to mean?’

’Obviously, I mean exactly what I said.’

Yakumo shook his head like he was fed up.

This guy really gets on my nerves – Gotou swallowed his irritation and sat cross-legged on the tatami.

’So did you get any information?’

Though Yakumo asked the question himself, he let out a disinterested yawn.

– What kind of attitude is that?

Though Gotou was angry, he explained in as much detail as he could the information he’d got out of Wakabayashi. He wanted to keep it short, but he didn’t know what Yakumo would pick up on.

’I see...’

When Gotou finished explaining, Yakumo crossed his arms and let out a sigh.

’How about you?’

Gotou wanted to know the information Yakumo and Haruka had gathered. The story was so scattered that parts of it were confusing.

Like he thought explaining would be a pain, Yakumo threw the responsibility of explaining to Haruka: ’I’ll leave it to you.’

Though Haruka complained, she explained in detail about what she’d heard from the journalist named Yoshii, Ookura at the Kinasa Museum and also Yumiko’s grandmother.

She spoke particularly emotionally about the woman named Rin who was persecuted as a witch forty-five years ago. It seemed that she empathised with her situation.

’So what do you know?’

When Haruka finished explaining, Gotou asked Yakumo that question.

’Before I explain, I want you to confirm what Masato has found out about the search for Yumiko-chan,’ Yakumo instructed Haruka.

’OK,’ replied Haruka, taking out her mobile phone to contact Masato. She spread out a map and took notes for about ten minutes before hanging up.

’How was it?’ asked Yakumo.

’The search is from the town to the mountain forest by the Togakushi plateau. It seems like they’re focussing on the reservoir and river.’

’I see.’

Gotou nodded at Haruka’s explanation.

It appeared they had expanded the search area from where she disappeared. Probably to determine if she had become lost or if there was an accident.

’Hey, do you know where Yumiko-chan is?’ asked Haruka, hurrying Yakumo on.

For a while, Yakumo put his index finger to his brow and sat there, but he finally lifted his head like he had thought of something.

There was a sharp glint in his red left eye.


Yakumo said just that one word.

Gotou and Haruka gulped as they waited for Yakumo to continue.

’She’s probably around here.’

After a lengthy pause for effect, Yakumo traced an area on the map.

It included the clinic he’d gone to with Yakumo today and the cedar tree in Arakurayama.

’Why do you think she’s here?’ asked Gotou.

There was a twenty-kilometre distance between Asakawa, where Yumiko lived, and Arakurayama. And it was a steep mountain road. Gotou didn’t understand why she would go there.

’Gotou-san, from what you said earlier, the corpse found at the cedar tree is from more than thirty years ago – correct?’


’That corpse is probably Rin-san, persecuted as a witch forty-five years ago.’

’That’s... Then, Rin-san...’

Haruka’s voice was filled with sorrow.

’She’s already dead. She was killed,’ Yakumo said indifferently.

’That’s awful...’

After her surprise, Haruka lowered her eyelashes sadly.

However, Gotou wasn’t surprised. After hearing what Haruka said, it linked up.

Haruka must have felt the same way. She probably just didn’t want to believe it.

’Rin-san’s ghost possessed Yumiko-chan and is searching.’

– Searching?

’What for?’

’I have Ishii looking into that for me now.’

– Ishii?

Why was Ishii coming up in the conversation now? Gotou didn’t understand.

’That doesn’t have anything to do with it, right?’

’It does.’

’How’s it related?’

’You’ll find out soon enough,’ said Yakumo meaningfully. Then, he shut his mouth.

– Putting on airs.

Gotou clicked his tongue.




After discussing with Yakumo and Gotou, Haruka went to the shop parking lot alone.

The jet black mountains had a strange atmosphere to them.

When she looked up, the dark night sky was filled with stars. There were many more stars than she could see in tTokyo.

The air also felt tense.

’We’ll be up early tomorrow. You should sleep.’

She heard a voice from behind her.

She could tell without turning around. It was Yakumo.

’I wonder if Yumiko-chan’s OK,’ Haruka said, still looking up at the sky.

’If you doubt that, you won’t be able to do anything any more.’

Yakumo stood next to her.

Though he always acted collected, he was just pressing down his feelings – he was anxious himself. Haruka knew that.

’That’s right.’

Haruka looked at Yakumo’s profile.

With the moonlight, his red left eye seemed to glitter.

’Do you think Rin-san is resentful?’

As Yakumo said that, he looked up at the sky.

She was persecuted as a witch. She lost the person who supported her. In the end, she died herself too. It was such a sad life. It would be natural for her to hate the world.

But –

’I feel like Rin-san doesn’t hate anyone.’

It was just a wish, but Haruka felt like in the ghost photo, Rin didn’t have any resentment but rather some other emotion.

Normally Yakumo would get angry – ’Don’t make a decision with speculation’ – but he nodded, like he was agreeing.

’In my theory, Rin-san isn’t resentful – that is the premise.’

’Then if she is resentful?’

’We won’t find Yumiko-chan.’

Yakumo’s voice reverberated deep into Haruka’s ears.

Though Yakumo always revealed his theory after obtaining clear evidence, this time, it was different.

He might not have been able to do anything else.

Normally, he would meet the ghost that was possessing the person, listen to them and solve the case, but this time, Yumiko, who had been possessed, had disappeared. They hadn’t met her even once.

Furthermore, the search area was wide, included dark forests, and they couldn’t guarantee the time.

Even if it was just a wish, all they could do now was believe in it and act.

’This is why you grew up.’

Yakumo suddenly spoke up.

’Yup. I was born here and grew up here. This is my hometown.’

’When I came last time, I didn’t know that,’ Yakumo said awkwardly, smiling while showing his white teeth.

He was probably talking about the time he was abducted and confined. Yakumo had come here then too, but there hadn’t been the time to look up at the starry sky like this.

’It’s a nice place, right?’

Haruka knew he would complain, saying something like ’It isn’t or ’It’s the countryside’. But what Yakumo replied was completely different from what she expected.

’This is my hometown too.’

– Eh?

Yakumo-kun shouldn’t have been born here. Then why?

’Hey, Yakumo-kun. What do you...’

’You’ll understand tomorrow.’

After saying that, Yakumo narrowed his eyes.

His red left eye looked a little bit wet –




Gotou rubbed his sleepy eyes as he drove on the winding mountain road.

Yakumo in the passenger seat had even messier bedhead as usual as he vacantly looked out the window. In the back seat, Haruka and Masato sat next to each other, looking anxious.

’Hey, Yakumo. Who killed that Rin woman?’

From what he’d heard yesterday, Rin was killed by somebody. Gotou thought that finding that out would lead them to solving the case.

’You don’t know?’ said Yakumo, still looking out the window.

The way he said that made Gotou think Yakumo already knew the answer.

’I don’t know.’

’Please think about it calmly,’ Yakumo said quietly, turning his gaze to Gotou.

’I’m asking because I can’t figure it out even after thinking about it!’

’Please don’t speak so loudly.’

Yakumo stuck his fingers in his ears.

’Just tell me already.’

’Though this is just a theory, there were people who were prejudiced against Rin-san, yes?’

’The landowner’s son and the local officer?’


Yakumo nodded.

The first person who made a fuss about Rin being a demon were Takafumi, the second son of the landowner family Kitaoka, and the man who was the local village officer.

’So they didn’t just chase her out – they killed her?’

’That is very likely.’

’They can’t have really thought she was a witch, right?’

’They really thought she was a demon.’

Gotou’s eyes went wide at Yakumo’s unexpected answer.

’You’re kidding, right?’

’No. As is clear from the information gathered yesterday, Rin-san wasn’t treated as a witch just by those two but by the whole village, and she was persecuted for it.’

’Why would that happen?’ Haruka interrupted, like she couldn’t hold herself back.

’That’s the sort of place this is.’

Yakumo ran a hand through his hair, seeming annoyed.

’What do you mean?’ asked Gotou.

’I mentioned the Momijigari story in Kinasa earlier, correct?’

’Yeah, but that’s just...’

’It’s not just anything. This area has been considered as a sacred mountain where spirits gather for a very long time, and women were prohibited from entering.’

Yakumo spoke quickly.

’Oi, oi. You’re kidding right?’

Gotou couldn’t believe what Yakumo was saying.

’I’m not lying. There was a building called the nyonindou, which was as far as women could go.’

’I can’t believe it.’

’In Togakushi, there is something called the nun’s rock.’

’The nun’s rock?’

’Yes. In the past, a nun stepped beyond the border. That moment, she incurred the wrath of the gods and was turned into a rock.’

’So that rock is the nun’s rock[3].’

Yakumo nodded.

’Why’d they do that?’

’Because women were thought of as impure.’

Impure. To put it simply, that would be dirty.

Saying something like that in current society would make people doubt your humanity, but at the time, it had been correct.

From Yakumo’s explanation just now, Gotou felt like he sort of understood.

A place with a sacred mountain where spirits gathered and the legend of Momijigari where women were prohibited –

The existence of witches was much closer here than in other places. People’s hearts had probably been filled with awe and fright.

A question came to Gotou after hearing this much.

’But the two guys who said Rin was a witch were found as corpses twenty years ago, right?’

There was an article about the case in the documents Haruka received from the newspaper reporter named Yoshii yesterday.

’That is the case.’

Yakumo yawned, seeming bored.

’Who killed those two?’

’Who knows? I haven’t reached that conclusion yet.’

Though Yakumo shrugged, Gotou knew immediately that it was an act. He had an idea, but he didn’t want to say it at this stage.

That meant Yakumo wouldn’t reply no matter what Gotou asked. Well, the truth would be revealed soon enough.

Gotou gave up and drove the car.




Ishii opened his eyes on a seat in the precinct.

He had planned on helping Hata last night, but he had fainted for the second time and returned branded as useless.

It seemed like he’d put his head down on the desk and fallen asleep just like that.

Just as he had stretched and put on his glasses, his mobile phone rang.

’Hello, Ishii Yuutarou speaking.’

He answered immediately and heard a creepy giggle.

He felt wide awake immediately.

<I’ve found out a number of things.>


<There would be no point lying about it.>

’That’s true...’

<Anyway, if you want to know the results, come yourself.>

After saying just that, he hung up.

You could have told me over the phone – is what Ishii thought, but he didn’t say it aloud, as was his personality. When he thought about seeing that head once more, he couldn’t do anything but be depressed.

Ishii picked up his jacket and left the room.

After leaving the precinct through the front entrance, he headed towards the parking lot where he had parked the car.

He had just put his hand on the door when he suddenly felt somebody’s gaze on him. He looked around, but nobody was there.

– It appears to have been my imagination.

Since Nanase Miyuki had escaped, he might have been a bit on edge.

Ishii sat in the driver’s seat and started the engine.

The moment he was about to step on the pedal, the door to the backseat opened.

– Eh?

He saw somebody get into the backseat through the rear-view mirror.

A woman. The left half of her face was burnt and her unusually red lips were twisted into a smile. She was –

– Nanase Miyuki.

It was already too late when Ishii realised.

She held a cold and glittering knife at his neck.

The blood left his face all at once in his terror.

’Ishii-san, we meet again.’

Nanase Miyuki’s breath brushed his ear.

Ishii’s terror doubled. He couldn’t move even an eyebrow, let alone resist.

’Where is he?’ murmured Nanase Miyuki.

– He?

’W-what are you talking about?’ replied Ishii in a shaking voice.

Then, the knife at his neck drew closer. A jolt of pain ran through him. Ishii held his breath.

’You know, right? I don’t mind if you don’t want to say. I’ll kill you and ask somebody else.’

Nanase Miyuki’s sadistic smile was reflected in the rear-view mirror.

She wasn’t lying. If Ishii resisted, she would thrust that knife into his neck without any hesitation.

Ishii could feel it in his skin.

’So, where is he?’ said Nanase Miyuki calmly.

The ’he’ she was talking about was probably the head of the man with two red eyes.


’Hospital? Why?’

’To be autopsied...’

Nanase Miyuki let out a beastly scream before Ishii could be finished speaking.

’Don’t joke with me! I won’t allow low-class humans like you to touch that man!’

– She didn’t want to let other people touch him.

Makoto had given that reason to explain why Nanase Miyuki was walking around with the head of the man with two red eyes.

She might have been right. Nanase Miyuki wanted, loved and revered the man with two red eyes so much she was mad.

’Start the car,’ said Miyuki with ragged breathing.

’W-where to?’

’You know, right? I’m going to take him back. I’m going to take that man back.’

Ishii couldn’t resist.

He swallowed his fear and started the car.




Haruka held Masato’s hand as they walked down the narrow road, which was like an animal trail.

Yakumo and Gotou were walking right in front of them, leading the way.

’You OK?’

It was a rather steep slope, so she spoke to Masato. Though his head was covered in sweat, Masato nodded.

He was propelled by his wholehearted wish to save Yumiko.

Finally, she saw an old wooden building in the middle of the thick forest. That was probably Kinasa Clinic.

’Nobody’s here,’ said Gotou in a disgruntled tone as he stood in front of the clinic with his hands in his pockets

’I just said that it was likely she would be around here,’ said Yakumo in exasperation as he shook his head.

’Hey, why do you think she’ll be around here?’ asked Haruka.

Though she had come here because she believed in Yakumo, she didn’t know what proof he had.

’This is a place close to Rin-san and her son. In other words, their home.’

’I see.’

If Rin’s spirit was possessing Yumiko, it made sense to think she would visit her home.

’Let’s split up.’

’That would be more effective.’

Gotou agreed with Yakumo’s suggestion.

’Gotou-san and I will search over here. You and Masato wait here.’


Haruka nodded.

Masato looked rather tired and it would be dangerous to walk around the mountain. It would probably be better to wait and leave this to Yakumo and Gotou. The moment she thought that, Masato spoke up.

’I don’t want to.’


Haruka wanted to comfort him, but Masato didn’t respond.

’I’ll look too. Yumiko-chan disappeared because of me, so...’

As Masato said that, his eyes were filled with a strong will.

He wanted to find Yumiko himself no matter what. If they crushed that will, Masato might hole up within himself again.

’Hey, I’ll go search with Masato-kun,’ suggested Haruka.

Yakumo ran a hand through his hair, as if to say, ’Guess I can’t do anything about it.’

’Let them search. He’s not a kid either – he wants to take responsibility for himself.’

Unexpectedly, Gotou agreed.

’Got it. You and Masato search near the clinic. I’ll go to the east, and Gotou-san, I’ll leave the west to you.’

Beaten by their persistence, Yakumo gave out instructions.

Masato’s face became brighter at once.

’Promise me one thing. Even if you find Yumiko-chan, don’t chase after her or approach her. Contact me. OK?’ Yakumo said to Masato.

’OK, I got it.’

Masato nodded with a hard look on his face.

’Let’s meet up again here in thirty minutes.’

Everyone nodded at Yakumo’s words.

’I’m going then.’

Gotou briskly started walking towards the west.

’I’ll leave Masato to you,’ Yakumo said to Haruka quietly. Then, he started walking towards the east.

’Let’s go too.’


Haruka and Masato started walking together.

They went along a trackless path. It was humid here and there was leaf mould, so their feet sunk into the ground. It was terribly difficult to walk. It was easy to slip on slopes too.

Furthermore, there were points which were like steep cliffs, so they had to be very careful not to lose their footing.

’Watch your step,’ she said to Masato.


Masato nodded with a stiff expression.

He was probably worried about Yumiko.

’IT’s fine. She’s OK.’

Yakumo might have said it was irresponsible of her if he heard, but they couldn’t search without hope.


Masato suddenly stopped.

Masato’s forehead was covered in sweat. He might have walked too quickly.

’Shall we take a break?’

When Haruka spoke to him, Masato shook his head and took a deep breath.

’Why was it Yumiko-chan?’


’Tomoya-kun and I were there then. But...’

That was true. Why did Rin possess Yumiko instead of Masato or Tomoya?

Yakumo had said something before.

The wavelengths might match – a body easy to attract, or in short, somebody with a body easy to possess.

However, Haruka felt like that wasn’t what Masato was trying to say.

’Masato-kun, don’t blame yourself.’

’I should’ve been possessed instead.’

Masato’s eyes welled up with tears.

He was angry at the unreasonable world. He resented himself for being powerless.

Would Masato’s heart be able to take it if the worst-case scenario occurred? The upright and clean-handed Masato would blame himself.

Because he was an awkward but straightforward kid, like Yakumo –

’Let’s go. Yumiko-chan’s waiting.’

Haruka put both of her hands on Masato’s shoulders.

’Is Yumiko-chan OK?’

’I believe so. Do you think differently, Masato-kun?’

Masato sniffled and shook his head.

His eyes were lit up again. He started walking with a strong gait, yelling, ’Yumiko-chan! Where are you?’

– I have to do my best too.

When Haruka started walking again, her heart started beating loudly.

– Rustle.

The verdant trees were shaking loudly.

She felt her breath caught, like she was in a damp cave.

– Somebody’s watching us.




Ishii passed through the hospital entrance.

Nanase Miyuki was right behind him. Ishii wanted to run away, but he couldn’t do anything about the knife at his side.

If only somebody would notice – is what he was hoping, but it appeared to be no use.

He went down the stairs to the basement by the elevator. He walked along the dim, cavernous corridor with heavy feet.

’Please knock on the door.’

After coming to the autopsy room, Nanase Miyuki whispered that in his ear.

A jolt went down his spine.

In his terror, Ishii knocked on the door just as he was told.

’Who is it?’

He heard Hata from Inside.

At Miyuki’s urging, Ishii spoke, conscious of the tremor in his throat.

’I-it’s Ishii.’

’It’s open,’ said Hata.

At Nanase Miyuki’s insistence, Ishii opened the door with trembling hands.

’What? You got caught so easily? How pathetic.’

When Hata turned around, he didn’t speak like he was surprised at the situation.

’Sorry, but could you return him to me?’ said Miyuki, looking at the head on the stainless steel bed.

Miyuki had been calling the head ’him’. Just as Makoto had said, she didn’t want to give it to anybody. It was probably special to her.

’This is a rare research opportunity. I won’t give it back so easily.’

After Hata said that, he let out a laugh inappropriate for the situation.

’Would it be acceptable if I added one more head for your autopsies?’

Nanase Miyuki put the tip of the knife at Ishii’s neck and pressed down so hard it hurt.

If she put in just a bit more force, it would definitely break through the skin and make him bleed.

Ishii’s forehead started spewing sweat.

’There’s no point in researching Ishii-kun’s head. Even if you added a head like that – ’

Hata was mumbling, sounding dissatisfied.

’Now, what will you do?’ said Miyuki with a pointed tone.

It was a worst-case scenario. Even if Hata returned the head of the man with red eyes, Ishii didn’t think Nanase Miyuki would just head home.

She would slice both Ishii and Hata up in a bloodbath.

’Got it. Do what you want.’

After saying that, Hata looked at Ishii.

– Eh?

Ishii was confused, but then he noticed Hata was holding a bottle of fluid that had been on the wagon. Ishii could read the word formalin from that bottle.

It was dangerous, but it seemed like all Ishii could do now was bet on Hata.

’My, my. You’re unexpectedly honest.’

Miyuki smiled.

’Take this too.’

Hata threw the bottle in his hand.

It arced over, shattering at Ishii’s feet.

Ishii shut his eyes tightly and stopped breathing.

Formalin splashed everywhere. Ishii felt an electrifying pain when doused with the strong formalin, but Nanase Miyuki appeared to feel the same way.


Miyuki’s shriek cut through the room. At the same time, the knife left Ishii’s neck.

Ishii used that opportunity to run.

’Old man! You did it now!’

He heard Miyuki’s furious voice.

However, the alarm bell started ringing, blocking it out. Hata had probably sat it off.

He heard somebody running off.

’She got away.’

While saying that, Hata went over to Ishii, who was on all fours, and wiped Ishii’s face with a wet towel.

’It’s OK now.’

When Hata said that, Ishii timidly opened his eyes.

Though there was still a stinging pain, it wasn’t unbearable.

’T-thank you very much.’

While hating himself for being useless, Ishii thanked Hata.

’It’d be better to get out of the room for now.’


Ishii stood up while answering. Then, he noticed that the head had disappeared from the stainless steel bed.

’Hata-san, the head...’

’Ah, looks like she took it away – ’

Hata murmured that in a truly disappointed voice.




– Who is it?

Haruka felt somebody watching her, so she looked around frantically in the dark forest.

Her heart was beating like a hammer.

Maybe I imagined it – is what she thought when a woman appeared in the corner of her vision.

About five metres in front of her. By a craggy rock, a woman with long hair in a white blouse and navy skirt.

– Is that...?

The moment Haruka tried to approach her, she disappeared, like she had melted into the forest.

’What was it?’

Haruka walked over to the rock where the woman had been standing. Then, she spotted a white running shoe on the floor.

– Could it be?

’Masato-kun, over here.’

Haruka called out to Masato who was a little away from her as she walked towards the rock.

There was a hole between the work and the ground about forty centimetres tawl and one metre wide.

She saw a girl lying there.

– We’ve found her!

She had to be Yumiko.

’Hang in there!’

Haruka crouched on the ground and shook Yumiko’s body as she called out to her.

It was faint, but her chest was moving up and down.

– Thank goodness. She’s alive.

Though Masato kept stumbling, he ran towards her with a pale expression.

Haruka took her mobile phone out of her pocket immediately and called Yakumo. However, she couldn’t contact him since she was out of range.


Haruka heard a voice in her ear.

Her body froze like she was paralysed. She slowly looked up and saw the woman from earlier standing there.

Her long hair hung around her face. Her deep red lips moved like worms.

Haruka couldn’t speak in her fear.


– I need to run.

Though Haruka thought that, her body wouldn’t move the way she wanted it to.

The woman’s hand reached out.

Haruka’s forehead was sweating furiously. Her throat was dry. She couldn’t even breathe.

– It hurts.


Masato shouted out and ran in front of Haruka to protect her from the woman.

With his small body, he spread his arms as wide as he could.

’Masato-kun, no!’

– If you do that, you’ll –

Haruka shouted, but it was too late.

A spasm ran through Masato’s body, like he had been hit by lightning. Then, he fell to the ground, unmoving.

’Masato-kun. Are you OK?’

Haruka went to him immediately and called out.

– Oh no. What should I do?

Haruka was panicked when suddenly Masato grabbed her wrist.


Just as Haruka spoke, Masato opened his eyes.

Those eyes – weren’t Masato’s.

Somebody else was inside him. It wasn’t her reasoning – Haruka could feel it.

Haruka’s whole body started to sweat.


She heard somebody whisper.

It seemed to go straight to her brain.

’...Whe... re... am... I...’

Haruka was so frightened that she shook off Masato’s hand and covered her eyes.

However, she could still hear the voice.


She screamed as loudly as she could to try to erase the voice following her ears.

Her body wouldn’t stop shaking.

How long have I been doing this – she suddenly came to her senses.

The voice had stopped.

She noticed that she was cowering on the floor.

She timidly lifted her gaze. Yumiko was collapsed in front of her. However, Masato was nowhere to be seen.

’Masato-kun? Masato-kun?’

Haruka looked around frantically, but she couldn’t spot him.

She heard the footsteps of somebody running towards her.


Haruka turned around. Yakumo was there.

’What was that scream just now?’ said Yakumo, still panting for breath.

’Masato-kun... Masato-kun...’

’Was I too late?’ muttered Yakumo, his eyes narrowed.

– I did something unthinkable.




’What happened?’ Gotou asked Yakumo, who had his arms crossed as he leant against the hospital wall.

They had heard a scream from the forest and ran over to find Yumiko collapsed there. They quickly brought her to a nearby hospital. The doctor said she would be fine if she got some rest – so they had the doctor’s word. However, Masato had disappeared instead.

Gotou felt like the situation had become more serious.

’It’s simple.’

Yakumo lifted his head slowly.

However, he was sure tense for something that was supposed to be simple.

’What’s simple?’

’The ghost that was possessing Yumiko-chan possessed Masato.’

He said it matter-of-factly, but –


’Because Yumiko-chan was weakened and her body couldn’t move any more.’

– I see.

If they had done as Yakumo ordered and didn’t add Haruka and Masato to the search, leaving them in the clinic, this might not have happened.

Gotou was partly responsible. But he didn’t have the time to regret it now.

’We need to find Masato right away.’


Yakumo ran ah and through his hair as he looked out the window.

’So what are we going to do?’

Gotou leant against the wall and looked out the window like Yakumo as he said that.

The grey clouds blocked out the sun. It made Gotou feel uncomfortable, like it was a sign of what was to come.

’We still have a trick up our sleeve.’

Gotou felt like Yakumo’s red left eye was filled with force.


Just as Gotou asked that, his mobile rang. It was from Ishii.

Gotou wanted to ignore it, but he decided that would be bad and answered.


<D-Detective Gotou. You finally answered.>

Ishii spoke like he was talking to his only surviving parent.

’Forget about that. What is it?’

<Ah, yes sir. A-actually, it is quite the situation here...>

His voice was so faint it sounded like he would cry at any moment.

’It’s even worse here.’

<No, I believe it’s worse here.>

’Shut up! We’ve got a real situation here!’

<It is quite the situation here as well!>

’How long are you going to have this fruitless exchange for? It doesn’t matter, right?’

Yakumo looked at Gotou coldly.

’What’s the problem?’

Gotou urged Ishii to continue with a click of his tongue.

<Ah, yes sir. A-actually, Nanase Miyuki showed up again.>

’W-what did you say?’

Gotou’s body stiffened instinctively. That really was a problem –

<She came to take the head.>

Gotou had heard from Yakumo. The head of the man with red eyes that Ishii and Miyagawa had found.

Why was she so focussed on something when she should be escaping – Gotou had no way to understand.

’Then what?’

<We let her get away...>

It felt like Ishii’s voice would disappear at any moment.

’You let her get away again!? You idiot!’ yelled Gotou, kicking the corridor wall in his anger.

Once was already bad enough, but to let her get away twice – he really was useless.

’Gotou-san, please lend that to me.’

Right after saying that, Yakumo took Gotou’s mobile from the side. Gotou was about to complain, but Yakumo walked away down the corridor while talking on the phone with Ishii.

– Whose mobile does he think that is?




’It’s my fault...’

Haruka held her head as she sat on the sofa in the hospital waiting room.

It was about four tatami in size with only a sofa for four and a magazine rack – a dreary room.

– Why couldn’t I move then?

That thought kept circling her head.

Masato tried to save Haruka. A boy in elementary school had tried to save her, but Haruka had shut her eyes and ears in her fear.

She hated herself so much for her uselessness.

If anything happened to Masato – when Haruka thought that, her body heated up and her chest felt like it would collapse.

Masato must have felt this way ever since Yumiko disappeared.

’Want a coffee?’

Haruka looked up at the voice and saw Gotou standing there with two cans of coffee.

– How can he be so calm?

His relaxed attitude irritated Haruka for some reason.

’Anyway, drink and calm down a bit.’

Gotou held the can of coffee out towards Haruka, sat down next to her and suddenly spoke.

’The girl called Yumiko’s weak, but it’s not serious.’

’I see...’

’Her parents will be here soon too...’

Most of Gotou’s words didn’t enter Haruka’s ears.

Even if Yumiko was saved, Masato had disappeared. Nothing had changed.

’It seems like she doesn’t remember anything from when she was possessed.’

Gotou finished talking.

He probably didn’t mean it that way, but the way he said it made it sound like the case had ended completely.

Haruka gripped the can of coffee in her hand tightly.

’It isn’t over yet...’

It slipped out of her mouth.

Gotou’s brows furrowed and he looked at Haruka doubtfully. She didn’t understand why he looked like that.

’I know how you feel, but regretting what’s happened won’t start anything.’

Gotou pulled open the tab on the can and poured the coffee down his throat.

’It’s my fault. Of course I regret it.’

’There’s nothing you could’ve done.’

’There was!’

She spoke more loudly than she thought she would.

However, Gotou didn’t look disturbed. He looked straight at Haruka.

It was a sharp and forceful gaze.

’There’s nothing you could’ve down.’

’How can you say that so lightly? If I had done what Yakumo-kun said, this wouldn’t have...’

Even as Haruka spoke, she could feel her throat tremble.

’You can’t be sure.’

’It’s a fact.’

’Got nothing to do with it.’

’That’s right. This case doesn’t have anything to do with you, Gotou-san.’

– What on earth am I saying?

Throwing a tantrum wouldn’t change anything. Haruka knew that. But she couldn’t put a stopper on her emotions.

The corners of her eyes felt warm.

’That’s right. This case doesn’t matter to me at all.’

’That’s awful...’

While being surprised by the unexpected words that had come out of Gotou’s mouth, a ripple of disappointment spread through her chest.

Gotou really had just been wrapped up in this case against his will this time, but Haruka had thought he had wanted to help. But –

’To say it outright, I don’t care about the truth of the case at all. It’ll be enough for me if Masato comes back safely.’

Even though Gotou looked like he felt awkward, he said it clearly.

I –

’Am I wrong?’

Haruka shook her head at the question.

Then, the tears that had welled up in her eyes came spilling down her cheeks.

’Then lift your head. We don’t have the time to regret what’s happened.’

Haruka nodded at Gotou’s words, sniffled and lifted her head.

’So you say some good things sometimes.’

Yakumo had come up to them unnoticed.

Though he was running a hand through his hair and seemed annoyed, his red left eye was unusually sharp.

’Yakumo-kun, I – ’

Yakumo looked straight at Haruka and snorted.

’If you want to blame anyone, blame me.’


’No matter what you said, I shouldn’t have added Masato to the search.’


’There’ll be no end to it if we talk about things we should have done then. The past is past.’

– That’s right.

’Then we’ll work for the best outcome now. That’s the best and only method for us now,’ declared Yakumo. Then, he handed a mobile phone to Gotou.

Both Yakumo and Gotou were already thinking about what to do next, but Haruka had been stuck there, looking behind her.

When she thought about that, she felt so embarrassed she thought her face would light on fire.

– We have to go forward.

’Well, we’re all on the same page now. Time to go search.’

Gotou stood up after finishing his can of coffee.

’Do you have any idea as to where he went?’ asked Haruka, wiping away her tears.

’Of course not,’ replied Gotou in a proud town, hand at his waist.

Going w

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Shinrei Tantei Yakumo Volume 7 Chapter 3