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Shinrei Tantei Yakumo
Volume 8 Chapter 3

VOLUME 8 – THE VANISHED SPIRIT file 03: ensou ()




Gotou and Yakumo went to something like a hut connected to the main temple by a corridor.

It was fairly dark; only two bare light bulbs hung from the ceiling.

It was a Japanese room of about ten tatami in size. Right past the entrance, there was a short Japanese-style writing desk. The rest was buried in books.

‘Amazing,’ said Gotou in admiration, but Yakumo started searching without any care for that.

’What are you looking for?’

Gotou didn’t understand the situation, so he didn’t know why Yakumo had come to this archive.

Yakumo’s hands suddenly stopped. He ran a hand through his hair, looking annoyed.

’Seidou-san was a meticulous person. I think he may have kept something like a diary.’

’A diary, eh...’

Gotou muttered that as he started looking for a diary in the piled-up books and accounts.

Though it was just picking up books and checking the contents, all of the words were difficult to read.

Gotou had never been good at simple work like this.

He lost his concentration in no time.

’Hey, Yakumo,’ said Gotou, his hands stopping.

’What is it?’

’You said that the girl wasn’t reincarnated, right?’

Yakumo appeared to have understood the answer already, but there were too many things Gotou didn’t understand.

’Yes,’ Yakumo replied curtly.

’Then what is she?’

’She is who she is.’

Yakumo sent a glare Gotou’s way.

Even if he looked at him with such scary eyes, Gotou couldn’t understand the meaning of Yakumo’s words.

’She is who she is... It’s like some Zen question.’

’It isn’t a Zen question. I’m saying she is nothing but herself. Even if she did have memories of the past, she would still be who she is.’

Yakumo’s words were like some mathematics problem, inviting sleep.

Gotou yawned.

’How complicated.’

’No. It’s simple.’

’Sounds complicated to me.’

’Should I explain it with a picture book?’ Yakumo’s expression softened as he said that.

’You making fun of me?’

’Good job; you understood.’

Yakumo applauded.

It seemed like he was seriously making fun of him. Gotou clicked his tongue.

’This isn’t the time to be making stupid jokes, right?’

’What a coincidence. I was just thinking that I didn’t have the time to waste it talking with you, Gotou-san.’

– This brat never shuts up.

Though Gotou was irritated, he was happy to be able to talk with Yakumo like this again.

’Gotou-san, if you don’t feel like helping, could you check the situation with Ishii-san?’

’Ishii, eh...’

Gotou looked up at the ceiling.

Come to think of it, he hadn’t been able to talk properly with Ishii this time.

Before coming to the temple, Yakumo appeared to have made a request of Ishii. Gotou wanted to know what happened after that too.

That said, since it was Ishii, he had probably just wandered around without doing anything useful.

’I’ll go call then.’

Gotou stood up, but then he noticed a great problem.

’Oi. Yakumo.’

’What is it?’

’I don’t have a phone.’

Yakumo had thrown Gotou’s mobile phone on to some guy’s truck.

’Can’t you just borrow one from Eishin-san?’ said Yakumo, flipping through the accounts.

That was right. He’d borrowed Eishin’s mobile while they were waiting outside the temple too. He could just do the same thing. But –

’Where’s he?’

’Probably the temple.’

Gotou left the archive, but then he noticed another problem.

’I don’t know his number.’

Since the mobile phone had become explosively popular, people would just rely on the contacts list – nobody remembered other people’s numbers any more.

Gotou didn’t remember other people’s numbers either.


As Yakumo said that, he threw something at Gotou.

Though he was surprised, Gotou caught it in front of his chest. It was an SD card for a mobile phone.

’The number is on there.’

Now, Gotou recalled what Yakumo had said about moving the data and put the SD card in his pocket.

’I’m going out for a bit.’

’Ah, that’s right.’

Yakumo called out to Gotou as he was about to leave.


’If the autopsy results for the corpse are out, please tell him to ask Hata-san for information.

’Yeah, yeah.’

After replying, Gotou left Yakumo in the archive and went to the temple through the corridor.




Ishii was irritated as he sat in the passenger seat

Rain hit the window.

’It’s really pouring,’ said Youko as she drove.

’It seems like a typhoon,’ replied Ishii, staring out the window with bitterness.

It was because the typhoon was coming.

The rain was melancholy, fanning Ishii’s anxiety.

– Somebody’s dead.

The call Ishii received in the family restaurant was from Makoto.

Though her voice was shaking, she managed to keep her calm as she explained the events in order.

After receiving the information, Ishii immediately left the shop and was going to the scene in Youko’s car.

Though it was only forty minutes, it felt incredibly long to Ishii.

’It’s just ahead.’

Youko turned the wheel left.

Ishii could tell where the scene was right away. There was yellow tape around the area to stop people from trespassing and around it, there were curious onlookers and people from the press.

There were lights for the investigation and for cameras. Though it was night, it was as bright as noon.

’This is serious,’ murmured Youko as she drove.

’It is...’

So many things had happened.

Starting with the discovery of Seidou’s corpse, Yakumo’s name came up as a suspect, the second corpse was found, Gotou became a fugitive while aiding Yakumo’s escape, and then Haruka and Makoto found the third victim – d

To be honest, Ishii was so frightened and confused he didn’t know what to do.

However, he managed to keep himself together because Haruka and Makoto had been the ones who first discovered the corpse.

– I have to keep it together.

Led on by that impulse, Ishii opened the door and ran out the moment the car stopped.

The cold rain wet his cheek.

’Sorry, excuse me.’

As Ishii shouted that, he pushed through the crowd.

He showed his police ID to the uniformed officers there and tried to pass through the yellow tape, but somebody grabbed his arm.

’Excuse me, but this is out of your jurisdiction, isn’t it?’

The young uniformed officer looked at Ishii with suspicious eyes.

’Ah, yes, but...’

Ishii couldn’t think of an excuse to enter right away.

He thought it was annoying himself. At times like this, Gotou would have just said something like ’Shut up’ and forced himself in, but Ishii couldn’t do that. 𝓲n𝑛𝓻ℯ𝗮d. 𝚌o𝒎

He had just run forward with the want to go in, which made things even more unnatural.

’Natsume, from Criminal Affairs. I’m bringing him along. He can come in with me, right?’

Youko had come up behind him and said that as she showed her police ID. It was a firm attitude that didn’t allow anyone to doubt it.

’Ah, yes. Please go ahead.’

The uniformed officer looked divided but he let Ishii and Youko pass.

’Thank you.’

After thanking Youko, Ishii went past the yellow tape.

He spotted Haruka and Makoto sitting by the flower garden in front of the apartment.

The two of them looked exhausted, but it didn’t seem like they were injured. Ishii sighed in relief and went up to them.


Makoto noticed Ishii immediately and stood up.

’Are you all right?’


Makoto’s voice was clear.

Ishii looked towards Haruka.

Though she stood up, she stayed silent. It was clear she wasn’t feeling well.

She had found a corpse that was stabbed all over. There was no helping it.

’I can’t believe things turned out like this...’ said Makoto, putting her hands together in front of her chest.

’It really is a serious matter.’

Ishii agreed with Makoto.

This case had gone beyond their expectations.

’Are they the ones?’ said Youko, sounding curious.

’Ah, yes, that’s right.’

For a moment, Ishii was confused as to why Youko knew Haruka and Makoto, but then he remembered that he’d talked to her about the investigation.

’This is Ozawa Haruka-chan and Hijikata Makoto-san.’

Ishii introduced each of them to Natsume. He was going to introduce Youko, but she showed her police ID before he could.

’I’m Natsume of the Nishitama precinct,’ said Youko promptly.

’Excuse me...“

Haruka opened her mouth like she wanted to talk about it.

’I’ve heard most of the situation from Ishii-san. To be honest, I think Saitou Yakumo isn’t the culprit of this case either.’

Youko said that in a quiet voice after looking around.

’Is that so?’

Though Ishii said that in his surprise, he understood soon after.

Come to think of it, if Youko still doubted Yakumo, she wouldn’t have cooperated so much.

It could be said that he had gained a powerful ally.

’Detective Ishii, I’m going to go look at the scene, but...’

Youko looked up at the door to the room where the corpse was found.

– I don’t want to see it.

The corpse had been stabbed all over. If possible, he didn’t want to step into such a grisly place.

He had just one reason. He was afraid.

However, he was in front of Haruka and Makoto, and he felt like he wouldn’t be able to see the truth of the case if he didn’t look at it himself.

’I’ll go too,’ said Ishii in a trembling voice. Then, he started following Youko up the stairs to the second storey.

His legs were shaking.

He really was frightened. But he couldn’t go back now.

At the door, Ishii’s mobile phone rang with good timing.




Gotou opened the sliding door to the temple.

It was quiet –

All he could hear was the sound of the pouring rain.

Eishin was sitting in the middle of the temple with his hand in some sort of religious gesture.

He had his spine straight and was looking straight forward – he was as still as if he had become Buddha.

Though his half-open eyes seemed hollow, there was a strong light in them.

Gotou didn’t understand the heart of Zen, but as Eishin sat there, it looked like he was emitting some mysterious aura.


Though Gotou called out, Eishin didn’t move.

– Did he not hear me?

’Oi, you damn monk.’

Gotou called out again while walking up to Eishin.

’I know you’re there even without all that noise,’ said Eishin.

When he spoke, only his lips moved – it was creepy, like he was a talking mechanical doll.

’f you know, then reply.’

Gotou sat cross-legged in front of Eishin.

’What do you want?’

’That’s quite a tone. I can’t think of you as Isshin’s teacher,’ said Gotou, expressing his dissatisfaction.

Suddenly, the days Gotou had spent with Isshin came to mind.

Isshin was a broadminded man. He was always gentle and kind to everyone. Just seeing that smile would make Gotou feel better for some reason.

– Why did Isshin have to die?

Gotou still thought that sometimes now.

’You say that because you don’t know what Isshin was like before.’

Eishin breathed out, relaxing his body. His face became more human, like he had taken off a mask.

’What do you mean?’

’Isshin is very similar to Yakumo.’

Gotou didn’t understand what Eishin said.

’What part of him?’

’Before Isshin took Yakumo in, he had been terribly troubled. At one point, he denied his own existence.’


’He was filled with anger that had no outlet – he always had a grim expression on his face.’

’That guy did?’

Gotou really didn’t understand.

No matter how Gotou searched his memories, Isshin was always smiling in them.

’Because he found out the truth.’

’The truth?’

Gotou didn’t understand.

He felt like they were talking about somebody else entirely.

’It’s not like Isshin was at fault, but because of his personality, he tried to shoulder all the blame.’

’What are you talking about?’

’You could call it fate...’

Eishin stared into nothingness.

– Fate?

’You talking about Yakumo?’

’Yakumo is only one part of a larger flow. I’m talking about a fate that continued from much before then. Everything started in this temple, when a man and woman met.’

’Explain in a way I’ll understand.’

Gotou pressed Eishin for an answer in his irritation.

However, Eishin continued, still staring into nothingness.

’Isshin compared that fate with his own existence. At that time, he had forgotten heart of ensou, which is the basis of Zen.


’That’s right. If the heart is not in order, one cannot see clearly. Isshin’s fate had shaken his heart.’

Gotou really didn’t understand what Eishin was talking about.

He didn’t understand, but for some reason, he was curious.

’So then what happened?’

’The one who changed Isshin’s heart was Yakumo.’

Eishin’s lips relaxed into a small smile.

He alone held all the cards. That was how it looked like to Gotou.

’What part of Yakumo changed Isshin?’

’His existence. By walking with Yakumo, Isshin was able to face his fate. He became his original self.’

’What’s that fate you’re talking about?’

’You know as well. It’s that man.’

Eishin’s mouth shut tightly.

Gotou knew who that man was.

’The man with two red eyes?’

’That’s right. Isshin has a connection with that man that cannot be cut.’

’Isshin was just wrapped up in the incident, right?’ said Gotou offhandedly.


Eishin shook his head.

’What do you mean?’

Without responding to Gotou’s question, Eishin stood up.

’Answer me.’

Gotou continued to hound Eishin.

’You’ll understand soon enough. More importantly, what did you come here for?’

Eishin sudden changed the subject.

Stopping the conversation right before the crucial point – he really was just like Yakumo. Eishin probably wouldn’t say anything no matter what Gotou asked. Gotou gave in and stood up.

’I want to ask a favour.’

’Do you want me to introduce you to a woman?’

There was a lascivious smirk on Eishin’s face.

Even though he was so solemn when meditating, there was not even a fragment of that now.

’I’ve got a wife.’

’So you’re more proper than you look.’

– It really didn’t sound like something a monk should say.

’That isn’t the problem. Anyway, I came to borrow your mobile.’

’What do you say when asking for a favour?’ said Eishin with a laugh.

He really was like Yakumo.

’Please lend me your mobile. I would greatly appreciate it.’

Gotou buried his anger in the pit of his stomach as he lowered his head.

’You should have been honest like that from the start,’ said Eishin while taking his mobile out for Gotou.

– Meditating with his mobile there – what an awful monk.

Gotou said abusive words in his heart while taking the mobile.




’Excuse me.’

After saying that to Youko, Ishii stepped away from the door.

The number on his mobile was unfamiliar to him. Who could it be –

Though confused, Ishii answered the phone.


<It’s me.>

– Detective Gotou!

Ishii was about to yell that, but he hurriedly stopped himself.

’P-please wait.’

There were police officers everywhere. If they found out he was talking with Gotou, it would be a seroius problem.

Ishii looked around for a place he could talk without being watched.

The first and second floors were filled with people, but there were practically none on the third.

’I apologise for the wait,’ said Ishii after walking to the outside corridor of the third floor.

<It’s really noisy.>

Gotou sounded displeased.

’Ah, actually...’

Ishii explained in detail everything they had investigated up until now, including how Haruka and Makoto had found a corpse.

Though it was quite the complicated story, Ishii focussed on explaining chronologically, as Yakumo always tolod him to.

Gotou didn’t interrupt, which was unusual.

<Seems like things are a mess over there too.>

Gotou said just that after Ishii finished his explanation.

’It is a bit confusing.’

Ishii had run about frantically up until now, but once he heard Gotou’s voice, he relaxed a bit and became weak.

His eyes were becoming wet with tears.

<It’s my fault. Sorry.>

Gotou said that.

– Why is he apologising? Ishii was confused. Though Gotou always got angry at him, he never apologised. Rather, Ishii was the one who wanted to apologise.

He had planned on investigating frantically to make a place for Gotou to return to, but there had been no developments at all.

He was completely useless like this.

’I’m the one who must apologise. If I had been more reliable...’

<Are you an idiot?>


<This case is outside of your jurisdiction. That’s not all. What I’ve done will make people give you a lot of flak.>

Gotou’s voice was quiet and weak.

– Don’t talk like that.

Ishii murmured that in his heart.

’Please don’t worry about someone like me. Detective Gotou, I believe in you and Yakumo-shi. That’s why I’m working. That’s all.’

Ishii wasn’t lying.

It was true that he had been a bit troubled earlier, but that had gone away completely.

<Well don’t you sound competent.>

Gotou snorted.

Was that praise? Or was it a reprimand? Ishii didn’t know.

He just felt that Gotou’s voice sounded a bit stronger.

’Detective Gotou.’


’If there’s anything I can do, please tell me. If you want to flee overseas, I will help prepare.’

<Don’t be ridiculous. I’m not the sort of guy who likes running.>

’That’s right.’

<There’s a request from Yakumo - will you hear it?>

’Of course,’ Ishii replied immediately.

He would do anything if it would allow Gotou to come back, no matter what sacrifices he had to make.

<I want you to contact old man Hata and get the autopsy results for the victim.>

’Please consider it done!’ declared Ishii.

<I’m counting on you, Assistant Inspector Ishii.>

’Yes sir!’




After ending the call, Gotou returned to the archive where Yakumo was.

It looked like he had finished searching already, as he was sitting cross-legged at the Japanese-style desk while reading an account book written by hand.

The way he looked – wearing a monk’s working clothes while reading accounts – was incredibly fitting.

’Is it interesting?’

When Gotou spoke, Yakumo turned around with an incredibly displeased look.

’It’s a matter of subjectivity.’

’Are you saying I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it?’

’You can’t read, right?’

’Shut up!’

Gotou said that with a click of his tongue as he sat down on the tatami.

’So how was it?’ said Yakumo, turning his eyes to the account book again.

’Things turned serious.’

Gotou told Yakumo what Ishii had just told him.

At points, Yakumo interrupted, saying things like ’In more concrete terms...’, but he seriously listened to Gotou.

’I see.’

After Gotou finished speaking, Yakumo shut the account book and lifted his head.

His eyes looked unusually sharp.

’Did you figure something out?’

’There are still a number of things I need to confirm, but I can see the outline of the case.’

Yakumo ran a hand through his hair.

’So Ishii was of some use then.’

’Yes. Actually, this time, I have done practically nothing. Ishii-san, Makoto-san and her – the things they’ve investigated are very close to the truth.’

’That’s right.’

Gotou agreed with Yakumo’s opinion.

When he was talking with Ishii earlier, he’d underrated him, thinking Ishii probably wouldn’t be able to get any useful information.

Gotou had thought of Ishii as the type who didn’t move unless told to.

However, this time was different. They’d decided their own direction from the situation and investigated. Ishii had grown at a much quicker speed than he had imagined.

Of course, it was the same for Haruka and Makoto.

’To be honest, I’m surprised. I would have probably searched in the same manner if I had been there.’

Yakumo scratched his cheek awkwardly.

’Do you think you’ll get to the truth?’

’I wonder,’ Yakumo said evasively as he yawned.

Gotou stared at Yakumo’s face, but he couldn’t see his true feelings. All he could do now was believe in Yakumo.

’I’m counting on you. I can’t go home if you don’t solve the mystery.’

’Atsuko-san and Nao might be happier if you don’t.’

Yakumo smirked.

’Say what you want.’

Gotou crossed his arms, looked away and walked to the wall.

– I wonder how Atsuko and Nao are doing?

Gotou had been troubled about whether or not to call home after calling Ishii. However, he decided not to in the end.

The police would probably think Gotou would call home and well probably waiting there. It was the house of a suspect, after all.

– I’ve caused trouble for them.

Gotou realised once more the weight of what he had done, but strangely, he didn’t regret it at all.

It was probably because he believed Yakumo would bring the case to an end.


Yakumo was running a hand through his hair with his head facing down as he said that.


’Could I borrow the phone?’


Gotou took the mobile out of his pocket and gave it to Yakumo.

’Thank you.’

’Who are you calling?’

’There’s something I want to check... with her.’

Yakumo’s words were stiff, which was unlike him.

– I see.

Gotou understood everything and stood up.

’Where are you going?’

Yakumo looked puzzled.

– There’s probably some things that’d be hard to talk about with me here.

Yakumo would probably get angry if Gotou said that, so he muttered it in his heart.

’It’s stuffy in this room. I’m going to take a nap in the temple.’

’It’s easier to sleep on tatami.’

’I’m fine. The wood’s cooler.’

Gotou ended the conversation and left the archive.

When he went out into the corridor, the rain became stronger. It felt like it might cause a flood.


Gotou went into the temple, used a cushion in the corner as a pillow and lay down.

Come to think of it, he’d gone without sleep or rest for these two days. His body was much more tired than he’d thought.

Gotou fell asleep –




Haruka went into her room with a heavy heart.

After that, the Nishitama precinct detectives questioned her about the situation. Since she was Yakumo’s friends, they had clearly suspected her at first, but with the words of Youko, the Nishitama precinct detective who had been there with Ishii, she was able to be let out quickly.

Still, the things that had happened these two days had had such an impact that she was psychologically and physically exhausted.

She went into the room and lay down on the bed.

The blanket felt nice, but she didn’t feel sleepy.

– I wonder what Yakumo is doing now?

Even when she closed her eyes, questions kept coming up in her head.


Haruka opened her eyes and called out towards the white ceiling.

As if to respond to that, her mobile phone rang.


<You’re rather carefree in such a state of emergency.>


Haruka leapt up like a spring.

<Your voice is loud.>

Yakumo sounded nonchalant.

Though that tone irritated Haruka, she noticed that she was also relieved.

’What do you mean, carefree? You don’t know anything about how I’m feeling.’

<My bad.>

Yakumo said that quietly.

So many things had happened since she heard about the case. She had been very surprised and worn away at her nerves as she worried about his safety – terrible things had happened.

However, it was mysterious how that one sentence made her feel like she could forgive everything.

– The weakness of somebody in love.

’I’ll forgive you this time.’

Haruka lay down on her bed again. Though it was the same bed, it felt more comfortable than before.

Anyway, she could hear his voice. That was enough.

’Hey, where are you now?’ asked Haruka, curling up like a cat.

<A room with many books.>

’What is that? A library?’

<Your imagination is poor.>

Yakumo laughed.

Haruka felt like it had been a while since she’d heard that voice. When she talked with him like this, the situation she was in this time felt like a dream.

’Really, where are you?’

<It’d cause you trouble if you knew.>


<If you knew where I was and kept quiet, you would be aiding a fugitive. Since I’m a suspect.>

’I see...’

She was brought back to reality in an instant.

<I received a lot of information from Ishii-san.>


Ishii had said he’d received a phone call from Gotou when in front of the apartment.

<It was a great help.>

Haruka didn’t think that Yakumo would say something like that.

’We’ve been doing our best too.’

<You have. But...>


<Don’t over do it.>

’But at a time like this...’

<I’m saying it because it’s a time like this.>

Yakumo interrupted Haruka.


<Because it’s a time like this, even if something happens, I can’t save you.>

Haruka’s heart ached at Yakumo’s words.

He’s worried about me. Yakumo is –

It was natural for a friend to be worried, but Haruka was still happy.

’I won’t overdo it. Ishii-san said that too. I’ll be acting alongside Ishii-san tomorrow too, so it’ll be fine.’

<I see. That’s good. Then...>


Haruka sat up and called out to Yakumo, who had been about to hang up.


’You’ll come back... right?>

She wanted to confirm just that.

She knew he wouldn’t be able to reply at this stage, but she wanted an answer, even if it was a lie.

<Yeah. I’ll definitely come back.>

Yakumo replied.

Even though there was no proof, if Yakumo said that, Haruka felt like she could believe it.

’I’m waiting.’

Yakumo just laughed instead of responding.

Even after hanging up, Haruka gripped her mobile tightly in that lingering memory.

– Yakumo will definitely come back.

That thought gave her peace of mind, and Haruka fell asleep.




’Don’t sleep here. You’re in the way.’

Gotou woke up to that voice.

Eishin had his arms crossed in a displeased manner as he looked down on Gotou.

When Gotou looked up at him like this, there was considerable pressure. Gotou’s sleepiness flew away at once.

Gotou had planned on leave just while Yakumo was calling Haruka last night, but it looked like he’d fallen right asleep.

’It’s my choice where I sleep.’

Gotou sat up while rubbing his eyes.

He really shouldn’t have slept on the wooden floor. His body ached all over.

’That’s why I told you.’

Eishin laughed when he saw Gotou’s expression twist in pain.

– He’s so noisy.

Gotou looked at his wristwatch in an unpleasant mood. It was only six in the morning.

’It’s a pain being woken up so early in the morning.’

’Early in the morning? My day starts at four. This is actually late.’

Eishin’s nostrils flared as he said that and opened the window to look out.

The large raindrops continued to hit the ground.

The wind was strong too – there was the sound of howling.

’It’s really pouring.’

Gotou got up and stretched.

Something in his arm and foot made a loud crack. It was hard to move as if he was wearing a suit of armour.

’Seems like a typhoon’s coming.’

’Typhoon? That’ll be another issue...’

They were frantically running around – they didn’t have the time to care about the weather.

’It’ll land soon.’

’What a pain.’

Gotou frowned.

If it were just rain, it’d be fine, but a typhoon was different. They wouldn’t be able to move freely.

’So what are you planning to do today?’ said Eishin, as if he’d seen Gotou’s anxiety.

Wait in the temple for the typhoon to pass, or forcefully go out – both were risky.

It was hard to come to a decision.

’I’ll ask Yakumo.’

’You don’t try to think on your own, do you?’

Eishin snorted.

’What did you say?’

’It’s the truth, right? That’s why your brain is deteriorating.’

– This monk really is annoying.

Somehow, Gotou swallowed his anger.

There was something else of more concern. What was Eishin going to do?

He had gone with them so far. Gotou had brought Eishin along because he was partially responsible for Yakumo’s becoming a suspect.

However, they had found Yakumo. It could be said that Eishin’s role ended here, but Eishin had clout. Though he was hateful, Gotou would rather have him here.

’What are you going to do now...’

The sliding door to the temple opened, interrupting Gotou’s question.

At the door was the trainee monk named Shuuei. There was sweat on his forehead and his shoulders were heaving as he panted.

His working clothes were drenched from the rain.

’What is it?’ said Eishin.

’Police have come.’


Gotou stood up instinctively at those words.

’Just chase them out,’ replied Eishin.

However, Shuuei’s eyebrows lowered as he looked troubled.

’That is... It seems that somebody reported that there is an escaped suspect here...’

Shuuei’s shoulders slumped as he hung his head like a child being scolded.

It was hard to even look at him, but there was no time to sympathise. This was really problematic.

’Run right now,’ Eishin said sharply while pointing to the well.

Gotou was about to respond from that force, but then he recalled something.

’How about Yakumo?’

’Shuuei. Call him right now.’


Shuuei turned around briskly and ran off.

’Don’t dawdle. Hurry and go.’

Urged on by Eishin, Gotou flew out of the temple.

The pouring rain continued.

He stooped over to hide in the thicket as he advanced. In front of the well, he stood up again and looked at the main temple gate.

He saw Shuuei talking to the police there.

’That bastard. He should’ve been going to call Yakumo...’

It seemed like Shuuei had been the one who gave the secret report to the police. Gotou gritted his teeth.

– What to do?

’Hurry up and go! Idiot!’

Eishin yelled from the corridor.

There was no point in both of them getting caught.

’Damn it! What a pain!’

Gotou used the rope to go into the well.




The rain was heavy –

Haruka watched the rain pouring down from the apartment entrance.

The news said that a typhoon was coming.

If the typhoon hit, they wouldn’t be able to move freely. Haruka couldn’t relax.

She saw a car parked in front of the apartment.

It was probably Ishii’s car.

Haruka left the entrance and went up to the car, holding an umbrella.

’Good morning.’

Ishii nodded from the driver’s seat.

His hair was as messy as Yakumo’s and hair was growing in on his chin. He was also wearing the same thing as he had been yesterday.

He had probably worked without sleep or rest. Haruka felt a bit apologetic.

’I’m sorry for asking something so selfish.’

Haruka apologised formally as she got into the passenger seat.

Last night, Ishii had said, ’Please leave the rest of the investigation to me.’

Haruka didn’t think that anything would change if she continued. Rather, she’d get in the way. Though she knew that, she had still said, ’Please let me do something.’

Their arguments ran parallel, but in the end Ishii folded.

’No, to be honest, I didn’t want to investigate by myself either.’

Ishii smiled as he said that, starting the car.

Haruka knew he was just being polite, but it still made her feel better.

’How are things with the police?’ asked Haruka, curious.

Now that Gotou had run as a fugitive, there must have been a big fuss at the police.

’Actually, I haven’t returned to the precinct.’


’I’ve been contacting Chief Miyagawa by phone, but if I return, they probably won’t let me out again.’

Ishii let out a dry laugh.

’Why would that be the case?’

’Since I’m Detective Gotou’s partner...’

Ishii’s eyes narrowed.

’Are you being suspected as well, Ishii-san?’

’Though that isn’t the case, they think I might give Detective Gotou information.’


For Ishii to be suspected as well – Haruka had a heavy heart just imagining it.

’Please don’t be so down. It’s the truth,’ said Ishii with a shrug.

’The truth?’

’Ah, well, I talked with Detective Gotou on the phone yesterday. I told him everything I know, so the police’s opinion is correct.’

To Haruka, Ishii seemed nonchalant. It might have been resignation.

– He’d do anything for Gotou.

That will was probably pushing him forward.

’We’ll need to clear their names then.’

Haruka smiled at Ishii.

’Of course,’ Ishii replied immediately.

If they didn’t find out the truth behind the case, everyone would be in trouble.

It wasn’t just Yakumo’s problem.

Haruka’s determination became firmer.




Gotou went down the narrow tunnel at the bottom of the well, feeling like he was being pulled back by the hair.

’Dam nit!’

After getting out the tunnel, Gotou hid behind the rock and watched the second hand on his wristwatch as he waited.

’Hurry up and come.’

Gotou just prayed for that as he gripped his hands into fists.

The rain hit his body.

Even his underwear was soaked in no time.

Water dripped from his chin.

Ten minutes passed –

But Yakumo still didn’t come.

If he hadn’t come after Gotou had waited so long, was he hiding in the temple or caught by the police –

’What to do?’ Gotou asked himself.

Only the sound of the rain replied.

Gotou stood up, left the thicket and stood on the asphalt road.

The raindrops bounced off the ground, creating a faint mist.

At the temple, Gotou could see red flashing lights. Yakumo was still on the premises.

The open ground on the opposite side of the road had a BMW there – the one they’d taken here.

Gotou put his hands in his pockets and found the key.

– If you’re caught by the police, somebody important to you will die.

The words on the note that was probably from Nanase Miyuki came up in Gotou’s head. If Yakumo was caught by the police, Haruka would be in danger.

In that situation, Yakumo would be stuck in the detention house. He’d probably be stricken with helplessness and an unspeakable pain.

Like with Isshin –

’I see.’

Gotou understood everything now.

That might have been Miyuki’s goal. That woman had been stuck in the detention house before because of Yakumo.

Though she had escaped in the end, this was revenge for that. She probably planned on meeting Yakumo after she had placed her hands on Haruka.

When Gotou imagined that, a shiver ran down his spine.

He was looking up at the sky blanketed in thick clouds when Atsuko’s and Nao’s faces appeared in his head.

Even if he got away now, he couldn’t get to the truth without Yakumo. He would have to continue running for the rest of his life.

He wouldn’t be able to meet Atsuko and Nao.

Then it’d actually be better to be caught by the police.

Come to think of it, Gotou had decided what he should do from the moment he’d gone to save Yakumo and acted violent against the officers.

No, that was wrong –

His fate might have already been decided from the moment he’d saved Yakumo from that abandoned building fifteen years ago. It had been raining like this on that day too.

He and Yakumo were one in body and soul.

’I’ll go with you to the ends of hell.’

Gotou said just that and started walking to the BMW.




To be honest, Ishii had thought Haruka would be a bit more depressed.

However, this morning, Haruka had an energetic expression this morning – it looked like she had returned to her usual self.

Though Ishii wanted to know what had changed in her psychological state, Ishii couldn’t ask aloud.

Ishii drove through the parking lot, trying to get as close to the entrance as he could.

He was at the entrance when Haruka ran out with an umbrella.

Though they only shared the umbrella for twenty minutes, it was a time of pure bliss for Ishii. They went through the entrance and took the stairs by the elevator.

They were headed for the room at the end of the basement corridor.

The dim corridor which smelled of disinfectant was always creepy to Ishii, but he felt less frightened than usual.

It might have been because Haruka was there with him.

’Hata-san, it’s Ishii.’

Ishii called out as he knocked.

’It’s open.’

A hoarse voice called out from the room.

’Are you all right?’

Haruka nodded in response to Ishii’s words.

’Excuse us.’

Ishii opened the door to the room.

A small space of about six tatami in size. Cabinets surrounded it. Partly because there were no windows, it had a suffocating pressure to it.

There was just one desk by the wall. Hata sat there.

’You’ve brought an unexpected person with you.’

Hata looked at Haruka with fish eyes.

Ishii had been troubled about whether to meet Hata with Haruka, but then he remembered that they had met a number of times before.

’Do you remember me?’

Haruka bowed her head with a smile.

’My mind’s still active.’

After tapping his forehead with his finger, Hata let out a creepy giggle.

When Ishii heard Hata’s laugh, a chill ran down his spine. It made him afraid that Hata might one day bare his fangs and gobble someone up.

’So I see.’

Haruka smiled, though she seemed troubled.

’Excuse me... About the matter I discussed yesterday...’

Ishii brought up the topic at hand.

’I’ve got it for you.’

Hata patted his grizzled hair and then took two A4-size envelopes out of the drawer.

The names Seidou and Matsumoto Hiroshi were written on them.

’Thank you very much.’

Ishii picked them up immediately and took the insides out, but then his eyes saw a frightful picture that he instinctively looked away from.

Normally, he would have shrieked, but he probably couldn’t do that because Haruka was next to him.

Haruka’s brows grew close together as she covered her mouth with both hands.

The events of last night had probably doubled Haruka’s terror.

’Are you all right?’

’Yes, I’m fine.’

Haruka acted strong at Ishii’s words, but her face was completely white.

’Anyway, please sit.’

Ishii encouraged Haruka to sit in the nearby round chair.

’I’m sorry,’ said Haruka, sitting on the chair and hugging her shoulders.

Hata was light-heartedly poking at youkan[1] with a toothpick.

Only Hata would be able to look at this photo and continue eating calmly.

’What do you think, Hata-san?’

Ishii put the photo back in the envelope and turned to Hata.

This was the most important. To be honest, when Ishii looked at the photo, he just felt frightened.

He wanted to hear Hata’s opinion as an expert.

’Well, there were a number of things that were off.’

Hata sipped his tea.

’Things that were off?’

’Yes. First, it was a haemorrhagic death.’

That meant that there had been no fatal injury – death had been caused by blood lass.

’Is that so?’

’Though there are many injuries, each was shallow in contrast to that.’


Ishii repeated what Hata said, but he didn’t know what it meant.

’It was probably done to hurt the victim.’

Hata’s shoulders shook as he giggled.

Stabbing over and over while keeping the victim from dying. That was a terribly awful way of murder. The murderer might have been an unbelievable sadist. Or –

’Then there must have been quite a grudge against the victim.’

’The suspect in this case is Yakumo-kun, right?’ said Hata, rubbing the white stubble growing out of his chin.

’That’s wrong!’ Haruka said, leaning forward.

’Missy, listen to the end of what I have to say.’

Hata’s rebuke made Haruka immediately say ’I’m sorry’ and look at her feet.

’What I want to say is that if Yakumo-kun committed the crime, he was ill-prepared.’


Ishii repeated it without thinking.

’Think about it. How many cases do you think Yakumo has been involved in up until now?’


Yakumo hadn’t been involved in just one or two cases. Ishii understood what Hata was trying to say.

’Yakumo-kun must know very well how the police work. Would he grip the knife and take the time to stab somebody multiple times despite that?’

’If Yakumo-shi were the murderer, he would probably pick a more effective method, wouldn’t he?’

Hata nodded.

Ishii understood. If Yakumo were the culprit, he would have killed the victims differently.

At least, he wouldn’t have gripped the knife with his bare hand. However –

’Wouldn’t it be possible to think that he might have become emotion after some sort of trouble?’

’That’s impossible,’ said Hata with a snort.


’Then the injuries would be deeper.’

’Is that so?’

’I said this earlier, didn’t I? The culprit probably used enough force not to kill the victim in order to hurt them.’

’Ah, I see.’

Ishii understood now.

If the culprit had become emotional and lost control, they wouldn’t be able to stab somebody without killing them.

’The culprit must have coldly watched the victim suffering. That might have been the goal.’

Ishii shivered at Hata’s words.

’How frightening,’ said Ishii in a trembling voice.




– I can’t go back now.

Sitting in the driver seat of the BMW, Gotou gripped the wheel with sweaty hands as he steeled himself.

At the temple gate in front of him, he could see two police cars. The uniformed officers ahead of them were looking around frantically in their raincoats.

He looked towards the archive where Yakumo had been.

The door was open. However, he couldn’t see inside. If he didn’t know the situation, he had no way of moving.

As if to respond to Gotou’s irritation, there was a knock on the car’s side window.

Eishin peered in, completely drenched.

’You look awful,’ said Gotou as he looked at Eishin, who was drenched from head to toe.

’You look worse.’

’Can’t say you’re wrong.’

Gotou laughed together with Eishin.

’So how’s it look inside?’

After laughing for a moment, Gotou asked that, and Eishin’s expression became serious.

’Sorry. Yakumo was caught.’

’As I thought... Did that trainee monk called Shuuei report him?’

Gotou glared at Eishin.

For once, Eishin looked as his feet awkwardly.

’Don’t blame Shuuei. He just did what he thought was right after thinking about it.’

’I know.’

Gotou wasn’t lying.

From Shuuei’s perspective, on top of his master being murdered, the suspect in that had suddenly appeared at the temple.

He hadn’t reported it immediately because Eishin, the temple’s advisor had been there.

Gotou would think gratefully of him for keeping quiet until this morning.

’What do you plan to do?’ said Eishin, wiping the water from his face.

Gotou was determined without a doubt.

’I can’t go back.’

’Right. Then I’ll go with you.’

Eishin smirked.

Gotou had thought of him just as a hateful monk, but in this situation, he was a strong ally. But –

’You OK with that?’

’I’m partially responsible, right?’ said Eishin with a snort. That was the end of it then.

’Then shall we go?’

Gotou started the engine.

’Do you have a plan?’

’As if.’

He’d imagined things from this situation, but he couldn’t see the result.

Tricks would be no use. He’d go with a straight-on surprise attack.

’It’s troublesome accompanying an idiot.’

Though Eishin said that, he looked happy.

Gotou calculated the timing while waiting for the engine.

A uniformed officer came out of the archive.

Yakumo was behind the officer. Though his hands were shackled, he was looking forward with a firm gaze.

Behind Yakumo, there was another uniformed officer. He was led to the police car, surrounded.

– Not yet. A little longer.

Gotou swallowed the urge to rush.

He only had one chance. If he failed, it’d be game over.

The officers and Yakumo walked up to the police car at the temple gates. The officer in front opened the backseat door.


As Gotou yelled, he slammed down the pedal and drove forward.

He put his lights on high beam and kept honking the horn.

When the officers saw the BMW rushing towards them, they jumped away in different directions.

Yakumo was left in the middle.

’We’re going!’

Without slowing down, Gotou rammed into the police car with the open door.

There was a grating crash – the impact ran through Gotou.

The police car’s side was dented in and the door impossibly bent, but the BMW didn’t have that much damage.

Foreign cars really were different in sturdiness.

’Hurry up and get on!’

Even Yakumo looked astonished by the unexpected event, though he immediately came over, sensing the situation.

However, one of the uniformed officers came to stop that.

It’d be a problem if they were caught. Gotou was about to get off the car when Eishin kicked the officer’s leg.

The officer lost his balance and fell forward.

’Well done,’ said Gotou without thinking.

Eishin really wasn’t just a monk. Though he was hateful, he was reliable.

Yakumo took that chance to get into the backseat.

’We’re going!’

Gotou waited for Eishin to get back in and made a U-turn in the BMW.

Because of the high speed, Yakumo and Eishin were flung to the side of the car from the centrifugal force, but Gotou didn’t have the time to worry about that.

Gotou slammed down the pedal.




’That was rather reckless,’ said Yakumo in the back seat.

’That a problem for you?’

Gotou turned around with a smile.

’No, it was a great help.’

Unusual for Yakumo, he thanked Gotou honestly.

Gotou ended up laughing at how ridiculous that attitude was.

’Is something funny?’

Yakumo said that, seeming displeased. He tried to run a hand through his hair, but the handcuffs got in his way.

His actions were like a playful cat’s, making Gotou laugh aloud again.

’You’re rather carefree in this emergency.’

My bad.’

If Gotou laughed any more, it felt like Yakumo would really be angry. Gotou swallowed his laughter.

’So where are you going now?’ asked Eishin from the passenger seat.

He’d mentioned the part that hurt most. Gotou couldn’t respond immediately. He wasn’t driving with a destination in mind.

He’d gone along with vigour – he didn’t know what to do next.

’As usual, you have no plans.’

Yakumo shook his head, as if disappointed by Gotou’s thoughts.

’Tell me if you have any ideas then.’

Nothing would start if they argued now. Gotou asked that question to Yakumo while looking through the rear-view mirror.

Yakumo probably had some sort of plan.

’Please head to the lake,’ said Yakumo with a hard expression.

’By lake, do you mean the one where you got bitten by a pit viper?’

’You don’t have to say unnecessary information,’ said Yakumo with a scowl.

It looked like it really bothered him. Yakumo might grow to hate snakes.

’What’s there?’

’Something that will bring us to the truth of this case.’

That was a pretty vague way of putting it.

In his heart, Gotou complained – ’Explain more clearly’ – but if Yakumo said that, Gotou was sure there was something there.

He might have found something important in the account books he was looking at in the archive last night.

’Oi, you damn monk. Tell me how to get there,’ Gotou said to Eishin in the passenger seat.

However, Eishin just looked at Gotou like he was a cockroach or something.

’Don’t make me say this again. There’s a proper attitude you should take when you’re asking people to do things,’ said Eishin with a sigh.

’I don’t know the way. Would you be so kind as to tell me how to get there?’

– Man, what annoying car passengers.

Gotou pitied his unluckiness but he bowed his head to Eishin. He’d return this humiliation when the case was over.

’Say that from the beginning.’

’Yeah, yeah.’

’Turn right at the next road.’

Eishin said that right before the intersection.

– He couldn’t stop the car that quickly.

’Idiot. It was that road,’ said Eishin with irritation.

’I know. Tell me sooner.’

Gotou slammed on the brakes.

The tires slipped in the rain – it took longer to stop than he’d expected.

Gotou made a U-turn and went onto the road as directed.

The road was one long, curving slope. Gotou recalled that he’d gone on this road when he had gone to search for Yakumo yesterday.

He would get to the lake if he just went straight here.

’Hey, Yakumo. You figured something out?’ asked Gotou after things had calmed down a bit.

’Though it isn’t everything yet, what Ishii-san investigated was of quite some use.’

’That so...’

’Yes. From what I know, Hatsune-chan is not her mother’s reincarnation.’

Gotou had heard that yesterday.

’Then who is she?’

’Like I said yesterday, Gotou-san, your question is strange.’

Gotou didn’t know what was strange about it at all.

He looked at Eishin in the passenger seat. He had his arms crossed and was going ’hm, hm’ like he understood, lying back on the seat.

Looked like Gotou was the only one who didn’t understand. It was really irritating.

’Just explain already.’

’First, if you think about it calmly, it would be impossible to think of a child being their mother’s reincarnation, as the mother is the one who gave birth to them,’ said Yakumo, putting his hands together as he did so.

Gotou understood that too.


’Next, Hatsune-chan still called herself by the name of her mother, Minami, despite that.’


’Hatsune-chan’s mother, Minami, is probably the person who became missing ten years ago that Ishii-san is investigating.’

’I see,’ replied Gotou in understanding.

’After putting these two truths together, there is only one possibility.’

Yakumo was looking straight forward.

That hard expression was sometimes frightening to the point that it gave Gotou a chill.


’Do you really not understand?’

It was Eishin who responded.

If he was going to interrupt with boring comments, Gotou would prefer that Eishin slept.

’I’m asking because I don’t understand.’

Gotou hit the wheel.

’It’s simple. Somebody told Hatsune-chan this. That she was Minami’s reincarnation.’


Gotou was so surprised that he couldn’t say anything else.

’Somebody said that over and over again to Hatsune-chan. You are your mother’s reincarnation – Over many months and years, Hatsune-chan was brainwashed and grew to believe she really was her mother’s reincarnation...’

Yakumo’s words were as flat as if he were reading a sutra.

However, the weight of each word thrust painfully into Gotou’s chest.

If what Yakumo said was true, Gotou couldn’t forgive it. It was the same as robbing Hatsune of her identity.

’I see... That’s why you said she was herself.’

Gotou finally understood what Yakumo had been saying.

Yakumo nodded with a grim expression on his face.

No matter what happened, you couldn’t be anything but yourself. No matter what you were told otherwise, that fact didn’t change.

However, there was still something that Gotou didn’t understand.

’What did somebody do that for...’

’That answer will come soon.’

Yakumo gave a vague reply and then leant back on the seat, looking up at the ceiling.

It looked like his battery had run out.

Though Gotou hadn’t been able to get a response out of Yakumo, Gotou had a vague idea about the answer to who it was.

– Over many months and years.

Yakumo had said that.

Only somebody who was always close to Hatsune would be able to do that –




After leaving Hata’s hospital, Ishii went with Haruka to a family restaurant.

When they went inside Youko was already waiting there at a window seat.

’I’m sorry for the wait.’

Ishii and Haruka sat opposite Youko.

’You’re the one from last night...’

Youko looked at Haruka with suspicious eyes. It was an expected response. There was no point making excuses now.

Ishii explained how things were to Youko.

’I understand how you feel, but what I’m going to say now is confidential information regarding the invitation.’

That was what Youko said immediately after Ishii finished his explanation.

He’d thought that she’d understand, but he had been naive. Come to think of it, it was natural. It had become natural for Yakumo and Haruka to be a part of investigations, but they were civilians. Furthermore, Haruka was in a strange position, as a friend of the suspect.

It would be more of a problem for her to be a part of the investigation.

’I’m sorry for asking something unreasonable. I’ll wait outside.’

Haruka seemed to accept the situation before Ishii did and she got up from her seat.

’I’m sorry. There are circumstances. To be honest, it’s enough of a problem talking with Ishii-san.’

It sounded like Youko was being considerate of Haruka.

To Ishii, Youko’s attitude was unexpected.

– It is unnecessary for you to help with the investigation.

Ishii recalled what Youko had said when they first met.

It was like she was a different person. However, Ishii thought that gap in character was pleasant.

’Please wait in the car.’

Ishii handed the car key to Haruka.


Haruka didn’t look depressed. She responded with her usual smile and left the family restaurant.

Ishii confirmed that Haruka had got into the car through the window and then turned his eyes to Youko.

Youko was looking out the window as well.

She looked entranced, like a girl in love.

’Excuse me...’

When Ishii spoke, Youko looked surprised.

’Ah, sorry. She looks like...’

’Looks like whom?’

’A friend.’


Ishii gave a vague response.

He couldn’t say anything since he had never seen that friend.

’Let’s talk,’ said Youko after letting out a short breath.

’Ah, yes.’

’First, I want you to look at this. I looked into the case from ten years ago when Minami-san went missing.’

Youko took files out of her bag.

It was a rather impressive amount. It was as thick as a dictionary. Had she investigated that much in half a day – while Ishii took the files in his hand, he was astonished by Youko’s work.

’This is amazing.’

’I’ve put labels on the important points.’

Just as Youko said, there were coloured labels sticking out all over the files.

’First, th

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Shinrei Tantei Yakumo Volume 8 Chapter 3