View Full Version : Putting the Pieces Together
Note: Before going on, this thread is dedicated to translating the kakera-musubi (putting the pieces together) part of Matsuribayashi-hen.
Matsuribayashi-hen does not have TIPS (except for one at the very end). Instead, you have fifty pieces of puzzles that reveals huge information. One must put these pieces together before moving on to the actual story of Matsuribayashi-hen.
In the game, one must figure out which piece will unlock the other piece so that they can be put together. Unfortunately, we cannot simulate the effect on this board, so we'll just translate all the pieces in chronological order so that people will not get confused.
However, unlike the TIPS which were there to help you with hints and clues, these pieces are quite filled with spoilers, so if you plan on playing the translated game or watching the second season Kai, I strongly suggest that you refrain from reading any further.
You read at your own risk.
Progress of translating the Matsuribayashi Hen Pieces = 100% complete
Welcome, to the world of Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni ~ Matsuribayashi-hen~.
In this world, you get to see the world being rebuilt from the eyes of Hanyu.
Your goal is to create the best possible outcome for "June 1983." In order make that ideal world a reality, you must collect many pieces.
However, Takano's ideals are also powerful as well. You must endure heavy toils and collect as many pieces together to overturn her resolve.
I must warn you in advance, that this task is both daunting and exhausting. Hanyu has tried this for over a hundred years and at once given up to let fate take its course.
Overthrowing Takano's goals will not be so easy. The task awaiting for you in this world will provide you with the same agony that Hanyu had went through.
As you find yourself being defeated despite the number of pieces you have, you may end up forfeiting yourself into submission just as Hanyu had done once before. Should you submit yourself to surrender, you may quit this game at anytime. If you do so however, that means that you are forever trapped with your friends in the worlds ranging from "Onikakushi-hen" to "Minagoroshi-hen." And you can also uninstall this game to create a complete "death" to the entire story, just like Rika's world.
Your ideal "June 1983" can be made by putting together the fifty pieces that you can find spread out in this world. In order to put the pieces together, you must find the piece that matches with it. ...With fifty pieces in all, you might feel a faint at the tremendous work that you must need to do.
However, this world is not that merciless. In order to relieve a bit of your task, you have a bit of a help to assist you. Should you incorrectly choose a piece that can't be put together, your only friend will put a mark on that piece telling you that you can't do so yet. That mark will then stay there until you are able to put that piece together with the others. Hence, you may start searching for the other pieces while the mark stays there.
As you start putting the pieces together, you will begin to notice that there will be pieces that you once could not align to be enabled to do so once again. She will place a mark on those as well. Once you put that piece together, who knows? Perhaps that might've just unlocked the path to another piece.
And so once you've collected and put all fifty of the pieces together into one giant piece, ...you've created the ideal "June 1983." What lies there is the world that we've been yearning for - "Matsuribayashi-hen."
Rather than peeking through each and every one of the pieces, it might be best to peruse through the titles of the fifty pieces. Besides, since most of the pieces requires you another piece beforehand, there would only be several pieces that you can peek in them to begin with. Let's find one of those pieces to start off with. Other pieces will require prerequisites which you can check when you scroll your mouse over them. So, it is best if you start off with those pieces which require no prerequisites.
...This trial will be long and arduous. I've said it before and I'll say it again but, Hanyu had tried this for over a hundred years and had at once quit doing so.
But if you have the strong feeling to believe in the miracles just as your friends... And if you can believe in what they want to achieve despite you being from a different world where Hanyu lives...
To the world of Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni ~ Matsuribayashi-hen~.
This world will put you to test to see if you believe in the same outcome of the world just like Rika and her friends. Miracles only occur when everyone's power come into unity.
Takano's vision of her June 1983 world is too strong. She has the powerful backing of the government supporting her, and she has many other skills which normal people do not have the privilege of having with them. Even if you roll one hundred dices and they all show up as one, you cannot topple her.
Hence, the only way to win is to have a miracle to occur. And miracles only happen when everyone's power comes together. By everyone, that includes you too.
...So, are you ready?
Of course, I know that I am. The pointer to travelling a long a journey is not to pack things too tightly. So let's just relax and enjoy the long journey, shall we? I'll be helping you along as I drink my favorite wine.
Let's begin, shall we? We have all the time in the world here...
Government official: "So the dam construction will bring in new jobs and re-vitalize the local industry..."
Hinamizawa residents: "That's not the fucking point!!" "We're asking you who the hell gave you the right to build the dam!" "Hey hey hey, you take all of our taxes and this is how you treat us?! Who do you think pays for your salaries!!"
G.O.: "That's what I've been trying to say! So...!"
H.R.: "We don't want to hear your excuses, we want to know when this project is going to be cancelled!!" "We've had enough of you! Bring the big-shot Minister of Construction here from Tokyo and let's settle this one-on-one!!" "Shut yer yap, you yuppie!!" "Besides, who the heck do you think you are talking down to us from the stand! Our taxes pay for your salary, come down and talk to us face to face!!"
The auditorium was filled with roaring angers.
The placard at the front door was read "Hinamizawa Dam Construction Local Project Meeting."
But whenever the government official at the stand was about the say something, the residents shut him up with their roaring angers.
The official gave up and began to continue on his explanation on the pros of the construction as if he couldn't hear their anger. This act further angered the residents as it showed that the government didn't care about the complaints of the locals.
There was a empty no-man's land protected by a police squads between the stand and the residents. If it weren't for this, it was certain that the residents would've jumped onto the stands and started a riot...
...I was looking at this event unfold from everyone's back. I can clearly see from their colors that they are giving into their anger.
...They began to be filled with blood-red rage, ...the anger that was born out of a certain goal, turned into the goal itself, and is starting to create a vicious cycle where anger leads to more anger.
...Anger is not an unneeded emotion. People face hardships as the live their lives. It is anger that forms the basis of people's resolve to fight and conquer such hardships. ...With that in mind, anger is an essential part of life itself. Hence, I'm not going to deny that anger is unnecessary.
However, an over-the-top anger leads people to forget their focus. ...When that happens, it is not about life anymore. Recklessness ensues as the blood rushes to the head, which causes people to forget what they have done.
...Such emotions like these hurts and saddens us deeply. I can see clearly how the villagers who live with us are becoming saturated like they were "demons."
I understand the rules of the human world. There is not much one individual can do in order to fight against the big government. ...In order to fight such an opponent, one needs a larger unified power. But it is difficult to lead such power in the right direction.
...The cycle of anger leads to more anger. By then, anger is not for survival - anger is exposed in order to release anger. ...When that happens, then it's just the same as a demon.
And this anger gives us a rough awakening as we were sleeping peacefully.
Everyone is being immersed into their own anger. We learned to live and sleep in peace with the villagers.
...But we are awakened...to find that the situation where the myths say that the demons began to pour out from the Onigafuchi Marsh was trying to repeat itself once again...
I shout and cry out to everyone to calm down.
But in the intensified roars of anger silences my mute screams and reaches no one... Yet all I could do was to still cry out in hopes that someone would hear my voice.
If it goes on any further....the demons would awaken. ...The demons that went into a deep and long sleep might awaken again with all this commotion...
That's when the atmosphere of the clamor changed.
It seems that the temper exchange between the residents and the stand turned into a civil strife between the residents themselves. ...What...is going on here?
Houjou: "Shut up you old hag!! Those are your own reasons, not ours! Don't pull us into this as the whole!!"
Oryou: "The hell you say you little bastard!!"
Sonozaki family member: "Hey hey hey!! You know you're talking to Oryou-san aren't you! You've got some guts eh?! Who the hell do you think you are!! Huh!!"
Houjou: "Fuck you!! Sonozaki my ass, I'm Houjou. Get your goons away, I'm talking to you bitch!!"
Anti-dam H.R.: "Hey hey, Houjou! How dare you say that in addition for wanting to sink the village!! How much did they pay you, huh?!"
Houjou: "Shut up geezer!! There's a bunch of poor people in Hinamizawa too ya' know! Not everyone is wealthy to own such a huge plot of land like you have in your back mountains!! I was well satisfied with the generous government compensation and they even provided me with public housing!! What else is there to say!! But you had to come in and ruin all of it, you assholes!! Stop dragging us normal folk into all you rich landowner's selfish reasons! If you guys wanna go up against the government so much, why don't you do it by yourself!! Besides, who's gonna pay for this, eh!! You!? We're poor and we also have two kids to look after. It was my plan to start a new life by leaving this place in peace by getting just compensation from the government and finding a new job elsewhere. But you!! Since when did you become the representative for me, eh!! You think you're that of a big shot, huh?!"
Anti-dam H.R.: "Yo, yo, yo Houjou!! You've got some balls eh, you traitor!! Why don't you leave town then!!"
Houjou: "Hell, I'd leave this place immediately! But you're gonna pay me for what I was entitled for, right?! You'd better give me the money that I was about to get from the government, cuz even though I'd like to get the hell out of this place, I don't have the money to do so. So fork it over bitch, and I'll leave!!"
Pro-dam H.R.: "Yeah, yeah Houjou's gotta point there! There are residents here who doesn't mind leaving this place! The gosankes shouldn't get into our own personal matters!"
Anti-dam H.R.: "Hey, hey, who the hell said that? Come out and say your name?!"
Pro-dam H.R.: "If you want to stay, fine!! Leaving here is a right too! Who the hell are you to stomp over our rights eh!!"
Houjou: "That's right, that's right!! Stop representing us as a whole old hag!!"
G.O.: "..Uh, of course we will compensate for the people who are in support of the dam project as this isn't expropiation..."
Anti-dam H.R.: "SHUT UP, YOU ASSHOLE!! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TRYING TO DO?! TRYING TO SPLIT THE VILLAGE BETWEEN ITSELF?!"
Anti-dam H.R.: "Die, Houjou! You have no right to breathe village air. Stop breathing and die now!!"
Houjou: "Screw you!! I'm gonna kill you right now. Step up you old bitch!!! Hey hey, move over you cop!!"
Oryou: "Gooood to hear.... That was the last straw. I, Sonozaki Oryou, haven't been this pissed for ages. You're gonna get what you're gonna deserve. You'd better watch you back....!!!"
Pro-dam H.R.: "Yeah, go go, Houjou!! The government must provide us with new jobs, shelter, and just compensation!!"
Cop: "There there!! Stop this violence!! Cut it out! Quit it!!"
Houjou: "Yeah?! Show me what you got!! Come on, give it to me!!"
More and more people are becoming tainted in red anger...
All I could do is just stand there useless and watch them give in to their ugly side...
The only thing I can do right now, was to continuously apologize for the tragedy that was about to happen starting now...
...I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry....
And this became the vital day...
...After this date, the Houjou family and the Sonozaki family would wage a feud with the other, leading to the isolation of the Houjous within the village. This saw the downward spiral of Satoko and Satoshi's lives of tremendous hardships...
[Conflict between Houjou and Sonozaki family is required]
Mom asked me to do some grocery shopping for her, and I was on my way to the supermarket when I ran into Satoko.
Apparantly, Satoko was also asked to do the shoppings, just like me.
Since that was the case, we ending up going together.
Showing off each other's shopping list, it was fun to be able to imagine the dinner menu of the other person's family.
It looks like Satoko's family is having fish and simmered dishes.
By the way, it looks like my family's having hamburger meat steak.
"Oh my, steaks, how lucky...! I don't mind the fish, but I'm a little frightened of the simmered foods, you know? There's still a big chunk left of the pumpkin that we bought the other day."
"......Tonight is going to be a full course of simmered pumpkins for sure. Poor poor Satoko☆"
"Knowing beforehand that it's going to pumpkins is quite depressing too, isn't it? Haa."
"......Mi~☆ Here's a picky Satoko who would be angry even if the pumpkins were a surprise anyway."
"R, Rika must have at least some foods that she doesn't like too, right?! Now that you mention it, Rika, wasn't it true that you disliked sweet foods like bean paste rice cakes or cream cakes?!"
"......I don't really dislike them or anything. I'm just not eating them to be mean. If I wanted to eat them, I could eat as many as I wanted. I can even eat pumpkin pies deliciously too, nipa~☆"
"uUuu, how cheap for Rika to be the only one with no dislikes--!!"
These conversations were so fun to have.
Satoko is my best friend to me.
Just by being with Satoko, even the grocery shopping trip that I thought was bothersome quickly turned into an enjoyable evening walk.
Lined up near the supermarket are some other grocery food shops, making up Hinamizawa's little shopping street.
It's the busiest time of the day right now, with people buying groceries for dinner.
Hinamizawa's housewifes gathered and did their shoppings lively.
Anyway, since Satoko and I had different things to buy, we split up and went off on our own to buy the things we came for.
"Hey, welcome welcome!! Oh, Rika-chama, welcome! You're doing grocery shopping? What a good girl!"
"......Nipa~☆ I am a good girl who can do grocery shoppings."
"I see, I see, Rika-chama sure is a good girl! Here, let's give you this for being such a good girl."
A colander used to carry loose change hangs down from the store eaves, inside it were some candies for the shopkeeper's husband, who has asthma sometimes.
One of them was taken out, and tossed to me.
It's my favorite kind of candy, with a strawberry milk flavor.
I put it into my pocket on purpose without eating it right away, so that I could gloat in front of Satoko later about how I was the only one who got candy.
For me, teasing Satoko and making her feel jealous was a very fun thing to do.
Satoko would always overreact to these kind of things.
She was my best friend, and I never felt bored when I'm with her.
"Well there, what is it for Rika-chama's family today? Minced pork, hmm~"
"......It's hamburger meat steak. You put flower-shaped fried eggs on it and you draw with ketchup."
"O-ho-ho-ho! That sounds nice!"
While enjoying such conversations, my grocery bag slowly filled up.
...At that time, the housewives' murmurs entered my ears.
The contents were... a little cold.
.........They were comments directed towards Satoko, who's here to shop for groceries.
These traitors who tried to sell the village to the government, just how long do they plan to stay in the village anyway?
They should just leave already.
And they don't even have the guts to come out and shop for groceries themselves, making their daughter do all the shopping... *complain complain*, *complain complain*....
Ever since that big fight at the local project meeting for the dam project, which caused the Houjou family and the Sonozaki family to completely oppose each other, Houjou family's isolation within the village has worsened.
In the beginning, there were at least some retreatists who sympathized with the Houjous.
But after the Sonozaki Main House aimed for a complete change in village opinions, and took up a totalitarian stance, the retreatists gradually quieted down.
Also, public displays of harrassment from the influential gosankes such as the Sonozaki and Kimiyoshi family has also had a big effect.
It appears that Sonozaki Main House's strategy is to stop similiar retreatists from appearing by continuing to bully the Houjou family as an example.
To the residents, whose ancestors have been living in this village for generations, with they themselves likely to be buried in this village as well, this was an incredibly powerful harrassment.
Just who was the one who symphathized with the steaming Houjou back at the local project meeting and said something fierce like making them the leader of the retreatists anyway...?
People like that have quieted down completely, and joined in on the cold treatment of the Houjou family, like stepping on a painting they once supported....
The persecution of the Houjou family has now become a form of pressure from the entire village.
Since the Houjous were not a rich family, they have been late with their village council fees for a long time.
Back during the peaceful times, they were let off in the spirit of friendliness, with the council being generous enough to allow them to pay it all off in the future. But now that we're here, the wind suddenly changed direction, and the council demanded the Houjou family to pay off all their late council fees immediately.
Although it was not an amount that the Houjou family could not afford to pay, when a fight was brought to them like this, the Houjou family would end up taking it on.
As if to taunt them, the Houjou family withdrew from the village council.
......However, by doing so, they have only stepped right into the villagers' malicious plan.
To make the village council your enemy means to have underhanded bullying occur to you.
For example, the place where the Houjou family would throw away their garbages was at the temporary garbage dump designated by the health board and the village council.
According to the village council board rules, only families who are in the village council may use the dump site.
...Starting from the day after the Houjou family withdrew from the village council,
before they knew it, all the garbage bags that the Houjou family discarded at the garbage dump were returned to their front door.
Not only that, the bags were all ripped up and their contents spilt out.
Also, a sign board was put up at the hedge path near the Houjou residence.
"Private road, no trespassing. Non-members of the village council are forbidden to pass through".
A stubburn old man stood there day and night, and would not allow anyone from the Houjou family pass through.
...A private road is a private property opened up to the public as a road, its appearance was no different from a normal road.
However, it is still very much a private property, it's not unreasonable to forbid people other than the land owner from passing through.
Et cetera, et cetera...... The bullying from the malicious village groups came one after another.
This ostracism-like horror spread throughout the village, ...creating fear in people, thinking they might end up the same if they sympathize with the Houjou family, ...causing the Houjou family to become more and more isolated.
......The adults did not tell their children about such a dirty fight occuring in the dark, so Satoko was at least not bullied at school... But it's not hard to imagine that she must've had to endure a suffocating level of tension every day....
Right now, the housewives murmuring these malicious comments aren't saying them in Satoko's face either.
......But still, there was no way Satoko would not notice the occasional spilled comments, or the cold looks.
......Since when did this village become so cold towards Satoko? As Satoko's best friend, I was really sad.
Now that I look at her, I can see that Satoko's shopping experience is completely different from my peaceful ones.
If I greet people or shop for groceries, I would get extras or special deals, and yet... Satoko gets none.
No, forget that, ......She would be served last on purpose, shopkeepers would pretend they can't hear her, ......It was clear that people didn't want to have anything to do with Satoko.
...Squeezing in between the stampeding housewives, Satoko kept on saying what she wanted to the fish shop's owner, and yet, she was kept waiting until the very end.
......Satoko made a strong looking smile, and pretended she didn't mind at all, ......but I know.
Just how much of a painful pretense that is....
All of a sudden, Satoko dropped her coins on the ground.
Maybe the returned changes were accidently caught by her fingers as she tried to put them back into the wallet.
Since I was standing at a distance from Satoko, I slid between the housewives to help her pick up the coins.
.........But, there, I realized.
......Satoko dropped a lot of coins, and is running left and right, trying to pick them up, and yet,
.........Nobody's helping her.
No, rather than saying they're not helping, ...It's more like everyone's acting as if Satoko isn't there.
...Since the coins were dropped because of her own miss, Satoko's probably not expecting anyone to help her pick them up either.
............But, ......but still.... ...There's all these people coming and going, .........and yet, not a even single one of them tried to help....
"......Satoko, I'll pick them up too."
"Ah, .........a, i, it's alright, Rika...."
Just from that little movement, I could understand the pain of her wounded heart.
On top of that, ...when I started picking up Satoko's coins, the other housewives began picking them up too.
With an expression on their faces like it's the obvious thing to do.
......If I, the miko of the Furude family, began picking them up, then it's alright to help out?
We all know that if I didn't pick them up, all of you would've just pretended you didn't see anything until the end....
And, ....the fact that people would help if "I" was the one doing the picking... just how much is Satoko's heart wounded by that....?
I grabbed the coins that the housewives picked up without saying any thanks....... Forget thanking them, I feel like spitting at them.
"th, ......thank you very much, Rika, everyone."
...Probably because if she doesn't express her gratitute here, people might go off somewhere saying something again like "Houjou's daughter has no manners".
Satoko said those words of gratitute bitterly.
In return, the housewives looked down at her with blank, unconcerning expressions, ......I couldn't take it anymore.
...I couldn't, take the pain that Satoko is carrying, in her heart right now....
"......If we're done with shopping, then let's go, Satoko."
I grabbed Satoko's arm, and pulled out from that place.
...How upsetting, sad, painful.
Just what sin did Satoko commit....?
This coldblooded reality is so, vexing and sad.
I'm loved by others like a mascot.
But, I can't provide Satoko with the same thing....
......Right now, ...Satoko must be stunned, wondering why herself and Rika, who are the same age, receive such different treatments....
.........If Satoko had to experience this because of me, then I shouldn't have shopped together with her..., no, wrong. I should've just bought her groceries for her....
"...Wh, ......what is it, Rika?"
"......You dropped all your coins, poor Satoko. ...Therefore, here is a consolation prize for you."
Wanting to heal the wound in Satoko's heart, even if only for a little bit, ...I took out the strawberry milk candy I received earlier.
But, ...Satoko did not take it.
"......That candy, wasn't it something given to Rika?"
My hand froze with a jerk...
...Satoko was watching.
She watched me accept the candy.......
"...The person who gave Rika that candy must've gave it out wanting Rika to eat it too. .........So, if I ate it, it would be rude......."
...Satoko then turned her back on me, and stayed that way until we parted....
Without even a parting goodbye, ......Satoko held onto the grocery bags and left in quick steps.
......I, ...I only wanted to heal Satoko's heart, ......and yet, I ended up rubbing salt in it until the very end..........
How can I call myself Satoko's best friend?
If only I had the gripping power, ...I wanted to just crush the candy in my hand..........
Irie: "I'm sorry for being late for the meeting. I was tied up with lots of patients today."
Tomitake: "Thanks for coming, Lieutenant Colonel Irie!
Tomitake suddenly jumped up and saluted as Irie came into the room.
Irie: "Oh no, no, please stop with that Lt. Col. thing...! I'm just a doctor. I can never get used those rank prefixes like the military. Would you mind settling for calling me director (of the clinic) instead...?"
Tomitake: "No problem, Director Irie. Ahahahaha...!"
Tomitake and the rest chuckled as they knew that Irie disliked being called a Lt. Col. On the other hand, Takano was fed up by this lame joke. She grew tired of the same joke over and over again, and she sincerely wanted to snap at Tomitake to quit that Lieutenant Colonel bit. However, she hand a feeling that Tomitake's feelings might get hurt, so she didn't say it all this time.
Also, due to Tomitake's slurred pronounciation, his way of saying "Lt. Col." (pronounced "Nisa" according to Japanese SDF rank), it sounds like he's actually saying "Lisa." Ever since then, all she could hear was Tomitake calling out "Irie Lisa," "Irie Lisa." She once told this to Irie, and he got a great laugh at this...
Anyhow, today was just a formal greeting. The actual meeting was to be held tomorrow. Although Tomitake is here today, more auditors were to arrive from Tokyo tomorrow to attend the meeting where we are to explain the progress of our research in this facility.
Tomitake: "Changing the subject though, it seems the village is all up and arms with this dam construction project."
Irie: "Oh, you've only seen the tip of the iceberg! I attended the local project meeting as a member of this community, and the hall was filled with roars and profanity. It was quite a spectacle."
The residents of Hinamizawa all burst in anger when they first heard about the Hinamizawa Dam Project. The government quickly retracted their compromise and decided to go up against the locals. It seems the government didn't want the locals to take advantage of them by showing signs of weaknesses through compromise.
However, the government underestimated the residents of Hinamizawa. The people are here are historically tied strongly with their land. Such an act by the government only lead to strengthening the bonds between the community to form a league of their own. Both the government and the village were at a complete deadlock as neither wanted to back down.
Takano: "*chuckle chuckle chuckle* The people of Hinamizawa are quite short-tempered. Maybe they do have demon's blood in them."
Irie: "It's nothing to joke about... You should've been at the spot where I had to be in. I stayed at the meeting all night with all the shouting and the bawlings."
Tomitake: "I feel sorry for you. Hahahaha...!"
Irie: "No, this is serious, Tomitake-san. How is the Dam Project going on? Will this village really go underwater beneath the artificial lake from the dam?"
Tomitake: "Well, pressure is being put at Tokyo as we speak. Even though it seems that the project is still intact from the outside, the foundations of the proposal should be starting to crumble by now."
Irie: "...I do hope that pressure works really soon. The village is very raucous night and day, and the villagers themselves are starting to show signs of discontempt. It's not unusual for an elderly person to come into my office for a simple check-up, all in the while I have to subject to listen to their thoughts on the dam project."
Takano: "*chuckle chuckle* Director Irie is just too kind. Why don't you just quit putting up with them then?"
Irie: "I can't do that. Even though I am a researcher, I'm also a doctor to begin with. Listening to them is an essential part of mental care."
Tomitake: "Well said. I hold high respect for that."
Irie: "Even though we know that the people in Tokyo are putting pressure so that this project will be gone away, the villagers don't know that. They live in constant fear that they'll have to relocate leaving behind this beautiful place where they have lived for generations."
Takano: "Even if they are forced to leave, many are old and have no money to do so. Perhaps some of them might've wanted to have the government increase their compensation. ...But the government immediately reversed their stance and became all out war. ...I don't think they are going to resolve this matter easily."
Irie: "There were some people who supported the proposal with the just compensation, but the gosanke Sonozaki family was firm in their cause against it. They took became the de facto leader to fight against the government. Now you see blaring announcement vans everywhere. Poster and flyers even comes attached to the circulation notices."
Tomitake: "Their actions are understandable. It's their homes they are talking about."
Irie: "...Whether or not what everyone's care is about, we sincerely desire to have this dam project withdrawn as soon as possible, for the sake of the residents in this area. As soon as the project is called off, this place will become the peaceful village it once was."
Tomitake: "I understand. We are trying very hard along with Tokyo on this matter, so please let us take care of this."
Takano: "...I heard a rumor from Tokyo that you guys are having some trouble in making connections to place pressure onto the Minister of Construction?"
Tomitake: "Well...hahaha... A low officer like me wouldn't know the details, but I have heard that they are snagged in fine-tuning certain things..."
The people supporting Takano are very powerful indeed, but they do not control all of Japan. There are certain places where they are strong at, yet there are also sections in which they cannot touch as well. ...And it is assumed that they aren't well established in being able to place pressur onto the areas under the Ministry of Construction.
Takano: "This isn't a joke. Are you certain that we're not going to have to relocate because a dam is going to be constructed, right...?"
Tomitake: "Of, of course. You have my word on that. We're just taking a little bit of time, so please don't let any of this bother you and continue with your research. And, if things can't be worked out peacefully, there are also opinions where drastic measures might have to be taken."
Irie: "Drastic measures...? What do you mean by that, Tomitake-san?"
Tomitake: "That is part of our domain. You don't have to a worry a thing, Director Irie. Let us handle this."
Irie: ".......Fine. ...I understand. Thank you for your help."
Takano: "It's okay, Director Irie. The dam project will definitely be withdraw. ...It's already been laid out. ...chuckle chuckle."
Takano chuckled and Tomitake put on a slight smile along with her. ...Only Irie couldn't understand what was funny, and he felt left out.
.......It was only when Irie was called to the outskirts of the town check on the condition of a young boy that he hasn't seen from this area, did he realize what they meant about "drastic treatment."
Even though the weather did forecast that it was to rain this afternoon, I never imagined that it would be such a downpour. We took shelter at an abandoned bus stop and waited for the rain clouds to clear.
Tomitake: "I'm sorry, Takano-san"
Takano: "Oh, that's alright, Jirou-san. I went with you despite knowing that it would pour. *chuckle chuckle*"
It is all my fault for dragging her out here despite her cautions that the weather might change all of a sudden. I feel embarrassed as a man who ruined her precious day off.
I have to go back to Tokyo tonight, so I won't be able to come to Hinamizawa anytime soon. Once that thought ran through my mind, I just couldn't waste the day by staying at the cheap hotel in Okinomiya. So, I asked her out.
Tomitake: "Yes...well...hahaha...I'm sorry"
Takano: *chuckle chuckle chuckle*
She made fun of me for a while with her like a cute devil. It's not that I'm enjoying her cornering me with her jabs. I sincerely thought that her style of communication was quite charming.
...I believe...that I had become capitavited by her. However, to her, I'm just an auditor from Tokyo. ...She's just being nice to me because of my position, and I know that she does not like me as an individual. ......And it hurts me to think that I might've forced her to come along with me because of my position.
Perhaps it is best that I should just disregard this slight fever that I feel as nothing more than just an oncoming cold. However, I know that she is also a type of person who says no when she dislikes it. ...Of course, she doesn't bluntly say "no," but she is capable of distinctly saying "no" by using various indirect means and methods. ...So, I hope that she is here with me right now because she might have a little attraction towards me...
I shake my head as I frown upon my own selfish thoughts. Yet, she quirps a cute chuckle as if she knew what I was thinking. My face blushes at her little actions.
Takano: "Jirou-san, you're such an interesting person. You must be popular with all the ladies back in Tokyo. Why would you want to go out with a queer woman like me...?"
Tomitake: "I, I don't think you're strange... Takano-san is very attractive as you are...! In fact, I feel sorry for having you to spend your precious day off for a guy like me."
Takano: "Yes, while it's true that I vowed to subject my life to research, but life is dry with just only that. It's also important to have fun once in while. ...Besides, engaging in communication with the person of the opposite sex is an excellent way to revitalize brain cells. *chuckle chuckle*"
Tomitake: "Ahahahahaha... I hope that I could be a help making Takano-san feel refreshed..."
Takano: "You...don't feel refreshed with me around...?"
Takano-san made my heart pound as she smiles at me like a cute devil. I immediately try to hide my embarrassment so that she would not notice that my face might be blushing to the ears.
Tomitake: "Oh no...! I too...feel very refreshed with Takano-san around! And, oh yeah, it's also much more interesting for me if Takano-san learns how to do avian photography with me...! Oh, I'll bring my old camera with me the next time. These things are expensive to buy and all...hahahaha..."
Takano: "Thank you. I would be very interested to learn how to take pictures which seems to be your pasttime *chuckle*. I would love to do avian photography with you the next time. So does that mean that I wouldn't need to buy my own camera?"
Tomitake: "Ah, yes, that's right! You should practice with my old camera first. Once you get used to that, you can buy your own if you want! I..I'll send you the camera once I return to Tokyo!"
Takano: "Thank you. I would like to hear your comment on the pictures that I took the next time you come here."
Tomitake: "S...Sure...! Hahaha, I wonder what kind of pictures they're going to be!"
Takano: "*chuckle chuckle* They're not going to come out like Jirou-san's. It really is going to be my first time."
I was blushing bright red and scratching my head. In sharp contrast, she was still her cool self as she smiled. I don't know if I'm being self-confident or not... But I get a feeling that Takano-san doesn't mind having me as her company... If it was just utter social flatter, she wouldn't go along with me this far.
....Ah, no no. What am I thinking? I've always failed for taking a woman's social flatter too seriously. I must not think that she might have some interest in me....
Takano: "....By the way, isn't this the first time we've actually had the time to talk together alone?"
Tomitake: "Y, yes. Usually the director or other researchers were around."
Takano: "I really don't know that much about you. Things like what kind of work do you do back in Tokyo or what your past was like. If you don't mind me asking, what do you do within the SDF...?"
Tomitake: "Aha, hahahaha.... Well, I was an instructor for a while, or at least I thought it was. But I sustained a certain injury to my eye. It wasn't that much of a big deal as I can live life normally. But they decided it was serious enough, so right now all I do is desk work. Ahahaha...."
Takano-san took another jab at me as she chuckled by saying that I must've done something stupid to cause that injury to myself.
Tomitake: "And while I was helping public relations make their own magazine, that was when I first became fascinated with photography! These cameras have the power to capture human happiness. Ahahahaha, you might be thinking I'm nuts, but it's true. I've felt and began enjoying everyday ever since I took up taking photography."
Takano: "...How can a camera make a person so happy...?"
Tomitake: "Well, a camera is able to take a snapshot of a piece of daily life. And if you want to capture that for later view, you'd want to take pictures filled with happiness right? So, as you peek through the finder while wondering where you can find happiness...lo and behold, you realize that the things that you thought were just a part of normal life were actually immersed in so much happiness."
..For example, a dandelion sprouting from the cracks of the asphalt can be overlooked as you walk by in your busy daily life. However, when you look at it through the view finder, you realize that it is a very special present that tell you that spring is approaching. You take that as a picture and leave it in a photo album. And everytime you open that photo album, you remember the joyful feeling that you had when you took the picture.
Takano-san: "Does Jirou-san always feel that way when you take your pictures...?"
Tomitake: "Uh-huh. For me, the ambition to take a Pulitzer winning pictures and the like is not a high priority for me. I believe that the fascinating thing about a camera is that it is able to re-recognize all the little joys that we tend to overlook everyday. That's why it is a very fabulous hobby for me that I can feel that way as I peek through the view finder in Hinamizawa."
I have a tendency to go overboard when I talk, but Takano-san usually playfully twists my words right back at me. ...So it was very rare to see her listening carefully to what I was saying. Takano-san sat right next to me...and began fiddling with my camera. ...I don't know how much of an impression I gave to her with my ramblings, but it seems that she has begun to show a bit of interest in photography. I assumed that she was going to make fun of me as usual, so this reaction that she showed was blissful to me.
Tomitake: "Do you want to take a try at it?"
Takano-san: "...Do you think I could?"
Tomitake: "Oh, it's easy! All you have to do is get the hang of focusing and pressing the shutter. Here, you can hold it. Oh, don't touch the lens...!"
Takano-san: "Boo. It's not easy as you say..... *chuckle chuckle*"
Since she seemed to have shown some interest in photography, it would be best if we could start taking nature photography in this beautiful place called Hinamizawa. ...Unfortunately, the rain doesn't seem to show signs of clearing anytime soon. However, she was clearly enjoying her new found hobby and began taking many photographs of items that caught her eye inside the rundown bus stop. So the very first pictures that she took happened to be odd things in an around this dank shack.
Ever since then, whenever we get together, both of us would go around the village taking pictures with our cameras...
The village clinic was a perfect cover for our research.
Though restricted to people above a certain age, we have the ability to do health check-ups on the majority of the Hinamizawa residents. ...This was a definite plus for the clinic being the front cover of the research facility. And thanks to connections, we were able to perform autopsy on the villagers' corpses. ...As a person working in the field of medicine, I couldn't have asked for a better place to work.
The continuation of the now-deceased Dr. Takano's work is going smoothly. ...The amount of research data compiled by the previous researcher was astounding. It surprises me again as it showed me how great the man was.
Takano: "Excuse me, director"
Irie: "...Oh, Takano-san, thank you."
Takano: "The final test results came back from Tokyo today. I'll leave them here, okay?"
Irie: "Thank you. ...Now things are starting to get more interesting."
Takano: "*chuckle chuckle* I'm happy to enjoy this excitement along as well."
Takano-san is my right-hand person who was provided to me by the SDF. However, there's something strange about her that doesn't quite fit my perception of a SDF officer. Just as our research is deemed confidential to everyone, ...perhaps her identity might also be confidential as well. I'm pretty certain that her surname, Takano, is also fake.
I am just a doctor and a researcher, nothing more. Without Takano-san's support, I can never manage the place as the director of the Irie Facility. She is a pipeline to her clients in "Tokyo," my right-hand person, and an avid researcher herself on the Hinamizawa Syndrome. ...Her assistance here is a huge benefit for this facility. ...But as I think more and more, I'm beginning to think that this place would rather be fit to be named as the Takano Facility rather than from my name. With her vast credentials and skills, it would make more sense that she was the director of this facility.
However, I do recall the first time they approached me with this offer. ...The client wanted a civilian to head the facility. Hence, they searched for a person who fit the description as mine, and set me up as the director.
...Even I understand I'm just a puppet on the stand. But, I refuse to just sit here and do nothing. I was given the chance to research about a rare disease. And as a researcher, such an opportunity excites my own curiosity. I have no idea what my clients want out of this research, but I do have the desire to enhance my quest for knowledge in order in order to become one of the first people to unravel the mysteries of human body.
Irie: "It is rather disappointing that despite us having all these data that proves the existence of a parasite as the cause for the Hinamizawa Syndrome, ...we still don't have the factual evidence of the culprit microbe itself."
Takano: "Yes. I too had anticipated that we could easily find them with the aid of an electron microscope."
Viruses were too small to be seen by a normal optical microscope. But, the invention of the electron microscope changed all that. It was able to provide a huge advancement in the medical field. However, the equipment is very expensive for a normal doctor to own for him or herself.
The deceased Dr. Takano predicted that the cause of the disease can be found with an electron microscope, but it seems that theory has been proven wrong. Takano-san too was at first optimistic that we can find the cause of the disease with such a machine. Unfortunately for us, cadaver after cadaver revealed no signs of any parasistes...
To be frank, our research seems to have our first snag. For the past couple of weeks, our research was technically stalled because of this. ...Hence we needed to re-assess how to carry out our future research.
Takano: "...In that case, it could be that the culprit is either smaller than we can see with our available technology, or...perhaps we're looking at the wrong specimen to begin with."
Irie: "A wrong specimen? What do you mean by that?"
Takano: "Well, we know that there are fleas on the bodies of wild mice. However, one cannot find any fleas on a dead mice. This is because as the mice dies, the fleas' habitat dies as well."
Takano: "From the view of the parasite, if the host dies, it is the same as saying the world has ended in our perspective."
Irie: "That's correct. It's the same as saying that one cannot find a living human in a post-apocalyptic world."
Takano: "...So, all one has to do is to look at an Earth before it ends, right? *chuckle chuckle*"
Irie: "Yes... But there's a thing called human rights in an alive Earth. It will not be easy to do such a thing when one's alive..."
Examining a living person's brain. ...This holds a heavy meaning even under closed dicussion. From a medical standpoint, it's easy to say that all one has to do is to study it. ...But human society has its rules and morals. As part of human society, we need to advance medicine bounded to such rules.
I remember the time when I was studying the advancement of psychosurgery (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychosurgery) for the better of mankind. ...I do not think that I had made a mistake. ...However, I do not know whether the concept of morals would ever forgive me. Despite whether I'm guilty or not, I am certain that my judgment will be handed down by the Enma. ...I am prepared to receive what I deserve.
As I was reflecting upon my past, I suddenly heard a voice.
That voice was Takano-san's. It was a tone that was very clear and simple, yet a one that struck me with surprise.
Takano: "I understand. Then let me prepare you a world before its death."
I was dumbfounded. ...Some say that the advancement of medical science requires one to hear a devil's whisper of the word 'sacrifice'." I listened to that devil's voice.
Takano: "*chuckle* It's not so hard. All we need to do is to find a resident of Hinamizawa in his or her terminal stages at one of the hospitals."
Irie: "...But, ...Even if the patient is terminally ill, do you think there would be anyone who would be brave enough to provide his or her own body for research while being alive?"
Takano: "That's not necessary. The person is going to die anyway, why not let it go to sleep a bit early? On paper of course. *chuckle chuckle*"
She's trying to say that patient will be legally declared dead despite having some life left. And we are to perform an "autopsy" on the "corpse," ...while he or she is alive.
Irie: "Y...you've got to be kidding...! B...Besides! Performing neurological surgery means we need to do a circular incision on the cranial area! The families of the deceased is bound to have doubts when they see such marks...!"
Takano: "That's the part where we come in, aren't they? I'll immediately have the Yamainu find a patient that matches the description at the local hospital. Doctor, all you need to do is to wait on the dinner table with your knifes and forks in your hands. I'll bring in the main dish as soon as possible. *chuckle chuckle*"
I do not doubt that Takano Miyo-san is my partner. However, there are certain aspects of her that I cannot trust everything about her. ...Probably, it is her extremities as a researcher which contrast largely with mine...
...Yet, how can I say that I am unlike her? Despite what I said, I stand here waiting in front of the dish with my knife and fork. ...Basically, I'm just whitewashing that I don't want to see the fish being prepared before my own eyes. But still, the dinner that she's about to prepare...is the one that I am anxiously awaiting for right now.
What a hypocrite. ...no, not her. I'm the hypocrite.
How can I say that I am different from her from what I have done in the past? I've performed psychosurgery with my own hands without the patient's consent, despite it being a surgery that may affect that person's life for the rest of their lives. How is that any different from what she is about to do now? ...Until today, I've never doubted my past achievements. However...I begin to feel sudden uneasiness when I observe her extremities.
Takano-san is currently calling Okonogi-san from the intercom from my desk. ...She's probably calling him to explain about the idea she has just proposed.
I...sit here blankly without stopping her...
I then begin...to reflect upon my past...to remember why I chose the path to become a doctor in the first place....
[Pre-requisite: Irie's reflection on his past]
I wanted to become a doctor was the usual reasons that most people have.
"If I become a doctor, I can become rich. I'll be looked up to by everyone."...I believe that those were my initial reasons.
So when I played with my friends back when I was little, I acted as if I were the group's doctor. Using what I learned from household medical books, I cleansed the wounds when my friends fell and I put ice-packs when they sprained an ankle. Everyone was saying that Kyousuke-kun will grow up to become a fine doctor one day, and I believed so too.
My family was poor so they highly praised my goal. They told me that in order to become a doctor, I needed to study really hard. I remember them borrowing quackery books from the rent-a-book store for me. However, borrowing such books does not come cheap. So, I speed-read through one book in one day, and my parents would go back to the store to exchange it with another one by faking that they accidentally borrowed a book that they've read before. Because of this, my parents were able to borrow two books for the price of one.
Of course now that I am a doctor, I realize those books were useless quackery. Nevertheless, those books were a highly motivational in leading me to my goal.
The neighbors all touted me as Dr. Kyousuke-kun, and I was always the recommended candidate for the class health officer. Even my teachers consuled me with what courses to take in order to become a doctor.
Of course, becoming a doctor is not as easy as it seems. I had to study diligently, and the path to it was very rough indeed.
In order become a doctor, one definitely has to go to college. But, as my family was poor, they refused to let me go to an expensive private university. With that out of the question, the only option left for me was to become admitted to a national public university. Although my grades were not bad, but the admission rate to such elite universities are very marginal. And if one is talking about getting into the medical school of such universities, the chances are even more smaller.
...But, I didn't give up. I studied my ass off. The dream that I had as a kid was the only driving force behind it.
"I'm gonna be a doctor so that everyone's gonna look up to me."
A cheap and childish dream like that was the only thing that kept me going.
....And lo and behold, I got in. I wasn't at the top of the list, but I still got in. I was finally able to step on the start line to achieve my childhood dream.
My parents were very proud of me. ...Both mom and dad didn't go to college, so they took pride that their son got into a prestigious public med school. They invited all of our relatives and they threw a congratulatory party just for me. Even though a public university is still quite expensive for our family, they still celebrated the largest party they ever had thrown.
My dad is the stern type that doesn't show his emotions. He was always stone-faced, he never expressed his opinions, and he never took the lead. He was supported by mom at his side; being the last to appear and leaving in silence. Basically, he was the typical stern-but-silent Japanese dad at the time. So, it was a quite a surprise to see my dad broke down in tears in happiness, that I cried along with him. He would slap my back in pride as he went around all my relatives saying how proud he was to have son like me. He sat face to face with me understanding all the hard work I did to accomplish such an achievement.
That party later became my going-away party as I was about to leave for Tokyo. At the station, my dad hailed many "banzais" as my train pulled away. I was very embarrassed at the commotion, ...but I distinctly recall that tears began to trickle down as the sight of dad began to disappear along the horizon...
After that, I was immersed in hellish days of studying and exams. There were indeed times in which I wanted to just give up and submit myself into the lavish lifestyle of the urban city. But, letters from home would cheer me up everytime, which revitalized me not to give up what was in reach.
During this time, I set a goal to open up a clinic back home, which lacked an internal medicine and a pediatrician. I would never have imagined that I would become involved in the world of neurology at the time...
One day, I received a letter from home that was bit different than the others. Most of the subject was about local affairs and the usual notes on how I was doing...but the postscript stood out as odd.
"Lately, dad has become extremely violent. In awful days, he'll make a huge mess out of the house."
...I was definitely surprised by this as I could never imagine such a quiet dad like mine in such a rage of fury. I wondered what would make my dad to tick him off so much? ...But my mom ended the letter saying that she had no idea what would make him so violent all of a sudden.
My mom has been with my dad for a long time, long before I was born. ...She could figure out small things about my dad that even I couldn't get.
...Yet here I have my mom who couldn't figure out my dad's sudden rage. .....What the heck happened?
Mom and Dad were viewed by our neighbors as being a lovely couple. When I would make mom sad by doing something stupid, my dad would bonk me on the head with his knuckles. ...Why would my dad suddenly go out against my mom? Maybe there might've been a misunderstanding between the two. ...I should go back home over the New Year's holiday to talk about this face to face with my dad.
...Unfortunately, the circumstances were much severe that I had thought.
One cold winter day...the door to my apartment dangled open. I rushed in thinking that I might've been robbed...but there I saw my mom with all her belongings.
...That's right. My mom couldn't take anymore of dad's beatings so she ran away to my place.
This was back in the days when the proverb "A woman has no place to settle down all her life." (http://www.proz.com/kudoz/100382) still held true. She couldn't go back to her own family being from the same area as dad, so she came all the way to Tokyo where I was.
And that's when I learned of my dad's domestic violence towards her. My mom broke down as she cried how can such a kind man like him change all of a sudden. She boldly struck down that she was never going back to such an awful person like him ever again.
As the only child, what could I do? ...I tried in vain if she could give dad one more chance...but it was futile when she showed me the bruises on her body...
What happened afterwards is difficult to explain even from me...so I'll just be brief.
After my mom escaped to my place, my dad thought that she was cheating and started going to each of the neighbors house in a rage with a wooden sword in hand. ...He was promptly arrested by the police. He was released soon thereafter, but he firmly believed that someone in the neighborhood was hiding mom and repeated the violence time and time again. He eventually went to the point of getting into fights into anyone who "pissed him off," which lead him to pick a fight with a group of punks who beat him to death.
...At least my relatives gave my dad a decent funeral, but my mom refused to show up. It's no use in beating a dead horse, so no one at the funeral bad-mouthed my dad. ...But everyone was indeed puzzled at how such a quiet person like him would suddenly become so violent...
But it was here that I learned that my dad wasn't just all but of rage and violence that my mom had said. ...From what I heard from my relatives, they told me that he would also suddenly be in euphoria and in depression as well. ...Emotions clicked and changed at a moment's notice. The frequency was seen to be as its worse towards his final days. Furthermore, they also told me that he was constantly complaining of a severe headache. ...My dad was a construction worker. One day, he strongly hit is head on a 2x4 and fell unconscious. ...He immediately woke up and started working as if nothing had happened, so everyone just dismissed it as just a simple mishap. ...But his personality and his headaches would occur after that...
I immediately sensed a connection with this accident and my dad's erratic behavior, so I asked my professor as soon as went back to Tokyo.
Professor: "...Hmm. I can't say for certainty, but it seems that your father might've been affected by some kind of psychological impairment. The accident may have caused an injury to the brain, which may have induced some psychiatric disorder similar to organic brain syndrome. The personality disorder and delirium that your father seemed to have is very similar to the symptoms of such patients."
Human behavior is created by the actions of the brain. ...Damage to the brain causes such erratic behavior. So, my dad was not a psychotic, ...he was just a patient suffering from a disorder...
Professor: "If you have a chance to perform an autopsy of your father's body, you should perform a post-mortem brain analysis. ...You might find a tumor."
However, my dad's body has been cremated already. There is no way to prove this hypothesis anymore.
But I deduced that my father was suffering patient from these accounts. It was the only way I could explain the sudden change of dad's personality. ...I tried in vain to explain this to my relatives, but they weren't convinced.
"If something happened to his brain, he would've died. But, he was alive and healthy. So there was no way that the accident caused damage to his brain. It was just your dad's personality, so the brain has nothing to do with it. He was just distressed deep within his heart."
They brushed it off blaming that it was his heart.
...This was the extent of the majority of the populace's perception of the brain. ...They do not think that the inanimate heart they say is just a figment created by the brain.
My relatives refused to believe in my theory. ....But still, I sincerely hoped that one person would hear me out. ...That one person was my mom.
As my mom aged older, she became a bit senile...and started to aggravate about the abuses that she endured by dad. ...By this time, all she did was criticizing my dad. And she always ended her self-pity by breaking down why she had married him in the first place.
...They were such a nice couple together.
...Our family was happy, and it was the best that I could ever have hoped for...
That was why I wanted to reach out to her to make her understand this it was just an unfortunate accident... Dad's behavior was just a symptom of brain damage. ...While I am saddened at what my mom had to go through, but I wanted to tell her it my dad chose to do so. ...I tried explaining to her many times that my dad is not at fault.
...But, ...mom was not convinced either. Before my mom took her last breath, ...I asked her to forgive my dad. Yet, my mom's last word was... "please do not bury my bones next to dad..."
There was no fault to my dad....
...He was just a pitiful patient suffering from an psychological disorder through brain damage. No one is obtuse enough to say shut up to a person coughing from a cold, right? It's a symptom, so people should provide pity and assistance when needed.
In my dad's case, the symptoms weren't as easy to be defined like a cough, ...but it was a something more difficult to ascertain called personality.
If I had studied neurology, I might've been able to convince my mom. ...I might've been able to correct her misunderstanding so that she might've at least been together with dad in heaven.
...When I realized what I could've done...I broke down in tears for being so helpless.
And, that was when it hit me that there are thousands of patients out there in the world just like my dad, who are suffering from this disorder, yet subjected to harsh treatments because of misunderstanding.
And, this was when I found out about a miraculous cure for such disorders called psychosurgery (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychosurgery). Since then, ...I spent my days as a doctor learning about the mysteries of the neurological world so that I can help people who are suffering from such mental illnesses. I studied so that if my dad was still alive...I could cure him by performing it myself.
This...was the main reason why I, Irie Kyousuke, is standing here at his present profession.
[Research standstill is required]
That night. The priest, who is the head of the Furude family, said there's a family meeting, and called his wife and Rika into the room.
It is Hinamizawa's tradition for the [i]gosanke to gather and discuss about the village's issues.
In addition to that, it's not uncommon for big families like the Sonozaki or Kimiyoshi family to hold relative or family meetings beforehand, in order to sort out opinions among themselves first.
......However, the Furude family has lost all of its family branches, with only a family of 3 left in the main family now.
That's why, up until now, they have never held anything like a family meeting.
"What's the matter? All formal like this...... Is this about the dam?"
The most important problem facing the village right now is the dam problem.
The priest's wife believed that the talk that the priest is about to start right now must be related to that.
...And since he called the whole family together just to say it, there must be a significant decision within it for sure.
......For example, they're going to join the retreatists or something like that. That's the kind of talk the priest's wife was expecting.
"......No, it's not about the dam............ But it's a very, very serious problem that concerns this whole village, no, it concerns even the ancestors of this village too."
The Furude family has served in priesthood and worshipped the village's protector god, Oyashirosama, for generations.
...If the head of this family is making a statement like this, then there is no doubt that it must be a very serious issue.
And yet, if it's not about the dam, just what can it be....?
"...I was married into this family. That's why I want you and Rika, who carry the true bloods of the Furude family, to listen very carefully............... The two of you are not normal human beings."
"......I'm the reincarnation of Oyashirosama, right?"
"Rika, you mustn't say that out loud! ...Honey, let's talk about this later when Rika's not around. It's enough to have the elders from the village hall planting weird ideas into Rika,"
"About that, talk of Rika being the reincarnation of Oyashirosama...... It appears to be true after all."
"......It's going to be a long story. The two of you be quiet for a while and listen to what I have to say."
No idea what the talk is going to be about, a dumbfounded expression appeared on the wife's face. However, Rika was completely calm with her usual carefree expression.
The priest waited until his wife regained calmness, and began to talk....
"There is a type of sickness in this village that has been here since a long time ago...... It's a special kind of sickness that only exists in this area, a local disease, you can say... And everyone who lives in this village has caught it. Not just the people living in this village right now, our ancestors who has lived here in the past, all of them have been living with this sickness all these times as well."
"No way.... But we're all living normally like this, aren't we? A sickness only for this village, I have never heard of anything like that...!"
"Calm down....... This sickness, you see, doesn't cause any problems as long as you're inside this village. However, if you leave this village and go somewhere far away, it'll act out.... Do you understand?"
"H... how do you expect me to understand? I have no idea what you're talking about!"
"......It's the same as Oyashirosama's Curse."
Completely opposite of the flustered wife, Rika said in a calm voice.
"That's right. It's the same thing as the curse that'll befall upon you if you leave this village....... In other words, the Oyashirosama's Curse that our ancestors have feared throughout all these generations is caused by a local disease that exists only within this village."
"That's impossible. Because, we have left the village on occasions ourselves too, haven't we? Same for the other villagers too. There are people who went far way for work, there are even people who went overseas!"
"Yeah. Apparantly, that's because the sickness has gradually weakened over a long period of time. That's why, if we give it even more time, it'll eventually disappear altogether...... However, it seems that this process has been messed up due to the dam war....... Everyone knows that the village is in an excited state right now due to the dam war, almost like having a fever, right? It seems that this state of excitement and emotional instability is making the sickness worse."
"I'm not... really sure what you're saying but... you're suggesting that all the things that were referred to as curses throughout all these times.... are the works of that disease?"
"That's right. All of Oyashirosama's decisions were decisions made to protect the villagers from this sickness."
"......No way...! Then you're saying that Oyashirosama's true identity is not a god... but a disease instead!? Impossible!! How can we explain that to the ancestors of the Furude family!?"
"Calm down. The faith of Oyashirosama isn't going to change. That fact that Oyashirosama is watching over Hinamizawa remains the same....... It's just that a disease that can replicate Oyashirosama's Curse has existed in this village for a long time, that's all."
"I can't accept that!! How can we explain something like that to our ancestors who have passed away?! This is a desecration of Furude family's hundreds of years of tradition, no, it's a desecration of Oyashirosama!! Who planted an idea like this into you? This is completely unacceptable!! First of all, is there even proof that says such a weird sickness actually exists!?"
"And what kind of proof is that? From who!?"
"It's from someone belonging to the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Infectious Disease Prevention. The pathogen has already been identified, and they're in the middle of researching for a treatment method right now.... Last week, I got to see the documents and samples in person. The person from the Ministry of Health seems to be referring to this disease as the Hinamizawa Syndrome."
".........I don't believe it......!!"
"It appears that the Hinamizawa Syndrome is completely harmless as long as you live you life normally. However, if you move far away from Hinamizawa, it can become easy for the disease to break out if you ever become mentally or emotionally unstable. When the disease acts out, you can become possessed by your own delusions. At worst, it's even possible for you to go mad...... They say that this disease was discovered during the war. They say that a great scholar noticed that an abnormal disease occured only in soldiers who came from Hinamizawa, and has been researching it throughout all these years....... They went into details about the research but, ...Sorry, the contents were really difficult to understand so I can't explain any better than this. If you don't believe what I'm saying, you can go and ask them yourself too....... Because in the beginning, I thought they were being ridiculous and trying to desecrate Oyashirosama too, just like you."
"They say that the Irie Medical Clinic was created to research this sickness. On the surface, that place is just a clinic, but apparantly it's really a secret research lab built to study the disease."
"Researching in secret, doesn't that sound ridiculous!? If it's something done by the Ministry of Health, why don't they just do it out in the open!?"
"No, it seems that won't do. For example, think about leprosy patients in the past who have been misunderstood and forced into seperation, and how they are still being misunderstood and discriminated even now.... If all of Japan finds out that everyone from Hinamizawa has contracted a weird disease and can go mad at any moment, it'll be chaos, right? The Ministry of Health has taken that into consideration, and is aiming to develop a treatment while keeping this disease under tight lids.
Don't get me wrong, they're not putting us on display or anything. They're trying to eliminate this disease and free this village from the sickness....... It's a different story if this was the past, where we could feed and support outselves. But nowadays you can't make a living without leaving the village. If there's a disease that can be triggered simply by leaving the village, then you realize just how dangerous that will be for the villagers, right?....... I'm repeating myself now, but the recent anti-dam conflicts has put the village itself into a very excited state, which is a very bad state for Hinamizawa Syndrome."
"......If the villagers go crazy and do something terrible, then there will be lots of media here with a splash splash."
"That's right. If something like that happens, it'll be too late."
"............I don't believe it.... I can't believe it even if you tell me all of this right now.... Are they really from the government? Are you sure you're not being tricked by some weird fraud?"
"I don't blame you for not being able to trust me....... The research lab said earlier that we can go take a look anytime we want. I already had a look, and those aren't the level of a fraud...... Even the big hospital at Kokura doen't have such large-scale equipments......... If you can't believe what I said, you should go to the research lab and ask for the details. They can probably explain this better than I can. They also said that if you still can't believe it even with the research lab's explanation, they can explain it to you at the National Research Instutute at Tokyo, or even at the Ministry of Health's central office."
".............................But, besides me believing it or not... what does any of this have to do with us?"
"The Furude family is said to have inherited the blood of Oyashirosama. And they say that if a girl was born for eight continuous generations, then that eighth generation girl would be the reincarnation of Oyashirosama."
"That's right. I'm the seventh generation. Rika is the eighth generation. But what does that have to do with the disease?"
"Yeah......... This disease called Hinamizawa Syndrome is apparantly caused by a type of parasite. Although we call them parasites, they're incredibly small, so small you can't see them with the naked eye....... And they say that a leader position exist among these parasites."
"It... it can't be, are you saying that it's the Furude family!?"
"It appears that these leader parasites are inherited throug generations only by people with a direct bloodline to the Furude family. In other words... the previous generation is you, and right now, it's Rika."
"R, ridiculous!! This is crazy talk after all, don't you think?! First of all, why is it something so disgusting like parasites!?"
"Like I said, calm down!! I'm not good at explaining things. Listen to what the experts have to say. In any case, according to them, in order to research for a treatment of this disease, studies into the leader position is required."
"I don't want to!! I have absolutely no intention to participate in such a weird research, and I won't let Rika get involved in this either!!"
"I'm telling you to calm down!! According to their research, it's the seperation from the leader position, not the village, that causes the Hinamizawa Syndrome to act out....... When you were little, there were times where you were told that you have divine powers, right? Elders who went on long trips and got migrains would have their headaches disappear immediately after they came to you for cleansing, that kind of divine power. That's the proof of the leader position right there. Furude's blood has the power to save the people who have acted outl. And that's why they say it's so important to study into it in order to discover a treatment."
"......If they study me, can everyone in the village be saved?"
"That what they're saying."
"......Does everyone have this sickness? Me too? Everyone else too? Satoko too?"
"...Yeah. Not just everyone who lives in this village, people like our relatives who live in Okinomiya are includeed too. The number of infected people are probably in the thousands. It's because this is such a serious disease that the ministry spent all those money to build a specialized research lab."
"I, I object! How can you turn Rika into a sacrifice for such a suspicious research!?"
"......I'm okay with that. If Satoko can be saved with me becoming the sacrifice, then I'm all fine with it."
"Rika, you be quiet!! In any case, I absolutely refuse! I'm going to go see the people who planted such strange ideas into you, and refuse them directly myself. I won't let Rika get killed for some bizzare experiment!! Besides, Rika is the lone-decendant of the Furude family, remember?! If something were to happen to her, Furude family's blood will end up dying here, you know!? And you too, you have to think more about the Furude's position too!! This is why people in the village call you a pacifist...!! After all, don't you think this is weird!? The Ministry of Constructions is trying to sink the village under a dam. And the Ministry of Health is trying to cure a disease. I don't get what's going on anymore!!"
"The Ministry of Health has warned that a change in environment can cause the disease to break out very easily, and they're trying to get the Ministry of Construction to halt the dam project right now... Like I said, you should get them to show you their research lab too. There's no way they would build such a huge facility in a land that could be sunk under a lake."
Rika makes a big yawn.
For a little girl like Rika, it must be far beyond her bedtime now.
"......I will go to sleep now...... Daddy, please tell those people that I'm willing to help out anytime."
"R, rika!! You can't make a decision like that on your own without my permission!!! Rika! Wait, Rika!!!"
[The queen carrier's cooperation is required]
Regarding to the research of the Hinamizawa Syndrome, there was actually a very important problem that needed to be sorted out first.
And that is, the collapse of the village in the case of something happening to the queen carrier.
In grandfather's article, this was warned to be the most dangerous situation possible.
According to grandfather, if the queen carrier is to die, judging from the average time for acute symptoms to occur, it is believed that all regular infected individuals will reach terminal stage within 48 hours.
This may sound unbelievable at a glance, but deligent researches into the collapse of bizzare local religions and group suicides around the world have revealed some truths too.
Among these bizzare events around the world, you can spot a few incidents that were believed to be caused by parasites controlling whole communities, similiar to the Hinamizawa Syndrome.
...Grandfather went further and picked out cases among these incidents that were very similiar to the Hinamizawa Syndrome, and investigated them even further.
The result confirmed several cases of communities going berserk, triggered by the death of a religious founder or leader, before finally annahilating themselves.
The average time among these cases were within 48 hours.
In reality, there is no doubt that the regular carriers are being affected by the queen carrier in some way. It's also statistically true that the queen carrier's health condition directly affects the whole village.
During the week where Rika fell ill and visited the hospital, it was clear from the statistics that there were also more patients visiting the hospital in general than usual.
If only some cold symptoms in Rika would already yield such significant results...... it's certainly not unreasonable to believe that, if anything were to happen to Rika, we could be faced with a serious situation within 48 hours.
Therefore, the biggest mission for the Irie Institution, just as important as its duty of researching the Hinamizawa Syndrome, was the need to plan for the protection of the queen carrier, Furude Rika.
Although we have already obtained the cooperation from the queen carrier for the research, we must not create situations that could endanger the live of the queen, even by mistake... And we must also protect her from anyone with malicious intents who may try to harm her after learning of her existence. Her life is equal to lives of the two thousand villagers.
Still....... Even then, if, by one mistake or another, a deadly situation has resulted in the death of the queen carrier,
......There's a need for the Irie Institution to have a response plan to deal with that situation.
Because of that, back when Irie Institution was first established, I have created a draft of an emergency manual.
In the case where all regular carriers were to show acute symptoms due to the death of the queen carrier or any other reason,
this is the emergency response plan that must carried out within 48 hours of the mass occurance of acute symptoms.
...........This is the final measure created to prevent casulties from spreading to nearby areas.
And that is the eradication operation using gas disguised as a natural disaster....
My client, the Alphabet Project, has fully accepted the responsibility of working out the details of the actual operation.
They're a controversial project that researches on things like nuclear and biological weapons, so they're actually really used to these kind of things, thankfully.
...Because an amateur like me could not have been able to create a plan to efficiently eradicate a village of two thousands, that's why.
Through a dummy corporation, the Ground SDF has obtained a closed quarry located in the Yagouchi region upstream from Hinamizawa.
That place has been made the secret storage base for the suppression operation equipments.
Dangerous lethal gas equipments that kills people similar to putting them to sleep are stored here. When the emergency manual is activated, the Ground SDF's special forces is meant to use these to suppress the village.
However, equipments for eradicating villagers are being prepared, just the simple fact of that is enough to carry political dangers.
So for me to get our clients to prepare them even then, I have to get them to understand just how dangerous the Hinamizawa Syndrome is, and the importance of the suppression operation.
I had to use data files to prove to them that the suppression operation is needed.
For that purpose, these files that grandfather kept intact all these times could not have been more useful....
The clients read through the copies of grandfather's article, and seemed to have been shocked at just how big of a disaster the Hinamizawa Syndrome can create in a worst-case scenario.
"......In other words, you're saying that if something were to happen to this single girl who's the queen, the entire village of more than two thousand people will go crazy...?"
"Yes. There have been a number of other cases similar to the Hinamizawa Syndrome that resulted in group suicides. However, in Hinamizawa Syndrome's case, it's possible that excessive defensive behaviours can occur from strong paranoia or excessive feeling of crisis, resulting in the casulty rising beyond the two thousand carriers. From there, we may be faced with abnormal situations ranging from lawless violence to bizzare or religious despondence. If we do not prepare a suppression plan against this beforehand, we will not be able to avoid drawing attention from the entire world. Also, we only have window of 48 hours to respond once the incident occurs."
"...Basically, once it happens, nobody will be able to stop it, right?"
"Is it possible to treat all the infected individuals within 48 hours?"
"Probably not. Besides, we don't even have an established treatment method yet, and with the research lab's scale, it's physically impossible to treat all the villagers...!"
"...But, it's hard to believe that such a fearsome and rare disease could actually exist.... The world sure is filled with mysteries."
"To always be prepared for the worst works for National Defense department too, and it is also the belief of us here at Alphabet Project. Also, the objective is not to execute, the important thing is to be prepared."
"That's true. You're absolutely right. There are still a few places I want to discuss about the the rules of application regarding to the strengthening of approval distinctions, but I understand now that there's a need to prepare for a response plan against a worst-case scenario."
"Let's get the urban suppression warfare research team to run a simulation of a suppression war in the Hinamizawa region. I think this needs to be done as soon as possible.... After all, even at this very moment, it's possible for the queen carrier young girl to be run over by a car and killed. Major Takano, thank you. We will continue to ask you questions when we have them, so please have a seat."
Thanks to one of my backers giving me a helping push here, things have been decided without much of a problem.
Although the explanation ended up taking almost the entire day, there were little objections.
Nobody criticized grandfather's article by calling it ridiculous, or tried to rejected it.
......Today, among the files that they're reading, ......also contained the articles that were insulted by those big-shot authorities who left behind their footprints after stepping on them and grandfather's heart on that day.
And yet, nobody here is ridiculing these articles... everyone's carefully holding and reading the things that were once kicked away by others.
At one glance, it's nothing big at all, but...... This is also the moment where grandfather's research is being recongnized for the first time....
I picked up the files that were left behind by grandfather, and looked at these people who continued to discuss among themselves while pointing to and raising these papers now and then, and I could feel my chest becoming fulfilled.
......Ahh, I have worked so hard for this day....
Grandpa in heaven, ......can you see, the scenary here...?
[Pre-requisite: Rika and Satoko’s chores]
[Pre-requisite: Meeting between the Priest and the Irie Facility]
The headquarters for the Onigafuchi Defense League was in the village meeting place within the compounds of the Furude Shrine. The place is usually calm and quiet, but there are now flags and protest boards against the dam project everywhere.
Within the headquarters, there were 30 members that lead the Defense League debating on what to do next. Even though the meeting place is open to the public, it is still a part of the Furude property, it was agreed upon that the use of this meeting place will only be up to 9:00PM. Of course there are times where the meeting may go past that time during a heated debate, but usually the meeting adjourns when the clock strikes nine. And if the meeting adjourns early, the members stay there until nine for the usual village socializing. This is how it works in Hinamizawa.
But since they are in the middle of the dam war, most of the topics during such socializations are about the dam project. One would hear the villagers talking about how they were mistreated at the local government office, how someone was illegally arrested disregarding his or her right to protest, how the dam construction workers piss them off, etc. etc.
And many of these topics also include bad-mouthing about the Houjou family.
“…and she had the nerve to say that she threw away the circulation note! Who the hell does she think is?!”
“That woman has a loose screw on her head. Did ya’ hear about the quarrel she had with Makino-san’s wife at the local trash collection area?!”
“I tell ya, they are just rude and impolite. Especially that husband of hers! I never met an irrational person like him!”
“You didn’t see him how he acted during the project meeting? Oh, man, you should’ve see the nerve of the guy! He went so far to say that, yet the guy has the nerve to stay here! Don’t have the money to move! Ha! Has he no shame?!”
“Irrational, you say? Man, that woman is also irrational more than him! Wahahahaha!”
“I guess it’s hereditary! That little girl of theirs doesn’t have the decency to say hello whenever I meet her at the store! Seeing her ungratefulness, now we just pretend that she doesn’t exist!”
“Speaking of which, that boy of theirs also seemed depressed all the time too! Uhahahaha!”
By this time, the formula that the Houjous were the enemies of the entire village was set. Hence, bad-mouthing the Houjous became a common topic that anyone can jump right into.
…Anyone residing in this village knows how much influence the gosanke, and especially the Sonozakis have in this area. Added with knowing what kind of person Oryou-san is, no one would dare to go up against her.
The Houjou family and the villagers.
Even if they weren’t involved in the village as much as the others, they still would’ve known what kind of person Oryou-san was like. …He would’ve easily imagined what kind of backlash they would expect if he went out against Oryou-san in a public gathering like that. …Yet, he let his anger take over his rationale and spurted out such abusive words against her.
Hence, no one here feels any pity for the Houjous’ being ostracized in the village. Moreso, they all believe that they deserve what they get for bringing it upon themselves.
If they wanted to make a deal with the government to move away, all they had to do was to do it under the rug. Yet he was foolish enough to spill his beans at a place like that. The Sonozakis started to go after the Houjous soon thereafter. Because of this, many who were pro-dam became afraid of becoming a scapegoat like the Houjous and they reluctantly switched sides. …These people also began to hold a grudge against the Houjous for ruining their plans of receiving just compensation from the government.
The Houjous became further isolated as they became the target of hate from both the anti-dam league and the former-pro-dam supporters...
Furthermore, the Houjous were known for being hot-blooded. If they would’ve kept calm and let the wind subside, they might’ve been forgiven much sooner. They get into a heated argument whenever someone challenges them. Because of this, even the few handful that took pity towards the Houjous began to distance themselves from them as well. …By now, there was no one here that took pity towards the Houjou family. It’s pretty apparent just by hearing the conversations in this meeting place…
Rika is helping set aside the teas that were handed out to the guests. I’m sure that she can overhear these traducements. …And the criticisms that fly here include those about her best friend, Satoko-chan. …It tears me to think how hurt she might be when such backbites are said about her best friend…
…As the head priest of the Furude Shrine, I become conflicted whether I should budge in to stop this nonsense. The Oyashiro-sama is also a god that makes peace between enemies. When humans fought against the demons, it descended from the heavens and quelled the war between the two sides. …As the head who oversees this shrine, I must put and end to this before it goes too far…
I sat next to Oryou-san who was spatfully bad-mouthing about the Houjou family.
Oryou: “So that ass shitted out such crap out his mouth!! So the hell with him!! He’ll definitely have the Oyashiro-sama’s curse handed down upon him!!!”
The elderly members all agree as they listened to her. …If I barge in right now, I’m certain it won’t turn out to be a peaceful resolve…
But as the duty of the Furude Shrine’s priest, I must do this for the sake of Rika’s best friend, Satoko-chan.
Rika’s dad: “…Oryou-san. …I think it is best to stop this belittlement towards the Houjou family now. Don’t you think it has gone a bit too far…?”
Oryou: “Whaat?! What the hell you say…!!”
Rika’s dad: “…I’m sure that Houjou-san didn’t mean it as much as he said. The way they are treated looks very pitiful when it lasts this long…”
Oryou: “Shaddup!!! Weren’t you the least bit pissed off when you heard what that shit said?! Shit pissed me off!! Fuck, Fuck!!!”
…Oryou-san is the head of the Sonozaki family. She is the heir of the demon. She never forgives a person that goes up against her. There was no way that my plea to forgive the Houjou family would reach her… My comment only flared up the tempers of Oryou-san and the elderly, and they wouldn’t hear none of it.
I asked the members of this league to cool down when I told them that the dam project would be gone soon. …I said this because I overheard the people working at the Irie Clinic that the government is putting some kind of pressure to halt this project.
But to them, they must’ve taken me for being a pacifist. …And then, criticisms towards me began to become the topic within the group. …From this day forward, I will realize that I have become branded as a pacifist in this dam war…
……If a demon would come to the compromise table to listen, then peace can be achieved. …But how can I make peace with people who refuse to listen in the first place? I’ve destroyed their mood, so all I could do was give up into silence…
But then, a small hand touched my back.
Rika’s dad: “Oh, Rika. ….It’s already past your bedtime. You should go to sleep.”
Rika: “…No matter how much we do, …it is in vain.”
Rika muttered as if she’s looking farther away in the distance.
Rika: “…The polluted vice of this town cannot be cleansed by polluted residents like us… But, I will not lose hope. …Soon, …there will be someone who will come and smash this contamination. I believe…no, he must…!”
Her eyes shone as if she was peeking through the future that only the priestess of Furude can see…
[Pre-requisite: The augmentation of the infected villagers’ symptoms]
Construction worker C: “…huff…huff! ….huff! ….huff…!!!”
Construction worker B: “….Fuck! ….Shit, man, shit…!! Manager…? Manager…? C’mon, we’re not joking… Manager….?”
Construction worker A: “You asshole! Can’t you see that he’s dead already…!?”
Clang. …Everyone snapped out of it. Someone dropped his shovel that he was holding. …That shovel was dripping dark blood… Actually, blood was splattered everywhere. …The six construction workers’ clothes were all tainted in blood. One of the workers was crying out to the corpse previously known as the manager of the site.
CW B: “…Manager….! ….Manager….!!! Sob….!”
CW A: “Shut up…! The dude is dead! …C’mon man! It was fucking self-defense! Right?! Self-Defense…!!”
This whole thing started when they were yelled at by the manager for drinking beer inside the construction office. There were no smoking and no drinking signs plastered all over the place. If people didn’t follow the rules, it was inevitable that the head manager would scold them. It’s probably their fault for disobeying the rules in the first place. But they were also stressed out by the incessant protests and the hate that the villagers throw at them. …So one of them just snapped and yelled back at him to step outside. The rest also went along for the heck of it.
Being a construction worker is a stressful, low-paying blue-collar job. That’s why they instigated a fight with him to relieve some of their stress. At first, it was just a typical fist-fighting brawl. …But it suddenly began to escalate. …Actually, it was the manager who seemed to show an explosion of anger that they’ve never seen before.
…They knew that the manager must’ve been stressed out by those anti-dam protests as well. It’s fair to say that he was stressed out as much or even more than they were.
But the way his personality changed…was out of this world. The manager was cool and calm in the beginning. …Gradually, however, his actions became more aggravating…it was like seeing him transforming into a psychotic right before out their eyes!!! …They became frightened as it seemed like he was being possessed with the devil or some sort…
And then…the manager picked up the shovel lying right next to him and started a mad dash towards one of them to bash his brains out. …It was a miracle that the guy managed to move out of the way in time to not get hurt, but if he didn’t, his head would’ve been split open with the amount of force the manager put into that shovel. But the manager didn’t stop there. The manager continued to pound his shovel towards the guy as he frantically dodged the manager’s blows.
…They realized that the manager’s actions were going too far for just a brawl, so they tried to restrain him. But then, the manager turned towards them with his shovel. One of the guys tried to block the shovel as it came down on him with by crossing his arms. …But there is no way that any man could block a shovel with such a force.
Blood began to drip from the man’s arms as he cried out in pain.
The six instinctively knew that…the manager was not his usual self. The manager that they were up against right now…was a demon who would immediately try to bash their brains out without any remorse…! If they were to ward off this thing who was holding a shovel as its weapon…they also needed some kind of weapon to fend him off as well. One of the guys sub-consciously reached for a hammer nearby. …When the others saw this, they all began to take something into their hands… If they were to restrain it…they’d better arm ourselves against its weapon…!
CW B: “….It wasn’t supposed to be this way…. Oh man!!! uWaaaaaa…!”
It didn’t take that long for the madness to spread from the manager to the six construction workers. …So, it was only time for their goal to become switched from restraining him to lynching him.
When they snapped out of it, there laid a dead body formerly known as the manager… …His face was all swollen, torn shreds of skin and muscle, and one could even seen skull from his head. …Everyone knew that the manager was dead…
CW A: “Fuck, fuck this man…!! We’re the ones that were about to be killed!! If he didn’t strike at us like that in the first place, we wouldn’t have done this!! Right?!”
The leader of the six, the guy who instigated the fight, desperately tried to bring the rest to his side, but everyone else was shocked in horror and just stood there dumbfounded… The leader took the silence in frustration.
…I was the one who started the fight in the first place. The rest just joined in. …So I’m the main perpetrator.
Hence, he was feeling exasperated as he sensed that he was the one at fault.
CW A: “Snap out of it…!! Hey! What’s done is done!! We’re all fucking criminals know!! Take that reality into your guts!! The heck you guys are thinking about, huh!? Don’t tell me you guys are thinking about going to the cops, are you!? Hell no! I ain’t going to jail at this age!! We’re gonna hide it, you hear!? We’re gonna hide this body and act like we know nutthin’!!”
…Everyone here knew that this guy had some trouble with the law in the past and was on probation. So…if he got into trouble with the law again…his punishment would be more severe than they could imagine… That’s why he was making so much fuss about it to figure out away out of this mess.
…If he was the only one here with the body, he wouldn’t have made much ruckus about this. …All he had to do was to hide it himself and acted like nothing had happened. But unfortunately, there are six of them including him at this moment. There are acquaintances in this murder who could turn themselves in and become witnesses. If any one of them break down on their guilt, it is easy to foresee that the majority of the blame was to fall upon him…
CW B: “But…but, even we hid it, someone’s gonna find it sooner or later…”
CW C: “Yeah…Isn’t it better if we just turn ourselves in, explain to them that it was in self-defense…in hope that they’ll give us a lighter sentence…?”
CW A: “Fuck you all!! Can’t you see how far we did!? You think we’ll be let off with self-defense by looking at this!? We’ve fucking bashed him so much that his parents wouldn’t figure out who he is, you dumb ass!!!”
CW B: “But…even if we hid it, how are we gonna explain when he doesn’t show up for work tomorrow…? There’s no way out of this….!”
CW A: “The only way out of this is to get this shit out of your fucking head, asshole!!!”
The leader beat up the guy for being so weak-minded. …Everyone realized that the leader was beginning to turn into a demon himself…
CW A: “Listen up ladies?! We’re fucking murderers now, you hear me?! MURDERERS!! If we don’t do something, it’s five, six years in the slammer!! If one of you betrays, ALL of us are going to jail!! And don’t think ONLY five or six years is a fucking light sentence!! If you all have the guts to turn yourselves in, then have the guts to runaway until this shit passes!! You got that!!”
Even his face seemed to transform into a demon… It was like déjà vu – they all saw it happen to the manager just a while ago. They all started believing that whatever got a hold of the manager was now beginning to take over their leader…
The first thing that came across their minds was how he looked like those villagers protesting in front of the construction site. They seriously began to think about the myths of this area - Onigafuchi village, formerly a place where demons lived with humans, how they sometimes possessed the residents, etc. etc. …Up until this time, they all brushed it off as superstition. But when they see their manager and their leader turning into a demon right before their eyes, they seriously began to contemplate that the myth might be real…
When the manager turned into a demon, he wielded a shovel like a murderer. ….There’s no assurance that their leader won’t act similarly… In fact, he still had a tight grip on his hammer and gleamed his eyes towards the rest. …If anyone said anything about turning themselves in again…he would go after him and bash his head in an instant….
CW A: “….Got it. …..I figured out a way to prevent one of you from turning traitor. …Heh heh heh. It’s an excellent plan…we can securely hide the body at the same time too….”
CW C: “Uh….Okay….wh…what’s your plan…?”
CW A: “Heh heh heh…See this body here…? ….We’re gonna divide it up like friends like we are.”
CW C: “Oh…hahaha….yeah….”
Everyone wanted out of it. They’ve already committed murder. …What he’s asking for is to add corpse mutilation to the charge…
…But the atmosphere possessing their leader inhibited anyone from disagreeing. …If they did, they instinctively knew that it was their turn next…
CW A: “We’re all gonna chop it up. Remember how this old man use to say? It’s TEAMWORK. That’s right, we’re all acquaintances in this murder. And, each one of you is gonna take a piece and hide it. ….See? Just like friends, we help each other out, eh? Heh heh heh…that way, one of you guys won’t be able to turn traitor just cuz your sentence is lighter. …Heh heh heh heh heh heh!!”
CW B~F: “…..ugh…..”
The five started to sense that the demons living in Onigafuchi were starting to crawl into them behind their backs….
[Pre-requisite: Irie Kyosuke]
[Pre-requisite: Dismemberment murder]
I guess being half-asleep causes you to miss an important phone call. It was not until I forced myself to wake up that I realized that the incessant noise was the phone ringing and it had to be very important for it to be ringing for such a long time.
I looked at the clock and it said 2:00 AM. What could it be to call me at this late in the hour?
Irie: “….Hello, this is Irie.”
Takano: “I’m sorry for waking you up, Director Irie.”
It was Takano-san. …She had never once called me for personal reasons. …And she is the de facto head of the Irie Facility and was responsible for all the research that goes on at that place. …If she’s calling me at this late in the night, it must be of extreme urgency that needs immediate attention.
Irie: “….Sorry for being late. You said that there was a patient in his terminal stages?”
Takano: “Yes. And as luck would have it, it’s just when we wanted a living sample too. *chuckle chuckle chuckle chuckle*”
At first, I was suspicious that she forcibly kidnapped a poor patient from somewhere.
The man was put into isolation in the underground research section of the facility. He seemed to be more deranged than putting up a resistance when I saw him on restraints. His speech was slurred and it sounded like he was angry and remorseful at the same time. It was like seeing a child fretting for some candy.
…It was obvious that he was not normal.
Irie: “…Let’s anesthetize him to sleep. He’ll endanger himself in this state. He may end up suffocating himself by swallowing his own tongue.”
Takano: “I wanted to make some more observations, but oh well.”
One of the staff members readied the anesthesia.
It makes sense that any normal person would become agitated when one is suddenly transferred to a strange place like this in restraints. But, this man level of franticness was beyond that. …The people that must’ve captured him was most likely Okonogi and his Yamainu team, and I’m very surprised how they were able to put him down…
According to her, she said that she coincidentally met a terminal-stage patient as on her way home from the clinic. She took him to the clinic for some preliminary tests, and the results showed that there was a high possibility of him being positive.
…Of course, I’m not going to swallow such a story on how she found him. …But it was apparent that this man was showing symptoms of the terminal stages of the syndrome. And, he was indeed what we were looking for in order to advance our research – a living sample…
Irie: “And who is this man…?”
Takano: “*chuckle chuckle* He was holding a package wrapped in old newspapers. …Care to guess what was inside?”
Irie: “…Ugh…., ….What the heck is this…?”
Takano placed the bloodied package wrapped with newspaper on the stainless dish. It was pretty obvious that it wasn’t going to be something to look forward with the blood stains and all. However, Takano had a grin on her face as if she was trying to show me a surprise…
Irie: “Oh god…., Jeez, this is awful….”
It was…a person’s right arm…!
But the man on the restraints has his own right arm, so this isn’t his. …Then who does this arm belong to…?
As a doctor, Irie was used to seeing body parts, so he wasn’t that outraged. It was however, the way it was cut off that sent chills down his spine. …He immediately noticed that this right arm wasn’t amputated surgically. …It clearly showed signs of what kind of brutality went into literally “chopping” it off.
Takano: “Judging by the circumstances, I’m sure that it was him himself that chopped this arm off. *chuckle chuckle chuckle*”
Irie: “…So this man is a possible suspect who must’ve committed a corpse mutilation nearby.”
At this time, we had no idea who this right arm belonged to. But the mystery was solved in the next morning when we learned about the dam construction manager’s murder and that the police was still looking for the right arm…
Takano: “This man seems to have some criminal background and is currently on probation. …Yet he committed this crime so the thought must’ve run through him that he should hide it.”
Irie: “…Circumstances aside, I’m sure it must’ve been something in which he wouldn’t be let off too easily with several years in jail or the like…”
Takano: “*chuckle chuckle* Basically he’s just a shit of society. Wouldn’t that fact relieve your hesitation in dissecting him, Director Irie?”
Irie: “…We don’t know if he was a ‘shit of society’ who built up his criminal past and became ferocious from the Hinamizawa Syndrome, or if he was a person who repented his past but unfortunately became a victim of the syndrome and turned violent again. …If it’s the former, well….but if it’s the latter, then there’s no sin towards this man.”
This is the terrifying part of the Hinamizawa Syndrome. …There is no way to distinguish whether or not if a certain criminal act was caused by that person’s own intentions, or as a byproduct of the symptoms from the Hinamizawa Syndrome.
…Yet, what is the primary cause of defiant social skills in the first place? That was what Irie yearned to learn about. Detest the crime itself, but not towards the criminal. …Is throwing them into jail the right answer? …If the crime was caused subconsciously by an unknown tumor in the brain, then the criminal might be cured from doing such acts again.
In theory then…that there are no sins in this world. There are only poor souls who aren’t recognized by everyone that they are really patients waiting to be treated. In the medieval ages, people who were seen as heretic were tried as being under the influence of witchcraft and were imprisoned or burned at the stake. …Several centuries later, common medical science now acknowledges that they were people who needed proper treatment and care. …People’s perception and understanding changes over time. Criminals of today might be seen as patients requiring medical attention several centuries into the future. Crimes are not committed by evil thoughts; they are caused by some kind of disease. …The search for this was indeed, Irie’s lifework.
And researching about the Hinamizawa Syndrome is an excellent and rare case study. …For Irie, unraveling the mysteries about this disease holds a special meaning to him… But in order to shed some light, ….it requires a live medical sample… That in itself is a tremendous sin…but it cannot advance without doing so either. …The Irie Facility was authorized from the beginning to take such drastic measure if necessary. And they made sure that I had the resolve to do what must be done when I was appointed as the director of this facility.
And…the time has come. This…would be a significant step towards the research of this mysterious disease. But…I was still reluctant and hesitant to carry it out…
Yes, I have opened up patient’s body without consent. …As a matter of fact, what I did was very similar to what I am about to do to this man. ….But, there is one big difference.
The things that I did in the past were done for treating the patient. I did them to help them re-live their lives. And I did it for what I thought was good for the patient. But what I am about to do know is not treating the patient. …In the end, this man will be dead. And his death will be done through inhumane methods. …His life will be prolonged as much as possible by cheating death, …while we perform cranial anatomy on this live patient…
Takano: “Director Irie? Are you listening?”
Irie: “..Huh? …Oh…I’m sorry. Can you repeat it again?”
Takano: “I suggest that we should immediately draft a proposal to Tokyo to perform this anatomy. This is a rare and live test sample that we have on our hands that’s in its terminal stage of the syndrome. It will need prudent attention if we are to handle this procedure in a delicate manner.”
Irie: “….Right. I understand. Let’s do it right away.”
Takano: “Since it’s bureaucracy we’re talking about, it will take several days for our draft to go through. Hence, I would like to do some observational tests on the subject by relieving it from anesthesia.”
Irie: “….Isn’t that a bit dangerous? Even if the person is restrained, we don’t know what might happen.”
Takano: “It’s a live sample. Just opening up his brain and looking inside it is no fun. *chuckle chuckle chuckle chuckle….*”
Takano-san’s unusual anxiousness gives me the creeps… …But, as a person of science and medicine, Takano-san reaction is correct. …Perhaps I am the one that is wrong to be thinking like this… I am here to do research. So, the correct reaction for a person in my shoes would be to be in full excitement of the tests that are to come. …Yet I am still hesitating.
Was this the limit of my level of commitment? My predecessors who unraveled the mysteries of medical science underwent very courageous methods that were unheard of in their time. And those were the men and women that established modern medicine that we know of today.
…I saw and performed surgeries on numerous brains. …And some of my patients did in fact die. But, I firmly believed that what I was doing was for the better of the patient, so I never had any feelings of guilt or remorse for what I did. …That was even after the law changed saying that what I was doing was unethical.
If I had the time to feel guilt and remorse, it was my duty as a doctor to advance medical science and research so that their deaths would not have been in vain. That is how my predecessors have done to advance medicine.
Yet, changing the word from “treatment” to “anatomy” brings down weight this big to me. Am I just a wimp who is only capable of sidetracking my predecessors and not being able to create my own path for advancement of medicine?
Takano: “…Oh, what’s wrong, director? Are you still feeling grumpy for being awakened at such an hour…?”
Takano-san pretended to worry about me using such words…but she knows. She clearly discerned about the hesitation that I am having right now. …And she’s saying that while mocking me for being naïve against the big step that needs to be taken.
………I shake my head to get rid of whatever drowsiness that I had left.
C’mon Irie, remember what my resolve was. Remind myself on why I am here today. …My hands are already tainted with blood. But if I don’t do anything now, those blood stains would have been in vain. …The only way I can repay my patients is to move forward for this grand research that I am embarking on…
…I shake my head once more in order to awaken my spirit as a researcher.
Irie: “I’m sorry, I had something on my mind. …Takano-san, please prepare the draft for Tokyo. Please let me know on which dates to begin the procedure.”
Takano: “Oh, of course. No problem. …chuckle chuckle chuckle! Drowsiness must’ve ran away for something this exciting!”
My duty is to perform the highest level of work that I am capable of so that this man’s death would not be in vain. …If more blood needs to be shed, every drop must be used sparingly for research.
I scold the staff members for their unusual excitement in being able to perform an anatomy, and immediately returned to my office….
[Pre-requisite: The death of the dam construction's manager]
...I am at a lost of words. ...I can't think of anything that I want to say, ...so I can only sigh in disbelief...
Kuma-chan: "Ah,...Oishi-san! I've been looking all over for you!! The section chief asked me about this wanted poster..."
Coroner: "Quiet! Can't you tell that this isn't the right place to talk so loudly!?"
The old coroner quickly snapped back at Kumatani as he barged in.
Kuma-chan: "...I...I'm sorry. Uh, the section chief wanted to inquire about the accused's wanted poster..."
Oishi: "...Ah...Well, can you discuss that with Komiyama-kun? I'm a bit tied up since I need to have a talk with this old man. Let him know that I'll be there shortly."
Kuma-chan: "Huh? ...Oh, yes, of course!"
Kumatani ran out the autopsy room in the same haste that he came in.
Coroner: "Lively young man, ain't he?"
Oishi: "The old man would've beat him for making such a russ."
Coroner: "...You should give yourself a break too. The air in this place isn't for people who ain't used to it."
Oishi: "...Yeah. The old man would probably beat me in the head for slacking off as well."
Coroner: "...Kakakaka. You're the most feared man out of all the gangs around here, yet this man was the only person in all of Shishibone who had the right to beat you up..."
Oishi: "He really was a merciless man... I think I've received more beatings from the old man than my own father."
Coroner: "There's no false to it. ...If you truly believed that you looked up to him as your father, then this man really was your father."
My real father died in Nagoya.
...All I could say was that he was just unlucky.
If he wasn't given the order to go work at a plant in Nagoya, he wouldn't have died in an air raid. ..If he could've some how rided out for a few more months, the war would've been over.
Of course I was saddened by the news. But since I was already grown-up by then, I didn't cry down onto the ground like my mother. ...I believe people have different ways of feeling sadness. There are some who breakdown in an instant, while others have their sadness come through in gradual stages. ...I was the latter.
I hated my father when he was alive. At the time, I thought he was annoying and unfair. I lashed out inside on why he was passed over in the draft." And I thought that my hate for him would never change.
But then, the war suddenly came to and end. As I saw families and friends being reunited with joy as they came home from the fronts, that's when I first realized it. I've truly lost my dad forever and that I was sad.
At the same time, there were many people all across Japan who were saddened and undergoing hardships in their lives as well. I knew that I wasn't the only one whose life was in despair, so I didn't selfishly try to lash out as being the unluckiest person in the world. ...But what I remember that I felt truly saddened as his death finally came to me.
This country changed dramatically as soon as the war was over. As a police officer, my working environment drastically changed as well. All I could do was to focus myself in my work in order to forget my sadness.
Oishi: "...Back then, I was in charge of busting people for buying illegal rice. I went around searching travelers at each train station. And lo and behold, people after people were getting caught. There was this black market in Kokukura, so there were lots of people from in and around the Osaka region making their way to buy stuff there."
One of the most immediate effect in post-war Japan was the chronic shortage of the food supply. This affected all of the nation, and the government implemented an food rationing program called the "Food Control Law."
However, the rations that the government provided was clearly not enough to feed families, so people had to resort to buying food and supplies at the black market. Illegal trade was rampant, as people paid unlawful amounts of money in order to obtain rice.
Ironically, the government had a short supply on the food that they rationed, but one can find an abundance of groceries at the black market. The dealers and brokers would sell these at outrageous prices. Many brokers and dealers would make their wealth through these black markets. ...The Sonozaki family would make their wealth from such black markets as well, but that's another story.
However, the government decided not to go after these illegal brokers. These brokers were able to buy off corrupt officials and top members of the police department with their money. ...Instead, they decided to go after the people who bought them. And, we had to do the shitty job of confiscating the illegal rice that the people bought by selling off all of their belongings.
Coroner: "Oh yeah, I remember that time... Wasn't there a prosector who starved himself to death because of this?"
Oishi: "Yes there was.... There was a prosector who rejected buying any illegal rice, yet was later found dead due to malnutrition. What year was that...1947? Ironic wasn't it? A public prosector, a figure of justice and law, proved with his own death that people cannot survive by adhering to the law."
Prosecutor Yamaguchi felt the dillemma of being a part of the government which prosecuted people whose only charge were doign whatever they could to survive. He tried to set an example by proclaiming that he was never going to buy black market rice anymore. ...But in 1947, he died of extreme malnutrition and passed away at the young age of 33.
The law prohibits people from buying rice illegally at the black markets. Yet, people cannot survive unless they buy illegal rice. Then isn't this "Food Control Law" unjust in itself? The death of prosecutor Yamaguchi was seen as a desperate effort by him to state his message to the government about the unjustness of this law.
Oishi: "...We rounded up the people with their bags of rice, and lined them up at the checkpoint next to the station. It was like a military tribunal. We inspectedtheir bags, confiscated everything that they bought at the black market, and set them up for prosecution. ...The women all cried when we did this. They sold off everything that they owned in order to buy these rice. They pleaded to us that if we confiscate them, they don't have anything to feed their children."
Coroner: "Unreasonable wasn't it? Yet, they forbid you from going after the black market dealers, so the whole ordeal must've been unfair from the view of the people."
Oishi: "The people also became sensitive in noticing such things as well. When they hear that a police checkpoint lies ahead at the next station, they begin to jump off the trains and start to run. ...We were aware of these too, so we've set up several officers near and around such ideal "jump track" spots in order to capture them.
...I remember running to capture such women desperately tried to evade capture with several kilos of rice on their backs..."
That was when I first met the old man.
Oishi: "...I was struck in surprise. ...He looked exactly like me father! The first thought that ran through me was that he somehow survived the air raid of Nagoya and came back alive."
I was chasing after a person who started to make a dash from the checkpoint. There was no way that the person could evade capture while holding such a heavy bag of rice. So the only option left for such people was to be arrested and have his or her rice confiscated, or evade capture by ditching the precious rice that the person bought by selling his or her belongings.
...Basically in either way, if a person is unlucky enough to be chased by the police, that person is unable to provide his or her family with any rice to eat.
I knew that what I was doing was a shitty job. I knew that people have to buy black market rice in order to survive. ...So, there was this tacit understanding among the police officers to let people go if they chose to ditch the rice as they ran.
Whenever I chased after such people, I pleaded in my heart to the person 'I don't want to arrest you...please just ditch that rice...." I couldn't bear to hear people's cries and plights of despair anymore.
That was when he showed up. ...I was dumbfounded as I saw the man who looked exactly like my father...!
All of sudden, that man punched me in my face.
It is a child's part to droop your head down in apology when your father disciplines you. But I was just too happy to see my father alive, so I felt a sense of joy welding up inside me.
The man then said to let the person go.
I realized that the man was not my father when I heard his voice. Joy quickly turned into anger and I tried to arrested him on the charges of assaulting a police officer. But of course, I was just this young scrawny guy at the time, so I was no match for a man who was so used to brawls. Basically, he beat the shit outta me.
Oishi: "...Yeah and he certainly taught me a lesson. I laid there in the middle of street all beat up, and he gave me a good scolding. Nahaha, you would think that a young punk like me would never listen to some man who just beat me up right? But something struck me then. All I could see was that man superimposed with my father. So I listened, like any child would do when they were given a teaching by his dad."
Coroner: "Yep, he wasn't just a plain ruffian, but he showed guts like a real man. That's what made him such a great person. You don't see men like him these days, he was truly an example of a man from the good old times."
It's a little embarrassing, but it seemed that I still need a father figure despite being an adult. I need a man to look up to, to show me what makes a man a man. I needed a father who I could spend time drinking alcohol with me as I asked for advice.
Hence, I can say with confidence...that I had two fathers in my life.
The old man was indeed, my dad, my older brother...and my best friend.
....And now he lies here with his head, body, and his limbs dismembered...with his right arm still missing...!
The same right arm which taught me how to be a man, how to drink alcohol, how to play mahjong, and gave me a good beating when I did something wrong...is still missing...!
Coroner: "...Got any suspects?"
Oishi: "Yes I do. ....I vow to retrieve his right arm...and payback for what they've done to the old man."
It has to be them - the ones who controlled Hinamizawa with a tight clench and the main perpetrators of illegal activities of this dam construction war...The Sonozaki family.
I make a declaration of war to myself.
...I already knew who the enemy was.
[Pre-requisite: The secure of a live L5 stage patient]
[Pre-requisite: Cooperation of the main carrier]
Irie: "Thank you for waiting, Furude-san. We've just finished the last of today's exam. She should be back shortly."
Rika's dad: "Do you really think that my daughter can be of any help for the village...?"
Irie: "Of course, sir! Not only that, Rika-san's cooperation will make her the savior of this village. Thanks to her, we're finally able to find a way to treat this disease. We're currently trying to figure out how the system works. Just as we had expected, we did find data that Rika-san is indeed a vital existence to the villagers. Right now, it is very difficult to stabilize a patient who've reached the highest stage of the disease. However, whenever the main carrier approaches a patient, certain chemicals are transmitted within the cerebral cortex. These chemicals are able to stabilize that patient's symptoms, and may even provide a possible treatment to control such stages' symptoms toward recovery."
Rika's dad: "Really. ...Rika really has that power..."
Takano: "*chuckle chuckle* I don't think you should be that surprised, sir. The local mythology says that the Furude priestesses has divine powers enabling them to calm the hearts and souls of the devils. Even if we didn't try to clarify this scientifically, the long village history shows that such was the case."
Irie: "Yes. ...There are times that I become very impressed at the wiseness of some people back then."
Rika: "....Mi--. I'm finished with all the tests."
Rika's dad: "Good job, Rika. You must be tired. Here, why don't you go buy something to drink for yourself with this."
Rika: "....Mi~! They took so much blood from me so I need to refill"
Rika received a hundred-yen coin from the priest and dashed into the hallway.
Irie: "...This is all thanks to Rika-san's cooperation. All of this would never have been possible without her devoted support."
Rika's dad: "Rika was really worried that her best friend might be infected with this disease, so she insisted in cooperating to help her. ...I implore to you, please help this village for her sake."
Irie: "Of course. We are honored to have you two come here every Sunday despite your valuable time. We promise you that we will find an effective result from all of this. ...We may need to have Rika-san undergo some further intensive tests, so it is us that must bow our heads for your permission."
Takano: "We vow that we will not cause any harm to her. She is a very valuable person. ...*chuckle*...I mean, she's the reincarnation of the Oyashiro-sama, isn't she?"
Rika's dad: "....I wonder how the ancient residents of this village came to know about this disease, and find out that the Furude family had the main carrier's blood to control this... It further reinforced how we should respect our ancestors..."
Irie: "...And, this is very hard to say but...we want to ask for your permission to conduct a very difficult test. ...We need to extract some of her cerebrospinal fluid. And...based on results from that test...we may need to trepanate her in order to conduct some test on her cerebral cortex..."
Rika's dad: "....Y...You want to drill a hole in her skull to check on her brain..?"
Irie: "Of course, we'll conduct this with the maximum level of safety. Rika-san is the sole living main carrier. We promise that we will not cause any harm to her, and we will submit an extensive proposal on how to carry this test with the highest level of medical safety."
Takano: "And Rika-chan is a girl. We'll carefully set her hair aside where the trepanation will take place, so her head doesn't need to be shaved bald. However, we will need to have her stay in the hospital for a few weeks to check up on her post-surgery effects."
Irie: "And of course, we will not deny you from visiting her too. In fact, we would like to ask you to be at her side during the operation. Rika-san would feel much more relax if she knows that her dad is nearby."
Rika's dad: "..........Is this inspection, really necessary...and is it absolutely safe?"
Irie: "Unfortunately we cannot say for certain that both the cerebral spinal fluid extraction and trepanation process is 100% safe. There is always at least a 1% chance of danger. And Rika-san might experience some physical and mental pain as a result of this. ....Even if these tests are very important...we cannot carry them out without parental consent."
Rika's dad: ".............."
Takano: "I've already explained these to Rika-chan."
Rika's dad: "...And what did Rika say?"
Takano: "She simply just said, 'I don't mind' *chuckle chuckle*"
Irie: "...We've explained to her the dangers and the pains that may come out of these procedures. However, we still need to ask the permission of her parents before we are allowed to move foward with this."
Rika's dad: "....Rika sometimes tend to believe that she really is the reincarnation of the Oyashiro-sama. ...Hence, she might have a sense of duty that if something in her body has the cure to save the village, she's willing to submit her own body in order to do so."
Irie: "....We sincerely believe she is a very noble child."
Rika's dad: "Can I have a couple of days to discuss this with my wife? I'm certain that she'll allow the procedure, but...the tests are rather intensive so I can't keep her out of the loop on this."
Irie: "Yes, of course. We also believe that both parental consent is necessary for such an operation. Please discuss these matters carefully and thoroughly."
Rika's dad: "And these test have a very vital role in eradicating this disease, right...?"
Irie: "Yes. It will undoubtebly be significant in unveiling the mystery about the Hinamizawa Syndrome"
Takano: "A very significant step."
Takano: "...As stated before, ...should something happen to the main carrier, there is a very high possibilty that an extremely disasterous effect will over run the affected community. ...To say it bluntly, the entire village will succumb to the terminal stages of the syndrome."
Irie: "That's right. The mean span time of the acute symptoms to arise shows us that all the infected populace will yield into the terminal stages within 48 hours of the main carrier's death. We must take extra precaution in order to prevent such a thing from happenning."
Rika's Dad: "...Should Rika die, ...all the villagers would start to go mad, unleashing unspeakable horror..."
Irie: "Exactly. And it is our duty to prevent that. It is ironic that we have to do such a dangerous stunt to do so but, ...it is a unavoidable path that we must take if we are to eradicate this disease."
Rika's Dad: "...Dr. Irie. ...Will you promise me to carry this exam successfully...?"
Takano: "Like he said, there is no 100% in medical.."
Irie: "Yes I promise"
Irie said in a serious tone as he interrupted Takano's ambiguous explanation.
Irie: "I, Irie Kyosuke swear to my own life that I will certainly save Rika-san and the entire village."
Rika's Dad: "...Thank you. Please let me explain this to my wife. ...I will bring you our answer as soon as possible."
Irie: "Yes. Thank you for your understanding."
Takano: "*chuckle chuckle chuckle* Ahahahahahahaha...."
As soon as Rika and her father left, Takano suddenly burst into eerie laughter.
Irie: "What happened? Did something funny just happen...?"
Takano: "*chuckle chuckle*... Oh no, no. ...It was just so amusing to see you asking permission to the patient and her parents."
Irie: "...We've been subjecting Rika-chan to much emotional pain because of all this. We must provide them with at least such a courtesy for doing so. ...If I had a chance and he had normal consciousness, I would've also seeked permission to that man we've operated on last year."
Takano: "Director Irie, I think you are trying to repent your past guilts ever since you started this whole reasearch."
Irie: "....What do you mean by that?"
Takano's skepticism isn't all that unusual...Irie felt an unusual sense of unease by her remark.
Takano: "The research of the Hinamizawa Syndrome requires us to dissect and analyze a living patient. Yet, even though you know that, you feel a stronger sense of guilt as you advance your research."
Irie: "...Guilt is necessary. Whether it is murder or by dissection, we essentially put the person to a premature eternal sleep. It is our duty to carry that guilt on our backs and do everything that we can, so that his death was not in vain."
Takano: "What a speech. *chuckle chuckle*. ....Then may I ask, Director Irie? Can you tell me, in the past, how many patients have you asked consent before you cut off a piece of their brain?"
...Irie was taken aback since he thought his past was undisclosed to Takano.
Takano: "You blindly believed that the cause of human crimes were all due to a disease in the prefrontal cortex. So tell me, how many patients did you ask for consent before you performed lobotomy on them? *chuckle chuckle*"
Irie: "....that was,"
Takano: "Common sense changes with time. Back then, doctors did not have to provide their patients the nature of their treatments, and asking for consent was practically unheard of. So why bother to feel any guilt? Sure, it's this huge moral thing right now, but back then it wasn't a big deal. So who cares? *chuckle chuckle* ...But still, you felt guilt so you wanted to ask for consent to Rika, and even that murderer?"
Irie: "That is not true...Besides, treatment and dissection is different..."
Takano: "Hey, boy. All you want is an indulgence called "consent." Am I right? You desire to get an indulgence so that you can deceive your past by repenting your wrong-doings. If you feel a least bit of remorse, the answer is simple - leave the field of neurology. Yet, you repent and repent but still cannot give up the world dealing with brains. If you really felt guilty, why did you agree to take on the role of heading this place? I'm talking to you, boy?"
Irie: "....I am very frustrated. May I be excused?"
Takano: "Listen. The world of medicine is built upon through fighting against morals and views of their respective eras. Back when Dr. Takano hypothesized the existence of the Hinamizawa Syndrome, the men in power laughed at him without seeing the potential of his research. He, however, continued to conduct his own research alone to the very end. He believed strongly that his work will one day be appreciated! Such an achievement can only be accomplished through faithful conviction and a will strong as steel. Without them, Dr. Takano would've succumbed to the unsympathetic age he lived in. Research is built with strong will. Only the strongest of those will present results! But you, lack that. You are just a coward who can't even decide whether your own achievements are to be proud of or to be ashamed of. And to think how dare you agree to becoming the director of this facility...! You knew from the start that this research requires you to sink your blood-stained hands into a much deeper pool of blood!!"
Irie: "........I do not deny it. I guess I'm just half-hearted."
Takano: "Then why not resign from your post as director? Sure you may have to continue vow secrecy, but at least you won't have such guilty feelings running around inside your head anymore. From my standpoint, you being my partner is just a sham. You're nothing but my pawn to carry out my research that my clients requested. With this facility up and running, your existence here is not that important. ...And if you don't have the guts to carry out the research and if you are useless as my partner, then heck you are needed here anymore. On the other hand, I'll continue to do this research all by myself. I'm not scared of any guilt or repent. Only the strongest of the will prevents such a future. ...Just like Dr. Takano built his achievements through his will, I vow to carry this out to the very end...!"
Irie: "....I admire your resolve. ...However, even if I am not to your expectations, I still have my own resolve in being here. ...And as you stated, my hands have been already stained in blood. Those hands were further stained since I came to Hinamizawa. ...Hence I will not back down until I have finished my responsibility. ...Yes I may still be bogged down with guilt as time passes. But, I will not run away. ...I will finish my research on the Hinamizawa Syndrome. I believe that doing so is the only way I can repay those who have lost their lives in the name of research."
A sign of strong resolve was shown on Irie's expression, in stark contrast to the confusion that was seen just a few moments ago.
After a moment of silence, Irie countered back.
Irie: "...I'm sure that Rika-chan's exam will be approved. Please get the test ready."
Takano: "Sure. ....Director."
The approval consent was given by next week.
[Pre-requisite: approval of cerebral spinal fluid extraction]
Dr. Irie finished his explanation with the final slide. As soon the lights in the meeting turned back on, he was applauded by every auditor in the conference room.
Auditor A: “Marvelous, absolutely marvelous! To tell you the truth, I had my doubts on this Hinamizawa Syndrome research. I expected that even if there was progress, it would be one of painstaking ones which take ten years for it advance three steps forward and yet two steps back later.”
Auditor B: “Yet, you managed to uncover this much in such a short time! This is all due to Director Irie’s diligence and leadership!”
Irie: “No, no. I could never have done this without the help of my brilliant staff members and Takano-san.”
Takano: “Don’t flatter yourself. *chuckle chuckle* Director Irie is a genius in the field of neurology. His past accomplishments and achievements shows that he was the leading doctor in that medical field.”
Auditor A: “You’ve got that right! Not many doctors as young as you have such vast experience in operating on human brains as you do!”
Tomitake: “Congratulations, Lieutenant Colonel Irie. Thanks to you, I can go back to tell Tokyo with my head held up high.”
Irie: “I am very happy that I am able to give you such a great gift to take back to Tokyo. Oh and…please refrain from calling me ‘Lt. Col.’ I still can’t get used to it. …Well, to say it bluntly, they way you pronounce it sounds like you are calling me ‘Lisa’”
Tomitake: “Ahahaha! Yeah, it does sound like a girl’s name, doesn’t it?”
Takano: “*chuckle chuckle* But Jirou-san, you were also a big help too. Jirou-san was able to secure funding for our research during the time we couldn’t produce much feasible results. Without that, we would never have had the results we have in front of us today.”
Tomitake: “Oh, …Hahahahaha…! But, the results shown today are spectacular indeed. Not only did you find the culprit causing the Hinamizawa Syndrome, but you also provided a clear path how to conduct future research. We will definitely be eager to hear the progress of this research when we come here on the next audits. And armed with these results, Tokyo will never be so stingy about cutting back on funding.”
Takano: “*chuckle chuckle* The coffee that everyone is drinking right now was in danger of being scrapped due to lack of funds, right Jirou-san?”
Auditor A: “Tomitake-kun, make sure you tell Tokyo about the progress we have seen and heard today. These guys need to get funding to hold their own achievement party.”
Auditor B: “They’ve been whipped all these times. Now they need to be showered with candy.”
Irie: “Hahahahaha, It would be best if those candies were in the form funds.”
The routine audit soon dispersed amidst a cheerful mood. Some of the auditors were members from the National Institute. They eagerly began to ask questions to Irie about his accomplishments.
Tomitake: “Congratulations, Takano-san. While I can’t say it in front of everyone, all these achievements are all thanks to your efforts.”
Takano: “*chuckle* Thank you, Jirou-san.”
Only Takano and Tomitake were the only ones present in this room that new that men pulled strings to select puppets to create the Irie Research Facility. …Hence, Tomitake was the only one who knew about the hardships that Takano had to go through for this achievement.
Takano: “But this is just the start line. The enemy that I’ve been looking for has come up to the same stage as mine, that’s all. It’s what we do from here that’s critical. And I can already foresee the fun and excitement that lies ahead.”
Tomitake: “Ahahahaha. And, I’ve just received a message where it seems that Manager Nakagawa wants you to come over to Tokyo to give them a personal presentation on this accomplishment. The Alphabet Board also would like you to come and meet them as well. Everyone wants to hear about this directly from you.”
Takano: “Oh my, perhaps they assumed that Jirou-san won’t be able to provide a detailed explanation?”
Tomitake: “Oh, ahahahaha! I, I don’t think so…! I...I’m sure they just wanted to see if the rumor about a beautiful young researcher is true or not. Ahahahaha…!”
Takano: “Oh, Jirou-san. *chuckle chuckle chuckle*”
Staff: “Excuse me, Major Takano. Theirs is a phone call for you from Tokyo.”
Takano: “Hello. This is Takano speaking.”
Koizumi: “Hey-, how are you doing-?!”
Takano: “M...Mr. Koizumi!! I am very honored to receive a call from you…!”
Koizumi: “Wahahaha! I heard that my Miyo-chan was able to make a significant breakthrough, so I just had to call!”
Takano: “Thank you…!! Yes, thanks to your help sir, we’ve been able to accomplish the first step in identifying the microbe that causes the Hinamizawa Syndrome.”
Koizumi: “Umm-hmm, umm-hmm! That’s great, really great-!! You did it Miyo-chan. Takano-kun must be definitely proud of you up from heaven!”
Takano: “No, no sir. My grandfather was researching this beyond the scope of finding the cause of the Hinamizawa Syndrome. My grandfather’s work was to show that human thoughts, religions, and instincts are actually controlled by parasitic agents in our body. Only when that is proven shall my grandfather’s work be looked back as a grand achievement. *chuckle chuckle* Can you just imagine how the world will react once they find out that all human thought, religion, and instincts are all caused by a parasite! *chuckle chuckle* The world will be in chaos!”
Koizumi: “Wahahahaha. That’ll show them-!! I can already see how those religious big shots will react when they learn that what they’ve told for thousands of years were all because of a parasite!! Please show me that dream Miyo-chan! I will refuse my entry to heaven until I’ve seen you accomplish that my dear.”
Takano: “Oh don’t say such a thing, sir. But please look forward to it. I will definitely spread shock throughout the world with this research. And when that happens, everyone in the world will acknowledge how great my grandfather was as they read through his work that he left behind. …Only then will I can say that I have repaid my duty to my grandfather.”
Koizumi: “…I’m so envious of Takano-kun. To tell you that truth dear, I didn’t want all this money. I’m more than willing to throw half of these things away. I always wanted a grandchild like you who is willing to carry on the legacy of his or her grandparents.”
Takano: “Thank you very much. Those words means a lot to me.”
Koizumi: “Oh, and grandpa Koizumi has a present for you, my dear. I sent a nice bottle of wine to you, Miyo-chan, to celebrate this occasion. I didn’t know your address, so I had it addressed to the clinic. However, it seems there’s some difficulty importing that over here, but when it does arrive, I want you to gather all the people that have helped you in this accomplishment and throw a nice party for yourselves.”
Takano: “A wine, sir? Gee, seeing that it’s coming from grandpa Koizumi, I wonder what kind of expensive wine you bought for me!”
Koizumi: “Oh, it’s not that kind of expensive wine. Don’t you remember Miyo-chan? Takano-kun used to keep a bottle of wine that he wouldn’t never dare to open.”
…Takano realizes it immediately…
That’s right. My grandfather kept one bottle of wine that he never opened. I don’t know if he bought that or someone gave him that bottle, but he always kept it safe, vowing never to open it until his research was acknowledged. I was too young to remember what kind of wine that was, but Mr. Koizumi would know which brand it was…
…He went through all the lengths to find the same bottle of wine on this special occasion.
…Takano felt a warmness in her heart which she had not felt in a very long time.
Takano: “Thank you…. Grandpa Koizumi.”
Koizumi: “Umm-hmm! Yep, hearing you call me grandpa makes me feel better again-! I could never get used to Miyo-chan calling me Mr. Koizumi like a politician! Wahahahaha!”
I almost laughed too as I recalled Tomitake and Irie going over a similar exchange a few moments ago.
Takano: “Well, if you prefer me calling you ‘grandpa,’ I won’t mind calling you that with the exception of when people are around. *chuckle chuckle*”
Koizumi: “Oh, I want Miyo-chan to call me that way in front of everyone instead! Wahahaha”
I wonder how old he will be this year. Well, so long as he can laugh so heartedly, I’m sure his passing has yet to come. …I guess the old saying of something has longevity is true.
Koizumi: “Both me and Takano-kun really wished that such a child like Miyo-chan was really a part of our family. We really do…”
…My grandfather had his own family, of course. But as he put all of his life’s work into research, he became estranged from his wife and children. Even though their marriage was intact, they lived apart and technically “separated.” I never saw his family when I was a child growing up under him. …I only met them when my grandfather committed suicide.
During his latter years, my grandfather was in psychological despair, and began to look at his own life in cynicism. His condition grew worse over time, and was shocked to learn his own dementia. He lived in constant fear that his conscious would degrade into oblivion. Hence…he killed himself by jumping off the roof of the hospital. Only my name was written on his suicide note. None was written for his own family.
But, only after his death, did his own family come over to collect his belongings and fortune. They despised me as the thought that I was going to get his estate. They began to assemble a legal team to prove that they were the rightful heirs to his fortune. Just looking at how beastly these people are disgusted me, and I quickly backed down. All I asked for in exchange was to get everything that he left behind in his study room.
Those idiots do not understand the value of my grandfather’s work. So they were happy to strike a deal out of court. They were able to get rid of “useless papers” and “disgusting jars of human organs.” At the same time they got what they wanted – my forfeiture of my right to his estate.
These disgusting creatures never came to my grandfather’s aid when he was alive. Yet they came like hyenas after his death ransacking his estate. I would never let them put their hands on my grandfather’s research. Hence, I was able to protect my grandfather’s soul from their tainted hands….
Koizumi: “Okay. Well I don’t want to bother you by talking too long on the phone, so I’d better go now. If you have anything you need, just remember to call your ol’ grandpa Koizumi. I’d do anything for my dear Miyo-chan!”
Takano: “Thank you grandpa Koizumi. Miyo’s gonna work more harder!”
When I asked Rika-chan, she said that she might be in the back hills. That place is Satoko’s favorite playground.
The looming trees, the entangled vines, fallen dead wood, and edible akebia, it is no wonder why she loves that place. Every child has a dream to create a secret base. …For Satoko, the back hills were her secret base.
However, the hills are a dangerous place because it has never been scouted before. It is rather easy to get lost here, and it worries me as her older brother. …But it is more likely that I would get lost in these woods when compared to Satoko since she plays here all the time.
The woods already began to get dark by sundown. If I can’t find her here, it’s probably best to quit and search elsewhere.
Satoshi: “Satoko-!! Satoko-!!”
I called out to her, but sound does not travel that well in the woods.
According to Rika-chan, it seems that the area around here is known as Satoko’s secret base and she often goes into these woods alone to set up booby-traps to increase her territory. I wonder what she meant when she said “increasing her territory?” Well, if it’s a secret base, then she probably doesn’t want anyone coming close to her area. Then does that mean she’s setting up traps to ward off intruders…?
…If I already guessed it up to that, I should’ve realized what kinds of traps Satoko would place in these hills.
Satoshi: “Wha-what the..?!”
I suddenly lost my balance as my foot got stuck in a hole, which pulled on a rope hidden underneath some fallen leaves. Rustles were heard from the treetops and a giant ball of twigs dropped right beside me.
…It must’ve been one of Satoko’s booby-traps. If it worked according to plan, that ball of twigs would’ve struck my head.
Satoko: “…Oh my my. I wondered who got caught, but I didn’t expect Nii-Nii.”
Satoshi: “Satoko…!! That was dangerous! You should stop playing setting booby-traps…!”
Satoko: “Didn’t you read the sign by the Forestry Preserve? It clearly states that it’s dangerous to come into these woods. If that person doesn’t follow what it says, then my beautiful traps will be sure to welcome them? Ohohoho!”
…I should probably tell her to stop doing such a dangerous activity. …But I haven’t seen Satoko in such a cheerful mood in a while, so I didn’t say anything further.
Satoshi: “Anyway, Satoko. We’re all gonna go out and eat today so we’ve better hurry home.”
Satoko: “…I don’t want to go out and eat. Mom and dad can go by themselves. If you want Nii-nii can go with the three of you.”
Satoshi: “…Are you still angry at dad?”
Satoko: “….He threw his ashtray at me.”
Satoshi: “…No… That was our previous dad. Our current dad never did that to you.”
Satoko: “…He locked me outside in the veranda. He refused to give me lunch. He yelled at me that I bought the wrong cigarette brand, he slapped me saying that I should eat everything! And and…!!”
…All these abuses were not by done by our current father-in-law. Furthermore, she’s getting her abuses mixed with our past father-in-laws.
Our mother married numerous of times, and everytime, we had to call the new person as our new dad.
…But the word “dad” is not to be taken too lightly. …If you do not really consider the person as your dad from the bottom of your heart, then you can never call that person “my dad” even as a joke. That is how heavy that word is.
However, I did my part to make the frail family life to go along as smoothly as possible. Hence, I was able to say that word in order to keep the family from falling apart. …But to expect the same from Satoko at an age like her is a different story.
Satoko was subject to repeated abuse by our past father-in-laws, it has come to point where she never trusts a being called a “father-in-law.” Hence she has refused to open her heart to our current father.
Yes, it is true that our current father has no past experience in raising children. So it is true that there was a time where his anger just exploded. But ever since Satoko called the child abuse hotline, our current dad regretted his mistake deeply. I can tell that he is trying very hard to make communication with Satoko little by little. …Mom also finally realized what psychological suffering she had put through her child, and is doing her part of the job on how to bring Satoko back into the family.
…But Satoko refuses. …Considering her past abuses, it is understandable. Her early childhood was full of sadness and despair that no child should ever go through…
The only person that Satoko has her heart open is probably…me. So I am the only person that she has left that she recognizes as her own family member. …If not, Satoko will be left all alone in this world without a family…
However, two siblings cannot make up a family. No matter how rough our current family relationship maybe, each progress is vital in creating a stable family. And once that happens, we can truly call ourselves to be a real family.
Satoshi: “Satoko…Our current dad is getting nicer everyday. …He really wants to make up with Satoko.”
Satoko: “…I’ve never heard of him saying that.”
Satoshi: “That’s because you always run away from him when he tries to have a discussion with you… Dad really wants to have communication with Satoko. …He said he’ll never force you to eat squash again?”
Satoko: “…That’s a lie. He tied me up to the chair saying that he won’t let me leave the dinner table unless I eat all the squash.”
…Again, that’s not our current dad…
Satoshi: “Satoko. C’mon. At least come how with Nii-nii, okay? Mom won tickets for family dinner and it’ll be a waste if we didn’t go. It’s already reserved, so if we don’t go today, it’ll expire.”
Satoko: “……………Then why don’t you go along with them? I’m perfectly fine staying at the house alone.”
Satoko never goes out to play this late into the hour. …She knew that we were all going out to eat as a family, so she purposely stayed outside in these hills until this late. Just when I was about to explode for Satoko’s selfishness, I repress my short temper as usual. …I am the only person that Satoko has left. …I must not scare Satoko…
Satoshi: “C’mon Satoko, let’s go home? You can decide if you want to go or not once we reach home, okay? …And….if you don’t guide me outta here…I can’t go home either.”
Satoko: “…..Nii-nii… I’ve brought you along many times already, but you still can’t remember through these woods? Alright, let’s go Nii-nii. I’ll show you the way.”
Satoko holds out her hand. She says its embarrassing to hold hands with Nii-nii in front of people, but she held out her hand.
I take her hand.
Satoko’s hand is so frail. ….I must continue to protect her as her brother.
Satoshi: “Let’s go home, Satoko.”
I am called Houjou Satoko.
However, the family name Houjou is from my current father. I was also once known as Hata Satoko, Yoshizawa Satoko, and Matsuura Satoko depending on my previous fathers. Because of this, I still am not used to people referring me as Houjou-san. If they call me Satoko, I realize that they are addressing me.
I do not understand why my mother periodically marries and divorces every now and then.
If she’s going to divorce, then she shouldn’t have married in the first place.
If she’s going to marry again, then she shouldn’t have divorced in the first place.
I’ve asked her this question several times, but her reaction was different depending on the time.
When I asked her when she was married, she got angry at me.
When I asked her when she was divorced, she broke down and cried.
I do not understand the meaning of marriage. I have no interest in it like the other kids who draw pictures of a newly wed bride and wedding dresses. I probably won’t marry either. If I have my own child, I don’t want to put my child situation where he or she has to change his or her name all the time.
My teacher asked me if I loved my mother. This was when I was going to kindergarten in Okinomiya. This was a very difficult question to me. I couldn’t decide because there were times I really loved my mother and other times where I really hated my mother.
When my mother is kind, she is always has a smile on her face. She makes us happy. She says that I was the best gift that she could ever have.
But when my mother is not kind, she is always irritated. She harshly quibbles us. She says that I should’ve never been born.
My teacher also asked me if I loved my father. This was a really easy question for me. There were times I hated my father and other times where I really hated my father, so in either case I really hated him.
My new fathers always treated me kindly at first; right after my mother marries him. They always tell me that I can refer to them like my real father. However, there is no way that they can be my real father. Besides, I don’t even remember how my real father looked like. How the hell then can I call them to be my real father? How? It just disgusts me.
Right before divorce, my fathers were irritated all the time. They treat me like a cockroach. They throw objects at me while yelling that they don’t bring home the money to feed me and shut me outside from the veranda as I go hungry.
However, my teachers tell me that that was all in the past, so you can go ahead and just forget about it. I believe it was a different teacher by this time.
Maybe that’s true. Ever since Houjou became my father, my mother is always in a great mood. I haven’t seen them get into a large argument as I have seen happen just before a divorce. …There a little quarrels here and there, but those don’t lead up to a divorce as it did before. They just make up and become friends again.
But I’m sure the talk of divorce will come up again sooner or later. Then, it’s all the usual stuff about family court, arbitration for divorce settlements, shooting the moon, child support, and the like. Hence, I don’t know how long Houjou will be my father, so I don’t dare call him that.
He too, was very kind to me at first. But since I didn’t call him “dad” like he wanted me to, he became irritated. See? Then it’s all divorce again. If my father gets into that irritated mode, it sets the stage for divorce. And if it comes down to divorce, it is now my mother’s turn to start getting irritated. And it’s the same thing over again; she yells at me saying things like “I should’ve aborted you” and that it’s “All your fault that I can never be happy.”
Is it all really my fault for being born that caused such troubles for my mom?
I asked my brother that, and he told me this. Chances of re-marrying are very difficult if she has a child. And since marriage is the most important job that mom has, I understood that it is very tough when having kids at her side. I think I finally understood the reason why I am a nuisance to her.
So, I asked my brother another question. Why are such children hated by their new fathers? He answered it very simply. It’s all because his role in the family is different. Mom’s job is to love her children. A father’s job is to love mom. So basically, I’m just a nuisance to both my mom and my father.
My brother is much more mature than me, so he isn’t looked down as a nuisance than I am. But, I think, no, I’m certain, no, I am a nuisance to them.
So I finally have it all figured out. Mom and my father wishes that I were dead. But if they kill me, the police will come after them, so they don’t kill me off that easily. But, that doesn’t mean that stops them from trying sooner or later.
If I were to peek down on a cliff, and if no one was watching, my mom and my father would definitely push me off the cliff from the behind.
My father suddenly became abnormally kind to me these days. He started acting out that way ever since I faked that call to the child abuse hotline. It disgusts me. I’m certain it’s all part of a plot to kill me. So, I do my best to not let my guard down.
Hanyu? “…I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry….”
These days, I’m beginning to hear someone continuously apologizing. I’m sure that kid is the same as me – an unwanted child who was told by her mom that she should’ve been aborted.
Hanyu?: ““…I’m so sorry!, I’m so sorry!, I’m so sorry!, I’m so sorry!….”
But, I’m not going to apologize like that child. I vow to live. And I’m going to strike back. I’ll kill them first before they get to me.
Hanyu? “…I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry….”
[Pre-requisite: Conflict between the Houjou family and the Sonozaki family]
[Pre-requisite: Intro to Houjou Satoko]
The Houjou family is well known in this area as the house that went against the entire village during the Dam Construction War.
Both the husband and wife were known for their tempers, and fought a fierce war against the Sonozaki family. While they were ostracized by everyone in the village, they refused to budge and lived their lives quite belligerently amidst all the cold eyes. In many ways, they were strong-willed in their resolve.
However, the same cannot be said to be hold true to their children. Because of their parents’ stance, both Satoko-chan and Satoshi-kun were given the cold shoulder as well. In addition, they have their inter-family problems between their father-in-law and Satoko-chan. It is apparent that the children’s psychological stress level is at their maximum.
If I had the arrogance that I had back then, one can say that I am a respected member of society within this village for being the head of this clinic. But because of this role in society, I was able to listen to many rumors from the residents of this area. …Hence I already knew what kind of pressure these two kids were under before I met them in person.
My first contact with the Houjou siblings was Satoshi-kun. He came to the clinic when he lost his health from heavy stress. He at first thought he had a just a simple cold, and he even told me so in person. …But his heavy sighs and weary eyes revealed otherwise. I immediately recognized that Satoshi-kun’s health deterioration could not be passed off simply as a cold. Sure, I can provide him some medication for his current symptoms, but that’s only a temporary solution. In order to treat him fully, he needed to change his living environment.
But saying so is easier said that done.
…His level of stress is not a one that I can write off with a remark by saying, “you’ll start to feel better in about three days if you take this medicine.” Due to complicated matters in the village, the atmosphere and environment that Satoshi-kun has to live is not what I consider to be an ideal place for his to recovery.
Only time will heal the rift between the Houjou family and the rest of the village. Even then, it will take many years and months for such to happen.
…That is why I needed to help him from being ostracized by the village. I wanted to become a person that he could trust, the only one in the village that would come to his aid. If I can’t fix the environment that is causing his stress, so I had to figure out a way to reduce them through something else. So I told him the best way for him to let out his stress. There is nothing better than sports to relieve a person’s daily stress. So I asked him to join the youth baseball team that I was managing.
Yes, I am an avid researcher unlocking the mysteries of the Hinamizawa Syndrome. You can say that I practically gave my life to this research. But even I would get tired if I were to be conducting research all day.
I used to play in the little leagues as a kid, so I started to coach the local youth baseball team on my spare time. …By the time I realized it, the children of Hinamizawa started their own baseball team and I became their team manager.
Doctors cannot provide healthy bodies by prescribing medication. Healthy bodies are made through healthy spirits. And sports are a great way to maintain both of them. So, being a manager of a youth baseball team is another way of me helping kids in maintaining their health. But, since we were new, we had a lack of members to play in the team. So, I decided to bring Satoshi-kun into baseball.
Satoshi-kun was not the athletic type, and he even said that he’d rather be reading books than playing sports. At the time, he wasn’t so sure what him joining youth baseball had anything to do with relieving his own stress. But I didn’t want to just explain how sports contribute to creating a healthy mind and body, nor did I try to explain to him about athletic medicine. I wanted him to experience it first hand how great it feels to perspire so that he could figure out what I meant.
I’m certain that he began to feel the difference very quickly. …At first, he grudgingly agreed to come, but as time passed, he always came to play in the game. I was happy to see that my plan worked as I saw him regaining his strength and becoming healthy once again.
But if Satoshi-kun had so much stress on his shoulders, Satoko-chan too must’ve been under the same situation as she lived under the same family environment. Regrettably though, I didn’t think about Satoko-chan’s circumstances at the time.
…So when Satoko-chan was hauled into the clinic as a critical patient, I was shocked in despair to see the state Satoko-chan was in. Even as Satoshi-kun began to regain his health through baseball, Satoko-chan’s stress just continued to pile up as she was left all alone. Furthermore, there was an incident that occurred just prior to her loss of consciousness which contributed to her stress to peak to such a state.
That incident was…the death of her parents.
For the Houjou family, the annual village festival was not a time they felt comfortable in the community, as it also commemorated the victory of the Dam Construction War. So I understood their decision to go on a family trip together outside of the village.
But Satoko-chan’s parents fell to their death at the park they were visiting. It was just a very unlucky incident. …Since it happened on the day of Watanagashi, this began the rumor this was the cause of the Oyashiro-sama’s curse. And it also created unfound rumors that the Houjou family was chosen by the Oyashiro-sama due to their pro-dam cause…
It was their parents that were really given the cold shoulder by the villagers. If the parents died, such cold shoulders should wither away. …Unfortunately, since this occurred on the day of Watanagashi…the members of the Houjou family continued to be shunned…
The only witness to the accident was Satoko-chan. (Satoshi-kun was playing in the baseball game that day, so he didn’t go along with them on their day-trip). As a result, all the police interrogation was thrust upon her. …Especially the officer named Oishi seemed to have strong determination that some kind of group within the village was responsible, so he began to pester Satoko-chan with many difficult questions.
Satoko-chan had more stress repressed within her than Satoshi-kun. Considering everything that had happened to her, it was obvious that she would break down. While being interrogated, she suddenly began to wheeze and gasp for air. She was showing signs of breathing difficulties, and suddenly collapsed.
It was disheartening to see Satoko-chan’s emotions of anguish on her face as she was carried into the emergency room. It broke my heart to even think what she had to go through with such a frail body.
Satoshi: “….Kantoku, Is Satoko all right…!”
Irie: “Yes, you can calm down. She was just had a mild case of confusion, that’s all.”
Satoshi: “Can I go and see her?”
Irie: “We’ve just given her some medication, and she’s resting right now. I wouldn’t want to wake her up right now. Let’s give her some rest for now. I think it’s best to let her stay in the hospital for a few days to check up on her. …Don’t worry. Leave it up to me.”
Satoshi: “…Th…Thank you.”
I knew that Satoshi-kun was a very noble brother who always looked after his little sister. And I also knew that he was strong sensibility to feel his little sister’s pain. …So all the stress that Satoshi-kun had in him, is a mirror of Satoko-chan’s stress.
While I didn’t say this because of indiscretion …I think Satoshi-kun was sad yet at the same time, some what relieved at his parents’ accident. He believed that she wouldn't have to repress psychological pain and suffering anymore.
Considering her past, Satoko-chan had absolutely no social skills to get along with her father-in-law; a man who had no blood relation to her. So, despite the tragedy, the main cause of Satoko-chan’s stress was removed from her life. It was some what safe to say that this will create a change in her social environment.
And, at the time, I was slightly relieved that whatever change happens after this, it will be a better social environment for the two siblings.
…But the world works in a cruel way.
…After this accident, the two were taken under foster care to their scumbag uncle and aunt…
[Pre-requisite: Strawberry milk candy]
Sonozaki housekeeper: “Mion-san---, you’re friend is here---“
I heard the housekeeper calling out my name. My house is very big, so I can’t hear my friends ringing the doorbell or calling out “He-y Mion-chan, wanna go out and play-?!”
Mion: “Okay, okay. Thank you. Who is it?”
Housekeeper: “It’s Furude’s Rika-chama.”
Mion: “Oh, I see, I see. Can you tell grandma that Rika-chama is here? She’s probably on the porch over there. I’ll bring the watermelons.”
Grandma received a bunch of watermelons, so she decided to have them shared with my friends. So, I called the Furude family a little while ago, and Rika-chan came here to pick them up.
…I wonder if she came with her bicycle. Did her bike have a frontal holder big enough to fit a watermelon? I pondered about how she was going to take them home as I plucked one watermelon from the well in the backyard. The cold water in the well acted like a refrigerator for the watermelon. The condensation on the watermelon is cool to the touch, and it looks to be very delicious. The three members of the Furude family would be able to have nice dessert for at least two nights with this.
Rika: “…Mi-? It’s to take home? I thought…”
Mion: “Huh? Didn’t this ojisan tell you?!”
I told the priest that we like to share some watermelons but… I guess there was miscommunication somewhere. Somehow the word was changed from “come and have (pick up) a watermelon” to “come and have (eat over here) a watermelon.”
There was no way such a plump watermelon was going to fit in the small frontal holder on her bike, and its too dangerous for her to ride that bike on one hand while holding such a heavy thing on the other.
Oryou: “Mion, you go and help carry that watermelon to Rika-chama’s home. She can’t ride a bike holding a watermelon on the other hand”
Rika: “….Mi-. I sure can hold a watermelon.”
Oryou: “No, no! That’s too dangerous! If something happens to Rika-chama, we’’ never redeem ourselves to the Oyashiro-sama. Our Mion will carry it. Let’er handle it.”
Mion: “Yeah yeah, lemme handle it. I’ll also go and have a chat with the priest as well.”
Even if Rika-chan was able to do it by herself, her hands would be tied up in either way. So, I helped her carry it back to her house.
The sky is turning auburn from the sunset. …The cool wind began to billow, and the bare feet in my sandals feels soothing. Inside the plastic bag were the watermelon and several small bags of kompeitou (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kompeito) candies as a token for coming all the way to the Sonozaki main house.
Rika-chan however, told me that if her mom found out about it, she would take away that candy. So, we opened them right now and plopped the sweet tastes of kompeito candies into our mouths as we trotted to her home…
It is one of grandma’s rules to give out candy to all children that came to the Sonozaki family as a token of appreciation. Let me rephrase that – it’s like a custom in Hinamizawa not particular to just the Sonozaki family. So, I hear funny stories where kids fight with their siblings on who is going to take the circulation note to their neighbor in hopes of getting candy, even though no one in their house has read that note yet.
…This kompeito is one of those rewards to children.
However, she does not usually give this much kompeito normally. The usual exchange rate was one piece of candy. …So this shows how much my grandma has a special sweet spot for Rika-chama.
Rika: “…I feel bad for getting all these candies all the time.”
Mion: “I don’t think you should think so much about it. These rewards are like a token of how much they love you. I think its best to just say thank you and put on a big smile on your face like a child than trying to refuse them.”
Rika: “…Does Mii get rewards too?”
Mion: “Oh, in the past yeah! But I’m too old now to get any rewards. Besides, even if I got them, I’d probably get a bit pissed for trying to treat me like a little kid.”
Rika: “….Mi-. So I’m treated like a little kid.”
Mion: “Ahahahaha. What’s wrong about that! You should take them when you still can. When you grow up to my age, I can’t get stuff that I want anymore.”
I thought that we were talking the usual stuff, until I realized that Rika-chan showed the emotions of sadness.
Mion: “What’s wrong?”
Rika: “….Even though I get lots of candy when I go out for chores, ….Satoko never receives any even if she’s with me.”
If I start to think about why she said that to me, I could go on forever… Everyone around here knows that not only Satoko, but the Houjou family in general, are given the cold shoulder in Hinamizawa. …And the main instigator of that is the Sonozaki main household. The two main targets of the ostracism had died when they fell to their deaths in that tragic accident. Yet, the cold taunting towards the Houjou family still continues towards their children, Satoko and Satoshi, …and to their foster parents as well.
It is true that this all began with the big argument that the Houjou family had with the Sonozaki family at the local project meeting for the dam proposal. …The ones that should be shunned were the husband and his wife, but their children or their uncle and aunt had nothing to do with this whole issue. …Still, the equation of “village traitor = the Houjou family” seems to have evolved on its own, …and that policy set the atmosphere to ostracize anyone with the surname of Houjou.
Their uncle and his wife was not a part of the pro-dam group. So, given time, the ostracism towards them should’ve subsided. …However, they weren’t what I call a “socially acceptable” type to begin with. …They were clearly not getting along with their neighbors and were a bit of a nuisance in the village.
The refused to follow the rules of taking out the trash on the appropriate days, they ditch their pre-arranged community duties, they spray pesticides in their backyard without regards to their neighbors’ laundry times. …I often hear tales of them getting into a heated argument with their neighbors and the council. Practically, they were just looked as an annoyance with or without their ties to the dam proposal. …Hence, the banishment towards the Houjou family still continues to this day.
But, still, Satoko and Satoshi have nothing to do with all of this…
I always see Satoko and Satoshi depressed whenever they come to school. …I leave all the things about Sonozaki family and Houjou family aside at school…but I don’t know how Satoko and Satoshi really feel about that. …From their point of view, I’m certain they see me just as another member of the Sonozaki family…
Mion: “…I don’t want to bring in such bullying into the school. So I do my best to be a regular friend at school, so that the atmosphere there will be protected from the harshness of the outside world…”
Rika: “…But how do you spread that atmosphere to the entire village…?”
…That’s a very difficult task to accomplish.
The Houjou family made enemies of the three gosankes. They were branded as traitors of the village, and its wound has yet to heal. Even if one family steps up to say “…the dam war is finished. Let’s become friends again,” it’s like putting water over hot coal. …No one wants to become a target of ostracism themselves for taking the side of the Houjou family.
It hurts my heart to even think about it, but…the only answer that I can come up with is for them to wait out patiently until this whole matter cools and withers away. And the only thing that I can provide to them is an oasis which they can use until the whole thing is over.
Rika: “…Then how long do they have to hold out…?”
Mion: “………I don’t know. The whole dam war itself took several years. Since they were branded at that time…it might take just as well.”
Rika: “…Then does that mean that Satoko and Satoshi won’t be forgiven until they become adults? Satoko will then have to live her childhood here amidst all the cold shoulders?”
Mion: “…That’s…very harsh….”
Rika: “….Mii. We are friends with Satoko and Satoshi, right?”
Mion: “Of course. Both of them are my special friends. They are a part of our team.”
Rika: “…Then, isn’t there anything we can do to help out our friends in distress…?”
Mion: “….I really wish…I really wonder what we could do…”
Let’s say even if the Sonozaki main house announces that “the dam war was finished, let’s be friendly to the Houjous once again,” it’s not as simple as that. …Besides, grandma seems to despise the Houjou family from her guts, and even the notion of Houjou is considered a taboo around her.
It’s not just about one person forgiving them. …The problem lies with the complicated social interactions between people…it is the community called the village itself. …And to turn such a powerhouse like that into your enemy is very intimidating. Everyone knows this, so that is why they maintain good relationships with their neighbors. …If you dare to turn that into your enemy, you learn of the consequences. …This is the dark side of community relationships that exists not only in Hinamizawa, but in anywhere in Japan.
The Sonozaki family is not an exception to this rule. When the labeling of the Houjou family has come this far, even the Sonozaki family cannot overturn this conviction so easily.
Rika: “…So even if this is about our Hinamizawa, …no one living in Hinamizawa can do anything about it?”
Mion: “….Sadly, …but I guess you’re right. …If there will be a person capable of saving Satoko, than that person must be someone who isn’t bound to such unsaid policies of Hinamizawa. ….Unfortunately, there isn’t anyone in Hinamizawa like that.”
Rika: “….Are you saying that, …someone from the outside of Hinamizawa must come here and save her…?”
Would there ever be a knight in shining armor from the outside world just like Rika-chan says? Would that person be able to smash through the closed space of centuries old customs and bring in a new wave of fresh air into this village?
I don’t think so. It’s all wishful thinking. Basically, nothing is going to change. ….Time is the only factor to help heal this wound.
Hence, I decided to be their friends. I could not think of anything beyond that.
As both of us started biting on the kompeito in our mouths…all we could do was to hope that everyone could forgive Satoko and Satoshi as quickly as possible....
Rika then broke the heavy silence between us.
Rika: “…There will be”
Rika: “….There will be, …someone from the outside of this village, a person not bound to these customs, will come here soon.”
Mion: “Sure. The dam war is over now, so I’m sure someone would start to move here to those areas that are marked for sale. It’ll be fun if such family has a kid close to our age and he or she decides to transfer to our school.”
Rika: “….He will come. And, all of us will unite and defeat the evil practice that causes such ostracism in this village. …That will be the first key in opening the three locks that traps us from the future.”
Mion: “….Huh? What’s that? Is that some kind of book or some sort??”
Rika-chan is known for occasionally rambling peculiar things. Whenever I see her in that mode, she looks as if she’s much older than her age, …and I begin to doubt whether I am the one younger than her.
The unreasonable ostracism towards the Houjou family…
…Will there ever really be a hero from the outside who isn’t bound to our customs, that can shatter our old ways and introduce a brighter future for us…?
[The dam manager's death is required]
[Houjou Satoko's admission into the clinic is required]
Satoshi-kun really was a considerate brother for his sister.
When school is out, he would always head straight to the clinic to visit Satoko-chan, and speak to her warmly to help her restore her energy.
Even without listening to Satoshi-kun's explanation... It was clear that Satoko-chan wasn't able to build a good relationship with her family up to this point.
......Her conflict with her stepfather was especially intense, I hear the disturbance even went as far as Satoko-chan making a false SOS call for abuse.
At at time like this, to have her parents die together in a falling accident...... There's no doubt that her heart was not able to withstand all this damage.
For Satoko-chan, who's still in her tender years, this must be a very painful event for her, but..........among all the unfortunate things, it's fortunate that she has such a wonderful brother there for her.
A wounded heart cannot be healed easily.
But there is no better cure for it than family love.
......I believed that one day, Satoko-chan will be able to regain her smiles.
Although she still hasn't recovered from the shock yet, she's slowing regaining her smiles from her communication with Satoshi-kun.
...Oishi from the police department is still presistently requesting to meet with her, as usual, but I suppose there's still a need for me to act as her breakwater.
......That man might have the passion as a police officer, but he doesn't have the gentleness of being considerate for others.
If that man insensibly forces her to remember her parents accident, there's no doubt her wound in her heart will open up again.
.........That point alone is the worry that surrounds Satoko-chan.
The sound of knocking... It's Takano-san.
...But her nurse outfit... for some reason, it just doesn't look right on her.
She has a medical license, so she could've just worn a white coat and acted as a doctor herself.
......It might just be her way of having fun, but it also feels a little rude to the real nurses.... Of course, I won't actually say that out loud.
Takano: "Irie-sensei, do you have a moment?"
Irie: "Ahh, yes. Well then, Satoshi-kun, please excuse me."
Satoshi: "Ah, yes."
Takano: "Satoshi-kun, good afternoon. Play together with Satoko-chan, ok? She's been all alone today, so I think she must be lonely.... right?"
Satoko: "T, that's not true..."
Irie: "Well, Satoshi-kun, I'll leave things here to you."
I stood up from my seat, and entrusted Satoko-chan to Satoshi-kun.
Irie: "By the way, is something the matter...?"
Takano: "This is not a good place, let's go to the manager's office....... *giggle*."
Sometimes, Takano-san would laugh mysteriously.
For many people, a smiling face is a good thing that brings with it the feeling of happiness.
...But recently, I began to realize that, in Takano-san's case, a smile does not carry that meaning....
Irie: "...Is that true?"
Takano: "Yes. The results of the simple exam revealed the possibly of a high level outbreak that's believed to be higher than L3. There's a need for her to be admitted and further examined with more extensive tests....... We're still waiting for a result, but from what I can see, it might even be a L4."
I could see Takano-san's eyes laugh unpleasantly.
There's a reason for that.
............To obtain a living terminal outbreak patient is a very valuable thing for the continuation of our research, that's why.
In fact, as the result of the inhuman dissection of last year's...... dismemberment murderder as a specimen, our research managed to make leaping advances.
In other words, we have finally managed to determine the disease's pathogen.
We have also discovered it's unique characteristic where it would dissolve within a few hours of the death of it's host.
After dissolving, it breaks down into common elements that's normally found within the body, so we also understood that it's almost impossible to look for it by then.
......With that, it also explained why we weren't able to find the pathogen no matter how many autopsies we did.
The research from now on will be at a totally different level from the reseach up to this point.
It's probably not an exaggeration to say that our work during this 1 year have already surpassed the 10-odd years worth of research done by the late-Takano.
Right now, we have expanded into various researches on the characteristics and effects of the pathogen, the symptoms, as well as treatments and vaccines.
In other words... without a living terminal outbreak patient to use as a specimen, there will be no advances in our research.
However, it is rare for a terminal outbreak patient, also known as L5, to happen on it's own.
The ancient Hinamizawa Syndrome apparantly caused a large number of L5 occurances, but it no longer has that potency now.
Which means that securing L5 patients, or perhaps severe outbreak patients close to L5, has become our priority.
.........What this means is that Satoko-chan, who fulfills that requirement, could become the first sacrifice we have had in a year.
To keep the strange disease classified, we cannot allow patients who are feared to be L5 to run around loose.
...We need to first perform a detailed examination... and then think of a response plan after seeing the result.
After all, Satoko-chan is perfectly calm right now.... She's showing no signs of the kind of derangement displayed by last year's murderer.
......Simple exams can produce big errors sometimes.
We just have to wait for the results of the detailed exam to determine whether Satoko-chan is a severe outbreak patient or not.
Irie: "......Understood. Let's admit her into the clinic under the reason of observation. Please arrange things with the other staff members."
That's just an answer by formality, but...... if the result of her examination comes back positive, it will also mean that she will be immediately moved for dissection.
Although I haven't met with Satoko-chan many times... I have already built a long history of contact with her brother, Satoshi-kun, through the youth baseball team.
Satoshi-kun loved his sister enough to melt people's hearts.........Can I do such a thing as dissecting her......?
Coming this far, for the first time, I could feel horrifying images climbling up by body from my feet....
Takano: "*giggle*. Please don't worry. Everything has already been arranged for."
It was an evil smile, as if she was trying to say that even the dissection operation has already been arranged for.
But, is she the only one who has that smile?
...Am I not wearing such an ugly and twisted smile on my face as well.........?
During the dissection last year.... I did feel guilty before the dissection.
But once I made up my mind to proceed with the dissection...... what was in front of me was a paradise of intellectual curiosity.
The pieces left behind by the late-Takano which were filled with foresight were further confirmed, or perhaps betrayed. Either way, it was one excitement after another.
The excitement of stepping into a mysterious realm that nobody has ever solved before....
This taste of excitement that enslaves you like narcotics, just how can I explain it to someone who has never tasted it? There's no word to describe it.
The only thing that I can say is...... Even one year later right now, I still cannot forget that intellectual excitement.
That's why, if the result of the examination...... shows that Satoshi-kun's beloved sister will become the target for dissection............will I be able to stay calm without licking my lips in excitement?
But, ...if I do that, then it would mean that I fail as a human being.
I know just how much the Houjou family has been isolated from the village, and just how much pain Satoko-chan has went though.
...And, I also know just how important that Satoko-chan is to Satoshi-kun as his only relative.
Can I dissect such a Satoko-chan, while she's still alive, just for the sake of my intellectual excitement.........?
I didn't feel much guilt for the man last year...... yet I can feel such heavy guilt towards Satoko-chan.
......That fact has forced me to remember last year's sin that I have been trying to forget.
If it's a man I've never seen before, then it's ok for him to die.
If it's Satoko-chan, then I don't want her to die. That's not a fair reason.
The weight of life should be equal for everyone.
Besides, the reason for my feeling of guilt to be thinned out...... the fact that the man was a violent murderer, it could've very well been something caused by the terminal outbreak.
......I know nothing of that man before he became deranged.
He might very well have been a model citizen worthy of respect.
......He could've been just a poor victim who has had an unfortunate outbreak, and ended up committing anti-social behaviours as the result.... That's right, just like my father....
I know more about the Hinamizawa Syndrome than anyone else.
This disease makes people do bizarre things that they never wished for. Without even the person themself feeling weird about it.
...That's why, no matter how atrocious and bizarre the acts performed by these terminal outbreak patients of this disease are, they should still be worthy of our sympathy and compassion.
And I already knew about this back when I first decided to step onto this path too...!
Recalling such things that should've been obvious to me, as if I remembered them just now... I realized just how much I'm throwing myself into a sinful research.
Finally, Houjou Satoko's detailed examination results have come back.
The result, L5.... Terminal of terminals.
In a way, it should've been a shocking result.
In last year's case, the terminal outbreak patient was in a severely deranged state.
According to Takano-san's observation records, the patient complained of intense itch coming from lymph nodes all over the body, and wanted to scratch his own throat, just like the late-Takano pointed out.
But Satoko-chan is showing no such signs.
Even in the data left behind by the late-Takano, while he mentioned the throat scratching as a very unique terminal symptom, he did not say that it would occur in every patient.
Besides, there are personal differences in people's emotional expressions.
Even with the same feeling, some people would express it intensely, while others would hide it within themselves.
It's impossible to predict how one person would react with only one look.
But the results of Satoko-chan's detailed examination is showing the terminal stage of terminal stages, L5.
In other words... she's simply not showing the same kind of deranged behaviours like the man last year did...... but within her heart, there should be the exact same kind of abnormal feelings that's similar to madness torrenting through her.
The Hinamizawa Syndrome acts on a person's frontal lobe... and strongly stimulates one of human's most primitative emotions, "doubt".
......As the result, terminal outbreak patients are trapped within severe delusions and paranoia, ultimately resulting in them committing horrifying atrocities....
Satoko-chan is exchanging warm communications with the visiting Satoshi-kun, and is showing signs of recovery.
.........But within her, the paranoia that could put her into a deranged state any time is continuing it's torrent.......
......I cannot let Satoko-chan leave the clinic like this.
But... at this rate, if we follow the procedures according to the response manual, I will most likely be asked to decide on Houjou Satoko's dissection plan.
......If that happens, then my decision is only a formality.
I do not have the ability to refuse it.
Takano-san appeared to have already started on working out a dissection schedlue.
That plan will be passed on to me.
.........If I dissect Satoko-chan alive.... Will I be able to taste that intellectual excitement again?
Will I be able to reach that realm of trance once again?
...No... Will I be able to win against that temptation?
Will I end up passively agreeing to Satoko-chan's dissection while pretending to be doing this self-questioning and leaving Takano-san to advance things on her own?
...If possible, I want to save Satoko-chan. I don't want to turn her into a sacrifice for the research. And I definitely don't want to dissect her.
But, what will I say about the man last year then?
Am I a person who descriminates by only feeling the weight of life in someone I know?
If I don't want to dissect her, then do I allow her to live and leave the clinic?
And wait blindly until she becomes deranged and cause some horrifying incident?
...And then, would she would be carried in here in a deranged state, just like the man last year... with me ending up dissecting her alive in the end anyway?
The man last year...... was kept alive for several months...... while he was being dissected alive.
With his cranium left in an opened state, he wasn't allowed to die for several months, and was kept alive only for the sake of cruel experiments.
I don't want to force that on her......!
What should I do...?
Even my own worries, even my own conflicts, are passively moving to agree to her dissection....
[The kompeito (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kompeito) candy reward is required]
[Houjou Satoko's detailed examination result is required]
In the midst of a powerful sunshine that reminds one of a midsummer sun, the baseball youths chased after their white ball freely.
Even the chorus of the cicadas, which makes the heat stand out even more, is nothing more than another sound of cheering for the children right now.
Of course, the children are still properly doing their basic practices, as well as exercising to build stamina.
But the children are really not fond of such P.E. class-like sessions, the free matches that came after the practices are what's really fun for them.
Hinamizawa's school is really nothing more than a site borrowed from the forestry management office.
Because of that, the school yard is made of gravel, which isn't really suited for intense sports.
Compared to that, the grounds over here at this school in Okinomiya is a properly equipped sports ground, so the children can become even more energetic here than usual.
Well, with the kind of energy that the Hinamizawa kids have, a school ground made of gravel probably wouldn't have mattered to them anyway.
Since the other supervisors are watching over the children's matches, Irie used this chance to go buy some juices for the children.
Satoshi: "Kantoku, where are you going?"
Irie: "I'm thinking about going to buy some juices for everyone. If Satoshi-kun's free, it'd be a big help if you can lend me a hand too."
Satoshi: "Ah, yes. I'll help out."
After replying obediently, Satoshi-kun came along with me on the shopping trip.
Since choosing juices with an adult's sense tends to result in complaints, it's great that he chose to come along with me.
Together with Satoshi-kun, we left for the nearby supermarket in the car.
Satoshi: "......Kantoku. How is Satoko doing right now...?"
Irie: "Yes. She's doing well so far. It's slow, but Satoko-chan's emotional wounds are healing as well. It's probably a good idea to let her rest for a little while longer."
It's natural for Satoshi-kun to be worried.
Because it has been 2 weeks since Satoko-chan was admitted into the clinic.
Of course, he doesn't know anything about the fact that his own sister has caught the Hinamizawa Syndrome, and is even on the borderline of L5 and could go mad at any moment.
That's why he's believing that she's only down from the shock of their parent's accident.
Trying to cheer his sister up, he came everyday to visit her, but...... since Satoko-chan's mood became unstable and started to show dangerous signs recently, we had to call off the visits too.
To be honest...... Satoko-chan's condition is not looking good.
The L5 condition that Satoko-chan displayed already puts her at an abnormal level.
The man last year, who was at the same level, was in a condition so abnormal it would even make a terminal narcotics patient run away scared.
...There's absolutely no guarantee that Satoko-chan won't end up just like that as the result of some small trigger.
It's true that we learned of the Hinamizawa Syndrome's true identity and much of it's mechanisms from the dissection of the man last year.
.........We also made valuable discoveries that connects to the development of a treatment.
But a treatment method still remains uncertain... If Satoko-chan is to fall into an unrecoverable state right now... then it's possible that she could be dissected, just like the man last year....
At the borderline of his sister's life and death... I cannot tell Satoshi-kun about it, the only thing I can do is to lie to him like this with vague responses by saying she's recovering nicely.
If something were to happen to her,
......Then it would make me an unforgivable liar to Satoshi-kun.
...The tiny bit of conscience that's still left within me hurts with a prickling pain.
Satoshi: ".........If it's not too much trouble for Kantoku's clinic.... ...It might be a good idea to keep her there for a while longer."
Irie: "......What do you mean by that?"
I figured Satoshi-kun would wish for his sister to be able to leave the hospital as early as possible, so I'm a little surprised.
Satoshi: "Well, no....... actually, Satoko....... isn't fitting in very well with our aunt's family."
Irie: "I have heard that Satoko-chan didn't have a very good relationship with your parents, but...... is it the same thing with the uncle's family where you two are living at right now as well...?"
Satoshi: "............... Satoko...... doesn't open herself up to adults very much, that's why."
I have heard about Satoko-chan's unfortunate upbringing from Satoshi-kun before.
......The constant remarriage of their mother has deeply wounded the children's hearts.
Satoshi-kun was able to overcome it, but Satoko-chan was far too young at the time to be able to expect the same from her.
They said that it has become a trauma for her, and she gained the tendency to strongly dislike guardians who are not related to her by blood.
......No, everybody would probably dislike a guardian who's not related to them by blood. It's not something that's only limited to Satoko-chan.
But still, even if they don't like it in their hearts, most people would usually suppress and endure through it.
......However, it looks like that Satoko-chan is just not able to do that....
Satoshi: "Ojisan doesn't come back home very much... even if he's around, he's always either sleeping or watching TV, so there's not much problem there, but.... ......Obasan gets on Satoko's back a lot."
Irie: "......Why is she disliked that much, I wonder...?"
I have a general idea.
......Since Satoko-chan's parents were dam supporters, the uncle's family probably also received punishments just because they're Houjou family too.
On top of that, they went ahead and passed away in an accident just like that, pushing two children onto the uncle's family, there can only be hate, no gratitude, I guess.
Even then, if Satoko-chan had stayed obedient at least on the surface like Satoshi-kun did, then there wouldn't have been much trouble.
......But Satoko-chan cannot be obedient.
And that would soon show in her attitude and expressions, resulting in a big fight.
Satoshi: "......I have explained Satoko's situation to Obasan too, but.... I just can't get her to understand somehow......."
Irie: "And everytime something happens, Satoshi-kun would cover for Satoko-chan. I think that's a model behaviour for an Oniisan, you know. ......For Satoko-chan, Satoshi-kun may be her only relative left now, after all."
Satoshi: "...I suppose so....... I can kind of sense that too."
Mixed with a small sigh, Satoshi-kun said.
...He's not saying it out loud, but... It looks like Satoshi-kun is also feeling tired for being dragged into having to cover for Satoko-chan everytime she has a fight with their Obasan.
He is a nice person and a nice brother.
That's why he'll probably always fight on to protect his little sister.... But that's a very very tiring thing.
Satosh-kun has been living a life like this since they were with their parents.
And then, the balance in his heart finally collapsed, and he fell ill, that's when he visited my place.
I figured now that the source of his symptoms, his parents, have passed away, his conditions would have improved, but....
It would appear that his condition has gotten even more serious than before....
Irie: "I understand. ......If we let Satoko-chan leave the hospital like this, it's possible your heart symptoms might come back again.... Please don't worry about the hospital fees. Until Satoko-chan truly recovers, I'll take responsibility for it."
......While pretending to be someone who truly listened to his wish, I felt a little disgusted at my own slyness for making up these self-serving excuses.
What "I'll take responsibility"?
.......And I know perfectly well that Takano-san in the process of preparing her dissection plan outline right now too....
Satoshi: ".........If you can do that...... it'll help me out a bit too."
Irie: "Excuse me...?"
Satoshi: "...No, ............It's just that, if Satoko can stay at the hospital for a while longer... then I can, relax for a bit too....... that's all."
Irie: "What... do you mean by that?"
Satoshi: ".........If Satoko comes back... I think she's probably just going to fight with our aunt again. ...If that happens, it'll be days of fighting and yelling again...... and once I think about how I might get dragged into that too............ Maybe the most relaxing thing for me would be to have Satoko stay at the hospital forever?...... I would end up thinking about something like that ............and I would hate myself...."
Satoshi-kun is a nice brother who always covers for his little sister.... But, that doesn't mean he doesn't feel any burdens either....
Satoshi: "......Then I would think "what a bad brother I am, to think of such a thing"....... And the more I think about that... the more I become disgusted at myself................................."
Saying that, Satoshi-kun sniffed his nose once.
His expression was filled with anguish... as if he's feeling his own sin....
The feeling of wanting to be a model brother has cornered him.
.........Although Satoko-chan is worthy of pity... In a different way, Satoshi-kun is also worthy of pity as well.
As someone who knows the both of them well...... I felt with my whole body that I must be an ally for these two children, who is cared for by no one....
[Houjou Satoko's detailed examination result is required]
[Irie Kyousuke's determination is required]
The schedule of Satoko-chan's dissection is proceeding steadily.
...The feeling of not watching to make Satoshi-kun sad.
The pity for Satoko-chan's heart-breaking circumstances.
......And the thought of me having to take up that cruel responsibility for the sake of this research. All of them fought within me over and over again.
Irie: "Eh? Ahh, I'm sorry, I spaced off there. What's the matter, Rika-chan?"
Rika: "......My friend has been in the hospital for a long time now, does she have the Hinamizawa Syndrome?"
Irie: "Who did you hear that from?"
Rika: "......It was just me thinking. How is it, Irie? Does Satoko have the Hinamizawa Syndrome?"
Rika-chan is already someone on our side.
There's nothing to hide from her.
In fact, to not hide anything from her has become a kind of unwritten rule of sincerity for me.
Irie: "............Yes. The poor relationship with her parents, and the sudden death of those parents.... These occurrences have been too great for her to be able to accept all at once.......Perhaps that was the trigger."
Rika: "......The exam results?"
Irie: "It's L5. Although she appears very stable on the surface, her emotions are very unstable. I have turned down Satoshi-kun's visits since a few days ago as well."
Rika: "......I heard from Satoshi. He was worried about how Satoko's wounds in her heart just can't heal....... Irie, what will happen to Satoko?"
To Rika-chan, Satoko-chan is her best friend.
It's obviously impossible for me to tell her that a schedule for the dissection of that Satoko-chan is actually already in progress....
But, in the end, even if I try to skip through her questioning by staying silent, it only confirms that the conditions surrounding Satoko-chan is in a very bad state.
Rika: "......Didn't Irie find out a lot of things by examining my body?"
Irie: "Yes, of course..........We're in a stage of testing out various things right now, including experimental medications that are expected to suppress the symptoms."
Rika: "......Can you not give that to Satoko?"
Irie: "I thought of it once.... But it's quite dangerous. We're still at a stage where we would want to test the medication on specimens that are more fit physically and mentally, and slowly gather data as we go along....... It is not something we can try on someone like Satoko-chan, who cannot afford to lose anything more."
Rika: "......Then, Irie. If you won't try that medicine, what will to happen to Satoko?"
It was a tone as if she knew that Satoko-chan's fate was going to be dissection.
......No, maybe she knows.
I have revealed most of our research to her.
......If she's more mature than she looks, then she can probably figure out the dissection on her own too after some thinking.
Rika: "......I think, if there's even a 1% chance of saving Satoko, then we should bet on it."
Irie: "It's a very dangerous bet.... In the worst case, the terminal symptoms could act out immediately and make her mad, or she could lose her mind and turn into a vegetable that stares at walls with unfocused eyes for the rest of her life.......Either way, it would be a fate far too cruel."
Rika: "......Are you saying it's much better to tranquilize her whole body and then kill her while she's asleep then?"
Rika: "......Irie, it's just like Takano says all the time, medical science isn't 100%. But if we leave Satoko like this, the fate that awaits her can only be 100% death. If so, it should be clear which side we have to bet on."
Irie: "......You're right. It's just as you said."
But, as the clinic head, I understand better than anyone else.
The experimental medication C103 that's in development right now is at a stage where we're not even sure if it can be used.
There's no doubt that it's success rate, if expressed in percentages, would not even amount to one.
On top of that, I can't even imagine what kind of tragic end there might be if the test drug doesn't fit the body.
That's why.........I get tempted into thinking that maybe it would be far more merciful to give her as much of her favorites as she wants... and then after watching her fall into a gentle sleep, dissect her while she's in her dreams....
......It's shameful, but Takano-san is right.
I'm still stuck at halfway, can't come to a resolution even know.
...Just how much effect would something created by someone like that have?
......Exactly because it's a drug made by someone like me... I can't believe in a success of even 0.1%....
Rika: "......I think, if it's a drug made by Irie, it can be trusted."
I gasped at the words, as if they saw right through my heart.
Surprised, I raised my lowered head to look at her...... and on her face was a firm look that's almost unimaginable from her age.
Rika: "......Irie is enduring a very harsh job that controls people's life. Originally, it is absurd for a human being to have any say in another person's life and death. The weight of that can only be understood by those who was burdened by it."
Her voice is the same... and yet, for some reason, I feel like I'm being lectured by a Rika-chan that I don't know....
And then, that Rika-chan, sounding as if she already knew perfectly well about the weight of carrying someone's life on your back,
Rika: "......The weight of that is decided by your sense of guilt and the weight of your regret.... That's why Irie can't test a drug that's still dangerous on Satoko. Am I right?"
I feel like I've been told the same thing by Takano-san in the past too.... Once again, I've been lectured about that....
Rika: "But.......that's exactly why I think I can leave Satoko in your hands."
Rika: "A person's life is a very heavy thing. To be unable to endure that weight is because you have a heart that places great importance on people's life.......... Without a heart like that, how can you save someone from illness? Do you think I'd try drugs made by someone like Takano, who thinks of people as nothing more than guinea pigs? *giggle giggle*."
It's not a laughing matter at all, yet I ended up laughing somehow.
......It's because I felt it would be best to laugh there.
Rika: "If both Takano and you offered your own drugs, I think Irie's drug would be the one that works. Because, medicine is something born from one's heart....... As droplets that drip out of your own body, the feeling of wanting to save people will cure their illnesses."
Irie: "......That is exactly right.......For a doctor to be taught a lesson about medicine...."
Rika: "I gave out my own body only for Satoko's sake. Everything that was pulled out of my body with a needle are the droplets of medicine I have to offer to Satoko. If you extracted something while learning of the true weight of life from those droplets, without forgetting regret and remorse....... Then there's no reason they won't work on Satoko."
......Do shrine mikos listen to people's troubles and repentances too?
If so, then at this age, she already makes a wonderful miko of the Furude shrine.
Irie: "............This...will be a gamble.......I don't know whether Satoko-chan will accept it in the end or not...."
Rika: "There's no need to tell Satoko about it. Because for Satoko, knowing about the Hinamizawa Syndrome will do nothing other than gouge at the deep wounds of her heart once again."
The meaning of her words here.
......I will notice it afterwards, and become shocked once again at her prudence and insight.
Irie: "............Let us call off the dissection plan. We will shift to the C103 administration test for Houjou Satoko.......I will do my best, to raise that probability of things going well, even if it's only by 1%."
Rika: "......Don't worry, Irie. It will definitely go well."
Irie: "Hahahahaha.... No, we mustn't be that optimistic."
Rika: "......It's alright. Because it has already been decided."
"This is... a reliable message from Furude shrine's miko-sama."
Rika: "......Fight, O~☆"
[Refusal of Houjou Satoshi's visit is required]
[Houjou Satoshi's sense of duty as a brother is required]
The dissection plan against Satoko-chan has been halted, and we are shifting to put into action an administration test plan of a totally unsafe test drug, C103.
The purpose of this test drug is to suppress the production of certain hormones in the body, which will block transmissions from the Hinamizawa Syndrome that could lead Satoko-chan to derangement.
We know how the Hinamizawa Syndrome works. The pathogen takes over the frontal lobe of the patient, inducing a condition that causes them to become extra sensitive to paranoid doubts, and as a result, the patient will "voluntarily" carry out excessive defensive behaviours (problematic behaviours).
If we can cut off that inducement, then it will be possible to save terminal stage patients from derangement.
However, just stopping the inducement is not enough to be an actual cure.
...It's ironic, but the brain is an organ that learns.
Once the brain has learned to be excessively paranoid from the Hinamizawa Syndrome, even if the pathogens were to be completely removed, the brain will have already learned to not resist against paranoia.
In other words, even without the pathogen inducing the derangement, the patients will send their own emotions in that direction out of their own will.
......Therefore, there's probably no way to cleanly escape from a near-mad condition like L5.
(The proverb "blowing the sashimi after being burned by the hot soup" refers to these kind of situations a lot. It refers to the fixed "fear" of being burned by food again, even after your tongue's burn has already healed. In a good way, this is called "learning", in a bad way, it's called "trauma")
I can imagine that this treatment will probably take a long time, requiring both medicinal treatments such as prescriptions of antidepressants, as well as mental care counsellings.
While suppressing Hinamizawa Syndrome's derangement inducement, slowly relax the paranoia of a heart that's frozen an inch from madness....
This was my prospect of the treatment plan for terminal stage patients like Satoko-chan.
But still, parts of her brain that controls her emotions are going to be faced with stimulation from both the pathogen and us.
Unexpected side effects can be expected....... The key to success lies in her physical and mental toughness.
The experiment was meant to begin after we have carefully reviewed the stableness of her heart and the recovery of her physical stamina....
Among all of this, someone who threatens to disturb that stableness of hers has been coming to my place days after days.
...It's the sly old detective from the Okinomiya station, Oishi.
He considers everything from the dam war to the dismemberment murder of the construction site manager last year to be an organized crime secretly conducted by the village's gosanke. And he believes the falling accident of Satoko-chan's parents, which is being referred to as this year's curse, might be related somehow. So he's persistently clinging onto the central character of all this, Satoko-chan....
Irie: "...No matter how many times you visit us, I cannot grant you permission to meet with Satoko-chan. She has been crippled by the shock of her parent's death, remember? Is it not possible for you understand that?"
Oishi: "No, no, I'm really only asking to talk to her for just a bit. I don't plan to take very long....... If you want me to get a warrant, that can be done too, but if that happens, things will get quite serious, you know? I'm being attentive of Houjou-san's health as well, that's why I haven't done something as inconsiderate as getting a warrant, now have I?"
Irie: "Just what exactly is it that you want to ask Satoko-chan, so much that you're willing to go as far as getting a warrant for it? I haven't got the slightest clue here."
Oishi: ".........Hmm~~, well, actually, there is a possibility that the falling this time could actually be an incident, not an accident."
Irie: "I know of the talks about the Houjou couple being hated by the villagers ever since the dam war. However, isn't it a little too absurd to think someone would actually chase them all the way out to their vacation spot and push them off a cliff?"
Oishi: "Hmm~~~ Well, we can call it an accident too, you know? But in that case, then there are some lies that we just can't understand. And the more we think "why are these lies needed?", the more it doesn't look like an accident to us."
Irie: "...What do you mean by lies?"
Oishi: "Well, you see, it's about Houjou Satoko-san saying she was sleeping in the car when the accident occurred.... I'm just thinking that's a little weird."
Satoko-chan has stated since the beginning that she was sleeping in the back seat of the car when the falling accident occurred.
Because of that, it appears that she didn't even go to the viewing platform at the accident scene.
When she woke up, her parents were already nowhere to be seen, and she was left in distress... after that, she realized that her parents have fallen off the cliff.
Irie: "Where is the lie in that? You're not trying to say that Satoko-chan was actually awake and went to the viewing platform together with her parents, are you?"
Oishi: "That's right. Houjou Satoko-san was not sleeping at all. She left the car together with her parents, and went to the viewing platform."
............At this moment, I was hit by an image of a worst possible scenario.
If what Oishi is saying is true, and Satoko-chan actually lied by saying she didn't go to the viewing platform, even though she did....then a terrifying imagination will come into shape.
Irie: "I, I don't know what proof you have to be saying such a thing. Besides, why is there a need for Satoko-chan to lie?"
Oishi: "That's just it. Why must Houjou Satoko-san lie? If we can't learn the truth behind that... then we won't be able to write this off as just a falling accident."
Irie: "What is it that makes you think Satoko-chan is lying?"
Oishi: "......Since the accident this time took place in a different jurisdiction, the Shirakawa station people interviewed the parties involved, you see. And after reading through their report, there are some parts that just bothers me."
Irie: "Parts that bother you... what are they?"
Oishi: "According to Houjou Satoko-san's statement, she was invited by her parents to go to the viewing platform together, but since she was sleepy, she refused and remained in the car. Then she fell asleep immediately after that, before waking up after a considerable amount of time has passed. And then, she began feeling insecure as her parents never returned, so she cried out loud. A patrolling park worker heard the cry and talked her, and that's how the accident was discovered.
During that time, according to the park worker's statement, it was she who said her parents have fallen off the cliff. However, at the time, the accident site in question should be quite difficult to see from where the Houjou couple had parked their car. Well, no, if you looked carefully, you might be able to notice that the fence has been broken.
But you know? If you woke up and realized your parents aren't around, I don't think it would be usual for you to immediately say that they have fallen off a cliff. Normally, most people would probably say their parents left for a walk and didn't come back. To suddenly tell a third party that your parents have fallen off a cliff even though you were not at the site of the fall yourself, that's just hard for me to accept!... I wanted to know why she was certain that her parents have fallen, and how she came to believe in that, and that is why I have been making these frequent visits. Before her admittance here, I have approached her several times as well. But it was always "I don't remember" or "I was confused at the time", well, it's almost like the answers of some politician. I was just thinking that it might be valuable to have a good talk with her."
At this point... the terrifying imagination in my head has become solid.
I have always vaguely thought that the trigger of her terminal symptom outbreak was the shock from her parents' accident.
...But that's wrong.
.........Satoko-chan was already in the terminal condition, and has been filled with enough paranoia to drive her mind crazy before the accident occurred.
They say that she had a bad relationship with her step-father, who's not related to her by blood, and that she was quite stressed by it.
They also said that she was even scolded by her mother for not being able to open up to her step-father.
......If she was to become paranoid here and misunderstood her parents, thinking that maybe they consider her to be a bother and is trying to kill her, then....
Then, when she was taken to the viewing platform, she must be thinking that they were going to push her off and pretend it was an accident.
So...... the tragedy that she considered to be self-defense ended up making her parents fall to the bottom of the cliff....
It is because I am the one who knows the most about the Hinamizawa Syndrome... that I am confident.
This falling accident was not an "accident".
...And it's also not an "incident", like the kind Oishi is looking for.
All we have here was...... simply a sad "tragedy".
After asking Satoshi-kun afterwards about the family, my belief was deepened even more.
Because I got to hear that although Satoko-chan didn't try to open up her heart, the step-father, while inexperienced, did try his best to communicate with Satoko-chan.
It's true that their relationship didn't go well in the beginning.
Satoko-chan caused troubles time and again, even developing into a situation where she made a fake call to the city's abuse SOS line.
At this level, they received instructions from the child consultation center, and the lack of communication between the step-father and the daughter was pointed out as the problem.
And then, the step-father received instructions from the child support worker, and participated in the city's childcare curriculum, and as inexperienced as he was, he tried his best at communicating.
Satoshi-kun knew that well, and tried to make Satoko-chan, who still won't open up even then, aware of it too.
And yet, Satoko-chan was not able to notice those efforts.
The extreme stress called for the terminal symptoms......... and she was not able to understand her step-father's remorse and effort.
...No, on the contrary, there's no doubt her step-father's change in attitude had actually created even more mistrust in her.......
And the result...... To enjoy the beautiful sceneries of the Shirakawa Nature Park from the viewing platform as a family, and to share that joy...... even such a humble wish, normal for any family to have...... did not get through to Satoko-chan....
.........What a heartbreaking encounter it must've been.......
The daughter who stayed in the car to sleep in grudge has gotten out of bed slowly, and is tip-toeing this way.
The step-father must've heard that too.
...Thinking she was probably trying to scare them with a "boo!"... They pretended to not notice her.
.........Thinking about what the step-father must've been thinking at the time, it makes your heart ache.
......While he thought that his heart has finally gotten though......the opponent was actually attacking him with an intent to kill, that's why.
On top of that, it's not caused by Satoko-chan's own personality.
It's the fault of the sickness that Satoko-san carried.
Not only is Satoko-chan worthy of pity... the parents who were pushed off were also far too much of a pity as well.......
On top of all that, she is being doubted by Oishi as the criminal for the pushing.
......Judgement and punishment is required for crimes with a malicious intent.
...But... what she requires are pity and understanding.
......And no one except me, who knows of the Hinamizawa Syndrome, will be able to have that understanding....
Although I am the head of the Irie Institution, I have never acted that way or used that authority before.
But for the first time since I took up the position of being the head of this place, I am using it.
Not as the head of the secret research institution, Irie Institution.
......But something I believe to be necessary as a doctor, in order to protect Satoko-chan.
Irie: "About the Shirakawa Nature Park falling accident of Satoko-chan's parents...... Can I get you to ask Yamainu's Okonogi-san to put an end to it as an accident?"
Takano: "Yes, that's not a problem at all. Yamainu is a team that's the most specialized in concealment or manipulation of those kind of things, after all.... You're right, if we don't quickly put an end to that falling accident as an accident, the police will be a bother trying to get close to our experiment specimen."
Irie: "......That's right. In particular, make sure that Oishi-san is drawn away from this case as soon as possible, please....... We're at a delicate stage of the drug administration test, it would not be appropriate to create any unnecessary stress for her."
Takano: "Exactly. I will be sure to let Yamainu know. Since they have connections in the police as well, let's tell them to apply some pressures there. I think the Shirakawa Falling Accident will be confirmed as an accident in a few days."
Confirmed, as an accident.
......Ahh, if only it really was an accident, it would've still offered some ease to Satoko-chan's heart ....
Even if the pathogen is eliminated, the wounded heart will not heal.
...And neither will the sad tragedy that has already occurred.
All I can do...... is to do my best... so the day where she regains her smile would come sooner, even if only by a day....
[The halt in the Houjou Satoko dissection plan is required]
The test drug administration experiment for Houjou Satoko is proceeding smoothly.
Personally, I wouldn't have cared even if the experiment failed right away.
But, as a result of Irie putting an abnormal level of concentration into the experiment, Houjou Satoko has avoided falling into a deranged or vegatative state...... and has actually begun to show possibilities of returning to a normal social life even while in L5.
Although there are still many areas of the C103 that requires further examination, by adjusting the administration amount while paying close attention to the specimen's physical conditions, it has achieved the great feat of allowing even those with L5 to survive.
...Regarding to this, although half-teasingly, I must recommend his efforts.
No, maybe because it's Irie, that's why.
Tormented by some naive humanism, and even now, he still resists dirtying his hands, that's probably what linked him to the sense of duty of wanting to save Houjou Satoko from a dying fate.
What I don't like about Irie is not his accomplishments or capabilities, but his naiveness and inability to act without emotions.
......For that reason, I had to praise him for the first time ever.
Takano: "I had a chance to look through administrator Irie's report.... I must say, my hat is off to you."
Irie: "No. I'm simply fulfilling my duties as a researcher.... If the results also fulfilled my job as a dcotor, then there is nothing better I could've asked for."
Takano: "Right now, it's probably not an exaggeration to say that Satoko-chan is a very very important specimen to us, don't you think? After all, she's the first person to have survived even after reaching L5."
Irie: "...That's right. We will return her to regular social life, and switch to long-term observations to watch her throughout that process. I am planning to get her to come back here again every Sunday to receive examinations."
Takano: "But how will you explain to her the need to take 3 injections of C103 a day, and the need to come here every Sunday for examinations? She has no self-awareness to her sickness at all, right?"
Irie: "...About that, I'm thinking up a believable explanation right now....... For now, what I'm thinking of is to ask her to help out with my research article. She receives nutrient injections everyday, and comes here every Sunday to examine the effect. In exchange, I will pay her some money as payment for cooperating in the research. That's the idea."
......Looks like Irie is insistent on completely curing Houjou Satoko
...It looks like he's insistent on keeping her from being placed on top of the dissection table.
Although our positions are different, no matter how naive his thoughts are, as long as it connects directly to a passion for the research, I have no complaints.
If his plan is to be executed, we'll probably get a different result than a dissection, and it'll still be useful in uncovering the full picture of the Hinamizawa Syndrome.
It's not that I hate Houjou Satoko.
It's just that, for the sake of the research, I'm willing to eat anything that I can get my hands on, that's all.
If Houjou Satoko can be useful in ways other than dissection, then I'm perfectly fine with that.
Irie: "With 3 injections needed a day, we'll have to get consent not only from herself, but her guardians as well. If I remember right, since her parents passed away, her guardianship was moved over to her uncle's family, wasn't it? I'm thinking about discussing this with them when I have a chance. I hope they're willing to allow their niece to participate in some weird experiment though...."
Takano: "*giggle*, don't worry. That's what research cooperation payments are for. All we have to do is toss 100 or 200 thousands at them every month, and they'll be dancing for us."
Irie: "Do we have the funds for that?
Takano: "Of course. As long as we make up files that Jirou-san can be satisified with."
Irie: "Understood. I'll make them up. Also, we need to instruct them to not put any stress on Satoko-chan. It'll be hectic if her L5 resurfaces again, after all....... I hear from rumors that her uncle and aunt are very self-interested people. It might be possible to coax them with money. I'm planning to give them the instructions on those as well."
I have heard rumors saying that Satoko-chan's relationship with her uncle and aunt, her new parents, has not been a good one.
But I figured it has nothing to do with us. I didn't expect Irie to get this involved so enthusiastically.
Maybe something caused him awaken to a sense of duty of wanting to become her protector or something.
I don't mind that either. If a sense of duty burns within him, then the research advances further. And that's a big help for me.
Irie: "......Aside from that.... I have looked through your report on the H170 series."
Takano: "Yes. Although it's nothing compared to administrator Irie's accomplishments, I was able to get my research results, for the time being."
Irie: "...It really is ironic, isn't it? In this research lab, a treatment medication that will save her from madness is being made, yet right alongside it, we're making a dangerous drug that can drive her crazy right away."
Irie is not involved with the H170.
I led the research on it.... Well, even if I told him to get involved, he probably still wouldn't have.
This dangerous test drug was created during the process of understanding the mechanism of just how the pathogen that controls Houjou Satoko's brain was able to create paranoia and derangement in its host.
To put it in plain words, by administering H170 to those who are infected with the Hinamizawa Syndrome, we can forcibly cause the terminal symptoms to occur in them.
By sending the brain into a pseudo-excited state, we're basically making the pathogen unstable on purpose.
If the research on this dangerous test drug can advance further, it will probably become possible for us to send regular infected individuals into the terminal stage any time we like.
Since understanding the mechanism of the terminal symptoms is linked to understaning the Hinamizawa Syndrome, there's no doubt that this H170 will become a very strong ally in the smooth advances of this research in the future.
Also, this medicine might carry the potential for military-use that our clients are looking for as well.
Although there's still almost no use for it at this point, if our research continues, we might be able achieve certain actions by spreading harmless pathogens into a target population, and then distributing the H170 at a certain timing.
Although it's a slow and stupid pathogen compared to killer viruses, the fact that it is impossible to detect from dead bodies, and how victims appear to have become deranged voluntarily, means there's must be some use for it.
The culprit that once tried to shut down the research of the Hinamizawa Syndrome, Marco Polo Bridge Incident (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marco_Polo_Bridge_Incident). ([i]Note: It was explained in the main Higurashi story that the event was actually caused by Japanese soldiers from Hinamizawa)
......Important historical landmark events such as that cannot be created by something as clumsy as killer viruses.
...But with Hinamizawa Syndrome, it's possible....
......For these kind of things, I'll just let those old men from our Alphabet Project sponsor think what they want.
Practical usages doesn't concern me at all.
My objective is to uncover the mystery behind the Hinamizawa Syndrome, and to prove to people just how important this research is.
Also, to make people recognize grandfather's work as a great achievement.
...Military use is simply a side-product of that process, and doesn't concern me whatsoever.
Irie: "For our clients, they'll probably be more glad to see Takano-san's accomplishments. Maybe we'll have an easier time at getting funds for the next term."
Takano: "*giggle*. You can't maintain a research with only passion, after all. Something concrete is needed first."
Irie: "......We really can't raise our heads against these sponsors who has provided us with such extravagant funds....... And to think that all of these money came from public fundings.... Perhaps Japan is a far wealthier country than I had imagined."
Takano: "Even though it's called public funding, they're probably dark fundings that's never made public though. *giggle*...."
Irie has no idea just how much hardship I had to go through... to gain the connections needed for this.
......Anyway, the research is going very well.
What is Hinamizawa Syndrome trying to show us humans?
There's no doubt it'll be showing us yet-unseen secrets, my heart dances in intellectual excitement.
The Hinamizawa Syndrome has shown us the possibility that humans are nothing more than empty containers, and the things that we believe to be our own consciousness are actually something that came from special parasites that live in our frontal lobes.
If I can successfully unveil that......... Human beings will probably be impacted by it more than any other mysteries that have ever been solved in the past.
The truth, that everybody would want to ridicule.
The great achievement, of grandfather who was already able to foresee it back in that age.
Ahh, I can understand it clearly now.
Why this research was able to fascinate grandfather that much.
[The research results of C103 and H170 are required]
[The truth behind the Shirakawa Park Falling Accident is required]
Rika has developed a high fever. And quite a serious one at that.
We're not in season for contagious diseases like influenza either.
...Immediately, I remembered the suspicious experiment that Rika accepted recently. That might have been the cause.
Compared to other children her age, Rika's growth is a little bit slower.
I bet it's because her body is exhausted after having suspicious injections and experiments performed on it every week.
I told them to go easy on her, but Rika herself is practically fearless, and ends up agreeing to anything.
Even my husband, who should be warning her about that, blindly believes this whole thing is a big deal involving more than two thousand villagers, and brings his own daughter to the clinic every week.
...I'm the only one who's actually concerned for Rika's body.
That's why, towards Irie-sensei, I wanted to complain and ask them to be a little more considerate for Rika.
In any case, I'm going to make them come clean on how to take responsibility for this.
As soon as I phoned them, someone from the clinic came in a car, and quickly admitted Rika into the clinic.
I followed as well, as her guardian.
*Entering the clinic*
Irie: "Please calm down, Mrs. Furude. I promise you we'll take care of her, so please wait for just a while longer."
Rika's Mom: "How can I calm down like this!? Don't you think it's strange for her to suddenly develop such a high fever...!!? Isn't this the effect of that suspicious whatyoumacallit experiment you people did last week?! Rika is just a little young girl, you know?! Rika loves her friends, that's why she's doing this for her ill friend-"
Irie: "I am aware of that.... Plus, we would never try to cause any harm to Rika-san for our research, and we are always mindful so such a thing would never happen."
Rika's Mom: "Then what do you call this high fever!?"
Irie: "Most likely because the season's changing-"
Rika's Mom: "You're not telling me it's a cold are you?! It's obvious that it's caused by those strange drugs you people injected her with!!"
It looked like Irie-sensei would only insist on calming me down, and refuses to admit that Rika's fever is caused by an error on their part.
...My husband told me that this is a big issue for the village, so I have held back the suspicion in my heart until this day, but to be honest, I'm at my limits.
Besides, the existence of these people has been far too suspicious to begin with.
A research conducted in secrecy, stating it's for privacy protection or whatnot.
...That's already a perfectly questionable point too. Something like that is not possible.
In fact, I tried calling the Health Ministry to ask, and they told me right away that such a thing does not exist. Even after I stated myself to be Furude Rika's mother.
These people would try to make up excuses by saying that since they're a special institution, it's possible that normal workers are unaware of their existence. But....
That's definitely odd. Suspicious.
Also, there are people inside the research lab who are clearly not researchers.
......They looked like security guards at first, but compared to the kinds you'd find in a normal hospital, these people feel way too different.
I have seen it by accident before. How they're actually armed with handguns.
Irie: "......well, about that......."
Rika's Mom: "Are those people police officers? They sure don't look that way to me! Besides, just who are you people anyway!? Even if you say the Health Ministry now, I won't believe you!"
It looks like Irie-sensei has been taken aback from my intensity, and can't even respond properly anymore.
These people are still hiding something from us.
And it's proving that the research surrounding Rika is something dishonest.
Rika's Mom: "Anyway, I'm Rika's guardian! And Rika is still only a child. No matter what that child says, from now on, I will not allow her to participate in this research anymore!"
Takano: "...Oh my. If it isn't Rika-chan's mother. Good afternoon to you................ my, what is the matter?"
Irie: "No, ...um.... Mrs. Furude is saying that she doesn't want Rika-chan to be involved with the institution anymore...."
Takano: "......May I ask why?"
Rika's Mom: "Because my child is not your test animal, that's why!!"
Takano: "............We have never treated her that way though? This is a big misunderstanding."
I'm a little startled.
...Irie-sensei was a wimpy kind of person who would back off when pushed.
But this Takano-san......Even though I'm the one doing the yelling, it's almost as if she's not afraid at all.
No, on the contrary, it almost looked like her eyes are glaring, as if she's about to pounce on me....
Takano: "Rika-chan's fever is caused by a cold. It's not our fault at all. We pay the same level of attention to safety and sanitation as a national research lab. Forgive me for being rude, but compared to you, who walks aound with Rika in your hands without even disinfecting them with alcohol first, we're the sanitary one, you know?"
Rika's Mom: ".........I, I didn't ask you about that!! Anyway, Rika is not your toy!! We won't bring Rika here ever again!"
Takano: "It sure is troubling if everything gets decided on your whim. When we requested for her cooperation, was it not true that her parents have given their signatures on the contract? And in return for her cooperation in the research, we have deposited money that's by no means a small amount into your account every month."
Rika's Mom: "I... I don't know anything about that money, alright?! I have never even heard of it!!"
Our family receiving money for Rika's cooperation in the research was news to me.
...Considering the kind of person my husband is, there's no way he would've used them as spending money behind my back.
Most likely, he thought of this as a free service for the villagers, and has no doubt completely forgotten about the money being deposited into our account.
......Since there hasn't been any unusual deposits in our regular account... it might be in our savings account....
...Anyway, anyway, I don't care about that!
Takano: "You do realize that when the contract has been breached, we will be asking for you to return the full amount of deposits that we have made up to that point, right? And also, in the case where one party is at fault for the breach of contract-"
Irie: "Takano-san...! Please calm down. Mrs. Furude too, please.... Just like we have explained to you before, Hinamizawa Syndrome is something that must be treated in order for the villagers to be able to continue living their lives without worries. In order to achieve that, we must have Rika-san's cooperation...!"
Rika's Mom: "Then just when will that treatment drug be finished?! First of all, does this even make sense!? You say it's for the sake of Rika's friend, Satoko-chan, but isn't it true that Satoko-chan has already left the hospital and is carrying on with her life happily? If I remember right, when I talked to my husband 2 weeks ago, he said you have already found a way to a treatment, isn't that right?!"
Irie: "Y, yes. I believe I did say that we have found a way.... However, in order to uncover the full story behind the Hinamizawa Syndrome...-"
Rika's Mom: "I never heard of anything about uncovering it's full story! What Rika agreed to help out with was for the treatment of the villagers' illnesses. Then isn't this enough already!? All these strange experiments and examinations that everyone's doing on Rika is done purely out of your own interests, and has nothing to do with the treatment, am I right?!"
Irie: "That's not true, that's not true at all...! In any case, the issue about Rika-san's cold is a misunderstanding. If it still appears suspicious to you no matter what-"
Rika's Mom: "That's enough! It seems like there's money involved in this too, so I'll be going home to discuss to my husband about it as well! If you'll excuse me now!!"
*Rika's mom leaves the clinic*
...First of all, these people were shady to begin with.
Although the two others in our family has completely fallen to their side after being told some exaggerated story, it's not going to work on me.
In any case, I must settle things here once and for all. Rika is not those people's toy.
...I particularly dislike that Takano person.
......Irie-sensei still felt like a doctor, but there's no such feeling for that person.
......How should I describe it.
......Right, I suppose you could say that the glows of her eyes are unpleasant....
She sees Rika as nothing but a test animal. I could feel that cruelness with my skin.
And neither my husband nor Rika has noticed that at all.
I must protect her. As her mother, I must protect Rika...!
*Scene shifts back inside the clinic*
Irie: "...That's not like you, Takano-san. If you get into an argument with her there, you know it would just makes things even worse....... It's not like you at all."
Takano: ".........You're right. I'm sorry for getting flustered."
Did something happen that caused her to be in such a bad mood?
The conversation just now was emotional, very much unlike Takano-san.
[Furude Rika's high fever is required]
[Tomitake Jirou's slight fever is required]
(Note: Hifumiyo is written in Japanese as 一二三四, which is a count of numbers. "Hi" means one, "fu" means two, "mi" means three, "yo" means four)
Takano-san has gone out with me on photo shoots everytime I came here.
She has discovered her own fun with cameras, and I'm happy to gain a friend who shares my hobby as well.
However, there was actually something else that's she's much more interested in.... and that is looking up the old history of Hinamizawa.
She pays frequent visits to local libraries and archives to sift through various literatures, and apparantly has become quite a knowledgable historian of the local area, particularly Hinamizawa.
When she's in a good mood, she would grab me and tell me stories about how Hinamizawa is used to be called Onigafuchi village, and how the villagers have performed various cruel ceremonies based on the belief of Oyashirosama.
It appears that she loves touchy stories like these, and that has given her an even more mysterious attractiveness.
...Unfortunately, I'm the kind that's not very comfortable with grotesque stories, so it's hard just to respond to her.
The stories of cruel ceremonies that has excited her so much, to be honest, I didn't really get them all that well.
Even then, I liked her shining eyes whenever she tells me these stories, and I don't dislike the time spent with her on these things either.
Tomitake: "Takano-san sure loves looking up these kind of things...!"
Takano: "My, it's because they're fun, you know? Don't you think it's a very exciting thing to unravel a hidden dark past that has been sealed away?"
Looking at Takano-san saying that with a smiling face, even a hidden dark past ends up sounding like something very fun.
...But of course, that's not true.
The dark past of Hinamizawa that she loves reading about is filled with various cruelties and atrocities that would remind one of witch hunts in the middle ages.
Takano: "Besides, they're very useful for the research on Hinamizawa Syndrome, you know? You don't have to always peek through microscopes to research things. The traditions of this village that has spent a long time together with this parasite could teach us something far more valuable, after all."
Tomitake: "You have a point.... Yeah, Takano-san sure is a passionate researcher."
Takano: "*giggle* Because, researching is my lifework. Don't you think it's a very fun thing to step into an unknown mystery and exposing a secret that nobody knew about? It tickles your intellectual curiosity. I think that's probably the greatest entertainment available only to us humans, who can feel joy from thinking. The first person who worked on this research, Takano-sensei, must've discovered something that fascinated him enough to make him devote his entire life to the research of Hinamizawa Syndrome as well....... I think, I'm the only one who understands that Takano-sensei's feeling....... Since Jirou-san is not a researcher, I wonder if that's too hard to understand for you? *giggle giggle*"
She has always been enthusiastic whenever she talks about the late Takano, an independent researcher who was the first person to notice the existence of Hinamizawa Syndrome.
I think that perhaps there's something here more than just admiration as a researcher.
...Now that you mention it, I noticed this.
If I remember right, Takano-sensei's full name is Takano Hifumi (高野一二三).
...And Takano-san is Takano Miyo (鷹野三四).
Both of them are Takanos, with 123 and 34....I felt like there's an amazing connection between them.
Although I don't know everything about Takano-san either, chances are her last name of Takano (鷹野) is a fake one.
......If that's the case, then it's possible she gave herself a first name that connected her to her admired researcher.
Tomitake: "I see....... Could this be the reason why Takano-san has Miyo as a name?"
Tomitake: "Well, I believe the name of the doctor that Takano-san admires is Takano Hifumi. And Takano-san's name is Miyo.... To continue on after 123, as 34. I just thought that maybe you have that name because you're continuing the research that he wasn't able to complete."
Takano: "..........................Where did you hear that from?"
Tomitake: "...Eh? No, ahahahaha, it's just something I made up just now.... Nobody really said anything like that-"
Takano: "*giggle*....... That's correct. For a slow person like Jirou-san, well done."
Tomitake: "Well, I knew that Takano-san admired Takano-sensei a lot, and sometimes you spoke as if you were his daughter or granddaughter who inherited his research legitimately. So it just felt like that to me, that's all....... Even book authors, you know, like Edogawa Ranpo, have pen names named as a homage to authors they admired as well. So I just though that maybe Takano Miyo is a like a pen name too."
Takano: "That's not true. Takano Miyo is my real name....... Although the taka in Takano shouldn't be the bird's taka (鷹 means falcon), but high and low's taka (高 means high)."
Tomitake: "Eh? Then, you really have the same last name as Takano-sensei? That's even more surprising then...! And to have Miyo (三四) as a real name.... Succeeding the research of Takano Hifumi (高野一二三) is Takano Miyo (高野三四).... It feels like a fateful coincidence...!"
Takano: "*giggle* Now there, Jirou-san, you're overstating things. It's not fate or anything. Because, he's my grandfather."
This is news to me.
The original story was that Takano-san discovered the documents about the Hinamizawa Syndrome left behind by Takano-sensei after his death, and decided to continue his research.
Takano-sensei and her were supposed to be strangers to each other, I have never heard of them being related to each other by blood.
Takano: "I changed the word taka in my name because someone told me it would leave a bad impression if I just asked for funds to continue my grandfather's research, since it would look like I'm trying to pull funds to help out a family matter. That's why I never told anyone that Takano-sensei is my grandfather....... other than Koizumi-ojiichan, Jirou-san would be the first person I told this to."
Tomitake: "............Is......is that's so..........I see. I can understand a little better now why you showed enough passion for the research of Hinamizawa Syndrome to surprise even Administrator Irie."
I can understand everything clearly now.
......She has succeeded the reseach that her grandfather wasn't able to complete.
Takano: "Grandfather also searched for Hinamizawa Syndrome not only from a medical point of view, but from old documents and literatures as well....... Looking through the literatures of a village that has been living together with Hinamizawa Syndrome for hundreds of years can be far more valuable than peeking through even a microscope with hundred of times of magnification. That's what my grandfather has taught me."
Tomitake: "......I see. If that's the case, then your grandfather must be happy that you're continuing his research so wonderfully like this. He must be very glad to have such an enthusiastic grandchild following after him."
Takano: "*giggle giggle giggle* I hope so too."
Although I said something that would've normally earned me a tease from Takano-san, she didn't tease me, but simply nodded and smiled.
......There's no doubt about it, she really is the granddaughter of Takano-sensei.
Takano: "My grandfather is Hifumi as in 123. I'm Miyo as in 34....... Following after my grandfather, we have only finally counted the 3 together right now. And then, after counting the 4 after my grandfather......... we must reach the 5 that neither me nor my grandfather has seen yet. That is my duty, and the reason why I was born."
Tomitake: "That's why your name is Miyo, isn't it? I think it's a beautiful name."
Takano: "Thank you. Please don't tell anyone about me being his grandchild. I haven't told our clients about this either, I don't want any unnecessary problems from them knowing about this."
Tomitake: "Ahahahaha, yeah. I got it. This will be a secret between me and Takano-san."
Even though it's a small secret, I couldn't help but feel a slight sense of superiority from knowing that only I knew about it.
Takano: "............I have finally only counted the 3. I haven't even gotten to the 4 yet. The path of the research is still long and dangerous, but... I'll make it to the end. I will definitely expose the secret of Hinamizawa Syndrome."
Tomitake: "I'm supporting you too.......... Ahaha, that's supposed to be my job in the first place anyway though."
Takano: "Aw, you would've sounded cool if you didn't say extra things like that. Just saying "I support you" is good enough."
Tomitake: "A, ahahahaha...! I will, I will support you."
Takano: "It's too late to correct it now. You won't sound cool if you can't get it right on the first try. *giggle giggle*"
We laughed together cheerfully.
And after we finished laughing, as if to drive the point home, she became slightly serious, and said,
Takano: "So Jirou-san....... Remember to not tell anyone about me being the granddaughter, alright?"
Tomitake: "I won't. I promise."
Takano: "It's not that nobody must know about it...... It's just that if the clients found out and becomes displeasured by it, we might lose our fundings."
Tomitake: "I don't think that'll happen. I won't tell them to begin with...!"
Takano: "Are you sure? Are you really really sure...? I received my life for the sake of this research. My only duty is to complete my grandfather's research. To prove that the trampled research is something magnificant that will shock the world, and to make everyone praise my grandfather, who's perishing away under the earth... to have him ascend as a god. That is my reason for being alive and my goal............. Jirou-san..... If you were to accidently spill something that would get in the way of that, and create problems for the research...!!"
Tomitake: ".........D, don't worry, I'll forget what I heard here."
Tomitake: "...Really.... No, I will never let anyone know."
Tomitake: "I keep my promises....... I will never tell anyone."
Takano: "...Are you sure, Jirou-san......?"
For just a bit, I felt something frightening in her.
I became afraid that she would get completely possessed by it, so I swore to the keep the secret first.
I can understand that her intellectual curiosity as a researcher and the feeling of wanting to complete her grandfather's research is stirring her passion for the research of Hinamizawa Syndrome.
......However, it looks like there's one more reason that's stirring her...... but it felt like something far too deep... something lying within a wound in her heart that shouldn't be touched by someone like me.
But still, earlier-
...When she said "cause problems for the research...!!", just what exactly was she going to say after that?
.........For me, I can't help but feel that it would've been something frightening and merciless.
I kept my promise with her... From this day on, we never talked about this topic ever again....
[Pre-requisite: Rika's father must be brandished as a pacifist]
[Pre-requisite: Rika's mother must hold suspicions against the Irie Facility]
The situation has changed. Rika’s father suddenly reversed his stance in providing assistance to this research. It seems Rika’s mother had enough of the suspicions she held against this facility after Rika’s sudden fever. …I was hoping that the father would somehow be able to persuade and reassure her about this research, but it seems the father was taken in towards her side instead.
Rika’s father didn’t show such an outburst like the mother did, but he did give us a harsh and unrealistic condition to explain them the details of every research and to have us finish every experiment within the next three months.
…Giving us a deadline for research is out of the question. We produce results by sweating and toiling, step by step, for a long time. …To take away time from research is analogous in telling a person, “you can live with water and salt, so why can’t you live with just salt from now on?” What the hell do these dimwits know about research?! Damn it, damn it, damn it, damn it….!!!
…I can say such vulgarity towards them because they don’t know anything about our research. But the fact remains that they are the parental guardians of the queen carrier. Hence, we were stuck in this situation where we’ve seemed to hit yet another dead end to our plans…
The experiments and tests that we have doing towards the queen was now a vital part of the research for the Hinamizawa Syndrome. Her existence was our compass. To lose her from our research is the same as losing the sense of direction in uncharted waters.
Rika herself is willing to cooperate with our research, but losing parental consent is something than can stall our research into checkmate. …It’s probably best to say that we are stuck in a grave situation…
For the Furudes, all they care is about finding a cure for this disease. …But for me, the cure itself is only a small part of the unknown that needs to be unraveled. I cannot stop here. …Is this the part where our differences caused this predicament? …And what angers me the most is that Irie is also the same as them!!
That man’s flaccid response is that if the Furudes should give up their consent, we should back down from furthering our research via our current methods. …Well that’s obvious. Irie doesn’t have the determination to solve the mysteries of the Hinamizawa Syndrome as I have. He won’t assertively back down from this project, but he’s more than willing to passively do so by jumping on the Furudes’ bandwagon.
…What the heck is the matter with him?! Is that the kind of attitude that is expected of a researcher who is up against one the greatest mysteries mankind will ever know about…?! He is exactly like those men who stepped on my grandfather’s research with their dirty feet!! He’s just a dick who showed interest in this half-heartedly, and became a pussy when he saw blood which caused him to feel guilt for his past actions. He was not even qualified to lay his hands upon such a mystery as big as the Hinamizawa Syndrome. …He’s just a puppet figurehead who was placed above me because of my client’s arrangements. …If I wasn’t female, that man wouldn’t be needed in the first place!!!
Sure, I must give him credit that was able to accomplish finding a cure for this disease. …From Irie’s point of view, he’s perfectly fine with that and he is ready to batten down the hatches. He’s satisfied with just a small feat like that and is willing to throw everything else down the sewer. …You didn’t even have the right to quit my grandfather’s research in the first place…how dare you!! I can feel my anger churning down in my guts…
No, no. Irie’s not the main person at fault here. It’s that bitch, Rika’s mother. If she didn’t started acting like a bitch she was, none of this would’ve started…!!
…Part of the fault may lie within me though. All this time, I’ve built up the social skills and obligations to maintain trust. …But there was just something about her that irritated me, so I didn’t care to socialize with her. …I thought that I was perfectly fine with just Rika and her father.
But the mother began to become a nuisance and started influencing the father’s decisions. …Oh how could I be so careless! The tables have turned! What kind of blunder is this!?
Irie has given me the authority to discuss this turn of events to Tokyo on what to do next. …But it is highly possible that this whole project will be put into hiatus if I inform them about this. This project is being put together because I have been pulling strings with my connections. However, if they hear anything that can hurt their political careers, this whole thing would be gone in a snap of their fingers.
I am this close to showcasing the greatness of my grandfather! Like hell am I going to trip onto something as trivial as this….!!!
…Wait, wait. I still have a little time to think this over. Whenever I get into a jam, I’m usually able to think up of something as I drink my favorite tea and bite on my nails…
I look up into the ceiling and close my eyes. I relax myself. …Reflecting on my past experiences, there were times where I would ask for some advice to someone else, and they managed to figure out a simple solution that I could never think up of. I was able to get overcome such roadblocks that way. That’s how I was able to survive that hellish life in the orphanage. …I’m not going let that bitch’s tantrum get in the way…!!
….C’mon, calm myself. Chill out and think. Get cool, Takano Miyo.
…Perhaps someone that isn’t in my shoes might be able to figure out a different approach to this situation.
But…who? It’s obvious not me, nor Irie. …And I couldn’t possibly discuss this to any of the villagers. …Someone in Tokyo? No, no, that’s not good either. They are the type of guys who expect a return of favor for seeking advice. …Even Mr. Koizumi would probably be disgusted at me for stumbling upon something trivial as this.
…..hey, I got it!! …It was right under my nose! …They are supposed to be my subordinates. What’s stop me from asking advice from them?
I immediately called the leader of the Yamainu (the intel-defense wing of the Irie Facility), Okonogi,
When this project began, the Yamainus were given to me as my subordinates. However, they are SDF, whereas I am a scientist. Since we live in two different worlds, the thought of asking for their assistance had never crossed my mind up to now. He has his job, I have mine. Hence, I never bothered to ask for advice either. But the Yamainu’s primary job was to protect our research and to support our project through various indirect methods. …There was no reason not to ask them for some ideas.
Okonogi: “Oh yeah, what a drag. Heh heh heh.”
Okonogi used to talk in the standard language, but he has assimilated the regional Hinamizawa dialect. It seems to be rule number one in their undercover handbook to “fit in” to the region.
Takano: “So, with her yapping around, not only will they forbid us from obtaining the help of the queen, but there’s also the danger of her exposing this entire project. ….Can the Yamainus figure something out?”
…I threw this at Okonogi half-heartedly as I wasn’t going to expect any good ideas from him with his frank attitude. …But….
Okonogi: “No problem. The Yamainus will eradicate the root of the problem. Just give us time, and we’ll make it happen cleanly.”
Okonogi: “Well, we’ve gotta make sure the police don’t get in our way. It’ll take a bit of time, but it ain’t gonna be something we can’t handle.”
I was dumbfounded. …All this time, I was pondering how to persuade the mother… …But the leader of the intel-defense team, whose primary function is to protect the secrecy of this project, was easily able to conjure up a solution befitting their specialized task.
Takano: “….So that means…you are going to…kill her?”
Okonogi: “Wasn’t that the contract that we had when this whole project began? ‘Protection of the secrecy of this entire project by whatever means necessary.’ Of course, we can’t act on our own will, so we need to get approval from you though.”
That’s right. To them, the solution to this problem is simple. Rika’s mother is causing trouble to this project, and not only she is interfering with our research, she might jeopardize the entire research itself by exposing it to the public. Solution? …Eradicate her.
Takano: “…..That….that is great idea…. Can you guys handle it?”
Okonogi: “Hey, that’s what we’re here for. Finally! We haven’t seen such a big job since that kidnapping of the minister’s grandson!”
That’s right. …These are the experts who were able to kidnap the Minister of Construction’s grandson and extorted the halt of the dam construction. It has been several years since that, and I have forgotten what a brilliant job they were able to perform.
That’s right! Why didn’t I think of this before…?! …I have the Yamainus underneath me…!!!
Takano: “…Can this be done immediately?”
Okonogi: “If it’s just killing her, I can do that this evening. But, that’s bound to cause commotion. I highly suggest that we take a little bit of time so we can observe the surroundings and formulate a plan in order to make it seem that she disappeared without a trace.”
Just like a cat’s eyes opening under a bright area, …I felt my own pupils enlarging in surprise. All this time I was having this huge headache like an idiot, pondering how to bring down my enemies or persuading them to my side. All I had to do was just order this man standing in front of me, and all of my problems can be solved…!! The feeling was like being a little bird taking its first flight….
…Oh, what a great feeling this is! I can have that hysterical and nuisance mother of Rika’s disappear without a trace by just giving an order!! This is all thanks to Mr. Koizumi. …Ah, what a wonderful present and power he has given me…!!
I was told from the beginning that all humans are created equal. But, having the power to decide one’s death or to spare their lives is…indeed a sign that I am above being just a petty human. …The sensation of knowing that I was above the human hierarchy rushes through me…
Okonogi: “So, you want us to just eradicate Furude Rika’s mother only, right?”
Takano: “Huh? Oh yes…no, wait a sec….”
Did he just say Furude Rika’s mother only? …I was jolted by yet another adrenaline rush. If it’s possible to eradicate others at the same time…perhaps it might be a good idea to get rid of bothersome father as well… Rika herself has been supportive from the start. And the Furude family has no relatives. If both of her parents die, she’ll need to be supported by someone else. …The Irie Facility has more than enough resources to support her financially. Furthermore, it might be even possible to bring Rika to our side than just being a supporter…
All my problems are instantly melting away like ice… All the things that I was worried about are becoming like a joke…. All this time, I had subordinates who had all this power, yet I was blind to utilize their usefulness…. Gradually, I began to relax. I started to feel the calmness that I usually am coming back.
….Yeah, let’s eradicate both of Rika’s parents. …The queen is my guinea pig. And a guinea pig does not need a guardian to look over it.
Hey, wait a minute….it’s almost the Watanagashi Festival…
Wouldn’t it be possible…to have the people believe that it was the Oyashiro-sama’s Curse if they were to die on that day…? …That dismemberment murder two years ago and that accidental fall last year was also rumored by the community of being a curse because they coincidentally occurred during Watanagashi. …Then if their deaths also occur at this year’s Watanagashi, then it is surely lay the grounds of being the Oyashiro-sama’s Curse for three years in a row.
The miracle of the Oyashiro-sama, and its curse. …I get to build that… It’s the chance that I’ve been waiting for all my life – the first step into the realm of the gods who get to play with human fate like rolling a dice.
The two incidents that occurred two years in a row are rumored to be a curse. However, not everyone believes in it. But if it were to happen for three years in a row, no one will doubt it as being a curse. …From then on, everyone will say that it was a curse for something that I pulled strings on. It’s like saying that I myself am the Oyashiro-sama. The revenge that I vowed against god is slowly coming into place…
Takano: “…Don’t you think having them disappear itself to be rather boring?”
I began to chuckle in my usual tone. Okonogi seemed to have caught my drift as he began to smirk.
Takano: “We’re going to create our own Oyashiro-sama’s Curse. ….chuckle chuckle chuckle chuckle.”
I’m not going to kill her; that's just a waste. I’m going to cut up that hysterical bitch alive just for the heck of it. Of course, it’s not going to be just for fun. Her analysis is going to very important for our research. Why? Because she’s the former queen, that’s why…!!!
[Requires the executive order for the Third Year’s Curse]
[Requires Oishi Kuraudo’s War Declaration]
Within my heart, …I prepared my thought that perhaps tonight, something will occur once again.
The First Year, the workers were stirred in a frenzy, dismembering and killing the old man; the Second Year, by some method, Mr. and Mrs. Hojou were killed through a faked accident.
…During the Dam War, only the people who were hated as the village’s sworn enemies died on the night of Watanagashi Festival which had deep meaning to the residents of Hinamizawa.
Among the village that a portion of citizens called this “Oyashiro-sama’s Curse,” of course, came to my ears.
When the Dam War ended, for their war criminals to be killed on the night of the Festival must have held some meaning. …That is what I believe.
Then, there must be still war criminals from the Dam War.
……Perhaps that will happen again on the night of the Third Year’s Festival. ……That hunch was right.
When the Festival near its end, the village board officials all crowded around the Headquarters tent.
Then crack crack the beers were opened, and the left over corn and motsu nikomi (http://gourmet.goo.ne.jp/recipes/437.html) from refreshment stands were use to uplift the atmosphere.
At that time, I was also welcomed by the hospitality of the village board and was at the Headquarters tent.
……That’s why, at the very start of the Third Year’s incident, I should have been present to witness it.
…even so, I wasn’t able to see the start of the incident…
“Huh, Furude-san, what’s the matter? Are you not feeling well?”
All the village seniors were heavy drinkers, but there were a few exceptions. The Priest was one of them.
During the Watanagashi Festival, the Priest is not only the representative but also the takes the role of the Host.
As visitors and guests came, he greeted them, and each time he was offered a drink, so it wasn’t difficult to imagine that by the night’s end he would be beat.
That’s why, when the Priest removed himself from the clatter and sat down drooping over the piped chair, I did not think anything of it.
It was the Village Chief Kimiyoshi who tapped the shoulder of that Priest asking if he was all right.
“…Are you all right? Ah hahahahaha, You’ve probably drank too much! What, you have chest pains?”
“……mmmm… I’m sorry, it seems I a bit tired.”
“Wait, you had a bad heart? It’s not a good sign that it started to hurt so suddenly! Dr. Irie! Doctor!”
“What is the matter? ……Is it your chest? That is not good…”
Now that I see him, the Priest was covered in terrible sweat; he was definitely not relaxing in his chair refreshing in the evening’s cool.
……The color in his face was horrible, he should immediately lie on his side, I thought.
“……It might be better if I take him to the clinic. Are you all right? Can you grab onto my shoulder?”
“Hey Hey Someone help himー！”
“It seems the Priest isn’t feeling well…”
“Is there something wrong with my husband? Dear, are you all right…?!”
“Takano-saaaan!! You just came at the right time. The Priest doesn’t seem to be feeling well, so I’ll be taking him to the clinic. I’m sorry, but can you bring the car around here?”
“Yea. That will be no problem. …giggle giggle.”
And then, the Priest and his Wife went with Dr. Irie towards his clinic.
……I don’t know about the youngens, but the seniors know their bodies well.
It is uncommon for them to push themselves until they feel that terrible.
And for someone like the Priest to drink until he felt sick is a bit unthinkable.
My cumulative experience over these long years, were telling me something. ……Just in case, I thought I head over to the Irie Clinic myself.
I tried to follow them by car, but since the Festival was just ending, all the stands were closing up and heading out, so there was a lot of traffic making it difficult to get out of this temporally setup parking lot.
For that reason, I didn’t arrive to the clinic until after twenty minutes have past since the Priest was carried out.
In these twenty minutes.
If these twenty minutes weren’t there, my posture towards this year’s incident would have been quite different.
…I regretted knowing as soon as I figured out that getting out by car was difficult, I should have walked.
………Afterwards, I could only reflect on this truth.
The Priest disappeared from the Festival grounds, and within the twenty minutes it took me to arrive at the clinic, this year’s curse had been completely carried out.
As soon as the Priest arrived at the clinic, his condition rapidly changed. And he died.
……Later, the autopsy results came back as a heart failure, but there was no way I will swallow that.
I’ve never heard of the Priest falling ill, nor was there anyone not taken by surprised by this sudden turn of events.
And even more so, the Priest’s wife who should have been accompanying him disappeared.
The people at the clinic say, there was no doubt that she was right next to him until his death, but later when they took notice, she was nowhere to be seen.
Of course, she did not return home either.
At this moment, I was suspicious that someone had poisoned the Priest.
……It was because during the Dam War, the Priest was frown upon his straddle position, saying that there was no need to make this big of a commotion as the Dam Construction will eventually be stopped.
…The village seniors were easily grudged and wouldn’t forget this, backbiting the Priest saying he is not worthy of Oyashiro-sama’s Shrine; even I heard these with my ears.
I immediately called for backup, and went searching for the lost wife.
……Just like last year with the Husband and Wife accident, it was plausible that both could be victims.
I even gathered the Young Men Corp, and search the village to the mountains, which resulted
……in vicinity of the Onigafuchi Marsh, an arranged set of sandals and a Will was found.
The Will stated, my husband’s death was due to Oyashiro-sama’s Curse, and I will quell Oyashiro-sama’s anger with my life… Because of the contents of what was written, it was highly suggested that she drowned herself.
The Onigafuchi Marsh from long ago was rumored that anything that sunk into it will never again be returned as the marsh was bottomless connecting to the Demon’s World.
The Police Divers searched thoroughly, however, no body could be found…
The past two bizarre fatal incidents, to the higher ups in Police, may have seemed that they were already solved as individual cases.
……But, this Third Year’s bizarre death, was definitely strange.
In any case, the Priest who felt ill was carried to the clinic. His wife was accompanying him.
And then, within a short twenty minute period, the Priest dies from an illness, the wife drowns herself in the marsh, or possibly disappeared.
The Priest’s death may perhaps been a fatal acute heart attack.
But, for the Wife to believe that was a Curse, and to repent to her God she decides to drown herself all within a twenty minute period is, no matter how you look at it, is beyond unnatural.
The Furude family has no relatives.
And if she was at all to think of her only daughter she would leave behind, no matter how passionate of a Oyashiro-sama follower she was, there was no way she would commit suicide leaving her daughter behind.
……Irie is also hiding something.
But, Irie is nothing more than the village doctor, which means he’s probably nothing more than their pawn.
…If this is a conspiracy, to assassinate the Priest, then there must be a Puppet Master pulling the strings.
The past two years’ incidents may have been forcefully tied to the village, and even I thought that it might have been a bit overbearing, …but this incident was enough to confirm that it was certain that there is a singular purpose grounded in these serial cases…
……This incident has countless numbers of discrepancies amounting, but someone within the village seems to have put pressure on the high command, and just as the past incidents, this incident was treated as an individual case, compellingly forced to be forgotten……
Continuing on for three years, now everyone in the village will rumor that this is Oyashiro-sama’s Curse.
…I have a feeling that this may be the goal of the culprit.
After the War, the Oyashiro-sama’s faith was once antiquated.
……And to return that dignity, could someone be committing these murders as a ritual?
The ones pulling the strings…………are most likely is the Sonozaki Estate.
A few months have past since then.
Concerning this incident, Sonozaki Oryou blurted to all that it was obvious that the Priest would be Cursed, decisively making the Priest incident a part of the Hinamizawa Bizarre Chain of Deaths, otherwise known as the Oyashiro-sama’s Curse.
At first, I just wanted to avenge the old man.
…But, now along with that incident, the traces of the village’s faith marked by these peculiar cases has developed beginning to show its an abnormal outline.
…Damn it. The old man’s killer is human.
……I will not let that be swapped with some ridiculous Curse…!
[The third year's Oyashirosama's Curse is required]
The strange drug that even my memory can't retain......I think they were capsules.
No, maybe they were large oval-shaped pills?
That poisonous looking red color was quite unique...... Ahh, then it must be a capsule.
No pills would have such a horrible red color.
It must have been a capsule.
...And I think they were one size larger than regular capsules too....... I think. I think.... I can't remember.
Even though my memory is fuzzy right now, if I were shown that drug again, I will remember it like it was yesterday for sure....
That drug steals people.
...It steals your heart, it steals your memory, it steals your emotions, and it makes your body as dull and heavy as lead.
You can't think of anything, you're not interested in anything, you don't think about wanting to be awake or asleep.
Even the passage of time becomes vague, sometimes a mind boggling amount of time would pass, yet the second hand on the clock would only move one tick ahead, sometimes the hands on the clock would go round and round so fast it makes your eyes dizzy.
...Even if either one occurs, I don't hold any special emotions about it. I can't.
......It's a drug that makes you do nothing but lie in bed and stare up at the ceiling.
Only people who have taken it will know just how much of a horrifying and painful drug it is.
On top of that, the most horrifying point about this drug is the fact that you can't realize that it's horrifying while you're taking it.
......In a fuzzy state day after day, not being able to realize that it's a horrifying drug, forced to take them one after another, I continue to lose myself forever.
That's why... when that drug's effect runs out by some mistake or chance,
I realized that I must never ever take that drug again.
......That's right. This is no treatment medicine. This is a poison that's made to kill me slowly.
If I continue to take it at this rate, one day I'll end up stuck in a state where I won't even be able to tell if I was dead or alive, and become unable to regain myself ever again for sure.
......Simply looking up at the ceiling emotionlessly, staring at the hands on the clock circling around for eternity.
If I take that drug again, I will lose the sanity that I have finally regained.
...And I may never be able to regain myself ever again.
...The day I became aware of that, I began to pretend to take the drugs and then throwing them away later.
"When you get medicines from the doctor, you must keep taking them until the very end, even after your conditions have recovered"
That's mother's voice.
It's the voice of mother, said to me everytime I received medicines at the hospital when I was little.
It's the voice of mother, who lectured me for not taking the remaining medicines since I usually get all better before they run out.
But this drug is different.
I can't even remember how old I was when she said that to me, but I chased mother's voice, telling me to continue taking this poisonous capsule until the very last one, out of my head.
I hold onto my head tightly with my elbows, and squeezed hard until my head hurts.... chasing out the thought telling me to keep taking the drug, and mother's voice....
That's right.... As the fog in my head clears up, I remembered my once-gentle mother's ugly true form.
Mother betrayed the family.
......She betrayed me and father, who waited at home for her return with a meal for prepared for 3.
She betrayed the trust of our family, and went to secretly meet with another man behind our backs, saying she's busy with work while setting herself up with another family.
This alone is already a serious betrayal, but mother went ahead and committed yet another serious crime by cutting off her relationship with father, who has been watching after her all this time.
But there's something that's even more unforgivable.
...And that is trying to invite me into a foreign family. She didn't invite father, only me.
Father and I are family.
Family means being together.
And she tried to break up that family. Not satisified with her own affair, she even tried to tear apart the relationship between father and I.
That's right, that's right, now that I remember all this, it really is such an unforgivable, irritating thing, no amount hate is enough.......
The back of my eyes began to hurt, even I can tell that the intense emotions of hatred is causing my face to become distorted.
The overflowing, unstoppable hatred is not stopping with only the hate for mother, it's also directed towards the man that she had the affair with.
......The man she had the affair with.
I was a little weak against him since he liked to tease me a lot, but he was a fun person who always gave me spending money and tried to make me happy.
I really liked him.
But that niceness was part of the scheme.
It's all part of the scheme created to crush the family bond between me and father and mother.
......That's why I shouldn't have said that I really liked Akihito-ojisan...!
That's right that's right. I'm getting it now, I'm remembering it now. I'm understaning who my real enemy is now.
It's Akihito-ojisan's fault that mother had the affair.
Because mother really was a good mother.
It was Akihito-ojisan who turned her into a bad mother.
That's why the baddest person here is Akihito-ojisan.
When was the first time Akihito-ojisan appeared in front of me?
When I was out together with mother one time...... while we were having lunch at a department store somewhere, he ate together with us, referring to himself as one of mother's friend at the company. That was the first time, I think?
Back then.... If I think about it, for the very first time back then.
Didn't I feel some form of oddness and disgust towards how mother talked to Akihito-ojisan?
That's right that's right, I did feel it. I thought it was weird. I felt disgusted....... I should've trusted that instinctive feel.
...Believing that Akihito-ojisan is a nice person just because he gave me the strawberry on the shortcake, what a naive person I was...!
Father is not responsible at all.
Because father never met with Akihito-ojisan.
But I'm responsible.
...I have met with the enemy Akihito-ojisan many times, and I had plenty of chance to recognize him as the enemy.
In other words, if I had the strong will to protect the happiness that I had at the time, then I should've been able to resist against all those small deceptions and recognize that man as the enemy...!
I can't forget what father looked like on that day.
I can't forget that gentle and kind father...... grabbing onto his own knees, crying with falling tears dripping down on that day.
Did you know about Akihito-ojisan?
Father asked me, and I answered, yeah, I knew.
And then, father slapped me.
......Being slapped, I finally realized it.
I realized just how foolish I was to be wooed by that man.
That's right that's right... it's my fault.
...The little happiness that I wished would continue forever was smashed into pieces by my own hands.
If I wasn't so foolish, then dad wouldn't have shed those tears on that day, and mom would've stayed a good mom.
If I wasn't so foolish......! It's my fault, it's my fault...!!
I can't forgive mother, I can't forgive Akihito-ojisan.
Ahh, and I can't forgive myself for having cursed them this much, yet still adding that affectionate "ojisan" after his name even now ...!!
It was my fault, everything was my fault!
Things ended up like this because I was foolish and stupid!!
Such hate and sadness, and regret and anger!
I thought of tearing mother apart with these two hands if she ever returned to this house again!!
But mother never returned again.
Nowhere else to go, my angers were directed towards everything that mother left behind that I could lay my hands on.
I smashed everything that mother left behind in the house, from one end to another.
I smashed, and bashed.
But that wasn't enough to calm my anger.
Even after the interior of the house was looking like it was flipped upside down, my lost anger was not calmed in the least bit.
Where does anger gather? It surges out from deep within my chest, flows through my arms, gathers at my fingertips, and gushes out from my nails.
Who else can I throw my anger against? ......When I thought about that, I naturally directed my nails at my own body.
That's right, right now, my own body itself is accursed and filthy. I'm the main culprit of everything, so I'm the worst.
Nonono, I'm not the worst, mother is the worst, mother is the filthiest! Her body and heart are all filthy!! Enough to completely defile Ryuugu Reina, and to turn what remains into thin meat slices!!
And one day, I finally learned about it.
I learned that within the blood that's inside me, within the blood vessels, are filled with squirming maggots.
That's right, I was rotten after getting dirtied. I was rotting away from the inside. I should be rotten, go ahead and rot away...!! But, it's so indescribably itchy, so itchy itchy itchy itchy itchy!
Inside the bathroom, I thrusted a razor blade into a thick-looking blood vessel in my leg.
*plop plop plop*
Blood surged out with a plop.
And then dark reddish, disgusting looking maggots spilled out.
While enduring the cold shivers, I stuffed my two thumbs into my leg, and pried the blood vessel open.
The maggots spilled out, wriggle, wriggle, wriggle wriggle wriggle, wriggle wriggle wriggle wriggle wriggle...!!
All these maggots spilled out from only a single blood vessel in my left leg. If that's so, then the blood vessels in my right leg must be stuffed with just as many as well. No, and the blood vessels in my calf too, the blood vessels in my arms too, my stomach and waist, chest, nononono, just how many maggots are stuffed within the blood vessels in my neck...!!?
Amazingly, even while becoming so excited by the heat of this madness, I also managed to maintain my calmness at the same time.
"Ahh, if I open up all the blood vessels in my body, then I'll end up dying in the end", I thought with relative calmness.
But I'm responsible for everything, I'm the one who's most at fault.
Even if I made it mother's fault, there's nothing left I can use to defile her.
......Ahh, so that's it, I see.
"This is the best way to put an end to my angers".... I thought with incredible calmness at the time, I believe.
In order for me to forgive my own body...... A "fault" other than my own is needed. The fault of someone besides me. But no such thing exists. No matter how I think about it, no matter how I try to bend it, defiling my own body is the only outlet for my anger. That's why, as long as a "fault" other than my own doesn't exist, I'll have to continue opening up all the blood vessels in my body like this.
Just like how an itchy spot is never satisified no matter how many times you scratch it, my body is never satisfied no matter how many times I slash it. The bathroom has become stained all red by my filthy, sticky blood. I suppose it's probably a horrifying and gruesome scenary from a third person's point of view.
Although I pretend to be calm, the sharp pain that's running through my whole body cannot be fooled. Maybe because too much blood were lost, or perhaps because I have exposed my naked body inside a cold bathroom for too long, my whole body feels cold, as if it's frozen from within. But my whole body hurts with stinging pain, my heart rings like a quick bell. It's so cold and hot, and painful and sad and irritating.
......I wished from the bottom of my heart for something that would grant me forgiveness.
At that moment...... She came.
It's as if she arrived amidst a ray of divine light.
It was something mysterious, something so unbelievable with no sense of realism whatsoever.
And, she apologized.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry", she apologized.
Why is this something apologizing to me........?
An apology is something said when you admit your faults.
...This something has admitted to me the faults that she has commited, on our first meeting.
In other words, this means that......... It's not my fault at all...... and the real one at fault here is this something.
I dropped the razor blade weakly.
It fell into a sticky sea of blood.
All the pains in my body began to rush in
The pains that have been tearing my whole body apart are rushing in.
......Up until now, I have told myself that this pain is a punishment for myself.
But, if I'm not at fault, and the real one at fault here is this something, then I don't have to accept this pain as punishment anymore.
......That why, I don't have to defile my own body anymore.
She continued to apologize to me, while I'm covered in blood, over and over again.
She apologized to me everytime I wanted to scold myself, and always, always whispered to me that it's not my fault.
She's always behind me. Petapeta, petapeta.
And everytime I felt like I couldn't endure my own sins anymore, she would apologize and tell me "it's not Reina's fault".
Everything was Oyashirosama's Curse.
...Everything went mad because we broke the rule that forbids you from leaving Hinamizawa.
...I finally remembered. When we moved away from Hinamizawa, didn't I receive a charm from an obasan living nearby? "Oyashirosama's Curse will happen if you leave Hinamazawa, so take this charm with you to keep away the bad luck", she said. That's right, I got one I got one, I did get one. I did get one that had difficult looking words written on it with a writing brush. But I don't remember seeing it again after we moved. I must've lost it while we were moving.
It can't be helped then. If Hinamizawa's people leave Hinamizawa, the curse will befall upon them, that's the rule.
Mother and I, and perhaps even Akihito-ojisan too, all became weird because of Oyashirosama's Curse.
It was nobody's fault to begin with.
Because everything was Oyashisama's Curse's fault.
It's nobody's fault, nobody nobody nobody nobody! I have finally forgiven everything. The anger that did not calm even after I smashed everything, soiled everything, and defiled my own body and mind, has finally been calmed.
Dad....... I finally understand now.
Mom leaving us, and me and dad becoming this sad too, all of it is Oyashirosama's Curse. You remember, right dad? Oyashirosama. The protector god of Hinamizawa, Oyashirosama....... Yeah, that right, isn't it? Hinamizawa's people aren't supposed to go out into the dirty world, that was the rule, right? That's why this is Oyashirosama's Curse.
If our family had never left Hinamizawa, we would've been happy even now, for sure.
Oyashirosama came to me, you know, and she told me that.
Now that I think about it, Oyashirosama has always been trying to tell me that. When mom left us, and I was left confused about how things ended up this way, not sure where I should direct my anger at, she was already behind me, always, always trying to let me know that.
She always followed me. Hitahita petapeta. But I pretended I didn't notice....Ahahahahaha, I sure am slow, aren't I? After all, I had to wait until my whole body is scarred like this before I can hear Oyashirosama's voice.
If only I was able to listen to Oyashirosama's voice more,
......Oyashirosama must have been warning me already ever since Akihito-ojisan showed up, I bet.
Because, because, if we went back to Hinamizawa as a family, then mom wouldn't have cheated.
The three of us would've been able to live in Hinamizawa happily as a family.
Oyashirosama has been always, always, that's right, that's right, Hasn't Oyashirosama always been trying to tell us that ever since we left Hinamizawa?
She has always been with me. Always, always followed me everywhere. I was foolish for dismissing it as my own imagination and pretending to ignore it.......That's right, this is all because of my foolishness.... If I had noticed Oyashirosama's voice, then our family wouldn't have been hit with the misfortune from the curse...! I was foolish, stupid, everything's my fault!! Ahhhhh Oyashirosama's apologizing and apologizing again, apologizing and saying that it's her fault that things became like this...!!
That's right that's right, it's not my fault, right? All of this is Oyashirosama's Curse's fault, right? She's apologizing, she's apologizing, I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry! Oyashirosama's apologizing again and again!! That's why I'm sorry too I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry!! For not being able to hear your voice I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry!!
We people of Hinamizawa were supposed to always listen to your words too!! Ahh, she exists, she exists, Oyashirosama exists!
You can't hear her, dad? You can't see her? She apologizing over there right now, I'm sorry I'm sorry!! I'll apologize too, dad apologize with me too. Mom don't have to apologize, mom can just go to hell from Oyashirosama's Curse!! I hate mom I hate her I hate her I hate her I hate her!! I hate how mom's blood is flowing within me, I hate it I hate it!! These maggots are all mom's fault too, the maggots in my blood are squirming and it's itchy!!
I'm sorry I'm sorry!! I'm sorry I'm sorry! No, I don't want it, I'm not taking that drug!! That's the poison capsule that mom prepared to kill me with! That's why I don't want it, I'm not taking it!! I said I'm not taking it, stop it stop it!! This is a curse so it can't be cured with drugs! The maggots in my body can't be cured with drugs, because it's a curse!! I don't want injections either, stop it stop it!! It hurts, it hurts it hurts it hurts it hurts...!!!
.........The world fades into a grey color.
The clamoring voices of dad and the doctor feels like something happening far away.
No, even things that happened just now feels like something from long ago.
...And then, I was given that capsule again, and even those vivid memories just now were buried into the other side of the forgotten realm....
.........I'm in the bed again, staring up at the ceiling.
Only moving things enter my eyes, and all I have care for are the hands on the clock.
......Tick tock, tick tock.
I'm only following the minute hand circling around, and the hour hand circling slo~wly around with my eyes.
I can see something else as well.
Just like the hands on the clock, it's also repeating the same thing over and over again.
I'm sorry, I'm sorry, it's my fault, I'm sorry...... Oyashirosama continues to apologize.
Tick tock, tick tock, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
Tick tock, tick tock, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
...Those are the only things that kept on repeating o~ver and o~ver again..........
The evening cries of the higurashis sneaking in from outside the window sounded extra loud for some reason....
[Houjou Satoshi’s guilty conscience is required.]
[Mr. & Mrs. Furude’s bizarre deaths are required.]
The school is the children’s world.
The values of the adult world do not enter here.
The children decide their own values, and create their own world.
That is why, ……no matter what irrational rule sways the adult world that is the village, here it does not matter.
Within the village, the Hojou Family are isolated, and even if we understand what the adults are saying behind their backs, it is never conveyed over in the schoolyard.
The values of the children’s world are decided by the children.
……What rules they feel to be irrational are not carried over here.
That’s why. As the representative of the children’s world, as the class president, I vowed to not allow those irrational rules to seep in, even in the smallest amount, here.
Within the schoolyard, I will not forgive any teasing of the Houjou children.
In the very beginning of the beginning, some boys teasingly attempted to bully Satoko but, since I punished them relentlessly from there on, things like that have stopped completely.
That is, my meager resistance to the irrational of the village…
That is why, I would like to think at the very least, within the schoolyard that Satoshi and Satoko could feel secure.
Satoshi seemed to have noticed my consideration and while in the school he was able to make a gentle smile.
But the same smile could not be seen on Satoko’s face.
……Several classmates near her age tried to cheer her up, eventually concluded that it was best to leave her alone, and avoided Satoko.
At first, I also proactively approached her but, ……I came to the realization, and stopped.
I am a Sonozaki.
To Satoko, I could be discomforting her by approaching her…
What I can do, was to watch over her in the shadows.
That is why, in the classroom Satoko was always alone.
Even so, even when said to be annoying, Rika-chan glued to her side, and Satoshi always tried to be next to her.
……Only these two, were the exception standing by Satoko.
But not limited to Satoko, ……the malicious ostracism of the Hojou Family knew no end.
Because her hysterical Aunt frankly displayed hostility to her neighbors, there was no one who held any sympathy towards them.
……There are fights worth taking and ones better set aside.
If the Aunt had a little self-control and tolerance, they would have not inherited the blanket ostracism of Mr. & Mrs. Hojou.
……Although, it was the village who first threw this irrational inheritance upon them, even though they were unrelated to the issue.
However, …if they would have held their head down low, it wouldn’t have gone this far.
The Aunt’s hostility was one thing, …but the life of the family were dragged into the mess.
It seems that the Uncle’s relationship with the Aunt was already horrible, and he rarely came home staying out most of the time.
This shame brought Satoshi and Satoko painful memories.
The Aunt sought out Satoko as her an outlet for her stress, and Satoko was continually pounded by her malicious harassment.
……This is the also same.
…Even if the Aunt was her provisional guardian, Satoko displayed her obvious disgust towards her Aunt, showing no intention to hide it even on the surface.
She should have learned from Satoshi, passing the time humbly, never becoming the target of her Aunt’s wrath.
…Then, can one say, presently, Satoko put herself in this situation where she lives the passing days staring down with no light in her eyes?
………That is not so.
But, even if we want to sympathize with her or help her, ……no one knew what do anymore.
By now, even if someone apologizes to someone, …this situation will not change.
The flow that has gushed out, can not be changed.
The village structure harassment of the Hojou Family, that flow, can not be changed.
That horrid situation lurks behind our lives.
……The neighbors, the village, the community.
If you become enemies with them, …this world will becomes this cruel.
……From ancient times, the Japanese knew this that is why as obligation one is to be courteous to their neighbors, promoting humility.
No matter whose fault you place it on, the smile on Satoko’s face will not return.
…What I can do, is at the very least while she is in school, is to watch over her so that she has a place to be secured.
“………Thank you. Mion.”
“…eh? Ah hahaha, sorry, what?”
“Nothing. …Just, thank you for your consideration for Satoko.”
Satoshi may seem like he’s absent-minded, …but occasionally says stuff as if he was reading one’s mind.
I tried to deny it, as it was out of my character to be read like that, but as if knowing my thoughts, he gently laughed.
“Satoko just forgotten how to smile. ……When she’s at school, …really for that time being, she is given a moment to take the load off her shoulders. That’s probably, the most gentle moments Satoko has, I believe.”
“Ahahahahaha… ……Well, this is about all Ojisan can do.”
“………That’s not true. I’m also just as grateful.”
“Stop it. ……There’s nothing to be grateful about. The ones that are causing you all this grief, is probably, my family.”
“………I, never thought of it that way. Never.”
…I’m not great at reading people’s subtle signs, but I knew that these words from Satoshi were a lie.
Satoshi also, …knew the roots of the ostracism laid with the Sonozaki Family, ……and consciously must have been aware that I am the daughter of the Sonozaki Estate.
Satoshi is mature, that is why he doesn’t take his anger out on me.
………If, Satoshi was as short tempered as his Aunt, it would have been no mystery if he were to outspokenly show his prejudice against me.
In that case, the right way to be thoughtful could be that I do not get close to them.
………But, since I am meddlesome, I cannot overlook Satoko down look or …Satoshi who feigns his admirable smile.
…Even if that may be more troublesome to Satoshi and Satoko.
“…………………I, ……may not understand Satoko’s feelings at all.”
“……Why do you say that?”
“The main reason why Satoko is feeling this pain is because of my family. ……Being that I am the daughter of that family, for me to be meddling around her, I feel that I’m not reading the air around her.”
“That’s not true. Mion, I think that’s just about right. “
“What the heck. Are you saying that me being insensible is just about right?”
“Muu, I didn’t mean it that way. …………That air you were talking about, if that what is robbing Satoko’s smile then. …I believe it has to be a person who doesn’t mind that air who can bring back her smile.”
“……You, you’re saying wondering things, but aren’t you making fun at me at the same time? You’re so terrible, ahahaha!”
“I’m not making fun of you. ………I want you to help, that’s all.”
“………I alone can’t bring Satoko’s smile back. ……I need the help of a person as strong as you, Mion.”
“b, but… I’m, ……Sonozaki Mion, you know…? If I did something insensible as that, it might hurt Satoko even more…”
“When that air is what is making Sakoto all alone…? That’s why Mion, are you too, going to leave Satoko all alone…?”
This was the first time, … Satoshi directly sought for my help.
To him, Satoko is a precious person.
……To bring back the smile to Satoko’s face, my help is needed, that is what he clearly asked for.
But, …… ……well… ……that may be true.
The quarrel between the Sonozaki Family and the Hojou Family, is the circumstances placed down by the adults, …it is irrelevant to us kids.
That irrational adult rule means absolutely nothing in the children’s world.
…I can, in the world that I create, protest against the adult world’s irrationality.
“……Will Satoko, really, think that I’m not a bother?”
“She might be at first. But, I’m with you. With you, Mion. She’ll soon open up.”
“Re, really…! ………………Today, after school, should I ask Satoko to play with us?”
“…If we go home then our Aunt will rant at us, so we may not be able to come out.”
“Aha, then that’s easy. We’ll just play before you go home.”
“But, if we get home late, she’ll ask what the heck we were doing……”
“ahmmm, then, that’s it, yea, that’s it! What if you said that you two joined a club?”
“Yep. Tell her it’s a club, and we’ll play at school before you go home. You see, there’s a lot of boys still playing here without going home yet. It should be no problem!”
“ah, but, if we dirty our clothes then our Aunt will again…,”
“fufun, then, instead of doing outdoor stuff, we’ll concentrate on indoor stuff! That way your clothes won’t be dirtied.”
“By indoors, do you mean the classroom? But if we get too riled up then Chie-sensei…”
“ku ku ku! It’s possible to get worked up indoors without being riled. Ojisan may not look like it, but I love games. I collected treasures like the ones from overseas. The manuals are difficult as they are in English so I’ve been hording many of them away as I didn’t have a person to play them with.”
“I wonder if Satoko can play those.”
“Of course! Ahaha, who cares about the rules, if we don’t know them we will make them up on the spot! If everyone is playing by the same rules, then any rule is fair game!”
As I said that in high spirits, I wonder if asking Satoko to play the games which I bring from home will really bring her smile back.
……Better to try then not. …Tomorrow, I guess I’ll bring some kind of board game.
“You, …you know, Mion. I would like to ask you something.”
“What? If it’s something I can do, I’m all ears.”
“I’m, ……looking for a part-time job. To cheer up Satoko, …I thought I’ll get her a wonderful birthday present.”
[The red capsule is required]
"Yes yes yes, oh my, good afternoon.... um, who might you be?"
"Ah, hello. We are the Ryuugu family who has just moved in next door. I have came to offer our greetings. Pleased to meet you."
"My my my! Such a young child like you is moving into this backwater village? I see, I see, how nice of you to come! Ma! The new neighbour next door is here to greet us--!!"
"I can hear ya without yer yellin'! By the way, thanks for comin' all the way 'ere to greet us."
"Her name is Ryuugu-san. She said they moved into the empty house next door."
"............Ahhhhh! Yer Reina-chan aren't ya!? Ya got all big!"
"Ah, ahahahahaha. Yes, it's Reina. Your memory sure is good, hau~."
"Wha~, Ma, you knew her?!"
"'course I know her! Ah--, ya probably don't know 'cause ya lived in Okinomiya. She's the neighbour who lived next to us a long time ago.... I see, I see, so ya came back! It must be more comfortable living here in the village than the city after all."
"I don't remember much about this village since I've only lived here when I was little...... but I have always felt nolstalgic about it, it's like this place is where I belong."
"Then you'll get used to things 'ere in no time! If there's anything we can help with, just give us a call! Remember, being unreserved is the rule around 'ere."
"Ah, yes! Thank you very much."
Although I thought that maybe I'll be able remember the past if I walked around the village a little, I wasn't able to remember anything at all.
But I do remember this vividly fresh air and wind, unlike the drowsy kinds in the city, as well as these brilliant greeneries.
Although I don't remember much about the village... I do remember that this is the home town where I belong.
......Red scars still remain on parts of my body.
But they're really light scars, I wouldn't even be able tell they're there if I touch them with my eyes closed.
Chances are, even those scars will disappear too before I know it.
Now that I have returned to Hinamizawa like this, there are times where I wonder just exactly who I was back in Ibaraki.
...No, most likely, from the moment I left Hinamizawa, I wasn't myself anymore.
And then, by returning to Hinamizawa, I have finally regained my true self.......
Even if I try to recall what I was like back in Ibaraki, I can't remember much anymore except in vague images.
......It must be that weird red drug's doing.
That drug has erased my painful memories.
But.........maybe that was a good thing.
Because the me back then must've wished for forgiveness, that's why.
I couldn't forgive mother, I couldn't forgive Akihito-ojisan... and I couldn't forgive myself the most.
I wanted someone to tell me that it's not my fault. I wanted to be forgiven.
......And then, Oyashirosama apologized to me.
This is the fault of Oyashirosama's Curse, so it's not your fault, she said.
That's why I was able to forgive myself.
......That's why, I didn't have to tear apart all the blood vessels in my body and die from losing all my blood.
...I always thought that people who has been dirtied must die.
That's why I have always lived on while making sure my body doesn't get tainted, haven't I?
But, even with a dirtied body, I'm still living on like this. I have been allowed to live.
...Are there still any filth left on me?
Or has everything been cleaned up nicely? ...I don't know.
The only thing I do know is that... The me back in Ibaraki and the me here are two different persons.
And the fact that, I no longer have to worry about giving in to the dirtiness, and tearing myself apart anymore....
Night time. After managing to arrange the some of the furnitures and unpacking some of the packaged boxes, I ate a late dinner.
Even though Hinamizawa is nothing more than a fuzzy memory to me, dad appears to have remembered it like we only left yesterday.
"Although it was also around when we used to live here, that Watanagashi Festival seems to be becoming a really big festival nowadays. They say it's held near the end of June."
"Daddy doesn't really know about it since I've never seen it either, but it seems to be an event where you would use cotton to absorb the filth on your body, and then let it wash down the stream."
To wash... the filth.
"......So filth is something you can wash away, huh?"
"Ahahahahaha, of course. Humans are sinful creatures, after all. Just by being alive, we gather filth as we go about our daily lives. So apparently, what we do is use cotton to suck them up once every year, kind of like cleaning your own body, and then throwing them away."
By doing bad things, people become burdened with filth and sins.
Although you can settle your crimes legally with court sentences...... the cross of sin, the filth will never go away for the rest of your life.
In other words... It shows that in the world of man, a man's filth cannot be cleansed by a man's hand.
...Since the filth cannot be cleansed by man, then we can only get gods, who have left this world for another, to cleanse it for us.... That's what I made of it.
But...... this Watanagashi thing really surprised me.
While being in the world of man, a man's filth is cleansed by a man's hand.
The filth is absorbed by the cotton, and then washed down the river.
......That's basically a way of saying "it's alright to live in this world".
Not being able to forgive myself, I have thought of dying.
Facing such a me, Oyashirosama apologized, forgave, and advised me to return to Hinamizawa.
And then, in Hinamizawa, there's a ceremony that cleanses filth called Watanagashi.
...This cannot be a coincidence.
Hinamizawa is... a place of filth cleansing.
It forgives sins.
It's a place of forgiveness.
"And that, is what they call a "Misogi", you know" (note: Misogi 禊, a ceremony of cleansing)
"...Ah... I've heard of that word before, I think."
"The Japanese culture is very strict towards these things called filths, don't you agree? You're not allowed to remain on the front stage if you leave behind some kind of filth. That's also the reason why politicians or company heads usually resign right away once people find out about their dirty deeds, you see. A dirtied person must leave the front stage....... To put it badly, the filth is basically just pushed onto someone and they're held responsible for it."
Sins and filths must be removed.
That's why people would push sins and filths onto some random person, and then try to remove the filth by cutting that person away altogether.
But if that's the case, then everytime filth is created, people would needlessly push around the responsibilities.
...And that is a very ugly thing, it's like watching the demons of this world.
That's why... people thought of pushing the filth not onto people, but onto the cotton instead.
By doing that, everybody would be able to live on without having responsibilities or sins or filths pushed onto them.
......You must go through a sacrifice to push everyone's sins onto someone and then kill that person.
Nobody wants to be a sacrifice.
That's why everyone pushes their sins around, desperately and uglily.
To replace that sacrifice role with something not human, that's the Misogi.
The thing that caused a dramatic change in the Japanese culture, which has always believed that a sacrifice would have to be killed, the Misogi.
In other words... it shows that, even if filth befalls upon us, everyone would be able to live on without having to make it somebody's fault.
A filth is now forgiven by a method other than death.
Only an existence higher than man can forgive a man.
Forgiven by Oyashirosama, I have returned to this place. And here exists a Misogi called Watanagashi.
Have the cotton absorb the filth of my body, and dispose of it by washing it away.
The sacrifice that is my body is not required. Which means, it is alright for me to live.
The filthy me disappears into the river...... So that means, the me here is no longer Ryuugu Reina anymore.
If I'm not Reina... then I'm Ryuugu... what?
Having all the filthy and icky things washed away clean, what is my name now?
.........Floating into my mind faintly, a single name.
That is my name. Although it's just one hiragana pulled from Reina...... It felt kind of cute. (note: Reina is spelled in hiragana as れいな, Re-i-na)
All the "i"cky things are now gone and forgiven. (note: "I"yana koto / "い"やなこと, "unpleasant things")
So, I'm not Reina anymore.
My name is-
[Pre-requisite: Satoshi needs to feel guilty]
[Pre-requisite: The certain ‘something’ that forgave Ryuguu Rena]
The brutal and harsh days of my life continue endlessly for me.
The relationship between my aunt and Satoko hasn’t changed. Every night, my aunt yells at Satoko for trivial things. Satoko still cries which further angers my aunt. Hence my aunt’s anger does not subside. And Satoko continues to cry.
…When Satoko finds me, she clutches my shirt and hides behind my back trying to avoid the abusive words of my aunt. She constantly comes to seek my aid.
…Satoko does not open her heart out to anyone except me. …So if I were to abandon her, that would be a very sad thing for her. As her older brother, I must provide her with the love and attention that she was never provided by our mother and fathers.
But it’s everyday. Satoko cries everyday over and over again.
…Yesterday, Satoko came up to me for help as usual. …I patted her head as I always do to say that everything is alright. ….But as I was patting her, a different kind of thought began to well up inside me.
I felt this awful and devilish emotion building up inside me in which I wanted to just grasp her by the head and started banging her against the wall.
No, no no…what am I thinking!!! I mustn’t thing such thoughts…!!
No, I mustn’t think about them, I shouldn’t have realized them in the first place…!
From that day on, ...I had another me inside me. And that other me wants to take over my body and switch places with me.
That other me wants me to start saying words out of my mouth that will indeed hurt Satoko for the rest of her life.
Fuck off. Get off of me. You piss me off, go away..!!
No, no no!! I musn’t, I musn’t, I musn’t!!!!
I fight off me taking over my body. …I suck him down deep into my stomach so me can leave my body. …And I succeeded.
But the other me didn’t stop there. …Me began to always follow me, trying to get back inside of me. …But I’m not going to let such a horrifying me get a hold of my body. And me knows that while I’m constantly watching, me has no chance to do so either.
…So, the other me decided to follow me everywhere behind my back, ….looking for the right moment where I let my guard down to slip inside me once again. When I walk…I hear me’s footsteps. Me follows my every move exactly no matter where I go. When I lie down to go to sleep, me just stares down upon me. …Me is always waiting to take over my body to hurt Satoko….
…It’s getting hot these days. Maybe that’s the reason why my body and soul become weary easily, which leads me to think of such thoughts.
I’m the only remaining blood-relative of Satoko. …So I must protect Satoko from that aunt for the rest of my life… That is my eternal duty…\
The rest of my life? Eternal? Forever? I have to do this until I die…?
If only Satoko...
But I’m her only family she has left…
But that’s a bit too extreme isn’t it…
Besides, it’s that aunt…
And the rest of the villagers…!
It’s almost Watanagashi. The irresponsible villagers are all saying that the curse will once again fall upon Hinamizawa this year as well. And they are all saying that should the curse fall, it would most likely fall against me and Satoko. …Somehow, I can’t shake off the feeling that the villagers are eyeing me with “anticipation.”
I have a gut-feeling that I am going to be killed on the day of Watanagashi.
Of course, it’s just a baseless and biased opinion. Ah, step step, step step. Don’t get inside me… Satoko is my only relative, she my little sister that I have, don’t fill me with such evil-minded things against her… Step step step step, don’t come inside me, don’t come inside me, don’t come inside me, don’t come inside me…!! The footsteps approaches closer and reaches my shoulder…!!!
Satoshi: “Waaaah!! ………oh,….it’s you, Rena….”
Rena: “A….are you alright-kana? ….kana?”
I guess my actions were strange enough that anyone would notice. …Rena had a very concerned look on her face.
…Her name is Ryuguu Rena. She is a recent transfer student who moved to Hinamizawa. Not many kids remember her, but she seems to have lived here in Hinamizawa a long time ago. However, she said that she can’t recall much about this place because she was too little. As I was a student whose closest peer was Mion, I was very glad to gain another friend close to my age. She usually enjoys playing with Mion, but she often shows a feminine side as well.
Rena: “Do you feel sick…? I think you should take a rest at the nurse’s office-kana. ….kana.”
Satoshi: “Thanks. No, I’m fine. …Did I look that sick to you?”
She responded immediately, which affirmed that I really wasn’t myself just a minute ago.
Rena: “……Was Satoko-chan on your mind...?”
Satoshi: “Oh….no, it’s nothing like that…”
She instantly realized that the cause of my sickness was not from an illness, but from psychological stress… This is just my observation, but I think Rena’s actually very slick in noticing things despite her nonchalant attitude…
Rena: “…Although Rena may not know a lot of things because I’m a transfer student…you can always count on me to be there to listen to you. …I’m sure that having someone to listen would alleviate things off your back.”
Although not much has past since she transferred to our school, she seemed to have quickly grasped the atmosphere surrounding between us and the village.
But even if did I tell her about my problems, nothing would come out of it. …Or perhaps, what I am really afraid of is that by that talking to her about my problems might make me acknowledge my own weakness….which can open the door to letting the other me back inside…
Rena: “When I called your name right now, you jumped in great surprise, right? So that’s why I thought that you had a very big and…harsh subject on your mind… Hau…”
Satoshi: “Oh, well….ahahaha. Well actually, …I’ve been having this weird feeling that someone is following me all the time. You know, ‘tap tap, step step.’ …So I you with those footsteps…. …oh forget it. Ahahaha. I don’t know what I’m saying either.”
Rena: “……..footsteps? ….Are they following you…?”
Rena: “…..I…..know about those footsteps too.”
[Houjou Satoshi’s plead to work is required]
[The footsteps behind Houjou Satoshi is required]
“……Is that so. …No, no a registration isn’t necessary. Satoshi-kun, you are our Hinamizawa Fighters’ promising player! We’ll keep a open seat for you. So come back any time.”
“I don’t know…… I don’t think I’ll be returning anytime soon, so I thought I should resign first…”
Satoshi-kun began asking to quit the Hinamizawa Fighters.
……Since I knew the situation that Satoshi-kun and Satoko-chan were in, …I did thought that he may say this sooner or later…
Satoko-chan and her Aunt relationship is becoming seemingly deadly, with her bullying now more vicious apparently.
Recently, it seems that the Child Protection Services personals have intervened, and for the time being the Aunt has calm down a little but, ……she soon reverted to her malicious harassment in a sly form.
According to the neighbors, there is no night where Aunt’s angry voice and Satoko-chan’s crying cannot be heard, furthermore, it was not rare for the screaming to last late into the night.
The numbers on Satoko-chan’s voluntary weekly fixed-study have slowly grown for the worse, and to counter it, I’ve increased her medication to maintain these numbers, however, ………as long as her relationship with her Aunt does not improve, she will eventually be deranged with near L5 symptoms.
…No, if I’m not mistaken, she isn’t the type to become deranged in the final stages. ……while her heart is harboring her insanity, she is the type that hides it on the surface.
……Just as the year before last, when she pushed her parents, …it is possible that Satoko-chan may kill her Aunt.
Because of the Yamainu’s handy-work, that fall incident was resolved as an accident, and Oishi pulled away but, he continues to suspect something is wrong even now.
……If another incident were to occur in Satoko-chan’s vicinity, ……this time he will forego all leniency on an investigation on her.
……Satoko-chan’s worsening situation is now at a level where I cannot do little about.
Knowing this, for a loving brother like Satoshi-kun to say he would like to spend more time with this sister, isn’t strange at all…
“To tell you the truth, I starting a part-time job. That is why I will not be able to come to practice…”
“A part-time job? Is there something you want to buy…?”
“……Yes. …Soon it will be Satoko’s birthday. There’s a stuff animal that Satoko really wanted, so I thought I get it for her as a present.”
Come to think of it, that’s right.
I remember on her insurance card.
Wasn’t it, 06/24? Just right after the Watanagashi Festival?
“I see. ……Satoshi-kun, you are really a loving brother. I’m sure Satoko-chan will enjoy it.”
“……I’ll be happy, if she enjoyed it.”
The way Satoshi-kun was talking, I assumed that he had much stored anxiety. ……To Satoshi-kun, to see Satoko-chan bullied, is the same as torturing himself…
By moderately exercising through sports, his stress can be relieved, and along with adequate regulated sleep, this will heal the process.
If Satoko-chan is being disciplined nightly by her Aunt, …it is doubtful that Satoshi-kun has been taking adequate amount of sleep.
……Also, I do not know the type of job he took, but unlike playing sports, it will be difficult for him to release his stress, most likely.
…To put it bluntly, for the mentally and physically weaken Satoshi-kun, I could not approve of him taking this job as it could be his final blow.
I thought of giving him some money for the present, but knowing his nature, he will not take the offer.
He wants to award the present himself, so he will believe that he must solely gather the money himself, and refuse my offer.
Since his work is only to buy a present for Satoko-chan, it must be something on the short-term. …If it is only for a short time, it will pressure him too much…
Really, while his mentality is weaken, I would like avoid any increase to his load, but when he bought up that Satoko-chan’s birthday was near, it will be very difficult to stop a loving brother like him.
………Satoshi’s resolve is firm.
If I tell him to quit his job, I could loose his trust.
Because I feared that, I decided to accept this resignation.
“……Oh yea, Coach. …a bat, do you mind if I borrow one?”
I gravely mistaken the meaning behind those words.
…Later, when I heard that he carried that bat as a weapon to protect himself, ……I realized a dangerous indication was definitely emerging in Satoshi-kun, already at that moment.
He had convinced himself the Chain of Bizarre Deaths will continue onto a Fourth Year, …and had no doubt that he will become the next victim.
……He had become strongly obsessed that someone was after his life. That is for sure, a late stage symptom of the Hinamizawa Syndrome.
…But, at this moment, even when I was a person involved in the Hinamizawa Syndrome research, I was careless…
“A bat? What do you plan to use it for?”
Satoshi-kun had a personal bat.
That’s why, he should be asking whether it’s okay to take it home rather than borrow it, but curiously he had asked to borrow it.
…Thinking about it later there was no way for me to understand at this point that he had asked my consent before taking the bat home was to lighten his guilty conscience.
“……No, I mean, ……I may not be able to come to practice, but…… I think I will almost certainly find the time to continue practicing my swings.“
“That’s good! If that’s the case, please take one. When you practice your swing, be sure to pay attention to your surrounding or else it’ll be dangerous. If it won’t bother your neighbors, it would be good practice to hit a hanging a tire.”
Just swinging a bat will be a good stress reliever.
That’s why, by giving him the bat, it will relieve his anxiety, even for a little bit. …or at least I thought.
……………but, …that was a big mistake.
Later, I learned of the unrecoverable stage placed before me…
[The Bat for the Bludgeoning Homicide is required.]
This year we were prepared to respond rapidly.
For that reason, we were able to immediately begin the investigation of the crime scene.
The victim was none other than the wife of the younger brother of the Hojou Couple.
She was an exceptional suitable target for the Fourth Year’s Oyashiro-sama’s Curse.
Her reputation among her neighbors was awful.
Even after the incident, everyone mouthed off that she deserved the curse that came to her.
……I had a general idea who the culprit is.
Most likely, …it was Hojou Satoshi. That simple looking boy.
He had the motive.
The victim relentlessly harassed his sister.
This was no doubt a retaliatory crime to that.
Furthermore, during the inspection of the crime scene, his conduct was somewhat frantic, yet at strange times he was too far composed if he was truly unrelated to the crime. …My intuition born from my extensive police work taught me, that 8 or 9 out of 10 that he is the one.
Although there is no conclusive evidence that points to him, …if I bring him in for voluntary questioning, and shake him up a bit, I have a feeling he will confess to the crime.
“For the victim to suffer a flurry of blows like this, the culprit must have received some spilled blood on himself as well. If we can find that then his clothing will be decisive.”
“Well, unless the guy is a total idiot he probably disposed of it by now. After he confesses to the crime, if we can find the place where he threw his clothes, the prosecution will have to give in.”
As an independent incident, it was awfully crude.
……If Hojou Satoshi comes clean then that will be the end of it.
Everyone but myself thought that.
……But, if you look at this incident as part of the Chain of Bizarre Deaths, this case will not be closed.
Behind this incident, deep within the village, the Gosanke, …or possibly just the Sonozaki Family must be directly involved.
If they are the ones pulling the strings, there is no doubt they have instigated Hojou Satoshi into committing this crime.
………But, if this was the case, then Hojou Satoshi would be someone who knew too much about them.
The Sonozaki must persistently remain hidden behind their black curtain.
Will they simply discard him if he could be the key to connecting the crime to them…?
Knowing Hojou Satoshi is a loving brother, they set him up to kill his Aunt as the Fourth Year’s Curse…
After that, ……if they erase Hojou Satoshi who connects this crime to them…
…………Hojou Satoshi isn’t just a simple criminal. …He could be nothing more than a sucker who was set up.
And later, …my suspicion was confirmed. ……He suddenly disappeared.
It was a puzzling how he disappeared.
He didn’t run because he was afraid that his crime came to light.
……A different criminal appeared as the culprit for this case.
He was already in custody for a different crime, furthermore the crazy bastard died later in his detention cell.
He confessed to information that only the culprit would have known.
Therefore, he was the culprit.
Moreover, since he had already died, the investigation was closed.
And then Hojou Satoshi vanishes days after the Watanagashi.
………It was obvious that someone didn’t want Hojou Satoshi to be connected to this incident.
My superiors put pressure to close the investigation, and made the Hojou Satoshi Missing Person situation as a separate incident handing over the case to a different department.
For this investigation to be concluded with such impatience, greatly resembles the same a trick used two years ago with the Hojou Couple Falling Accident which was forcefully denied the probability of a committed crime, conclusively high-handed as an accident.
………How could I not suspect that this was the work of “someone” who can pressure my superiors in the Police Department?
Ironically, ……the only people who can put this pressure on the police department in the neighboring Hinamizawa area is none other than the Sonozaki Family.
…They may have believed they hid their tails well, but instead this has more than anything distinctively fashioned their track.
From my informant, Sonozaki Oryou had referenced the Fourth Year’s Curse at the family meeting, hinting at being the one behind it all.
……This allusion will not serve as any evidence, but at any rate, there was no mistake that Sonozaki Oryou is leading the ones behind it all…
I know that they’re the one who did in the Old Man. Then why, why can’t I grab their tail…!
Even now, the principal offender is still on the loose no where to be found, after all he is being sheltered by the Sonozaki Family somewhere.
……If I can capture him, then I can find the Old Man’s missing right arm.
I can return his arm to his grave, …and make the principal offender and the mastermind bow down in before his grave…
……Although, just like how Hojou Satoshi disappeared, it is likely the principle offender has already been erased as well.
Most likely he has been killed by now, and buried in a place never to be found. Even so, that will be fine. ………I will drag that hag who ordered the Old Man to be killed, and slam her forehead on the ground before his grave. Definitely… I swear……!
Now that the Oyashiro-sama’s Curse can be counted to its Fourth Year, …the premature speculations of next year’s Fifth has already started floating around.
Regardless of the solid preparations that I made, I could not effectively stop the Fourth Year.
It is certain now, that it is too late to wait for it to happen.
…Before something happens, I have to bring to light the inner workings of the village…
Also, ……I have to, by all possible means, settle this by next year.
This is because …I will be retiring.
My mother has strongly requested to return to her homeland in Hokkaido, and from long while back, she has asked to move back there when I retire.
I feel that this is the last filial piety I could serve, and agreed to move back to Hokkaido with her upon my retirement.
……That is why, next year will be my last chance I have to avenge the Old Man’s death.
It is a crime that has gone on for four years now. …I’m afraid that perhaps it will occur for a fifth.
As a result of the Chain of Bizarre Deaths, the village has henceforth been tightly knitted together since the Dam War.
…It is because betrayers will be punished under the name of the Curse which has been promptly portrayed.
……To the masterminds, this is enough reason to motivate this Chain of Bizarre Deaths.
Rumor has it; the reason that the Aunt was Cursed was because of her infidelity for not participating in the Watanagashi.
For this reason, there are villagers who began to believe if they do not participate in next year’s festival, they also could become the target of the Curse. ………No doubt next year’s festival will be extravagant.
Certainly, it will occur again next year.
The Hinamizawa Chain of Bizarre Deaths. In other words, the Oyashiro-sama’s Curse.
……Therefore, for sure, absolutely. I will avenge the Old Man……
[Pre-requisite: The death of Houjou Satoko’s aunt]
The village was in tumult; a mysterious death occurred once again for the fourth straight year.
This time, the victim was…Satoko-chan’s aunt. Indiscreetly however, everyone in the village seemed to be somewhat satisfied about the curse that befell upon the aunt for her constant troubles she had within the village.
But, I managed to figure the truth behind this rather quickly. When I was called by the police for an on-site analysis on her beaten corpse, I undoubtedly realized that the assailant was Satoshi-kun…
The ever-increasing abuse towards Satoko-chan. The tremendous stress felt by Satoshi-kun to protect her. And the baseball bat that he took home with him… All the signs were there. I didn’t even have to ask Satoshi-kun.
…I was in despair. I tried my best to become the friend that he had within this community which hated them. …But in the end, I couldn’t even gain his trust…
Then the phone rang. It was from Satoshi-kun.
I never received a phone call from Satoshi-kun himself. Why is he calling me all of a sudden…? Perhaps he needs some kind of assistance for what he had done…? If he is…I wanted to help. I really thought so.
Satoshi: “Oh, hello kantoku. I’m sorry to bother you at work.”
Irie: “No, no, it’s okay. Can I help you?”
Satoshi: “Um, …well I couldn’t think of anyone else who had a car…”
Irie: “A car? Sure, I have one.”
Satoshi: “Well, I’m in front of the toy store right now. It’s not the one that’s owned by Mion’s uncle, it’s the other one near the dentist.”
Irie: “Oh yes, that one. Yes, I know.”
Satoshi: “And, well I bought a teddy bear as a birthday present for Satoko, but well….muu…it’s too big to fit onto my bike.”
Irie: “Too big to fit on a bike? Ahahaha, Satoshi-kun, how big of a teddy bear did you buy?”
He didn’t realize how to bring such a big present back home. That was so typical of Satoshi-kun, it made me smile. So basically, he needs someone with a car to drive him, his bike, and Satoko-chan’s birthday present back home. I promptly agreed to pick him up and drove to the toy store at Okinomiya. There, I learned that the teddy bear he bought was larger than I have ever imagined.
Irie: “…Whoa…! Hahahaha, this IS big! You’re right, there is now way you can fit that thing on any bike!”
The teddy bear was large enough that would be difficult for even Satoshi to wrap his arms around it. Even if he rode his bike back home with it on his lap, he wouldn’t be able to see anything in front of him.
I helped him place his bike on the back seat and placed the teddy bear into the trunk of the car.
Irie: “But, it must’ve been very expensive to buy such a large teddy bear.”
Satoshi: “…Yeah…well…yes, it was a bit.”
At first, I though he was sweating because of the summer heat. …However, something didn’t look right. His consciousness was coming and going like he had a fever.
Irie: “You don’t look so good. …Are you feeling alright…?”
Satoshi: “…Yes…I mean no…I think it’s a cold…”
Irie: “Well then, that needs to be checked! You want to come to the clinic? Let me take a good look at it.”
Satoshi: “…Thank you… …huff…., huff….”
When he called me just a few moments ago, he was perfectly fine. …Then that means his symptoms began within a short time span.
Irie: “Here, put the seat back in recline and take a rest. Is the AC too strong? How do you feel?”
His face is turning blue. I can visibly tell that his fever was breaking out.
…Satoshi-kun was pushing himself in order to buy this large teddy bear. A teddy bear this big does not come cheap. He managed to collect and save money in such a short time span, I can tell that he must’ve worked very hard and long hours in order to do so. So, he must’ve felt relieved that he was finally able to buy the birthday present he had always wanted. …It is not unusual to see a person to suddenly collapse in weariness after achieving a very big goal….
Irie: “…But, ..I am really proud of you. It isn’t everyday that I see someone being able to buy such a large teddy bear. Satoko-chan will be very happy.”
Satoshi: “…..I sure…..hope so.”
Irie: “Of course she will! I’m certain of it!”
Satoshi: “….Her….aunt…is not here anymore. ….And uncle won’t come back either. ….She’s finally free…right? …No one is going to abuse her anymore….right?”
Irie: “Yes, that’s right. No one will abuse Satoko-chan anymore. So, you two can finally relax and live in peace….”
Satoshi: “…..Because aunt is dead right? ….That’s true right….? She’s dead….?”
Irie: “Yes. …She has indeed died. I’m sure of it because I performed the onsite autopsy myself. There’s no doubt about it. That’s why you can be rest assured that no one will abuse Satoko-chan anymore.”
Satoshi: “….Are you sure? You really checked thoroughly…that aunt was indeed dead…?”
Irie: “Yes. Absolutely.”
Satoshi: “…Then….even when I pass by someone that looks very similar to aunt….that’s not the aunt, right…? …It’s not like that the aunt somehow survived, …got released from the hospital…and is wandering around…right?”
Irie: “Yes. You have my guarantee. She’ll never show herself in front of you anymore.”
Satoshi: “Then….! Then…that person over there….that person looks very similar to aunt…but she isn’t right? Right….?!”
Satoshi-kun was franctically pointed at the person driving behind the wheel on the opposite road. I tried to look, but couldn’t catch a glimpse of it as it past by rather quickly. …But in either case, no matter how much similar she may have looked like; there was no way that the aunt could be alive.
Satoshi: “And, there too!! And there!! They look like her, yet they aren’t my aunt…?! I just saw her?!”
Irie: “C, Calm down Satoshi-kun. Your aunt is dead, period. No matter how much they look like her, they aren’t your aunt.”
Satoshi: “But, they are similar…similar…No, they ARE my aunt!! My aunt is still…see, there! I killed her…I bashed her head several times to make sure….but, but….why…! Why….?!”
All I could do was stay cool and focus on driving….
Satoshi-kun was clearly losing his calm. …Satoshi-kun is seeing delusions. …He is believing that the aunt he killed was still alive and is showing up everywhere he goes…
I instantly knew…that Satoshi-kun is showing the symptoms of the terminal stage…!
…As soon as we reach the clinic, I must put him into ER immediately. Fortunately, we are much prepared than the time when it happened to Satoko-chan. We now have a working vaccine. Satoshi-kun can be treated! And I can make sure that the Yamainus will be able to pull strings about his murder of his aunt. It is perfectly possible to save him from this terminal stage so that he can finally live at peace with Satoko-chan…!
Satoshi-kun suddenly stopped the commotion and became quiet.
…He didn’t fall asleep. …In either case, I must get to the clinic as fast as I can while he is in this state. There is no certainty that he might start attacking me while I am driving…
…Satoshi-kun suddenly said quietly as if he figured out what I was thinking…
Satoshi: “…Kantoku. …Is this…the Oyashiro-sama’s curse?”
Irie: “No, there is no such things as curses. Please stay in focus.”
Satoshi: “….Satoko….I’m sorry. ….To tell you the truth…I was really thinking of using this money to get away from here up until the last minute I bought this teddy bear… …That’s why the Oyashiro-sama cursed me…. …I’m a failed as her older brother….I….I….”
Irie: “You shouldn’t be talking. Please close your eyes and take a rest. We’re almost there to the clinic. There, I will prescribe you some medicines that will make you feel much better….”
Satoshi: “….I wonder if there are maggots in my blood too….ow….it itches…”
Irie: “No don’t!! You mustn't scratch your throat!!!”
The car arrived at the backdoor to the clinic.
I recklessly stepped on the brakes. Satoshi-kun was beginning to scratch out his throat. I could not hold him down by myself at this state. I asked for assistance to all the available staff inside through the intercom.
Several staff members came to my assistance immediately. …But Satoshi-kun began to become terrified at the sudden influx of people surrounding him and began to fight us off.
There was no need to for a test…he’s at L5. He’s at the most terminal stages of the syndrome and his thoughts must be filled with delusions and misguided thoughts. He mind must be thinking that the people around him are about to kill him.
The staff pinned him to the ground holding down his arms and legs to inject him with a syringe to put him to sleep.
Satoshi: “…Ka….kantoku….! Help!...Help me….!!!”
Irie: “It’s okay Satoshi-kun. Everything will be alright. Let’s just take a rest for a moment, okay? You’ll be better really soon.”
Satoshi: “………an…to….ku,………Please….take….care of………..Satoko….”
“Please take care of Satoko.” Those were his words before he became unconscious.
Takano: “My my. I wondered what the commotion was all about. What’s this?”
Irie: “….Satoshi-kun suddenly showed the symptoms of the Hinamizawa Syndrome. ….Considering his stress that he must’ve endured in the past, it must’ve been just a matter of time. ….No…he must’ve psychologically repressed it all this time until he was able to buy this teddy bear….”
Takano: “Somebody up there must like me. We’re able to get our hands upon an excellent living sample every Watanagashi. I wonder if this is all thanks to the Oyashiro-sama. *chuckle chuckle*”
I had no time to listen to Takano-san’s charades.
[Pre-requisite: Congratulatory wine]
[Pre-requisite: Tomitake Jirou’s promise]
[Pre-requisite: Draft proposal of the Emergency Manual]
...It happened just too suddenly.
Grandpa Koizumi passed away.
I never heard of him saying that his health was declining or that he was feeling ill. ...He suddenly felt a pain in his chest and he couldn’t sleep. The pain was so severe that he felt that it couldn’t wait until the next morning, so he called an ambulance for the first time in his life. He was immediately taken into emergency care, but he didn’t live to see sunrise.
It was an acute myocardial infarction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myocardial_infarction).
…But in a way, it was the best possible way for him to go when compared to being in bed-ridden, slowly dilapidating and withering away. He was healthy right before his death, so I can say that he must’ve lived a wonderful life.
But still, it was all too sudden.
I should’ve called him ‘grandpa’ more… No matter how much I despair now, it is all too late. …Grandpa Koizumi would never smile his wrinkly old face back at me no matter how much I cry out to him.
…He was my guardian up until now. He looked after me all this time to assure me that all of my efforts would be righteously evaluated. While he may have done this out of spite to repatriate how he wasn’t able to provide any assistance towards my grandfather’s research, he still was an important person to me. …He wasn’t just my ordinary political backup. …But I wasn’t able to realize this when he was still alive. Up until now, I just used him like the rest of my political connections for my own agenda. …But I realized how much he meant to me once he passed away. Grandpa Koizumi was….my grandpa. He provided me the warmth that I yearned for from my own grandfather by taking care of me behind my back.
When I went to his funeral …I shed tears that I thought that forgot how to, just moments before his body was put into cremation.
Takano: “Granpa… Thank you for everything. ….I should’ve called you…grandpa more like you’ve always wanted me to… ….sniff sniff….”
…But he’ll never respond from now on. The only way to repay him for his support is to fulfill his dreams of completing this research. …I must accomplish my goal for his sake. Once my grandfather’s research is complete, grandpa Koizumi’s name will also be known once again for being the sole supporter of his research. …That is what I believed was the best way to repay him up until today. Hence, I vowed to put myself into research ever more deeply from that day forward…
But….just as I was coming back into focus…another tragedy occurred. …Once a sad thing happens, it seems bad luck comes along with it. …It was if the trail wind that was helping me sail had suddenly stopped and reverted itself into a head wind. It was sudden change in current. …One that was strong, chilly, …and saddening.
Takano: “…..What? What does that mean, Jirou-san?”
Tomitake: “…Well…You knew that Mr. Koizumi was the main political sponsor for the establishment of the Irie Facility, right? …The establishment of this place was done all thanks to Mr. Koizumi’s strong political pressure in maneuvering related bureaucracies for its approval. …He was indeed the top-ranking official who was known for the upbringing of the post-war pharmaceutical industry of Japan. He had very large political and industrial influence over these matters.”
Takano: “…So you’re saying that since Mr. Koizumi has passed away…so did his influence and pressure..?”
Tomitake: “….I don’t know the full extent of the details…but, it seems they’ve called a panel to reconsider the allocated budget for this project.”
Takano: “…You’re saying that they’re going to shut down the Irie Facility?!”
Tomitake: “Well, I haven’t heard of them reviewing the Irie Facility itself yet… But, one thing is certain. Due to Mr. Koizumi’s sudden death, there are vast confusions among the old guards and their factions, as well as the civil strife within the party for his successor. And it seems the opposing faction is gaining influence in the human resources of our client. As a result, the word is buzz that they’ve begun to dig deep into the holy treasure chest that the Koizumi faction held to fund their projects…. In either case, all of these are just too difficult to explain from my end so all of these could just be rumors…”
Even though Jirou-san told me that these were just rumors…it was a clear sign that I’ve hit a sudden head wind… Or, …perhaps Jirou-san already knows about what is to come, and he is warning me that the wind will only get stronger…
On the next routine audit…Jirou-san bluntly stated the word. This audit was different from the others that we had before; high government officials whom had never come to these audits joined us. …It was obvious that this was not going to be good news…
Tomitake: “As you all know, the Alphabet Project was created to strengthen post-war Japan’s presence in the world through the view of developing defensive weapons. However, we are now in the 1980s and the 21st century is just over the horizon. In this day and age, we must put the past behind us and start looking for a new world that is waiting for us in the 21st century.”
What he just said was straight and to the point. Japan has already let go of the pre-war glories of militarism and is cutting off its ties to the ghosts that wished to regain the militaristic might of the pre-war era.
Tomitake: “It has been almost forty years since the end of the war. Our country has contributed much to the world through various peaceful methods. We’ve created a large and strong alliance with the United States and it is safe to say our country is a major player in world affairs. We had kept up to our promise to forever renounce war and nuclear weapons, and we are known for being a nation of peace. In the future, our presence and influence will grow even larger for being so as well.”
The main sponsors of the Irie Facility, the Alphabet Project, were a group of people who wanted to find a weapon that would be deterrent to a nuclear weapon in which Japan was forbidden to own. This was the main reason to establish this place in the first place. …So by seeing that they’ve come to the subsidiary like the Irie Facility and giving us an explanation like this, is analogous in saying that Japan has renounced nuclear weapons PERIOD. It was apparent that the head wind against the Irie Facility will become much larger and much colder as time progresses…
The roll of dice that came up with one which hasn’t showed up since that cold stormy night is beginning to loom over my fate once again…
…I’m not going to cry in avail from just a result from a roll of dice... My will is not going to lose against by some playful trick of god’s roll of dice…!
Tomitake: “Hence, it is our judgment to review the Alphabet Project to one that is more befitting of our times. The new Alphabet Project will be redesigned in figuring out the best way for Japan to achieve a larger presence in world affairs not through militaristic means, but through more peaceful measures such as international trade and economic development.”
The pezzonovante who wielded tremendous influence within the politics and economy of Japan were all born in the pre-war generation. Their main dream is to regain the glory days of pre-war Japan. To them, they were like ghosts of the war who seriously believed that Japan can once again win a war if they were capable of developing a new bomb – just like the one that caused Japan’s defeat. …In fact, everyone believed that these men were like such ghosts who desperately grasped to such ideology. But no one dared to go up against them.
But it is inevitable that the old will just wither away and a newer generation will become the leaders of this country. Grandpa Koizumi was the last remaining pillar of the old guards. And with his death, it is time for the new generations to step in to the arena.
All the things that they previously could not argue against are now being debated and reviewed extensively. As for the Alphabet Project, heated debates were exchanged in which government officials began to openly oppose the rationale of its existence; a prime example of wasting taxpayers’ money by sucking money out of the treasury for the benefit of satisfying the personal reasons of a small group of people.
The powers once held by the old guards started to become assimilated and usurped...into the hands of the newer generation of politicians.
Tomitake: “Henceforth, the budgets allocated for all the projects that fall under the Alphabet will be reviewed extensively. And of course, the Irie Facility is no exception. We would like to ask for you complete cooperation and understanding of these matters. Thank you.”
Irie: “…..Understood. Our research is conducted in thanks to our sponsors. We will give our full cooperation and acknowledgement.”
Irie’s response was appropriate, but I could tell the bewilderment he must be having in his head.
The Irie Facility has the state-of-the-art equipment and the best researchers available. Simply put, this research uses up a lot of money very quickly. …From a standpoint of someone who could care less about the Hinamizawa Syndrome, people would wonder why so much money is being put into researching about some disgusting parasites.
If they are going to revise the budget, fine. So we’ve probably wasted some money by spending some of it too lavishly. It’s only going to be revised to a more appropriate budget. …We may have to cut some corners, but it’s something we can work around it. …At least that’s how I initially took it. …But when a roll of dice shows up as one, it clearly is a one.
Auditor: “…And so, a new oversight committee was created this April, and came up with the following decision to all related projects. I’ll be passing around these sheets and we’ll go over them as we go along.”
The papers began to be passed around clockwise. He started explaining the details written on the sheets, but I speed-read through the material so that I can learn about their ridiculous decision…
Auditor: “The Irie Facility was able to procure a spectacular achievement in finding out the mystery of an unknown disease called the Hinamizawa Syndrome, and even discovered a method to cure it as well. The committee is very well pleased by your accomplishments. They highly praise the efforts of Director Irie and the staff members of the Irie Facility for executing such a marvelous feat.”
Irie: “…Thank you.”
Despite receiving such a congratulatory praise from our members in government, both Irie and I remain cautious. It is customary to give the contradictory statements first before moving onto the main subject. If the main issue is something good, they start off with the bad news first. And it’s vice-versa when the main issue is bad...
Auditor: “The Irie Facility had two objectives to accomplish. The first objective was the research of the Hinamizawa Syndrome and finding its cure. The second objective was to study the possibility of utilizing the disease for military purpose. The new committee has decided to abandon this latter objective. They have decided that it is just an Achilles’ heel for Japan to be researching about biological weapons in this day and age. The Irie Facility is ordered to immediately cease all operations related to the latter objective.”
Irie: “Understood. We will comply as stated.”
Irie agreed to their demands immediately. No surprise here - he was assertive in the research to find a cure for the disease, but he was passive on researching its use for military purposes from the beginning. Hence, it wasn’t difficult for him to concur to such demands.
But to me, this whole thing is a charade. This research is only going to be limited towards treatment with these demands. …To me, finding a cure is just a by-product of my main goal to unravel the entire mystery.
Auditor: “And as for the Irie Facility, we would like to ask you to conclude your research within the next three years at the latest. The budget allocated for this project will be decreased accordingly.”
Irie: “W…Wait…! We’ve only figured out the details of the Hinamizawa Syndrome, and there is still much research to be done to find a better cure! Yes, it is true that we’re moving ahead, but there is no way we can accomplish our research within such a short time limit as three years…!”
Auditor: “It is to the committee’s understanding that the Irie Facility has already accomplished such a feat in which a total treatment is within arm’s reach. The Irie Facility has already produced the C117 vaccine, and much data has already been compiled…”
Irie: “I object…! The vaccines are just prototypes, and they are far from being absolutely effective! We still have not come up with a concrete plan to cure a vast population on the scale of the entire village! If I may say so, it is rather obtuse to assume that our research has been concluded when in fact, much more is still needed…!”
I was surprised at Irie’s objection. Thanks to him, I didn’t have to voice out my opinions. …If he didn’t I was certain that I would’ve stood up in hysteria.
Auditor: “Then from what I gather from your opinion, the Irie Facility considers the treatment of the entire village from the Hinamizawa Syndrome to be impossible at this moment?”
Irie: “Yes, that is exactly right. It is highly possible that we can achieve that goal to eradicate the Hinamizawa Syndrome from all the villagers in the future, and we agree to set that as our primary objective. But in order to do so, we need more time and more funds. Our job is done through researching the unknown, trial-and-error, and establishing our theories as true. It is very different from other jobs where one can always achieve a goal by following planned schedules and established blueprints. We would like the committee to understand the difference between our job and others.”
I was amazed at how Irie can be so vocal on his opinions. What he says is true – scientific research is a job in which one cannot obtain a goal through just time and money. …But I still have to disagree with some of his statements. …While Irie is on my side with regards to time and funds, his speech right now practically stated that he agrees completely with focusing on treating the Hinamizawa Syndrome as the primary objective. ….That’s not enough! We can never uncover the mystery of the disease with just that! The discovery of the Hinamizawa Syndrome is not enough for praising my grandfather…!
Auditor: “I see, you do have a point there, Director Irie. Our main concern is the fact that Japan was secretly conducting research into biological weapons for military purposes. Hence, it is our view that we must forever classify and hide the fact that we have been researching such a strange disease as the Hinamizawa Syndrome in the first place. Furthermore, the discovery of the Hinamizawa Syndrome itself must be put into the dark. If the complete eradication of the Hinamizawa Syndrome can be accomplished, it is desirable to us to commit further time and funds to achieve that goal. …Will it be okay for you to wait on this decision while we discuss this matter ourselves?”
Irie: “Yes, I have no problem with that.”
Auditor: “Then we would like to ask the Irie Facility to submit a draft plan and budget proposal to eradicate the Hinamizawa Syndrome in secrecy. We will do our best on our part on your proposal.”
Irie: “Understood. We will submit a plan immediately.”
Auditor: “Please don’t take this in the wrong context. We are not saying we want to put an end to this research immediately. We are more than willing to conclude this research in the best possible way. Please make a note of that.”
Irie: “…Of course. I understand.”
….While the two parties were discussing this amongst themselves, …I was struck dumbfounded with the statement one of them just said…
Eradicate the Hinamizawa Syndrome in secrecy
That’s the same as saying that the Hinamizawa Syndrome didn’t exist in the first place….
….There’s no way for my grandfather’s name to be known then….
As the audit progressed with rustling papers…all I could do was sit there while clutching my sweating palms as the second hand of the clock slowly ticked away…
[Koizumi-sensei's death is required]
Tomitake: "......Shall we call it a day? It doesn't look like you're in the mood for this today."
Takano: "Eh?......My, that's not true. I'm sorry if I looked that way to you."
Takano-san has been looking through the viewfinder since earlier, but I haven't seen her push the shutter once.
She's only coming along with me, it doesn't look like she's in the mood for wild bird photography at all herself....
Ever since the announcement of a change in policies at the new board meeting the other day, Takano-san has been looking depressed.
...I don't blame her. The Irie Institution was created by her to begin with.
It was created so that she could devote her life to the research of Hinamizawa Syndrome.
For that to be rejected, and then being asked to wrap up the research within a few years, you can't blame her for being depressed....
On top of that, it's not as if the remaining time will be spent working hard on the research either.
The fundings will be cut down gradually, by the end, they'll probably only be able to do some cleaning up of unfinished tasks, let alone research things.
......She said that she is the granddaughter of the late Takano-sensei.
...And that she has come this far with her determination to complete the research that her grandfather wasn't able to finish.
Not to mention the fact that things have actually been going pretty well up to this point... must've made the impact from the sudden change in wind direction even more severe....
The coup of the masterminds in the government appears to be quite a big one.
The new board of directors has been completely swapped out, I also hear that personnel shifts have been occuring to people or projects that the Koizumi faction used to be involved in as a warning to others.
Also, this sudden change in directions doesn't look like it'll be changing again in the near future.
......Hope is thin for a Koizumi faction comeback, no matter how much the Irie Institution tries to appeal itself, it was impossible to expect the same level of support it had received in the past.
Takano: "......Really, is there nothing more that can be done?"
Takano-san whispered as if talking to herself.
......It's a sad thing to say this, but... you're exactly right. There's nothing more that be done....
Tomitake: "............At first, the board actually talked about terminating the research immediately.... And it took a lot of convincing before they managed to make it a gradual suspension over several years.......The people who took care of us when Irie Institution was first born, that is."
Takano: "......*giggle*.... I see. So even this worst looking situation at one glace is actually the result of someone's hard earned victory from the shadows, huh...."
Tomitake: "And the time we have won is... no more than 3 years. I did my best too, for what it's worth. I went through the documents Takano-san had prepared up to this day with the board, and tried to explain just how important of a research this is...."
Takano: "......But even then, it's still all over in 3 years, isn't it?"
Maybe Takano-san doesn't know just how much hard work I had to go through to explain to the new directors on the board.
...Because in her words just now, there was a ring to it as if saying "no matter how many years we get, it doesn't change the fact that we're finished".
...Knowing that I wasn't able to meet her expectations, and dissappointing her... As a man, it hurts my chest.
Tomitake: "The best I can do is... route as much funding to the project as possible, so that at least you can study to your hearts content for a few years before the research gets wrapped up................I'm sorry, for not being able to do anything more."
Takano: "It's alright. If that's Jirou-san's best effort... then I'm really happy just for that."
......Her words were a little painful.
...I kind of wished she could've been a little smoother with her words, but it would be shameful as a man to expect something like that from her when she's hurt like this.
...Because this is exactly the kind of time where I have to understand her pains.
Besides, I also knew that she called the deceased Koizumi-sensei affectionally as grandpa.
For her, Koizumi-sensei's death is not just a start of a coup or a change in direction.
......There's probably also sadness from losing a protector who has always looked after her.
No matter how much she tries to stand on her toes and look mean... She wasn't someone who belonged in this world to begin with....... She's just, a normal woman.
But she became fascinated with the Hinamizawa Syndrome, and her research couldn't be continued without help from those with more powers than her.
......And there, extending its hands out to her... is the dark side of the world that, originally, she shouldn't have been involved with.
Inside this world, now left all alone, she's still putting on a strong looking face....
Takano-san must be thinking of me as an unreliable man.
...In reality, I'm not the kind of person who can meet her expectations...... nor do I have the power to.
The only thing I can do...... is to offer her my sincerity by being her ally until the very end.
As much mobility as she has... there are times where you can't tell what she'll do when she's cornered.
......I wanted to believe that it's impossible with her, but...... there's still an uncertainty where I don't know what she might do at the very end.
It'd be great if I could at least become a support for her heart during that final moment, before she makes that move.......
.......I felt pathethic for being so useless I can't even gain enough trust from her for that....
As a man, the feeling of wanting her to rely on me... exists, of course.
But that's not it....... At the very least, someone had to be an ally for her, who has been abandoned inside this world all alone.
And, if I'm the only one who knows about that... then, doesn't that make it my role?
I know very well by now that she's not the kind of person who askes for helps.
...Even if she thinks it's none of other's business and distances herself, I know that someone has to be there by her side.
I don't think I'm suited for that job.
...I think there must be lots of other reliable people who are far more suited for that job than me.
But still, that doesn't mean it's ok to just leave her all alone like this until someone like that appears for her....
Tomitake: "......Takano-san. I may be an unreliable, pathetic man...."
Takano: "Hmm? What's that, all of a sudden? What's wrong, Jirou-san?"
Tomitake: "Even then, I still think there must be things I can help you with if you asked. So-"
Takano: "Thank you. But I don't really believe that your heart can be lightened just by talking. I'm sorry. But I'm really happy just knowing that you cared."
Tomitake: "......I, is that so? It's alright then...... I will always be your ally, I hope you can at least believe me on that."
Takano: "Of course I believe you...... If you find out any good ways to convince the board, please let me know, ok?"
Tomitake: "Yeah.... I'll try my best too on my own."
Why, I wonder.
......I know that she's the one who has always been standing upright, and that my help isn't of any use to her whatsoever.
......Yet, I feel like she is in need of help and support right now.
...Even though at one glance, she doesn't look any different from her regular, strong self... For some reason, only I, who has always took all these photographs with her, know this.
Because, they say that a viewfinder is also a window to someone's heart.
...If course, if I say something like that, she will say that I'm out of character again, so I won't say it out loud.
Anyway.... I don't think she needed support any other time more than she needs it now....
[The completion of treatment medicine C117 is required]
*location is inside a Japanese style room of a traditional Japanese restaurant*
"Yo, Nakagawa-kun! It's been a long time. Have you been doing that recently? You know, that. Wahahahaha."
"No no, not at all anymore. People sure don't like getting old, don't you think?"
"You gotta concentrate when you do clays, if you put it off for too long, your senses gets dull, then there's no point!"
"Sir, allow me to introduce to you, Major Takano."
"Pleased to meet you. Thank you very much for offering me some of your time out of your busy schedule today."
"Ahh, it's not as if I made time just because of you or anything. They told me you get to eat some delicious raw uni (sea urchins) here, you see! Uni are great, you know? Rich in vitamin A, which is great for skins and stuff. Women love them, right? Uni! Wahahahahahaha!"
I'll admit that sea urchins are rich in vitamin A, but still, it's nothing to fuss about when you compare them to spinach.
......Well, none of that really matters, I guess.
...I just felt like criticizing since he's somewhat of an unpleasant man, that's all.
The men here today are the directors of the Alpha Project, who holds the fundings of Irie Institution.
Or perhaps people who can offer their opinions to those directors.
...Simply put, they're the new owners of Irie Institution.
......But, above that, although not as much as Grandpa Koizumi was, they are also the leaders and masterminds behind various fields.
I'll have to be careful to not act rudely in front of them....
Of course, there's no way someone like me would've had the ability to call them in.
We managed to create this chance by using the influence that the Koizumi faction once had.
Grandpa Koizumi, who used to lend me his full support to make everthing go my way, is no longer around.
......Starting from here, in a truer sense, I'm really going to have to open up the path on my own now.
However, today is not my solo stage.
Since I cannot cause the people who offered me this meeting to lose face, I can only accompany them in their drinking session and wait until I am given my chance to perform.
My biggest goal today is to explain to them just how impressive of a research topic the Hinamizawa Syndrome is, and to obtain an indefinite extension for the research.
Since these people don't look at anything except social connections, they're not understanding just how much potential the Hinamizawa Syndrome has.
They're not understanding just much research fundings is needed for this.
This research is not simply a study of the existence of an unknown parasite, it is something that might overthrow the very basic knowledges of human anthropology.
It's something that can't be signified enough even with a Nobel prize.
......It might be difficult to explain that to these uneducated people, but I have to do it.
For that purpose, I have spent a long time creating easy to understand support documents, so as to not confuse amateurs.
......Since we do not like contact with the ignorants, sometimes we would create confusing documents on purpose, but that's not the case this time.
Without looking down at them, I'll have to gain their understanding in a true sense, that's why.
Becuase of that, the documents that were made to be easy to understand has piled up quite high.
...To be honest, it's a really a waste to spend the time relaxing and picking away at traditional meals like this.
I want to hurry up and get to the main topic, so I can explain sincerely and carefully to them so that they can understand.
......But there's also a saying that goes "an anxious begger gets little".... I can only wait patiently for now.
"Yeah. To be honest, I don't think the Alphabet was all that geat up to this point. In the end, it's really nothing more than a sandbox play for those old men who still thinks we're in the Pacific War, you know. A sandbox where those old men uses connections that they don't own to draw the dream of a Japanese Empire revival. Can you imagine just how much public funds were wasted for these old geezers' delusions!?"
"From what I heard, they're pinning investigators on people like Okuno-sensei, and is trying to catch them for embezzling from the old board of directors."
"Wahahahahahaha. That's what you get for trying to suck up to those old men to get their juicy loots. Either way, none of this can be made public, so they'll probably be held responsible or demoted in another form... Really, this is the bill that Japan is paying for now for letting these ghosts of the war run around freely all these times! Man, the juice from this grilled uni is unbelievable! Uhahahahahaha!"
"This is hard for me to say.... I am really sorry to ask you for something like this in the middle of all this, but if I may have a moment of your time...."
"Um, you're from that Irie Instution, right? If I remember right, you people are doing some research on some local disease over at Nagano or Gifu or something, right? Uh, so what happened with that again?"
"The decision of the board is a halt in research for military application. Also, the entire research itself is to be shut down gradually over three years... Ah, sorry, that's still being decided right now. But still, either way, the research is scheduled to be closed down within a few years."
"Ahh, ahh! I remember now, I remember now! Irie Institution had a pretty bad reputation even with the old board of directors, I think. After all, it sucked up a huge amount of fundings without any form of checks. For some reason, someone high up kept on pushing for this project, you see. Due to that person's involvement, nobody could say anything in the end, and the whole thing was left alone....... But well! You know, that person loved flirting around with women, so maybe that had something to do with it, wahahahahahaha!"
Are you trying to say that I hooked up with Grandpa Koizumi using my body?
...That's the same as an insult towards us both.
......But I'll endure it. I can't it show on my face just because of something like this.
"......And so today, as we would like to explain about the research contents of the institution, in hope for a reconsideration of the board's decision, we have asked to have a moment of your time. We would like to thank you sincerely for taking the time out of your busy schedule to attend this meeting today...."
"Well, I guess they don't give out uni for nothing! Wahahahahaha!"
While being careful to not rush, I explained to them just how much meaning the Hinamizawa Syndrome carries.
The fact that Hinamizawa Syndrome's potential is not limited only to small things like military application, but having a much much more important meaning.
...The fact that it may even provide an explanation for various ideologies and religions.
And the fact that it may even shake the very definition of a human being. Slowly, I explained them all.
Although I'm not confident that these boorish men could understand them all, as long as they can understand, then that's good enough.
...All they need to understand is how much of a magnificent discovery the Hinamizawa Syndrome is....
"Thank you, Major.................. Hmm, I see.......hmm."
"We would like to discuss about this for a bit, so may we ask the Major to leave the room for the moment?"
"...Yes. If you will excuse me then."
I guess it's obvious they can't discuss about it in front of the person concerned.
...I left all the documents with them. All I can do now is hope they would accept them in a good way.
I left the room and closed the sliding screen door....... There's a room next door used for preparations, so I'll be heading there.
But... my foot stopped....... It's really against normal manners, but I listened in on them from across the sliding door.
"Really... wahahahaha, now, how do I say this... I guess there's no other way to describe this other than saying I feel bad for everyone from the previous board of directors."
"...No, hahahaha. You see, Koizumi-sensei really pushed for this strongly, so...."
"I have met Koizumi-sensei once before when he was positioned as the founding director of XX pharmaceuticals, and he seemed like a very intelligent person to me back then too......Mmm~"
"I guess you just can't win against aging! It makes you realize just how important final moments are for humans."
"But you know. It's true that Hinamizawa Syndrome is a very rare disease, so it certainly doesn't mean that all of this is a delusion...."
"Isn't Irie Institution already succeeding in understanding the disease and producing a treatment? That's enough for me."
"For modern Japan, we must be careful with events that might agitate our neighbouring countries. Among them, the most sensitive ones are military related, don't you think? At the very least, we must immediately erase the fact that a research for military purposes has been commencing for these past few years."
"Is that seperate from the halt in military research?"
"That's right. Even if we stop the research immediately, the fact that Hinamizawa Syndrome is a research for the development of a biological weapon remains. No matter what purpose it was for, we must cover up the fact that Hinamizawa Syndrome was ever researched on..... If possible, it would be desirable if Hinamizawa Syndrome itself disappears."
"True. If we leave this disease behind, people who are interested will begin to appear eventually, there's no guarantee that someone won't show up and dig up the hole that we have finally filled up. Our best bet is to follow the decision of the previous board, and as soon as Irie Institution eradicates the disease, have them destroy all evidences of the research before disbanding."
"Hmm. So that's the conclusion we have reached after all. The problem is not whether this research is worthy of a Nobel prize or not, but the fact that it's a useless research for the post-war Japan."
"Besides, the disease has existed since the ancient times to begin with, and we have made it this far without any problems, right? Right from the beginning, I thought this research was poking around the bushes too much."
"I agree. I have no doubt that this disease called Hinamizawa Syndrome actually exists......But this, this discoverer named Takano is exaggerating the disease too much!"
"When I was reading the documents, I thought of him as someone with some pretty unique thinkings too. First of all, I have never heard of a parasite that would affect people's thoughts. No matter what, that's just too much."
"If we can explain religions with this, then the Buddha and Jesus Christ are all, what was it? They would all end up being Queen Carriers. If we reveal something like that to the world, we'll get bashed to hell by every nation in the world."
"Religion is quite scary nowadays, after all. Wahahaha."
"If there are parasite that live in animal brains, then I suppose it's not unreasonable to say that there are parasite that live in human brains too. But for them to control the thoughts and personality of their host, wahahahahaha! That's just a little too unique, if you ask me!"
.......Peeking in from the gap in the sliding door...... I'm trapped within an unbelievable sense of deja vu.
It should've been my first time experiencing this... yet it feels like this wasn't the first time.
I'm not really sure, but that memory is really sad, and painful......eh..............eh, eh? Why are..... tears.......
Before I realized it... the other side of the sliding door is no longer a tatami-floored dining room...... but a very very nolstalgic carpet room instead.
It became that room, where the smell of dust mixed with the smell of some evaporated medicine made for a weird odor, but released a very soothing air of comfort.
Over there............ is the grandfather that I have missed so much.
The article that he poured his heart into denounced... and unable to even show his tears, there's grandfather.
This is not an illusion.
......Because, within the documents that I left with those men today, there were a lot of references to the articles written by grandfather.
...So it wouldn't surprise me even if grandfather was standing right there, explaining it to those men himself.
...And together with my tears from seeing the nolstalgic sight of grandfather...... I also watched those men insulting and ridiculing his great work....
A sight that has occured once before.
And a sight that should've ended then....
Yet, for some reason, the same sight is repeating itself in front of me again....
I can only peek through the sliding door blankly at this strange world where reality and illusion overlaps.
"That Major is a little weird too, and Koizumi-sensei is weird too for believing something ridiculous like this... but I suppose the weirdest one is this thesis article written by the discoverer, isn't it?"
"It's mixed with expectations and delusions, this looks to me more like a fiction than a thesis. Speaking of which, I think this article will probably get accepted better if you just take it to some publisher somewhere and turned it into a book."
"True true! I have a friend who's the head of a publishing company. I bet he'll love reading this. Wahahahahahaha!"
"This is not a laughing matter, everyone. After all, a huge amount of funds have been lost to this absurd research over the past few years.... The worst of it all is the fact that equipments for gassing the villagers in the case of a hazard has been prepared. This is something that our citizens must not know about."
"It's scary enough that a plan like that exists, for the necessary equipments to actually be prepared, forget overseas, even people from within our country might turn against us! On top of that, the cost for maintaining these gas killing equipments is crazy...!"
"Isn't it obvious that it's not really the maintenance fee? It's probably just a fake project used to channel money through or something. Besides, what was it? A disease where the death of 1 girl will cause a whole village to go mad? What kind of comic are you talking about?"
"Exactly, exactly! To swallow this childish story whole and letting huge amounts of fundings to flow out, that just won't do! If there's anyone who actually believed this document, then they're simply idiots!"
While saying that, he made an exaggerated gesture and placed the documents down violently.
......Maybe it's more fitting to say that he slammed them down rather than placed.
Because the document papers did not get placed down neatly, but fell and scattered all over the floor instead.
"I know, wahahahahaha! Ah, excuse me, I'm going to the washroom!"
Saying that, the man stood up, and...... stepped on it with a crush.
It was not the documents on the tatami......... but grandfather's article on the carpet.
And there...... filled with heart-tearing sadness, is grandfather. And yet, unable to let it show on his face, there's grandfather.
Grandfather's expression didn't look any different.
......But... it looked crumpled to me. The walls of the study room used by grandfather crumpled itself sadly.
I flew into the room.
... And then, I grabbed onto the old gentleman's foot. It's not that I hate him,
well no, if you ask me whether I hate him or not then I'd say yes, but... that's not it, that's not it.
"Don't step on them...!! Don't step on them...!! Grandpa worked really hard to write them, so... don't step on them with your feet...!!"
I wanted to get those feet away from the scattered papers, which are still being stepped on even now.
...But those feet are stiff, as if they have grown roots, and refused to back off simply from someone like me pulling on them.
That's why I clinged onto them, and pleaded.
I tried pulling the articles out from under his soles. But I can't get those feet to back off, and I can't pull the articles out....
"Don't step on them...... Don't step on theeeem....... Grandpa's, d...don't step on theeeeem........."
The room became completely silent, only the sound of my sobbing voice resonated throughout.... Just like back then....
[Raw sea urchin and vitamin A is required]
[Big plush doll is required]
[Support for her spirit is required]
......Grandfather's articles were trampled.
I have already found proofs as clear as the pathogen of Hinamizawa Syndrome, yet... why can't they accept it's mode of life as well?
...Because they have never heard of it before?
Because they can't imagine it in their minds?
Because such a ridiculous thing is impossible...?
I don't care about that....
I don't care about the limit of those commoners' understanding abilities....
Why won't anyone believe the truth of grandfather's article that has been confirmed by Irie Institution up to this day?
And why do people believe that humans are a special existence?
Aren't humans just a species of animal?
And while confirming the existence of various kinds of parasites that control their hosts, how can people say with certainty that parasites that uses humans as hosts do not exist?
......No, that's not it, that's not it. That's not right.
Because, didn't everyone believe grandfather's article up to this day...?
Didn't the health ministry and department of defence lend us their assistence because everyone were so impressed by grandfather's article?
......And all of that suddenly turned cold in a flip of a hand.
In other words... it meant everything were because I had Grandpa Koizumi as a backing shield.
...Then, does that mean... that nobody ever took grandfather's article seriously in the first place?
Everyone was simply pretending to praise the article to please Grandpa Koizumi?
What is the meaning of all the efforts I have made up until today...?
Up until today, I have always felt like I accomplished something, but what have I actually accomplished?
...Really, I don't even know what's what anymore, all I can do now is sulk in sadness.
The more I think, the more confused I am about what my life has been all about.
Takano(鷹野)... no, Takano(高野) Miyo was born and lived on to be useful for grandpa, wasn't she...?
......If that's the case, then I haven't accomplished anything.
What an absurd thing to say that I have counted the 3 together with grandpa, and is counting the 4 after....
......Stop it stop it.....
If I leave myself with even a little bit of room for thinking, criticism towards myself and my life quickly slips in....
By taking in alcohol everytime the gap in my heart is about to open, I can bury it for a little bit longer.
...Is it really that weird to presume an existence that has the ability to control people's minds and thinking?
It's true that Hinamizawa Syndrome was not the cause for the birth of ideologies.
The best it can do is cause patients to go mad. Nobody's saying that social or common beliefs came from it.
Grandfather lived in an age where you couldn't talk about the world without mentioning ideologies.
Even if we were to back down and admit that there are some exaggerated or twisted contents in the article since it was born in such an age, it's still no reason for people to deny it's foresighting potentials.
......There's no way people can just clean everything up simply by saying such a ridiculous thing cannot be true.
And... even though it's supposed to be the most important thing, also ignored was the fact that the queen carrier named Furude Rika is holding the life of the village in her hands.
Grandfather have always predicted the importance and dangerousness of the existence of the queen carrier ever since the beginning of his research on Hinamiza Syndrome.
However, the hypothesis that the death of the queen carrier will cause a great breakdown of the infected colony is a Pandora's box that cannot be demonstrated.
Because it cannot be confirmed other than after Furude Rika dies, and by the time she's dead, everything would be too late.
...However, as an objective truth, the fact that Furude Rika is a special existence as a queen carrier is not wrong, and it's also clear from various experiments that she has some special influences towards other regular carriers.
Her death will become the trigger for the collapse of the entire village.
......There's no mistake about that...!!
Because grandpa predicted that, he wrote it so!
And yet, to call it a comic book story, that's just too cruel...!
For them to refer to the various preparations we have made to protect her in order to fight against that worse case scenario as fictional projects used to tunnel funds... that's just too cruel.......
Everything I'm doing now is the continuation of what grandfather was going to do.
Therefore, to insult my research would be the same as insulting my grandfather.
In his article, grandfather said the first thing to do when beginning the research would be the protection of the queen carrier.
That's the truth, the right thing, and the most important thing. Yet, it was ridiculed upon the most...!!
The more I think, the more I am reminded of those insulting words.
......Feeling as if I can still hear those voices, I couldn't hold back my urge to plug my ears....
.........I bet all the directors think I'm nuts.
I meant to appeal for the continuation of the Irie Institution, and yet...... the effect was the exact opposite.
The directors must think of Hinamizawa Syndrome as even more of a silly thing now, and will probably push even harsher for the closure of the research.
If that happens, then I'll be returning to personal research again.
In other words, the same as grandfather.
...There's a limit to what one is able to research with only their passion.
......No, it's doubtful they would even let me go back to personal researches to begin with.
When Irie Institution is disbanded, a duty of confidentiality for all the involved works appears as well.
That was stated on the consent form, which I signed.
...We're not talking about an oral promise here... It means that if I were to break the promise, classified information protection squads like the Yamainu would go as far as wiping me out to keep everything confidential.
Even if that doesn't happen, Irie Institution will still eradicate Hinamizawa Syndrome within a few years from now, and bury every trace of it along with the research results.
This is not research and treatment.... All they're doing is pretending nothing ever existed in the first place.
...I came into this with the intention to take over and complete grandfather's research...... But the result was the complete opposite.
...Instead, I ended up lending a hand in possibly wiping out the research that grandfather has kept carefully under the wraps.
The treatment medicine is already being completed.
That cowardly Irie, he has always been so passive towards other researches, yet when it comes to treatment medicine research, he shows enough passion to rival even mine.
...On top of that... as much as I hate to say it, he has more than enough accomplishments and talent for it.
...He will definitely be able to come up with a plan to eradicate Hinamizawa Syndrome within three years, just like the new directors board wanted.
......The board will definitely give him enough funds to bury Hinamizawa Syndrome as well.
And Irie will probably happily bury even the fact that Hinamizawa Syndrome existed, I bet.
......Just like how he was ordered by the directors board and easily abandoned all the H170 type test medicines and research data...!
All I can do now...... just like Irie once did to me, is to hinder them passively while watching he and the others eradicate Hinamizawa Syndrome.
And then, when everything is over, where nothing will ever be presented, will I write an article that's destined to be destroyed....
...............Hold it within my chest, and dive off somewhere so that I can at least present it to grandfather...?
...Grandfather won't be happy even if I did that.
......Rather, he would probably shake his head at me for throwing a research he spent half his life on down the drain.
...Embracing me with his chest would be the last thing he do.......
I wanted to announce Hinamizawa Syndrome to the world.
I wanted people to accept it as a great accomplishment.
...I wanted to carve grandfather's name into history.........and promote him into a god.
Grandfether simply believed and waited for that time to come... and he must still be waiting anxiously for that day to come even after entering eternal sleep. And yet.......
......I ..........ruined all of it.............
I wanted to make grandfather god.
I wanted to become god myself as well.
...I figured if we do that, we would be together forever, and never be alone again.
If I become god, then I won't be tested by god.
No misfortune will visit me, nor will sudden train accidents.
Grandfather won't go away, nor will grandpa Koizumi.
......I won't have to be alone again ever....
...I am alone.
I have no allies.
I was simply dacing in ecstasy on top of a stage that nobody's looking at.
By the time I realized that, there are no applauses, only ridicules.
..........No, it's doubtful that anyone besides myself is even watching this in the first place....
My parents died, my grandfather died, and grandpa Koizumi died.... For three times, I am being played around with by God with dices.
Each time, I would feel like I managed to overcome it with my own strength. But I was wrong.
......Each time, I was protected by my next guardian, that's all.
And this time, there are no guardians left to protect me anymore....
Those defiant days when I first arrived at Hinamizawa fully intent on taking God on and kicking him off his throne, just where have they gone off to....?
Right now, forget taking God on, I'm nothing but a loser being played around with.......
I suddenly don't care about anything anymore.
........If I care about something, I would be swallowed by sadness, so in order to not care about anything, I continue to soak my heart within alcohol....
A luxurious black car suddenly stopped near me.
...The sight of that overlapped with the car that came to capture me when I escaped from the institution (*note 1), and my mind was cleared up within an instant.
Exiting from the driver and front passanger seat are two suspicious looking men wearing black suits and sunglasses.
......The thought flashed across my mind.... These people must be sent by one of my client masterminds.
Being involved with the development of a biological weapon, a project whose very own existence must be wiped out, not to mention being the main person responsible, and if you add being in an unstable mental condition to that, it's obvious they would let me roam about freely.
...They're going to kidnap me and erase my existence even if it means turning me into a concrete block, no doubt about it...................... That's what I thought.
That's why... I bet they're planning to pin my arms behind my back or something and shove me into the car roughly for sure.
...Since I was prepared for that, I was a little surprised when they bowed deeply toward me.
"You are the vice-administrator of Irie Institution, Major Takano Miyo, correct?"
"......Normally, yes.... but I'm just a drunken loser right now."
"There is someone who would like to meet you. May we ask you to come with us?"
".........Even if I refuse, you're just going to take me by force anyway, right?"
I'm going to get killed either way...... And even if I live, I still can't grant my grandfather's wish.... I said with cynicism.
And then, the person sitting in the back seat of the car said,
"We won't force you.... However, I believe we can be of help to you, Major."
I think she's near my age. But I don't remember meeting this young female before.
Since she knows about Irie Institution, she must be related to my clients, I guess.
...She can't possibly be a client herself, at such a young age.
......Most likely, she was sent as a messenger by a client who doesn't want to show himself, or something like that.
......Either way, I can't make grandfather god anymore even if I live on now. I can't become god either.
Then, where or how a loser is killed.... none of that matter anymore.
I made up my mind, and followed their suggestion to get into the back seat of the car.
...Once they confirmed that, the car began to move forward comfortably with a smoothness unique to luxury cars.
For a while, the interior of the car was enveloped in silence.
......They're the ones who invited me. There's nothing for me to say to them first.
"...Long time no see- although even if I say that, you probably don't recognize me.... I have met with Takano-san once at Koizumi-sensei's funeral."
"......Oh, is that so? ...Sorry for not remembering."
There were many people at the funeral grounds, I can't remember everyone's face.
...But why say something like that as a greeting?
......Does that mean... she is with the Koizumi faction......?
"Koizumi-sensei has been active for a long time as an opinion leader in the recovery of post-war Japan. It would probably be difficult to speak of the peaceful Japan today without mentioning Koizumi-sensei's accomplishments."
"Back when we were rebuilding the country from the post-war barren fields, the willing ones of our nation were monolithic. However, it is unfortunate that the same can't be said for now....... The peaceful era continues, and a generation who knowing nothing of barren fields begins to enter into the core of the nation, and the number of those who knows of such noble wills began to decrease.......... As the final elder of those noble comrades, Koizumi-sensei was the central support who has guided our nation towards the 21st century. However-"
"......After Koizumi-sensei's death, the Koizumi faction quickly faltered. In exchange, other factions began extending their influence, and things are becoming a mess, right?"
I heard about these things from Jirou-san, so I know about it.
And this is no different from the warring states period. When a lord or military leader dies, competition to become a successor always occurs, bringing chaos to the country.
...Our country hasn't changed one bit for the past few hundreds of years.
"That's correct....... Unfortunately, although the peaceful Japan has managed to build itself into a comfortable country to live in, at the same time, it has also forgotten the nobel wills of its beginning. Right now, various factions in Tokyo are in the middle of a conflict over who should get to take over the seat and powers left behind by Koizumi-sensei. If Koizumi-sensei and other deceased servicemen of our country finds out about this, they would be sighing from their graves without a doubt."
".....................What does that have to do, with me...?"
"Are you not the biggest victim of all this? Up until this day, You have experienced plenty of sudden changes in the direction of the wind, have you not...?"
It's true that the research began under the sponsorship of Koizumi-sensei.
...Against that, it's true that contacts against the anti-Koizumi factions has been cold and intense.
...Maybe for them, the fact that every project left behind by Koizumi-sensei is an eyesore matters more than the actual contents of the research.
...In other words... it means they're not actually simply rejecting the project content itself...?
......Now that I think about it...... Something like this happened with grandfather too.
Back then, when Koizumi-sensei brought various authorities in the field with him to visit grandfather.
...Those people talked down to grandfather, a complete opposite from their praises earlier.
......The reason behind that was pressure from the masterminds at the time, that's what Koizumi-sensei told us later, remember...?
"The research of Hinamizawa Syndrome is the largest one within the Alphabet Project, it would not be an exaggeration to say that it is the Project's number one leader, in terms of funding, organization, and everything else. Because of that, your research has been made scapegoat by those people who are plotting to monopolize the interests of the Alphabet."
"By no means was the research of Hinamizawa Syndrome denied, that's what I'm saying. What's important to those people is the faction of that project, not its contents....... Today, that's what I wanted Takano-san to know."
"......In the end... I'm just a sacrifice goat put up for everyone to see, huh....... It didn't matter what kind of research I was doing... All they cared about was the fact that the research belonged to the Koizumi faction...."
"Exactly. Political factions themselves are the wind direction. Sometimes the wind is favorable, sometimes the wind is against you. Unfortunately, it is not easy to restore the wind direction once it has changed."
"You mean it's not easy to restore my clients from being hostile back to normal...?"
"That's right. The Alphabet Project has been completely taken over. All the directors have been replaced, and it's clear that they're only interested in fulfilling their own selfish desires....... They were never interested in listening to your desperate explanations in the first place."
...I grasped onto my knees, and remembered that humiliating day....
"............Let's take a step back now. What is the objective of the research to you, Takano-san?"
"Eh?.........Um, it's to fulfill my intellectual curiosity as a researcher...."
"Was not it because of the promise you have made with the late Takano-sensei, whom you referred to as grandfather and admired...?"
Since Koizumi-sensei told me that this fact could become a hinderance if people were to find out about it, I haven't revealed it to any of my clients.
......Where did she find out about this?
No, if they know about this...... it's possible that they know a lot more about us than I had imagined.
"Where did you find out about that?"
"We are not your enemies. Please relax yourself. We came because we want to be of real help to you."
I don't know who she is, but... there's no doubt that she came wanting something from me.
...Just what kind of deal is she wanting to make with me?
For her to know about my relationship with grandfather, it doesn't look like I can be careless here anymore.
"However, in order for us to help you, you must tell us the truth. In other words, we want you to be honest."
".........I do not understand what you're saying."
"What is Takano-san's true objective for the research on Hinamizawa Syndrome?"
...To prove grandfather's research as a great accomplishment... and to make him a god.
"To prove the value of the late Takano-sensei's research to the world...... and to get revenge against those who trampled on and looked down on the articles that your grandfather wrote with all his might, is it not?"
I was at my limits just trying not to let my shock show on my face.
Just how much...... does this woman know about me?
...No, just who is this woman...?
How come she can tell everything that I'm thinking, as if they are all within her hand's reach?
But there's no way I can admit that out loud.......It's what they call dignity...
But while an angel-like smile appeared on the face of this elegantly smiling woman... she laughed (嗤う) in a devilish whisper done even more skillfully than me.
笑う (warau, to laugh) and 嗤う (also warau, but means to laugh (at), sneer) means different things.
笑う is to express good will, but... 嗤う means the exact opposite.
This woman has read my mind completely... and is testing just how honest I can be.
Whether I will speak the truth or not is no longer the problem.
...She's simply testing whether or not I can show enough trust to confess that to her.
"If what I'm saying is a complete misunderstanding, then please forgive me. I will take you to the nearest train station. Near this area, it would be the Kokura station, is that alright?"
"But............... If what I'm saying is anywhere near your true feelings...... then I believe you and I can form a cooperative relationship. How about it? Takano Miyo-san?"
I couldn't reply, but that silence already held the same meaning as a reply.
......Because I am wanting to hear this woman's proposal.
Up until this day, I have always made my objective a vague one with abstract expressions such as turning grandfather into a god.
However... she has taught me clearly what my true object is.
My objective......is the revenge against grandfather's regret.
I want to make those people fight over and read the articles they once laughed at and trampled on.
And I want to make them believe and worship every single word grandfather left behind.
That is what my true object has been....
And... this woman has repeated that objective, which I had always only whispered within my heart, out loud, and asked me whether she's right or not.
.........Is this woman, an angel?...... Or a devil?
......If I call myself a human being... then is she something above that............?
"Your misfortune is caused by the fact that you did not understand your own goals physically.... That's why you could not achieve it no matter how much you devoted yourself to the research. To set abstract goals such as uncovering the mysteries of the Hinamizawa Syndrome, never able to be achieved, you couldn't help but to question your own life....... Am I right? Right, that's wrong. Your true objective, no, your dream is not something that abstract. Can you imagine this scenery?...... The true top leaders in control of this nation reading your grandfather's article, and while being shocked at its contents, believing all of it without a hint of doubt... Those people humbly reading those articles with footprints left on their backsides, and while expressing their respect at the insightfulness of the research, tremble in fear.......Well? Can you imagine it now, I wonder...?"
............This is the first time I imagined something like that.
...And... that actually just may be my dream....
"The term Hinamizawa Syndrome was created by your grandfather, right? That word will echo to every corner of this nation...... the word that your grandfather created will remain carved in eternity."
"Remain carved... in eternity."
"That's right. That means raising your grandfather and his great accomplishments... into an eternal existence.......... Fufufufufufu? That is the dream you have devoted your entire life to as Takano Miyo...... is it not...? Fufufufufufu...?"
Grandfather's great accomplishments remain carved... in eternity. Carved.... in eternity....
"YET!! Those pigs who could not understand these great accomplishments turned that dream of yours into a sacrifice simply because of faction conflicts and scramble for interests, and is trying to trample it into the ground! ............Just like how they... *squish*... trampled on your grandfather's articles... right? Fufufufufu...."
"You're feeling regret, full of regret. Those data you have done your best to create, that's right, they're the same as the articles your grandpa did his best to create. Those people who trampled on and ridiculed them are unforgivable. Those pigs who made fun of grandpa's great accomplishments are unforgivable, right? Is that not true?... Nope, it's true. You simply didn't think about it because someone as kind as you don't know of any words used to condemn people.............Right?"
Unknown feelings began to rise within me... it's hard to breathe.
The feeling of being cautious and at peace and trust and mistrust all mixed together.
......My heart began to thump before I know it, and my fingertips began to tremble.
Becaus she has taught me my real dream that I was not able to express with my own words even after having grown up to this age.
And because she made me aware of the anger within me that has nowhere to go.
Why...... feel doubt?
Because she has taught me things that I have never told anyone, no, things that I have never even told myself about.
"Hey... Miyo-san? ............If what I'm saying is not wrong......... but actually completely correct............ Then I believe I can definitely help you achieve your dreams... and revenge."
"Fufu, what's the matter...? Are you not feeling well? It would be rude of me to keep you here then. Let's take you to the nearest train station."
A small voice leaked out from my mouth pathetically.
......It's almost like when you were little, you would end up apologizing for a prank that you pulled when you realized that you couldn't hide it anymore.
"......Did you say something? Fufufu?"
...She must've heard it already, yet......... the woman laughed, wanting to make me say it again.
"..........No, that's not true.... I, I'm not... feeling unwell...."
"Fufufufufufu. That's good to hear. Let's continue our talk then."
"......If what you said is my dream......... then what are you saying you can do for me?"
"I will help with your two revenges. One is the revenge for your grandfather. We will make those people who ridiculed your grandfather's articles take them into their hands humbly once again. Those articles they have trampled on with their feet, you see........ And the other is the revenge against the directors board for trampling on the syndrome research, which also has an emotional connection to your promise with your grandfather, simply because of faction conflicts. And for trying to end the research just to secure their own interests. A revenge against those pigs for trampling on your documents in front of your eyes, and for trying to trample even your life as well now."
"..............Revenge against the directors board......... for taking grandfather's articles and trampling them...."
"For me to be honest as well, of course, the reason why we're lending our help is because our interests are the same. We cannot allow the project that Koizumi-sensei established for the sake of Japan's future be eaten up by the likes of these lowlifes after his death....... If we only had more power, we wouldn't have allowed these lowlifes to become involved. However, the wind direction changed, and the project will no longer return to being Koizumi-sensei's ideal. It has become a pigsty for those pigs to satisfy their own selfish desires.... Koizumi-sensei, who was also the naming parent of the Alphabet Project, would not have wished for the project to remain like this either. The project should have been folded up the moment it deviated from Koizumi-sensei's ideals."
"...............Are you saying you want to make the sacrifice sheep of the faction conflicts into a wolf now?"
"If you choose to keep your grandfather's articles hiddenly away within your chest, never to be announced, then I won't force you to change your mind."
.........That's the only thing..... I don't want.
I don't mind falling to the ground myself.
But at least..... let grandpa.... let grandpa's articles.......
"Do you not want to make the articles that are the materialization of you and your grandfather's lives into something eternal......? Fufu, because... wasn't that supposed to be your true desire......?"
"............That's right.... That is......my reason to be alive...."
"We will help you obtain the chance to grant your true dream."
...Admitting myself to be a loser in life...... in the night where I drowned myself in tears and alcohol after being abandoned by everything, I obtained the help of someone who could either be an angel or a devil...
Is this an assistance from heaven? Or the whispers of a devil...?
I fought with the new directors board for the continuation of the research.
But... that was completely off-target.... It was completely off from my real objective.
My objective is not to continue researching Hinamizawa Syndrome.
...But to make people accept grandfather's research.
......Before I realized it, the method to achieve that swapped places with my objective, and caused me to misunderstand myself.
My life did not exist for the sake of continuing grandfather's research.
......It existed for the sake of relieving grandfather's regret...... for the sake of revenge.
The woman said this.
She promises to make grandfather's research eternal.
And she even promises to give me a chance to get my revenge against those people who ridiculed his research.
When grandpa Koizumi died, I thought God was playing around with me with dices again.
But... my strong determination has called forth powers that surpass the likes of those dices.
...That's why, maybe this meeting was an obvious one.
......God, you fool, trying to test me with dices again....
I will overcome grandpa Koizumi's death.
And I will definitely, definitely, make grandfather an eternal existence...... and get my revenge against God for testing me.... for sure... without a doubt...!
I will, take revenge.
(*note 1: reference to Matsuribayashi-hen main plot, concerning her childhood experiences at an unethical orphanage institution)
[Pre-requisite: Ryuguu’s move back to Hinamizawa]
[Pre-requisite: Sonozaki’s watermelon]
Uncle Hiroshi: “Oh, look at the time. I should get going now. Thanks for the tea.”
Oryou: “No problem. Come back anytime.”
Mion: “I’m back! ..hey, Uncle Hiroshi! How’s it going-!”
Uncle Hiroshi: “Hey, look who’s here, it’s Mion-chan! Just came home, eh? I was just about to leave to give pick up the prospective buyers.”
Mion: “Buyers? Oh, it’s about your real-estate business, I see.”
The Sonozaki family is one of the largest landowners of the Hinamizawa area. However, much of these lands lay rusted and undeveloped. Recently, the lands owned by the Sonozakis were put onto sale in lots. There were debates within our family during the family meeting about whether it was the right choice to start selling off lands that were handed down through our ancestors, but grandma shut them up with her usual stingy vocal snap. Several of the unused fields were reformed into vacant lots, and were released to the public for sale in lots.
But, …even I had my doubts to my grandma’s decision at first. Yes, I guess you can say that the Sonozaki family is rather rich. We have bunch of land, and a bunch of money. So, I couldn’t figure out the rationale of why we had to sell our lands.
What surprised me the most was that grandma herself was the first one to bring up the idea to sell our ancestral lands to some strangers. I would’ve thought that she would’ve exploded in anger with vein popping out on her forehead if anyone dared to bring up such a thought.
Uncle Hiroshi: “Well, come by to my place the next time you are near the train station. I’ll treat you to some nice cold barley tea.”
Mion: “Thank you. How’s the market going?”
Uncle Hiroshi: “Actually, I’m surprised how so many urbanites are taking interest in our area! I don’t comprehend why these nouveau riche would be so interested in living in such an inconvenient place”
Mion: “My, my. I suppose there are so many curious and whimsical people out there!”
Uncle Hiroshi: “We even had a call where one wanted to actually move here. He said he wanted to build an art studio out here. I think he’s some sort of artist or something.”
Mion: “Really? That’s interesting!”
Uncle Hiroshi: “Oh shoot, look at the time! I’ve gotta go get the bus!”
He set up the real-estate tour, and he was the one driving the bus. I guess it’s almost time for the sales pitch to end. Uncle Hiroshi hurriedly walked out of the house for his awaiting visitors.
Mion: “…Can I ask you something, grandma? I know you dislike outsiders. But then, why did you decide to sell our land in lots?”
Oryou: “I do hate outsiders, and especially urbanites. …But this village needs new air. It’s like re-freshening an old house.”
Mion: “You’re prospecting that…some kind of positive effect to occur for this village by bringing in new people?”
Oryou: “This village is a great place. …But the world is changing at a fast pace these days. Before, very little change occurred even after ten or twenty years passed in this village.”
Mion: “Yeah, well that rural life for ya! In this village, there’s nothing different between yesterday, today, or tomorrow. …To me, it’s pretty boring!”
Oryou: “But you gained a friend, didn’t ya? Ryuguu’s Rena was it? She moved back here and she instantly became your friend. Even you said it that you were happy to finally have a friend close to your age.”
Mion: “Yeah that’s true. It is fun to become friends with someone so unexpectedly.”
Oryou: “I remember you always saying ‘I’m bored, I’m bored’ when Rena-chan didn’t go to your school. Kukukuku!”
Mion: “So you’re saying that this is just one example of a positive effect of brining in new people here?”
Oryou: “No matter how cold the winter, you need to re-freshen the stale air that got built up inside. Otherwise, you suffocate with the polluted air that gets built up from the fireplace. So you brave the chilly air and open up all the windows.”
Mion: “…Will a new person be able to re-freshen this village?”
Oryou: “Of course. And that person will bring in fresh air and polluted air like us will need to be shoved out.”
If I uttered the word about the Houjou family here, I’m sure she’ll blow her anger. …But I can tell that grandma is actually talking about the need to rejuvenate all the negative aspects of this village, including the lingering ostracization of the Houjou family by the villagers. …Though she might still might be pissed off she is reminded of the verbal argument she had with the Houjous at the meeting several years before, deep down inside, she probably wants to put an end to this whole stigma.
But forgiving someone for their actions is a bit difficult for grandma’s age. In order to save face of her reputation, she can’t openly say that all is forgiven.
…I think she shows signs of a personality trait like a schoolgirl where she actually likes that person but puts on mask that she doesn’t in order to repress her true emotions (http://forums.animesuki.com/showpost.php?p=499318&postcount=1). …Perhaps people return to children once they age old enough. This holds true to all the elderly in this village. …And this soil promotes the evil practice of this village.
This is probably the true meaning of grandma’s rhetoric in using the symbolism of “bad air.” Polluted air will never be cleansed no matter how much you try to circulate the air within a closed space. One must open up the windows and let the new air in to purify the stale air.
Mion: “Well, I still dunno if anyone wants to move here. Besides, isn’t it a bit too much a burden to hold the new person with such a high expectations? Kukuku!”
Oryou: “Well, even you changed a lot with just Rena-chan moving here. This whole village will change even with one new family. …All I hope is that their kid will be a energetic young’un who has the charisma to lead the village from our hands by wreaking some havoc in this little village. That young’un needs to be like the one who’ll put us old folk down away into the neverland.”
Mion: “Kukuku…what the heck is that? Are you talking about grandpa again?”
Oryou: “Dumb-ass! Who said that I was talking about your grandpa!! Here, shoo. Go help the housekeepers and carry these cups of tea back to the sink.”
Mion: “Yeah yeah, sure sure.”
Oryou: “…The day Houjou Satoshi disappeared. ….You confronted me.”
Mion: “…Oh yeah, I think I did that. …Ahaha.”
Oryou: “That was when I opened up my eyes. …All this time, I thought this whole thing against the Houjou family would go away when all the old folks like me die away. …But that takes too long. I need to get it resolved faster than that.”
Mion: “But since you can’t do it yourself…you’re leaving that task up to an outsider?”
Oryou: “…….It’s the only option that I could do.”
Mion: “No matter what bad of a hand you have, if you draw another card that hand might become a hand that might change the course of outcome. …And perhaps, it is a good strategy to start drawing more cards from the stack of cards…”
Oryou: “Mion, the new wind that’ll be coming in will be in the same generation as you. …Welcome the new wind in to our community. And you are going to be driving wind within our community who is going to provide momentum to that new wind. Your task is to create a gale so strong, it’ll blow us stale air out into the horizon.”
Mion: “Salvation by others, eh? Sheesh. You’re the one who started the fire, but you ask your grandchild to wipe your ass.”
Oryou: “…Oh come now. I want you to welcome the new wind into the village…and I’m saying that to you as the incoming head of the Sonozaki household.”
Mion: “….If it’s the job I have to do as the next head.”
Oryou: “…Thanks. Mion, I’m old. The only role I have left is to be despised by others. That’s all.”
The wind-chime clinked softly.
I will recall this moment later that soothing cool wind was a foreshadowing of the gallant storm that was about to come…
[Pre-requisite: Ryuguu’s move back to Hinamizawa]
[Pre-requisite: The fourth year’s curse]
...Hmm, I guess I’m in a bit of a predicament here right now.
My name is Maebara Ichirou and I’m in a particularly in a great mood right now…but at the same time, I’m stuck in a jam…
I came to Hinamizawa on a tour of find a new place to build a home. After the realtor explained the details of this area to our group, he told us to enjoy a bit of free time until time.
…And so I wandered off as I experienced the wonderful nature and the smelled nice aroma of clean air. As I was attaining great inspiration from this area, I realized…well…that I was lost.
Fortunately, there is still a bit of time until the time I was supposed to be back with my group. …But, that still doesn’t change the fact that I’m lost. Okay, calm down. Even though this is a rural area, people reside here. So long as I continue walking, I’m bound to meet up with someone whom I can ask for directions.
No worries, no worries. Ha-ha-ha. …Well, except for the time I’ve gotta catch the Shinkansen…
However, my plan to meeting someone on the road seems to have backfired. ...It’s been hours, but I haven’t seen anyone passing by. …I think I really am lost. I should’ve been more careful in paying attention to my surroundings. I guess this shows how much of an urbanite I am…
So, I was very relieved when I heard voices nearby. It was the playful sounds of two little girls having fun. …Since little kids are here, this still must be safe place to be lost. I immediately turned my legs towards the direction of their voices.
As I waded through the tall pampas grass, I suddenly came to a very astonishing field filled with the beauty of nature. And there, I saw two little girls playing with each other. The portrait of the cute girls innocently dancing in the field blossoming with flowers were so spectacular, that it blew away all the great artworks that I have seen since. ...I could be over-exaggerating, but the sight was holier than any other religious art works too.
I wondered why we feel such salvations from seeing innocent girls dancing the field.
...That’s because we are all live our lives tainted with sin. Living life is not all pleasure and glory. ...We build up sins and guilt just by living life as well. That is why we sense holiness at the sight of innocence which reminds us of the time we weren’t corrupted with the sins of our world.
We grow up as a natural process of life, …in the meanwhile, we begin to realize the innocence that we lost through maturity. Henceforth, we see adoration and admiration to such cute little children which symbolizes innocence like these girls…
Rika: “…Mi-. There is a stranger who is looking at us while mumbling about difficult things.”
Hanyu: “Auauau. …Rika, that person is no stranger.”
Ichirou: “…huh? Whoa!! Oh, I…I’m so sorry!! No, no, I’m not a stranger. Wahahahaha…!”
Rika: “…Yet, his eyes are hooked to my breast and my legs. Nipa~☆”
Ichirou: “No, no, I wasn’t looking in there! Please don’t tell the station officer-!! I was using this mirror to fix my hair…!!”
Hanyu: “….Ahahahahaha. I don’t understand what you are talking about, but I’m sure it’s something very funny.”
Rika: “I guess father and son really are alike.”
The two girls made fun of me for a while, but they seemed to have gotten bored with it rather quickly and began to playfully dance in the field once again.
I realized that whatever I said will backfire against me, so I left the two alone and watched them play as I rested my butt on a dead wood.
…I wonder how old they are. They look rather young, …but they probably aren’t too far apart from Keiichi.
If we’re to move here, Keiichi might be one of their schoolmates. Kids that meet each other at the school means…that they are residents of this area. …If the kids here at Hinamizawa are all like these innocent little girls….even if living a rural life may have its inconveniences….there is a good reason to move our home here.
….We were a failure as parents.
We didn’t know anything about Keiichi’s internal problems, we couldn’t grasp his disenchantment, and we practically forfeited parenting him by leaving him alone.
Any parental guidebook says that….the first signs of delinquencies in a child…are signals for help towards his or her parents. It’s not the actions itself; it is the motive to do such actions which are an emotional appeal from the child to yearn communication with his or her parents.
…Yet people are used to formal methods of communication through speech…which makes it difficult for one another to sense such subtle pleas of help. We could only hear vocal communication, and we couldn’t hear the emotional signs of distress from our own son.
Keiichi….probably thinks he is the most one at fault.
…Of course, what Keiichi did was wrong. People are different from cats and dogs. As a human being, it is one’s own responsibility to understand and differentiate between right and wrong.
…But…as parents…we too are also at fault.
It disgusts me to call myself as a parent that I let my own son spiral down to such a level to cause such an incident to make us realize his emotional pleas. If we really listened and saw Keiichi, if we hadn’t put so much pressure on him, Keiichi would never have made such an sub-conscious call for help in such a terrible manner.
So, that incident was not all Keiichi’s fault. …Everyone in the Maebara family was at fault.
…I wanted to tell Keiichi this, but Keiichi is still much too young and still hot-blooded to understand this now.
…Right now, Keiichi is at home with the guilt of what he had done crushing him. He seemingly has lost the will to live.
His mother, my wife, is also the same. …She is at home blaming herself for putting so much pressure on our son; how she only focused on his good grades and nothing else; which lead our son to cause such an incident.
…And me. I blame myself for my disinterest in my parental duties. The forfeiture of looking after my own son triggered this incident.
The crucifixion cross will forever linger on our backs even though the injured child accepted our apologies and was released from the hospital. And the coldness of society will mock at us to crush ourselves to death with our sins.
…But we continue to live. We acknowledge our sins, we carry the burden on our backs…and we continue to live.
Perhaps we can start a new life here in this village. …I sincerely began to think that way as I was watching the two girls play.
The types of friends that Keiichi needs are children like them. …I’m sure that children in this village will definitely teach Keiichi something that he has never been taught by the children whose main discussions were about cram schools and preliminary exam results.
Then, I realized that the two girls were playing near a sign post that didn’t fit in to such an open field like this. The sign read “lot for sale” and it advertised the real-estate agency that had just brought me here for a tour.
…Then…this means that…if we desire to do so, we could live in a such a beautiful scenery such as this place.
The girls then came up to me as if they had read my mind and said,
Rika: “….This is a wonderful village. There are things here that cannot be found in a big city.”
Ichirou: “Yes, that maybe right. I have a feeling that there are too.”
Rika: “…But you too will be able to bring something beneficial to the village.”
Ichirou: “I don’t know…Do you think…we have such a thing?”
Hanyu: “Yes, you do. Auau.”
Rika: “….We have lived in this village for several hundred years. And no one has come, and nothing has occurred. …That’s why nothing drastic happens, and nothing can be changed.”
Ichirou: “But isn’t having no change the best part of the village?”
Rika: “…But you came here to this village to seek change…right?”
Ichirou: “Yes, …you have a point there.”
Rika: “…And we too are eager to welcome the new people into our world. In our perspective, it is like blasting open the dike that keeps the stale water in the marsh from draining. Water purifies because it streams. A lake that has no streams leading in or out of it is just a dank marsh.
Hanyu: “Yes it’s true that this place was called a village with a ‘fuchi’ (marsh) up until recently as the Meiji era. …But, that name changed into the village as we know today – Hinamizawa. …Waters in the ‘fuchi’ (as in Oniga) becomes stale because they don’t flow. But waters in ‘sawa’ (or ‘zawa’ of Hinami[i]zawa, sawa/zawa = stream) doesn’t go stale.
Rika (Frederica-mode): “….Chuckle. And besides, you guys are gonna teach us that a dike can be, no, must be, blasted open.”
I wonder if the girls are playing riddles with me. I couldn’t understand a tiny bit of what they were saying.
But, I did understand…that these girls were eagerly waiting for a newcomer into their village, and that they wanted to build a new future for the village along with the newcomers.
I once again took a good look at the ad sign behind them, to remember this exact spot.
…My heart was already set.
Rika: “…We’ll be anxiously waiting for your family to move here. ….Maebara.”
Uncle Hiroshi: “Ahhh~!!! There you are!! Sir~~!! You shouldn’t wander off to such a far away place like this--!!”
The daydream like moment came to a sudden end as I heard the raspy voice from the distance. …It was the real-estate agent. He must’ve been looking all over for me because I hadn’t returned back in time.
Ichirou: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry…! I got kinda lost on the way…”
I apologize to the agent as I scratched my head.
…I look back to take one more glimpse of this girls…but they were nowhere to be seen….
[Pre-requisite: Putting away the teacups from the room]
[Pre-requisite: Maebara Ichirou’s tour of Hinamizawa]
Keiichi: “…This….this is the school? Dang, I guess this really is a rural area.”
Ichirou: “Keiichi, you shouldn’t say such things. This is the beloved school for people living here.”
That was my first impression of Hinamizawa’s school. Besides, how can anyone think of this place as a school? There’s even a sign there that reads Hinamizawa Forestry Preserve.
Principal: “Wahahahaha! Well, you got me there, kiddo! We are actually borrowing this building from the forestry preserve!”
The man who introduced himself as the principal guffawed.
Chie: “Even though it doesn’t look like one, it really is a school. However, the school life here is going to be very different from what you attended previously. So, are you ready for it, Maebara-kun?”
Keiichi: “Huh…oh yes, of course!”
I’ve heard the rumors that the school life here is like a constant battle royale in which all the students who attend here are placed into one classroom. …I guess the rumors were true. From what I gathered, most of my classmates would be children younger than me, so it kinda feels like I’m going back to kindergarten again. But what the hey, that’s what interested me the most. …Beats going to a school with monotonous classmates who all look the same! This is gonna be fun!
Chie: “Maebara-kun, when you transfer here, you’re going to be the eldest boy in the school. Hence, not only will you have to keep up with your studies, you’re also going to have the responsibility to be an example for the rest of the students as well. Especially since younger students tends to be heavily influenced by the actions of older students. I will caution you when you go to far, but I want you to always be aware to not be a bad influence to the younger kids, okay?”
Keiichi: “Oh, of course. I will do my best.”
Ichirou: “Keiichi. Studying is not just reading textbooks all day. You’re gonna have to set an example to the rest of the children as an older classmate.”
Keiichi: “I know, I know…!”
After that, Chie-sensei showed me around the empty classroom and told me which one was going to be my desk. …Since we are in the stages of growing up really fast, there were bunch of desks big and small. Yet the desk total was still only around 30. But, I can already tell that this place is going to be filled with excitement with totally different age groups and sexes all jumbled up into one classroom.
The walls were covered with calligraphy and art lessons from different grade levels. Just by looking at them, I can see this classroom is always full of joy and fun…in sharp contrast to the previous schools that I attended. …It reminded me of the days when I actually enjoyed going to school.
Keiichi: “Dad, I love it. I’d rather go to this school than going to that other school in the town.”
Ichirou: “My son loves this place too. Well to tell you the truth, I actually wanted him to attend this one as well.”
Chie: “Are you sure? …But the school in Okinomiya has much more resources and better teachers…”
Despite what she just said, I could tell that Chie-sensei was delighted that she would be able to welcome in a new transfer student into this school.
My dad went into the faculty room with the principal and Chie-sensei to file some paperwork for my transfer. In the meanwhile, I decided to walk around the classroom and to look at the things plastered on the wall.
…To tell you the truth, I really wasn’t interested in moving in the first place.
I was on the verge of giving up on life for the stupid shit that I did. I practically had no will to live, and I spent my days curled up inside my bed.
So when my parents told that we were moving, I was initially unenthusiastic because it seemed like I was running away from what I’ve did…
But as soon as we moved here, my thoughts changed. I became optimistic to start a new life here from zero. …I made the decision to reconstruct my life in the way that I always wanted to live my life.
With Hinamizawa and this school, it’ll be possible. I’m never going to put myself down into such sorry state that I was then. I’m not going to be an obtuse asshole that I was back then, who childishly thought that being smart and getting good grades was all that mattered in the world. I can safely say that this school will be able to teach me all the important things of what school life should be about; this school will re-educate me on the aspects that I had thrown out the window before.
What I’m saying are probably embarrassing to say out of my own mouth. But these things are the most important lessons a person can get. …Without them, one will not be able to mature into a healthy-minded adult.
These things are probably just the norm for the kids that go to this school. …But for me, I’ve gotta re-learn everything from the start.
How to….make friends.
Play. And through playing activities, one learns the vital lessons of life such as opening and ways of socializing with others, etc. etc.
It probably looks easy, doesn’t it? …But I can tell that I’m going to take a bit of time in order to learn these things. It’s my own fault that I pushed these things aside to blindly focus on weightless studying.
….I’m not saying studying itself is not important. But overstudying is. People that say studying and grades are the most important thing for a child, they are completely wrong and it is just plain idiotic.
….I can start from scratch with this school.
I can finally become the Maebara Keiichi that I always wanted to become.
I saw two girls peeking through the window from the school ground.
This school ground is like a playground for the local children. There were some kids playing there a while ago. …Perhaps these two became interested in me walking around in their classroom or something.
…Well duh. To them, I’m still a stranger.
I’m gonna start seeing them from next Monday so…maybe I should say hello?
Rika: “….You’ve finally moved here. I was getting tired of waiting for you.”
Hanyu: “Auauau. But because of this, it’s going to change once again. ….That’s because Keiichi is the six of the dice.”
Rika: “…He certainly is, but the dice that Keiichi rolls himself frequently comes up with a one too.”
Hanyu: “Auauauau…, but those aren’t Keiichi’s fault.”
Rika: “…Yep, it’s all Hanyu’s fault. All your fault. Here, go and apologize to Keiichi.”
Keiichi: “Huh? …You guys know my name?”
I thought that they said my name. …Nah, it’s probably just my imagination. It’s my first time seeing them.
Rika: “…Nipa~☆. Are you a transfer student?”
Keiichi: “Huh? Oh…Yeah! Hey, wassup! My name is Maebara Keiichi. I’m gonna be coming here starting next Monday. Take good care of me, will ya!”
Hanyu: “Auauau☆ Of course, we’ll be the bestest of friends.”
Rika: “…Keiichi, the priestess of the Furude Shrine has a vision for you. You’d better becareful when you open the door to the classroom on your first day of school because it is cursed. And, there’s also gonna be a thumbtack stuck onto your chair, so watch your back. Oh, and there will also be a plastic frog inside your table too.”
Rika: “…Sigh, but Keiichi will always fall for them no matter how many times I caution him. Pity pity, your Monday is going to be in pity…”
Rika: “Chuckle chuckle. Oh well, I guess that’s why it makes it fun. But still, I would like to see a world where you can smash through that little fate. Will you? Chuckle chuckle chuckle. You’re gonna teach us how to do that, you know? Like the time you did in that one world out of all the hopeless ones.”
Keiichi: “Huh? ……………??????”
The prophecy that the two made that day will come true the next Monday due to the fangy and bratty little prankster who uses honorifics in the wrong way.
…Of course, I realize this too late.
But still, I fell in love with this place.
My name is Maebara Keiichi.
It’s a fresh new start for me, but I’m gonna relive my life to the fullest this time around!
I’ve gotta a lot of re-learning to do on all the things that I’ve missed out. But I’m gonna assimilate everything I can.
And I’m gonna be the Maebara Keiichi that I always wanted to be.
…It might take a bit of time to learn all of that.
But I’m gonna make it happen!
[Takano Miyo's revenge is required]
[Maebara Keiichi's transfer is required]
...............With this, are all the game pieces now lined up at 1983, I wonder? Just lining up the game pieces at June 1983... we really had to go through a long and tiring trip, didn't we?
But with this, we're finally at the start line. Starting from here, we begin from zero.
......But... now that we have seen all these different pieces,
we can understand just how much thoughts and beliefs are gathering at June 1983.
In the past, I have said that the thoughts of people who aren't related to me are completely useless.... But that was totally untrue.
In order for Furude Rika to..... overcome the fate of June 1983, she will need to make every effort that she's capable of making.
There were two efforts that she made.
First, her contact with the Irie Institution, who is the most capable of protecting her from the disaster that is to befall upon her.
...Ironically, the Takano from that Irie Institution is aiming for my life, but... for Rika at this point, this is the best move.
And the other one... is for making Maebara Keiichi's whole family move to Hinamizawa.
The truth is, Maebara family's move to Hinamizawa is not absolute.
......Maebara's decision to move first came from that lot for sale tour day after meeting us and feeling deep emotions about it.
That's why, it was a neccesity for us to play at that empty field, and also an important key for Maebara family's move.
Can you imagine just how long it took for us to realize that?
Turning various conditions on and off over and over again, we finally realized that our meeting with Keiichi's father at that empty field was the key.
Maebara Keiichi is... the important key to breaking one of the chains that binds me, Rule Z.
The new fresh wind of power that has the ability to smash the old traditions and immoral habits of this village that tends to interpret everything in a twisted way.
He has created many chances......and provided me with an important key by letting me know that a strong will and the will to believe is important in standing up against a powerful fate.
...But, I wasn't the only one who wished for him.
It was also something that the people of Sonozaki family, who wanted to wipe out the immoral habits of this village, wished for.
Sonozaki Mion's heart pained at seeing the unreasonable angers from the villagers directed towards the Houjou family, at Satoko and Satoshi, and has sworn that she would at least try to protect them herself.
And on the night that Houjou Satoshi disappeared, she exploded on Sonozaki Oryou, and delivered her strong thoughts.
That thought... has reached Sonozaki Oryou.
Oryou has noticed the village's immoral habits somewhat herself, and wanted something to be done about it.
But she regretted for not having that power...... and entrusted the task to a new wind from outside instead.
That's why the land that the Maebara family will be moving into was put up for sale.
Even if I danced in that empty field, if Oryou hadn't put that lot up for sale, then Keiichi wouldn't have been able to come.
Also, Ryuugu Rena, who has provided various important clues to Maebara Keiichi, was hurt deeply from her parent's divorce, even reaching terminal condition once, yet was saved by returning to Hinamizawa.
Maebara Keiichi's prayer of wanting to reset everything that happened at the place he previously lived at, and restart everything anew was the same thing that Ryuugu Rena prayed for one year ago.
It's because Rena's like that... that she's able to understand Keiichi so well, I think.
And that, gave birth to a miracle... allowing someone from within a particular world piece to recognize events from another piece.
.........If we can make use of the things that we have learned from the other pieces, then nobody would make mistakes.
The game pieces will show their best moves, and the chance of winning against this game of June 1983 would skyrocket.
In other words, without realizing it herself, Ryuugu Rena is playing a very important role among the game pieces on this game board.
The powerful Rule Z that surrounded the Houjou siblings were eventually smashed beautifully by their great actions. (note: Minagoroshi-hen)
Of course, Sakoto overcoming herself from within was also a big help.
It was because both sides extended their hands that they were able to reach each other.
And it was Keiichi and Rena who taught us that.
...Mion was the one who made it possible for them to move here and become familiar with the village.
That's not all. Irie is also an important game piece that carries significant thoughts and functions.
Feeling empathy for Satoko, he also carries the biggest influence within the game board called Hinamizawa Syndrome, and is the biggest existence poised to smash Rule X.
Keiichi and Rena's determination and awakening simply taught us that it's possible to fight against Rule X, but does not break it.
To break through it in a true sense, the existence of Irie, who holds a strong will for the treatment of Hinamizawa Syndrome, is required.
I didn't know that Irie had this much thought and beliefs within him either.
I have always thought of him as nothing more than a silly person, but...... he was actually such a powerful game piece.
If all these powers gathered...... will we be able to win against Takano's thoughts and beliefs?
......We have seen Takano's thoughts too.
They are powerful to a point of being tragic... it will not be easy to break through them.
No matter how much we fight, it's obvious that the fate of June 1983 will not be shaken easily.
Since it contains so much more thoughts and beliefs then what I had managed to gather.
......I, who had given up on fighting and chose to live on lazily, and she, who has always risked her life to fight on, the weight of our game piece is different.
......Sulking and getting drunk with wines as an escape, just how light of a game piece was I?
...............With only these... it's still not enough to win against Takano.
In order to win, I have to gather more game pieces.
Oishi from the police has also shown us the possibility of becoming a powerful ally. (note: Minagoroshi-hen)
...However, there's still a big misunderstanding where Oishi believes the death of his admired friend was done by the hands of Sonozaki family. As long as that is not resolved, he won't become an ally.
...Although I don't know what I have to do to resolve that misunderstanding.........I can only believe that it will be resolved, and continue to throw the dice.
And then...... just like how Keiichi, Rena, and the others became a chance to change fate... Doesn't Akasaka also have the power to provide that chance?
The curse of 1983 is also the curse of Hinamizawa.
......A curse cannot be resolved with only powers from within. A power from outside is also required.
Our hands won't reach unless both sides extend them, just like what happend with Satoko.
But there hasn't been once where Akasaka remembered us and came to our help.
......Even if he did, it was always too late.... Too slow. Just too slow.
Even then, if I believe in him and continue throwing the dice...... Will a game piece named Akasaka appear on the game board as an ally one day?
The final Rule Y are the evil masterminds who's playing Takano like a pawn.
...To break through that, a powerful, powerful game piece is needed.... A game piece with that much power is... probably none other than Akasaka, who works at the police headquarters in Tokyo.
......There should still be more pieces who would lend their strengths.
Without having them all...... we can't win against that Takano.
The preparation of the game board is complete. But there's not enough pieces.
...Everything is still starting just now.
[The game board's preparation is required]
This piece is the only one that's really twisted.
Because this something from before June 1983.
So whether this piece exists or not has no effect whatsoever for our fight on the game board.
...But, it is really a useless piece with no effect at all?
By now, the true identity of Rule Y has been completely exposed.
With the power of a great organization, it has the power to easily swallow up a small solidarity of individuals.
Against this unreasonable power, I almost gave up on this game time and again.
That's why... I thought...... that maybe there's a game piece hidden within this world piece, who is capable of standing up against even such a strong enemy.
Akasaka Mamoru works at the police headquarters in Tokyo... and has the power to stand up against a big conspiracy.
That power will be enough, even against Rule Y as an enemy, it will be enough for sure.
Just like how Maebara smashed Rule Z so cleanly, won't he also smash Rule Y for us cleanly as well?
......We need everyone's strength. Akasaka's strength is definitely needed as well....
[The game board's preparation is required]
In order for Maebara Keiichi to grow into a game piece that will lead everyone... this is the painful, pitiful, sad piece that he must learn first.
To learn his comrades, and to learn not to doubt.
He doesn't know yet of the weight of the words "trust your comrades".
Developing paranoia from a slight mistrust, Maebara Keiichi became trapped within Rule X.
Leaving behind a sad will, at the end of Rule X, Keiichi dies.
Although that is a very sad thing......... It's an imporant process for learning something important.
You didn't have to apologize after all.
In the few days that he had to leave Hinamizawa for a relative's funeral.
...It's tragic that he had an outbreak during that period, but I think it was something that he needed as the first step towards learning what's important.
As the very first step of smoking out Rule X, and eventually, to defeat it.
Back when we only had this piece, we didn't even think about these kind of things though.......
[Onikakushi-hen's piece is required]
This piece meant something very important to us.
Because it has shown us, for the very first time, that it was possible to poke a hole within June of 1983, which I had given up on as an inevitable fate.
To start from the conclusion, everything was taken in by Rule Y in the end, and the whole thing went to waste.
But, we challanged the great law that governed this game board, Rule X, head on... and proved that we could defeat it by making good use of the knowledges we have learned from the other pieces up to this point.
By learning, we can grow.
In a game with no hopes of winning, we can discover a slight chance of victory.
This was the piece which has taught us that....
With this piece, Rule X was completely shattered.
Maebara Keiichi and the others will no longer be lead astray by something pathetic like the Hinamizawa Syndrome, and dance in a tragedy anymore....
It has also taught us that a Rule is not an invincible existence, but something that can be defeated.
In other words, it has also given those of us who are outside the game board a sense of hope.
...This is an important piece which became the cue for everything, as well as the game's turning point....
[The preparation of the Game is required.]
Whatever happens within this Game, one speculates it as a curse or concludes that the Sonozaki Family are pulling the strings because of this fragment.
Or, if I were to reiterate this in my words, it is the fragment that makes one aware of the presence of Rule Z, I guess.
It is difficult to realize this through this fragment however. …By observing Sonozaki Mion, who is confined by Rule X, as she is mistakenly ridiculed by Rule Y, which allows one to be aware of the existence of Rule Z through this complex fragment.
But, it is an important fragment as it shows all the rules governing the Game.
…Come to think of it, the piece Sonozaki Shion also, from the Game’s point of view, might be considered a foreign piece.
While in the beginning she is apathetic to Hojou Satoko, …through this fragment and another fragment, she learns an important lesson, challenging Rule X, and develops into a powerful piece to combat Rule Z.
In any case this fragment is laughable, ……as it hides that fact with exceptionally slyness, by just glancing at it, one cannot see this.
Learn, Learn from the mistakes.
And then please become a powerful piece lending me your strength to defeat our enemy…
[The Watanagashi fragment is required.]
This fragment is where Sonozaki Shion goes mad taken by Rule X.
With no room for sympathy, this is a painful fragment where one can only have pity.
…But no doubt it distinctly identifies the keyhole to the pad lock destined as Rule Z.
That keyhole will eventually be pried opened by Maebara Keiichi who becomes the Key.
Then, just as Sonozaki Mion wished for, …he will cleanse this shrouded air that has starched the village.
This fragment also is an important session where one is to learn from.
Sonozaki Shion learns from this fragment, and hereafter, becomes a strong ally of Hojou Satoko.
……Come to think of it, Hojou Satoko could be a piece that represents Rule Z in its entirety.
If she is not saved, Rule Z will not be broken.
By saving her, it exhibits that Rule Z has been broken.
What this fragment demonstrates, is that alone.
What Sonozaki Shion learned by gambling her life, is that alone.
But, this is something very important, now that I think of it.
Every time I see Satoko and Shion joking about pumpkins, you see.
[The preparation of the Game is required]
This fragment shows us the existence of the unreasonable Rule Z surrounding Satoko, and reveals the most powerful adversary governing the game board, Rule Y.
With this, can one see the outlines of Rules X, Y, and Z?
The enemy we need to fight; What we need to learn; The assembly of all of that, is what the fragment reveals.
At this point, the existence of Rule Y is not distinguishable.
…At the very best, one is wrapped up combating Rule Z surrounding Satoko.
But, in this fragment, we were mistaken in our approach to fight it.
The outcome gained from our erroneous way could only result in being flawed.
……That is what Maebara Keiichi gains from his experience, and learns from it.
The power to defeat this tragedy, isn’t another tragedy.
The power to defeat this carnage, isn’t also gained from carnage.
If he can learn from that, ……the pieces on top of this game board will learn the true way to fight.
But, ……Takano is overwhelming powerful.
The severe end that waits at the finale of this fragment ……does not even allow one to learn that easily…
[Pre-requisite: Tatarigoroshi-hen's piece]
This is the piece that uncovers the evasive Rule Y that has been pulling the strings on everything from the beginning of this game.
However, while that Rule must've left a stronger impression, one must not forget that this piece also showed the path to smash Rule Z completely to smithereens.
Rule Z was the foremost tragic of all of Furude Rika's fate and she had once completely given up when this came along. But, she learned that with the help of Maebara Keiichi's own enlightenment, this Rule was nothing more than child's play.
They realized the correct way to fight it, and fought within the boundaries of the rules of the game.
The prize that was won from this...was indeed a valuable one for ourselves.
And Maebara Keiichi also taught an important lesson; that we must not subject ourselves into any fate. The will to believe can smash through anything.
...The fate that has always subjected me is created by Takano Miyo's strong will and her blind beliefs. ...Hence, what he said is absolutely correct.
In order to win against such a strong will as hers, we need to have a stronger will than her in order to not lose against her. The only way to go up against a strong will is with a stronger will.
We fought and won against Rule Z and went up against Rule Y, ...but we still didn't have all the pieces yet. Each of the individual pieces gave their best, but the strength of our enemies' pieces lead by Takano Miya were just too overwhelming. She didn't even gave us mercy; she squished us like little ants and made us restart this game from the start all over again.
But...yes we may have lost that time, but we did not give up our resolve in our hearts. That's because...we've finally found the true culprit that we were always after, and we finally found the clue how to fight against her.
But, we still cannot win with the amount of pieces we have on ourside. We still have a little more pieces to collect to strengthen our resolve and the will to believe.
So me and Hanyu will do this over and over again. We will keep continuing to roll our dice, to land with the greatest result, collect valuable pieces, and keep on fighting. ...So that in the end, we will have accrued a stronger will against Takano's own will.
You too must've thought several times to give up didn't you...?
But, you believed in me and followed me along through all of this.
We're almost there...let's get it on.
Let's create the final piece together.
That piece will be the greatest piece, so we won't need anymore. ...So it's going to be the last one.
So, let's get going shall we? Let's collect all the miracles.
Put your hopes, desires, and dreams onto me...
[Pre-requisite: The seven chapter pieces)
After collecting the miracles from the seven pieces...I am finally able to lay my hands onto this piece.
...This piece holds the final fate that awaits us.
But...I want you to wait a minute before taking a peek inside this piece.
The fate inside will be decided the moment we take a look inside this piece.
...Did I ever tell you about the story about the cat in the box? (http://forums.animesuki.com/showpost.php?p=681487&postcount=15)
It's the one about the cat inside the box was alive or dead. ...The answer is just to open the box and see, but you don't know that until you do so.
It could be alive, or it could be dead.
So in a way, the state in which the cat is alive and it is dead co-exist right up until the moment you open the box. And, when the truth is revealed...poof! The incorrect answer disappears.
...The answer that lies within this piece is exactly the same. The future that we desire co-exists with the future that Takano desires. Right now, they are constantly trying to negate each other's future. And as soon as we take a look inside it, one of the future will disappear forever.
If...we believe that we have collected enough pieces...we can go ahead and take a look inside this piece.
We've collected the same pieces that we've done before on this game board. And the result of still ended with Takano pawning us. This was proven and shown in the Minagoroshi-hen piece.
That means...we still need one more piece to use to our advantage. A piece that is so strong, it will help us blast away Rule Y from our fate.
...So, until I get ahold of that piece, ...I'm am still scared to take a peek into this piece.
But, how do I get ahold of such a piece like that? It's a piece that I've never gotten ahold of yet?
...In order to grasp that...I need one more.
Just one more miracle to make that happen...
[Do you need one more miracle?]
…Hmm? What’s this…?
I’ve never noticed such a small piece like this before. Some pieces have their own cracks which breakdown into fragments. …Just like how the fate that we sincerely believe their own cracks.
A fate whose fragments are lost…is a totally different fate in itself. …Then I wonder which piece does this fate originally belong to?
I picked up this sliver of a piece…and tried to match it with some of the other pieces that I’ve picked up along the way.
…And I kept on trying to fit it together..until I came down to the Himatsubushi-hen piece.
The shape of this piece was twisted from the beginning. I began to match that sliver with this piece and….see? It matches. …I wonder what a different fate awaits in this world with this sliver of a pieceintact? What kind of miracle would occur in this world…?
The world began to spiral. …I guess a fault line was created in this world because I re-attached a broken piece onto it. …But that doesn’t mean I can take a peek inside this world…
This world is set in the year 1985. …It’s set in a time beyond the story where Furude Rika and her friends have died on June of 1983.
Beep! Za-za! The order to move came through the headset.
“All teams, the chief has a message for all of you. Listen up!”
“All right everyone! The local police has given us 15 minutes to wrap this up. Let every second count!! Don’t let a single person escape!! The main target is that one diplomat. Don’t let him suspect you’re a cop! Just grab him and go! But becareful not to lay a single bruise on him! It’ll lead to diplomatic troubles if we do!!”
“He’s a dirt bag who hides under diplomatic immunity to deal with the local yakuzas. He launders money from drug dealing and forces people into the sex-slave trade by means to pay off high interest debts. The embassy over there gave us the report that some of their victims are younger than teenagers.”
“…What a shit bag.”
Usually these types are cases are handled by the department that handles criminal organizations. …But since this case included a foreign diplomat, this whole thing became much more difficult to handle.
Diplomats have a thing called diplomatic immunity in which it prevents us from arresting them. …But that diplomat is an important figure in this scheme and there is no doubt that he is the middle man between the illegal activities conducted by the foreign criminal organization and the Japanese yakuza. We cannot let him escape.
He’ll probably be sent out of Japan, but that doesn’t solve anything. We’ve asked the embassy he works for numerous of time, but with no avail. Hence, this case was put on a standstill…
But then, we’ve gained intel that they are going to be selling our SDF’s classified radar and missile technology secrets. The Public Safety Division set the move on the premise to protect classified government data.
…And today was the day that this operation was set to go…
“Two men from the front. Two from the underground entrance. Four from the back. All suspects believed to be armed!”
“Two more than usual”
“Don’t worry, it’ll only take two seconds more for that man. …He shows no mercy to these things.”
“You got that Akasaka!? You’re gonna be the lead man. Watch your back! Alright, let’s move!”
“…This is Akasaka, copy. Let’s go.”
A man suddenly appeared from the darkness of the mean streets. …It was Akasaka. But he doesn’t have the naiveness that he showed when he first met Rika.
…Akasaka came down to the underground entrance to the club. A bouncer with a thick foreign accent stopped him from entering.
“Dis, need membership. Dude, you have membership card?”
Akasaka whipped out the membership card. …It’s a card that’s very difficult to forge, so they were only able to get one. So, they gave that card to Akasaka since he’s the lead man.
The bouncer stepped aside once he saw the membership card and allowed Akasaka to go down the steps.
“…Akasaka-san has cleared the first bouncer. He’s now walking downstairs…!”
The underground entrance was extremely lavish like the ones you see for those high-class clubs. The cocktail lights shined like venom, as if it was foretelling that this is the entrance to the poisonous cave.
“…Hello sir. May I see your membership card?”
One of the guards to the entrance took his card and swiped it through the reader on the wall.
Error. …A slight perspiration is seen on Akasaka’s forehead.
…But the guard tried two or three times over and over again thinking he made a mistake in swiping the card.
“…Akasaka seems to have hit a snag…”
“Shit, don’t tell me they made a change to the system…?!”
“…If Akasaka gets into trouble, we’re gonna have to change the plan. Get ready to secure the safety of Akasaka…”
The other guard began to get irritated. He started to move his right hand into the inner pocket of his jacket…mostly likely reaching for his concealed gun…
The buzzer suddenly rang a delightful tone, and the reader flashed a green lamp. It was immediately followed with a loud sound of the lock opening the entrance door.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting. Here you go sir.”
The other guard subsequently laid his right arm down and opened the door. A well dressed guard then came up to the door and began apologizing to Akasaka as he welcomed him in.
…Akasaka cleared the obstacle.
This signaled all the teams that it was a go, …while at the same time Akasaka was in dangerous territory deep within enemy lines.
This door was the largest obstacle to make our ambush. It’s the state-of-the-art auto-lock system which locks itself once the door is closed. The door is made with high-end security in mind so it takes time to open it from the outside.
…Hence, someone has to get this door opened and secure this area for a few seconds in order for this raid to begin. And the chief himself selected that Akasaka was the only one who could handle such a dangerous task.
“…Akasaka clear. Entrance secured.”
”GO!! GO!! GO!!”
The building across the bar was getting a new tenant in, so there were two moving trucks parked in front of it. But this was all a disguise. One of the truck’s door opened and out came several dozen casually dressed investigators!! The same thing was happening to the back entrance.
Several of the bouncers and the guards noticed that something was happening and began to draw their guns. However, they were immediately taken down by other investigators nearby who were posed as innocent bystanders.
Dozens of investigators quietly but calmly descended the stairs to the underground entrance. …This tight space was also a major obstacle to the plan.
This entire debacle was being recorded through their security camera. Hence either way, this ambush was going to be known in a matter of seconds. If they press the security button, the door would be locked preventing any entrance from the outside no matter what the investigators did. Therefore, it was absolutely vital to secure the entrance before it closed.
The two guards immediately sensed that something was wrong when they heard the sounds of loud but focused footsteps descending the stairs! The well-dressed guard that greeted Akasaka also sensed that something was wrong…!
The three guards shifted their attention from Akasaka to the stairs and began to make their move towards the stairs. Akasaka instinctively sensed their shift of attention. ...Akasaka silently took a small breath...and stopped his breath.
The two guards standing beside him suddenly lopped into the air...!!
Akasaka figured out where he stood alongside the two guards next to him. Hence, he didn’t even have to look where they were at with his eyes. …But still…!
His fists drove into their face with millimeter accuracy. His moves were well trained, as if they showed his resolved to never back down against evil. And his force against evil were destructive as to pierce through no matter how strong the evil’s wills were!!
He retracted his arms at the same speed as he struck...!!
His speed was so fast, word cannot express the lightening of his moves!! The man watching him directly must’ve been dazed in comprehending what had just happened.
The two guards whipped up into the air, and the man who was just standing next to him was now crouching below low. The time that seemed to have stopped suddenly began to move at crashing speed!!
The well-dressed guard literally hit the ceiling and crashed down into the ground! This man will forever try in vain as he eats through a tube in his mouth to recall whether it was Akasaka’s fists or leg that broke his jaw. It was so fast he couldn’t even remember!!
This guard rolled into the door like a human door stub. Lucky for Akasaka for now he didn’t have to worry about keeping the door open for the other investigators to rush in!
“…This is Akasaka. I’m going in.”
“W, wait!! Akasaka! You’re gonna need back up! At least wait until they come down!! Hey, Akasaka!!”
The club room was filled with loud music, but everyone seemed to have noticed the brouhaha at the entrance.
As soon as Akasaka bellowed his warning, screams filled the club.
Most of the people immediately ducked to the ground as if they were trying to proclaim their innocence from their sins. But a mob of guards reacted quickly up against Akasaka!
In the midst of this, there were a few people who were trying to make their escape through the back with several bodyguards.
Akasaka once again sucked up his breath…and chased after them with the speed of a fox!!
He jumped up onto the table smashing bottles of wine more expensive than his own monthly salary and splashing ice cubes made from the icebergs of the arctic!!
A foreign bodyguard who previous profession must’ve been a professional boxer thoughtlessly stood in front of Akasaka. His accent was too strong to comprehend, but it seems he was trying to taunt Akasaka. But, Akasaka’s didn’t pay any attention to him nor did he show any care towards him either.
The only show that this man was able to show was that he was able somehow able to block Akasaka’s move. But, blocking Akasaka’s move is just futile!! The power of Akasaka’s punches were so incredible it just broke the man’s bones in his desperate attempt to block them!!
The ex-boxer yelled out in pain as he saw his own arms twisted in a disgusting way. But he was immediately shut up as Akasaka’s left arm grinded into his ugly face!!
Akasaka is right-handed. So the ex-boxer should actually be grateful that he got away with an orbital fracture!
Another man saw this as a chance and tried to go up against Akasaka from his behind. No matter how strong a guy is, he’ll go down easily if his back is unprotected…!! If he’s focused on what in front of him, he’s surely have no attention paid to an attack from the back…!!
But that theory only holds true IF Akasaka was actually focused on the man he just defeated. …In fact, Akasaka only saw the person he just defeated more like a fly, so the theory was wrong from the start!!
Hence, Akasaka knew exactly when and what was about to happen. …The experience that he had built up to this day was recorded into his body, and he could instantly tell the timing and method when menaces to society like these would make their move from his back…!!
His move continued fluidly from the left arm that he struck against the ex-boxer.
His left arm retracted and at the same time he arced his left feet around beautifully like a piece of art as it crashed into the man approaching from the behind.
The nasty crunching sound was heard, signaling that he had just broken the nose of the man behind his back. …But Akasaka already knew that before his leg hit him!!
Akasaka continued his motion like water and directed an decisive right blow to the side of his head!!!
The man slammed into the wall and bounced back onto the ground like a rag doll.
Akasaka let out a deep breath once again.
At this moment, all the guards realized underneath the glare of the club lights that they were up against a demon!
Like hell we’re gonna go up against him! We’re getting paid to fight against humans, not against the devil himself!!
And finally the back-up arrived into the club room.
But I shouldn’t use the term “finally.”
…Besides, all of this happened in a matter of seconds!
Akasaka put down five grown men in just the span of two short breaths!!
“Put your hands above your ahead!! I won’t guarantee your life if you resist!!”
Thanks to Akasaka’s blitzkrieg, the flow of the clamor stopped immediately. The impressive first strike that Akasaka showed shattered the will of the gang leaders. They all gave up and crouched onto the floor with their hands above their head as they were just told to do so.
But, there was one man who put an ugly smug on his face.
“Hey, don’t you guys dare touch me. It’ll evolve into a diplomatic scandal if you do, you know?”
But Akasaka grabbed his collar and smacked his body onto the concrete wall.
“Hey, you—you a cop? I—I have diplomatic immunity!!! I am a diplomat!!”
“Oh really, that’s nice. What’s your salary?”
“This—this is gonna lead to a diplomatic scandal! At least…hey, let me call my embass…
Akasaka let out a dragon-like growl and delivered a powerful right blow to the wall behind the diplomat, just a few microns to the right of the diplomat’s head.
He immediately followed suit with a left blow a few microns to the left of his head. In less than two blinks of an eye, Akasaka pounded the wall with seven blows just a sliver away from his head. The wall had a huge crack which was about to topple. The diplomat was fearing for his life as he knew that one blow from him can bust his head open!
The diplomat began to piss in his pants and fell down onto the ground as he realized his diplomatic immunity status meant nothing!
“…This is Akasaka. Target, acquired.”
An investigation later would reveal that the club had a secret escape route that the Public Safety didn’t know about. They would find dozens of Soviet military-grade AK-47s from there, and if Akasaka had not secured the club with his blitzkrieg, they might’ve jeopardized the entire operation. Even worse, this operation might’ve have ended with a brutal death toll on both sides.
It was all thanks to Akasaka that this operation was put down with not a single shot fired.
“…Let’s get going. Hurry! The cops will be arriving soon. Cattle them into the stable, hurry!!”
We must take precaution so that it must look like this whole thing was not carried out by the police, due to the diplomatic nature that is involved. This operation was made to look like it was just an ordinary yakuza war.
We’re going to dump the useless gang members on a field in the middle of nowhere. Then, we’re going to make the scumbag barf everything he knows about this scheme he’s involved with before turning him over to the police.
This diplomatic pig will then probably be used as a negotiating device by another part of our department. We already have proof that the pig is tied to an underground criminal organization. And since his embassy and his government wouldn’t want such a persona non grata on their hands, they would most likely cut off any ties with him. What happens after that, is left to the jurisdiction on another part of our department. We are the guys that does the job that the normal police cannot step their feet into. We’re the janitors of the small space between the furniture known as society.
“Akasaka, are you alright?! Come in, Akasaka!!”
“…This is Akasaka. We’re on our way.”
“Sheesh, why do you have to be so rash all the time…! Come up to the chief’s office immediately once you get back in!”
“Like I’ve been saying, Akasaka-san is the devil. Five men in two seconds?!”
“…Man, his moves are beyond karate! His hands need to be registered as a deadly weapon…”
“But he’s very lucky that they didn’t draw their weapons. …You know how brutal Akasaka-san is. He could’ve been capped dozens of rounds.”
“….Hey shut up. I can hear you guys. Don’t try to make me like some kind of assassin. I’m just a man who shows no mercy against evil.”
The pigs that they’ve caught today are not you average criminals. …They were the scumbags of earth who have done things that are so inhumane that their deeds can never be forgiven. The powers that go into Akasaka’s fists are proportional to their sins. The heavier their sins, the stronger his blows are towards his enemies!
“Let get these pigs into the stable! Akasaka, hurry it up! The cops are coming!”
“…This is Akasaka. Roger. You guys heard that, right? C’mon, let’s get going.”
“Ye…yes sir! Uh command, we have five injured! Need meds ready!”
Akasaka has clearly evolved with no signs of naiveness that we’ve seen back when he was still a rookie in Hinamizawa. He has grown up to a vigilant ace within his department, and a dedicated investigator…
We see Akasaka training inside a dank dojo filled with the smells of sweat and fungus.
This dojo was a single room which was occupied in a small building in the mean streets of Tokyo. It was small and there were no signs of expensive training equipments either. By the looks of it, it was a very shoddy dojo for such a skilled person like Akasaka to go to. There weren’t many students at this dojo as well. There were only three or four people training at this dojo including Akasaka himself.
…But this was the dojo that Akasaka chose to attend.
For Akasaka, karate was his own personal weapon to defeat his enemies. …But Akasaka had other motives as well… And that other motive could not be attained by going to a dojo that taught actual physical lessons with a group of hot-headed young students. He went from dojo to dojo until he came to this old dump…
The heavy pounds and the cranks of chain that can be heard often were from Akasaka delivering his blows towards a sandbag.
…He doesn’t punch the sandbag blindly. He silences his mind, develop his thoughts deeply and…
The sounds that are made from those are more like deep, low vibrations.
Drops of sweat splash around, and the dusts in the dojo wells up into the air. One can easily tell the heaviness of that blow. It was a brilliant all-for-one type of strike.
But Akasaka was not satisfied.
He shut his eyes once again, …he set his breath straight and relaxed the tensions in his muscles as if he was hearing the cries of the cicadas he once heard…and strikes again!
He probably looks like he is taking rests between the two blows to the casual observer. …But to his fellow trainees, they can feel the monstrosity of each propelled clouts enough to send chills down their spine…
“…Dude, did you hear? They say that Akasaka-san works for the police…”
“You’re shitting me… Heck if a guy like him is in the police, I swear I’m never gonna do stupid shit to be arrested by the cops…”
“But man, …look at that focus he has! Akasaka-san doesn’t know the word of exhaustion.”
Akasaka comes to this dojo starting early in the morning on his days off. And he continues to train quietly all by himself.
The level of his training has surpassed regular strength. It was if he was training for the mind and his soul. And his fellow trainees knew that the secret to his strength was his unconditional focus that he had.
But to actually do such a method of training is easier said than done. …After all, a man lives in a world filled with personal problems and ecstatic thoughts. For a person to submit all his will into such singular focus is more like trying to attain enlightenment than the realm of martial arts.
Man has tried various methods throughout the ages to achieve such enlightenment. …And man has realized that there are many ways to attain such goal; that any man can get there so long as he focuses onto one subject and excels in that arena.
As for Akasaka, his choice was karate…
“According to a rumor that I heard…he seems to have lost a wife. And that’s the reason why he’s devoting himself to karate.”
“Oh really? I heard different. …What I heard was that he began doing karate because he felt pain and sorrow for not being able to save a young girl on one his investigations.”
“…..Hey, I can hear you guys. Stop talking about other people and focus on your own training!”
Just then, a beeping sound echoed in the dojo. It was someone’s watch notifying that it was lunch time.
“A…Akasaka-san. We’re gonna go out to buy something for lunch. Do you want something too?”
“…..Thanks. Can you go get me something? I’ll leave the decision up to you guys.”
To Akasaka, he was more delighted to have the rest of the trainees out of this dojo for a while so that he can train in the dojo quietly. The other trainees started putting on their shoes and hurriedly rushed out of the dojo to go buy lunch. The dojo became eerily quiet…
“…Damn it. My focus dissipated because of them chattering.”
But he was saying that to himself. He noted that he had much more training to do since his focus can be shifted for such a small thing like that. …He still had to train harder if he wanted to achieve enlightenment.
He tried once again to focus and delivered a strike to the sandbag, but the sound of the blow was much fainter and weaker compared to the previous ones. It was apparent that he had lost his momentum. Akasaka realized that he needed to take a rest. He took out a sports towel from his duffel bag and sat down onto the ground.
The cries of the cicadas seep into his body. The window was open, but this dojo is placed in a section of the building in which the wind doesn’t come in. But Akasaka was still able to feel a slight breeze to cool his body.
….The main reason why Akasaka started karate was exactly what the one of the trainees said. …It was Yukie’s death.
Of course his initial defeat against the conspirators who kidnapped the minister’s grandson was a reason in itself that he needed martial arts training, but the largest reason was to escape the emotional pain that came from Yukie’s death.
Yukie….died when she slipped on the stairs at the hospital while I was on an investigation at Shishibone City. The pain that came from the sadness was too overbearing…and that was when I decided to take up karate.
But…something happened on June of 1983. The Great Hinamizawa Disaster. …That’s when I realized something very important.
My Yukie’s death was…prophesized by one young girl. And in exchange for those prophecies, she also made a desperate plea for help to save her.
…Yukie’s death was an accident. No matter how much I grieve, it was something that couldn’t have been prevented.
But the little girl’s death…the death of cute little Furude Rika...was not an accident. She knew that she was going to be killed five years prior.
Right after the Great Hinamizawa Disaster, I immediately recalled the name of the Oishi, the good-hearted local police investigator who took care of me while I was there. I called him to hear what happened over there...and that’s when I found out about the bad news…
The moment I learned of everything…I fell into despair all over again.
Furude Rika might’ve been the turning point of my life. If I had believed her prophecies, and if I had accordingly, perhaps Yukie’s death might’ve been averted. I took the oath of serving the public as a police officer, yet I couldn’t catch a plea of help from a little girl. I shoved aside a conspiracy that surrounded her until it was all too late. I had FIVE YEARS to do something, but I didn’t. I…practically killed her.
Visiting Hinamizawa on the kidnapping case of the minister’s grandson was…. definitely turning point in my life.
If I had just…listened to the girl a bit more seriously…
Yukie would’ve never had died.
I would’ve been able to save Furude Rika when she needed the most help.
…These are the two greatest regrets that I have…which haunts me to this day….
The Hinamizawa Chain Murder Case that I heard from Oishi was put on indefinite hiatus because of the Great Hinamizawa Disaster. …But both of us saw that it was all too apparent that there was some huge conspiracy behind all of this.
I needed all the strength and the experience that I could get in order to unravel the mystery of this bizarre event. …That is why I have devoted myself to work and training…but it’s all too late. What happened…already happened.
When I was stuck in this dilemma, I was chosen to be the lead master of this dojo.
I can’t undo something that has already occurred. …So the only thing that I could do is to train myself diligently, so that if something similar should occur again, I would be there to save a person in need.
It was all too late. It was done.
Yukie died in an accident, and Hinamizawa was wiped off the map because of the gas disaster. …And Rika-chan was brutally murdered as her guts were torn out while she alive….
I was too immersed on the death of Yukie, I didn’t have the focus to pay attention to the plea of a little girl’s cry for help…!!
…DAMN IT!!…DAMN IT….!! SHIT…..!!!
As Akasaka was clutching the hairs on his head with the thoughts of regret, …he saw a small [Shinto] shrine overhead that protected this dojo.
While Akasaka respects religion, …he has never sought to seek salvation at times of despair. …But today, Akasaka decided to ask for help to a divine being for the first time in his life.
If I could do it, I wouldn’t pray for help. …But since I can’t, I did.
His prayer was to ask for something that was too good to occur. If his wish were to be granted, everyone in the world would want the same thing.
“…Please…give me another chance to go back to that time…! I swear…I will come to both of their aid and save them from their deaths…!!”
…But at that instant, Akasaka’s body suddenly felt light.. It was if he suddenly lost balance of his body…as if he had a sudden onset of a faint…
Perhaps it was because I suddenly let out such a strong shout that my brain lost its oxygen. …However I couldn’t get my eyes off of the shrine…
“….Thank you Akasaka. …We really needed your strong will that you showed us right now.”
….Am I hallucinating and hearing things? Perhaps my brain is really deprived of oxygen.
Akasaka was undergoing a weird experience as if he was communicating with someone he has never met before.
“No matter how much we wish for a miracle…it won’t happen unless you too wish for a miracle too. …That’s because a miracle will not happen if everyone doesn’t wish for it; just like one cannot help save the other when the other is not extending his hand…”
…I have no idea what she is saying…but I can tell it was something that I should listen carefully to. …She was trying to tell me something very important…
“…Akasaka. If you wish so strongly, …I will grant you this miracle. And it will be a miracle for us. …A small piece will combine into one larger piece. …Your single resolve…can make a huge difference in the lives of many.”
“A…Are you…saying that you are able to grant my wish to turn back time to that day…?”
“…Unfortunately, I can’t do that. …All I could do is to make you aware. …The only thing that I can do is to give you a light-bulb blink inside your head on the things that you cannot learn from just one piece. …So all that I am going to do is to return this piece to where it belongs. …And this will transform itself into one huge miracle. …Of course, you won’t be able to know that it’s a miracle in there.”
….Thank you Akasaka, for remembering me.
You have no idea how long I have asked for your help.
And my plea had finally reached you.
So I say this once last time.
…Please help me…no that’s not right…
Please help US.
...It was long. ...It really was a long journey, wasn't it?
Are you okay...? Is your conscious still alive...?
I hope we've collected everything we can to our advantage on this game board. This is everything that we have in our hands to go up against Takano on the outcome of June 1983.
...I think...yes, we do have everything we need.
And last but not least...it's you, Hanyu.
Your powers have weakened so much that the time alotted for you to be a pivotal piece is very limited...
But that doesn't mean you yourself cannot physically show up in the game.
....So, ready to begin?
I lived a hundred years for this moment...
[This is not a piece, but it's something to show you one very big difference between the rest of the chapters...]
He told us that "to believe" is the same thing is betting the coin engraved with "hope" onto the table. Hence, ..."to believe" is to shoulder risk onto yourself. When you win, you gain tremendously, but if you don't, you lose something valuable.
Just like every gambler out there, we try to bet our coins on a match that can be won. But just like any other game out there, there is no such thing as a game that can be won absolutely.
You win some, you lose some. And that how you start accruing the hope coins.
But if you start to constantly lose, you begin to become reluctant in betting. ...And that's when you realize; if you don't bet anything, you don't lose anything.
However, not betting anything is equivalent to not believing in anything. Not believing in anything, is the same as not being involved in anything. And when you're not involved in anything, that's the same as saying that you don't even exist in the first place.
Hence, she was "never here" all this time.
She has one coin left. If she loses that, she will disappear.
...All this time, she was afraid in losing that final coin, so she never placed that on the game table. She constantly was running away from the game board for the fear of placing a bet.
But just like in the game of poker, you also lose a coin when you fold. The last time, she came very close to losing that coin for folding.
And finally, ...she failed to realize one last thing. ...Well actually, I didn't know this either.
Your chances of winning...increases with the more amount of coins you have in your pocket to place bets on
So it was inevitable that we have been losing all this time. The more we feared, the more we lost.
It's exactly the same as carrying a mikoshi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoshi). It is impossible for one person to carry such a heavy thing all by himself. But once everyone helps out, that thing can be carried unbelievably simply.
There is a simple boundary that lies between it being so heavy and so light. It's the same as how a little addition to a scale can tip it from its equilibrium.
Everyone is having so much trouble trying to lift that mikoshi up in front of me. Everyone is trying their best, but they can't lift it. I'm looking at them doing their best, but I don't even try because I judge myself that I can't lift such a heavy thing either; just like I don't enter into a game because I don't think I can win it. Hence, I don't place a bet with my coin.
...But that's where I've been wrong.
Maybe, just maybe, that mikoshi might be lifted really easily if I help out.
I have submitted myself to being an observer all this time. All this time, I thought myself as being a spectator watching people placing their bets, seeing and prospecting if they were going to win or lose. And I thought wrong!! I'm not just a spectator, and I shouldn't be one. I should join in!
The game in front of me may look unwinnable. It looks as if I'm going to lose my bet anyway.
But maybe, just maybe, the odds of winning this game would turn around with me joining in and placing my bet on the table!
Betting something is equivalent to believing in something. Believing in anything, is the same as being involved in anything. And when you're involved in anything, that's the same as saying that you exist.
That's why she is "here" right now.
School bell clanging
Chie Sensei: "Alright, back to your seats everyone! It's this morning's homeroom time!! Talk time is over~. Class leader, go ahead."
Mion: "Kiri-tsu! Rei!" (Stand! Greet!)
Everyone in class: "Good morning!!"
Mion: "Chakuseki~!" (And sit~!)
rustle rustle rustle
It was morning as usual. The only thing different about today was that the homeroom started a bit later.
Chie Sensei is the type who always follows the time accordingly, and she comes into the room always at the same time. But today, she came a bit late.
The reason of her being a bit late crossed my head. It was the rumor that I heard in this classroom this morning.
Sensei turned her head toward the hallway and asked someone to come inside. And one cute little girl entered...
Chie: "Her name is Furude Hanyu, and she's a new transfer student. She'll be your new classmate starting today"
Male kids in classroom: Oh hell yeah---!!!
The classroom was immediately filled with clamors of welcomes, joy, and surprise.
Rena: "Furude? Hmm, does that mean she's related to Rika-chan?!"
Rika: "....Yes. She is a very distant relative of mine."
Satoko: "I was very surprised when I first learned that too, you know?! I never knew Rika had a relative."
Mion: "Yeah, ojisan here was surprised too! Oh well, the family tree of the gosanke is very difficult to understand, so it doesn't surprise me that I didn't know either."
Rena: "But, I can tell she's related to Rika-chan! Hau~, kaiiyo~!!"
The classroom was filled with excitement with the newcomer. I can tell this new student is a bit taken aback by the commotion surrounding her.
Rika-chan is calm and easy-going, but I can already see that Hanyu is a direct opposite of her. Let's see...she is a bit shy and similar to small cuddly animal. ...Simply said, she's exactly the type in which Rena would jump at.
...See, look at that. Rena's getting ready to gobble her up to take her home at this very instant...
Chie Sensei: "Alright, quiet everyone! Let's have Hanyu-san introduce herself to this classroom! Are you ready, Hanyu-san?"
Sensei left the teacher's stand and told her to go up front of everyone.
The class became eeriely quiet and she seemed to be a bit shy under the pressure. ...I understand her feeling that must be going through her now very well. These things tend to be a bit nervous, right?
Hanyu: "...um...auau..., ...um, my name is Furude Hanyu. ...Well, auau...I am Rika's relative...."
Rika: "....Mi~! That's right, she's my relative. Please be friendly to her."
Rika instinctively knew that she was nervous in introducing herself.
Yep, I understand the difficulty of the pressure of introducing one's self in a quiet room, so we decided to lend a hand to loosen things up a bit as well.
Rena: "She's the same Furude-san as Rika-chan~. Hau, now there are two Furude-sans in this classroom."
Satoko: "Then why don't we call her Hanyu-san instead? If we say Furude-san, then Rika might answer mistakenly, you know?"
It is our rule to call our friends and classmates with our names. Since she's one of us starting today, we should let her in on this rule.
Mion: "So it's decided! We'll call you Hanyu starting today! By the way, I'm the class leader, Sonozaki Mion! You can call me Mion-!!"
Satoko: "O-hohoho!! I'm Houjou Satoko! Nice to meet you, Hanyu-san!"
Tomita: "Um, uh! I'm Tomita Daiki! My house is the tofu store, so please feel free to drop by anytime!"
Okamura: "My, my name is Okamura Suguru! Uh...If you have anything that you need help in, feel free to ask me anything...!"
Other kids: "Hello~. Let's be friends! What year are you in?"
The other students in class began to crowd up around Hanyu and started greeting her with their introductions. It is joyous to see everyone wanting to open and welcome a new student into the class.
I too was a recent transfer student to this school. And they welcomed me with such warmth just like they are doing now. It really helped me loosen up as I was a bit nervous in meeting new classmates.
And as a student who has the most recent experience in transferring here, I must give her advice and lead her into becoming one of us!
Rena: "That's right, we should help her become assimilated into this classroom."
Kei: "Oh that's right. You transferred here too right, Rena? Were you nervous when on your first day of school too?"
Rena: "Mm-hmm. But Mii-chan helped me tremendously and I quickly became friends with everyone."
Mion: "Yep! It's part of the gosanke's duty to welcome newcomers too."
Kei: "Pfft. You become the gosanke when it's to your advantage. But, I guess there's some truth to that. It's pretty quick and easier to get to know this place with your help, Mion."
Mion: "Okay, then let's make it equal. Why not let you guys handle the new comer here then?"
Kei: "That sounds great! You helped both me and Rena when we transferred here, so now it's our turn to lead the new transfer student into this class!"
It's very interesting to see how much the atmosphere of this classroom changed with just a new transfer student. And I feel great since I've gained a new responsibility too!
We immediately decided to have Hanyu be the topic of the day during our lunch hour....
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