VOLUME 9 – THE SPIRIT OF SALVATION epilogue
Ishii silently looked at Makoto, who lay on the bed.
Makoto had been brought to the hospital by ambulance immediately after that. Her life have been saved by the surgery, but she hadn’t woken up.
– It’s my fault.
He should have been the one on that bed, but Makoto had used her own body to protect him.
He was always like this. People always protected him. He couldn’t even save a single person.
Something hot welled up within Ishii.
It was anger.
He couldn’t forgive Nanase Miyuki, who had stabbed Makoto, but more than anything, he couldn’t forgive his powerless self.
He heard a voice. Makoto’s voice.
When he looked at her, he saw that she had her eyes open, though only slightly.
’M-Makoto-san,’ said Ishii, in surprise and relief.
'Thank goodness… Ishii-san, you’re all right,’ said Makoto weakly.
Something hot stabbed Ishii in the chest.
Makoto had suffered so much, but the first thing out of her mouth was concern for Ishii. Ishii didn’t understand why.
All he understood was that there were tears coming out of his eyes.
'Why… are you crying?’
Makoto smiled, though it looked like she was in pain.
'I don’t know.’
Ishii shook his head.
Perhaps it was inappropriate, but he was just so happy. He was so happy that he could speak with Makoto like this again.
Ishii sniffled and wiped his tears with his sleeve.
'Ishii-san… are you all right?’
Makoto gripped Ishii’s hand. There wasn’t much strength behind it. He just felt her warmth enveloping him. His heart was melting –
'Makoto-san, why did you save me?’
When Ishii asked that, Makoto’s eyes narrowed. It looked like she felt awkward.
'I wonder why. I don’t know… Before I’d noticed, I was standing there…’
'Please stop it.’
'Next time, Makoto-san, I’ll save you. So please stop doing that sort of thing. I’d rather die than lose you.’
Ishii himself was surprised by the words that came out of his mouth.
He had spoken without thinking, but at the same time, he knew that those were his true feelings. That was what Makoto meant to Ishii.
Ishii looked straight at Makoto, which made her hide her face with the blanket.
'Please don’t look at me like that.’
'It’s a bit embarrassing.’
'Ah, er, um, I’m sorry.’
Ishii hurriedly bowed his head.
Ishii was the one who felt embarrassed now. He was about to leave the room, but Makoto grabbed his hand.
'Could you stay just a bit longer?’ asked Makoto, her face red.
* * *
Gotou was sitting on the bench in the waiting room when Miyagawa walked over, grumbling, 'Damn, what a mess…’
He looked exhausted – like he had aged ten years.
'It really is,’ responded Gotou with a bitter smile.
'How’s that newspaper reporter, Hijikata?’ said Miyagawa, sitting next to Gotou.
'The injury was shallower than expected, so her life isn’t in danger. Ishii is with her now.’
'Oh? That’s great.’
Miyagawa sighed in relief.
Gotou felt the same way. He had been worried for a while. He wouldn’t have been able to sleep at night if somebody became a victim in front of his eyes. And –
'How’s that brat?’ asked Miyagawa, interrupting Gotou’s thoughts.
He was probably talking about Yakumo.
'Yakumo’s life isn’t in danger either.’
'But the place where he was cut…’
'His red left eye…’
Nanase Miyuki had cut Yakumo’s left eye. They were waiting for the results, but the worst-case scenario was that he might lose his sight in that eye.
If that happened, how would Yakumo accept it?
Gotou thought about it, but he couldn’t imagine.
'So how’s the case?’ asked Gotou. There was no point thinking about what he didn’t know.
'The founder woke up. She’s being interrogated now.’
'Is that so…’
'Seems she’s confessed to killing Hiyama Kenichirou.’
Had she realised she couldn’t run any more, or had she felt regret when Hiyama Kenichirou possessed her – in either case, it seemed like the case would be solved.
'So how about that brat, Hideaki?’
'Probably going to be arrested soon for tampering with a corpse and instigating a suicide.’
Miyagawa’s explanation seemed a bit careless.
Hideaki hadn’t been trying to hurt anybody. He had just wanted to protect his sister, Yuuka. But that didn’t mean what he had done was forgivable.
'One silver lining though. Seems his sister’s woken up.’
For just a moment, Miyagawa’s expression softened.
'Yeah. Seems her condition’s stable.’
Just as Miyagawa, perhaps that was the one silver lining.
Yakumo had said that Yuuka wouldn’t wake up because she was trying to stop her brother, Hideaki, and had left her body to wander.
Now that the case was solved, her spirit had probably returned to her body.
However, the problem was what came next. Even though she had been living properly, she had been wrapped up in an unbelievable case.
She would have to live while facing reality.
'The root of this awfulness was that woman.’
– That woman. Nanase Miyuki.
Nanase Miyuki had used the founder, Minegishi Kyouka, and changed Jikoukoushinkai into a religious group.
Without her, the incident might not have occurred. And Yakumo and Makoto wouldn’t have ended up like this.
A fierce anger boiled up within Gotou –
'Right now, we’re searching for Nanase Miyuki with all our resources, but…’
Miyagawa stopped in the middle and looked up at the ceiling quietly.
We can’t catch Nanase Miyuki – that was probably what he was thinking. Gotou felt the same way.
Nanase Miyuki had slipped out of countless police nets. She wouldn’t be caught so easily. She would definitely show up again though.
– I’ll definitely catch her next time.
A strong resolve took root within Gotou.
* * *
Haruka timidly opened the hospital door.
Yakumo lay on the bed inside the quiet hospital room.
His left eye, which ad been cut by Nanase Miyuki, was bandaged. The bandage was a bit wet with blood. It looked like it hurt.
Haruka had thought that he was sleeping, but Yakumo opened his right eye and stared up at the ceiling blankly.
She called out to him.
Without moving, Yakumo murmured, 'You…’
His voice was incredibly weak.
'How’s your injury?’ asked Haruka as she walked up to the bed.
If it was only the eyelid that had been cut, the injury would probably heal quickly, but if the eyeball had been injured, he might lose his sight in that eye.
Yakumo slowly sat up, pressing his left eye through the bandage.
'I hated this left eye. Why could only I see the spirits of the dead… If all I could do was see, it would be better not to. I had thought that…’
Isshin had told Haruka in the past about an episode when Yakumo had tried to injure his red left eye himself.
He had despised his ability that much.
'And yet now it would irritate me not to see… even though I hated it so much…’
Yakumo smiled awkwardly.
Haruka understood his feelings painfully. She didn’t know Yakumo in the past, but the current Yakumo believed that his red left eye with the ability to see the spirits of the dead could save people, and he was trying to accept it.
And then it had been injured. His heart must have been filled with terrible conflict.
'To be honest, I’m afraid. If I can’t see any more…’
Yakumo looked up at the ceiling.
His narrowed right eye seemed a little wet.
'It’s fine. You don’t have to be afraid.’
Haruka enveloped Yakumo’s hand with her own.
An exasperated smile appeared on Yakumo’s face.
'Is that praise?’
'Why would I have to praise you?’
Haruka pretended to be angry, but she was a bit relieved.
The usual Yakumo had returned.
She didn’t know what was waiting for them, but she swore in her heart to be by Yakumo’s side no matter what happened.
At that time, Haruka had no reason to suspect that the next case had already begun –