Shinrei Tantei Yakumo
Volume 3 Chapter 3


file 03: grudge ()




In the morning, Haruka visited Yakumo’s secret hiding place.

She was wearing the necklace she had received from Yakumo yesterday, of course. She wanted to see how he would react.

That said, the fixture that connected the chain of the necklace she had brought home had broken, so she couldn’t wear it as it was.

She just went and switched it with a leather cord from another necklace she had at home.

She thought it matched pretty well.

Yakumo was sitting in the chair he always did with his bedhead and sleepy eyes as usual, and he said, sounding like a fizzy drink that had gone flat, ‘You again?’

It wasn’t just his words – not even his expression changed. He didn’t notice even when she tried.

’You look sleepy as usual.’

Though she felt disappointed, Haruka sat down across from Yakumo.

’I’m busy.’

’I can’t tell.’

’There’s somewhere I have to go after this.’

’Really. Even though I thought I’d keep you company since you were free.’

’It’s the opposite,’ said Yakumo in the same tone of voice, and then he slowly stood up.

So he really was heading out. Haruka was going to give up when Yakumo called out to her.

’Will you go too?’

’Go where?’

She asked that, but the truth was it didn’t matter where.

Since Yakumo had gone out of his way to invite her, of course she would go.

’The continuation of the case. There’s something I have to investigate.’

Ah, so that’s what it was –

That case wasn’t finished yet. Since she had been entrusted with the diary, she had a duty to see the case to the end.

’Of course I’ll go.’


They walked from the university to the station, took a cab and walked another fifteen minutes.

When they reached the apartment they were aiming for, Haruka was covered in enough sweat to warrant a change of clothes.

Yakumo talked the manager into unlocking the auto-lock and lending them the key to the roof of the apartment. Then, they took the elevator up to the seventh floor and took the stairs up from there to the roof.

There was no railing or fence – the edge was just a little bit taller, like it had been folded back.

Haruka stood in front of that edge and narrowed her eyes.

She had an unbroken view of the town, cutting through the mountain like a miniature garden.

When she looked at it like this, it didn’t feel like anybody lived there.

A scene with only buildings lined up inhumanly and irregularly. However, many people’s emotions existed there.

Before Sawaguchi Rika-san jumped from this rooftop, what did she feel –

With his hands in his pockets, Yakumo jumped onto the highest edge. It scared Haruka to look at him.

’Why do you think she jumped from here?’

Yakumo spoke to the air.

’Because she had decided to die...’

’Correct. That was not an impulsive decision. She had decided to die with a strong intent.’

’Why do you think that?’

’Her family lived on the fifth floor of this apartment. If it had been an impulsive decision, she would have jumped from there.’

’I see...’

’However, she didn’t do that. She purposefully went up the stairs, somehow opened the locked door to the rooftop and stood here.’

It was just as Yakumo said. In order to come here, she would have had to borrow the key from the manager. That would take a lot of effort. It didn’t feel impulsive – it felt planned.

Yakumo looked up at the sky.

Haruka looked at the sky in the same way. A clear blue sky, discrepant with the situation, spread out above them.

The clouds carried by the wind looked like waves.

’Is there some meaning to this place?’ Yakumo said, still looking up at the sky.

’Maybe it has some special memories.’

’That may be it. She might have come here in her pain to be soothed rather than to die.’

Yakumo turned his gaze to the town that spread out below them. His eyes seemed incredibly sad.

Yakumo didn’t often put his own feelings honestly into words, so his eyes did a surprising amount of talking for him.

’So you really were still here,’ said Yakumo as he turned around.

He was looking directly behind Haruka. Was someone there?

Haruka turned around, but she couldn’t see anything. She turned back to look at Yakumo for an answer.

’Sawaguchi Rika-san, yes?’ said Yakumo.

Oh, so she came here?

That was what Yakumo saw.

After a silence, Yakumo jumped off the edge and slowly started walking.

He passed by Haruka and proceeded straight forward, towards where Haruka thought Rika was.

The photo of Rika she had seen at the altar came up in Haruka’s mind.

When she was in the photo, she had been about the same age as Haruka and she had smiled really happily, showing her teeth.

Haruka couldn’t feel any shadow of death from it.

What sort of expression did she have here now?

Haruka followed Yakumo’s back with her gaze. Even though she couldn’t see her, Rika was in front of that gaze.

’Let’s put an end to this already.’

Yakumo spoke in a gentle tone, like he was speaking to a child.

’Death won’t bring release,’ Yakumo continued.

The cry of the cicada sounded frightfully loud.

Because of the heat which scorched her skin, sweat came down from her forehead and dripped from her chin to the concrete.

’Stop already!’

Yakumo’s voice drowned out the cry of the cicadas.

For a while, Yakumo stood as still as if time had stopped, but finally, he gave up and shook his head while looking down.

’It’s no use. As I thought, my voice won’t reach her.’

’What do you mean?’ asked Haruka, who couldn’t understand what he’d said.

’It looks like I really will have to have him exorcise her.’

After saying that, Yakumo took out his mobile phone.

By him, does he mean that that exorcist we met before –




Gotou visited Hata’s hospital. He was sipping tea in his usual heedless manner.

’You look really tired.’

’I don’t enjoy my work as much as you enjoy yours, old man,’ said Gotou as he handed Hata a memo.

It was the one Yakumo handed to Ishii yesterday. This should have been Ishii’s job, but he couldn’t come since he was busy elsewhere.

Honestly. Kicking the face of the chief’s daughter – there was a limit even to clumsiness.

Thanks to that, Ishii was being wrongfully doubted and was probably strictly restrained right now, even though he had gone to help Makoto.

’What is this?’ asked Hata, looking at the memo with a complex expression on his face.

’I want you to collect the items on that list. And make it fast.’

’What are you going to do once you’ve got them?’

’I want to ask that myself.’

Gotou crossed his arms as he tossed out that comment.

Hata brought his face closer to Gotou’s and looked at him with cloudy eyes, as if he were tasting him. It was creepy. Did Hata want to autopsy him?

’You should take some time off,’ said Hata, finally letting his face muscles go slack. He spoke gently, like he was looking out for his kid.

’What are you saying all of a sudden?’

’I’d thought of saying it before, but you’re not suited to being a detective. Why not take some time off and think about it?’


Not suited to being a detective, he says –

Nobody had ever told him that before, and the thought had never crossed his mind.

’It hurts to look at you. You’re rebelling against the police, an organisation you can’t win against, and you empathise with the victims of each of your cases and your anger just explodes. It’s like you’re hurting yourself.’

’I’m not that masochistic.’

’Then why are you blaming yourself? You’ll just be worn out if you keep putting the burden for everything on your shoulders even when you could just let it go.’

’Mind your own business.’

’Why are you still a detective after all that?’

Damn this perverted old man for saying the same thing as Yakumo.

Do I look like I’m suffering that much? They’re wrong. I’m not suffering. Reason being –

’I just rebel against the organisation because I find it frustrating. You say I empathise with the victims? Of course I do! If you asked me, it’d be stranger to look at them like a bystander!’

Gotou talked at length in his agitation.

He wasn’t trying to look good or anything – that was how he really felt.

Hata sighed like he was tired of Gotou. What’s with that look of pity? Gotou didn’t have the right to have people look at him with pity.

Most victims were angry at their assailants, but they couldn’t let it out. Sawaguchi Rika was a good example.

She had even taken her life because of all that she suffered.

Gotou couldn’t silently watch that. That was all.

He didn’t know why. That was just the sort of person he was.

’Well, fine. All I have to do is prepare the items written on here, correct?’

’Does it look like it’ll work out?’

’I won’t be able to do it by myself, but nothing looks like it’ll make for a wild goose chase.

’I’ll come again this evening.’

After saying that, Gotou left the room.

The previous case and the current one with Sawaguchi Rika. There had so much happening lately that he might have been lost in thought, which was unlike him.

It was the end for Gotou though if even this old geezer was worrying about him.

There was no point dwelling on it. He just had to work now.

Gotou left the hospital and got into the car he had parked in the parking lot when his mobile phone started ringing.

It was from Yakumo. There were a number of things he had to tell him, so the timing was perfect.

<How is the situation?>

Yakumo spoke without even greeting him first.

He was the one who was always complaining about how Gotou didn’t have good phone manners. Well, conversely, it would feel creepy if that guy greeted him politely.

’Yakumo, we can’t treat this lightly. Makoto was assaulted last night,’ said Gotou.

<I wasn’t treating this lightly. That was why I warned you.>

’Shut up!’

It was just as Yakumo said. He might have been the one treating the situation lightly.

He regretted not sending her all the way home.

<Is she all right?>

’She’s in hospital. It appears that her head was hit, but she’ll be fine. Seems like the perp was wearing a mask, but there was a message which said, “Don’t stick your neck in any more than this.”’

He left out how Ishii had kicked Makoto’s face. If he told Yakumo, he’d tease Ishii until he fainted. Right now, the guy was as depressed as if he had seen the end of the world.

<A police warning?>

’Yeah. And Makoto didn’t see the guy’s face, but she remembers seeing that tattoo on his arm.’

<The snake and the cross?>

’That’s right.’

Makoto had just started looking into the assault case from five years ago again. With this timing, Oori Kazushi was probably the one who had assaulted her.

It’d be great if he could just stop his roundabout investigation and arrest Oori.

<And how is the investigation I asked you to conduct?>

’Ah, I looked into the bartender called Yagi.’

Gotou took a memo from his pocket.

Gotou hadn’t had the time to investigate with the incident last night, so he asked Eriko to. She’d replied first thing in the morning.

<How was it?>

’The bartender Yagi Keita is the son of Yagi Yasushi, the former Diet member.’

’And?’ Yakumo pressed.

’Yasushi was arrested three years ago for the embezzlement of his secretary’s wages and lost his standing.’

<Ah, that case.>

Yakumo sounded like he knew about it.

Gotou hadn’t, but it seemed like it had been a pretty big deal. Eriko had also gotten the results of the investigation so quickly because she remembered Yasushi’s name.

’After he lost his standing, he ate himself out of his fortune, but Yasushi passed away two years ago due to cancer. That bar was left behind as his son’s only inheritance.’

<Is that so? And how about Oori-san’s work?>

’I’m just about to head there.’

So slow – Gotou readied himself for that complaint, but Yakumo responded differently than what he had expected.

<I understand. Gotou-san, could you put off the matter with Oori-san and meet with Makoto-san?’

She’d just needed three stitches for her head injury. She was just in the hospital for a check-up now, so meeting her should be possible.


<I see. Please come pick me up. I am at the apartment Rika-san used to live in.>

’Am I a taxi?’

<You’re something like it, aren’t you?>

This guy. How much more am I supposed to take –

The call ended before Gotou could let out his anger.




When Gotou’s car reached the front of the apartment, Yakumo got into the passenger seat.

Then, Haruka got into the back seat. She shouldn’t have had anything to do with the case, but –

’You on a date?’

Gotou made fun of Yakumo with his usual response.

’If you are going to make such boring and false assumptions, I’ll get off the car immediately.’

’My bad.’

Was he kidding? Like Gotou would let him do that. Gotou started the car before Yakumo could change his mind.

I’m glad we’re regrouping, but –

’Yakumo, what do you want to ask Makoto?’

’There’s nothing in particular that I want to ask.’

Yakumo yawned in boredom at Gotou’s question.

’You’re the one who said you wanted to see her.’

’That’s why I’m going to see her.’

’What for?’

’Because she’s in hospital.’

Gotou started grinding his teeth loudly in his irritation.

Sorry, Makoto, but Yakumo should’ve known better than anyone that they didn’t have the time to take it easy with a visit to the hospital.

’Tell me the truth.’

’Gotou-san, it’s useless. I asked him many times myself, but he won’t tell me anything.’

Haruka replied in Yakumo’s stead.

’You’ve gotten wrapped up in this too, Haruka-chan?’

’That’s right. He asked me to help out with various parts of the investigation.’

Haruka said that with a sour look, but Gotou felt like she probably didn’t really feel that way on the inside.

She was probably happy that she’d been promoted from the usual troublemaker to the assistant.

’Yakumo, you know the truth behind the case, right?’

’Right – why don’t you just tell us?’

Haruka agreed with Gotou, who wouldn’t stop pressing the issue.

’You two always come to your own conclusions right away. That’s why you always call me in for your troubles.’

’Shut up!’ said Gotou and Haruka at the same time.


The three of them went through the hospital entrance to see Ishii sitting on the sofa while cradling his head.

’What are you doing?’

’Ah, yes, er, apologising to Makoto-san...’

Ishii leapt up. His gaze darted everywhere – it seemed like he couldn’t relax.

’Did you?’

’That’s... er...’

Ishii looked at his feet and stopped talking.

Honestly. What a pathetic guy.

’Hurry up and go!’

Ishii’s shoulders shook at Gotou’s yell.

’Gotou-san, don’t yell at him – he looks so pitiful,’ Haruka interrupted.

Ishii’s forehead was covered in sweat, and he kept on fixing the position of his glasses with his finger. He really was a pathetic guy – a girl younger than him had to stand up for him.

’Ishii-san, let’s go together. We are heading to see her as well,’ said Yakumo.


Ishii finally raised his head and replied.

Honestly. It was the end for him if he needed to be saved by a university student. In any case, Gotou hit the back of Ishii’s head.

They asked the employee at the reception desk where Makoto’s room was and headed for the hospital room together.

’We’re coming in!’ said Gotou loudly while going into the room.

Yakumo followed him. The private room was about four tatami in size. When your dad was well-known, there really were differences in how you were treated for things like this.

’Ah, Detective Gotou.’

Makoto sat up on the bed.

Her head was bandaged, but she looked much better than he’d imagined she would.

’Hey. We’re just here to check up on you.’

Gotou raised his hand, pulled out a round chair from below the bed and sat down. Yakumo stood by the bed with a blank expression without sitting.

’Oh, you didn’t have to –I’ve only been hospitalised for a check-up, so I’ll be let out this evening.’

Gotou was glad it wasn’t a big deal.

’Sorry about my partner – Ishii.’

Gotou called for him, so Ishii finally came in with a completely red face. Haruka followed after him.

Gotou couldn’t tell who had been the one who was hospitalised.

’Come on, Ishii-san.’

Haruka pushed him forward, so Ishii staggered towards Makoto’s bed and bowed deeply.

’I am truly sorry.’

His voice was trembling like he would start crying at any moment.

’No, please don’t worry about it so much.’

’No, but I did something awful...’ said Ishii, his head still bowed.

Was he reflecting on his actions, or was he unable to look at Makoto’s face... Gotou couldn’t suppress the feeling that it was the latter.

’I’ll apologise too. Sorry about that.’

Gotou bowed his head as well.

’It isn’t as if Ishii-san had any ill will. Please raise your heads.’

Makoto, seeming flustered, placed a hand on Ishii’s shoulder.

’I’m no good as a detective. I planned to save you, but...’

’That’s not true at all.’

Makoto comforted Ishii, who sounded like he was going to cry.

What a pathetic scene.

’Excuse me, but since there isn’t much time, could I advance the conversation?’

Yakumo interrupted the apologies while running a hand through his hair.

’Oh, that’s right,’ Gotou said while pushing Ishii aside.

Yakumo walked forward into the now empty space.

’Actually, there is something I would like to ask you, Makoto-san.’

’Ah, yes. If I could be of any help.’

Makoto corrected her posture on the bed. Her expression was stiff, like she was going to undergo an interrogation.

’I want to ask about Asami-san, who has disappeared.’

’About Asami?’

’She was in the same year as you when you were in university, yes?’

’Yes, she was.’

’Sickness or injury, any reason is fine. Did she ever take an extended break from school?’

’She did,’ replied Makoto with a surprised expression on her face.

’When was that?’

’During our fourth year of university. Because of an illness, I couldn’t contact her for about a month.’

’So that was the case then.’

Yakumo nodded in satisfaction, but Gotou didn’t understand.

’Oi. Yakumo.’

’Please be quiet,’ Yakumo said, cutting him off. ’How was she after that?’

’That’s... Asami returned home after that. I only communicated with her through email and New Year’s cards after that and didn’t meet with her directly until we met again at the bar.’

’Was Asami-san the one who said to meet at the bar?’

’Yes. She had been relocated to Tokyo for work.’

’I see,’ murmured Yakumo.

’Does that have something to do with this case?’

Makoto urged Yakumo for an answer, but he didn’t reply.

’May I ask you one more thing?’


’The tattoo with that pattern was on the arm of the person who assaulted you, yes?’

Makoto nodded to answer Yakumo’s question.

’Yakumo. Our perp has to be Oori Kazushi. We have to go and –’

’I did say to please be quiet.’

Yakumo looked at Gotou, who had interrupted, with an incredibly annoyed expression.

He was unusually irritated. Gotou had thought Yakumo hadn’t cared much about this case, but he had been wrong.

’The tattoo was there,’ said Makoto firmly.

’Was that on the right arm or the left arm?’

’Left... I think.’

’I see.’

’Now that you mention it, Kamiyama-san asked the same thing about the tattoo just earlier.’

The moment Yakumo heard that, his cheek twitched and he looked unusually suspicious.

Why did Kamiyama come here –

’Does Kamiyama-shi know about this incident as well?’

’Yes. He kept on apologising, saying “I’m sorry” again and again.’

After Yakumo heard Makoto’s response, he sighed, seeming troubled.

That exorcist apologised to Makoto. Why? Does he have a reason to apologise –

’Gotou-san, a change of plans. Preparations are not in order yet, but let us go to the exorcism.’


Gotou’s voice cracked because what Yakumo said had been so unexpected.

He hadn’t thought he’d hear the word exorcism from Yakumo, who believed that that ghosts were clusters of the emotions of the dead.

’As well, Makoto-san, I have a request.’

’A request...?’

Makoto cocked her head.

Yakumo didn’t pay any attention to her response and whispered something into Makoto’s ear.

’Would that be possible?’

’I think it would be fine.’

Makoto replied firmly to Yakumo’s request.

For some reason, it seemed like they were in a rush all of a sudden.

’Ishii-san, please help Makoto-san.’

’Eh, ah, yes.’

Ishii gave a flustered reply.

’Now, Gotou-san, we’re going.’

We’re going, he says –

’Where to?’

’Please, there is no time to lose.’

Yakumo briskly headed for the hospital room door.

It annoyed him to be ordered around by a university student, but there was no helping it this time. Gotou responded with a ’Got it’ and followed Yakumo.

’Wait, Yakumo-kun. How about me?’

Haruka, the only one with no instructions, grabbed onto the arm of Yakumo, who had been trying to leave hurriedly.

’You can go home already.’

’Wait, Yakumo-kun.’

Yakumo ignored Haruka and left the room.

He really just did whatever he wanted.

Gotou was grumbling on the inside, but he left the hospital room after Yakumo.




Before he took off in the car, Gotou contacted Hata through his mobile phone.

Of course, at Yakumo’s instruction.

’Old man. You got the stuff on the memo?’ said Gotou once Hata picked up.

<Don’t make it sound so easy. I’ve only got one. The others will have to wait until tomorrow.>

’Can’t you hurry it up?’

<I have other work too. Don’t be so selfish. And this is all out of my jurisdiction in the first place.>

Hata was quite right.

Since Gotou had just made the request this morning, there was no way Hata would be done preparing in only a few hours.

’Says he’s only got one. What’re you going to do?’

Gotou covered the receiver and asked Yakumo beside him this question.

’What does he have prepared?’

’Old man, what do you have prepared?’

Gotou repeated Yakumo’s words.

<The light.>

It sounded like a baseball position[1].

’Says he’s got the light.’

’That’s sufficient. The rest will work out somehow or other...’

Yakumo was muttering something.

’Then what are you going to do?’

’Please tell Hata-san to bring that to Inoue Asami-san’s apartment.’

Did Yakumo plan to go there now?

Gotou didn’t know what Yakumo was doing, but he wasn’t going to grumble after coming this far. He’d go with him to the end.

’Oi, old man. I want you to bring that where I tell you to.’

<I refuse. I said this earlier – I’m busy.>

This damn old man. Gotou would go pull his head off his shoulders.

While Gotou was seething with rage, Yakumo took the mobile phone from beside him.

’Hata-san, this is Yakumo... Could I make a request? I am going to perform an exorcism now... Yes. The solution to the locked room case.’

Yakumo smirked as he talked.

’Thank you very much.’

After he said that, he threw the mobile phone back to Gotou. If he was going to interrupt, he should just talk himself in the first place, honestly.

’Gotou-san, please tell Hata-san the address.’

Yes, yes, he would be delighted to.

* * *

When Gotou arrived in front of the apartment where Asami disappeared, an old man in white was standing in front of the entrance.

He had a paper bag in his right hand.

’Hey, Yakumo-kun. It’s been a while.’

Hata looked over Yakumo with eyes full of curiosity.

It really was creepy, so Gotou wished he would stop. If he took his eyes off this old man, he might go and dissect Yakumo right then.

’Hata-san, the thing we mentioned?’

Hata showed Yakumo what was inside the paper bag. Gotou had given the memo to Hata without checking its contents, so he didn’t know what had been written.

He’d said ’light’ earlier, but if it were just a normal light, Yakumo wouldn’t have had to go out of his way to ask for it.

’This is fine, yes?’

’Yes, thank you very much. Gotou-san, what are you staring so vacantly for? We’re going.’

Honestly, using a detective like a gopher. Gotou would definitely take a swing at him once this case was over. Gotou vowed that in his heart, opened the door with the key he had borrowed and went through the entrance with Yakumo and Hata.

When he pressed the elevator, the lift was fortunately on the first floor so the door opened right away.

Yakumo got into the elevator and made a call on his mobile phone while pressing the ’Open’ button.

’Please keep it like this for a bit.’

Yakumo addressed the person on the other side of the phone.

Gotou heard the person on the other end say <What on earth is it?>. She was probably Haruka.

’Gotou-san, could you watch the time?’

After Yakumo said that, Gotou turned his eyes to the second hand of his wristwatch.


At the same time as Gotou replied, Yakumo pressed the ’9’ and then the ’Close’ buttons.

There was the sound of the winch winding up as the elevator started moving.

’The call ended. How many seconds was it?’

Yakumo spoke at around the same time as the display showed that they were on the third floor.

’Eleven seconds.’

The elevator continued going up.

They arrived at the ninth floor. Yakumo ran out the moment the door opened.

Gotou followed after him. He headed straight out of the elevator and then turned right. Another right. It wasn’t so noticeable when walking, but it was a narrow path.

’How many seconds has it been now?’

After reaching Asami’s room door, Yakumo spoke. Gotou turned his eyes to his wristwatch immediately.

’Forty-five seconds.’

’Thirty-four seconds since the call cut off then? It isn’t an impossible number.’

’What on earth are you doing?’

Hata had leisurely walked up to them.

Gotou had no idea either. He turned his gaze to Yakumo.

’This is an experiment related to the locked room disappearance phenomenon,’ said Yakumo with narrowed eyes.

’Yakumo-kun, is that really possible?’

Yakumo shook his head at Hata’s question.

’Hata-san, if you are asking whether it was a spiritual phenomenon, the answer to your question is no. If you are asking whether a person could have done it, the answer is yes. I proved it just now.’

’Y-you proved it?’

’Like I’ve said before, please do not speak so loudly next to my ear.’

Yakumo complained about the volume of Gotou’s voice again, but it would be stranger if he had heard what Yakumo said and been calm.

’Yakumo. What do you mean?’

’More importantly, Gotou-san, do you have the key to this room?’

More importantly, this guy said.

Gotou withstood the urge to stamp his feet in frustration and handed the key to Asami’s room to Yakumo.

Yakumo quickly unlocked the door and went into the room. Gotou and then Hata followed after him.

The room had been left as it was after Asami’s disappearance –

’Hey, Yakumo. It’s about time for an explanation. What on earth happened?’ said Gotou, unable to bear it.

’Have you not noticed yet?’

’I’m asking because I haven’t!’ yelled Gotou angrily.

’All the spiritual phenomena this time have been tricks.’

Yakumo put his index finger to his brow as he said that.


Was he saying that Asami’s disappearance from a locked room and the ghost he saw in this room – that all of these were tricks?

’Correct. I will prove that now. Hata-san.’

After Yakumo said that, Hata took something that looked like a torch out of the paper bag and handed it to Yakumo.

It had the shape of a fluorescent lampstand, but the fluorescent tube was a deep bluish purple instead of the white colour he usually saw.

’Gotou-san, you saw the ghost near that window, yes?’

Yakumo pointed at the glass in the window that connected to the veranda.

That’s right. That’s where. The longhaired woman covered in blood had glared at me from that window. Those eyes had been filled with a strong hatred –

After Gotou responded with a nod, Yakumo plugged the light into a nearby socket.

’Please take a good look.’

Yakumo flicked the switch for the light. A bluish purple light hit the window.

At the same time, a faint image of a woman appeared on the window.

The woman from that time –

’W-wha – this – ’

’So that’s how it was!’

Hata drowned out Gotou’s surprise with his wonder.

Did the old man understand already? Gotou didn’t understand at all.

’What is this!?’

’You really don’t know anything. This is a black light.’

Hata crossed his arms as he made fun of him.

’Black light?’

’Yes. It’s made like a fluorescent light, but it uses bluish purple glass and cuts out a fixed portion of visible light.’

Hata was speaking triumphantly, but Gotou didn’t understand what he meant.

’Explain it so I’ll understand.’

’In short, images and words drawn using special fluorescent pigments can’t normally be seen, but you can see them if you shine a black light on them,’ Hata said with a snort.

’You often see it in karaoke rooms,’ offered Yakumo as an additional explanation. When Gotou heard that, he finally understood the situation.

So the picture of the woman was drawn on the window so she showed up in the window when a black light was shone on it.

’If the paint is tinted, can’t you tell?’

’In the past, these fluorescent pigments came only in white, but recently transparent ones have been developed. It can only be seen faintly now, but when you saw this picture, Gotou-san, it was night, and the lights had been off before the woman appeared. Is that correct?’

’Yeah, that’s right.’

Gotou recalled what had happened then.

Before the woman’s ghost appeared, the lights had been off. Then, the ghost appeared and the lights came back on while he was surprised.

If he’d looked longer, he probably would have noticed that it was a picture, but there had only been a short period of time.

That was the main point of the production.

’There should be a remote control switch separate from the switch on the wall to turn on and off the lights. The voice that said “Die” should have come from a small speaker somewhere. It will be difficult to search for it now without a tool, but...’

The room itself is like a haunted mansion –

Now, Gotou had a question.

’Wait a minute. If this was all set up from before...’

An unbelievable idea was growing in Gotou’s mind.

’That’s right. The person who lives here, Asami-san, knew about it.’

Yakumo cast his eyes down slightly as he said that.

’Why didn’t Asami say anything if she knew?’

’Let’s ask the person herself,’ said Yakumo with an expression that looked sad. Did he know where she was?

Plus, the mystery of the ghost had been solved, but Asami’s disappearance from a locked room was still a mystery. Did he plan to ask her directly for that too?

Confusion and irritation – a variety of emotions were mixed up and about to burst within Gotou.




Gotou gripped the handle with a hunched back in his displeasure.

Yakumo was yawning in the passenger seat. Hata was grinning in the back.

’So how will you solve the disappearance?’

Gotou looked at Yakumo in the passenger seat.

’Have you still not noticed?’

Yakumo smirked, and Hata followed with a creepy giggle.

Somehow, the two of them looked like demons.

’You’re slow as usual,’ said Hata with shaking shoulders.

’Old man, you don’t know either, right?’

’Don’t use your head as a reference. If I know it’s a trick, it’s simple.’

Hata gave an immediate reply to Gotou’s objection.

’Do you really understand?’

’You did the experiment earlier, yes? There was more than enough time.’

Hata shook his head boastfully.

So Gotou was the only one who didn’t understand .That was irritating.

’Gotou-san, it took thirty-four seconds to reach Asami-san’s room after the call cut off.’

Maybe he pitied Gotou, because Yakumo started explaining with sleepy eyes.

’Ah, yeah about that long.’

’If the major premise is that Asami-san knew about the trick, there is one answer.’

Yakumo paused.

Gotou’s mouth felt dry, so he cleared his throat and swallowed.

’After the call cut off, she smeared her mobile phone with blood and left the room by herself.’


Gotou was so shocked he slammed the breaks. Yakumo and Hata pitched forward.

’That’s dangerous!’ shrieked Hata in objection from the back seat. The cars driving behind them honked as well.

’My bad.’

Gotou gave an honest apology and started the car, but Hata was the strange one for being so calm after hearing that just now. He should have been surprised.

’Then you’re saying she caused her own disappearance?’

Gotou asked to organise his thoughts.

’That’s right,’ Yakumo replied immediately.

’That’s stupid. Putting aside that exorcist, Ishii and Makoto were at the scene too. How would she disappear in the middle of that?’

’Gotou-san, if you say that, you have already fallen for the trick.’

’What do you mean?’

’Asami-san, who disappeared, is the victim. Then, Ishii-san and Makoto-san should have seen the scene. That preconception is the spirit behind this trick.’

’Asami’s not the victim?’

’No, she is not. Though I had not understood why she had done this up until now, I discovered that reason from what Makoto-san said earlier, though it is still my inference.’

’That so...’

’Yes. Asami-san had a goal and left the room of her own volition,’ declared Yakumo.

Just as Yakumo said, he had been thinking with the presupposition that Inoue Asami disappeared against her will.

Asami was Makoto’s friend, which may have been the reason for that preconception.

That was why the disappearance from the locked room had troubled him.

However, if she left the room on her own, there was no problem at all. Had she deceived all of them with her one-woman play? There was still something Gotou didn’t understand though.

’She could leave the room if there were thirty-four seconds, but the time from when they get off the elevator to when they saw her room should’ve been shorter. Plus, she shouldn’t have had the time to lock the door.

Yakumo spread out his hands and sighed in a melodramatic manner.

What was with his attitude? Gotou hadn’t planned on saying anything funny.

’Gotou-san, the wool has been pulled over your eyes.’


This brat is unbelievable –

’Please remember well. Immediately after getting off the elevator, did you see the door to Asami-san’s room?’

Gotou recalled the experiment he’d done with Yakumo earlier.

They couldn’t get to Asami’s room without turning twice in the corridor shaped like a right-facing bracket.

On top of that, the path was narrow, and Yakumo, who’d been running in front, had blocked his way, so he hadn’t seen much until they reached the door to the room.

’Which means...’

’That’s right. That night, the three people who headed for Asami-san’s room were Ishii-san, Makoto-san and Kamiyama-shi. In order to perform this trick, the order in which they headed for the room was also important.’

’The order...’

’Yes. The person who ran in front had two roles.’


’Correct. The first was to block the vision of the people behind him and to regulate the timing with which they would arrive.’


The guy who ran in front blocked the vision of the people behind him and made sure Asami was hidden.

If she’d left late, he could take up time by stopping or falling.

’There is one more. The role of locking the door.’

’Locking the door?’

’Just as you say Gotou-san, there was not much time to leave the room, let alone lock the door. Accordingly, trying to lock the door in a rush would be a great risk.’

’So the guy in front...’

Yakumo responded with a nod.

After fleeing from the room, Asami left the key by the door and hid herself in the emergency stairs or something.

Then, the person in front took the key, locked the door while pretending to check the doorknob and hid the key in his pocket.

After borrowing the key from the manager and entering the room, he could just leave the key casually on the table.

Now that I understand, it’s a simple trick –

’And the person who had run in front then was...’

Yakumo’s gaze turned sharp.

That was right. Ishii had said that the person who ran in front then was –




Ishii sat next to Haruka on the bench in the corridor in front of Makoto’s hospital room.

What on earth is Yakumo thinking –

Ishii wanted to know the truth behind this case that was full of puzzles too, so he didn’t mind helping out. However, he wouldn’t have minded a bit more of an explanation.

’I don’t really understand,’ said Haruka as she sat beside him, like she had read Ishii’s heart.

’Ah, yes. But Haruka-chan, it’d be better if you returned...’

’I definitely won’t!’ said Haruka, interrupting Ishii’s sentence.

’No, but...’

Haruka had been told by Yakumo to go home.

On top of that, if there was any awful trouble in the case, she would get involved in the danger. Makoto had already been assaulted.

Ishii wanted to avoid that no matter what.

’I’m not unrelated to this case.’

’Eh, is that so...’

This was the first time Ishii had heard what Haruka said.

’I promised Sawaguchi Rika-san’s father that I’d find the truth behind her death...’

’I see...’

’That’s why I can’t go home by myself partway through,’ said Haruka firmly.

She was surprisingly stubborn. Once she’d made her decision, she went with it until the end. Ishii was envious of that strength.

He tried to run away at every opportunity.

’I understand. I’ll take responsibility for you and protect you.’

’I’ll be in your care,’ replied Ishii with a puffed chest.

Haruka bowed her head with a smile.

She really is cute –

’I apologise for the wait.’

Makoto came out of the hospital room. She had finished changing.

Her head was still wrapped with bandages and there was a dark red bloodstain on the collar of the white shirt she had changed into.

’Um... are you really all right?’

’Yes. It hurts slightly, but... In any case, let’s go.’


Ishii called out to stop Makoto, who had started walking down the hallway.


’Where are you going?’

Yakumo had whispered the instructions in Makoto’s ear, so Ishii didn’t know what he was supposed to do, even though he had been asked to help.

Makoto appeared to realise and clapped her hands together, as if to say ’That’s right’.

’Yakumo-kun told me to bring my father.’

’Eh!?’ exclaimed Ishii, taken aback.

’Why would he ask for your father, Makoto-san?’

Haruka cocked her head in her puzzlement.

’Makoto-san’s father is the chief of the police.’

’Wow, that’s amazing.’

After Ishii explained, Haruka spoke in her surprise, but then she looked troubled.

’Why would he ask for the chief of the police?’

’That... is something I don’t know either,’ Makoto said nonchalantly.

In his head, Ishii was saying, ’No, no, no.’ He’d be too frightened.

’We can’t just call out the chief of the police without knowing the reason.’

Even if it was his daughter’s request, he wouldn’t come without an explanation.’

’But since Yakumo-kun said to do so, isn’t it necessary?’

’I think the same way.’

Makoto agreed with Haruka’s irresponsible words.

What were these two doing? Why were these women so reckless even though they didn’t have a plan? Haruka and Makoto didn’t pay any attention to Ishii and walked farther down the corridor.

’P-please wait.’

Ishii hurriedly ran after the two them.

He fell –




Gotou parked his car in front of Kamiyama’s office.

The last time they came, it had felt like Yakumo was being pulled along by Kamiyama. Gotou had felt it wasn’t like him.

However, it felt like there’d be some sort of match this time. If not, they wouldn’t have come all the way here.

Gotou pressed the intercom button, but there was no response. Maybe he was out –

While he thought there was no point, he tried turning the doorknob. For some reason, it wasn’t locked. He looked to Yakumo, who returned a nod.

That was right. It’d be illegal trespassing, but there was no point just standing in front of the door like this.

’We’re coming in.’

While he said that, Gotou opened the door and stepped into the room.

Yakumo and Hata followed after him. The lights were on in the room, but there was no one there. They passed the kitchen and stepped into the living room.

There were two partially drunk coffee cups on the reception table.

There had to have been somebody here just earlier.

’Kamiyama! You here?’

Gotou called out towards the room in the back, but there was no response.

Even if he had been there, he wouldn’t have just showed his face honestly.

’It seems Kamiyama-san isn’t present.’

Yakumo walked in front.

’How do you know?’

’There weren’t any shoes.’

Hata replied for Yakumo.

Gotou hadn’t noticed at all. There was nothing he could do about being made a fool of if he wasn’t attentive.

’You’re here, are you not? Inoue Asami-san.’

Yakumo spoke towards the door at the back of the living room.

’W-what!? She’s here?’

’Isn’t it natural? As you know from the trick with the locked room, Kamiyama-san and Asami-san were accomplices.’

Yakumo shook his head like he couldn’t believe Gotou as he continued.

’Furthermore, she was also the person who came to me with the name Iida Mizuho to request that I investigate a spiritual phenomenon.’

Iida Mizuho –

The other case Yakumo was investigating. That was how he’d become connected to Sawaguchi Rika.

’I looked into the university’s name register. There is nobody named Iida Mizuho. Asami-san, you pretended that it was a coincidence and involved me in this case,’ continued Yakumo.

So that’s what Haruka was investigating –

After a while, the door to the room in the back opened. A woman walked out into the living room.

She’s Inoue Asami –

It was the first time Gotou had seen her face-to-face.

Her long hair was tied in the back and she was looking down where she stood. Her face was so pale he almost doubted whether she was alive.

However, those eyes seemed to have a strong light in them.

Asami bowed politely, almost as if she had known that this had been going to be the outcome.

There was a bandage around her left arm. The blood left on the mobile phone at the scene had been real. She had cut her own arm and left her blood at the scene.

She had wanted to do something to the point of doing that.

’What sort of stupid game are you playing!?’

Gotou drew closer to Asami.

When he thought about how Makoto had run about in her worry for her, a hot anger boiled up in the bottom of his stomach.

’It isn’t a game.’

Yakumo placed a hand on Gotou’s shoulder to pacify him.

’Not a game? What is it then? Working together with that exorcist for fraud?’

’That is wrong as well.’

’Then why did she do this!?’

Gotou brushed Yakumo aside and gripped Asami by her collar.

She didn’t resist and just let him grip her collar. Her downcast eyes were still alight like a candle that could go out at any moment.

Why is she looking at me with those eyes –

’Stop it, you idiot.’

Hata grabbed Gotou’s arm from behind.

Gotou thought of tearing Hata’s arm off by force, but he restrained himself. If he shook off this delicate old man, he could very well die.

’Their goal was not fraud but revenge,’ Yakumo said quietly.

Revenge, he says –

Revenge for what? Gotou didn’t know.

Yakumo turned back to Asami and looked at her directly before starting to speak again, answering Gotou’s doubts.

’You were a victim as well. Isn’t that right, Asami-san?’

At Yakumo’s quiet words, Asami collapsed like her soul had been taken out of her. A trickle of tears went down her face as she sat on the floor.

That response proved that Yakumo’s words were correct.

’Oi. Yakumo. By victim, you don’t mean...’

’Correct. Like Sawaguchi Rika-san, she was also the victim of an assault. The assailant is the same as well. In Asami-san’s case, since she did not press charges, it didn’t come out, but...’

’How did you know?’

’Please remember what Makoto-san said earlier. In the fourth year of university, she couldn’t contact Asami-san for about one month. That was probably when it happened. To tell the truth, it was a bit of a stretch in logic, but I couldn’t think of any reason for her to cooperate in this series of events.’

After coming here, Gotou could obscurely see the outline of the case.

Asami, who had been assaulted, conspired with Kamiyama, the exorcist, and caused the spiritual phenomena. Their goal was revenge.

She must have done something so elaborate because she had been cornered psychologically and needed to make known the weight of what had been done to her –

That was why she’d used the story of the grudge of Rika, who’d also undergone an assault and killed herself because of it.

’When I heard of your disappearance, I immediately thought of the possibility that you were a conspirator. However, I did not have a clear reason. ’

Yakumo had a sour expression on his face.

Gotou finally put everything together.

They had been dragged around by a trick, but it was more important to reveal how everyone was related in order to break through this case.

’... It had been an average day. The same tomorrow as usual should have come, but...’

Asami put her two hands on the floor and talked while hanging her head.

Her voice was filled with so much sadness it was painful.

’It was so sudden I couldn’t fight back. I just had to bear it until it was over...’


Yakumo got the better of Gotou who had started to talk.

He didn’t say anything, but those eyes asked him to let her speak.

’The female detective I first met after that said this. “Why didn’t you resist? That’s the same as consent, isn’t it?” ... I’m not a policewoman. How could I have fought back against a man with a knife...’

Asami’s words were heavy on Gotou’s shoulders as a policeman.

Currently, victims of assault cases in Japan were often treated as having given consent unless they actively resisted.

But, like Asami said, how many people would fight back if their lives were in danger –

Anger which had no outlet ran through his body with his blood.

’So you didn’t press charges. No, you couldn’t press charges,’ said Yakumo, kneeling in front of Asami.

She nodded as her tears fell to the floor.

’However, since you have made revenge your goal, you have ended up bound. You understand what I am saying, yes?’ said Yakumo gently.

Asami nodded again.

’Please tell me. Where is Kamiyama-san?’


Asami raised her tearstained face.

’You might already know, but I am the real thing.’

As Yakumo said that, he took the contact lens out of his left eye.

He turned his deep red eye towards Asami.

’Though the method will be different, your goal will be attained.’

’Do you know everything?’

Asami looked right at Yakumo. He answered with a nod.

’And there is something I have to tell him. The real reason for Sawaguchi Rika-san’s death...’

’The real reason?’

’Yes. My goal is to save Rika-san and Kamiyama-san.’

’He went to the bar. The situation took a sudden turn, so he plans to use force. Please, somehow...’

Gotou didn’t know what Yakumo’s real intention was, but it seemed like it had gotten through to Asami.

’I understand.’

Yakumo stood up.

Gotou knew what was going to happen next. They were going to go. Gotou just said ’I’m sorry’ to Asami, who had fixed her posture.

Gotou himself wasn’t sure what he was sorry for, but Asami gave a silent nod.

’Hata-san, please take care of her. Now, could you see that Chief Ideuchi comes to the bar called Snake?’

Yakumo’s words made Gotou remember something important.

Ideuchi’s son is gone too. He’s not working with them too, is he –

’I don’t mind, but will he come?’

’If he doesn’t want to, please say that you know where his son is.’

’That true?’

Yakumo showed Gotou a smirk and left the office.

Gotou looked at Asami again.

However, he couldn’t say anything. He was too clumsy with words to comfort her. All he could was show it with his actions.

He got a grip on his emotions and followed Yakumo.




Gotou stood in front of the multi-tenant four-storey building that the bar was in.

The sun had started to set so the white walls of the building were dyed orange.

Yakumo, standing next to him, had a difficult expression on his face, which was unusual. He hadn’t spoken a word on the ride here either.

Gotou understood, since he had known him for a long time. When he looked like this –

’You in two minds?’

Yakumo looked at Gotou with his red left eye.

’I might be.’

Even though he’d usually put up a strong front, Yakumo readily acknowledged the truth.

’Well, aren’t you being unusually honest.’

’I am always honest.’

It was amusing to hear that from the world’s most contrary person.

’So what are you in two minds about after coming all the way here?’

’I’m wondering whether there is a need to stop this series of incidents...’

’What do you mean?’

’They haven’t committed any actual crimes. No, there’ll be a crime soon enough, but still, if I think about their emotions, it seems natural. I wonder whether I have the right to stop them...’

Yakumo’s gaze wavered, emulating his emotions.

Since Gotou only grasped the outline of what was happening, he couldn’t understand what Yakumo meant. However, there was just one thing he could say.

’To hell with rights. It’s not some judgement about good and evil. I can’t just leave it like this though. It’s the same for you, right?’

Yakumo laughed aloud at Gotou’s words.

What the hell was he laughing at?

’That’s just like you, Gotou-san. That’s right. I’ll stop thinking about unnecessary things.’

After Yakumo said that and stopped laughing, he turned his gaze directly to the building.

It appeared that he had been able to change his mood. That was good. He was ready and had put on airs, but Yakumo couldn’t be feeling that different from how Gotou was feeling.

’OK – going then?’

Gotou hit his cheeks with both hands to motivate himself and took the first step forward. That moment, a mobile phone started ringing as if to stop him.

What bad timing –

<E-excuse me, it’s Ishii.>

He heard Ishii’s voice from the phone. It sounded like he could start crying at any moment.


<U-um... Where should we take the chief?>

’Oi, Yakumo. Are you really going to call out the chief?’

Gotou covered the mouthpiece and asked Yakumo that.

’Yes. I made that request to Makoto-san earlier.’

So that was what he said at the hospital then.

Chief Ideuchi and the chief of the police. What was he going to start by gathering them? Well, there was no point thinking about it now. Gotou had placed his bets on Yakumo.

’So, where should they bring him?’

’Obviously, they should bring him here.’

That made sense.

’The bar.’

Gotou said that and hung up.

Now –


’Yes, let’s go.’

Gotou started walking before Yakumo answered. He took the stairs down to the bar in the basement and placed his hand on the doorknob. It was locked and wouldn’t open.

’Please open it,’ Yakumo said, as a matter of course.

Yeah, yeah, he got it.

Like a locked door would stop Gotou. He kicked the door with all his strength.

However, the wooden doorframe only warped a bit.

Gotou kicked it a second and third time.

’Damn! What a door!’

The door opened on the fourth kick.

’Isn’t there a way to enter more quietly?’

’Shut up!’

Gotou intercepted Yakumo’s comment with a yell and stepped into the bar.

The lights were off and the bar was completely dark. However, he felt somebody there.

Gotou advanced to the back of the bar without hesitation.


Gotou’s ears caught a noise.

Just as he had put himself on guard, a violent shock came down on his head.

Crack. There was the sound of something breaking. It seemed like he’d been hit by something like a pole.

He saw somebody moving at the edge of his vision.

’Did you think you’d knock me out with something like that!?’

Gotou threw the hardest punch he could at that shadow. He hit it. After a yowl like that of a cat whose tail had gotten stepped on, there was the sound of something thumping against the floor.

Suddenly, everything lit up, so he put up his hands to shield his eyes from the brightness.

’You could have walked in after turning on the lights. Gotou-san, you really are an idiot beyond my imagination.’

Yeah, he was an idiot.

’Stop grumbling. If I turned on the lights, the guy inside would’ve noticed, right?’

’The person would have noticed the moment you kicked down the door. You really are unreasonable.’

This brat went on and on about everything –

’Shut up! I can do what I want!’

Gotou turned around and grabbed Yakumo’s collar.

’You’re bleeding. A fair amount at that,’ said Yakumo with a smile.

Blood – Gotou put his hand to his forehead. It was wet. When he looked, his hand was covered in blood. There was a broken mop by his feet.

Damn, who the hell had done that?

Gotou grabbed the hair of the person who had fallen facedown and pulled him up to check his face.

There was blood all around the man’s nose, but Gotou could tell. It was that bastard rapist who used the fake name Murase Shinichi, Oori Kazushi –


Gotou heard a voice that wasn’t a groan or a yell.

He’d thought it was Oori, but he was wrong. It appeared Yakumo had promptly noticed where the noise had come from. He pointed towards the lavatory in the corner of the bar.

Telling me to go then –

Gotou let go of Oori, and weaved through the space between the tables towards the lavatory.

Gotou stopped in front of the door. Makoto had said that the woman’s ghost had been reflected in the lavatory mirror.

Will something appear –

Gotou opened the door forcefully.

That moment, a person who seemed to have collapsed fell out. His mouth was covered wit

This chapter upload first at

Tip: You can use left, right keyboard keys to browse between chapters. Tap the middle of the screen to reveal Reading Options.

Please report the problems you have identified regarding the novel and its chapters.

Follow this page Novel Fire on Facebook to discuss and get the latest notifications about new novels
Shinrei Tantei Yakumo Volume 3 Chapter 3