Ghost Hunt:Volume 5 Chapter 5
 Ghost Hunt Volume 5 Chapter 5: Human Devourer
We caught Ohashi-san in the dining room; after we reported our discovery of the body, it momentarily turned into a huge ruckus. The few psychics who had already awoken also turned embarrassed.
When asked this by Ohashi-san, Naru nodded.
“I think it should be one of the two who had gone missing in February. I think it’d be better to contact the police.”
“Please wait a moment.”
Ohashi-san was green in the face.
“If that’s done I’ll be very worried. I can’t decide on this by myself.”
Is this the time to say this type of thing?
“In any case, let me contact my master first. Before my master gives any instructions, would everyone please refrain from any reckless behavior.”
Saying this, Ohashi-san stumbled out of the Dining Room.
“This corpse, where was it?”
Naru pointed at the floor plan.
After Sensei looked at it, she appeared shocked and turned to Minami-san and Professor Davies who were seated at the table. She spoke, pleased, to the two who were still stunned.
“This is really too exciting. It’s exactly as the Professor had prophesized.”
“What is that?”
When Naru asked this, Igrashi-sensei spoke with a satisfied smile.
“That is, just now the Professor made a prophesy. We asked the Professor about the whereabouts of the missing people; we begged the Professor to see for them. After seeing, the Professor said the missing people were in the west.”
We turned to look towards Minami-san and Professor Davies. I don’t know when those two started to show an expression of extreme worry. In contrast, Igarashi-sensei appeared rather excited.
“This is really great. No wonder you’re a Professor.”
Naru spoke with an extremely cold voice.
“Seisei, don’t you understand?”
“If the people who disappeared in February are already dead, I think the other missing persons have almost no hope of survival.”
When he said this, Igarashi-sensei’s expression stiffened.
“… You’re saying Suzuki-san is already dead?”
We knew the answer, but somehow couldn’t say it.
“Not only Suzuki-san; I’m afraid even Atsugi-san and Fukuda-san are too.”
“But, it’s been quite some time since the people went missing in February. That person must have gotten lost.”
Naru interrupted Igarashi-sensei who had just started speaking.
“He couldn’t have gotten lost in that room.”
“That room was completely sealed from the outside. We, too, had to open a hole in the wall to get in. Normal people using normal methods wouldn’t be able to get inside. That isn’t a place where someone could get lost in.”
Igarashi-sensei turned green.
Suddenly, Mihashi-san stood up. He summoned one of the servants.
“You, I want to go back.”
Mihashi-san shot these few sentences to the visibly troubled servant.
“I’m saying, I want to cease investigating and go back. Tell Ohashi-kun for me that I’d like to withdraw.”
Leaving the stunned servant, Mihashi-san hurried left the Dining Room. Minami-san gestured to the Professor, and the two of them rose, and left hot on Mihashi-san’s heels.
The situation had turned from bad to worse. First it was Mihashi-san leaving this mansion. Then it was Imura-san and 圣-san who had just gotten up; when they heard the news of the discovery of the body they were shocked until their faces turned green, then after they heard of Mihashi-san’s withdrawal, Imura-san also announced his own desire to withdraw.
Ohashi-san looked bewildered. It looked like his master had objected to contacting the police. He tried to curb sentiment that the police should be contacted while speaking to Naru, who had summoned a demolition crew to see the empty space clearly, while appearing to be at a complete lost.
Two hours later, we found out that the young lady who was a medium for 圣-san had disappeared. Although we assumed she had disappeared, we found out that 圣-san’s car had also disappeared, and understood that she had ran way.
Then there was a servant who had gone to the city for errands, after which he never returned.
The rest of us who were left gathered in the Dining Room. 圣-san, Igarashi-sensei, and a woman who was Minami-san’s helper.
圣-san spoke in an annoyed tone.
“My Atsugi-kun is but still missing. Even if he is really dead, I can’t go back like this.”
… That’s right.
“Anyhow, if we don’t hurry up and search… Poor thing…”
Saying that she covered her eyes.
Just at this time, Minami-san appeared.
Minami-san elevated a hand to wave at Shiraishi-san. In the other hand was a bag.
Igarashi-sensei stood up.
“Could Minami-san be going back?”
“It can’t be helped.”
“But Fukuda-san from your society is still missing!”
Minami-san shifted his gaze.
“If we continue to search and are able to find her safely, I’d stay. We can’t stay in such a dangerous place, and expose ourselves to more danger. We are withdrawing.”
… How can he? Such cruelty.
Igarashi-sensei ran to Minami-san’s side.
“How can you do this.”
Igarashi-sensei grasped Minami-san’s hands, then looked at Professor Davies who was standing behind Minami-san.
“Is the Professor going back too?! Clearly the Professor’s powers are absolutely necessary to us right?!”
Neither Minami-san nor the Professor had an answer.
“I’m begging you. Please don’t go back. Please help me search for Suzuki-san.”
Igarashi-sensei grabbed the Professors’ arm.
“I’m begging you.”
The Professor, looking alarmed, shook his hand.
Whether it was Sensei or the rest of us, we all starred straight at the Professor’s face. Although it was a little raw, it was accurate Japanese.
“I – am not – the Professor.”
“What are you saying?!”
Igarashi-sensei screamed. In my heart, I thought, ‘as expected’.
“My – name is Raymond Woore, not- Davies.”
Although Minami-san tried to stop him, words that had already been spoken could not be taken back.
The Professor – no, Woore-san wore a troubled expression.
“He, what he says, are lies. He only says things. It’s not me. Only Minami-san said, that I am Davies.”
A furious expression flashed on Minami-san’s face. Woore-san continued.
“I – want to go back. Really – want to go back.”
Igarashi-sensei let go of Woore-san’s arm, which she had grasped. Woore-san hurriedly turned and walked towards the corridor. Minami-san followed him. Nobody stopped them.
“… That fraud!”
Although 圣-san mumbled this, nobody bothered replying.
Naru spoke with a calm voice.
“I think it’d be better if the two of you also left this place.”
Igarashi-sensei turned her head with a tragic expression.
“Why… why do you want us to leave?”
“This place is dangerous. It’s alright to go back to Suwa city. I think it’s best to leave this building.”
Then Naru said some shocking words.
“We will also withdraw.”
“Wait… wait a moment!”
I couldn’t help shouting.
“You said withdraw… then what about the other missing people? Do you plan to ignore them and go back?”
Naru spoke in a clam voice.
“They are all already dead. There’s no hope even if we search.”
“We’ve already searched the house. We can only conclude the missing people are in sealed rooms; and this is also a fact. However, that type of place isn’t accessible unless one opens a hole in the wall. I don’t know what method Urado used to take his sacrifices to the other side. The human body is unable to pass through walls, so I can only think that Urado manipulated space or time to do that. Do you know how much energy is needed to do this?”
… This, anyhow it is…
“That fellow isn’t loitering in this realm to wreck vengeance. Neither did he leave any love or regret in this world. That fellow merely wants to prolong his own life. Hence the need for sacrifices; that’s why he goes hunting. This can no longer be called a ghost of a deceased. You can call it a ‘demon’, ‘fiend’ or ‘monster’. It is such a monster.”
“Unfortunately although we know of methods to hunt spirits, we do not know a way to hunt monsters. It’s not possible to exorcise it.”
With that said, Naru looked around at everyone.
“Amongst those seated here, is there anyone who knows of how to hunt this fellow?”
“To be honest, I’m not able to do it. I don’t have the power to subdue this fellow who is able to make humans pass through walls.”
Ayako also agreed.
“I’m no good either. The circumstances are too poor.”
At the same time, John nodded too.
“To those who have no fear of god, I’m unable to forcibly seal him.”
Naru nodded too, then crossed his hands.
“However, that fellow has a weakness.”
“That fellow can’t leave this house.”
Bou-san clenched his fist.
“The surroundings of the house is safe, Ma’am had said so before too. During his life Urado repeatedly committed massacres here - in this house, in that room which Mai spoke of. Up till today that fellow has been restricted by this house. Or one can call it imprisonment. So he can’t hunt outside the house.”
“I’m afraid it is like this.”
“Therefore we can exorcise him.”
“—is this so?!”
“Of course. Even Mai can do it too.”
“Just burn it. There’s nothing in this world that cannot be cleansed by fire. That fellow is restricted by the house and is unable to escape; therefore it’s ok to just burn the house.”
“Wouldn’t it remain on the ashes?”
“It shouldn’t. Because that fellow isn’t attached to this place, but the house itself.”
… Oh, is this so?
Naru gently sighed.
“If Ohashi-san followed our advice, called the police, and dismantled the house, the missing people will be found. That isn’t our job.”
Bou-san grinned and said.
“Hence we will escape and leave? This isn’t Naru-chan behavior.”
That’s true. Indeed it isn’t Naru-like behavior.
“It’s not running away. Our work is already complete.”
Everyone stared wide-eyed at Naru.
“I came here not to fulfill Ohashi-san’s request. The request itself did not trigger my interest; even now I don’t think it is anything that interesting.”
“But… if that’s the case then why…”
“I did not accept Ohashi-san’s request. I accepted Madoka’s request.”
“This Madoka is… Mori-san?”
“Correct. She said that Minami Psychic Research was apparently carrying a bogus Davies all around, and wished me to investigate.”
This is what you call ‘stunned speechless’.
“Our job here is already complete. There’s no reason for us to stay and expose ourselves to this danger. Even if we stayed, I don’t think we’ll encounter any interesting phenomenon. We are withdrawing.”
“We were played by you… you fellow.”
Naru looked as though it was none of his business.
“This is what they call keeping a secret in battle. Amongst us there is a fellow who can’t keep a secret.”
Saying this he looked at me.
“Yes yes, it’s just like that. Because Naru and I are different; I hate people who lie to others.”
Saying this, I turned to look at the confused Igarashi-sensei and 圣-san.
“Because of this, I’m sorry. I’ve told a lie.”
Shut up. To stop me at this point is already too late.
“Our head is also a fake. I think having seen this very arrogant attitude, you already know, this person is our head.”
I clearly pointed at Naru. Naru looked displeased.
“This person is Shibuya Kazuya. I’m sorry, everyone.”
Both Igarashi-sensei and 圣-san were stunned rooted to the ground.
I don’t want to hear you complain.
Naru glared at me hatefully, then gently let out a sigh.
Good. I win.
“… Go make preparations for our withdrawal. Pack your bags.”
You know how incredible I am, don’t you?
We hurried back to our own rooms, and started packing.
I stuffed my clothes into my trunk, while I inclined my head.
“… Is this OK, to really go back?”
“Even Naru said it’s OK, so isn’t that fine?”
It looked like Ayako did not hear what I was troubled over.
“But, what of Urado’s spirit? We say they should start demolition, but what if someone goes missing during the course of the demolition?”
“Yeah~ you have a point.”
Ayako carefully folded her clothes.
“But, while it is arguably very dangerous to dismantle the house bit by bit, if that’s so… then wouldn’t it not be a problem if it were knocked down all at once with an iron ball or something similar? However one puts it, it still dismantles the house into many small portions.”
“This is… you have a point.”
Ayako started combing her hair.
“Aah, how uncomfortable. I didn’t take a bath last night, and I’m all dusty from today.”
She’s really relaxed, this fellow.
“I want to take a bath, Mai, help me delay the time a little.”
This way I’ll get scolded severely by Naru.
“To you, avoiding Naru is as easy as flipping your hand. Please.”
With a gentle wave, Ayako walked into the bathroom.
She really is too much, sigh…
I silently packed my bags; following that I looked back towards Masako.
“Masako, are you done?”
Masako shot me a glance, then turned away immediately.
“I don’t want to be addressed so intimately by one such as you.”
… This fellow.
“When you were speaking of me you added a ‘one such as’ in front.”
Masako violently turned her head away from me, and did not give me a reply.
“Why do you hate me to this extent?”
Masako pretended not to have heard my words.
“At least tell me the reason.”
“That’s right. It looks like you’ve grasped Naru’s weakness, right?”
Masako appeared a little afraid.
“What type of weakness is it~? Tell me… You won’t do this, will you?”
“That’s a matter of course.”
Saying this, Masako’s expression turned a little lonely. I inclined my head.
“Because if I told you, I would really be hated.”
“Because… I know Naru’s weakness.”
Ooh. So you’ve finally admitted it.
“That’s why Naru hates me.”
Wait a moment. Why did the conversation turn out this way?
“Because Naru has a very strong sense of pride. He can’t tolerate someone else finding out his own weakness.”
“… This fact, I’m well aware of.”
“Hence I am hated by him. If I told others of his weakness, I’ll incur a greater amount of hatred from him.”
I feel I can understand this reasoning.
Indeed it is. Even if one was not hated by Naru, he isn’t a person that one can easily get close to.
Masako stood up. She walked quickly to leave the room.
If we acted unilaterally we would get scolded by Naru.
Masako opened the door, and then turned to look at me.
“Mai… as expected, I still hate you.”
“It’s like this. – You can’t leave the room. Didn’t he say that we cannot be alone?”
“I only want to go out to take a breath of air. The air in this room has turned very bad due to someone’s stink.”
“I understand, I understand. But, that still won’t do. It’s very dangerous.”
“I feel like being alone.”
Masako walked through the crack of the door.
“I’m just in the corridor. So please don’t follow me here.”
The door closed with a gentle sound. I shrugged my shoulders. Then I smiled.
Yeah. I like Masako. Isn’t she just like a girl; so very cute?
When Ayako came out from the bathroom, I turned towards the door and shouted.
“Masako, come back in.”
There was no reply.
I opened the door and saw Masako standing just at the corner, looking out of the window there at the outside.
When she heard my voice, Masako lifted her head at once, looked in my direction and left the window. She hurriedly used her sleeve to cover her face and turned towards the other end of the corridor.
“Wait a moment, Masako!”
… Yeah, really, this woman.
Ayako and I both hurried out of the room, chasing after Masako. After turning the corner it was a long corridor; at the corner at the end of that corridor we could see a light blue colored sleeve turning the other way.
“Masako, we’ve said before we cannot act on our own!”
We ran, chasing after that sleeve. At the corner was a flight of stairs; at the top of the stairs was a corridor that stretched in both directions. Walking up the stairs, I looked both left and right. Which direction did she go?
“Won’t it be faster if we split up and searched?”
“No. Haven’t we said we can’t go off on our own?”
Just as I replied this, light running footsteps could be heard behind me. Bou-san and John walked up to the stairs.
“Yo, how much more time do you need to pack your bags?”
“Bou-san, Masako walked off somewhere!”
John and Bou-san exchanged a glance, and sprinted up the stairs.
“… You say she walked off somewhere…”
“That is not down the stairs. Hey, John, you and Ayako search that way.”
Bou-san pointed to the right. Then he ran to the left while saying:
“Mai, this way!”
Despite our repeated calling Masako’s name up and down the corridor while we searched for her, we couldn’t find a trace of Masako. I thought she must have walked towards the right; we went back to check, but John and Ayako said they did not find her. We searched more carefully down that end, but still couldn’t find Masako. We hurriedly ran back to base, and reported this incident to Naru.
“We only let her out of our sights for a moment then she disappeared! Let’s hurry to find her!”
Naru threw down the wound up cable and stood up. All of us went back to the second floor to look for Masako. Despite calling Masako’s name there was no reply. Opening every door, walking from one end of the corridor to the other; despite this we couldn’t find Masako. An hour passed, then two.
Masako had vanished.
“Why did you let her go off on her own?”
Naru scolded me.
… If only I had stopped her it would be OK. I should have been more forceful. Waves of regret beat upon my heart.
At base, Naru opened the floor plan.
“If I have to say she is in a particular place, she can only be inside the void.”
He pointed at the countless blank spaces left on the floor plan.
“… What should we do?”
“Now we can only knock down the wall to go in to take a look.”
Just as everyone was nodding in agreement, as usual, someone knocked on the window. It was still some time from dusk. It was very bright outside; we saw Yasuhara and Mori-san standing outside.
Naru succinctly explained the situation to them. We would destroy our way into each void one by one starting from the nearest, this was the order we had decided upon. Ordering everyone to carry the equipment and set out, Naru called Lin-san to him.
“Lin. Follow me.”
“We are going to take a look at Hara-san’s luggage. You guys go first.”
We carried the equipment to the nearby void. Just like this morning we set up the equipment. After a while, Naru returned.
Is it OK to investigate slowly like this? How is Masako now? All the people who had vanished are all dead. Could it be that Masako, too…?
“Hey, let’s not investigate it one by one; isn’t it faster to knock them all down systematically?”
I asked. Naru replied.
“In the end it is still faster this way.”
… I understand this. But.
I helped to connect the equipment, and gradually became frustrated. While we are doing this type of thing, Masako could have been killed by them. However, despite our haste, it was a fact that the rate at which the walls were knocked down would not increase.
In the same order as we had done in this morning’s job, first was investigating the wall’s thickness, and boring a hole at the weakest point. Next was sticking the camera inside. The first void was a simple hole; there was nothing inside at all. We carried the equipment to the next void. Getting frustrated by the constant running about, just like this we investigated the blank spaces one by one.
“Why did you come?”
Naru asked Yasuhara while carrying the equipment.
“After returning from doing interviews, there was a message left at the hotel’s reception. It said we were withdrawing. Then we thought we would come to help pack up…”
Good thing we came, Yasuhara mumbled.
“Then? Have you found out anything?”
“Your interviews. Did you collect any new news?”
“I went to the Old Folk’s Home once more. This time I thought there might be someone associated with the hospital or the facility. Then I really found one – a living witness.”
“The living witness you speak of is…”
Naru placed the equipment on the floor while questioning Yasuhara.
“A person who had helped in the facility when it was sealed in Meiji 40.”
“Yeah. He was thirteen then; he’s ninety-six now. Although he is suffering from severe dementia, he still remembers events from the past very clearly. Then, despite my asking, he had forgotten practically everything related to the hospital and the facility. Except people frequently disappeared from the facility, he remembered only this.”
Yasuhara spoke while deftly untangling a cable.
“Although the facility guaranteed supplying its residents’ clothing, food and shelter, it apparently wasn’t completely free. People who left the facility were obligated to repay the sum of the things received during their stay at the facility. There were many who ran away like thieves. However, there was an incident that was famous amongst the staff. Amongst those who had run away, some were brought to the mountain villa, and then just like this, they never returned.”
They were brought here…
“That old man was apparently frequently threatened by his seniors, ‘if you laze of and not work you’ll be brought to the mountain villa’. That’s why it left such a deep impression on the old man.”
“… So that’s the case.”
They were brought here, and then to the execution room. In order to satisfy Urado’s twisted desires, their lives were forfeit as sacrifices.
… Masako. How is Masako now? She hasn’t already been made into an offering, has she? Or rather is she still safe and sound now?
Please you must be safe. Somebody please protect Masako…
Smashing open the voids all around, we still couldn’t find a trace of Masako. We had even investigated the X floor facing the North Block. The time on the clock had long past midnight.
We used the radar to verify the 10 walls that we thought faced the void. Whichever wall we looked at, they were all relatively thick; it was probably not possible to open a hole using simple equipment.
Looking at everyone who patiently worked repeatedly, I felt I was exhausted. I leaned against the wall, and slowly sank to the floor unmoving. With heavy labor all night, it was impossible not to feel tired. This must be the case for everyone. Despite this, once we thought of Masako, everyone worked non-stop. Furthermore everyone felt very impatient; there were continuous altercations and mistakes made all round.
I sat down and blankly stared at everyone. Ayako came to my side and bent down.
“Do you want to take a nap? I’ll accompany you.”
“We could get some information. Whether Masako is safe or not, confirm it for us.”
I smiled. If only I could control my powers as I wished like this.
I hugged my knees, and let my head rest on my knees. I tried shutting my eyes. Only closing my eyes. My consciousness felt like drifting far away. I felt very conflicted. Clearly at a time like this. Clearly… at a time like this…
When I regained consciousness, I was walking down a dark corridor all by myself.
I did not have any prior memory. When did I come to this place?
Standing there tilting my head, it suddenly came to me.
This is a dream…
This must be, probably a dream, as usual.
Just as I was thinking thus, the color around me gradually disappeared; as though it had been sucked away, all light disappeared; darkness descended around me. The light and shadow of my silent surroundings were swirling. At the same time, the walls and floors and ceilings all turned transparent.
… It was as I had expected. I was, indeed, dreaming.
Within the house which had turned into a photograph negative, round snow-white spots of light swam towards me like fish, swirling around my body. I tried reaching out with my hand. When my fingertip touched the spot of light, a strange warmth radiated from it. The light which I had touched gradually floated further away from me.
Swimming forward, I saw Naru’s figure in front of me.
At the other end of the corridor. His snow white features and snow white hands.
“Do you know what happened to Masako?”
I asked. Naru smiled. Seeing this smile of Naru’s I felt extremely relieved. A warm smile. Masako must be safe and sound now.
The white hand moved, and pointed to the right.
“… That way?”
I asked. Naru nodded. Then he smiled once more, and disappeared, as though dissolving into the darkness.
I walked towards the direction that Naru pointed to. I broke into a sprint down the shadow darkened corridor, looking for Masako.
When I was moving, my surroundings gradually regained its color. The walls turned opaque; the dark corridors became clear once more. I studied my surroundings.
… Do I want to wake up from my dream?
No, I don’t want to wake up yet. I still haven’t found Masako.
I sprinted through the corridor. In a moment a door appeared in front of me. A door at the end of the corridor. Where did I see this door before, I thought while I opened the door. Inside was a small hall. A wide, vacant hall. With stairs towards the second floor.
… This place is…
I ran straight up to the second floor. Tracing my memories, I went straight down the second floor corridor towards the depths of the house. I ran towards the door at the end of the corridor.
To open that door, I still needed to drum up a little courage. After opening the door, there was a small room covered with white towels. It was nondescript – besides my feeling this place was relatively shady. Unhesitatingly, I opened the door that led further inside. The wide bathroom appeared. – Or rather, it should be called the Execution Room. On the white tiles, were the white bathtub and white bed. Then by the wall at the end, I saw a human figure.
I ran over. The figure was wearing a kimono. She was squatting on the floor, her head pillowed on her hugged knees, unmoving. I ran to the figure’s side.
I shouted. The cascading hair moved a little.
Masako lifted her head.
… That’s great. She’s still alive.
“Are you OK? Are you injured?”
Masako slowly shook her head.
“No… Why… are you here…?”
“This is a dream.”
Saying that gave me a strange feeling. However, Masako still smiled.
“Is this so… I thought Mai is also dead.”
“Don’t pull this sort of jokes. Neither me nor Masako will die.”
Masako smiled tiredly.
“Are you in pain? Are you alright?”
“There are many terrifying memories made in this place… I am already extremely exhausted.”
“You cannot give up. We will definitely come to rescue you.”
“… Thank you.”
Saying this, Masako smiled gently.
“I am fine. Up till just now Naru was here.”
“Isn’t that strange? He stayed here keeping me company, encouraging me. It was really strange. He wore an extremely gorgeous smile.”
“… is it? That’s great.” Masako replied with a smile. When she smiled, tears unconsciously rolled down.
“This is a dream. Perhaps this isn’t your dream, but mine?”
“No. This is my dream.”
This is such a strange conversation.
“Perhaps I am already dead, just that I don’t know myself. Do I still look like a person?”
“Yeah. Just like normal.”
“… is this so?”
Suddenly recalling something, I stuck my hand into my pocket. In my right hand was a key ring. From the metal accessory, I took out a key.
“This is… a protective charm.”
Slanting her head, Masako accepted the key.
“This is my protective charm. It is the key to the house I used to live in.”
The house where Father and Mother lived in; the house where I was born. When Father died, Mother took it away as a protective charm. Then, in the end she left it for me.
“… For me?”
“Yeah. If you hold on to something then you can believe my words, right? And you can believe in yourself right? Masako, you are still not dead. And you are not in a dream either. Can’t you really feel the sensation of the key?”
This is clearly my dream, but I emphasized an idiotic thing like this.
“Everyone is desperately trying to find an entry. We will definitely find it soon. We will rescue you, believe me. Wait for us.”
Masako nodded her head, and then she grasped my arm.
“This place… is very scary.”
“That man is coming.”
Masako nodded. Her doll like face was slightly twisted; transparent tears rolled down.
“Besides him there is the spirit of the two men. They are coming to kill me. I desperately prayed that they would not come. But I’m already very tired…”
“You cannot give up. We’re nearly there; you must try your best.”
“I see a lot of hallucinations… a lot of people were killed… it was extremely terrifying…”
“It’s alright. We will definitely save you. That’s why, Masako, you must try your best.”
Masako nodded like a child.
“I will wait for you all. You definitely will come?”
“Yeah. Definitely. As fast as we can. Therefore…”
I did not even finish my sentence. My vision suddenly blurred, and it was black. The last thing I saw was Masako’s worried face.
“Mai, wake up.”
I was jolted awake.
“Are you awake? We’re about to move to the next room.”
Ayako studied my face then stood up.
“Ayako… Masako is still alive.”
Ayako snapped her head back to look at me.
“She’s still alive. Just in the Execution Room. She told me, very scared, and very sad. But, she looks as though she still has energy.”
Tears streamed uncontrolledly down.
Ayako studied my face, unmoving. I knew that everyone’s gazes were centered on me.
Everyone wore worried expressions in response to my words. I was the same. The more, ‘that’s great’ and happiness, the less I could believe in my own abilities.
Wearing a complicated expression, Naru faced everyone and said.
In the next room, Lin-san identified the point of opening.
“This place in the wall is thinner than the rest.”
Everyone boisterously gathered around the monitor; we could see that right in the middle of the snow white wall, there was a thin, gigantic, square shaped shadow. The image produced by the radar shows the areas where the electromagnetic waves are reflected strongly as white. That thin shadow meant that the wall at that location was comparatively thinner.
Bou-san and Yasuhara rolled up their sleeves and approached the wall, lifting a grub hoe and a hammer. Relatively easily, they made a hole in the wall. Bou-san shone the torchlight inwards and looked inside.
All of us pooled our strength to expand the hole.
The other side of the wall was more than a meter lower than this side. Inside, there was a stone crafted staircase and a veranda. Then there was a double paneled door that faced us straight ahead. One look identified it as the front porch.
Above this was a building; there was maybe one or two or three floors above it. Thinking this, I felt it was extremely strange. Another front porch hidden in the depths of the house.
Bou-san and Yasuhara jumped in and sprinted to the door. They used the tools they held to pry open the door. Rather than destroying the lock, they destroyed the door itself. The door opened inwards.
Entering the doorway was the front hall. On the dust covered carpets, the furniture was still placed properly there. Everything was covered with dust like snowdrifts after a storm. I somehow felt like I was lost in a strange world. The corridor extended straight inwards from the hall. On the right there was a staircase towards the second floor. Using the torch to illuminate it, we could see the second floor landing was blocked off. I’m afraid it was the floor of the first floor of the north block.
“Mai, is this the hall that you saw in your dreams?”
“It isn’t. It isn’t like this.”
Naru used his torch to illuminate the surroundings while he said.
“Is it possible that… this is the main house which Kaneyuki lived in?”
“Then, somewhere in here there should be a room with a furnace. On the right hand side of the furnace there is a closet!”
I said while hurriedly passing through the corridor to open the doors on both sides.
At the end of the corridor we found that room.
“… This room!”
The room inside had practically the same layout as the one I had seen in my dream. A furnace. A low table in front of the furnace. Closets to the right of the furnace.
… This room really exists.
Naru opened the door of the closet. That was different from the dream: a curtain hung inside. We opened the curtain. There was still a door inside. Naru opened that door. On the other side of the door was a narrow corridor.
Ayako clapped her hands once.
Naru spoke expressionlessly.
The corridor ceased in only 10 meters or so. Opening the door at the end, a 3 tatami sized room appeared in front of our eyes. Opening the other door inside that room, a dark spaced appeared.
An enormous hole. The torch’s light shone all around; we couldn’t help getting shocked.
Dark, cut off from the emptiness. (tl/n: I know this doesn’t make sense. Somebody please proof this from Japanese.) A huge yet vacant space, about the size of a gymnasium. Although the floor of the upper level was repeatedly crisscrossed with uneven blocks jutting in and out, the lowest point was only as high as my crouching body, the highest point was as high as Lin-san’s fingertips with his hands raised.
Then in this space, there were the skeletal figures of wilted trees lined up.
“This is a maze…”
The trees were clearly lined up in a maze-like shape. When the trees were covered with leaves, the exit at the other side would definitely not be visible. Since the trees have now all withered and died, one could see the other side through the naked white branches.
It was very easy to walk through the maze. That was because the branches could be broken with a hard twist. While we shone the torch light at our surroundings, we broke off branches; we followed the wall inwards, where we found a door.
After comparing the compass and the floorplan, Lin-san spoke.
“Naru, we have approximately reached the edge of the enormous void.”
Was what he said.
The X-floor in the North block. The floor that protruded out in the middle. Then there was that enormous void that extended even into the second floor. We understood that all those were connected together.
Opening the door, there was a hall inside. There was a flight of stairs extending upwards across the scene of the wide room. There were three doors connected to the hall. There was neither furniture nor carpet nor anything else inside.
While looking around the hall, once more, I grasped my torch and started running.
… It’s exactly here, I’m sure it isn’t wrong.
Although I heard their restraining voices, my legs did not stop. I ran up to the second floor, rapidly passing through the corridor towards the room at the end. I opened the door.
Passing through the small room, I opened the door. The tiles vaguely reflected the torch light darkly. I rushed straight into the bathroom. The floor was slippery; I stumbled towards the inside wall. I slipped and fell towards the bed; I grasped the bed’s side. I could feel the ice-cold sensation of wet tile with my hand. I shone the torch towards the wall.
I heard Masako’s weak voice. I shone the torch towards the source of the voice; I saw Masako’s figure crouching by the wall.
Aah, that’s great. That’s really great…!
I ran to Masako’s side and squatted down.
“That’s great. Are you alright?”
“You came really fast.”
Saying that, Masako frowned.
“Are you injured?”
Masako reached out and touched my face. A glance showed her fingertip to be dark black.
I couldn’t help wiping my own face. I realized my own hand was also completely blood red. It was like a red colored tar-like fluid.
Just as that thought passed through my head, I recalled the incident in which I had grasped that bed just now. I had touched it. I felt the sensation of the moist tile…
I couldn’t help shining the torch into the surrounding darkness. The torchlight illuminated the bed behind me.
The white bed reflected light as though it was drenched. It was a reddish black liquid.
Masako cried out. The bed was a sea of blood. The red liquid flowed in a river, dripped on the floor, and formed a huge puddle of blood.
… Just now I slipped and fell.
Thinking carefully about it, for this second floor room that had been sealed for a very long time, it was clearly impossible for there to be water and the like.
I looked at the sole of my shoe. It, too, was stained bright red by some blood red liquid.
With trembling hands I shone the torch onto the bed. The bed was stained with blood splatter which oozed puddle after puddle of viscous blood.
… Why? Why is there so much blood?
In this tightly sealed building, in this room where people couldn’t possibly enter, why?
There was only one answer.
Just when I was about to scream, suddenly there came a weak tapping sound from somewhere. On alert, I shone the torch towards the source of the sound.
The source of the sound was a bathtub. The white bathtub was inscribed with numerous red squares written with blood. I could see the blood-red surface of the liquid filling the bathtub.
I suddenly felt a wave of nausea. My body trembled.
… That much… blood.
Masako’s hand grasped my arm tightly. My hand held Masako’s tightly.
‘Tap’, came another sound. The surface of the liquid shimmered. Creating a wave of ripples, the surface of the water started vibrating. The blood-red fluid sparkled. A human head appeared above the fluid. That person slowly floated up. The forehead appeared; the eyes looked all around; that pair of eyes paused on us. Then he slowly stood up.
The upper body of the man who had been soaking quietly in the blood appeared. He was a gaunt man. He held on to the edge of the bathtub and stood up. He looked at us, a cold smile appearing on his lips. His face, shoulders and hands were all stained completely red. Drenched completely in extremely sticky, viscous, blood, he looked like a bronze stature painted with a frightening color.
I screamed. The man smiled. Even his mouth was filled with blood; it looked like he had just vomited blood. I released Masako’s arm and put both my hands together, folding up my fingers to form the Acalanatha seal.
That blood is… that is…
I chanted while my mind was in a complete haze. The missing people. Those people’s…
I released my fingers to gather up the sword seal. My fingers slashed through the air. Horizontally, then towards the ground.
“Rin (臨), Pyō (兵), Tō (闘), Sha (者), Kai (皆), Jin (陣), Retsu (列), Zai (在), Zen (前).”
The man who was getting up suddenly fell back. With an intense sound, bubbles rose, shattering the surface of the water; the spray reached even where I was.
I pulled up Masako’s hand. I stood up, and shot a glance at the bathtub. Just as I was about to sprint away from this place, suddenly somebody grabbed my arm from behind.
The well-muscled male hand grabbed both my hands from behind. It clearly felt like a wall behind me. Clearly there couldn’t be anyone behind me. The torch fell to the floor, its light extinguished. In the instant when the light disappeared, I saw the living, male hands which grabbed both Masako and I. Two hands extending from the wall.
As though to break my arm, I was grabbed forcefully. I was in so much pain I couldn’t make a sound. Even despite twisting my body, my hands could only feel the ice cold sensation of the tiles.
Once more, a ‘tap’ sounded. Even if I opened my eyes wide, there was only darkness in front of me. From somewhere came the splashing sound of a person rising from the bathtub. The intense sound of blood splatter.
That was Urado. The Bloody Vlad. – “Son of the Devil”.
The force that grabbed my hands increased, so much so I couldn’t catch my breath. Thud, came the sound of a foot stepping on the tiles. Thud, thud. It gradually approached me in the darkness.
Just at that time, the bathroom was filled with light.
The strong beam of light from the torch shone across the room. In front of me, I saw Urado, completely blood red.
Don’t come closer! Don’t come closer!!
Bou-san picked up his gold colored holy prop. Even faster than this, Lin-san whistled once.
At the same time as the high, sharp sound, something white flew over. Snow white, a something that gave off a weak glow. It carved a sharp arc and hurtled towards Urado, slamming into him. Just at that moment, Urado’s expression twisted, then suddenly vanished. Following that, the sensation of the hands grabbing my arms also disappeared.
I pulled Masako and dashed out, towards the presence of the light. Running towards where everyone was.
Everyone welcomed us, haphazardly patting my back and head. Although it hurt a little, I felt a bit happy.
Even if I turned back to look at that room, I could see a wall had been stained with blood.
“Let’s go. Urado has yet to be vanquished. I have only scared him a little.”
With Lin-san’s urging, we ran to the corridor. We ran down the stairs, through the hall. We sprinted through the maze. Walking out of X floor, we stumbled outside. Ignoring the equipment placed around the hole, we hurriedly walked out of the house. When we burst through the nearest window, I found it strange as to why all that running did not cause cardioplegia.
The night sky was clear and bright. Just like that, we fell sitting on the overgrown lawn, and finally let out a breath.
“Really… don’t… go off on your own.”
Bou-san said disjointedly.
“But, thanks to you, you could say we found them.”
“It’s all in the second floor, everyone.”
I sat up and looked at Bou-san. Bou-san pointed to the sky while lying down.
“The missing people. … My throat hurts.”
Although the way he expressed it was very strange, I could understand his meaning. As expected, that blood belonged to those people.
“They were all piled in the room next to the bathroom. Just like objects.”
… Too much.
“The room in front of that was fitted with shelves on all walls, the shelves were piled with bone. It’s a good thing you didn’t see it. It was a number that is nauseating on sight.”
“… Why did he do that with the bones…?”
“Who knows? But those were bones that had already been cremated. Most likely they were collected after being burnt in the furnace. But they were carefully arranged. It’s almost like they were put on display.”
… Was that done by Urado? What in the world was that man thinking to line the skeletons up? What reason was it for? It was completely beyond my imagination.
“Mr Hiroyuki hid that place – because that wasn’t a quantity that a person could have gotten rid of. And to ask a single person to do it, it’d have been impossible for anyone.”
The people who were killed. Numerous… sacrificial victims.
Just like that we sank into silence.
After a while, suddenly somebody nudged my back.
Masako spoke to me, then she sat beside me. Although she looked completely exhausted, a smile still hovered on her face.
Aiyah, you don’t have to thank me. I had just thought of replying with that, when Bou-san spoke severely.
“Masako, you cannot thank her. If you do you’ll spoil her, and make her more impetuous.”
“That’s the truth. Despite telling you not to go off on your own, you ran off at the drop of a hat. We would have found Masako eventually, you fellow. You did not learn that lesson at all.”
Wu… The way you put it sound extremely reasonable.
Hey hey, even Masako is agreeing.
“Then, the thanks just now should be considered last night’s portion.”
“Last night’s portion?”
What was that?
“Didn’t you come then?”
… Hey, but that was in my dreams.
Masako smiled graciously and opened her right fist. On her palm was a key.
I hurriedly searched my pocket. After identifying my keyring, I realized that the key that was my protective charm was indeed missing.
Bou-san moved closer.
After Masako related the incident, everyone stared, wide-eyed.
“This fellow really surprises people… Young lady, aren’t you rather outstanding.”
“You see the past and the future; this time, was it an out of body experience?”
“Out of body experience?!”
“I can only think so. No, your skills are only increasing.”
… It’s not a skill, right? It shouldn’t be.
Bou-san teased me non-stop. Despite being praised like that I couldn’t even be pleased.
Naru spoke with a harsh voice while he stood up.
“In Mai’s situation, if she can do half of that as she wished she’d be more useful than a cat.”
With the word ‘cat’, Masako laughed out loud.
If I ignored her she would continue laughing like that.
“Masako, I say that is…”
“Sor, sorry, for laughing at you.”
Any~way I’m only at the level of cats and dogs. Hn.
… But, an out of body experience – that’s having only the spirit leave the body and come out.
Perhaps I really am incredible?
As dawn approached, we stood up one by one, and walked towards the house. Maintaining silence, we circumvented the veranda. Because the door was locked, we knocked on the door to have the people inside open the door for us.
After opening the door, Ohashi-san stared at us, wide-eyed.
“Everyone… what happened?”
Ohashi-san mumbled to himself, then sighed a heavy breathe.
“… that’s great, sometime in the night everyone disappeared, for a moment I thought all of you had vanished…”
Saying that, Ohashi-san’s gaze locked on Yasuhara and Mori-san’s body, and was shocked.
“Shibuya-san, when did you… that… this is…”
Ah, right, does Ohasahi-san still believe in that big lie?
Naru slapped Yasuhara’s shoulder and whispered to him. Then Yasuhara nodded and stood up straight.
“We have already found the rest of the missing people.”
“In the depths of the mansion. Unfortunately, they are all already dead.”
Hearing Yasuhara’s words, Ohashi-san looked towards the ceiling.
“I request to contact the police.”
Ohashi-san nodded, then said to Yasuhara.
“How is it going on the side of the exorcisms?”
Yasuhara spoke heavily.
“Exorcism is impossible.”
“Subsequently I will submit a report to you. Either you seal the house tightly, and follow the last will and let it rot away slowly, or we suggest using fire to cleanse it.”
Ohashi-san bowed deeply.
At dawn, we started packing the equipment.
“… Right, Lin-san.”
I tried asking while I packed the tapes etc.
“When you performed the summoning, didn’t you make that indescribable sound? What was that?”
Lin-san shot me a glance, and spoke emotionlessly.
“That is called whistling.”
Although his tone held no warmth, he did answer my question – this was a huge improvement already.
“He~ It was a very touching sound.”
Lin-san did not reply; a small smile appeared on his face.
Bou-san asked while moving equipment from the stand. That, because each and every time he was forced to help pack, Bou-san has become quite well versed with packing things up, is something that is laughable.
“What was that at the end?”
Bou-san asked; Lin-san inclined his head expressionlessly.
“At the end…?”
“When we were rescuing Mai and Masako, didn’t you throw something out or what?”
Mumbling, Ah, Lin-san rreplied.
“That was my shikigami.”
“What is this ‘shikigami’?”
Lin-san did not answer. I pulled Bou-san’s clothing.
“Amongst the Chinese Taoist Priests, there are some who can dictate the actions of captured monsters or spirits. They are also called servant ghosts or employed ghosts. Spirits that are used are called shikigami. – Is it accurate to put it like this?”
Bou-san looked at Lin-san. A small smile appeared on Lin-san’s lips.
“… That should be correct.”
“Lin-san is really incredible.”
I couldn’t help saying that to myself; Lin-san gently lowered his head.
Really? Can one control spirits? I feel that is very cool.
Just as I was thinking about such things and feeling touched all by myself, someone gently patted my back.
Turning back, Mori-san was grinning.
“Thank you for your work. You’re very incredible.”
Me… Incredible. That really gave me a shock.
“Howe can it be, I’m not the least –”
“You are, you are.”
Bou-san stuck his head in.
“Ma’am, you cannot praise this fellow. If she gets proud she’ll stampede out of control.”
“Can you don’t use the term ‘stampede’?”
“That’s the fact. You almost gave me a bit of conscience.”
Staring at me once, Bou-san and Mori-san laughed.
“This fellow, if she had superpowers like Atlas, if she were to see an old lady struggling to tear some pancakes, she’d help the old lady out of compassion; if she were to exert herself, the world would be torn into two sides – she’s this type of person.”
… What type of comparison is that, hey.
Yasuhara and Ayako also laughed simultaneously.
Just as I was thinking of grumbling, ‘crack’ came a sharp sound from somewhere. That was the sound of something falling out of Naru’s shirt pocket to the ground.
Masako hurriedly picked up that item. It was a comb made from poplar.
Naru appeared clearly awkward. Aiyah, for this fellow to be like this is really rare.
“This is my comb.”
“I clearly put it in my handbag, inside the room.”
Naru desperately plotted to leave this topic.
I couldn’t help saying it out.
“Why would you carry this type of thing?”
Despite calling Naru, whose back was towards me while he started arranging the equipment, he did not make a sound.
“The relationship is really close~”
Said the eternally happy Bou-san.
“So you were this worried~”
Was what Mori-san, with a regretful expression, said.
“It’s a really touching story~”
Why was Yasuhara nodding?
I also wanted to say a few words to Naru, who was determinedly pretending not to know, but…
… Somehow I felt a little hurt. Is~ it, is~ it? That’s really great, Masako.
Aah, this is the emptiness of life.
After that we toured Suwa.
10 days after we had returned to Tokyo, the newspapers reported news of a small fire on a mountain in the region of Suwa district. Apparently it was caused by fire starters left by vagrants. The nearby forest and a holiday home were completely destroyed. Coincidentally there was a shower which extinguished the fire.
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