Ghost Hunt:Volume 7 Chapter 1
 Chapter 1
On the second day, we left Noto.
After that we had to pass through the Japanese Archipelago to return to Tokyo. Annoying! I hate driving back; it was too painful.
There are 2 roads from Noto to Tokyo, the North Road and the South Road. When we came, we took the winding, mountainous South road, when we returned it was via the North road, which was from Hokubo to Matsumoto, passing north of Niigata.
“Oh whatever!” Ayako grumbled continuously in the car. “That fellow who only cares about looks!”
Ayako’s displeasure had started when we set off.
Because Bou-san’s car is a normal car, it definitely could not seat (more than) 5 people. Although the company vehicle is a van, it was filled with equipment etc and could only seat 3 people. We had a total of 8 people, so theoretically there shouldn’t have been a problem.
If the company vehicle was to be driven by Lin-san, it was a matter of course that Naru would accompany him. Following that came the problem: who would take the last seat in the company vehicle?
At a time like this, Ayako thought she should have been given special treatment. But Masako had already sat on the seat. Just like that the 2 began quarrelling.
The problem was solved very easily; in the end Masako ended up sitting there. That’s why Ayako's in such a fowl mood now.
“Right, right, don’t be angry any more. Naru might not necessarily want to sit with a beauty in a car.”
“Oh, that's him alright. If there’s a pretty girl he’ll definitely pick her!”
“Isn’t it because Hara-san is the most petite?” John said.
“Right, right. It’s definitely because it’s still a little tight with 3 persons seated, that’s why he chose to go with the smaller Hara-san.”
Because it’d take a month for Yasuhara’s wound to heal, he took the passenger seat. John and I were seated on either side of Ayako.
“Ah la, do you mean to say that Masako is thinner than I am?” If your heights are different, your body shape would definitely be different too. Despite thinking like this, I held my tongue. Because everyone still couldn’t shut their mouths, the cramped car was continuously very noisy.
“There’s no such thing!”
“No? Then I see it’s Masako who has grasped Naru’s weakness, hence Naru’s continuous acceptance of Masako’s bullying.”
“Is it really like that? With that impossibly outstanding fellow?”
And I’ve never heard Naru say whether he had received help from Masako, neither has he said that he didn’t need her help or words to that effect.
“Forget it, don’t be so tense.”
Even if it’s you, it won’t do.
“ – Wait, are you dozing off while you’re driving? How can you let that car in front overtake us?”
Ayako reproached Bou-san slightly hysterically.
“You fellow, didn’t you see the yellow line?” Bou-san complained.
“I’ve seen it, that’s the overtaking lane!”
Ayako on a rampage is unbeatable; only poison-tongued Naru can control her now. I glanced back slightly; I could feel the mini-van behind us giving off a hate filled glare.
“Then what do you want to do?”
When Bou-san just finished, Ayako stretched from the backseat to the front to madly sound the horn.
“You! Don’t you know this is very dangerous?”
“That’s too outrageous!”
Just like this a din started inside the car again.
Just like this, this type of reckless driving continued unceasingly for 6 hours; when we realized, we had already driven to some other place.
“Where is this place?”
“You make a din non-stop like that in the car; in that circumstance how can one look at the road signs?”
“You directionless imbecile!”
“Do you want to walk back from here?”
Because we had gotten lost, everyone started arguing again. We had taken a shortcut back, but the road had suddenly narrowed and gradually became a gavel path. We had completely stuck between a rock and a hard place. The moment the car stopped, everyone started arguing again.
Masako sighed gently.
“I think, because the car did not follow Matsuzaki-san’s directions, that’s why we have ended up in such a strange place.”
“Masako, if you know what to do, then say so.”
“Lin-san is already pressing his horn, asking if there are any routes nearby.”
Bou-san appeared a little defeated.
“Regardless, we have to get back to the highway first.”
Yasuhara opened the map and said,
“There’s no space for the car to make a u-turn.”
“If we continue to drive on straight like this, there’ll be a campsite, and from there we can return to the highway.”
“It looks like that’s our only choice.”
- But, I did not imagine such an unexpected situation to occur. This should be what they call a bolt from the blue.
It was a small incident that became an unexpectedly major event. I don’t quite know how to explain, but this incident changed my life.
While taking a wrong turn was an unexpected situation, if we could backtrack and return to our original road, it wouldn’t be that bad. However, the situation had not ended yet.
This time Lin-san led the party, via the gravel path, to the campsite by the river. If we continued like this we could go back, but at this time, the car in front suddenly stopped.
“Are we lost again?”
Bou-san asked while he stopped the car; Yasuhara looked at the map again.
“It shouldn’t be wrong again.” Looking out of the car, Naru got off the vehicle in front.
“Could he be uncomfortable again? It’s that idiot Bou-san’s fault for driving onto this type of road.”
“Whose fault should it be that we’re on this type of road?”
I hurriedly got off the car. Is he really uncomfortable again? Now’s not the time to argue over those minor things.
Naru stood by the railing.
Below us was a relatively large lake; or rather than calling it a lake, it should be a reservoir; in the distance I could see the concrete dyke.
“Naru, are you all right?”
Naru did not answer me; he did not even turn his head. He merely gazed at the scenery ahead.
Lin-san also hurried down from the car and ran to Naru’s side.
There was still no answer, it was as though my voice and Lin-san’s voice could not reach Naru’s ears.
As though he was confirming something, Naru opened his eyes wide and looked at the scenery in front of him.
Very strange; what exactly was happening?
It was only to have Naru gently bend forward; the fingers grasping the rail turned slightly white. Standing by the side, Lin-san gasped in astonishment.
“Is this the place?”
????? What does this mean? I was a little lost already.
Naru’s lips moved.
He mumbled to himself, as though to calm himself down.
“ – Finally – I’ve finally found it – ”
What exactly had happened?
When I was spacing out, Naru and Lin-san returned to their vehicle, and we hurriedly returned to the car. Because we were in separate cars, I couldn’t ask anything even if I wanted to while we were driving. The company vehicle in front of us returned to the campsite we had passed by just now.
Not only that, Naru actually declared he wanted to stay here, giving us all a shock.
“What exactly happened?”
“I have something to do here, go back to Tokyo Mai.” Naru said coolly, and without any explanation.
“Go back? But…”
We looked at each other; I can’t possibly go back like this! At the very least you should tell me what you are going to do here.
“You’ll only get in my way here; go back!”
You you you! I’ve been crisply rejected.
As he said, we could only go back, but…
“Is Naru going back too?”
“I don’t know!”
“You don’t know? Then what’s going to happen to the office in the mean time?”
It was clear that up till now, the office was already in business. Takahashi alone took care of it.
In the end, Naru’s reply shocked even me.
“Then close it, tell Takahashi-san that!”
“Clo- close it??”
If the boss wasn’t around we couldn’t perform any investigations. We couldn’t cancel the phone line, couldn’t read the mail. That’s why up till now, all Takahashi did was explain to the customers. But even doing this was very different from closing the office.
“Mai should also go and look for somewhere else to work.”
“Close that office once you get back.”
In an instance a huge panic descended upon my heart.
“Close the office?”
“If it closes does it mean we don’t do business anymore?”
“You have to explain!”
Naru frowned and raised his hand.
“I can hear you even if you don’t get angry; can’t you calm down a little?”
“Then answer my question.”
I raised my hand.
“Does closing the shop mean that we’re ceasing business? Why?”
“I have something I have to do.”
“Boss, then explain this thing. I’m being fired by you now; I have, at least, the right to know the reason.”
“I don’t feel there is any necessity to explain.”
You bastard, you actually say there is no necessity!
Just as I had decided to get angry, Bou-san, who had been spacing out, spoke loudly.
“Forget it! I admit defeat!”
“I’m saying I’ve been defeated by this summer day. There’re only these simple wooden huts here, let’s help this fellow who wants to stay here then!”
Looking at our stunned faces, Naru spoke harshly.
“Bou-san, you doing so will only get in my way.”
“You have a situation, and we’ve all heard so. Is everyone going back?”
Yasuhara raised his hand and spoke; John did the same.
“What about you, Masako?”
“I’d always planned to stay.”
“Then what about Mai and Ayako?”
I glanced at Ayako, who glanced back.
“What should we do, Mai?”
“What should we do? I…”
Naru had told me go back so calmly and crisply. At this time, Masako spoke to me lightly beside me.
“Say you’ll stay! If you go back like this you might never see him again.”
- Never see him again? Is she saying I might never see Naru again?
I turned back to look at her, Masako nodded.
“I… I really want to stay, but…”
I also hurriedly raised my hand. Bou-san raised his eyebrows.
“Since Mai is also staying, then I’ll handle her lodging costs.”
Wu… Thanks dad.
“Are you staying in such a place? There’re no restaurants, and there’re definitely very incredible bugs.”
“Then do you want to go back, Ayako?”
“Of course I’m staying!”
It was a unanimous decision, only Naru looked clearly unhappy.
Just like this, in the end all of us stayed behind.
The 3 men and 3 women each rented a small wooden hut. It was clearly the peak season, but there were very few campers. This place was so rural, it couldn’t be helped that there were few people.
“Do we have to make our own dinner? Do you guys know how to cook?”
Standing in front of the kitchen, Ayako took a deep breath.
“If it’s simple Udon noodles or something, then I know how to cook.”
When I just finished, Masako immediately made a face of disgust.
“I… I don’t really know…”
There was no use asking, just looking at her expression I could tell she definitely did not know how to cook.
The 6 tatami sized small wooden room had an attached kitchen. It wasn’t that much different from my apartment in Tokyo; but, there appeared to be an enormous terrace where we could eat, there was a table made up of a round log and benches made from wood.
“I don’t know if those men can cook or not.”
“This is not clear then, I don’t know how Naru and Lin are doing.”
“Yeah, we have to get out to buy some stuff regardless; let that stupid bou-san go, I’ll make him a list.”
Ayako really likes to look after people; it’s no wonder she’s the mother.
Like a child being nagged into working, I took the list Ayako had written and ran to the little wood hut next door.
I knocked while I opened the kitchen door.
“Naru has decided to do it like this!”
Bou-san’s voice flew past my ears.
“That is –”
The windows of the kitchen and 6 tatami sized room were closed, but I could still make out the figures of people. A shadow moved, and the window immediately opened.
“So it is Mai!”
“Yeah, Ayako said to buy stuff.”
“Right, right. I’m coming.”
According to the results of my investigation, the only ones who say they can cook are Mum Ayako and Dad Bou-san.
At the same time, I bravely set forth to attempt to investigate Naru and Lin-san.
When I got to the small wooden hut nearby, this time I knocked properly. It was Naru who opened the door; when he saw my face he immediately showed his displeasure.
You don’t have to be so obvious in your dislike of me, do you?
“That is… Ayako wants to as you how you intend to handle your meals. Ayako says she’ll cook, so will you join us?”
“Do as you please, you don’t need to bother about us.”
- Right, right, I know.
I sighed. Really, how can this fellow – in the midst of my grumbling –
“Then let’s have it like this, sorry for disturbing!”
After passing through the pine forest and trudging tiredly to the car park, I found Bou-san and John were waiting.
“Did Naru reply?”
Bou-san asked. I spiritlessly replied,
“He said not to bother about him.”
Bou-san’s large palm gently patted me; unconsciously, I lowered my head.
“That is –”
“Masako said that we might never meet Naru again.”
“Is it like this?”
“If the office closes, I might really never meet him again.”
Bou-san did not answer.
“Hey, then don’t forget this.”
“There are no banquets under the heavens that do not disperse.” (tl/n: all good things must come to an end.)
I sighed softly.
I don’t know where his home is; I don’t even know his telephone number.
If the company closes, we will never meet again. I think Naru will not take the initiative to contact me. Because, even up till now, he would never make a call regarding anything unrelated to work.
“Perhaps Naru and I are complete strangers.”
Hu- with a gentle pat on my head, I suddenly realized how important it was.
“Thinking closely about it, I don’t know Bou-san’s or John’s address either.”
We only meet in the office, and are together only during our investigations; what each of us does in rest of our time we completely do not know. Although we’ve visited Ayako’s home once, it was a single visit during an investigation, and she said we were not allowed a second visit.
“We won’t meet again anywhere outside work.”
I have never received a call at home; I don’t even know their telephone numbers.
If the office were to close, the probability that everyone would never meet again is very large.
Up till today, everyone has been looking after me; we’ve worked and encountered various experiences together. If I were to ask everyone if we are friends, I can’t say for certain that the answer will be yes.
It’s due to the office that I’ve met such a group of colleagues; we have no other forms of interaction. It must be because everyone feels that it is ideal like this; I too have never asked about the private lives of others, nor have I spoken about my own. Probably we were all like this. That’s why, thinking carefully about it, we are all shockingly ignorant about each other’s issues.
That’s why with desperately trying to get closer to each other at this time, I don’t think we can become friends. Everyone are adults older than me, they must have suitably adult lives and personal relationships; they couldn’t possibly be happy playing with a high school student. Mentioning high school student, although Masako is also a high school studnt she has a proper job.
When John opened his mouth, Ayako’s voice cut in.
“You fellows! What time are you going to dillydally until?!”
Turning my head, Ayako was pulling a face at the entrance of the campsite car park.
“The small village shops will close earlier, hurry up and go!”
“Also buy some stock cubes back!”
“Yes yes yes!”
“Answer me properly!”
Ah – she’s still really long winded.
Mothers will still be mothers.
Naru and Lin-san had apparently decided to completely ignore us. Perhaps we don’t exist in their eyes.
When dinner was ready and I asked if they wanted to eat, they only coldly replied in the negative. Left without choices, we could only feed ourselves.
I didn’t know why Naru wanted to stay here, so I also didn’t know why we wanted to stay here. It’s like unreasonably stalking other people’s movements.
After having an early dinner, Bou-san etc went back to their small wooden hut on their own accord. While we were queuing to bath, I ran to the terrace. It was already dark outside, the breeze from the forest made one feel happy.
As I was spacing out, Masko’s face appeared.
“If you space out in this type of place, you’ll become food for the mosquitoes in the bush!”
“It’s alright, I’ve sprayed on insect repellent.”
“Did you spray enough?”
“It’s alright like this; mosquitoes like to go towards those of vigorous blood.”
“I’m sorry my blood is too vigorous!”
“Ah la, I didn’t say that that’s no good. It’s good to be liked by the mosquitoes in the bush.”
“I’ve never seen the benefit of that!”
Masako started laughing secretly.
I looked at the bathrobe clad Masako.
“Why would I never meet him again?”
I’m insisted. Masako suddenly spoke seriously.
“ – I can’t tell the real reason.”
“Is what you know related to Naru’s weakness?”
“I can’t say!”
“ – Stingy devil!”
Masako sighed softly.
“I think I probably know everything you want to know.”
I hurriedly looked at Masako.
“But, I still can’t tell you. Because I have an agreement with Lin-san and Naru.”
“Why do you alone know?”
“I only stumbled upon it.”
I tilted my head, thinking.
“Hey, when we just met you’d said it before.”
“You said you met Naru before somewhere.”
“Did I say something like that?”
“You did; is it like this? You and Naru met before somewhere in the past.”
Masako thought for a moment.
“It shouldn’t have been that meaning.”
Ai, that’s as clear as mud.
“Naru has always been looking for this place –”
Masako’s voice reminded me of that doll like face; Naru’s voice flashed through my mind –
“ – Finally – I’ve finally found it – ”
“The office, everything was for the sake of finding this place. That’s why, it’s possible to never meet him again.”
Masako replied with a single sentence.
“Not just you, me too.”
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