V3 Story I – Part 06

Translator: Kell

The ice clinked as I stirred my iced coffee. There was a giant chocolate parfait next to it. A golden spoon dug through the whipped cream and scooped out the chocolate ice cream. And next to it was an iced cocoa.

It smelled sweet. Just looking at them gave me a heartburn.

What the hell kind of combination is that?

I let out a sigh and checked my watch. It was long past our meeting time. The three-story food court was quite crowded even though it was early in the day. The shopping mall on the railway line that connected the southern part of the city to the center of Nago was our meeting place. The person we were supposed to meet was working part-time at the adjacent movie theater.

Unlike me who was making do with a cup of coffee, Mayuzumi kept ordering food.

“Excuse me,” a waiter said. “Are you the ones who ordered the chocolate cake?”

“Just put it down right there,” I responded with a sigh.

Chocolate desserts were lined up in front of us. Baffled, the waiter set the plate down. Enduring the headache, I sipped my coffee.

“Isn’t this nice, Odagiri-kun? It’s been a while since we’ve eaten outside. The guy is running late. This is better than doing nothing, isn’t it?”

Eating is pleasure, she says. If I wasn’t the one paying for all this, I would have wholeheartedly agreed. I let out another sigh and sipped my coffee, which was bitter than usual.

“Um, Odagiri-san and Mayuzumi-san, right?”

Suddenly, a voice came from above us. A young man wearing a quizzical expression was looking at us. His gaze was directed at the various desserts and Mayuzumi.

“I heard that you’re a psychic detective or something?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied. “We’ve been waiting for you. My name is Odagiri Tsutomu. This is the chief, Mayuzumi Azaka. Please have a seat.”

He gave a slight bow before sitting down. His red dyed hair and earrings arrested attention.

“Do you need to wear a gothic lolita outfit to communicate with spirits?” he asked curiously, studying Mayuzumi.

“No,” I replied. “She just likes wearing it. Please, don’t let it bother you.”

“I see…” There was exasperation in his voice.

He flipped through the menu and ordered the steak set. Maybe he came late on purpose so he could have lunch at the same time.

“You’re paying, right?” he asked. “I still have a shift this afternoon, so can we get this over with quick?”

You’re the one who came late. Suppressing a sigh, I nodded. There was a mixture of suspicion and curiosity in the man’s eyes.

He shook his head and opened his mouth wearily. “So, what did you want from me? To be honest, I had no idea it was going to be this big of a deal. I’ve had quite enough of it, to be honest. I have no idea what you want to know, though.”

“It’s fine, no? You came nevertheless because of free food.” Mayuzumi said. “It all worked out as planned, so you really don’t mind. I’m not criticizing you, by the way. But I’d appreciate it if you’d answer our questions.” Mayuzumi stirred the iced cocoa. “So who’s Misaki?” she asked in a low, arrogant tone.

The young man blinked a couple of times. An amused smile appeared on his lips.

“I get it,” he said. “You’re not actually psychics, are you? Private detectives or reporters or something?”

“Who knows? It doesn’t matter either way, does it? It’s none of your business how intel on Makihara is used.” Mayuzumi’s voice was soft and sweet.

The steak set arrived. The young man moved his knife happily. Mayuzumi also ordered more, while I ruminated over Higasa’s words.

“They waited so long before getting help, and don’t even show their face. Personally, I wouldn’t call someone like that a friend.”

I doubt this guy was a friend of Makihara’s. Stifling back my irritation, I sipped my diluted coffee. It tasted awful.

This interview was requested by Higasa himself.

He needed to look after Akari since she was not feeling well, so he asked us to go on his behalf. Higasa would call the guy and we would talk to him. That was the arrangement. Mayuzumi didn’t want to bother, but when she ran out of chocolate, she agreed to do it.

In short, what she really cared about was food.

I doubt she was completely uninterested, though. She did ask about what we wanted to know. But her hand didn’t stop scooping.

The young man in front of us was the one who asked the psychics for help. But he didn’t really believe in the supernatural. In fact, he did not even see the ‘sea’.

Yet he still asked a psychic to help Makihara.

“It was around last fall that Makihara started going crazy,” the young man began. “I think it started getting worse this May. One time, I went to check on him with some friends, but he went ballistic, saying he was gonna get killed. I tried to take him to the hospital, but he wouldn’t budge. So, yeah. I know it sounds awful, but I left him alone. Then an acquaintance of mine, a self-proclaimed psychic, wanted to talk about Makihara. He’s quite good-looking, but he dresses weird, and his eyes never smile. Kinda terrifying. I couldn’t really deal with his type, so I let my tongue slip. Then the whole thing blew up. I shouldn’t have said what I said.”

The young man’s mouth was twisted in amusement. How many times had he said the same thing to others? His expression said he enjoyed people’s reactions.

His lips, laced with steak fat, parted. “I shouldn’t have told him that Makihara was raving about a dead girl out to kill him.

“I see,” Mayuzumi said. “So Misaki really is dead. She drowned, right?”

Mayuzumi pointed the fork at the young man. Chocolate sauce dripped from the sharp tip onto the plate.

The young man was taken aback briefly. “Do you even need my help?” he hissed.

“Of course we do,” I said. “We have no idea what happened between him and Misaki. We would appreciate your help.”

I bowed on behalf of Mayuzumi. The young man looked dissatisfied for a while, but then reluctantly started talking, slowly. Soon he was talking fast. My fists clenched tighter and tighter as I listened.

It was a simple story.

Unpleasant because of its simplicity.

The Little Mermaid had a witch.

The Little Mermaid got her legs by losing her tail.

But the reverse is not possible.

Man can never be a fish.

I kicked the door open and put the bag full of chocolates on the floor. Makihara was shivering by the window. A used bandage had fallen at his feet. Higasa was checking the contents of the first aid kit.

“Oh, it’s you,” he said. “Sorry for the trouble. Did you learn anything?”

I ignored Higasa and faced Makihara. The smell of blood assailed my nose. Mahikara’s eyes darted around as he shivered. I cleared my head a few times, and took a deep breath.


Makihara lifted his vacant eyes. I wasn’t sure if he could even see me, but my voice seemed to have reached him, at least.

“Did you kill Misaki-san?” I asked.

There was a faint chuckle. The next moment, he threw his head back and started laughing maniacally. A laugh that exceeded the limits of the human vocal cords. That was the answer. It was a familiar scene. There were no completely innocent victims among Mayuzumi’s cases. Sometimes the victims themselves were perpetrators.

The easiest way to incur someone’s grudge is murder.

Kill and earn their hatred. Kill and invite a curse.

It’s the simplest and most common case.

And unfortunately, it seemed to be the case this time as well.

The young man shared a simple story.

Misaki’s full name was Yamamura Misaki, Makihara’s live-in partner. As Mayuzumi surmised, she died in an accident at sea.

For a human to turn into fish and bring the sea with them, there had to be a reason.

To return from the sea, you must die at sea.

“We learned what happened,” I said. “One day while on a trip, you went for a long swim, and you found a cave.” I made sure Higasa could hear it as well.

While moving along the cliff, they found a hole in the wall. Makihara and Misaki went inside out of curiosity.

“Inside, Misaki-san tripped and hurt her leg,” I went on. “You went out to call for help. But they couldn’t get there in time. The tide came in and she died. Misaki begged you, but she couldn’t get out. And since she was feeling cold, she couldn’t swim either. The incident was ruled as an accident.”

Makihara shuddered. He continued laughing in pure amusement. His fingers dug into his hair, and he pulled hard. There was a sickening sound of scalp peeling from flesh.

“But right before the trip, you treated Misaki-san harshly. You were being pressured into marriage, and Misaki-san was in the way. So much so that everyone was convinced that you had killed her.”

“He killed Misaki. It’s no wonder she holds a grudge on him.”

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