Murder At The Rainy Mansion ~The Never Ending 100 Tales~ - Chapter 70
The 101th Tale ～Shichinin Bishaku～
Chapter 70: The end of the rainy season
Three days later, the rainy season had finally ended. The murder investigation was already concluded, so Tanimoto went to the Rainy Mansion to return the items that the police had confiscated as evidence. He stood at the entrance and looked around.
After a while, Nobuko came and greeted him. She told him that Ayano was inside, and Takato had returned to his apartment to prepare for his wedding with Takamura’s daughter. She also mentioned that Shun’s spirit had returned to his body and he had immediately gone back to work once he was discharged from the hospital. Reiko was also saved but she didn’t remember much about what happened, maybe because she almost died.
As the lawyer of Sudo family, Shun had promptly acquired acknowledgement from all related parties and Ayano was officially announced as the new owner of the Rainy Mansion. Everyone was gossiping that Shun and Ayano will get married soon.
Earlier before, Shimizu had said to Tanimoto that in the end, it was Shun who reaped the most benefits. He obtained both the mansion and Ayano. But Tanimoto was doubtful about it considering Ayano was quite a stubborn person.
Tanimoto was walking down the connecting corridor when he noticed a woman watching the courtyard absentmindedly while holding the red handrail. It was the same woman that he usually met at this place.
The woman turned around and smiled at him. “Oh, it is you. Thank you for that night. I’m really glad that you can see me. I’m unable to get closer to that storeroom by myself because of the scary thing inside.”
Tanimoto: “Is it a nando baba?”
Chizuru: “Nando baba?”
Tanimoto: “You know, the one that would scream boo! and then pop out of the room. I heard it from Ayano-san.”
Chizuru laughed and said, “She never changed, such a foolish kid.”
Tanimoto: “Ayano-san is really a funny person, right? She always maintains a poker face though. … I heard you are not in Japan now?”
Chizuru: “Yes. It’s inconvenient for me to be here. …Actually, I was satisfied to die by Satoshi-san’s hand at that time. But that fool desperately did CPR to resuscitate me. And after that he took me to an unlicensed hospital. Isn’t it ridiculous considering that he was the one who tried to kill me in the first place?
After Satoshi-san attacked me, he had an asthma attack and left that storeroom. He didn’t really care if someone find my body. I think he was ready to confess for his crime. But when he returned to the storeroom, he couldn’t find my body. Satoshi-san thought that Akito or Natsu-sama might have taken my dead body away.
…The curse at the storeroom— It seems Natsu-sama had suppressed the curse. That vengeful ghost must have loathed Ayano too.”
Tanimoto: “I heard that Sokichi-san said that it was also due to the power from you guys too. According to him, the love that you and Akito-san had – the feeling to protect your daughter had helped to protect this mansion too and suppressed the curse from the storeroom ghost. That is why Ayano-san is the most suitable person to inherit this Rainy Mansion and to protect it in the future.”
“Is it the first story?” Chizuru gave a chuckle.
“Huh?” Tanimoto was puzzled by her words.
“I think this story is very suitable to be the first story in the 100 Tales played by Ayano and the other kids. Don’t you think so?” Chizuru laughed inwardly. Her smile looked so similar with Ayano’s. It made her looked like someone who had given up hope but still gave an impression of a strong-willed person.
She continued, “By the way, Satoshi-san still hasn’t move on from this world? But then again, maybe he is happier that way – staying at that place reading books for hundreds of years.” Chizuru turned towards the direction where the toilet was.
* * *
Ayano stood in front of the storeroom. She could still hear the screeching sound from inside. She stood there and concentrated her mind. She could see a woman in kimono trying to crawl out from a muddy swamp. The visual impact gave an eerie feeling even though she was standing in a different world.
The grudge of the female ghost who had lost everything was much stronger than Natsu. It was the most powerful vengeful ghost in the Rainy Mansion. There was nothing that Ayano could do for this female ghost, who was actually Takato’s mother, Mizuko. Just let her curse me to her heart’s content, she thought.
Mizuko-san, I won’t make a wish upon the shichinin bishaku – the place where you are at. I will live my life while keeping my feelings for Takato to myself.
At that moment, Ayano was startled when someone grabbed her shoulder all of a sudden. She turned around and saw Shun.
“What are you doing?” Shun asked.
Ayano replied, “Nothing.”
Shun looked towards the direction of the connecting corridor at the south and said, “It’s Tanimoto.”
Tanimoto was walking towards them. “Ayano-san,” he called out embarrassedly.
“Did you have a talk with my mother just now?” she asked.
“Yeah. Then she disappeared when the alarm went off,” Tanimoto explained. He remembered that he always heard alarm sound before Chizuru disappeared.
It seemed Chizuru had been taking care of Akito diligently. She changed her face, her dressing style and even wore the clothes that belong to the dead woman. Perhaps because they had stayed together for so long, or perhaps she was moved by his passion. It seemed Akito managed to touch her heart even when her feelings for him had died once before.
A while later, Ayano and the others bumped into Toru who was walking with race papers under his arm as usual. However, he was not as free as before. He just could move in a wider area compared to before since his trauma was gone. It seemed he often bumped into Hisami’s ghost recently so he kept moving around from place to place.
Ayano once saw Hisami cursing at Toru when they ran into each other before. She said, “You will be a toilet fly in your next life! You can fly next to Satoshi-san while he reads in that toilet!”
Even when she said things like that, Hisami was actually waiting for Toru to move on from this world so that she could leave together. It seemed she was hoping they would be together in their next lives too.
Ayano believed that Hisami would suffer again if she stayed with Toru again in their next lives. It seemed Hisami never learn her lesson. But perhaps it was due to her affection and obsession that wouldn’t disappear no matter how much she tried. Ayano assumed that it must have been the price that Hisami had to pay for making a wish upon the shichinin bishaku.
While Ayano was immersed in her thoughts, she noticed a shadow through the frosted glass door at the entrance. The familiar looking shadow was holding a gym bag.
“I’m home,” the man said nonchalantly as he slid open the entrance door.
Before he left the mansion to prepare for his wedding, Takato had a huge fight with Sokichi. Ayano remembered at that time Takato had shouted that he would never return to this mansion ever again before he went out the door. He only gave her a glance and left her just like that.
Shun looked at Takato and asked, “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be busy at this time?”
Takato replied, “Oh, you guys haven’t heard about it yet? I guess time really not moving in this Rainy Mansion. Anyway, Takamura was unable to contact her daughter for quite some time and eventually found out that she ran away with her lover.”
“Huh?!” Ayano was unable to conceal her shock.
“It would stain Takamura family’s reputation so they decided to disown her. They told me to consider that my fiancée is already dead. And this is the consolation money from them.” Takato held up the gym bag and showed them the cash inside. It seemed Takamura prefer to use cash so that it couldn’t be traced.
“Hmm… that sounds weird. Anyway, come in,” Ayano said. At that moment, she noticed strands of brown hair on Takato’s shoulder. The color didn’t match with his hair.
“What is this?” Ayano tried to brush it off but was unable to as if the long brown hairs were bond fast onto Takato’s shirt.
“Maybe it got stuck on me when I took the train,” Takato said nonchalantly and walked inside. “By the way Tanimoto-san, why are you here?”
“Why am I here? Oh, right. I’m here to return the confiscated items,” Tanimoto replied as if he just recalled the purpose for his visit.
Ayano: “Uh- Tanimoto-san, would you like to have some tea? Why don’t you go have a sit first? Which one do you prefer – the room with the white sofa or the altar room?”
Tanimoto: “… Neither of them.”
In the end, all of them went to the dining room. While walking down the hallway, Ayano recalled that she was supposed to return the book that she had borrowed from Satoshi. It was the book that Satoshi were always reading in the toilet. It was a story about a treasure hunter named Satoshi who was travelling the world.
After Shun and Tanimoto left the mansion, Takato said to Ayano, “I’ll go greet grandpa and put my luggage down first.”
When he walked past the tatami room where they played the 100 Tales, Takato heard a clacking sound from inside the room. He slid open the door and saw a candle was still there at the corner of the room. All of a sudden, the candle was ignited out of nowhere.
Takato had an indifferent look on his face. “What do want to hear? The last story of the 100 Tales?”
No— In a way, this might be the new beginning of this 100 Tales… Takato thought to himself.
He heard the sound of something crawling on the floor. He crouched down and blew out the candle flame. The next moment, the sound disappeared too.
“… The 100 Tales in this Rainy Mansion will never end.” Takato put the candle inside a can with a turtle shell drawn on it and closed the lid. When he turned around, he heard the clattering sound from the can shaking on the ground. But he never turned back to look at it again.
* * *
Ayano was walking down the wide hallway while wondering if Takato was still in Sokichi’s room. She walked to the storeroom and stood in front of the door. She could still hear the screeching sound from inside.
She felt cold wind blowing from behind as if she was standing next to the shichinin bishaku. She turned around and saw Takato.
But there was something else there. Ayano could faintly see something behind Takato. It was a woman with brown hair crawling on the dark colored floor that looked like muddy swamp trying to grab Takato’s leg.
Ayano remembered that the marriage arrangement between Takato and Takamura Kanae actually didn’t give much benefit to the Takamura family. However, they still agreed to it because Kanae was in love with Takato since long time ago.
Takato noticed Ayano was staring at the thing behind him. He gave a chuckle before bending forward and kissed her lips.
“Ayano…” he whispered to her ear. “Don’t tell this to anyone.”
The 100 Tales of the Rainy Mansion would never end—
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