The Lying Counselor’s Eloquent Reasoning - Chapter 63
“It’s true that we just met the other day. I cannot assume that you are a person with low empathy. You may have feelings of pity and guilt for the cat you killed, but you simply don’t want to reveal it. This is especially true if you’ve never met the person before. So, from that day to the present, I have tried to figure out what kind of person Mr. Akiyama is, based on the information that is already widely available. I watched videos of your past appearances on TV programs, read through interviews in magazines, and browsed through your own photos and posts on SNS. Then I realized that you are, as I thought, a narcissistic person with low empathy.”
“Yes, in general, the more narcissistic a person is, the less empathetic he or she tends to be towards others. And when such low empathy grows too extreme, it is called antisocial personality disorder, or a psychopath, for example. They do not have the slightest sense of compassion for others, are always self-centered, and sometimes hurt others without any hesitation.”
“S-So, what about it! I’m not one of those bizarre murderers!”
“That’s right. You’re not a psychopath, Mr. Akiyama. Not even so much as a narcissistic personality disorder. You merely have a human nature that is somewhat more narcissistic and less empathetic than others. This is not necessarily a bad thing. If you are a leader in a company, this can be a positive thing. The strength of your narcissism will become the drive for approval and self-expression, and this will be the prime factor for your success in your work. Also, if you are a leader with that kind of human nature, you probably don’t have to worry about the future of your employees every time you have to restructure them. Even harsh overtime can be imposed as much as you want.”
Tomomi suddenly recollected those words. The other day, Ryuichi had said with a refreshing smile that he would be happy to do overtime work occasionally. I see, that was something he could say since he is a person who lacks compassion for his employees…
“However, that fact–that is to say, your humanity――is still too unconnected to the assumption that you hit and killed a black cat with your car and suffered visual disturbance from the emotional stress. Besides, there was something else strange about your statement the other day. Your own account of the accident was very different from the first.”
“The first thing you said was this. Just before you hit the black cat with your car, you distinctly caught sight of it. You said that you could see its eyes glittering… However, after a short and pleasant chat with me, your testimony of the accident changed dramatically. This time, it was as if you were completely unaware of the cat’s presence until the moment the car and cat collided.”
Ryuichi seemed to have come to his senses. He hadn’t even noticed the contradiction himself.
“I wondered how one person could give such different accounts of the same experience, one that would be quite shocking and memorable to the average person, in such a short time. Was it a mere miscommunication? Or is it a case of confused memory? No, in the first place, I wondered how accurate your memory was… I suspected that your memory of the accident might have been distorted somehow. To find out how well your testimony matches the facts, I identified some of the blogs and social networking accounts of the employees who worked at your company after the accident and examined the information they were posting. And the facts seemed to be roughly the same as you described them. In other words, their online statements corroborated that your company was incredibly busy a month ago, that the day after the accident, you, the president, suddenly showed up to work wearing an eye patch, and that your car abruptly changed. Therefore, it seemed certain that you had experienced some kind of peculiar experience on your way home one night about a month ago. The question is, what was it?”
Uroma’s tone was stilted and his words were somewhat evasive, but his logic appeared to be crystal clear.
“So I decided to look into the incident of that night from a different angle this time. Since you had definitely experienced something on your way home, I decided to use the information from your social media posts and photos to identify your route home and see if anything unusual had happened at the nearby facilities. Surprisingly, I discovered that something was amiss. On the website of an elderly care facility near here, there was an article about an old lady who had gone out of the facility late at night a month ago and had not been seen since. It seemed like she was a missing person. And according to it, she was wearing a white negligee that day… Perhaps, like this one?”
There, Uroma crouched down and pointed to the tattered white clothes worn by the corpse in front of him.
“Hey, Mr. Akiyama? If this is her, how come she’s here, dying and rotting away?”
At Uroma’s question, Ryuichi only bit his lower lip and frowned. Uroma then picked up Tomomi’s phone that was lying on the ground, operated it in some way, and held it up.
“Well, let’s change the question. Mr. Akiyama, didn’t the black cat you ran over with your car that night have a face like this?”
On the LCD screen of the phone that Uroma raised to Ryuichi, there was a picture of an old woman’s face. It was probably from the website of a senior citizen’s facility near here. Upon seeing it, Ryuichi turned pale. It was obvious that he had seen it before.
“Oh… yes, it’s this face… this old lady. The one who jumped out at my car that night…”
Eventually, Ryuichi confessed as if he had given up.
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