Chapter 26: Aokiji And Ueda Ryoko
Translator: Larbre Studio Editor: Larbre Studio
In the end, Kazuki did not agree to enter Akichi High School to battle the Multi-armed Demon.
He was in a poor state of health now and needed some time to recover. It was unlikely for him to return to Akichi High School soon.
Of course, he would still return to Akichi High School in the future, but he would be better prepared during the next time.
Ito Shunji watched silently as the silhouettes of Kazuki and the other three faded into the distance. As the gentle wind blew, they completely vanished from his sight. Peace had returned to the school that bore all the horror stories.
On their journey–
Kazuki did not speak, he was thinking about Ito Shunji’s words, trying to find out if there was any mistake in his statement. Even though Kazuki believed that Ito Shunji was a kind ghost, it was hard to trust someone so arrogant.
However, due to lack of information, he failed to come up with a conclusion.
Aokiji, who was next to him, noticed this. After some consideration, he carefully asked, “Could it have been Aoki Hidehiro who locked the door, Kimura-san?”
“It is possible,” Kazuki nodded gently, agreeing to Aokiji’s view, “Aoki Hidehiro most likely knew the plan of Takashima Izumi and his gang. He pretended to be sick and took a day off. Then, he locked the doors after all the students of Class Four had assembled in the warehouse. However, I also agree with Ito Shunji’s words. Unless it was a major vendetta, otherwise, why would he lock the entire Class Four inside the warehouse?”
Aokiji could not find an answer to Kazuki’s query.
During his previous and only encounter with Aoki Hidehiro, he merely lent him some money and managed to obtain minimal information about the fire at Akichi High School.
It was apparent that Aoki Hidehiro was not being entirely honest. As Aokiji recalled their conversation that day, he remembered that Aoki Hidehiro did not appear panicked when Aokiji approached him.
Aoki Hidehiro was merely shocked at the fact that Aokiji was informed about him being the sole survivor from the Akichi High School fire. Appearing to be slightly guilty, he accepted the money and quickly offered him some of the information regarding the fire.
Apparently, Shiori did not understand much either. In addition to what had happened tonight, she was still in a state of shock and was silent throughout.
Kazuki massaged his scalp. He was mentally exhausted from battle with the ghost face in his Sea of Consciousness. Kazuki had no intention to dwell in the doubts he had regarding Akichi High School at this moment.
After narrating about his meeting with Aoki Hidehiro, Aokiji too did not know what to make of it. Even though his father was the chairman of the Akichi High School’s board of directors, he was scarcely briefed about the fire. Nonetheless, when the fire happened five years ago, he was studying at the university. Moreover, as his father never spoke much of the incident, he only had limited knowledge about it.
Seeing that Kazuki was in no mood to speak, Aokiji did not say anything. As a grown man, he knew when he was allowed to intervene, and when he was supposed to turn a blind eye.
Regarding the episode tonight, he had to keep everything he witnessed as a secret, never to tell the story to anyone.
But there was something else...
Kazuki noticed Aokiji’s hesitation to speak. He knew that Aokiji needed a favor. However, Kazuki had no intention to probe into it as long as Aokiji did not say it.
Eventually, Aokiji gathered his courage. Full of hope, he asked, “Do you know about medicine, Kimura-san?”
“No, I don’t,” Kazuki replied honestly, crushing the hope Aokiji had.
Aokiji face was anguished, and his eyes filled with sorrow. He sighed and said, “Seemingly, this is Ryoko’s fate.” Even though Kazuki and Shiori did not question, Aokiji proceeded to explain the situation anyway.
They found out that Aokiji did not come to Akichi High School only as a company for Yamazaki Masato and his gang. His main objective was to retrieve the time capsule he buried together with Ueda Ryoko, his childhood sweetheart.
By now, it had almost been a year since Ueda Ryoko was diagnosed with terminal gastric cancer.
Ueda Ryoko and Aokiji shared hobbies that were similar but not entirely the same.
Aokiji liked to heedlessly trespass to places with horrifying rumors. On the other hand, Ueda Ryoko’s favorite pastime was to watch horror movies and was least interested in any outdoor activity.
Nowadays, Ueda Ryoko thought her days were numbered. Hence, Aokiji decided to visit Akichi High School.
6th April was the death anniversary of the entire Class Four of sophomore year in Akichi High School. He intended to experience the horror of the Akichi High School with his beloved via video call.
After listening to the story, Kazuki fell into a brief silence before he replied, “I’m sorry. I have completely no knowledge of medicine. The Ghost Expelling Talisman was able to expel the chilliness in your bodies because it was caused by the ghost face, a supernatural cause. This power, however, cannot cure physical illness.”
He was a doctorate student of the Enchanted Talisman Division, not the Alchemy Division.
Even if he were a doctorate student of the Alchemy Division, he would be too impoverished to help. At this era where reiki was barren, it was basically impossible to produce a medicine to cure the terminal gastric cancer.
Upon hearing his answer, the little flare of hope in Aokiji’s heart was unreservedly extinguished. He forced a smile and said, “That’s alright, Kimura-san. Please let me know if there is any way at all to save Ryoko before she passes on.” After he expressed his wish, he presented a sincere bow to Kazuki.
Kazuki helped Aokiji up before he nodded earnestly, “Yes, I will.” Yet, both of them knew exactly how slim the chance was.
“This is my name card, Kimura-san. Please accept it.” Aokiji delivered his name card with two hands. Before this, Aokiji didn’t pass his card to Kazuki, as he seemed to have no intention of building any relationship, appearing aloof during the ‘Final Forum.’ As a result, Aokiji did not take the initiative to make any conversation.
Just like Kazuki, Aokiji did not expect to keep in touch with Kazuki in the future. However, what happened just now brought Kazuki closer to Aokiji. Kazuki was no longer as silent and distant as before.
Apparently, Kazuki vividly remembered how Aokiji and Shiori carried him out of Akichi High School.
Kazuki received the name card and placed it in his pocket. At this moment, a honk resonated across the atmosphere.
“That must be Nakada-Kun. He is here to pick us up.”
Nakada Yuuki was an employee at the haunted house. Not long after their departure, Shiori said that she had dropped her mobile phone at the Akichi High School. After some consideration, Aokiji decided to follow Shiori to the Akichi High School to search for her mobile phone.
In the meantime, Nakada Yuuki and the others would first head back to the hotel and settle down before picking them up at the high school again.
The interlude tonight was beyond Aokiji and Shiori’s expectation.
Upon hearing this, Kazuki replied with a nod. All of a sudden, a weight slumped onto his shoulder. Shiori, who had always been standing beside him, had suddenly collapsed and fallen toward him. Her breath was warm. Shocked, he reached out to gently touch Shiori’s forehead only to discover that it was extremely hot.
Aokiji, too, noticed the abnormality. Concerned, he asked, “What happened?”
“She’s got a high fever.”
Shiori was never a fit person. As they were walking, the two of them had noticed her weak body strength. After the horrifying episode they just encountered, coupled with the immense change of emotions, she had fallen sick.
Of course, it was mainly because of the chilliness from before.
Kazuki had informed the two of them about the possibility to fall ill after they returned home, but they would be fine after the recuperation. Little did he expect that Shiori would be incapacitated halfway through their journey.
Fortunately, Nakada Yuuki was already on his way.
A few minutes later, as they were in the car, Kazuki stared at the Akichi High School behind him as it slowly faded into the distance.
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