Translator: Sigma Editor: Sigma
"December 2," answered Watanabe.
"Is the time of the first recording was on November 24th?" asked Feng Bujue.
"Could you tell me the time of the second and the third recording?" Feng Bujue continued to ask.
Watanabe didn’t answer him immediately. He seemed to need more time to think. However, Tachibana-Keibu, who used to object others’ opinions, continued from behind, "The day Fukui got shot was November 26th. In the late afternoon, he asked all the helpers in the house to leave. The reason was to meet your wife, Haruko Sato." After he had come up to this part, he hesitated for a while as he looked like he was trying to use the more appropriate words. "Personally, I think that a bad guy like Fukui couldn't pay off his sins with his death. However, you are now in my hands since the weapon was found in your place. I will not spare you just because I sympathize you."
"Fukui’s body wasn’t found until noon of the next day. Since he was shot to death, the investigation has been carried out very carefully. At that day, Hirata-Kun was still going to work as usual. His appearance was really calm. Haruko Sato was absent and the third recording is what happened on the evening of the same day," Watanabe added.
"So the time Officer Yamada went missing should be from November 24th when Hirata left the office until the noon of November 26th?" said Feng Bujue.
"The night of November 25th, he went out for patrolling by bicycle, and no one had seen him ever since," continued Tachibana–Keibu.
"Did they find the bicycle?" asked Feng Bujue.
"I’m asking you where the man is now!" Tachibana shouted.
"So you mean it can't be found?" Feng Bujue mused, "Oh, so that’s it."
"Kiddo, do you want to get hit with this tone of yours?" Tachibana threw the cigarette butt and he was about to storm over him again.
Feng Bujue paid no attention to him and just continued, "As far as I know, social security in Japan isn’t bad. The total number of policemen takes a large amount in the population. If it’s in the big cities, only special force or criminal officers can have guns. But in such a small town like this, I guess… security matters and criminal cases should be handled by a small group of officers. Thus, it isn’t strange that Yamada has become a target." He paused for a while then continued, "That’s my reasoning. Assuming that Hirata had the plan to steal Yamada’s gun, he would have had two options. One, steal it. Two, just snatch it."
"Of course, stealing needs technique, let alone stealing something like a police’s gun! Once he got arrested, he must be jailed for sure, and the conspiracy of killing Fukui would be exposed. Hirata had committed his deed at any cost, but it was under the primary condition that he could kill Fukui. Before that, he must not fail. So… snatching is more serious than stealing, and of course, the related crime would be more serious. However, to a man who had a plan to kill someone, he had soon known it."
"If he had to snatch it, no technique would be required. He just needed to seize the chance in the evening at a quiet place and assault Yamada when he hadn’t recognized the situation yet, then take the gun. But if it had happened that way, Yamada shouldn’t have been missing… At most, he should have only just fainted somewhere on the roadside. Currently, Yamada had gone missing indeed. This speaks up the fact that during the time Hirata was taking the gun, something unexpected had happened. Perhaps he had only wanted to make him blackout for a while, but he failed to do so then he had to kill the officer…"
"Bastard!" Tachibana finally burst out this time. He stormed forward and grabbed Feng Bujue’s collar. "You finally admitted it! Spit it out! Where is Yamada’s body?!"
Feng Bujue continued to narrate calmly, "I don’t know. I just made assumptions from the clues you’ve given me… Ouch…" While he was still speaking, Tachibana had hit his belly hard. His Survival Value directly plunged down by 30%. Moreover, he got the ‘Paralyzed’ status.
"Tachibana-Keibu!" Watanabe stepped forward and pulled the uncle away. "Don’t abuse the suspect!"
"The suspect? This brat has killed at least two people!" yelled Tachibana.
"Well, Tachibana–Keibu. That’s enough," Watanabe advised him.
Feng Bujue tried to press down his pain. His breathing wasn’t stable, and it took him a really long time to recover. As he was unconsciously sinking in his joy of reasoning and acted as he pleased, this punch had woken him up and told him that he was still in a Nightmare difficulty level scenario. Although the two NPCs in front of him were the kind he could communicate with, there would never be an ‘absolute safe situation’. Any insignificant mistake could kill him. A wrong word or even a bad behavior had a chance to trigger the Death FLAG. Any random NPC could finish him in just a blink of an eye.
"Ha... ha... ha... ha..." Feng Bujue panted, gulped and continued, "If Hirata had killed Officer Yamada on his patrol way, his bicycle should be found too."
As Tachibana seemed to get his nerves together, Watanabe loosened his grip, and both of them turned to look at Feng Bujue, wanting to listen to him more.
"When Hirata found that he had accidentally killed the officer, he simply had two possible options. First, take the gun and run away; second, hide the body and run away. Even if he had chosen the second option, he would have had no way to bring along the corpse and the bicycle at the same time. At most, he could only hide the bicycle nearby and move the corpse later…" When he came to this part, something else popped up in his mind. "Oh right, does Hirata have a vehicle?"
"No. In fact, he doesn't have a driving license either," answered Watanabe.
"Then we can cross out the possibility that he had bumped Yamada to death and hid the corpse and the bicycle in his car trunk." Feng Bujue had been musing for around 10 seconds and arranged his thought before speaking up again, "I have three assumptions. The first one, after Hirata had assaulted Yamada, he hid the body in a secret place while the bicycle was still on the street and someone else had taken it, and, that person didn’t witness the murder case. That’s why the one who dared to take the bicycle could be a homeless person. This person perhaps had left the town. Or, maybe when that person heard about the case, since he or she got scared knowing it’s one of the items related to a murder case, he or she then threw the bicycle into the river or even fragmented it."
"The second one, after Hirata had attacked Officer Yamada, Yamada didn’t die or lose his consciousness; moreover, he saw Hirata’s face. Hirata had no choice then. If he let Yamada go, he would soon be arrested. Thus, he had to use the gun to force Yamada and confine him somewhere, or even kill him already. In this case, Yamada had brought his bicycle along while Hirata was forcing him to do so."
"The third one, after Hirata found himself murdering the officer, he took the gun and ran away. But after he left, someone else had helped him clear the scene, including the body and the bicycle."
"What do you mean? You have partner in this?" Tachibana-Keibu barked coldly.
"This is just a reasonable assumption. This possibility exists. For example, someone saw what Hirata did and coincidentally knew him. Thus, right after Hirata ran away, he then cleaned the scene to hide the case. Later on, he could use this to blackmail Hirata and take his money. Or, he could even control Hirata to kill someone else for him using the same gun," answered Feng Bujue.
"Enough! You talk too much! How long do you want to pretend like this? Spit out Yamada’s whereabouts!" Hirata-Kun got on Tachibana-Keibu’s nerves to the extreme.
"Wait a minute. I still have something unclear…" Feng Bujue said, "On the afternoon of November 24, Hirata had the reason for his crime; on the evening of November 25, he got the gun from Officer Yamada; on the afternoon of November 26, he came to Fukui’s Yokan House, caught the infidelity and killed people," he gazed at Watanabe, "if no one had witnessed the case, how did you know that Haruko was there when Hirata had stormed into the room?"
"It’s based on Hirata’s description and the investigation of the scene. He said that when he opened the door, he saw Haruko on the bed and there was a monster attacking her. Thus, he shot the monster. When we asked him where he got the gun, he answered that he didn’t remember anything," said Watanabe.
"So Haruko hadn’t died at that time?" Feng Bujue asked.
"On the evening of November 27, when the police had received the report, they came to Hirata-kun’s room and found the dead body of Haruko Sato. From what they had investigated at the scene, they confirmed that she had committed suicide. The time of her death was estimated to happen around the afternoon of the same day. At that specific time, Hirata was working at his office as usual," said Watanabe.
"In other words, on November 26, after Hirata had killed the man at the Yokan House, he took Haruko home. And on the next day, he came to work as usual while his wife killed herself at home." Feng Bujue muttered, "There’s no chance that Haruko Sato would commit suicide because of her secret lover. And, she didn’t report to the police either… This means her suicide would be because of her mental struggling, and her fear or the guilt towards her infidelity to her husband."
"We’ve known these, you don’t need to repeat them," said Tachibana impatiently.
"What you have known are perhaps just only these three events in the recordings," Feng Bujue continued, "and what you don’t know is… Officer Yamada’s whereabouts, which is hidden inside Shuichi Hirata, who has lost his mind now." He shifted his eyes to doctor Watanabe. "So, Doctor Watanabe here wants to help you to wake up Hirata’s memory?"
"Do you recall something? Mister F?" asked Watanabe.
"I’m sorry. What I’ve seen are just the contents of the three replays, but they are a little bit different from your video. I have seen the monsters in Hirata-kun’s imagination," said Feng Bujue.
Watanabe sighed. "After a human brain had suffered from a serious stimulation, the memory would be affected. For instance, if a person was abused when he was young. Since those memories are too harsh and much beyond what a person could bear, his brain would seal the related memories as he would completely forget these bad memories, just like they have never happened. In some cases, these memories wouldn’t be ‘sealed’ but ‘modified’. In Hirata-kun’s case, he could only remember his wife was being attacked by a monster, but what happened in reality was…"
"I know it," Feng Bujue intervened him, "I have knowledge in this field." He suddenly wiggled his irritated neck due to being fixed onto the chair. "In case the memory is ‘sealed’, possibly, it can lead to Dissociative Identity Disorder. And, if it is ‘modified’, it can become illusions."
"Too much babbling! Where is Yamada?! Do you know it? Do you remember it?!" Tachibana–Keibu shouted at Feng Bujue’s face; he looked like he wanted to hit him again.
Although Feng Bujue didn’t want to receive another punch, he couldn’t get himself any room to struggle. As he was tied there, he could only let the other punch him. He didn't want to try the Body-Spirit Congregation Technique either. From the actions and words of these two NPCs, if he suddenly performed such supernatural powers like that, it could… When he could successfully break out, Watanabe would retreat in fear, but Tachibana would take out the gun and shoot him. This kind of development would surely lead to a fatal consequence for him.
"If we want to know where Yamada is, I have to return to…" Feng Bujue seized the chance and said.
"What are you saying?" Tachibana’s face was full of suspicion.
"I have to go back to that black-and-white world to investigate," Feng Bujue answered.
Watanabe looked at him and frowned. "You said… you wanted to go back into Hirata’s mental world?" He probed, "How to do that? Watching the video again?"
"No… It’s useless now." Feng Bujue said, "I’ve just watched it, right. I’ve just watched the normal images. By the time ‘Hirata’ was watching the video, I was in his mental world and experiencing his twisted memories. After that, I got here. Do you have any method so I can return to that place?" He pondered, "Moreover, it should be before the evening of November 25th…"
"Very good. You are willing to cooperate now. It’s time to talk to the doctor." Tachibana’s tone suddenly changed. Too calm. It was more than disturbing.
Feng Bujue was dazed. "What?" he looked at Watanabe, "haven’t I been talking to Doctor Watanabe all the time?"
Watanabe interrupted, "You can find the memories related to the case, and you can also recognize your mental situation. Moreover, you are now focusing on the blind point in your memory regarding Yamada. We don’t need to worry about it anymore."
"What?" Feng Bujue had no clue what they were talking about. "Why do you…"
Before he could finish his question, he had suddenly lost the ability to talk since his perspective changed into that of watching the computer graphics again. The scene in front of his eyes changed one more time.
Feng Bujue had a dizzy feeling that this scenario was playing him so much. At first, he thought that it was just a ghost haunting scenario; then, he thought there was something spiritual happening at the same time. It turned out that those three events were from the same chain, but the time order was reversed. Moreover, they were just the twisted memories of a mentally-ill patient. The plot setup had turned into a real murder case in reality.
Next… actually, he didn't know what would happen next.
That was the sound coming from an incandescent light bulb. An annoying dazzling white light had woken up Feng Bujue in his short-period absence of mind.
He closed his eyes and turned around. After two seconds, he could eventually adapt to the sudden increase of intensity of the light. Now, he could clearly see his surroundings.
Feng Bujue was wearing a patient uniform, which had black-and-white stripes, just like a prisoner uniform. He was sitting at a table while his hands were cuffed to the armrests and both of his legs were tied together.
There was a lamp on the table, together with some paper documents. A man was sitting opposite to him, wearing a white blouse. He looked more than 50 years old with wrinkles across his forehead. He was holding a piece of paper and drawing some circles on it. His other hand was holding a mini recorder.
This room wasn’t completely close. There was a tiny fan hung high above and a window with grille. Moonlight crept into the room through the window. A large bed stood in one corner of the room while there was a flush toilet in another corner. The four walls of the room didn't have the boring gray color of cement anymore as they were painted with a mild and brighter hue. Feng Bujue also saw a small window on the main door. This window wasn’t made from glass, but of thick iron meshes. There was another tiny window under it, which looked like it could only be opened from outside. That should be the place where they delivered meals to prisoners.
"So.. Hirata-Kun, if you are ready, we can start," said the man in the white blouse.
Feng Bujue sighed. "I’m sorry, please tell me three things."
The man in the white blouse contemplated for two seconds; his eyebrows slammed together. "What are those?"
"Who are you? Where am I? And, what date it is today?" asked Feng Bujue.
The other took a deep breath and exhaled heavily. "Sigh…" He pressed the button on his mini recorder and spoke up, "March 9, 2005, patient number 0098, Shuichi Hirata. File recorder, Taro Takakura."
Takakura put his recorder aside and talked to Feng Bujue, "You don’t recognize me?"
Feng Bujue didn’t care about him as he tried to cock his head and press his face on the back of his hand. After he had done it, he could confirm that he didn’t age for 15 years. Although he was wearing a prisoner costume, when he checked his menu, the costumes in his clothing slot didn't change. No matter what, from NPC’s point of view, no doubt that this person was Shuichi Hirata in his 40s.
"You…" Takakura seemed to be very keen. "Who are you? Hirata? Watanabe? Tachibana? Or someone else?"
This amount of information was huge to Feng Bujue. However, he could react promptly. "Do I have Dissociative Mental Disorder?"
"Yes," Takakura answered. He held the documents in his hand and sighed again. "Since you’ve been jailed in 1991, there were numerous famous doctors that was involved in finding treatment and doing research on you. Currently, it could be confirmed that you have three personalities. The host personality is Shuichi Hirata. And, the other two included a psychiatrist named Watanabe and a policeman named Tachibana. So, who are you? Or are you not anyone of them?"
Feng Bujue leaned against his chair. "You can call me Mister F." He looked at the ceiling. "Watanabe represents Hirata’s rationality and wisdom. Tachibana represents Hirata’s consciousness and self-blame. About the true Hirata… I don’t know. I’ve never met him."
"Mister F? Rationality? Consciousness?" Takakura snorted, "alright, Mr. F. What are you representing for? Your identity, your profession…"
"Me?" Feng Bujue smiled. "I’m a reasoning novelist. I came from a higher dimension, and I have entered this body." His face was relaxed. "I’m taking step by step to break out from the cage built by thoughts, whose host body is Hirata-Kun, the one I have never met before. Perhaps it could be something else. I’m from the chaotic world of twisted and obscure memories, breaking through the mental world of my subconsciousness. Then I’ve collected some important pieces of memories before I’ve come here." He leaned towards the man. "Now, I'm strongly suspicious whether you, Doctor Takakura, and this cell, are true or just another kind of cage…"
Today's chapter was a bit longer than usual. Anyways, expect 2 tomorrow, and more mind f**k for everyone!
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