Chapter Twenty-Three: Grandfather:
Ever since they picked up the Eda-Kimoto case, Tsuzuki had on nagging question he couldnï¿½t ignore. Where was Kimoto Akio? Earlier searches on him turned up nothing. Tsuzuki lied awake in the guest room. His mind started to play the ï¿½what ifï¿½ game.
What if Akioï¿½s dead and no one reported it? It seemed possible; the last time anyone saw him was the twenty-eighth of February in 1967. He and his wife abandoned their children for two years that night. Tsuzuki remembered the question Daisuke asked on one of his tapes.
ï¿½Whoï¿½s Kirika-chanï¿½s father?ï¿½ he asked. Tsuzuki began to wonder the same thing as well. It made sense; Haruka couldï¿½ve seduced another man and got pregnant. The shinigami frowned at that possibility. It didnï¿½t seem like Haruka.
Wait, Tsuzuki thought. There is Aki. Ah yes, Aki, Harukaï¿½s kitsune. He already knew of the seductive power kitsune have. Tsuzuki cringed as he thought of the Mother again. He made himself get back on track. It was possible with Aki to seduce a man in Tsuzukiï¿½s previous scenario. But what of Akio? Thatï¿½s when another thought crossed his mind. What if Haruka murdered her husband? Tsuzuki bottled straight up in bed. He needed a little help on this quest.
When work hours started, the shinigami headed over to Ju-Oh-Choï¿½s library. He made his way to the front desk. Older Gushoshin glanced up from the computer.
ï¿½Can I help you?ï¿½ he asked. Tsuzuki prepared the best way to ask this.
ï¿½Uhï¿½ Iï¿½m looking for somebody,ï¿½ he spoke up. The bird-like creature narrowed his eyes at him.
ï¿½May I ask who?ï¿½ he asked. Tsuzuki leaned in closer for his answer.
ï¿½Kimoto Akio,ï¿½ he whispered. Gushoshinï¿½s jaw dropped.
ï¿½There is no information on him,ï¿½ he was quick to say.
ï¿½Oh come on,ï¿½ Tsuzuki insisted. ï¿½There has to be something.ï¿½
ï¿½There isnï¿½t,ï¿½ the bird-creature insisted.
ï¿½Not even a death certificate?ï¿½ Tsuzuki asked.
ï¿½We donï¿½t know if heï¿½s dead or alive,ï¿½ Gushoshin argued. The shinigami already had his counter-argument ready to go.
ï¿½What if Haruka killed him?ï¿½ he offered.
ï¿½But his soulï¿½s not registered in Meifu, at all,ï¿½ Gushoshin said shaking his head.
ï¿½Aki couldï¿½ve eaten it,ï¿½ Tsuzuki pointed out. ï¿½The tsukai are desperate to live after all.ï¿½ The bird creature eyed him oddly.
ï¿½Do you have any proof of this?ï¿½ he challenged that accusation. Tsuzuki had nothing to back up this claim. Akio had never been found for years, he had no record of his death, and no way to examine his body.
ï¿½No, I donï¿½t,ï¿½ the shinigami answered. ï¿½But I have to know what happened to him. The question is driving me crazy.ï¿½
ï¿½There isnï¿½t anything there,ï¿½ Gushoshin repeated. ï¿½Weï¿½ve checked many times. Weï¿½re still checking now.ï¿½
ï¿½Are you looking hard enough?ï¿½ Tsuzuki asked. He went into innocent puppy mode at that question. Gushoshin frowned at where this was going.
ï¿½Yes,ï¿½ he said. ï¿½Weï¿½re looking as hard as we can.ï¿½
ï¿½You sure?ï¿½ the man asked.
ï¿½Tsuzukiï¿½.ï¿½ the older bird creature grumbled.
ï¿½Please?ï¿½ the shinigami pleaded. ï¿½I have to know!ï¿½ The bird creature narrowed his eyes at him.
ï¿½You wonï¿½t give up otherwise, will you?ï¿½ he asked. Tsuzuki shook his head innocently. Gushoshin sighed and rolled his eyes.
ï¿½Fine,ï¿½ he said. ï¿½Weï¿½ll get to it, again.ï¿½ Tsuzuki felt like dancing.
ï¿½Thank you, Gushoshin,ï¿½ he said with a bow. The bird creature frowned.
ï¿½Right,ï¿½ he muttered.
However, Tsuzuki wasnï¿½t the only one with a burning question to ask. Konoe sat with Hakushaku for tea. The latter lowered his cup.
ï¿½Iï¿½ll get to the point, Konoe-san,ï¿½ he said. ï¿½Enma-Daioh feels that Tsuzukiï¿½s gotten too close to this case.ï¿½
ï¿½Yes sir,ï¿½ Konoe agreed. ï¿½We didnï¿½t expect him to fall for the Motherï¿½s vessel, let alone marry her.ï¿½
ï¿½This is a problem indeed,ï¿½ the invisible man said. ï¿½Which is why we will take him off this case. I will hand it over to sector five.ï¿½ Hakushaku took another drink of his tea. ï¿½Tell me,ï¿½ he said. ï¿½How is that leak investigation going?ï¿½
ï¿½Weï¿½re still looking,ï¿½ Konoe answered. ï¿½We have a couple of leads so far.ï¿½
ï¿½And the surveillance?ï¿½ the invisible man asked.
ï¿½No changes,ï¿½ the other old man answered.
ï¿½Good, good,ï¿½ Hakushaku said. ï¿½Letï¿½s just keep it that way for now.ï¿½
ï¿½Yes sir,ï¿½ Konoe said before taking a sip of his own tea.