“Tomiko has been in contact with these districts for years and has kept a close eye on them,” Hiromi Torigai added in her quiet voice.
“Yes, I have been observing them for a very long time. Every district does the same. We all fear not knowing what is happening outside our borders. So the nine districts in the country gather to talk about the appearances of fiends and karma demons, as well as exchange other information deemed important for public safety. So I can promise you that the only thing every district cares about right now is sustaining a peaceful living environment.”
“I see. Obviously, they gain no advantage by provoking anxiety in others,” Shisei Kaburagi said casually, as if he had known this all along. “So now the possibilities are even fewer. If it isn’t someone from our district, and it’s not anyone from another district, then what about those that left our town in the past?”
My heart almost leapt out of my chest. He was talking about Maria and Mamoru.
“That is impossible,” Tomiko said solemnly. “Those children are dead.”
Lies, I thought. Tomiko was covering for them. If she wasn’t…
“I have heard that we have received their remains. But that was two or three years after they went missing.”
“Yes. So you should be clear about what happened.”
Remains… My head was spinning from disbelief.
“But I am becoming suspicious of those too. Because the one who discovered and brought us the remains is none other than the one who I suspect is behind this atrocity. Yakomaru.”
My mind snapped back into focus as I remembered the words Yakomaru had said twelve years ago.