Chapter 46: Tokyo Drift XVI
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Ameko placed a tattered blanket she found at the back of the van over her sleeping father. She thanked Zhang Heng and jumped down.
“You’re saying that he was lying?”
“No. I just think that there are some parts of his story that need deliberating.” Zhang Heng locked the car doors and then took the lift up to the supermarket. “The thing I find most curious the Oni Hitomi’s attitude towards him. If it’s really as he said, and Asano Naoto did wake up in the hospital and told his own uncle about the race, it made no sense that the Oni Hitomi did not go looking for him. The need for revenge is the strongest when there’s been a recent death in the family.”
“Hmm, maybe they couldn’t find him? Didn’t he live incognito right after that accident?”
“If that is the case, then how do you explain the stone that was thrown into his window six years later?” Zhang Heng said. “Especially that warning written in blood—forgive me for being frank, but that did not sound like language that a strict organization like the gokudo 1would use.”
Ameko pondered on what her friend was saying. “It does sound like you’re right, but I’m sure that the people who burned the shop and kidnapped me were the Oni Hitomi.”
Zhang Heng shook his head. “Again, the timing of their appearance is just weird. It’s been over 20 years since that accident on the highway. Why would they suddenly choose to take revenge now? And who was that mystery guy who called him? Someone from Oni Hitomi? Why help your father? Your father’s not stupid. He should be able to notice these problems, but his brain is refusing to think! That’s why we need to investigate this.”
“But we don’t have any connection with those people from back then,” Ameko anxiously said.
“No, right now we’re close to a breakthrough. If Asano Naoto woke up from his coma, the attending nurses and doctors who attended would know who visited him. We just need to track down the team that rescued him to find out who he came into contact with during that period.” Zhang Heng pushed the shopping cart to the rack displaying tapes. “But before we do that, we need to keep your father quiet.”
They bought 10 rolls of black tape and 2 bundles of climbing rope. Taking them back to the minivan, they bound Takeda Takashi. Under Ameko’s instructions, Zhang Heng drove the L300 to an apartment.
“This is my cousin’s place. She’s an air stewardess. International flights. She’s rarely ever home. She gave me the keys so I could help water her plants on the terrace whenever I’m free. No one would find this place,” said Ameko as she pushed the door open.
The apartment was small but well-equipped and furnished, tidy, and well-kept.
Zhang Heng dragged the Takeda Tetsuya, who was wrapped in the blanket onto the bed. The buffer they had since the soup bowl was now over. The man was now half-awake to the apartment, eyes wide open, and gagging through the tape trying to speak.
“Even if you’re really going to seek your death, you need to give us some time. At least don’t just die so dubiously, or else Kobayashi’s sacrifice would have been for nothing.”
Zhang Heng did not care if the seafood store owner heeded his advice or not. As long as he was still wrapped up like a dumpling, there was nothing he could do even if he disagreed.
Ameko apologized to her father and, with Zhang Heng’s help, used the remaining rope to secure Takeda Tetsuya onto the bed so that he would not roll-off. When they were done, they drove to the Tokyo Metropolitan Library, a public library located in Minami-Azabu of Minato City. Constructed in 1973 with a total holding of approximately 1.8 million volumes, it was free and open to the public.
Zhang Heng and Ameko had come to look up newspaper articles about the accident on the highway racing that caused the death of two young men, a brutal incident at any given time.
Practically all major newspapers covered that accident. So, they just needed to find the exact date to locate the corresponding articles.
Ameko was only on the second paper when she found Kurobe Saburo, the doctor in charge of treating Asano Naoto. Asahi Shimbun 1 had conducted an interview with him.
Zhang Heng looked up the name on the internet and found that Dr. Kurobe Saburo had left his position in the public hospital to become the vice president of a private hospital—this was going to be a bit of a problem. People at this level were very busy and vigilant, not exactly approachable.
Ameko looked through another dozen of newspapers with the same date and even found scanned articles in the library’s system. Eventually, she came across a new finding from a local tabloid that had already been discontinued. “Zhang-san, do you think this is useful?”
She stepped aside to let her companion look at the screen. These past nine months, Zhang Heng had not only honed his driving skills but had also worked on his language. Other than attending classes, he also spent every free minute strengthening his vocabulary. His hard work was finally paying off. He could now communicate in Japanese, and as long as the words the newspapers used were not too technical, he was able to understand most of it.
“Hayami Rinko. Is she the nurse?” Zhang Heng was drawn to a stern-looking elderly lady.
“Yes. She has been working in the hospital for 32 years. It said that Asano Naoto was in a critical condition when he was admitted. Since she was the most experienced nurse in the hospital, she was assigned to his case, not sleeping for 2 days and 2 nights. Unfortunately, in the end, they were unable to save him. If we look at her age… She’s probably retired by now.”
“Let’s find Dr. Kurobe Saburo first. If not, we’ll have to find Hayami Rinko.” Zhang Heng decided.
As they had expected, it was not easy getting Kurobe Saburo. As an expert surgeon in Tokyo, his many different numbers were published online, but the person answering the phone was his female assistant.
Even though the person on the other end was polite, she was firm and unyielding about not being able to set up an appointment for them. President Kurobe Saburo’s timetable was fully booked until the end of the month. Zhang Heng and Ameko decided to wait for the doctor in front of the hospital building he was working in. After two hours of waiting, they finally spotted him.
Meeting him for only a few minutes, Kurobe Saburo claimed that he did not remember much about what happened that year. After one or two questions, he already appeared irritated. Opening the door to his black Mercedes, he snapped, “If there’s anything else, you can look for my assistant. I have an appointment with a few friends from the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.”
Zhang Heng did not press the man for more information. Kurobe Saburo was not a small potato, the likes of Takeda Tetsuya. If he were to go missing or be forced into confession, it would draw a lot of attention. Also, this guy might genuinely not recall the incident. A specialist like him sometimes would have to perform more than a dozen operations in a day. After leaving the operating table, he would be so tired that he might even forget his name.
Ameko watched the Mercedes leave and then turned to Zhang Heng. “So, what now?
“Let’s try Hayami Rinko. She worked for the hospital for decades. Someone must surely know where she went after her retirement.”