Chapter 47: Tokyo Drift XVII

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

Even though they had already expected it, Ameko could not help but feel a little disappointed that Kurobe Saburo refused to budge. She and Zhang Heng found a place to have a quick lunch, then hurried to the public hospital that Asano Naoto was sent to.

After making an inquiry at the visitor registration counter, they received confirmation that Hiromi Rinko no longer worked there. But when a passing nurse heard the name, she stopped to tell them, “She used to work here, but she has retired. When I first came here, I was not doing well. She encouraged me and gave me guidance! Why are you looking for her?”

Zhang Heng lifted the fruit basket in his hand and said, “My father was involved in a horrific car accident a long time ago—it was Hiromi Rinko’s aunt who helped him recover. We just want to thank her.”

This was quite common in hospitals around here. A large number of patients and their family members would continuously return to thank the doctors and nurses. There was no reason for the head nurse to suspect these two young people.

She tore a piece of paper and scribbled an address on it. “Thank goodness we met. Rinko senpai 1 lives here now.”

“Taihaku Nursing Home?” Ameko read the address on the paper.

“Yes… Senpai never got married and didn’t have any children. Ever since she retired, she volunteered to do charity work there. She wanted to keep making contributions in her sunset years, and also find herself a resting place for the future,” the nurse said, brimming with admiration.

Zhang Heng gratefully thanked her and took the subway with Ameko to the nursing home in the suburb. With the help of caretakers there, they were able to quickly locate Hiromi Rinko.

The former nurse was teaching an elderly who had lost most of his hearing how to arrange flowers. When she saw the two young people approaching her, there was a hint of suspicion in her eyes, but she still nodded at them.

Five minutes later, Hiromi Rinko helped the elderly man settle down before walking over to Ameko and Zhang Heng. “Who are you?”

Perhaps it was the nature of her occupation; the Hiromi Rinko in the picture carried a stern appearance, with a military rigidness about her. Zhang Heng was worried that she would not be easy to communicate with, but upon meeting her in person, he realized that she was much more easygoing than he had imagined her to be.

Zhang Heng passed the fruit basket to her as they seated themselves on the sofa.

“We’re here to find out about something. Do you still remember that horrible accident 22 years ago? Two young men were racing cars against traffic when one of them ran into a truck. One died instantly, and the other was severely wounded. His name was…”

“Asano Naoto,” Hiromi Rinko cut in. “I remember that. But not because it was all over the news, but because that boy was so young. He was battling the Shinigami, and you could see that he really did not want to leave this world! Unfortunately, I couldn’t help him.”

Zhang Heng and Ameko shared a look between them. “We heard that you were with him the whole time. We… we are his family. We just want to know if anyone visited him or if he asked to see anyone when he was awake.

“No, you’re not his family.” Hiromi Rinko shook her head. It was as if she could see through them.

Ameko’s face grew hot under the old nurse’s steely gaze.

Zhang Heng, on the other hand, was calm. “Distant family.”

Hiromi Rinko smiled and did not question them anymore about this question. “If you were asking about other people, without their consent or the family’s consent, I’m not at liberty to tell you. But he… people other apart from the media are rarely concerned about him.”

“What do you mean?”

“Asano Naoto, that’s a very lonely child. In the three days he spent in the hospital, his grandfather only came to see him once. I heard that his parents had already cut off all relations with him by then… oh, and uhh… I think he had an uncle who sent two men to guard the door. He never actually went in.”

“So, no one cared at all?” Zhang Heng and Ameko were a little taken aback by the nurse’s answer.

Hiromi Rinko sighed. “In our line of work, it’s normal to see deaths. But it was a real heartbreak to see such a young boy leave this world in such a lonely way. In the end, he lost all the will to recover. I don’t know if you can call that lucky.”

______

Ameko left Taihaku Nursing Home with a blank look on her face. Not a single part of it had been like what she’d imagined. After seeing Hiromi Rinko, everything became even murkier instead of clearing, as if a thick fog had emerged in front of them.

Apparently, Asano Naoto’s uncle did not care that much for his nephew. He did not even bother to take time out to visit his dying family—now why would he suddenly think about avenging him after so many years?

If it wasn’t Oni Hitomi who set the seafood shop on fire, then who was it? Why would they come after Takeda Tetsuya, who had long since disappeared from the racing scene? Why pretend to be Oni Hitomi?

“No, this does not make sense at all,” Zhang Heng said. “From the looks of things, this person is trying to push your father into Oni Hitomi’s snare! But if he knew about that, he could have just informed the Oni Hitomi and let them confront your father instead.”

They were now at a dead end. At the moment, they did not have any other leads. It was getting late, and the both of them were walking around on an empty stomach, considering they missed lunch. Ameko bought two family buckets from KFC, and then they returned to her cousin’s cramped apartment.

Once they got off the elevator, Ameko fumbled for the keys in her bag, but the expression on Zhang Heng’s face caused her to look up.

The door was ajar! It was only a small opening, but Zhang Heng remembered very clearly that they made sure to lock the door before leaving. Ameko might have normally been a little absent-minded, but she would never make a mistake like this.

Ameko began to panic a little. She was worried that her father had been snatched into the jaws of Oni Hitomi. While Asano Naoto’s uncle may not have been too upset about his nephew’s death, but if the murderer did show up, he would never let him off the hook to save his own face as the organization’s leader.

Ameko was getting ready to barge into the room when Zhang Heng grabbed her by the arm!

There was a siren going off in his mind. In the condition they left him in, there was no way Takeda Tetsuya could have freed himself from the ropes. He must have had help. Moreover, it was bizarre that the door had been left ajar as if inviting outsiders to come in and take a look.

Before examining the situation in detail, Zhang Heng decided to take Ameko away from this place. The people inside the house, however, had heard their footsteps. In the next moment, someone burst through the door! From his clothes, it was apparent that he was an associate of the guys in the dark blue Voxy back at the seafood store.

Zhang Heng never learned taekwondo before, but had been training in the gym and was much stronger than the average person. By the time the guy reached into his pockets, Zhang Heng was already standing in front of Ameko, throwing a punch at the man’s face! The guy staggered and stumbled backward into the house, disoriented.

Ever since he graduated from elementary school, Zhang Heng had never hit anyone. So, he too was stunned by the punch he had just thrown. This, however, was not the time to think about how strong he’d become. It was imperative that he exploited this temporary win and find out if the perpetrator was carrying a gun. He was about to pounce on the man and continued to fight him when suddenly, the cold and unmistakable nozzle of a gun pressed against the back of his head!

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