"We are deeply sorry for your loss. Thank you for being so close to Kaede during his lifetime. I can't believe this has happened. I'm so sorry..."
"Thank you very much. I am sure Yuuki was very happy to have met Kaede-chan too."
In a corner of the lounge at the end of the ward.
Sayaka and I were sitting on the sofa facing the Satou's family.
As Sayaka expressed her condolences, I bowed silently to express mine.
I should have said at least a few words of condolence. However, it is not good to let people know that I had met Satou Yuuki. I was thinking in my mind whether I should choose my words carefully or not, and I somehow missed the timing to speak.
"I heard that you were in a traffic accident."
Although it seemed a little rude to ask such a question to someone who had just lost a child, I decided to ask about the accident out of politeness. Considering the current state of mind of Satou's family, I know that I shouldn't ask such a question to them as a stranger. But I asked them because I was wondering if this accident had happened because I had changed Satou Yuuki's fate. But that is not all. There was something else that was bothering me.
"Yes. On the way home from a family dinner, we were hit by a car coming from the side at an intersection. Only Yuuki was sitting in the back seat. Neither my wife nor I were even injured. Maybe he was just unlucky."
"Dear! He had just recovered from his illness and was finally able to lead a normal life. You can't say it was just bad luck... It's as if Yuuki was killed!"
"Stop it! There's nothing we can do about it, is there?"
"But, if we just dismiss it as bad luck, I feel so sorry for him..."
A black flame of intense [hatred] flared up immediately.
That was what had been bothering me since a few minutes before, that there was a darker feeling in Satou's family other than the gray of [sadness].
"You don't mean it's like he was killed? With all due respect, were you two in a car accident? I'm sorry, I'm an outsider asking such a question, it was an extremely unpleasant story."
"No, it's fine. I have a feeling that not only my wife but also myself would like someone to listen to us."
"Also, I'm sorry I'm late. My name is James Masuda and I am a distant relative of Sayaka. We would be happy to talk to you as much as you would like. We don't claim to be able to help you, but we might be helpful as someone to whom you can vent your grievances."
Sayaka, who is standing next to me, just nods silently at my words. We've already discussed the issue of distant relatives when I went to the hospital to treat Kaede, so there's no problem. That being said, it is not my place to interfere. But the fact that Sayaka is leaving it to me is a proof that she trusts me so much.
However, I couldn't explain clearly why she made such a troublesome request to me.
After all, no matter how much I was concerned about their dark feelings, I was not interested in the couple in front of me to the extent of playing turtle, nor did I have any desire to comfort the couple who had just lost their son. It is true that the wife was a little bit pretty, but she was not as pretty as Sayaka, and I was not making this offer out of any ulterior motive.
"Yes. It might make us feel better if you heard everything. I'm sorry, would you mind?"
"Yes, of course. Please tell me what's on your mind."
"Then, let me explain the situation of the accident from the beginning. My car was hit by the other car from the side at the intersection, and our traffic light was green at that time. Immediately after the accident, the other car admitted the incident, but later on, the other party suddenly started claiming that the light was green too. According to what the police told me, there was even an eyewitness at that time, who testified that the other party had run the green light."
"So you suspect that the other party brought an unrelated witness out of nowhere?"
"No, I think they are probably not related. We remember that the witness, a woman who fits the description given by the police was in the neighborhood at the time of the accident. I have no idea how they found her, but I am sure that what she saw was not a lie."
"Then either the woman is lying, or... Satou-san, you are absolutely confident that you were the one with the green light, aren't you?"
"Of course we are. Not only my husband, but I also made sure of it from the passenger seat."
"I see. So, what is the other party like?"
"He was a man in his late thirties named Kusunoki Kenjiro. He was driving a luxury car, and he even brought his lawyer with him when we visited the scene of the crime, so I thought he must be a man of some standing..."
The name echoed in my head.
It sounded vaguely familiar... But the fact that I can't recall his face suggests that I have never met him and have only heard his name somewhere.
"Yes. He seems to be the younger brother of that Kusunoki Seiichiro."
"Kusunoki Seiichiro-san, is he a member of the prefectural council? I think I've met him once before."
Sayaka had met Kusunoki Seiichiro before.
She must have some chances to meet with some congressmen and other important people because of her job. If so, I should ask her later what kind of a person she is.
"Yes, his name is Kusunoki Seiichiro. Let me make it clear. We suspect that Kusunoki Kenjiro may have bribed the witness to give false testimonies."
"That must be true. I mean, it doesn't make any sense. He admitted that he overlooked the traffic signal at one time. If he had only killed Yuuki by carelessness, he would have tried to cover up his crime. We're not going to forgive Kenjiro Kusunoki for the rest of our life."
"Hmm. From what I've heard, it sure sounds fishy. But if the witness had been bribed, wouldn't it be very difficult to overturn the testimony of the witness?"
"Yes, I also think that it would be difficult to overturn the testimony of the witness. That's why my wife and I go to the accident site every Friday night, the same night as the accident, and we are in the process of calling out to passers-by to see if anyone else saw the accident."
"Every week...? That must be very difficult for you. We may not be able to help much, but we would like to help as much as we can. We wish you the best of luck."
"Thank you very much. Just the fact that you listened to me like this is enough for me. Thanks to you, I feel a little lighter."
Frankly speaking, I didn't think they would find any new witnesses.
But that didn't stop the young couple in front of me from being so caught up in their hatred that they were willing to take a chance on the slightest possibility. I mean, I was just like them until a while ago.
After that, I talked with the Satou's family again, but I could not find any connection that my action had caused Satou Yuuki's destiny to be undone.
However, one thing became clear to me at that time. That is that I feel almost no guilt or sympathy for this young couple.
Even if I did not use the poison of Muldeur on Satou Yuuki, Satou Yuuki is likely to have died from the disease after all. Well, I don't know Satou Yuuki's past history, so I can only imagine what happened to him.
Though I did feel a little sorry for such a short life.
Well, if I wanted to, it would not be so difficult to find a new witness for the Satou's family, and it would be also possible for me to search Kusunoki Kenjiro's personal information and to force him to tell me if the witness is telling a lie or not.
However, I didn't think that I would be too much forced to cooperate with them.
Besides, the Satou's family is a stranger to me.
I don't think there is much merit for me, and making them into collaborators like Sayaka seems to me to be a meaningless action.
It may sound a little cold, but I am not a friend of justice or anything. After talking for a while in the lounge, we parted from the Satou's family and went back to the hospital room where Kaede was waiting for us.
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