While the storm is hitting town, I return to the office. When I enter the office wet with rain, Tohko-san greets me by dropping her cigarette.
“You’re fast. It’s only been a day.”
“I heard a storm was coming so I came back before the transportation stoppped.”
Tohko-san nods while making a difficult face. I wonder if something is wrong… No, right now……
“Tohko-san, about Asagami Fujino. She was not born with her pain insensitivity. She was normal until she was six years old.”
“What? That can’t be true. Look, even though she has pain insensitivity, it is not affecting her physical activities. If you say her pain insensitivity came after she was born, hollow spine would be the case. But that causes problem with physical activities. A such rare case where she only lacks the sense of pain can only be that she was born with it.”
“Yes, that’s what her personal doctor said too.”
I want to tell her what happened in Nagano from the beginning but there’s no such time. I tell her about the Asagami family… no, the AsaGAMI family in a short summary.
“The AsaGAMI family was a respected family, but it has gone broke when Fujino was around twelve. Fujino came to the Asagami family of now to her mother at that time. It seems Asagami is a family branched off from the AsaGAMI family, and they took care of the borrowed money in want of their land. Fujino had her sense of pain when she was small. But in its place, she had strange powers. They say she could bend things without touching them.”
“She was hated as the devil. She received oppression too. But from the time Fujino turned six, the power has disappeared, along with her sense of pain.”
Tohko-san’s expression changes. I can tell she’s getting excited from her smile.
“She gets a personal doctor from that time, but there is no record of that at the AsaGAMI house. It’s because that place is empty now.”
“What the… The important part is next, but this is it!?”
“Of course not. I found the personal doctor and talked to him.”
“…… You’re working smart, Kokutoh.”
“Yes, I followed the record and went to Akita. He is an underground doctor without licence, so it took me a whole day to get the story out of him.”
“… I’m amazed. You should become a detective if you get fired from here. I’ll make you my personal detective.”
I reply that I’ll think about it, and continue on with my story.
“It seems this doctor only provided medicine. He said he doesn’t know why Fujino became pain insensitive. He said that is her father’s doing alone.”
“Her father did it himself? Do you mean the curing or giving her medicine?”
I nod to the small difference between the two.
“Giving her the medicine of course. According to the doctor, Fujino’s father had no intention of curing Fujino’s pain insensitivity. Most of the medicine that the doctor provided is Aspirin and Indometacin, steroids. According to the examination by the doctor, he says Fujino probably has Neuromyelitis Optica.”
“Neuromyelitis optica…… Devic’s disease, huh?”
Devic’s disease. It is a type of myelitis and it is a disease that causes numbness of the senses. Popular symptoms are numbness in the lower legs and eyesight going bad. It even has the danger of making one blind. This disease requires early treatment with steroids. The steroids are what Tohko-san said before… what they call adrenocorticosteroid.
“To add, they use Indometacin which numbs the sense of pain. I see. That would indeed make her like that. She’s not inherent or posteriori. Asagami Fujino lost her senses artificially. It’s the exact opposite of Shiki!”
Tohko-san starts to laugh. It’s a bit scary as she is like the professor I saw yesterday.
“Tohko-san, what is this Indometacin?”
“It’s a pain-killer. It doesn’t matter if it’s pripheral or referred pain, pain occurs from reaction to “outside force that might endanger life”. Algesic substance is made inside your body and it stimulates the nerves relating to pain, signaling your brain of the pain. It tells the brain that the body will die if it doesn’t do something. You know algesic substances, right? There are things such as Kinin and Amin, as well as Arachidonic Acid metabolites which strengthen the two. Such things as Aspirin and Indometacin controls the Prostaglandin which is in this Arachidon. The pain from Kinin and Amin isn’t much, so taking in a lot of Indometacin would take away most of the pain.”
Tohko-san seems really happy as she is relatively high.
To be honest, this Arachidon and Kinindon thing seems like monster names to me.
“So it’s a medicine to erase pain?”
“Not directly. If you want to erase the pain, a drug called opioid would do much better. There’s the endorphin thing, right? It’s that thing that the brain secretes to ease the pain. It works like that and opioid kills the pain in the central nervous system. …… Well, I guess all this has nothing to do with the subject. I see. Asagami Fujino’s father decided to seal her power by sealing her senses. A family totally opposite of that of Ryohgi, who tries so hard to make ones with power. But what’s sad is her power became stronger by doing that. Magi from around Egypt area stitch their eyes shut to keep their Mana within them. What’s the different between them and Asagami Fujino?”
… I was prepared for Tohko-san’s words, but I’m still shocked. I knew already that Asagami family has children that has special powers like that of Asagami Fujino… ones born with diffferent channels. They dispited those children and tried to seal their power by any means possible. The result of that is… pain insensitivity. To close off the chanel of special powers, they also closed the function of senses. That is why Asagami Fujino operates her power when her pain returns… because her sealed senses return.
“That’s terrible. The only way for her to stay normal is to be abnormal.”
That’s right. Asagami Fujino could be in our world only by being abnormal in the form of pain insensitivity. But as long as she cannot feel anything, she cannot earn anything. She is only a ghost allowed to live in our world.
“If she did not feel pain, she would have not killed anyone.”
“Hey now, don’t treat pain like it’s a bad thing. Pain is a good thing. The bad thing is the wound, you shouldn’t get this wrong. We need pain, no matter how painful it is. People can recognize danger because we have pain. Do we get away from fire because it puts our hand on fire? No. It is because our hand is burning, and it hurts. If that’s not the case, we won’t know the danger of fire until our hand burns off. It is right for pain to be painful, Kokutoh. Anything that doesn’t have that cannot understand other people’s pain. Asagami Fujino was hit in the back and got her sense of pain back temporary. She defended herself for the first time from the pain she received after that. Those people that she didn’t notice as danger before, she was able to recognize as dangerous because of pain. … Still, killing them was too much.”
… But Fujino does not feel pain. Those people died because of her defending herself, but they are partly responsible as they attacked her. You cannot make her hold all responsibility.
“Tohko-san, can she be cured?”
“There is no wound that cannot be cured. A wound that cannot be cured should be called death.”
Tohko-san indirectly calls Asagami Fujino’s wound as death. But the cause of these incidents are the stabbed wound in her stomach. If that pain is to come back, if the cause of that pain is known……
“Kokutoh, her wound cannot be cured. It will only continue to hurt.”
“She has no wound to begin with, Kokutoh.”
…… Tohko-san says an unexpected thing.
“Um… what do you mean by that?”
“Think about it. If you get stabbed in the stomach, would the wound heal by itself? In a day or two?”
… That… is true but…
I get confused at the point Tohko-san is making that goes against all assumptions. Tohko-san tries to hold back her laughter.
“Like you investigating Asagami Fujino’s past, I also investigated Asagami Fujino’s present. Fujino has not gone to any hospital since the 20th. She did not even go to her personal doctor that she sees secretly.”
Tohko-san frowns in amazement.
“… You’re good at searching for things but lack in insight. Look, the scariest thing for a pain insensitive person is something wrong with their body. Since they do not have pain, they cannot know any sickness they have. As a result, they have a doctor look at them from time to time.”
I see. She is completely right. Then… does Asagami Fujino’s parent now not know of her pain insensitivity?
“The trigger was a trivial misunderstanding, Kokutoh. Fujino was taken down by a guy with a knife and thought she was going to get stabbed. No, I bet she did almost get stabbed. Since her sense of pain returned at that time, she could use her power too. Cut or twist… Fujino happened to be first. As a result, the guy’s neck was twisted off and his blood spilled onto Fujino’s body. Fujino must have thought that she must have been stabbed in her stomach.”
I can clearly imagine the scene… I shake my head.
“But that’s strange. If her sense of pain is back, she wouldn’t make that kind of a mistake. She would not feel pain if she was not stabbed.”
“Fujino was in pain from the start.”
“I was shown her status from her doctor. She has chronic Arrihythmia… what people call Appendicitis. Well, I guess that is why she went to the doctor. Her pain in the stomach is not the pain from the knife, but rather an internal pain. Her pain ached from time to time. If her sense of pain returned right before being stabbed, she will surely misunderstand that she was stabbed. If you are raised not knowing pain, you wouldn’t even make sure if the wound is there or not. Fujino would look at the stabbed stomach, and even if it doesn’t have a wound, she would think that the wound must have healed.”
“So… it’s a misunderstanding?”
I say so without strength.
“The wound itself is. But the truth does not change. She was indeed on the edge. It doesn’t matter if the knife was there or not. Her only way out was to kill them. If she did not kill, she would have been killed. Not her body but her mind. But unfortunately, Minato Keita got away. I don’t think it would have turned out this bad if her revenge was completed then.. It’s just like Shiki said. It’s too late.”
Come to think of it, Shiki did repeat that. Why would it be too late? Is it because Fujino has committed murder? But then, that would be when she killed those four guys. I don’t understand.
“Why is it too late?”
“Shiki must mean the mental part. Her murder is murder up to five people. A murder other than those are not murder, but a massacre. It is not justified. That is what Shiki was angry about. … Shiki has a taste for murder but she still understands unconsciously how important death is. That is why she does not kill indiscriminately like Asagami Fujino. For Shiki, she cannot forgive Fujino for doing as she wishes.”
Is Asagami Fujino really doing as she wishes? To me, it seems like she is running away desperately. Tohko-san continues.
“But what I mean by too late is the physical part. Arrihythmia perforate when left alone and becomes Retinitis. Inflammation of retina comes with pain uncomparable to that of the vermiform appendix. You could say it matches the pain from being stabbed with a knife. Then, one would start getting fevers and cyanosis. They may even get shocks from lowered blood pressure. If it reaches the duodenum, you would die in half a day in the worst case. It’s been five days since the 20th. It should already be perforated. It’s too bad but it’s fatal for her already.”
How can this person make such a cool face and say that?
“It’s not too late yet. We have to find her quickly…!”
“Kokutoh, our client for this is Asagami Fujino’s father. He must have known about Fujino’s power. That is why he heard about the incident and thought it must be Fujino’s doing. That father said to “kill that monster”. The only one that can protect her is wishing for her death. See Kokutoh, she has no salvation in all senses. And besides, Shiki already left.”
“…… You idiot…!!”
I scream at no one.