Episode 3 Under the Cherry Blossom Tree…
“Coming up next, a corpse was discovered in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture on the early dawn of the third. The Police has confirmed that they have started to inquire several people related to the case of corpse abandonment.”
The warm setting sun gave the feeling of the arrival of spring.
The evening became longer than that of the winter days. The warm sunlight gave the dining room of the detective agency a slightly red hue.
And there was a man focused on the news on TV with his mouth filled with a strawberry jam cookie sandwich.
He was Akira Satou, a high school student who went to Hakoniwa Detective Agency every day.
“Hey, Kujou, isn’t this the case regarding the corpse under the cherry blossom tree?”
“I see. You want to be buried as well? Got it. I’ll bury you with trash in the garden right now.”
“Who’s trash!! I didn’t even say I want to be buried in the first place!!”
The butler named Kujou was in black. He was being invective towards a casual sentence spoken by Akira.
“Even if you bury Akira, he wouldn’t provide any nutrition.”
“What!? Yui, how can you say that as well!”
Yui seemed to be satisfied with Akira’s panicking and laughed lightly in a white one piece with flower shapes.
And then a strong aroma of bergamot came, tickling Akira’s and Yui’s noses.
Finishing jumping1, Kujou carried the Earl Grey tea that was at its peak time to be drunk.
He poured the black tea into Yui’s teacup, who was the master of this detective agency.
“Regarding the case of corpse abandonment that happened approximately a week ago. Five college students from the Mystery Club came to view the cherry blossoms. With their drunken momentum, they dug the place around the root of the cherry blossom tree and discovered a woman’s cadaver that was partially skeletonized.”
Kujou continued pouring the Earl Grey tea into Akira’s cup.
“Isn’t this that thing? People discussed the rumor of ‘There are corpses under the cherry blossom trees!!’ so excitedly. In my school, I have classmates who dug under the cherry blossom trees in the schoolyard while saying that and was scolded by the teacher who was in charge of student guidance and counselling… Ah~ However… Why are there corpses buried under the cherry blossom trees?”
Kujou’s hands stopped from pouring the tea.
“Are you an idiot?”
“Why are you saying that so suddenly!? I’m not stupid!! ”
“I didn’t say you were stupid. I said you were an idiot.”
Yui looked at the two, who could have a quarrel on anything they were talking about. She moved the cup away from her mouth and placed it back to the table while giving a helping hand to Akira.
“There was a literary giant named Motojirou Kajii from the Taisho to Showa Period. Have you heard about him, Akira? ”
“What? Who is he? What had he written?”
“Among Motojirou Kajii’s works, there is a novella that begins with a story of ‘Dead bodies are buried under the cherry trees.’”
“Eh!? So that’s its origin!?”
“Well, although we can say that, this story was only the author’s imagination. It was not a true story of a person murdering and burying corpses under a cherry blossom tree. ”
After finishing pouring the black tea into his own cup, Kujou continued Yui’s topic.
“After that, Ango Sakaguchi also used the theme that cherry blossoms are beautiful but horrible at the same time in his novella ‘Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees’ and it was spread around the world. However, the similarity between these two works is that neither of them have corpses really buried under the cherry blossom trees. Originally, the Japanese people regarded cherry blossoms as ephemeral and beautiful since a long time ago. That special value and aesthetic the Japanese had, only the phrase ‘under the cherry blossom trees’ from both works merged together and became something similar to an urban legend. Kid, do you understand now?”
Kujou was explaining continuously since the beginning. He drank the Earl Grey tea.
“That’s cool! So there are really corpses buried under the cherry blossom tree!!”
“Buha–” Kujou spurted out all the Earl Grey tea in his mouth and choked.
“What!? Wait, Kujou, that’s so dirty!!”
Spurted completely, Akira showed his anger while trying to find a handkerchief or tissue to wipe his dirty face.
“I am sorry. Kid, use this one.”
Confused by Kujou admitting his fault genuinely, Akira appreciated him and used the white cloth handed to him by Kujou to wipe his face.
… Extremely stiff…
… The fabric was thick…
… And there was an odor of milk…
“Wait! Isn’t this the dust cloth!!”
“It’s such a waste to hand you a handkerchief. ”
Saying that, Kujou used the handkerchief to wipe his own mouth.
“Stop right there.”
Suddenly, an aromatic scent came to Akira’s nose.
The scent and her action suddenly appeared, calming down Akira’s heart, which was filled with wrath, with one breath.
Yui used her own handkerchief to wiped Akira’s face which was tainted by black tea.
Akira became embarrassed at the action.
Looking at Akira, Yui felt embarrassed of her action.
Looking at the naive two right in front of his eyes, Kujou attempted to bite his handkerchief and make it into a dust cloth.
A while after that.
The TV was reporting the criminal images and conjectures about the offender of the case regarding the corpse under the cherry blossom tree as usual. Then the light ringtone of Kujou’s phone sounded.
“Hello. This is Kujou.”
“Yoo~~ Hi, Kyuu2! Long time no see~”
The energetic and cheerful voice leaking out from the phone was from a male.
“Mr. Gen!? It’s been a long time. What makes you call me so suddenly? Oh, I mean, you are always sudden.”
“Why~ Why don’t you say something like ‘I was so lonely~’.”
“I am going to end the call if you are drunk. Bye.”
Looking at the phone with disdain, Kujou attempted to end the call.
“No, no, no, wait a second! My bad!! It’s my fault, so listen to me! There’s something good!! Please!!”
There was a conspicuously loud voice leaking out from the speaker. Kujou sighed once and put the phone close to his ear reluctantly.
“So, what happened? By the way, your phone calls have never brought me anything good.”
“That’s not possible. Well, it’s like this! It’s not convenient to talk over phone. I’m going to your place right now.”
Although Kujou seldomly revealed his emotions to people besides Akira, he revealed them to the man he called Mr. Gen.
About one second after the announcement of “I am going now,” the bell on the entrance of Hakoniwa Detective Agency rang noisily.
1. Jumping – the process of using the principle of the convection of water to cause the movement of tea leaves, which requires skills, instead of the momentum of pouring water into the teapot. It brings out not only the taste of black tea, but also the tannin and caffeine, which are the main components of black tea.↩
2. Kyuu – Kujou’s nickname. In Japanese, the Kanji of ku also has the pronunciation of kyuu.↩