Note before reading: This is a crossover between Tantei Gakuen Q Episodes 17-21 and Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. The settings are from Tantei while there are references in Higurashi. And again, I'll be using a fanmade for Higurashi to represent Oyashiro-sama's curse. I will only do two first person narrations in this story. There will be a few diary first person narrations to fill the time gap. There will also be similar scripts due to similar scenes or situations that can't be changed.
I'm the religion's founder, yet no one knows my identity. The garb I wear is what my grandpa wore when he was the religion's founder. No one knows that he was the founder because of the complex mask he wears. That's the same reason they haven't notice the change. This is one of the many secrets I have to guard. Just like the mist that constantly covers the village. A few watchmen wearing the sacred mask outside ask for me about an unconscious person around my age they found in Kamikakushi village. I walk out of my chambers to meet Ryou. I sign the words to conceal my voice like always. "(Why is he in Kamikakushi Village?)"
Ryou, one of the watchmen, answers back. "We don't know. He suddenly appear in the village and pass out in the middle of the fields."
"(He happens to appear in the village.)"
"Yes, that what some of the villagers said."
"(Very well leave him in the Ryousanpaku inn for now. Ask for his background and why he was there in the first place once he wakes up.)"
"Okay, I'll tell my father that you're going to give permission for him to stay in the inn for tonight."
With that, I take my leave at the same time as Ryou in the opposite direction he was heading towards. Going through the stairs, the chambers is really the insides of the dam my late grandfather owns. I change my clothes to my usual kimono I use for work at the inn. You know, it's a surprise to me that the villages are right by each other and no one knows that fact. Everyone in the village knows that it's a thirty minute walk through the tunnel to go between the village. The river bank in Kamikakushi Village is actually connected to this dam in Hyotan Village.
I check my red hair if anything was sticking out. After fixing my thick, short ponytail, I exit the dam and enter the inn from the back door. This is my chance to make it look like "kamikakushi" take this person away. Now that I wasn't wearing my mask, I can see the person's features. He has darkish orange hair with short bangs the back side is slightly long, just slightly. He has gentle looking black eyes.. His tattered clothes are a thin grey vest covering his brown short sleeve shirt, and tan hiker pants. Around his neck is a broken camera. He's definitely suspicious. I thought to myself.
The victim moan in his sleep. "Mother..."
I stop at my tracks on strangling him.
"was beaten to death by a metal bat..."
Wait, is this why he appear in Kamikakushi Village? He probably ran from the conflict and hid himself in the cliffs? That explain the torn clothes. I quietly head back to my room and sleep for tonight.
"Who are you?" I wake up from Ryou's conversation in one of the rooms nearby. Knowing this was the person sneaking around that night, I try to check on the victim. Ryou is interrogating the suspect while the waitress Kirihara sits by the door.
Kirihara stops me in my tracks and whispers. "You can't enter this room. The Founder wants to know why he was in Kamikakushi Village. Ryou-kun is reasoning that person."
I ask. "Kirihara-san, I thought he was a guest?"
"He only stayed for the night because he was found unconscious."
Ryou continues to ask. "Who are you?"
"Houjou...no Ryuugu...no..." The victim's mind seems to be in a scramble.
Kirihara seems to know what happen to him and ask in place of Ryou. "Can you remember your name?"
"Not my surname...but I know my first name is Kura."
If he has amnesia, and he only stumbles in the village by chance; he'll never unravel the secrets in this village. I decide to be friends with Kura. "Then can I call you just Kura? Of course you can call me by my first name too. My name is Mio."
He accepts my offer. "Nice to meet you Mio-san."
"How old are you?"
"I'm seventeen." His voice has a natural calm sound to it.
Kirihara smiles to see that this person doesn't have a hint of danger to him at all. "Mio, I'm glad that you met someone around your age." She whispers to Ryou just in case he didn't seem to see the situation. "Ryou-kun, I think this person has amnesia."
"But that doesn't covers why he was lurking around at night." Ryou is keen on what the Founder meant.
I clear Kura's name by saying. "I heard him muttering at night. About his mother being killed...I think he ran away from that event."
"Is that true?"
Kura's face is back to being confuse. "I...don't know."
"Do you have any relatives?"
"Their faces are fuzzy, but I don't know their names..."
"Do you think they're still alive?"
"Yes, I'm sure of it."
Kirihara's intuition talks for her. "I'm sure the poor boy ran from danger that was only there for tonight. I'm sure the culprit has been capture by now."
Kura nods and says something...disturbing. "The culprit scratch his throat to death."
A moment of silence pass between us. Kirihara ask. "Why in the world would the murderer do that?"
Ryou mutters "There are some that will commit suicide after they finish a crime, but scratching their throat to death is...not worth it."
Maybe, he doesn't want to go back because of the dreadful sight...but he said it with a calm, innocent tone. I ask to change the subject, for Kura, and for myself. "Do you want tour around the village?"
"Thanks Mio-san I appreciate it." His voice sounds more mature with every piece we uncover. "We'll be off."
Kura follows me around town. I stop a few times to see him climb the trees for a better view. "You really like to climb." I wonder if he can climb these ragged cliffs.
"Yeah, I think I use to climb everywhere as a child, but..."
"Those cliffs gives a horrid feeling."
"I see..." I react with a sincere tone. "Do you like to climb cliffs?"
"Not these...something tells me to avoid them."
"You're right. These cliffs are dangerous to climb."
We walk pass the dam quickly. Right before he can ask more about the dam, I show him the tunnel that connects the two villages. "That tunnel is connected to another village, but you need to wear a sacred mask to go inside. We have eight to lend to guests, so you can go back to the inn to borrow one. You can go on ahead with the rest of the tour. I have to go to do some chores."
I wave Kura good-bye and walk back to the dam. His knowledge is still intact, it's just his memories are the problem.
I really like it here. Even if I can't remember my past, the people here are kind. The inn can be compared to some old fashion Japanese buildings. After wandering around my thoughts, I'm back to the inn. "I'm back."
"Kura-kun how do you like the tour of Hyotan Village?" The waitress greets me. She has short brown hair, chubby checks and crow's feet under her eyes.
"It's great..." I try to recall if she told me her name or not.
"Oh how rude of me, I'm Kirihara Masae. I'm the inn's waitress."
"And I'm Kurozumi Ryou." The person before introduces himself as he walks downstairs. He wears a yukata over his white shirt. His brown hair have close to symmetrical drooping bangs. "My father, Kurozumi Kogorou, owns the Ryousanpaku Inn."
Before I can forget, I ask. "I heard that you can enter the other village by wearing sacred masks."
"Oh you mean Kamikakushi Village." Ryou starts to think for a while then reluctantly give me permission. "You can borrow one. I'm sure you'll remember something when you arrive."
Those masks...they look like the faces of pale corpses with...spots? The idea cross my mind. Small pox, the village must have suffer that disease before.
"Be careful, those masks are valuable." A bald man warns me. You can see that the rest of his hair is hiding at the back of his head. He wears a grey shirt and brown slacks. His face is tone from scourge of time. Similar how my parents age. Their faces get toner as time goes on, but they look young for their age.
"Father welcome back." Ryou addresses his father.
"Now that you know how valuable they are. I have a message from the Founder."
"What did the Founder announce about Kura?"
"Just to let him stay until the local police can find his family. He's been stricken with a few horrible events."
"Kura, we have to hold your tour until tomorrow. We have to contact the police to investigate your family. Kura?"
Their faces are still fuzzy...I wish I knew more about them. Ryou's question pulls me out of deep thought. I answer "Yes?"
"He still seems pause whenever we talk about his family. I wonder if he'll be okay." He mutters.
Kirihara encourages me. "The Founder probably wants him to overcome his fears and face the epidemic he met."
The Kurozumis nods in agreement on how it fits the Founder's demands. Mio rush in the room. She has fair skin compare to the others. She's probably not blood related to anyone here. After she catches her breath she ask. "May I join Kura? I'm worried about him."
"Why not." Ryou approves. "I'll be leading you two to the station."
My thoughts are still fix on my parents. It seems if I remember something, I can only remember a piece of it, and it's not in order.
"So we have a missing report on someone named either Houjou Kura, or Ryuugu Kura..." My focus breaks once I realize someone in the local police is in front of me. He's quite old to have crows feet, yet his brown hair is still in color. Well, he even slick his hair back. "We'll post that their the same person and currently have amnesia. I'm sure someone will pick him up eventually."
"Isn't that Kura?" Mio relax once she hears the news. "Thanks to Ootawara, he'll make sure your family will find you."
"Un." I somehow make a reply. My thoughts continue to occupy my time. I think I remember, but they're not in order. Pieces are still missing. At least I know who I am, where I grew up. Except...I only know very small bits about my dream and I don't know the name of my village, or family. Their faces are still fuzzy, but the places I've been to are clear.
Mio's Narration (Diary format):
Days pass after we contact the police. Crows started to migrate into the two villages, and the mist seems to grew thicker. The only lead we have about Kura is the mysterious medical pack that contains prescription for a Houjou/Ryuugu Kura.. He has to take nutrition shots every morning, and it seems that he's used to the treatment even before the first package arrives. A medical clinic gives them to us, but we don't know where the clinic is. He's okay in the morning, but he can be blunt at times or even goes off on an odd comment near the evening.. His memories are gathering at a normal pace.
His dreams... is another matter all together. They're very disturbing whenever I decide to eavesdrop on his sleeptalk. It seems that he's experiencing a different situation from different perspectives. He's saying them like he's carrying out someone's will from the past or present. Things like: People dying, people gone missing; someone burning in a metal barrel; Finger nails being ripped apart; being stab to death by the head or sometimes he says being slowly stab to death; falling from a high place; and tonight...trying hard not to hang myself.
Whenever he talks in his sleep, I will ALWAYS hear something disturbing. I didn't tell anyone about the other dreams he has. They might overreact. Tonight, I stop eavesdropping on him or I might go insane. To makes matters worst at the following morning, Oowada Susumu and Azegami Rio brings a T.V cast to 'search for treasure'. The rest of the names follows: Azegami Rio, a reporter that's been here a few times, Iwashimizu Hiroki, the producer of the entire cast; Anzai Kunihiko the director of their show; Oowada Susumu, the cameraman, and ex-believer of the village's Eki Shin Kyou religion; and Kagami Rei, an assistant director. There's no treasure here in the first place. Just dark secrets. My thoughts suddenly go back to Kura's dreams. I shake those quotes out of my head.
I can overhear their conversation with Kura. "Hello?" He seems to be confuse with the group wearing the leftover masks.
Azegami sighs with disappointment. "Hmm? I guess the masks aren't that scary."
Anzai shares the same feeling. "Even the guests here aren't spook with the local lore. Hey, Oowada-chan stop the camera."
Oowada flicks the switch on his camera. "Okay, Anzai-san."
Kagami asks within the moment. "Director, was it recording until now?"
Anzai grins, yet he starts to frown that Kura didn't take the bait. "Just incase, but… it seems that even if we didn't find the treasure his reaction won't get any hits on the show. Eh, don't mind. Suspension is enough to keep the show going."
Azegami approaches Kura with her own questions to ask. "Why are you here? You are you treasure hunting? Eki Shin Kyou?"
"Ah, I found you. Sorry, he lives here. Excuse us…" I barge in and take Kura away from the group. "You shouldn't daze around like that. There are people here."
"I'm sorry." Kura scratches the back of his head. "Are those the people you were talking about earlier."
"Yeah, they met Kurozumi-san a day ago to plan things on advance." I review what I told him before.
"I see...I remember Kagami-san has a hair pin and Azegami-san doesn't have one. Oodawa-kun is the one carrying the camera, Iwashimizu-san, he's the one that's producing the show, and Anzai-san is the guy with flat orange hair. " He seems like he doesn't have interest in our guests. "I'll be outside then."
We can overhear Kurozumi scald the visitors. "That's enough! Those sacred masks are not toys!"
"Okay..." I unintentionally reply to both Kura and Kurozumi. Kurozumi wouldn't hear that remark anyways. I'm impressed by Kura's accurate memory. If only he can remember the rest...but I don't want to even go there. Kirihara meets with me to show the guests their rooms. Today's job is rather vague even with customers.
After I help make their dinner, Kirihara dismiss me. "You can relax in the open air bath."
"No thank you, I'll go to bed early..." I change my mind at the last moment. "Actually, Kura hasn't come back yet, so I'll look for him."
"Can you?" Kirihara hints that she worries about him this time. "He wanted to take a worn out futon."
Everything is set from a few days of preparation. I have to kill her, because she's been prying around this village too much. I need to protect the village's secret, or the world will be destroyed... What's that? A small note with a infinity symbol is in sight where I can look over her shoulder. No it's the gourd! Acting quickly to silence the threat, I cover her mouth and stab her with Kurozumi's scythe. Her hand quickly grips the note. I try to have her give me the note, but her hand is withstanding the deep cuts my nails makes. It can't be helped. I place Azegami's body on the wheelbarrow and push her across the path. Stopping the wheelbarrow, I carry her body into the woods, and walk to an empty wooden barrel near the graveyard. After concealing the corpse into the barrel, cover the opening and
"Mio-san?" Kura's voice echoes from the tops of the trees. I run to the graveyard to direct his attention away from the barrel. He jumps down to greet me. "Are you paying respects for the dead?"
"Yes..." I nervously react to his question. Did he see her? I might have to kill him after all.
His voice fills with dark sarcasm. "That's nice to know."
"So why are you here?" I ask. He could have seen Azegami. I have to kill him after all.
He points to the old futon laying out near the dam. "Tonight is the Watanagashi Festival. Do you want to join me? It'll be odd to ask the other villagers, and the T.V cast doesn't seem to care. They're in the open air bath."
"Wata...sure." I accepts his offer and follow him to the old futon near the narrow stream the dam is making. Concealing the scythe, I ask. "What do you do at the Watanagashi festival?"
"At my village, there would be stands filled with games, and food." He shows a reminisce smile. "We also watch the shrine maiden act before performing Watanagashi."
"Oh, do you remember the village your from?"
He rips open the futon and answer. "No." Rolling up the cotton he continues. "Watanagashi is to take cottons from worn futons and old vests. Then to set them off stream. The cotton absorbs the evil within your body and casts it off."
"Really?" To clean the evil from ones body... I unconsciously clean the scythe I have. Ah...don't worry he can't see the blood flowing out of the scythe. Before he can make a comment, I say. "I hope we have a better harvest."
"Oh that's nice of you to clean Kurozumi's scythe." He remarks.
"This?" He knows who I stole this from...I need to kill–
He hands me a rolled up cotton fluff with a straight smile. "This is Watanagashi. You can't clean your scythe because this festival cleanse people."
I nods in confusion and let the cotton adrift with his. "This is like letting paper lanterns adrift."
Kura lets out a semi-audible whisper. (Similar but this is like letting the ones you kill to rest.)
"Eh?" I give him a weird look.
"Is there something wrong Mio-san?" He's curious about my troubled face.
"No, it's nothing. It's just I have to go now." I stand up.
Kura picks up the old futon, and tell me. "Looks like you're helping Kurozumi in Kamikakushi Village. The fields are over there. Good luck."
"Thanks." He expects me to be there tomorrow, but I have to greet the guests as the Founder.
"By the way." His voice has a tone of malice, but clears up. "I'll be fixing the fences over there. Will you help me when you have the time?"
"Fences? Sure..." I left quickly to the inn. Kura is taking his time to get back. I return Kurozumi's scythe where he left it. Once I hear Kura enter the room, I left through the back door and go into the dam. I have to kill him at Kamikakushi Village. He can use that futon to defend himself. I have to do this so he can be silent.
"Ahh!!" Iwashimizu scream at the top of his lungs.
What does he want now? I dress myself up and heads towards the racket. Ootawara is already there with the police force. Kurozumi, and the T.V cast are at the crime scene.
"So you open the lid and found Azemgami-san's body in it?" He ask for clues.
Iwashimizu also states his alibi. "Yes...because I'm the producer I have to take responsibility even if they disappears. This morning I look around for her where she was last night, and...found her in this barrel."
"I see..." Ootawara turns to the rest of the group.
Anzai answers for his group. "We were waiting for Azemgami-san to join us for breakfast and mention that she's not here. That's when the owner of the inn told us that she met with 'kamikakushi'."
No, this is Oyashiro-sama's curse. It's back after all these years.
The forensics division motion Ootawara to the marking on the ground. "Looks like a wheelbarrow carried Azemgami-san. It should be nearby."
"Then look for it." Ootawara orders.
The rest of the forensics division pry open the victim's hand, and says under his breath. "This is...looks like the murderer try to steal this note from her."
Iwashimizu seems to overhear him and states. "Wow! Azegami was killed because of this, right? The legend of the old Japanese army's treasure may really be true! In that case, I'll find it no matter what." Anzai joins in with Iwashimizu's comment until a masked stranger arrives from the forest.
A villager with the sacred mask interrupts their greedy conversation. "Kamikakushi, this is the works from the god of epidemics."
"Who are you?" Iwashimizu declares.
"Ryou. you're back." Kurozumi says with relief.
Ryou answers. "Yes, dad." He reveals his face to everyone. "There was an announcement from the religion's founder. This is only the beginning. It's the warning of the god of epidemics."
"That's wrong." My voice is serious like the few times last night. "This is Oyashiro-sama's Curse. It's happening again."
"Oyashiro-sama?" Anzai asks for everyone in the group. "Who's that?"
"Oyashiro-sama," I repeat myself to get it into his dense mind, "The shrine god of my village."
"What does your god have to do with the events here?"
"Last night was the Watanagashi Festival. I celebrate with Mio-san to let the cotton float down the dam. But twenty years ago…the curse started with the murder of the dam's director at my village. Every year after. If one person dies, and one person have to disappear. Oyashiro-sama's curse stopped three years after the manager's death."
Kagami gasps. "Kamikakushi?"
"No, onikakushi." I correct her statement.
Ryou corrects me. "That's absurd. The religion's founder announce this is the work"
"Really?" My pupils thins for my next statement. "If you're not careful, you'll end up as food for the demons."
"We can't find the wheelbarrow anywhere." The forensics team reports to everyone. My grin grew wider from the news.