1 – 12 : Chapter 1 ALMOST PARADISE : Good bye, WADATSUMI / He and a little witch of Tokyo Bay

 “Is it a thing like a taboo?”

 “It’s exactly a taboo.”

 “It’s really amazing that such thing is existing still now in the central area of Tokyo.”

 “Yes. I think it tends to be found only in an isolated island on the vast ocean or a remote village in a deep forest of mountains, as the tool for calling a great detective.”

 Some days ago, in Ho’ori’s room, they had just watched a TV drama like so. It seemed that Mana too remembered that mystery show. Nodded twice and smiled, and,

 “But such thing, a taboo, I wonder the kids created it from the beginning only by themselves?”

 “Uruchi-san was saying so. She explained it is a natural phenomenon when considering it based on kids’ sociology. If any superstition will not be born despite them being in this special situation, it could be said as more unnatural. I heard so.”

 “Yeah, I think so too. Here is really a special place.”

 Mana said so and deeply nodded from the heart.

 Ho’ori had considerably accustomed to the river and the kids and had already become to feel it was like a natural piece of his daily life. However, certainly, if watching objectively, the scene, that the half-naked children were freely and boldly fishing in the middle of the modern international city in the central area of industrialized Japan, might be classified as special.

 “And it means that you are in a really difficult situation. I know well senpai is a tough guy. So…, today, what other happened?”

 “Soon after I got out the tidal flat, I met a brawl on a promenade on the dike near Aioi bridge. That witch girl and members of Fins were fighting in that too hot and humid air today too. I think they are exactly very tough people.”  

 “What was the reason?”

 “Did I tell you about a cachalot gun? That was made by some kids of the pirates.”

 “Cachalot…, oh, yes I heard that is a sonic gun for using in the water, imitating sperm whales hunting style. The kids made that weapon by remodeling and uniting some self-protection tools making loud noise and a one-direction speaker. They shoot sonic waves against fish to knock out and captured them. You told me so, sure.”

 “Yes. But now, it has been prohibited using. Because in our area Finless porpoises being very sensitive to noise are living. Moreover, there is also the possibility that the gun will hurt kids’ ear drums underwater. In spite of that, Fins was breaking this rule today. On the contrary, they made ‘cachalot bazooka’, and fired it against a herd of Suzuki to try to capture the whole of them at once. To there, Toyomi appeared. In the water, she robbed the bazooka and shot it while pushing the muzzle to the concrete wall of dikes. Naturally, the bazooka got destroyed thoroughly.”

 “I guess Toyomi-chan isn’t bad.”

 “After of that, she was worst. After went up onto the promenade, she knocked down three boys of Fins by her fist soon. Then, soon after I arrived, she looked at my face and ran away into the underwater quickly without even making excuse. I know she has the ability to leave the place without any brawl. After all, it’s a natural consequence that she is regarded as using a chance to consume a violent impulse as justice. It’s she that makes others call herself ‘witch’.

 In these days, the naughty kids are all of my work…, to Ho’ori who said so with a frowning face and shrugged, 

 “I remember You didn’t take a course for a teacher license. But now you are really like them.”

 Hard work, teacher! After saying so jokingly, Mana put the edge of the cold tee glass to her lip.

 “But I feel senpai have taken back good face considerably than before.”

 “Really? But I feel I’m too exhausted by them every day.”

 Showed a smile, she began to eat a piece of cheesecake. Letting the eyes shining, she was enjoying the taste of each fragment with the fork one after another showing a joyful face from the heart.

 Only watching the scene of that, Ho’ori always felt that own cheek gradually getting loose.

 It was Mana’s habit since in their university age, to call the boyfriend (now, own fiancé) ‘Senpai’.

 For the sake of after married, ‘of course, I have been already preparing the newest call sign’, she was saying so usually, but he was hardly believing it. Of course, he was looking forward to hearing the new one, but at the same time, was also thinking that she would probably call him ‘senpai’ even after becoming 60 age. Between this couple, it was a too deep habit to be washed away.

 Ho’ori also drunk his tee a bit. In the wonderful scent pathing through the nose holes, he could feel himself being free from everyday noise. And, Mana’s smile was garnishing the moment, being like full bloom flowers.

 She was his junior in the lab of their university. After had finished a doctoral course and worked at other science laboratories, now she had turned back to and started the career in her own school’s lab as an assistant researcher.   

 The campus of the National University of Marine Science and Technology (NUMST), which they had graduated from, was near Ho’ori’s office. From his office which was in Tsukuda-jima to the campus with through Tsukisima and Aioi-bridge was a few minutes, on foot. So, as a first place, Ho’ori had been thinking that many things related to himself had seemed to be gathering into the inside of a very narrow circle since he had transferred to the new office. But now, the exploring plan was announced, the world seemed to be getting narrower and narrower. Of course, even if so, it was a big blessing to him that when he wanted to see her, could see her immediately.

 After a meeting for the detail of the field research, Ho’ori and Mana came out of the building together without any special words. It was a natural situation. And soon, even though they had been tasting hot tea in a laboratory far cooled by the air conditioner until just before, they suggested resting in a café, with each other at the same time. In the next instant, they stared at each other in silence for a while, started laughing together. Then, they had arrived here, as usual.

 This cafe being near Tsukishima station was a favorite of them for a long time. Though of course the sweets also were so good, the best reason was the atmosphere of the inside. Only the melodies of the piano played by the owner were softly sounding, and wooden tables were polished very well even to the degree that their annual rings could be counted clearly one by one. The view sight that the tables were reflecting faint lights in blackish in the dim room let people imagine a deep forest of subarctic.

 “Hey, let’s try touring on the river by my bayak after the temperature becomes cooler? Now it’s so hot yet. Of course, pedaling is my role.”

 “Sounds good! But I too want to try pedaling!”

 Ho’ori faintly felt an impression like comfortable itchy to a short silence, which came after smiling face to face. Also to Mana, it seemed as same. Though she was carefreely talking with him as usual, sometimes, for example, at the time when they unintentionally got eyes with each other, she modestly showed a smile like in shyness and looked away from him quickly.

 When their marriage had been forced to postpone for Ho’ori’s sudden transfer, their friends had been very worried about them seriously and warned about many things. But the promise of marriage was perfectly effective and healthily alive still now.

 Soon after he would get to adapt himself to his new work and get stable, they will marry soon…, it had been promised so. When thinking about such a situation, the now seemed like an extension of their student age. They had already known and understood each other enough even to get bored sometimes, but despite that, on now all of all seemed as fresh and even as pure as if at the time when they had gotten the first met. Probably it was the thing which should be expressed as ‘reboot’, there were both freshness and deep affection at the same time. Of course, Mana also was looking like enjoying this mysterious stimulation as same as Ho’ori.

 This cafe’s cheesecake was the best favorite of Mana, so Ho’ori had been seeing this cute smile filled up with the big joy of tasting it, for these years all the time.

 The big eyes which had the outer edges being down-slanting a little were always shining and very impressive. The flaxen long hair was winding softly and suited her perfectly. Her well-proportioned oval face was modest but really graceful and beautiful, and of course her whole too. Seemingly looked like a lady of a high-class family, and truly she was a daughter of a large landowner in Nerima. So, fashionable sweets seemed very appropriate to her. But Ho’ori knew also the truth of her. For example, being a pretty tomboy, being very active as a scientist, and being very kind. At the deep of her big blackish eyes, kindness being careful about other people was shining usually and warmly. She was a type truly regarding love for mankind as precious.

 But in recent days, rather, because of that, Ho’ori was often being forced to get worried about her.

 “I heard that your team is going to do pre-researching before the main team will dive together with me. How is preparation?”

 To him who asked so,

 “Last night, we finally completed it. Submarine drones were prepared soon, but documents showing the concrete plan to the university took a very long time. As you know, translating professor’s words into our language is very difficult.”

 “You are like a witch, too. No. Should I call you a medium?”

 “Hey, no need laughing.”

 Mana frowned and jokingly glared at him who unconsciously leaked a smile. Pouted and,

 “I want to recommend to me of the past. ‘you have to shredder the invitation of the launching ceremony instead of handing it to him!’ If I did so, everything would have been going well. When I heard he was rescued, I thought I have to be gentle to him and must be careful about him warmly. But, on the pier, from the police boat, he came out with light step as if dancing! Soon after that, I was kidnapped to the lab and compelled to make a note of his says. Even though I really wanted to go home…,”

 “Yes, you were saying so. I remember too.”

 Ho’ori felt his own mouth getting heavy a bit. The mentor in the university ages of these two, professor Isaki, was claiming that he saw something very important onto the bottom of the river through the clear body of the ship when he was dragged into that case as a hostage. Maybe his ‘something’ would be the same as what Ho’ori had seen. And, as sure, if someone would give the name to that, that was…, No, 

 “I feel sorry to Professor, but…, I think it’s not…, isn’t it?”

 “In his opinion, the reason why the terrorists suddenly surrendered was that they converted by seeing the paradise onto the river bottom. When I heard from him that this phenomenon was as same as Paulo on the way to Damascus, I wondered what lab I was in now.”

 “Oh, I too heard it a short time ago. During you went to a restroom.”

 “As I expected.”

 To Ho’ori who shrugged, Mana showed a smile containing a bit of irony and confusion, then sighed deeply.

 Nowadays, a professor at NUMST, Isaki Zentaro was being regarded as one of the most well-known leaders advocating ‘the theory of ocean memory’, and by believers of fake science, he was being relied on as the role waving the flag. On the other hand, very naturally, from serious scientists, he was being called a heretic and regarded had fallen into the other world. Of course, at first, he was not so. There was certainly the age when he was working as an ordinary scientist. On the contrary, he was even well known as a prominent evolutional biologist. However, before his students had noticed it, maybe around the time when Ho’ori finished the master course, it seemed that into the professor’s words the odd tone started mixing.

 No one didn’t know the true reason.

 Thinking about the appeal of the theory of evolution, it seems certain that the way of the recognition to that has a deep impact on each person’s ideology or philosophy. This world is really wonderful, so especially biologists, as they study deeper and deeper, they become often to be haunted by certain question. Namely, every wonderful fine minute thing which is relating to the life on the earth, is this an accidental result at all?  Or, is this the creation basing on the will? Which answer will you choose?  …this question like a potential threatening is always following the shadows at foot of scientists who want to keep being honest. Exactly, for the biggest truth that life on the earth is beautiful.

 As getting age, this scientist seemed to have reviewed his own life and to have decided to walk on another way. Since around the time, his words about specializing fields started to contain illogical jumping or very unique insights, tones of self-righteousness. And in the end, he had become openly showing a pious attitude for another world by enthusiastically claiming about own inspirations as the best doctrine instead of accumulated data or common understandings. The age when he got admired as one of the famous biologists of NUMST had already gone somewhere. And now, professor Isaki was being a target of ridicule and pity, as a ‘mad scientist’ or a ‘religious painter’ who was allowed to take a small lab and salary by the glace of old honor. Ho’ori had heard so. It was only a typical sample called a harmful elder frequently appearing at the edge of the science world. He often recalled that someone, who had conveyed the fact to him, had added so to the end of the tale.

 According to Isaki’s theory, always this ecological system can concretely rebuild the history of life on the earth onto this age by making a connection with the memories of the ocean. And from this reason, we still have the potential to be allowed to knock on the door of the pure prehistoric paradise. Because the life of the earth is using the ocean as a storage medium for the memories of itself like an outer HDD and it can keep the backup information of evolution also onto the outside of gene.

 “For example, virus.”

 Professor Isaki said so.

 It’s well known that the virus which is living on the border between life and information is an existence that is using their host’s DNA or RNA reproduction system or translating system for copying own DNA or RNA and for making proteins which they need. According to the words by professor Isaki, the virus itself also is just information of evolution memories which jumped out from the history of life on the earth after it was added a function for recalling and was simplified, but,

 “It is said, the seawater of shoreline is containing virus about one hundred million per one milli little. In the instance of deep seawater, it’s containing three million viruses. There are some researchers saying that the total weight of all viruses in the sea is comparable to be equal to the weight of seventy-five million Blue whales. But these viruses can be discovered because they have their visible working and that unique structure that has nucleic acid surrounded by a capsid. Yes, they still have a purpose to be recalled, so they are found out. However, if they have nothing like such structure…, how is it?”

 For other examples, there was a discovery about viroid which has a body only made of RNA as a pathogen of plants. But after all, it is merely that we can find them because it also has a purpose to be play-backed as a root of illness. He said so proudly as if a friend of theirs.

 In a case to set keeping a record as the only purpose, namely, on the case that replaying is not the purpose, if it is capable of expressing base sequence, DNA or RNA as memory storage mediums are not needed. During the history of life on the earth, nucleic acid information on evolution is flowing out through many processes, and being accumulated on the vast bottom of the sea as a naked gene. The real ocean is exactly the ocean of information, the sea of records and memories too. What is the way of connecting to the ocean of the akashic record…?

 For example, trying to think about that theory referring to some practical knowledge like environmental DNA, indeed, the possibility that fragments of bio information, which got a stable chemical condition by chance, is born into the ocean could not be denied perfectly. But, if someone will say that even memes or emotions, which were recorded as memories of cells, were being transcribed many times and be being kept as substances into the ocean, after all, it must be a kind of occult.

 Moreover, if the researching purpose of the professor about ‘the memories of the ocean’ was to make back to the prehistoric paradise, which was being imagined as the first place of the beginning of us, it must be natural that he attracted people’s insulting curiosity.

 Every time hearing rumors about the professor on an alumni association or on meeting for their specializing field, Ho’ori felt his own chest getting heavier. Of course, bad reputations themselves about his former teacher were uncomfortable too. But more than anything, he felt disgusted about the reputation of Mana. Because his cute fiancée was making a living as an assistant of a miserable fake scientist, people tended to regard her as a member of eerie religionists. This fact was annoying Ho’ori. Sympathy voices against her also were merely the same thing, to him.

 “Don’t worry. Any suffering is never continuing forever. And, a bad teacher also is a teacher. Even an absurd thesis is going to be a model to make a reasonable thesis.”

 Though Mana who was ambitious about her own specializing field was laughing as if boldly blowing his anxiety with a cute smile every time, Ho’ori could never get assent. When he heard rumors about ‘that bad luck assistant’ always he couldn’t avoid feeling impulse like wanting to growl. Because he knew that her research about a positive influence to the biodiversity of this river by environmental changing by human activities was respectable and a well-made work, such feeling got strengthen more and more in him.

 She was continuing that research hard and steadily by finding short free times between the daily boring but hard job. Someday, this research of her should become known by many people and be welcomed by them. He was believing in it. And, he was enduring the disgrace to his lovely fiancée only for that purpose while being soothed by her smile. If she quit the now job, she would be released from the disgrace but it’s not guaranteed whether she can continue the research in the next working place. For this reason, she should stay now place. He also understood it enough. But at the same time, he could easily predict that decent scientists will never treat the workings of Professor (and his beautiful assistant) as serious. Because the old man was putting up the revival of ‘the garden of Ediacara’ as a temporary goal of his study.

 In 1946, on Ediacara Hill in Flinders Ranges of South Australia, a big discovery in biology, especially in fields about the evolution or about the history of life on the earth had been there. But it is said this news couldn’t take people’s understandings well about that importance at the beginning even though this discovery was one of the biggest topics in paleontology. The discover person was Reginald Claude Sprigg.

 From sedimentary rocks, he found an impression fossil (fossils of only a vestige of creature’s outer form. Sometimes it’s including footprints and etc.). That seemed a mark of a small mollusk. It’s said that at first, he regarded this fossil as a jellyfish of Cambrian. The whole length of that was about one inch, the shape looked as made by the track belt of a very tiny tank. This fossil, which got to be called ‘Spriggina’ after that, became the beginning of the study about Ediacara fauna which is the first multicellular organism that was born on the earth between 620 million years ago to 542 million years ago.

 The word ‘Ediacara’ has the meaning of ‘There is the water’ in Native Australian’s language. This would be said the best appropriate name to the holy place of the history of life on the earth. Because, it was born in the ocean and traced the basic process of evolution, in the sea.

 Of course, it has the importance as the first multicellular organism but generally, Ediacara fauna tends to be admitted worth as a preparation times to the next times. Namely, to Cambrian age, to the great explosion of Cambria. This ‘explosion’ is well known as a phenomenon which had brought the sudden increase of the diversity of marine organism. Nowadays, prehistoric marine organisms such as ‘Anomalocaris’ or ‘Opavinia’, which are Cambrian creatures and look like odd prawns, are very famous. Contrary to that, comparing with these animals which are like the icons in Paleozoic, it’s difficult to say that Ediacaran creatures which had very modest shapes are familiar to people. No horns, no spines, if we met them, they might look like a cheap air mattress used in seashore or poolside. The pre-Cambrian residents had simple too modest body forms which only seem commonly meat clods which had just individuality a little, so to many ordinary people, the worth of them tends not to be found easily. Unfortunately, we cannot deny that it is prone to be regarded this creature’s outer traits are lack of vivid charm than Cambrian residents.

 However, the fact that Ediacaran fauna is the miracle trophy of the history of life on the earth is the truth without doubt.

 After eating another prokaryotic cell type unicellular creature, and beginning to use them as mitochondrion or chloroplasts, a eukaryotic cell type unicellular creature that protects its own DNA by its ‘core’ was born about 2 billion years ago. Then these eukaryotic cell-type unicellular creatures had gathered with each other naturally for energy efficiency and made some aggregation which is called ‘cell population’. In each cell population, at first, each cell was no more than that a just cell that had been gathered. They were undifferentiated and existed as a part of a group for simple community life. However, after a while, each part of them gradually was given each role as a part of a whole and got specialized as many organs. And finally, the whole of one cell population won the complicated body as one individual as a multicell organism. This is exactly the beginning of multicellular eukaryotic history and guessed it happened from 1.5 billion years ago to 1 billion years ago. And, all of this story happened in the ocean. But of course, the story was not the end yet.

 From 700 million years ago to 600 million years ago, ‘the snowball earth’, a phenomenon that glaciers reach the equator and the whole of the earth is covered thick ice, happened. This event brought mass extinction and the silence of death onto the earth but invited also a big jumping in evolution at the same time. Some very small multicellular creatures survived the mass extinction and got the miracle chance of consuming in monopolistic a lot of nutrition which had accumulated on the bottom of the sea because of not to be used under the destructive disaster. They could make the scale of multi-cellularization enlarge at a very high level by using abundance chemical capital and won the far bigger (maybe was the biggest) multicell body than any creature of before. Ediacaran fauna was born as the result of this process.

 Comparing with microorganisms, though tinys are superior to biggers in both frequency and speed on self-reproduction, macro-organism has a big advantage of being able to keep the more stable conditions for a longer time as one individual at a higher level than microorganisms. If we had not passed through this process, no one would have gotten individuality. In short, we got the chance to establish our stable individuality on a high level by the giantized being as multicellular creatures.

 These first macro creatures got named ‘Ediacaran fauna’ stemming from the discovery place them. (Nowadays fossils of the same period have been discovered at some points on the continents around the world.) This fact means that life on the earth needed about three billion years for making itself become visible size by human naked eyes. But here, at last, the signal fire had been torched. The shining light had been illuminating the fact that the preparation for both the establishment of individuality and the expansion of biodiversity was finished.

 These first multicellular creatures played a vital role in the history of life on the earth in pre-Cambrian until the Cambrian big explosion happened about 540 million years ago in the ocean and the so fast expanding of biodiversity by new type creature. Yes, the new type of creature which protects itself with hard outer skeleton had been born, as the next generation of them. Ediacaran fauna creatures had clearly made the one important period. And then, they were displaced to the edge of the world because of being eaten one after another by the new aggressive creatures ‘Burgess-Maotianshan fauna’.

 In 1992 ~ 1994, a famous German paleontologist announced a bold hypothesis about ‘Bend- -animal fauna’ which was regarded as a typical group of Ediacaran fauna. To classify life on the earth, in this period, many scientists were supporting ‘Five Kingdoms theory’ consisted of ‘Monera’, ‘Protista’, ‘Fungi’, ‘Plantae’, ‘Animalia’. But he said we could classify Bend animals as ‘Bend kingdom’ which was the sixth of the kingdoms.

 As typical examples ‘Charniodiscus’ or ‘Dickinsonia’ which are classified in this fauna had a unique body that looked like a thick leaf constructed from united many hollow tubes. He had argued that these were neither animal nor plant and must be classified into the perfectly new kingdom as multicellular creatures which had completely gotten extinct. In this hypothesis, these creatures which had kilt-like body being formed by bio-membrane tubes filled with protoplasm were concluded as existences showing the process of an experiment by the earth and life for gaining multicellularity. That had been one form of life which had not been accepted to the earth, despite had being born…

 A perspective like this which stirs mutable but romantic sights of the past by regarding a part of disappeared creatures as a very special existence often appears at the dawn of each branch in paleontology. Like about dinosaurs in old-time, or about Burgess-Maotianshan creatures in recent days. But it is a general phenomenon in every field also that reconsidering about exciting dawn proceed ahead with time.

 About the sixth kingdom hypothesis, the German paleontologist himself already withdrew his opinion because of study results after. And in the first place, the word ‘Bend’ itself also, which meant the after a period of pre-Cambrian, had become not to be used because the International Union of Geological Sciences revised their geological time scale in 2004. In scientific scenes of now, the period from 630 million years ago to 542 million years ago is commonly called ‘Ediacaran’, and it is defined that the multicellular creatures which flourished during that period are ‘Ediacaran fauna’.

 Moreover, also about the common view that Ediacaran fauna is the first multicellular creature, it has possibilities to be reconsidered by being added new results of recent research. In Canada, an impression fossil like a form of a cup was discovered from the strata which accumulated 630 million years ago (before the Ediacaran period). On the other hand, a certain researcher of the USA announced a hypothesis that some part of Ediacaran fauna had been living on tidal flats or the ground. It seems that this hypothesis does not assist the theory that Ediacaran fauna is the first multicellular creature. Because the first multicellular creature must have been born in the sea. About this hypothesis arguments are continuing yet now.

 But,

 “It’s same as that T-rex is considered as an active predator or as a dull scavenger depending on the times. She could run to catch an escaping jeep but could not run fast, couldn’t find anything unless the target was moving, but did parenting, had vivid color feather but could hide easily. These may not be correct but may not be lies at the same time. These are the truths changing one after another together with being added new knowledge.”

  Isaki easily explained so and,

 “There is a different point what we should focus on in true.”

 he asserted so.

 “Classification or ecology, these old and tiny themes are not worth for us.”

 Making a reddish baldhead shine, swinging a rich beard like Wallace, who is one of the fathers of the theory of evolution, Professor always talked with huge enthusiasm about the meaning of Ediacara. 

 The meaning of Ediacara which he talked about was, in short, the hypothesis of ‘the Garden of Ediacara’ and was the thing which suggested the only one possibility that the true paradise had existed at only once, in the history of life on the earth.

 This hypothesis may have been the biggest example of romanticism about extinct creatures.

 ‘The creatures of Ediacaran fauna, because they had been making autotrophic microorganism symbiosis in the inside of their own body, did not have in each other the prey and predator relationship. The age which had begun after the Cambrian explosion brought the survival competition that the weak were merely just victims of the strong onto the whole of the under the ocean. But, exactly, for this reason, contrary to all of after of that, Ediacaran was in perfect peace, was the last paradise in the history of life on the earth…,’. This was the main theme of this hypothesis. The peaceful utopia spreading on the bottom of the ancient sea. A wolf will reside with a lamb, a kid will lie down together with a leopard, a calf and a lion will be led by a little boy…, the paradise which was in the prophecy might not come in the future, but it had existed under the sea of the far old period without a doubt…

 However, this story too was being denied by the fossil evidence some years ago. The Eden under the ocean was a fairy tale in science. So, now, the person who was seriously considering it might have been the professor only. He was powerfully insisting that even if this story itself was not true it is giving many suggestions for us.

 “How do you think about which was faster? The completion of a catching organ to eat, or distinguishing own itself from others. If you think about it a bit seriously it should be very obvious. And if it’s like so, this world was certainly paradise until just before the moment when the prey-predator relationship was born. That period must be the only one biosphere that ‘differences of between individuals’ and ‘peace’ were on symbiosis perfectly.”

 He said so and pulled up the edges of the lips contentedly. Then,

 “Exactly now, we are being invited by the river that brought back its prehistoric beauty, and the gate of the paradise is being opened gradually but clearly, for us.”

 Professor had noticed the sign of it. From the pleasure boat, which had been hijacked by the terrorists, this old man had watched the same scene which Ho’ori had seen, for longer than Ho’ori. And at that time, was attacked by the strongest inspiration in his life. He was believing in so.

 “Probably, the water of the Tokyo basin system has been excessively purified, so it’s making itself the most appropriate screen and inviting the gate.”

 Memories seek being recalled. Information seeks expression.

 “Furthermore, there is the possibility that nostalgia in people reacted and is promoting the gate open.”

 But, the daytime of the river’s shore of modern time was too bright and too noisy to project the gate to itself. The memories are so delicate. And a high excited state forces them to predict decay.

 For these reasons, there is a high possibility that the memories of the ocean have chosen the night river for its own playback…, he explained so.

 “Noisy paradise? Such thing must not exist.”

 Professor Isaki asserted with a frowning face.

 “On now, yet, we don’t have any way to keep the gate open. Moreover, there is no way even to make a stable observation.”

 He continued talking without a pause. Maybe he was feeling great joy at the visitor who was carefully listening to his talk. Even if that attitude was being based on kindness toward a patient or a mind of duty as an ex-student.

 “Watch this.”

 The old man showed a mobile display sheet to Ho’ori and,

 “There are many witnesses who claimed they saw unknown creatures on the night river or felt the odd atmosphere in the dark. I think these also are the signs of the gate to be opened.”

 “Sir…, I didn’t know that you also watch such a site. I’m very surprised…,”

 Ho’ori desperately had to try to hide the twitching of his face. ‘Dagon Net’. The display was showing the top page of the Internet site which was receiving fervent supports from many pirate kids. Generally, the children read articles on this site on daily life like their parents read a news site. As the water-spring of various kinds of gossips about the river… Never minding his ex-student effort at all, Professor stuck out his chest proudly as if to say ‘Of course’.

 “Sometimes I too contribute articles to this site. For the sake of studies, we must access all possibilities. Anyway, we need always knock on the door.”

 The sightline of the squint eyes was powerfully fixed to his ex-student and,

 “If we can knock the gate anytime, it directly implies that another world is always there on another side of the gate. That we understand the gate as the entrance of paradise is almost meaning that we are already in paradise. By knock, we can make sure of the existence of the gate. By continuing to knock, we can maintain the gate there.”

 “…What will you do, after maintaining the gate?”

 “First of all, maintaining the gate, itself has very meaningful.”

 The old man said proudly.

 “If you see it even only a glance you too should be able to understand it needs to be maintained by this side people. At least, it needs the gate was prepared to be opened anytime.”

 “Why?”

 For this question, Professor stared with wondering eyes at Ho’ori.

 He made his right eyebrow jumping up and,

 “Oppositely, why you can think the gate to the paradise is permitted to be closed? It’s nonsense.”

 “…,”

  I guess you may not understand it yet…, professor Isaki shrugged and shook his head in a disappointed look. But took back a happy face soon, transferred the topic of conversation to the abilities of a drone which was planned to be used on a pre-research, without noticing Ho’ori’s unsatisfied face.

 “But this research project may not be just a dull job.”

 Mana’s eyes were shining mysteriously under the dim lights in the cafe.

 “In the list of the sponsors, I found NJBU.”

 “…Really?” 

 Ho’ori chuckled. NJBU was the short name of ‘New Japan Business Union’. NUMST was a national university, so a project which was supported by the economic world or governments was not rare. But it could be hardly believed that the biggest organization controlling the economic world of Japan was trying to invest their money into these suspicious and unproductive studies. It was the well-known fact that their interest is only whether to be profitable or not to be.

 And of course, the delusional pleasure of the mad scientist looked not to be fitting to practical possibilities in real economic activities at all.

 “Yes, I too couldn’t trust my eyes at first. But, but, but…,”

 Mana proudly smiled and pulled out a bundle of document papers from her bag, chose out the one-sheet from that, gave it to Ho’ori. It was the list of names of companies or groups which were supporting and cooperating with this researching project. Some moments later, to Ho’ori who was looking at it with no voice, Mana approached by moving herself and her chair and pointed at one of the names on the sheet from aside. At that moment, Ho’ori’s nose felt the modest but fantastic woman’s scent, so he closed the eyes and wanted to taste it more, but,

 “Hey, this. Nakatsuse-kai.”

 “Yes, I found it.”

 In a puzzling feeling, Ho’ori had followed a series of dubious names on the document. On there, were many names of the groups which had become to get intimate relationships with Professor Isaki after he had taken a distance from the sincere science. And almost at the end of the list, that name was there.

 “Nakatsuse-kai…, is it an ultraconservative group?”

 ‘Nakatsuse’ is an important word appearing in a Japanese myth ‘Koji-ki’ (this title means ‘the old events record’). Izanagi, who was the father god of Japan islands, washed away curses from his body by standing in ‘Nakatsuse’ (means the middle shallows of the river) after returned from ‘Yomi’ (means the world of death). In this story, because of that behavior of him, some gods as troublemakers, other gods being to wash that troubles away, and the three most important gods were born onto this world. Ho’ori knew that story, so felt like that organization’s name stemmed from a sense of conservative right-wing people, but,

 “No, it’s not!”

 Mana shook her head.

 “Because I’ve never heard the name too, so of course examined it soon. Can you believe it? This is the culture-supporting branch of NJBU. It’s exactly a huge sponsor, no, the biggest what I’ve met in my life as a researcher.”

 Seeing her face filled up with joy, of course, itself was a very huge delight to him, but at the same time, Ho’ori couldn’t hide a baffled look.

 “But…, why they want to support his study? Even if that is not fake science, our teacher’s study would never make much money. There are many other important cultures, research, or themes in this world, in short, there are other themes surely to earn profit. Why? I know they are not pure dreaming billionaires.”

 “Hi’iragi-san is suspecting that they may be setting my study as their true target.”

 Hi’iragi who was an old good friend of Ho’ori had graduated from the university in the same year when Ho’ori entered the graduated school and now was working in Tokyo Marine Police Department, as an analyze-officer. Ho’ori and Mana were often receiving advice from him, to avoid truly dangerous groups since after professor started to make relationships with various kinds of mysterious organizations.

 “hm…, then, did he also agree about Nakatsuse-kai is a branch of NJBU?”

 To Ho’ori’s question, Mana powerfully nodded. And, if it was so…,

 “…His inference may be correct.”

 “Yes!”

 Mana winked at him. Ho’ori also nodded and,

 “Certainly, it’s well known that NJBU seriously plans to make the purifying technology of Tokyo water environment the key commodity for export. I have heard it, too.”

 Surely, if this was the truth, Mana’s study would be exactly ideal for advertising which needed to be based on serious scientific research. Like on this river, if it was there that the huge amount of affirmational data which acknowledged that artificial environment changing does not always destroy nature, someone’s opinions that industrial developments absolutely conflict to preserving environments could be continued no longer. If considered basing on such a premise, NJBU was expecting a large profit and was investing in a fool study only to make the connection with Mana while pretending to support cultural activities…, this possibility could sound convincing.

 Ho’ori groaned.

 “While avoiding to scatter the water against professor’s face, at the same time, making the warm connection with his assistant…, I guess they are really smart merchants.”

 “Yes, indeed. And if it is really so…,”

 Mana was showing a cute but theatrical smile to him and,

 “You too, please do nice work as a guide. Of course for the sake of me!”

 “Yes…, of course, I’m going to do. Always. For you.”

 “But I guess that you yourself too will be able to get a good connection from this plan. …In this world, is there any connection perfectly needless?”

 “I don’t know.”

 To Ho’ori, who shrugged and showed an ironic smile, Mana asked with a little serious face.

 “By only this, it’s not enough for going back to your head office?”

 “Maybe, not enough at all.”

 She looked not to be being satisfied at that Ho’ori laughed at her question. After a protest by making the lower lip stuck out, she silently started to eat the cake again. It seemed that the taste was nice as ever. Her face was bringing back brightness rapidly. Ho’ori was watching at such her for a while, and,

 “…Hey, …I promise you my good work.”

 “I know it, of course.”

 She looked up at him again and smiled perfectly.

 Ⓒ2016 Takagi Tokio

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