A kidnapping? In broad daylight? It was practically unheard of in this period, where crime was more dangerous than ever.
On October 18, Mrs. Yagami called and told him that Sayu was asking for him. He went straight to her house from work, and arrived to see that she was in pretty bad shape. She was constantly shaking, and her eyes were red and puffy; it clear that she had been through a terrible ordeal. And as much as Taro desperately wanted to know what had happened, he knew he couldn't bring it up. Whatever it was, it was the last thing she needed to be thinking about right now.
"Sayu...are you all right?" Immediately after saying this, he mentally kicked himself. What was that about? Of course she's not alright!
However, Sayu didn't seem to mind. "I'm feeling much better," she whispered, smiling weakly.
Mrs. Yagami stepped in. "The doctor says she needs plenty of rest, and so next week we're going out to the country for a little while. She said she wanted to catch you before we left."
Sayu looked at her mother. "Mom, could you please make us some tea?"
"Of course, dear," Mrs Yagami said, then she walked out of the room.
As soon as her mother was gone, Sayu said, "I need to tell you what happened..."
Taro wanted to tell her to let it all out, but he forced the words down. "No, don't talk. It's fine."
"No, it's not, Taro. There's something really wrong." She still called him Taro whenever the rest of her family wasn't around.
Sayu sighed. "It's Dad. I've never seen him so upset."
"Well, he's worried about you. What kind of father wouldn't be upset after what's happened?"
"But it's more than that," Sayu insisted. "Ever since he came to get me, he looks like he feels really guilty about something. He's trying to hide it from everyone, especially me, but we can tell. I need to figure it out."
"Wouldn't it be better to discuss it with your family?" Taro asked.
Sayu shook her head. "Mom keeps telling me I shouldn't think about what's happened, so I can't talk to her. And I'm sure Light knows why, but he won't talk about it either. It's some kind of secret between the two of them."
Taro supposed that if she was that eager to talk about it, he wouldn't stop her. Sayu told him about how the Mafia had picked her up on the way home from university. They had not treated her terribly and they hadn't physically abused her, at least as far as Sayu could remember. However, they had made it pretty clear that they were ready to kill her if their demands were not met.
"And what were their demands?" Taro asked.
"They kept talking about a notebook."
Taro froze. Notebook? Could it be...?
"At the exchange, they put me in a rotating glass door. When Dad showed up, the Mafia guy said that he would shoot me if Dad didn't slide the notebook into the glass door. Dad did it, but then the Mafia guy said something about having to test it. He wrote something in the notebook, waited about a minute, and then let me go."
Taro could feel his hand shaking. "This notebook...was it...black?"
Sayu thought about it. "Yeah, I think it was."
The Death Note. But what was Mr. Yagami doing with the Death Note? And what does the Mafia have to do with this?
"Sayu, your dad and your brother are working on the Kira case, aren't they?"
Sayu didn't say anything. Taro quickly added, "It's okay if you can't tell me. I guess it would kind of have to be a secret."
"No, it's alright. They are working on the Kira case, but you have to swear not to tell anyone else."
Taro nodded. "I promise."
Sayu then looked sad again. "What was that notebook?" she wondered aloud to herself. "Why did Dad seem so reluctant to give it up, even though he had to do it to save me?" She looked at Taro, and he wasn't able to hide his look of shock fast enough. "You know, don't you?" she said. "Somehow, you know."
Taro was trapped. He didn't want to lie to her, especially since she was so worried about her father. However, if he gave her his suspicions, she was sure to ask how he knew, and even though he trusted her, he didn't want to bring her into this mess.
Although, the Mafia have apparently already brought her into this mess.
Furthermore, if he told her that her dad had given the Mafia a very powerful weapon, and put even more lives at risk, in order to protect her, she might feel even more guilty.
But in the end, he had to tell her the truth. "If I tell you this, you have to promise not to tell anyone else."
Sayu opened her mouth, then stopped. "Even Dad?"
"Even him." If Mr. Yagami really did have the Death Note somehow, then he surely already knows what I'm about to say anyway. Same goes for Light.
"I promise," Sayu agreed.
Taro breathed deeply and took the plunge. "I think that notebook is how Kira kills people."
Sayu was silent for a minute. "How-"
"I can't tell you how I know," Taro said. "At least not yet. But what I can say is that there is a special notebook that Kira has. If you write someone's name in that notebook, that person dies. That's how he kills people."
Sayu's eyes widened as she began to understand. She made no comment as to whether she thought he was telling the truth or not. "That would mean...that my dad had this notebook. How is that possible?"
"I guess that means that your dad, and the others who are trying to catch Kira, are much closer than I thought they were. Somehow, they got a hold of one of the Death Notes. But Kira's still got one, probably from the fake Kira, and then the Mafia-"
Taro stopped and shook his head. There was too much going on; it would impossible to connect all the dots. Ultimately he had no idea how things had come to this point, and there was no point in trying to find out. Besides, he was already working to find Kira on his own; he didn't need to worry about what the police were doing at this point.
Sayu looked like she was getting ready to start crying, but Taro held her hand. "Just remember. Your father is a good man, a great man even. If he took the chance that someone would use the Death Note, it was because he loves you very much, and didn't want anything to happen to you."
Taro hoped that didn't sound too harsh. He knew that Mr. Yagami had done it for his daughter, and that was what she needed to hear right now.
I wonder what I would do if I were given that choice, he thought. If I had known Ryuk would give the Death Note to someone who wouldn't hesitate to use it, could I have willingly done that? For anything? Mr. Yagami may have made the best choice, but there was no way it was an easy one.
Just then, Mrs. Yagami brought in the tea and they had to end their conversation.
The rest of the afternoon consisted of Mrs. Yagami and Taro keeping Sayu company. Not wanting to impose on them for dinner, Taro excused himself around 6 and headed back to his apartment for the night. After walking in the door, he quickly checked his phone messages. There was only one.
It was a message from Sakura TV. He had been fired!
That left the backup plan. A plan that was much riskier, and much less likely to work.
About a month later, Taro handed his finished manuscript to Akira Hattori, one of the junior editors of Weekly Jump magazine.
"Of course," Hattori said. "Although, if 'The Death Note' turns out to be as big a hit as I think it will be, you'll have plenty of people who'll want to meet you."
That's what I'm counting on. "Well, if anyone wants to meets me, don't give them my contact information, but be sure to let me know they dropped by."
"Will do," Hattori assured him as he walked out.
Taro felt kind of bad about using the editors of Jump in this scheme, but he really had no choice. If he told them that the manga was not speculative fiction at all, and that Kira himself might show up, there was no way they would have published it. Fortunately, if Kira did show up, he would probably just show up and ask about the author, since killing all the editors wouldn't give him the answer he was looking for. If that happened, Taro would hopefully be able to catch them on the security cameras. He would be able to pick out Kira immediately if Ryuk was with him.
It should work, Taro thought. Then again, there's always a million things that can go wrong when you use yourself as bait.
Taro's one-shot, "The Death Note" came out in Weekly Jump on November 25. For a while, nothing happened. Taro tried to call Sayu, but she never answered. He tried to get back into the newscaster business, this time at NHN, now that he was no longer busy writing "The Death Note." If this plan didn't work, he figured he could always try the video editor plan again.
Then, one evening, about a week after "The Death Note" was published, Taro returned to his apartment to see a dark shape standing before him. He yelled, and fell to the ground in shock, feeling almost like he was 13 years old again. The shape looked at Taro with glowing eyes, and smiled toothily.
"Long time, no see," Ryuk chuckled. "Got any apples?"