Death's recount began from the moment we had parted ways at the Kuri; on the day the green, pink and blue aurora borealis illuminated the sky at night.
He had been strolling along the soft sand and pebble stone pathways and had stepped onto the Butsudan Hall's wide verandah, relishing the typical placid floral scent from the wooden floorboards.
The loud argument between War and myself had made his eyes roll. So, he went to dispel our spat behind the building.
A short while later, he had returned to the verandah by the time Pesti and I had turned a corner, away from the central courtyard.
The sight of a stranger—in a formal navy-blue business suit and wide brim hat called a Fedora—standing before the building's entrance made him pause with a frown. It had been a while since he had seen someone from the outside granted entry into Gat Shiem.
He approached the man and saw Shuso standing next to him.
"Shuso introduced me to Abraham Reiner, who had travelled from a place called Hell's Labyrinth to entrust an artefact he and his men had discovered there."
I gulped nervously when Death mentioned that another man had stepped onto the verandah to stand next to Abraham.
This man wore a dark uniform of a military officer and a black veil with an inner layer shielding his eyes from view. However, the X-patterned scar on the side of his neck near his collarbone was clearly visible beneath the veil's material.
Death was given something of an eccentric dismissal order from Shuso. He politely took his leave, crossed the Central Courtyard—past the long Temizuya water basin—and entered the moonstone Archive Tower.
He greeted passing monks in blue samue or kimonos with cordial bows as he followed a fudge scented trail down shimmering stone corridors to the cataloguing room.
Inside the room, he passed between rows of glass cabinets (shelves stocked with objects of various shapes and colours), travelling a spiral path to the circular center where his obsidian alter and tools for alchemy laid was laid out on the surface in readiness for his work.
His thoughts of the strange men were pushed aside with an intention of talking to War about it later.
Sometime had passed when the droopy-eyes monk named Adams-san had entered to supervise his work. He was running through his checklist of the shelved objects locked away in the cabinets.
I knew that Death and Adams-san were close because of their archive responsibilities, but I would never have imagined the relationship that they had formed. Instead of supervision, Adams-san had disrupted Death's work to make out with him.
Death sighed, confessing to their affair that began by accident due to a mishap with an artefact. They had been dating for a while.
"The number of times we made love in that place makes me feel ashamed. I couldn't stop. I was addicted to him." He lowered his head. "I'm sure this ghost form is Buddha's punishment for me."
He looked to his ghostly hands held out before him.
"Have you forgotten everything Bulldog taught us? People punish people, we punish ourselves. Buddha offers a way to enlightenment." I firmly reassured him, prompting him to carry on.
Fortunately, they had finished with their nookie and was doing some actual work at the obsidian alter by the time Shuso had entered the room. He led in Abraham and the black veil man who was holding an iron box patterned with several wardings and protection symbols from the Sacred Word.
YOU ARE READING
"I'll find a way to save my brother. Do whatever the hell you want. I'm stealing your guns." Famine is a man determined to save his three brothers after they were tragically separated when a magical fire destroyed their monastery home. He finds him...