He apologized first to the girl. “Sorry,” Kigaku mouthed to Kyouko.
“Sorry,” she echoed as the prophet bowed in shame.
“No—um. It’s alright. Really.” The book-girl shrugged in resignation. “I’ve memorized the contents, more or less. And it was only a matter of time until something like that would burst into flames, so it was only inevitable.”
“And why would that be the case?”
“Because,” she said, her orange eyes falling onto the yamabiko. The girl was half a word into her next sentence until she cut herself short, instead muttering to herself. She hunched over, and, as if the prophet and his companion didn’t even exist, she circled around, mumbling non-words all the while.
“Um. Hello?” Kyouko took a nervous step back and retreated to behind the prophet. “I’m not liking this, Ametsuchi.”
The man silently agreed. It was not just her demeanor, either: Both the prophet and the youkai sensed malintent. And though the book-girl seemed innocuous at first glance, a spell of malevolence took to the air around her.
Kigaku nodded to his assistant. “Excuse me. Miss?”
Kyouko relayed, though her voice barely carried over—she was busy pressing her face into the prophet’s back, cowering all the while. But no amount of decibels would have swayed the orange-haired girl: She was entranced. This was an unfortunate setback for the prophet—he had prior business with the bookkeeper, so he decided to take matters into his own hands.
The prophet opened his lips. ‘Miss,’ he mouthed.
The girl stopped in her tracks, her glazed eyes turning to the man.
‘Forgive me, but I’ll be intruding.’ He took a step forward, and, delicately, the prophet put a hand to her left shoulder.
She recoiled, jumping back at the man’s touch. The girl looked like she was a moment from screaming, but instead, gray haze was forcibly expelled from her mouth. It materialized into a shape, vaguely human, but also not. The thing writhed in the air, creeping closer towards the prophet. It was wild, frantically moving its appendages in an effort to relay. The two, both beings with no voice, communicated.
‘This is mine,’ it said. ‘I have obtained it. Do not take what is not yours.’
‘Go,’ insisted the soundless Kigaku. ‘What you have before you was unjustly seized. Leave this place and be judged by the denizens of the underworld.’
It fell, though not by choice, into the nether. And before it sank into the earth, it clawed before him. Had it a voice, Kigaku believed that it would have cried for vengeance. But what he had granted the being was mercy—or at least to Kigaku, it was.
The man exhaled. His voice was still sealed, but its power, though dormant, remains true. To spirits and unlistening beings, however…
[ ] Kigaku let those thoughts perish. He would not meddle more than he should. [ ] Kigaku kept the incident in mind—It could prove useful for Hijiri.