Out of the Darkness

The Enemy of My Enemy


I write to you on a matter of no urgency whatsoever. For there is nothing untoward with regard to the diligent servant of the Crab, Shoku Mifune, who had absolutely nothing to hide. His nocturnal ventures, I am sure, were merely a conscientious attendance to his duties as a vinegar merchant and not, say, an opportunity for vampiric predation upon the heimin of the nearby village. While some would view the touching of blood—to say nothing of of its consumption—as unclean and would seek out a torii arch for purification immediately, Mifune-san was so focused on serving his masters well that he lets no such compunctions deter him from his tasks. Indeed, not even the fact that his head had the ability to separate from his body, trailing viscera as it flew through the darkness, seemed to dissuade Mifune-san from slaking his hunger for getting every ounce of energy from his servants.

Thus it is with unfortunate sorrow that I report that Togashi Kenta-san and I have encouraged Mifune-san to rest from his nightly labors, productive as they may have been. Purely out of concern for his own well-being, you understand. In fact, if one were to go to his warehouse this very night, one might find him—or at least portions of him—resting comfortably in a pool of warm, sticky liquid—a contribution thoughtfully provided by one of the aforementioned heimin. While we ourselves have inspired this current state of affairs, there is one further observation that I would humbly offer: I would say that such uncleanliness does not become a servant of the Emperor operating so close to Seppun-sama’s estate. Perhaps it would be wise for us to discreetly assist Mifune-san in ordering his affairs, the better to preserve Seppun-sama’s on. I will await the arrival of your servants to assist in this matter.

Also of no import is the matter which Mifune-san shared with us to us prior to undertaking his rest. While he claimed that he was not in league with the most honorable and upright Kuni Yuke (who likewise had nothing to hide), he did express to us that, despite her unfortunate and abrupt departure from Seppun-sama’s Winter Court, we could nevertheless expect the upcoming festivities to be crowned with a bountiful increase in the number of souls who would soon be reunited with their blessed forebears. Not only was Mifune-san diligent in his efforts for the Empire, I now see how particularly blessed he was to have such keen insight into the minds of so many men’s Ancestors as well!

Curiously, he also claimed that such unmediated reverence of the souls in Yomi would not be facilitated by his own hand, but by another’s—and that he alone had the knowledge to curtail this increased commerce between Ningen-do and Yomi. While he unfortunately did not share the identity of the one behind these plans, he did see fit to share that the servant Rosemary was involved, much like a piece on the go board in the hands of a master gamesman. This was a most interesting revelation, as Rosemary herself was the one who alerted me to Mifune-san’s peculiar evening habits, and directed me to where I might find Mifune-san’s warehouse. And further, she provided me with a most curious amulet which had been a gift to her from her new master. As the possession of a meager servant, the amulet itself has no special distinguishing characteristics whatsoever, and cannot possibly render its bearer hidden from the sight of those nearby. I in no way wish to impugn Rosemary’s choice of master, hidden as he may be, and would not ever ask for this amulet to be scrutinized by one versed in the ways of the Kami.

It seems this unseen benefactor was quite solicitous in helping her to further her noble plans for vengeance justice against the ones who named her to be placed under the ministrations of certain of Seppun-sama’s Leatherworkers. On the morrow, I hope to receive an audience with this individual; perhaps given my recent interactions with Mifune-san, he will see fit to entertain me and provide me with further wisdom on this matter. Such a knowledgeable and influential man would no doubt have a most insightful answer to one of Bayushi Tangen—sama’s most famous riddles: The enemy of my enemy—is he my friend, or is he, too, my foe?



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