Extra #3: The Flow of Time, no. 3
"As the forces of fire and ice have fought since the beginning of time till now, so shall it be with mankind." —Patriarch of the First Church, ca. 400
“Welcome to The Sixth Church.”
As if welcoming their arrival, lightning flashed through the sky and but no thunder could be heard even though the flash was near. They stood on the edge of the forest watching the old cathedral. The building look abandoned but it looked well maintained, no, more like frozen in time.
“I didn’t know there was anything this big all the way out here,” Tohma said as they walked down the small hill, “How does no one know about it.”
“There’s a lot you don’t know,” Kiyoteru answered.
They continued down the slope in silence except for the crunching of leaves beneath their feet. The midday sun shone its rays and provided ample lightning, clear skies; a good day for the beach but here they were walking towards an abandoned church.
“How long has this place been abandoned?” Natsuki asked, as they approached the gate.
“I never said this place was abandoned,” Kiyoteru replied as he rapped his knuckles against the rusted metal gate.
They stood there for a few seconds before someone came walking from around the corner; someone in simple priestly attire. Looking a bit flustered, his hand shaking, he tried to unlock the gate.
“Sorry for the wait,” he said, breathing heavily, “Welcome to the Sixth Church, it’s our honour for having you here with us on this beautiful day.”
“I’m sure you all are very thirsty,” he said as he removed the chain binding the gate, “There isn’t any special activities or tours occurring today or in the near future so I’m assuming you’re here to talk to Her Beatitude, Matriarch of the Fifth Church. I believe she’s free at the moment.”
“It’s been quite a while since anyone has came here,” Marius said as he led them through one of the many side doors, “To be very honest, I’m quite excited.”
The young man jumped and turned around in haste. “I’m sorry, did I do something wrong? Is there anything you’ll like? Somewhere you— oh.” A look of recollection flashed upon his face that suddenly turned into a look of fright. “F-Father Hiyama! I’m sorry, I didn’t realise, please forgive me for my carelessness and lack of courtesy.”
Pain flashed across Kiyoteru’s face. “Please, don’t call me Father.” He looked away as if it pained just to look at the young man’s face. “I’m not worthy to be called by that name. Now now, not ever.”
“But Father. Why?”
He raised his hand to silence him. “Can we leave it at that? Just direct us to the Old Library. We can talk about the specifics some other time.”
Marius nodded rapidly before taking off without another one, a sense of purpose in his step.
“You never said you were a priest,” Akito said sullenly, “What else did you hide from me, no from us?”
“Forget that,” Tohma said, “What kind of person were you that you can cause someone to get so scared? I’ve never seen anyone looked so afraid in my life, from Teru’s cheerful face no less.”
Kiyoteru frowned as they continued to walk down many corridors, most dusty with neglect. “That’s a chapter of my life that I closed years ago. Let’s just say it wasn’t a nice time for those I cared about.”
Akito opened his mouth to retort but Kiyoteru was already out of earshot as he sped up to Marius. Tohma shook his head. “He’ll talk to you about it eventually.”
A few minutes later, and more apologies from Marius, they were standing the Old Library. Shelves upon shelves lined the room reaching into the sky so high, it was nauseating to even imagine how high they go.
“Wow,” Haruto said in amazement, “Just how many books does it have here?”
“The library doesn’t hold more 1 million books at a time,” Kiyoteru said, “There are many more in storage.”
He took the key from around his neck and placed it on the table. He walked down one of the many corridors and returned with a book some seconds later.
“What do we do now?” Haruto asked, “We did as Kiyoshi said, we’re all here and we have the key.”
Kiyoteru opened the book and pulled out another key from between the pages. “We need three keys to get to the crypt. One for the gate to The Pit, and two for the crypt itself.
“Kiyoshi handed down his crypt key to me, this crypt key belongs to the library, and the third key, the one for the gate, is lost.”
“So, you’re saying that we came all this way for nothing?” Akito asked, “Now what? We just sit here and wait? There’s only 3 more days until this event, that we’re not even sure about by the way, would take place!”
Kiyoteru shook his head. “The Pit is here, that’s all that matters.”
“But we need the third key to open the gate first,” Natsuki whined and kicked at the empty air. “Where are we going to get it? Your father didn’t even give us any hints?”
“None, but the owner will know where to find us. That much is certain.”
“How much longer?”
“Why are you complaining? You eat well.”
“But I’m hungry, and my throat tastes like salt.”
“Stop complaining, it’s not much further.”
They have been walking for 3 days now. 3 days without any sunlight. 3 days nothing to sustain them but water that flowed through the cracks in the wall. 3 days without no contact with the outside world.
“So,” Miki said as they continued to walk. Their torch died a day ago but Yuki seemed to have good night vision. “What exactly is at your grandfather’s grave?”
“Something that he sought to protect a long time ago when he was still a child,” Yuki answered, “He didn’t trust his children to pass it unto so he hid it until a worthy successor could be found.”
“And that person is you?”
“How did you even come to know about this?”
“The Silence. It talks to me.”
No other words were exchanged for a bit, and nothing else was heard except for the pit-a-pat of water falling from the ceiling.
“You think I’m crazy, don’t you?”
Sorry for the late upload. Things got a bit hectic.
Here’s the third chapter of a small arc in commemoration of Kiyoteru’s (and Yuki’s and Miki’s) 8th Anniversary.
I’m uncertain that this arc will be fully completed by Saturday (2 more chapters), I could skip what people may consider unnecessary and jump to the good parts but these intermediate components would give some insight on the main story.
So, until further notice, this will be an ongoing arc. It won’t be too long since it’s events that mostly took place in the past but it’s long enough to be part of the main story now.
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