Andre finally learns the dreaded truth, the secret of how Abe no Seimei became the eternal fox sorcerer. He also ends up entering into a pact he didn’t expect. He is shocked when Seimei insists on going back home with Andre, who doesn’t know how he will deal with a thousand-year-old man in his own world. Will Seimei’s demon associates crash the plane? Will his mother, a hereditary miko shaman woman, guess the truth of Seimei? He is too frightened to think of the possibilities, but he is also ecstatic to think that they can be together. When Seimei decides to accompany Andre to see his Harvard advisor, the situation turns dire. Seimei reveals to him that the man he thought was his professor may actually be the reincarnation of his archenemy, Ashiya Doman. Will Andre and Seimei survive the encounter?
A light touch on his shoulder startled him. It was the lovely tengu who always came now to hear Seimei’s stories. He was much bigger than the other tengus, and his face was nearly human. He wore gossamer robes that floated around his body, as if in respect for his divinity. Today he was dressed in a color between crimson and deep plum bordered in delicate gold that glimmered in the sun. At almost seven feet in height, he sometimes stooped to look into Andre’s face, something that never failed to make him feel disconcerted. His body emitted a slight, yet captivating perfume that reminded him of Seimei. It made him feel unreasonably jealous, thinking that they had been together for so long.
The tengu was extraordinarily beautiful. His wings were feathery and black, resembling those of a cursed angel. His long hair was tied up in a knot at the top of his head in the style of the ancient Japanese men. His large, liquid eyes conveyed wisdom, but also a deep sadness. No, maybe sadness wasn’t the right word. Andre knew now that wisdom—that infinite knowledge of truth, brought with it a quiet look that could be misinterpreted as melancholy.
The tengu’s lovely lips moved as if to say something, but Andre couldn’t hear him. He sat on a large boulder and signaled Andre to sit by him. His diaphanous robes floated about him, and it was difficult for Andre to work up the nerve to sit so near a creature that was so obviously divine. The tengu spoke louder now. He must have realized that Andre wasn’t capable of hearing his normal speech.
“I know what you want to hear, but Master Seimei does not wish to speak of it. I will tell you the story of how he came to be immortal, but you must never speak of it again. My name is Tarobo, and I am the dai-tengu of this mountain. I have known Seimei since he retired here. I protect him from the eyes of humans. Even if a human were to stray here, they would see and hear nothing. By my magic, I would cause them to become confused and leave.”
Andre held his hands together to keep his trembling from becoming apparent. “How is it that I was able to see him?”
Tarobo smiled slightly. Andre had never seen him smile before, and he was dazzled.