Chapter Twenty-Three: The Viper’s Teeth:

-Victoria, Hong Kong-

In an office behind a popular nightclub, the boss gritted his teeth.

“We spent sixty-five years and countless Hong Kong dollars went into making this key!” he shouted. “How the fuck did you screw this one up?!”

“Someone must have beaten us there, sir!” a man in black complained. “Even the bodies were gone.”

“The storm drew too much attention!” another gangster shouted.

“We had no other choice! We needed to make the deaths look natural.”

“You’re lucky you didn’t kill the key!”

The boss clenched his teeth. “Enough!” The room became quiet and he rubbed his forehead. From jump, this project traveled down an uneven road. After Japan’s surrender in WWII, descendants of the Chinese gods scrambled to keep the gates to the pit sealed forever. One man, Delun, suggested making a key to solve the problem. The other descendants weren’t quick to jump on broad.

“How will we do that?” they asked. Delun had his own warped ideas about fixing the problem.

“Who else knew about the key?” the boss asked.

“Nobody, boss,” the man in the hoodie answered. “Those two did an amazing job staying hidden from our Japan branch.” All eyes glared at him.

“What?” he asked. “It’s impressive if you think about it.” The boss rolled his eyes, groaning.

Delun put science before humanity. His idea called for actual living beings. The descendants were horrified to about the details.

“You can’t do this!” they told him. Still, Delun went ahead with his experiments. His only problem? He lacked the funds to begin.

The boss sighed. “Any plans on retrieving the key?” Nervous chuckles filled the room. His eyes darted between his mobsters.

“What is it now?” he asked.

“Well, boss…” one of them spoke up.

“It disappeared,” another one confessed.

“What?” the boss asked.

“We used a tracking spell to help us out.”


“I don’t think it’s in this world anymore.”

The boss narrowed his eyes. “What are you saying? Is it…?”

“Oh, no, no, no. It’s still alive. We already confirmed it.”

“So… where is it?”

The mobsters struggled to answer without pissing off the boss any further. One guy’s eyes shifted back and forth.

“Well, it’s not in this world,” he said.

“Okay…” the boss said.

“We last tracked it in Meifu before the signal disappeared,” another gangster replied. The boss’ nostrils flared.

“What?!” he snapped. “You said it wasn’t dead!”

“It’s not,” another gangster said.

“So how did…?”

“We suspect that a shinigami carried the key into Meifu.”

The boss’ patience snapped in half. “I don’t care how it got there! Just get the key back!”

“Yes, boss!” They rushed out the door, leaving the boss with a pounding headache. God damn it! We’re already come this far! I am not going to fuck this up now! He sat back and took a breath.


-December 24th, 1945-

On Christmas Eve, Delun got a phone call that furthered his blood-soaked path.

“Hello?” he answered that morning.

“Are you Delun?” a man’s deep scratchy voice asked.

“Yes, who’s asking?”

“Just a really good friend.”