Seika Nikomi was only half-listening to the woman on the phone. "Please do be careful with them," the woman was saying and Seika had assured her the books would be well taken care of but her mind was somewhere else. She twisted her long hair around her fingers, her focus on the clock that hung high on the wall. Just five more minutes and it would be time to go. But go where? Seika didn't have many friends, prefering solitude to the mindless chatter of the girls at school. Instead, she immersed herself in her school work, her fascination with astrology and history and of course, the store.
It was her love of history and artifacts that had brought her to Hidden Treasures, the old and dusty building hidden in the midst of the new city. But to Seika, the store was a gold-mine. Full of books and pictures and small antiques that told a story of the past. Normally, Seika was content to stay at the store but today... today she was distracted and found herself counting the minutes until it was time to go. There must be something more, she thought.
Hanging up the phone, she emptied the register and headed to the door. There on the ground was a box, used paperbacks peeking out of the top. Seika rolled her eyes and drug the box inside. A quick glance at the contents confirmed what she had already suspected. Nothing rare. Nothing extraordinary. Just some slightly used books that had no real value whatsoever. But the woman had insisted that she look anyway. "You'll be pleased," she had promised her. Seika picked up the note the woman had left inside.
"Seika, thank you again for agreeing to look at these. They are priceless I know, but I wanted a professional opinion all the same. And you are right, Seika. There is more. Regards, Shinkirou."
Huh? "What does she mean there is more"? She rummaged through the box, shaking her head at the "collection" as she placed them on the counter. It was then that she saw it. The heavy book with the deep red cover that had been hidden beneath the others. Her hands tingled as she lifted it out of the box, the cover glistening even in the dim overhead lights. There were odd symbols across the top and at the bottom, a script inscription. Sacred Fire.
The pages were heavy, thick and dusty, the writing blotted and faded with time.
July 7, 1413 read the first entry. I am alone now.
A diary? Hmmm...
Interesting,she thought. Quickly, Seika closed down the store, turning off the lights and locking the doors. With the red book tucked safely under her arm, Seika headed home.
That evening, she tried to attend to her usual chores. The dishes that had been left in the sink, the laundry that laid in a pile beside her bed. But all she could think of was the book. The red book. Sacred Fire. Giving into her curiosity, Seika decided the dishes could wait and curled up with the book that just wouldn't seem to let her go.