As Anstice spends some of his illegal time in Yu-Shan away from his children and Cerilla exploring the Benighted Fane of Darkness and its sub-buildings and grounds, he is alone. Nearly two days he's spent in the ancient and un-used spaces of the Division Building, pouring over what few records remain and learning the locations of the other four Dark Divisions, though reaching two will be incredibly difficult. But at the end of the second day, he hears someone approaching from the corridor behind him.
Endings: "Few remember this place. Fewer would enter and fewer still would think that you could find it. You are fortunate Wayang showed you the way. How fare your children, by the way?"
Anstice: "Not the best, but well enough last I checked."
Endings: "What could they lack in Heaven?"
Anstice: "The eldest has a distressing sense of entitlement."
Anstice: "Yes. Though I admit I am stretching that loophole for all it is worth. Social chat, or do you bring news?"
Endings: "I was asked to convey a message next time I saw you. From Burgeron, oddly. He wishes to meet with you, and has obtained a permit."
Endings: "What might you have done to earn such interest from a god of cattle?"
Anstice: "I'll tell you when I find out."
Endings: "I'd love to spend more time with you, Anstice, but I have pressing duties in the North. I really must be going."
Anstice: "Whichever gateway you choose, I'll come through it."
Half an hour later Anstice arrives at the Creation-side Gate in Crystal, having left from the Fane only moments ago. The dark guardians of the Fane's Gateway allowed him to pass, having slipped into a lethargic slumber long, long ago. The presence of a Synodic troubles them not at all. Presenting his pass to the closed Crystal Gateway, it opens and Anstice steps inside, to be confronted by four Celestial Lions and the female Endings.
Growling unhappily, the Lion nods to his fellows and two unhappily pull the massive Jade doorway open, admitting the exile to the Great Heavenly City. Four pairs of golden eyes follow him carefully as if they intend to watch him even after they close the Gate behind him. The last sound from behind the Gate is a low growling of unhappy threat.
Anstice: "Yes. Tied with in my... legal troubles. Perhaps you would be more comfortable somewhere private?"
Anstice: "That would be most pleasant. I will try not to stay unduly."
The God of Bovine Health and Vitality takes Anstice to one of his "smaller" dwellings, as promised. Though the dwelling itself is small, a five-floored house in the style of Southeastern ranches with wide windows and shining white jade-laced paint, the grounds are incredibly extensive. Shining aurochs, cattle and other illuminated bovines graze.
Burgeron: "I delivered to Cerilla the last payment for your children four days ago. Your obligations to her are finished, financially."
Anstice: "Ah, that is good to know. I must confess recent events have left me somewhat unable to follow when the requirement ended."
Burgeron: "I do not believe I ever..explained my reasons for offering to make the payments." The unease resulting from your new condition is tinged with the embarrassment that Burgeron displayed when he had first made the offer.
Burgeron: "I have felt a good deal of guilt for not explaining myself. I feel I should do so and when I overheard that Endings speaking of you, I asked her to carry the passage permit."
Burgeron: "I simply passed her in the street. She mentioned your name in conversation with a dark-haired man. I believe he is a Sidereal as well, from the West."
Burgeron: "I waited and asked her to carry my message. It was pure coincidence. Very fortunate, however."
Burgeron: "But, to the matter at hoof."
Burgeron: "After meeting in the Saunaplex, I showed you around the area for several hours. I expect you do not have clear memories of that time, about seven hours."
Anstice: "That would be correct. Little minor flashes, nothing solid."
Burgeron: "Ah. Well, at one point you did pass out, muttering something about glowing drinks."
Burgeron: "But, that was only for an hour or so. However, during that time we were in the Gymnasium of Bodily Perfection. My father, Ahlat, was there and he became interested in your unconscious form."
Burgeron: "Though I was not able to answer many of his questions about you, he was incredibly interested for some reason. I was honor-bound to follow his direct dictates, he is after all my father and superior in the Bureaucracy of Heaven."
Burgeron: "I thank you, but at times it causes many problems. Because of it, I agreed to his demands and I carried you into one of the Relaxation Chambers and Ahlat joined us shortly, Kasiunagura the Goddess of Human Reflections was with him. Over my objection, he had her use her mirror magics."
Anstice: "Mirror magics?"
Burgeron: "She made a reflection of you in the Relaxing Pool and brought it to life. Ahlat then left, with the goddess. He carried the new reflection of you away."
Anstice: "I have a doppelganger."
Burgeron: "I feel great shame for allowing such an invasion of your personal being, Anstice. But I was bound not to disobey Ahlat."
Burgeron: "I do not know what he did with your reflection, but he returned to his main temple in Harborhead later that day. And he has since visited Chiaroscuro several times."
Burgeron: "I do not know what he has been doing there, but he visits the palace while Riding one of his highest priests."
Anstice: "I see..."
Burgeron: "I would have been dishonorable to continue deceiving you by silence."
Burgeron: "Ah. I have heard of him before. They call him the Mako, he is taller then you, almost my height. But skinny, with a big chest and strong, scarred hands. He looked to be a Green, with all the green clothes he wore, but I did not see his eyes. He had dark grey hair and a goatee."
Burgeron: "Oh, also. He had a scar on his shoulder, for he wore no shirt. It looked as if something had tried to bite off his arm."
Anstice: "Most likely another shark. Thank you for the details."
Burgeron: "Uncle Elephant and others say you should be executed for treason."
Anstice: "That's the funny thing about the situation. So hurt about this that they won't even wait until after we're done fighting the Deathlord."