is your true goal?”

I answered his question with another.
“Why are you chasing after Enoch Bowen?”

He looked me in the eye and gave a small smile.
“I’m curious.”

“I’m also curious.”

“Well, since you’re going to die soon, speaking about it isn’t a problem.
However…” One corner of his mouth was raised.
“I’d rather not when someone here is so nonchalant.”

Those words made me laugh.
Moriarty, before I died for the twelfth time, said something similar.

“Won’t you beg for mercy? Perhaps then I’ll tell you what you want… Alas, I won’t care what happens after that.”

He looked quite different at the time, smiling with his burnt face.
He was always an eccentric human.

“It’s a cliché motive, don’t you think? Trying to avenge your parents.”

“…!”

The gun, which never shook, went down for the first time.

“How do you know that?”

“How do I know?”

Moriarty smiled, as if to say he wasn’t a person who jumped at a mild provocation.

“Armoryit to Moriarty, it’s not a bad rearrangement… You love anagrams, right?”

The moment his gaze focused on me, I laughed.
“I like them too.
Don’t they show the possibility that everything can be different even though the letters are in a different order?”

“…!”

Let’s use his lines from the previous regressions against him.

James Moriarty’s eyes trembled.
“How do you—”

“You must think I’m a witch who does sorcery like those cultists.”

“…Are you denying it?”

“Well, rather than deny…” I waved my hand, and Moriarty’s gun was lowered even further.
Before I knew it, I was relieved to see the muzzle pointed at the floor, but I didn’t show it on my face.
“Let’s take a different approach to the idea of a sorcerer, which is associated with cultists… Like we’re rearranging some letters.”

“…”

Now James gave me a more serious look.
I didn’t shy away from that gaze and put forward a notion to persuade him.

“Did you know that the ancient Celts called them druids?”

Druids.
The name for the Celtic priests who once lived on this English soil.
Those who understood the mysteries of nature.

“Don’t tell me even druidic powers are like a cultist’s black magic.”

“…Not at all.”

Somehow, James agreed with me.
Based on the expression on his face, it was obvious he was interested.
I was somewhat confident he’d be persuaded, so I gave him a little push.

“The blood of a druid flows through my veins.”

“…”

“Does this suffice as an explanation?”

Moriarty’s parents met their unfortunate demise at the hands of the Church of Starry Wisdom.
His love for anagrams.
It was all thanks to my regressions, but…

Claiming it was due to the powers of a druid was a gamble.
It was because I thought Moriarty was vaguely aware of their spells that could break curses.

“…A descendent of a druid with mysterious powers.
Is that right?”

James, who had hesitated until the end, only took half of the bait.

“Yes, so the smart thing to do is make me your ally.”

“…”

“To give you another hint… You know Greyfriars Kirkyard, the cemetery in Edinburgh?”

It was time to reel in my catch.

“…The sexton who works there is part of the Church of Starry Wisdom.
If I’m wrong, you’re free to go ahead and kill me then.”

It didn’t matter if he killed me now, of course.
There was a reason why I tried so hard to convince Moriarty.
It was to carry out the orders of the King in Yellow.

James Moriarty stared at me.

“…Ha.” He exhaled as if dumbfounded.
Soon enough, he burst into a fit of laughter.
“Hahahaha!”

It was like he heard a really good joke, his whole body shaking.
Meanwhile, I felt anything but relieved.

He looked at me.
“It’s been quite a long time since I laughed so much.”

His eyes narrowed.
His pupils were exceptionally slit-like, reminiscent of a snake’s.

“All right, I believe you.” He put the pistol back into his inner coat pocket and walked up to me.

My heart was pounding because of fear, but I pretended to be calm.

Moriarty held his hand out.

Looking at him smiling brightly as if he had never pointed a gun at me, I shook his hand which was cold and strangely soft.
It was different from Henry’s and reminded me of a reptile.

“I look forward to working with you, my friend.”

The moment James Moriarty licked his lips with a sinister smile, I felt a chill down my spine.

I had to maintain an amicable relationship with him.
It was to get as much information as possible from him about the Church of Starry Wisdom.

To do that, I had to suppress my fear of him.

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