Year of the Money Lender
Feng watched the rain from the window. It tinkled on the bells of the shrines and temples and ran off the eaves of curved rooftops in sheets like waterfalls. It danced on the Sumida which hurried by the palace, filling up the moat that surrounded the Imperial Garden. Feng detested the rain. It gave him a cold ache between the scales.
He stared out across Edo, the domain he’d protected all these years, with rheumy eyes. They were once blood red, now they were a muted maroon. Even so, they were still sharp enough to make out the seas of umbrellas in the cobbled streets and narrow alleys between the wooden houses that sprawled out from the edges of the garden. Nobody stayed home in the rain. In fact, they celebrated it: renewal, rebirth, hope. Someone must have been leaving gifts for Kuraokami again. But Feng didn’t dare burn the rain god’s shrines down. Just in case.