The Commander raises an eyebrow. "You didn't? It's not their existence that's secret, you know. Though I guess it's understandable if you'd never have to come looking for them." Li reaches to grab one of the books.
"These gardens are a little retreat of mine. During the last years, I've relocated my most important works here in preparation of my retirement from Gotei. I intended to take them with me once my tenure as the Academy Chief Instructor would've been over. Alas, that did not go as planned."
Li flips the pages with familiarity, apparently not bothered by lack of light despite Li's age. Or it may be Li's not actually reading the book. "That's why I've not maintained an office in the Central Hospital, and also why I haven't used the one over at the Academy after copying the most important works there. I'm rather amazed so few people have noticed." Finally, Li finds what Li was looking for, and pulls a slip of parchment from between the pages.
"That's why I brought you here. In the case I will be forcibly reincarnated in the coming weeks, you will inherit this place. I don't expect you to do much with herbs, fungi and a couple of rats, but I hope you will enjoy a private sanctuary where you can be fairly sure to remain unbothered should you feel the need for that."
"Despite the long history of Gotei, I'm only the third Commander-General. My two predecessors did not, unfortunately, see fit or have the chance to name their successors. As such, much of the knowledge they held is now missing. Even if it will turn out to be a futile gesture, I will try to learn from their mistakes and during the next four nights tell you everything I can about the history of our organization. History that is not known to many people other than me anymore, sad as it is."
Li lifts gaze from the parchment to look Koutarou in the eyes. "I hope it will give you some perspective for the day when you must assume my role. Let me ask you a question: why do we of Gotei fight Hollows?"