8.4 A Magical Tale Begins

5 August, 2012 by katelaity

“Is this one of the stories you present in your performance?” Maggiormente asked, unable to hide his curiosity about the show any longer. He had begun to think that the magician was very different from an alchemist, but no less fascinating for all that.

“It is not usually part of the grand story,” Myojo said, “But it is a worthy story of its kind.”

“Tell us,” Eduardo demanded in his simple way.

“Tut,” the alchemist hushed him. “Would you ask me to perform alchemical workings at the drop of a hat?” He shook his head.

“I would,” Eduardo said, flapping his wings with a careless air.

“You would,” Maggiormente agreed. His lion was a greedy thing, for food and for entertainment.

Myojo laughed. “If I perform for you, I shall ask the same in return. Fair?” Seito trilled a little tune to highlight the offer.

Maggiormente clapped his hands. “You want to see me work up an elixir?” He found himself giddy at the thought of an audience. Most people only complained about his work.

“I don’t know anything about alchemy. I don’t believe we have such a thing in Japan—or it was not part of my learning. Perhaps it is a specialised art.”

“Likely true,” Maggiormente said, thinking about the implications. “Perhaps after Paris we should go to Japan.”

“You would be welcome,” Myojo said. “And you, Eduardo. What can you do?”

“I can eat pigeons,” Eduardo said.

Myojo laughed. “My cat Jiji back home can do that. What can an extraordinary lion like you do?”

Eduardo paused. “I can flap my wings.”

“And?”

Eduardo looked confused. “I need do more? I am a Venetian lion.”

“But what does that mean?”

Eduardo sat down, adjusted his fez and pondered this for a moment. “I help the alchemical reactions.”

“How?” Myojo found herself torn between amusement and fascination.

Eduardo appealed to Maggiormente. “How do I work?”

Maggiormente laid a hand on his familiar’s shoulders. “Your presence brings a special frisson to the process, like an extra sun in the sky.”

Eduardo nodded. “That seems suitable. I am pleased.”

Myojo laughed. “I cannot wait to see you shine. But first, let me see. I shall use this as my stage. We can move these planks over here for you to sit on. You shall be my royal audience.”

“I don’t mind sitting on the floor,” Eduardo said, wrapping his tail around his legs.

“I prefer to sit a little higher,” Maggiormente said, piling up the broken planks into a precarious sort of seat. He settled on it gingerly and then nodded to Myojo.

The magician turned away and bowed her head, the tall pointed cap nodding with her. Seito took wing once more and began to trill a brief tune that had an air of pathos and discordant sorrow.

Myojo turned back to her small audience and her face looked different, almost like a mask, so bereft of emotion it had become. Her hands, however, became animated and Maggiormente found his eyes drawn there.

The movements of her nimble hands began to sketch in a landscape. Green hills appeared in the air, then a village upon the hill and people within it.

Magic! The alchemist found himself delighted with the unexpected pleasure of the spell. The scene grew more distinct. He could see the sun rising on the day.

“Delightful!” he whispered to Eduardo.

“Shhhh,” the lion said leaning toward the impromptu stage. “She’s telling a story.”

Maggiormente grinned and turned back to the scene. Myojo’s exquisitely controlled athleticism had a beauty of its own. The magic she created was truly graceful.

“Here our story begins,” she said her hand making a circle around a house with a cherry tree before it. “Here, a brave samurai lives with his wife and children. The wars are done, but something else has threatened the land.”

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