19 August, 2012 by katelaity
“Will he tell us the secret?” Maggiormente whispered
Eduardo remained captivated. “Don’t speak,” he said as if to do so might break the spell. His tail lashed behind him but he never looked away from the wisps of scenery that Myojo’s hands painted. The proud samurai and his elegant emperor floated in the air like water paintings brought to life.
“The advisors were loath to grant the samurai a private audience. After all, such a thing had never been granted to any of them.”
Seito whistled a few impatient trills that caught the officiousness of the advisors perfectly, matching the illusions the young magician sketched in the air.
“But the emperor’s sorrow oppressed them all and at last they gave way to the samurai’s request. One by one they withdrew, the final advisor looking wistfully on. Although the samurai had fought bravely in the emperor’s army for a decade, it seemed unnatural to leave the emperor alone with anyone at all.”
Seito’s song changed to a sorrowful refrain. Maggiormente felt his heart swell with sadness for the lonely emperor and his burden.
“The samurai spoke in gentle tones. ‘Can you not share your sorrow with me, your old friend?’ He bowed forward again, his forehead on the wooden floor and the room so quiet that he could hear the wind rustling the apple blossoms outside the emperor’s palace.”
The alchemist and his lion leaned forward. Now that the story concentrated on the two figures, Myojo cast their images larger. They could see plainly the sorrow on the emperor’s face and the tender sympathy on that of the samurai.
He is a fine fellow, Maggiormente thought, nodding to himself.
I bet the emperor needs to eat a chicken, Eduardo felt certain. Hunger was the primary cause of sorrow in his experience.
“The samurai waited patiently, listening to the song of the wind in the cherry trees. He thought of the wind whispering his love to his wife and children and sent a kiss along its path.
“He had nearly forgotten what he awaited when at last the emperor spoke. ‘I have been tortured by a dream for many nights now,’ he said, his face betraying the cost of those sleepless evenings. ‘A strange dream awakes me. A young woman of such matchless beauty that I can hardly breathe in her presence seeks me out.’ He sighed.
“The samurai smiled. ‘There are many who would pay great sums to have such dreams at night, my emperor.'”
“Yet the emperor only shook his head. ‘Her beauty bewitches, but a terrible sorrow weighs upon her heart and causes mine to ache.’ He put his head in his hands and wept bitter tears of sympathy.”
Seito’s song now took on the character of dropping tears and real teardrops sprang into the eyes of Maggiormente and Eduardo as they beheld the swelling scene before them.
“Oh, that she and he should suffer so!” Maggiormente said with passion. Eduardo laid his paw upon the alchemist’s arm, sharing his heartache for the emperor and his dream.
“The samurai allowed his own tears to flow, too, but determined that he would not stop there. ‘Tell me her sorrow, emperor. Surely we can come to her aid.’ The samurai longed to restore his emperor to calm peaceful contentment.”
“‘I do not know her sorrow,’ the emperor confessed. ‘I know she has been imprisoned, but when she seems about to speak some shadow falls over her, she quails and her silence overtakes her.’ He shook his head sadly.
”The samurai thought about this. ‘Where is she imprisoned? Can you tell?’
“The emperor rubbed his chin. ‘I know she is in a cave in the foot of the Green Snake Mountain. I cannot tell how I know that, but even as I say it, I know it to be true. Something powerful binds her there, for when I think of sending my army to rescue her, the words catch in my throat and I am mute.’ He sighed and his sorrow appeared deeper than ever.
“What can they do?” Maggiormente muttered.
“Shhh,” Eduardo hissed. “The samurai will find a way.”
“This is true,” Myojo assured him, a little smile slipping out as she moved to take up another position. “For the samurai was fearless, proud and loyal and no obstacle could keep him from protecting his emperor.
“At last he said, ‘Let me seek her, my emperor.’ The emperor could not speak but the joy on his face was enough to light a thousand lanterns. He could only nod his assent, tears flowing down his cheeks once more, but they were tears of joyful relief this time.
“He clapped his hands and his advisors returned at once, looking harried and even more so curious. ‘My faithful samurai must undertake a long journey,’ he told them his voice strong with command once more. ‘Give him whatever he needs and help him on his way. He must be denied nothing!’ The emperor clasped his friend with delight and the samurai loaded food and offerings onto Dawn’s Light, then mounted his horse once more and rode toward the Green Snake Mountain.”