8.7 The Rabbit

2 September, 2012 by katelaity

Myojo showed no signs of fatigue as she continued to weave the story before them. Although she called the magic she created ‘illusions’ Maggiormente saw the resemblance in her work to what the painters he knew did. Her palette was broad even if her colours remained ethereal.

And Seito! The bird seemed to bring the vibrant paintings to life, animating them somehow with the simple trills of sound. It was alchemy of a most extraordinary kind. He felt a joy that was nearly inexpressible.

The power of magic!

Somehow the artistry of another renewed his own well of inspiration and the alchemist very nearly wished to leap up and go to his work table right then. Suddenly his mind filled with possibilities. He longed to show the emperor of Japan his work, for surely the man who recognized the genius of Myojo and Seito would understand his work as well.

But first there was the tale. Even Eduardo remained captivated, his rapt attention evident in the tense lines of his body and the way his tail whipped gently back and forth.

“Even loaded with extra supplies, Dawn’s Light galloped swiftly across the land toward the Green Snake Mountain. The samurai could see it far in the distance, but he did not let the distance discourage him. The miles disappeared while he conjured happy thoughts of his loving wife and his happy children. Although far from them, he carried their voices in his head and imagined what they might be doing all day while he was gone.

“At midday he stopped to water his horse and let him crop some grass. The mountain remained a long way off, but he was not disheartened.”

Seito made the sounds of a little waterfall and a stream. Eduardo looked at Maggiormente. “I am almost afraid I might get wet from the song.”

“Shhh,” the alchemist said, but nodded his head. The effect was uncanny.

“The samurai lay down to take a brief nap, but he heard a whimpering sound. Glancing around the clearing he noticed a small brown rabbit tangled fast in some vines. Probably it had been pursued by a hawk or fox until it ended up in its present situation.

Myojo cast the picture of the little frightened rabbit, her poor foot tangled fast in the grip of the green vine.

“She’s trembling,” Eduardo said, not even thinking of eating her.

“The samurai at first thought, ‘It is the way of nature, the weak must suffer and die while the strong survive.’ But then his wife’s pleading words came to his mind. ‘If you meet any small creature in distress, I beg you think of me and offer it a kindness.’ The samurai bowed his head, acknowledging his wife’s words as a command.

“He stepped over toward the small creature, who cowered before him. She well knew that humans hunted her and had only a moment to send farewell thoughts to her kits in their burrow.”

Seito, who had been singing a dirge-like melody as the rabbit’s little heart hammered with alarm, suddenly burst into a happy trill.

“The samurai gently extricated the rabbit from the twist of the wild vines and set her gently on the grass with a small bow. The rabbit could not believe her luck and looked up with awe at the samurai. Then she too bent and bowed to show her gratitude to the samurai before leaping off into the woods.

“Watching her go, the samurai’s heart lifted and he felt the connection with his wife warm him across the many miles, and he could almost hear his children’s laughter. He thought of the sorrow of the emperor and prayed again to his ancestors that he might be able to find the mysterious woman who haunted his emperor’s dreams.”

Seito’s song managed to capture the melancholy and the hope that spun through the samurai’s thoughts. The green of the clearing and the blue of the water filled the air between Myojo’s hands.

“When they had both rested a time and refreshed themselves, the samurai remounted Dawn’s Light and rode into the west toward the mountain. As he rode he did not mutter or worry, but observed the simple beauties of the land. The people working in the fields, the streams that fed the rice paddys, the hills and woods. The emperor’s land was one filled with extraordinary beauty.

“In the evening, he slept with quiet gratitude, knowing he did his best every day.

“The journey went on for several days. The samurai did not worry, did not get impatient or disheartened, but went patiently on, adjusting his thoughts to the rhythm of Dawn’s Light’s hooves as they rode along.

Seito made a clicking sort of song that sounded very like horse hooves. Maggiormente clapped his hands with delight.

“On the seventh day, the samurai arrived at the foot of the Green Snake Mountain. At the bottom of the mountain, at the foot of the path upward, there lay a small temple. He dismounted and entered the temple, which seemed to be empty — then he heard a voice.

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