23 September, 2012 by katelaity
“How terrible!” Eduardo said with a sense of awe.
“How awful!” Maggiormente echoed, his heart going out to the brave samurai.
Myojo smiled grimly, yet continued with her tale. Seito had fallen silent for a moment as if she too were giving rapt attention to the adventures. “The samurai fought throughout the long day. The battle raged back and forth before the cave, however nothing really changed.
“The samurai continued to remove the heads and arms of the demon, but the demon always grew them back faster than a blossom falling to the ground. When at last the sun began to set, the samurai had to admit his defeat. The combatants bowed to one another as tradition dictated.
“‘I shall face you again tomorrow, my friend’, the demon said with an evil laugh, then turned and disappeared into Green Snake Mountain. The samurai walked back down the slope until he found Dawn’s Light. While he took care of his horse, the samurai reflected on the uselessness of battle with the demon. He was prepared to fight the demon again, just as fruitlessly, yet he wondered if greater wisdom might lie beyond his military habits.
“After he had cared for his horse and found it a little space on the mountain to graze, the samurai built a fire to cook his food, all the while pondering his problem. He barely tasted the soup and rice while he chewed, his thoughts worrying at the problem like a dog with a bone.
“Yet he could see no solution.”
“If only he knew magic,” the alchemist broke in. “There would be so many things he could do. Explode the ground in front of the demon or dazzle him with something that looked like gold for a few hours or make him sleepy with just the right concoction…” Maggiormente stroked his beard, thinking about the breadth of ideas he had that could help him face down a demon should the opportunity arise.
“Shhhhh,” his lion said, “He’s a samurai not an alchemist.”
Myojo indulged the interruption and waited until they seemed to settle before continuing on with the story. All at once the green mountain rose up again as her skilful hands painted the scene. “The samurai slept beside the fire, his gaze upon the stars in the heavens above him.
“‘My wife sees these stars tonight,’ he thought as he looked up. ‘I send my love to her by starlight.’ He could almost swear he heard her respond. It made it easier for him to fall asleep, although his mind remained troubled with the problem of the demon. Knowing his wife waited for his return made him feel he could never really be alone.”
Maggiormente sighed, but Eduardo raised a paw to his mouth to hush him and he did not express his own longings.
“In the morning the samurai saw to Dawn’s Lights needs first, then returned to the small stream he had found the day before and went to perform his customary ablutions.”
Seito trilled the sounds of a little brook. The alchemist and his lion wondered anew at the amazing little bird’s incredible ability.
“He gave his thoughts over to silence for a moment as he had been taught long ago, clearing his mind. The samurai remembered the words of his master, that the true warrior has won the battle before he picks up his weapon, or he will never win at all.
“But then he sighed. The demon could not be defeated by conventional means. ‘If I cannot defeat the demon, how will I rescue the woman within the mountain?’ he wondered aloud.
“Just then on the other side of the wee brook a small brown rabbit appeared. The samurai expected that it would run once it realised he was there. He must have been awfully quiet for the rabbit to approach so near.
“Yet it simply stood there watching him for a moment, its tiny nose twitching. The samurai stared back, curious but puzzled. After a moment, the rabbit seemed to nod at him, then it turned and started away. Then it did a very odd thing.
“It looked over its shoulder as if waiting for the samurai. It hopped a few more steps, then looked back again. There could be no mistaking it. The rabbit waited for him.”
“The samurai took up his sword and slowly stepped across the stream, worried that he might frighten the rabbit after all, but she only hopped further along, though never very quickly and always looking back to make sure the samurai continued to follow her trail.
“The rabbit is magic,” Eduardo said decidedly. “Like me.” Maggiormente took the opportunity to shush him, but the lion already stared expectantly at the illusionist.
Myojo smiled. “The rabbit lead the samurai along the mountain side until they came to a rather large boulder. She went around it and for a moment disappeared from sight. The samurai stepped around the border and saw a crevasse in the rock. He leaned into it. The air was cool and swift-moving.
“And in the distance, he could see a glimmer of blue light.”