Red House Saga – Chapter 5, Part 1

Ishibashi san was climbing the hill slowly, taking in the beauty of the autumn colours in the little forest. That night, the harvest full moon would illuminate the clear sky. He thought of the myth about Princess Orihime, weaving clothes on the banks of the Milky Way…

Ishibashi had a feeling that Lady Miyasai had spent the waiting evening doing exactly that – waiting. Waiting to decide whether to accept his request. It was evening of the full moon now and she had accepted him.

It was slightly unsettling for Ishibashi to be asked to come in late afternoon. They’ll be a while and the dusk will soon descent over the eerie forest. He walked up the hill, taking in the season with all his senses – the still warm sun on his skin, the scent of various flowers and leaves, the sharp cries of the migrating birds flying over, and up in the Heavens, the palette of a ceremonial kimono was blending with the clouds. He only needed to taste something, anything, to instill autumn in him. It was his favourite season – mysterious, beautiful… Like the lady he was meeting. What was hers, he wondered. He decided he’d ask her.

It wasn’t too long of a walk to the Red House but it sure was steep. Nevertheless, Ishibashi didn’t stop for a break. As he was nearing the point from where he could see the front gates, he saw a tall elegant figure waiting there. It was Lady Miyasai and in her arms, she cradles a white cat – the same cat that had shocked the villagers about a month ago with its delicate and at the same time, bald introduction.

Lady Miyasai stood perfectly still and patiently waited for Ishibashi to climb to the top. When he did,  he was surprised that she bowed first.

“Welcome to my humble home, Ishibashi san.”

Her voice was satin on a lacquered wood. So surreal it was for Ishibashi to have a Lady bow to him first and with such reverence, that he quite forgot he had to do it himself. Usually, would have done quite well, but he was taken off guard and did it rather clumsily. When he stood upright again, he had the feeling that the cat did a small bow as well.

“Lady Miyasai, you confuse me! I should have been the one bowing down to you!”

“Where I come from, Ishibashi San, the young ones respect their elders. Please come in”, and she pointed towards the open gates.

Nobleman Visiting a Lady. Original from the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

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