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File 158949140140.jpg - (158.09KB, 800x600, mountainpeak.jpg) [iqdb]
42837
Thread 1: >>41094
Thread 2: >>41628

[x] A stroll somewhere exotic. We could compare our philosophies and spells.

“Perhaps a trip to some dark, mysterious forest?”

“A dark forest, really?”

I pulled away from her. Clasping my hands behind my back, I strolled toward the gate. “Why? Are you afraid I’ll do anything… inappropriate?”

“What? Why would I even think that?”

Still clasping my hands, I shrugged. “Why, indeed?”

And yet, after a few steps, she fell in line beside me. “Surely, there’s somewhere better we can go.”

“Hm.” I chuckled. “Why yes, I think I know just the place.”

“Oh? Where is that?”

“Let’s allow it to be my little surprise, darling.”

She pouted. “Very well.”

Waiting barely until we left the gate, I unhooked my hands, grabbed one of hers, and dragged her toward the lightning-singed tree I’d come from. With a hop and skip, we’d returned to the infinite void and, from there, come out from another damaged tree, this time by a coarse dirt pathway, winding in switchbacks up a mountain face.

She frowned. “A dark forest on a mountain. Your wisdom impresses me, dear.”

“Oh, hush. You’ll see its beauty soon enough.” I offered her my elbow. She glanced at it, a mask of uncertainty flickering across her face before she shook her head and linked her arm with mine. Together, we began a trek up the mountainside.

I breathed in the thin but crisp, mountain air, feeling its chill touch on my skin. “So, how was your temple today.”

She sighed. “For some mysterious reason, your presence has them rattled. Perhaps we should spend our nights at your place, instead.”

I gasped in mock shock. “Why, you’re not trying to kick me out, are you?”

“Oh dear, no. Why, I believe you had to lose to accept sleeping under our roof. You wouldn’t already be seeking to return to it, would you?”

I shook my head, still striding up the steep, winding road. “Of course not. I would just hate to think I’d become unwanted.”

Her eyes narrowed at my banter, but she said nothing. And as it happened, I had no interest in further elaborating anything. And so, we walked, passing free of the trees as we reached a small, rocky ledge, not far from the mountain peak. The trail turned from dirt to rock as we continued, stepping into the open, where a vast expanse of trees laid far, far below us. A faint, multicolored shimmer ran through the air.

The sunlight had faded, growing just a hint bluer as it did so.

Slipping my arm out, I stepped forward and turned around. Grinning, I stared back at Byakuren. “So, darling, what do you think?”

She stood, sweeping her head across, to the side, as she took in the view. “What… is it?”

“The barrier, or so I hear. One of its impassible segments.”

She tilted her head just slightly, in contemplation. “I’m quite sure this is not what lies on the other side.”

I shrugged, tapping my shaku. “Reality is full of illusions. This may well be one of them.”

“Perhaps, but…” She brought a hand to her chin, rubbing it. “This would be a good place to meditate, to ponder such things.”

I approached her, stepping up to the ledge. “Now you see the beauty. Mysterious environments like this make excellent places to seek understanding of the fundamental nature of reality. To become one with the primordial force that drives us.”

She huffed. “True understanding would separate us from such base needs, not bind us closer to them.”

I waggled a finger in the air. “What if one doesn’t want to separate from them?”

She shook her head. “Then they would remain chained to the endless cycle of suffering, until they learned the truth.”

I planted a hand on her shoulder. “How sure are you that it is the truth?”

She then turned to face me, expression firm. “What else would be the truth? Do you not wish an end to suffering?”

I shook my head, stepping back on the path. “I don’t know. Maybe.”

“You… don’t know?”

I placed my shaku to my chest and stepped forward, away from her. “I want to achieve. To continue to create, to change, and become something better, more glorious. What would that mean, without at least a little struggle?”

She stepped up beside me, muttering something about a conflict with my habits before clearing her throat. “What achievement could be better than nirvana? Better than the end of all suffering and the ultimate understanding of life?”

I shrugged and started walking forward. “One that doesn’t end there but instead keeps going. The greatest achievement is the one you never reach, because each one tops the one before.”

She giggled. “You know, you could’ve been a great Zen teacher.”

I snickered. “You should’ve seen me when I still preached your faith.”

At that, she paused. “I think it’s for the best I didn’t. I’ve been betrayed enough already.”

I sighed, glancing toward the mountain peak, now so very close. “So have I.” I then grabbed her arm and marched forward. “How about we do some of that meditation, eh?”

She hesitated, then let me lead her up through the last few bends, to the rocky summit. It was round but coarse, leaning out in the opposite direction from what we’d seen, toward Gensokyo. Maybe five people could’ve fit here, sitting back-to-back-to-back.

We both settled down, facing the same direction it did, staring out over the village, fields, forests, and other mountains. We breathed in deep, what little air made it to us this high up. We sat in silence a few moments, hearing only our breathing, interrupted by the occasional bird cry.

Byakuren broke the silence first. “You know, the temple has a big festival coming up in a week or so. Perhaps it would be a good idea for you to help us out.”

I blinked. “Me, help prepare a Buddhist party?” Where was that eagerness to spend our time?

“It’s not a party!” She breathed in, desires cooling. “It would be an excellent way to convey our cooperation and to endear you to the temple, would it not?”

I hummed, listening to her heart. She was troubled. She feared sabotage from inside her temple, but also worried about letting me too close to her more sacred rooms or rituals. She did want to spend the festival with me, though.

Likely for more reasons than one, though.

And above all that, she seemed less interested in what I answered with, so much as why.

She wanted to know more about me.

I rubbed my shaku. “That seems a lot of work. What would I gain from it?”

She groaned. “This would be a chance to show charity and industry, Miko. Would it bother you so much to do so out of the kindness of your heart?”

I chuckled. “I think my charity would be better spent on my disciples first. I daresay they’re in greater need than yours.”

Her eyes narrowed. “Very well. What do you have in mind?”

I tapped the shaku to my chin, thinking. I…

[ ] I wanted to learn some of her magic.

[ ] I wanted to see how she handled Taoist meditation.

[ ] I expected assistance with the next festival my dojo hosted.

[ ] I’d offer HER a favor to keep me out of it.

Votes not guaranteed after this time:
Time remaining: ::Timer ended at: 2020/05/18 (Mon) 19:00

[X] I wanted to see how she handled Taoist meditation.

Give the byaku lewd thoughts
[x] I wanted to see how she handled Taoist meditation.

I maintain what I say. Giving up on desires is an ideal, but so is achieving our every desire. Is there a middle ground?
[X] I wanted to see how she handled Taoist meditation.
[X] I wanted to see how she handled Taoist meditation.
[x] I wanted to learn some of her magic.

Just how does she color her hair like that?
[X] I wanted to learn some of her magic.

No no teach us that gold glowey spell she uses. I wish to be grossly incandescent.
[x] I wanted to see how she handled Taoist meditation.
free us from physical addictions
File 159071705169.jpg - (226.56KB, 800x527, colorfulripple.jpg) [iqdb]
42853
[x] I wanted to see how she handled Taoist meditation.

I smiled, sparing her a sideways glance. “Asking me to devote precious time and energy to the festival of another faith? How audacious, Byakuren!”

She snorted. “Can you not bear to lend a hand to your wife’s endeavors?”

I snickered. “But of course, of course, I’ll help. I just need a little show of… faith, first.”

She settled her hands in her lap. “Well then, you’ve come to the right place, haven’t you?”

“Oh, have I?”

She closed her eyes. “I certainly have more faith to spare than you, I imagine.”

“We’ll see.” I hummed, rocking back and forth. “I want to do some meditation with you, first.”

She blinked. “Meditation? That’s all?”

I grinned. “Just that. But we do it my way, not yours.”

“Oh.”

She held still. I waited a moment, breathing in the thin air as I watched the sun hover ever closer to the far mountains. Finally, she shook her head. “Your form pushes you toward pleasure and excitement, does it not?”

“It pushes us toward liberation and discovery. But those are common side-effects.”

“Then, I cannot. It would bring me closer to the base desires we must escape from.”

“Oh?” I gave her a sly grin. “You want me to show some solidarity with your faith, but you’re unwilling to do the same?”

She glanced away. “This is completely different! Offering a hand for a festival is nothing compared to this!”

“But how will my disciples see it if I help? You don’t think it could cause them confusion? That it may make them stumble in their life journey?”

She sighed. “Then, then I retract the request.”

I shook my head. “My wife is unwilling to follow me in even the simplest of my rituals. How tragic…”

She held quiet a moment longer. “You play dirty, Miko.”

“Oh ho? You don’t?”

She pulled her back straight, interlacing her fingers as she stared out over Gensokyo, pointedly looking away from me. “I expect your aid in our festival, Miko.”

“Sure, sure.”

We sat there a moment before she cleared her throat. “So… how do you begin this thing your way?”

I smiled, leaning back as I settled my hands on my knees. “Much the same way you do. Calm yourself, close your eyes, let go of outside worries.”

As she closed her eyes, mine followed. “Breathe in and out. Think of it, focus on it. In, then out, then hold. In, then out, then hold.”

As with the others before her, her desires calmed, growing slowly less intense, more still. In and out we breathed, in and out.

In and out, in and out.

Once our consciousnesses had dipped low enough, I spoke again, slow and calm.

“Now, think of what you want. Focus on it, grasp it.”

I heard a minute shuffle beside me.

“Of… what I want?”

“What you desire. Think on it. Not on how to reach it. Think only of the desire itself. Become the-”

She shuffled again, rising back up in a heartbeat. “No. I can’t.”

I groaned, slowly opening my eyes. I watched her shake her head and start to stand. I sighed.

“Giving up already?”

“Desires are precisely what make us suffer! You can’t insist that I dwell on them.”

I frowned. “An odd thing to say, given your beauty.”

I couldn’t help a snicker at the rush of hot embarrassed confusion that ignited. “What does that have to do with anything!”

“You control your appearance, do you not?”

“That’s-” She sighed, settling back down. “Perhaps I should ask you of all your efforts to lead and control. Do those really seem…” She shook her head. “What’s done is done. It would be a waste of effort to return to my previous state.”

I rolled my eyes, earning a sour look from her. “Of course, it would. Now, just give it one attempt, will you? Who knows, maybe you’ll learn how to finally cure yourself of them.”

“…Very well.”

I nodded, chiding myself for my outburst as I closed my eyes again. I breathed in, then out, then held my breath for a split-second. In, then out, then hold. In, then out, then hold.

The tranquility from before returned, though Byakuren came down far, far slower than I did. It seemed her awareness of where we’d arrive had clung to her psyche hard.

I spoke slowly, quietly. “Relax. Focus on the breathing. No future. No past. Just the moment.”

Slowly, shakily, she calmed to the needed point.

“Good. Good.” I exhaled. “Now, think. What do you most desire?”

“I… don’t know.”

“It’s okay. Don’t rush. Just let it come.”

Time passed. We held still and calm. But nothing came.

I sighed, slow and shallow. “What’s one thing you desire?”

“Transcendence.”

“Then, think on that. Imagine yourself, transcendent.”

We held still another moment, then I heard a bubbling up of-

“Ahahaha!” Byakuren broke out into raw, warm laughter.

My eyes fluttered open to behold a darkening sky. “Excuse me, but what the hell?”

She shook her head, shoulders quaking as she rubbed tears from her eyes.

“Imagine myself, transcendent? That’s just so, so…”

She broke off into a giggling fit.

I sat there, somewhat stunned as I waited for her to calm down. Finally, she did. Breathing hard, she pulled herself to her feet. “Well, I gave it my all! Time to go home.”

Disgruntled, I stood as well. The sun graced us a brilliant orange halo, burning against the violet sky, as it dipped past the mountains. “I’m to help you prepare a full festival, for that paltry effort?”

She huffed. “Really, it took great sacrifice on my part just to get this far.”

“Fine, fine. We’ll try again later.”

She flinched. “You’re awfully insistent.”

“I’m sorry, darling, but I won’t give you this for free.”

“So stubborn. So, how has your temple been today, dear?”

I shrugged, turning back toward the path. “They’ve adapted remarkably well. Why, I daresay that by tomorrow, all will be back to normal.”

Whether or not they’d remain so obedient remained to be seen, but she didn’t need to know that.

She huffed, stepping up beside me. “We’ll see. Now…” she paused, looking around, “perhaps we should head back. Just a little trip to make sure they’re not doing anything hasty. Together.”

I rocked my head from side to side. She wanted to stay a little longer, but also preferred not to continue this ‘meditation’ tonight. I could push her, but I preferred not to. It would be unbecoming for a representative of our path to defy it to the end of educating someone in it. Bringing up the topic of our disciples did also reignite a small worry in her, tugging her back to that temple again.

Still, I’d picked up an idea or two from this. Perhaps there’d be some things we could learn from one another, if we discussed our philosophies in greater detail. And of course, I had yet to show her any of my own domain. I could attempt to impress her with it, or I could keep her away from it, making things easier on both my future self and on Tojiko.

But if she wanted to make the most out of our time together, then, well…

[ ] I asked a few more questions of her take on Buddhist philosophy.

[ ] I made some grand romantic gesture, planning to bring her in for a kiss under the setting sun.

[ ] I suggested we return to her temple, finishing our ‘date’ in one of her chambers.

[ ] I invited her back to Senkai, planning to sweep her off her feet. I’d keep her out of anywhere sensitive, of course.

Votes not guaranteed after this time:
Time remaining: ::Timer ended at: 2020/06/01 (Mon) 19:00

[X] I suggested we return to her temple, finishing our ‘date’ in one of her chambers.

Time for [X]Route Stuff
[x] I suggested we return to her temple, finishing our ‘date’ in one of her chambers.

No need for overt romantic gestures or to push too much on religion. Just enjoy each other's company.
[X] I suggested we return to her temple, finishing our ‘date’ in one of her chambers.
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