雨滴: Shaolin Monks


A trek to the mountains results in a surprise visitor

Standing at the entrance of the large mountain temple, the youngest of the Hayato daughters paused at the steps and was glad that she had changed out of the skimpy attire she wore the previous day at the meeting and wore something more sensible. If you called a white yukata halter and black pants with splits up to your knees “sensible”. Entering the gates of the temple, her village guide paused and smiled softly encouraging her to step forward.

Ame was not sure how the monks treated the Yakuza, Yakuza had mixed feelings throughout the world. Thought of as villains and anti-heroes, the worst of all the gangs but the most honourable. Stepping on holy ground it made the Japanese woman feel like she was soiling it with the blood of her past kills and her unbecoming behaviour in getting what she desired out of the opponents.

The villager however continued to wait for her with calm patience, breathing in slowly then exhaling Ame decided it was time to do something now and walked through the gates. She paused at the top of the steps as if waiting for something to smite her down or curse her out of the temple grounds. Nothing. Gesturing forward, the villager was obviously telling her that she would need to go into the temple itself.

Lanterns were lit with the approach of sunset and Ame knew that she could not reach the village by sundown if she decided to turn away and walk back down the mountain. One of the younger monks garbed in the traditional robes of bright orange and yellow noticed her and paused in the task of lighting the lanterns. Jumping down and elegantly landing on his feet the young man approached her and bowed to her. Ame clasped her hands together and bowed back, her hastily done braid falling over one shoulder.

Standing upright, Ame was unsure what to say the confidence in being her usual sassy self dimmed in the presence of the monk who was the first to speak “You wish to see our Grand master?” He spoke good English and it amazed Ame who merely nodded still humbled and not wanting to cause any disrespect if she said something completely out of place. The monk still remained calm and smiled softly “Follow me please” He turned around and walked down the cobblestone path and into the temple.

Quickly following and forgetting her mental guilt trip Ame stepped into the temple and a shiver was sent up her spine as she heard the soft chanting of the monks heralding the arrival of twilight. The incense burned in the high corners of the wooden pillars and monks walked past her graciously busy attending to the chores of the night. Following the monk who spoke to her, Ame walked past a large room where a group of younger monks wearing just their orange pants stood in defensive stance.

Pausing in her walk, Ame watched them intrigued as they all unleashed into a series of training martial arts, her mouth dropped open and she quickly sealed it shut. Weapons were pulled out by never used upon one another. They were a myriad of orange and brown slashed with silver from the weapons that slashed through the air. She remembered what Kazuyuki had told her at their midday meeting. These monks were not like the normal buddhist monks- these monks were Shaolin.

Ame hurried after the monk, her geta sandals scuffling across the cobblestone and immediately stopped as he approached large wooden doors engraved with different Chinese characters and symbols. Bowing to her he pushed open the door “He is expecting you” Ame frowned confused, how did the Grand master know that she was coming? Bowing low to the monk she stepped into the main room. The lights were dimmed and before her on a simple pillow holding a cup of what appeared to be tea was an elderly man.

He wore the beads and signature of what was the Grand master and his face was creased amused as he talked to the person who was kneeling before him. The person was in a black semi kimono, raven hair spiralled half way down the back. Turning their heads, Ame gaped immediately recognising the face “Onee-chan?”

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