The Mantis loyal to the Emperor occupy the southwest tower of the castle, just beyond the final gate. It overlooks the snowed-in mountain pass. Left upon a pillow in the common room is a single koku. Its markings indicate it was minted by the Mantis Clan and stamped with the year 1133.
"I do not know. I suppose I will certainly see."
"So you're dealing with events as they come, too. Monks don't really make long-term plans, huh? A general goal, aye, but a winding path to follow on the way. Not as much time to waste on diversions these days, though..." Midori sighs. "You lot ask questions full-time? Or is this a special show you've put on for the visitors to court?"
"Oh, the Dragon Champion put us up to this. I'm sure that some of my brethren would jump at the opportunity to do this every day, but I fear they would swiftly run out of material."
"So, are the riddles of these letters based on truths that actually happened, or created wholly from your imaginations?"
"They are of the Tao, and the expanded teachings thereof. So many of them happened, and some are merely observations on what is."
"Was it you that chose the lines selected for the Mantis to puzzle over? Did you do so with purpose, or at a whim?"
"Mmm, no not I. That was Mirumoto Shikei's doing. He chose all the material. we merely delivered it."
With a flourish, Midori pulls out one of the letters.
"Context is not important for these statements, as they contain everything needed to understand them. Is it as simple as the Mantis receiving nothing for coming so far? Yet Dogo does relinquish his seat..."Dogo was sitting on the high seat of meditation when a monk came and asked, "What is the greatest depth of the teaching?" Dogo came down from the seat, kneeled on the floor, and said to the monk, "You are here after traveling far, but I am sorry to have nothing to offer you."
"These koans were chosen for the Mantis to contemplate. I could only ever look at them from my own perspective."
"And your perspective doesn't have much in common with that of the bold Mantis Clan, I'm guessing?" The monk grins.
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