It used to be a nice day. And now, the snow fell like the gods had decided to punish the earthen humans for some paradoxical reason only they knew about. The effect? The ankle deep snow covering the ground in a smooth blanket.
Meaning that the servants had some extra work to do. The complaints rang in quiet mutters as they worked till they were frozen solid. But none but few wanted to put even a finger close to the east wing. Or anywhere close, for that matter.
Soga no Emishi sat stiff by the hearth as the Ouji scribbled on some kind of scroll with his thin brush. All was deathly quiet. Not a word was whispered as if it was forbidden to so.
Emishi's hands were frozen numb. Still he gripped at his outer robes until his knuckles were white.
The day had started like any other. Books, scrolls, Tojiko's occasional bursting in without notice; but it was just before midday that the smooth waves turned to raging tides. A messenger had come from Ikebe palace.
The last time he had visited the Ouji was less than than, well... Nice. Anahobe no Ouji's boasting, and that man, Tansui's odd behaviour. All made up a spicy and bitter potion to drink. And still, strangely interested (and no less intimidated) he went.
And now, he's here. Sitting awkwardly while the Ouji quietly writes away. Emishi wanders why their meetings, scarce as they were, always end in odd ways. But he doesn't think much more of it for now.
"Emishi..." Emishi flinched with a start and then answered much too quietly than he would like to admit, "Y-Yes?"
"Do you know of that thing called 'emotion'?" The Ouji didn't turn to face him at all. Is he referencing to a book? Emishi wandered. But before he had even a chance to answer, the Ouji answered his own question.
"It destroys and makes use of everything. Including it's host." The Ouji doesn't turn to face him when he talked. But Emishi could sense a shred of malice through the words. "I despise it." Emishi felt as though the sentence was unfinished—as though the Ouji had wanted to say more but had stopped himself from continuing.
Emishi said the words before he has a chance to think, "But emotions can amount to good things too.."
"What evidence do you have for it? Are not those 'good things' you speak of also done by the use of its host?" Emishi was left flabbergasted. But he started the argument, he had to stick to it.
"We make strong bonds from it, we care for people and help them through it." Emishi drew in his eyebrows. He was firm in his belief. But he was confused. How much hate had this small body preserved?
"Then doesn't emotions make use of its host?"
"Mayhap it does."
"Then it is manipulative and evil, no?"
Emishi doesn't say anything at that. But he does feel the urgent need get up and leave. Disrespect or not. His blood sung with nervousness and a snake named fear coiled in the pit of his stomach. He had been ice cold and stiff when he had come, and now he was sweating and he felt too hot.
The Ouji stared into at the newly written scroll for a few moments. The calligraphy he had written made to look like dripping ink on thick yellow paper.
'Whispers come to this earthly lotus
Of you enamoured with cherries and hydrangea
And time flies away like spider threads
While I lament for your sweet visit.'
And he laughs. Laughs like the most hilarious of plays had just been shown to him.
A servant would later find in the hearth, the now half burnt scroll.