The Moon's Stellar Companion
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痛兮生哉
观亦由之
匿亦由之
Painful is birth
with that we see
in that we hide.
往而求光
彼亦求汝
于此九喻
Look there for light
it looks for you
among the Jiu yu.
俄尔今者
夫汝所知
其破其陨
Quickly, now
all that you know
is broken.
夫汝所知
灭而无果
无束无拘
All that you know
comes undone
unconfined.

Smell is the first sense that returns to me. What… is this? It feels as if it is drifting in through my eyes like a shade of violet.

Yet, I smell it.

Taste returns now, slower than smell. It does not drift as smell did — it jabs me like a knife through my skin. The word it says, I can taste it: wu, awaken, 悟. The word speaks in a round of colors, sounds, lifting me higher above the stars.

I can see now as I am merged ever so gently into the shimmering object above me. It calms me and the stars disappear and I open my eyes.


"Qiu…" A voice echoes like a bell in my skull, "Qiu… the burning is complete."

Shaking my head, my vision feels blurry as if a veil of translucent cloth covers my face.

"Who is th—" My voice… is that my voice? "Who is there?" It sounds like glass, I can see the words shattering as they leave my lips.

"Do not ask such questions, metta metta." The voice, where is it?

With a groan, I look down at myself. Black suit, white and newly ironed button-down shirt, firearm tucked safely in its leather holster, my four legs shifting through themselves in time with the music.

"Wait…" I blink and the world blinks out of existence before returning as my eyes open. "Two…" Reaching down to touch my legs, I exhale in relief as I feel the texture of the fabric.

Keeping my eyes open, staring through the veil, I need to remind myself what I know… who I am.

"I am Kuang Qiu. I am thirty-six. My mother… Suen Feng. My father… Kuang Chaichi." With each statement, the veil seems to clear. The vision of the space around me clearing. "I… I am a Commander."

"Oh, are you?" That voice again! Where is it?

"Yes! I am!" I speak with confidence as the veil finally falls from my eyes and I can see.

With a gasp, I take in the impossible nature of my surroundings. Gold columns rise above me endlessly, though I can see the very top as beings with hundreds of arms dance upon them to a silent rhythm. They jerk back and forth on their impossible platforms as shimmering gold pours from their open mouths. The columns growing ever taller but descending ever closer.

Surrounding me is a vast sea of blue and white, pulsing and undulating to the same rhythm. Why can't I hear it?…

The sea crashes against me with violent force but I am unmoving. It seems to rush away from me, as if in fear. From the escaping seas, a figure appears in ten separate directions. Despite me looking straight ahead, I can see them all at once.

A tall man shifting in height with every step as he approaches me. His skin is metallic, a deep shade of violet swirling with spirals of gold and silver forming patterns, symbols, letters. He is beautiful, flawless in every way.

"Kuang Qiu." He speaks, the voice from before. It is this man, I realize, though his beautiful mouth does not open. "You are not supposed to be here." He finally gets close to me, surrounded on all ten sides.

".ma I erehw dnatsrednu ton od I …kcab og em tel ,esaelP" I bring my hand up to my throat as my words escape from my mouth in a way I do not recognize.

"Metta metta, Kuang Qiu. I cannot set you back. Not until you understand." The beautiful man reaches out, his ten arms placing themselves on my head. I can feel my heart frantically beating out of my chest as it falls out, a wet squelching noise echoing through the vast expanse before it slides in to the endless sea.

I concentrate on speaking, though the difficulty of doing so grows with every moment, "I am dreaming. I must be dreaming." Anger and frustration wells up inside me and I bring up my hands to violently shove the man away from me, "No! I am dreaming! Do not touch me!" My hand collides with his chest.

The sound of the man's screams lifts me above him, the platform below me rising up swiftly… or the space around me is lowering. I cannot tell.

"Metta! Metta!" The man screams from below. He multiplies and his form shifting into a grotesquely gorgeous being, climbing upon himself, "You must understand! You must understand!"

The beings of many arms atop their golden columns dance and dance, the golden liquid gushing from their mouth, filling the sea below. The blue, gold, and white rising to envelop the grotesque man. The screaming becomes silence and he disappears below the rising tides of color.

With an exhale, I look above me. Just as I do so, a glowing white sphere collides with my being and everything goes white.


A harsh gasp fills my lungs, breaking the thick lacquer of silence.

"Calm, calm now." A voice, it reminds me of my mother… "Do not open your eyes, not yet. Saddha, follower, you are home now." A heavy weight gets placed on my mind; I feel my thoughts slowing.

I know now I am being carried, the soft lifting up and down as the arms cradling me feel gentle. I sink in to them, fall in to them…

My name is Kuang Qiu, I think to myself— a reminder.

"Oh, is it? Let's take care of that." The voice spoke again, I want to open my eyes…

"Do not open your eyes." The voice spoke once more, it seemed farther away.

I am being lowered now, placed on something warm, soft. I want to open my eyes…

"You can now, follower. Open."

I do as the voice says and I open my eyes. The weight lifts from my mind and my panic returns in a tidal wave, swiftly into my chest. My breath, I need to take a breath!

I inhale sharply, taking in air, though I do not feel it flowing through my lips.

Breathing…

Breathing…

Okay, I need to figure out where I am. I take in my surroundings, however, my mind does not seem to be willing to comprehend what my eyes are seeing. Everything feels wrong, horribly wrong. The floor in front of me is split into multiple planes, though I know it to be only one floor… I see eight.

Looking down beneath me, I do not see the soft, warm surface I expected. There is only a circular pattern spinning in hundreds of directions. I feel as if I could sink in to it.

No, no, I need to get out of here. I'm standing, running, getting the hell out… out of this… dream? This is a dream. It has to be.

"You are not dreaming, follower. You are witnessing the eternal glory that is Siddhartha Two."

That voice again! "Where are you?!" I shout, my voice causes the floor in front of me to collapse into a single surface. Out of habit, I pull out my pistol and hold it ready in front of my chest.

"I am everywhere, follower. You only need to wish to see me…"

My face contorts into a scowl, "Mother help me, this is just a dream, I will wake up soon anyway."

"Awakening, enlightenment, is always the true goal, follower, is it not? An admirable one. One you are some distance away from achieving, but you could help us."

I do my best to ignore the voice, despite everything within me twisting itself in the attempt. However, I begin to march forward towards something I can only describe as a door. I did not see it but I knew it was there.

"Follower, you are not prepared for what you will find within. You are not ready to descend into higher realms of spiritual evolution" I see a brief flash within my mind of a golden eye, its pupil dilating as the voice speaks.

I do my best to remember what happened before I got here… I remember the endless sea, the beautiful man, the dancing figures with many arms. But what was before that?

Bat! I remember! Bat and that… magic? No. Just some trick.

"It was no trick— Bat freed you. Burned away your shell from the inside. Sent you here among the eight paths. You have only just begun."

I let out a sigh, my attempts at ignoring the voice failing as I see the words forming from the very air in front of me.

"A trick. It was a trick." I assure myself as I reach out for the door I cannot see and open it.

And I see a bright globe of light… the moon?

"Yes, the moon. It is almost Uposatha. It is almost time for all to shed their burdening shells, join us in eternal enlightenment. Tara has guided us and soon all will understand."

Why do I not wake up? I just want to wake up. I gaze at the moon, wondering just how far away it is.

I feel myself being consumed by its presence as it slowly spins, revealing the silver iris of another eye.

"Let me free you, follower. Strike your path with steady footprints for you need to view the truth."

As I stare at the cratered surface, I lift up my pistol in a desperate attempt to rid myself of it— wake myself from this merciless dream. "I am not a follower! Stop calling me that!" I shout. But before I have the chance to pull the trigger, the voice speaks:

"Ceto-vimutti."

…and it shatters into glimmering stars.

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