Enlightened Mind's Eye: Prologue
Writing is a curious thing. Once text has been written down, it has left the mind of its author. Then many may see the text, without coming into any kind of contact with the writer. They can see a fragment of a portion of a piece of the author's mind, and never see any of his heart.
Of course, I know I have a rather unusual perspective on that sort of thing. After all, I can see into the heart and mind of any living thing I set my eyes on — or rather, I set my Third Eye on.
My name is Satori Komeiji. "Satori" is also the name of my species. I live in the Palace of the Earth Spirits, deep underground beneath the land of Gensokyo, with my sister and a multitude of pets. Most of them were ordinary animals, mostly hell-ravens and hell-cats. Some of them had become youkai over time.
I was sitting in a chair on the temple's front porch, idly relaxing. I wore a simple blue shirt, a pink skirt which didn't quite match my short pink hair, and a black headband. Wrapped around me was the red flesh of my Third Eye: not "worn" any more than my other two eyes were, but still present, and staring unblinking at the world around it.
Underground, there's less weather than on the surface, and very few breezes. Still, I'm more comfortable with the languid air. Not for any particular reason; it just suits my personality. I could "hear" the thoughts of those inside the temple behind me — not going out of my way to focus on or comprehend any individual thoughts, I simply let myself watch over the sea of minds.
Then I detected two minds in front of me. They belonged to two of my most cherished pets, a hell-raven named Utsuho Reizui, and a kasha named Rin Kaenbyou, although she insisted on calling herself Orin, and usually called Utsuho by the nickname Okuu. They were both youkai, and had human forms, although Orin tended to remain in her bestial shape most of the time; she preferred to be a lap-cat.
The two had gone off exploring in the caverns, and were now returning, excited at something they'd found: a pinkish crystal with an odd shape that they wanted to give to me as a gift. I smiled; they always wanted to show their love for me in various ways, especially given the reaction I got from ... well ... just about everyone else.
That was simply the way of things. People didn't like having their minds read. Oh, none of my pets minded, but that was because I'd been reading their minds since before they'd been intelligent enough to tell the difference. Everyone else in the Underground hated and feared me. The miko and the witch who'd barged down here several months ago hadn't been particularly thrilled either.
My sister Koishi stepped out of the temple. She always seemed a lot more bright and cheerful than I usually felt. She had short gray-green hair and wore a black hat with a yellow ribbon around it, a yellow-orange shirt with a dark green ruffly collar, and a light pink skirt with a pinkish flower-pattern. Her Third Eye was dark blue, and sealed resolutely shut. "Hi, sis!" she said. "Orin and Okuu back yet?"
"They're just coming back now," I said. "They seem to have found something interesting."
"Oh, cool," said Koishi. She had sealed her Third Eye in order to avoid the fear and hatred others felt for her; this had ... backfired, to say the least. People liked even less having their subconscious stared at, and now I couldn't see into her heart, either. She hadn't minded much, and simply went through the world aimlessly and at impulsively.
As they drew nearer, I began to hear the echoes of their idle talk in their minds.
"You think she'll like it?" said Utsuho. She wore a white button-down shirt with a large red eye-emblem on her chest, a short green skirt, and with her long black hair in a matching green ribbon. Her right arm was covered from the elbow down by a large orange contraption resembling some sort of cannon, and she had a pair of large black raven-wings.
"Course she will!" said Orin, grinning cheekily. "She'll love it!" Her humanoid form had crimson hair in a pair of braids, and she wore an elegant green dress; she still had a pair of black feline ears, and two tails draped out from under her skirt. She pushed along a medium-sized wheelbarrow, which contained ... something, with a white cape covering it; it was one which Utsuho usually wore, draped over her wings.
They rounded a corner and came into view. I smiled, waving to them, and they grinned and waved back.
"Hi, Satori-sama and Koishi-sama!" called out Orin. "You'll never guess what we found!" And then she thought, Yeah, I know, I know ...
I giggled softly. "Well, let's see ... it's probably pink, and made out of crystal ..."
They began to giggle as well, and Utsuho pulled aside the cape.
It was ... elaborate. It almost seemed to have been cut in the shape of a flower. It seemed to have been infused with a touch of magic as well — always a possibility in a realm like this — so it gave off a faint glow, and reflected the light in odd, intricate patterns.
Orin picked it up and handed it to me. "This is for you!" she announced, grinning wide.
"Thank you, Orin," I breathed, holding it gently. "It's beautiful! Here, Koishi ..."
"Wow!" said Koishi, looking it over. "That'll look great if we mount it on the wall!"
I smiled, and gave Utsuho and Orin a big hug. "Thank you both!"
"You're welcome!" they both said, snuggling up next to me.
Koishi blinked. "Um ..." She frowned, seeming faintly disappointed.
"Oh, um, sorry, Koishi-sama," said Utsuho, guiltily.
"Sorry we didn't think of getting you anything," said Orin, her ears drooping.
Koishi abruptly giggled. "Just kidding!" she said. "It's fine, I know you're Satori's pets first and foremost."
Orin giggled nervously, and Utsuho blushed. I smiled faintly, but narrowed my eyes. Koishi behavior was so unpredictable, I almost never knew how she really felt, and I wasn't sure how good she was at hiding her real feelings either. Which was the trick, and which the way she truly felt, I wondered ...
Then I caught a slight glimpse.
I'd been getting ... small flickers of Koishi's heart now and then, ever since her encounter on the surface with the shrine maiden and the witch. They were few and far between, and went by so fast that I almost couldn't make any sense of them. But they were there.
When I saw the glimpse, Koishi was feeling cheerful and mischievous.
Well ... that was good at least.
I smiled. "Come on, let's bring it inside," I said, getting to my feet. "Where do you think it will look the best?"
"Um, hmm." Koishi considered this for three-eighths of a second. "Maybe ... in the middle of the table in the drawing room!"
Orin scratched her head. "Mmm, does anyone really go there much?" she said. "I mean, we don't wanna just leave it there and forget about it, nya." She really wanted people in general to see it.
"Um ... we could put it ... in my room!" said Utsuho in a silly voice, although she was actually half-serious.
"Nah, let's not," said Koishi, giggling.
"Perhaps we could affix it to the chandelier in the main hall, the one the shrine maiden nearly knocked down," I mused.
"Maybe," said Koishi. "But it might get knocked off by the next rampaging shrine maiden who comes along."
"But that only happened once cuz of the, um, incident," said Utsuho, frowning guiltily.
"And whose fault is that?" said Orin. C'mon, somebody say "yours," I'm the one who set off the geysers that got their attention ...
"Yours," Utsuho, Koishi, and I said promptly.
All of us began to giggle. "Okay, the chandelier it is, then," I said, smiling.
Sometimes I regret having my Third Eye. It always leads to conflict with those who hate and fear my power. But right here, right now, with my family and my pets, I knew that my life would always have moments of happiness amid the darkness — just like a crystal, which became filled with magic and formed in the shape of a beautiful flower, shining in the darkness of the Underground.