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This is the old, old, old bit of story I mentioned earlier. Kaido no Yume was a story I started about a decade ago but which never saw completion. I found this chapter—which is the next after what I’d written so far—in one of my old notebooks. I believe the only other chapter written so far is the ending, and I don’t know where that is. Forgive the writing; I’d number this among my juvenilia—besides the style, some of the facts contradict later continuity. Hopefully the second draft, whenever I get around to it, will fix everything up.

After their audience, Kohath and the tigers went out again through the long tunnels, which were no longer dark now but glowed with an eerie, reflective radiance.

When they came out again into the moonlight, Kohath saw it was not the walls that were lit, but that they themselves were glowing with a subtle radiance.

Nyaiya cried out, “Ai, wuafo, your fur shines with rainbows!”

Kohath looked over himself. Sure enough, his pale blue fur divided the light that shone through it, surrounding him with a spectral aura. Nyaiya insisted on keeping a piece of it. — “The light will fade from us, but we can preserve a little” — so he let her cut a few strands of fur from his arm with a sharp claw.

“Before we leave this place,” Maro said, “it is customary to sing. Will you honor us?”

Kohath looked up at the moon, enormous in the sky, and suddenly felt homesick again. Somewhere, terribly distant, his home on a moon much like that was empty. He found he had already begun singing:

“My paws ache for the earth of my homeland,
and to walk on the roads I once knew,
So much time I have spent from my homeland,
and the ones that I love.  Haru—”

The song had a slow beat, which the tigers found and clapped to.

“My nose thirsts for the smell of my homeland…”

The kits joined in, and Kohath realized the music was not being translated for them, as they sang nonsense happily with the tune, and the gusto with which they went for the ending howl. Nevertheless, he went on through the final verse—

“My tail waves for the friends of my homeland,
and my brave brothers, fallen but true,
I’ll remember the love of my homeland,
For as long as I’m traveling, haru—”

On the final howl, hundreds of fireflies rose from the forest beneath them. Maro gathered up the kino cloth, he and Nyaiya both kissed Kohath, and they all went down the hill and back home.