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Samsara Games: Very Easy! – Chapter 45

2023-09-30 04:55:00Publish Time: 677 views[miniorange_social_login shape="longbuttonwithtext" view="horizontal" appcnt="3" theme="default" space="35" width="180" height="35" color="000000"]
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Chapter 45: Walking the Central Path of the Three Avenues

Having listened to Yamada's tale, Bai Wei could only emit a deep sigh.

He refrained from making any evaluations.

All existence is suffering, akin to a house engulfed in flames or a treacherous sea. No one can fathom what consequences their decisions may bring, whether it leads to celestial bliss or a perilous descent into hell.

He could utter the phrase "It's not your fault," but speaking those words would come across as disingenuous.

Yamada is indeed at fault; he erred in his pursuit of immediate gains and failed to consider the consequences.

However, he is not the main culprit, nor is he an utterly wicked and unrepentant evildoer.

This incident has left Yamada with a profoundly severe psychological trauma, to the extent that it has prompted significant changes in his approach to corporate operations thereafter.

In response, his career came to an abrupt halt, with no further advancements in his status. He merely remained as an ordinary salesperson, ushering in a desolate middle age.

Without a wife or children, he stood alone, with utter solitude.

He visits the cemetery once a week to pay his respects, and each time he is overwhelmed by a sense of guilt.

Is this act of forgiveness enough, Bai Wei - without the right to make such assertions - wonders, but the departed still feel it falls far short… Only heaven knows how much longer this torment will endure.

"Let's go, and pay a visit to the shrine," said Bai Wei.

Yamada responded with a humble smile.

In the district of Hanafancho, the population may be scarce, but when it comes alive, it truly comes alive. This is because here, geisha perform during the evenings, and one must pay an admission fee to be able to enter and watch.

Bai Wei has also seen them a few times, but he doesn't find those geisha who paint their faces pale attractive in the least.

He halted in front of a stone plaque, raised his head, and ahead of him stood a vermilion torii gate. Beyond that was the shrine.

While passing through the torii gate, one can distinctly feel a greater abundance of spiritual energy in the air.

The torii gates and sacred shimenawa ropes form a simple barrier, establishing a domain occasionally referred to as the 'Divine Realm'. However, in the renowned Cherry Island, said to be home to countless divine spirits, this so-called Divine Realm merely elevates the ground by a mere layer of foundation. It is far inferior to the grandeur of places like Zhou Xu, Kunlun Mountains, or the millennium-old cathedrals of the Kingdom of Faith, the imperial aerial courtyards, and the pallid castles… The disparity resembles that between the Forbidden City and a modest one-bedroom apartment.

It will suffice.

It is habitable.

Even so, this spiritual energy has been sealed, which is much better than the unbridled passage of the outside world. There is a significant difference between having a dwelling and not having one.

No house, not acceptable! With a house, acceptable!

Climbing the steps, and entering the shrine, Bai Wei picked up a wooden ladle and fetched water from a nearby stone basin to cleanse his hands. Just as he poured it out, a white cat leaped over, licking the water dripping from his palm. Its fur became damp, but it paid no mind, simply giving its body a shake, scattering the droplets.

The shrine doesn't have a more formal name, commonly referred to as Hanten Shrine. On Cherry Island where the shrines are adorned with blooming flowers, small shrines are not uncommon here, and the deities enshrined are not the usual grand deities, but rather cats.

This shrine enshrines cats and keeps over twenty of them. They are not afraid of strangers and even pester for food. Each one is raised plump and healthy.

Under Bai Wei's feet, in a short while, several cats appeared. Some extended their claws to play with his shoes, while others bit onto his pants and pulled, displaying a familiar and friendly demeanor.

Being guarded by a group of cats, Bai Wei walked along the path of worship. Straight ahead was the shrine, with a donation box, a shelf on the left holding ema plaques, and a tree on the right adorned with white votive slips.

In the afternoon, when no one was at the shrine, Bai Wei also didn't see that lazy and willful shrine maiden.

He tossed a 5-yen coin, shook the bell, and offered his prayers with joined palms.

Yamada, standing aside, also sincerely worships, as someone burdened by guilt and karma, always holding a deep belief in deities and spirits.

With this act of worship, the debuff that had plagued him, the malevolent energy lingering above his head, dissipated.

He sincerely said, "I feel considerably relieved."

Bai Wei nodded and said, "Unfortunately, I cannot give you this amulet that I have with me. You can go to a better shrine next time and seek out an amulet there."

Yamada scratched his head and said, "That's not cheap, you know."

After a simple worship, they walked out of the shrine. Just as Bai Wei passed through the torii gate, he suddenly heard a piercing cry of a cat.

On the road outside the shrine, there stood a grand, orange tabby with an arched back, fluffed fur, and a menacing presence. Its throat emitted a deep, throaty 'hahaha' sound. Across from it stood a calico cat, adorned with three distinct colors. The calico cat appeared to be older, with dry fur and evident tear stains in the corners of its eyes. It seemed to have gone a long time without being groomed, yet it wore a collar around its neck.

In contrast to the orange tabby's exaggerated response, it didn't fluff its fur nor arch its back, but instead turned its gaze towards the two individuals.

"Miaow-!" the orange tabby continued to advance, pressuring forward.

The calico cat flicked its tail, then turned around and leaped onto the fence, disappearing around the corner.

Finally relenting, the orange tabby shook its head, turned around, and walked towards the torii gate. The other cats on the side remained in a circle, watching from a distance without daring to approach.

Yamada found it amusing and wanted to touch the orange tabby, but ended up getting his hand lightly swatted by its tail.

"This cat is truly fierce."

Bai Wei crouched down and extended his hand to gently scratch the orange tabby's chin, saying, "Thank you for driving it away."

"Meow~" It lifted its paw, indicating something.

"This time I didn't bring any fish treats, but next time for certain."

The orange tabby immediately changed its expression and uttered a few meows while angrily walking away.

Bai Wei played with the cats for a while, and Yamada took the initiative to bid farewell. "I have work in the afternoon, so I'll take my leave for now. I will continue to disturb you next time and being with Mr. Bai naturally makes me feel relaxed."

Bai Wei sized up Yamada and said, "If you can introduce me to some beautiful ladies, I would welcome you even more."

Yamada first paused in surprise, then burst into laughter, saying, "If you don't mind, I actually know a few shops."

"I wasn't talking about shops," Bai Wei shook his head, "This kind of shops has long been abolished in the Ming Country."

"Apologies, it was my misunderstanding," Yamada pondered for a moment, "Are you referring to arranged blind dates?"

Bai Wei said, "It's too early to talk about marriage directly, I'm just…" He paused for a moment and continued, "Feeling a bit restless, wanting to find a girlfriend."

"Err…"

"I'm in my early twenties, is it not normal to look for a girlfriend? It's rare to be in a foreign country, so what's wrong with finding a local girlfriend?"

"Ah, well, I just didn't expect someone as remarkable as you to still be single."

"Are you deliberately picking a fight with me?" Bai Wei raised an eyebrow.

"Cough, cough. When it comes to interpersonal relationships, I have quite a bit of knowledge. There are also young and beautiful women of high social standing. If you really want to know, I can make introductions," Yamada's attitude changed, seeing this as a good opportunity to get closer. He had been in the business for years and knew the family situations and interpersonal dynamics of many clients like the back of his hand. "For example, there is a young lady from Chunxiao Electrical, Feng Jiamin. She is truly noble, elegant, and talented. Despite her young age…"

"Oh, oh, oh, you seem to understand it quite well… Please tell me more!" Bai Wei patted Yamada on the back, enthusiastically saying, "I'll take you to the tram station."

Whenever certain topics are brought up, male friendships always have a way of quickly bonding. People like Yamada can easily become good buddies to others.

On the way of departure, Bai Wei always noticed that there was something following them, neither in a hurry nor slow.

As the night fell and darkness gradually enveloped the land, Yamada dragged his weary body back to his humble abode, a plain and unremarkable bachelor apartment. Despite not being born into wealth, he had managed to save up a considerable amount over the years. However, he lacked the energy to seek out a better dwelling. He had once daydreamed about luxurious mansions in the past, but now, he no longer pursued such aspirations.

The house wasn't dirty, but rather messy. Living alone, he didn't have the inclination to tidy up, which presented a stark contrast to his tidy appearance from the past.

When being alone, one starts confronting oneself, a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions surge up, engaging in self-reflection, comparison, doubt, and self-ridicule.

He washed his face and gazed into his lifeless eyes, feeling a sense of absurdity within himself. Existing, yet devoid of vitality and spirit.

Even the initial desire to climb to greater heights has vanished.

"This way of living is quite uninteresting," he thought to himself.

He uttered to himself, then picked up the beer beside him, opened a can, and, accompanied by some humble food, began to reward himself for the day's toil.

After finishing the meal, he leaned back on the sofa, watching television channels and listening to the comedic performances and variety shows of the funny entertainers.

Unconsciously, he dozed off in a drowsy state.

In his dream, he once again dreamt of the old man's unblinking eyes in death, causing him to wake up startled, drenched in cold sweat.

Entering the bathroom, he stared at his bloodshot eyes, gritted his teeth, and asked bitterly, "After all these years, why won't you let me go?"

He had the strong urge to throw a punch at the mirror, but quickly released his hand, transforming his anger into bitterness.

What haunts him is not ghosts, but human nature; the one who refuses to let him go is, in fact, himself.

After being silent and lost in thought for a while, he sat on the sofa finding it difficult to fall asleep for a long time.

Suddenly, there came knocking sounds from outside the door, accompanied by the cries of wild animals.

Tak tak tak… the sound of knocking echoed, Yamada walked to the door, looked through the peephole, and saw no one outside.

He walked back, just as he sat down, there came another knocking at the door.

Upon further inspection, still no one in sight.

As he turned around, the door once again resounded with the sound of knocking.

He grew restless and immediately opened the door, exclaiming, "Who is it!"

However, this time there stood a figure outside the door, dressed in a high school sailor uniform, with hair cascading down, and eyes a deep crimson hue. "It is me," she uttered.

Yamada's blood ran cold in an instant, his fingertips trembling as he uttered, "Yoshino… Sachiko."

The deceased, unchanged and devoid of any trace of aging, grinned at Yamada, exactly the same as eight years ago, with an icy and lifeless tone, saying, "Now it's your turn."

...