This is what I saw in my dream.
I withdrew from the high priest's quarters and followed the corridor back to my own chamber, where the paper lantern glowed dimly. When I stirred the wick, a charred clove dropped onto the red-lacquered table like a small flower. At the same time, the room brightened.
The painting on the fusuma was Buson's brush. A black willow was drawn using bold and faint lines for perspective. A fisherman, shrinking from the cold, wore his bamboo hat aslant as he walked along the top of an embankment. In the alcove hung a scroll with Monju Bosatsu, the deity of wisdom, riding over the sea on a cloud. From the shadows, the burnt remains of incense still scented the room. The large temple was silent, with not a sound of human stirring. As I glanced upward, the flickering circle cast by the lantern onto the black ceiling seemed almost alive.
With one knee drawn up, I peeled back the seating cushion with my left hand and thrust my right underneath. Just as expected, it was there in its place. Reassured, I straightened the cushion and seated myself solidly on top.
"Aren't you a samurai? If you are a samurai, then there should be no reason that you can't awaken your mind," the priest had said. "The years rush on, and still you're in the dark. How can you truly be samurai?" he taunted me further. "You're the dregs of humanity," he told me. "Ah ha! Do I anger you?" he laughed as he spoke. "If my words are unjust, then bring me evidence of your awakening." With that, he showed his contempt by abruptly turning away.
I'll show him. There's a clock in the alcove of the hall adjacent my chamber. Before it strikes the next hour, I'll awaken my mind. After I do, I'll return to his quarters this very evening. Then, in exchange for my awakening, I'll take that priest's head. Until I succeed, I can't take his life. I must succeed. I am a samurai.
If I can't awaken my mind then I'll die by the sword. A samurai does not live in shame. I'll die a noble death.
As I strengthened my resolve, my hand dove reflexively back beneath the cushion. It drew forth a dagger, sheathed in red lacquer. Gripping the hilt firmly, I cast away the sheath. The cold blade shone in the darkness. Something dreadful seemed to flow from the grip with a hissing sound. It flowed to the tip, converging into a single point of intense bloodlust. I watched with chagrin as the sharp blade melted down flat like the head of a tack. When only the tapered tip remained, the urge to stab became overwhelming. All the blood of my body flowed to my right wrist, and the hilt felt sticky in my grasp. My lips trembled.