She doesn’t lock the door – there’s no need. She doesn’t hail a cab. She walks, the streets moving beneath her, slipping through crowds, a ghost, or the one who is alive in a city of ghosts. All a matter of perspective.
She comes to the material Temple (she cannot yet reach the other), crosses the courtyard, and enters, unseen. She passes through the concussive slaps and grunts of those who are training their bodies. The smell fo sweat and varnish, of blood and adrenaline, the thick heat in the air gathering about each combatant. She passes through the first door, as is her right.
She moves along the edge of those who seek to sharpen and hone their minds, a slight breeze passing through the silence and slow breathing. There is a koan hanging in the air, at the tip of everyone’s tongue, that even she can taste. The answer is always the same. She passes through the second door because she knows this.
She comes to the place of harmony of body and mind, where the first few secrets are taught to those who are proven worthy. A student performs a spinning leap and his spear passes through nothing. Morihei is already beside him, slapping him like an errant child. Jane smiles secretly, pauses briefly to watch. Now, even Mori cannot see her. She passes through the third door with a slight rush of pride which she knows should be beneath her.
The next room is empty, for now. It is a puzzle she has not solved. And there is yet one more room above it which contains, for her, everything. She finds the perfect center of the room, seats herself and centers her mind and waits. She moves outside of the consciousness of time, and is only dimly aware of the sun’s light moving across the room.
Then he is next to her. She moves smoothly into a full prostration.
She does, stands, loose, ready, balanced.
He simply waits, unmoving. Jane would think words were unnecessary, but he insists nontheless.
“Master, I have watched them as you asked. They are connected but unaware. I doubt any would last an hour here, but some have great potential. They have moved, and are living in a new place for the time being. On the Upper East Side. Alice has…new visitors, one from the Old Academe of Paris, another sent from upstate to be her new apprentice. And there is another coming. About him, I can see nothing at all.”
She feels him nod slowly, thoughtfully. She never knows if he is playing a game. He’s moved beyond her understanding…for now. Why even ask her? But he does, for his own reasons.
“We will wait.” And he is already gone.
She thinks of Morihei downstairs, training an army. Wait, but for how long?