Feeling comforted by the warmth that the stove produced for the whole room, Ilan nodded to him and continued staring at the landscape outside through the window. Her eyes followed the river that meandered between little hills and she remained in silent meditation for a while, until Sen approached her and handed her a cup of tea that had such a typical smell of Japanese mocha tea.
This precise moment happened also at the beginning of Ilan’s adventure. The same feelings, the same old man serving a mocha tea, the same window and the same warmth in the room, but this time, Ilan was changed inside. She didn’t feel that kind of excitement that used to make her feel anxious, instead she felt a deep peace taking place within her.
“Aren’t you going to tell me anything about your holidays, Ilan?
Ilan was so absorbed in her thoughts that she didn’t hear Sen, but she started to talk to him, “You know Sen, when I went through that well, I had a vision…”
“I’m all ears then, dear Ilan”
“I…I had this beautiful vision about myself. My whole body was the earth itself, and my head was sort of blending with the stars. I felt connected to all sentient and non-sentient beings, with all matter, and in spirit I became one with my inner guide: a woman that I found at the end of the cave, in the well, as a reflection. I was her and she was me.”
“It’s good” said Sen. “It’s very good.”
Then Sen explained… “Do you remember what I told you before your departure? In Beauty we are united, through beauty we pray, with beauty we conquer. Do you remember now?”
“Yes, of course I remember this.” Said Ilan.
She stood in silence for a while, and then it struck her.
“I know! I’ve done it, I mean, I went through it, didn’t I!?” Ilan was bursting of joy.
Sen nodded proudly.
“Your journey was a total success, Ilan, dear child”
Ilan didn’t have words, so she just got up and hugged her mentor.
Sen sighed in relief and then said “So now will you tell me all about your adventures?”
Ilan and Sen spent the whole afternoon talking and laughing, and making more tea, and then she had a good sleep; her last night in Imagi-nation.
The next morning, Shobogenzo San was waiting for her in the stables and they rode a last time in the valley that laid behind the Guild Halls. At noon they came back and they prepared to go back home, to their island. But before, Ilan had a mission, something she hadn’t quite resolved…
She went to see the Guild mistress who knew all about her journey already, thanks to Sen’s uncontrollable tongue, and after saying hello and share a few words, she finally asked…”I have a doubt and I need to resolve it before I leave, I couldn’t leave without knowing some news about Dolkar. Is he ok? Did he accomplish his dream of taming his wild stallion?”
The Guild Mistress asked Ilan to approach a cauldron she had on a support on the floor, and in the cauldron an image appeared. It was Dolkar, and he was riding his recently acquired wild horse. “Oh, he did it! he did it! I’m so happy for him!” In the image, Dolkar stood on top of a little hill and seemed to look straight into Ilan’s direction.
“He can see you, Ilan”
“Can he?” said Ilan whilst she waved at Dolkar
The Guild mistress smiled and put her hand on Ilan’s shoulder. “You’ve been very brave, Ilan… You’ll be able to come back at any time and see Dolkar again, and all the friends you made in Imagi-nation”
Dolkar then waved too and disappeared over the hill.
On that day, a few hours later, Ilan and Shobogenzo San crossed the invisible gate that separated Imagi-nation from her own world and rode back home to see her mother. When they saw each other, Ilan’s mum begged Ilan to not tell anything for she could already see the new light shining in the heart of her daughter. There was no need for words.
Only one last thing Ilan asked her mum before she went to bed, and that was a warm comforting mocha tea.