In my earliest memory…
Everything was White.
It was a whiteness that expanded infinitely into the horizon. A horizon so blurry it merely connected white with white.
For in this world...
There was no earth, and there was no sky.
Only White Above, and White Below.
Whiteness that purified anything that it touched.
A human cynic would have called it the bleached colour of nothingness.
If he were a little more creative he might have described it as the dizzying landscape of vertigo.
And if he were a pretentious know-it-all, as one knows, a lot of humans are...
He might have decried it as the bleak passage of limbo between truer states of living.
But I was taught as I grew up…
This was the colour of possibility.
I sat there amid the soft whiteness, feeling cozy and fuzzy inside.
Watching the snowflakes fall, as they connected Up and Down…
Snow, they said, was silent.
But if they spent hours looking at it, as I do, perking up my long ears to listen to it…
Then even they could hear the sounds that it made…
The soft tinkle of an ice petal falling to the ground…
… As it embraced its friends and family…
… and was embraced in return.
… Did you know…
... that each snowflake was constructed of an entirely unique form?
… that every one of them is one-of-a-kind?
Besides for their common hexagonal structure, every crystal has its own different look, that could never be found in another crystal.
Yes, no two crystals are the same.
Not even if you searched the entire cosmos to find a matching pair!
Inversely, you could say that snowflakes represented the diversity and potential of all of cosmic existence!
… I’m not really sure what a cosmos is, but it sure sounds big, doesn’t it?!
… Why a hexagon?
Well, that’s obviously because of the number 6!
… Why the number 6?
… I don’t know!—I haven’t been taught that yet! I just know that 6 is a special number!
Anyway, let me continue and don’t interrupt!
…Yes, the colour of possibility.
I have said that it was the whiteness that connected Above and Below, and extended toward Infinity in the horizon.
But I should have said that it was whiteness that connected Past and Present, and extended toward…
… the Future.
The Whiteness of possibility———
I squeaked as a pair of long, gentle arms scooped me up from the plains of virgin snow.
‘There you are, you fuzzy little rascal! There you are! Come and give me a hug! Give me a fluff!’
‘... You’re tickling me!’ I exclaimed in between uncontrollable giggles.
‘That’s what you get for hiding so well!—That’s what you get!’ she said as she unfairly targeted my long, sensitive feet.
She rolled us both onto the snowy canvas, where we laughed and snuggled into one another.
‘... How come you always find me so easily?’ I asked as I regained my breath. ‘I mean, everything here is white!’
‘Well!’ she smiled mysteriously. ‘That’s just a secret that I’ll have to keep, Little One!’ she said as she brushed a finger upon my little nose.
She casually swept her slender limbs into an angel on the snow, before rising up beside me.
‘Are you ready for work yet?’ she straightened her long raven hair. Not that it ever needed any maintenance, being impossibly perfect as it was.
‘Nuh-uh!’ I nudged into the slender side of her figure.
‘What!’ she laughed, her voice ringing like little silver bells. ‘You still haven’t had enough of playing?’
‘One more round!’ I pleaded, stomping my little feet upon the ground. ‘Give me one more round so I could get back at you!’
She laughed and shook her head at me, but I knew that she would concede.
‘... Just one more round, all right?’ she said as she steadily roused herself.
She towered before me, ten times my height, long elegant dress and black hair sweeping the spotless snow.
‘Count to a hundred and eight!’ she said, and I turned around.
‘One… Two… Three…’
I knew that it was technically cheating, but I always turned around before I even finished counting.
To be amazed to find her already gone.
Without a single trace.
I didn’t cheat anymore than that though, and patiently counted until the end.
‘... One hundred and six… One hundred and seven… One hundred and eight…’
‘Ready or not, here I come!’
The muscles of my legs had collected tension throughout the period while I was counting, and I released it all in one go.
I took off.
I didn’t have wings that I could fly on, but the scenery flittered past me like I was soaring.
My strong legs took me in extended leaps across the winter landscape.
I only needed to lightly dip my feet in the snow, before I was in the air again.
I have said that everything in this world was white, but not everything was snow.
Bushes of herbs and flowers and even trees all blurred through the edge of my vision, as I rapidly passed them by.
My eye was locked onto the fastest course to where I had to go.
So I have to confess… I cheated a little—nothing more than what I’ve already told you—but just turning around before I had finished had given me an overwhelming advantage...
… You see, I was headed toward the Light.
The place where it was brighter than all the others…
… Even in this pristine world of white.
As I exited a grove of bamboo, I spotted a black, crooked mass of wooden bodies melding on top of a white hill.
It was a banyan tree.
… And amid its spare, still maturing foliage, she was sitting among the branches.
… Her wistful, melancholy face turned up toward the great White Above.
I wondered what she was looking at up there.
She had told me once, that the White Above was only a projection of the membrane that had enveloped this dimension, this world.
But as Master and Protector of this realm, she was able to see past it, into the Outside.
And whenever I asked her what was in the Outside…
She would smile, like she was doing now.
Happy—so very fondly happy—and yet a little bit sad.
Such was the expression that she had made.
‘I found you!’ I cried out from the root of the banyan.
She lightly shook herself, and smiled down at me gently.
‘How come you always find me so easily?’ she rang, mirroring my words.
Because you’re always whiter and brighter than everything else, I thought, but kept to myself. Instead, I said:
‘Well, that’s just gonna be my little secret!’
We ambled back together, crunching meandering footprints as we picked the herbs along our way.
‘This is enough’, she said just before the bundle within my little paws had grown too fat for me to carry.
A white palace appeared into our sights then in the distance.
The palace was built of stones that magically shone as though they were condensed blocks of light itself. And yet the amazing thing was, I had never gone blind from staring at it.
‘Let’s go home, Yu’er’, she softly beckoned to me.
Yu’er. That was my name. Affectionate form of Yutu.
The snobbier humans among you may have noticed already, but I am, or rather was...
… The Jewel Rabbit.
And this was my home, the Lunar Palace.
‘... Aren’t you coming along?’
‘I’m coming, Sister!’
Was my beloved Master and Sister, the Lady Goddess of Everconstant Light, or as I liked to call her…
… The Goddess of White.
In the most common human tongue, she was called…