We are walking through a huge lobby, clean and bright, glass windows soaring up to the ceiling. My retainer is a scholar more than a warrior – with a gentle, sad look on his face. I notice a woman is coming up the escalator in a blue silk dress, but her body is covered in red marks – red spots soaking through the silk – as if she’s been shot. We rush to support her but she is teetering back, stepping backwards as if about to faint. We run the wrong way down the escalator – trying to catch hold of her. My retainer almost has her, but suddenly I have a bad feeling, like a kick in the guts – I shout ‘run!’ And we both turn and run in an instant. She is pulling a weapon from behind her back and bullets are spraying everywhere. We are running towards the scattering crowd and I am calling for help. I know that there must be many imperial guards amongst the people who should be drawing their own weapons, springing to my aid, but no one comes to our assistance.
We hurry down to the armoury. It is like a bright department store. No one is there. There is an alcove in the wall with an exotic plant in it. A big red flower suspended, full of nectar – like a cup, and a jewel-like humming bird hovering above it. I dip my hands into the nectar and cover my face with it. I am arming, strapping a weapon to the outside of my thigh and one on my waist on the other side.
I am walking through a long, dirty corridor, like a ramp in a parking area. My retainer walks behind my right shoulder. There are some tall men loitering. They gradually close in around me as I pass – there are about five of them. I have to go with them, through a door. There are about fifteen men there, all seated, and their leader, wearing rough, worn clothes. He is familiar. They are saying it is forbidden to have weapons, that weapons must be empty of bullets. They are reaching for my weapons. I say, ‘If you try to touch them, believe me, I will kill you.’ They fall back. I am telling the story of the woman in the blue dress to their leader. I think he is in danger too, and he must arm himself.