"I don't want to be alone, I want to be left alone."
Kung Fu Panda
The Long Night
Chapter II: A Hut
"Are you Tai Lung?"
Not again….and I have thought already, that I could relax with the small bowl full with rice in my hand. I take another bite of it and look around to the person, while raising my hat with one finger. This guy is not a surprise. A young feline, who looks like someone, who thinks that he knows how to fight, but has never fought in his whole life. To his right is a grey canine and to his left a brown snake. I don't care to which species they belong.
"Yes, who is asking?" I ask them. It's no use denying it. I did it once and they fought still against me. For months I am trying already to help the people, while traveling around China, but everywhere they recognize me as the most feared Kung Fu Warrior, who had ever lived. Not that I dislike this title, but it makes things much more difficult. Even when I help the people, after some time they talk about me with persons, who are hunting me. Either of duty, money or simply glory. One even for justice, although I still don't know, what I have done to him.
"I am Zhong Hou…" he points out to the canine, "…this is Zhi…", and now at the Snake, "…and this Wen Ruo."
That needs to be a mistake: Naïve, Young and Weak. Exactly the attributes I give to the guys, who want to fight against me. Their parents had a good sense of humor naming them in this way.
"And let me guess: You are here, because you want to challenge me to a duel or fight against me with the help of your friends here to punish me for something or someone or something like that. Am I right?"
He looks surprised. "No not at all, Master Tai Lung. We want to become your disciples."
Ah, yes this reason I have forgotten almost. There are no many people, who want to become disciples of an infamous criminal. But my answer is always the same.
"No, I don't take disciples." I reply chewing the remaining rice in the bowl. Soon I will not have the time to eat it.
He looks at me shocked. "But…but…why?" he mutters, but I ignore him and call for the bill.
I sense that the whirls of these guys have changed. Anger. They will attack soon. And there I sense something in his hand. He throws it, but I capture it with my chopsticks. It is a knife shaped like a diamond.
"So you changed your mind, what?" I ask the question, which no one needs to answer. I still regret that the fight needs to take place in this tavern.
"Attack him!" this Naïve Guy yells and they charge me. First is the snake. He attacks me with his tail and is rather fast. He remembers me of Viper, but is far away from her skill level. I dodge the attacks easily, as well like the throwing knifes of the feline, which I dodge or repel with ease. Then the Weak Guy, the snake, attacks with his fangs, but I redirect his head directly into the empty bowl, where he hits hard and faints. As the next is the Young Guy, who had drawn a war hammer. He hammers it down on me, but I relocate my weight on one side of the stool, so it lifts up and away from the target of the hammer. The Young Guy smashes the wooden ground, before he tries again to hit me. With my chopsticks I grab his nose, lift him up in the air and throw him at his feline friend. Both of them smash against the next wall.
I relocate my weight once again to normal and stand up. I look around. Not much was damaged at least, but the other customers look at me with a frightened face. I sigh.
I go to the feline, who is still lying below his fainted friend. He is still conscious. "An advice for the next time: Your Snake friend is too slow, your canine friend too weak and you should take a more active role in fighting than your friends."
He sighs and then faints as well. I go to the host and take out the remaining money I still have. "This is for the food. Sorry, but I can't pay for the damages."
"Don't worry." the smiling rabbit host replies, "When my nephew had brought the City Guard, I will force these guys to pay for it."
I smirk. "That is good."
"Only to be sure: You are really Tai Lung?"
I sigh. "Yes, I am."
"You look not so evil how you are described. There are very horrible stories about your atrocities, which the people tell themselves."
"They are true, but since then…I changed."
"I see. You have much trouble with people, like these three."
"Yes. Even when I try to help the people, they can't forget my atrocities. And cause of such guys, I don't even have time to relax for a while."
"I see….maybe I can help you."
"There is a village few days away from here. It is located right in the middle of the Aomi Plateau northwestern of here. The people there are so isolated from the outside world, that I bet that they have not heard about you or the Dragon Warrior. Or even Oogway."
"Can this really be? I have already thought about leaving China, but when this is really true, it makes the things much easier."
"Yes, but you should look out. These Plateau is wide and full of hidden holes."
"I will keep this in mind. Thanks a lot for this. You rendered me a great favor right now."
"Not as big as you. I will let these three pay more than the repairs cost. Much more." he says while giving me the bag, I have ordered earlier. It is full with rice.
I smirk and go back to my seat. I take the staff, which I am using to look like a blind man and leave the tavern. Outside I hide my eyes with my hat to support this illusion. Not that I would need my eyes so desperately. I have still my See without Seeing.
I take the route to northwest, when I feel something wet on my foot. I look down and see snowflakes, which are landing there like everywhere on this ground. I look up. It is really snowing. At this time of the year….Odd.
I continue my walk and need much time to do this. The snowing becomes more intense and I begin to doubt, if I will not need to hide somewhere…..No, I go further.
Finally I reach the location I wanted to find. I have heard stories, that the Plateau had no real entrance. To reach it you have to climb on the walls which lead finally to the Plateau. In front of one of these I am standing right now. The snowing makes it hard to see, but I still can detect some cracks, where I could climb on. I can also see the peak of this mountain. Not very high, but the Plateau is famous for its wide and not its height.
So strong snowing, few cracks at a straight and greasy wall, I want to climb on….I grin. Finally something which comes closer to be a challenge.
I drop the bag and look upwards. I can detect an edge at the mountain big enough. I throw the staff upwards with as much strength I have it reaches the edge. The same I do with the bag, before I make some warm-ups. The grey cloak I am wearing is not there for warming against winter climate.
I focus on one of the cracks…..and then I fall on my four paws and jump as high as needed. I reach the crack and grab it with one of my paws, while the other holds the hat in place. I use this position to jump to the next crack and so on. Slowly, but steady I come higher and higher and…..WOOOH!
…The stone, which I grabbed slid down and I with it almost.
So: strong snowing, sliding down stones, which I need to stay in place and few cracks at a straight and greasy wall, I want to climb on….Better it can't become. Only a beaten up Po would be better.
I reach the edge and look up again. The snowing begins to subside slowly and my vision gets better. I detect another edge and do the same thing like last time. After the next edge I repeat myself till I reach the peak, while the snowing has ended completely already. Lucky timing I must admit. The Sun is setting right in this moment at the western horizon of the Plateau. A wonderful view, which is supported by the snow lying on the ground and reflecting the shining sun.
When the sun leaves the horizon, my night vision starts. I look around and detect my staff and bag further in the front of me. Have become stronger once again.
Before I take a step to it, I check my See without Seeing. It is new to me to use it on snow and it feels rather odd. Still I can detect the big hole right between me and my stuff. The hole is hidden, because of the snow. So in a way this early snow is a blessing and a curse in one. I walk round the hole and take my stuff. With this I continue my journey.
The next two days are rather unspectacular. I have enough food, so I don't starve, but my water is coming to an end. Neither above nor below the snow is wood to burn it. I am freezing already and when I have drunk my last drop of water, I will die of thirst. I need to find this village or at least a clue to it…..seems that simply walking around don't do the trick this time. I drop my bag in the snow and begin to touch the snow with one of my paws.
This is a further developed technique of See without Seeing. I use it normally to sense closer enemies, but in this special variation I extend the range of this. Normally it is rather difficult to maintain in a range further than 2 miles, because I look in every direction the air is found. But with the limitation of the snow, it can become easier. I focus. 1 mile….nothing…
2 mile…still nothing…
5 miles…still nothing and I feel the start of a headache….still a little further….
Hmm….that is odd. In a range of 6 miles I can't sense anything in a specific location. Like something have stopped the snow from falling there….worth to examine it.
I take my bag and continue in this direction.
At Sunset I reach it: A hut. A solid one built out of wood. Not the youngest wood anymore, but still a proof of good craftsmanship.
I pass the house and look, what I have already detected with my See without Seeing….a Valley.
It is hidden below the snow as well like the village, which is found there. Seems that I have found it. There are fields for rice, which are frozen cause of the cold and even a small lake right outside of the village….also frozen…..abruptly I realize that I am still freezing.
I turn around to the hut and begin to knock on the door. "Hello?!" I yell to the interior. No answer.
"Hello?!" I ask again, but a little louder than the last time. Still no answer.
I touch the wood with of my paws and begin to focus on the remaining water in this old trees….the hut is empty.
I open the door, which was not locked and enter it. Still not much warmer than outside, but I see a fireplace and prepared wood right beside it. I take some of it and put it inside the stony fireplace. I ignite it and immediately it starts to get warmer. Now I have time to look around and realize that everywhere is dust. It needs to be some time since the last time that someone had lived here with the hut's wooden furniture. At least he was prepared, if he or she would have come back. I can't complain.
Still the style of architecture is different from the ones, I am accustomed in China. Seems odd…but who cares, when you have the choice between an odd warm hut and the death through freezing. My choice is not hard to choose.
I find a window and open it. The cold air comes back once again, but I still want to see the setting sun. The Village looks so peaceful…finally a place, where I can relax for a while….
The second chapter and finally a character of KFP. Hope you like to see Tai Lung back once again. :)
"Kung Fu Panda" (c) DreamWorks Animation
I own nothing except16 for the written word.
Characters you don't know are from me. The Idea is also from me.