For The Monkey King everything was known and knowable. Classical reality and quantum reality were one. Past, future, distance, and time were all the same. The separations that befuddle most of us, were but an amusement to him. However, as all-knowing as he may have been, he realized that something was missing in his existence. He had questioned all the great thinkers. Traveling through our concept of time with his entourage, he was on a quest for The Ultimate Answer that had eluded him for eternity. He was unsatisfied.
To hide his true identity, he was clothed in the costume of the period and appeared as a local warlord, prideful, fierce, and mighty. His two great swords hung from gold encrusted scabbards. The swords steel was folded with unobtanium an infinite number of times and was indestructible. Created by the weapon masters of heaven, one was called The Splitter; the other The Destroyer.
The Monkey King passed a young, handsome monk, who stood aside to let the procession of the obvious great lord pass. Monkey King stopped and gazed down at the monk. He noticed his good looks even through the road grime, his rags for clothes, and the two swords the monk carried. "What is your name, monk?" he demanded.
"My name is Jiu Wei-hu. I happen to be traveling along the same road as you majesty. I am on my way to see if I might be allowed to study with the great teacher in the Far Western Mountains." And he pointed to an as yet not observable mountain range.
"Jiu Wei-hu, maybe you would like to join our entourage and enjoy the safety we bring, as one such as yourself, armed but alone, cannot?" The Monkey King liked something about this monk.
Jiu saw the intelligence in this. "This would be a fine thing. I am but a humble and poor monk. Maybe I can serve your lordship in some manner? I was once a great warrior and as you see now have become a monk seeking the way. I have no money or possessions. I carry only to protect myself against bandits."
"You serve me?" Monkey King laughed at the likelihood of anything of the sort. "Not likely, but your company is appealing. I noticed that you carry two well-made swords. If you were such a great warrior, maybe we could spar at a later time." He added, "for sport."
One did not reject the offer or challenge of such a great lord and Jui, one of the greatest swordsmen of the past who had renounced his war-like ways, readily accepted the sporting challenge.
The monk and the Monkey King became close. Jiu explained, "I feel although I achieved much fame, but something in my life is missing."
"I too feel the same," said the Monkey King. He would have liked to admit to this fine monk who he was. He hesitated not knowing why. And that was unusual in and of itself.
The question of the question led to more questions that couldn't be answered. The Monkey King could not sleep, he became restless. And the more he viewed Jiu Wei-hu
the more agitated he became. There was something about this monk he desired and, because Jiu seemed to be the source of his discomfort, he began to despise him.
The Monkey King was pacing in his tent one early evening. The moon was full. The Monkey King decided then and there to challenge Jiu. A great plain where they had made camp was an excellent place for such a game. Only The Monkey King was in no mood for sport.
"Jui Wei-hu," he bellowed out. "It is time to sport."
Jui knew something like this was all but in the cards and he was prepared. In a strong voice, but nothing like the Monkey King's, Jiu replied, "Great sir I have accepted your challenge and will meet you on the field of combat. And though I'm a simple monk and have renounced my former warlike ways, honor is honor."
The Monkey King dismissed all his retainers. This was going to be between him and that most disturbing monk, alone. He was dressed in his full celestial armor.
Jui came to the appointed place and shuddered at the sight of the Monkey King. He recognized who and what he was facing. He wore no armor.
The Destroyer was out of its scabbard.
Proper bows were made and the combat began.
Jiu defended himself well. He decided to taunt the Monkey King "Why great sir, are you playing with me? You who are supposed to know all should be able to strike the first blow and end this sport. We can then continue on our way."
The Monkey King was enraged by the monk's comments. "You dare insult me? I am here like you, a seeker. I give you protection against bandits and you dare to insult me. The rules are changed, to the death sweet monk." And with a sweep of The Destroyer he shattered the monk's weapons.
The monk was on his knees trembling. The Monkey King took The Splitter from the other scabbard, lifted it high where the moon and all celestial heaven's light glistened off the metal which was about to cut the monk in two.
That light reflected in the monk's eyes and looking up he only said, "Ultimate Terror".
The Monkey King looked straight into the monk's eyes. He stopped. He hesitated and then sheathed Splitter.
The monk did not move, staring all the while at the Monkey King and then all he said was, "Ultimate Passion."
The Monkey King shuddered. He achieved complete understanding right then and there. He bowed to the monk and was about to return to his tent when the monk Jui Wei-hu revealed herself as the beautiful nine tailed fox who was above yin and yang and not an itinerant monk. She stood, bowed to him, and disappeared.
By Richard Tornello (2015) Voices Future Tense Table of Contents
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