Friday, September 5, 2008
The Legend of Monkey Forest
Chapter One: This kung-fu legend begins like many others before it. With a young man lying on the ground, his face painted with a mask of blood and tears. Truly alone as the crowd of excited spectators rushed around his supine body to congratulate the victor. Thomas willed his reluctant body to give his eyes one last chance to see the face of Yukari, the minister’s daughter. She was looking down. Her normally animated and flexible face, capable of huge smiles, was drawn up and impassive. It was not enough to justify the effort so he lay back down and considered the realities of utter defeat.
He would never be able to beat Kane, the victor. Kane was just too big, too strong, too fast, and too smart. No matter how agile Thomas was, he could not imagine himself being able to defeat such a powerful tiger-style warrior. The tigers would now be considered supreme in the city of Cyrillia. The only option left to him was to leave his home city and search out the Sacred Temple of Monkey Forest. He had read about it in the old scibings of warrior scholars who mentioned a series of great masters in monkey style kung-fu. All of them hailed from a small island in southeast near the end of the island chain labeled as the Tears of Ulu-Watu on the one dusty map of the area he could find. His only hope to beat Kane and win the approval of the minister lay in the possibility of finding a great master of monkey-style kung-fu at the Temple of Monkey Forest. Once he reached this conclusion he felt free enough to release his mind and body from their losing battle and passed out with a sense of purpose.
Finally he found it. It wasn’t easy to get there. . Many years passed till finally he stood at the gates of the great Monkey Forest. Almost all local trade and travel went inland up the river next to the city. The only ocean navigating ships that passed by Cyrillia were the foreign pirates hailing from the near island community. Along the way he heard whisperings of a great master named Hanuman who was himself a monkey who could speak and lived in a great monkey community that extended around the temple.
The forest was was filled with monkeys just going about their everyday business. But with incredible agility as monkeys often do. But which one was Hanuman?
Not this one. Thomas could tell once he met the monkeys eyes that he did not have the iron will of a kung-fu master. Thomas went into the center of a monkey gathering and yelled, "Can anyone tell me where Hanuman is?" None of the monkeys even glanced his way.
The monkeys just went about there day, doing normal monkey things and only talking monkey language. Clinging to his mother's underside, young Arja, the baby monkey, burbled on his delicious mid-day repast and wondered where the belly would take him next.
Even though he couldn't understand them he understood this mother who snapped at him when he stumbled too close. He was pretty sure it translated to "watch where you are going. I will bite you fool."
Completely ignoring his desperate search, the monkeys continued to go about their day as if he wasn't there. He thought he heard this monkey say "so how was your weekend" to the other monkey but when he glanced at them they were chattering away unintelligibly.
Entire families ignored him. The monkeys seemed to think there was some impoliteness about looking him directly in the eyes. Studiously, they looked the other way when he approached or made any call in their direction.
Eventually Thomas got tired of walking and calling about with no progress and thought, "well often you can't get something for nothing." So he came upon the idea to go out and return with some purchased bananas to see if he could trade for information. The monkeys showed interest in the bananas and would take them from him but all the while avoiding his gaze and remaining silent.
One after another
After another took his banana but refused to meet his gaze till Thomas only had banana left. And then...
Hanuman materialized right in front of his eyes. It wasn't so much that he appeared out of nowhere, but rather Thomas realized that he had been looking past him somehow. And Hanuman was already eating the last banana. Thomas recognized him right away, underneath those playful, smiling eyes lay the iron will of a kung-fu master. He also was doubly impolite, not only staring directly at him but also eating with his mouth open. "Hanuman? is that you?" He asked anyways , somewhat stupidly.
"Of course you dolt," he replied "Who else would look at your ugly face. That was the first of many stupid questions to come i am sure but at least try to be somewhat smart or if not then just silent. I have no time for lackwit apprentices and just the fact that you bear the bud of a monkey tail which will be misdiagnosed as a sensitive coccyx by your doctors is not enough to justify taking you on as my disciple.
"The rays of change that are sweeping this planet. A divergence in the stream of fate approaches that is greater than the Nile river delta.I must act now in this tumultuous time to shape the future, or else all that is good will be lost forever. I will give you one chance to prove yourself and no more. Your task is this…”
"Ok, Up there, at the end of one of the uppermost branches of that great mahogany tree, lies a particularly delicious dragon fruit that I have had my eye on for a couple of days now. Your task is to retrieve it for me. But beware, not only is the climb itself difficult but the great tree is guarded by two human warders with fur the same color as their monkey companions. They never leave the tree and take turns sleeping while one guards it. It will take more than a banana to defeat them. Go now and be brave." And thus ends chapter one.
Warder two next to Great Mahogany tree
Ruby dragon fruit
Fire Dragon Magic? Who know. And thus ends Chapter One of the Legend of Monkey Forest. Will Thomas be able to defeat the two warders and retrieve the Ruby Dragon Fruit? Will he get trained in time to stop global warming? Find out more in Chapter Two of the Legend of Monkey Forest.