Monday, October 02, 2006

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Return of the Flying Panda

“What now?”

“Indeed. What now?”

* * *

The younger one shook his head in a mixture of wonder and wistfulness. “I assumed that once it was over, once I had my revenge, I would get back to my ‘normal life’.” He looked up at the older one and smiled ruefully, amused by his own naiveté.

The older one waited, wanting the younger one to put it into words.

“I didn’t realize that vengeance had become my life. I don’t know what to do with myself now.”

The older one said nothing.

There was a slightly accusatory note in the younger one’s voice. “You knew this would happen, didn’t you? Why didn’t you warn me?”

He waited for a response; none was forthcoming.

“Oh. I see. Of course.” He inclined his head in acknowledgement of the older one’s foresight. “It had to become my life. I had no option but to make it so, were I to be successful.”

The older one smiled. “Yes, but what now?”

* * *

As is the annoying (and to me, inexplicable) habit of all these martial art exponent dudes, our panda awakened as the first rays of the new day made their way into the glade. He walked into the center of the glade, and let himself soak in the gentle warmth of the afore-mentioned rays. He took deep breaths all around and let the freshness that was the new day permeate his consciousness. He was now fully awake, though how that is possible without the benefit of filter coffee I shall never understand.

He let his gaze sweep across the surroundings and realized that it wouldn’t be easy to leave them. It had become too much a part of his identity, too much a part of who he had become. He sighed, and shook his head. It didn’t solve anything. He still had no idea as to what to do with himself.

* * *


The older one looked faintly amused. “Your roots, young Pneo, your roots. Never forget where you come from. ‘Tis not common blood that your veins carry.”

Pneo looked at the older one, stricken. “But an arranged marriage? In this day and age of speed dating?”

“Why not? Old is gold.”


* * *

The older one walked the worn path to his resting place. He paused for a moment and looked up at that scene of vast, magnificent splendor- the star-studded night sky. He smiled to himself. His time had come. Muscle, sinew and soul would come together for one last battle.

* * *

Pneo looked down at his master, and it broke his heart to do so. He told himself that this was the only way, that he had had no choice, but the words sounded hollow. All that remained was remorse: utter, biting remorse and the terrible loneliness of one who has dared to change the world around him. He looked away. I do believe he could’ve done with some filter coffee.

The older one waited patiently for his protégé to find the courage to look at him again. And at length, as he knew was inevitable, the younger one came out of his reverie, took a deep breath and turned to face his mentor, in readiness to have his soul torn apart.

Serenity suffused his master’s time-ravaged visage. He felt his protégé’s gaze upon him and opened his wearied eyes. He took in his surroundings, his home for the past half-century, and was filled with sadness that the dew on the grass should never moisten his feet again. Yet it was not a sadness born of fretful longing, but of quiet acceptance. His gaze now focused on Pneo.

“Look at me, young one, for in me, in my fallen figure, you shall find the key to your destiny. This was meant to be, it had to happen, it was inevitable. Understand that. Empty, you think my words are? You are wrong; I have never been surer of them. You, young Pneo, are one of those blessed ones, one of those chosen by Nature herself, by her gift of exceptional ability, to be one of her agents of change. I am but a mere catalyst; you are the instrument. Should you continue on this path, and should you choose not to run away from yourself, ‘twill be a blessed life that you shall lead. Terrible shall be your loneliness, and the ones who understand you may be the ones you shall have to destroy. Mark my words, young one, and do not think me mad, for this is indeed a blessing. For none lesser than the Gods themselves shall share your loneliness and your pain; for you shall have the satisfaction of doing what you want, of getting what you want; for, most of all, you shall be one of the fortunate few exempt from the curse of utter futility.”

"Yes, but will I be happy?"

Author’s note: ‘Tis very corny blood that my veins carry. ;)