CHAPTER 25 (REMIX/A JOURNEY MISUNDERSTOOD)
Masternever parts ways with his teacher and best friend — but why?
Masternever stumbled into Meng’s apartment and slammed the door.
“Meng! Meng!” he yelled walking towards his master’s bedroom. He knocked on the door and called for Meng a second time.
Meng had already put on his robe. He heard Masternever as he walked up the stairs in a chaotic pattern.
Masternever prepared to knock again. Meng opened the door.
“Arious, are you okay? What’s going on?” asked Meng.
Although he asked the question, he knew the answer by reading Masternever’s watery eyes and facial expression that bode hopelessness.
Meng felt deep regret. He had passed on a task that his student possibly could no longer endure.
“I’m sorry my friend. Perhaps, I’ve asked you to bear a burden that you cannot carry. Arious, come and have some hot water. We will talk a bit” said Meng.
“Tonight, I fought someone. A skilled master. Someone like me. Just as good, probably better, more powerful” cried Masternever.
Meng was curious, he looked at Arious while he prepared the water. He was puzzled by the statement.
“Like you? In what way?” asked Meng.
“He was better than me! He knew all of my moves! He kept saying that he knew me. That he saw me before or some bullshit — he was introduced to me as Zhou Tong.”
Meng dropped his utensils.
“Zhou Tong. Zhou Tong. That is impossible!” said Meng.
A puzzled Meng walked slowly to his living room.
“Who is he?” ask Masternever.
“Zhou Tong is one of the greatest fighters to have ever lived. A master who was not a part of our legacy, or ancestry of fighting, but nonetheless, a true master. The Neverending Masters fought along side of him in many battles. Zhou Tong was a devoted warrior monk, hundreds of years ago” said Meng.
Meng paced and kept repeating the name.
“There was someone else,” said Masternever. “When I visited Majid, he showed me a mural that he created from a vision. He told me about a sorcerer who stole souls” said Masternever.
Meng stopped pacing. He finally put things together where Arious had not.
“Lin, the Soul Stealer! Now, this makes sense! The person you fought tonight was not Zhou Tong, but a person who is using Zhou’s fighting soul!” explained Meng.
“Who were the men that were with him?” asked Masternever. “He had these three fighters who were not as good as him. They were good fighters, with advanced techniques. One used a drunken monk technique, the next used a weird, but effective defensive style; and the other used a leopard punching style” explained Masternever.
Hearing the description of the three styles, Meng knew who these men were. For he knew well whose fighting spirit these men were using.
“The three men you’ve described sound like Zhou’s famed disciples. Skilled warriors, when fighting together they could defeat entire armies. If the Soul Stealer is using their power to do his bidding…” said Meng who seemed to be lost in thought as he contemplated the Soul Stealer’s strategy.
There was silence in the room. Masternever looked at Meng, waiting and hoping that his aged master of many years would provide an answer as he did many times in the past. For the first time, Meng had no answer.
Meng sat on his sofa, thinking of what his pupil had told him. He knew well of the Soul Stealer and feared for the young master’s life.
“You mentioned that you met with Majid. How was your meeting?” asked Meng.
“He talks in riddles, about visions and prophecies. Things that I don’t understand, things that I can’t understand. He didn’t even help me read the scroll. Why did you bother giving it to me?” asked Masternever.
“To ensure that Majid would see you” explained Meng, but truthfully Meng knew this was not true. He had given the young Masternever the scroll for other reasons — to help him during his journey.
“I don’t understand him or you. He won’t help me read the scroll, but he wants me to contribute to it! That is bullshit!”
Meng’s eyes welled.
“In all of my years of knowing you, you have never spoken like that to me,” said Meng.
“What do you expect? You give all of this responsibility to me and then you don’t tell me how to use it! You just leave me hanging! I never asked for any of this” said Masternever.
Masternever turned away and started to walk alway from Meng. With his back turned he said “I’ll be honest with you. I’m not sure I want to deal with this anymore” said Masternever.
“It is true, you are the youngest, appointed master. Most were appointed in adulthood” said Meng. “But that is what makes you so special! A young master like yourself, you can have such a tremendous impact by sharing your abilities. For this reason my friend, I thought that you would take hold of this gift and treasure it” said Meng.
Meng stood in front of Masternever and placed his arms on Masternever’s shoulders.
“I can’t do this alone,” said Masternever.
“You are facing some difficulty, but you are not alone in your quest. You will never be alone! Remember Majid. He will help you reach your potential, and help you to fully understand your power” said Meng. “You will never be alone! I will be with you in your battles, guiding you my friend! We’ve come along way together. I must ask you to trust me and allow Majid to help you.”
Masternever felt insulted — this was not the answer he wanted.
“So that’s it? Thanks for nothing!” said Masternever, as he turned away from Meng and walked out the towards the door.
“Arious! Arious!” called Meng.
Masternever looked at Meng once more before closing the door. The two of them did not know that this would be their final meeting on this earth. If they did, things they would have parted each other with edifying words.