CHAPTER 9 (REMIX / THE STYLE MASTER)
Masternever opened the door, he was momentarily blinded by the brightness. It took a few seconds for his eyes to adjust to the light in the room. He turned off his flashlight, and when he looked at the door it had already shut behind him.
He stood in a small room illuminated by torches. The flames illuminated the brilliant colorful graffiti pieces on the walls and ceiling. At the rear of the room, he saw a staircase with torches that descended below.
He walked to the balcony and looked below. There was a squared, spiral staircase, that extended several floors, which appeared to be well lit by torches.
He descended the staircase in awe. He thought about the form and the delicate precision of each graffiti piece. He saw the same writing from the scroll. As he descended, he came across brilliantly painted portraits of various people and then it hit him — each portrait was a Neverending Master!
He continued until he reached the final set of stairs and a small room at the bottom of the staircase. There was a portrait of Meng, dressed in his straw hat and black cape, performing “The Fist of the Wind” technique. Adjacent to that portrait, he saw another…
Masternever saw himself, as he walked in the subway tunnel with a flashlight only minutes ago.
“How could this be?” he thought to himself.
Masternever was distracted by flickering lights which came from the room to his right. He removed his earplugs and turned off his iPod.
He continued into a larger chamber, lit by torches. The room was clean and spacious. He entered, and there, he examined some of the best graffiti work he had ever seen. He had a hard time understanding the brilliance of the work before him. Some so majestic, they seemed to be moving.
He was relieved of his trance when he backed into a mini pyramid of spray paint cans. He was startled until he noticed similar pyramids throughout the chamber.
“This guy is nuts yo…” said Masternever.
“Who are you to judge me?”
He heard my voice, but he did not see me.
He looked around the room for a face, the source of my voice. I remained hidden, observing him.
“Majid, is that you?”
Masternever cautiously walked to a section of the room that resembled a study. He concentrated on a wooden desk with several cans of spray paint, fountain pens, markers, and scrolls. On top of the desk, there was a small statue of my master, Guan Yu. Next to the desk, also a wooden chair that I painted long ago. Next to the desk, there are a number of scrolls on a wooden shelf.
He placed his iPod and flashlight on the desk in order to examine one of the scrolls.
“How dare you come into this place!
Masternever turned around and we made eye contact for the first time. I stood before him with a hood, in order to protect my identity. Before he can say anything I attacked.
Masternever blocked each strike. He has the legendary strength of each master before him.
“This can’t be Majid?” he thinks to himself.
I stand before him, he is unimpressed with my appearance.
“What right have you to touch that document? What right have you to come into this place?”
Before I can test him again, he spoke.
“Please, wait, I need your help. I was told to seek you out. You’re Majid, aren’t you? You’re the style master.”
He stood before me, not afraid, but curious.
I test him again.
He blocked, with a sense of frustration and said: “Majid, I have been sent here by Meng.”
He revealed the Scroll of the Masters from his bag. I am overcome with joy. He has taken the step that other masters have taken in the past. For centuries, Neverending Masters have stood before me, displaying the scroll, seeking to add their name to the legend of the future.
I asked myself “Will he add his name to the legacy?” I can see much, but not all. Only a Neverending Master can write his destiny.
“Meng said you would help me with this.”
He then held The Scroll of the Masters in front of him. I removed my hood and he observes and slightly admired my long white locks. He observes the youthfulness of my ancient face.
He spends time studying my Chinese features. I’m shorter than he expected. He then studies the white hair that protrudes from my ears and my thick white eyebrows. His observations lead him to my arms, which have been covered with layers of spray paint. Layers that have never removed after years of writing.
I walk towards him and place my arms on his shoulders.
“I have been waiting some time for you. I knew you would come soon. My visions were getting stronger and clearer.”
I take the scroll from his hand and walk towards my desk. It has been years since I gave the scroll to Meng.
“What visions are you talking about?” asked Masternever.
“Do you know why Meng has sent you to me?” I asked.
As I turned towards him, a light from the chamber torch illuminated my face.
“Since the inception of the Neverending Masters, I have served as its chronicler. I’ve recorded all of the works, and the trials of each master. I work with each master, guiding and providing a style. The Neverending Masters have always battled evil, protected the weak, and provided for their fellow man. Protectors and guardians!”
I returned my attention to the scroll. I am filled with excitement when I think about each of the masters that I have helped along during the years.
Masternever can see my expression and pride as I talk about the scroll.
“Each master has contributed to the legacy with their own style.”
“I thought you provided the masters with their style. Meng told me that you were the Style Master” he inquired.
“I am he. The one who gives the styles to the Neverending Masters. Used only by Neverending Masters.”
“So what style are you going to give me?”
I focused my attention towards the scroll. I thought briefly about giving past masters their styles.
“I do not know yet. I can only give you a style based on what I know of you. My visions are still unclear and still very clouded.”
The visions that I had about his style were unlike any other. I could not tell him what I myself still did not know or fully understand.
“Well, when will you know?” he asked desperately.
“It is too early to say. I need more time. We’ve just met!”
“How long does it normally take?”
“It depends on what I know about the master, and what the master contributes.”
Like others who came before him, he assumed that a style would be given to him, without any effort. Obtaining a style is a part of their journey.
“Arious, what do you intend on contributing to the legacy of the Neverending Masters?” I asked.
He was surprised that I knew his name. A name that had reached me through a vision.
I was amused at his facial expression, so to humor myself, I decided to repeat the name that he had given himself. The name that would restore the great city to its former glory.
“Or should I say — Masternever!”
He begins to doubt himself. “I really haven’t given it much thought. I thought that was the reason I was coming to you, I thought you would give me my style.”
I then close my eyes, while I stand before him. I have visions of past masters.
“All of the former masters received unique styles. My visions of your style, it is cloudy. It is still hard for me to see.”
Frustrated, tired and confused his response is that of the Neverending Masters who preceded him: “This doesn’t make any sense!”
“You are only beginning to understand the importance of your power. In time you will come to understand more. Aside from Meng’s style, what others have you learned?”
“I’ve tried a few, but I haven’t mastered any but “The Fist of the Wind.”
It became quite clear that although he had the necessary tools, he still needed to be mature in the knowledge of the scroll.
“Then you’re not taking full advantage of the gift. Guan Yu created the legacy so that each master would learn from the next. In your mental training, do you not see other masters?”
“Yes, but often I have a hard time repeating what I see” he explained.
We walked to a far corner in the chamber and stood before a large portrait, a scene that came to me in a vision. In the picture, there are four men who engaged Masternever in battle. Based on what he can see they are Chinese and one man wore a white suit. He had large thick eyebrows, a long white beard, mustache and frazzled head of hair. The man’s facial expression and smile had a sinister quality to them.
I studied his face briefly. He was concerned. Masternever realized that the piece is one of my visions. He knows that he will meet these men in battle soon.
“Who — who is he?”
“I do not know his name. I have seen visions of his evil, he is a powerful fighter. He will cause pain to you and those that you love” I replied, regretting that I had to provide him with this information.
We walked to another portrait.
I looked at him and sensed that he was overcome with dread. The portrait showed a man standing in a dark and gloomy location. The man had green teeth and a long queue. His eyes are bloodshot red, and blood dripped from his foul mouth.
He held a piece of flesh in his hand as though it were valuable. At his feet, a number of dismembered bodies lie in a pool of blood.
“Who is he?” asked Masternever.
I was overcome with guilt. I felt that the young man could not possibly understand the evil being presented before him.
“That is an evil sorcerer named Lin Shantou. He is a wizard who steals souls.”
Masternever realized that this is the one who he has heard of — the Soul Stealer!
Hoping that he could avoid dealings with him, Masternever asked: “What does he have to do with me?”
“He uses his evil magic to capture the souls of men. He also can manipulate the souls of the dead. He is the one who lives in harmony with Yan Lou. His goal is to capture a particular soul.”
I concentrated my eyes on the young master. He was silent as he searched in my eyes for an answer he already knew. The Soul Stealer was after him. He stepped backwards almost in retreat.
“I became aware of his evil presence many years ago, while in my homeland. I have seen his evil presence in my visions. He has been stealing souls again. In time, very soon, he will attempt to steal your soul. He has traveled a great distance to find you here.”
“What will happen to me?” asked Masternever.
Unfortunately, I could not interpret the vision. I could not determine the outcome.
“It is written in the heavens.”
“There is much I can’t see at this time” I replied.
Masternever was overwhelmed and concerned, but he then remembered his reason for venturing to the lair. He thought that the scroll would provide the answers to defeat his foes.
“And the scroll? Will you help me read it? I don’t understand these crazy graffiti characters.”
I walk towards the desk where the scroll was. I was truly amused by his reference to my style of writing.
“The scroll is written in the heavens. What you see there or what you refer to as graffiti is an ancient form of writing, created before I walked the earth. It has no maker, for it has always existed. Forgotten Hand is the style of the Neverending Masters. When Meng and I arrived here many years ago, we were disconnected. He left for this land years before I did. I traveled here and did not know how to find him. I used the Forgotten Hand to communicate with him through the trains. My message was hidden along with the rest of the great prophets of the city. I knew that he would recognize the style. I knew that he would receive my messages and eventually find me, just as you have. In time, Masternever, you will learn this style.”
“In time? How am I supposed to learn from the scroll if I can’t read it?” he asked.
I was suddenly overcome with a vision, it was muddled and blurry, I needed time to write, only then would I be able to help him.
“Remember the scroll is written in the heavens. There is much I cannot see. Not at this time. When you return, I will be able to provide you with more, yes much more. I have much work to do now!”
“How will I find these people?”
“When you return, perhaps my vision will be complete.”
“When should I return?”
I was overcome by the vision. I took two cans of paint and headed towards an open area in the chamber. I needed time to work on the vision. I started painting, the vision came to me and my hands responded, painting on the wall.
“Later, I need more time to complete my vision. More time to work.”
Masternever then headed towards the desk and placed the Scroll of the Masters and his flashlight in his bag. He made his way toward the lair entrance and left, with a great deal of hopelessness.
I was briefly removed from my vision when he exited. I noticed an article left on my desk. He had inadvertently provided me an item that had been seen in my vision, but could not be interpreted by myself. I walked to the desk and picked up his iPod.
I pressed the circular button and suddenly a light came on. It is similar to the light that is suddenly within myself.
I am overwhelmed with joy at finding the missing element to the vision. I pressed the button again, and am overwhelmed with joy. I realized then, that the vision was true.