Old Monk

Old Monk

A Chapter by Feng Zi


It has been one week.
One week since Jun Tian had regained his eyesight. And it was on the seventh day that Jun Tian had finished compiling the command function for his hearing.
He could have had taken his time to finish coding his hearing. Yet … something within had spurred him on … something within him hastened his pace of scripting … Somewhere … somehow … Jun Tian had the burning urge to hear … to take in the words, the voice of the monk.
The monk.
In the past week, the monk was the only human whom Jun Tian saw. No one else had visited the monastery. Perhaps all had forgotten that even the monastery existed. Jun Tian had lived in the city for seventeen years and never once had he heard of the monastery.
 Every morning, after feeding Jun Tian with weak porridge, the monk would leave the monastery with his chipped white porcelain bowl. And he would never return until afternoon, when he would punctually show up by Jun Tian’s sides.
He would kneel by Jun Tian, to dab at his lips with a piece of wet rag, before parting them to once again stuff the grey rice into his mouth. Regardless of how nauseating the stench Jun Tian thought the rice would have had, deep within his heart, he was thankful for whatever the monk did for him.
After noon, the monk would leave the monastery once more with his bowl to beg for alms.
Again, he would not return till evening, when he would show up with the rice. Once every few days, there would be pieces of vegetable, or if fortunate, small bits of meat, which the monk would feed Jun Tian, and never leave any for himself.
Whatever the monk ate was merely the harder, greyer portions of rice which Jun Tian noticed, had definitely turned bad.
It was nightfall when Jun Tian added the finishing touches to his hearing. In fact, Jun Tian was very much sure that when his hearing was restored, it would at least be twice as powerful as the average man’s.
He was propped up against the pillar as usual, and he was made to face the Buddha statue, where the old monk was sitting on a piece of rug – its colour long faded away.
In the hands of the old monk, was a set of wooden fish, and the old monk was hitting away at it, performing his usual ritual chanting which he would abide by every night.
And it was the hitting of the wooden fish … the hollow deep basal sounds that Jun Tian heard when he recovered his hearing.
The peaceful, lifting, but directional and focused chants of the mantra of which the old monk was reciting struck deep and hard into Jun Tian’s heart. And for a long time, Jun Tian was seemingly thrown into a whirl of his own racing memories –
For seventeen years, he had lived out a lazy life … enjoying many things he had always taken for granted … his parents … his family … his sister … his friends … it had never come into his mind … it had never struck onto him …
That is, the question of what if … what if one day he had lost it all?
This question … it seemed implausible. How – how could Jun Tian … his life so fulfilling and comfortable … his parents earning a substantial income each month … his studies doing so well that he was ensured of a university entry …
How could he have lost it all?
It was another month before Jun Tian had restored and perfected all five of his senses. Yet, this was merely a chip off the iceberg. Sure enough, he could see, hear, feel, smell and taste, but what could be achieved from these if he could still not move a single finger or twitch a slight portion of his eyebrow?
He was, nevertheless, after the huge amounts of work he had poured into the Core, still as helpless as a baby.
But Jun Tian was confident. Extremely confident that he could one day walk, laugh, talk and eat normally once more – only that his life would no longer be the same.
For one – he must hunt down the assassin and seize revenge.
He had no idea how he was to accomplish that, but he know that he must – or die attempting to.
Some time into the future, Jun Tian would look back … and ask himself – who was this monk to him?
And somewhere … some part … deep within him … a voice … however tiny it was … however shrouded and overshadowed by the ‘evil’ desires within the monster that Jun Tian would grow to become …
He would say … that the monk was everything to him. That the monk had given everything back to him … had recovered everything that he had lost. The monk … he was seemingly the only kin that Jun Tian had left.
“Who am I to you?” Jun Tian asked the monk. It was a full two months later, when Jun Tian had alas assembled the basic motor functions, which he issued to the respective muscles. In other words, he was at last, capable of mobility.
He listed this first draft of programming as – SoulScript V1.0.
And of course, when the monk learnt that Jun Tian had finally retreated out of his vegetative state, he was so agitated that he cried – the monk cried.
The entire of the next day was spent with the monk kneeling before the altar, kowtowing to the deities for blessing Jun Tian with great health.
“Who am I to you? Why did you save me?” Jun Tian repeated his question. It was almost midnight, and the monk had just ended his recital of the mantra. He was placing the set of wooden fish back onto the altar when Jun Tian approached him.
“Jun Tian.” The monk started as he sat back down onto one end of the rug. On the other end, sat Jun Tian.
“When I first met you, the nurses were lifting you off from a stretcher and onto the alleys to the right of the hospital. I asked myself – what were they doing to you? And this, I asked them.”
“And their answer?”
“You had no money, Jun Tian. Your relatives declined to foot the bills … twice, I have visited the hospital to ask for the contacts of your relatives so I could leave you in their presence – so that when you awake and stir, you will at least bathe in the warmth of those you know.”
“But they left.” Jun Tian sighed.
“Yes, Jun Tian. If I could lie, I would have had, but no, we should not lie, for such an act brings dishonor and bad karma to oneself and others. Your aunt, as far as I know, was the only relative the hospital could reach, but she left this city for another soon after receiving news of what had happened to your family.”
Jun Tian shook his head as he looked up to the night sky through the holes in the roof. “My aunt … she was always one to treasure wealth … to mark gold over blood.”
“Indulgences in materialistic desires should be abstained from, Jun Tian. Only by doing so, can we relieve ourselves from Samsara.”
“I know, wise one.” Jun Tian nodded.
Even till now, he did not know the name of the monk. When he would recall this short period of his life living with the monk, he would eventually realize that it was not that the monk did not disclose his name.
It was that Jun Tian never once asked for the monk’s name.
Although his mobility was restored, Jun Tian was still unable to walk for long distances, nor perform complicated or demanding tasks, lest he collapse and be rendered vegetative once more for hours.
There was a flaw, an error somewhere in SoulScript V1.0. One which Jun Tian had taken pains to search for, yet was unable to identify.
Yet Jun Tian’s spirits were not dampened. He was, on the contrary, extremely confident that he would one day accomplish what others will never attain. After all, he had paved a path no one before him had ever set foot on.
Jun Tian was now strolling slowly about the monastery, taking small steps one foot at a time. He had to be careful, lest he lose balance and trip.
Perhaps, it was due to him being vegetative for almost a year that his muscles were tight, tense, and stiff. Even the simple movement of his limbs would strike unspeakable aches throughout him and his slow walk was akin to that of a marionette … perhaps even hilarious to look at.
Nevertheless, Jun Tian was not a bit deterred and he persevered and pressed on. The route ahead to revenge, he told himself, was to be much more bitter than this. A severe headache of this issue, was that he had no idea who the assassin was.
Apart from the silver mask that Jun Tian had caught a glimpse of on that night  … he had no other clue.

© 2008 Feng Zi

Author's Note

Feng Zi
I don't really have a habit of editing the chapters. Ask me why, and I say, the feel is no longer there. If I were to go back and edit the content of what I had wrote, the meaning, the emotions I had felt when I wrote it would be different.

Anyway, this is a chinese-fantasy-styled writing, so if you find it weird, this is the reason.

My Review

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still great job i like the names you chose

Posted 14 Years Ago

The only time to edit is really once the book is done. edits are for second drafts. Unfortunately, if were to submit, edits and changes would be made as editors will always want something changed or edited. This is nice work and I am enjoying the storyline. It does have an Anime feel to it and I love Anime.

Posted 14 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on August 28, 2008


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