Cling, clang! Cling, clang!
“Bring out your taxes!”
Tax collector Peng rang a bell as he drove a horse drawn wagon into the center of a remote village. From the looks of the dilapidated homes, the downtrodden villagers didn’t have much to give.
Three armor clad guards sat in the back of the wagon, keeping a watch on a bountiful haul. The tax man had been making collections throughout the countryside all day, and though few individuals had much to give, their contributions had added up significantly.
Barrels filled with gold, silver and sparkly gems. Bags of wheat, rice and grain. Candlesticks, trinkets, priceless family heirlooms.
Peng rang the bell again. “Time to pay your taxes!”
An old woman hobbled out of her house and waved her cane at the collector. “Robber! Thief! Villain! You already collected twice last week!”
“The Emperor may collect as early and often as he wishes,” Peng replied. “Shut your mouth and know your place, crone!”
The old gal tossed her last gold coin at the collector. He caught it.
“I hope you choke on it,” the old lady said as she walked back into her house.
The villagers poured out of their homes and formed an orderly line, waiting patiently for Peng to accept their goods.
“Ahh, very nice,” Peng said as a middle aged farmer turned over a bag of wheat.
The collector moved down the line, accepting all manner of riches until he stopped in front of three villagers who were covered head to toe in hooded robes.
“You dare hide your faces in front of your better?” Peng asked.
The hoods dropped. The men opened the robes to reveal they were holding giant wooden clubs.
Bonk…bonk…bonk…bonk! The attackers worked fast, clubbing the daylights out of Peng and his guards, knocking them out and sending them to the ground.
One of the attackers was a young man with long hair pulled back behind his head in a bun and a pencil thin mustache. “You’ve just reaped the Whirlwind,” he said to an unconscious Peng.
The Whirlwind looked to his men. “Return the goods. Don’t forget to take our fee.”