Niu walked…and walked…and walked. Twenty miles later, the big man grew weary. He sat underneath a tree, closed his eyes and started to doze off. Soon, there was a rustling sound coming from the forest.
The fatalist perked up and looked around. He observed tree leaves rustling and bushes shaking on both sides of the road.
“Who’s there?” Niu asked as he stood up and walked to the center of the road. “Show yourself!”
“Attack!” cried the Whirlwind as he brandished his club and charged at Niu. Two of the Whirlwind’s associates rushed into the road from the left side. Two more came from the right side.
Niu was surrounded. Each attacker wielded a heavy wooden club. The big man ducked and dodged with perfect timing, and returned poorly executed club swings with kicks and punches that actually connected.
Two assailants on opposite sides of the street ran toward their target. Niu stepped out of the way and the attackers slammed into each other with great comedic effect.
“Who are you people?” Niu asked.
“What?” the Whirlwind asked. “Surely, you jest.”
“I am not known for my sense of humor,” Niu said as he took out a third attacker with a well placed, heavy handed slap.
“We are the Clan of the Mediocre Yet Effective Club Bonk!” the Whirlwind said. “And I am the Whirlwind! You will bow down before my special brand of kung fu!”
Niu raised an eyebrow. He kicked the fourth attacker in the face, delivering an instant knockout. He then looked at the Whirlwind.
“You call what you are doing here ‘kung fu?’” Niu asked.
“We call it ‘club fu,’” the Whirlwind said.
Niu and the Whirlwind stared each other down as they paced back and forth.
“You can’t just hit someone over the head with a big wooden stick and call it kung fu,” Niu said.
“Why not?” the Whirlwind asked. “Who are you to say what is and is not kung fu?”
Niu sneered at the Whirlwind. “As a matter of fact, I’m…”
“Enough talk!” the Whirlwind shouted as he ran towards Niu.
Niu yawned, then stretched out the palm of his large hand. The Whirlwind ran into the palm face first. The big man’s arm created a distance so vast that the Whirlwind was not able to get anywhere near his target, but that did not stop him from flailing about wildly.
“Prepare to reap me!” the Whirlwind yelled.
“Prepare to…what?” Niu asked. “Did you just tell me to ‘rape you?’”
“What?” the Whirlwind asked as he tried to extricate his head from Niu’s grip to no avail. “No! Reap! You’re going to reap me!”
“Why would I do that?” Niu asked.
“Because I am the Whirlwind!” the Whirlwind said. “Your trespass into my territory will cause you to reap me!”
Niu sighed. “If you have to explain it, it’s not very catchy.”
The Whirlwind flailed…and flailed…and flailed. Eventually, he caught a glimpse of the tiger claw symbol on Niu’s robe. Upon seeing it, he stopped moving altogether.
Sensing his opponent was backing down, Niu released the Whirlwind.
“You are a member of the Clan of the Sacred Yet Inscrutable Tiger Claw?” the Whirlwind asked.
“Yes,” Niu replied.
The Whirlwind threw himself to the ground and kowtowed in Niu’s direction.
“I humbly beg your forgiveness and pledge my club to you,” the Whirlwind said.
Niu rolled his eyes and looked to the sky. “Master, please tell me this is not the kung fu clan you wished me to seek out.”
Poof! The Master materialized out of thin air. “It is.”
The Whirlwind looked at the ghost before him and rubbed his eyes. “Am I really seeing this?”
“These men are useless,” Niu said.
“They are all we have,” the master replied. “And you must train them to retake the Forbidden City after it falls to Dragonhand.”
“An impossible task,” Niu said.
“Impossible for anyone but a scholar with your tremendous sense of patience, my son,” the master said.
Poof! The master disappeared.
“Seriously,” the Whirlwind said. “Was that real?”
“It was,” Niu said.
“Good,” the Whirlwind said. “Between you and I, I’ve been known to partake of the forest’s special mushrooms and I thought I might have overdone it.”