Chung Po Wei

From the Story Arc: Radoslav: The Chronicles of Agn Stratonik

Previous Story in the Arc: The Beginning by Agn Stratonik (Tuesday, November 30, 2004)

Next Story in the Arc: Paragon City by Agn Stratonik (Monday, December 27, 2004)

(posted Tuesday, December 07, 2004)

Three long, damn months went by as I searched for the man named Chung Po Wei. I had traveled to China where I sought out information about this man. I gathered provisions, stocking my backpacks with a six month’s supply of food, hygenical items, and clothing. I wasn’t sure how long it would take me, but I was prepared to travel the end of the world to find this man. The plains were flat and cold, especially at night. I was scolded and laughed at as I came into villages asking for the great Chung Po Wei. Villagers were convinced that a person of 13 yrs old was not capable of such a task and would surely die.

Be that as it may, I wasn’t going to give up. I continued on and after three months, I came to a large temple out in the middle of nowhere. No birds were around, but there was a small oasis nearby, it’s water glistening and sparkling in the hot sun. I walked up to the temple where I met steps leading high into the entrance of the temple. The steps were cracked and corroded from being weather-worn. Holding on to the straps of my backpack, I began ascending. I felt the steps crumbling beneath my feet. When I had finally gotten to the entrance I counted 78 steps. “Maybe he wants to scare people away with the thought of passing out on those steps,” I thought to myself with a chuckle.

The rock and cement surrounding the temple resembled that of the steps. “How long has this been here?” “Long enough,” a voice replied inside my head. It was not my own. Was it Wei?? “Proceed into the temple, my son. Tell me why you are here.” I proceeded into the entrance, barely noticing the doors opening on their own and closing behind me after I entered. The room I now entered was dark, with light shining in through the opened windows. It had a medieval look, like an old castle dungeon. Pillars stood in a row and as I looked up to the dark ceiling, I could tell that they held up the temple. I kept walking until a purple light shined in the middle of the room. It began as a twinkle then it grew. By the time it stopped growing, it showed the form of a man encased in purple light.

Before I knew it, the man was right in front of me before I could even blink. His arms were crossed and his head hung low. I looked to his feet and saw that he was floating in the air! I began to back away slowly, but he lifted up his head and said, “You have traveled far and long in search of me, and now you run away?” Between what my father had taught me, the villagers I encountered and a small book I brought along and read each night before I went to sleep, I was able to become somewhat proficient at speaking Chinese/Cantonese, so I was able to at least understand.

I stood back in the position I was when he first approached me and stared into his eyes. “You wish to train under me, yes?” “Yes, Grandmaster Wei.” “Good. It has been a long time since I’ve had a student. You realize of course you will be tested and trained vigorously, correct?” “Yes, I do.” He smiled and then the purple light faded from around him. He levitated down to the floor. He stared up at me and said, “You are tall. I’d be better off floating in the air when standing next to you.” I cracked a smile. He then extended out both arms and with a flick of his wrist, torches lit up, at least 6 on each wall on either sides of the room. “The first test is for you to build a bed for yourself.” “With what, Master?” He then pointed to a corner of the room where 2 x 4’s lay alongside a tool chest. “Come and find me outside when you are done,” he said as he walked off toward the entrance.”

I placed my belongings on the ground, went to the corner and began constructing a bed. After about an hour, I was done. I decided to just build a basic frame and use my sleeping bag I had toted around for three months as my “sheets.” I placed it in a corner and placed what wood was left and the tools back in their respective place, then headed outside to look for Wei. I glanced around and spotted him levitating near the oasis. He was in the middle of the pond floating with his legs crossed Indian-style and his hands together as if he were praying with his eyes closed. Grandmaster Wei had a very peaceful disposition. He had long, flowing white hair and a fu man chu mustache and beard. His eye color was black, like an opal rock. He was not very tall, but his upright posture and his disposition showed that he was a giant nonetheless. He wore white garments, resembling that of a ninja’s, but without the mask. The white of his hair and garments showed brightly in the sun, almost blinding me. His powers were truly that of mystic and magic.

I approached the edge of the pond and stared into the water. It was very clear, and blue, allowing me to see the fish swimming at the pond’s bottom. Wei opened his eyes and came to a standing position. I was amazed to see him standing on water! He walked toward me. As I looked under his feet, I saw that he was indeed walking on the water, but the water remained undisturbed. “Amazing, " I said, in Russian, to which he responded, “Not so much compared to the mind.” He stood next to me and smiled, then said, “You will learn more to things than you thought you knew. Leave yesterday behind, and begin a new today.”

For the next twenty-four months I trained under Grandmaster Wei. In Radoslav, I had learned to use my body, but Wei taught me how to use my mind. “The human mind is the deadliest weapon in the world,” he would always say. I learned everything he taught me and woke everyday wanting to learn more. After a year he sent me on my way. “You have learned everything I know. The world is huge and you are still young. Go out and make something of yourself. That is the final test set upon all of us.” And I left the tutelage of Grandmaster Wei.

I returned to China and at the age of 14, the only thing I was able to do was join the Chinese military. I was placed in a unit of boys my age, and a little older, meant to prepare us for the military. Once again, I was being scoffed and laughed at for being of Russian heritage and being in a Chinese military institution. I had thought we were all brothers and sisters under Communism, but, however, I found out that it was only prejudice from a choice few. A young Lieutenant in charge of the infantry division had his eye on me one day. I stood in the ranks and was approached by him. With one finger, he pointed at me and instructed me to step out of formation. I wondered what he wanted, and was almost afraid, but I did well not to show it. “Stand inside this circle,” he said pointing to a circle made of ground up chalk where soldiers fought each other in practice.

He looked up at another soldier who stood next to him and commanded him to do the same. I knew what this was about. The other soldier took off his hat and uniform jacket. I didn’t move, only watching him. The Lt. said, “Remove you hat and jacket,” to which I replied, “I don’t plan on this lasting long or my uniform getting dirty, sir.” He smiled and said, “If you do, it is coming out of your paycheck, soldier.” The soldier came to a ready stance and looked to me. I stood standing casually waiting for his attack. Yelling, he came at me, and I landed a roundhouse kick straight to his face, knocking him out cold. I then walked up to the Lt. and saluted him, then said, “May I get back in formation sir?” He grimaced, then smiled and laughed.

This was Lt. Chao, who later became Colonel Chao, a man I’ll never forget. From that day, he placed me in a prestigious military school and college until I turned 18. From then on until 2004, I served in the military as a Russian advisor, making it all the way to Major in my short time. One day, I picked up a newspaper and read about the Rikti War in Paragon City. I brought the paper to Chao and said, “This is where I need to be,” pointing at the newspaper. He smiled at me, as he had done all those years before when I defeated that young soldier with ease. He gave me an honorable discharge and I was off to Paragon City before I knew it. What awaited me in this “City of Heroes?” I was ready to find out…

Next…Paragon City!!