The master and the student

Everyone has heard the old ninja lesson of taking the pebble. You can learn wisdom and patience. Sometimes you don't learn. Some people can't be taught. This story is one of those times.

High in the mountains, in the courtyard of an old temple, sat an old sensei of forgotten arts. His eyes were closed as he practiced his delicate performance. His hands glided, his feet stood firm. His long white beard swayed in the careful breeze. As he was finished, there came a heavy knock. This threw the old sensei off balance with everything around him, causing him to fall over. The floor hit him hard. He groaned, his bones cracking back into place.

"Who knocks of the door of knowledge?" he hummed.

"Um…Kael," came a startled sounding voice.

"Gather your wits, push the past away and enter into acknowledgment," the sensei recited.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah."

The door opened, echoing with a roar of creaks and strained whines. Out from the large doors came a tall teenager. He wore a bright neon green shirt with grey undershirt sleeves slipping downward and the traditional blue jeans. He had sandy hair drapped over his bright blue eyes. With hands in his jeans' pockets, he strode toward the sensei.

"Hey, I'm Kael. My mom told me to be up here so…" the boy grumbled. "When can I leave?"

"After you have learned, my student," the sensei bowed.

"Fine, where do we start," groaned Kael, crossing his arms.

The sensei held out a closed fist. Opening it, he revealed a small stone. The sensei nodded. Kael groaned again, rolling his eyes.

"Take the pebble from-"

The sensei was interrupted when Kael reached out, snatching the pebble from the wrinkled hand of the teacher. The sensei sighed, releasing tension. He picked the pebble from the boy's hand, placing it back in his palm.

"I was not finished," he strained.

"I just want to get this over with," Kael mumbled.

"Patience leads to great wisdom," the sensei instructed. "As I was saying…"

"How do I know you're a great sensei?" Kael inquired.

"Excuse me?" the sensei's voice was getting more and more strained.

"You heard me. How do I know you're this great sensei everyone says? I should be allowed to do a test on you!" Kael snickered.

"Fine. A curious soul shall eventually be quenched if not by uncertainty," the Sensei nodded.

"See this pebble," Kael stated, holding out a rounded stone. "Get it."

As the sensei reached quickly, without haste, Kael dropped the stone into the courtyard's rock covered ground. The sensei groaned. Kael crossed his arms, nodding with satisfaction. The Sensei looked back at Kael. The smug grin glimmered even brighter as the boy pointed downward.

"Get it," Kael repeated.

"So be it," the sensei strained a nod.

He crouched low, striking the ground in search of the pointless pebble. His own pebble rested by inches from him but not for long. The Sensei rose his head at the sound of laughter. Kael stood, the Sensei's pebble in hand. The Sensei realized the trick and stood up. Kael scoffed, proud of his work. In a flash, the pebble was gone from his hand.

"How…?" he whispered, staring at the small stone that lie in the Sensei's palm.

"One last time…" sighed the master.

"Last time?" Kael smiled.

"Yes, if you fail this you must truly be unable to be taught," groaned the sensei.

"Fine. Whatever!"

The sensei, after repeating his directions, felt a wave of pain flash over him. Kael had kicked, quickly and swiftly. The pain originated in his shine. The Sensei collapsed, dropping the pebble with a groan. Kael crouched and lifted the pebble. He smiled at the Sensei and stood up. The last the Sensei saw of the boy with the sandy hair and blue jeans was as the teen walked out the front doors howling…

"The pebble's in my hand now…"