All I can say is that after a lot of shenanigans I was shy one horse. Which means 0 horse. That nada quantity meant one thing: I was fucked. I was lost and alone between 2 places, lost in the middle of nowhere. Desert? Forest? Space? Doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is that the end was nigh. A horseman was slowly approaching, with a dark hood and all. He picked me up, gave me a lift on a horse that looked strangely like mine. "All horses look the same," he whispered, "You are not THAT special. This is not a quest or trial." His words full of hidden meanings are still resonating in me.
After one hell of a ride, we arrived at his haven. It was a cozy looking house with a nice garden. "This house is now yours – or ours. At one condition, you must train, you must learn how to fight, for you never know when a foe will come to steal or home". I accepted this responsibility. My body had to become a temple. A temple full of ripped monks. I wondered a few times "is this death?" However, I never felt more alive. The man then underwent a full character transformation: he took off his hood. I saw his old face, his old beard, his wise eyes and wide smile. "I must tend to the garden. Go on and train". His words full of wisdom still echoes within me.
One day later.
I trained, and did the whole kung-fu cliché training montage. He did too. I think he planted and watered like 60 tulips. One of the tulip looked heavy, like a natural dumbbell. I approached, it yearned to be – not picked – but lifted. A quick strong authoritarian arm stopped me. "You overstep your boundaries sir," the wise man said, "this garden is out of your jurisdiction. Go now. Concentrate and train". He was right.
One year later.
I wake up at nights. I hear these weird screams. Sometimes, it even sounds like winds. But, it sounds violent. Is it the sound of the Reaper, looking for his lost soul (i.e. me)? I open my curtain. The moon is beautiful. So is his garden. I never saw such passion in my life. I said that to him the other day. He said the same toward me and my body. This is getting fucked up.
10 years later.
"You have completed your training," said the wise man that never aged, "I also completed my garden. Meet me at midnight where you once tried to lift the heavy tulip." I can't believe he remembered that thing. But his garden was his masterwork, and I respect that. When the clock stroke 12, I wandered off my home and into his garden. It was huge, plants and flowers everywhere. At the middle, it descended into a pit. There, sitting, he was waiting for me. "Come, my student. I have waited for 11 years." He takes off his shirt. Underneath, pure muscle, pure death. "I hope you are ready, for I, too, have trained. You, sir, are in my jurisdiction. And tonight, we fight". The ripped wise man hurled himself at me. I never felt more alive.
100 years later.
I am ready for Round Two.