In the wee hours of the morning, when the birds first awakened, the waves reach the shores still roaring first. For a coastal town, nothing can be more reassuring than the return of the tides— a spectacle few get to witness. Yet, every morning, a young man could be seen gazing into the black and gold rippling surface as the moon set and the sun rose.
In the youths eyes was a peculiar melancholy that could only be experienced through tragedy or the vicissitudes of time. His face revealed a rigidity that described his worries, a serious concentration on the distance, proving he was not waiting on the sunrise.
"Three months," eked a quiet and raspy voice. " It's been three months since Dad went to sea and left me by myself."
The young man slackened with his appellation. He kept stock still at the shore, standing on a rocky outcrop, as the ocean sprays dusted him. The frigid autumn winds didn't seem to phase him. His heart was cold from fear, confusion and loneliness.
His sunken eyes, blackened from lack of sleep, dimmed a bit more to match his dulling hair. He turned around, not awaiting the sunrise and began to walk towards his home. It was a thatched hut that hid a dugout where he rested. There was an ingenious design that his father deployed which allowed the cool, fresh, air to filter throughout the abode and out the back. It was the pride of his village. To the boy, the only solace to his predicament was the presence of a book his father partitioned for him. It was titled, "A Way of Self".
Books with the purpose of educating self actualisation were fairly common in nobler and more sophisticated homes. The concept of cultivating a firm sense a self in order to grasp heavens fortune was no strange call to the hot blooded youth. Who wouldn't want to know five steps to change your thinking that would make a better you?
But, "A Way of Self", was different. It was filled with strange and esoteric imagery of the human body and weird sayings that could be interpreted a multitude of ways. It was as if the book itself was ever altering to fit the readers need. In this book Da Meng Tian, the young man, took his weary steps to greater heights.
Reaching home took more than a few moments. Da Meng Tian had to pass through his village square every morning for the past three months with his head held in shame. Dakers village was a small outpost near the sea, used to monitor the coast, settled by the Huang Mei empire. The Empress decided that the coast would have to be broken and sent Da Meng Tians father to head the conquest. Meng Tians father was allowed to then start a clan and was offered the lowest standing of nobility.
After twenty years of hard cultivation in the craig, small areas were reclaimed, and trade routes for seafood were made. His father then created the Da clan, the name utilizing the character for great. Meng Tians fathers greatest wish was to allow him to become a scholar and escape the treacherous seas. He likened the ocean to a treasure trove guarded by demons and dragons.
Meng Tian used to laugh at his fathers story, as he grew up on the sea, and felt that only fools could perish in the waters. It was in this thought that he had regrets. The villagers looked to the young Meng Tian to continue his fathers exploits, but he knew better.
'Those filthy merchants would love for me to simply sally off into the seas where a serpent could swallow me,' he thought. His assumptions weren't so groundless.
As he returned to his home, the whispers of the villagers would float into his ears from time to time.
"Did you hear that unlucky star caused another death in his family," a few women would say in hushed voices.
"I was wondering when it would happen again," another more malicious voice chimed a little louder, " after all, he killed his mother."
A few people would attempt to assuage the conversation due to nervousness, but the majority let it happen. Meng Tian couldn't bear to give them the satisfaction of seeing him distraught so he ignored. They were common and he was noble for what ever the title was worth. He took his time, intentionally, to cast his gaze over a few he considered the trouble makers starting the rumors before walking away.
Upon reaching his home, the stickiness of the drying ocean water made him uncomfortable. Yet, in his obsession, Meng Tian chose not to wash. He looked to the night stand made of Chinese cedar and lit the lamp. "A Way of Self" was printed in fierce but scrolling text on the cover of what looked like a velvet book.
Da Meng Tian gently caressed the cover of the book while marveling at the texture of the animal fur used to bind the book and the craftsmanship of the lettering on its face. He was not worried about potential theft because the militia in town still answered to the empress and by proxy him.
"Page one," he quietly read aloud. "There are times in ones life where tribulation comes. Yet life, itself, is tribulation... All things in life have a purpose. Good is bad. Bad is good. As Everything has always been. When the Tribulation comes, Life comes. When Life comes, Tribulation. Have strength in character, power in health, health in character, strength in power. That is the way."
A strange image of a man holding his hands to the heavens was next to the writing. The mans body was covered in lines that seemed to be gold and silver snakes moving within him. From his mouth was a flame, and a spiral was formed within his head. It was highly unusual. The imagery and message held a strange rhythm. It was as if the picture was breathing as Meng Tian read.
"Strange," he uttered, "really strange."
Tell me how you like it. This is my first attempt at publishing a story in a while.
Edit: Was I to wasn’t. Writing this on my phone and sometimes autocorrect harasses me.
More Privileged Chapters
Download the app and become a privileged reader today! Come take a sneak peek at our author's stockpiled chapters!Download
Please switch to the pop-up to complete the payment.
Complete daily missions to get rewards.Learn more about the rules
This's an experimental test for reading assistance in case.
We highly recommend you to enjoy the beauty of the original words.