Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 124,395,024 Issue: 250 | 28th day of Swimming, Y8
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by micrody


"Patience, young grasshopper."

     "I am not a grasshopper!"

     "You still need patience."

     The blue Blumaroo snorted in response, but his sensei continued nonetheless.

     "In order to hit the Kass Doll, you must have patience for the wind to blow strongly. If you do not have patience, the wind will never blow strongly for you."

     "I have patience!" the Blumaroo protested, waving his bread around wildly. "I've been standing here for an hour already!"

     "It has only been five minutes, young grasshopper."

     "I am not," the Blumaroo said slowly, "a GRASSHOPPER!"

     "Nor are your actions under your control. Such outbursts I shall not allow."

     "I am sorry, Sensei," the Blumaroo said submissively and bowed to his teacher. "I will better control myself in the future."

     "That is good, young grasshopper." The Blumaroo's face twitched, but he said nothing. "Now," the sensei continued, "you must have patience, unadulterated patience, as you await the wind's mighty strength."

     "I don't see why we can't just have an Air Faerie cause the wind to blow," the young Blumaroo grumbled.

     "Because such an act," his sensei said, "would not teach us anything. You must feel as one with the wind, young grasshopper. Only then will it blow strongly for you and you will be able to hit the Kass Doll far."

     The Blumaroo said nothing, but instead took a deep breath and slowly let it out. Be one with the wind. It can't be too hard, can it? Be one with the wind. He repeated his sensei's words to himself over and over again, breathing in perfect symmetry with the words. Be one with the wind. Be one with the wind. Be one with the wind...

     The wind around him fluttered to life. Or, maybe, his awareness shifted to notice its subtleties. The wind hardly blew strong, but the small flag hanging in the tree above him slowly danced as the gentle breeze passed.

     Almost suddenly, the winds shifted and blew into his face. He shot open his eyes, glaring angrily into the horizon, glaring angrily into the wind.

     "Patience," his sensei whispered. "Patience will allow the wind to change."

     The Blumaroo nodded lightly and closed his eyes once again. He began breathing in long, slow, full-bodied breaths and the next time he took a moment to sense the wind, it had stopped blowing into his face. There was peace around him. The wind dared not move.

     Patience. Be one with the wind. Those were his sensei's own words. As he allowed himself to open up to the wind, he could suddenly feel tiny wisps of the wind rustling through the leaves above him and his sensei's flowing robes. The scent of the bread, as he merged further with the wind, soon found its way into his nostrils. A whole new world opened up to him as he allowed his patience to make him one with the wind.

     The minute noises of the insects beneath his feet wound their way through the air, and suddenly he heard all of them. They were like a chorus of angels, a symphony of a whole new world. He could hear in the distance the sound of other Neopets playing with each other, their shouts of joy being carried upon the wind. The butterflies that flew around the tree suddenly seemed so much greater, suddenly so much more than pretty wings darting through the air. Now, they seemed alive, perfectly alive in their stunning beauty.

     As he became closer to the wind, his mind recalled the last time his eyes had been opened to such a new world. He had been walking to the Whack-a-Kass tree one morning, waiting to play his favorite game in all of Meridell. When he had arrived, though, someone else was playing, a yellow Techo, whose skin shimmered in the morning light. She was with an older Neopet, a wise-looking Ixi wearing flowing robes of red and blue.

     As he watched the Ixi speak to his disciple, he observed the two move in perfect unison, their symmetric motions soft, subtle, slow and languid. After a few moments of watching, the yellow Techo gracefully swung her bat and then, instantly, the Kass Doll went flying out of sight. He had never seen anyone hit the Doll so far. He knew he had to do it, too.

     He ran over to the two Neopets, pleading in his excitement. "That was so awesome! Please, you have to teach me to do that! I have to be able to do that!"

     The yellow Techo smiled, her smile soft and caring. She bowed to him and said, "Thank you for your praise. It is any honor to know that you enjoyed my feat just now."

     "Your feet?" he had said with wide eyes.

     "Yes, my feat," the Techo replied, her voice soft.

     The young Blumaroo had had stared with wide-eyes at the Techo, but had instantly turned to face the robed Ixi when he had begun talking.

     "I am Sensei Yasuo," he had said. "This is my disciple, Shina. What may be your name?"

     "K-kenneth," he stuttered to say in his excitement.

     "Well, Kenneth," Sensei Yasuo had said. "If you truly wish to learn, I may teach you."

     "Yes, yes, oh, please, yes," Kenneth pleaded. "Please, Sensei Yasuo, please teach me!"

     Sensei Yasuo nodded with a deft smile. "I shall teach you, Kenneth. But the time is not right now. You shall return here tomorrow and I shall teach you then."

     Kenneth had furiously said "thank you" and had then run off excitedly back home. In the morning, he had woken up inconceivably early, quickly gotten dressed and ate breakfast, and had then ran all the way to the tree to furiously await Sensei Yasuo's arrival. When the sensei had finally arrived, he was quite pleased that Kenneth was already there and almost instantly began instructing him in the ways of his mystical arts.

     Now, Kenneth was standing beside Sensei Yasuo and trying to be one with the wind. The wind. He had almost forgotten in his remembrance and he quickly returned his focus to the wind, allowing his entire consciousness to open up to the world of the wind.

     Kenneth could feel the power of the wind growing. It grew subtly, darting beneath the tendrils of breeze that blew in every direction around him. But the wind was coming. It began far behind him, somewhere over the distant seas. It began to churn and gain in power. It began to walk over the lands, and then its gait became that of a wild animal, galloping over the entire world with untamed fury.

     The wind bombarded him from behind. But he was ready. He nodded to his sensei, his eyes still closed as he listened to the wind as it blew all around him. He could feel the Kass Doll tumble from the branch, through the air. There was silence inside his mind as he sensed the Doll's descent. He waited for just the right moment... he had patience.

     He swung the bread as forcefully as he could, knocking the Kass Doll high into the air. He opened his eyes, wiping the breadcrumbs from his face as he watched the Kass Doll fly away in the wind. It flew further and further away, until, at last, it vanished into the horizon.

     "You have done well, young grasshopper," Sensei Yasuo said and placed a hand on Kenneth's shoulder. "You are ready for your next lesson."

     "What's that?" Kenneth asked with excitement.

     "Using a stick."

The End

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