Chapter Twenty Three
There was almost no moon, the clouds over the dessert obscured it. Acrcoss the erie and unfamiliar landscape Gabiji and Habinamahad moved as if a fog cloud. They flowed forward till they entered the Sunojo lands.
Silently they cautiously moved. Past abandoned homes, Past houses with inhabitants. Never hearing Sinanju mentioned just the talk of daily life. There was no sign that this had anything to do with Korea.
Three times they circled the native village, Nothing was observed or heard to give a sign.
Finally they signaled each with their hands and again started forward the waiting desert
After a long time they reached a desiccated river bed. Recognizing the crust would break under their weight and leave a sign of their presence, they started following the bed.
Suddenly a man was standing on that same crust. Standing as if waiting.
As one they stood up and advanced upon that crust.
There were sounds of continuous crackling beneath their feet.
“You sure don’t cross the Crying River very well!”
The two responded as spinning tops, small knives held alongside their arms. Swiftly they approached from two side. Sunny Joe held his ground, and then his arms shot out at each side, to guide the spinning attacks away from him.
Sunny Joe then crossed his legs and while appearing to move slowly, spun and disappeared from sight.
Rotating to a stop, the Night Tigers took flight.
Running across the night dessert. With astonishing speed they worked to get away. Then a foot appeared tripping them. They tumbled to the dessert floor.
“Long ago, the Night Tigers, were eliminated. Now you have entered these lands. Bad Luck for you, but you are not allowed here.’
With dispatch he walked across their bodies. That seemingly light step crushed their heads.
But this was just beginning. Sunny Joe knew they would be missed and others might retrace their path. His vigilance must be increased.
Remo not fully recovered from his encounter with Leslie, was still thinking how he would explain the encounter with her and what happened. He was walking back towards the train station at Kiev.
H Smolensk e had readily handled the other Night Tiger attacks. He decided it still made sense to travel on to Smolensk Russia.
Not clearly thinking he paid no attention to a young man drinking outside of a bar along his way.
He automatically noted the inebriation and then dismissed him. The the man began staggering along the street. He could hardly stay upright.
Remo remained in thought as he passed along the street.
That man made to cross the street. So drunk he was almost hit by a passing car. Somehow he made his way staggering across. Then somehow he made way alongside Remo’s side of the street toward Remo.
A silver battered flask in his hand, he pulled another deep drought, falling into a swoon upon the sidewalk.
‘Bested by her touch..’ Remo thought to himself. He passed the fallen man.
Suddenly that man was on his feet and swaying. Barely functioning he made to grasp Remo’s elbow. As he did that he swung the sliver flask toward Remo’s head.
When he grasped for Remo’s elbow it made Remo automatically counter the grab by swaying toward the man. This placed his head closer to the flask. This was a older movement honed into Sinanju from the Night Tiger development days. Unfortunately Remo’s automatic response was the wrong answer. His automatic movement trained into his system was the incorrect one. Instead of Remo being in conscious control, this automatic movement was his undoing.
Remo weaved his head into contact with the flask, making a dent.
Now Remo began to wake up his consciousness, but this didn’t help for along with the hit, there were the continuing pain from the shoulder miss stroke. The combination of events had placed Remo at half power.
Remo attempted to strike the man, but the drunken movements were so bizarre he missed, then the man fell and as he did so his foot caught Remo’s knee striking it.
The pain was intense, Remo staggered.
Into Remo’s stagger the man bounced back to his feet and turned into Remo’s shock. Then turning and driving an elbow behind him also striking Remo’s head.
Remo did stagger. He dug down and forced himself to take a breath. Energy flowed into Remo and he fought off the pain. Regaining control of himself, Remo made the decision that if he wants to do Drunken then he would do Drunk Sinanju.
The man continued to make his weaving turning strike, but this time Remo was not there. Instead he was lying on the ground. The next moment he was standing against a light pole a full 20’ in the air.
Remo noted the astonished look on the man’s face, It grew close as and Remo fell atop his head.
The man collapsed as a way to make escape. But Remo was fully atop him and then tied his body into a knot.
Remo’s finger was against his neck, “Now this is pain” and he removed that finger leaving the ball of a man incapable of moving but painful sweat pouring out from his body.
“It feels just like your body is dipped in liquid lead, doesn’t it.”
Remo’s then spoke more,” I should let the pain continue. But I know you want to talk to me, don’t you?”, then he lay that same finger again against the neck. There was now the absence of pain.
“I know what you are, but it’s more polite for assassin armatures to announce themselves first”
Grateful for the absence of pain he blurted out “Scott of the Driscoll Night Tigers”.
“The Driscoll Night Tigers, how many lines are in your village?”
“We are not one, rather many places and many lines. Sinanju will end!”
“Not on my watch, you ball of a night tiger.”
Scott bit down and died.
‘That was un-fortunate, I had to let him speak to obtain information. And he used that to obtain release. Old ideas, next time I will have to remove their teeth. And that will make talking harder.
That’s the biz”. Remo continued to make his way to the train.
Along the way this time he noticed the crowd in the streets facing Police barricades. He hadn’t been concerned with them before. Some bodies were burning. Some Police were shot. There was general mayhem. It was how Chiun had described the region. Seems them were still missing Chiun’s Hero Ivan the Good. Oh well the suffering would always be here. Might make for future business.
The train was soon to depart.
Chapter Twenty Four
Hercule took the latest news with a calm bearing. Once again the Night Tigers were defeated.
Yes, Leslie had some success, and brought confusing intelligence with her story. Without question the Sinanju bastards were skilled. In fact except for her discovering their one weakness, they would seem impossibly skilled.
His suspicion that they worked the hiding for the opponent seems not to be their key skill. But what do they have to do the things they did. Their abilities from the older art were there.
Hercule wasn’t pondering this alone. Several of the older, most skilled retired Night Tigers were looking at their details too.
Also, there was another mystery. He had not heard from his team of Gabiji and Habinamahad . He didn’t know exactly where they were only their starting point. It was inconceivable that they could not find something. Somehow they would contact them.
Leslie’s skills among his best, were descended from the art reconstructed over the centuries, but could only be used by the women in the Night Tigers. While most useful unlikely to work without great subterfuge.
Many options were not available at this time.
That left the ultimate solution. Perhaps that was best. Just do it and be done with them. Of course there was a price, but this might be the time to use it.
Hercule considered any other options.
Back in Sinanju, Chiun was standing post guarding the village. He reviewed what the lore was about Master Tsoka who once did the same, using his skills to guard. Of course this history was from the Night Tigers of 1,577 BC And he was working a family rivalry on Mu,d uring a lucrative minor contract, His contract was to guard a House of that land who conspired one day to be the king. However they had discovered that his group of Night Tigers had a flaw. While waiting their attention waivered ovet the weeks of non-action. This required that he push his Tigers with unexpected drills to allow them to keep their focus. Waiting was a trap itself, to keep the ir minds focused was the key. Then one day the attack did come and the Night Tigers or course prevailed. That was given.
But for Chiun it was worth remembering. He was using slow time to stand his guard over the village. And stand he did, he shifted between several slow time states of existence. Worrying some about Remo. After all he did train him, and now he was the Master. Responsible for the survival of the art. Though soon he should Marry and have a son to carry on further.
That would be a good time, to have a baby boy to bounce on his knee. Remo should consider this. But first this infestation of Night Tigers would have to be exterminated, after all they were Sinanju, encompassing over 5,000 years of tradition.
Chiun watched the heavens.
The train was taking Remo towards Smolensk Russia.
He was using the time for travel to help his body recover from recent events.
Taking a cleansing breath, he settled into a trance. He remembered some of his earliest training. Chiun had him running around a large lake in New Hampshire, a very large lake. Step followed step, breath followed breath. The trail went on, his breathing followed a pattern. His steps began to follow his breathing, suddenly he found he was traveling faster. The more his breathing and running continued there was speed.
Trees flashed past.
In his mind the day was clear, it was the day when Chiun’s preparations started to make sense, and his mind controlled it all, the breathing, the steps racing, the coordination of the two, rather it became the one, one mind, one breath, one step, something Chiun called the Sun Source.
Remo was one with the movement. He controlled it, He controlled his breathing, He entered his essence. When he did this he became more.
He turned his head and said “Chiun, I unders…” and ran flat out into a tree.
Chiun had been pulling ahead, his robes swirling across the ground, his feet not visible.
Then Chiun was standing above his flattened body.
“You start to understand, then you throw it all away to speak. You are not yet able to sustain two thoughts in your mind, never in all my years has so much been given to someone so unworthy. It is as casting pearls before a swine. This is what happens to those who eat hamburgers..”
This was the first time Remo hears this, to be often repeated when he failed.
He remained lying on the forest floor dazed.
However Chiun gave him no rest. “Now, get up and begin running again”
In pain, Remo knew what would happen if he didn’t get up, so he rose and started running.
Step followed step, breath followed breath, the two again became one, and Remo resumed running. Swift were the steps.
In his mind Remo recalled the day, then he began reliving that run. His breath centered and he took off around that lake in him mind/
He was the Master. And he ran with balanced breath. Each breath he took, each step he recalled brought him closer to the Sun, source of all. Each breath in Fullness.
The trip continued though he knew not what was his fate.
Chapter Twenty Five
Remo’s train arrived in Smolensk Russia.
He departed the train with none observing his passage, and he began to make his way outside the city towards the bombed site. No barred his passage. Remo felt that this time he was going to finally find out why this was happening.
Upon reaching the devastation there standing in the middle of the ruins was a solitary figure.
“Finally we meet. Since the day of Wang, may he be cursed, this day has been long in coming. He tried to eliminate the other Night Tigers, but was unsuccessful. The line of Gong did survive. And we have continued the true tradition.”
“Seems to me,” Remo replied, “in my case, you haven’t been very successful. For I am here.”
“Yes, there has been some annoyance at that. But we are still beyond your knowledgde, and I will finish you, yet as we speak, Sinanju has been eliminated and is no more.”
A wave of concern swept across Remo’s face.
High above Sinanju, over 20 miles away 5 drones started their decent. The first two in succession and then the final three started their simultaneous descent.
Chiun, senses heightened, noticed the descending pressure wave from the first drone’s descent. He emerged from slow time as this happened, his face turning towards the skies. He grasped a small rock in his hand.
The drone, it’s top shining in the sun, from which direction it fell, was in fact a bomb centered on the Masters Palace. The fall was preceded by a laser guidance system.
The pressure waves were felt by Chiun, centered on his home. He then observed the light from the laser guidance; At that last instance he observed the drone approaching. Then he threw the rock, it took off at hypersonic speed accelerating.
The rock flew at incredible speed into the descending drone. And when it hit just before the drone exploded, Shattered it into dust.
But at that instant the second drone fell towards the village. No sooner than Chiun dispatched the one he had the second to stop; This time he kicked a pebble at his foot. Again it accelerated at hypersonic speed into the descending drone. Again it shattered into dust.
This time there were three, coming to obliterate Sinanju. Chiun expected them, this was a very old attack pattern of the assassins of the Night Tigers, Overwhelm the enemy with multiple simultaneous attacks.
He knew there were no more rocks at hand. Chiun simply clapped his hands over his head. The resulting pressure wave sped out from that clap, it met the drones with a shattering effect.
Sinanju was preserved. There were no more attacks. It was after all the old pattern. Remo no doubt was facing his foe. They had fallen for toys. Perhaps their misplaced trust would help him.
Solitary, Chiun re-entered slow time and watched over the village. Nobody knew he was there, or how close Death had sought their lives.
Sinanju slumbered on in it’s sleepy way. The village this day remained secure.
“Yes, Sinanju is no more, you were inadequate to prevent this from occurring. It was the dog who barked.”
It was with cold eyes Remo looked in his direction. “Sinanju is not dead, for I am Sinanju.”
Remo shifted slightly to the left, what happened next he did not expect.
A wall of wind struck him. So hard he was knocked from his feet. A vast force of wind.
Cart wheeling back Remo fought to gain purchase, but that wind increased in force. It left him spinning around.
Remo willed his mass to increase till eventually he found solid ground. Then he allowed the same wind go flow past his person. Now it was Remo the unmovable. He stood his ground as the force behind the winds ever increased.
Blending with the wind, Remo started to flow forward.
Now things changed again. The wind drew moisture from the air and froze it. Now the winds were filled with icy pellets. Slicing forward as if a wall of ice. Remo shifted into an anti-rhythm and made all of them miss, thousands and thousands of shards of ice.
It became evident that everything was being countered by Sinanju. The winds now stopped and Hercule began to grow before Remo’s eyes. Now greater than any man he slapped forth with his hand with incredible speed.
“Sinanju, you are nothing,” as his slap connected with Remo.
Remo, with the Sun Source resources, held his ground and stood as it had no effect.
Suddenly Remo accelerated forward with great speed. His hands stretched forward as if to strike the eyes. He, however was surprised when Hercule moved away with the same speed. He using his greatest speed could not catch him.
Hercule struck forward again and once again his strike hit. This time while Remo was advancing.. Now Remo was driven into the ground.
Time and again Remo’s attacks failed.
“Foolish man, I am Aelous, the God of the Wind, You are doomed. I allowed my avatar to destroy your home, the Night Tigers are under my protection. Your tricks can’t save you now. “And with a mighty effort drove his foot into Remo breaking him into shards.
Then a great sound was heard.
“I am created Shiva, the Destroyer, the Shatterer of Worlds, the dead night tiger made whole by the Master of Sinanju, Who is this dog meat that challenges me?
With that mantra sounding Remo was reconstituted and grew in size. Then larger than Aelous he stood before him.
“So you took an avatar. Not enough young one.”
Both Gods struck one another but with little effect.
“Last time I sent you away, why have you returned?”
“My reasons are my own, I will not let you finish your dance.”
“My dance which will change all time continues at my own pace, you can’t change that.”
“Yes I will, and these night tigers have become my tools. They are most useful.”
With greater force Aelous struck. Shiva however didn’t move.
“I am unto the Destroyer, I will enter into this game, be forewarned, I may conclude my dance soon. Till that day I am also Sinanju.”
Then with a sweep of his hand he struck Aelous and then he was gone.
Remo stood facing Hercule, the presence of the Gods was gone.
“The night tigers are no more.” And his hand flashed forth striking Hercule on the neck.
His head separated from his body. Slowly it fell over into the ground.
Remo was aware he slew the head but the body of the night tigers still remained. He would have to remain continually aware they might be back any time.
But first he had to call Sinanju and be sure Chiun was safe, then there was Sonny Joe to check on.
He made his way back to the station. There he found a phone, and with the assistance of a special phone card called the Bank of Sinju, There he connected with Hyunsil and briefly talked to her, then she hurried to the Horns of Welcome and spoke to Chiun. He hasted to the phone.
“Chiun it is done, for the time being. I need you to go to Sunonjo and meet with me and my father, There is much we have to discuess.”
Some time later there was a campfire on the dessert plain in Arizona. Gathered around it were Chiun, Sonny Joe and Remo.
“…so while that has ended this threat, the Night Tigers still exist. The threat to Sinanju remains. They are aware that something in around here and thus another threat to their existence. Apparently Wang left us loose ends.”
“You will not denigrate Wang, ever!”
“Now I like him too, but this threat will continue, and who knows where it will surface again.
“I will protect our village here in the dessert. Someday Winston will succeed me.”
“I accept that, Chiun and I are going back where I work for Smith, and news from the Assassins News Bureau will be available to you too.”
“We are Sinanju in the end.”
It was a featureless room, somewhere. The elder Night Tigers made a choice for their new chairman. It was she who survived this meeting with Sinanju.
“I vow, the Night Tigers will succeed. We will refine our arts further. With our knowledge we have learned what doesn’t work and what does. As did our father’s we move with deliberate speed, though it take time. We will return at a time of our choosing.
Author’s note: I am pleased to have taken this trip into Remo’s life. Once again I must reaffirm my pleasure for all who have authored the tales that I have enjoyed for 40 years. While I enjoy these efforts, I am aware how much I lack as an author, I don’t develop my characters enough and concentrate on the hero’s of Sinanju too much. I only hope the Destroyer returns to print.
Will another tale come from me? I can’t say for sure. For one thing although this is my Destroyer universe I try very much not to touch the current story lines used by the authors. Of course if any of these efforts interest them they have my complete permission to borrow them. I only touch on satire, I continue to believe Sinanju is real, and although I wither I keep working on my minor arts, fragments of the sun source.
At no time in the writing of this effort did I bend my elbow, my strokes remain clean, and I always try and breathe to fullness.
By my hand,
This 22nd day of February, this year of the horse, 2014
Apparently I was not done,,
The fire in the dessert had burned down to embers, the three were ready to depart.
Remo spoke: “There is one part of the story where I have not been complete, but in honesty I have to tell it.”
Chiun remarked: “You must not hold back, it is always necessary for the survival of Sinanju.”
“I knew that, it is just embarrassing……and when I reached out to grab Leslie she took that opening to attach and she followed up the descending arm and touched my neck. It was incredible, for I could not move. I was immediately paralyzed by her movement, paralyzed with pleasure. Pleasure that continued. Only by digging down into the Sun Source did I finally counter it. And then weakened she used a refinement of the Night Tiger’s technique to escape. I did not dispatch her.”
Chiun immediately answered “I told you that white women would harm you! You should marry a nice Sinanju maiden and have no need, that and produce a son.”
“Chiun, get serious. I was open for attack and an attack by a Night Tiger.”
Sonny Joe held his own counsel.
“No female should be trained in Sinanju!”
“It certainly is something else we have to worry about. And who knows what else they do.”
The embers died, the night enclosed the three, There was total silence as they strode away.
Analysis for the Chairman’s eyes.
We have initially assessed rhe attacks used against Sinanju.
The contractors were concluded in each case with standard Night Tiger technique.
The Night Tiger attacks were not successful, no survivors. The method used unknown.
Leslie did survive the attack. Under standard hypno induction recall, she did not recognize what was done against the other two Night Tigers. His response was incredibly swift and fluid. They just died. She took advantage of the opening and used the one step. It worked.
That in itself is compelling. Lee Joe and Rei discovered this procedure. As husband and wife the 37 steps developed to give pleasure to his wife. At the completion the one was for her to return the favor. Actually we discovered after much research the 37 steps have sensitized the man to receive the stimulus of the one.
Later research the original 37 were found useful to control the female. The one was not as useful. We developed a number of other step routines, but they all work the same way just fit some situations Today men are not told of the one, unless the wife choses to do so. The one is mostly reserved for special uses such as domesticating some males.
However, it appears this works against our foe.
I’m speculating here but perhaps their nervous system in enhanced, so they are already stimulated permanently prepared for the one. We should proceed carefully.
For if this is true it might explain their power, suggent attacks, and assist us to find our own ways do use this power.
I will keep you current on further research. Who knew?