Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Asia (02/26/09)
- TITLE: The Requisite Encounter
By Lance Pisowicz
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Chang then glanced downward towards the base of the wall and noticed his acquaintance, Tai staring at him.
“What are you doing?” asked Tai with a befuddled expression spread across his face.
“I am talking with my Heavenly Father,” answered Chang with a gaze of dignity.
“You are talking to nobody fool!” laughed Tai.
“I am not a fool,” said Chang. “I worship the one and only true God.”
“All religions are rubbish,” uttered Tai. “They serve no sincere purpose.”
“Believe what you want my beloved comrade, but I must alert you of judgment day.
“Whatever you say, Chang,” grunted Tai. “I was about to inform you that the Emperor would like to see you at the Palace immediately. He said it was something essential.”
“Then I shall report directly to the Forbidden City so that the Emperor may deliver his significant message.”
As Chang began his treacherous expedition to the Palace, his mind raced about why the Emperor would require meeting him. He had never encountered the Emperor in person, but he had heard diverse opinions about him. Had he accidentally broken a royal law and not understood? Had he botched the beautiful craftsmanship of the Great Wall and not noticed?
If Chang had somehow committed an offense, what would the Emperor do to discipline him? Would he be imprisoned? Would the Emperor harm his relatives? Chang had only his mother for companionship, who was very elderly, and Chang distinguished it as his obligation to defend and care for her. Chang had never met his father, so this only made his mother more precious to him.
As the final rays of the sunset began to descend beneath the horizon, Chang approached the mammoth gateway at the front of the Forbidden City. Before Chang could open his mouth to explain, the Palace Guards confronted him.
“What are you doing here?” a very tall guard barked. “I have been given stern commands to detain anyone who encroaches on Palace Property.”
“But I am not a intruder,” pleaded Chang. “I was summoned by the Emperor.”
“What is your name?” inquired a husky, round guard.
“My name is Ming Chang,” replied Chang. “Now may I see the Emperor?”
“Yes Sir,” said the tall guard in a trembling voice. “Go right ahead Sire.”
“That sounded peculiar,” Chang whispered to himself. “I am not royalty.”
Chang ambled through the Palace for several minutes until he finally approached a set of two very bulky gold doors, the doors to the Emperor’s Throne Room. Chang opened the doors and silently hurried to genuflect at the Emperor’s Throne. When the Emperor raised his rod, Chang lifted his head.
The face of the Emperor looked vaguely recognizable to Chang, like they had already met. His face had an olive tone complexion to it. The Emperor’s hair, which was nestled beneath his exquisite golden crown, was gray. His beard was grown lengthy and appeared to have not been trimmed in years. The Emperor’s eyes were soaked with tears.
“My son you have returned home,” he said in an appealing, compassionate tone.
Chang reflected on this for a while and then spoke. “Father, why did you abandon my mother and me?”
“My boy,” the Emperor replied. “I desired for you to understand how to survive in the actual world. Countless Emperors have been born into royalty and have been unsuccessful, counting me.”
“What are you trying to say, Father?” inquired Chang.
“I have failed as a husband and a father.” said the Emperor. “I was not available for you or your mother all of these years.”
“It is fine now father,” replied Chang in a reassuring tone. “We are together once more.”
“I must make everything respectable with your mother. I will return to your home to greet her tomorrow.” uttered the Emperor. “My son I am of old age, though. You must realize that you are next in line to become Emperor of all of China.
“I know father and I am pleased to be in this position.” Chang said with confidence. “I will perform my duties to the finest of my abilities.”
“I am positive you will, and that is why I called you here, Prince Chang of China.”
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