“But Master Nu, if you don’t let me leave I’ll be late for devotions,” I whined. Yes, whined. I’m not ashamed of it.

“Regular habits are a gift to your enemies,” explained the old priest. “The life of a wise man is chaos.”

“Then will you explain that to Master Ke for me?”

“No.” And with that he struck me sharply in the forehead with his staff. The world turned bright red, then black, then painfully white.

When I came to my senses, I was alone in the courtyard.

“Ok,” I said. “Lesson over?”

Neither the birds nor the fountain had an answer for me.