The Cold Mountain – tiger, burning… (1)

Part 2 - Tea with Jade and Tiger 
Part 3 - Monkey on the Road

San Chou is a dangerous place. It is the domain of the infamous Band of the Black Viper.

Everybody in and  around Li Jiang knows that… Bad news, even if only rumors, spread like bush fire over cities and the countryside. And the shadow of the Black Viper has reached the high officers in the  cities around the Cold Mountain. It’s enough to get the governor Zhang Dee Yang upset.

The Black Viper is the fabric his nightmares are made of.

“A good governor is like a good father. Loved and respected, but never feared, Bolin.” He says to his foster son. “He mustn’t waste the resources of his subjects. That’s how he repays the respect and trust he has gained.” They walk in the governor’s palace garden, enjoying the last warm hours of a friendly autumn day.

The  elegant silhouette of the Cold Mountain thrones above the golden maidenhair tree, which rules the courtyard of the palace. Bolin observes his foster father, and smiles. After all those  harsh years in the monastery of Mount Songshan, everything seems fragile, even this admirable man he calls governor and father.  Only the mountain and the  maidenhair tree haven’t changed.

“The good governor can rely on his subjects, as they equally rely on him. But I can’t rely on the officials in that village, my son.” The old man throws Bolin a grave look, his long white mustache trembles.

“I see,”he says to the governor. The man he calls father, has saved his life, as an infant. He has nurtured his body and soul, he  had a chance to grow. Bolin decides to help his father, to do whatever he can to ease his father’s worries.

“Who knows what they are up to. They must be corrupt, or at least one of them. There is no other explanation. Bolin, I fear the officers supply the Black Viper with information.”

“Possible…” Bolin nods slowly, “but how could one verify?”

“That’s the spirit, my son!” The governor’s eyes light up, and he points to the further end of his garden, towards the tea house. The black bamboo forest behind the garden wall whispers in the upcoming wind. The old man’s hands tremble a tiny bit, but he tries to hide it. The night will bring the first autumn storm, he feels it in his bones.  

“Dear father, let me bring you Phoenix Tea, and we’ll discuss the matter in the tea house.  Please rest a bit.” Bolin rushes off to bring  woolen covers and hot tea for his father.

The governor starts walking towards the little  teahouse, and waves towards the bunch of black bamboos, the ones that kept moving too much. Two soft thuds follow. They assure him, that his most honored invisible guests are waiting to join for tea. He bows  slightly, and starts to recite from his favorite poem. ” Water glints and gleams in the moon. Grasses sigh and sing in the wind. The bare plum blooms again with snow. Naked branches have clouds for leaves– ah, Bolin! My dear boy, thank you so much. I fear, I’m getting old…” He rubs his hands together to warm them.


	

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