In Tibet - With Tien and Chaotzu
Tien and Chaotzu climbed the incredibly lengthy and steep steps to a temple that rested at the top of the mountain. Or rather Tien climbed, and Chaotzu floated. They chose this particular temple because it was the most isolated, far from so called civilization. It was quiet, serene, peaceful, the best place to get back to the basics. Tien was already regretting the decision. His feet were killing him and he was too tired to fly.
'How did I let Chaotzu talk me into this?' he thought, and not for the first time. Chaotzu had always reminded him of a child, innocent and . . . and lost. He never seem to fit in any where, which is why they traveled so much, well, one of them. He would always say he would be happy anywhere, so long as he was with Tien. But if they stayed anywhere for too long and he'd get antsy, never satisfied with his current surroundings. Tien had guessed he was trying to find a place that was the most like home, but every time he thought they'd found it, he ended up finding something that just didn't fit, something wrong. So they moved on to the next place. When they had moved in with Korin, he thought he had managed to get Chaotzu to settle down. Tien was tired. He couldn't take it much more. He thought he could finally rest. But it wasn't long before Chaotzu started moping and brooding. He wasn't happy there. Though he did try, for Tien. He refused to admit that he was unhappy, even for a moment, till Tien called him on it. He cried. Just like a little lost child would. He tried so hard to like it there, and when he couldn't, he tried to hide it, pretended that nothing was wrong, that he was as happy as could be. He said he had to leave, he just couldn't stay any longer. He was going to Tibet and he didn't expect Tien to come. So of course he went with him. How could he not? He wouldn't be able to live with himself if he let Chaotzu leave by himself. No, he just couldn't do it.
'At least he's happy. Maybe we can settle down here.' he hoped. They reached the top of the stairs, Tien paused to make sure he wasn't just imagining things, and Chaotzu landed on the stone walkway with a look of awe upon his face. The temple looked like a simple stone structure, but it was in fact a large building carved out of the very rock of the mountain, with only a portion protruding from the mountainside. Large columns rose up from the floor to form a roof overhead, and gave way to the main entrance. Carvings covered most of the surfaces, depicting patterns, flowers, fruits, and various scenes of nature. Hanging lamps, filled with oil, lit the corridor, and a carpet of deep red with golden tassels ran down the middle of the walkway.
"Oh, wow! Tien! It's beautiful!" Chaotzu exclaimed in wonder. Tien leaned against one of the stone pillars, rubbing a sore foot.
"Huh? Oh. Yeah, very nice." he replied, less than enthusiastic after the long climb.
"Come on!" Chaotzu all but ran down the corridor. Tien groaned, put his shoe back on, and followed after his all to energetic friend.
After talking to the high priest about their stay, they were asked to step out of the room, whilst he discussed it with the others. They waited in silence, each hoping for a different outcome. Five minutes later, they were brought back in.
"We are always happy to accept people as enthusiastic as yourself, Chaotzu! We just hope you won't be disappointed and bored to tears! And Tien, you look like you could use a rest, brother! You both may stay as long as you wish! We have few rules and they aren't that difficult to follow. Eh, but it's late. You'll learn them tomorrow."
"Thank you for your hospitality, sir, ah . . . what should we call you?" Tien inquired.
"Call me Bob." he said.
"Okay, uh, Bob." Tien said.
"Brother Orin, please show our new brothers to their rooms." Bob said in the general direction of Brother Orin, who's robe obscured his face.
"Certainly, Bob. Please, come with me." he motioned for them to follow. After bowinf politely to Bob, they followed. They walked down a hall just off the main room, that moved deeper into the mountain.
"We won't be able to put you in the same room as of yet, though it could be arranged later on." They stopped in front of the third door. "Chaotzu, you will stay with Brother Joe for now." Orin said as he let him into the room.
"Thank you! See you tomorrow, Tien!" he said cheerfully, as he entered the room.
"Goodnight, Chaotzu." Tien said, not sure about this different sleeping arrangement.
"This way." Orin motioned for Tien to follow him. They stopped just outside the last door. Orin opened the door.
"You'll be staying with me, if that's alright." he said as he entered the room. Tien followed behind him. The room was sparse, rather drab compared to the rest of the ornate temple. There was a bed on both sides of the room, with a single wooden desk and chair between them. An oil lamp sat on the desk and Orin lit it, filling the room with a warm glow. There was a closet next to the door and a dresser in the corner. Sitting on the dresser was a pitcher full of water, a bowl, and two towels.
"Which bed is yours?" Tien asked after a moment.
"Oh, it doesn't matter to me. I would just sleep on the one I'd pass out on. Pick whichever one you'd like." he said, closing the door. Tien chose the one closest to the door, for no other reason than that he was standing closer to it. He set his pack on the floor beside the bed, slipped his shoes off, then laid down on the bed. It was surprisingly comfortable. He closed his eyes and moaned as his muscles began to relax.
"Feels good, ne?" Orin said, as he removed his robe.
"Mmm-hmm!" he agreed. Orin chuckled.
"You might feel better if you got out of those dirty clothes and under the covers." Orin suggested, as he removed his pants. Tien opened his eyes, wondering why he had just said that. He looked over at Orin, who was now wearing only a pair of boxers. Tien blinked several times, for Orin was the spitting image of a certain baseball player, minus the scars. Another difference was that his long hair was a light brown, but other than that, he could be Yamcha's mirror image!
"Something wrong?" Orin asked, after noticing Tien's expression.
"No! I mean . . . It's just that you bear a striking resemblance to a friend of mine." Tien turned away, embarrassed because of his staring.
"Was he a good friend?" Orin asked.
"Huh? Yeah, he is." Tien stared at the ceiling.
"Uh, yeah. I do. Why do you ask?" Tien wondered where this was going.
"No reason. Just trying to figure out if it's a good or bad thing that I resemble him." He walked over to the dresser and poured some water into the bowl. He cupped some water in his hands and splashed his face, rubbing the water over his face and neck. He then leaned over the bowl and poured water out of the pitcher over his head, soaking his hair. He set the pitcher down, then wrung as much water out of his hair as he could, then swung his head back up, flipping his hair back behind him. He grabbed one of the towels and began drying his hair as he sat down on the edge of his bed. Tien had watched the whole thing with fascination, maybe more. Disturbed by the thoughts and images forming in his mind, he turned over, facing the wall, and tried to fall asleep.