Master Po was near invincible. Immortal.
I say this as it was all he ever demonstrated. Supreme power. He did however carry a scar above his left eye, exactly an inch and a half long.
Considering I had seen him destroy armies without as much as a scratch, it confused every student as to what was powerful enough to mark him for life.
It was often a topic of conversation amongst the students, but never once discussed by the ruling priests and monks. There was one old priest with a more friendly demeanour than the others, his name was Zhang Tao.
One rainy afternoon, as I was sweeping the courtyard, he came out to enjoy some damp air. In the rare moment for secluded conversation, I decided to ask him what happened to Master Po. “Master Tao,” I started.
He continued to look off into the distance and breathe deeply. He did however acknowledge my words, with a slight smile I could identify from staring at the side of his face.
“What happened to Master Po? The mark? What on earth has the power to mark him so?” I asked.
There was no reason to explain which mark I meant, it was the only scar on his body. Zhang seemed to have no problem in answering me, which was surprising considering the topic had been taboo for all of my 800 years atop Wudan.
“Master Po was once young. Like you. And... very much like you, he was very curious,” he said. He then turned his back to me and continued to admire the grey sky.
The turning of his back was final. I knew from his action there was nothing else he would tell me.
Like me? I thought. Master Po? I don’t understand. I decided I had to know more, and as I was likely to be severely reprimanded for asking any of the monks in the temple, I may as well gather the courage to ask Master Po himself.
4 months later, I was practicing crane style. Master Po left his quarters to sit upon a log in the garden and watch me study.
He seemed pleased with my technique, a rarity. Considering this very rare positive mood, I decided to take this opportunity to ask him as respectfully as I could.
I completed my forms, walked over to him and bowed. “Master, forgive me. But tell me - what scarred you for life, above your left eye?” I said, while looking at the ground.
He paused for a few seconds... Produced a cane from under his robe and struck me. I felt blood begin to run down my face.
It left a scar exactly an inch and a half long above my left eye.
A scar I still carry to this day. “Curiosity.” he replied.
Such is the way of Wudan.