The Butterfly Dragon II: What Different Eyes See - Act III - In Security

In Security

Alicia Westin
Alicia sat at the table with Monique, casually checking up on Norler every so often. Monique watched the couples admiringly on the dance floor almost reminiscing.

"So what happened with you and Derek?" Alicia asked Monique not having spoken with her in close company since just after the Treadwater Island incident.

"Derek? Oh Derek. That Derek." Monique responded, pausing momentarily to consider Alicia's question.

"You mean the Security Specialist? We were seeing each other steady for a few months after we returned to Toronto. I even flew to New York and Los Angeles to be with him during his off hours for two of his security jobs." Monique started.

"You don't mean that you literally flew do you?" Alicia asked Monique knowing full well about Monique's capabilities.

Monique rolled her eyes unsure if Alicia was being serious or not.

Monique Defleur
"No. I mean the old fashioned way. Airplanes and stewardesses. You know, the kind that many guys have fantasies about. I only say because one of my boyfriends seemed to be occupied with seeing me in a stewardess outfit. So much so that he even bought me one. That's totally another story..." Monique took a sip of her drink, completely oblivious to Alicia's fascination with her sexually liberated attitude.

 So our schedules got to be pretty hectic and it had been a long time since we'd seen each other. He called me one day and said that he needed some space. He promised me that he'd keep my secret safe and that he'd call me again in the future. I haven't heard from him since." Monique said somewhat emotionless long having gotten over their departure.

"I'm sorry to hear. You two were... You know Monique, you really need a special kind of guy. Maybe he wasn't the one." Alicia answered trying to be supportive though Alicia did not know Monique nearly as well as she knew Heylyn.

"Maybe. So have you managed to patch things up with Norler?" Monique asked her turning the tables with no ill intent.

"It's been a little bit difficult. Especially living in such close quarters to one another. We haven't talked the important talk if that's what you mean. We're still on ice. A bit slippery at the moment too." Alicia said looking over to Norler covertly.

"I'm sure you'll figure it out. Whatever needs to happen will." Monique replied returning the support as best she could.

It had taken Monique a few months to get over Derek. She'd even slept in a few too many days showing up late for scheduled photo shoots which were imperative for her job as a model. She didn't snap out of her simultaneous self pity and loathing until Heylyn sat her down for a long talk. Heylyn needed to do it because if she didn't, the other employees would think that she was playing favorites with Monique. That would not be fair to the others in West Meet East International who worked so hard to keep the company successful. Heylyn tried to go easy on her and fortunately had managed to get through to her. Heylyn had started giving Monique a wake up call in the mornings like she had when Monique had first been hired. Monique lived in the neighboring unit to Heylyn's downtown condominium and after their talk they'd travel to the West Meet East building in the downtown core of the fashion district together. Much like they did in the beginning, until Monique had gotten back in stride. That was what friends did for each other after all. Heylyn was a friend to Monique as much as she was a good boss. In her time running West Meet East she'd never had to fire anyone and she strived to maintain a professional relationship with everyone including Monique. She'd gone out on a limb for others in her company and she intended to keep them together. Much like a family. But when it came to irresponsibility and tardiness she had to draw the line.

Monique sat quietly for a moment lulled by the music as Katya returned from her dance with Victor and joined Alicia and Monique at the lady's table as Doctor Briggs had dubbed it. Victor checked with the ladies if they needed fresh drinks and when they told him they were fine, he left them to take his place beside Doctor Leekpai.

"You know, while I was on the dance floor with Victor, I couldn't help but notice someone keeping a close eye on Heylyn. Sitting on the left hand side there near the bar. Do you see him? With the moustache?" Katya tried to point out the suspicious looking man to Alicia and Monique.

"I've seen him somewhere. Maybe he has one of those faces." Monique responded looking closely at the man.

"Heylyn is a beautiful woman. There is the chance that he's just checking her out you know?" Alicia suggested.

"Perhaps. But maybe a little too closely." Katya suggested.

They watched as Heylyn had finished her dance and had proceeded towards the lady's room. She passed right by the man who'd been watching her fully aware of his eyes upon her. Her senses at full alert as she progressed into the hallway leading the lady's lounge and wash facility. As soon as she was ten paces beyond him he stood and followed her. Monique made an effort to stand only to be held coaxed not to by Alicia.

"She's aware of him. That and she's a multiple black belt. If he messes with her he'll be in for a surprise." Alicia reminded Monique.

"I'm just a little bit protective you know." Monique replied.

"I'm watching him. Don't worry." Valerie responded from beside them.

As Heylyn rounded the corner a few strides away from the washroom door the man ran at her suddenly. Heylyn spun to defend herself against her attacker only to see someone had beat her to the punch.

A handsome and well dressed man had caught the assailant and twisted his arm pinning him to the wall.

"Would you be so kind as to check his identification. It's in his back right pocket. I've been watching him for most of the night." her savior responded.

Heylyn looked them both over carefully before reaching into her assailant's pocket to find a wallet. She opened it and found his identification.

"Frank Pheasel. American Press Association. He's a reporter..." Heylyn said aloud.

"A Photo Journalist. I have rights you know!" Frank replied.

"Not when you're stalking a lady to the washroom you don't." the mysterious man responded.

"I like you already." Heylyn replied smiling a bit for him.

"So do you mind telling me what you were doing here? Following me this far? Hoping for a front page photo for a tabloid?" Heylyn interrogated him.

"No. I was going to ask you a few questions about the delegation away from the crowd." Frank replied struggling a little against the other man's hold.

"Well you certainly picked the most dangerous and alarming way to do it. Do you know that this lady could have broken you into small pieces and left you scattered about the floor had I not intervened." the mysterious man spoke addressing Frank.

"I'd heard she's studied some kind of Tai Chi or something like that." Frank responded nervously.

"Tai Chi and then some. You don't want to mess with her that way again. Trust me. If it's alright with Miss Yates, I'm going to let you go. You'd better be scarce or she'll be the least of your worries." the man waited for Heylyn's nod before loosening his hold upon the man.

"Have a good night Frank. Next time, think twice about doing something like that." Heylyn told Frank as he walked away.

The man fixed his tie and jacket as Heylyn watched.

"Now I guess I'd better take care of you. Do you have a name?" Heylyn asked him with a hint of seduction in her voice.

"That's better answered with this. Please don't read it aloud." the man handed her his wallet.

She opened it and within was a badge and identification stating him to be CSA Brad Stanton.

"You can call me Brad if you'd prefer for the purposes of anything to do with what you experience here. I'm on your trail and keeping an eye on things for the Canadian Government. I mean they've invested a lot in this little operation of yours. It would be to see amateurs like yourselves crushed by the bigger predators. The ones of which you have no idea." Brad asserted his wishes.

"Fine. Brad it is? Stanton too. Is that your first name, last name or where you studied? So what were you doing here Brad? Are you here on official business or is this a personal call?" she asked him still unsure of his motives.

"Here on business much like yourself, Heylyn. You could consider me to be much like the security detail that has been assigned to your delegation by Tynan And Associates except that I'm here on behalf of the Canadian Government. Just to make sure that the little incident in New Delhi doesn't recur and to ensure that your delegation doesn't get mixed up in espionage related charges, which *has* happened by the way." Brad answered carefully leveraging the merit of his motives to gain her trust.

"That's odd. We haven't experienced any scrutiny of our motives here from any authorities, including India, from where the attack on Professor Mutta occurred." Heylyn replied eyeing him carefully looking for any signs he might be lying.

"If you were going to be apprehended for questioning they would likely not announce it. You'd be taken and that would be that." Brad advised her.

"Even a high profile group like ours? I somehow doubt that. For one it would create an international fiasco and even cause diplomatic problems between our two countries. How can I be so certain that you aren't already trying to cause problems of that kind. To get the upper hand on one of the representatives here with whom we are negotiating for this deal?" Heylyn asked Brad holding her ground.

"You're not quite as misinformed as I'd been led to believe." Brad answered her.

"Why? Because I'm in the vanity business?Because I'm a woman? Did you think that I'd not have an intellect behind this makeup?" Heylyn crossed her arms purposely showing him that she could be assertive.

"Brad" paused admiring her confidence, perhaps seeing a bit of Jennifer, his own daughter in her.

"Not at all. I'm just trying to warn you and to keep you safe. There's no pulling the wool over your eyes thankfully." Brad responded purposely withdrawing seeing that the information he'd been given about her was not accurate.

"I'd prefer to maintain my trust here in New Delhi, Bangkok and for the rest of the trip. If you're going to be trailing us I'd suggest that you stick to your profession of fashion and not get involved in the espionage and the diplomacy of this situation. Its a bit more complicated than you might appreciate, though I highly doubt that its something you couldn't grasp. I appreciate the fact that you're watching over us, but I'd prefer to see this whole thing end without an international fiasco." Heylyn responded as she turned and began heading for the washroom.

"Oh and by the way. Thanks for saving me." she said as she left him in the hall.

"I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't have let you handle it. I mean my own Canadian daughter would admire you Heylyn. You're a hero to many of us Special Op Mounties. Just always remember that its the principle that keeps us who we are. When you relinquish that, you're no better than what we're resisting. Your father knew that. Heck, he came here to share his ideal concept of Utopia... Something of which he regarded you as instrumental, being a loving father and highly respected Architect and all. I admired your father, as a father myself. I was even tasked with protecting him when he brought his wife and you in her arms to this country. Your Grandmother followed too being the courageous lady she was. Heylyn, your whole family gave whole heartedly to this country. There are some who might not remember, but we never turn our back on our allies. Ever. We truly believe in that spiel that many call our Constitution. Our Charter Of Rights. Our Human Rights Act. I know many who've fought and died protecting those principles, Heylyn. I've got your back despite how much I despise your shallow views of the world. I mean, I could name so many people, both women and men who've sacrificed EVERYTHING without even so much as a wink, nod or tip of the hat to let them know they were appreciated. Keep in mind Heylyn that you're admired by the unadmired. Those who keep that freedom you so cherish." Brad said as he left the hall returning to the bar.

Heylyn spied Brad as he backed off from her carefully. She immediately recognized it within him. That thing that had brought Jinn Hua into her life.

He was something apart of this being. A man on a different wavelength from reality with enough being to let her know.

He didn't assault her with words. He didn't assault her physically.

He let her know who she was to them. Where she was. When and how, or hao in her native Mandarin Chinese...

She was intrigued by Brad and yet skeptical of him.

Alicia and Monique watched as Frank walked out of the washroom hall and took his original place. He appeared slightly scuffled and his shirt untucked as he made efforts to fix his attire.

"Looks like he got his." Monique turned to Alicia, Valerie and Katya.

A moment later they watched as Brad stepped out of the hall. He stopped and said something to Frank before continuing to a stool near the end of the bar.

"This is getting interesting." Valerie said as they watched.

Another few moments and Heylyn walked out of the hall and returned to her seat beside Monique and Alicia.

Frank Pheasel

"So what happened?" Alicia asked Heylyn.

Heylyn turned in the direction of the two men.

"That one's Frank. That one's Brad. Brad stopped Frank. I stopped Brad." Heylyn said smiling to herself.

Monique and Alicia looked at each other wondering what had happened.

"'Fess up. Really what happened?" Monique asked her again with a mischievous smile.

"Frank's press. He tried to get at me in the private and Brad stopped him. Brad's a body guard of sorts. Brad seems to believe that we could be in trouble with the local authorities and warned us that we could be abducted. I corrected him stating that I trust in this part of the world. He seems to me the type that's looking to make a bit of trouble to benefit from the diplomatic advantage that might result so I stopped him. We'll be seeing more of him again. I'd say to keep an eye on him too." Heylyn said explaining what had happened.

"Alright. I'll let Norler know." Alicia assured Heylyn.

"Wait. I'd better let him know. That way it keeps that subject away from your dealings with him. Easier on your relationship with him right now. Your relationship with him is important. This delegation is important. Make sense?" Valerie confirmed with Alicia.

Alicia thought about if for a moment before responding.

"You're right." Alicia said as she paused to think for a moment.

"Thanks for thinking of us Valerie." she continued.

The remainder of the night was spent between social groups at their table or on the dance floor. At three o'clock in the morning both delegations made their way to their respective hotels and settled in for the night.

The next day it was Norler who was awakened early by a messaging service. He answered the call on the hotel phone still groggy from the previous night's escapades.

"Yeah? Norler here." he said his voice still groggy.

"You need to check the morning paper's headlines. Hurry and get back to me." Helmet Werner's voice addressed him sharply.

"Alright. Gimme a minute." Norler said impatiently getting out of bed.

He went to the door and found a copy of his favorite newsprint edition. He quickly picked it up noticing on the bottom of the front page a picture of what appeared to be Professor Maxwell delivering his dressing down the retired gentleman who'd broached them the prior night. The headline said Bang Bang Maxwell's Silver Hammer: Professor Bryce Maxwell Digs Into Retired Man's Night.

"Whaaat? How could they?" Norler said aloud as he stepped in reading the story.

Bangkok, Thailand

Tynan And Associates delegation to Bangkok hit a snag when senior delegation member Professor Bryce Maxwell opened up on a retired elderly couple. The attack appeared unprovoked and witnesses say Maxwell's demeanor was appalling for a Professor. When asked for an explanation representatives of Tynan And Associates only claimed they were looking into the matter and denied any further questions. Perhaps this signals the end of the doomed delegation.

Frank Pheasel

"I just read it. Werner that is not what happened at all. You know how it is. Professor Maxwell was nothing short of being a gentleman when he addressed the couple. He even bought them a round afterwards." Norler said defending his friend and delegation member.

"To some that might be an admission of wrong doing." Werner pressed him.

"To Bryce that was his way of saying no hard feelings. The man had made a statement to the effect of targeting the wealthy and educated. Bryce responded by dashing his ignorance but he did it in such a way so as not to belittle the guy." Norler said as he sat on his bed.

Alicia groaned from the other side of the bed.

"I'll do the best I can here but the real damage control is up to you. Speak with the rest of the Bangkok delegation before you leave and make sure we have their support on this issue. Call me later." Werner hung up.

"Who was that?" Alicia asked Norler as she leaned up in bed.

Norler tossed her the newspaper.

She quickly read the headline and story and scoffed.

"That's not what happened at all!" she said aloud in disbelief.

"I know. Can you tell him?" Norler asked Alicia.

"Why? Because I'm his peer?" Alicia responded defensively thinking about the situation for a moment before responding again.

"Alright. I'll tell him. I'm sorry." Alicia said quietly getting up and heading for the washroom.


"That weasel! Brad had him in his hands. That's the reporter that tried to follow me into the washroom last night." Heylyn announced at the breakfast table an hour later.

"Well I must admit I've never had press of this kind. For the most part they've been good to me so far. This is the first attack on my character of this nature." Bryce responded sounding very disappointed.

"Welcome to the club." Heylyn replied.

"Ditto that." Norler responded in like.

"Honestly the press have been very good to me and my career. I've had problems with one or two obsessive and problematic reporters before. Usually they burn out before long." Heylyn assured Bryce who seemed to deep in thought.

"Well honestly I'm more worried for my wife than I am for myself. This is stress that she could do without." Bryce responded.

"Well as Heylyn said they're usually not this bad. It sounds like this is personal or the guy was hired to do this. Maybe a payola of some time to find the dirt on our delegation." Norler told Bryce.

"Maybe the same people that tried to hurt us. The ones behind the attack on Professor Mattu?" Alicia suggested.

"I wasn't going to do this, but clearly this guy deserves it. I'm going to have him served with a cease and desist. Last night he tried to follow me into the lady's room. He denied it but he was already at the doorway when Brad restrained him. I think he's a sleeze looking for an easy sell to the papers fabricating dirt on others. At least serving him and announcing it to the press might reduce his credibility and the credibility of this story. I'll let the lawyers handle the rest. I personally think its the right thing to do. If he could do this to us he'll likely do it to someone else." Heylyn told the delegates.

"Yeah but that could be misconstrued as an attack on the freedom of the press and make matters worse." Norler advised.

"Personally I agree with Heylyn. I mean this guy's a creep. We have this Brad guy as a witness. I've had some try similar things with me. I think its time to put a stop to this sort of thing." Monique said endorsing her friend's plan.

"I appreciate the effort that you're making in your attempt to reduce the damage of this Frank Pheasel person. Consider this though, if that story hadn't been published would you have considered doing the same thing? We wouldn't be having this conversation right now and therefore the topic of pursuing this legally would not have come up. In other words is what you're doing just to conduct revenge or is it really to protect yourselves and other Women?" Bryce asked them honestly.

"Maybe that was the final straw in all honesty. Perhaps I'd have forgiven last night's attempt to breach my privacy but had I encountered the same thing again I'd likely have done what I just proposed. I can't think of a better reason to do this now. I don't want this creep trying to get a peep shot on another lady in that way." Heylyn told the delegation.

"I agree with Heylyn on this." Katya added.

"Me too. If that was my daughter he'd tried that with..." Victor cringed.

"I have to say that in all honesty I agree with taking those steps. I just hope that you're not seeking revenge and seeking to stop this person from doing the same thing again to someone else." Norler gave his opinion.

"I say let's take it out on the creep. Sounds like he deserves it." Valerie advised the delegation.

"I agree." Monique said curt and sweet.

"Then it's settled. I'll call my lawyer right now while Bryce is calling his wife." Heylyn said pulling her phone from her purse seeing Bryce already getting the speed dial on his.

"Meanwhile I'll call and deal with the Bangkok delegates. Let them know we're alright and thank them. Our next flight's at six o'clock this evening so we'll meet back here in the lobby ready to go at four o'clock in the afternoon. Everyone get that?" Norler asked the delegation.

Everybody nodded in acknowledgement and it was settled. Brad sat in his rental car watching as they left the hotel for the day.

Flight And Bryce's Football Game

Alicia and Norler had remained quiet for most of the flight speaking to each other only as required and this had gone further in making the other delegates a little more than uncomfortable. Bryce and Doctor Briggs sat beside one another on the outer aisle seats of the craft. Bryce had been verbally affronted by a few people on the flight who'd read the misleading news story penned by Frank Pheasel. Bryce had politely handled each response only losing his cool momentarily when one such person continually goaded him. It had reminded him of his school years and how he'd often been treated by the more athletic students until he'd earned their respect.

He recalled one such incident and being called an egg head by one of the key athletes for his High School. Instead of making a fuss about it, he'd opted to make a wager with his school bound bully whose name was Bill. He'd bet that he could best Bill in any one of three different sports. Billiards which was not really a sport as much as a parlor game but one that both Bill and Bryce enjoyed. Four person Football, with Football being one of Bill's specialties and the sport that had made him the school's hero in the face of academia. The last was Tennis which again was one of Bill's strong sports and one in which he possessed natural talent. Bill had initially laughed at Bryce but ultimately agreed to the bet whose stakes were simple. If Bryce won, Bill would never taunt him or any of the other so called nerds of the school ever again. Girls or boys. If Bryce lost he'd take all of the abuse directed towards nerds himself in their place. Bill had everything to gain and nothing to lose and so it was that he accepted the wager.

Naturally word of the bet traveled quickly through the school and in the time up until the three day competition Bryce had become a celebrity in his school. He'd figured that he'd have billiards in the bag seeing as his family had a billiards table in the basement. He was a natural when it came to billiards being an ace in math and physics not to mention the hands on experience he'd had with a pool cue. Bill had earned his chalk at the local pool hall and was considered one of the best by his peers and thus could make a challenge. For the other two sports, Bryce only had to ensure that he was victorious in one of them. He figured his best bet was to go for Football and in doing so he picked as his partner a member of the Women's Football team by the name of Wendy, who had kindly agreed to train him as well. Wendy had been looking for the opportunity to rub Bill's bottom onto the football field herself and this was just such an opportunity to bring a victory home for the Women of the school. Bryce had figured that Bill would run him into the ground at tennis but had practiced with Wendy despite. As a result he'd become a much stronger athlete himself and a much better tennis player to boot.

As it happened the first competition to take place was billiards and as Bryce had expected he'd whooped Bill in every game. He'd been modest about it of course even giving Bill the benefit of the doubt by purposely missing a few shots in the last game only to come back and beat him. The so called "nerds" had been there to cheer him on and when he'd finished Bill at the pool hall on his own turf, they'd paid for his snacks and video games for the night in celebration. The next day at noon they held the tennis competition and this was where Bill had the last laugh. He'd beat Bryce hands down in every game, making Bryce work through every inch of the court for little or no progress in score. Bill had left the court without even so much as a breath while Bryce fell to the court huffing profusely dripping with sweat. The win had only helped to invigorate Bill who'd goaded him about the next competition, their four person Football game. Wendy had been at the tennis game and picked Bryce up from the ground giving him a kiss on the cheek.

"Don't you worry about a thing. You just remember what I taught you." Wendy hauled him up off the ground.

"I trust you. If I can throw the ball consistently we should be alright. After all, I'm a math and physics major. I literally know how the forces will affect the ball in flight. My intuition about it, well that's another thing." Bryce responded.

"There's a bit more to it than just knowing. Sometimes life is more about what you feel. You did good out here. Not as good as Bill but good nonetheless." Wendy said walking him off the court.

Bryce had been thinking all night about what Wendy had said to him. About having to feel it more so than think it. In truth math, physics, literature and music had just come naturally to him. Like he could feel it more often than he'd have to think it. When it came to sports though he found himself having to think about what he'd do and then force his body to do it rather than feeling it happen naturally. The same way he'd become so strong in math and physics. Intuition. If he could feel throwing the ball the same way he could feel his way through physics and math, he'd have it made. If he didn't well they'd both be sacked and it was more than just his Honor on the line. He wanted them both to win this as much for Wendy's confidence too. Kind of a post Women's lib era victory for the Women of the school.

The next day being a Saturday they'd agreed to do the competition at eleven o'clock in the morning. He'd arrived to see that the school football field had many spectators at least seventy in all who'd arrived just to see the four person game. Wendy was there warming up in preparation while Bill had picked his friend Mike, one of the linebackers from the school football team as his partner for the game. Mike was a large muscular fellow who'd be rushing Bryce and Wendy on the field as part of Bill's defense. Mike was also a good receiver despite his larger frame and slower more awkward gait.

The rules were simple. They'd toss for the kick off to start the game, the other team having to retrieve the ball and make as much headway as they could up the field until they were tackled. They'd opted for the two hand touch rule meaning that instead of a full tackle the runners would only be required to hit their target with two hands to count as a tackle. They'd had six referees to discern this from a variety of different parts of the field. Each team would get three downs to gain ten yards and if they'd gained those yards they'd get another three downs until they'd safely put the ball in the hands of a player who'd made it to the other team's end zone.

Bill's team had won the toss and would kick to Wendy and Bryce who took their place at the forty yard line. Bryce watched as Bill kicked the ball with ease nearly to the ten yard line on their side of the field. Wendy caught it covering the distance and quickly circled around beginning her sprint down towards their end zone. Wendy had a compact athletic and muscular body being athletically active in school since she was a young girl. Many guys had been intimidated by her for this reason despite the fact that many had found her quite attractive. They'd definitely underestimated her for this reason as they did that day on the field. Wendy had been looking for this chance since she was a small girl and the first time she'd lost out on an opportunity simply because she was a girl. Cliche and stigma had carved their mark upon her and she'd spent her whole life trying to break it. The spectators watched her as she sped down the field towards the two larger Men who obstructed her way. She side stepped them both as one dove for her ankles trying to lay two hands on her. She jumped lifting both her feet just narrowly avoiding their tag and she continued down the field in a sprint as they struggled to catch up. She crossed the end zone with ease scoring their first six points. The spectators went wild cheering for her loudly while Bill's fans booed and taunted her.

She'd easily made the corresponding field goal kick, Bryce holding the ball nervously his hands shaking as she drilled it between the goal posts of the field garnering them another one point bringing their score to seven. Now Bryce would be required to kick the ball towards their end of the field seeing as Wendy had kicked the field goal. Bill and Mike would be required to catch the ball and gain as much ground as they could.

"Remember what I taught you. Don't look at the ball. Look at where you want the ball to go. Feel the kick." Wendy reminded him.

Bryce thought about it taking the wind into consideration and with the weight of the ball if he could just connect with it off the midpoint and put a spin on the ball, it might as she'd said travel where he was looking. He took a breath and held it running forward a step and then delivering the kick to the ball in his own hands. He'd connected with it too far towards the end and the ball cartwheeled into the air a good distance just clearing the fifty yard line. When it hit the ground it darted the opposite direction that Bill had anticipated. Bryce and Wendy ran towards the ball as Bill struggled to get it up off the field and run. He barreled towards them running directly at Bryce while Mike blocked Wendy. Bill ploughed into Bryce at the forty yard line with the force of a freight train sending Bryce tumbling to the field where he lay broken and still. The whistle was blown as it was considered a legal tackle at the forty yard line. Wendy ran over to check on Bryce.

"So this is heaven? There wouldn't happen to be an easier way to get here would here?" Bryce asked Wendy as she lifted him up giggling.

"Did we win?" he asked her making fun again as he caught his breath.

"If you'd stop taking naps on the field we might." she smiled and smirked at him simultaneously.

They played the rest of the game pretty much neck in neck with their competition. The real break for them had come when Wendy had sacked Bill while he played quarterback to Mike's receiver. Bryce had kept on Mike covering him like a pro. Bill decided to have a go directly against the juggernaut known as Wendy. He put the ball under his arm and began dodging left and right as Wendy charged him. He began his legendary sprint, one that had won the school several title championships in their borough of the city. He was fast but in this instant she was faster and much more agile. He ran back trying to circle around her to the West as she rushed him pushing him back by more than ten yards on their third down. She tagged him clearly with both hands and stopped throwing the ball to the ground pushing her back with his hands.

Bryce quickly ran over as the two stood each other down.

"What happened?" he asked Wendy as she walked away from Bill cautiously.

"He did something I was hoping he'd do for a long time." Wendy had told him.

"What was that?" Bryce asked her as they stopped.

"He forgot that I was a girl. Just for a moment in his eyes we were equals on the field and he treated me that way. I beat him at his own game." Wendy said still reveling in her victory.

"We won the game? Really?!" he confirmed with her thinking that there was a rule he'd missed somewhere along the way.

"No. It was a personal game I guess. My own. One I was playing for on the side of the Women. We've still got to make this chance count. The game's almost over and we need to score this time to win. If we don't, we're behind by five points and they win." Wendy informed him as she took her place at their thirty five yard line.

"Ok. But you're alright. So you won already? I still need you though to help us win this. I don't like the idea of being picked a pin cushion in place of all the nerds for the rest of my education. If we win this then the geeks, outcasts and nerds of this school will be free of torment you realize. This is an important victory." Bryce reminded her.

"I know. Nerd liberation though let's try to keep the cliches to a minimum. I'm an outcast too, remember?" Wendy reminded him.

"Really? Not from my team you're not." he said to her.

She stopped on the field for a moment looking at him seriously before she approached him and gave him a hug.

He stood stunned and reeling and uncertain what to do or say.

"What?" she asked him.

"Kind of like being hugged by a Goddess." Bryce said to her feigning deliriousness.

"Alright, geek. Let's win this. This time you're going to play the receiver and I'll be the quarterback." Wendy said to him giving him the ball.

"Are you sure? I don't know if I can..." Bryce replied unsure of himself.

"Remember. Watch the ball as it comes to you. Trust your body to catch it. It knows how to do the rest naturally. Kind of like kissing. You've done that before right?" Wendy asked him.

"Well once or twice but I'm no expert." he said honestly more so than jokingly.

"Just let it happen. When you've got the ball run with it." Wendy told him.

"...towards the end zone." Bryce confirmed.

"Yeah. Yep. Theirs though, not ours." Wendy pointed the direction for him.

"Ok. Just checking." Bryce confirmed taking a position in front of her.

"One... two... three.. huht!" she yelled and Bryce threw the ball back to her from between his legs.

He ran as fast as he could trying to find an opening towards their end zone as Mike covered him. Bill remained on Wendy eager for payback.

"Face it, you lost already. Geek face there is not going to catch it. He's already thinking about his math homework or his piano and band practice!" Bill taunted her covering her as best he could.

She looked for the moment and just for a second there was curved line window to Bryce. She threw the ball putting a slight angular spin on it hoping that he'd see what she'd done. Bryce looked carefully at the ball in flight. It's facing direction, trajectory and angular momentum too. She's thrown it differently he thought. It's got an off axis spin. That means that the centripetal force is going to keep the ball facing in a direction the ball isn't actually moving which means...

Mike watched trying to anticipate the flight of the ball running in a bit of a different direction than Bryce did putting yards between them leaving him the window he'd needed. He remembered what she'd said. To watch the ball and let his body do the rest. He watched the ball which had traveled exactly as he'd anticipated it. In a slight ellipse rather than a straight line. Mike had gone completely in the wrong direction and was struggling to cover the ground back to Bryce as he caught the ball. Bryce watched the ball descend into his arms not even thinking about it and then it was there. He'd caught it. He stood for a moment shocked as Wendy screamed at him to run. He reanimated when he spied Mike charging at him furiously trying to close the twenty yards between them. Bryce turned and ran as fast as he could for the end zone. He charged at full speed as both Mike and Bill closed on him, their athletic practice and prowess making up for his correct anticipation of the ball's real trajectory. As Bryce crossed the threshold Mike and Bill dove at him trying to make the tag. Bryce stumbled just a moment as he crossed the line tumbling to the ground nearly losing the ball as time stood still.

"That's a touchdown! Six points! Wendy and Bryce win the game!" the referee said as the last seconds of the game ran out.

The crowd went wild and the field was filled with the geeks, nerds and outcasts of the school who'd bore their own two heroes on the field that day.

From that point on both Bryce and Wendy had earned the respect of all the cliques of the school and it had opened many doors for them both. For one, Bryce and many of the other geeks at lunch would play billiards and in a big change, they'd often end up winning rather than losing their lunch money or lunches to the former bullies of the school who'd finally accepted them begrudgingly. For a time stigma seemed to give way to acceptance. Bryce would regularly be seen drawing a crowd on the stage during school assemblies either playing piano or trumpet as part of the school jazz ensemble band. Wendy had earned a Women's scholarship for both her athletic and academic performance and had been accepted to the University Of Toronto. Bryce of course had gone on to a life of continued learning studying at University Of Waterloo, York University and finally University of Toronto where he'd earned his credentials as a qualified Professor. Bryce reveled in their victory as time suddenly tugged bringing him back to his place beside Doctor Briggs on the flight to Beijing.

"Can you believe it? He actually changed his name to Pheasel from Gorss!" Doctor Briggs said checking out some rumors about the reporter online, rousing Bryce from his memories.

"Huh? Oh, the reporter. Thanks but it's alright. Let's concentrate on something else." Bryce said as someone across the aisle smirked at him.

"Just trying to help, Bryce. Just trying to help." Doctor Briggs told Bryce.

"I'm sure they'll stop by the time we've landed. It's still a bit fresh though. It just needs a little time." Bryce said as he lay back in his seat and fell asleep.

An hour later the plane set down in China for their only stopover for the trip and it was where one of their delegation would depart taking another route to Beijing.

Guangzhou Sunrise

Heylyn had bid the rest of the delegation a farewell as she left the plane. Alicia had offered to join her but Heylyn had stubbornly refused her and Monique's offers instead insisting that she'd arrive in Beijing in time for their meeting with the Chinese delegation, where her presence would be most precious and valued. She'd left her belongings on the flight only taking her essentials with her and what she'd need for the next day. She grabbed a taxi for the long trip to Guangzhou and her intended destination there within.

She'd left ShenZhen Bao'an International Airport as the sun crested the building tops of the old city known in it's romanised form as Canton. Guangzhou had been the head of the snake, the long winding path that had become known to the west as the Silk Road before finding a new head in what would eventually become Beijing. Heylyn's business although not related directly to the current business of the delegation held some relevance in a roundabout way. She leaned her head against the window of the cab and before she closed her eyes she spoke.

[I'll be sleeping soon. Wake me when we near Guangzhou.]
"我很快就要睡覺了。 當我們靠近廣州時醒來。" Heylyn said to the cab driver in her native tongue.

[Ok. I'll wake you. I'll turn the radio off for you.]
"好。 我會叫醒你。 我會為你關閉收音機。" the cab driver replied to her as she fell asleep.

She quickly found sleep without event and only had mild dreams recalling her childhood in bits and pieces. She remembered protecting the cocoon she'd found on the end of a tree branch from one of the neighborhood boys. She'd fallen and bumped her head while protecting it and had awoken much to her relief to see the butterfly emerging from it safely. Unharmed. She'd heard voices too. Possibly Weltherwithsp's though the Dragon made no attempt to show itself during her restful sleep. She heard other voices from her past as well both familiar and none so nearly. She'd heard two voices, that of a Woman and a Man. They were in a scuffle against unseen attackers and their voices could be heard as they pesevered. Heylyn herself struggled against sleep paralysis attempting to find them and help them. Instead she only found that she was unable to move.

She awoke an hour and a half later to the sound of the cab driver's attempts to rouse her.

[I'm awake. Thank you.]
"我很清醒。 謝謝。" Heylyn responded groggily trying not to wipe her eyes.

[We're here. Just down the road from your stop.]
"我們在這裡。 就在你停下來的路上。"  the cab driver pointed down the road.

Ahead Heylyn could see her destination. A large Temple with traditional Chinese architecture, a large garden lining it's exterior like a moat.

The car stopped and Heylyn paid the man giving him a generous tip. He thanked her repeatedly.

[Thank you! ...Thank you! ...Thank you!]
"謝謝! ...謝謝! ...謝謝!" the cab driver's voice disappeared as she walked towards her destination.

"Three's grace is enough. Don't tempt the fates." she mumbled replying under her breath perhaps clinging to local superstition after all too much was sometimes as bad as not enough.

She approached the Temple gate passing a booth on her way in.

[Hey you. You need to pay!]
"嘿,你。 你需要付!" a Lady yelled out from the booth.

[I'm sorry. I assumed that I could just go in.]
"對不起。 我假設我可以進去。" Heylyn reponded looking through her purse for her wallet again.

[We need to pay for upkeep. It's expensive not to mention the archives here require special care.]
"我們需要支付維持費用。 它是昂貴的,不要提到這裡的檔案需要特別照顧。" the Lady in the booth responded patiently waiting for Heylyn to pay the price.

[Thank you.]
"謝謝。" Heylyn said as she continued in.

[Thank you.]
"謝謝。" the Lady said as Heylyn entered the Temple.

The interior was oddly family though she could not put her finger on where she'd seen this layout before. She searched her memories trying to recall finding only clutter recall. Perhaps the travel and jet lag had caught up with her remarkable endurance. She found her way in seeking out one of the Scholars within. She found him dressed of old, a tall headdress adorning his head and a long robe wrapped his body. He stood reading a scroll which dangled from the ceiling written on the finest silk paper, very obviously hand painted in traditional Chinese calligraphy. She approached the Scholar cautious of interrupting his reading. He stood for a moment oblivious of her presence before he spoke.

[Some of the verses still cause my eyes to tear. How may I help you?]
"有些經文仍然引起我的眼淚。 我怎樣能幫到你?" the Scholar asked Heylyn without looking at her nor taking his eyes from the scroll.

[I'm looking for records relating to a specific line. The Sifu of an old style.]
"我正在尋找與特定行相關的記錄。 老風格的主人。" Heylyn inquired of the Scholar.

[Few in this day are concerned with the ways of old. Always now and me. How is it what you seek is different?]
"在這一天很少關心老的方式。 總是現在和我。 你所尋求的是什麼不同?" the Scholar asked Heylyn still keeping his eyes fixed upon the scroll.

[I'm but a humble student who seeks answers. I know not of time or my place within. I only seek answers.]
"我是一個謙卑的學生尋求答案。 我不知道時間或我的地方。 我只尋求答案。" Heylyn reponded to the Scholar.

There was a quiet moment.

[What do you seek?]
"你在尋找什麼?" the Scholar asked her apparently unmoved by her prior statement.

[I seek the archives related to Sifu Jin Hua and of the style of the Butterfly Dragon.]
"我尋找與金華大師相關的檔案和蝴蝶龍的風格。" she asked the Scholar whose eyes immediately moved from the scroll to take in Heylyn.

He stared at her for a long moment seeming hurt by her statement. He then walked away without saying another word. She watched him as he disappeared into the bowels of the Temple. She turned to the scroll on the wall trying to read the ancient script realizing where she'd seen the arrangement of the interior before. It was very similar to the Toronto Temple where she'd met Sifu Jin Hua. The Temple which she'd told Heylyn was secretly called the Temple Of The Butterfly Dragon. After she'd been graded as passing her final test the Temple had been closed. Two years later the building was destroyed and there remained nothing of the Temple in Toronto though there were many other Chinese Temples to be found in the diversity of the city. Heylyn had been so busy with school work at that time she'd not been able to put the effort required into investigating what had happened to the Temple. Why had it closed? Why had Jin Hua disappeared and where did she go?

[That is much effort for this fine day. Saturday. Are you planning on doing something? Preparing for something perhaps? Butterfly?]
"這是這個美好的一天的努力。 星期六。 你打算做點什麼嗎? 準備的東西可能嗎? 蝴蝶?" came a sultry and lyrical voice from behind her.

All at once Heylyn felt an insurgence of emotions and memories. She recalled a time when she'd been a young girl of twelve years. She'd already been a a multiple black belt in both Goju Ryu and Tae Kwon Do. Her third step was taken with Jin Hua. Sifu Jin Hua though Jin had forbade her from addressing her as such. Instead they'd call each other by their first names. Jin and Ai. From that point on it was that Heylyn or as her parents had named her Ai, had began her final steps towards her destiny as the Butterfly Dragon. It was as the ancient dragon Weltherwithsp had said. Sometimes aspects of our lives disappeared only to resurface again when we'd least expect them. Like fate and destiny were intertwined in ways we could not fathom though Heylyn had little regard for either concept. She'd accepted though that the owner of that voice had returned to her life nearly two decades later.

"Jin...?" Heylyn spoke in English turning to see a figure hidden behind a thin veil and long robe.

"It seems you remembered despite the fact that you'd forgotten so much. It's always the details that take us by surprise." Jin circled Heylyn as she spoke responding in English as well.

"You still have a way with words." Heylyn smiled as she remembered their many talks.

"Perhaps I get that from our mutual friend?" Jin posed the question.

"You obviously mean..." Heylyn started speaking as Jin interrupted.

"Don't say it's name. A rule that we keep around here. There are so few such similar forms of respect in the world. Let's keep this one." Jin said rounding her right side.

"What happened to you. I mean the Temple in Toronto. It's gone." Heylyn asked Jin.

"I closed the Temple and sold the building. Then I disappeared. My real task there accomplished for you'd taken the first nine steps into your journey as the Butterfly Dragon. Your life continued and you've obviously fulfilled your destiny and fate if you've found your way here and to me. The tendrils of life and time run through us each in ways few understand." Jin suggested.

Heylyn thought about it for a moment and it seemed to make sense though ultimately it was difficult to accept.

"I find this a little hard to believe that all of this was just for me." Heylyn responded to her former instructor.

"That's because it isn't all for you. Rather it is something of which you are a part. There is a very big difference in that concept." Jin's subtle smile was barely visible through her thinly veiled face.

Heylyn thought about it some more and what she had said was indeed true. Especially from the point of view of someone within the public eye. The public life had a tendency to fertilize and nurture strong and sometimes self centered egos when one took too seriously their role in life's stage. Many in her business had learned to deal with ego by a variety of humbling means. By helping their younger peers who were starting out. Rescuing Women and Men from poverty by offering them opportunity where they saw such potential. Fund raising and awareness had become a big part of their business too. All contributed to a bigger picture where the successful were merely pieces of a much bigger puzzle. Recognition and thanks was always a welcome reward to the lives of innovators and those who'd persevered but it never should be the sole motivation for anyone's existence.

Her introduction to the life and philosophy of the Butterfly Dragon had been steeped in mystery and coincidence that was sometimes a little unnerving. After all she'd lived this as a little girl up and into her current mid life, it was the biggest part of her. As big as her career but in and by a much different means. It was that for which she lived. To play her part in making this world a better place in ways that few could imagine, have seen or understood. Much like the delegation of which she was currently a part. It had a greater purpose and certainly greater than any of its individual members' purpose alone. Yet it was their combined effort that made it possible.

"I'm here as part of a delegation..." Heylyn began and Jin in style interrupted.

" bring a medicine to the East. How curious it is. Do you seek to repay the medicine that healed your soul from such a young age Butterfly?" Jin asked Heylyn.

"The delegation has nothing to do with the Butterfly Dragon." Heylyn assured Jin impatiently.

"Oh but yes it does. In fact the two are intertwined in ways that you obviously have not seen." Jin said to Heylyn lifting her veil.

Heylyn looked on and was amazed to see that Jin had changed little if all beneath her veil. She appeared as much a Woman in her early thirties as did Heylyn despite the fact that she had to be at least twice Heylyn's age.

"You've kept your youthful exuberance and visage I see." Heylyn said trying to appear unmoved.

"Does the mind follow the body or the body follow the mind?" Jin asked Heylyn though it came out sounding more like rhetoric than philosophy.

"Are you saying that if we think young we will remain as such?" Heylyn confirmed in disbelief.

"No. I am saying that when we discard our stigmas surrounding age that we transcend it." Jin presented to Heylyn for her consideration.

"Are you saying that we should start by seeking out and marrying children?" Heylyn responded.

"Not at all. That would be the unacceptable exploitation of innocence and those we are ushering into the era of their wisdom and ability to grow by one's self. To do as such is an injustice beyond measure." Jin responded calmly.

"But that seems to be the general consensus of any society that does not recognize an age barrier and the value of youth and innocence." Heylyn said still smoldering inside thinking about the human trafficking ring she'd assisted authorities to take down.

"Spoken like a true savior, Heylyn. I'm impressed that these thoughts and words are coming from a little girl that I taught from the time that she was twelve years old. You stand strong in your virtues to protect that same little girl in yourself whom of course is thinking these thoughts. So what is the difference between then and now?" Jin asked Heylyn.

"A coming of age. A loss of innocence. An understanding that the world is not all about me and my feelings and that people can be hurt as a result of my words, actions or in the absence of either. Just as much as I can be hurt by them and theirs." Heylyn spoke feeling her words more so than thinking them.

"So how is it that the notion of this boundary, this coming of age determines that once we surpass it that we should play our part and grow old, taking a role in the world that has already been written for us and that is based upon the ascent of the number of times the planet goes around the sun and to have that form tracks from which we cannot stray?" Jin orated looking deep into Heylyn's soul and being questioningly.

Heylyn thought about it and weighed it carefully.

"Think with your heart Butterfly. Don't let your mind take too much of it's meaning away. How do you feel by that statement?" Jin reiterated.

"Age is much more than just the tracks to which we are bound. I guess I look at it as the tracks to which we are bound that are made up of how we should direct our lives to ensuring that we don't as being older and wiser take away the challenge of learning that youth must undergo to attain that coming of age by solving their challenges for them." Heylyn said giving the most honest answer that she could.

"Now that's typically arrogant, isn't it? You're helping them are you?" Jin came back at her.

"Arrogant? How so? I think that its a sort of sacrifice we make as we get older for the benefit of those just starting out." Heylyn responded.

"So then is that what your elders are supposed to do for you? What does that leave them and their lives? By your statement you're saying that as we get older we are confined to a prison that prevents us from using the very wisdom that we've hard learned through life's lessons to ensure that the younger generation is not denied the opportunity of solving their own problems. So as we get older we become less useful despite the fact that our knowledge and wisdom could benefit the world in many ways. Every single young person has that as their future prison whose bars are made up of how they perceive that they'll be taking away the challenge from the youth by using their hard attained wisdom? I am sorry Heylyn but I am not going to be a part of any such prison for your benefit. What is the wisdom in that statement? The one I just spoke?" Jin asked Heylyn looking into her rather than at her.

"It's taking away the prison bars of limit that exist to accommodate and ensure that the younger generation has challenges to learn from." Heylyn said thinking carefully about her statement.

"Precisely. And what does that do? It removes their bars as well for they won't be growing into a world that will more and more limit their part in it. It also leaves you free to take part in life as you see fit despite your accumulated years. A liberty of ages if you will. I am surprised that your parents did not give you that gem of Eastern wisdom for in the East, the way we value the elderly is not by imprisoning them in cages that limit the application of their wisdom but by celebrating it." Jin asserted herself.

"The wisdom of age and this concept in the East has changed considerably to accommodate youth. Especially since the reformation of China. That is why my parents did not teach me those ways." Heylyn responded.

"You speak of the fact that in the past the case was the opposite. That the cage existed for the youth and was their sacrifice so that the elderly could live their lives utilizing their wisdom while the youth had to earn theirs in order to be able to take part in society. The rank of seniority which no matter how quickly we wanted it was constrained to the rate of the passage of time. That concept was challenged through a long misunderstood philosophical text." Jin told Heylyn.

"You mean the Lao Tsu? The Tao Te Ching?" Heylyn confirmed with Jin.

"Precisely. During the reform it became the handbook for many students and a symbol against this concept of wisdom and age holding seniority over the youth, like prison bars. Like the same prison bars that age holds over the elderly now." Jin said continuing to circle Heylyn though more ceremoniously than predator-like.

"You mean over the lines leading up to the Kill the Sage passage?" Heylyn thought about it.

"Exactly. Take the rank of seniority from the elderly and at that time the ruling class their right to rule based upon that seniority. In fact at that time it was as much oppression against the youth as the current mind set is oppression of the elderly." Jin told Heylyn continuing to circle.

"But this is the way of the East. The Yin and the Yang. The two ever in opposition of one another to become one and part of ever the larger and made up of even smaller duality." Heylyn said disbelieving that Jin who'd taught her much of philosophy could be questioning these values.

"As much as the Tao Te Ching is misunderstood through the Kill the Sage passage so is the form and way of the duality. The Yin, and the Yang. The two ever together and yet never quite as one. Neither apart nor together. I never taught you of Chuang Tzu's works. I'd always assumed that you'd find them and study them yourself. After all growth is the responsibility of one's own self." Jin paused a moment to look at the scroll that the Scholar had been reading before continuing to round Heylyn's front.

"I never read or studied Chuang Tzu." Heylyn said realizing just how little she did understand.

"Then I will tell you what you need to know but you must make the effort to understand it and it's importance for it frees you of the bindings of duality. It is the philosophy of This And That. One discussed by Chuang Tzu, a disciple of Mencius by the way." Jin said inviting Heylyn into a room that appeared very much like the studio within the Temple in Toronto.

They both took a place on the brown hardwood floor of the classroom, candles, beaded curtains and scrolls lining the walls around them. It reminded Heylyn very much of her early years under Jin's tutelage.

"Not many discuss the works of Chuang Tzu yet his works bring meaning to many Eastern philosophies and free us from some of the more rigid forms of thought and principle. This And That is one such philosophy. It comes from the concept that the Way (Tao) can often seem contradictory for it is made up of actions rather than words. In the East, words had at one time become as much a part of vanity as fashion had. After all, words without corresponding action are just show, are they not?" Jin asked the Butterfly.

"But that belays the whole point to the story of the Field, The Butterflies And The Dragon. The Butterflies were accused of the same thing. Vanity. Yet it was they who were often laughed at by the creatures of the field who'd saved them by exploiting the best parts of each of them to make something to deal with the dangerous collectors. So the perception of their vanity it turns out was not a liability but an asset in a way. A delicate creature who had only what it could show rather than what it could do." Heylyn argued.

"Precisely. Listen and all will be clear for it is words that I am using to illustrate this point and if actions alone were the foundation of this reality and the Way, then I'd be a hypocrite for using them to describe it. It is words that make up the wisdom of any treatise so how is it that words can be a form of vanity if that very knowledge is of words made? Again that is the dual nature of words or thoughts versus action. For every that there is a this, and for every this there is a that. That deems nothing in and of itself but confusion for what really makes up that which has direction is that which has no corresponding this and this which has no corresponding that. That which has no opposite and which is therefore of clarity. These are the signposts and anchors of reality and the universe for upon them we can fasten ideas that cannot be reduced to this or that. Just like word versus actionWords are not vain yielding no physical result other than a show of knowledge, just as action is not without education yielding only physical accomplishment. Both could be said to be vain depending upon one's point of view and neither yields any lesser than the other. Without the words: don't drink that, it's poison, there might be much needless death and in as much by preventing one from hearing those same words by way of action, it might prevent someone from using said poison to cause harm to others. Neither word nor action is lesser nor greater yet we need sustain the body through action and the mind through word. Chuang Tzu was saying that it is through concepts that have no corresponding opposite that we find clarity. After all, we are much more than ping-pong balls or see-saws are we not? One side or the other? The East is often misunderstood in this way, yet few take effort to think and learn for themselves. Is this because of the bars that the young impose upon the elderly so they are not denied the opportunity to learn for themselves or the bars that the elderly impose upon the young so that they are not denied the opportunity to apply the wisdom they've acquired throughout their lives. So you see? Clarity would come from recognizing that by keeping this tug of war that no liberation of either would result and we'd be prisoners of age, each and every one of us for the rest of time." Jin explained Chuang Tzu's philosophy to Heylyn enthusiastically.

"I definitely understand what you're saying about the prison of age, but how does this connect with the delegation?" Heylyn  asked Jin considering the question herself as she did.

"You already spoke with our mutual friend I assume about this topic?" Jin asked very obviously speaking of Weltherwithsp.

"Yes. We had a collective vision. The first one of that nature since the Treadwater incident. Our mutual friend suggested that Alicia's problems with Norler might be the fallout of balance related to duality. That for the delegation to win that her and Norler might have to lose something that they hold dear." Heylyn informed Jin hoping that she might have insight to the questions Weltherwithsp's presence always brought into being.

"I think that you may have misinterpreted the clues in that case for our mutual friend has transcended this concept and even that of the Chuang Tzu's Principle Of Clarity. I believe that you need to re-examine what was revealed to you. Perhaps the clues were more directly revealing another threat to the delegation or to Alicia and Norler? Even worse, a threat to the relationship between the East and the West. Maybe a threat from within the delegation itself? Possibly a threat you've faced before?" Jin asked of Heylyn.

"I think that everyone in the delegation is trustworthy. There's no ulterior motives. I'd have caught on if there were. It's something else. I have to warn the others." Heylyn said standing from the floor offering her hand to Jin.

"Don't think this a sign of age, just the humbling acceptance of the help of a former and current student." Jin said accepting her hand.

"I'm so glad that I found you here. I certainly did not expect it. I take it I will see you again?" Heylyn asked her former Sifu.

"That you will. There is one more thing Butterfly. There is a coming threat. An ancient one who seeks the lost Gem. One who will not cease until that Gem is within their grasp. The Gem upon your heart though there is always a choice. That is all that I can say to you for it is all that I am permitted to know." Jin informed Heylyn whose face looked puzzled.

"A Gem?" Heylyn asked her.

"A Gem. Perhaps the greatest treasure of all Gems? You must go and seek your friends. Take what you've learned with you and remember that we will always be with you." Jin responded sending Heylyn on her way.

Heylyn proceeded towards the exit of the Temple passing a scroll which caught her eyes along the way:

然後我又一個人。 步行。 說。 思維。




I once had a dream that I was a Butterfly.
Fluttering and flying without aim or anchor.
I am not aware that I was myself yet I am.
Then I was a person again. Walking. Talking. Thinking.

I then had the thought am I myself having dreamt I was a Butterfly or am I a Butterfly dreaming that I am a human being?

Are we the dreamer or the dreamed?]

Directly across from it on the adjacent wall another scroll caught her eyes:






I come again to seek the Gem.
Its shine I seek to cleanse my Chi.
Renewed I will direct it to my will.
Change will come as it has before.

Ignorance will follow and none will know for in ignorance there is no knowing.

This absence will lead all towards their final destiny and the end. It will all begin again from where it ceased to be. 

Devoured by the Dragon to be no more and then like the Butterfly born from the cocoon of it's passing.]

She left the Temple slightly overwhelmed by her newly acquired understanding of the situation and the future.

More so of her responsibility within.

That night she left on another flight to Beijing. She slept for most of the flight dreaming of Butterflies and Dragons.

Copyright © 2018 Brian Joseph Johns