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...And Then There Were Four

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This is a story about a Peking opera troupe. Most notably, four in particular. Hence the title. What four you may ask? I'll get into that a little later. But first I think it's wise to discuss the opera on hand.

It is a fantastic, magical story famous in Chinese history known as Journey to the West. Based partially on fiction and nonfiction alike, it weaves a poetic tale so epic that it leaves a mark in their culture to this day.

In a nutshell, the plot is thus; four demons-turned-monks escort and protect a holy Buddhist monk on his long and arduous journey West to fetch scriptures to bring back to his home in the East in order to save humanity. (More or less.) The monk is exceptionally vulnerable but is not a normal mortal by any means. It is said that if any mortal, demon, god, or deity should eat his flesh they would become immortal. Hence why he is so sought after and needs the protection of his four companions. The journey is fraught with danger at every turn and rarely do our heroes get a moment's rest. In fact, so many complications arise that the journey itself ends up taking fourteen years to complete.

But I'll stop there in the description. For our story has nothing to do with that.

Our focus is more on one of the monk's companions in particular. His first and most powerful disciple; Sun Wukong.

Or, if you must go by his complete title, then The Handsome Monkey King Of The Mountain Of Flowers And Fruits And Water Curtain Cave, The Great Sage Equal To Heaven; Sun Wukong.

Quite a mouthful, isn't it? Let's just stick to the first choice, shall we? For time sake. 

Now Sun Wukong is a very prominent figure in Journey to the West. So important is he that he is introduced all the way in chapter one. From the humble beginnings of his miraculous birth all the way until he and the rest of his companions reach the West and become Buddhas at the very end. We learn more about him and spend more time with him than any other character. For obvious reasons. He's amazing. To describe how powerful and great he is would send me on a tangent in a direction that would take me far away from my own story. If you wish to know how incredible he is, I suggest reading the novels.

But in the meantime, I digress again. Because for the second time this story has absolutely nothing to do with that either.

I only mention it in passing to give you an understanding of the vibe that is surrounding our four main characters.

As I said before; this is about a Peking opera troupe. Well, four anyway.

So let's get to them.

Our four are in the opera Journey to the West, and each one is playing the same character Sun Wukong. It is the most popular version which is the first chapter (in the opera) and ends before Wukong ever gets trapped under Five Fingered Mountain, let alone meeting the monk Tang Sanzang. Basically, it ends with him being victorious instead of being punished by Buddha. Very clever.

In order to keep track of each one and not to confuse them, we will refer to them thusly; Wukong Yellow, Wukong Orange, Wukong Purple, and Wukong Red. Although I may just shorten it to simply their color only. Since they are all playing Wukong, why mention it?

Naturally, since they are playing the same character, they do all happen to look alike. But only just. If you stand them up next to each other...

Anyway. Let's get to describing a bit about our performers.

Wukong Yellow: Yellow and Purple are similar in physical appearance. They are slightly taller then the other two and are a bit...thicker. Not fat, oh no. Heavens no. But compared to the other two, definitely more filled out, I suppose. Not as delicate might be the word. Eyes are also smaller. That's where the comparisons end. Yellow's personality is different than Purple's. Yellow, that I can plainly sum it up, is tired of playing second banana characters. He's grown weary of his position in his troupe and feels underapreciated for all the effort he puts in. He's a very enviable character. He longs to play primary characters and is starting to get to the point where he'll do just about anything to have that goal. Especially when he now gets a taste of it when he has this new chance of playing the most beloved character in Journey to the West. Granted it's shared at the moment, but that can easily be remedied...

One more fact about Yellow; his only other color he has is a highlight of red. So, in a sense, he and Red are not only similar but are more connected to each other.

Wukong Orange: Orange and Red are similar in physical appearance, just like Yellow and Purple are to each other. They are shorter then the previously mentioned and are almost alarmingly thin. There really isn't much to them. But don't let that fool you; they are just as powerful and can handle their own stunts with the best of them. Agile and graceful, they are perfectly capable of being a viper or a swan. Their eyes are also rather large. And just like above, that's where the similarities end. Out of the four, Orange is clearly the loviest of them all. Not just in grace and control, but in beauty as well. His mask is also down to such perfection as to be envied. Out of the troupe, he is the most highly demanded by fans. So it's no surprise to anyone that he is playing Sun Wukong. Only problem; he is having a nervous breakdown and is becoming quite vulnerable...

One more fact about Orange; his only other color he has is a highlight of purple. So, in a sense, he and Purple are not only similar but are more connected to each other.

Wukong Purple: As I mentioned before, Purple and Yellow are similar in physical appearance. I've already described how that is so I won't go back in to that detail again. So let's go straight to his personality, shall we? As I said before it is different than that of Yellow. And indeed it is. Purple's outlook on everything is basically that he's just happy to be here. He's enjoying life, he's carefree, and whatever comes his way he's determined to have fun with it. He's also extremely protective of the ones he cares about. When he got appointed to share the role of Sun Wukong he was escatic. I mean, how great to play such a joyful role as that? Didn't bother him in the slightest he would only be doing a part of it. He was just happy to be along for the ride. Purple couldn't wait to get started with such a project and never seemed to notice from day one that something more sinister was lurking behind the scenes. Particularly as to why there were four Wukongs to begin with...

One more fact about Purple: his only other color he has is a highlight of orange. So, in a sense, he and Orange are not only similar but are more connected to each other.

Wukong Red: Red and Orange are similar in physical appearance. But you already know this, don't you? So let's move on. Now. Red's personality is vastly different from the other three. He's also the most frightening and depraved. One would say he's psychopathic. Are they aware of this? Probably not. Maybe Yellow to a certain extent but otherwise no. But to you, dear reader, yes. And this is important to know. You see, Red is exceptionally talented. Maybe not as much as Orange but damn near close. If he so chose to, he could easily be the number One without putting too much effort into it. Hence why he's one of the Wukongs. But he's got a major problem; he's obsessed with a fellow performer. It's to such a stalking degree that it stunts him from ever moving forward in life. Oh and it's bad. For he hates this person yet desires this person. He wishes nothing but pain, suffering and death upon them but also switches to wanting to force themselves on them and, well, doing more primal acts to them. It's driving Red to madness which at some point will cause him to snap. And woe be it to whoever is his target...

One more fact about Red: his only other color he has is a highlight of yellow. So, in a sense, he and Yellow are not only similar but are more connected to each other.

So those are our players.

There is one more important thing to know. In case you haven't figured it out already. Orange is our main hero of the story. He is also, unfortunately, our main victim as well. Poor baby.

The story will begin in the next installment. If you would like to know how this all continues, please read on for the next chapter when available. Till then, I wait with you when the curtain rises.

Take care.