Tripitaka and his disciples traveled along a mountain path, severed from the green, misty world below, the steep rock making their way difficult to traverse, especially for the horse, whose hooves often got stuck in the holes the path was littered with. Whenever this happened, the disciples would walk a little before they realized their master was not with them, and looked behind to see that he was attempting to get the horse to move in vain. Then one of them would duly free the hoof from it’s rocky prison, and they’d be on their way again. As they walked, the sight was indeed that of
Blue rock, worn steep by wind and rain
Crevices wherein moss grows wet
Tall, spindly trees, leaves jade green
Sparse flowers line the mountain path
Their sweet scent scattered by a cold breeze
Birds craw and screech from thorny branches
Bickering and annoying pilgrims
Caves are dark and gloomy
Monsters hide within, eyes peering out into the brightness
Clouds of grey circle the peaks
Fog and mist shroud the horizon
It is a barren, treacherous path
What fool would take this way?
They reached a small cave, uninhabited and dry, just as it began to rain. Each disciple crammed inside, and the horse was steered in as well, having to lie down in order to give the others space. Zhu Eight Rules laid out the straw mats, Sha Monk took out dry sticks that he had collected along the way to make fire, and Pilgrim Sun was the one to see that their master had not followed them inside; he looked out the mouth of the cave, and saw Tripitaka standing there, like a bird he seemed not to mind the rain, letting the heavy drops soak his cassock. Wukong suspected that the monk had gone mad, and immediately ran out and grabbed him, at which his master laughed, and Wukong was so confused at this that he stood completely still. "Wukong, why do you grab me so? There is no danger here that I need to be rescued from." Tripitaka said, smiling. "I grab you because it is raining, master. If you do not wish to catch cold, you cannot let yourself get soaked." Answered Pilgrim, feeling the cold wind and rain blowing past them, Tripitaka holding his vairocana hat steady on his head, so it would not fly off. "I only wished to feel the rain briefly. I have not been properly cleansed for many days now, and feel unclean and dirtied by all this traveling." "We may find shelter and bath later; Do not risk your health for such petty reasons!" Said Wukong, and Tripitaka allowed himself to be taken back into the cave, with Wukong's arm around him.
The fire began to take hold, and Tripitaka leaned against the cave wall, a thin blanket around him. "The cold is truly vicious; I feel like I have been swimming in icy water." He said, Wujing boiling water for some rice, whilst Pigsy snored into his blanket, which thankfully muffled the noise. Wukong scoffed, sitting at the front of the cave, watching the rain flit by like white arrows shot from the heavens. "Then you shouldn't have stood in the rain, master!" He growled, though when he turned his head to see the monk shivering, he felt pity. He timidly got up and sat next to him, wrapping both of his arms around the scripture pilgrim, pulling him close, knowing that his thick fur would be sure to warm him up. "Wukong-" Tripitaka started, surprised, but Pilgrim shushed him. "I have the task of protecting you, and I will do so from cold just as well as beasts." Tripitaka accepted this, and did not mind much, for Wukong was as warm as the fire, and he felt safe in the arms of such a strong creature.
They ate a small meal of plain rice, the sky outside darkening and the rain not lessening, instead growing in strength, making the disciples fear that a storm would follow. Tripitaka, though, did not hear the storm brewing, for he slept soundly against Wukong's chest.