Monday, November 1, 2010

A Little Precognition Goes A Long Way

Saladin took a moment to gather his thoughts before attempting his Precognition. The rusty synapses in his brain had loosened up considerably when he and Xeno had been playing with The Deck, and he was feeling a little more confident about his chances of successfully navigating the myriad of possible futures that lay ahead of him and his crew. All that was left was to focus on Xeno and Marguerite...

Saladin closed his eyes and let the Third Eye of his consciousness open. His gaze wandered across the waters to Rosencrantz and Chateau Moebius. Somewhere in the distance he could hear what sounded like the rattle of ancient bones.

Then he saw her.

A young girl, long black hair, lithe of limb. She's laughing as she dances circles around Xeno. He lies on a cold, marble floor - an elegant pattern of flagstones beneath his trembling, curled-up body. The girl stops and leans over Xeno, bringing her lips close to his. Just before they touch, Xeno's eyes roll back in his head and a vile green foam oozes forth from his mouth. The girl flings her head back and squeals in delight. Xeno stops moving and the girl dances again. As she circles, Xeno starts trembling again. Saladin now notices Marguerite. She's standing behind Xeno and the girl, watching the dance through one, two, three cycles.

She looks up at Saladin at last and says: "A young wife fell sick and was about to die. "I love you so much," she told her husband, "I do not want to leave you. Do not go from me to any other woman. If you do, I will return as a ghost and cause you endless trouble."

Soon the wife passed away. The husband respected her last wish for the first three months, but then he met another woman and fell in love with her. They became engaged to be married.

Immediately after the engagement a ghost appeared every night to the man, blaming him for not keeping his promise. The ghost was clever too. She told him exactly what had transpired between himself and his new sweetheart. Whenever he gave his fiancee a present, the ghost would describe it in detail. She would even repeat conversations, and it so annoyed the man that he could not sleep. Someone advised him to take his problem to a Zen master who lived close to the village. At length, in despair, the poor man went to him for help.

"Your former wife became a ghost and knows everything you do, " commented the master. "Whatever you do or say, whatever you give your beloved, she knows. She must be a very wise ghost. Really you should admire such a ghost. The next time she appears, bargain with her. Tell her that she knows so much you can hide nothing from her, and that if she will answer you one question, you promise to break your engagement and remain single."

"What is the question I must ask her?" inquired the man.

The master replied: "Take a large handful of soy beans and ask her exactly how many beans you hold in your hand. If she cannot tell you, you will know that she is only a figment of your imagination and will trouble you no longer."

The next night, when the ghost appeared the man flattered her and told her that she knew everything. "Indeed," replied the ghost, "and I know you went to see that Zen master today."
"And since you know so much," demanded the man, "tell me how many beans I hold in this hand!"

There was no longer any ghost to answer the question."

Saladin shook his head and was back in the room. Everyone was staring intently at him, especially Xeno...

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