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Master Que At Nineteen
Elf
rix_scaedu
I wrote this piece to a prompt that came fromzianuray. The prompt was "Master Que background, maybe one of his bouts with the Emperor." This isn't one of those bouts, but I have plans for that. In the meantime, I hope everyone enjoys this 641 words of an incident early in his career.


The boy, and he was only a boy despite being three years past his responsibility ceremony, was an arrogant little prick. Chan Tsu who had been training him for five years knew that the kid had been fighting professionally, if you could call pit matches professional, behind his back for almost the entire time. He smoked like a chimney, not that that was unusual, drank like a fish when he wasn’t two days or less before a bout, and pushed the boundaries of social acceptability when it came to personal cleanliness. Chan Tsu suspected that elements of all of those behaviours were directed at himself. His own teachers had emphasized the benefits of a restrained, abstemious lifestyle and Chan Tsu had taken care to emulate them, even though their carefully cultivated obscurity hadn’t been necessary for him.

The boy, on the other hand, seemed only to think of indulging his physical pleasures and Chan Tsu had no idea why his parents or first gi teacher hadn’t reined him in.

Today Que had been spouting off with plans to win the professional national championship. The problem with that was that he didn’t have the required number of competition points to qualify for the final tournament. In fact, Chan Tsu had felt obliged to point out that he had no points at all, not having competed in the right bouts to gain them.

“I can pick those up easily,” Que had said, waving a cigarette pinching hand at nothing in particular.

“You can’t be sure of that,” Chan Tsu had told him repressively. “There are many fine fighters in this year’s competition.”

“I’m better,” Que had replied.

“You don’t have the wins to prove that.” Chan Tsu had thought that unanswerable.

“I’ll have to stop being nice then, won’t I?” Que had taken a long draw on his cigarette, before he knocked the ash off the end by tapping the cigarette with the fingers of the hand that held it. “Let’s find someone who deserves to be hurt. From what I’ve seen of tonight’s likely card, that shouldn’t be too hard.”

“Deserves to be hurt?” Chan Tsu hadn’t like the sound of that at all.

“Yeah,” Que had smiled crookedly. “If I’m going to start being tough on my opponents, let’s try using a few that don’t deserve to be liked. We could,” he’d dragged on the cigarette again, “look at giving Cao Chan Liu a taste of his own medicine.”

Thinking of the mess Cao Chan Liu had made of his last opponent, who happened to be the son of an old friend, Chan Tsu had admitted, “That’s a very tempting image, if you can do it.”

“Oh, I can.”

And he had. Seeing the mess Que had made of the other man made Chan Tsu feel sick. Then, in a quiet corner of the venue he’d seen Que hand the beaten man’s woman, her neck still red with the burn of a fiery hand print, most of his night’s winnings. “Get out while you can,” the boy had said to her. “You know that if you stay he’ll kill you sooner or later. There’s enough here for you to go somewhere else and be someone else. Let the kid grow up safe.”

“But he’ll find-,” she’d begun before Que had cut her off.

“Not if you go right now,” Chan Tsu had been lip reading so he’d missed the tone but something about it must have grabbed the woman’s attention that way. “You’ll be safely away and he’ll never catch you.”

She’d taken the heavy coin purse then and fled towards the door. Que had done something as she went, Chan Tsu hadn’t seen clearly what, and then he’d been nearly half asleep on his feet when Chan Tsu had gone up to him. Almost as if he’d almost overreached himself.





This is now followed by Master Que At Twnety.

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Oh, he's kinda a sweetheart, isn't he. I adore him.

He would deny it but he is a work in progress.

I love him. And I see why he and Nai work so well together.
*wants to hug him*
*...or something*

Just don't play him at Mah Jong. ;p

I think he's gotten over one or two things....

Have I mentioned how much I like Master Que? Because I do. :)

Even back then, he had his moments.

I love it! He and Nai are much alike, it seems.

And that was me:)

*delurks* I've been enjoying Nai and master Que's stories for a little while and today I appear to have enough spoons to say so. ♥

I'm glad you've been enjoying these, and thank you for using your spoons to tell me so.

Interesting background to the man! Oh yes, indeed...


• the benefits if a restrained, abstemious lifestyle
→ of

• in a quiet corner of the venue the he’d seen
> delete "the"

• Chan Tsu had gone up ^ him
^ to

Yay, Master Que as an annoying git! ^_^ I can so see this as a kung fu movie.

Pit fights at fourteen, huh? I guess I shouldn't be surprised, given the reputation he's cultivated. Now I'm curious about his parents and childhood and previous teacher(s) ... and past lives, given the suggestion that he's one of the reincarnated.

Also, there's a strong suggestion of what shaped his demon-mask. I think "psychic impressions" was the phrase used earlier to describe how those take form? Now I wonder how much of that is from the wearer, and how much from their opponents. Can he take up a less brutal mode in the ring if he wants to, or is that so wildly out of his fighting persona that he'd be vastly less effective?

No wonder he never tries to talk Nai out of giving away her winnings. :) How much does she know about his backstory?

<bounces>

Also, magic to cover someone's trail? Iiiinteresting.

See your final comment in your first paragraphs, and at this point I should quote River Song...

The mask is formed by the wearer but I believe that includes how they react to their opponents.

I don't think I know the answers to the rest of your questions, yet at least.

<confused> <blink> <blink blink> ... oh. Oh, dear. That explains a great deal more. Poor kid.

Huh. The banking and tax systems' support for fictional (and professional) names seems surprisingly helpful.

New young fighter, comes out and turns (I'm guessing) the well-established Cao Chan Liu into a bloody pulp. And then proceeds to do it again, and again... Yup, that's a fine way to get a nasty reputation in a hurry. And the brutality being a shock the first time, too.

How many bones did Cao Chan Liu still have intact after that bout? I'm guessing at least six -- the three in each ear -- but I'm not willing to bet on many more. He presumably survived the experience if he was still a potential threat to his woman.

Que didn't want to commit _murder_ - so he certainly left him at least enough intact bones to keep his airways open.

He probably didn't have to go that far every bout or even every tournament, but I'll bet there were more fighters out of commission in his wake than the statistical average. And if they can be said to have deserved being beaten up...

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