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The Masters

A.H. Mittelman

By Alex H Mittelman Published 4 months ago 5 min read
The Masters
Photo by Thao LEE on Unsplash

A Terrifying Tremulous Trees story

“They’re talking loudly, Twigly,” Charlie said while sitting on my top.

“This should be interesting, Muata. Those Karate masters might fight each other,” Honon said from atop Mr. Murder Tree. Honon, Mr. Murder Trees friend, had connected to Mr. Murder tree almost 200 years ago. To keep his friend alive, Mr. Murder Tree put special soil made from a meteorite into Honons food, and now he can live as long as the trees. I gave Charlie the same soil, but Charlie is only in his late thirties.

Charlie, myself and the others were watching as two Kung Fu masters, Master Chen and Master Lin, engaged in a heated argument over what was the best style of Kung Fu, Tiger or Lotus.

They had been walking through our woods training their students for months, but today they were alone.

Their disagreement had started when they first began hiking here, and today was the day it would finally come to a head. They didn’t want to fight in front of their students, because they were trying to teach them to only use force when necessary, but now there were no impressionable younglings around.

“Tiger style could easily rip you apart, leaving you to lifeless, limbless and lugubrious,” Master Lin said.

“Lotus style is designed to break all the bones in your body, so I wouldn’t need to rip you apart to incapacitate you. I’d leave you paralyzed and helpless. Alone in these woods with nobody to feed you and unable to move, you’d surely starve. Ha ha ha,” Master Chen said.

“Let’s test our theories, then,” Master Lin said and smiled.

After raising their arms and lifting their legs into the air and contorting their bodies into strange and wild combat positions, the two masters locked themselves in combat.

Master Chen, also a master of the Snake style, swiftly darted forward, striking at Master Lin with rapid punches and kicks. However, Master Lin, who had more experience with his single style of the Tiger, stood firm, deflecting each blow with ease. The fight raged on, neither master giving an inch.

Charlie, myself and the other trees watched the battle with great enjoyment. Master Chen leaped into the air, delivering a powerful kick that Master Lin narrowly dodged. Master Lin unleashed a series of seemingly bone-shattering blows, but Master Chens body seemed to take no damage.

“These guys are legendary,” Charlie said.

The fight continued well into the night, neither master relenting. Finally, both masters, exhausted and battered, collapsed to the ground.

“Shall we introduce ourselves, Charlie?” I asked.

“I think so. These guys and their students can help defend the forest. Once they’re feeling better, of course,” Charlie said and chuckled.

“Master Lin, Master Chen,” Twigly bellowed. They both looked up in awe at me.

“Whoa, a giant talking tree. I must be hallucinating,” Master Chen said.

“I don’t think you are, I am seeing this too,” Master Lin said.

“We should probably get up and run, then,” Master Chen said.

“I would, but I’m far to tired. If it’s going to eat us, let it eat us. I can’t move,” Master Lin said.

“Do you hear that, tree? We’re to tired to move. You can eat us without a fuss,” Master Chen shouted.

“You don’t have to yell. And gross, humans taste disgusting. That’s why we only eat loggers in self defense,” I said.

“Well, it’s a good thing I’m not a logger, then. Master Chen over there might be a logger, though,” Master Lin said and laughed.

“Hey, I’m no logger. You’re just jealous because I beat you, foolish old man,” Master Chen said.

“Agree to disagree. And who are you calling old, we’re the same age” Master Lin said.

“You’re a day older. Anyway, what do you think, talking tree. Who won?” Master Chen asked.

“It looks like a draw,” I said and smiled, briefly forgetting that humans needed time to adjust to my face. They yelled and covered their eyes.

“I’m Gunther Twigly, by the way. Up top is my human friend Charlie, and that’s over there is my other friend, Mr. Murder tree and his human friend, Honon,” I said while pointing my branches at everyone.

“There’s two talking trees?” Master Chen asked, looking puzzled.

And you have human pets?” master Lin asked.

“We’re not pets. We’re friends of the forest,” Charlie said.

“And there’s a lot more then two of us. We can all talk here,” I said. All the surrounding trees made sounds of agreement. Master Lin and Master Chens jaws dropped as they looked around.

“How is this possible?” Master Chen asked.

“I don’t know how such a primitive species that descended from simians who used to swing from our branches can talk either, but yet, there you two are,” Mr. Murder Tree growled.

“It’s ok, Muata. They’re friends,” Honon said.

“Our sentience comes from the minerals in our soil. A meteorite landed here thousands of years ago, and a few hundred meteorites have landed since then, and now we have sentience,” I explained.

“It’s nice to meet you,” Master Chen said.

Master Lin smiled and said, “Do you mind if we spend the night in your forest. We are tired, old and have just possibly damaged each other beyond repair.”

“It’s fine by me, as long as you agree to keep training your students here. We could use your protection from illegal loggers. If your here and keep training your students, you can protect us at the same time,” I said.

The two masters looked at each other, looked at me, shrugged, and said “deal” at the same time.


The two masters slept through the night and we allowed them to bathe in our river in the morning.

When they were done, Masters Lin and Chen approached me.

“We have an idea. Would it be ok if we built a school and temple here? That way, we could charge the parents a fee for our training and possibly get others to donate funds as well. This would allow us to remain here full time,” Master Chen asked.

“We could protect you night and day,” Master Lin said.

“Sure thing. You could build the school and temple out of our fallen branches,” I said.

“And don’t worry about funding. We’ve got plenty of money,” Charlie said and smiled.

Masters Lin and Chen invited their protégés to come for more lessons, and after training, they had all the students help them build there new school.

“What are you going to call your new school?” I asked them.

“I say Master Lin and Master Chens Training Temple,” Master Lin said.

“And I say Master Chen and Master Lin’s Dojo Temple Extravaganza,” Master Chen said.

They both turned to each other and took fighting stances again. I interrupted.

“How about calling it ‘The Masters Temple and Dojo?’” I asked.

“Brilliant,” Master Chen said. Master Lin nodded and groomed his long, illustrious beard.

They finished building The Master temple and dojo, introduced us to their students who were all thrilled to meet talking trees, and helped to protect the sentient forest for centuries to come.

thrillerYoung AdultShort StorySeriesFantasyFableAdventure

About the Creator

Alex H Mittelman

I love writing and just finished my first novel. Writing since I was nine. I’m on the autism spectrum but that doesn’t stop me! If you like my stories, click the heart, leave a comment. Link to book:

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Comments (3)

  • L.C. Schäfer4 months ago

    So glad you continued this, and you know I love the word "lugubrious"!

  • “I don’t know how such a primitive species that descended from simians who used to swing from our branches can talk either, but yet, there you two are,” Hahahahahahahhahahahaha I just loveeeeee Mr Murder Tree! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Also, I have a question. I don't understand what you meant by Honon is connected to Mr Murder Tree. Like it's been 200 years but he's alive because of that special soil. So like is he alive as in alive like Charlie or is he connected to Mr Murder Tree as in he got infused with the tree? So sorry for my confusion 😅😅

  • This was a lot of fun to read!

Alex H Mittelman Written by Alex H Mittelman

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