However, there was also the possibility that he held a small, well-polished, cube-shaped stone inscribed with a short message apologizing for the “terrible harvest this year,” and pleading for life—and wrapped in an opaque, crimson-red wrapper with the confectioner’s branding.
Worse yet was the possibility that he held a cube-shaped hard confectionery of any flavor that isn’t raspberry, wrapped in—well, you get the idea.
In any case, his task was to deliver this object to the emperor. And suffice it to say, the emperor enjoys raspberry, and does not enjoy insolence. It is not a favorable position to be the one who hands a lemon-flavored treat to the emperor’s aide.
How can I be certain that this object meets the emperor’s specification?
He could test it, but the emperor also likes to receive his candy still wrapped its protective cellophane coating; especially now, in the dusty season.
The novice went to the garden to reflect on these harsh circumstances.
In the garden he found a young monk furnished in the robes of The Wandering Order of the Mighty M. Nobody of any obvious importance, but an acolyte. The novice was very fortunate.
“Perhaps you can help me,” the novice introduced himself. “I am aware your people have devised methods for making decisions based upon the contents of a wrapper. I have here a candy, and need to know if it is raspberry-flavored.”
“To be clear; does your behavior need to change if the flavor isn’t raspberry?,” the acolyte inquired.
“It is a gift to the emperor. If it isn’t raspberry, then I would perhaps wish to deliver an apology instead.”
“I see. Then you must become one with the wrapper.”
The novice considered this for a moment, but could not hide his frustration. “You speak in riddles!”
“I only speak in truth! As soon as you receive knowledge of the contents of the wrapper, your state becomes entangled with it.” He could see his words were getting lost on the novice. “Are you familiar with Schrodinger’s Cat?”
The sun bore down on the novice’s neck. Time is getting short; the delivery is to take place in just two, maybe three
--release builds! “Perhaps we can discuss this later?,” the novice pleaded.
Though technically not a question, it received an answer; but by a third voice, in the direction of the pond. “The discussion will take place now… Without allusion to cats.” It was the Master, seated on a rock in the lotus position, facing away from the pair. His calm, enlightened voice somehow penetrated the entire garden, and reached them as though he were sitting a mere frog’s leap away.
“Since you need to know, then surely, you have no choice but to
The novice tore off the crimson wrapper to reveal a solid cube of what was definitely not stone, and held it in front of his nose. Closing his eyes, he could just barely recognize the familiar scent of…
The treat flew out of the novice’s hand as he received a powerful smack to the back of the head, temporarily throwing him into a world of dazzling stars, falling candy and unstable geometry. Slowly, the three images in front of him began to resolve back into one, and as he squinted, he could make out that the cube had safely fallen right into the prepared, open hand of the Mighty M acolyte, where it sat now along with the fallen remnants of the wrapper.
Their eyes met; The acolytes’ went cross.
“You tore it!”
“???” The novice could only speak in punctuation at this point.
“The wrapper! You tore the wrapper!” The acolyte lifted a fragment from his palm and waggled it around. “How will you become one with this?”
The novice’s heart sank. “I… don’t know. I’m sorry. I guess I
unwrap-ed it too aggressively?”
The master’s voice penetrated the air once more. “You already know the answer to that.”
“But what is more,” the Master continued; “you are a
Carrier. Your solution lies not in that wrapper, but here.” He reached into his lap and held up a dark, palm-sized square shape, and without a further gesture, the pair were beckoned. Approaching more closely, the dark square resolved to a cellophane wrapper; one of the deepest violet and emblazoned with the text “RASPBERRY.” Pristine and unfolded, without a crease in sight, ready to be wrapped around anything small and cube-like.
“A… slightly different wrapper?” The words were slowly forced out by the Mighty M acolyte as he started to become dizzy, and fell to the ground unconscious. The novice did not notice, as he was too stunned at the implications of what the master held. Nonetheless, the novice tried to contain himself; and calmly asked,
“Master… you foresaw my arrival?”
“Nonsense. I just read your signature.”