Ignorance at the Hands of Intelligence

Your greatest strength…

Books.

Mountains of books littered the area surrounding his table. Dozens of books entailing epic battles fought throughout history…valiant leaders ordering their troops to victory against unfathomable odds…dictators overthrown by the most unlikely of forces.

Is your greatest weakness…

Pak-cha sat amidst the weighty tomes, several open in front of him.

His one hand moved and turned a page. His eyes darted down it.

Another hand moved to another book and turned its page. Again, his eyes moved rapidly down the words in the new book.

Your greatest weakness…

The candle next to him glowed brightly, casting shadows across the empty library. Every page turn caused the flame to dance like a coquettish barmaid to the tune of a nearby lute, making the shadows dance with it in an evil display of grace.

His hands began to flip pages more rapidly, each of his four hands moving to a new book every few seconds. His head snapped this way and that, trying to absorb every page.

One of his lower hands moved and knocked a book off the table into a nearby stack, causing an avalanche of texts to spill onto the floor.

Is your greatest strength…

He roared. Frustration took him.

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN??”

His hands swept the table clean in a powerful swing, books and pages flying here and there in a mess of parchment. The candle, miraculously avoiding the Thri-kreen’s onslaught, nearly lost its flame to the agitated wind.

“My greatest strength is obviously my physical power…but how can that be my weakness?? I’ve killed some of the most powerful warriors and creatures in this land, and yet you tell me it’s not enough!”

His fist came down onto the table with a loud crack, nearly snapping it in twain.

“And my greatest weakness is…what? My intelligence? How do you expect me to make that into my greatest strength??”

He rose suddenly, sending the chair gliding back into another few stacks of books which proceeded to hit the floor in a similar avalanche pattern as the earlier stacks. The room, the floor of which could no long be seen beneath the many spilled books, looked to be the den of a madman.

Pak-cha reached down and grabbed one of the books that had yet been sent to the floor.

“These…books. Full of tactics and strategies…battles and generals…what am I supposed to learn??”

All four hands went to the book and gripped it tightly, a grip which he only reserved for his own weapons and the throats of his enemies.

A chittered shriek emanated from his pincers as he tore the book as if it were nothing more than a simple piece of parchment. Reducing it to nothing more than scraps of paper and binding, he flung the pieces to the four corners of the room, the pieces dancing to the book-covered floor like so many falling leaves.

“I…I can’t do this…”

He moved to his seat and set it upright.

“I’m…I’m not capable of this much…”

He sat and prayed silently for a moment.

Finally breaking his reverent plea, he looked up into the light of the candle. It’s flame had finally calmed, gently licking at the air around it. The shadows had calmed as well, stoically remaining motionless as if waiting for Pak-cha to say something.

“I cannot become more intelligent naturally…at least, not as quickly as I need to.”

He rose and began to straighten the mess he had made, methodically replacing the books into the stacks they had previously resided.

“I need to find other means to make myself what my Lady wants…what the others need me to become…”

At last, finishing his cleaning, he sat once more at the table, now bare save for the lone candle.

“And…”

He reached up to the candle.

“I think I know what needs to be done.”

And extinguished it.

Become what you’re meant to become Pak-cha…

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