A Journey to the East by Evan Mantyk is a historical and poetical fairytale adventure styled after Journey to the West, by Ming Dynasty writer Wu Cheng’en. The first nine chapters of the former may be read here. I. The Mighty Monkey King Confronts an Appointment Request Form Outside the Jade Emperor's Palace A maze of questions trapped the Monkey King That asked not just his name, but everything: Where was he born? Who were his references? Did he have any beverage preferences? What kind of meeting? One with just the staff? A quick exchange or hour and a half? Had he prepared the proper court attire? Or made appropriate offerings in fire? Who was his lawyer in case it got messy? Had all requests been written out expressly? What was his father’s name and place of birth? Was he from Heaven or was he from Earth? How much? How long? How short? Where, when, and why? What name? What place? What date? Check all that apply. II. At the Pond of Eternal Reflection Reflecting on the days gone by, Reflecting face within the water, Reflecting light upon a sigh, Reflecting on the pain and laughter, Reflecting on the scenes once done, Replaying right before the eyes, Reflecting battles that were won That flow on ripples as they rise. III. The Heroes Visit the Underworld The horrors of Hell are unthinkably bleak: There’s flames from the ground and a blood-curdling shriek! There’s demons who work on a poor wretch they’re flaying; There’s putrid aromas from sinners decaying. There’s Sisyphus painfully pushing a boulder That’s tearing his hands and dislodging his shoulder, And when to the top of the slope he arrives; Immediately back to the bottom it drives! Titỳus is strapped down and left to be eaten By vultures who punish the deeds of this cretin. They pull out his liver and gobble it up, And then it grows back, and again they will sup! There’s Tantalus wishing to grab for some fruit, But reaches and reaches in fruitless pursuit, And bends down to water to quench his dry thirst But water recedes, for this man has been cursed! The horrible scenes of the horror that’s Hell Are better to turn from, and not too much dwell, Yet let them remind both the old and the young, Committers of evil will later be wrung! IV. Viewing the Gardens of Heaven The mountain mists of Heaven part, ___Revealing a valley of gardens below, Their branches waiting to impart ___Delectable fruits that no mortal could know. Their paths and streams pull on the heart, ___And beckon the soul to return to the flow, To enter fables real beyond art— ___A grace, a sweet cleansing, if one could just go! V. The Heroes Leave Heaven and Descend to Earth It is a noble scene on time’s vast sea When you step off the pier from Heaven’s shore: The noxious wind from Earth blows savagely, But onward into empty space you soar. The Moon’s the last good port that you must pass; The shimmering stars are friends who wave goodbye; Your dreams of home are vibrant nebula gas Mountains disappearing from the eye. A single thought, “To save all sentient beings,” Keeps you heading toward the briny waves That soak and weigh down gods, thus making weaklings Who forget just how a god behaves. At last, there’s only aching flesh onshore, An inkling you once passed through Heaven’s door.