A master had carefully watch’d his pupil develop before him over the years. The student had shown great capacity for understanding their lessons, but an even greater deference to the silence one must possess to learn. The Master decid'd that the pupil was ready to prove their full worthiness. He told the pupil to craft a knife. He want'd the knife to be of exceptional beauty but also razor-sharp. He told the pupil that they had two days to prepare the knife, and that when they return’d, they were to prove the quality of the weapon. They would first showcase its beauty. The Master would then produce through which the knife must cut, two items.
Two days pass’d. The pupil quietly enter’d the main hall of the temple, moving to the stool just outside their Master’s chambers. The pupil sat quietly, waiting to hear their Master’s call. After many minutes, the Master beckon’d the pupil to enter. Upon entrance, the pupil saw their Master prostrating in deep reflection. The pupil join’d him. The Master stood up to reveal two items his cloaks had conceal'd on the floor behind him; A rock the size of his fist made of granite and a similar-siz'd piece of shiny obsidian.
The pupil lift’d the granite into their right hand, and with their other hand, pull’d the most intricately, beautiful knife the Master had ever seen from an immaculately craft’d holster on their belt. It had a long ivory handle, sculpt’d and shap’d to match the contours of the pupil’s hand and fingers. Each impression was emboss’d with dazzling rivulets of gold. The blade itself struck glory and fear in one’s heart just by the arch’d length of it. The pupil touch’d the brilliant blue-steel blade to the rock with the slightest amount of force, and instantly split the granite in two. The Master remain’d silent as he watch’ d both halves crumble to the floor. The pupil then pick’d up the obsidian, and 'gainst the surface, plac’d the blade.
The obsidian, however, did nothing. The pupil endeavor'd to slice through the obsidian, but all he creat’d were fine particles of dust and metal shavings. The blade would not go through the glass-like rock. The Master had anticipat’d this, and thus was not disappoint'd. "Two more days," he instruct'd his pupil to improve this knife and then return.
The pupil would repeat this feat several times. Each time they return’d, following two solid days of working on the dagger, they would easily slice through the first object their Master had laid out, but make no dent in the second item. And each time, the Master would, for two days, send them away.
As the time went on, th’once glistening appearance of the knife began to degrade. The ivory on the handle no longer shimmer’d, and the jewel’d ornamentation became dull, filthy and cak’d with grime. The blade itself, once a ferocious deterrent to any who might strike, became but a mere shadow. ‘Stead of a proud, two hand's length of solid steel, it had wither’d to a flimsy strip smaller than a thumb. The pupil, too, show’d the same disarray. Their hair now hung muss’d and filthy off their head, and the pupil's clothes clung to them, greasy and tatter’d.
One afternoon, the pupil enter’d the great hall once more, but rather than dutifully waiting for their Master’s summons, the pupil's fatigu'd frame crumpl'd into a ball, clumsily falling asleep on the stool just outside. It took their Master shaking the pupil to wake from their slumber. Upon their groggy entrance, the pupil saw that which the knife must address. The first was a pile of sand from the nearby shore. The second object was a large glycerin bubble craft'd by the pupil's Master just before he'd call’d out into the hallway. The pupil sat in silence, pausing for the first time in many months to reflect. He took out his pitiful knife from its now decrepit holster, plac’d it on the ground, remain’d looking at the floor and said:
Their Master, upon his face, a great smile grew. Finally, his pupil had shown their greatest capacity.