There are three things, a sage would truly fear.
One is a woman’s vengeance, for it is cruel and patient, and never stops until it reaches its goal.
Two is the wrath of Mother Nature, for it is unpredictable and fickle, and mostly unstoppable.
And three…the smile of a bookworm who’s been disturbed whilst reading, for it is just like the above, and even more.
For a bookworm knows you, knows of you, and knows how to inflict unimaginable pain.
And their patience, cruelty, fickleness and unpredictability is impossible to measure when they are angered, after being interrupted in their reading.
Of the three, not even the most foolish or bravest of individuals would dare to face the third one…
Of course, only after experiencing it on their own skin, at least once.
And again, these are all simple matters, yet hard to properly comprehend.
Normal folk would snort, and so would brave heroes and villains alike, at hearing the 1st and 3rd fearsome things.
It is quite unfortunate that most people do think like this, especially since there are entire legends about Empresses, Queens, scholars, and sages whom overturned the Earth and Heaven.
And their enemies always talked about a single thing.
Never to anger these individuals.
Of course, one might argue that they were supreme experts, and with that power in their hands, even a blade of grass would be a bad target to annoy.
They would be right, partially, as they were dangerous even back when they were mortals.
And even now, between mortals, those who’ve experienced the anger and wrath of a woman or a bookworm, shiver at the mere thought of it.
And of course, the majority fear the 2nd one the most, calamities they call them.
How ironic is that these things are so inverted.
True experts and sages, individuals who are at the peak of existence or even beyond that, fear the 1st and 3rd one, whilst ignoring most natural calamities.
And the others, the majority, fear only the 2nd one, while ignoring or even laughing when hearing how the “experts” they adore, might even fear such a thing as a woman’s vengeance, or the smile of a bookworm who has been disturbed.
But no worries, that’s why stories exist, to warn others.
Let’s begin with the most popular and most known instance, where a woman’s vengeance scared the hell out of everyone.
It wasn’t anything out of ordinary as one might expect in these stories.
It wasn’t a “left at the altar” scenario, nor was it a “cheated on”, nor a “fooled in order to gain something from” scenario.
It was a simple break-up, at first.
Then the man, decided to mock her, in front of his and her friends, in order to satisfy his ego.
She took her vengeance seriously, and slowly.
She took helms of her family’s businesses and slowly but completely took over all the fields that the man’s family’s businesses were in.
It didn’t take long, in a mere couple of years, the man’s family was close to bankruptcy, and they needed to beg for help, from her and from their own relatives.
She shrugged, and didn’t care, saying that if their business is better, why would it be her fault that they were driven out of the market?
At the same time, people who laughed at the man’s joke were also affected by these changes in the business field.
But the man’s family wasn’t a simple one, they had connections all the way up, to other realms as well.
Oh, how they regretted when they took over the woman’s business with capital from richer places.
She started anew, but with much more planning, and carefulness, whilst she herself starting to train.
In mere few decades, the man’s family was eradicated, simply due to the inability to pay debts and favors.
The woman moved not a finger, but simply focused on enriching herself, her family, whilst getting stronger and stronger.
Soon, she ascended, and suddenly, many people found themselves being targeted by this rising star.
Hundreds of families were destroyed by her, and only then, did she start to settle down.
She became a sage and saint herself, without many enemies, well…not many enemies alive…
She was the Empress of Nothingness and Everything, mastering two concepts so contradicting, it might even supersede the laws of Yin and Yang.
Then, about the smile of a bookworm who has been interrupted.
There is nothing much to say here.
They are all individuals with more imagination, and more knowledge in certain matters than others.
Being interrupted once or twice, is bearable, but more and especially intentionally being interrupted, will trigger their response.
A calm, gentle smile, with the closing of their book.
They would talk with the individual or individuals whom interrupted them, but will pay them back for this inconvenience.
Stories about these paybacks are endless, and varied.
They vary from pranks like slipping secrets of the individual out in the public, gluing their underwear, or setting a farm of flesh-eating ants loose in their room to the seizing of the Realm Hearth, becoming the realm lord, and erasing entire civilizations just so that they could “Read in Peace”.
From the examples one might glimpse the true terror of the 3rd fear.
A woman’s vengeance is cruel and directed towards the perpetrator.
Nature’s wrath is indeed fickle, and indiscriminate, but one is able more or less to calculate their occurrence.
But a bookworm, after being interrupted one too many times, might just decide to leave and be alone or make it that they are the only living beings in a certain area, so they can enjoy a nice read.
So this is why, the sages fear these three things.
A woman’s vengeance, that might not even be stopped by her death.
Mother Nature’s wrath, that is fickle and sometimes impossible to be stopped.
And the smile of a bookworm who has been interrupted, which signals that not many good thing may come from them.
There are three things, a sage would truly fear.