This is the transcript for the episode "The Quest".


(Opening shot: the interior of a shop stocked with Oriental artifacts and weapons. The place is dark and quiet, and the night sky can be seen through the windows as the camera pans slowly to one wall. A broad-chested, shaven-headed man stands here, clad in fighting garb with a high wing collar, and regards a long metal staff that rests lengthwise on a desk. This is Katarou.)

Katarou: (picks it up) Finally, it is mine.

(He turns to leave, the camera panning to follow him and bring Robin into view. The Titan has slipped in and is ready for a kung-fu throwdown.)

Robin: Not if I have anything to say about it.

(A few slow steps bring the intruder within easy reach of a table on which a vase sits, and a swing of his leg sends the crockery flying at Robin. It is then tossed into the air as the Boy Wonder dodges Katarou's staff strikes; he catches it safely, but immediately has to dodge a roundhouse that smashes the inventory behind him. Cut to outside the store; more commotion is heard within, and a table is flung out through the plate-glass window. Katarou jumps after it and gets moving, while inside, Robin is still trying to keep that vase from smashing on the floor tiles.)

(Outside again; Katarou runs down the block, Robin comes out after him, and the chase veers into an alley. As the teen brings out his fighting staff, the giant brandishes the one he has just swiped. The two spar a bit before Katarou gets Robin off balance and forces him back toward a Dumpster. An instant later, the young hero is twirling his weapon and ready to go again, but Katarou just backs up slightly, throws a mocking half-smile as his staff gleams, and gets set to move in. Cut briefly to an overhead shot of the pair in the alley, then back to the bald burglar.)

Katarou: You think you can stop me?

Robin: I know I can!

(He yells and rushes in, but Katarou nimbly springs back and forth to work his way up the building walls that face each other. Robin stares dumbfounded at the man's aerial grace, then whips out a grappling hook and fires it toward the roof. At that level, Katarou climbs up and sets off running, but Robin is not too far behind, hauling himself to the eaves and jumping from one rooftop to the next. The race ranges all over the block before the muscular martial artist drops to a lower awning and brings his staff up to block Robin's jumping attack. On the next line, cut to a close-up of Katarou and pan slowly toward Robin.)

Katarou: It is only fair to warn you that I have trained with the best. (To Robin, panning the other way.)

Robin: It's only fair to warn you, so have I.

Katarou: (chuckling) You are very confident. Too confident. (He sets his staff aside.) Since we are both honorable fighters, I shall offer you a deal. If I cannot defeat you in three moves, I shall surrender.

Robin: (retracting/putting away his staff) You can have fifty moves, and I'll still defeat you.

(They step back and bow, whereupon Robin dashes in for a punch, but he is put off track by Katarou's meaty hand locking around his wrist and a foot in the gut that shoves him back.)

Robin: I'm afraid you'll have to do better than that! (He charges again.)

Katarou: So will you!

(A steel-soled boot whistles toward his head but hits only air; the two trade blows before Katarou grabs Robin's leg and yanks him forward by his utility belt. The combination of muscle and leverage slings the masked hero toward the enemy's end of the awning. Up comes one heavy foot to stomp deep into the planks; Robin dives away and regains his balance at the edge.)

Robin: You are good, but you're going down!

Katarou: (shakes the dust off his foot) You forget, I still have one more move.

(He flicks the index and middle fingers of one hand toward himself-"bring it on", and Robin takes the challenge, aiming a flying kick at the store-breaker's skull. It misses the target, but Katarou leaps overhead and grabs up the staff he left leaning against the wall. A quick twirl, one end planted on the boards, and he is swinging both legs up and around at full speed. The blow his Robin with approximately the same force as a wrecking ball and sends him flying into a string of paper lanterns; cut to inside the front room of a darkened building as he and they crash in through the rice-paper wall. Katarou strides up to the hole.)

Katarou: That's three!

Robin: Where did you learn to fight like that?

Katarou: If you want to be the best, you will have to seek the True Master.

(On the end of this line, he holds up a lit cherry bomb in one fist and flicks it casually toward the prone Titan. It skips across the floor to stop at his side, then detonates in a thick cloud of brownish smoke. When the view clears, Katarou is nowhere in sight, having made a clean getaway, and Robin's frustration and self-contempt at having been beaten are coming through so clearly that a dead man could pick up on the vibe. His eyes narrow grimly before the view fades to black.)


Act One

(Opening shot: a close-up of Robin's bed, on which various piece of equipment have been laid out, including his belt. He packs the items into a knapsack marked with his insignia and puts on the belt; behind him, the door to his room slides open to reveal four very puzzled Titans. As they come in, we can see that the room is much better furnished and lit than it has been in past episodes such as "Switched" and "Masks.")

Starfire: Robin, you are leaving us?

Robin: I have to.

Beast Boy: (socks his fist into his palm; stars/planets above his own head) Dude, you got your butt kicked. It happens.

Raven: Happens to some of us more than others.

(This crack rubs him just the wrong way, judging from the disgruntled look that comes over his face for a moment.)

Beast Boy: Anyway, it doesn't mean you have to quit. (Robin slings up his pack.)

Starfire: Yes. We will soon locate this Katarou... (crosses to Robin) ...and then it will be you who is kicking the butt.

Robin: I'm not quitting the team.

(Behind him, the background changes to show the adversary leaping in to swing his staff. The blow causes Robin's image to evaporate like smoke, but he reappears a moment later to finish the line and the room reestablishes itself.)

Robin: But my fight with Katarou showed me how much I still have to learn about martial arts.

Cyborg: No problem. I can help you train. (strikes fight poses) I got a new computer-simulated fight sequence in the gym.

Robin: (walking past him) I've already trained with the best, (now o.c.; Cyborg freezes and crashes to the floor) and apparently it wasn't enough. (Cut to him, approaching the door.) There's only one person who can help me.

Starfire: (crossing to him) You wish to learn from this True Master of whom the villain spoke?

Robin: I'm not coming back until I find him. (Cyborg gets up, rolling his head.)

Cyborg: WHAT?!? Aw, come on, man! How do you know this True Master is even a good guy? How are you gonna find him? Do you even know where you're going?

Robin: I'm not sure.

Raven: Sounds like a plan.

(Zoom in slowly on Robin as the background dissolves to a windswept mountain peak.)

Robin: According to legend, the True Master lives in the mountains on the other side of the world, and can be found only by the most serious of students. (Pull back; normal background resumes and Beast Boy waves his hand in view.)

Beast Boy: (from o.c.) I'm in! (Cut to him, very excited.) When do we leave? What should I pack? Will I need shots? This is gonna be so cool! (Pull back to frame Robin.)

Robin: (turning away) I have to go alone.

(The movement carries him out of the room, and the door slides shut behind him. Cut to a letterbox view of his four friends, all positively flummoxed by the departure of their leader.)

Cyborg: That guy takes himself way too seriously.

(Dissolve to a fullscreen shot of the peak that appeared a moment ago and tilt down to bring Robin into view. It is daytime, and he stands on a broad path that leads to a small village near the foot of the mountain and takes in the tableau for a long moment. Another dissolve shows him hiking toward the settlement; he passes through a "tori gate" at its edge and continues on his way. This is a rectangular arch constructed of red wood, with the ends of the crosspiece curving up slightly, and is frequently found at Japanese shrines. The passing of an elderly inhabitant and his yak brings the Boy Wonder up short, as his path is blocked for a moment.)

Robin: Uh, excuse me. (No response; someone else walks through.) Excuse m--

(He is ignored again and looks around the area; cut to his perspective and zoom in on a statue at the end of a road. It shows a warrior standing tall and proud, his sword raised high overhead. Pull back to frame Robin walking up to the artwork. He carefully eyes it, then a stooped figure tending the fields beyond. At their far edge is another tori gate that marks the start of a path leading toward the mountain. Robin moves toward the farmer.)

Robin: Hello?

(Close-up of the bent, gray-haired form, seen from behind. This is a woman, Chu-hui.)

Chu-hui: Go away!

(She throws a turnip at him without looking, but he catches it easily.)

Robin: Um, sorry to bother you, but I have come to train with the True Master.

(He points back at the statue with his thumb on the end of this. Now the woman turns to face him, exposing long gray braids, a face like a walnut, and, oddly enough, a small derby balanced exactly on top of her head. Distrust radiates from her bright black eyes and the set of her mouth as she grips a cane stuck in the ground nearby and hauls herself up.)

Chu-hui: Of course you have. (hobbles over) Boys like you always want to train with the True Master. Why else would you be here in the middle of nowhere?

Robin: So you know where I can find him?

Chu-hui: He cannot train you.

Robin: I've come a long way. If you don't mind, I'd like the True Master to tell me that himself.

Chu-hui: If you want to find the True Master... (Pull back/pan as she gestures at the mountain.) must get to the top of the mountain before night falls.

Robin: Thanks. (He starts forward; she blocks him with the cane.)

Chu-hui: The route to the top is very challenging. Many have tried. Many have failed. (He pushes the stick aside.)

Robin: I can handle it. (He heads off.)

Chu-hui: You are not dressed properly for such a journey! (as Robin stops) The True Master will only see you if you leave everything from your world behind!

(She throws something to him; in close-up, it is seen to be a simple white robe and pants, which he eyes with considerable surprise. Dissolve to her, back in the village and seated on the ground with his knapsack. As she grumbles to herself, the pieces of Robin's outfit are flipped up from behind a nearby fence to hang on the slats; he is using it for a changing room. The contents of the bag are dumped out in one swift motion and replaced with a load of turnips, and here comes Robin, having changed into the white outfit.)

Robin: (icily) The mask stays. (She stands and shoulders the pack.)

Chu-hui: Very well. (Close-up of the gear scattered at her feet.)

Robin: (from o.c.) My weapons! (Back to her.)

Chu-hui: (pointing) The True Master will not teach you with them.

(On the end of this, cut to him and zoom in; her index finger is aimed straight at the thing on his shoulder. He looks uncertainly at it, then at the majestic sculpture; tilt down to frame the pair at its base. The tension resolves when he steps up, lays the belt on the pedestal, and bows deeply, now he has cast off every last trapping of Titan life save the mask. He straightens with a sigh.)

Robin: Can I go now?

Chu-hui: (passes him) Come. I'll show you where the path begins.

(She leads him across the fields; pan back to the abandoned belt, stretched out on the ledge at the mighty stone feet. Not for long, though, as a hand reaches into view to snatch it away. Cut to an overhead view of a broad river, where only the ends of an unfinished bridge jut out over the water. One is marked with a single tori gate, while the other sports a large platform with gates set at the landward and riverward sides. Robin, now alone, comes to the platform, and the camera cuts to his end. He surveys the distance for a second, reaches instinctively into his belt for a grapple, then realizes suddenly that he no longer has it or any other devices. The eyebrows above the black mask lower sullenly for a moment.)

Robin: No grappling hook. Okay, I'll just swim across.

(Something very large comes up behind him and speaks with a slow, deep voice.)

Deep voice: Are you always so confident?

(Robin's eyes pop as he cranes his neck to see all of the new arrival, and the camera pulls back to show it in full: a muscular bear, at least ten feet tall. It wears samurai armor with a paw print on the chest and stands on its hind legs. This is the Guardian of the River, GOTR for short.)

Robin: Are me?

GOTR: Do you see anyone else on the bridge? (Pull back; slow pan across the platform.) I am the Guardian of the River. If you wish to get to the mountaintop... (Close-up.) must first get past me.

Robin: Okay.

(He runs toward the platform's edge, but a lightning-fast hit knocks him backward and off the landward edge. Tilt up to frame the ursine sentry as it walks over.)

GOTR: I don't really wish to fight you, little warrior. Perhaps you have not noticed. I, uh... (clears his throat) quite large. (Robin stands up.)

Robin: I've beaten guys much bigger than you.

GOTR: Very well.

(It moves to block the edge Robin is trying to reach and crouches down to brace itself; the aspiring student bows and goes into a fighting stance. One foot flicks out and is instantly caught in the massive paws, after which he is yanked up and slammed back to the planks. The giant beast adds insult to injury by throwing its entire weight down on Robin's back, forcing a yell of pain from the compressed lungs.)

GOTR: Are you still so certain you can win?

(Dissolve to a close-up of Starfire and pull back. She is sprawled out on the couch in the operations center of Titans Tower, and her blank eyes and drooping mouth show just how low her spirits are in the wake of Robin's departure. Her hair hangs over the back cushions as a thought balloon forms above her head; inside it appears the opening shot from "Sisters", the two of them sitting in a Ferris wheel and watching fireworks. This view dissolves to show them sharing the last dance aboard the cruise ship at the end of "Date With Destiny", the dance we never saw on screen, then to the former Tamaranean princess on her balcony in "Betrothed." Robin's climb up over the edge lifts her mood in an instant, but the memory dissolves into one of his departure. Standing outside the Tower, she stares popeyed as he strikes out, a bundle marked with his insignia slung on a stick over his shoulder.)

(A small rain cloud drifts over thought-Starfire's head and begins to drench her; next the entire thought balloon collapses into a thunderhead and opens up above the real one. The light shining on her dims at its approach; she fixes it with a bleary stare, then heaves herself up and trudges away. The tiny storm moves right along with her out of the operations center and down the hall.)

(The first door she passes is slightly open, and after she has gone, somebody in Robin's clothing runs past inside. In an instant, she is ducking back and the cloud is evaporating.)

Starfire: Robin!

(Cut to the other side of this door, his room, as it opens and she looks in with a joyful smile.)

Starfire: You are--

(Cut to just behind her. The caped figure stands at a short distance with its back to the camera, and the hair is enough to prove that she has jumped the gun; it is not Robin, but Beast Boy, playing dress-up. Zoom in quickly as he turns around, showing that the borrowed uniform is a size or two too big for him. He has even donned a mask.)

Starfire: (irked) You are not Robin. (She storms into the room.)

Beast Boy: (laughing sheepishly) Uh, what's up?

Starfire: Beast Boy, why are you wearing Robin's uniform?

Beast Boy: (striking a heroic pose) Call me...

(Sight gag: close-up of a large, paper-covered hoop in her hand. It displays a large B on a black background, styled after Robin's insignia, and the camera pulls back as he bursts out through it. "The Sensational Character Find of 1965" appears above his head, while his next three words pop up on his waving cape.)

Beast Boy: ...Beast Boy Wonder. (Gag ends; she tosses the hoop aside.)

Starfire: You should not be in Robin's room when he is away.

Beast Boy: Come on, it's fun. (pulls/tosses things from one of Robin's belt) Look at all the cool stuff in here!

(There is an o.c. explosion behind Starfire, followed by a cat's startled yowl; something hit the floor the wrong way, and she catches a birdarang he has thrown. Close-up of her.)

Starfire: Robin would say that is not a toy. He would say to leave that alone. (Worried, she folds it up.)

Beast Boy: (from o.c.) If you're gonna talk like Robin... (Cut to him, opening the mirrored closet door.) ...then maybe you should dress like him, too.

(The sliding door exposes an entire rack of spare outfits. Close-up, panning to one end of the closet where spare boots and masks have been laid out.)

Beast Boy: (from o.c.) He has more than one uniform...

(Cut to her and zoom in slowly as her sense of duty and loyalty slugs it out with the desire to have a little fun while the boss is out of town. A dissolve frames the GOTR's impassive face and brings the sound of said boss' grunting and straining back into play. We have returned to the site of the bridge struggle.)

GOTR: Please, give up. You don't want to do this. (Pull back; Robin is pinned under the huge brown body.) There is still time for you to turn back.

(After a protracted effort, the young traveler manages to extricate himself and jump back to the landward edge of the platform.)

Robin: I'll never turn back!

GOTR: I admire your commitment.

(It brings one paw up for a huge lumberjack swipe, which carves only one of the posts when Robin ducks under it. As the claws hiss toward him again, he makes a huge leap that carries him straight up and allows him plenty of time to get one leg out for a kick. Staring up in sudden shock, the GOTR takes the blow right between the eyes and is left staggering back toward the water. It growls in rage, Robin drops back into kung fu mode-voice and all, and one paw hits the boards to send out a blast of energy that dumps the pilgrim flat.)

(When he lifts his head, a surprised gasp escapes him and the GOTR hurls its bulk across the open space. The claws are fully splayed out, the teeth bared for a bite of Titan tartare, but instead Robin gets both arms under the creature and slowly hoists it up to his shoulders. Reeling badly and keeping his balance by some method no ordinary human will ever figure out, he makes his way to the railing and dumps the GOTR over it. A thundering splash and wall of water mark its drop into the river; only the brown head and shoulders now break the surface.)

GOTR: (grudgingly) You may proceed, but be warned. Once you have crossed the river, there is no turning back!

(It wades away, and a bridge rises from the water to connect the two ends.)

Robin: Well, that was a big waste of time.

(He runs across the newly installed span, not noticing the figure that steps partway into view to watch him go. The hand is the same one that stole his belt, the clothing is Katarou's, and an extreme close-up of the slitted eyes reveals that the adversary has indeed been following him.)

(Dissolve to a shot of the sun shining between two cliffs and tilt down to frame Robin. A narrow path winds along one of the rock walls, and he is racing up it for all he is worth. The forward momentum dissipates in a hurry when he comes across a stretch of gravel and jagged rock fragments; he stumbles and hops through, yelping in pain and clutching one foot.)

Robin: Next time an old woman tells you to leave your shoes behind... (now on the clear ground) ...take them anyway.

(Chu-hui's placid humming draws his attention. Cut to her farther along the path, carrying two buckets of water on a pole slung across her shoulders; she has cast aside his turnip-filled knapsack. Robin hustles to catch up.)

Robin: How did you get past the bear?

Chu-hui: The same way you did. I walked.

Robin: Uh, excuse me, but I'm kind of in a hurry.

(She rounds on him suddenly, the water buckets swinging so close to his head that he almost ends up with a concussion.)

Chu-hui: You are very rude, you know.

Robin: Huh? (Close-up of her; zoom in slowly.)

Chu-hui: You're in such a hurry, you do not have time to help an old woman with a heavy burden.

Robin: (stunned) May I help you?

(She hands him the rig, which proves to be so weighty that he is nearly dragged off his feet.)

Chu-hui: Very well.

(Relieved of the load, she strides ahead, but it takes him a second or two to get the pole balanced just right and start his feet moving.)

Robin: How far until I reach the True Master?

Chu-hui: That all depends on you. You will see the True Master when you are ready.

Robin: And how far do you want me to carry these?

Chu-hui: Just far enough for an old woman to rest her back. Now, since you are in such a hurry, there is your path.

(On the end of this, she looks ahead of herself and the camera tilts up slightly to frame a tori gate outside the entrance to a cave. Dissolve to within it; Robin picks his way along in the semi-darkness, having left the water buckets behind. The place is eerily quiet and, so far, populated by no other living thing we can see. However, he is soon brought up short by the sight of a burning candle that has been left in a chamber. He looks around for a moment; cut to his perspective and pan slowly across, the candle stands several feet tall, and this is a dead end. Back to him.)

Robin: What path? There's no way out.

Hissing voice: None that you can see.

(This sound catches him flat-footed, and he looks up toward the ceiling. Cut to the base of the burning wax pillar, now encircled by something thick and snakelike, and tilt up as the voice continues to speak. A tall, thin figure rises behind the flame, its body and face hidden by a ragged shroud. This is the Guardian of the Cave, or GOTC.)

GOTC: I am the Guardian of the Cave. To continue your journey to the top...

(It pushes back the hood, revealing itself as an albino snake big enough to eat any anaconda or boa constrictor for breakfast. The pupils of both eyes are clouded with cataracts.)

GOTC: must first get past me. (Extreme close-up of its eyes, panning slowly across.)

Robin: (from o.c.) You're blind. (Cut to him.) I won't fight you. (Pan to the GOTC; he continues o.c.) It wouldn't be fair.

(Close-up of the flame; one decrepit sleeve puts it out in short order to leave the screen in near-total darkness.)

GOTC: (from o.c.) Now the fight is even. (Fade to black.) Neither of us can see.

Act Two

(Opening shot: Robin backing up warily in the unlit cave. As he looks off in one direction, the GOTC slithers quickly past behind; the Boy Wonder brings one foot up for a roundhouse kick, but hits only a stalagmite. Another hissing pass sparks a punch that shatters more rock, leaving him with a very sore hand.)

GOTC: (from o.c.) It seems that I have an advantage.

Robin: I've defeated the bear, and I will defeat you!

(It rears up behind him on the end of this; he charges for another strike, but it winds easily out of both his reach and the frame.)

GOTC: (from o.c.) Not if you cannot see me. You only see what is right in front of you. (Robin's perspective, panning slowly across the empty chamber.) If you want to find me, you must go beyond what you see.

(Back to the thoroughly perplexed young man as the serpent rears up again in the shadows.)

GOTC: You cannot trust your eyes.

(Its head lashes forward, nearly colliding with his own, and he launches a flurry of blows in all directions. None of them comes anywhere close to hitting its mark due to the creature's agility, and it lands a hit that sends him crashing into a wall. When he peels himself off the floor, it straightens up behind him one more time.)

GOTC: You cannot trust your ears.

(His perspective, panning briefly as the grating hiss echoes everywhere, then back to him.)

GOTC: (from o.c.) I could be anywhere.

(Zoom in slowly on Robin, now on the verge of panic. He shuts his eyes tight; cut to behind him as the entire background fades out and slides away, mirroring the visual data he has just blanked out. Here comes the GOTC out of the absolute inky gloom, only to get a hand clapped onto the vast length of its body. Having gained mastery over his senses, Robin opens his eyes again; the background reestablishes itself.)

Robin: Gotcha! (A surprised hiss; the towering candle lights itself again.)

GOTC: Very well. (puts up his hood) You may proceed.

(It slithers away, a moment before an o.c. light source throws a blinding glare over Robin, who moves toward this. A cut reveals it to be coming from an opening doorway, through which he hastens to make his exit. Outside, he emerges onto the mountain path while wrapping his hands in strips of cloth. Down the way is yet another tori gate.)

Robin: At this rate, I'll never get anywhere.

(He inspects one hand and starts walking again. Pan slightly to frame Katarou emerging from this new exit, still hot on the Boy Wonder's trail and with the utility belt coiled around one shoulder. Cut to an extreme close-up of the narrowed eyes and fade to black.)

(Fade in to a close-up of the loose Robin tunic on Beast Boy's chest and pull back to frame him.)

Beast Boy: Titans! Go!

(He goes into his best impersonation of the leader's kung fu style, but to call it silly would be a colossal understatement. Pull back; he is performing in front of the mirror on the closet door in Robin's room. The exhibition ends with a string of punches and a grunting, muscle-flexing pose. Sight gag: he shakes hands with his reflection before it resumes its normal behavior and he does a bit of bodybuilder-style posing.)

(As he picks up a staff and twirls it, conking himself over the head, the camera pulls back to frame Starfire seated on the bed. She has decided to join in the fun and commandeer some of the spare clothes, but they do not exactly fit her either. Since she is a fair bit taller than Robin, the leggings stop well short of her boots, and the tunic, which would never have reached to her waist anyway, has been tailored into a crop top like her own. A utility belt sits askew on her hips, similar to Raven's. In her hands is the marionette duplicate of herself that arrived with the Puppet King's devious little present in "Switched"; she speaks to it.)

Starfire: (somewhat like Robin) Why, Starfire, your hair looks especially shiny today. (Tilt down a bit; she speaks for it in a higher tone.) Thank you, Robin. I rinsed, lathered, and repeated.

(As she keeps playing with the toy and Beast Boy rubs his head, a very broad shadow throws itself over them and the entire length of the room. Both look up, their eyes bugging out, and find Cyborg towering over them. He is ready to blow his top.)

Cyborg: I can't believe you two would just barge into Robin's room when he's gone, dress up in his uniform, and pretend to be Robin!

(Sight gag: Beast Boy and Starfire, in "Super Deformed" style" hunch down nervously and cannot meet his eyes. She scuffs the toe of one boot against the floor on the next two lines, which are spoken at the same time.)

Beast Boy: Um...

Starfire: Well...

Cyborg: (hurt tone) Without me! (Gag ends; Starfire smiles.)

Beast Boy: (laughing) Dude! Suit up!

(He throws a spare set of clothes at the big man; they end up draped on his head and shoulders.)

Starfire: Oh, yes! Come Robin-ing with us! It is most delightful.

(During this line, Cyborg tries to buckle the belt around his massive waist, without luck, then swipes Beast Boy's and connects both to get the needed length. The latter's pants fall to his ankles; he hastily yanks them back up as Cyborg smiles and Starfire applauds giddily, floating off the ground.)

(Dissolve to a patch of rock on the mountainside. Robin has started climbing in an effort to save time, and he stops to rest on a small jutting slab.)

Robin: You couldn't just take a class. (looks into a deep ravine below him) You had to travel around the world. There must be an easier way up this mountain.

(The sound of the next voice makes his eyes pop.)

Chu-hui: (from o.c.) There is an easy way up this hill... (Tilt up to her, sitting on a higher ledge with a basket.) ...and a right way. Which do you choose?

Robin: How did you get up there?

Chu-hui: Same as you. I climbed. (He clambers up to her.)

Robin: How much farther is it until I reach the mountaintop?

Chu-hui: Such a journey cannot be measured in steps taken, young warrior.

Robin: Look. I just want to know if we're talking feet, yards, or miles.

Chu-hui: If you keep stopping to chat, you will never make it up the mountain before sunset. (He sighs and fumes visibly.)

Robin: Thanks for your help.

(He starts climbing again. Cut to a close-up of Beast Boy, hunched over the handlebars of the R-Cycle.)

Beast Boy: Bad guys beware. (Pull back slightly.) There' a new Robin in town.

(Pull back again. He is, in fact, in the Tower's garage and not moving, while Cyborg makes engine noises and blows his hair back with a small fan on the right arm. The latter has put on the getup Beast Boy handed him; needless to say, everything is far too small. In close-up, as he shuts off the fan and brings his hand back out, we see that the laces on the tunic are stretched to the breaking point in a futile attempt to make the front panels meet. A slight cut has been made in the mask's left eye to allow his implant a full field of vision.)

Cyborg: Okay, man, my turn!

(He hustles over, but Beast Boy is quite unwilling to give up his seat and a hearty bit of grappling ensues. It is immediately interrupted by the sound of a communicator.)

Starfire: (over comm) Robin calling Robin. (Beast Boy pulls his out.)

Beast Boy: Robin here. Over. (She leans into view.)

Starfire: (whispering) No, not you, Robin, the other Robin!

(He is swiftly shoved away, dropping his comm, and Cyborg catches it neatly as he swings into the R-Cycle's seat.)

Cyborg: What's up, Robin?

(He puts it away and leans over the handlebars, supplying his own engine sounds; Starfire fires a grapple toward the ceiling, while Beast Boy is on the floor and trying to get himself untangled from his cape. Pull back to bring Raven into view, just in time for the Tamaranean to hoist herself up on the line.)

Raven: Well, this is just disturbing.

Starfire: (swings over) Disturbing, yet magnificent! Join us! I never knew wearing a cape was so much fun! It is wonderful to be Robin!

(Pan slightly as Cyborg comes over, carrying the R-Cycle between his legs as if it were a toy broomstick horse. The entire display has left Raven at a loss for words.)

Cyborg: Yeah! He has all the best stuff!

Raven: Uh...right. (Beast Boy gets to his feet.)

Beast Boy: Come on. Haven't you ever wondered what it would be like to be Robin? (Cyborg and Starfire lean in close.) You know you want to try it.

(Cut to behind the three unauthorized impersonators and zoom in on the completely unimpressed onlooker, then dissolve to the final stretch of the summit Robin has been trying to conquer all day long. The sky is slowly darkening into night behind a temple that sits atop the pinnacle, and another of those tori gates stands astride the path that winds its way up the slope. A slow pan reveals a broad gorge standing between the peak and Robin; he has gone as far as he can on the road and is standing at one more gate. The gorge is filled with two things, thick fog and a forest of slender bamboo stalks.)

(Something rustles in the high treetops, and a cut to that level reveals the head of a small white creature poking from the leaves. It ducks away just in time to avoid being spotted; back to his height as he starts forward again. The creature, a monkey, has moved ahead and climbed up one of the gate's supports to look him in the eye; it wears samurai armor and chuckles in his face. We have just met the Guardian of the Trees, or GOTT, whose voice is high and piping.)

GOTT: I am the Guardian of the Trees.

Robin: (sighs wearily) And if I want to get up the mountain, I must first defeat you. (Surprised, it climbs down.)

GOTT: How did you know I was going to say that? Do you know what I am going to say next?

Robin: No.

GOTT: Me neither. (leaps nimbly across the poles) Been a while since anyone's gotten this far up the mountain. (It perches near the other side.) You must be a good warrior to have defeated the bear and the snake.

(Robin advances onto the bamboo, keeping his balance with relative ease.)

Robin: Let's get this over with.

GOTT: No, no, no, no, no. We do not need to fight so soon. Would you like some tea?

Robin: I just want to fight you so I can get to the top.

GOTT: (menacingly) Yes, I see. We are very serious. Yuusu, let's go!

[Note: "Yuusu" is Japanese for "youth," pronounced as a single syllable, with the last U silent.]

(They rush toward each other, stepping lightly from pole to pole, and the GOTT shifts its momentum to bend low on the end of one bamboo as if doing a pole-vault in reverse. The recoil throws it high over Robin's head; it comes down quick, bounces off his face, and starts jumping around too fast for him to hit. Close-up of the frustrated Titan, pulling back as the white-furred paws and tail play with his face a bit.)

GOTT: (from o.c.) Monkey see, monkey do...

(It lands on his head and rips both sleeves off his robe; this cheap shot throws Robin off balance, so that he has to get his hands and feet on four different stalks to keep from wiping out.)

GOTT: ...monkey just made a fool of you! (It laughs and jumps in closer.) Unless you can quickly grow a tail...

(Close-up of the appendage, waving in his face as a forehead vein throbs.)

GOTT: (from o.c.) appears you are at a disadvantage.

(The end lashes across the Titan's nose, accompanied by a giggle; zoom in slightly as a wicked grin curves across-he has had a flash of inspiration. The albino primate bares its teeth to bite, but instead has to leap away screeching when Robin suddenly hoists himself up. Within seconds the two are facing off across the tops of the bamboo stalks, and they now dart back and forth with gusto against the mountain backdrop. Each tries time and again to slide a blow in under the other's guard, with no success.)

(After several seconds of stalemate, the GOTT starts into a broad leap, homing in on Robin's head. With almost no time to spare, the Boy Wonder drops from his perch, grabbing its top end and letting it carry him downward as it bends.)

Robin: Monkey see, monkey do!

(As he says this, he lets go and the camera cuts to the flabbergasted creature, who takes the lash full in the face and is smashed all the way back to the edge where this confrontation began. Laughing, it straightens up and snaps its fingers.)

GOTT: Very well.

(Many more bamboo poles spring up, thickening the growth so that a person can walk easily across the gorge without fear of falling in. Robin throws a smile to the defeated sentinel and sets off for the home stretch; dissolve to a closer shot of the summit, then to him reaching the path of winding steps that leads to his goal. The sun has nearly set now, and he stops for a moment to eye both it and the first flight, the camera tilting up to frame the temple at the end of the road.)

Robin: Finally.

(He begins to run with as much energy as if he had just had a twelve-hour nap. The bootless feet carry him ever higher toward a rendezvous with the True Master, but a hand rises into view, holding one of his grapples, and fires it off. In a trice, the line loops around his body and pulls tight to drag him back down; as he looks up in wide-eyed anger, a shadow falls across him and the camera pulls back to frame Katarou. He has the line launcher in one hand, the staff he stole in the other, and Robin's belt still on one shoulder.)

Katarou: Your journey to find the True Master ends now.

(Cut to a head-on view and zoom in on the end of this, then fade to black.)

Act Three

(Opening shot: Titan and thief glaring at each other on the steps. A yank on the line pulls Robin to his feet.)

Robin: Katarou! Why are you here?

Katarou: To train with the True Master, of course.

Robin: You said you'd already trained with him!

Katarou: That's what I wanted you to think. I knew if I told you, you would go and seek the True Master, and all I had to do was follow you up the mountain.

Robin: Why did you need me?

Katarou: I could have come up without you, (Robin eases a hand back and starts working the hook loose.) but then I would be tired from fighting all the challenges, like you are.

Robin: (pulls the hook free) I'm not too tired to finish what I started!

(He runs down, Katarou flings himself up, and they bounce off one another in midair to land back where they were.)

Robin: You don't deserve to train with the True Master! (Cut to Katarou; he continues o.c.) You haven't earned it!

Katarou: (rushing up) I deserve it more than you! (backs Robin up with his staff) I am the better fighter!

(His last thrust ends with Robin balanced on the free end; the battle-weary Titan somersaults along its length and lands a kick that drives Katarou back down the steps. The ill-gotten staff clatters away on the rocks as the giant stands up.)

Robin: You aren't so tough without your weapons.

Katarou: (pulling/extending Robin's staff) I still have your weapons!

(The rightful owner dodges a jumping jab only to get kicked down the steps, and Katarou smirks down at him before restarting his ascent. After Robin tumbles flat at the foot, Chu-hui hikes in and pokes him with the end of her cane.)

Chu-hui: Rise, young warrior. You must get up. Your journey is not over.

Robin: (out of breath and sweating) I can't fight him. He has all my weapons. I have nothing.

Chu-hui: When you began your journey, you were determined. Nothing could stop you. And now that you are so close, are you willing to give up so easily?

Robin: It was easier at the beginning.

Chu-hui: Beginnings are often easier. But think of all that you have accomplished along your journey...

(Cut to him on the end of this. As she continues, the background wipes a blank field, and each of the three Guardians appears at the appropriate moment, one replacing the other.)

Chu-hui: (from o.c.) ...what you have learned from your battles with the bear, the snake, the monkey. (Normal background dissolves back in.)

Robin: What's the point of fighting my way up the mountain when someone else is just going to come up the easy way?

(Long overhead shot of the pair on this line, then cut to her on its end.)

Chu-hui: There is always going to be someone who does things the easy way. (Pull back to frame both.) But that should not stop you from doing things the right way. It is your journey, young warrior.

(Cut to him; he casts a new eye over his wrapped hands.)

Chu-hui: (from o.c.) Only you decide when it ends.

(Zoom in slightly as he looks up with renewed determination to get this thing right, then cut to a long shot of the temple and zoom in slowly. At the top of the steps, Katarou has made his way to the entrance, still holding Robin's staff.)

Katarou: True Master! I am ready to train!

Robin: (from o.c.) You'll see the True Master when you are ready.

(On the end of this, the camera shifts to point back over Katarou's shoulder; Robin and Chu-hui have now gained the summit as well, and the giant turns to face them. The Boy Wonder's white belt and his old guide's long braids blow in the mountain breeze, the last rays of the setting sun playing over both set faces.)

Katarou: (twirls Robin's staff) Heh! Give up! You cannot defeat me.

Robin: I've beaten guys much bigger than you.

(As soon as the last word is off his tongue, he launches a flying kick that slips neatly past the raised shaft and bangs into Katarou's broad face, knocking him to his back. The spiky-haired lad's palms come together in front; Chu-hui stares in surprise for a moment before speaking.)

Chu-hui: Claws of the Iron Bear!

(As she says this and Robin spins through 360 degrees, she and the background dissolve away and are replaced by a shot of a roaring grizzly with claws extended It is the GOTR, but stripped of the samurai armor. This view immediately ends when he lunges forward, parting his palms slightly, and drives them into Katarou's chest; the latter has found his footing, but this fresh hit lays him out again.)

Katarou: How are you going to beat me if you cannot even see me?

(On the end of this, he pulls a handful of discs from the utility belt at his shoulder and whips them forward; they explode in Robin's face, spewing clouds of smoke everywhere, and he screws his eyes up tight.)

Robin: I don't need to see you.

(Cut to behind him. Just as in the cave, all the details fade away to leave him in mental darkness, against which Katarou emerges to charge. Close-up of Robin, backing up on the next line.)

Chu-hui: (from o.c.) Strike of the Flying Serpent!

(The GOTC fades into view behind him as he gathers his legs and leaps. Normal background again: the rest of the smoke clears as his attack finds Katarou's solar plexus and puts him down on the stone deck a third time. Only after he has slid all the way to the railing that surrounds the temple does he stand up, good and mad.)

Katarou: I see you are serious about winning. (He jumps onto the bars.) So am I!

(Pull back to frame Robin facing off; he smiles and lets off a monkey's cry, and behind him the background dissolves to a shot of the unclothed GOTT as he balances on one foot.)

Chu-hui: (from o.c.) Duel of the Leaping Monkey!

(Normal background resumes, and he leaps and rolls across the plateau before propelling himself in a graceful arc onto the railing next to Katarou. Furious swings fail to introduce his skull to the end of his own weapon, and both jump down to continue the fight on solid ground. Robin easily dodges every strike that comes anywhere near him thanks to his experience in the bamboo-filled gorge. The staff's end is planted vertically, and Katarou boosts himself up to try the same swinging kick that helped him beat Robin in the prologue, but this time, the target leaps up and o.c. Katarou is left staring helplessly around the place; tilt up to show that Robin has perched on the upper end of the staff, perfectly balanced. The move he used to best the GOTT pays off again, whipping the end into the fleshy face and ejecting its yelling owner off the summit without the staff.)

Robin: There's an easy way and a hard way down this hill. Looks like you're taking the hard way.

(He gets back to the original matter at hand and directs his steps toward the temple entrance. Before he can get inside, though, Katarou rockets back up from beyond the precipice.)

Katarou: NO!!

(He has recovered the staff he stole to set this chain of events rolling, and he gets ready to cave Robin's skull in with it.)

Katarou: The True Master must train me!

(As the weapon whistles toward its mark, Chu-hui's cane swings up to block it. Pan to her, on the receiving end of one totally bewildered stare, then pull back to frame all three. Katarou, equally confounded, just stands there while she uses her staff to strip his away and catch it in her free hand. She then gets in his face.)

[Animation goof: When the camera pulls back, her cane has shifted to rest over Katarou's staff, rather than below it as would be needed to block the overhead lash.]

Chu-hui: You did not make it up the mountain on your own skills! (She nudges Robin's belt free and chucks it and the stolen staff back to him.) You tried before on your own, but could not make it! You are a thief and a cheater! The True Master will not train you! Not now, not ever! (She walks o.c.)

Katarou: But...

Chu-hui: (from o.c.) Take him off my mountain!

(Out of nowhere, the GOTR and GOTT slide up and escort him forcibly away. Now Chu-hui, the True Master, as evidenced from those five words, approaches Robin with a thoroughly satisfied smile.)

Robin: (bowss and holds his staff out to her) Consider this a gift for showing me the way. (She takes it.) You're the True Master, but, why didn't you tell me?

Chu-hui: (walking toward the temple) You never asked.

Robin: So why was it so important that I get to the top before sunset?

Chu-hui: It is much easier to see the path when it's not dark.

Robin: All this time, I thought there was some deep meaning to everything you were saying.

(His own staff is tossed to him; cut to her, holding the one Katarou stole rather than her own.)

Chu-hui: Ah, young warrior. You take things much too seriously. (Pull back; they face off.)

Robin: (bowing) I am ready to train with you, True Master. (He takes his stance.)

Chu-hui: I believe you are.

(Cut to a long shot of the temple and pull back slowly to the sound of their clashing staffs in the deep twilight, then fade to black.)

(Fade in to a pizza in its box, on the coffee table in the Tower's operations center. A green-gloved hand, Starfire's, as indicated by the skin tone, reaches into view, carves out a slice with a birdarang, and picks it up. Pull back to frame her sitting on the couch; there is a jar of mustard, her favorite drink, on the table nearby.)

Starfire: (like Robin) Do you desire another slice of the cheese, Robin? (Pan slightly; Beast Boy sits nearby and gets it on a plate.)

Beast Boy: Thanks, Robin. (extends Robin's staff) Got room for another one, Robin? (Pan again; he pushes the box to Cyborg.)

Cyborg: Don't mind if I do, Robin.

(He scoops up the rest of the pizza and scarfs it down in one gut-busting bite. The steel soles of a fourth individual land on the table; pan a bit farther to bring Raven and Silkie into view. Both have joined in the costume-party silliness, and the maggot is happily chewing on a slice from a fresh box. Of the four Titans, Raven is the only one whose clothing fits the way it was meant to.)

Raven: You know, Robins, I have to admit, the mask makes me

(She blushes a bit as the properly attired real McCoy steps up behind her. Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Starfire stare popeyed at the pair for some seconds before the last impersonator catches the hint that something might be amiss. When she swivels in her seat and catches sight of Robin, she does a huge double take and slides hastily away, but he does not even blink at the motley crew.)

Robin: Huh, pizza. (He jumps onto the couch.) Sweet. (He eats.) You know, Robins...

(Cut to a profile close-up of him; the others stare dumbstruck from across the table.)

Robin: ...the mask makes me feel cool, too.

(He tranquilly takes another bite as they pitch backward in a dead faint, upsetting that section of the couch. Fade to black.)

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