2017.03.06 - Don't let me walk alone (Giving thanks)
Whom is your character most thankful for at this point in their life?
The expensive bottle of sake was sitting on the corner of the kitchen table while Kuro was busy wrapping the sushi he'd just prepared. Closing the two bento boxes, he went to fetch two small sake cups from the cupboard and placed everything, sake included, in a small reusable grocery bag. He took the time to clean a bit around the kitchen before getting changed into a kimono and hakama. Quite rare but he also left his precious katana on its display and left this little house in the heart of the Dragon's Coils.
He didn't had long to walk anyway, though it was a series of winding streets in the natural labyrinth of this part of Seoul. He crossed many Mute Monks and agents of the Dragon - some who knew of him by reputation, others were under his command and bowed respectfully, while the new recruits barely looked at the man. When Kuro arrived at his destination, he knocked softly and waited. A Mute Monk came to open the door to seemingly another house like all those around it. He simply bowed to the monk, left his shoes at the door and made his way in. It was a sober place, with very few decorations; a scroll on a wall, a vase with flower arrangement, a katana on display on a low table. Kuro didn't look at them much, he'd been here so often they were hardly novelty anymore. He only stopped when facing a sliding door of rice paper and waited.
"Come in, Katsuro. Don't make an old man wait so long." There was amusement in the male voice, who spoke in Korean. A smile crept on Kuro's lips as he slid the panel and entered the room. It was most likely a private study, a wall lined up with bookcases full of old tomes and even a few scrolls. In the center was a low table with cushions all around. A pot of tea was waiting aside a tray with what seemed like mochi - Japanese rice cakes - of different colors. The man to whom the voice belonged smiled at Kuro and motion for him to come sit by his side. He was possibly in his late 60's, his hair salt and pepper, neatly combed with a well trimmed mustache and goatee. He had an air of strength and assurance about him, his eyes sharp and his posture betraying nothing of his age. He had a smile on his lips but, should he choose to, the man could be rather intimidating despite his average stature.
"Apologies sah boo nim*, I didn't account for Theo to come raid the fridge late last night. He ended up eating part of what I'd bought for us today." The Japanese man chuckled lightly. "That forced me into an emergency trip to the grocery store this morning."
The other man replied with a laugh and shook his head. "No need for apologies. That you even bring me homemade food for my birthday each year is far more than this old man could wish for. Ohh and what do we have here? You are indeed spoiling me."
The grin on Kuro's face widened as he showed the bottle of sake to his mentor - and incidentally also his handler within the Dragon, Sun Hyeon - and, as soon as the two bento boxes were out of the bag and unto the table, he poured the transparent liquid into two small cups and handed one to the older man.
"I know very few people who enjoy sake as much as I do. You being one of them, how can I pass the occasion of allowing us both to indulge in this pleasure? And I made sushi this year, they go well with this sake. Otanjo-bi omedetou gozaimasu**, Sun Hyeon-nim!"
In the life of an immortal, you see many births and as many deaths. The wheel forever turns and none can escape their fate... except a few, Chosen or not, that defy the natural order. When his immortality was but a curse and that all those he knew had left him to walk this earth alone, the Black Snake met a man who offered him guidance. As the seasons passed and the wheel turned, he learned that this man too shared the same burden; how could he miss the bowl of peaches always sitting on the table.
A guide, a mentor, even a father; Sun Hyeon was the only one apt to have control over the one known as Kuro-Hebi. Thus he accepted the duty the Dragon requested of him and became his handler. And, though they both follow their duties to the Dragon, the bond they share is akin to family and, maybe, they did find in each other something that was missing in both their hearts.
-nim is the highest form of honorific, generally used for someone who is revered to have a significant amount of skill, intellect, knowledge, etc
* More intimate and respectful form of "sah bum nim"(instructor or 'Master'); literally "teaching father"
** Happy birthday in Japanese, polite form