Chapter 3: The Beginning

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The glow of the fire licked across the floor in its golden glow, the wisps of flame filling the air with a warm crispness that drove away the frost that covered the two men's clothes and coldness that seeped into their bones. The gentle light dimly lit the room along with a candle that sat on the table Sun had gotten out and placed in the middle of the room. Sun sat with his back to the door as he pulled his robes tighter to himself when a small drift of cold wind pierced him. Facing toward the fireplace was the stranger he had knocked out in fear of his life. After all, he did not know if he was a villager that was brave enough to come up the mountain and kill him.

However, glancing at the grumbling man rubbing his head, he had assumed wrong. Feeling a stab of guilt he poured two cups of hot tea for him and the man. It was his fault he had injured him so he should at least show a little hospitality to him, even though his manners had dulled over the years. Grabbing the cup he pushed it toward the stranger, its slight scratching sound adding to the popping and crackling of the fire. Picking up on the sound, the stranger refused to turn around.

At this, Sun let out a soft sigh.

How childish...

He already felt guilty about what he did and wanted to prove as such. But he wasn't going to prostrate himself to the stranger. He did what he did for a reason. And he would like to apologize to him but the man seemed far more childish than he thought. Taking a slow sip of his tea he placed it on the square, low table. Somehow Sun felt nervous and out of his element.

"Ah...I'm very sorry for injuring you like I did. I truly did not mean to hit you that hard. I honestly thought I didn't have that much strength," Sun confessed honestly and apologetically.

Nervously, Sun eyes watched the man's broad back, still wrapped in his outerwear, as the silence stretched between them. However, the slight tension and uncomfortable silence did not bother Sun in the slightest. After all, hundreds of years sitting in nothing but silence was nothing new to Sun. Patiently waiting Sun took another sip of tea before the stranger finally let out a loud sigh. At the sound, the silence seemed to tremble.

For there was now another person, another presence, that entered their midst. Turning around he kneeled down at the table and picked up the tea, thoughtfully swirling the cup in his hand as he gazed intently at Sun, his amber eyes piercing through him. Instantly, feeling alarmed and uncomfortable, Sun hardened his gaze and his defenses.

"You know...normally I would be angry. A blow to the head does that to you. However, I also barged into your home. For that, I'm very sorry. But I must ask, does this happen often? Wouldn't you try to run away first? After all, you seem to have experience with intruders." The stranger asked intently.

Normally, people were not used to someone breaking into their home. Li glanced at the staff leaning against the wall to his right. Especially so used to it as to have an actual weapon close by just in case it happened. Somehow, it unsettled Li a little.

Caught off guard, Sun was momentarily stunned. He expected some swearing and anger with pointing fingers and basically a whole mess. But, instead, he got this. He wasn't quite sure what to make of this man. Sun thought carefully for a moment before speaking. He needed to phrase his words carefully. After all, this man was a stranger and didn't need to know his troubles. But why the stranger was at the top of the mountain during this horrible storm bothered him. For all he knows, the man came up the mountain to kill the 'monster'.

"Not particularly. Once in a while, a bear manages to wander in and I have to drive it out. If this is what you mean by experience with intruders then I have to agree with you," Sun smoothly lied, "And first of all, where would I run to? The trees? Hardly seems like much protection. Second, I live on the top of the tallest mountain in this mountain range. No one in their right mind would willingly go over this mountain. So, I wonder why you would be on top of the mountain, now of all times," Sun calmly explained, slightly cocking an eyebrow at the stranger as he brought his cup of tea to his lips.

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