Love in the Land of Dragons

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 7 (v.1)

Submitted: October 02, 2014

Reads: 289

Comments: 17

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Submitted: October 02, 2014

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Chapter Seven

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The rising sun gradually painted the dawn a shade of stunning crimson.

Elizabeth Ander glanced out her diminutive bedroom window just in time to see pencil thin sunbeams play peek-a-boo over the lofty mountain tops that stretched for miles across the distant eastern horizon. She took a moment to savor the majestic beauty the panorama provided.

It was Friday, so for the next three days class was in recess. Breakfast would be served informally today, so Elizabeth made her way down the stairs and towards the kitchen.

Along the way she noticed how quiet it was. Not even the shrill footsteps of Miss Chang could be heard anywhere within the house. Elizabeth soon discovered, however, she was not alone. As she entered the kitchen, Pia was busily tossing firewood into the belly of the stove.

“Good morning, Mr. Pia,” she cheerily greeted with a smile.

Pia slowly turned around and returned Elizabeth’s smile with his own toothless grin.

“Good morning, Miss.”

“Where is Father Polsky?” Elizabeth asked.

“Father John,” Pia replied, “is out working in garden.”

Elizabeth nodded, “And Miss Chang?”

“Miss Chang and her grand daughter off to town for supplies.”

“Her grand daughter?!” Elizabeth wondered with a quizzical look.

“Miss Mingxia,” Pia answered, as he turned back to tend to the pots steaming on the stovetop.

Mingxia is Chang’s grand daughter? Elizabeth astonishingly thought, How could such a seemingly sweet and polite girl be related to someone like Chang?

“And where may Po Kang and Chi Lee be?” Elizabeth further inquired of her fellow teachers.

“They go for all day hike but where, I cannot say. Now if Miss would like breakfast then please have seat. I have toasted corn muffins and very fresh eggs I get straight from henhouse this morning. Also have a chicken, but that is for lunch. Would you like eggs poached, scrambled or, how you say, sunlight up?”

Elizabeth smiled to herself, as she took a seat at the table, “You mean sunny side up?”

Pia subtly laughed, “Yes, sunny side up.”

“That would be great,” Elizabeth agreed, as Pia quickly turned back to prepare her breakfast.

“How long have you been here at the Sanctuary?” Elizabeth politely inquired.

“Long time,” Pia courteously but curtly answered.

“What brought you here in the first place?”

“God,” Pia replied straightforwardly, as Elizabeth knowingly nodded.

Soon Pia had set a plate full of eggs, sunny side up, with a side of toasted corn muffin and a cup of orange juice in front of her.

“Enjoy, Miss.”

“It smells delicious,” Elizabeth enthusiastically stated, as she took a bite of the eggs, “and it tastes delicious as well.”

“Am so pleased to hear,” Pia replied, as he turned back to clean up the stove top and prepare the chicken for lunch.

“Where did you learn to cook?” Elizabeth asked, as she eagerly nibbled on the muffin.

“At Victoria Gaol in Hongkong.”

“Oh, is that a restaurant?”

“No Miss, it is a prison.”

Elizabeth stopped in mid nibble.

“So you were on the prison staff?”

Pia continued cleaning the counter.

“No Miss. I was prisoner.”

“Oh,” Elizabeth softly said. She thought about changing the subject but her curiosity got the better of her, so she continued on.

“If I may ask, what were you in prison for?”

Pia didn’t answer at first, which made Elizabeth think maybe she had overstepped the boundaries of courtesy, but when he did answer it was in an eerie tone tinged with a trace of restrained regret.

“Many years ago,” Pia explained, “I was on a righteous path. I had wife whom I loved very much, but she loved many others. One day I come home to catch her with one such love. Then I perform unspeakable and unforgivable act which made me plunge off righteous path.”

“What did you do?” Elizabeth warily asked.

“I took hatchet,” Pia spookily answered, as he grabbed a butcher hatchet off the counter, “and sliced both their heads off….. like this!!”

Suddenly, Pia slammed the butcher hatchet across the neck of the plucked chicken, quickly decapitating the bird’s head while imbedding the hatchet’s razor-sharp blade deep within the wooden kitchen counter.

Elizabeth let out an audible gasp.

“I am so sorry, Miss,” Pia profusely apologized, as he humbly bowed his head, “Please forgive me. I did not intend to upset you.”

Elizabeth sat stunned at the table, she didn’t know if she should remain silent as to not further agitate Pia, or get up and make a mad dash for the door. However, she somehow managed to regain her composure and remain reasonably calm. At least for the moment.

“No, I owe you an apology,” Elizabeth began, “I shouldn’t of been so….uh, inquisitive. It was impolite of me to have asked you those questions in the first place.”

“No, Miss. Apology from you is not necessary,” Pia replied, “those sinful acts of mine put me back on righteous path. Path that eventually led me to Sanctuary House and to Father John.”

They both remained silent until Pia broke that silence with a question for Elizabeth.

“So… would Miss like another muffin?”

“Uh, no thank you,” Elizabeth hurriedly answered, “I think I’d better go and check on Father Polsky.”

“Very well, Miss,” Pia understandingly replied, as Elizabeth hastily headed out the kitchen door and towards the garden where she found the good Father toiling away. Elizabeth noted he was wearing farmer’s coveralls and a plaid work shirt. The straw hat on top of his head cast shadows over his brow.

“Good morning, Father.”

Father Polsky slowly glanced up.

“Why good morning, Elizabeth. Have you had breakfast yet?”

“Yes,” Elizabeth answered, “it was quite delicious and Pia is quite an interesting person, isn’t he?”

“Oh?” Father Polsky suspiciously replied, “You had a long talk with him this morning?”

“Yes, a very memorable talk actually,” Elizabeth nervously answered.

“So he spoke to you of his past, did he?” Father Polsky knowingly asked.

“Yes,” Elizabeth confessed, “but now I feel guilty because after he told me what he had done, I found myself wanting to get away from him as fast as possible. And it’s all my fault because I kept asking him questions I hadn’t the right to ask him in the first place.”

“Do not fret, Elizabeth,” the Good Father smiled sympathetically, “one of the many things I find adorable about you is your natural inquisitiveness. It is true Pia has performed horrendous acts, but he has confessed his sins to God and in His infinite wisdom, God has forgiven him. We, being children of God ourselves, should follow suit and forgive Pia his trespass as well.”

Elizabeth understood.

“And Elizabeth,” Father Polsky continued, “let us not mention Pia’s past to anyone outside the Sanctuary, shall we?”

Elizabeth was confused, “But didn’t Pia pay his debt to society by serving his time in prison?”

“No, my dear. Pia didn’t serve his full sentence,” Father Polsky explained, “he’s an escapee. I understand there is still a reward out for his capture, so the fewer people who know of his past the better off for all of us. I consider him under the protection of God, as long as he remains within the Sanctuary grounds. I hope you will understand.”

Elizabeth nodded her head but couldn’t help but wonder what other secrets were contained within these Sanctuary grounds that were also under the protection of God? She swiftly decided to change the subject.

“Well, Pia did tell me that I’d find you here in your garden.”

“Yes, I’m planting beans and carrots,” Father Polsky explained, seemingly relieved to finally talk about something else, “before the monsoon season arrives.”

“Then let me help you,” Elizabeth offered.

“Oh that’s all right, my dear,” the good Father replied, “you have enough to keep you busy with your classes.”

“But Father Polsky,” Elizabeth tried to point out, “I really feel like I’m not pulling my own weight around here. I want to help contribute beyond the classroom. Besides, I have gardening experience. My Mother had her own small garden back home that I helped her out with and, as you know, I was raised on a farm which essentially is one pretty big garden.”

Father Polsky heartily laughed.

“Yes, you’re right my dear, but still I’d rather you concentrate on your teachings.”

“And I will, Father,” Elizabeth cordially countered, “but I still want, no… I need to contribute more.”

“Well, I don’t know,” Father Polsky muttered.

“Please, Father. Let this garden be my rice bowl,” Elizabeth added.

Father Polsky was silent in thought for a few moments, until a subtle smile crossed his furrowed face.

“Oh, very well.”

Elizabeth smiled, “Thank you, Father. Now, how many rows do you want to plant the beans?”

So in addition to her teaching duties, Elizabeth was now Father Polsky’s gardening assistant and she loved it. It enabled her to have more talks with Father Polsky on a variety of subjects ranging from her study of Chinese culture and customs to Oriental philosophy. Gardening also helped with her homesickness. It was as if that small patch of soil was a little piece of Nebraska that had fallen from the sky and landed at her feet.

On Saturday, after working all morning in the garden, Elizabeth went back to her room to clean up for lunch. While upstairs she thought she had heard a muffled “bang”, but soon decided it was probably just the distant sound of thunder. Dark clouds were beginning to form beyond the mountain tops and Elizabeth knew it was the beginning of the monsoon season, as Father Polsky had previously mentioned.

After cleaning up, she headed into the kitchen to find the good Father already there along with Po Kang and Chi Lee. Pia was busily preparing lunch.

“Did you have a nice walk yesterday?” Elizabeth asked her two fellow instructors.

“Why you ask?!” Po Kang sternly replied. Chi Lee, as always, remained silent. Although, it was the most words Elizabeth had ever heard Po speak since arriving.

“Oh, no reason. Just being polite and making conversation,” Elizabeth courteously replied, while noticing the harsh, almost hateful look that Po was directing her way.

“Elizabeth,” Father Polsky quickly interrupted, “I was wondering if you had your student evaluations completed yet?”

“Yes, Father. I have.”

“Then could I see them?”

“Of course, they’re on my desk back in the classroom.”

Father Polsky nodded, “Then if you would be so kind as to go and fetch them before we start lunch. I’d like to review your comments.”

Elizabeth was somewhat perplexed. She understood that Father Polsky needed to be kept informed on her students progress, but why was it so important for her to retrieve them now? But if that was what Father Polsky wanted, then she would oblige his request.

“Yes, of course,” Elizabeth said, as she left the table to head outside and towards the classroom buildings.

“Thank you, my dear,” Father Polsky called out with a slight smirk, just before she exited the kitchen door. A smirk Elizabeth thought was rather odd, especially coming from someone like the good Father.

As she reached her classroom and opened the door, Elizabeth immediately noticed a nice, shiny apple sitting on her desk. At first she thought she had forgotten to take it with her after class on Friday, but all of a sudden she was startled by a friendly and familiar voice.

“Hello, Miss Ander. Sorry I’m so late for class.”

She quickly turned to discover Carlton Chambers casually sitting at the back of the classroom with an ever so mischievous, yet gorgeous smile on his handsome face. A smile that once again made Elizabeth’s own face begin to inadvertently blush.


© Copyright 2017 Nikki Evans. All rights reserved.

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