Rakugoka Sushi House – The Accusation
“Kanpai,” she said with no cheer, no spring in her voice. She launched the glass of sake into her gullet to hide the tremors running through her hand, somehow forgetting that nothing could evade Rukugoka Koza’s keen eye.
Before her glass came slamming back onto the table, he had already deposited another freshly filled cup before her. A corner of her mouth turned upward.
“You know, Raku, we’ve known each other for what–a year?–and I can say without any compunction,” she said, slightly slurring the word, “that you and Mariko are truly one of a kind.”
He grunted, then smiled for as long as he could which averaged about a quarter-of-a-second. It wasn’t that he was incapable of the emotions behind such a thing, but the outward expression never seemed to get its act together across all of the required facial muscles.
Only briefly did he turn his attention back to the cherry-handled blade in his right hand. Full cognizance was unnecessary. Slicing the piece of yellowfin tuna into its requisite culinary parts occupied a permanent space in his mind. It had taken many, many years of training to achieve the disciplined, multi-mindedness that he possessed. All senses were activated to his surroundings as well as internal affections.
“Something troubles you today?” he asked merely for show.
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