It was dark outside and Kurogane was already sitting on the old man's dining table, looking down while reflecting on what had happened throughout the day.
The place was located in the middle of the street, and if one were to leave the house during the day, they would be greeted by large crowds and other marketing stands, since it was located in a busy part of the city.
For a lone elder's house, it was sparsely furnished but looked comfortable. He had a table with a few cushions surrounding it, followed by a small bedroom off to one side, with a cooking area to the opposite side of the room from where Kurogane was seated.
Rooms were separated with sliding doors and the gleaming, wooden floors blended exquisitely with the home's overall ambiance.
The old man stood near his kettle as he prepared some food, the smell being quite distracting to poor Kurogane, who hadn't eaten in quite a while.
(So much happened today… I can barely process it all. This person… will he really be able to help me? Will I get a clue that will take me a step closer to those people?)
"Hey, what's your name, young man?" the elder suddenly asked.
Jostled from his thoughts and taken by surprise, Kurogane stammered out a reply.
"T-Tamashiro… Tamashiro Kurogane."
"Ah, what a lovely name! I'm Takada Reo, just call me Reo though."
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Reo then placed a bowl of finely cooked noodles and chopsticks before Kurogane.
The flavored steam made its way across the atmosphere. The noodles were perfect – not too thin or thick. The soup was light and finely flavored with various spices and salt. There were two perfectly shaped omelets on the right side, and four strips of beef on the top left. There was a decent amount of cilantro placed on top of the noodles as well which only added onto the intensely appetizing aroma surrounding the food.
"This looks really good… I am grateful sir."
However, with sudden second thoughts invading his mind, he remained without taking a bite, watching Reo closely. As nice as this old man was being, he was still suspicious to him.
Reo smiled in understanding and turned away to fill a bowl for himself, eventually sitting down in front of Kurogane. He took two bites, keeping his eyes on his bowl as he ate, pausing for a second inbetween.
"It's my favorite kind! Usually keeps my old self fired up y-"
A loud slurping sound filled the air. Before Reo could even finish what he was saying, he looked back to see that the bowl, which was just full seconds ago, empty as Kurogane slurped up the last of the noodles, pausing as he noticed Reo looking at him, blushing softly as the last few hung out of his mouth. The noodles dripped slightly before he slurped the rest of it and put the bowl down in a shy manner.
Reo's eyes, which usually looked as if they were closed, opened slightly and blinked a few times before he coughed and chuckled nervously.
"My word, your last meal must have been a distant memory to you! Would you like some more?"
Kurogane's stomach started to grumble – as if it were far from being full. The bowl was polished clean, attesting to his hunger, but Kurogane refused out of courtesy and shyness.
"N-No sir, thank you so much" replied Kurogane while turning his head slightly towards the left in embarrassment.
"No worries. I got plenty more from where that came from," said Reo, laughing while pointing his steamy wooden spoon at Kurogane.
However, Reo frowned, following up after he suddenly struck Kurogane's head with his spoon and scolded him.
"This time, chew your food and don't rush!"
Humbly agreeing to the elder, Kurogane held his head with both hands out of embarrassment.
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