Xun Jiao Long
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Xun Jiao-Long watched as the final cherry blossom of the elderly tree fell slowly away, his heavy eyes tracing its spiraling path down until it finally settled on one of the small markers underneath the tree.

«The blossoms are falling early this year, eh?» the softly cracking voice of the ancient man intoned, his grizzled cane supporting him as he crossed the garden towards the younger man. «Some would say that’s a sign of bad times ahead…»

Jiao-Long stood in silence under the tree as the grizzled man slowly made his way over. His kindly dry voice continued to speak softly, seemingly unabashed by the silence of his conversational partner.

«Of course, one could hope the trees are just a running a bit late on their omen predicting, hmm? The Spirits know we have some pretty bad times already, after all.»

«Is that what you truly believe, Great-Grandfather?» Jiao-Long’s voice intoned emotionlessly, his eyes still fixated on the unassuming stone markers.

Leung Bok-Chau looked sidelong at his grandson from the corner of his glasses before turning back to the stones and letting out a weary sign.

«Hmph. I wish I did… But sadly I’m not senile enough yet to delude myself with paper thin wishes, my boy…» His old bones moving up with surprising fluidity for one so ancient, he clasped his hands together and bowed softly to the gravestones. «Even though the Rebellion has been declared officially over, the blood and devastation are still fresh with those that remain… Anger wells within many of the Nation’s people… As you are fully aware.»

«Have I shamed you with my actions, Great-Grandfather?»

The sudden change in conversation and the boy’s tone caused a momentary lull in the conversation as the elderly sifu raised a snow white eyebrow. «No.» He spoke softly after a moment, his neck tilting up to look at the clouds above him. «Beating the officer and his men was rash of you, it’s true, but you were justified in its reason. Those men were monsters… and they would only have caused the death of many more innocent people if left alone. Your Great-Grandmother would have been proud of you for standing up to them… As am I.»

Xun Jiao-Long gave nothing more than a nod of acknowledgement, his eyes still looking past the grave markers in front of him. A moment of reflective silence past the two men once more before Jiao-Long’s softly spoke.

«I think I should leave, Great-Grandfather. The Manchu will hear about what I did and they will come looking for me… They already harbor resentment towards our family, and if I was here they will use it as an excuse to attack you-»

«You are planning to go to America, aren’t you?»

For the first time since the conversation started, Jiao-Long’s speechlessness was not intentional.

«H-how did you know, Great-Grandfather?»

Leung Bok-Chau gave a rasping chuckle. «I may have long outlived my years here on this world, but my eyes still watch and my ears still listen. You’ve been having the dreams, haven’t you?» the ancient Master’s raspy voice slipped down into quiet reflection as he continued.

«The dreams that the spirits of our love ones seem to be far away across the ocean… Separated from their bodies… Calling out to us desperately to free them… Isn’t that right?»

Jiao-Long fell back into silence as he looked down to the hunched over form of his sage great-grandfather. «Yes.»

Bok-Chau gave a slow satisfied nod. «I understand, my boy. I wish you the Heaven's speed in your goal.»

Xun Jiao-Long returned with a low bow, turning slowly after and moving back towards the house in the distance, leaving the wizened man alone on the hill top.

«Heh. You know I would have gone too, had my old bones had the strength in them like they used to…» he talked out loud, his voice being carried softly on the wind as he bent over gently to remove the dirt covering the name of ‘Yim Wing-Chun’ from the grave marker. «Sadly, I can only pray that the boy will succeed and be able to help you, my darling.»

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