Story for the day: The Unopened Gift
The Unopened Gift
It had been some time since the Den Asaan had taken a visit to the markets to obtain some of his most preferred chocolate. While he accepted sweets in all denominations, the succor of a fine chocolate could compare with no other appeasement. His duties, however, had kept him away from Diras Delights, the Triumvirate Chocolate Factory and any other vendor of such confectionary suitability. Implementation with his recruits, training with his captains, practice with his brothers, Khopra with his mate, and while all of these activities were fulfilling in their own respects, they could not assuage his desperate need for comfort of a more rich and dulcet nature.
He returned from his daily duties and entered his residence in the commons, prepared to perform a thorough search for any remaining chocolate in his home, searching all of his usual places for a morsel of his familiar consolation. The storeroom was scoured, the main room was explored, even the bedchamber was thoroughly dredged until a small remnant was found.
A wrapper was rescued from the Den Asaan’s side of the bed and though it gave him much excitement once it was lifted, all his exultation was gone and replaced with aggrievement. The emptiness of the wrapper mocked him. He scowled at the article as it crinkled in his quaking hand and Rautu was so unnerved by its crumpling sounds that he threw it to the ground and returned to the main room of the commons to recheck all of his hiding place.
Each cache was vacant and in place of a delectable bar of chocolate were only the remains of one that was once present. Rautu groaned in ache and when his mate entered their residence a few moments later, the giant could only greet her with a pout. She laughed at his woeful state and sat at the table to watch the continuation of his hunt. She spied every place he searched for she had catalogued every one for him.
“You ate that one two days ago,” the commander said with a satisfied smile as her mate went to check the cupboard.
Rautu grunted at the grinning woman and returned to the bedchamber to look through his mate’s dresser.
The commander heard the giant open each compartment until he reached the large drawer on the bottom that scraped against the floor as it was pulled open. “That one was eaten yesterday,” she called out, leaning her chin on her hand.
The Den Asaan roared in frustration and thundered from the bedchamber toward his woman. “Where are your reserves?” he demanded.
“Eaten by you,” the commander reminded him. “And by me, but to lesser extent. I warned you to be a bit more sparing with your last few pieces of the Tyfirrem dark I so kindly procured for you.”
Although the giant knew his mate was correct, the matter of right and wrong was inconsequential when the matter of chocolate was at hand. His expression grew pained and he lowered his eyes in defeat, resting his chin atop the commander’s head.
She cooed at him with genuine sympathy. She knew how dependant the Den Asaan’s tranquility was on such an object and it wounded her to see him in so wretched a state. As she embraced him, however, she started when something was suddenly recalled. “I don’t mean to ruin your hunt, but I believe you do have some chocolate remaining.”
The giant stood back from his mate. His eyes narrowed in circumspection, as he was certain there was no chocolate in the commons. “Show me where, woman,” the Den Asaan growled.
The commander turned toward the opposing end of the table and pointed to a small, cylindrical parcel sitting on its corner. The package was finely wrapped in a pink parchment paper, tied with strands of silver straw and topped with a purple bow. There was a small card attached to the item that denoted the package was for the Den Asaan. The careful covering had shown no signs of infiltration and the commander had begun to grow curious as to why it was left sealed. “Isn’t that the chocolate Kai Linaa gave you when she asked for your forgiveness for the ribbon incident?” she asked.
The giant exhaled and turned his face aside. “That was a gift, Traala,” he said firmly.
“And therefore, it is meant to remain unopened?”
The Den Asaan peered over at the package and wondered how its contents were disclosed when the paper had not been altered. “How do you know there is chocolate inside that box?”
“Because when you received it, you sniffed it quite dotingly for ten minutes,” the commander laughed. “You wouldn’t pay an item so much attention if it did not hold something invaluable for you. Shall I ask why it remains in its package when you’re very obviously in need of its contents?”
The Den Asaan grimaced and stared at the decorated box with a silent fervency. He remained in his place as he watched his mate retrieve the package and remark it with concern. She sniffed the folded crevices of the parchment, detecting hints of the treat within. On her return to the Den Asaan, she believed he would remove the box from her hands and open it to satisfy his craving but the giant was only still and remained glaring at her instead.
“I don’t believe Kai Linaa would deceiving you into thinking she gave you chocolate when there is only another ribbon with which to dress your hair inside,” she simpered, shaking the box with a taunting gesture.
“I know it is no ribbon,” the giant scoffed, folding his arms.
“Is it the abominable white chocolate, or the slightly less abominable milk chocolate?”
“It is neither.”
The giant’s terse responses fed her inquisitiveness on the subject and the commander raised her brows in wait of an answer to at least one of the riddles presented.
“She told me what was inside the gift was when she gave it to me,” the giant admitted. “It is a rare chocolate with mint cream from the south of your kingdom.”
The commander was amazed that Kai Linaa would go to such lengths to secure her favor in the giant’s eyes and she shook her head to think of how much she must have spent to receive so exceptional a gift. “It is rare, indeed. It’s a Sethshire vintage only made once a year for Ailineighdaeth,” she explained. “I am astonished you’ve refrained from opening it.”
The Den Asaan regarded the package. His rigid composure began to shift. His shoulders wilted, his head lowered and his appearance grew indignant in his continual contemplation of his mate’s proposal. “She took great care in wrapping it,” the Den Asaan said, averting his eyes.
The commander’s lips parted slightly. “Do you mean to say you shouldn’t like to ruin wrapping paper?”
“The parchment she used is of commendable quality and it should be preserved,” Rautu contended.
The commander made a conscious effort not to laugh at his sudden sense of care. Although her mate was harsh with his commands and ruthless in his character to others than herself, she knew him to be a feeling creature who valued much that others did not. The excellence wrapping paper was no exception.
“Iimon Ghaala,” the commander said with a fond smile for her mate. “If you wanted to conserve her hard work without ruining the packaging, you could have asked me to open it for you. However, since demanding is your greatest proficiency, I will take your looks of entreaty as an inquiry and do it for you anyway.” She carefully peeled aside the sealant holding the folds of paper together and removed the silver straw from around the box, coiling it in a tight wind and setting it aside. In a few moments, the paper and all its accoutrements were preserved and the commander was pleased to give the giant his prize.
As a reward for her compassion to his plight, the Den Asaan accorded his mate half of the numerous mint chocolates decorating the inside of the box, but because he had shown his consideration so readily for so small a contrivance, the commander urged him to have them all and only asked him not to pout when they were done.