8th of Ready’reat 481 ONT, Galley of the Champions Boot, 7:23am
Hiro looked down at the elderly gnome cook and saw the deep worry lines on his face and something more? The way he looked at Hiro suggested he had something to say and was unsure how to broach the subject. It was more than odd since signing on as a cook’s helper the two of them had gotten along very well in the cramped confines of the ship’s galley. This meant to Hiro that this was either really bad news or Hattrutt wanted something big from him. “I was thinking that we could do some sort of egg over noodles or rice with green onion and some spices in a broth to warm the crew up today.”
Hiro opened the hatch to his entrance to the kitchen and crawled through. Whatever was tied up inside the friendly cook would come out in due time and standing around would not get the food ready nor free the words from Hatrutt’s head. Popping through the other side he grabbed a smock as Hatrutt answered, “I think we’ll keep it more traditional and simple today. It’s a long journey to Don-Ton and we need to make things last.” Hiro merely nodded and went about his part in the preparation of the morning meal. It was a good break from the thoughts and dreams that were twisting through his head.
Eventually the crew began to show up and the food was dished out with the normal early morning routine of talk and banter. But as it came to an end Hatrutt turned to Hiro and clearing his throat asked for the biggest favour he’d asked in a long time. “Hiro, I’ve an opportunity in Don-Ton to train with the greatest chefs of this Age and though I’m no spring chicken I want to do it. Imagine me, a galley cook getting this chance to rub elbows and learn things from the best. Now this doesn’t mean I’m leaving the Boot, only taking the time the Boot should be in port to good use. But I need a Sous-Chef, someone who knows my cooking and knows me well enough to be a help not a hindrance.”
“How long will it take?”
“Just the four months we should be in Don-Ton for and then it’ll be back to our normal routine after that. I could train someone in Don-Ton well enough but that would take time away from learning and not leave as good an impression on the masters.” Hiro was honoured that Hatrutt would even think him competent enough to help when true master chefs were involved. He was also feeling more and more tied to the crew and the Champion’s Boot when he should be out finding information about the Phoenix and seeking the path to its lair. Four months was a long time in port and he doubted there would be much extra time allowed for research. But at least he would have a chance to try and that was more than his previous travels had given him. Or he could say no and spend all his time seeking his own answers.
Hiro knew his answer and that was the one of honour to those he considered friends and crewmates, those who had taken a chance and welcomed him in. After all how bad could it be? Cooking was a lot less dangerous than delivering silver in the middle of the night or saving a town from a despot. A small voice in his head kept reminding him that he would have around two and a half years remaining by the time they left and he still ahd no idea how long it would take or if it was even possible to find what he sought.
“I would be honoured to help and doubly for it being you Hatrutt. Let me know what you need of me and I will do it both of time and effort to make it a success for you.” Hiro wanted to ask him for aid in his own research but held off knowing that to learn from masters would require all of the elder gnome’s attention and his own efforts would be sufficient. At least he hoped so. Don-Ton was supposed to be a great place to gain knowledge on magic or magical things.
The remainder of the meal went well and cleaning was done with the return of the good natured banter. Hiro was happy to see Hatrutt had a renewed vigour and energy about him and when he left to go do his daily maintenance on Johnathan he found himself humming an old Fire Nation tune. The gnome had given him a rundown on each of the possible master chefs they might encounter and even an idea of what they liked to make. Hiro was impressed and hoped he too could pick up some useful skills in the process.