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A Tale from The Lotus Chronicles

   The smell of whiskey called to him. He’d longed for its sweet release for weeks. Yoshi had known that getting out of Doc’s basement medical ward would be hard, and not because of his broken leg.

   He balanced on the landing where the stairs turned. He didn’t need the whiskey. It was out of his system. He’d not had a drop since he’d placed his trust in Kurios.

   “You’re doing great, Yosh.” Doc said. The man leaned on the rail to the lower half of the stairs, waiting for him to advance. “Just take it—”

   “I’ve got it.” Yoshi snapped. He closed his eyes to say a soft prayer. Smelling the whiskey was half the battle, the bar above him would have bottles of the excellent liquor lined up along the wall. “I’ve got this.”

   Doc held up his hands and waited with a patience Yoshi hadn’t known the man possessed. Yoshi stepped on the first step and brought the crutches up, then the next. Five steps and he’d gained the top.

   Yoshi navigated around the wall and into the bar proper. The bar was empty, except for Denny and Ink. The two old Hands watched him.

   Ink stood behind the bar cleaning a mug and gave him a nod, his sour expression ever constant. But there was a light in the old man’s eyes that Yoshi had never seen before. Was it approval?

   Denny smiled at him and pushed away from the bar. “Nicely done, Yosh. We’ve got your office set up in the study, want to see?”

   Yoshi looked beyond Ink at the amber bottles lining the wall. He griped his crutches. He could almost taste the complex notes of vanilla and spice.

   “Yoshi.” Denny’s voice was low and not unkind. “Where does your strength come from?”

   Yoshi tore his eyes away from the thing that had consumed his life for far too long and smiled at his friend. “Not whiskey.”

   “Good man. Now come on.” Denny led him down the hall and away from his demons.

Reliance: List
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