The man was nothing but a blur among the shadows of the garden.
With swift, silent movements, he approached the sleeping figure. The small dagger in his hand shone briefly in the night before being expertly plunged into the sheets… where it found nothing but empty air.
“Welcome, I’ve been waiting for you.”
The man in black turned around to find an old man calmly seated in front of two porcelain teacups.
“You know I’m here to kill you, yet you carry no weapons. Why?”
The old man carefully filled the cups with fragrant tea.
“Please, have a seat.”
“It would be wiser of you to have a sword that a teacup.”
The old man smiled.
“My sword knows its right place to be at every moment, and –until I know who you really are– that place is not my hand. Now sit, your tea is getting cold.”
“Strange way of facing an enemy.”
“Unless you know someone deeply enough to understand his true motives and intentions you cannot be his enemy. If you don’t, then it’s not him who is your enemy but your own idea of who he is. So, in a sense, your enemy is really yourself.”
“As long as I kill you, what difference does it make?”
“You came here to kill without knowing who you’re killing, and were ready to die without knowing why you’re dying. Empty victory or senseless death. Tell me, are they worth it?”
The man in black raised his sword, staring at the old man’s smile. He stood there for a long time, ready to strike, then slowly returned the blade to its sheath.
“I hope the tea has not gone too cold.” He finally said, and sat in front of the wise old man.