The Treasure That Remains


Scene Title The Treasure That Remains
Synopsis Left behind in the wake of Yi-Min's departure from Providence.
Date August 17, 2019

Sunken Factory, Yi-Min's Room

Only one person besides Yi-Min herself possesses a copy of the key to her quarters in the Sunken Factory, and that person is— rather unsurprisingly to anyone that knows the pair of them— Kara Prince. It has seen little use in the past, and its purpose is to be a contingency measure; normally Yi-Min would be present to let Kara into her room herself, or circumstances would naturally dictate they meet elsewhere on the grounds.

Tonight, use of this spare key allows access into a room that is vacant and dark, the cool, vibrant greens reduced to hazy greys wherever they are not touched by the single trickle of moonlight sifting in through the unshaded window. The silhouettes of assorted house plants stand against the far wall in a starkly ordered line of shadows, and there is a sense of emptiness permeating through the meticulously-kept setup of adornments and decorations.

One constant from the recent past remains in the muted, metallic ticking of a clock somewhere in the vicinity of the doorway, although the sounds now feel too resonant. Hollow.

The soul of this place has already quietened following the absence of its owner, and lingering reminders of her are simply this.

The wall niche containing Yi-Min's personal shrine to Kuan Yin, a merry source of warm light and sweet, softly-smoking incense in the early hours of most mornings, likewise sits still and darkened in a long pall of gloom now. But upon closer inspection, it can be noticed that something appears out of place. The lush pink blooms and short unlit candles framing either side of the statuette; the empty plates for fruit offerings in the mornings; all of these are unchanged, if cast in greyscale. But there is one extra item present in the center of the tableau, watched over by the kind, sightless, marble eyes of the goddess herself as though she is gently guiding a potential seeker to focus their gaze at a point just beyond her feet.

The article in question resides at the base of the lean ancestral tablet paying homage to Yi-Min's brother. A thinly folded sheaf of homemade paper, neatly leaned upright against the wood.

Inside is a message written in Yi-Min's trim, spidery handwriting—

To Kara,

If you are reading this, then it means that I had to leave without a proper goodbye. I am sorry for this, and sorry too for the circumstances which must have arisen to bring this about. I shall attempt to establish secure communications when I am able.

Take care of Eileen, and take care of Providence. I do not know what will be in the days to come, although I have my fears. I do not need to tell you to be on your guard from what is coming. I trust in your strength.

My da bao, my treasure, it may be that this is a fool's errand. It may be that I gain nothing from this venture, or gain it too late. It may be that I cannot find a good way to return. If it becomes so— then heaven above knows, more the fool am I. But know then: this fool loves you dearly, and is beyond grateful to have been given the chance to meet you and to see my Eileen again.

Please water my plants when I am gone. Most need watering twice a week, in the morning if it is practicable; the orchids need it only once. I recommend asking Dumortier if you need help with the elephant ears: they can be finicky in this soil, but not to one with his gift.

Your Yi-Min

And in such a way the note ends, with no extra words wasted. There are no further clues as to Yi-Min's current whereabouts. No amount of searching the environment unearths anything else unusual; no breadcrumbs that lay elsewhere in the factory, no promises offered in the high, empty, star-streaked skies outside. Had she guessed that the events of the last evening would have ended in such a storm?

Whatever the case for any questions lingering unanswered to those she had left behind, the only true certainty is that Dr. Yeh is known for being fastidious.

It is evident that she had left behind everything she had felt she had needed to.

And it will have to be enough, for whatever is to come.

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