"You must kill to eat," Jau said.
Hanzi watched the chicken peck and scratch the ground as it strolled around the pen. The bird clucked quietly to itself, enjoying a sunny albeit cool autumn day. This was not what he had expected when Jau mentioned cooking lessons.
Slowly, Hanzi looked at the knife Jau held out to him, then at Jau directly.
Jau didn't twitch so much as a single eye lash. "Do or don't." He stabbed the knife into an old stump stained with the blood of so many deaths before. "Only one of you will leave this pen alive."
* * *
One hour, two hours. Three hours came and went. Hanzi sat on the ground with his eyes closed, appearing to be sunk in deep meditation. Mostly though he just didn't want to look at Jau.
Four, five hours. He was hungry by then but not desperately. He stood up intermittently to pace and stretch his legs and to take water. At least Jau was not so cruel as to deprive him that.
Six, seven. It was no longer about the bird. It was more than a matter of morals. It was a clash of wills.
Soon it was more night than day. He could see lamps beginning to light up in the distance.
"Why do you refuse?" Jau finally spoke. Hanzi considered it a small triumph but he was too well-mannered to gloat about it.
"Every life is precious."
"What if that life is precious because its purpose is to give life to others."
To which Hanzi had no immediate response except silence.