Rooftop Confidence

The route cut north across green hills and fields, with the low evening sun bright in my eyes. Cresting a rise, I stepped onto the peak of a rooftop.

The building was on the corner of a strip of shops in the hillside. Its roof slanted steeply down from where I stood, ornate dark shingles of burgundy wood glinting. The roof was tiered after a fashion that reminded me of Japanese architecture, but I knew it was Mantihu by the guard at the door. He paced by a patio of tables and chairs, umbrellas unfurled with bottles of wine awaiting customers. When I slid down two sections of the roof it drew his attention.

“Only Mantihu are served here,” he informed me gruffly. “Be on your way.”

“I have business here,” I replied casually, standing out of reach on the rim of the overhang. “If only Mantihu are welcome, how do you explain the owner?”

He eyed me warily and resumed pacing. I hopped down, landing lightly on all fours. Beneath an awning and past the eating area I found a staircase between the buildings.

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