34 The Merchan

Deep and far from the Northern Empire, miles from the Bai residence was the Tang dynasty's Capital Shongo in the Eastern kingdom - the center of the Eastern Empire ruled by Emperor Li Chang.

The wide setting sky had softly lit the local roads and cities streets, reflecting brightly against the houses and shops all about.

Despite the setting sun, many civilized people roamed the social area, eagerly watching the lit red lanterns hung around the shops with profound awe and everlasting bliss.

The hearty innocent sound of laughter of small children rang, as they chased one another with a set of sticks.

As the children played, one of the children, in particular, had fallen behind, his stubby legs trotting in a desperate speed as he naturally tried his best to catch up with the others.

Very soon due to his lack of concentration, the young boy violently tripped on a rock causing his round body to fall.

"Ahh--!" He yelped.

Closing his eyes, waiting for the harsh impact of the dirt ground, the young boy could only pray the pain would be small.

However, the pain never came. Instead, the feeling of a set of slender arms held his tiny waist from falling.

"Don't try to run too fast in crowded places," An icy youthful voice said.

Startled by the divine voice, the young boy twists his head to identify the face of the person, but suddenly, the figure nudges him forward straightening his posture.

"Are children these days always this reckless?" The voice muttered helplessly.

Quickly turning around to perceive the face of his savor, the young boy's eager eyes are met with the figure of a young merchant - his hands jabbing into his sides.

Resting on his head was a bamboo hat hovering over a partial part of his face, including his eyes and nose - merely revealing his rosy lips.

A set of grey and dark blue robes wrapped around his body with a round bamboo satchel worn around his chest and back.

His appearance was one would see of a farmer, yet the aura surrounding him represented the complete opposite of a humble farmer.

Looking at the young merchant with awe, the little boy's eyes sparkled.

"Have you done deaf now too?" He tilted his head questionably at the boy.

"Ah…" The little boys faced delicately flushed. "Thank you, mister, for saving me just then! I can't thank you enough!"

Looking down towards the grinning boy's beaming expression, one would typically show when looking at a noble hero, the merchant didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

He had merely helped him from falling. Why was he acting like he was his savor in shining armor?

"It's fine, just be sure to watch where you're going in crowded places. You don't know the city too well." The merchant sighed.

With those following words, the young mysterious merchant walked away from the boy heading further into the boundless sea of local people.

The little boy thoughtfully watched the merchant leave with an innocent look of admiration, before suddenly remembering his group of friends and running in their direction. Of course naturally following his savors words and making sure to go slowly.

Further, into the enthusiastic crowd of Shongon city, the young boy had long disappeared from the crowd and was currently resting on a tall hilltop gazing down at the bustling city below him. In his porcelain palms was a small pouch filled with [1] tanghulu.

Popping a hard syrup covered fruit into his rosy mouth; he calmly sucks on it with an empty expression - his knees seated in front of his chest displaying a lazy manner.

For a few countless minutes, the young boy observed the setting sky and bustling city with a blank stare, sucking quietly on candied fruits.

Suddenly, the faint sound of flapping wings could be instantly heard in a reasonable distance.

Tilting his attentive ears slightly, he subtly shifts his direct gaze in the direction of the distinct sound to undoubtedly see a small brown feathered bird flying his way - a falcon.

Not appearing scared by the bird's choice in direction, he calmly looks back at the picturesque scenery, as the small brown bird lands on his shoulder - it's dark eyes flashing brightly.

The bird lightly screeches as if speaking to the young boy, who merely hums in direct response.

Picking up a candied fruit with his slender fingers he elevates it near the bird's beak. Not hesitating, the bird pecks at the candied fruit, sharply twisting a tiny piece off of the delicious candy into its beak.

"En, good job, Ju." The merchant gently releases a faint smile.

Bright emerald eyes dimmed darkly beneath his straw hat - a small mole placed under his right eye.
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