VIII/At the Dragon Wharf Market
“Kind young man! Come and taste this leaf cake!”
The silver-haired old lady opened the big pot emitting a cool and sweet fragrance, fanning quickly, and invited the foreign youth in front of her with great enthusiasm. He took the cake with long graceful fingers, his face brighter than the night of the full moon.
“Kind young man, I have been at this Dragon Wharf Market for so many years but I have never seen someone with more temperament than you! Did you come here from the faraway country of Chi?"
Wei Liu's lips curled into a smile, making the shop girls around blush. This leaf cake was quite simple but fresh and hot, with a natural sweetness unlike the sugar candies in Chi. He took a big bite and casually asked:
“Kind old lady, is the market here open until this late?”
By the time he escaped to this market, the sun had already set behind the mountains. When he realized that the red mist surrounding him did not bode well, Wei Liu quietly retreated, not wanting to constantly fight with hidden enemies. Running to the place where the light and music echoed, Wei Liu arrived at a market that was still very busy in the late afternoon. He had helped villagers carry goods to the wharf many times to send them to Viet Kingdom, but he had never seen the markets in this country. To be fair, the market in Viet land was not as big as in Chi, the shops were not as magnificent, but the items here were no less rich and highly local. He crossed his arms happily while strolling along the market, the dancing lights above were scintillating, the stalls built from bamboo were placed so close next to each other, everyone was comfortable talking and exchanging goods. He repeatedly looked at the fancy enhancements, wondering what it would look like if he mounted them on his halberd, if his weapon could be more flexible than before.
Along the market were small traders who were not Viet: they had no stalls but it was extremely crowded. They exchanged whispers in a hidden corner, the buyers seemed annoyed, but the sellers were gloating. Even Wei Liu caught a glimpse of red light when they made a transaction, proving that the quality was top-notch.
"Right! The market stays open as long as there are still lingering guests! In Viet Kingdom, we only celebrate on national holidays. Is this young man here to do business, or to visit?"
Wei Liu rubbed his hands and blinked.
“Old lady, I am here to find a dearest wife! The scenery of this place really suits my heart, I don't know if the way to the capital is still far?"
Hearing that, the village girls couldn't help but let out excited squeal. The old woman wiped her hands, mocked the young girls, then turned to Wei Liu and replied:
“You go straight to the East, where the sun rises is the residence of the Noble Queen!”
Referring to the "Queen", everyone around suddenly put a hand on the left chest respectfully, and Wei Liu was taken aback by this action. He folded his hands in response in the posture of a martial artist and then bid them goodbye.
Just a small market but still very attractive. Near the end of the market, suddenly an inn appeared in sight. The moon was high up anyway, Wei Liu raised his eyebrows and walked in. This inn had a large courtyard, inside was a place for overnight guests. At this time, the guests were eating and drinking on the tables in the yard, most of them were locals. Wei Liu arbitrarily chose a distant table from the performers in the middle of the yard, observing everything.
Most of the Viet people present here carried self-defense weapons, but the atmosphere around them was peaceful without killing intent, probably used as a habit or just for hunting. A special feature that attracted his attention was that everyone had a spirit that followed them, they hung around their owner without hiding, eating and playing gleefully, seeming to be good spirits. This was different from the Chi people, who often hid their spirit animals.
Wei Liu was a picky person, so far he had not been able to find the spirit that suited him best. When he was still studying at the dojos in the village, he heard from his master that teaching spirits was an indispensable element, they depended on their master's wishes to assist – there were those who used spirits to heal their wounds, some used them increase their strength, others chose to pursue the dark arts with their spirits. Spirits could be anything, but of course, the rarer they were, the more power they had. Although he tried a couple of times, Wei Liu didn't see anything that reacted to his person and his aspirations as he expected, so he focused on training in martial arts and weapons.
The vaudeville was performing a play that was quite popular in Viet Kingdom: “The Tale of the Sanguis Turturis Sword”. The Sanguis Turturis Sword in the legend was a level 16 weapon – the highest level. It was also the divine and treasured weapon of Viet Kingdom. Although no one had ever witnessed its power with their own eyes, but the legends woven around it were increasingly thrilling, full of mysterious and dramatic elements, so far it had become one of the most famous and beloved plays in the world.
Wei Luu sipped a glass of wine, leaning on his hand to watch the scene of the main character in the play - the Queen of Viet Kingdom, holding the "Sanguis Turturis Sword" in her hand, ruling over 30,000 troops to protect the land. After defeating the enemy, she swallowed the "Sanguis Turturis Sword" inside herself, using her own human body to protect the divine weapon. "No wonder the people of Vietnam deified their Queen so much!" – he thought. In the eyes of these people, their Queen was like a God. She carried the treasure sword of the kingdom, transforming herself into a holy spirit, so that was why it was always rumored that their Queen was undefeated, weapons would avoid her, one blow from her hand could drain the whole lake!
His face showed no emotion, the fire casted eerie lights on his sharp eyes, he tilted his head to look at the "Queen" of the vaudeville.
She was dressed in white, had long black hair. She then changed into a royal robe the next minute and was extremely proficient in the use of spears.
“The Noble Queen of Viet Kingdom huh…” He looked up at the moon in the sky, raised his glass of wine as if he wanted to offer a toast.