“I cannot be imagining this,” Robb said.
What Robb thought was a little town wasn’t a town. The source of the fireworks and music was in fact a city—a great city of colourful streets, laughing children, and a glistening stream that routed through.
Stone bridges connected the pebbled shores of the stream, where wooden food stalls ran their businesses. The citizens strolled in loose silk-layered clothing, seemingly dancing as a draft stirred in their motion. The people also held a friendly face, filled with expressions un-repressed. And the second Robb felt self-conscious, he noticed everyone’s hair and eyes—all as dark as his, against a variation of skin tones. It was like he’d returned home, and the sudden desire to stay was a difficult temptation to resist.
Excited to explore, Robb steered his raft to the shore. Not knowing where to start, he took a long panoramic view of the city. When he spotted what looked like palace walls, at the end a wide street paved along two rows of white, brick shops, he headed in that direction.
Already amazed by the stalls at the stream, Robb was wonderstruck by the shops along the street. The single storey buildings selling herbs, fruits, cloth, toys, and even food, was the cheerful and cleaner version of Tentazoa’s dark zone. Every vendor, who laid their items on a table out front, had Cheshire grins as they invited passers-by to take a look. Robb found himself stopping at a few shops, wishing he had money with him. It was hard to put down the hairpin Myra would’ve liked and the bamboo painting that would’ve liven up his bedchamber.
Finally, when he made it to the end of the street, his lips parted. The palace wall rose into the sky, and its crimson red entrance loomed overhead. Armoured soldiers guarded its royal ground, all armed with golden and red spears. But the height of the wall and the dragon carving on the double door weren’t what awed him. Against the fortification stood stone statues, towering like titans, with crowns on their marble heads. They lined from both sides of the door, along the wall, with no end in sight.
“Wow indeed,” a voice replied.
Turning to the direction of the voice, Robb saw a girl. She was around his age, if not younger. She wore a flowing dress made from layers of white, pink, and red cloth—the colourful attire complimenting her long, black hair, fair round face, and small but cheerful eyes.
“Hi,” Robb greeted.
“Hello,” she said, with a teeth-flashing smile.
“Are these the kings and queens?” Robb asked, as he gestured at the statues.
“Yes. Those are their tombs.”
The girl shrugged. “Some say they are. I’ve never really seen a royal burial though. So, you know. Are you new here? You’re new here, aren’t you?”
“I guess… you can say so.”
“Which town are you from? That’s one weird costume, by the way,” the girl said, lowering her gaze to his shoes.
Robb admitted that he did look strange. For starters, nobody sported the colour black. There was plenty of white, but not a single black in sight. And oddly, no one seemed to care about his dressing. No one took a second glance, except for the girl.
“I know. It’s for a show,” Robb said. Then hoping to avoid any further questions, he asked, “Do the princes and princesses have statues too?”
“They do. But you won’t find them here. They’re at the royal temple.”
“The royal temple?”
“Up the bamboo mountain.”
It’s the first week of March! You’re supposed to get a story today. However, I’m in Kiwiland—far from my story machine—taking a break from reality. So instead, I thought I’d share with you a snippet of my already written, but yet to be published, novel!
What you just read is a small part of Chapter 6 from Book 1 of the Raindrops Trilogy, Whispers Of The Wind!
I chose this section because it’s one of my favourite parts in the book. Writing about this realm allowed me to dive deep into the historical Asian landscape of which I have always found to be beautiful and awe-inspiring. So fingers-crossed, you enjoyed this glimpse into the realm of Plum Blossom too!
Now, if you feel like I’ve just conned you into a half-baked story, I did no such thing! You can actually read the full novel of Whispers Of The Wind on Swoon Reads for FREE. Yes, you can embark on this adventure at no cost!
Swoon Reads is a platform where readers decide which book gets published by Feiwel & Friends (an imprint of Macmillan). By putting Whispers Of The Wind on Swoon Reads, I stand a chance at landing a publishing deal. So if you’ve yet to check the book out, please do so! I need you—every single one of you—to lend me a hand in this quest of turning my imagination into a reality.