Prince of Blue Flowers
Prince of Blue Flowers
by Ryu Zhong
GENRE: Fantasy, Adventure
Young boy Hatsukoi leaves his village to become a monk, only to find monastic life incredibly boring. With a new-found name and a new-found friend, Hatsukoi travels the countryside and plays tricks at the expense of corrupt, irate, greedy, and ignorant people. Nobles of all ranks—from petty governors to crown princes—fall victim to the boy’s wit and cunning.
As his tricks evolve from childhood frolics to elaborate cons, Hatsukoi grows as well. He learns not only the craft of his trade, but also its higher purpose.
Join Hatsukoi’s journey, laugh at his exploits, and learn with him.
Governor Tu Fang was the first to notice Hatsukoi, who was lying on the roof of the well with his head hanging down.
“What are you doing there?” he asked.
Hatsukoi shrugged his shoulders. “I’m looking to see if the well has a bottom.”
Tu Fang frowned at the boy’s response. Why would someone need to look for the bottom of a well? It sounded very suspicious to him.
“Well, get down!” he barked.
“No,” Hatsukoi answered.
“Get down by your own will, or my hunters will shoot you with their arrows.”
Hatsukoi slowly climbed down. Tu Fang waved to one of his hunters, who immediately grabbed the boy by the scruff of his neck.
“Ai! What are you doing?!” yelled Hatsukoi, struggling, but the hunter held him tightly.
“Tell me at once,” demanded Tu Fang, “what is in this well, and then perhaps I’ll let you go.”
Hatsukoi trembled like bamboo in a strong wind. He began, “I have seen—”
“What did you see?” Tu Fang interrupted impatiently.
“I saw a thief hide his bounty here.”
“Bounty?” Tu Fang exchanged glances with his brother.
It must be said that unselfish people rarely went on to become governors. Tu Fang was no exception. He thought only of ways to feed his insatiable greed. And Tu Liwei, being his half-brother, was a pea from the same pod. So, at that moment, the brothers came up with the same thought.
And Hatsukoi was counting on it.
“A whole bag filled with all kinds of stuff,” he said confidently. “Gold, jewels, pearls… If you look from the roof, you can see how it glitters at the bottom.”
About the Author:
‘Ryū’ means ‘dragon’ in Japanese, and ‘Zhong’ can be translated from Chinese as ‘flute’. This amalgam of languages represents the fusion of cultures that characterises the writings of Ryū Zhong.
In their books, Ryū Zhong explore challenges that humanity might face as our technology gets more and more complicated to the level where it becomes magic. Such a shift would force people to look towards religion and reinterpret realities that today, we call fairy tales.
Ryū Zhong were lucky to be born and grow in Asia. Now they live in Amsterdam, study Dutch, and adapt their writings to English.
Q&A With the Author
Do you ever wish you were someone else? Who?
When I was a little boy, I sometimes imagined myself as Sun Wukong, the Monkey King character from the Chinese epic ‘Journey to the West’ and Hanuman, the king of vanaras from Ramayana. To become either, however, I lacked one thing I could never get—a monkey tail.
You’ll find quite a few references to those characters in my book, as well as find the problem of the tail resolved, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
What did you do on your last birthday?
On my last birthday, I resolved to publish some of my works in English. It took quite some doing and a considerable amount of time. The rest of the day I spent in high spirits strolling in my relatives’ persimmon garden.
What part of the writing process do you dread?
Kicking things off. It’s the time when I haven’t met any of my characters yet. I don’t really know what drives them; I have no idea how they speak and behave. The only solution that helps me plow through is to write a couple of chapters from the middle of the story. Most certainly, I would scrap them later, but just several pages in the middle of the action helped me to understand what I was about to deal with.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Besides what’s mentioned above, I have another kind of writer’s block. Sometimes I just don’t want to write the next chapter. When finding myself in this predicament, I usually sit for a half-hour to let go of the struggle. If it doesn’t help, it means the chapter is going to be boring. So, I give myself the challenge of bringing some action or surprise into the chapter—so it’ll be more interesting for me to write it.
Tell us about your latest release.
In English, it’s the first installment of my trilogy ‘Takuan from Koto.’ The first volume introduces the main protagonist, a teenage trickster who is gifted with a rare cunning and finds a way to use his skills not just to make fun and fool others but to deliver fair treatment to people who succumbed to their vices.
It’s written in the tradition of Chinese epics, but soon enough gives more way to the action-driven trickster tale. What readers expect usually happens—exactly in the way one expects surprises from a comedy and then gets rewarded with a laugh.
I hope the reader who opens the book with the expectation of a light Asian trickster novel won’t be disappointed.
https://anno-ruini.com — website for the book series
https://ryu.anno-ruini.com — Ryu’s personal blog
https://www.instagram.com/anno.ruini/ — Instagram
https://twitter.com/anno_ruini — Twitter
Book in the Stores
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