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.
read an excerpt...
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 Ryu Zhong...
‘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.
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
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