It wasn't before long that the totally engrossed Meng Tian was awakened from his dreams. It was his fathers long time steward that attended to him in the mornings.
"Young master Meng Tian," the aged voice of a man in his mid forties sang, " it is time for you to stop reading that book and eat something for breakfast."
Meng Tian felt confused for a moment. It was just dawning, and old man Hao Zhi only came once dawn broke with Yi Er, the servant girl. Breakfast would be served after Yi Er spent a few breadths of time cooking, no less than ten.
Meng Tian, forcefully nodded, and smiled towards Hao Zhi. His mind remained on the lapse of time that he fell in. Hao Zhi, having witnessed this behavior before, took a quick grasp of Meng Tians wrist.
His long graying brows jumped a few times before he let go.
"A mourning man should stay away from the sea, young master. It is said that Demons lurk below and steal young men's vital yang."
Meng Tian blushed. Yi Er was around.
Offering no promises, Meng Tian followed Hao Zhi into the dining area above the dig out. He thought for a moment before requesting Yi Er to set his bath.
The young woman quickly set off. She had a single braided ponytail that stretched down her back. It bounced around jovially as she worked, and Meng Tian couldn't recall a day she complained. After Meng Tian was sure she had left, he revealed his concerns to Hao Zhi for consideration.
"Uncle Zhi, when do you usually come with Yi Er to wake me and fix my breakfast?"
"Not too early, but between dawn and daybreak."
'6 to 8 a.m.,' Meng Tian frowned. "And how long was I at the table for?"
"Wh- Why the entire time young master. Are you feeling ill?"
"No. No! I'm fine. Thank you uncle Zhi."
"If you are unwell, young master, let me know."
Meng Tian nodded. His brow was heavy with concern. There was an oddity that occurred almost every time he drew a deep concentration on the picture while reciting the words that he interpreted. He, until awakened, would enter a state of rest unlike any before. His body would appear fully conscious, continuing what ever action it previously did, however without as much strain.
Fear was the initial feeling Meng Tian faced, but as the scripture in "A Way of Self" said, "Nothing is good or bad." Meng Tian wondered what the effect would be if he attempted to study while immersing himself in that state.
"I don't remember," whispered the young man as he spoke his thoughts.
Old man Hao Zhi turned to look at the boy as he walked away. His gait was drawn out, slow-like, but took him quickly out of the room. It could be said that Hao Zhi, a man once of much renown, still carried the expertise of his youth. The dejection in his parting gaze was hard to miss.
'What will come of Da Ke R's village under this young master.'
After breakfast it was customary for nobles to listen to music. In the coastal towns of the east, many young masters would sip tea while organizing their day to the beautiful singing of a young servant girl accompanied by the sounds of a traditional life.
Yi Er, whose beauty was like a spring flower, had yet to come into her bloom. Her face carried more of the softer, round curves, that a child should have. Meng Tian appreciated the effort Yi Er took in maintaining her poise. He had never witnessed her grimace in her work.
Even when beads of sweat rolled into her eyes, staining them red, Yi Er would not flinch. Her voice, was as soft as her face, youthful and high spirited. She sang songs of autumn to match the season. The words told of workers in the fields, worried that they had too much work, but comforted knowing their work would keep them warm and safe during the harsh winter.
As the song came to a close, it was close to 10 a.m. The time was for the young master to read of culture and the history of the empire.
An aging man with a long goatee entered the hut. On his face was a constant scowl. He, alike the members of the Da family, were allowed to wear silken fabrics. It denoted his status as an imperial scholar, a man whose name had been registered as a petty noble without land, a title which granted him much authority over commoners like Yi Er.
Clearing his throat, the man announced his presence.
"Honorable Elder, this lowly young sir greets you," Da Meng Tian stood from his seat to pay respect to his teacher.
"Rise," said the man in a sing song manner. A smile visibly cracked on his thin face. "What was the last point we covered?"
"We talked of the founding of the Huang Mei empire, and the rise of her majesty the Empress."
"Yes," the scholar articulated while slowly stroking his beard, "do you remember what you've been told?"
Da Meng Tian hurriedly nodded in approval and quickly too speak.
"During the time before the Huang Mei empire, there were seven scattered tribes. They were the Huang, Mei, Zhao, Zhen, Xin, Zi, and Zhong. These tribes always maintained a tenuous balance until the princess of the Mei was betrothed to the 3rd prince of the Huang. The marriage of these two tribes made it possible for trade agreements to be made, equally prosperous for both tribes. Through mutual trade, the Huang and Mei were able to pass culture and traditions to the Zhao and Zhen. The Zhao and Zhen became vassal states to the Zhuang and Mei and formed the Huang Mei empire. It has been 70 years since."
"Good," the scholar nodded. He then began to sharpen some key points about the magnanimous behavior of the king and queen of the Huang Mei. Meng Tian knew from his fathers teaching to never blindly trust someone that fully believe in his words.
"A man who speaks with conviction is either full of bravado or full of himself. Be wary of those whose words speak promises that can not be kept!"
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