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208 Melvin’s Shop

 Shaking his head in disbelief, Xinya couldn't believe that it took him almost two hours to arrive at his destination. He was glad that the crowd had started to clear up a bit or it would have taken him even longer to arrive.

'And arrive I did,' he thought while gasping in surprise at the sight before him.

Although he doesn't know why he was shocked, this was something that he should have expected from Melvin. Only that man would be eccentric enough to decorate his shop totally against the norm of the town.

While the building still had the familiar traditional Chinese elements like the others Xinya walked past on his way here. Such as sweeping roofs, screens, towering wood columns, and symbolic sculptures of figures, like dragons and etc.

In contrast, the toy shop in front of him was brightly colored. While the other buildings he saw were mostly dull red and brown, Melvin's store was colored in bold blues, greens and even included bright yellow ornamentation.

Even though the building looked absurd placed in the middle of this traditional town Xinya had to admit that it was eye-catching. Especially for the kids, it seems with the way they are gravitating over towards the place.

Just in the last few minutes that he was standing here, he saw about thirty of them along with their parents, either entering and exiting the shop. A part of him felt very proud of his instructor, because in barely any time at all Melvin had created a very thriving business.

He couldn't help but wonder if he would be able to do the same, after the update, would he become as busy as Melvin seems to be. He really hoped so or all his planning would have been for naught.

While clearing that bad thought from his mind, Xinya opened the door to the store and walked in. The first thing he saw when he entered was a large circular room with a high-domed ceiling. As opposed to it's outside with its colorful decadence, the inside was decorated in a plain golden brown wood.

However, once he looked around some more he realized that the inside wasn't as plain as he first thought. Around the walls were inlaid scenes from what appeared to be children's books.

These were made from thin slices of chalcedony, malachite, turquoise, jade, and the like, cut to shape, and chosen individually because of the surface pattern. These, too, were polished only near the bottom where children could reach, and especially near the faces.

Turning his head away from the walls, his attention was drawn to the middle of the store, where a single spiral staircase was leading upwards like a tall tree. From what he could tell the staircase was carved in the Art Nouveau style, all leaves, and gently diverging curves, making it a very unique feature in the store.

The farther he walked into the store the sadder he got that Melting Snow wasn't here to appreciate these surroundings with him. He knew for sure that the boy would have loved this place very much, with all the different rooms full of toys everywhere who wouldn't love it.

A smile crept on his face as he imagined Melting Snow running through the rooms wildly, looking at each toy. He would totally have to make sure to bring the boy here later on sometime.

As he walked through the store, he passed by many different rooms that were full of colorful toys, to the point where the room felt almost crowded. Xinya had a feeling that even if it looked messy, they were probably organized with care by some kind of theme that only Melvin had privy to.

There were kites, masks, and puppets in one section, carved figures of animals in another. There was also a room full of musical instrument shaped toys for kids, like whistles, bamboo flutes, reed pipes, and colorful rattles.

Across from the instrument room, he could see swords for boys and dolls for girls. He couldn't even begin to describe everything else that was around there was just too much to take in.

But there was one thing that made him stop in his tracks and stare in wonderment. In the corner of the main room, a couple of feet away from the curving staircase stood a suit of ancient Chinese bronze polished armor, with a winged helmet, just the size of a child.

'Melting Snow would love this,' Xinya thought as he opened his interface and took a picture of the antique armor, before messaging a copy to the boy.

"You seem mighty intrigued by that armor," stated a boisterous voice from behind, startling Xinya so bad that he almost jumped out of his skin. "Was the armor I gave you not good enough?"

With a hand clutched to his chest, Xinya quickly turned around only to see that it was Melvin standing behind him with that goofy smile on his face. While shaking his head at the man, he replied, "No, the armor you gave me is wonderful. I'll be able to use it for a long time yet."

"That's good to hear. I gave you the rose armor especially for that purpose," Melvin said while looking him up and down. "You seem stronger to me, have you been fighting many battles since the last time I saw you?"

"As a matter of fact, I have. On my way to Arkala, I had many scrimmages with strong monsters. I can tell you all about it if you want, about my adventure so far," Xinya remarked casually.

A look of interest appeared on Melvin's face, "Sure I would love to, follow me to my office so we will have a nice quiet place to talk.

Xinya followed Melvin who led him up the stairs to a big wooden door that leads to his office. When they walked inside, Xinya saw that although it was bigger than his previous one in the other town, it still very much looked the same.

The room was completely cluttered with toy parts and fabrics that were scattered about, blueprints, and documents that littered the floor. Walking over to one of the large yellow plush couches, Melvin swept the mess off from it and sat down. Patting the spot near him he motioned for Xinya to come over and sit.

Once he was comfortably seated, Melvin said, "So tell me about your adventures so far."

With the way Melvin followed him to Arkala, Xinya was quite certain that the man had some sort of story quest for him. However, it seems that all the conditions to unlock it haven't been achieved yet. He was hoping that if he told the man his adventures that it would help but that wasn't the case at all.

He spent a half-hour summing up the events that took place since he left Bellport until now, and besides some entertained noises there was nothing else. Xinya couldn't help but feel a little disappointed about that.

"Wow what an adventure you had, no wonder you feel stronger to me," observed Melvin. "You need to become even stronger, only then will you be able to make Shilvak proud."

"Don't worry, I will make him proud," Xinya declared.