As Kian Le barrelled into the wagon, he immediately grabbed at one of the furs on the back and pulled it over himself to hid himself from view. Although he was conscious of the fact that he had been seen by the other guard at the back of the caravan, he allowed himself to take a small chance on the guard's benevolence, and was somewhat rewarded when perhaps surprisingly enough the alarm was not raised.
The merchant, Haldemar, seemingly none the wiser to his presence, kicked the horses off. The caravan lurched forwards, stowaway hidden in the back.
And there he lay, hidden underneath the fur that lay on top of him. Not making a move, he lay completely still. Inwardly, he wondered when would be the best time to throw the fur off and make a run for it with his prize. Reaching down, his hand touched the golden lockbox that he had concealed within. Shaking it slightly, he grinned at the sound of something rattling from inside.
"You are going to make me very, very rich," he whispers to himself.
Outside, it was a beautiful day indeed as the cart left the busy city of Shou Lung behind it. Following a dusty, windswept road, the caravan travelled across the countryside. The cobblestone streets of Shou Lung, and the business of the city were left behind, to be replaced by the calmness and serenity of the road, surrounded as it was on both sides by rolling green grasslands. Overhead the silhouettes of birds flying above the caravan could be seen.
It was just past midday, and Haldemar looked to the road ahead, his voice drifting back to Atyna from the front.
"Soon we will enter the steppes. They are home to the barbarian tribes that live in the region. They are a honourable sort, of a fashion. I don't anticipate any problems with them, but if we are accosted by them we need to be mindful of their customs."
Inside the caravan, Kian finally pushed the fur to one side. Dragging himself over to the back of it, he dangled his legs over the side as he regarded Atayna.
"Hey, sorry if I caused you any trouble climbing into the back of the wagon like that," he began, sapphire eyes flashing with merriment as he continued to whisper, mindful of Haldemar's proximity. Fortunately, the sounds of the horse and the caravan's wheels traversing the dusty road were enough to drown out the sound of his voice. "I couldn't take the chance of the guards catching me and I needed to leave the city pretty quickly."
The young man grinned slightly before continuing, "My name is Kian Le, and we are well met. Thank you for not giving me away to grumpy over there," he nodded over towards Haldemar's back
Reaching into the folds of his silken shirt, Kian finally withdrew his prize. A small, rectangular lockbox. Holding it up, he laughed softly as he glances Atyna. Shaking it, he was gratified to hear the sound of something rattling again inside it. Seemingly without a care in the world he set the box on his lap as he continued to dangle his legs over the back of the wagon.
"Now, I wonder what lovely delights you hold." His hand reached down to a small pocket knife belted to his waist. "Open sesame," he muttered as he placed the thin blade into the serpent shaped clasp.
The lockbox itself was small, not even spanning the length of one of Kian's knees. It was inlaid by a golden surface, lock carved into the shape of a serpent. Around its edge was a dark brown strip. It had the look of something that was extremely expensive. Moving the edge of the blade about in the lock, Kian's smile gradually lessened, finally turning into a frown. Despite his best efforts, the lock did not open.
"Stubborn little.....," he began, continuing to fumble with the lock....