OMF V1C25 If There’s Fate …

Mister Pi hurried after Qiu Ling which wasn’t that hard considering Qiu Ling’s pace.
Qiu Ling was cursing his bad luck inside but he still turned around with a sagely smile plastered on his face. “How may I be of help?”
“Ah, it’s like this.” Mister Pi stopped in front of Qiu Ling and folded his hands behind his back, trying to look as sagely as Qiu Ling. “I happened to hear what you told Madam Zhong just now. You know the mother of that child.”
“Is that so.” Qiu Ling glanced at the house of the Zhongs. His beloved was already inside. What if something happened? He couldn’t let this Mister Pi hold him back for long! Maybe he should use some magic to solve this problem?
Qiu Ling turned back to Mister Pi. His hands twitched but he still held back. No, too many people were leaving their houses right now. If anybody noticed, this could turn out badly for his beloved. He’d just have to talk that shameless old man into leaving soon.
“Yes, indeed. I was just wondering … That boy is normally so well behaved … You wouldn’t know why he was in the forest?”
“No.”
Mister Pi waited but nothing more came after that. “Ah … Then, was he really alone?”
“Yes.”
“Are you … are you sure? Maybe his father was somewhere around there? Or somebody else from the village?”
“No.”
“Mn … Maybe some other children?”
“I didn’t see anyone.”
Mister Pi stared at the old man in front of him. He felt like he had somehow offended him … But examining his face, a sagely smile still hang at the old man’s lips, he hadn’t furrowed his brow and nothing else seemed out of place. Huh, maybe he imagined it?
Considering that it was only his imagination and that he seldom had the opportunity to talk to such a dignified person, Mister Pi didn’t even think to let him leave. Madam Zhong really wasn’t that bright to let this man go. She should have invited him! Certainly, it would benefit her greatly to know such a great personage!
But of course, for inviting such a person one couldn’t be too straightforward. It had to be done in a roundabout way.
“That is quite strange,” remarked Mister Pi and looked at the village just like Qiu Ling. See that? I’m standing in the same posture as you, looking at the same thing as you! Don’t you feel like there is fate between us? Don’t you just feel like striking up a friendship with me?
“Mn.” Qiu Ling’s eyes narrowed. How about some lightning? He’d certainly hurry right back home if a storm came …
He didn’t wait any longer. He motioned and the clouds that had drifted away just some hours ago were blown back above the village. It rumbled.
Mister Pi looked up at the dark clouds looming above their heads. His face lit up. “Oh no! Look at this! It seems a storm is brewing. The next village is quite far away. You’d need at least half an hour by foot. Why don’t you come to my house? You can wait there until the storm has passed.”
Qiu Ling tensed. Huh? How did that just happen? “Er … no need, no need.”
“Ah, don’t worry. You don’t have to be so formal. You wouldn’t inconvenience us. In fact, we’d be honored. Please, it’s this way.” Mister Pi motioned toward his house, his whole face lit up with a smile.
Qiu Ling returned a smile of his own and motioned behind his back. The wind picked up and the clouds drifted slowly over the village. They still rumbled but it was obvious the rain wouldn’t fall here.
“Ahaha, the weather’s quite erratic today.” Qiu Ling’s smile grew more pronounced and he turned half around to the forest.
Mister Pi panicked. Bad weather would have been the perfect opportunity to invite the old man. Now he seemed like an overly anxious person. His counterpart must have a bad impression of him!
“Are you sure? With how fast it is changing, it might be safer to stay here for a little while longer.
You think I’m dumb? Qiu Ling masked his thoughts with an even brighter smile. “Especially in such a situation, I should make haste to reach my next destination. My journey is long. Remaining at one place for a longer time will shorten the time I have at others. I thank you for your kind intentions but another village is already waiting at the horizon for me. I’ll take my leave.” Qiu Ling nodded, turned around and vanished into the forest.
Mister Pi watched him in a daze. How come the old man seemed to have grown wings after that storm passed them by? Why was he so fast now? He didn’t even have time to say his farewell!
Mister Pi sighed. The possibility to strike up a friendship with the old man had passed. “Well, he wasn’t as outstanding as that Daoist Master back then, anyway. There’ll be other opportunities in the future.” With that, he returned to the village square to tell Madam Pan what had just happened.
Qiu Ling’s lips twitched when he heard Mister Pi’s last sentence. “What’s that supposed to mean? Don’t tell me I brought that upon myself because I looked like such a reliable person each time?” He sighed. He had thought his second transformation had been more low-key but it seemed he still couldn’t judge the humans.
Regardless, for the moment that didn’t matter. The most important thing now was his beloved.
Qiu Ling hurried into the forest, hid his presence from the humans and changed back into his own appearance. Then he flew back to the house of the Zhongs. Of course, the first thing he noticed was Zhong Jing Yi who sat at the table with his mother, quietly eating breakfast. He seemed contented as if he had already forgotten his short stay in the forest. But Qiu Ling was sure the boy wouldn’t forget his words so soon. From now on, he’d certainly have one problem less.
While someone was happy, somebody else was sad.
Mister Zhong sat at the river, staring down into the water, and sighed. “I’m sorry, Jing’er. I’m such a failure as a father. How could I lose my own son in the forest?” He cradled his head. The forest wasn’t all that big and he had searched everywhere but he just couldn’t find him anywhere.
“How do I tell your mother? What if we never find you again? I’m so sorry! You really deserve a better father … Please, come back?”
But, of course, his son didn’t come back. He couldn’t hear him. So, while Zhong Jing Yi sat peacefully with his mother Mister Zhong regretted his rash actions and swore to never believe in any dream he had ever again.
He just wanted his son back.

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