OMF V1C9 It’s like This

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“Ah, what? A demon?” Madam Ouyang couldn’t quite believe what her neighbor had told her.
“Yes, indeed! Miss Lian saw him with her own eyes. He helped with birthing the child of the Zhongs.”
Madam Ouyang still wasn’t convinced. “Why should a demon do something like that? What would be in it for him? Who knows what Miss Lian really saw there.”
Her neighbor pursed her lips. “If I only knew! Maybe he’s planned something for the child.”
Madam Pan from the other side of the village butted in: “Maybe the parents promised him something. Aren’t the Zhongs already married for five years? It’s quite strange they only got a child now.”
Madam Ouyang shook her head and continued to distribute the water. “The Zhongs are good people.”
“Good people need children, too,” her neighbor Madam Hou responded to the suggestion. “It could very well be that they didn’t see another way. I’m just curious what they offered the demon in return?” She exchanged a glance with Madam Pan. But this time even she didn’t have an answer.
The women fell silent and continued to work all with their own thoughts in mind. Meanwhile, Mister Pi who just passed by the paddy accelerated his steps. That was definitely a clue one had to look into! Half the time of an incense stick later, he reached the paddy where his neighbor and Mister Pan worked.
He hurried to a spot not far from them and eyed them from the side to find a good opportunity to tell them what he knew. He only managed to stay silent for a moment then he stopped, folded his hands behind his back and looked up at the sky, sighing loudly to draw their attention. He peeked in all directions to make sure Mister Zhong wasn’t in the vicinity before turning to his neighbors. “Ah, Mister Mao, Mister Pan, did you hear? Yesterday night, the son of the Zhongs was born.”
The two men nodded without pausing their work. The birth of Zhong Jing Yi wasn’t news anymore. Their village wasn’t big after all. Even the people from the next village had probably heard already.
Mister Pi scrunched up his face. Those men obviously didn’t appreciate his effort! He continued to work but after a few steps, he stopped again. “Aiya!” he exclaimed and glanced at them. “I hope the Zhongs won’t get problems because of that.”
Mister Mao who had heard the exaggerated rumors of his neighbor often enough paid him no heed. But Mister Pan stopped and turned around. “Why should the Zhongs get problems? It’s good that they have a son now. They’ve waited long enough.”
“Exactly, exactly!” Mister Pi hurried toward him and leaned forward conspiratorially. “That in itself is the problem! You wouldn’t believe that Madam Zhong got pregnant after all that time just like that, would you?” Again, he looked around surreptitiously but the other men were all quite a distance away and nothing could be seen of Mister Zhong. “The Zhongs seem to have asked a practitioner for help.”
“A practitioner?” Mister Mao turned around, too. It wasn’t often that one heard of a true practitioner in their village. “Like a Daoist immortal? Where is the problem with that? A bit of heavenly assistance should rather help their child, no?”
“Aiya, that’s exactly it! The man wasn’t a practitioner of the dao as he pretended but rather a heretic practitioner!”
Mister Mao rolled his eyes and continued to work while shaking his head. He didn’t believe a word of what Mister Pi told them. A dao practitioner would be strange enough. But there was no way a heretic practitioner would appear in their village.
However, Mister Pan was all ears. He’d have to tell something to his wife when he got home today! He needed to find out more.
“That’s pretty steep! Why did the heretic practitioner agree to help them? The Zhongs shouldn’t have enough money to pay him.” Maybe the main branch of the family from the city had helped them? After all, everyone in the village was poor.
“Of course he wanted something in return,” reported Mister Pi and nodded deliberately.
“But what was it? The Zhongs couldn’t have …” Mister Pan considered. What could a family as normal as the Zhongs have that a heretic practitioner hadn’t? “An heirloom?”
Mister Pi lifted a hand and ran it over his chin. That idea was quite good … He couldn’t have made a better guess. But what kind of heirloom could the Zhongs possess? He shook his head. “No, no. That’s not it.”
Mister Pan paid his full attention to him while Mister Mao had progressed so much with his work that he soon wouldn’t be able to hear them anymore.
“Well, it …” Mister Pi cudgeled his brain for a suitable reason. “It certainly has to do with the child.” He nodded. That was indeed a way better idea than the one Mister Pan had come up with. “The heretic practitioner only granted them the child because he’ll benefit if it’s born. Mn … It’s a son.”
“The heretic practitioner needs a son?”
“En!” Mister Pi nodded. “It has to be like this: The heretic practitioner has a daughter who is only a few months old.”
“Ah!” Mister Pan seemed to have gained spontaneous enlightenment. “So, the son of the Zhongs is to marry the daughter of the heretic practitioner when he has grown up. What an insidious plan …”
“En,” agreed Mister Pi. “It is indeed. Who else would marry her? Her father is a heretic practitioner.” He shook his head. “I really hope the Zhongs know what they got involved in.”
Mister Pan nodded and in quiet compliance the two men started to work again while both tried to imagine the future that awaited Zhong Jing Yi.

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