OMF V1C52 Sounds Like Highway Robbery

Mister Zhong took a deep breath and looked around. “Well, we’re in the capital now. Jing’er, are you excited?” He turned to look at his son, his own expression saying that he was very much excited.
Jing Yi looked around and nodded. It was probably too much to say that he was excited but he at least wanted to see everything. He had never left their village. The only towns he had seen were the ones on the way to the capital but of course, they couldn’t compare in any regard. The houses here were taller and more refined even in the outskirts. They were built out of stone with dark tiles on the roofs and some even decorated with stone ornaments.
Jing Yi didn’t know anything about the capital but looking at all this it seemed very big. There were also way more people than he had ever seen in their village even though it was getting late by now.
Satisfied with his son’s answer Mister Zhong looked up at the sky and scratched his head. “I don’t really know where my cousin’s stall is and it’s already getting dark. Maybe we should try and find an inn to stay the night first. Searching for my cousin should be a lot easier in the morning when there are more people around.”
Madam Zhong nodded. “Let’s do it that way then.”
The family of three started to make their way further into the capital to find accommodations for the night. Jing Yi continued to look around and noticed things he had never seen before like the people that were selling food at the side of the street. Actually, he hadn’t even seen those types of food before.
Was the whole capital like that? He remembered that Mister Pi had said that there were dragons and tigers in the capital. He didn’t know about tigers but he was a little afraid of the dragons. In that dragon mountain, those bad men had attacked them. Would they be attacked here too?
Qiu Ling attentively observed every little gesture and change in expression his beloved showed. Ah, following him in the mortal world was great! Just look at how his Jing He’s mortal reincarnation curiously looked around as if he couldn’t wait to take in all the new sights! Jing He had never been like that in the Nine Heavens. He had grown up there, knowing everything about the place and the people. This kind of lively expression that would only be shown when one experienced something new … he had never seen it on Jing He’s face.
Would Jing He have looked like that if he had taken him to his realm before? As the crown prince of the Nine Heavens Jing He knew the general information about every realm but hearing about it or reading it were different from seeing it for himself. Ah, he would love to be the one to show him around.
They could visit his favorite places, take a look at all the famous sights in the dragon realm, try the delicacies the capital had to offer, maybe even get a little tipsy from the wine their capital’s Lao Chun brewed, and finally return to the palace to rest. Mn … Resting together …
He should definitely take Jing He to the dragon realm in the future. Well, he’d do so after their marriage anyway. And then he’d see Jing He’s beautiful eyes sparkle just like Jing Yi’s now. Ah, he could hardly wait for it! Jing He’s eyes were made for such a look!
Qiu Ling sighed dreamily before abruptly waking up. Argh! There was no way he could take Jing He to the dragon realm soon. After all, since Jing He had descended he had only lived for nine years here in the mortal realm and it wasn’t impossible for a human to live up to sixty years.
Qiu Ling sighed, downcast this time. There was still a lot to come. He shouldn’t think about things that were this far in the future for now. He should just concentrate on accompanying Jing He’s mortal reincarnation. Well, he could remind himself of that as often as he wanted his thoughts would return to his Jing He on their own. He couldn’t avoid it. He just loved him too much and being separated from him was unbearable. Especially when he noticed things in Jing Yi’s life that seemed to have been missing in Jing He’s.
Well, he couldn’t do anything about that.
In the meantime, the Zhongs had already arrived in front of an old inn. Mister Zhong looked from the slightly run-down house to the stable next to it, mumbled a bit and searched for their small stack of copper coins. This was everything their family had managed to save up over the years and quite a bit had already been depleted throughout their journey. They hadn’t minded sleeping outside if they could but they still had to eat and six weeks was a long time. Even though they had been able to cut their journey short in the latter half thanks to the horses, this only meant that they had a few coins more to spend.
Well, there were the possessions of the bandits too but Mister Zhong couldn’t imagine using them. Those weren’t theirs. How could they just use them to their advantage? They should give them to the magistrate or something. That was the right thing to do.
So, in the end, everything relied on these couple of coins. Would they be enough for a night in an inn and a place in the stable? And even if they were enough, could he really use them? What if helping his cousin didn’t work out and they had to return to the village? What would they live off if he spent these coins now?
“Just go in and ask how much the owner wants.” Madam Zhong nudged her husband toward the door. “Jing’er and I will guard the horses.”
“Oh, alright.” Mister Zhong took a last look at the coins before he stepped into the inn.
Qiu Ling also took a glance at the inn and frowned. He wasn’t worried about it being too expensive though. Quite the contrary. He felt indignant that his beloved was supposed to stay in such a lowly place! Just look at it! There were cracked tiles on the roof, dust coated the windowpanes and cobwebs decorated the walls. The door even creaked in the angles when Mister Zhong entered.
Qiu Ling grumbled but there was nothing he could do. The Zhongs had already decided on this place. Mn, he should at least make sure that the owner wasn’t as crooked as his inn.
Thus Qiu Ling disappeared and reemerged in the main room of the inn. It was only sparsely lit, barely enough for a human to see its center. Qiu Ling smiled half-heartedly, changed his appearance into that of a middle-aged man who had traveled far and seen everything and stopped hiding his presence while in the shadows. With the dark robes he was wearing, he was almost invisible.
Meanwhile, Mister Zhong had walked to the counter and cleared his throat. “Excuse me, we’d like a room for tonight and a place in the stable for our horses.”
The owner looked up, eyed Mister Zhong from head to toe, and curled his lips. It was obvious that Mister Zhong was not somebody he could make a good deal with. “That’s one liang,” he still tried to push his luck. The person in front of him was obviously not from the capital. Maybe he had brought all his savings with him and could actually afford it?
“One … one liang?” Mister Zhong went pale. How would he have so much money?! One liang, that was a full string of copper coins! He had hardly had that much at the beginning of their journey!
The owner sighed. He knew that what he had imagined had been too good to be true. “Well … You look like you came from far away. In this case, I could accept five hundred copper coins.”
Mister Zhong’s hands trembled. Five hundred copper coins? Where was he supposed to get that much? Sure enough, the capital city was expensive.
Qiu Ling snorted in the shadows and made his way over. “Sounds like highway robbery to me.”

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