OMF V1C53 Where Did This Guy Come From?!

The owner furrowed his brow. Where did this guy come from? How come he hadn’t seen him before or heard the door?
Qiu Ling didn’t care for the ugly expression on the owner’s face, came forward and leaned against the counter. “I came to ask for a room too but it seems this isn’t the place for that. I’d suggest you go somewhere else too,” he proposed to Mister Zhong.
“Ah?” Mister Zhong didn’t know what to say. He wished his wife would have been with him to tell him what to do. Should he trust the owner or rather this man that had suddenly popped up?
The owner gritted his teeth. His inn wasn’t situated in a good position and not many people had come by in the last few days. If those two also went somewhere else … “Alright, alright. Looking at how it’s late already I think two-hundred-fifty copper coins would be enough.”
Qiu Ling ran his finger over the counter, lifted his hand and rubbed his fingers together. Dust trickled down. “Two-hundred-fifty … seems like quite a lot.” Especially looking at the condition your inn is in! Argh, can I really bear to let my beloved rest here for a night?!
The owner went from gritting to gnashing his teeth. Where did this guy come from?! He’d earn nothing if it went on like this! “It seems like it at first but it actually isn’t that much. You see, he wants one room and place in the stables. That are two things he has to pay for. Only a room would, of course, be cheaper.”
Mister Zhong tightened his lips. They really shouldn’t have taken the horses with them! It seemed they wouldn’t have any problem to find a room for the night without them.
Qiu Ling just glanced at the owner and dusted his hands off. “Is that so?”
The owner gulped. It seemed that this guy knew all too well that he was trying to hornswoggle them. But could anything happen if he just pretended that these prices were normal? The other man looked as if he was nearly convinced. Yes, he should just concentrate on the other one! One guest was better than no guest!
He turned toward Mister Zhong and forced a smile. “So, how about it? The room and the place in the stable for two-hundred-fifty copper coins?”
“That …” Mister Zhong still had that much but he really didn’t want to spend all of it. Those were his savings of many years! And what if they couldn’t find his cousin tomorrow? What if they really had to travel back home? Mister Zhong took a deep breath, still torn between taking the risk or looking for another place but Qiu Ling interrupted him.
“Actually, some streets further —”
“Aiya! Look at me!” The owner didn’t let Qiu Ling finish his sentence. Just those couple of words reminded him of the inn three streets further. He and the owner of that inn had always been in a competition. Unfortunately for him, the people liked the other inn more. It was neater and the owner didn’t try to ask for horrendous prices. Going there felt comfortable and yes, they had a stable.
It was just that the Zhongs hadn’t happened upon that inn. Even Qiu Ling didn’t know there was such an establishment. He had just tried to come up with something and there had to be a better inn somewhere.
In fact, Qiu Ling didn’t even know that the prices were too high. He had only thought so because of the way the owner looked at Mister Zhong and reduced the price by half as soon as he knew that this potential guest couldn’t pay that much. If his rooms were really worth that much, would he drop the price like that? And now it seemed that his gamble had paid off.
The owner slapped a slip of paper on his counter. “I looked at the wrong thing. That would be … the price for a week. It’s only fifty copper coins for a day.”
Mister Zhong’s brows lifted. “Fifty copper coins?” Mister Zhong repeated the number. That seemed like a more decent price but he wasn’t dumb. The owner had changed prices three times in a couple of minutes. That wasn’t normal. Unsure, if he had really gotten a normal price this time, Mister Zhong looked at the man next to him again.
Unfortunately, Qiu Ling also didn’t know what a normal price would be. It had been ages since he had been in the human realm. And he had never bothered with things like inns. He looked at the owner and tried to gauge his expression.
Having that serious gaze directed at him the owner started to sweat. He felt like kneeling down to that guest and begging him to stop. He could have made so much money! And now he not only missed out on the money, but he was even losing face! He felt like crying.
“Oh … Oh, look at this.” The owner slapped a different piece of paper down next to the first one, his hand covering as much of the writing as possible. “You’re in the capital for the first time, right?”
Qiu Ling didn’t react but Mister Zhong nodded.
“So, it’s like this. For those who come to the capital for the first time, we’re giving them a … gift. Yes, that’s right, a gift. They have to pay …” He peeked at Qiu Ling and tried to ascertain how much he’d be willing to pay.
Feeling the man’s gaze Qiu Ling narrowed his eyes into slits. There seemed to be a dangerous glint in them that sent shivers down the owner’s spine.
“Half!” the owner cried out. “They only have to pay half. So it would be twenty-five copper coins.”
“Twenty-five copper coins …” Qiu Ling repeated the number slowly. Mn, he should have taken someone with him who knew about such things. But … it didn’t seem much?
Really, who would expect the dragon king to have any concept of money? Whoever did certainly didn’t know Qiu Ling. Was something expensive? Was it cheap? He didn’t know. Though he could glean the quality of something he never knew how much it was actually worth. He would just pay whatever was asked for if he liked something.
But Qiu Ling knew that the Zhongs were different. They didn’t have much money. He should try to get a better deal for his future father-in-law.
With that thought in mind, Qiu Ling nodded slowly. “Mn. So, since we’re two people, that’d be twelve copper coins for each of us, no?”
“Tw— twelve?” The owner rubbed his ears. Did he hear wrong?
Qiu Ling nodded. “Of course. You said to pay twenty-five. We are two people but you can’t want half a coin from us, can you? Don’t you think asking for half a coin is ridiculous?”
“Yes, sure, bu—”
“Great. Then I guess there should be no other problem.” He smiled and turned around to Mister Zhong. “I seem to have seen that your wife and child are waiting outside. Why don’t you pay first?”
“Sure … Thank you very much.” Mister Zhong nodded and gave the stupefied owner the twelve copper coins. After that, he went out to bring the horses into the stable and get his family. Qiu Ling too went into one of the free rooms, though his body vanished as soon as the door closed behind him.
Meanwhile, the owner sat at the counter and pondered over a difficult problem. In the end, why did they each pay half when they didn’t come together?

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