OMF V1C54 Let Them Spend Time Together

Back in the mortal realm, nobody thought of any impending danger. The Zhongs were sitting with Mister Zhongs cousin, Zhong Gang, in his study on the second floor of his restaurant and chatted happily about what each of them had experienced in the last couple of years.
Yes, it already had been eight years, since Mister Zhong and his cousin had seen each other the last time. Furthermore, before that, they had seen each other only for one other time. But they had hit it off right off the bat. That was why his cousin immediately thought of Mister Zhong, when he needed someone for his second establishment. Which person could be better suited than someone from his family he got along with well?
The two men easily talked away a good half of the day, until they finally arrived at the story about how the Zhongs had traveled to the capital.
“You really had incredible luck!”, Zhong Gang exclaimed and shook his head. “Really, I don’t even want to imagine, what could have happened, if you didn’t know that daoist master. Maybe I shouldn’t have invited you to the capital?” He couldn’t help but to reproach himself. He shouldn’t have invited them so casually! “I had heard of the bandits in the mountains, but who would have thought? I should have written that in my letter. I’m really sorry, Ah Lei!”
“It’s nothing, it’s nothing! You also know I can’t read. Writing it down wouldn’t have made any difference. Haha, we didn’t even find your restaurant, when we arrived yesterday. That daoist master had only told us, that you asked for us to come here in the letter. He didn’t say anything else. I wasn’t expecting …” Mister Zhong looked around and smiled wryly. “You said you were doing good, but it’s even more than that.”
“Haha.” Zhong Gang, too, laughed and slapped Mister Zhong on the shoulder. “Don’t say that, don’t say that! This is the capital after all. It’s to be expected to be different from a village, no?”
Mister Zhong winced, secretly gripping his shoulder, when his family didn’t look. It felt like that slap just now had aggravated his wound again. Unfortunately, not even Qiu Ling was paying him attention.
The dragon king was caught up in observing Jing Yi once again. The boy had reined his curiosity in for some hours, but finally couldn’t hold back and started to run around, examining every new thing he found. And he found a lot.
The village he grew up in had only things, that were absolutely necessary for daily life. This restaurant was obviously meant for a more affluent clientele, so everything about it resonated with such people. The beautiful carvings on the furniture, the decorative scroll hanging on the wall, even the writing brush and ink were new to Zhong Jing Yi. With wide eyes he took everything in, not caring about the conversation behind him.
Finally, he returned to his parents side, but he was clearly not satisfied. He wanted to see the rest of the restaurant! He turned toward the man his father was chatting with and trained his gaze on him.
Zhong Gang still spoke with Mister Zhong, but soon felt an unwavering gaze on him. He turned toward the child next to his cousin and couldn’t help but smile. He reached over and pinched his cheeks. “Ah, you’re such a cute boy! Why can’t I have such a lovely child?” In fact, Zhong Gang had a daughter, but having grown up in the capital with some of the wealthier merchants sometimes bringing their children along, she had grown a bit conceited. Seeing such an innocent child like Zhong Jing Yi, that could be excited by such simple things like a brush or an ink stone, he couldn’t help but long to see his own child like this.
Zhong Gang thoughtfully stroked his beard. Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to let them spend some time together …
Qiu Ling’s eyes narrowed. He saw Zhong Gang’s calculative gaze. Even though he didn’t know, what the man was thinking, he didn’t like it one bit. His intuition told him, that he should be cautious.
“You seem to be really interested in the things around here, Jing’er. How about having a look around the rest of the restaurant? Only staying here in my study must be boring for you.”
Jing Yi nodded eagerly. “Mn! Thank you, uncle!” Jing Yi seldom smiled as carefree as this. Two small dimples showed on his cheek.
Qiu Ling clasped his chest and deeply breathed. Oh, heaven! What did I just see? This is … too cute! Ah, I also want to pinch his cheeks … His fingers twitched, but he held back. There would be opportunities in the future! A lot of opportunities! He would definitely make up for it.
Meanwhile, Zhong Gang stood up and waved his cousin’s family with him. “Come, come, let’s have a look around. After that, how about I’ll bring you home? You can get to know my wife and daughter.” He smiled, while his gaze fell on Jing Yi again.
Qiu Ling perked up. This gaze … Wait! “Daughter?” He tilted his head to the side. It seems, I’ll have to remind Jing Yi soon, that little girls aren’t the right people to accompany him …
His lips held a sinister smile and his eyes sparkled. I’ll make sure, nobody dares to set their eyes on my beloved!

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