OMF V1C72 Important Guests

The first one to walk in was a widely grinning Zhong Gang. Behind him, his daughter Guanyu followed, once again dressed up to the nines. Every little accessory she wore was matched to her dress and not a hair was out of place. The corners of her lips were lifted in a demure smile, that was as fake as Mister Pi’s great wisdom.
Jing Yi still hadn’t seen them, so he sat unsuspecting next to the old woman and smiled like his mother had told him to. He felt like helping out in the teahouse wasn’t so bad. His mother would certainly be proud of how hard he worked!
Though Jing Yi didn’t notice anything, Guanyu had seen him at first glance. Her eyes gleamed and she had a hard time keeping her demure smile in place. She followed her father deliberately slow, while all the while repeating her mother’s words in her head: Big Brother Jing Yi is shy, he is easily scared. He likes demure and gentle girls. I can’t act out of line. No scratching, no screaming, no running around. If he doesn’t do what I want him to do I have to patiently wait. No scratching. No screaming. No running around. Don’t act out of line.
She knew full well that these practical tips were the most important. She had to follow them to the letter.
Qiu Ling looked at the girl and took up his cup to hide the sinister smile, that graced his lips after seeing her. Thank you for coming here! I was just in need of someone to vent my frustrations on. Don’t think that I would stop at you just because you’re a little girl! If I can’t have him, I certainly won’t let you have a chance.
His hand slipped under the table and commanded the wind. Out on the street a breeze picked up and made its way into the teahouse. The skirt of Guanyu’s dress fluttered, but she was moving at a snail’s pace and there was nothing Qiu Ling could use to make her fall. The breeze swirled around her a few times and finally left the teahouse.
Madam Zhong, who had just come back from the kitchen, saw this strange occurrence. She paused in the doorway and furrowed her brow. Her gaze roamed about the room and finally stopped at the guest on the other side, who looked at Zhong Guanyu as if he wanted to hypnotize her. Her frown disappeared and she smiled faintly.
So it’s like this.
She couldn’t help but sigh in relief. She had been afraid her son might be in danger if some pervert in the capital took a fancy to him, but if it was that person, she did not have to worry.
She went over to the two women and placed the snacks on the table. “Here are your snacks. Our house offers different kinds of teas, but our tea master has some recommendations for this season.”
The old woman nodded. “Then bring two of his special recommendations, please!”
“As you wish.” Madam Zhong hurried to the preparation room.
Meanwhile, Zhong Gang had made his way over to the counter. “It seems the teahouse is doing good right now. You just opened and there are already three people. At midday, the whole house might be full!” He looked from Qiu Ling to the two women and back, the contentment evident in his eyes.
He had high expectations for the teahouse, but he never would have thought that the customers would come on the first day without being invited. He didn’t know even one of them, but all three looked like they were from well-off families. Especially that man. He might not be dressed that spectacularly, but with his high build and that broad chest he made quite an impression. The way he carried himself had something, that Zhong Gang could only associate with royalty.
This man, could it be … Zhong Gang leaned closer to his cousin and lowered his voice. “Ah Lei, say: That man over there … Did he tell you who he is?”
Mister Zhong looked over, though no other guest had come by until now. “I don’t know. But we met him in the inn the other day. He helped me negotiate a good price!” Mister Zhong smiled at Qiu Ling. He was still thankful. Without him, his family would have lost all of their savings to that hustler.
“Oh.” An inn? Then he couldn’t be who I thought of. Someone like that wouldn’t frequent an inn in the capital. That person would return home.
Zhong Gang sighed. He was a little relieved, but also a little disappointed. Having a guest with a lofty status might be good if he was satisfied, but it might also lead to disaster if he wasn’t.
It’s probably better he isn’t someone from that family. Nobody in the capital … What am I thinking? Nobody in the whole empire could afford to offend them!
In a rare moment of insight, Mister Zhong looked at his cousin with worry. “What’s going on, Ah Gang? You seem … depressed?”
Zhong Gang waved it aside. “It’s nothing. Actually, I came here, because Shao Chen told me he’d swing by in a bit. You remember? He’s the merchant I told you about. The one who brought the tea leaves for me. Without him, there wouldn’t be any teahouse, so he should be one of the first to enjoy it.”
“Oh, that’s true. I’d like to meet him.”
“Of course, of course. I’ll introduce you. Ah! You know what? Shao Chen has a son in Jing Yi’s age. Wouldn’t it be great if the two of them could become friends?”
“Mn!” Mister Zhong was thrilled. A friend for Jing Yi? That would be great indeed! For the past seven years his son never had a friend. Now that they were in the capital, it shouldn’t go on like this, no? “Is he bringing him over?”
“Ah … That I don’t know. I just send someone over yesterday telling him that the teahouse will open today and he promised to come. But he often takes him along, so he might as well today.”
“Great. Really great!” Mister Zhong couldn’t feel happier.
His wife threw him a strange glance when she came back from the preparation room, but she didn’t dwell on his expression and made her way over to the two women. “Here’s your tea. I hope you like it! Please tell me if I can do anything else for you?”
“Oh no, no need”, the daughter-in-law said.
This time, the old woman nodded. She also didn’t want to have anything else.
Meanwhile, Guanyu had finally reached the table. She stopped in front of Jing Yi and smiled as sweetly as she could. “Brother Jing Yi!”, she cooed.
Qiu Ling got goosebumps even on the other side of the room. There was no need to mention Jing Yi. He completely froze, all his thoughts coming to a stop, feeling like the heavens would come crashing down right the next moment. It found me! The tiger found me again! I should call grandfather. But there are other people and mother told me not to call grandfather when other people are around. What should I do?!
The old woman laughed. “Ah, how adorable! First love is always so sweet!”
Guanyu giggled and blushed appropriately. “Ah, auntie, how can you say something like that. Brother Jing Yi and I —”
Crack.
With a shattering sound Qiu Ling’s cup broke, the parts clattering down on the table. All eyes fell on Qiu Ling. He stared at the shards now decorating the table and coughed.
“It seems … there was something wrong with the way I picked it up.”

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