OMF V3C65 The Zhong Family

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At the same time, Xiao Li had already made his way over to the capital. The vague information he had gotten from Qiguan Cheng Da made accomplishing his task so much more difficult though. How was he supposed to find the family of that Zhong Jing Yi if his only clue was that some relative of his was running a business in the capital?
There were way too many possibilities what this could mean. Maybe that person was running a store or some kind of restaurant or inn. And even if he ran a store, what kind of store was it? There were many in the capital! Should he go and ask in each one of them if their owner was related to a boy named Zhong Jing Yi?
Even if he did, the people working there most likely wouldn’t be able to answer the question. The boy was now in the Hei Dian Sect as a spy so he should have been in the Yun Zou Sect for quite a while. After all, the sect certainly wouldn’t send someone over they didn’t trust.
Now, what should he do? Xiao Li looked the main street up and down. He definitely didn’t want to run through the whole city and ask everywhere. Especially since he didn’t know that relative’s name. Who could guarantee him that the people working at that relative’s place would actually know of Zhong Jing Yi? No, he had to find another way.
Xiao Li pondered but still couldn’t find a better answer in the end. He would have to ask around. He did have some insight into how he should go about this though.
With a look around to make sure nobody was following him, he turned into a side street and then ducked into another lane. There weren’t any people around, perfect for his plan.
He took out a white robe from the magic bag he was carrying around and wore it instead of the black robe of the Hei Dian Sect. He even made sure to pin up his hair with a white ribbon. He gave a satisfied smile at this. Now, people definitely wouldn’t think of him as a heretic practitioner and instead think he was someone from the righteous path. And since those mortals had no idea at all they would instantly believe him if he said the Yun Zou Sect had sent him over.
Thus prepared, he went back to the main street and approached a small stall. With a smile on his lips, he cupped his fists and bowed slightly in front of the man on the other side. The man was instantly flabbergasted. Was this a Daoist Master approaching him? How did he deserve such heaven-defying luck?
He hastily came to the other side of the stall and returned the greeting. “Daoist Master! How may I help you?”
Xiao Li continued to smile like a good guy while laughing on the inside. “You’re giving me too much credit. I’m just a lowly disciple of the Yun Zou Sect, here on the orders of the Great Master Ling. I’m supposed to deliver important information to the family of one of my fellow disciples. Unfortunately …” Xiao Li timely revealed a troubled expression.
The vendor who had been completely taken in by the nonsense about a great master and some important information was eager to help. After all, Daoists were all extremely important people. If he managed to help one of them — even if it was only a Daoist disciple — he could still proudly brag to his great-grandchildren about it. “What may be the problem, Daoist? Is there anything I can do to help?”
Xiao Li’s eyes glinted. This was working even better than he had expected. “Maybe you are indeed able to help me. You look like you are a very knowledgeable man. The problem is that I don’t know where exactly to find my Junior Martial Brother’s family. I’ve only been told that they are here in the capital.”
“Oh!” The vendor was instantly enlightened and the mention of a ‘Junior Martial Brother’ made him already think deeply if he knew of any family whose child had gone to some Daoist sect. This sounded really extremely important. “What’s the family’s name? Maybe I know them and can bring you over!”
“That would be most appreciated.” Xiao Li gave a grateful smile. “My Junior Martial Brother’s name is Zhong Jing Yi, hence his family’s name should be Zhong.”
The vendor pursed his lips. “That … Do you know his father’s name? There are a few families that are named Zhong.” He could name three right this instance.
Xiao Li pursed his lips. “His father was called Zhong Lei but … he is already dead.”
The vendor’s face fell. Of all those Zhong families he had thought of none had any dead father with a son who might have gone to a sect.
Xiao Li wasn’t surprised at this. Who knew when the boy’s father had died? It might have been quite a while ago. Who would still remember an outsider then? “Ah! I just remember it seems like the family wasn’t originally from here. They came from a small village somewhere on the other side of the Long mountain range. But it seems another distant relative of them has a business here in the capital? After the father’s death, he took the boy and his mother in.”
The vendor rubbed his chin. Someone called Zhong with a business … “You mean Zhong Gang who owns that restaurant around the corner?”
Xiao Li lifted his brows. “That might be him.”
The vendor nodded. “Mn, I remember part of his family from out in the countryside came here to settle down a few years back. If I remember correctly, that was indeed a couple with a child. Oh!” He had a sudden epiphany. “Yes, yes. I remember now! That’s indeed them! It’s actually such a bittersweet story. Shortly after coming here, the father was antagonized by Li Bo who was something like a local tyrant. I don’t know what exactly happened but that was when the father died. Such a tragedy! But then a few days later your sect came and had that big assessment they hold every few years and it seemed he took in his son?”
Xiao Li smiled even brighter. “Mn, that should have been my Junior Martial Brother. It must have been around … six years ago?”
The vendor thought and nodded. “Yes, yes! Around five or ten years ago. Something along those lines.”
“Then, do you know where his mother or that Zhong Gang you spoke of live?”
“Sure, sure.” The vendor nodded. “If you want to go over now it would be best to try your luck at the restaurant or the teahouse though.”
“And where may I find those?”
Being faced with Xiao Li’s good-natured look the vendor had no apprehensions whatsoever and described to him in detail how he could find those two places.
In a show of sincerity, Xiao Li cupped his fists once more and thanked the vendor in an exuberant manner. The man was all smiles when he saw him off. He never would have thought that he had just brought immense trouble to that proclaimed Junior Martial Brother Xiao Li had talked about and instead even felt like he had just done a good deed the heavens would look favorably upon him for.

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