Hong Bao didn’t run far. After all, she still had to keep an eye on the teahouse to see when the crown prince left so that she could go and poke him with that dagger! She needed to be vigilant and close by. Otherwise, she might miss the perfect opportunity. Thus, she made her way to a stall selling noodles on the opposite side of the road.
After sitting there for an hour and staring at the entrance of the teahouse in a trance, the boss finally couldn’t take it any longer. She trudged to Hong Bao’s table and propped her arms upon her hips. “Little girl, you can’t just sit here, hogging the table all to yourself and not ordering something! Now, do you want to eat something or not? If not, then get out of here for Heaven’s sake!”
Hong Bao shrunk her neck. Who could have known it would be such a big deal not to order something? “Then … I’ll take a bowl of noodles?”
“Hmph.” The boss went back to get her order and dropped the bowl onto the table with a bang, making some of the soup splash onto the table. She gave Hong Bao an unfriendly look and swaggered back to her counter. Hmph, customers these days … Sitting there and eying the teahouse on the other side of the street. She’d like to know what was so good about that teahouse! Hopefully, they would close down soon.
Hong Bao looked at the bowl in front of her and pondered. Who knew how long the crown prince would stay in the teahouse? This was such a good place to observe, she definitely couldn’t give it up! But when she ate this bowl and the crown prince still hadn’t left and she wanted to stay here without eating anything, then the shop auntie would certainly become angry again. She couldn’t let that happen!
Thus, Hong Bao picked up a pair of chopsticks and started eating the noodles one at a time, chewing each of them carefully as if she might choke otherwise. The boss’s brows twitched. She was of half a mind to go over and chastise the brat but some of her other customers were watching the girl and seemed to enjoy themselves. Hmph. It sure was worth it to have a nice face! But she’d really like to see just how long that girl could hold onto that one bowl of noodles.
The boss was already imagining how she chased Hong Bao off and gave the seat to another customer that would hopefully order a bit more but, unfortunately, she had underestimated Hong Bao’s talent in eating slowly.
Hong Bao was still eating when her noodles had grown cold and the sky above turned dark. Most of the other customers in the stall had already left and even in the teahouse on the other side of the road Mister and Madam Zhong were wrapping up for the day.
The boss’s eyebrows twitched. This girl! What was she doing, eating for this long?! It couldn’t … The boss frowned and trudged over once more. “You! You’ve been sitting and eating here for hours. Don’t you think it’s time to pay? Hand over the money.”
Hong Bao, who still had five noodles left in her bowl, looked up and her eyes went wide. Money? She patted her body and her eyes widened even further. Oh, no! She hadn’t thought about that at all! Naturally, she’d have to pay if she ate a bowl of noodles! How could she have forgotten about that?!
The boss saw her expression and pointed at her nose. “You brat! I should have known you were trying to dine and dash! Don’t think you’ll get away with this! I’ll —”
A hand with one silver liang entered her sight. “Might this be enough to pay for her bowl and get one for me as well?”
The boss shut up at once and looked at the owner of the hand. It turned out to be a young man wearing a green robe. He had a pleasant smile and seemed like a genuine person. “Of course …” She took the money and put it into her clothes before curling her lips. “You’re really a good person but you should make sure you’re not being taken advantage of. There are people out there who don’t mind living off the goodness of other people’s hearts.”
The man continued to smile as if he didn’t mind her words at all. “Thank you for worrying about me but it’s not necessary. This young woman here is actually my junior martial sister. She’s a little forgetful so she probably didn’t bring her purse. Please excuse her.” He cupped his fists and bowed, making the boss unable to say anything else.
She looked from the young man to Hong Bao that was currently holding a noodle up with her chopsticks while looking at the young man. She snorted. “Well, then. I’ll get you your bowl of noodles.” With that, she turned and went away. She couldn’t help but shake her head though. Being young and having a nice face sure did wonders. She didn’t believe for one moment that this guy and that girl were martial brother and sister. Don’t kid her! The people of the Yun Zou Sect came to the capital regularly. Martial sisters and brothers were supposed to wear the same kind of robe! That guy had just been blinded by her face. Hmph, that girl had probably been waiting for an idiot like him to help her out. Well, it wasn’t her loss. She had her money and didn’t have to care for anything else. That guy would see what he got from his meddling.
Meanwhile, the man turned to Hong Bao and motioned at the bench on the other side of the table. “May I?”
Hong Bao stared right back. What a nice guy! She really was lucky today! Eh? Come to think of it, wasn’t this the same guy from the gate? She straightened up and nodded. “Thank you! You’re really such a nice person!”
Lie Cheng smiled. “No need to thank me. We’re already acquaintances. Isn’t it natural to help each other out in that case?”
“Yes!” Hong Bao’s eyes shone. This man thought the same way as her! She leaned forward and clasped his hand. “Thank you so much! You know, I really didn’t think about it. So much happened in the last few days.” Her face sank and she looked over at the teahouse. The last guests had just left. That reincarnated crown prince would probably leave soon too. Could she really accomplish her goal?
Liu Cheng looked at the hand Hong Bao still clasped. He felt a little torn. He had only wanted to help her with paying since they had met before and she seemed like a nice girl that really just forgot. That type of airhead … He actually liked it. But he couldn’t take a wife. What if something happened to him? His task was a dangerous one. He didn’t want to make such a young girl a widow.
Then again, meeting twice on the same day … Something like that could be called fate. And being this close, even touching her naked skin … He should take responsibility. Especially since she seemed to have taken a liking to him. Maybe he should just see where it led them?
He looked up and froze. The young girl who he thought had fallen in love with him … was, in fact, still examining the teahouse on the other side of the road and didn’t pay him attention at all. She had just forgotten about clasping his hand.