Back in the mortal world, Li Bo’s dirty scheme had already come to fruition the very next day: Some of the women who normally frequented the teahouse had a guilty conscience because they hadn’t helped when Mister Zhong was attacked and hadn’t stood out either when Madam Zhong asked for help. They didn’t dare to return and face the woman that had buried her husband just yesterday.
As for those who didn’t know her too well … Even though they liked the teahouse, it wasn’t worth risking their well-being and the status of their family. The rumor that Li Bo would deal with everyone who dared to help the Zhongs made them circle around the teahouse with some more meters. After all, they didn’t believe that those were just empty words. If Li Bo didn’t think much about killing a law-abiding citizen in broad daylight, would he be any more merciful to their families? Certainly not!
Thus the teahouse that had been jam-packed with people since the day it opened, had turned into a deserted establishment. Not even a single customer had come this morning and Madam Zhong reckoned that nothing would change about that.
She looked at the empty tables and sighed. Jing Yi who had still followed her to work even though Madam Zhong was afraid he might suffer harm if that man came back, looked up at his mother with a worried gaze.
“Why is there nobody here today, mommy?”
Madam Zhong forced herself to smile. “Who knows? They all knew your father so maybe they are sad he’s gone now and wouldn’t be able to take their grief if they came here.”
Jing Yi nodded and gripped her hand, smiling sweetly at her. “If you want to, I can go out and ask other people to come in like I did before with Shao Hai.”
Madam Zhong patted his head. “It’s alright, Jing’er. It doesn’t need to be filled with people every day, does it?”
Jing Yi nodded again. “That’s true!”
“I’m sure in a few days, things will return to normal. The guests will certainly miss us and sister Nie Huang’s tea and return soon.”
Jing Yi believed everything his mother said but the only person to run over to the teahouse in the following days was Shao Hai who wanted to see if Jing Yi was alright.
It seemed like hard times were imminent for Madam Zhong and her son and they had no way of countering the culprit. They could only wait and see, hoping that the situation would miraculously resolve itself. Jing Yi didn’t mind too much though. When Shao Hai came over, he went to sit at the counter with him, thinking that some customers would come in sooner or later.
The one distressed was actually Shao Hai. He had hugged Jing Yi to console him and stroked his back. “You don’t have to be sad. I’m still here with you, Xiao Yi. I won’t leave you.”
“Mn.” Jing Yi just nodded. This was the first time he was confronted with death so he didn’t understand too well what it meant. Furthermore, Qiang Wei’s story had given him a new goal that he needed to work hard for. This diverted his attention so much that he didn’t think about the fact that his father wasn’t there anymore. After all, there was still something even more puzzling he needed to figure out. Despite thinking long and hard, he still hadn’t managed to do so even after a few days. He probably needed help.
Jing Yi looked up into Shao Hai’s eyes with confusion written on his face. “Ah Hai, what is a hero?”
The older boy was dumbfounded. Why was his Xiao Yi asking him this? He pursed his lips and pondered and finally found an explanation: When that Li Bo came and acted all sneakily Jing Yi’s father had stepped in front of them to protect them and lost his life because of that. Jing Yi probably wanted to make sure that his father was a real hero! If that was what Jing Yi wanted, then, of course, Shao Hai would fulfill that wish! “Your father is definitely a hero!”
Jing Yi nodded. That man yesterday had said the same so it had to be true. He didn’t understand though. “But why?”
“Uh … Well, because he saved us from the bad guys!”
“So everyone can become a hero if they save someone?” Jing Yi thought about it. So his father had been a hero and his grandfather was a hero too. He had saved them from the bandits, after all! But those were the only heroes he knew. Did he also have to save someone to become like them?
Shao Hai pursed his lips, unsure if that was really true. In the end, he nodded though. “I think so!”
Shao Hai felt like Jing Yi wasn’t satisfied with his explanation. “We could go and ask my father!”
“Does he know about heroes?”
Shao Hai nodded. “I’m sure of it! You know he’s a merchant. He was traveling a lot over the years and has met many, many people. There should have been some heroes among them.”
Jing Yi’s eyes shone. This was exactly what he needed! Speaking to someone who had met a lot of heroes!
Shao Hai smiled contented. It seemed like his Xiao Yi liked his idea. “Come, let’s ask auntie if you can come home with me right now.” He took Jing Yi’s hand and pulled him over to the kitchen. “Auntie!” He smiled sweetly at Madam Zhong. “Can Xiao Yi come home with me?”
Madam Zhong smiled back at them and patted their heads. “Of course, he can. Just be careful on your way. If you’re running late this evening have someone sent him home, alright?”
Shao Hai nodded earnestly. “Don’t worry, auntie! Nothing will happen to Xiao Yi as long as he’s with me!” Then he pulled Jing Yi toward the entrance.
The boy looked at his mother and waved. “I’ll be back soon, mommy!”
“Mn. Have fun!”
Thus two boys hurried through the streets of the capital toward Shao Hai’s house. Madam Zhong could only sigh and hope that nothing would happen to them.