Madam Zhong watched Xiao Dong did the same as his mother. There was no way this was a coincidence. Still. She hadn’t seen that person around for a while and she didn’t dare to assume too much. But she wouldn’t find out just because she thought about it. She had to ask if she wanted to know. Madam Zhong cleared her throat. “You wouldn’t happen to know … that person, would you?” She smiled wryly when Ai Hua looked at her in confusion. Ah, he had never told her his name. How was she supposed to explain now?
Ai Hua turned to her son but Xiao Dong shook his head. He also didn’t know what this woman was talking about. Neither of them thought of their king in the slightest. After all, Madam Zhong was merely a mortal. They couldn’t imagine that she would have had the honor to meet the dragon king and know him good enough to even ask about him.
She turned back to Madam Zhong and raised her brows. “Who might you be talking about?”
Madam Zhong clutched the empty tray. “Mn … He’s … quite handsome.”
“Quite handsome?” Ai Hua still didn’t think of her king. Who would dare to call the dragon king ‘quite’ handsome? After all, he had proclaimed himself to be the most handsome man in the three immortal realms and who were they to disagree? And she might not have seen every man in the three immortal realms but she had seen their king. He really was handsome! In the end, Ai Hua could only shrug. “I don’t know who you might be talking about.”
“Oh. Please excuse that I asked.” Maybe she had been thinking too much and these two weren’t connected to that man after all. Well, the last time she saw him he had been devastated because her son had been kissed by Shao Hai. Maybe he was still holding a grudge and hadn’t returned because of that?
“It’s nothing.” Ai Hua smiled and patted her son’s head, while her eyes darted about. Now that this woman had asked her questions, it was her turn. “Are there only two people working in the teahouse?”
Madam Zhong shook her head. “Normally, there are quite a few people but … well, you can see for yourself. There aren’t many guests today so I sent them home. Besides myself, there are only our tea master and the chef.”
“Oh.” Ai Hua nodded. “Well, I heard someone called Li Bo was making trouble for you. If it’s really bad, you can tell me. I can help you out.”
Madam Zhong smiled. “It’s alright. We’ll be able to make it through the hard times.” She couldn’t help but feel that this woman resembled the Daoist Master.
Ah, if he had been there … would things have turned out differently? He wouldn’t have let that Li Bo waltz into the teahouse like that and target her husband and son. Maybe he would have taken care of him as he did with those bandits in the Long mountains. Well, maybe he wouldn’t even have needed to do that. Even the emperor wouldn’t dare to slight a real Daoist Master. Who knew which sect he was part of? Maybe he had to do with the Yun Zou Sect that was located in the Long kingdom. In that case, angering him could cause chaos in the kingdom.
Madam Zhong shook her head and held back a sigh. Why was she even thinking about this? Her husband had already died. Nothing could change that. And some things were just meant to be that way.
After a week had passed, Madam Zhong wasn’t so sure if everything had just been a coincidence. This wasn’t the first time something bad had happened to their family. Jing Yi’s birth, the rumors, the bandits, now that Li Bo … Could so many things happen to one family just because of bad luck? By now, she was wondering if all of this might be fate.
She didn’t know much about these things. Only the little bit one heard in the countryside: There were souls that would be continuously reborn and some things were bound to happen. That was all she knew. These things … they had started to happen after Jing Yi was born. And that Daoist Master had followed her son or rather his soul too.
Could it be? Had that soul such an unlucky fate? Was that why his last life ended and why he was here now? If that was the case … would he lose her too and be all alone someday?
Madam Zhong had come close to the truth. Naturally, she wouldn’t be able to find out Jing Yi’s real identity but being able to glimpse a bit of the fate Shun Tao wrote was astonishing enough.
Before Madam Zhong could dwell any longer on it, light footsteps pulled her out of her thoughts. Both she, as well as Ai Hua and her son, turned to the door all three expecting to see Jing Yi or — as the dragons thought of him — the king’s beloved.
Unfortunately, the one to storm inside was Zhong Guanyu. Even after all these months of Jing Yi trying to evade her and Shao Hai interfering with her approaches she hadn’t given up. She was intent on marrying Jing Yi in the future! She would accept nobody else but her Prince Charming!
With this conviction, Guanyu entered the teahouse. And then, her whole world was turned upside down again.