While Jing Yi and his mother started to talk things through, Qiu Ling stood behind the counter, trying not to eavesdrop. Ah, it was hard though. His beloved was so close by but he actually couldn’t go over, couldn’t hug him, and couldn’t even listen to his beautiful voice! Was Heaven trying to torture him? How did he deserve this?
Qiu Ling sighed, drawing even more eyes to himself. He didn’t care though. He was a very handsome man, alright. He had known that long before. He wouldn’t pay attention to any of these women as long as they weren’t trying to order something and bring some money to his mother-in-law.
The women also weren’t sure what to do. A lot of the guests coming to Madam Zhong’s teahouse weren’t married yet. It had precisely become a place where a lot of young women would go with their mothers or aunts or married older sisters or cousins to pique the interest of some scholar that was of marriageable age. After all, that was the clientele that normally booked the rooms on the second floor. It had already been this way when Madam Zhong opened the teahouse five years ago and it was still the very same to this day.
Needless to say, some of the women couldn’t help but take another look at Qiu Ling. He truly was handsome and even though they couldn’t tell that he was a cultivator because he had changed out of the Yun Zou Sect robes, these women from good families could still see that the black robe he was wearing now wasn’t anything to scoff at. Obviously, he was exactly the tall, rich and handsome guy that they had been waiting for.
There was only one problem between them and this possible beautiful future: They had just seen him kiss a boy.
Well, that left a few questions. The relationship between the two of them was obviously very close. They didn’t know how close it was though. Was this just some kind of affair? Or were the two an official couple? It wasn’t unheard of in the Long kingdom for two men to marry. After all, even their founding emperor had had a man as his first wife and only later married a woman.
Right, did this man have another wife? It wouldn’t be too strange. After all, many high-ranking people had multiple wives. That question was much more important than the fact that he had been kissing a boy. Just having one male partner wasn’t a problem, after all. In fact, it might even be even easier to marry into his family in that case considering that they would probably want him to have offspring.
Now, they only needed to find out what his name was and which family he hailed from and then they could start to inquire what exactly the situation was. Unfortunately, they couldn’t just walk up to him and ask. That wouldn’t make a good impression. No, they could only try to find out by asking around and hoping that they would stumble upon the right answer.
Thus whispering ensued in the teahouse while one table whispered to the next one about whether they knew who this man was or not. Finally, the ones who had sat closer to the entrance gave some valuable information: This handsome man had been introduced as a senior martial brother from the Yun Zou Sect and his name appeared to be Qiu Ling.
The women and their relatives pondered this information but came up with a blank. There were indeed some families in the capital that had so name Qiu. But most of them didn’t have anybody of the right age group or if they had, then none of them could be this man. Never mind that not even a single one had gone to the Yun Zou Sect, they also didn’t look like this.
The women couldn’t help but feel that this man was becoming more and more mysterious. It seemed the only way to find out more about him, would be to wait for that boy to come back out of the other room and then ask him for details when Qiu Ling wasn’t around.
Thinking like that, the women fixed their gazes on the door next to Qiu Ling, making him tense up. These people! Could it be that they had set their sights on his beloved?! He wouldn’t allow that!
Qiu Ling glanced at the door, wondering just when his beloved would come back. As soon as he stepped through the door, he definitely had to grab him and make sure that he wouldn’t leave his side. Otherwise, who knew what these shameless people would do? He couldn’t take any risks!
By that time, Jing Yi had fallen into deep contemplation. After talking with his mother, he felt better but it didn’t change the fact that he’d need to get to know Qiu Ling further to completely make up his mind.
For a while, he just sat in the preparation room and pondered how to go about that. They would travel while he tried to cultivate in the future but for now, Qiu Ling had said that they could stay here. Considering how long he hadn’t seen his mother, Jing Yi also didn’t want to leave immediately so he felt that it would be best to stay here and maybe help her out a bit in the teahouse. Wasn’t that how he had become friends with Shao Hai back then as well? Qiu Ling shouldn’t have anything against that.
Jing Yi glanced over at the door only to be met with Qiu Ling’s fervent gaze. He tensed up and uncomfortably shifted on the chair. How long had he been looking over? Jing Yi cleared his throat and gave his mother a wry smile. “I think I should go and check up on Qiu Ling.”
“Mn, you do that! I should also get back to work.” Madam Zhong left the room and nodded at Qiu Ling.
He hardly noticed though. His gaze still stuck to Jing Yi and his lips curved up into a warm smile when his beloved stepped out of the preparation room. He walked forward and reached out, almost taking Jing Yi’s hands but the boy pulled them away at the last moment, awkwardly going over to the counter and leaning against it.
Jing Yi wanted to say something but didn’t know what. In the end, how had Qiu Ling fallen in love with him? He didn’t understand. Could all of this really be fate?
Qiu Ling was the one who finally broke the silence. “You’ve finished already? I thought you’d take longer.”
Jing Yi shook his head. “Well, we’ll stay here for a while, won’t we? There’s no rush.”
“True.” Qiu Ling nodded, leaning against the counter next to Jing Yi, pretending to be on his best behavior.
Jing Yi bit his lower lip seeing him like this. Qiu Ling tried very hard. If in the end, he couldn’t fall in love … Jing Yi sighed. It wouldn’t be fair but it wasn’t like he could force it either. He could only try to take one step at a time, seeing where it’d lead him.
He cheered himself up and gave Qiu Ling a smile. “How about I show you around?”
“Mn!” Qiu Ling reached out and this time, he managed to grab Jing Yi’s hand. When Jing Yi raised his brows, he tensed up. “This … I don’t want to get lost.”
“Uh … Sure.” Jing Yi looked away, not knowing what to say. This excuse … it was very much like Qiu Ling.