Yu Huang Rong shook his head at himself and concentrated on the task at hand. He had to find something that he could give to Zhang Shi Lan and at the same time, he had to do something that would get that servant off his track. Mn, it would probably be best to first throw the servant off by buying something that would be suitable for a girl.
He turned to look at a stall selling jewelry. Mn … If this was for the girl he had fallen in love with and that he wanted to woo to have better chances at marrying her, then what kind of thing would he get her? A ring? A bracelet? A necklace?
Ah, that might be too intimate. The bracelet actually didn’t sound bad. Well, then again, considering that there were mutual feelings and that they were already at the step where they had spoken to the matchmaker and that their marriage would already happen this year, maybe he should be a little more daring.
He continued to look around and finally spotted a few hairpins lying around. Actually, that wasn’t bad. A hairpin could be worn more often, especially if he chose a simple style.
Yu Huang Rong couldn’t help but grin crazily. Actually, thinking about it now, a hairpin was the perfect gift. If he chose something simple, he would even be able to give it to Zhang Shi Lan. He almost laughed out loud at the thought and took a closer look at the hairpins, wondering if there was one that Zhang Shi Lan would actually accept. Unfortunately, he didn’t have luck with that. Most of them were silver with intricate carvings and some inlaid with stones. If he gave that type of fancy thing to Zhang Shi Lan, he would only get dissatisfaction in return. No, he couldn’t risk that. Then what?
His gaze went back to the bracelets when he suddenly froze. Wait! What was he doing? This wasn’t the real present he wanted to give Zhang Shi Lan! This was merely a ploy to get that servant off his tracks. He just had to take something at random and then he could forget about it. Mn, he could also buy it and then give it to somebody who could use it as a gift instead of him. How about Luan Xin? Didn’t he have several women in his harem he had to take care of?
Yu Huang Rong really chuckled this time and picked up one of the hairpins at random, motioning to the peddler that he wanted to buy it.
The servant that was following him watched him pay with his mouth gaping open. Was this really their young master? The General that had spent ten years on the battlefield and never looked at a single woman when he came home? He really couldn’t believe that he was able to see this! Ah, the Madam would be ecstatic when she heard about this! He didn’t bother to look on any further and hurried back to spread the good news.
Yu Huang Rong glanced in his direction and smilingly left the stall, carelessly tugging the hairpin into his clothes. Now, as for his real present … This time, he took his sweet time to look around to make sure he would find the right present for Zhang Shi Lan.
He only decided when it was almost time to meet with him and Qian Mu Qing but he was sure that he had found the perfect gift. Ah, he really wondered what Zhang Shi Lan would say when he handed it over. He would probably be very touched. Ah, should he hand it over as a greeting already? Or would it be more impactful to wait until they bid their farewell in the evening?
With this kind of thought in mind, Yu Huang Rong reached the restaurant. He motioned at the servant while looking around to see if he could spot that familiar figure. Unfortunately, Zhang Shi Lan wasn’t there yet. “Scholar Zhang and Young Master Qian, have they arrived here?”
The servant shook his head. “No, General Yu, neither of them came by yet but Scholar Zhang did reserve a room.”
Yu Huang Rong furrowed his brows. “Then show me the way. I’ll wait there for the two of them. They should arrive here shortly.”
The servant bowed. “Of course. Please come with me.” He showed him the way and then left at Yu Huang Rong’s wave.
The General paced up and down in the room, feeling stifled. Why was Zhang Shi Lan not here yet? Wasn’t it already the agreed-upon time? He had already needed to wait a whole day! Was he really supposed to wait even longer? He didn’t want to. He wanted to see him right now.
Half an hour later, a carriage stopped in front of the restaurant and Zhang Shi Lan and Qian Mu Qing got down. It wasn’t that they were late. In fact, the two of them had come early because Zhang Shi Lan had been worried that Yu Huang Rong wouldn’t be willing to wait for even a second longer after the agreed-upon time. Thus he rushed the merchant to go to the restaurant a little earlier. The only problem was that Yu Huang Rong was even more impatient than he had thought.
When he walked up to the servant, the person seemed to be expecting him. Zhang Shi Lan didn’t think much of it. He had sent somebody over to make an appointment to make sure that there would be a private room for them. Otherwise, meeting up wouldn’t make much sense. “There’s another person with us today. If General Yu arrives, please show him to the room.”
The servant’s expression turned slightly awkward. “Scholar Zhang, General Yu has already arrived.” He couldn’t help but wonder if these rich people hadn’t tried to agree on a time beforehand. Wasn’t that what you should normally do if you wanted to eat together? How come they arrived one after the other, not knowing if the others were already there? And it had already been quite a bit of time since the general arrived. How come the scholar thought he would be arriving even later?
Zhang Shi Lan glanced at Qian Mu Qing and raised his brows. “He already arrived? Oh. Well, then please show us to the room. We shouldn’t let General Yu wait any longer.”
The servant nodded and kept his thoughts to himself, leading the two men to the room. He motioned over and opened the door for them. “I’ll be back soon then. Please make yourself at home first.”
Zhang Shi Lan nodded and watched the servant leave before he turned back to the room. He couldn’t help but furrow his brows. How come the room was empty? Hadn’t that servant said just now that Yu Huang Rong had already arrived? He tilted his head and stepped inside.
Before he could call out his arm was grabbed and he was pulled behind the door. He tumbled, giving a yelp that was cut off the next moment. A pair of lips pressed against his and strong arms snaked around his waist. Zhang Shi Lan wanted to push the person off first but there was no way to escape out of his grasp. After a moment, he gave in, melting into that embrace.
Behind him, Qian Mu Qing finally woke him from his stupor and jumped into the room, wanting to help Zhang Shi Lan against whoever had dared to ambush him. Seeing the scene behind the door … He turned away and slammed the door shut.
He didn’t dare to stand outside in the corridor though and could only face away from them in the room. This … The General was really too debauched! How could he do something like that in broad daylight?! It really looked as if he wanted to eat Zhang Shi Lan right here and now instead of waiting for the dishes. Was that really what you were supposed to do in a restaurant?
A minute went by and Yu Huang Rong finally pulled back unwillingly. For the most part, it was because he remembered where they were and that the servant could return at any time.
He looked at Zhang Shi Lan and brushed back his hair. “I missed you. Having to wait more than a day until I could see you again …” He shook his head. “After Madam Yan is done with the current event, let’s go and talk to her and make sure that we can hold the wedding as soon as possible. I don’t want to be another day without you.”
Qian Mu Qing pretended not to have heard anything and walked over to the table, taking a seat with his back to the door. It was hard enough to listen to these words. He really didn’t need the visuals to aid him in his imagination.
Neither of the two sweethearts noticed that their guest was uncomfortable. Zhang Shi Lan looked up at his the General with an indulgent smile. “And here I thought you were willing to go about this slowly so I could adapt. It seems you’re actually really impatient.”
Yu Huang Rong chuckled and pulled him closer. “Didn’t I already say that? I am indeed impatient. Especially if it’s about you. I think I was patient enough in the past. You can’t really expect me to still be patient now.”
Zhang Shi Lan didn’t actually mind. With Yu Huang Rong’s skills, he should have known that there were only him and Qian Mu Qing outside. And Qian Mu Qing had basically known about them before so it was alright. Hadn’t that been the reason why they decided to invite him along?
Seeing that smile on Zhang Shi Lan’s lips, Yu Huang Rong couldn’t help but lean down again but his beloved already pushed him off after just a short moment. “What? Am I not allowed to kiss you anymore?”
“You are. But that servant is going to return soon. We shouldn’t continue to stand here or this will become troublesome.”
At the table, Qian Mu Qing nodded severely. Yes! Please return to the table! Sit down like civilized people and stop showing off your affection!
Yu Huang Rong felt it to be a pity but he knew that Zhang Shi Lan was right. “Well, there’s nothing I can say against that. Then let’s decide what we want to eat soon so we can send them away again.” Once again, his fingers brushed through Zhang Shi Lan’s hair before he gripped his hand and pulled him over to the table, helping him sit down while ignoring Qian Mu Qing. As far as he was concerned, that person could have been air.
Zhang Shi Lan remembered that there was still another person with them though and his cheeks flushed pink. “Young Master Qiang … I hope you weren’t too surprised. We must have made quite the fools out of ourselves.”
Qian Mu Qing wanted to politely deny it even though he actually felt that yes, they had more or less made a fool of themselves with acting like that. Before he had the chance to say anything, the general scoffed though.
Yu Huang Rong reached over and grabbed Zhang Shi Lan’s hand. “What are you worried about? We’re in love. And he knows that. It’s a completely natural thing. If that was being foolish, then being foolish is a very good thing.” He intertwined his fingers with Zhang Shi Lan’s as if he didn’t care at all that there was another person still present.
Qian Mu Qing could only speechlessly look on. He had already felt that this man had something against him when they met for the first time at Madam Yan’s first event. Now, he was sure that he had been right. This person really didn’t like him. And the worst thing was that he didn’t even know why so he couldn’t do anything to try and bargain for better treatment from this person.
Currently, he really regretted that he had agreed to Zhang Shi Lan’s request. Even if he knew, was there really a reason for him to accompany him to do what he had discouraged him from? After all, he was completely against this relationship. He didn’t think it was a good idea. Why was he even helping them? And it certainly didn’t make his decision any easier that the general was so obviously against him. Couldn’t this guy at least pretend that he was grateful to him?
Well, one look at Yu Huang Rong’s face told him that no, that was out of the question. Somehow, he had already managed to annoy this great personage. And it was very likely that he would never be able to make up for it. Ah, whatever he had done, he really regretted it right now.