83 Love Rivals Everywhere!
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Qiu Ling’s skin was thick enough that he didn’t care when everyone turned to look at him. Instead, he beamed when he saw that his reaction had made his beloved pay him attention. He just wanted to use the opportunity when a man downright jumped into the teahouse.

"Haha!" He stood with his hands on his hips and guffawed. If this wasn’t the capital and if the man wasn’t richly dressed, everyone might have mistaken him for a bandit.

Zhong Gang’s lips twitched. "Shao Chen, you said you’d come by. But you didn’t say you’d come to scare my customers away." He made his way over while laughing. "Come, come, have a seat. Ah, did you bring your son?" He looked behind the big man and indeed, a boy with a remarkable resemblance to him stood there.

"Of course! How could I let him miss this?"

"Great, great. You remember my cousin I told you about? The one who I said I’ll invite to manage the teahouse?"

"Yes, yes! Is he here?" Shao Chen looked around and noticed Mister Zhong at the counter. "Ah! That must be him. You look so much alike!" He stormed over with heavy steps and looked Mister Zhong up and down, stroking his chin all the while. "You’re only cousins but you’re looking more alike than my brother and me!"

Zhong Gang followed him over. "Indeed. It was even more so when we were young. You should have seen us. We looked like twins. Twins! I tell you. Haha. There was even one time when —"

"Daddy!"

Zhong Gang flinched and looked over to where his daughter stood. The little girl that had acted well-behaved at the beginning had started to frown when Qiu Ling crashed his cup, clenched her fists when Shao Chen and his son came in and now screamed at the top of her lungs when the commotion still didn’t die down. How was she supposed to win over her Prince Charming like this?!

While she concentrated on her father, Jing Yi slipped out of his seat and around her back. The preparation room was on the other side of the room that she was facing so he wouldn’t be able to go there. He ran straight for the entrance but only managed to reach halfway.

Shao Chen’s son stood in front of him. Jing Yi stopped awkwardly, scared stiff. Who knew if this person was dangerous? Now he couldn’t flee at all!

Shao Chen’s son, Shao Hai, stood frozen to his spot too. His heart was like a horse bolting. He couldn’t get its beating under control. His ears turned red and he scratched at the floor with his foot, evading Jing Yi’s gaze.

With both of them hesitating for so long, Zhong Gang finally managed to calm down his daughter. Inside, Guanyu was still fuming but she remembered her mother’s words and felt bad about how she had screamed in front of Jing Yi. Now, she’d have to begin from square one. It was all her stupid father’s fault!

Zhong Gang certainly wouldn’t have liked that evaluation but his daughter wasn’t that wrong. They couldn’t get too excited with guests around. The man on the other side of the room didn’t seem to mind but the women looked a little piqued. Well, this was a teahouse, after all. It should be a place to relax in silence with only hushed conversations of great value around. Some old gossip shared between uncultured people like them wasn’t welcome.

Zhong Gang coughed. "Let’s go up into one of the rooms. We wouldn’t want to disturb the guests."

Shao Chen nodded but Mister Zhong hesitated. "What about the teahouse? Shouldn’t I —"

"Hogwash!" Zhong Gang slapped his shoulder and pushed him to the staircase. "There are only three guests. Your wife can do that and if it’s not enough, there are still the girls in the kitchen. Even your son could help. At least spend some time with us."

Mister Zhong looked at his wife but she only nodded and waved him away. Honestly, it would be better if he wasn’t there. He smiled in thanks and followed the other two. Madam Zhong went into the preparation room to get another cup of tea for Qiu Ling. She was sure he was her family’s benefactor even though he had taken on another appearance once again.

After Guanyu saw her father walk to the upper floor, she was satisfied. Now, nothing could get between her and Jing Yi! She turned around and … was confronted with an empty chair. Her Prince Charming was gone.

Guanyu’s lips quivered. Why was she that unlucky? She prepared to run out of the teahouse and go cry to her mother. Turning around she stopped dead in her tracks. That boy waiting over there … was Jing Yi?

She was stunned for a good while. Like this, three children stared at one another. Guanyu fixated Jing Yi’s back, while Jing Yi and Shao Hai were still locked in an impasse.

Madam Zhong smiled when she came back and found the children like that. She didn’t say anything and only hoped that Jing Yi would find a friend this time. If she didn’t intervene, these children might solve the problem on their own. Silently, she made her way over to Qiu Ling’s table.

"Have a new cup." She swept the broken shards and put down the new cup in front of him.

"Oh, thanks." He took the new one and lowered his gaze. "I’m sorry for the first one."

"It’s alright. You’ve done so much for us. What’s one cup compared to that?"

Qiu Ling looked up and smiled. Ah, his mother-in-law was so smart! She had already recognized him. He wanted to say something but a movement in the middle of the room caught his eye.

Guanyu had finally figured out what was going on. Her face lit up and she pounced over, once again forgetting her mother’s warning in her excitement.

Jing Yi heard the fast footsteps. He turned to the side mechanically and his eyes grew wide in fear. Oh no!

Guanyu accelerated her steps and extended her arms. She wanted to leap forward and throw herself into his arms. He’d certainly catch her and fall in love with her that way! Who wouldn’t when they looked at such a lovely girl like her?

She leaped but Jing Yi got scared. In his thoughts, he saw a ferocious animal pouncing on him. He stumbled backward, his face scrunching up and tears welling up in his eyes. In his flustered state, he collided with Shao Hai but the boy caught him.

He took one look at Jing Yi’s fear-stricken face, then glanced at Guanyu and finally frowned. He didn’t know what was going on but the stupid Guanyu was certainly the evildoer here!

Hmph, he’d show her!

He waited for Guanyu to leap. Jing Yi wanted to scramble away but Shao Hai caught his wrist. He pulled him toward himself, hugged him to his chest and turned to the side. Guanyu missed her target and once again fell face first to the floor.

Her crash was accompanied by a crack.

"I’ll compensate for that," Qiu Ling said flatly. He stared at the boy hugging his beloved without any emotion evident on his face but there was only one thought in his mind, written in bold, scarlet characters: You! Dared!

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