As promised Zhong Gang showed the Zhongs around the restaurant. There wasn’t that much more to see from the inside than they had been able to guess from the outside and the things they had seen in the study.
There were indeed two floors both of which had an open area in the middle for the normal guests and a few rooms on the brink of the floors for the wealthier guests or those with a higher status. The furniture was made of polished wood with intricate carvings just like in Zhong Gang’s study and the walls were decorated with ornaments and painted scrolls.
Jing Yi still looked around with big eyes, trying to take everything in. He stood in front of one of the paintings for several minutes without blinking as if he wanted to find out if the landscape it showed was real or not.
Qiu Ling looked at him and tightened his lips. Ah, he really wanted to go over and hug him! But there were still his parents and that stupid uncle of his around, not to mention all those other people. If he went to find a secluded corner to drop the spell that hid him and then ran back, his beloved might have gone to examine something else already.
Qiu Ling sniffed and hugged the door frame instead. Uh, this was so unfair! Seeing him in front of that painting really reminded him of Jing He. How often had he sat in front of a scroll in his palace with a brush in hand and painted the garden outside?
Ah, he had been so beautiful! His black hair flowing down his back, his expression telling of the concentration he put into his task, and his movements even more graceful than usual. Mn, watching him really was such a pleasure. The only thing even more pleasurable than watching Jing He paint was painting Jing He instead. Ah, his beloved was just too beautiful, even if it was just a drawing of him!
While Qiu Ling indulged in his memories Zhong Gang gave some reminders to his servants and sent one of them to get the horses Mister and Madam Zhong had brought with them. Then he motioned at the door. "Let’s go then. I can show you some places n the capital while we’re at it." He laughed once again and led the way through the streets.
Qiu Ling was finally pulled out of his memories when Jing Yi’s steps sounded. He looked at the scroll and the free space in front of it. Uh? Where was his beloved? He looked to the left and looked to the right before he finally remembered that he had left his mark on Jing Yi’s body when he was born. With a complacent smile, Qiu Ling concentrated and finally sensed the mark not far from him. It was … outside the restaurant?!
He let go of the door frame and flew after the Zhongs, finally catching up to them halfway down the street. By that time Zhong Gang was pointing at another restaurant to explain.
"Have a look at that! That’s the Wu’s restaurant. It was there before we opened so the owner blames his recent losses on me but in fact, it hasn’t been doing well for quite some time already."
"Oh." Mister Zhong nodded and thought of the tigers and dragons Mister Pi had mentioned. Hopefully, the Wu’s were neither of them.
"That over there!" Zhong Gang motioned at another house when they reached the district where the people of the capital were living. "That is the house of a good friend of mine, Shao Chen. He’s a merchant and brings the things I need for the restaurant back to the capital for a good price. That new establishment I am planning is mostly thanks to him. He has a lot of connections and managed to get some special tea leaves … Did I mention that I want to open a teahouse?" He turned around to Zhong Lei who shook his head.
"No. Maybe you wrote it in the letter?"
"Maybe." Zhong Gang thought a bit but couldn’t remember so he just waved it away. "Well, what I want to say is that it’s thanks to him that you’re here now. Haha, I should find an opportunity to let you meet."
By the time the Zhongs reached Zhong Gang’s own house, they felt like they had heard stories about half the capital. Their heads were spinning and they couldn’t remember half of them. In fact, they even had trouble to recall which way they had taken to finally reach their destination.
Zhong Gang didn’t notice their plight and rushed into the house. "Wife! Wife! Come and have a look who’s here! Ah Lei and his family already came!" He stood in the entrance proudly, with Mister Zhong and his family a little lost behind him.
Jing Yi used the time to explore his uncle’s home. Naturally, Qiu Ling once again followed right behind him, ready to brave whatever danger might befall his beloved. Soon enough he forgot about any dangers though and just walked behind him with sparkling eyes.
Ah, there it was! The expression he loved so much! He really felt like sitting down with him and showing him all the stuff he had brought with him from the dragon realm so his beloved could look at them just as curiously. Mn, maybe he should just grab him and go somewhere they wouldn’t be bothered by anyone else?
Just when a certain dragon king extended his claws a woman finally appeared in the door to the next room. Qiu Ling sighed. Ah, this was exactly why he had wanted to bring his beloved away! Now he wouldn’t have an opportunity to spend time with him alone. Life really was sad.