Zhong Gang coughed, not any less embarrassed than his wife. "I’m sorry. That girl … we probably spoiled her too much and those children in the neighborhood might be a bad influence."
Mister Zhong scratched his head again. Of course, he wasn’t happy to have someone talk to his son like that but she was only a little girl. Furthermore, one couldn’t argue away that the main branch of the family was better off than them by more than a mile. It was expected for her to behave like that. "No worries, Ah Gang. If she doesn’t like him, then that’s that. We shouldn’t force them to get along."
Zhong Gang nodded but still looked apologetic. Haish … This would have been perfect. Why could this daughter of his not comply with his wishes? Was it so hard to fall in love with an adorable-looking boy like Jing Yi? What was it with children these days? When he was young it hadn’t been as difficult as this! I see you, you see me, we promise to always love each other. That was the way it should be!
Qiu Ling kept an eye on Zhong Gang’s expression. He could see it: That guy wasn’t done yet. He would try something else. Qiu Ling’s eyes narrowed and he contemplated for a moment if it would be too much to kill the girl off. Mn, he wouldn’t mind doing it for Jing He’s sake …
In the end, Qiu Ling decided against it. If something happened to the girl, her parents might blame Jing Yi’s family. That wasn’t the outcome he desired. No, he had to go at this in a roundabout way. Something not too harmful but harmful enough to destroy any chance of her being with Jing Yi. Mn, first of all, he should find out what kind of despicable plan her parents would come up with.
He didn’t have to wait for long to solve this mystery. After Zhong Guanyu dropped that bomb, the dinner was over soon and everyone retired to their own rooms.
Qiu Ling appeared in the courtyard and waved Jing Yi over to him. The boy smiled happily. "I think the girl doesn’t like me, grandfather!"
"Mn, I think so too. But you should still be cautious! Her family might plan something else. Girls can change their mind like the wind changes direction! Anything can happen if you spend time with her."
"I don’t want to!" Jing Yi puckered his lips, stunning Qiu Ling into silence.
This look … Ah, my love, let’s repeat this when you’ve come of age! I’d like to see this again very, very much! Qiu Ling cleared his throat and forced himself to get back to topic. "Don’t worry. You don’t have to. Just wait a bit for me to finalize my plan."
"I’ll do that!"
"Good. Then go on in now." He pushed Jing Yi toward the door, hid his body again and paid a visit to Zhong Gang and Mi Fang.
The two of them had sat down at the table and started discussing. They were at one with each other regarding this possible future couple.
"We have to do something. The problem isn’t Jing Yi but Guanyu. I can’t believe she said something like that!"
Zhong Gang nodded gravely. "Indeed. And Jing Yi is shy. Wouldn’t he be afraid of her now?"
"Yes, yes. With a boy like this, a girl can’t show how headstrong she is. She has to show him her soft side! Then he’ll start to be less cautious around her and if he’s relaxed, love won’t be far!"
Qiu Ling looked from one side to the other and crossed his arms. "Completely wrong!" He couldn’t help but blurt out his evaluation of their opinions. In fact, he felt a little sorry that he couldn’t tell them. "Seriously, it’s exactly the other way around!"
He didn’t know if it was different for children but when they were grown up it wasn’t enough to show someone shy your pretty and demure side. Quite the contrary! Hadn’t he won over Jing He exactly because he wasn’t like that? It had been his unrelenting advances that finally won him the crown prince’s heart. In fact, thinking about it now he had been pretty aggressive in his pursuit of Jing He …
"Mn. It should be done like that." He nodded to himself and focused on the conversation in front of him again. In the end, it was good for him if they tried such a faulty way. It would make their plan even more likely to fail.
"First of all, we have to make that headstrong girl take an interest in Jing Yi or she definitely won’t heed our advice. She might behave even fiercer."
"True, true." Mi Fang got up and paced around the room. "It can’t be that difficult. Guanyu is a girl, after all. If she takes a good look at him, she’ll be head over heels for him."
"But will she take a look at him? You heard her. She even called him a beggar."
"Well, his family does look a bit shabby …"
"Heh! Mi Fang, that’s my family too!"
"Aiya." Mi Fang hurried to her husband and started massaging his shoulders. "You know I didn’t mean it like that. They’re from the countryside. It’s normal to look like that. Just let them wear something that fits the capital and nobody will say anything. And I’m sure Guanyu will fall in love with Jing Yi at first glance if he is dressed up a bit."
"So, you want to say we should give them clothes?" Zhong Gang scratched his head. "I’m not sure if that is a good idea. Wouldn’t that be rude to Ah Lei? A man has his pride, after all."
"It depends on how you approach the subject."
Zhong Gang looked up at his wife who scurried back to her place and bent over the table, lowering her voice. "You have to give him a good reason! Tomorrow, you’re going to show him the teahouse anyway. Just use that. Since he’s working there everyone should see he’s part of our family. Just say you want him to wear matching clothes with you!"
"Matching clothes?" Zhong Gang scratched his head.
Matching clothes? Qiu Ling furrowed his brow. When had he heard of this? He tried to remember and when he finally did his face fell. Hadn’t one of his subjects in the dragon realm given him the advice to match his clothes to Jing He’s to get his attention back when he was still courting him? How was that a show of affection if even cousins would do that!