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germination

Chapter Text

This time, Shen Jiu did not kill the Qius, not needing the trouble that came with it the first time around. Instead, he faked his own death -- not that hard to do in general, especially with the experience and knowledge he now possessed -- and left the city. 

-o- 

-o- 

-o- 

There was a modest tea house situated just outside the busiest part of a city near the Luo river. While it could not be compared to the more affluent and beautiful tea houses, there was something appealing about its modesty. The simple walls and elegant decor made most feel welcome and something about the tea house -- perhaps the way it was made? -- made it so that sound did not travel far and hence the tea house itself was peaceful and quiet. 

A large majority of the staff of the tea house were slaves bought and liberated by the ever-elusive owner of the tea house. They had stayed, of their own free will, and dedicated themselves to the owner of the tea house, whoever they might be.

Then, there were the private rooms situated on the second floor. 

-o- 

The private rooms were not open to the public. Instead, one had to make a booking in advance. The private rooms themselves were aptly named. Whatever that was said inside would never leak out be it by thin walls -- the walls were very thick and reinforced with seals, thank you -- or by staff with loose lips. As such, the tea house became an unofficial meeting place for people looking to trade information or wanting to have secret, clandestine meetings. 

Many of those people were cultivators. 

-o- 

Just because Shen Jiu did not want to join any cultivation sects did not mean that he was not going to cultivate. Being who he was, he had long realized that only people with might were allowed to have a say in anything at all in this world, and hence he had to be one of them. 

With the experience he had gained from the last life, Shen Jiu did not need a teacher -- and certainly not a scummy scammy one like the one he had in his previous life -- to guide him along. The only thing that might happen would be him falling prey to a qi deviation and, well, that was nothing new. 

And so he cultivated on his own. Cultivated in his free time. Cultivated in his breaks. Cultivated while he worked to make his tea house. Cultivated as his employees worked to serve guests. 

Perhaps it was because he managed to start at a younger age or perhaps it was because he didn’t have much roadblocks -- cough Wu Yanzi cough -- hindering him, but Shen Jiu could have sworn that he was a lot stronger than he had been in the last life at this age. And that strength came to good use when putting stupid, entitled customers in their place. 

-o- 

Patrons usually never saw the mysterious and elusive owner of Ning Jing Tea House. If it weren’t for the occasional mention of Teacher Shen’ from the staff, they would think that the owner simply did not exist. 

However, there was one occasion in which the patrons did see the owner. 

It was near the evening period, where business was winding down, where there was a loud ‘thud’ and furious yelling. 

An elegant man held the wrist of a yowling customer in his hand as he quickly strode down the stairs, uncaring to the fact that he was basically dragging his customer behind him. 

“How dare you?!” the customer had yelled until his face turned red. 

“Ning Jing Tea House would like you to respect our staff,” when the man spoke, it was with controlled calm laced with an iciness that would cow even the most indignant of men. As it were, the customer’s face drained of blood for a moment, before he started kicking up a fuss once again. 

“Respect? I’ve seen that girl on the street. She’s just a slave! What’s wrong with me taking what I want from her? Why should I respect a slave, huh?” 

The elegant man simply glanced at him with a gaze sharp enough to slice steel. 

“You have proven yourself unable to respect our staff. As such, you have been banned from Ning Jing Tea House.” 

Without further ado, the man was flung out of the front doors, rolling across the street and crashing into the wall right opposite the tea house. 

“HOW DARE YOU TREAT ME LIKE THIS, YOU DO NOT KNOW WHO--” 

The mysterious man shut the door and the noise was immediately cut off. 

“Ning Jing Tea House apologizes for allowing our treasured patrons witness such a disruptive scene,” the man said. “As such, your current meal here will be free of charge. A-Hui, please reimburse the ones who have paid.” 

“Yes, Teacher Shen!” one of the Head Staff saluted and immediately carried out his orders.

With that, the mysterious man walked up the stairs and disappeared from sight. 

It wasn’t until later that they realized that the mysterious man was the owner of the tea house. 

Handsome! Graceful! Chivalrous! Righteous! 

They could not help but be charmed by him and start spreading word of him. 

Above the tea house, in his private room, Shen Jiu sneezed multiple times. Hadn’t he already reached later-tier core formation stage? He should be immune to the common cold by now! Cultivation truly was a scam!

-o- 

Look, Shen Jiu did not ask to be the teacher of a bunch of former slaves. He hired them because, as a former slave himself, he knew that their work ethic would be good. He let the ones unwilling to do the job go free because who would want an unmotivated worker? 

As for teaching them how to read and write and basic arithmetic… well, there were times where he had nothing to do! And if they knew these skills, they would be able to better manage the tea house and give him more time to cultivate. There really was nothing more to it! He wasn’t even mistreating them this time around! Why were you so concerned with his matters, huh?! 

As things stood, it seemed like Shen Jiu would have to train his staff in the act of self defense as well. His work would never be done. 

-o-

Did he owe Liu Qingge in his previous life or something?! 

With the tip of his shoe, Shen Jiu nudged the unconscious body in front of him. Shen Jiu had just wanted to take a quick stroll through the back alleys of the city -- one could find a lot of… interesting information there -- when he came across a familiar figure clothed in familiar white robes, lying face down on the ground. He didn’t seem to be badly injured but he didn’t seem too well off either. 

For a full minute, Shen Jiu actually contemplated leaving the man there on the ground to the mercy of the elements and the people, but then decided against it. After all, he probably killed the man in a past life, if what everyone said was true, and so, technically , he owed him. 

God, Shen Jiu really hated owing people. 

-o-

The first thing Liu Qingge did when he woke up was to grab the sword that Shen Jiu had oh-so-nicely laid out beside him and try to attack Shen Jiu. Fuck! That brute’s tendency to repay good with bad still hadn’t changed! Shen Jiu was never going to help that bastard ever again! If he was dying in front of Shen Jiu, Shen Jiu would just point and laugh! 

“Where am I?” Liu Qingge snarled, sword pointed at Shen Jiu’s throat. Shen Jiu was calm. Shen Jiu could answer this with poise and grace. He was the owner of Ning Jing Tea House. Liu Qingge had no reason to look down on him. Shen Jiu mustn’t give him one. 

“Where are you?” Shen Jiu snapped. “You’re in a private room of my tea house, you ungrateful brute! I should have just left you outside to die!” 

“You--” Liu Qingge began furiously and then, to Shen Jiu’s surprise, he stopped. He looked around. He looked down at himself. And, lastly, he looked at Shen Jiu. 

“I?” Shen Jiu prompted, not wanting to face that strange and unfamiliar look Liu Qingge was giving him any longer. 

“You saved my life.” Liu Qingge put down his sword. He bowed. Shen Jiu only barely managed to keep himself from reeling back in shock. “I now owe you a great debt.” 

“...” Shen Jiu said. “Your debt is 10 silver taels. Now get out.” 

There was a very strange expression on Liu Qingge’s face. It reminded Shen Jiu of the times in his previous life where he managed to offend Liu Qingge so much that his brain stopped working, not that it ever really was working in the first place, and all he could do was splutter. 

“My life is only worth 10 silver taels?” Liu Qingge managed to choke out. Shen Jiu fought the urge to roll his eyes. It was very hard. 

“No, that’s the price of the room you’re currently staying in. Usually you have to reserve it, but I’m making an exception just for you,” Shen Jiu said. The last bit was coated in poisonous honey. 

Another expression settled onto Liu Qingge’s face. Shen Jiu didn’t like that he couldn’t read it. It meant that Liu Qingge was more capable of sentient thought then Shen Jiu had estimated.  

“I understand,” Liu Qingge said. “But my honor will not allow me to leave this debt unpaid.” 

Then just give me the fucking taels! Or did he not have money on him? Had he been mugged? That was a funny thought, Liu Qingge getting mugged. Also very impossible. 

Shen Jiu held out his hand. Liu Qingge stared at it. 

“Taels,” Shen Jiu said. Liu Qingge obediently looked into his qiankun pouch -- Shen Jiu really needed to look into getting one of those -- and handed over the taels. “Okay get out.” 

“Is there truly nothing else that you need?” Liu Qingge asked. 

Yes. I need you to get out of my sight before I start foaming at the mouth. 

“No. Get out.” 

“I understand that you have a noble heart that refuses paym--” 

“I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.” Every word that came out of Liu Qingge’s mouth was more and more incomprehensible. In order to prevent his headache from getting worse, Shen Jiu grabbed his arm, opened the nearest window, and then threw him out. Spotting the sword on the bed, Shen Jiu chucked it out as well. 

He hoped the sword hit the brute on the head on its way down. 

-o- 

Liu Qingge came back the next day. He muscled his way past all the serving staff and right into Shen Jiu’s private room. Faced with no other solutions at hand -- for despite all the things Shen Jiu did right this time around, Liu Qingge was still stronger than him and that fact nearly drove him mad every time he thought about it -- Shen Jiu ignored him, continuing with his paperwork. 

The first day consisted of Liu Qingge standing in the corner of his room and staring at him, as though he was a guard, while Shen Jiu did paperwork. 

The second day Liu Qingge did the same thing while Shen Jiu mediated. 

The third day Liu Qingge continued to stare at him and Shen Jiu couldn’t take it anymore. 

“What do you want?” Shen Jiu asked. 

“To repay my debt,” Liu Qingge answered. 

“It’s been repaid.”

“No it hasn’t.” 

“Yes it has.” 

“No it hasn’t.”

“Yes it has.” 

“No it hasn’t.” 

Shen Jiu took in a deep breath. 

“I am literally going to kill you where you stand,” he whispered. “And this time I won’t even feel bad about it.” 

Liu Qingge looked amused. No doubt the damned brute of a cultivator could hear him. However, before he could answer, one of the few colored bells on the wall next to Shen Jiu’s desk started to ring. Shen Jiu face did not pale, and he walked with controlled, unhurried steps. Anyone who would tell you otherwise would be lying. 

He calmly strode through the halls and threw open one of the private tea room doors to see a somewhat familiar man holding onto the wrists of one of the smaller female staff. It made Shen Jiu sick to the core. 

With a flick of his hand, the man was sent flying into the wall, freeing the girl from his grasp. The girl took the opportunity to run out of the room, which was an understandable yet foolish decision. 

“Follow her,” Shen Jiu said to Liu Qingge. He pulled off the ribbon tying up his hair and threw it at Liu Qingge. “If she doesn’t trust you, show her this. Make sure she is able to enter the breakroom. The more senior staff would know what to do.” 

“But…” It was obvious that Liu Qingge did not want to leave him alone with an ‘unknown assailant’.

“You wanted to repay your debt, yes? Then do as I say.” Without sparing Liu Qingge another glance, Shen Jiu turned back to the man. He had already gotten up to his feet.

There was another moment of hesitation but soon enough Shen Jiu heard Liu Qingge’s footsteps leaving the area. 

“I really do wonder why you tried the exact same thing a second time. Was one humiliation not enough for you? Do I need to roll you into the center of town?” Shen Jiu asked, stepping towards the man. The fan tied to his waist began to hum, almost inaudibly, with power. 

The man did not seem afraid, however, which made Shen Jiu all the more cautious. He probably had some cultivation weapon up his sleeve. Or a poison. Or a spell. 

“I’m not afraid of you!” the man said. “I have a weapon!” 

And then he pulled out a dagger. 

Shen Jiu stared at the dagger. It was a dagger. A plain old dagger. There were no enchantments, no spells, not even the thinnest coating of poison. 

Shen Jiu was completely, utterly, offended. He was so offended that he was speechless. 

“Hah,” the man sneered. “Scared, aren’t you?” 

Did he really think he could kill Shen Jiu, Shen Jiu, with nothing but a cheap little knife?! The absolute gall! If someone wanted to murder him, they should at least put in more effort! Shen Jiu would accept nothing less than a carefully planned assassination! 

Actually, Shen Jiu wanted to see the man try and kill him with that flimsy little piece of metal. He wanted to see how that untrained creature would flail about and make an absolute fool of himself before Shen Jiu shredded him into fine little pieces and scattered him throughout town. 

However, Shen Jiu never got his wish because of Liu fucking Qingge. 

“Watch out!” Liu Qingge stepped in between the two of them and-- 

Oh. Oh, that poor man.  

-o- 

The tea house had been closed for the day. Liu Qingge and Shen Jiu stood at the entrance of it, Shen Jiu seeing Liu Qingge off, hopefully forever. 

“Your debt has been repaid,” Shen Jiu forced out through gritted teeth. “You have saved my life from that… dastardly man.” 

“You have to be more aware of yourself,” Liu Qingge said. “I know you care for others but you need to care for yourself too!” 

As always, Liu Qingge made absolutely no sense whatsoever. 

“Alright let’s never cross paths again.” Shen Jiu stepped back and slammed the door shut. 

-o- 

“Teacher Shen… so you were almost bested by a knife?” 

“A-Hui. I am warning you.” 

“Or was it the handsome cultivator?” 

“A-Hui, ten laps up and down the Luo River.” 

“Yes, Teacher Shen!” 

-

-

-

ON THE NEXT EPISODE OF... SO YOU THINK YOU CAN cultivate 

“Teacher Shen, I have found a young boy willing to fill in the role of kitchen staff!” 

“Alright then. Hire him.” 

-

Shen Jiu stared down at the boy, his heart almost leaping out of his throat. 

“Shizun!” the boy said with a beatific smile. 

“Don’t call me that!”  

-

When he looked at the expression on Shen Jiu’s face, he knew. 

Shen Jiu remembered him as well. 

Chapter Text

Ning Jing Tea House was originally a relatively popular tea house but with the arrival of the regular customer Liu Qingge, it became a bustling tea house packed to the brim with people every single day, most of which were people hoping to catch a glimpse of Liu Qingge. 

While it was nice to have a free attraction boosting business, the fact was that Ning Jing Tea House was severely understaffed for such a large crowd! His employees were running themselves ragged to keep up with the demands of the customers! 

Once again, Liu Qingge was the scourge of Shen Jiu’s life!!! 

“Report,” Shen Jiu said to one of his head staff. 

“Reporting to Teacher Shen!” A-Hui said. “Immortal Master Liu--” 

“Not about him. Xiao Wei, you report.” Shen Jiu immediately cut A-Hui off. He was too soft on his staff if they could try and tease him like that. “A-Hui, laps.” 

“Yes, Teacher Shen!” 

After A-Hui left the room, Shen Jiu turned back to Xiao Wei, who stood up straighter. 

“Reporting to Teacher Shen! We are currently in need of one more chef and at least three more serving staff!” Xiao Wei saluted, much to Shen Jiu’s approval. At least this one knew manners. 

Xiao Wei glanced up at Shen Jiu before looking back down at their feet. It was obvious they wanted to say something but didn’t dare to. Shen Jiu decided to humor them. 

“Spit it out.” 

“Does Immortal Master Liu have a... relationship with Teacher Shen?” Xiao Wei blurted out. Shen Jiu looked at them. He inhaled. He exhaled. 

“Get out of my office.” 

“Yes, Teacher Shen!” 

-o- 

Despite their gossip, Shen Jiu trusted his staff enough to leave the problem of hiring and training new people in their capable hands. He quickly grew to regret that decision, however, when he saw who the new cook was. 

“Teacher Shen, this is the new cook,” one of the cooks introduced. The boy was smaller than Shen Jiu remembered him to be, but he would recognise that dirty figure anywhere. 

“Teacher Shen, this one’s name is Luo Binghe,” the boy said with a salute. Shen Jiu scrutinized him carefully but saw nothing but earnestness in his eyes. That’s right… there wasn’t a reason for Luo Binghe to hate him yet. After all, Liu Qingge didn’t seem to remember the memories of his past life so there was no reason for Luo Binghe to remember either. 

There was also no reason to turn him away. Not unless he wanted Luo Binghe to come back with a vengeance. 

“Show the boy to his rooms,” Shen Jiu dismissed them with a flick of his hand. 

“Thank you, Teacher Shen, for your generosity. However, I need to return home to take care of my mother.” At the last few words, Luo Binghe peeked up at Shen Jiu, eyes guarded as if anticipating something.

...did he remember? If he did, why wasn’t he killing Shen Jiu? Or was he just observing Shen Jiu to see if he remembered? 

“If you have a mother, then why are you working here? At such a young age, too?” Shen Jiu asked. Luo Binghe’s expression twisted, for just a second, but it was enough for Shen Jiu to identify the emotion. Injured pride. It was a very familiar emotion. 

“I need money for medicine,” Luo Binghe said. “She is sick.” 

“Oh, ok.” A pause. “You’re strictly forbidden from handling the stove. You’re too young. You will be in charge of cold desserts and the occasional brewing of tea.” 

“Yes, Teacher Shen.” 

Shen Jiu then walked off, lost in thought. A sick mother. If Shen Jiu cured her, would Luo Binghe let him off the hook? It was worth a try and he wouldn’t lose anything for it. 

-o- 

Luo Binghe’s mother was a poor washerwoman who lived in the slums of the town. Shen Jiu was aware that Luo Binghe didn’t come from a noble background, but he didn’t exactly expect it to be like this. 

It was still better than his, though, and it made envy burn in his chest. Shen Jiu easily tampered that envy down and walked through the doors of tiny and shabby house that Luo Binghe currently stayed. 

It was dirty and old and falling apart, absolutely nothing compared to the Qiu manor that he himself had stayed in when he was Luo Binghe’s age, but it was homely. Washed bowls stacked in a corner, hand-sewn clothes folded and placed on tables. It was warm. 

Shen Jiu hated that Luo Binghe was allowed to be here while Shen Jiu had to stay in a nest of poisonous snakes. 

The woman in the house looked up from her act of mending clothes and immediately stood up. 

“O-oh! Please forgive me!” the woman was obviously flustered, adjusting her clothes and looking around the house, obviously contrasting the appearance of the house and herself with Shen Jiu. “I didn’t expect visitors.” 

“It’s no problem,” Shen Jiu said. He took in the woman’s appearance with a critical eye. Her skin was unnaturally pale and her expression strained with something other than shame. She was sweating and shaking ever so slightly from the effort it took to stand up. Such a woman was obviously tired and should be resting, but had forced herself up to mend the clothes of her son. 

Once again, Shen Jiu filled with bitterness. 

“Attend to her,” Shen Jiu said to the man he had brought along with him, a doctor he hired from the town. “Give her enough medicine to heal her. If I find out that there has been foul play, I will be very upset.”

"Of course, Master Shen," the man simpered.

"Master Shen?" the woman looked at him with wide eyes. "Master Shen, I can't possibly--" 

“Your son is Luo Binghe,” Shen Jiu cut in. “He is now an employee of mine.” Somehow. "And let it not be said that I do not take care of my own." 

Shen Jiu did not allow the woman to argue. 

"If you are ever in need of a job, Ning Jing Tea House is hiring," Shen Jiu told her. There. If the woman ever accepted his offer, Luo Binghe would not be able to destroy his tea house. 

"That--"

"Lodging and three meals a day are included on top of a reasonable salary," Shen Jiu continued, trying to sweeten the deal. 

"Please," the woman bowed her head. "Master Shen, please allow me some time to consider your offer." 

Ah. Shen Jiu might have pushed a little too hard. 

"My apologies, madam. There is no pressure to accept. I will foot your medical fees and Luo Binghe would still have a place in Ning Jing Tea House whether or not you accept." Shen Jiu inclined his head in a nod and backed out of the house. 

He had to leave before Luo Binghe came back. 

-o- 

Two days later, Ning Jing Tea House welcomed two new residents into their staff dormitories. 

-o-

It was foolish of Shen Qingqiu -- or was he called Shen Jiu now? -- to think that he would let him off just because he believed that Shen Qingqiu had no memories of their past life. 

Because, to him, Shen Qingqiu was already--

-o- 

“Teacher Shen!” The little creature was in his study, holding out a plate of chinese snowflake cake. “Teacher Shen, I’ve made something new, would Teacher Shen please do me the honor of being the first one to try it?” 

“...” Shen Jiu said. The snowflake cakes were about the length of a finger and looked soft and fluffy to the touch, coated in a layer of coconut shavings that gave the cake its name. A faint smell of sweetness wafted over, making his mouth water. However, he really did not want to eat anything made by Luo Binghe. “I practice inedia.” 

“Oh.” Luo Binghe seemed to deflate. “But I’ve seen Teacher Shen eat food made by other staff. Does… does Teacher Shen hate Binghe?” 

And, to Shen Jiu’s complete and utter horror, Luo Binghe started to tear up. 

You have to understand. At this point, Shen Jiu has seen Luo Binghe as a young and cheerful boy, a quiet and beaten teenager, a confident and cruel man, and an angry and terrifying demon lord. 

Never once had he ever see Luo Binghe cry. 

As Shen Jiu watched fat pearls of tears swell in the corners of Luo Binghe’s eyes, cascading down his ruddy red cheeks in a manner that seemed heart-wrenching but did not take away from Luo Binghe’s inherent beauty, he felt one thing. 

Fear. 

What the fuck. What the fuck! Even when Shen Jiu made him sleep in the woodshed, threw boiling hot tea on him, smacked him around, called him names, and pushed him into the Endless Abyss, he had never seen Luo Binghe’s eyes so much as moisten! The most he had ever seen from Luo Binghe was grim determination and even that was enough to have him hung in a cave and tortured to death. 

What would tears bring him? Obviously nothing good!

With stilted, mechanical movements, Shen Jiu picked up a piece of the food Luo Binghe brought and shoved it into his mouth. The entire thing. He then swallowed without chewing. 

Luo Binghe’s eyes were wide open, glittery and fixed onto Shen Jiu’s face. The tears had stopped abruptly, although the tracks were still there like an omen of death. Running entire on autopilot, Shen Jiu stepped forward to wipe them away with his sleeve, erasing all evidence of his crime. 

...Luo Binghe was still staring at him. 

“How did the snowflake cakes taste, Teacher Shen?” Luo Binghe asked. 

It tasted like ash in his mouth. Ash and the looming horror of his previous life. 

“They were acceptable. Perhaps you should offer them to the other staff for a wider range of feedback?” And get out of my sight.

“Of course, Teacher Shen!” Luo Binghe chirped. He spun around with a grace unbefitting for a boy of his age -- another reason for Shen Jiu to Hate him -- and walked off. 

His back to Shen Jiu, Shen Jiu was completely unaware of the triumphant smirk playing on his lips. 

-o- 

Liu Qingge was still coming around for tea and this time he actually booked private rooms so Shen Jiu couldn’t turn him away without being accused of discrimination. Shen Jiu didn’t think that Liu Qingge even drank tea! Wasn’t he always holed up on his damned peak or out somewhere in the wilderness, lapping at lake water like a wild beast? 

...alright, Shen Jiu might admit that even that was a tad too harsh for him. 

Liu Qingge was walking up and down the second hall despite A-Hui’s best attempts to herd him into his reserved room, no doubt in search of Shen Jiu so he could… Shen Jiu didn’t know what Liu Qingge wanted with him, but he was sure that it wasn’t pleasant in the slightest. Liu Qingge never was pleasant to him. 

And so Shen Jiu decided to slip out of the tea house and take a leisurely stroll around town. 

“Did you hear? Peak Lord Liu Qingge is courting the owner of Ning Jing Tea House!”

Shen Jiu’s grip on his fan caused it to snap right into two.

-o- 

“Alright.” Shen Jiu walked into the private room Liu Qingge had reserved and sat down in front of him. He cast a glance at the tea that Liu Qingge had ordered. Hm, Pu’er tea. Not bad. “What do you want from me?” 

Shen Jiu magnanimously gave Liu Qingge the time he needed to compose himself from choking on tea. 

“You’ve finally come to meet me,” Liu Qingge said, setting his tea cup back onto the table calmly and coolly as if Shen Jiu hadn’t seen him nearly cough himself blue. 

“I have. Why do you keep coming over to Ning Jing Tea House? Surely there are better places for you to go to to have tea.” 

“I like it here,” Liu Qingge said, causing Shen Jiu to look at him with disbelief. “What?” Liu Qingge snapped defensively. “It’s true! It’s very peaceful here, and sometimes I get to be able to see you!”

“.” Shen Jiu said, and then decided to ignore Liu Qingge’s words entirely. “The second matter is that there seems to be rumors that you are courting me. How and why has this happened?” 

“Oh.” Liu Qingge appeared to look a little bashful. It was driving Shen Jiu up the wall. Liu Qingge? Capable of emotions that were not anger, rage, or bloodlust? Towards Shen Jiu?  

Liu Qingge took out an intricately carved wooden fan, tied shut with a beautiful ribbon that was a light shade of green. Shen Jiu looked at it. He looked at Liu Qingge. 

“I bought this for you,” Liu Qingge said, looking anywhere but Shen Jiu. “I saw it, by chance, and thought you might like it. I did not look around and ask for advice.” 

Shen Jiu wanted to place his face in his hands. However, he was strong enough to resist the temptation. 

“...Thank you?” The gift itself didn’t seem meanspirited, and Shen Jiu had just ruined one of his fans because of Liu Qingge. This was simply compensation. “Thank you,” Shen Jiu repeated himself, tone much firmer. “This is an acceptable gift.” And because just taking without reciprocating was bad, Shen Jiu added, “Ning Jing Tea House will always have a room open for you.”

Liu Qingge looked at Shen Jiu and gave a small, shy smile. It lit up the room, beautiful even in its awkwardness. Or rather, the awkwardness just made it all the more handsome. 

Shen Jiu inwardly gave Liu Qingge the middle finger. People with perfect appearances should just die!

-o-

That Luo Binghe was looking a lot at Shen Jiu’s new fan recently. Could it be that he wanted a fan as well?