Book 17 Chapter 2 - House of Dong Restaurant
The long, beautifully bearded ‘Silver Dragon' Song Lu looked as suave as before, but the inseparable Liu Jing has grown more attractive, like juicy peach, which could drip its intoxicating juice at any time.
Song Lu has reserved a wing room at the southern end of the top floor of the House of Dong Restaurant, separated from the other rooms on the wing by a small reception hall; a clear display of the Song Clan's prestige and status in Luoyang.
The path toward the room was guarded by five, six young martial art masters of the Song Clan. As soon as they saw Kou Zhong, their manners became very respectful, but it was also clear that deep down in their hearts they also submitted cheerfully to him.
The fact that Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling rose up from an insignificant soldier and made a name for themselves, becoming figures that were numbered among the heroes of the world, has already set up the target for the younger generations of Wulin that they were inspired to achieve. Compared to those children and disciples of the rich and powerful families who were born sucking silver spoons in their mouths, the two boys made people felt even more remarkable.
Kou Zhong did not put an air at all, he courteously and amiably greeted the martial art masters of the Song family who were on guard duty, and then led by them, he entered the room.
This southern wing's actual capacity was ten banquet tables, but currently there was only one table facing the window. Outside the window was the Luo River, dividing Luoyang into north and south sections, where boats and ships came and went in unceasing stream. If someone was to sit on the chair by the window, by just craning his neck he would be able to see the most famous bridge in Luoyang, the Tianjin Bridge.
As soon as Kou Zhong stepped over the doorstep, he saw a fifty-something man, chubby, his entire body covered in ‘pearl-light and jewel-aura', looked like a big merchant, was standing right beside Song Lu's seat, chatting with him in low voice. While on the other side, the cute and helpless-looking Liu Jing [orig. like a little bird relying on people] was half leaning on Song Lu's body, listening attentively to the two men's conversation. Once in a while her silver bell like tender laughter rang out.
Song Yuzhi was sitting with her back to the door, her beautiful hair was neatly combed, and was tied into a palace-style bun on the top of her head, exuding some kind of grandeur, beautiful, and touching charm.
As Liu Jing caught sight of Kou Zhong, her beautiful eyes lit up, as she laughed tenderly and called out, "Xiao Zhong, come here! You have grown so tall.”
Song Lu's eyes fell upon Kou Zhong; he stood up, chuckled and said, "Scholars separated for three days, a whole new level of respect is grown. I never thought that I, Song Lu, who have always had outstanding vision, would make an error of judgment toward two gentlemen.”
The tacky-dressed chubby man, with brows raised in delight, eyes laughing, saluted and said, "Kou Ye is willing to honor us with your presence, this is to our House of Dong Restaurant's glory.”
And thus Kou Zhong found out that this man was the big boss of the House of Dong Restaurant.
Song Yuzhi remained absolutely still, she neither turn around to look at him nor call to greet him.
Song Lu left his seat to meet Kou Zhong; he reached out to grab both his hands, his eyes were flashing brightly, while revealing the emotion deep in his heart. He sighed and said, "After we parted that year, I immediately heard the news of Junchuo's passing. Life is impermanent; this is difficult to dispel. Fortunately the two of you live up to Junchuo's expectation. Her soul in heaven will be comforted.”
His grief evoked by Song Lu, Kou Zhong felt as if he was back on the ship that day, when he was still an insensible kid; his pair of tiger-eyes turned red. He only knew how to grab Song Lu's warm and soft hands, but did not know what to say.
Liu Jing, who was still sitting, scolded him, "Today we are allowed to speak about happy things only. Xiao Zhong, quickly punish your Lu Shu [uncle] one cup of wine.”
Boss Dong walked away from his position next to Song Lu's seat; he said with a laugh, "How about Kou Ye take a seat first and drink a cup of hot tea before we talk further? Isn't Xu Ye coming with you?”
Remembering that he has not introduced the two, he pulled Kou Zhong's shoulders and took him over toward the seats, saying, "Dong Fang is the big boss of the House of Dong Restaurant, no one in Luoyang does not know him; he is also my old friend for more than thirty years. We are all family, no need to stand on ceremony.”
Kou Zhong promptly saluted and said, "Xiao Ling is coming in a little bit.”
After they were seated, Liu Jing said with a laugh, "Is Old Dong training zhan gong [standing skill]? Why not sit down?”
It was obvious that the two knew each other intimately; Boss Dong laughed and said, "In order to earn two meals to scrape a meager living, I was born to a hard life. I don't know what wind has been blowing today that all three reception-halls are reserved by honored guests that I cannot not come out to greet. Ay! Madame ought to know that if I sit down, I won't want to get up.”
Hearing his interesting talk of making fun of himself, everybody burst out laughing. Even the taut-faced, pretty Song Yuzhi also cracked a smile, although she was still unwilling to meet Kou Zhong's burning gaze toward her.
Kou Zhong said with a laugh, "Dong Laoban is indeed witty. I wonder which reception hall did that kid Li Shimin reserve?”
Obviously Song Lu was well aware of Kou Zhong relationship with Li Shimin went bad. "Did you come across him?” he spoke heavily.
Tranquil and calm, Kou Zhong replied, "The one I came across was Tuli. Li kid is having a lunch appointment with him here.”
Slightly awkward, Dong Fang said, "Qin Wang had wanted to reserve this reception hall, because of the beautiful scenery overlooking the Tianjin Bridge region, but I have already reserved this for Lu Xiong, naturally I could not give him this hall.”
Liu Jing put on a flirtatious demeanor, as she pretended to guess, "Then he ought to have the western hall. From that place we can also see the beautiful scenery: part of the Tianjin Bridge and the Luo River flowing toward the western park.”
Dong Fang sighed and said, "Someone was one-step-ahead of him to reserve the western hall; therefore, Qin Wang could only take the eastern hall. Fortunately, although from that hall we cannot see Tianjin Bridge, we can still enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Luo River's eastern section.”
Song Lu chuckled and said, "Who has such a face to do that? As far as I know, because Dong Laoban is afraid that he would not be able to accommodate honored guests coming from all over the country who are trying to reserve the top floor at the last moment, he would rather keep it unoccupied than to let just anybody to reserve it.”
This time, even Song Yuzhi appeared to be interested.
Kou Zhong turned his head around to look outside the window; the magnificent landscape on both sides of the Luo River took in the whole scene at once. His ears heard Dong Fang's voice replying, "Lu Xiong is the just like a worm inside Xiaodi's belly. I always have high regards toward the heroes and towering figures of the world, so I do not wish to offend any party.”
Liu Jing's silver bell like laughter rang out, "In that case, it does not matter who would become the Emperor, our Dong Laoban will always be able to do a good business.”
While Dong Fang and Song Lu roared in laughter, Song Yuzhi crossly said, "Dong Shu has not explained who reserved the western hall!”
Dong Fang replied, "The hall is reserved by our Luoyang's richest man, Big Boss Rong Fengxiang; he wanted to entertain his guests Zhi Shilang, Wang Bo, and the Tuyuhun Wangzi [prince] Fu Qian. Tell me, do you think I would dare to change their reservation?”
Hearing these words, Kou Zhong turned his head around in shock and said, "This time we'll get to see a good show.”
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Led by an eagerly attentive waiter, Xu Ziling went up the stairs.
The waiter gave him a running commentary, "The southern hall that Song Ye reserved can be considered number one among the top floor's four halls, twelve rooms; it is well known all over the city.”
Xu Ziling was about to perfunctorily ask a couple of questions, suddenly someone calling his name from behind. Stunned, he turned around, and surprisingly it was Beautiful Shifu Yun Yuzhen, whom he had not seen for a long time.
Xu Ziling hurriedly sent the waiter away; when the smiling coyly Yun Yuzhen came to his side, he laughed cheerfully and said, "How could there be such a coincidence?”
Yun Yuzhen reached out with her lily-white hand to pull his elbow. "The older you get, the more handsome you are,” she said warmly, "But the older he gets, the worse Kou Zhong is. It would be best if the two of you could swap a bit with each other! Did Kou Zhong tell you that he met his Master?”
Meanwhile they had reached the top floor. Yun Yuzhen took him to a room at the western hall, and stopped by the door. She leaned over and whispered in his ear, "Shifu has an important information for you: Wang Bo already formed a secret alliance with Yuwen Huaji; right now they are actively wooing Fu Qian, hoping to gain this emerging power from Tuyuhun to help them in conquering the world.”
Originally, because Yun Yuzhen's excessive passion, with her scimitar-shaped eyebrows tightly knitted, and particularly her breath that smelled like orchid as she whispered into her ear, Xu Ziling was extremely tantalized and unbearably itchy. But hearing the last sentence, he immediately forgot everything. His tiger-eyes flashed spiritedly, he asked, "Is there such thing?”
Intentionally or not, as if she was unable to restrain her excitement, Yun Yuzhen's fragrant lips brushed against his earlobe. Tender and soft as water she said, "Even if Shifu can deceive anybody, I do not have the heart to deceive you, Ziling. But this man, Fu Qian, is extremely shrewd. This time he came to the Central Plains, his main purpose was to understand the situation, so he can't possibly recklessly allying himself to any faction.”
Xu Ziling could not help moving his head a little. His face was less than three cun away from Yun Yuzhen's pretty face, he said, "Shifu, didn't you just arrive in Luoyang? How did you know so much classified information?”
Yun Yuzhen was about to answer, when a gentle, sweet-sounding male voice came from the inside through the closed door, "Yuzhen! Whom are you talking to? Hurry up here!”
Xu Ziling immediately recognized the ‘Passionate Prince' Hou Xibai's voice. Yun Yuzhen's pretty face blushed; awkwardly she replied, "I'm coming!”
And then, quickly she pecked Xu Ziling's cheek, catching him off-guard, and said, "I'll find you later.”
Finished speaking she pushed the door open and entered in.
Xu Ziling stared blankly for half a day, before walking toward the southern hall.
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