I forced a laugh twice. This was indeed a strange situation, but it couldn’t possibly be heaven-sent.

I cleared my throat and explained that I had recently arrived in this place and was not familiar with it. Besides, remarriage was a significant matter that required careful consideration. The young Miss Feng, being young and entering into a late marriage, might be unhappy. I needed some time to think it over before making a decision. I rambled on with these evasive words. By the time I had finished contemplating, I would probably have already been taken to the Immortal Execution Platform in the Heavenly Court.

Mrs. Lü Hu smiled warmly, “No rush, no rush. Take a few days to consider. I’ll see how things develop.” After some more pleasantries, the old lady finally took her leave, but before leaving, she said, “Mr. Feng, the shopkeeper, asked me to pass on a message. The clothes for the two young lords are ready, and they will be sent over at noon.”

I thanked her again, and finally, Mrs. Lü Hu left.

I returned to the hall and moistened my throat with tea. That girl from yesterday developed feelings for me after our collision, and today someone was sent to propose marriage. It seemed that my charm as an immortal was still as strong as ever.

Hengwen and Tianshu emerged from behind the screen.

Hengwen looked at me with his bright eyes and asked, “Was that old lady just now talking about someone wanting to be your wife?”

I replied, “Yes.”

Tianshu whispered, “Was it the one who threw the handkerchief yesterday?”

Hengwen wrinkled his nose and said, “No, I heard the old lady say it was the person who bumped into you. It must be the one who bumped into you yesterday.”

I admitted, “Yes.”

Hengwen said, “Gods cannot be with mortals.”

I replied, “I know, that’s why I casually mentioned waiting for a few days before deciding. After a few days, we should go back.”

Hengwen smiled mischievously, “Shall we go back to the Heavenly Court together?” I smiled back and said, “Yes.”

Hengwen stopped asking questions and ran off to the small hall to see Mao Tuan.

At noon, as expected, the fabric shop sent someone to deliver the clothes for Hengwen and Tianshu. The delivery person, like someone selecting meat, couldn’t take his eyes off me, and he glanced at Hengwen and Tianshu. It seemed that the shopkeeper Mr. Feng, who wanted to be my father-in-law, had sent him to assess me. I wondered how he would describe my charm after he returned.

After lunch, as the maidservant was clearing the table, the houseboy came to report that there was a visitor insisting on seeing me at the back door.

I was quite popular today.

The houseboy led the person in, a young maid dressed as a book boy, who crisply said to me, “My mistress sent me to deliver a tea invitation.” She handed me a pink note with both hands. I took it and she continued, “Could you please come to the back door? The person in the carriage outside would like to have a chat with you.”

I casually placed the note on the table and followed the maid out of the back door. A carriage with silk curtains was parked by the door, and another maid stood in front of the carriage. She respectfully said to me, “Mr. Song, please come forward to the carriage. My mistress has something to say to you.”

I walked to the side of the carriage, and a soft and gentle voice floated out from behind the curtain, “I personally invite you to enjoy tea at the Drunken Moon Tower this evening. I hope Mr. Song can honor us with your presence. Will you?”

A gentle breeze wafted by, not like the cold winter wind, but like the warm spring breeze of March.

I replied, “Since a beauty invites me, how can I refuse?”

The two maids covered their mouths and giggled. The enchanting voice behind the curtain said, “Then I will return to the Drunken Moon Tower, light incense, and play the zither, quietly waiting for you, Mr. Song.”

The carriage turned around and slowly departed. I bid them farewell.

Back in the hall, Hengwen and Tianshu were huddled together, looking at the note. Hengwen looked up at me and said, “This says to go to the Drunken Moon Tower for tea in the evening. The fragrance is so strong, it must be the person who threw the handkerchief yesterday.”

I nodded in agreement and took the note from their hands, tucking it into my pocket.

Hengwen and Tianshu both looked at me. Hengwen asked, “Are you going?” I yawned and said, “I’ll take a nap.”

Tianshu went back to his room to take a nap. However, Hengwen followed me. We took one step at a time. When we reached the door of his room, I pushed it open for him and said, “Go to sleep.” Hengwen mumbled in agreement and went inside. I turned around to go back to my room, looked at the empty bed, sighed, and was about to close the door when Hengwen suddenly entered from outside.

In a gentle voice, I asked, “Why aren’t you going to sleep?”

Hengwen blinked his eyes, ran to the edge of the bed, and sat down, flashing a toothy smile, “I think this bed is more comfortable than mine.”

At that moment, I felt like a dumpling trapped in a pan, sizzling and suffocating. I could only say, “If you like this room, we can switch. Starting from noon today, you can stay in this room, and I’ll sleep in your room.”

Hengwen spread out the sheets and snuggled into the bed. He turned his head and said, “Why? Both of us can sleep on one bed. I can take you to sleep in this room.”

2 / 2

I rubbed my forehead and said, “It’s a bit crowded to sleep on one bed. Just sleep well.” I turned to leave the room. I heard Hengwen get out of bed behind me. Hengwen spoke from behind me, “I understand. You don’t actually like sleeping on the same bed with me.”

I turned around and saw his somewhat disappointed face. I held my tongue and didn’t say anything.

Hengwen lowered his head and said, “I get it. I won’t bother you anymore. I’ll go back to my room to sleep.” He gave the bedding a push into the bed and walked out with his head down. I watched him, feeling the heat of the pan-fried dumpling burning fiercely, sizzling and frying my heart, liver, and lungs.

I closed the door and sat at the table, drinking two cups of tea, repeatedly looking at Qingxian’s handkerchief. Could this ancient tree of mine, thousands of years old, truly bear the blossoms of a mountain peach?

As twilight approached, I changed into a new long robe, exuding a faint fragrance. Hengwen led a group of children into the courtyard to play, gambling on dice and debating the winners and losers. Tianshu guarded a inkstone and brush, acting as a supervisor, smearing ink on the faces of the losers. Except for Tianshu and Hengwen, the children all had painted faces. I instructed the houseboy and maidservants that I wouldn’t be having dinner at home tonight and might return late. They were to take good care of the young lords. Stepping out, Tianshu and Hengwen were happily playing. Tianshu put down his brush and ran over, asking, “Are you going out?” I replied, “Yes, there are some matters to attend to.” Tianshu made a sound of acknowledgment and didn’t ask any further questions. Hengwen glanced at me from the side, his eyes flashing, and then buried his head back into his activities.