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88 Times may have changed

    He decided on a small little shop that was on the edge of town. Away from all the festivities of a grand celebration. The shop was still open, and the owner who greeted them was an old man with gray hair. As Xue'er looked at him, she wondered why this man did not close up shop to be with his family on such an important festival.

    It wasn't until the man had sensed a person staring at him that she withdrew her gaze and followed Gan Tian Chi to sit down. Her eyes wandered around to see the fairly small shop quite empty, the place seemed very cold and lonely.

    She sat down across from Gan Tian Chi, placing her lantern to the side. The vibrant looking fish lantern seemed to liven up the place a lot.

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    Seeing that there were customers, the man came to their table and asked: "Esteemed customers, what would you like to have?"

    "Two bowls of longevity noodles please." Gan Tian Chi answered immediately. One could tell that he had come specifically for these noodles.

    "Please wait for a moment, esteemed guests." The old man said as he went to the back.

    Seeing that he was out of earshot, Xue'er asked: "Must we eat at this specific shop?"

    "Yes, you should try it, it is quite good." He answered as usual.

    "You know the owner?"

    Gan Tian Chi did not nod, but said: "A fated meeting many years ago." As he said this, there was a smile that hung on his lips.

    "So, fated enough for you to remember, but not wanting to tell me about it?" Xue'er asked, with a hand resting on her chin, her glassy eyes stared at his expressionless face. When she looked at his face, she could never imagine it ever laughing so freely, it gave her a feeling that most of his expressions were not as natural as they seemed.

    "A lot can happen in a day. You see, like that fire. Perhaps there was a family that lived there, but after today, they are no longer here. Why should I speak of the past? What has passed is nothing short of old tales. Not worthy of remembering." Gan Tian Chi emphasized the last sentence quite clearly.

    "But you still came here did you not?" Xue'er looked to him, half expecting to prove him wrong.

    "The food is good, naturally I would come back. Food is perhaps the only thing worth remembering." He said in all seriousness.

    This sentence really gave Xue'er a new perspective on how Gan Tian Chi actually felt about everything.

    "Esteemed guests, please enjoy." The old man held two bowls of noodles in his hands and went back to the corner where he was sitting.

    Xue'er picked up two pairs of chopsticks, putting a pair in front of Gan Tian Chi, while the other pair was for herself. Grasping a few strands of the noodles and placing them in her mouth. She continued eating, ignoring her surroundings.

    Gan Tian Chi, on the other hand, had yet to pick up the chopsticks, instead, he looked towards the old man with a strange gaze, as he saw the lonely figure sitting in the dim candlelight of the small store.

    "Are you not going to eat?" Xue'er asked, with a strand of noodle hanging from her mouth.

    [You brought me here, why are you staring at the owner so strangely?]

    "Of course I am." He said, picking up the chopsticks, imitating her actions of shoving a bunch of noodles into his mouth, so much that it resembled a beard hanging from his lips.

    Xue'er wanted to smile, but she could not find the urge within her to do so in this lonely store.

    As they were eating, there were the sounds of simultaneous explosions that sounded. There was a part of her that wanted to take a look, but she knew that it was only the firecrackers that were only used on this day of every single year. So it seems that the air was dry enough to burn the firecrackers.

    She continues to eat her noodles, and carefully looks at the old shop owner who was still sitting by the corner, he looked like he did not care the slightest for the festivities outside, not even bothering to turn his head or go outside for a nice stroll. Now that she looked at him carefully, she realized that he was wearing a dark blue robe. And the moment they came in, there were no new couplets that hung at the entrance of the store.

    So was this day just like any other day for him, did he really not care for this day at all?

    After they had their meal, Gan Tian Chi paid for it, it was his treat after all.

    As they walked away, Xue'er could slightly feel the eyes of the old man gazing upon them. She looked back and saw the man's eyes following Gan Tian Chi, and he looked on as they walked on.

    "You are very popular."

    "That so?" He asked.

    "Now that he is no longer watching us, will you tell me?" Xue'er gave a slight tug on Gan Tian Chi's sleeve, with an adorable look in her eyes.

    No matter how good her imitations were there was still something off about it, Gan Tian Chi felt a shiver go up to his spine, as he grabbed her cold hand, pulling it away from his robe. At this time, he regretted having given her such an assignment. She was completely fine without such attempts to act like a little girl.

    "Long story short, I was seen as a charlatan, again."He said it as though it happened too many times to count.

    "Oh." Xue'er thought for a while and said: "I wouldn't have believed you based on the way you dress either, have you thought of dressing up as a more trustworthy person?" She thought of the ridiculous horsetail whip he had when they first met at the abandoned temple, now that she thought about it if she had known better back then, perhaps she would not have followed him either.

    "What do you mean? I'll have you know that there was a time when people would have trusted me with their lives." Gan Tian Chi said calmly. He did not seem too angry at what she had said.

    "Times may have changed." The girl said quietly.
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