Disclaimer: Nope not mine.

--

One Rainy Night

Chapter Thirteen

by: girldisturbed

--

Welcome to China

-

As it turned out Kaoru had been right in asking Enishi for help. The moment they'd stepped out of the rickshaw Enishi had sent as means for transportation, they'd been assaulted by vendors and advertisers, all vying for their attention trying to sell their products in the center of China's capital Shanghai.

From simple key chains and orchids to something as elaborate as kimono cloths and bonsais; there were crowds everywhere and Kaoru; who was slightly hyperventilating behind Aoshi, seriously doubted they'd be able to locate their flat without suffering from an extreme attack of claustrophobia and most probably suffocation.

She couldn't breathe. People clamoring for their attention everywhere she turned. She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath only to choke and gag a moment later when the unpleasant stench of mingled odors produced by the stalls and people surrounding them hit her nose.

"Tourists! Tourists! Hurry buy buy! Tourists like this very much yes? Yes?"

She turned and smiled to the woman ruefully, opening her mouth about to vocalize the apology when Aoshi pulled her from the crowd none too gently with a sharp "Ignore them," over his shoulder.

She nodded wearily unable to summon the energy to do anything more than to let herself be bodily dragged by the irritable man. Three tugs on her clothes had her eyes lifting up heavenwards in sheer exasperation; Gods, please let this be over and done with. Another tug and she whipped her head around to glare at a toothless street child grinning impishly behind her.

Urgh, how the hell was she supposed to feel anything other than pity for that smile?

Sensing her hesitation, Aoshi turned to glare at the melancholy aura surrounding the woman behind him, blue eyes narrowed full of warning, "Not now Kaoru."

She nodded grimly promising herself to come back later on without his knowledge and at least buy some food for these unfortunate souls.

Gripping Aoshi's wrist in a vice-like grip, she tried to imitate the movement of flowing water. Blending in around the tide surrounding her, twisting and turning when required and evading the ratty beggars that tried to snatch their money or luggage when they got too close.

Observant blue eyes scanned the sidewalk littered with garbage, both adult and children alike smeared in dirt and grease lounging in the small space. Immediately cursing herself after doing so, both hands unconsciously gripped Aoshi's appendage in her right and the luggage in her left.

It wasn't like she could do anything but feel pity right now so why even bother? She wanted to help them, really she did. But Kaoru knew that if that were to happen they'd both probably get conned and end up with not even a cent left after the city's vultures swooped down and outnumbered them for their belongings.

Yes, she'd been expecting this ever since she left her luxurious mansion and yes she'd been expecting hardship the moment she stepped out that door but what she didn't expect was the sheer unfairness that the situation floored her with due to her father's misconduct. Shanghai was the by product of the government's corruption and if she ever doubted that the streets of Japan faired a lot better due to the Japanese Mafia…well she didn't have any room left to doubt them now.

Fucking greedy pigs.

The tall man scowled, thoughts unknowingly mimicking hers.

At the very least Aoshi thought, no one was sure to find them here. Shanghai was known as being China's capital but more popularly so for its alarmingly high crime rate, overpopulation and poverty. The land where the rich became richer and the poor became poorer…Kamiya would probably find their corpses in a year if he played his cards right.

Pulling harshly at the smaller hand twined between his fingers, Aoshi gave a small sigh of relief when he spotted the familiar sign of 'Pudong District' carved in a wooden board held atop in the direction post.

Making a beeline for the building the mark indicated, he grasped the copper knob preparing himself for the excuse needed in case of questions and turned to enter.

Just as expected he mused dryly. Modest on the outside but lavish on the inside. The place was teeming with gold. Golden chandeliers, golden dragons and Buddhas with the exception of the carpet, walls and some splashes for decoration. Red and gold was the obvious theme of the place.

Aoshi snorted.

What the hell where they thinking when they designed the place? A visit from the emperor? He gave the place one more sweeping glance, inwardly nodding in conclusion. It would explain the intense stares he received from the civilians parked outside, probably guards posing as commoners in case of thieves or heists

A tug on his right limb distracted his thoughts and caused him to look down.

"You can let go now."

Immediately dropping her hand as if burned he berated himself for his insensitivity and not noticing earlier. That grip he had was sure to form a bruise later. Examining the hand Kaoru was currently rubbing, he made a mental note to apologize and check it out later. Now for the more pressing matters…Aoshi turned towards the front desk just in time for the man behind it to clear his voice.

"Sian si'n goan liong, li si Tan sian si'n a m si?"(I beg you're pardon sir, is your name not Mr. Tan?)

Hiding his surprise Aoshi nodded. It seemed they were informed of their arrival before hand. He let out a small smirk. He shouldn't have doubted anything less from a man like Enishi.

At Aoshi's nod, the Chinese man smiled and gave a respectful bow at the young raven haired woman behind him currently fixing him an intent stare.

"We have been expecting you. Come, come this way please."

Snapping his fingers for one of his men on stand-by to take the luggage from the two, he held up a hand with a dimpled smile waving away the woman's protests when he issued the command.

"You no worry Ms. Liew. I pay. They do job."

Giggling softly at the eccentric man's words Kaoru nodded unable to stop the smile rapidly spreading at his warm nature and funny accent.

"You don't have to worry Mr. –?"

"Huei. Ping Huei."

"Mr. Huei. We both speak and understand Chinese just - " Aoshi gave a small nod in agreement "- fine."

Ping clapped his hand in delight.

"U ia'n bo? Thia'n ki'n chin hua'n hi!"(Is that so? Very glad to hear it!)

"But this is a perfect opportunity to practice Japanese. No?"

Kaoru giggled and Ping was instantly charmed. It was no wonder why Enishi harbored affections for the girl. Her reactions seemed so open and honest that it was hard to dislike.

He motioned them towards the door leading outside to the compounds, tone enthusiastic as he said,

"Come, come this way please."

Coming to a stop in front of one of their most expensive flats, widely spaced with an oaken door sporting a polished carving of a majestic dragon on its wood; Ping turned the knob and entered, stepping aside to let them in and opened his arms in a grand gesture of welcome.

"Welcome to Pudong District's finest! We have a phone and a buzzer for maids and service. They will take care of the housework and everything else you neglect. Now this you see here is your sitting room." He gestured towards the large shelves at the side placed beside a study desk on the corner. "We have everything books, pens, paper, paper shredder…everything has been provided for by Mr. Yukishiro. And right this way –"

He turned his heel and walked towards one of the doors; design equal to the one in the entrance except its size was smaller before opening it.

"Now this…This is the master bedroom."

Kaoru gasped in complete awed surprise. Staring at Ping with a whole new level of respect she gaped at the grinning landlord and said a hushed

"Don't you think this is a bit much?"

Horribly feeling out of place even with her silk tailored dress and feeling slightly leery for being the cause of noise disrupting the silence surrounding them. She glanced towards her companion and blinked at the expression on Aoshi's face.

Eyes minutely wide, mouth slightly parted.

He looked like…

He looked like he was…stunned.

Her hand flew to her mouth to smother a snicker.

A soft snort brought the normally unflappable man back from his daze and immediately he shot a glare at the sheepishly grinning woman beside him before turning back to pay attention to their host's words.

"I presume you would like to rest as of now? I have been told you have been through a very…tiring journey yes?"

Aoshi nodded and Kaoru ducked her head to cover her blushing cheeks. She couldn't help it. He just looked so adorable when he glared at her in denial like that!

Registering Ping's words when he coughed, Kaoru glanced up and nodded as well.

Approaching the bed with the intention of laying down to rest, she stopped startled when a hand descended on her shoulder.

Ping shook his head in disapproval straight face contradicting his words as he said in a tone oddly mischievous,

"Very sorry to mislead you Ms. Lieu but your room is…this way."

Thus said, Ping steered the shell shocked woman to the room next to the previous one. Opening the door and pushing her inside when she still failed to make a sound, he nodded to his employee arrogantly when he dumped her luggage on the floor beside the bed –

"Wha? I - Huh?"

- and turned towards the stuttering woman in front of him. Shaking his head gentle brown eyes flashing, Ping smirked and haughtily said,

"Why it is unacceptable for an unmarried lady to share a room with a man other than his spouse don't you agree? Why, down right improper I say! What would the neighbors think?"

Her mouth clicked shut at his words soon to be followed by her rigid nod. No words seemed forthcoming to her suspiciously not to mention embarrassing brain thus, deeming him the ever reliable "Uh huh." when it looked like he was waiting for her answer.

Ping nodded at the confirmation and with a bow said,

"I thought so. Now I will take my leave. Simply call when you have any needs or complaints. It shall be easily dealt with. Hope you enjoy your stay Ms. Lieu."

Koaru nodded again still staring at his retreating figure before a thought finally occurred to her and she called out.

"Hey, uhh I mean wha - hm - how - ?"

Ping's honey brown eyes fairly sparkled in laughter when he understood, mouth kicking upwards as he smoothly replied,

"Why, Mr. Yukishiro repeatedly told me to ensure you have separate rooms of course. He wanted to make sure nothing…untoward happened to the beautiful Ms. Lieu."

Nodding once more, he turned without waiting for a reply and exited. Mouth quirking to let out a wild grin all the way back to the main building when he heard a loud

"Pyawsi!!" (Son of a bitch!!) from the flat he just exited. He had no doubt things would get a lot livelier from now on.

--

Meanwhile somewhere in the more sinister streets of China a phone call was just delivered.

"Hello?"

"They're here."

A pause.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes ma'am."

A slow devious smile curled the woman's lips and she answered with an ever sultry purr of "Good. Tell Tsai to take over for you for now. I'll inform the master."

"Yes ma'am."

Handing the phone back to the waiting servant, the woman rose with a distinctive air of satisfaction and approached the shadowed figure who'd been listening to the conversation quietly from the center of the bed.

"It is done."

Three harsh cackles.

"Good, good. I wonder how that old fart would react to the death of his daughter…Surely, he didn't think we wouldn't find out if he brought the child here on our territory."

The wine-haired woman smirked.

"A runaway I suppose if the brat enlisted the help of Yukishiro."

"Ahh yes, Enishi…why, these things just keep getting better and better by the minute!"

The woman smiled.

"What are your orders for Tsai Shishio?"

Bandaged lips curled into a feral smile.

"Observe. Observe for now. We make sure everything is in place when we issue the warning."

Yumi bowed her head.

"As you wish my beloved."

girldisturbed: Nrgh. I think I need to polish my Fukien and Mandarin. My thanks to Belle and Nikki for the chance to write this piece. Although hope you don't mind the boring chapter. Hmm…I wish I can finish that AoxKao fic for In the Moonlight community though. stares at her schedule if only I had the time. Tell me what you think ne?

If you are interested in writing chapter 14 please say so in your review and leave an email address, or sign in for the review. Thanks, Belle