Hui watched in silent amusement as Akaiji tried and failed to enter the shop, ultimately giving up and taking vigil in the doorway.

"Hello," she said with a smile. "You're more well-spoken than any other Crabfolk I've ever met." She gave a bow. "Hui Yihuo, alchemist. I take it you're with these two lovelies?" Hui turned back to Yu, face lit up. "You didn't tell me you were working for a dragon! This is exciting!"

***

The Magistrate's place was suitably opulent, although like most places in Wu outside of the capital city and the Draconic estates, not too ostentatious. Meg and Myfanwy explained to one of the clerks that they were there on behalf of Lord Yao to help out. The clerk seemed suspicious - they were, after all, two foreigners - but not wanting to possibly risk the shame that would come from doubting the judgment of a Dragon, he went and fetched the magistrate.

Magistrate Zheng was an older man at the beginnings of middle age. His hair and long mustache were well groomed, and between his fastidious appearance and traditional robes, he looked pretty much like the quintessential archetype of a magistrate or minister which Megaera had grown up to know.

"Ladies," Zheng said with a slight nod of the head. "I was to understand that Lord Yao was sending more than just two agents - although if you are all he is sent, do not for a second think that I would dare to presume to doubt his august personage's judgment."