Mr. Zhongli

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His eyes were as sharp as spears of jagged rock, peering into your very nerves and trying to analyse what exactly had you uncomfortable. Well, you could name three at this very moment:

1. Mr. Zhongli was an intelligent scholar (supposedly) and his seriousness towards the situation at hand had you quaking, scared of doing something wrong.

2. You hated contracts. They were convenient and a great idea in theory, yes, but the commitment aspect took a toll on your heart and mind. Not to mention the unfortunate case of humans being humans and that keeping them wasn't in everybody's nature.

3. One of the terms in this contract didn't sit well with you.

It just happened to be chance that the moment he came, your superior was thrust into a surprise, week long visit to Qingce Village. He told you not to mess this up, that his brand relied on it. But... The amount of Violetgrass this guy wanted was almost demoralising – no, it's simply unfair! A good herb, yes, but not the easiest to come by, especially for small businesses starting up like this.

His voice cut your frantic thoughts, expression steady and not giving any clues on his thoughts or feelings, instead making you rely on his words alone, "If it is not to your satisfaction I am willing to talk about ways to help benefit you more. Do you not think the trade is worth the reward? If the outcome is not even to both parties then I can always have it re-written completely. Though that may take a few more months-"

"-No!" You cut in, eyes wide with fear. There's no way you could last that long without sealing this deal. Still, you had to speak up or else it would be impossible to comply, "It's just, the number of Violetgrass you want per fortnight, I don't think it's currently achievable. We only have a few workers and the plant itself is a hazard to obtain. We rely on other shops for our income, and even then we have a limit."

Mr. Zhongli's hand came up to his mouth in a gesture of thought, his low voice humming, "I see... Unfortunately I can't go much lower without the whole deal having to change. I can perhaps spare ten in the overall product."

That's still too much! Taking merely ten off won't do, it made you want to cry. But your boss, your poor boss. You can't ruin this for him, you wanted him to succeed and you wanted to keep your job in Liyue, lest you go back to your old life and that was off the table. You tapped your fingertips together, taking in deep and calming breaths as you thought. You supposed there was no way around it, you'll just have to work extra shifts in your own time, if this man permits it, "Could we incorporate a section off to the side here, allowing me to sign separately? I don't mind spending my own time to collect the remaining needed, however, I would like to hold the consequences responsible myself if I cannot succeed."

He was now in a new thought, eyebrow raising at you with interest, "You want to be held accountable for the Violetgrass?"

"If you're okay with it, then yes. It would be preferable if we held it for a shorter time than the main contract itself. I believe within the first three months we may find an ulterior method, if not then I can sign again," you were hoping he would accept, there was too much on the line here, it was almost sinful your boss had left you to it.

Mr. Zhongli needed only a moment to wrap his head around the offer, coming back with a simple, "Six months."

A heavy sigh built up inside of you, it would be unprofessional to release it, "Okay."

"Fine then, we have a deal," he smiled, though not as bright as most peoples, you could at least tell he was happy with the outcome. "I will write up the contract myself here and – oh, do you perhaps have a pen? I seem to have left mine elsewhere."

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