“What? Someone would break such a loving couple apart?!” The woman was appalled.
Qiu Ling jumped at the opportunity to tell someone his woes. “Yes, yes!” He nodded with a grieving expression and sat down again. “It’s awful! Everything was going well: I had finally wooed him after many years and we were even prepared to marry. But then that damned old geezer sent him down to the mortal realm!” Qiu Ling grit his teeth.
“Which old geezer?”
“The heavenly emperor!”
“What?!” The woman straightened up. “How come it’s him again?”
Qiu Ling lifted his brows. “Again? What are you talking about?”
The woman slipped to the seat next to him. “It’s like this: There’s this man I like and —”
“It couldn’t be Jing He?!” Qiu Ling straightened up and fixed a vicious glare at her. “You won’t get him! Jing He is mine! I won’t let you take him away!”
“Of course not! Who wants the crown prince? The one I’m —”
“I want him! Who wouldn’t want him? He’s so beautiful, inside and out … Ah, Jing He …” Qiu Ling stared off into space until the woman slapped his arm.
“Heh, I’m still talking to you!”
“Hm?” Qiu Ling turned around. “So, you fell in love with the old geezer? But he’s already married?”
“How is Shun Tao married?!” Yes, the one who had come to the teahouse was none other than Hong Bao. Who else would go around telling others she fell in love with the fate’s scribe?
“Shun Tao? Who are you talking about? Weren’t we talking about the heavenly emperor?”
“Who is talking about the heavenly emperor?” Hong Bao scrunched up her face. “I’m talking about Shun Tao, the fate’s scribe.”
“The fate’s scribe …” Qiu Ling tilted his head but couldn’t remember.
“You don’t know him? But he’s such an important person!”
The two of them stared at each other. “So … what about the heavenly emperor then?”
“He wants to kill him!”
“I also don’t really understand. But it has something to do with the crown prince’s trial, too.” Hong Bao’s shoulders drooped.
She had searched for the crown prince quite a while but still couldn’t find him. Her only clue was that he had something to do with a teahouse, so she had visited all the teahouses in the capital, but none of the people there could help her. Then, she finally saw this man flying out of a teahouse, grumbling something about ‘His Majesty’. She had been so sure that the person he complained about was the crown prince! And when she followed him inside, there was indeed a frowning man that fit her mental picture of the crown prince perfectly.
But now it had turned out that she hadn’t found the crown prince but his lover! How could she be so unlucky?!
“Mn, his trial …” Qiu Ling sighed. “I hope he finishes it soon. I don’t want to wait any longer.”
Hong Bao turned around to him and grabbed his hands. “Great!”
“What?” Qiu Ling took his hands back. “I’m with Jing He. I won’t consider you regardless of how you approach me.”
“Who wants to approach you? I already told you: My one true love is Shun Tao! Why would I even try approaching you?”
“I don’t care about that!”
“You should. Being handsome is an extremely important asset to a man.”
Hong Bao pursed her lips. “Shun Tao is extremely handsome, too.”
“He can’t be that handsome. I’ve never even heard of him.” Qiu Ling lifted his brows and looked around. Why was Qiang Wei still not back? He felt like continuing with drinking.
Hong Bao harrumphed but didn’t try to argue. He fell in love with somebody like the crown prince. His taste is probably just bad. Though, all of this might not be exactly like I thought. That heavenly emperor might play a bigger role than the crown prince himself.
“Listen to me!” She grabbed Qiu Ling’s sleeve and pulled at the black fabric.
The dragon king looked at her fingers accusingly. That should be Jing He’s hand. He should have grabbed him like that and told him with tears in his eyes: ‘Qiu Ling, my love, please, don’t leave me for even one second. Even if I can’t remember anything while being in the mortal world, you have to follow me and make sure, I’ll fall in love with you all over again!’
Ah, he would sweep him up into his arms, smile casually and grab his chin. ‘Don’t you worry, my dear, I won’t let you out of my sight! Wherever you go, I’ll follow along. Don’t you know that you are the most precious thing to me?’
And then Jing He would smile and circle Qiu Ling’s neck with his arms, tiptoeing and pecking his lips. And then he would hug him closer, deepening their kiss and —
His arm was rudely shaken and he was pulled out of his thoughts. Qiu Ling grimaced. “What?”, he snapped at the woman.
“I said, you should listen to me! Don’t you want to get your lover back as soon as possible?”
Miffed, Qiu Ling turned to the side, pulling his arm away. He had just gotten to the good part … “Of course.”
“Then how about I help you? You see: that heavenly emperor wants to break us up! He said he’d kill Shun Tao if he can’t help the crown prince. But you yourself also said it would be better he goes back home soon and that he didn’t want to come here in the first place.”
Qiu Ling lifted one of his brows. He started to like what that little goddess was saying. “What are you getting at?”
“We should do something! Your lover doesn’t want to take this trial and you don’t want him to take it. Shun Tao has to suffer because of that heavenly emperor and I want your lover to come back so nothing will happen to Shun Tao!”
“Your point is?”
“We should help your lover to end this trial!”
“Mn. That would be nice.” He stretched and leaned back and propped himself up with his hands behind his back. “Unfortunately, it’s impossible.”
“Sure it is. We’d need to kill him for that and I, for one, can’t do that. Even though he’s in another body right now, that is still him. I wouldn’t do something like that. And you can’t do it either, because I already know what you’re going to do and I wouldn’t allow you to kill him.”
Hong Bao shook her head. “How can you be so stubborn? Don’t you want him to go back to the nine heavens with you?”
“Of course. Ah, how nice would that be …” Mn, he could imagine it. How Jing He would wake —
This time, Hong Bao slapped his leg. “We don’t need to kill him. I met the goddess of love and she told me that it’s not necessary to kill him to end his trial period.”
Qiu Ling lifted his brows. He didn’t know anything about that but he should have heard something that important, right? He pondered but finally shook his head. “No. Even if there was a way, you can’t do it. Jing He was adamant about taking this trial. Even though I don’t like it and want him back in the nine heavens I won’t betray his trust.”
“Are you sure?” Hong Bao looked at him questioningly. “You know, if that was me and Shun Tao, I’d definitely do it. Wouldn’t he be happy being with me again? He probably already misses you.”
Qiu Ling’s gaze wavered. Mn, I miss him, too …
“I mean, he didn’t know any better before he started taking the trial. He could probably not even imagine how long he’d have to be without you.”
Ah, indeed! His Jing He, he probably couldn’t imagine something like this! And now, his soul was probably crying out for him, longing for his warm embrace and his sweet words.
“You really have to!” She grabbed his sleeve once again. “If you don’t let me do it, then the heavenly emperor will kill Shun Tao tomorrow!”
“Oh? It’s that grave?” Qiu Ling’s gaze went to the door. Jing He was out there. With somebody else, not with him. If he let this continue and Jing He woke up, he’d probably be devastated!
Just imagine: He might kiss that other person or do even more intimate things with him when he grew up. Wouldn’t he feel incredibly guilty when his trial ended?
No, he really couldn’t let this go on! But Jing He trusted him and the trial had been important to him. Argh, he needed some good advice!
“Let me think about it for a while.”
“What is there to think about?! Shun Tao will die!”
“If it’s about that … Just ask my mother-in-law for help.”
“Your mother-in-law?” Hong Bao blinked. “The woman serving tea on the lower floor? What could she do?”
Qiu Ling rolled his eyes at her. “No, the other one. You know: The heavenly empress.”
Hong Bao pouted. “I can’t just go to the heavenly empress, can I?”
“Mn, that’s true, too.” Qiu Ling pondered. Finally, he leaned forward and slammed his hand on the table. “I’ll go.”
“Mn. She’s my mother-in-law. Of course, I should go and talk to her. She’d certainly love to see me again.” And she can definitely give me some good advice. And … I might even …
A slight smile played at his lips and he stood up. “Well, I’ll better go now. Don’t worry, little goddess, I’ll be back soon.”
“Oh, you don’t have to hurry. As long as you save Shun Tao, everything is alright. I’ll just wait here.”
“Mn.” Qiu Ling smiled. Hid his presence and returned to the nine heavens, his heart beating wildly in anticipation.
“What? Someone would break such a loving couple apart?!” The woman was appalled.