Qiu Ling stared out the window and tried to convince himself of this noble reason. In the end, he closed his eyes and cursed inwardly. Alright. He was just afraid that he would have an even harder time to marry Jing He when that old geezer took back his throne.
What type of status would he have then? What would he use to convince the Heavenly Emperor to take him in as his son-in-law? ‘I’m the best warrior in the dragon race’ probably wouldn’t be enough even if the Heavenly Emperor would certainly love to have someone capable guard his son. But he could at most be that much: a guard, never a fiance or a husband. And he was not willing to settle for that.
Jing Yi saw his lost expression and couldn’t help but speak up cautiously. He didn’t want to remind him of any negative memories but this was the first time outside of Qiu Ling’s inner self that they talked about his past. If he could open up a bit more, it would certainly be great. “So this person today had something to do with that other kingdom?”
Qiu Ling emerged from his thoughts and nodded. “Yes, he was. Knowing them, they have some sort of plan and it won’t be anything good. I’m afraid they’ll try to hurt you.”
“Why would they? I’m not from your kingdom. So how could I be important?” He smiled, trying to reassure his fiance.
Qiu Ling pressed his lips together though. He knew that Jing Yi was wrong. The problem was that it wasn’t easy to explain. Ah, lies really caught up with one too soon. “You … you’re important to me.”
“But you just said the old king is already dead and so is your father, as well as your mother. Why would they still pay attention to you? It should be over, right?”
“Uh … I guess …” Qiu Ling pondered to find a good excuse but came up empty-handed. This wouldn’t be much of a problem normally but … Jing Yi had to take this seriously. Even though he wasn’t allowed to know that he was actually Jing He and how they had been related in his life as a trueborn god, he still needed to stay away from the demons. After all, these guys might try to disturb his trial and hurt Jing He with that. He couldn’t let that happen.
He hesitated for a moment on how to proceed. He couldn’t admit the truth about Jing He. In that case, he should probably say at least half of the truth about himself. This was still less risky than Jing He’s identity. “Well, you could say I do have some connection to the new royal court.”
“Hah?” Jing Yi who had just wanted to sit down after he finished tending to Qiu Ling’s wounds suddenly froze mid-motion, his fingers still resting on the backrest of the chair. “What do you mean?”
“Well, after the old king died, they naturally needed a new one. His old retainers kind of … retired or had died in the war already so with the new king came new followers as well.”
“So you’re tied to the current king.”
“You could say that, yes.” Actually, I’m the king myself but you likely wouldn’t take that so well. He blinked his eyes as innocently as he could, hoping that his beloved wouldn’t catch on.
Jing Yi didn’t know how to react for a moment. He opened his mouth but then closed it again. Finally, he sat down after all. He folded his palms in his lap and stared at them, his thoughts fluttering around his head with no direction to follow. His fiance … was actually tied to the royal court.
“Jing’er …” Qiu Ling slowly leaned over and took his hands. “Why aren’t you saying anything?”
“I just … need a bit of time to process this.”
“Oh. Alright.” Qiu Ling leaned back again and waited. He could only congratulate himself that he had been intelligent enough to hide the fact that he himself was the king. This really wouldn’t have gone over well.
In the end, Jing Yi sighed. The longer he had thought about it, the less he felt that it was surprising. Qiu Ling had seen his father work closely together with the king. Even though their relationship had deteriorated, he certainly understood after what had happened with his mother that it hadn’t been the king’s fault and that he had, in fact, just tried to save his subject and friend.
Following in the footsteps of his father through building a relationship with the new king was probably to be expected. “You’ve been here for a long time already. That one year traveling with me, the five years in the Yun Zou Sect before … won’t the king need you at his side?”
Qiu Ling shook his head. “It’ll be alright without me for a while.” After all, time was running differently in the immortal realms. The six years Jing Yi was worried about weren’t even a week back in the dragon realm. And, honestly, he had been notably absent even before following Jing He down to the mortal realm. His advisers more or less expected this from him.
“You don’t have to worry.” Jing Yi gently touched Qiu Ling’s arm. “I’ve nearly broken through to the root stage so I’m not totally helpless any more. And hasn’t your Master given me that cultivation manual? I’ll become stronger with that! So, you don’t have to worry about me.”
“I know.” Qiu Ling lightly pecked Jing Yi’s cheek. “Right. That book, have you had a look at it yet?” Well, his beloved probably wouldn’t need this thing anyway. From now on, he wouldn’t leave his side for even a moment.
Jing Yi took the manual out of his bag, opened it, and smiled wryly before turning to put it away again.
“What is it?” Qiu Ling was a little taken aback. Even if his beloved trusted in him and his ability to protect him, shouldn’t he still show at least a bit of enthusiasm for this? He had always wanted to become a hero, after all!
Jing Yi sighed. “It’s probably nice. It’s just that … I still don’t know how to read.”
“Oh.” Qiu Ling looked at the book in his hands. He couldn’t decide immediately if this thing was an eyesore that dared to dampen his beloved’s mood or a heaven-sent tool to further their relationship.
Mn, probably the latter.