Xiao Dong was stumped for words. Hah? How had that happened? He had praised His Majesty so much! Why was Jing Yi reacting like this?
Jing Yi smiled apologetically. “You see I’ve always wanted to become a hero. Even though I’ve come to have a slightly different understanding of what that means, I still think that I’d have to be able to stand up for myself first if I want to stand up for other. How could I do that when I marry someone who would always keep me safe? In all the stories you and brother Hai have told me, the heroes always had to live through dangerous situations.”
Xiao Dong really wanted to slap himself now. Why had he told him those stories? “But … isn’t marrying a hero also a good thing?”
Jing Yi shook his head. “I want to become strong enough to be able to make a difference on my own and not someone who has to rely on somebody else for everything.” Yes, he might not believe anymore what Qiang Wei had told him back then but after five years of struggling in the Yun Zou sect, he was reluctant to give up the dream he had worked hard for.
He wanted to become one of those heroes clad in white. Even more so after he had seen Qiu Ling yesterday. He might not have fallen in love at first sight but he had paid a lot of attention to Qiu Ling. That man, he was his role-model! He wanted to become just like him!
Xiao Dong grew flustered. No, he couldn’t mess this up! Even if he couldn’t convince Jing Yi to marry him, he had to achieve something for His Majesty! “Uh … you see I was just guessing. Actually, what I’ve said wouldn’t have to be true. No, no!” He waved his hands. “That’s also not what I meant. You see, Hi— ahem, the Grandmaster’s disciple, I believe he’s a really good person. He’d treat you nicely and you wouldn’t regret choosing him as a partner.”
“Wait! I wasn’t finished!” Xiao Dong cried out without knowing what else to say. Ugh, this was too hard. Jing Yi was too hung up over this dream of becoming a hero. It would be impossible to have him abandon that idea. So he’d have to fit His Majesty into it somehow.
Wasn’t there some story where a hero married another hero? Or, well, even if they didn’t marry, was there at least a story about two heroes that had adventures together? His eyes widened. No way! There really was such a story! And it was even one from his own race! Why hadn’t he thought of that sooner?!
He coughed and smoothed out his sleeves. “You know, Jing Yi, there is one story I haven’t told you. It’s actually quite famous where I come from.” Alright, it was more of a rumor and his uncle had told him about it once but Jing Yi would never find out anyway and as long as it could get His Majesty what he wanted it should be alright to exaggerate a bit.
“Oh? What kind of story?”
“Mn, it’s about … the dragon king.”
Jing Yi raised his brows. He still remembered the story that man had told him after his father died. It had also been about the dragon king. Or rather … “The old one or the new one?”
Xiao Dong coughed again. “The old one, of course.” He certainly wouldn’t tell His Majesty’s beloved a story about His Majesty that had to do with his love life. Uh, not that he knew anything about His Majesty’s love life. “Now, listen: When the king was young, his father died protecting a really important person. Because he had done something good for the people of his country an incredible Master took his son in.”
“Wait. I don’t understand!” Jing Yi frowned. “What important person? What Master? And what does that person’s father have to do with marriage?”
Xiao Dong felt cold sweat breaking out on his forehead. He couldn’t mess this up! His Majesty’s marriage depended on this! With such motivation, Xiao Dong tried to calm down. “Alright, let me start over. So, there once was a man in the dragon realm who saved an important person. Unfortunately, the man died and left his wife and son behind. Because saving that person had been good for the people of the dragon race, a great Master took his son in as thanks and taught him everything he knew. That son later became the king of the dragons.”
“So, that son is the dragon king that defeated the demon king?”
Xiao Dong heaved a sigh of relief. “Yes! That’s the one! He was a great hero!”
“But what does that have to do with Grandmaster Zhangsun’s disciple?”
“Uh …” Xiao Dong embarrassedly tugged at his sleeves. He had actually forgotten to tell that part of the story because he wanted to tell it as simple as possible. “Well, it’s because a lot of people don’t know this but he wasn’t the only disciple of that great Master. He actually had a senior martial brother who was a great hero as well. Those two had many adventures together and once even had a competition to decide who would become king.”
Jing Yi frowned. “You’re making that up.” That really was too coincidental.
“No!” Xiao Dong shook his head. “I’m not. It really happened.”
“And those two married?”
Xiao Dong tightened his lips and evaded Jing Yi’s gaze.
“No …” He might be able to lie a bit but he couldn’t just make something like that up. Not about these people. “But they were really close. Unfortunately, that senior martial brother of the king died someday. The king stayed alone for the rest of his life.” He kept to himself that the senior martial brother he spoke of had actually married a wife and even had a son with her. There were some things that better shouldn’t be said.
Jing Yi had a thoughtful expression. He did understand what Xiao Dong wanted to tell him: Just because there was a strong person at your side, it didn’t mean you would always be weak. You could still grow into a strong person yourself. He had thought too simply before. It seemed he’d have to consider the situation further.
Not far from them on the other side of the street, Qiu Ling observed the conversation between Jing Yi and Xiao Dong with a dark expression. Never mind that he was envious that somebody else was able to talk to his beloved like this, he also didn’t like to hear of that particular story. After all, even though he knew it was futile to think like that, he still couldn’t help but wonder if his life would have turned out differently if it hadn’t been for that man. It was a pity that exactly this story might be his only opportunity to win Jing Yi over.