While Jinde got swapped up in his memories, Qiu Ling emptied the first flask. He threw it away with a dissatisfied expression and grabbed the one at Jinde’s feet.
“Heh!” Jinde clasped his wrist. “What’s with this senseless drinking? At least tell me what happened!”
Qiu Ling wrested his hand back and still took the flask. “He rejected me.” He opened up the second flask but didn’t start to drink. Instead, he stared into the jar and at the sweetly smelling wine inside. “He said we were not meant to be.”
“I begged him. I knelt down in front of him and begged him to give me a chance but he turned around and ran away.” He fell silent and continued to stare at the flask. “What did I do wrong?”
Jinde turned away and looked at the still surface of the lake, his gaze growing distant. “It’s not always about doing something wrong.”
“Then what is it about? I don’t understand. I love him so much! I’d do anything for him. Why … Why can’t he accept me?”
“Well, I don’t know anything about your situation. But there could be many reasons.”
Qiu Ling took another sip of the wine. “Tell me one I can live with.”
Jinde turned back to him. “You’ve already joined your soul with his.”
“Of course. Didn’t I tell you already?”
“You did. But then I don’t understand why you’re asking. You won’t be able to live anyway if he rejects you. Why still care for the reason?”
Qiu Ling stared at the wine. “Maybe I could at least understand. I … I always felt like … we were meant to be. When I first saw him …” He shook his head. “You don’t understand that. I suddenly …” He stopped speaking, unable to find the right words.
Jinde took the flask from him and took a sip himself. “Actually, I do understand. It’s not like I haven’t fallen in love myself. It just … never worked out. And thankfully I wasn’t dumb enough to join souls with him. Well, you …” He shook his head and gave the jar back. “Since you’ve done something stupid already there’s no way back. Either you make him fall in love with you or you’ll die. Sitting here and drinking won’t solve anything.”
Qiu Ling nodded but still put the jar to his lips and continued to drink. “Mn, I was right. You don’t understand.” He tipped his head back and emptied the flask before giving it back to Jinde. “Get me more.”
Jinde’s brow twitched. “Tch. You do remember that I’m your elder and that this is my wine you’re drinking here, don’t you? Now you even want me to serve you?”
Qiu Ling just stared at him.
Jinde cursed under his breath and pointed over to another tree. “It’s there. Get it yourself. And I’m only telling you this because you’re Chun Yin’s son!”
Qiu Ling didn’t bother acknowledging his words and just went to dig out the wine. Jinde waited for him to return and sit down again before he continued.
“Alright. I don’t understand. So tell me: What is this actually about?”
“I’m not drunk enough to tell you.”
Jinde’s face darkened. “How bad can it be?” Honestly, he had better things to deal with right now. Couldn’t this brat hurry up so that he could get back into the lake?
Qiu Ling stared at the wine and smiled self-deprecatingly. “I’ll let you in on a secret. The person I love …” He shook his head. “He isn’t a mortal.”
Jinde frowned. “Then what was the Amethyst Lightning pill for? It only works on mortals.” Don’t tell him this bear child had made him refine a useless pill? That had consumed the energy he had arduously restored after several years!
Qiu Ling had no idea that he had hit a nerve with those words and only continued slowly. “Well, he is now. He’s on his trial in the mortal realm. Actually, he’s a god.” He shook his head once more. “You probably think that it’s not that bad.”
“It’s quite bad.” Jinde raised his brows and opened one of the other wine flasks. It wasn’t like there had never been couples of mixed heritage but it wasn’t that easy in Qiu Ling’s case. After all, he was the king of the dragon race at the moment. He would be expected to marry a dragon.
Jinde thoughtfully started to drink. It wasn’t impossible though, just a little tricky. Well, he still didn’t know enough about their situation so he couldn’t give any advice. Had they known each other before the start of the trial? Or had they only fallen in love now? Ah, no, the question should be: Had Qiu Ling fallen in love with this god while he was attempting his trial?
Qiu Ling gave him some time to think it through before he smiled. “It’s even worse. The god I fell in love with … he’s the Son of Heaven.”
Jinde choked on the wine. “What did you say?”
Qiu Ling nodded with a smile. “Mn, he’s the Son of Heaven. Isn’t it funny? I fell in love with the Tianjun’s son. I. I of all people.” His voice shook and his face scrunched up. He continued to drink, not bothering about talking to Jinde anymore.
His predecessor also kept quiet and drank. It seemed Heaven loved to toy with people. It just had to be the Son of Heaven he fell in love with. “Does he know? That you … aren’t a full-blooded dragon?”
Qiu Ling laughed darkly. “Of course not. If he knew, do you think I would have had any chance to be with him? The Heavenly Emperor already despises me. He’d try to have me killed if he found out about that as well.”
Indeed. Jinde really had no words to comfort Qiu Ling anymore. In the end, he could only sigh.
The two dragons continued to sit on that boulder at the edge of the lake, clasping their jars of wine, slowly drowning their sorrow in the sweet-smelling liquor. Soon, one of them was dead drunk.