RSH Stratagem 2: Holding a Council of Love (1)

The Heavenly Emperor had been fuming for the whole course of the banquet but he finally erupted when the last guests had left. Needless to say those last guests were Qiu Ling and his two subjects and the dragon king hadn’t missed to watch Jing He for even a second.
Even when he was murmuring his farewell to the Heavenly Emperor he had still stared straight at Jing He. In fact, his words had been directed at him, too, and when he left he couldn’t help but stop every few steps and look back at him, his gaze smoldering.
Even someone like Jing He who didn’t know much about love felt his heart stir at this gaze. Unfortunately, his entranced expression was even more reason for the Heavenly Emperor to lose his fuse.
“Who does he think he is?!” He leaped to his feet and clenched his fists. How dare this guy covet his precious son?!
He’d never leave his son to such a … such a dandy!
Ah, he’d have to make sure that guy wouldn’t be able to set another foot into the Nine Heavens. He’d best go and arrange it immediately. No! There was something he had to do even before that!
The Heavenly Emperor whirled around to Jing He and grabbed him by the shoulders, pulling him out of his thoughts. “Jing He.”
“Fa … Father?” Jing He had no idea what to expect. He seldom saw his father this serious.
“You are still young so there are certain things you don’t know and might be easily confused by. The most dangerous thing in that regard is always feelings.”
“Feelings?” Jing He blanked for a moment before it dawned on him what his father was talking about. “Father wants to advise me on the matter regarding Longjun?”
“Indeed!” The Heavenly Emperor’s expression brightened. As expected of his son, he already understood very well. He probably didn’t even need to advise him but recalling the heated gazes that dandy had thrown his son’s way he still felt that it was better to be safe than sorry.
“Jing He, you might feel touched by his proposal and the way he looked at you but you have to keep in mind that his feelings are just as shallow as he himself.”
Jing He looked away. Was his father really cursing the dragon king right now? There were still some people around …
“You don’t believe me?” The Heavenly Emperor frowned. Could it really be that that dandy had already made that much of an impression on his precious son?! No! He wouldn’t allow it! “Ah, that is exactly what I’m talking about! You’re still too young to be able to look behind that pretty facade of his. Come with father, let me tell you about it.” He took Jing He by the waist and led him away from the gods still lingering around.
Hmph. Those guys were probably coveting his beloved son just the same. Well, he could understand where those thoughts came from. His son was too perfect. Everything from his appearance to his behavior to his personality was pleasant. Where would they find another candidate for marriage as perfect as him? Then again, how dare these people even think about it? Was any of them worthy of his son?! Certainly not!
The Heavenly Emperor took a sideways glance at his son. Indeed. Jing He was this desirable. He couldn’t give him to just anyone. That dandy was definitely out of question. Not only was his personality not suitable, but he was also a dragon. How could he give his precious son to someone from another race?
But most of the gods weren’t suitable either. It had to be someone with a high status who was handsome and courteous and knew how to treat his son. He also had to be powerful so as to guard Jing He against all dangers. Ah, he couldn’t think of anyone who would fulfill these basic requirements. And these were just the simple ones! He still had a row of more advanced expectations!
“Father …” Jing He called out hesitatingly. They had already gone quite a distance but his father still hadn’t said anything. Was what he had to say really this grave?
The Heavenly Emperor sighed. He’d need to seriously ponder the issue of his future son-in-law to make sure his son got the best possible spouse. Well, that wasn’t an issue for now. At this moment, he only had to make sure that his innocent son wouldn’t be led astray by a dazzler such as the dragon king.
He stopped walking and tentatively took his son’s hands. Ah, he couldn’t believe that that dandy had dared to touch them! If he even had had an inkling of what he had planned to do, he would have made sure that dandy’s plan wouldn’t succeed. But he had used the moment of surprise to achieve his goal. Argh, what a despicable bastard!
“Father …” Jing He smiled wryly. What was it with his hands? First Longjun, now his father? Why was everyone holding them like this?
“You probably think he is handsome and charming.”
Jing He looked up in surprise. “You mean Longjun?” It hadn’t really been a question but he pondered it as if it was one. He naturally knew that he couldn’t just marry the king of the dragon race but if all rules of courtship were observed … It wouldn’t be impossible.
Their status matched and now that his father mentioned it Longjun could probably be described as handsome. No, in all honesty, there was no need to guess. He had heard some of the goddesses say that he was one of the best-looking men in the immortal realms. And considering the impression Longjun had given him Jing He could say that he thought the same.
He himself was considered tall but Longjun towered above him by another head. And he seemed even taller thanks to his lean build and the broad shoulders. It was quite intimidating.
Jing He looked in the direction of the gate from where the dragons had left. He had always prided himself in being able to cope with every situation and managing to keep up a smile in front of every kind of person. But until today he had also believed that the person with the most intimidating presence was his uncle, the God of War.
Coming face to face with Longjun had set him right. In front of this man, he hadn’t known what to say, he hadn’t known how to react. He nearly hadn’t been able to hold on. His instincts had told him to flee but he knew he couldn’t do that. It had been his father’s birthday banquet and Longjun was an important guest. He was expected to entertain him.
Jing He barely held back a smile. He probably shouldn’t have expected anything else. It wasn’t just his first time meeting Longjun. It was his first time encountering someone of the dragon race. Maybe this was just how they were? Or maybe this was the kind of pressure a sovereign exuded?
Jing He took a peek at his father. He had often heard people whisper about how intimidated they felt when seeing him. He had never been able to understand but that was probably because this man was his father to him, not the Heavenly Emperor. Maybe he was just as impressive as Longjun?
Jing He gazed up and down but failed to detect anything. His father was just as tall as him and … honestly, he probably had to be described as slightly chubby? Thinking back to Longjun … The black fabric of his robe had perfectly displayed his height and straight stature while the silver embroidery highlighted the curves of his muscles.
Jing He thoughtfully rubbed the hem of his own sleeve. Longjun seemed to be someone who took pride in his good looks and understood how to present himself in the best possible way. It made one wonder how he dressed for casual occasions.
“That’s right. That ba—” The Heavenly Emperor stopped himself. He shouldn’t curse that guy too much in front of his son or Jing He might start to question him instead. “The dragon king certainly seems like a fine man. But I can tell you that he isn’t. The only thing he cares about is himself. Suddenly showing interest in you … that’s obviously not because he really likes you. He just covets your beauty!”
Jing He refrained from commenting.
“You see how he presents himself. He thinks he’s the most handsome man in the immortal realms. He only wants someone of equal beauty at his side to show-off. Hmph. I won’t allow him! You deserve someone better.” The Heavenly Emperor gently patted his son’s hands. “You might not believe me but I’m just trying to keep you safe. Such a man … You would never be happy with him. You’d just feel incredibly alone with him. He cares too much about himself.”
“I see.” Jing He lowered his head and looked at his hands that were still tightly clasped in his father’s. “You don’t have to worry. I won’t accept any man father doesn’t approve of.”
The Heavenly Emperor smiled happily and patted Jing He’s hand again. “Mn. What a good son I have. Don’t worry. Father will find you an excellent spouse. Someone who is worthy of you.” He lifted his hand and gently stroked his son’s hair back. Ah, he’d definitely make sure that his son-in-law was up to par. He should start devising a good test he could put the candidates through. There was no hurry, though, he wanted to keep his precious son to himself a while longer.
“How about letting your wife have some time with your good son then?”
The Heavenly Emperor froze and slowly turned around. “Fen’er …”
The Heavenly Empress Bai Fen stood behind them. She lifted her brows and gave her husband an exasperated look. Alright, this was his birthday but she still wouldn’t let him hog their son all to himself. “Jing He, come with mother for a bit.” She waved at her son and her husband obediently let go of him.
Ah, he really wanted to spend more time with him but his son had already promised to spend the next day with him. There was no reason to anger his wife lest she refused to talk to him for the whole day again. “Mn, go with your mother. We’ll see each other tomorrow.”
“Until tomorrow, father.” Jing He smiled and hurried over to his mother’s side.
Bai Fen took a last look at her husband before she led her son away. As soon as they were out of earshot she leaned over. “What important thing did your father have to tell you? That you’re not allowed to consider Longjun’s proposal?”
Jing He continued to smile. “Mother still knows father best.”
“Tch. At this rate, I’m never going to get a son-in-law.”
Jing He looked over. What was she trying to say? Did she want to get a son-in-law? He didn’t dare ask, though. Actually, he didn’t know if he himself wanted to marry or not. It might be nice having someone at his side but … Maybe he’d have to pretend in front of that person just as much as in front of everyone else. Wouldn’t that be even more tiring?

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