RSH Stratagem 2: Holding a Council of Love (3)

The next day came soon enough and with the light of dawn enveloping the Nine Heavens, the guards at the gates of the capital were greeted with the sight of a handsome man dressed in black. The man smiled while his hands couldn’t help but straighten his sleeves and comb through his hair. The guards were creeped out.
Qiu Ling hadn’t any thoughts to spare for them though. Ah! He had flown to the Nine Heavens. What if the wind had tussled his hair? What if there was some wrinkle in his robes that he had overlooked? He couldn’t appear before his beloved like that! It was too late to make sure, though.
One of the guards had finally calmed his nerves and stepped forward, cupping his fists. “Longjun … What might bring you here?”
“I’m here to see my beloved!”

The guard instantly regretted stepping forward. He didn’t want to have anything to do with something like this! But now that he had delivered himself into this situation he could only go forward. “Uh … Who might that be?”
“Jing He!” Qiu Ling smiled while frowning. He didn’t think it should be needed to say it. After all, what else would he come here for if not to see Jing He? Then again, it felt really good saying his name and admitting that he was his beloved. Ah, ask me again!
The guard frowned. Jing He? Why did that name sound so familiar? He looked back at the other guard to get help but found that guy scowling and tightly gripping his weapon. Seeing him like that it finally dawned on him: This shameless bastard! He was actually talking about their Son of Heaven!
He turned back to Qiu Ling, scowling just like the other guard. “I’m afraid there is nobody like this here, Longjun. Please turn back!” What a joke! He wouldn’t let this guy in no matter what! How dare he have indecent thoughts about this holy person?!
Qiu Ling’s expression darkened and for the first time in a long while he took the pain of remembering an unimportant face. Tch, he’d find that guy later and beat him up when nobody saw! This lowlife was obviously having thoughts about his beloved!
“Oh? You want me to turn back?” His eyes blazed with fury. Nobody would separate him and his beloved!
Before the guard had any chance to respond Qiu Ling’s hand shot forward and had the god tumble several steps back. Qiu Ling snorted.
“Hmph. Better go and train a bit before you try to do something like this again!”
Then, he strode through the gates without as much as glancing at the second guard. Ah, he had no time. He had to go and find his beloved Jing He. But where should he find him?
He stopped and looked around. Mn, it seemed his beloved had said he’d spend his time with his father today? Then he’d certainly go to the Heavenly Emperor’s palace! Finally, with a direction in mind, Qiu Ling hurried to the palace he had hated until today. Now, it seemed like the most beautiful place in all the realms.
Unfortunately, this impression turned out to be a fallacy. Neither the Heavenly Emperor nor Jing He were there.
Qiu Ling instantly became depressed. Where was his beloved? He wanted to see him so badly! With no better idea at hand, he started to wander about. He had no idea that him more or less breaking into the Nine Heavens had already raised a fuzz among the guards. Instead, he just roamed about, trying to get an impression of this place. Mn, the capital of the Nine Heavens was actually looking quite good. As expected of the birthplace of his beloved!
Ah, the only thing that was missing to make this morning perfect was … Uh? Wasn’t that his beloved?
Qiu Ling stopped and blinked to make sure he hadn’t seen wrong. Indeed. That was his beloved, the Son of Heaven. Jing He, too, had stopped. He had just left his palace to go and visit his father but now he was suddenly faced with this person. He didn’t know what to do.
Qiu Ling wanted to run over but before he could take even one step the voice of a woman floated over.
“Longjun, how nice of you to come by. Now that you’ve seen my son, how about we have a short talk?”
Qiu Ling turned around warily. ‘My son’? So this was … his beloved’s mother? He found himself in front of a woman with a nice smile. She had donned a tasteful dress and her whole being exuded an elegant charm. Qiu Ling perked up. This woman really had the appearance of a mother. Mn, as expected of his beloved. Even his mother was such a great person!
The Heavenly Empress Bai Fen turned to her son and smiled. “Jing He, weren’t you going to your father? You can tell him that Longjun has come. I’m sure he’d like to see him later on.”
“Of course, mother.” Jing He turned to face Qiu Ling and nodded. “Longjun.”
“Mn!” Qiu Ling was too entranced to say anything else. Thus he could only watch his beloved leave.
Ah, how long would it take until they could finally marry? Still another day? Or maybe even two? Certainly, he couldn’t be expected to wait longer than a week?! No, impossible! A week was already the longest he’d be able to take. Certainly, Heaven couldn’t want to torture him that much.
Bai Fen repressed a smile at Qiu Ling’s dazed expression and gave a light cough. “Longjun, just standing here probably isn’t very appropriate. Why don’t you follow me to the gardens?”
“Sure!” Qiu Ling hurriedly followed her to the back of the palace in front of them. He felt that something was wrong, though. Why were the guards staring at him like this?
The Heavenly Empress went to a small pavilion that overlooked the flowers in the garden and a pond. She took a seat and motioned at the one on the other side. “Please.”
Qiu Ling didn’t even think and just did what she told him. So this was his future mother-in-law. Actually, he already liked her. She seemed really nice.
Bai Fen smiled again but didn’t say anything for a while and just studied Qiu Ling. Surprisingly, he just looked back at her. Bai Fen coughed. This wasn’t what she had expected. “Longjun, isn’t there anything you want to say to me?”
Qiu Ling gave her a brilliant smile in return. “You’re looking really pretty today, mother-in-law.”
His words left even the Heavenly Empress speechless. This man … was unexpectedly shameless. Well, that was good, too. Someone like that probably wouldn’t be too easily dissuaded from going after Jing He. There really was a possibility of him winning Jing He over. “You calling me mother-in-law … don’t you think it’s a bit early?”
“No? But … you’re not married. You’re not even engaged.”
Qiu Ling pursed his lips. “But I brought it up yesterday and I came to talk about the wedding today. It wouldn’t take that long, would it?”
Bai Fen looked away. So he really thought it would be so easy to marry her son? “How long do you intend to go after him?”
“What do you mean ‘go after him’? As I just said I came to talk about the wedding. As soon as everything is set, I’ll marry him.”
“Longjun, neither my husband nor I will assent to this.”
Qiu Ling straightened up. What was going on here? Why did this sound as if his mother-in-law didn’t want him to marry her son? This wasn’t right!
Bai Fen coughed again. The dragon king … looked at her as if she had tread on his tail just then. What had she said just now? It couldn’t really be that bad, right?
“You … don’t want to let us marry?”
The Heavenly Empress sighed. Ah, so he had misunderstood. “It’s not like that.”
“But —”
“Ah!” Bai Fen lifted a hand to interrupt him. “Please understand, Longjun. Jing He is our only child. Naturally, we won’t easily hand him over. My husband has high expectations of his future husband and I … I want that person to be someone my son can love wholeheartedly. If you manage to attain his heart, then you’ll gain my approval. And if you have my approval … you’ll have it easier gaining that of my husband.”
“So … you just want me to make him fall in love with me?”
The Heavenly Empress laughed. “We’ll see if you actually manage to do that.” In fact, knowing her son she already knew he’d have a hard time. Maybe he would never manage to do so. But if he really was serious about him and if he treated him well, then she didn’t mind lending her help later on. She wouldn’t tell him for now though. She really wanted to see him try on his own for a while.
Qiu Ling leaped to his feet, his expression decisive. “Don’t worry, mother-in-law! I’ll definitely make him fall in love with me in no time!”
Bai Fen smiled and stood up, too. “Good luck with that. Then you may go now.”
“Mn.” Qiu Ling turned around and walked away. After a few steps, he stopped though and hurried back to her. He gave her a bright smile, cupped his fists and bowed. “Thank you, mother-in-law, for giving me a fair chance! I promise you won’t regret giving your son to me!” Then, he really hurried away.
Bai Fen watched him leave and shook her head. She really wasn’t sure if this was a good or a bad thing. Most likely only time could tell.

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