RSH Stratagem 2: Holding a Council of Love (5)

When Qiu Ling returned to the Nine Heavens the next morning, he wasn’t let in and instead met with a higher number of guards than the day before. They weren’t as courteous anymore, either. After all, the story of how the dragon king had dared to have indecent thoughts about their Son of Heaven had already spread and most of the guards had a not so secret crush on their crown prince that they just didn’t dare speak about.
Unable to see his beloved, Qiu Ling threw himself into painting portraits of him for the rest of the day and the following night. He was sure that the Heavenly Emperor would calm down after a while and let him in again.
Unfortunately, when he returned to the Nine Heavens the next day he was still met with the same greeting and had to return to his own kingdom without having achieved anything. He hadn’t even been able to take a look at his beloved from the distance!
It couldn’t go on like this! He had to do something. But what? How was he supposed to make his beloved fall in love with him when he couldn’t even see him?
Qiu Ling frowned handsomely. He had no idea what to do. In that case … he had to ask for help!
He ran to the gate and waved one of the guards over. The man stumbled over and hurriedly dropped to his knees with his hands clasped in front of his chest.
“Your Majesty! What may your servant do for you?”
“Go and get me those guys.”
“Uh … those … guys? Who is Your Majesty talking about?”
“Er …” Qiu Ling frowned even more. What were they called again? “Fu … something.”
“Fu Min? Fu Heng?” the guard proposed.
“Yeah! Those two! And the others.”
The guard hesitantly looked up. “You mean … Qiang Wei and Yi Zan?”
“Mn! And the rest.” He still remembered that he was supposed to have six people at his beck and call for such things.
The guard’s lips twitched. “Your Majesty is talking about Xiang Yong and An Bai?”
“That sounds about right … Yeah, go inform all of them. I want to see them. Now.”
“Here?”
“Uh, no. Send them to that … uh, that place where they held those military discussions before.”
“Yes!” The guard hurriedly bowed deeper and then retreated. He definitely didn’t want to get something piled on top. This kind of giving a command … it was just too strange.
Qiu Ling didn’t bother thinking about it any longer. He grabbed everything he needed and then hurried over. Meanwhile, the guard went to inform the six men his king wanted to see.
When it was Qiang Wei and Yi Zan’s turn, the two exchanged a glance before they looked back at the guard in front of them. Qiang Wei rubbed his ear and leaned forward. “What did you say just now?”
The guard cleared his throat with an uncomfortable expression. He certainly didn’t want to play the messenger for these types of people! They were all strange! “His Majesty wishes to see you.”
Qiang Wei pointed at Yi Zan, then at himself. “Which of us?”
“Both.”
The two dragons exchanged another glance before Qiang Wei waved at the guard. “Alright, we’ll be right there.”
The man nodded, bowed and hurried away.
Qiang Wei turned to Yi Zan. “What could have happened?”
“No idea.”
“Maybe the demons attacked?” Qiang Wei lifted his brows but only got a doubtful look from Yi Zan. “Well, it could be a large-scale attack,” he defended his idea. “Maybe the demon king came over and brought all of his minions and thus His Majesty finally sees our worth and wants to ask us to fight alongside him instead of just cheering him on from the sidelines.”
“Even if that happened he wouldn’t ask for us.”
Qiang Wei sighed and followed his friend toward the palace. “That’s true. He’d probably just pick up his sword and hurry over himself. We’d probably just hear of it if he either won or died.” He sighed again. “Haish, it’s been so long since he became king. When is he going to become normal?”
Yi Zan just looked at him. What use was there in bringing up that word when talking about their king? He could certainly be described with lots of things but normal wasn’t one of them. This was the person they even had to remind of their respective names again when they saw him after a few days.
Just when Qiang Wei wanted to retort somebody hurried past them. Qiang Wei’s hand shot out and grabbed the person by the scruff of his neck. “Fu Min, where do you think you’re going?”
“Fuck, let go of me! I’m on an extremely important mission!”
Qiang Wei just lifted his brows. “Oh? Did you pick up some gossip again? Eh? Wait! Have you heard anything about His Majesty lately?”
“We’re on our way over right now,” came another voice from behind them.
Qiang Wei and Yi Zan turned around to find themselves in front of the disdainful look of Fu Heng. Seeing him, the little guy in Qiang Wei’s hands turned into a hedgehog.
“What are you doing here?!”
“I was asked over to His Majesty’s, too.”
“Eh?” Qiang Wei let go of Fu Min. “So he wants to see all four of us? Seems like something major really happened.”
Fu Heng nodded. “Maybe a war is coming.” His hand unconsciously lifted toward the broadsword he carried on his back.
Fu Min snorted. “War? You just don’t know His Majesty good enough. I bet this has nothing to do with the demons.”
“What else —”
“We should go.” Yi Zan interrupted Fu Heng’s retort and continued on toward the palace.
Qiang Wei hurriedly followed him. Whatever it was it should be important if their king actually asked all four of them over.
When they arrived at the palace and one of the guards brought them over to a room that was normally used for military discussions … Ah, no, he brought them to a room that had once been used for military discussions before they got a king that preferred to wage war on his own and didn’t care if any of his subjects followed him onto the battlefield at all. Anyway, when they arrived there were already three other people in the room.
The first two were An Bai and Xiang Yong. With them here, this really had to be something extremely important. After all, the six of them were the only ones who answered directly to the king but they had never been called over together. Actually, it was even rare for one of them to be called over. They mostly had to search the whole capital to even catch a glimpse of their king.
That was the other astonishing thing: The third person was actually their king and he was looking especially grim.
“What took you so long?” He frowned, oozing dissatisfaction. He didn’t have time to dilly-dally. His future marital bliss would depend on this, after all!
Qiang Wei and the others hurriedly sat down and waited for what their king would have to say.
Qiu Ling took a deep breath and straightened his shoulders, then, he adjusted his sleeves, making sure he was looking presentable. Otherwise, he couldn’t speak about this.
With an awe-inspiring air about him, he began to introduce the reason for this day’s gathering: “An extremely important matter has occurred that shall henceforth capture my whole attention and the six of you will support me with fixing this difficult problem.”
Qiang Wei and Yi Zan exchanged another glance while Fu Min and Fu Heng stared at each other. The way their king threw around words like ‘important’ and ‘difficult’ seemed to say that this was indeed about an upcoming war but … Why was he saying it so strangely?
They didn’t have to wait long for their answer. Qiu Ling placed a heap of scrolls on the desk and stared at them with a grim expression. Ah, it had been two days, eight hours and twenty-six minuted already since he met the love of his life.
He took up one of the scrolls and unfurled it, staring at the dark lines. With an earnest expression, he turned the scroll around and showed it to the men in front of him.
All six gaped at it with varying degrees of shock. This … Wasn’t this the Son of Heaven?!
Only Xiang Yong and An Bai who had accompanied the dragon king to the Heavenly Emperor’s birthday banquet had an inkling of what might be awaiting them. The other four were completely unprepared for Qiu Ling’s following words.
“Help me with making him fall in love with me.”

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