RSH Stratagem 3: Know Yourself And Know Your Beloved! (3)

Lying prone on the roof of crown prince Jing He’s palace Qiu Ling observed the surroundings. Mn, there were a lot of very romantic spots here. Just look at the garden or the little pavilion next to it. If he could meet with his Jing He there, then he’d certainly leave a good impression on his beloved!
Just then the door to the garden was opened and a person clad in a green robe stepped out. Qiu Ling held his breath. Ah! So beautiful! Just look at how the fabric hugged his waist! Or how his black hair caressed his back with each step!
Ah, he also wanted to hug him! He also wanted to caress him!
Qiu Ling got up and leaped from the roof, silently landing behind Jing He. Of course, he wouldn’t just hug him. After all, he had just been warned by Fu Min. But he had to use the time before An Bai could try anything well!
“Your Highness.”
Jing He gave a start.
“Ah! Your Highness!” Qiu Ling hurriedly grabbed his elbow and turned him around. “What is it? Aren’t you feeling well? Should I help you back inside?”
Jing He came face to face with the man that had already made trouble in the Nine Heavens twice. He instinctively wanted to retreat a step but the man still held onto his arm. “Longjun … No, thank you for your concern but I am well.”
“Mn, that’s good, that’s good.” Qiu Ling examined that beautiful face in front of him while Jing He lowered his gaze to the hand still on his arm. In fact, a certain someone had even grabbed his other arm by now and didn’t seem to want to let go.
“Longjun …”
“Yes? What is it? Just tell it to me and I will certainly do it!”
Jing He moistened his lips. He had to tell him that things couldn’t go on like this but he had to be careful. He couldn’t be too direct or this could likely influence the relationship between their two races. “Longjun, I thought a lot about what you said before and about what happened the last few days.”
“Really?” Qiu Ling stepped closer, his hands wandering to take Jing He’s into his.
The crown prince knitted his brows slightly but didn’t say anything. He had to explain everything to him slowly. “I am very honored that you regard me this highly.”
“It’s only natural that I would. You’re beautiful and kind and I couldn’t imagine anyone better suited to be my bride.”
Jing He’s lips moved but no sound came out. The things Qiu Ling said made it even harder for him to say what he had to. He took a deep breath and his head lowered even further. “Be that as it may I’m afraid it’s not that easy. You are the king of the dragon race while I am the crown prince of the gods.”
“Isn’t that good? Our races have been allies for a long time. Wouldn’t a marriage between us be something worth celebrating?”
The words got stuck in Jing He’s throat and his gaze flitted around, not knowing where to land.
“You don’t think so?” Qiu Ling slightly bent down, unhappy that his beloved wasn’t directly looking at him.
“There are many customs to be observed in our race. Customs that I think might be very different from what your race follows.”
Qiu Ling blinked. This somehow didn’t sound too well? “I … don’t know about that. But I’d be willing to learn them if that’s what you’re worried about.” He looked at Jing He’s hands in his and couldn’t help but stroke those graceful fingers. Mn, his skin was really …
Jing He jerked back and managed to wrest his hands from Qiu Ling’s grip. His cheeks were flushed red. “Longjun this … this is inappropriate!” He lowered his head again, feeling even more embarrassed. How could he have said that this so directly? Wouldn’t the dragon king feel slighted now? “I … I didn’t mean to … I’m sorry. Please accept my apology.”
Qiu Ling saw the flush across Jing He’s cheeks and couldn’t help but stare even more. This was so … so cute! He definitely couldn’t leave him alone! His Jing He was so vulnerable. Wouldn’t somebody bad think of harming him as soon as he turned around?
Qiu Ling gulped but forced himself to shake his head. This wasn’t what he should be thinking about! His beloved and he were having a very serious conversation right now. He had to prove to him that he was the kind of mature man he liked so that they could get married next week as planned!
“Your Highness …” Qiu Ling wanted to take a step forward but seeing how Jing He tensed up he stayed where he was. In fact, he pondered and took another step back even though his heart bled doing so. “There is nothing to apologize for. At least … not from your side. The one who should apologize is me. Back at your father’s banquet I … I was entranced by you. I didn’t think clearly and just made a move because I was afraid another man might beat me to the draw if I didn’t.
“Had that been in the dragon realm it wouldn’t have been a problem. Just as you said right now our races are very different. We dragons are a direct race. If you see someone you like, you’ll just tell him and maybe you’d get married the very same day. I didn’t consider that it is different for the gods. For that I am sorry. I regret having assaulted you like that but I don’t regret that I told you about my feelings.
“I don’t expect you to answer me right now and accept my proposal. I just hope that you will give me some of your time to prove to you that I am serious and that I am willing to better myself so that I’m worthy of you until you’re able to accept me as a potential spouse.”
Jing He’s gaze slightly lifted and his heart thumped. The dragon king was looking at him so earnestly … Maybe he should really give him a chance?
Seeing Jing He finally look at him Qiu Ling smiled. It seemed Fu Min had been right. His Jing He really liked mature men. He cleared his throat. “How about we start from the beginning again?”
“From the beginning?”
“Mn. I’m afraid I didn’t even introduce myself to you the last time. So, let me make up for that.” He bowed slightly before looking at Jing He with a brilliant smile. “I am the king of the dragon race. If it’s not against the customs of the gods, you might call me Qiu Ling.”
“That’s … it’s not really appropriate.” Jing He still smiled a little at him. This kind of Longjun was much easier to handle for him. At least now he knew how to react. He also bowed. “I’m honored to make your acquaintance. I am Jing He, crown prince of the Nine Heavens.”
“Mn.” Qiu Ling nodded. “Say, getting to know someone … Would it be customary for the gods to give a present?”
“It’s not required but it certainly can be done.”
“Then I … I brought something with me.” Qiu Ling looked at the spatial ring on his finger and carefully took something out, stepping closer to Jing He again although he made sure not to stand too close. This person really valued manners. Fu Min had been right.
“I coincidentally heard someone say that Your Highness likes plants so I brought one from the dragon realm over.” He handed the beautiful flower he had found over and tried to suppress the happy smile that threatened to make the corners of his mouth rise.
Jing He stared at the plant and gingerly took it from Qiu Ling’s hands. “Thank you very much. I … I will handle it with care.”
“Mn.” Qiu Ling nodded and straightened up.
Silence stretched between them after this exchange while both of them looked at the plant in Jing He’s hands.
Jing He lightly cleared his throat. “How about I plant it right now?”
“Of course! If I can help you …”
“Longjun … knows about plants himself?” Jing He tried not to look too skeptical. It was a nice gesture to bring him something he might like. A lot of thought had obviously been given to this present.
Qiu Ling considered saying yes for a moment but finally shook his head. “I’m afraid not.”
I thought so. Jing He turned and motioned toward his palace. “Then I should thank Longjun even more. It must have been difficult to decide on something.”
“Oh, I took that one because it looked beautiful just like …” You.
He stopped talking and they silently agreed not to dwell on the issue any further. Qiu Ling felt like he had made the wrong move again. Why was he so stupid? He finally had the chance to spend some time with his Jing He but he was putting it on the line because he didn’t think well enough about what he said. Thankfully, his beloved hadn’t complained yet.
Jing He actually wasn’t bothered too much by it. Qiu Ling had already said that the dragons were different. He couldn’t expect him to completely change his behavior in a day if it was something natural to them. It was already more than he could hope for that the dragon king had agreed to take a step back.
Jing He led Qiu Ling into his palace and searched for a flower pot. Under Qiu Ling’s watchful gaze he planted his present inside and even moved it to the window sill so the dragon king would feel that it was much appreciated.
Qiu Ling beamed. “If you like it, I could bring some more over.”
Jing He gave a reserved smile. “Thank you for the offer but I wouldn’t want to trouble you.”
“It’s not troubling at all.” Qiu Ling lifted his hand and reached out but stopped before he touched Jing He. With an awkward expression, he retracted it and brushed his hair back instead. “Uh, so, why didn’t you plant it in the garden?”
“Oh, it’s better if it isn’t planted too close to other plants. So letting it grow in a flower pot further away is better.”
“Mn, I see.” Qiu Ling watched Jing He turn around to him. Ah, he should reward Fu Min! His advice had really helped a lot! Jing He was willing to spend time with him and they could even talk. He should make sure that he followed Fu Min’s advice to the very last step! Uh, what had he written again? Something about not being too eager?
So … he should probably say goodbye now?
Qiu Ling felt sad just thinking about it but if it would enable him to see Jing He more often in the future, then he could live with it. “Your Highness, I came quite suddenly today so it’s probably not too convenient for me to stay around. Would it be alright for you if I came back tomorrow to see you again?”
Jing He’s gaze slightly lifted but he hurriedly lowered his head again. There shouldn’t be a problem with allowing at least this much, right? Hadn’t his mother said that he shouldn’t reject him outright and have a look at how things proceeded first? And his father probably couldn’t say anything. This man was the king of the dragon race, after all.
“If Longjun wants to come by tomorrow, then I would be honored to receive him.”
Qiu Ling almost would have grabbed his hands again but he held back at the last moment. His heart seemed to burst with happiness though. His beloved had allowed him to come to see him the next day! “Then I’ll see you again tomorrow!”
He nodded and turned around, hurrying back to the dragon realm while already longing for the sun to go down.

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