Three days later, a certain dragon king appeared in front of the crown prince’s palace especially early. This time he neither barged in uninvited nor did he secretly sneak in. Instead, he waited in front of the main door like a sane person, making the two guards in front eye him warily.
Just what was this guy planning?
Actually, it wasn’t too hard to figure the answer to this question out. Today was the Da He Festival and Jing He was currently inside preparing himself. Naturally, Qiu Ling was waiting for him to take part in the festival together.
Jing He might not have invited him to celebrate together but he didn’t feel that it was too much to invite himself. After all, his beloved had clearly thought about it! This was just fulfilling his innermost wishes without requiring him to say anything. Ah, he was such a good lover!
The gate of the palace finally opened and Jing He stepped outside.
“Your Highness!” Qiu Ling perked up and his lips curved into a smile. Ah, his beloved was so beautiful! Today, he actually wore a deep green robe with a white floral pattern embroidered on it. The crown holding his hair was equally green with a white ribbon lining the edge. Mn, truly too beautiful! He wanted to go over and sweep him up into his arms at once!
Jing He stopped and looked up at his unexpected guest. “Longjun?” What was he doing here?
“Mn!” Qiu Ling hurried over and reached out. Just before he took Jing He’s hands, he stopped though. Uh … right, he wasn’t supposed to touch them. He cleared his throat and took his hands back, clenching them in his sleeves so he wouldn’t do anything he shouldn’t. “I heard today was the Da He Festival and Your Highness likes to celebrate it so …”
“So Longjun wanted to celebrate with me?” Jing He motioned to the path in front of his palace. “Then why don’t we go? The festival will begin in front of the Heavenly Emperor’s palace. It’s still some time until then but I wanted to go there first to greet my father.”
“Mn! Sure!” Qiu Ling followed him down the path, his heart beating wildly. Ah, he could hardly believe it! He would spend the whole day with his beloved. Mn, and it was even on such an important day. This would certainly be a fond memory that would make them become closer! And people would see it. Which was good. It would certainly remind those stupid men in the Nine Heavens to stay away from his beloved. Ah, he had really had such a great idea!
Jing He silently walked towards his father’s palace. He could feel Qiu Ling glance at him every few steps but didn’t know what to say. Just a few days ago, he had talked about the Da He Festival with Scholar An Bai. Now, the dragon king suddenly came by. It really made him wonder what the Scholar had told him but he didn’t dare ask.
Qiu Ling waited for Jing He to say something but when nothing happened, he stepped closer. “Your Highness …”
“Mn?” Jing He glanced over but the dragon king had already fallen silent again. “Longjun, what may be the matter?”
“Uh …” Qiu Ling looked up at the sky. Yeah, what was he supposed to say now? Actually, he had just wanted to hear him talk. Jing He’s voice was so nice. It was a shame he always kept quiet. Not that he didn’t want to talk himself. If Jing He just wanted to listen, that was also good. As long as they spent time together, he didn’t mind. Ah, he really wanted to hear him talk though …
“Longjun?” Jing He couldn’t help but prompt him again.
“Mn?” Qiu Ling turned to him and blinked. “What is it Your Highness wants?”
Jing He stopped walking. Huh? Hadn’t it been Longjun who addressed him first? How come it suddenly sounded as if he was the one who wanted to speak to Longjun? Even though he thought so, he would never utter such words. Jing He resumed his steps and lowered his gaze to the ground. “I was thinking that I remember Scholar An Bai saying that the Da He Festival isn’t celebrated as seriously in the dragon realm as it is in the Nine Heavens. I am honored to have Longjun accompany me nonetheless.”
Qiu Ling nodded. “Mn. If it’s important to you, it’s important to me as well. If there’s something else you’d like to celebrate, you can tell me. I’ll hurry over at once!”
Jing He smiled and nodded. “I will. Mn … I heard the dragons celebrate their kings’ crowning anniversary. Longjun is beloved by the dragons. Surely the ceremony honoring you would be worth seeing?”
“Do you want to see it?” Qiu Ling whirled around and this time, he didn’t manage to hold himself back in time and grabbed Jing He’s hands, his eyes sparkling.
Jing He was startled and unwittingly looked up at those dark eyes. For a moment, he just looked into them, unable to turn his gaze away. In all the years, had anyone ever come this close to him? Had anyone ever dared to behave like this in front of him? And his mother wanted them to marry …
Jing He finally lowered his gaze to their hands. “If Longjun wants me to … then maybe I’ll come visit some time.”
“Some time?” Qiu Ling leaned forward, his breath brushing Jing He’s face, making him lower his gaze even further.
“Mn. I don’t know when Longjun’s crowning anniversary will be. And …”
“Yes?” Qiu Ling tilted his head, trying to look into Jing He’s eyes. Ah, his beloved had such beautiful eyes! He really couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t show them more often.
“I’ve only recently come of age. I doubt my father would like me to leave the Nine Heavens anytime soon.”
“Eh? But won’t you have to leave when you marry?”
Jing He glanced up. What was this supposed to mean? It wasn’t like he was about to get married, was he?
Qiu Ling blinked. “Or … could it be your father …”
Jing He raised his brows. What about his father? “Longjun’s meaning is …”
“He wants his son-in-law to move in with you?”
Qiu Ling furrowed his brows and caressed the back of Jing He’s hand with his thumb, contemplating the matter. Finally, he looked up again. “Don’t worry! I don’t mind doing so! Your father is important to you and if it’s so important to him, we can live here first. Your palace is also nice and big enough too. There shouldn’t be any problems.”
“Mn?” Qiu Ling raised his brows.
Jing He shook his head in response. “It’s nothing.” He smiled and motioned down the path. “Should we continue?”
Qiu Ling looked over to where the Heavenly Emperor’s palace stood. Ah, he would have liked to spent more time alone with his beloved but he didn’t mind going to greet his future father-in-law together. He nodded and pulled Jing He with him, still holding onto his hand.
Jing He glanced at him, his thoughts wandering. Despite not reacting to his advances much in the past year, Longjun still thought of marrying him. In fact, he even seemed to think of them marrying as a matter of fact. To be this assured … This man truly had a lot of confidence.
Jing He couldn’t help but glance over again. Actually, thinking about the way he had behaved up until now, he couldn’t help but admire him. Once he decided on something, he wouldn’t give up. He was sure he would realize his aims. He didn’t waver at all. That truly was something not everyone could do.
Qiu Ling looked over and raised his brows. His beloved was looking at him but he didn’t say anything. Had he done something to annoy him? He thought back to his previous behavior and felt that he had been mature enough. Then maybe … “Are you alright?”
Jing He nodded. “Yes. It’s nothing.” He looked up at Qiu Ling and smiled. Regardless of what would happen in the future, he should try to better the relationship between them. “Does Longjun know about the Da He Festival’s procedure?”
Qiu Ling blinked. Uh? It seemed … he had forgotten about that?