Seeing Qiu Ling’s blank look Jing He folded his hands in front of his chest and looked ahead at his father’s palace. “Legend has it that there once was a river originating in the High Heavens that flowed through all the immortal and mortal realms until finally ending in the sea in the underworld.
“The High Heavens are where everything is destined. So in a sense, this is the place where life begins. The immortal and mortal realms are where life takes place and finally, it ends in the underworld. So this Da He river accompanies every living being from beginning to end.”
“I’ve never seen that river.”
“Mn. It’s also said that the river was later on divided so now all that’s left are rivulets if one compares them to the original Da He.”
“And … that is why this festival is being held?”
Jing He nodded. “Yes. It is a festival that for one, worships Heaven as the one giving life. It also celebrates the twists and turns of life and finally, it acknowledges that everything will come to an end before something new begins.” He sighed and glanced back at Qiu Ling. “For most people, it is a festival they use to look back at the previous year and imagine what might come in the following one. Originally, the meaning was much broader.”
“Oh. Most likely, not many people know about that.” Qiu Ling rubbed his cheek. He had listened to Jing He when he talked to An Bai. Back then, he had also just mentioned this reason for the festival and he had believed that that was all to it. Who would have known there was more to it? Why didn’t he talk about that with An Bai?
Eh? Qiu Ling lowered his hand. Could it be … Did this mean Jing He was rejecting An Bai’s advances? Did he want to say that he was much more important to him than An Bai so he told him the real story while An Bai only got the new one? Ah, so his beloved actually requited his feelings! He was probably just too shy to admit it and too nice to harshly reject An Bai. Mn, he should help him out with that sometime later.
Jing He had no idea what the person next to him was assuming and continued with the previous thought. “Yes. Those old legends have bee forgotten by many. It is quite strange. Even though a lot of time had passed, one would have thought that at least those stories about Heaven would be remembered. After all, our races’ fate is closely tied to him.”
Qiu Ling nodded absent-mindedly.
This time, Jing He also stopped talking, his thoughts drifting in another direction. Heaven … Tian … This kind of person, he couldn’t understand how the immortal races were able to forget about him.
He lifted his gaze to the sky. That person … should still be up there in the High Heavens, shouldn’t he? A true immortal, bound to the fate of all three thousand higher, middle, and lower realms. A sovereign, a leader, a lover. This truly was someone everyone should look up to.
When they reached the square in front of the Heavenly Emperor’s palace, Qiu Ling looked over and was met with a slightly lost gaze that Jing He directed at the sky. His heart jumped. Could it be … Was his beloved lost in thoughts of their future?!
“Jing He.” He reached over, grabbed him and pulled him over in a single motion.
“Ah!” Jing He was rudely awakened from his thoughts. He almost lost his balance and instinctively reached out, grabbing onto Qiu Ling’s robe. His fingers curled into the fabric and his weight rested on the arm Qiu Ling had snaked around his waist.
He panted and his heart jumped madly. He lifted his gaze to Qiu Ling’s eyes and suddenly, even the remaining strength seemed to leave his body. His fingers unclenched and only pressed lightly against Qiu Ling’s body. It was only the arm in his back that held him upright. Jing He took a trembling breath but still didn’t manage to look away from those dark eyes. It was as if they had taken him captive and shackled him, forever holding onto him.
Qiu Ling gazed back at him quietly. At this moment, he really seemed like the mature person he pretended to be. Inwardly though … his thoughts raced. Or maybe it would be more fitting to say that they were playing ping-pong.
Right now, the two of them were extremely close. Jing He’s body pressed against his, their breath mixed, and there was obviously even a spiritual connection between them. Qiu Ling couldn’t help but feel that … this was too suitable a situation to kiss his beloved!
Ah, he just had to lean down a few centimeters and maybe his beloved would even crane his neck to meet him halfway and then their lips would touch and they would melt into each other. His beloved would slowly close his eyes while his hands rubbed his chest. Maybe they would travel upward and Jing He would hold onto his shoulders or maybe he would encircle his neck with his arms and cling to him like that?
Ah, but maybe that would be too much for his beloved. No, he was such a gentle and refined person. Most likely, he’d shyly take down his hands and maybe tug at his belt or something to signal him that he wanted him to come even closer?
Naturally, he would give in to his beloved’s demand and pull him closer. He would wrap him in his arms and engulf him in his scent, until only the warmth of his chest, the touch of his lips, and this smell of his body remained. Ah, he’d be his beloved’s whole world!
Qiu Ling inwardly scoffed at himself. What was he even thinking?! His beloved was precisely such a gentle and refined person. Even though he was obviously very much in love with him already, he wouldn’t go that far yet. No, no, if anything … if anything his beloved would shyly lower his gaze and wait for him to make the first move. That meant he should still lean down and then give him a short kiss on the lips. Ah, it wouldn’t be as all-consuming as he’d like but it was alright. His beloved still needed a bit of time. Just tasting his lips and letting Jing He taste the sweetness of their kiss was enough for now. He shouldn’t be too greedy. No, he should —
Someone yanked his arm and his beloved was pulled out of his embrace. Qiu Ling jerked back to attention. Who?! Who had dared —
Oh. Qiu Ling barely held back from punching the other person in the face. So it turned out the other person was his father-in-law. Ahem, mn, in that case …
Qiu Ling nodded and gave a brilliant smile. “Father-in-law! We were just coming over to your palace to give our greeting!”
“You! I dare you to call me father-in-law again!”
Qiu Ling blinked uncomprehendingly. “Father-in-law?” Where was the dare in this? Wasn’t it normal?
Jing He looked to the ground. His cheeks had flushed pink and he didn’t dare speak up. How come his father just had to leave the palace when something like this happened? Couldn’t he have come a little sooner when they had still been walking quietly next to each other? Or maybe even before that when they had politely conversed … Everything was better than seeing them at such a moment!
He glanced at his father’s face but looked down again when he saw that it had turned red in anger. Well, Qiu Ling’s answers weren’t helping in calming him down. Jing He knew he should say something but right now, his mind was blank. He could only think of that pair of eyes. How could he have been that mesmerized?
“You!” The Heavenly Emperor pressed his son to his own chest and pointed at the dragon king with his other hand. “What kind of shameful thing did you want to do to my son?!”
Qiu Ling still blinked cluelessly and considered whether he should tell his father-in-law about how he had wanted to kiss Jing He but something told him that wouldn’t be a good idea so he kept quiet in the end.
Unfortunately, that didn’t help to calm the Heavenly Emperor down. Instead, his hand started to tremble. “You really think I wouldn’t dare do something to you, don’t you? Let me tell you! You’re wrong! Who cares if you’re the dragon king? If you dare to have any immoral thoughts about my son, I—”
“Father!” Jing He hurriedly spoke up and grabbed his father’s arm. “Father, please, calm down. It’s not what you think it is.”
Rong Su didn’t feel comforted by his son’s words at all. He had eyes! Naturally, he had seen what had happened. Thinking that his precious son even wanted to shield this scoundrel that had taken advantage of him … He should really challenge this guy to a duel! Mn, it might be better to get his brother-in-law to do that though.
Jing He saw that his father wasn’t placated at all and hurriedly continued. “Father, actually, you should rather thank Longjun. You know just now, I … I slipped and almost fell. Thankfully, Longjun was there and paid better attention than me. He caught me and helped me up again.”
Rong Su stared at his son unbelieving. This … What was happening here? Was his son … lying?! Ugh! To think this dandy had actually bewitched him enough to even make him lie to his own father! This was unacceptable! Truly unacceptable!
Before he dealt with that guy, he had to make sure his son understood though. “Jing He, my dear son, there’s no reason for you to lie for him.”
“I … I wouldn’t dare lie to you, father.” Jing He lowered his head while his cheeks flushed in shame. Indeed. He shouldn’t lie to his father. And normally, he wouldn’t. Maybe he wouldn’t utter his true thoughts but he wouldn’t have outright lied like this up till now. Why was he suddenly doing this now that Longjun had stepped into his life?
The Heavenly Emperor frowned. He also didn’t believe his precious son would lie to him but … “But he held onto you for so long! I just stepped out when he pulled you close and … and then …”
“Ah.” Jing He glanced at the perpetrator. “Longjun must have been worried that I hadn’t found my footing again yet so he held onto me a bit longer. He certainly had only my best interests in mind.” He looked at Qiu Ling for support.
The dragon king nodded eagerly. Inwardly, he couldn’t help but rejoice. So it turned out that in his beloved’s mind, he was such a great person who would do nothing for their own benefit and only look out for the one they loved! Truly too great! It seemed his efforts in the last year hadn’t been in vain. Like this, it shouldn’t take much longer for them to get married. Maybe … Ah, maybe they could even get married right after the Da He festival!