Faced with new opportunities, Qiu Ling didn’t tarry and carved the pumpkins at normal speed.
Halfway through steps sounded from the entrance. Jing He hurriedly stood up. Naturally, Qiu Ling wouldn’t just wait on his seat. He stood up, too, and grabbed his beloved’s hand. Jing He wanted to take it back but Qiu Ling just smiled at him and even interlinked his fingers with his.
It seemed like his beloved wanted to protest at first but in the end, Jing He kept quiet and let Qiu Ling do what he wanted. He slightly shook his arm though so that his sleeve hid their hands.
A servant announced himself and stepped around the folding screen at Jing He’s cue. “Your Highness …” He wanted to say what he had come for but when he looked up he saw a man standing next to the crown prince. That seemed to be … “Longjun?”
Qiu Ling smiled and pulled his own sleeve a little to the side. Their pair of hands was revealed and Jing He lightly blushed. Hadn’t he hidden them on purpose?
There weren’t many servants in his palace since his father trusted neither men nor women in regard to him and he liked it quiet anyway. As a result, he wasn’t close to any of them. Having his private relationships revealed like this in front of strangers … he felt embarrassed. Why was Qiu Ling doing this?
Unfortunately, his lover didn’t register his mood. Instead, he even went as far as caressing Jing He’s hand right in front of the wide-eyed servant. Mn, his beloved’s skin was so smooth … He really couldn’t wait to taste every inch of it.
Jing He tried to ignore Qiu Ling while simultaneously keeping a straight face. “What was it you came here for?”
The servant gulped. “This one was sent over to … tidy up?” He furrowed his brows a bit. He also didn’t know what exactly this was about.
Jing He raised his brows and looked at Qiu Ling who was still happily smiling since he had succeeded in showcasing his love in front of someone. Thanks to his happy expression Jing He misunderstood.
So it turns out this is something Qiu Ling planned. He motioned at the table where the pulp of the pumpkins was still lying. “Then, please take it to the kitchens and have them prepare something for Longjun … and me.” He hurriedly looked away, his cheeks flushing a bit more.
With his beloved admitting to their relationship like this, Qiu Ling became even happier. He gently caressed Jing He’s hand, pulling him out of his thoughts.
“Oh, then …” The servant hurried to take the pulp.
When he was about to leave he turned back to Jing He. The crown prince gave a friendly smile making the servant swoon and Qiu Ling scowl.
Why was his beloved smiling at other men? He should teach that servant a lesson so he wouldn’t get cocky and think he had a chance at Jing He!
The servant’s good feelings instantly vanished under Qiu Ling’s glare. He bowed and then hurried away as if the ground was in flames. He didn’t even say anything.
Qiu Ling smiled smugly before pulling his beloved back to the table. “Let’s continue!” In a happy mood again, he continued to carve the pumpkins with Jing He on his lap.
A few hours later, Jing He found himself surrounded by a hundred glittering pumpkins that all seemed to look at him. His lover’s gaze was the most notable though. He was obviously waiting to be praised.
Jing He gave a smile and gently kissed his cheek again. “You did very well.”
“Mn.” Qiu Ling hummed in agreement. Don’t you think I’m awesome, my love? How about giving me another kiss?
He turned his head and offered Jing He his other cheek. The crown prince hesitated for a bit before he indeed cupped Qiu Ling’s face and did what his lover obviously desired. It was just a kiss on the cheek. Even if somebody saw, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Well, he had forgotten for a moment that Qiu Ling wasn’t very good with distinguishing boundaries. The dragon king hugged his lover closer and gently grabbed his chin. Jing He still had the time to look surprised for a moment before his lips were suddenly met with Qiu Ling’s.
He pressed against Qiu Ling’s chest to have him step back but his reaction was completely misunderstood. Qiu Ling just covered Jing He’s hand with his own and pulled him even closer. Ah, look at this! His beloved craved the contact with him so much that just kissing wasn’t even enough for him!
Outside in the garden, the Heavenly Emperor stared unbelievingly at the scene in his son’s palace. This … What was happening there? His pure, innocent son … was taken advantage of!
He stood up and wanted to march over when Qiu Ling stopped of his own volition. The Heavenly Emperor took a relieved sigh and squatted down in the flowerbed again. Thankfully, he couldn’t hear what was said inside.
“My love, let’s get married.”
Jing He’s lips parted but no sound came out. Qiu Ling had asked this often enough already. He had thought he was already a bit numb to it but unexpectedly his heart still pounded faster like it had done the first time Qiu Ling proposed. He didn’t know how to react.
He loved him but there was still his father. And considering how long gods and dragons lived they might not know each other good enough.
Jing He evaded his gaze. “What are we going to do with them now?”
Qiu Ling pursed his lips. He couldn’t help but feel a little dispirited. Why was his beloved always evading him when he asked? Couldn’t he just say yes already? Ah, but his Jing He was probably just shy. He’d accept sooner or later.
With that in mind, Qiu Ling’s smile returned and he put his chin on Jing He’s shoulder to look at the pumpkins together with him. “Well, we have to decorate your palace with them. So, let’s find the best spots.”
“Alright.” Jing He waited for Qiu Ling to let go so that they could start but nothing happened. His lover seemed like he wanted to continue sitting there for the rest of the day. “Qiu Ling? Didn’t we want to decorate the palace?”
“Mn.” Qiu Ling craned his neck and rubbed his cheek against Jing He’s before gently putting a kiss on his jaw. Ah, mortal festivals were too great!
Jing He took the initiative and pointed at the pumpkin Qiu Ling had carved last. “What about this one? I think it would fit very well next to the door to the garden?”
“Mn!” Qiu Ling nodded while his grip around Jing He’s supple waist tightened.
Jing He arched his back in surprise, falling even deeper into Qiu Ling’s embrace. For a moment, he just quietly stayed there, enjoying the warmth of Qiu Ling’s body. This day … he actually liked it very much. He saw Qiu Ling more or less every day anyway but this was somehow different. Trying something new with him was a special experience.
Jing He turned a bit in Qiu Ling’s arms and nuzzled up against Qiu Ling’s chest. He could hear his steady heartbeat and somehow, he just wanted to close his eyes and listen for a while. He knew he couldn’t do that though. “Qiu Ling …”
“What is it, my love?” Qiu Ling caressed Jing He’s back, content that his beloved was this cuddly right now.
“Those pumpkins are probably really heavy, aren’t they?”
Qiu Ling contemplated his answer for a while. Honestly, they seemed quite light. After all, those weren’t the normal pumpkins humans used but the heavenly kind that sparkled with a golden luster. They weren’t even half as heavy. Well, even the human pumpkins weren’t heavy to him. He was a dragon, after all.
He was thrilled about the opportunity to depict himself in a better light in front of his beloved though. “Mn, they’re really, really heavy. You shouldn’t try lifting one. Not even the small ones.”
“I thought so.” Jing He stroked Qiu Ling’s chest and looked up with a smile. “If that is so, then please be so kind and help me put them in the right places.”
Qiu Ling looked down at that hand and shuddered. He wanted to hug his beloved even closer but his pleading look completely defeated him. Ah, if his beloved needed his help, then he certainly would provide it! “Mn. Of course, of course.” Naturally, when Jing He asked for his help, he completely forgot that he had already shoved one of the pumpkins into his beloved’s arms upon his arrival.
Qiu Ling regretfully let go of Jing He and started to move the pumpkins to where he wanted them in lightning speed. He only noticed what he had done wrong when he finished with the last one.
Damn! He shouldn’t have said they were heavy! Then he could have given one of the heavier ones to Jing He and when his beloved struggled to keep moving it he could have swept in and held him gently in his arms, helping him with carrying the burden and displaying what a caring lover he was! Argh! How could he have missed out on this?!
With a defeated expression, Qiu Ling returned to Jing He’s side. He took his beloved into his arms listlessly … and instantly brightened up. Ah, it felt so good to hug him! What was missing out on one opportunity when there would be several more in the future? Soon enough they’d marry and then he’d spend each day of his life with him. There really was no reason to fret just now.