RSH Stratagem 8: … Don’t Take Chances with Your Rivals (1)

Qiu Ling returned to the dragon realm in a great mood. Ah, he felt that he and his beloved were on the right way to eternal bliss. It couldn’t take much longer for them to become a real couple and finally marry! Ah!

Qiu Ling fell down on his bed and stared at the ceiling. Even though quite a bit of time had passed, he felt as if he could still feel Jing He’s hand in his and smell his sweet, flowery scent. Back when he had held him and jumped onto that tower, Jing He’s hair had brushed his hand for a moment. It … really was just as soft as it looked. No, actually, it was even softer than he had imagined. Mn, he was a lucky man to have had the good fortune to feel it once. Now … he only needed to earn the right to touch it whenever he wanted.

Mn, it shouldn’t be too hard, should it? He had already waited a year and showed his beloved that he was very earnest about him and even willing to learn about the gods. Shouldn’t that count? Shouldn’t he be really moved? His persistence, his … willingness. Ah, what else did he want? Why couldn’t he promise to marry him already? Hadn’t he also had a lot of fun today?

Qiu Ling sat up again and stared at that pair of hands that had held Jing He for a few mere moments. He couldn’t help but think that … he should have jumped up there slower. Then he could have enjoyed the time with his beloved a little while longer. Ah, just a few more seconds …

Qiu Ling closed his eyes and hummed. He really, really, really wanted to spend every single day with him like this. But there was no way he could, was there? Mn, he still needed to get closer to him. But … how?

Qiu Ling got up and walked to the window, wistfully looking at the moon hanging up there. He really … wanted to see him.

Qiu Ling stared at the bright stars that twinkled in the darkness and the big, round moon right between them. The light in the darkness, that one bright ray illuminating everything … It was beautiful and enchanting, the greatest sight to behold.

Qiu Ling opened the window, jumped outside and left the dragon realm. Soon enough, he found himself in front of a very familiar window. Right now, it was closed though and everything inside the palace was quiet. Mn … how dangerous. What if something happened?

Qiu Ling quietly opened the window and peered inside. There was actually a light burning but his beloved had closed the doors between the rooms that normally stood open to let the palace seem more spacious. Now, the study that otherwise seemed like part of the heart of the palace was an enclosed room that couldn’t be looked into.

Well, he didn’t mind. Qiu Ling went over and stared at the door. He really … really wanted to open it too and watch him sit there in the twilight at work.

Inside the room, Jing He stopped with the brush in hand, his cheeks flushing pink. Ah. Had one of the guards noticed that he stayed up late and even come in to remind him that he shouldn’t be up anymore?

He hurriedly put the brush down and hid the scroll he had just been writing on. He really didn’t want anyone to see those sentimental words. He straightened the sleeves of the robe that he had draped over his shoulders. “Huang Lan, is that you?”

Huang Lan? Qiu Ling furrowed his brows. Who was Huang Lan? And why would his beloved expect him in the middle of the night? It seemed … he had to find out some things first.

Jing He inside the room got up from his chair. Even if it wasn’t Huang Lan but Mu Kun instead, shouldn’t he answer? He gathered the coat around him and went to the door, pushing it open with some worry in his heart.

The first thing he saw was a broad chest covered by black fabric. He gazed upward and finally saw the handsome face that had lingered in his thoughts for the past hours and kept him awake. “Long … Longjun.” He reached for the overcoat again and made sure it still covered his shoulders. He was still wearing an inner robe below it but … he had already taken off his outer robe. He definitely couldn’t let Longjun see him like this.

Qiu Ling watched Jing He’s expression that seemed a bit scared and somehow … caught? His thoughts couldn’t help but turn to darker ideas. He had been going after Jing He for a year now but nothing seemed to have worked. His beloved was always polite but never more than that. They didn’t seem to make much progress. Could it be … Was this the reason? Unbeknown to him, there had already been another man who managed to find his way into Jing He’s heart? Somebody his beloved would stay awake for in the night, and greet while dressed this lightly? Maybe they had even agreed to meet to …

His brows furrowed further. He took in the way Jing He’s fingers curled into the fabric of the coat. Below that … below that … He took a labored breath, barely holding back from wresting the fabric from those slender shoulders. He wanted to know but … but not like this!

Qiu Ling huffed and turned around, leaving the palace in a hurry. He had to do something! If what he thought was true, then … then …

He touched his chest, curling his fingers into his robe very much like Jing He had done before. He wouldn’t accept this! His beloved couldn’t like anyone but him! He just couldn’t! He had fought for him for a year. There was no way his beloved could just fall in love with somebody else.

With that thought, he hurried back to the dragon realm to wake up Fu Min. He needed somebody to find out just who that Huang Lan was! And then … if worst came to worst, he’d kill him! Yes, he’d just make sure that he wasn’t a danger to his relationship with his beloved any longer. He had to make sure.

Back in the palace, Jing He stared at the window from where Qiu Ling had left. His heart jumped madly, taking his breath away. His vision dimmed and finally, he dropped to the ground with trembling legs.

“Your Highness!” The two guards from the gate stormed in, their eyes searching around the room but they couldn’t see anything.

One of them went to check the other rooms while the other one ran to Jing He’s side to make sure he was alright. “Your Highness, you …”

Jing He lowered his head and gently touched his temple as if he had just experienced a bout of headache. “I’m alright. I merely … I think I merely stayed up too late. Huang Lan, why don’t you help me back to bed? I … I’m feeling a little weak.”

“Sure.” Huang Lan very carefully grabbed Jing He’s hands and pulled him back to his feet. He didn’t even dare to put an arm around his waist and just continued to hold one of his hands while he step by step accompanied him to the bed, making sure that he didn’t stumble until Jing He finally sat on the edge of the bed. “Are you sure you’re alright, Your Highness?”

“Mn. Thank you, Huang Lan. I should go to sleep now. Would you mind turning off the light in the study?”

“I’ll do that. Good night, Your Highness.”

“Good night.” Jing He waited for the two of them to leave before he took off the coat and put it to the side, finally lying down and pulling the blanket over him.

He couldn’t sleep though. In his mind, he continued to see Qiu Ling’s gaze and the naked anger inside it that seemed to burn him alive.

Ah, just what … had he done wrong for this man to suddenly look at him like this? Could it be … Longjun had been enraged by the way he looked with just the coat draped over his inner robe? Had he thought that … he seemed indecent? If that was so, then he had probably lost all previous affection. He wondered why … that made him feel a little reluctant.

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