Fu Min didn’t leave for the Nine Heavens immediately. Instead, he first went down the corridor and knocked on one of the doors.
The rustling of fabric sounded from inside and finally, a slightly raspy voice could be heard. “Yes?”
“Xiang Yong, it’s me, Fu Min.”
“Oh. Come on in then.”
Fu Min pushed the door open and slipped into the room, not noticing that the door on the other side of the corridor was cracked open, a person peering out with a dark expression.
“Visiting Xiang Yong?” Fu Heng’s hands tensed, his claws digging into the door frame. At this time of the night, there weren’t too many reasons to knock on somebody’s door. Don’t tell him …
Fu Heng slipped out of his room and approached the door on the other side, putting his ear up against the wood. He’d rather be embarrassed about getting caught than not being able to prevent it if those two were thinking about getting married.
The snippets he could hear of the conversation inside made his nerves calm down though.
“It’s rather late already. What brought you here, Fu Min?” His voice had always had a slightly raspy quality to it but after being woken up in the middle of the night, it was even more prominent.
“It’s nothing much. Just that His Majesty is … well … He sent me to the Nine Heavens just now. I’m supposed to find out about some guy named ‘Lan Huang’ and I guess he might turn up dead sometime soon after I brought the information back.”
“Did something happen? Do you want to sit down and talk about it? How about some tea? Wine?”
Fu Min continuously shook his head but at least took a seat. “That’s why I came over. It was kind of hard to follow what he said but if I understood correctly, then he broke into the Son of Heaven’s palace in the middle of the night, surprised him while he wasn’t properly dressed and overheard something he shouldn’t.”
“Ah.” Xiang Yong sat down with a sigh and rubbed his brow. “I thought he would have learned by now.”
Fu Min shook his head. “Doesn’t seem like it. I just thought I should warn you before I head over. If the Heavenly Emperor hears about this latest escapade …”
“I’ll take An Bai to search for another present. In fact, we should prepare some more while we’re at it. Who knows when we’ll need the next one? Ah, why couldn’t he fall in love with another god? Did it have to be the Son of Heaven of all people?”
Fu Min pursed his lips in response. “Why did it have to be a god in the first place? He could have fallen in love with a dragon too. We also have lots of beautiful people.”
Xiang Yong looked at the blond dragon opposite him and nodded. Yes, there were beautiful people among the dragons. Unfortunately, things like this weren’t always about appearance. And they weren’t easy either. Wasn’t this person the best example for that? The person he truly liked … wasn’t it the one hiding in front of his door right now? But in the daytime, he always pretended it was different since he felt that his feelings weren’t reciprocated. And the recipient of these pretend-feelings …
Xiang Yong sighed again. He didn’t want to be caught in a lover’s tiff even though he had to say that it did feel good to have people assume he would be able to be a serious love rival to somebody. Which man wouldn’t feel flattered by that? He certainly did so he had never bothered to explain. Fu Min and Fu Heng would need to figure this out by themselves.
In front of the door, a certain someone furrowed his brows. Talking about beautiful dragons … There wouldn’t be a scene of staring deep into each other’s eyes in mutual understanding inside, would there?
Xiang Yong shook his head, abandoning his thoughts. “Well, there’s nothing we can do. His Majesty has fallen in love so we can only support him with all our might to make sure they’ll get together. I’ll handle the damage control. You can go and investigate.”
“Alright.” Fu Min got up and went to the door.
Xiang Yong cleared his throat, giving the person outside the room the time to retreat to his own chambers. This certainly wasn’t the moment to discuss just why Fu Heng would eavesdrop on a conversation Fu Min had with him. No, right now, they had to focus on handling His Majesty’s issues.
“Mn? What is it?”
“When you’re in the Nine Heavens … make sure you don’t add to the trouble. Tidying things up behind His Majesty is hard enough.”
“Of course! Don’t worry about it!” Fu Min grinned and slipped back out of there room. “I’d never add to the trouble. I’m extremely dependable.” With that, he rushed off to the capital of the Nine Heavens, starting his observation of crown prince Jing He.
Unfortunately … it was rather easy to add to the trouble with everything happening lately and what Jing He was about to do after he got up that morning, was bound to create further problems.
Jing He had hardly been able to sleep after Qiu Ling left with such fury. For the better part of the night, he had turned from one side to the other or stared into the darkness of his chambers. If not for fear of alerting Huang Lan and Mu Kun again, he might even have gotten up again. Only in the early morning hours did he finally get a bit of restless sleep. With the first rays of light, his eyes cracked open and he sat up in a daze.
He was only half awake and the first thing that came to mind was the furious gaze in those strangely familiar, beautiful eyes. Would he come by again?
Jing He turned to look at the windows that Qiu Ling often used to sneak into the palace but nothing could be seen of him. “Ah …” Jing He sighed and rubbed his face. Why was he feeling this restless? For a year, this man had bothered him, disturbed the quiet he loved, pulling him into one mess after the other. He should be happy if he didn’t come by again. So why …
He pulled his robe closer around his shoulder and lightly furrowed his brows. Well, maybe it was because of what he had seen. Appearing in front of him like this … He had thrown away any face he himself or the trueborn gods as a race had. Wouldn’t Longjun think badly of them now? Ah, he couldn’t leave things like this.
Jing He got up and went to freshen up, taking extra care to choose his robe for the day. If Longjun came indeed back to see him once again, he had to use the chance to make up for the bad impression he had left him with yesterday. Yes, he needed to … make the best possible impression on him.
He finally picked a peach-colored outer robe. Maybe in this … he would seem more innocent, subverting yesterday’s licentious impression. Putting it on above the white inner robe, he looked into the mirror, his brows still furrowing slightly. This wasn’t enough, was it? Maybe he should put on an overcoat too?
He sifted through his clothes again and picked out a green overcoat. He held it in front of his body. The color matched but … with this, the initial impression he had wanted to leave wouldn’t come about.
Jing He sighed and put the overcoat down again, instead picked out a lilac-colored coat. This one also fit the peach-colored robe but it was lighter overall. It shouldn’t impede his impression. In fact, it might work even better than just the outer robe. This way … wouldn’t he seem less … anxious?
He put the overcoat on and once again looked into the mirror. Mn, yes, this … should work out. Jing He smoothed out the sleeves and added a belt, making sure that the robe didn’t crease. He picked up the comb next and started doing his hair. He definitely couldn’t leave anything to chance today. Well, even if he prepared well, he couldn’t make Longjun appear just because he wanted him to. That at least would be up to fate.
With that thought, he got up and stepped out of his palace, sending Mu Kun to his uncle’s palace to make sure he had the time to receive him. Ah, he couldn’t help but dread just what his uncle’s opinion on this would be.