RSH Stratagem 8: … Don’t Take Chances with Your Rivals (5)

Qiang Yan picked the teacup that his nephew placed in front of him up with a smile and silently watched Jing He take his seat. He didn’t ask immediately what had happened and instead waited for him to bring the topic up on his own.

Jing He stayed quiet though. He gingerly held onto his own cup and tried to find the right words to start. This matter wasn’t easy for him to bring up. He definitely couldn’t talk about it with his father and he even had some inhibitions to bring it up in front of his mother. After all, this concerned his image and that of their race. And yes, it also concerned himself. This part was what made him even more reluctant to bother his parents about it. Unfortunately, that only left his uncle as the only person he could talk to this about. He didn’t know if that was the right decision though.

His uncle was the God of War, a seasoned soldier and General who had been bathed in blood on the battlefield. He had never heard him talk about matters of the heart. Would there really be any advice his uncle could give him? Maybe he had been too rash when he sent Mu Kun over and asked to meet him. Maybe he should’ve talked to his mother, after all.

Qiang Yan sighed when he saw his nephew’s lost expression. It seemed there was no use in waiting for Jing He to bring up whatever had happened last night. He cleared his throat and started to sip his tea. “I see you’ve taken out the spotted grass dew tea. I wouldn’t have thought you liked the taste. Isn’t it a little heavy for you?”

Jing He lowered his gaze to the cup in his hands. Yes, he didn’t like this tea too much but the dragon king had come by so often lately that he felt he should take his taste into consideration as well. The tea he normally drank certainly didn’t fit a man like that so he had changed to a flavor that would fit the dragon king better. Now that his uncle asked for a cup of tea, he had unwittingly taken out the same type. His uncle wouldn’t think that …

Qiang Yan raised his brows when he saw his nephew tug at his sleeve nervously. It seemed he had noticed something he shouldn’t? He smiled lightly and continued to sip his tea. Honestly, this wasn’t too bad. His nephew normally preferred those weak-flavored, flowery teas while this one was tarter. Ah, actually, this was more to his taste.

“I …” Jing He’s gaze lowered further and his fingers tightened around the cup. “I guess it would also be good to have a change of taste once in a while?”

“Oh. So it’s like that.” Qiang Yan nodded. It seemed his nephew didn’t want to admit to it. Well, in that case, he shouldn’t force him either. It was nice to see that there was some progress between those two at all.

Qiang Yan cleared his throat and finally got to the subject he was really interested in. “Mu Kun came to tell me that you’d like to visit. Was there something weighing on your mind?”

Jing He hesitated. Maybe he shouldn’t talk about it, after all. Maybe it would be better to pretend nothing had happened.

Qiang Yan reached over and lightly covered Jing He’s wrist, his fingers touching his pulse as if by coincidence. Mn, it wasn’t too fast so whatever had happened shouldn’t have stimulated Jing He too much but it was still not quite normal. Well, looking at his nephew’s fatigued face … He probably hadn’t slept much. “It’s alright. You can tell me. Your parents don’t need to know if you don’t want them to. It’ll be just like last year.”

Jing He nodded. Right, his uncle had never breathed a word about the incident with the heart after he took care of it. His parents still didn’t know. So it should be alright, shouldn’t it? “It’s …” Jing He spoke up but stopped himself. His cheeks flushed red and he looked away. How could he say it?

Qiang Yan stared at his nephew in a daze. Never mind that Jing He had blushed. His nephew was easily embarrassed, so that wasn’t strange but … his pulse was racing right now. Had he misjudged the situation? “Jing He, Longjun wouldn’t have done anything untoward to you, would he?” This was the only explanation he could imagine. It was in line with what the dragon king wanted and how he had behaved before and it was also something that would make his nephew make such a face.

“No.” Jing He’s cheeks flushed even further. “No, nothing of the like happened.”

Qiang Yan raised his brows. Then why are you looking as if some ruffian took advantage of you? Naturally, that thought couldn’t be spoken out loud. He cleared his throat and patted Jing He’s wrist. “Then it’s only half as bad as you imagine. So tell me, what is the matter? It certainly does have to do with Longjun, doesn’t it?”

Jing He is still hesitated but finally forced himself to nod. “Yes, it does.” His eyelids fluttered and he lowered his head further, retracting his hands from the teacup and folding them in his lap.

Qiang Yan’s lips couldn’t help but twitch. Even though Jing He had said that nothing had happened, it sure didn’t look that way. On the contrary, the way he looked right now would make one even more likely to assume that his chastity had been in jeopardy.

Jing He hesitantly spoke up. “Last night …”

Qiang Yan coughed. So much for the image in his head. Jing He seemed intent to provide him with more material to nurture the thought. If the person hearing this was his brother-in-law, he would’ve misunderstood his son a hundred times already and called for everyone in the Nine Heavens to pick up their weapons and storm the dragon realm.

Jing He twisted his fingers. “He came by last night and …”

Qiang Yan picked up his teacup and sipped his tea. Ah, he just wouldn’t think any longer until his nephew had finished the whole story.

“I was sitting in the study and … I was scarcely dressed.”

Qiang Yan choked on his tea. “Come again?!”

Jing He’s brows wrinkled in nervousness and his hands unwittingly reached up and tugged at his lapel, making it seem even more as if Qiang Yan’s thoughts had been the truth.

The God of War put his cup back on the table and hit his chest, clearing his throat before he turned back to Jing He. “Child, just get out with it! What did the dragon king do to you?”

Jing He glanced up at his uncle, taking in his dark expression. It seemed he was doing everything wrong these days. He forced his hands back down and took a deep breath. “He glared at me and then … he stormed out of the palace with a cold huff.”

Qiang Yan stared at his nephew in a daze. This ending to his story was quite unexpected. Well, it probably was just a misunderstanding though. The dragon king was obviously in love with Jing He. Nothing would have changed about that this fast.

So if he really saw Jing He not properly dressed, there was no way he would glare at him and leave. If anything, he would give him a smoldering look of love and maybe hurry away to hide his reaction. Although Qiang Yan did have to admit, that he wasn’t too sure about the latter. Considering how Longjun had behaved until now and what he knew about the dragon race, he could imagine that the dragon king would just proudly display his endowment in front of Jing He.

Qiang Yan cleared his throat. He wasn’t sure why the dragon king had been decent enough to leave but he was sure that there was nothing Jing He had to worry about. Saying so outright wasn’t an option though. He should first make sure what exactly Jing He was worried about. “So now, you’re afraid …”

Jing He twisted the hem of his sleeve and looked up. “Do you think Longjun will look down on us gods because of this?”

Qiang Yan was dumbfounded. Come again? “Jing He, just why do you think he would?”

Jing He got up from his chair and wandered over to the window, looking out at his garden. His fingers twisted around a strand of his hair. “He must have thought I was indecent …”

Qiang Yan stared at his nephew’s back and his lips curled into a smile. So that was what this was actually about. Jing He couldn’t live with the thought that Longjun’s impression of him might have worsened. The only question was what the reason behind that was.

Jing He had always paid special attention to how he was perceived. If people thought of him as indecent, he would naturally be anxious. So was that all that was to this or was he especially anxious now, that the person who might have this thought was the dragon king Qiu Ling?

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