In the end, Qiu Ling didn’t get to beat up Fu Min but he didn’t care too much. That guy might not have found out anything useful for him and had even given him the wrong information but at the very least, he now knew his future uncle-in-law. That was a good thing. Although he still didn’t know about that Huang Lan.
Thinking of that, Qiu Ling furrowed his brows. That Huang Lan … Who knew who he was? Maybe there was a slight chance that things weren’t as they seemed? Even though there hadn’t been somebody misinforming him like with his beloved’s uncle, it could still be that there was some other reason why his beloved had thought that that guy would come by in the middle of the night while he was dressed like that. Or maybe it wasn’t that he had anticipated this, maybe he had feared this possibility instead!
Qiu Ling straightened up and his eyes sparkled. With how beautiful his beloved was, it was a given that there would be many men chasing him. But maybe his beloved was already requiting his feelings so he wasn’t very happy about any of these men. He might even be frustrated because they tended to run over to his palace to bother him.
Maybe when he had been sitting there with his outer robe only draped over his shoulders because it was a warm night and he wanted the breeze to cool his body, he had heard footsteps outside and thus wondered if maybe this was one of the men that was chasing him. Maybe when he called out to this person, it wasn’t because he wanted to invite him in but it had instead been because he wanted to chase him away!
Qiu Ling leaped down from the beam where he had been sitting and rushed across the room, finally leaving the palace again. After he beat up Fu Heng, he had shut himself in, trying not to think about what his beloved might think of him now that he had made such a ruckus in the Nine Heavens. But since had now figured out what had happened, there was no need to continue being conflicted. Since his beloved was unhappy about these men chasing him because he liked him, there was no reason why he shouldn’t go over.
Even if his beloved was still angry, he should still go. After all, they already hadn’t seen each other for a whole day. And yesterday, they had only seen each other for a short moment after Jing He left his palace with his uncle. That certainly wasn’t enough!
Justifying his behavior like this, Qiu Ling rushed over to the Nine Heavens, sneaking in again this time, evading the Heavenly Guards and finding a good spot on the roof of his beloved’s palace.
Qiu Ling looked at the garden and his expression lit up. Ah, there he was! And he was looking so beautiful! Today, his beloved was wearing and light purple robe that he had never seen before. The belt was embroidered with a wave pattern of silver thread. The rest of the robe was unembellished, although the second layer peeking out from below it was also embroidered at the lapel. Mn, very beautiful! And what was it that his beloved was wearing in his hair? Was it a silver hairpin? It really looked good! Although …
Qiu Ling scrunched up his face and opened his spatial ring. He had thrown some things in there but he couldn’t find anything nice to gift his beloved. Ah, maybe he should also try to find some jewelry or something. If he gifted his beloved a hairpin, then his beloved would be able to pin up his hair with a hairpin given by him. Wouldn’t that be really romantic?
Qiu Ling jumped down from the roof, quietly sneaking up on Jing He. Since he didn’t have any jewelry he could give him for now, he should give him something else. He trailed after Jing He while his beloved quietly watered the plants and had a look around. There! There was a little pale violet flower that would look really great with the robe.
Qiu Ling stepped even closer and finally slid the flower into Jing He’s hair.
Jing He tensed and glanced over his shoulder, his eyes widening at Qiu Ling’s sight. “Long… Longjun.” Was he seeing things? With what had happened yesterday, he had feared that this man wouldn’t come back anytime soon. But it seemed he had worried without cause.
“Jing … Your Highness!” Qiu Ling almost reached over to take his hand but finally remembered that he couldn’t do so. Maybe he had already been too forthright yesterday. He clasped his hands behind his back and gave a dry cough. “Uh, I’m sorry for not staying any longer yesterday.”
Jing He looked at him and finally lowered his gaze. “There’s no need to apologize, Longjun. I was happy that you came to see me even if it was only for a short moment.” Jing He looked down even further, his cheeks flushing pink. Had he just gone too far? To be honest, he had been immensely happy. All his previous worries had suddenly seemed ridiculous. He had felt as if a burden had been taken from his shoulders. Only when the dragon king didn’t come back later on and he didn’t know whether he would visit him again today, had he started to worry again. But now that Qiu Ling was back he didn’t mind anymore. It seemed that whatever the reason was, all of this truly had been a misunderstanding. It wasn’t that Longjun had any bad impression of him.
Qiu Ling beamed. His beloved had been happy?! This had to prove his thoughts! His beloved really liked him a lot and was just too shy to admit it! Well, this was actually a given. It had been over a year already. This was much longer than he had intended in the beginning. It was alright that his beloved had wanted some more time but by now, he should definitely have fallen for him, shouldn’t he?
Qiu Ling shifted closer, looking at the crown prince with a gentle gaze.
Jing He couldn’t help but glance up at him. Seeing him that close, his cheeks flushed even more. He had thought that they had already established that they couldn’t get too close but it seemed that wasn’t the case. Still, now that nobody was around, he couldn’t bring himself to move back. He just lowered his gaze again and waited.
Qiu Ling reached out as if he wanted to brush through Jing He’s hair. In the end, he stopped just short of it though. Ah, right, his beloved didn’t like it when he just touched him. It seemed he couldn’t do so. Furthermore, there was still another, more pressing matter.
Qiu Ling took his hand back and turned to the flowers, fiddling with the leaves of a blue one. “Say … You wouldn’t know somebody by the name Huang Lan, would you?”
Jing He glanced over and then also turned to the flowers, tugging at his sleeve. “Huang Lan of the Heavenly Guards?” Why was he asking?
Qiu Ling’s hands stopped. The Heavenly Guards? Ah! Could it be that this Huang Lan was the guy that had dared to hug his beloved before?! Hadn’t he already sent that Fu Heng several times to go and beat him up? Why was he still bothering his beloved?! Could it be that the message still hadn’t been driven home yet?
“That … Has he been bothering you?”
Jing He couldn’t help but turn to blankly look at the dragon king. “No. Why would Longjun think so?”
“That’s … He didn’t? Then … What’s your relationship?”
Jing He looked at him in a daze and his eyes suddenly widened. Wait! Two days ago … when he had sat in the study and heard something, hadn’t he thought that it was Huang Lan? He had said his name, hadn’t he? Could it be that … Had Longjun heard him say this name and assumed that he had been expecting someone? That he had been expecting a man to visit him that late at night?
His cheeks reddened further and he looked away, taking a trembling breath. “Longjun …”
Qiu Ling couldn’t help but furrow his brows. Why was his beloved looking like this? Could it be that he had gotten it wrong? Was his beloved actually interested in this Huang Lan guy?
Jing He took another breath and turned back to Qiu Ling. “Longjun, you wouldn’t have thought that Huang Lan and I …” He stopped and turned away, inconspicuously touching his chest. Why was his heart beating this crazily?
Qiu Ling moved closer and reached up, fiddling with the flower he had put in Jing He’s hair before. “You don’t?”
Jing He shook his head. “Longjun also knows that I do not like to have too many people around. My uncle, the God of War, he figured that it might be better to have only a few guards assigned to my palace. The ones normally around are called Huang Lan and Mu Kun. So when Longjun came by two days ago, I thought that maybe it was one of them that wanted to report something.” He glanced up and caught Qiu Ling with a dumbfounded expression.
The guard at the palace’s gate? And his beloved had only assumed it was him because he was there normally too? So all of this had just been a big misunderstanding?
Jing He gave a slight smile and motioned over to the pavilion where Qiu Ling and he had often sat before. “That day, did Longjun come by for anything specific? Why don’t we sit down and talk about it? I’m sorry for causing such a misunderstanding.”
Qiu Ling nodded and followed him. Watching Jing He prepare the tea just like he had done for the past few months, he couldn’t help but smile. “I missed you. That was all I wanted you to know. After that day we spent at the festival, I couldn’t help but think of you.”
Jing He stopped with the cup in his hands and looked at Qiu Ling in a daze. He didn’t really know what to say about this. It wasn’t that he didn’t appreciate Qiu Ling’s feelings. Actually, he did. It was just that … Things weren’t that easy. He had gotten used to having him around but at the most, he regarded him as a friend. It had only been that day when he suddenly saw another side of this man that he had suddenly felt this way. But this was only a fleeting moment, wasn’t it? Unfortunately, he really couldn’t tell him that.
Jing He gave a small smile and put the cup down in front of Qiu Ling. “It’s good that we’ve managed to sort this out. I really wouldn’t want Longjun to have any misgivings about me.”
Qiu Ling looked at him and smiled, his eyes clearly saying that he would never be able to have any misgivings about him.
Jing He gave a silent sigh and sat down, looking at the cup in front of him. Ah, if only this person was a trueborn god. In that case, his father might not object and he would be able to give him what he wanted. Maybe with somebody loving him this much, he could also experience a part of that all-encompassing love that Tian had shared with Xing. Unfortunately, this man was the dragon king. This really made things … difficult if not downright impossible.