Qiu Ling jumped down to the ground. He grabbed a scroll of paper and everything else he needed before returning to the wooden beam and putting everything down. Then, he stared at the empty scroll.
Mn … Now, what to write? He had never written a love letter. Actually, he hadn’t even seen a love letter. But since it was called a love letter it should be a letter that was expressing his love. So he only had to write down what he thought about his Jing He and that should do the trick.
“Let’s see …” Qiu Ling ground the ink and dipped the brush into it, letting it hover above the scroll for a while. Mn … What to write? Maybe he should start by describing how much he loved him?
“My dear Jing He, I love you very much.”
Qiu Ling lifted the brush and frowned. This didn’t sound too good, did it? He smeared over the first line and started again.
“My beloved Jing He, you are the most important person to me.”
Mn, that sounded alright! But he could probably do even better. Qiu Ling narrowed his eyes and stared at the few lines of text in front of him. This had to sound more heartfelt. Maybe he should write something that would show Jing He just how important he was to him? Ah, that didn’t sound too bad!
“My beloved Jing He, you are always on my mind.”
Qiu Ling nodded to himself. This was good. But maybe he should go into a little more detail? He murmured some ideas and finally added another sentence.
“I can’t think of anything but you the whole day.”
There! How beautiful! His beloved should be really impressed when he saw these heartfelt words.
Qiu Ling stroked his chin. This seemed a little short though? Maybe he should add another emotional line or two? Mn, being detailed seemed to be the right approach. He should try to keep at it.
“You’re really very beautiful. I like the way your eyes sparkle in the light and how your silky hair flows down your back. It looks very soft and I’d like —”
Qiu Ling hurriedly scribbled over the last characters. No, no, even though he would like to touch Jing He’s hair, he couldn’t tell him. His Jing He was a refined person. He wouldn’t let just anyone touch his hair. Well, he would be his husband in the future so it shouldn’t be a problem but still. Maybe Jing He would only let him touch it when they had married. Mn, he shouldn’t take any risks.
To reduce the impact of the characters he had painted over Qiu Ling decided to write something else to divert Jing He’s attention.
“And I really like seeing it. Actually, I really like seeing you. So how about we see each other more often in the future?”
Mn, there! He had written it. This was the most important thing. He wanted to see his beloved more often. That was the ultimate expression of his love. After all, if he didn’t love Jing He so much, then he wouldn’t want to see him often, right?
Mn, this was pretty good but he had to make sure that his beloved knew who had written this beautiful love letter. He pondered a bit and finally added another line.
“Qiu Ling who is very much in love with you”
There. This was such a great letter. His beloved would be stunned when he read it! Mn, he should make sure with someone who understood about this stuff though. After all, he couldn’t risk that his letter wasn’t how a love letter was supposed to be. What if he had missed a very important line or just hadn’t written enough? That couldn’t be allowed to happen! He had to impress his beloved with this letter.
Qiu Ling put down the brush, picked up the letter and jumped down from the beam. Now, who should he go and ask? Fu Min? But that guy hadn’t been very helpful earlier and he didn’t know about this kind of scholarly stuff either. No, the perfect person for this was probably An Bai! Yes, he’d go and ask him.
Thus Qiu Ling hurried over to the wing of the palace where An Bai had his study. Naturally, he didn’t waste time with needless stuff like knocking on doors or telling the other person what he had come for.
He barged right in, pushed the letter in front of An Bai’s face and stared at him with sparkling eyes.
An Bai almost dropped the book in his hands but caught himself at the last moment. He hurriedly put it to the side and took the letter from his king. Reading the ‘heartfelt lines’ that Qiu Ling had poured out … he had some trouble to school his expression.
“Your Majesty … Is this a love letter to His Highness?”
Qiu Ling nodded eagerly. “Yes! Isn’t it beautiful?”
An Bai looked from his king’s eager expression to the … special lines that were fixed on the scroll in that scrappy handwriting. “Well … It is something … very extraordinary.”
“I knew it!” Qiu Ling wanted to take the letter back but An Bai evaded him.
“There is just one thing I’m worried about.”
“Ah?” Qiu Ling’s hand froze in the air. Was there something wrong with his letter?
“You see His Highness is a very refined and scholarly person. This might be … a little too direct. Maybe it would be better to try to write something that caters a little more to his taste?”
“You mean …”
“Well, how about writing something that is a little more …” Tasteful? “Uh … elegant?”
“This isn’t elegant enough?” Qiu Ling pointed at his letter.
An Bai smiled wryly in response. “I just think it might be good to ponder this a little longer and maybe … Why don’t you try to write about your feelings for him rather than describing him?”
“Ah? But I already wrote that I love him very much.”
“Mn, but what does that mean to you? Why are you so sure that you love him? How did you find out? That might be something you’d want to tell him.” An Bai gave the letter back with a smile. He could only hope that his king had understood. He didn’t know how else to explain.
Qiu Ling took the letter back with a blank expression. How he found out that he was in love with Jing He? Wasn’t that something he had known from the beginning? Right from the day they met he had been sure that Jing He was the person he wanted to have as his partner.
Ah, maybe he should write that down?
He turned away without another word and went back to the wooden beam below his roof, hurriedly scribbling down the words that had come to his mind when he thought of that fateful night.
Looking at them, this might indeed be something his beloved liked more. With a heavy heart, he crossed the original letter out with a thin stroke. He made sure that it was still readable though. After all, it could still be that An Bai was wrong. Mn, it was better to let his beloved read both parts. Then he could decide which one he liked more.
Thus a few hours later, a suspicious letter found its way onto the table in the palace of crown prince Jing He.