Jing He was in a subtle mood when he finally bid the dragon king goodbye that day. He didn’t know what he was supposed to do or say and he wished there had been somebody he could go and talk about this with.
Unfortunately, he knew very well that this was impossible. His mother had already made her stance clear. She wanted him to spend time with Longjun and even though she hadn’t said it directly, he could feel that he was she was very much in favor of the idea of them marrying in the future. Obviously, she had already accepted the idea that this man would become his spouse in the future.
It wasn’t that he couldn’t understand. With how Longjun had been in the last year, he could even imagine it himself. Longjun seemed to have shown that he was exactly the type of man he had been looking for. It was just … Never mind that his father wasn’t in favor of the idea, he wasn’t sure if he loved him.
Sure, mutual love wasn’t absolutely necessary to get married but it was something he had silently hoped for since long ago. He wanted to be like Tian and Xing, a couple meant for each other, both loving each other, spending each and every day together in blissful harmony.
Jing He turned away from the square in front of his palace and stepped back inside, returning to his study. He picked up the painting that was still lying on the desk and couldn’t help but sigh.
A certain dragon king had actually gifted him his painting, mentioning how he had once promised to paint for him. Well, this hadn’t quite been what he had had in mind when he had asked him to do that. It wasn’t wrong though. It was just … as confusing as the man himself.
And in a way, Longjun’s behavior was always like this. He wasn’t actually overstepping any bounds but he wasn’t paying attention to them either. No, the dragon king had a certain gift of being able to push those boundaries just far enough that the other person wouldn’t be able to say anything against it.
Jing He put the painting down and sat down at his own desk, taking out a blank scroll of paper. Painting … He had only ever dared to paint the things he had seen himself or some variations that he could very well imagine. Flowers and buildings, nature … Anything that would be innocuous. Being as bold as the dragon king and painting a person like that … He couldn’t help but admire that. Yes, that man was truly unrestrained. Considering what he knew about the dragon race up until now, it seemed fitting.
Jing He ground the ink and carefully dipped the tip of his brush into it, letting the brush hover over the paper for a moment. He had a strange feeling when he finally drew the first line as if he was doing something forbidden.
Thinking back to this afternoon, remembering the way Longjun had looked at him when he proudly showed him the painting, he continued to draw. The oval face with the slender eyes and the heroic brows, the straight nose, that thin pair of lips that was able to smile at him so silly one moment but could also seem mature the very next.
Jing He paused and looked at that face for a moment longer. He could actually remember it quite well. Even without thinking back consciously, he could put it to paper. Did this mean he had already grown used to having this person around?
He shook his head and added the long black hair framing that face, making it seem more pronounced. His hands slightly shook but he still continued on, adding the broad shoulders with a wave of the brush, even pinning down the details of the embroidery of his robe.
Yes, he hadn’t been able to not notice. Whenever he saw Longjun, the man would be impeccably dressed. He didn’t know if he was always that meticulous but even imagining that he was putting in that much care just for him, made his heart thump.
Honestly, would it really be so bad? If Longjun was somehow able to convince his father … Even if he didn’t love them, they would still make a very good couple. Longjun loved him, nothing seemed to have changed about that even though there didn’t seem to be as much fervor in his behavior anymore. Well, maybe that was only him noticing that he wouldn’t get any results if he continued to behave in the same way. Yes, that might very well be the case. He really just adjusted the way he was going after him.
He truly was persistent. In that case … Even if there was no mutual love, it might be enough if it was one-sided. After all, as long as he managed to fulfill Longjun’s expectations, it should work out. That man would continue to love him and that might allow them to continue their relationship.
Jing He put down the brush and looked at the painting he had finished. This person … Yes, there was nothing he lacked. He was a suitable partner. So that would leave the question if his father could be convinced.
Jing He put the painting down and got up, slowly pacing through the study. Obviously, his father’s impression of Longjun was very low. It might have even diminished further after what had happened on his birthday banquet and in the subsequent days.
Even Longjun’s good behavior in the past year couldn’t make up for that. No, it would need something more drastic than that. Unfortunately, even if he went and pleaded for Longjun, it wouldn’t help. No, on the contrary, it would make matters worse. His father had already gotten used to the thought of being the most important man in his life. Losing that position to another … He wouldn’t be willing to accept that.
Jing He looked back at the painting and furrowed his brows. Maybe if he made clear to his father that this wasn’t him falling in love but a decision he made for their race? Would that work? He doubted it but he could only give it a try to find out.
Maybe he would indeed find a way, then there would be no need to worry anymore. They could organize everything and then hold the wedding. It would tie their races closer together, strengthening their alliance against the demons. Wouldn’t that be the best outcome?
While Jing He planned how to breach the topic to his father, a certain someone hurried back to the dragon realm and went to grab the person that had managed to help him the most so far in capturing the heart of his beloved. Well, the person had also been the one who almost made him look like an idiot because he had provided him with the wrong information. Still, he would reluctantly look past that mistake in light of his help from before. Anyway, the others hadn’t proven to be of any help so far or even had a crush on his beloved themselves like that An Bai so, currently, he could only rely on Fu Min.
Qiu Ling grabbed the person in question by the scruff of his neck and pulled him out of the room, dragging him over to his own study. This was an important topic. It certainly couldn’t be discussed just anywhere.
Qiu Ling threw Fu min onto a chair and then sat down himself, straightened out his robes and raising his chin to make himself look more handsome. “Speak! What should I do next to woo my beloved?”
Fu Min who had already worried about being beaten up by his king blinked his eyes in confusion. “What?”
Qiu Ling furrowed his brows in displeasure. “Didn’t you listen? I asked what I should do next to woo my beloved. Come up with a plan for me.”
Fu Min raised his brows and tried to come up with something but he really didn’t know where to take his ideas from. Well … “Didn’t I already make a list of things you should do right in the beginning?”
Qiu Ling scoffed. “Of course, you did. Otherwise, why would I bother asking you? But I’m asking about what I should do now. I’ve already followed those steps for two whole years and we’re still not married. So what’s the next step?”
Fu Min gulped. It seemed … His Majesty was serious about this? But how was he supposed to come up with something in just a moment?! At least give him a fair warning!
His gaze darted about the room. He first needed to win some time. “Well … The second step naturally can’t be as broad as the first step. We need to narrow it down.”
Qiu Ling nodded, looking at him excitedly. As expected! Even though this guy wasn’t dependable when supplying him with information but he really knew how to woo a person.
Fu Min panicked. What was his king nodding like that for?! Don’t tell him he actually believed this? In that case, he needed to come up with the rest fast. “Uh … Well, narrowing down what to do will depend on what you’ve done so far. So what did you feel worked well on the crown prince?”
Qiu Ling furrowed his brows. Hadn’t this guy told him what to do? Why was he asking like that? Well, he shouldn’t care too much. As long as this guy helped him to come up with a plan, he would be happy. “Well, your last point worked really well. I think he likes me when I am more mature.”
Fu Min stared at his king but didn’t know what to say. More mature? He hadn’t seen his king even a little bit mature in all the years he knew him. Where did he take that ‘more’ mature from now?
Well, that wasn’t important. Since the Son of Heaven had managed to put up with him for two years already and there was even something that his king managed to call liking him better, things shouldn’t be too hopeless. Even if they were hopeless, His Highness should be too polite to just reject His Majesty. “If that’s the case, then I guess you should continue to do that.”
Qiu Ling frowned even more. “As if I didn’t know that myself! But this isn’t getting me any further. You have to tell me what else to do.”
Fu Min gave a wry smile. His king really didn’t have any patience. Well, nothing he could do about that. “Well, if you feel that this has already yielded results, then I guess all you need now would be more opportunities to display that behavior. That way, His Highness will automatically fall in love with you after some time.”
Qiu Ling didn’t look convinced at all. “But I’m there almost every day.”
Fu Min nodded. “Sure.” As if they hadn’t noticed. This guy was doing even less of his work since he had met the crown prince. “But you’re probably not doing very different things with him, are you? You have to make sure that you display that mature behavior in many different situations. That way, he will be more likely to notice it. You basically have to draw attention to yourself and then show him the behavior he likes. Then everything will happen as if on in its own.”
Qiu Ling nodded slowly. “So it’s like that.” He jumped to his feet but then furrowed his brows. “Ah, but what kind of situations should that be? You help me come up with a list!”
Fu Min really wanted to curse but he didn’t dare to make even a single sound. Ah, well, if his king insisted, then he could only follow his king’s orders.