The six people finished their dinner in this manner: Zhong Gang asked questions about their life in the Yun Zou Sect whenever he could think of something and Jing Yi tried to answer them to the best of his ability. When he couldn’t think of anything, he’d turn to ask Qiu Ling and the dragon would be all too happy to show off his shallow knowledge of the human realm that he had gained in the past five years. Meanwhile, Guanyu eagerly watched Qiu Ling’s every move while Qiu Ling continued to stare at Jing Yi unblinkingly, stuffing food into his bowl as soon as the previous piece was eaten. After some time, Jing Yi’s embarrassment at that behavior reduced and he finally hardly noticed and just went on eating while talking with his uncle.
The only one who kept to herself the whole time was Madam Zhong. She listened to what her son said, trying to see if he had been happy in the past years. The longer she listened, the more she felt that that was the case. Thinking that, she smiled to herself. It seemed this had really been the right move to make.
Mi Fan also didn’t talk much but she watched the interaction between Qiu Ling and Jing Yi with growing worry. Two men marrying wasn’t any problem in the Long kingdom but this would be a problem for what she had planned. After all, one of them would still be required to marry into the other’s family and looking at the two of them, it seemed likely that Jing Yi would be the one joining Qiu Ling’s family instead of the other way around. After all, Qiu Ling was older, his status in the sect seemed to be higher and judging from the robe he was currently wearing, his family’s status might also be higher. This kind of person wouldn’t marry into another family even if they were in love. No, they’d expect the other person to marry into their family.
But then, Guanyu wouldn’t be able to marry Jing Yi. She could marry Qiu Ling as well but that wasn’t the plan. Didn’t they want to keep things in the family? How was this supposed to work?
Mi Fan didn’t know what to do. She wanted to talk things through with her husband but she had to wait until after their dinner for that. Thus she was on tenterhooks the whole time.
When they finally finished eating, Mi Fan almost leaped to her feet. She only barely held back and gave the two men a smile. “Jing’er, you’ve only come back today and your uncle has spoken so much, you couldn’t spend any time with your mother. Do you want to stay with her for the time being? Then you’d be able to talk more.”
Jing Yi looked up at his aunt and then at his mother. He’d really like to spend as much time with her as he could. After all, they would only be in the capital for a week. One week … that was way too short to make up for five years. Having at least another few hours each day would really be great. It was just … Jing Yi turned to Qiu Ling and bit his lip. He couldn’t just ignore their guest, could he?
Mi Fan saw him look over and her smile grew a little strained. Thinking of this man even in this situation … It seemed they really had to do something if they still wanted Guanyu to marry Jing Yi. “Don’t worry. I’ve already told the servants to prepare a room. Your martial brother can naturally stay there.”
“That …” Jing Yi continued to look at Qiu Ling. This trip was so that they could get to know each other better. Leaving him alone like this would completely work against that, wouldn’t it?
Qiu Ling smiled and reached out, taking Jing Yi’s hands. “Don’t worry about it. I also know how important your mother is to you. Anyway, we’re only here for a while and will need to return to the Yun Zou Sect in the future. You should use the time you have with her now and treasure it. I won’t get in your way with that. So … just go. We’ll see each other again tomorrow morning, won’t we?”
Jing Yi smiled and nodded. “Thank you.”
Qiu Ling shook his head. “There’s no need to thank me. It’s what I should do.”
Jing Yi didn’t know what to say. Right now, he couldn’t help but feel a little sweet. Although Qiu Ling was normally very demanding, he wasn’t making trouble now. He had cut back on calling him whatever he liked, wasn’t acting too out of line and now, he had even taken his interests into consideration. If he was always like this … Then maybe there could really be a future for them.
Madam Zhong smiled when she saw her son. Ah, it seemed Qiu Ling was doing quite well on his own. He wouldn’t need her help at all to win her son over. Seeing that, she was quite happy. Although she wouldn’t mind helping Qiu Ling out a bit, she would still very much prefer it if she didn’t need to get involved. She didn’t want to push her son into a direction, after all. He should make his own decisions.
“Alright.” She got up and waved at her son. “Let’s go then. Goodnight, Qiu Ling.”
Qiu Ling also stood up and nodded. “Goodnight, mo—” He coughed. “Madam Zhong.”
Madam Zhong almost laughed out but she just held onto her son’s arm and walked out, merely taking another glance at Qiu Ling’s face.
Qiu Ling turned to Zhong Gang and his wife, also giving a smile. “Then … I should probably retire as well. It was a pretty long journey.” And he didn’t want to miss out on even a second with his beloved.
Zhong Gang nodded. “Sure! Let me bring you over, ah.”
Qiu Ling smiled as thanks and then followed him out while Mi Fan watched them leave. She could hardly wait for her husband to return. They really needed to talk about this!