RSH Stratagem 13: Persist on All Fronts! (5)

The whole atmosphere around Qiu Ling changed. From the gloomy mood that was about to turn violent the change to this happy feeling full of sunshine was too big to be ignored! It made Jing He hard-pressed to find something to say. He could imagine that the dragon king was once again thinking too much but he didn’t know just what it was. Anyway, his goal had been achieved.

Qiu Ling leaned closer, his expression especially caring. “How about getting married next week?”

Jing He looked up, stunned. Had he … had he just been asked to get married once again? Well, he should probably be used to that already. It was just … He still wasn’t sure what to do about this.

Jing He lightly cleared his throat and lowered his voice. Right now, it wasn’t a good idea to reject him clearly. Anyway, he wasn’t completely averse to the idea anymore. It was just that the circumstances weren’t favorable. Maybe the dragon king would understand if he explained this? “Longjun, you might not know but … my father is very dissatisfied with how things are proceeding. He is of the opinion that he should be the one to chose my spouse.”

“Mn …” Qiu Ling hummed. So it was that old guy’s fault that they weren’t married yet. He should have known. Obviously, his beloved had long fallen for him as well. “Don’t worry about that. I’ll make him reconsider.”

Jing He’s gaze softened. Qiu Ling really thought it was so easy to convince his father. Well … he’d like to see him try. If the dragon king was really able to achieve this, then there wouldn’t be a reason not to go through with this. They fit together. As long as his father agreed, he wouldn’t think too much and indeed marry him.

Jing He gave a small smile when he thought that and glanced at Qiu Ling’s eyes for once. “Then I’ll be waiting for Longjun to accomplish this deed.”

Qiu Ling’s breath caught in his throat. He didn’t know what to say or do. This gentle gaze, this half-smile … His beloved … was truly too beautiful. He hesitated and then leaned closer.

Jing He was startled and leaned back, barely evading Qiu Ling’s kiss. His heart pounded fiercely and he hurriedly looked away again, even going so far as to take a step back. He tightened his folded hands and took a shaky breath. It was better not to get too close until his father had changed his mind.

Qiu Ling pursed his lips in disappointment. The mood had just been so good. Why couldn’t they have continued? Well, his beloved was shy. He should have expected that he wouldn’t be so easily convinced. Qiu Ling sighed and then turned away as well.

Looking around, he realized that that bastard An Bai had disappeared at some unknown time. Hmph, at least he had some self-awareness! There really wasn’t any reason for him to stay around his beloved. No, that guy should go back and put his nose in some book or something. As for his beloved …

Qiu Ling turned back to Jing He, not dejected in the least. He wouldn’t give up so easily. He would continue to pursue his beloved and also work on making that bastardly old man take a liking to him. It couldn’t be that hard, could it? Anyway, he would prove to Jing He that he was able to weather all difficulties just so they could be together.

But for now … He inched back toward Jing He and gave a handsome smile. “Well, convincing your father will take some time. Until then … how about spending some more time together?” He reached out and offered Jing He his hand.

The crown prince looked at it and hesitated. He had already been forbidden from seeing this man. He had refused to comply with his father’s orders for a day but could he really do so again? If he really continued …

Qiu Ling patiently waited for him to decide.

“I don’t know if that is such a good idea.” Jing He lowered his gaze further. “Doesn’t Longjun have a lot to do?”

“Nothing that is as important as you.”

Jing He took another deep breath before he lightly exhaled. He couldn’t deny that he was a little tempted. But on the other hand … How could he risk everything just like this? What for? Who knew if this would ever lead anywhere?

Jing He turned away and closed his eyes. “I think it would be better if Longjun left now. I wouldn’t want to stand in your way.”

Qiu Ling hummed but still stepped closer. He leaned in and his breath brushed Jing He’s ear. “Then I’ll leave for now and … deal with these important matters. I’ll return as soon as I have finished.”

Jing He went rigid but didn’t respond or turn around. He opened his eyes and stared ahead though. When the footsteps behind him finally disappeared, he glanced over his shoulder, feeling a little lost. The more time passed, the less he knew how to behave around this man. Just what should he do?

He sighed and shook his head, returning to the room. When he saw the teapot that he had hastily put onto the table, he stopped once again, staring at the cup still standing next to it on the table in a daze. What to do? When Longjun came over the next time …

“Your Highness?”

Jing He was startled out of his thoughts by the voice of Mu Kun. He turned to the side and saw the guard standing next to the painted screen behind the entrance. “Mu Kun, is something the matter?”

Mu Kun looked from Jing He’s face to the table and back again. Actually, he would like to ask the same question. He knew that the crown prince wouldn’t give him an honest answer though. Whatever had happened between him and Longjun wasn’t something a guard like him could interfere in.

Mu Kun cleared his throat and went back to the original topic. “Scholar An Bai told us to inform you that he’d wait at the God of War’s palace until Longjun left.”

Jing He’s eyes widened in surprise. Why would Scholar An Bai do this? Well, he could only ask him himself. Anyway, there was probably a simple reason behind this. Scholar An Bai might have noticed that there was some question he wanted to ask. After all, he had repeatedly asked him whether he would be able to come over. That did indicate that he might have an urgent business. A man as intelligent as Scholar An Bai should pick up on something like that.

Thinking about it that way, Jing He nodded. “Thank you, Mu Kun. I’ll go over then.”

“Should we escort you?”

Jing He shook his head. “It is just my uncle’s palace. No need to be overly cautious.”

Mu Kun nodded but still at least escorted the crown prince to the door. Then, he stopped next to the entrance once again, sighing while he watched him leave. “I can’t help but feel … that he has somehow changed.”

Huang Lan also watched that slender figure leave and gave a sigh as well. “Yes. But I guess there is no way even for him to stay the same for hundreds of years, is there? Maybe that is just what will happen now that he has come of age. Slowly but surely, his life has to change. That’s the way it just is.”

The two of them sighed again and then fell quiet. Even if they were able to see, there was nothing they could do.

« ToC »

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