Jing He did not answer that question. Instead, he faced away and looked around. “It’s a beautiful night.”
Qiu Ling nodded and followed him, finally really taking that stroll he had promised. “It is. I guess I’m in luck. I didn’t even check what moon we had when I decided to come over. Turns out it’s actually a full moon. I feel like Heaven is on my side.”
Jing He glanced at the person next to him but didn’t respond. This man really had the talent to relate everything to them and their … relationship. Whatever that might be might be.
With the two of them keeping quiet, there was only the breeze making the leaves of the plants in Jing He’s garden rustle, and the slight swishing of their robes that sounded with each step. Somewhere in the distance, a bird could be heard singing.
Qiu Ling looked over, his expression thoughtful. He felt that he had heard this sound before a long time ago. The memory was only faint and he didn’t know what it was called either.
Jing He also looked in the direction, lowering his head to focus. “That should be a hundred moons companion.”
Qiu Ling turned to him and raised his brows. “I’m sorry, what?”
Jing He motioned over in the direction where the sound came from. “The bird. It should be a hundred moons companion.”
Qiu Ling looked at him in a daze. He had never heard of that before. “That’s quite the strange name.”
Jing He smiled. “I guess it had another one originally. Legend has it that it acquired this one back in the days when Tian descended to the Nine Heavens.”
Qiu Ling looked at him, now even more in a daze than before. He had never seen his beloved smile like this. It was … a little playful, maybe? At the very least, there was a hint of mirth that he seldom saw. It made him want to watch a while longer “Oh? Why don’t you tell me about that legend then? I’d like to hear more.”
“I’m not quite sure if there is much to say. It is said that back then, Tian was still courting the person he had fallen in love with or more than that, he was waiting for the time of their wedding to arrive since that person’s father had to be convinced and the customs had to be observed.
“Tian could see that his beloved was lonely when he was not around so he thought of giving him a companion until he was able to accompany him day and night himself. In the end, it was this bird that he chose. It will sing only at night. Tian probably figured that that was the time when his beloved would be the loneliest.”
“So he caught one and brought it to him.”
Jing He nodded. “That is what he did. And for a hundred nights, the bird accompanied Tian’s lover, starting to delight him with his melody as soon as the moon’s pale light fell through the window. Then the two of them finally married and the bird was set free. Supposedly, it didn’t stray too far from their palace because it had already grown fond of Tian’s lover in the time they spent together.”
“That is a beautiful story.” Even more beautiful was the way that Jing He had looked when he told it. There was a certain sparkle to his eyes that Qiu Ling hadn’t seen before. He wondered what the reason for that was and if he would be able to bring it back.
He pondered but there were only two possibilities he could come up with: Either this was about the bird itself or about the story he had told him just now. Well, it wouldn’t be too hard to find out which one it was.
Qiu Ling stopped walking and lightly brushed Jing He’s arm, making him turn around. “Could it be that you’d like to have that type of bird? I could go and get you one.”
Jing He’s cheeks flushed pink. How could the dragon king say something like this after he just told him that Tian had gotten this kind of bird before marrying Xing? Didn’t he feel that that was too much? “That …”
“You don’t want to?” Qiu Ling just smiled and motioned for Jing He to continue to walk. “Then I guess you just like the story.”
Jing He hesitated for a moment but then nodded. “In fact, I do. Doesn’t Longjun think that it is very romantic? Tian understood his lover very well. He knew what was most important to him and he knew what he lacked the most. He thought about all these things and did something about it. That is proof of his endless love, isn’t it?”
Qiu Ling looked down the path leading through the garden and nodded slowly. That really sounded very good. A good lover should certainly do so. “Then would Your Highness say that it is required for a suitor to find these things out on his own? Or could he just ask?”
Jing He looked in the other direction, a slight smile on his lips. His answer definitely was as expected. “I guess no man could compare to Tian. Even in that regard.”
“Mn, don’t say that. I’ll figure it out on my own.” There was no way he would let go of this opportunity if it was already presented to him like this. That would be such a waste!
For a moment, he was tried to ponder on the spot and ask his beloved about every single idea he came up with. But in the end, he held back from following that urge. Even though he would find out that way, it wouldn’t be the same.
That Tian … He hadn’t asked, had he? No, he had spent time with his beloved, watched him, listened to him, and then had figured it out without needing to ask. That was probably what his beloved expected of him as well. So there was no way he would go about this any differently. Maybe this was all it would need to convince his beloved that he was the right man for him.