RSH Stratagem 18: Get to Know Your Beloved by Heart (7)

The next morning, Qiang Yan went to Jing He’s palace as soon as he believed that his nephew should be awake. Even though he couldn’t be sure, he was positive that whatever the dragon king had given him should be for the Jiyi festival today. Otherwise, why would he do it on this day?

Mu Kun announced his arrival and Qiang Yan went in, giving in is nephew a bright smile.

“I hope you slept well. I only came over to bring you something.” He waved the package and then went to put it down on the table. “The dragon king delivered this yesterday evening, telling me to bring it over today. I’m not quite sure what it is but since he didn’t say anything else, I guess it should be obvious when you unwrap it or maybe he left a note inside.” He hadn’t sneaked a peek even though he was quite curious. In the end, he believed that it was better to let the two of them sort things out on their own. If Jing He felt troubled by it, he could still come and talk to him or to his mother. But it was better to let him take the initiative.

Jing He couldn’t help but feel surprised. He looked at the package that gave nothing away and wondered just what it could be that Qiu Ling would send over. In his last message, he had mentioned that they wouldn’t be able to see each other for a few more days but that he had a plan. Jing He still didn’t know just what that was about though. Well, it seemed like he would soon find out.

He really would’ve liked to unwrap it immediately but since his uncle was still there, he naturally couldn’t do that. Instead, he gave Qiang Yan a faint smile. “Why don’t you have a seat, uncle? Even though you came to deliver this package, it wouldn’t do for me to just send you away again, would it? Do you want some tea?”

Qiang Yan flashed his nephew a knowing smile of his own and then patted his shoulder. “No need to be so polite to your own family. I actually really just came to bring this to you. Longjun seemed pretty insistent that you get this in time and maybe you are also a little curious to find out what it is. Anyway, I shouldn’t disturb you and there is also still a lot to do with the Jiyi festival being today. So let’s have that cup of tea the next time.”

Jing He nodded and watched his uncle leave without another word. He knew he should probably continue asking him to stay but he was indeed quite curious. When the door closed in the front, he turned back to the table and then gingerly reached out, tracing the cloth that had been used to wrap everything up with his fingertips.

The cloth budged, indicating that whatever was inside was something soft. Jing He blinked his eyes in surprise and then turned it around, slowly unwrapping it. As for what was beneath …

His eyes widened when he saw the mask lying on top. He carefully picked it up, tracing the fine lines with his fingertips. Obviously, this would fit him perfectly when put on. It wasn’t just any mask but one specifically prepared for him. He could see that much at a glance.

He raised his hand, conjuring up a water mirror, and then held the mask in front of his face. Looking at it, his lashes fluttered and he hurriedly dispersed the spell, putting the mask down.

It was … beautiful. Completely breathtaking. Thinking of how the person who made this must have put a lot of thought into preparing this to bring out the best in him, his heart couldn’t help but flutter.

“Longjun …” He once again picked up the mask, his gaze turning subtle. This man was really full of surprises. Each time he felt as if he had already seen everything there was but then, Longjun managed to renew his understanding of him completely. This time as well, he hadn’t expected this. He hadn’t expected anything. But now, not only had the dragon king made true on his promise to meet him again, he had even come up with something like this. It was … indescribable.

Jing He gently placed the mask on the table and then turned to the robe that was still lying on the cloth. He first picked up the belt, his eyes sparkling with appreciation when he saw the embroidery that had been done on it. Obviously, this had been specially made to fit the mask. There had really been a lot of thought going into this. He couldn’t help but feel special receiving such a present.

He put the belt down next to the mask and unfolded the robe instead, his lips curving up in a smile when he saw the same pattern embroidered on it. Had Longjun really had all this made in just the past week? Then a lot of people should have been involved in this. He really valued him a lot, didn’t he?

Jing He traced the faint lines of the embroidery with his fingers, thinking of the man that had spent so much effort on his behalf. This present should mean that he would come to spend the day with him, right? And he probably wanted him to wear this?

He checked whether there was a note attached anywhere but couldn’t find one. Well, it did seem obvious that this was what he wanted. After all, today was the Jiyi festival. A lot of people enjoyed dressing up and wearing masks for the occasion. The idea to join them and disappear in the crowd was brilliant.

Jing He pressed the robe up against his chest, his gaze turning to the window where the bird had delivered the messages the other day and where Qiu Ling would regularly turn up.

Could it be? Had Longjun actually managed to figure out his most heartfelt wish just as he had promised?

Right now, he really wanted to see him. He wanted to say his thanks and he would do so in a heartfelt way that he seldom felt. This present, this thought … he appreciated it more than he ever had anything else. To think that this man might know him better than anybody else … If he did not appreciate even this, then his heart really had to be dead already. But, obviously, it wasn’t.

No, when the dragon king was concerned, it was very much alive. This man brought him more joy than he could have ever imagined. He made him have feelings he couldn’t have anticipated.

Could it be … had he actually fallen in love without noticing?

« ToC »

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