While the preparation for the wedding was starting in the mortal realm, Qiu Ling was making his way through the dragon king’s palace back in the immortal realms. There was still a strange feeling in his stomach when he finally reached An Bai’s door.
He stopped in front of it, looking at the wood with a blank expression. He had to do this. He knew that. It was just … he didn’t know if he could. He was still afraid no matter how much he told himself that he didn’t need to.
After living several millennia while upholding a lie, the idea of maybe having the truth come out was just way too daunting. Who wanted to be put in this kind of situation? He certainly didn’t. But what could he do? He knew that this was the only way.
Qiu Ling took a deep breath and then knocked on the door, still unsure if he wanted An Bai to answer or maybe to rather find out that his adviser wasn’t even in. At the very least, the latter would give him the option to turn around without having to blame himself. Yes, he could just say that this was fate at work, that because of some reason he himself couldn’t even see, it wasn’t time to do this yet. When the time would finally come? Oh, he didn’t know either.
Well, Qiu Ling was out of luck. Fate wasn’t going to provide him with an excuse for delaying this issue any longer. An Bai was indeed in his study. He was currently standing in front of the shelf behind his desk, having taken out a book and looking for another one before he would return to his tasks. Hearing the knock, he glanced over his shoulder, a little surprised that somebody would come by at this time. He wasn’t expecting anyone. “Come on in.”
Qiu Ling clenched his hands and then opened the door, stepping into the room. When he saw An Bai, that sinking feeling in his stomach seemed to get even worse. Oh Heaven, just what was he doing here? It would probably be better if he just forgot about all of this, made up some excuse, and went back. He just didn’t know how to even start with this.
“Your Majesty.” An Bai couldn’t help but be surprised to see Qiu Ling. As far as he had known, the king was still in the mortal realm. To suddenly have him appear here was quite strange. To be honest, even stranger was the fact that he had politely knocked for once instead of just storming in regardless of what might be happening inside. He definitely couldn’t say that this was something he often experienced with him.
After being greeted, Qiu Ling didn’t know how to continue. He closed the door, and then looked around, trying to get at least another moment to sort through his thoughts. He knew that this wouldn’t make a difference. He had already come here. He had taken the first step. Why shouldn’t he take the second one as well? It would definitely be for the best if he did.
He gulped and then straightened up, giving An Bai a deep look. “I was wondering if you could look something up for me.”
An Bai’s expression showed some surprise but he still nodded. “But of course. What is it about?” In fact, he was quite happy that his king had actually come to him for once and asked for his help. This didn’t happen that often. Sometimes, he really wondered if the king was interested in anything. But now, there was actually such an opportunity. What more could he wish for?
Qiu Ling didn’t speak up immediately. He still didn’t quite know how to say it. “Ah … I was wondering about some remnants of our roots. You know like, members of our race that would show some traits that you usually wouldn’t find in the dragons anymore but that are still present in the demons. Some explanation for that kind of thing.”
An Bai’s hands trembled and he looked away immediately, putting the book back into the shelf that he had just taken out before his king came in. “That kind of thing? Well, I should have some of that here.” He turned to the side, reaching out to a handful of books that were stashed away to the side. He didn’t even seem to look at the titles and just pulled all of them out before turning back.
Qiu Ling stared at him, his expression that had been tense from the very beginning turning into one of horror. “You …”
An Bai looked away again and then lightly cleared his throat, putting the books down on the desk. “Those … should be all that we have in regard to that question.” He turned away once more and picked up the book that he had put away previously but didn’t really know what to do with it.
Qiu Ling was still staring at him. This kind of question … it wasn’t one that would be asked often. Even though An Bai was a scholar, there was no reason at all for him to have books answering that question just casually lying around or rather all neatly stacked at the side. Unless … he had looked this up before. And how many reasons were there to do so if you were a full-blooded dragon serving the dragon king? Barring the possibility that the king in question had asked about it like he did today, he could, unfortunately, only think of one.