Back in the Nine Heavens, the official from the Court of Justice returned with two bracelets, handing them to Li Yin. The God of Justice looked them over and then stepped forward, passing them to An Bai so he could make sure there was no problem with them as well.
An Bai looked them over twice, making sure that there was nothing he missed. Only then did he incline his head toward Qiu Ling and handed the bracelets to him. “There’s no problem with them, Your Majesty. He will not be in any danger if they are put on. They will merely restrict his spiritual energy for the time being.”
Qiu Ling nodded, took the bracelets, and then turned to Jing Yi. “This is the only way. I hope you won’t mind.”
In fact, Jing Yi minded quite a lot. He should not need to be in this situation. He had cultivated for over a millennium to get to this place. Why was there suddenly talk of killing him? Even though he had known that this would happen, he still didn’t think it was fair. And he also wasn’t happy that even with this compromise, the cultivation he had worked hard for would be taken away just like that.
But still, for the time being, this was the best he could hope for. And if he understood this right, then maybe Qiu Ling’s followers had an idea on what to do so he wouldn’t be killed. Maybe he could actually live out his life until the very end. A natural end. In that case, what was a small sacrifice.?
With that thought, he held out his hands and smiled at Qiu Ling. “You don’t have to worry. In any case, I also know you are doing this for me. I trust you.”
Qiu Ling slightly furrowed his brows but still nodded and put the bracelets on Jing Yi’s wrist. Inside his heart, there was still a pang of guilt that flashed by. Doing this for him also meant he was doing this against Jing He. That was something he would have to live with for a long time now. He pushed the thought away forcefully and then turned to the gods again. “It’s done. Now, how shall we proceed?”
Li Yin slightly raised his brows and motioned towards the main building. “Let’s go to my study. I don’t think it would be a good idea to go all the way to the Heavenly Emperor’s palace for this. It will be quicker here and there won’t be as many prying eyes.”
The dragons nodded and even the Heavenly Emperor didn’t have anything to say to that. Thus, the group finally walked over, the dragons staying close to Jing Yi to make sure that nobody would get any ideas. Even though the Heavenly Emperor and the God of Justice had agreed for now, who was to say that one of the others wouldn’t try to harm him? After all, it was clear that this agreement was only made so that there wouldn’t be a fight. They weren’t actually interested in letting Jing Yi live. Maybe some overzealous subordinate would like to impress somebody by taking matters into their own hands. That kind of thing still needed to be guarded against.
Who knew if nobody had ever had that idea in the first place or if the dragons’ precautions had just deterred them but the group finally reached the God of Justice’s study without any incidents happening. Whether it was the soldiers of the Palace of War or the officials from the Court of Justice, they were all dismissed and the only ones staying behind were the three dragons with Zhong Jing Yi protected in their middle, and the four gods from the Nine Heavens. They each stayed together in their own group like this, looking at each other vigilantly.
The Heavenly Emperor originally intended to sit down in Li Yin’s seat but seeing how the dragons were still standing, he felt like it wouldn’t be a good look and continued to stand as well, crossing his arms in front of his chest. “Well, I’d like to hear your explanation now. Unless there wasn’t one in the first place and you’ve just been trying to stall for time.”
An Bai smiled faintly at that. “Tianjun is worrying too much. The dragons have no such intentions.” For a moment, he considered tagging on that they considered His Highness to be their future consort but thinking of the Heavenly Emperor’s likely reaction, he let it be. “Now, if Your Majesty will allow me?” He glanced at Qiu Ling instead, making a show of getting his permission. In any case, they hadn’t talked about this beforehand so since it had been his idea, he was the one who needed to talk. But he still wanted to keep up appearances in front of the gods. Whether it was in the current situation or long-term, it would only be beneficial to them.
Qiu Ling also understood and inclined his head. “Go ahead. In any case, three of them are my future in-laws and one is the person that will likely have to make a judgment on this. It’s not like we have to keep it from them at all costs.”
An Bai’s eyes sparkled with admiration at his king’s quick reaction. He had known. He had known that Qiu Ling could be this kind of king. And it filled him with joy to actually be able to see it happen so soon. If he had the chance to see his king like this more often in the future, then the past years of doubt upon seeing him shirk his responsibilities had been worth it.
An Bai turned back to the gods, putting on a solemn expression before he started to explain.