Jing He only fell asleep in the wee hours of the morning. When the first rays of light were falling through the cracks of the window, he hardly managed to open his eyes, blinking against what seemed to be a blinding blaze for quite a while.
After a few moments, he reached up, rubbing his forehead with the back of his hand, and gave a sigh. He wasn’t rested at all. His head hurt and his eyes were burning slightly, making him feel as if it would be best if he could just turn onto his other side and continue to sleep.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible. How could he do such a thing? Doing it once would just invite him to do it another time in the future, and he really didn’t know if he would ever want to get up again.
Surely, life would be easier in a dream where the troubles of reality could not haunt you. In a dream, nothing would be impossible. To love who he wanted to love, to be loved by the man he adored … No one would object, no one raise concerns. His wishes, his dreams … surely that was the only place where they could ever come true.
Jing He sat up, closing his eyes for another moment. After spending the day was the dragon king yesterday, his father would likely come and see him later today. In fact, knowing his father, ‘later’ might not be that far off anymore. He had better get prepared.
He once again sighed and brushed back his hair before pushing his legs over the edge of the bed. Opening his eyes, he looked at the familiar image of his palace. Who knew what it was that possessed him but for a spell, he could not help but wonder how the dragon king’s palace looked.
Was it like the palaces in the Nine Heavens? Would there be a quiet place to withdraw to when everything got too much? Maybe a small garden he could tend to? Or if there wasn’t one yet, would the dragon king be willing to let him have one?
He did not want to be willful. He did not want to ask anything of him but … just imagining that the dragon king would give in to such whims …
Jing He raised a hand to his lips, his cheeks flushing red when he thought of the previous day. “Qiu Ling …” He only dared to whisper the name under his breath so the guards outside wouldn’t hear.
An immense feeling of guilt washed over him and Jing He hurriedly got out of bed, walking over to his closet in quick steps. He really had to stop this. He should focus on the here and now.
Yes, he would just choose a robe for the day. Something that would make him look a little more awake and then he would take a bath to try and relax a little. It would certainly work wonders and maybe he would finally calm down. Yes, it was just that yesterday had been too much excitement for him. He wasn’t used to that so he was behaving oddly today. If he finally calmed down and then stayed away from such things, everything would return to normal.
Deluding himself into this kind of thinking, Jing He started looking through the robes, finally picking a light green one that gave the impression of a nice day in spring. It wasn’t so dark that he would seem pale wearing it but also not too light to make him seem bland.
Draping it over his arm, Jing He went behind the screen, using his magic to fill the tub with water and slightly heating it up. Taking off the inner robe he had worn before, he got into the water and sighed lightly. It really was quite comfortable. He just had to make sure that he wouldn’t get too comfortable or he might actually fall asleep in there.
He used a few minutes to soak in the water, then washed up and got out, drying his skin and hair with his magic. Just when he reached out for his clothes, there was a sound outside.
Jing He stopped in his movement and strained his ears, trying to figure out what was going on but the sound was so faint that he couldn’t make anything out. In the end, he couldn’t help himself and called out. “Is somebody there?” It shouldn’t be but he just couldn’t shake the feeling that it was the case. It actually made him afraid.
Needless to say, the voice that answered was that of the dragon king. “I came to see you.”
Jing He tensed up, feeling as if he flushed red from the tip of his head and to the soles of his feet. He still wasn’t wearing any clothes and the dragon king … “Longjun …” His voice sounded just as tense as his body was, making Qiu Ling wonder what was going on.
He stood in the middle of the room, not quite sure what to do. Jing He’s voice was coming from behind the screen which told him that it really would be impolite to go and have a look. After all, he had been here often enough to know exactly what was behind that screen.
Qiu Ling looked at the ground, feeling as if his head was spinning when he thought about what he might see if he did go over to risk a glance. Of course, he naturally wouldn’t do it. He knew Jing He well enough to be clear about what the outcome of that would be. His beloved would definitely be mortified. Most likely, he already was.
Qiu Ling awkwardly cleared his throat and then turned his back toward the screen, hoping that it would allow Jing He to calm down a little. “I couldn’t sleep very well last night so I came over quite early in the morning. The rays of the morning sun are a very beautiful sight at this time. I will go out and sit in the pavilion for a while to admire them. If Your Highness wants to, you could join me later.” He didn’t wait for an answer and just left, making sure to make his steps sound a little louder so Jing He would know that he was alone again. He even conscientiously closed the door behind him so that nobody could take a glance at his beloved.
Jing He’s heart was still beating madly but it slowly calmed down after the door had closed and he had taken a few minutes to just take a few deep breaths.
Still, he couldn’t help but worry about what could have happened. He knew how Qiu Ling was. Even though he had realized that this man was much more than he gave him credit for, it couldn’t be denied that he was also a little rash sometimes. It was just the way the dragon race was. It wouldn’t have been unthinkable that he might have charged straight in and then seen something that should not be seen until they were married.
Jing He hurriedly shook his head at himself and then put on his clothes, inwardly chastising himself. What was he thinking there? ‘Until they were married’? As if! He didn’t even know if it would ever happen. Even if he did, how could he have such thoughts right now? He should better get a grip on himself or he would slip up in front of Longjun and really make him reconsider.
Jing He made sure that his robe was properly worn and then went over to the closet, taking out an additional coat to drape over his shoulders just in case. He really didn’t want to give him the wrong impression.
Sitting down in front of the dressing table, he ran a comb through his hair, looking at himself in the mirror. He was a little torn between putting in more effort so he would look better for the man that he liked or just hurrying up so he wouldn’t leave him wait. Both seemed almost equally important and he couldn’t quite decide. Well, regardless of how he decided, one thing would be accomplished and the other could not.
He tried to hurry up, making sure that his hair was completely untangled and didn’t give away any traces of the sleepless night he had spent thinking of this man. Only then did he put down the comb and got up to leave his palace.
He was surprised not to see any guards but come to think of it if they had still been here, then Longjun naturally wouldn’t have been able to get into his palace just like that. He did wonder what this was about though. But anyway, he was happy that it had happened. Now, there was actually a chance to spend some time with Longjun again.
It was something that he was secretly looking forward to.