The Heavenly Emperor was completely reassured when Jing He said this. He laughed happily and brushed his beard, nodding his head incessantly. “Yes, how could that be? Well, you don’t have to worry! I will definitely find the perfect spouse for you!”
Jing He inclined his head but his heart was still hurting. The perfect spouse for him … it was a given that his father would never consider Longjun to be that person. But since that was the man he loved … how could there be anyone else who would fit his idea of a perfect spouse? No, it was impossible.
Thinking of it this way, he suddenly wished that his father would not try to find anyone at all. It would be better to just stay alone forever than to be forced to spend his life with a man he did not love while there was another one out there his heart was beating for.
Yes, if he could not be with the dragon king, then he would rather not be with anyone at all. At the very least, he would have his solitude and he would never feel like he needed to betray his feelings. It was one thing to pretend to be indifferent to the person he actually loved but another one altogether to pretend to love a person when his heart was with somebody else.
And how could he ever have the face to see the dragon king again if he actually married another man? It was completely impossible. The thought of that … it might be enough to break his heart.
Rong Su didn’t notice his son’s troubled mood. Instead, he was giving the question of what kind of son-in-law he might actually be able to accept a serious thought for the first time. “That person should definitely be somebody of matching status. We can’t have you marry below your standing. What would people think?
“I would also like somebody who is strong enough to protect you. One can never be too careful after all. Who knows what the demons might be planning in the future? Or maybe somebody else might try to do something. No, it’s best to have somebody at your side that can protect you.” Thinking of that, his expression turned pensive. “So this should be somebody with a high, magical ability. Preferably somebody who has been trained in using it. Maybe there’s somebody in your uncle’s palace who would be acceptable.”
Jing He stared at his father, unable to believe that he was actually thinking this far ahead already. It couldn’t be that he really wanted to marry him off anytime soon, could it? When he thought of that possibility, he immediately panicked. “Father, are you sure about this?” He had to dissuade him from this somehow!
Rong Su raised his brows, not quite sure what his son meant. “What’s the matter? You don’t agree with that idea?”
Jing He hurriedly shook his head. “How could I dare to disagree? Since you believe that this is the right way to go about it, then it most certainly is. I am merely wondering what kind of person that might be. The people in my uncle’s palace are seldom of very high status. So unless we were talking about his successor, I’m not quite sure if both requirements could be fulfilled at the same time. And uncle is still so young. How could he be choosing a successor anytime soon?”
The Heavenly Emperor’s expression turned troubled at that. This was indeed right. His brother-in-law was slightly younger than him. That really was too early to think about leaving his position and letting somebody else take over. No, it seemed like he couldn’t choose anyone from his palace. Although … “Well, there are still the Heavenly Generals. Maybe one of them would be good enough. It is not as high as I’d like your future spouse’s status to be but it is better than nothing. And in the current situation, probably the best that we can expect. Well, there is still the opportunity for them to have a higher position later on. Things wouldn’t be impossible. We should slowly talk it over with your uncle.”
Jing He smiled wryly. “Is there really a reason to hurry this much, father? I don’t think that there is anyone among the current Heavenly Generals that fits your wishes for a good son-in-law. So why not just give it a bit more time? Maybe somebody you will find agreeable will turn up soon. It sure is a possibility.”
Rong Su raised his head and then nodded slowly. “Of course. You’re absolutely right. We shouldn’t rush into things. You are still so young. What use is there in having you marry anytime soon? It will be much better to give all of this a bit more time.”
Jing He nodded but didn’t know what else to say. What he wanted wasn’t really more time. Instead, it was some kind of idea on how to actually marry the man that he loved. But he couldn’t come up with anything. And it wasn’t like he could get any help.
While his mother might be willing to help, he didn’t dare to admit that he was really taking a suitor into consideration that his father would not agree to. That just didn’t seem to be the right thing. No, he shouldn’t do this. He should accept his fate. No matter how difficult it was for him, he should not make trouble for his parents. It just wasn’t right.
The thought once again made him feel a little depressed. He forced a smile back onto his lips and then lightly cleared his throat. “Maybe father would rather discuss this with mother in more detail?”
Rong Su looked at his son, confused as to what Jing He meant. “Ah, I’m sure that your mother will also have some thoughts on this but do you really think that she has anybody specific in mind?”
Of course, that was not what Jing He had in mind at all. “I was merely thinking that maybe she would have some thoughts on the matter that would give you some more clarity.”
Rong Su nodded. “Of course. I’ll keep it in mind. But, well, that is not the issue right now, is it? Let’s not think too much. We should talk about something else.”
Jing He lowered his eyelids, wondering if it would be rude to be more direct. “Ah, I am a little tired.”
The Heavenly Emperor looked at him in surprise. “Didn’t you sleep well?” He actually worried about this a bit considering that his son hadn’t been doing too well before.
Jing He wasn’t quite sure how to react either. He had hoped that his father would just accept his words but that didn’t seem to be the case. Now, what was he supposed to say? He hesitated for a moment but finally nodded. “It wasn’t too bad but almost right after I got up, Longjun had already turned up, and then father was here, so there was no time to rest yet. By now, I do feel like it would be nice to take a short rest at least.”
Rong Su immediately felt worried about his son. “Ah, dear, should I call upon the God of Medicine again? Maybe you are sick after all.”
Jing He shook his head. “No. Thank you but I don’t think that will be necessary. Most likely, I just need to rest some more. I hope father won’t be angry for not spending more time with you?” Jing He looked at his father pleadingly as if he really needed to rest but had a guilty conscience for doing so.
The Heavenly Emperor’s heart hurt at that gaze. “But of course not! Your health is the most important. If you need rest, then father won’t bother you. I’ll come and see you later after you were able to sleep for a while.” He gave his son a long look, wondering if there was anything else he could do for him. Unfortunately, he couldn’t come up with anything.
“I am feeling guilty to hear that father worries so much about my well-being. I should not make you worry so much.”
“Aiya! Don’t say that. Isn’t it normal to worry about one’s child?” The Heavenly Emperor hurriedly got up before Jing He could blame himself any more. “Since you aren’t feeling well, I won’t stay any longer. You’d better go straight to bed!” He reached out and patted his cheek before resolutely turning around and leaving his son’s palace. His heart was bleeding a bit now that he couldn’t spend more time with him but he was willing to do this if it benefited his son.
Back inside, Jing He wanted to sigh but just then, an arm snaked around his waist and he was pulled back against a strong chest.
“Say, your ideal spouse, he wouldn’t happen to be a tall, good-looking, dark-haired man that happens to listen to the name ‘Qiu Ling’, would he?”