The two of them sat together for a while. Jing He was still mostly keeping silent but this time, Qiu Ling didn’t think too much about that. His beloved was clearly not well-rested. He probably just needed to relax a bit more right now. Still, since he was already there, it also seemed to be a base not to use any of the time they spent together. Thus, Qiu Ling used the opportunity to just chatter by himself while Jing He listened.
“So then, Fu Min just couldn’t keep his ears to himself and went on to eavesdrop on them. As a result, he heard half their conversation and was convinced that they were going to get married. He immediately ran back to inform everyone else so when the two of them came out, everyone congratulated them. In return, they could only stand there, exchange a glance and then ask what exactly was going on.
“In the end, it turned out that there was no intention to get married at all. Fu Min had completely misunderstood what they were talking about. The proposal had not been for a wedding but for a fight instead.
“Recently, one of them had gotten a new weapon and wanted to try it out but since his level of strength differed quite a lot from the others, he went to Fu Heng to ask if he would have something against giving it a try. You know, Fu Heng is the one who is the strongest among my advisers.
“In any case, I guess Fu Min was quite embarrassed by the whole story but he never would’ve admitted that. So for the next few weeks, whenever somebody would listen to him, he would instead be saying how they definitely had been proposing marriage but had been scared off when they saw everyone’s reaction. Fu Heng absolutely wasn’t amused but what was he supposed to say? He isn’t a person of many words anyway so he could only sit that one out until Fu Min got tired of speaking about it by himself.”
Jing He couldn’t help but smile faintly. “It sounds like it is quite lively in the dragon realm. And Longjun seems to be really close to his advisers.”
Seeing his beloved’s faint smile, Qiu Ling was entranced for a moment. Who would’ve thought that the random gossip of the dragon realm could actually entertain him? He had feared when he started to talk that Jing He would either be bored or feel that it was scandalous for him as the king to gossip like this. But now, it turned out that Jing He was not thinking any of that.
He lightly cleared his throat, trying to get his feelings back under control. “Well, contrary to the Nine Heavens, we don’t have palaces to ourselves. Both me and my advisers, as well as a lot of the families of the guards, are living in my palace with just a room or a suite of rooms depending on their status. So it’s inevitable to hear some things. I guess in the Nine Heavens, something like this wouldn’t happen as easily.”
Jing He nodded faintly. “At least I wouldn’t have heard of it.” Although that might also be because he was living rather reclusive. He definitely couldn’t deny that.
Qiu Ling nodded. “I guess it might really be the case then. Well, it can be quite amusing from time to time. At the very least, you will get to hear a lot about other people. That might not be good if you just want some time to yourself though.”
“Does … does Longjun want that kind of time sometimes?”
Qiu Ling smiled faintly. “I guess everybody would want that kind of time at least every now and then. And I believe I have already said it once before: In a position such as ours, things aren’t that easy. There will be expectations placed on you. There are things you have to do, but also things you can never do even if you want. It can be quite exhausting to live like that. If there was nobody around, you could just ignore it and be yourself but it’s not really possible when others are around. But what are you supposed to do?”
Jing He nodded faintly. “Yes. What is one supposed to do?”
Looking at Jing He, Qiu Ling felt like his beloved looked a little down. That really wasn’t what he had wanted to do. Ah, if only he could cheer him up a bit. Well, he seemed to have liked to hear that kind of silly story. So maybe it would be nice to tell him a bit more about that. He thought for a moment and then remembered a few more of his advisers’ shenanigans. “Anyway …” With that, he dived back into telling Jing He all about the daily life in the dragon king’s palace.
To be honest, while Jing He was a calm person even by nature, and made even more of an effort to appear so, he also couldn’t help but feel intrigued by what the dragon king was telling him. He would not outright laugh but there was at least a smile on his lips since he enjoyed listening to the stories. Well, even if the stories themselves wouldn’t have been interesting, he also just really liked listening to Qiu Ling. To think that he had the chance to listen to the man he loved like this … Could there be anything better than that? He really doubted it.
In this manner, time passed by in a flash. Qiu Ling glanced at the window and when he noticed that it was already past noon, he finally fell quiet again. “Well, it seems that half the day has already gone by. Seeing that I woke you up this morning and you apparently haven’t rested that well, I will bid you farewell a little earlier today. You should take a rest and make sure that you don’t strain yourself too much.” He reached over the table and gently grabbed Jing He’s hand while he said so, looking deep into his eyes. “I will come by again tomorrow. Although … I’ll time it a little later. So take your time getting up.”
Jing He’s cheeks flushed when he heard such words from the dragon king. He really wanted to say something but he couldn’t think of a single word. This whole matter from this morning was so embarrassing. He actually hadn’t thought of it because he had been focused on the dragon king’s stories so much but now that he reminded him, he once again felt shame washing over him.
Qiu Ling got up and then raised Jing He’s hand, lightly kissing it. “Well, then, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Jing He nodded faintly and also got up, seeing him out of his palace. He watched him leap into the air and then sighed faintly when he disappeared in the distance.
He leaned against the doorway, his gaze turning into one of longing. “Ah, to think that so much time has already passed by. With him at my side, I hardly noticed.” He shook his head at himself and then returned to the table, looking at the two cups of tea that were now empty.
For a moment, he just stared at them but then, he reached out and picked up the dragon king’s cup. This man … he had come over and shared a cup of tea with him so often. They had played many games of weiqi, they had painted together several times, and he had played a tune for him just the other day. They had also had countless conversations. It probably wasn’t a wonder that he had lost his heart to this man.
If they were to live together in the future as husbands, it would probably be a blissful life as well. After all, when the dragon king came over every day, it had also worked out. Safe for the time in the beginning when he had still been a little afraid of him, they had been getting along well. Maybe they hadn’t done that many exciting things but just spending time together, just doing their daily activities in the company of each other had been quite nice. He could indeed imagine living this way forever.
He sighed and put the cup back down, not quite sure what to do now. He should probably do what the dragon king had told him and go to rest. Unfortunately, he really didn’t think that he was currently calm enough to do so. He … just wouldn’t be able to keep his thoughts off this matter with the dragon king.
He sighed again and then tidied up his clothes, and left his palace. Nodding at Huang Lan and Mu Kun, he slowly walked down the path and went to his mother’s palace. In any case, he had spent some time with his father but not much with his mother these days. It would be unfilial to continue like this.
When the servants announced his arrival, Bai Fen was currently sitting inside and drinking tea with her brother. Seeing her son step inside, she couldn’t help but tease him a bit. “Oh? My son actually managed to make some time for me? Don’t tell me your suitor wasn’t able to come by today?”
Jing He immediately stopped in his tracks, not sure how to deal with this.
Qiang Yan shook his head and waved at his nephew. “Don’t take your mother seriously. She’s just joking around. Come on, sit down.”
Bai Fen laughed at that and also motioned for her son to sit. “Your uncle is right. Don’t take it seriously. Although I do have to say that it’s surprising that the dragon king isn’t hogging all your time to himself.”
Jing He didn’t quite know what to say to that. He went over and nodded at the two of them, finally sitting down. “I’m sorry for not having given mother much of my time recently. I promise I will do better in the future.”
Bai Fen sighed wearily. There really was nothing she could do. This child … no matter what she said, he would always be like this. She reached over and patted his hand, giving him a wry smile. “You can spend as much time with me as you can and want to. There’s no reason to sweat it. In any case, there will still be time in the future.”
Jing He nodded. “Of course. I’ll take mother’s words to heart.”
Bai Fen and Qiang Yan exchanged a glance. While they had hoped that the dragon king would be able to make Jing He lighten up a bit, it seemed that as long as he wasn’t directly around, that hadn’t really happened yet. Well, with another couple of years, things might already be different. When it concerned Jing He, they probably couldn’t expect any faster results.