Back at the Heavenly Emperor’s palace, things had come to a standstill. As much as Rong Su didn’t want to admit it, he also understood that An Bai was right: Whatever decision he made right now would have a long-lasting impact. And as much as he was angry at the situation and at Qiu Ling in particular because he was the one who had caused all this in the first place, he couldn’t let that cloud his judgment.
In this case, he had to consider more than just his son even though he would have liked to do nothing more than ignore all that, curse Qiu Ling out, and make sure he got his son back already. It had been long enough after all.
Bai Fen glanced at him, not quite sure if she could trust her husband to make the right decision here. She tried to find some kind of clue as to what was going on in his mind in his face but unfortunately, there was nothing. He just seemed to be deep in thought.
She sighed and didn’t say anything for the time being. If he really tried to make trouble, then maybe she would speak up. For now though, she reminded herself that he was the Heavenly Emperor and thus the one who should make this decision. Maybe he would actually surprise her. She’d wait to see.
Qiu Ling also waited, feeling that there was nothing he could do after pleading his case and having An Bai support what he had said. He didn’t know if it would be enough. He could only hope so because he really didn’t see things working out if Jing Yi stayed here for much longer.
While the silence stretched in the Heavenly Emperor’s palace, the sound of steps could be heard from outside. The guards at the gate stepped forward to see who the person was and finally announced one of the heavenly officials.
The man that stepped into the hall was none other than the one that had held Jing Yi back at the side gate. He bowed to the Heavenly Emperor and Heavenly Empress before greeting Qiu Ling, the God of Justice and the God of War, as well as An Bai.
To be honest, he was surprised to see all of them gathered there. The God of Justice had told them that he was on his way to the Heavenly Emperor’s palace that they should come there immediately to report as soon as they knew if that person had tried to leave the capital city and they had made sure that adequate measures were in place for keeping him inside.
Still, he wouldn’t have thought that it would not just be a meeting between the Heavenly Emperor and the God of Justice. He got over the shock fast though. The heavenly officials were also chosen with their mental fortitude being taken into consideration because they might offend even some of the titled gods just based on their position. When it came to reporting in front of some of the Nine Heavens’ bigwigs, it didn’t faze them much. “I am sorry for interrupting. The God of Justice issued a task and had us come here to report.” He looked at Li Yin for backup who sighed in turn and waved.
“Go ahead.” Although, he had to say that it didn’t really matter anymore. But then again, maybe this would put the dragon king’s mind at ease after he had clearly been shocked silly before at the prospect of his lover being killed.
The heavenly official nodded and then recounted how he had intercepted a group of people at one of the side gates, keeping Jing Yi from leaving.
Qiu Ling stared at him, his hands clenching around the armrest of his chair. “What did you do to him?”
The official was startled but considering that this person was the dragon king he also didn’t dare to be impolite. “To answer Longjun, I made sure that the person returned to their current dwellings and didn’t leave. The other gates were also informed of his intentions to violate orders so he shouldn’t have been able to leave there either.”
“Then, was he hurt?”
The heavenly official glanced at the God of Justice but realized that the other man wasn’t even looking at him. Suddenly, he felt as if he would’ve gotten into a lot of trouble if he had really gone ahead and tried to kill that person. The fact that the dragon king’s adviser had been among the ones escorting him outside probably should have clued him in on that. He hadn’t realized at that time but now, he could only congratulate himself on that smart decision.
He turned back to the dragon king and then shook his head. He didn’t even get out a single word though. Usually, the heavenly officials weren’t people who were easy to intimidate but the dragon king was still a person that was able to make them somewhat worried. Especially in this situation where there was no clear information at hand and no help from their leader.
Qiu Ling heaved a sigh of relief and the others in the hall did the same. If something had happened, that would have caused yet another round of problems and they all had enough of those. They just wanted this to end.
Rong Su finally waved at the official and motioned to the gate. “Very well, go back to your other tasks then.”
The heavenly official nodded and then hastened outside, not wanting to stay there for even a moment longer. But just when he left, the next person already arrived. And this person didn’t bother about the guards but just barged right in.
“Your Majesty!” Qiang Wei stared at Qiu Ling and An Bai who were sitting next to each other, his expression blanking when he realized that nobody was fighting or even yelling. In fact, even the Heavenly Emperor’s expression had mellowed out a lot and he looked at most vaguely annoyed. Which … was honestly a lot better than what he had seen sometimes in the past. Realizing this, Qiang Wei’s brows furrowed. This … did not look like the trouble that Zhong Jing Yi had described to him.
At the same time, Qiu Ling suddenly had a bad feeling when he saw Qiang Wei. “What are you doing here? What about Jing He?”
Qiang Wei gulped and turned sideways, glancing back at the gate he had stormed through. “That … that mortal boy told me that you were in trouble and I was supposed to —”
Before he could finish, Qiu Ling rushed out. He couldn’t say for sure but he had the feeling that if he wasted a single second, he would regret it for the rest of his life.