When the three of them reached the room, Lei Jiang opened the door before he turned back to the other two, looking at them for a couple of moments before he hastily handed the key to Leng Jin Yu. “Here you go. I … I’ll leave the two of you to yourself first. You can take a look around and see whether it is up to your standard.
“I’ll come back with my wife later on to show you around the palace. If you can’t take the room at all, you can tell as at that time and I will organize something with one of the other advisers.” He froze for a moment and then couldn’t help but glance at Jinde. “The other advisers do know about this, right?”
Jinde brushed through his golden hair, giving a hum. “Well, not all of them. From what I know, other than your brother-in-law, only An Bai and that Xiang Yong are in the know. As for the others … I’m afraid Qiu Ling hasn’t gotten around to telling them yet.”
Lei Jiang nodded at that, actually feeling worried when he heard that. This was a matter they were doing for His Majesty so he didn’t have any second thoughts. But it seemed to be even bigger of a secret now that he knew that not even all of His Majesty’s advisers knew about this. It suddenly made him wonder if he was even up to this task.
He naturally hoped he was but you could never know until it was too late, right? And if he wasn’t and let something slip, the consequences would be disastrous. Well, in any case, he would do his best. He could only hope that it was enough.
When he went back, he should make sure that he told Ai Hua and Xiao Dong again that they always had to keep in mind the backstory they had made up for Jinde. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to explain to their king.
Jinde chuckled when he saw his expression. “Oh, cousin, don’t be like this!”
Lei Jiang froze, his eyes widening while he looked at Jinde.
Jinde chuckled and then pushed the door open further, motioning for the other two men to follow him inside. Lei Jiang had wanted to leave but clearly, he was still wanted here so he stepped inside, and closed the door at Jinde’s gesture. Then, he just stood there, waiting for what he wanted to say.
Jinde glanced around and then just turned back to Lei Jiang, understanding showing in his eyes. “I know the situation is weird. You probably never thought you would get caught up in something like this. If I’m not wrong, you’re merely a palace guard, right?”
Lei Jiang nodded, actually looking embarrassed at that. He took pride in his task but he also realized that he had just messed up. Being called ‘cousin’ by this person was completely alright if he was an extended relative. After all, the line between generations would get blurred among the immortal races.
An extended relative usually wouldn’t be called by their actual relation to you but just in regard to whether you were roughly of the same generation or age. And even there, a lot of people would take quite a bit of liberty to adjust accordingly.
Clearly, Jinde wanted to be seen as part of the younger generation. So being called cousin by him and calling him cousin in return was the right thing to do. Especially if he really wanted people to believe that they were related. If he couldn’t bring himself to do this, it would seem suspicious.
Jinde knew that he had already understood so he didn’t harp on it. “From what people know, we are merely distant relatives. I think it isn’t a problem if we don’t seem to be all that close. Also, you’ll probably be busy in the future with your own tasks just like us. So just get used to it slowly. If somebody asks, just tell them that you have a bit of trouble getting along with me. You can make up some reason. It doesn’t matter what it is either.”
Lei Jiang nodded, thankful that Jinde was willing to do this for him. “I will do my best. I will also make sure that I warn Ai Hua and our son so they will take this seriously.”
Jinde chuckled and shook his head at him. “Honestly, I don’t think you need to worry about that. That wife of yours seems ecstatic that she is getting this opportunity and as for your son …” He thought back to Xiao Dong, immediately smiling brightly. “Ah, well, I’d never fault a child even if they did something wrong. And so far, he hasn’t done anything worrisome. Also, I definitely wouldn’t mind if you sent him over so he can spend some time with us.”
Leng Jin Yu glanced at his husband, quite clear on what exactly Jinde was thinking of. He wanted to have a child of his own but having another child around was also quite alright with him. At least for the time being, it was the next best thing he would get after all.
Lei Jiang nodded, taking this request seriously. “I will definitely tell him to come by. In fact, I can bring him along later on if you want me to.”
Jinde waved at that though. “Don’t force it. In any case, from what anyone knows, we just arrived here. Being shown around the palace is a boring thing for most people who already know the place. Children take it even worse, usually. So don’t bother about it if he doesn’t want to himself.”
Lei Jiang nodded but inwardly, he told himself that he definitely had to convince Xiao Dong to come along. Even though his own hair was a little reminiscent of the golden color of Jinde’s hair, he was still mostly blond. And he wasn’t quite sure if he could pull off the extended relative as easily if Xiao Dong wasn’t coming along.
With the two of them next to each other, it would be much easier. Also, from what he had seen so far, his wife and Jinde were able to make up stories on the spot when it came to covering up the situation at hand. Having a child with them would be one more opportunity to quickly divert attention and change the subject.
Still, it remained to be seen whether he would be successful in convincing his son. “I’d better go and check on things back at our place. In any case, you probably want a few moments to yourself anyway. I’ll take my time until I return.” He nodded, making sure not to actually bow, and then left the room, closing the door behind him again and leaving the pair of husbands alone.