The half-bloods had all straightened up once they stepped into the hall, staring at Qiu Ling with the same kind of awe that Xiang Yong had hoped for.
Qiu Ling looked at them, his eyes narrowing faintly. These people … they were a bit like him. The other half of them had better blood than he did but still, the feelings they kept hidden deep inside them were probably not too different from his.
Thinking of that, he immediately felt better about this. And he also couldn’t help but want to make clear just how important this matter was to them. “Xiang Yong, close the gate.”
Xiang Yong looked at him in surprise but then went to close it before returning to his side.
Qiu Ling hadn’t taken his gaze off the people in front. Some of them seemed nervous but most of them were just excited. He nodded faintly and then crossed his legs, seeming a little more at ease. “What I’m going to tell you now will likely surprise you. It is also something that cannot leave this room.”
The half-bloods immediately straightened up, realizing that what they had been called over for had to be incredibly important.
“Most of you …” After starting, he wasn’t quite sure how to say it and trailed off for a moment. “Well, let me start differently: You know about our alliance with the gods. You likely also know about my relationship with the Son of Heaven.”
The half-bloods exchanged a few glances, not quite sure where this was going anymore. Still, most of them gave a quick nod, reassuring their king.
“Because of your blood, you are probably also aware of some things that others might not know regarding our two races. For example, while the dragons are cursed with being able to fall in love only once and their soul-bound partner being related to their life, the gods have to go on trials.”
There were a few more nods but still a lot of confusion.
“This is a matter that I haven’t made public yet but my soul is already bound to the Son of Heaven.”
There were a few gasps from the people in front of him but they immediately quieted down again, straightening up a little further to make sure they wouldn’t interrupt him again.
Qiu Ling smiled faintly. “I can imagine that this has come as a surprise to you. It probably isn’t the customary way to go about things but it has been several years since we met and the heart wants what the heart wants.” He gently shook his head and then sighed. “Well, with knowing that, I also have to tell you that there have been some … complications. The Son of Heaven has been sent on his first trial and there was a mishap.”
The half-bloods were clearly getting uncomfortable at that. A soul-bound partner having a mishap could the dragon’s death. So far, their king didn’t show any signs of that but they still weren’t too sure. To imagine that there really was something wrong to that degree … No, they couldn’t do that.
A few of them glanced at Xiang Yong as if they hoped that he would give them some kind of sign but Xiang Yong’s expression was as serious as always, not letting them glimpse anything.
Qiu Ling raised a hand, trying to calm them down. “It isn’t life-threatening for either of us. But it is a matter that will be difficult to solve. To make a long story short: His reincarnation managed to ascend to the status of a deity. Usually, under the laws of the Nine Heavens, he would be killed for that. But with my soul being bound to his, that would cause some troubles.
“The gods were informed of this and agreed to spare him for the time being. But that leaves the problem that without his death, he can’t return to his actual identity as the Son of Heaven, leaving the Nine Heavens without a successor. Needless to say, we need to solve this problem, preferably fast.
“Right now, the officials of the Court of Justice are working on it, and Scholar An Bai is supporting them in this endeavor. The problem is that he is currently the only dragon working on this matter.
“We surely have a few scholars who could try to help out but it would be best if we had somebody who has at least some knowledge on the gods as well. This would make it easier to find a solution that complies with the restrictions of our curse while simultaneously making sure that the Son of Heaven’s trial will not be jeopardized.
“That is where you come into play.” Qiu Ling gave a faint smile while it slowly dawned on the half-bloods what all of this meant. “I know that not all of you are scholars. Some of you might find that this task is rather tedious. Maybe you will not be able to do it well.
“Still, I would ask all of you to give it a try first. If you’re able to help, you will stay over in the Nine Heavens for the time being and help Scholar An Bai find a solution together with the gods. For those of you who are not able to do this, you’re not required to force yourself. You may come back and we will find another task for you.” This was the most difficult part to say since he hadn’t quite figure things out but well, he had been king long enough to wing this.
“I won’t lie to you, right now, I don’t know what exactly that task will be. But this matter has shown me that despite the long-standing alliance with the gods, we don’t know nearly enough about each other. We aren’t working together well enough.
“Especially considering that I intend to marry the Son of Heaven as soon as this trial is finished, this needs to change. And I think that because of your heritage, you are perfect for figuring out how to do that.
“Thus, while I don’t know how exactly this will look, I ask that those of you who return early start to work on that project. All the others will likely join you later on when the matters in the Nine Heavens have been taken care of. I hope that this will be acceptable for all of you.”