The half-bloods weren’t even able to say anything for the first few moments. They just stood there in stunned silence, staring at their king whom they had only seen from up close for the second time today.
Then, it could be seen how some of them tensed up, clearly trying to hold back some emotions. Even though a couple of them had good positions in the dragon realm, there was always this feeling of maybe not being good enough. To be involved in a task this important, it was a dream come true.
And this wasn’t even the first time, nor did it seem to be the last. They could actually do something that others might not be able to do. Just like Qiu Ling had thought, they were naturally on board immediately.
Seeing their reaction, Qiu Ling nodded faintly. “I … I can imagine that it isn’t always easy for you. In the past years, I haven’t done enough to make you feel appreciated for being who you are. I only realized recently that — when it comes to making all the different parts of my people feel appreciated — I failed to take many things into consideration. Not just when it comes to people with mixed blood like you but also where it regards the spirit beast tribe.
“I know you are not the only ones in the dragon realm with mixed blood. In the future, one of the first things we should do is have you connect with each other. From what I gathered from this task and when you went to deal with the demon-hunting sects back then, you seem to be spread out rather wide, hardly interacting with each other. It must be lonely.”
Ah, he was sure that it was. He didn’t know a single other person like himself and he hadn’t been able to bare his soul to anyone. When he was finally able to admit it to Xiang Yong and An Bai and even before when he had been able to talk about it with Jing Yi or Jinde he had felt better.
And these people … while they could talk about it, they were probably keeping it quiet in their everyday life because they didn’t want to be seen as different. They wanted to be like any other dragon but that also meant keeping a part of them quiet. That was difficult for sure.
Some of the half-bloods in front of him had lowered their heads, not wanting to lose their bearing in front of the king. But the words he had spoken had resonated with them. Indeed, they didn’t always feel welcome. Sometimes, they felt alone, misunderstood, forgotten. To hear acknowledgment of that from their king … it was more than they could ever hope for.
Seeing this, Qiu Ling’s gaze softened a little. “I know that when it comes to mixed blood, no person is exactly like the other. We’ll have to see how exactly everyone fits in, but I’m sure that we can find some ways to make things easier for you.
“But in any case, I will not make the decisions in that regard. I want you to make them. You know the most what it is that you need and what others like you will need. So when you have the time, think about this already. Whenever we get to start, you can share these ideas and we’ll see where things will go. You can talk about the details at that time and I will mostly leave you free reign. You don’t have to hesitate to come to me with any problems though.”
They nodded, some of them even gone so far as to bow immediately.
Qiu Ling smiled faintly and then motioned over to Xiang Yong. “Xiang Yong, you should bring them over to the Nine Heavens. I will inform the God of War and the God of Justice in the meantime. We probably shouldn’t surprise them with this.”
He furrowed his brows when he said so, making some of the half-bloods realize that there probably were some undercurrents that the king hadn’t told them about. But, well, they could figure that the gods wouldn’t be happy that their crown prince was in such a situation partly because of the dragons. So this really was no wonder.
They waited for Xiang Yong to go and open the gate and then followed him out, most of them stealing another glance or two at the king.
Even though he had said that they shouldn’t hesitate to come and see him, they weren’t sure if they would ever have the opportunity again. Getting another glimpse at him … they should be allowed that much, right? Only then did they leave, feeling a bit reluctant when Xiang Yong closed the door gates behind them again.
Meanwhile, inside, Qiu Ling heaved a sigh of relief. This had gone … surprisingly well. Even though not everything had been cleared up yet and it seemed that a lot of work would come their way, that was good. It would keep him busy and it would make the dragon realm a better place.
Speaking of which … he had some competent help at his side now, didn’t he?
He narrowed his eyes and took out his transmission stone, of half a mind to contact Jinde. But then, he told himself that he couldn’t get in over his head. He needed to tackle one task after the other and first, he needed to inform the God of War and the God of Justice as he had said. After that, he could try and work on that other issue.
Even though he had said that he wouldn’t lead this matter and would instead leave it to the half-bloods, well, he was one himself. He at least had a couple of ideas of what might be necessary. And he could imagine that Jinde with his wealth of experience would have some more. So he should talk these kinds of things over with him now that he had the opportunity to. Also, he really wanted to see how those two had settled down here. Really, it was nice to have your family close by.