Jing He finally fell asleep again even though his slumber wasn’t as peaceful as it had been with Qiu Ling at his side. At the same time, Qiu Ling packed up his things and wanted to go to the Nine Heavens again to check on him.
Just when he had flown a few li, he stopped though. He probably couldn’t go back just like that. His beloved was in a dark place. Shouldn’t he do something special to cheer him up? He thought for a bit and then turned around, rushing to the dragon realm’s capital city instead.
He didn’t go back to the palace as usual and instead started to stroll through the streets, looking left and right in the hope of finding what he had thought of.
He usually didn’t venture out into the city so it took the people passing by him a second glance to realize that the one they had in front of them was actually their king. As soon as they did, they were trying to greet him and try and find a way to help him but he just waved, not bothering about them. Right now, he was on a mission, an especially important one. Naturally, he couldn’t let anyone distract him.
Finally, he found a stall that seemed to be selling exactly what he was looking for. Stopping in front of it, he crossed his arms and then furrowed his brows while looking at the goods.
The man on the other side of the stall couldn’t help but sweat when he saw the king’s expression. He had seen how Qiu Ling was waving others away so he wasn’t sure if he should offer some help or not. The dragon king didn’t quite seem to know what he should take so in the end, he still cleared his throat and gave him a careful look. “Your Majesty, might I be able to help you?”
Qiu Ling still furrowed his brows, feeling that he was a bit of a failure if he wasn’t even able to find something for his beloved himself. But then again, he really wanted to go back. The day had already arrived and he still hadn’t found his little gift, not to mention being back in the Nine Heavens. It was about darn time that he found something. If he could save a couple of minutes by asking somebody for help, then his beloved certainly wouldn’t mind. His company would probably be more important than the gift anyway.
Realizing this, he looked up at the vendor, his brows smoothing out a little. “I’m looking for a good luck charm. Something for good health specifically. It’s supposed to be a present.”
The vendor immediately heaved a sigh of relief. He had feared that the dragon king would be angry at him for bothering him while he was going about his business but it seemed that the question had actually been welcome. “Certainly!” He hurriedly picked a few out and showed them to the king. “These are all the good luck charms that can be given as well-wishes for good health.”
Qiu Ling looked at them and his gaze was immediately drawn to a little fish made of white jade. He didn’t even think for more than a moment and immediately picked it up, turning it between his fingers. “I’ll take this one.”
The vendor was a little stunned but since the king had decided this fast, he certainly had his reasons for taking this one specifically. Who knew just who this was for?
Looking at the jade fish, he was about to state the price but then looked up at the king. He knew that, at the end of the day, business was business but … Could he actually ask the king for money? That seemed a little wrong. In any case, it was an honor to be able to say that he had provided Longjun with a good luck charm that was presented to somebody as a gift by the king himself.
Qiu Ling didn’t even think about that and just pulled out some money, putting it into the vendor’s hands. “Is that enough?”
The vendor stared at the coins in his hands, wondering just what was going through the dragon king’s head. “Oh, that is certainly enough. More than enough.” In fact, he started to pick up the coins one by one, wanting to hand most of them back.
Before he had the chance to do so though, Qiu Ling already furrowed his brows again. “I can’t hand it over just like that. Do you have some kind of box?” While he asked, he already looked around and realized that there wasn’t. “Never mind. I’ll go look for that somewhere else. Thank you for your help.” He didn’t wait for the vendor to say anything else and then just turned around, not bothering anymore.
The vendor raised a hand, wanting to remind him that he had given him too much money but the dragon king was already rushing away, looking around the stalls. Well, it seemed that he wouldn’t be able to give this back. He should drop by the palace later on and give it to one of the king’s advisers.
Meanwhile, Qiu Ling found another stall that seemed to be selling exactly what he was looking for. Stopping in front of it, he figured that he might as well go with the same approach as just now. “I want to give a gift to somebody and still need a box it can be kept in.”
The vendor looked at him, her eyes widening when she realized just who stood in front of her. “But of course, Your Majesty! Might I ask what type of person the present is meant for?”
Qiu Ling blinked his eyes, a little surprised at that question. “Uh … the one I love?” It was a bit pitiful that he didn’t have an official status but this was definitely a good explanation.
The woman’s eyes immediately started to gleam and she hurriedly picked out a few of the boxes. “In that case, I am sure that these should fit Your Majesty’s needs the best. They represent good values and wishes in regard to a loving couple. Maybe Your Majesty has some kind of favorite among them? Or maybe you want me to explain them one by one?”
Qiu Ling looked at the boxes that she had put in front, feeling that he really didn’t have time to listen to all kinds of explanations. He looked over them and then motioned at one made of porcelain in blue-and-white. “What about this one? Can you give me some more details on that?”
The vendor nodded happily. “But of course, Your Majesty! A round box is said to refer to a happy marriage. The image on top shows two dragons to symbolize conjugal affection. As you can see, the dragons are holding a twin stalk of lotus blossoms between them which points to them being a devoted couple. In the background, there is the pattern of five dragon scales, symbolizing the five blessings longevity, wealth, health, composure, and virtue. Originally, this kind of box was painted in red and gold but out of respect for the previous Longjun Jinde, that choice of color was abandoned.”
Qiu Ling furrowed his brows and the woman hurriedly continued to explain.
“Well, the blue and white are tranquil and dignified, showing a simple elegance that is easy on the eyes while the jade-like texture of the porcelain is good on the hands, making the box comfortable to hold.”
Hearing that, Qiu Ling was a little more onboard. Simplicity and elegance were definitely descriptions that fit Jing He. And in any case, this was merely meant to hold the good luck charm. The box probably wasn’t that important anyway. It was just … he really wished there hadn’t been two dragons on top. Since his beloved was a god, maybe he wouldn’t appreciate that. But then again, it would be difficult to get one without two dragons in the dragon realm. They really were too partial in that regard.
He didn’t think about it much longer and just took out some money, handing it to the vendor. “Is this enough?” Saying this, he already picked up the box, while the woman stared at the money with the same confusion as the vendor.
She nodded slowly, still not sure what to make of this. Was there some kind of hidden meaning? “Yes, but —”
“If it’s enough, then I’ll leave. Thank you for your help.” He didn’t wait and just put the fish inside before he put everything away and then rushed off, making his way over to the Nine Heavens.
In any case, he had kept his beloved waiting much too long already. Since he had promised that he would take care of him, he definitely couldn’t stay away for too long. No, every single moment these days had to be spent on his beloved to make sure that he would slowly be doing better.
He would never forgive himself if Jing He’s situation worsened and he hadn’t been there to do anything. Since he loved this person, he would use his life to make sure that he was doing well, no matter the outcome.