When Qiu Ling arrived in the Nine Heavens, he originally wanted to sneak into Jing He’s palace as he usually did. When he landed in the garden, he reconsidered though. From what the God of War had told him yesterday, most of Jing He’s problems came from not being able to balance his personal feelings and his position. If he always sneaked in, that definitely wasn’t helping.
No, in the future, he had to be more careful in this regard. He had to make less trouble for him so that Jing He wouldn’t have to worry as much. Thus, Qiu Ling went to the other side of Jing He’s palace, actually nodding at the two guards in front.
Huang Lan and Mu Kun stared at him in a daze, not quite sure what to do about this. They really weren’t used to this. Usually, they would only find out that the dragon king was there after he had already left. Now, he actually came to the main entrance and even greeted them. They really weren’t sure how to deal with that.
This time, Mu Kun was the one who managed to catch himself first. He hurriedly bowed and then turned to the side, announcing him.
At this time, Jing He was fretting by himself inside while trying not to alarm his mother too much. He was happy to know that Qiu Ling had stayed a long time but he was also worried that maybe he wouldn’t return. And with each day that passed, he would have less of an excuse to get close to him. It really was something that made him worry quite a lot.
When he suddenly heard that Longjun had arrived, Jing He straightened up in bed, his gaze immediately turning to the door to the garden.
Then, Qiu Ling walked in from the main entrance, giving him a handsome smile. “Good morning. I hope I’m not disturbing you.”
The Heavenly Empress who was still sitting to the side, trying to take care of her son, looked at the dragon king and then sighed. She probably shouldn’t be surprised that she had been completely ignored. That man probably hadn’t even noticed her.
She got up and gave him a smile as well. “Longjun, you are definitely not disturbing us. I’ve been here the whole night so I am a little tired. I should go and get some sleep. I’ll take it that you will accompany my son for a few hours at least?”
Qiu Ling retracted his gaze reluctantly and turned to the Heavenly Empress. “But of course. Have a good night then.” He inclined his head and waited for her to leave before he went over to Jing He’s bed, sitting down at the edge without even asking. He knew he was probably too forthright but he couldn’t be bothered about that right now.
It had only been one night that they hadn’t seen each other but with Jing He’s current condition, he was worried. Not being close by where he would find out immediately if something happened had been driving him crazy.
He reached out and took his hand, noticing that Jing He was still incredibly pale and his skin a little cold. “How are you feeling this morning? Any better?”
Jing He looked at him, his heart thumping. How was he feeling? Well, to be honest, he didn’t really notice a difference from yesterday to today but he didn’t dare to say that. He wanted to say the truth but it really wouldn’t be the polite thing to do. “Oh, it is nothing much. I will probably be well again with just a bit more time.”
Qiu Ling gave him a look, not bothering to mention that he clearly knew that he was lying. “Well, you should take care of yourself well. By the way, I brought a little something for you.” He took out the box and stuffed it into Jing He’s hands, giving him a smile. “I hope that you will like it.”
Jing He looked at him and then reluctantly turned to the box while his heart was still fluttering. A gift from Longjun … he really didn’t know what to think of that.
The last time the dragon king had given him something, it had been the heart of the beast he had hunted for him. He had been terrified at that time, thinking that whatever reason there was, it couldn’t be a good one. It had only been later on that he realized that there had been a deep cultural meaning behind it. Now, he was a little wary of what he would see next.
He brushed over the lid of the box, admiring the delicate painting of the two dragons. Looking at it, he figured that if there wasn’t that much difference between the symbolism in the dragon realm and the Nine Heavens, then this was … rather bold.
He glanced up at the dragon king but his face didn’t give anything away about the implications that this box really held. Jing He told himself that he shouldn’t think too much and then opened the box, blinking his eyes when he saw the good luck charm inside. He picked it up and brushed over it with his fingertips.
The fish was exquisitely carved, every single scale modeled in great detail. It was beautiful and it fit snugly into his hand as if it had been made for him. He definitely had to say that Longjun always managed to find things that fit him so perfectly. It really spoke to how observing this man was.
Qiu Ling watched his expression and then reached out, his hand brushing over his leg while he leaned closer.
Jing He raised his gaze, looking startled. They had been extremely close yesterday but he had been lying with his back resting against Qiu Ling’s chest so he hadn’t really been able to see his expression. Now, the dragon king was looming over him, his face getting closer and closer.
He felt a kind of closeness that he hadn’t before. Or at least not too often. Needless to say, there had been some moments like the day when they went out for the Jiyi festival and Longjun actually wanted to kiss him. He had felt pretty much the same as he did right now. He couldn’t help but wonder if Longjun had that kind of intention right now.
Thinking of that, his eyelids lowered a little and he gulped, wondering if he gave a decent impression. He had insisted on getting up and changing his robe, as well as combing his hair, this morning just on the off-chance that Longjun would indeed return. But still, he really was sick. He couldn’t deny that. So most likely, he wasn’t looking that good. He really regretted it now. For Longjun, he only wanted to look his best.
Qiu Ling had been watching him the whole time so he realized that Jing He was getting preoccupied when he got closer. He faintly turned his face away and then just reached out to take his hand, hoping that he wasn’t overstepping right now. “I hope that you are going to be back to full health soon enough. It pains me to see you suffering.”
When he glanced over, Qiu Ling realized that Jing He had raised his gaze for just a moment, looking at his face. He wasn’t sure if he was just imagining things but there seemed to be some kind of anticipation, some excitement, and longing. Maybe deep in his heart, he really held feelings for him. And maybe those feelings were deeper than expected.
Qiu Ling lowered his gaze again and then figured that he might as well take a gamble. He didn’t want to be overbearing but he still leaned forward, bridging the last gap between them. Then, he kissed him on the cheek.
A slight gasp came from Jing He’s lips but he didn’t say anything. Most likely, that had rendered him completely speechless.
Qiu Ling pulled back, not saying anything either, and just gently squeezed his hand before he pretended that nothing had happened. “I’m not sure that kind of good luck charm will really work but I sure hope it does. When you’re feeling a bit better, we could do some things together. Whatever you want to, I’ll be up to it.”
Jing He wasn’t sure what to think. His thoughts were all over the place after the dragon king’s kiss. Even though their lips hadn’t touched as he had hoped, it had still felt so intimate, so … gentle.
The softness of Qiu Ling’s lips was somehow surprising to him. Maybe it was because when looking at him, he only saw a strong man, somebody reliable with the strength to easily kill or maim if he wanted to. It gave him this feeling that nothing about this man could be soft. But time and time again, he was surprised just how gentle Qiu Ling was with him. Today was no exception.
He took him a few moments before he even realized what Qiu Ling had said and finally, he couldn’t help but be bold for once. “When Longjun took me out that one night for the midnight stroll and onto that lake, I enjoyed that very much.”
Qiu Ling smiled and then interlaced his fingers with Jing He’s, not too tightly, just barely enough to make him feel that he was there. “If you enjoyed that, I’ll think of something similar. It will definitely be a time you won’t forget either.”
He looked around and his gaze fell on the teapot to the side so he motioned over. “AI assume that is the one that the God of Medicine sent over?”
Jing He nodded.
“Would you like a cup?”
Jing He didn’t know how to answer and just nodded again, feeling restless when he saw the dragon king care about him like this. Ah, to think that he would ever have the luck of getting this man’s care … He couldn’t have been able to anticipate that.
But now, it was clearly the case. It made him feel that he was incredibly lucky. And it did give him a hint of hope for the future that maybe things were possible after all. Even though he couldn’t see a way in which everything might turn out well, maybe Longjun would have a solution. After all, this man was always able to surprise him. Who was to say that he wouldn’t be able to do the same in this regard as well?