Qiu Ling didn’t press the issue. In any case, he was happy enough to be able to spend some time with Jing He. Now, he had said what he wanted to say and even a little more. He felt that this should’ve reassured Jing He quite a bit.
In any case, who didn’t like to hear praise? Since that was the case, he felt that he had done a pretty good job. Now though, he didn’t want him to dwell on it for too long. Otherwise, with how his beloved was prone to overthinking, it might result in him just starting to worry again. Since he didn’t want to see that, it would be best to stop at this point.
He thought for a moment and then raised the painting at him. “Do you want to keep this? As a reminder of how I see you?”
Jing He’s face turned crimson again and he wanted to shake his head but then again, he didn’t want to reject a present from the dragon king. Also, to be honest, he really wanted to keep it as a reminder. Then he would be able to think back to this day in the future no matter what came. He was torn between shaking his head and nodding and really didn’t know how to go forward.
Qiu Ling chuckled at that and then rolled up the scroll, getting up. “I’ll put it in your study. You can decide what to do with it later on.” He didn’t wait for his response and just brought the painting over, also taking back the book he had read from before. He did put it down right on his desk though, making sure that Jing He would see it whenever he felt well enough to go back to his study on his own.
As soon as he had done that, he went back and checked the box with the medicine again, looking around for the instructions again. “From what I know, the God of Medicine left quite a few things here. Let’s see if there’s anything other than tea that you can have already. It must be quite frustrating to only drink and even the same thing for several days in a row.”
Jing He smiled faintly but noncommittal, not quite sure what to do about it. To be honest, these last few weeks, he had also not done much more than just drink some tea, although the kind had varied. He just hadn’t been able to get a single bite down because his insides seemed to be tied up in knots over his worries about the dragon king.
Sorting through everything, Qiu Ling finally found some herbs and other ingredients like seeds that Jing He could apparently eat as well. Looking at them and then looking at his beloved, he felt that eating them like this was quite pitiful though. “Uh … I’ll send one of your guards to get somebody to make something out of this. Just eating it like this …”
Jing He looked at him and shook his head, not really wanting for somebody to disturb them. “It’s alright. I don’t mind.”
Qiu Ling looked at him and then read the instructions again, wondering if there was anything specific in there. “Well, this says it doesn’t matter how exactly it’s prepared. Just that it shouldn’t be processed for too long or it would lose some of its qualities.” He pondered for a moment and then put down the things that he had chosen on the small desk that he still had outside before he started to rummage through his spatial ring again. Finally, he took out a big pot, making Jing He look at him in confusion.
“Ah, I was thinking that we should at least make some kind of soup out of it. I’m not sure if you’ll like it but I think it’s better than nothing.” With that, he filled the pot with water and then froze again when he realized that he couldn’t bring it to a boil with his magic in front of his beloved.
Jing He realized what was going on and faintly cleared his throat. “Should I heat it up?”
Qiu Ling looked at him and hurriedly shook his head. “No … don’t. You’re still recuperating. If you had any energy to spare, you should use it on yourself, not on something like this. I’ll just do this the old-fashioned way.”
With that, he took out some more things from his spatial ring, first building a small platform to make sure he wouldn’t accidentally burn down Jing He’s palace, then he stacked up some old wood that he had lying around before he took out a flint and made a fire that way.
Jing He stared, not sure what to think of this. “Longjun …” He really wanted to ask but he didn’t know where to even begin.
Qiu Ling looked up and there was a faint smile on his lips. To be honest, Jing He was a really classy person so he wasn’t sure what he would think of this. But in any case, Jing He also understood the differences between their races so this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. “You know, the dragons aren’t able to just make a fire like the gods so we have to go about it a bit differently.”
Jing He nodded, actually not that stunned after thinking about it for a moment. He was quite stunned though when he watched as the dragon king slowly made soup in front of his eyes. This was something that he definitely wouldn’t have expected.
But come to think of it, if the title of Longjun wasn’t hereditary, then who knew how his life had been before he was finally chosen as the next king? This was also something that he wanted to know but he didn’t dare to ask.
Qiu Ling looked up after he had just thrown in some lotus roots, realizing that there was something odd about his beloved’s expression. “You know, if there’s something you want to know, I absolutely don’t mind answering. Just tell me what you want to know.”
Jing He wasn’t quite sure how to phrase it so, in the end, he just made an observation. “I didn’t think Longjun would know how to do something like this.”
Qiu Ling looked at him and then back at the pot and finally smiled. “Well, I spent quite a few years on the road. I mean I was hunting, practicing both my magic and my physical abilities.
“You can sustain yourself with just spiritual energy for some time but after months go by, that will make it difficult to use your full strength. So it is best to make sure that you eat and sleep well even or maybe especially in such a situation.
“So quite a bit of my time was also spent gathering things I could eat and processing them myself. This … Well, I don’t know much about medicinal plants, to be honest, but I think I can make at least a soup out of them.” He looked at it and then his expression turned a little strange. “Although, come to think of it, this will not be that much different from tea. I hope you won’t mind.”
Jing He hurriedly shook his head. In any case, he also wouldn’t have minded just drinking the tea but to see the dragon king put in this much effort … He felt honored. So there wasn’t a chance that he wouldn’t be thrilled to be able to eat this no matter how it actually tasted in the end.
He quietly watched, not knowing what to say and, to be honest, he didn’t want to say anything either. He just wanted to see this. To quietly experience this with him. He couldn’t go out and experience these things himself but it could give him a short glimpse into Qiu Ling’s life. That was worth a lot for somebody in love.
Qiu Ling was very much aware of Jing He’s gaze but he didn’t say anything and just continued to quietly cook. He didn’t want to tell him too much about his life before he had become the dragon king. For one, there were some things that he couldn’t talk about if he didn’t want to expose himself. But on the other hand, he also didn’t want to give Jing He a look at a less than stellar time of his life.
It just … Well, in his eyes, Jing He was perfect. And he didn’t want him to see that the man he might like wasn’t like that. Because he was sure that right now, Jing He had a rather … idealized version of himself in front of his eyes.
What he saw in him was a mighty dragon king, a strong man, maybe a good listener, somebody who was sure of himself and certain about what he wanted, somebody who was willing to do anything to get his goal, and who was all around just perfect. The perfect man for him.
But the truth was that he wasn’t and he was very much aware of that. He just didn’t want Jing He to become aware of that as well. So it was best to keep some things silent right now and just hope that Jing He wouldn’t pick up on it.
Maybe in the future, there would be a time when he could tell him about these things. But that time definitely wasn’t right now and it wouldn’t be anytime soon either. No, for now, he could only amuse him a little with some stories that were partly the truth but mostly just excuses. In any case, some secrets had to be kept. There was nothing he could do about that.
With that thought, Qiu Ling finally extinguished the fire beneath the pot, hoisting it up a little further so that it would be farther away from the original heat source. Then, he took out a bowl from his spatial ring, scooping up some of the soup for Jing He and carrying it over to the bed. “Careful, it’s still hot.” With that, he finally handed it over but he made sure to keep his eyes peeled in case it was too much for Jing He.
Actually, for just a moment there was an urge to maybe just hold onto it and pretend that it really was too much for his frail hands and that it would be much better for him to feed him. But he was afraid that Jing He would be mortified and he didn’t want to cause that. So in the end, he could only hold back and enjoy the fact that he had once again managed to rather smoothly sit down at the edge of the bed. In any case, this was better than nothing.