Qiu Ling wasn’t too happy that he had to return to the dragon realm but he also understood that it was necessary to at least spend the anniversary of his coronation in the capital city.
If he didn’t, that might cause some rumors that wouldn’t have the best effect on the stability of the realm. And even though he usually didn’t seem to care, he was still very much aware that he was the king of the dragon race. He might be willing to let them down on any normal day, but he still had a conscience when it came to things that definitely had to be done.
Thus, as soon as he returned, he went to Xiang Yong’s place, barging into the room and plopping down in one of the chairs. “Alright, give me the short version of what needs to be done tomorrow.”
Xiang Yong who had just been dealing with some documents looked up at his king, not quite sure what to make of this. To be honest, it was good enough for him that the king turned up at all and even seemed intent on joining the festivities tomorrow but he couldn’t say that he wouldn’t have wished that there was some more enthusiasm contained in his words. Well, over the years, he had already figured out that his king was different from what he had thought in the beginning.
He put the brush to the side and leaned back, looking at his king. “Well, the shortest possible version should be that in the morning, you are supposed to hold a short speech in front of the people that have gathered, then after that, there would be a moment for giving gifts and displaying talents, after that, the festivities throughout the capital city will start. At that time, you don’t necessarily need to show your face around.
“Since I know that you are likely not too interested in spending any time with this, I was so free to come up with an alternative way of doing things. The gifts don’t necessarily need to be given to you directly and you also don’t necessarily need to do the speech yourself.
“Seeing as Your Majesty probably hasn’t prepared one, I had An Bai write one that would fit the current state of the realm. An Bai or I could hold it in your stead while you just show your face.
“Then, we would first ask for the talents to be displayed, so you can stay around and watch for a while. After that, we would open up the festivities for everyone who is more interested in that while we receive the gifts in your stead at the same time. By then, you can decide whether you want to stick around or not.” He fully expected Qiu Ling to nod along to the second version and not have anything to say about it. In any case, for most of his anniversaries, Qiu Ling couldn’t be bothered.
This time though, Qiu Ling furrowed his brows faintly. “It’s a special anniversary, isn’t it? In that case, I should give the speech myself. What did An Bai write?”
Xiang Yong raised his brows in surprise but immediately leaned to the side to take out the paper with the speech that An Bai had prepared and handed it over to his king. “This is the prepared speech. If Your Majesty wants to, you can also just say this yourself. It would probably leave more of an impression.”
Qiu Ling kept quiet for a moment and read over the speech, pursing his lips. “That’s nothing like me.” He folded it back up and handed it to Xiang Yong but didn’t indicate whether he wanted to hold that speech or not.
Xiang Yong couldn’t help but feel a little worried. If he knew what was up, he could organize everything. But if his king just looked at him and didn’t really say anything … he wasn’t quite sure what to make of that.
He gave it a moment but finally couldn’t help but speak up. “So, does Your Majesty intend to hold the speech yourself? Or do you want An Bai or me to do it?”
Qiu Ling gave a hum, still not answering. Instead, he got up and paced around the room, his brows furrowing faintly. “Say, are they sending a delegation from the Nine Heavens?”
Xiang Yong restored his expression, finally realizing where his king’s abnormal behavior was coming from: He didn’t want to leave a bad impression in front of the people from the Nine Heavens that were going to come. So all of this was just in case that they would mention even a single word of what had happened to the Son of Heaven. After all, he didn’t want to look like he didn’t care about this in front of the person he loved.
Even though Xiang Yong wasn’t quite happy that this was a reason, he still looked over and gave a faint smile. “Well, the God of War came over so I would assume that he will also come by tomorrow.”
Qiu Ling turned to look at him, not quite sure what to make of this. “The God of War?” The person he had just asked to fill in for the Heavenly Empress because Jing He had been worried his mother would be too tired if she had to stay awake two nights in a row? And now he had to stay awake and finally come to the dragon realm as well? Now, he actually had a bit of a guilty conscience.
Well, no matter what, the God of War would be able to take it better than the Heavenly Empress. Just one night awake shouldn’t be a problem to him.
Thinking of that, Qiu Ling returned to the seat in front of Xiang Yong’s desk and sat down again. “I will think about the speech and tell you tomorrow morning. If I am supposed to hold it myself, I would need to come up with something that fits me better.
“In any case, that speech looks ridiculously long. Nobody actually wants to listen to so much. Other than maybe a few scholars but An Bai can talk to those himself. As for the common people, they mostly just want some festivities.
“In regard to the gift-giving, if there is indeed a delegation from the Nine Heavens, I should accept that one myself. Well, if I do that, I’ll also have to accept the one from the spirit beast tribe. In any case, they are part of our own people so I should give them that much face.
“As for the important people of the dragon race, I don’t care about that. Let’s switch at that time. Make a few nice words about why we’re doing it so it doesn’t seem like I’m not interested.
“As for the talents …” To be honest, he hated that part of the festivities. It was just so tedious. A lot of that was stuff he didn’t care about in any case so it was incredibly boring to sit around. But this was also something that was done specifically for him to see so he couldn’t really say that he didn’t want to be part of it.
He tapped his leg and finally, his eyes lit up. “Do you have a list of the participants?”
Xiang Yong raised his brows, a little afraid of what might come but he still pulled out a list and handed it to his king. “This is a preliminary one. You know that, at the end of the day, everybody is free to turn up and showcase their talents if they wish to do so. Some people will make it known beforehand but that is by far not everyone.”
Qiu Ling nodded absentmindedly, not thinking too much about it. In any case, he knew that he wouldn’t get around this completely. But maybe he could bundle people up so it wouldn’t take quite as long. As long as he gave people the opportunity to display their talents, nobody could say anything against that even if he went about it in a more perfunctorily manner.
He looked at the list of people that had registered and immediately saw a couple of fighters. This really wasn’t anything odd as it was one of the preferred things that people liked to show off. They all hoped that he would realize their strength and grant them some kind of position somewhere.
To be honest, he had never liked that practice. What somebody showed on a specific date couldn’t really be taken as a sign of their actual strength. If they were able to continuously show that strength, that was a different matter altogether. But he wouldn’t base any important decisions on what might ultimately depend on the condition everyone had on that specific day. There was too much of a risk involved.
“Set up an arena for fighting on one of the squares. Those who want to display their talents there can all do so over the course of the day. I’m sure there will be a lot of young dragons who will want to join. It’s definitely not something that I need to be present for the whole time either. Mn, have Fu Heng stand by. In any case, when it comes to military matters, he’s the go-to person anyway.”
Xiang Yong had some thoughts on his king not wanting to be present all the time but he had to say that at least having Fu Heng there was a good way to deal with it. “I can do that but you should at least be there for the opening fight.”
“Very well. Let’s put that after the gift ceremony then. I guess it also gives us a reason why I can’t stay there after the first two have been accepted.”
Xiang Yong raised his brows but still nodded and made a note. Even though his king seemed a little perfunctory about all of this, he was at least preparing earnestly to make sure that they wouldn’t look bad. He had to give him that.
Qiu Ling continued to look over the other talents and frowned when most of them couldn’t be paired up as nicely. It really would’ve been nice if he just needed to stick around everywhere for a bit and then had more time to take a look at everything else. In any case, he had promised Jing He to bring something over.
Just then, his gaze fell on a skill that he hadn’t quite expected. “Oh? Somebody wants to play an instrument?”
Xiang Yong wasn’t quite sure what to make of that but nodded. “Yes, there are usually several of them. Even though it isn’t necessarily one of the highly valued skills in general, it still is in some circles. I guess these people might not necessarily be there to impress Your Majesty but the other people who will be around.”
Qiu Ling gave a hum, his eyes narrowing. If it had been just any instrument, he wouldn’t have cared. But this was precisely the type of huqin he was trying to learn. Also, even if it wasn’t, maybe he should be paying more attention to this. After all, his beloved clearly liked music. Knowing a bit more even about other instruments would be good.
Thinking of that, he smiled faintly. “I’d like to have these grouped up as well. Find someplace that is a bit quieter. This is something that shouldn’t be done anywhere with too much noise around or nobody will be able to appreciate the music.
“Also, make it something that has two stories. The first story should be for them to showcase their skills and everyone should be allowed to come in to listen. The second story can be used for some more … in-depth discussions. Don’t just let anyone go up there. I have some questions myself.”
At that, Xiang Yong’s brows shot up, really not having expected that. His king … was actually interested in seeing the musicians? This was … well, this really was unexpected. “Well … if Your Majesty insists, then I will do it that way. As for the rest …”
Qiu Ling handed the list back over and shook his head. “I can’t be everywhere at the same time and I don’t really care about that. Those can be scheduled however you like. I probably won’t be there.
“So, in summary: I will first hold my speech, then we do the first two gifts, you give an excuse while I go to see the fights, then Fu Heng takes over while I go and spend some time with the musicians.
“After that, I feel like I should deserve to go and enjoy myself. It’s my own coronation’s anniversary. Why am I the only one who doesn’t get to have fun?” Saying so, he got back to his feet and then walked out. “Anyway, I’ll leave it to you. Make sure that there is somebody to tell me how to get from where I hold the speech to the fighting arena and then to the place you set up for the musicians. I don’t want to be too late, especially for the last part.”
While the last words were blown over, the door already closed and Qiu Ling was gone, leaving Xiang Yong to reorganize this task on the night before the actual celebrations. He really wished his king could have been bothered about this before. It really would have made some things easier. But, well, at least he was interested this time. That was already more than he could say for previous years.