Xiang Yong worked until late at night but at last, he managed to adjust everything as his king had wanted. He heaved a sigh of relief when everything was done, and instructed somebody to go to the Nine Heavens to inform the God of War the next morning before he went to sleep.
A few hours later, it was already time for the celebration to start.
Qiu Ling actually wasn’t too enthusiastic about the whole thing. If he could, he would’ve liked to just go back to his beloved and take care of him. Especially with how Jing He was currently doing, he didn’t want to waste too much time. But then, he had promised that he would bring him something nice and this was also a prime opportunity to advance his musical skill so he was willing to at least stay around for a while.
He picked out a nice robe, not wanting to have people talk about how badly dressed the dragon king was after this matter, and then made his way over to the throne room where An Bai and Xiang Yong were waiting.
“Greetings, Your Majesty.”
“I take it Your Majesty managed to finish writing a speech?”
Qiu Ling gave Xiang Yong an unenthusiastic hum and flopped down on the throne. “How long until everything starts?”
“Merely a few more minutes. We have made sure that everyone in charge is aware of the changes we made yesterday. Fu Heng will lead you over to the arena after your speech is done and you have received the first two gifts while An Bai and I will stay here to take care of matters.”
Qiu Ling nodded, feeling that this had gone rather well. Anyway, he wanted to get the first part of it over as soon as possible so that he could focus on the actually important part.
Xiang Yong’s words just now had reminded him that the God of War was coming over though and that he was supposed to bring him a gift from his beloved. Naturally, he was looking forward to that part of the tedious part of the anniversary. With that thought, he rose to his feet, and even put on a smile, looking a lot more interested in this matter than he had originally been.
Xiang Yong and An Bai exchanged a glance, not quite sure what to think of this but presenting the king like this was definitely something they were happy about it.
They fell into step behind him and walked over to the gate that was opened as soon as they approached, stepping outside onto the square in front.
Cheers erupted and Qiu Ling froze in his tracks when he saw the crowd outside. Usually, he didn’t care about the anniversary of his coronation and either found an excuse for why he couldn’t come or had Xiang Yong arrange things in a way that would mean he didn’t have to directly interact with anyone. But this time, that wasn’t possible. Since he had promised that he would hold the speech and had already stepped outside, he had to go ahead with it.
His gaze brushed over the people and he spotted a group from the spirit beast tribe, as well as the gods from the Nine Heavens, among them. Qiang Yan was already there, giving him a faint smile.
Qiu Ling nodded at him, wanting to go over to inquire about his beloved’s condition but he knew that he first had to hold the speech.
Thinking of that, he stepped to the front, waiting for the gates to close behind him and the crowd to quiet down before he addressed his people. “Back when I ascended the throne, we had just won the war against demon king Huo Yan. Back then, many gruesome battles were fought, many lost their lives, and even those who survived found themselves in constant danger.
“Now, too many millennia have passed as that I would want to count them. I would like to assume that things have gotten better. Life isn’t fraught with danger anymore. Even though there still are some skirmishes every now and then, most regions have been safe for a long time.
“It can make one feel useless at times.” He actually smiled at that, inadvertently highlighting his gorgeous features and making some people in the crowd whisper. Qiu Ling didn’t seem to notice and just continued with his speech. “I was made king mostly because of my accomplishments in battle and surely, that is where I was able to render my people the greatest service.
“Still, I hope for everyone’s sake that there will be many more years of peace to be had and that you will never have to live through the cruelty of those days again and the young ones among you won’t have to ever experience it.
“Today, we are celebrating the anniversary of my coronation and with it the continuous peace we have enjoyed that allows us to have such festivities. Well, I’ve held a few too many of these speeches over time and I don’t think I have much to add by now. In any case, you’re probably more interested in attending a nice festival. So, let’s get the formalities over with.”
Xiang Yong side-eyed his king. He had worried about his speech since he heard that he wanted to hold one yesterday night and had been relieved when the first part actually sounded good. Did he really need to end it like that? Well, it wasn’t like he could ask him that in front of everyone. He could only force a smile to remain on his lips as if everything was as intended.
Qiu Ling noticed his gaze but didn’t care. He turned to the dignitaries that were all gathered at the side and his gaze landed on Qiang Yan. Immediately, his eyes curved up as did his lips, and the dragons were once again captivated. Who could fault them? Their king was just too good-looking! Anyway, even if he hadn’t said anything, this still would have been so worth it.
Qiu Ling used the opportunity to add a few more words. “The current peace we enjoy is also thanks to our allies. God of War, would it be suitable to strengthen our alliance with some wedding vows?”
Qiang Yan’s lips twitched. As serious as the dragon king might try to be, he couldn’t let go of this kind of opportunity to profess his love for his nephew, could he?
He would’ve liked to tell him that he had already found his one true love and wouldn’t be open to that. But seeing as this was a special occasion and this was about their alliance after all he didn’t go ahead with it. No matter whether Qiu Ling was serious about this proposal or not, he should give him some face at least. “Ah, that sounds like a splendid idea. I just fear that this might not be the most suitable place for discussing this. We should do so at a later time.”
Qiang Yan took out a small chest from his spatial ring and held it up. “Speaking of our alliance though, the gods are thankful for Longjun’s continued support in the fight against the demons. There has indeed been a long period of peace that is mostly thanks to you and your reign over the dragon realm.
“As somebody who experienced the war back then myself, this is something that I am personally thankful for. You have kept many of our citizens safe as well. The Nine Heavens would like to show their appreciation for that today. We can’t match the value of everything Longjun and his people have done for us but we hope that this small gift will be able to convey our heartfelt gratitude.”
Seeing as this was the God of War who was sent as the representative of the Nine Heavens, An Bai himself stepped forward to receive the gift with both hands. “Thank you, God of War. We very much appreciate this.”
Qiang Yan nodded and then glanced at Qiu Ling, smiling faintly. “Longjun might be interested in knowing that this was chosen by my nephew himself, the Son of Heaven. It was taken from the treasury, something that has been in our possession for a long time. If you wish to know more about it, then I am sure that my nephew would be happy to tell you.”
Qiu Ling immediately stared at the small box, feeling that today was his lucky day. Ah, this was the first gift he would ever receive from his beloved! He would absolutely treasure it and bring it up at every chance he got.
Even though An Bai and Xiang Yong had probably intended to take the gifts away, Qiu Ling reached out and took the box from his hands, opening it up immediately. Seeing the ring lying inside, he wondered what indeed the meeting might be. He would’ve loved to know immediately but anyway, a ring was something that should be worn, right? Maybe this was just his beloved’s way of telling him that he wanted him to always have a piece of him with him. What a touching thought!
Qiu Ling gave a hum, the satisfaction in his features pretty obvious.
Some people in the crowd had no idea what was going on and started to whisper. The fact that the dragon king was pursuing the Son of Heaven was pretty much known everywhere in the dragon realm after almost five years so these were mostly the ones who had arrived from somewhere else like the spirit beast tribe’s people.
As soon as they asked, they were told all about it. And knowing how the dragons usually were when it came to the one they loved, this reaction of the dragon king was really nothing strange. On the contrary, it could be said that he showed a lot of constraint.
Thankfully, nobody knew just what was going on in Qiu Ling’s mind.