The king of the spirit beast tribe felt unprecedented pressure when he saw just how happy the dragon king was about the gift that the gods had brought over. While the gods might just be allies in the war against the demons, the spirit beast people were reliant on the dragons. Or, well, at the very least, they were counted as the dragon king’s subjects.
If there was one person that he didn’t want to offend that was the dragon king. And so far, he had never managed to elicit that kind of reaction from him. Well, maybe they should have introduced him to a few beauties before and hoped that one of them would catch his eye. Now, it was too late.
Seeing that Qiang Yan and Qiu Ling seemed to have finished their conversation, he hurriedly stepped forward with two of his people, handing over their gift with a smile. “I’m afraid that this cannot compare to what the gods have given but I hope that Longjun will accept this as a sign of our appreciation.” He didn’t make any more words around it, already having made the experience in the past that the dragon king hated it when people jabbered on. He was the kind of no-nonsense guy that wanted you to get to the point. If you didn’t, well, you shouldn’t expect him to listen.
Qiu Ling was still in a good mood. He gave a hum and had Xiang Yong accept the gift before he took the chest from his hands, even going so far as to open it in front of the spirit beast people as well. Naturally, he didn’t care about this one as much as he cared about the gift his beloved had sent but this guy had realized the importance of what his beloved had given so he felt like giving him some face.
Looking at what was inside, he was incredibly confused though. This was … Qiu Ling tilted his head, trying to figure out just what it was. Actually, it looked like a chest full of dirt with some weeds poking out. Was the spirit beast king playing a prank on him?
Next to him, An Bai also looked over, already having feared that something like this might occur. When it came to their king, they always needed to be prepared that he would suddenly show complete befuddlement at something. Even worse, he might give voice to that.
Usually, when it was just in front of them, he wouldn’t mind but if it was in front of a crowd of their people, as well as the dignitaries of their allies and his subjects, then he couldn’t let that happen.
When it came to the spirit beast people, An Bai’s expectations for the gift weren’t too high. Their territory was counted as half an immortal realm, being located right between the mortal and immortal realms. The resources they had at their disposal weren’t as rich as what the gods could offer. The same was surely true for the people that had come from other regions of the dragon realm.
Still, looking into the chest, there was an assortment of young herbs inside, the bottom of the chest inlaid with earth which probably came from the soil they were native to. Clearly, these herbs could be cultivated in the chest and then replanted.
Seeing this, An Bai’s eyes lit up. “An assortment of herbs from the spirit beasts’ territory? This is a very meaningful gift. And they are even able to be planted again.”
Qiu Ling looked at him, feeling that this was something he could hand over to An Bai without worrying at all. He’d have some kind of use for it.
The spirit beast king beamed, feeling that this Scholar An Bai was indeed somebody quite well-educated. At a glance, he was able to tell us what this was about. “Yes, adviser An Bai, that is indeed what this is. We gathered some of the rarest herbs that grow in our territory, as well as a seed of the sunbeam flower that is only native to our lands. It is difficult to cultivate so it still remains to be seen whether this one will be able to blossom but so far, the chances seem good. I’m sure that scholar An Bai will be able to use this for something.”
An Bai nodded even though the sunbeam flower was just ornamental. Still, it was a very thoughtful gift, and considering that this was a special anniversary, bringing something over from their territory to have it transplanted in the dragon realm was also something that showed their belonging. Somebody in the spirit beasts’ territory had put a lot of thought into this.
Thinking of that, he couldn’t help but remark on that. “I assume the herbs and sunbeam flower were planted when they were still seeds. Might I inquire who took care of them? It is quite a feat to time it right and have all of them grow to this point.” They might all look small but when it came to spiritual plants, their growth was slow. Managing to have all of them grow to the same stage in this small box was just shy of a miracle. He really would have loved to meet that person and have a talk about how they had accomplished this!
The spirit beast king beamed when An Bai was this intrigued. “That praise will have to be directed at our tribe’s Zheng Yin. He is a refiner first and foremost but also has extensive knowledge of herbs. I am afraid he has left for a journey to the mortal realm recently. Otherwise, I would have brought him over if I knew adviser An Bai was this interested.”
An Bai couldn’t help but feel disappointed that he wouldn’t have the chance to meet this person anytime soon but he could also understand he might want to go to the mortal realm. An Bai spent most of his time studying through extensive reading but there were benefits to going out to study something at the source as well. For a refiner with a very specific interest, that would be even more important.
“I truly hope he will be able to further his studies then. When he comes back, please extend my regards. I would love to discuss the growth of spiritual herbs and even refinement with him if he would be inclined to do so.”
The spirit beast king looked as if he might explode from happiness. He hurriedly nodded, his lips showing the brightest of smiles. “I will do so as soon as I hear from him! It’d be an honor to be able to discuss with adviser An Bai personally.”
“Oh, it’s me who will be honored. Clearly, your tribe’s Zheng Yin is much better acquainted with this topic of study.”
Before the spirit beast king could continue discussing the topic of who should be more honored, Xiang Yong glanced up at the sky before he turned to the king next to him. “I’m afraid it has gotten rather late. Your Majesty, the fights on the Qing Song square will begin in a moment. I’m afraid you’ll have to hurry over there to witness the opening fight. Please allow us to take over here.”
“Oh.” Qiu Ling managed to look somewhat regretful even though he was celebrating inside that he could finally leave. If it had just been talking with his uncle-in-law about the gift that Jing He had chosen for him, then things would be different. But in this case, when it came to accepting other presents that meant absolutely nothing to him, the case was different.
Qiu Ling turned to An Bai, handing the chest with the herbs to him, and gave him a smile. “I’ll entrust this into your knowledgeable hands then. I’m off to observe the fight. Fu Heng!”
The red-headed dragon immediately stepped forward from somewhere to the side and motioned ahead. He was just as impatient as his king, wanting to go to the arena immediately to see the fights. In fact, he would have liked to take part. But that was not possible so he’d have to be satisfied with just spectating today. Well, that was better than nothing.
Seeing as there had been a good excuse nobody said anything and Qiu Ling and Fu Heng walked through the crowd without trouble. There were a few people that got too close but one look from Fu Heng usually made them step back and just stare at Qiu Ling excitedly.
Even though most of these people were living in the capital city, there weren’t too many chances to get a good look at their king. Often enough, he wasn’t even in the city and when he was, he wasn’t anywhere people could have a look at him.
That was why those vendors the other day had been baffled when the dragon king suddenly stood in front of them. And even today when it was the anniversary of his own coronation, people hadn’t really expected to see and hear him speak. That it had happened after all really made them feel that this was their lucky day.
Meanwhile, Qiu Ling and Fu Heng waded through the crowd and finally arrived at the arena. Xiang Yong had prepared seats for honored guests so Qiu Ling plopped down, crossing his legs and staring ahead.
Fu Heng went to stand just a few steps away and then motioned at the person who was overseeing the proceedings.
This time, nobody made many words and the person in charge just waited for the fighters to step into the ring. Thanks to Qiu Ling wanting to save time, the first fight had been turned from the one-on-ones that the dragons had expected to a free-for-all. Whoever was the last one standing would win this one.
When the dragons had heard this morning, they had been conflicted on how to feel about that but still, the chance to be the one that stood there in the last moment was still worth it. Even if they might not be able to gain glory in the usual one-on-one fights. Anyway, they just needed to prove themselves. Wasn’t that why they had registered here?
With this kind of thought, all of the contestants stepped into the ring, getting ready to fight. As for Qiu Ling … well, he would watch until this one was over. After that, he would be gone. He just hoped that they wouldn’t take too long to knock each other out. He didn’t have that much time.