Qiu Ling looked at the new arrival and then turned back to Yu Gan with a smile. “So that is your wife. Well, you can be proud of her. She won today’s opening fight over at the Qing Song square.”
Yu Gan wasn’t necessarily somebody who cared too much about fighting but hearing the king say that, she immediately rushed up to her wife. “Congratulations!” Even though she herself might not care, she knew exactly how much Shou Quan cared. Winning was something she had to be incredibly happy about.
Also, being praised by His Majesty … she knew full well just how great that felt. After all, when he had been praising her and the other musicians over in the pavilion, it had also felt like she might swell up with pride until she exploded.
Qiu Ling watched the two of them and couldn’t help but faintly tilt his head. Actually, come to think of it, these two were quite similar to him and Jing He. Maybe that was something he could make use of. Thinking of that, he gave a hum and then turned back to Shou Quan. “Say, if you wanted to get your wife something special, what would it be?”
Shou Quan froze, not quite sure what to make of that. “A gift for my wife?” Why was the king asking for that? She glanced at her wife who nodded encouragingly and then pushed the thought away. Anyway, if the king asked, then who was she not to answer? “Probably something I think she’d like very much like … I don’t know, an instrument? Or a set of notes?”
Qiu Ling gave another hum, this time a little more drawn out. Actually, these ideas weren’t too bad but it wasn’t like Jing He could currently use either of that. He shouldn’t give him something that would require work of him. “Then if your wife was currently not well enough to actually use that, what else could you think of?”
“Going to a physician?”
Qiu Ling stared at her, wondering why the two of them weren’t able to communicate normally. Was this how people normally felt when talking to him? Heaven, he might need to scale that down in his day-to-day interactions … Anyway, that wasn’t the point right now. “No, of course, you’d call the physician first. But just imagine she’d have to be on bed rest for a couple of weeks and you wanted to do something nice for her to help her through that time like giving a gift that is really special. What would you choose?”
Yu Gan looked from one person to the other, feeling like she was learning quite a few additional pieces of information from this. Could it be that the Son of Heaven currently wasn’t well? Was this one of the reasons why His Majesty was being so tense about this?
Come to think of it, it made sense. The issues with needing a full-blooded heir notwithstanding, she was pretty sure that their king would be able to woo somebody without problems. And also deciding on a gift shouldn’t be that problematic. So to continuously request help with these things, she couldn’t help but think that the circumstances had to be a little more troublesome.
The Son of Heaven being sick would play right into that. After all, if he really wasn’t feeling well, then of course, it made sense that His Majesty would be anxious about doing something wrong. You shouldn’t aggravate a patient. And also, you would want to show even more care for the person he loved when they were in that kind of situation, wouldn’t you?
Thinking of that, Yu Gan looked at her wife who still seemed quite nonplussed. Most likely, Shou Quan hadn’t really been the best person to address in regard to that. Usually, her gifts sucked big time. That wasn’t quite something she would expose in front of anyone, much less the king though. She just hoped he would be able to get somebody else to answer that question for him later on.
Shou Quan also felt a bit pressured. This wasn’t the usual type of situation she had to deal with. Beating up somebody was much easier than this. In fact, getting herself into this situation, she was kind of happy that she had never tried to become his adviser. Because while she was clearly good enough to be a guard or someone higher ranked, giving advice really didn’t seem to be her strong suit. Still, since the king had already asked, she had to give some kind of answer.
She pondered for a moment and finally, her expression lit up. “Well, then if she can’t do anything herself, maybe I could take her to somebody else who is playing. There are often musicians playing in the tea houses.” Anyway, when it came to her wife’s likes and dislikes, then music was usually the first thing she’d think of to make her happy. And listening to some music should be relaxing, right?
Yu Gan gave her a disappointed look. “His Majesty said what if I was on bed rest. In that case, I couldn’t very well go somewhere with you.”
“Oh.” Shou Quan furrowed her brows and then shook her head. “Well, maybe one of your friends could come over to play for you. Anyway, I’m sure you’d still like it.”
Yu Gan really wasn’t sure what to say to that.
On the other hand, Qiu Ling couldn’t help but turn thoughtful. Actually, that idea wasn’t too bad. Hadn’t he himself thought that he should do something that would be a new experience for Jing He because he was afraid that he would be bored?
Listening to music for some time seemed like a pretty good idea to do exactly that. He wouldn’t need to do anything and could just continue to lie down, listening quietly. Actually, the longer he thought about it, the more he felt that it was perfect.
After making up his mind, there are was still the matter of logistics though. After all, who was he going to take? An Bai would be preoccupied with his tasks at the festival for the rest of the day and he didn’t really think that any of the other advisers were able to play at an acceptable level for Jing He.
No, he would need somebody who was … good. Very good. Someone who was, in fact, good enough for Jing He to really enjoy himself. As for people he knew with that kind of skill level …
Qiu Ling turned to Yu Gan, a bright smile suddenly lighting up his features. “Say, Yu Gan, you and your wife, wouldn’t you just love to take a trip to the Nine Heavens someday?”
Shou Quan raised her brows, not quite sure what to make of that but after a moment and seeing the ingratiating look on his face, she figured that she already knew where this was going. “Your Majesty, you can speak frankly with me. You want me to accompany you to the Nine Heavens to play for the Son of Heaven, don’t you?”
Qiu Ling hesitated for a moment but then nodded, dropping that smile. Clearly, it was useless on her. “Well, would that be asking for too big of a favor?”
Yu Gan smiled and turned to look at her wife. Originally, they had wanted to join the festival together but then, it seemed like they had both gotten what they wanted already: She had been able to play in front of the king and had been praised, even getting enough recognition that he would ask something like this of her. Meanwhile, Shou Quan had won that fight and had clearly also been recognized by the king.
So really, what else were they supposed to do here? Yes, the festival was nice, the food was good, and she did like the festive atmosphere, but thinking of how special it was to be allowed to play for the king’s beloved, she really didn’t feel like walking through the streets anymore.
“If it was just me, I wouldn’t say no. But please give me a moment to discuss this with my wife, alright?”
Qiu Ling inclined his head and then even walked a few steps away, turning to look around for another gift just in case. He really didn’t know if she would do it. Even if she did it, it probably wouldn’t be today.
He had indeed hoped that he would be able to bring something back right away to cheer Jing He up. But then, it wasn’t like it would be easy to find somebody else to play for him. He only knew the musicians from the pavilion, and for all of them, it would be exactly the same. After all, the festival was for the whole capital or even the whole realm.
So Yu Gan was really his best bet. Even if it wasn’t today, as long as she was willing to do it at all, he could tell Jing He about it and his beloved would have something to look forward to. That was also good. It would give him another reason to hold on.
After a moment, Yu Gan pulled her wife back to Qiu Ling, giving him a smile. “Alright, we’ve talked about it and there are just two or three things we’d like to pick up first, and then we can go right over.”
Qiu Ling stared at the two of them for a moment but then immediately motioned down the street. “Whatever you need, let’s get right to it.” In any case, who would’ve thought that he’d ever have this much luck? This had to be some kind of good opportunity that was owed to him from his past life or his shitty childhood or something.