RSH Stratagem 35: Expose the Deeply Hidden Truths (1)

No matter how he looked at it, Jing He couldn’t help but feel pleased that Qiu Ling had gone to such effort to make him happy. Of course, he wouldn’t reject his good intentions. “This really is too thoughtful of Longjun.

“I would very much enjoy listening to some music for a while. I am just afraid that I might not be in that great of a condition to receive guests. Especially not somebody from the dragon race. I would …” He trailed off, not quite sure where to go with this.

He had thought that he did not want to make Qiu Ling look bad but then how would he do that? In any case, there was no official relationship between the two of them. Thinking of it that way, the only ones he could make look bad were the gods, not the dragon king.

Qiu Ling either didn’t catch his drift or maybe he simply didn’t care as usual. He just gently squeezed his hand and shook his head. “You’re beautiful as always but there is no problem with closing the curtain in the meantime. I might have mentioned that part of the reason why I invited them over was that you haven’t been doing too well recently and can’t leave your palace. I’m sure that they would understand if you did not meet them face-to-face.”

Jing He hastily nodded, still a little hung up over his mistake just now. Really, with everything that had happened these years and especially after the last few days of spending so much time with Longjun and crossing way too many boundaries, he had trouble behaving the way he should.

In the future, he would need to pay more attention to that. Otherwise, what if somebody realized? The dragon king knowing was the least of his problems since he encouraged this behavior but if anyone outside of the two of them was made aware of this … that would indeed reflect badly on both of them.

Jing He might not be saying much in response to his suggestion but Qiu Ling still figured that this should count as silent acquiescence. As such, he got up and carefully pulled the curtains closed before reaching through the small gap and accurately grasping onto Jing He’s hand. “The two of them had some time to look around the festival so they aren’t in a hurry to return. They can play for as long as you want them to.

“If it is getting too much, you can say so. If you want to listen for a while longer, that would also be alright. You don’t need to limit yourself either way. Just say what you want. In any case, this is my gift to you and I’d like to spoil you. So it won’t be too much no matter what you ask for. Just allow yourself to be pampered this once.”

Jing He could still vaguely see Qiu Ling’s figure through the curtain and hearing his voice that was especially soft at this moment made his heart thump faster. “I will keep it in mind.”

Qiu Ling nodded and then let go of his hand, rising to his feet again. “In that case, I’ll go and get the two of them.”

He left, feeling as if for sure, his beloved’s gaze had to be on his back, and then stepped around the screen and through the door, looking over to where he had left Yu Gan and her wife. To surprise, while Yu Gan was still standing at the same spot, nothing could be seen of Shou Quan.

Qiu Ling raised his brows and then walked over, looking around in case he had missed something obvious. “Where’s your wife?”

Yu Gan gave an embarrassed smile. “She … ran off with the God of War.”

Qiu Ling’s eyes widened and he looked around to see if he could still spot the two of them. Unfortunately, he couldn’t. Now, this was a problem. “You … You’re still going to play for my beloved, right? You won’t hold this against me?”

Yu Gan give him a puzzled look. “Why would I hold this against you, Your Majesty?”

Qiu Ling stared at her and then couldn’t help but narrow his eyes. “Uh … when you said ‘run off’ you meant that she went somewhere with him to do … something, right? Not that she just left you for the God of War, right?”

Because for a moment there, he had really believed that the wife of the musician he had brought over to play for his beloved had run off to be with his beloved’s uncle. Well, he had to admit that Qiang Yan was a charming guy but he wouldn’t have thought he was able to seduce women that easily. That really would’ve opened his eyes.

Yu Gan raised her brows, not quite sure how her king had come up with that idea. “No, of course not! I’m her partner for life. In fact, we’ve bound our souls. So there is really no risk of that ever happening.”

Qiu Ling heaved a sigh of relief and then shook his head. “Well, I’m glad to hear that. What did those two run off to do though? Didn’t they just meet?”

Yu Gan sighed and shook her head, almost feeling a little embarrassed. “Well, just like I am very much interested in playing in front of you and the Son of Heaven, my wife is very much interested in going to fight the God of War. And it seems that he was willing to humor her when she brought it up. So that’s what she’s doing. I’m not sure if she is sad that I won’t be able to witness that fight but then, I guess just having the opportunity is already very good.”

Qiu Ling gave a hum, not quite sure how to react to that. “Well, if my beloved was doing better, I’d say we could have gone to watch together. Although I doubt he’d really like to see that.” He wasn’t sure how violent this kind of fight might get but it definitely wasn’t something that he wanted to show Jing He. No, his beloved was probably a little fainthearted. He shouldn’t show him anything that might turn out cruel. “Anyway, can we go then?”

Yu Gan inclined her head. “Of course. It’s my pleasure.”

Qiu Ling nodded as well and then led her into the palace, motioning for her to choose any spot she liked to sit and play. He himself went back to sitting next to the bed and once again reached through the curtain to take his beloved’s hand.

Jing He originally wanted to pull back, afraid that an outsider would see this breach of etiquette, but by the time he reacted, Qiu Ling had already managed to interlace his fingers with his. Feeling his warmth, Jing He’s wish to disentangle vanished into thin air. In any case, she had already seen him reach in. Would it really make a difference if he let go?

He knew that he was just deluding himself into trying to believe this but he really couldn’t bring himself to let go of Qiu Ling’s hand. In fact, he couldn’t even help but look at him through the curtain even though he had seen him so often already.

The dragon king was a handsome man. His features had just a hint of wildness to them and the calm expression inspired confidence. He would gladly rely on him at any given moment. At this moment, with the fabric softening Qiu Ling’s features, things were different though. There was a special quality to his looks, a gentleness Longjun usually didn’t possess.

Not that he hadn’t usually been gentle to him. It was just … his actions and his words were sometimes still a completely different matter and the dragon king could be called unrestrained on his best days. Not now though. Now, he was … almost serene.

Jing He needed a moment before he finally wrested away his gaze, and instead turned to look at the musician. She was a beautiful woman. Seeing her made him feel grateful that Qiu Ling had taken the time to explain just who she was and why she was here beforehand. Otherwise, he really would have been heartbroken now, probably making up all kinds of ideas about what might have been going on between Qiu Ling and this woman.

Feeling somewhat reassured, Jing He gave a faint smile. “Thank you very much for coming here. Longjun told me that you left the festival to do so. I know that this day is very special for the people of the dragon race so I thank you for taking the time despite that.”

Yu Gan blinked her eyes, staring at the curtain, feeling a bit enchanted. This voice … She could understand just why the dragon king was so smitten with this person. If not for the fact that she already had a wife that she had bound her soul to, she might have developed some feelings for this person as well.

Even without seeing him, just his voice alone was enough to know that he had to be beautiful if his looks were even half as good as his voice. Especially as a musician, this was something she cared about.

Yu Gan forced herself to get a grip and took a seat, taking out her huqin from her spatial ring. “Please don’t worry about it, Your Highness. Being allowed to play for Longjun and the person he loves is a great honor for me. This day, I could not celebrate it in a better way.”

Jing He’s face flushed and he could not help but turn to look at Qiu Ling. Had he really directly told somebody that he was in love with him? To the point where even the musician who had just walked into his palace would mention it as if it was no big deal?

For a moment, he didn’t know how to deal with this. But then, he reminded himself that, of course, Longjun should’ve given her some kind of explanation. And also, he had already learned long ago that the dragons were much more direct.

To her, it wouldn’t be strange that her king wanted to visit the person he loved while taking a musician along. It also wasn’t wouldn’t be strange in her eyes that the dragon king was willing to tell her about this so directly. It would’ve been different if she was a god but she wasn’t.

He should really get used to that thought. One day, if he and Longjun really got married, they would likely live in the dragon realm. By then, he couldn’t get surprised by things like these anymore. No, at that time, he would need to be able to stay calm. He should better get used to it now in preparation for that day.

« ToC »

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