RSH Stratagem 35: Expose the Deeply Hidden Truths (3)

Yu Gan did not give more of a preamble and just directly started. This song was indeed much different from the first one. It was calm and soothing, with a certain gentleness to it, but there were also parts that were outright dazzling.

It was like walking through a garden, the flowers all in full bloom, their intoxicating scent lingering in the air as if you could touch it. There was a feeling of floating weightlessly in the air instead of stepping on the stone path, relieved of all the burdens of everyday life. The sunlight shining down on was bright, warming you from head to toe. If you were to look up to admire it though, the bright rays would be too bright to look at so you would have to avert your gaze. Still, even if you did, the beautiful scenery unfolding in front of you would be enough.

Hearing this melody, which was light most of the time but incredibly sophisticated at others, the sound of the strings weaving together into a vivid picture, Jing He lost track of his previous thoughts regarding Qiu Ling, and looked over to Yu Gan, completely lost in the music.

When the final note faded, he took a moment to pull himself out of those images, and then faintly shook his head. “That is a very beautiful song.” To be honest, he didn’t know much about the previous dragon king.

Qiu Ling had reigned for so long, not much was talked about him anymore in the Nine Heavens. He had only heard a few rumors that he hadn’t reigned any shorter Qiu Ling had, and he knew that under his reign as well, there had been prosperity.

But that was the extent of his knowledge. He didn’t know how Qiu Ling’s relationship with the previous Longjun had been, or how that man had dealt with matters in this realm. Although, he was pretty sure that he should’ve been a good king if his people had mourned him so much.

Yu Gan lowered the bow and smiled, happy when she heard the Son of Heaven’s praise. He might not have directly praised her skills but being able to bring out the beauty of this song and having him acknowledge that meant pretty much the same.

The song was not that difficult to play, for the most part, but to actually capture the essence of it, and make somebody see the true beauty in it, it was something that wasn’t easy. Clearly, it had worked on the Son of Heaven and Yu Gan did not feel ashamed to admit that she figured that she had done pretty well.

“Well, then would Your Highness like to hear another song? Something similar, maybe?” She hadn’t known what to play originally, but now, she figured that she probably had a direction.

She had chosen the first song because the Son of Heaven had asked for something important to the dragon race and she had wanted to show him something that had to do with their current king and help him out a bit with his efforts of seducing this person.

While she played, the king had looked a little strange for a moment though, indicating that maybe there had been something wrong with the Son of Heaven. Yu Gan had even thought of stopping the song before she was halfway through. In the end, she continued to play the rest because she wasn’t sure if she hadn’t misinterpreted it but upon reflecting some more, it might be that the stimulation had been a bit too much.

Yes, she probably should’ve thought of that beforehand but right now, her king’s beloved was in a delicate state. Even though she couldn’t see him, the fact that he wouldn’t even show his face indicated that his condition should be bad. Not to mention that even his voice sounded weak right now. It was hardly more than a whisper. In this case, it was better to play something that was soothing and put his mind at ease instead of aggravating his emotions.

Jing He didn’t want to keep Yu Gan too long but, to be honest, he was quite interested in hearing more. After all, while he had been able to ask An Bai about the dragon realm previously and his uncle had also told him the bit that he knew, just hearing or reading second-hand accounts of these matters was different from experiencing a bit of the dragons’ culture.

If he could, naturally, he would want to use the opportunity to its fullest. It was just that he also didn’t want to overdo it. “The festival should go until the evening and your wife’s fight with my uncle should be over soon as well. Maybe you would like to return with her soon.”

Yu Gan shook her head. “Shou Quan knows where to find me and she didn’t come back yet. I also didn’t hear her outside so there should still be some time until she returns.”

Jing He nodded behind the curtain and then couldn’t help to finally give in to his desire. “Then maybe a short song would be possible? That way, even if your wife returns soon, she won’t have to wait for you too long.”

Yu Gan’s smile brightened. She was happy enough to play for the Son of Heaven just based on his status in the Nine Heavens and his relationship with their own king. But hearing these words, she couldn’t help but also feel a strange sense of pride.

From what she had heard about the Son of Heaven, he was beautiful, gentle, and refined. She had believed those rumors to be true to at least a certain degree and since there was not a single person speaking up to refute them, they should be mostly true. Now, she could see just how true they were.

To think that this person was in love with their king and would marry him … as his subject, how could she not be proud? Did this not speak to his charm and strength? He was able to make this person fall for him. To the dragons that valued their partners highly, this was cause for some boasting. Honestly, she couldn’t wait to go back and spread the news!

Yu Gan couldn’t help but glance at her king while she was quietly thinking to herself. “If Your Highness would like to hear something shorter, then that is what I will play. In fact, I might have a song in mind already.

“This … is a more recent one. In fact, it was written in the last couple hundred years. It has become quite popular in our realm and you can usually hear it in the teahouses wherever you go.

“Maybe His Majesty could take you in the future so you can experience it in the right circumstances. The atmosphere actually adds to the tune quite a lot. I hope my rendition without it won’t fall short.” She finally inclined her head, and then didn’t wait for him to respond before raising the bow again, and playing the melody.

Jing He’s cheeks had flushed a little when she brazenly suggested going to teahouses in the dragon realm with the dragon king, but he calmed down when he realized that she probably hadn’t thought much about it. In any case, she was a dragon. Instead of needlessly worrying, he focused on the song.

It was a bit livelier than the last two, but still, it was also gentle, really something that could be played in a teahouse to add to the atmosphere, and liven things up a little, while still not being so attention-grabbing that it would detract from the conversations people had. It really did make him wonder how things were in the dragon realm.

For his whole life, he had never left the Nine Heavens. In fact, he had never even stepped foot out of the capital city. The furthest he had ever gone was that outing with Qiu Ling one day where he had taken him to the outskirts of the city to have a meal in that lovely meadow.

To go until the dragon realm … oh, he would love to give it a try! He had to admit though that he didn’t think it would happen anytime soon. No, it probably wasn’t possible.

But maybe … in the future, that could change. In any case, there was time and with the dragon king’s continuous pursuit, there was a chance they would indeed become a couple in the future, and then the dragon king would surely take him to his realm, showing him around there.

Visiting a teahouse together did not seem impossible in such a scenario and if they were already married, there would be nothing indecent about showing up together at such a place and spending some intimate hours just enjoying the atmosphere and listening to some music.

Imagining such a day, Jing He turned to look at Qiu Ling, his lips curving up in a smile. Ah, it was a lovely thought. He really would’ve liked to experience that.

Even though Qiu Ling couldn’t see Jing He, he still felt his gaze. He turned to him, his own lips curling up in a smile. He gently squeezed his hand and then they waited together until the song came to an end.

Yu Gan inclined her head and put the instrument away. The Son of Heaven had clearly not wanted her to play much longer if he had asked for a short song so she shouldn’t overstay her welcome. He was probably getting tired and also didn’t want to be a burden. Even though he was being too considerate with that thought, since he was sick, she shouldn’t insist. It would be better to return another day when he was feeling better. “I hope that Your Highness liked this song as well.”

Jing He nodded even though she wouldn’t be able to see it. “Yes, very much so. I can indeed imagine it being played in a teahouse.”

Yu Gan nodded. “Well, I think I might have heard my wife outside. Since the song has come to an end, I will leave then and return to the dragon realm with her. In the future, when Your Highness is feeling better again, I would gladly play for you again. Just have His Majesty tell me and I’ll come over.”

“That is very thoughtful of you. Thank you very much. Today was lovely.”

Yu Gan smiled brightly again and nodded at both the Son of Heaven and her king before she got up, turned around, and left, not waiting for Qiu Ling to see her out.

Anyway, how could she bother her king while he was with his beloved? No, since he had the opportunity to spend time with him alone, she should let him do that so they could deepen their feelings.

Outside, she looked around but she couldn’t see Shou Quan. Well, she wasn’t surprised. She hadn’t actually heard her and had just wanted to withdraw politely. Seeing as her wife indeed hadn’t come back yet, she smiled to herself and turned to the two guards. Maybe she would even be able to see the end of Shou Quan’s fight. Her wife would definitely be ecstatic if that happened.

« ToC »

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