Jing He continued to pace up and down, but his mother didn’t try to urge him. Anyway, knowing her son, if she tried to make him hurry up, he would instead clam up and try to pretend that it was nothing. No, this child of hers needed to be given the time to find his own way to say what he wanted. Otherwise, it wouldn’t work.
Jing He indeed considered matters from several perspectives before finally, he managed to find a way to say things that didn’t seem quite as outrageous to him. “Well, since you mentioned yesterday, there is something that I couldn’t help but think of. At that time, Longjun mentioned that, right now, it would be the perfect weather to take a trip.”
At that, Bai Fen’s brows shot up. In general, this was a true observation. The weather had been nice recently and it seemed like it would continue to do so. Taking a trip somewhere sounded like a good idea. If it was her husband who suggested this to her for either the two of them or their little family of three, she wouldn’t hesitate to say yes.
Now, the problem was that this was a statement coming from the dragon king. And this meant that this wasn’t as easy as just taking a trip. No, this was definitely about him wanting to get some alone time with her son. And she wasn’t sure if that was something that should be done already.
Don’t get her wrong, it wasn’t like the dragon king and her son hadn’t spent time alone pretty much every day. But that wasn’t the same as what this was about. Before this, they had always been in the capital city, usually at Jing He’s palace, maybe somewhere outside at a festival, or on a short outing. They would go out in the morning but for sure return in the evening before it even got dark.
Calling it a ‘trip’ suggested that this was more than that though. They might still leave in the morning, but they wouldn’t be back by nightfall. No, they would stay out for at least one night, probably returning the next evening. And, well, knowing Longjun, he might even be planning a longer one.
Still, even though she knew all this, that was hardly something she could say out loud. Seeing as her son hadn’t spoken further, she figured that she should be nice and give him an opportunity to give her some more details. “Oh? What kind of trip did he have in mind?”
Jing He wasn’t sure how to say. He rubbed the hem of his sleeve, trying to find a good way to put this. “You could probably say that he wanted to go sightseeing?”
Bai Fen’s brows raised slightly higher, wondering if that was really all there was to it. “And where did he want to go sightseeing?”
Jing He stopped in his tracks, glancing at her before he hastily turned around, not daring to look at her anymore. “Well, he wanted it to be a trip through all the Nine Heavens and then some parts of the dragon realm.”
Bai Fen gave a hum and then sipped her tea. As expected. This was not just a one-day trip, but something that would take weeks to finish. So, in other words, he was indeed trying to get some major alone time with her son far away from any prying eyes. “Well, it’s not like you’re a child anymore. You could indeed go out and have some fun every now and then. You haven’t left the capital city even once in your life. I think that making some experiences outside wouldn’t be too bad.”
Jing He looked back at her and then resumed his pacing, his gait not too fast but still showing some of his agitation. “To be honest, I also think it wouldn’t generally be bad. It is just that … I’m not quite sure what to think of his choice of spots to visit.”
Bai Fen continued to hide her expression behind the teacup but still gave a faint nod. “Are the ones he picked not that good?”
“Well, I’m sure that Longjun put a lot of thought into it.” He stopped close to her, looking at her with worry before he once again turned around, rubbing his hem. “Well, there were some good places I guess. Like the Eastern Seas. I was figuring we could stay at the palace of Queen Jin Hui. Surely, she would not have a problem with that. And considering the relationship between our races, it might also be good to get the dragons into more contact with the rulers of the other eight heavens.”
While the Heavenly Emperor was the one who reigned over all of the Nine Heavens, outside of the one in the middle which was the capital, there were still another eight and he couldn’t be the one to be responsible for everything at the same time. As such, there were different rulers in each of these eight heavens, Jin Hui being one of them.
So far, the relationship between the gods and the dragons had always been handled by the dragon king or his advisers and the Heavenly Emperor or another titled god from the capital city. The other rulers hadn’t had much to do with that. But it was indeed a good idea to change that. After all, that would give them the opportunity to react much faster since it would cut out the middleman if something happened in a certain part of the Nine Heavens.
Bai Fen nodded, feeling that her son was considering this thoroughly. “I assume visiting Jin Hui of the Eastern Sea was not what Longjun had in mind?”
“Well, he wrote a list that mentioned some activities. I guess it wasn’t necessarily meant to be a political visit but I guess we should do that if we went there.” He tried not to look too guilty when he said this, but couldn’t bring himself to mention all the romantic ideas that Qiu Ling had put into writing. Even though Bai Fen was his mother or maybe especially because she was his mother, he just couldn’t bring himself to do so.
He sighed and chose a different path through the room, feeling that it would be unsightly to pace up and down in the same direction all the time. “You see, he also said that it didn’t matter if we weren’t able to do everything, just a few things or maybe one he would already be satisfied with. It’s just that the one he hinted at wanting to do the most … I have some doubts about that.”
Bai Fen nodded, put down her cup, and poured another one. This should be the main point. The rest had only been the preamble for Jing He to set up the final question. She better shouldn’t drink anything when he said it and but she still needed to hide her expression. Who knew what kind of outrageous thing she would be confronted with next?
Jing He’s face had already flushed red again, and he turned away, unable to say it while looking at his mother. “That spot … it’s a hot spring in the dragon realm. He sounded very eager to try it out and he also mentioned that there would be benefits to one’s health. I guess it is very thoughtful considering how badly I was doing just last year but … well, I’m not too sure about it.”
He finally turned back, looking at his mother with a sense of panic. A hot spring, it really didn’t seem right. But the dragon king had seemed so eager, how could he say no to that?
Bai Fen was very happy for the teacup that was hiding half her expression because surely, the twitching of her lips wouldn’t have looked good in her son’s eyes. “A hot spring, is it?” And even one in the dragon realm. She had to admit that Longjun was quite shrewd actually.
She hadn’t realized this at first but he had reminded her early enough in the relationship to look out for the signs. And now, once again, he had proven that he deserved to sit on the throne of his realm.
If it was somewhere in the Nine Heavens, even though the matter would still be embarrassing, they at least would have some reassurance. Having some guards with Jing He, somebody who could just keep an eye on matters, maybe even taking a family member along, it wouldn’t have been a problem.
But if this were to happen in the dragon realm instead … well, they could hardly go there with a bunch of guards, could they? Even if they tried, she was pretty sure that Longjun would manage to lose them soon enough.
At first, that might not have been a problem. But by now, Jing He’s feelings for the dragon king had changed. She knew her son. What was holding him back was his fear of what might come, the worry that his reputation might be tarnished, how people would look at him, maybe even still the worry that the dragon king wouldn’t keep loving him forever. But no matter what the reason was, it was slowly dissolving.
Yes, at this time, he was so much in love that if the opportunity was there and Qiu Ling was just the least bit more insistent than usual, Jing He would give in. To send her son off to a hot spring with him and nobody else around to keep an eye on them, that was like sending him over to be ravished.
She wasn’t sure if Jing He was ready for that. In fact, she doubted it. No, he would likely just give in because he felt like this kind of thing had to be done to keep the dragon king interested. And she was afraid he would regret it after the fact. Naturally, she couldn’t let that happen.