Jing He might not have caught on in the moment that his mother was trying to set him up but as someone who was prone to overthinking, he still figured out the issue in due time.
He had gotten up early to prepare for his outing with Qiu Ling, taking extra care to choose a robe that was beautiful but would also be easy to move around in. After all, he didn’t know what exactly Qiu Ling had planned. While he couldn’t imagine that it would be too strenuous, he felt that it was better to be prepared.
Right now, he was doing his hair or at the very least, he was trying to. After trying this and that, he still wasn’t sure how to wear it. After six years, he had naturally figured out Qiu Ling’s preferences in regard to this, and even though he personally liked to use the strands to hide some of his expression, if he was only with Qiu Ling, then he would still expose all of his face just as he liked it. At the very least, he usually did so.
Today was special though. Qiu Ling would take him somewhere, possibly out of the capital city. Depending on where and what they would do, who knew whether his reaction would be good? No, it was still best to hide his face some more today.
Just when he wanted to loosen the hairstyle he had tried last, there was a knock on the door to the garden. Jing He froze in front of the mirror and then lowered his hand, getting to his feet in a fluent motion.
Just now … how long had Qiu Ling been there? Had he seen him change hairstyles more than once? What did he think now? Did he believe him to be vain?
Of course, Jing He was thinking too much. Actually, Qiu Ling had only arrived just now but even if he had seen him change hairstyles, he would still be happy to delude himself into believing that Jing He was doing all this to impress him. Well, not that it still was a delusion. Since long ago, Jing He had started to always consider his opinion.
Qiu Ling didn’t even bother thinking about it though and just walked over, smiling with satisfaction while he looked at Jing He. He couldn’t help himself. Whenever he saw him, he would just feel so incredibly happy. They might not be married yet but he was happy just to spend time with him. As for everything else … that would come with more time.
He reached out his hand, his smile turning even more pronounced. “Shall we? Or do you still need time to finish up?”
Jing He shook his head at the second half of his question and put his hand in Qiu Ling’s. “No, I’m ready. Where exactly are we going?”
Qiu Ling gave a hum and pulled him closer, leaning in. “A very beautiful place where we will be undisturbed. I am sure you will love it.”
Jing He stared at him in a daze, his thoughts all over the place. Undisturbed? So … there would be nobody but them around. It sure sounded like a lovely time, one that he was looking forward to immensely. But it also seemed quite dangerous. Heaven knew he didn’t have his thoughts under control around this man.
Qiu Ling faintly tilted his head, unsure what to make of his beloved’s gaze. Was Jing He … uh … really looking forward to it? Not to try and stroke his ego but it really seemed that way.
He quietly turned his own gaze away, quietly leading Jing He out of the palace and then motioning in the direction he had chosen. “It’s over there. I’d offer to carry you in my arms but … I’m not sure you’d like that?” He glanced at him, only to be stunned when he saw Jing He’s blushing face. Well, he should be careful what type of jokes he made. Otherwise, he really couldn’t guarantee that he wouldn’t say or do something even more outrageous.
He turned back to the front and cleared his throat, finally deciding that if his beloved didn’t disagree, he might as well take this as silent acquiescence. Anyway, it wasn’t like in the beginning. Jing He and he were much closer by now. If his beloved didn’t disagree outright, it should mean he was at least half up for it.
He didn’t dare to directly pick him up as he had originally imagined but still put an arm around his waist before jumping off the ground.
Jing He reached out, his fingers grabbing onto Qiu Ling’s robe. It wasn’t like he as a trueborn god couldn’t fly but he had been deep in thought and was startled when he was suddenly up in the air.
Qiu Ling blinked his eyes and then strengthened his grab around his beloved. Actually, now he kind of regretted not directly picking him up. That would have been such a good opportunity …
Either way, he led him over to the spot he had chosen. This one was actually quite a bit outside of the capital city. They only reached it after flying for more than half an hour.
Jing He was looking around with a worried expression, instinctively huddling closer to Qiu Ling. He had never been this far outside the city. He didn’t think his father would approve if he knew and … as far as he himself was concerned, if not for the fact that Qiu Ling was at his side, he would be afraid. Well, maybe he actually was.
Qiu Ling also realized that Jing He wasn’t doing all that well. His expression tensed and he wondered if maybe he had made the wrong choice. Still, they had already come this far.
He cleared his throat and then motioned ahead. “It’s over there.”
Jing He hurriedly nodded and followed him the last bit of the way. When they finally landed, his eyes widened in surprise.
They stood at the edge of a precipice. It was steep but didn’t reach too far down. Then in the distance … there was a faintly sloping meadow with flowers dotting the grass. The sky was light blue today with white clouds drifting by and the sun shining down on them.
Jing He stared in wonder before finally turning to Qiu Ling. For the first time since they had known each other, he actually looked his age. “I didn’t know there was such a place around the capital city.”
Qiu Ling smiled and then let go of him, taking out the blanket he had prepared from his spatial ring. “I found it while scoping out the area back when … I had just started chasing you.”
Jing He looked over his shoulder at him, his cheeks burning. Back when he had started chasing him … how could he say it this nonchalantly?
Qiu Ling raised his head when he noticed Jing He’s gaze and smiled. “I’m glad you like it. I figured it was the perfect spot for a picnic. The view is breathtaking.”
Jing He nodded and turned back to the front. Then he retracted his gaze and turned around, looking at the blanket on the ground with his gaze wavering. “This … can we sit a little further back?”
Qiu Ling glanced up again and nodded. “Sure.” Although he couldn’t help but wonder why. He still pulled the blanket back and then took out a few cushions, motioning for Jing He to sit down first. “You wouldn’t be afraid of heights, would you?” This was the only explanation he could find so he asked without thinking too much. But then, this didn’t make any sense either. They had sat on the highest roof of the Tower of Wisdom together and Jing He hadn’t seemed afraid at all.
Jing He took a seat and shook his head. “No, I … I just can’t help but worry a bit when being this close to the precipice. I know nothing can happen to me but … nature is a force to be reckoned with and fate might not be kind to one who doesn’t fear it.” He lowered his gaze at that, his brows slightly furrowing. Clearly, something unpleasant was going through his mind.
Seeing this, Qiu Ling couldn’t help but feel startled. Somehow, he felt like he was about to find out about something that had still stayed hidden even after knowing each other for so long.