OMF V10C8 A Puzzling Situation

In the Nine Heavens, Jing He looked around the room blankly but no matter where he looked, there was still no trace of Qiu Ling. There were only Yi Zan and Qiang Wei standing a few steps away, their backs turned to him.

Jing He turned his head back and looked at the ceiling. He had to admit that he felt disappointed not seeing Qiu Ling but then, maybe this was for the best. If he thought of what he had done right before drinking the water of the River of Forgetfulness to start his trial … yes, he might be too embarrassed to look into Qiu Ling’s eyes.

To him, it felt as if that moment had only been seconds ago or at most a few hours that he had spent asleep. He didn’t know how long the trial had lasted and seeing as he didn’t know the fate that had been written for him, he didn’t dare to guess. It could have been anything from a few days to several weeks or even three months in case his human self had lived to an especially old age. Who knew how present that moment would be in Qiu Ling’s mind?

Had Jing He known how long his human self had actually managed to live, he surely would have been shocked and not bothered to think about that one short moment that had been so many centuries ago for Qiu Ling. But right now, he wasn’t aware of anything that had happened over the course of his trial. He simply thought of what was most likely to happen according to what he had heard about the trials. Thus, he naturally assumed that the moment would still be fresh in Qiu Ling’s memory as well.

Jing He felt torn but he tried to tell himself that there was nothing to worry about. Anyway, even if it had only been a few hours since then, surely, Qiu Ling wouldn’t make a huge deal out of it. Anyway, they had promised each other to get married so taking the initiative to kiss his cheek shouldn’t be that scandalous, right?

His brows furrowed slightly. It usually shouldn’t be but it did remind him that just a week before that, they had shared yet another kiss and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that he had also been more proactive at that time.

It couldn’t be helped. He had been so afraid that he might lose Qiu Ling that any thought of his carefully crafted image had been thrown out of his mind. There had only been the urge to do something, anything to make sure that Qiu Ling would not leave him behind.

In hindsight though, he felt embarrassed. Clearly, he had been too daring recently. If Qiu Ling felt repulsed by that, it wouldn’t be a wonder. He had to make up for that when they saw each other later.

Jing He silently promised this to himself and then put the thought aside for the time being. He wanted to get up and inform Yi Zan and Qiang Wei that he had woken up but then paused. There was a soft sound coming from his right. It sounded like … the purring of a small animal.

Jing He blinked his eyes in confusion and turned his head, his cheek brushing against something soft. He sat up, only for a small creature to roll out of his hair. Jing He looked at it in puzzlement but seeing as it seemed harmless, he picked it up to take a closer look.

Yi Zan and Qiang Wei had been preoccupied with their own thoughts, having heard from Fu Min what was going on. But they naturally heard the sounds behind them.

Their eyes widened and they looked back before exchanging a glance, their expressions horrified. Usually, the Son of Heaven waking up would be great. In fact, they would have been ecstatic if this had happened at any other time. But right now, there was a battle in the dragon realm so if he woke up now, this meant that Zhong Jing Yi had likely been killed in precisely that battle. Considering his status, this meant that the situation was likely direr than they had thought.

Yi Zan caught himself after a moment and put on a smile as well as he could. “Your Highness, you’re awake.”

Jing He turned back to them, ignoring the little beast in his hands. He had missed their previous expressions but he could see that Yi Zan and Qiang Wei were both somewhat tense. He knew them but not that well so he wasn’t sure what to make of that.

He gave a faint hum and nodded. “Yes, I am. Adviser Yi Zan, adviser Qiang Wei, thank you for staying with me.” He didn’t dare to ask about Qiu Ling directly so he could only hope they would catch his drift.

Yi Zan and Qiang Wei exchanged a glance, indeed thinking of Qiu Ling. They weren’t sure how to bring it up though. Suddenly, both sides were simply looking at each other, not sure how to proceed.

Jing He absentmindedly brushed the fur of the little creature, hoping that the two dragons would take the lead in telling him what was going on. After all, he didn’t know anything right now. How much time had passed? What had happened? When had Qiu Ling left and where to? All of this was something he would have loved to find out but didn’t know how to ask about.

Qiang Wei’s eyes darted here and there but he didn’t dare to look at Jing He. After a moment, he cleared his throat. “Uh … Should we inform somebody?”

Jing He felt disappointed about not hearing a single word about Qiu Ling but he still nodded. “I suppose my parents should be informed, as should the Palace of Fate, most likely?” This had been his first trial and nobody had mentioned this detail before so he wasn’t completely sure. He would assume this was the case though.

Qiang Wei hurriedly nodded as well. “Then I will go and inform them!” With that, he turned on his heels and rushed out. There was no way he would stay a second longer. Not if the crown prince continued to sit there without saying a word. He’d feel guilty not telling him anything but he’d feel even worse if he brought it up. That type of thing was better left for Yi Zan to do.

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