Jing He’s gaze followed Qiang Wei’s rapidly leaving figure. It almost seemed as if Qiu Ling’s adviser was fleeing from his palace. Why was that? Did it have something to do with Qiu Ling not being there? Could it indicate a shift in Qiu Ling’s attitude itself?
He turned to Yi Zan, finally unable to hold back his questions. “Adviser Yi Zan, I do not mean to pry but … may I ask whether Longjun …” He didn’t finish the question, afraid of what he would hear while also hoping that Yi Zan would tell him what he most needed to hear if he left it open.
Yi Zan’s expression turned complicated in response. Inwardly, he cursed Qiang Wei. How could that bastard leave him alone to explain?! His so-called best friend really didn’t have any honor. This kind of situation, wouldn’t it be easier to face it together?
Even though he was angry, it couldn’t be changed. No matter what, they would still have needed to tell the crown prince and maybe it was indeed better for him to do this compared to Qiang Wei. Ah, he really wished that An Bai was here though. He was the one who knew His Highness best and he had a way with words. He surely would have found the right way to bring this up.
He sighed just thinking of how this task had suddenly landed on his shoulders but then pulled himself together. He could do this. He had to. And anyway, he didn’t need to tell him everything. Just because he knew what kind of mess the trial had turned into, he didn’t have to mention that part.
Since the crown prince was asking about their king, then he’d only tell him that. “About that … Earlier today, the demons attacked the dragon realm’s capital city. His Majesty is there to lead the battle.” Not that he was likely still in the state to do so. In fact, thinking about it, he really was worried. But that, as well, was something His Highness didn’t need to know immediately. Not when no further news had arrived since they had been told to be more careful on their side as well.
Jing He’s expression fell. “A war in the dragon realm?” He knew that Qiu Ling was first and foremost a warrior. That was what had made him king of the dragon race and since then, he had fought in many more battles. Of course, he would never doubt his prowess in a fight. And yet, he couldn’t help but worry.
He didn’t know much about war but battlefields were chaotic places. So much could happen from one moment to the other. The line between life and death seemed like a thin one in such circumstances. But nothing would happen to Qiu Ling, right? He was so strong that none of the demons could hurt him, right? He would surely return to him in one piece, almost completely unharmed, wouldn’t he?
Yi Zan saw his expression and felt even worse. For a moment, he wondered if he should have made up an excuse but then that wouldn’t have helped. Jing He was likely to find out soon and the reality wouldn’t change just because it took longer to be informed about the truth.
Unfortunately, he didn’t know what to say to reassure him. With what he currently knew or at least feared, he didn’t want to say too much either. There was a decent chance that their king wasn’t in a good state after all. He shouldn’t promise anything he shouldn’t keep.
He hesitated for a moment and then decided to simply be honest about what he really knew. “Unfortunately, I don’t have any further news than that. We were only informed of the impending battle but haven’t received any reports after that. That is the usual procedure though. They can’t spare the time to keep us updated. We are likely only going to find out more after the battle has ended whichever way it might go.”
Jing He nodded. “I see.” He furrowed his brows, his heart worried. They had promised each other to get married as soon as he returned from his trial. Fate could not be so cruel as to separate them forever at this point, could it? No, he didn’t want to believe that. Qiu Ling absolutely would return to him.
Yi Zan felt uncomfortable seeing Jing He like this but he could hardly make any promises. With Zhong Jing Yi dead and maybe even having died in front of their king’s eyes, there was no saying how he was doing. He wished that there was a way to divert his attention but he couldn’t think of anything. In the end, he simply tried to advise him. “For the time being, it might be best if Your Highness didn’t leave the palace. The God of War sent more guards to ensure your safety in case the demons attack here as well so the palace should be safe.”
Jing He looked up, glancing at the door to the garden. He could indeed see the solemn figures of the guards out there. It seemed … he could indeed only wait for news to arrive.
He nodded faintly, his fingers brushing through the fur of the small creature on his lap. He simply needed to be patient. Surely, the news wouldn’t need long to arrive. With Qiu Ling’s competent leadership, the dragons should win soon.
He reassured himself and then tried to focus on something else. Seeing as he didn’t know anything about the trial, the only thing worth bringing up was the little creature in his hands. He looked up at Yi Zan, his expression slightly confused. “Adviser Yi Zan, this might be an odd question, but … might you know where this small beast came from?”
Yi Zan looked at it and couldn’t help but smile. “It was brought in by His Majesty. He didn’t say much but I’d assume it is to keep you company and protect you.”
“Is it?” Jing He’s lips immediately curved up in a smile and he looked at the little beast with joy. Even while he had been on his trial and with war looming over their heads, Qiu Ling still thought about him so much that he would even do something like this. That man … he didn’t know how he deserved him.