Jing He looked at Qiang Wei in astonishment but then simply turned back to the front. Well, he shouldn’t be surprised. There had been a battle in the dragon realm. Of course, they couldn’t have an idle conversation while Longjun and his other advisers were trying to restore the realm’s peacefulness. He shouldn’t have expected Qiang Wei to say more than absolutely necessary.
On the other hand, Qiang Wei heaved a sigh of relief. He kept the transmission stone and then turned to Jing He, feeling that he couldn’t just pretend this hadn’t happened. He cleared his throat and looked for the right words for a moment. “Well, I told Fu Heng. They will relay the message when the opportunity arises.”
Jing He inclined his head. “Thank you, adviser Qiang Wei.” He hesitated for a moment before he broached another topic. “It must be difficult for you to be the only one who has to stay back in the Nine Heavens.”
The crown prince had said something similar before so Qiang Wei somewhat calmed down. He knew exactly how to react to this. “It might seem so at first glance but then, as His Majesty’s adviser, my task is to do as he says.
“He asked me to stay in the Nine Heavens and guard your body while he couldn’t. Just the fact that he asked two of his closest people to do so is proof of how important your safety is to him. Now, the immediate danger might have passed but that fact remains. So even though I couldn’t fight in the battle and keep the demons from encroaching on our land, I still had an important task that I am proud to be allowed to do.”
Jing He lowered his gaze, unable to look into Qiang Wei’s eyes. He had seen Qiu Ling’s advisers before but he hadn’t been in close contact with them either. Still, he knew that Qiu Ling had to trust them a lot for him to give them their position. So for one of his advisers to tell him this … it was like Qiu Ling himself admitting to his importance in his life.
Qiang Wei’s gaze darted around when he saw that Jing He didn’t look at him. Had he just said the wrong thing? Among Qiu Ling’s advisers, An Bai and Fu Min were actually the ones who had had the most to do with the Son of Heaven. When it came to him and Yi Zan, they had hardly seen him. While he had heard about him, actually interacting with him was still different. “I hope I didn’t say too much?”
Jing He hastily shook his head. “No, that … that isn’t the case. I am grateful that Longjun values me this much.” Of course, if they were set to marry, this should be the case but … hearing it being said outright was still different.
Not to mention that their engagement wasn’t official. It was merely something the two of them had agreed on privately. But neither his mother nor his father had been informed and he didn’t think that anyone else would be aware either. In such a situation … having somebody say these words meant a lot to him, not that he dared to admit that outright.
Qiang Wei nodded, heaving a sigh of relief. “Well, I shouldn’t keep you from what you originally wanted to do.” He motioned down the path they had originally taken, hoping that they would continue instead of standing here. He really didn’t know what else to say.
Jing He inclined his head. “Of course. With everything going on, we shouldn’t waste any more time.” He turned back to the front and continued to make his way over to the Tower of Wisdom but his thoughts stayed with Qiu Ling.
Adviser Qiang Wei and Adviser Yi Zan had said that he hadn’t been injured. That much was good but surely, with there having been casualties on the side of his people, he should not be in a good mood even if he returned. At that time … what should he do?
Jing He had always known that his parents did not want him involved in anything that had to do with the war so he had hardly even asked his uncle about it. Now, he didn’t know what the right course of action was.
Under normal circumstances, maybe he would have gone to ask his uncle for advice but with one of Qiu Ling’s advisers being around, he couldn’t very well do that, could he? No, saying these things in front of adviser Qiang Wei … he couldn’t bring himself to do so. Rather than that, he’d just try to comfort Qiu Ling as well as he could when he finally arrived.
At that time, the group of four finally arrived at the Tower of Wisdom. Jing He looked up at the building that towered over the rest of the city. Once, he had come here with Qiu Ling and watched the people busy about on the streets. Most likely, that had been the day he fell in love with him. Now, he was waiting for his return to finally make everything official. He just hoped … it really work out as they imagined it.
He lowered his gaze again and gently rubbed the fur of the little beast in his arms. He wouldn’t know what to do if he couldn’t marry Qiu Ling. It had already been several years since he realized his own feelings. By now, he was ready to admit to them. But he also knew that his father would not be happy about this. Would they be able to convince him nonetheless?
He hadn’t thought about it too much after the trial was brought up because there had been other matters weighing on his mind. But now that he was back and waiting for Qiu Ling to return, his thoughts returned to this question. As for the answer … he couldn’t predict it and, to be honest, that scared him.