RSH Stratagem 41: Speak Your Mind (1)

The two of them sat down but Qiang Yan didn’t immediately start talking. Instead, he just leaned back and gave Qiu Ling a look.

Qiu Ling requited his gaze but then slowly raised his brows. He wasn’t completely sure what was going on but this situation felt a bit weird.

Qiang Yan finally retracted his gaze and instead turned to look at the door to the other room. He could hear Jing He’s faint breathing from over there, reassuring him that his nephew was sound asleep. “It’s surprising that that wine would have this kind of effect. You might not know but, actually, I was the one who finally drank it with my sister.”

“Oh.” Qiu Ling really hadn’t known but he couldn’t say that he was that surprised. “I presume the Heavenly Emperor wasn’t interested in my gift?”

Qiang Yan chuckled in response. “He would get angry as soon as it was mentioned. A man hitting on his son sure wasn’t something he was happy about. But anyway, because of that, I can tell that the wine really wasn’t that strong. I’m surprised Jing He couldn’t handle it.”

Qiu Ling nodded. “I was as well. Honestly, I had the idea of drinking with him and picked that wine specifically because of this issue. I couldn’t imagine that Jing He was used to drinking. If I had known it would end like this …” He shook his head. Actually, he regretted it. “I probably should’ve figured it out earlier. He was acting strange.”

Qiang Yan raised his brows. “Strange?”

Qiu Ling tilted his head, not sure if he should say anything to that. “Well, he was a bit more … open than usual.” In the end, he still went ahead and told him. Jing He seemed to have a good relationship with his uncle so he probably wouldn’t mind. And he himself also wanted a good relationship with the God of War.

He had managed to convince Bai Fen and from what he had seen so far, Jing He’s uncle also wasn’t against him. This was something he cherished. After all, it would be difficult enough to get a halfway good result with the Heavenly Emperor in any amount of time.

Qiang Yan gave a hum and then couldn’t help but shake his head. “Well, I guess the alcohol got the better of him. You do know that Jing He cherishes you a lot, right?”

Qiu Ling smiled when he was told this directly and nodded. “I know. He doesn’t say it but it does feel that way. I am afraid it will take a lot of time before I get him to openly admit to it though.”

Qiang Yan gave a hum and then motioned at Qiu Ling. “So, is there anything left of that wine?”

Qiu Ling chuckled and got out the jar, putting it down on the table. “I didn’t dare to give him much so there is about half of it left. That should be enough for two cups for each of us.”

Qiang Yan nodded and then got up to pick out two cups that he kept in his own room, handing one to Qiu Ling and using the other to pour himself one. Taking a sip, his brows silently rose.

Qiu Ling was pouring himself a cup as well and didn’t realize for the moment and only noticed when he looked up again. “What’s the matter?”

“You …” Qiang Yan eyed wine in the cup and then looked up at Qiu Ling. “You said that you specifically went to get the same wine you gave my brother-in-law?”

Qiu Ling nodded, perplexed. “I did. Why?”

Qiang Yan continued to eye the wine in the cup and then looked up. “Well, may I ask how you went about this?”

Qiu Ling tilted his head and then eyed the wine in his own cup as well before looking back up at Qiang Yan. “It’s not the same wine, is it?”

Qiang Yan raised his brows and then shook his head. “No, it’s not. It’s … it sure is similar enough that you could mistake it at first but it’s not the same. And I’d say it’s quite a bit stronger. No wonder you got Jing He drunk with this.”

Qiu Ling gritted his teeth, feeling that he knew exactly what he would do when he got back to the dragon realm. “Well, that does explain a lot.” He raised his cup to drink himself, suddenly feeling that it was not as sweet as he had originally felt. Well, company really mattered a lot.

Qiang Yan watched him and noticed his annoyed expression. “It’s not your fault. You were trying to be considerate but it didn’t work out. Jing He won’t hold it against you.”

Qiu Ling lowered the cup again, played around with it, and clicked his tongue. “I know he won’t fault me. But he will be incredibly embarrassed after finding out that he got drunk and lost consciousness in my arms. That is really not the type of thing I currently need. We’re …” He trailed off and shook his head, feeling that he probably shouldn’t say anything.

Qiang Yan gave him a knowing look though. “You are finally making progress and then something happens that sets you back. Yes, I can imagine how you feel. Jing He can be … difficult in this regard. He has never been very opinionated. It’s my brother-in-law’s fault, mostly, although a bit of it is also my sister’s.”

Qiu Ling tilted his head, feeling that this was a good opportunity to ask some questions. “I gather they are both overprotective?”

Qiang Yan gave a hum, not sure if he should answer that. Looking at the wine in his hands, then glancing up at the dragon king again, he finally put down the cup. “Well, he is their only child. Maybe you won’t understand that but as parents, I guess there is nothing more important than your child. The fear that something could happen to him … it hits deep. They want to do anything they can to prevent that from happening, no matter which way.”

Qiu Ling didn’t answer immediately and instead looked at the door to the other room. “I might not have children but I know how it is to lose a family member. Anyway, I’m the only one left.”

Qiang Yan didn’t dare to comment on that. He tended to forget that the dragon king was so much older than them. Who knew what he had experienced? There wasn’t too much known about his past. He really shouldn’t bring anything like this up.

Qiu Ling sighed and then poured himself a second cup, shaking his head. “Well, I won’t hurt him. Whatever I can do, I will protect him. I hope that you are aware of that.”

Qiang Yan nodded, picking up his own cup again and taking a sip of wine as well to accompany Qiu Ling. “I don’t doubt that. Neither does Bai Fen. My brother-in-law though … well, he isn’t too good at dealing with this situation.

“I guess he has certain feelings about getting a son-in-law. He hasn’t spoken about it much but I don’t think he expected that Jing He would find somebody this soon. In fact, maybe he never thought that Jing He would find somebody at all. He probably expected that he would pick out some suitable candidates, rigorously test them, and then decide who he felt safe handing Jing He over to.”

Qiu Ling wasn’t too surprised at that. “Then in his mind, what makes a candidate suitable?” In fact, he wasn’t completely clueless about this. After all, he had heard Jing He and his father talk about this specific topic already. So he had some ideas. But it couldn’t hurt to get some more information. It could only help him with finding a way to win over his future father-in-law and he needed all the help he could get. He knew that this was still the biggest obstacle in this way, after all.

Qiang Yan gave Qiu Ling a deep look and then lowered his gaze, feeling that it couldn’t hurt to tell him. “Well, the first part is that he would prefer a trueborn god. You’re out of luck there.”

Qiu Ling gave a hum. “Indeed. I can’t change that. But if I fulfill everything else, maybe there’s a chance he would still accept me. I know how much Jing He cherishes his family’s opinion. Winning over his father is something I should do.”

Qiang Yan nodded, very well aware that this was a problem between them. “Well, I think my brother-in-law won’t be willing to give up the influence he has on Jing He. So a man that stands against him is not one that he will easily accept. He will look for somebody who is willing to follow his lead.”

“Ah. I guess I have a few more problems.” Qiu Ling shook his head and put down the cup of wine that was already empty before leaning back. “Well, is there something that I can work on?”

Qiang Yan looked at him and honestly had to say that there wasn’t too much he could think of. At the very least, it would be difficult to convince his brother-in-law that the dragon king possessed any quality he wanted him to possess. “Well, he wants somebody who will be able to protect Jing He so you have that one down pat. He would also prefer somebody mature and stable, somebody that … will be a support to Jing He.”

“Doesn’t sound so bad.”

Qiang Yan tilted his head. “It wouldn’t be if your track record with my brother-in-law was any better. I don’t think that he sees you as any of these things. So, I’m afraid you’ll have to find ways to let him know.”

Qiu Ling gave a hum, hating himself for playing the fool for so many years. That kind of impression couldn’t be reversed in a short amount of time. And also, after acting for so long, he really had trouble keeping up with not doing it. Sometimes, in front of other people, he would just automatically revert to being that way. It was quite vexing but he just couldn’t help it.

Well, as long as it was for his beloved, he would do his best. And anyway, it wasn’t like Jing He had already agreed to marry him. So, there was still more than enough time to work on this.

« ToC »

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