The uncle and nephew sat together for a while, silently drinking tea. Jing He was still going through all the possibilities of what might have transpired while he was on his trial, his heart filling with further worries.
Originally, when he had been told that it was time to attempt his first trial, he had been reluctant to go because of this very matter: Qiu Ling might fall out of love with him if they didn’t see each other for so long.
Now, he was back. The worries should have been laid to rest but for that, he needed to actually see Qiu Ling and observe his attitude. Only then would he know for sure. The situation wasn’t suitable for that though. No, he’d have to wait patiently and try not to think about it too much or simply hope that Qiu Ling’s feelings for him were strong enough to survive this amount of time.
While Jing He was lost in thought, Qiang Yan wasn’t sure what to say either. He didn’t want to talk too much about the time of the trial. Sooner or later, Jing He would remember everything but until then, he was in an especially vulnerable state. Qiu Ling’s absence surely didn’t help. Unfortunately, it was impossible to say how long it would take for Qiu Ling to come here.
Qiang Yan glanced out of the window behind him, looking up at the sky. By now, it was getting late. In a few hours, night would already fall. At that time, would Qiu Ling come back to his senses? Probably not. The quiet night would be even more suitable to fall into the despair of having lost the one he loved. Of course, there was still the curse of the dragons at work.
When his thoughts reached that point, Qiang Yan glanced up at his nephew. The curse of the dragons … he didn’t think that Qiu Ling would have told Jing He about it. In a sense, it was reassuring. After all, Qiu Ling clearly was in love with Jing He and now, he couldn’t fall in love with anyone else. His feelings were guaranteed for a lifetime.
But on the other hand, Jing He was a notorious overthinker. Who knew how he’d be able to twist this curse in his mind? In the end, he might start to believe that Qiu Ling didn’t genuinely love him but was forced by the curse. It was entirely possible.
Qiang Yan really wanted to sigh deeply but he held back. Anyway, this was all speculation. Maybe Jing He would take everything well no matter what he was told and when. He shouldn’t worry too much. Of course, there was one other matter.
Qiang Yan glanced at Jing He over the rim of his teacup and finally cleared his throat. “By the way …”
Jing He was pulled out of his thoughts and hurriedly looked up. “What’s the matter, uncle?” He was quite happy to be interrupted at this time. If not for this, it seemed like his thoughts would stray further and further into the darkness of all those possibilities. It wasn’t a good feeling.
Qiang Yan lowered the cup and sighed after all. “Qiu Ling helped me a lot but … he also managed to step on your father’s toes again. So when you see your father later and he complains, don’t take it too seriously. You also know how he is. He will dramatize everything.”
Jing He looked at his uncle blankly. “He stepped on father’s toes?” This wasn’t good. In that case, wouldn’t his father be even more against their relationship? Then after Qiu Ling returned … if he returned …
Qiang Yan coughed. “Well, there were a few things …” He hesitated and finally pointed at the little beast that was currently sprawled on the table next to the teapot. “For example, after bringing that beast back, it just so happened to feel like your father had something nefarious in mind when approaching so it might have spewed some flames on him and he didn’t manage to evade in time. With your father’s character, you also know that he’ll make a fuss about it and blame Qiu Ling.”
And, well, there was also the small matter of Qiu Ling siding with Zhong Jing Yi and getting married to him. Even though Qiu Ling had had compelling reasons for doing so, Qiang Yan didn’t doubt for a moment that his brother-in-law would hold a grudge. He simply was that type of person.
Jing He looked down at An Xin, trying to imagine that situation. Yes, his father would definitely be angry and since a young beast such as this couldn’t really be blamed on its own, he would blame the one who had brought it back. Well, he might be angry in general that Qiu Ling had done so no matter what the beast did later. After all, his father’s opinion of Qiu Ling was very bad.
Jing He put down his teacup and tightly clenched his hands. “It sounds like there were some misunderstandings.”
Qiang Yan gave a hum. “Indeed.”
Jing He lowered his head. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do anything about this. If he tried to speak up for Qiu Ling, his father would only get angrier. If he stayed silent … well, his father’s anger would remain. He really wasn’t sure what to do.
Qiang Yan also knew that this was putting Jing He in an awkward situation. “I’m just telling you so you’ll be prepared. Your father will absolutely twist everything and present it in the worst light to you. Just don’t pay him too much attention and wait for your memories to return on your own. Don’t let this make you doubt Qiu Ling.”
Jing He nodded. “Of course, uncle.” This promise, he could give it with reassurance. After all, to him, there had never been a reason to doubt Qiu Ling, only himself.
Before he could say more, there were rushed steps sounding from the corridor outside, and finally, the door was pulled open. “Brother-in-law, it’s not good. Jing He is —” The Heavenly Emperor fell silent when he saw his son turn around. Huh? How come he was here? Hadn’t he just wanted to get his brother-in-law to do a city-wide search to find him?