The Heavenly Emperor was in a good mood. He was currently sitting in the study next to his throne room, a steaming cup of tea on the table in front of him and his precious son sitting opposite. Even better, that damned dandy that had constantly been prancing around him before his trial was nowhere to be seen. This was exactly how life should be.
He picked up the cup with a happy smile and took a sip before gently putting the cup down again and smiling brightly at Jing He. “It’s been so long since you’ve accompanied me here. The two of us should play a round of weiqi since we have the time.”
Jing He inclined his head. “If father would like to, then I will get the board and stones.” He got up and walked to the cupboard next to the door. He couldn’t help but take a glance outside, wondering if there were any news yet.
This morning, he had woken up early, quickly gotten dressed, and then went out to take care of the plants in his garden. At that time, Yi Zan had returned and even Qiang Wei had made a quick trip to the dragon realm, seen his family, and come back. Jing He didn’t dare to ask directly about Qiu Ling but he took the time to inquire about their families and the state of the dragon realm’s capital city.
Of course, he hoped that they would mention a sentence or two about Qiu Ling’s situation. It was a pity that neither Yi Zan nor Qiang Wei had seen Qiu Ling while in the dragon realm and hadn’t heard any news either so they could only reassure him that matters in the dragon realm were still being handled.
Jing He had felt worried and fully intended to stay in his palace for the rest of the day to wait for him. Who could have known that soon after, his father would rush over to ‘make up for the time they had lost’? Afraid that his father would make a fuss around Qiu Ling’s advisers or even say something impolite when Qiu Ling finally arrived, he suggested going to his palace instead. By now, he had been here for more than two hours but there was still no news of Qiu Ling’s arrival.
Jing He sighed inwardly, picked up the board and the bowl with the stones, and returned to the table.
Rong Su watched his son busy about and stroked his chin. “It really is nice to have you back. I was really worried while you were on your trial. You didn’t notice anything off after you came back, did you?” He had asked the Fate’s Scribe Shun Tao several times whether Jing He had passed enough trials this time around but he didn’t think that guy was trustworthy. He’d only feel relieved if he heard it from Jing He personally.
Jing He paused. The only thing off was that Qiu Ling hadn’t been at his side but he was well aware that this wasn’t what his father wanted to know. “No, there hasn’t been anything I’ve noticed.”
“Really nothing? No pain?” He gave his son a scrutinizing look, feeling that he didn’t look like it. “Are all your senses still working?” This was probably what he had most worried about. Imagine his poor son ended up blind! This might be the first thing Tian would punish him with. Or no, maybe he would … Rong Su reached over the table and grabbed Jing He’s wrist, his brows raising. “Is your magic limited?”
Jing He looked up in a daze. With how his father was asking one question after the other, it wasn’t like he had any time to answer. Finally, he simply shook his head.
“Are you sure?” Rong Su raised his brows even further. If there was anything wrong … well, it could only be offset by going on another trial and he really didn’t want his son to go through this again. But then, it couldn’t be helped. If it was necessary, he would allow it. But this time, he would absolutely send guards to watch over him, no matter what his wife said!
Jing He hurriedly shook his head again. “No, there is nothing. I am very well, father.”
The Heavenly Emperor finally sighed and nodded. Patting Jing He’s hand, he still looked him up and down. “If you notice anything off, you have to tell me immediately, do you hear?”
“I will do that.” Jing He pulled back his hands and folded them in his lap, hoping that his father would drop the matter. He didn’t want to talk about the trial. Not with his father at least and especially not until Qiu Ling had returned. He still remembered his uncle’s warning from yesterday, after all.
Thinking of that, Jing He figured he might as well use it to change the topic. “I remember that uncle had an important matter to discuss yesterday regarding the demon realm. I hope everything is alright?”
Rong Su scoffed. “Isn’t it just that new demon king being pretentious? As if I’d trust that guy!”
Jing He nodded faintly. “That sounds like it might be unwise indeed. The grudge between the gods and the demons is long-standing.”
Rong Su nodded heavily. “Exactly! I don’t even think we should take back those traitors who married into the demon realm. If they can simply leave like that one day, who is to say that they won’t do it again? It’s better to guard against!”
Jing He gave a hum that could have meant anything. He had heard the explanation given by Leng Jin Yu but he only had a rough understanding of the background. When it came to people doing something others couldn’t accept out of love … he could somewhat understand it. After all, wasn’t he in a similar situation with Qiu Ling? Well, at least he was only from the dragon race and not from the demons. Otherwise, he never would have been able to find happiness.