In the study, Jing He silently listened to their receding steps. From where he sat, he couldn’t see the throne room but his father hadn’t bothered to close the door so he had been able to hear what everyone had said. While he had been roughly aware, hearing that trueborn god repeat everything in detail was still different. Unfortunately, he had only been able to report what had happened in the demon realm that day and not mentioned the dragon realm with a single word.
Jing He’s brows slightly furrowed. He still hadn’t heard from Qiu Ling and this made him feel worried. He wasn’t that familiar with the people in the dragon realm since he had never been there but he knew that Qiu Ling didn’t have any family members left and he felt that he should be closest to his advisers.
Out of those six people, two had stayed in front of his palace while the battle raged. Qiang Wei had contacted another one yesterday and he had seen two people in the transmission. Just now, he had also heard An Bai’s voice. That left only one adviser. If he remembered correctly, that man should be called Xiang Yong.
Jing He wasn’t too familiar with any of them apart from An Bai but he had met Xiang Yong. In fact, the day he first met Qiu Ling, it had been An Bai and Xiang Yong who accompanied him. Could it really be him who had not survived the battle?
He pondered but felt that this shouldn’t be it. Something this big happening, surely, either Qiu Ling’s advisers or his uncle should have said something. No, there had to be somebody else.
At that, he couldn’t help but think of the man he had seen in the transmission again. Leng Jin Yu. He had never heard that name before, neither from his uncle nor from Qiu Ling. But now, he was somebody close to the latter? Close enough to contact his uncle to inform him of something important happening that concerned both their races? This was rather inexplicable.
Jing He lowered his head. Maybe he simply wasn’t aware enough of the people surrounding Qiu Ling. Anyway, even his advisers were people he only roughly knew about. He hadn’t even met all of them directly and there were only six of them. If this was the case, who was to say that there weren’t many others who he had never even heard about? Qiu Ling could have lost anyone and if he was told, he might not recognize the name at all.
His heart hurt just thinking of this. Jing He reached up and pressed a hand to his chest, closing his eyes for a moment. He could already hear his father’s steps. When his father arrived at the study, he couldn’t show these feelings.
His father would definitely assume that his pain was an aftereffect of the trial and then he would yell at the servants and have the Fate’s Scribe and the God of Medicine rush over, scolding one for being useless while fussing about next to the other. He didn’t want to deal with that.
He took a deep breath and forced his hand down, restoring the usual smile on his lips. He even raised his head slightly, hoping that it would make him seem more open and confident.
Just a moment later, the Heavenly Emperor rushed into the study with flowing sleeves, grumbling about the people that had come from the demon realm and that one from the dragon realm who felt the need to pester him. Finally, he huffed and pursed his lips, sitting down in a bad mood. “I can’t spend a single morning with my precious son without being interrupted and that even when that damned dandy isn’t around. You’d think they’re all doing this on purpose and it’s a well-prepared conspiracy!”
Jing He didn’t entertain his father’s tirade. He picked up the teapot standing to the side and poured his father another cup. “Don’t be angry. Isn’t everyone gone now? Have another cup of tea to calm your anger and then we can play that round of weiqi you were asking for.”
Looking at his son conscientiously pouring tea for him and listening to his soothing voice, Rong Su indeed calmed down. He only huffed once more before giving a hum and nodding to himself. “You’re right. Since they’re gone, there’s no need to keep being angry about it. It’s all in the past and we ought to focus on the present.
“Actually, isn’t today a good day? My precious son has finally returned from his trial, that damned dandy isn’t here to annoy the two of us, and we can spend time together just like before.” He nodded to himself once again, the originally pursed lips curving into a smile instead. “Yes, the more I think about it, the more you are right. It’s best to just focus on the good things.”
He picked up the cup of tea his son had poured for him and took a sip, his eyes curving up. “Ah, this is just like in old times. I feel like we didn’t have as many opportunities such as this since you came of age. We should make sure to pick these habits up again in the future.”
Jing He inclined his head. “Certainly, father.” Inwardly, his thoughts were somewhere else though. It couldn’t be said that he hadn’t spent time like this with his father since coming of age. No, for another seven years after that, he had still done the same. Maybe that time had only slightly reduced because he had felt the need to study more intensely to prepare for the future.
It was only after his father’s birthday banquet that year that things changed. From that evening onward, Qiu Ling would constantly hang around him, sometimes doing so from morning till evening. Of course, the time he could spend with his father had dwindled. It was only now that Qiu Ling wasn’t there that they could have this moment together.
If he could have though, he would have liked to exchange this moment for how it had been before. He really … really wanted to see Qiu Ling, more so than his own father. That really didn’t say anything good about him, did it?