Qiang Yan glanced at his nephew, glad in his heart that Qiu Ling didn’t know when exactly he had woken up. Otherwise, the dragon king might feel aggrieved that he had had to wait so long. Even though it was understandable that Jing He didn’t want to leave him with a bad impression, Qiu Ling obviously wouldn’t care. He just wanted to see him again.
Thinking of that, Qiang Yan simply gave a hum. “You’re finished? Then I’ll go and tell Longjun.” He got to his feet and smoothed out his sleeves, giving his nephew a smile before turning to the garden and stepping out of the palace.
Jing He’s heart thumped loudly in his chest. He stared at the door and then hurriedly looked around, trying to figure out what to do with his hands. Make some tea? But he had just gotten up again. Working on anything might seem odd. Hug An Xin? This way, he could also demonstrate how much he cherished the mythical beast Qiu Ling had caught just for him.
He wanted to go and pick An Xin up but then hesitated. After watching for a whole week, he also knew that the chance was high that An Xin had just been playing in the brazier or outside in the garden and would dirty his sleeves. He had just picked out a fitting robe and there was no time to be lost. He definitely couldn’t change again.
Jing He’s gaze roved about and finally, he pulled out a chair and simply sat down at the table, folding his hands in his lap. Anyway, after just waking up, wanting to take more of a rest shouldn’t be strange, right?
If not for the fact that he had already gotten up and walked around, he might have even preferred to stay on the bed so Qiu Ling wouldn’t feel like he had been up for a longer time. If his uncle followed him back though, that would surely look like a deliberate attempt at seduction. How could he let that happen?
While Jing He once again used the opportunity to overthink the situation, Qiu Ling immediately left his two advisers to their own devices and strode over to meet Qiang Yan halfway. “Is he awake?”
Qiang Yan nodded. “He is. He didn’t say much yet but it seems he’s not uncomfortable. It just came very suddenly.”
Qiu Ling nodded and then turned to look at the door. “Then … I’ll go in?”
Qiang Yan stepped to the side and motioned over. “Please.” Anyway, he’d stay outside. When these two finally met again after so long, they didn’t need another person as their audience. Qiu Ling might not care but it would make his nephew self-conscious and those two deserved the chance to have a heart-to-heart or be lovey-dovey, whatever they preferred.
Qiu Ling gave a hum and then walked past Qiang Yan, getting closer to the door step by step. He felt like he could hear his heartbeat thundering in his own ears and his mouth suddenly turned dry. It wasn’t like he hadn’t seen Jing He at all throughout the trial. Anyway, he had come to have a look every now and then. But how could that compare?
Whenever he dropped by, he would sit at his bedside, gently holding his head, and telling him about what was going on and how he felt. But Jing He’s soul wasn’t even in that body. He could be called unconscious at best. Putting it in a worse way, that state wasn’t much different from being dead. Anyway, it had been frightening to see and the fact that Jing Yi later attacked and almost killed him made it even more unbearable for him.
Now, he would finally get to see his beloved again. After more than a millennium, he could look into his eyes and his hands would have warmth when he touched them and whatever sweet words he managed to say would be met with slight rebuke or … well, maybe Jing He would also be open to saying something a little sweeter as well.
Qiu Ling reached the door and stepped past the threshold, his gaze immediately falling onto Jing He’s figure. He looked slim and a bit lost with the way he sat at the table, his hands folded in his laps and his head lowered demurely. But that look was more than familiar to Qiu Ling. Seeing the way his black hair cascaded over his shoulders, how his eyelashes fluttered when he finally raised his gaze, and the faint curve of his lips … Qiu Ling’s heart squeezed in pain.
It had been too long. Much too long. Even though there had been Jing Yi at his side and a million other things that suddenly happened and needed his attention, he had still missed him every day. Now, it felt as if a piece of his that had been missing had returned to where it belonged, making him feel at ease like he hadn’t in a long time.
While Qiu Ling looked at him, Jing He quietly requited his gaze, even though he didn’t dare to stare as openly as the dragon king. His gaze simply brushed over his body, trying to ascertain whether there really were no injuries on his body that everyone had tried to hide from him. No matter how he looked, he couldn’t spot anything though. It made him feel relieved and he unconsciously relaxed, the worry of the last days somewhat lessening.
He peeked at Qiu Ling’s expression next, trying to see if he could read his feelings from that. Meeting with that soft gaze, he felt spellbound. It seemed … as if nothing had changed despite the trial. Although then, Qiu Ling was still just standing there, not coming any closer. Compared to his usual mode of just sidling up to him and taking advantage whenever he could, Jing He … actually felt somewhat unaccustomed to it.