The two of them finally bid farewell on that note and Qiu Ling returned to the dragon realm. It had been a week since he left in a daze and hardly any traces of the battle could be found. At most, some of the vegetation was missing where it had taken place but now that night had fallen, it wasn’t too obvious.
Qiu Ling sighed to himself, feeling that he had troubled his advisers quite a bit these days. In the past, that had been his usual modus operandi but after putting down the worries in his heart thanks to Jing He’s trial that had already changed. Now, just thinking about the past seven days, he felt somewhat guilty even though he was aware that he couldn’t change it.
He quietly entered the city, taking a look around to see if there were any notable changes. Just like outside, he couldn’t find anything though. The battle seemed to have taken hardly a toll on his people.
Well, with how fast it had been over again, maybe this shouldn’t surprise him. The driving force behind that battle had been Yong Hai and he vaguely remembered that someone seemed to have killed him so there was now a new guy on the throne. Considering how wildly the politics of the demon kings could suffer, leaving immediately and not starting trouble anew weren’t too strange.
Since the city seemed alright, Qiu Ling made his way to the palace. He really wanted to go and immediately find Jinde but seeing the time and the length of his absence, it was likely better to first check in with Xiang Yong. After all, he had only taken a cursory look around. There might still be many issues that had to be dealt with so he’d better find out fast. After that, he could go to Jinde without feeling rushed to go back and deal with other matters.
Knocking on the door to Xiang Yong’s study and stepping inside, Qiu Ling wasn’t too surprised to see him still up. On the other hand, Xiang Yong was surprised to see him though.
It really had to be said that Qiu Ling had gotten preferential treatment when he went to the High Heavens and met Tian. As for Xiang Yong and Lei Jiang, they had simply been told to go back. There had been no explanation, no reassurance that their king was safe and sound, or any superfluous words at all. If not for the fact that instinct told them that the one speaking to them was the supreme sovereign himself, they definitely wouldn’t have listened.
Xiang Yong immediately got to his feet and stepped around his desk. “Your Majesty, how are you doing?” He took a careful look at Qiu Ling’s expression. He couldn’t see any of the obsession from before. In fact, he looked … pretty normal.
Qiu Ling sighed deeply and went over to sit down. “Quite well. A bit tired. Anyway, I saw Jing He and we spoke for a while. There is a lot I have to tell him — preferably before he remembers — but it’s tough to do all at once. We’ve had a … mostly good start but we’ll have to see about the rest. I’ll go back tomorrow for that.”
He looked at Xiang Yong and faintly raised his brows. “How were things in the capital city these days?” He vaguely remembered that Xiang Yong seemed to have followed him in the demon realm for a while but, frankly, his senses hadn’t quite been there so that might as well have been a hallucination.
Hearing Qiu Ling state calmly what was going on, what he planned to do next, and then even caring about the state of the city after the battle, Xiang Yong calmed down as well. He sat down again and looked at the documents on his desk. “Well, there wasn’t too much damage as the battle didn’t spread to the city itself.
“Repairs outside have already been dealt with and the dead were transferred to the cemetery.” He spoke until here and then looked up at Qiu Ling with a careful expression. “That is … everyone but Zhong Jing Yi. We placed the body in a jade coffin first. It’s in the courtyard to your rooms, guarded by that fallen god.”
Qiu Ling’s expression turned a bit strained when he was reminded of Jing Yi’s death. Since it happened, he hadn’t really had time to think about it. First was the insanity he had to thank the curse for, then after that, his mind was filled with Jing He. He hadn’t really had the chance to grieve for Jing Yi or think about what this really meant.
His chest felt stuffy but there was nothing he could do right now. He cleared his throat, trying not to think too much. “What about … the demon king?”
Xiang Yong needed a moment to figure out which of the three he meant. “Jin Ling? We also dealt with that. You might not be aware but we got a few visitors from the demon realm shortly after the battle.” He relayed the visit on their side as succinctly as possible, also mentioning the attitude of the Nine Heavens so far. “It’s doubtful if this will last but it at least seems like we will get some reprieve from any further battles.”
Qiu Ling gave a hum. Thinking of Ye Yang, he had to say that his impression actually wasn’t that bad. Of course, he wouldn’t trust a demon. He had seen firsthand how that played out. “We should watch for a while and then make decisions. Anyway, I have only returned now. It’s too early to do anything else.”
Xiang Yong nodded. “Indeed. Right now, we still have one issue to deal with: We lost about a hundred people in that battle, a third of which were bound to their partners. Of those, at least two dozen had children with most of them not yet having come of age. Some of their parents are still holding on for their sake but it’s doubtful they’ll be able to go on for much longer. I’ve come up with some preliminary plans but since you’re back, I’d like you to check and make the final decision.”