After talking to Jing He’s mother and reaffirming their feelings, Qiu Ling and Jing He returned to the latter’s palace. Sitting in the main room, Qiu Ling held a cup of tea his beloved had poured for him and looked at the steam in a daze.
Once, when Jing He had been ill, he had rewarmed a pot of tea for him with his magical abilities. At that time, he had worried that he might give away his mixed blood. After all, as a dragon, he wasn’t supposed to have control over heat. Jing He hadn’t been well enough to notice though so the moment passed without issue, leaving his beloved with no doubts about his heritage.
At that time, he had felt relieved when this was the result. Now, he wondered if everything wouldn’t be easier if Jing He had found out long ago. At the very least, they wouldn’t have to talk about so many big reveals one after another.
Jing He saw Qiu Ling stare at the cup in a daze and couldn’t help but wonder if he had picked the wrong leaves. He looked at his own cup and carefully took a sip. No, this was the spotted grass dew tea that he had often prepared for Qiu Ling in the past. Qiu Ling had always seemed to like it as well so the tea itself shouldn’t be a problem.
He pondered for a moment and suddenly, his expression turned into one of realization. Right, this had been made often by him. Maybe Qiu Ling felt that it didn’t fit the occasion? After all, even though they had affirmed their wish to get married even before he went on his trial, that decision had stayed between the two of them only.
Today, they had told both his mother and uncle though which could be regarded as making their relationship official. At such a time, they should probably celebrate? At the very least, such a moment should be commemorated with something special.
Thinking until there, Jing He got back to his feet and returned to the cupboard where he kept the tea leaves. He rifled through them, trying to find something that would suit a special occasion.
He had a lot of different flavors and usually decided on one based on whether he would drink the tea alone or if there was a guest. If it was the latter, he usually based his choice on their taste. That was also why he would choose a tart tea like the spotted grass dew tea today when Qiu Ling was there.
All of his teas seemed very common though. After all, there rarely were special occasions. Even if any happened, he would usually be at his father’s palace at that time so he didn’t have to worry about preparing tea himself. In short, he couldn’t find anything rare at this moment.
Jing He felt vexed that he hadn’t thought of this before. Even if it wasn’t for making their engagement official, maybe Qiu Ling would have liked to celebrate his return from the trial? It had been a long time without each other, after all. Why hadn’t he thought of that?
Jing He chastised himself but there wasn’t anything he could do about it at this moment. Since there was no rare tea, he could only pick a common one that had a special meaning. How to find that though …
He looked at the boxes that were clearly labeled and his gaze stayed on the one with the leaves of the midnight lotus for a moment, his cheeks reddening. He personally liked this tea and had sometimes made it in the beginning when Qiu Ling came by his palace.
Later, he had switched to the spotted grass dew tea instead. In part, that was because he felt that Qiu Ling might like the taste more. But other than that, it was because when they had talked about it once, Qiu Ling repeated the name in an odd tone, making the ‘lotus’ part stand out.
Jing He had never thought about it but the ‘He’ in his name was the one that meant lotus. It was the same character the name of the midnight lotus used. It had never seemed odd until Qiu Ling pointed out the common character. Later, he brewed the tea for him several more times but each time, he felt embarrassed about it, wondering if the dragon king would think that he was trying to insinuate something. In the end, he felt so awkward that he never took the tea out again.
Now, Jing He looked at the box with the label ‘midnight lotus’ and carefully took it out. So what if he was insinuating something? This man, from today on, he would officially be his fiance. Even if his father had not yet been made aware and the public hadn’t been informed, he had admitted to his feelings in front of his mother. Why wouldn’t he dare to take this tea out in front of his future husband?
Jing He got up with the box in his hands and quietly steeped a new pot of tea. His cheeks had reddened and some of the old embarrassment still haunted him while doing this but he forced himself to continue.
He wanted Qiu Ling to know. He had loved this man for so long and had always held back out of fear of what he or anyone else would think. But he wanted to dedicate himself to him and he wanted him to know that he was doing so. In the future, there should be no doubt about his devotion to him.
Looking up at Qiu Ling, Jing He’s heart seemed to be racing. “Would you like another cup?”
Qiu Ling was pulled out of his thoughts. He didn’t know how long he had been in a daze for and hurriedly downed the rest of the tea in his cup before nodding. “Sure.” He definitely couldn’t make his beloved feel neglected. No, right now, shortly before dropping such a huge secret, he had to be even more attentive than usual to reassure Jing He and let him know that nothing would change between them even after he had found out about his mixed blood.