Qiu Ling slowly raised his brows. He only needed a moment to figure out what had happened: Originally, he had brought up the ceremony in the dragon realm first because that was where he had the final say. Having or not having the blessing of Jing He’s father didn’t have to factor into any of their decisions. In fact, even if he had an opinion on it, they could just shrug it off with ‘but not in the dragon realm’ and be done with it.
Unfortunately, he hadn’t taken into consideration how thin Jing He’s skin was. Speaking about the ceremony in the dragon realm automatically meant speaking about their wedding night. In fact, to a large degree, they would be talking about nothing but that. No wonder Jing He felt embarrassed.
Qiu Ling got to his feet, picked up An Xin who was still crouching on the table vigilantly, and then followed Jing He into the garden.
At this moment, his beloved had retreated to the edge of one of the flower beds close to the pavilion. He was standing with his back to him, his head slightly lowered. He looked a bit desolate this way.
Qiu Ling walked over, stopped next to him, and stuffed the flame heart into his arms. Glancing at his beloved holding the furry beast, he couldn’t help but feel that it was cute. It also reminded him of the fact that Jing He wasn’t all that old. Being a bit embarrassed about these things was also normal, wasn’t it?
He reached out and pulled Jing He into his arms, resting his chin on his shoulder. “I didn’t mean to make things awkward.”
Jing He’s face was still flushed. In fact, if he couldn’t see his own hands holding An Xin, he might have thought that the rest of his body didn’t look any better. After all, his heart was still beating madly and his mind was unable to calm down. At this moment, he couldn’t even respond to Qiu Ling’s attempt at reassuring him.
Qiu Ling glanced at the side of his face and gave a hum. “We don’t have to talk about it yet if you’re not comfortable with it.” In fact, he would be willing to organize everything quietly if that was what it took for his beloved to feel at ease. Although, truth be told, he would have loved Jing He’s input. It was their wedding ceremony after all. They should both be satisfied with it so he couldn’t be negligent in planning.
Jing He took a shallow breath, trying to calm down a little. He felt indeed awkward having to talk about this but he also knew that he couldn’t stay silent. Lowering his head, he rubbed An Xin’s fur in an attempt to focus on something else. When he finally spoke up, his voice was barely audible. “The witnesses … will they see … everything?”
Qiu Ling tilted his head further. Seeing Jing He’s tense expression, he blinked his eyes and finally straightened up. He gently grabbed Jing He’s arm and made him turn around, holding onto his chin and tilting his head up. “Look at me.”
Jing He felt even more embarrassed having to have this talk face to face but he also knew he couldn’t escape it. He finally raised his eyelids, looking at Qiu Ling carefully.
Qiu Ling let go of his chin and instead cupped his cheeks. “We won’t do what you don’t want. That includes having witnesses there.” His expression was solemn. Earlier, he had thought that Jing He’s problem had just been talking about their wedding night but now, he realized that this wasn’t quite it. No, Jing He might be alright with having that night with him but he couldn’t come to terms with the way the dragons handled it.
Jing He requited his gaze and his heart inexplicably returned to a peaceful state. With Qiu Ling at his side, he felt safe. Unfortunately, it couldn’t change what he felt was expected of them. “It is the custom of the dragons though. As their king, shouldn’t you honor that?”
Qiu Ling’s lips curved up faintly. “You know, I’ve always been thinking that the one benefit of holding the title of Longjun is that I have the privilege to make the rules myself. Whether I want to follow the customs or not, it’s up to me. And since I care about your opinion and comfort more than anything else, it’s ultimately up to you.” His smile brightened even further and he leaned closer, kissing Jing He’s forehead. “I don’t want you to agree to anything you’d be uncomfortable with.
“Jing He.” Qiu Ling leaned back slightly and looked at him earnestly. “The day we are talking about is our wedding day. It should be … the culmination of the ten years spent wooing you, the natural result of us falling for each other. It’s supposed the most beautiful day we’ve had yet and nothing — no customs, no opinion of others, not our own doubts — should change that.”
Jing He nodded even though he couldn’t just turn off his doubts. He wanted to follow Qiu Ling’s words but he still felt that the dragons should have some expectations. Even if Qiu Ling as their king was allowed to make his own rules, wouldn’t they be more likely to think that he as a trueborn god was unwilling to follow their customs and thus the reason for this decision? They might even feel that he was looking down on them. He couldn’t allow that to happen!
Trying to gather his courage, Jing He finally gave a hum. “I know but … I think we should still follow the customs as much as possible. Isn’t it also a way to show respect?”
Qiu Ling watched his expression closely. The flush had receded from Jing He’s face but he still didn’t look all that comfortable with the idea. No, instead, he was clearly forcing himself to accept it and he wasn’t even willing to be honest about that. It was really giving him a headache.