RSH Stratagem 45: Move Your Beloved’s Heart (1)

Jing He felt guilty and ashamed and still thought that he should return to his palace to hide away.

On the other hand, Qiu Ling did what he did best and pretended that everything was under control. In this case, that meant that apologizing was enough and he could simply drop the topic and move on to the next one.

He let go of Jing He’s shoulders and turned back to the front, his gaze brushing over the surface of the water before he motioned up to the sky. “I believe I haven’t explained why I chose this spot yet.”

Jing He was still caught up in his negative emotions and hardly reacted.

Of course, Qiu Ling had never really needed any encouragement from his audience to go on with any act. So, even though Jing He didn’t speak up and didn’t even look at him, he simply rambled on. “As I said before, it might not look like much right now but it’ll get better.

“When the sun rises, the reflection on the water is breathtaking. The waterfall is the best part about it: If the sunlight hits just right, you can see a small rainbow above the stream. It looks especially magical so I wanted you to see it. I’m just afraid we got here a little early but it shouldn’t take much longer now.”

Jing He wasn’t over what had happened yet but he was also somebody who had pretended for years. Since Qiu Ling had found a different explanation for his behavior and wasn’t about to pull back because he loathed him now, he should just go with the flow. In the future, he’d have to be more careful so as to not expose his true, vile thoughts.

He looked over to the waterfall and faintly nodded. “I can imagine.” He knew he should probably say more but he didn’t know how. His heart seemed lodged in his throat, choking him, and keeping him from saying more.

Qiu Ling didn’t mind the short response. These past six years, even after allowing Jing He a glimpse at the side of him that he usually tried to hide, it was still him who talked more than his beloved. So, only getting a few words was really nothing.

Instead of being bothered by this, he was simply happy that he had received a response at all. This had to mean that Jing He was ready to move on from the awkward moment before. In that case, he should strike while the iron was hot and continue to move his thoughts in a different direction.

His gaze once again brushed over the water and he finally cleared his throat. “Do you remember how I admitted once that I lied to you about being able to play an instrument and how I told you that day that I had started to learn for you though?”

“I do.” With Qiu Ling simply continuing to talk, Jing He’s heartbeat slowed down and his anxiety reduced. He still wasn’t back to his usual self but he wasn’t worried as much anymore. Instead, his curiosity was piqued. Why was Qiu Ling bringing this up now?

Naturally, Qiu Ling had his reasons. He looked at Jing He and gave him a smile, finally pulling the huqin out of his spatial ring. “Since we still have some time to pass until the sunrise, how about I show you how far I have gotten? It surely can’t compare to the musicians of my people yet but I think I am decent at it. At the very least, Yu Gan said so. You do remember her, right?”

Jing He hadn’t met many people of the dragon race yet. In fact, other than some of Qiu Ling’s advisers, there was only the woman he had brought over once. Especially with the reminder of musicians of the dragon race, he naturally would think of her. “Wasn’t she the musician you brought over after the celebration of your coronation’s anniversary?”

Qiu Ling inclined his head. “Precisely her. I personally think her skills are quite good and have been told similar by An Bai so I believe it to be true. Her judgment shouldn’t be any worse so if she says that I am good, that should be the case. Of course, she might also be trying to spare my feelings. I’ll let you be the judge of that.”

Jing He couldn’t help but smile. Usually, he would think that this might be the truth and that Qiu Ling’s position had indeed scared Yu Gan into simply saying that he was good when he might simply be not that bad. But then, his trust in this man was deep and he truly believed that if Qiu Ling put his mind to it, he could achieve anything he wanted.

What was learning an instrument to a man like him? Qiu Ling had mastered all kinds of skills in his life, some of them surely more complicated than playing an instrument. And he had already proven in the past how deft his fingers were. Why wouldn’t he be able to masterfully use the bow of the huqin?

Seeing that Jing He seemed interested, Qiu Ling didn’t waste any time. He carefully held the huqin, closed his eyes, and then moved the bow. To be honest, his playing had sucked majorly at the beginning to the point where he might have been able to scare ghosts away. But he had practiced a lot on his own and even on the day of his coronation when he had still been a beginner, he had at least been able to play notes that wouldn’t be considered off-key. What he had lacked were simply the tunes to play and a deeper understanding of what even made a harmonic melody in the first place.

Yu Gan and the other musicians had helped him a lot since then even though he tended to call upon them at the oddest of hours. Still, they were rather enthusiastic about it, and thanks to their guidance, he felt like he was decent enough by now to play for Jing He once.

Yes, he hadn’t mastered playing the huqin but he could probably be called an intermediate player despite the short amount of time he had been practicing. It was all thanks to the fact that he had used every free minute he had at his disposal and that he had always been able to work in a direction that promised the most success based on the feedback he got.

So in a sense, it wasn’t wrong to say that Jing He was right about Qiu Ling being able to do anything as long as he put his mind to it. Being stubborn sure did its part and so was being the king of a whole race. Either way, his play wouldn’t be too shabby by now and yes, he was about to prove that to Jing He.

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