Since accosting Duan Ming and following him back to his mother’s palace, Rong Su had been sitting in the main hall, drinking tea while bothering the Goddess of Magnanimity to tell him whatever he deemed necessary to know about a potential future son-in-law. So far, he was still quite satisfied.
There was no past relationship, unrequited love, or strangely persistent unwanted suitor so he didn’t need to worry about any emotional entanglements if Duan Ming and Jing He got together. The education had been sufficient both in terms of general knowledge and his emotional state. There weren’t any embarrassing stories about angry outbursts, depressed break-downs, or excessive jubilation in public so it could be said that Duan Ming had a tight grasp on his feelings and how to express them. He definitely wouldn’t make things awkward for his son.
Of course, Rong Su felt rather concerned about the fact that Duan Ming had long since come of age but still didn’t have an official position. He didn’t need him to be a titled god or the named successor to one of them to be with his son — although, truth be told, he would have preferred that — but somebody residing in the idle gods’ courtyard didn’t seem too suitable. Did this person have no drive? How could he be satisfied with that? Well, at least he did have some type of goal.
Actually, the people in the idle gods’ courtyard couldn’t all be called ‘idle’. The name stemmed from the fact that they held no official position but many of them were working toward one. Duan Ming definitely was part of that group.
Sitting next to his mother and listening to the Heavenly Emperor nitpick about his choice to stay in the courtyard for so long, he really wanted to sigh or find some type of excuse to leave. Anyway, he still needed to deliver the crown prince’s love token and he’d rather go back to the idle gods’ courtyard where he wouldn’t be under scrutiny like this. Unfortunately, it would be much too impolite to do so without a good reason and he currently couldn’t think of a convincing one.
His mother next to him felt the same. To be honest, she hadn’t even been happy when the Heavenly Emperor approached them the first time around to make Duan Ming meet up with the Son of Heaven. Now, she felt even more displeased. Don’t think he couldn’t see how this man was judging her son!
She wasn’t the unreasonable kind who thought her child didn’t have any faults but she was at least sure that the problems her son had weren’t anything big. His being part of the idle gods’ courtyard definitely wasn’t one of them! On the contrary, she believed that this showed his determination and hard work. What was there to dislike about that?
Of course, she also didn’t want the Heavenly Emperor to like him too much. Otherwise, he’d just come up with some stupid idea like making Duan Ming marry his son. She really didn’t want to see that. Having the Heavenly Emperor as an in-law definitely wouldn’t be pleasant. She might have been willing to deal with that and also watch as her son had to cope but that was only under the circumstances where her son and the crown prince genuinely fell in love. Clearly, this hadn’t happened so it was much better not to even entertain this idea.
Just as the mother and son were having trouble keeping a straight face any longer, the guard from the gate finally made his way inside. He cleared his throat to get everyone’s attention and hastily inclined his head in greeting. “The God of Justice has arrived. Shall we send him in?”
The face of the Goddess of Magnanimity lit up and she hurriedly waved her hand. “Yes, please do so! I’m sure it is important if he has come by himself.” Anyway, even if it wasn’t and he just wanted to have a chat and drink some tea, she’d still happily take the opportunity. Maybe this way, she could finally get rid of the Heavenly Emperor. After all, it was well-known that these two didn’t get along too well.
Rong Su indeed pulled a face when he heard that Li Yin had arrived. That guy always looked at him all judgmental as if he and his son were any better. Unfortunately, even though he was the Heavenly Emperor, he couldn’t really make him leave since this wasn’t his palace and he might indeed have an important matter to discuss.
The guard didn’t give him a chance to do or say anything either. He hurriedly nodded and then turned on his heels, rushing back outside to tell the God of Justice that the Goddess of Magnanimity had invited him in. He didn’t bother to show him the way. For one, the God of Justice definitely knew, and two … he simply didn’t want to step back onto the minefield that the main hall had probably turned into already. Instead, he simply took on the standard posture of the guards, wiped any expression off his face, and pretended to be very busy guarding the gate.
Li Yin didn’t pay him any attention either and simply walked in. Seeing the three people that had gathered, two of them looking at him with faint expectation, he knew that his guess had been right. He nodded at everyone in greeting and didn’t bother with any preambles. “Tianjun, Yu Ling, Duan Ming.” Looking at the Goddess of Magnanimity and her son, his mind moved and his lips curled faintly. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to borrow Duan Ming for a matter.”
Duan Ming immediately shot to his feet, knowing full well that this was the only chance he’d get to escape from this hell.
His mother also didn’t want to keep him. She’d happily accompany them but if she couldn’t, it was also good to let at least her son escape this arduous talk. Maybe the Heavenly Emperor would also lose interest when her son wasn’t there any longer. “Sure, sure, I think his presence isn’t needed here anyway. Since you have something to talk to him about, just take him along directly.”
Li Yin inclined his head and didn’t say more.
Rong Su gave him a suspicious look though. What did this guy suddenly want with Duan Ming? It couldn’t be … “You wouldn’t want to try and set him up with that wayward son of yours, would you?”
Li Yin’s eyes faintly narrowed. He usually just didn’t bother about this guy but he wouldn’t let anyone talk about his son like this! “Of course not. Ru Zhen currently has a boyfriend and as a loving father, I’d never beat the mandarin ducks. Now, if you’d excuse me. I have official business to deal with.” With that, he waved at Duan Ming to follow him, and directly left the Palace of Magnanimity again, not giving the Heavenly Emperor the chance to blow up at him for that veiled insult to his parenting methods.