The rare couple had almost reached the capital city of the Nine Heavens. Meanwhile, at the Heavenly Empress’s palace, Bai Fen was sitting at the table in the hall next to her garden where she had recently talked with Jing He and Qiu Ling. This time though, she was alone, quietly sipping her tea while looking outside at her flowers.
Earlier in the day, a servant from the dragon realm had arrived at her palace, handing a letter to her. When she asked who it came from, the servant had seemed a bit stumped but finally said it was from a Scholar Jiang Li. Well, she didn’t know any Scholar from the dragon realm beside An Bai and it seemed odd that one would contact her. Even odder was that when she opened the letter, it was asking for a meeting between in-laws.
Bai Fen furrowed her brows and pulled out the letter again, once again wondering what this was about. She only had that one child and he was engaged to Qiu Ling according to his own desires. If it was according to his father’s, well, the in-laws definitely wouldn’t be from the dragon realm so this had to be about Qiu Ling, after all.
But from what she knew, Qiu Ling didn’t have any living relatives so where did these in-laws come from? Was it some kind of scam? But that also seemed unrealistic. For one, there weren’t many people who would dare to try and scam the Heavenly Empress. Two, who would dare to pretend to be related to the dragon king if they weren’t?
Qiu Ling wasn’t necessarily known to be reasonable. While he might be a good king, she didn’t doubt for a moment that he would cause trouble with anyone who dared to pretend there was a relationship that didn’t exist.
Since this was the case, the letter should be real. But then who was this Scholar Jiang Li? And why had she never heard of him? Granted, she didn’t know that much about the dragon realm since the relationship wasn’t actually that close outside of the war against the demons but … Qiu Ling should have mentioned it. So why hadn’t he?
She shook her head, feeling that it was useless to think about. She’d have to see when the person arrived. By then, everything should become clear. She put the letter away, picked up her teacup again, and returned to looking out of the window.
Soon, a servant girl came from outside, announcing her visitors. Bai Fen nodded for her to bring them in and got to her feet. She really wanted to see just who this Jiang Li was.
On the other side of the palace, Leng Jin Yu couldn’t help but furrow his brows. “Maybe we should have brought a gift.”
“Oh, don’t bother. We’re basically here to scold her husband to her face for disdaining our son. That won’t sound nicer with a gift.”
“But maybe the first impression would be.” Well, not that he should still talk about first impressions. The Heavenly Empress had already seen him during the trial of her son and he didn’t think for a moment that he was the actually important person at this meeting. No, this would all be about Jinde and the Heavenly Empress.
The servant girl finally arrived at the door to the hall where Bai Fen was waiting and motioned for the two of them to step inside before she left.
Leng Jin Yu sighed and glanced at his husband who had once again covered his face with a veil. “Don’t make too much of a fuss.”
Jinde chuckled, grabbed his husband’s hand, and simply walked inside. How could he not make a fuss? Just taking off this veil would probably cause enough of a stir as long as the Heavenly Empress put two and two together. And it wasn’t like the topic they were going to talk about was all that neutral either. But then, they at least stood on the same side so this should turn into a harmonious visit soon.
Bai Fen looked at the two of them, her brows lightly furrowing when she saw Jinde’s veil and then raising when she noticed Leng Jin Yu next to him. She still remembered that person. “You’re Leng Jin Yu, the ascended deity who helped with my son’s trial, if I remember correctly?”
Leng Jin Yu inclined his head. “The Heavenly Empress is right about that.” He felt awkward when he spoke to that point, glanced at his husband who still hadn’t moved, and then cleared his throat. “I know today’s visit must come as a surprise. I promise there is an explanation.”
Bai Fen faintly tilted her head. “I would love to hear it.” She would love to see the other person’s face even more.
As if Jinde had guessed her thoughts, he finally got involved as well. “Oh, we’d love to have a chat about that.” While saying so, he reached up, and finally removed the veiled hat, exposing his face.
Bai Fen stared at him, her mind immediately flashing to a time long ago. She hadn’t been born yet during the time of the last great war but she was old enough to have seen the victims that still lost their lives long after it had ended. Her brother’s master had been one of them. He had taken them in when he had already suffered the consequences but he only finally died when they had almost grown up.
She had watched that man wither away but he wasn’t the only one she had seen. Once, she had actually caught a glimpse of the king of the dragon race at that time who very clearly suffered from the same fate as the God of War.
Back then, his skin had been as pale as paper, his figure seeming as if it could be blown away by the softest breeze. The only vibrancy remaining that told of his life were the strands cascading down his back like a shower of molten gold.
The person in front of her … he seemed to have nothing to do with the dragon king at the brink of death and yet, they were unmistakably the very same person.