Xiang Yu turned to look at Qiang Yan with a puzzled look. “What’s the matter?”
“That … sounds like it might have been unpleasant for Jing He. Was there anything else?”
Xiang Yu pondered but then shook his head. “He was just going on and on about the Jiyi festival. Finally, they played weiqi together and then, it seemed like it was time for him to work. He asked Jing He to come along so they went over. Then, the Heavenly Emperor stayed in the throne room while Jing He sat in the study alone as I described earlier.”
Qiang Yan hummed. “Sounds exactly like how the two of them get along usually.”
Bai Fen nodded as well but she couldn’t help but notice how part of this whole matter had been about her son’s love life. His father had never accepted the prospect of Qiu Ling becoming his son-in-law. Recently, he had tried to lower his chances by running interference and looking for suitable other candidates. Today’s matter of wanting Jing He to work with Duan Ming was just the latest issue with him.
She hadn’t done anything about that because she had figured he needed some time to calm down before they could have a serious chat about this again. But now … she couldn’t help but wonder if maybe she shouldn’t just have watched on.
What made the trials of the trueborn gods such a dreaded existence wasn’t just that you had to leave your regular life behind for two or three months or that you would be exposed to all sorts of bitter life experiences down in the mortal realm. No, what worried the gods each time they descended was what would happen after they woke up.
A mortal reincarnation created for a trial was a reflection of certain parts of one’s personality. The things you encountered if left up to fate … they were what you struggled with yourself. It was a good opportunity to overcome issues if done right but it also had the potential to destroy you. From the little they knew about the fallen gods, it seemed that most had fallen in relation to a trial of theirs.
Looking at Jing He’s situation … he had always been somebody who lacked the courage to stand up for himself. It hadn’t been much of a problem when he was young but after meeting Qiu Ling, it had turned into an issue. The trial had proven just how big of a matter this was to Jing He. Otherwise, more than half of it wouldn’t have revolved around the dragon king.
Now, his father was trying to keep him apart from the man he loved and he didn’t know what to do about it. He bore with it for three weeks but maybe something her husband said today had been too much. Maybe the idea of spending time with a man not Qiu Ling in a way that would make them be together for hours every day, working together closely, had caused the fragile status quo to be tilted too far in one direction. And maybe that … had indeed shattered her son’s soul.
Bai Fen closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She didn’t want to believe it. She wanted to hold out hope that her son hadn’t fallen and that he had simply been kidnapped. It was a faint hope, she knew that, but she had to believe this because she didn’t think she could bear it otherwise.
Sighing faintly, she opened her eyes again and focused on Xiang Yu’s face. “You said that he wanted to go to the Temple of Medicine. Were there guards with him?” Her husband had said so and she had seen them but Xiang Yu likely had more details about that and she’d rather make sure that everything had happened that way with an unbiased person.
Xiang Yu nodded. “There were!” He looked around but couldn’t spot the two so instead, he tried to give more details. “They were originally standing outside but his father waved at them to follow along. Ah, right! Originally, his father wanted to go with him but Jing He said that he should be busy so he refused. Then, the Heavenly Emperor sent the guards instead. There were two of them at the time and one of them had an umbrella.”
Qiang Yan raised his brows. “An umbrella?”
Xiang Yu nodded. “Yeah. One of those simple red ones. He didn’t take it out immediately but halfway to the Temple of Medicine, it started to rain.”
Next to him, Jinde’s eyes narrowed. “Xiang Yu, did you get a look at how the weather was like when Jing He left the Heavenly Emperor’s palace?”
Xiang Yu pondered. He had paid more attention to what was happening so he would know if there was a suitable opportunity for him to send Qiu Ling over and the weather hadn’t really factored into that. But … “Well, I didn’t really see but he looked up at the sky when he stepped out and he was furrowing his brows a little. I think there might have already been some clouds and he probably remembered that he didn’t take an umbrella himself. It’s good that the guards were prepared.”
Of course, the gods didn’t necessarily need an umbrella. Even if you didn’t sweep away all the clouds above you, you could still use your magic to ensure the rain wouldn’t hit you. Most just thought it wasn’t right to do this because influencing the weather too much had been drilled into them as a bad thing to do. Otherwise, wouldn’t chaos reign in all realms if everyone tried to create their own perfect weather?
Thus, most gods preferred using umbrellas. And with spatial rings or bracelets being rather common items, it usually wasn’t a problem to carry one or two along either. But then, as the crown prince, maybe Jing He didn’t need to do such things by himself. Xiang Yu really wouldn’t have been surprised if that was the case.
Anyway, even if not for his position, with a lover like Qiu Ling who would love to hold him in his arms and protect him every step of the way, there usually wouldn’t be a reason to think of such mundane things as getting wet in the rain. It was a pity his evil father had separated the two of them.