Chapter 50: The Dragon King comes to witness the ceremony (Part Two)
Since then, he often sneaked into the palace to see her; he performed sword-dances as she played the zither or drew portraits of her tirelessly; sometimes, they’d just gaze at each other quietly. Later, at her request, he helped her flee from the city and took her to the spirit world. He extended her life and she lived much longer than an ordinary human, but still she died. He had known this day would come eventually, but still he couldn’t accept it. They were born to be together and loved each other for hundreds of years. Their love had never dwindled; instead, they loved each other more as time went by.
When the Ember Dragon King arrived at the capital city of Yongchuan, Qianqi was waiting for him outside the city where the spirit horse cavalry regiment was stationed. The Ember Dragon King had seen his son from the window and found he had grown taller during the short time since he last saw him. Looking at young Qianqi, who stood tall and straight with intense eyes and determination on his face, the dragon king seemed to see himself when he was young.
When Qianqi reached the Ember Dragon King’s convoy, the Dragon King gestured for the carriage to stop and let his son join him in the carriage.
“I heard that you guys are the main force that solved the crisis of the spirit world,” the Dragon Ember King said in satisfaction.
Qianqi nodded and choked a bit. He was quite talkative but now seeing his father, he didn’t know what to say.
“Well, it seems I was over-protective of you and didn’t let you shine.”
The Ember Dragon King sounded satisfied. As a father, how could he not be happy when he saw his son had made great achievements. From now on, with his permission and approval, his precious son whom he had sheltered carefully would venture into a world full of uncertainties, like a small boat sailing into a vast and turbulent ocean.
“Not really…” Qianqi wanted to tell his father what he had felt during the journey and that he had met someone he wanted to cherish, but looking at his ancient father, he couldn’t say anything; he just held his father’s hand tightly.
“How is it? How are you getting along with Xiaoleng, the future master of the spirit world?” The Ember Dragon King noticed that something was weighing on his son’s mind.
“He doesn’t speak much, so it’s not easy to talk to him. But…he’s got a good heart.” Qianqi didn’t want his father to worry about him.
“Did anything unpleasant happen between you? Is something bothering you?”
“Nothing. I must go and pick up someone once the coronation is over. We left her in the Crane Spring Land in exchange for the sky rune.” Qianqi didn’t dare to say Xia Qiu’s name; her name seemed to have a magical power, and he’d dump everything and run to her at the mention of it.
“Oh. What’s she like?” The Ember Dragon King had experienced youthful love and sensed something from his son’s tone.
“She’s very important to me. I’ll take her to see you one day,” Qianqi said firmly.
Ouyang Hongye, Yanming, and the others received the Ember Dragon King before the gate of the Tianshu Hall. Since the coronation hadn’t begun yet, they ushered the dragon king into the Fuxing Hall for some rest. With Qianqi’s company, he followed Ouyang Hongye to Ouyang Yong’s residence.
Before he walked into the room, he could smell the fragrance of hibiscus flowers in the air; it came from Ouyang Yong’s room. The scent was so refreshing that it drove away the fatigue he had felt after riding for days. Then the Ember Dragon King was ushered into Ouyang Yong’s room.
“Ember.” As he walked into the room, Ouyang Yong struggled to stand up from the arhat bed.
“Lord Yong, please sit down!” The Ember Dragon King hurried over and helped Ouyang Yong sit back down.
“I’m sorry to drag you all the way here. You must be exhausted. Well, I’m old and useless now,” Ouyang Yong said self-mockingly, “Now sit down!”
“Nonsense. You look stronger than I do. I’ve stayed in Dongyao Palace for so long that I got weaker each day. After coming out of the city, I feel much better.”
A spirit servant poured tea into the cup on the table next to the Ember Dragon King; the steam of the hot tea made the hibiscus flower scent even richer. He sipped the tea and felt refreshed.
“We couldn’t have solved the crisis without your help; your cavalry regiment guarded the capital city and Qianqi assisted Xiaoleng,” Ouyang Yong said slowly.
“Even though I didn’t leave Dongyao for years, I’m still a member of the spirit world. I vowed to the previous king Xueye to protect the spirit world. Qianqi has been spoilt by me; I hope he didn’t bring you any trouble.”
“He’s a good boy. I believe he has become friends with Xiaoleng and the others. Hongye knows it better than I do. You can talk to him about it later.”
“How are the preparations of the coronation?”
“I entrusted the preparation work to Hongye. He’s got everything ready.”
“I brought some musicians and dancers from Dongyao.”
“That’s very considerate of you.”
“Xiaoleng is so young and has to take on such a huge burden. I feel sorry for him.”
“Yeah. This is the most chaotic moment and he will be the youngest king in the history of the spirit world. He’ll face tremendous pressure and difficulties.” Ouyang Yong had pity in his eyes but couldn’t do anything about it; after all, this was Xiaoleng’s destiny and no one could change it.
“How is he feeling?”
“No one knows it. He doesn’t like to share his thoughts with people.”
“Xueye was different.”
“Yeah. The father and son have different personalities, but they resemble each other in looks and determination.”
“Yeah. When I saw him in Dongyao, I was reminded of the days when I fought alongside with Xueye; he is the spitting image of his father.”
“When I looked at him and Qianqi, I’d think the younger versions of you and Xueye were standing before me again!”
“Haha!” The Ember Dragon King laughed heartily; indeed, Qianqi was as competitive as he had been when he was young.
“I’m sorry but I can’t talk to you now. I’ve got to grab some sleep, or I will not be able to attend the coronation tonight!”
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