Back in the Yun Zou Sect, the wind made the robes of the cultivators sway in the breeze, rustling quietly. Not even a breath could be heard as if the words that Qiu Ling had uttered just now had frozen everyone in place.
The men on the stage had fallen silent, the audience turned and stared at the middle of that ring of silence and even the disciples dueling couldn’t help but stop in their tracks and look over when the audience’s attention was suddenly drawn away.
Somehow, two words had been enough to shut the whole venue up and make Qiu Ling and Jing Yi the center of attention.
Qiu Ling didn’t care. He looked at Jing Yi with a wildly pounding heart. How would his beloved react? That was all he cared about.
Jing Yi’s lips moved but he didn’t get any sound out. At fifteen years of age, he couldn’t call himself a child anymore. He understood what Qiu Ling was saying, after all, Shao Hai spoke often enough about how he would marry him in the future. He had never paid those words any heed though. Sure, he liked Shao Hai but he didn’t have any other feelings for him. Spending time with him made him happy but he couldn’t picture a future in which they would live together how his parents had done.
Now, the person saying these words had changed and he couldn’t keep being as indifferent as he had been before. That was the hero he had just started to admire! Why would he ask him something like this?
Shouldn’t a hero not care about love at all? Or … as far as the stories went that Shao Hai and Xiao Dong had told him there were some heroes that indeed fell in love. But the person they loved should be a beautiful maiden they would care for their whole life! Why was this man asking him now?!
Jing Yi took a deep breath. He looked at his hands in the bigger ones of this man and then gazed up into those dark eyes again. “Why are you asking me?”
Ah! Qiu Ling’s gaze intensified. This reaction, it was too tempting! He gripped his hands a little tighter and inched closer. There was hardly any space separating them. If he concentrated, he might just be able to feel his beloved’s heartbeat.
“I just took one look at you and heard you speak one word and I knew you were the only one for me. It’s either you or I will stay alone for the rest of my life. In fact, what is this life worth without you? I might just end it altogether.”
He lifted one hand and cupped Jing Yi’s cheek. Indeed. Without him … he wouldn’t want to live anymore. Just remembering that time in the Nine Heavens when he stood in the Heavenly Emperor’s throne room and thought that Jing He had been assassinated … His whole world had come crashing down on him. He couldn’t let him go. Not in this life and not in any other.
If Jing He died, he would follow him and reincarnate together, entering a new cycle of life where they would be together again. He wasn’t worried that he would not be able to find him there. No, their souls would call out to each other. They were fated to be one. He would never lose this person.
Jing Yi gazed at the man in front of him, his chest tightening. The idea that this person could suddenly vanish, that he could stop existing in this world altogether … His breath hitched at the thought of that and his hands trembled faintly.
He pulled them back and grabbed the hem of his sleeves, trying to hide his reaction. Why did he feel like this? He couldn’t understand. He didn’t even know this man!
Qiu Ling saw the confusion in his eyes and lightly smiled. He took Jing Yi’s hands back and pressed them against his chest, letting him feel his heartbeat. And then, with a sly smile, he implemented one of the invaluable pieces of advice his mother-in-law had once given him: “Don’t worry. You don’t have to answer now. Take some time to think it over. I’ll ask you again in seven days’ time.”
His smile intensified, then he let go of Jing Yi’s hands and turned around, his black hair and white robe building a beautiful contrast when they swayed in the breeze.
Jing Yi couldn’t help but follow that figure with his gaze until Qiu Ling vanished into the crowd. His heart still pounded wildly. Ah, someone had just proposed to him and this time, it felt like an earnest proposal. Not like those jokes Shao Hai always made.
Shao Hai, whose love had just been treated like a joke, felt a sudden sense of crisis. Seeing his Xiao Yi and that disciple of the Grandmaster stand together that closely and hearing that bastard spew such nonsense about how he had fallen in love at first sight and wanted to marry him, his hands had long clenched into fists.
Damn this! Why had that guy taken a fancy to his Xiao Yi?! And he was even so good with words! He had to step up his game or his bride might be taken away. Just look at how his Xiao Yi was blushing while he looked at that white-clad figure! He had never looked at him that way.
Meanwhile, the two men on the stage who had been spiritedly discussing which martial sister Qiu Ling might like were stunned. They had been so incredibly wrong it couldn’t even be expressed in words! This disciple of Grandmaster Zhangsun … he hadn’t fallen in love with any martial sister. He had actually taken a fancy to one of his martial brothers!
“Say …” Sect Master Yuchi coughed and evaded the gazes of the other two men. “That boy, who is he?”
Grandmaster Zhangsun displayed his eternal frown and narrowed his eyes. He also didn’t know the boy but this should be the person his disciple had fallen in love with. He was surprisingly young considering that person had already told him that Qiu Ling was in love with him five years ago. Well, dragons probably couldn’t be judged by mortal common sense. Speaking of which … “It seems he’s a disciple of our outer sect.”
Sect Master Yuchi and the Grandelder couldn’t help but raise their brows. A disciple of their outer sect? That sure was unexpected.