Qiu Ling’s smile faltered, his eyes went wide and his mouth opened and closed without any sound coming out. “What … What did you … say just now?” His voice sounded hoarse and couldn’t help but quiver at the end. He couldn’t believe it. No, he must have misheard! His beloved wouldn’t reject him. They loved each other so much. He didn’t believe that Jing He would reject to marry him. No, if he asked his Jing He, he’d be thrilled at the prospect of finally becoming his.
Even if it was just his mortal reincarnation this time, he couldn’t imagine it any other way. After all, this person still carried Jing He’s soul. So deep down, they were the same person. He just … looked a bit different now. That was all. He would still feel their connection. So there was nothing in this world that would make Jing He or his reincarnation reject him. It could only be a misunderstanding.
Jing Yi took in Qiu Ling’s unbelieving expression and his heart squeezed. Senior martial brother Qiu was really sure about this. It had to hurt to be rejected like this. He couldn’t spare him though. If he didn’t make it clear, Qiu Ling would never be able to move on. He couldn’t leave any room for interpretation. Still, he should try to wrap it in a nice way so Qiu Ling would be able to take it better.
Jing Yi gulped and gave a strained smile, hoping that it would somehow help with showing that he didn’t want to hurt him. “I’m sorry. I’m sure you’re a wonderful man and that you’ll find someone who’ll gladly marry you in the future. But that person won’t be me. I can’t marry you.”
Qiu Ling swayed. He hadn’t … misheard? It was actually true? His beloved … didn’t want him? “Why? Why?!” His voice grew more frantic. “What have I done wrong? What do I need to do to make you reconsider?”
Jing Yi evaded his gaze. Seeing Qiu Ling this distraught made him feel ill at ease. He didn’t want to have to reject him but he couldn’t imagine being with him either. In that case, wouldn’t it be wrong not to tell him? If he just let it be, he’d be leading him on. Although he didn’t know much about relationships, he was sure that he shouldn’t do that. So what other option was there?
He shook his head with a sigh. “It’s not about doing something wrong. It’s … I just feel like … it’s not supposed to be.” Yes, now that he said it, it rang true. It was not supposed to be. His instincts told him that he shouldn’t agree, that he shouldn’t casually marry just because a man approached him. He should reject him and keep to himself. That was the right way to go.
Jing Yi felt better after making his thoughts clear but saying it like that … He might as well have taken a dagger and plunged it into Qiu Ling’s heart. “Not … meant to be? That …” Qiu Ling shook his head. “No.” He continued to shake his head. “You can’t be serious! If we’re not meant to be, then who is?”
From the moment he first saw Jing He, he had never wavered in his belief that they were a perfect match. If anything, this belief had only grown stronger with time. Jing He was the only person he could be himself around just like he was the only person that could see through Jing He’s thoughts. They were each other’s support, each other’s safe haven, each other’s salvation. They were meant to be. Nobody could convince him of the opposite!
Jing Yi sighed. “I’m really sorry. I’d better leave you alone now.” He turned around and walked away, leaving Qiu Ling alone and exposed to the cold wind that blew through the Yun Zou Sect that morning. He didn’t want to be like this but he felt that a clean cut would be for the best. He couldn’t imagine that this man would be able to be just friends or martial brothers with him. Asking that of him would be cruel.
Qiu Ling stared blankly, watching that slender figure leave that slowly overlapped with the one in his memories. How had this happened? They had barely spoken to each other and he had already been rejected?
He shivered in the cold breeze. He had been rejected. Jing He … his Jing He didn’t want to marry him. He didn’t like him. He didn’t want to see him anymore. He hated him!
Qiu Ling squatted down on the ground. He couldn’t help but think of that scene in the sea two days ago. That one red eye and those red markings that were reflected on the surface of that pearl. Had Jing He … somehow found out? Was that it? Did he hate him because of that? Was it that he couldn’t accept that side of him?
Qiu Ling pressed his eyes shut. No, that was impossible. Jing He was but a mortal now. He couldn’t know of it. Especially not this fast. It had to be something else.
‘I just feel like … it’s not supposed to be.’ Jing He’s voice echoed in his mind. Qiu Ling lifted his hands and cradled his head.
It’s not supposed to be.
We’re not supposed to be.
We … aren’t supposed to be.