Jing Yi’s hands stopped for a moment before he continued to caress Qiu Ling’s back. He knew who he was talking about without having to hear the name. His heart squeezed painfully at the thought while he felt guilty at the same time.
Yes, he hated the fact that there was somebody that Qiu Ling had loved like this. Maybe that was normal because he had come to love him so much and didn’t want him to have such deep feelings for anyone else. But at the same time, how could he want for Qiu Ling to never meet that person if it was him who ended Qiu Ling’s suffering? Wasn’t that like wishing for Qiu Ling to be hurt even more deeply? How callous was he to think like this?
He forcibly suppressed the thought and instead made himself smile despite the pain. “Then he really is very important to you. You must have been happy to meet him.”
“I was. I was immensely happy. I hadn’t felt so happy … for a long, long time.” Qiu Ling took a shaky breath. Right. How long hadn’t he felt that way before he found his Jing He? It was as if he had done something wrong in his last life and was being punished by Heaven now.
He had just wanted it to stop but there had been nothing he could do. No matter what he did whether it was trying to hide away from everyone or blend in with them as well as he could, he had never felt at ease. Only at Jing He’s side could he find solace.
“Jing He … It’s a little strange. On one hand, he was the same as me. He hadn’t experienced any bad things actually but he was unhappy deep down. He felt caged here and most of his time was filled with just as much pretending as I had to do. He smiled at people but when you looked closely enough then you could see that he seldom meant it.”
Jing Yi pressed his lips together. That didn’t sound like a good person at all. How could Qiu Ling love him that much? That man didn’t deserve his good feelings at all.
Qiu Ling naturally didn’t share that sentiment. Instead, his expression softened even further the longer he talked about Jing He. “But sometimes when you were quiet and just followed him then you could see a glimpse of his true self. He was … beautiful. Not just outwardly, although there isn’t anyone that could rival his looks. No, it was … it was his inner self.
“Even though he was suffering he was still so gentle at heart. If you managed to get past those barriers he had erected around himself, then he would show you that other side of his, the deepest, truest part of himself.
“His smile … was enough to calm me down in an instant no matter how agitated I was before. When being close to him I felt like everything else was unimportant. He was everything to me. Without him … I don’t know how long I would have been able to go on living. But I feel like he was just the same. We saved each other.”
“I see.” Jing Yi stroked Qiu Ling’s hair, his thoughts spinning. He didn’t like hearing Qiu Ling compliment that man so much. But without him, Qiu Ling would be in an even worse state. He had already been imprisoned in his inner self without being able to get out alone. If he hadn’t met that man before, then maybe it would have been even worse. That man had helped him heal to some degree at least. He should probably be thankful to him. Otherwise … Otherwise, he never would have met Qiu Ling.
“We were both cowards who didn’t dare to look at the truth. He never told me why he suffered. I also never asked because … I didn’t want him to ask me about my own troubles. We only ever danced around the truth, making some guesses, opening up about some minor issues before keeping quiet again. I never told him anything about what happened with my family.” He raised his head and looked at Jing Yi, smiling slightly. “You’re the first person I’m telling this. I’m glad you stayed.”
Jing Yi couldn’t help but feel sweet when Qiu Ling thanked him like this. He felt like he actually hadn’t done much so he was a little embarrassed but it was still nice to hear. “We promised to stay together, didn’t we?”
“Mn.” Qiu Ling sighed. Actually, he had been the one who promised. Neither Jing Yi nor Jing He had ever promised something like that. But he knew that Jing He had thought about it. He was just too shy to say it out loud. Most likely, he had been too afraid to be left behind. Just like he was. Their fear had made things difficult for them.
Qiu Ling turned around and looked at that person clad in blue, his thoughts and heart going out to him. He wished he could walk up to him and tell him the words going through his mind right now: Jing He … I’m sorry. I chased after you for ten years but I still didn’t dare to tell you. I just did not have the guts. But I promise I will tell you everything I am allowed to say in this mortal lifetime of yours. And when you wake up, I will even tell you everything I cannot tell your reincarnation. Even … about what my mother’s blood did to me. I will tell you everything.
Qiu Ling sighed, vowing to himself that he would definitely keep true to these words. He finally turned away from Jing He, lifted Jing Yi from his lap, and stood up. “Let’s go.” He gripped his hand, took one last look at Jing He’s slender figure, and then closed his eyes.
He had done what had to be done. It was time to leave.
“Ah —” Jing Yi wanted to say something but in the end, he just closed his eyes too. He felt the same feeling of his soul being shaken that he had experienced when Yu Jin helped him enter Qiu Ling’s inner self and then he already opened his eyes to reality again.