Jing Yi hesitated for a while. Even though he had to agree with what his mother said, he couldn’t deny that this childish behavior had actually had an effect on him. Otherwise, why would he have retracted that clear-cut rejection and left the Yun Zou Sect with him to visit his mother, giving him time to get to know each other and see if maybe they could become a couple?
Since that was the case he couldn’t just ignore it. Since they had already come to speak about it, he might as well use the opportunity and get it out with. “Mother …” Jing Yi gripped her sleeve and furrowed his brow. “How do I know if I’m in love with him?”
Madam Zhong blinked. It couldn’t be that that direct approach had really worked, could it? On the other hand … If her son asked like that, then his feelings shouldn’t be too deep yet. He might just be confused. She contemplated and then took her son’s hands. “When he asked you if you wanted to marry him, were you happy?”
Jing Yi shook his head. “Just stunned. I didn’t know how to react. It was so …” He shook his head once more. “It was just too sudden.”
“Mn. And now, how do you feel about him?”
“Oh … I also don’t know.”
“No?” Madam Zhong watched his face, seeing how he fell into deep thought.
Jing Yi couldn’t put into words what he felt. “It’s a little strange. At first, I didn’t feel good. It was as if … as if I should keep away. The closer he came the worse I felt. But then … I don’t know how but that feeling started to fade and I liked having him around.” He furrowed his brows even further, feeling strange about it himself. Wasn’t this too contradictory?
“So you’re happy that he came with you.”
Jing Yi nodded with slight hesitation. He was worried about the journey itself and if he would really be able to cultivate after he hadn’t been able to enter the first stage for such a long time but he didn’t mind having Qiu Ling with him. In fact, it had felt good not to be alone.
Thinking back to the time they flew to the capital and how Qiu Ling had sat behind him, wrapping him in his arms and sharing his warmth with him, he had felt content. More content than he ever had in the last five years. Even learning the sword arts from Shao Hai hadn’t felt this good, even though he had been immensely happy about his first achievement. Being with Qiu Ling unexpectedly had such an effect on him.
Seeing the pensive look on her son’s face and the gentle expression in his eyes, Madam Zhong patted his hand. “Do you see a bit clearer now?”
“I … I still don’t know. I really am happy when I’m with him. But does that mean I should marry him?”
“The only person who can decide that is you.”
“I still feel like it’s not such a good idea. We don’t even know each other. You and father …” He tried to gauge his mother’s expression but she seemed normal after he had mentioned his father. “You two knew each other for years and only then he proposed to you. I think Qiu Ling is getting ahead of himself. Shouldn’t he have tried to get to know me better first?”
Madam Zhong sighed. That man really was a big child. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just tell her son? Why was he making it so hard on himself? “You know, actually, when he proposed to you that wasn’t the first time he saw you. He had already seen you here in the teahouse five years ago.”
“Hah?” Jing Yi couldn’t believe what he had just heard but his mother nodded.
“It’s true. He came by here before. When I told him that you had gone to the Yun Zou Sect, he followed you there. I don’t know why he didn’t want to tell you. But you can be sure that he hasn’t rushed anything. He was already in love with you a long time ago.”
Jing Yi turned to the door. He could see the counter on the other side and Qiu Ling who stood behind it, seemingly bored. Even like that he still managed to attract the eyes of all the women in the teahouse. This man … had somehow fallen in love with him not just in the sect but even sooner when he had still been a child?
“How is that even possible?” Jing Yi didn’t think of the fact that Qiu Ling was so much older than him but he still felt like it was strange that he would fall in love with him even as a child. He didn’t have that kind of charm, did he?
Madam Zhong smiled. “Maybe it’s fate.”
Jing Yi once again didn’t know how to react. Qiu Ling had once said it had to be fate that brought them together as well. “What kind of fate is this?” he murmured, unable to understand for the time being.
This man and he, were they really connected by the red thread of fate? This kind of love … Had some god read in the stars that it should come true? Was this why all this was happening? Was it just his own fear that posed as an obstacle for them but in the end, that predestined love would win?
Somehow, he would have liked to get even one tiny glimpse at this fate. He wanted to know what would happen in the future and if this man that had so persistently followed him in the last days would stay true to his words and be at his side forever.