Jinde’s expression twisted and he burrowed deeper into Leng Jin Yu’s arms. Ah, that day … it had been the worst day of his life. Before that time he had always been able to find some kind of excuse, some kind of explanation that could make him feel better.
Leng Jin Yu pulled him up against his chest and gently stroked his back. “I’m sorry. The things I did in my past life …” He sighed and shook his head. What use was there in apologizing? All of that was long done. Whatever he said it wouldn’t change anything about the pain Jinde had suffered.
“It’s not your fault. Nothing ever was. From the very beginning, we were played. That woman … she was from the demons. Or more precisely she was one of the wives of the demon king.”
Leng Jin Yu frowned. “Then how could —”
“The demons aren’t like us. In fact, calling one of them husband and wife is probably wrong. They have … relationships that are of mutual benefit but they often don’t last long. It’s hard to even say who is related to whom among them.
“The only one that is slightly different is the demon king. As long as he is able to keep his throne, he has the supreme power in the demon realm. Forming a union with him … it’s beneficial to a lot of demons and often even to those outside their race. And Jian Heng … He had his good sides, I guess. At least he could be charming if he wanted.”
Jinde closed his eyes and sighed. Until the very end, he never would have guessed that all of this was Jian Heng’s doing. He had seemed suave when he saw him, maybe with a tint of evil charm every now and then but most of the time he was a gentleman. Nothing at all like one would expect a demon to be. But maybe that was exactly what was demonic about him.
Leng Jin Yu continued to stroke Jinde’s back. The more he heard the more he regretted even though he knew that he wasn’t able to help it. That life was already in the past. “So that Jian Heng was the one behind all that. He even sent his own wife to make us separate.”
“Mn. As I said those unions are based on mutual benefit. He never loved her and she was perfect for the task since she was partly of dragon descent. People wouldn’t normally suspect her. Well, I did.” He sighed again and turned in Leng Jin Yu’s arms until his back leaned against his chest. “I only guessed at first but the longer I observed her the more I felt certain that she wasn’t what she pretended to be. I accused her of having ulterior motives but that only made things worse.
“There are a lot of things I can say about Chun Yin. Objectively speaking, there are also a lot of negative things. There is one thing especially great about him though. He would always protect you if he considered you to be one of his people. That was what would have made him a great king. It was also … what made him such a great husband.”
Leng Jin Yu’s grip tightened. “He … He sided with her?” He couldn’t bring himself to say I. He didn’t want to acknowledge that this was he himself. He didn’t want to admit that he had hurt Jinde this much in his last life. If he pretended this was another person, he could still be outraged about it. Wasn’t that better?
Jinde reached up and clasped Leng Jin Yu’s neck. “There’s no need to feel bad about this. I don’t agree with a lot of things Chun Yin did but in that case, I think he did great. He had married her. She was his wife and the mother of his future child. Siding with her … it was what he should do. Even though it hurt me.
“It was just that with these arguments we drifted further and further apart. Chun Yin accused me of being jealous and picking on her because of that. He said that … as king I shouldn’t be like that. I should stand above such things.”
He paused and stared at the door, his heart twisting. “I guess a lot of what he said was true. But that didn’t mean that I was wrong. Chun Yin finally left the capital, taking the two of them with him. We never saw each other again.”
“Then Chun Yin …”
“She killed him.”
Jinde kept quiet for a while but his fingers gently brushed Leng Jin Yu’s neck. He had always felt bad when he thought about it. He still did. But this time he wasn’t alone. This time there was somebody with him who listened and held him close.
“If I asked nicely … would you kiss me?”
Leng Jin Yu gave a wry smile. “What made you think I wouldn’t?” He leaned forward and kissed his cheek.
Jinde sighed. “That’s not the kind of kiss I had in mind. You know it feels terrible to talk about it. I loved him. Almost my whole life was spent loving him. But in the end, not only did we fail to become a couple, we even separated and Chun Yin died.”
“I’m sorry.” Leng Jin Yu carefully grabbed Jinde’s chin and turned his head around, pressing his lips onto his as gentle as he could. “This time it will turn out differently.”
“Mn …” Jinde sighed. He separated from Leng Jin Yu for a moment and smiled. “Don’t promise me anything. Just … stay with me. That is all I ask for.”
“Really?” Leng Jin Yu raised Jinde’s chin a little higher and smiled. “I could have sworn there was something else you hoped for.”
Jinde’s lips curled up. “Saying it like that … You’re surprisingly evil for a righteous cultivator.”
“Mn.” Leng Jin Yu gripped his neck and leaned down again.
Honestly, telling him about the evil charm of the demon king and how that Xin Lan was everything he admired in a man … Wasn’t that telling him that he should already stop being a worrywart and just do what he wanted?
Mn, maybe he was right. They had missed out on so much in their past lives. Why should he keep dragging out things in this life?
“How about being even eviler?”
Leng Jin Yu got up before Jinde could ask. He smiled at him and picked him up. Yes, they had already lost too much of their precious time. He wouldn’t hesitate any longer.