While Qiu Ling could do nothing more than to be depressed about the regrets of his past and the trouble they might bring for the future, another person was well on his way to finally get to the bottom of one of the things from his past that still haunted him.
Qiang Yan had rushed to the dragon realm and into its capital without stopping for anyone. By now, he had reached the gates of the palace and finally needed to slow down. He nodded at the guards, inwardly resenting the fact that he couldn’t just magically sense where his son was so that he could hurry over immediately. “I’d like to meet with the dragon realm’s Xiang Yong.” He didn’t wait for the guards to greet him nor did he bother letting them answer. He just waved at them, indicating that he was in a rush and needed to meet Xiang Yong as soon as possible.
Being faced with such a God of War the guards didn’t dare to dawdle. One of them nodded and rushed inside, Qiang Yan directly following behind. They reached Xiang Yong’s study in a matter of mere minutes and the guard pounded on the door as if life depended on it. In his eyes, maybe it did. Who knew if the God of War had come to announce that the demons were attacking?
Inside the study, Xiang Yong tensed. How come somebody was knocking at his door this urgently almost right after he returned from the human realm and settled His Majesty’s cousin-in-law and his wife? Please, don’t let this be something major! “Yes?”
The guard opened the door in a rush, almost stumbling over his feet when he stepped in, his face pale.
Xiang Yong took a deep breath. Oh no. What had happened now?
“The God of War came!”
“The …” Xiang Yong raised his brows and glanced at the doorway where Qiang Yan stood with an impatient expression. “I see. You may go now.”
The guard nodded and rushed back out so as to not disturb these two great personages. He didn’t want to be the one who was responsible if they reacted a second too late to whatever the demons had done!
Inside the study, Xiang Yong got to his feet. “I gather the God of War has come to see His Majesty’s cousin-in-law?” He walked over to the door without waiting for him to confirm. He didn’t know the inside story of this matter but His Majesty’s cousin-in-law had said that the God of War was supposed to contact him. Now, it seemed that this contact wouldn’t only be established through the transmission stone. It might be unexpected but not overly so.
Qiang Yan nodded but didn’t say anything. To be honest, he didn’t trust his voice too much right now. His heart was beating madly and his throat had constricted with fear. Bai Mu had sounded normal when they used the transmission stone but who knew if that would still be the case when they stood in front of each other? He might just have held back or … maybe it was just because he hadn’t known what to say. Much like himself.
Qiang Yan silently followed behind Xiang Yong until they arrived in front of a door. His heart beat even faster and cold sweat coated his back. He clenched his hands into fists, his nails digging into his skin. The slight pain made his head feel clearer but he still couldn’t shake this fear completely. This person was his son. He had missed out on so much time, he didn’t know how to face him. He wanted to leave a good first impression but … maybe it was too late for that.
Xiang Yong raised his brows at Qiang Yan’s expression but refrained from commenting. “It’s here. I’ll leave you alone then.” He turned to go but Qiang Yan called him back.
“Wait!” He grimaced. He had only called out on reflex because he felt that he wasn’t ready to face Bai Mu yet but … what was he supposed to say? Even if he had something to say, he couldn’t push meeting his son back forever. Actually, hadn’t he rushed over here because he wanted to see him soon?
Qiang Yan took a deep breath and motioned at the door. “How did you look when you saw him? Was he … calm?”
Xiang Yong gave a curt nod. “Yes. Very much so.”
“Mn. I see. Thank you.”
Xiang Yong nodded again and turned away again, leaving Qiang Yan alone. Now, there was no reason not to knock anymore. He … He should just do so.
Qiang Yan raised his hand but couldn’t bring himself to take the last step. What if his son hated him? After all, he had never come to look for him and his mother. He had left them alone. All these years, they had had to fend for themselves. If his son was even remotely similar to his own mortal self from back then, then he would look down on him with contempt and feel that he didn’t need such a person in his life. So maybe … he had already failed as a father in his son’s eyes.
No, actually, not only in his son’s eyes. Even in his own eyes, he had failed. Missing every single day of his child’s life, only finding out that it existed when it had long gone through any tribulations in the mortal world, through all kinds of pain and pleasure that life had in store for him … Did he really have the right to call himself this child’s father?
The door opened from the inside and revealed the slender figure of a man. His face was partly shrouded in the shadows but Qiang Yan didn’t need to see him. This was Bai Mu, this was the son he had failed so spectacularly.
“I’m sorry.” He didn’t know what else to say at this moment. He already knew, he had already accepted that he was a failure as a parent. What else was there to say?
His gaze roamed over Bai Mu’s figure and finally, he pulled him into his arms. Forgive him for being selfish but at least once, he wanted to hold this person close to him. Even if Bai Mu pushed him away afterward and told him that he never wanted to see him again, he would at least have this short moment he could remember forever. More than that … would be shameless to demand.