Seeing Nie Huang step in, Bai Mu also calmed down. Right, he shouldn’t think about unnecessary things now. At the moment, this person was still a stranger but it didn’t need to stay this way forever. He just had to take some time and get to know him. He could find out what had happened back then and when he had, there would still be time to judge how he felt about this.
With that thought, Bai Mu motioned into the room. “Why … don’t you have seat?”
Qiang Yan looked at him. His son’s voice still sounded stiff but just the fact that he had invited him to sit down and thus wanted him to stay made him happy. He nodded with a smile and went inside, glancing around the room.
Even though the dragons had been the gods’ allies for a long time already, he had seldom been in the dragon realm. And the few times that he had been there had always been on official business, hardly giving him the time to look around. This room … He didn’t know if it was of a good standard in the dragon realm but it didn’t look bad and knowing the dragon king, he wouldn’t treat anyway that was even remotely connected to Jing He badly.
It was a pity though that the room had nothing personal in it. He really would have liked to see how his son preferred to live. Well, there was nothing he could do about that. Maybe things would be different in the future. This room might become his son’s real home and maybe by then, their relationship would be good enough to visit him every now and then. At the very least, that was what he hoped for.
Qiang Yan cleared his throat, searching for something he could say. Praising how Bai Mu and his wife lived didn’t seem right considering that this wasn’t their real home. Unfortunately, there was nothing else he knew about them. So what was he supposed to say?
In the end, he turned to look at Nie Huang. Talking to her seemed easier since they weren’t related, after all, and she made a very approachable impression. He gave her a smile and awkwardly cleared his throat again. “Uh … You’re … cultivating?”
Nie Huang couldn’t help but smile back at him when she heard is awkwardness. Obviously, he didn’t know how to behave but he still tried and that was much more than Bai Mu had hoped for. Seeing that his father had turned out to be such a person really made her happy. She gently shook her head. “No, I would’ve liked to but … When Bai Mu test me back then, it turned out I didn’t have spirit veins. So there’s no way I could cultivate.”
Qiang Yan’s expression changed. She couldn’t cultivate? But then … He glanced at his son and noticed that his expression had also darkened. It seemed he knew. If she couldn’t cultivate, even if they stayed in the dragon realm, she would age and someday, he would be left alone. Qiang Yan furrowed his brows. “There are … I know I shouldn’t butt in. We don’t really know each other and you probably don’t have a reason to trust me. But there are some ways to enable her to cultivate. Maybe …”
Bai Mu’s expression smoothed out when Qiang Yan started with that suggestion. It seemed this father of his wasn’t against him being with a mortal woman. Well, that was at least something. He wouldn’t oppose them just based on something like Nie Huang’s origin. “You don’t need to worry about that. We’re already working on it.”
“Ah.” Qiang Yan nodded and the three of them fell silent again, the atmosphere turning awkward once more. Qiang Yan couldn’t help but wonder if his son really had an idea how to go about this or if he just didn’t want his help in particular. If it was the latter … he couldn’t really fault him either. After all, what he had said was true: They barely knew each other. Other than the blood ties from his trial, they had no relation with each other.
Nie Huang looked from one man to the other and got up. “I guess I’ll have a look around to see if there’s any tea.”
Bai Mu nodded with a smile. Nie Huang had always loved tea. When he came back from his imprisonment in the Chun Feng Sect, he hadn’t been surprised to see that she was working as a tea master in a teahouse. Actually, if he had known that she had been able to start this occupation, he might not have been as worried while he was in the dungeon. At the very least, she would’ve been able to lead a good life, doing something she loved every day. That was already something, wasn’t it?
Nie Huang went to look through the room, leaving the two men to themselves. Thanks to her injection, the awkwardness had reduced slightly. And now, without somebody else around, the two of them both felt that this would be the right moment to talk about the one thing they really needed to clean up.
Bai Mu licked his lips and clenched his hands before he looked up at Qiang Yan. “Why did you never come and look for us?”
This was the question he had always asked himself. Why? Just why had this man never returned? If he had ascended, then couldn’t he come down at least for a visit? Had he really had the heart to leave his mother and him alone for all these years?
Qiang Yan’s expression shifted slightly. There was some guilt but even more so there was pain. It made Bai Mu wonder just what had happened to his father in all these years. Could it be … He had wanted to see them? But something had held him back? He really hoped that this would be the case but he didn’t dare to presume. This hope, even though he wanted to hold onto it, he didn’t have any reason to do so. After all, there hadn’t even been a sign of life from his father and millennia had gone by since he ascended. Could there really be a simple explanation?
Qiang Yan took a deep breath. “To be honest, I don’t know where I should begin talking about this.” He brushed his hair back and closed his eyes, taking yet another deep breath before he looked at Bai Mu again. “Qiu Ling … Did he tell you who I am?”
Bai Mu nodded. “The God of War, Qiang Yan.” He didn’t understand what this had to do with him and his mother though.