Jing Yi pressed his eyes shut, not needing to act his fear at all. He fell toward the ground, the wind rushing past him, drowning out any other sound, the rain hitting his body once again now that Jinde wasn’t shielding him anymore.
Qiu Ling’s eyes widened and his grasp on his spiritual energy slipped. The attack he had prepared collapsed, the storm raging on without his cue.
He didn’t think. He rushed forward, extending his arms to grab Jing Yi before he could crash into the ground. Never mind the bastard who tried to kill him. Never mind the person that had been hiding behind him. He had to save his beloved before he dealt with any of that!
He wrested control over his spiritual energy back again. The rain stopped, the wind turned and slowed down Jing Yi’s fall. Qiu Ling rushed forward, his fingers touched Jing Yi’s sleeve and he exhaled in relief. He stretched his arms further and finally pulled him into his arms.
He held him close to his chest and then just stopped. The two of them hovered in the air, their bodies tightly pressed together as if Qiu Ling would never let go again. He didn’t want to. He didn’t want to move, didn’t want to let him go. He should just hug him for as long as he could.
Jing Yi didn’t say anything. He just took one shaky breath after the other, his fingers tugging into Qiu Ling’s robe. Even though he had suggested this himself, it still wasn’t a good feeling to fall like that. If he could, he never wanted to experience this again.
He took a deep breath to calm down and then hugged Qiu Ling’s neck, making sure that his attention wouldn’t be caught by anything else. By now, Qiu Ling should have woken up from his previous state, shouldn’t he? He would be normal again, right?
Jing Yi opened his eyes and glanced up. The expression he saw on Qiu Ling’s face made his heart squeeze. Yes, his lover was obviously awake again. There was still that fear of losing him thought. In fact, it might even be worse.
Jing Yi closed his eyes again and continued to hold onto him without saying anything. He just wanted to let him know that he was there and that he wouldn’t go anywhere. That should reassure Qiu Ling just as much as Qiu Ling’s presence reassured him, shouldn’t it?
He had no idea whether his plan actually worked on not. His lover just continued to hug him, not saying a single word, not moving, neither bringing them back to the ground. His eyes seemed to have said that he was back but the longer he kept quiet, the more worried Jing Yi became.
In the end, he couldn’t take it any longer. He had to say something. He had to see if his lover would react or not. “Qiu Ling, can we … Can you put me down? I don’t feel comfortable in the air like this.”
This time, Qiu Ling finally moved. He raised his head and looked at Jing Yi’s expression that really seemed uncomfortable. He nodded and then slowly descended to the ground. He didn’t let go though. He still held onto him and his grip even seemed to tighten.
Jing Yi bit his lip and hugged him back as well. Alright, maybe he had gone too far just now? He wanted to say something and talk things through but he didn’t know where to start. He also didn’t feel that this was the right moment. There were too many people around and both of them hadn’t calmed down yet.
No, for the time being, they’d have to push it off. It was much better to talk about this when they were back at the bamboo hut where they were alone and could take their time to talk about matters.
Jing Yi looked around until he finally saw Elder Gongxi. Since the storm had already died down, the disciples of the Yang Huo Sect had gathered around him, fussing over his injuries. Jing Yi heaved a sigh of relief. He didn’t like this man but he also didn’t want him to die. It was good enough that he had managed to get out of this with those injuries. Maybe that would also mean their mission was finished now.
He looked at Qiu Ling again and gently cupped his cheeks. “I guess that’s it for the competition now. Maybe we should ask your Master if we can return?” Grandmaster Zhangsun shouldn’t have anything against that, right? After all, his disciple was obviously not in the right state of mind. Things like that could be dangerous. He should want him to take a break, right?
Qiu Ling stared at his beloved and then nodded slowly. He glanced at his Master but in the end, he didn’t go over. No, he didn’t want to let go of his beloved. He just … He wanted to keep on holding him. Only if he did so could he be sure that nothing would happen. Yes, it was much better to hold him in his arms. He should … never let go again. Not for a single moment. Then nothing could happen to Jing He. Wouldn’t that be great?
He closed his eyes and that gentle smile flashed through his mind. The way the light sparkled in his eyes … he wouldn’t be able to go on if he couldn’t see it any longer. So why should he take a risk?
Meanwhile, Jinde had rushed back to the white feathered boat, not even glancing behind him to see whether Qiu Ling had managed to catch Jing Yi or not. He also understood why the child had told him to fly in the other direction. So every bit of distance he could create between himself and Qiu Ling was good.
As much as he wanted to stop this brat from killing an innocent person, he wouldn’t sacrifice his own well-being. Some years ago, he might not have cared as much but right now, he had reunited with his husband. His life was finally the way he had always wished it to be. He was with the man he loved, he was on the way to be healed and maybe, just maybe, there would even be a child in the future. He hadn’t given up hope yet. So he definitely wouldn’t let anything happen to himself.
Between dying and having Qiu Ling kill someone, the latter was the smaller problem. After all, Qiu Ling wasn’t that weak. He might blame himself for a bit since this death wouldn’t have needed to happen but that didn’t mean that he wouldn’t be able to deal with it. He had lived with that kind of thing for long enough already, after all.