Nian Hong Fang listened to what the disciple told him about the task the Sect Master had given him and slowly nodded. He understood very well why Yuchi Bing Xia had decided to do this. This fight just now, it had really attracted a little too much attention to Qiu Ling. It wasn’t wise to let him stay here or somebody might try to take advantage of his current state of mind. Who knew what would happen then? If another accident occurred, the Yun Zou Sect wouldn’t be able to talk away this easily. Elder Gongxi could still be explained away but anything else … The other sects wouldn’t let them have such luck.
“You don’t worry about that. I’ll take care of it.” He had some mixed feelings about what Qiu Ling had done since it had ruined his chance of getting rid of all the sect together and making the Sect Master focus on the task of finding Zhi Wu but he was also touched to see Qiu Ling go to such lengths to ensure Jing Yi’s safety. That kind of man … he found him admirable.
His Zhi Wu was the same. He also wouldn’t let anybody come to harm that was important to him. Ah, he still remembered the days when they had gone on missions together when they were young. Back then, Zhi Wu had always saved him from danger, making sure that not even a hair was out of place when they returned to the Yun Zou Sect.
Nian Hong Fang shook his head, not daring to think about it any longer. Right now, he had to make sure that Qiu Ling and Jing Yi wouldn’t get in further trouble. Anyway, the sects were still all gathered on the training grounds and now even the Liu He Alliance had arrived. Just because of what had happened with Elder Gongxi, they wouldn’t necessarily stop the competition. Maybe the Sect Master would be able to think of something when Qiu Ling and Jing Yi were out of everyone’s sight.
He walked over, drawing the gazes of the Elders and the disciples on himself. Nian Hong Fang pretended that he didn’t notice at all and just continued to walk to the two people in the middle of the training grounds.
He stopped right next to them, wondering if it would be alright if he reached out. In the end, he still felt that it was better to be careful and just cleared his throat. “Junior martial brother Jing, senior martial brother Qiu, how about following me to the side so we can take a look whether you’re hurt or not?”
The bystanders couldn’t help but curse or cast a doubtful gaze on Nian Hong Fang. This person … Was he mocking the Yang Huo Sect? Obviously, that fight had been totally one-sided. Did he really need to check to see whether these two were alright?
Nian Hong Fang still pretended that he had no idea why everybody was looking like that. “Even a small injury can lead to trouble in the future. It would really be better if you’d let me take a look.”
Qiu Ling didn’t care but Jing Yi couldn’t help but turn his head to Nian Hong Fang, worry creeping into his gaze. He looked up at his lover, gently cupping his cheek. “Qiu Ling, since senior martial brother Nian already said so, let’s follow him over, alright? I wouldn’t want you to get hurt.” He didn’t think that Qiu Ling was hurt anywhere but it was still better to let somebody take a look at him. After all, other than the body, there was still the mind and his current condition didn’t seem to be too well.
Even though his intentions were good, Qiu Ling didn’t seem to care. Or, no, he cared very much. His grasp around Jing Yi tightened and he refused to let go.
Jing Yi lowered his head, his brow touching Qiu Ling’s shoulder, and rubbed his arm. “It’s alright. The fight is already over. Look, I’m just worried that you might be hurt. If it was the other way around, you’d also want me to have it checked out, wouldn’t you? So please, let’s just go. You can … hold my hand if you want to. You can even carry me if you feel better that way.” He could imagine something better than being carried in front of all these people but right now, he could see that Qiu Ling wasn’t willing to let go of him. In that case … Wasn’t it better to sacrifice some face if it could ensure that his lover was alright?
Qiu Ling still hesitated but his grasp around Jing Yi’s waist relaxed slightly, indicating that he was at least listening by now.
Jing Yi heaved a relieved sigh and patted his lover’s arm. “Do it for me, alright?” His voice was just a whisper but the implication made Qiu Ling finally react.
His beloved … would be worried if he didn’t do this. He might feel hurt. Then what kind of lover would he be?
Qiu Ling pressed his eyes shut, trying to convince himself to do what Jing Yi said. Anyway, his beloved was supposed to be happy. Being safe was necessary but he being happy was also important. If he carried him and made sure that nobody could get close to them, it shouldn’t be a problem. He could protect him. He could protect him and still make sure that he would be happy. Yes, he could do that.
Qiu Ling reluctantly let go of Jing Yi but still did as he had suggested and picked him up.
Nian Hong Fang smiled and turned around, walking to the side of the training grounds where his Master and the other disciple stood. He motioned for Qiu Ling to put Jing Yi down so that he could take a look while simultaneously signaling to the disciples that he was supposed to wait.
The disciple looked around anxiously, unable not to regret his previous decision when he saw everybody look in their direction. Ah, just why had he asked senior martial brother Nian for help? He didn’t need to have these disciples checked out. He just needed to get them away from here without anybody noticing! Just what was he thinking just going over to them like that? Wasn’t he drawing even more attention? But now, it was already too late. He could just wait for what Nian Hong Fang had planned.