Qiu Ling was standing in the meadow, vacantly staring at a spot in front of him. He felt that he saw the sad remnant of what had once been a hut. The wood had decayed so far that it was hard to even guess its previous shape but with a bit of imagination he could still make out planks that were strewn across the ground, some of them forming a big heap while others had been flung to the side. He thought to see the cracks that had formed in the remaining wood over the years, blades of grass peaking through them. He even spotted mushrooms hiding in some of the dark places below the heap.
The dragon king stared at this empty spot with a gaze that probably would’ve confused Jing He even more if he could see it. It was as if this patch of grass was extremely offensive to his eyes and deserved to be reduced to ashes.
Qiu Ling stared at it for a while longer before he closed his eyes with a sigh. What was he even doing here? As if it would change anything. ‘As long as you’re not acting a role in front of my son to win his favor, I’m very happy.’ He scoffed. As long as he wasn’t acting a role? He really wondered what he should say to that. In that case, hadn’t he already wronged her son? After all, he had done nothing but that the whole time. For the most part of his life, whether it was Jing He or the gods or even the dragons in his realm, he had done nothing but acting in front of them.
Who would honestly believe that the king of the dragon realm could be a goofy, happy-go-lucky person that wouldn’t think things through before acting? Somebody who would do the most unexpected and crazy thing he could come up with whenever something happened? Someone who couldn’t remember the names of even his closest advisers and wouldn’t be able to understand that the gods differed from them tremendously?
Was there really somebody who would believe that? He wouldn’t have expected that but maybe he had been playing that role a little too well over the years. The guards in the Nine Heavens had believed it, his own advisers had believed it, now even his future mother-in-law had believed it. In fact, even he himself had started to believe that he was that type of person. How great would it be if he could be just like that? If he didn’t have to think about everything else? If he could just ditch that troublesome throne and be a normal person like everybody else? Wouldn’t that be great? But if he was, then there was no way to make the person he loved fall in love with him, was there? So did this mean that the time had come for him to confront his past and accept his present?
His eyes cracked open and he once again looked at the pile of wood on the ground. His past … His origin … Even if he did, wouldn’t that make just more trouble? If anybody realized, then forget about marrying Jing He, he could count himself lucky if he still had a place to live afterward. The throne of the dragon realm would’ve been his full for the longest time and he would probably be branded a traitor to both the dragons and the gods as their allies. And since the demons already hated him passionately thanks to all the battles they had fought with each other … Where would he go to hide? The mortal realm? Hah! As if. There would be no way for him to escape.
Whatever dreams he ever had had of finding a person to love, of starting a family and finally experiencing what he had never had, they would all be shattered. Well, maybe that would be a fitting end for his life. He honestly didn’t think that he deserved Jing He. Yes, he had fallen in love with him and as long as he could marry this person and stay with him for a lifetime, he didn’t care about what was in his past. He still felt that Jing He deserved somebody better though. Someone like him should have only the very best person at his side.
Qiu Ling sighed and opened his spatial ring, taking out a sword. It was well-maintained but there was some slight wear and tear to both the blade and the handle. Qiu Ling looked at it gravely. “You’ve really left quite a mess for me. Is that the attitude a parent should have? Shouldn’t you be there for your children and help them through their difficult times? How come you’re the one bringing me those difficult times? How come you’re not even here to give me any advice anymore? I could really need it right now, you know?”
Qiu Ling shook his head and lowered the sword, looking back at the where once upon a time that wooden hut had stood. He raised his other hand and a small flame lit up at his fingertips. Qiu Ling hesitated but finally moved his hand, throwing the flame over. The grass on the ground ignited, the fire spread and finally, the blaze engulfed everything, burning the meadow down to the ground.
Qiu Ling stood in front of the fire, still holding onto the sword and looking at the flames with an empty gaze. Destroy it. He had destroyed all of it. If there was nothing that remained, then there would be nothing that people could find. Even if they came to look, there would be nothing to see. So maybe they’d leave and then leave him alone too. Maybe if he destroyed everything, every last bit of his past, if he never brought it up and made sure that nobody else would bring it up either, then maybe it wouldn’t come to haunt him.
Maybe he would finally have a future if there wasn’t a past to his life.