Jing Yi gulped. He probably should’ve thought of this much sooner but it had never occurred to him in all these years. It made him wonder if he shouldn’t have spent more time at home. Maybe after he reached the third stage and didn’t need to worry about aging anymore, he should have come back here with Qiu Ling and spent more time with her. It probably would’ve been better. Now, the time they could have together was already shortened by several years.
Qiu Ling looked at Jing Yi and reached out, rubbing his shoulder. “What’s the matter?”
Jing Yi hesitated and finally shook his head. He didn’t mind talking about it with Qiu Ling but it was probably neither the time nor the place for that. It would be better if he waited until later. Anyway, it wasn’t like they could change anything about this, was it? At most, Qiu Ling would just be able to comfort him a bit. But that was all. He would need to accept that.
Qiu Ling couldn’t help but furrow his brows when he saw Jing Yi like that. Seeing that something was the matter with him and that he still refused to talk about it made him feel that he wasn’t trying hard enough. He should encourage his beloved to confine in him some more.
Before he could try to do just that, Madam Zhong already returned. “Alright, I finished. I told your cousin to take over for today so we can go home and catch up.”
Jing Yi nodded and then went over, grabbing her arm with a worried expression.
Madam Zhong sighed and patted his hand before she walked out of the teahouse together with him. Even though they hadn’t seen each other for several years, this was still her child and this child had often communicated quietly with her in his early years, not speaking much and just using his eyes to say what he wanted. Thus she had no trouble at all to read in his eyes what was going on now as well.
When they stepped out of the teahouse and had walked down the road for a bit, she turned to glance at him and considered to say something.
Jing Yi looked at her, his expression still just as worried. It was as if he feared she would collapse on him right the next minute.
Madam Zhong sighed again. “Jing’er, your mother isn’t that fragile. You don’t have to worry about me.”
Jing Yi lowered his gaze but couldn’t say anything. Even though she said so, it was hard to believe after seeing her after so many years.
Hearing what Madam Zhong said, Qiu Ling finally realized what the problem was. He looked from Madam Zhong to Jing Yi and pondered if there was anything he could do. Back then, he hadn’t managed to save Mister Zhong. Now, Jing Yi was worried that he would also lose his mother. If he could, he’d like to help somehow. Unfortunately, he couldn’t think of something.
Compared to Nie Huang Madam Zhong was already quite old. There was no way to let her cultivate. Anyway, she probably wouldn’t want to do that either. And even if she wanted to, it might not be a good idea to let her try. After all, what would the result of that be?
Her husband was already dead and if she ever went to the Nine Heavens and got acquainted with Jing He’s family or anybody else that was in the know and found out that he hadn’t just died in the mortal realm but that even his immortal soul had been affected … That really wouldn’t be good. Also, Jing Yi was just Jing He’s reincarnation. Who knew if she would be able to take that well? No, for her, it was probably better to stay a mortal.
And in that case … At most, he could give the two of them some more time. If he returned to the Yun Zou Sect and asked the old geezer for help, there would be a chance to get some pill that would let her live for a little longer.
But then again, that probably wouldn’t turn out well either considering they were in the mortal realm. Wouldn’t people find it strange if she continued to live for a long time despite getting old? They might think she was a demon or something and turn hostile, making her life worse.
No, he couldn’t risk that. There was just nothing he could do for Jing Yi this time around as much as e wanted to.
Qiu Ling reached out and grabbed Jing Yi’s hand, trying to reassure him. Even if this wasn’t an option, she might still live for a long time. After all, she didn’t have to worry about him anymore, did she? Maybe that would make her life easier. He could only hope so.
The three of them went home to Zhong Gang’s house. Madam Zhong was still living there just as before. Right now, neither Zhong Gang nor his wife Mi Fan was home. Zhong Guanyu was still in the teahouse and who knew where her fiance had vanished to? At this moment, Madam Zhong wasn’t even thinking of mentioning him to her son and Qiu Ling. She was only thinking of her son and what he had experienced these past few years so she was happy that nobody was around to bother them.
The three of them sat down and Madam Zhong took her son’s hands. “Well, how about you tell me about everything now? The last thing I heard was that something bad had happened to you. You were caught in some kind of accident?”
Jing Yi turned to Qiu Ling and then nodded. “That’s true. We went on a mission together with some other martial brothers and sisters of our sect. Back then, something went wrong so I … had to enter another realm.” He gave a strained smile, unable to tell her the truth. He really did not want to worry her. He had already done so way too much over the years.