While the God of Justice, Li Yin, was in a complicated mood, Qiu Ling and Jing Yi were happy now that they entered the Long kingdom’s capital city and were about to see Jing Yi’s mother. They made their way over to the teahouse where Madam Zhong worked, Qiu Ling’s gaze trained on Jing Yi while the latter looked around the streets curiously.
He could hardly believe it but after five years, he had finally returned home. Even though he had only spent about a year in the capital while the rest of his life had been spent in the village, he still regarded this place as his home. After all, this was where he had made his first friend and where he had finally learned to live his own life without constantly hiding behind his mother.
It was a place of good and bad memories. Even if there were things he wished would have gone differently, it was still a place he would always think back to. Even if it was only a year, almost nothing compared to the time in the village or even the time in the Yun Zou Sect, it was still important. It had shaped him into the person he was today.
The two of them reached the teahouse. Jing Yi stopped in front of the door and looked at the familiar entrance. He couldn’t help but think back to the last few days he had spent here five years ago. Things had happened so fast back then … Too fast to even process.
First, his father had died, then that strange man told him the story of the dragon king and finally, he met senior martial brother Wu and left for the Yun Zou Sect, becoming an outer sect disciple himself.
Thinking back now, he couldn’t help but feel guilty. Back then, he might have been too young to understand but now, he couldn’t help but wonder: Had he done something wrong? He hadn’t achieved anything in the five years in the Yun Zou Sect so what had he left for? Wouldn’t it have been better to stay at home and accompany his mother? Wouldn’t she have needed him at her side after losing his father already? How could he have left her in such a situation?
He really … had let her down, hadn’t he? How had his mother felt all these years? Especially since there wasn’t even a word from him. For all she knew, he could have been dead long ago! Couldn’t he have at least found somebody who could write a letter for him? Then his uncle or aunt could have read it to his mother. At the very least, she would have known that he was doing alright. He might not have become the heroic cultivator he had wanted to become but he was alive and well. That much, she should have been able to know, right?
He had really … failed as her son.
Jing Yi lowered his head, his brow furrowing. Could he really step inside? Five years without a word … wouldn’t she be angry? If she was, she had all the right in the world to be. He wasn’t a filial child at all. The whole time, he had only thought of himself. Only now, that he stood in front of the door, did he finally realize how much of a failure he was.
He gulped, holding back the tears that threatened to spill over. He regretted it. Right now, he really regretted everything he had done. What was the use in trying and trying to learn how to cultivate on the off-chance that he’d be able to save a life one day, preventing the same thing that had happened to his father to occur again? It was worth nothing if he worried his own mother sick.
Qiu Ling watched his expression that turned worse with every moment. Jing Yi’s hands trembled, finally clenching into fists as if he wanted to hide his reaction but his shoulders still trembled. That type of self-loathing …
Qiu Ling glanced up at the sun. Ah, he knew it all too well. But whatever his beloved thought he had done, it certainly couldn’t rival the things he had done back then. So there was no need to let him suffer through this, right?
Qiu Ling reached out, his fingertips gently brushing over the back of Jing Yi’s hand, enclosing it and finally forcing the fist to open. He squeezed his hand and gave him a small smile when Jing Yi looked up. “It’s alright. Don’t think too much. You’re home and your mother will be happy to see you again. Whatever is bothering you, we can solve it. There is nothing that can’t be undone or made up for if nobody is dead. So don’t worry too much. We’ll find a way.”
Jing Yi stared at him, his eyes slightly red from those unshed tears. Qiu Ling … Who would have thought he could be this sympathetic? “Thank you.” Jing Yi truly meant it.
Qiu Ling was right. It wasn’t too late. He might have done things wrong in the past but that didn’t mean that he couldn’t make up for it. He could apologize and he could accompany his mother for a while afterward. And who knew? Maybe one day, he would figure out how to cultivate and still become the cultivator he dreamed of being. Then his mother would certainly be happy for him and these years wouldn’t have been for naught.
Jing Yi sighed and gave a short smile. “I’m alright.” He took his hand back and wiped his eyes, making sure that no tears were left. Under no circumstances did he want his mother to see him like this.
He had to make sure she was alright first, then beg her for her forgiveness and then he could slowly tell her about everything that had happened at the Yun Zou Sect. Including how Qiu Ling had proposed to him.
He took a deep breath and stepped into the teahouse.