Qiu Ling bent over until his forehead touched Jing He’s shoulder. Yes, now that he truly thought about it, he could see that things would have been much easier if he had reacted differently.
Certainly, he couldn’t have known that things would turn out like this but he at least should’ve thought of the possibility. But he had willfully ignored it because he was preoccupied with something else. Now, he would have to pay the price. No, not even just him. There was him and Jing He and Jing Yi. All three of them had to suffer because of this. And it would continue to be like this if he wasn’t able to make up his mind.
His uncle-in-law was right about this. He needed to decide what he wanted to do or it would get even worse. And if he decided, he had to make that decision obvious. He had tried to do so before and had thought that it worked out but obviously, it hadn’t. Jing Yi still had some thoughts about this situation even if he didn’t say them out loud. And obviously, he himself also wasn’t quite on board with his own decision if he wasn’t able to stand by it in the situation.
He glanced to the side, his gaze brushing past Jing He’s throat. “Whenever I think about you, I can’t help but feel that you’re incredibly frail. I already thought so before this. I felt that I had to take care of you, protect you. When I think about it now, those feelings are even stronger.
“You … injured your own soul for me. I know just how that kind of thing could play out. I’ve seen it in the old geezer. It’s nothing to joke about and now you’re in that situation as well. It might not be as bad since it’s only cracked and not annihilated but still. You did it all for me even though you wouldn’t have to. I’m touched and afraid. You have no idea how incredibly scared I am.”
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Obviously, Jing He’s love for him was even deeper than he had assumed. Going so far as somebody who wasn’t of the dragon race … What more could he ask as proof of Jing He’s love? If he didn’t honor this … Would he really deserve to marry him?
Qiu Ling sighed and sat up again, taking another look at Jing He’s face. “Well, I guess that is my answer then. I can’t help but feel that it’s a little unfair for Jing Yi since he never even had the opportunity to do something like this but … Well, it was originally your soul. It’s what I should do.”
He cupped his cheeks and leaned down, pecking his lips. “Just wait for me. I … I promise I won’t marry him. It’s not an easy thing for me to do so I hope you’ll be able to accept that. As for everything else … Let him live a little longer in exchange for this. I think that is something he wants and also something he deserves. He has put in a lot of effort to reach this point. I would feel like an asshole for not allowing him to live any longer. I want him to see the Nine Heavens and also the dragon realm. I hope you won’t be angry about it.”
He brushed his cheek with his thumb and then closed his eyes, taking a few deep breaths to calm himself. “Alright. Time for me to return.” He let go of Jing He and stood up even though he would have liked nothing more than to remain at his side.
Maybe from the very beginning, he should’ve done that. Maybe he really should’ve done as he had insinuated and guarded his immortal body. At the very least, they wouldn’t be in the same situation then. Maybe, Jing Yi would’ve led his predestined life and already died by now. It hurt to think about it since he knew the boy but in the overall scheme of things it might have been better.
Qiu Ling stepped further back, looking at Jing He from a slight distance. “We’ll see each other again soon. By that time, you’ll probably have woken up. I don’t think I can sneak over here very often for us to have a bit of time with each other. Especially since you can’t even answer me.”
He sighed and then turned around, still feeling a little guilty. Maybe he would never be able to get over this for as long as Jing Yi lived. When he wasn’t there anymore and it was only Jing He who could be at his side, maybe then things would have changed. He would have to see about it.
He took another deep breath and straightened up, making sure that he didn’t look just as worried as he was. Then, he stepped out of the palace, nodding at Qiang Wei and Yi Zan. “The two of you continue. If there’s anything …”
“Yes, Your Majesty.” The two of them bowed and then went back inside, taking up their positions next to Jing He’s bed again.
Qiu Ling looked up at the sky that was full of twinkling stars and couldn’t help but smile lightly. There had been a few nights like this that he spent with Jing He. All these times … It made him feel that it should always be like that.
That quiet happiness of just spending time together, not even talking … It was something that he missed very much. Well, there would be time for that again when things returned to being like before. He just had to wait.
With that thought, Qiu Ling left Jing He’s palace behind him, exited the Nine Heavens and returned to the mortal realm. He quietly snuck into that little bamboo hut in the Yun Zou Sect and lay down next to Jing Yi, pulling him into his arms.
Jing Yi opened his eyes and glanced at the arms around his waist, lightly furrowing his brows. Qiu Ling hadn’t returned the whole night. It really made him wonder just where he had gone.