Jing Yi gave a humorless laugh. “So we’re actually similar in one point? I wouldn’t have expected that.”
Qiu Ling lowered his head, unsure what he should say. He could understand why Jing Yi was feeling this way. The situation wasn’t fair to anyone. But he couldn’t change it. Things were as they were. “I said before this that I wouldn’t forcefully bring him back. I will let you live. I will take you to the Nine Heavens and also the dragon realm. I will give you time. But there are some things that I can’t give you.”
Jing Yi looked at him, slightly confused. He had been able to imagine where Qiu Ling went but he didn’t quite understand why. “What are you talking about? Did I do anything wrong?” He couldn’t explain it otherwise. Just why would Qiu Ling suddenly think of this? Or could it be that Jing He might actually have been on his mind all the time? Well, it might actually be the latter but he’d much rather it was the other way around.
Qiu Ling sighed and shook his head. “You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not about doing something wrong. It’s … It’s not that easy. You see, yesterday …” He turned to Jing Yi and lightly gripped his hand. “I know it was me who wanted to pressure you into marrying me before. But that was before everything happened. Things have come to light and I’ve come to some realizations. If anything, then it’s my fault for only seeing it now. But anyway, I can’t marry you.”
Jing Yi stared at him in a daze. So that was why he had reacted like that yesterday? He had actually reconsidered marrying him? Jing Yi finally shook his head, unable to believe what was happening. “How could that be? You want to be with me but you don’t want to marry me? But this was always what you wanted! Don’t you remember that? From the moment we first met, that was what you asked of me: to marry you. How can you say that you don’t want to do that anymore?”
Qiu Ling squeezed his hand but stayed quiet. What was he supposed to say? Naturally, Jing Yi would feel hurt that he said something like this. He definitely wouldn’t take that well. And if he told him just why he had proposed at first sight, he would feel even worse about it. That was something he wasn’t willing to do to him. The situation was more than cruel enough already.
Qiu Ling sighed and could only give him a reassuring look. “It doesn’t mean that anything has changed about my feelings for you. I still love you. I always will. You don’t have to doubt that.”
Jing Yi gave a cold laugh and pulled his hands back. “Yes, you already said that. And I said that you still love him more. You don’t want to say it but that is what it is, isn’t it? You love Jing He more than me. Because he was there first. But how is that fair to me? I should also be allowed to have a life.”
“I promised you that you will.”
Jing Yi shook his head and got up, walking a few steps away. “No. No, that’s not the same! What you promised me is time. I can live for a while longer because you say so. But I don’t get a life. I don’t get to decide on things simply because I want to. I can’t even marry the man that I love! How is that fair? Why does he get to have these things while I don’t?”
Qiu Ling looked at him and couldn’t offer any kind of comfort. He was suffering because of this just as much as Jing Yi was. He also dearly wished that things could be different.
But saying this wouldn’t help his beloved at all. Instead, he might be even more furious. After all, while he would still be able to have these things with Jing He, Jing Yi really had nothing. He would miss out on a lot of things because of his situation. That was indeed not fair.
With Qiu Ling keeping quiet, Jing Yi felt even more aggrieved. “Why aren’t you saying anything? Am I wrong? Speak with me!”
There was a hint of tears in his voice and Qiu Ling had to close his eyes and pretend he didn’t notice to keep a calm mind. He had thought about this. He had already made his decision. He couldn’t go back on it now. That would help nobody. It would only drag things out and made it hurt even worse later on.
He took a deep breath and then shook his head. “You’re not wrong. But this isn’t fair to anyone. Not to you, not to me, not to Jing He. I will do anything that I can to make you happy in the time that we have with each other. But it won’t change the fact that I did promise Jing He something and that I want to honor that promise.”
“And what about the promises that you made to me? Aren’t they worth anything?!”
Qiu Ling looked at him, his expression subtle. “Then tell me one thing: Back when you were imprisoned in that secret realm in the Leyuan region, when you remembered the time in the Nine Heavens and thought that you had a lover named Tian … Back then, which promise was it that you wanted to honor? Was it the promise that you made to me here in the mortal realm or was it the promises we made in the Nine Heavens?”