Jing Yi had been watching his mother’s face the whole time. Seeing her eyes fall shut, he closed his own eyes with a pained expression and pressed his lips together to keep himself from crying out. His grip on Qiu Ling’s hand tightened.
Qiu Ling glanced at Madam Zhong’s face and then let go of her hand, instead leaning over to Jing Yi, and pulling him into his arms. He didn’t say anything. Just holding him close and trying to comfort him as well as he could.
Anyway, even if he wanted to, what could he say? The bond that Jing Yi had had with his mother was something he had never experienced. Even though it had been hard losing his parents back then, that had mostly been because of other reasons. It had not been like this. He felt like he was completely incompetent when it came to finding any words in this situation.
Jing Yi fell into Qiu Ling’s embrace and held onto him, his tears falling silently. He still couldn’t believe it. Even though he had watched her grow older for the past ten years and even though he had seen in the last few months that she wasn’t doing as well anymore, he just hadn’t realized what exactly that would mean. And even now, that they had said their goodbyes, it was hard to fathom that things were really over.
He forced himself to let go of her hand and instead clung to Qiu Ling’s robe, trying to hold onto him as if for dear life. “She’s really gone, isn’t she?”
Qiu Ling kept quiet for a moment, once again glancing at Madam Zhong’s face. Finally, he reached up and stroked Jing Yi’s back. “She’s gone, yes. She … is probably reuniting with your father right now.” He felt terrible lying to Jing Yi but on the other hand, he knew full well that this was the only thing that would give him at least a little bit of closure. How could he not say it?
Jing Yi did indeed nod. “All these years, she missed him terribly. I guess it would be selfish to expect her to stay any longer with me. She should be allowed to be with him again.”
Qiu Ling nodded. “She was very happy while being with you. She will also be very happy when being with him. It’s understandable that you miss her though.” He turned his head and kissed Jing Yi’s cheek, pulling him closer. He really didn’t know what to do for him. This situation … it would be hard no matter how you looked at it.
Jing Yi raised his head, looking at Qiu Ling with red-rimmed eyes. “Thank you.”
Qiu Ling just looked at him, unable to figure out what to say. He felt as if he was only doing the bare minimum and not helping at all. He couldn’t bring her back. He couldn’t shoulder Jing Yi’s pain either. He could only be there for him and hold him while he cried.
Jing Yi took a deep breath and then sighed. He pulled out of Qiu Ling’s arms and turned back to look at his mother. “She’s gone. She won’t be coming back. Regardless of how hard it is, I will have to accept that. We … we should bury her and make a memorial tablet. I can put it next to my father’s.”
Qiu Ling nodded and got up with him, trying to find something, anything that he could do for him. Thinking it over for a while, there actually wasn’t much that could be done. “I will send somebody to inform your cousin to come back home.”
Jing Yi turned to look at him, not quite sure what to think of this. Naturally, his mother should be sent off by the whole family. So Guanyu returning should really be expected.
Thinking of how his cousin was, he couldn’t help but be a little apprehensive though. Who knew what would happen when she returned? Anyway, it was still the right thing to do. “Thank you. I … I’ll go and organize everything else then.”
Qiu Ling nodded, pulled him into his arms for a short hug, and then stepped back. “I’ll be back in a minute.” Even though Jing Yi spoke of taking care of things, he also knew that it wasn’t that easy. He was obviously suffering inside but forcing himself to take care of matters. Who knew when his mother’s death would really hit him?
Still, he couldn’t stay at his side the whole time. There were a few things that just couldn’t be delayed. If Zhong Guanyu was supposed to get back in time for the funeral procession, then they would need to inform her soon enough.
Qiu Ling didn’t go far. He only stepped out of the room and went to the other side of the courtyard, before taking out his transmission stone and contacting Fu Min. From what he knew, Yi Zan had already returned to guarding Jing He’s body after visiting his nephew for a while and Xiang Yong and An Bai seemed to be involved in some other kind of conflict so there really were only Fu Min and Fu Heng left to do this kind of job.
Well, that pair of husbands should be quite well-suited for it. Fu Min could use that poisonous tongue of his to make Guanyu see the light and if that didn’t help, then Fu Heng could just beat her unconscious and carry her over. Anyway, he didn’t care too much about the means as long as that girl appeared to take part in the ceremony. He definitely wouldn’t allow her to disrespect his mother-in-law.
Meanwhile, Jing Yi also got busy. He changed into mourning clothes, had the servants put up a white band above the door to show that a death had occurred, and went to tell his uncle and aunt that his mother’s time had come after all.
With the help of the two of them, everything else was soon prepared and the funeral rites were about to start.