A while later, Zhong Gang and Mi Fang took Guanyu back home, leaving Jing Yi and Qiu Ling alone at the gravesite. The two of them quietly knelt there, Jing Yi looking at the two plagues where his parents’ names were inscribed.
“Does it actually make a difference?”
Qiu Ling turned to face him, slightly raising his brows. “What do you mean?”
“I mean the worshiping of the gods, presenting them with gifts, and burying them with the grave goods … Does that actually make their lives after death any better? Or is it just to put the minds of those left behind at ease?” He turned to look at Qiu Ling, seemingly lost. The pain he had felt before had left him a while ago and he just felt numb right now.
Qiu Ling pondered, not quite sure how to answer that question. “Well, I guess that question should better be asked to one of the gods. But seeing that there is a Fate’s Scribe that takes care of the life of the mortals, there should be a god that will take care of their lives after death, right?” To be honest, he really didn’t know. He didn’t even know if there was a life after death. If there was … It would make even himself question a few things.
Jing Yi didn’t think so deeply. What Qiu Ling said did make sense so he would take it as the truth for now. Maybe one day when he was strong enough to ascend, he would be able to find out whether that was right. And if by then, there was something else that he could do that make things easier for his mother and father in the afterlife, then he would do so. His parents certainly deserved so.
He sighed and turned back to the graves. “Would you mind if we stayed here for a while longer? I mean it’s probably not that she would even know but I don’t really feel comfortable just leaving like this.”
Qiu Ling reached out and patted his back, feeling a bit distraught himself at seeing his beloved like this. “Don’t worry. We can stay here for as long as you want to. Anyway, even if your mother isn’t around anymore, your aunt and uncle still are. You might not be as close to the two of them but they are still part of your family. Are you sure you would be comfortable with leaving as long as they are still alive?”
Jing Yi sighed at that. “You’re right. It’s something I’ll have to think about. Right now, I just don’t know. But I’d definitely like to stay here for a while if you don’t mind. At least until the mourning period is over. Is that all right?”
Qiu Ling nodded, not even taking a moment to consider it. If that was what his beloved needed to feel better, then naturally, they would do so. They probably wouldn’t be required to be here but if that helped him, why shouldn’t they? “We will stay here for as long as you want to. After that, we will also do what you want to. Whatever you need, I’ll always be at your side.”
Jing Yi looked at him, his lips curving into a slight smile. “Thank you. To be honest, I wouldn’t know what to do without you. Whatever happened in my life, you have always been there for me.”
“That’s what I should do. It’s also what I want to do. So don’t think too much.”
Jing Yi nodded and turned back to the graves. “She hadn’t been able to work for quite some time. Things are probably difficult in the teahouse right now. We should help out. My uncle took care of quite a lot of things. If not for him, I guess it would have just been us who would’ve been here, even without any attendants to take care of the matters that needed to be prepared. If anything, then I owe him at least this. And he also let us stay there after my father’s death so …”
Qiu Ling nodded. “We will repay him and your aunt and … even that cousin of yours.”
Jing Yi smiled a little. He knew that Qiu Ling didn’t like Guanyu but it was nice to see that he was willing to do even this if it meant helping him. “Don’t worry, I don’t think Guanyu will ever want our help.”
Qiu Ling sighed and looked over at the graves as well. “In her last moments, your mother asked me to take care of you. I think that is the way a good parent is. Your aunt and uncle are also good people so … when it’s time for them to leave, they’ll also want somebody to look after that daughter of theirs. That husband of hers … I don’t think he can be trusted. So in the end, we should look after her for them. At least that’s what I think.”
Jing Yi nodded. “That’s true. Even if she doesn’t want us to, it’s what we should do. After that …” He shook his head. “To be honest, even now, I feel like the mortal realm has nothing for me anymore. Do you think that’s strange?”
The two of them looked at each other and Qiu Ling didn’t know how to answer. He could imagine what this was about: Jing Yi’s life had originally just been intended as a trial for Jing He. Losing everything he had until he felt that life was unbearable … That had originally been a part of it.
Now, a big part of this suffering had been fulfilled: He had lost his parents, and even though the two of them were still together, there was also some betrayal since, in the end, he had still decided on Jing He when he refused to marry Jing Yi.
Of the things that should have happened in his life, the biggest ones had actually come true. What he felt right now was probably that fate of his fulfilling itself. His soul might feel like it was being called back to the Nine Heavens.
That kind of thing … How could he tell him?