When the two of them woke up the next morning, Qiu Ling was in an especially good mood. He had managed to hug his beloved to his chest the whole night on account of ‘the weather getting cold in the mountains at night’. If he had known before that this would happen …
Well, maybe he wouldn’t have done anything differently. After all, his beloved might have only agreed this time because they were closer than they had been before. So even if he tried, it might have backfired on him. He certainly wouldn’t want to risk that.
Qiu Ling sighed and propped himself up on one elbow, taking a few minutes to observe Jing Yi’s sleeping face. His beloved’s reincarnation … was really cute. Naturally, it couldn’t compare to Jing He’s gorgeous appearance but it wasn’t bad. He definitely wouldn’t mind watching a while longer.
Unfortunately for him, Jing Yi soon stirred, about to wake up. Qiu Ling sighed again. Back when he had spent that one night in Jing He’s palace, he had needed to leave before his beloved woke up. He would have given a lot to be able to at least watch him open his eyes. Well, and maybe kiss him goodbye while he was at it.
Now, he managed to fulfill that wish. When he thought about it that way, this trial wasn’t only bad. There were some very, very good things happening because of it.
He reached out and brushed an unruly strand of hair back, waking Jing Yi up fully.
Jing Yi blinked his eyes, still seeming a bit sleepy. When he saw Qiu Ling so close by, he was confused for a moment. “Qiu Ling?”
“Mn, I’m here. Good morning.” He leaned down and kissed his cheek before he pulled back again with a smile. “How did you sleep?”
Jing Yi looked at him in a daze. This … This wasn’t quite right. He propped himself up into a sitting position and looked around. Right, they had made their way to the top of that mountain but then went to sleep right after eating because it had gotten so late. So now …
Jing Yi turned back to Qiu Ling, giving him a wry smile. This guy! He had taken advantage of the fact that he hadn’t been completely awake yet! Wasn’t he ashamed at all?
Naturally, Qiu Ling wasn’t. Instead, he smiled happily at Jing Yi, sat up as well and tried to pull him back into his arms. “Did you have a nice dream and are reluctant to wake up? If you want to, you can go back to sleep for a while. I’ll keep guard next to you to make sure nothing happens.”
Jing Yi reached out and plucked the hand off his hip. “Thanks, but no thanks.” He stood up, stretched, and then went to gather the blankets, shaking them and folding them up.
Qiu Ling watched him with a dismayed expression. Where was his good morning kiss, ah? He had looked forward to that!
Jing Yi put the blankets down next to him and gave him an expectant look. “You can put them away. I’ll try to make the fire again today. It can’t be that I don’t know how to do it. We’ll continue to travel for some time. It’d be better if I can help out more.”
Qiu Ling pursed his lips.
Jing Yi saw his reaction but didn’t say anything to it. He could imagine just why Qiu Ling was like this but he wasn’t about to change his complete behavior just because he felt closer to him. Yes, he liked Qiu Ling. Yes, he had started to be able to imagine a future with him. But he wasn’t about to say yes just yet.
They had been traveling together for several weeks, spending each day and night with each other. Obviously, they were more compatible than he had thought in the beginning. But neither did he know Qiu Ling all that well yet nor did he know a lot about relationships. So wasn’t it better to use the full year before he decided? It wouldn’t be too late by then.
Furthermore, he would feel better if he could prove to himself by then that he would be able to become the person he wanted to be after all. Of course, he could let Qiu Ling take care of him for the rest of his life. Qiu Ling would probably be ecstatic if he allowed him to. But that would be against everything he wanted for himself so he needed to make sure that both of them knew that and could find a way to have both: Being together as a couple that would help each other out but also being a person that was able to fend for themselves.
With that thought, Jing Yi picked up the flints again that Qiu Ling had carelessly thrown to the side yesterday and once again tried to create sparks.
Qiu Ling continued to sulk for a moment but finally couldn’t help himself any longer. He put the blankets away and hurried to his beloved’s side, watching him busy himself.
Unfortunately, things weren’t going too well for Jing Yi. He had already stuck the flints together just as he had seen Qiu Ling do it but nothing was happening. He was seriously asking himself if he was just stupid.
Qiu Ling sighed when he saw his beloved’s expression. He probably couldn’t admit that he never really used these things, could he? Well, he should at least give out a bit of the truth.
He cleared his throat and then looked around for some dry grass or anything that could help. He went to pluck it off and then put it down in front of his beloved. “Try it with this. It’s not that easy to do it with just the wood. Actually, I’ve also used my spiritual energy as help so … it’s unlikely you’d be able to get it done just like this.”
Jing Yi looked up in surprise. Even for something like this, spiritual energy could be used? He should really learn how to take it in!