Qiu Ling went over and sat down next to him, giving him a long look. It was a bit strange to know that this person was currently his father even though he didn’t look like him at all. Still, he’d take what he could get.
“So …” Chun Yin turned to look at him as well, wondering what he should start with. He didn’t know much about Qiu Ling’s life right now. The things that he had experienced in these years, the things that were important to him … it was hard to say what they were. There was only one thing that he knew for sure. “I heard that you seduced the Son of Heaven.”
Qiu Ling continued to gaze at him, staying serious for once. “After all these years, that is the kind of thing you want to start with?”
Chun Yin could only smile awkwardly. “I had hoped that if I start with something nice, you would be a bit more open to talking with me. In any case, I hope you’re doing well.”
Qiu Ling continued to look at him for a moment but then blinked his eyes before he turned away. “I guess you could say that. It’s … not always been easy. I had a hard time in the beginning. But it’s better now. Hey, did you know that your son actually managed to snatch the throne that you couldn’t get?”
Chun Yin’s gaze softened when he heard that. Who knew that there would be a day when Qiu Ling would say such a thing? He probably couldn’t get any closer to asking for acknowledgment. “You did very well.”
“Really? You don’t even know how I am governing. Maybe I’m doing a bad job at it.”
Chun Yin shook his head. “I guess there is a certain chance that that is true. But maybe I’m biased but I don’t believe it. I’m sure that my son must be pretty awesome. He’ll probably be doing better than Jinde ever did.”
Qiu Ling turned to him, raising his brows. “Are you trying to flatter me?”
Chun Yin reached out and nudged Qiu Ling’s head. “Child, your father has been dead for so many years. Is there really still a need to flatter you? I honestly think that you will probably be doing a good job. Of course, I can’t say for sure but I believe in you.
“You … had a hard time growing up. I’m sorry about that. I know it’s been mostly my fault. But I guess in a way, it will have made you grow. I don’t doubt that you’ve become a man that is able to lead our realm. Our homeland … is certainly in good hands with you. That is what I believe.”
Qiu Ling didn’t say anything for a moment but his expression looked a bit better. Finally, he shook his head. “To be honest, it wasn’t your fault.”
Chun Yin raised his brows. “You know, you don’t have to try to appease me. I’ve been dead for a long time. It’s alright to be honest.”
Qiu Ling shook his head. “No, I really believe that. I mean … you were kind of dumb to turn down Jinde for her but I can’t fault you for that. You tried your best. And even though Jinde is clearly better at raising children than you are, you really tried your best with that as well.
“While you were alive, I wasn’t really in a bad place. If not for what she did …” He shook his head. Yes, even though he would’ve preferred it if they had stayed in the capital city where he actually knew people and where he wasn’t alone, it still would’ve been alright. The only problem was that, in the end, even the bit of peace that he had had just spending time with his family had been taken away when his mother killed his father.
Chun Yin reached out and patted his shoulder. “In any case, I’m glad you got away back then. I was really worried at that moment. I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold on. If she tried to kill you, I couldn’t have protected you.”
Qiu Ling tilted his head. “Wasn’t that why you wanted me to kill her?”
Chun Yin furrowed his brows and also tilted his head to the side. “What are you talking about? I never wanted you to kill her.”
The two of them stared at each other and the silence stretched on. Finally, Qiu Ling couldn’t help but verify. “You did not want me to kill her?”
Chun Yin shook his head. “She was your mother. How could I have expected you to do that? I just wanted you to run away because I wasn’t sure what her intentions were. Killing me … it was one thing. But you were my son. I wasn’t quite sure if …” If she would want to kill you as well. He couldn’t bring himself to say that but even though the words were left unspoken, Qiu Ling understood all too well what he meant.
“I thought you did. You looked at me so instantly. I couldn’t think of anything else. Also, you mouthed the word ‘demon’ to me. Wasn’t that meant to say that she was an enemy?”
“Well … it was. That was so you’d know that he couldn’t trust her any longer. I’m sorry for that too. That kind of thing …” He shook his head. “You shouldn’t have needed to do that. I really failed you that day. In more than one regard.”
Qiu Ling gave a hum, feeling that he probably couldn’t deny that part. “Well, that’s long in the past. She’s dead. You … well, you’re dead too. But I’m still alive.”
Chun Yin nodded. “Yes, you’re still alive.”