Qiu Ling knew that there was no chance for Jing He to actually wake up anytime soon. And even though he had had the thought of sending somebody to ascertain that he could, he finally couldn’t bring himself to give the command either. Well, it probably wasn’t unexpected.
He sighed and then just continued to sit at Jing He’s bedside, thinking back to the few hours that he had managed to spend with his father. No matter how he thought about it, he still had this nagging feeling that he hadn’t done everything he could.
Yes, it was nice to be able to say goodbye but what was the use of that? Losing him once, losing him a second time … he really wasn’t sure if it was that helpful. Well, at least this time, his father had made sure to be nice and show him that he really cared about him. That was already more than that what had happened back then. His father had always been quite strict. Now though, he was grown up, his father didn’t need to worry anymore, and everything was too late already anyway. Most likely, that had also been his father’s thought.
The minutes slowly trickled by. Qiu Ling glanced at the window, his emotions tangled. He knew he should probably return to the mortal realm now. After all, Jing Yi was still there and with the difference in time, a few days might already have been gone by. He would likely be worried about him.
But even though he thought so, Qiu Ling just continued to sit there, holding onto Jing He’s hand. To him, it had only been a few minutes, an hour at most. He wasn’t able to get over it so fast. He just lost his father for the second time. Even though he had only gotten him back for a short while, it still hurt. And maybe the fact that he would have to talk about it with Jing Yi if he went back made things worse.
Being with Jing He who was unable to say something was better. And … he wasn’t quite sure why but he felt that when it came to comforting him, maybe Jing He would have done a better job at it. After all, contrary to Jing Yi, he might have a better concept of how long eternity could really be. Although …
Qiu Ling’s brows furrowed slightly. He was probably unfair to Jing Yi. By now, he had also lived for a millennium already. That might only be about half the time that Jing He had lived before he went on his trial but it still wasn’t just a short period. To say he didn’t understand … maybe that was wrong. But he couldn’t help but still have that feeling that Jing He would understand him better. He couldn’t explain it either.
He continued to sit there until, finally, the sound of a conversation rang outside. Qiu Ling looked over only to finally see Bai Fen step around the screen behind the door.
The Heavenly Empress raised her brows when she saw him, her gaze lingering on his face for a little longer. Somehow, she felt that Qiu Ling didn’t look too well. “Longjun, you came by again. It’s been some time.” In the beginning, she had seen him more often. But now, it had actually been a few years and he hadn’t even checked in with Jing He. She wasn’t quite sure what to make of that.
Qiu Ling nodded but he wasn’t sure what to say. “Yes, I … I didn’t really want to …” He fell quiet again, unsure how to continue.
Bai Fen came over, stopping a few steps away so she wouldn’t accidentally step somewhere she shouldn’t. She looked more closely at the array and then slowly made her way through, making sure that she didn’t set off any of his traps. Then, she sat down on the other side of the bed, continuing to look at him. “It seems like something happened. Something … that made you want to come and search for some comfort.”
Qiu Ling looked at her and smiled wryly. Was this some kind of mother’s instinct? Well, it was still nice that she was here. He had always liked Bai Fen. Maybe it was that she was like the mother he had always wanted or maybe they had just bonded over both loving Jing He more than their own life but he had always felt comfortable with her and would even go and ask her for advice.
Thinking of all the instances when he had opened up to her regarding his feelings for Jing He and his frustration with not being able to make him either fall in love or commit to him, he felt that he could likely talk to her about what had happened either. “Mother-in-law, has there ever been a person that was incredibly important to you that finally … died?”
Bai Fen’s expression turned somber. “Yes. There definitely was.”
“Then … afterward, have you ever wondered if you did something wrong? I mean, if you had a chance to say goodbye to them and maybe talk with them for a while, did you ever wonder if there was something else you should have done?”
Bai Fen fell quiet, her expression a little tangled. “I guess in a sense, there was something like this.”
“In a sense?”
Bai Fen took a deep breath and then slowly exhaled. She didn’t really want to talk about it but Qiu Ling still seemed lost. And with what he had asked, she could imagine that something really bad must have happened. “You don’t know but … before Jing He, my husband and I had another child. It is just that it did not manage to live.”