Qiu Ling stared at the same spot for quite some time, seriously pondering what to do. It wasn’t that he was afraid of this place as he had been of the glowing sea but it still brought back some unpleasant memories.
This palace … While it was undoubtedly the dragon king’s palace, it wasn’t his palace. No, this was the palace of the previous generation. It was also the palace he had grown up in back when his predecessor had still ruled. Only later on, it had been destroyed in large parts in the war with the demons. His predecessor had had it repaired but it hadn’t looked the same anymore. Most likely, even he hadn’t been able to stand that place anymore so he had morphed it into something new.
Qiu Ling’s own seat of power was precisely that repaired palace. In a sense, the one in front of him right now had been more of a home to him than the one that he had reigned from for the past millennia as the dragon king. Unfortunately, the memories of this home weren’t all happy. No wonder it appeared here.
Qiu Ling glanced in all directions but he knew that there wasn’t much that he could do. Just like with the glowing sea before, this thing was here because it meant something to him. Even if he walked around it, that stupid inner self of his might just throw it in his path once again. If it wasn’t immediately, then it would be later. Anyway, he wouldn’t get around it. That just wasn’t possible.
Qiu Ling sighed and then marched up to the front door, pushing it open. Since he couldn’t change the facts he would have to deal with them. He might as well get it over with and then continue forward. Like that, he might be able to find a way out of here. He wanted to return to his beloved’s side.
Just like back in the hut, he could hear the sounds of people around him just like it had been when he lived here before. There were some hushed conversations, the steps of the guards patrolling the premises, the laughter of some young couples, and the screaming of the children that were running around, playing.
It had been so long ago that he couldn’t remember anything distinct about it. Even if he focused and listened, these conversations wouldn’t have any words and if he looked at the people that he thought to remember, they wouldn’t have any faces. Looking at them like this … It really was ugly. It just showed him how long ago this time had actually been.
Qiu Ling rubbed his cheek and sighed to himself. “Seems like I’ve gotten old …” He shook his head at himself and then went down the halls, walking to the place that his subconsciousness definitely wanted him to explore.
It didn’t take long for him to find that place. Before he even saw it, an angry voice could be heard, yelling as if nobody would be able to hear it in these halls.
‘Brat, you better come out now!’
Hurried steps passed Qiu Ling in the corridor next to him but he didn’t go to look. No, that wasn’t what he wanted to see. He waited for the steps to fade in the distance before he stepped out and went in the other direction, finally stepping into the opening to a smaller corridor that led to a single door on the other side.
For once, he was able to see the person over there clearly. His hair shimmered in the glow of the torches at the side of the corridor and his features were painted even softer than they had probably been originally. Looking at him, he seemed a lot younger than he had when he saw him the last time.
Well, it was no wonder. A lot of time had passed since then and most likely, he wasn’t doing too well right now. It would have been a wonder if he didn’t look aged in real life.
Despite the obvious changes, Qiu Ling couldn’t help but look for a while longer. That gentle smile was really just like in his memories. It was very nice to see. He really wished that it could have been more than just a memory. If only he would have been able to have this person in his life for a longer time …
Unfortunately, things never worked out that well in his life. He just didn’t have that kind of luck. Sometimes he really wondered if he was cursed.
Qiu Ling already wanted to turn away but just when he turned his back on the scene in the corridor, the person spoke up.
‘You’ve been naughty again, haven’t you? I can hear your father yell even from here. You’d better make sure you don’t run into him anytime soon.’
Qiu Ling stopped, his hands clenching into fists. Behind him, the person still continued to talk, his voice slightly teasing but mostly just soothing the child in front of him.
‘Well, how about this? You can just stay with me until he calms down. And if he doesn’t even by the time you go back, then you just tell me. I’ll talk him out of it.’ The person laughed and then two different kinds of steps sounded, fading toward the door on the other side.
Qiu Ling couldn’t help but glance over his shoulder, watching how he opened the door and then stepped inside with that child in tow. He didn’t complain even once. He didn’t say one angry word. He really was just happy to be able to help.
That kind of person … Why hadn’t he had the luck to keep him in his life? It would’ve made many things so much easier.