Bai Fen ignored her raging husband next to her and the soldiers around them and walked over. There was no way to force Qiu Ling into giving up. There was also hardly a chance to make the boy submit. After all, who would want to die? As a trueborn goddess, she also knew what a trial meant. She had been on her own ones after all. She had experienced how it was to die. If you could get around it … why wouldn’t you? But in this case, she also couldn’t just watch.
She stopped in front of the two of them, looking from one to the other before finally stopping on Qiu Ling’s face. “Qiu Ling.”
The look of guilt in his eyes turned even more pronounced and he looked away, hugging Jing Yi tighter. “I’m sorry.”
Bai Fen shook her head at that. “You don’t have to tell me. I can see it plainly. In any case, if you went to tell somebody that you’re sorry, I’m not the one who will need to hear that.”
Qiu Ling closed his eyes at that and took a shaky breath. Yes, he knew exactly who he needed to apologize to. Maybe if he had really been here, things would have been different. But he wasn’t. Currently, there was only Jing Yi. How could he say no to him?
Bai Fen turned her gaze from Qiu Ling to Jing Yi, looking a little distraught. That child … while not the one she had given birth to, he was still part of Jing He. He actually didn’t look like him in the slightest. They seemed to be about the same age and thanks to the fact that Jing Yi was a mortal, he also had dark eyes and hair like the gods even though his eyes seemed slightly lighter than Jing He’s. But that was about it with the similarities. This child was shorter than Jing He and while he looked cute, there was none of the refinement that her son had started to show early on in his life. Yes, clearly, this was still a different person despite sharing a soul with him.
“I know the situation isn’t easy for you either.”
Jing Yi looked up for the first time, his gaze also complicated when he saw Bai Fen. He remembered her. And he also remembered that between the two parents of his, Jing He had always been a little closer to her.
He didn’t know what to say though. This woman … his past life had called her mother. But it certainly didn’t seem like the right thing to do for him. She was the Heavenly Empress so maybe it would be best to just address her by that title. Or maybe it would be much wiser not to say anything. While she seemed much more amicable than the other people around, she was still Jing He’s mother. Naturally, she would want to get her son back rather than let him live.
Bai Fen could see the hesitation in his eyes. She sighed that. Well, she hadn’t expected much else. She also didn’t need any kind of relationship with this boy. To her, Jing He was naturally the most important. That was the child she had managed to raise into adulthood. She would always want to keep him safe. Even if that was at the cost of another’s life. Maybe this was cruel but she was Jing He’s mother. For her, he came above everyone else even herself, much less a stranger that had only been born for a trial. “You do know what this means, don’t you? You have a few of Jing He’s memories.”
Jing Yi could understand that she was trying to convince him. He glanced up at Qiu Ling’s expression that was still tangled and his mood fell a bit. If she talked any longer, maybe Qiu Ling would regret his decision and reconsider. Thinking of that, he finally raised his gaze back to her. “I do have some memories and I do know what this means but I’m afraid I can’t do what you ask of me. Nobody wants to die. How can you expect me to die so casually?”
Bai Fen sighed again. “It’s not that anybody wants you to die but we do want Jing He back. He’s my son. Of course, I do not want him to be like this, not dead but yet not living.”
Qiu Ling hugged Jing Yi tighter at her words, his guilt getting even worse. But it couldn’t change anything about his decision.
Bai Fen also saw that there was no way to make either of them reconsider right now. At most, they might be able to find a compromise. “Is there anything that we can do to make you reconsider? I’m not asking you to give your life up just like that. But I do want my son back. And since you’re an ascended deity now, there is no saying how many millennia it would take for that to happen. You have the potential to live forever. That would mean that my son would essentially die. You can certainly understand that I’m not willing to take that risk.”
Jing Yi continued to look at her, this time actually feeling a bit bad. He had no good feelings for Jing He. Even though he knew that that person was his past life, he had come to hate him.
It had been a mixture of anger and envy when he first saw the illusion of him in Qiu Ling’s inner self back then. After all, he had realized that there was such a person that left such a deep impression on Qiu Ling. And then it got worse from there on out. Hearing about that person, having to see how Qiu Ling’s gaze would soften whenever he spoke about him, he just couldn’t take it any longer. He would not be sorry if he never had to hear that name again. And now, he was supposed to lay down his life for him. How could he be willing to do that?
But seeing Jing He’s mother like this, he had a hard time hating her. She reminded him of his own mother who probably would’ve done the same if she had been in the Heavenly Empress’ situation. Her child was the most important to her. If there was something that could be done to bring that child back after it almost passed away, naturally, she would do it no matter the cost that had to be paid. It was a pity … “I don’t think there is anything. My family is already dead. I’ve ascended which was my only wish. There is only Qiu Ling left and the life I want to have with him. There is nothing you could give me or do for me that would make me be willing to just give up on my own life. Especially not now that I have achieved everything I’ve always worked toward. I’m sure you can also understand.”
Bai Fen nodded. She had expected nothing else. It had just been a last futile effort in trying to convince him. She fell quiet and then just turned around, returning to her husband’s side. She had tried but it hadn’t helped. Now, it seemed she could really only leave this to her brother and hope that somehow, they would be able to make it work.