Jing Yi shook his head. Yes, even if Qiu Ling could answer his questions, he shouldn’t make him do that. No, since he was already here he might as well figure it out himself. He only needed to investigate a bit more and things would certainly start to make sense.
The most important was to find out where the blood came from. Even though he didn’t know for sure, he was positive that Qiu Ling should have grown up here together with his family. So had Qiu Ling been hurt? Or had something happened to his family?
Jing Yi felt that the latter was quite likely. Hadn’t Qiu Ling once told him that he was the most important person to him? If he didn’t have his family anymore, that would explain it. After all, it was impossible for him to value someone he only knew for a few days more than his own flesh and blood, right?
At the very least, Jing Yi couldn’t imagine that when he thought of his own family. While he had come to like Qiu Ling and was even willing to marry him by now, he didn’t love his family any less. If he had to decide between his mother and him … He wasn’t quite sure whom to choose. How could it be that Qiu Ling would regard him as more important as his family if they were still around?
Anyway, that wasn’t important now. Jing Yi put the clothes back and continued to look through the room but there was nothing of note that helped him piece together what had happened here.
He sighed, took one last look around the hut, and then left. If there was nothing in the hut, then maybe he would have more luck outside. He closed the door behind him, his gaze lingering on the handle for a moment. He was sure that he had wiped it completely clean before he entered but now that he looked again, he saw some traces of blood still on there.
For a moment, he couldn’t help but wonder if he just remembered wrong or if there was something else going on but in the end, he just shook his head. Regardless of what it was, it wouldn’t help him solve the issue at hand. He should rather use the time to find more clues.
With that thought, Jing Yi turned around and started to look around. He felt like he was getting close to the cause of Qiu Ling’s inner demon. After all, something happening to his family must have been a shock and was likely to influence him even years later, right? That was probably the type of thing that would cause an inner demon.
Jing Yi didn’t have to go far to find the next ‘clue’ as to what had happened here. In fact, this answered most of his questions already. In hindsight, he wished that he hadn’t stumbled upon this scene though. The sight … was just too much to bear.
The hut was surrounded by softly rolling hills. He had wanted to walk around the hut once and then decide on a direction at random that he would go in to look at things from above. But before he could even circle the hut, he already stopped dead in his tracks.
There, on the ground on the other side of the hut, lay the body of a man. His hand was still holding onto the hilt of his weapon that he had drawn out halfway. Despite his effort, it had obviously been futile. He still had his eyes opened and stared intently at the sky. It seemed as if he had tried to communicate some kind of directive before he died.
Jing Yi gulped when he saw this. If he could, he would have run away but he didn’t dare to do so. This should indeed be the root of Qiu Ling’s problems. After all … This man looked a lot like Qiu Ling. Obviously, it had indeed been his family that died here.
Jing Yi knelt down beside him, looking at those now blank eyes that reminded him way too much of the man he loved. It turned out that they both had lost their fathers in a rather cruel way.
Jing Yi sighed. Even though his father hadn’t been a great fighter and had lost easily to the men who came to make trouble in the teahouse, he had stood in front of his family to protect them. Qiu Ling’s father had been equipped with a weapon and ready to do the same. Most likely, it had come as a shock that he hadn’t been able to win. Just imagining this scene …
Maybe he had seen his wife and child in the distance and wanted to tell them to just leave him be since it was too late for him anyway? He certainly wanted them to run away, to seek shelter from those that had managed to kill him. Even without him, they would be able to go on. He could probably die in peace if he knew that they would go on living.
Jing Yi reached out and gently closed his eyes. If Qiu Ling had been there, then they could have buried his father’s body. Most likely, Qiu Ling hadn’t had the time to mourn for him back then. That might have caused his inner demon. Unfortunately, he wasn’t here so they couldn’t make up for that now. It was a pity.
Jing Yi looked at Qiu Ling’s father for a moment longer and then reached out again and smoothed out his hair. He knew it wouldn’t change anything but he just couldn’t help but want to do at least a little.
He stood up again and looked over the dark meadow in front of him. Qiu Ling’s childhood really hadn’t been good. In comparison, he himself was lucky. At least, he had had his father for a few years, and then people had come to help his mother and him. He never had had to flee. In fact, his own life had been quite blessed.
“When we get out of here I’ll make it up to you. You might not have been able to spend much time with your family when you were young and you might not have many happy memories but I’ll promise you that the two of us will make up for that. We’ll marry and then when we’re a family we’ll make lots and lots of happy memories. I promise you.”