Qiu Ling exhaled slowly, trying to clear his mind. He might not be able to explain the true issue at the core of this whole troublesome episode of his life but he could at least give Jing Yi a satisfactory answer to the rest of what had happened.
“I understood what my father wanted me to do. It was just … that person was my mother. He might not have loved her but I did. And for the past years, these two had been all I had. How could I just kill her? Especially since it wasn’t like it would allow me to keep my father there.
“Even though I hadn’t been able to check, one look was enough to understand that he would not make it. She must have taken him by surprise and hurt him badly. The amount of blood he lost, the pain evident in his face …” Qiu Ling shook his head. “I already knew that he wouldn’t make it. And now, he was requesting that I also kill her. From one moment to the other, I was supposed to lose both my parents.”
Jing Yi grabbed Qiu Ling’s hand, his expression grim. He knew that feeling of losing a parent. Originally, he hadn’t understood what happened when his father died and it only hit him much later but he could still understand just how difficult that situation must have been for him.
Qiu Ling took a deep breath. He actually felt better when Jing Yi held his hand like this. It was a silent reassurance that just because he told the truth, he wouldn’t necessarily lose the love of his life. No, if Jing Yi could accept it, then so would Jing He. His beloved was such a gentle and understanding person, he didn’t believe that he wouldn’t find a way to accept it.
Reassuring himself, Qiu Ling continued on with his explanation. “Despite my hesitation, I understood that I had to do as my father asked me. She had killed him, her husband of many years, the man she had given birth to a child for. She would do more than that. She would stop at nothing to help that man achieve his goal.
“I didn’t know that much back then but I understood my father pretty well. He wasn’t cruel. He wouldn’t have asked that of me if it hadn’t been inevitable. If this was the last thing he asked of his own son before breathing his last, then it was something that had to be done no matter how much it pained me.
“Thus … I took up the sword he had gifted to me just a few days ago. I stabbed it into her back before she had the time to even turn around. She … froze and then slowly turned around, her expression one of shock.”
He shook his head once more and silently rubbed the ring on his hand. “I don’t know if she was shocked just to see me or shocked that I was willing to attack her even though she had to realize that I had already seen what had happened.
“After a moment, she screamed and backed away and then tried to plead with me. ‘Ling’er, child,’ she said and she sounded so pitiful, so aggrieved as if all that was my fault or … his fault, as if she hadn’t had a different choice, as if she had needed to kill him.
“She wouldn’t stop there either. ‘What are you doing?’ she asked next. ‘I’m your mother! Now that your father is dead I am the only family you have left! How could you do this to me? Put that thing down. Let’s bury your father and go. I still have some family. We can go there to start over. You will love it, I promise!'”
Qiu Ling closed his eyes and sighed. “I didn’t know what she meant with ‘family’ back then. In fact, I didn’t think about it at that moment either. My whole mind was blank. I only knew that I needed to do what my father had asked of me. Only then …” He shook his head. “Only then could I go forward.”
Even thinking back now, he knew that he never would have been able to understand what she was talking about at that time even if he hadn’t been in complete shock. No, he could actually count himself lucky that he hadn’t had the mind to think about anything at that time. Otherwise, maybe she would have been able to manipulate him and make him follow her over there. And then, it would have been too late when he finally found out just what she was talking about.
He sighed again and tried to ignore that thought. Anyway, he hadn’t fallen for her words. He had believed in his father and gone ahead. Even though he had done a lot wrong, he didn’t count this as one of these things.
“I didn’t listen to her. I registered her words unconsciously but I didn’t really pay attention. I just remembered the things my father had taught me. And I cut her down. No, I … I didn’t just cut her down. I did, at first. But seeing her lying there I couldn’t believe … couldn’t believe she was really dead. So I … just …” His voice broke and he stopped talking.
Jing Yi didn’t dare to say anything. He had seen the state her body had been in. And while he didn’t know how much time had passed since then, he could see plainly that Qiu Ling hadn’t been able to overcome this experience.
It was to be expected. If he imagined someone would demand of him to kill his mother … He wouldn’t be able to do it. But Qiu Ling had been able to. He had killed her. Just that it had hurt him very deeply.
Jing Yi leaned forward and hugged him, still not saying anything. He felt like it would be for the best to just show Qiu Ling that he was here with him. As long as Qiu Ling knew that he hadn’t left, he should at least feel a little comforted knowing that he wasn’t all alone.