Bai Fen sighed and stepped over to Qiu Ling and Jing Yi. “You never said anything. Had I known, I wouldn’t have needed to worry so much in the beginning.”
Qiu Ling just smiled faintly. “I was sure that I would be able to convince you of my feelings for him even without bringing up the curse. And I think that I have succeeded. So what use was there in mentioning somebody else’s actions? Mine alone will be enough to make this work.”
Bai Fen chuckled in return. “Your confidence is as astounding as ever. Well, for now, let’s find you someplace to stay. I don’t think you’ll be able to return to the dragon realm anytime soon. At least not with him.” She turned to look at Jing Yi, her gaze still complicated. “I know this isn’t easy for you either and I’m sorry that you’ve been put in this situation.
“I just hope you can hold on and not do something that could put either Jing He or Qiu Ling in danger. If you were trying to escape from here, you can be sure that the gods would not look kindly upon that. If you were spotted later on, there would definitely be a fight. And you would also be putting the alliance between our races at risk. I don’t think that you want that for Qiu Ling.”
Jing Yi stared at her, feeling that as kind as she had always been to Jing He, this woman wasn’t simple either. She clearly realized that the only person important to him in his life was Qiu Ling. So he was what she threatened him with. If he had to lay down his life later on, he would have no other choice because otherwise, he would inconvenience his own lover. This was quite shrewd actually. “Don’t worry. I have a few of Jing He’s memories. I know how much sacrifice is needed in that kind of position. I do see that it isn’t any different outside of it as long as the soul stays the same.”
Bai Fen’s gaze flickered a little. She didn’t say anything in the end though and just inclined her head. “It’s good that you know.” She motioned at her brother and the two of them left together, leaving Li Yin to arrange everything.
The God of Justice looked at the three dragons and the ascended deity, his gaze thoughtful. “I guess it would be best to assign you one of the palaces somewhere close by. Just give me a few minutes.” He turned to the door and called one of the officials over, giving them instructions. Then, he waited by the door, not going back inside. He really didn’t have any intentions to engage in a talk with the dragons. The situation was bad enough as it was. He didn’t need to add to the trouble.
At the same time, Bai Fen and Qiang Yan were slowly walking toward the Heavenly Empress’s palace.
“What are your thoughts on this matter?” Bai Fen turned to look at her brother, not indicating what her own thoughts on it were.
Qiang Yan gave a hum and squinted at the sky. “The situation isn’t easy. Both sides have valid worries. I’m afraid that adviser An Bai is right though in that theirs currently trump ours. So unless Li Yin is able to find a way to circumvent this problem, I’m afraid Jing He won’t be waking up anytime soon.”
“You know Li Yin quite well. How likely do you think it is?”
Qiang Yan shook his head. “I don’t know. To be honest, he can be quite resourceful. But I don’t think the chances are very good. After all, this is a matter that concerns the dragons more than it concerns us. Every solution that he can find, can only be found from the perspective of the gods. Half of those will probably be impossible to implement without making trouble for the dragons. To find one that satisfies both sides … it might be nigh possible.”
Bai Fen nodded slowly. “That is what I fear as well. I’m afraid that this whole trial will continue to bring trouble until the very end. In fact, maybe even more than that.”
Qiang Yan turned back to her, his expression just as worried. “You mean when Jing He finally regains his memories?”
“Yes. You know how he is. He constantly overthinks. And what happened today … I’m afraid that it will make him worry quite a lot.”
“You might be right with that. Not only did Qiu Ling choose somebody else but he also revealed Tian’s curse on the dragon race. It might make Jing He wonder if things would be different if it wasn’t for the curse. He is the type of person who would do that.”
“And that is what I’m worried about. Furthermore, we are working on resolving the situation in a way that lets Jing He return but we can’t forget that there is another side as well. That Zhong Jing Yi … I’m afraid he isn’t that simple.”
“He is an ascended deity. And looking at how long the trial has been going, he should have lived for at least a millennium. That kind of time … who really stays simpleminded after living for that long?
“Also, he has been embroiled in the conflict surrounding Qiu Ling as well. I don’t think that we can really just see him as a human boy. He is already much more than that. And with Jing He’s memories at his disposal, things might become even worse. What he said today … it was clearly meant to hurt you.”
Bai Fen nodded. This had also been the moment when she realized that she couldn’t underestimate this boy. “He’s going to use what he knows to his advantage. And I honestly can’t even blame him. This is about his life after all. We can’t just let him do this though. I’m afraid of what it would mean for Jing He if we don’t step up. And I can only hope that Qiu Ling will realize that as well and try to work with us. Curse or no curse, I hope he doesn’t forsake Jing He.”