As for the decisions he had to make … there was one that could not be pushed off any longer.
“That isn’t true.” His gaze turned serious and hugged Jing Yi tighter. “You might think that I love Jing He more than you but that isn’t the case. Between the two of you … I cannot say that either of you is more important to me. It’s just that it is a bit different.
“My feelings for Jing He will always be special. He was the one I originally fell in love with. After being alone for a long time, I finally saw a chance for me to change that when I met him for the first time.
“I told you back then: Jing He was the one who brought light back to my life. From the moment I first heard his voice and first saw him step onto that square at the Heavenly Emperor’s banquet, I knew that I wanted to spend my life with him. And in the ten years that followed, the two of us slowly grew closer.
“I found out that we were actually incredibly similar in many ways. And I guess that is what made me cherish Jing He even more. I will not pretend for you that these feelings aren’t there. There’s not a day that I don’t think of him. That is the truth. And this is the truth that both you and I will have to live with.
“But on the other hand, that does not mean that I don’t love you. There are things that connect the two of us in a way that I am not connected to Jing He with. I told you about my past which is something I never got around to doing with him. In fact, it might be something I never would have done with Jing He. I have likely been more honest with you than I have ever been with him.
“Maybe that sounds to you like it is less important but for somebody that had to lie for thousands of years, being able to be honest with somebody else is precious to me. It is something that I would never want to give up again. If Jing He was back, if he did not remember what I told you, if I had to make things clear to him once again, I don’t know if I would be able to do so. So yes, you are just as important to me as he is. It’s just that the ways in which you are, are different.”
Jing Yi lowered his head, his brows furrowing tightly. “Why not come to me then? At that time, why did you come here instead of back to me when something happened? Since you can be honest with me, why go to him?” He looked back up, clearly confused.
Qiu Ling sighed faintly. At that moment, his thoughts had been in disarray. And Jing He had always calmed him down. This was something that Jing Yi wasn’t able to do to the same degree. He couldn’t explain it either.
It was probably just that the personality different enough to have such a different effect. If it was about cheering him up when he was sad or even anchoring him when he was angry, he wouldn’t hesitate to go to Jing Yi. But if he wanted to be comforted and his whole life seemed to crumble before his eyes, then the one he would think of would always be Jing He.
He would’ve given a lot at that moment to be able to hug him, to bury his face in his hair or at his chest, to just silently sit with him. He wouldn’t have needed words, nothing. Just Jing He’s presence would’ve been enough.
But he didn’t think that Jing Yi would understand that. In fact, it might just make him worry more. Despite his claims of honesty, he could only tell him half the truth. “That matter … it was a bit special. I guess you could say that it had a bit to do with him. So I felt like going there.”
Jing Yi still looked at him unhappily. “Has it so much to do with him that you can’t even tell me what it was about?”
Qiu Ling requited his gaze, wondering if maybe he should tell him. But then again, he didn’t really feel like talking about it yet. “The time actually spent over there was very short. You know how the time runs differently between the realms. It hasn’t been that long yet. So … give me some time. I think even with Jing He, I wouldn’t have spoken about it immediately. It’s a bit too fresh for that.”
Jing Yi couldn’t pretend that it really put his mind at rest but at the very least, he knew that there was no use in continuing to try and push the matter. Qiu Ling was clearly not willing to speak about it with him. He didn’t know if what he said was true and he really just needed more time but in any case, what use would there be in trying to make him talk when he already said something like this? No, it would be better to just accept it for the time being and then bring it up at another time. In any case, he still had time.
Finally, he just nodded and then put his head against Qiu Ling’s shoulder. “Well, you don’t have to. I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t be like this but it hurts a bit. I will have to lay down my life for him if the gods find a way to do that without hurting you. I will lose everything. And I already lost most of what I had because of him, because of this trial. Can’t you understand that that hurts me?”
Qiu Ling lightly rubbed his head and nodded. “Yes, I know it’s not easy. That is what those trials are for I guess. It’s also my fault for getting involved. All of this … it could have been over already if not for my involvement.”
Jing Yi reached up and cupped Qiu Ling’s cheek, smiling faintly. “Your involvement is what makes this bearable. So I’m happy that you did. This has made my life a lot better.”
Qiu Ling requited his smile, feeling a little better. At the very least, there was something like this. Maybe … Jing He would also be able to see something good in this. He just had to hope for that.