At the same time, Qiu Ling had gone over to the room where An Bai was staying. Quite untypical for him, he knocked on the door and waited for An Bai’s response.
At that moment, Xiang Yong had also been in the room, discussing with An Bai how they should act going forward. Seeing that their king actually behave normally, the two of them received a bit of a shock and exchanged a glance. It seemed that after he had confessed to them, he had indeed shed all pretenses and returned to behaving like a normal person. This was probably the real him.
For a moment, the two of them had some trouble adapting. But at the same time, they couldn’t help but feel the awe that they had originally felt for him. This was indeed the king of the dragon race, the person who had ensured a low number of casualties despite the ongoing war with the demons, the one who had gone out to the battlefield himself to ensure the safety of his people and reigned alone for several hundred years before taking in his first adviser.
Just thinking that this might be how Qiu Ling would be always in the future, An Bai couldn’t help but smile faintly. This was the king worthy to support. This was the man he had seen back then. He was happy to finally have the chance to serve him.
He lowered his gaze, pushing the thought away. In any case, this was the new normal. The sooner he got used to it, the better. He inclined his head, motioning for Qiu Ling to take a seat. “What may I do for you, Your Majesty?”
Qiu Ling went over and sat down, waiting for the two of them to seat themselves as well. Only then did he start to explain slowly. “I … need some advice.” He felt a little strange saying this, especially when he saw that the other two actually exchanged a glance afterward. His previous behavior really must’ve left them without any expectations of him. To think that he had let it go on for so long …
After a moment, An Bai and Xiang Yong turned back to him though. “I assume Your Majesty means the situation with His Highness and his reincarnation?”
Qiu Ling hesitated for a moment and then gave a faint nod. “The general solution to the situation is probably something that we will have to rely on the gods for to a large degree. What I’m considering is what I should personally do.” He fell silent for a moment and his brows furrowed. “In fact, what you told the gods makes sense. Since I am bound to Jing He’s soul, any injury to Jing Yi that I fail to prevent even though I know that they are out to kill him would probably come at a cost for me.
“But that situation is taken care of more or less. Right now, we just have to wait and slowly figure it out. The problem is that for the time being, that also means that Jing Yi will continue to be at my side. Especially now that we are in the Nine Heavens, it is quite difficult, to be honest.”
An Bai gave a faint hum. “He carries His Highness’s soul but … Your Majesty is well aware of the fact that His Highness is not dead. He is just waiting for the soul to return to him so you feel conflicted. You feel drawn to both of them and you don’t want to hurt either side but in the process of trying to do that, you are currently hurting the crown prince’s mortal reincarnation.”
Qiu Ling nodded, actually feeling a bit relieved when An Bai managed to succinctly summarize his thoughts on the matter. “That, and I’m also a bit worried about what will happen after Jing He wakes up. The Heavenly Empress actually warned me about that today. She mentioned that considering his personality, it could be that Jing He will have trouble accepting how I retreated Jing Yi.”
An Bai narrowed his eyes, thinking of how he had gotten to know the crown prince. That person was definitely somebody who was gentle and refined. He definitely wasn’t one to throw a tantrum over anything but he might be prone to over-analyzing things. “So Your Majesty is now in the dilemma of how to treat Zhong Jing Yi. If you treat him well, you are afraid that His Highness could misunderstand. But not treating him well isn’t really an option because of your feelings for him.”
“Yes, and Jing He will also remember how I treated him. Treating his reincarnation badly despite the fact that I know that it’s him and he will remember … How does that look? I just feel that I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. No matter what decision I make, there will always be the possibility of hurting Jing He.” He turned to An Bai, his gaze questioning. “You know Jing He a little. If I was to treat Jing Yi well, just like I would treat Jing He, and then there came the time when Jing He would wake up, do you think there’s a possibility to explain things to him? In a matter that will make it clear to him that he isn’t being replaced or less important to me now?”
An Bai requited his king’s gaze for a moment, and seeing the hint of fear in there, he took a moment longer to consider things. A dragon’s partner was always something that had to be treated carefully. Even more so if it was somebody to who the dragon had bound their soul. And in this situation, things really weren’t simple. He did feel like the Son of Heaven would be willing to listen to any explanation that the dragon king gave but what exactly to say would be what decided whether or not that explanation would make him let go of any worries or not. Thus, the question really wasn’t easy to answer.