There were two guards standing in front of the gate. They inclined their heads toward Qiu Ling even though they had seen him not too long ago and then glanced at Jing Yi. Whether it was the Heavenly Empress, the Heavenly Emperor, or the God of Justice, neither of them had divulged the information that the crown prince’s reincarnation had ascended to anyone. In any case, they still hoped that they would be able to find a way to deal with this so it really wouldn’t be in their best interest to tell anyone about this. Thus, the guards had no idea who this person was and just treated him as somebody who the dragon king brought over. In any case, while this person still needed to be reported, there was no problem with letting them in. So after yet another moment, Qiu Ling and Jing Yi made their way inside and came to the room where Bai Fen was waiting.
The Heavenly Empress looked up, her expression complicated. This really wasn’t something that she wanted to do but she didn’t have any other chance. She nodded at Jing Yi and then looked at Qiu Ling before motioning at the two chairs across from her so the two of them would take a seat. She didn’t say anything. Right now, she didn’t have the words to do so. She didn’t even know how to properly greet this boy.
To be honest, when she looked at him, she just couldn’t help but think of Jing He. Her son … seeing his reincarnation made her worry even more. But there was nothing she could do. Speaking with him and giving him another view on Jing He’s life was really the only thing she could try to help her son. Maybe it wouldn’t change anything but it was the best bet she had.
Jing Yi also sized her up, his feelings similarly complicated. Back in the mortal realm, he had always had a better relationship with his mother than he had had with his father. It wasn’t that he hadn’t loved him but there had just been more of an understanding between him and his mother. And he knew that the same was true for Jing He.
The Heavenly Emperor was too overbearing for him. As a person who already didn’t dare to speak his mind most of the time, Jing He was even less inclined to do so in front of his father. With his mother, things were slightly different. There were still things that he didn’t dare to say regarding his innermost thoughts and feelings but every now and then, he would at least let her have a glimpse at this. He would even be willing to discuss his feelings for Qiu Ling when the relationship had gotten a little further. In any case, his mother had always been able to see through him in that regard. There truly was no way for him to pretend it was different.
Now, the one who was in front of her was not Jing He but Jing Yi instead. But looking at her, he couldn’t help but compare her with both the memory he had inherited from Jing He but also his memories of his own mother. And that made him feel even more complicated.
Bai Fen was clearly a little more standoffish with him compared to how she had been with Jing He even though she seemed to be doing her best. On the other hand, he actually felt that maybe she was a little similar to his mother as well. She would be willing to always listen to the problems that her child had. She would always be ready to give some kind of advice that she had formed from the experience she herself had made. It really was a beautiful relationship and in that regard, the two of them really didn’t differ much.
But other than that, it was clear that she was not only of a different race but also had a completely different status from his mother. His family had always been poor and without any kind of influence. On the other hand, Jing He’s family stood at the pinnacle of the Nine Heavens. For him, it was a little difficult to see himself be related to such a person no matter in which way that had happened so he didn’t know where to begin.
The three of them sat there, awkwardly keeping quiet. In the end, it was Qiu Ling who cleared his throat. “Well, since we’re here, I would suggest that we start talking then. I’m sure that there are a lot of questions that Jing Yi has.” He looked at him, and then couldn’t help but reconsider. “Is it a problem for you if I’m here? I wouldn’t mind stepping out either. The palaces here are all equipped with a formation that keeps conversations inside. So you wouldn’t have to worry that I would be able to hear.”
Jing Yi had raised his brows, not having expected that Qiu Ling would actually be willing to leave him alone with the Heavenly Empress. Wasn’t he worried that he would do something he shouldn’t? But it seemed that he really wasn’t. He was serious about that offer.
Thinking for a moment, Jing Yi finally shook his head. In any case, Qiu Ling and the Heavenly Empress knew each other. If he did something that she had a problem with, she would likely tell him anyway. Thus, he might as well let Qiu Ling stay around. In any case, especially in the current situation, he wanted to make sure that the two of them could trust each other. If he sent him away, that would send the wrong signal.
“It’s alright. I don’t mind whether you are here on out. Nothing I say is anything that needs to be hidden from you. Also, if you are here, maybe there’s something you can think of that I will not remember at this moment. It could also imagine that the Heavenly Empress will not be too eager to have me stay around here for too long or come back in the future.” He looked at her, giving a wry smile.
She didn’t even need her to say anything. He knew that this was the case. To her, it would be best if he just left. The only reason she was doing this was because she felt that it might be able to help her own son. It had nothing to do with him. But, well, that was alright. As long as she was willing to answer his questions, he didn’t have a problem with that.