Jing Yi turned back to him, surprise written in his features. He didn’t know what to make of this. What Qiu Ling said sounded quite reasonable. One promise should be easy enough. It wasn’t like it would require much of him. He just felt uncomfortable at the thought that, in the future, if the opportunity arose, he wouldn’t be able to do anything.
But that thought told him that they had deeper problems than he wanted to admit and that Qiu Ling was right in demanding this. That didn’t mean that he would give in easily though. “This promise, why is it so important to you? Since you know I can’t do anything, why insist on it?”
“Because if you want us to work, then I need to be able to trust you in this regard. Your actions today have shown me that I currently can’t. I need this to feel safe. Safe in regard to Jing He’s life which is something I will not compromise on.
“Jing Yi, I’m not asking for much. Just one oath. Swear to me that you will not hurt him, whether that is his body or his soul. I want that one oath and then I’m willing to do anything in response to that.”
Jing Yi stared at him, not quite sure what to make of that. “Anything? Just like that?”
Qiu Ling gave a faint smile in response. “You haven’t sworn anything yet, so it’s not like I couldn’t say no. We can talk it out first and then see about the final result. But in general, yes, I’m willing to do pretty much anything.
“Anyway, I don’t believe that you would put me on the spot and ask something responsible. This is about how to make things work between us. So that until whenever your time has come, we can still have a happy life together. I believe that that is a goal we both want to achieve.”
Jing Yi furrowed his brows again and then looked away. He wasn’t sure what he should ask. Something he needed from Qiu Ling to actually continue with their relationship? After everything that had happened?
Thinking of it like this, he felt like there were so many things that he wanted. He especially didn’t want to always be the second choice. That was what he wanted. That wasn’t something that could be achieved with just a couple of words though, was it?
He retraced his steps to the chair and sat down again, clearly at least willing to think about it and have a discussion again.
Qiu Ling smiled, feeling as if they had managed to make at least some progress despite the circumstances. This was something that he almost hadn’t been able to believe could be possible. No, he had thought that after what had happened with Jing He, things would be irreconcilable. But the longer he thought about it, the more he felt that that didn’t need to be the case.
Yes, he would never be able to rid himself of the memory of that moment, of the fear he had felt when he realized that Jing He had almost died. And maybe deep down, there would always be some worry about such a moment occurring again and nothing being there to stop it at that time.
But if Jing Yi really swore an oath — one that he wouldn’t be willing to break — then that threat at least wouldn’t come from him. In that case, they could still have a life together.
He wasn’t sure if he was betraying Jing He by doing this. Maybe it was too much to be with the person who tried to kill him. But then again, he also couldn’t do anything against the fact that Jing Yi’s body was currently holding Jing He’s soul.
No matter what he did, he would always be drawn to him. And it wasn’t like he could just walk away from this. For a dragon with his soul bound, the result of that … he had seen how what was. And even though he might be willing to do that to himself if it meant keeping Jing He happy after he woke up, he couldn’t do that to his people.
The one thing that the dragon race currently couldn’t use at all was a sick king. Because if he lost his strength, he wouldn’t be able to lead them if something happened. And there were just too many things going on to not fear that that would happen sooner rather than later. Yes, he didn’t doubt for a second that there was trouble ahead.
There had been rumors about the demon realm long ago that he had even heard of in the Nine Heavens. Honestly, he didn’t know if he wished that Jin Ling lost the throne and died in a ditch somewhere since that guy knew about his heritage and could talk about it whenever he felt like it, or if he should hope that the bastard actually survived so that they wouldn’t have to deal with yet another demon king who wanted to wage war against them and make them a mere vassal state to the demon realm.
In any case, the situation was precarious and now that he had decided to take being king seriously again, he would do that in all his decisions. This was one of them.
It wasn’t an easy one — personally — considering the effect it might have on Jing He, but he was willing to take the risk. No, he had to take the risk. There was no other choice. He could only try to prepare well so that after Jing He woke up, after he remembered, they could have a talk so that Jing He would understand the ins and outs and why he couldn’t have decided differently. Anyway, that talk definitely couldn’t be any more difficult than this one.
He almost wanted to sigh but held back, not wanting to disturb Jing Yi’s thoughts. In any case, this was an offer that he had made. And while he had been able to identify what he wanted quite easily, the same didn’t necessarily need to be true for Jing Yi.
He should give him the time to figure it out. Only that way would it be fair. In fact, if Jing Yi needed a few days to think it over, he also wouldn’t say no. This was something that he was willing to do to go forward. So he needed to be able to see from both sides.
Time passed by and the light falling in through the windows actually changed. Jing Yi didn’t even notice. In his mind, he went through everything that had happened since meeting Qiu Ling for the first time, taking note of all the small ways in which he had always felt that Qiu Ling preferred Jing He over him. Finally, there was only one result that he could arrive at.
Looking back up, his expression had turned guarded but despite that, he still raised his chin and spoke up. “I will swear that oath. But in return, I want you to put me first for once. I want you to marry me.”