When Qiu Ling realized that the person who had come in was merely An Bai, he heaved a sigh of relief and then sat back down, taking Jing He’s hand again. “You surprised me.”
An Bai nodded and then walked over, taking a seat at the table and watching his king from there. “Yi Zan told me that you had come by to see His Highness. I wanted to see how you were doing.”
Qiu Ling glanced at him before he turned back to Jing He, reaching up to brush back his hair. “I’m alright. Anyway, nothing happened to him.”
An Bai watched his king and felt like he shouldn’t be surprised about this. It hadn’t been that long ago since their king came clean about both his heritage and that person. If something major happened in his life, he would probably still revert back to his old ways pretty fast and hide it from them.
That was just to be expected. After all, old habits died hard. And their king had hardly had any time to get used to the new state of things. That also meant that how they treated him now was paramount. If they reacted badly to this, they would only drive him away further. So now, he needed to be patient and show him compassion for his plight. “I saw the Heavenly Empress outside. She mentioned that you had gotten injured?”
Qiu Ling glanced up at that but turned back to Jing He just as fast. “Oh, that. It’s nothing much. Just a scratch.” He knew that he should probably say something about it. Anyway, he had worried himself when it happened. But admitting it to An Bai … that just felt wrong.
And anyway, he felt like there was no need to make many words about it either. He had scared himself, that was all there was to it. Seeing his beloved now, he knew that there was no reason to do so in the future. Jing He was alright. Surely, tomorrow, everything would be back to normal.
An Bai watched him and then leaned forward. “Would you mind if I took a look?”
Qiu Ling once again turned to look at him and for a moment, it seemed as if he would say no. But seeing the worry in An Bai’s blue eyes, he finally sighed and motioned for him to come over. “Well, if it’s going to make you happy, you can. Do you need me to come over or is it alright if I continue to sit here?”
“It’s alright to remain there.” In any case, he felt like it would be best to have his king stay close by His Highness for now, in case his assumptions were indeed right.
An Bai walked over, carrying the chair with him so he could sit down in front of his king to take a look. Examining the wound, it was clear what this was. It was made by a claw. Anyway, injuring a dragon was difficult and while the throat was slightly easier to puncture, that still didn’t mean that it was easy.
Not to mention that his king had likely been in the palace at that time. So not only would whoever had done this have needed to get past all the other people there — including that maniac Fu Heng who was already itching for a fight on a normal day — but they also would have needed to sneak up on the king and injure him. He really didn’t think that anybody would be able to do that. Unfortunately, that only left one explanation and it wasn’t necessarily better.
An Bai took back his hand and looked up at his king’s face, trying to catch his gaze. Unfortunately, Qiu Ling wasn’t looking at him and had already turned back to Jing He as soon as An Bai stopped examining him, not seeming like he would take his gaze back anytime soon. An Bai gave him a few moments but continued to sit there.
Finally, Qiu Ling couldn’t help but turn back to him. “What’s the matter? Don’t tell me I was wrong. It’s not that bad, is it?” He reached up, rubbing his own throat, not quite sure, to he was honest. It had been bleeding when he rushed out but it wasn’t like he had taken a look.
When An Bai didn’t answer, he waved his fingers, conjuring up a water mirror and taking a look himself. Finally, his brows furrowed. “Well, I think it looks worse than it is.” This wasn’t completely wrong. Thanks to the fact that he had touched the wound before, his neck was smeared with blood. It made the originally small wound look a lot more grievous than it was.
Seeing as he had the mirror up, he washed the blood off and then shrugged his shoulders. “Already looks much better, doesn’t it? Don’t be worried. I’m alright.”
An Bai continued to look at him, not reassured in the least. “You know, I would be inclined to believe you if I wasn’t pretty sure that you did that yourself.”
Qiu Ling who had just wanted to turn back to Jing He froze, staring at An Bai. “How —”
An Bai’s gaze softened. “I’m a scholar, Your Majesty. This kind of thing, if I wasn’t able to see, I would’ve chosen the wrong vocation. You’re suffering from the curse right now. Almost seeing His Highness die had a profound impact on you.”
Qiu Ling furrowed his brows and then turned back to Jing He, taking his hands into his own again. He kept quiet for a moment before he sighed and finally explained himself. “I had a nightmare where I saw him actually die in front of me. I felt so … empty as if there was no use in staying alive without him. In my dream, I tried to end it. Then I woke up from the pain because, apparently, I’m an idiot and almost did it in real.”
An Bai nodded, not too surprised. “That kind of thing can happen. To be honest, it isn’t all that rare. This kind of instance, it makes you vulnerable.”
Qiu Ling nodded, having felt precisely like that when it happened. “Well, it’s over now. I’m awake, I came here and had some time to look at him so I’ve realized that he is still alright. It’s a one-off thing. Let’s not interpret too much into that.”
An Bai stared at his king and finally shook his head. “I wish that was true. Unfortunately, this matter isn’t something you can just decide on. It is your subconscious that is reacting to what has happened. And unless you are able to reassure yourself subconsciously as well, then I’m afraid that this might not be over.
“No, there is a very real chance that something like this might happen again. But it’s good that we know now. We can take some precautions to make sure that you won’t accidentally kill yourself.”
Really, they had to thank the Heavenly Empress for this. If not for her warning, he was afraid their king would have kept this to himself and they would’ve never found out. Then, they might’ve found his cold body one morning, with nothing to be done about it anymore.