Wu Ya immediately left after he finished eating, and Qiu Ling and Jing Yi remained at the table alone.
Qiu Ling watched Wu Ya’s figure vanish through the door and then turned to Jing Yi with a smile. “Well, now, it’s just the two of us.”
Jing Yi smiled and shook his head at him. “You were just waiting for this moment, weren’t you?”
Qiu Ling didn’t bother to hide it. “You’ve seen through me. Anyway, we won’t have much time together anymore. Of course, if I could, I would spend every single moment alone with you just to make as much of it as I can.”
Jing Yi looked at him and his own expression also turned serious again. “Well, you’ll get Jing He back afterward. Aren’t you looking forward to that?” It was a sore topic but he still couldn’t help but ask. He knew that there was no chance that Qiu Ling would deny it. And even if he did, they would both know that it was a lie.
Qiu Ling sighed in response. “I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want to see him again. It’s been … well, more than a millennium. Back then, he said it would be two or three months at most before he came back. But I didn’t stay in the Nine Heavens to guard his body as I promised. Instead, I came down here.
“I thought it would be a romantic gesture, even if it meant having to wait not just months but several decades. In the end, it turned out like this, with the time until Jing He could return stretched even further. And to add to all that, I’ve caused you pain and he probably won’t feel different in the future either.”
Jing Yi nodded, unable to refute. Yes, everything that Qiu Ling had said was true. And yes, from the little that he knew of Jing He, that other self of his would definitely be hurt when he woke up and remembered. “You couldn’t know that it would turn out like this.”
Qiu Ling gave a hum but he seemed unconvinced. “I couldn’t have known that it would turn out exactly like this but I could have done a better job. We spent ten years together before his trial. I learned a lot about the gods at that time but it clearly wasn’t enough.
“I never asked about the gods’ curse and yes, I was unaware. I didn’t know about his impending trial until he brought it up. At that time, the first thing I should’ve done would’ve been to have him explain more or to go to the God of War for some information, or maybe even ask An Bai about it. But I didn’t. So I brought this onto myself and I hurt the two of you in the process. I fully admit to that.”
Jing Yi sighed but didn’t want to argue. “Well, we still have a little time. Actually, when the God of Justice stood in front of me … I couldn’t bring myself to say that it would be just another week so I made it a month. I hope you don’t mind.” Since they were already on the topic, it would be better to be open and honest about this matter.
Qiu Ling raised his brows in surprise but after a moment’s consideration, he also couldn’t say that it was unexpected. “Well, a week or a month, it doesn’t make much of a difference. If I wasn’t in the situation I’m currently in, I would even suggest that we stay here. Another thirty years … it wouldn’t be too bad.”
Jing Yi nodded. “I also thought of that. But I’m afraid that it won’t be possible, will it?”
Qiu Ling could only raise his hands in resignation. “I wouldn’t know. I don’t think anybody has ever tried this. Honestly, a month might be pushing it. I’m sure that Jinde has done his best to cover the memory but how well this works will depend on a lot of things. One of those will be my own strength. And I’m afraid that it’s too high to hold much hope that this will last for long.”
Jing Yi gave a hum, feeling disappointed for a moment but finally, a smile graced his lips again. “Well, originally, I was really reluctant. But after what Xiao Dong said and since you’ve promised that you will try and keep my body so that I can come back in the future, I’m not too worried anymore.
“To be honest, right now, I feel like I’m living on borrowed time. I had a start in life that was … well, maybe not normal in the sense it would be for a regular person but it felt like it.
“But since the moment I found out about Jing He, everything spiraled out of control. And by now, this isn’t really my own life. Everything I’m doing revolves around him. It’s not the kind of life that I want to lead.
“So I think that giving up my soul now and then returning later on for a second chance will be much better. At that time …” He stopped himself from saying it, taking a careful look at Qiu Ling’s face.
Qiu Ling nodded. “At that time, Jing He won’t be there anymore. I know. I … I don’t want to think about it but, yes, there will be a second chance for you. I will do everything I can to make that possible.” He reached over the table and grabbed Jing Yi’s hand, holding it tightly. Inwardly, he couldn’t help but ponder though.
As a dragon, watching his lover die would activate the curse since his soul was already bound to Jing He’s. Even though Jing He hadn’t actually died when Jing Yi attacked him, just that moment of witnessing it almost happen and not seeing Jing He open his eyes afterward had been enough for him to get to a state where he couldn’t live normally any longer.
If not for being under tight surveillance for several days in a row and finally finding a way to get his feelings under control by making him forget this memory for the time being, he would’ve killed himself. And this was not even a true case of his lover dying.
At the time when Jing He left for real and Jing Yi returned for this second chance of his, he had no idea what kind of situation he would be in. Most likely, he wouldn’t be there any longer. Because when Jing He really left, he would follow.
Even if Jing Yi could come back, they would never be together again. But that was something that he didn’t say out loud even though he understood it very well. After all, Jing Yi was looking forward to that and he deserved to have that life. Even if they could not be together, there was no reason to spoil the hope for him. If Jing Yi didn’t realize it himself, he would just keep this quiet.