Jin Ling groaned and reached up, clutching his chest.
Yong Hai wasn’t any less surprised than him. He stared at Jin Ling, then turned to the side to look at Xia Wei, not even sure who he had just tried to kill. Seeing the stunned look on the other demon’s face, he hurriedly used his ability to get away, this time not even staying in sight.
He wasn’t stupid. With Jin Ling, even in an injured state, that dragon, and Xia Wei against him, he wouldn’t stand a chance. He couldn’t help but click his tongue though. Now, he had neither been able to kill the dragon king outright nor had he been the one to deal that blow to Jin Ling just now. He really was having a lot of bad luck today. He should better pay close attention later on or he might end up dead.
Xia Wei pulled back his weapon, actually feeling sorry. He didn’t care much for Jin Ling but it felt incredibly awkward accidentally wounding the wrong person. That had never happened to him before. He wasn’t sure what to say so, in the end, he simply turned away and attacked somebody else, not wanting to think about it any longer.
Up there, Jin Ling turned to Jinde, staring at him with a pained expression. “Jinde … don’t leave.” He reached out but his fingers came up a little short and then, he already doubled over in pain.
Jinde hurriedly caught him, his thoughts not yet having caught up with him. He simply held him, unable to believe what was happening.
Feeling his body’s warmth, Jin Ling’s lips curved up in a faint smile. “I love you.” He didn’t get out a single word more, that last bit of strength fleeing him. He only used the opportunity to look at Jinde, telling himself that even if he didn’t have the time to tell him everything he wanted him to know, he had at least seen him and Jinde hadn’t rushed away, leaving him behind. No, he was still there, even holding him in his arms. What more could he wish for?
Jinde was finally pulled out of his daze. He lowered the two of them to the ground, clinging to Jin Ling. “Silly child, what are you saying? Don’t look as if you’re going to die on me.” He held him tightly and pulled out some pills and potions. He might not have been there in time to save Jing Yi before but he wouldn’t let Jin Ling die right in front of his eyes. He would never.
Jin Ling only looked at him though, not drinking the potion that was pressed to his lips. He had … almost forgotten how beautiful Jinde’s eyes were. No, that wasn’t it. He had known they were beautiful. He had known that Jinde’s entire being was beautiful. But it had turned into an abstract beauty over time. Only now did that feeling of familiarity strike him again.
He curled his fingers into Jinde’s robe, forcing himself to open his lips again after all. “Sorry.” He wanted to say more but then, even this word was hardly a whisper anymore. In fact, his eyes wanted to fall shut but he forcefully kept them open, not wanting to miss out on even a blink of seeing Jinde.
“Don’t be stubborn now! Drink this!”
Jinde shook him, spilling some of the potion but Jin Ling didn’t react. He only quietly took his last breath, his eyes still staring into emptiness.
Jinde looked at him, also noticing how his chest wasn’t rising and falling any longer. “Jin … Ling?” He cautiously called out, then shook him again. “Jin Ling?” He knew what had happened even if he didn’t want to believe it. He held onto him tightly, trying to tell himself that this wasn’t real. He shook his head, then shook him once more. “Jin Ling! Don’t do this to me!”
He had had to banish this child. He had been forced to stay away, to pretend to be dead in front of him, and refuse to see him or admit to anything even after being healed. In this life, the two of them could have never been allowed to meet again. And yet, he hadn’t wanted him to die.
He had always hoped that Jin Ling would have a good life somewhere far away from him. He had hoped that — despite being a half-demon — Jin Ling could somewhere etch out an identity and way of living that he was comfortable with. He had wanted him to find happiness, whether that was alone or with somebody at his side wouldn’t have mattered. But now, it was too late. His child was gone, those possibilities of his future lost forever.
Jinde took a shaky breath and leaned down, wrapping Jin Ling in his arms, his sight blurring with tears. “My child, how could they do this to you? How could they take you away?”
His tears fell one by one, landing on Jin Ling’s cheeks but he couldn’t feel them any longer. If he had known that this person he loved so much cared enough to cry for him, he surely would have been happy. But alas, there was no way for him to find out.
Leng Jin Yu didn’t stand too far away from them, holding the sword that Jinde had once given him. His husband’s hair had fallen to the front and was covering both their faces but the image he had just seen seemed seared into his mind.
He wordlessly turned around, lifted his weapon, and fought against those demons trying to take advantage of Jinde’s state. At the same time, his heart couldn’t help but hurt.
Just one glance was enough to see the truth. Maybe not to a stranger but to somebody who had lived with Jinde for so long, it was naturally obvious. That child … it had not been adopted. Clearly, that child had some of Jinde’s blood as well. And yet, his husband had never told him. What was he to make of that?