Qiu Ling smiled faintly. This answer was too typical for Jing He. Although he still felt somewhat unaccustomed to being with him again after dealing with Jing Yi for so long, he felt like it shouldn’t take much time to get used to this again. Anyway, they had also spent ten years together.
He held the teacup and lowered his eyelids slightly, pondering how to arrange his words. There was much to say but not all of it could be said at once. He wanted to reassure Jing He, after all, and not overwhelm him. For now, just keeping matters related directly to the trial might be for the best. In that case …
He looked back up and also put the cup down, giving Jing He a deep look. “I am not sure how much you have heard since you woke up after the end of your trial. Either way, you have now regained your first memories so you already have to know that I was there.” After all, in Jing Yi’s last moments, he had been with him.
Jing He’s face paled slightly. He hadn’t had much time to think about that memory yet but the first feeling it had given him had been pain. There was the physical pain from his mortal body but even worse was the pain in the heart of his current body. The reason … it was simply that he had seen Qiu Ling look at somebody with such a gaze, somebody else.
Of course, he also knew that this was his mortal reincarnation. He had already remembered his ending in that mortal life, after all, and he knew what the trials were all about. But … how to say this? The experience had been confusing at best. He didn’t know who he was at that time. He only knew that the person called ‘Jing’er’ that Qiu Ling had called out to was not himself. So the panic felt while watching this person die … it wasn’t for him. And since that panic was likely felt because of love, that love wasn’t either.
Qiu Ling watched Jing He’s expression closely and silently cursed himself. He didn’t know how much Jing He had already remembered but however much it was, it had clearly had an effect already that he didn’t like to see.
He gulped again and tried not to change his expression too much. He needed to be stable now. Otherwise, Jing He would feel even more unsettled. “Before you went on your trial, I promised I would guard you. I know it sounded as if I intended to stay in the Nine Heavens to protect your body. To be honest, at that time, I already had the plan to follow your soul though.”
He smiled faintly, his right hand moving to play with the cup in front of him. He had done this out of love but he was still nervous when bringing it up. But then, he needed to do this. If not, then everything else would likely become even harder to explain.
“At that time, I didn’t know much about the trials. I just thought … if I followed you, and you fell in love with me during your mortal lifetime, how sweet would that be? We could make a few more memories together that way which could bring us closer together as a couple after you woke up and add a few more years to the decade spent together.”
His smile turned self-deprecating. Surely, Jing He could see at a glance what kind of harebrained idea that had been. “It’s my fault for not inquiring further about the trials from you. Watching your mortal reincarnation die …” He cleared his throat and shook his head. “That was very hard for me to go through.”
Jing He looked at Qiu Ling in a daze. Without the time to think about that first memory, he also hadn’t been able to think about the connection this had to the situation in the previous week. Suddenly, something dawned on him and for once, he couldn’t help but question Qiu Ling’s words. “You mean … the reason you didn’t come by was … my incarnation’s death?”
Qiu Ling looked at him and then nodded slowly. Actually, he was afraid to bring this up. With the way Jing He thought about matters usually and also with how Jing Yi had considered himself and Jing He to be two different people, it was hard to say how his beloved would react to this news. But then, it was the truth and he knew that he couldn’t keep that from him. Not to mention that he would soon remember about the curse as well.
“I’m not sure if you can understand this. Anyway, you don’t remember everything yet so it might take a while to understand the ins and outs of everything. To put it succinctly, I was just in shock after watching you die in my arms. I …” He shook his head again, words failing him once again. “Anyway, I needed some time to deal with my feelings on this.”
Jing He nodded even though he really didn’t understand. Anyway, how could he dare to complain? If Qiu Ling said that this was what he had needed, then that was the case. He had no right to be willful.
Qiu Ling finally let go of the teacup. He would have loved to reach over the table and touch Jing He’s hand but he still didn’t trust himself so he forced himself to fold his hands on the table instead. “I didn’t think too much at the time. I just … felt like I had to take revenge so I went and did what I could. I failed to consider that it might have been more important to come here and be there for you after waking up.
“So both for that and for following you in the first place, I have to apologize. In both cases, I only considered the issue from my standpoint but not from yours. That isn’t what I should have done. In the future, I will do better. I promise you that.” Yes, if nothing else, at least that was what he had learned from the trial and he definitely wouldn’t make the same mistake again.