He went over to the bed and sat down on the edge after a moment’s hesitation. To be honest, he wasn’t sure if he was the right person for this job. After all, he was the living reminder of Chun Yin straying from him, the child he hadn’t had with him but with another person. Now that Jinde was grieving the child he himself had raised, would he be of any help? Or could it be that he would actually make matters worse because it would remind Jinde of what he hadn’t had?
Qiu Ling closed his eyes and tried not to think too much. No matter what, he had to try. He took a deep breath and then leaned over slowly, not wanting to startle him.
From up close, Jinde looked worse than he had expected. He was pale, not too unlike the time when he had originally met him. There was also a similar feeling about him. Qiu Ling couldn’t say what he would call it. Maybe it was hopelessness? Or desperation? But then, maybe this was just how grief looked.
“I’m sorry.” Qiu Ling gently touched his shoulder while trying to think of what to say. After hearing Xiang Yu’s words outside, he didn’t feel as guilty anymore but he still felt like he should say this. Of course, he felt sorry for what had happened. It wasn’t because it was his fault but because he cared about Jinde and Jinde cared about this so … he would as well.
Qiu Ling didn’t get a reaction but he wasn’t too distraught about it. If he could do what Leng Jin Yu couldn’t in less than a minute, then he would really be too awesome. He didn’t think he had that kind of charm.
He quietly stayed next to Jinde and rubbed his shoulder. After a while, he couldn’t help but speak up again though. “Jin Ling and I … we didn’t get along that well. I know how important he was to you though.” Even if it hurt, he had to admit this. If it wasn’t the case, Jinde wouldn’t have been so distraught about Jin Ling’s behavior in the past. Because he cared, he was hurt. And now, maybe there was something more to it.
“I’m sorry that it had to end this way. I know you … would have liked to reconnect someday, to have everything turn out well. But, at the end of the day, he was a demon. No matter what you hope will happen, nothing could have changed that.” He stopped speaking, not sure if this was in any way reassuring to Jinde. He suddenly felt … it probably wasn’t.
Qiu Ling looked up at the ceiling, feeling that he really wasn’t good at this type of thing. Well, it was no wonder. He had never had to do something like this. When it was him who lost his parents and even killed his own mother, there had been nobody there to help him deal with it. He had … tried but he had barely kept his sanity throughout all of it and it had made him turn into a person that wasn’t really him for most of his life. He absolutely didn’t want something like that for Jinde.
“I guess my words don’t mean much. It’s just that … I think you did what you could. Fate … wasn’t on your side. Neither on yours nor on his. It’s sad but it also can’t be changed and you shouldn’t blame yourself. You know, just in case that is what you are doing.”
Jinde still didn’t react. Actually, he was listening but he just couldn’t bring himself to respond. Did he blame himself? Of course, he did! His child had been abandoned by him, rejected, and now, he hadn’t kept him from harm. Instead, he might be the one who had put him in harm’s way because he refused to see him and almost forced him to appear in the dragon realm at that point. If not for that, then his child might still be alive right now.
Next to him, Qiu Ling felt slightly flustered when there wasn’t the slightest change in Jinde. He thought for a while, his hand on his shoulder stilling. “I also thought it was my fault. After all, I dragged you into this whole mess with the trial. Without that, he wouldn’t have known.
“Xiang Yu thought the same. After all, he was the one who told him about you and Leng Jin Yu having that child. That is what led him here. But then, you’d probably agree that that is a ridiculous notion.
“Xiang Yu definitely isn’t at fault. He did something without bad intentions and it was still Jin Ling’s own actions leading him here. He made the decision: the one to seek out Xiang Yu, the one to come here, the one to spy on that battle even though we had made sure he’d be stuck in that guest house for a while, … It’s all something he decided he wanted to do. How could it be Xiang Yu’s fault?
“If it isn’t though, then it isn’t my fault either. Neither should it be counted as yours. We … simply couldn’t have known it would play out like this. And also, our part in it was so small, how could that be where anyone should lay the blame?” He glanced at Jinde’s expression but found that nothing had changed.
Qiu Ling could only sigh. This likely wasn’t helpful. For one, he didn’t know if Jinde actually blamed himself. He was just inferring as much from his own past. And two, even if Jinde blamed himself, that was likely an emotional reaction, not one based on logic. He could tell him over and over again that it wasn’t his fault and explain as well as he could but it likely wouldn’t change a thing.
Jinde had lost Jin Ling and from now on, he would have to learn to live with that gap that had been left behind in his life. No amount of reasoning could change that.