The two of them quietly walked down the road in front of the Heavenly Empress’ palace, still holding hands. Neither of them knew what to say and their thoughts were preoccupied with everything they had just heard.
Qiu Ling finally looked up at the sky and sighed. “It’s really not easy. Even if you love each other and have already decided to be together, there are still so many things to take care of before you can be together officially.” He turned to Jing He, his lips curving up into a smile again. “Don’t worry though. We’ll manage. It won’t be easy to convince your father but we can do it.”
Jing He nodded. He wasn’t very optimistic about this but looking into Qiu Ling’s eyes, he always felt a sense of security. Yes, as long as Qiu Ling put his mind to something, he could do it. There was no question about it. Wasn’t that how he had made him fall in love with him as well? In that case, why couldn’t he convince his father that he was the right spouse for him?
Jing He put down that worry but, of course, there was still the other matter left to think about. He hesitated for a bit, his brows slightly furrowing before he finally spoke up. “What my mother just said about the curse … Do you not mind?”
Qiu Ling stopped in his tracks and turned to Jing He, taking his other hand as well. “If I said I didn’t, it would be wrong. But I don’t care in the way you think.” He looked at Jing He deeply, wondering if maybe now would be a good time to tell him about his own issues as well. In the end though, he chickened out again.
“This curse, from what I understand, it is quite vicious. Only one child in each generation, that is indeed limiting. But then, it doesn’t matter much, does it? If we had two or three children, I’d love all of them. If we don’t, I can still pour all of my love on the one that we do have. It’s also not that bad.
“But the curse is more than that, isn’t it? That child’s life will be fraught with danger. Of course, I don’t want to see that happen to our child. I’d hope they have a peaceful life filled with love and happiness. I would only want the best for them. Unfortunately, I am powerless compared to Tian.”
This was something he had no trouble admitting at all. Previously, he had only known the stories, and even then, he was aware that between him and the supreme ruler, there was a very large gap.
Anyway, he couldn’t even win against Xin Lan in a fight, what more the guy who had decided not to curse that bastard out of all their people. Now, he had even met Tian face to face. After that encounter, there really was no doubt left. The gap was so big, it could hardly even be described in a few words.
Tian was … enigmatic, to say the least. He seemed to know everything there was to know whether that was about the world or the races in general or even about him and Jing He specifically. He also had a strength that radiated from his body that was far above anything Qiu Ling had ever experienced.
And then, there was even that mysterious power he had shown that allowed him to break the effect of the curse with just one gesture and one word. That kind of person, how could he stand against his curse?
Qiu Ling sighed when he thought about it. “I can shelter our child from everything but this. It’s really my shortcoming.”
Jing He hurriedly shook his head. “How could that be?” He idolized Qiu Ling to a point and always believed that there was nothing he couldn’t do. Maybe this was the only exception. Because in his mind, Tian was omnipotent. Against this person, even Qiu Ling should be powerless. He was aware of that.
Qiu Ling nodded, not surprised at Jing He’s response. “Don’t even mention our child though. That is still in the future, after all. But being reminded by your mother, I can’t help but feel heartache for you.”
He gently rubbed the back of Jing He’s hands with his thumb and sighed. “I know, you said in the past that your life wasn’t always easy. You never really went into detail though. What I imagined … I’m afraid it can’t compare to what you really had to live through. I’m sorry that this was your life experience. You, as well, should be able to live differently.”
Jing He looked down at their hands, feeling as if he would drown in Qiu Ling’s gentleness. If everything that had happened because of the curse on his family led to this, then he was alright with it. He could face some hardship if it tempered him enough to allow him to stand at Qiu Ling’s side.
“Qiu Ling …” He wasn’t sure what to say. He only knew that, at this moment, he wanted to be close to him. Just like before, he wanted to lie in his arms, soaking up that feeling of safety he gave him and also showing his own dependence on him as a way to tell him what was in his heart.
Qiu Ling gave a hum and stepped closer, indeed pulling Jing He into his arms. Since his beloved hadn’t said anything, he could only take it as him feeling sad about his experiences as well. In that case, should he not comfort him?
He gently wrapped Jing He into his arms, one hand sneaking beneath his hair and slowly rubbing his back. “The future will be better. Even if I am powerless against the curse, I will ensure that the rest of your life is filled with happiness.” He cupped Jing He’s cheek, made him tilt his head, and then gently brushed his lips against Jing He’s in a silent promise.
Yes, this happiness, he would do everything to guarantee it.