OMF V10C225 Memories Uncovered

Jing He reached the Temple of Medicine in a daze, barely noticing that one of the guards had stepped closer and opened an umbrella for him when rain started to fall. He stepped into the hall while the guards remained outside, walking straight ahead.

He should have gone to ask one of the physicians to take a look or to ask the God of Medicine if he would do so. After all, what kind of excuse was coming here without doing so? But he hardly registered that they were even there. Instead, he just continued to walk as if he had a place to be. He didn’t know where he was going. He just remembered that he wanted to be alone for a while and that this was a place he could use to finally reach that goal.

Jing He passed several physicians. Some wanted to speak up but seeing as he walked ahead rather purposefully, they all felt he should have an appointment and didn’t want to disturb them. Thus, he passed through the halls unhindered, finally reaching a side door. He opened it and stepped out into the street at the side of the palace. The guards that had brought him here were nowhere to be seen.

Turning to the side, Jing He walked down the road. The raindrops fell onto his body while the wind tugged at his hair and sleeves but he didn’t realize. He just stared straight ahead and continued toward his palace.

He remembered those times he had been alone with Qiu Ling: He had told him things about the dragon realm or his past. He had held him in his arms and kissed him irrespective of the rules as if he couldn’t care less. He promised him a future where they could be together with nothing holding them back.

The wind picked up while the memories from his trial mixed into what he remembered from his life in the Nine Heavens. Some of them he had recalled already but a few new ones were among them as well. They didn’t seem to be in order but he hardly realized. It was enough as long as they contained Qiu Ling because clearly, he might not be able to make new ones with him if things went according to what his father deemed right.

Jing He reached the street leading up to his palace, a faint smile on his lips as the memories filled his mind: There was one where the two of them sat on a small piece of land, high up on a ledge in the mountain. There was a small tree next to them and he was teasing Qiu Ling in a way he never would have dared to in this life.

He reached the gate of his palace and quietly walked past Huang Lan and Mu Kun, stepping past the folding screen behind the door. There was another memory where the two of them camped outside, Qiu Ling making a fire for them to cook something to eat, sitting next to him with hardly any space separating them.

He walked to the table, hesitating for a while as if thinking about whether he should sit down, while his mind echoed with memories of Qiu Ling teaching him more about cultivation, patiently guiding him in the process.

Jing He jerked the hand back that had reached for the chair and turned to the garden instead, faintly noticing the dark clouds in the sky. The image overlapped with more memories, one where he saw Qiu Ling anxious but also relieved after they finally reunited after a long separation and another where he sat next to him as Qiu Ling quietly lay on a bed.

He had never seen him like that before and his mind inevitably stayed on the image for a while longer. There was fear in his heart, a remnant of what he had felt during his trial, but curiosity was stronger. He didn’t know yet what had caused this scene to happen but he dwelt on it, slowly recalling more and more.

He couldn’t see at first but it was as if Qiu Ling whispered into his ear, the sounds from the scattered memories reaching him first before the vision followed: I still believe it was fate that brought us together. They sat on that ledge, he on Qiu Ling’s lap. Even though I’m not human, I’m still the best husband you could ever find. Qiu Ling said so and kissed his cheek, the feeling as if he could feel it even here, so many years later.

Outside, the wind turned into a storm, making the branches of the trees groan. Nobody is more thrilled about this wedding than me! I’m incredibly thrilled to marry you! It’ll be the greatest moment of my life, never to be overshadowed by anything. Qiu Ling grabbed his hands, his expression serious as if he still had to convince him of this.

A gust of wind blew the rain inside, hitting Jing He’s body and making him shudder. The beautiful memories seemed to be blown away by the wind and he suddenly felt cold. Instead of the romantic whispers from before, Qiu Ling’s voice in his mind changed and so did the scenes he saw.

And the one who cruelly slaughtered my mother … that was me. His face was blank as if those words meant nothing to him.

“Ah.” Jing He exclaimed lightly before clasping a hand over his mouth. He swayed on the spot and tumbled against the door to the garden, the rain hitting his face while the wind violently tore at his hair. In his mind, Qiu Ling’s voice still echoed, the sentences following each other faster and faster.

I never told him anything about what happened with my family. You’re the first person I’m telling this. The one she fell in love with was the demon king. She would stop at nothing to help that man achieve his goal. He forced himself to mouth a few words at least, giving me the answer to the question of why she would have done that.

“No …” Jing He clutched his chest while his mind seemed to explode with all those scenes, a terrible guess forming beneath them.

He hadn’t said it directly but through the explanations he gave, Jing He still understood what Qiu Ling had wanted to say. Tears gathered in his eyes as he realized and he stumbled outside.

His gaze brushed over the garden that was devastated by the storm and then up to the sky. The clouds above roared with thunder, drowning out any other noise. Jing He took one step after the other even though he had no idea where he was going this time. He only wanted to get away, away from where he had been, away from the horrible thoughts the memories had provoked.

His heart squeezed painfully and his mind buzzed. He did not hear the calls of his guards that tried to rush over from the front of the palace but were hindered by the storm that got only more violent. Neither did he see how the space a few feet away seemed to be cut as if with an invisible sword as lightning struck all around him.

Jing He reached the middle of the garden and finally stumbled, all strength leaving him and making him tumble towards the ground, only to be wrapped in a warm embrace at the last moment. And then, the crown prince of the Nine Heavens who had been proclaimed the Son of Heaven fell.

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