Seeing Nie Huang step in, Bai Mu also calmed down. Right, he shouldn’t think about unnecessary things now. At the moment, this person was still a stranger but it didn’t need to stay this way forever. He just had to take some time and get to know him. He could find out what had happened back then and when he had, there would still be time to judge how he felt about this.
With that thought, Bai Mu motioned into the room. “Why … don’t you have seat?”
Qiang Yan looked at him. His son’s voice still sounded stiff but just the fact that he had invited him to sit down and thus wanted him to stay made him happy. He nodded with a smile and went inside, glancing around the room.
Even though the dragons had been the gods’ allies for a long time already, he had seldom been in the dragon realm. And the few times that he had been there had always been on official business, hardly giving him the time to look around. This room … He didn’t know if it was of a good standard in the dragon realm but it didn’t look bad and knowing the dragon king, he wouldn’t treat anyway that was even remotely connected to Jing He badly.
Bai Mu froze. He had thought up many ways how his first real meeting with his father might pass off. He had thought that maybe he would blame him or maybe his father would immediately explain why he had never come to look for them so that he didn’t even have the chance to blame him before he had to reluctantly forgive him.
This … had never been part of what he imagined.
From what his mother had told him about his father, he was a strong man that wasn’t prone to feelings. It had taken time until they fell in love but then, he had been very affectionate. So even though he was his son, Bai Mu had always expected that his father would need some time to warm up to him. So how come he was suddenly hugging him like this, his body even trembling slightly as if this was almost too much for him to take? He really couldn’t align the image he had had of his father and the man in front of him.
Bai Mu didn’t know what to think. He didn’t know what to do either. Push this person away? But that was his father! Did he deserve to be treated like that? He didn’t know. He didn’t know enough by far to judge this matter. The same went for the other direction though. He couldn’t just hug him back. Who knew what had transpired back then? Who knew why this man had never come to look for him or his mother? Without answers to these questions, how could he pretend that everything was well between them and hug him back?
While Qiu Ling could do nothing more than to be depressed about the regrets of his past and the trouble they might bring for the future, another person was well on his way to finally get to the bottom of one of the things from his past that still haunted him.
Qiang Yan had rushed to the dragon realm and into its capital without stopping for anyone. By now, he had reached the gates of the palace and finally needed to slow down. He nodded at the guards, inwardly resenting the fact that he couldn’t just magically sense where his son was so that he could hurry over immediately. “I’d like to meet with the dragon realm’s Xiang Yong.” He didn’t wait for the guards to greet him nor did he bother letting them answer. He just waved at them, indicating that he was in a rush and needed to meet Xiang Yong as soon as possible.
Being faced with such a God of War the guards didn’t dare to dawdle. One of them nodded and rushed inside, Qiang Yan directly following behind. They reached Xiang Yong’s study in a matter of mere minutes and the guard pounded on the door as if life depended on it. In his eyes, maybe it did. Who knew if the God of War had come to announce that the demons were attacking?
Leng Jin Yu’s breath soon evened out while Qiu Ling still sat next to him, unmoving. His thoughts couldn’t keep to one place though. His beloved, his childhood, the future, the fights between his mother and Jinde … All of that flashes before his eyes, making his head hurt.
He had thought … he had already forgotten. Honestly, how old was he now? A hundred thousand years? Older than that? He didn’t even know anymore and it didn’t play much of a role either. Anyway, he was much too old to still be hung up over the things that had happened while he was a child. He was in the age when he should finally get married and have children of his own, when he should prove that he could do a better job than his parents. Continue reading
Leng Jin Yu sighed. Alright, he shouldn’t have said something like that. It was his own fault. “Qiu Ling. It’s absolutely impossible to have both the crown prince and his mortal reincarnation with you. I merely asked because …” He shook his head. “You’ll have to decide.”
“Then why did you mention having both of them?”
Leng Jin Yu didn’t take his grumpy tone personally. This was obviously not a simple question to answer. If somebody asked Jinde whether he’d like to be with the original Chun Yin more or with him who was also his mortal reincarnation … Even though they were happy, he was sure that Jinde would have trouble to choose. After all, he shared years of memories with Chun Yin. That was the person he had originally fallen in love with. It was also somebody who understood him much better just based on the fact that they were of the same race, of the same time. How could he as a human that was born several hundreds of thousands of years later compare? He only had the luck that he carried Chun Yin’s soul and that the original wasn’t there anymore. If that was different, then he would lose. Continue reading
Leng Jin Yu couldn’t help but smile. It seemed Jinde had a knack for taking care of children. Even though both the demon and the dragon king had turned out slightly strange, they both seemed to have liked him very much when they were young.
Qiu Ling looked at him and smirked. “I know what you’re thinking. You’re praising the old geezer in your head.” He shook his head and turned back to the front. “I guess you can. He did a good job. Much better than my old man, at the very least.
“You know I never would have guessed there was something between them. Sure, there was the special way my father used to look at him but I didn’t think it was strange. Jinde was our king, after all. My father made sure I knew so I just figured he had a special type of respect for him that nobody else deserved. And to be honest, I always thought Jinde was nice to my father because of me.” He grinned. Thinking about it now, he naturally understood how ridiculous that thought was. Sure, Jinde had always loved children and tended to treat every child he saw in a special way. But he himself had clearly profited from who his father was.
Qiu Ling’s expression softened when he thought back to that time. Yes, at first, he had really liked Jinde. While his mother … He sighed. “My mother always cared most about my father’s opinion. I guess it’s no wonder. After all, it was her mission to seduce him away from the old geezer. Naturally, she would pay most attention to him. Why would she disagree with him just for the sake of a child and risk offending him, maybe even failing her mission because of that?
“Jinde was different. He cared about my old man — even more than she did — but he wouldn’t blindly echo him. When he didn’t like what he saw he would always speak out about it. And I think he did have a soft spot for me.
“I remember one time … I had beat up the son of one of his advisers. Nobody had bothered him with it but that guy’s father had run to complain to my old man. Naturally, my father was furious. He chased me through the palace and threatened that he would teach me a lesson that I wouldn’t forget this time.” Continue reading
Leng Jin Yu couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable at hearing that. He might not be Chun Yin but Qiu Ling obviously regarded them as the same person. So this accusation was indeed directed at him. He cleared his throat and tried to push his own feelings back. This wasn’t about him, it was about Qiu Ling. Feeling hurt by his words would make things just more difficult. “How so?”
Qiu Ling’s eyes narrowed in response. “How so?” Where should he even begin with this? “Well, maybe it’s because of how you were taken in by her, by a demon of all people. And as if getting married to her and having a child with her wasn’t enough, you even stayed with her and abandoned the old geezer.”
“I thought your relationship with Jinde was bad? Why would you care if I left him?”
Qiu Ling sighed. “Yes, why would I?” Continue reading
Leng Jin Yu had expected as much. Everything in Qiu Ling’s life revolved around the Son of Heaven. Naturally, he wouldn’t be able to live with it if something kept them apart. Jinde had already said as much and it was obvious from the way Qiu Ling behaved. His mixed blood really was troublesome in that regard. Still, it wouldn’t help to cover up the truth. “What about the Son of Heaven himself? Do you believe he would leave you if he found out about your mother?”
Qiu Ling shook his head. He had feared that once upon a time but after what he experienced with Jing Yi in the mortal realm and how well he had taken the news about his mixed heritage, his fear had already reduced by half. And now that he knew that Jing He had even gone so far as to engrave his own soul so as to make sure he wouldn’t fall in love with somebody else in the mortal realm, there wasn’t the slightest doubt left. For as long as Jing He lived, he would only love him.
“In that case, have you told him?”
Qiu Ling shook his head again. “I didn’t. At the end of the day, we only knew each other for ten years. That isn’t too much. Neither compared to how long I’ve lived nor compared to how long Jing He has lived. And before he went for his trial we were occupied with thinking about our wedding. There never was the right opportunity even if I had wanted to tell him.”
Leng Jin Yu looked at the dragon king’s wistful expression and smiled. “Try me.” He also knew that this might not work out. Too much time had passed since his last life and he couldn’t even remember. Whatever troubles Qiu Ling had, it was likely that he indeed wouldn’t be able to help. But he should at least try. This much he owed him.
Qiu Ling snorted. “What’s there to try? You can’t give Jing He back to me with an uninjured soul and as for the rest …” He sighed and looked up at the small patch of sky he could see between the treetops. “The answers I want … you can’t give them to me either.” He sighed yet again and shook his head. “I bet if you’ve remembered anything, it would only be about the old geezer.” He chuckled without even the slightest trace of humor. Maybe someday he would be exactly like this. Living together with his Jing He, spending every waking minute at his side and holding him in his arms while they slept, only thinking about him, remembering him, reveling in his company … There would be no time for anyone else.