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Ho Yay / Ling Qi

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"Your pain, your joy, your everything, I will accept them all unconditionally."
Duanmu Xi to Yang Jinghua, Ling Qi, chapter 123

"Your everything, your pain, sorrow and happiness, I want to feel them all. I don't want you to bear everything by yourself ever again."
Yang Jinghua to Duanmu Xi, Ling Qi, chapter 248

You think Free! is the gayest non-BL work to ever come into existence? Think again. The ridiculous amount of queerbaiting in Ling Qi will awe even the most seasoned BL fans - to the point that declaring it a non-BL work is almost pointless. Starting from chapter 70-ish, almost every few chapters, we will have Yang Jinghua and Duanmu Xi lovingly look at each other and whisper the sweetest of declarations. There probably isn't any other existing work that contains such blatant subtexts - so blatant that it makes you wonder why Ling Qi has not gone full-blown into the BL territory yet. In fact, it would be fair if readers want to consider Ling Qi a love story (or at least, a very sentimental story) between 2 humans who are fated to meet and have nothing left but each other in the world.

As such, it is not easy to list all the Ho Yay moments in Ling Qi. There will always be more if you squint just-a-bit harder.


(However, in all fairness, author Ping Zi has confirmed on numerous occasions that Duanmu Xi and Yang Jinghua would never have romantic feelings for each other. Therefore, Ling Qi does not and will not belong to the Boys' Love Genre.)

Ho Yay moments in Ling Qi:

  • Their major mode of energy transfer is through kissing. They have done that for 7 times throughout the whole series up till this point. And we all know there will be more, considering that there are still some hundreds of chapters left.
  • Of course, the very beginning of this ship must trace back to chapter 44 - the first occasion of energy transfer, aka, their first kiss.
  • In chapter 37, when Yang Jinghua almost has his soul scattered by Situ Li, Xi, for the first time, shows his worried face. Xi even orders Jinghua to let Xi know if anybody ever tries to hurt him. Xi is desperate to protect Jinghua.
    • But then, the real reason why Xi wants to keep Jinghua's soul safe is because Jinghua's existence is the only thing that keeps Duanmu Luoyue from breaking free and destroying the world. However, Xi's concern for Jinghua gradually grows deeper and it comes to a point that he genuinely wants to protect Jinghua.
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  • In chapter 58, after Jinghua comments that the 60-feet restriction is making him unable to do anything, Xi gracefully apologises and kisses the Soul-binding rings on Jinghua's hand in order to break the restriction. He then remarks that he just wants Jinghua to not get into any trouble.
  • After Jinghua stabs Xi right through his chest under the influence of Duanmu Luoyue, he is absolutely regretful of his action. When Jinghua see the unconscious Xi in the hospital, he does the forehead touch and tells Xi how he would never leave Xi.
    • The forehead touch appears again in chapter 246, this time initiated by Xi.
  • In chapter 85, for the first time, Xi has his cold mask down and confides his loneliness in Jinghua, and Jinghua hugs Xi empathetically.
    • A similar hug comes back in chapter 178, with Xi breaking down and crying over the discovery of Shenlong Zhangxuan's body still being kept inside Duanmu's house.
  • The entire arc within chapter 83 - 96 is a glamorous pool of Declaration of Protection and Taking the Bullet, with Jinghua and Xi repeatedly shedding blood (okay, maybe not for Jinghua since he has no blood...) for each other.
    • And don't forget, this whole arc ends with a huge kiss initiated by Xi.
  • Jinghua has declared on multiple occasions that his only purpose in the world now is to protect Xi.
    • Chapter 118 puts this very clearly. While Xi is dozing off after a loss of energy, Jinghua holds his hand compassionately and declares that Xi is the reason why Jinghua is the most motivated that he has ever been, and that he will protect Xi with all he has.
  • In chapter 148, Xi has to summon Jinghua from afar through a blood ritual. He admits that he could not do anything when he is away from Jinghua even for just a while.
    • Jinghua is then told that Xi has been constantly worried about Jinghua and thus not been able to sleep.
  • In chapter 151, Xi and Jinghua argues about whose fault it is that results in their prior misunderstanding - like an old married couple. Outside the window, readers can even see a couple of birds lovingly 'kissing' each other. Symbolism, eh?
  • In chapter 156, Jinghua calls Xi "女男通吃", roughly translated as "both male and female can be attracted to him".
    • Also mentioned in episode 10 of the donghua (Chinese version)
  • Chapter 160 and 161 are an explosion of emotions (and probably the best proof of the Xihua ship thus far), with Xi and Jinghua both shedding tears over the fact that they might lose each other.
  • In chapter 162, Jinghua wakes up with Xi sleeping soundly just next to him (nothing happened, by the way).
    • It is then revealed that after the incident in which Jinghua stabs himself to save them both, Xi sacrifices his (already very limited) life force to save Jinghua - something he usually only does during official rituals to purify the world. He then continuously transfers energy to Jinghua to the point that he is exhausted and falls asleep.
  • In chapter 172, Xi tells Jinghua that because Jinghua has no family, no regret and no lingering feeling left in this world, it is difficult to maintain his soul on Earth. Jinghua rejects this by saying "I still have lingering feelings. It's you. You are my only tie to this world." Awww.
  • In chapter 173, Jinghua surprises Xi with a birthday cake.
    • It should be noted that besides Grandma, Jinghua is the only 'living' person that knows Xi's birthday.
  • In chapter 234, Xi confesses that he would rather have Jinghua to be alive with him.
  • Who could forget chapter 248? Finally, Jinghua learns that Xi has altered the conditions of their Soul Contract and has singly been absorbing all of Jinghua's injuries and pain. Jinghua gets really angry at Xi and demands that a new Soul Contract is signed.
    • And, again, the arc ends with a huge kiss, this time initiated by Jinghua.
  • In one extra chapter, Jinghua insists that he is the seme, and Xi even rebuts that by saying "those who like to declare themselves to be seme usually are not".
  • In a post-credit scene of Ling Qi (donghua), Siyao cries and laments that "her fiance (Xi) was married to another man (Jinghua)". LOL.
  • This is the chorus of "无限大" ("Infinite"), the official opening song of Ling Qi donghua. Many fans have voiced that the song perfectly depicts the relationship between Xi and Jinghua:
    "On my side
    Your trust is burning
    On your side
    is my smiling response to the world
    Relying on each other
    Vast potential to rewrite life
    May be unexpected
    In every circumstance
    I know you are always on my side
    To face all battles together
    Let the chains that bound us together
    Converge into an infinite, exciting splendor."

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