OMF V5C58 A Strategic Retreat

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Nian Hong Fang stopped bothering with the herbs and left the palace, Wu Min Huan following behind. Qiu Ling turned to look at Jing Yi. When his beloved also wanted to leave he naturally followed along.
Jing Yi wouldn’t have it though. “Qiu Ling.”
“Yes, my love?” Qiu Ling stopped and wanted to grab his hands but they were taken out of reach. Ah, why did this remind him so much of Jing He? Hadn’t he done the very same thing in the beginning? The only thing missing was Jing Yi saying that this was inappropriate.
Jing Yi sighed. “You’ve already brought me over and I’m sure I’ll be able to handle the rest on my own. So how about you just return now?”
Qiu Ling froze. Was his beloved telling him to leave him alone? He hurriedly grabbed Jing Yi’s elbows when he couldn’t reach his hands. “My love, how I could I do that? What if that senior martial brother Wu is inconsiderate again and leaves you behind somewhere?”
“We’re on the sect grounds. I can just walk back.”
“Aiya, but that’d be so slow and who knows if you would find the way? It’s much more secure if I come along.”
“Qiu Ling —”
“Don’t you worry, my love!” Qiu Ling hurriedly straightened up and interrupted him. He certainly wouldn’t allow Jing Yi to send him away! “I don’t mind it at all. Actually, I’m very, very happy to spend time with you. Even if it’s just running from one peak to the other and trailing behind other people, as long as the day is spent with you it’s one of the best days of my life.”
Jing Yi’s gaze flickered. As corny as it may sound he knew that Qiu Ling meant every word of what he said there. But that was the problem, wasn’t it? He was too attached, too happy. He thought he had found the person to spend his life with and now he had been disappointed but he didn’t want to let go. He didn’t dare to let go. Because he still hoped that he would change his mind.
Qiu Ling accompanied him in these little things all in the hope that spending enough time with each other would be enough. But it wasn’t. It would never be because somebody else had already done the same.
Jing Yi lowered his head and tried to get out of Qiu Ling’s grasp. Naturally, Qiu Ling wouldn’t let go. He could also see that Jing Yi wanted to shake him off. He couldn’t let that happen either! Wouldn’t his beloved try to send him away again then?
“My love …”
“No.” Jing Yi furrowed his brows and stopped struggling. “Qiu Ling. This has to stop. We —”
“Oh! I suddenly remembered I had something to do! My love, don’t worry about it! I’ll be back soon!” Qiu Ling didn’t wait for his response. He just turned around and fled.
Ah, don’t blame him! It wasn’t that he was running away. No. He was just … making a strategic retreat. He definitely couldn’t let his beloved say again that they had broken up. No, he shouldn’t remind him of that! He should just give him a bit of space and time to calm down and then he could start another attempt.
Mn, that was what he should do. Just think of his father and the old geezer. Hadn’t those two ended up together again in the end? And that was even after those stupid demons had interfered. In that case, wouldn’t it be really easy for him to get his beloved back since there was no interference from outside? He just had to slowly seduce him back.
Qiu Ling took his position on the roof of the Grandelder’s palace and started to observe what was going on down there. By now his beloved had run after those senior martial brothers and arrived before a small, separate building. That Nian Hong Fang had already gone in while that Wu Min Huan stood outside and waited.
Just then Wu Min Huan turned to look at Jing Yi. “Eh? Where did your fiance go, junior martial brother Zhong?”
Jing Yi’s lips twitched. “Senior martial brother Wu, actually, Qiu Ling isn’t my fiance. I’m afraid this is just a misunderstanding. We … We have known each other for a long time but we don’t have intentions to marry.”
Wu Min Huan tilted his head. Ah? But hadn’t he heard that man say that he was his fiance? Twice? How come they suddenly weren’t engaged at all?
Before he could ask further Nian Hong Fang returned with a cauldron. “There’s no need to be shy here. Just say it if you like him. Nobody will judge you because of that.” He shoved the cauldron into Jing Yi’s hands and didn’t give him time to defend himself. Instead, he immediately pointed at the things inside.
“There’s a manual inside as well as some basic herbs and a jade slip to enter the library. This is what everyone gets when they enter our peak. If you are able to refine one of the potions in the manual, we can talk about everything else. Now, as for your accommodations …” He turned around and motioned to the foot of the mountain.
“We’ll have to go down there for that. Up here is where the direct disciples of the Grandelder and the other Elders of our peak live. If you’re taken in by one of them or are able to show your talent otherwise, you’ll be allowed to live further up the mountain.”
“I see. So, are there many Elders on this peak?” Jing Yi hurried to follow Nian Hong Fang. If he wanted to know more about the peak, this was the best opportunity he would get to ask.
Nian Hong Fang shook his head. “No, just three. Alchemy is something that is easy to learn but hard to master. It has stages just like cultivation and most disciples stay at the first stage with not even half of them advancing to the second. You could probably call yourself a genius if you managed to reach the third stage in your lifetime.”
“Oh.” Jing Yi frowned. He hadn’t felt that alchemy was that hard when he was in the Hei Dian Sect but maybe that was because he was just at the beginning. Wasn’t it also said that cultivation would get harder the higher you climbed in the stages? Maybe alchemy was just the same.
Ah, this really felt as if he was back at the beginning.

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