The two of them strolled through the outer sect. Jing Yi had already seen everything countless times but as a normal disciple, there were still many buildings that he couldn’t even enter. Only the disciples with fewer spirit veins that had chances of becoming inner sect disciples in the future or had found an Elder willing to teach them would be able to go there. As for everyone else … They were basically left to fend for themselves.
Thankfully, Jing Yi had done a lot for his senior martial brothers and sisters over the years so their relationship wasn’t bad even though they weren’t close. He had always been able to ask if he wanted to know something and over the course of five years, he had also heard a lot. Thus he could still tell Qiu Ling what all of them were about.
Right now, they passed by a lake that was glittering in the morning sun. Lush grass encircled it and two pagodas with seven stories stood at its edge. They were built from red lacquered wood and their roofs covered with shining black tiles.
“These pagodas are for the disciples studying talismans and formations. It’s said that the two disciples of the Yun Zou Sect’s founder who mastered these arts were brothers. That is why the pagodas were built next to each other like that.
“The seniors said that for a long time the sect’s disciples studied both arts at the same time but in the last few years, they went back to trying to master only one. I guess it’s just like with cultivators and practitioners. You can’t be both if you want to become a true master.”
Qiu Ling glanced at the two pagodas but wasn’t impressed. Never mind that the buildings in his dragon realm were much more beautiful, he had also seen the extent of the so-called ‘mastery’ the humans had accomplished. Even though he wasn’t a genius of formations or talismans, he could still do better than them! Still, this was an opportunity to get closer to his beloved. After all, finding out more about the other person and showing interest in their matters was a sure-kill way to gain their affection! “Then … What do you study?”
Jing Yi glanced at Qiu Ling before he looked away. A genius like him would probably think badly of him if he told the truth. After all, he hadn’t been able to achieve anything even after several years in the Yun Zou Sect. Even though he was officially studying cultivation, he hadn’t even started. He wasn’t able to take in spiritual energy, he wasn’t even able to sense it. He was an utter failure as a cultivator. As for his swordsmanship … it had only been a few weeks since Shao Hai tried to teach him. He wasn’t even proficient in the basics.
For the first time since coming to the Yun Zou Sect, Jing Yi felt self-conscious about his achievements. He probably should be better, shouldn’t he? “I … I haven’t decided yet.”
Qiu Ling tilted his head. Ah, he had seen that kind of face before … He reached over, gently gripped Jing Yi’s chin and made him face his way again. “What’s the real problem?”
Jing Yi’s eyes widened. He opened his lips but couldn’t get any sound out. “You … How did you know?”
Qiu Ling smiled. “It’s the way you looked.” Yes, he had seen that often enough. Jing He never dared to look at him directly and would just focus on a spot somewhere below his eyes but he would still face him when talking. Until he wanted to evade a topic, that was. When he did, he wouldn’t be able to look at him at all and instead turn his head to the side, tilting his face toward the ground, his eyelashes fluttering and shielding his gaze.
It was an unconscious reaction from a person who loathed to lie but still found himself unable to say the truth. Jing He probably didn’t even realize himself that he did it. Otherwise, he long would have made sure to discard these telltale signs. He certainly wouldn’t want his thoughts to be exposed in front of others like that.
Jing Yi, on the other hand, shouldn’t care too much about whether he was able to see through his thoughts but the reaction was still the same. Qiu Ling couldn’t help but feel drawn even closer to him at that similarity. This was his beloved. It really was.
“Jing He …” His gaze softened. He wanted nothing more than to pull this person into his arms and hold him for a while. Just like how he had done it in the Nine Heavens. He just couldn’t wait to be with this person.
Jing Yi looked up and smiled. Somehow, the person who had grandly proposed to him didn’t even know his name. “It’s Jing Yi.”
“Mn.” Qiu Ling interlaced his fingers with Jing Yi’s. “You know, I really missed you.”
Jing Yi blinked. “Didn’t we see each other just yesterday?”
“We did. I still missed you. I hope I won’t ever have to leave your side again.”
Jing Yi didn’t answer and just lowered his gaze. He didn’t know what to say. Honestly, this was too much. They didn’t know each other. They had only met yesterday. He looked up to Qiu Ling as a person who had managed to achieve what he wanted to but he didn’t love him. In fact, he couldn’t even call him a friend.
All things considered, he wasn’t that comfortable with being so close to him. Strolling through the outer sect with him, talking and getting to know him were alright but why did they have to hold hands? Why did they have to walk so closely next to each other?
Actually, he didn’t like it. Not one bit. And having to hear these constant confessions was even worse. He felt like he should make it clear to him but he also didn’t want to hurt him. After all, Qiu Ling seemed very sincere. But it couldn’t go on like this. He had to do something. Unfortunately, he didn’t know what that something could be and once again, he had nobody he could ask.