Liu Cheng wasn’t the only one who didn’t want to rush. Currently, Qiu Ling didn’t want to rush either. In fact, he felt like taking a break for a few hours or maybe even days wouldn’t be that bad. Unfortunately, that would mean he wouldn’t get to see his beloved anytime soon. He really wondered which of his choices was the worse alternative. They both sounded as if he’d be better off dying.
Qiu Ling sighed and turned back to look at the water in front of him with a grim expression. He had made his way over to the spot where he was supposed to find the last ingredient. Looking at it … No wonder this thing was called the Glowing Sea. He could actually see lights down there.
Great, just great! Why couldn’t this be the sort of ultra-deep sea where everything would be pitch black after some hundred meters? Seriously, was Heaven toying with him?
He sent a glare toward the sky but it wasn’t like that would help. He could only either get into the water and try to find that stupid herb he still needed or return to the Yun Zou Sect without the last ingredient and thus fail in his endeavor to help his beloved.
Between these two … Qiu Ling gritted his teeth and finally waded into the water. Whatever. How bad could it be? He would be able to take it. He surely would …
As a dragon, he naturally had no problems with entering the deep sea. It was just that … this kind of place was best traversed in his other form. The form he hated with a passion. He didn’t want to have to change into it. Unfortunately … The water called out to dragons. Upon entering a stretch of water that was big enough to house the body of a dragon, they would naturally transform. It was an instinct rooted in their core. Fighting against it and deliberately staying in their humanoid form would expend a lot of energy. More than they would have if they also had to travel. Thus it was out of the question to just remain as he was. As much as he regretted it.
Qiu Ling had only managed to wade into the water up until his knees. His muscles had already tensed and his hands automatically clenched into fists. He wanted to turn around and flee. He didn’t want to go any further!
Qiu Ling closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “It’s for Jing He,” he told himself and gritted his teeth. “You can do it for him. You can’t let him down.”
He hadn’t taken on that form since his childhood. If it hadn’t been a natural instinct, he might have even unlearned how to change forms. Well, it would have been good if he could actually forget how to do it.
Qiu Ling opened his eyes and glanced around. Nobody was there. Nobody could see him. He waited a moment and tried to sense any sort of life around him but there were only the creatures of the sea. No humans, no dragons, no gods, no demons. Nothing that could be a problem.
He took another deep breath and walked further, finally submerging his whole body underwater. Before he had time to form a conscious thought, his body twitched, scales forming on the skin, his nails darkening and elongating into claws.
Qiu Ling continued to grit his teeth but he didn’t dare to tarry. He plunged further into the water, rushing toward the deeper parts. For a moment, the few rays of sunlight that managed to break through the surface of the sea reflected on his scales. Then, Qiu Ling was diving too deep for any light from above to reach him and only the lights from the bottom of sea faintly shimmered in the distance.
Qiu Ling remained there in that twilight, his eyes trained on those lights in front of him. His tail lashed out uneasily and produced waves that crashed onto the shore. Qiu Ling didn’t care about that though. He only saw those lights and one thought penetrated his mind: If I go further down, someone might see.
He drifted around for a while. Neither could he go on nor could he go back. Maybe he should just return to his original appearance and continue on like that? But he knew that wasn’t a good idea. Even he would have to uselessly expend a lot of energy for something like that. He might not even make it to the ground. He could try though. Just … Why was he even hesitating?
Nobody was around.
Nobody would find out.
And this could bring Jing He back to him sooner.
Qiu Ling’s eyes closed and he thought of his lover’s tranquil smile.
Jing He, Jing He … Even if you knew, you probably wouldn’t hate me, would you? You would still be there at my side, smiling like that, gently looking at me. You certainly wouldn’t despise me. No, not you. Even if the whole world turned against me, you would still stay with me, wouldn’t you?
Having found some of his calm back thanks to these thoughts, Qiu Ling rushed to the ground with his eyes still closed. He only cracked them open when he could feel the bottom of the sea right in front of him.
His gaze brushed over the herbs growing there but he couldn’t find what he needed. Where was it? Where was it?! He didn’t want to stay here! He wanted to go back up! He wanted to leave! He wanted to return to Jing He’s side!
He swiveled around between the plants, his gaze darting here and there, his tail swishing about, making the sand spray up and cover everything with a layer of dust. He didn’t know how to proceed. At this moment, he couldn’t remember what stood in the Grandelder’s book. He only knew that that herb had to be somewhere around there.
He rushed forward, his body twisting even faster, his tail brushing everything out of his way that hindered him, turning over everything that might hide the herb he was looking for.
His tail rammed into a shell and toppled it. It opened and a white pearl rolled out and stopped in front of him. The smooth surface reflected the lights of the luminescent herbs. And it threw back his image at him.