Back in the Yun Zou Sect, or more precisely in the newly created realm of the Yun Zou Sect, Jinde opened his eyes. He glanced up at the edge of the lake and his lips curved into a smile when he saw the indistinct figure of his husband waiting there for him.
How much time had passed? He couldn’t help but wonder about that. He hoped that it wouldn’t have been too much. Even though Leng Jin Yu knew that it would take quite a bit of time until he recovered, that didn’t mean that he should have to wait too long. Not seeing each other for several thousand years … What kind of life was that for a married couple? No, he refused to accept that.
Jinde got up from where he was seated and pushed off the ground, breaking through the surface of the lake after only a heartbeat. He swam over to the edge and propped his arms up on the stone plates, giving his husband a smile.
“I finally come out after so long and you refuse to even stop your cultivation for me? I’m shocked, my dear. It couldn’t be that after such a long separation, your heart went cold, could it?”
Leng Jin Yu cracked his eyes open and looked at his husband, his eyes twinkling with delight at finally being able to see him again. “I’m more than excited to see you less than an arm’s length away from me but I was thinking that it would take a lot longer until that happened. Don’t tell me you’ve already recovered completely?”
Jinde shook his head and pulled himself out of the water, sitting down on the stone slabs, and letting his legs hang into the water. “No. I also think it’ll take a lot of time. This kind of treatment is rather effective though. Who would’ve thought that getting a small part of the High Heavens would actually make such a difference? It’s such a simple solution but surprisingly genius.”
Leng Jin Yu changed from the Lotus position to sitting next to his partner and gripped his hand. “It’s good as long as it works. Anyway, if you had healed before this, then maybe you wouldn’t have been in the Yun Zou Sect anymore when I came here. What then? We might’ve never met.”
Jinde leaned to the side and kissed his cheek. “We would. It’s our fate to meet. Whether it’s in this life or any other, I’m sure that we’re destined to always find a way to each other. Don’t tell me that you think of this any different.”
Leng Jin Yu shook his head and leaned closer. “I never would. Something like this … It has to be fate.” He gave him a lingering kiss, his lips curving into a smile afterward. “So how long do you intend to stay outside?”
Jinde stretched and then hugged his husband’s neck. “How long can you keep me occupied?”
Leng Jin Yu couldn’t help but chuckle. He grabbed Jinde’s waist and pulled him closer, his lips hovering just a hair’s breadth away from Jinde’s. “Knowing you and knowing me I’m pretty sure that I could keep you occupied forever. Are sure you want that?”
“Actually, that sounds pretty fantastic. For now, I might be happy with just a few hours or days maybe though. Anyway, did something happen while I was down there? How is that bear child behaving? Did he leave you alone or did you come to bother you? Right, what about that matter with the necklace?”
“Ah, right.” Leng Jin Yu took the necklace out of his spatial ring and put it back around Jinde’s neck. Even though he did feel a little awkward thinking about the fact that his husband was wearing another man’s jewelry, this was a means for Jinde to contact Xin Lan. If he ever got into trouble, it would be best if he was able to do that.
Anyway, they were already married. Jinde was even a dragon so there was no way he would ever have feelings for somebody else. What should he feel insecure about? It was just that … This necklace always reminded him of the long stretch of Jinde’s life that he hadn’t been a part of. He couldn’t remember it. And even if he could, would that truly be him? He wasn’t Chun Yin. He never would be. And every once in a while he couldn’t help but worry because of that.
Jinde watched his husband’s expression and then reached up, cupping his cheek. “Whatever you’re thinking, stop it. Your thoughts … should only be with me right now. You should only have me in your eyes or your heart or anywhere.”
Leng Jin Yu smiled at that. “Even if I wanted to, it would be impossible to see anything but you. You’re just … too bright, too beautiful, too charming, too lovable. How could I ever have the heart to look at somebody else?”
“Ah, that’s more like it.”
Jinde craned his neck and wanted to kiss his husband again but Leng Jin Yu stopped him.
“Before that … Be honest with me. How useful is that part of the High Heavens really? How long will you need to heal? Can you say anything more specific about that yet?”
Jinde sighed and then turned around, leaning against Leng Jin Yu’s chest with his back and looking up at the sky. “It’s really as I said: It’s surprising how well it’s going. In fact, the longer I was submerged in the water, the better it got. It seems that the properties that Xiang Yu’s little gift had are slowly dissolving in the original water of the lake and turning it into something like a part of the High Heavens that isn’t actually in the High Heavens. Well, I guess that was what he expected but it was hard to believe until now.
“But I think that from here on out, I’ll only start to heal faster. By now, I’m actually not feeling as weak anymore. I’m not nearly as strong as I was back at my peak but it’s a start. If I had to guess, I’d say that we’re not talking about thousands of years anymore but that it’s probably more like a few hundred years. That sounds better, doesn’t it?” He reached up and once again and cupped Leng Jin Yu’s cheek.
His husband leaned down and kissed his head. “Much better.”